like every other creature on the face of the earth, I am, by birthright, a stupendous badass... everyone and everything that wasn't a stupendous badass was dead. this weekend, however, the stupendousness of my bad ass was more equal than others.
unlike some of my other weekend adventures which spanned about a week and a half, this weekend started friday afternoon and ended monday morning. sounds like the way weekends work, right? a normal weekend?
as normal weekends are wont to do, this weekend commenced with the protagonist at work friday afternoon. itching to leave early so as to get on with the badass weekend plans at hand.
after leaving work late, I went home to finish packing. amongst other things, I brought two didgeridoos, fiire poi, fyool, blinkee light poi, melonnic cloak, sunscreen, and a towell. after tarrying and pakking, I was off to joshua tree and the annual didgeridoo festival that I've been meening to attend for the past ttwwoo yeers. this time, there's no stopping me.
the didgefest officially closes every night at midnight. like faire, if you've got a camping pass, you can stay as late as you wish. and also like faire, there's a lake...
I tried to yahoo for camping a while ago and learned they're totally sold out. I felt like a stupendous badass just for driving to the middle of the desert, in a car with no name, to go somewhere that I know is sold out. but wait, there's more...
I drove for 2.5 hours, then I hit the spot. I walked in to the camping office around 11pm. the guy there told me twice that they're sold out. after some convincing, he let me stay in the parking lot (not the camping area) as long as I promised to be out by 4am. done and done. I parked, got some blinkie lights and headed over to check stuff out. there's still a concert transpiring. I give it a bit of a listen and then move on to browse the assorted didges in assorted booths.
as I'm admiring a didge made of avocado tree, a lady walks up and asks me various questions as if I'm in charge. I go into my didge hawker roll and led her from no drong to practically circular breathing in scant minutes. lo and behold, the didge booth mojo still works.
I gave another listen to ye concert and then mosied to a booth called cloud 9 didgeridoos and made friends with the proprietor, gusty. this guy had the coolest didgeridoos ever. innovative as well as aesthetically pleasing and easy to play. we hung out, talked, played, people came and went. it's like 1 am. another guy walks up and starts talking to us. after a while, he starts to play and he's killed it. he rocked over london and chicago. just unbelievable. I didn't know it at the time, but he turns out to be david blonski - a guy from whom I intended to take a workshop the next day. while he's playing, I whipped out my blinkie lights and started didgeriraving in the road near the booth. I had a grand ol' time and everybody marveled at my ravey goodness. when I bust that kind of move at burning man, it's nice. people are appreciative. but it's also kind of chapeau vieux. not only have they seen it before, they've seen people do it better than me before. whereas these were didge people - not used to seeing that sort of thing. to them, it was unique and magic.
I talked, played, spun, and hung out with these guys until like 4:30amish. david asked if I'd like to do some blinkie light performance during his set at the concert tomorrow. uhhhhhh yeah? need I bring up the badass thing again? I mean, I just got asked to perform in the concert having just arrived a few hours ago not knowing anybody.
some time during all that strenuous hanging out, I spoke of my camping situation and drunk guy offered to let me camp by him. he said there's plenty of room between him and the next car over. for the eternity that is 10 minutes of talking to a drunk guy, he explained how to get to his camp. this route has 3 turns and is about a 4 minute walk.
around 4:30, david, gusty, and I leave the booth and go over to the labyrinth that david built. david explained the difference between Labyrinth, The Labyrinth, a maze, and a labyrinth. a labyrinth is one of a handful of patterns that is laid out for you to walk through and meditate. there are no wrong turns or dead ends, it's not a puzzle. he said that the pattern he laid out here is the oldest known labyrinth layout. this pattern was found on some pottery from millenia ago on crete. the same pattern was found on baskets in arizona from millenia ago. and on something elsethousands of years old from russia. how? I don't know - go ask your dad.
the "a labyrinth" that was in center camp of burning man made more sense to me now. I didn't realize that it's a quasi-religious meditative thing very appropriate for the beyond belief theme they had going on.
so we walked the labyrinth. actually, I spun the labyrinth. I went through this ancient meditative ritualistic process while I was twirling blinkie lights. shut up - it worked for me.
after the labyrinth, I gave david his first poi lesson. he did pretty well. I learned a bit about teaching it. good thing, too. I also hope to do the poi thing at faire - associated with the juggling sticks booth.
after the lesson, at around 5:30 am, I followed drunk guy's instructions to find the campsite, set up my bed in the back of the van, and plotzed. I awoke to the peaceful and meditative sound of a chorus of didgeridoos playing my sweet reveille in the dewey noontime grass. well, no. I actually awoke to the tune of my cellphone telling me the weather in sherman oaks. at 9 am. I cannot believe I forgot to turn that thing off.
I was tempted to hurry and try to make it to part of the tai chi class that david was teaching at 8. but no. like faire and burning man, preparing to leave the van is an ordeal of preparation, packing and sunscreen. on my way from the car, I gifted drunk guy a pair of blinkie lights. I made it to the ticket place and told them that I didn't feel right paying for only one day as I'd used their fair festival quite a bit yesterday. they charged me for one day. I'll take the badass points for paying a discounted rate
I spent the day doing workshops on breathing, rhythm, and how to be cooler, overall. I said howdy to djalu gurruwiwi who is apparently THE aboriginal guy whose title is "keeper of the yirdaki" (yirdaki is an aboriginal word for didgeridoo). this was the second time in his life that he's been outside australia. I spent the rest of my time trying to pick which of the fine didges I was to take home with me. in my shopping, I found a french horn shaped ceramic didge, a pyrex didge, a sunflower stalk didge and all sorts of others.
the concert started and I was in the back spinning my little heart out. I can't count how many people told me that was cool, asked where to find my blinkie lights, or asked me how to learn how to do what I was doing. during david's set, I came out and spun my blinky lights right in front of the stage. the guy running the board dimmed the lights a bit for me. I came on, did my thing, left, and got quite a little cheer. ahhh - the badass in me...
the concert was amazing. if you're a didge fan, I suggest you check out a band called drum and didge (or maybe they're didge and drum?) from cologne, germany. and steven kent, lewis black, david blonski. amazing.
after the concert, they had a dance party with djs spinning some kind of technoey thing. I ran into jonathan - a guy I'd met at a prior fire performance. and a new guy. though none of us were contracted or paid to spin fire, spin fire we did. again, these are didge people who are simply not used to this sort of thing.
at one point in the spinning, I spot a fine woman sitting in the front row. at the same time, I also see who I assume is her boyfriend. so I kind of mosey and spin, spin and mosey my way over to her. I do this real slow closeup kind of spinning. toward the end of it, I was sitting on the ground, facing her at a distance of a meter and a half (I was inverted) and my fire was coming within about a foot of her face. she was entranced. her boyfriend didn't look pleased.
sometime after that spin, when I was safetying near her, she started talking to me. again the boyfriend didn't look all that happy. in the course of talking to me, she mentioned that that guy is her husband. I didn't flirt much with her after that. I'd probably get more action if I used my stupendous badass powers for evil.
after the fire and the cleanup, I picked up my new cloud 9 didge and headed home. david thanked me for the lesson and the performance. said we'd have to get together again soon. you know we'll have a good time then. I'm now on my way home. it's saturday night (I guess that makes it all right). I'm 2ish hours from home. I wonder if I've got enough gas. I'm going to sleep when I get home because it's been along weekend thus far, right?
that's only half a weekend for a stupendous badass.
sunday noon to midnight is decompression. at 2am, I start driving back to LA from joshua tree to pick up my friend jessica to go to san francisco. to be back home for work monday. at this point, I start feeling some doubt - more like I'm a dumbass than a badass.
nonetheless, this is kind of where I really start to feel that stupendous badass thing.
I drive back from joshua tree to hollywood to pick up jessica. when I arrive to collect her and ferret her away, it's like 5:00 am. what better time to start driving to san francisco?
my stupendous badass friend jessica managed to do most of the driving to san francisco. quietly singing to herself while I napped on and off. we kept reminding each other that we're stupendous badasses and that we love our beautiful lives.
we arrived in frisco around 11 am and got a badass parking spot. they were recommending parking at 3com park some 8ish blocks away. us? a block away on the street. we scored some bagel and veggie chili. sated, we went back to the car to change into "Black Rock Attire." once glittered, sparkled, rainbowed, cameled and the like, we felt ready. we felt stupendous.
off to decompress. we walked the event from stem to stern and then hung out in the park. I got some badass sharpie tattoos drawn on my arm by chime. chime is friends with mark. mark is the guy with whom I lotus posed while perched precariously on climbax at burning man. he said he has those pictures, but not with him. fucker.
decompression is an interesting microcosm of burning man. every hour or two at decompression, the atmosphere changes the way that burning man changes from day to day. around 11:30 - 1:30, it was like weekend setup before burning man officially opens. most of the people were building stuff, not in crazy attire. it's not so populated. around 2, it became monday and the place really opened. from about 2pm on, the population doubles every few hours. the same way that population doubles every day at burning man.
after a lot of wandering, running into charles the fantasic, athena the chicken and eric the shutterslut, we met up with benjy. I met benjy at burning man - he's the san francisco resident with whom we intended to decompress. benjy was just in time to witness a dog playing with a big mirror ball.
we left the premises to wait for it to get dark and to go get sushi. before we left, we stopped by the car for warmer clothes. I kept the rainbow sarong, but added the watermelon cloak. if you're ever in san francisco, eat at blowfish sushi. it's a great place - anime on the walls, decent house music, and the best vegetarian food I've ever eaten at a sushi place. normally, I'm confined to veggie tempura, but here I had these two dishes that were novel, not deep fried, and delicious. as well as a peach mint sauce that was neato. there was a dish I tried mostly because benjy said it's a very "challenging" thing to eat. it's seaweed wrapped around fermented soy beans. I must say - challening is flattering. while I'm glad I ate it, I don't think I'll eat it again. I finished it, but it was a badass piece of sushi.
from the first moment she walked up, I felt like I knew our waitress. I started talking to her, feeling like kind of a rube with the "don't I know you?" line. but it was true. and I was wearing a glittery green cloak in a sushi bar. not to mention that I'm a stupendous badass this weekend. I kept feeling like I'd gone to school with her or something. but she's lived in san francisco her whole life. no dice. aside from generally friendliness, there was one point where everyone at the table agreed she was flirting with me - that was when she asked, in an inviting way, if I come up to san francisco much. interestingly, a few sentences later, she mentioned her boyfriend. it's ok - don't cry for me. we still had a peachy time. when she gave us the check, she told us that she'd bought our sake. we were all amazed. I'd never had that happen - have you? we left her a momentus tip. in addition to a nice percentage, we also left her a laminated card that said "ReMember", a stick of gum, and a couple doses of mushrooms.
then back to the decompression. as we suspected, it was way more interesting at night. the neon, the lights, the all sorts of cool stuff.
benjy was searching for a friend of his. he told us that she'd be in a bear suit. around where we're supposed to find this friend, we run into a girl wearing a dinosaur outfit with a sign on the front which said "this is a bear suit." it turned out to not be who we were looking for, but that didn't stop us from hanging out with her all night.
at midnight, the decompression officially closed. that fit the burning man microcosm as about the time that the man burned. everything after that was a bit sedate and you could see people everywhere packing up.
I'd been dressed as a watermelon all night. I was carrying watermelon gum, watermelon jolly ranchers, red lighters and green lighters. I'd been gifting these items far and wide. as we were leaving, I realized I had one lighter left. I walked up to a cabbie and gave him my last lighter. his english was a bit subpar and he thought I was asking him for a light. 3 times. this was the first time that I'd ever been to somewhere like this where I'd managed to gift away all my gifts. I always always end up bringing some home. but that sort of thing doesn't happen when you're a stupendous badass.
we hung out, watched the microcosm some more and then left for benjy's amazing apartment for a while before hitting the road at around 4am. on the drive home, we alternated. neither of us able to stay alert enough to drive safely for that long. we stayed awake and talked to each other, reminded each other what stupendous badasses we were and somehow managed to not kill ourselves.
from friday morning until monday evening, I slept about 6 hours. ish.
speaking of stupendous badassii, let me tell you about the burrito that I made all by myself and scarfed while writing. baja fresh has a burrito dos manos, right?. I call mine the burrito d'onze mains. because this one goes to 11. in this burrito (you can have burritos but no tacos), I stuffed:
boca burger crumble
3 types of mustard
and needed two tortillas to hold it together.
a badass burrito to finish off my badass weekend.
you are a stupendous badass for reading all that.