16 Shot In Baltimore, Concluding 12 At Cookout
Though I ought to note that the 12 at the cookout were all wounded and not actually "concluded". Never mind, the headline won't be there when you go look...
Yes, it's been a while and I have been remiss, for those who check in regularly, care what I've been up to and don't already know from meeting me in "meatspace". in the last three weeks I:
- went to UNFIT, an event at Paparazzi Nightclub (which used to be Prism, and which seems to still have largely the same regulars) at which much interesting music was to be played, or so the advertising claimed. The DJ for the most part didn't know what he was doing and blew off shadesofwinter, who was only too willing to give him some advice but was rebuffed. DJ did post later that most of what he played was requests, which would have been the only excuse for so much Nine Inch Nails and yes, even Marilyn Manson (who, I have just learned, is coming to our very own Save-On-Foods arena in September! What did we do to deserve that?). Anyway, went to Denny's later for milkshakes and stuff.
- The following weekend took Aki to "Critical Massive", a regional event put on by Seattle area Burners to charge people up for Burning Man (the Man burns in 40 days...). Almost 700 people came to the event near Mount Vernon, south of Bellingham. Aki had never been to anything Burnery before, but he knew what it was about, we had the tickets, he had never been to the States before and we hadn't done any camping so far this summer, so why not go.
We took the Anacortes ferry (which I haven't taken in over 20 years) from Sidney on Friday 16th, got a good going-over by the Customs people (fortunately they missed the propane cylinder I wasn't supposed to have taken on the ferry), and had to wait a bit for our ride of about 25 miles to the site. We played American Roadside Bingo on the way there (1 point for an enormous flag, 2 for a church, 5 for a gun store). When we got to the gate, ther were a coupld of topless people there in tutus, I thought it was just the "Burner vibe" but as we looked for a place to park, I saw a large number of permanent cabins and dug-in trailers with nude people sunbathing outside them and remembered this was a nudist camp! Aki didn't seem fussed and anyway it was mostly middle-aged flesh on display - some of it pretty saggy too. Anyway, we found an out of the way corner to pitch our tent and went back to the centre of things to check in with our friends who had brought the "Beaconator", the Black Rock Beacon's new production van made out of an old ambulance. The Beaconator had everything needed to produce the paper inside it, from ink and paper to computers and a desk, including the RISO duplicator of course. A pretty swanky setup, and we were going to produce an edition of the paper on-site on Saturday night to test everything out.
That night there was a barbecue and a talent show, which last I wrote up for the paper. Later they burned "Celloman", a man-like sculpture about 8' tall made of decommissioned string instruments from local schools. Burned with musical accompaniment by a quartet of guys playing electric cello, bass, some percussion and an electric violin that reminded me of Nash the Slash. But between the late-night sound camps and sleeping on the ground, I got hardly any sleep at all that night.
Saturday morning I wrote up my notes into an article and tried to take a nap. In the afternoon I held a workshop on "How To Do Metal Casting" (I had brought down a cut-down casting kit with a few molds, tools and a pound of metal, along with the propane stove we otherwise used for making tea and heating food). About a dozen people showed up (actually, it was a group of a dozen people who were wandering around looking for something to do, and I told them to "come over here and learn something"). They found it really interesting, I let volunteers cast stuff for themselves and distributed a fair amount of schwag. Later I wandered around looking at stuff, as did Aki though independently. The burn that night was six oil drums stacked on top of one another, with wood and a few fireworks stacked inside. The drums had shapes and letters cut into them for ventilation and illumination as the fire crawled up the "chimney" they had made with them. It took quite a while to ignite and people were a bit underwhelmed, but it was nice to stand near it once it got going because it was a pretty cold night. Aki wandered around a lot by himself, I don't know what all he got up to but I think he found everything interesting.
We got some sleep the second night, and I wandered around distributing copies of the paper that our friends had run off in the middle of the night after they got a few pictures of the night's burn. We left about noon, got a lift back to the Anacortes ferry which we caught at 2:00. At Canadian customs in Sidney they yanked me out of the line for a "random customer check" - didn't search me but asked me all kinds of questions, including the whereabouts of my ex-wife. Guess their databases are not completely omnipotent and connected, for she left Canada four years ago this month.
I think Aki found it fun, at least as much fun as a 14 year old can have. There was a burn ban on and if there hadn't been a few fires around he would have been quite disappointed. Still, I think it will be some time before he might be interested in going for the real thing out on the playa.
- otherwise, on Tuesday I put up the handrail to the steps that my Dad and I had built up to the second sundeck - well, we built them up, but they go down too. ("And one more leading nowhere, just for show...") It's a lot more convenient having them in.
- uh, what else ... saw a bunch of movies on DVD and PVR, watched "Kings", a miniseries on NBC that was kind of intersting but won't have a second season.... potatoes and zucchini came in fine! Spinach bolted, but not before we got a couple of salads out of it, and the tomatoes I planted from seed are growing grudgingly. It will make a big difference next year, once we get the maple tree pruned (to let more sun into the garden plot) and the fruit trees seen to (the apple and pear are bearing lots of fruit, but none of it very large as they haven't been pruned in years). And we cleaned the house as best we could, and Lianne came home on Friday after six weeks in Sault. Ste. Marie.