Worst Idea Ever – Build a 43′ Tall Puppet, Strap It To My Back, Walk Around 60,000 People in 20 mph Winds – Burning Man 2013

My 24' high puppet built for the previous burn in 2012.  This year it was twice the size.
My 24′ high puppet built for the previous burn in 2012.
This year I built one twice as large. Photo by Dan Kaus.

In the last 2 weeks I …

– Had the bomb squad called on me in the airport

– Was attacked by lawn sprinklers while innocently sleeping outside somewhere I probably shouldn’t have,

– Got pressure washed with foam so hard it hurt while rocking out to a DJ in a plexiglass cage with 80 naked strangers

– Danced 6 hours a day in the desert for a week and ate the best food of my life every day at the Rhythm-Wave camp in Black Rock City

– Built a 43′ high bamboo puppet with scrounged materials found around BRC and walked around for 5 hours over 2 different nights with 5 people helping me

– Hiked for 3 days in Yosemite with Doug while the whole park was on fire, climbed half-dome and didn’t get eaten by bears despite smearing peanut butter all over my face and duct-taping myself to a tree

Continue reading “Worst Idea Ever – Build a 43′ Tall Puppet, Strap It To My Back, Walk Around 60,000 People in 20 mph Winds – Burning Man 2013”

Kayaking In The Moonlight At The Edge Of The World While The Waves Crash Against 100′ High Cliffs In Magdalen Islands Quebec.

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The Island That Sings The Sweetest Songs To My Soul.

Words cannot accurately convey the majesty and awe that the Magdalen Islands inspire.

I launched the kayak as the sun turned red on the horizon. Strapping a headlamp on I jumped into my 14′ sea kayak and tightly gripped my favorite paddle and forced my way out through the surf. The beach was tiny, only about 20 feet wide and was the only beach for miles in either direction. The swell caused the giant kayak to tip and sway more than I ever thought possible in a sea kayak. A few feet away the waves pounded the rocks and cliff face. The lighthouse shot up from the cliff. As I paddled away I felt like I had found the edge of the earth. Here the land abruptly ended and sheer sandstone cliffs that would easily give way under your feet shot up hundreds of feet into the air. There were caves everywhere that were easily carved out by the forceful action of the waves. The surging tides would trap air in the holes and they would build up pressure and blow out air, sometimes high up into the air. The noise and the surging water struck a nerve somewhere deep inside me. I plunged the paddle into the water stroke after stroke and mile melted into mile. Before I knew it the sun had disappeared and the lighthouse was miles behind me, completely gone from view.

I had to check out one of the caves before I turned around so I cautiously turned on my headlamp and started paddling into one that looked creepy. The water was rising and falling quickly and the cave went on for a long way. After several hundred yards there was no light left except the light from my headlamp with no end to the cave in sight. As the swell surged up and down little holes in the walls would blow out water, sometimes with surprising force. It was exhilarating and frightening all at the same time, I decided to slowly back paddle my way out again.

Paddling back under a full moon was totally unreal. I could see the waves crash against the rocks and the cliff face rose up hundreds of feet with the moon peaking over the top. I paddled with a furious intensity for miles until I reached the lighthouse again. I left a flashlight on my car so I could find it on the cliff face, the two red LEDs stared out at me in the water like some kind of hideous beast waiting to devour me.

Continue reading “Kayaking In The Moonlight At The Edge Of The World While The Waves Crash Against 100′ High Cliffs In Magdalen Islands Quebec.”

Lets Create Laws To Shoot People Legally Then Call It ‘Stand Your Ground’

The jails are just filling up with innocent Americans who gun down intruders in their own home then get stuck with a liberally biased jury and end up spending their lives rotting away in Jail. A bunch of people put their heads together and came up with the “Stand your ground laws” to save the day. We live in such an amazing country that now 21 different states or 2/5 of our more perfect Union now have laws protecting people who shoot other people as long as it is in ‘self-defense’.

People With Glass Guns Shouldn’t Throw Stones

In Texas you can shoot a Prostitute if you pay her for sex and she doesn’t deliver ‘the goods’. Walk away scott-free thanks to Stand Your Ground Laws, but don’t try to steal ribs from a supermarket with a knife in your pocket or you could end up with a 50 year prison sentence.

http://www.cnn.com/2013/06/10/opinion/moore-texas-craziness

I knocked on my neighbor’s door one day with my 12-year-old son by my side. He answered the door with a shotgun and a gruff  ‘get the hell off my porch’. I stood my ground and told him how inappropriate his constant speeding down our road was threatening the lives of every living creature around. If only NY had a stand your ground law, he would have been able to shoot me and my son in self defense for not ‘getting the hell off his porch’ when he told us to. Or maybe I would have been able to take his gun from him and shoot him because I felt that my life was being threatened. Who knows?

It took them 44 days to press charges against Zimmerman, after the Jury trial he walked. Members of the jury were left feeling like they should have charged him with SOMETHING. There is no doubt in anyone’s mind that George Zimmerman went out looking for trouble. If he hadn’t been packing heat and then whatever altercation he had with Travan would have ended in a scuffle with some bruises and hurt egos. Instead Travan died. Why did he die?

Because guns don’t solve problems.

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The Frustration And Madness That Is The Creative Process

Love
Several very frustrating hours spent behind a dozen cans of spray paint.

So much of art is people wandering across something that you have created and saying to themselves or out loud if they are bold

“Wow that is pretty cool”

When they see something that is generated they don’t often even think about the work that went into creating it. There are those that call the state of creation the ‘flow’ state. So often when I move into that space-time seems to fly by and the outside world often shrinks away. Most of the time when I try to create something I start without much of a notion of where I will end up. Every time I take a step back and look at when I’ve painted or written I end up thinking to myself.

“Oh my god, this sucks so bad”

Almost all the art I created in the first 30 years of life I have destroyed because I honestly can’t stand to look at it. I keep throwing my heart at whatever I am doing again and again until I can start to tolerate my own creation.

But I never feel love. I never look at something I’ve created and say to myself

“Wow, that is pretty cool, I am so talented”

Even when complete strangers come out of nowhere and tell me that whatever I have made is the coolest thing they have ever seen I still only look at my creations and think…

‘It could be so much better’

Continue reading “The Frustration And Madness That Is The Creative Process”

Here’s to the man who couldn’t control his sex drive, causing me to come into being

Human nature is to remember the worst and forget the best. Why we are wired this way is beyond me, but sometimes it makes sense to think back and try to remember all the good times.

dadI remember every time my old man fixed anything he would sing a cacophonous song of the most crass obscenities I have ever heard. I never imagined that when I became an adult I would sing the same song of frustration whenever any repairs had to be done on my cars.

There was the time he spent the whole day in the basement building something cool. He never told me what it was but I think it was an automatic damper for the woodstove we had that heated the entire house. At the end of the day he proudly showed us “R2D2 and C3P0″two little groupings of electronics that we imagined to be the robots from Star Wars trapped in the wiring of the basement of our house.

Every Monday night we had Family Home Evening (what I now tell Orion is Forced Family Fun). We’d sit around and mostly play boardgames of which my father almost always won. He wouldn’t just win of course, he would grind everyone else into dust. He was a good sport by nature, I had to learn to be. I guess I still have a lot to learn on that front. I think about my son and our love of boardgames and I smile when I think of all our Monday nights together.

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How They Control Us … With Our Own Fear And Anger

Man consoles victim
Man consoles victim

I am like you.

I noticed the Boston bombs on that lonely television in the restaurant, the airport, or the bar.

That same sinking feeling in the pit of my stomach. Not again.

Who will we retaliate against this time? Someone has to pay, someone always has to pay.

I tried to ignore the news, the Facebook feed, the google news articles, yet I am drawn in by tragedy. I had so many questions. Did they delay the 2nd detonation to target the EMT’s and Police? How many people were killed? Who did it?

That compulsion to slow down our car and gawk as we drive by that gnarled wreck on the freeway. Eventually I give into the urges and then I am swept away by emotion as the online pictures evoke the kind of visceral emotional reaction that only photos can.

Why do they do it, why us? We still don’t understand. We will never understand.

They do it because they can. They do it because we care, because our hearts bleed for those that we see suffer, because we are powerless.

Powerless to do anything about it, powerless to help. We sit by and watch as the towers crumble and thousands die and we know that we are powerless to stop it.

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Becoming A Father – Heads We Breed/Tails We Don’t

Becoming a Father. It’s been on my mind lately. So much to think about.

Orion in Troll Cave
Orion in a Troll Cave in Iceland (Click for full story)

It was an accident, the best kind of accident you could ever imagine happening. There was no broken glass, smashed metal and blood, only an overwhelming feeling of joy. When Marlo told me she was pregnant we never even had a conversation about terminating the pregnancy. Broken condoms were a pretty common occurrence in those days, and those betting odds finally caught up with us. When she told me she was pregnant it changed my life, but I could never have conceived how much his birth would change the very core of who I was.

I remember the day Orion was born vividly, it was the happiest day of my life. I had witnessed his growth in Marlo’s belly for months, but the reality never set it till the day he emerged. How could it? My old life was about to disappear and a new one would grow in its wake.

Things with Marlo had been on the rocks for a while, but when the day finally came we grew closer than we had ever been before. She needed love and support and I needed so much to give it to her. Our midwife Kate was amazing and she allowed me to catch Orion first when he came out of the womb. I remember when his head first stuck out how surprised I was, you expect the baby to come, but nothing can really prepare you for the emotions you go through when he finally arrives. This little creature that was the better half of me and the better half of Marlo changed my life more dramatically than anyone else ever could.

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My 40th Trip Around The Sun From That Fateful Day I Was Forced To Leave My Mama’s Womb

Turning 41.

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When I turned 40 I still felt fantastic, my life was not perfect, but I felt like I could deal pretty well. My life had been really good, for a long time.  Sometimes it felt too good to be true, like I was trapped in a fairy tale. I had so much to be thankful for, so much gratitude every day for the good things in my life.

Then everything crumbled. I felt like I was watching 9/11 unfold in my own life, watching those buildings fall down again and again on every channel. Over the years I had known tragedy and calamity but also moments of great joy and ecstasy. My life had become just too good, like a junkie running dry it was all going to end.

My mind started to slip, I became unraveled. In the darkest depths of the darkest moments of my life I never imagined that I could feel so low. It didn’t let up. Everything important that I cared about just slipped away.

My work, my relationship with my son and his mother, my friends, my passion for life. A darkness descended upon my soul the likes of which I never imagined I would have to endure. Yet somehow I made it through. Months went by and every day was a struggle, my sadness became the strangest puzzle I had ever tried to solve.

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Gifts I Never Wanted But Could Never Refuse

Gifts are something we always adorebaffin
Throughout the year it’s something we wait for
Given from those we love with our hearts
Bought from a store or made with the arts

There is one kind of gift that we receive with great dread
It’s the gifts we receive when our loved ones are dead
They bring back the memories of the struggle with life
The torment, the heartache, the hardship, the strife

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