Saturday, June 29, 2013

Burning Man, Bergdorf's and Maslow

The wind is blowing me in the direction of Burning Man again, even though there are dramatic inconsistencies in the literature from burningman.com.  For example, BM dot com lists the ten core principles developed by Burning Man founder Larry somebody, and the first principle is Radical Inclusion.  It might interest Larry to know that whoever is in charge of the email list for NYC makes no apologies or explanations for settings that automatically reject subscribers.

Very likely, there's some command embedded in the software so that people are only accepted or rejected instead of put into social media purgatory - but the administrators could write a sentence or two welcoming people and thanking them for their interest instead of saying that after we prove we aren't spambots or spybots, we need to say why we're interested in Burning Man.  You would think that an organization that lists Radical Inclusion as the first core principle would do something so that a new person's first contact with the group wasn't a message saying that s/he had been REJECTED.  Even in cyberspace, Rejection is not Inclusion.

More from BM dot com:
Radical Self-reliance
Burning Man encourages the individual to discover, exercise and rely on his or her inner resources.

Sounds reasonable.  We should all stretch to discover abilities we never knew we had.  The literature also includes a list of what every good, self-reliant individual needs to bring to Black Rock City so s/he can be healthy in a desert environment.  They recommend a 1 1/2 gallons of water a day which is roughly 12 pounds of water per day.  So an individual going for the full experience would need nearly 100 pounds of water.  Add food, camping gear, shoes whatever to that, and unless you can carry 200 lbs of shit by yourself, you're going to need a car because the busses limit the amount of luggage you can carry.  If you're going to get there, you're going to have to ask for help.  How can an individual ask for help if the individual supposed to be Radically Self Reliant in order to comply with the Ten Principles?

Pinko says nobody pays attention to that shit, except for Leave No Trace.  I already know all about Leave No Trace - not only because of what Velvet learned from NOLS but also because we learned it when I was a girl scout.  We always recited this verse:
Never let it be said,
and said unto your shame,
that all was beauty here 
until YOU came.

Worldwide Hippies Joe and I both have issues with the BS the BM organization spreads about the use of video footage.  We enjoyed a rousing rant about the Burning Man Organization this morning when I was considering filming a segment on the cool, peaceful shore of Lake Tahoe calling Bull Shit on Burning Man.  Then Pinko manifested a way to get me through the velvet rope and into the VIP room, so to speak.

It really does seem like the deck is stacked against new people coming to Burning, unless they have cars and resources.  I have resources, sort of, but no car and I still can't figure out where the hell The Playa bus stop is.  I refuse to stand in the parking lot looking for a Red Cap to tote 150 pounds of provisions through some temporary installation of theme camps designed to evoke Post-Apocolyptic experience that resembles (1) Mad Max or (2) that bar on Tatooine.


Pinko seems to have resolved all my personal issues and stress - although I still say that Burning Man's Public Relations people are full of shit and there's absolutely no fucking way that 60,000 people can live together in the desert without Radical Interdependence.

I know about Interdependence from Farm & Wilderness, the hippy dippy Quaker camp Velvet attended as a child and that employs him now that he's mostly grown.  I know all about interdependence from living in New York City, too.  More to the Burning point, however, is the reality that you have to be Radically Self-Reliant on the subway at rush hour in New York City, or you're fucking fucked.

I'm not sure what's happening with Pinko's lover from last year, but I'm not going to give that any attention right now.  If my understanding of Pinko's romantic history is correct, he might benefit from breaking a pattern of being the Rescuer in a relationship.   For the moment, though, Pinko's romances are not on my agenda.

The Burning issue at the moment is shoes.
I understand that Burning Man is not Bergdorf's and Maslow's hierarchy of needs reigns supreme.  But now that I can coordinate the provisions issue with the Sideshow camp - specifically with two individuals code-named Doktur Morbius and Oscillation Overthruster - I can turn my attention to personal gear, and comfortable desert footwear is at the top of my list.  I also need a couple of scarves to wrap around my face and head when the dust starts blowing.

At the moment, I need to focus on the Pride Parade tomorrow.  Gigi is going to be a marshal for the Sirens, too.  We're going to shoot some video that will become the first segment of Greetings from the Triciasphere on Worldwide Hippies News & Stuff.

Fearless Summer, here we come!

Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Spin Cycle in the Triciasphere

I'm not as excited today about Burning Man as I was yesterday.   Maybe my excitement was so high yesterday that I wore myself out.  Or maybe I'm just being weird about social stuff.

Burning Man is kind of complicated - or maybe it's always a little tricky for somebody new to join an existing group of people who are already involved in an ongoing project.  It's tricky for little kids, for sure. When there are a few friends in the block area working together on a large structure, or a small group in the house corner all involved in an active pretend play scenario - like Chinese Restaurant, for example - everyone who is playing is so involved that they don't even notice the kid on the side trying to figure out how to join the group.

Lots of kids figure it out; lots of kids need help approaching the situation.  So I'm thinking it's always tricky to join an existing group no matter who you are - and if you barge in without thinking about the group dynamics and nuanced relationships, then most likely you're a clod and that's a different situation all together.  Grown-ups are trickier to figure out than little kids, though, because of those very same nuances.  It's hard to decipher how people fit together, and how you as a new person will fit into the picture, when you know nothing of the backstory.  

Little kids don't waste time trying to size somebody up - they just play and if it turns out the new kid is a pain in the ass, they deal with it in the moment.  Grown-ups are different because most of us don't live in the moment - we look at the past as if it's indicative of the future.  And if the new person is being introduced to an existing group by a established member, then impressions of the new one are colored by the collective history of the members.

The thing that really troubling me, I suspect, is that the fellow with whom I would be tagging along is sort of half way expecting his lover from last year to turn up.  They haven't stayed in close touch this past year since she's young and has been traveling in South America.  Not as young as all that, however, since she's in her early 30s.  I don't know much about it really.  Just a few sentences in an IM chat, and the little I could discover perusing the photos on his Facebook account.  Everyone who will be in the camp knows her from last year, and from the interchanges in the facebook group, it seems like they'll be glad to see her again.  Most likely there's a young woman from the year before that, and the year before that too.  Maybe everybody in the group has lovers scattered around Black Rock City.  What do I know?  I do know that if I'm bunking in an RV that sleeps three with Pinko and his lover, that could be awkward.  I also tend to think that if she's already part of the group and he's saving her a spot in the camper, he's not thinking of me like that.  Or maybe he thinks of everybody like that.  Either way, it's awkward.  I don't mind awkward situations when I'm in the city, but the middle of the desert seems problematic.  I'm just not the kind of person who flops down anywhere for the night.

It's not like there are no former lovers in my history.  It's just that there are very few photos in the first place and even if I had photos of former lovers, they wouldn't be on Facebook.  More to the point, however, is that I am not in any way attached to the men in my past.  If I were still attached to a man, he'd be in the present not in the past.  Mostly they're all just characters in my life story now, and I look back on them fondly except Notta Goodman.  I'm still decidedly hostile about Notta Goodman, but The Narcissist makes me laugh these days despite the heartbreak at the time.  It's like Carolyn Myss says - people come into each other's lives because there's a lesson to be learned.  Once you learn it, you move on to new lessons and new people unless a person is part of your ongoing healing.  Carolyn Myss says we're all here to heal in the first place.  Healing is the purpose of this life.  Marianne Williamson says that all relationships are lifelong because people influence your development in lasting ways and that connections continue after a person is gone.  I can talk about the metaphysics of relationships all night long - the point here is that Whatever with my romantic history, none of it is on Facebook.

There is also the reality that PENolan is on Facebook but Tricia Real Name is barely in sight.  My family and friends from real life all know that I exist under a pseudonym on the internet.   PENolan voices all the thoughts Real Name is sometimes too inhibited or polite to say out loud.  If anyone were going to try to gain any insight into my history from looking at Facebook, they'd find a little bit about Real Name, but they'd primarily find out about PENolan.  For the most part, PENolan and Real Name don't overlap. It's more like PENolan is Real Name's invisible friend.  PENolan will boldly go out and about; Real Name is kind of shy.

Yesterday, I had posted a number of photos that Nicole's roommate Gabriel took of me for Worldwide Hippies.  I'll be starting to do a little segment called, "Greetings from the Triciasphere" in a week or two, and Joe wanted a few photos to create an intro for my segment.  So yesterday my Facebook profiles had more pictures of myself than had been posted for years.  I changed the settings so that the album I created from the photos isn't visible anymore because I didn't like the way those 20 or so pictures dominated the top of the screen if somebody wanted to check me out - which is what people do when you're first joining groups.

They were nice pictures though.  Here's one of me at Cafe Luxembourg talking to this guy named Emanuel who lives in Hawaii and works on The Intention Call.  It's a cool project if you're into Hippy Dippy New Age Spirituality - which I am



Here's me telling a story to Nicole in my living room.  No telling what I was talking about - but I remember the story involved the gay porn stars:



And here's me at the computer.  Gabriel shot one of them through the mirror - which I like because of all that reflecting I was doing a few months ago when I was getting settled in the apartment



If you click on this one to enlarge it, you'll see the bevelled edge of the mirror.



I had fun with this project because Gabriel is an easy going, pleasant, handsome, lefty young Brazilian who is in town going to film school for a year.  Here's his Facebook profile picture


I like the idea of Greetings from the Triciasphere on Worldwide Hippies News & Stuff.  For a little while yesterday, I decided I should get press credentials for Burning Man and do some exploring and reporting for Worldwide Hippies.  That way, I would be at Burning for my own work instead of simply following around some guy.  And for real, if I go to Burning it will be because I believe it's the path I need to take for my own reasons.  Also for real, I would never in a million years go out there by myself.

The fact is that I am infinitely more interested in seeing Pinko in his preferred habitat than anything else.  I'd be glad to have drinks with him in Reno, but since The Playa is one of his most favorite places, it's the perfect place to meet him.   In my head, it was just like meeting other friends from the internet in real life - except that it was at Burning Man, which is cool, and since we are both single and dating, there was always the possibility that it could turn into a date.  I was cool with sleeping in an RV with a man I'd never met because (1) Pinko is cool and (2) I was open to the idea of a fling.  If it turned out to be a bad idea, I could find my way to my cousin's at Tahoe easily enough.  If it turned out to be a good idea, I could hang around a while.  I understand that Burning is all about the moment and that it's the kind of environment where people will spontaneously hook up.  But I'm traditional enough to believe you should Dance With Who Brung Ya, as we learned back in Texas.  So I'd be sharing a small space with a man who didn't bring me and with a woman who may or may not be interested in sleeping with him again in a place where the people are so relaxed about body stuff that they pee into funnels right in front of God and Everybody.  Suddenly, I feel like Nancy Reagan.

Lots of people say that Burning Man is a life changing experience, but my life doesn't particularly need changing.  It's good like it is, and it feels like I'm heading in the right direction.  I suppose that if I'm just going with the flow, and the flow is leading to Burning Man, then these logistical complications will resolve themselves without me having to do anything except pay attention and have my bank card ready.

I'm troubled about the social aspects now.  I expect that if I'm still troubled this time next week, I just won't open my wallet and that will be the end of that.  I've taken plenty of risks in my time, and I'm always up for an adventure - but there's no reason to be hasty, as Treebeard the Ent likes to say.

For the last few weeks, maybe because of my birthday or maybe as a result of finally getting settled in the new place, I've been thinking about the relationship between PENolan and Real Name.  Using the Triciasphere as the context for the Worldwide Hippies segment totally combines the two personas - sort of like we're both swirling around on the event horizon of some kind of singularity, which would naturally be the Triciasphere.

Although a few folks from the outside world have ventured into the Triciasphere, I've never taken the show on the road, as it were, and that's exactly what would happen if I really land in Pinko's RV in a place known as Illumination Village.  Simply writing the words is exciting, but I'm hesitant.  I'm feeling a little out of my depth as I'm observing the interaction and dialog in the little facebook group where Pinko's friends from Burning are making arrangements and plans.  I'm enough of a Hippy Dippy New Ager to think that if I'm supposed to go to Burning, then I'll wind up at Burning.
I just have to stay out of my own way.


I'm not aware of too many things, 
But I know what I know if you know what I mean. 
Philosophy is the talk on a cereal box. 
Religion is the smile on a dog. 
I'm not aware of too many things, 
But I know what I know if you know what I mean. 
Choke me in the shallow water before I get too deep. 
What I am is what I am. Are you what you are - or what? 
I'm not aware of too many things, 
But I know what I know if you know what I mean. 
Philosophy is a walk on the slippery rocks. 
Religion is a light in the fog. 
I'm not aware of too many things, 
But I know what I know if you know what I mean. 
Choke me in the shallow water before I get too deep. 
What I am is what I am. Are you what you are - or what? 
Don't let me get too deep.

"What I Am," Edie Brickell & The New Bohemians (1988)

Sunday, June 23, 2013

Burning, Pinko and Me

I've been internet friendly with Pinko ABear for a while.  Our lives seem to have run somewhat parallel for a little while since we were both engaged to clueless rich folks back in Texas.  I was in Austin, engaged to a family of plaintiff's attorney's and he was in Dallas engaged to Rush Limbaugh's cousin.  Naturally he was engaged to a female and I to a male since it was Texas in the 80's after all, and only opposite sexes married back then.
In most of these United States, that's all that gets married today too.
I'm betting Pinko ran across some ecstasy somewhere along the way because he went from being a politically conservative business major at UT to DJ-ing in Dallas, then to Officer Training for the Navy in Hawaii and has wound up in Socialist working groups and driving a cab in Reno.  I think he's in Reno helping with aging and infirm family members.
He's still a DJ and posts his mix tapes, if that's what you call them these days, here: https://itunes.apple.com/us/podcast/djabear-blog-talk-radio-feed/id428694015
I even listen to them myself when I'm in the mood for something besides Talking Heads and the B52s.

The first time I noticed how much I like Pinko was when we were both up in the night and he posted the video of the drunk Canadian singing Bohemian Rhapsody in the back of a police car which became so popular on youtube that you can't find a decent version anymore on account of random people have doctored it up so much.  Neither Pinko nor I were strictly sober and we shared a virtual laugh together which always felt to me like combining consciousness on a cosmic level.  Our favorite part was at the very end, when the young man said, "Physical violence is the least of my priorities," at about 6:05




That was more than a year ago, and in the meantime, Pinko and I have participated in several FB threads about the challenges of dating at a certain age.  He's looking for a woman who is as Red as he is - my requirements may be more stringent.

Pinko shows great tact and understanding in political discussions and can explain anarchism as well as anyone.  This time of year, his attention turns to Burning Man.  He's gone so many times that he's become part of the larger community on The Playa.  I think he and some friends set up an all night bar on the Playa.  Or something like that anyway.  It's all very intriguing, and I'm tempted to go.

Given that my mother sounded alarmed when she heard that I went downtown by myself to see a dear family friend play guitar in a bar, and I was home by 10:00 - I'm pretty sure that I'm not allowed to go to Burning Man by myself.   When I was in college and wanted to drive home for the holidays, my father used to fly up to Dallas or Austin and ride back with me so I wouldn't be alone on the road.  Mother was convinced that some unscrupulous redneck would run me off the road, use me brutally and then either (1) leave me lying in a ditch or (2) sell me into white slavery.  Lots of people think that's extreme on my mother's part, but when you consider that bad people are probably in the Mall of America right this very minute tricking young people into becoming sex slaves, it's not so far fetched.  Human trafficking is big business (Info at Polaris Project).

Pinko might agree to keep a watchful eye on me like he did the other night when he drove a rowdy group of females around Reno in a van proudly labeled Vagina Wagon.  It was a bachelorette party. Even still, my mother would probably want to meet Pinko, and since that isn't happening, my father would very likely spend $25 on a background check.  One thing is sure:  My mother will say that I'm absolutely not allowed to go to Burning Man by myself.

So it's a good thing my cousin in Lake Tahoe wants to come too.

I haven't seen her since I went out to Tahoe to visit Granny the Ho some years ago.   Granny's been dead for five years now, so I must have been in Tahoe in 2006 right after I got thrown off the horse but before I had to have surgery on my shoulder.  The time I saw my cousin's shaman friend and got my DNA activated.  Pamela had just had her DNA activated too.
Good times.  Her birthday is two weeks before mine, and we're remarkably similar.  She hasn't ever been to Burning Man either, and we share a similar skepticism about facilities without room service.
There may not even be bathrooms on the Playa.
There are free pee funnels, however, which are apparently dispensed at Pee Funnel Camp



I suppose I have a lot to learn before I get to Black Rock City.  Meanwhile, I have to get some comfortable, stylish summer boots, googles, some sort of practical yet sexy outfit that involves corseting, and maybe a new sun hat.

Another Meanwhile is that my most excellent buddy, ML, who hails from Pennsyltucky, is going to be a marshall for the Sirens in the Pride Parade.  She may even be the head marshall since she's been a marshall a few times.  I was a marshall myself years ago - it may have been right before I got thrown off that dang horse.  As it happens, I was holding the Sirens Motorcycle Club banner with ML, going down Fifth Avenue and Buzz Kill took my picture with all the lesbians.  He made copies and sent them to Velvet up at camp.  I suspect it made Buzz Kill feel better to think I had been converted by the lesbians even though nothing could be further from the truth.


Random photos from the Internet of The Sirens, formerly known as Dykes on Bikes.
Don't know why they changed the name

Turning the corner onto Christopher Street, leading the parade, the rumble of dozens of motorcycles filling the air and the cheers raising up to the sky as we slowly moved toward Stonewall was one of the biggest rushes of my life.  It will be fun to do it again - especially as a warm up for Burning.

Saturday, June 8, 2013

Me and Miss Frizzle

We said Good-Bye to the school year.   The whole school got together for an End-Of-Year assembly that we call a Community Sing.  It was lovely in a celebratory sort of way, but when lots and lots of grown-ups hover around the perimeter of a circle of kids taking photo after photo after photo - you can't get away from the performance aspect.   The big kids performed two dance pieces so well that my little group of two year olds had to be physically restrained from running to join them in the middle of the big circle.  I figured dancing along was good, as long as nobody crossed the blue tape defining our space and tripped a big kid.  Ergo: the two year olds danced in place and proceeded to plop all over me.  I became a BarcaLounger.

I have confidence there are several unflattering photos of me circulating among the parents' facebook pages this morning.  At one point, a little black girl with a head full of ponytails and a tousle-headed blue-eyed blond boy had both had enough fun for one morning.  Each used one of my big, squishy boobs for a pillow.   If any parent got that picture, it's the money shot of the day.  Martin Luther King, Jr's spirit hovers in the hallways of the church where I work, after all.  Fifty years ago when I was a little girl, such a scene would have been impossible to imagine.

Naturally, I cried when we sang "Inch by Inch, Row by Row."  I cry every year when we sing that song because as teachers of very young children, we bust our butts every year to make sure the kids understand what living in community means.  At least at my school we bust our butts - I'm pretty sure Martin Luther King makes sure our collective butts are busting.  The point of the whole preschool experience at our school is that the kids gain the understanding that in a community we take care of each other and our stuff.  Taking care of stuff is important because when we act as good stewards, then the community will always have plenty of good food, good toys and good art supplies. What more do you need?  And since the stuff belongs to the community - I guess we're fully communists.

I never thought about the political labels of preschool until the last couple of years because to me, political labels are something The Owners (as defined by George Carlin) use to keep the workers fighting with each other so we don't notice they're fucking us over - or following Jay Gould's famous boast regarding striking railroad workers and hiring one half of the working class to kill off the other.

When one of your school theme songs was popularized by Pete Seeger and Arlo Guthrie, you may as well say it loud, I'm pinko and proud.

 I'd post a version that includes Arlo, but Arlo Guthrie has to tell a story every chance he gets so those videos are nine minutes long. Pete keeps it short and sweet which is a good thing whether you're two or fifty two (or even older like I am now since my birthday was last week).

Anyway - all this classroom and kid stuff has made me realize that I've become Miss Frizzle from The Magic School Bus.



She's a redhead, too, like the woman leading the crowd in that painting, Liberty Leading the People about the Paris uprising in 1830, especially Storming the Bastille.  I like to think teaching preschool is my little way of storming the Bastille.  It may not be as spectacular and historic, but like Pete sings - Inch by Inch, Row by Row.   Over time, in the long run,  the work has impact.

Given that my parents used to compare me to Edith Ann on Laugh-In, it may have been inevitable that I'd evolve into another Lily Tomlin character as I aged.


Overall, Miss Frizzle is a wonderful character to be even though she's not a bit sexy as defined by Hollywood, the fashion industry and the media in general.  Neither was Lily Tomlin but she's brilliant and influential - so fuck 'em.

I've recently been reminded that one way The Patriarchy makes sure nobody listens to smart women is to denigrate their looks.  Zsuzanna Budapest, who writes extensively about the Goddess, feminism and pagan spirituality, was on Here Be Monsters with Gwen and Nicole last week (Consciousness Shift, June 6, 2013).  She had plenty to say about war being a business in a historical, feminist context.  Brilliant, insightful, funny and wise - kind of like Edith Ann now that I think about it, and certainly like Miss Frizzle who often tells her students, "Take chances, make mistakes, get messy!"


This whole aging thing is majorly unsettling because as women age, we're shoved into a severely marginalized zone where conventional thinking says we're dried up and generally worthless as human beings since we're past child bearing age, but reality shows we frequently have more money and social clout than anybody else in society - which is most likely why burning witches was so popular back in the day - it was the very best way for the Patriarchy (read The Church/State) to silence a woman and take her property (Burning Women: The European Witch Hunts, Enclosure and the Rise of Capitalism).  So even though I know intellectually that I'm just hitting my stride when it comes to professional accomplishment and that I am still sexual and vibrant and whatever - there's a lifetime of accumulated bullshit that says old women are worthless.  And the worst part is that Miss Frizzle isn't even all that old.

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