Festival Packing List

A festival must-bring: tuna salad with crackers. Looks like sparkling cat barf, tastes like home sweet home.

A festival must-bring: tuna salad with crackers. Looks like sparkling cat barf; tastes like home sweet home.

Things You Bring But Never Use

  • 4 extra friggin shirts
  • 2 extra friggin blue jeans
  • Book for “downtime”
  • Pee funnel
  • Towel

Things That Prove You’re THE MOST Prepared

  • Toilet paper
  • Extra headlamp
  • Hot pink duct tape
  • “Portable bowl” (sandwich box from dollar store) and spork
  • Parasol
  • All of the sunscreen
  • All of the zip ties
  • Like 17 carabiners
  • Magnets to put up decorations / MOOP bags on your tent walls
  • Solar powered string lights from Amazon so you can find your tent at night
  • Hand sanitizer AND
  • Wet wipes AND
  • Mini spray bottle full of rubbing alcohol

Things You Took Out of Your Duffel at the Last Second (and Wish You Didn’t)

  • Dust goggles because this isn’t Burning Man
  • Dust mask because this isn’t Burning Man
  • Your extra zebra-print furry coat that you could have totally loaned to the shivering cutie you met at Ego Trip

Things You Forgot

  • Re-usable drinking cup. Shoot.
  • Scissors. Dammit.
  • Earplugs. FUCK.
  • Air mattress. FUCK FUCK.
  • Your super comfy galaxy-print leggings. 3X THE FUCK.

Things You Say You’re Going To Bring Next Year

  • More mixers. Way more mixers.

 

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Making Breakfast: Should I say something?

I have less than an hour to meet my Tuesday night deadline. I had another idea for a post, but I need much more time to craft it.  Instead, I think I’ll share a small, personal victory, of sorts.

It’s called “making breakfast,” and it’s a metaphor.

Some time ago, I viewed this drawing/article.

Trigger Warning: Breakfast

trigger warning: breakfast

It has pictures. Please read it. The work the creator has done by making and sharing this is so, so important.

I have been beating myself up recently for leaving things unsaid. Friends have said or done things that I was not okay with, and I pretended everything was okay and did not say anything. Days have passed. Weeks have passed. Months. A year.

Now, I want to say something, but I freeze. Is it too late? What does it mean, to say it now? Is it even worth it? Am I crazy? If it wasn’t bad enough to say anything then, why say it now?

Enter, “Making Breakfast.”

Forgive me for twisting Anon’s original use of “breakfast” but I have conceptualized a way to forgive myself for taking so long to speak up about troubling interactions. Like the narrator, I needed time to compartmentalize. I needed to set the table and serve my friends the same smile and kindness to which they are daily accustomed. It may feel like I was being fake, but I needed time to let my feelings cook. In a perfect world, I would always be open and honest, but I have fears of my own, reasons I am afraid to fight.

“I’m not ready to talk to him because I’m still making breakfast.”

“I don’t think we should push her to confront her assailant because she is still making breakfast.”

“I’m sorry I didn’t say anything sooner, but I was making breakfast.”

“I have a feeling there’s something you want to talk to me about, maybe even something I did wrong, but that maybe you’re still making breakfast.”

The power of this idea, for me, is that it allows me to be gentle with myself. Yes, I should have spoken up sooner. Yes, it would be better for my friends if I am always open and honest. But sometimes, and with the best of intentions, I end up taking extra time — to heal, to process, to preserve the status quo, to believe in the possibilities of a happier story. It doesn’t mean it’s too late to speak up now

VIP Access (to My Writing)

I’d like to express my weekend in mathematical equations:

San Diego heat advisory + parents going out of town + permission to turn on their AC (for the animals) = Write-in Lockdown

4 cups of coffee + 6 Bloody Marys + 1.5 Adderall + 18 hours = 7362 words

P.S. Thank you Kelly and Ed for joining me, and for knowing what that one word is like 7 times.

Writing party

Five months ago I vowed to make something out of six hours of recorded interviews with my dad and half a botched collab-book-effort that I’d started in October, and to be talking to an agent before I turn 25. This weekend I passed the 60,000 word goal I made for myself when I started to track my progress in a spreadsheet.

There’s still more book to write (I need at least another 10k for my Christian phase), but I’m, obviously, fucking pleased with myself.

Anyway, I’ve started mentioning this wordy beast when people ask what I’m doing with my life. You know, because besides drinking, it’s all I’ve been doing with my life. A few champions among fools have even offered to help edit, so I’ve been writing names in a note in my phone. HAHAHA I will hold you to it!

If, “The author writes letters to her father about the childhood she kept secret from him,” aliens, ghosts, and/or my overwrought emotions interest you enough that your response is, “I would totally read that and offer my very-solicited advice,” then let me know. I’ll add you to the VIP list.

For everyone else, here is the public-access free sample. It is about being a VIP, of course.

July 22, 2014

Dad,

I was writing a letter to you when a friend of mine called. She had two VIP wristbands to a Stephen Marley / Slightly Stoopid concert and her other friend cancelled, and wouldn’t I go with her? “And hang out with a bunch of stoners? I hate stoners! I used to be one.” She laughed, and picked me up in just 20 minutes.

Of course, the weather was stunning, cloudy but warm and comfortable. Our hookup included access to a free pre-show barbecue; macaroni salad, beans, chicken wings, ribs, which I ate in that order, and with plenty of homemade sauce for the meat. We sat in a shaded area with no more than 60 people, listening to the attractive DJ who had gotten my friend the free access — who you could say is “courting” her. We stood our ground shyly for awhile; a band member came and shook our hands and we smiled, oblivious until we saw him signing autographs. We played at the starstruck game and followed two friendly women to take photos with the lead singer. Then the show began and we went backstage.

Backstage itself, I quickly realized, is a bit silly. I couldn’t hear anything but noise, and while viewing the audience from this angle did make me feel a little important, I would only ever go to such things if a friend connected me with the opportunity for free. Which is, I suppose, how these things work.

After we availed ourselves to free drinks (tipping, of course), DJ sweetheart took us to the stands with his pass. It was hilariously difficult to convince them to let us into the general admission area, so my friend’s new sweetheart joked, “Oh, you can eat lunch with the president and use his bathroom, but you can’t, like, you can’t…”

“Go in his front yard!” I laughed. Though they wouldn’t let us in the pit, we made it to seats, up a few rows. Sleep Train Amphitheatre has sweeping stands and grass, which I would like to sit in someday, at the very top. Cheerful brass rang out from below and Stephen Marley’s son waved his flag, at times looking more like a proud, miniature man and not the little kid I had just seen running frantically through catering before the show. We danced in our chairs, wiggling our hips and our knees and playing invisible drums with our hands. Sunlight broke through clouds far to my right, and I stared at it streaming down.

I was so grateful just to be feeling happy again that I could have cried. Tears did spark my eyes, a little. How lovely is my life that a friend can take me for an unexpected adventure, with good company and good food and music? And I am so grateful the clouds parted so I could enjoy this day. I am much stronger than last time, and as always I have so much support. If this is really depression I am fighting, it won’t be as bad as before. I am already feeling so much better.

How to Survive the California Drought

…and by “survive” I mean assuage your guilt by intelligently cutting back on water consumption. 

I’ve been waiting for word about the drought to trickle into my social media channels, but Facebook and the rest have been somewhat barren. Did you know San Diego is currently under mandatory water usage restrictions?

  • Stop or fix all leaks within 72 hours
  • Water before 10am or after 6pm only
  • Don’t water your yard “excessively” such that it drains past your property or down the gutter
  • Don’t use a hose to wash down sidewalks or driveways
  • Don’t let your pool overflow
  • Don’t wash your car with a running hose
  • etc.

^ Fail to heed warnings for those and receive citations from $100-1000 or even criminal prosecution.

The restrictions show an overwhelming concern for outdoor water use, and it’s true that California households use way more water on landscaping than anything else. Forget just turning off the faucet when brushing your teeth, the best thing to do is find alternatives to a lush green lawn. If your front yard looks like a sad, tawny shag of neglected responsibility, consider yourself the hero of this story.

You also may or may not have seen this design for a BART poster:

From FFACoalition.org, which states, “Direct use of water by consumers makes up only 4% of water consumption in California, while meat and dairy production makes up 55%.”

Holy cow.

I took FFAC’s advice and looked at the Mother Jones article which inspired the poster and learned a 6oz glass of milk takes 30 gallons to produce… and fuck fuck fuck two slices of cheese = 50 fucking gallons of precious water aaaaaaaah I hate myself. Like, 25 minutes ago I went to the fridge and just ate two slices of cheese right out of the package.

Go read the article right now so you can also hate yourself and we can commiserate. You’re not going to like the one about butter.

From depressing infographic on MotherJones.com

From depressing infographic on MotherJones.com

Don’t think you can get away with switching to almond milk, either.

water-it-takes-produce-almond-milk-california-drought

From MotherJones.com

What about beer? Beer never hurt anyone. 

If you want to trust NPR’s numbers (though they seem low, breweries around the world have been striving to reduce beer’s water footprint since at least 2011) a 1:4 beer-to-water ratio means I don’t feel like I’m destroying the planet. 

beer

Using the MotherJones.com impractical standard measuring unit of 6oz, a stupidly small glass of beer will use about 1/5 of a gallon of water. 

Again, with the NPR ratios and the Mother Jones serving sizes, 6oz of hard liquor costs ya the guilt of almost 2 gallons. Still way less than cheese.

Oh god why didn't I just use apple juice for this photo shoot

Oh god why didn’t I just use apple juice for this photo shoot it is Tuesday and I am going to get nothing done

Therefore, to save the world, quit dairy and drink beer.

dairy-drought-takes-a-lot-of-water-to-make-happy-cow

Get drunk for the drought!

Burning Man 2014: Before and After

This post comes to you a day late because I had another priority yesterday: sleeping.

Before Burning Man

Before Burning Man

I did none of the things in last week’s blog post, and, just as my friends had warned me, did not make or keep plans besides trekking home every night for camp dinner.

After Burning Man

After Burning Man

My first impression of Black Rock City was that it was very small. I learned to ride a bike at Burning Man (I am serious) and did not realize right away just how much more ground I was covering with two wheels instead of just two legs. Lol what are miles? For the first couple of days, I felt like a happy little boy in a tiny town, singing, “I want to ride my bicycle,” in my head.

Remember the space koozie I was so proud of....?

Remember the space koozie I was so proud of….?

My first foray into deep playa, with my friend Alexis, was also on bike. I don’t have bicycle muscles. Soft playa is impossible. The word “disaster” stood out among jagged pieces of painted-black plywood and I moaned that that was where we belonged. “We can make it past disaster!” Alexis said and steered us toward what appeared to be a hairy purple caterpillar. I just wanted that caterpillar to eat me right up, it looked so friendly.

...it didn't last two days.

…it didn’t last two days.

Correction, not caterpillar; balls. Two huge testicles, dubbed “Resticles.” We crawled inside the giant genital orbs and “hung out” in the lower sack for at least 2 hours. The scrotal skin, a dappled purple and pink, shimmered beautifully above me. Goddamnit, my first deep playa art was a gargantuan pair of bollocks and I really fucking loved them. I returned to this installation at least two more times during my burn.

On the third day I spent more time on foot and finally realized BRC is huge. I never made it past 7:00 in any of my wanderings (everything is laid out in a radial “clock” pattern, so that means I did not explore about the first 4th of the city). On foot, I also interacted more with themed campsites, such as the “TSA” who ushered in partiers with orange safety vests and runway lights, and “Strangers with Candy” who gave me a lollipop and a margarita.

Beyond the third day, my memories begin to blend together. I recall feeling stunned by the beautiful, handmade books with thick, pulpy pages in the library. Someone wrote, “If you knew you couldn’t fail, what would you do?” As an answer, someone wrote in slow, large, childish letters with a hot pink marker, “I would have a baby.” I nearly cried.

It isn’t quite true that Burning Man is beyond imagination, at least not for me. Once I solved the distortion of scale caused by bicycle, the city was about as large as I expected it to be. The people were about as weird and wonderful as I expected them to be. The art was as varied from bizarre and/or obvious and/or large as I expected it to be. My emotions were about as powerful as I expected them to be. I am familiar with burners, I am familiar with festival art, and I have quite the ability to imagine.

The one thing, I suppose, that really surprised me was Burning Man at night. I had not anticipated the overwhelming lights, sounds, and flurry of bicycles and art cars. To describe it in two words: “Camping Vegas.”

welcome home burning man

Packing notes for next year:

Bring more:

  • lights
  • bike decor
  • juice

Bring less:

  • clothing
  • beer (I always think I want a 30-rack of Tecate and then I just end up drinking mostly water when I camp in hot places)
  • baby wipes (6 packs were excessive)