How to Eat Just Tuna

It is 4th of July weekend and 22 of your closest friends have gathered in the mountains for a camping retreat. On this property last year, you worked together to build a sloped-roofed structure, which is called “the cabin” when you are feeling proud, and “the shack” when you are self-deprecating. In the nearby shade, you erect tents, on the picnic table you arrange food and necessities to share, and directly beside it, you raise up metal scaffolding to attach shade and a network of many green and blue and white and purple tulle strips — this is the “kelp forest.”

For dinner on Friday night you will have a Meal Ready to Eat (MRE) of beef enchiladas. You make a hat out of long foxtails by gathering them together at the base with a red rubber band and splaying them over your cranium in front of your face and around your shoulders. This protects you from the mosquitos, but you also use the tiny amount of reception you have to send out messages to friends who have not yet arrived, begging for bug spray and incense. Soon it is dark, and you are hungry. You add water to the instant hot pack in your MRE and heat up your hermetically sealed dinner.

MRE-meal-ready-to-eat-TUNATomorrow you will have “TUNA.” You know your future self will enjoy the suspense of wondering what is in this brown bag, ominously labeled just “TUNA.” If it is tuna casserole, then why not label it so? If it is tuna salad, then why is it in an MRE package, which, of every one you have had, always have a heating element? Your friend says her vote is tuna poke and you smile with excitement even though you are scared it’s just a tuna filet. You begin to doubt this challenge when altitude sickness makes you lose your enchiladas (and they taste the same coming out as they did going in).

The cure for altitude sickness (besides quitting drinking for the weekend, hydration, and rest) is apparently zip line rides. The exhilaration of falling forward under a whizzing cable raises your blood pressure and erases your nausea. The headache’s gone, too. So are the flashing lights. This morning you could only lie on the fake grass turf under the kelp forest, but now you are ready to tromp in leaves, dance to live music, and shoot fruit from an air cannon. Then, sundown comes, and you tuck the brown package under your arm.

You can’t bring yourself to open it. “What does it mean, just TUNA?” Your friends tease you for your obsession. One gives you a snack of tuna on crackers to build your courage for the main course. You lie down in the kelp forest with the brown package, and tuck it under your head. With any luck, you’ll break the heating element inside and be absolved of eating it. You sit up and help your friend type an exposition on the subject. A deranged exposition.

What is tuna? t u na is

TUNA (omi nous) it’s what’s for dinner.

tuna is a saltwater f ish

that t atstes not unlike ch icken .

t u TUNAis frequently seen isn

quiet is the night

Whilst you’re in reverie of tuna swimming through seas, a friend tries to tell you another is going to use your tuna bag as a pillow. But you falsely hear that she is off with your tuna and about to open it. You sit straight, suddenly, and shout, “Don’t open it!!” and are afraid like you have just woken up from a nightmare. You apologize to your startled friends when you return to your senses. This tuna is becoming a complex.

Your friends will draw helpful instructions on the TUNA package to make the task of eating it less daunting.

Your friends will draw helpful instructions on the TUNA package to make the task of eating it less daunting.

It’s time to open it. You peel apart the top seal. You dump the contents in your lap. Out of the big brown package falls many smaller brown packages — pretzels, tortillas (tuna tacos?), candy, a cookie — and one blue one. It is a bag of Starkist tuna, packed in water. It is, really, Just Tuna.

You eat it with a spoon.

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News from the Resticles (Post Update: Burning Man 2014)

Deborah Colotti found my affectionate description of her Burning Man art installation and sent along some pictures.  She says:

I created the Resticles for Burning Man.
A few years ago I created BreastStop, a similar artwork with two smaller trampolines, and two not-dyed parachutes (they arrived pink from the surplus British military)
 
Here are a few images….
 
So very glad you enjoyed them so immensely.
Best,
Debo

I absolutely enjoyed them. 1. Comical premise felt appropriate in the festival context. 2. Excellent construction made them sturdy against the wind and clambering campers. 3. They created a must-needed bit of shade out in the deep playa. 4. Despite resembling hairy sacks of balls, they were very pretty.  See for yourself.

Resticles.Overview Resticles.PeekViewResticles.night Resticles.Day.CloseUp Interior View1

Please visit Deborah Colotti’s website for more art (frequently made from Barbies).

http://www.dcolotti.com/


…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.

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…

(Read the original post sdsurvivalguide.com/2014/09/03/burning-man-2014-before-and-after/)

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.

 

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)

 

Prophesy and Mad-ness in Black Rock City: Space Case goes to Burning Man

As you read this I am huddled inside of a fire-breathing octopus while a dust storm rages. I drink beer out of a space rocket. I have already begun to envy the alien inside, hermetically sealed against the powder clay in his plastic egg. Someday, when I am rich, I will trade my plush NASA helmet for a real one, with climate control and a respirator.

space case

Tonight, I will drink Baileys from a shoe.

Tomorrow I will make my own loincloth.

I will be beaten by gladiators with NERF axes and swords.

I will buy a soulmate at Costco.

I will customize a flamingo.

I will go to every camp having anything to do with space; Gravity, Celestial Bodies, Moon Cheese.

I will go Down The Rabbit Hole.

I will make smoothies in the desert.

I will do some or all or none of these things. Next week, we will see which of my predictions have come true.

If you see my name blinking pink in the darkness, shout it.

SPACE CASE

Yes, I’m going to Burning Man

I wasn’t going to write about this here until multiple people, as a response to the news, said, “Can’t wait to read your blog about it!” Well, fine. I’ll blog about it. I can’t think about anything else.

Friends have been asking have I gone or will I go to “the burn” for about 2 years now. Yet, I’ve never been. In 2012 I was offered a ride and a ticket (well, I’d still have to pay) and I said no. I said no to Burning Man. I regretted this such that I said yes to Electric Poncho in Mexico, a treacherous adventure filled with scorpions and heat (and oh my god I have never witnessed so much assault). I’ll probably have to do that one again, just to be sure that I hate it.

Cue 2014, and the usual questions abound;

Hey Sami … are you burning this year?

nooooooooopeeee

:(

unless it fell on my lap on a silver platter

which it did 2 years ago and i said no b/c i’m an idiot

IDIOT!

gonna miss you there!

The thing is, if you invite Burning Man to arrive on a silver platter, it will arrive. My phone rang when I was still in bed, late, on a Sunday, like noonish. Last Sunday. Friend (quoted above) called with a chance to test if I’m an idiot, again. “Hey Sami, I know someone with a ride and a ticket for you at face value. Want to go to Burning Man.”

“Umm,” am I awake yet? “Ye–ess?”

Turns out, this ‘someone’ has a non-split-able will call ticket, and needed to find a trustworthy adventurer to both buy the ticket and ride with him through the gates. So yes, I am hopping in a car with a guy I don’t know to camp in the barren desert of Nevada for the first time, and with only 2 weeks preparation. It sure sounds bad when I put it like that.

The night after “Hmm, maybe I’ll go,” turned into “Yes, obviously I have to go,” I felt like my chest was split open, my ribs pulled apart. My blood was cold and it drenched me from the inside out. I began foreseeing the emotions that I will have out there in the dust. Raw, grateful, alone, together, crying tears of joy and sadness. The ghosts of future feelings have landed in my lungs and are growing, growing to burst.

I am lucky this is so last-minute. I don’t have time to do anything but prepare. So I make a Koozie spaceship.

space rocket beer koozie diy

So I adorn a rabbit fur coat with EL wire.

space case El wire letters fur jacket burning man

So I take on the role of Art Director for this 8-foot tall monolith.

vulnerability booth burning man art

So I make my loved ones write me letters.

letter for burning man

I am crossing my arms over my ribcage. I am holding it all in. I am telling myself, Do Not Open Until )'(

Going to War (Potrero)

This will be a brief post, because I need to take today to get ready for Potrero War – my second time going. I’m not really a LARPer (Live Action Roleplay-er); I don’t even have my name figured out. I make the minimum effort possible – I wear a silk vest and pants from the thrift store, and it’s questionable whether my shoes are period. I camp with gypsies, and they don’t make me play those silly “war virgin” games (like wash people’s dishes) because my girlfriend and I are self-sufficient. Okay, my girlfriend is self-sufficient, I just make her do everything for me.

Still, I’m drawn to go to War. The premise is that we’re all gathering together to support the troops. They fight during the day; you can hear the clash of blunted swords on armor. Each fight could represent their last day on earth, so at night we party. Singing, dancing, and drinking. So much drinking. I will wander around the camps with my tankard and it will be filled with wines, homemade ales and grog, and Jim Beam.

If I had to make any conclusion, I’d just say nerds sure know how to have fun ;)

I’ll be with the Romani if you aim to find me!