August 2010

Hexayurt Construction + Plush Day

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The Orlando house in Pasadena is abuzz with Phagers (members of the Burning Man Phage Camp) deep in preparation for the annual Burn which takes place 100mi north of Reno in late August / Early September.

Some of the days activities include creating numerous “giant microbe” pillows to be used in our 30ft dome. All sorts of cute viruses and bacteria are being assembled! There was also Playa Tech to be cut (plywood furniture that slots together) and a few of us had pooled our resources to make the upgrade from mere tent to pimptastic hexayurt!

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Tuxedo Tyrants / Santa Monica

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Tuxedo Travels was a project that I undertook in April 2007. It was the journey of two men, over the course of 6 months, as they journey from Asia to London wearing nothing but tuxedos. More than just a bizarre adventure, it was a mission to raise money for charitable causes that we executed along the route when we came into contact with needy communities or individuals.

If Tuxedo Travels is the altruistic, more responsible sibling – then Tuxedo Tyrants is the hedonistic younger sibling, who enjoys the intersection of bar crawls and public improv. It started in early 2008 when Dan Busby got a new tuxedo and knowing that I had one, he had asked if I wanted to join him for a drink, in tuxedos. Of course, it was so much fun, that we decided to to do it again – this time inviting our friends.

The idea quickly spread around our posse – ‘Tuxedo Tyrants: lets all get dressed up in tuxedos and ballgowns and go on a bar crawl!’. It was more than just a drunk night out, it was in no uncertain terms, a stroke of unexpected genius. Girls, as it turns out, have a slew of fancy outfits that they love to wear, but never get the opportunity – and so in the week preceding, they chit chatted about what they’d wear and flock to the event! Every month or two, a new location was chosen and the Tyrants gathered. This already would have been enough, however, never wanting to be labeled as anything ordinary, we began making up elaborate stories before hitting the bars, to tell people when they inevitably asked:

“So are you guys all coming from a wedding.” Was the obvious question.

“Actually, we’re celebrating the initial round of funding for an orbiting space casino…” Deadpan delivery.

“Haha, no, seriously!?”

“I am serious, of course, it’s no where near ready, but the planning for orbiting space casino’s takes time.” Invariably, the inquisitor would saunter off, only to approach a more timid looking Tyrant.

“So, what’s really going on here? Are you coming from a wedding?”

“Actually, we’re celebrating the initial round of funding for an orbiting space casino. But i’m only in the accounting department.” And that was the genius – a cohesive story and a role you felt comfortable in faking. Sales, legal, marketing, engineering, accounting – all were represented.

In the couple of years that the Tyrants had been crawling around the city and gaining in numbers, we’d hit about 15 neighborhoods, and each time, we’d come up with a different story. Some of my favorites:

  • “The successful (re)launch of the BuddyGuard™ 2.0 robotic system. BuddyGuard was a government subsidized program that offered poor and underprivileged children a robotic helper. It could help them with school work, engage them at play time as well as protect them from bullies with a built in tazer. The ill-fated launch of BuddyGuard 1.0 was doomed by a critical flaw that categorized almost everyone as a bully. But we have great faith in the new firmware, loading into almost all 2.0 systems…”
  • “ZyCorp is an Elton John Foundation sponsored company that focuses on genetic splicing. We’re excited to be celebrating the fist success at creating a healthy zygote (the pre-embyonic ball of splitting cells) derived from the genes of two sperm. We’re excited to pave the way for homosexual men to have offspring made up of their combined genes…”
  • “We’re a privately held research and development group, attempting to bring the new field of Perceptive Therapy into the mainstream. We’re excited for our first successful implant which is able to augment the perception of those suffering from schizophrenia and depression. Of course there are many other potential conditions that we could see treating in the future, as well as even spilling over from the world of therapy, into the world of consumer recreation… That of course, it a little way off!”

And so on and so forth! But tonight, amid the gleaming white patio of a Santa Monica hotel, we were representatives from Everyoung Labs, celebrating the healthy first birthday of ‘Tuck‘ – the companies eldest ‘permakitten‘. Thanks to isolation of the Greenberg gene, named after Leyah Greenberg who’s body had shown some unusual aging processes, Everyoung Labs has created a technology so that kittens, stay kittens, for life.

Happy Birthday, Tuck!

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The Heat of the Summer at the Farm

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It is massively hot and fruitful up at the North Fork farm. Boxes of swollen tomatoes need to be plucked almost daily and squash is literally jumping out of the soil. The terrace that I’d begun the previous month is near completion (as Katy’s proud stance affirms!) and will soon be home to a row of fruit trees. I really hope to one day eat the fruit from these trees!

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After the days work, I’d escape the scorching heat back at the studio, where I’d write in my journal and take breaks to meditate or do some yoga on the porch. Sometimes I’d just sit on the large rock that protruded from the cliff’s edge and look at the river below and the mountains that shot up on the other side. The grasses and brush had turned a rich golden carpet and was pierced by the still green trees that stood defiantly against the oppressive heat. The only noise from this vantage point is the gushing of a nearby waterfall and the occasional hawk call, telling all the little rodents and animals to watch their step.

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