Thursday, September 30, 2004



One of my favorite bands, Death Cab For Cutie, will be playing in LA next month. I am so excited. I have never seen them live, and I got tickets to see them in Pomona and at the Wiltern here in L.A. I am even contemplating driving out to Las Vegas to see them at the House of Blues. Their latest release, Transatlanticsm, has become my emotional soundtrack during this past year. Ben Gibbard's voice is both haunting, smooth, and seductively charming. They are one of the few bands out there that continues to be intelligent, inspiring, and emotional. Transatlaticsm is a great thematic album that deals about the complexities of a long distance relationship. "So This is the New Year, and I don't feel any different." Ben echoes in the first song "The New Year".

Wednesday, September 29, 2004


On Friday, Clare and I went to a Pimp N Ho Party in Silver Lake. While I was there I met someone and we exchanged numbers. So last night, I finally gave her a call and invited her to party this weekend. I was my usual smart-ass charming self, and I pretty much had the date sealed until I smugly said,

"Oh by the way, you don't have dress up like a ho."

There was a long pause, and she responded by saying, "but I wasn't dressed up as a ho that night..."

"Oh!" That was the only thing I could say. There was no way I can retort or take that statement back. So there was this really long awkward period in which I felt like a real jackass. I didn't even know what to say. I apologized profusely, and kinda tried to laugh my way out of it, but she wasn't letting me go that easy. Fortunately she saw the humor and purpose of my statement, and she shook it off; but I owe her a few rounds.

CURRENTLY LISTENING TO: Margerine Rock (Stereolab), Ce Matin La (Air), Paper Bag (Fiona Apple), Money (Pink Floyd), Groovejet (Pete Tong), Blacking Out The Friction (Death Cab For Cutie), and Vertigo (U2)

Monday, September 27, 2004


A catch phrase is a phrase or expression that is popularized, usually through repeated use, by a real person or fictional character. For example, Saturday Night Live has given us a treasure trove of catch phrases from "We're just two wild and crazy guys!" to "Shwing!".

For the past year, we have been introduced to the latest catch phrase, "I'm Rick James, bitch!", popularized by comedian Dave Chapelle. He does a high pitch scream when he yells out, "I'm Rick James, bitch!", and it is incessantly funny and hilarious. Where I draw the line is when people take this catch phrase and repeat them unnecessarily, regardless of their lack of comedic timing. So everyone and their grandmother is now saying "I'm Rick James, bitch!" all in the wrong context. And that's just not funny.

When Jim Carrey first came out in Ace Ventura, everyone tried to impersonate him and do that butt talk thing that he did. That was funny the first few times I saw it, but there came a point where it was no longer funny. I have reached that point with Dave Chapelle's catch phrase. So starting today, I will be introducing a bill to the California Senate entitled that "You're Not Rick James" Bill.

DC 137 (Pasadena): To prevent the unnecessary use of the catch phrase "I'm Rick James, Bitch!", it will be a misdemeanor for any adult or minor to use the catch phrase "I'm Rick James, Bitch!" for whatever reason. The only person excluded from this new law is Dave Chapelle and the late great Rick James. Persons caught using the phrase will be fined and sentenced to 30 hours of community service.

Thursday, September 23, 2004



I have a lot of material from Burning Man; and after some consultation with my editor and publisher, we have decided to test out my new stuff. I'll be making a limited-release chapbook called From Dust 'til Dawn, which will contain sketches and 10 poems written during Burning Man. I'll probably make 200 copies. 50 will go to critics, editors, and other journalists, and the rest I'll gift during the Decompression parties. I am confident that I have at least 20 publishable poems there, and probably another 10 that still needs some work. That still won't be enough to complete a full book, so I need more material.

I know I just can't half-ass my second book, this where they separate the amateurs who just got lucky from the actual artisans. And it's going to take more than poems about love and life to reach a larger audience. I have a lot to think about...

Wednesday, September 22, 2004

"Millions of U.S. citizens, including a disproportionate number of black voters, will be blocked from voting in the Nov. 2 presidential election because of legal barriers, faulty procedures or dirty tricks, according to civil rights and legal experts.

The largest category of those legally disenfranchised consists of almost 5 million former felons who have served prison sentences and been deprived of the right to vote under laws that have roots in the post-Civil War 19th century and were aimed at preventing black Americans from voting.

"In elections in Baltimore in 2002 and in Georgia last year, black voters were sent fliers saying anyone who hadn't paid utility bills or had outstanding parking tickets or were behind on their rent would be arrested at polling stations. It happens in every election cycle," she said.

In a mayoral election in Philadelphia last year, people pretending to be plainclothes police officers stood outside some polling stations asking people to identify themselves. There have also been reports of mysterious people videotaping people waiting in line to vote in black neighborhoods."

There are a lot of dirty tricks that politicians (both from the right and left) are going to use for this upcoming election. That is why I propose that we return to Black Rock City, and secede from the Union. Who's with me?

Here is a song from the wrong side of town
Where I'm bound to the ground by the loneliest sound
And it pounds from within and is pinning me down

Here is a page from the emptiest stage
A cage or the heaviest cross ever made
A gauge of the deadliest trap ever laid

And I thank you for bringing me here
For showing me home
For singing these tears
Finally I've found that I belong here

The heat and the sickliest sweet smelling sheets
That cling to the backs of my knees and my feet
Well I'm drowning in time to a desperate beat

And I thank you for bringing me here
For showing me home
For singing these tears
Finally I've found that I belong

Feels like home
I should have known
From my first breath

God send the only true friend I call mine
Pretend that I'll make amends the next time
Befriend the glorious end of the line

And I thank you for bringing me here
For showing me home
For singing these tears
Finally I've found that I belong here

-- by Depeche Mode

This song makes me yearn for the playa. I am still experiencing serious playa withdrawals. I feel detached and closer to certain friends since I came back. I still feel the excitement coiled up within me when I wake up everyday. I still dream of seeing the sun setting and the sun rising behind the Black Rock Mountains. I still think of the moon. No one here really understands it.

Monday, September 20, 2004


Papa Smurf and Gargamel both share a common bond: they each helped in the creation of Smurfette.

One day, while feeling extremely frustrated and spiteful, Gargamel decided on a new plan to exact revenge on the Smurfs, "a ruthless curse that will make them beg for mercy". Gargamel decided to send them a female Smurf - a Smurfette!

Smurfette was made in the wizard Gargamel's laboratory. She was created by a magical potion. Her list of ingredients include: "Sugar and spice but nothing nice...A dram of crocodile tears...A peck of brid brain...The tip of an adder's tongue...Half a pack of lies, white, of course...The slyness of a cat...The vanity of a peacock...The chatter of a magpie...The guile of a vixen and the disposition of a shrew...And of course the hardest stone for her heart...."

Smurfette is discovered by a single Smurf in the forest, wailing to herself and lamenting her unhappy lot in life. She explains to the Smurf that unless she is rescued, she will surely perish. Smurfette is a brunette with straight, stringy hair, ugly eyelashes, a plain dress and large plain shoes.

Papa Smurf is the Smurf who turned everything around for Smurfette. After a successful operation of "plastic smurfery", Papa Smurf transformed the ugly (and unhappy) brunette Smurfette into the blond bombshell she is today.

The Smurfs were very pleased with the new and improved Smurfette. The truth was eventually revealed to Papa Smurf and the others that Gargamel created the first incarnation of Smurfette, but her improved disposition and appearance helped the Smurfs accept Smurfette as one of their own.

Sunday, September 19, 2004


Living in L.A., I get a fair share of opportunities to crash media events and Hollywood parties. On Friday night, I was supposed to meet up with Marnie at Avalon, but I wasn't able to find or locate her. Above Avalon is the ultra-exclusive bar called the Spider Club, there was a private party held there by Us Weekly; and all the Hollywood socialites and wanna-bes were all there. While I was still waiting for Marnie outside of Avalon, I got swept up by a big crowd who got on a frenzy when Paris Hilton and Tara Reid were leaving the party. Paparazzi, fans, and other people were snapping pics left and right. It got pretty crazy. And I was caught in the middle of this fanatical feeding frenzy, and because I am clusterphobic I paniced and felt that I had to get out. In my haste, I ended up on the red carpet, slipping by security.

I didn't know what to do next. I got some free drinks, but I really felt out of place. Celebrity is such an absurd concept to me, and everyone that I spoke with where just jerks. I felt really sick and nauseated. So I ran out, and walked down the block to find solace at my favorite lounge, Daddy's.

I came home relatively early, and sat down at the patio and just kinda lost myself in the stars for once; that was pleasant.

Friday, September 17, 2004


This is a story I read in one of the Burning Man Bulletin Boards. It so encapsulates what Burning Man is all about, and I just wanted to share it with everyone.

"We started delivering pizzas midday Monday and finally ran out of everything around 4am on Sunday. All in all we made over 500 pizzas, 350 from the dough I brought and 150 from the tortillas, pitas, and made-from-scratch-on-the-playa dough. Our 200 boxes traveled out and back on the playa exactly enough times.

I made about 10 pizza deliveries myself and had some wonderful experiences. On one Saturday afternoon delivery I rode out onto the playa wondering who would call for the pizza and I felt a calling from the Temple. I rode to the temple and was wandering around the back side when I saw David Best (the man behind the Temple) strolling towards me.

I stopped and asked, “Excuse me, did you order an onion and bell pepper pizza?”

He looked at me for a second, glanced at the box and said “yes, I believe I did.” When he saw there was a real pizza inside, he grabbed a few slices and said “Great concept. Send the rest to the boys…”

Another story is one I heard 2nd hand. A guy comes by, makes a pizza and decides to deliver it to the airport. He finds another guy and delivers the pizza. The guy then says, “hey, you wanna go up?” and they end up flying over the playa in the pilots plane. Somewhere over the playa, the pilot asks “you wanna drive?” Which of course he does. Deliver a pizza, get a free flight.


- Written by Tundra Tommy

So Chris and I returned to the diamond, but this time around we're playing in an all men's league, so the stakes and talent are a little bit higher. Chris and I combined for three strike outs and we were just aweful. I misjudged a flyball in deep centerfield and we were just pathetic. Chris and I just pretty much hung out in the outfield and talked about the playa all night. So this is a lesson to everyone, Burning Man and Softball don't mix.

"Ummmmm, OK"
"What the...?"
"Once you think you're out, they pull me right back in..."
"Oh my f**cking god!!!"

More details to come soon, but trust me folks its pretty juicy...

Thursday, September 16, 2004


- I threw away my program and got lost every time I went out.
- I allowed myself to experience playa love.
- I didn't spend a lot of time in my camp, but enough to be a part of it and contribute.
- I didn't take a bath, which made my pheremones extra pungent all week.
- I pissed clear!!
- I took advantage of the art cars by getting rides in them.
- I didn't get swept up early in the week.
- I had some "me" time.
- I drank enough to be happy, but not too much that I had to sleep in early or pass out early.
- I never refused an invitation.
- I gave more than I had received.
- I never left Black Rock City.
- I gave myself the time to write everyday.

- I should have brought a bike.
- I should have brought more socks and underwear.
- I should have brought a dust mask.
- I should have pushed my inhibitions a little bit more early in the week.
- I should have slept more.
- I should have been more patient with people.
- I should have eaten more.
- I should have taken more artsy pictures, instead of touristy pictures.

Before I left for Burning Man, I met Marnie at the Sunset Street Junction. It was a very random and inconsequential reunion. I haven't seen Marnie in over 7 years. We met back in the day when we went to summer school at Stanford University. She did a lot more goofing off back then than I did. I was kinda that straight-laced kid that got everybody in trouble. She bit a big bullet for me the following year when she agreed to accompany my friend to the senior prom. I felt bad because I put her in an uneasy and potentially weird situation, but she sucked it up and had a great time about it. I'll never forget that.

A couple of years later we end up reuniting at Camp Fox in Catalina Island. Where again I had the duty of keeping everyone inline, and she had the duty of leading a revolution against me. And I pretty much let her do whatever she wanted to do. I didn't "drink" or "party" back then, for personal and individuality reasons, so I think it's going to be a shock for her to rediscover me. When I told her I was going to Burning Man she was pretty shocked and surprised, and I don't blame her. We're meeting up tomorrow for drinks and whatever, it'll be very interesting to catch up with each other. I'm looking forward for this reunion.

Wednesday, September 15, 2004


I was watching television late last night, trying to slowly cope from post-traumatic burn syndrome. When E's Wild on appeared, they were featuring the top 10 Party spots in the world. Sandwiched between Oktoberfest in Munich (#8) and Las Vegas's Pimp 'N Ho Ball (#6) was Burning Man. It was pretty sad how they portrayed Burning Man. Other than some random comments about the harsh desert and needing a bike, all you see is blurred out genitals & spaced out hippies. The people they interviewed were just as embarassing. They had these two frat boys yelling out "Burning!" "Man!", "Burning!" "Man!"; I almost wanted to choke them. For some reason they chose to interview men with mullets and women with big breasts. When they had footage of the Burn, they pretty much passed through it with little explanation of the significance of the Burn.

I guess it's good that they're doing a bad representation of this event, because it'll keep the frat boys off the playa.

Tuesday, September 14, 2004


"There's still playa dust in my shoes!!!!!"

CURRENTLY LISTENING TO: Walking With A Ghost (Tegan And Sara), Slow Hands (Interpol), El (Bugge Wessltoft), Reason Why (Rachel Yamagata), Blue Eyes (Cary Brothers), I'm A Cuckoo (Belle & Sebastian), 20th Century Towers (Death Cab For Cutie), Dissolved Girl (Massive Attack), Running To Stand Stil (U2), and Say Something (James).

Saturday, September 11, 2004


I heard about Burning Man five years ago. I met this wide-eyed couple at the Garden of Eden, who were gushing with praise about their experiences with Burning Man. I still remember that encounter fondly, because they made me promise that I would attend Burning Man before I die.

Every burner I had met always talked about BM with such reverence and frenzy that it was difficult for me to relate with them and their experiences. I have traveled and experienced a lot of things in my life; which gives me a wealth of depth, balance, and perspective that a lot of people my age don't have. It takes a lot move me. It takes a lot to make me passionate. I don't easily fall for gimmicks or fireworks; that's why religion, fraternities, and even cultural communities have failed to win my allegiance. I came to Burning Man with the same casual cynicism and skepticism. I tried so damn hard to hold on to it all week too, but something within me was waking up.

So how did I get "it"? How did we all get "it"? I think it all began when I broke up with Alex. I felt disconnected, but I also felt empowered, I wanted to change my life. I realized that I can be loved; it's an idea so simple, but it is something that I struggled with for most of my life. It was easy for me to love or fall in love with someone, but I had issues with people loving me. I couldn't accept it. I was determined to change my life, both physically, mentally, and emotionally.

The Mardi Gras trip was supposed to be the adventure that should have stoked the flames in me. Even though that trip was amazing and fun, it left me hallow and empty. The opportunity to go to Burning Man came up, either by random accident or by destiny, but I grabbed it. I had no clue what to expect, certainly not any sort of divine understanding about myself and how I relate to this world.

Essentially I think we are all fundamentally lonely in this world. We all feel disconnected with each other. We struggle to relate and communicate with each other. We've tried using the tools of technology like the internet, television, and telephones, but instead of bringing us closer together these tools isolate us from one another. The urbanization of our world has created a clutter of cells. We wake up in a room alone, to drive to work in a car alone, to work in a cubicle alone, and to go back to our beds, alone. Our rooms, cars, and cubicles are like prison cells. We have problems meeting new people and establishing solid relationships.

Burning Man created a world devoid of these cells. We all had to burn our egos, and think more of the collective community. We were able to take the time to sit down, and really get to know people, establish meaningful relationships in hours. We learned to become selfless and tolerant. Through art, poetry, literature, dance, and music we were able to connect with each other. Our individuality was cherished and encouraged.

Now I'm beginning to sound like one of these fundamentalist ministers preaching about the holiness and mysticism of taking part in a pilgrimage to the Black Rock Desert. I find myself having to continually stop talking about Burning Man around people who haven't participated in it, but I just can't seem to help it.

Burning Man has its critics. Burning Man has its doubters. And even if I never go back to Black Rock City (which is highly unlikely), I will never forget what happened there. There are things that happened there that will shape me for years. So to that wide-eyed couple I met five years ago, I thank you.

Thursday, September 09, 2004


A fellow burner introduced the term "Default World" to refer to the real world, and it just seemed appropriate that I adopt that term as well. The world in the Black Rock City was as real as I've ever felt or experienced. All my friends ask me about what happened at Burning Man, and I always feel somewhat awkward in telling them my stories because they don't understand the context at how these actions transpire. I think my blog tries to show a little bit of this world but it certainly has its limitations. When I walk around I feel like I have a secret that no one knows about.

I have been content spending most of my time by myself. My writing is exploding. I daydream a lot about the playa. I dream walking around it's long dusty roads, getting lost in the atmosphere, having people take my hand and taking me to places I have never been.

Insomnia has finally caught up with me. When I crash landed at my house, I fell asleep, for what seemed like days. When I woke up, it seemed as if all this Burning Man stuff was just a dream. Then when I looked over at the corner of my room, and I saw all the playa dust, I couldn't help but utter a smile.

It is so difficult to relate to the default world right now. One of the few things that has helped me is running. I find myself constantly running everyday 5 to 7 miles, just enough for my muscles to cramp and for my mind to feel numb. I've been hanging out a lot in coffee shops, writing all these runaway thoughts that are in my head. I think about all the people I've met. I think about everyone at Tabula Rasa. I think about walking around the playa.

10. You start referring to your kitchen as Center Camp and you change the street signs on the corner to 5:30 and Venus.
9. You prefer using baby wipes instead of taking baths.
8. You don't feel comfortable going out at night without any glowsticks.
7. You insist that everyone at work refer to you by your playa name.
6. You try to re-build Thunderdome in your backyard.
5. You can't leave your house without goggles, dust masks, lingerie, hula hoops, and boots.
4. You look outside your window hoping to see the Man and the Temple every time you wake up, only to tear up when you realize it's not there
3. Instead of reaching for a cup of coffee or red bull to wake up, you scrounge around your closet for any leftover speck of ecstasy.
2. You find yourself handing out necklaces and hugs to random strangers while you wait in line at the grocery store.
1. You realize you can't go to sleep without the loud thump thump thump of a techno lullaby.

L.A. and S.F. Decompression is only a month away.

Monday, September 06, 2004


My last morning at the Black Rock City was very lonely. I woke up the Temple was gone and "the Man" was also gone, but the techno music screaming from Club Lush was still going. I woke up at about sunrise, and I looked at it again, just as I had did the previous 3 nights. I have been watching the sun rise for 3 straight nights, it is so wonderfully pleasing. Half of our block is now gone, White Dragon Noodle Bar has stricken their tent, and Luna City is almost out. Testify is already packing their gear, and our camp isn't even halfway done to getting all the stuff in the truck and stuff. I got my iPod and took a little walk into the esplanade. I listened to some Nick Drake and Ryan Adams, and kicked around the Playa dust. I sat down on the Playa and meditated facing north, as the sun rose on my right. I just closed my eyes, and tried to focus my energy back to myself. Then at that specific time the perfect song came on randomly from my iPod. Northern Sky by Nick Drake...

"I never felt magic crazy as this
I never saw moons knew the meaning of the sea
I never held emotion in the palm of my hand
or felt sweet breezes in the top of a tree
But now you're here
Brighten my Northern sky.

I've been a long time that I'm waiting
Been along that I'm blown
I've been a long time that I've wandered
Through the people I have known
Oh, if you would and you could
straighten my new mind's eye."

I felt divine. I felt at peace in the world. I felt a little sad. I felt a little less lonely. And I tried my best to sing along to the song, and I didn't care that there were still people walking around me. I just sang that song at the top of my lungs and I didn't even know all the lyrics to the song. And each person that passed me by just smiled at me. It was so beautiful. It brought me the closure I needed to have with this community and experience.

Once we were all packed and ready to go, it was about noon. A few tearful goodbyes to our new friends and neighbors, and we were off. Well not exactly, Exodus from Black Rock City isn't that easy. It took us four hours just to get out of the BRC city limits; but the wait was worth it. We all continued our revelry and celebration. Everyone just parked their cars, opened up their RV's blasted their stereos, and shared beer and stories. We got on someone's RV and danced. We saw someone go out to the Playa and learn to throw the boomerang. It was to know that the community was still alive and thriving despite the frustrating wait to get out of the city. If this was L.A. you would've had fist fights by now. Instead people were giving massages, offering misters to cool each other down, and sharing wonderful and beautiful stories about their experiences in BM. Even at the end of BM we were still meeting new and wonderful friends.

Leaving the BRC was very emotional. The long drive back to the real world was emotionally wrenching. When we finally arrived at Sparks to have our first meal from civilization. I forgot that I was still wearing my sun dress, but I didn't care, so I kept it and went to dinner with a sun dress on. Everyone stared, cops gawked, but I just didn't care, I was comfortable with my sun dress, and I was secure enough of my masculinity that I didn't really give a fuck. A nice chicken Caesar salad that I couldn't finish did the job, and washed it down with some iced tea. It was also the first time in some quiet a while that I was able to see my entire body in a mirror, and I was freaking dark tan, and lost a few pounds from my fasting. But I looked happy, slightly beaten, but I was at peace.

13 hours later we arrived in Palmdale where I packed my car and went home. I felt very much like a zombie as I drove back home. I couldn't even relate to the freeways and traffic here in L.A. I felt so detached from society. Death Cab For Cutie's "The Sound of Settling" came on the stereo, and I just sang along to it at the top of my lungs. "I've got a hunger, twisting my stomach into knots...." And all of sudden a deluge of emotions just crashed upon me. I kept singing and yelling the song, and tears were rushing down my face. All these unbridled emotions of sadness, joy, and peace exploded within me. I kept repeating the song in my stereo, over and over again, and I kept singing the song. Something was tugging blindly within me. I was still wearing my sundress and I still don't care. Truckers are passing me by troubled by my singing and my sun dress. "This is the sound of settling...."

Sunday, September 05, 2004


Burners always talk about "Getting It", whatever "it" is when they come to BM. My first few days in the Playa I was trying really hard to be cynical and ambivalent to the miracles happening around me. Everything started to make sense for me on Friday, but I didn't feel like I really "got it" until the Temple burn. The elaborate structure created by David Best had very much a spiritual and awe-inspiring sense to it. The Temple burn became a more important and valuable experience for me than the testosterone-induced paranoia that occurred the previous night.

I decided to do the Temple burn alone. I anchored myself at a safe distance, away from the art cars and groups of people. I just wanted to be by myself, lost in my thoughts. I felt at peace with the world. I began to reflect about things that happened to me throughout the week, as well as things that happened in my life. I thought about the friends that I had lost, the people that I had done wrong, and the people that I had loved. It was emotionally powerful. I wasn't afraid to let my emotions show, but I did my best to keep away from everyone. I simply wanted some time for myself.

Michelle and Rob left earlier that day, and now there's three of us left. Chris, Sis, and I reluctantly try to break down our camp, but we're all tired. I think we all know that something within us has changed. I know Sis has been going to BM for years, and every time she goes she still experiences something wonderful. I can tell from her eyes. Chris feels like he has learned a lot about people and tolerance, a valuable lesson that BM can only teach. I think we all feel like the world is a little less lonely since we landed in this desert. I think we all felt a sense of community, family, and belonging. We came in with disjointed souls, and we leave with a strong sense of ourselves and how we relate to this sometimes cruel world.

I spent most of the night listening to my iPod, thinking about my life; Thinking about where I've been, where I am, and where I am going to. Trying to find some sort of meaning and understanding to all of this under this context. I was finally able to find some solace back in my tent. I smile. I find myself smiling a lot. I had cleared out all the dust, I grabbed a pillow and a blanket, and I closed my eyes with lullabies in my ears. Sleep at last.

I run in circles
up and down the streets
where squadrons of jackrabbits
stalk shadows
only to be raped by vultures.

the sun is hanging on the corner
as a rock. I pretend I am asleep,
but he is not buying it.

he grins with a cold vibration,
toothless, and annoying.

and I reach down beneath my chair
and there is nothing,
not even an spear
or dart
to burst his insolent little grin.

my dirty fingers blindly crawl around a bit
in a kind of disbelief
only to bring up clumps of dust and dirt.

there's not even a speck of lint
down there. my head is like a kite.

I run in circles
up and down the streets
where the cavalry hid their muskets
once, but something
tells me that the war is not yet over.

I close my eyes
as all the grasshoppers jump to embrace me.

I think, I have gone mad. With
poems like this, I should have

The soundtrack to my Burning Man experience
1. Such Great Heights - The Postal Service
2. This Is The Last Time - Keane
3. Northern Sky - Nick Drake
4. Spies - Coldplay
5. Pass In Time - Beth Orton
6. Pink Bullets - The Shins
7. One of These Things First - Nick Drake
8. Desert Sunrise - Brett Dennen
9. How To Be Dead - Snow Patrol
10. Transatlanticism - Death Cab For Cutie
11. Time Is Running Out - Muse
12. Sunrise - Norah Jones
13. Colorblind - Counting Crows
14. Everybody's Gotta Learn Sometime - Beck
15. Let Go - Frou Frou
16. Reason Why - Rachel Yamagata
17. Despertar - Frederico Aubele
18. Save Tonight - Eagle Eye Cherry
19. Teardop - Massive Attack
20. The Slow Drug - PJ Harvey
21. Come Pick Me Up - Ryan Adams
22. Wonderwall - Oasis
23. Everything In It's Right Place - Radiohead
24. Wandering Star - Portishead
25. Wave Of Mutilation - Pixies
26. Sing Your Life - Morrissey
27. Porcelain - Moby
28. Blue In Green - Miles Davis
29. Love Comes Again - Tiesto
30. If You're Feeling Sinister - Belle & Sebastian
31. Come to Jesus - Mindy Smith
32. Blue Eyes - Cary Brothers
33. Wild World - Cat Stevens
34. Missing - Everything But The Girl
35. Do You Realize?? - The Flaming Lips
36. Mad World - Tears For Fears
37. They - Jem
38. Who's Going To Ride Your Wild Horses - U2
39. Shadows of Ourselves - Thievery Corporation
40. In The Waiting Line - Zero 7

You can buy these songs at the iTunes Music Store...

Saturday, September 04, 2004


I did not have anything to eat all day. I did not have a wink of sleep all day. I am a zombie. I am a leper. The desert is starting to play tricks with my mind. I am seeing things that are not there. I swear I am sober, not a drop of alcohol. I walk to Center Camp, searching for nothing, yet everything. I look around the bicycle racks hoping I can locate the bike with a Scooby Doo beanie baby on it. Am I feeling like a stalker? But I am not. I swear to god I am not. I just want to share these precious little poems I have written about last night. My eyes are bludgeoned, red all over, with rivers that that crust on my skin like pancake batter. I should be falling apart. I should be passed out. But I am not, I am smiling. There is an unbridled energy building up around me, I can feel it in my veins. When I make a fist, I feel like I am holding on to her. I am a nomad. I am a rascal. I wish I could play the guitar. I am not afraid to look into people eyes anymore. I am still wearing the same clothes from last night. "My head just aches when I think of the things I shouldn't have done, but life is for living, we all know, and I don't want to live it alone..." The dust storms have disappeared, the skies are blue like the seas. This day is slowly going too fast for me. I am trying to catch up, but my legs are failing. Running on empty. But once I think I am hitting the wall, I am struck by lightning or a can of Red Bull. Sleep is overrated. Love is underrated. I will not let the desert beat me. I think I am officially crazy.

cool enough to be alive but not
drown I take the secret white
drink chai iced tea
cinnamon as the worms wriggle upon
my crusted feet
in circles
penetrating my tired and beaten heart
in an afternoon
somebody is playing

pillows piled like gravestones
atop of me
waiting to ambush
ambitious men with amphibious machines
and carve
things with my nails on
of pictures of skinny blondes
having love affairs with
old white-haired lawyers
dusty winds that torture

dry like the desert
am afraid of shadows and heartbeats
hardly a wink of sleep to show
the world spinning faster
lost my heart like an artichoke
it is lonely when
there are no blondes
to pretend with while
I am waiting.

When the sun finally set, everyone was excited for the burn. I didn't really know who I was going to spent the burn with, I was being tugged in different directions by different groups of friends. I finally decided I was going to attend the burn with Chris and Krystyne. Once we made our way to the playa, we tried to get in the middle as much as we can, but the huge crowd made me feel clusterphobic. I felt more comfortable hanging out on the perimeter. The burn didn't really touch me as I thought it would. Perhaps because I hadn't had any sleep all day, or perhaps it was because Krystyne kept feeding me cherries and grapes that were fermented in jungle juice for two weeks. I felt like I was walking on thin ice. I also didn't like the testosterone induced frenzy that began to manifest during the burn. I was invited to bartend for Mutaytor after the Burn, but I didn't have the resolve to bartend anymore. Chris and Krystyne whisked me away quickly after the Burn. I didn't know where they were going to take me, but I just remember waking up and I was back at Lush, at the same couch I was in last night. It was Deja vu. After a few moments Nikky and her boyfriend also showed up. It was like Groundhog's Day. I was hoping she would show up as well, but as the night continued on, I knew she wasn't going to appear. This was so absurdly surreal.

I was struggling to write that night. Everyone around me just annoyed the hell out of me. I was easily disturbed and bothered, patience was running thin. I felt crowded, trapped, and imprisoned. Just as this world was swallowing me up in darkness, an angel from out of nowhere dropped by to offer a glimmer of hope at the end of the tunnel. She sat next to me and wrote this on my notebook:

"I honor the place in you where the UNIVERSE resides. I honor the place in you that is truth, light, and love. When you are in that place in you, and I am in that place in me, We are one..."

I felt infinitely inspired again. It was like capturing lightning in a bottle. I closed my eyes, and meditated again for a little while, and I left Club Lush. I went to hang out the other lounges, but I mostly sat down and wrote. I felt blessed. I felt holy. I spent the rest of the night hanging around in various lounges and camps just writing like a madman. I was still unable to sleep, but I wasn't about to let this dash of inspiration get away. But my thoughts were still stuck with that same girl from last night.

She comes from nowhere
scattered and tattered from the cold desert breeze.
The swirling spires of life has landed her body inside my embrace.
She comes from love that slipped away from under a gust of wind,
scattered on plastic grass and fermented glass ornaments.
She comes with sparkling integrity and coy yellow voices.
She keeps smiling at the hanging sunrise,
belly to belly from the heavens to deep space.
She comes with patient hands and eager arms ready
to explore the infinite void of the space between us.
We are tangled like broken caterpillar legs.
She comes from the land of mud and fog,
beyond the reaches of my daydreams.
She is cuddled up inside my skin.
She is the first dew to develop on my face.
She is the finger poking at the inspiration clouding my head.
Bees pollinating memories like a rushing stream.
She comes from nowhere
and she never seems to stop smiling at the stars,
the moon, the sun, and my eyes.
She comes from the land of bedouins,
with an understanding of life that left me thirsty.
She comes with a heart of dragons, as I suckled each drop of her aftertaste.
She strolls through my memories and consciousness
freely like a gardener tending to fragile plants.
She comes from an oblivion to fill a wretched vacuum.
She comes from nowhere, and I leave her nowhere.

CURRENTLY LISTENING TO: Northern Sky (Nick Drake), Liberation Front (Thievery Corporation), Postales (Frederico Aubele), Trouble (Coldplay), Brooklyn (Jesse Malin), A Lack of Color (Death Cab For Cutie), Such Great Heights (The Postal Service), Slow Hands (Interpol), Living Room (Tegan And Sara), 1963 (Rachel Yamagata), Desert Sunrise (Brett Dennen), Everybody's Gotta Learn Sometime (Beck), Caring Is Creepy (The Shins), and Chariot (Gavin DeGraw).

Friday, September 03, 2004


I did my fair share of partying all week, but I was continually reminded that the best party of Burning Man is Friday Night. So when I woke up of Friday morning and saw that the winds have died down, the skies were clear, and dust storms have become nothing more than cushion for my tent, I was ready to confront the day. I didn't want to do too much strenuous activities today, but I knew that I had to serve our open bar later on today for our neighborhood block party. Chris and I spend the afternoon hanging out at Center Camp observing and immersing ourselves in the environment. I began to notice that the Center Camp was a lot more crowded now, the population has definitely doubled and I could sense the energy of the place slowly churning. I tried to find Julie to see if I can get another henna tattoo, but I had no luck there was simply too many people walking around.

When we started our bar, we were back in business. The liquors we served really helped to bring our neighbors closer together. It also forced our camp to associate and mingle more with the masses. We served so many drinks that it was quickly becoming apparent that the bar was a big success, and it was so wonderful to see everyone's face light up with joy whenever they tasted a drink; most of the drinks they had in the playa were were pretty watered down, so they were suprised when they were given drunks that had some punch to it.

As the sun set again behind the black mountains, the collective yell from the community was a lot louder. I was getting excited. I had already done a lot of writing throughout the week, but I hadn't felt inspired yet; and that was troubling me. There was this kind of eerie silence throughout the BRC between 8 to 10 while we were all getting ready for the night's festivities. We all planned to meet up and hang out at Club Lush. This was a club that we had visited all week but they weren't quiet complete until tonight. There were also rampant rumors that Paul Oakenfold was going to play, but everyone reminded me that it was also False Hopes Friday. i didn't really decide to drop until I learned that D:Fuse was playing at Opulent Temple of Venus next to Club Lush. We visited other clubs around Disorient but I knew i wanted to anchor myself in one club tonight, I didn't want walk around, I've done that all week.

Chris and I got to Club Lush and we found a seat in the middle of a carpeted lounge area with a rushing water fountain next to it. This whole structure was a beautiful palace. After a while I managed to end up in a couch next to the water fountain. I sat next to Nikky and her boyfriend. We became quick friends. The night was just picking up some visuals and inspired sets made their way inside my head. Then it happened...

I was scribbling things in my little sketch book, when I finally noticed that Nikky and her boyfriend had left. At last I was alone to finally grasp at the fleeting inspiration that had been slipping between my fingers all night. Just as the night slowly reached its peak, this tall lady with gentle eyes, dark wistful hair, and kind countenance stood next to me. For whatever reason, I felt inspired to invite her to join me in my couch, and she shyly grinned and joined me. I don't know if it was either the cold desert air or the myriad of drugs, but I felt instantly connected. All week people had been talking about "getting it", how one just philosophically gets an understanding about the world and finds peace and solace in it. I had met a lot of random people that week, but for some reason this stranger sitting next to me has tappped into something illicitly primal and wonderful within me.

She sat down next to me, I put my arms around her; and it all seemed natural and perfect. As the desert began to grow icicles, we kept our tight embrace, she gave her best to keep me warm, and I gave her as much as I had left to give. We didn't speak to each other much, we were just simply huddle in our little corner of the universe at Club Lush. Everyone around us had simply disappeared, and I felt deeply and intimately connected. Perhaps at that moment and that place in this universe I felt divinely inspired. I was teeming with life, passion, and beauty. I had never felt so alive. And as the night was slowly creeping back behind the horizon, she wanted to go back to her camp.

She was staying at Sedna, and we took the long route to Sedna, the tenth planet of our solar system. I remember her bike, it was very beautiful, she had a basket with a whole bunch of beanie babies behind it, the only one I could specifically remember was that she had a Scooby Doo beanie baby. As we walked back, I felt inspired to sing to her. "Look at the stars, look how they shine for you..." It seemed so appropriate at the time. I sang a couple of more songs for her, "Suddenly Seymour" from Little Shop of Horrors, and "Something's Coming" from Westside Story. I wondered if she thought I was crazy. I also remembered that she asked me to hold on to her jacket pocket as we were walking back so that our connection wouldn't be disrupted.

So we made our long trek around Sedna. At a certain point of our long way back, she began to feel a little aweful, so she sat down in the middle of the road and began to meditate. I sat in front of her and joined her. I closed my eyes, and thought about the peace and solitude that was brewing inside me. After a few moments we both opened our eyes, and we looked at each other. Our eyes met, and we just seemed to find comfort and peace in that moment. She peeked inside my soul, and I didn't feel threatened or vulnerable. We just sat there legs crossed, eyes affixed to each other, and smiling. I felt intimately close to her.

Then as we continued our journey back to her camp, the sun made its way up against the grizzled hills of the Black Rock Mountain. This was the first sunrise I had seen in a long time. And it was so overwhelming to see this yellow disc slowly crawl up from the horizon with the black rolling mountains anchoring its movement on the foreground, and balanced by the golden desert plains. It was gallant. It was uncanny. We were both easily swallowed up by its beauty. We stopped in the middle of the road, I dropped her bike. And we stood there, hypnotized by this awesome moment. I placed my arms around her, and held her, no word exchanged. It was a sunrise that I will never forget.

Once we were able to gather ourselves we finally made it to our camp, and I left her. We hugged and kissed each other goodbye. We made no promises to see each other again, but I was hoping that our paths with cross again. I made my way back to our camp. I passed by everyone as they were heading back to their tents. When I got back into my tent, I tried to close my eyes and go to bed, but I couldn't. I couldn't stop thinking about what had happened. I was inspired, I was alive. I grabbed my iPod and notepad, and walked down to the playa and wrote this visceral poem:

To the woman with gentle eyes,
and warm countenance,
when it comes to your charms
I will not hesitate
and I will not blame you.
When I walked back from the far reaches of your realms,
winding my way through dusty foreign roads alone,
as the desert sands waved and waned,
wiping off all its crust on my surface,
as the dead return to their graves,
and the living rise to chase the sun,
I won't blame you,
Instead I will remember the sunrise.
I will remember the long embrace.
I will remember the kisses.
Our lips ripe with passion,
and how you gave me everything you had
and how I offered you all that I had left.
I will remember the feel of you.
The subtle rhythm of your body.
The floating symphony of your laughter.
Your bike
Your clothes
Your boots
Our sofa
Our solitude
Our bodies spilled together like broken jars,
with tiny flickering filaments sparkling above us.
Your leg my leg
Your arm my arm
Your eyes my eyes
Your smile and your warmth.
You are the first kiss and you are the last kiss.
To the woman with gentle eyes,
and warm countenance,
you have no dagger.
The dagger is mine, and I won't use it.

I had to watch the jewelry tent for the entire day, so I couldn't go out and share this poem with her. I'm not even sure of what to think of what had happened between us; all I knew was that I wanted to share something I had written with someone who helped me give birth to this sequence of creativity. I couldn't sleep all day. Once my duty at watching the jewelry tent was done, I made my way back out to Sedna, but my memory was failing me, I couldn't locate her camp anymore. I asked a few people, but they couldn't help me. I was hoping that she would stop by my camp, but she didn't. She left no trace.

Perhaps its how these things end; this is how people get immortalized in our memories. Perhaps our paths were intended to only cross at that particular juncture, at that specific time and place. Who knows? But I am thankful for the experience.

Whether by accident or intent, I was determined to fast. Since I hadn't had any sleep, I decided I might not as well eat either. So I spent the whole day hydrating myself for the Burn.

Thursday, September 02, 2004


After cursing at the desert skies all night, I woke up with my prayers answered. The sky was clear, the winds were down, and the dust storms finally settled. I took this opportunity to go out and visit all the art installation in the playa. I saw the Temple slowly being built, it was close to being done. I met a few artists who were working on their installations, it was simply amazing the amount of sacrifice most of them took to get their art out here. I met the artist who worked the Jabba Fett Bubble colony. She was from New York, and had spent $30,000 over the past two years to get her work out her to BM. There were also some other artists who have spent thousands of dollars and countless hours on their art so it can be displayed on the Playa for a week, and to be burned on the night of the burn. At the far reaches of the Playa, I saw the Tree. I just called it the Tree of Life. The artist left a hammer and nails, and people were welcomed to nail anything on the tree, there were messages, necklaces, buttons, and other stuff. I nailed a couple poems, a necklace I made, and a postcard from my book on the tree. It was so beautiful to see this creation just exist in the middle of nowhere.

As I was finally getting to enjoy our day, the dust storms returned, and I scurried back to our camp. I tried serving drinks but the dust storms kept everyone inside this time around. This time it was a lot colder. So I closed up shop and hung out with the boys and girls of White Dragon Noodle Bar. I got everyone drunk from my little bottle of alcohol, and met just a whole bunch of cool people from D.C. and Virginia. The White Dragon Noodle Bar was the best place to be during the dust storms because they had tarp all around corners of their camp, and they had a real working stove which kept us warm inside, and the noodles smelled so damn good. We were all dusty, dirty, and cold, but our spirits were still up and we were able to maintain great conversations and storytelling despite it all.

Chris and Sis came back later that afternoon, bringing back some remnants from the real world, like pizza and smells of a cold shower. Which reminded I haven't really taken a shower since I left L.A. I haved used baby wipe every morning, anointed my feet with fine salve, and had gone to the Astral Headwash a couple of times, so I started to become a little concerned about my odor, but no one seemed to mind my smell at all. There was really no point of actually taking a shower around here, by the time your shower is done, the dirt and dust from the sandstorms will just make you filthy, it was a losing battle.

I had a lot of people complement me about my upbeat and positive attitude despite the all the cold, heat, and dust storms. My smile never faltered all week, because I know this is not hell. I've been through hell and back and trust me Black Rock City is not hell, this is fucking paradise, and I just can't stop smiling from ear to ear. I have been so fortunate to meet so many cool and wonderful people each day that I've been so far. I don't even care about sleep anymore. I usually go to bed around 2 or 3 and then wake up at 9 everyday. Ready to face what new surprises and gifts that await me each day. There was no way anyway was going to take me out of the BRC, I don't care if they have to drag my dead body through the gates, I am going nowhere.

- I am beginning to hate having to be lit up like a Christmas Tree with glow sticks every time I want to go out and party.
- I haven't had a shower all week, and everyone thinks I smell good.
- I am starting to really hate techno.
- I think I've filled my quota for penis viewing for the rest of my life.
- No matter how many times I see it, I just cannot get sick of naked women walking around, its just such a beautiful thing.
- Man can live on tuna and crackers alone.
- Snorting playa dust can actually give you a little high.
- Adding playa dust on the chai iced tea from Center Camp makes it delicious.
- Who knew people from Oregon and Washington can be so fun.
- Wearing pants and underwear is overrated.
- Ummm, if you're going to kiss someone, please give them a warning before it becomes a full fledge makeout session, some of us have actual errands to do.
- Please don't ask me what time it is, you're in the BRC, and who cares...
- Don't ask me whether you want a block of ice or crushed ice, make up your own mind.
- I can't stop howling at the moon, and screaming at the sunrise and sunset.
- How am I going to explain what's happening here to my friends back home?
- Is that girl really going down on that guy?
- My tent is full of playa dirt, I don't want to bother cleaning it up, so I will be sleeping in the jewelry tent for the rest of the week.
- I feel sorry for the guy across the street from us, note to self, never go to burning man with a group of girls.
- There are way too many naked couples prancing around the BRC.
- I haven't had a desire to watch TV, go online, or use my cell phone to call my friends all week, and it's wonderful.

Wednesday, September 01, 2004

In Dust We Trust


The heat, cold, dust, mud, and dirt is finally catching up to our camp members. Amanda and Darryl decided they've had enough and packed their things and left. Sis wasn't feeling well, so Chris had to take her back into Reno for some medicine. So there was only four of us left. Rob and Michelle were feeling a little bit down because of all the dust and seeing half of their camp gone in one day. The desert was finally catching up with Darcy as well, and I felt very much alone. I could tell the other camps were facing the same problems too. You can see the frustration in their eyes, but they were still battling it out. The energy that was there early this week was slowly being swallowed up by the desert. So I began walking around screaming "Don't let the desert beat you!" at everyone, and started to do my stupid dust dances just to lighten things up. It helped a little bit, but I could tell they needed more than my comical bits.

You cannot let the desert beat you. You have to face it eye to eye. You cannot cower in the corner and hide, you have to fight back and face it. From each burning stab of heat from the sun, to each crackling vengeful bullet of playa dust, to the blood-curdling punch of the midnight desert air, you have to face it all with a smile and brave its extremities. This day was quickly becoming a confrontation between me and the desert. I wasn't about to let it walk all over me. The desert can be cruel, brutal, unforgiving, and deliciously dangerous; and I salivated at the chance of facing it. The desert brings out the best and worst of humanity. It can drive one to madness and sheer genius in one gust of wind. It forces you to confront your fears and weaknesses. It is a true test for your soul. The desert is relentless in its pursuit. We may be under its mercy, but I am not going to give up my soul without a fight. You cannot let the desert beat you.

I thought about who in my circle of friends would've been able to survive these conditions, and I couldn't find enough to put on my fingers. I think there are so many aspects of BM that a lot of my friends can surely benefit from, but the whole idea of "roughing it" and facing their fears of meeting strange new people will definitely hold them back. I've always wondered why such an outgoing guy like me who loves to meet new people and experience different things have so many friends that are afraid to those things. For the most part, I end up experiencing these things by myself, and they sort of vicariously live through my eyes and words thanks to my blog. I've tried my best to shake things up, but it's fast becoming a frustrating process. They just complain about how they're not meeting interesting people and how boring their lives are but they don't do anything about it, they let their fears, shyness, and other inhibitions control their lives. "Snap out of it!!!"

Late in the afternoon, while resting in the jewelry tent I met Sage (Allie). I admired her youthful playfulness and free spirit from afar. Her youth made me jealous, and we had a great time talking about jewelry making and discussing other revelries in BM. For someone so young, to have such an understanding of herself and the world, I was deeply humbled. Despite the fact that everyone else around us was falling apart, she kept my positive energy engaged by feeding it more energy. She had these really cool military glasses which I want to buy and use next year. It's people like Sage that make this entire BM experience so powerfully moving and wonderful.

I had my first open bar later that day, and it was met with great success. It forced people to get out of their tents and grab some fine mixed liquors. I had everyone on the street smiling and laughing. Our open bar definitely brought everyone from all corners of the BRC, and our rep at Tabula Rasa was quickly rising. It brought the entire neighborhood a little closer together. Who cares about dust storms when there are great chilled liquor freely available. I love bartending for friends and stranger. Anyone can mix drinks, but to be able to create an experience for people while they are drinking is something special and rare. As part of the barter system of the BRC, I got lots of hugs and kisses as tip, but also a slew of interesting paraphanelia; tips included pills of E, shrooms, nuggets of weed, stickers, buttons, cups, poems, scultptures, necklaces, and bracelets.

After we closed the bar, I got invited to go to a real genuine Fight Club at Temple of Atonement. The dust storms were still fervent, but that wasn't going to stop me from going out and enjoying my night. The Fight Club was intense, the DJ played music from the movie, and you had guys and girls matched up by weight just going at it on a padded floor. The guy fights weren't that interesting, they would mostly grapple and hit the ground and try to subdue each other. The girls on the other had were more intense. The girls fought topless with energy and determination that were simply inspiring. Everyone in the room felt the aggression, but it was all positive and supportive. I never felt that the place was out of control, or dangerous. After Fight Club I went to the Thunderdome, and watched more fighting in this Mad Max contraption were fighters are flying left and right swinging their padded sticks. People were standing on this spherical structure all the way to the top. The BRC is getting a little more intense, as the population doubles each night.