Why You No Call? The Children Miss You. I wanna slap you upside the head.

Said no one to me ever. I DO wanna slap you upside the head. You being the Royal You. Similar to the Royal We but spelled Oui. Now it time for a kick ass make-up of days offline. Laissez les bons temps rouler!
Note to Le Clown: This is New Orleans (Cajun) French so don’t be going and gagging at it. I beg your magnificent forgiveness for great times and awful grammar. Speaking only English, Russian and German (which is handy) just recognizing French is fab for moi. Another story for another day.

Changed my wireless/router name to ‘Stephen Hawking Is Locked In My Basement.’ I have no life.
Neither does Stephen….
I DO know how to party. Even without the booze I scare small children. My own is damaged for life. But she looks Mahhhhhvalous.
Please, won’t you help a starving disturbed family? Please send all of your cash to…. me. Information located at page bottom.

Have been so busy with work parties and the Demon Seed’s visit that there are 705 Unopened emails in my inbox. I see a mass delete coming.

Burning Man tickets came in the mail for both myself and my daughter.

an average playa dust storm

Many of you know what happened to my lovely girl demon seed last year. She is coming on back anyway. My sweetie told me ‘Mom, I am NOT going to let some deranged freak ruin what is one of the best weeks I’ve ever had.’ That’s my doll. Saw her last week.
Was supposed to visit her in San Francisco this week. Damned money, or rather lack of, is ass.

We’ve all (Spanky’s Wine Bar and Village) started the yearly mass work-parties up in the Nevada desert to do maintenance, rebuild and build new big kid toys for the camp. Think carnival rides for pervs AND kids. No really, THINK about it.
We have the Teeter Totter of Death, centrifuge (the merry-go-round you push and pull to get spinning) Chairway to Heaven, and two new rides this year.
Having the Orgasmatron for the 15th year on the playa is just icing. We’re not called Spanky’s based on the Little Rascals films.

Here’s a video of our Spank-O-Matic

Okay, just wanted to check in. Miss all of you, all of your writing, all of your smiles. I need ’em. Giving them out for free too.

Rock On Kids. Off to 4th of Juplaya in another week. Hidden Hot Springs on the playa, 1500 people instead of the 60,000 at Burning Man. Firearms, Frogbat… I’ll take a few pics. Spanky’s is making an official presence this year.
No one is in charge of this thing so no one is ever arrested. How cool is that?

Fuck I love summer.

ACK! Hairballs and Beautiful Big Babes

Bill the Cat ACK!

My terrific tuchas was seated, preparing to start in on this blog. Today’s diatribe had been pondered and expanded in the dark, humorous and still functioning portion of my neo-cortex.  Suddenly from behind came the dreaded, soul stealing, inspiration killing sound of… HORK.
It was Lizzie Borden, known deranged Queen of Inbred Persian Catdom, spewing forth hairball goodness. On the bedspread. The new beige bedspread.

This morning I’d decided to write a piece on body image. Specifically the obsession with impossibly thin women and men. Such a post it was to be! Complete with Fabulous Fotos of Fine-Ass Fatties, the beauty of individuality, sexy attire for all bodies and finally words of encouragement, help and empowerment.

Apparently it wasn’t meant happen. After hauling the bedspread down to the basement I couldn’t stop laughing.
The basement furnace (circa 1928) is where I incinerate the junk mail,  Jehovah’s Witnesses religious pamphlets and occasional census taker forms. After staring at the furnace the bedspread was dumped into the washing machine.

We’ll give the beauty and pain post another go tomorrow.
Remember: When life gives you cat vomit make cat vomit milk shakes!*

~Miss R

*Note: This flavor no longer endorsed to bring the boys to your yard

Currently listening:
House: Original Television Soundtrack

The Time Has Come

To Say What’s Fair.
Oh hell. Started singing instead of making a point.
Still, where can we go when our beds are burning.
-slaps self in face-.

Have more than 400 emails to catch up on. Yeppers all my fave bloggers. Sure lots are comment to return. I’m that kinda gal. Can’t do it all though. Even a bumbling genius needs Fresca, bed rest and duct tape.

Wish I had a male secretary. Or a 19th century hand carved secretary. Both are nice to look at when you’re working.

you thought PIZZA was a guy's Obsession

Speaking of which…

There are a few of our oddball cabal  that live in the same area of town. MILES (at least 5) from cheap ‘Indian Reservation’ ciggies (no tax YEAH) and  BoozeWorld.  Apparently the store sign actually says Taste of Wine.

When one our of southwest Reno tribe makes the journey we make calls: whaddaya need?

Lots of stuff on the other side of town: Grocery Outlet,Trader Joe’s,  99 cent food store and of course Boozeworld; for those who imbibe.
Today picked up some smokes and gin for my long time friend TK.
Dropped off said evil vice deposit. Was invited to dinner for my troubles. Gratis. My favorite price for dinner.
Seriously. Would you say no to a promise of pizza that has been proclaimed ‘BEST’ you’ve ever had?

Am a Brooklyn gal. Know my pizza. Still looking for the noms out here in the Wild Wild West. Hell there is (was?) a place on Avenue U near my old apartment on 19th and Ocean Ave in said borough, with the best white sauce brick oven pie. Nothing like it put here. Digressing. As fucking usual when discussing food.

Supplies! Utter noms in Reno.

I promised to drive (hahaha) and TK would buy dinner. Sounds good to me.

We get into Abe (it’s a Lincoln, duh). On the floor is a roll of duct tape, wires and a pocket knife. Oh, and TK had just sharpened 8 of my cooking knives. Located on the front seat.
We looked at each other and said in unison:
‘We’re fucked. We’ll be pulled over as serial killers and we’re not even drinking. and the body parts are already buried.’

Luckily it’s Reno and if you don’t have duct tape, razor-sharp chef and butcher knives plus a gun (which we were missing; left them in the safe) there’s no chance of being pulled over.

Great dinner. Eclipse Pizza. Great people. great food. The kind employees let us take over -as we do- and plugged in TK’s iPhone/Tunes. Joe Jackson with dinner. Can’t beat it with your dick. Maybe stick. Damned auto-correct.

    Secret Menu online. TK ordered the Slumberjack…Pesto sauce, buttload of meat, extra fresh toppings cheap, home made thin crust. Newcastle to drink per TK, as well as many other selections including Icky (a local brew)  on tap.

Gimme time to catch up on mail.
Knew there was a point to this.

~Miss R

A Rape in Black Rock City: Reblogged from Yes Means Yes

This piece originally appeared today on YesMeansYes .

I was interviewed  by the guest writer after she saw my thread  ePlaya and found YoYo-Dyne’s post Burning  Man Delayed and Defiled, The post dealt with the sexual attack on my daughter this year at Burning Man.

The guest author for this post is Clarisse Thorn, author, feminist , advocate for the rights of  the pro-sex women’s movement. She is pro healthy sexual contact, BDSM, awareness of ‘stranger danger’ and a Burner as well. This piece is well researched and a fair look into an incident of horror.

yesmeansyesblog.wordpress.com/ ‘Visions of women’s sexual Power & a World Without Rape’ is a great resource. Do not forget to visit Clarisse Thorn’s site as well.

———————————————————————————————

A Rape In Black Rock City

This is an article about sexual assault at the Burning Man arts festival, and the issues that surround this topic at Burning Man. It includes accounts of a particular assault.

I am writing this post as a feminist, as someone with extensive experience in the BDSM community, and from the perspective of a 2-year Burner with caring Burner friends. If you’d like to know more about my background, or if you don’t know much about Burning Man, it might help to read my review of Burning Man 2012. You can find my previous work about BDSM and sexual communication at my blog or in my books.

I want to acknowledge up front that there are a number of social justice issues at the festival, some of which I summarized in my review, and some of which were recently highlighted when the “Cargo Cult” theme was announced for Burning Man 2013. You can find a petition to change the theme here. There is also a response to the controversy from one of the Burning Man Volunteer Coordinators on the Burning Man website here (although the Burning Man organization is careful to note that this coordinator does not speak for the organization).

But, with that having been said: I care about Burning Man, and I also want to emphasize that it’s a beautiful, unique event with dedicated organizers and an extraordinary community.

* * *

Recent Events

I’ve heard a lot of longtime Burners say that Burning Man 2012 felt more rapey than previous Burns. I haven’t been around long enough to have an opinion, but while I had plenty of awesome conversations with awesome guys on the playa, I also handled a number of invasive guys. Many folks have pointed out that Black Rock City may be a temporary city, but it’s still a city — over 50,000 people attended in 2012. As with any community, our community will have to deal with both predators and clueless people.

* * *

An Assault

These issues were highlighted in September, right after Burning Man 2012, when a thread popped up on the biggest Burning Man forum called “Serial Rapist On The Playa.” The original post was written by a Burner named Miss R. Here’s an excerpt:

Thursday night my daughter (who is 19) and I went riding our bikes to a few art installations. We were sober. She decided to go see Burn Wall Street but I was tired. She took off on her bike. On the way to the installation it began to rain. She ducked into Want It Camp.

12 hours later she arrived back to our camp hallucinating and having been given an IV at the med tent.

She had been found behind Emerald City, face down and overdosing. The rangers assumed she had gotten drunk or taken drugs. Several hours after returning to our camp bruises appeared on her neck and it was obvious from other signs that she had been sexually attacked.

She IDENTIFIED her attacker -a DJ from Want It- and he had an accomplice.

There are NO rape kits on the playa nor forensic nurses. Because my daughter did not want to be taken to Reno, questioned for a 9th time (she had already given descriptions and a report to the Pershing County officials on the playa) she was told no charges could be filed. When a victim is taken from the playa to Reno they are given a rape kit there, all of their clothing taken for evidence and then they’redischarged; with no way back to the playa, their belongings or place to stay. If the victim is in shock and still under the influence of dosing they are not able to make a rational decision or find help either.

There were two other women reporting the same drugging, strangulation and rape that night.

This was my 7th Burn. Made sure my daughter was 18 before she was allowed to attend, and she is no dummy. She has been going to school and living in San Francisco for a year, I told her BM was safe. So she accepted a glass of water (she thought) from a DJ and bouncer at Want It.

Miss R also wrote a post on her blog. I corresponded with her by email, and she told me:

From my understanding there is more rape on the playa than is reported, and many cases -such as my daughter’s- are kept quiet. … Pershing county District Attorney was still unable to provide a police report after more than a month. The sheriff Dept, after my calls to them first, offered no help, and had no idea which policeman had been working with my daughter.

She was told that no charges would even be FILED as there was no evidence.. No One from the DA or Sherrif’s office offered any type of resources for us; i.e. counselling, STD testing, etc. we never DID get a copy of a police report.

which brings me to the Med Tent. My daughter was brought in by passers by. The med tent hooked her up to an IV for fluids, and immediately diagnosed her as a party girl who had too many drugs. Meanwhile she was covered with bite marks, strangulation marks around her neck and was clearly delusional. She told them she had taken no drugs but was dismissed.

I understand how many cases the med tent gets, and god knows how many idiots go out there and do it to themselves. As a long time Burner I do understand the pressure on all of the people who volunteer to work with 50,000 crazed Burners. My hats are off to them. [But] if the staff at the med tent had taken 5 more minutes to examine my daughter the rape would have been evident and she would have been treated with more than fluids. As it was, she was sick, hallucinating and did not even know she had been raped for 24 hours after the attack.

Please made it known in your article that if it were not for the Black Rock Rangers [the Burning Man safety patrol], we would never have known the identity of the rapist. Even though my daughter identified the man who led her to the rapist DJ, the Rangers were unable to convince the DA to attempt any type of prosecution. Two Rangers took the time to drive my daughter and myself past the camp where the incident took place. From the back seat, which was darkened, my daughter identified the man to the Rangers. These two amazing people pulled around the corner from this camp, called the police to meet them, and questioned the leader of Want It.

Want It was an Esplanade camp that had a good record with Burning Man. My daughter and I belong to a prominent Esplanade camp. She accepted what she believed to be a glass of water, from their DJ. She did not ask for a cocktail or anything else. In fact she did not ask for the water. It does go to show that one should never accept anything from another camp. Defeats the purpose of Burning Man culture in a way doesn’t it? We belong to Spanky’s Wine Bar. we are there TO provide not just a fun experience but serve wine to customers.

* * *

Official Resources

Burning Man has several different official outfits that handle various issues around the playa, one of which is the Black Rock Rangers. I spoke by phone with their Operations Manager, Curtis Kline, whose playa name is Tulsa. He told me:

What the Rangers are really good at is figuring out what’s really going on. If a participant at BM sees something that they are uncomfortable with — if, for example, a vulnerable participant is with someone who is creepy — then the Rangers are really good at interacting with those participants to find out what’s really going on. We have the training, skills, and experience to tell the difference between something unusual or strange, as opposed to something that has the potential to turn into a really bad situation. We also have a direct line to law enforcement or mental health [a branch of the Burning Man organization’s Emergency Services Department], so we can escalate to one of those groups if necessary.

In my very first Ranger shift, 2000, one of the tasks they gave me was — we went into camp after camp on the Esplanade [the main street of Black Rock City] and we would be looking into the shadows for people who we thought might be vulnerable and engaging them in conversation. Whether they were alone or with someone, we’d be engaging them in conversation and trying to figure out what’s going on, reunite them with their friends if necessary. We’d also look for the creep factors in anyone they might be hanging out with.

There’s also a hierarchy within the official Burning Man organization called the Emergency Services Department, and I spoke by phone directly to Joseph Pred, who founded ESD and serves as its Operations Chief. Joseph outlined the procedure for handling sexual assault, which involves liaising with law enforcement and putting survivors in touch with counselors and other supporters in the ESD Mental Health branch. He noted that “in a typical year, the average number of sexual assault cases we see is six, and maybe one case per year falls under stranger rape, which involves gathering evidence like rape kits.”

The Burning Man organization releases yearly Afterburn Reports, and you can read the ESD section from 2011 here. (The 2012 report has not yet been released.)

* * *

Community Resources

One of the interesting things about Black Rock City is the fact that it’s a huge but temporary city that only recently became a city. Burning Man only moved to the desert two decades ago, and it has accrued both official hierarchies and community organizations as part of its swift expansion (the population was 250 in 1991; 1,000 in 1993; and 25,400 in 2000). There’s a lot of emphasis on the various civic responsibilities of Black Rock City citizens. ESD Chief Joseph Pred told me that:

This isn’t just a law enforcement issue. Part of what we’re going to do to highlight Burning Man as an extraordinary place is reaching out to the community. We’re going to reach out to young men, veteran Burners, and the community as a whole about what consent means. We want to really focus on education … one of the things that makes Burning Man great is that the community really cares about the outcomes. It’s not like going to a concert; the community really cares what happens to everyone else.

And Tulsa, of the Black Rock Rangers, said that:

If we encounter a situation where we think the participant is in danger, then we will take some kind of action to protect the participant. Our first resource is always the community. We will try to find someone in the community who can help us to protect that vulnerable person. If a crime has been committed, then we will certainly call in law enforcement and have them talk to the participants. But if it’s just a creep factor, then our first action will be to try and find their friends or someone they know. Failing that, I’ve been in more than one situation where someone nearby is already interested in helping that person — for example, a nearby group of women who might help a vulnerable lone woman.

The root of where safety is going to come from at Burning Man is from the community itself. Of the huge number of participants at Burning Man, we have a very small number of Rangers. I always tell my friends — keep an eye out, keep an eye out for people who are vulnerable and for the creep factor. I think we have the logistical infrastructure in place to provide for our participants.

The Burning Man community is loosely organized into “theme camps,” which are groups of people who camp together and offer something theme-y to Black Rock City. Some camps display art; some offer food; some offer knowledge by hosting classes; some host dance events; some give performances; and so on. While many camps talk about consent, sexual consent is the entire focus of the Bureau of Erotic Discourse (BED), which was founded in 2005.

BED organizes an assortment of events whose documentation can be found here. Their workshops on consent are well-advertised and open to all; they post fliers in all the Port-A-Potties at the festival (which is no small task). One clever handout called Negotiating Beyond The Norm is reminiscent of some BDSM consent discussions. It features an adorable list of ideas for how to communicate unusual sexual desires, including sample statements like: “I can’t believe that we’ve been sleeping together for two months and this is the first time I’ve heard about this fantasy. I would absolutely love to act this one out with you, my little vampire.”

BED also has a handout about sexual assault at Burning Man. I emailed with Dr. Placebo, a core member of BED, and he told me:

One question we get asked a lot at the workshops is “How many rapes happen at Burning Man?” We have wondered about this ourselves, and our best answer is:

1. We don’t know for sure.

2. Rape is underreported.

3. Even one is too many.

* * *

Response to the September event

On the forum thread that followed Miss R’s post, there were responses from ESD Chief Joseph Pred, as well as from members of BED. There were also several other personal testimonials. I asked Joseph about the thread when I spoke to him, and he told me that Miss R had received bad information; “the information was given to her erroneously by law enforcement, not Burning Man staff.” He stated that Burning Man staff would provide a change of clothes when rape survivors go to Reno to report, if necessary (not all rape follow-ups require the survivor’s clothes to be taken for evidence). He further told me that Burning Man staff would provide safe rides both to and from Reno as necessary, and that “we will be training Pershing County law enforcement on the sexual assault practices currently in place so they are aware of all procedures and resources in the days before the event starts. This training is being done at request of law enforcement.”

The Burning Man Public Relations Manager, Megan Miller, told me by email that “a couple of working groups were created to follow up on this issue. There are a couple of cross-departmental ones internally that I’m involved in, which have begun to examine what we learned from this year and what we can do better in the future.” She also wrote a blog post soon after the forum thread went up, in which she reiterated the general call to action towards the community. Furthermore, in the blog post, Megan addressed the question of rape kits:

We’ve recently received a few inquiries as to why Burning Man does not conduct sexual assault forensic exams (commonly referred to as “rape kits”) on site. Organizers have examined this several times, each time facing the reality that this type of exam requires specialized training and equipment not designed to operate in desert conditions, and which could produce legally questionable results if not performed in an appropriate facility. There are only three designated facilities in the entire state of Nevada that regularly perform these exams. The closest to Burning Man is the Northern Nevada Medical Center in Reno.

In various coverage since the discussion started, a lot of people have suggested that rape kits should be offered despite the difficulty. I spoke to a Burner and consent activist named Kitty Stryker by email, and she wrote to me:

I’m frustrated at Burning Man’s reluctance to find radical ways to utilize rape kits on the playa …. Are you really telling me we’re a community that can build an entire city in a couple weeks, with a medical center that can set bones, internet access, recycling, radio stations, and we can make art that blows people’s minds, but we can’t figure out how to take a rape kit sample on playa and get it to Reno for processing? I don’t believe that. If it was a priority, I suspect we could find a solution.

I am not a forensic examiner, but I am a trained advocate for sexual assault survivors, and I’m familiar with the challenges of administering rape kits. Even in a major city with great facilities like Chicago, rape kits are long and complicated processes, and one of the most complicated parts of the process is the “chain of evidence.” There are important laws about, for example, how the kits must be stored and kept under observation by trained professionals at all times. If rape kits are administered in sketchy circumstances, then they become questionable in court, and are worse than useless. It’s also worth noting that Nevada in particular, where the Black Rock Desert is located, has tough certification requirements around administering rape kits; these minutes from a June 2012 State of Nevada Victims’ Rights sub-committee contain a lot of relevant information.

I would, of course, personally feel happier if it were possible for rape survivors to choose to receive rape kits on the playa. It may be possible that there is a radical solution here; I hung out in a sauna one night on the playa in 2012, and if you ask me, a camp-out sauna at night in the Black Rock Desert means that anything’s possible. But it’s obviously crucial that rape kit evidence be valid if it is taken.

Part of the problem is not just the biological viability of the evidence; it’s the social viability. Will a jury — a group of 12 individuals with all the biases that individuals in our culture often have — trust the evidence of a rape kit that was taken in the midst of a legendary arts festival, even if the kit was administered in technically ideal conditions? I would love to believe that they would, but given that we live in a culture where survivors’ stories are questioned in the best of conditions, I believe that getting a Black Rock City rape kit allowed as evidence in court would be an uphill battle at the very least. (I’ll talk about this more in the Analysis section, which is coming up next.)

Of course, difficulty gathering evidence and getting a conviction is old news for consent activists in the “default world,” too — i.e. everywhere outside Black Rock City. Thus, anti-rape activists focus a lot of effort on community response. So I was glad to see the “mayor” of Camp Want It (the camp whose DJ was named by Miss R in her original post) respond on her thread:

My name is Jason. This is not my playa name, but my REAL name – as this is a very REAL situation at hand. I am the head steward (or “mayor”) of Want It. I was just made aware of this thread by fellow camp mates. Myself, along with a few other core planners in camp, were apprised of the situation on Sunday, 9/2 when we were approached by rangers to discuss what happened. We were stunned to hear of what happened and we cooperated with the rangers as much as we could. We even agreed to give the rangers access to search individual personal spaces within camp to see if they could locate any of the victim’s missing personal belongings. None of the girl’s items were recovered during their brief search. However, the rangers told us they would be back later that day, or the following day, to further discuss. We never heard from the rangers again. We have since been trying to piece together information and facts from that night with the intention of approaching the lead investigating ranger (whose information we have). Till now, we had no idea whether our camp was still implicated in, or associated with, this case. We also were never given any indication of the victim’s identity or where she was camped… until this ePLaya thread.

This was my 13th year at Burning Man and my 10th year with Want It. Want It has always striven to provide a safe camp for both our own camp mates as well as for our guests. Please know that we are taking this matter VERY seriously and that we will do whatever we can to help the authorities, the victim, and the victim’s friend’s and family. We also ask that the community please withhold any judgements against our camp, performers or guests until all the facts have been made clear. Such accusations have the ability to destroy the reputations of those who have nothing but the purest and best of intentions. We ask that if anyone in the community has any information that may help us, then please contact us or the victim’s family/friends immediately.

I followed up with Want It through their Facebook page, where there has been a bunch of commentary. I wasn’t able to get in touch with Jason, but I spoke to an organizer named Charles Smith, whose playa name is Princess. He told me that:

one individual accused of the rape is a member of our camp. however, all of his time can be accounted for by multiple people of both sexes. I can respond to all of the claims but it’d be our word vs. her/the mothers word and that’s just not something we can do. no way that we want to drag a victim through that sort of thing

no charges were filed. he wasn’t even asked to leave and we were prepared for that. they asked to search things and we gave them open access to everything, including our personal spaces as we had absolutely nothing to hide. we got all the info back to the rangers and didn’t hear anything definitive back. through others in the org we heard that they caught someone and were prosecuting, hoping he’d turn on his partner. they were not part of our camp. this is technically hearsay of course, but so much on the playa is.

the community as a whole seemed to be outraged that there are no rape kits on the playa. I also heard and saw some people attacking the mother for things like leaving her newbie daughter alone on the playa and not taking her daughter off the playa to get help after it happened, all which i/we felt were inappropriate. there were also more than a few that went after us and as a result there’s a good possibility we may carry this label for awhile. once such a accusation is made it’s really impossible to un-do it. I’m a bit surprised that the forum allowed her post naming a camp, knowing what such a thing can do. Again, what’s been done is done, we can only work harder towards making our camp a safer place.

I asked after plans to make Want It safer, and he responded:

While we have not finalized next years plans we do have a outline with goals in the works to improve safety in and around our camp with basic things like lighting strips around the perimeter of camp, and patrols to make sure we don’t have any unwanted creepers back there, as well as more monitoring of people that are in our lounge as guests.

when I say monitoring guests I mean, watching out for creepy guys, strange behavior, etc… and looking out for guests that may be asleep or passed out and so on to make sure if they need medical care they get it. if they need a safe spot to rest, they’ll have it. not a matter of intruding, but we need to warn people that are acting inappropriately. we chased several people out of camp this year.

and i myself dealt with someone that drifted into the back of the bar one night. i thought that she’d maybe had too much of something and invited her to sit on a stool to the side of the bar so that she could be comfortable and get herself oriented

as some time went on it seemed like maybe she was on a heavy roll or possibly tripping. i’ve been out there 10 years now and seen quite a bit of that type of thing. she got cold so i grabbed a fur of mine and moved her into the lounge where it was warmer and sat her a sofa within my sight. she was a little agitated, but once i went over and sat with her she calmed down. she said she couldn’t figure out where she was or how she got there. she was a newbie, and that sort of thing happens. over the next couple of hours it came out that she’d possibly been drugged.

i asked if she was ok physically and she said yes, but needed some time to get her wits together. she wanted to walk across the playa back to her camp, but it was still dark out so i kept her with us and introduced her to some friends, made sure she had water and a bit of food and a little bit later when it was light out she took off (safely wrapped in my fur). she did come back every day after that and ended up having a good burn despite the rocky start

so, i guess i’m telling you this because i saw something firsthand and we heard about people getting drugged at other camps on the playa. the creeps are out there.

* * *

Analysis

This is a complicated story, but it doesn’t have to be as complicated as we make it. The community should keep pressing the Burning Man organization to deal with these situations better in the future, but I do believe that the organization is dedicated to finding solutions to the law enforcement problems. Still, the truth is that — as everyone throughout this event kept saying — the community is going to have to step up for this one.

If we lived in a culture that placed a higher priority on consent at all times, then this would be a different story with a different set of incentives and realities. But we don’t. Furthermore, Burning Man is a subculture with particular social vulnerabilities within the larger culture. Those social vulnerabilities are going to make official organization and law enforcement hard.

* * *

Vulnerabilities

I see a lot of the issues with sexual assault at Burning Man as related to issues of sexual assault within the BDSM community. Both communities contain lots of good-hearted and honorable people, but both communities are also uniquely vulnerable because of how rape culture shapes the context in which our subcultures exist. I mention this because I think that we can share tactics and ideas. I hope that even BDSMers who are unfamiliar with Burners will be willing to look at the similarities, and vice versa.

Here are three big factors making us vulnerable:

Firstly, both the BDSM community and the Burning Man community have a strong emphasis on sexual exploration, on respecting people’s sexual preferences and identities. This is at odds with the larger culture and it means that both communities tend to be leery of judging sexual events negatively, because we’re so accustomed to being ill-judged for consensual acts.

Secondly, and relatedly, both communities feel lots of anxiety about outsiders’ judgments. Like many BDSM groups, the Burning Man community discourages taking pictures of Burners without permission. In fact, every Burner signs a waiver that gives copyright of their photographs partly to Burning Man, and one reason for this is to protect attendees from having their presence at the festival known to the public against their will. A commenter on a recent Facebook thread stated:

Burning Man can be twisted against you, in legal situations. Trust me, I know. Why do you think I’ve had a billion fake profile names. I just recently posted an actual picture of my face. You can’t trust most of the general public to understand what we do.

This means that community members are often leery of reporting crimes. It’s important to note that this anxiety is also often accurate, in that outsiders often have odd reactions to community members; fear of outsiders’ reactions is not “just paranoia,” it’s quite sensible.

Thirdly, there’s heavy drug culture — which is much more strongly present in the Burning Man community than the BDSM community. My impression is that at least 50% (if not more) of BDSM spaces are deliberately free of drugs and alcohol. That kind of thing can still be found among some BDSMers, though.

Perhaps in part because of our particular vulnerabilities, both the BDSM community and the Burning Man community have large contingents pushing for extremely careful consent practices. At Burning Man, this is spearheaded by BED. Among BDSMers, this push has been reflected in the work of BDSM-feminist writers like myself and Thomas MacAulay Millar at this very blog; Tracy Clark-Flory wrote an overview of one larger initiative in early 2012 for Salon.

Sexual assault is never the victim’s fault. These vulnerabilities are not our fault. However, they are still vulnerabilities, legally and socially — and predators know that they exist.

* * *

Predators, Clueless People, and Benefit of the Doubt

At one point, in 2012, a friend distributed a stack of red and yellow cards to my group at a dance camp. They were “creeper move” cards, which were originally developed by a journalist named KC to use at the hacker conference DefCon. The yellow cards say:

Creeper Move! If you have received this card, you have done something mildly inappropriate to the person who handed it to you. Your intentions might have been good, but before future engagement make sure that you are being respectful and mindful of people’s boundaries.

The red ones say:

Creeper Move! If you have received this card, you have done something wildly inappropriate or otherwise harassed the person who handed it to you. You should be happy you got the card and not a punch in the face. Check yourself — you might not be this lucky twice!

I am a fan of these cards, as I’ve often wished that there was clearer feedback for people who screw these situations up. My personality often inclines towards giving people — all people — the benefit of the doubt in such situations. The cards certainly are not perfect, though. Indeed, right after I received a stack of them, a dude came up to me and my friends and aggressively started grabbing us, talking over us, etc. I was so entertained by the juxtaposition that I started laughing; one of my friends got flustered trying to explain why I was laughing, and in all the commotion we forgot to give the dude any creeper cards.

The other thing about giving the benefit of the doubt is that an overall problem of sexual violence — in any culture — is the fact that predators thrive within the unclear situations that might legitimately be accidental. There are definitely predators reading this article, and for them, all the painstaking feminist analyses of rape culture are not warnings. To a predator, our analyses are road maps for how to get away with committing rape. So it kind of freaks me out when I write this stuff down publicly. Yet it’s an important step towards dealing with it.

Predators, as a general rule, spend more time thinking about the habits of their prey than prey spends thinking about predators. They are specialists, after all. The prey has to specialize in order to understand them in return. As Thomas MacAulay Millar has noted at this here blog, research supports the argument that:

The major difference between the incarcerated and the non-incarcerated rapists are that the former cannot or do not confine themselves to tactics that are low-risk to them. The undetected rapists overwhelmingly use minimal or no force, rely mostly on alcohol and rape their acquaintances. They create situations where the culture will protect them by making excuses for them and questioning or denying their victims. Incarcerated rapists, I think, are just the ones who use the tactics that society is more willing to recognize as rape and less willing to make excuses for.

* * *

Conclusions

The first social vulnerability of Burning Man — unwillingness to judge sexual events negatively — probably played a role in the medical tent’s failure to notice their patient’s trauma. The second vulnerability — outsiders’ judgments — probably played a role in the fact that charges weren’t pressed. The third vulnerability — heavy drug use — is the biggest one, and its dimensions shape the story from start to finish. (We also have all the normal victim-blamey dynamics, like people who blamed Miss R for leaving her daughter alone on the playa. I presume I don’t have to spell those out.)

I am not sure what it would take to get someone convicted for rape in Black Rock City. It seems possible that the justice systems of the default world simply won’t serve that function for us, no matter how much training we give them. I would like to see more realistic conversation about this in the community; if it’s true that we can’t rely on the legal system, then we have to think carefully about what that implies.

Like BDSMers, Burners who want a safe environment will have to build it among the community, with people who are familiar with our culture. This will indeed involve watching for strange behavior, as the Rangers already do, and as the organizer of Want It described. We’re known for weird behavior, so we’re the best ones to figure out how to look for weird behavior among our weird behavior. Let’s keep that up.

But, as those of us who research rape already know, the majority of these crimes don’t happen with weird strangers; they happen with people the victim already knows. And as I already pointed out, predators are on the lookout for cultural gaps to exploit. So the only real long-term solution is to change the culture.

There are two components to changing the culture. The first is that we call out the people who violate boundaries, even when they’re our friends. It’s relatively easy to watch for outsiders who behave oddly. It’s much harder to talk about community members who hurt people. Maybe Creep Cards will help with this, but sometimes stronger measures will be called for.

To that end, I recognize that what Want It camp has gone through was painful for the whole group. But whether their campmate is guilty or not, this is part of the Burning Man community process of incentivizing good behavior. We as a community are making it clear that no, we’re actually not as vulnerable as we might appear. (Readers will probably be unsurprised to know that similar issues around naming abusers have surfaced in the BDSM community; Tracy Clark-Flory has a good summary of that, too, including quotes from Thomas.)

A sex activist and Burner friend of mine named Pepper Mint, who camps with Poly Asylum, wrote to me by email that:

I can also confirm that the playa felt extra-rapey this year. I got a total of three reports of harassment directly from friends. And it was underscored for me because someone asked my camp (pre-playa) to exclude her rapist who hangs out in poly circles. After being asked to leave our (and the other poly) camp, said rapist dude then proceeded to stalk her all over playa, threaten lawsuits, and try to get law enforcement involved on his side.

Much like with BDSM, I don’t think we can rely on the authorities or even the wider community to help protect people. As you can probably guess from the above, I’m a strong advocate of naming names, and having a culture where doing so is acceptable. That’s the only way I’ve seen actual progress in sexual minority communities around sexual assault. Naming people may in fact sully some reputations incorrectly, but it’s important to remember that the vast majority of accusations are correct — the highest estimates put false accusations at 10%, or 1 in 10. I have yet to see a false accusation, and I’ve thrown a lot of folks out of parties at this point (though admittedly very few for full-on sexual assault). I’m okay with the occasional guy having to explain some inaccurate stuff to his social circle if it means that rape actually carries a social cost in our communities. I’m even willing to be that guy.

Pepper suggested that in such cases, everyone in the community should at least know the identity of the accused. I think it’s worth asking: What are the implications of enabling that information to remain secret? When we recognize that predators exploit gaps in the culture, how can we narrow those gaps? How should the wider Burning Man community handle Want It Camp in the future?

The second part of changing the culture is bigger and more long-term, and that’s moving towards a more constant process of consent during sexual interactions. I thought this comment was good, left by Caleb on one of the many relevant blog posts:

Our tribe loves sex, and we have developed at Burning Man an incredible space where sexual diversity is truly allowed to flourish. But the way we think and talk about it is off point. Whatever your appetites and practices, the only thing that actually matters when it comes to sex is consent. Period. Get consent early and often, because that is what it means to PARTICIPATE. Otherwise you are just a consumer, just like in the default world. This is what our principles demand, and we need to enforce it culturally the same way we enforce LNT or radical self-reliance — namely by COMMUNICATING with and ACCULTURATING people who don’t seem to get it, whether they are our campmates, friends, or strangers on the street.

… I take issue with the idea that the rapists among us aren’t burners, or are somehow “other.” Anyone who doesn’t make consent the most important thing about every single sexual interaction could be a rapist under the right circumstances, and I think that most men and many women among us have at least experienced that disconnect (even if we got lucky and consent was actually present). Getting consent is a skill that needs to be learned and practiced, and if we don’t teach it to our community and remind our citizens to practice it, then people will continue to rape, just like they do everywhere else in our society.

What does learning and practicing consent look like? It can look like safewords or pre-sex conversations or lots of other sex signals, including the BED handout I mentioned about Negotiating Beyond The Norm — but it’s not just about sex, not really.

Learning and practicing consent looks like asking out loud before you take a picture. It looks like asking before you give a hug, whether verbally or non-verbally (for example, by opening your arms and raising your eyebrows). It looks like checking in with friends and partners if they react in a way you didn’t expect. It looks like monitoring your and your friends’ intoxication levels. It looks like apologizing when you screw up. It looks like demanding accountability when other people screw up. It’s having an ongoing conversation that includes active response from the partner (even if those responses are non-verbal).

I’m not going to claim that these issues aren’t complex and difficult. Here, I’ll bold it: these issues can be incredibly complex and difficult. A lot of my previous writing has focused on the complexities and difficulties of consent and community dynamics around it. I know there’s lots of nuance in the world. I know that verbal communication is hard and that non-verbal communication is a big thing. I know that practicing good consent goes against a lot of hardcore cultural expectations and, sometimes, it’s hard for other reasons too. I know. But although consent can be complicated, we’re responsible — all of us — and these questions are too important to walk away from.

It may be helpful for us to look at approaches to community justice that have been developed by other communities that feel they can’t rely on law enforcement. Terms of art include “restorative justice” and “transformative justice.”

As a final note, I want to add a heartfelt wish that Miss R and her daughter will be okay. My thoughts are with them.

* * *

Postscript

Because this is an article about sexual assault at Burning Man, I will note for the sake of completeness that there are many important issues around intoxicants and consent. I think Burners have an opportunity to shed particular light on the question of how to have consensual sex while intoxicated, just as some BDSMers have taken the opportunity to shed particular light on consent during sexual encounters that are calculated to push boundaries. These are important conversations! However, these are not conversations that I feel comfortable having in the context of recent events at Burning Man — because what happened here was a calculated assault by a predator, and I don’t want to distract from that.

Comments will be moderated by Thomas, not Clarisse.

End of post————————————————————————–

Miss R again:

Thank you to Clarris Thorn, who sought me out for several email interviews for this piece as well as many others.
A big thank you  at YesmeansYes and Thomas MacAulay Millar for placing this article on his site.

Thanks to all of my readers and friends who offered such support, concern and love after the YoYo-Dyne Post describing my daugher’s trauma as well as my own

Happy Apocalyptic Eve!

Ho ho ho! Santa Cohen de  Muertos here

to wish you all a happy end of days!

Don’t forget to leave out a bowl of festive body parts -and a side of  fava beans. May you all be blessed with a fiery death and a new beginning wherever your afterlife takes you.

YoYo-Dyne’s Scientific Proof of Exactly HOW the Mayans have done away with Our World…

mayan end of the world. YoYo-dyne Burns!

Night of the Living Wine Gums

They’ve come. You could say the same of myself.

It was a dark and not particularly stormy night in Reno, Nevada. The wasteland of the west.

Here is a bit of background: Read it. Jesus quit your paragraph skipping.

After several successful careers in various states (both physical and mental) your humble writer was forced from the United States into banishment. Threats of burnings in effigy, psychotic villagers with dull pitchforks and letters to editors across the country brought about this bizarre event.

I’m not one to brag, but it may have been partially my own fault. Potentially my fault. Okay entirely. I’m that good.

Reno is similar to Vegas. A Vegas bereft of large food markets, any type of whacko culture –yes the Reno Strip looks like Meth Central- and graced only by a single Trader Joe’s. A Vegas run by a dying mob family turned hobo.

Reno: Home of the homeless. My bastille, trap, and foreseeable residence. All that is missing is a fine cask of Amontillado. Some fava beans would be nice.

Armed only with a piano and Internet connection this author was able to interact with the outside. To her consternation there appeared to be something missing. Something available to people from the UK to Canada to Rwanda.

wine gums

The fascination became overwhelming. After world-wide travels, residency in large wondrous cities, and the surreptitious sojourns to Tijuana, it became clear that I had been truly cheated of a life experience.

WINE GUMS!

These seemingly epicurean delights were mentioned by bloggers comprised of French, Goth, Australian, Canadian, and even some crazed redhead located in –shudder- the southern United States.

Today, while sitting in the desolate yet bizarrely charming Castille du Blaque, daydreaming of trimming the crypt with festive Festivus black and zombie green lights, a knock came at the door.

Welcome 'O Seeker of Knowledge

Welcome ‘O Seeker of Knowledge

Now realize, I do not leave the house during the day. Receive no mail save the daily carton of past due notices, and rarely answer the phone. The doorbell is anathema. Despite these fine character features I made an exception. I answered the door.

The exception that Changed My Life.

Wine Gums, directly from the Great White North. Sent by the god Peter, King of Wombania. Savior, Saint, Artist and All Around Amazing Dude.

The Wine Gum packaging was inviting. A black background festooned with images of the delights hidden within. With trembling hands I carefully reached for the scissors to open the first of three packages. Then threw the fucking shears to the floor and ripped open the bag with my teeth.

As you do.

Oh heaven moved upon the first taste. The flavors of fruit that pop. The chewy consistency. The feeling of… a life complete.

I shall Yelp my findings to the world. Offer a Laurel (and hardy) handshake to Peter, and emerge from this fortress of neurosis a new woman.

A woman ready to take on the world, fighting for rights of the oppressed free-thinkers, coffee addicts, and slightly used Guapola ferrets.

I KNOW THE SECRET OF LIFE AND THAT SECRET IS WINE GUMS

Piss off ye Philistines and rednecks of Nevada. Kiss my lily-white Irish-Hebraic ass you uneducated cretins of Reno. Oh, and a big Fuck-Off to gummy anything candies.

Tasty Goodness is mine. I owe it all to Fraz, Winky, Binky, and an amazing artist named Peter.

To paraphrase Rufus T Firefly….Hail Hail Wombania!

 Now phuck off and let me nosh on these wine gums until my remaining 3 molars fall out.

Mmmmmmmm Wine Gums.

~Miss R

Burning Man Delayed… and Defiled.

Hello all.
After all of the build-up,personal obsession social media and physical work- devoted to Burning Man here,  then you may be wondering why I’ve posted nothing until now.

This is the first post. It isn’t pretty. No pictures, wonderful stories, or even the hilarious drunken antics of our citizens. Those will come later.
For now, this is about my daughter.
It is an Urban Myth come true.

Sexual Assault on the Playa

As an 8 year Burner I feel safe, kept sane and amazed every year by the experience of fifty thousand people (this year 58,000+) coming together from all over the world. Sharing cultures, fun, food, ethnic differences and ability to integrate all of them. Best part: we all watch out for each other.

For years I’ve told the Demon Seed that I would not allow her to attend until she was 18. She was 19 this year. It is truly an adult event, despite ‘Kidsville.’ and the past 5 years of the BORG (sorry, should be ORG but hell) encouraging people to bring their children.
This is cretinous. If an adult’s lungs can barely take the dust and heat how is a small child supposed to survive. Sorry. Digressed.

One beautiful evening my daughter and I took our bikes out to see a few art installation on deep playa. Deep Playa refers to the area outside of the miles of camps surrounding The Man and where the biggest, most amazing structures are.
She wanted to see Burn Wall Street, before it burned.
We had climbed Mal Mart, been to the head of Anubis, and met new friends already.
I was tired and told her to be careful, it was beginning to rain.

Next time I saw the Demon seed was 15 hours later. Hallucinating, and with an IV bandage on her arm from the med tent. She remembered nothing. A camper from Emerald City had apparently found her face down behind their camp. Overdosing.

Now, I may be brilliant, a total fucker, live too fast, try anything once (twice to make sure), and a fabulously crazy biatch –as is my daughter. We do NOT do heavy drugs or take insane risks though.
When she got back to camp I noticed something wrong with her, and the fact that she was hallucinating was scary. Sent her back with two of her friends to find a camp Ranger (the Burning Man ‘police’, as opposed to the Pershing county police who also have a presence on the playa).

Another 8 hours and she had not returned. I’m waiting by our camper and losing my mind with worry. Left camp in a dust storm white-out to find a ranger and my daughter. Finally learned that she was being returned by the sheriff’s department to our camp.

What happened? She had been dosed (taken a glass of ‘water’) at a camp called ‘Want It.’ She was then raped and dumped on a side street.
The rangers originally believed she had over-indulged, as did I originally.

She identified her attacker –a DJ with the aforementioned camp- but no charges can be brought because:
1. There is no Rape Kit on the playa
2. There are no Forensic Nurses on the playa
3. Her only choice (while under the influence of Ketamine and PC-2 which the cops believe was the dose) was going to Reno, being stripped, examined then released with no clothing, money or possessions.
Two other women besides my daughter were attacked that night: the others also dosed and showing signs of strangulation marks.
One of the rapists was arrested by the police. He had kept a ‘trophy’ of his rape and it was found in his car. Pershing county police (and everyone else I know) are hoping he will roll over on his accomplice.

There is more of course.

How can I ever let this go? I had promised her a safe, fun, eye-opening and life changing week. This was not what I promised. I have NEVER heard of such a thing happening on the playa.

I have to thank camps and random wonderful strangers from all over the playa for their help. We had people, with no idea of my daughter’s identity, come by Spanky’s to leave gifts, smudge the camp with sage, give offerings of love (baseball bats, dull steak knives, hefty bags….), and the tireless help of the Rangers.
Burners came to give their support and love from literally miles around. People we did not know, but the word had spread through the city.

Mercifully my daughter does not remember the exact details.
In college I was raped by two men, and also blocked out the details. Only remember climbing from the mud in my white outfit.
I never reported the attack. Believed it was my fault as I was drunk (and looking back probably dosed) at a frat party. This was the late 70’s as well with a small town backwards police department.
For this to happen to my beautiful loving daughter is far worse than my experience. The tears will not stop.

The Demon Seed will be staying with me until next semester. She is in SF right now gathering her belongings and tying up loose ends. Hopefully she returns to SF State next year, and I’m sure she will.
She’s a strong gal. I love her. She is my life. Please send her your positive thoughts.
Oh, she can hardly wait to go back next year to Burning Man. In her words ‘I will not let that fucking experience be my memory of the happiness I’ve found here!’

~Miss R

N is for Neurosis

Kurt Vonnegut -neurotic

Kurt -The Ultimate Neurotic.
Caricature courtesy of artist Kathryn Rathke

Listening to Joe Sample right now, after an earfest of Sinatra. I’m doing an El Guapo here. Posting this late afternoon’s musical choices that is.
Not to be confused with ‘listening similar to’ El Guapo.
EG and Tony: don’t tell Mrs. Guapo

Anyway, tertiary is my middle name. Except this post is N for Neurotic. Ergo, all theorems proved by scientific method; see paragraph above. Same results in pristine laboratory settings (the living room and office) or your kitchen.

Neurosis runs (gallops, bobsleds, careens, bucks…you get the picture) through the family. Being a lifelong over-achiever I’m appointed the poster child for the Black clan.

Go ahead and get married, have the last name of an ex-hubby, change your name legally. The Black curse is upon you all Buahahahaha. –stops for water and takes Xanax-.

Okay, back now. Here are the three main criteria for getting your familial Neurosis on:

  1. Nature: Are you and/or your family subject to any of the following DSM certified symptoms?

a)      Eating Disorders

b)      Bi-Polar

c)      Eccentricity

d)     Black ™ Sheep Family Syndrome

             2. Nurture: Are you and/or your family involved in any of the following professions?

a)      Psychology

b)      Psychiatry (three thumbs up here!)

c)      Waste Management Disposal (+2 if your surname ends with ‘I’ or is similar to the range below Falsetto…)

d)     Addiction Specialization (social workers, AA ashtray cleaning, nursing, dealer –either here in a Nevada casino or located at the local street corner-)

    3. Intelligence/Talent?

a)      Off the charts Mensa 1%er IQ?

b)      Savant i.e. dumb as a box of hair taped up but able to play an oboe in tune

c)      Genius IQ AND musical/photographic/acting/writing/amazing artistic ability

d)     Tap dancing even though Ed Sullivan is still dead

Well faithful readers how do you score? On the test. Not with the opposite (or same) sex.

Years of intensive research have led me to this simple questionnaire. Combined with years of psychiatry, therapy, analysis, medication, hospitalization, straightjackets (oh hell that was a club in San Fransisco nevermind)  and obsessive reading/learning skills. Damn. Reminds me. Forgot to list OCD up there with the ‘Nature’ answers.

Conclusion: Fuck Piaget.

See Online Merriam Webster definition for Neurosis below.
Have left out the pronunciation guideline because if you are reading this you know how to pronounce it.

Neurosis: a mental and emotional disorder that affects only part of the personality, is accompanied by a less distorted perception of reality than in a psychosis, does not result in disturbance of the use of language, and is accompanied by various physical, physiological, and mental disturbances (as visceral symptoms, anxieties, or phobias)

neurotic facebook

Bah humbug. I got ‘yer solution right here. Closer to the Holmes 7% Solution than any meds on the market. Don’t ask me how I know this.

Dr. Rachee Black (I play one on TV, parties and stayed at a Holiday Inn Express) recommends a minimum of 2 G&T’s per evening. Xanax bid or as needed. Some days none are indicated. Those are the days that begin with S; for Somnolence. Watch this Space for upcoming definitions!

*This study may be affected by pharmaceutical US costs, physician co-pay amounts and general degradation professed towards any person suffering from anything BUT admitted Neurosis. Once again, not that I’d know.

Cheers!

~Miss R

 

-addendum: iPod just switched to Elliot Smith; Miss Misery is the first track. Gotta love being in synchronicity with life, the universe and everything. Say isn’t Towel Day coming up?

 

The Staggering Gourmet

Oh I miss Graham Kerr.

So, all that weight I lost while recovering form the back surgery last year? Gained 30 back from the 40 lost.

Totally depressing. Was actually able to wear my cool-ass TRIPP skirts and Goth shirts. First time in five years.

Now…. Not happening. Am back to lying flat on the bed struggling to get that zipper up on my jeans. The fave bondage style jeans? Can get them on but… need a longer –looser- shirt to cover my belly. Just the chains and straps show. Not cool.

So back on to the Atkins I went. Yeah always gain weight afterwards. There is NO diet that works. If they did no one would be overweight.

Hey you on a diet… let that sink in. Eat less, exercise. The only answer,

Well, the depression has overtaken me since I asked my BF to move out in October, and the pain is unmanageable (more on being ‘granted’ Medicaid and losing EVERY decent doctor because of that, later) and of course the snow, ice, blahblah blah. Can only say yours truly leaves the house (i.e. bedroom because I can only afford to heat one room) once a week. Maybe.

So am back to being a fattie. To me at least. Actually med-wise as well. To the ‘charts; I should weigh a minimum of 140 at my Amazon height of 5’2″

Yeah I was the loser in school ‘fatso fatso two by four couldn’t get through the kitchen door’. Worse? I was a ‘brainiac’, straight A’s, last picked for anything in PE geek-o-rama: believed it my entire life and kept picking boyfriends who reinforced it. Look at those old photos now, days when I was in my 20’a and 30’s. Fucking hottie! Fucking dumbass!

Who knew. I didn’t. Broken picker. Surely whined about this previously which brings me to….

New and Improved Improved YoYo-Dyne Diet.

Follow the Easy Street To Weight Loss (Assuming you’ve given up the bulimia in your 20’s and 30’s –want it baaaaack)- and are not anorexic (see dictionary: my sister).

  1. No bread.  note: Do NOT kill yourself yet. You’ll want that death wish later
  2. No taters, cottage cheese, cream cheese, pasta, or..well anything but meat.
  3. Yes this is ASS. All the butter and fabulous fresh pressed olive oil you can eat. Without bread or potatoes or pasta.
  4. Veggies. Not all. Broccoli and Spinach are good. No carrots. No green beans. Certainly no corn or beans! Pretty sure the gas situation is what helps. Who the hell wants to be anywhere near you?
  5. You can already tell your budget is broken by now. But hey! You will lose weight.
  6. So you want a cocktail? Who doesn’t? Thanks to extensive research by John Bigbootie (no longer with YoYo-Dyne due to –REDACTED–) we have discovered that Gin is the lowest in carbs of any adult beverage.

Based upon this discovery we recommend a Gin and DIET tonic for the occasional cocktail. Sorry, if you’re a drunk you’re pretty much fucked. And fat. No not overweight. Fucking fat. Have you SEEN the Midwest or Reno? Pretty sure Mumu’s are sold by the gross here and everyplace else in the West, Exception being San Francisco and LA. Well, you kids back east have the entire South to deal with, so it works out.

  1. Okay cocktails covered but how to combine them and STILL lose weight?! This is where YoYo-Dyne comes in. Lemme ‘splain….

Tonight’s meal: sautéed mushrooms (yes from a fucking can but you CAN make them tasty with caramelizing onions, seasoning, etc), green onions –almost gone but cut those fuckers down, wash em and cut em. Chop fresh garlic (cheap!) in a pan. Add garlic infused (not flavored) oil and REAL butter. Set aside. Oh, hope you added the (cheap-ass) white wine.

Dredge beaten-to-a-pulp skinless boneless Chicken breasts in an egg and a small amount of flour. (Yeah fuck the dead Dr. Atkins on the flour situation). Cook said chicken until just about done. Add the nommy shrooms, onion and garlic. Stir. Hope you added the dammed white wine. Serve. With remaining glass of hideous white wine. You won’t mind because you’re fucking sick of gin.

  1. Oh dear god what a great meal. With leftovers if you use two chickie breasts. Works great when you can’t afford fresh veggies (fucking 1%ers!) and best when you buy the chicken breasts in a bag from Wal-Mart or Winco.
  2. Ta Da! You have used the wine in the chicken, veggies AND your glass. Sure you’ve shot the Atkins level of carbs but you WILL lose weight.
  3. Final note: Do not ever EVER go on a date to a steak house with baked potatoes, fresh cheese bread and appetizers on the menu. Which I did last night. Praying for death now.
  4. Repeat Step One and Pray for Death

All My Nerdy Love,

Voluptuous in Reno

 

Steak, Asparagus and the Band Next Door

First you’re probably wondering how an Executive Urban Hobo such as myself came to be eating steak and asparagus. No not ‘steak and vegetable ‘food product.’ The real deal.

Well, after receiving the obscene amount of a monthly stipend from SSD it’s time for grocery shopping. Asparagus on sale at $1.88 and two tiny filets wrapped in bacon for $3.97. I don’t purchase anything that isn’t on sale. Hear that Red? –grin-.

Aw, downsizing from Balducci’s and A&P bites heh.

Yes it was a splurge but we here at YoYo-Dyne have put on considerable weight after winning a huge loss after last’s year’s surgery. A tasty splurge.

Back to tuna, cheap ground beef and a bag of frozen chicken breasts to make the rest of the month. Oh how I’d love some fish..mmmmm fishies!

F’ing low carb diet is expensive on my ‘salary’ and a pain in the ass to prepare in the 45F kitchen at night.

Back to the topic. Slight derailment after speaking of a tasty meal. Uh huh.

Fell into a stupor after said tasty meal to be awakened by…The kids next door.

Have mentioned on prior occasion that I live in an old 1928 (drafty, impossible to heat, scary and dangerously wired, big-ass with the requisite spooky enormous basement) duplex. The architecture and lay-out make up for it, I assure you. In the Fall and Spring.

My neighbors are all members of a band. Actually two bands. One’s a sort of Rockabilly. the other Punk. Have played in other bands with two of the neighbors, when we practiced in my basement. Our lead singer and guitarist used to live in this place.

Now their bands practice in their basement. More fried-to-a-crisp electrical cords, small electrical fires and fuse blow-outs on their side now. Told you, this place is old and the circuits prevent the use of a toaster (or space heater) or practice Peavy amp use at the same time. It’s all fun and games until you’re outside in your bathrobe/fleecy sweats and T-Shirt in the snow, at the back of the house, at 7:00 am in 12F weather outside in snow because your Demon Seed is  home from college and uses the microwave and two lamps at the same time..

Second Derail Apology:  This means I can hear everything up from the floor and through the walls when it’s practice time; which sucks on Sunday morning I can tell ‘ya.

They put up with the concert grand piano,  MIC’d vocals, and occasional jam session in the living room on my side so it works out. Yes, we DO blow the damned circuits in the living room too. I blame my bass player friends.

Who doesn’t?

From my nommy stupor tonight I hear a new tune (for best acoustics the bathroom is highly recommended; you can hear the trumpet and banjo far more clearly). These guys play all originals, in both bands. Caught my ear tonight with the sounds of a fave Old 97’s tune ‘Wont’ Be Home’

Dig this tune. Also dig my sleep. It did compel me to make a cocktail though and wake up. Whoop. Can be up all night tonight. Just as well actually.

About 300 blog notifications again…behind. That’s the least of the nasty news today so in reality the tune made my day.

So a shout-out to The Kids Next Door. And their 5 peeps packed into a two bedroom ancient duplex, basement electrical smoke, other tasty smelling smoke, and smiling, wonderful companionship on warm summer nights sharing the porch..

Back to your regularly scheduled madness.

~Miss R

I Like to Go Swimmin’ with Bare Naked Wimmin’

If I had a million dollars

I’d be rich

If I had a man who loved me

I’m only somewhat of a bitch

If the sun above us

Burned the retinas from our eyes

The brain would be the only thing

To keep all smart and wise

If I had a green dress

And not just green dress understand

Maybe with some weight loss

I’d truly find a man

His eyes might be unsighted

Scorched out from a star

And that honest mystery date

Could see things as they are

For now things are sheer darkness

Bare Naked Lady though I am

No matter how I try or don’t

Still life I have to cram

Make it all in one day

Since tomorrow may not come

If I had a million dollars

Could be life still be so numb.

But I fucking doubt it.

~Miss R

It’s the End of the World Tomorrow! -Again-

It was recently announced –by some dingbat- that we no longer have to wait until 2012 to self-destruct. You know those Mayans, they never could count correctly.

Here are a few other idiot’s (read: delusional money-grabbing usually invented-their-own religion) End of the World Predictions.

Idiot Listings and predictions:

  1. 1.    Christians. The entire religion was originally built around the idea that Christ (the short Jewish Rabbi guy) would be resurrected during their lifetime. Ooops. They had to wait until the 1960’s when I was born. Hence my middle name Christine.
  1. 2.      Your friendly local Jehovah’s Witness door pounders. These guys have gotten it wrong so many times that this religion pretty much died out in the 1920’s. They’re baaaack (Knock knock. Who’s there? A pamphlet describing the earth deteriorating and hoping for the end of the world! –SLAM-). Here are the dates they have previously announced to their followers: 1914, 1915, 1918, 1920, 1925, 1941, 1975 and 1994. So far. Fun Fact: the founder of this religion sold ‘Miracle Wheat’ at hugely inflated prices, promising an unearthly growth potential. Which is odd as he then asked his congregation just a few years later to join him on a mountain top. Because the world was ending.
  1. 3.      Y2K. Ah, remember the year preceding this when a huge portion of the population began to stockpile food, firearms, water and batteries? Oh, and the Internet was to be the cause of our world collapse. You couldn’t even tell these believers that changing the dates for upcoming millennium had begun at least a year prior. Not just billion dollar Wall Street and Forbes 500 corporations had already rendered a simple fix, but so did every small business owners with a brain. Me for example.
  2. 4.      Edgar C. Whisenant: Prediction was September 11-13, 1988. Okay this is sad. The poor bastard was a NASA engineer…but also a rapture nutball. He wrote two books, one covertly named ‘88 Reasons Why The Rapture is in 1988. ‘ When that Rosh Hashanah passed with no incident he recalculated his dates and numbers taken from the Bible and announced September 15. Then October 3. He kept re-calculating until his end of the world in 2001. Fun Fact: He announced “Only if the Bible is in error am I wrong; and I say that to every preacher in town.” And a LOT of people took him seriously, including The Christian Trinity Broadcast Network (TBN). The station aired special instructions on preparing for the Rapture as the end date approached.
  3. 5.      The whole Mayan prediction for next year. Seriously? The fact that a civilization that flourished between 1000 BCE to circa 400 CE even bothered to create a calendar reaching to far into the future isn’t interesting enough for you?
    There’s plenty of crap –sorry meant information- available on that floating about. Books, TV, Internet. Look it up yourself.

So, I could go on and on and on ad infinitum. These are just a TINY number and I’m only going back through the last century. There was Haley’s Comet, Hale-Bop (got your roll of quarters and arsenic ready?) and literally hundreds more. All were taken seriously by large numbers of people.

The world will end. Just not in our lifetime. Unless I decree it of course.

Tune in Later for ‘Get your Dancing Shoes On! –a playlist for any rapture or end of the world scenario you’d care to choose.

The iPod is charging up as we speak.

~Miss R

The Death of Frank

Frank: RIP you piece of crap

It was getting dark, becoming very cold, and the truck completely ate shit near the sixty five hundred foot level of the mountains. The old beat-up vehicle sat still on a rutted washed-out dirt road. There were no road signs although a few late season souls were camped some miles behind them.

The two been driving these roads looking for crystals. An easy to get to and fun day he’d said. The woman was in severe pain, bouncing and being tossed by the ruts and holes of the fire roads they’d been traveling  Her boyfriend showed no concern, even when she begged him to turn back.

Things hadn’t been going well at home. Lots of arguments. Little talk. The couple had started out with the mutual love of the outdoors, listening to live music and fabulous, fetishistic sex;  this had dissipated into two people sharing a house. Sharing isn’t the right word. Occupying a shared space. Neither of them happy, just existing,

He would come home from work, peek his head into the bedroom and say hello. No more kisses or hugs, not for a long time. She spent the majority of time in bed weeping. The combination of daily pain from a neck and cervical operation and an inability to stop memories of the life she had once enjoyed. The physical agony was never ending, as was the depression. A mobius strip of hell on earth, without a viable answer to escape.

He probably felt just as miserable. Perhaps not. He seemed content to be by himself every night in another room. She never knew because they never talked beyond the superficial.

‘What do you want for dinner?’
‘I don’t care.’
‘There’s not much in the fridge, but I can make you some eggs and bacon’
‘I don’t want any fucking eggs and bacon’

‘You shouldn’t have thrown away every cent on the fast food lunches, DVDs, dinners out with your friends,  Frank and god knows what else.’
‘Well you shouldn’t spend all of your money on weed and cigarettes!”
“At least I put my money aside so the rent and electricity are paid on time. I’m sick of being broke to cover your half of the bills. Yeah you eventually pay up, but sure as hell never on time.”

So it went.

Frank is his truck. Short for Frankenstein. A piece of $500.00 steel crap but her lover could fix anything. Except himself, her or anything that contained DNA. Computers, a car, truck, bike rack, electrical panel, a house you name it. But personal relationships were beyond his purview. As time went on hers were forgotten as well.

The sun went down and the cold Nevada mountain nights set in. Reno is at almost 5000 feet in elevation and they were far higher than that on the back roads outside of Verdi. When leaving the freeway and starting up to the old crystal areas and mines they’d crossed into California. Not an hour from Donner Summit. This is where the truck died.

People back east and in Los Angeles are always stunned to hear stories of streets not being plowed, too much snow to get out of the driveway and pile-ups on the freeway during Reno’s winter.

Reno is an eight hour drive from Las Vegas. Please pass this along to any friends in Hollywood. The couple had seen an old  episode of CSI in which Grisham was handling a case. A sign loomed against his headlights saying ‘Sparks.’

Sparks is the town abutting Reno. As I said, eight hours from Vegas and at least 9 counties past Clark. They had both laughed upon seeing that.

It was getting darker and colder. The man lit a fire in the dried out meadow next to the dirt road. It wasn’t hot enough to warm their feet, being started with dead vegetation. There was no wood or  gasoline.

In retrospect it would have been a wonderful way to be found. Nothing like a roaring forest fire to bring the helicopters and fire marshal. Except for the whole lawsuit and life-long payments to the county for starting a goddamned forest fire and the reparations required. Although at that point the woman didn’t really give a damn.

There were no blankets, food (not an issue yet because they’d stopped for a cheap lunch on the way out of Reno), water, a tent and worst of all no pain medication. Not even an aspirin.

There WAS cell phone service out there. Pure freak of nature.

Bad part was that the day was Sunday. BBQ’s and cocktails for her friends. Shooting expeditions, football and cocktails for his. No one was home to answer a phone, or better yet, they were already too blasted to leave home. Not to mention find two stranded people with no idea of where they were. Yeah,  definite lack of road signs.

The couple was finally found later that evening, by one of his friends. Turns out the battery had fallen over and leaked acid over some of the electrical wires. The guys fixed that. The truck was almost to paved road when the transmission went. Death number two.

At about midnight they were both home and in bed. He on his side of the big bed, she on her side. The day unfolded because he had been complaining for weeks that they never did anything that HE wanted to do.

Looking down upon them you would notice a goofy smile, lasting but a moment, on her face.

~Miss R

Returning to the Scene of the Crime

It was a very impromptu camping trip this past weekend.

No it wasn’t to an out of town, country or local  Burning Man DeCompression.

It’s Frogbat at 4th of Juplaya 2011

These are held in cities from San Fransisco, to Reno, to LA, to NYC, to Sydney, to London to Prague and hell I can’t even count them all. Burning Man encompasses all countries, religions, political ideologies, creeds, hippies (-shudder-) and attorneys (-shudder again-). Exception for the cool lawyer in our camp.

Speaking of which here is info for the official Reno DeCompressionReno Decom.

No, this weekend wasn’t 4th of Juplaya relived either.

Geographically  it WAS the Scene of …many crimes! All amusing, fabulous,weird, wondrous, occasionally illegal and normally accomplished in various states of undress…Black Rock Desert and Frog Pond.

Despite our unorganized arrival and gear I made it through this weekend at the Black Rock Desert playa and Frog Pond  unscathed. There was a small dust storm that rolled in as we did.  Nothing like a white-out at Burning Man. Just very windy and we got a bit of natural exfoliation.

Let me add that I knew nothing about our camping foray until the day before. Happened to look at my boyfriend’s FB and he had announced it, about 48 hours hours earlier. which would have been great if I made a daily habit of looking at his FB page. Which I don’t. -face palm-
The Frog Pond pools and hot spring are surrounded by trees and tiny dunes that keep it a bit sheltered from the playa dust and high winds. Although most of our gear is already playa-ized from previous Burns and playa excursions.
Sadly the wind was just gusty enough that on Sunday that we got hardly any shooting in. No dust, just screwed on any chance of hitting a designated target.

Saturday afternoon and evening we soaked in the springs and met a few other campers. Including Naked Bob; a Burner for 19 years where he has given back to the Burner community by working the exodus; 50,000 people leaving Black Rock City at pretty much the same time. Yikes.
He looks to be about 70 and was at Frog Pond for the solitude, stark beauty of the playa, and to pass along a few nuggets of wisdom if approached. Of course there was a family with 5 kids that were surprised -but not freaked- to see people in the springs au natural. They avoided us for the remainder of the weekend.

Despite the winds Steve cooked dinner and I made us cocktails. Sunday we walked back to the shooting range -about 1/4 mile- to where Frog Bat is blown up at 4th of Juplaya. Frog Bat is a 12 or 14 foot replica of a frog and bat (hard to believe given the name) filled with propane cylinders.
On Saturday night of the July 4th weekend, instead of watching The Man burn, everyone comes off the playa with their firearm of choice, then shoots the hell out of Frog Bat until it explodes. Possibly a reason this event is not sanctioned by Burning Man.

Lots of remnants of art cars over there in the shooting range and Frog Bat area.  There are also stray propane canisters totally shot up and a few not blown up (which Perry blowed-up real good). The small dunes of the shooting range emit a kind of cool, sad, ghost town eerie kind of vibe. Had my iPod on and between the music (Zero 7), weather and spooky/beautiful way this area looked I was fascinated. This is one of the two experiences that made the weekend worth the trip.

Frog Pond hot spring and campfire ring

Frog Pond hot spring and campfire ring. Enticing eh?

The other high point was floating on my back, in the hot springs, looking up at all the stars. After a great rib-eye steak cooked over an open campfire and several small plastic tumblers of a good single malt scotch. Or PBRs if you were Steve or Perry.
Tried to explain to Perry and Steve that camping does not mean living like an animal. Especially after I woke up in the back of Frank, short for Frankenstein, Perry’s truck.

Frank is made up of several different manufacturers’ body and engine parts. And looks like it. Frank has a new $25.00 camper shell now. By new I mean 20 years old and found via Craigslist sitting on the ground at a Red Rock ranch for 10 years. Embellished with dirt, dead bugs, cobwebs and rotting wood interior.  Hey, it was new to us. Should have known P hadn’t actually cleaned it out. Anyone have a shudder left in them? How about a gag reflex?

Springs were a wonder for my back! Cut back on the pain meds the first night.
Sadly the lack of suspension on the fucking truck (sorry Frank) on the way home -and being squished between Perry and Steve over the gear shift, huge hump where the gearbox is, a tachometer box and wiring that Perry installed and no AC- dialed my back pain to 11.

So I am re-hydrating, watching a movie on Netflix, smoking a ciggie, propped up on the bed and going between heating pad and cold packs (freezer burned but useful broccoli) for the back.
And ignoring the vile camping dishes, laundry and gear in the basement.

Interesting and relaxing weekend all in all. And no I won’t tell you where the springs are.
Unless you’ll loan me a clean trailer or RV.

~Miss R