Happy Birthday

It's time to wish a Happy Birthday to Big Gay Jim!

Crossing the Atlantic

If you think buggying naked is crazy, check this out...

An adventurer by the name of Dom Mee set sail Tuesday from St. John, Nova Scotia in an attempt to cross the Atlantic Ocean in a 14 foot boat powered by a kite. The trip is expected to take anywhere from 30 to 75 days.Read a brief newspaper article about it here.

The vessel, "Little Murka", is equipped with a satellite telephone, e-mail access, a water purifier, and a 60-day supply of food. Mee also has an iPod filled with songs so he can "chill out to his tunes." Should the boat go off-course while Mee is sleeping, an anchor attached to a water parachute will shoot into the ocean and keep the vessel in place.

The coolest thing about this is that Mee is maintaining a blog while at sea. You can see his daily posts here and GPS location here.

Sunday's Addiction

If you don't already check Post Secret every week, you should. It updates on Sundays.

Story Time

All of us have at some point had to "come out" about something to our family and friends. Whether it was your orientation, religious beliefs, political views, or that you don't like lima beans, it is probably a story worth telling. So go to the Flock Forum and tell it to us. Now. No, not after you read your webcomics and check your Email - NOW!

While you're there, check out the other topics or start a few of your own. These conversations can help keep our collective friendships going strong, regardless of where life takes us all after graduation.

What's that? Not a member of the Forum yet! Why the hell not? Click here to register.

Toss Me a Cold One

Nothing refreshes like the blood of a martyr...

(NOT photoshopped - taken on 8/20/05 in front of an actual church in Denver)

Hang on to Your Childhood

Origins of AoxomoxoA

"...a sort of perfection in life, a moment of purity..."
- Dean Jordan

My post entitled AoxomoxoA generated a lot of questions from friends and readers all over the blogiverse, so I went looking for better answers than I had. Here's what I found...

On June 20th, 1969, the Grateful Dead released a studio album entitled "AoxomoxoA". The liner notes say it "derives from the palindromic preoccupations of Rick Griffin, the brilliant artist who designed the cover art." Rumors abound regarding its meaning. One theory is that it is from a Pre-Columbian Central or South American language, possibly Mayan, or Aztec. Another holds that Griffin created the word for a comic he drew years earlier - it was the response of an alien surfer to a human surfer who yelled "Cowabunga!" How Griffin came upon it may never be known; he died in a 1991 motorcycle accident.

It is a superbly constructed palindrome, as it not only reads the same forward and backwards, but each letter is also reversible (i.e. an A, O, M, or X still reads the same after you flip them over). Thus, AoxomoxoA is readable from left or right, even if you are looking at it from the back.

Using the Pythagorean method of numerology (the most common method in the West), the nine letters are valued as 166646661, which, when added together is (not surprisingly) 42...

At any rate, the album has received critical acclaim as has Griffin's art, but I was curious about how this term came into kiting jargon. It turns out that Dean Jordan, one of the early pioneers of sport kiting was a fan of Griffin, and he saw the term in the aforementioned surfing comic. He adopted it as his model when he started making kites professionally. Jordan wrote on rec.kites, "we are an aoxomoxoa centered company, each kite has some aoxo built into it, and I always sign some form of aoxo somewhere on anything I do."

Now you know...

Photographic example of AoxomoxoA by Rachel (also my new desktop wallpaper)


The Popemobile is in pretty bad shape. A brake job is imminent. A little crack that began on the upper right side of the windshield is now sprawling all over it. The interior is in serious need of a detailing, and the transmission has begun slipping in reverse. The solution?

The new Popemobile. It's not gonna' pay for itself people; tithe early, tithe often.


We flew kites in big wind again yesterday; we've been flying pretty regularly of late. All of the kiting faithful showed up, and we had 4 dual line kites in the sky at once. I think that's a record for Laramie... maybe for the whole damn state.

We also were joined by a Chinese family from the married student apartments. Their little boy put up a realistic duck (a Jackite, maybe?) behind us. It eventually worked it's way down wind until it was way up over our heads. They stopped and talked to us about dualies - they were especially amazed by the venting on our high wind kites.

Usually when a curious onlooker comes up I end up talking with them, but Big Gay Jim handled their questions like a pro. It was quite a picture - Jim (a BIG TALL guy) kneeling to talk to this little kid who was probably about 7 or so. Sometimes we need to be reminded that it is the 7 year-old in all of us who is fed by this hobby...

We call this AoxomoxoA. Its many definitions include the following:
(courtesy of rec.kites)

If you fly stunt kites to win competitions, you won't understand, but if you fly to give pleasure and entertain the audience, you might find AoxomoxoA

If tangled lines are an irritating frustration, you won't understand, but if you find untangling relaxing and theraputic, you might find AoxomoxoA

If you buy rare and expensive kites and hang them on the wall, you won't understand, but if risk hand-painted washi-paper or one-of-a-kind kites in the elements, you might find AoxomoxoA

If you're struggling to be the fastest buggier in the country, you won't understand, but if you dream of buggying across dry lakes in the gentle zephers at 2am, you might find AoxomoxoA

If you build your own kites to save money, you won't understand, but if you sew to try new ideas, you might find AoxomoxoA

If you wouldn't lend your kite to a stranger, you wouldn't understand, but if you're ready to loose or destroy anything you fly, you might find AoxomoxoA

If you enjoy buzzing noisy stunters on the beach, you wouldn't understand, but if you've found the pleasure of a simple, reliable single-line delta, you might find AoxomoxoA

Seek your own form of AoxomoxoA... and until you find it, buggy naked.

Another Saturday Night in Laramie

The results of random surfing - two pics and a toy...

Your kink is between you and your gimp...
Pimp my Gimp

Kiss rules.

Who Will You Be?

As you may already know, I don't plan on dying. Not ever. The boys down in R&D tell me that the CAVs (Cybernetic Afterlife Vessels), including standard Aesthete, "Spartan Boy" and "GI Jane" models are all progressing nicely. There are some bugs in some of the more militant models which have caused some minor shooting sprees at Ministry HQ, but the techno-priests assure me that these minor coding errors have been corrected. Soon the zealous believer will be able to enjoy the "Black Sheep" model without any fear of accute violent psychoses or spastic trigger fingers caused by righteous indignation...

We at the Ministry continually strive to give you the best quality of afterlife possible, but we anticipate that the shift from organic to mechanical life form may be difficult for some. To aid the Flock in transitioning to their new post-biologic-life bodies, Zeus has located this. It not only helps the transplantee find a name for their new CAV self, but also acts as a career councilor for the Faithful, giving helpful hints on possible afterlife paths. Give it a try yourself - who will you be? It was pretty accurate for me...

Dam the Man

This is an actual letter sent to a man named Ryan DeVries by the
Michigan Department of Environmental Quality, State of Michigan.

SUBJECT: DEQ File No. 97-59-0023; T11N; R10W, Sec. 20; Montcalm County

Dear Mr. DeVries:

It has come to the attention of the Department of Environmental Quality that there has been recent unauthorized activity on the above referenced parcel of property. You have been certified as the legal landowner and/or contractor who did the following unauthorized activity:

Construction and maintenance of two wood debris dams across the outlet stream of Spring Pond. A permit must be issued prior to the start of this type of activity. A review of the Department's files show that no permits have been issued. Therefore, the Department has determined that this activity is in violation of Part 301, Inland Lakes and Streams, of the Natural Resource and Environmental Protection Act, Act 451 of the Public Acts of 1994, being sections 324.30101 to 324.30113 of the Michigan Compiled Laws, annotated.

The Department has been informed that one or both of the dams partially failed during a recent rain event, causing debris and flooding at downstream locations. We find that dams of this nature are inherently hazardous and cannot be permitted. The Department therefore orders you to cease and desist all activities at this location, and to restore the stream to a free-flow condition by removing all wood and brush forming the dams from the stream channel.

All restoration work shall be completed no later than January 31, 2005.

Please notify this office when the restoration has been completed so that a follow-up site inspection may be scheduled by our staff. Failure to comply with this request or any further unauthorized activity on the site may result in this case being referred for elevated enforcement action.

We anticipate and would appreciate your full cooperation in this matter.

Please feel free to contact me at this office if you have any questions.


David L. Price
District Representative, Land and Water Management Division

This is the actual response sent back:

Re: DEQ File No. 97-59-0023; T11N; R10W, Sec. 20; Montcalm County.

Dear Mr. Price,

Your certified letter dated 12/17/04 has been handed to me to respond in regarding to the above mentioned file. I am the legal landowner but not the Contractor at 2088 Dagget, Pierson, Michigan.

A couple of beavers are in the (State unauthorized) process of constructing and maintaining two wood "debris" dams across the outlet stream of my Spring Pond. While I did not pay for, authorize, nor supervise their dam project, I think they would be highly offended that you call their skillful use of natures building materials "debris." I would like to challenge your department to attempt to emulate their dam project any time and/or any place you choose. I believe I can safely state there is no way you could ever match their dam skills, their dam resourcefulness, their dam ingenuity, their dam persistence, their dam determination and/or their dam work ethic.

As to your request, I do not think the beavers are aware that they must first fill out a dam permit prior to the start of this type of dam activity.

My first dam question to you is: (1) Are you trying to discriminate against my Spring Pond Beavers... or (2) do you require all beavers throughout this State to conform to said dam request?

If you are not discriminating against these particular beavers, through The Freedom of Information Act I request completed copies of all those other applicable beaver dam permits that have been issued. Perhaps we will see if there really is a dam violation of Part 301, Inland Lakes and Streams, of the Natural Resource and Environmental Protection Act, Act 451 of the Public Acts of 1994, being sections 324.30101 to 324.30113 of the Michigan Co implied Laws, annotated.

Being unable to comply with your dam request, and being unable to contact you on your dam answering machine, I am sending this response to your dam office.

Thank You,

Ryan DeVries & The Dam Beavers

Random Friday

New Crack for today...
Just when the falling woman has lost her appeal, here comes Peekaboom. Try it - it's more addictive than a 64 color box of edible body paint...

Musical moment for today...
"No one in the world ever gets what they want and that is beautiful.
Everybody dies frustrated and sad and that is beautiful."
- from "Don't Let's Start" by They Might Be Giants

Deep thought for today...
"Is real life really stranger than fiction, or is fiction about real life being stranger than fiction stranger than real life being stranger than fiction?"
- from Paradox Lost

Zen proverb for today...
"No seed ever sees the flower."

Warning for today...
"An ulcer is an unkissed imagination taking its revenge for being jilted. It is an undanced dance, an unpainted watercolor, an unwritten poem."
- John Ciardi

Blog Between the Lines

Through diligent reading of Blogs and (ick) Live Journals, I have learned how to see the subtext in a post - the unspoken admissions and carefully worded landmines that are present in the posts of all hardcore bloggers.

In the example below, I've added the subtext for you...

Don't you hate it when this happens? (Dear gods, I hope I'm not alone in this...) You're at work, minding your own business, (You're at work, surfing for pr0n as usual) when you get an IM, despite setting your status to busy. (I set my status to busy but my close friends know that it's ok to interrupt me - and every single one of the 45 people on my contact list is a "close" friend) Reluctantly you click on it (You click on it immediately, hoping your friend has found better pr0n than you have) and find something like this... (you figured it was something involving shaved genitalia and a large vegetable, but this will do) and the rest of the afternoon is shot. (Finally! Something to do) You HAVE to play with it. (She is close to naked and you are pathetic) She lands in these hilarious positions, (positions that remind you of the hot, wild girls you dream about but will never EVER fucking meet, much less actually get naked with) and when she gets stuck, you can grab her ankle or wrist and give her a pull to keep her going. (Hey... that's kind of hot. It's like you're touching her...) Soon it is 5:00 (about fucking time - now you can go home and surf for pr0n openly) and you haven't done half of what you were supposed to do today. (you hate this job and hope they read your blog and fire you) Don't you hate that? (I'm so lonely...)

I think we can all see from this excerpt that knowing the subtext of a blog post can give us a deeper understanding of not only the poster, but also the genre. I figure there's a grant out there somewhere for this work...

Sunday Sermon (special Tuesday edition)

When is Now?

Why do we believe in forever? It's a bizarre concept really. Excluding the particles that we learned about in Physics class, NOTHING lasts forever. Yet we continue to talk about things like "best friends forever" and "true love always."

We can't seem to stand the idea that things will change, or worse yet - come to an end. When they do we are stunned. We look back and wish we could be there again, back in the day.

Recently, I've been surprised by how much the changes taking place around me have stung. My family has sold the two condos in California that I think of as home, my sister's baby (coming very soon) is putting an end to our mellow, "no kids" style family holidays, my friends are moving away, and more importantly, everyone is moving on. Several of my closest relationships have faltered, and a few are in scary growth phases. As if this isn't sufficent angst for one summer, my usually youthful body has decided to cop out as well.

In honor of my 4oth year on this earth, my hair has staged a walk-out. I have known for some time now that I was thinning on top, but it has become more obvious of late. My female friends all say that it's not that noticeable - it's sweet of them, but I would like to respectfully remind the BCPs that lying is a sin...

At times like this, we need to recall that some things really do get better as they change with age. I had a leather jacket once that was faded and distressed at the elbows, and so broken-in that putting it on was like getting a hug from your grandmother (without that weird "old person" smell).
It was a trusted friend who kept me warm on long motorcycle rides up and down the California Coast, until the day in '86 when it laid down its skin in lieu of mine on a rainy street in Long Beach. I can still remember seeing it wadded up in an emergency room trash can, ripped and cut to shreds. I saw in it the wreckage of an old warrior, wearing his scars with pride.

I wish I could say that I'm becoming like that jacket, but I too would be lying. My breaking-in process is proceeding at an uncomfortable pace, with an alarming emphasis on the breaking. The only thing I have in common with that old coat is that I too will be a discarded wreck some day.

"Gate gate paragate parasamgate bodhi svaha." If your Sanskrit is a little rusty, it's something like, "gone, gone, totally gone, totally completely gone, enlightened, so be it." It's found at the end of the Heart Sutra, and it speaks to the ultimate emptiness of form, and the futility of our clinging to it.

It's good to know that we will all be spent some day. That knowledge compels us to let go of each moment as it passes. We can stop clinging to everything as it was, stop worrying about how it might be, and actually see how it is now. Change is the constant, and now is so brief a time as to be almost an illusion; we are wasting it by looking back or guessing about tomorrow.

Go in Peace.

Saint Morticia

In keeping with my field of study, I like to stay abreast of new developments in the world of religion. I find it fascinating that the religious impulse continues to be expressed in so many unique ways.

With that sense of awe and wonder in mind, I invite all of you to point and gawk at this little gem I found last week...

A prayer to Carolyn Jones.

Morticia was the first Goth chick I ever fell in love with, and she is still a tough act to follow. Maybe they are on to something here...