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BLOB_CASTLE  ·  830 days ago  ·  link  ·    ·  parent  ·  post: Who else went to Burning Man? 1st Time Burner AMA

I arrived Sunday at 4am and was way too excited to set up camp, so I biked into the open playa where all the art installations were located. I found an octopus sculpture which had a couch nearby. On the couch was a box with pendants engraved with an octopi. As I was sifting through the pendants, deciding which one I wanted, a woman biked by and I waved her down. She climbed on top of the octopus, and I followed her up. We chatted for a while, and I learned she was Australian (I later learned that a lot of Austrailians go to Burning Man).

As we were chatting, the sun was starting to poke up over the mountains. Once the sun had just finished showing itself, the Austrailian and I looked at each other, and kissed. We sat in silence for a little while longer and then biked our separate ways.

BLOB_CASTLE  ·  831 days ago  ·  link  ·    ·  parent  ·  post: Who else went to Burning Man? 1st Time Burner AMA

Burning Man, to me, is a time and place to be reminded of the infinite possibilities available to us at any moment - where human potential is open and celebrated alongside 70,000 other humans.

Deltron_0  ·  830 days ago  ·  link  ·  

1st world bubble right there ^

BLOB_CASTLE  ·  830 days ago  ·  link  ·  

How do you mean?

Deltron_0  ·  830 days ago  ·  link  ·  

everything is possible in your dreams. Making them a reality is not as simple as just building a fucking magic castle, unless you are living in a bubble. a magic bubble

A family member of mine has gone there at least a half dozen times over the past 10 years. There was some real shit, long ago. I'm sure it's a lot of fun, but talk is cheap, know what I mean?

BLOB_CASTLE  ·  830 days ago  ·  link  ·  

Word, I feel you. One of the greatest things I took away was the inspiration to put in the hard work to make creative endeavors come true.

Can you imagine how much work went into this Medusa sculpture?

Deltron_0  ·  829 days ago  ·  link  ·  

Definately... But where did the means to undertake such an endeavour come from? I've seen and experienced enough art personally to have my fill. There are much more real matters that are bringing about an end to this type of lifestyle.

These will only get more flamboyant until the dsfunctional motives are exposed, or the reality distortion field pops and the nu-free lovers see what openness exposes.

Openness is fantastic - but there's a difference between being open...and projecting an image

flagamuffin  ·  829 days ago  ·  link  ·  

    But where did the means to undertake such an endeavour come from


Deltron_0  ·  828 days ago  ·  link  ·  

cheers *apathetically

Deltron_0  ·  829 days ago  ·  link  ·  

^^ this sounds quite dour

But I am jaded with artistic expression in today's age. More of it is propped up with the tech bubble than people realize. Radical openness is running it's course in black rock city. But you can now get likes for it too so it's all cool.

BLOB_CASTLE  ·  828 days ago  ·  link  ·  

Ah, I see what you're saying.

One night I was out and about and noticed an art car that was absolutely incredible in terms of the craftsmanship involved. As I was looking at the details, I had this conversation with a woman who came up to look at it as well.

You're right, there is a lot of extravagance in art and BM is no exception. The money that was spent to build the car could easily have fed hundreds, probably thousands, of people in underdeveloped nations.

So where does the balance lay? Art is a wonderful thing. Sure, it doesn't require a shit load of money to create beautiful art, but do we demonize those with the money to create for creating? Probably, I don't know.

Deltron_0  ·  827 days ago  ·  link  ·  

Well, playing the role of a developer - I'd smile, wave, and say that, "finding the ones to demonize is political jockeying; a waste of time."

Burning Man is not a self-sustaining endeavour. Sure, there are most likely a higher percentage of eco-friendly individuals in play.... But, moving well into the 21st century now - the universal question will only grow - until it dominates all perception - is the action sustainable? The political advocate may be vested in posing the question: is the system sustainable?

I see a tech bubble built on a fledgling social architecture, caught in limbo between the next era of social interaction and economic feasibility.

With a profitable image - that finds a middle ground with contentment; an accepted norm: openness, you see the development of a real event in Burning Man.

Now, is everyone currently attending Burning Man aware of its roots? Or in touch with the premise behind the flamboyant art?

Again, who cares. Answering this question doesn't change the logistics behind 70,000 people needing to poop in the middle of a desert with zero permanent infastructure. an engineering feat, no doubt. The same species also tackled how to engineer a hunk of elements to safely bring a breathing organism to the surface of the moon and back.

I'm a developing realist. What I can guarantee you is that the rate of consumption since the introduction of mobile social-technology (and the bubble) has (in theory) expanded the premise of burning man... But has the message scaled?

How would you know, when you're just looking to send a snapchat of what you're experiencing?

There's a bubble, that's all I'm saying.

Burning man chose to join the bubble (willingly or not) years ago. But, those radically open board members are living in the pinnacle of an era of easy money. They don't understand the other side of life well enough to bring their message to a larger audience, imo.

There's a difference between conveying a message, and projecting an image.

Their message of radiclal openness has undoubdetly grown to all corners of the globe. Thanks to a tech bubble.

Sorry, the social media feeding frenzy is not sustainable, and will be seen as a bubble 40 years from now. I will bet you.

goobster  ·  829 days ago  ·  link  ·  

    a time and place to be reminded of the infinite possibilities available to us at any moment

Yup. We go so insulated in living our lives, we get stuck in a rut. Burning Man is one way to get out of that rut without adverse consequences to your stable life. Get out, try some shit out, be someone different, do whatever.

Then come back to your life and improve it with what you learned out there in your desert experiment.

BLOB_CASTLE  ·  829 days ago  ·  link  ·  

In what ways have you been inspired? What have you created created after a Burn?

goobster  ·  827 days ago  ·  link  ·  

Oh wow... what a great question! And a hard one...

I've been involved in Burning Man since 1988. So... really... my entire life is informed by those experiences.

The very first year Burning Man was in the desert, my friend Michael drew a line in the desert and said, "Beyond this line, everything is different", and established the space in the spirit of a "Temporary Autonomous Zone". A place outside of law and social expectation and societal norms. A safe place where you could do whatever you want, without fear of judgment.

I try to keep that idea alive in my life. Creating spaces in which people can explore and express parts of themselves or their personality, that they otherwise wouldn't feel safe with.

Participation, is another key element I bring into everything I do. Every project I am involved with is something that invites participation and interaction. There are no spectators. Everyone is welcome to touch the art, literally and figuratively.

For years I dedicated myself to the business operations of a circus, as a volunteer. I have served on multiple Boards of Directors for arts organizations, in the interest of helping create spaces in which artists can thrive and produce.

I have run my own theme camps.

I have been a Burning Man staff member, and designed new processes and systems for the organization I worked for (Arctica), that improved our efficiency, safety, and lowered our negative impact on the event and the environment.

I have worked with friends to create public art and events for the benefit of the communities in which the events take place. (And did it again on Saturday.)

I've also been deeply involved in innumerable Newbie Picnics, which help first-time Burners get ready for the unique conditions on the playa, and also created Radical Orientation, which is targeted at helping people get involved in the local (Pacific Northwest) Burner community. (We started this the first year Burning Man tickets sold out, because we wanted to help all the new people get acclimated and in tune with the Burner vibe before they went to the event.)

So yeah. That's just a small sampling of the things I have done outside of the Gerlach event, that are inspired by my experiences at Burning Man...

ThatFanficGuy  ·  830 days ago  ·  link  ·  

How did it feel to attend the Burning Man?

BLOB_CASTLE  ·  830 days ago  ·  link  ·  

Exhilarating. To not now what the next turn held was fantastic.

BLOB_CASTLE  ·  1251 days ago  ·  link  ·    ·  parent  ·  post: Hubski Update: A funding experiment

I greatly appreciate how peaceful you are.

romkeh  ·  1249 days ago  ·  link  ·  
This comment has been deleted.
BLOB_CASTLE  ·  1300 days ago  ·  link  ·    ·  parent  ·  post: Hubski, what do you believe?

Lately, I'm not sure.

It's a very lonely sensation.

BLOB_CASTLE  ·  1722 days ago  ·  link  ·    ·  parent  ·  post: Guess What

More like a blob_cave.

humanodon  ·  1722 days ago  ·  link  ·  

There's no This Old Cave . . . yet. You might be on to something . . .

BLOB_CASTLE  ·  1782 days ago  ·  link  ·    ·  parent  ·  post: Could you live 'off the grid'?

I plan to live off the grid once I finish paying off my student loans. Unfortunately, I realized that dream after I had committed too much to college. Check out The Man Who Quit Money.

zaylea  ·  1782 days ago  ·  link  ·  

Years ago, a family friend up and gave all his stuff away, and then moved to Hawaii to live in the forest in a loin cloth. My aunt went to visit him periodically (he'd go into town sometimes.) Eventually, he disappeared and no one could find him. It was eventually assumed that he got bit by a snake or something and died. Living off the land and without money and such is heavily romanticized and not all it's cut out to be.

Student loans bum me out. I've thought about things like living abroad, or moving out to the country etc, but I have to stay put, close the city, making as much as I can, for at least 5 years, if I don't want to spend the next decade or more paying them off.

BLOB_CASTLE  ·  1782 days ago  ·  link  ·  

If I die, I die. If I'm bit by a snake, I'd nourish the snake and all of its offspring.

BLOB_CASTLE  ·  1879 days ago  ·  link  ·    ·  parent  ·  post: Photo Challenge Day 11: Self

Working hard or hardly working? Amirite amirite?

insomniasexx  ·  1878 days ago  ·  link  ·  

I never thought about what you look like....but you pretty much look exactly like I imagined. If that makes sense.

BLOB_CASTLE  ·  1878 days ago  ·  link  ·  

Hahaha, thank you?

thenewgreen  ·  1878 days ago  ·  link  ·  

I had the same reaction when I saw B_C for the same time. It's not an insult or a compliment... it just is what it is. He is BLOB_CASTLE. I always pictured him with a stand-up bass at his side too...

BLOB_CASTLE  ·  1970 days ago  ·  link  ·    ·  parent  ·  post: What is a true story you've been waiting for a chance to tell?

I still don't quite believe this one myself, but here it goes.

It was a weekend night in February and we had gone out to the bars to celebrate two friend's birthdays. Quigley's is the bar we frequent most, mainly because it's right across the street from our school's music building. The bar is very quaint. Wooden tables, dim lighting, friendly waitresses. One of the best selling points about Quigley's is their mug club. You make a one time purchase of a mug and bring it back to get great deals on beer. For a place with some fantastic craft beers on tap, it's a dream come true.

So, we're here at Quigley's. They normally have live music on the the weekends and this was a normal weekend. The place was packed. There were about six of us standing at a table, drinking and enjoy the live music. All of a a sudden, two hands come from behind and cover my eyes. Seeing as many of my friends go to Quigley's, I just assume it's one of them.


A woman's voice responds, "nope."



Now, my friends and I aren't necessarily "normal," so I do a completely normal thing for me and reach behind and tickle this person's stomach. To my surprise, this person't stomach doesn't feel normal (again, I have less than normal friendships).

I turn around, and to my surprise standing behind me is some woman whom I've never seen before. Slightly embarrassed, I apologize to her and let her know that I was expecting a friend. She had very obviously been there a while and was fairly drunk. She says not to worry about it and turns around. Shaken up a little, I turn around and continue talking with my friends.

Not two minutes later, she turns around and asks me why I'm not drinking. It's February so I'm still high on my New Year's Resolution of saving money. I let her know I just didn't want to spend money that night. She laughs a bit then walks away. Upon her return is a mug full of Angry Orchard. Not really knowing how to respond, I thank her and feel that the least I could do is have a conversation with this woman who is so eager to talk. We start conversing and almost immediately she begins to tell me that she's 32 and goes to the gym often. My friends are more than interested at this point so they're listening in. She begins to tell us that she has nice abs for a 32 year old woman who birthed a couple kids (having tickled her stomach, I knew she wasn't lying). I nod to be as agreeable as I could be but she kept persisting on showing us. So we comply and she shows us her abs, which were very defined for a person of any age. The conversation downs down a bit and we each revert to our original groups. After my friends and I finish talking about how strange that exchange was, we talk about whatever college students talk about on a weekend at the bar.

We're interrupted by the woman.

She jumps straight to it. "I have nice boobs for 32 year old, want to see them?"

...........none of us know how to respond. She's at a table with a few people. She tells us that the man next to her is her boyfriend and she already got the okay to flash us in the middle of Quigley's. Someone in our group tells her that two people in our group are celebrating their birthday. That's all the validation she needed. Right in the middle of Quigley's, on one of the businest nights, she lifts her shirt to her chin and we see her breasts in full glory. I must admit, they were beautiful, even if she wasn't 32. Not knowing how to respond again, we try to be as formal as 21 year-olds can be in the situation and awkwardly compliment her chest. She thanks us, then walks away. Needless to say, we're speechless. None of us had ever been in that situation before. All we can do is exchange glances at one another of amazement.

When this woman returns, without any sort of warning, she does it again! We gawk for a few more seconds, then she turns back around to her table. I've never seen that woman at Quigley's since. I did have a friend tell me once that he was asked by a man if he wanted to partake in a three way with him and his girlfriend. I can't help but wonder if it was the same woman who flashed us her 32 year old breasts in the middle of Quigley's.

humanodon  ·  1969 days ago  ·  link  ·  

Reading this, I thought, "32 isn't that old" and then I remembered being 20 and thinking that that was old. I'm not even 30 yet and hubski has made me feel old on more than one occasion. Fuck.

I always feel weird when a woman I've been flirting with or have taken home tells me she's got a kid(s). At least I've got that "vestige of youth" left.

BLOB_CASTLE  ·  1969 days ago  ·  link  ·  

Hahahaha, sorry man. I'm sure you'll feel young compared to 50 year olds one day.

BLOB_CASTLE  ·  1975 days ago  ·  link  ·    ·  parent  ·  post: Twenty-Eighth Weekly "Share Some Music You've Been Into Lately" Thread

I went to a Universalist Unitarian church today, and the band Brother Sun put on a show. Not only was the band incredible, but I felt very welcome at the church. Brother Sun - Lady of the Harbor

thenewgreen  ·  1975 days ago  ·  link  ·  

  Q: Why did the UU cross the road?
  A: To support the chicken in its search for its own path.
BLOB_CASTLE  ·  1975 days ago  ·  link  ·  

Hahahahaha, that's hilarious. I plan on going back and I'll definitely be sharing that one.

kleinbl00  ·  1975 days ago  ·  link  ·  

They'll have heard it. UUs are self-deprecating to a fault.

BLOB_CASTLE  ·  1975 days ago  ·  link  ·  

As a matter of fact those whom I had already shared it with hadn't heard it.

And seriously, is there any point in always being to negative?

kleinbl00  ·  1974 days ago  ·  link  ·  

Dude, my wife was UU for several years. Had Robert Fulghum as a pastor and everything. We checked out two UU churches down here in LA.

Guess which joke all three orientation teams told me?

And seriously, is there any point in finding offense everywhere you look?

BLOB_CASTLE  ·  1974 days ago  ·  link  ·  

Well, no one I spoke to had heard it.

I don't see offense everywhere. It seems to be more proportional to your comments from what I've seen. But, this is more than likely pointless as you probably don't see any offense is what you say.

kleinbl00  ·  1974 days ago  ·  link  ·  

I see absolutely no offense in what I say. If you do, you owe it to me as a principle of discourse to point it out, so that we can discuss it.

If you cannot do that, you owe me an apology.

BLOB_CASTLE  ·  1974 days ago  ·  link  ·  

I feel as if this is something to be resolved more privately. I'll message you.

thenewgreen  ·  1975 days ago  ·  link  ·  

As a part of this conversation, I'm curious how you found that statement to be negative? I have several friends that are UU and they can be quite self deprecating and often make jokes at their own "groups" expense. I first heard that joke from one of them and they had a bunch more.

BLOB_CASTLE  ·  1974 days ago  ·  link  ·  

The thing is that I don't see how the joke is self-depreciating in and of itself. Why is it a bad think to support someone find their own spiritual path?

kleinbl00  ·  1974 days ago  ·  link  ·  
lil  ·  1974 days ago  ·  link  ·  

Self-depreciating: When your arguments lose value the longer you make them?

Any other definitions out there?

insomniasexx  ·  1974 days ago  ·  link  ·  

I think he was referring to kb's "They'll have heard it" snide remark rather than UUs.

I for one have no idea what a UU is. I've never heard about it before your comment above. I love how hubski ceaselessly penetrates my bubble.

kleinbl00  ·  1974 days ago  ·  link  ·  

What the fuck part of "they'll have heard it" is snide? There are jokes in the world. Some of them get told more than others. Unitarians, more than any other religion, go out of their way to be welcoming and inviting to all faiths. This is a positive thing. However, it includes the baggage of being welcoming and inviting to everything even when things start getting silly. As self-awareness is a tenet of Unitarian Universalism, the ability to joke about said silly welcome and inviting quirkiness is pretty much a cornerstone. Such humor invariably includes poking fun at one's self and as the chicken joke is pretty much Patient Zero for all jokes, it gets told a lot.

here's a whole page of them.

Here's where things really go off the rails - I tell someone "they've probably heard your joke before" and I'm "snide." You, on the other hand, go off on a tear about the abolition of all religion. That makes you, what? Thoughtful?

insomniasexx  ·  1963 days ago  ·  link  ·  x 2


I want to apologize to you for my rude comments from last week.

You were right in your assumption that the anger was not 100% directed at you. I was stressed out with work and personal shit and your comments pushed me over the edge. Although I do not appreciate comments like "That makes you, what? Thoughtful?" my response was over-the-top and misguided and flat out wrong. Regardless of stress or no stress, your words or no words, there is no excuse for my actions. My response was uncalled for and I am sorry.

I do value your contribution to hubski and your stories. Even if I misunderstand, or misinterpret, or disagree with something you say, I should never have responded in the way I did.

I also want to reiterate that the "fat" comment was not directed your bodyweight, rather a poorly-chosen adjective meaning "extreme." Although I apologize and wish I could erase everything I said, I hope you especially understand that I truly did not intend insult your weight or open up some old internet drama between you and the reddit masses.

Again, I am sorry for my words. There is no excuse and I will keep my hatred & anger off hubski and away from you from here on out.

I hope you can accept my apology and put this internet drama behind us.

<3 insom

ps: anyone else that is reading this, I hope you also accept my apology and understand that I regret filling this thread and community with anger and hate and promise it won't happen again. I'm quite embarrassed and ashamed of my actions. I am sorry

kleinbl00  ·  1963 days ago  ·  link  ·  

This comment made my day. I've been wondering what world of shit you'd stepped in and I hope you're on the other side of it now.

I wholeheartedly accept your apology and cheerfully acknowledge that I could have been a little less snarky. However, I doubt that's going to change. Know that I'm trying.

insomniasexx  ·  1974 days ago  ·  link  ·  

Well that escalated quickly.

Honestly, I don't think you meant to be snide with the remark but sometimes it just sucks to have someone poop on you.

For example if I say "It's so sunny! I want to go to the beach! Yeeeehaww" and someone replies "It's be super windy at the beach." It is just simply poopy. And that is what I took from that comment of yours. He was excited to share something. And you pooped on it.

As for this comment. You are a fat fucking dickwad and I am flat-out sick of your self-righteous "I'm so special because I've been on Reddit and I want shit made just for me and everyone should hear me speak because I am the most fucking interesting man in the world." You aren't fucking special. You are exactly like every other person on this planet who has some interesting shit that you share. You can write and you write all day long and have garnered attention for that. But it doesn't make you special. Your personality is such a fucking turn off I would prefer to not hear anything you ever had to say over getting a few seconds of pleasure from one of your stories.


kleinbl00  ·  1974 days ago  ·  link  ·  

    Well that escalated quickly.


We went from

"It's be super windy at the beach" to

"You are a fat fucking dickwad and I am flat-out sick of your self-righteous 'I'm so special because I've been on Reddit and I want shit made just for me and everyone should hear me speak because I am the most fucking interesting man in the world.'"

"Your personality is such a fucking turn off I would prefer to not hear anything you ever had to say over getting a few seconds of pleasure from one of your stories."


There's a trope around here that if someone let's you know that it's gonna be windy at the beach, they obviously mean "so have a shitty fucking time" when in fact they might just be saying "I was at the beach today, it's windy."

You can take that personally if you want. I can't stop you. I'll just point out that if Person A says

"Unitarians have likely heard the joke about the Unitarian crossing the road"

but Person B says

"You are a fat fucking dickwad, cunt"

...a casual observer might be tempted to comment on the personality of Person B.

The "fat" thing, by the way? That pretty much shows as evidence that I've been on your mind a hell of a lot more than I should be. The 'kleinbl00 is fat' thing is from two years ago on Reddit.

When I weighed 12 lbs more than I do in this picture.

Which was posted here.

Have a better day. I'm not sure what this is about, but not even I am arrogant enough to think this is about me.

insomniasexx  ·  1974 days ago  ·  link  ·  

I'm 100% over this conversation but wanted to point out that fat was describing the level of dickwad not your weight or past weight. I had no idea that you were/are fat or that was ever an issue/thing.

kleinbl00  ·  1974 days ago  ·  link  · you just call people you disagree with "fat" and "cunts" but I'm the one with issues.

Copy that, thanks.

kleinbl00  ·  1974 days ago  ·  link  ·  
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thenewgreen  ·  1974 days ago  ·  link  ·  

I know, I just didn't find it snide but just cautionary. And.. UU refers to Universalist Unitarian which is a group in search of "truth," but with no real affiliations to any particular dogma. They tend to borrow from all of them to construct a narrative or creed that best suits their life/journey.

I've really liked the UU's that I've known in life. Most of them attend the services just to have a group of people to commiserate with.

insomniasexx  ·  1974 days ago  ·  link  ·  

    Most of them attend the services just to have a group of people to commiserate with.

The biggest issue I have with certain strands of atheists is that they would love nothing more than all religion obliterated from entire world. While I don't personally do religion or church or find pleasure or community in those things, I realize that offers exactly that to many people. It is where they develop close relationships and find a way through stress or grief or life in general.

It's an interesting thing to think about. What if religion suddenly vanished, churches disappeared, and all the hierarchy of religious leaders were just normal people? How long would it take for communities and people who rely on the churches to adapt and find other means of coping or building friendships or getting advice? How long until people adapted to not having that structure in their life? And what would happen in the meantime? More violence or less?

thenewgreen  ·  1974 days ago  ·  link  ·  

    It's an interesting thing to think about. What if religion suddenly vanished, churches disappeared, and all the hierarchy of religious leaders were just normal people? How long would it take for communities and people who rely on the churches to adapt and find other means of coping or building friendships or getting advice? How long until people adapted to not having that structure in their life? And what would happen in the meantime? More violence or less?

People would find other things to belong to: Political parties, rotary club, sport teams etc. People crave the "herd". That's why someone that has never picked up a football in their lives or attended a university can be a die hard ___fill in the blank___ university football fan. That same person will kick the shit out of the opposing teams fans if they so much as look in the wrong direction. Why? Because they are the other. People crave the herd and they crave the other. -A clearly defined enemy makes people sleep well at night.

So if churches disappeared, you would see a huge influx in the amount of declared Democrats/Republicans. You would see sporting paraphernalia sell like hot cakes and nationalism would be at an all time high. We are tribal at our core. Religion feeds on this need as does nationalism.

Everyone likes to be able to say, "I am a ____."

That's why this is one of my favorite song lyrics: "I don't believe in Beatles, I just believe in me". -John Lennon

kleinbl00  ·  1974 days ago  ·  link  ·  x 2

The Year I Started A Cult

So in 1992 we worked on cars. A lot. And being kids, and working on cars, and spending a lot of time dealing with electrical gremlins and the Quest for Top Dead Center and determining whether it's the spark or the vapor that keeps an engine from running, you get superstitious. It didn't help that my mother's faith is basically superstitious animism; any important decisions get run through the I-ching. My father, for his part, is a devout atheist who has been known to cross his fingers when things matter.

And in 1992, one of the super-seniors in town bought a GSXR-1000. He had owned it for a couple months before he - and his girl - decided to blitz down main hill road at 85 miles an hour. To no one's surprise, they took it wide.

Right into a '76 VW Bus driven by an old English teacher of mine.

Everybody survived, miraculously. Think the two of them went through the windshield of the bus, which prevented them from plummeting off the 300-foot cliff to their left. Not before denting in the gas tank of that gixxer six inches with their crotches, however. "Crushed pelvis" is, in my opinion, one of the most evocative phrases in medical literature.

So in 1992 we worked on cars. And my buddy… he wanted the fuel filler off that gixxer so bad. So bad he could taste it. And the bike was sitting, wrecked, at Knecht… and it's not like it had any resale value… and it's not like anyone would want a fuel tank doing its best "crushed beer can" impression. So we stole it. Walked right up at midnight and put it in the back of the Subaru.

It took maybe ten minutes with a couple pairs of Wiss

before we had a jaggedy-ass fuel filler and a mangled, gnarled piece of Japanese steel that smelled of blood and Super Unleaded. So what do?

"Sacrifice it to the Demon," I said. Do what now?

It's not like I had a plan. It's not like it was premeditated. It's not like I even knew what that meant. But my buddy was so enthusiastic that I had to come up with a ritual on the spot.

It was a good ritual. It had legs. We would solemnly drive down to the intersection of my street and Club road, where the path led up to the golf course. We would then walk sanctimoniously up the path for the quarter mile or so it took to get to the abandoned water tank. We would then climb up the ladder to the top of the tank, say a few words, and drop the Suzuki carcass in. BAM. Evidence of the crime disposed of, mechanical gremlins that curse all projects appeased, life would go on. And fuckin' A, it was fun.

It was infectious.

Whenever we needed a little luck, we'd "Sacrifice something to the Demon." No one ever asked who or what the Demon was, or why the Demon lived in an abandoned water tank, or what its peculiar taste for dead car parts was about. However, when you put on a new carburetor, the old carburetor (or whatever parts you could scavenge, presuming you needed the old one for a core charge) would go to The Demon. And over the course of a year or two, certain embellishments appeared:

- The odometer must be reset before driving to the path

- Music must not be played and words must not be said

- Wild Turkey must be poured on the ground before approaching the Sanctum Sanctorum, i.e., the Golf Course

- An incantation must be recited: "Oh great and mighty Demon we approach thee with no fear in our hearts and no hatred in our souls, we seek your benefaction in pursuit of mechanical excellence"

- The path must not be deviated from and no words could be said until all participants reached the top of the water tank

- Another incantation must be recited by the officiant - "Oh great and mighty Demon we request a boon from thee" - prior to the donor requesting specific or general benefits ("I humbly request, O Demon, that the rear main seal on the small block we just put in the Hote not leak").

- Wild Turkey must be poured upon the demon prior to the donation and after, and then everyone must drink (at which point, all solemnity was off - we were just a bunch of teenagers sneaking booze on top of an abandoned water tank a hundred yards off the golf course on a Wednesday)

- Silence and solemnity must be observed back to the car

It was only when I started thinking about what sacrifices I'd make to the Demon to make my own monster run that I realized I'd not only conjured a religion from whole cloth, I'd taken it from animism to Catholicism in the space of nine months.

Gotta say, it gave me pause. Gotta say it also gave me some insight into human nature - I was an angry, angry, ANGRY atheist at the time, or so I thought. Yet I needed this ritual. My success depended on it. There was no "demon" before I invented it on a whim, yet I was completely spun up in a fantasy of my own making.

"And Man created God in his own image."

- Ivan Albright

I wish I could say I laughed at myself, set my hobo horde of nuts and bolts aside and went on to lead a spiritually rich yet trapping-free life, but that would be a lie. I went and did my sacrifice. Alone. Just in case.

I asked about a girl, too.

* * *

That was the last time I sacrificed anything to the Demon. Most of us, the core three or four, let it lie. We still drank bourbon, we still believed it unlucky to fix a car without the car drawing blood at least once in the process, and the Kawasaki fuel filler never did make its way onto a car - too difficult. The ricer phenomenon ten years later proved we were on to something.

I did have a friend, though. Not a close friend, but a friend. He liked tagging along. And one night he came to me because he needed a sacrifice, and he needed it bad. He'd brought along another friend that had never participated in our rituals. Could I officiate over one more?

I demurred - I had shit to do and this was getting weird. They pressed, though. They needed some luck. So I split the difference - I explained the important parts of the ritual and that they could carry on without me.

They did. For years.

That particular spot of forest burned down in 2000. They condemned the water tank and tore it down.

I wonder what they thought of all the car parts.

lil  ·  1974 days ago  ·  link  ·  

This is such a wonderful story KB. The last line is magical. Here's why: many of us have found things in strange places and suspect there's a back story that we will never know. The last line throws me into those "message-in-a-bottle" situations.

Has it already been published somewhere or is this its first appearance?

kleinbl00  ·  1973 days ago  ·  link  ·  

Thanks. I think I've told a version of it on Reddit before, but I don't so much "publish" as "shoot the shit."

flagamuffin  ·  1973 days ago  ·  link  ·  

    It didn't help that my mother's faith is basically superstitious animism; any important decisions get run through the I-ching.
Worked for Dirk Gently.

EDIT: and this honestly read like something out of his life, so there you have it.

thenewgreen  ·  1974 days ago  ·  link  ·  

I still can't drive past a cemetery without holding my breath, when someone mentions something promising that may occur in my life, I can't help but knock on wood. These superstitions toggle the line between wishful thinking and my own personal dogma.

I really enjoyed this comment, thanks for sharing. Also, that Ivan Albright painting is amazing! Wow.

b_b  ·  1974 days ago  ·  link  ·  

Interesting that you quote Lennon here in support of your argument while simultaneously pointing out the flaw in Imagine. Namely, that country and religion aren't the problem; human nature is.

thenewgreen  ·  1974 days ago  ·  link  ·  

I also chose to omit the "Yoko and me" bit. I think the song Imagine is entirely about human nature and not just institutions. Those institutions exist for a reason, there is a desire in most of us to have them. That said, this is why that lyric is so freeing. Because of consciousness and free will, we needn't be slaves to our superficial desires. We will always need people in our lives, hence the "Yoko and me", but we don't need institutions. Country and religion exist as a result of human nature.

BLOB_CASTLE  ·  1974 days ago  ·  link  ·  

    It is where they develop close relationships and find a way through stress or grief or life in general

And that's what (so far) I like about UU. It provides that environment for self growth or to find a way through a situation in life without beating you over the head with a specific dogma. Rather, it presents many for the individual to decide what they relate to most.

BLOB_CASTLE  ·  2032 days ago  ·  link  ·    ·  parent  ·  post: 1st Hubski Book Club Meeting: Radium Baby

If I could describe this book in one word it'd be "different."

I enjoyed reading this book because as a young adult fiction, there weren't necessarily many literary techniques to point out. In the first few chapters, ears were mentioned a bit. I thought that may have been an important thing to look for in that it may have foreshadowed the fate of some of the characters. But no such thing was true. All in all I thought that this book was an "easy breezy" sort of read.

I felt that this book was going for the Hunger Games type vibe where children are put into life threatening situations. However, I don't know that Radium Baby was as effective because the prize was a title as opposed to increasing the food ration for a district.

What I did most enjoy about this book though, as thenewgreen was saying was how odd this book was. It truly was strange in the same Willy Wonka sense and I wish that I had had that mentality in mind from the get go as I most likely would have enjoyed the book more.

StJohn  ·  2032 days ago  ·  link  ·  

I'm glad there was something to enjoy in there. If a novel has a primary purpose, it should be to entertain, whether it's dramatic, or funny, or thrilling. That's one of the nice things about YA literature — it's got to be entertaining or else you lose your audience. A lot of adult literature seems to think it's okay to be dull, with the result that no bastard wants to read it (Peter Carey, I'm looking at you…)

However I'll disagree that it doesn't stand up to a more literary analysis. There is a general sort of coming-of-age theme in there, but the main thing for me was a dissection of the "chosen one" style of storytelling. We've seen these stories over and over again (Star Wars IV, Harry Potter, etc.) There's a chosen one who has magical powers and is destined to save the day, and in the end of the story he uses his magical powers to fulfil his destiny and save the day. Wooh! Didn't see that one coming. It's not that these are bad stories or they aren't entertaining, but there's something unsatisfying about a story that couldn't have ended any other way. It's also rather alienating to know that if I were in that story, I'd screw it up. I'd fail. I'd miss the vital shot and the Death Star would destroy the Rebel base.

Radium Baby deconstructs the whole "chosen one" idea. Instead of having a chosen one, there are three chosen ones. And what's worse, Sam is the least capable of the lot. Sam fails at every hurdle. He never wins a challenge and he bungles every opportunity he has to succeed. What he realizes in the end is that success in this case is an illusion. The title of Radium Baby doesn't mean anything, and the fight to defend it is incredibly destructive. It's dangerous and it's turning him into a nasty person. Sam's shining moment as a protagonist is when he rejects the competition. He's actually walking away from the whole "chosen one" plot and rejecting the dubious narrative he's been put into. He doesn't just change the ending, he changes the narrative. It's not something he needed unique magic (like the Force) to accomplish, it's a decision he came to because, although he's not the smartest or the most capable of the Radium Babies, he has become the most mature. A good comparison here would be with Star Wars VI, in which Luke doesn't save the day by using his magic powers but saves the day by rejecting the fight he's been manipulated into. It's a decision rather than some innate ability.

There are a number of other ideas in there too. There's idea that a sense of entitlement is also an invitation to stagnation. At the start of the novel Sam thinks he's the Radium Baby and has absolutely no desire to do anything other than work at a bath-house in the middle of nowhere. It's only when he has that taken away from him that he realizes how exciting the world can be and he aspires to achieve something on his own. There's also the idea that competitiveness can be destructive and pointless if it's not moderated by humanity. Yes, you can be the number one at anything if you try hard enough, but what's the point if you're a terrible person?

You mentioned literary techniques, so I don't know if you're looking for the techniques in individual scenes, but the things I mentioned above are the broad strokes of the novel. You may still disagree, and I would be curious to hear what you think.

BLOB_CASTLE  ·  2032 days ago  ·  link  ·  

Well having that in mind now I have a greater respect for the book. I like that this was a sort of rebellion against the typical "chosen one" story. How the same set up doesn't always have to end similarly. I'm actually similar in that regard when writing music. I'll intentionally leave out where the music is going/what the listener would expect to hear.

humanodon  ·  2032 days ago  ·  link  ·  

I feel like those sorts of decisions need to be handled with a certain grace and a certain style that needs to be sensitive of what the sensibilities of the potential listener may be. I think this translates into writing as well. I think the book had plenty of the "it" I'm talking about, but the ending, the ending fell a bit flat. It was a little too opposite of the "chosen one" thing. I really dug Sam, but I was disappointed he didn't join the hide and seek guys. And it made me wonder, "how has this experience changed Sam?" Other characters remarked on how different he became, but I didn't really see all that much of a change in him throughout the novel.

I would have liked to know more about what's in store for Sam, given everything he'd gone through.

StJohn  ·  2032 days ago  ·  link  ·  

So would I! Over the course of the novel Sam becomes a worse person (cheats, endangers others, etc.), and by the end he's pulled back from the brink and gained a level of maturity. At that point he's not as insular as he used to be. He was once happy to while away his life in a town in the middle of nowhere, but now he's open to more of life's adventures. Whatever he's going to achieve in life, he's going to have to work for it.

I do wonder what happens to him next. I have it in the back of my head that he and Mrs Cholmondeley team up again about 10 years later in another story. But I doubt I'll ever write it. The world has enough sequels.

humanodon  ·  2032 days ago  ·  link  ·  

Maybe the world does have enough sequels, but good characters are tough to create. I mean, I don't think Harry Potter (it was only a matter of time before he popped up in YA fiction discussion, eh?) was a particularly good character. A character in an interesting setting with an interesting back story, but as an actual character, I think that Timothy Hunter from Neil Gaiman's The Books of Magic is a much better character. He's darker, he's more human and more flawed.

Both characters have a certain darkness and temptations of power and fame exist for both, but Timothy Hunter is painted much more vividly. I think seeing Sam progress into . . . wherever could be fruitful, especially if as mk said, ". . . that sinister nature of Radium Baby were turned up a notch or two".

There's a lot of room to play with character arcs and characterization in a world with cannibal bishops, mad, gibbering financial geniuses strapped to boards and radio contests that willfully endanger the lives of minors for advertising revenue, no? I dunno, it seems to me that if I created a universe I'd want to find out what's hiding in its fundamental fabric.

thenewgreen  ·  2032 days ago  ·  link  ·  

I'm curious, did you have other endings in mind and have to choose one or did this book flow out of you in the manner in which we read it? I'm always curious about what paths art could have taken. It's a reason I love to hear early mixes of music or paintings that are half finished etc. The process is cool.

I'm really curious if it ever occurred to you that one of them was the Radium Baby? Did you always know while writing it that none of them would be? Also, did you ever play with the idea of someone else actually being the Radium Baby or that all three of them were (my triplet theory)?

Also, and be honest here, Gloria and Sam hooked up in Egypt after Hadrian took off in the autogyro, didn't they!

I knew it.

edit: What I should have written is "did it occur to you while writing it that none of them would have been revealed to be"

StJohn  ·  2032 days ago  ·  link  ·  

Already writing your own slash fiction?! Hell, Sam and Hadrian shared a room, you never know… But I am almost certain Mrs Cholmondeley and Clive Chapman have shacked up or will shack up at some point. Actually this leads into a whole question of writing diversity. I try to get a balance of characters who are female, black, gay, etc. I got a good number of ladies in Radium Baby, but no black characters because it was the 20s and black people weren't really running radio stations back then. Then that leads me to wonder if any of the characters are gay. Sam is straight, but Hadrian and Gloria are up for grabs. Hadrian is portrayed as being a little bit "girly", but that doesn't mean much. For that matter Gloria can be fairly butch at times.

I don't think I had any other endings in mind, but then I don't plan ahead in any great detail. A lot of spontaneous flourishes turn into key parts of the story, and I can't think up spontaneous flourishes in advance. Some people can — but as you know everyone has their own creative process. A necessary corollary to being spontaneous is you have to go back in the editing stage and rewrite a bunch of material that was crap. There is a lot of Radium Baby on the cutting room floor. How do you find it when you're writing songs and albums? How well do you know your music in advance?

The only thing I know about the real Radium Baby is that it's not Sam. It could be Hadrian or Gloria, but nothing like that is ever hinted at (at least intentionally). Most likely it's someone else entirely. I think I might have imagined it be Gloria or Hadrian very early on, but nothing like that even made it to the first draft. If you want to hold on to the triplet idea, there's nothing stopping you! Nothing in the novel says it's impossible, and I like that ambiguity. You get to imagine your own ending.

StJohn  ·  2032 days ago  ·  link  ·  

Oooh, I didn't realize you were a musician. I've only just been catching up on thenewgreen's wonderful work. What kind of music do you write? And is there anywhere I can hear some samples?

BLOB_CASTLE  ·  2031 days ago  ·  link  ·  

I play(ed?) in a quartet called Alyssa and the Allgoods

BLOB_CASTLE  ·  2058 days ago  ·  link  ·    ·  parent  ·  post: What makes you weird?

I can move them a bit, but only momentarily. How they are in the photo is their natural resting position.

dulynoted  ·  2055 days ago  ·  link  ·  

I found out today that I can't put my fingers into that position if I try.

BLOB_CASTLE  ·  2055 days ago  ·  link  ·  

Hahahaha, well, I commend you for trying.

BLOB_CASTLE  ·  2062 days ago  ·  link  ·    ·  parent  ·  post: Should I Quit College?

With financial aid it hasn't been quite that much. Actually, because my dad being laid off from work right before I started school did wonders for my financial aid (as terrible as that might sound). I think currently I'm around $40,000 in debt. I do fully understand that that isn't nearly as much as others. However, that is a significant amount considering I don't anticipate having a job that would pay that off quickly.

mk  ·  2062 days ago  ·  link  ·  

Ok. So you have $40k debt now. How much more will finishing cost you?

BLOB_CASTLE  ·  2062 days ago  ·  link  ·  

I'm not sure. My dad started his own insurance company since being laid off so he has some income, but not much. I'm not sure how it'll affect financial aid though. Last year I had significantly less financial aid than my freshman year though which sort of scares me for when financial aid for next year goes through. I hope that it's no more than an additional $15,000.

mk  ·  2062 days ago  ·  link  ·  

Hm. Well, if you have the option of $40k and no degree, and $55k-$60k and a degree, I would stick it out. IMHO it would be a mistake to allow your own feelings on the value of a college degree weigh too heavily on this decision. I say this because there is a lifelong advantage in having it. You personally might not be convinced that it is worth an extra $15k in debt (and the arguments on that side are convincing), but believe me, many people do feel it is. Rather than having to be the guy that "was successful despite not finishing college", you don't have to weave that narrative into your future endeavors, whatever they may be.

One year from now, you can walk away with the degree and say: "What a waste that was!" And, even if you feel that it was a waste of money in your heart of hearts, and even if you tell people that you feel this, they will see you differently. They will see you as someone that finished what they started, and then moved on, and I am not just speaking of employers. IMHO you will feel better closing the book on this with the degree in your hand. You will carry less doubt with that decision, and people will see less doubt.

BLOB_CASTLE  ·  2062 days ago  ·  link  ·  

The best response by far.

kleinbl00  ·  2061 days ago  ·  link  ·  

$15k is a cheap Honda. Ten years from now you won't even care about the difference. Get the degree.

BLOB_CASTLE  ·  2065 days ago  ·  link  ·    ·  parent  ·  post: Hubski Pen Pal Pairs

Haha, right? I don't know when the last time (if ever) I bought stamps was.

BLOB_CASTLE  ·  2073 days ago  ·  link  ·    ·  parent  ·  post: Available Band Names

Just thought of this one last night at a gig. For a hardcore jazz group: "HardCoreTet"

BLOB_CASTLE  ·  2095 days ago  ·  link  ·    ·  parent  ·  post: Mark Hurst: The Google Glass feature no one is talking about

| because now the distractions are all conveniently placed directly into your eyeball!| I will never get Glass. I feel as if having a smartphone is already too distracting. I'd hate to constantly be notified of nonsense all of the time. Don't tell me there's an awesome restaurant around the corner, let me find it on my own.

ike  ·  2095 days ago  ·  link  ·  

I don't even own a smartphone. I can tolerate receiving texts, but I can't imagine how annoying it must be to get notifications pushed to your phone all the time from multiple online services.

BLOB_CASTLE  ·  2095 days ago  ·  link  ·  

I make sure to change to settings in my apps so that they don't notify me for everything. I only have it on texts and emails, but even that is too much. I'm glad there's a fellow anti-Glass.