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Antarah Crawley’s eulogy for the District

Just found Antarah Crawley’s blog, DISORDR, on which he is posting his collected writings.

Below is an excerpt of his lament on the changed state of the District.

Those who are coming into the city call themselves “Branding Executives,” “Social Media Experts,” “Congressional Aids;” some call them “Millennials” with an idealistic inclination to shake up the system. And, me, I look at them, people near my age and intellect, and I want to be able to welcome them into my home even though they’ve already let themselves in; I want to find some common ground.

Common ground is scarce to come by between the NIMBYs and those who curse anyone standing in the way of progress.


Bat Country @ Burning Man

PoloLoungeThe most fun time I had at Burning Man was Wednesday afternoon, August 28.

In Burning Man’s What Where When guide, a Hunter S. Thompson happy hour was scheduled for Wednesday afternoon at Bat Country, the HST themed camp. The members of the camp style themselves after a biker gang and wear matching embroidered leather vests. At night, their bar was lit by tall gas flames, where bartenders slice any lemons or limes with a machete.

Bat Country was located on the edge of Black Rock City at the 10 p.m. radial bordering the playa, across the street from Funky Town, a dance camp from Montana and Wyoming.

I remember that the happy hour started at 2:45 p.m., but only two people dressed at Hunter S. Thompson showed up. It turns out the listing was misprinted, and the real happy hour was the day before—”Hunter S. Tuesday”. In about half an hour, though, there were about a dozen Hunters at the circular bar, many in character. Some took turns reading aloud from Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas.

Below are my favorite drawings I drew during the week. Continue reading Bat Country @ Burning Man

Captain Al

Captain AlAnother story from Burning Man.

On Tuesday afternoon, Aug. 27, I was roaming around and found a bar at a camp. Sitting there was this guy who called himself Captain Al.

We chatted for a while and he told me about himself while I sketched him. Captain Al works at the Maritime Museum of San Diego and rigged the tallest ship in Black Rock City. Although he looked like he walked off the set of “Pirates of the Caribbean,” the Captain was very natural and did not have a put-on persona like other people I would run into that week.

He points behind me and tells me he wants to climb this structure in another camp. This thing was at least 40 feet tall, but I trusted Al since he knows his way around high altitude rigging. We climbed up and took these photos.

He corrected anyone who called him a pirate. “I am not a pirate.”

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In search of a float

FloatingTanks may be rolling into a town near you sooner than you think. Neima Jahromi‘s feature article, “In The Tank”, contextualizes the burgeoning floatation therapy movement (9/24/13, The Nation). I expected more reporting on the culture surrounding the practice, but I was happy to consider Jahromi’s ideas about floaters’ motives in a chaotic, digitally-native decade.

Floatation therapy, also called sensory deprivation therapy, is a practice where people float in warm, salty water in a dark, silent chamber that could be a repurposed refrigerator. It’s supposed to be very relaxing, like meditation, or sudoku (so I’m told).

After reporting on the growth of floatation businesses in Portland, Ore., Jahromi draws connections between floaters and 19th Century Transcendentalists, like Henry David Thoreau, and newer writers seeking sanctuary from sensory overload, like Sherry Turkle and Bill Powers. Powers’ book Hamlet’s Blackberry (2010, HarperCollins) is referenced frequently in the article. Jahromi also employs his method of drawing similarities between the desires of older thinkers’ with people today. He writes:

Continue reading In search of a float

Pine Ridge Cattle


On the third day of our road trip to Burning Man, Aug. 22, Nick and I drove from the Valtiroty castle in Mitchell, S.D. to Pine Ridge, S.D. After stops at Wall Drug and Badlands National Park, we turned South onto a dirt road towards Pine Ridge. Empty fields rolled for miles in either direction from the road, lined with rusty fencing and spotted with an occasional abandoned shed.

After some time, we passed a herd of hundreds of black cattle, and we stopped so I could take some photos of them. Farther east in the state, we stopped to photograph some fields of sunflowers. I was excited to get up-close-and-personal with the cows, but the feeling was not mutual. A few stared me down angrily, and all of them kept a safe distance. After a few snaps, a chorus of moos broke out, and the herd quickly stampeded away. (I got a few seconds of this on video.)

Me with cows