But how, in essence, from the unprejudiced viewpoint of a Martian did Man differ from other earthly animals? Would a race that could levitate (and God knows what else) be impressed by engineering? And if so, would the Aswan Dam, or a thousand miles of coral reef, win first prize? Man’s self-awareness? Sheer local conceit; the upstate counties had not reported, for there was no way to prove that sperm whales or giant sequoias were not philosophers and poets far exceeding any human merit.
There was one field in which man was unsurpassed; he showed unlimited ingenuity in devising bigger and more efficient ways to kill off, enslave, harass, and in all ways make an unbearable nuisance of himself to himself. Man was his own grimmest joke on himself.
Stranger In A Strange Land, Robert A. Heinlein
In my count, I’ve probably read a good 100 – 150 books since moving to Oregon in 2010. It could even be much higher than that. Perhaps as much as 250 or 300. It’s hard to guess. But a lot.
Prior to moving to Oregon I’d be lucky to read one book a year. Now I’m reading dozens. And it’s calmed me down considerably. It’s given my mind food to digest. It’s allowed me to see myself in new light. All in all, a very positive experience.
And my imagination has grown as a result. I can picture worlds in my head much more easily. Before they were just words on a page, now they appear as great cathedrals, great works of art.
Hunter S. Thompson once copied The Great Gatsby, line for line, just so that he could experience what it must have been like to write something that good. I’ve been doing the same for Armor by John Steakley in the last few weeks. A little here and there, but a little is better than none.
I’ve found it has helped considerably. I’ve noticed nuances that had previously eluded me, and I’ve grown a deeper respect for his writing ability. Nothing is flashy, it all seems so simple. But he writes in such a way that you can’t help but turn the page. It’s gripping and gritty, something I admire greatly.
After I finish transcribing Armor I’m moving on to The Stars My Destination by Alfred Bester and then Anathem by Neal Stephenson. I consider both to be true masterpieces of fiction—works of art.
Armor is a special book to me. My uncle handed it to me when I was 13 and told me to read it. It was my first foray into science fiction. Previously, I had only read The Hardy Boys or Goosebumps. But when I read Armor I connected on a deeper, emotional level. His writing just got to me, simple as that.
It was because of that book that I started seeking out great science fiction. I’m not sure what order I took but I eventually discovered Neal Stephenson. Actually, I recall my uncle once again suggesting Snow Crash. I didn’t really like it the first time I read it but I couldn’t help but feel it was really cool all the same. Just sometimes a bit too wordy. But it was his first book so forgive him, yeah?
But when I finally got around to reading Anathem I found out that he was to be one of my favorite authors. That book was equally as pivotal as Armor—it was the first time I read a book longer than 1,000 pages. Before, I would have found a book that size intimidating. The last book I just finished was The Stand by Stephen King, the uncut edition standing at 1400 pages or so. I wouldn’t even have dared had I not read and loved Anathem so much.
But now it comes down to why even read at all. And that is to write.
And I keep putting it off and off and it’s never going to get written that way.
So that’s how we get to this. An exercise in futility? Maybe, but an exercise all the same.
Better than nothing.
I don’t really write here much anymore but I’m bored so why not. The only reason this site exists is so that I can secure the domain name in case I need it in the future. I’ve been using the handle ‘ertertwert’ since 2000 and I’ve become somewhat attached. Most people pick a name they think sounds cool or has some intrinsic meaning – I just wanted efficiency. I can type those letters in less than a second, and that becomes incredibly useful when you are constantly entering email addresses and logins.
I read this short story a few years ago and it profoundly disturbed me. There’s something about it that is so scarily true, it gives me chills.
I just reread it a few days ago and found it to be brilliant. Say of that what you will.
Had a pretty crazy dream last night. I was at my old place in California and I had some DMT. I think I might have self-extracted it but I guess it’s not important. I read a post on reddit of a guy who had just finished his extraction so that’s likely what triggered it (it was even in the same container as his).
Well I load it in my pipe and begin trying to light it without burning it. You’re supposed to vape it as direct contact with flame destroys it. I barely got a hit in but it produced some effects. I got the signature high-pitched ringing and a bunch of closed-eye visuals although I cannot recall what I saw now. When I woke up a few hours ago it was perfectly clear though.
What I find interesting however is that I have never smoked DMT. It’s been on my list of things to try for over a decade and last night I got to experience it for the first time, albeit in a dream.
But it felt so surreal. It didn’t feel like a dream at all. And I’ve never done drugs in my dreams before, let alone actually get high. Probably one of the coolest dreams I’ve ever had.
I didn’t write in my journal again so I’ll just make up the last entry now.
I decided to leave early and not stay for the Temple burn. It was due to burn at 8pm which meant that I would have to sit through the blazing heat once more, something I was not looking forward to doing. Also take note that 4 out of our group of 6 had already departed. It was sad and somber and I wasn’t really feeling it. The Man burn was so insane that I really wanted to leave on a high note.
So I should probably describe how that went down.
Austin got a hold of some mushrooms from somebody and offered to split them with me. There weren’t a lot but I was excited regardless (mushrooms are my favorite). So Austin and I each took a drop or two of acid and ate the mushrooms as the sun was setting. We were alone now as the others decided to make their exodus before the Man burned in hopes of beating the crowd. I believe it to have been a mistake, but that’s their choice.
Austin and I had a fucking blast, but it would have been so much more special with everyone there together. A final send-off.
As we were walking toward the structure the mushrooms were kicking in. Visual distortions were taking place and we were giggling like school girls. The walk there seemed to take twice as long as usual.
We got there pretty early and had to wait over an hour before the Man was set to burn. We were up close in the sitting section. Those who came later were able to stand behind us. We had front and center seats, absolutely perfect view. Well I begin sipping on my water bottle and munchin’ on jerky and other snacks. This girl in front of me keeps eyeing me and I think she looks cute. Eventually she begins making out with some dude and I ignore her.
Suddenly I get a strong urge to urinate. Like, I really gotta go. I had drank 95% of my water bottle and now I was in trouble. I kept thinking that I should just piss in the bottle but I didn’t really want to draw attention and make a scene so I tried to make it through. Well, before the man burned they had a fire dance. The most incredible fire spectacle that I have ever seen. 30 or 40 guys and gals were twirling fire, throwing people on tops of shoulders, launching them in the air, spitting fire, throwing fire. Just sublime. And given our mental states, it was euphoric. I had a smile plastered the entire time.
All of a sudden the Man’s arms being to raise. It’s happening! But goddamn do I gotta pee! Fireworks begin and the structure begins to take flame. Each explosion from the fireworks makes me need to pee more. It’s literally causing me to do the pee dance and I’m squirming around, trying to hold my bladder. I’m sure it was a spectacle.
I finally say fuck it and turn to the gals to my right and ask if they’d be bothered if I piss in my bottle. They said go ahead as long as I don’t obstruct their view.
I try to be discreet and piss from my current sitting position but it’s a funny angle and it’s not going to work. I stand up on my knees and now everyone is looking at me, wondering what I am doing. I whip out my dick and begin the piss to end all pisses. I literally fill the ENTIRE fucking water bottle, and it’s a fairly large one. I’m sitting there with this huge shit-eating grin, smiling and laughing, all the while there are fireworks being set off, the man is up in flames, the man EXPLODES, and embers are flying through the sky.
It was the greatest moment of my life.
I’m sure the drugs had a lot to do with that perception, but fuck it.
But the greatest thing about it all was how everyone reacted. Because I was exuding pure joy and it was a comedic moment, everyone started busting up. And for the next half hour I kept catching people laughing and commenting. I couldn’t stop laughing for nearly the entire 30 minutes. It was a moment, and I hope to god someone captured it on video. It would be hilarious.
Well after the man burned we waited for the top ring to fall. It took another 35 or 40 minutes but finally it did and we all cheered. Austin and I decided to leave at that moment.
It was total bliss and everyone on our side of the Man had nothing but joy and laughter.
Apparently people on the other side of the Man had another experience altogether.
A man who was quite obviously tripping way too hard on acid ran into the flames and died. Thank god we were oblivious to this, as this would have sent us spiraling into depression. Not the way you want to end a euphoric week.
I didn’t find out until I returned home. I left early in the morning around 8am. I cried nearly the entire first 2 hours. Tears of joy and tears of sorrow. I did not want to leave. This place was a Mecca, a utopia. Who the fuck would want to leave that?
So I drive 10 hours back home after only getting a few hours of sleep. Oh yeah, and we did more acid after the Man and walked the playa for a few hours. Nobody was talking about the man who died. In fact, I’m quite sure most people were completely unaware. I’d wager that only 10% of the population knew about it, maybe less.
So the first thing I do when I get home is check reddit to see how everyone else’s burn was. I was feeling elated, tired and fatigued, but great nonetheless.
And all I see is negativity. Just hatred and stupidity and nonacceptance. The exact opposite of what I had just left. The “real” world had returned full force.
Fuck all you haters. Go fuck yourselves. If you can’t spread peace and love stay far away from me. If we encounter I will try to be civil but I want nothing to do with you.
I know that may seem harsh and hypocritical but I don’t want that. There’s no reason to be so mean guys. Have some fucking empathy.
But I digress.
I’m sorry the man died, and I don’t think it was intentional, but his death caused much pain to many people. I can’t imagine how it felt to see it first hand and I am so grateful I was spared that.
Others weren’t so lucky.
Rest in peace brother.
Just awoke to the craziest dream ever. A total fucking nightmare, on every level. Would make a wonderful (?!) horror story. I was baby sitting a family of 3. The house was a complete disaster when the parents left. Trash everywhere. The baby was literally crawling on the ground eating up all the shit. Cats and dogs ran around. Apparently I left at some point. Saw a cute chick and followed her and kissed her. Upon returning, the house is cleaner now but I don’t know if they were eating the trash or cleaning up. Maybe both. Then they are all running around in the backyard. The neighbors dogs begin attacking the cat and tear it apart but leave it alive. I yell at my loudest and they all run back inside. The neighbor comes over and says he is going to call the cops. I tell the kids to do the same. Inside the cat has blood literally gushing everywhere. I grab a roll of paper towels and the cat GRABS it and says thanks. The cat beings cleaning itself with it’s paws as if they were hands. When the cops arrive I tell them what happened and when I go back inside I can’t find the oldest kid. And then I see it. It is a tall creature with it’s left arm severed at the wrist. It’s eyes are oblong and solid dark back/green. Alien eyes. I know it is the boy and scream, “Oh my god…” and wake myself knowing instantly that I am the one to blame for it. There was a pocket knife I was holding throughout the dream but I don’t recall the details. Maybe I defended myself? There were other things too. Like someone trying to get in and hurt the kids? I don’t remember. But I believe in the dream if I had defended the kids, it would have actually been me harming them. I believe the dreamer’s memory (from within the dream) to have been faulty. HE was the one who was causing all the pain on everyone, all the while he was trying to find the culprit responsible. Fight club shit, basically.
So last night was interesting. It was the first time I didn’t explore the playa at night. There were two things I wanted to accomplish yesterday and I failed them both. One was to hear Kelsey play at 3pm, but I failed to realize the distance and was unable to make it in time. The other was the burning of an art piece. I was invited to dinner with some new neighbors and ended up staying and drinking all night. It was fun and I don’t regret it, but it was sad to realize the art piece was already a pyre upon arrival. It was a really nice fire but I had hoped to watch it from the beginning. At least I should be able to watch the Man burn tonight.
So I had that crazy fucking dream last night and near the end I wake up literally mouthing the words, “Oh my god. Oh my god,” and transitioned from the dream to waking state in a fluid movement. So I was saying that phrase in two states at once. But I fear that earlier in the dream I really did scream out loud when I was yelling at the top of my lungs. When I awoke, all of my neighbors were up and talking. That’s rare for everyone to be awake before sunrise. So it’s likely that I did cause a stir and woke everyone up. I hope everyone understands.
So that’s 3 nightmares here on the playa and they were all terrifying.
Oh shit, make that 4. I had another one just now but it wasn’t nearly as scary. Totally forgot about it. Actually, I am now remembering yet another dream, although that was no nightmare. One was like the movie It or Freddy Kreuger as people were being killed off one by one. We started as a group of 5 or 6, although I don’t recall the details now. In the other one it was my birthday and we were trying to get a nude picture of like 30 people. It was like a surprise nude part or something. I think it started with one dream then transitioned to the other.
It was a cool dream as I remember and nowhere near as frightening as the others.
Oh how I wish I could record dreams like that Final Fantasy movie. My dreams would make AMAZING short films or even movies. There is plot, suspense, mystery, progression, victory, defeat, triumph, pain, etc.
Maybe everyone’s are like that? In which case, maybe my dreams wouldn’t be as impressive.
That child/alien thing with the cut off wrist still haunts me. You’d have to see it, but it walked into frame from the right side and just stood with this blank face. Was creepy as fuck. And then some. I had to wake myself at that point because I could see where the dream was gonna go next and it was NOT something I wished to experience.
Well, two more days now. Gotta make it through tonight and tomorrow night and then it’s departure time. So close! But man has it gone fast. I couldn’t wait for it to be over when I first got here and now I am sad to leave.
Oh, I cried for the first time here after that disturbing dream. After I wrote about it I let some (not all) of it out in my tent. It helped calm me a little. Amazing how therapeutic crying can be. A cathartic release.
I’m fairly hungover at the moment, but not too much. People have been good to me here.
Oh yeah, so I got to play with the neighbors’ kid while they cooked dinner. We kicked a soccer ball back and forth and raced around their RV a few times. It was the first time I allowed myself to be joyful with a kid since Kayleigh. It was very beautiful. I’m grateful for the experience.
Speaking of Kayleigh, her name is to burn with the Temple in two days. I will undoubtedly cry my fucking soul out. THAT is an acceptable time to release. But not now.
My neighbors are having a giggle fit and it’s really cute. I wonder what the topic is?
Oh, so since I was pissed I missed the burning of the art piece I decided to drop off the rest of my PSYBER.cide CD’s. I left them at random locations throughout the city. We’ll see if it has any effect. I suppose the only way I’ll know is through my youtube or facebook accounts, although they will have to do some sleuthing to find them. Other than that, if people DO like it I will be oblivious. It still feels like it was the right thing to do though. I trust that they will reach the people who need to hear it.
I listened to my songs a few more times while here and I think they are really good. And it’s been a year since they were recorded. So either I’m delusional or simply sane. I’ll opt for the latter, thank you.
Austin mentioned that he could get me DMT. That’s the first time anyone’s ever told me that. He’s a really cool dude and I can see us being very close friends for a long time. We’ll have to keep in touch.
You get used to the heat and dust out here. The first 2 or 3 days I hated those aspects. Now I am in total acceptance.
It is what it is.
Just roll with it.
Austin has a really cool quote about the impermanence of experience that he came up with. I’ll have to ask him what it is again and write it down.
This shade structure is a god-send and I am very grateful to Austin and Dan for their assistance.
I’ve met so many amazing and talented individuals here. It’s been exhilarating and transformative. It hasn’t been exactly as I imagined it, but it’s been everything I’ve been needing.
Like a psychedelic trip: you don’t get what you want – you get what you need.
So last night was pretty special. It was the first night I hung out with a group out on the playa.
There is a group of 5 that I walk past everyday to reach the bathrooms. Austin, Mark, Tuesday, Dan, and Robin. At first they were just heckling me (playfully) as I walked past but after a few days they invited me over. Eventually I would stop and sit for a few minutes at a time. They were the one who helped set up my shade structure. Yesterday after my last journal entry I hung out them until it was time for bed. We chatted about all sorts of topics from music to technology to art. Whatever. Mark offered to let me stay with him and Tuesday if I needed a place to crash in SoCal. I have his number. Austin and I tried playing guitar together but the jams were pretty terrible (my fault). But eventually I started playing my songs and everyone was impressed. Even though I played like shit they seemed to like it. It’s a good ego boost and more confirmation that music is a good fit for me. Even though I don’t really know what I’m doing (at least technically speaking) they still gave me great promise that I was good enough.
So that’s cool. I’ve been giving more thought to going to California since yesterday. Even if it’s not a permanent stay it’d still be cool to try it out for a few months.
But yeah, when Mark said I could stay with him and Tuesday it really opened my heart. They barely know me and already trust me. That feels really good. I may take them up on that offer as it sounds like an adventure. And who doesn’t like those?
But anyway, it’s Friday today. I should check out the Reverbia stage around 3pm and see if Kelsey Sprague is playing (I found the name for the female guitarist from the other night written on a notice board). She lives in Seattle. Could be cool to see her if I ever visit that city. I think we’d get along marvelously. She’s a beauty, soul and all.
I mentioned (very briefly) about raising Kayleigh to someone just a few minutes ago. It makes me want to cry a little but I’m not gonna go there. I wrote Kayleigh’s name on a piece of wood at the Temple. She will burn up in the flames and hopefully I can lay that part of my life to rest.
I left a few more of my PSYBER.cide CD’s around. We’ll see if anyone picks them up or not. I gave Austin one and am really curious how he’ll respond after seeing me play them acoustically.
Someone (mis?)placed a hat at the Man and now I am wearing it. I hope they don’t mind. Robin gave me a necklace that she got at least year’s Burn.
I took some more acid last night and smoked some pot just before bed. Glad I declined to smoke when it was first offered as it got a little weird even 6 hours later. I get the impression that everyone thought I was gay and I mentioned an ex-girlfriend in a story and it seemed as if the mood shifted a little. It was weird, but I was also stoned and on acid and I can’t trust my intuition on that shit. I’ll probably give up pot now. That event brought some stuff to light. My ego goes on overdrive when I’m stoned. Probably not a good idea.
The group fed me a bunch yesterday and my neighbors too about 30 minutes ago. It’s very cool and special to see stranger’s being so welcoming.
I haven’t hung out with my original neighbors since the erection situation. I’m glad. Super embarrassing.
Wow. Last night was fucking incredible. Best night yet. It’s strange how every night gets better and better. You’d think that after going out and seeing the art that going back again another day would be less special but apparently not. Well and the acid helped. lol
I met so many cool people and had such great interactions. The previous night I was in a foul mood so I had almost zero interaction. But it’s what I needed to have the dreams that I had. Maybe I’ll get into that later, but it’s very personal and disturbing, even for me to think about.
I dreamt last night too, and I remember it being intense, but cannot recall now.
Oh, I should make note to appear at 3:45 & B at 3:30 pm tomorrow, Friday. There was a lovely musician who’s name I cannot recall and I’d really like to see her again. She was beautiful. Her heart and soul is gold. And her voice…
She made me want to tear up with every note she sang. It was hard not to break down. But I think it fueled her even more, so I’ll take it.
So check this out: yesterday I saw and spoke to 5 musicians. Ben Caron at the bar (lovely soul), Jeremy James Meyer, the two duet girls (Kelsey Sprague and Hayley Dayis), and then the 3 piece folk band, Runnin’ Trainwreck. They were all so incredibly talented and pure. So much love and soul.
Jeremy was a kindred one. His songs, although seemingly upbeat and joyful were filled with sadness and loneliness. I couldn’t keep from eyes open for fear of breaking apart. And the only reason I even stopped in that room was due to the offer of free tea.
I love this place. It is indeed fucking home.
I already have many ideas to make next year’s Burn even better. But for now I will immerse myself in the now. Right here.
So to recap. Sunday sucked. I thought of suicide often due to the oppressive heat. Monday was a little better. Tuesday was worse, the exhaustion was taking a toll. Wednesday was pure joy. Let’s keep this ride going a little longer.
I was trying to estimate how much money was invested here. Like a billion dollars. It’s hard to judge.
There are nearly 300 art pieces. Some (many) cost multiple millions of dollars. Then add all the rented/bought RV’s. The tickets. The food. The camping gear. The alcohol. The drugs. The costumes, lights, apparel. The infrastructure. It’s incredible. So much time and money poured into a week’s worth of novelty.
THIS IS WHY WE ARE HERE.
Paradise DOES exist, and it is Burning Man. Don’t believe me? Show up and find (out for ) yourself.
This place is pure magic. Pure love. Pure connection. Pure giving. Pure taking. Pure everything. Even the heat.
There’s so much about last night that I want to write about but I’ll leave the memories in my heart. You’ll have to come yourself if you want to know.
But besides memories, there is more to say. I have a strong dislike for being dirty. For being sweaty. For being sun burned. For being uncomfortable basically. This place abolishes those fears by thrusting you into the fire. But you won’t die. The people here won’t allow that. You’ll be safe, even if miserable. And you will emerge reborn. A true phoenix.
This place is THE place for real change. The only things that I’ve experienced that come close are psychedelics, and this is just so much more. Try combining the two (or more!) for maximum effect.
I came here to find a sense of direction. Which way do I go? Wish I knew. MUSIC!!! Just fucking do it and stop bitching. It’s obvious now. Can’t run from it. Just create your art and the ones meant to find it will. I am ABSOLUTELY sure of this now.
Speaking of, I left 2 PSYBER.cide CD’s out on the playa for strangers to come across. I feel a little guilty as I’m sure it’s generally looked down upon, but fuck it. It feels right. Maybe I won’t leave all of my CD’s, but whenever I stop to sit and eat a snack I’ll leave an offering in my place. It’s my gift and I trust it to find the ones who need it.
Writing that makes me want to cry. That’d be embarrassing but I don’t mind. If not here, where?
Two different people have helped me create a shade structure. I am sitting under it now and much cooler than I’ve been yet. There is a saying that says, “The playa provides.” It’s not unlike the Christian ethos that God will take care of you. In fact it’s one and the same, just different words.
Coming here has restored my faith in God. I was raised Christian and hated it. Despised it. It felt so disingenuous. So fake. But God exists. And (s)he is everywhere. Is everything. Is everyone. Everything is always perfect. All the time. Even when you feel otherwise. It is your story.
Part of my dream is coming back. It was another recurring dream (a different one) but much more intense than previously.
I don’t remember the details but I was set up and going to be arrested. Previously when I dreamt it I failed and got locked up. Every time actually. This time I escaped with the help of a kind soul. It was marvelous. I feel as if all of my burdens I have carried were freed in that dream. I wish I could describe it better but that’s all I can say.
Even though I have a lot of unwanted thoughts and images, many of which I would label depraved or even evil, I have not committed evil. I am not my “evil” thoughts. Anything but. So I must keep faith in God that there is a purpose to these emotions.
And soon the dam will break free and I will be divine.
This has all happened before and will always happen again.
This is life and it is everlasting joy. You just need to accept the process and succumb. Do not be afraid. Fear is the mind-killer. Fear is the only enemy. Trust love. Make decisions based on love and it will always work out in everyone’s best interest.
Bet at peace.
It’s hard not to cry but it’s okay straddling that feeling. It will happen when it happens.
Time to pee again.