Occupy Portland?


I decided to go down to the Portland waterfront to check out / be a part of the Occupy Portland protest this afternoon. I’m not activisty or agitatorish at all but it seemed like something fun to do. In a sea of nebulous agendas and questionable motivations, my goal was clear: to raise public awareness of me. I donned my trademark orange safety vest and headed out. As hard as I tried I couldn’t get any newsies to take my photo. I thought I stood out enough but without dreads, or a serious sign, my efforts were fruitless. I figured a “Hi Mom!” sign was a bit tasteless, so I made a sign with my signature phrase: “YAY!” along with the Burning Man logo, heh heh. I brought along a bag of bacon which virtually nobody was interested in except for one dog who ate two pieces before the hippie who enslaved it yanked it away saying it was on a strict vegan diet. Oppressor!

Here’s some random pics…

YAY for YAY!

You’re either with me or against me! Who can oppose YAY?

It’s just like Halloween but without the treats.

Powerbars for carnivores...

 Bacon: Part of a balanced protest.

Pluto is my favorite Disney character!

 Whatever… Total downer.

Well Dressed Longshoreman

I love his jacket!

This was my last photo before my camera’s batteries went dead.

The crowd was enormous! I’d estimate it to have been around 3,000. I was impressed with the organized labor showing. Their signs made the most sense out there and had no spelling errors at all. Other folks signs were not so good… “Eet the Rich!” “No Jobs for Oil!” “Nutere the Fat Cats”…

Don’t get me wrong. I’m giving this a pretty light treatment but it’s in accordance with one of my core principles of not taking myself too seriously. The folks there were for the most part very sincere and polite. The crowd was incredibly well-behaved as demonstrated by a group of citizens surrounding two anarchist agitators and making it clear that they weren’t going to let them pull off any shit that would damage the overall image of the protest. I wish it had been captured by a news crew!

The rally ended and the march began. The marchers were orderly and considerate, moving along and obeying the boundaries of the street as laid out by the Portland Police. The police were absolutely fantastic. Very helpful, friendly, and polite. My hat is off to them. They blocked traffic to let us pass through the streets unimpeded and returned waves with a smile. I love it!

I peeled off the march when I saw a food cart peddling chinese food. I ordered some General Tso’s chicken with rice and headed for my truck. Although I am used to footmarches in my combat boots, today was not the day for it. I had my protest experience and had fulfilled my duty under the social contract.

All in all it was a good time. If an Occupy movement comes to your city, participate! There were hippies, yippies, yuppies, and businessmen and women. All walks of life were represented. It may not make a difference, but then again it just might…

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My summer vacation: What I did at Burning Man


Burning Man 2011 was my first burn. I’ve been meaning to go for 15 years but work and caring for sweetpea had kept me away until this year. I retired a year and a half ago and Sweetpea said to just go and do it.

The desert is one of my favorite places to be. I was sent to many deserts while serving in the US Army, but the Black Rock Desert in northern Nevada is unique among them. No sand for starters. Just talcum powder fine alkali dust. No plants, no animals, no washes or dry streambeds. Just flat wide open expanses that stretch for 30 to 70 miles with only mere feet in elevation difference. It is truly one of the most beautiful environments that I have ever had the privelege to visit. I was there in late July, long before 55,00 other people were there to share it at the burn. It was quieter than anywhere else I’d ever been and totally empty of everything. Nothing but lots of nothing. That all changed in early August when advance crews began to build the world’s largest temporary city.

What I did at Burning Man…

I played with my fireball generator, AKA “Fire Poofer”. I design and build propane flame effects and built this one, “Grizelda MK IV”, to bring out to the desert.

Elder Wrong, Burning Man’s own PBR guzzling Mormon missionary, manifesting his own “burning bush” through the miracle of the fireball generator. You can follow Elder Wrong and his mission at: http://ElderWrong.wordpress.com

Directing traffic on ‘A’ street. DO NOT fuck with a man with a sign, a gun, and orange hair. It’s just not a good idea…

 

Hanging out with the pretty ladies of Burning Man. This is Piney. She is one of the founders of the Booby Bar, a bar featuring two giant domes with huge pink nipples on top. Sadly, 2011 was their last year of exsitence as supporting the boobies was just too tiring and didn’t allow enough time for the supporters to experience the burn. Piney is also a member of Reno’s “Controlled Burn”, a fire conclave that features fire spinners and very large flame effects including two liquid shooters firing 20 gallons of gasoline into columns of fire reaching altitudes of 100 feet into the night sky.

Firing sunset salutes with FOGBANK, the propane & oxygen fueled sound cannon built and operated by Espressodude. The sound of the cannon reaches 180 decibels, twice as loud as an F-16 with afterburners engaged. Espressodude also served up over 50 pounds worth of Starbucks coffee beans in the form of espresso to the citizens of Black Rock City. His espresso, made with one of his two commercial espresso machines, was provided free of charge to the citizenry. His name comes from the fact that he uses his machines at home to consume up to a dozen shots of espresso per day. He is a VERY high energy individual and I can’t even begin to keep up with him…

Brushing my teeth and having it documented by Ben tang of Ben Tang Photography.

Roasting and eating midgets in Terminal City. Here I have shrunken Elder Wrong and thrown him on the barbee. We ate of his flesh but, of course, he was raised from the dead with no complications. We saved some leftovers for him which he greatly enjoyed…

Hanging out with more of the beautiful ladies of Burning Man. Here is the exquisite Miss Savannah. She handmade a wonderful pendant for Sweetpea who was unable to attend. I am honored to count her as a friend and was privleged to be able to wrap my arms around her for hugs and photos.

The pendant Savannah made for Sweetpea. So many of my friends know and love Sweetpea from my frequent mentions of her. Notice the map cast under the resin and the words “Black Rock Desert”. Thank you so much Sav. The Sweet One and I love you very much!

Dressing up for nighttime adventure. I’ll let you use your imaginations… The skirt made from a pair of US Army paratroopers trousers was graciously given to me by Quick, the beautiful Chief Warrant Officer of MASH 4207, “The Best Care On The Playa”, a medical relief camp providing comfort to the afflicted of BRC.  The gold helmet is my genuine kevlar helmet brought home from my gig in the US Army.

Cooking Spam with my 1.5 million BTU liquid propane fueled flamethrower. Knowmad provided the heat while I held my meat. Nom nom nom…

Sunset over the Flaming Lotus Girls 2011 fire art installation, Tympani Lambada.

Burning Man, something to do before you die.

The Foxfur Nebula?


It Exists!

The Foxfur Nebula

Details: This nebula is about 2,700 light years away, and is a red emission nebula, although it contains some blue sections.  I’m hoping to add color data to this later, this is a narrowband Hydrogen Alpha image.  Notice the Cone Nebula on the left side, made famous by the Hubble picture of it.  I’ll have to take a closer up view of the Cone with the C11 at a later time.

From the Buena Vista Observatory

Dusty Bacon on Foxfur


Last month I was fortunate enough to attend Controlled Burn’s Compression Fire & Arts Festival in Reno, Nevada. I had a blast meeting, in person, so many people from the Burning Man community that I’ve met in various online forums.

I brought with me some of what I will be wearing at Burning Man including the infamous shoulder armor rig. It began as a 3 dollar second thought at a thrift store and soon took on a life of its own and consumed over 100 hours of my time bringing it to its present form. I was hanging out around Espressodude’s up-armored Xterra and Kernul Killbuck’s Urban Assault Vehicle on the bridge when I was approached by Dusty Bacon. Yeah, THE Dusty Bacon. Burning Man’s fashion expert himself asked if he could take a photograph of me wearing the armor. You know me. I’m rather shy, hesitant to share, and bashful, but he coaxed me into it… He took three photos that I have been dying to see. Today I found them. He wove them into a wonderful video highlighting the burner fashion that was all about on that beautiful summer day in downtown Reno. I won’t tell you where I appear in it as you really need to watch the entire video to appreciate the day’s fashions and Dusty’s photography. Three minutes of bliss…

Compression! A Fine Example of Reno’s Burner Styles 

I have not embedded Dusty’s video or screencaps here because they are his, not mine, and you need to see his burner fashion site to believe it.

Foxfur in armor. Weapon and helmet courtesy of Kernul Killbuck.

A closeup shot of the armor showing a few of the message plates.

 You may notice that there are V’s where U’s should be. I lost the U stamp in my set so had to make do. Thanks ancient romans!

Each plate was beat to hell and dented up, stamped with messages, hammer contoured to fit the specific spot on the armor, riveted or bolted in place, chemically antiqued, buffed, and paint filled to enhance visibility of the messages. There are more than 30 plates.

Wheee!

Email from Adam Stennett


I emailed Adam to let him know that I had blogged him. This was his response:

“Thanks Steve!

It’s always nice to hear from people who really connect with my work. Thanks for sharing it on your blog.
I see you are going to Burning Man.
I have had many good times there.
Have fun!

Adam”

Why am I not surprised that he’s a burner?

Scroll down a few posts to see his art and a link to his website.

Adam Stennett – Artist


In 2005 I was stumbling around the internet when I happened upon this:

What an interesting photograph… I searched around and found more.

Stunning! How did he manage to get these mice posed let alone to hold still as he photographed them?

It was with this photo that I realized these were not photos. They were paintings! It was the reflection of the matches that revealed this marvelous fact to me. I decided it was time to track him down. I found his website and fell in love all over again.

His paintings are so incredibly detailed, so realistic, so vibrant. They grabbed my by the imagination and shook my perspective. I get lost in the detail. He is a gifted man whose art touches my soul. His subjects are many and his talent is deep.

Here’s the featured work on his homepage as of this morning:

Visit him at The Paintings of Adam Stennett