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Vintage Outlandish!

This Content From 2003 (or earlier) see index

[outlandish] | [my story] | [love] | [sin] | [places] | [philosophy]

Ren Fayre: Bugs, Drugs, Neitzche

Luke w/Kegs
Portrait of a Lost Rebel w/empty beer kegs

Sunday Reconstruction
Waking up Sunday felt surprisingly good. For some reason the last day of Ren Fayre always has the best weather, and the best vibe. Were it not for the fact that Mark, Shannon and Kevin had to boot it back to Arcata, CA for class on Monday it would be my favorite day. I'm no fan of goodbyes.

It's generally a little sedate on the last day. Even the endurance-tested weekend warriors of Reed College are fatgued, especially the students, who have been under intense scholastic pressure for the past three weeks. But that fatigue brings out a sense of comradery, the feeling that we've all been there. Faces are familiar and people are generally hung-over but happy.

Mornng truck ride More Friends Geoff
The morning truck ride was pretty nice. We good-naturedly hassled some guy driving a VW bus for his hippy music, called out for "McKekrin!" and eventually ate a good all-american breakfast. Note Mark and Luke's matching cut-off "Spawn 'till you die" shirts. Classic.

We rode in the open back of Kevin's truck, enjoying the sunshine and fresh air. Before hitting the campus again we had breakfast at a real nice family place. It was some guy's diner and he had his kids working there, real nice guy, gave us shit for being so clearly hung-over. You know he understood. That's a key thing in a diner's value: understanding. It was a very Portland type of place, just a little but yuppified (I think they had salmon if you wanted it) but not without roots, a nice mix of rock'n'roll, responsibility, and damn good eggs.

Breakfast accomplished, we made our way back to college. I was thinking about how I hadn't spent any time with just Luke and Mark. It's a tricky thing, because I don't want to be exclusive of anyone, but it's also pretty important to me for us to connect with those guys as a distinct sub-group. We share a pretty powerful bond, forged by the shared traumas of adolesence and the subsequent realization that there's good stuff going on here.

Sitting in the sun
The Sunday Sun and copious cups of dark cream porter sooth away any hangover jangles.

Arriving at campus, the first order of business is beer. To the lay person this level of outright self-abuse may be hard to understand, but this is a festival in the classic dioneysian tradition. We need to push it as far as it will go, and the beer garden will close in less than six hours.

From the beer garden we can watch the best events of Sunday unfold. Though the 40oz dash--a truly sick event involving chugging 40s and then running up and down a hill until you puke--was off our radar, we did get to watch some genuine rennaisance-faire sword fighting, a cook off, and a man in a gorilla suit (the same guy who won the bug-eating contest!) letting children hit him with sticks. It was an easy, entertaining afternoon.

For variety's sake, I struck off on a bit of bike touring. Some girls were handing out home-made playdough so I packed some onto my little chunk bike, just seemed like the right thing to do. I went up to the top of campus and saw the art exhibition of a woman I knew from high school, pretty interesting stuff and good to make art-talk with someone for a while. After that I laid down in the sun alone and put my face to the ground, breathing in the sweet smell of firtile earth and fresh grass, storing up as much organic energy as I could. You don't get to do that kind of thing in Brooklyn all that often.

Men w/kegs
Instigators of Ren Fayre and organizers of the beer garden celebrate the prodigious consumption of their fellow Reedies.

Eventually Mark and Luke and I met up at the magic bus, which overlooks the hillside where we watched fireworks the night before. Sitting on top of a painted-up school bus, looking out into the goregous springtime green of Oregon's biggest metropolis, there was no great conversation, but the free simple bond of friendship was strong. In that moment my long-standing fantasy of the three of us living together somewhere came back strong. Without good reasons not to like college or success, the urge to live this dream has become strong as of late.

Back in the Beer Garden the Blazers game was on. It was the playoffs versus the L.A. Lakers, same as last year. Same as last year they would end up loosing, a bit of tradition that keeps the underdog fans in Portland both bitter and interested. I spoke a bit with the tall fashionista who I ran into the night prior. I had been wandering around with no shoes on to feel the grass between my toes, so she was nearly as tall as I in her boots. I really like tall women. There's a strange connection/attraction you get sometimes when you see someone, you don't even know them, and you realize that you're of commesurate scale. It's deeply satisfying.

A bit of digression:
The really interesting thing about this woman isn't that she's tall or attractive, but the way in which I met her at Ren Fayre the year prior. I was standing in the beer Garden on Friday night, getting drunk, talking with Mark about Reedie women. It was as I was just getting into my post-college chasing-women stage, and he just asked me, "who do you like." I considered for a second, and pointed out a tall girl with a ton of really dark eye makeup on, and he just stepped up on top of the ledge, elevating himself above the crowd, and yelled, "Hey! Hey you! Yeah! Come 'ere!" She did. It was a brilliant moment of wing-man-ness.

Camel Back Drinkin
Mark and his faithful camelback prepare for the long drive South.

Time was wearing on and although we were all conspiting to delay the exodus of our California-dwelling comrades for as long as possible, they eventually had to go. It was the beginning of the end. The Blazers had lost, the last kegs were being emptied, the last band had played and the crowd was beginning to disperse.

I wandered a bit with Luke. We left campus and walked up the hill. I got kicked out of the Lutz (local bar) because of my expired ID and sat in the grassy gravel parking lot out back, admiring the unfinished quality of my urban surroundings, thinking about the weekend's events. It was a good break from New York and the realities of every day life. It made me miss college and really think about what I want to do in the longer-term, especially in regards to my Best Coast dwelling bretheren. In the end, I enjoyed the counter-culture, the community, the unrepentant reveling. With all my Reedie friends graduating and moving on with their lives, who knows if I'll be back. But it was nice to be there.

This the end of this story. Back to the begining.

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Trips

Trips in Space and Time 8/02/03

Big Wheels in Berkeley
I scored a set of west-coast wheels today at the Ashby BART station flea market. It's a very tall schwinn road bike, black, deceptively heavy but smooth-riding. Thirty-five dollars to boot. I oiled and cleaned the works, dialed in the bakes and took it out for a shake-down cruise immediately. Nice riding on a beautiful saturday, realizing how out of shape I am as I wheezed my way though the hilly area behind the Berkeley campus.

After about an hour I started to get the swing of it. Made some minor mechanical adjustments (including a free wheel truing at the bike collective on Shattuck), drank a few liters of water and started finding my groove, cruising up and around and ending up with a beautiful view of the whole bay. The roads here are not kind to the speed inclined -- too many stop signs and crosswalks and lights -- but it was good to get out and proj for a while. This changes my summer dramatically.

...older trips...

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Smother Me With
Filthy Lucre