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NaNoWriMo

26,000+ words so far. Story is winding down but hopefully can get 35k out of it before I start padding. Somewhere in my house there is a book and a spiral notebook with notes on historical and fictional events to pad with, but I can't find them. Meanwhile, as it is a homage to H. P. Lovecraft, it lends itself to some short stories which I'll probably put as appendixes and documents mentioned in the story. They are:

1) The Cases of Theodore S Black - The protagonist's case files as he starts off the story as a 1930's FBI agent essentially handling the X-Files. Lovecraft had government agents involved in several of his stories such as Shadow over Innsmouth where they locked up all the inhabitants of Innsmouth and bombed Devil's Reef in 1931.

2) The Journal of Erick Wilhelm Schmitt - a journal entry of an SS officer as he learns the true meaning behind the "Master Race"

3) Tale of the Submariner - Diary entries of an American submariner in the south pacific during WW2 is sure that something is not only knocking on the outside of the sub, but also singing a song only he can hear.

4) Report to Admiral Byrd - Otherwise known as Return to the Mountains of Madness by an organized military expedition plus Nazis.

If I get 2-4k out of each of those, I should be pretty close to done well before the end of the month.
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NaNoWriMo

Hello LJ, I have missed you and content and keep meaning to come back and post. Now, I have stuff to post that requires space and lots of text which is unsuited for other venues.

So once again, I have joined NaNoWriMo. I did it before back in 2002 as one of my yearly goals. It is not a yearly goal this year, but I didn't finish it then so this is an attempt to complete that yearly goal for 2002. Then I had no real idea or novel. This year, I do. For another yearly goal, I decided to write and publish an RPG and also do more photographic art for it but have never completed it. While looking at a theme to do photography and RPGs with, I came up with the SS because I do WW2 re-enactment and have access to WW2 uniforms and gear, and flying saucers because it was just over the top. Basically, in their expeditions to Tibet and Antarctica, the occult Nazis actually discovered things, namely an ancient alien civilization and cities where they picked up the flying saucers. From there, you move into the occult being based on the ideas of Willhelm Riech, the science on Tesla, and the reveal that there was actually something to their "master race" which is borrowed from Lovecraft. It was supposed to be an RPG, but I figure I can write a story as the game is supposed to take place in 1948 near the final clean up. I think the idea is fairly original so I thought a novel might consolidate all my IP and world of the setting and this is an attempt to get it all down on paper in a form I can show.

The following is the Introduction to the book as written by our narrator.

"Introduction

No one would have believed in the last years of the nineteenth century that this world was being watched keenly and closely by intelligences greater than man's and yet as mortal as his own; that as men busied themselves about their various concerns they were scrutinised and studied, perhaps almost as narrowly as a man with a microscope might scrutinise the transient creatures that swarm and multiply in a drop of water. With infinite complacency men went to and fro over this globe about their little affairs, serene in their assurance of their empire over matter. It is possible that the infusoria under the microscope do the same. No one gave a thought to the older worlds of space as sources of human danger, or thought of them only to dismiss the idea of life upon them as impossible or improbable. It is curious to recall some of the mental habits of those departed days. At most terrestrial men fancied there might be other men upon Mars, perhaps inferior to themselves and ready to welcome a missionary enterprise. Yet across the gulf of space, minds that are to our minds as ours are to those of the beasts that perish, intellects vast and cool and unsympathetic, regarded this earth with envious eyes, and slowly and surely drew their plans against us. And in the twentieth century came the great disillusionment.

My apologies to H. G. Wells.

It has finally come to a time where enough of what has happened during the Second World War has been revealed that I can finally write a description of experiences. Because of my experiences in the Federal Bureau of Investigation, I was inducted into a secret branch of the OSS and later the CIA. The people I worked for and with sought to investigate the strange technologies and secrets that the Axis had been using against the Allies openly ever since the London Blitz. Finally, enough material has been declassified by the various governments that not only can I describe what happened in such a way that it makes sense as well as passes the censors, but also that, additional resources exist to be cross checked and referenced so that the reader does not think that I am delusional. These words follow my adventures throughout the course of the War, the horrors discovered within, and into the years afterwards as we tracked down Hitler, the final remnants of his SS, and their alien compatriots as they sought to conceal themselves and build up again away from prying eyes.

Those were by far the most dangerous days not only for democracy, freedom and the United States of America, but also for humanity itself. Even though we now exist in a cold war with the Soviet Union and their allies after having divided up the secrets revealed to the Nazis, mankind is at least back in control of our own destiny. The threats of nuclear war and worse that now pose to us are nothing compared to the horrors that threatened us during the fight against the Axis during the Second World War. Humanity has only a glimpse of how closely we came to being extinguished in those days. Even as I describe the plight here with as utmost importance as I can give it, the true staggering magnitude of what we faced cannot truely be stated.

Major Theodore S. Black, US Army ret., Chicago 1968"
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Burning Man 2012

Following is the blurb I wrote up to send to friends and coworkers who asked for my Burning Man photos who had never been before. Sorry for ignoring you LJ land. I really do like you more than FB.



About Burning Man 2012

Here is a quick introduction to Burning Man as I precieve it.

Burning Man started in 1986 when a guy named Larry Harvey went to the beaches of San Francisco with a group of friends in an effort to get over a bad relationship and ended up building a man out of driftwood and burning it. It was generally agreed to be a pretty good time so they decided to do it again the next year where it became a yearly event. Eventually (1990) the crowds and event started to get larger than the beaches of SF could handle so at the suggestion of some industrial artists, the event was moved to the Black Rock Desert, known as “the playa”.

The playa is a large desert in Nevada that used to be an ancient lake bed that is now part of BLM (Bureau of Land Management) holdings. It is the flattest place on Earth, where the land speed records are attempted at, and probably what you see anytime a car commercial comes on with a car driving across a flat featureless plain. It is basic in nature, bubble if vinegar or some other acid is poured on it, and will corrode metal if moist. When wet if forms a clay like substance and when drying will harden but will break apart. Under the constant tread of feet or vehicles it will eventually turn into a powder like chalk dust that the wind will blow at times to white out conditions.

The early years on the playa were the wild west days of Burning Man which many people heard about it first. It was the time of the “drive by shooting range”, the “molotov cocktail practice range”, hot springs with people covered in mud, random fireworks and flares, and burning cars. As Burning man grew many of these activities had to be given up not only for safety reasons, but also to protect the surrounding lands by useage of thousands of people. Many of these activities are still done on the 4th of July (4th of Juplaya) when thousands of people go to the playa as campers in small groups.

Now, Burning Man is a private arts festival consisting of near 60,000 people. Although still run by Larry Harvey and the LLC he created, it is currently in the middle of a five year transition period where control is given over to a non-profit group meant to take over as he steps down. The idea is to create a community where everybody participates and nobody is a spectator. Most of the working positions, the people who show up months ahead of time to survey and lay out the roads, those who build the Man and other public structures, the people who man the gates, the people who work in the cafe, and the people who clean up after the event is over are volunteers receiving no pay but room, board, and a ticket to next year’s event.

What the event and the city means is different for everybody who attends. Like any city, there are many things that go on, and different people are interested in a variety of different things. Asking what Burning Man and getting a correct answer as it is about different things to different people. With that many people and things going on, one person may spend their entire week doing things that another person never even knew were happening. With the number of theme camps and art installations, it would be impossible to visit them all, let alone experience each one as intended by the people who built them. There are a number of things that Burning Man is supposed to stand for and adhere to and those include:

1) Leave No Trace - The playa, being a flat featureless plain, can be thought of as a blank piece of paper. Part of the ageement with the BLM is that when Burning Man leaves, there will be no trace it was there. People are to pack out everything they brought with them. There are porta-pottied, but there are no trash cans or recycling except for aluminium cans. Whatever trash one creates while there should be carried back out when you leave. If you see trash, it should be picked up and carried out. When your camp is broken down, holes should be repaired, marks errased, and nothing that would cause damage to the playa left unrepaired.

2) Gift Economy - Except for drinks and ice in the center camp, no money is supposed to be used at Burning Man (and in those cases, all profit goes to the local school district). Instead the idea is that things should be given if exchanged. Originally, it was a barter economy, but people just ended up with a box of useless Archie McPhee junk that nobody really wanted so it was easier all round to just give stuff away. The places that serve food, and the bars that serve drinks just give it away. It’s easier on everybody that way. Some places might still require payment in the form or jokes told, talents performed, or participating in whatever that particular camp does. Payment in the form of trinkets (ie swag), cigarettes, food, or other gestures are still done to show appreciations or required for things that might have a fairly high value in the “default world”.

3) Be a Participant, not a Spectator - Ideally, everybody there should be there to add something to the event, not just to watch what other people do. Be in the theme camp, volunteer for one of the many jobs needed to help put on the festival, or just share what you have to bring. This is also for people’s own enjoyment. Go there expecting to be entertained and you may wander around aimlessly for days as it’s nobody’s job to make sure you have fun. Almost everybody there, even the guys driving the heavy machinery frantically yelling into their radios are on vacation just like you. Go there expecting to entertain instead, and you’ll have thousands of people to interact with.

Most people go as a part of a Theme camp. Theme camps are like any other group of campers but usually have a theme that binds them together. They might invite people into their camp to entertain them, run a bar, give out food, provide a stage for others to perform, or have some other set purpose such as being a roller skating rink or theater for example. Others may work together to build and support an art installation on the playa or an art car. Some are just common places for people to camp while they go do other things.

Then, there is the burning of the Man which happens on Saturday night. It’s hard to describe 60,000 people all gathered around for the Burn. A perimeter is set up around the man during the day as it is gotten ready for the burn by removing things that need to be saved, setting up fireworks, and setting up the other pyrotechnics inside the Man. People will start to gather around the perimeter and be asked to sit down by the Rangers (Black Rock Rangers, not the BLM Rangers, another volunteer group for the event that generally tries to keep people from hurting themselves and otherwise get along). The crowd of people sitting will go back about fifty feet where the crowd will be standing. That will go back another fifty feet or so until you start to reach the sea of bicycles laying around where all the sitting and standing people left them. Outside of that will be the ring of art cars that surrounds the entire ordeal providing their riders a platform to see over everybody else and blasting their music. Other people will be watching from much farther back, even from back at their camps almost a mile away as the height of the man and absolute flatness of the playa means that even an 8’ platform will put you above everything but the tallest art cars between you and the Man. Once night hits, the man will be lit up with neon and eventually the arms will raise to the traditional Burning Man stance. This is the sign to everybody that the Burn should be in 20 minutes. The Burn proper starts with the fire conclave, consisting of hundreds of fire performers, coming out and doing their thing between the crowd and the Man. They might also be joined inside the perimeter by marching bands or art cars that will circle the Man. As everything winds down, then the fireworks will begin, which will include water falls of sparks and other pyrotechnics that will begin to set the man on fire followed by large fireballs that will accelerate the process. Once the Man is burning well, the fireworks will be over and it’s just a matter of time till he and the structure it was on finally falls. Once that happens, the perimeter is opened up and things go crazy as this is the point everybody has waited for.

Other large artworks are burned too, some before the Man, and some on Burn night, but the next main burn is the Temple on Sunday night. The Temple was originally built to remember an a member of the designer’s crew that had died prior to the event. Now the Temple is used as a cathartic event to get past things that have happened, namely when people have died. The wooden walls are filled with writings, photos, and other items detailing people, pets, relationships that have been lost that will all be burned with the Temple. The Temple burn is a much more subdued event than that of the man. The art cars do not play any music. People speak in hushed tones. Despite still being in a crowd of thousands of people, you can hear the fire crackle as it burns and a person cough 50 yards away.

Links

My photos from Burning Man 2012
http://www.flickr.com/photos/mschiermeier/sets/72157631488364480/

Black Rock City Hardware Shoppe
This is my theme camp. We’re a close group of friends that go out to Burning Man every year to run a hardware shop. We bring tools and supplies to help people who have things break on them out in the middle of the desert or need help building things. While we do a lot of work on bikes, we’ve also fixed shoes, art cars, art installations, generators and all sorts of other stuff as well as given out nuts, bolts, rope, nails, etc that people find they end up needing while in the desert and a four hour drive minimum to anything larger than a gas station.
http://brchardware.org/

All my photos of Burning Man
http://www.flickr.com/photos/mschiermeier/collections/72157626513889961/



Burning Man
This is the actual web page for the event with lots of information on what goes on and why.
http://www.burningman.com/

Current TV - The Burn
A 30 minute video of The Burn and its highlights should you want to watch it.
http://current.com/groups/on-current-tv/89322039_the-burn.htm

Current TV - Crude Awakening
A video on one of the art projects on the playa back in 2008.
http://current.com/groups/on-current-tv/77603201_crude-awakening-burns.htm

Current TV - Thunderdome
A video on Thunderdome, which is the project done by Death Guild, a goth bar in San Francisco, that has been a camp for more than a decade.
http://current.com/groups/on-current-tv/89250807_welcome-to-thunderdome.htm


Other Links to Burning Man 2012 pictures

http://duncan.co/

http://www.capacityanddesire.com/

Rueters photos on The Atlantic site
Picture 33 are some of my camp on our friend’s art car shooting the flame throwers.
http://www.theatlantic.com/infocus/2012/09/burning-man-2012/100363/
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2011 & 2012 Yearly Goals

Let's recap my goals for 2011:

1) Go to Rome - Did that and was there for about a week. Got some good photos and did lots of stuff. Saw all the old Roman things I wanted to see and other things I didn't know about. I think the best thing to happen from that is when I was reading a comic where the main character was in Rome, although I had read it before, this time, i recognised all the place the character was at by landmarks as I'd been there also.

2) Go to Treffen again for my 10th anniversary (and it's 20th anniversary) - I did that and did it with a vengeance. Not only did I go to WGT again, but a friend put me in touch with people there and I got my photos and writing in the 20th anniversary book that was done and got a photographer pass. I saw 20 bands and got plenty of photos, including of Chris & Cosey.

3) Use Print on Demand to make a book - I did that with my concert photos. Wrapped it up and sent it off to be published last night. It has lots of problems (I am not a graphic designer.), but this should be a good proof copy to see how it does and do some other projects including photo books of Burning Man, Unhallowed Metropolis, and maybe some RPGs I'm working on if I ever get them finished.

4) Do art for Burning Man - Didn't do this. Couldn't think of anything to do by myself, and looked around for a project to join in on but also couldn't find anything. thought about just chipping into somebodies Kickstarter BM project but that got lost in the preparation for the actual event. Maybe I'll get around to it in 2012.


Goals for 2012 -

1) Work on videos/movies - Might as well get a video camera and play around with doing some video. Not sure what I'll do. If I get serious I can finish the screenplay I was working on with Anthony on our apocalyptic submarine movie parody, Das Truk.

2) Build props/costume - Steampunk seems to be in and I need a costume for next halloween, so I'm thinking about working on a Deathwatch outfit from Unhallowed Metropolis complete with lightning rifle.

3) Gothic Tea Party - This year, since my birthday is on a Friday, the idea will be to basically get people together, dressed up in my studio for a tea/absinth/dinner party, do some photo shoots, and have fun.

4) Compose a history of Oklahoma Hardcore - A possible project for that PoD books. I plan to write down my experiences as a punk rocker in the 80's and 90's in Oklahoma as well as those of others, and try to put together some history of OK's punk rock scene. This will involve tracking down a bunch of the old school OK punks (some of which live here in Seattle), getting their stories and recollection of bands and other things from 'back in the day'. I'll have to try and interview NOTA since they are the closest thing to a punk rock band from OK that 'made it' (not counting The Flaming Lips who really didn't make it as a rock band but were part of that scene). Ideally, I'd also like to collect songs from those bands and put together a CD.
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Tuesday in Rome

Tuesday in Rome was spent with two goals: seeing the Altar of Peace and the Vatican. I jumped on the subway and came out at the Spanish Stairs which seemed the best place to start my daily wandering or Rome. From there, I walked up and down the Spanish Stair and across downtown Rome to the Altar of Peace which was right next to the Mausoleum of Augustus, but I had missed it the day before.


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Monday in Rome

Monday was my first day in Rome and I took off over the path I had travelled the previous night as it was now daytime and not raining. After seeing the Colosseum, forum, Vittorio, Trevi fountain yet again, I decided I'd probably take the subway from now on and skip that two miles of sightseeing (although I'd end up seeing them all several more times).



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Arrival in Rome

My trip to Europe, via a near polar skirt of the darkness, managed to land me in Rome the next afternoon without ever having seen nighttime. I was awake, not wanting to really mess up my sleep schedule by napping, so after making it to my hotel and checking in, I took off towards the colosseum which was a short ways away. I found it and was met with rain and countless men selling umbrellas as tourists huddled around it for shelter. Personally, I found it much like the Seattle I had left and dismissed all sellers of umbrellas and panchos away from me. Even later when it rained even harder and I was already soaked, it was a warm rain and I only worried for my camera and iPad in my camera bag which proved to be suitable rain proof.



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Back till Burning Man

Ok, I have been to Canada for Kinetik Festival and then off to Europe for Rome, Wave-Gothic-Treffen, and then a visit with my cousin and his family in Western Germany. I am now back. I took lots of photos and should be doing a write up soon.
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New Photos

A couple of months ago, I was at the Noc Noc with friends and doing some people watching. One woman stood out in her 1950's style outfit and I'm not above approaching an unknown woman as a photographer. She was dancing, so I just left one of my cards on her table. She called did call and after talking and meeting up IRL, arranged a photo shoot. Of course, I had to include guns, and also did some shots for the RPG I am writing, Flying Saucers of the SS, which is about 50's b-style sci-fi flics. Here are some of the photos:



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Magazine Fetish

I've always had a bit of a magazine fetish, and have just spent the morning re-organizing my collection. I like to read and collect them, especially those dealing with particular subcultures. It's almost sad to go through all the old magazines and remember all the good magazines that were out there once but no longer. It's like looking at clubs that have come and gone though out your life. I'm upset that I left all my original Mondo 2000 and Boing Boing (before the web, it was a magazine) magazines back in OK when I moved. Thankfully, I did bring my Propagandas, Industrial Nations and Permissions up to Seattle. I also still have the originals of my punk rock 'zine, Dachau, but have possibly lost to copies of Doublethink, the arts and entertainment magazine, to one of the other persons I worked on it with. I still have copies of Voltage which was the magazine we made once in Seattle. I also have random bits of all sorts of magazines I have found through the years: Dark Angel, Paranoia, mk Ultra, Meltdown, Vial (still printing I think), Sandmutopia Guardian, and a dozen random issues of magazines that happened to have interviews with Genesis P'Orridge or Coil. I've made a habit of searching eBay for missing issues almost every day (although more out of boredom than any real obsession).

Things are changing now however. Print, especially for what I like is even harder to find. There are no more magazine stands on Capitol Hill. There doesn't seem to be any magazines to buy there even if there was. I'm not sure if things are getting worse though. POD is getting fairly big and while looking around I have run across several magazines that sell such (although usually at high prices). I've even contributed to one called Graceless. Then there are the PDF downloads. I've found a selection of magazines that are such. It looks like I may be getting an iPad just to read them as doing so on a laptop is unsatisfying. Their seems to be plenty of life out there but it is changing.

The one thing that I really wonder about and that maybe somebody out there with some library skills can enlighten me on, is 'how are they handling citations if everything moves to the web and digital?' Webpages change and often do. News websites change stories and re-edit articles without to much thought or notice. They get moved, taken down, etc. How do we reference such information especially since serious research requires such? What will the Oxford English Dictionary do once there are no more dead tree books to show as examples of a new word? Can a PDF be treated as a book? Will there be a standard that professional websites will have to adhere to be allowed as a reference? This topic really does bug me.