Posts Tagged With: Burning Man

)'( And the beat goes on…

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I’ve left Korea for an extended time now. The trip is that I pulled out a couple months ago and have had a wild time since.

I started in LA, went to Burning Man, then to Symbiosis, bought 9 plane tickets since my last post, met a particular woman as a key co-operator in this trail I’m on, am writing from Ecuador, and will need to change the title to and/or address of this blog. It will need to migrate, as I have done so as well. The new name and address will be created and published at a later time.
For now, a blog-post:

View from Quito off the edge of the rooftop lounge of The Secret Garden Hostel.

View from Quito off the edge of the rooftop lounge of The Secret Garden Hostel.

Wow!  What an amazing ride! I am in-fact in Ecuador at this moment at a cool little hostel made of stone, bamboo, palm fronds and hard wood. Populated by as many dogs as people, this place is a chill reality here in the mist of low-season on the beach-side of Montanita. I arrived here yesterday after a strenuous trip that brought me and my travel partner to places that had no name, places that were closed, places that were inappropriate-but-perfect and included a whole freakin’ lot of sitting on bumpy buses through the countryside of Ecuador.

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For the first leg, I was kept awake as much by the need to pop my ears as we came down from the highlands as much as anything else. Unfortunately, it was night-time and couldn’t see the scene roll by. What I found the next day as our journey continued, was that the scene going by was questionable at least, and considering more, sad. There’re a lot of broke folk here in Ecuador, and it was apparent as we traveled that where people sometimes don’t have the same access to certain material elements, they can certainly improvise to create and maintain a way of life that brings about a happy and beautiful existence. Am I wrong to totally appreciate the graffiti? There was so much of it that I couldn’t get enough of!

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Further in, I landed at a cool town that is finally chill enough that I can get some writing done. I’ve put pages into paper, I’ve caught up on some letters, and am finally re-emerging here in the text of Dataland. Not that I wasn’t in great places, but I need places that don’t have external elements popping about in order to write. I need to have something of a space that isn’t talking at me and asking for me to go have fun~ And lately, I’ve had a lot of fun!

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To begin with, I landed in Los Angeles where a friend put me up in a space she runs that contains hundreds of artists in dozens of studios and shops that were all creative in their own ways~ This was a brilliant way for me to land after two years in Korea~

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For two years, I’ve been able to work on being a graphics man, but nothing with weight to it, nothing that required a power-tool or anything of the sort. That was brilliant~ August 9th, 4pm, I got on a plane in Seoul, got off a plane in LA August 9th at noon. From there, I fell straight into the action of creative design and activity provided by that space. That~ was simply elemental.

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After a few weeks there ~ only leaving for deli sandwiches and evening events- either with my cousins or hosted by Burning Man camps ~ I finally found myself headed to Burning Man with a band of strays from the City of Angels who were both organized and disorganized at the same time. Quite the cluster-f*3k at times, I was somehow able to have quite an amazing time in the center of the storm. Later named Gasket by my campmates for my positioning as an instrumental if somewhat only marginally effective buffer between two strong forces that were pressed uncomfortably against each other in the form of people in my camp, I was able to participate with some success such that I left the event feeling much better for the experience, including the meeting of the above mentioned lady-co-conspirator.

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Coming from Burning Man, I was planning on visiting a friend who was in Utah~ An old friend who I consider one of the rare few who are worth extra effort, and as such, had planned a visit for a week with her. The visit was fun, peaceful, pleasant. As an odd overlap, the lady I alluded to earlier happens also to be a resident of Utah and had invited me to visit with her as well. Initially, I had expected it would be impossible. Luckily, there was an unplanned business trip that allowed me to visit with her for three days in an Idaho cowboy-town built around a set of hot-springs that provided quite a nice cleansing after the dusty event that Burning Man is, not that I hadn’t cleaned off, just~ very centering~ especially as I was hoping to get to know this particular human a bit better.  I went back to my other friend’s home with clear eyes and an open mind, enjoyed the rest of my visit and traveled on to the Bay Area where I had two other friends expecting me within the plan of both social visiting and a design of a new tattoo for my back. The first friend I met was an old friend who sketched the lines, the second laid me down and scratched my back with needles for an extreme amount of time resulting in a beautiful bit of art adorning my epidermis. To those two humans, I am deeply grateful.

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Oddly enough, parts of the same group I camped with at Burning Man were also planning on being in the Bay Area at the same time and they asked me to join them to another festival for another production. As such, I went to Symbiosis and helped create a piece of art named Occam’s Razor. It was a 25 foot steel structure that we both produced on-site as an installation of performance art and utilized in a final show at midnight of the Friday/Saturday (I forget) of the event in a percussion format where we put all the people up on top and showed it off. The full video is here. That was fun.

Following that~ I went to SEATTLE~

Have I expressed to the internet (read: you) how much I love Seattle lately?

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See, it’s the city that so amazingly welcomed me when I was looking for a place to call home so many years ago with the warmest embrace that I can never forget or lose the feeling of. It was the most amazing thing to me to have been travelling between 1995 from place to place until 2001, when I arrived to Seattle and found a community that was able to take me in all my weirdness and animation and show me how I could be useful and appreciated at the same time, with gusto. So, of course I’ve called it home ever since, even if I have mostly lived in Asia since 2007. No matter. Seattle is still where I go back to. I have my closest friends in the highest density there, I like the weather, the city still prides itself as being a leader in the world of arts and all things cool. Just try and sell me on another city, I’ll show you a hard sell.

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So I went back~ for three weeks I planned on being there~ Friends had offered their homes to me to use while I was there, and events were planned, leaned in on, and improvised so that I could see as many of my friends as humanly possible while I was there. That was good.

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Okay, so dig~ Not only all that~ but the lady I mentioned that keeps requiring extra words came north to visit… She induced me to become a tourist in my own city~ much to my pleasure~ where we went as far as actually signing up for one of the underground tours through the old city- which I had never done~ Glad I did~ She was great company~ we went all over the city together~ To many places that I recall as my favorite places just so she could see them, and I was pleased as punch to share them with her. So pleased~

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So now I’ve left Seattle and am chillin’ on the coast in Mantanita, Ecuador getting ready for a 5-week class based on becoming a better teacher by relaxing on a beach.

So that’s how far I’ve gone since my last blogpost~

Freakin’ far~

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Goodbye Korea~      So long and thanks for it all…

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12 Weeks left

As I notice the clock on the wall, I notice that the alarm is about to ring.

I’ve spent nearly two years in this small town, and it’s almost time to go.

My time here has been all over the map with how I’ve felt about it. There were times that I would have liked to go home, and times that I could stay forever if I thought hard enough about it. The thing is, I’ve got to let go of this peninsula and all the people on it so that I can get back~ get back to where I once belonged…

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Obviously, I’m seeing good sights around here. But the time is coming, and I’ve got to be off.

The plan is to get back to the states, Check out Burning Man with an angle on the arts, Travel to visit my family and friends, and Get back out into the world again.

Right now, it looks like I’ll be headed to a city in Saudi Arabia that is known for its large sculptures. I’ll see if I can’t get aligned with the artists in the area and we’ll see what we can do about some good sidelining. What a great way to learn the language and the culture, yea?

So that’s what I’m looking at. And so I thought I’d poke my head into this blog to smile a broad sunshine warped smile because the summer’s come, and that’s what I get to remember.

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Life just gets weirder

 

My life just seems to add layer upon layer of weird to it.

Not a complaint, actually, today is quite a nice one.  What do your school lunches have?  Mine was sliced duck with white rice, sides of cucumber, freshly picked hot pepper, pickled cabbage (kimchi), seaweed soup, and fishcakes. The sauce that went with the duck was a lightly spicy but robust thick reddish sauce that really worked well with the pepper and duck.  After finishing, I entered the teachers’ lounge where I was invited to join everyone in a batch of giant, plump, fresh and local deep-purple grapes that were sweet as a body could hope. After enjoying my fill, I stood, realizing that there was no hope for conversation with these nice people, said may thanks and bowed out of the lounge.
So here I sit at my desk, listening to an animated conversation under the window between two teachers. One a man, the other a lady. They are clearly talking about costs of something and weights thereof, but I can’t get any further into the conversation about what they are talking about.

Today was a special day~ I guess…  We all received an annual gift from our principal. It’s the run-up week to Chuseok, so gifts are being given as if it were Christmas in the states.  Only, Chuseok is a different kind of holiday. Sometimes called Korean Thanksgiving~ it isn’t that at all. It is actually the annual remembrance of ancestors. People visit graves and tend them, mowing the waist-high grasses that have grown on the hillside mounds and visit with the elders of the living family where they have elaborate meals that are created by intense labor by the women and enjoyed in lazy repose by the men. And in tribute to this time of harvest, this festival of ancestors and food, I have been given (exactly the same gift as last year!) a giant box of two bottles of shampoo, two bottles of conditioner and four tubes of toothpaste. Long live the harvest festival! Um… yea…

So here I sit at my desk with some time on my hands. So far, I’ve taught two 45 minute classes and I have one more to go. Granted, my first two class periods before them were in fact used for lesson planning, I’m pretty much done for the week after that effort.   So as it stands, I can sit and reflect a bit.

Recently I’ve been more busy than normal with working on the project of the Korea Burn as we called our Burning Man-like event that happened a couple weeks ago.   Just last night I sent in my final AfterBurn Report and spent the weekend up in Seoul in order to have a series of meetings that helped get some plans on the table.

Being in Seoul is always interesting. I was able to do some gift shopping and visit with friends, and most importantly, enjoy pancakes.

As far as I can recollect, it’s the first plate of pancakes I’ve had since a midnight stop with a dozen friends in the summer of 2010 right by Boeing.  That’s over two years since pancakes.  I’m not sure that’s legal.  So I took care of that.  They were twice the price I’ve ever paid, but what the hell, I was on the roof-top patio of a restaurant in Seoul, South Korea on a beautiful sunny Sunday morning with great company and I couldn’t deny the pull of a brilliant plate of the steaming wondrous goodness that is pancakes with cinnamon apple topping with half a liter of syrup on the side with bacon together with a bottomless cup of drip coffee (for those who don’t know, drip coffee is actually extremely rare in Korea. Even at the boutique cafes that are everywhere, you will always get an americano as opposed to drip  coffee. To me, pancakes require the latter.)  Really, that was nice.

On the other side of the coin, we had a major flood recently that totally washed out tons of stuff. check these two photos out to appreciate how much water was in the river that day.

The one on the left is full of water, and the one on the right is the next day after it all went away.  Look at the post in the background to get how high it was. In the foreground of the photo on the right, what you see are two roads that were totally covered the day before. Under the grasses in the pile was the remnant of a reflective mirror, the kind that stand like signposts so that people can see around sharp curves. It was totally bent over and gathered the debris in the flood.  It was a lot of water.

Of course, because “as Koreans, we work hard” even though there was an historic storm overhead and children were kept from school for their safety, we as teachers were still required to come in during the typhoon. At lunchtime they were evacuating the building because the surrounding roads were becoming flooded and getting home would have been impossible. ~ They actually wanted me to fill out forms to use a vacation day in the process of leaving.  I laughed and explained that just wasn’t going to happen.  We all left the building together. Some of the roads that we made it through at noon would have been completely impassible later in the afternoon. Good thing we left. I gotta wonder about that request though. Humans are a weird bunch.

Cute though.

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Below is an attached letter that I wrote to the volunteers that I’m coordinating for the KoreaBurn this weekend.  It has taken so much of my time this blog has gone without recent updates, but not because I’ve been doing nothing… Far to the opposite…  Here is but a snapshot… 1,400~ people are semi-confirmed.  There are ~30 of us coordinating it.  Good ratio really… It’s things like this note…  Enjoy~  and see you on the flipside…

September 05, 2012                                                                                         KoreaBurn; Volunteers
From organizer: Jim Jordan

            Happy day~ and happy news~

Your volunteer application fell into my hands in the last 24 hours, and as such, I’m going to tell you what I’m doing and you can tell me what you feel drawn to the most. I am not the coordinator for all volunteers.  I do not coordinate the Gate or Center Camp etc.  If your name has been passed to me that is either because you indicated you wanted to be in a group I’m coordinating, or the others were filled before your application was seen, and someone thought, “Jimmer can use that cat~.”      Can you dig it?

I’m going to encourage every one of you to join the Perimeter team, as I have a large need for fast action at dusk that will do best with as many hands as possible.

Here’s my list in reverse alphabetical order (Why does A always get to be first!?), they are all equally important. Please reply (just to my address so as to not clog other people’s emails) to let me know your preferences.

Teams/Crews

Ranger- is also known as Peace Patrol here in Korea…  To be a Burning Man Ranger, a full day’s training is required~ We have neither the time nor the capacity to provide that ~ as such, Rangers will still need to meet with me to have a general meeting at the beginning of the event to discuss the volume of interaction expected of them. ~~ It is a non-violent position ~~ We do not intervene when it comes to drugs or violence, we are there to make sure art and people are safe – first and foremost.  Please let me know if you feel comfortable with this.

Perimeter- will consist of four main actions. One: Putting up orange line to emphasize already present fencing so that people understand their importance. Two: Reinforcing those lines with lights that I will provide at dusk.  Three: Supporting the Fire-Conclave during the Man-Burn and Ceremony by assisting Rangers with creating a circle around the performers and art during the burn ceremony.  Four: Removing the lights and line in the late-morning so that we Leave No Trace.

Medical – of course, I am hoping that people with experience with medical needs will step up for this. There can never be too many people known to be available for this position.  We have folks from “School of The Outdoors,” the US ARMY, and folks half-way in the middle on the team, but they would appreciate more people to help with shifts to be sure. This position is supported by an ambulance with a driver and nurse we have hired for the event, but we need to provide meaningful first-response support for them as well. So if you are trained in First Aid in any way – please let me know.  You would be extremely welcome!

DPW – is a crew that is the spirit in the skeleton that gives the muscles muscle. You will be a hot-to-trot, go-to person. Hopefully you’re good with knots, have a knife in your pocket and already know where you are when you show up.  I’m looking for people who are comfortable doing heavy work here.  Let me know if this is your zone.  It puts a big smile on my face when I’ve got go-to people.

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A New Korea Burn

 

This document below was created for the accidentally present pseudo-burn that is happening in Korea this year.  No-one knows how or why it started…  It was already being planned when I got here, I just wanted to make sure the hippies were safe with their gear you know what I’m sayin?  They seem really cool…  So let’s see~ 🙂
So basically, I built the graphic below which is why I’m posting it here.  Peace~

*** If you’re having trouble seeing it, press Control Plus or Command Plus on your computer to enlarge the screen.

Enjoy.

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