my grandfather, Cecil Morse, passed away from old age, last Thursday, June 21 2012 in Harbor Springs, MI. he was 91 years old, a WWII veteran, and progenitor of a very large family (note that i have 22 first cousins and 27 second cousins listed in that obit.). on Tuesday morning at 4:30 am i got up and took a flight out of SFO, through Detroit DTW, and to Pellston, MI, the small airport nearest Harbor Springs. i went directly from the airport to the visitation at the funeral home, had late dinner with some of my relatives, and slept in a bed beside my mother.
the funeral service was at 11:00am the next morning at the church down the road from my grandparents’ small farm in the rolling hardwood hills of the northern michigan countryside. i won’t go on about it except to say that it was difficult. it was all very exhausting physically and emotionally and i couldn’t quite let it sink in. i felt cold, even in the summer heat.
i had downloaded the Fly Delta app for my phone, as recommended by Delta the previous morning, and it told me my flight out that afternoon was delayed. so with a couple of hours to spare before i needed to be back at the airport we hung out in my uncle’s yard, spurring on the youngest generation to dares and complete feats of endurance and strength in the waning summer afternoon.
we then headed back to the small airport, where i quickly panicked when realizing that the phone app was wrong. the terminal – a small place with only 2 flights in and out per day – was obviously empty of people waiting to board a plane. the TSA agent quickly informed me that i was too late – my flight was not delayed and it had already boarded. i pleaded, noted that i had no luggage, and they did, this time, make an exception. i was hurriedly rushed onto the plane, with no time to hug my mother goodbye. i arrived back at SFO late in the evening wednesday night.
thursday morning i got up and went to work, with a pile of things waiting to be addressed because of 1. the unexpected 2 day absence, 2. my impending leave after 12 years of running the office, and 3. i would be out Friday – Monday to attend/work a festival. i worked, quickly ran some last minute errands, went home, and we packed and loaded up the car and drove 4 hours to the Feather River canyon, arriving late in the moonlit night.
Priceless is a music festival/campout that False Profit has thrown in a small mining town in a canyon on the feather river for the past 7 years. every year it gets bigger, and better. and this year, it was more or less serving as our going away party. it’s definitely the last time that large of a number of our extended community will be in the same place at the same time before we go. it was the last DJ set that jay will play in California for a very long time. it’s a beautiful place with beautiful people and something we look forward to every year.
but with the ongoing mental stress of the process of moving to NY, of training my replacement at work, compiled by family stress and the emotional toll of my grandfather’s death and the 2-day early-morning/late night trip to Michigan and back the same week as prepping for this festival, i was tired. when i woke up there in the woods in my tent Friday morning, i almost didn’t want to be there. i didn’t feel sociable. i wanted to be in a tent alone in the woods. not in a tent surrounded by 600 people that i couldn’t disappear from in the middle of a festival.
i did my best to buck up and remind myself that this would be the last for a very long time. it took me a long while to adjust to being there Friday, to graciously engage people offering condolences for my grandfather and wanting to know all about our move to NY and also muster the energy to help do all the manual labor setting up a huge festival takes. as the gates opened and the work buzz settled down and night began to fall, i started to feel OK again. tired but ok. good, even. i danced as hard as i could that night, working it all out, and finally falling asleep in the chill music tent around 1am.
the weekend went on, with beach parties in the daytime and dancing all night within a community of people who are helpful, courteous, invested. invested in happiness, in the future, in creating beauty and levity in a world filled with all darkness and confusion modern civilization has wrought, the good and the bad. this combined with hot summer sun and cold river water was medicine. a faith restorative.
the people who live/work in the location where we have this festival see many groups come and go all summer, from biker picnics and family reunions to more hardcore EDM crews that are less invested in sustainability and basically bring in 2x as many people and totally trash the place. the woman working the small store on site told me that we are the best crew that comes there. we are all so nice and organized and respectful and everyone seems really happy and she was really enjoying it, she said.
it is really great to hear the townspeople say they are impressed by our community, by our work ethic and our collective vibe, and i’m glad our community values are reflected outward and spread to those on the outside.
i felt adulthood weighing on us. now there are babies and mortgages and careers and divorces and deaths and histories and tangled relationships. these things are heavier, harder to shrug off than the worlds we had at 25. but i think instead of tearing us apart, although yes some people have disappeared from the community for those reasons and more, they are bringing those of us still together closer. and i felt that. i felt that we were there for each other, not just to party. there to take care of each other.
this is probably the cheesiest thing i’ve written in quite some time, and maybe it’s because of the leaving town soon, the knowing there is no Burning Man for us this year, no Halloween in SF or NYE, that what i felt more than anything this year was that yeah, we may be good at throwing parties. after 10+ years as a crew i would hope so. but what i felt more was that what we are REALLY good at is loving each other.
i felt it in the offers to help, to feed each other, to carry eachother’s stuff, to sit with one another during angry moments and emotional meltdowns and psychedelic breaks, and represented in small gestures – a hand on a shoulder, a hug, a smile across the table, and that fact that whether it’s a beer or a cigarette or a sandwich or a water bottle or a hug or a kiss or something more intangible, when standing around with these friends you can reach out your hand and they will, without pause, hand you whatever it is that you are reaching for, offer what is theirs to you in your time of need.
not all communities are like this. not all families and communities feel safe, supportive, full of love.
that, people, is what is really priceless.Filed in autobiographical, friends | Tagged with false profit, priceless | Comment (0)
I don’t want to be the only one here
Telling all the secrets -
Filling up all the bowls at this party,
Taking all the laughs.
I would like you
To start putting things on the table
That can also feed the soul
The way I do.
We can invite
A hell of a lot more
now that my mind is half cleared up and my body recovering from endless walks and dances and backyard barbeques and the weather has returned to its usual Cold July Fog, i can maybe say something in full sentences. or not; this blog post is turning into one of those soups that simmers for too long and i’ve thrown too many ingredients into and it becomes unrecognizable as one thing. there is obvi a lot of intersection among these topics in my life, so please forgive the impending ramble.
first, the party. does it need explanation again? this was the 6th year for Priceless, and the fact that we pack not only camping gear but also tuxedos and evening wear is now somehow de rigueur. like a matryoshka doll, there are parties within the parties within the party. we were there for 5 nights/5 days, and i managed to only miss a couple of things. i have become skilled at willed awakeness to the point that i didn’t even have to overdose on caffeine trying to stay up. i just decided i would. i got very very tired, but not cracked out. it was nice!
speaking of which, today Ariel is quoted in this piece on NPR: How the Internet Transformed the American Rave Scene:
“I worked so much overtime trying to talk about how the rave scene wasn’t all about drugs,” says Ariel Meadow Stallings, who published and edited the rave zine Lotus in Seattle during the late ’90s. “It was very noble of me, and I still do believe it wasn’t all about drugs. But it is a drug culture. Even if you’re not on drugs, the culture of the party is determined by the fact that there are people there who are.”
i was thinking a lot about that topic at the party. many of us have stopped doing drugs, but the mood and expectation of what happens/what music/what decor is still defined by when we WERE. is Rave now an aesthetic?
secondly, over the weekend i read this new yorker piece on internet dating, and while i have never internet dated, i have met many of my current BFFs (excepting jay) online before meeting in person. so it really spoke to me that the article posited that internet dating is not so weird, as many people might initially find it, but actually a return to how humans used to meet:
“In a way, the online persona, with its lists of favorite bands and books, its roster of essential values and tourist destinations, represents a cheaper and more direct way of signalling one’s worth and taste than the kinds of affect that people have relied on for centuries—headgear, jewelry, perfume, tattoos…
…Fisher contends that dating online is a reversion to an ancient, even primal approach to pairing off. She conjures millions of years of human prehistory: small groups of hunter-gatherers wandering the savanna, and then congregating a few times a year at this or that watering hole. Amid the merriment and the information exchange, the adolescents develop eyes for one another, in view of their elders and peers. The groups likely know each other, from earlier gatherings or hunting parties. “In the ever present gossip circles,” Fisher once wrote, “a young girl could easily collect data on a potential suitor’s hunting skills, even on whether he was amusing, kind, smart.”
It wasn’t until the twentieth century that it became normal for young people to pair up with strangers, in real or relative anonymity. “Walking into a bar is totally artificial,” Fisher told me. “We’ve come to believe that this is the way to court. But that couldn’t be further from the truth. What’s natural is knowing a few fundamental things about someone before you meet.” Vetting has always occurred at many levels, ranging from the genealogical to the pheromonal. In her view, dating via the Internet enables, as she wrote, “the modern human brain to pursue more comfortably its ancestral mating dance.”
i couldn’t agree more. i started meeting people online not for dating, but for social connections, specifically phish and the Phunky Bitches, in 1997/1998, and some of them to this day remain my best friends. our online community provided information and context for our relationship before we committed to doing what could be considered somewhat dangerous things together (historically speaking): road trips into the wilderness, intoxicated rendezvous. how many of my friends are of the hundreds of people i’ve met randomly at parties and night clubs? so few, and the thought of going on a date with a totally unvetted person makes me wince. but people i’ve met online have invited me into their homes, picked me up from the airport, sent me goods, and vice versa and in my experience there has almost never been a problem.
one other choice quote from that article not directly relative to this point but slightly:
I had a talk-about-dating date with a freelance researcher named Julia Kamin, who, over twelve years as a dater on various sites, has boiled down all the competing compatibility criteria to the question of, as she put it, “Are we laughing at the same shit?”
when anyone asks me again in the future, i will quote that right there as the key to happy LTRs (romantic, platonic, communal, or otherwise).Filed in autobiographical, culture and random linkage | Tagged with new yorker, priceless | Comment (0)
stomped and dreamed
splashed and shadowed
glide trip bounce dive grind float laugh
soaring high above the trees in starlight
sneaking under blackberry brambles in pitch black liquid darkness
tanned and de/hydrated
starving and satiated
wet skin scrubbed clean with sand
the train rumbles by and the music goes right through you
joy so alive it feels like dying
rapt in love
wrapped in dust
swallowed and born
againFiled in not poems | Tagged with priceless | Comment (0)
i haven’t done a ‘this is what i’ve been up to’ bulleted post since the end of may, which means this one covers June, July, and August. wow. so i guest that makes this a “Summer 2009″ who/what/where/when summary. much of this has already been referenced in singular posts or tweeted, but if i don’t summarize like this i lose track.
after the beautiful zimtrix wedding came JUNE:Filed in art, autobiographical, bay area gems, burning man, events, fashion, friends, phish | Tagged with badunklsista, false profit, mexico, oakland, priceless | Comment (0)
in her own words:
for your listening pleasure, i’ve released a 1 hour mix of priceless beats taking you on a time travel adventure to the recent past (my travels in india) onto the more distant past (childhood nostalgia and 8bit madness) and resolving in a bit of futuristic robotic glitch step. part original tinkerings, part DJ’d. ENJOY!
also check out her mypace page: tinkerbeats
more girls making music – yes!Filed in friends, music | Tagged with priceless | Comments (2)
we arrived at the little mining town (population: 26) on the river thursday night, put up camp and went to sleep, and when i woke up friday morning to a blue sky and sun coming through the leaves of trees through the mesh ceiling of my tent, i was genuinely happy. i can’t remember the last time i woke up happy, which is sort of sad, but i was so happy to feel happy i didn’t dwell on that too much.
the weekend went as well as it could have, no major SNAFUs although with the shift in timing it was much cooler and the nights were downright cold. the beach party wasn’t as crazy this year because the sun never really hit the sand and the river water was incredibly chilly, but on the upside we weren’t sweating buckets in 115 degree july heat again either. i slept a fair number of hours, although broken up into chunks of 3 or 4 instead of 8 straight, and danced to my heart’s content throughout the cycles of days and nights, in the middle of the night and at dawn and in the morning and in the glorious afternoon, feet endlessly shuffling in the dust. the dr. seuss party was certainly a highlight, the whimsy and creativity of my friends being utterly delightful, and even the manual labor activities like sorting through refuse seem fun when you’re surrounded by forest and friends.
we stayed an extra night after the sound was turned off and the party was dismantled and the ground cleaned and the truck loaded and everyone else hustled off back to the cities. the little mining town had reverted to it’s normal mode as a pit stop on the long winding highway up the canyon. gone were the brightly colored lights and decorations and hundreds of laughing humans and groundshaking speakers to satisfy the incessant dancers, and again there was just a quiet country road and the rush of the river and the trucks on the highway and the trains rattling through the canyon and the occasional bang of the screen door on the only game in town: the saloon. we had a quiet dinner and a few beers in the bar and talked to 3 hikers who’d come down off the nearby Pacific Crest Trail into town for some showers and food. 1400 miles they’d walked so far, from Canada on their way to Mexico. when asked what was the strangest creature/finding they’d come across all those days in the wilderness, they answered “Randy”, Randy being a true feral human who is somewhat of a legend on the PCT.
we went to bed early sunday night and slept and slept in the quiet darkness, snug in our sleeping bags, looking up at the stars. think it was important that we stayed another night, after all the dancing and sound and social activity and labor, to chill out and rest and really take a break. we had a lazy monday morning in the quiet little town and came home to oakland in the late afternoon, almost exactly 4 days after we’d left.
when we got back to the loft, before we’d even entered the building, our neighbor came out to report that someone had just attempted to rob him at a restaurant down the street (walked by and swiped his iPhone off the table while he was eating lunch, but was tackled on his way out), and had we read the news today? the stock market crashed! banks are collapsing! things are getting weird! the madness! and jay and i both just sort of said…..hm. that’s interesting. i feel fine.
so, yeah. it turns out that spending 4 days in the woods dancing and making fun with my friends relieved pretty much all of my symptoms. this is majorly relieving in that at the moment i am no longer worrying that i have some sort of neurological problem or other physical malady, but unnerving in that it would seem that i apparently just suffered what might be classified as a nervous breakdown at the age of almost 32. what i need to do about that remains to be seen and indeed some things need to be sorted out.
on the other hand, it also proves that all this tomfoolery is a worthwhile human endeavor and not a gigantic waste of time and energy, as some might think, and as i have often pondered. healthy doses of unreality and hedonistic escapism are increasingly important in today’s mad world, and i’m just not very good at being a hedon. some people who spend countless hours in front of the television watching NASCAR and the NFL might find what we do totally inane and silly; people search for their escape from the mundane and heavy realities of this world in many different ways (television, consumerism, fanatacism (sports, religion)); some are more productive than others, but i digress on that point. all i’m saying is that apparently i desperately needed to chill the fuck out and have some fun, and this past weekend provided that for me as nothing else has been able to in quite some time, including burning man. at the risk of being cheesy, that’s priceless.Filed in autobiographical, events, me myself and i | Tagged with false profit, priceless | Comments (4)