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Lincøln
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The Odyssey by Lincøln

September 27th, 2008 11:56 AM / Location: 40.769361,-119.2201

INSTRUCTIONS: Embark on an odyssey. It should be no shorter than one month. You must encounter (metaphorically) the following obstacles:

1. The Lotus-Eaters
2. The Cyclops
3. Aeolus
4. The Laestrygonians
5. Circe
6. The Sirens
7. Scylla and Charybdis
9. Calypso
10. Telemachus, Your Son
11. Penelope, Your Wife
12. Laertes, Your Father
13. The Citizens of Ithaca

I read the Illiad and the Odyssey in sixth grade and never again since then. So the story was a bit foggy for me. So I had to do some research before setting out on my own odyssey. I learned a little bit from wikipedia, and then with that little bit of refreshing in hand, I never looked back. I went forth on my journey with nothing written down, no idea of things to expect or plan for. I wanted things to happen to me spontaneously and randomly, giving up to chance. Not fully to chance, but close.

When I started this task, I wasn't sure how to write up this praxis, and I'm still not really sure. But here goes.

And this is going to be a long one. I'm not usually this verbose, but I spent over a month doing a task, and pretty much everything that happened to me in that time was part of the task. I will try to keep it relevant.

I started my personal Odyssey on Thursday August 7th, 2008. I purposely and deliberately started then and gave myself over a month to complete it. I had to be back in L.A. by the 14th of September for a wedding. The importance of August 7th is that was the first day I left my home. I walked out of my home with four bags which was everything I needed to survive the next month. The first place I went when I left was to go house-sit for a friend. And while she lived in L.A. I still counted it as the beginning of my Odyssey. At least in my mind. I'd like to point out that I left my home with no expectations for what would happen to me, so I didn't read this task before-hand, so I didn't know what adventures I had to cross off, as that might force me to go and do things that I might not have done normally (but I was a little concerned that I might miss something from the list and then after the adventure, try to fudge it to try to make it fit, which turned out to not be a problem as I wound up experiencing more and having more stories than I needed).

Which leads me to my decision on how I wrote the task up. I tossed around ideas like should I write in the style of Homer? Should I put the events in the order listed above? Use bullet points? I decided to write my adventure chronologically as it happened, and then mention which part of the Odyssey it aligned with.

So I packed all of my bags into Piper and left home early Thursday morning. I arrived at my friend's house and settled in. And that first day, I just pissed around the house and got settled in. And the next day, the Olympics started. And I watched the opening ceremonies, and they were absolutely FANTASTIC! And I was hooked. I had a lot of tasking planned while I was house-sitting, but only half started or barely added to existing tasks I had going. I was basically sucked into the Olympics all day every day. I'm not a real big sports fan and don't usually watch the Olympics, but I never stopped this week. While I was all alone save for my computer which was constantly tuned into Skype™ pretty much the whole time, it felt like I was in the midst of the Lotus Eaters. Maybe the people on Skype™ are Lotophagi. Because I fell into a trap of watching television, talking on Skype™ and playing Fantastic Contraption. I really didn't do much else while there. I watched Angels baseball games when they came on. And every once in awhile, when the Olympics grew tiresome I would turn on the Discovery channel or something and watch how thing get made or watch things blow up. Somewhere in this colossal space of endless and unaccountable time, I hosted a podcast, which is one little bit of productive that came out of me during that time. Lightning stormAnd one night there was a marvelous lightning storm and I sat up on the roof and watched it for hours. I only got down off the roof when I started collecting dew and got cold and had to go inside and put on clothes. Actually, one interesting thing happened in this lost week, I was sitting watching television, talking on Skype™ and playing Fantastic Contraption when I heard a knock at the door. It was probably about 1:00pm, and curious who could it be knocking on my door, so I put on some pants and turned off the TV and checked. It was two young Mormon boys in clean shirts and ties and bike helmets on. They asked if I had yet chosen their preferred god as my lord and savior, and I told them that not only did I not do any such thing, but I thought their god was a work of fiction. We got into a wonderful discussion about the possibility of deities and miracles and whatnot, and after a few minutes, I invited them in, seeing as to how we were having a discussion in a door frame. Well, I won't go over the entire conversation we had, but I convinced them to look at every story that seemed outrageous and see if maybe they could distinguish the difference between a parable and an historical event. We discussed the importance of stories in human culture and I told them about Joseph Campbell and myth and how a good way to make people do good, is to teach them lessons through parables. We discussed Aesop. And I then went into how making people believe that there is a god looking down at them at all times is a good way to keep people in check when you can't be around to watch them yourself. And to tell somebody they will go to some impossibly horrible (imaginary) place if they do bad (and god will know, because he's watching you), is a good way to get them to do what you want them to do, to make them follow whatever they're taught is "good" whether that's obeying their parents or giving money to the church or strapping a bomb to their chest and taking out a bus. I even got them to agree that there is no real difference between Christianity and Scientology. I had to kick the Mormons out at 4:00, because the Angel game was starting. That's right, I kept the Mormons in the house for three hours, and they didn't want to leave. They almost couldn't stop shaking my hand as they were leaving, talking about how they were so lucky to have met me, and how they've never known anybody who spoke the truth to them and how I changed their way of thinking. It was pretty amazing. I should also note that I didn't tell them or even ask them to become Atheists like me. I told them that there's nothing wrong with believing in a god or a higher power or aliens or whatever. Especially if that belief will make you a better person. I told them I only had a problem with it when those beliefs make you want to hurt people or make you angry or dismissive or prejudiced. I told them that the only god they ever needed to know or obey was right inside of them. I told them that they were god. They were their own god of their own story. And I think I sent two young boys away completely converted. I have no idea if they'll renounce their religion once they get back to their church, but I at least got them to think. So that was cool. But when that was over, I went back and turned on the Angel game and went back to chatting on Skype™. And that is how I spent my time amongst the Lotus-Eaters.

The thing that made my break from the Lotophagi possible was the fact that the person whose house I was house-sitting was coming home. So in the early morning hours of August 16th, I left. I climbed into Piper with my few bags and drove to San Francisco. I drove straight to Spidere's place and This is fun.showed up right in the middle of prom. Much fun was had.The return of Piratey MonkeyFun times. and our adventures together can be found elsewhere, so I will skip that part here. I will tell you how my trip to San Francisco lines up in my personal Odyssey. In San Francisco I met The Laestrygonians. This analogy holds up pretty well actually. The Laestrygonians were a tribe of giant cannibals that Odysseus visited during his journey. The giants ate many of Odysseus' men and destroyed eleven of his twelve ships by launching rocks from high cliffs. Odysseus' ship was not destroyed and Odysseus and his men survived. My own personal Laestrygonians were the cops in San Francisco. I was out one day with a friend doing a photo shoot, and on our way back to her place I rolled through a stop sign and was pulled over by a motorcycle cop. OK. Great. He explained that everybody rolls through that stop sign and he watches people do it all day and he sits up there and gives out tickets. I suggested that perhaps the problem wasn't the drivers and their poor driving skills but a poorly marked intersection where a two way street becomes a one way street. I posited that perhaps that if everyone does it, perhaps the problem was deeper than driver error, and punishing drivers for this might be considered unjust. He didn't see my point of view. But my problems were much greater than a moving violation. My driver's license was no longer valid because of an old problem who got ahold of my license and used it every time he got in trouble with the law, and so I have his crimes to account for. And apparently it's policy to tow any car that has an unlicensed driver operating it. I asked him please to not do that, as it would totally fuck the trip I was on. He told me to just bring a licensed driver to the impound lot later to get it out. I asked him to please not tow it as it would be just as easy to park it, and have a licensed driver come and pick it up later than it would be to have it impounded, and many hundreds of dollars cheaper. He wasn't buying what I was selling. Luckily, my bike was in the back of Piper, so I got her out and rode off to Lowteck's lair (who was awesome and let me sleep on his couch for my entire stay in San Francisco). I asked Lowteck to help me get my car out of hock, which he did (by rearranging his day to accommodate my desires). He is a hero. He was my personal Agamemnon. He took me to the impound lot later that day (Thursday August 21) to be my licensed driver. We were told at impound that I had to go across the street to the courthouse to get some kind of waiver to get the car out. That was why the licensed driver was necessary. But we were informed that they closed at 3:00, and it was 3:20. The Laestrygonians were trying to eat me. Lowteck and I went home and to make the situation better made apple pi drinks. The next day (after shifting his schedule around some more) we went to the court house to get the piece of paper (that would run me $210) to get my car out next door (which was a $350 fee plus $50 a day, which was now in there for two days), and after a very long battle with self important security at the federal building about letting me in without shoes (there is a great funny problem here, a paradox of sorts, in which I was told I needed to have shoes to enter, and I said my shoes are in my car, and they told me to go get them then, and I told them my car was impounded which is why I had to get in. I made smoke billow out of the ears of many guards there that day). After a lot of haggling and coercing and pleading, I finally went out to the street, found some newspaper and made myself some origami slippers.Fitting the origami slippers. I know you want some. So fashionable
Nobody was happy with my solution, but realizing that I wasn't going to go away, they let me in (a small victory). When we get to the room we're supposed to go to, I am informed that I needed to have the license. Me. Me and only me. Having Lowteck there wasn't necessary. Holy crapballs. The discussion I had was long and heated, but in the end The Laestrygonians hurled their rocks and destroyed my fleet. I tried to calculate the time it would take me to get my license renewed and how much that time was multiplied by $50 a day. You win this time Laestrygonians, you win this time. The story has a somewhat happy ending in that we were able to go out to the impound yard the next day, Saturday and get all of my shit out of Piper before finally kissing her goodbye. So I got my camping gear out. Now all I had to do was get a ride to Burning Man by Sunday.

It was on this final day in San Francisco that two awesome things happened, both involve food for some reason. Late Saturday night Lowteck and I decide to go do some tasking late in the evening, it fails (but we manage to get it done later, expect praxis eventually), but because of the fail (that night) we go down to what can only be described as the red light district of San Francisco, where we get some very delicious burritos. And then then on Sunday night I went to one of the best places San Francisco had to offer, it was a restaurant called Fritz, and they had two menu items; large fries and small fries. But they had about 25 dipping sauces, It was one of the coolest places I have ever been, and I ate like a damned god-king. Inside Frjtz And then we left Fritz and became like mortals again. Legendary mortals, not unlike Odysseus and Agamemnon.

And this is where I met my personal Scylla and Charybdis. Both metaphorically and physically. It started when I answered messages on Craigslist for rides to Burning Man and posted my own ad asking for help getting there. My first bump into Scylla and Charybdis came when I got a call from somebody offering me a ride. The guy sounded really creepy, and I did not want to ride with him. I could tell right away, just by his demeanor on the phone that we would not mix well. But then again I needed a ride by tomorrow and so wasn't in any position to turn down a ride. Scylla being common sense and Charybdis being opportunity. I chose Charybdis this time. I told him I'd call him back, I told him I wasn't sure if our schedules would work. So I put my self in the hands of fate (for the first of many many times). I got a call from a very nice sounding man from England that I thought was Charlie Fish until he said Tim, but then I thought maybe Charlie might not be Charlie's real name, but the more I talked to him, the more I was sure it was just some kind man called Tim. But he wasn't flying in until late Monday night, and I thought I'd probably get a ride out on Sunday or early Monday at the latest. And then it happened. I got the call from Dario. Dario read my post and said he just got a van and had all kinds of room for me, my stuff and my bike. So awesome. He sounded like a man with a plan, he said there was another couple we may or may not be riding up with, if they come, we'd have to leave Monday morning, if they don't we could leave anytime on Sunday. I said I wanted in. Guh. So I get a call on Sunday that the other two are coming, so he'll come pick me up at Lowteck's on Monday morning. Brilliant. Gives me time to go get supplies I wasn't counting on needing (namely an extra bag since I no longer had Piper to act as a bag). So I went for a ride down to Market to find this great army surplus store I'd heard about. I get there to discover it was closed. A surplus store in San Francisco closed on the Monday before Burning Man. WTF? Another metaphorical rock and hard place. Do I not get a bag? Meaning I can take less stuff? It'll help me travel light no doubt, but it'll also make me less prepared out in the desert. Hmm. I decide to ride around looking for some other kind of store that might have a duffel bag for sale. I wound up walking down rather sketchy back streets that I found mesmerizing. I was in a little dérive. I was compelled by these two homeless guys just hanging out on a curb. Carefree?
I thought about them for quite awhile, I live a life very much like they do, and I wonder if they feel as free and fulfilled as I do. I actually thought about those two sitting there for more time than would be considered normal. I have often thought about living a comfortable life vs. living a free life. My own personal Scylla and Charybdis. I would love to have a place that has plumbing and a stove, but to have that I would need to pay for it, which means having dependable income, which means job, which means less flexibility to do what I want and go on long adventures or go off to visit friends across the world whenever I feel like it. I'm still living in between those two extremes, skillfully navigating between my Scylla and Charybdis, but I've been doing it for ten years. When will it get old? Well, whatever my answer is or will be and whatever their story was, my story continued on. There was a minor setback when I locked my bike up and before realizing I had left my keys at the Lowteck lair. So I had time to kill until Agamemnon came to bail me out of trouble once again. So I continued my dérive. No photos of the dérive. It was a personal dérive. On to the plot, Lowteck came and rescued me and soon after, the van was there to whisk me off to the desert. The van was badly damaged in the back, which is why it was free I'd imagine. When I loaded everything up in the van I met my traveling companions. Dario and a girl called Rebecca. As soon as I was in the van I noticed there was a butterfly taped to the engine cover between the two front seats. Butterfly in the van
Soon after loading things into the van and getting situated, Rebecca's boyfriend Eric came back from wherever he went to get coffee. So we we all there and off we went. Onwards to adventure. With a short stop in Berkeley to get a few last minute supplies. It was at this stop that Dario showed signs of not really normal. While I was in REI getting tent stakes and Rebecca and Eric were getting water, Dario left with the van and all of our belongings, he only went to get gas, but I thought that might have been a good thing to tell us before doing. Guh. But he came back and we were on our way again. Dario, Rebecca & Eric And now that our journey really began we all got to chatting and we found that Dario was not the easiest person to communicate with. "So Dario, what nationality are you?" "...." We all look nervously around as he sighs. And then finally "I really hate that question." We had many more awkward conversations. But the weird really began when Eric took over the driving and Dario whipped out these notebooks like Kevin Spacey's place was full of in Se7en. And the writing in there was crazy. Dario starting to be crazy Dario's notebooks
Rebecca asked what he was writing, and after a very long pause he said "syncronicities and connections." Hm. Every once in awhile he would burst out in crazy hysterical laughter, and when asked what was so funny, he would just nod his head and get serious again. So it because clear that he was a very special brand of crazy, and I kept my eye on him the whole trip. And I was only a little concerned. He was a small guy and likely never trained in any martial art, so I figured if he snapped, I could take him and keep the rest of us safe. We learned to just not ask him too many questions. Or really talk to him at all. When we stopped in Reno for the most insane reason of all, things got weirder. We stopped to put his boxes and boxes of books into storage. We learned not to ask too many questions, but some had to be asked here. We learned that he was putting all of these boxes of books into storage because he was worried about them being stolen at Burning Man. Why did he bring all of these boxes of books with him then? That we will likely never know. We were all a bit surprised that he thought somebody would want to steal books. At Burning Man. But we didn't ask too many questions. We just let him put all of his boxes in storage. The thing that struck me as being strange was that once all of the boxes were out and he'd put several bags in storage too, I noticed that there was very little else in the van. All of our supplies were there, but Dario barely had any food or water much less sleeping bag or clothes. So when we went to a supermarket to get my water and the rest of my food, I got extra water for him, not wanting him to die. I also got extra food, in case he needed it. His craziness got more and more pronounced the closer we got to our destination. And then, when we got into Gerlach (which is the last town before the desert), the van broke down. It felt like the transmission was just sliding around. It would catch every once in awhile, but the stop and go traffic made it a real problem. So we pulled over and tried to add fluid. More transmission fluid
While stopped for repairs I wandered around. I met a real life Christopher McCandless. This kid was just hitchhiking around America. Inspiring He met some guy at some hot springs who suggested he go to Burning Man, and managed to find somebody else in a supermarket parking lot who sold him a $40 ticket. He noticed me walking in the desert and feeling the sand between my toes (I was luxuriating in that feeling while admiring the landscape), and he knew he liked me and came up to talk to me. And he and I just hung out looking out at the desert and talking about our mutual adventures. He was doing it way more hardcore than I was. But he was still impressed with me and my stories. The feeling was mutual. He offered to take me in to Burning Man with his ride if mine turned out to be beyond repair. And that was my true Scylla and Charybdis. Getting in a broken van with a crazy person was certainly a rock, but going with the awesome new friend I met and possibly having amazing adventures was very tempting, but to leave the crazy man alone in the desert without any help was my hard place. I couldn't leave him alone and helpless, so I sucked it up and wished my new friend well, and went back, and helped fix the van and continued my journey with the people I threw my fate with. We got the van fixed, and travelled on, there were more adventures, like when Dario discovered that he left his ticket back in Reno, and when the one road into Burning Man was stopped for three hours and we all wandered around and I spent a lot of time with many other vehicles and their occupants. But the end of my story with Dario ended after getting in and dropping Rebecca and Eric off at their camp, and we were driving back to where I wanted to camp. And on the way to our camp, he said the craziest thing of all (and there were moments when he would laugh hysterically, run around the inside of the van, fall into a fetal ball in the back corner of the van and rock back and forth) was when he said that he didn't like to hear the same song twice. It made him angry. "You mean on the radio?" "No, everywhere." "Wait, you don't like to listen to The Wall over and over? You don't find new meaning when you hear The Joshua Tree on repeat listens?" "No, I don't own any music and never listen to the radio. I go to hip clubs, they usually have new music at clubs." That was the straw.
I set up my tent and made a camp around it and the van, and because it was dark, we decided to set up the shade structure on his van tomorrow. But I awoke the next morning to the sound of the van starting and driving away. Luckily all I left in there was the tarp for the shade structure. I felt bad that he might go off and die in the desert being woefully underprepared. But some people just cannot be helped. Which is hard for me to let go of and accept, because I feel responsible and want to help everybody. But I let this go. I passed through Scylla and Charybdis mostly unharmed.

So I was alone. Camp LAØ
What happened at Burning Man was my own encounter with the Phaeacians in the isle of Scheria. It was such a welcome break of paradise after an ordeal. I really felt like I had washed up on the wreckage of my ship. And I was taken in. And cared for.

The other person I met at Burning Man was my friend J, and having no child of my own he comes as close as I have to Telemachus in my life. I did name him after all. And his whole personality was a direct result of my influence on his life. And like a real son, he has grown up to disappoint me (at times), but no matter what I love him like I would love a son. I actually met him on the first day of my Odyssey, and we went to sushi and hung out for a few days, but when I left I didn't expect to see him again, but we bumped into each other in Black Rock City, and we saw each other almost every day. He is still very young in his soul, and he's still trying to figure out who he is. But I didn't name him and transform his personality until high school, so he's a little behind most people his age. He's very much into drugs and experimenting with them and seeing what they can do to expand his mind, and he got into that life I think as a rebellion against me and my straight edge ways. J at Burning Man
He's also a 911 Truth fanatic. And I'm not saying he's wrong, but the way he (and they) go about getting their point across makes them all seem crazy. I wish he'd come up with a better, more clever way of going about making his point. I could go on and on about J but the point is that we met and spent some quality time together. We don't get to see each other very often as he's been living in Prague for the past five years or so. But he's moved back to the US, but is now living in Brooklyn, so he's not much closer. So I found my Telemachus.

I never met a Calypso on my journey, but here at Burning Man I came closest. My neighbors who showed up on Wednesday night and whose camp I helped set up, were three nubile young ladies. The leader of them, Lisa took an interest in me right off the bat. Lisa
Her two other friends Michelle and Michelle weren't as impressed by me (and they didn't get the reference I made to Larry, Daryl and Daryl), but that was fine as I wasn't too impressed by them. I wasn't delayed for seven years, but I did stay until Monday when all of my friends and possible rides out of there all left on Sunday because she asked me to. I'm going to leave out the details of the relationship I had with Lisa. Sorry. It was awesome and open and honest and really great.

In lieu of stories about Lisa I'll tell a cool story that happened at Burning Man. One day I was out all day and night, I did a lot of wandering around, a lot of dancing, a lot of meeting people, and by about midnight I was tired, so I decided to pack it in for the night, but when I came to this conclusion I was on the opposite side of the city from where I lived. I needed a short rest before the long trek home. So I went and found a seat, there was a seat on the side of the road, just a folding metal chair. I knew when I sat down that it was part of a thing, an art piece when I sat down, but barely paid attention, I just wanted to sit. So I sat. And had a drink of water. No sooner than I had finished drinking had somebody sat down opposite me, and I remember what the booth I was sitting behind said on the front. It said "Advice". Advice
So here was somebody looking for some advice, so I heard the concern and gave my advice, but by the time I was done with my first client, there was a line. A line of people all wanting advice. Some people got in and out of line several times, afraid to ask the question they wanted to ask, or afraid of the answers perhaps. One woman asked what she should do about her relationship, she said she loved her man, but wasn't sure. She asked if she should get married. I told her no. Not until she's thirty. She wondered what she should do if he asked her to marry him. I said she should say yes and tell him it would be a long engagement. She liked that answer and moved on. Another woman asked about her relationship, she and her boyfriend had been slowly breaking up since June. That was all she said, and with that I was able to determine her exact age, her living conditions, her status at work and the problems with her boyfriend and how she could or perhaps should deal with it. Pretty amazing night. There was a man that I spent an entire hour with going over his problems. His wife left him seven years ago and he wasn't over it yet. And it was really really affecting his work as well, he went from owning a multi-million dollar business to doing data entry for near minimum wage. He couldn't understand how his ex-wife had nothing to do with his state of mind. When I gave him advice to write a letter to his ex-wife and write down every single thing he ever wanted to say to her but never did, and write out all of his feelings and regrets and hopes and desires and to write it out at the temple and write for as long as he needed to get it all out and then leave the letter there and watch it burn on Sunday, he didn't understand. He asked why he wouldn't give the letter to his ex-wife, and when I told him the letter wasn't for her, it was for himself to help let go, he just couldn't get it. Twenty minutes of explaining and giving examples and he finally figured it out. It was amazing seeing this guy completely transform right before my eyes. I gave advice until the sun came up. And I only left because I was out of water.

Let's skip ahead in our narrative if you want more about Burning Man there's a bit more information in the photos below.

But now I want to talk about my encounter with Aeolus. I decided to strand myself in Black Rock City, just to see what would happen. I let everybody I knew leave without me partly to strand myself there to fall into an adventure, and partly because Lisa asked me to stay another day. So I packed up late Monday afternoon and walked out to the road where people were leaving Burning Man thinking I could surely get a ride out that way. I made a little sign declaring my intentions, and sat by the side of the road with my four bags. Hitchhiking.
I wasn't there for more than a few hours when a large truck towing a camper trailer stopped and I walked up to the closed passenger side window, and looked in at the man in the driver's seat. I knew I liked him right away. He looked at me for a few seconds, and then smiled and hit the unlock button. I opened the door and asked if he'd like to give me a ride. He said sure. I didn't even ask where he was going. My sign said L.A. or Vegas, and I was OK with either. I told him I had four bags, and he looked at his trailer in back and said it would likely not be a problem. So we piled my shit in his camper and off we went. And that is how I met Glenn, my own personal Aeolus. Glenn
We weren't 200 yards on our way and we had already gotten into a pretty deep philosophical discussion when we saw a beautiful young lady on the side of the road with a cardboard sign that said L.A. So we stopped and picked her up as well. Aeolus helps somebody else get home. Her name was Jennifer. And that was how we three were joined. Me, Jennifer & Glenn
And what follows is one of the best road trips I have ever had in my life. The discussions Glenn and I had were amazing. His life and the stories he had were outstanding. He told stories of how he and a few friends created the idea of the rave in a little low ceilinged warehouse that you could only get to by ducking down an alley off of King's Cross and how that place got shut down when somebody jumped off the roof, he told stories of his amazing drug habit and all of the crazy misadventures he had while drunk or high or both, he told two separate stories of driving drunk and then passing out and waking up in a ditch in a crumpled car, in one story he is awakened by the heat of the fire the car was engulfed in, and the other has a concerned passerby knocking on the window, to which he wakes up and tells the guy to piss off, can't you see I'm trying to sleep here? All of his stories are classic and if you think this praxis is already too long, I could write twice as much as you've already read all about Glenn's stories. But this isn't about Glenn. So I'll skip to the good parts. We camped in Yosemite the first night. And we had tuna melts that Jennifer made for us. And we all had a hot shower in the RV and a real bed to sleep in. It was pretty awesome. Glenn and his ride
The next morning Glenn made us breakfast. Hot oatmeal and bacon sandwiches. Glenn cooks breakfast.
We took the 395 home which is a truly beautiful trip, and at one point we were driving along and I spotted a lake on the side of the road.
Oasis
And I said I would like to be in that lake, so Glenn pulled over and we all went and broke in to the property. Trespassing.
And we all jumped into the lake and just had a perfect time. It was almost paradise.
Almost paradise.
Don't you wanna be there?
It's a great place to relax and think.
The rest of the trip was just a bonding experience for us three, and when we finally got back to L.A. we all exchanged phone numbers and plan to keep in touch. Glenn and I have talked on a few occasions since that awesome trip. He is right now in Shasta working in a blacksmith's shop.

I was dropped off at my place and I went in, dropped off the two bags I didn't think I'd need and walked right back out the door. I walked to the nearest bus stop with my two backpacks hoping to catch a bus to somewhere a little more populated, like downtown. I figured I could sit on the side of the street near a freeway onramp and get a ride eventually. So I got on a bus and headed off.
Bus ride
The bus I grabbed dropped me off right near the REDCAT, and I had never been there before so I decided to go have myself a looksee. Now this was a simple and small thing, but it fits so nicely into the myth that I have to include it. After exploring the outside of the building and checking the place out which was amazing, if you're ever in L.A. I suggest looking and walking all over this marvel of architecture.
REDCAT
But I had explored the outside, so went inside to get some more water and use the bathroom. I went to the bathroom first hoping for a faucet that I could get my giant water bottle under, but had no luck, and as soon as I exited, a security guard asked me to leave because everybody in the Disney Hall must be shod. So I walked out, but I noticed where all of the security cameras were. and saw how I had been spotted, and before a left I went up to the camera that I suspect had spotted me and with my water bottle pushed it up. I then left, went around the back, and came back undetected. I went and found the water fountain and filled up without being seen. I know it's not much but that was how I defeated the cyclops.

So with water in hand, I went out to the nearest freeway onramp which is on to the 101 from Temple, and as I was making a sign in a little corporate park across from the REDCAT, a woman saw me and what I was writing, and stopped me and asked if I was going to Vegas, I said yes, I hoped so, and she said she was going to Vegas right then. I kinda didn't believe her. I thought she was trying to kidnap me or something, but she didn't look like she could overpower me and she seemed as shocked as I was so I believed her, she said she just got out of a job interview which was the only thing keeping her in L.A. as she was going to Vegas to meet family and then go to a wedding or something. But I told her about my trip and why I wanted to go to Vegas and she offered me a ride if I split the gas. I still kinda couldn't believe it. I believed it when she made room in her trunk for my bag. I guess it was going to be one of those trips, I guess the power of Aeolus was still with me. She was a completely pleasant woman, but we didn't bond like Glenn, Jennifer and I did. Her name was Naomi. Naomi
I was on my way to Vegas.
Probably my least favorite city outside of Reno.

But I was going to see an old friend. I will tell you a little bit about Pamela.
There was a woman called Pamela that I met at Burning Man two years ago who I had an affair with. She was my neighbor and she was camped with a friend of hers and her boyfriend. I don't usually condone having relations with an attached woman but she and her boyfriend were so completely adamant that they had a completely open relationship, that I believed her (them), but even though we were having an affair, she decided to keep it from her boyfriend. This is what Pamela looked like when I met her:This is Pamela 2 years ago
On the night of the burn, I found her and grabbed and kissed her like I was the star of a movie, and we went off and had some fun without any clothes on out in the middle of the desert under the stars and spent an amazing night together including a wild ride on Mad Andrew's art car.This is us a few days later
Well, we’ve been keeping in touch over the years, and she’s moved to Las Vegas very recently to go to school. So I tell her of my travels and she tells me to come visit, she’d love to see a familiar face, and when I tell her we will certainly meet as I roll through Vegas for an unspecified time, she gets very excited. And she writes some very suggestive emails and texts to me. Which is fine. As you all may or may not know, I don’t mind the sex, but I don’t really care one way or the other about it. But she’s excited, so I get so as well. So I send her an email from Burning Man confirming I’m coming, but not sure when, because I’ll be hitchhiking there, and she informs me that she has a new boyfriend. And she’s completely in love and can’t imagine having sex with anybody else for the rest of her life. At first I think she’s fucking with me, this is the girl who I was sleeping with while her boyfriend was asleep next door. But after a few more emails I discover she’s completely serious, and I tell her I think that’s actually awesome. She was so put off by monogamy before, and I was the fan of it, and she’s the one who taught me it was OK to just have fun for fun’s sake. So I told her our experience in Vegas together would be very very different than what we had originally planned, but that was OK. What I really wanted was to see an old friend (the free place to stay wouldn’t hurt either). So, when I get to Vegas I call her and tell her I’m there, and she’s super excited and can’t wait to see me and says she’ll meet me down the street from her place at a laundomat. I spend a few hours on the UNLV campus and then meet her at the place at the time. And she’s happy and fun and just like I remember, and we have a lot to talk about and she tells me she’s going to be out tonight because her boyfriend got a promotion and they’re going out to celebrate, and I reassure her that I’m OK on my own. I tell her to go have fun. And on the walk back to her place she begins to panic about some text she has received. She begins to freak out and text back. From that point on she turns into a whole different person. I don’t know this person at all. She is really FREAKING OUT about something to do with her boyfriend. What I’m able to piece together is that he thinks I’m in town to “date” her. I try to reassure her and tell her I’d like to meet this guy and tell him what’s up, but she can’t hear anything. She is literally having a panic attack because he’s not writing her back right away (he’s at work). She is actually hysterical. Like a crazy person. Like a member of a cult is what I keep thinking. She has changed so dramatically since last I saw her, since last I talked to her a few weeks earlier (she’s been dating this guy for about a week). So she’s freaking out and getting ready for her date. And wondering if he’s going to cancel the date or not. And she promises that if he doesn’t show up by 10:00 (their date was supposed to be at 9:00), she will go to his house and sleep on his porch. She is literally talking non-stop. Lots of pacing and just talking to keep talking. It’s very creepy. She finally gets a text message from him telling her he’ll be done with work soon and will be over shortly. So she goes and sits outside and talks to me through the screen door until he shows up. See, she doesn’t want to give him the wrong impression if he should see me sitting out there with her. So she leaves. On her date. Once she’s gone I take a walk around Vegas and go to a grocery store to get her some groceries. I haven’t had eggs in awhile. So I get some stuff to put in her empty fridge. I make dinner for myself, and take a shower and head off to sleep. I wake up from a text message that reads: “I’m sorry 4 the confusion, but you cant stay @ my place n I cant see you while u r in vegas. Don’t know if you got my vm. Again, sorry.” So I check my voicemail. She left a message that says that she made a “horrible mistake” and “regardless of what happens this evening I need you out of my house before I get back”
So I text her back with a simple “Wow” to which she replies “Im on my way back soon, pls be gone by the time I get there and leave the door unlocked and the key inside. Thx.” To which I reply again “Wow.” So I pack up and leave. And as I’m walking through UNLV again I get another text: “Are you gone? Sorry, but I cant come home until you are.” To which I reply simply “I am.” She texted back with a “Thank you” and that was the last I heard from her. At least until I got back home and checked m’space and noticed a blog from her which was very angry and she mentioned dropping of friends, so I checked and sure enough, she dropped me as a friend. So I wrote her this quick email:
“I noticed that you dropped me as a friend.
"I can no longer afford to give any single one of you the "benefit of the doubt"...I made that terrible mistake last night, assuming like a naive schoolgirl that someone's intentions were pure and respectful of me...assuming that my own intentions, or absolute lack thereof, were clear enough...and it very nearly cost me everything."

And I assume that sentence is about me. Do you think my intentions were anything other than what I claimed?”

To which she replied:
“I cannot know what your intentions were.
All I know is that you showed up in Vegas, bags in hand, after I told you about Michael, and after I had spoken to you about coming to visit with you in L.A. instead.
I should have been more clear, and I apologize for my part in it.
It was and is not okay for me to have men in my home without him here. Especially considering who I was until just very recently, and especially considering the nature of what our visit was supposed to have been before all of this happened.
I can't risk any future misunderstandings like this.
I am sorry, Aaron, truly. Best wishes to you in your journeys.
You will not hear any more from me.”

And I haven’t. I wish she was sitting opposite me in my advice booth at Burning Man. But the thing that made it so easy for people to sit down and really take my advice was that they didn’t know me and I didn’t know them, so they were assured that I didn’t have any self interest in the advice giving. Because I know if I gave Pamela any advice, she could throw it away by just telling herself that I’m jealous and just want her for myself. Oh well. That's the story how my personal (possible) Calypso became my own personal Circe.

So I spent the day at UNLV.UNLV
It's really a beautiful campus in the middle of a terrible terrible city.
I walked all over the campus and saw the sights. It was very nice. Trees and lawns and cool sculptures and awesome architecture everywhere.
Then I got an awesome and unexpected phone call. A friend of mine (the only other person I knew in Vegas) who I called a few days earlier to see if he was in town so we could hang out because I hadn't seen him in a few years since he lived in L.A. I met him when we did some theater together in the 90's. He's a great guy and when I called on my way into Vegas he told me he was on tour in Oregon with his wife doing Phantom of the Opera. But he called while I was enjoying the UNLV marching band rehearsing in a big building (they were playing "Hey Ya"), and I was sitting outside on a bench under a weeping willow while the orchestrated sounds wafted out to me. So he called to see how I was doing in Vegas and how I was enjoying the city. When I told him the story of Pamela and how she turned into Circe, he offered up his place for me to stay at. He gave me his code for the garage and so I had a very nice place to stay during my trip to Vegas. Chris came through in a big way. So I know some people who know some people and I know and have had dinner with Penn & Teller on a number of occasions, and I saw their big billboards all over town, and I decided to go see a show, so I called them to get my comp tickets, and posted an ad on the Vegas Craigslist that I had an extra ticket to see the show. I got a response before I found they wrote back and told me they were on hiatus for two weeks. Well poop. But the nice woman who emailed me wanting to go to the show deserved something, so in our email conversation I told her I'd be willing to go have an adventure instead, and we realized that we had both just come back from Burning Man and she's a bit of a world traveler, and we kind of bonded, so she came over and we went off on an adventure and she was very interested in the SFØ I kept talking about. And after all of the talking she joined the game. Which is how Gypsy Blood joined us here in SFØ. But this segment is more about Las Vegas than it is about cool new players and how they joined the game. Las vegas to me is my personal Sirens. Those Sirens are always calling at all times. Every moment I'm in Vegas those Sirens are whispering my name. They want me to gamble, the promise of fast easy cash money, my life would be so much easier if I just put a hundred on black.
Every time I walk down the street the Sirens flip little cards in my hand with the promise of easy love, or sex, or abuse, or whatever I want if I just call Melodie.Girls!
Look at her, she wants me, I can see it in her eyes. She would love me, she'd make me forget my loneliness.
At least for a little while.
There are drinks to be had everywhere you turn. Life is much more fun if you have a few drinks in you. C'mon, give it a try. You've never had a drink in your life? Perfect. You're just who we've been waiting for.
Wanna see a show? C'mere we've got anything you need. Wanna see topless girls doing the can-can? wanna see a circus show for $200? Want magic? We have it all.
Vegas baby!
It's just a miserable town full of miserable people plodding through their miserable lives (mostly). The streets feel desperate, it expanded too quickly and the growing pains are so intense that they shatter the streets. But it's OK. They'll just expand the city. There's miles of desert in every direction. I went on a dérive in North Vegas, and there are no communities that aren't cookie cutter gated enclaves. Everybody feels safe.
Luckily, I got to spend most of my time in Vegas with Gypsy Blood. We did fun things to entertain ourselves and stayed away from those tempting Sirens the whole time. And then Charlie Fish came to town. And we galavanted about the town and saw everything there was to see that was free. I took a lot of pictures of Charlie Fish taking pictures of things. Here's one.Charlie Fish POP
There are many many more where that came from. So Charlie Fish offered me a ride back to L.A. (my Ithica) and I guess he turned out to be my third incarnation of Aeolus. Charlie driving
And let me tell you a van full of Brits is nothing but fun. And I got Charlie Fish and Mink in the van. That was buckets full of fun pretty much the whole time.

I have no wife, so there was no Penelope for me to come home to, but while I was in the van coming home I got a text from the girl I feel most connected to, the woman I feel is the closest thing I have to a wife, who I haven't heard from in quite awhile, she texted me:
"How are you? Been thinking about ya..."

We texted back and forth a few times and she said she really missed me and couldn't wait to see me. Which made me feel pretty damned good. Probably not as good as coming home to a real wife, but good none-the-less. And I did get to see her when I got home and it was awesome. She's pretty great, and I feel better being around her. I know this is the weakest part of the task. But without having a wife or girlfriend or significant other of any kind, it is the best I could do, and it happened to me, I didn't go search it out, which is cool.

And finally I arrived in L.A. with all of the Brits, and I took them to the Mann's Chinese theater (which was a checkpoint of Journey L.A.)A large group of Brits.
And then to the Griffith Observatory to watch the sunset. And C.M. and Heatherlynn met us up there, and we looked through telescopes and had a great time. Afterwards we went to House of Pies and had a late night meal together. After our meal there, we went to The White Horse Tavern for cocktails. I watched all of the Brits drink, but did not partake, Salvatore and I just watched. Salvatore at the White Horse
When it was all over and we were kicked out, I was invited to stay in a room in a surprisingly nice Motel in Hollywood by Mink. So I slept on a little couch-type thing.Sleep
The next morning I was taken home by the visiting Brits and I wished them well, and watched them drive away. The Brit caravan driving away

I then went home and called my father. I took off my clothes, took a shower and went off to meet my father. I did not take any pictures because I left my camera at home to charge her batteries. But we had lunch and hung out and wound up talking about construction projects, most of which are at my brother's house. This was the only part of the Odyssey that I forced, but it felt good to force it as I rarely just call my dad to hang out very often. We usually only meet to work or something. So with Laertes met, I decided I had completed every part of the Odyssey I needed to. After lunch, I went home and slept. I slept good, in my own bed.

OK, I know this praxis was long, and it took you a long time to get here (it took me way longer to get here if that's any consolation). But I have spent a lot of time geotagging all of the photos in this proof (I love this new feature), so if you feel like taking a short journey through my travels, clicking on the locations for each picture might be a cool experience. Enjoy.

+ larger


57 vote(s)


Favorite of:


Terms

shplank, multiday, roadtrip, burningman, !votelater

27 comment(s)

(no subject) +3
posted by saille is planting praxis on September 27th, 2008 1:36 PM

This is, indeed, fucking epic. In execution and retelling. Any vote points I can give you are a drop in the bucket compared to the well-deserved base points for this task, but I want to give them to you anyway.

votelater indeed
posted by Jellybean of Thark on September 27th, 2008 2:05 PM

Way to distract me from m'Saturday projects, Lincoln.

Yeah, I'd forgotten you named him.

(no subject)
posted by .thatskarobot on September 27th, 2008 3:02 PM

That was an adventure.

Amazing.


(no subject)
posted by Darkaardvark on September 27th, 2008 7:31 PM

Disney Hall is anti-shoelessness?

Well, then, you'll have to start thinking about how you'll ninja your way in when I play there.


Also, this was a really great praxis. Count on a real vote from me as soon as I have the points to do so.

(no subject)
posted by Iaman on September 27th, 2008 9:53 PM

Wow

(no subject)
posted by Tøm on September 28th, 2008 5:27 AM

...wow.

(no subject) +1
posted by GYØ Vicki on September 28th, 2008 6:28 AM

Can I give the third wow here?

Sod coursework, reading this is better...

(no subject)
posted by Jellybean of Thark on September 28th, 2008 9:31 AM

Was explanation ever given for the butterfly?

Yes: +1
posted by Lincøln on September 28th, 2008 11:54 AM

Yes actually. Dario said that he had had that butterfly for 15 years, and it has been between the pages of his favorite book for most of that time. When we asked wasn't he concerned that he would likely never get it back now, that it was ruined and it was likely unrecoverable, he seemed unconcerned. Rebecca kept giving him suggestions of how he could save it. She said he could get a razor blade and cut along the edges and at least get it off the engine cover, but he couldn't get it off of the tape, so he was gonna have to live with that. Usually when people suggested anything, he seemed to not hear or not care, and he gave no response this time either. I did enjoy that he used packing tape to affix it.

As a side note, as long as this praxis is, there was (obviously A LOT that happened that isn't written down or documented. If you want to know any of those stories, I would be happy to regale you. I only put in the bits (mostly) that pertain to the specific connections to the Odyssey. I was out with Waldo all day yesterday and I was telling him cool story after cool story of things that are not written down above. I was out there on the road in the desert for a month, I have many many stories. People in LAØ get to hear them firsthand, but if you want to know more I'm happy to expound here (if you're interested in any dangling plot threads, of which there are many).

That was a fun day. ~Waldo
posted by Waldo Cheerio on March 18th, 2009 5:31 AM

We were of course putting things in trees. I reread this praxis to try to remember parts I heard that weren't on the site. Black Rock City -- these people are among us the rest of the year folks.

(no subject) +1
posted by Lincøln on September 28th, 2008 1:26 PM

There was a problem with the geotags on the small pictures, and they weren't showing up, but it's fixed now, so if you want to spend more time looking at this extremely long praxis, I actually geotagged all of the photos in this proof, so you can see exactly where I was for every portion of this journey now. Down to feet in most cases. I really like it.

Thanks SSI. You guys are awesome.

(no subject) +1
posted by rongo rongo on September 28th, 2008 2:53 PM

Amazing. You've demonstrated the universality of the encounters of Ulysses by having most of them without setting them up on purpose.
I really admired your efforts to help Dario, and your conversation with the Mormon missionaries. So few people would take the time to honestly talk to people knocking on their door.

(no subject) +1
posted by Dopey on September 28th, 2008 5:24 PM

your adventures inspire me to go on my own, but where do i begun? how do you deal with the responsibilities you have while you are out traveling adventuring? I would like to come by some day to hear about your adventures, and if I were to ever come across Pamela I would be sure to let her know that those that love you are the one's that let you grow; wild and free to be the most they can ever be. I have had personal experience with being so sucked into a relationship that I gave up everything that meant anything to me, and I will NEVER make that mistake again. Hope to adventure/task with you soon.

(no subject)
posted by Loki on September 29th, 2008 1:15 AM

Yowza. A great read. Remind me to reserve some hours next time we're in the same city to follow up on a few of those dangling threads.

Also, geotags on images? Wow. That's new, right? Thanks, guys!

(no subject)
posted by Mr Everyday on September 29th, 2008 5:28 AM

My first 5 point vote, because let's face it, it deserves it.

(no subject)
posted by Spidere on October 3rd, 2008 2:32 PM

Yeah...definitely wanting the "add more votes later" ability. :)

(no subject)
posted by Pip Estrelle on October 12th, 2008 8:42 PM


Crud , that's amazing. Really absorbing reading.

Makes me want to try hitchhiking.

(no subject)
posted by Lincøln on January 15th, 2009 11:46 PM

Instead of going to sleep I just re-read this entire thing. I had forgotten a lot of what I'd been through. What a long strange trip it's been. I even looked through every geotag on all of the pictures. Is that self indulgent? I think Stark would understand.

(no subject)
posted by Philippe on March 9th, 2009 10:39 PM

Sir, if I could give you 35 points, as that is all I have, I would; please take instead my most profound admiration.

(no subject)
posted by Goddess of Doom and Thievery on March 14th, 2009 1:42 AM

Wow. I wish I could take a journey like that.

I love vegas. It's so much fun. And there are lights and colors and drunk people everywhere.

Adventure! +1
posted by Lincøln on March 14th, 2009 2:00 AM

You can totally take a journey like that.
Remember a few things.
(these are little mottos I live by)

This is an adventure.

If you're not having fun doing it, you're doing it wrong.

Timing is everything.

(no subject)
posted by Lincøln on March 14th, 2009 2:22 AM

Also, thank you SSI. I like the new feature of hue-differentiated weight on players' names based on the amount of points they voted with. Now I can visually look at the page and see who spent how many vote points without having to hover my arrow over their name. Cool feature. You guys rock.

good sir,
posted by ghanuj on June 14th, 2009 11:39 AM

wow.

i take this epic completion as a challenge.

:)

ps, i enjoy your life mottos.

(no subject)
posted by Tac Haberdash on January 7th, 2010 12:28 PM

Finally got around to reading this. Well done.

Awe
posted by Ty Ødin on January 28th, 2010 9:32 PM

Sir, your odyssey, or what you have posted of it, is a fantastic read. Thank you.

(no subject)
posted by Lincøln on January 29th, 2010 12:41 AM

Thank you Ty. I'm glad you enjoyed reading it.
I sometimes re-read it to remind myself what happened.

(no subject)
posted by Burn Unit on March 10th, 2011 2:58 PM

sorry I didn't vote before