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Like Tears in Rain

I once witnessed Dylan wake up by punching himself hard in the balls. He sprang up in bed all angry, shouting, “Fuck!” and then displayed an agonized face of visible distress. I chuckled, said, “Poor baby,” and felt sorry as best as I could, because how am I to know how much pain you feel from a sudden hard balls punching. I only know what they’ve told me and apparently it’s lots. I also know from the time I used to kick balls for money, crush, shock and tie them up, or stick the ball sack bounteously with many long sharp pins, but that of course was skewered knowledge, because those motherfuckers loved that shit, so much so that they paid for it. Then later I’d torture my friends with graphic recaps of the day’s ball punishment and amuse myself greatly watching guys who possessed zero desire to have their own balls be destroyed struggle to process the dark details of all my joyfully horrible stories. What I love about life is that it’s fun, and what I love about the world is that it’s fucked up, confusingly, maddeningly, beautifully. And good thing, because otherwise it’d all be just silence and loneliness, harsh words and complaints, emptiness and heartbreak, like tears in rain. Might as well welcome the pain.

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Thoughts

Make It Count

There’s a lot of things about this world that are really awful, depressing, and disappointing, what’s most upsetting is human behaviour and human beings. All the same, we must be grateful and glad to be here, to exist at all, to have this chance to define ourselves, to contribute what we can, to be a part of the force of light and goodness and change. We need to transcend sadness, depression, disappointment and anger, and move forward into acceptance, acknowledgment and awareness in order to discover and develop our real strengths so that we can speak in a stronger voice, convey a deeper love, and create with a more unbreakable heart. We need to both let go and to hold on. The world isn’t good and human beings are terrible, but the world is also beautiful, and humans are an immutable part of that beauty. We are human and we are here. It’s up to us to make that count.

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Conversation

Yummy Yummy Yummy

We’re torn about what to put on my gravestone. The frontrunners are “It’s ​s​tupid” and “Fucking ​bullshit.” It has been brought to my attention that I complain a lot, and my complaints begin with either one of those instant condemnations, usually the one follows the other, like lightning.​​ I pretty much wake up saying that shit and then I make it rain complaints. “Yummy ​yummy ​yummy​ ​in ​my ​bummy” is apparently another ​close contender. “Because​ for some godforsaken reason,” said Dylan, “you like to say that too.”

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Portrait

Mambabatok

Whang-od Oggay is a tattoo artist from Buscalan, Tinglayan, Kalinga, Philippines. She is the last practitioner of Mambabatok (traditional Kalinga tattoo) from the Butbut Kalinga Malay Peoples and at 100 years old is one of the oldest working tattooists. Her ink is composed of a mixture of charcoal and water that is tapped into the skin through a thorn end from a Calamansi or Pomelo tree. When naysayers challengingly ask what a tattooed person will look like when they grow old, Whang-od is living proof that the answer is fucking beautiful.

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Portrait

Cuddle Monster

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Meet MacGyver, a 4-year-old Argentine red tegu lizard from California, who may be the most popular lizard on Earth. This oversized adorable reptile has almost 200,000 followers on Instagram, 50,000 followers on YouTube and even has a LinkedIn page. Every day, thousands of people admire pictures and enjoy videos of MacGyver eating, going for walks, helping out with tasks, meeting new people, making friends, having baths, taking selfies, giving kisses and, most importantly, cuddling. MacGyver loves to cuddle.

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Vignette

Just Dudes

Afterward the two interviewers joined the rest of us downstairs on the patio for a pitcher and something to eat. I don’t know how the subject came up but during conversation one of them said, “Well this one time, I went to these guys’ house and they were gay. But they were just hanging out. They were like. Just dudes.” I gazed at the speaker, my expression mild, expecting more. “They were… just dudes,” he said again, as if the repetition more conclusively clarified his train of thought and beefed up his thesis. I don’t know if this guy expected to in all gay company be immediately imprisoned inside a semen-drenched enclave helplessly confronted by a swirling cesspool of seething testicles and permanently erect penises flying ramrod and relentless into every male available mouth and anus visibly in range and line of sight or what, but he seemed to be recalling the actual experience now, reliving the unexpected calm of it. He meanwhile didn’t seem to be aware that exactly two such “just dudes” were with pastoral elegance seated at the table with us all. “Ah yes,” I said finally. “‘Just dudes.’ Those would be the straight-looking-and-acting ones. One must watch for those.” And I grinned. I might’ve even winked. But in the silent secret fortress of my brain, I laughed out loud.

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Event

After the Storm

Lightning in a Bottle was fantastic. Kaytranada, Machinedrum, Bassnectar, Troyboi, Stephan Jacobs vs ill.Gates were the standouts. Ivy Lab was very outside the box, extremely left field and challenging, I described them in the moment as difficult and awesome. Big Wild was my favourite, he made me tremendously happy, his set was basically perfect. The only flaw with it all was that it was over too soon. Fastest fucking week of our lives. Some of the scheduling was tough with acts on at times that were impossible for us so sadly we missed KMLN, Filastine, Naughty Princess, El Papa Chango and Headphone Activist.

Also the late night offerings were confusingly poor. We trudged around helplessly for hours trying unsuccessfully to find a decent afterparty to take us to dawn while everything descended inexorably into house music. The house music was omnipresent and inescapable. At one point we traveled clear across festival grounds to escape bad house music only to be confronted with more bad house music. This isn’t meant to be some kind of diatribe against house music, but if it’s repetitive, forgettable, lifeless and boring, I’m not going to like it, I don’t care what genre of music it is. I’m starting to realize something I’ve known all along: what all these festivals is missing is me. Next time ill.Gates and NIGHT NURSE gotta go rogue. Ideally we should play the final hours and close out the party. End on a high note with nostalgia for the future and a touch of heartbreak.

We met a handsome hippie hipster and shared our wine with him, exchanging jokes and quips in the dark until the warm brightness of morning. Our new friend was one of Dylan’s fans and spoke knowledgeably about Dylan’s Billie Holiday song. He then talked fondly of his mother who was a nurse, I said it’d be fucking rad to have a goddamn mother who was a fucking nurse. “It’s awesome,” our new friend said. “She is amazing, really good, hardworking, loving, and with a smile that could melt an iceberg.” “Well we know now who to blame for global warming,” I said. “Wipe that smile off your face, woman. Snow, damn it, we need snow!”

The festival overall was an incredibly special experience with many wonderful moments. Thank you Lightning in a Bottlethat was beautiful.

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Art

Solar Egg

Solar Egg is an enormous elegant eggshaped woodburning sauna by Bigert & Bergstrom. The project is part of an urban redevelopment effort in Kiruna, the northernmost city in Sweden. The egg has a height of five meters and can seat up to eight people. It is comprised of a pine wood interior and has highly reflective goldplated steel exterior panels that reflect the environment surrounding the sauna. In the center rests a heartshaped stove cast from iron. Solar Egg is a sculptural symbol meant to prompt thoughts of rebirth. The sauna occupies a key position in the arctic climate of Lapland and is intended as a room for warmth and reflection. It is an incubator that nurtures conversation and the exchange of ideas. When not in use, Solar Egg can be broken down into 69 separate components parts, rendering the entire sauna completely mobile.

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Art

Many-eyed Monster

“Choosing to create only beauty feels artificial. Thus I create both ugliness and the beautiful. You cannot sever the two. The expression that results is a natural chaos. I project anarchy, anxiety, the grotesque, the absurd and the irrational into my work. By doing so I attain harmony. This is my art. Put simply, I paint humanity (the spirit).” Daisuke Ichiba

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