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I Have Returned

I was there. I made it. I did it. I went. I saw. I did. I gave. I received. I laughed. I cried. I kissed a couple of thousand bucks goodbye. It was like nothing I’ve ever seen, & I’ve seen some weird shit. This was weirdness cubed… in five dimensions. I was it. It was me. & we were all together. Kookookachoo…
The stuff is all familiar. Normal everyday things. Regular humans. The content is prosaic, but the context is completely different, the configurations are strange. There’s a bicycle. No, actually it’s two or three bicycles that have been hashed together into a thing that still functions as a bicycle, but it looks & acts strangely. There’s a couch, it’s coming up the street under its own power.Those are just people, but they’re looking & acting strangely. Or are they? Everything is turned inside out. Weird is normal. Normal is weird. It’s like being on another planet.

There’s no money here. It took a lot of money for all these people & things to get here, but once they’re here, there’s no money. Weird. People doing what they enjoy doing just for the sheer joy of doing it, without having to worry about how badly they’re getting screwed. Money is out of the equation, here, for one week out of the year. Just the absence of advertising makes it an alien landscape. It is a by god city & it does the things that cities do, provide a place in which a lot of people can live together, but there’s something different. It’s like being on another planet.
I like to think that if Civilization as We Know It were to suddenly collapse, the Burners wouldn’t know the difference & would just keep on partying. However, this whole thing is utterly dependent upon the established infrastructure of Civilization as We Know It, so it probably wouldn’t play like that. Nonetheless, I’d like to believe that the spirit of doing what you can with what you got & helping each other out, which is how things work out here, will serve us well when the collapse we all know is coming sooner or later does come. On this planet.

It is after all camping, which has been accurately described by Patrick McManus as a Fine And Pleasant Misery. So it’s not all fun & wonderful. One gets a full range of quality of experience, from “Oh my god, this is so fucking beautiful!” to “Oh man, this really sucks!” Manic frenzy to tepid indolence. A whole city of stressed out campers. Okay, they’re not all stressed out. Some of them are in motorhomes, so they hardly know the difference. Anyway, pretty much all states of mind are present & represented & expressed (or not).

“Holy Crap!” That seemed to be my mantra, I found myself saying that every few minutes or so, when I was out cruising around. “Lookitlookitlookit..! That’s… no, wait, here’s… Oh, man, they didn’t really… they really did. Holy Crap!” Everything all the time. Well, not everything. This is another planet, if not another dimension. There are no bugs, no birds, no bees, no weeds, no trees, no concrete or asphalt or tarmac. And no limitations on imagination. Which is totally weird, strange & unusual.

Gratuitous Weirdness. Long may it wave.

I was told that I am okay. May it be so.

I Was Really There

Behold! It is I – & I am It. I am there (well, I was there) & look! I’m on the other side of the monitor now! It’s that guy, & he’s at Burning Man™ out there on that playa thing with his silly bike. Silly bikes don’t get stolen, according to my theory. That’s a kid’s BMX bike I bought for Zerek in Santa Rosa California when he was like 10 years old. It came to Roswell with us. Zerek rode it here once maybe twice, had a dramatic encounter with a strand of barbed wire & a lot of goatheads/puncture weeds near the mall. Then it sat out in our 5 acre yard northeast of town for 10 years or so, through rain, snow, dust, wind & high levels of ultraviolet radiation.
The extended seat post is a chromed clothes pole for a store, that happened to fit into the right orifices. It hasn’t failed yet, but it will, it’s already starting to go, I’m still in denial.
The seat is from an old 3-speed from Bakersfield in the 50s. Really. It was my brother’s bike that ended up being mine. The seat is still here & functioning, a little frayed around the edges but unbelievably still retaining its basic structural integrity. Weird. I mean, it’s not as if plastics were better back then. Or were they? I don’t think so.
That’s my brand new Tilley™ hemp hat; my Toon Glasses – my own creation (I got the idea from Greg Duncan years ago); my necklace made from the stubs of Dixon Ticonderoga™ Number 2 pencils that I killed drawing Cherry Comics; & my cop swat team boots that I got online from Galls™.
Notice the fresh gash in the leg from a rebar tent stake that I had just pounded in.
This was probably not too long after I had returned from the Summer Of Love Camp & decided to dismount while the bike was still rolling & did so quite gracelessly in an awkward pirouette that concluded with my going right over into the dust on my left side, scuffing up my elbows & knees some & doing something to something in my upper chest which I took to be a pulled muscle. A week later, after returning home I realized that it was actually a cracked rib. A few days after that I figured out that it was the rib that I had already cracked while trying unsuccessfully the 1st time to install that big Signs Of Life sign at this location.

This is where I ended up, in Stag Camp.

Here’s some but not all of the Stag Camp campers.

This was my gift. Well, one of them, anyway. It’s a cut vinyl sticker about an inch & a half or 2 inches across. It’s the Green Man, I say. It’s the Corporate Green Man. It’s ironic, ’cause it’s vinyl & vinyl ain’t green. Everybody who received one or more liked it/them, or seemed to at any rate.

Some Other Stuff I’ve Been Doing II

This is way back. A mural I did behind the bar at Farley’s in Las Cruces, New Mexico USA.If the wall was transparent, you would see those mountains right there. Not that color, though. Those are the Organs. On the other side of them is White Sands Missile Range, at the north end of which is Trinity Site where the first atomic bomb was lit off. That’s the doomsday clock up in the corner.The Ghost Riders in the Sky are chasing the herd & being followed by the Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse. The Old Cowpoke is down there on the prairie.This is more recent. This is at Farley’s #3 in Roswell.

Stuff for the upcoming UFO Festival in Roswell

4th of July weekend is Alien Time in Roswell. We shall see if anyone shows up this year, what with the gas prices & all, Roswell being 200 miles away from everything in all directions.

This is the new shirt for the Alien Chase the Roswell Runners’ Club does every year. It’s a sequel to the Flash Gordonesque design I did last year that everyone seemed to like. Son of Alien Chase ’07.

The Roswell Museum and Art Center does the Alien Costume Contest every year as part of the festival. This year they had me do a poster for it. I sort of tied it into a similar theme as with the Alien Chase shirt (that everyone seemed to like), but not exactly. And I was going for the look of an old scifi movie poster, whereas the Alien Chase shirt is a comic book cover. The RMAC liked it so much that they’re doing T shirts of it, too. We’ll see how those come out.

Up, Up & Away

May 3, 2008
(not really, but that’s when it happened. I was unable to document it in real time.)

Our First Balloon Ride(s)

12 years in New Mexico & we finally go up in a hot air balloon. We’re a little slow, perhaps, but/& we’re savoring every moment as we always have been, haven’t we? I forget. But I savored it at the time. I tried to, anyway. I think. Therefore I uhhhh….

The Old-Timers’ Balloon Rally in Roswell, New Mexico. It was the I-have-no-idea-how-many annual one of those.
Now that we’re part of the Doyal Family by dint of our son Zerek having married Caryn nee Doyal; we’re inlaws with the inlaws, & they’ve been participating with this Albuquerque balloon crew for years & Caryn’s been telling us about it for years & this year, we got to become part of it.
It’ll do.
The name of the balloon is A Touchie Subject. Its pilot is Fergie. We got to know & love the rest of the crew even though we don’t know all of their names yet.
Which will do for now.
Okay, this was followed by a Friday at the ‘new’ location of our shop like we never had at any of the various locations we have operated our little sign shop out of in this stinking little town over the years. Big Weekend in Roswell: Speed Channel doing a thing out at the Roswell Dragway, which has stupidly chosen to call itself Area 51 Dragway, Cable One needed some banners to put out there, Krumland Auto Group, which is the outfit that owns the Toyota/Scion store, the Honda store & the Hyundai store here, wanted to put some stuff on their racecar trailer, okay, it’s this guy that works at Toyota & he’s got 3 racers, one of which is him, & Krumland is sponsoring him, or they own his ass or something, at any rate they wanted to have their logo on both sides & the rear of the trailer, Joe wanted his logo, which didn’t even exist: Reiser Racing & the numbers of the 3 cars, each in a different gaudy flourescent color of vinyl, which is real expensive & we don’t keep that shit in stock so we would have to order it from a place in Albuquerque, on the 3 sides as well, I had to design it all in order to be able to figure out how much vinyl it was gonna take & how much it was gonna cost. I told Joe & Staci the Marketing Director about how there was good, fast & cheap & you get to pick 2. So it was gonna come to $3,800 bucks & that didn’t include the racecar he also wanted me to do. We were gonna try & do one side of the trailer for the weekend when Speed Channel was gonna be there & do the rest of it the next week. Half hour later Staci calls me back. They bailed.
There’s also55 Alive, a golf tournament at the Spring River Golfcourse being put on by the Roswell Chamber of Commerce, We did a mess of coro plast signs for the Hole Sponsors.
And other stuff, too.

So we got up real early Saturday morning & managed to show up at the old soccer field right across the street from the Wool Bowl all on the grounds of the New Mexico Military Institute (NMMI, locals call it “Nimmy”) at 7 o’clock, which is like a really unusual kind of thing for us to do. We’re helping kind of helplessly here & there, spreading the envelope out on the grass, holding open the opening as the blower blows air into it & makes it big. Fergie lights up the burner & heats up the air in there, the envelope gets up off the grass, the gondola/basket is turned upright & there it is, it’s a big ol’ hot air balloon ready to fly up through the air that is heavier than it is. Their sponsor is the Roswell Lodgers Tax so there’s nobody from the sponsor there, having to be allowed the first ride. Zerek had already been established as being first on the list (there is no list). So he was in there & then Kevin was getting Heather in there & then somebody asked me if I would like to go. I didn’t have to be asked twice. I climbed on in & then we were off the ground, rising at a good rate, which Fergie announced after checking the guage, I forget what it was. It didn’t feel like we were moving all that fast, but the people down there on the grass got really small very quickly & there we were, floating above Roswell, 4,800 feet Above Ground Level.