... seeking simple answers to complex problems, and in the process, disrupting the status quo in technology, art and neuroscience.

Friday, April 27, 2007

Dreams of Ducks and Oven Mitts

< There is a modern campaign in progress to capture oral histories before they are lost forever. I'd like to start right here to do the same with email.

Two good Burner friends have posted the following to our email list and I think their work needs a site where it can be linked to and live on for others to enjoy. Now I'll get out of the way so these guys can express themselves.>

Greetings Burners:

I'll take advantage of this lull in our conversations here on reno-list to tell you of a revelation given to me in a dream: I was in a large city someplace, waiting for a light to turn green so I could cross the street. Then there appeared on my right a most beautiful woman with a Burning Man tattoo on her chest. It began just below her neck and extended down into her low cut, loose fitting blouse. When the light changed I stepped briskly forward and glanced back to get a better view of this beautiful sight. What I next saw, as I hovered detached above, was my crumpled body laying in the street, just having been run over by a truck. When I looked around again I saw that I was on the edge of a vast sea of life consisting of every type of creature that lives and dies; bats, bugs, birds, bears and a human here and there in the distance. Shortly I realized that this 'sea' was organized as an uncountable number of lines extending in length farther than one could ever hope to see.

I was soon pressed into a line by those arriving from behind and fell in behind a duck and was, in turn, followed by a cricket. The lines moved slowly forward at different rates so different creatures were opposite me in the adjacent lines at different times. In time I noticed that when any type of bird was adjacent to the duck the two would appear to be having some type of conversation using a language that consisted of gestures. I'll call it Birdish. I studied this phenomenon whenever it occurred and over time learned enough to establish rudimentary communication with the duck. What I learned from the duck was it considered us to be dead also and beyond that didn't have any idea of what was going on, but from time to time we exchanged pleasantries as fellow travelers often do. Eventually the head of the line appeared in the distance and each line ended at what I can only liken to DMV clerk's station. As I got closer to head of the line I could see the station was staffed in turn by a creature of the same type as was at the head of the line. When the duck reached the head of the line it and the clerk duck had an earnest conversation by quacking as ducks do, rather than in Birdish, so I still had no idea of what was going on. Presently the duck turned to depart and gave me the Birdish sign for All-Right and strode away with the most pleased expression one could ever imagine on the face of a dead duck.

Encouraged, I stepped forward and found the workstation manned by a not unpleasant human that I can only liken to a DMV clerk. The clerk looked at me for a moment with a friendly face and then, with some type of recognition I didn't understand, consulted the workstation terminal. Then a scowl and a harsh query: ôWhat is your excuse this time?ö At that moment I realized: Holy shit. This is The Judgment. "Er, ah, um, the Burning Man made me do it", I hopefully replied. The clerk turned to the terminal muttering something about slow learners and after a brief consult with the terminal turned back to me and said ôYou are to immediately return as a green tree frog, go get suited up.ö I tried to protest, but before I got the second word out the clerk had morphed into a cricket and emitted a sharp chirp which I interpreted to be "Next!" in the language of the crickets. That's when I awoke.

Now, my friends of the flame, it is clear that we should prepare some reasonable story before our time comes because it has been revealed to me that "The Burning Man made me do it" doesn't work very well.

-Rick Brown

Holy smoke, Rick... nice one. Did you wake up naked with a frog in your hand?

A couple of months ago I wrote a story that is eerily similar to explain the significance of oven mitts to theme camps like Apokiliptika and Labwerks. I read it during the Burncast interview and here again it is submitted for your enjoyment:

Why Oven Mitts?

by Science Officer Mister Jellyfish, August 27,

It was a cold beyond cold. The frost bit into my bones and the core of my being shook with longing as I stood in line for the third day. I was staggering from lack of sleep and malnutrition when I found myself, finally, at the front of the cue.

"How much bread can I have, my family is starving." I said to the well fed official seated at the makeshift wooden table between two armed guards.

"No bread, only mitts!" he barked as he pushed toward me four oven mitts of different colorful designs and flowered patterns. The colors began to whirl as the blackness closed in around my vision. The last thing I heard was his gravely voice shouting "Next!" as the guards dragged me away.

I awoke in the snow and ice to find the cheery mitts covering my hands and feet and was thankful to the guards for saving me from assured frostbite. As I hobbled home, I recounted a speech from our great leader about the blessings and many uses of oven mitts and how they symbolized the united workers of our great society.

Who was I to question his despotic wisdom? It was true that oven mitts had many uses. At that very moment they comforted me as gloves and shoes. One could employ them as a:


Vodka bottle cozy

Bread warmer

Premature baby bag

Camera case


...and so much more

Thank you, Kernul Killbuck, for knowing that the blessing of the oven mitt is the answer to our longings and a beacon of truth for the people. It is a great honor to myself and the crew of Labw?rks to continue your oven mitt research in space for the betterment of our collective future under your iron rule!