Saturday, February 16, 2008 

Why am I anti-burning man?

That my friend is a GREAT question, that not even I am able to fully answer.

I've never been to it, so really does my opinion even count? I don't know, but have YOU been to a NASCAR race? Probably not, but if you're reading this, you most likely dislike NASCAR in a very big way.

I've heard soooo many stories from "burners" that extol the festival's greatness, hell I'm in love with one of them (a burner, not a story).

Maybe I feel like the festival is increasingly hypocritical. The party is run by a LLC (Limited Liability Company), that turns a profit (~$600,000 for 2006), to me that flies in the face of the bartering only culture within the festival. Oh, but they donate to non-profits, such as Black Rock Arts Foundation you say. Wouldn't you hate to know that between 2001 and 2005 BRAF raised nearly $300,000 but paid out a mere $82,000 to the artist they claim to support (also of note, BRAF got an "exceptionally poor" rating from non-profit watchdog group Charity Navigator), I don't know about you, but if I'm giving to a charity I'd want a better turn around than that!

I'm not even going to start in on the photography contracts that must be signed, if you actually read them, and weed out the double-speak used by the writers, you'll see it for what it is, corporate control.

Then we have the environmental impact on the playa, or even the environment in general. which is downplayed by Black Rock City LLC.

"Black Rock City LLC is committed to utilizing environmentally favorable solutions as they become financially sound alternatives to the use of fossil fuels and non-renewable materials. We encourage our staff and participants to use these alternatives in their camps in Black Rock City, and further to promote and encourage environmental awareness and make use of emerging technologies. We are determined to promote and continue to support the Leave No Trace principles, the use of renewable energy, the use of non-fossil fuels, recycling valuable reusable materials, and composting organic waste materials when ever possible.
We are open to suggestions toward making the Burning Man experience environmentally sound and we will utilize new methods and technology as they become suitable to our needs. Help us make Black Rock City environmentally viable.
Board of Directors
Black Rock City LLC"

O'rly? do you honestly think your green efforts make any kind of dent in the environmental impact of ~40,000 people driving or flying to Nevada, buying ridiculous amounts of bottled water, beer, packaged foods (99% of which use plastic packaging, erm uh I mean oil packaging). Or the impact of those 40,000 people running around the desert. What about the improperly handled diesel fuel, the fireworks, the thousands of fires, the garbage that gets buried and never removed from the site, the wood and other resources used for building the "art" throughout the festival, and so on and so on, I'd go so far as to say Burning Man is now the worst polluting festival ever, EVER! (run on sentence FTW!)
I don't know, I could go on with many more arguments against the festival. I really do like the ideology behind it, but really it has gotten out of hand. I could be COMPLETELY wrong.
I do plan on going someday, when life permits. And I go with the hope that my mind will be changed.

and no I didn't proofread for grammar, meh...

Happy Burning,

Tuesday, February 05, 2008 

Portland Critical Mass, c'mon guys play by the rules


"Critical Mass is:

- A leaderless, spontaneous bike ride through the streets of Portland (and hundreds of other cities worldwide)
- A time to ride your bike without fear through busy downtown streets
- A great way to meet other bicyclists, pass out fliers, learn about other events
- A meandering celebration of bicycling
- Something different for everyone
- Family-friendly
- A visionary projection of what our future might look like"

(A rider account from several years ago)

"Someone in the group yelled out "lets take both lanes". No one responded but someone decided to go out in between cars, then I followed with a few others and we again chanted "Who's Bridge?" "OUR BRIDGE!". We chanted loud and it meant something because we had taken the bridge even if it was only one direction. Right before we got off the bridge someone said to look back at all the cars we had backed up. I looked back and I felt as if I had won a battle, it felt like instead of riding my bike and being scared of the cars racing past me that the cars instead had to slow down and notice that they are not the only people on the streets."

Getting the word out that motorists are not the only one on the road, yes. Going out of your way to block 2 lanes of traffic (all lanes for that direction), no, not cool. This kind of action justs pisses people off, and gives cyclists a bad rep, potentially causing motorists to go out of THEIR way to piss cyclists off. Bicycles must follow pretty much all the same laws that cars do.

So for those Masser's that might be reading this, please ride responsibly, and give motorists a reason to respect you, not ammunition to disrespect you.



Monday, February 04, 2008 

Hrm, been a while...

Lotsa new stuff since last time I posted, no... I'm not gonna bore you with the details.

Instead, some bike porn!
my new roadbike, thanks to my sister!

Just built up a single speed too, all I need is a chain tensioner and I'm in business (actually rides pretty well the way it is).


War Cost-O-Meter