Halloween Currents

A picture in grey, Dorian Gray,
Just me by the sea.

And I felt like a star,
I thought that the world could go far,
If they listened to what I said.

The Ocean, the Ocean
Washes my feet.
Splashes the soul of my shoes.

When I looked around,
The world couldn't be found,
Just me by the sea.

—The Ocean, U2, Boy (1980)

This was a great weekend spent on the shore…. There’s nothing that puts things into perspective like the ocean — it’s just so friggin’ vast. All in all, we’re clearly just a drop in the bucket and all of the concerns we have, if dumped in the ocean, would be diluted to nothing. I always think about how millennias of generations have gone on before us and looked into that same ocean with concerns and dreams that were probably somewhat like ours – except they didn’t have exact names such as how to make nanotechnology work , etc., but I’m sure that we had the same thoughts on life and love at some moment in time. I often drive down to the Ocean Beach Wall with my laptop when I’m stuck on my writing — and the sky is so beautiful at 3AM, no traffic, and the damp air, empty beach and crashing ocean can give solace to my muse.

This week the ocean has been taking a lot; I suppose there has to be some sacrifice to the mighty beast. Two Swiss guys got into a fight over a woman on the Red and White Fleet boat (a dinner party boat) and while this one fellow, I’m not even sure if he was her boyfriend, was telling the aggressive Swiss guy to lay off of harassing the woman, the aggressive Swiss guy grabbed the chivalrous Swiss guy by his arms and legs and threw him overboard. There has been no body after several days, but they’ve leveraged Murder-one charges against the guy. I thought, wouldn’t it be weird if this other guy actually did live? If he was fished up by a foreign ship and enlisted himself as a sailor and headed to some country unknown while this other guy rotted in jail? What if he was escaping a wife, children and bills and it just proved to be an opportunity? Hmmmm…. The guy is probably dead. The currents run strong in the Bay and bodies are held down under the surface in the lower strata of water, but do eventually wash up north around Stinson Beach.

Two other people were recently on a boat and died and yet another floater washed up — a stunt man doing a Bruce Willis movie. We’ve had 1000 people jump off the Golden Gate Bridge since 1937 — usually facing the city instead of Marin, oddly enough. Recently, a programmer from Las Vegas who had been programming electronic bingo cards in his favor, drove to San Francisco and jumped off the bridge after he had been found out and was facing charges. I once saw a guy balancing himself on the Bay Bridge for a jump and had no way of pulling over, I mean, it’s a natural thing to do, right? To try and talk someone down. But, cars were coming fast up behind me and there is no shoulder on most of the bridge. When I got to the other side, I saw a cop and told him they had a jumper, he just said, “Yeah lady, we know. Move along.” When the longshoreman strike was going on it was strange to see all of the boats lining up in the Bay to be unloaded when the strike was over. It seems that things are always moving in or out of the ocean around here.

Speaking of floaters, I remember my first visit to a morgue, the one in SF (actually the LA coroner is much more of an exciting place to visit — you can visit them at coroner.co.la.ca.us/gifts/ ) , and the medical examiner (who is voted into office in this city) was explaining to me about “floaters” and how the outer skin is peeled off —no fingerprints by the water. Clothes and jewelry are ripped off by the rough currents. Hair changes color, as does the skin that gets bloated (thus, the term floater). The only thing left to identify them by? Teeth…maybe. And only if the floaters haven’t been tossed up against the rocks that are par for the course for our shore. Basically, even though photos are taken and distributed, no one would recognize these corpses. Many of them end up with John and Jane Doe tags and sent to an incenterator. I remember the one thing that sticks with you about a floater — the smell. Yikes! There is a product that I wish I owned the patent on…a menthol salve that examiners put a thick finger of under their noses, which also must have some kind of euphoric aromatic affect on them, because “cutters” as they are sometimes called are some of the most positive, well-adjusted people I’ve met. And the stories they can tell!

Anyhow, that was quite a tangent about the ocean. All I know is despite what it takes, the ocean is a relatively lovely place for me to spend time and for most of my life I’ve never lived more than 27 minutes away from its shore. Along with the ocean being one of my favorite places in life, Halloween in my absolute favorite holiday — a day I’ve unconsciously have done lots of things; lose my virginity, file divorce and prompt other choice breakups as well as get-togethers. Yes, it’s a great night to dress up, but there is some depth here that comes from tradition that passing out candy bars doesn’t cover in today’s commercial holiday Hallmark world — In 5th century BC, in Celtic Ireland, summer officially ended on October 31. The holiday was called Samhain, the Celtic New year. On that day, the disembodied spirits of all those who had died throughout the preceding year would come back in search of living bodies to possess for the next year (this is what has happened to Geo Bush). It was believed to be their only hope for the afterlife, and that all laws of space and time were suspended during this time, allowing the spirit world to intermingle with the living. Naturally, the still-living did not want to be possessed. So on the night of October 31, villagers would extinguish the fires in their homes to make them cold and undesirable. Then they'd dress up in ghoulish costumes and parade around the neighborhood being as loud and destructive as possible in order to frighten away spirits. So, of course I chose the night of Halloween for the last DuraLiNi.

On Halloween we had the DuraLiNi party down at Ocean Beach. I drove down alone to hook up with everyone at Gate 28 Beach and for about 40 minutes I sat there alone with my Duraflame logs burning. Well, not exactly alone — there were other fires along the beach and at the brick bunker as there are apt to be were the goth boys who camp out there at night — tragically hip youths who bring their instruments (drum kits and guitars) and their portable amps and play eerie music and light fire balls and dance. Although it’s incredibly difficult to see outside of the light that the campfire makes, it’s great just to lay back, watch the stars, soak in the heat from the fire and be instrumentally entertained by complete strangers who are entertaining only you because you’re the only one within earshot. This particular evening I had set the attire as, “come as you’ve always wanted to be from the inside out,” so, of course, I was Anarchy Incarnate (I used to have this very strange boyfriend whose nickname for me was Chaos Incarnate, so it’s kind of stuck. I’m pretty sure he meant that in a quantum kind of way…). Anyhow, I had a tattered skirt, lace stockings, ankle boots, velvet blouse and a huge anarchistic silver A symbol hanging from a thick snake chain resting on my cleavage. And covered in glitter — then again, I’m mostly always covered in glitter. Dr. Bob Glass www.eou.com noted that the glitter for me kind of represented an electronic aura that symbolizes the day we’ll all be able to just pass someone on the street and have our electronic particle auras communicate about what we’re into and what our needs are, I really love the analogy. But, short of an investor meeting, you’ll always find some traces of glitter in my hair, or a piece on my clothes. And quickly scanning the room you’ll quickly see whom I’ve kissed hello.

Anyhow, it was a beautiful night, and one especially warm for the end of October (it’s the summer weather you have to watch out for on the beaches here – it gets windy and a very high wind chill factor, or is that a low one? You get the gist). People started showing up on or to their way to the Castro Street Halloween party that ended in several stabbings, or other Halloween events. For once, the choice of having DuraLiNi on a weekday night actually tapered the number of people attending. We had about 35 people or so — a perfect number for an actual discussion around the fire; one about ghost stories of the past. It was a very spooky event all in all with some interesting personality dynamics.

And I’ve recently been contacted to by a very cool nonprofit org, www.acfnewsource.org that wanted to attend some of the tribal meetings (DuraLiNi, WiWoWo or a LiLoTe). We were told that they might attend, but I never heard back from the producer Andy Jordan. The org feeds news stories into CBS, NBC and other affiliates. Anyhow, we’re always getting contacted by the media — WiWoWo is in Entrepreneur Mag this month, see Press Room. Funny thing, because all of the tribes are invite-only and we want the least amount of publicity that’s possible, that whole clandestine attitude has become attractive for the press. I thought ACF sounded interesting because they do more like NPR thoughtful stories than mass media stuff. Oh well.

Anyhow, Halloween ended sometime in the late morning hours after I left and went to the tail end of a few more parties. Last night I got another opportunity to be Anarchy Incarnate at Allen Lundell’s www.virtualworldstudio.com/ party down in Aptos where many tribes collided. Their beach house is grand and the ocean front bonfire was great. Somehow, the ocean has come back into this wild meandering blog to tie a somewhat neat little knot. It was great to see people from the mountain techno tribe who I rarely get a chance to see — all of the multimedia crowd and people who’ve stepped back from SiValley to the mountain and coastal regions to commit technology on their own terms. I saw Bruce Damer www.digitalspace.com and a new friend from LaLa who is a film editor who just did a movie on parapsychology, so once again the topic of the campfire turned to ghost stories. It was a fabulous party with incredibly creative people with great projects — I got to see some cool prototypes. All in all it was a very Halloweeny weekend filled with great friends, fabulous experiences and spooky stories by the ocean, that by all intents and purposes should scare the hell out of us all. I should get back to work now before the rest of the day slips by.