Orgone Research

Friday, September 29, 2006

The Duct Tape Wallet

I invented the duct tape wallet. Or at least I think I may have. Frankly, I haven't gone to a lot of trouble to try and figure out the historical truth, and I suspect it would be a very hard thing to prove. Here's the story:

I was one of the founding members of the Jim Rose Sideshow in the early 1990's. We toured all around the world, and one of the highlight tours for me was Lollapalooza in 1992. It was a huge ego rush, being able to "hang out" with real live rock stars. Even more fundamentally, other performers appreciated what we did, and we got lots of positive feedback from them. But being a performer puts strange kinks into your lifestyle. One is that you have a great deal of "down time" while you are simply waiting around to perform. You can either do meaningful things with this time or you can waste it. Unfortunately on Lollapalooza, we usually performed in "sheds" or large outdoor performance spaces away from the big cities. You couldn't just walk to a museum for an afternoon's edification.

One thing to do to pass the time was arts and crafts. I began to notice that the technicians (don't call them roadies) used a great deal of duct tape, and would often simply discard the roll before they got to the end and leave a significant amount of tape. I also noticed it wasn't really duct tape, as the fabric was tightly woven into a crosshatched pattern. In fact I learned it was called "gaffer's tape", and indeed was a significantly superior product than ordinary duct tape. It was also available in black, and I think yellow. There was a lot of this stuff just lying around, waiting for something useful to be done with it.

I don't remember what my inspiration was for my wallet. I recall being on the tour bus, and simply began to cut and fold the tape into a wallet. To do it for the first time is sort of a puzzle, as you have no instructions to go by. I was pleased with my new wallet as it came out rather well. I decided to make another one which I think was yellow. I may have shown my first wallet to Matt Cameron, then the drummer of Soundgarden, as I decided to give him my second one. I replaced my old Nylon wallet with my new duct tape version, and have never looked back. From time to time I would have to make a new one as the old one wore out. If I recall correctly, all this happened before all the duct tape books came out, but the one thing I'm sure of is that I figured it out for myself.

Fast forward to 1996. I had become a big Soundgarden fan, and remained friends with Kim Thayil after the tour was over. Kim was the best man at my wedding in 2000. A Rolling Stone magazine article about Soundgarden's new record Down on the Upside appeared. The article opens with an intimate description of how Chris Cornell makes a new duct tape wallet each time he records a new Soundgarden album! Looks like Matt Cameron taught Cornell the wallet thing! This got to me enough that I even asked Kim about it, and indeed Kim told Cornell that the idea originally came from me. I suspect, but do not know, that this Rolling Stone article was the real "break" as far as publicity goes for the duct tape wallet. During the late 1990's I would see duct tape wallets around, and even saw them for sale on the Internet!

In October of 2002, I believe, I "invented" the polypropylene tape wallet. Polypropylene is even superior to the gaffer tape, as the adhesive is stronger, and there is no "grain" or weave to split along. The tape I'm talking about is the kind used in conjunction with Tyvek vapor barrier house wrap. The Polypropylene film is incredibly strong, especially considering how thin it is. It's much thinner than duct or gaffer tape. The adhesive is an acrylic, and is very "tacky". This quality is needed to allow it to stick to Tyvek, which is itself quite slick. Tyvek vapor barrier and the associated tape are made by Du Pont, but Lowe's Home Center makes a house brand that is comparable. Owens Corning makes a pink polypropylene tape. Thankfully, Owens Corning doesen't insist on plastering their logo on their tape like Du Pont and Lowe's do. Plain pink is good. Remember the Pink Panther? Look for the Pink Panther logo when buying your polypropylene vapor barrier tape!

This tape can be also be used in conjunction with ordinary Tyvek to make form fitting credit card envelope protectors.

Now, go forth and make your own wallets and credit card protectors!

Monday, September 25, 2006

Octet Truss

I'm fascinated with solid geometry, geodesic domes, and space frames. While Buckminster Fuller is often associated with the geodesic dome, few know that he is also the creator of a space frame design called the "octet truss". The word "octet" is derived from "octahedron" and "tetrahedron". You see, if you combine octahedrons and tetrahedrons in a 1:2 ratio, you get a space filling solid. Thus a framework that bounds these solids can fill space without gaps. Fuller was even able to get a patent on his design in 1961:

But wait, there's more to the story! Note that the ratio of tetrahedrons to octahedrons is 1:2. Why is it specified this way? Fuller was obsessed with simplifying things, it's possible to simplify this description even more. If you bisect an octahedron, you get Johnson solid number one, the square pyramid. Thus, the "octet" truss can also be thought of as a space-filling array of an equal number of tetrahedrons and square pyramids. Granted, "octet" is a great neologism, but is there a subtle bias at work here?

Fuller liked to claim the octet truss was "fully triangulated" and thus was totally stable in three dimensions. Indeed, if you look at photos of some of his original trusses, you always see the top and bottom surfaces of the array as forming triangles, or hexagons if you count the nodes as centers. Actually, within the octet truss, there is always a plane of squares. These squares come from the bases of the square pyramids. Most modern octet trusses orient the square lattice either at the top or the bottom of the array. The octet truss, while an outstanding space frame design, does not really fulfill Fuller's claim of being "fully triangulated".

More fundamentally, Fuller did not invent the "octet" truss! Credit for that goes to Alexander Graham Bell! Fuller was honest enough to acknowledge this, though: I'm really not trying to take anything away from Fuller; to independently discover, then successfully patent, such a thing is a significant accomplishment.

With that historical background in mind, take a look at the octet truss as art. Here in Seattle we have a large octet truss array located in front of Grand and Benedicts, a retail store fixture outlet, located at 3825 1st Ave S. in Seattle. On top of six concrete columns sits a steel octet truss that seems to be five "layers" high. It appears to be fabricated from struts and hubs manufactured by the Unistrut company: though when I look through the current Unistrut website I can't find space frames that utilize this sort of bent plate hub arrangement. It looks like Unistrut still makes space frame parts that utilize other types of hub attachments.

This is all based on information I've gleaned from an old textbook entitled Space Structures. Davies, R.M., ed., Space Structures: Proceedings of the First International Conference on Space Structures, Blackwell Scientific Publications, Oxford, 1967.

Chapter 94 of this book is entitled "The Basic Elements of the 'Unistrut' Space-Frame",written by S.C. Hsiao. From the photograph I've included here from page 1084, we see a close match to the flange system used at the hub of the Seattle space frame. There is no placard at the base of this sculpture to tell us who made it, perhaps if it was simply erected from parts made by Unistrut, and really has no "artist".

Grand and Benedict also has a Portland location. When taking Amtrac down to San Francisco, I quickly passed a sculpture that looked very much like the one seen here in Seattle. I would guess this is the Portland Grand and Benedict location. If I can find out any more of the "back story" on this sculpture, I'll post it here. I hope you enjoy this artwork like I do.

Friday, September 22, 2006

Good Cop, Bad Cop.

When I was in college, I started to get bad sore throats. What would start off as something that seemed like a cold would become worse. My throat would continue to grow more painful and swollen. I was given antibiotics, first erythromycin then later cephalexin.

One morning I awoke early, with my throat so sore and swollen that I became concerned my airway would become compromised. I realized I would have trouble speaking, so I quickly scribbled a note to give to the doctors and nurses at the student health service. I rushed to the clinic and gave my note to a startled nurse. Soon after I was admitted, a nurse phoned the doctor on call, and he proscribed 30mg of prednisone, stat. They were difficult to swallow, but the six 5mg tablets were small, so the staff didn't have to resort to injection. My anxiety subsided about my airway being compromised.

Later, when I was feeling better, one of the doctors diagnosed that my tonsils were abcessed, so the infection was being walled off, which caused the antibiotics to be less than effective. He suggested I had two choices; one was to take prophylactic antibiotics every day, every winter, for the rest of my life. The other was to have a tonsillectomy. I chose the tonsilectomy. I think I was about 24 when this went down, somewhat late in life for a tonsillectomy.

I was scheduled and admitted into day surgery in St. Patrick's hospital in Missoula. I was NPO the night before, and given Demerol about 30 minutes before surgery. I think the general anesthetic was given IV.

I woke up coughing, and the nurses helped me sit up in bed. I wanted to be macho about my recovery, and go home ASAP, but I remember having to stay in the hospital a day longer than I expected. Other than that, eveything else was uneventful. I was told not to eat any rough foods for a certain time period following surgery.

Several days later I'm over at my friend Andrew Ward's place. I'm talking with him, listening to music, and drinking a tall boy beer. Suddenly I start bleeding from my mouth. At this point I begin to panic, as I have no idea how serious this is. Andrew and I get into his car and he literally rushes me to the hospital. When I say literally, I mean he was speeding and running red lights to get me there. I get into the ER, and the admitting nurse even seemed startled at my condition. A doctor had me sit down in a chair and wait for him in a side room. Andrew stays with me. Fortunately by this time the bleeding had slowed down, but I was glad to be in a hospital.

Presently a police officer walks in the room. He's not a security guard, he's a real cop, one of Missoula's finest. Though short, he looks down at me as I'm sitting in this chair.

He beginns to interogate me, as if I had committed some bizarre, exotic crime. I remember looking at Andrew, noting how he could see how bizarre the situation just became. Honestly, it's been too many years since this happened, so I don't even remember his questions. I tell him the truth. I have to wonder if he understood what the word "tonsillectomy" meant. Eventually he went away. Later I complained about his behavior to the doctor who acknowledged, not in so many words, that this cop was a real asshole.

From time to time you hear about cops who beat the shit out of diabetics who seem "drunk" to the cop, after my experience I'm more inclined to believe that could really happen. Maybe I got off lucky. Did my friend Andrew's presence as a witness inhibit this little puke from doing something worse to me?

I guess this is an example of how everything looks like a nail, if the only tool you have is a hammer. I'm sorry I didn't catch the name of the short Missoula cop, or I'd give the little asshole a shout-out by name...

Wednesday, September 20, 2006

Stealing Golf Carts

I got my first lock pick set when I was about 14. I had been fascinated by Houdini ever since I first heard about him. I remember reading a Houdini biography as a child, possibly by Milbourne Christopher. Somewhere in the late 1970’s a hobby shop on Higgins Ave. in Missoula put in a small magic section in the back of the store. A young man worked there who had long dark hair. Dave Peterman and I used to hang around this shop and talk to the long haired magician. This man was also a Houdini fan, and in fact told Dave and me that he could sell us real lockpicks! This was a mind blowing thing, as it seemed both furtive and unbelievably esoteric! Just the kind of thing to turn on two teens growing up in Missoula Montana. Being the moral kind of kids we were, Dave and I both asked our parents if we could buy such things. They said yes, and off we went. We soon realized that the man who sold us the lockpicks was simply buying them by mail order at retail from an outfit in Great Falls called “Prince E. Wheeler”. Once I found this out I ordered their catalog, which smelled of cigar smoke.

Our lockpick sets came in little leather pouches, which closed with a snap. These were picks for pin tumbler locks, which require two tools, a tension wrench and a pick. The leather case held about 6 picks and two identical tension wrenches.

Dave and I now felt superior to the great unwashed, whose ideas of lock picking were derived from watching TV. You see, on TV, they NEVER SHOW THE TENSION WRENCH. Funny, you can show homicide and all kinds of degradation in great detail on TV and the movies, but showing a TENSION WRENCH in action is still a taboo!

How else can I describe this; picking a pin tumbler lock for the first time is kind of like getting high, or having sex. It’s like getting high in that once you pick the thing it seems unreal; your mental map of reality shifts a little bit, and the world as you know it is richer, more subtle and complex. A feeling of euphoric unreality washes over you.. It’s also like having sex, at least it seemed so at that age, as one “scores” by overcoming what seems like an insurmountable obstacle. These descriptions must seem outrageous and hyperbolic, but I stand by them.

As time went on, I could see that I was way more into the lock pick thing than Dave. I would buy padlocks just to practice on. Friends who lost bicycle lock keys would contact me to try to pick their locks. Dave and I never used these things for ill gotten gain; it was more or less a game, kind of like solving a Rubik’s cube.

By the time I got to college, I was involved with all sorts of other things, and I had more or less set my lock picks aside. I would rescue folks from time to time who got locked out of their apartments or what not. Most door locks are more difficult to pick than padlocks, and by no means did I pick every lock I attempted.

One of my great goals was to be able to make my own lock picks. The advantage of this is that you can tailor the pick to the specific lock. By the mid 1990’s I had obtained several Loompanics books by “Eddie the Wire” who detailed how to make lockpicks. As with apple pie, the home made product is often better than the commercial equivalent. Though I don’t have the passion for picking locks like I did in high school, I do engage in it from time to time. If I see an old padlock for sale at a flea market, I’ll often buy it just for the challenge. I make all my own lockpicks now, though I sometimes use commercial tension wrenches.

On Lollapalooza in 1992, a strange status pattern developed. On these huge outdoor festival grounds where we would perform maintenance workers would travel around the grounds on golf carts. Performers or Lollapalooza crew workers who could obtain a golf cart just to ride around in seemed to me to have “connections”. It was a subtle, but real, “status symbol”.

Late one afternoon in Wisconsin, I think, Chris Cornell and Eddie Vedder spontaneously began performing Temple of the Dog songs on the second stage. A crowd quickly gathered. It was a great performance, and came at the very peak of the Pearl Jam and Soundgarden “buzz”. After the show, Vedder and Cornell had to get back to their tour buses. I saw my great opportunity. I saw an unmanned golf cart, and I wanted to jump in and join the “procession” as fans had by now lined the roadway between the stage and the tour buses. Thinking fast, I opened my Leatherman tool and extended a little curved scraping tool. I inserted it into the ignition lock of the golf cart. What I was trying to do was mimic a “jiggler pick” to turn the ignition lock. What a “jiggler pick” does is lift the wafers or pins while simultaneously applying tension. It almost only works on very cheap locks, like cheap file cabinet locks. This is one of the exceptions to the "two tools" rule.

Indeed, the lockpick deities shined favorably on me that day and I picked the lock! I now went to the head of the golf cart procession. It became obvious to me how reinforcing being a rock star could be; the look in the fan’s eyes, and the screams of “Eddie, Eddie” totally convinced me. I’m embarrassed to admit it, but I too began screaming “Eddie, Eddie”, as I knew that put off the sensitive Mr. Vedder.

Of course I didn’t really “steal” the golf cart that day, that was just a catchy title to get you to read this blog. It was more or less “unauthorized use”, as the golf carts never left the stadium grounds.

So of all the locks I’ve picked, that one was perhaps the best; improvised tools, a time constraint, and a fun payoff in playing with what you picked. Yeah, that was a good one…

Monday, September 18, 2006

Stull's Hole to Hell

Years ago, a man spoke to Art Bell live on late night radio. He identified himself as "Mel Waters". He claimed he had an 80,000 foot deep hole in his back yard. Pure Art Bell show bullshit. But various people took it quite seriously, and for some time I associated with some of them, through Seattle's Museum of the Mysteries.

Eventually I came to feel the "Mel's Hole" story was a modern updating on the old "lost mine" story. Instead of metallic riches, the hole had paranormal powers. Instead of the map to the mine becoming lost, "government agents" came in and took poor Mel's land, forcing "Mel" to flee to Australia to study wombats.

For a while I read all the postings on the Mel's Hole discussion board. At some point deep in the discussion board threads a related story appeared. It seems that at some point Art Bell played a sound file on his radio show that claimed to be the "Sounds of Hell", allegedly recorded by Russian miners at the bottom of a very deep bore hole in Siberia.

At this point in my searches I decided to google "Hole to Hell" or "Stairway to Hell", or some such. It seems that fundie Christians have grabbed those phrases to create websites that warn us of the dangers of rock music! But beyond those are the interesting websites that deal with this peculiar class of legends. One of the more famous is the "Hole to Hell" in Stull, Kansas.

Dana's sister and brother in law live near Lawrence, Kansas, and so are not far from Stull. We drove by the famous cemetery and stopped for pictures. I had heard that it was fenced off, and this was the case. Strangely, there were actually two gates, a locked automotive gate, and a pedestrian gate which was unlocked. Dana & I zipped inside for a few photographs.

As you can see in the photo above, the tiny church in the center of the cemetery has been torn down, but the rubble has not been removed. From what I've read on the Internet, the residents of Stull take trespass into the cemetery very seriously, and while we were parked there Dana's sister told us some lady from across the street was watching us. We took a few quick photos, then left. About 3 minutes after our visit, a sheriff's car passed us going in the other direction. Cemetery trespass call? I'll never know...

More on Stull's cemetary:

Mel's Hole discussion board:

Deadly Sex Thrills

This essay was originally published for the Loompanics Unlimited main catalog of 1989. It represented the fruition of research into the subject that I did when I was a student at the University of Montana. At the time, I was fascinated with the Re Search series of books by V. Vale and Andrea Juno. At the time, 1985, these books represented about the coolest things I could get my hands on. I was inspired by their notion that obsessive research into the nooks and crannies of culture was outstandingly cool, as I did not feel "cool" by any other standard at the time…

Anyway, I had heard about Autoerotic Asphyxia through some book on safety I read at the public library, probably sometime in the mid 1970’s. I decided that Autoerotic Asphyxia was the most unusual subject that I could think of, and I decided to research it as thoroughly as I could. Surprisingly, the first grip I got on the subject came about in an article in Vanity Fair of all places! Soon I utilized the Index Medicus at the University library and began to submit interlibrary loan requests. By 1986, I believe I had acquired about 90% of the world’s primary literature on the subject.

Somewhere in 1988, Mike Hoy of Loompanics learned of my fascination through a mutual friend of ours Tim "Zamora" Cridland. Mike asked I write an article for his catalog. At the time, this was the greatest ego thrill of my life. Little did I know I would experience much greater ego "thrills" later on…

Two wonderful illustrations by Ashleigh Talbot were included with the original essay. Unfortunately they are not yet included here. Perhaps I’ll be able to include them in the future.
The essay was later published in 1990 a Loompanics compilation simply entitled "Loompanics Greatest Hits (ISBN 1-55950-031-x) pages 176 to 180. It represents one of the first popular accounts of the subject in print, though by no means the very first.

If this introduction seems unnecessary, you must consider that society has changed so fast in the last 20 years that what seemed like an enormous and esoteric accomplishment at the time now seems almost quaint. As I write this Google is returning over 12,000 hits for the term "Autoerotic Asphyxia". Even Wikipedia has an entry on the topic! And this is good. I certainly fantasized about an electronic version of interlibrary loan even back in the mid 1980’s.
So please read the following essay with context in mind, this was created by a guy who grew up in Missoula Montana using only interlibrary loan as a database. Hell, I think I was still a virgin when I did the original research!

Deadly Sex Thrills

Though the 1980's may be the twilight of the sexual revolution, one sex practice that has yet to see the light of day is Autoerotic Asphyxia (hereafter referred to as AA). While homosexuality, bisexuality, pedophilia, sadomasochism, incest and a host of other practices have become household conversation topics, AA has been confined to the back pages of esoteric forensic science journals.

What is AA? Although it may have some variations, it is basically the act of hanging oneself in order to cut off oxygen and blood flow to the brain while masturbating. The idea seems to be that the hypoxia (lack of Oxygen) and ischemia (lack of blood flow) can contribute to the intensity of sexual arousal and orgasm.

Almost always, people learn about AA after someone has died from it.

It is undoubtedly the most dangerous of all sex practices. Approximately 500 to 1000 people die from it each year. It has claimed the lives of cartoonist Vaughn Bode and actor Albert Dekker. Years ago, medical examiners often made the mistaken conclusion that these deaths were suicidal hangings. Several factors differentiate an AA hanging from suicidal hanging.

1. The feet are often touching the ground. This enables the practitioner to vary the pressure that the ligature is applying to the neck by lifting his body up or down from the floor.

2. The rope or ligature is often tied in a highly complex manner. This is done to provide an "escape mechanism" to manipulate the pressure on the neck with arms, legs, or torso.

3. The victim will often have padding around the neck to prevent tell-tale bruises and abrasions.

4. Pornography is present.

5. The victim had no known motive to commit suicide.

In some cases the family of the victim may modify the scene in order to eliminate the stigma of a sex-related death. This obviously creates considerable problems for the investigator trying to determine exactly what happened.

To compound this problem is the question of insurance settlements. If the victim had a life insurance policy covering accidental death, the family of the deceased will argue that the death was accidental. The insurance company will argue that the victim knowingly engaged in a life threatening behavior and thus the death was not wholly accidental. the courts are still debating this question.

If AA practitioners create elaborate escape mechanisms for themselves, then why do they die? The reason lies in the physiology of the heart and the nerves that regulate it. The body has feedback mechanisms for controlling blood pressure. At several points in the vascular system there exist structures called baroreceptors. Baroreceptors sense changes in blood pressure and produce nervous impulses which respond to those changes. When pressures on the baroreceptors are too low, impulses are fired to the heart and brain that lead to an increase in heart rate and force of contraction. This occurs, for example, when one stands up suddenly from a horizontal position. Gravity draws blood down from the brain and pressure drops. The baroreceptors sense the lowered pressure and fire, raising blood pressure, increasing force of contraction, and returning blood to the brain. One of the areas of the body with the highest concentration of baroreceptors is the neck. Thus, when pressure is applied to the baroreceptors (as in hanging) the opposite of the above-mentioned process occurs. Powerful impulses are sent to the brain and slow the heart, decrease force of contraction, and lower blood pressure. This phenomenon is called carotid sinus reflex. As little as seven pounds of pressure can cause this to occur.

If a person is engaged in AA and is already cutting off oxygen and blood flow to the brain, the additional slowing of the heart can cause rapid unconsciousness. So rapid, in fact, that the victim may not have a chance to release himself from the ligature. Death soon follows.

Who practices AA? Generally young, white males of average or above-average intelligence. Often they are socially withdrawn and may dabble in sado-masochism or bondage. AA in females is so rare that entire articles in forensic journals are devoted to single case histories.

A typical case history is that of Clarey Faye reported in the March, 1985 edition of Vanity Fair. As Clarey moved into adolescence, he became introverted. "He was still going to therapists off and on, but no one could alleviate his black moods. He was playing less Bach on his cello and more hard rock on his guitar". He kept a journal, composed of a secret language consisting of Arabic, Sanskrit, and Greek characters. Repeatedly written on a page was the single word "phosphene". This very possibly refers to the reports of AA practitioners, describing "seeing stars". Clarey was 16 years old when he was found dead by his mother, hanging nude by his belt from a bar in his bathroom. A mirror was positioned so that he could view himself (an unusually common theme in AA deaths).

Not all AA practitioners use a neck ligature to produce hypoxia and ischemia. There are primarily two other means. These are suffocating environment and chest compression. Two cases from forensic literature illustrate the former method. In the first case, a man used semi-drowning ("aqua-eroticum") in a lake to provide a masturbation opportunity. In the second case, a Yale graduate constructed an airtight vinyl bag that he zippered himself into. He also bound his hands behind his back with a short length of chain. His penis was wrapped with a Saran-Wrap-rubber-band condom. Both men died.

In chest compression, the movement of the ribcage is restricted or the diaphragm movement is cut off. Cases of death resulting from asphyxia in a garbage can, and suspension by a rope around the abdomen have been reported. In the first case, the victim intended to use a roll of chicken wire (?) as an escape mechanism. The mechanism failed and the man died. In the second case, a man winched himself up off the ground by a rope wrapped around his abdomen. He was unable to release the winch which led to his death. A high blood alcohol content probably contributed to his inability to release the winch. It was not known whether fecal matter found at the scene was part of an erotic fantasy or due to extreme intestinal pressure.

Various other asphyxial scenarios come to mind (my mind) that have yet to appear in forensic literature. Consider that perennial child-killer: the abandoned refrigerator. It is dark, airtight, and private. Perfect for furtive AA. Do you have sexual fantasies about Mama Cass Elliot? How about ham sandwich asphyxia while masturbating? Do you get off on the music of John Bonham or Jimi Hendrix? How about AA with inspired vomitus? Off-the-deep-end conspiracy types will no doubt suggest that these deaths were truly autoerotic asphyxial in nature and were simply "covered up".

Perhaps the most bizarre case of a (quasi) AA death in the literature is that of J.C. Rupp's classic "LoveBug". An airline pilot drove his Volkswagen Bug to a secluded, roughly circular, flat clearing. He stripped naked and attached around his torso a chain harness which was attached to the Bug's rear bumper by a ten-foot length of chain. He tied his belt to the steering wheel and strapped it down so that the wheel was turned completely counter-clockwise. He started the engine and let the Bug pull him in overlapping circles. At some point, he tired of this and approached the car presumably to turn off the engine. At this point a serious "pilot error" occurred. The chain began to wind around the left rear axle and he was pulled into the left wheel area and asphyxiated by extreme compression against the car.

Asphyxial games for the sake of alteration of consciousness without the addition of sexuality are not at all uncommon. Researcher Harvey Resnick refers to anthropological studies of various native American and South American tribes who play such games, variously entitled "smoke out", "red out", and "hang up". Indeed, after I started studying AA, I began asking people I knew if they could recall playing asphyxial games as children. Many did, and were surprised that they could remember doing such things. Perhaps this is an example of "repression" whereby "antisocial" behaviors of children are forgotten only to return with prompting. Very often, people not only recall asphyxial games, but remember the exact sequence and number of actions they performed. These include hugging by another, blowing on a finger in the mouth to prevent exhalation, rising quickly from a squatting position, pressing on the neck, and many others.

There is an unusual subset of AA fatalities that prove very difficult for the researcher to classify. These are cases of erotic suicide. In these the victim was known to have practiced AA, but also evidenced a suicidal intent.

In the early 1970's two researchers, Litman and Swearingen, studied the sex practices of a group of 9 S&M-AA practitioners. Though none died while the study was in effect, all exhibited strong "death wish"orientation, and often strong depression. All had complex esoteric fantasies, as in #7's case. He wanted to be the "leader of an imperiled group" who"eroticized fear, nooses, hanging" and needed danger for orgasm. The deaths of any of these individuals would be very difficult to classify in either pigeonhole of "suicide" or "accident" because all seemed to intentionally live on that border.

The most extreme case presented by the authors was case"A", a 50 year old actor who died of extremely eroticized AA. There was a ball in his mouth, scarf over his eyes, hand cuffs on both wrists, and the words"suck" and "fuck" written on the body. A bizarre suicide note was left of which this is only a part: "Please tender me when you cut me down. My pantygirdles are fastened to my brassieres with safety pins. There are no hooks on the garter belts so you will have to pull them off". And finally: "In a frenzy of passion I kick the chair over and my body is spasming at the end of the chain noose. I come wildly, madly. My eyes bulge and I try and reach the keys, knowing I have finally found the courage to end a horrible nightmare life dangerously". End of note.

Beside the obvious reason that it feels good, why do people engage in AA? Various long winded psycho-analytic explanations have proposed, all of which rely on explanations which are as controversial as the whole body of psycho-analysis itself. A very clever hypothesis has been proposed by Resnick; it asserts that while breast-feeding, a baby may experience a partial asphyxia. Further, certain gastric and urethral reflexes may, in males, produce erections. Thus a very early association between the pleasure involved with feeding, erection, and asphyxia is formed. Later, when breast-feeding stops, the association between asphyxia and erections may persist. Resnick refers to the breastfeeding mother as the "smother mother".

When individuals practice AA, to they always have to die? Is there "safe sex" AA? Wearing condoms and soaking the ligature in bleach just won't do. An article from the gay men's magazine Drummer suggests that there is safe AA. Author Robert Bahr interviewed"Ed", who rigged up a gaff in his apartment designed specifically to prevent accidental death. Around a wireframe is wrapped a plastic bag. On the floor beneath the contraption is a mattress. One stands on the mattress and puts his face into the frame. While masturbating, all inhaled and exhaled air collects in the bag and is quickly depleted of oxygen. The wireframe prevents the bag from being inhaled when breathing becomes rapid, near orgasm. After orgasm, or if the participant passes out, the mattress is underneath to cushion a fall. One cannot die in such an arrangement, because one cannot get caught in the bag, and unconsciousness only removes one from the gaff. This practice does not produce ischemia, however, which may limit its euphoric potential for the true thrill seeking AA connoisseur.

As exhortations for abstinence have never prevented venereal disease, it is not likely that AA deaths will go away just by saying "Don't do it". Only when practitioners understand why it is so dangerous and are offered safer alternatives will autoerotic asphyxia deaths decrease.

For Further Reading:

Autoerotic Fatalities, R.R. Hazelwood, et al.,Lexington Books, 1983, Lexington, MA, (Excellent references).

"The Love Bug", J.C. Rupp, Journal of ForensicSciences, vol. 18, 1973. pp. 259-262.

"Deadly Kicks", Robert Bahr. Drummer, vol. 6, #56, pp. 8-11.

Saturday, September 16, 2006

The homosexual agenda of Gilligan’s Island.

Gilligan’s Island is usually dismissed as low-brow camp by most cultural warriors. Little do they know that this 60’s TV show was one of the first salvos fired in the Culture Wars by the gay left. The level of cunning by the “homintern” was so profound that few people are even aware that Gilligan’s Island was not really about sitcom; it was really a set of encoded gay “lifestyle” symbols.

Let’s look at this carefully and decode the encrypted message. My first clue was way back in the 80’s when mainstream society was shocked by the announcement that Rock Hudson was dying of AIDS. Few outside of Hollywood knew that he was gay, and that his “marriage “was really a sham. I remembered back to Gilligan’s Island and how hetero sex-bomb Ginger was always lusting after Rock Hudson. With numerous men to pick from for Ginger to lust after why pick Hudson? Surely the script writers for Gilligan’s Island were Hollywood “insiders” who must have know that Hudson was gay. If they did know, why make a joke of it? Could it be that the “in-joke” of Hudson’s orientation was funnier to gay men than to straight men? As I pondered this profound question as a college student in Missoula Montana, I was simply too ignorant of the vast and subtle “gay agenda” to decipher any more clues. It would take years for me to figure it all out.

Clue number one; Hetero Ginger lusts after in-the-closet-gay man. Hetero Ginger is a character obviously based on Marilyn Monroe. Now what kind of men have a particular fascination with Marilyn Monroe? Gay men!

Clue number two; The character of Mary-Ann is clearly based on Dorothy from the Wizard of Oz. (A down-to-earth girl from Kansas who is suddenly thrust into an exotic place far from her home). Dorothy was played by Judy Garland. What kind of men have a particular veneration for Judy Garland? Gay men!

Clue number three; the strange relationship between the Skipper and his “first mate” .Remember, the skipper and Gilligan are both “seamen”. But this is just the start. Gilligan is constantly ribbing the skipper about being fat. Why? Because this gives the Skipper the chance to tell Gilligan (and the audience) that he is “big boned”. Notice that with all the space on the island Gilligan and the Skipper not only share the same hut but one sleeps above the other one! This bunk bed mentality is only needed when space is at a premium. But Gilligan sleeping above the Skipper allows for the “comedic device” of Gilligan periodically falling down on top of Skipper. Falling onto Skipper’s “big bone”.

Clue number four; Mr. and Mrs. Howell do not sleep together. This is clearly an allusion to the Hollywood practice of the gay “sham marriage”. Think Rock Hudson and that other famous “in-the-closet” guy. Conspiracy researcher Tim Cridland asserts that the gay connection with Mr. Howell is that Mr. Howell was played by Jim Backus who had previously done the voice for the cartoon character Mr. Magoo who Cridland asserts is clearly a “chocolate stabber”.

Clue number five; The hero himself, Gilligan. Why is it “funny” that Gilligan is always resisting the advances of Ginger, the Hollywood sex bomb? Why does this scenario – utterly bogus for a straight young man- crop up again and again? Ga-Ga-Ga-Gilligan is Ga-Ga-Ga-Gay……

Clue number six is the most encrypted of all. The Professor. On the surface he seems to be as straight as an arrow, even though he is oddly “wooden” when he is around “the girls”. The answer is in whom “The Professor” is supposed to be, i.e. what person in real life might he represent. The clue is in the theme song. Note that the line “three hour tour” is repeated, suggesting its subtle importance. The group could be said to be “touring”. Touring is the Key! But not touring as in going on tour but Turing, specifically Alan Turing gay British mathematician! The professor represents Alan Turing!

Well there you have it, now I think you will watch Gilligan’s Island in a whole new way. Clearly this is only the first step in understanding. How many more TV shows are really just encrypted gay lifestyle symbols? I don’t’ know yet but I have recently learned that some researchers are suspecting SpongeBob Squarepants of being gay.

By they way, his pants aren’t square, as they are not planar, they are three dimensional. Further, they are not even cubic, as they are wider than they are tall. Therefore he should properly be referred to as “Spongebob Parallelepiped Pants”.

Friday, September 15, 2006

Madonna Pap Smear Origin

In the mid 1980’s I met Frank Zappa. Actually Frank Zappa was not his real name. His real name was Jim Goodwin, but for a variety of reasons he wanted people to call him Frank Zappa. Frank was a remarkably smart guy, and seemed to be most turned on in life by Russia and all things Russian. We were college students at the time in Missoula Montana. Frank was from Texas and was always talking about his best friend in Texas named Rick Linklater. Now this Rick Linklater was really Rick Linklater. Yes, the Rick Linklater of film fame. Only this was 1985, and Rick was not yet famous.

I finally got to meet Frank’s friend Rick when he visited Missoula from Texas. At the time, he had an 8mm movie camera and was intent on becoming a serious filmmaker. Though I could tell he was very smart and a serious, genuine guy, I didn’t expect he would "make it". Well, obviously I was wrong and obviously he did! One thing I learned from the short time I hung around with Rick in Missoula was that he had a very good memory. You can see this in his film Dazed and Confused in which he gets subtle details of late 1970’s life down just right. Anyway, by the early 1990’s I had essentially forgotten about Rick until his movie "Slacker" came out. A friend of mine told me he heard a radio interview with Linklater in which he credited the inspiration for the famous "Madonna Pap Smear" scene to me! Frankly, I couldn’t exactly remember what I might have said….

Some time passed and I found out that Rick had written a "making-of" book about the movie Slacker, entitled of course, Slacker, published by St. Martin’s Press. (ISBN 0-312-07797-1) On a sidebar on page 26 Rick recounts:

Madonna Pap Smear Origin
Since I get asked about it more than anything else, here goes: I’m sitting in a bar in Missoula, Montana, in August 1985 and I get in a conversation with a very witty and scientific pharmacy student named Matt Crowley. The conversation leads to the future of pornography upon which he speculates could very well be Madonna pap smears. The next day he shows me his Autoerotic Asphyxia file. He is clearly the nation’s foremost researcher/authority on this sex practice that accidentally (?) kills between 500 and 1000 people a year – typically young white males of average or above average intelligence. I run to Kinko’s and copy his entire file for future reference.

The concept of Madonna’s pap smear stays with me for years and eventually manifests itself physically in the film via Teresa Taylor. As a commodity, it is no doubt worth even more now than when I first heard about it, which says more for the staying power of the rock god herself than anything else. As for Matt, years later, while flipping through "Loompanics Greatest Hits" (Articles and Features from the Best Book Catalog in the World), I come across an illustrated article by him on, of course, "Deadly Sex Thrills".

Home made gunpowder

With liquid "binary" explosives in the news recently, I thought it might be fun to write about making explosives in a more "simple" era.

When I was a child, I was fascinated with science. I was also a huge Star Trek fan, and obviously I could relate to Mr. Spock, for better or for worse. My favorite episode of Star Trek was "Arena", where Kirk defeats the Gorn using a cannon powered by improvised black powder.
One day in the fourth grade these various fascinations began to come together. Steve Haddon had brought to class an interesting "science" project. It consisted of an empty steel food can attached to a block of wood for a base. Inside was a charcoal briquette, set alight with the obligatory Ronson lighter fluid. That a 4th grade kid would be allowed to perform such an "experiment" today, boggles the mind, but as I say that was a simpler time. This would have been 1971 in Miss Hansen's class at Paxson grade school in Missoula MT.

Indeed, Steve's experiment performed admirably, and the briquette did burn. But since I was a "science guy" I felt the need to interject and brag that "I knew how to make gunpowder". You see, before Wikipedia, there was a thing called the "Encyclopedia Britannica", and our family had one. I don't know specifically where I got the recipe for black powder but it was commonly available in books, even those written for young people. Amazingly, the local drug store, Skaggs, sold potassium nitrate right off the shelf. Better yet, it was right next to the sulfur... Yeah, I know this sounds like a bullshit story, but I have witnesses...

When it came time for Steve to extinguish his "experiment", he did what most people would do and tried to blow it out. But the displaced air has to go somewhere, and of course it blew back in his face and singed his eyebrows. I never witnessed a similar such "science experiment" thereafter.

Anyway, Steve and I got on our bikes and rode out to Skaggs drugstore and got our ingredients. Steve already had the charcoal briquettes, as previously mentioned. We used my mother's glass mortar and pestle to grind up and mix our powders. By the way, this is perhaps the most dangerous thing we did, as the separate fuel and oxidizer powders should always be mixed together, never ground together.

Thankfully I'm writing this with 2 eyes, 10 fingers, and functional hearing. We never contained our black powder, and only burned it off. I seem to remember Steve added the element of a road flare at some point, which was pretty cool. Steve Haddon later went on to become a lawyer in Montana.

Years later I discovered the "underground literature" of Loompanics, Paladin Press, and the infamous "Poor Man's James Bond" by Kurt Saxon. I think it was in one of the famous "revenge" books that we learned that you could substitute sugar for sulfur and charcoal. By this time I was 18, and was now running with my friend Mike, who was much more cunning than Steve but more volatile and wild. We decided it was time to make a pipe bomb.

We made some of the crudest "black powder" that would burn, using sugar instead of sulfur and charcoal. We had obtained waterproof fuse, I think by mail order. We bought a 6" iron pipe and two caps at a hardware store. We filled the pipe with the substance, and inserted the fuse through a hole previously drilled in one cap. We hiked into Hellgate canyon a ways, and up the side of the Mt. Sentinel. We placed the IED deep in the corner of a rock shelf and buried it under about 300 pounds of loose rock. We weren't stupid, and our fuse was about 3 feet long, giving us about a minute of burn time before detonation. Because of where we had placed the device we had a large chunk of solid mountain between us and the device, so no shrapnel would hit us. It would all be directed away from us, toward Mt. Jumbo. We lit the fuse and ran. We waited for what seemed like forever. Finally it detonated. I can only describe the sound like this; a firecracker is like a snare drum. This was like John Bonham's bass drum. The echo bounced off Mt. Jumbo several seconds later. No car alarms went off, as there were no such things back then...

We inspected where our bomb had been. Several of the big rocks had been displaced 20 or 30 feet down the mountainside, so we knew it was at least that powerful. Amazingly, we found both the original pipe, and one of the caps. The second pipe cap was still screwed on, but with a silver dollar sized piece blown out. Here is the weird part, and if you think I'm bullshiting you, I understand. The threads on both the pipe and the intact pipe cap were virtually undamaged! We could almost screw the cap back on. It was as if the cap had been enlarged then lifted off. Eventually we tired of marveling at our vaguely Fortean find as we walked home, and we chucked the evidence into the Clark Fork River. It's probably still there!

At this point, I realized that if I continued doing what I was doing that I would need a "bigger bang" each time, and that I would likely end up dead or disfigured if I continued. Mike and I both stopped making improvised explosive devices.

Mike, too, eventually became a lawyer and practices in Montana...

Mythbusters and Padlocks

Tonight I watched the Mythbusters episode on "movie myths". One segment tested whether bullets could blow a padlock off a hasp. I enjoyed this segment, as I myself had tested this in about 1990.

One of the first videotapes I ever owned was from the makers of Second Chance soft body armor. Richard Davis, the inventor of Kevlar based soft body armor, spectacularly demonstrated the effectiveness of his company's product by shooting himself with a .44 magnum handgun while wearing his Kevlar vest. To pad his sales pitch documentary, he demonstrated what all sorts of rounds could and could not do. If I recall correctly, he never shot a padlock. This inspired me, as I realized it would be fairly simple to test. I rented a bulky camcorder, from of all places, 7-11 on Stone way here in Seattle. Tim Cridland, aka Zamora, was scheduled to be my cameraman, but when the morning came, he had some sort of health issue and could not make it. I got a female friend of mind, Sunny, to step in.

What I found was more or less what the Mythbusters found; that a handgun round will not blow a laminated padlock off a hasp, but a slug from a shotgun would. But I also tested Master brand's cheap combination lock that is commonly found on lockers. The combination lock was particularly easy to blow off, even with .38 special rounds. BTW, I suspect that Mythbuster Kari was using .38 rounds rather than .357 rounds, based on lack of recoil and muzzle blast. Perhaps the producers were concerned that a magnum round might break a fingernail or scuff her nail polish... Nice knockers though.

For those old enough to remember, Master lock used to have a TV ad in which a bullet from a high powered rifle perforated one of their laminated padlocks without the shackle coming loose. This aired, I think, in the early 1970's. As far as I can figure, they must have used an armor piercing round, as CLEARLY an ordinary 30.06 round will destroy their laminated padlock. Too bad the Mythbusters were not more specific about what rounds they were using. Obviously you can't expect too much from TV.

I don't have "High-Def" TV, but it appeared to me as if the word or logo on the upper black plastic band had been "fuzzed out", like they do with license plates on TV these days. The word "Master" on the lower black plastic band was not fuzzed out. Why?

I no longer have the video I shot, as I became sort of embarrassed by it. Back then, before the World Wide Web, there was no easy way to commercially distribute such a thing, or even give it away. I remember using a high quality VHS tape to record my documentary. Instead of simply discarding the tape, I recorded over it.

Yup, you guessed it, the tape became porn...

But thankfully life marches on, and I see other people besides the Mythbusters and me have actually tried this. The following is a good website, and I'd credit the man by name, but I can't find it: My only criticism is that he does not use a hasp, but rather lets the padlocks swing freely. I suspect that may affect the "energy dump" from bullet to padlock. Too bad he didn't test the cheap combination locks; it would be interesting to see what the minimum round would be to blow one of those apart. Would a .32 auto from a handgun do it?

Tabasco Tour

Twice now, Dana and I have visited Avery Island LA, where the Tabasco company is located. To get onto the island, a one dollar toll is taken as one crosses the bridge. Avery Island is not much of an island, as the distance across the water is only about 50 feet! Nevertheless, the tour is worthwhile, free, and I recommend it.

First of all, growing up in Montana, Tabasco sauce was considered a slightly exotic condiment by our family. My father told me that some cutting edge folks would put one drop of the precious fluid on the yolks of their fried eggs.... You see, my father had a subscription for many years to Gourmet magazine, so he was reasonably "up" on the cutting edge of fine foods. Gourmet magazine is half way to being a travel magazine, with lots of photo spreads of exotic locations. So I was prepared to like the Tabasco tour.

The tour is quite popular, with perhaps 40 people showing up for the particular tour we were on. After a brief introduction by our tour guide, we are led into a small movie theatre, where a well dressed female talking head in the movie gave a very slick "color" type presentation. Then we were led past the actual bottling plant, separated from the hallway by a floor to ceiling glass pane. We were there on Sunday, so the "line" was down. Tabasco production is actually very simple, and is not like making cars or computers. It's really just pepper harvesting, grinding, mixing with salt and vinegar, fermenting in barrels, and finally bottling the result after several years.

If there was a Q & A period I missed it, as what I really wanted to know was whether the wooden barrels were a necessity, like those used for distilled alcohol, or whether they are simply cheaper than some other kind of barrel. Also, exactly what kind of "fermentation" is going on? Gas bubbles rise from the barrels during fermentation, and a thick layer of salt is put on the top to keep out air and impurities. But surely alcoholic fermentation is not going on, what exactly is going on chemically? Obviously this is way to technical for a consumer oriented tour, but I'd like to know.

I have to confess at this point that I'm not a big fan of Tabasco! It simply has too much vinegar for my tastes, and it's really not very hot. But surprise, surprise, the Tabasco company has way more products for sale than just the original sauce. As one finishes the tour, you are led into the gift shop, where one can sample all the products they make. They must make at least a dozen products, like barbecue sauce, other hot sauces, spicy mustards, and even spicy jelly. They make a habanero sauce which is pretty good.

For me the highlight is the chipotle sauce. Chipotle is made from smoked jalapeno peppers, and has a much "darker" and "richer" taste than the original sauce. I highly recommend it. In fact, I liked it so much we bought a gallon of it on our first trip! The gallon lasted about a year, as I'm fond of putting an ounce or two into a bowl of gumbo. Dana & I bought another gallon on this trip.

I had a rather unusual introduction into the world of hot. As you might imagine, growing up in Montana does not afford one many opportunities to partake in spicy food. One does not usually put Tabasco sauce on one's brains and eggs while dining at Missoula's finest dining establishment, the Oxford. I first heard about the veneration of chillis by reading Andres Weil's The Marriage of the Sun and Moon, a collection of essays about drugs and consciousness. The notion that one could get a buzz by eating chillis was mind blowing to me, and I had to try it. Damn, if it doesn't work! Kind of like doing a sideshow act, your have to "have your mind right" in order to have a successful result. If you don't have your mind right it will burn like a mofo, and you will think the whole enterprise is stupid. I was able to get dried Japanese "Hontaka" peppers from the Butterfly herb in Missoula. Everyone else thought I was a freak, but it was cheap, not dangerous, and legal.

From there, it was a easy transition to enjoy hot sauces on food, as one's tolerance is greatly increased when one goes all out by eating chillis. I once won a Cinco de Mayo chilli pepper eating contest at a local Azteca Mexican restaurant, but it was really no big deal, as the chillis were just jalapenos.

If you like hot food, try the Tabasco chipotle sauce.

Bigfoot's Bones

Almost from day one, Bigfootery as an organized enterprise has applied a series of Band-aids over the obvious objections to Bigfoot's existence. One of the fundamental objections is "Where are the bones"? This gets the following Band-aid; "dead animals are disarticulated and consumed by predators and scavengers thoroughly and quickly". Grover Krantz went as far as to suggest we don't even find bear bones in the wild, though the woods are known to be full of bears.

To this I say; BULLSHIT.

Though I remain intrigued by the possibility of Bigfoot, and have even spoken at several Bigfoot conferences, I'm really not a wilderness guy. Yes, Dana & I once camped overnight in the legendary Ape Canyon, but that's about it. Therefore it becomes all the more surprising to me that as a wilderness n00b, I've found animal bones in the wilderness on three occasions. The third set is shown here. Note that this section of vertebra is actually bleached white by the action of the sun. It's been there a long time. Granted, this was found on the plains of Wyoming, I think, but hey, according to John Green, the BFRO's database, and even R. Crumb, BIGFOOT IS EVERYWHERE. Well, his bones should be everywhere too...

I'll even go so far as to suggest that the genuine field guys probably find bones all the time, and simply don't mention it so as not to confute the holy canon set down by Grover Krantz. If they really don't find bones, then what are they doing wrong? Perhaps they are too busy "call blasting" or checking for "tree breaks" or "nests".

By and large, Bigfootery is a quasi-religious human social structure, whose persistent topics of conversation are all about the second-rate evidence that they have, not the fundamental lack of REAL evidence. For instance you will find gigs of computer storage devoted to Native American Bigfoot legends, but not one whisper of the fact that the close-to-the-earth First Nations peoples have no bones, hides, teeth, or anything that came from a Sasquatch.
But you know, I could be totally wrong, and will have to eat major crow someday. Perhaps the solution to the "no bones" problem is that Bigfoot is an invertebrate....

Geodesic Domes

I like geodesic domes. I became aware of Bucky Fuller only a few years ago. That is to say, I first read Fuller only a few years ago. In Fuller we have a man imbued with idealism, and it's hard not to root for the idealist underdog. But my natural skepticism interfered with any wide-eyed belief in his concepts. Fuller advocated all kinds of woo nonsense, like man having devolved from aquatic animals. He also claimed gold was the most electrically conductive metal. Ultimately I think Fuller was one of those rare individuals who is both a visionary and a crank, simultaneously. Though he advocated all kinds of things, he is most commonly associated with the geodesic dome. As someone who likes solid geometry, I find geodesic domes quite beautiful.
To temper one's idealism for the geodesic dome, I highly recommend the book Shelter, edited by Lloyd Kahn:
Kahn wrote Domebook 1 and Domebook 2 back in the hippie days, both considered classics. By 1973, Kahn's enthusiasm for geodesic domes had been tempered by the reality of actually building and living in them. By the time he wrote Shelter, Kahn began to deflate some of the Fuller mythology. Domebook 3 is included in Shelter. On page 111 Kahn writes;
"We made an error in Domebook 2 in stating that Buckminster Fuller was the inventor of the geodesic dome. Fuller's contribution, rather than origination of the great circle principle, or its earliest structural utilization, is rather application of the word geodesic to this type of polyhedral building framework, and its popularization and commercialization in the United States."
Kahn goes on to detail the various practical problems with geodesic domes for residential use here:
One of Kahn's big points is this: "Domes are difficult to roof. And if not roofed exceptionally well, they will leak like a sieve". In my travels around the United States, I see geodesic domes from time to time, and many are simply the roofs of petroleum storage tanks. Has the oil industry solved the leakage problem? For sure, the oil men are not a bunch of idealistic hippies, you can bet they would not use inferior technology.
That said, domes simply look cool. Dana and I saw this one yesterday in La Grande Oregon. We stopped and took pictures. The man working there at "Dome Plumbing" was kind enough to let us inside. The interior bracing struts appeared to be made of wood, and was covered with spray-on foam insulation. Several angular pieces of sheetrock had been put over that, at least in one spot. The interior seemed to be acting as a mini-warehouse for plumbing supplies. The exterior appeared to be well shingled, and I can see it is possible to make the shingles overlap, even while conforming to the uniquely curved surface.
I'll post more on geodesic domes later.

Dennis P. Eichhorn

I can't remember exactly when and where I met Denny Eichhorn. It must have been in the early 1990's, as I can remember visiting him in either 1994 or 1995. I believe I met him through Mike Hoy of Loompanics books, where he worked at that time. Initially, I had no idea of his "Real Stuff" comic persona until he gave me a set of his comics. The level of violence in his comics would lead you to imagine Denny as a real hot-head, but in fact he he is one of the more mellow people I know.
One of the reasons I now "blog" is because of Eichhorn. Denny told me that he found the comic treatment of some of his more extreme life events to be something of a psychic exorcism, and helped him get over his various life traumas. While I've not yet written about some of the more traumatic events in my life, I actually look forward to doing so, as I can tell already that "full disclosure" is emotionally can be helpful to some, like me and Eichhorn.
As you can see, I made Denny pose with his copy of the novel To Live and Die in LA which is the basis of my favorite film of all time. When I first visited Denny, I was surprised to see that he, like me, had read Numbers by John Rechy.
Despite owning most of the original comics, I bought the compilation volume recently published. It had a few comics I did not have. So if you want the original, very funny, very sad, very weird, "full disclosure" life blog then go forth and buy Denny's book:

Thursday, September 14, 2006

What exactly is "Orgone Research"?

It's an allusion to the work of Wilhelm Reich, a student of Freud, who became progressively more insane as time went on. He felt the life force of the universe was something called the "orgone", a neologism that I believe derives from the word "orgasm".

And why am I posing with a dead armadillo in this picture? Well, I think that's obvious don't you? The vital orgone has left this poor creature, and I am "researching" the result...

Here is the obligatory Wikipedia entry on Reich: