Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Crazy Eskimos

Last week, All Nudist humorously described the current Wisconsin weather. (It's even snowing on his website!) It's a bit warmer now, but it's been an interesting day...

This sums up my last 24 hours in wonderful southwest Wisconsin:
  1. Freezing rain -- enough to go ice skating on any flat surface.
  2. Snow up to a foot on top of that.
  3. Temps near 15 degrees, winds up to 25 mph. (I don't want to calculate the wind-chill!)
  4. Walking 18 blocks (30 minutes) across town in said weather to campus and thinking nothing of it. Mickey Mouse boots and a good coat do wonders! I never got cold! This was for a training through work, since I'm actually done with school for now.
  5. I saw several people walking around outside wearing t-shirts on campus.
  6. I saw several people walking around outside wearing shorts on campus. (If they stop by the gym, they wear shorts that whole day.)
  7. I saw several people riding bicycles to/from campus in said weather -- I seriously can't understand how they do it, since cars even have trouble getting around! I never see them fall, or evidence in the snow that they have fallen, yet they are riding on ice and through snow.
Last weekend, a southern attendee to Lee's memorial service referred to us as Eskimo's. (He then pointed out that it's odd that TNS is based here.) By definition, Eskimo's do not live in this region. I believe the phrase he was searching for was "just plain crazy". Often it's in a good, tough, and humorous way.

This Thursday, assuming we're able to visit some friends of ours, I might just make a naked snow angel! They have been known to dive naked into the snow, and take a dip in their pool after breaking through a layer of ice on top.

UPDATE: Of course we did! We didn't right away, but after Steve made one we had to! (See the comments on his post.) It was mid-January and 15 degrees out.

Is it wrong to be crazy when the others around us are just as crazy? Is it wrong to be naked when when the others around us are just as naked? Hopefully your answer is the same for both questions... In my opinion, doing crazy (but safe) things every once in a while is something that keeps us human. From what I understand about Lee, he would've probably agreed. Hopefully the next N magazine will capture some of the crazy/cool things that Lee has done in his life, since several were talked about at the memorial service.

Have you done anything crazy recently? Post it to the comments if you have.

Saturday, December 6, 2008

Recap and Winter Plans

Every so often I do a post on what's going on with the blog, and my personal life. Similar to the "Missed News" series, it's full of little things that may or may not be of interest.

On the topic of "Missed News", I notice that other bloggers are picking up stories from my monthly posts. Cool! I'm happy that people are finding some of the stuff interesting, even though a lot of it is edgy and sometimes completely off-topic.

Back in August, I celebrated my missing of Burning Man with a reader-contributed story. Here's part 1, part 2, and part 3. Recently, I've had a commenter accusing him of having a fetish-driven desire to be nude among textiles. I disagree -- I believe that 99% of people are genuinely good and only change that opinion if I have solid evidence otherwise. The story lacks that evidence. Feel free to post your feedback to that story using the links above.

Last month I wrote up some game theory regarding the actions of TNS and AANR relative to public land issues. I was probably harder on AANR than I should've been. I later found out that AANR has donated towards TNS activities ... once ... indirectly.

Speaking of TNS and money -- they are running a little short. Since the economy is down, people haven't been renewing their subscriptions. Now is an ideal time to get a membership or buy some stuff from them if you're able to. To see what happens if they run out of money, click the game theory link above.

In other news... I used to be a very anonymous blogger, but have recently been using my real name, had naked pictures posted, and then completely busted our privacy with both a picture and our real names (below).

My recent post about the Ocean Angels got the attention of one of them. Fiona added a comment of praise soon after it was posted. It's neat that she responded, since some charities don't like to openly acknowledge that nude people exist. So far, we're the only nudists on the faceboat and we're very lonely! Use this link to post a picture by us -- donations can be as much or as little as you can afford. Please join us for the sake of breasts everywhere!*

* "Breasts everywhere" = breast cancer care charity. Imagine a world where there are no beautiful breasts to look at, or squeeze, or to use as pillows when camping, or to feed our babies. If our babies can't eat, the human race would go extinct. To prevent this scenario, you must donate, and post a picture next to ours!

I've been eagerly waiting to see what happens on Dec. 17th and Jan. 12th. What's on those days, you ask? I've been following Amy's reporting of the Naked Pumpkin Run, and those are the days of the court appearances. Will they be free, or will their lives be ruined? (Amy left a few comments on the related post here, which is neat.)

Today, I attended the memorial service of Lee Baxandall. Info was posted here about the service, and there will be a lot more info from TNS in the future. Since I'm only 3 hours away, I thought it would be good to attend and learn more about him. What an inspiration! He's an amazing guy!

After the service, I got to hang out with the TNS crew at their office for a while. I was finally able to meet Bob Morton and Mark Storey, both of which have bright minds and write some great articles. Mark brought up that they are always looking for new articles, and hinted that I could be a part of that. So far, I don't think I've written anything that matches their quality of work... Have I?

Currently, I'm happy that I have more time to work on the blog. A huge load was lifted when I completed my thesis. Another was lifted with the end of summer, which means less trips to the beach and other events. The biggest of all was when I told my mom about our lifestyle. Being of European decent, I knew that she wouldn't care. I told stories of all the cool people we've met, and all the cool things we've done, and reassured her that it has nothing to do with sex, and she doesn't think it's a big deal. I'm glad that's in the open now, actually. It'll make summer conversations a lot easier.

Next on the agenda is my "Future Resort" series. I'm currently writing the 10 parts, with the intent to post them weekly starting in January. This will certainly be a highlight for the blog, and I'm hoping that some of the ideas will be implemented.

After that, I'd like to focus on the summer. I'd still like to coordinate a "nude olympics" at Mazo Beach, and will have a post dedicated to how I intend to do that. Ideally, it would be a big crowdsourced event that can include fundraisers for TNS and BN. Stay tuned!

Monday, December 1, 2008

Ocean Angels

We're supporting the Ocean Angels on their naked trip across the ocean in a rowboat!

To put this amazing challenge into perspective: "
More people have walked on the moon than have rowed across the Indian Ocean."

We put in a donation and added our picture (and real names) to their faceboat. If you're quick, you can see us in the "latest faces" list. We were #25 to sign up out of 25,000 available spaces.

Want your picture by us? Use this link. Let's show them how many nudists are actually cheering them on! Proceeds go to Breast Cancer Care.

Update: For those coming from All Nudist's blog, this is an old post. There's a lot more info here.

Missed News (12/2008)

The "Missed News" series is for all the random stuff I found interesting, but was missed by other popular bloggers.
  • Merry Naked Christmas!
  • Here's a warning that people sometimes get caught driving in the buff. I know you've all done it, just be careful!
  • However, sometimes driving in the buff is required. (Hmm, I know what sign I'm putting on the bike at VVRC's car show next year...)
  • One swinger finds his kind trustworthy because of their nudity. Although it's a swinger themed article, he does make the separation that it's the nudity that brings trust between people.
  • Sonia Belle finally gets off the political rants, and switches to political celebration.
  • Here's a small list of teachers that have been fired because of their personal life.
  • The nude photo leak of Adrienne Bailon was a publicity stunt. Us nudists didn't think it was a big deal in the first place.
  • If you're looking for another nude photo link, try this one. For a site that thrives on anatomy, they sure don't know it!
  • An Australian outback mayor won a sexist award for asking ugly women to move to a town full of men. Sexism aside, it's not a bad idea because ugly women are few and far between. (I can say that from experience.) In a town full of men, they have a much better chance of hooking up than trying to compete with the typical Aussie female.
  • A bra for men is surprisingly popular in Japan.
  • New advances in nanotechnology make clothing "unwettable" and has potential for swimwear. We have a better technology -- skin.
  • Here's a wonderful write-up from the Bare Oaks Blog regarding nipples on TV. During a sex-change operation, the same breasts are blurred out at the start and exposed at the end. They also have a paragraph on how the labia is only offensive when attached to the woman.
  • Rick explains that nipple radiation is dangerous. It's an old post but a great one if you missed it.
  • Fairwind Lakes Naturist Park thanks TNS for helping them survive after AANR ran and hid. From what I can tell, Fairwind Lakes is NOT an AANR affiliated park.
  • All Nudist suggested a corn maze. Since the midwest is filled with corn anyway, I think it's a great idea!
And now a question for all of you -- does anyone have experience in the US patent application process? (Nudists are a very diverse group, so it's worth asking...)

Saturday, November 22, 2008

Segregated Nudism - Good For Our Rights?

Ever since I took an interest in nudism, I've wondered why there are two different big organizations in the US: AANR and TNS. More specifically, I've always wondered why TNS is so active in nudist rights and AANR (which appears much larger) remains quiet. Shouldn't they both be working towards protecting nudist rights and any place that allows nudist use? Well of course they should, but they're not set up that way. In fact, it's to AANR's benefit to do the opposite, and I'll prove it with a little game theory!

To start, the biggest difference that I have found is that AANR is commercial, and TNS isn't. AANR makes their money from their affiliated clubs. Many of these clubs either require you to pay AANR membership dues (ex. Blue Lake, Turtle Lake) or charge you more for not being a member (most others). I'm not sure if these additional charges go to the resort, or go to AANR / TNS. It's fair to say that AANR gets some money from each person that pays to stay at a resort, either directly or indirectly through the resort's partnership. It is unclear where this money actually goes.

TNS, on the other hand, doesn't want your money. Seriously, it says that right in their Network Resource Guide: "What we do not want: Your money. We're not interested in lining our pockets at the expense of your group or club." They get their money from voluntary memberships (which the group/club gets commission from) and donations. When they work to promote nudist rights or save a beach from being closed, people send them money, and it's clear that the money is going to a good cause.

Now that I've outlined the clubs, let's outline the people. Alice only likes going to "Bare Resort", which is AANR affiliated and costs her $10 for the year. Bob prefers to take the free route by hanging out at "Free Beach", but will give his $1 to TNS since it's still open because of them. Carol just likes to be naked, and will go to either "Bare Resort" or "Free Beach" as her $4 budget allows.

On the issue of saving public lands and keeping the right to be nude on them, the following chart shows the payoff for the two organizations, with the Nash Equilibrium (best, most profitable option) highlighted for each group.


In plain English:
  • If either club opposes keeping "Free Beach", it will be closed and AANR will get all the money.
  • Nudity has a lot of pressure going against it, so if both organizations go neutral the beach will be closed eventually, and AANR will get all the money.
  • If one organization supports the beach, and the other goes neutral: Alice will go to the resort, Bob will go to the beach, and Carol goes to both by splitting her money among them. (Actually, one trip to the resort costs her $2, and several trips to the beach costs her the other $2.)
  • If both support the beach, more might pop up. Alice goes to the resort, but Bob and Carol go to the beach. Carol doesn't go to the resort since she has a larger selection of nice free beaches.
In the simplified model, the best move for TNS is to support the beach and get the small amount of money in voluntary memberships and donations. The best move for AANR is to get the beach closed, and enjoy a monopoly on the entire nudist market. This move would be horrible PR -- a nudist organization going against a nude beach? -- which explains why they seem to take the neutral position of remaining silent. The model also explains why AANR appears to be bigger. They have a lot of resorts and a lot of big spenders who prefer to go to them.

How accurate is this model though? The people represent the nudist community fairly well. Alice doesn't like the dirty beaches, and enjoys a weekend of luxury instead despite the cost (or she lives at a resort full-time). Bob is poor and prefers the cheap social nudism. Carol represents the nudists who enjoy a variety, or who are simply between the two other extremes. Which category do you fit into?

For organizations, TNS's NAC is obviously pushing for the legal rights of naturists and in support of free beaches. They ask for donations at the end of every post, where AANR doesn't. Has AANR ever actually gone against nudism, as predicted by the model? It turns out the answer is yes! Wikipedia points it out (source is gone, but covered here) that AANR attempted to exclude only AANR members in a nudity ban. In other words, nudity would be banned for everyone that isn't an AANR member at an AANR club. Although nudists were disgusted with AANR's move, it was actually in AANR's best interest to create a commercial monopoly on nudity. I've heard of other cases similar to this, but the one example above should be sufficient for the point I'm trying to make.

It is my hope that nudists do not fall into a social trap. AANR might be affiliated with the best clubs that many enjoy, but supporting AANR could eventually lead to less naturist rights and higher club prices because of their commercial interest and ability to obtain a monopoly. Personally, all my naturism money is going to TNS, and I don't see a reason why I should change.

Back to my original question -- are the two types of nudism (resorts and free beaches, with AANR and TNS respectively) good for our rights? Probably not. AANR is sucking up most of the money, which limits what TNS can do in fighting for nudist rights with the smaller income. However, they have a unique balance right now that shows slow progress, which is far better than an AANR monopoly.

I believe that the progress could certainly be better -- imagine an organization with AANR's income and TNS's philosophy. TNS itself is capable of becoming such an organization, but is not in the position to obtain it just yet. How can they get there? I have no idea -- I need to learn more about them and put more thought into it. I'll need to improve my model, figure out a way for TNS to change the game, and identify another Nash Equilibrium for them to transition to. (Only transitions between Nash Equilibriums are successful, otherwise one side is going against their best interest.) I'll let you know if I ever figure it out.

Monday, November 17, 2008

Naked on the Net!

UPDATE: The bloggers I linked to have mostly changed since this original post. Updates are in [brackets].

Some nudists like to stay hidden through low resolution [has since posted higher resolution ones], blurred faces [their page now shows better ones], hiding in moonlight [he's gone all the way with a full frontal], or just never posting photos [link removed -- "The Nude Life" moved to a resort in Florida, abandoned the blog, and it now links to porn]. Despite privacy concerns, others just let it all hang out. Some argue that we should all just post a photo of ourselves nude and get over it. I suppose they're right.

My girlfriend and I now have naked pictures of ourselves on the internet. She doesn't care in the slightest, with exception that the pictures aren't very flattering. (The good ones are in our brag book!) I'm a bit more uneasy about the concept, but it's something I need to get over if I hope to join the elite. I'm not going to link to our new-to-the-net pictures, but if you've been following this blog you'll know exactly where to look... if you dare!

Thursday, November 6, 2008

Naked Pumpkin Run Update (11/6)

I'm following Amy's reporting regarding this year's Naked Pumpkin Run, and I'll post updates here as they happen.

They have released the names of the 12 runners who were cited. Here is a summary of a few:
Those cited include scientists, a doctoral candidate, a Fiske Planetarium docent, University of Colorado students and a cook. If convicted of indecent exposure, they would have to register as sex offenders.
In other words, these are all smart people who are capable of doing a lot of positive stuff for society within the next 10 years. However, that is assuming that they stay off the sex offender registry.

Amy argues that citing them with indecent exposure is overkill. Police had another option which doesn't require the sex offender registry: disorderly conduct.

In my opinion, it might be easier for them to be cleared of the indecent exposure citation. When put into context, running nude through a crowd that is there expecting them at a 10th annual event cannot be considered "indecent". However, if they're not cleared of the charge, the impact is far worse for both them and for society.

Those that are nearby should try to attend the hearings. They're scheduled for December 17th (for 10 of them) and January 12th (for the other 2). Mark your calendars! See Amy's post for all the information (phone numbers, location, etc.).

Saturday, November 1, 2008

Missed News (11/2008)

Not all of it is nudity related, but they're still interesting...
  • Google has partnered with others and launched GeoEye-1, another spy satellite providing higher quality images for Google Maps and Google Earth. The next iteration will have resolutions up to 25 cm. By my calculations, a 6 foot person will be 7.3 pixels in size -- our privacy is safe for now.
  • Despite privacy concerns, Homeland Security is now spying on us from space with their new satellite. Information is "above top secret" and hasn't been reported much by the press. It is reported to take "ultra high-resolution photographs to within 1 meter of their target", and safeguards aren't in place to prevent misuse. It also tracks heat signatures of people inside buildings. Forget that privacy comment above.
  • Google protects the privacy of this topless woman, but I don't think it's considered a crime. (They also mention an "armed policeman hiding behind a car" -- take a closer look.)
  • I'm not the only one that doesn't approve of Google's street view.
  • My last bit of Google news is their new feed recommendations feature. It makes me want to get another couple of accounts, and sign up to every christian, republican, and nudist news feed I can find. Some of my recommendations were a bunch of nude art blogs, some local news feeds, this blog (since I don't subscribe to my own blog), and a few flickr tag feeds like "bikini" and "ass". Stats are also shown, and include:
    • The city newspaper feeds have thousands of subscribers.
    • The typical art nude blogs have hundreds of subscribers.
    • This blog has 38 subscribers.
    • Flickr images tagged "bikini" has 760 subscribers (!!!) and about 1500 uploads per week.
    • Flickr images tagged "nude" has 14 subscribers (???) and about 1650 uploads per week. I'm actually very surprised at how small this number is, especially when compared to "bikini". Google trends show the opposite. (Also of interest is McCain vs Obama. Google trends is fun!)
    • Flickr images tagged "ass" has 42 subscribers and 950 posts per week. It's nice to know that slightly more people are interested in ass pictures than my blog.
  • Iceland is for sale -- give global warming a couple more years and it'll be a nice island resort for nudist use.
  • Here's an idea for nude campers, go off-the-grid.
  • Skinbook is new and appears to be taking off. Note to self: Nudist websites should be socially-oriented instead of project-oriented, otherwise they won't work.
  • The Friends of Mazo Beach cleared up a lot of confusion for the locals.
  • I'm not sure which is worse: Parking a car in a handicapped spot at the police station to have sex, or the fact that the police had to respond to a call about it in order to find them. I'm happy that they were charged with the greater crime -- drunk driving. (See the spot in question.)
  • How can prudish Americans get kinky in the bedroom? A latex burqa, of course!
  • It's too easy to crack a joke about this coin-slot warning system.
  • Here's a neat feature on caves around the world. (takes a while to load all the pics.) If I ever make it to Mexico, I'd love to do some nude spelunking in that 112 degree one. They complain that the heat and humidity make it difficult to explore, yet are fully clothed in the pictures.
  • I'm fairly sure that fig leaves didn't stick to the real Adam and Eve. Am I the only one that finds it disturbing that they produce a full body costume made to look like skin, and then censor the fabric with fig leaves?
  • Hack-A-Day has a nice collection of voting machine issues, including a video. I have never in my life seen a touch-screen that worked so badly! A cheap off-the-shelf one works better even without the one-time step of calibration. Why don't they use buttons like an ATM? Maybe I should grab one of those keys and add buttons myself so I can actually vote.
  • I've followed his Art Nudes blog for several years, and he's now offering a nude art calendar. Please buy one from his store -- it's on my Christmas wish list.
  • A climate awareness calendar in London was pulled from the museum because it contains nudity. One picture is from the World Naked Bike Ride, and the other is from Spencer Tunek -- both very tasteful, and both fit perfectly with the theme.
  • Here's a blog with video of the Boulder Pumpkin Run this year. (Here's a better video, I'm sure there are many more.) I think it might've lived up to the promises of last year. It's a shame that the police are stepping in, because it looks like their all having a great time!

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Bare Bones Bash 2008

My vivacious lady-friend and I attended the Badger Naturists / Friends of Mazo Beach Bare Bones Bash Halloween party. Pictures were taken, which may eventually end up on their website as promised.

Prior to the event, we had to pick costumes. Since this was the first time we had gone to this event, we didn't want to go overboard with the costumes. Our goal was something simple, something funny or cute, and something that matches. Lucky for us, I have a Burning Man obsession. Burning Man, although not quite as good as the Halloween party in Madison, is a great place for costume ideas. I recalled a picture where the female was dressed as a cute bunny, and the male wore nothing except a certain spot painted like a carrot. I'd link to the picture, but after hours of searching over the last month I just can't find it! I'm really not fond of drawing attention to certain areas of my body, but the idea was too good to pass up.

While my girlfriend was giving a coworker a ride, the coworker noticed the bunny ears, bow tie, and bunny tail. She then asked "Is that your costume?" My girlfriend answered yes. "Where's the rest of it?" Silence... "There IS more to it, right?" "Wait, do I even want to know?" She knows about our lifestyle, so I'm sure she figured it out. Who DIDN'T figure it out is the store clerk when my girlfriend was shopping for make-up. "I need some orange and green since my boyfriend is dressing as a carrot." "So I'm guessing that the green is for his hair and the orange is for his skin?" "Yeah, something like that." If only she knew!

We arrived at the event and checked in to our rooms. Paper was still going up, so I donned the only normal-sized towel we brought. (I figured that we'd only be sitting on them, and knew I'd be wearing body paint. I brought a mini-towel and a regular towel that I didn't mind staining.) Steve from AllNudist (see his story) was one of the many that saw me wearing the towel. His comment was very direct: "It looks like you fished it out of the garbage after your mother threw it away." He proceeded to give me a free sarong because he felt so sorry for me. Thanks, I guess. I'll get some use out of it next summer too, or add it to my girlfriend's new collection.

My girlfriend isn't shy like I sometimes am. Before I knew it, we were signed up for most of the games. We donned our costumes and returned to the main event area. She wore just her bunny ears, bow-tie, and bunny tail (with an elastic band around her waist. I offered to buy her a more realistic tail but she made threats.) I wore my "carrot", with a small bunny on my hat and the words "She (heart)'s her veggies!" written on my chest. People always laughed when they figured it out-- so the costumes went over well! We won the "most original couple" costume award. We also got 3rd place in the candy corn throwing / catching game, 4th place in the back-o-lantern (where one person paints a Halloween image on the others' back), she got 3rd in bowling, and I won a quiz on "scary government". We brought home a bunch of stuff: TNS bags, pens, clip thingies, license plate cover, temporary tattoos, and 5 "N" magazines. After I read the magazines, I'll lend them to my friend to get her interested in joining us sometime. They might also make a good icebreaker if someone happens to see them in my book collection.

Actually, it's getting increasingly difficult to hide our lifestyle. We just keep bringing home more and more stuff. This time, however, we followed houseboat rules and got rid of some stuff too.

Part of the event was a food drive for the area to the south of where we were. It's been in the news how desperate the food pantries are getting, with many having to turn people away. Our target pantry was one of those that didn't have much of a stock left. The person who came to pick up the stuff was blown away -- the event collected a large table FULL of food items, and a fair amount of cash to donate.

This event took place at a hotel that is perfectly suited to naturist use. We brought in great business for the hotel, and kept the facilities just as clean as when we arrived. Even the hotel rooms were mostly clean! (My girlfriend and I helped out a lot, and part of that was checking the rooms and collecting keys.) It's a shame that not many businesses agree to do business with us -- they give up a win-win situation mostly because of the pressures of society.

If you didn't already figure it out -- we had a blast! Parties like these are amazing, and I will do everything I can to help out with future ones! I was in such a good mood that I bought a TNS membership for the next two years, mostly because they have a great magazine and a bunch of smart people that do a lot of good things.

I'll end this post with some other quotes from the evening...
"Do they even wear costumes over there?" - The lady at the gift shop, outside the venue.
"So that's how your tongue is so orange" - The award-winning cowboy, speaking to my girlfriend.
"Is it a vegetable or is it meat?" - A confused friend.
"I liked it better when it was a carrot" - The most prominent lady of the event.

UPDATE: As a follow-up joke, see what I got on the next Valentine's Day.

Thursday, October 16, 2008

Mazo Manor - S1E07 - Missing John

I was right... Since last time, the weather dipped down far enough to signal the first frost advisory of the season. Then, the warm wave came in. For the last week, I've watched the forecast for this weekend (Oct. 11th) climb from 72 degrees all the way to 81 degrees and sunny. In other words, this weekend would be the perfect way to end the season!

Even if the weather decides to bounce back again in another two weeks, we'll be busy at the Halloween party. Since we won't be at the beach any more this year, this will be the last Mazo Manor. I may or may not continue the series next season. (I'm not very good at writing drama anyway, as per my original intent.) I will at least tell the bigger stories, such as my attempt to bring back the Nude Olympics. I will have a dedicated post about this initiative sometime over the winter.

We made it to the beach slightly after noon. The parking lot was about 3/4 full, and the first thing we noticed was that the porta-potty was missing. Perhaps it was a mistake for us to skip the bathroom in Subway, because that was the only stop we made in our 1.5 hours of travel. What are the chances that there is one by the beach? We started the hike to find out.

Along the way, we noticed something very strange. It wasn't a bad thing though because we really enjoyed it... There were no mosquitoes! Seriously, there were none to be found, and I have no idea why. It felt as-if they might be planning an ambush, but we made it through safely. We encountered a couple on the way back, but nowhere near the normal amount. The insects of the day were a few more bees than usual and an attack of harmonia axyridis.

Upon arrival, we saw that all groups were represented. It seems that everyone wanted to make the most of this surprisingly beautiful day. Almanac measured the water temp at 64 degrees, which was a bit cold for us! We set up near the Elders as usual, but didn't do a whole lot of talking. Sometimes it's hard to get a word in edgewise with that group...

At some point, it always happens. My vivacious lady friend turns to me with a smile on her face and says "Thank you -- you always seem to know what I want better than I do." Three hours of driving, bugs that bite along over two miles of hiking, sand in places where it don't belong, and cooling off in often questionable water -- is going to the beach really worth it? Hell yeah! A day at the beach is like having a nice long massage for both of us. It relaxes the stress away, without all the touching.

We went for a walk to the island, mostly hoping that we could find a place to pee. (Remember, no porta-potties!) Wading through the water didn't help, because it was a bit icky with algae for us to want to sit in, and only made us want to go more. On the island, a guy approached us and had 1.5 of our names correct. (Mine correct, hers close.) While talking to us, he kept mentioning things that we didn't remember. Neither of us remember meeting him before, but we've met a lot of people too. It's likely that he was confusing us with another couple, like many others have when seeing us. Either way, it was a strange interaction. I need to start being like these people, so I can recall who people are much better.

Early on, I spotted another couple around our age on the beach and figured that we could try meeting them. They looked familiar, but I couldn't figure out where from... I figured that they must've been on the beach before. I know that I've never talked to them. My girlfriend recognized the guy, but also couldn't remember where from. They were in front of the Elders, and as we made our way to them I remembered exactly where I had seen them before. Since we were there already, I said "You were at the car show!" This brought forth a flood of memories from the car show, including why I didn't want to talk to them the first time.

At the car show, they were camping a few tents down from us. They were a bit too touchy-feely, with his hand almost always on her butt. A cute couple for sure, but they own a swinger place. My girlfriend got a flier from him at the car show, and they made it a point to give us another one this time.

At the same time, they answered to another mystery. I've always been curious about the other very social group that sometimes forms on the slightly-left side of the beach. The couple were part of that group. I may be jumping to conclusions, but it makes sense because there are almost always different people chatting away there.

By this time we both really had to pee, so we decided to head out a bit early. (I heard several people who had the same problem.) Some of the Elders decided to head out as well, but I hadn't yet talked to them despite being so close and saying "Hi". Getting quickly to the point, I approached Kingpin and said "You haven't called me a double-agent yet today, are you feeling OK?" He mentioned that he hopes I'm not spying for the wrong side, and I corrected him in saying that I'm not spying for either side. Hopefully that was enough to get my point across, because we were both heading out and didn't talk much beyond that.

After the beach, we supported the local economy (and local wastewater treatment facility) by visiting the drive-in restaurant. They have good food and good treats, so it's recommended. Despite all the awkward moments, it was still a great day at the beach, and a great end to the season!

NEXT SEASON

Sunday, October 5, 2008

Missed News (10/2008)

I tune in to a lot of news feeds, and every so often I catch something interesting that the rest of the blogosphere seems to miss. I've started saving these items, and every couple of months I will post them here.

For general nudist-related news, I suggest Diary of a Nudist (and his shared news which is temporarily political), USAnudist, NAC, and the TCI blog if you can stand the ad's. Those cover almost all of the nudist related news. I don't want to repeat that news here, so I'm just filling in the gaps.

Anyway, on to the content!
  • In Saudi Arabia the owners of TV stations can now be executed if they air immodest shows, especially during Ramadan.
  • If only society actually wore these clothes... Fashion designers are bored covering the body, so they are exposing more of it instead. (slideshow available) It seems odd that the trend started in the US.
  • Congrats go to the Katikati -- they have won the "Best Holiday Park" award from New Zealand Tourism. See the news story and good video.
  • There is a conflict between two of my big interests: nudism and environmentalism. Naked bathers are protesting geothermal plants because they would take away the hot water. On one side is 20,000 megawatts of clean energy, and on the other side is 137 million bathers at 7,700 spas. Someone should inform them that electricity can make hot water, and a compromise should be reached so that they can get free electric to do so.
  • Here's a fun picture showing a new level of censorship.

Thursday, October 2, 2008

Mazo Manor - S1E06 - Trash Talk

I rode the motorcycle to the mazo parking lot for the twice-annual road cleanup. There were about 15 of us, similar to last time. After a few doughnuts, we put on our stylish safety vests and got to work. I volunteered for Laws Drive again, because I was interested in seeing just how much trash accumulates over a summer. My partner-in-cleanup was the Badger Naturists website administrator, who was snapping pictures for the site. (As of now, they haven't been published yet on their site.) I'll skip the tech-talk that made up the majority of our conversation in order to keep you the reader awake. He has visited Cap D'Agde, and told me that it's very much a city atmosphere and that people are quick to put clothes on as soon as the sun goes down. Good to know, I guess, since I've been hoping to visit there sometime.

Notable items that I found while picking up trash include an eaten ear of corn, a bird skull, and 5 condom wrappers. I also found a standard geocaching information sheet and a geocaching business card, which indicates that a geocache had been stolen. I posted a note on the one that was likely attacked. [UPDATE: The cache was stolen, and was replaced a month later.] My partner and I picked up about one large bag full of trash in total, which is half what I collected this spring. That's still a lot of trash for only 4.5 months! The entire crew had to deal with styrofoam packing peanuts, which makes me wish that more companies would switch to using the corn-starch ones that literally melt away when wet. Lastly, the crew observed that there were less cigarette packages and butts than normal, indicating that more people might be quitting the habit. I was happy to find out that I'm not the only one deriving statistics from trash cleanup.

After the cleanup, I had a difficult choice to make. Normally, everyone goes to Culvers for some free ice cream and what ends up being a club meeting for the Diligents. The other option was to ride with Clamor and Screech to the nearest Subway and then head straight to the beach. Culvers would strengthen my social standing with the Diligents, and further hurt my social standing with the Elders. Subway would probably not change my standing with the Diligents, and would indicate to the Elders that my intent was to help the community. To the pity of others, I chose to go with Clamor and Screech.

On the way to the beach, I saw a few DNR people and a group of Hmong hunters. The hunters were a bit scary, because all had their rifles slung on the backs, and several had some pretty large scopes. Is a large scope really needed for hunting near a nude beach? I started to wonder how many "hunters" might be hiding in camo on the other side of the river with their large scopes... I should buy one of these and find out.

As I walked past the Contenders, I returned their ball that landed a few feet from me. (This seems to happen a lot...) At the beach, I made it a point to sit near the Elders and make sure they knew that I helped with the road cleanup but didn't go to Culvers with the rest of the crew. They at least talked to me a bit, but have been referring to me as a "double-agent".

At one point, Smokey put on a pair of shorts and went to the parking lot. The Contenders' ball landed a few feet away from him. He looked at it, looked at them, and kept going. In my opinion, it's actions like these that further separate the groups on the beach. I wish they'd quit. Holding a grudge results in a never-ending cycle of negativity.

The sky was getting cloudy and the temperature was getting cool. The canaries of the beach had put their clothes back on. Kingpin and Smokey decided to call it a day early in the evening, at roughly the same time as more of the Diligents were showing up. Being a "double-agent", this worked to my advantage.

Gaia approached me and gave me a TNS golf shirt. I was confused, until she told me that my name was drawn for the prize. Cool! I tried it on, mostly because I was cold. It's a bit small (I think) and not my color (green), but I wore it for the rest of the day including a trip to Walmart. I plan to wear it when I can, including possibly to work. However, the green color might scare them more than the text.

It's amazing how much some of the beach members travel. Two of the cleanup crew were from Florida -- why they decided to clean up trash, I have no idea... Also, there was an older couple there who were back from 3 weeks in Germany. They reported that gas was $9 per gallon over there, so even their motorcycle was expensive to run. Here in the States, they often drive a veggie oil powered diesel.

Someone was telling me more about the Burning Man festival, since they had attended it a few times. They love it and hate it all at the same time. They love the radical self-expression, but hate some of the social situations. They told me about a naked woman who was in a large tray of glitter, and who had a crowd of men rubbing the glitter on her, and even in her special lady parts. Witnessing this, it was unclear if she was OK with this situation. If not, how would one person get all those men to stop? Social pressure is yet another danger for the festival, and the widespread drug use doesn't help.

Everyone at the beach had the idea that this would be the last good weekend of the summer. The temperatures are getting colder, but I've noticed that weather always comes in waves. The forecast indicates a cold wave, and after that will probably be another warm wave. I think we'll have another good weekend, or at least good weekday, where we can enjoy the beach. On this day, I intend to have a longer discussion with the Elders. I think they are worried that I will tell the Diligents details about them, and I need to clarify that I won't. Previous posts explain my intent well enough, but I am unsure if they read this blog. Either way, I feel as if I need to reconnect with them before it's too late.

NEXT EPISODE

Saturday, September 20, 2008

Nude Among Textiles (Part 3)

[Continuing Jon's story from part 2...]

Many naturists equate being nude with being in tune with nature. Try being nude during a desert dust storm of whiteout proportions. It's nature at its wildest. The storms develop suddenly and last only a short time. All you can do is turn your back to the wind and cover your face and nose. When it's over you're coated with a fine white powdered dust. At least I didn't have to wash it out of my clothes.

After living nude and seeing a lot of surrounding casual nudity, it was humorous to one day watch a lone textile, wearing white briefs, struggle to bathe in an outdoor shower. You have to wonder how he ever worked up the courage to even be seen in public in his underwear.

We can all look back on our youth and remember the excitement generated by the ice cream truck when it visited the neighborhood. Similar scenes were abundant at the festival when the water truck sprinkling the dusty streets passed your campsite. People of all ages immediately stripped nude to chase the truck and briefly enjoy the cool spray and a chance to rinse off the dust.

All too soon it was time to leave. After loading the van, I drove off, still nude. Volunteers stationed at the exit, reminded folks they were returning to the real world and to drive carefully because local authorities loved the money traffic violations produced. The volunteer suggested I put something on in case I was stopped. I complied by donning a pair of cotton shorts for the short drive to nearby Gerlach. I was headed northwest for Oregon through a lonely stretch of desert terrain. After passing Gerlach, the shorts came off and I drove nude for the next hour and a half. At one point I took a long break to refill my water bottle and walked up the road for a hundred yards surveying the empty landscape. It was quite amazing to stand nude in the middle of a highway and see nothing but miles of sagebrush and the distant hills.

Signs of civilization appeared as I approached Eagleville, California, the first outpost of civilization, 69 miles from Gerlach. Spotting an attractive local café reminded me it was lunchtime. I parked across the road to put on my shorts. As I entered the café I hadn't quite started to button my shirt when a waitress, obviously alarmed by my exposed chest and abdomen, quickly approached and insisted I button the shirt completely before entering! Welcome back to the world of prudish textiles. I wonder what she would say if she knew I had been nude for the past four days and was naked only two minutes before meeting her?

Burning Man was such a delightful and positive experience in living the nude life, I'm already making plans to attend [another] festival to enjoy all eight days of it.

[If you have any comments, questions, or similar stories, be sure to post them below.]

Friday, September 19, 2008

Nude Among Textiles (Part 2)

[Continuing Jon's story from part 1...]

Selecting my campsite, I got out of the van and immediately stripped nude before doing anything else. After setting up camp I wandered around and nervously introduced myself to surrounding neighbors. I let each of them know my purpose for attending the festival was to be nude for the entire time. No one voiced objections or concern. Over a period of time I saw most of these neighbors engaged in occasional casual nudity around their campsites. Later, I observed two other individuals a little further away who also were always nude.

When I set out to explore the festival site that first morning I was still nervous and very conscious of my nudity. It felt like the whole world was watching. As I searched for Center City I saw a lot people who were nearly nude in costumes that in any other setting would be deemed erotic. But I was still the only completely nude person in sight and was beginning to wonder if I had made a big mistake. After about a half an hour, I finally saw another nude guy. Soon, others were spotted in the crowd. Satisfied that I was not a lone nude eliminated much of my nervousness.

Center City dispelled any further hesitations. It is a huge circular tent-like structure, about 200 feet in diameter. It's a desert version of a Starbuck's coffee shop with a lot more attractions. Best of all, it was shaded. Coffee and tea were available along one side on the outer edge. In the middle was a large circular area for performance artists. Surrounding the area were benches, couches, easy chairs and cushions for people sit and relax, drink their coffee, converse and watch or interact with the various activities going on around them. There were also two stages for scheduled performances.

The crowd numbered in the hundreds as they came and went. It didn't take long to feel quite at ease being nude as I elbowed my way through the crowd. No one was alarmed to turn and suddenly discover they were standing six inches from a naked guy! Eventually I saw a nude woman in the crowd. Seeing her, all remaining concerns melted away and knew I would have no further problem being nude for the remainder of my stay.

I'm not particularly 'courageous.' I was a little nervous at the start of this venture because it is basically a textile venue, and who knows what to expect in a mob of 30,000. But where nudity is legal, customary or tolerated, I have had no problem participating because most other participants are nude. Burning Man was an entirely different situation.

It is an amazing experience to get up in the morning and stroll the half mile to 'Center City' for coffee, a newspaper, and watch the parade of people and performance artists, all while nude. Often time, I was the only nude in sight. Festival participants are basically textiles, but with a difference. As a massive outdoor art show where everyone is expected to participate, most dress in outrageous costumes. Near nudity seemed to be the uniform of the day. Topless was common, as were bikini bottoms, thongs, g-strings and sarongs for the gals. Many guys sported sarongs and kilts, even skirts. Quite a few were 'costumed' only in body paint. And then there was a small minority, like me, mostly male, who were completely nude.

It didn't take long to become accustomed to living nude among textiles. It was an ordinary state of being. And there was no indication the textiled mass cared otherwise. I became perfectly at ease being the only nude in a conversational group or the only nude in sight as I wandered the miles of temporary streets. One morning I approached the Bureau of Land Management trailer to look at the brochures describing the Black Rock Desert where the event is held. A uniformed ranger stepped out and welcomed me. We had a long conversation about the geology and history of the area. Not once did he indicate my nudity was offensive, out of place or unwelcome. Contacts with local Nevada law enforcement officials were the same, but I doubt their acceptance extended beyond the festival site boundary.

Wandering about the enormous temporary city, it was not uncommon to be the only nude in a crowd of hundreds. Nobody cared, stared, or said a thing. It became evident that although most participants might not stroll around completely nude, a very significant number had little hesitation engaging in casual nudity around their campsite while dressing, showering or just hanging out. Interesting to speculate if this attitude might apply to the US population in general, or are the participants just different from everyone else.

An interesting commentary on nudity developed in the locally produced festival newspapers. It appeared a trend was noted when a number of males were observed wearing only unbuttoned shirts. Did the writers tell them to cover up or put on pants or shorts? Quite the opposite. Their opinion was wearing only a shirt looked stupid and it would be much better aesthetically if the fashion offenders dispensed with the shirts and went nude!

[Part 3 (final)]

Thursday, September 18, 2008

Nude Among Textiles (Part 1)

I got an interesting response to my annual Burning Man post from a reader named Jon. He attended Burning Man 2003 for the sole purpose of living naked among a bunch of textilers. Him and I share a common curiosity: What would a true clothing-optional society be like? Especially if the majority of the people are textile? There's no better place to find out than Black Rock City.

This clothing-optional city goes from a normal population of zero to (currently) almost 50,000! (That's more than Cap d'Agde!) It doesn't have the same luxuries as a typical clothing-optional venue, but does have the basics such as beautiful weather, grass, large swimming pools, luxury accomodation, a roller disco, and even a few cruise ships. If you're up for recreation, try some hockey, or a few other games. There are also plenty of activities for the kids after school such as teeter-totters, swings, and bouncy castles. Of course, there are adult things too after work, but some just like to complain. Hey -- wait a minute -- that last link has a naked guy wearing a cheesehead hat. Take a closer look and let me know if any of you Wisconsin nudists recognize him.

UPDATE: A number of the links above have broken, but they all linked to funny pictures related to what I'm talking about. I'm leaving them as-is, since removing the links would look silly.

Anyway, back to Jon's story. I found his story interesting because it parallels what might happen if the clothing laws were relaxed everywhere. The first brave people go nude, and the first prudes would freak out about it. Give it some time, and society would likely have the same attitude as mentioned in the story. Being the only nude in a textile group is often uncomfortable -- but why? Is it because we feel that we are dressed inappropriately? Or is it because we are worried about what others are thinking? Jon's story answers to this.

Another reason I found it interesting is because I've wanted to do the exact same thing. I want to go to Burning Man and be naked! One of these years, I finally will, and I'll probably have a similar story to tell. Until then, I have plans to be nude among textiles in a much smaller place next summer. I'll tell that story when it happens...

The following is part 1 (of 3) of Jon's story. Anything that I changed or commented on is in [brackets].

---

Quite some time ago I came across the following on a site about nudity at the "Burning Man" festival that stirred my imagination [I found the referenced site, but it's not one I'm going to link to here...]:

"The large majority of people at the Festival don't go nude, at least most of the time. But anyone can be nude if they wish to be. It's an interesting lesson in how nudity fits smoothly in 'everyday life' (if it can be called that in this context) when each person is free to choose how to dress without the usual social taboos. Although nude people at the Festival are a minority, in contrast to the conventional society, they are an accepted minority."

[In Aug-Sep 2003] I traveled to Nevada to see, and experience, if this was in fact, true. Believe me when I say it is! My schedule only allowed four days, but they were a memorable four days of living nude among 30,000 textile campers for the entire period!

I was fairly confident because nudity was said to be acceptable, but approaching the Black Rock Desert, I was a bit nervous because I wasn't really sure of what to expect. My confidence was bolstered as I was met at the entrance by a topless volunteer greeter wearing only a bikini bottom and baseball cap. When she asked if I was looking for a particular theme camp, I boldly replied, "Anywhere I can be nude!" The reply was, "Anywhere you want."

[Part 2]

Monday, September 15, 2008

Project: Skorpion

Earlier this summer, I tackled the problem of having to walk to Mazo beach. My current situation is the following:

TransportCost (150 miles, $3.80/gal)Travel to BeachEnd Result
Car$19.00 (30mpg)Can fit only 1 bike, so we go at walking speedEaten alive by mozzies
Motorcycle$12.66 (45mpg)No bike, we walkEaten alive by mozzies

Since I don't really like the end result, I carefully evaluated my options. The solution for most people is to purchase a bike rack ($65) for the car. Since the price of gas is always rising, and I'd prefer to ride the motorcycle anyway, I decided to purchase a pair of "Hummers for my feet" ($150). They are quad-line skates with 5 inch wheels -- plenty big for the long gravel path. There are two other options for this type of skate that I could find: The famous Landroller skates ($200) and some even bigger Trail skates ($370). I chose the Skorpion skates (Hummers) due to cost and reviews saying the Landroller boots were very uncomfortable.

The idea was to purchase two sets, one set for each of us, and attach them to the motorcycle. (I only purchased 1 set to try.) This would provide efficient travel to Mazo, and mozzie-dodging travel to the beach. Also, we'd be the first to skate to the beach! At a total of $300, it would require 38 trips to the beach in order to be cost-effective (as compared to taking the car and two bikes, and assuming gas prices don't change).

After waiting a month for them to ship, and almost another month of being too busy, I finally got to skate. I tried pavement, grass, and small-sized gravel similar to Mazo. Years ago, I was pretty good with in-line skates and thought that quad's would be easy. I was wrong -- they don't seem as stable as I'd like.

First of all, the wheels stick out on the inside, which makes it easy for them to catch. Landroller wouldn't have this problem, since the wheels only stick out on the outside. Second, the short wheel-base makes it difficult to keep your balance in the forward/backward direction. Most quads have that issue. However, going on uneven surfaces like gravel makes staying balanced far more difficult since the skates push forward and backward depending on the resistence of that inch of terrain. In other words, there's a big learning curve to using these on gravel or grass! I think that Landroller would be a bit easier since the wheels are slightly bigger and further apart, and the trail skates would be far easier than both of them.

It didn't work as expected. I might be able to skate well enough in them for next year, but would much prefer to try the other skates instead. If you'd like a pair of new Skorpion skates for cheap -- make me an offer!

Sunday, September 14, 2008

Mazo Manor - S1E05 - Not an Airport

There were only a few cars around when we got there at 9am, the day before Labor Day. Little did I know, cars would be parked along the road by noon and a lot of exciting people would be there:
  • The Elders, of course, who delivered pictures from the party.
  • All other groups were represented, including the Diligents.
  • The "high up political official" was there.
  • The DNR.
  • The couple with the neat electric boat.
  • One guy brought a big flag and flew it high to celebrate the holiday.
  • The guy that flies the helicopter landed it on the island.
  • Another guy flew in with a plane...
The plane was this style of ultralight, and the pilot was apparently a newbie. He circled around the area for a while, and made at least 10 attempted landings along various beaches. It was apparent that he has never seen a runaway truck lane, which uses sand to stop trucks whose brakes have failed. In other words, there is huge drag when tires meet sand, especially when they are small. He ended up crashing the plane at the beach on the opposite side of the river. He went into town to buy some parts, and had the plane fixed by the end of the day. I don't know if he was able to take off again to return home -- I seriously doubt that he'd be able to from sand... TheDNR was investigating this, and he probably got a ticket of some sort.

The DNR warden passed through at some point. He stopped and talked to Kingpin for a bit, and made his way to the South-Ender section. Despite how busy the beach was today, it was all in good clean fun. Everyone was chatting or playing games and having a good day. The only issue I heard of was a South-Ender with a camera, and he got talked to pretty quickly. He was too far away to get any decent pictures, so he posed little threat to the main part of the beach.

I spent most of my time talking with the Diligents. While I can't dive into the details, there are a few things that I should be able to mention. First is that I'm amazed at how deep-rooted the group is in the community, and how much actually goes on behind the scenes to help the whole community out. I used to be sceptical about their lack of information regarding what they were up to, but they have recently earned a lot of my trust.

Second is that the DNR and other groups, at times, are against us. They spend a lot of time crawling through Mazo-related groups and blogs digging up any dirt they can to help their own case, which probably means taking things out of context and quoting only people that don't know what they're talking about. I've re-read my previous Mazo posts, and I think they would really have to twist my words to consider any of it "dirt". It would be hard to dig up dirt on such friendly, happy, peaceful, and helpful people such as ourselves. If only the opposition had such qualities...

The last point that I should talk about is that NAC did help Elizabeth Book. They covered the cost of mailing a lot of stuff and did several other things to help out. (I could get the details if needed, but I hate to bug them about it now...) A NAC representitive was there with Liz during one of her earlier protests. They didn't comment on Nudiarists open letter to NAC because of his request to organize mass support. They should've at least detailed what they were doing, but didn't spend the time to do so. She wasn't arrested as expected by Nudiarist and I, and NAC probably knew she wouldn't be. I take back the couple of bad things I said about NAC regarding the Liz Book issue -- they've earned my trust as well.

The Elders gave me a lot of grief for chatting with the Diligents, which may impact my social standing with them. Hopefully they realize that I can be a benefit to both groups at the same time. TheDiligents have a powerful network set up to support the beach politically, despite their occasional visits. The Elders are always there, know everyone, and do a great job in keeping the beach itself clean and family friendly. Both groups have their sets of contacts, and both groups have certainly played a large part in keeping the beach. I intend to help both groups in the work that they do, and may eventually end up being the bridge that links them both. If only these two groups would work together themselves...

On the way out, we met two women (newbies) who were just starting their way to the beach. They didn't bring bug spray, as usual. We gave them our can, which should've lasted the trip before being empty, and they were very appreciative. I'm sure they had a positive experience from that moment on, and we'll probably see them again sometime.

NEXT EPISODE

Friday, September 12, 2008

Status Update (Year 2)

Over the last year, my attitudes have changed with hiding my nudist lifestyle. If people find out, I'm confident in my abilities to defend the lifestyle -- and maybe even make them jealous with all the fun stories. My trophy is on display at home, and my blogger profile now has my real name and some other info. I'm not hiding as much as I was a year ago, because I realized that all the people I know probably wouldn't care. As they find out, I'll be sure to post the stories here.

Last winter, I promised two longer series. Sorry that it's taking me a year to get to the second one! It's in queue, along with a soon-to-be-released Mazo Manor and a multi-part Burning Man feature contributed by the commenter to this post. Since I'm done with all the school-related projects, I will hopefully have more time to contribute to this blog and to other nudist-related projects.

Looking back, it's amazing how great the dive into social nudism has been for both of us. We've made more friends than in previous years, enjoyed our stays at a few venues and beaches, attended an awesome party, helped out the community, met a helicopter pilot and a high-up political official (among many interesting people), got nice tans, won a cool trophy, and overall had a great time doing all these things naked. I can only imagine what the future has in store for us!

Monday, September 1, 2008

Some Burning Man Stats

Another year, another Burning Man festival that I missed. As usual, I keep up with all that is going on there, look at pictures, wish that I had gone, and mutter to myself that I'll be there next year.

(Update and Side-note: I noted in 2007 that there appeared to be a decline in nudity between 2006 and 2007. It can have many explanations. This is a trend that I continue to observe even through the 2009 Burning Man.)

So how do people act when they are celebrating radical self-expression? How much damage is done in a festival that aims to burn stuff? How wild to people get when there is nudity around every corner? From Wired:
The crowd for the weeklong celebration peaked Saturday at a record 49,599, up from 47,097 last year.

U.S. Bureau of Land Management officials said the festival ran smoothly and no major problems were reported. They made 11 arrests and issued 175 citations to participants, most for drug violations, BLM officials said.

Those are really low numbers for arrests and citations, considering the number of people and the number of days. For being such a wild theme, people are very well behaved. Some even bring kids.

In almost any other city in the US, arrests and citations would've been made for the nudity. If some old stats I found are still true, another 2480 people (5%) would've been arrested/cited and lives ruined by the sex offender registry. But, they weren't. Apparently the rule is that if 5% of the population or more goes nude, it's ok.

On a bigger scale, the US population is 305,986,357, of which an estimated 20,000,000 go nude socially. That works out to be 6.5% of the population, and more if you include non-social nudists. Yet somehow, it's NOT ok.

I like Nudiarist's stat: "It's safe to say that at least 99% of the crimes in America are committed by people wearing clothes." It would be interesting to see if any of the arrests/citations at Burning Man were of nudists, because chances are that they weren't.

All-in-all, I'm wondering how nudity is ok in Black Rock City and not ok in most other cities.

Monday, August 11, 2008

VVRC Car Show: Another Great Time!

Big events like these are hard to write about, because there is so much going on at once. The really short summary is this: We had a wonderful weekend! The weather was cooler this year in the mornings and evenings, there were more people our age but a lower overall turnout, more mozzies, more people we knew, and much more fun!

Some new friends of ours that we met at the party decided to attend the car show for the first time. They volunteered to take some of our camping stuff, since I was a bit nervous about bending the motorcycle luggage rack with the weight. I'm very thankful that they did this for us!

After unloading the bike Friday morning, I spent about an hour with one hand holding a rag and the other hand holding "Honda Shine" (spray cleaner and polish that ROCKS!) I prepped the bike by putting my army bag on the luggage rack, which matches the army surplus gas-mask saddle-bags. I taped the signs to the windshield, and finished by putting Boxer in the passenger seat to win on "cuteness". I had some stiff competition though, since a younger kid brought a pocketbike. It was really cute too, so I was convinced that everyone was voting for him, or for the fancy crotch-rocket style bike that was parked in the back.

Saturday morning it rained a bit, which meant that I had to do quick rounds with the Honda Shine yet again. I'm pretty sure the bike hasn't been that clean in ages! More stiff competition showed up -- two very fancy trikes. I know I would've voted for them... Curiously though, they disappeared by Sunday.

Saturday was all kinds of fun! I played frisbee with my new friends for a while in the parking lot, and put a few dents in people's cars. (Just kidding!) We also played volleyball into the night, and only quit because we couldn't really see the ball anymore. My arms ended up getting bruised from the stiff ball, but it was fun anyway. By this time, the band was going strong playing our favorite tunes to perfection. They never got naked, and much of the crowd kept their clothing on too, because it was a bit cold that evening! I heard that last year, they had to make an announcement to get their underwear back. I'm sure their wives wondered how the gig went...

Saturday night was spent with our neighbors last year, and a few new people, while we made smores. By this time, I was a bit bummed that the elusive "Steve & Angie" from the All Nudist blog hadn't yet found us, since my earlier description was spot-on and we should've been easy to find. Come to find out, they were sitting right in front of me! They were camped out right behind our friends from last year and joined in around the campfire. I was finally able to deliver their cookies, although is wasn't quite the quantity that they were hoping for. They are fun people, and I'm looking forward to seeing them at the beach. If you haven't seen their post yet, they said: "We ran into Academic Naturist, accompanied by the lovely and vivacious Lady Friend." I should really start using that phrase when referring to her! It's an accurate description, although she is more than just a lady friend.

Sunday, we packed up early since our friends had to leave by 11 with the bulk of our camping gear. We stayed until 3 to enjoy the end of the show. For this event, the additional 4 hours is somewhat expensive but contains the parade and car show awards.

We met an older couple who have been to every car show except the first three, which is pretty impressive since this is the 19th show. We had lunch with them. While we were engaged in a deep conversation regarding the lack of participation by young people in both nudism and square dancing, an announcement was made for parade drivers. I got to the area just as things were starting, and figured it might be a bad idea to spend 10 minutes getting my bike cleaned off and started just to sit in traffic with a burning hot engine between my naked legs. I was wrong, and felt bad for not being in the parade. Additionally, they only announce winners as they go through, so my 1st place in the motorcycle category was never announced.

Woah, I got 1st place? I was shocked! Apparently people liked my bike because it was practical and well-kept for being a family-owned 1981 bike. Or, they liked it because they had one very similar in the past and loved it. Or, they liked my "lovely and vivacious Lady Friend" who was sitting on it and dancing naked around it for part of the day.

I really enjoy the parade, despite how short of a route it is. It seems to attract all the beautiful women to ride on top of equally beautiful cars. My girlfriend and another gal rode on the back of a convertible. The parade is the only point where I wish I could have a camera along, because the whole thing is so picture perfect. VVRC takes pictures of the winners, but I have no idea where those pictures go. When we get a chance, we'll take a picture ourselves for the brag book.

She got a slight all-over sunburn, and I got about 25 bug bites and bruised arms. Despite that, we had a wonderful time at this year's car show! We met a lot of great new people, and saw all of our friends from last year. Not only that, but we had a nude ride on the motorcycle before we left. (This adds a whole new dimension to the freedom felt by riding motorcycle!) We're hooked, and we'll certainly make this an annual must-attend event.

After the event, my vivacious gal thanked me for one of the best weekends she's had in a long time. She's been bragging about it to several of her friends, and a few of them might give it a shot next year. We'll certainly be there!


Trophy with the caption: "1st Place / 2008, 19th Annual Nude Car Show, Valley View Recreation Club".

Friday, August 1, 2008

Mazo Manor - S1E04 - Perfect Day in Paradise

I have no idea why the big crowds always show up later in the season... Today (July 26th), the parking lot was packed and we had to park on Laws Drive. Of course, the beach was also pretty full as well. The Contenders were there, and the Elders were there, and then a whole mess of other people. It was so full that I couldn't differentiate between groups. This concept made me happy, because it appeared that everyone was integrated into a single community instead of separating into sub-groups. If only it would stay that way...

Remember that this whole "Mazo Manor" thing is inspired by the Meerkat Manor TV show. (You have to admit that there's a striking resemblance between the FOMB and the FKMP, at least in the pictures.) I'm the production crew, who occasionally goes to the beach and then writes a dramatized, and somewhat anonymized, documentary of what's going on. If anyone is interested in writing episodes for days that I'm not around, I'd love to expand the production crew! I'm doing this mostly for fun, and I understand that I don't always get the facts right depending on who I talk to and how much I observe. I'm sure the producers of Meerkat Manor have this same problem, except with the whole "talking" thing.

With that said, I need to also point out that today overloaded the production crew. The lack of grouping and busyness of the beach made it very difficult to observe what was going on. Also, we were there for only 2 hours, and mostly showed up to meet with people before a party. Now, back to the story...

Walking to and from the beach, we encountered 5 couples who were being eaten alive by mozzies because they didn't bring any spray. We offered ours, and all of which readily accepted. We went through about half a can that day, and not much of that actually went on us. C'mon people, bring some protection before you enter the gauntlet. It was apparent that they were either new or hadn't been to the beach in a few years, because anyone who knows the current state of the gauntlet either bikes or has strong bug spray in hand.

Leaving the beach, we found a somewhat creepy business card on the small parking lot. Doing a quick search, I found that he's also listing this on craigslist here. I'm seriously failing to see how this could be considered entertaining, especially when stretched into a full hour. (No pun intended.) This guy has "exhibitionist" written all over him, and probably does free performances in the South-Ender section.

The beach also had a recent visitor hanging in the back and taking pictures. The Elders approached him, and demanded to see/erase the pictures and were going to tell him to go away. He popped out the camera's memory card, handed it over, and then took off. This action shocked the Elders, but it makes sense: In that situation, would you hand over a $40 card and consider it gone, or hand over an expensive camera with the possibility of losing the camera and getting beaten up? Of course he wouldn't have, but he didn't know that. Upon investigation, the pictures were all blurry and didn't amount to anything.

We saw the young couple from episode 2, and asked if they were attending the party. They were invited, but were unsure. The couple from episode 3 were also invited, but we never saw them. There weren't any other young couples our age at the beach, and none went to the party.

They missed out, because the party was awesome! We had a small but comfortable back yard (with a bouncer at the door), a campfire to roast our chestnuts and toast our buns, a pool to cool off in, the best pork chops I've ever tasted, and about 30 of the most entertaining clothing-optional guests! There were a few cameras, but all were in the hands of very trustworthy people and I know exactly where those photos are going. They're going into "brag books", one of which was recently started by us. So far, it only has photos from my trip to Australia, a few artistic ones taken locally, and a few of our place. It's no match for the photo library of Mazo history that a certain other person has. Lessons from his collection are: We need to bring back body-painting, and need to bring back the Nude Olympics. They looked like a lot of fun!

I don't want to go into the details of the party because it's not really beach related. But, I will say that it was a lot more fun and a lot more social than a day at the beach. We're considering a "movie night" (with my projector pointing at the white wall by the pool) and a "Passion Party night" for couples. It's important to point out that none of that is sexual beyond just words. We're true nudists, not swingers or anything else. It'll be a tasteful movie (I'm thinking "Sirens" or "Medicine Man" from the list), and a passion party just like one in the textile world. We may combine the two into a single party, depending on interest.

All-in-all, it was a great evening. I'm glad to see such a busy beach, and glad that people are willing to host such great parties!

NEXT EPISODE

Monday, July 28, 2008

New Ammunition for Top-Equality

I found this picture a while back, but haven't been able to add it to a post yet. So, I'll just do a special post about it...

Normally, when debating the whole breast legal/illegal issue, people post pictures. These pictures typically have an attractive naked female torso, and a really fat guy that kinda has man-boobs. When you're trying to convince people that the breasts are the same, it's a horrible comparison. Any man will think the attractive female has attractive breasts, which supposedly promotes sexual interest. The fat man doesn't stand a chance. Well, the one I found stands a chance...

Take a look at this picture on flickr, and lets debate: What makes the breast illegal?

Is it the size? If so, I'd say this person has a lot of women beat in terms of size, including the size of the nipple. If size were an issue, the laws would specify that breasts cannot be shown if they were a specified size or beyond. This clearly isn't the case, because women with "bee-stings" still get arrested.

Is it the attractiveness? If this were the case, it would be highly subjective. Cover up everything except the breast of the picture above, and ask someone if it appears to be attractive. They'd probably be interested. Attractiveness isn't the case, because women who are very unattractive still get arrested.

Is it because it sometimes secretes liquid? Well, that's a strange reason to ban showing it. More often, that's the primary reason why it is legal to show when nursing an infant. If liquids were the issue, we should arrest anyone who cries in public.

Is it the gender? You bet! Most people who see the above picture would say the legality depends on if it's a man or a woman. Are they offended when they see it? They probably can't answer due to a lack of obvious gender. If they need to think that hard about it, then they probably aren't. It's clearly the size and shape of a typical breast, but would certainly draw mixed emotions from those who oppose only the female breast.

So the laws dealing with breasts have nothing to do with the actual physical breasts. If they did, the guy pictured above would certainly be illegal. (I assume it's a guy based on the facial and chest hair... If transgendered, they are probably becoming a man and taking lots of testosterone. It's safe to assume the person is male or mostly male.)

Hopefully this image serves as new ammunition for top-equality... Go ahead and start using it when talking about this issue. It'll certainly confuse the opponents!

Update: I did eventually use this picture in the GoTopless Chicago protest, and pictures of us holding the sign have been circulating. It was one of the favorite signs at the event.

Saturday, July 12, 2008

How To: Improve Any Venue with $10

(Please click for full resolution.)

In terms of performance, markerboards are hard to beat! The materials are cheap, usually $8 for a simple board and $2 for markers, but the payoff is improved organization and better communication between everyone. However, this is only if the board is set up well! A blank board will likely never get used -- but add some sort of framework, give people markers, and something wonderful will happen. I'll show you how to get the best performance out of this simple tool, and point out why every nudist resort (or other venue) should have one.

The philosophy is simple -- anyone can grab a marker and start writing and erasing at will. What prevents someone from messing it up? Well nothing, really. Most nudists are genuinely good, so it's probably not going to happen. They have a right to write, and you have a right to erase, and vice-versa. It all balances out. Good writings will stick, and the not-so-good ones (or out-of-date ones) will be erased.

The image above is created by me and is loosely based on Nudiarist's Paradise Gardens post. It serves as an example for what I'm talking about in this post.

Materials

The markerboard that I have was about $8 at Wal-mart. I have two of them at home because they work so well -- we use them all the time. (Note the duct tape holding it together in the picture.) The markers are very cheap, and $2 can get you a 4-pack of small ones. I'd recommend larger sizes so they don't run out as quick. A markerboard with no markers is useless, so make sure you have plenty on hand! If you run out, make it a top priority for your next shopping trip. As long as people cap them properly, they should last for quite a while.

If you want a huge markerboard, use solid white tileboard or showerboard. (See the link for details.) You can get a 4' x 8' slab at Home Depot for only $13. Bigger is always better -- one that size could hold every event and announcement for a year and have plenty of space left over.

The cost of having a markerboard is almost free, even for a resort on a shoe-string budget. If you frequent a resort that doesn't have one, consider this one of the cheapest and best donations you could ever give them. Make sure to print out this post and include it in the gift.

Placement

Now that you have a shiny new board, where should it go? You have two priorities in figuring this out:
  1. Keep it away from kids, or it'll become artwork.
  2. Place it in a high-traffic area, such as a lobby, office, or pool area, so everyone sees it often and can contribute.
Mounting options are quite open. For a smaller board, you can hang it or attach it to the wall. For mine, I have it hanging from two door-hangers. (They go over the top of the door and have a hook. I attached rope to the hooks and around the markerboard.) If you end up with the giant slab of showerboard, you can just lean it up against the wall. Remember that if it's on the ground, kids will dominate the sections that they can reach.

It's a good idea to hang the markers next to or above the board to deter kids. If they don't rest well on top, make a loop out of string around the top corner of the board. Then, bend a paperclip into a hook and tape it to the marker. Finally, hang the marker on the loop. Some boards are magnetic, and some markers have magnets. If you have these, simply attach them to the board. This is a bit more expensive though, and uses up valuable markerboard real estate.

Framework Overview

A blank markerboard never gets much use. As board-master, it is your goal to bring organization to this large slab of white. You need to define a framework that promotes contribution, and keeps everyone informed and collaborating smoothly. Follow this guide to start things off, and tweak things or expand as needed later on.

First is to choose your color. On my board, I used black for everything provided by management. The framework is in black, and my notes are also in black. Of course, I make sure to keep all black markers to myself, so everyone else knows that if it's black, it's me. This way it's easy to tell if management added something, or if it was someone else.

If your framework will be permanent, consider drawing it out in permanent marker. That way the lines, etc. cannot be erased. This is good for dividing up the board and dedicating sections to certain things. Any other messages should be erasable. If you really need to make changes, a new board is only another $8-$13.

Calendar

There are specially designed markerboards that have a 1-month blank calendar on them -- just write in the date numbers and events. Or, make one yourself. If you have a smaller board (like mine), limit yourself to having "this week" and "next week". Make sure to keep this up-to-date! If you have a larger board, do a whole month. Remember to make the Friday, Saturday, and Sunday spaces a little bigger since more events usually happen those days. I chose to use European-style weeks, because I like "weekends" to be at the end, and Monday to be the start of the week.

Encourage other people to add their own events. If Bob and Ann are having a poker tournament, they should add it to the calendar. It's a whole lot easier than trying to tell everyone face-to-face and round them up at the right time. Using the board keeps everyone informed about what's going on, so they can make their own schedules. Bob and Ann could even ask people to RSVP in the "Other Notes" section.

Announcements

How to you inform everyone about something? Meetings take time, and many don't go. Signs and posters are wasteful. The PA system might be a little annoying, if we can hear it. Face-to-face takes forever and can miss people. Writing it on the public markerboard is a simple and effective solution!

This section is dedicated to what management has to say. Anyone could write in here, but remember that black is the color of management, and they have the means to erase everything else.

Tasks

This is extremely important, and something that most neglect. I'll drive the point home with my "Future Resort" series later on, but I'll try to summarize it here.

Tasking is the best way to organize what needs work and who is working on it. Traditional resorts are bad at Tasking! They either force members to do stuff, or try to do it all themselves. Owners have a hectic life because everything is broken and everyone is relying on them to fix it. Too often, they forget about the little things. This is a problem, to which I have the solution: Open up!

Having a task list allows people to add things that they find, and to volunteer to fix things when they have extra time. (Nudists seem to have a LOT of extra time, especially the permanent residents.) Also, this lets people voice things instead of just wander away and leave it for the next person.

In my example, Nudiarist stumbled onto a few broken things that people probably forgot about. He generously added these to the board: "Balance pool table" and "Replace [broken] darts". Dan knows how to balance a pool table, and has time this afternoon to work on it, so he added his name to that task. Nobody knows where to get new darts, so it's still open for a volunteer. It's time to mow the lawns again, so the usual guy (Dave) has been assigned to do it. When Dan and Dave finish their tasks, they should erase them.

What does the owner have to do? Not much! The place practically fixes itself, and nothing is forgotten. If the darts task is open for a while, the owner can step in and find/buy some new ones. With this method, the simple things are pointed out and taken care of by the community without much intervention by management.

A problem that may occur is that people never volunteer. A discount for the resort is good incentive -- post the amount by the task. (In black, of course.) I know that I'd volunteer to fix stuff to reduce the cost of my stay!

Funds

Things cost money. Anyone can coordinate fundraisers and donate the money to a "community account" at the venue. Then, have people vote for what they think the money should be spent on. Make sure to keep names with the votes, because people should have only one vote. (If they re-vote, consider it a revised one.) If nobody likes the "community bikes" idea, and the owner buys them, it's only going to make people angry and go unused. Let people vote for what they want, and they might be more willing to donate more money towards it. The owner acts to buy what makes the most people happy, and will have the money quicker. (If the "Pool AC System" is something everyone really wants, you can bet they'll be contributing money to get it.)

At most places, I pinch my pennies because I don't know where that money is going. I can only assume it's going to the owner's pocket. Inform people and they'll be more willing to participate and get the funds you need.

Other Notes

This section is for anything else. Consider it a place to fill in all the gaps. See what I have in the bottom corner of my board. Good ideas are classifieds, lost+found, thanks and other feedback. It can also be used to track stuff, like a to-do list for a big event or the status of the all-day volleyball tournaments. It's like a forum where anything goes.

Conclusion

Observe how I took a drab block of white and transformed it into a tool for productivity and organization. It's so simple and so useful that I find it hard to believe that venues choose to operate without one. Also, it's so cheap that any member can donate one. This is a tool that has a huge payoff at an almost-free cost, and I strongly suggest that any member or venue that is reading this should give it a shot. It improves communication between guests and management, and reduces the burden on management to coordinate everything. A better-quality resort will boost revenue and boost member happiness. There's no downside to introducing a markerboard to your resort, so do it!

Shameless Plug

For a high-tech, world-wide nudist markerboard, see the WWNCW. It has the same concept as I've presented above, and is completely free!