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!


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.