Thursday, July 30, 2009

Mazo Manor - S2E03 - Everyone Loves Big Melons!

Monday afternoon, the first day of Nude Recreation Week, we took a trip to the beach to check on the signs. Before Eastover, Gaia had put up large posters and lots of mini ones that people could take in each of the three porta-potties. After Eastover, she had to spend some time in a hospital far away from Mazo. If all went well, she'd make it back just in time for the festival. She was scheduled to return to the state Friday night.

I was on poster-duty for this week. When we got there, I was quick to check the first porta-potty. I was disappointed to find the posters missing, but deep down I was expecting that. I decided to not put any new ones up until after the potential culprit(s) left.

While we were in the parking lot, an older couple struck up a conversation with us. We had previously met them at the Halloween party. We must not've talked with them much at the Halloween party, because neither of us remembered them. Oops! We were walking through the gate as they drove through and past us.

They were still unpacking things from their car when we finished the brisk walk though the gauntlet. We chatted more, and they were nice enough to give us the end from their watermelon with a plastic spoon. See -- people at Mazo are far more friendly than at textile beaches!

We all decided to sit together, since the beach was very quiet. (It's always quiet on weekdays.) They were having a good time chatting with us, and we would've been lonely by ourselves. We didn't mind the company.

Our entertainment for the evening were the Elders. (Kingpin and another regular who's often there but newly named: EagleEye.) Sitting next to them was a skinny college-age male who was fairly quiet and a busty college-age female who gets a temporary name: Bambi. In retrospect, I don't think they were a couple since they left the beach about 10 minutes apart. Both seemed to be newbies. She was also wearing makeup, which isn't the norm for females at the beach.

Both Kingpin and EagleEye have cameras. Kingpin has an old film camera, and EagleEye has a digital SLR. Usually they are kept packed away. They are both very trustworthy and responsible for their camera use. They always ask for permission, avoid having people in the background of the photos, and keep camera use to a minimum. EagleEye often is more interested in photographing the wildlife than people.

Before we got to the beach, Kingpin must've talked up Bambi and convinced her to give them permission to photograph her. In the first hour we were there, Bambi had pictures both on the beach and in the water taken from both of the guys from every angle. She was laughing at the occasional vulgar comments from Kingpin (and sometimes returning a few), and seemed to be having a good time as the celebrity of the beach. Although the situation was a little annoying (and distracting) for us, I must admit that she was really cute in the water when the fish were nipping at her toes. She giggled from the tickling, then left the water when the fish started going after other things.

After Bambi and the young guy left, Kingpin set his sights on the other group with nice melons. He talked to the couple we were sitting by because he knew them. He knew us too, but for some reason he didn't want to talk to us...

Soon after, the Elders left the beach, and we knew it was safe to put up some posters. The two porta-potties in the little parking lot had no posters either. I put up what I had in all three porta-potties. I didn't put them in an easy-to-take-down spots either, I had little ones on all sides and one under the TP dispenser that could only be seen when sitting down. (I even covered up the traces of vulgar graffiti that were in two of them -- I wish the DNR could catch the people who do that stuff.) Hopefully the posters would last all week...


Friday, July 24, 2009

Eastern Naturist Gathering - The Last Hurrah

This is a long one, so feel free to bookmark it and read it in chunks!

Only a few days after our last adventure, we left Wisconsin on a 1,000+ mile journey to Eastover Resort in Lenox, Massachusetts. We had reservations for The Naturist Society's week-long Eastern Naturist Gathering. Lucky for us, we also had reservations at Niagara Falls on the way and spent two nights 38 floors up right next to the falls (Canadian side). That made the long trip a lot better! (Here's a link to a gallery, click on the "Falls" category, most are night shots taken from our room and my favorites are the last two.)

When we started through New York, it was rainy. Claude had told me that "it's either going to be sunny and beautiful all week, or rainy all week." She was wrong. It was sunny and beautiful for most of one day during the week, and on the Sunday that we had to leave. (OK, so she was mostly right...) We at least got breaks during the other days, and it was usually warm enough mid-day to be naked.

When we checked in, the staff was great, but they told us to go away for a while. We were a bit early to get there and had a few hours before our cottage was ready. It wasn't naked time yet either. With time to spare, I'll lead you on a tour of the grounds. Open up a map and follow along if you'd like. (There aren't many Eastover pictures out there, but heres a few from some scrapbooking event.)

The centerpiece is the mansion, and it certainly has the classic look and feel of a 1910 mansion. The top two floors are all apartment or dorm style rooms. The main floor has the main lobby, a library, some offices, a large dining area, and a general purpose room. It also has WiFi throughout most of the space. The basement is the "catacombs" as they call it. It's a creepy, dark (black and red painted with minimal light), sprawling space of mini bars and rooms with Civil War Memorabilia (CWM for short).

From the catacombs there's a walkway to the indoor pool. The walkway is filled with CWM (pictures and artwork) as well. On the way, you can see a basketball court on the right and the main pool on the left. The indoor pool is very nice but a bit cool. The outdoor pool is even colder. I have yet to find a pool that isn't cold, so maybe I'm just a wimp.

Taking the stairs down from the indoor pool, you're greeted with two windows that are underwater. Hmmm... Also down there is the weight room, bathrooms, showers, and sauna. The sauna can seat probably 15 people and is set to 186 degrees, dry heat. Perfect, in my opinion! Outside there are several outdoor showers. They didn't have hot water this year, so a sign was posted that said "polar bear club".

A few steps away is the American Heritage room, which is the primary CWM room. At this point, I'll mention that Eastover has one of the largest private collections of Civil War Memorabilia in the US. This room has cannons and all kinds of other stuff around. The back-room looked more interesting, where the good stuff is all in display cases, but we weren't allowed back there. They are starting to sell off the collection for reasons I'll get to later. On top of the American Heritage room are tables, and that is where many of the meals were served during the week.

Further away from the "mansion complex" are lots more goodies. To the south is the plantation, which are long buildings full of rooms that resemble the shape of a moose head when you look at the satellite pictures. Tucked away in the moose's left ear is the Mohawk room -- a large basement room with a small stage, chalkboard, and pull-down screen which was perfect for my projector. Well, almost, the pull-down screen refused to stay down!

To the east is a baseball diamond and the horse-riding stables. The horse rides go along the trails in the woods to the east, all of which the resort owns. Deep in there somewhere is a good-sized ropes course. This would've been fun to do naked, but it was never used. Going counter-clockwise we have the trap shooting over the fire pit, the fire pit at the bottom of the bowl, the driving range that goes down a hill, and a toboggan run that goes down the same hill.

Finally, we reach my favorite building -- Tally Ho! This building has a horse theme, better implemented than anywhere else I've been. It used to be a big all-wooden horse stable, and has three parts. The biggest room is the theater. The rafters are full of old wooden carriages, among many other classic decorations. There is a big stage and seating for everyone. This was used for dances each night, the talent show, meals if rainy, and the TNS town hall meeting. The middle rooms are a small bar, bathrooms, and a kitchen, with pictures of Eastover groups over the years. (One naturist picture was added from last year just for that week.) The back room was small, but had character. They had stables there for around eight horses. They took off the stall doors, made each one into a (big) restaurant-style booth, and put a small band performance area on the other side of the room. That's about it... The stalls even had the horse names above them, and the saddles and other equipment were still hanging around the room. You can't get more authentic than that!

Next up, on the north side, we have the buffalo. According to Eastover's history, George (owner at the time) was the first person to bring buffalo to the east, way back in 1963. They have a large pen that they live in, and Eastover provides safari rides to go see them up close.

We were given a home near where the buffalo roam. On the west side of the mansion, we checked in to our cottage. It was little, but had a porch, two beds, a small bathroom with a leaky toilet, a dresser that doubled as a counter, a clock that buzzed constantly when the alarm was set, and a furnace that could bring the place from 65 to 80 in a matter of minutes. We were delighted to find a bottle of Eastover labeled wine for our Anniversary.

The whole resort wasn't in it's heyday. It has the classical charm and architectural beauty, but also a feeling of doom. All buildings were a little bit dirty. There was no landscaping other than mowing. The waterfall on the indoor pool was never running. The stream running the length of the wall in the American Heritage room wasn't going either. Stuff was broken. Sheds were falling apart. Ceilings were leaky. Art on walls was faded. Graffiti was all over the furniture. The Civil War stuff was disappearing. It did NOT look as good as the pictures.

The end is near, and everyone knows it. The resort is closing in November and is up for sale. The next owners will likely bulldoze everything and put in condos. Why? Regulations -- the place is being regulated out of existence. New rules that they need to comply with come with a huge cost and they don't have the budget for that, and to keep maintaining it all. The next owners probably can't afford to keep the place open either. It's sad, and it was on everyone's mind the whole time. "The Last Hurrah", as the staff's t-shirts said.

Although the place was getting run down, the staff were absolutely wonderful! Many of them worked previous gatherings too, so the nudity was no big deal to them. They treated us just like everyone else. If there were any newbies, we couldn't tell. They said we were the favorite group all summer, and the amount of effort they put in showed that they really do like us. Many promised to show up at future gatherings, wherever they may be.

The naturists were absolutely wonderful too! Among them were many of the TNS staff, several from the NAC crew, Dr. Paul Rapoport from FCN, and representatives from beaches and resorts all around the US. The naturists that go to this gathering are like family, which has a pro and a con. The pro is that once you're in and known, you get priority in contacting the naturist leaders. It's a social network. The con is that it's a little difficult to get in, and those who aren't in aren't initially trusted. Either way, they are always friendly in person and are quick to accept you when you're at a gathering. This is a good reason for going.

Several of the naturists are hardcore. By that, I mean they can be called "cold weather naturists" because they would brave the 60 degree rainy mornings. They were completely naked -- I was in a long-sleeve and jeans. My initial hypothesis was that it had something to do with where they lived, because Paul was from Canada. But, Bob Morton from Texas and Morley Schloss from Florida were just as extreme. Morley and Paul also defeated the hypothesis that it has to do with weight, or "insulation". My final hypothesis is that the more widely known the naturist is, the colder the weather they can go naked in. It seemed that all the big names, with exception to the TNS ladies, were the ones naked in the cold. This includes some women like Claudia (who everyone knows from Blacks Beach) and families like the Kapus's (the poster-family for TNS). For the rest of us, it usually warmed up to the mid 70's.

So why did we even leave our comfy cottage every cold morning? We wanted to hit the breakfast buffet at 8am to make it to the 9am workshops. The meal plan for Eastover is wonderful! Breakfast has all the standard items you'd find at a buffet. Lunch and dinner was a variety of their choosing, and always good. One of the days, I wrote down what they offered for lunch or dinner: "Steak, ribs, roasted chicken, baked potato, corn on the cob, full salad, fried scallops, fish, milkshakes, cookies, brownies, and several other fillers that I'm not remembering right now." Every day had a variety that good, and it was all cooked to perfection!

Now that you have a good introduction to the Eastover grounds, staff, and participants, I'll talk about what we did during the seven days.

Monday, there wasn't much going on. This was the only day that dinner was served in the mansion because of the small crowd. It was also determined that Wisconsin was the best represented state, with a total of six people there. Of course, that only applied to Monday. In the afternoon we played some frisbee golf. In the evening we checked out the dance (which happens every night) and watched a movie in the library.

Tuesday is when the workshops really started. I went to "What's going on with the left coast?" by -- who else -- Bob Morton. He tells stories better than what he writes for the NAC updates, although much of it was the same content. My girlfriend went on the safari ride, where the buffalo kept ramming the truck. We then played frisbee golf again, and I went on the nature hike. It was a nude hike on the wooded area that Eastover owns. The two people that walked right by me most of the way were the primary entertainment for Thursday. (They also perform for church groups, so I probably shouldn't mention their names online. They are in N 28.4.)

Wednesday morning I woke up to "Why should naturists care when lawmakers target 'adult' businesses?" by -- you guessed it -- Bob Morton. In the afternoon, we had an appointment for riding the horses. We wanted to go naked, but it was advised by the young lady in charge that we don't. (She, by the way, was really cool and fun to be around!) We wore pants and were glad that we did! Some of the trails were tight, with questionable spiky plants and some tree limbs to brush by. My horse didn't want to walk down the middle of the path -- apparently I wasn't stern enough. The girls were fine on their horses. It was a lot of fun, even though we had to weather out some rain on the way. Well worth the money! We snuck a camera to her, and she gladly took some pictures of us on the horses. I heard the camera focus (half-press of the shutter), and assumed they took (full-press) -- but they didn't. Zero pictures of us on the horses.

At dinner there was a meeting in the Tally Ho where Nicky, Bob, and others welcomed everyone to the gathering. They shared some stories, talked about the future, and let all the workshop hosts pitch their upcoming workshops. This took a while since there were a lot of workshops! I had my turn, introduced myself and my girlfriend as first-timers with creative new ideas, and pitched the two presentations I had ready.

Sometime early in the week (not sure exactly what day), I was introduced to two different people. First was Morley Schloss. I hadn't read the N magazine from that month (28.4), so I didn't know much about him at that point. We didn't talk much initially. I also met Dave Cole and his fiance from Black's Beach. We talked for a while comparing notes on each of our beaches -- everything from politics to undesirables. I also found out that Black's has just a few steps less than a famous landmark in our area.

That evening we went to the naturist theater (big screen TV in the Heritage room) and watched as "Blaze Starr Goes Nudist". We have movie nights just like this at home, so we knew what to expect from that film genre. We sat way in the back and giggled at each-others jokes and the cheesy plot-lines. During the film, Morley entered the room behind us and we greeted him. We asked if the resorts in Florida were just like what the film was showing. I was blown away by his response... He sometimes went to the resort that the movie was filmed at, and remembers about when it was filmed. As the scenes were playing, he'd point out that "the ducks were added to the pond -- there were never any ducks there" and that "the cottages were never usually that nice".

Thursday we skipped "Speaking to College Classes & Groups" (even though we're interested) in favor of "The NAC Area Representative Program" by -- surprise, surprise -- Bob Morton. We signed Bob's book for being a NACAR, but I haven't heard anything from it yet. This was shaping up the be the warmest, sunniest day that Eastover had that week. This was great for our all-over tans!

Nicky signed us up for a video that they plan to put on YouTube. We were interviewed with five seemingly simple questions. My girlfriend did a great job with them. I didn't, probably because I was overthinking them instead of coming up with a quick cheesy answer. "Why are you a naturist?" I don't know... it's like asking why I'm a human. I was just born that way, I guess. (They wanted a better answer than that.) "What is your favorite thing to do in the nude?" Sex is an obvious good answer, but unacceptable. The answers I delivered generally weren't what I was thinking at the time. Before the shoot, the guy doing the filming showed us a clip from the previous people -- of course, the Kapus family.

Early in the afternoon we attended one of Nicky's workshops, "Getting Published in N Magazine". We discussed the magazine sections, what people liked and what they didn't, and where it was heading. She also went through the list of what she's looking for with contributions. I got invited to a possible future workshop out west on writing specifically for N. We'll see where things go with that...

My girlfriend attended most of the DUMass Olympics events. For those who are curious, it's Dave Cole's series of workshops where they play silly games and win stuff. They are simple and fun, which is why he always has a great turnout. My girlfriend also tried some skeet shooting, and got 3 out of 3... misses. With a gun in her hand, I stayed quiet! She thought it was fun to try anyway. I thought it was fun to watch her shoot a rifle naked.

We both went to the "Naturist At Play" photography workshop. Although I like photography, and had a camera in the car, I figured that we would get copies of the pro's photos instead. We both posed in a lightsaber scene. My girlfriend posed for a lot more including a group jump photo and a solo Mary Poppins scene. We haven't gotten a copy of the pictures yet. [UPDATE: We eventually did, all stamped with Eric's logo and "for personal use only" as per the contract. Why watermark them if they're just for us? I have no idea... Most places won't print them if they're watermarked. I removed the watermarks to print them for the brag book.] After Eric excused everyone from the workshop, he hung on to his favorite models -- one long-time female participant and the Kapus family -- for some additional shoots. We're a good young attractive naturist couple, and we told Nicky early in the week to have the photographers take pictures of us for the magazine. We told Eric this too, but he didn't seem interested at the moment.

Before the main entertainment that evening, we decided to make our own photoshoot. We collected golf balls from the driving range, which is a lot of work when it's the side of a hill and among lots of white flowers. Back at the top, we grabbed a nearby photographer and asked him to take pictures while we golfed. "I suppose..." It looked like he got some good pictures out of it. I sent him an email after the gathering, and haven't gotten any pictures yet. [UPDATE: We eventually got these too.]

That evening we watched the main entertainment couple for a bit. He was naked except for boots, a hat, and a few other small things. She was in a sarong or a dress, one of the two. It seems she wasn't comfortable enough to be naked on stage like he was. They had some naturist themed songs that they performed, among other things. They were very good musicians!

Friday was a big day for me. I raced to breakfast, collected my equipment, and went to the moose's left ear (Mohawk room). I used duct tape to make the broken projector screen stay in place, found an extension cord to plug everything in, and was ready to deliver the most professional "workshop" the gathering has ever seen! I was the only person who had a Powerpoint (OpenOffice Impress, actually) and did a full-on presentation instead of just sitting around and talking. I'm better at these anyway -- I did a lot of them while in college.

My topic was "Crowdsource Our Problems Away", and the presentation is temporarily online here, with the ideas partly from my Future Resort part 5. It's an edgy presentation, so I expected it to be a little difficult. Bob, Claudia, Dave and his fiance, and a room of about 25 other people attended. Bob didn't seem comfortable with the ideas I presented. Dave and his fiance called me on one item -- the list of undesirables for beach safety. They said it's a privacy issue and grounds for a lawsuit, which it could be if I listed full names. My intent would be more like "a heavy-set guy with the Brewers cap who tries to take pictures". At the end of the presentation, it was my guess that people didn't like it. They were fairly quiet. But then Claudia approached me and said "it was the best workshop I've seen all week -- naturism needs more fresh ideas like this! Keep up the great work!"

I took down all my equipment and removed the duct tape so the self-photography workshop could take over the room. It didn't last long -- an hour later I had to set it all up again so that Nicky could use my projector for the Lee Baxandall tribute. It looked great, and she thanked me many times for it. A lot of people were there (60?) to see her Keynote presentation. Then, I took it all down again and finally got the equipment back to the cottage.

After lunch, we were the only youth at the "Apparent Youth Death Among Naturists" workshop. Many were content to discuss the problem, without having much of an idea about the solution. Morley, the awesome man that he is, already had it all figured out. He does an excellent job of bringing in students at Sunsport and the other groups / resorts in the area. I had ideas to pitch in, but Morley beat me to it and verbalized it better than I'd be able to. He should've been the one leading the workshop, because he was clearly the one with the most valuable information. He had a lot of things that I didn't even think of too, like purposefully not including a bar and offering healthy eco-friendly foods as a choice. He targets the college-age crowd with specific events, advertises in their media, and gives them rock bottom (or sometimes free) rates. There's a lot more, but it's fair to say that he has my generation figured out!

We attended the "Unusual Poses & Perspectives" photography workshop. My girlfriend posed a few times, but I didn't. It was cold and rainy, and I doubt there were many good pictures that resulted from that one. [UPDATE: I was right.] Afterwords, my girlfriend had a blast at the pudding toss, except that two men targeted her butt and made sure it stuck good with a firm grope. I attended the "NAC Roundup" workshop by -- oh not again -- Bob Morton!

The talent show was surprisingly good! We sat by Claude, who decided to give us the full bio of everyone who performed (which was appreciated!) There were a few songs, a funny guy doing reverse-burlesque (dressing as the song went on), one really good / funny poet, one not-so-good poet, some guys talking about their "decks", a spot of just music in memory of the singer who recently died, and a lady who beautifully sang and did sign language for a classic song. Another great, and depressing, talent was a singer who had 4am inspiration early in the week to write a song bidding farewell to Eastover. She was the last of the naturist performers, and then began the textile ones. What am I talking about? The tradition is that the Eastover staff always perform in the naturist's talent show.

The Eastover staff don't exactly practice for the talent show, and that fact makes them quite funny! They take random songs and rewrite the lyrics to talk about the "nudies". They can't sing, but they really try to with the lyrics in hand! Some of the staff were even brave enough to drop their pants during the show, which must've been a first considering how quickly the TNS girls ran to the front. They went through quick versions of a half-dozen different songs. They finished with this classic song while going out through the crowd, and it probably brought tears to some people's eyes. Bravo, Eastover staff!

After that, we went through the eerie night-time fog to the moose's left ear. We modeled for the "Images and Patterns Projected on the Human Form" photography workshop. I recommended that we make use of the projector in the fog for some neat silhouettes, because I've taken some good fog shots in the past. Nope -- Eric wanted to do the same thing he's done in the past instead of make use of the unique conditions. He started the workshop by having us find good slides and write down the numbers so we can take the pictures we want. Once his favorite models were on the set, it turned into a free-for-all with going through slides and snapping pictures. Towards the end, my girlfriend and I insisted on doing the shots we wanted to take. He was reluctant, but got through at least some of ours before time ran out.

Friday night the dance was rockin', and the two person band was "in the stalls". We listened to both for a while and had some pizza before calling it a night.

Saturday morning, I started my day with "Who speaks for naturists?" by -- he's gotta be tired of seeing me by now -- Bob Morton! In this one, he stressed that all politics are local. For most of the legal battles that are fought, it's the naturists and not NAC who are at the front lines. NAC coordinates, advises, empowers, and steps in to fill any gaps with the local Friends Of groups and other naturists. It's really the naturists who speak for naturists at a grassroots level. It's a different philosophy than those who try to be the "credible voice of reason" for naturism.

After that, I broke out the laptop, projector, and duct tape once again for my other presentation: "Greening For Profit". It was less edgy than the other one, but I still prove that some green technologies are stupid and that greening to save the environment costs money. The other green workshops were on saving the environment, so I might've irked a few people. The roughly 30 attendees loved this one as far as I could tell! (Morley pointed out that Sunsport already does a number of these things, but I at least clued him in on the Vegawatt. All-in-all he loved it, and invited me to give it at other gatherings.) Follow along here while I add some quick notes: Slide 4 shows a solar array on a Walmart in Mexico. Slide 6 source. Slide 7 source. Slide 8 is common knowledge by now. Slide 9 source. Ideas are from my Future Resort series parts 3, 3.1, 3.2, 3.3. Slide 30 is a hot springs in Alaska. Slide 31 Vegawatt. Slide 36 shows a bad fireplace with no doors and likely no cold air return. Slide 37 is this building in Maine that is so well insulated that it doesn't need a heater.

After lunch was the group photo, in which we should be easy to spot. The closing circle was a bit cheesy -- we all held hands in a big circle around the pool and took turns offering our feedback and thanks. My girlfriend left after that to tie-dye a few things in a workshop, and at some point snuck off to the catacombs with a photographer for some "pictures I'll love" that sound a bit more provocative than a simple naturist photo shoot. It seems the photographer loves them too, he never responded to her email. [UPDATE: She eventually got these too, and they're not exactly great from the few she's shown me. Actual lighting and brushing her hair (and maybe a recent shower) would've helped a lot.]

I went to the town hall meeting, where a lot of things were discussed and where feedback was sought to help choose a future gathering location. TNS still couldn't disclose possible locations, but from what Claude told me it's certainly a step up if they get the one they want. (No traditional naturist resorts were options due to the number of attendees.) After that, I stopped by the NAC Large Donor Reception. I hadn't donated largely at that point, so I handed Bob the NAC donation envelope with a bit more than the minimum to qualify as a large donor. I should be getting the NAC newsletter also, but we'll see. [UPDATE: This wasn't active anymore, but is again in 2010 as an online free version.]

After the reception, Morley, my girlfriend, and I took to the tennis courts. Morley is a tennis pro, I could keep a volley for the most part, and my girlfriend is lucky if she keeps it in the court. I must admit that playing tennis is fun when naked, and playing any sport naked is much more comfortable since the sweat works as nature intended. We talked quite a bit with Morley. My girlfriend admitted her second job as a Passion Parties consultant, and Morley thought it was cool. Apparently they've had a few of those at Sunsport. In the right atmosphere (as-in with no kids due to the products shown) it's completely acceptable by his standards. I was worried that he'd dislike her bringing up that topic. He's all about body acceptance, and sexuality is a part of that. We concluded that he's the coolest person we've met all week. I'm very tempted to visit him at Sunsport for the Midwinter Festival.

Our game ended as it got dark, and we went to Tally Ho for NAC's ticket drawing. We won a towel, which my girlfriend wanted to buy anyway before we left. (We didn't buy much from TNS, but we did buy a bunch of stuff from the Eastover gift shop. My girlfriend loved the fact that she could try on shirts without a dressing room! Shopping naked is more fun in person as opposed to online shopping.)

After the drawing, the DJ started. Photographers had slide-shows of their pictures this year in the middle part of Tally Ho. We watched those for a while, then danced for a while. At one point, I counted over 50 naked people on the dancefloor having a good time! Luckily, none were doing the YMCA with their legs. I didn't dance much, and probably spent too much time admiring the character of the Tally Ho building and thinking about it being gone soon.

Outside, it was a cool night. We went to the bonfire for a bit to discover that only a few drunk guys were there. We'll pass on that... We heard there's usually late-night parties in the catacombs, so we stopped there as well. It looked like a bar scene with maybe 20 people around, and had a bit more of an adult feel than anywhere else. One of the many rooms had ping-pong so we played that a bit. In the middle of a game, we heard the funniest thing in a long time, but it's only funny to us. (Inside joke among some Wisconsin friends.) We had to quit our game. We tried to mingle a bit more, but it just wasn't our type of party -- we called it a night.

Sunday there was almost nothing going on. The lobby markerboard had a lot of thanks from the naturists, including one that said "We (heart) Eastover! -- The Nudies" We said our goodbyes to our new extended family, and spent the second beautiful day all week packing up and heading out. Despite the bad weather, we had a great time at this event and it was well worth the trip!

If you have any questions about the trip, post them in the comments and I'll try my best to answer them.

Thursday, July 23, 2009

A Sheep in Wolf's Clothing

If you're new to my blog -- you may want to skip this post! I don't normally do this sort of thing! This blog is a written history of my exploration of naturism and everything associated with it, which makes it difficult to skip a story like this one. (Also, don't stop reading the blog because of this post -- it's a "special case" that I don't plan to repeat.)

I'm actually a bit ashamed to be writing about this -- it's a bad topic, but it's a good story. As you read, you'll understand just how different the Sheep and the Wolf can be. Never confuse the two. Too many people already do. We were given a unique opportunity, and we decided to seize it. Read along and you'll understand why.

It all started last fall from an idea I had. As you know from before, my girlfriend is a Passion Parties consultant. It's like tupperware, but for romance and adult products. They talk about things at the parties, but nothing is actually demonstrated on people. It's just a bunch of folks talking about sex and ordering goodies from a catalog. Although I'm not really interested, I'm not against it either. It's her thing. My idea last fall was that I should host a party, which piqued her interest because it's quite unexpected. I was joking at the time when I said we should have the party at Camp NCN during one of their weekends. We got more serious about it in the weeks following, and eventually made the trip during the second weekend in June.

Camp NCN (No Clothes Necessary), for those who haven't heard of it, is a 60 acre adult campground near Black River Falls, Wisconsin. Here's how they describe themselves:
NCN is the Disneyland for Nudist, Exhibitionist, Voyeurs, and Swingers! Whether you’re into swapping or fetishes; Motorcycling or Porn; Sex Olympics or meeting new couples who share the same sexual freedoms; NCN will fulfill every one of your erotic fantasies and more.
Yep, they are the Wolf in this story. (They even tick me off by listing "nudist" first.) Naturists are the Sheep. Too often the Wolves like to dress as Sheep and invade their territory. Mazo Manor S2E02 talked about a pair of Wolves, "Flake" and "Gonzo", and they at one point admitted that they go to NCN. As the title of this post implies, my girlfriend and I are Sheep in Wolf's clothing as we attend NCN's "SPANK" (alternative lifestyles, BDSM) festival. We chose SPANK because there is probably less swinging, more variety of people, and seems to be their biggest event. Under normal conditions I would NEVER go there. The Wolves at the beach really get on my nerves and I'll be surrounded by them at NCN.

To make things worse, I have lots of experience with other "wolves" -- see my stories from Australia here, here, here... Is this what we're getting into? That concerns me!

Our primary motivator was profit. Even though the event is VERY expensive when compared to naturist venues, there's a good chance that we will be bringing home more money than what everything costs. Despite that, I still feel bad for giving them any money because I don't support their cause.

Our secondary motivator was curiosity. My girlfriend thinks the event will be sexy, like some of her romance books describe. Her Passion Parties side-job shares some of the same themes as the event. That makes the event partly educational for her. She was the one that wanted to go, and she understands that it's only this once. Unless we make some serious profits...

I also have curiosity, but not in the same way. I know all about what goes on, and say "no thank you!" I'm OK to go all weekend without participating in anything sexual! I'm true to my name -- Academic Naturist. I'll probably be naked, as a naturist, NOT as a pervert. My curiosity comes from how resorts like NCN can pull in such big amounts of money when the naturist venues are struggling. Is it just the sex, or are there other factors at work? I'm good at reading body language, have great self-control, and have a serious academic interest to pursue. I'm going there for work, not play. "Know thy enemy," as Sun Tzo would say.

I've collected a list of questions:
  • Why do people pay around $300 for the weekend at NCN, when VVRC's Car Show weekend is $100? What are the differences?
  • SPANK is expecting 200 people, and the Car Show usually gets around 400 -- why? Are swingers a minority? Do people love cars more than sex?
  • How do the demographics compare to naturist venues? If more younger people attend, figure out why.
  • How many will actually go naked? I anticipate that full nudity is rare.
  • Do people use towels and such to keep things clean, like nudists do?
  • Do they treat naked people as humans or do they gawk?
  • Is there any other recreation besides sex?
  • Do a majority think naturism involves sex? (It might be hard to ask this.)
  • Are any supporting organizations such as TNS, NAC, or AANR? (This too.)
  • Do these types of campgrounds have any good processes or ideas that naturists can steal? (Already, I'm satisfied with the web presence -- they have a nice website and stay in close contact via email. They also provide a forum for the participants of the event.)
  • Will the event change any of my attitudes? Or my girlfriend's attitudes? Will we ever go back?
The above part was written before the event, and what follows is written after...


Heh... so, a funny thing happened when we got there... To get in, we needed to sign a lengthy agreement. Part of this agreement said that I was not a reporter (or anything like that) and that I would not publish anything about the event at all. Technically speaking, I can't even write this post. If NCN finds it too revealing, I'll delete it.

But, I completely understand where they are coming from. Revealing anything about a person's identity could be disastrous, and even describing what goes on there could be harmful to the venue as well when others get their hands on it. So, I won't go into any details. A majority of what's written is from their website, and the rest is very generalized and probably in their favor. (An independent voice that says "it's not as bad as it's hyped up to be" is probably good for them.)

I should point out that nudist resorts don't have this clause -- they normally invite in the media and allow people to talk about their experience. Consider this a major difference between nudist venues and sex venues.

I'd at least like to address my initial questions, one per paragraph:

The price reflects the quality of the venue. Although we were paying a lot more than the car show, there was a lot more going on than at the car show. There were educational workshops during the day, and interesting events were organized every night. (They even had a CPR refresher course, just in case...) We had a fancy meal included for free, and pizza as a snack most nights. I'm concluding that we didn't pay the extra money just for the sex theme. The extra money went to improve the quality of the event. I'm not sure that they were pulling in extra profits just because of the theme.

The attendance was half of what the car show sees, but that doesn't mean anything about the swinger population. This event was basically a gathering for the BDSM crowd. It didn't seem like there were many attending just for swinging. I have no idea how many show up for the swinger events. It's fair to say that there are more nudists who will spend $100 at an event than BDSM folks who will spend $300 at an event. This was actually a bad question to try and answer, since I'm comparing apples to oranges. Since I don't know the market supply/demand curve, I can't scale the attendance based on price to see which is more popular either.

The question of demographics is an important one. There were more middle-aged people than ones our age, and there were a lot more couples to balance out the male/female ratio. Older people were around too, but they were a minority. It's obvious to see why many couples would want to attend, but you'd think that a lot of single men would want to attend as well. I'm not sure if NCN limits the number of single men. As for age, there weren't a lot our age, but there were more than most nudist events. Why are the demographics different? One guess is that curiosity takes hold, and they want to see what goes on behind that privacy fence. You want to know too, right? That's why you're still reading! Nudist resorts are more transparent in what they do. Another guess is that couples of that age range are more sexually active, and wish to include sex outside of their private room in their vacations.

How many will actually go naked? Full nudity is a little rare, as I expected. Most are dressed up in some way. If women are close to naked, they are almost always wearing bottoms. Men almost always wore bottoms too, and were generally more dressed than the females. It was typical that people would get naked for something and then get dressed when finished. It was clear that many were uncomfortable completely naked, and wished to dress sexy instead.

They aren't very serious about using a towel to sit on, because most are wearing bottoms anyway. I didn't witness any bare butts on public chairs, even though there were bare butts around without a towel in hand. They have special equipment for the event which naked people use without a towel. When finished, the users are expected to clean it with a spray cleaner and paper towels (all provided). There were plenty of condoms available to keep things clean too. All-in-all, they are just as concerned about being clean as everyone else.

Do they treat naked people as humans or do they gawk? I was really expecting gawkers, but I didn't find 'em. Nobody stared at us (or her) any more than any other place. Although nudity is somewhat rare, it's completely accepted. In fact, they accept just about anything there. Although I was calling them "wolves" at the top of this post, the people we met weren't like that. They were friendly, normal people. They didn't make advances toward my girlfriend, and didn't make advances toward me. If characters like "Flake" and "Gonzo" were there, they were better behaved than at the beach. We weren't surrounded by wolves like I was expecting.

Is there any other recreation besides sex? Actually, we witnessed very few sex acts. I'm sure there are a lot more during the swinger events, but this event was more about BDSM stuff instead of actual sex. People used the equipment, but didn't actually have sex. (Does this make sense yet?) They have a volleyball court, but nobody ever used that. The small indoor pool area wasn't popular either. People were busy with workshops and all the other stuff going on.

I couldn't ask if the majority thought that nudism involves sex. But, at least one person knew that there was a big difference between the nudist setting and the current setting. It's a different set of rules, and a different atmosphere. He quickly knew that we were nudists.

That same person is a member of AANR. So there must at least be some NCN people who support the nudist organizations too. This is good because the nudist organizations can use all the help they can get -- I at least don't care where the money comes from.

Do these types of campgrounds have any good processes or ideas that naturists can steal? Yes! 1. Improve venue website. 2. Offer workshops/presentations during events from volunteers. 3. Include some meals as an option for tent campers. 4. Recruit vendors for events. 5. A welcome packet is handy if there is no tour of the grounds. If I think of any more I'll let you know...

Have our attitudes changed? I know my attitude changed. I was previously connecting the undesirables at the beach with the average person at NCN, which I've found isn't the case. The undesirables are just bad people no matter where they go -- nude beaches, adult campgrounds, church events, the local grocery store, etc... The average person at NCN is similar to anywhere else. We even made some friends while we were there.

How about my girlfriend? There was some initial shock at what she saw (and trust me, we saw some interesting stuff), but then she just accepted it as no big deal like everyone else. Her attitudes weren't really changed, but her curiosity was certainly satisfied.

Will we ever go back? (Assuming they don't ban us for this post...) Well, we certainly didn't profit on the deal -- vending paid for about half of the trip. We probably could've done better with vending..but... Our big complaint is it's an expensive event! I don't like to support sex venues either, simply because I know it hurts naturism. But, it was an enjoyable weekend in it's own unique way. We won't count it out completely in the future, but naturist events will definitely take priority because they better match who we are. NCN has a different culture, and a different set of rules, where nudity is merely tolerated like everything else. If the goal of your trip is something sexual and not much more, then NCN is the way to go. If you'd like to have a relaxing naked weekend, with an occasional swim in the pool, a game or two, and some social time with friends, a naturist venue is where you want to go instead.

People always say that we should try something once to know if we like it or not. Well, we tried it. Now, we have a better understanding of this unique group. In the future this may be an advantage for us, whether they be friend or foe.

If any NCN people are reading this -- please stop calling it a "nudist" place. It's not a place that nudists would be interested in. You're only hurting the reputation that nudists try so hard to obtain. If you guys separate yourselves from the nudist venues, I wouldn't have a problem with you at all.

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

News Bits (7/22/09)

Similar to the "Missed News" series of the past, I post some random news that I haven't seen elsewhere, and other thoughts.

Note: I'm sure you noticed that I'm not posting about the big issues like other bloggers. I'm very actively following it, posting comments, and helping where I can, but don't see a need to repost stuff here. Follow NAC, AANR, and The Political Naturist (a neutral party between the two) for all the news.

Blog news:
  • I'm catching up on my summer stories!
  • Thursday eve is a mini-trip writeup from just before our Gathering trip, and is probably my most questionable post to date.
  • Friday eve is the full story from TNS's Eastern Naturist Gathering at Eastover.
  • Next week is two more Mazo Manor episodes, the second of which is the Nude Recreation Weekend festivities.
Other news:
Lastly, I'm posting a clip from a magazine that I saw in Minneapolis. It's the "Mpls St Paul Magazine". On the cover it said "Skinny-dip discretely" so I had to check it out. It sounded OK until I read the last sentence. Should I write the editor? What should I say? Anyway, here's the clip:
How To: Swim naked
Skinny-dipping at the lake is a Minnesota tradition, but strangely, no one has ever seen a Minnesotan naked outside. To preserve their modesty, locals enter the water with their swimsuits on, slip them off in the water, discretely place them on the dock, and slip their suits on underwater when they are finished swimming. They then return to the privacy of their cabin, where all manner of sinful frolicking ensues.

Friday, July 10, 2009

Mazo Manor - S2E02 - The Art of Social Networking

On the last day in May, we left early from visiting our family so that we could have some time at the beach. It's not exactly on the way, but was well worth taking the scenic route. Mosquitoes were out this time, and as expected we met a lot of people leaving the beach at around 3 in the afternoon. It was odd to see an old pickup camper parked in the lot. It was also odd to see a bike parked along the path, about half-way. There's really nowhere to walk to from that. I looked around a couple times but didn't see anything. Strange...

The beach was perfect -- the temperature was ideal, the wind didn't blow the sand, there weren't any bugs around, and the demographics were good. There were a few families with kids, some groups our age, and some women around too. In fact, there was a rare sight that day -- a pair of women our age who appeared to be a couple! Another rare sight was how high the water was that day. The sandy parts of the islands were gone, and the beach was a little more scrunched than usual.

As soon as we had our clothes off, Clamor approached us and congratulated us. He read our article in N magazine, and thought it was really cool. Of course, he had to ask where that secret place was, and I gave him the general area.

Our first goal was to find Luther and Manikin (new characters), who started the Mazo Beach Facebook group. My girlfriend led us on this hunt, since she was a member of the group and had been talking to them. The cell phones weren't working very well, so we just made a guess. We approached a group on the north side of the beach that were about our age, and asked if they knew Luther and Manikin. Nope. Kingpin didn't know them either, which really surprised us. We went back to our stuff.

What I noticed right away was a strange scenario. There was a group of a guy and an attractive girl both around our age, but they didn't seem to be a couple. Then, there was a middle-aged man half-way between the two and the water who decided that his back needed a lot of sun. His head was propped up looking directly towards them with dark sunglasses. To me, it just seemed rude. It was clear that he was watching them, or at least her. He gets a temporary generic name -- Snoopy.

My girlfriend spotted Luther coming from the south side (not south end) of the beach, and he led us to the pair I was just talking about. The attractive woman we noticed was Manikin, and the guy by her was a friend. It's no wonder they were hard to spot -- we were looking for a couple, not a group of three. We chatted for a while, but they were getting ready to head out. Snoopy never moved.

We convinced them, while they were getting dressed, to come over and meet Kingpin. During the walk, I asked the friend of the group about Snoopy, and he said that it was really bugging Manikin and that he had been there for a long time. I promised to "have a talk" with Snoopy after they met Kingpin. After literally two minutes of chatting, I turned around and found that Snoopy had disappeared! I mumbled a few choice words... I told the friend that next time, they need to request assistance from the regulars. They at least know Kingpin now.

After the group left, Kingpin informed me that a DNR warden grabbed one of the handouts for the summer festivities and had an angry look on his face. Gaia put them up, so I wasn't at fault, but my contact information is on them. It's good to know just in case I get a call from the DNR. I was a bit surprised that Kingpin told me this -- we must be on somewhat good terms now, which means I must've done the right thing in the previous episode.

Jumping ahead in this paragraph [insert candid interview scene here]: In a later phone call with Gaia, the rumor was that someone from the Elders had called the DNR complaining about the sign. Since Kingpin was at least close enough to detail the DNR warden's face, he may have been involved. The truth may unfold in a later episode. Like I said though, it's just a rumor. Gaia has put signs there for many years without problems, and always had permission from a different DNR warden.

Back at the beach, my girlfriend was approached by a pair that we had seen before in episode 5 last season. This time, they get names: Flake and Gonzo. Gonzo was the one flying the big flag on the beach. The one I didn't mention was Flake. In that same episode, he loudly read the captions in our Brag Book. I found that quite annoying. Both seemed a bit questionable.

The canaries of the beach cleared out when the sun went behind the clouds and a chill ran through the air. We were talking with Flake and Gonzo while that happened, and decided to stick around anyway. They are a truly odd couple... Gonzo is way out there; he looks like a tough tattooed skinny guy, and talks like a hippy. Most of what he says is completely inappropriate, like asking my girlfriend if he can draw circles around her nipples, but he doesn't talk much. Flake usually shakes his head when that happens. Flake is more like a straight-laced traditional family man. He's better at talking, and is quite convincing at being a good naturist, but he still slips on occasion and proves he's in the same boat as Gonzo.

The pair finally left us alone, and we scoped out who was left at the beach. There were a few singles on the north side, and the pair we didn't want to talk to anymore. The south side was more tempting, with a couple our age, a single guy our age, the slightly-younger-than-us female couple (who were swimming and giving each-other piggyback rides in the water earlier), and an older gentleman who was either sleeping or reading. We chose to socialize on that side of the beach, and promote the summer festivities to people our age.

We worked our way up from the water, and first was the couple. We recognized them as we got closer -- they were the couple that we didn't get to visit much with in episode 3. We were delighted to finally be able to chat with them! Since I hope to see them again, I'll give them names: Boots (him) and Tank (her). They live not too far away from us, so carpooling and meeting up elsewhere is an option. They are also getting married soon, and may still be on their honeymoon during the Mazo beach festivities. Where are they going? The Rainbow Gathering, which I'm sure many have never heard of. Lucky for me, I recently read N 12.1 which explained what it is. I asked if they had announced a location yet, or if they wait until the week of the event? Not yet, usually at the last minute. I wish I could go.

During our conversation, Flake and Gonzo appeared. They knew us, and probably wanted to get an eye-full. Flake told stories, challenged Tank to some frisbee golf, and invited them to share a room. (What?) He then went into another story.

With them distracted, and the female couple starting to pack things up, my girlfriend and I excused ourselves, approached the single male our age, and then split up when he started asking questions. I continued to talk to him, and answer his questions, and he slowly strayed topics. He asked for some pointers to swinging clubs. I gave him names for the ones I heard of, emphasized the divide between naturist clubs and swinging clubs, and he seemed content.

My girlfriend had a nice chat with the women, and encouraged them to attend the summer festivities. They were all on good terms and the couple were getting dressed. Our plan backfired when Flake decided to join in. I walked to them quickly afterwords to make sure the situation stayed clean, and my girlfriend decided to run to some geese. Thanks... what a help you are!

Flake told stories, and the women were looking at each-other figuring out how to get away. I was behind Flake, so I waved and then signaled that they should leave with a smile on my face. They got the hint, and just walked away mid-story. Not long after, Flake and Gonzo decided to leave -- I really hope the women made it out! We felt terrible... Not just for them, but for Boots and Tank as well.

We went back to them and apologized after collecting our stuff. They are very understanding and tough enough to handle situations with undesirable people. More people need to be like that, especially as the beach thins out in the late evenings.

Nobody was on the north or central part of the beach. The flock of geese (or is it a gaggle of geese?) that my girlfriend approached earlier swam up and took the spot of the Elders on the beach. It was really amazing, and quite humorous, to see the naked birds replace the naked people. Their demographics were better than ours too.

Back in the parking lot, that pickup camper was still there. I heard the voices of Flake and Gonzo inside, and nobody else. I hope they weren't planning to camp there all night. If they did, then I hope the DNR gave them a ticket for doing so since the area is closed all night. We left before they noticed us.

Since then, I've vowed to be more stern with Flake and Gonzo. If they say anything inappropriate, they're going to hear about it instead of me letting it slide. It's rude of them to bother us and anyone we try to talk to.


Wednesday, July 8, 2009

Missed News (7/2009)

The "Missed News" series is for all the random stuff I found interesting, but was missed by other popular bloggers.

But, the main popular blogger decided to call it quits on his news recaps. See his post on where to find the latest news. I strongly suggest his Shared Items feed and an RSS reader.

Since he stopped, the "missed news" series doesn't make much sense anymore... I may still post news, but as a different type of post.
  • Nudiarist called it quits, then came back with the following:
  • All Nudist (Steve) is toughing out some medical issues. Hang in there!
  • The big news currently, that nudiarist wrote about one / two / three times, is the attack on Jasmine Trails. They moderated out my first comment, so I tried the shotgun approach. (They accepted a few under different names and locations.) In the beginning, most of the comments were anti-nudist. Now, it seems to be mostly nudist. To those the commented -- great job!
  • I posted a comment here too -- why not? More of us should proudly claim to be naturists in random unexpected places.
  • Treehugger had a WNBR slideshow -- that's pretty good promotion since they don't normally post stuff like that. (Google reports them as having almost 14,000 subscribers.) The slideshow avoids frontal nudity though.
  • Some Oxford girls strip around campus and enjoy it.
  • Big fines for women showing undies in Yakima, Washington.
  • An office in the UK had a "Naked Friday", which was recorded and shown on TV. (I can't find a copy yet though...) David said that the going naked improved the company.
  • City workers in Brooksville, Florida aren't allowed to go without underwear and aren't allowed to show underwear. If nobody can see it -- then how would they know if you're wearing any? Don't bend over or you might get fined....
  • Nobody was panicking as a passenger stripped on a plane.
  • A former Georgia mayor was caught naked at a county campsite and charged with public indecency.
Indian Ocean Rowing Race News:
  • The naked solo rower, Simon Prior, had to retire from the race. (News, Statement)
  • On July 6th, the Ocean Angels crossed the finish line (after 78.5 days) making them the first female crew to row the Indian Ocean. (Press release, BBC news, other article)
  • On their blog since last time, they wrote about the following:
    • They were battling with power problems and lists of small injuries.
    • Some dolphins visited, along with a bird that wanted to attack.
    • At the 1000 miles to go mark, they had a peach party and awards.
    • At one point, they worry about pirates.
    • A discussion of high fashion mentions that the "less is more" look is most popular and results in a better all-over tan.
    • It's cruel that the race designers had them row by land.
    • Their lingo list.
    • A few days away, they contemplate what to wear at the finish line.
    • They crossed the 200 mile mark...twice... Weather conditions were bad enough to take an oar and injure an Angel.
    • 100 to go -- the last night -- and the arrival press release. Congratulations Angels!

Saturday, July 4, 2009

Mazo Manor - S2E01 - Taking Care Of Business

"Mazo Manor" 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. At the conclusion of the last season, I was unsure if I'd want to continue. I'm not that great at writing drama. You guys seem to endure it though, so a second season is here!

It's been a long winter for all of the Mazokats. Except for a party here and there, picking up trash on a rainy spring day (which I didn't write about this time), and trying a few new things, the cold months were spent planning. I exchanged a few phone calls with Gaia regarding the Nude Recreation Week festivities. I emailed the Contenders, and have their cooperation for the festivities. (Although they didn't let me in their group.) I also tried a phone call with Kingpin, but it didn't work so well and we resorted to writing letters. This was done so we could both speak in turn. Most of his letters were promoting the conflicts between the Elders and the Diligents. Most of my letters were trying to resolve such conflicts, and to arrange an agreement for advertising. Kingpin has a wonderful and unique form of advertising that almost every Mazokat will see. This advertising could be better than what the Diligents can provide, but Kingpin turned down my offer and was bitter over the other things I said in my letter. It worked out though -- I'm partnering with the Diligents and things seem good so far.

On Memorial Day, I made my first trip to the beach. I was alone, it was cloudy and cool, and I was going for business. There were no mosquitoes (!), and there wasn't a very big crowd. Nonetheless, families with kids were about. Kingpin and most of the Elders were (surprisingly) not at the beach. It was easy to spot the two people I was planning to meet -- Gaia and CatHerder (a new character this season).

They were both dressed since it really wasn't that warm, so I kept my pants on also. The shirt was off so that I could work on my tan. It was cloudy, and my stay would be two hours at most, so I should be safe. My skin forgot what the sun was, and today would make a good slow re-introduction.

We sat as a group and chatted for about an hour. There were almost no canoes floating down the river, and not many people made it to the water. Some kids took off running from the back of the beach all the way to the water, then stopped right before entering. Once they carefully stuck a foot in, they decided it was too cold!

Several people braved the water and hung out on the island. CatHerder couldn't believe that people were going there, outside of the traditional nude bathing area. They are the ones that draw complaints, risk getting in trouble, and partly get the beach in trouble. My opinion is that it's a neat area to walk to, and the grass is greener over there. Despite that, I only rarely make the trip over. The DNR has full power to put up signs to close that piece of land, like they have with a lot of other areas around there.

Just as Gaia and CatHerder were driving out, Kingpin arrived on his bike. As he walked by, I said "I hear yesterday was the day be here." He replied with "Both weather and people." He didn't seem upset, but he didn't stop to talk either. Perhaps he was just tolerating me.

The sun came out, so I took the hint to finally take off my pants. I didn't want to stand out too much by being one of the few wearing clothing. If only the rest of society had problems such as this...

Even though Kingpin and I didn't make a deal for advertising, I felt that I should give him the payment anyway. His reasons were beyond what I was expecting, but I understand them now. He doesn't accept money. Instead he has a charity fund set up for the local humane society. My donation was quite generous compared to the funds he's raised thus far. I took it over to him and said "I don't expect anything in return." Hopefully he picked up that there were no hard feelings from the letters, and that I didn't want to be seen as rude by NOT donating to his charity.

If that didn't work, I spent the rest of the time talking to one of his female friends. (Someone else started talking to him that he hadn't seen in quite a while.) Anyway, she thought it was really cool that we were bringing back the summer festivities in full force. Good, I thought, convince Kingpin of that later on. He's the one that doesn't really care.

I returned to my chair just in time to overhear the Contenders calling out a name I recognized. I approached them, and shook hands with the contact I had online. We talked about gaming details and about the upcoming festivities. It was cool to meet him in person! (Note that this wasn't Champ from before. Champ didn't appear to be there today.) I also learned more about the Contenders. They really are a professional group, and play in big (nude) tournaments all around the midwest and the nationals out East somewhere (possibly here?) All-in-all, I think it's impressive!

After that, I called it a day. I noticed that I was a bit pink, and wondered how that happened since it was cloudy almost the whole time and cool. I ended up being sunburnt! It wasn't a bad sunburn, but it was probably enough to make me peel during Eastover. Great -- that's exactly what I was trying to avoid....

Exiting the beach, I walked past the family that included the kids I mentioned above. They had quite the setup! They built up a table and chairs, a gazebo to shade their dining room, and a grill as a kitchen. Whatever they were cooking smelled good, but I didn't want to intrude. I smiled as I walked by.

Remember that mysterious car way back in episode 1? A picture of it has been posted -- make sure to read the caption!