Autumn in Portland

Dear friends,

This is the second report on my USA99 trip. It’s been a long while since the last, “Burning Man” report. The winter finally arrived to Portland, but I enjoyed the most beautiful fall vacations.

Portland is a very bike-friendly city: flat, with wide sidewalks, bike routes and bike racks on every bus. We also walked and rode the bus a lot, and eventually got annoyed by the long waiting times. Fortunately, we found a car auction nearby with super-cheap bargains. We walked by the place one thursday and saw a car being sold by 20 dollars. So, we came back next week with our very own 20 bucks bill and bought a little green car. Despite a missing window, a weak clutch and a beaten up body, it was pretty good and running. We made some repairs ourselves, and I learned that messing up with cars is as fun and easy as playing with computers. The key is to start with cheap used ones so you don’t destroy anything worth years of savings :)

Oh, boy, now we finally had a big, big trunk to fill up with goodies from the bins. I was trying to quit my toy-buying addiction, but who can resist that place, “where all the good things come from (TM)”? As a last resort, I tried to get rid of some toys, and put up a little zine, with my last year’s travel journals (recycling is the keyword! they started as a webpage, then came the printed book, and finally 9 different, collectible zines, each one with a nice toy attached as an extra bonus). If you want one of the “yobafofa” zines, send e-mail to, there are still some copies available. If not, the DeMent zine library has the complete collection for guests’ perusal.

It was also time for some updates on my web-zine, Pilula ( I finally uploaded many nice contributions from friends and my own little article about my experience at Burning Man. (For english-only speakers, I must warn you that 90% of Pilula’s content is in portuguese. You can give it a try though, there’s plenty of nice images too :)

After a week or two staying at the Dement House, Brady moved back to Gracie’s (in the old Compound building) and I moved along. The evil after-hours club was still there, but not for long. (for those that don’t know, my friends were forced to leave the building because the manager decided to set up a club next door to them, and didn’t want tenants complaining about loud music, drunk clubbers and the like. See The police found out the club owners also dealt with guns and drugs, and promoted a big bust on the floor. Dozens of cops were circulating around the building, collecting evidence and handcuffing unsuspecting probable accomplishes. Apparently, two cops have been renting a studio at the Compound undercovered as “stained glass artists”. The police bust was not really a pleasant experience, but the club wasn’t either, and general relief and happiness followed its closing.

For Ivana’s arrival, we prepared her favorite dessert, a special banana pie recipe. I think Brady or Seth will make the recipe and pictures available online soon. Ivana finished all her pending paperwork after graduation and joined us in the US. So if you want to hire an excellent journalist, call her.

We decided to give Gracies a facelift and spent 4 days painting all the walls with bright colors, finishing just in time for the Lenara&Brady Birthday Party (check out the party page and Gracie’s new walls). Brady’s birthday is one day after mine, so we had a party together. If that’s not enough libras for you, Megan’s birthday is a week before, and Mykle’s a week later.

After turning 27, I basically spent the rest of october having fun in Portland. Here’s a small list of nice places I’ve been to:

– Common Ground hottubs nice warm water, no roof so you can see the sky

– Pied Cow great cafe with a nice yard

– Movie Madness the best movie rental store. hard to find videos, decorated with memorabilia

– Nichola’s I can’t praise enough this small and wonderful mediterranean restaurant. our little “Ocidente” in Portland

– The Delta southern food, nice diner

– Reading Frenzy tons of zines and little nice things

– Willamette river nice for canoeing, plenty of bridges over it in the city

– The bins well, you know all about it by now… :)

– Salmon street bike route the sidewalks remind me so much of the beach I used to go when I was a kid…

– Bagdad Theater watch movies for 2 dollars in a nice old building. they’re a brewery too

For Halloween, we had a big party at the DeMent house, and before that a pumpkin carving night to provide lanterns for the house and yard. Check out some pictures.

Oh, and just before that Ed, me and Bethany spent a couple of days in Seattle visiting Scott and Christene. It’s a nice city and a beautiful train ride up there. We walked around Scott’s neighborhood, capitol hill, and visited some places there. I saw a wonderful sunset on the river at the Discovery Park. I also briefly met Jon’s friend, Chris Hanis.

Scott came down to visit us for Halloween, and so did Seth, Brady’s friend from San Francisco. Plenty of nice people for our Halloween party! I got to hear the DeMent basement tour many times and the idea of making a web page about it began to grow slowly. It should be available soon at the dement website along with more content from the dement lab.

If I haven’t told you yet, Jack DeMent was a scientist that used to live in my friend’s house. When they moved in, they found a lot of his stuff left in the basement. It was basically documentation about his research, in the fields of radioactivity and fluorecency, much of it with government “secret” stamps on it. They actually had somebody check the whole basement for radioactivity, and they found some. It was harmless, though, and was removed from there. Many strange objects, photographs and x-rays were in the basement as well. My friends are planning to get all this stuff online, gradually. So keep tuned!

Right now I’m in New York, with my friends Inara, Tatiana and Cibele. I’ll keep you posted on my next adventures!


Burning Man Journal

For those that don’t know, I’m in the US again, in Portland to be more specific. After years hearing  my friends talking about a great festival called  Burning Man, I decided to see it by myself.

After some 24 hours of flying from Porto Alegre to Portland, with lots of layovers (less than we thought though, thanks to my friend Brady’s good use of brazilian “jeitinho” at the Continental boarding booth) we arrived, dirty and tired, in the city. Our friends were already in Nevada for Burning Man, waiting for us.

After getting Brady’s VW bus from his relatives and seeing pictures of my sister Ivana’s  graduation ceremony on their webTV  we proceeded to buy supplies for our stay in the desert. Those consisted basically of tons of water (you’re supposed to drink water all times, and always piss clear) and some thai food called tasty bites that comes in handy bags that can be cooked/heated by just leaving them on the desert floor (they tasted great too, by the way, and had a good trade value :) I was also counting on the charity of wealthy americans that would certainly bring more food than they needed. I was also pretty sure that Bianca ( loved me and would  provide me plenty of grilled cheese. :)

Of course, I turned out to grill some cheese till dawn myself at Bianca’s kitchen along with veterans Brady and Jon, and serve it to the hungry crowds that danced there 24 hours round the clock. But I’m getting ahead of myself…

Before we arrived at BMan we had to say goodbye to Brady’s bus (and Brady’s wad of money: ) and proceed in a rental car. Apparently, we got too excited about driving and forgot to give the bus a rest, continuing to climb gorgeous hills one after another until we killed its engine from exhaustion :( :(

The whole experience of Burning Man was very nice. When you arrive you’re greeted by endless funny road signs that I don’t really remember except maybe for “you will be tested on theses signs”…

I missed the newbie lecture at the entry gate because Brady said, very casually, oozing coolness, that “yeah, we’re with Bianca’s”. As the gateguy revered at us with awe, I missed at least a bunch of  free cool stickers, and who knows what else! (hey, Brady, this is irony! don’t beat me  up, please! ;)

After some driving around the solar system we happened to find first Bianca’s, and then our camp, located at 2:15 just outside of Jupiter. (Since planets and times were already taken for location purposes, we tried to use feet and inches for times, until we realized that nobody really cared about time, with most events happening “at dusk” or “at sunrise” or “whenever”)

The little Sito/scribble camp was inhabited by Ed, Bethany, Jon, Megan, Mykle, Jane and Jesse. Next to us was Obssessive Camp, with two nice canadian guys, Lu and Greg. As I’ve been told, the location of the camp was carefully chosen to be near, but not tooo close to both Bianca’s and the portapotties, so we would get fun and  relief but not noise and bad smell :)

When I first arrived I thought this was lot of planning but the thing is, when you leave Burning Man you’re absolutely full of ideas about what to do next year, and with some luck 9 tenths of them will vanish with either time or the scorching sun of the playa, and only the really good and worthwhile ones will survive. Or, if you’re crazy enough, you’ll implement them, like the guy that handcrafted 2 thousand lights controlled by hundreds of pieces of custom hardware and buried them in a circle around the man. The effects was reeeally nice, but he worked for half a year, two months full time, on this project alone.

One of the nicest things is that people all wear either beautiful costumes or nothing at all. Fortunately, Brady provided us with a full big bag of costumes. Bethany provided make-up, and everybody added creativity. I was so disappointed when I had to dress up “normally” again to join the “real world”.

I was a bit embarassed about taking pictures of naked people, especially after hearing the rants about “these people that come here just for the boobs and butts”. So blame me. Later I read about this proposal that anybody taking pictures of naked people should be naked him/herself. It sounded pretty fair, so I’ll try it next year :)

I guess among the things to try next year are: bringing a bigger brazilian flag, setting up a “trio eletrico”, teaching at the Black Rock College, making cool stickers and other treats to give away, helping Brady at Gracie’s Spoon, and arriving early, to  cite some.

One weird thing about the desert is that you don’t really get dirt, except, of course, for playa dust, which is omnipresent. Well, you may frown your nose and think that that’s because my standards dropped, but even when accounting a plummeting standards fall, I was still a _lot_ cleaner than I would expect. Maybe because I’m naturally oily and the desert was dry, who knows? Or playa dust maybe happens to double as dry cleaning! Ha! OK, enough crazy theories. :)

This is getting too long, and since most of my memories are now surrounded in a cloud of fog (either a side effect from not sleeping enough or protective subconscious blocking), I’ll just trow a list of remarkable ones:

– chasing the Ice Cream truck as it was a mirage in the desert

– squirting drinks into peoples mouths with a big watergun at Bianca’s

– seeing Ed and Bethany being baptized by Megavolt’s tesla coil shocking stick

– freezing at night and toasting at sun

– biking to the edge of the playa in the search of an ocean I’ve dreamed about

– hunting for glowsticks at night

– noticing that the “take a picture of your  penis” camp had lots more photos than the “take a picture of your vagina” one

– being interviewed by a clueless but good-looking radio reporter girl

– watching the sunrise with the yoga sun-greeting people

– wearing jumpsuits and screaming “caw-caw” most of the time

– watching things burn

– watching people watchin things burn

– burning things

– getting all sort of things from nice strangers

– giving all sort of things to nice strangers

– having tons of fun

– meeting again my Sito friends and camping with them for 4 days at a great place

Well, just to finish this I should add that on our way back we spent one night in a so-called “anarchists tree-house” in the woods. I’ve been told it would be good for “decompressing” purposes, as when people come back from BMan they can’t really adapt themselves back to urbanity for a couple of days.

I don’t know if it worked or not, but I feel pretty comfortable again in urbanity, especially when it consists of living in a house that belonged to a mad scientist whose basement had been unradioactivised just a couple of days ago.

So now I’m back to friendly Portland and its wonderful bins, where I’ve already bought  more little coloured toys that can’t possibly fit my bags. You know me :)

I’ll send more reports when I feel like it, this trip is supposed to be filled with lazyness, as opposed to last year’s when I hiperactively rushed between places.

Beijos for everybody,