Jack London State Historic Park

How do I love thee? Let me count the ways.

While wining around Sonoma and Glen Ellen, we popped into Jack London State Historic Park since it was on the map. We didn’t know anything about it. Wow, were we surprised and impressed. We sauntered into the House of Happy Walls Museum which gave an excellent overview of Jack London’s life and his work. Docents were on-hand to answer all questions. A volunteer was upstairs playing the piano! We were totally floored. I thanked him for volunteering his time and his gift.

I kept telling everyone, “I’m taking pictures and putting this up on my blog. Free marketing!” They all laughed. Clearly, they know not who I am.

Make sure to read the picture below about Jack London studying in Oakland and Alameda and getting into the UC system. Local boy makes great!

Jack London’s wife Charmian was a prominent figure herself who outlived her husband by almost 40 years.

IMG_3925 IMG_3926 IMG_3927 IMG_3929 IMG_3931A docent asked if we were interested in joining him as he gave a 90 minute leisurely guided tour around the park. Hello, no brainer! We walk and enjoy the sunshine and you spout historical facts? Totally game. This guy was on it! No question stumped him. He, swear to God, had an answer for every question our small group of 4 asked. That is straight up dedication, knowledge, and volunteerism in effect. Again props to this park. I told Dean that when we retire we have to become docents and give back. The ruins are of Wolf House, a palatial home that was a few weeks near completion before it was destroyed by some type of natural spontaneous combustion.

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Lastly, I want to leave you with a quote from Jack London who wrote 1,000 words every day of his life. “I am a believer in regular work, and never wait for an inspiration.” The guy died at the age of 40. Think about all that productive output within a short 40 year lifespan. I’m a fan. Need to read more of his work.

Guest Post: Enrich Your Life, Make a Contribution

Hi, Affinity here!  Vixen and I are both Burners and I think I can speak for her as well as myself to say that Burning Man and its culture and ethos have enriched our lives.  In order to give back each of us are active volunteers.

Currently I am volunteering for Burners Without Borders and what I am asking is that if you also have found Burning Man to have enriched your life, or you would like to enrich another person’s life, that you consider helping Burners Without Borders in its partnership with Haiti’s Jakmel Ekspresyon Art Center, a unique community arts center for an important segment of Haiti’s artistic community. As the people of Haiti recover and rebuild from the 2010 earthquake, this center for creativity and self-expression is a vital part of its future. With the support of the Burning Man community, we can make a real and lasting difference in transforming this paradigm. This screen printing project will be the first of its kind in Haiti. BWB will send ten artists to Jacmel to teach skills in design, screen printing and professional development. There are currently no screen printing services available in Jacmel to create post-cards and t-shirts for the tourism industry or for the various international organizations who work there. This project is sure to be a success and we need your participation to make it happen. Please help Burners Without Borders and Jakmel Ekspresyon launch a new arts/artists-in-residence program that will benefit the local economy for the long term! Please spread the word.

http://www.indiegogo.com/BWB-Jakmel/x/1865699

You can find my personal blog for plus size women here: http://affatshionista.com

Dynamic December

I am super busy with end-of-the-year work and holiday Christmas cheer. I’m in a mad dash to get our Christmas card out. I need to be more organized so the process can be seamless versus stressful! Plus I have landed a couple interviews for positions I would kill for! They’ve come up just this week–I didn’t think people worked this time of year!

Also, I am on a recruitment binge for Burning Man’s ARTery department. If you are a Burner, interested in volunteering, and love art, contact me! Volunteers hear early-on about the pieces coming to the event. On-playa, you will register artists and get to hear first-hand what their piece is all about. The ARTery is the bestest department in the organization (though I may be biased).

In lieu of an actual post, here are some pictures to browse. Very rarely are there pictures of me during races because I don’t like to have a piece of paper pinned to my chest. I don’t know why, but it aggravates me. The only reason I have this one is because of Dean. They’re pictures of him and his bib number, but I happen to be in front of him.  Haha!

What Do You Do?

Several months back I got into a discussion with some friends about our lack of awareness of each others’ occupations. “Do you even know what I do?” One asked.

I stammered, “You’re like an engineer or something like that right?  Or computers.  Don’t you do something with computers?”

Everyone laughed. “We don’t even know what you do.”

“It’s easy. I work for a bank.”

That’s all I’ll share publicly about my paid career since I have gotten in trouble previously for making specific references to my employer. I learned my lesson!

In addition to everyone not knowing what we do in the real world, most people don’t know what I do for Burning Man so I’ll explain. I volunteer for the ARTery which is the group that facilitates art getting onto the playa. We register artists, document each piece, place their work, and educate artists about lighting and our leave no trace policy. At the event, the ARTery has a wall-sized map showing where every single art piece is located. We print self-guided tours, conduct bus and bike tours, and throw artist parties. I’m the ARTery Volunteer Coordinator which means I am tasked with finding new volunteers, retaining volunteers, and making sure everyone feels appreciated.

I’ve been volunteering for at least 6 years. I can’t remember that far back! This year I worked the most ever. I did 7 shifts with each shift lasting about 5 hours, and then some. So you can imagine only one week in the desert with my work schedule goes by very quickly! We are an amazing, tight-knit group (I swear I’m not biased) and every hour I spend working is busy, but also enjoyable.

First picture here is me and rockstar newbie volunteers at the ARTery on-playa.  In the second picture, we’re at the Commissary enjoying ice-cream sandwiches for dessert at lunch.

It’s Playa Time

It’s that time of year when I start grinding my teeth at all hours of the day and night. I’ve got sores in my mouth from trying to chomp my stress away. I don’t have time to walk several blocks down to the See’s Candies on Market for a cup of peanut butter patties and a cup of toffee-ettes. My mind is wrapped up in spreadsheets and email. I don’t have a trailer. I don’t have a tent. My clothes are still filthy from last summer.

Why worry? Because it’s playa time! Even though I am so majorly stressed out…what if I fuck up on the schedule?….what if the volunteers aren’t prepared?….what if I mistype the early arrival details?….  Even still, I am brimming with excitement for Burning Man this year. More art than ever, best temple ever, and my (sniff sniff) 10th year. Booyah Vixen for dedication, loyalty, passion, bliss! What have you done for 10 years in a row? School maybe? Worked for the same company possibly?

I guess this makes me a full-fledged Burner ;)

You really can’t understand unless you’ve experienced it. The unbelievable culture, community, genuine caring, partying, amazement, creativity, love. I love love love Burning Man and reaching this milestone has made me misty-eyed. Every email, every meeting, I think, what brilliant people I work with. What amazing volunteers this organization is comprised of.

Burning Man, what a blessing you have been. Thank you.

That’s a picture of me playing with a large-scale Connect Four at my first Burn in 2002.

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