Posts tagged: Fun

Welcome to the Latitude Society

By , October 30, 2015

Some years ago I wrote a blog about the Jejune Institute. I waited quite some time before posting that blog, because Jejune was something best discovered without assistance. I stumbled across strange stickers and unusual signs and gradually pieced together a path that led me to the Institute’s door, and I didn’t want to spoil the opportunity for another to feel that sense of wonder, with some fear mixed in for good measure, as he tried to decide whether or not he’d accidentally joined a cult. Only after the Jejune Institute began publicly advertising its own existence as a sort of “real world game experience” did I feel it was acceptable to share some information about it here.

Now, some years later, I’m here to share details of a related experience, this time as a member of the Latitude Society. Sadly, while my Jejune post came while Jejune was still operating, this post is only possible now that the Latitude has come to a close.

Latitude Invitation Handoff

As the Jejune Institute wound down, I befriended several of its creators, most notably Jeff Hull. While I never quite knew who did what with regards to that project, Jeff was head honcho at Nonchalance, the company that had produced the experience, and someone brimming with ideas concerning the repurposing of public spaces for secret games and clandestine art projects. When Jeff contacted me in June of last year to let me know he had “an object he’d like to pass onto me” I was pretty excited. It was with considerable disappointment that I had to inform him that I was getting married in less than two weeks’ time, and would not return to the Bay Area until mid-August. It’s a testament to my belief in the creations of Nonchalance that, as excited as I was for my pending nuptials and subsequent honeymoon on the continent, I felt no small amount of regret that I could not immediately partake in the new project. Had it been anything other than my wedding, I’d quite possibly have postponed the affair by a week or two for the opportunity to return to the magical land of Elsewhere, to which I was sure Jeff’s “object” would grant me entry.

Eventually I did meet with Jeff, at Oakland’s Chapel of the Chimes columbarium, a place of resonance to me as a Jejune member. There, Jeff explained that he was inviting me to join the Latitude Society, an ancient community that has existed in secret for centuries. By accepting his invitation I was bound to a code of absolute discretion, and was not to share any information about my invitation, or the society, with anyone else, ever. Or else. As such, I’m only sharing now because Jeff has closed the society and posted a long blog of his own describing its creation and spilling its secrets.

If you want to know the nuts and bolts of what was involved with joining and participating in the Latitude Society there are now plenty of “walkthrough” web sites and blogs, so I’ll spare you the minutiae. The short story is that the invitation Jeff handed me was a plain white credit card that unlocked a door to a non-descript building in San Francisco. Once inside, the house began to interact with me. Lights flashed, noises sounded, and I soon found myself sliding down a curved slide, in absolute darkness, then crawling through a narrow, carpeted tunnel, also completely dark, before emerging into a library of sorts. An open book read itself to me, complete with moving pictures, as if by magic, after which I made my way to a rathskeller where I poured myself a drink. Nowhere along the line did any other human interact with me; the house itself was alive. There was more, including a sort of scavenger hunt through the Mission District, before I ended up in a secret video game arcade where I played Asteroids using a bronze coin I’d acquired along the way. The game was interrupted by a digitized face on the screen (even the video games come to life when the Latitude is involved) who told me what to do next.

Besides being an amazing afternoon’s experience in its own right, a door had been opened to something that Jejune had only partially offered– a recondite family of likeminded individuals. That was the true magic of the Latitude Society, for once initiated (indoctrinated?) you were welcome to invite others of like heart and mind to join the community. The community was based upon the notion of “experiential tithing,” which is a fancy way of saying we were all encouraged to create and share experiences, talents, and ideas with one another, with the goal being to give more than you get. There are other aspects to the society, including myths, lore, and rituals, that I still won’t share, and I hope others won’t, either.

The Latitude Society introduced me to hundreds of amazing individuals, and I’ve developed friendships with many that will last long after the demise of the organization. It granted me access to the artistic endeavors and creations of so many talented and enthusiastic people, as well as the chance to simply sit and discuss myriad topics of mutual interest with people whose knowledge and opinions I value. Further, it gave me the opportunity to share my own creative visions and passions, and allowed those compeers (for that is what one society member calls another) with whom my notions resonated to partake in that which I was offering. Much of what I shared with compeers were my bartending skills at twice-monthly speakeasies in the rathskeller, though I had a number of other experiences to tithe had the society lived on. Sadly, it has come to an end. Hasn’t it?

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Games of Nonchalance

By , May 13, 2010

The pay phone is ringing as you reach it, so you quickly answer. The voice on the other end is instantly recognizable as that of Commander 14. He instructs you to begin dancing, and so you dance. From nowhere a breakdancer appears, boom box in hand, and dances with you. Things get really weird when Bigfoot turns the corner and joins the dance. After a few moments, Bigfoot hands you your next clue and he, and the breakdancer, quickly saunter away.

What just happened? How did you end up here? Who is Eva, and where has she gone? Is Octavio Coleman, esq. behind her disappearance? And just where *does* one acquire hobo coinage??? Your quest begins on the 16th floor of 580 California Street in San Francisco.

I want to say so much more, but I cannot. I’ll simply tell you that some time ago a mysterious cult invited me to a free orientation session. Once inducted, I began to notice the divine occurring all around me in a thousand miniscule ways. Soon thereafter, via encoded transmissions from another realm, the Elsewhere Public Works Agency enlisted my help in their ongoing battle against the Jejune Institute, perpetrators of “False Nonchalance.”

If this sounds amazing to you (and believe me, it is amazing), and you are in the Bay Area, visit the Jejune Institute and begin your journey down the rabbit hole.

Whatever you do, and no matter how difficult it may be to resist, do not search for details about any of this. This is probably the funnest way a person can spend an afternoon (or three) San Francisco, for free by the way, and knowing what is coming ahead of time will ruin the entire experience. Googling it before doing it is akin to working a crossword puzzle with the solution in front of you– boring and pointless. Trust me on this. Now go have some fun.

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In Which I Meet Bob Newhart

By , January 13, 2009

Yesterday I was walking about Westwood in search of a place to sit and read. As I walked past a dry cleaner’s shop, out walked Bob Newhart, clean shirts in hand. I did a double-take, and stared for a moment. He had a “yeah, it’s me,” look on his face.

I didn’t know what to say, so I said, “you’re Bob Newhart.”

“Yes, I am,” was his reply. At which point he offered his hand. And I shook it.

I shook Bob Newhart’s hand!

After that, I wasn’t sure where else things could go, so I quickly informed him that I’ve only recently moved to Los Angeles, and he is the first celebrity I’ve truly met, and walked away. I had a huge smile on my face for at least five minutes.

I didn’t mention my encounter with Tim Roth, during which I pretended to mistake him for a store clerk, or the time I randomly sat next to Alia Shawkat (Maebe Funke on Arrested Development) and Ellen Page (Juno in Juno) (who knew they were friends?) at a midnight showing of Harold and Maude, because I didn’t really meet those folks.

Naturally, I texted all my friends immediately afterwards. The few replies I received were either “who is Bob Newhart?” or “isn’t he dead?” So sad. True, he’s before my time, and I only know him because he was one of my mother’s favorite comedians, but come on. He’s an icon! Recently, he played the daddy Elf in Elf, but in the ’60s he was huge. His album of comedy won the 1961 Grammy for album of the year. That’s some Michael Jackson / U2 type action there.

Which makes me realize– no matter how famous you get, you can eventually be forgotten. I bet if I asked random passerby who Rutherford B. Hayes or Zack Taylor were, many of them wouldn’t even know, and they are former leaders of the free world.

That’s it. I’m starting up the Franklin Pierce Fan Club for reals.

Also, Bob Newhart is magical. I have some sort of infection in my right ear, and for a week now it has been swollen shut, but a moment after shaking Bob’s hand, the ear popped open and stayed open for about an hour. It closed back up, but clearly the handshake did more for me than the drops my doctor gave me. I’m going to have to stake out that dry cleaner and hope Bob’s a messy eater.

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What is This? MySpace?

By , January 6, 2006

Since MySpace is all the rage these days, here is the latest ridiculous “survey” that I’ve filled out there, saved here for posterity. And for future embarrassment.

9 lasts.
last cigarette: I don’t smoke, but I had my last pretend cigarette whilst getting air outside at the Chinese Hospital casino bash
last beverage: coffee at Fenton’s
last kiss: friendly? Chloe, unless I kissed Josh tonight. I think I only bundled him up. romantic? Tzuen.
last cd played: actual CD? Brian Jonestown Massacre. Last song, Joy Division is playing now.
last bubble bath: at the Madonna Inn in October of ’04 with She-Who-Shall-Not-Be-Named
last time you cried: this morning :/
last time you laughed: Moments ago whilst foos-balling with a super-stoned Josh

8 have you evers.
have you ever dated one of your best friends: no
have you ever skinny dipped: no. wait, yes. forevs ago
have you ever kissed somebody and regretted it: boy howdy have I ever
have you ever fallen in love: yes
have you ever lost someone you loved: yes
have you ever been depressed: consult previous blogs…
have you ever been drunk and threw up: *nod*
have you ever ran away: no. but ask me again in a couple weeks.

7 states you’ve been to.
1. Alaska
2. New York
3. Michigan
4. Arkansas
6. Hawaii
7. Texas

6 things you’ve done today.
1. got drunk
2. ate cheeseburgers, plural
3. listened to music
4. read comics
5. wilded in the streets with Teddie, Bronson, Kevin, Josh, and Nick
6. sent a fax

5 favorite things in no order.
1. my friends
2. being massaged
3. cooking
4. her, but not the her you think I mean
5. film noir

4 people you can tell [almost] anything to.
1. Teddie
2. Kathryn
3. Chloe
4. Diane

3 wishes.
1. to be happy again
2. to trust again
3. to love again

2 things you want to do before you die.
1. spend time in at least 50 countries
2. find out why

1 thing you regret.
1. trusting her, the bad her

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Guess Who’s Coming to Dinner?

By , February 23, 2005

Today in the car, my Mother and I were discussing that famous question: “If you could have dinner with any three individuals, living or dead, who would you choose?” I began to wonder if one picks say, Julius Caesar or Hammurabi, if a second seat has to be reserved for a translator. I also worried that if I picked too clever a bunch, I’d be left out of the conversation altogether. What do I even have to say that Einstein, Aristotle, or Mozart could give a damn about?

I finally settled on Thomas Jefferson, whom I’d ask to give his opinions of modern day politics through the eyes of a framer of the Constitution, Douglas Macarthur, as he would definitely have some exciting war stories, and Takeru Kobayashi, just to see how much he would eat.

You probably think that answering today’s question is going to require you to compile your own list of three diners, which you are welcome to do, but the real question is yet to come

You see, later on we were listening to the radio and, utterly coincidentally, the host suggested that audience members draft a list of the 20 guests, living or dead, they’d invite to a cocktail party. Suddenly he was talking my language; and though he didn’t specify it, I think that it is assumed that the dead invitees would be somehow plucked from their former lives and placed in the room ready to party. A room full of cadavers does not make for a swanky soiree, and zombies don’t drink cocktails, they are cocktails.

Currently Playing: Oingo Boingo – Dead Man’s Party

I suppose now the question I am about to ask has become a bit more obvious, but here goes: Today’s Question: You can invite 20 historical figures to your cocktail party. Whom do you invite?

I am hard at work on my list, and will post it soon.

How soon is now? Here are my guests. I hope they can all make it! I have alphabetized them so nobody feels bad about being at or near the bottom of the list. Also, I’ve selected ten men and ten women, to balance things out.

Maria Callas
Winston Churchill
Cleopatra
W.C. Fields
Greta Garbo
Cary Grant
Ernest Hemingway
Audrey Hepburn
Hedda Hopper
Veronica Lake
        Douglas MacArthur
Groucho Marx
Marilyn Monroe
Dorothy Parker
Sylvia Plath
Edward G. Robinson
Preston Sturges
Mae West
Oscar Wilde
P. G. Wodehouse

Musical entertainment will be provided by Guy Lombardo and His Royal Canadians.

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Hodge Podge

By , January 5, 2005

Something amusing I heard in an episode of Buffy, the Vampire Slayer:

(Talking about Jonathan)
Andrew: That boy is our last hope.
Warren: No, there is another.
Andrew: Wait, really? Who’s our last hope?
Warren: No, I was just going with it. It was a thing. I… No, he’s our last hope.

Additionally, I’ve another internet quiz result to share with you:

Charon ushers you across the river Acheron, and you find yourself upon the brink of grief’s abysmal valley. You are in Limbo, a place of sorrow without torment. You encounter a seven-walled castle, and within those walls you find rolling fresh meadows illuminated by the light of reason, whereabout many shades dwell. These are the virtuous pagans, the great philosophers and authors, unbaptised children, and others unfit to enter the kingdom of heaven. You share company with Caesar, Homer, Virgil, Socrates, and Aristotle. There is no punishment here, and the atmosphere is peaceful, yet sad.

The Dante’s Inferno Test has sent you to the First Level of Hell – Limbo!
Here is how you matched up against all the levels:

Level Score
Purgatory (Repenting Believers) Very Low
Level 1 – Limbo (Virtuous Non-Believers) Very High
Level 2 (Lustful) Moderate
Level 3 (Gluttonous) Moderate
Level 4 (Prodigal and Avaricious) Very Low
Level 5 (Wrathful and Gloomy) Very Low
Level 6 – The City of Dis (Heretics) Very High
Level 7 (Violent) Moderate
Level 8- the Malebolge (Fraudulent, Malicious, Panderers) Low
Level 9 – Cocytus (Treacherous) Low

Take the Dante’s Inferno Test

I was really hoping I’d be on the glutton level. I don’t get what I did wrong.

Finally, while I’m at it, let me inform everyone that I am worth $2,771,706.00 on HumanForSale.com.

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Enchantment Under the Sea

By , January 4, 2005

I recently shared my living room with you, my gentle readers. Today I would like to invite you into a little place I like to call “Undersea Paradise.” A less fanciful name for it is “the bathroom,” but for the sake of not being weird and hitting up the bathroom together, let’s stick with my chosen moniker.

When I moved into my current apartment, the bathroom was just awful. I wish I’d taken more pictures to prove it, but I only have a few. Here is one of my wonderful sink. Nothing says dark ages better than separate taps for hot and cold water. Burn your hand, freeze your hand, burn your hand, freeze your hand. (I won’t even discuss the nastiness festering in the bottom of that sink, but you can see it in the picture.)

The brush, pink thing and jar came with the apartment.

Original Sink

The “decor” consisted entirely of this fixture below. The prior resident didn’t even leave me any paper on the roll.

Original Toilet Paper Holder

Here’s another “before” shot:

Original Wall

The first thing I did was bust out a crowbar and yank out the old sink. I swapped in a nice, lovely, new one. You will also notice that I put a mirror over the sink. Oddly, there was no mirror above the sink before. Just a plain white wall. I felt like a vampire in the mornings. Where am I?

New Sink

Much better– my hands are no longer simultaneously blistered and frostbitten– but I didn’t stop there. I decided to create an Undersea Paradise. Naturally, that attracted fish, so I had to put up some netting. Oh, look! It attracts crustaceans too:

Fishing Net

Here we see the catch of the day. He’ll be mighty yummy once he’s been basted with something spicy and grilled to perfection:

Catch of the Day

This little fellow insists he belongs; he claims he is a sea monkey:

Sea Monkey

When I moved in, the bathroom lighting consisted of a bare light bulb jutting from the ceiling at an odd angle, so I installed a new light fixture:

Light Fixture

But that wasn’t bright enough, especially for a pretty little Peasprout like me. I must make sure I am appropriately coiffed each day, so I added some vanity lighting:

Vanity Lights

Believe it or not, there was no electrical outlet in the bathroom, so I had to put one in. And yes, I put the main fixture on a dimmer, so I can set that romantic mood. Actually it’s so I can go in there at night and not blind myself once my eyes have grown accustomed to the dark, but it does make for nice bubble baths as well:

Light Switches

The room still wasn’t quite jazzy enough, but some pretty fishy lights around the door frame solved that in a hurry. Thanks Fizzy! You can get a glimpse of the jungle-themed foyer in the background; perhaps I’ll detail that in a future post.

Door Frame

You can’t really tell in any of these pictures, but I also tore down the shower and rebuilt it with new tiles, plaster and grout.

And finally, here is a nice overview of the Underwater Paradise:

Bathroom Overview

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Watch the Monkey

By , October 28, 2004

Not that long ago, while at a local Denny’s, I happened upon a machine filled with stuffed animals, ripe for the plucking. All one need do is pop in a coin to test one’s skill, and possibly win a toy. It seems normal enough, right?

But take a look– do you notice anything unusual about the machine and/or its contents?

Curious George in a Machine

If not, take a closer look:

Curious George is Dead!

Now do you see? The animals are DEAD! Curious George has gone blue in the face, as have his stuffing-filled chums. The Denny’s folks forgot to feed the animals! Shame on them.

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