Yesterday, my coworker Dan Bolles mentioned to me in passing that GWAR, the scat, sex and sci-fi-loving shock rock band, would be judging the 14th annual dog Halloween costume contest at Burton on Tuesday. Come again? You mean GWAR, of the 3-foot protruding phalluses and gigantic swinging ball sacs? Yes, the very same. They happened to be in town for a show at Higher Ground Tuesday night. Well, I knew what I was doing on Tuesday afternoon.
GWAR about to devour a Burton employee’s pooch.
When I arrived at Burton’s flagship store in Burlington, the lobby was packed and three members of GWAR — Oderus Urungus, Balsac the Jaws of Death and Beefcake the Mighty — sat around a table, warming up the crowd before the contest, which served as a fundraiser for Burton’s affliate Chill program. I’m not sure how to put into words the absurdity of the scene — hoodied bros and girls with neon wayfarers atop their heads crowding around these all-powerful interplanetary man-beasts who stood about 8 feet tall.
Without one shred of irony, Oderus, the band’s lead singer, laid down the judging matrix: a 1 to 10 scale based on creativity, originality and overall costume awesomeness. Special bonus points would be given to owners who dressed like their dogs, or vice versa.
Recently, I’ve been asking myself the question in this post’s title. Why do people hate safety? What is so offensive about trying to be safe and not die a bloody, mangled mess? Perhaps I should explain what I’m talking about.
For the past couple months, the GF and I have been volunteering for the Safe Streets Collaborative, a partnership between Local Motion and the Burlington Police Department, as well as other community members and organizations. The point of the collaborative is just like it sounds — to make streets safer for everyone using them. Sounds pretty inoffensive to me. Again, I ask who doesn’t like safety.
Apparently, this guy didn’t like safety, and look what became of him.
Our volunteering has taken the form of “intersection intervention,” or as I call it Bike Light Recon. Basically, that means that we and other bike nerds stand on busy corners at night and flag down cyclists who do not have lights on their bikes. In Burlington, it is required that people have a flashing white light on the front of their bike and at least a reflector in the back. Most people don’t know this is a city statute, thus the point of the Bike Light Recon. It’s all about Ed-U-Cation.
Also the point of Bike Light Recon — making the streets safer for cars, pedestrians, cyclists, wheelchairs, old people, people who are infirm, dogs, squirrels, etc. But apparently that is offensive to people. I’ll explain.
If you haven’t seen the video of the Giant Pumpkin Regatta, featuring your very best friend, me, I would encourage you to check it out.
Sunday marked the first time I have ever sat inside a giant piece of produce. It also marked the first time I have ever rowed a giant piece of produce on Lake Champlain. But when you’re a celebrity like me, you participate in quaint community activities like this, if only to give the fan(s) what they want — a sighting of me in the flesh. I also sign autographs at Borders on Saturday afternoons and give readings of my work at the University Mall Wednesday nights and alternate Tuesday mornings.
That’s me, representing the 7D Crew, goopy-gourd styley.
Anyway, since I was deemed the “sportiest” Seven Dayser, it was my responsibility to represent the word factory in Sunday’s Giant Pumpkin Regatta, which raised money for Linking Learning to Life — some program meant to help keep kids out of jail or something. I was happy to oblige, since it meant not only did I get to flap around in the water, but I also got to dress up. Yippee!
I decided my costume would be functional and fashionable, so snorkeling gear made the most sense. If I was going in the drink, as least I wouldn’t get water in my eyes. Maybe I could even catch a glimpse of a zebra mussel or two underwater. I borrowed a wetsuit and fancy snorkel set from a friend and somehow squeezed my way into the three millimeter neoprene. And because no costume is complete without a wig, my boss graciously provided one from her enviable collection of fake hair.
According to the city’s paper of record, the Burlington Free Press, MTV’s “The Real World” is coming a-knockin’ on lil’ ol’ Burlington’s door. They’re looking to cast folks for their 24th season of the “reality” show, considered the granddaddy of the genre, and the longest-running program on MTV, formerly known as the station that played music videos.
The photo above is what the “Real World” looks like in Cancun, Mexico, minus the barrios and aching poverty.
Now, I know what you’re wondering — what is this “real world” of which you speak, Lauren? The cruel world where people get laid off from their jobs, can’t afford health care and get caught in poverty’s downward spiral? No, I mean the real world of cheerleaderish post-teens with preternaturally sparkling teeth named Ashleeye and Madysonne whose problems range from where to get the best California wax to figuring out which alcohol will get them drunk without making them fat.