Friday, September 26, 2008

Boxers 'n' Briefs: I Lived, I Breathed

Hello, Intrepid Boxers!

This isn't going to be a "normal" BnB (like ANYTHING I do is "normal"). Normal is gone, out the door. Has no meaning any more. You see, I went to the most amazing "event" of my life. I went to "Live and Breathe".

To say that it was a great experience would be like saying ArchimedesScrew is an okay carver, or that SHH kinda likes Star Wars, or that Shiloh talks a little funny - it completely falls short of the mark. I know that all of you who didn't go are probably getting a little tired of hearing everyone go on about it, and for that I do apologize. But maybe if I just outline a bit of what the weekend was like for me, you can get a feel for what a unique and bizarre and uproarious and magical time we had. Note: Forgive me if I get a few details wrong - much of the weekend was a blur...

I arrived at Portland Airport (PDX) Thursday morning, and was soon met by my wonderful hostess, Maiden, as well as Poodle Dudes, Woohoo Crew, and a very funny woman wearing a shirt with the words "HI WASSA!" emblazoned on it - whom I immediately KNEW was Ki from Spiralseekers (Hi Ki!). After throwing my prodigious luggage into the back of the LetterVan, they immediately spirited me away to one of the local Letterboxing hotspots - Ikea. We quickly snagged a couple of boxes outside the store, checked the time (Shiloh was arriving at PDX shortly after me), and decided we had time to get the box INSIDE Ikea.

Ikea Mistake #1: although Maiden is a master of directions in the woods, her internal GPS gets a bit fuzzy inside Big Box stores.

Her "shortcuts" really only allowed us to roam in endless circles more efficiently. The good news was, we kept passing by these big bins of FREE LITTLE PENCILS, and I could grab another handful and stuff them into my cargo pockets with each pass.

Ikea Mistake #2: those little pencils are SHARP when you shove your hand in your pocket.

Once we eventually extricated ourselves from the clutches of Swedish Urban Design, we hopped in the LetterVan and headed back to PDX to pick up Shiloh. Shiloh was easy to spot, due to the combination of Mountain Man facial hair and blatant "Arkansas" T-shirt. Naturally, we passed right by the first time without noticing him. Apparently the "internal GPS" has trouble at airports, too.

Let me get this out of the way right now: Shiloh and I have been communicating online for a few years now, and when L&B was first announced, we immediately decided we would be "roomies". Although no doubt he regrets that decision, I gotta say that Shi is one of the nicest, funniest, most pleasant-to-be-around people I have ever met, and it was a blast hanging out with him for the weekend. Here's to you, buddy! (Yes, he bribed me to say that with a bottle of homemade mead.)

Back to Ikea, while waiting for Sits N Knits' plane to arrive. Shiloh headed out to get the boxes while the rest of us hung back doing exchanges, and in a harbinger of how the rest of the weekend would go, while we were in the parking lot, Lord and Lady Bug approached us (having noted the stamping frenzy) for even more stamp carnage.

Back in the LetterVan, back to PDX for SnK, more hugs and exchanges and luggage, and (although we CONTEMPLATED one more swing by Ikea) off to meet some other boxers for lunch! Lunch was at a WONDERFUL little English pub somewhere in some area somewhat near somewhere. (Apparently, now MY internal GPS was a bit off as well). We met, to my total surprise and incredible delight, with Lock Wench (my gosh... THE LW!! Excitement was in the air, or at least in the beer), as well as Kreepy Kelli, Dragonrider, the Wildcats, and other boxing luminaries. More exchanges, more laughter, and MORE BEER!

Pile back in the LetterVan, off to pick up Maiden's kids from school. But wait - who is there at the school? MORE BOXERS! We waved to the lovely and Happy Papaya as well as Dorks Anonymous of demxxmen as we barreled through campus on our way to... more letterboxes! Note: in a remarkable feat of skill and cunning (and spoonfeeding) I was actually able to be a First Finder on a Portland Letterbox! Woot!

After that... more letterboxes (in particular, a puzzle clue that I had solved months before but never thought I would get the opportunity to find - the spectacular "Hoot and Cheer" by demxxmen). Then meeting up with some more letterboxers, flurries of exchanges, and (eventually) some of that world-famous PNW Night Boxing.

Eventually, it occured to us that we had not eaten. Back into the LetterVan, and off to a pizza parlor and MORE BEER! The cast of zany characters at this point included me, Maiden, Shiloh, Papaya, Tonx of demxxmen, and Kreepy Kelli. Much hilarity ensued, most of which cannot be published on a family-friendly blog, but culminated in several "emergency" calls to Dorks Anonymous informing him of the preponderance of certain phone numbers being tattooed on certain body parts of certain people... it's really best not to ask too many questions...

To the LetterVan, and crashing at dear hostess Maiden's house.

It is here I would like to point out that L&B had not even STARTED yet! Hmmm, this could be a long post...

Friday morning - L&B Day!! Shiloh and I drag ourselves into the LetterVan, while Maiden, distressingly perky for it being o early, took us to a local Fred Myers (yet another mega store) for coffee and donuts. Here, she also made us run around the store looking for the most pungent, muskiest smelling liquid we could find for a special "odor-clue" night box. Nothing like "stealth" when you are shouting across half the store "Hey, Shiloh! Come sniff this, it's really stinky!"

Finally, after snagging a couple more boxes, we arrived at Camp Adams. We were there early, since Buppsters had conscripted Shiloh and I to be "Parking Monkeys". My job, such as it was, was to greet cars as they came up the dirt road, point to the big building right in front of people's faces telling them that was where they needed to go, and making sure they knew their License Plate numbers for registration purposes. I had a blast "working", since I got a great chance to meet all the wonderful boxers from all over the country before the real madness began! I tend to get a little excited under such circumstances, and spent a good deal of this time bouncing up and down as all the famous trailnames I had been dreaming about passed through!

I realize this post is getting to be pretty long, and we are JUST starting in on the actual Live and Breathe event... so, since the rest of the weekend was a bit of a blur, and to give you, the reader, a well-deserved reprieve, let's just stick to the highlights...

- I got to meet Der Mad Stamper and Raqs Enigma. There had been much speculation that if DMS and I ever got into the same room, the universe would implode. Fortunately, this did not actually occur.

- I got to meet (insert Incredibly Long List of Trailnames here), and they were WONDERFUL!

- Letterboxing. An INCREDIBLE amount of Letterboxing, at all times of the day and night. Miles and miles of gorgeous Oregon wilderness trails, wonderfully written clues, amazing stamps by boxers from across the nation, clever hiding spots... really, no words to describe it all.

- The Campfire. The skits, songs, bagpipes, and flutes were all tremendous fun. Much to everyone's chagrin, I got to perform a "sing-along" song, as well as a new song I wrote called "The Live and Breathe Song" (catchy title, huh?) Special thanks to Light-Girl (aka Lexi-bug). Also thanks to KuKu for the use of her Magical Guitar, which amazingly didn't hit too many bad notes.

- Some people will do almost anything for a PT. Like lick a banana slug, for instance. Just sayin'.

- When you are wearing a giant pair of boxer shorts, people are hesitant to shake your hand.

- When night boxing in said giant pair of boxer shorts, be careful where you stick your flashlight. Or your head.

- When you see kitten without mittens, do an exchange RIGHT THEN, because you may not get another chance :(

- Festivus is my new favoritest holiday.

- Capperpillars are cute

- It was absolutely unbelievable the amount of work, creativity, and love of the sport (and the people) that the Committee and volunteers and helpers put into this. I am agog with gratitude.

- It IS possible to laugh for four days straight.

- Lock & Locks can fly like frisbees, but they bounce like rubber balls... sorry about that, Maiden!! Samurai Stamper made me throw it!!

- deniserows makes INCREDIBLE logbooks.

- I spent an amazing amount of time doing exchanges and visiting old and new friends, and it wasn't NEARLY enough.

- Magic happens.

- Mark Pepe said it in his blog, and I couldn't agree more... "It's All About the People!!!"

Ok, really, I must sound like I am blathering on about now. I want to thank everyone who made my L&B experience so wonderful (which would be everyone there)... and thanks for indulging me in this non-traditional Boxers 'n' Briefs.

-wassamatta_u

18 Comments:

At 1:51 PM, Blogger Danny said...

Jealous....

 
At 2:34 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

We want to go back and start all over again.....even knowing how much PAIN would be awaiting our feet by Sunday night. Seeing you first as we drove into Camp Adams, we were sure the fun would be nonstop. It was, and the beat goes on every time we think about the people, the boxes, and the forest trails.
Grumpy Grinch

 
At 3:15 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Wassa... great to finally meet you and realize that you are NEVER without a smile or grin!

BTW... you look great wearing the shower curtains... uh... you failed to mention this in your blog!!!

Bandaid

 
At 3:27 PM, Blogger wassamatta_u said...

They were BOXER SHORTS, not a shower curtain! Sheesh.. :)

 
At 3:58 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

great job describing the weekend wassa. my cheeks actually hurt from laughing so much. can you say Puckernut? see ya when i get back to the bay area. anyone up for another boxing Partez?

 
At 4:57 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

You captured the event perfectly!! But, I have to say, my favorite 'exchange' of all is my shilohsamatta u!!

Happy Festivus!

 
At 6:34 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

hey, i finally got mentioned in wassa's boxers~n~briefs blog..
the live and breathe gathering was awesome. i havent smiled and laughed that much in a long time. it was great to finally meet wassa, and shiloh too.
p.s. i need the recipe for the "puckernut" squash lasagna..

dragonrider

 
At 6:59 PM, Blogger wassamatta_u said...

Remember... getting mentioned means you are eligible for the dubious honor of owning a "BnB Patch"! Woohoo!

 
At 10:28 PM, Blogger Smiley said...

Can't wait to show Lexi Bug that she's in your blog. We both really enjoyed meeting you. I think her head is a little bigger after all the attention she got at L&B. It was great fun!

Smiley

 
At 10:44 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

it was truly an amazing event
yup it is about the people,
I am truly amazed about the patriotism of those who travel from afar! Those east coasters are amazing!! and you know, Trailblazers clan travelled with vegetable oil and how many people in their van!!!!
dedication maximilius!

And Shiloh's voice,my favourite visit that left me laughing was at your table for an exchange with you wassa, shiloh and your 'crew', crazy, crazy bunch.
Hmm, maybe that is why the green tortuga stayed away...**grin**
pilgrims in this land

 
At 12:20 AM, Blogger shiloh said...

I talk funny?...huh, I never noticed.

 
At 6:15 AM, Blogger Wildcats said...

Wassa we had so much fun spoofing you , was wonderful to meet you ! How was your goodnight bunk at the end of the day .Wish it had not had to end the people we met and the boxes we got ! Laughter was abound for all to grab.
Wildcats

 
At 7:38 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hi Wassa

KI

 
At 3:10 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Everyone kept asking us all weekend: "Are you guys getting a chance to you enjoy yourselves too?"

Admittedly, we committee members didn't get to go boxing with everyone, and none of got nearly as many exchanges as we would have liked, but trust me, we all enjoyed ourselves IMMENSELY. Just to hear how good a time people had, and to see the cameraderie and smiling faces has been MORE than enough reward. And getting to finally meet the likes of you, Wassa, well that was definitely one of the highlights of MY weekend!

I don't know if I'll ever be able to find the words to articulate just how lucky I feel to have been a part of creating this event and bringing everyone together, but it has just been of the best, most amazing feelings in the world, and SO worth all the sleep deprivation.

Thanks so much for your recap Wassa, it's so great to get a glimpse of what it was like through a guest's eyes! And I do still hold on to my fear that if you and DMS spend any real time together, the world really is in danger - lucky for the rest of us that both of you were too occupied to have the opportunity for anything more than a couple of minutes together at a time!

-Raqs

 
At 9:48 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Thanks for the good times,I too had perma-grin the entire time!I had SO much fun in the PNW,now to plot our return . . .

Where's my B&B Patch?!?I even showed you my briefs!

 
At 9:22 AM, Blogger Kris said...

It was great meeting you, Wassa, and an honor to escort you back to the airport at the end of the event. Not that we wanted you to leave...

Live & Breathe was a never-to-be-forgotten event, that's for sure. Thanks for capturing it all so well here!

Bookworm

 
At 9:09 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Thanks for summing it all up for all of us! It was great to meet everyone and I really enjoyed wearing your GIANT briefs. If only we'd found you while we all had your undies on... Alex of the Drs. B.
p.s.: As one of the pipers do I get a patch since "bagpipes" were mentioned? :)
p.p.s.: Tana and I have a puckernut recipe book in prep.

 
At 11:25 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

The energy is palpable!

 

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