Basically, what Flipside is, is a regional Burning Man event; this means there are some things mandated by law that must occur. Namely, the following: there must be loud music played through large speaker systems throughout most of the night and into the morning. This music does not have to be techno or other "sneaker in a dryer" music, but that is encouraged. There must be people humping in public. There must be flirtations. There must be crazy hippie dancing. There must be free snacks (yay!). You must summarily ignore the part of the Survival Guide where it talks about drinking enough water, use half of your allotment for washing your hair after they turn off the showers, become dehydrated and grumpy, yell at your significant other, and then OD on Trader Joe's Tastybites and coconut macaroons while sitting morosely in a folding camping chair and watching people in crinoline skirts wander past you with pupils dilated to the size of hubcaps.
I didn't do the last one, which means my Burning Man License will be summarily revoked. On the bright side, I did a lot of other stuff that was equally fun. For example, I sunburned my nipples in a reverse bathing suit pattern, caused by me wearing a bikini top, spraying myself with sunscreen, then removing the bikini top when we went into the water and forgetting to re-apply. This meant that I spent a lot of time feeling like an idiot and rubbing aloe on myself, which was a fun way to pass the time in between looking at the FANTASTICALLY AWESOME musical Tesla coil project that was hooked up to a Midi generator and a drum kit. The electricity made the Tesla coils play different tones so they actually played music along with whatever was playing on the computer, only instead of notes, it made vibrating electrical humming. That would have been enough awesome for me until they played the BUFFY THEME SONG. And also THE DOCTOR WHO THEME SONG. Burners are SCAdians, except with more electrical engineering, and less clothes.
The neat thing about this event was that it was right outside Austin, TX. I've never been to Texas before, and I wasn't sure if I should expect to be dragged behind a pickup truck for having pink hair. Instead, everyone was super friendly and had a lot more tattoos than me, and rarely drawled. There might have been some drooling, but I think that was from the heat.
We didn't spend much time in Austin city proper, mostly because we were there to be at Flipside (slogan: "I want to come out of the portapotties and behold the glory!")(or possibly: "More Peace, Less Hippies"). Imagine everything you do at Burning Man or Pennsic (except shop, if you're thinking Pennsic) and picture doing it in a lazily tree-covered terrain with a killer limestone overhang lake, populated by swallows, with a lot fewer people (only 2345 people at Flipside this year) and a lot less enormous art projects.
When we did go into Austin, we did all the things you're supposed to do: went to the Capital Building and eavesdropped on the remarkably patriarchally biased speech given by the tour guide about the "successful defeat" of the Mexicans, accomplished primarily by slaughtering them while they were asleep. We ate barbecued ribs with our fingers and wiped our hands on our shirts. I wiped my hands on Justin's shirt when he wasn't looking. We spontaneously decided to drive to the Alamo in San Antonio, where we were lucky enough to see an old, fat, grey-haired man with an old-man striped shirt holding hands with a blonde, busty, nineteen year old in a short skirt that was definitely not his granddaughter. We were unlucky enough to see the actual Alamo, but that's okay, because at least it was really boring.
I got to have an authentic Texan policeman experience, when I received a moving violation for something completely bogus. If only I had been of a different ethnic background, I might have been able to get beaten up as well! Missed opportunities. Anyone want to give me $150 to pay my stupid ticket? Yeah, I don't even want to pay my stupid ticket.
On Monday evening, which was my birthday, I not only taught an excellent workshop at Z-Helene's studio, but ingested large quantities of super-delicious Mexican food at Polvo's. I wanted to bathe in their mole. I've had mole before and was always like, "Dude, what's the big deal with mole?" I'm here to tell you that if you do not go get mole chicken tacos from Polvo's, your existence is purposeless and bland. Although you could argue the same thing about their other food, which may not be good for you, but at least it's fattening. Why put chorizo on something if it doesn't also have cheese, seems to be their motto, and I can get behind that the 200% of weight I would gain if I ate there regularly. Then Justin did the rat-bastard thing boyfriends do on your birthday, which caused many waiters, some random small children, and a few excited other diners to show up at our table banging pans together, hitting cookie sheets with ladles, and singing Happy Birthday.
We waddled from Polvo's over to La Mexicana, the bakery right next door, purchased some Tres Leches, and ate it enthusiastically back at the Super 8. Then we fell asleep. It was great. The sleeping, I mean, although the Tres Leches was good too. Bet you can't guess what the three milks are. Here's a hint: the milk of human kindness is not one of them. Neither is breast milk. Alas.
Austin is awesome. It's easy to get around, except for the ridiculous ticketing. It's pretty and clean and full of pretty, clean people. It's so hot that I felt like my head would melt and drip onto my shoes. And it's possible that the entire experience was colored by finally getting to spend some time with Justin, after way too long without him. But generally, Austin was fun. Now, I have to go peel the flaking skin off my nipples.
(Also, by the way, you need to go watch this. It's only the funniest video ever, for anyone who's ever been to any large scale camping event. This can include music festivals like Coachella, Rainbow Festivals, or that big party you had in your friend Mitch's backyard)