TwistNHook: Well, one decision down, one more to go. Hopefully, this one goes in Cal's favor, at least. And in anticipation of the judge's ruling, on Saturday, CBKWit and I decided to head over to Ohlone Park in Berkeley to check out the GrandMamas. Yes, former NBA great and geriatric cross dresser Larry Johnson was out there. Berkeley Larry Johnsons For Trees was doing "Special Activism Training" in anticipation of the injunction being lifted. We were the Mole, trying to take them down from the inside. *taps nose*
When we got there, it was a little ways in to the event. And apparently there was already some tension brewing. One guy raised his hand to be called on, but the leader dude told him he didn't want to hear from him. It........was awkward.
"URKEL, WE MUST DEFEND THE TREE-SITTERS!"
CBKWit: Yeah, the leader came down hard on his subordinate: "Bro, you're responding every time and going on and on. You need to let other people talk too." His egalitarianism challenged, the upstart hippie fired back with one of the greatest hippie insults: "I just think that you don't like your authority being challenged." "No, bro, you can challenge my authority, but let other people have their space too."
Eventually, the insubordinate hippie was able to relay his urgent message: "I'm a martial artist, and as a martial artist my weapon of choice is the long bo." At first I thought he meant a bow and arrow combo, which would have been hilarious. Instead, as I learned from his display with a virtual bo, he meant a bamboo staff. He eagerly demonstrated the various ways in which a bamboo staff could be used, to a mixture of skepticism and approval from his fellow warriors. All of this took place within 5 minutes of our arrival. Twist, attending this conclave was your best idea since you hired Longshore to officiate your wedding!
TwistNHook: I'm not sure how great hiring Longshore was. He started off great, but remember when he said pronounced me "Husband And 4th Quarter Interception." It was just so odd. Starting off well and then fading at the end. That just didn't seem like him.
But anyway yeah, Mr. Martial Artist was crazy hilarious. They were all crazy hilarious. I loved the suggestion right after that about dumping urine on arborists. Not just any arborists, but the arborists cutting down the Memorial Stadium Oak Grove trees. The dude's logic was as follows:
1. Police will be hiring arborists to do this job, which they (the police) cannot easily do.
2. These arborists love trees SO much that they will be hesitant to carry out the job for which they have been hired and paid. They are the weak link in the system here.
3. So, if we can make their job as unpleasant as possible (i.e. the non-violent action of dumping generally sterile urine on them) maybe they will go "My love for trees is too strong! I must resist this highly unpleasant and emotionally devastating job. I am an arborist! I REFUSE TO CUT DOWN THIS TREE! THE TREE-SITTERS MAY STAY!"
Oh man was it fun!
At that point, they were discussing various different scenarios. What is violent and what is non violent? What would you do and what wouldn't you do? And you had to get into 1 of four squares. Violent and would do. Violent and wouldn't do. Non-violent and would do. Non-violent and wouldn't do. That way they could gauge what people were willing to do. We generally stayed in the "wouldn't do" section. Just being honest.
They had a series of different scenarios. Like would you throw rocks at the police? Would you destroy police equipment? One woman randomly at one point said "Look, I'm going to throw this out there, but this is just a comfort thing that I have. If people are throwing molotov cocktails or other incendiary devices, I'm not going to be there. I'm sorry, but that's how I feel."
Fair enough, old woman. Fair enough. I was going to throw a molotov cocktail, but now I guess not. Especially since I had one in my hands at the time. Ai! I had to quickly dispose of it, lest I anger a local grandmother and perhaps blow our cover. Bummer!
Perhaps the most hilarious situation erupted when the leader introduced the scenario "Would you wear masks?"
HydroTech: I'm definitely in the "would throw molotov cocktails" group.
I think Longshore is in the "would throw touchdowns" group.
TwistNHook: Hey Hydro, maybe if you had shown up on Saturday, you could comment on this. Bitch.
HydroTech: Hey, don't be bitter at me. You are just mad, because you love nothing more than evicting sweet old grandmothers. And losing cases. Have you ever even won a case at all? Jeez, you are just mad, because no matter how many crazy grandmothers you chillaxed with on Saturday, you couldn't evict anybody.
TwistNHook: Wow, Hydro, you know how to cut me deep. You are like a miniature Buddha, covered in Longshore's manjuices.
CBKWit: I'm not sure winless is the right term, Hyrdo. When Twist loses a case, the grandmothers don't get evicted. They win! Plus, when he loses a case, we get to make fun of him. We win! I guess the only person who loses here is Twist, but it's only his life. And the life of the woman who for some insane reason hitched her previously rising star to his. At least we get entertainment value and old ladies get to keep their houses. And she'll get half someday. Although half of 4 Marshawn jerseys probably isn't all that much.
I don't have children (hopefully), so I can't really say what a gentile child's face looks like on Christmas morning. That said, I'm pretty sure it's what subordinate hippie's face looked like when the suggestion of covering their faces to conceal their identities was made. His eyes just lit up. It was the closest thing to pure joy I've seen since HydroTech watched Nasty Nate throw a pass away to prevent a sack.
You see, subordinate hippie is not just a martial artist. Far from it: "I am a mask maker, I went to school to learn to make masks." A 10 minute discussion on masks ensued. It was like watching people act out this blog.
TwistNHook: Yeah, I liked how the Martial Artist guy wanted to make all smiling masks. Creepiest facial expression ever! My favorite "Martial Artist" bit was when his dog (which was illegally off leash) was chased by another dog. The other dog barked loudly right at his dog. So, what did Martial Artist/Mask Maker do? He leaned in a barked loudly right back at this other dog. He was the best, ever! Ever! Ever! He didnt even seem to listen to other people. He'd ramble on and then when it was others turn to talk wander off to see his dog or smoke. Ever!
And he kept bringing up the bamboo long bo thing, much to the consternation of many of the genuine tree-sitters there (like the woman who I interviewed months back in the trees, but was there again Saturday). I was stunned when he asked "Who else would want to have a bamboo long bo for Wednesday?" and more than 0 other people raised their hand. Who are these people!?!?!?!
CBKWit: I think my favorite quote from the entire meeting, though, was from the urine guy. As the interactive 4 square violent/non violent box was being explained, he reprimanded the hippie king: "You're assigning values to violent and non-violent. You're saying that violence is good and non-violence is bad. Violence is nature! Non-violence is nature!" I must have skipped that Philosophy 1 lecture.
I know it sounds pretty easy to just stand there and listen to the gems being tossed out every 5 minutes, but Twist and I weren't just observers. No, the role of embedded reporters is to participate in and experience the action as well as report on it. And participate we did.
TwistNHook: Yes, we participated. We participated in the hassle line. That's where we all lined up in two lines facing each other. One line was the "unshaved tree-hugging protester." One line was the "evil robo-cop." So, first I had to pretend to protect the trees from the cops. I was lined up with this old grandmama. She basically just walked into me and tried to keep walking. I just stood there. I didnt understand what to do, so she told me to act dumb. I started doing some Dane Cook shtick. It was the dumbest possible thing I could conceive of. Well, either that or shitting myself. But Dane Cook might be possibly dumber.
Can I just say that I love to do Dane Cook material in Court. The judges can never tell the difference between his act and dense legal jargon.
Next, we mixed it up. I was the cop and the woman got to play dumb with me. She mostly just said she was there to support the cops (!?!?) and/or starting singing. I was hoping to get a moment to talk to her about her thoughts. But she WOULDNT STOP SINGING! I never got a chance for a real one on one moment to find out more about these people's thoughts. :(!
Afterwards, we discussed what we had learned from the hassle line (like something inane called voice modulation). One protester claimed that the police would be more afraid of them than they were of the police. I think she might have been confusing the police with bears. And I doubt that the police were going to be afraid of this ragtag group, even if it was full of large black men cross dressing as elderly women. Consider that most of the people dressed as elderly women were ACTUALLY elderly women, and, well, the whole fear angle might have been overblown.
Then, we worked on pain compliance. If the cops tried to control the protesters with pressure points, what to do in return? Well, if they go after your neck, pretend its a Night At The Roxbury. And if they go after your wrist, try to flip your arm out of that hold. So, we tried that. I grabbed CBKWit's pasty white caucasian wrist with my strongest grip and he........easily flipped out.
So, then he grabbed my Semitic SuperStud wrist and I......couldn't budge. I couldn't believe it. Was I weaker than I had imagined while staring shirtless into the mirror????? No, it....couldn't be. CBKWit must just have some sort of massive hidden forearm strength.
And that's reason 1,043 why you will NEVER give me a handjob, CBKWit.................again.
CBKWit:I'm sorry I emasculated you in front of the grandmas/hippies/grandma hippies, Twist. Being egalitarian and accepting of everyone, I don't think they held it against you. I did tell Marshawn about it later, however, and he said that you remind him of Patrick Chung. If you want to win his respect back, I think you know what to do: grab your long bo, your best mask, and head out to the (non-historic non-protected university installed landscaping project) oak grove on wednesday. And bring a spare bucket of urine, if you can.
TwistNHook: It was a very "Only In Berkeley" afternoon, planning on defending some tree-sitters from police. That doesn't happen at Wazzu or Tennessee or UMass. Unique like FUCK! Only in Berkeley! I love it!
I'd like to finish this short roundtable with this thought: Why is there a giant red tuning fork in downtown Berkeley at Center and Shattuck? And how long has that been there? Because I don't remember seeing a giant red tuning fork in the middle of the street when I was going to Berkeley!??! Ai! Whose idea was it for a cartoonishly oversized tuning fork as public art? Tevs. As for photos, I was only able to get this one:
I didn't want to ruin our cover (of "former" Cal students interested in the tree-sitters) by just taking a bunch of photos. Especially since I'm guessing that most of the people there were "hesitant" to be photoed. It is unfortunate as there were many amazing photo opportunities that were missed, esp. during the hassle line. And lord knows I wanted to bring back a photo of Martial Artist/Mask Maker. Oh well. GO BEARS!