Like the computer said, “Take a deep breath and relax.” Let’s take this time-out time to do our own Nonchalantic Assessment.

1.) I was Beyond Happy that there seemed to be no ad campaign behind everything. This concern grew out of reading about other ARGs sponsored by delicious, life-giving HFCS-infused water conglomerates or the like.

2.) Things reminded me of things. Certain aspects rang little bells in my mind. For instance, the walkabout reminded me of something the band ”Sudden Sway” did in 1990. Below is a a comment posted on another site by one “Ken C.”; for a more thorough exploration of the exploration, please read Sudden Sway: Neuro-Activity Modules and Klub Londinium.

Klub Londinium was the best thing they ever did. It was an exercise in psychogeography in which you walked the city in someone else’s shoes. Having completed a personality assessment questionaire, you were assiged to a tour for a quite different personality. They decided I was an Outsider, so sent me on the Hedonist tour. The cassette contained two voices, one giving directions and factual, historical information about London, the other representing the interior monologue of the ‘raver’ driving himself to despair in pursuit of the good time that must be going on somewhere else. The tour began at Charing Cross station and led through Soho and Mayfair, describing this history of the Crystal Rooms in Leicester Square, the location of the first strip show in London, Sheeky’s restaurant, the location of private gambling clubs, 18th century brothels, and much else. A tremendous amount of research must have gone into into the tours. ¶ I bought the tapes for the other tours: the “Mystic” personality (a satire on new-age nonsense the led around Regents Park and up Parliament Hill); Materialist (through the City, St Katherines Dock and the yuppie housing in Docklands, ending in Tobacco Dock) and, the best I think, the Outsider tour, an eternal wanderer’s search for a home, through Spitalfields and Brick Lane, ending at the Geffrye Museum. ¶ The degree of synchronisation between the taped speech in your head and what you saw in front of you was often uncanny; graffiti on the walls was read to you as you passed; an electronic tone representing the onset of a migraine kicked in as you emerged from the shadow of a building into the sunshine; the sound of footsteps following you as you walked through a long tunnel in a dodgy part of Shoreditch. ¶ I love Sudden Sway.

3.) But other things do not. The fact that this is a living, breathing entity – that I can, at any time, tell someone to go to a certain address to get started on the whole adventure makes this a very rare, special thing, and I’m not even sure it’s ever been done before. Occasionally I dug around the ARG phenom but it mostly seemed to be centered around a large amount of geographically-diverse people on computers using brute force to solve ridiculously complex puzzles. I already spend enough time in front of this damned silver rectangle, I thought to myself while tapping on same about same.

Back to Drybones. He was a faithful attendee of Just Outside Of The Game Developer’s Conference at the Moscone Center, so EPWA members were able to trek over there and interact with him. People were sent on tiny missions chatting up a Jejune representative who was clearly performing bad juju. After bringing back information and/or some of the contact’s evil rocks, people were given an EPWA card and perhaps An Other Thing. Jason was given a two-part device used to contact Commander 14 consisting of a doll’s head and (I believe) a toy walkie-talkie.

Of course, while all of this has been happening, the Unfiction forum had been going full steam. Capt. King wrote an entry on Unfiction that encompassed the situation succinctly:

Nonchalance is the idea that we are all one, we are all a community of people who work together for a greater whole. Though some may see Nonchalance as a culture that does nothing but promote laziness and uncaring, it actually allows us to become closer with one another. Though the methods of the Nonchalants seem strange to some, they are actually living the life they want while not worrying about what others say ... a type of inner peace if you will. Eva Lucien is the human incarnation of this idea of nonchalance. Years ago, many people came together to share this view, creating the Savants. The Savants and Eva metaphorically represent what San Francisco USED to be. A city full of culture, anti-establishment, and nonchalance (you see this in the current act when you are asked to look into a little window and see San Francisco ... little Eva says that is her).

The Jejune Institute’s ultimate goal is to deliver artificial Nonchalance (or False-Nonchalance according to EPWA) to the masses using polywater, and other devices. A corporate bastardization of Nonchalance if you will. This parallels the cultural “destruction” of San Francisco via corporate invasion of small neighborhoods, such as the big box store moving into the Mission District. Seeing that the culture of Nonchalance was beginning to disappear, the last remaining Nonchalants came together and created the Elsewhere Public Works, looking to Eva as their “savior.” Eva could be viewed as a possible “jesus” of Nonchalance.

Ultimately, I believe when/if we find Eva, we can bring “nonchalance” back into the city of San Francisco and make it the community it once was ... well at least in the Lore of this experience. All the while, we become part of this “nonchalant” world by exploring areas of San Francisco and appreciating the culture that has been lost to our corporate “jejune” world.

So Eva isn’t Coit Tower. Heh.

Shortly thereafter, five people were asked to attend a mysterious EPWA meeting in San Francisco.

Jason 7au’s recounting of the EPWA induction ceremony
April 15th, 2009 at 101 Music, 513 Green Street, North Beach, SF

  Date: Wed, 8 Apr 2009 17:06:53 -0700 (PDT)
  Subject: .:: !! EPWA :: URGENT MESSAGE :: CALL TO ACTIVATION !! ::.

  : : : : : : : : : ::::: : : : : : : : : ::::: : : : : : : : : ::::: : : :
  : : : : : ::::: : : : : : : : : : : : : : : : : : ::::
  : : : : : : : : : : {{{ URGENT MESSAGE :: CALL TO ACTIVATION  }}}: : : : :
  : :
  : : : : : : : : : :::::: : : : : : : : : :::::: : : : : : : : : :::::: : :
  : : : : : : :::::: : : : : : : : : :::::: : : : : : :
  : : : : : : : : : ::::: : : : : : : : : ::::: : : : : : : : : ::::: : : :
  : : : : : ::::: : : : : : : : : : : : : : : : : : ::::
    !! !!  7au, this is your call to activation !! !! :   : : : : : : : : :
  :   : : : : : : : : :
    !! !! for the good of all Nonchalants !! !!  : : : : : : : : : :   : : :
  : : : : : : :   : : : : : : :
  : : : : :  : : : : : : : : : :  : : : : : : : : : :  : : : : : : : : : :
  : : : : : : : : : :  : : : : : : : : : :  : : : : : : :
  : : : : :  : : : : : : : : : :  : : : : : : : : : :  : : : : : : : : : :
  : : : : : : : : : :  : : : : : : : : : :  : : : : : : :
  : : : : : : : : : ::::Arrive::: 513 Green Street:::::: : : : : : : : :
  ::::: : : : : : : : : ::::: : : : : : :
  : : : : : : : : : ::::: : : : : : : : : ::::: : : : : : : : : ::::: : : :
  : : : : : :::: 4/15 @ 7:57: : : : : : : : : :
  : : : : :  : : : : : : : : : :  : : : : : : : : : :  : : : : : : : : : :
  : : : : : : : : : :  : : : : : : : : : :  : : : : : : :
  : : : : : : : : : :::::: : : : : : : : : ::::: tell no one . . . come
  alone . . . .. . .  .. . . . .. . . . ..:
  : : : : :  : : : : : : : : : :  : : : : : : : : : :  : : : : : : : : : :
  : : : : : : : : : :  : : : : : : : : : :  : : : : : : :
  : : : : :  : : : : : : : : : :  : : : : : : : : : :  : : : : : : : : : :
  : : : : : : : : : :  : : : : : : : : : :  : : : : : : :
  : : : : :  : : : : :REPLY & confirm your future presence  : : : : : : : :
  : :  : : : : : : :
  : : : : :  : : : : : : : : : :  : : : : : : : : : :  : : : : : : : : : :
  : : : : : : : : : :  : : : : : : : : : :  : : : : : : :
  : : : : : : : : : :::::: : : : : : : : : :::::: : : : : : : : : :::::: : :
  : : : : : : ::::: ~~ drYboneS ~~: : : :
  : : : : : : : : : ::::: : : : : : : : : ::::: : : : : : : : : ::::: : : :
  : : : : : ::::: : : : : : : : : : : : : : : : : : :::::

Before that evening, I only knew that Jenpop and CaptKing were going to be joining me on this adventure. Jenpop and I had conspired to dress up for the occassion in Nonchalant finery, and bring our ukuleles. I met her and her new dog Jejune out in front of the address we had been given, which turned out to be the annex storefront for 101 Music.

Jason /// Jenpop [photo: Everfalling]

A chalk rectangle had been drawn on the sidewalk out front, labelled “EPWA AUTONOMOUS ZONE” with hobo glyphs in a couple of corners.

As CaptKing was texting me trying to find the place, Everfalling showed up and joined us in the rectangle and we made our introductions as Jenpop and I fiddled with tuning our ukes. Soon CaptKing made it up the street, and we waited. And waited. Eventually, a fifth person joined us, saying something about how he had passed us several times and we hadn’t noticed and weren’t looking out for activity; this was Organelle.

We all chatted a bit more, until CaptKing received a text saying it was time, that we were to come inside. The store was filled with old stereo equipment, amps, speakers, dust. We left our things with the guy at the front counter who had to deal with us. Jenpop argued with him about bringing Jejune inside. No dogs allowed, he said; Jenpop was adamant about not wanting to leave him outside. As that debate went on, we had started filing downstairs as we had been told. A shadowy figure standing at the bottom of the stairs, wearing a cloak and carrying some sort of lantern, was beckoning but motioning for us to only come down one at a time. Everfalling went first, then CaptKing. Then it was my turn.

Downstairs, I could see that the only light came from a couple colored bulbs in the ceiling and dozens of tiny votive-shaped LED lights scattered on the tops of racks of vinyl. The ceiling was low, and the walls decorated with album covers. Somber music that sounded like Catholic monk chants was being piped in from somewhere. Everyone we saw was wearing a cloak and a clear plastic face mask that still managed to obfuscate their identity in a most eerie way. The lantern-bearer directed me to a second cloaked individual, who motioned for me to do… something. I wasn’t getting it. After a couple attempts at wordless motioning not sinking in, he took my right wrist, pushed up my tuxedo and shirt sleeve, and wrote something on my arm with an invisible pen. (The proper quip would’ve been “Oh, why didn’t you just say so?” but of course that came to me only after the fact.)

He released me and sent me down the middle of three rows, where Everfalling and CaptKing had already filed. Organelle followed me, and Jenpop must have resolved the puppy situation as she joined us last. We were facing two more cloaked and masked mutes, who made room for the lantern-bearer and invisible-inker to file in.

A few quiet seconds passed, and then with a cheery “Hi!” Drybones stood up and made himself known, wearing a similar cloak but no mask. He made it clear, in that sort of rambling way that the organization had, that we were going to be inducted into the EPWA even if he doubted our readiness. He gave a sort of speech, the bulk of which I could not relate, but that I recognized straight out of the EPWA BBS’s copy.

We were asked: are we ready? Do we want to commit to the goals of the EPWA? With some uncertainty, we said: yes.

Drybones and his masked cohorts then presented us with boxes. Our disguises, he told us, to prevent the Jejune Institute from recognizing us as human. CaptKing, luckily and quite serendipitously, received a skipper’s hat and some sort of fake glasses. Everfalling received a fez in his box. Jenpop was given a fake wig of dreadlocks, Organelle a baseball hat and glasses with a fake nose and mustache. My box contained a blond, ratty pompadour wig and an old pair of glasses with brass-colored frames and non-prescription lenses.

We donned our new gear, and were told that that our boxes also contained everything we needed for an upcoming action, including our orders to be read later.

The initiation needed to be concluded; Drybones intoned “Ooooooooooooooooooh,” and motioned for us to join in.

“Ooooooooooooooooooh,” we sang, holding the note. At this point I started having real suspicions as to what I had walked in to and committed to.

“Ooooooooooooooooooh,” droned Drybones, and his cohorts joined in. We started looking at each other. What the. Help?

Then the words came, breaking the tension. We were all singing along:

the weather outside is frightful,
but the fire is so delightful,
and since we’ve no place to go,
let it snow, let it snow, let it snow!

As we sang, all of the EPWA members across from us started wielding small devices and waving them towards our faces. It was already dark enough to not be able to make them out, and the flashes going off certainly didn’t help. Hello again, tension. We recoiled a bit and presumably looked stunned and disoriented. If those were cameras, I’ve never seen the photos, but how I’d love to!

Drybones finished up with more proselytizing, then told us to leave – inconspicuously and in our disguises – as Jejune goons were sure to be casing the street above. We were to follow the map inside the lids of our boxes.

As we made our way to the stairs in turn, the tall masked individual that had written on our arms once again grabbed our wrist, and flashed a blacklight onto them. I barely had time to catch it, but something like “4/30 6:02 PM” was written there.

We made our way around the corner onto Grant, to a bar called the Churchkey. A ticket was taped into the lid of the box, in an envelope labeled “DRINK ME” – a $10 drink ticket at the bar. Aw, thanks, EPWA. The bouncer asked us what the deal was with our outfits, if we were a theater troupe. YES, that’s right. YES. Upstairs we went to convene and examine our boxes. Inside: a set of directions to recruit appropriate individuals for the upcoming Action, a map of the Action’s route starting at Union Square, a stack of EPWA info cards to hand out/disseminate/leave discreetly in interesting places.

Jenpop dubbed us the Oakland, Cali-phone-ya cell of the EPWA, and we spent two days in indecision as to how best to announce the Action to everyone. As a result, the EPWA did the announcing for us over email. Fine by us!

A few days later, a text message went out to everyone:

    More info- EPWA BBS, enter &_action

Which, when entered on the EPWA website, got you this:


                    YEAY - TIS A SUMMONING!
                   C’MON & SMELL THE MUSTARD.
                 ***  THE DEAL AND NOTHING BUT THE DEAL  ***
                  ACTION /// MOTION /// POWER /// DEALINGS
                     APRIL 30TH (GIVE OR TAKE A DECADE)
                         6:02 in the Post Meridian
            exposed, unexposed, under or over exposed
                   EVERY /// EACH /// ALLLLLL
                 SPREAD THE GOOD WORD FAR / WIDE

  Let’s get down to brass tacks. As you’ve noticed noticed, the Jejune 
  presence in this city is increasing every day. Their induction center
  can process 4 dozen new members every 3.12 hours. The rate at which they
  are producing fully nonverted Goons is at an all time high. You’ve seen
  for yourself. You’ve see through the lies. Every week, they build a new
  synthetic telepathy projector in a different neighborhood. For any of
  those local to the area, you have our condolences. The EPWA sets up our
  mobile jamming facilities at the site of eny development. These
  “Whoopdies” can, within hours, reach a saturation rate of 512. Yes. 512.
  But our counter facility was quickly compromised by Jejuninite
  Goondroids. As their numbers increase, ours only dwindle away. Signs and
  posters and stickers aren’t warning enough anymore. The rays are
  deadening peoples senses and drawing them in to the Teeth of the beast. 
  Oh. Do you know the time? No? Oh look:  IT’S TIME FOR ACTION!

  The fact that you’ve reached this posting means you’ve already shown
  your saturation level in divine nonchalance. But before now, you’ve been
  alone and it’s been an uphill battle, which is to say, tough. Know what
  day it is? I’l tell you what day it is. It’s the day you start working as
  a team. We’re running out of time, and we’re already straining all our
  resources. So now it’s up to you. You’re not going to be safe alone, so
  learn the power of unity. And also friendship.  Love.  Intimacy. 
  Nonchalance.  See you there.

Accompanying the text were pointers to two critical files; one that gave some jumping-off points for dressing operationally, and another of a mask of Jejune’s #1 Fun Pal, Octavio Coleman. Esquire.

The day in question arrived; I dressed in something suitably off. EPWA agents began convening on Union Square bedecked in operational finery.

Everfalling /// Capt. King [photo: Jason]

As the clearly-EPWA crowd at Union Square Elevated Platform grew, people began sharing tinfoil and whatnot to properly protect and accentuate harassment-sensitive areas such as thee brains. I borrowed some ribbon from another guy for my mask – I had forgotten to get string. Some punk ladies borrowed tinfoil and one of them made a nice tinfoil bow to put at the base of her mohawk.

While we were all chatting and crafting pre-6:02pm, a woman who didn’t know about the action remarked that she didn’t want to choose sides ... she didn’t want to be part of Jejune or EPWA. I said, “oh, so you’re going to be Switzerland?” She agreed, the fence-sitter. It’s got a lot going for it. Conching was invented there. Conching.

While this was going on, suddenly there was a flurry on the outskirts of the crowd; clearly something was happening. A few new faces blew in with a determined swagger, protest signs (“LEAVE HISTORY A MYSTERY”), tinfoil, Octavio masks, and orange armbands. One guy was providing duct tape – I got an armband of duct tape. Another was distributing orange EPWA armbands – Crumbly got an armband armband [FX: JEALOUSY]. I was also given a protest sign. One of the whooshers-inners was Jason, who handed me a tiny bell. Someone else handed me some of the EPWA postcards and a piece of chalk.

Then Drybones materialized in the center of the action, proffering a bullhorn, a skateboard, and enthusiastic greetings. His sartorial oeuvre seemed to be simultaneously anchored in the 80s, the 70s, and the distant cosmic silvery future.

In the earlier interview with Drybones, he explained the problem goons had with bells:

The Jejune Institute hates the sound of bells. They can’t stand it. You might see people scatter when you ring the bells; they’re members of the Jejune Institute.

Drybones had a pre-recorded announcement from Commander 14 that he wanted everyone to hear. It was Commander 14! Just like he said. He told us that the only known way to stop the Jejune menace was through “Silent. Collective. Jazz hands. [...] We must collectively, silently, direct our jazzy hands at the goons ... only then can we deter them from their nefarious aims ... may Eva bless you in your journey ... over, Commander 14.”

Drybones /// Bobby Peru /// Jason 7au [photo: Rusty Blazenhoff]

Drybones’ exhiilaration was infectious; with our collective hand-jazz power realized we embarked on a difficult journey fraught with emotion and duct tape. We were what, 100 strong? 145. Maybe 162 strong. Lots of people gravely concerned about the increasing Jejune presence. Inventory check: bag, hat, protest sign, mask, camera, bell, chalk, postcards. Not even out of Union Square Elevated Platform, two young men were eyeballing one of the postcards with looks of European Befuddlement. “We’re from Switzerland. My English is not so good. What is this?” I tried to explain the bare bones of it to them, and especially stressed that they should visit the website. I looked around for their recent fellow convert citizen but couldn’t find her. Then there was a fork on the platform that separated my new, transitory Swiss friends from the horde and I said goodbye and good luck. The text below is from the EPWA website.

I accidentally caught an EPWA member in one of my shots taking photos and I thought it would make a good bookmark. The EPWA was filled with voracious book readers. It was obvious. “Books: They’re not going to read themselves.” I just came up with that. The text/logo below is from the EPWA website.

[photo: Duckstabd]

As the horde progressed through the streets of jolly ole’ San Francisco, everyone in its path was gently engulfed and given postcards with crucial EPWA information. Everyone.

Since I was lagging a bit behind, the timing was such that I would continually stumble across people in the middle of trying to figure out what just happened and what the postcard was all about. Future members!

Walk walk walk, chalk chalk chalk. Shouts were shouted, chants were chanted:

“What do we want?”
“When do we want it?”
“Whenever it’s convenient!”

[photo: Rusty Blazenhoff]

Then the group streamed around the cold dead black banker’s heart across the street from The Jejune Institute Headquarters and came across a limousine orbited by ...

[photo: Rusty Blazenhoff]

THE GOONS! GOONS! THE JEJUNE GOONS! Oh god, the goons (GOONS!). Three goons, dressed in black zentai. They moved like silky gymnast sylphs. They were very dangerous. They acted in a very goon-like manner, it was HORRIBLE, the goons! OH GOD! They were so cartoony, so good. The horde approached, ringing bells, JAZZ HANDS! Ringin’ those bells of freedom from microwave harassment!

[photo: Rusty Blazenhoff]

This overly-annotated photo also serindipitiously captures the EPWA at its finest: on the extreme right side, an agent is chalking a hobo glyph even though Jejune goons are dangerously close. Bravery, is what I would call it.

The goons were pushed back, back! Into an alleyway, and then they were gone. And inside the limousine’s rolled-down window ... it was Octavio Coleman! ESQUIRE! He was served a more-than-adequate helping of jazz hands and bells.

[photo: Duckstabd]

Octavio considered all of this in a very stoic manner. Then the window rolled up and the limo slowly pulled away into traffic. Octavio had fled! FLED! The operation: it was a success! Onward!

Spotting a wily shark on the move, I took some “me time” to photograph it in its natural habitat, a Chinatown public park.

Agents were still distributing postcards to people; chalk was lovingly applied with swooping swirly motions to unsuspecting exterior surfaces.

[photo: Duckstabd]

At the entrance to Li-Po Cocktail Lounge, Drybones consulted with Commander 14 on his Wristing Thing to see if all objectives had been met.

Awakening from Sleep on a Spring Day

Life is an immense dream. Why toil?
All day long I drowse with wine,
And lie by the post at the front door.
Awakening, I gaze upon the garden trees,
And, hark, a bird is singing among the flowers.
Pray, what season may this be?
Ah, the songster’s a mango-bird,
Singing to the passing wind of spring.
I muse and muse myself to sadness,
Once more I pour my wine, and singing aloud,
Await the bright moonrise.
My song is ended –
What troubled my soul? – I remember not.

– Li Po / Li Bai (701-762)

After a tense, dramatic pause, Drybones received word ... we had gotten 98% of our objectives, and we also got the remaining two percent in some additional manner I don’t remember, so YES! The horde could advance on liquor and/or music and/or dancing.

Drybones was at the bar, still very enthusiastic about everything: “Ooooh I wonder what SHE’S making!” I spoke with him briefly and only then did I notice that one of his contacts was whited out which was very disconcerting but hey, here’s some booze to smooth over the rough edges. I had a tasty liquid beer beverage drink. Headlamps were available to wear and scout the dark interior of Li-Po’s Cocktail Lounge Basement. Bubble wrap, big EPWA graphics, music, video, unless I made up that last part about the video. There’s a pretty bright thing in the middle of this photo, it’s probably video.

[photo: Duckstabd]

I met a few other EPWA agents at the after-party including The Urban Phoenix who had a t-shirt with what looked to be a functioning equalizer.

I left my beer bottle by the official EPWA Headlamp Return Box because I didn’t want it getting kicked around closer to the action. I hope that’s cool with everyone.

Here is the EPWA video of the Action.

After awhile it was time to eat, and somehow we were fortunate enough to dine with Frank Chu. Crumbly Donut’s fake Frank Chu sign and real Frank Chu’s real Frank Chu sign fought for space in the restaurant.

About two weeks later, Crumbly Donut got a Little Black Box of Nonchalance. It had different stamps on the inner envelope.

Balloon attack! We also went to the Jejune Institute after hearing some things had changed. The EPWA tags were gone, so now to get the form properly filled out, you had to stamp the form with a self-inking stamper.

Crumbly Donut jammed a tiny message into the giant display tooth on one of the shelves. I think it indicated that he was onto the Jejune Institute.

At some point someone on Unfiction suggested that perhaps we’d had it all wrong, and that later on down the line we’d find out that the EPWA was “bad” and the Jejune Institute was “good” in the narrative. The Urban Phoenix checked in on this theory:

Maybe the idea here isn’t good or bad, but rather to “guide” us through a VERY specific experience designed to bring about change.

Ever try to get a friend involved with JI? Once they see the web site or hear the words “induction” YOU look like a crazy cult member.

If you speak of our “operation” YOU look like some sort of crazy “tinfoil hat wearing” street activist.

Both states of being, cult member and activist, are VERY “San Francisco” (or Bay Area) experiences. Both experiences (thus far) require you to let go of your ego and not take yourself seriously. That is definitely a calculated nudge toward potential nonchalance.

I think as long as we are following our quest towards Eva Lucian, we will experience our own “Evolution” (and no longer be a mundane dinosaur) if you are open to the experience.

A recondite family awaits.

Say, why not continue on to the next part: Patent.