Help the clueless newbies

Questions, answers, tips & tricks for newbies and veterans alike
Hookfoot
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Help the clueless newbies

Post by Hookfoot » Mon Nov 01, 2004 9:16 am

I have never attended BM but I’m considering the idea of making 05 my virgin year. I have been lurking on the e-playa for almost a year, have read and re-read the guides on this site, talked at length with veteran burner friends of mine and lurked on a few other sites that discuss BM at length.

I placed a few posts in another section of the e-playa in a sincere effort to gain understanding. I perceived an anti-newbie vibe amongst the old-timers who post here. If my perception was wrong, I’ll take my medicine and shut up.

I’d like to hear from veterans concerning what we newbies can do to avoid being labeled as clueless. I intend to embrace the LNT ethos, not be an energy vampire, put as much as I can back into the community and generally follow the guidelines published on this site. I hereby promise not to put anything into the JOTS that has not been through my body at least once.

If you have advice, anecdotes, suggestions or any other way to help we newbies gain the all coveted “clue”, this is your chance.

Fire Away!

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TheMuse
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Post by TheMuse » Mon Nov 01, 2004 10:44 am

I don't know about on eplaya (we are just a bunch of sarcastic bastards anyway). If anybody gives you crap about being a newbie tell em to stuff it. BM would be nothing without the energy and creativity new burners bring with them every year. And we were all newbies at one time or another!

But on Playa, just make sure you:

1)read the current survival guide several times (there is a new one written every year with new and valuable information) take a look at the 2004 one for now just to get an idea... do everything it tells you and I guarentee you won't be labeled a Yahoo

2)follow the LNT ethic all the time... even in your own camp. We had some newbies this year who would leave cups and things out and go on long adventures. Stuff blows away... be a good camp mate and keep your stuff put away unless you are using it at that moment. By the same token, be involved in your camp. Help with the setup, maintenance and break down. Don't dissapear for hours when there is work to be done.

3)don't take photos of people unless you know them personally or have asked permission.

4)Don't touch people unless you are invited to do so. Many people will be scantily dressed and/or nude... this in itself is not an open invitation to leer or be gropey. Be respectful of everyone's right to self expression and personal space.

5)Listen to veterans... they have a wealth of valuable info. But also follow you insticts.
Living on Earth is expensive, but it does include a free trip around the sun every year.

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meee_bot
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Post by meee_bot » Mon Nov 01, 2004 11:04 am

The fact for me is, if there's not at least one burning man virgin in my camp, it all feels so been there done that. To see burning man through the eyes of someone who's never been there is not just nice, its a necessity.

My best advice to you would be to make sure you help with your camp and don't just follow the pretty lights. Be a leader. Keep your promises and try to remember to do what you said you would do.

Also listen to your body and rest whenever you need to.

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Alpha
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Post by Alpha » Mon Nov 01, 2004 12:25 pm

Okay here's my two pence on it... I don't think BM attendees like their event being psychoanalyzed (or socio-analyzed) by people who haven't been. There's so much that a virgin might have heard or seen related to the event, that we have no idea what preconceived notions a particular person might have. There's enough going on in our little city of 35,000 people, that it would be difficult for a VETERAN to get their head around the whole festival, much less someone who only knows what they've been told about it. My advice: forget about trying to nail down Burning Man and instead pick some other event that is more homogenous in its philosophy.

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Q_
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Post by Q_ » Mon Nov 01, 2004 1:05 pm

Just go. (bring water)
Seek not to follow in the footsteps of the wise but seek what they sought

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ibdave
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Post by ibdave » Mon Nov 01, 2004 2:54 pm

Q_ wrote:Just go. (bring water)

What he said..........
I was Born OK the 1st Time....

Don't bring defaultia to Burning Man, take Burning Man to defaultia...... graidawg

dragonfly Jafe
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Post by dragonfly Jafe » Mon Nov 01, 2004 3:27 pm

...but spanking the clueless newbies is more fun!

...besides, can a Newbie post to Eplaya and truely be considered clueless?

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unjonharley
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Post by unjonharley » Mon Nov 01, 2004 3:40 pm

I don't think the E playa as a whole consider new people clueless. I'd say that came from the truely clueless that just don't get it.
I'm the contraptioneer your mother warned you about.

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geekster
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Post by geekster » Mon Nov 01, 2004 3:42 pm

The only thingI would say is don't arrive with the expectation to be entertained. Bring something to the event. Think of it like stone soup. Don't feel OBLIGATED to bring material things to give away either. Giving of yourself can be more important. Consider volunteering for something. Most of all, leave expectations at home. Come with enough stuff to get you through the week without having to rely on anyone else and bring a little extra just because.

Bring some warm clothes because it can get very cold at night and sometimes even during the day. People concentrate on the heat and forget the cold.

Make sure anything you build (tents, etc) can stand high wind.

Make sure you are prepared to live inside a vacuum cleaner bag because that is what it is like when the wind blows.

Don't let refuse touch the ground. Don't expect anything from neighbors. There will be no trash cans there so be prepared to pack out everything you take in ... blah, blah, blah ... it is all in the survival guide you will get when you buy your tickets.
Pabst Blue Ribbon - The beer that made Gerlach famous.

Hookfoot
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Post by Hookfoot » Mon Nov 01, 2004 4:30 pm

Great advice from most! My wee band of newbies truly appreciate all of you (or at least most of you) taking the time to share your thoughts with us.

Keep em coming!

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theCryptofishist
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Post by theCryptofishist » Mon Nov 01, 2004 4:48 pm

Yeah Stone Soup!!!!!!
The Lady with a Lamprey

"The powerful are exploiting people, art and ideas, and this leads to us plebes debating how to best ration ice.
Man, no wonder they always win....." Lonesomebri

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diode
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Post by diode » Mon Nov 01, 2004 5:24 pm

dragonfly Jafe wrote:...but spanking the clueless newbies is more fun!
Yes, all seventeen thousand, seven hundred fifty five and one half of them.

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Burp!
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Post by Burp! » Mon Nov 01, 2004 5:53 pm

I think the advice to not over analyze what to do is good advice.

Focus on the survival part first. Food, Shelter, and Comfort. BM does you no good if you die in the middle of the night.

Then think of something to contribute. there are a billion ways to contribute. Theme camps, gifts, expression, Art, etc. It's a big potluck, showing up without something to offer up to the event is just rude. Note: I believe this more each day, simply having a cool costume or handing out necklaces is not contributing. Think interaction. Be creative.

Other than that, look at pictures from years past.

T.

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dr.placebo
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Post by dr.placebo » Mon Nov 01, 2004 6:33 pm

I rather like newbies. I was new in 1999, and I was welcomed by some guys from Colorado who helped me survive the intense wind storms. We merged our gear and had a great burn. Every year since I've tried to do what they did.

The one thing that I wish that I had known earlier is the importance of volunteering. There are LOTS of opportunities to become part of the community, to meet great folks, and to give something of yourself. One of my favorites is the Lamplighters, but don't limit yourself to something formal.

Help a neighbor put up a camp, or wire up some artwork, or make a meal or a drink. Wash somebody's feet (with permission, of course). Admire a costume, laugh at a silly joke, listen to a story, and tell your story.

And above all, don't LET it happen, MAKE it happen.

Best wishes for your first burn.

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Silver 2
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Post by Silver 2 » Mon Nov 01, 2004 7:25 pm

Know the basics of looking after yourself. Know how to put up your tent and start your cooker. Figure out what you will eat and how, know the difference between a bota and a camelback (real life, a young man asked me 'How does this camelback work' he was hold a bota). Know your limits in relation to booze, drugs, nudity, whatever. Look around and find Piss Clear's issues on "How not to be a Yahoo". Read the FAQ that has been building, it should get bigger as time goes on. Be prepared to meet every weirdo that you have ever imagined and then be ready to accept that your imagination does not carry all that far.

Oh and have fun, let the entire thing wash over you and through you;

Show up on Monday and leave on Monday.

Rest before you get there and bring ear plugs.

Don't try to see everything and go everywhere, you simply cannot.
I like playing with fire.

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geekster
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Post by geekster » Mon Nov 01, 2004 8:01 pm

Most issues of Piss Clear are available here:

http://www.pissclear.org/PDFArchives/

One of my favorites is SSM or Spock Science Monitor published by the folks over at Spock Mountain Research. You can find some of their stuff by digging around over at pigdog.org but the 2002 issues seem to be neatly archived here:

http://www.pigdog.org/features/ssm2002/ssm2002.htm
Pabst Blue Ribbon - The beer that made Gerlach famous.

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DVD Burner
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Post by DVD Burner » Mon Nov 01, 2004 10:14 pm

Hry,

Have you ever read this thread?

http://eplaya.burningman.org/viewtopic. ... highlight=
https://www.facebook.com/NeXTCODER

Hookfoot
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Post by Hookfoot » Tue Nov 02, 2004 8:36 am

I just finished reading it. Thanks for pointing me there. The opinions/ideas, etc offered on that thread were wonderful.

I for one would be happy to wear the newbie insignia and participate in any way possible.

The medieval like chant of "Bring out your newbies" sounds hilarious.

Thanks again to all for helping this clueless newbie get just a little bit closer to the clue. I'm sure I don't have it yet, but I feel like I at least am looking at the right map now.

dragonfly Jafe
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Post by dragonfly Jafe » Tue Nov 02, 2004 9:11 am

diode wrote:
dragonfly Jafe wrote:...but spanking the clueless newbies is more fun!
Yes, all seventeen thousand, seven hundred fifty five and one half of them.
That's why the Glom went mechanical....no waiting! step right up!

Anthony Bondi
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Nix 24/7

Post by Anthony Bondi » Tue Nov 02, 2004 10:50 am

The only reason to spend seven days on the playa is if three or four of those days are going to be spent building and then taking down a project. If you spend 24/7 in isolation with a bunch of yak farmers; at the end of the week you're probably going to want to become a yak farmer. The 24/7 party is a way to fold you into a cult.
Forget the spectacles. If you want to have fun with 35k people staring at a stage, go see your favorite musician at home. On the playa, if you see a couple thousand people heading in one direction, go somewhere else. Use the three row rule: Do I have to stand more than three rows back from something I'm looking at? Then, find something else to see. If you aren't up close and personal with something up there, move on.
Of course you're going to volunteer to help out somewhere or other in BRC; it's your civic duty. But, doing that doesn't buy you out of your primary responsibility in BRC. Where is your art? If you don't think you can make art, you've been lied to all your life by monsters who hate you. It's time you spit that lie back at them. You're a person, you can make art. Bring some to BRC. I want to see it.
What is it I can't do at home? That's what to do in BRC. If you need a child-proof wrapper on this suggestion, BRC probably will be harmful to your health.

birdbrain
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Post by birdbrain » Tue Nov 02, 2004 12:40 pm

I was a newbie for '04 AND I went by myself! I was good w/ the survival stuff, moop, ie the basics. I had extra food, water, a few gifts, and was respectful of all. I know what changes I'll make re gear next year and hope to have a simple but classic art project to offer. My favorites w/ the people who had small/smaller camps were the bring yer own/ make your own T's using their design and paint. Simple but classic......I have some ideas and am just waiting to send off for supplies in a new medium for me(need a couple more paychecks)!!!! I'm rambling but advice would be cover the basics of self-sufficiency 1st even if it means you can't do as "big" a project the 1st yr. Second year, improve basics and go as big w/ the art as your energy/finances/patience allows. Above all, evaluate what you can do considering how many people (or none) you'll be camping with. If you are alone, you have to do it all and that can tax even those w/ the greatest energy supply. I want my project simple so I can go see other people's stuff!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

gigglesnort
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Post by gigglesnort » Sun Nov 07, 2004 7:27 pm

I think a sacrificial offering might help the clueless nubies.....what say you?

robotland
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Re: Nix 24/7

Post by robotland » Mon Nov 08, 2004 10:25 am

The only reason to spend seven days on the playa is if three or four of those days are going to be spent building and then taking down a project. If you spend 24/7 in isolation with a bunch of yak farmers; at the end of the week you're probably going to want to become a yak farmer. The 24/7 party is a way to fold you into a cult.

Sure, if you're Dangerously Vulnerable To Suggestion. There's so danged much to see in BRC that I'm grateful for the week it's Open To The Public, personally. Some of us Creative Types come a real long distance to get that week in, and hauling a big flammable Art Edifice from BFE to BRC isn't always doable- Especially when going solo. And so what if the mood rubs off? There's a lot of worse things to be than a Yak Farmer, by which you probably mean Yak HERDER, city boy!
Howdy From Kalamazoo

Anthony Bondi
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Kalamazoo to Timbuktoo

Post by Anthony Bondi » Tue Nov 09, 2004 9:13 am

Dang, I always get yaks and yams confused. "One is for fighting, one is for fun..."

gigglesnort
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Post by gigglesnort » Wed Nov 10, 2004 8:38 am

Hey, I need a clue from you veteran eplayans about how TO GET THE FUCKING BOARD OUT OF MY FUCKING HEAD as I am having a hard time getting any work done these past few days. I am certain I had no idea what I was letting myself into here....all clues welcome....

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theCryptofishist
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Re: Kalamazoo to Timbuktoo

Post by theCryptofishist » Wed Nov 10, 2004 10:29 am

Anthony Bondi wrote:Dang, I always get yaks and yams confused. "One is for fighting, one is for fun..."
Well, I hope you've never tried to shave your yam and peel your yak.
The Lady with a Lamprey

"The powerful are exploiting people, art and ideas, and this leads to us plebes debating how to best ration ice.
Man, no wonder they always win....." Lonesomebri

Louise
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Post by Louise » Fri Nov 12, 2004 9:27 pm

Phil and I have been going to Burning Man since 1996, so I think we qualify as old-timers. I was sorry to read you describe an "anti-newbie vibe" because that is so not what Burning Man is about to me.

Anyway, our simple advice is to go to Burning Man if the event speaks to you. There is no way to understand it before attending. Reading stuff will ensure you prepare adequately for the basics (water, sunscreen, food, etc.)

Having said that, you don't have anything to worry about in terms of acting like a newbie - you already know too much based on your reading. The newbies who can be frustrating are people who have done no research about the event and seem to expect a party 24/7 with no personal responsibility for their actions. But that's just me.

Phil and I have put together a website about Burnign Man with all sorts of advice for your first year, based on our experiences. I hope this helps!

http://www.cieux.com/bm/bmtoc.html

Louise

Anthony Bondi
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Black Rock Forest

Post by Anthony Bondi » Fri Nov 19, 2004 11:49 am

Bring firewood. Do you have some empty nooks and crannies in your travel suite? Fill 'em up with firewood. Somewhere on the playa, you'll find a place to use it. Look at the people you're bringing with you and ask yourself if they're going to be more fun than (your) burning 150 pounds of firewood. When you get to the playa, you'll see the reason for this gesture. You won't see much evidence today of the former Black Rock Forest. We were sort of wreckless in the old days and didn't exacly think in terms of long-term sustainability of this resource. Once we had reduced the forest to stumps, we even went scavenging under the playa for the remaining roots. We're sorry you newbies have to pay for the fun we had then, but that's how it goes. Today, you actually have to carry your firewood to the playa. Bring lots and lots of it.

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Tiahaar
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Post by Tiahaar » Fri Nov 19, 2004 10:27 pm

Firewood! Yes Yes Yes! Keep the fires hot and bright, fuel the Nausts, warm the playa travelers at night, fire is good. Everybody bring a bundle to share :mrgreen:
Burning Man 2003-19-FO2020; Desert Carillon, HypnoHorse, Ulaume's Chimes, Iron Native, Black Rock Solar, Portal Collective, Center Camp Café Stage and Sound Tech, 747 Project
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Ah what to bring.....What to bring

Post by scruffyboy » Thu Dec 02, 2004 11:40 pm

Of course set yourself up with the basics.
Here's some other suggestions;
Bring an open mind, you will defineitely need it. Willing hands, you'll meet some truly wonderful people if/when you simply offer to help out. Bring an open heart, you can never know what a difference that may make to someone, especially you. Bring a child-like sense of wonder, PLAY whenever possible!
Things to remember about BM;
Sensory overload is the RULE not the exception, pace yourself you will probably NEVER see it ALL, so don't even try.
Leave your expectations at home, you will probably wind up being amazed!

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