Lessons Learned 2005

Share your pictures and video. Tell us about the sights, sounds, and scents, as well as the rumors and truths found at Burning Man.
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unjonharley
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Post by unjonharley » Sun Sep 11, 2005 3:31 pm

Leaned: I wore sweat shirt and pants the last three days. My body stayed cool.
.
Keep my socks on. Sun burned with water blisters. As in second degree
I'm the contraptioneer your mother warned you about.

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AntiM
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Post by AntiM » Sun Sep 11, 2005 3:32 pm

The lovely thing about all the food we brought was that whatever was leftover went into the truck with larry post-event. So did the lugaloo, the baby wipes, and sundry water bottles.

His kilts, pvc shorty shorts and the mini-skirts stayed home. Some truckers don't get it.

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unjonharley
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Post by unjonharley » Sun Sep 11, 2005 3:37 pm

AntiM wrote:The lovely thing about all the food we brought was that whatever was leftover went into the truck with larry post-event. So did the lugaloo, the baby wipes, and sundry water bottles.

His kilts, pvc shorty shorts and the mini-skirts stayed home. Some truckers don't get it.


~
I don't get that cobination either.
I'm the contraptioneer your mother warned you about.

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Post by Kinetic IV » Sun Sep 11, 2005 3:47 pm

I didn't see the mini-skirts (that just made my list of things for next year) but I did see the kilt and I gotta have one now.
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~~~~
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tola
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Post by tola » Sun Sep 11, 2005 3:54 pm

Few things sexier than men in kilts. :P

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olivia
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Post by olivia » Sun Sep 11, 2005 4:00 pm

tola wrote:Few things sexier than men in kilts. :P
Men in kilts with nice legs and big stompy boots! :P

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Learning... what a great idea!!!

Post by InvisibleMan » Sun Sep 11, 2005 5:25 pm

I love this post. Thanks for some of the tips, and mmmmm… glad to know I naturally avoided a lot of lessons others had to learn the hard way.

Here’s what I found this year, hope it helps:

BIG KEY: Divide up the drugs in advance so that each person is responsible for their own stash of what they want and intend to use. If they lose it… well, enough said, it can work itself out after that, without murderous feelings. *Oh and settle all money matters in this area up front, even if you settle out all the other costs and factors afterwards.*

Make sure if you are putting together a camp, every1 who is going to benefit, or be a part of the camp, does their share of the work or brings something of value to the table. Last year a camp mate called another worthless in a huge tirade post burn about doing his part, yet this year that same camp mate ditched out on all the work (hundreds of hours worth). We covered his share because we love him but its funny how much a year’s difference makes. And maybe the lesson here is patience too. Sometimes you cover for others, sometimes they cover for you. Don’t judge in the short term for sometimes it’s the most unexpected times that a friend will come through for you if given a later chance.

Or the lesson could be don’t be taken advantage of, I’m not sure.

Moving on, I tried an outside shower structure for a solar shower, including a few poles and pieces of wood in an "n" shape to provide decent privacy next to the structure wall, and a wading pool to catch the water. It didn’t work because the tarp I tried to tack up as a shower curtain kept bringing the whole thing down. Maybe Ill try camo netting layered up next year to avoid as much wind resistance while still getting some cover. Ill have to figure something better out for sure. Tempers flared when people were dirty and tired in the latter stages and I didn’t find the free shower a few streets over till the end.

Bring a crappy bike with a pillow taped to the seat, at least one working brake, some form of light, and if you need to, upgrade it to a better one as the week goes on from a stack of abandoned bikes. I didn’t have a bike for the first four days this year cuz it got stolen in the bay area, and u need both bike and feet to properly enjoy the places, people, and events not just in your local area.

Bring some glow lights or flashy lights, and make sure u got one on your front and your back. Don’t get run over by a bleary eyed drunk on a bike peering through the dust and wind trying to find some street sign who doesn’t see you until too late. Black light paint works pretty good 2, though more so when an art car drives by or when you walk near the esplanade raves.

Socks, boxers, and various lengths of thin cloth are soooo clutch. I brought three thin blue blankets I stole off the airplane (oh and a huge tub full of clothes). I ended up needing double socks at night, none in the day, clean boxers every morning to keep the comfort and feeling of new draws, and the blankets plus bits of random cloth I had to wrap around as a roman skirt or use on my head as a face scarf to keep the sun off my face and neck and ears and nose. And it makes for good attire to blend in and interact. I didn’t use any of my clothes cept two night outfits that I covered in a cloak and skirt and such anyways.

BIG LESSON HERE: Dont get sunburned too early, pace your self or cover up. I lathered in sun screen then went out for a long adventurous walk the second day in the heat. I was sunscreened but not covered enough and ended up at the edge of a sunburn that would have crippled the rest of my trip. I had to stay out the sun the next two days to avoid crossing over from red yet livable to the no short term return of tragic sun charring. Better to sweat a little under a thin wrap and stop often in new places for shade and cold drinks.

Don’t be put off by appearances. Its soooo true. Persistence is everything. A few neighbors I thought were stand offish early turned out to be great people later on when I drew them into our camp and flirted and shared and interacted. I regretted not making them into friends earlier on that I may have had more fun with them later in the week.

So sayeth the invisible man.
“All God does is watch us, and kill us when we get boring. We must never, ever be boring.” –Chuck Palaniuk

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angelface
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Post by angelface » Sun Sep 11, 2005 5:58 pm

on the food front.. get a vacuum sealer, I got a cheapish one at target and it kicked ass..

I was able to seal up food that could either be grilled (marinated steaks, chicken, sausages, etc) or food that could be boiled right in the bag (chili, cheesy brocolli) or food that could just be eatan as is (carrots, celery sticks). I kept block ice in my cooler and everything lasted all week. We ate the last of the chili and veggies on burn night, after I'd been on playa for 8 days.

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Lessons and tips

Post by DoctorIknow » Sun Sep 11, 2005 6:55 pm

Tasty Bites pre-cooked pacs made my survival eating so pleasurable.
These things are in upscale markets and Whole Foods, etc., but they are online for more than 50% off, and even more if you order more than $50 worth.

It's all Indian food and MANY vegetarian and vegan offerings. Forget about freeze dried hiking foods, canned anything or non-nutritious ramen and try these out. These things taste fantastic, and only one nears being "too spicy." Packet can either be boiled or put in sun for a while.

This BM I was fortunate to be amongst gourmet cooks, but in previous years I've been very happy with just the Tasty Bites, rice cakes and a few power bar type bars just for a sweet taste. Yes, I agree that great food is a treat on the playa, but in survival mode, nothing can beat these:

http://www.tastybite.com/store.php?crn= ... =cat_click

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Re: Learning... what a great idea!!!

Post by HughMungus » Sun Sep 11, 2005 7:14 pm

InvisibleMan wrote:I love this post. Thanks for some of the tips, and mmmmm… glad to know I naturally avoided a lot of lessons others had to learn the hard way.
Thanks!
Don’t be put off by appearances. Its soooo true. Persistence is everything. A few neighbors I thought were stand offish early turned out to be great people later on when I drew them into our camp and flirted and shared and interacted. I regretted not making them into friends earlier on that I may have had more fun with them later in the week.
Yeah, I know people try to be open yet avoid yahoos so they pick and choose who they talk to based on who they think is down and who is not based on appearances. Personally, I have a hard time getting costumes together because I'm tall so I probably look like a yahoo. So I guess I already know that you shouldn't judge people by appearances TOO much. I ususally talk to them for a minute to find out if they're down/with it or not.

Anyway, I meant to talk about neighbors. I can't remember if it was one of my suggestions but it's a great idea to get to know your neighbors. I do that here in the real world (and met a 32 year-old girl i now like) and I do it even more on the playa. At least just go over and say "hi" (although we usually say hi and offer coffee, food, etc. as needed -- ESPECIALLY for the people who are camped who don't seem to have much shade or the ability to make coffee/heat food). Sometimes they want to come hang out and talk and sometimes they don't. That's fine. I just can't stand to be in a place and see people around me and not interact. This year we met some VERY cool people who were our neighbors and some who were cool but indifferent. Whatever. At least they know that *we* are open to meeting and interacting. I don't assume that they want to or have to.

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Post by safetythird » Mon Sep 12, 2005 12:51 pm

Some lessons I learned:

Get there early. I had some of the best interactions between Sat and Wed. Helping people setup their structures and talking to the big theme camp people about the various distruction and chaos that the Mon winds brought. Simply walking down a random street and asking a burner smoking a hookah which flavor he was smoking turned into a great experience. By Thurs the whole vibe had changed. I now understand why people leave early. Exodus day afternon had a good vibe too. Helping people strike camp as I was waiting for sunset really brought it around full circle.

Build a Monkey Lounge and they will fling moop. As kick ass as the carport shelter worked against the sun and wind I found myself fussing it the whole week. It was the most popular shade on our side of the village and at times there was no room for me to enjoy it. I think I got to sit in my "special" camping chair twice the whole week. No problem though. I just used my camp mates dome and shade structure for some quiet time. What bugged me was that some thought it was OK to just leave their moop everywhere. I had 3 extra trash bags full of crap that I hadn't planned for. Next year I wil have signs saying "Take your poo with you!" and will be folding up and hiding my chair when not in use. Oh, and no ice chests in the Monkey Lounge. What a royal pain in the ass to remove everyone's stuff from on top of the ice chest everytime I needed a beer.

Costco carports are so nice next year I'll build one twice. Yes, I'm going to buy another and erect them side by side. This will give me the much needed extra "personal" space that I can close off. I'll also be connecting my shade to my campmate's big ass dome and shade structure to extend the shady experience. His kickass shade was totally underutilized because everyone had kind of setup camp in my shelter.

Rope light good but too power hungry for the gennies. Need to move to LED rope lights as just a few (ok, a bunch) of regular ones started to work the EU2000's that I was switching between. Rope light wrapped around the ratchet tie downs/guy wires just kicked ass as a visual aid at night, especially since the guy wires were right on the street.

For the second year I failed to make a single event that I had planned on. Camps were closed, I was off somewhere else, distractions, etc. No regrets!

I love having the porta potties right across the street. The urinal bank was heavily used all week. Our porto's were nice and clean compared to the ones we saw elsewhere on the playa. It's also good to see when JOTS comes by and services them just so you know when they are their freshest. We used the RV toilet much less this year which gave us practically a whole other tank for grey water.

Way overpacked again. Too many clothes (I mean wtf did I pack all the underwear? or any for that matter?), too much food, too much crap that never saw the outside of the cabinet they were stowed in.

Forgot the simple stuff. Did you pack the lotion? How many chapstiks? How much beer? How about that hot blankie? What, no checklisting? The single act of forgetting to bring the Pam caused me way too much cleanup time.

You CAN wait until Reno/Sparks to get your water. Either get it during business hours or hit the super markets earlier than most people. We stocked up on 2.5 gallon on Saturday evening. Not much left when we were through though.

The TA in Sparks (1 exit East of the big Alamo station) is a good place to fill up gas and water (for RV use, not drinking) on the way through. We used the same place to dump our tanks on the way out. No charge with gas purchase. $5 per tank without. Hard to find and not really RV friendly but a dump station none the less.

Oh, there's probably way more to share but those are the lessons off the top of my head.

S3

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Post by HughMungus » Mon Sep 12, 2005 1:13 pm

safetythird wrote:Some lessons I learned:

Get there early.
I was thinking of arriving Sunday night so I could get in early on Monday morning next year but since you posted I'm thinking about registering as a theme camp just so I can get in early... Will BORG be pissed if I don't camp where they placed me?
Costco carports are so nice next year I'll build one twice. Yes, I'm going to buy another and erect them side by side. This will give me the much needed extra "personal" space that I can close off. I'll also be connecting my shade to my campmate's big ass dome and shade structure to extend the shady experience. His kickass shade was totally underutilized because everyone had kind of setup camp in my shelter.
Yeah, I'm thinking the same thing. We had only a 10x20 carport which was fine, but, we started running out of room for people to string their necklaces. So next year we'll have two. I'd love to do a dome, though...hm... What surprised me about the costco model is that it's so sturdy that I was able to hang from it. So maybe hammocks for next year.
Rope light good but too power hungry for the gennies. Need to move to LED rope lights as just a few (ok, a bunch)
I got some battery-operated (AA) LED lights. They doubled as personal lighting for walking around at night when the public space was closed. ALL of our batteries were rechargable. That saves a ton of money if you have way to get them recharged (which isn't too hard to find out there; I loaned my battery charger to my neighbor a few times).

Speaking of lights, this was my first year to try an LED headlamp. Damn those things are good to have. I was even able to make necklaces at night using it (which is near-impossible using standard overhead lighting due to shadows).
For the second year I failed to make a single event that I had planned on. Camps were closed, I was off somewhere else, distractions, etc. No regrets!
Ditto.
We used the RV toilet much less this year which gave us practically a whole other tank for grey water.
Same here. Our rule was to use the RV toilet only if absolutely necessary.
You CAN wait until Reno/Sparks to get your water. Either get it during business hours or hit the super markets earlier than most people. We stocked up on 2.5 gallon on Saturday evening. Not much left when we were through though.

The TA in Sparks (1 exit East of the big Alamo station) is a good place to fill up gas and water (for RV use, not drinking) on the way through. We used the same place to dump our tanks on the way out. No charge with gas purchase. $5 per tank without. Hard to find and not really RV friendly but a dump station none the less.
I can't remember where we filled up the water (TA or Alamo) but what was interesting is that they told us to not drink the water due to arsenic or something or other. Then I was reminded that you shouldn't drink water from an RV tank by a little sign in the RV that said, "DO NOT DRINK THIS WATER" since you don't know the source of it, etc. We didn't get to Reno until Tuesday night and while you could tell they had sold a lot of water, they still had plenty.

Regarding propane: we tried to find a place to get our propane topped off and it turns out all the propane service at TA and Alamo ends around 5pm or something. Best thing to do is call them beforehand to find out what the hours are for that in particular.

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ZaphodBurner
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Re: Lessons Learned 2005

Post by ZaphodBurner » Mon Sep 12, 2005 1:19 pm

DallasPlaya wrote: 3. Keep better track of time / make plans / better temporal/spatial coordination.
HHHAAAAAAAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAAAA!!!!

..also, try flapping your arms and see if you fly around the moon.

Was it me, or was keeping track of what/when/where in the schedule book a lost cause? By the time I got to something interesting it had been moved, delayed, changed or just wasn't that exciting. Or, more likely, ten other more interesting things prevented us from getting to our "destination" on time.

Near as I can tell, there are five "hours" at Burning Man:

Dawn, Hot, Dusk, Dark and Cold. We opened when it was Hot and closed at Dusk. I usually passed out at Cold:30 or Dawn:15 My next BM project is probably going to be a giant sundial on the playa. Have to figure out how to make it work at night.

This year I learned to choose excellent camp mates and delegate. Also, serving root beer to dusty playa people is as rewarding as wandering around.

-c
"The Red Baron is smart.. He never spends the whole night dancing and drinking root beer.. "-The WWI Flying Ace

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Post by Kinetic IV » Mon Sep 12, 2005 1:23 pm

Dawn, Hot, Dusk, Dark and Cold
I've never seen it described that way but it is the truest definition of playa time I've run across. And when it gets cold out there...damn does it get cold! Anyway back on topic....
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Re: Lessons Learned 2005

Post by HughMungus » Mon Sep 12, 2005 1:26 pm

ZaphodBurner wrote:
DallasPlaya wrote: 3. Keep better track of time / make plans / better temporal/spatial coordination.
HHHAAAAAAAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAAAA!!!!

..also, try flapping your arms and see if you fly around the moon.

Was it me, or was keeping track of what/when/where in the schedule book a lost cause? By the time I got to something interesting it had been moved, delayed, changed or just wasn't that exciting. Or, more likely, ten other more interesting things prevented us from getting to our "destination" on time.
I just meant in relation to other people you want to meetup with, do stuff with, things you want to see at a particular time (I missed the M&G because I wasn't keeping track of time). So, like I think I said, I put my watch back on just so time wasn't slipping away while I did something now that I could have done later or tomorrow.

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Post by robbidobbs » Mon Sep 12, 2005 1:33 pm

Some things you can do absolutely nothing to solve, so sit down and drink a beer.
I'll be in my blanket fort until further notice.

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unjonharley
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Post by unjonharley » Mon Sep 12, 2005 1:40 pm

robbidobbs wrote:Some things you can do absolutely nothing to solve, so sit down and drink a beer.


~
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mars
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Post by mars » Mon Sep 12, 2005 1:57 pm

My next BM project is probably going to be a giant sundial on the playa. Have to figure out how to make it work at night.

How about standing there with a headlamp on while watching your watch, and adjusting your direction as the minutes tick on?
Live as if everyone loves you and thinks you look great. Dance as if no one is watching.

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Davoid
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Re: Learning... what a great idea!!!

Post by Davoid » Mon Sep 12, 2005 2:29 pm

InvisibleMan wrote:Bring a crappy bike with a pillow taped to the seat, at least one working brake, some form of light, and if you need to, upgrade it to a better one as the week goes on from a stack of abandoned bikes. I didn’t have a bike for the first four days this year cuz it got stolen in the bay area, and u need both bike and feet to properly enjoy the places, people, and events not just in your local area.
Stack of abandoned bikes? Is there a proper way to determine that? We had two bikes sitting next to my camp from after the critical tits ride until the very end, literally a couple hours before we were leaving and going to take the bikes to lost and found. In the end, they were long-term misplaced, not abandoned.
ZaphodBurner wrote:My next BM project is probably going to be a giant sundial on the playa. Have to figure out how to make it work at night.
After the one watch we had in camp broke (and it sure sucks to have to grab the keys, run over to the car 100ft away, and turn it on just to check the time), I'm thinking about sundial options too, though just for small-scale camp usage. Daytime is when most of the scheduled stuff I wanted to attend happened.

I also learned that a small evap pool made from a large, black trash bag (actually two taped together for thickness) works just fine if your grey water output is minimal, even if the pool spends 1/3 of the AM in the shade (such was my shower placement). We only put about 5 gallons of water into it during the week and none after Saturday; all I had was some face-masque-looking clay at the end. Hmm, maybe it's good for the pores...
(and nonny-nonny-boo-boo to the 3 ranger dudes who walked past it just before critical tits, loudly putting the thing down. having said that, it will be 100% in the sun next year.)

Somehow "radio" was not a priority on my checklist, and that's one I definitely regret. Much time was spent chilling and enjoying the nice weather at camp, and BM radio would have been perfect.

As far as comfy handlebars, man, I recommend it. One of my costumes involving PVC didn't work out (electrical issues), so I used some of it w/connectors, zip ties, and duct tape to McGyver some 15" not-quite-apehanger handlebar extensions. Was a little swimmy, but so much more comfortable and funkified. I was even able to fashion a brake lever extension from wire, velcro, and a metal ring. I'll make a more stable version for next year.

Regarding zip ties: yeah, I used many and many. It's hard to beat their convenience, but all the same, I was a little ill about all that disposed-of plastic. Next year I want to revert to more rope usage, or look for those reusable ones that Anti-M mentioned. By the by, plain wire cutters work better than scissors in cutting them off. Not that I had a pair with me!

Lastly: if you rent a car and attch anything like a bike rack and roof container like we did, be sure to check that shit at every stop on the way there and back, to make sure it's not abrading the paint off, especially if you're relying on your insurance, not theirs. If you don't, the possibility does still exist that you'll be breathing a sigh of relief when they don't notice the damage during inspection...

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Post by HughMungus » Mon Sep 12, 2005 2:39 pm

"Somehow "radio" was not a priority on my checklist, and that's one I definitely regret. Much time was spent chilling and enjoying the nice weather at camp, and BM radio would have been perfect."

Maybe it was me, but, we had a hard time finding any good radio stations this year. We weren't looking for anything in particular but what we did find was often annoying as hell (song, morse code for 10 minutes, song, morse code for 10 minutes) or the same stupid ass public service announcements as every other year. How about just saying, "Don't throw moop in the porta-potties" instead of a 5-minute sketch comedy routine?

Thank god we brought CD's (and thank god someone brought their Thievery Corporation CD).

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AntiM
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Post by AntiM » Mon Sep 12, 2005 2:55 pm

I didn't take my checkbook with me, since I couldn't cash out of state checks anyway. Apparently my perfect stash place is too perfect, I cannot find my checkbook or my favorite necklace and bracelet. Not stolen, but lost in my house.

Write down where I put important things left at home and slip it into my purse.

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ZaphodBurner
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Post by ZaphodBurner » Mon Sep 12, 2005 2:55 pm

mars wrote:
My next BM project is probably going to be a giant sundial on the playa. Have to figure out how to make it work at night.
How about standing there with a headlamp on while watching your watch, and adjusting your direction as the minutes tick on?
Make Dickie do it! Apparently he has nothing better to do.

The State of Oregon was auctioning off a bunch of old wall clocks but I lost the bid. A sundial whose shadow pointed to clocks showing the corresponding time would have been fun. 'Course, it would have confused the spectators.
"The Red Baron is smart.. He never spends the whole night dancing and drinking root beer.. "-The WWI Flying Ace

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Post by blyslv » Mon Sep 12, 2005 3:04 pm

Wavemage wrote:I learned that running around aimlessly from neon distractino to neon distraction for 3 years in a row doesn't give you as many 'cool random expereinces' as I would like to have had.

What the fuck? "If its meant to happen, it will happen" has always worked in the past. This year, very LITTLE of anything happened to me. It was a pretty boring burn, except for a few highlights. I am baffled as to why. I think I made all the right moves to allow playa magic to happen, and it just plain didn't.

hahahaha not sure what the lesson is, but maybe its that I need to really concentrate on my art and music and bringing it to the playa, instead of just running around like crazy.

The more you give the more you get. Don't be a taker or spectator. Do something. Give something, no matter how humble you think it is. "The playa provides" Bullshit. We provide. sheesh.
Fight for the fifth freedom!

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Post by blyslv » Mon Sep 12, 2005 3:09 pm

madmatt wrote:
3. pee bucket for inside tent (don't spill it!) For boys only, large mouth gatorade bottles are good cause they seal up, but LABEL THEM!!!

.
Leave it outside the tent, use it when it's dark if you're bashful, or just squat down out of sight. Empty on your first visit to the loo. "Label" it with tape that is bunched up to provide a tactile clue in the dark.
Fight for the fifth freedom!

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Post by Topcat » Mon Sep 12, 2005 3:36 pm

1 - Wet Ones = shower

2 - Bandanas are better than dust masks

3 - Cargo shorts make you look like a yahoo

4 - Making coffee is messy; buying coffee at Central Camp rocks

5 - It is not necessary to pack enough food for all 30 days of Burnign Man
I love monkeys and boys but especially monkey-boys

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Post by AntiM » Mon Sep 12, 2005 3:39 pm

I found one of these in the potty Monday morning:

https://www.mypilotstore.com/MyPilotStore/sep/676

Yes, I blue-armed it out, but had no where to put it and it was nasty and dripping and the tissue I was holding it by was about to soak through. May I be forgiven for setting it in the urinal.

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Post by blyslv » Mon Sep 12, 2005 3:58 pm

Topcat wrote:
3 - Cargo shorts make you look like a yahoo
Worrying about looking like a yahoo makes you a yahoo.
Fight for the fifth freedom!

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mars
Posts: 556
Joined: Mon Oct 06, 2003 3:51 pm
Location: Santa Cruz, CA

Post by mars » Mon Sep 12, 2005 4:42 pm

Making coffee is messy; buying coffee at Central Camp rocks
Getting free coffee at one of the many coffee camps, including the roving coffee camp, is EVEN BETTER!
Live as if everyone loves you and thinks you look great. Dance as if no one is watching.

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HughMungus
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Joined: Thu Sep 09, 2004 10:17 am
Location: Dallas, TX

Post by HughMungus » Mon Sep 12, 2005 5:01 pm

mars wrote:
Making coffee is messy; buying coffee at Central Camp rocks
Getting free coffee at one of the many coffee camps, including the roving coffee camp, is EVEN BETTER!
There was a mobile coffee bar? I've always wanted to do that and park it right next to Center Camp.

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mars
Posts: 556
Joined: Mon Oct 06, 2003 3:51 pm
Location: Santa Cruz, CA

Post by mars » Mon Sep 12, 2005 5:14 pm

There was a mobile coffee bar? I've always wanted to do that and park it right next to Center Camp.
Yes, They had a cart and a big umbrella. Their only problem was that they left the stand for the umbrella at home, so they ended up doing all their set-ups at street intersections where there were poles they could temporarily slip their umbrella on.

They would stay in one area until it was well served, and then move-on. I think the more coffee camps , the better, as I love Center Camp for a public hang out space, but really don't think we need the money aspect of it to dilute the Burning Man gift culture experience.

Neon




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Live as if everyone loves you and thinks you look great. Dance as if no one is watching.

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