A friend turned into a nightmare!

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brcprincess
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A friend turned into a nightmare!

Post by brcprincess » Sun Sep 07, 2008 4:56 am

I have something to run by you all.

I have a friend whom I always considered very open minded and creative. The first time I came to BM, I could not stop thinking how much he would love it.

I talked to him for years about coming and finally bought him a ticket for his birthday and paid for a bunch of his supplies so he could come this year. I couldn't wait to see his face when he first rode out onto the Playa.

So he shows up and all he does is complain. He complains about how hard it was to organize everything, how tough it was to drive in, he complains about the weather, he is rude to our campmates, he complains about everything - non stop.

The first night we took him out on the Playa he said nothing. Not a single word. But not in an amazed sense, which would have been great. He was entirely detached, as though he wasn't even there. We couldn't fathom it.

By 5am, we asked him "so what do you think?" and he shrugs and says "kinda what I expected".

The entire time he was there, he never once looked at a piece of art. He never once said a positive word.

I know it sounds terrible but the entire incident really put me off him. I am going to find it hard to be his friend anymore. I look at him in a completely different way now.

Is this normal?

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Post by hsdavis » Sun Sep 07, 2008 6:05 am

This year, the weather was harsher than usual and the playa surface was very soft. This may have been part of the turn off, but also the idea that he was pushed into attending vs. being excited and wanting to go himself. Remember that this event is not for everyone. There are only 50,000 of us stupid enough to spend a week in those conditions. If I were to ever get my wife out there by some crazy chance, there would actually be a murder on the playa, since she would probably kill me in my sleep.
Let things settle down with your friend and I think you will see something amazing happen. He will start to talk about going again next year and you will find a new and excited attitude from him.

"DON'T THROW OUT THE FRIEND WITH THE PLAYA DUST"

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pinemom
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Post by pinemom » Sun Sep 07, 2008 7:29 am

sounds like you GAVE him expectations.

The hardest part about being a vet burners is we see even beyond the art, we see the magic in the thought process of how the artist came up with the idea, we see and feel the months of hard work they did to make the art a reality. We feel and see a parallel world that hoovers just above the playa surface.

I was guilty of this very act....giving expectations to friends and family about possibilities of them joining us.

I have changed my mind over the yrs. Now I just tell them like it is. Its adult disneyland in the HARSHEST conditions you could ever live in for 8 days.

weigh it out...if you still want to, then join us, but leave ALL expectations at home. Expect nothing...
Names pinemom, but my friends call me "Piney".

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somekind
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Post by somekind » Sun Sep 07, 2008 7:55 am

This year I spent a total of one hour with my friends. In fact, I spent 4x that just looking for them at BM. Our schedules didn't mesh, so we ended up enjoying BM our own way.

I learned a long time ago that friends are not the same as girlfriends. You can't expect too much.
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Post by Laughing Forest » Sun Sep 07, 2008 9:48 am

>I know it sounds terrible but the entire incident really put me off him. I am >going to find it hard to be his friend anymore. I look at him in a completely >different way now.


Sounds like you invested your hopes for a good time on your expectations that your friend would have a good time.

Bad call sistah.

Your trip might have been salvaged if, on the first sign of whining by your friend, you'd taken a longneck Bud bottle and cracked him across the back of the head with it.

Remember, no one likes whiney little bitches. No one.

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mars
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Post by mars » Sun Sep 07, 2008 10:22 am

Bummer.

It's always a bummer when you try to share something you love with a friend and they don't love it.

And then for him to complain non-stop when he knows this is something you love and that you spent YOUR OWN money to get him there, makes him an ungrateful, insensitive friend or just so incredibly self-centered that he couldn't see past his own discomfort to sense that you were having discomfort too.

I can see why your views of him have changed.
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Post by Timezone LaFontaine » Sun Sep 07, 2008 10:24 am

I was one click away from buying a ticket for a friend earlier this year... eventually I decided not to for a couple of reasons. One, it would have required him to shell out even more than the ticket price for various supplies and travel expenses (which it sounds like you covered a significant amount). And two, they just have to want it for themselves. I'll keep recommending my friends look into it, but no more hard sell. Anyhow, I've really come to enjoy traveling alone and then meeting people along the way. It's pretty nice to have a completely free schedule too.

As for you and your friend, you've gotta just dial it back and remember why you like them in the first place. Burning isn't their thing.

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Aiee! It burns!
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Post by Aiee! It burns! » Sun Sep 07, 2008 10:50 am

pinemom wrote:sounds like you GAVE him expectations.
Hear, hear! If they don't already want to come, they are not meant to come.

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Post by Dr. Pyro » Sun Sep 07, 2008 11:44 am

I agree with most of the assessments on this thread. Several years ago a dear friend of mine from Chico brought her (at the time) best girlfriend out to the playa, knowing she would love it. And I suppose she did, but by the time the week was over, my friend couldn't stand the sight of the other and even said that if she was going back to Burning Man would actually consider not going herself. When the two of them are in the same area, you can feel darkness spread across the land and a chill fills the air. The point is that Burning Man isn't for everybody; hell, it probably isn't even for most. The environment, expense, close proximity to God-only-knows what, the alkaline atmosphere, all of this makes Black Rock City a place most sane people would try to avoid at all costs. Your friend, I would assume, is one of them.

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Post by geekster » Sun Sep 07, 2008 11:49 am

"The point is that Burning Man isn't for everybody; hell, it probably isn't even for most. "

All one can do is expose someone to the idea of BM and answer their questions as they ask them as best as you can. If they need to be there, they will get themselves there one way or another. If one finds that they seem to be "selling" BM to someone, maybe that is the first indication that a square peg is being hammered into a round hole.
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Post by DoriumLux » Sun Sep 07, 2008 11:51 am

That's too bad. I have had a similar experience. It is really hard to gauge the people that will or will not like it. Everyone who I thought would really like it did not like it at all. Those that I would least suspect, love it more than anything.

I took my boyfriend for the first time last year and I was totally up in arms whether he was going to love or hate me for it. I was leaning a little more towards the hate side. He is the kind of guy that tinkers and fixes everything. He is hardcore into computers. He does not drink or do any substances of any kind. He isn't what I would call "wild" and definitely does not have a passion for hippies/ravers. Turns out he just absolutely loves it. I had to opportunity to see sides of him that I never thought existed and love him even more for it.

We almost took his brother this year but he decided not go at the last minute to our disbelief (after we spent hundreds to make his attendance a possibility). However, I was glad that he didn't come when the 12 hour dust storm rolled around on Monday.

Over the years, (especially after last year) I have decided not to assist or hype it up to anyone. We have several friends that want to go and we have decided if they want to go then they will find a way to do it on their own. We will not drive them, share food, supplies or any type of responsibility with them. It's the worst thing ever to take someone out there that ends up hating it and resenting you for taking them and/or flakes out. We will only camp with experienced burners from now on or people who put forth the effort to prepare and come out on their own.

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Post by bigbluedoggy » Sun Sep 07, 2008 12:02 pm

An interesting experience along those same lines for me this year... I have a good friend whom I think would really love BRC and all it entails: a desert camping buddy with a very free spirit, into photography and the like. So without doing a hardsell, I have mentioned to him going each year and how much fun we have and how it sure seems like the sort of thing he would love. Lo and behold, he bought a ticket for he and his fiance this year and I had thought they were going to join our theme camp. I didn't hear a word from him for at least 3 weeks before we left and then to my surprise he and the gf ride their bikes into our camp on Thursday night, having just arrived and doing as instructed by the Greeters: park in the outer realms and ride your bikes in to find your friends camp in the inner areas. He was absolutely giddy with delight at what he was seeing! He had said he had some expectations and that these were shattered (in a good way) when he reached the greeters station. Well we figure out where they could park their vehicle, where their tent would go, waved them goodbye to get their car and then... never saw them again the entire time. Still have not spoken to him since although I have left a message.

Could be that either he or the gf just didn't want to be a part of something like a theme camp right off the bat and wanted to have their own more intimate experience...perhaps they just didn't want the expense of being a part of a theme camp either (we do charge a fee). It was an interesting thing to realize they had never resurfaced and that nobody had even seen them except for that one brief visit. Go figure!
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Post by Captain Goddammit » Sun Sep 07, 2008 12:05 pm

I've quit even mentioning it to non-burners.
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Post by Intubater69 » Sun Sep 07, 2008 12:35 pm

As someone who had known about burning man for a number of years, I finally took the plunge this year and went, taking my wife and son to stay in Kidsville. None of my friends or co-workers have/had any inkling what BM was, and honestly, neither did i until we got there and experienced it for ourselves. I would never buy anyone a tix and say here ya go have fun. I def. suggest it and try to explain it to friends who may be potential burners. As Dr Pyro stated, it is an extreme environment and def. not for the tame or unprepared. We backpack, sail Lake Erie, hang out at our isolated cabin in northern Ontario, but this was a new experience for us. True to our local burners words, my wife had her meltdown the monday of the duststorm. After that she was good to go. I cant imagine what someone who had no idea what it would be like would do. Wait, yes I do. A couple near us packed up and left the burn during the dust storm monday. So its def. not for everyone.
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Post by DoriumLux » Sun Sep 07, 2008 12:42 pm

Intubater69 wrote:As someone who had known about burning man for a number of years, I finally took the plunge this year and went, taking my wife and son to stay in Kidsville. None of my friends or co-workers have/had any inkling what BM was, and honestly, neither did i until we got there and experienced it for ourselves. I would never buy anyone a tix and say here ya go have fun. I def. suggest it and try to explain it to friends who may be potential burners. As Dr Pyro stated, it is an extreme environment and def. not for the tame or unprepared. We backpack, sail Lake Erie, hang out at our isolated cabin in northern Ontario, but this was a new experience for us. True to our local burners words, my wife had her meltdown the monday of the duststorm. After that she was good to go. I cant imagine what someone who had no idea what it would be like would do. Wait, yes I do. A couple near us packed up and left the burn during the dust storm monday. So its def. not for everyone.
Yeah, I noticed people pack up and leave on Monday too. Couldn't believe it!

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mars
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Post by mars » Sun Sep 07, 2008 12:53 pm

Well, so many people left on saturday, before the burn, that sunday morning looked like monday morning around our camp.

I think that's why exodus went so well.

And I hope it helps to keep the population a little smaller next year.

Dust storms are VERY good for the event, if you ask me!
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Post by DoriumLux » Sun Sep 07, 2008 1:07 pm

mars wrote:Well, so many people left on saturday, before the burn, that sunday morning looked like monday morning around our camp.

I think that's why exodus went so well.

And I hope it helps to keep the population a little smaller next year.

Dust storms are VERY good for the event, if you ask me!
I totally agree! We have had some pretty good weather the last few years. I hope it definitely scared off a few.

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Post by Toolmaker » Sun Sep 07, 2008 1:39 pm

Last year I had a bad exp. with someone I thought I knew. Long story short it turns out almost complete strangers wound up being better friends. This may have been the underlying reason why I went solo and didn't look for anyone I knew even remotely. With all the hardships and windfalls this year still wound up being good for me overall. The good outweighs the bad more often than not on the playa. I have noticed that BM can kill a relationship/friendship but you can also make some good new ones at the same time. I figure its best to know if someone is a true friend before you have to trust em with your life. BM is good for that.. it will try the most stable relations in ways never before thought of. Now you know and knowing is half the battle. Like Capt. I gave up trying to tell anyone new.. if they don't already know about BM by now its likely not for them.
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Re: A friend turned into a nightmare!

Post by HughMungus » Sun Sep 07, 2008 2:03 pm

brcprincess wrote:Is this normal?
Not normal but it's happened to me. In my case, I was trying to bring someone into the burning man "fold". I thought if she went to Burning Man and liked it that she'd become one of my local burner friends. It was my worst Burning Man, ever (not just because of her but she made it all a lot worse).

My only consolation is that your friend might come around about Burning Man sometime in the future. Maybe he'd prefer a regional event.
It's what you make it.

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Post by **burn** » Sun Sep 07, 2008 2:06 pm

In 2007 I went with my husband, my best male friend, and his girlfriend. My best male friend I knew for 15 yrs or so and trusted with my life. We had been on cross country motorcycle journeys together, moved states together, etc. BM brought our friendship to an end. I have relinquished trying to understand why it must be.

2008 it was just my husband and I. By Wed he was ready to leave. I could not bear the thought of departing. So, drama-free, I made arrangements to stay with others and a ride home and husband went home. We says he won't will attend 2009, and I am trying to leave room for him to change his mind, but he says to slap him if he says he wants to go.

So 2009 will be my own burn. All mine.
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Post by RedHeaven » Sun Sep 07, 2008 4:22 pm

Tough stuff.....Im a VERY tolerant person, and I gotta practice even MORE tolerance at BMan. People are themselves x 1000, or their 'other'side comes out, and its not who we know in regular life. This haas been a challenge for me, too. It hasnt ruined friendships, because i think in the end the people I have had issues with and I practice TOLERANCE subconsiously. It could be more of a CONSCIOUS effort, though. I think a lot of the people I am around are aware that this kind of tension/misscommunication/outpouring of a deeper side and we let things roll. But Im still leary.....I have a choice next year, I could camp with the village I have been camping with for 4 years, which is nice because I dont know them very well and I get to know them better every year but I dont know them inside out......OR camp with my close close friends, a lot of who will be virgins next year (tho I know they will rock it) and some who are more sophmoric like me. Im going to choose to camp with my close friends and be aware of the consequences. Now that I have had some experience dealing with the intensities of relationships out there, I think I would be a good mediator and counselor in a Close Friend Group. Im ready for the circumstances and challenges. I can always escape to my ole Village if I get too frusterated. :wink: BUT I have to be prepared for challenges and be STRONG with my group and try to help instead of add fuel to the fire. My friends I hope can do the same for me. If not, I just gotta be me and give unconditionally.

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I like the solo experience.....

Post by playa_buddha » Sun Sep 07, 2008 4:51 pm

My first year at Burning Man (1998) I brought my then girlfriend and her 3 year old son. We only came for the last four days of the event. All went reasonably well. The next year we had broken up just before the event, and I came alone for the whole week, and except for two missed years, '06 & this year, I've come alone every year, and I love it. I make new friends every year, find old friends, and never have to hassle anyone else's drama or expectations. I have no desire to part of a theme camp - although I had a great time with Solo Collective in '01 when they scooped me up off the street after being summarily evicted from someone else's space I'd set up in by accident. It would be nice to come again with a friend or a significant other who's up for the experience, but I've never once been lonely going solo.
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somekind
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Post by somekind » Sun Sep 07, 2008 5:18 pm

I've gotten negative vibes from other campers because they were more prepared and brought more supplies than I had. I wasn't demanding assistance or gear, but did accept portions of meals that were prepared by co-campers. That might have been it.
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Post by brcprincess » Sun Sep 07, 2008 5:21 pm

[quote="pinemom"]sounds like you GAVE him expectations.

weigh it out...if you still want to, then join us, but leave ALL expectations at home. Expect nothing...[/quote]

I guess you are right. I was a bit naive. I love BM so much and it is so special to me that I wanted to share it with my friend. It never occurred to me that he wouldn't like it.

His negative attitude didn't bother me while we were there because I was too happy.

It was when we got back and he sent me a long email detailing every complaint that I felt more disappointed.

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urvile
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Post by urvile » Sun Sep 07, 2008 5:28 pm

Friends of mine's dad had a saying, "He's a nice guy, but I wouldn't go fishing with him."

It's always kind of stuck with me. Someone might be good person, and a great friend. But get them out of their everyday box, and into an alternate and adverse reality, and things you never noticed before might start to show up. Going fishing with someone, for instance, might entail being trapped in a small space, in the rain, cold, getting dirty, while trying to zen the art of fishing, and some people just can't swing it. They often end up pissing off everyone around them too, because they are miserable and won't shut up about it.

The playa is like that too. It's an adverse, very hostile environment. If they can zen it, then a wonderful world opens up out there. But if they can't, they spend the whole time trying to deal with conditions they just can't hack, and never get past the dust, heat, etc. I think the harshness of the conditions reduces people to the base elements of their personality, the core of the psyche. It strips out all the bullshit we use to get by everyday, and I (we?) try to use it to build those bits up and strengthen them. Like taking apart an engine, and polishing, porting, cleaning, lubing every surface, and putting it back together - maybe adding a supercharger along the way :)

Many a friendship or love has died on the playa, and many have been born. It's just the way it will always be. Hell, I had a friendship implode even BEFORE WE LEFT once. Just the stress of logistics was enough to make me realize this was not a person I really wanted in my life, and brought all the underlying tension in our relationship to a head.

Your case might be different. This just might not be his thing, and you can be fine off-playa friends. So give it some time, and see how it plays out.

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Post by skygod » Sun Sep 07, 2008 8:06 pm

I never try to talk people into going. I just tell them what it was like for me, and that I would help them if they decided on their own to go.

Burning Man is not easy to like, I think a person has to want to like it.
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Post by Terlin » Sun Sep 07, 2008 8:51 pm

I guess you are right. I was a bit naive. I love BM so much and it is so special to me that I wanted to share it with my friend. It never occurred to me that he wouldn't like it.

His negative attitude didn't bother me while we were there because I was too happy.

[size=18][color=red]It was when we got back and he sent me a long email detailing every complaint that I felt more disappointed.[/quote][/color][/size]

I cant believe he had the nerve to write you an email and detail each complaint...that is really shitty. I agree with a lot of the replies on this thread but if a friend of mine even after you bought his ticket and paid for a lot of his supplies on top of complaining while at BM then came home and did this to me, he would be an EX- FRIEND.

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should have listened to my inner self

Post by joemomma » Sun Sep 07, 2008 9:04 pm

So, my second burn, planning on going solo, and meeting friends there to camp near. co-worker, suggests we camp together, 5 people become 4 become 2. Still planning on driving myself, and camping in my own tent and being "self relient"..... co-worker says, my friend from high school, "she's 34" is going also and has an RV.....Just the 3 of us......
So I mee him...seems nice enough, non drinker, ... I come out and set my expectations. no drama.... we go our own way when we want... no baby sitting...
Things seem cool.....
Tuesday after noon, burn week....... bells should have rung when my coworker and friend are arguing about how to park the dam RV..... parked it fucked up so shade was at the nose and not the door side..
Then I find out they guy.....has only been 4 months sober..and clean for 1 year, and was "gonna get fucked up!"
Needless to say, he was a non stop drinker, ......took drugs..... and was a fucking pain in the ass..... one of those sloppy, want to hug...drunks..
Then he breaks/damages his ankle on wednesday by stepping on his bike if just dropped in the dark....
What a fucking nightmare.....
I ended up hanging with other people and only used the rv to sleep..shit and shower.
Next year. I will have the keys to my own vehicle and be truely self relieant.
Lesson learned.....

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Better way to handle it

Post by Otisserie » Sun Sep 07, 2008 9:05 pm

We had a woman in our camp who lasted about 36 hours. Didn't like the heat, was unimpressed with the art, didn't like the vibe. To her credit, she realized she was miserable and simply packed up and went home, so we didn't have to deal with her the rest of the week.

In hindsight, you may have made two mistakes: encouraging your friend to come in the first place, and then not encouraging him to leave. If someone is miserable, maybe the best thing you can do is gently point them to the exit lane and help them pack up.
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Post by The CO » Sun Sep 07, 2008 9:18 pm

I don't know what some of you are talking about, the weather this year was fan-fucking-tastic. 2 days of dust out of 9 is a dream. I have seen too many years where it was dust & 40 mph winds all week.

But on the original topic... I actively discourage people from going. I tell them that it is hot, dry, dusty, bad for your skin, shreds your throat, destroys your feet, ruins your bike, etc. If they really want to go, I can't discourage them. Additionally, I never fund people. Won't buy a ticket or gear or any of that. It is the opposite of self-sufficiency. If they want to go, they will produce what they need to be out there, and get their own ass to the playa. The people that make it to BRC on their own tend to be much more of the people I like.
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