Everything old is new again!

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trilobyte
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Everything old is new again!

Post by trilobyte » Sun Jan 24, 2016 2:32 pm

For those of you preparing for your first trip to Burning Man, yes there are countless details that seem so incredibly important that it gets overwhelming sometimes. And even when you think you've done your part to read things like the Survival Guide and the First Timer's Guide, you read some post or write something only to find out that... d'oh, yeah you're doing it wrong and there's yet another thing you didn't think of.

The road to radical self reliance is paved with facepalm moments and panic attacks and silly mistakes you thought you were smart enough to avoid making. Take a few deep breaths, it happens to all of us.

In that spirit, I thought it might be fun for those of us who have been to share stories about their facepalm moments. Tell us about that dopey thing you did (or the important thing you left at home) that nearly drove you to tears at the time.

I'll start, there are a couple things that spring to mind. First, this past year. I have a playa bin that I have two heavy coats in. One's fur, and the other is just elaborate and kind of heavy, both are absolutely awesome. However the weather on the playa had been fairly warm in recent years. Well, that is, it wasn't getting that cold at night in 2011, 2012, 2013, and 2014. In each of those years I brought that bin, but never wore those coats because they were immediately too warm for the night. So as I was packing up for 2015 and loading up the vehicles, I left that already-packed bin at home. Of course, 2015 turned out to be one of, if not THE coldest year on the playa in the history of the event. Sure, I survived (I layered multiple outfits on top of each other), but *facepalm* - you can bet I'm bringing that bin in 2016. The other one that jumps out is 2012. My camp was growing quite a bit, and we had stuff not only jamming our storage space but also filling every nook and cranny of available space where we live. When it came time to load the truck, a campmate and I raced over to storage and got everything out before they closed up for the night (fortunately we now use a storage place with 24 hour access), then the rest of camp joined us at my place to load all the stuff out of our loft. Once we were in those final stages, both my girlfriend and I did separate walk-throughs to make sure we got everything. Somehow, both of us had neglected a bundle of 10 pieces of EMT conduit that we needed for one of our new shade structures. It wasn't until we'd arrived on playa and unloaded the truck that I realized the error... d'oh! None of the other vehicles we had coming in had the kind of carry capacity for 10' long steel poles, so we had to think fast. We were there early to build, and I took some time to get in touch with a few friends to see if anyone had any extra construction supplies or somebody was making a run off the playa. In that weird way that the playa provides (I call it playadipity), everything worked out. Another campmate was able to offload stuff from his van and make a run for us, and some friends on the playa knew someone who knew someone who had some extra conduit that we could use. The extra we wound up having after everything showed up helped out one of our neighbors who were having problems with one or two of their shade structures.

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gbus
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Re: Everything old is new again!

Post by gbus » Sun Jan 24, 2016 2:57 pm

Haha nice!

Fortunately, I didn't really have any extreme face palm moments. I did, however, not spend my money in the right way. I read all the guides, etc and basically bought cheap versions of everything mentioned. I also brought a lot of food, thinking I would take time to cook it in our caravan. In the end, I had daily peanut and jam sandwiches and some snacks and all the food went back to San Francisco.

I think i will definitely focus my pre-Burn efforts on getting what i regard to be the most important non-life endangering essentials - a comfortable bike (holy shit that Playa is rough), good goggles and mask, LIGHTS and good outfits.

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Re: Everything old is new again!

Post by Eddaytona » Sun Jan 24, 2016 8:36 pm

2015: My wife was in charge of "software". You know, like blankets and pillows and sheets. Being the nice guy that I am, I apparently wanted to help her pack our vehicle and took them down to load. Then I forgot I did that in the rush of everything else. I also forgot where I packed that stuff. When we got to Reno she remembered she hadn't seen that stuff. I forgot what I had done. We had to stop at the Malmart and bought all of that stuff. Kinda pricey. When we got to camp it all appeared as usual. Duh!
One day we'll look back on this and it will all seem funny.

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AntiM
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Re: Everything old is new again!

Post by AntiM » Mon Jan 25, 2016 5:12 am

We have forgotten random items which make camp life easier. A broom, the trash can. The worst was when we opened the Buffy box and found someone had stolen some of our big rebar stakes at the regional. We made do with heavy military tent stakes, but on a carport? We got lucky.

Early years, a campmate forgot his ticket. Both times we found out before we left Utah, but that caused delays driving to his place to pick it up.

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ACfromSAC
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Re: Everything old is new again!

Post by ACfromSAC » Mon Jan 25, 2016 8:50 am

Every year as I'm exiting the city I facepalm myself when I realize that I once again forgot to leave my leftover beer and food in an easily accessible place so I can grab it and donate it to the playa restoration crew.

FYI to all the of the first timers who will be attending this year, as you're exiting the event you will pass by the playa restoration folks. They spend weeks on the playa after we leave, searching for every feather and bead that has fallen off of your campmate's super cool costume. Gifts of leftover food and drinks (alcoholic and otherwise) are greatly appreciated. Pack them somewhere that will make them easy to pull out as you're leaving the playa. Your playa karma will immediately be doubled if you gift food and booze to the restoration crew. These extra karma points will possibly come in handy as you wait in the queue to purchase your tickets for the following year's burn.

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Re: Everything old is new again!

Post by some seeing eye » Mon Jan 25, 2016 11:28 am

I'm a big fan of packing lists, which can also be a final check before leaving home. Once on playa, I find playa brain is a factor. You brought all this stuff, but where is it in your camp or living spot? I'm a duffel bag camper, but I find my "I'll put these things here so I can find them logically" system breaks down (often). The other thing I have noticed is that when leaving camp on your day night expedition, a checklist might be useful. I have had to go back for simple things like eyeglasses (my vision is good, but lesser at night) and batteries, multiple times, it's playa brain! There is a great What's in your backpack/knapsack thread on ePlaya about that.
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Eric
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Re: Everything old is new again!

Post by Eric » Mon Jan 25, 2016 9:08 pm

Two of my biggest fails were my first year: I only brought one pair of Dr Marten's and I bought a cheap, untried pillow since I didn't want to ruin one I liked.

The shoes were super comfortable off-playa, but only having the one pair caused me so much pain by the end of the week because I didn't think about my feet swelling in the heat. By the end of the week I had cut slits in the tops of them to let them expand - and I'm lucky, because my feet don't seem to be affected by the playa dust (I'm often just wearing slip on shoes w/out socks now).

The pillow was cheap, too soft, and would just crumble when I put my head down. I ended up using coats as a pillow. :( Now I save pillows that are a little old for home use & bring them with me.
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trilobyte
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Re: Everything old is new again!

Post by trilobyte » Fri Feb 05, 2016 1:29 pm

Haha - I used to have that problem, Some Seeing Eye... I know I brought it, but where in this truck full of infrastructure is it????

After my first year, friends and campmates got me on board the idea of using plastic flip-top bins (you can get them at the big box warehouse and hardware stores, among other places). The flip-top made them awesome for the playa, since the lid was attached and wouldn't blow away. There's even a little hole that allows you to stick a string or zip tie through to keep them closed if you're worried about them falling or getting opened when contents shift on the trip. That worked out great, though we quickly realized that if everybody's using the same kind of storage and all their gear is coming on the same truck, what belongs to who?

Our initial solution was color-coded tape. That way, when things were getting unloaded it was easy to separate by each person. That kind of worked for a while, and eventually I'd use stickers or spray a camp logo on my bins to make them stand out. After my girlfriend and I were organizing our own camp and a chunk of the infrastructure, just our bins was a whole lot to go through. I started labeling the bins. Nothing fancy with a label machine or anything, I just use a roll of that blue painter's tape and a sharpie. I generally use comedy names (like "Trilo's bin of MOAR POWER" for power tools, "Screwy Bin" for the one with screws and other fasteners, or "Trilo's Kilty Doom" for the bin that has my kilt and other utility clothing), just because it's easier for me to remember. I put the tape with a label on both sides of the bin (under each handle), so that way it doesn't matter which way the bin is facing when it's stacked or loaded.

Labeled bins works out not only for my girlfriend and I, but makes it easier for campmates too since we can rattle off the name of the bin to look for when they're after something.

Side note, here's a link to that backpack thread, there's some great stuff in there.

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Re: Everything old is new again!

Post by FoolsGold » Fri Feb 05, 2016 6:12 pm

This past year was my first, and I hit the road convinced I had everything I needed — and many things in triplicate. Sadly, this was not quite the case...

I didn't bring enough rebar stakes (I thought my tent stakes would suffice) and therefore I was not able to set up my shade structure. It wasn't the end of the world, but it did mean sleeping in was a non-starter and afternoon naps were deadly.

I didn't bring a bike for the simple reason that I like to walk and thought my experience would be more immersive if I walked everywhere. After the first day I thought this was perhaps not the wisest decision. By the second day there was no doubt. Generous neighbors encouraged me to use one of their bikes when it was around, but in the end the lack of a bike and a "must see everything... now!" mentality meant too much of my Burn felt like I was walking to or walking from without enough just being. I'll be more mindful of that this year — and bring a bike.

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Re: Everything old is new again!

Post by Jackass » Fri Feb 05, 2016 6:53 pm

Welcome to Burning Man, the place where shit rarely goes just as you had planned. At least there's hindsight...foresight is nearly useless by the time you're there...Viva la Burn!
Sooner or later, it will get real strange...

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Re: Everything old is new again!

Post by BBadger » Sat Feb 06, 2016 2:33 am

Something my friend did in our old camp that I've continued (he doesn't go to BM anymore): have a bag hanging in your common area that is for putting anything that might look lost, out of place (not MOOP), or handy. It then becomes the go-to place whenever anyone is looking for their sunblock, or the sunglasses on the table that was put away, or the keys that were in the cup holder in the blue camping chair -- or the roll of toilet paper.

You just don't know sometimes where the proper place for something should be, but at least it's somewhere you know about.


Another tip that same friend gave me: when I was feeling pretty cold walking around at night, he had me flip the bandana I was using for breathing during the day (always on my neck) around so that it kept the back of my neck warm. Almost instantly I was feeling much warmer and my neck wasn't radiating heat away from my body even though I was relatively warmly dressed. Easier than using something like a scarf too.

Oh, and if you have a red bandana, soak it in water in your sink to get rid of extra dye.
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Re: Everything old is new again!

Post by Ratty » Sat Feb 06, 2016 10:35 am

Bbadger the lost and found bag is a great idea. I will definitely have a central receptical for odd floating pieces this year. Last year I made potty bags for all my 'friends of the potty' that were helping to stock the tp at night. In my own camp it proved to be a blessing. Nothing like a bag hanging nearby with a flashlight and tp ready to go. It also had sanitizer, wipes, ziplock bags and a couple of zip ties. (Those were just in case a seat was smeared with poopoo.)
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Re: Everything old is new again!

Post by ChicoTerri » Thu Feb 11, 2016 7:03 pm

I have a cloth shoe bag, the kind with multiple pockets, that we use for the camp "lost and found". It's also useful for all the things you want handy, without cluttering up your area. I cut a full length one in half, and put another set of grommets on the bottom half. Now I have two, that are easier to hang, as they don't need so much space. One lives semi-permanently on the wall in our little old RV.
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Re: Everything old is new again!

Post by Jackass » Thu Feb 11, 2016 7:59 pm

I use one of these in the tent trailer, collapses down just like the trailer. Works like a dream. Hats, bandannas, shades/goggles, TP, schwag and uh uh a bunch of other stuff too.
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Re: Everything old is new again!

Post by Shoeshine » Fri Mar 11, 2016 10:50 pm

Year before last, first time bringing a MV. So absolutely focused on that damn thing. Got it loaded, used all my good straps to get it secured on it's trailer. worked great.

The problem? I just grabbed my hexiyurt, threw it on the roof rack of my truck with a couple of cheap tie downs.

It'll be fine... ummmn no.

somewhere between lone pine and bishop on the 395 I hear a snap. Look in my rearview and see my yurt tumbling down the road breaking into chunks of foam and tape.
Luckily it was in the middle of the night so I didn't cause an accident, Thank the powers. Was able to go back and gather all the debris in a tarp. Stuffed the pieces I couldn't carry into a dumpster at a closed gas station (normally wouldn't do this but I was so pissed at myself and was desperate)
Spent the week sleeping in the back of my truck with borrowed blankets for a bed (usually use a cot, that wouldn't fly in the truck)
This was the first day rain event year, so half my crap was outside when it poured.

But dammit, I brought a Mutant Vehicle.
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