New tricks for an old dog

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SquireM
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New tricks for an old dog

Postby SquireM » Thu Mar 06, 2014 11:59 am

Hello my fellow Hopefuls,

In the spirit of Radical Self-expression, and at the risk of sharing to much information, I'd like to articulate my only fear about attending Burning Man.

A little background... I'm 40. I've never cared about my age, but somehow 40 hit me hard. Perhaps this is the typical midlife crisis I've heard about, though I have no desire to get divorced or date a younger women or buy a sports car. It's more about getting off my ass and doing the things I always said I wanted to do.. "some day". I first heard about Burning Man while traveling in South America in 1996. It captured my imagination and I've held it like some sort of Utopian ideal ever since. I'm an instructor at a university and the week before classes is not conducive to taking a vacation. I also had several acquaintances who had gone to Burning Man in the early nineties and thought it's popularity was killing its entire ideal.
Then 4 years ago I was doing so research on emergent systems and stumbled on Burning Man as an example of an emergent human system. Since then I've been reading and watching videos and generally fantasizing about going. As mentioned above, it was never convenient, but enough is enough. I'm going.

So, the fear... I've read a lot about Burning Man, and I've watched a lot of videos. My fear is I've built it up onto such a romantic pedestal that I've set myself up for disappointment. I actually watch Burning Man videos when I'm feeling down on humanity. In a lot of ways the idea of Burning Man is what keeps me hopeful. I fear that it would better to have hope and not ever actually experience Burning Man than go and potentially loose hope. It's about being accepted and feeling like I belong to a bigger whole. When I hear people taking about that aspect of Burning Man, I ache (for lack of a better word) for it. I want to be able to just let go, but I don't know if I really can.

Thoughts?

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Re: New tricks for an old dog

Postby VultureChow » Thu Mar 06, 2014 12:21 pm

Welcome to Eplaya.

I'd normally suggest to leave your expectations at home, but you're clearly past that point. Come join us any way. At the very least, it can be just be a chill vacation full of cold beer and lounging around. As someone better than me said, it's a camping trip in the desert, not the redemption of a fallen world. But many find something they thought they had lost, or never knew they wanted.

My advice would be to stop focusing on the metaphysical and start focusing on the purely physical, logistics. Make a budget, plan your travel arrangements, figure out your shelter, plan a menu. Read some of the more technical threads here on the board. Make things. Hell, buy things. Refocus that energy so that you'll at the very least feel the elemental satisfaction of thriving in an environment that's doing everything it can to kill you.
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Savannah
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Re: New tricks for an old dog

Postby Savannah » Thu Mar 06, 2014 2:19 pm

Welcome, Squire!

I agree with BoyScoutGirl quite a bit. Refocus. :) Forget the videos. Start getting yourself ready. You won't have a good time if you don't.

The videos . . . some of them are so charming, or beautiful or funny, or remind me of good times, but they're narrow apertures. They don't show the bone weariness of driving for 12 hours, waiting in line for a few more and setting up your tent by flashlight, cannot document the triumph of enduring an 8-hour windstorm with your humor intact and a handful of new friends, the insanity of the sleeplessness, or the queer loneliness that can settle upon a person from time to time, or many other things that may or may not delight or plague you. They are a very skinny slice of a large, strange, mixed pie.

I also had several acquaintances who had gone to Burning Man in the early nineties and thought it's popularity was killing its entire ideal.


It was better next year. :)
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ygmir
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Re: New tricks for an old dog

Postby ygmir » Thu Mar 06, 2014 3:54 pm

Burning Man may well be the most hypocriticalselffullingprophetcallydichotomousinstantkarmafacingyourfearsandlivingyourfantasies place, you'll ever see.

expect nothing, be ready for anything. It can easily be anything you make it. Your choices will very much frame your experience, but know serendipity, luck, and karma fight for your attention.

Be sure to have a safe spot, spots, or person, if you need refuge.
And don't underestimate the value of remaining hydrated, rested, and fed. These, physical things, can make or break your experience.

Make a friend or two on the board here, you don't have to be super, but just folks who, if it's all melting around you, will be willing to advise on playa. Or take said friend, or friends, with you.

good luck
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Re: New tricks for an old dog

Postby Elliot » Thu Mar 06, 2014 3:59 pm

Ygmir, I didn't know you speak German. :wink:

What the Pagan said!
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Re: New tricks for an old dog

Postby ygmir » Thu Mar 06, 2014 4:01 pm

Elliot wrote:Ygmir, I didn't know you speak German. :wink:

What the Pagan said!


that's Finnish.
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Re: New tricks for an old dog

Postby Elliot » Thu Mar 06, 2014 4:04 pm

...hypocriticalselffullingprophetcallydichotomousinstantkarmafacingyourfearsandlivingyourfantasies...

Sure looks German to me.

SquireM, please excuse my thread drift. It's the local sport, as you are now learning. :lol:
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Re: New tricks for an old dog

Postby Dr Helix » Thu Mar 06, 2014 5:40 pm

Burning Man? It's not a big deal. Except it changed my life.
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Re: New tricks for an old dog

Postby theCryptofishist » Thu Mar 06, 2014 6:25 pm

Don't hang ideas of some sort of better humanity coming out of burningman. We have rapists. We have people in groups re-enacting the worst sort of Jr. High "insies, outsies" behavior. We have people who are determined to take as much as possible, without giving anything back. Scape-goating. I'm a little ill, so the list is much shorter than it should be.
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People are on vacation. They've looked forwards to it all year and damned if they are going to let anything minor ruin it. Not as magic as your dreams, but much truer...
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SquireM
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Re: New tricks for an old dog

Postby SquireM » Thu Mar 06, 2014 6:49 pm

Dr Helix wrote:Burning Man? It's not a big deal. Except it changed my life.

That's what I'm looking for.
A friend just suggested that I "try it" locally. There are local events in Michigan and Minnesota that don't conflict with work. Also, they are cheaper and won't require the investment of energy and time. I assume that the experience will allow me to feel the vibe and then lay the groundwork for 2015 on the Playa. It's not the "real" thing but perhaps getting something sooner is getter than waiting.

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Re: New tricks for an old dog

Postby Aurelia » Thu Mar 06, 2014 8:14 pm

Don't go ! IF you are looking for easy out ; I give it to you.

BUT, if you want more of course go. go all the way

you will, at the least, learn what you need to survive happily

xoA.

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Re: New tricks for an old dog

Postby TT120 » Thu Mar 06, 2014 8:19 pm

The videos only show you a small part of Burning Man. There is a whole lot more to it than can be shown in a video. It's an awesome adventure and all great adventures include some good and some bad and BM is no different. Some of the bad stuff includes but is not limited to, The entry line, the exodus line, the heat, the wind, the dust and so on but surviving these things is what makes it that much more fun. Finally getting your tent set up at night with a flashlight and 30 mph winds makes you feel like superman! They really mean it when they say you make the burn whatever you want it to be. The best thing to do is prepare yourself to survive camping in the desert for a week, quit watching the feel good videos and concentrate on the logistics of the camping trip. As long as you have a comfortable base camp, you can triumph over all the little bullshit problems and win Burning Man.
Life's a bitch, then you go to Burning Man - Unjonharley

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ygmir
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Re: New tricks for an old dog

Postby ygmir » Thu Mar 06, 2014 10:07 pm

ygmir wrote:Burning Man may well be the most hypocriticalselffullingprophetcallydichotomousinstantkarmafacingyourfearsandlivingyourfantasies place, you'll ever see.

expect nothing, be ready for anything. It can easily be anything you make it. Your choices will very much frame your experience, but know serendipity, luck, and karma fight for your attention.

Be sure to have a safe spot, spots, or person, if you need refuge.
And don't underestimate the value of remaining hydrated, rested, and fed. These, physical things, can make or break your experience.

Make a friend or two on the board here, you don't have to be super, but just folks who, if it's all melting around you, will be willing to advise on playa. Or take said friend, or friends, with you.

good luck

I forgot narcissisticlyselfindugent
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Re: New tricks for an old dog

Postby BBadger » Thu Mar 06, 2014 11:19 pm

I'm with Fishy's assessment of Burning Man: it's not a place that necessarily creates "better humanity", and in fact suffers from many of the problems of the default world. Also realize that people there act different because of artificial conditions -- notably because people are on vacation, and on vacation under special circumstances.

Don't get me wrong. People there are nice, generous, helpful and there is a really great "vibe" to the place. However, realize that much of that has to do with the environment: you can't buy or barter for anything besides ice and coffee, people must bring everything they want to enjoy and give away without replenishment, and people have saved up all year to blow it all at that place for a week. That leads to conditions where people are going to feel generous with what they bring because it's already paid for, they're going to concentrate on experience and (other) people, and, ultimately, they're isolated from the real world.

You'll probably take home some great memories, feelings, and ideas. You'll meet awesome people you weren't aware of. You'll see things and be inspired.

All of that centers around you, not the event. So go to Burning Man for yourself, not to try to push some vision of a better humanity, or expect that better societies are what Burning Man creates. You'll get disappointed when you can't apply what you experienced in very special conditions to the rest of the world, but at least you'll have some level of control over your own life and how you live it.

As for regionals, I find the regionals more personal and community-oriented than Burning Man. Burning Man is a big place, and despite having lots of "burners" around who are cool and pretty open, it can get lonely like any city. You'll also lose touch with many of the people you meet at Burning Man, whereas you can develop relationships with local people of the same mindset if you go to regionals. I'd try to attend both if you can, and possibly the regionals can help you hook up with people you want to attend Burning Man with.
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Re: New tricks for an old dog

Postby Aurelia » Fri Mar 07, 2014 7:34 am

Hey , just do it
or dont

Regionals are not the same at all

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Re: New tricks for an old dog

Postby Joeln » Fri Mar 07, 2014 7:54 am

Fish, TT, Badger - Very useful comments for this burgin.
Hopefully I'll leave with something I can apply to my outside life.
Collapse first and avoid the rush

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Re: New tricks for an old dog

Postby AntiM » Fri Mar 07, 2014 8:01 am

Dust abatement tricks, if nothing else!

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Re: New tricks for an old dog

Postby VultureChow » Fri Mar 07, 2014 8:06 am

I didn't get what I was looking for, but I'm quickly picking up much needed skills for the upcoming zombie apocalypse or whatever. Metal casting, plumbing, electrical wiring.

Coming from a family that, to put it bluntly, pays people to do everything for them, it's no small feat. And a huge confidence builder.

Except cooking. The women in our family might not be able to sew on a button, but boy can we cook.
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Re: New tricks for an old dog

Postby FIGJAM » Fri Mar 07, 2014 9:14 am

When I went for the first time, it was to see 50,000 people who could take care of themselves for a week without going to the store or asking ME to do something for them.

That is mostly what I found and it gave me a little hope for our race.

You will find what you expect.

And if you go with no expectations......................you'll find even more!!! 8)
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Re: New tricks for an old dog

Postby Mojojita » Fri Mar 07, 2014 11:31 am

Consider it the world's largest outdoor cocktail party. Anything else you get out of it is gravy
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Re: New tricks for an old dog

Postby bluemiragemi » Fri Mar 07, 2014 12:55 pm

You nailed it re: putting BRC on a pedastal.

So, take it down/off.

Hold that "ideal" in your head as Fantasy Burning Man. It's cool, it's an idea, it's a perception.

Now, move on with Real Burning Man and do what VC suggested and get to the physical concrete things.

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Re: New tricks for an old dog

Postby Drawingablank » Fri Mar 07, 2014 1:37 pm

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Re: New tricks for an old dog

Postby SquireM » Sun Mar 09, 2014 10:12 pm

I've been combing the internet for anything and everything Burning Man. My wife (who is not all interested in going) mentioned that I'm not hearing any negatives. Indeed, the only negatives I've heard have been in reference to the dust. There is sometimes mention of particular people who are there for specific purposes and are harsh to anyone not serving their interests. In a few podcasts I've heard people say they were taking a year or two off Burning Man because it didn't go so well last year, but they never get specific. The biggest criticisms I've heard have all been from people who haven't attended but are sure it would "be stupid".

I guess I'm looking for negatives I can wrap my head around. Complaining about the heat and dust is a bit like going to Mexico and complaining that there are to many Mexicans and to much Spanish being spoken. Similarly, I've seen several comments about how disgusting all the naked people are. I don't think anyone complaining about the desert or self-expression of the participants had any idea of what they were doing there.

So... What are the negatives? Has anyone read or heard from people who really didn't like it?

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Re: New tricks for an old dog

Postby gaminwench » Sun Mar 09, 2014 10:16 pm

It took me a couple of years to accept the constant whomp/thumpa/bootsnpantzzzzzzz soundscape; not my thing at all, and it is pervasive.
"the prophecies of doom were better last year" trilo

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Re: New tricks for an old dog

Postby SquireM » Sun Mar 09, 2014 10:31 pm

gaminwench wrote:It took me a couple of years to accept the constant whomp/thumpa/bootsnpantzzzzzzz soundscape; not my thing at all, and it is pervasive.

Meaning, loud dance music everywhere all the time? That sounds annoying, but also expected, if you've ever seen a video of the event. I assume there are parts of the city that are quieter?

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Re: New tricks for an old dog

Postby gaminwench » Sun Mar 09, 2014 11:02 pm

Yes, there are 'quieter' areas.
But there's always *that* camp.

With the exception of sunrise early in the week,
there is no silence.

all thump, all the time;
far away, perhaps,
but constant.

Silence at Temple burn is yummy, when it happens.
"the prophecies of doom were better last year" trilo

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Re: New tricks for an old dog

Postby FIGJAM » Sun Mar 09, 2014 11:08 pm

I'm a light sleeper and haven't had to use my earplugs yet. (4 years)

It's very peaceful where we are at night. 8)
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Re: New tricks for an old dog

Postby gaminwench » Mon Mar 10, 2014 12:26 am

see, I'm doing it wrong!

that is the curse;
there's always a better way!
"the prophecies of doom were better last year" trilo

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Re: New tricks for an old dog

Postby Elliot » Mon Mar 10, 2014 10:42 am

:D
To my own great surprise, I found myself sort'a accepting the techno thumping, in spite of the fact that I deeply dislike it. It took me a year or two, but techno became symbolic of the event, and my mind "embraced" it on that basis.
Then I learned to camp in the "southern suburbs" (5 & G with Figjam), and that area is fairly quiet.
So no serious worries.

(I still wish they would keep that c-r-a-p down!)
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ygmir
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Re: New tricks for an old dog

Postby ygmir » Mon Mar 10, 2014 10:45 am

Elliot wrote::D
To my own great surprise, I found myself sort'a accepting the techno thumping, in spite of the fact that I deeply dislike it. It took me a year or two, but techno became symbolic of the event, and my mind "embraced" it on that basis.
Then I learned to camp in the "southern suburbs" (5 & G with Figjam), and that area is fairly quiet.
So no serious worries.

(I still wish they would keep that c-r-a-p down!)


that 5 o'clock spoke is a sketchy neighborhood..........
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