In dust we trust

This one time, at Burning Man, I rode the Partysmail during an epic dust storm to the man to watch him burn.

It was Saturday night, and instead of feeling happy and excited, I was pissy and irritated.

Me and dust storms DO NOT GET ALONG.

Also?

It was cold.

Very cold.

I was wearing rainbow velour pants and my neon green faux fur long jacket.

And I was still cold.

I took out my camera and shot a few seconds worth of the dust storm.

Later on, I looked at the footage and realized it reminded me of something out of a Star Wars movie on desolated Tatooine, with a collection of oddballs and assorted mutant vehicles all trying to weather the dust storm.

When people ask to see photos and video of my experiences at Burning Man sure, I show them the picture of a hot blonde chick in a white under-the-bust corset, toe shoes, and NOTHING ELSE.

She was part of my 2015 burn.

But I also show them the video of the dust storm.

Not just to warn them of what may lay ahead. . .

. . .but to remind myself that I’m actually one pretty tough chick myself.

I may not stumble around on toe shoes in nothing but a corset, but I can weather a freezing cold dust storm.

Honestly, I’ve been to a few burns now, but that experience of getting disoriented in a dust storm, of watching people materialize and dematerialize in the dust, sitting hunkered down on a mutant vehicle with my goggles and mask on, that experience made me more of a burner than any of my previous burns ever did.

No place like HOME

Ah, my 2017 burn. . .

Fucking HOT, it was!

It was in the 100s during the day and in the 90s at night.

All those faux fur jackets I brought were a total waste of space.

Recently, Gigapan released their aerial map of Burning Man 2017 by Todd Huffman, some sort of amazing aerial photographer.

And this is what we looked like:

Kinda brown, huh?

A little bit dusty, no?

Yeah, I thought so too, but then I zoomed in on Tejas’ Motorbeast where I stayed at 6:30 and F.

See that yellow circle?

That’s the Motorbeast, my home at HOME.

And see that AQUA CIRCLE?

That’s my friendly neighborhood dive bar, run by a bunch of outstanding scallywags and mischief makers.

I seriously believe one of them blows things up.

For a living!

So there you have it – one of the reasons why I love Burning Man so much.

I am stumbling distance (and I DID STUMBLE) from the bar to my bed.

If you look REALLY close, you can see my favorite ride along pleasure – the pink Partysnail – parked in the middle of the bottom of the frame.

I took a snooze coming back from the burn with two warm bodies in the plush pink bed of that truck.

Ah!

The memories!

Holy shit! Toilet paper!

I posted “Shock and Awe” last Friday to capture my excitement that The Swede is coming to Burning Man.

Woooooooooo Hooooooooo!

How very American of me to say that.

But I don’t care, I’m happy.

I would literally scream that out loud, riding on the back of a horse, wearing a cowboy hat and a pair of boots, waving my hands in the air.

I CAN’T WAIT to see the playa all fresh and new through The Swede’s eyes.

I’ve gotten some good advice from burners who read this blog, but by far THE BEST ADVICE I got came from Wristy’s response to “Shock and Awe.”

He advised me that when he brings burgins (Burning Man virgins) to Burning Man, he puts together a “Burner in a Box” kit for his newbie.

It’s got all sorts of goodies in it that he thinks will be useful for his burgin – travel size hand sanitizer, a light on a lanyard (for nighttime porto trips), chapstick with SPF, nasal spray, you name it, it goes in there.

What a BRILLIANT idea!

Of course, I have a lot of these supplies already – headlamp, hand sanitizer, extra roll of luxurious 1-ply toilet paper. . .

I suspect that with The Swede and I, something gets lost in translation, but I do think he will enjoy (perhaps not yet understand why he was given them) the items I select for him.

I guess what I’m trying to say is that I don’t think he’d react to a gifted roll of 1-ply toilet paper the same way I would.

Me: Hold shit! Toilet paper!

The Swede: Holy shit! Toilet paper?

This is why I sent him my handy dandy first timers guide which directs him to all the resources he will need to learn about Burning Man as best he can BEFORE he goes there.

I’ve been holding off for a little bit because I remember how OVERWHELMED I felt when I was researching Burning Man for the first time.

Like a kid with one stick of jerky and a pack of 12 hungry dogs.

How do you make it all work?

The answer is, ME.

Because one way or another, I was able to take the impossible and make it possible (with a little help from my friends).

So The Swede is in good hands.

Comforts of home

One of the things I’ve noticed about going to Burning Man is that I now oogle RVs and shade structures.

It’s an interesting phenomenon.

I never used to care when I passed an RV.

I never paid attention to shade structures.

Now, I’m all about them.

Shade structure with walls, awesome!

How long does it take to set up?

Thirty foot RV!

How much water can it hold?

Wood on a woodpile?

I can make that into something!

I’ve become a bit of a scavenger.

If I think I can reuse something, even if it’s on the garbage pile, I grab it.

I’m not the only one who does this.

My friends all suffer from the same affliction.

Garbagerecyclitis.

Shadestructureenvy.

RVlust.

I can tell you this much, burners are some of the cleanest people I know.

Okay, maybe they’re not clean, but they’re neat.

They’ll chase a paper bowl blowing across the playa for a quarter of a mile to pick it up and put it in the trash.

So there’s that.

Recently, I bought a shade structure for Burning Man.

Now, I ALREADY have a shade structure for Burning Man but it’s 20 feet by 20 feet and is a bitch to set up.

This one is 10 feet by 10 feet and it has WALLS!

It should be MUCH EASIER to set up.

We’ll find out for sure at unSCruz, though.

I’m thinking I might take it to the playa (the playa will destroy it though).

It’ll require quite a few rachet straps to keep in tethered to the ground during the wind storms.

So in case you’re wondering what I think about as a burner, it’s basically how to set up camp faster, neater, cleaner, with recycled products, and still have all the “comforts” of home.

Shock and awe

One of the things I LOVE about The Swede is that he’s a newbie to the burn.

It’s so much fun acculturating someone to the principles and what to expect when you’re on the playa.

Apparently, the acculturation starts now, though.

While we were FaceTiming, I happened to mention that I bought a ticket to the burn for him.

He said, “I have to go to Burning Man now.”

Of course I told him I could sell it in a hot minute, no problemo.

But it cracked me up that he didn’t know tickets sold out in 30 minutes when they went up for sale.

He’s blessed to have me as a friend looking out for him!

I still am not 100% sure he’ll be at this burn.

I’ll believe it when he buys his ticket from me; that’s when I’ll know for sure he’s coming.

When he’s got skin in the game.

I think we will be tent camping at Burning Man.

  1. Because I can’t afford an RV on my own.
  2. So we can get some privacy (i.e. no Tejas).
  3. Because I kinda feel like everyone needs to experience their first Burning Man in a tent.

There’s something about having to figure out how to live out of a tent for a week in the desert that really drives the experience home.

You’re quite literally LIVING IN THE DUST.

You have to insulate your cooler.

You get to experience blazing hot temperatures in your tent during the day and freezing cold temperatures at night.

You have to fancy about with a shade structure, in the hopes it’ll help keep your tent cooler than a sauna.

In 2015, for my first burn, I had precisely 18 totes with all my supplies for the burn.

Eighteen!!

That’s how prepared I was.

Fortunately for The Swede, I have all the gear we’ll need to camp this year.

So he only needs to figure out what to wear.

Still, I can’t wait to see the look on his face when we hit the Gate line.

Shock and awe, folks.

At it’s best!

Barely there underwear

I packed for the Pagan Bunny Burn and managed to keep my costumes down to one and a half totes.

Plush oneies take up a lot of space, apparently.

Also, tutus and bunny masks.

None of which I wore, ironically.

It was too cold to wear anything besides onesies.

At the last minute, I realized that I FORGOT panties!

It figures, I’d pack absolutely EVERYTHING I need for a pagan bunny burn EXCEPT underwear.

And socks.

I almost forgot my socks.

I find this VERY amusing because at the last burn, I forgot my panties and had to go around commando for the last part of the burn.

Normally, this isn’t a problem.

Many of my costumes REQUIRE that I NOT wear underwear.

Who needs to see my panties poking out under some hot pants or short shorts?

But at the Bunny Burn?

Under a tutu?

It’s a MUST!

Dealing with panty issues is pretty common for me.

I’m always trying to find the right thing to wear under each outfit so that my panties don’t show or they show and are appropriate for the outfit I’m wearing (i.e. pink ruffle butt panties under a see-through pink tutu).

So finding these babies on Amazon was a Godsend:

The “Knicker Sticker” which you stick to the crotch of your clothing.

Perfect for my black short shorts that lace up the side.

It’s a nice little adhesive patch that will keep my shorts from getting (ahem) moist.

Then there’s the Shibue Strapless Panty which is like an adhesive thong.

Same principle and use, just a little larger surface area.

Also, and this is a BIG ALSO, these adhesive panties will literally take up NO SPACE in my clothing tote, so BONUS!

Disposable , barely-there underwear?

I’m down for that.

Burning Man Tickets

Burning Man Main Sale tickets went on sale yesterday.

At $425 plus taxes and fees, they’re no small potatoes.

They sold out in THIRTY MINUTES.

Most of my friends trying to buy tickets in the Main Sale did not get a ticket.

I’m lucky.

I got a DGS ticket (Directed Group Sale).

I am a part of a camp that is provides essential interactivity at Burning Man therefore I get access to buy two of 70,000 or so tickets set aside for the purpose of bringing people to Burning Man who work and provide the incredible interactivity it’s known for.

Can you imagine if the tickets were sold to a majority of people who just want to show up and party?

There’d be no infrastructure or interactivity to make Burning Man what it is – a community experiment in art, music, and interactivity in the Nevada desert for one week out of the year.

I bought two DGS tickets in the sale.

My extra ticket is reserved for The Swede, who might be coming to Burning Man this year.

What a lucky guy, eh?

To have someone grandfather you in with a DGS ticket on your first burn?

Sweet!

I got my first Burning Man ticket by SHEER LUCK in 2015.

I managed to snag one in the Main Sale during the 45 minutes or so that they were on sale.

I sat in my tiny basement office on campus and watched the clock countdown to noon and the SECOND it hit noon, I clicked the “Buy” link.

Voila!

The rest is history.

Of course, DGS tickets come with strings attached.

Because they’re associated with a theme camp, there is a requirement that you provide a certain number of hours to setting up and tearing down the theme camp as well as providing manpower for interactivity where it is required.

So The Swede and I will have to do more than just show up and have a good time.

We’ll have to work.

But is it really work when you’re in the world’s best playground, with a community of creative people, creating memories to last a lifetime?

I think not!

Dressing The Swede

Assuming nothing happens between now and late August, The Swede will attend his first Burning Man with Tejas and I.

I am looking forward to it.

I’ve never had my own Burning Man virgin before so this is something TOTALLY NEW for me.

I still vividly recall waiting in line to get in to the burn in 2015 and being totally amazed at how much community already existed outside the gates.

And then when I got in?

Well, it was like sensory overload.

Everywhere I looked there was something to tickle my fancy – lights, people, art. . .

And the fist time I saw R-Evolution, well she simply took my breath away when she materialized out of the dust, like a beautiful steel mirage.

Of course, 2015 was a dusty year and (for many other reasons) the burn took a lot out of me.

So I’m thrilled to have the opportunity to introduce someone who means something to me to something meaningful to me in the manner in which I wish it had been introduced to me.

I’ve been thinking about what The Swede will wear.

It’s much easier for men, I think, to be dressed appropriately on playa.

Throw on a pair of cargo shorts or a kilt and an unbuttoned shirt, sleeves removed.

Add goggles, hat and buff and you’re ready to go.

So here are my first round picks for The Swede.

A kilt.

Just because they’re utilitarian.

And sexy .

A scarf (technically a shemaugh). Looks fashionable and doubles as a dust mask when needed.

Boots. A must have for Burning Man. They look better when coated in a few layers of playa dust!

A shirt. Rip off the sleeves so I can see The Swede’s tattoos. Sexy!

Goggles. Very necessary! Best to have a tinted daytime pair and a clear night time pair.

Sunblock. Oh so necessary for fair skinned folks like The Swede and me. I don’t want him holed up in a tent or an RV because he fried his skin in the Nevada desert sun!

A hat. The Swede will need a hat to protect his head from the sun. It gets so hot out on the playa, every little bit helps

Last, but not least, a buff. To keep the dust out of your mouth and nose during those relentless dust storms on the playa.

There you go!  Basically a few items and he’s set for Burning Man.  Fresh undies, please!  And if you want to see my full article on Men’s Burning Man fashion, check out this link!

Dreams come true

If it had my druthers, I’d dress the Swede in three days of facial scruff and a bed sheet.

And TECHNICALLY you can get away with that at Burning Man.

But of course if The Swede wants to let it go a little bit and cut loose, I’ve been scoping out options for him.

First of all, he did wear outfits at unSCruz last year.

My favorite was the Viking helmet.

I love everything about it – the faux fur vest, the tattoos, the helmet.

But The Swede wants a more ACCURATE helmet, never mind that it will be HOT and HEAVY in the Black Rock desert.

Here’s what I found (to the tune of $300+ and shipping from Bulgaria):

Seriously, THE BOMB, eh?

Especially for a REAL LIVE (descendant of) Vikings!

Then, of course I found some shirts, vests, and shorts which I think would look great on him.  Of course I’d rip the sleeves off the shirt and leave it unbuttoned.

In exchange, I’m willing to unbutton my shirts too 😉

Ironically, the BEST place to shop for Burning Man clothes is secondhand shops.

I’d pay money to see The Swede decked out in Steampunk.

We’ll just have to see if my dreams come true.

Mother knows best

This is going to be my year for regional burns.

Pagan Bunny Burn in March.

UnSCruz in May.

Maybe a mini, unofficial PreCompression in July.

The BIG, OFFICIAL burn in August/September.

Decompression in October.

The other day, my dad said to me, “I hope you grow out of this. “

He’s always saying things that upset me.

Why would he want me to grow out of something that makes me happy, fulfilled, and productive?

It defies logic.

It makes me think, when I look at my boys, that the most important thing I can do for them is to support the activities that enrich their lives, even if I don’t understand them.

Except for motorcycles.

I will NEVER support them riding a motorcycle.

Irony, since my BFF is a HUGE motorcycle rider.

AND my birth father and my uncles ALL RIDE MOTORCYCLES.

Along with two of my brothers, Cy and Art.

It’s crazy, I know, but you witness one motorcycle accident turn a man into an accordion and you never want to ride a motorcycle EVER AGAIN!

I suppose, as parents, we think we know what’s best for our kids and we try to steer them in that direction.

So I can forgive my father’s lack of understanding when it comes to Burning Man.

But in my case, when it comes to motorcycles, I do know what’s best.

Dirt bikes I can handle.

Street bikes?

No way!

Burning Man?

I’ll drive them there.