Archive for the ‘food, drink, kitchen, etc.’ Category

Jaded Veteran’s Guide to Burning Man: Feed me, Seymour!

August 6, 2019

 

As always, the hot pink links are hilarious, helpful, maybe both.

Food at Burning Man. What a PITA. At least for me, being gluten-free and surprisingly healthy, when it comes to food.

1a3099a97b6444fcd89bcbf1da93e75b57de4ed4aade9091dee84f0a91910b46

I don’t think, due to the large amount of MOOP, I’d live off cold cans of ravioli even if I could buuuuut it’d be nice to have the option. Food is hella important at a burn. Because your body is important. Take. Care. Of. Your. Body.

One tip I always give n00bs: Time your eating. Don’t wait until you feel hungry. Try to give your corpse some calories every few hours so you can keep running around acting a fool.

Eat food when it’s offered. Put it in your pocket for secret eating. Drink water when it’s offered.

Me…I don’t even know…even after 10 years of TTiTD and regionals I end up not having enough of something or too much of something else, despite meticulous notes from the previous year. Pro tip: don’t go shopping for one person at Costco. 

How I pack: I sit down with pen and paper, close my eyes, and run through my day. Wake up: what do I need? Breakfast: What might be good? Getting ready to leave camp: what do I need to do?

Every year I list what food I pack and I keep my Reno receipt to see what I bought (which is always interesting, because it’s at a strange grocery store with an unfamiliar layout and unknown offerings.

thumb_welcome-to-adulthood-you-get-mad-when-they-rearrange-your-55018515

After the burn (theoretically) I examine both lists to see what worked, what didn’t work. This has been tremendously important to me as Burning Man has never happened for me when I could afford it (got the time, no $$, got the $$ it means I’m employed and don’t have the time). I cannot buy shit I will not use. I often have to fly, which means flying with my cooler and not having the luxury of shopping where I want, when I want, with a second cooler (or the option to buy one).

For the most part, my insane note-taking and list-making is a boon. My packing is minimal, my personal comfort is maximized. Except…freakin’ food. Here’s what I have figured out:

I don’t cook at burns. That’s time I could be spending doing awesome shit.

I don’t cook at burns. That’s space wasted on pots and pans – and a stove and fuel, and dealing with grey water.

The point of food for me, at a burn, is sustenance. Maximum feed and nourish (I hate that word) my body, minimal effort and mess.

Sooooooooooooooooooo…I eat a lot of sandwiches! Sandwiches are great. Carbs, fat, protein, no mess, portable, can make it ahead of time to make future you happy (see my notes on drinking at Burning Man).

I covered coffee in the post about how I start my days, and my coffee mug in the post about drinking at Burning Man. Here’s the food stuffs I count on, splurge on, and don’t bother with.

Must-haves:

GF bread – usually just one piece, with: packs of mayo from gas stations, salami, havarti, maybe lettuce if I had room in the cooler. I don’t really like other deli meats, they’re dry. Prepackaged chicken salad and whatever else the deli section has.

If I have the budget I’ll get Swiss cheese, too. If I had a free-for-all budget I’d have spinach artichoke dip, chips, sliced onions, and avocado. You can also get squeezable mayo, as a compromise between MOOP and cooler space.

Schar’s was my go-to, since you can get it at WalMart and I like supporting a GF bakery that’s been around for ages. Their ciabatta buns make PERFECT little sandwiches.

For bread-bread, though, new player Canyon Bakehouse makes the best slices. Perfect toast. Not too dense/heavy.

BM aside, if you have a GF person in your life win their heart forever with Schar’s chocolate caramel cookies and chocolate shortbread cookies. Have some in camp to surprise GF people with and enjoy the tears of joy.

This year I’ll be taking my paleo bread. It’s thinner, nuttier, sweeter but grain-free and fewer carbs. I get a loaf when it’s on sale at Kroger and freeze it. AND DEAR LORD THESE BROWNIES. Y’ALL. BROWNIES ARE STUPID. EAT SOME CAKE. BUT THESE ARE SO GOOD.

And that’s it! Sandwiches and brownies. Have fun!

Just kidding.

….mostly.

A new thing for this year is Siete’s grain-free wraps. Siete is a family of witches who make magical gluten-free, healthy wraps that don’t suck. Make a cold wrap and it’s not too chewy. It holds together. Make a quesadilla. It doesn’t get all greasy and weird. I’ve only had the cassava, so that’s what I’m getting; if you try another one let me know how it is!

Lance’s gf cheese crackers, serving size: one fist-full shoved into my mouth. In 2017 I backed over my bag of dry groceries and ate cracker crumbs all week.

Chocolate milk The only good thing to come out of that Costco saga. I don’t drink it IRL and the MOOP is annoying, but out there, crackin’ this cold one, changes your day. If you have cooler space, Silk’s Dark Chocolate Almond Milk is a real treat.

Annie’s GF mac and cheese Another trade-off between MOOP and mental health. Pour in boiling water. Add a gross-ass can of chicken (tuna, whatever). Late-night snack turns into a treat.

gfmicromac5pk-thumbnail

Alternately, less MOOP and more fat girl (due to the larger one-serving size), Annie’s “deluxe” works the same way. Add boiling water, let the pasta sit, stir in sauce.

Also new this year, if I can find it: Roots Hummus. I don’t really like hummus, except maybe my own, but this Asheville company makes hummus I *want* to eat (the garlic or beet one). You know, as opposed to eating it because it’s the only thing left besides the snow peas from the ranch dressing platter nobody wanted.

Which is also how I feel about hummus companies getting high in the development room.

roots_hummus_mango_sriracha

…I’m blanking. Let me see if I can find my list.

Advertisements

Jaded Veteran’s Guide To Burning Man: Better Living Through Chemistry; Alcohol

August 3, 2019
Previously, on How To Go To Burning Man: Start Your Day the Jaded Way; Minimal Basics for Personal Care
Save yourself endless searching and wondering, all of the links will take you right to what you need on Amazon.

Burning Man is built on bars. Sure, if you ask a random person what Burning Man is, they’ll probably say, “….drugs and boobs?” But there aren’t drugs every other step, on both sides of the road, screaming at you to stop and have one of their shitty drinks. NO. I DON’T WANT YOUR PLASTIC JUG SPICED RUM VOMIT, NO-ICE COCKTAIL. YOU PACKED IT IN, YOU PACK IT OUT.

So, what’s the best way to do alcohol and Burning Man?

  1. Have your ID. It will be checked. Your cup will stay empty. Bars can and will be fined thousands of dollars if caught serving to people without ID. A popular trick is to tape it onto your drinking vessel. I don’t like this idea for reasons: that’s where stickers go, people know how cool you are; what happens if you lose your cup or don’t have it on you at the time?, it’s ugly.

Photocopy your ID (copier at work, scanner at home, Kinkos, etc.). Laminate it. I have several copies: one for my general burn bag, one for my Ranger bag, and one that stays in the tent in case I lose both of those. Laminate sheets are also just fun. Laminate any signage you have to make it easy to adhere to things and keep it from spills.

2. BYOC – Bring your own cup, the end. You want a drink? Some french fries? Stew? Ice cream? You better have a cup on you.

You could have a funny cup. Be That Guy. Have them stocked at your bar so, from afar, you look like idiots.

You could have classy funny cups.


 
For practical save one huge flaw, carabiner cups rule.

Clip them onto your backpack, your pod belt, your bike basket, your shoelaces. Get the bear one here.

Pros: great size for cocktails, hard to lose, good for stickers
Cons: ain’t no lid.

And the tiny screws are prone to coming out, meaning you might get back to camp from Point 2 and discover your carabiner no longer has a cup attached to it. Problem solved!

In addition to the handles being way more attached, THEY FOLD FLAT.
51bwxasbnil._sl1000_

That is cool. I *just* found these, writing this post, and I want one!

They are much better suited for regionals, as I am walking and not riding a bike over god-knows-the-condition terrain of rocks and dust. I’m saying you need a cup that has a lid because if you try to ride and sip you will regret it. Bouncy, bouncy, not such a good time. Messy. MOOPy. And you’re left with a cup full of sober tears, a trail of Costco margarita on the ground behind you.

If you want to be different, try a viking-inspired wooden cup.
s-l225

Squishy cups were a thing when I started burning, but I never understood why.

They don’t really save much space, if any. No handle. Easy to knock about/spill. Could be cute as a little shot glass, I guess. Works well for drinks and food. Nowadays you can get squishy wine glasses and rainbow squishy pint glasses. Which is actually kinda cool…

OH SNAP THERE’S A GLOW-IN-THE-DARK ONE!! And they have lids?!? Cute rainbow wine glasses!

I’m supposed to be writing about things I know are awesome, not finding new toys I want to try! And this would be a cute way to keep the dust and roofies out of your drink, if you go the lid-less, spillable route…man, cup life has come a LONG way since I started researching gear in 2006!

In 2016 I did it. I found the perfect playa cup.

Small.
Light-weight.
Spill-proof.
Attachable.
Conversation starter.
hydaway-collapsible-water-bottle2
Pop it out fully, pop it out halfway. Attach it to yourself.
hydaway-water-bottle-0

PRO-TIP: IF YOU ARE DRINKING A CARBONATED BEVERAGE, DO NOT CLOSE THE THINGIE ALL THE WAY DOWN.

The only thing I don’t like is drinking from the thingie like a toddler – and the accordion folds can be harder to clean. But, it’s so, so worth it for all the pros. I don’t know why it’s not more common. Get you one.

They offer one with a carrying case, which is pretty…

…but I personally don’t know what use the case would have. I like having the carabiner attached to the lid, because then I can’t set it down and lose it! Often I’ll leave it attached to me and just unscrew the cup part from the lid.

I also have my name and camp address Sharpie’d on the lid and the cup part. I lose things. I sharpie my name and camp address on e-v-e-r-y-t-h-i-n-g. Headlamp. Pee funnel. Coat. Bike.

In 2017 I found perfect burn cup #2.


It’s the opposite of what I like, big/bulky and hard. Attachable, but not nice to have hanging from your waist like the Hydaway or a carabiner cup.

Super sticker-able. Super spillproof. Insulated, so unlike the Hydaway it will keep cold drinks colder, and hot drinks hotter – without the outside getting moist/hot to the touch. The cork lining on the handle is actually quite nice and it’s easier to find a carabiner that fits the handle. And now it comes in purple!

So, you’ve got your ID. You’ve got your cup. Hit the town.

Tips on ordering: know what you want when you get there. Avoid mixers that aren’t club soda or water. One party cup of booze, one party cup of water (bonus: this helps keep your cup clean). Burning Man amplifies everything, including hangovers. Electrolytes! Don’t drink on an empty stomach. Don’t go to bed drunk without eating food and ibuprofen. Seriously, eat. Throwing up at Burning Man is awful. You’re face-first in the porto, which will make you throw up for different reasons. You’re in your tent and because you’re a Real Burner TM, you don’t have any plastic grocery bags. Get some bags made just for this reason.

Having had to go the plastic grocery bag route twice, now (not bc of drinking), I wish I’d thought to have something like this handy. Hanging onto bags of puke, or trying to empty them into a porto is…just…just get the bags.

Most, if not all, “hangover cures” are lies. Read labels, y’all. Don’t pay 5x as much for a multivitamin you’re already taking. I tried Flyby for the Kesha cruise

And didn’t notice any difference. It does have at least one ingredient that’s got some actual research behind it, N-Acetyl Cysteine (NAC).

The only way to not get hungover is to:

Stay. Hydrated. Water and electrolytes. No sugary mixers. Vodka soda is your boring, boring friend.

Eat. Before you go to bed eat something as substantial as you can figure out. Piece of bread with salami and cheese. Two hard-boiled eggs and mayo. I always go for protein/fat/carbs, to help soak it all up and feed my body, so make a sandwich before you leave for the night. Drunk you will cry tears of joy.

Sleep. FOMO is a harsh mistress, but sleep repairs you. Alcohol destroys sleep, so not only do you have fewer hours of sleep, but you have little restorative sleep. Do what you can to get as much sleep as possible, when you go to bed drunk.

Cheers!

DSCN0849

Jaded Veteran’s Guide to What You Need to Survive Burning Man, and Maybe Even Have Some Fun: Personal Care

May 13, 2019

Note: Amazon is evil and must be punished. However, before their amoral employee practices were brought to light, they were my go-to for burn supplies. The embedded links are “affiliate” links, so if you end up buying something from my link, I might make like, $00.005! YEET! (note: still not sure what yeet means.)

In the 10+ years I’ve been going to Burning Man and regionals I’ve acquired extensive experience with gear. I know what I thought I needed, what I need, and what I don’t need. My suggestions, over the years, have been embraced by virgins and veterans alike.

Number one recommend of ALL TIME: Pstyle. If you are someone who needs to pee standing up, you need a Pstyle. Not a She-Wee. Not a GoGirl. You need and want a Pstyle.

pstyle

You want at least two, really. One to keep on you at all times, and one to keep in the tent for when you lose the other one. It’s the easiest to use, the most discrete, it’s a women-owned and run company and as you can see, not just marketed to cis women.

pstyle 3

It shakes clean and dries instantly (except for if there’s a lot of thicker blood). Stick it in your pocket. Stick it in one of their cute-azz Pstyle carrying cases.

pstyle case

It’s a game-changer, a life-changer, and great for dive bars with no toilet seats, road trips, and just about anything you do that involves emptying your bladder. I’ve been using it for almost 10 years!

pstyle 4

My search for a way to pee that didn’t involve sitting was inspired by the L Word and, thanks to Pstyle, didn’t end up involving catheters.  Sadly it looks like the Pstyle song isn’t online anymore! It was riot grrl realness.

Runner-up: Freshette. Freshette was my first pee funnel and it does have advantages. First, the way it forms a seal and does more to prevent over-flowing (which I’ve only done twice, with a Pstyle, because I wasn’t paying attention). Second, the tubing is nice for directing the stream away, but then you have a second piece to deal with and it’s not as easy to clean as the Pstyle. I lost the tube, but keep the pink part in my tent; it’s perfect for the pee jug. Speaking of, learn from my mistakes and pee-covered tent floor. Get a big container with a handle for your pee jug!

I recommend this water, or an Arizona tea jug.

51-ysv1GWbL._SY450_

Not a little Gatorade bottle, not a coffee can, something with a lid for when it’s not in use (again, please learn from my mistakes!) and a handle to make it easy to carry and empty. If the idea of being seen with a bottle of pee is keeping you from using one, or emptying it properly, decorate it.

Now, onto the rest! I’m going to go in order of your day, from waking up to going to sleep.

Ah, eyeballs. To use mine properly I needed contacts. Which meant clean hands and saline, all liquidy and drippy-droppy. I came up with a little contacts corner, where I kept wipes to initially clean my fingers and a bottle of saline to rinse again, before touching my eyeballs. Sham Wow made it easy. It absorbed the saline instantly, keeping the tent floor dry. It dried quickly, no damp cloths lying around, caking up with playa dust. This also meant I could keep the contacts case nice and clean, rinsing and adding fresh saline every time (just dumping the used saline onto the Sham Wow).

Sham Wows ended up being fairly handy for things like the aforementioned pee jug incident (ok, ok, incidentS, lessons learned and re-learned). I’ve had the same two or three for years, now (I don’t know where they came from). They wash clean and are good to go again and again.

Baby Wipes: For my first two or three years, I didn’t use baby wipes. So MOOPy. Smelly. Don’t they leave a sticky film/gross feeling?

Also, I’m not a baby.  Please click on that; I can’t embed Tweets.

Then one year, my campmate offered me one from his cooler. It was magical. So get you some wipes. Use them to clean yourself, your gear, blow your nose, clean the inside of your nose, etc.

I go barefoot indiscriminately. Again, around year 2 or 3, I learned me some lessons. Playa dust will do things to your skin you didn’t know possible. It’s a point of pride to look as dusted as possible. If you look clean, you clearly aren’t doing it right.

However. After a particularly bad year of skin so dry it’d beat Norm McDonald in a stand-up competition, I began a skin care routine that has served me well.

  1. Moisturize. Non-stop. Cuticles and inside your nose, especially. Swipe a Q-tip through some Vasoline and get up in there. I’ve found the new cocoa butter flavor to be pleasant.

Listen, people joke about playa dust, it’s considered that thing you just have to learn to love, but it is not good for your body. It is not good for the inside or the outside.

dustWhy Do We Act As If Playa Dust is Safe?

It’s not sand, it’s not dust, it’s a bunch of chemicals that will, scientifically speaking, fuck your shit up. 

After being in sandals all day, I thoroughly clean and moisturize my feet before putting on boots and socks. I also clean any skin that’s going into tighter clothing. Most days, especially as warm as nights have been the past several years, I don’t change into warmer clothes. If I do swap from shorts into leggings, I clean the skin to prevent chemical burns. Nivea cream, or anything with all the heavy moisturizing ingredients, works well. When I take boots and socks off for bed, I probably clean again, depending on how uh…”tired” I am, slather on more cream, and sleep in cheap little socks. 

Sleeping in socks – sleeping in anything – is gross. Not as gross as sitting in a hotel room, crying, because your feet and hands are splintered, red, bleeding, and burnt.

I try to do a pretty good wipe down, before bed, to keep the bed cleaner. For….at least five years I’ve had the same queen-sized air mattress from ALPS.  It’s comfortable, holds air well, the rechargeable pump has never died on me, during the event. The reverse air-sucking means it will fold up tight. Sleep is SO important to me. I can’t nap, so when I’m down, I want to stay down and sleep well. Having a foam top the last few years has been bougie and beautiful. My burn bed is so comfortable it’s hard to leave.

BACK TO SKIN

IT PUTS THE LOTION ON

Contacts in, skin wiped and slathered, sunscreen time!

The sun at Burning Man is RELENTLESS. Put it on, and never take it off. If you pass a table with sunscreen, spray some on. I don’t care if you just left camp. Spray, squirt, rubbidy dub. This is the one time of year I splurge on fancy sunscreen, both by Neutrogena.

Usually I hate scented stuff, but I like this one. 

6887274-pizza

Yes, I’m aware that it’s putting on enough and putting it on often that does the trick, SPF numbers are fairly meaningless. I don’t care. The desert is trying to kill me and I’ve never gotten a sunburn when I use this.

To super protect my tattoos I keep the 100 on me.

71cs8H84YiL._SL1500_

They both go on evenly, dry quickly, and don’t leave me feeling like a greased pig.

mn-weird_state_laws

Boobs, sweat, Burning Man

August 15, 2016

A dear readers asks: “Gonna get personal here. Did you ever go topless at Burning Man? Did you have problems from boob sweat + playa?”

I couldn’t recall any sort of issue, so I asked friends. Overwhelming consensus is that since it’s so dry out there, boob sweat isn’t an issue. Here in the South, most of the year we’re getting hugged by a REALLY sweaty person who won’t let go. You can sit still under the shade with a fan, and you’re still gonna be wet from the  humidity.

Second overwhelming response is to use deodorant, to prevent sweating and chafing under the breasts, in the groin area, etc.  Pretty much the same ingredients as Monistat and other anti-chafing products, just without the targeted marketing and pink tax.

I’m basically a Pstyle missionary.  I keep one on me, one in my tent next to the peejug. I consider it a “must-have” for Burning Man, other burns, gross music venues with no toilet seats, outfits that I don’t want to remove completely so I can pee, etc.

She asks, “What do you do with pstyle while it’s in your bag? Put it in a ziplock? Does it get gross?”

The belt I made has a zipper pocket just for the Pstyle. Many women keep it in a ziplock bag with wet wipes. I don’t, just shake after use, it dries instantly, the end. It’s never gotten gross – when I’m menstruating the blood might need to get wiped off, doesn’t always shake right off like urine, but that’s about it. Doesn’t smell, doesn’t make the fabric of the pockets it’s in smell. The most likely thing to end up smelling is your peejug.

I have overflowed the Pstyle when I didn’t have it placed correctly and/or wasn’t paying attention. Practice in the shower, over your toilet at home, off your back deck, until you figure out where it needs to go against your body and how you need to stand. I have also definitely overflowed my peejug, so keep it empty. I’ve also  knocked it over, so keep the lid screwed on at all times!!

I recommend this water bottle for a peejug:

crystal-geyser-1-gallon-natural-spring-bottled-water-6-case

The paper handle is very nice for the emptying trips. I also like to paint it, cover it with duct tape, etc. so it’s not like, totally obvious you’re carrying around a bunch of pee.

DON’T USE JUGS THAT HELD JUICE OR ANYTHING OTHER THAN WATER. That is a guaranteed odor.