Archive for the ‘On the playa’ Category

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

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Space bags STILL SUCK.

August 10, 2016

I’ve posted enough about trying them out. The ones you vacuum can shrink stuff, into a brick that may make packing more difficult. But then once you’re there, who’s got a vaccum? My friends are trying it anyways, claiming their air mattress pump will work.

Checkout line impulse, Swiss Gear ones. More expensive, “name brand,” maybe they’ll be useful this time. 

Misc. clothes (ie not total outfits that can go in their own ziploc bag):

On the left, a plastic zipper bag that probably sheets came in. Right, the empty space bag. Transferred – the sliding closer clip came off before I’d even opened it (per usual). I filled it with the clothes, smushed it below the fill line, went to roll, POP! Well, too much stuff. Halved it, made it nice and flat. Started to roll, POP! Took everything out but a skirt and bikini top, made sure to squeeze excess air out before rolling, started rolling, POP!

They’re just thicker ziploc bags with a useless plastic sliding tab. How did you get it to work? What do you use to compress stuff for packing? I’d use a compression bag but the plastic keeps stuff clean, and the see-through means less rummaging, which also means keeping it cleaner…

BRC PO

August 9, 2016
I’m not finding any info on what can’t be mailed to BRC PO…which seems odd. Not even a “don’t Prime us, assholes!” update, in these years of Amazon. 
One year my campmate had fresh chocolate covered strawberries delivered.
 
Mail is a beautiful thing, just the smallest postcard is special. Everything I ever got is hanging on the wall or in my burn box. If you want to surprise someone the format is:
 
name: doom
camp name and address: Stag Camp 815&D
anything else potentially helpful: (in the monkey hut with Ghini)*
Black Rock City NV 89412-0149 (this is the same for everyone)
 
*delivering mail is AWESOME, I recommend everybody do it. No official sign up, just swing by the PO around Center Camp, tell them where you’re headed, and they’ll give you what they have along that area.
 
Descriptors can help because shit gets packed in there, several times I was at the right camp and right address but nobody knew the person on the envelope.

It’s a little long for a mantra, but the next time you find yourself surrounded by 20,000 morons covered in fur and glitter with shitty taste and music,

August 8, 2016

“It contributes greatly towards a man’s moral and intellectual health, to be brought into habits of companionship with individuals unlike himself, who care little for his pursuits, and whose sphere and abilities he must go out of himself to appreciate.”

— Nathaniel Hawthorne, The Scarlet Letter

Slaughterhouse Five

Name it. Claim it.

August 8, 2016

As you’re packing, be sure to write your name and location on/in EVERYTHING. Back of your headlamp. Bottom of your water bottle. On your backpack. I’ve had my 3 favoritest hats EVER outright stolen, when I set them down with my coat inside a bar. Won’t help that. But if you do lose something (I’ve lost my pee funnel, even), having a name and camp location will increase the odds of it being returned. If they don’t feel like finding you they might turn it into Playa Info , which keeps a running list of found items.

Slowly filtering through pictures and videos to share

September 14, 2011

From the Big Picture, captions are lacking ( “the Burning Man”) but some nice photographs. Including

 tea ceremony with Ken Hamazaki

I was very honored to be in the camp that hosted Ken and a small contingent of Japanese – one fun little anecdote for me was when I was rangering perimeter Saturday night, and they walked by and recognized me and we waved and laughed and hello’d at each other.

Why the Nose?

September 14, 2011

From MyDisguises.

Whythenose.com is dedicated to the act of wearing a clown nose, in order to make people smile. It’s really that simple. In a world filled with distractions and distrust, you’d be amazed at how many people (of all ages) have lost a sense of innocence. Or maybe you wouldn’t…

Wearing a clown nose is fun, it’s childlike, it’s easy and it’s free (if you already have the nose). We’re not trying to sell anything, we’re only showing you how easy it is to change someone’s day.

Wow, that’s crazy and weird and hilarious.

September 9, 2011

One of my bookmarks, Superpunch, links to Burning Man videos from Cory Doctorow. And just guess which quadrant he was sitting in when he shot the Saturday night burn…that’s right, that’s me in the braids. How RANDOM is THAT!!! I barely take any pics, don’t go looking for any and the very first thing I see/watch when I get back is a famous guy’s videos that have me in them.

I’m a BRC Ranger, now – over half of the people who started the day with me didn’t make it. I could’ve cried. It’s intense. Maybe more on that another time.

I don’t know what I’ll have much to say any time soon. But I’ll try to keep up with any interesting links or photos I find. Like his brief video of the jellyfish.

Hilarious.

Last minute tips and reminders

August 22, 2011

– Pay all your bills. My first year, I forgot to pay my car insurance. Got home and continued to forget for several months. Luckily, Safe Auto reminded me before a cop did. 

– Take out ALL the trash.

– Clean out the fridge!

– I unplug stuff and turn off stuff to save on electricity drain. I also set the temp to …I’m thinking 86.

– Set away messages on emails as needed.

– Leave contact info with somebody! My camp leader has forms for each of us listing camp contacts, other playa contacts, emergency people, allergies, medications we’re taking, etc. I gave one to her, and I will prob. leave one in my tent. Having had to forage through someone’s tent, desperately seeking any form of identity (and I was only in the tent because he happened to be camped across from me – huge stroke of luck) for someone being airlifted to a burn unit…yeah. Have some ID and contact info in your tent. But the point of this was to leave contact info with someone – I give camp mates numbers and my travel itinerary to my mom.

Here’s the longest list I’ve seen! Good stuff. Crunchy Mama’s list is a classic, especially the tips after the intial list. My first year I read every last list I could find and copied and pasted things I needed – be sure to pack a notebook and pen for, if nothing else, making notes on what you didn’t use, wish you’d had, could do better, want to do different next year, etc. I find nearly-daily I have something to put on this list (“more Goathead and Ygmir” “sparkly lipgloss” “moisturize more!!”).

I am looking up TSA carry-on regulations, again. I’ll have to leave my sabre and snow globe at home, le sigh. I also just saw that gel inserts aren’t allowed…luckily I’m too cheap to buy those! Mine are just foam.

The TSA website states that you can carry on:

  • Beverages brought from home or purchased before reaching the security checkpoint in a 3 oz. or smaller container and in your quart-size, zip-top plastic bag.
  • Canned or jarred goods such as soup, sauces, peanut butter, fruits, vegetables and jellies – 3 oz. or smaller
  • Cheese in pressurized containers, Jell-O’s, pudding, whipping cream, yogurt or gel like food substances – 3 oz. or smaller

3 oz. pretty much counts off anything I’d bring. Last year I had my travel treat, curry cashews, and some raw balls. I certainly don’t have the room for this fanciness but I’d sure like to sit next to them. I have a Bumble Bar (I only buy them on sale for .99 or less – I have no Tasty Bits this year!! I never found them on sale. Makes me sad.) so far and the little bags of granola. I’ll probably make coffee Tuesday night to reheat Wed. morning, to drink on the way to the airport…I need food for pretty much all day Wednesday. Hm. I need to get on that. Filling, nutritious foods that take up little room won’t crush.

Back to learning.

 

BLUKIS: RITUAL AND/OR DOCUMENTARY PARTICIPATION
We, the Blukis Camp, a group of Lithuania Burners, artists, and performers invite you to participate in the filming of our documentary! We’ll be carrying out a  Pagan ritual from Lithuania and other Indo-European countries of dragging a Blukis—a huge tree stump, symbolic of underworld spirits–through the various communities of Black Rock City in a symbolic gesture to free the sun. We’ll then burn the Blukis stump at the end of Burning Man. We hope to drag the huge (one passenger seated) tree stump (on wheels) through the Playa and various theme camps, role-playing in the spirit of the ritual, sharing its magic with others, while filming participants who would agree to take part in our performance. We also welcome you to join us at Blukis – Burning Stump camp (located on 7:00&Coming Out).

By dragging the stump, participants symbolically welcome the new light, burn their fears and emotional baggage, and are, in a sense, reborn through this ritual. If you and your theme camp would like to participate in the ritual and in the creation of our documentary, please complete this short survey so we know how to find you on the playa: http://tinyurl.com/blukisritual.

Blukis – Burning Stump Camp Team

Fairly interesting, the parallel between dragging the stump through town as a means for cleansing and forgiveness (that’d be Jesus, I’m talking about). Not as interesting if, like me, you’re aware of the rituals and traditions that cross faiths and cultures and centuries, but still. Neat. Lithuanian burners! I’ve always wanted to go to Lithuania.

They have a Kickstarter with very reasonable prices. I think I’m going to go for a patch.

$8 – I mean, a freakin’ airport bag of chips would cost that much! I’d rather go a little hungry and encourage people to create (man, Kickstarter could be so addicting!). People have been so kind to me, yet again this year, I really can’t keep it all for myself. The hand-knit shorts are…somethin’.

Oh! And look! Math and pretty things!! They’re so close to their goal, with only ten hours to go.

Back to learnin’. I’m not finding much on this alleged ritual but I am learning about Lithuanianm mythology. Similar, of course, to every other one!

Ethnological legends present a rather peculiar version of thc fall: after the creation of man, his body was covered with a shell-like coat. People did not experience any disasters or illnesses and lived forever. Later, however, when they transgressed (usually through laziness or neglect, although the reasons are not always indicated), Dievas took away this coat, leaving as a memento, only the nails on fingers and toes.
 
Lithuanian ethnological legends abound in number, but in many of them it is difficult to distinguish between Christian and archaic contents. The legends mentioned above seem to be sufficiently original and reflect the elements of ancient mythology.
 
Also, don’t forget about having $10 cash handy, so the hillbillies can take care of your trash for you!

Someone just had another one of my BRILLIANT ideas…

August 12, 2011

Tunna shared this on Google buzz:

Brady Forrest says: “Some friends of mine and I bagged premade 80 manhattans. Each is in its own vacuum sealed bag with a dried cherry. Those are going to be mighty good in the desert. 

That’s pretty great. Last year on the flight (2 and half days after the original one…) my new friend bought me a vodka tonic. “Next year,” I quipped, “I’m filling all my carry-on travel bottles with gin and tonic!”

Looking for a link to Tunna brought up all sorts of fun posts about what a GREAT time I had my first year!

I walked and walked looking – AGAIN – for somebody, something, anything.  I was walking away (from the burn) when it started. I had to pee. I was crying. My back to it. My brain turned to symbolism so maybe I’m not a burner. Another failed attempt at trying to find somewhere to belong. I just end up alone, again. Why do I leave my house? 30,000 people and I can’t find anywhere to go. My feet ache with exhausted hope.

Burning Man is just a big fucking rave. All you hear is techno. People FUCKED up wandering around. One DJ plugged his new album at Hookah Dome.

Chafed from the backpack, crinoline and fabric. Eyes burn. God, when I think how much MONEY this has cost me. I have no idea if I’m glad I did it or not.

I can’t fucking wait to LEAVE.

And some timely reminders like,

Remember how dirty you are...The amount of RVs is nuts. I really wish I’d made it back in the 90s…DPW = HOT. Hot cars, hot boys. – Clean up a bit, makes the Exodus sit a bit more comfortable. Also remember your pee funnel/jug, snacks and sunscreen.

Have that untouched bag of hotel clothes. Everything from underbits to a pair of shoes you haven’t worn in a week. I go with super simple cotton dresses and, this year, flip-flops (wearing my Docs around more was just too much!).

In second bummer news (the first being my boots that don’t fit), I am STILL on a quest to replace my missing hat.

I’m not a hat person. I don’t like wearing turtlenecks, either (god, I’m fascinating!). But that hat ruled. That hat kept my head warm. Covered up my bad hair. Made me look and feel kinda cute!! I got it by accident at the DSB Reunion….gosh, that was 2009. It was adorned with a simple Victorian-style brooch, awarded me by my captain.

Southern pirates say “yerrrrr…”

My fourth purchase does not work. Doesn’t cover my ears. SAD FACE. So, I still need shoes and a hat. Maybe some of these

I LOVE LOVE LOVE Sportsman’s Warehouse. It’s always lil’ ol’ me in there with the rednecks.  Someone asked me most what I’d miss, if I moved. “Rednecks,” I replied.

The Ebaying is going pretty well. I will def keep it up – I’m not getting rich, but it’s covering things like Vitalyte, the compression bags and other items I can buy with PayPal. I recommend it. All I did was walk around my house and pick out stuff to get rid of. Now, about that hat…