Archive for the ‘shopping’ 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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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!

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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.

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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. 

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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.

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

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Today in Shopping

August 5, 2016

One of the best and worst things about this trip is buying stuff. Yay new toys! Ugh I need this money for “car insurance.” Here’s an Amazon list I put together with a few “must-haves.” I should figure out how to do that thing where if you buy from the link from my page I make money. Because I need this.

Today:

  1. It’s Saturday. I go to pull my boots on for some wandering and they will not go on my foot. Like they shrunk 2 sizes overnight. They *will* not fit. Not like, they feel tight. I couldn’t pull them on. My friends suggested my feet were swollen from all the walking. Huh. Ok.
  2. Leather ruined. Zippers broken. Took a shitty pair of cheap boots with insoles in them and voila, perfect playa feet costume. Rainboots included, at my regionals. This year I needed day shoes and found, for the first time, some Ranger shoes (aka brown, a color I do not wear) AND some awesome boots. Found these for cheap at TJ Maxx. f20160805_161344[1]$3 motorcyle boots that make me feel cool, new boots; not pictures: the black vans I got for daytime because they have DISAPPEARED. I want to maybe paint the toes, no clue what would be “me.”

Skin Food is an amazing moisturizer. With Weleda prices. I found a tube at TJ Maxx or Marshall’s for $3. I use it mostly around my eyes, because I am a freak about looking all old and gross (remember this my blog, where I write whatever I want, and not a public forum to lecture me on body pride and how beautiful life lines are). I’m excited to have it in the desert this year. Scored a 241 for $8 today.

Totally splurged on some bike lights, $5. It looks like I’m bringing my own bike, this year. I need a basket, too, if anyone has a cheap recommendation. I haven’t had great success with bungee cords and a milk crate. They are SO handy, when you’re riding around. Especially at night in my coat, which is difficult to bike in (due to length).

Check-out lane whim, space bags. Which I’ve repeatedly posted my dislike for. But I’m flying again, so anything I can do to cram shit in my bag…these you roll up, you don’t vacuum. However, I got back to the car and looked at them and thought, “These are pointless.” I put every single outfit into a ziploc bag. Clothes, socks, underwear, jewelry, all of into one bag. Keeps things dust-free (until you wear them) and organized. I’ll fill one back with socks/knickers/black leggings/hosiery. The clunkiest thing, my coat, doesn’t really get smaller. I kinda want a down one, down compresses VERY Well. Anyways. I’ll be posting about these later.

Re-upped on my favorite face wipes (I’m a freak about keeping my face clean, I break out very, very quickly, all over, and it makes me so self-conscious I won’t leave the house). I’m a big exfoliater, every day, I don’t care if They say it microtears your skin. It keeps my skin clear. These have a really scrubby side that I like. One pack of these ($3) lasted me…3 burns? Also got a pack of these to try. I suppose I should put photos here…I don’t feel like the hassle right now.

I probably brought…god, 20 costumes my first year. Prom gowns and all. I would go back in time and pat myself on the head, “No.” Over the years I have minimalized *so much.* It makes me kind of sad, when I see old posts with all the stuff I made. Does not make me sad when I have half as much stuff to lug around, and my bag isn’t full of stuff I never even touched to wear. Comfort is priority. Mobility (riding a bike) is a must. I get sad because I don’t feel as pretty or interesting as everyone else (Burning Man is terrible on  what little self-esteem I have) but it cuts down on luggage (leaving room for food) and is realistic.

Tights (I think my knees are fat and ugly) and something lightweight and mobile. Swimsuits are my new favorite burn outfit. Got a couple of boyshorts ($7) to wear under dressed and with tank tops. A-line white tank tops, because I try not to say “wifebeater” anymore.

They also had a wide variety of Batiste dry shampoo for $5. I bought the brunette spray for Transformus last year, and it totally turned my hair white and ashy. Did not like. I do like this stuff a lot – and no aerosol. The big trick is to brush it through your hair! So it can absorb the oil. I haven’t used the spray since that one time, because it looked SO bad, but I suspect not brushing it was part of the problem. I did notice after several uses that it was leaving grit in my hair.

This is the first year I’m camping without a shower. I don’t really like baby wipes, they wipe stuff off, sure. But I don’t feel clean. Sticky and film-y. Plus so wasteful. And the kind with no fragrances and BS cost more. A friend gifted me one of these to try, claiming he was pleased with how they work. Meh. They’re squares, fairly thin, and really soft.

 

 

You wet them and use like a washcloth/wipe. I hadn’t showered in four days and just gotten home from running errands in triple-digit weather and no air conditioning. Figured it was the perfect chance for a test run.

Pros: thicker than baby wipes, zero fragrance, nice lather like you’re showering, dries fast, totally got rid of my b.o.

Cons: no good to wash hair, still didn’t feel “clean.” Wasn’t like…sticky but skin felt….really light film. Face didn’t feel clean at all. Biggest con, price. $14 for 25 vs. $14 for 384. Still kinda fun and a nice treat though, to get that shower feeling (with the later) feeling. I have a second one I’m saving for a dirty day in the desert, see how it attacks playa dust.

 

Accidentally found while looking for “wipes,” a-ha ha ha ha ha.

Runner-up.

Wow. What? I’m guessing “fuck off” but what?

 

If I had the money and knew they’d be a great fit, I would need me a few of those gems.