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Burning Man 2007 (very belated entry) - MtnVwPilot

Dec. 30th, 2007 06:10 pm Burning Man 2007 (very belated entry)

So, back in August, I went to Burning Man for the 4th time.

I applied for the Rangers again, for the second time; I got rejected by the Rangers again, for the second time, for the same stated reason as before: my "presence" (the way I stand, the way I walk, the way I talk) is too intimidating, and folks think I'm a cop. That's a real bummer of a way to start what's supposed to be a fun week at Burning Man, but screw 'em... I'm not planning on applying for a third time. Rangers Fixit and ForSale did their best to cheer me up, but it was still a real downer.

I missed the early burning of the Man (the pre-burn), because it was the night I'd just been rejected again by the Rangers and I was in such a foul mood that I'd shut myself in my RV, put in my earplugs, turned up my stereo, and gone to bed.

I brought the Playa Phone up again, but we had trouble getting it working... It looked like we had a dead logic board and no way to repair or replace it on the Playa. Fortunately, generalist and M were still on their way up, and we managed to get word to them to stop at Radio Shack and pick up some bare-bones phones that we could substitute for the pay phone. It wasn't ideal ("don't use the pay phone, use the little white courtesy phone on the pay phone shelf"), but it worked, and allowed folks to make calls back to the default world.

I wasn't really involved in any big projects this year, since I'd expected to be busy with the Rangers and had avoided making any other commitments. So, when that fell through, I had lots of time to wander around the event... Unfortunately, the weather kinda sucked this year, so I was reluctant to get too far from home. Lots of wind and dust, including multi-hour whiteout conditions on some days. But, there was also one day when it rained briefly; not enough to make too much mud, but enough to take all the dust out of the air and make some really spectacular rainbows.

It was generalist and M's first time at Burning Man, and I'd been largely responsible for convincing them to come, so I tried my best to make sure they had a good time... They ended up doing more for me than I did for them, though; they took to Burning Man like ducks to water, and I hope they'll be back this year! They had a couple of really cool projects, one for themselves and one for the public... The project for themselves was converting their mail truck into an ersatz RV, which was I think worked out pretty well (though I understand they lost the power steering on the way down the hill on the drive home, which really sucked...). The project they did for the public was even cooler, literally: a portable hand-cranked shaved ice ("Sno-Cone") machine! Talk about a great way to win friends and influence people in the middle of the desert heat... Walk up to them and say "Would you like a snow cone? what flavor syrup would you like?" Wow!

jan_can_too was supposed to join me at Burning Man for the closing weekend, after fulfilling work and kid commitments. Unfortunately, she fell ill during the week, and we decided that it wouldn't be a good idea for her to come up to the high desert in that condition... So she didn't make it up this year.

By Friday night, between my Ranger-related disappointments early in the week, the dust and wind, and jan_can_too's absence, I was pretty fried. When a couple of other campmates indicated a need to depart on Saturday morning, I decided to pull out and caravan back down to the Bay Area with them. So, I missed the official Burning of the Man spectacular on Saturday night, as well as the reportedly even more spectacular Crude Awakening burn (a giant wooden oil derrick and 50,000 gallons of jet fuel, yum!)... But it was good to be home, and to have a couple days more than I'd planned on to get the RV unloaded and cleaned up before it was due back.

Feel free to take a look at my Burning Man photos, if you're curious... As usual, Marc Merlin has done a much more thorough trip report, with lots of excellent photos.

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