The man burns in 4 days
Shaking the dust thrown off by passing vehicles from my head, I crawled out of bed, and stumbled over to my new best friends, COFFEE camp, the social hub of the universe, sometime around 9:00am, and had quite possibly the best cup of instant coffee every created by a human being. Jermo is the shit for his coffee making abilities. Once I woke up and gathered my wits about me, it was time to start making preparations for my plans of the day, which included getting the cameras registered and tagged as press cameras, getting our press passes, and then off to the workshop for making a fire staff. It took about an hour to gather the FVR writers and head out to Center Camp, and we had some fun walking there and looking at the new arrivals on their way in. After signing the contracts I had a few questions to ask at Media Mecca about ownership and rights of all the pictures taken, as the wording in the contract is all in legalese. The answer was simple, Burning Man LLC owns all pictures and video, and grants us a free license to use them. Some people think this is kind of a dick thing to do, but if you think about the craziness of the event, the wrong image getting into the hands of the wrong politician or into the mainstream media could put a serious damper on future festivals. Needless to say, I signed without hesitation. Then, Mr. Pete and Mongoose headed off on their own, and I headed in the direction of 7:30 and Fairlane, to build my very own fire staff.
Since the workshop was so close to camp, I stopped back in and refilled on water (lifeblood of the event really), grabbed the power drill we brought along specifically and only for this particular workshop, and walked one street counter-clockwise, and 2 streets outbound. On arrival, I found the workshop director, Captain Salamander, and introduced myself as a participant, and a member of the press. I grabbed my 5ft section of aluminum bar stock, took some pictures, and got to work. All in all, it was pretty easy to do. The absolute hardest part of the whole process is cutting the Kevlar. Kevlar does not cut easily, and the scissors we had just weren’t doing a very good job. After that, it was really a piece of cake (yes, the cake is a lie…). Upon completion, we celebrated with some homebrew porter provided by the Mooncake Rebellion camp, and hung out for a bit. Then I had to bring the drill back, which was never even used, and was so proud of myself that I was walking around holding my staff in the air saying “I has a staff!!” and yes, that is exactly how I said it.
I went back to camp, grabbed my cup, ran across the street to Raise The Bar, and got myself some of that world famous PBR. Everyone who saw the staff immediately noticed the fresh Kevlar and asked me when I was going to set that thing on fire. I then had to explain that I'm still a n00b and wasn’t yet confident enough to light up, so instead some people showed me some new moves and transitions, and other people just said “good luck!”. It was awesome. After my liquid lunch, I decided it was time for a hike. Mongoose had mentioned that some of my friends from San Diego were camped in the vicinity of 3:00 and B street, so I headed in that direction, by way of the Esplanade. Again, I met some very interesting people, one of whom (Bob from camp AOK, who gave me a patch remarkably similar to that national campground place) had never heard of a fire staff, and started quizzing me on its purpose and use. He was actually quite excited about the whole deal, even though he wore only a top hat and shoes. Moving counter-clockwise from there, I met another person with a staff, but he was doing contact staff moves. Contact staff involves using every part of your body, except your hands. Wrists, arms, elbows, shoulders, head, neck, back, etc. He showed me some other cool moves that I will definitely need to practice. I just don’t have the fluidity needed to perform them properly, let alone transition from one form into the next.
Once I made it to 3:00 and B st, I stopped in at the ranger station, hoping to find my friend Sasquatch. Sas is easy to find in a crowd. You just look for the head towering above everyone else. In the case there are two, just look for the one with long red hair. Sas is a cool guy, and a computer nerd and thinker like I am. Plus, we have the same taste in booze. You just can’t argue with that. Unfortunately, he didn’t know where any of my other friends from SD were, so I asked where the nearest bar was.
(You should probably get used to that. It’s going to be a running theme.)
Off to 2:30 and B, one block away, to the Petting Zoo. Apparently its just a name, as I didn’t see anyone being pet, or anyone doing any petting. *shrug* up to the bar for some beer, now that I remembered to grab my cup from camp. After another search in the vicinity of 3 and B, I headed back to camp, by way of the open playa.
Just off to the 12:00 side of the 3:00 avenue, sat a small cubicle. If I were someone other than myself, I would consider this very odd, and wonder whether or not there was some extra special something in that last drink I had, but truth be told, I wasn’t surprised. Other people might be surprised at what people haul out to the desert, but not the Captain. Sitting in front of the non-functional computer screen, was an attractive female, whose name I have since forgotten, surrounded by another attractive female, and a dude, whose names also have escaped me. The woman sitting at the desk informed me that she was taking dictation, and would I like to dictate a memo. So I began:
Me: “To whom it may concern”
Her: “To all you Fuckasses”
And, well, I’m sure you can get the idea from there. To make it short, my memo informed all who might be concerned that I was lacking in female accompaniment, and this problem needed to be rectified immediately. I can’t give you the full dictation, as I was being severely distracted by female #2 lucking my navel, and sucking on my nipple. After dictation was over, we went on a campaign for moop against moop, the idea being that moop isn’t moop, it’s just waiting to be repurposed.
Once back to camp. I took a short nap, and headed out with the Colonel. Around and around we wandered, in whatever direction the playa took us. A bar here, a bar there, some art over here, another trip to The Man for some up skirt shots of The Man, not the people, and then to the fire trees, which blossom into fire art at night. One tree bore the fruit of the fire jet, which is, as its name implies, a jet. The difference being that its less of a jet, and more of a rocket, except with four nozzles, instead of one, and all nozzles pointing to the center. So its less of a jet, and more of a rocket, and less of a rocket, and more of a pendulum. Many pictures were taken. At some point, we headed towards Center Camp for a rest and possibly some random encounters. This is where things first started to suck. I wandered over to the main stage where some sound problems were happening, to offer my assistance, and got to know everyone there. I went back to the seat I was at, got my bag, and started back to camp. About that time, I started to wonder what hopefully you are wondering too, namely, what happened to my firestaff…… Yep, you guessed it. It disappeared. My cup was still there, but no staff :-( . Sad, defeated, and grumpy, I went back to camp, and went to bed.
Disarmed but not Defeated