Category Archives: Travel

Burning Man 2015 in Pictures LXX: Decompression in Reno

It’s always an experience coming home from an immersive event. Good movies can do it, especially when you’ve experienced catharsis, I’ve also experienced it a good meditation or epiphany.

But when the event is weeks long, with a totally different culture and social mores, the decompression experience can approach culture shock in its intensity.

When I first came home from Burning Man in 2013, I was biking down the Danforth, looking at all of the establishments along the road. Because I was still decompressing, I saw them as emplacements whose main goal was to persuade passers-by to give them resources.

we had decided to spend a day or two in Reno on the way back from the Burn in 2015, a trip which I will document later. Today it’s more about the decompression experiences.

We arrive at the hotel in Reno!  Also visible: Mike, possible Marc.
We arrive at the hotel in Reno! Also visible: Mike, possible Marc.
Our pristine hotel room.
Our pristine hotel room.
Is it a strange alien beast, or bungee cords?
Is it a strange alien beast, or bungee cords?Is it a strange alien beast, or bungee cords?
This is what playa dust looks like in Real Life(tm).
This is what playa dust looks like in Real Life(tm).
#metasymbols
#metasymbols
These were the best bike locks.  You just had to spell a word, such as 'HIRP', and it would unlock.
These were the best bike locks. You just had to spell a word, such as ‘HIRP’, and it would unlock.
POLT.  Also, we left these locks (and our bike baskets) behind for the next renter.
POLT. Also, we left these locks (and our bike baskets) behind for the next renter.
In the Reno airport, we saw an installation that seemed somewhat familiar.
In the Reno airport, we saw an installation that seemed somewhat familiar.
Aha!
Aha!
Your trusty correspondent, outfitted in full Space Cactus regalia.
Your trusty correspondent, outfitted in full Space Cactus regalia.

And, that’s all she wrote.

There are still many more photos to process (we had so many people helping us plan and build!), but this is the chronological end of the project (modulo a couple of moves of the installation parts when they arrived home). It feels good to feel like I’ve finished something, even if it was in much more depth than I had ever expected.

Here’s to next time. Thanks for reading. 😀

Burning Man 2015 in Pictures LXIX: Final Camp Teardown and On The Road Again…

When we last saw our intrepid adventurers, they had just finished combing the desert around the Charnival installation.

Today, we join them as they teardown the main camp, and set off for their next adventure!

S, leaving our home away from home for the last time...
S, leaving our home away from home for the last time…
Our home away from home, all packed up and ready to go!
Our home away from home, all packed up and ready to go!
We leave playa as we found it, a place beautiful in its starkness.  (Note also Trevyn (or perhaps Splat) joy in the background.)
We leave playa as we found it, a place beautiful in its starkness. (Note also Trevyn (or perhaps Splat) joy in the background.)
Totenkitten main camp, before teardown.  I'm often sure of the exact level of intentional irony.
Totenkitten main camp, before teardown. I’m often sure of the exact level of intentional irony.
As Francisco discovers, tarps are not to be trifled with.  *OM NOM NOM NOM*
As Francisco discovers, tarps are not to be trifled with. *OM NOM NOM NOM*
Camp, halfway through teardown.
Camp, halfway through teardown.
Evan walks towards the invisible quonset wall.
Evan walks towards the invisible quonset wall.
On the road, the dusty, dusty road...
On the road, the dusty, dusty road…
My joyous traveling companion!
My joyous traveling companion!
Civilization!  the first time we stopped here on the way home, in 2013, we were so struck by the abundance that we bought everything in sight.
Civilization! the first time we stopped here on the way home, in 2013, we were so struck by the abundance that we bought everything in sight.

Burning Man 2015 in Pictures LXVIII: Combing the Desert!

When we last saw our intrepid crew, they were in the middle of teardown of the Charnival. Today, we see them finish teardown of the Charnival, and start combing the desert[1] for MOOP[2].

Darq combs the desert.
Darq combs the desert.

#polarbearcar

S, Greg, & Kosta take a break, while Seth rides up and NekoBus looks on.
S, Greg, & Kosta take a break, while Seth rides up and NekoBus looks on.
l-r: Trevyn, Felix (?), S, ?
l-r: Trevyn, Felix (?), S, ?
#because
#because
S: "I found this guy hiding in one of the benches!"
S: “I found this guy hiding in one of the benches!”
NekoBus heading home in the evening.
NekoBus heading home in the evening.
The Sunday night Temple Burn is a very emotional and spiritual experience for many.
The Sunday night Temple Burn is a very emotional and spiritual experience for many.
Ships' masts are much lighter this way.
Ships’ masts are much lighter this way.
The tradition of geometric-shaped art cars continues.  Here we see the Square Pyramid and Projected Icosahedron.
The tradition of geometric-shaped art cars continues. Here we see the Square Pyramid and Projected Icosahedron.
After one last *FOOM* from Medusa, it was time for bed!
After one last *FOOM* from Medusa, it was time for bed!

[1]Ref: Spaceballs.

[2]This is a long and painstaking process. Somehow, I didn’t take any pictures of this. Imagine raking an area of desert the size of a football field under the blazing sun. But Leave No Trace is that important.

Burning Man 2015 in Pictures LXVII: Teardown of the rest of the Charnival

Last time, we saw our intrepid crew teardown the last of Mirror Blaze. Today, the rest of the Charnival!

M & M work on disassembling Francis the Fantastic.
M & M work on disassembling Francis the Fantastic.
#metaphotography
#metaphotography
E looks on as C 'rolls the fence'.
E looks on as C ‘rolls the fence’.
M & C are caught in an instant of slow-time.
M & C are caught in an instant of slow-time.
The furious dissasembly of Riskee Ball continues!
The furious dissasembly of Riskee Ball continues!
l-r: Riskee Ball dissasembly, Charnival Front of House, Fire Tetris, C.
l-r: Riskee Ball dissasembly, Charnival Front of House, Fire Tetris, C.
The hardy team working on Riskee Ball.  l-r: AD, KZ, CH, AL, RL.
The hardy team working on Riskee Ball. l-r: AD, KZ, CH, AL, RL.
Splat takes a break in the shade while Mike surveys his packing of Francis.
Splat takes a break in the shade while Mike surveys his packing of Francis.
The Riskee Ball dissassembly crew, hard at work.  l-r: Mike, Andrea, Steph(?), Kosta, NekoBus, Greg.
The Riskee Ball dissassembly crew, hard at work. l-r: Mike, Andrea, Steph(?), Kosta, NekoBus, Greg.

Dug takes a break and surveys the

Splat surveys what is left of the skin on his fingers.
Splat surveys what is left of the skin on his fingers.

Burning Man 2015 in Pictures LXVI: The Last of the Mirror Blaze Teardown!

Last time, we followed our intrepid adventurers as they continued the teardown of Mirror Blaze. Today, we follow them as they complete this task.[1]

MF & GL walk by the remaining upright parts of Mirror Blaze.
MF & GL walk by the remaining upright parts of Mirror Blaze.
The non-mirror parts of Mirror Blaze.
The non-mirror parts of Mirror Blaze.
Fire and acrylic mirrors.  Sometimes they have an effect on each other.
Fire and acrylic mirrors. Sometimes they have an effect on each other.

Here you can see the warping of the two-sided mirrors which were immediately surrounding the flame effect quartz tube.

Greg and splat work on the final mirror!
Greg and splat work on the final mirror!
And the lifeguard chair comes down!
And the lifeguard chair comes down!
l-r: Lifeguard Stand, Stepstool, Flamey, Quartz Tube, Charnival Sign, Mirror Posts.
l-r: Lifeguard Stand, Stepstool, Flamey, Quartz Tube, Charnival Sign, Mirror Posts.
Flamey side view.  Note the use of rebar, and the large amount of non-flammable fabric and teflon used to protect the quartz tube.
Flamey side view. Note the use of rebar, and the large amount of non-flammable fabric and teflon used to protect the quartz tube.
Note the aluminum foil protecting the wiring.
Note the aluminum foil protecting the wiring.
S, G, & M bring down the last part of the lifeguard stand.  Done!
S, G, & M bring down the last part of the lifeguard stand. Done!
B stands triumphant with Flamey.
B stands triumphant with Flamey.

[1]Still arduous, but took about 1/3 as long as putting it together (not including MOOP sweep).

Burning Man 2015 in Pictures LXV: Mirror Blaze Teardown Continues!

Last time, we watched the first stage of the Mirror Blaze teardown. Today, we witness the second part of the teardown, and some of the (very very very sooty) effects of having flame effect equipment in an enclosed tube for a week.

Mirror Blaze, at the start of phase II.  Note the wind bracing sticks at the top.
Mirror Blaze, at the start of phase II. Note the wind bracing sticks at the top.
Callum pulls up the fence protecting the fuel depot for Mirror Blaze and FaIRE Hockey.
Callum pulls up the fence protecting the fuel depot for Mirror Blaze and FaIRE Hockey.
l-r: Case, Kosta, Kevin, S (slight case of clamber), and Splat
l-r: Case, Kosta, Kevin, S (slight case of clamber), and Splat
l-r: Kevin, S (slight case of peeping), Greg, Splat
l-r: Kevin, S (slight case of peeping), Greg, Splat
The disassembled pieces of Mirror Blaze pile up!
The disassembled pieces of Mirror Blaze pile up!
Greg holds up some of the padding used to protect the quartz tube from the metal straps holding it up.
Greg holds up some of the padding used to protect the quartz tube from the metal straps holding it up.
The quartz tube, marks left over by the silicone and not-so-flammable fabric padding.
The quartz tube, marks left over by the silicone and not-so-flammable fabric padding.
The quartz tube, in situ.  Note the sooty colour.
The quartz tube, in situ. Note the sooty colour.
Kosta unhoking 'Flamey', the flame effect.
Kosta unhoking ‘Flamey’, the flame effect.
'Flamey' is quite 'sooty'.  But the aluminum foil protecting the wiring held up!
‘Flamey’ is quite ‘sooty’. But the aluminum foil protecting the wiring held up!

Next time, the rest of the Mirror Blaze tear down!

Burning Man in Pictures 2015 LXIV: The Teardown Begins!

Last time, our intrepid adventurers gave Mirror Blaze a sendoff with a last mighty *FOOM* on its last night in operation for 2015.

Today, we follow them as they start the teardown of the Charnival.

First, to set the scene, we have a pic of Evan working on the ‘big top’ outer casing of Mirror Blaze:

Evan starting to bring down the big top.
Evan starting to bring down the big top.

Then an important montage of S showing how a mirror is supposed to be detached from the posts:

S starts detaching the mirror...
S starts detaching the mirror…
One side done!
One side done!
The first side done, she starts detaching the other side.
The first side done, she starts detaching the other side.
S demonstrates the proper way to become mirrorximist.
S demonstrates the proper way to become mirrorximist.
The tube stands alone.
The tube stands alone.
Evan and Greg remove another mirror.
Evan and Greg remove another mirror.
Marc shows the proper technique for removing rebar from playa.
Marc shows the proper technique for removing rebar from playa.
Greg and Splat, serious as always.
Greg and Splat, serious as always.
Greg and Splat show the proper breakdown decorum.
Greg and Splat show the proper breakdown decorum.

Burning Man 2015 in Pictures LXIII: Sunlight Poutine and Mirror Blaze Final Night!

(Last time with our intrepid heroes…)

Midnight Poutine. There is nothing quite like it. You would think that the time of day would make no difference in the taste of a food, but you would be wrong[1].

Midnight Poutine.  A true institution.
Midnight Poutine. A true institution.
The Quebecois flag.  A welcoming sight far away from home.
The Quebecois flag. A welcoming sight far away from home.

[1]It could also be the temperature, or the altitude, or the (lack of) humidity,

The S3FA crew in a candid moment.
The S3FA crew in a candid moment.

Moving on from Midnight Poutine, our trusty crew traveled back to the installation, spotting some friends along the way:

Carberus!
Carberus!
The Charnival at night...but wait...who's that?
The Charnival at night…but wait…who’s that?
"Hello Adventurers.  You are almost at the end of your quest.  Remember all that you have learned, and to put all of the pieces together..."
“Hello Adventurers. You are almost at the end of your quest. Remember all that you have learned, and to put all of the pieces together…”

Climbing up on top of a shipping container, the crew watched for the signal that the Man was about to burn. And there it was! The arms were raised!:

After the Man burned, it was time to make a little fire of our own!

S went up to the top of the lifeguard stand to test the Blaze part of Mirror Blaze, blowing a fiery kiss:

S blows a fiery kiss!
S blows a fiery kiss!

We then went into the maze, to celebrate a final *FOOM* before teardown and cleanup:

Our intrepid heroes celebrate the final *FOOM* of 2015!
Our intrepid heroes celebrate the final *FOOM* of 2015!
Our happy and satisfied heroes!
Our happy and satisfied heroes!

Join us next time, when we start teardown and cleanup, the most important parts of any installation!

Burning Man 2015 in Pictures LXII: Unnecessarily High Fives!

When we last saw our intrepid crew, they had just finished researching and learning about MOOP.

Today, we follow them as they explore more of the wild (and not so woolly) camps.

(Note that this post is many pictures and fewer words. With all the distracting things happening in the world right now, I’m finding it difficult to find the mental space to form and create. This is my way of getting that process restarted. Thank you all for your continued support.)

Today, their journey starts at Mazu, Goddess of the Empty Sea (Or rather, the skeleton left after the previous evening’s burn):

The burned-out husk of a fantastic installation.
The burned-out husk of a fantastic installation.
The Bronze Rhino Runs Again (now a major motion picture).
The Bronze Rhino Runs Again (now a major motion picture).
S being incredibly happy.  (She had just found an impromptu industrial 'radio' station.)
S being incredibly happy. (She had just found an impromptu industrial ‘radio’ station.)
Apparently, Gate is the new Rangers.  Unsure about what happened with fury road cosplay, tho.
Apparently, Gate is the new Rangers. Unsure about what happened with fury road cosplay, tho.
'Death Camp'?  No, it's 'Death Carp'.  Much more dangerous.
‘Death Camp’? No, it’s ‘Death Carp’. Much more dangerous.
Sketchy has supports in many places.  An eloquent sign for a more eloquent time.
Sketchy has supports in many places. An eloquent sign for a more eloquent time.
I think these high-fives are at an appropriate height.
I think these high-fives are at an appropriate height.
#babyfistbump
#babyfistbump

Then they played our (beep-filled) theme song:

"What happens when you cross a hexagonal prism with six tetrahedra?"  "I don't know, either."
“What happens when you cross a hexagonal prism with six tetrahedra?” “I don’t know, either.”
"I want to take you to...Janky Town!" #cliche
“I want to take you to…Janky Town!” #cliche

Stay tuned for next time, when we visit Sunlight Poutine, and see our heroes run Mirror Blaze for the last evening of The Burn. Stay tuned!

Burning Man 2015 in Pictures LXI: The Essence of MOOP

When we last saw our intrepid adventurers, they had just found an incarnation of balance and harmony, then had that jarringly ripped away from them by an encounter with a MOOP sculpture:

This seems neither balanced nor harmonious. But what does it mean?
This seems neither balanced nor harmonious. But what does it mean?

So, a word about moop or MOOP. ‘MOOP’ is the abbreviation for ‘Matter Out Of Place’, the anti-thesis of ‘leave no trace’. It’s been an abbreviation for long enough that it’s become a word ‘moop’. Apparently, this had been a growing issue at Burning Man, finally coming to a head for 2006, when they decided to publicly measure the amount of moop left over after the event and start to name and shame:

Moop Map 2006.  Note the suffusion of yellow.
Moop Map 2006. Note the suffusion of yellow[1].

Already you can see the difference one year later, in 2007, after just measuring and enforcement:

Moop Map 2007 "Green Wins!": Note how one year of measuring and enforcement has made a noticeable difference.
Moop Map 2007 “Green Wins!”: Note how one year of measuring and enforcement has made a noticeable difference.

2009 is better yet again:

Moop Map 2009: Yellow and red patches are even smaller.
Moop Map 2009: Yellow and red patches are even smaller.

As is 2013, our first year at the Burn, this was the ‘norm’ we first saw, and wanted to help improve upon:

Moop Map 2013: This was our first year, and the 'norm' that we wanted to improve on.
Moop Map 2013: This was our first year, and the ‘norm’ that we wanted to improve on.

2014:

IMG_2384

The placement map for 2015 (I have no idea what the spoon was for):

Map 2015: Who was where?
Map 2015: Who was where?

If you look closely, you can see The Hive, at 8:00 and Esplanade!:

If you look closely, you can see The Hive, at 8:00 and Esplanade!
If you look closely, you can see The Hive, at 8:00 and Esplanade!

And the results from the 2015 after-event cleanup! You can see the continually disturbing red and yellow rings around Esplanade which only a very few groups were able to sweep to green status:

Moop Map 2015: Note the red and yellow ring around Esplanade. :(
Moop Map 2015: Note the red and yellow ring around Esplanade. :(

Next time, our plucky adventurers meet the golden rhino, and make the tiniest of fist-bumps. Stay tuned!

[1]https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Long_Dark_Tea-Time_of_the_Soul I’ve always enjoyed this particular phrase, but it feels problematic for a number of reasons in the context of the book.