Archive for August, 2013

Put A Fork In Me

August 31, 2013

I am done.

Or I was done last night.

“I am over it,” I whispered to myself driving the golf cart to the shower depot.

“Over it.”

Officially marking my two weeks with some negative thoughts.

Or scrubbing myself down a little more to receive the love that is all around me, that I don’t see until I am an emotional basket case in need of help.

I was given some wonderful help last night in places and spaces I was not expecting after having been on a tired emotional roller coaster of work, not enough sleep, really need a shower, and am fucking hungry.

In rapid order early evening yesterday I was shot in the face by a water gun while driving, I forgot my hair brush on the way to the shower, then I was taken to task at the showers for not locking my golf cart properly.

I was so tired, so drained, and so not ready to be hollered at in the showers and told that my vehicle was going to be stolen if I didn’t get my ass out and lock it properly that I just lost it.

“She’s only doing her job,” some snarky cunt in the stall next to me said.

Yeah, she’s right, absolutely, I did not lock properly, I was at the Depot, where no one is except my fellow co-workers on the event.  No tourists, no participants, employees, and not shown an ounce of compassion when I said please let me rinse off and I will be right out.

“Well, it’ll be too late,” the woman screamed from the door in the shower trailer, “it’s going to be fucking taken, so get the fuck out here now.”

I stumbled out of the shower naked, dripping soap and tangled hair, see forgot the hair brush note, grabbing for my clothes and toiletries, I threw on a dirty dress and fled from the trailer with no bra on, no panties, no shoes, smack into a pile of dust, shaking with adrenalin and sopping wet.

I got to the cart and made sure it was secure.

However, by this time I was not going to go back in and rinse and try again to get clean, I was broken.

It was the tipping point and I tumbled down the hill into complete breakdown.

I managed to put on my bra and panties, and for the first time I was topless outside at Burning Man.  I pulled on my shower flip-flops and unlocked the cart, tossing my things helter skelter into the basket on the back of the cart.

I fled the scene.

Humiliated and dirty.

Thanks, Burning Man, it’s been great working for you, this is awesome.

I am so grateful that this is how staff treats each other.

I knew underneath the grim dislike of the incident that it had nothing to do with me, “she was just doing her job.”

She was not doing it how I would have done it, but she was doing it.

And I also knew it was not personal.

She did not know, I mean I hope she didn’t know, that it was my cart.

That being said, I find it sad and disheartening when the staff out here turn on each other.  It was my two-week anniversary on playa and all I wanted was to be done, out, fuck you very much.

However, I was supposed to be back to the camp by 7:30p.m. so mom and dad could go to the Prom.  They were reigning king and queen for last year and were getting dressed up and ready to have a party.

I was not mellow enough to walk into the Commissary, so I made a quick detour to see some fellows that I knew would be meeting around 6 p.m. in the neighborhood.

I flew to the camp and tumbled out of my cart.

I found a chair and settled into it with a shaky sigh.

Only to leap to my feet a few seconds later.

I had not even attempted to lock the cart and knowing how the early evening was going I was certain it would be gone by the time I came out of the community tent.

I ran to the cart, secured the lock and began to have a panic attack.

Good fucking times.

I bent over completely from the waist, lowered my head to my knees and began to breathe in and out of my mouth in long sucking swallows.

A group of girls approached.

Nurses, it turns out.

I cool hand on the back of my neck, a soft touch on my arm, “just keep doing that, you are ok, good, breathe in, breathe out.”

“Get her some water,” I did not argue, although I did not feel dehydrated, I drank down the cold seltzer water when it was given to me.

It was a fast attack and I realized as I was coming up for air that it had been quite sometime since I had an attack.

In fact, the last time it had happened was last year at Burning Man after a bad dust storm had obliterated my tent and I was told that the offer to sleep in a staff trailer had to be revoked so that it could be made available to a pregnant woman (who never did use the trailer).

Fatigued, emotionally drained, and, wet nasty hair, half shaved legs, tear spotted, and hungry, I made my way to the Commissary.

Where the kind hand of Bettie June reached out to ask me how I was, and instantly I had tears on my cheeks.

“I am just having a rough day,” I said through the tears, I need to be back to camp by 7:30p.m. to start my shift and it’s 7:15p.m. and the line is so long, I’m not going to be able to eat my dinner….”

“Nonsense,” said Bettie June.

She got on comm. called my boss, said I had an unexpected schedule change, was currently with her, and would not be available to start my shift until 8p.m.

Then she handed me a dinner plate, gave me a hug, and turned me over to my friends John and Erica, who serenaded me to my table, kept me company, said, don’t say anything until you have eaten and then made me laugh.

“You know, you come across as all tough, but you’re a marshmallow,” said Erica.

“It’s ok, to let people in.”  She finished and beamed at me.

Then John told me the story of how last year he lost his dop kit and went bonkers and said “fuck this” and had a similar experience.

We all laughed, ate dinner, bonded, and I felt better.

I made it back to camp, still emotionally wonky, but cheered.

Turns out mom and dad were absolutely fine putting down the baby, I was sent to my trailer to mellow out and put myself back together again.

I made some tea and ate an apple and said a few words to the powers that be.

Then I joined the great dance party of prom, although I was a wallflower, in my slippers and long socks.  I sat on the rocking chair and watched my camp mates take photographs and dance to 80s music.

Home.

Safe.

Sound.

Tired.

But loved.

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Working It Out

August 30, 2013

Worked a lot today, but also got some time off this evening.

I went out and saw some Burning Man.

But first I went to the Playa Bike Repair.

Thank God.

Otherwise I would not have gotten anywhere near as far out as I did tonight.

I would have moped around the 9 o’clock keyhole and missed the amazing moments I got to have this evening.

The best, again, the Xylophage by the Flaming Lotus Girls.

No pictures for you tonight of the piece, however, my camera was running out of juice–batteries are re-charging as I type, so more photos tomorrow.

This was a good thing.

I had no problem putting down the camera.

Unlike a lot of folks I witnessed out there walking through the playa around the art and not engaging with it, just taking photographs of it.

I suppose I could have some judgements about it, but I am too blissed out, once again to care.

In fact, I have thought a few times tonight that I should just ditch doing the blog and go to bed.

Tomorrow’s start time is 8 a.m. and it is 12:45 a.m. and I have only a few words, lots of images, and loads of dust to wash off myself before I crawl into bed.  I probably won’t make it to bed until 2 a.m.

Not the worst thing in the world, I can take a nap tomorrow.

And I promise myself right now that I will.

I am going to stay back tomorrow night so that mom and dad may go out and celebrate a friend’s wedding anniversary.  They also are going to a party, or some other engagement, I don’t recall, sometimes the details of the day get fuzzy when I am warm and fuzzy.

I not only sat in the Xylophage Sequoia stump under the heat, surrounded by the wood smell and the little flaming mushrooms climbing the walls, I also got some body work done while I was sitting there.

There was a sweet older man across the way from me, also sitting and enjoying the warmth, not commenting on “oh my god, it’s hot, wow, it’s like a sauna in here,” ad nauseum, or taking photographs either.

He just sat and watched and smiled across the way at me.

We both sat in our own mutual reverie for about a half hour, then when a break in the crowd happened and there was no one shooting pictures, or video, or waving their Go-Pro around, he made his way over to my side and asked to sit next to me on a stump.

I smiled, I had just gotten a hug from a Bunny from Montreal, how could I refuse?

I moved aside my crinoline and gestured to him.

We introduced ourselves to each other, Ron from Tahoe, doing healing work at HBGBS and Carmen, extreme nanny and reverent worshipper of heat.

“I have to admit I have been waiting to see how long you were going to sit here, I was holding out on leaving until you did.”  He said as he settled down on his perch.

I laughed and we started having a conversation.

The nature of humanity, the proliferation of the camera phone, the posing, the social media, that astounding amount of folks coming through and looking but not necessarily engaging in the art.

He asked me about my tattoos.

I asked him about his Burn.

“May I touch your tattoo?” He asked quietly.

I got no creepy old man vibe off him, just a genuine curiosity to look at the art.

I offered him my arm and the next thing you know he is massaging my hand.  Then, a gentleman walks in through the door next to me, strokes my shoulder and says, “here, let me do this side,” and he tenderly takes my other arm.

I am suddenly engulfed in warmth, love, this sweet boy from Comfort and Joy and this kind soul from HBGB and my water bottle.

If there had been a pillow I would have fallen asleep like a little kitty cat.

Speaking of which.

You know you have a really great mama boss when she says, “you need to see this art piece, I have time before my next meeting, we’re going to head out to Man Base.”

We drive over after lunch and go to the Alien Vending Machine.

It is a little grey and silver box with tokens that you plug into the slot, turn knobs, and small envelopes with instructions printed on the back.

I giggled, picked up the tokens, popped them into the vending machine and pulled the lever.  My little brown envelope dropped out and I fished it through the slot.

“Dear Earthling, we are observing you, please be advised, we are requesting that you be noisy.”

There was a little business card with a lion on the front.

“Please roar until you get the response noted on the back, and remember, we are watching.”

I walked away and roared.

I laughed out loud.

When I got back to the Soccer Mom (the white mini-van) the mama asked me what I got and I roared at her, she giggled and meowed out the window at me.

You want to know what the reverse side of the card said?

“Continue roaring until you meet a person who meows at you, you will have found your person.”

Hahahahahaha.

It was the perfect little sobriquet in my day.

How awesome is it that I have a boss that says, let’s take a moment and see some art.

I am remembering a family I once nannied for and how they had no art on their walls and no plants and no fun, frankly, and thanked the heavens above for such an awesome boss.

A boss I later burst into tears in front of at the Commissary.

I was trying to figure it out, and had not even realized it when I spoke with her about replacing my Iphone in Reno.

It broke out here.

I suspect it was on its way out, but the playa took it and I need a new phone.

How am I going to move and arrange and fix and contact and do when I get to San Francisco?

Or Oakland.

Or wherever am I going to land.

She totally took a different tack, said, please don’t worry about the phone and I already planned on having you stay over in Reno with us and further at the house in Cole Valley, you’ll sleep in the guest room and do laundry and take a really long bath and then do the next thing.

Look at that.

The Universe stepping in again and taking care of me.

And with that I am out.

I have an early start time and I need to get some sleep.

The Mother Ship has landed and there’s a big party to go to tomorrow.

Man Base

Man Base

It Was A Nice Twenty Four Hours

August 29, 2013

While it lasted.

And then it was gone.

Back on baby duty.

I am here at the camp and Burning Man is truly getting it on tonight.

There are fifteen different sound systems competing with my thoughts as I sit here in the “front yard” in a camp rocking chair close to the trailer keeping one ear cocked toward the baby sleeping inside.

El Pulpo Mechanico just went by.

Surreal and wonderful, mechanical octopus with flames spouting out the tips of its eight legs waving up and down, draped with women in Steam Punk attire heading to the Steam Punk Rave at the French Quarter tonight, which is in the neighborhood.

I can look across the street and see the back side of the four-story facade they erected.

I have to admit I am pretty crashed out.

I woke up at 7:30 a.m. and never went back to bed.

Nor did I take a nap and I should have.

I was just too awake when I woke up.

I sprang from the bed and went to the port-a-potties to do my thing and on the walk back I just felt alive and good and here and I wanted to go to the commissary and have breakfast, I was hungry.

I figured I would take a nap before going back on duty this evening at six p.m.

Ha.

Ah, oh well, I am tired, that is for certain, but I did tell the folks I would stay back and watch the camp and mind the baby and sigh.

“You are not getting paid enough!” Two of my friends now have said that.

I wonder.

I mean I have not raised my rates since I started doing this six years ago, and I do feel pretty well taken care of, at this point I don’t give a fuck.

I don’t feel like there actually exists another world outside of the one I am currently in.

The dust, the wood smoke, the girls in their hot pants and high boots prancing about in pasties or less.  The art, the noise, the squawk of the announcer at Slut Garden moderating the sexual olympics, the disco mashed up with the techno mixed with the tired in my body.

There is no where else.

I keep thinking I am going to try to do some work or schedule a time to move into my place when I get back to SF and my brain just fades off, caught by the sight of a boy spanking a girl with a monkey spatula in the middle of the street.

Held back from the world outside by the playa police who insist I stop and pay attention to all the things around me.

Saucy

playa policing

I have to say, it is the surrealist blog I have ever written.

Usually I am in the trailer writing and the world does drift off enough to allow me to concentrate on words and syntax and story.

But that’s really challenging when bicycles dripping with glowing flowers are gliding by or hula hoops webbed with ribbons roll across the street or when I look out toward the nine o’clock plaza and see a giant ship’s mast rising up from the skyline.

It’s hard to concentrate on what I want to say.

A few times I have contemplated not posting the blog or putting up the photographs, but then there’s nap time and I am without something to do and attached to the trailer and I will open up the laptop (which is so covered with stickers that it’s easy to see where I have been spending my down time) and find myself doing some photo editing or scrolling through the ones I already took looking for a gem to crop and post.

Speaking of photographs I went to hang out with the Pin Hole Camera crew, but they had a day tucked into their camp developing film.

I hung out at my old camp instead, seeing Mrs. Fishkin, and Nurse and Sister Sister, Magee and Wild Bill, Erica, and Curley.

It was so nice to catch up with my people.

Mrs. Fishkin and I went to the cafe and had coffees–seems so long ago but it was only twelve hours ago.

A floating peacock just slid by down the road.

Aside–I don’t know if it’s being on playa or what it does to my taste buds, but man, my tea tastes spectacular out here, richer, more robust, more flavorful.  It’s like the best tasting tea in the world.

I had lunch with a dear friend at the Commissary and we shared some growth moments and struggles we have been both going through, getting re-grounded to go back out and tackle the jobs at hand.

There is a live horn band really laying it down over yonder.

That would be nice, get out and see some more music.

I did not get out too far into the playa to see art today, but I did catch a few pieces.

Penny the Goose

Penny the Goose

Art Car

Art Car

Dragon

Dragon

I stayed close to camp, it was too hot to go far a foot and my bicycle got another flat tire.  It apparently needs a different size tube.  I tried to swing by the playa bike fix it shop to pick one up but it was a mob scene and I could not bear to wait in line.

And I saw my first wine bong as well as being offered my first wine bong.

“No thanks, I am working tonight,” I said.

“Oh just do a little one!” The person replied.

No such thing as a little wine bong.

“I can’t I am allergic to alcohol, but thank you so much for the offer, enjoy!” I added and went to seek out a sparkling water.

“Wow, that sucks, well, at least you can do other things,” the person offered in commiseration.

I smiled and kept my response to myself, there are no other things for me, I won’t be making a midnight run to the herb camp either.

Ah, I am sleepy, and getting cold, the temperature just dropped a few degrees.

Time to stoke the fire, stretch and put on another layer.

I probably have another two hours before going off duty.

Let me not to think about that.

I am just going to keep watching the pretty lights go drifting by.

I Am Not Writing About Him

August 28, 2013

Nope.

But if you come by my trailer I may tell you a tale.

I will add this as well, I have never not felt compelled to write about someone.

However, some things, well they are not to be shared.

And I am a greedy girl and this is mine to keep.

However, I will tell you about other awesome things that happened today.

At Burning Man.

In no particular order, since it is late and I just really want to go to bed, the following things happened.

-On the way back from lunch, driving along Commerce at 6:45 there was a camp I passed in the Soccer Mom (the name my boss has given the white mini van that she is using for her team’s work at the event) with my little monkey in the back, we passed “Cat Camp”.  Where four people were sitting in lawn chairs meowing at everyone who walked past.

I pulled over the car, popped open the door to the back took my bunny out of the car and said, ‘what does a cat say?’

And he said, “eeyow.”

“AW!”

They all applauded.

His first word, according to mom, was meow and I told that to the two women in their early sixties holding little card board signs that said “meow”.  The husbands, I am assuming they were husbands, all meowed in approval and gave him high fives.

-Tonight I watched a woman sing opera from the top of an art car that was in the shape of a Greek war-horse with flame affects coordinated with the aria she was singing from Puccini.

Then to make it even more amazing, she was joined by a friend who did fan and pole dancing on a pole that was anchored in the middle of the ship and must have risen another fifteen or twenty feet into the sky, and yes had fire spouting out the top.

The opera singer finished with a piece that was also choreographed to coincide with the dancer doing the most astounding and graceful acrobatic pole work I have ever seen.

The entire audience was enthralled and holding onto their breaths.

This was happening out by the airport and as such there were no booming art cars with sound systems that rattle your teeth or raver pant kids mooping their beer cans on the playa.  It was under the dark night sky sprayed with stars for a small intimate group of approximately thirty pilots and friends.

I am still astounded that I got to be there.

They finished with “Bésame Mucho“.

Divinity.

–I found my friend Thomas from Paris, giving his first hug on the morning of his first day on playa.

It was a hug to end all hugs.

Then I hugged the woman that he did a ride share with, a complete stranger he met on a Burning Man ride board, for bringing him.

She told me that may have been the best hug she has ever had.

Happy to oblige.

–I threw ice cream sandwiches out the window of the Soccer Mom as I was driving back to camp to a man sitting on a platform swing chair with his son who were serenely sitting watching all the folks walk past the intersection.

I don’t normally carry ice cream sandwiches on me, I don’t eat sugar, you know, but once in a while I will take an ice cream treat from the commissary and hand it out to someone.

I know this is completely against the “rules” but I figure I haven’t eaten desert at any of the meals they serve and taking to ice cream sandwich bars felt fine in my heart and it sure was pleasing to see the grins on the father and son as I pulled up to them in the Soccer Mom and tossed the cold treats out to them from the open window.

“Catch!”

Then I drove off.

Hit and run ice cream.

Hmm, that’s like a great band name, should I ever decide to start a band.

Either that or a playa camp name.

-Some of the names of camps I passed by on my goings about today: Pink Heart Camp, Red LIghting, Cat Camp, Puking Sparrows (that’s just not a good visual), Cargo Pant Camp, Campoline (trampoline camp), Lazy Fuckers Camp (four fat folks sitting on folding chairs drinking Starbucks Frappucino’s out of cans.  I am not kidding. Total tourists), Camp Stella, Camp Run Free, Costco Soul Mate Trading Outlet, Cosmonaut Camp (they have a super cute mail box with little stuffed monkeys in space suits, complete with little helmets dangling all over it), Distrikt, Duck Pond, Ass Stamp Camp (come on by and we’ll but a tramp stamp on your ass and serve you some fresh sangria!), Sparkle Pony Camp, The Lost Penguins, Free Photo Camp, First Camp, The Ghetto, and of course my camp–Equilibrium, where we do wine bongs and corn dogs.

Well, I don’t do either, and as of yet I have not see a wine bong happening, but they did put out the chair of ‘Center of Attention’.

It is a big stuffed wing chair on a pedestal with steps leading up to it, an arch way over it drapped with swaths of fabric and flowers, and a sign that says, “Center of Attention”.

Anyone who sits in the chair immediately is to receive the entire camp, or whomever happens to be in camp at the time, attention, wherein they are showered with compliments and made to feel the total center of attention.

I saw it happen once today and it was actually really sweet.

-I went to the post office and mailed post card and letters.

Nothing says I love you like a little note from Black Rock City.

-I went to Media Mecca again to register my camera, but it was once again swamped. and I was not able to stay long enough to do the process.

Then I was pulled aside and engulfed in a huge hug from a friend from London and another from Chicago who just had a baby and admonished to come back to Mecca now, damn it.

Afterwhile I was told, come back after hours and don’t worry about it.

Then I ran into Jason from the Pin Hole Camera Project who wanted me to go out and take photographs with them (I rode along with them last year on a complete whim, and because one of my camp mates was friends of his and had the most extraordinary time.)

I said, “Jason, I am just an amateur photographer.”

“So,” he replied, “you’ve got a good eye and besides I want to play a round of frisbee golf with you.  When are you not working? I want you to come out with us.”

Well, as it turns out, I am off tomorrow morning, in exchange for working a long night shift tomorrow night.

No problem.

As long as I have off Thursday night.

I have a date to go see a movie on playa.

Which I won’t tell you about either.

And since there’s nothing else to write about, that I am willing to share, I shall bid you an adieu.

More on the morrow.

Blowing you kisses, but keeping the majority to myself.

Kiss me a lot, as I am afraid of losing you afterwards.

Blissed Out

August 27, 2013

I am so fucking blown up right now, I don’t even know where to start.

I got to go to Burning Man tonight.

I am bliss.

I am blissed out.

I am so relaxed and zoned out and warm and fuzzy and cozy I almost did not write tonight.

I came within inches of just crawling into bed.

Then I remember I had to do an e-mail check in.

So, I opened my computer and I e-mailed my person.

Then I thought, well, I will just down load my photos, since the computer is up any how.

Which led to me posting them up to my other blog: http://www.whereintheworldisauntiebubba.wordpress.com

Say that fifteen times fast.

And since it links to my facecrack page I also went there and posted the rest of the photos that I did not put up on the blog.

Then I was already here and habits, man, they die-hard, so a writing I am a doing.

I got a brief reprieve from baby duty this morning and headed to the commissary sans family who were having a little sleep in snuggle action with the baby.  I ran into an old friend I had not seen in, well, since last Burning Man, and we shared breakfast, drank coffee, caught up, and made promises to see more of each other.

That of course, may or may not happen.

You never know what will out here.

I came back after breakfast and had baby duty.

We had our morning constitutional, I took him around the neighborhood in his little red Radio Flyer wagon with the red canopy.  I put a large overstuffed moose in the back and snuggle him in between the body and legs of the toy and he reclined upon it like the little playa prince he is.

I popped open my parasol and took a walk about.

It was a nice way to start my day.

After a long nap, the baby, not me, we then were off to the commissary for lunch with mom.

She was in meetings until about four, but said she would be coming back for a nap directly after.

And she did.

She snuck into the trailer while he was still sleeping and said, come back at six and we will go to dinner together and then you can take the night off.

Jesus on a pogo stick, that was what I needed to hear.

I debated napping, but was eager to go for a ride on my bicycle.

Yes! That’s right, a lovely soul in my camp fixed my flat tire while I was away at lunch.

I tell you, that was a nice surprise.

I gave him a huge hug and almost cried.

Almost.

I tried to find my friend from Paris, but as it turns out he did not get in until this evening and I managed to miss him by minutes.  But I was assured by my previous camp mates that he had landed safely, was getting set up, was cute! Dang girl, thanks for telling him to camp with us, they are located in the Gayborhood, and was being escorted out to the playa to, well, go see Burning Man.

Which I did too after dinner.

And pre-dinner, I got a little hit, a little taste, a little groove on.

I went to Distrikt for the first time and climbed on top of a box and danced my butt off for a half hour.

Then a quick bike ride out to the playa to catch some art before returning to camp to have dinner with mama and baby.  Daddy was working and I never saw him until dinner, which was a pop in for a five-minute baby snack, before returning to work.

I was so tired at dinner I thought, what is the point of going out to see the art, I just want to go to bed.  What I really needed was to go see some fellows, so I did that and when I was refounded and refreshed mentally and emotionally and most certainly spiritually, I hopped abroad the bicycle and thought, well, since I am out already, why not just go out to the Esplanade.

Which led to me dancing at a disco party for about a half hour.

Then off across the playa, because, well, it looked so pretty out there and there was like, fire and stuff and bright lights and music and people in fantastical outfits.

Oh my god, I am at Burning Man.

Oh.

I know you.

I like you too.

A lot.

I ran, or rather bicycled over to the Photo Chapel which had just opened its doors and was blown away by the beauty, dark and a morose, but also rarefied and beautiful in it’s angst and vaudvillian American Gothicness.

Photo Chapel

Photo Chapel

Photo Chapel

Photo Chapel

Photo Chapel

Photo Chapel

Photo Chapel

Photo Chapel

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I was blown away.

I loved the piece the artist did last year, Ego, but this, this was something more.

I am not one hundred percent certain, but I thought it might be a memorial, the amount of labor, love, angst, grief, sorrow, and maudlin humor really broke my heart.

I left and wanted some lightness and cheer and hit up a couple of art cars and danced a  bit.

Then I saw the fire.

Ah fire.

How do I love thee.

Let me count the ways.

I rode my bicycle toward a set of flaming mushrooms.

Yes, I said, mushrooms.

And they were astounding.

Xylophage

Xylophage

Xylophage

Xylophage

But what was more astounding and what ended up being my favorite piece of the night, was the hot dry sauna inside one of the mushrooms.

It was like being inside the most wonderful wood sauna in the world.

I was so warm and relaxed and surrounded on all sides by wood panel with flames spouting over the top of my head, I could not fathom moving.

I sat inside the sauna for over an hour.

I am in love.

I was so happy and enamoured with the piece that a woman walked over to me and handed me a stack of stickers, the currency of cool here on playa, and it turns out I was in the middle of a Flaming Lotus Girl piece.

I love me some Flaming Lotus Girls.

It was the best.

I can see doing that every night.

I am still warm and relaxed and I am going to strip down and roll into bed.

A dirty, dusty, flamed backed nanny pie.

Hot and warm and loved and melty.

Just for you.

Night love.

It was wonderful to spend some time with you today.

Looking forward to more adventures tomorrow.

xo

-Mary Fucking Poppins

 

 

 

 

 

And…..Drumroll Please….

August 26, 2013

It’s BURNING MAN!

The gates opened tonight at six p.m. and it was on.

It is on.

It is going to be going on for a good long time and it’s only going to be getting more on.

Jesus.

I am tired.

8a.m. start, 11:30p.m. right now.

Got a break mid-day, though, and went out and yes, got me some art fix.

The Hug Deli

The Hug Deli

I went out the 9 o’clock keyhole, since that is the one closest to where I am camped and I only had an hour and a half break away from baby.

Today was the big push for the mom and the beginning of the busiest time for dad.

So, short little break mid day.

And was I going to waste it on a nap?

Uh nope.

Besides I actually managed to get close to seven hours last night and was feeling like I could pull it out.

I had gotten my camera back from dad’s car and I was bound and determined to take some photographs.

The Hug Deli was the first thing on the list that drew me in.

It is a wonderful little interactive art piece that has been out on the playa for a while.

Some one man’s the deli, or “woman’s” the deli, and the person who needs a hug comes up and orders what they need.

Maybe they need a bear hug.

Maybe they need a gangsta hug.

Maybe they need a superstar hug.

Perhaps they would like that with a side of air kiss and a compliment is usually all that is required to get your hug.

I was taking photographs of it when a trio of freshly landed gals strolled up in their birthday suits.

I got out of the deli so they could order up some fresh hugs.

One girl slipped inside the booth and donned the little apron on the peg behind the counter.  The other two ladies stood looking up at the menu.

“Good afternoon!  What kind of hug would you like today?”  Their friend said getting into the role.

“Hmmm,” one girl said looking at the other girl, “I don’t see the hug I want on the menu.”

“Well,” the counter girl said pausing and thinking about it for a moment, “you look like someone I could make an exception for, I’ll let you order off the menu.”

The two girls turned and whispered something to each other, then broke out into giggles.

“I don’t have all day,” the counter girl said tap tapping her fingers on the counter top.

One of the ladies step forward, “we would like to order together, if that’s ok.”

“Yeah, that’s cool, I can handle a double order, we’re kind of slow right now,” the girl said leaning forward.  “So what will it be?”

“We would like to order a naked three-way hug!” The girl exclaimed.

“Two compliments please,” the counter girl said with a huge grin on her face.

“You have the prettiest eyes and I love how you sound when you laugh,” her friend said.

“Come get your hug!” She scurried out, stripping off the apron and tossing it behind the counter.

The three naked girls embraced each other and I made my way further off the playa.

I didn’t come her to watch naked girls make out, but the guys behind me were quite thrilled to catch the show.

Naked Hugs

Naked Hugs

I was more interested in seeing how the Church Trap had come along.

I was absolutely thrilled with the finished results.

Although I did not get any photographs that did it justice because as I walked up and set my water bottle down and folded close my umbrella (it was raining lightly when I left camp) I ran into an old friend sitting in the back pew.

Hugs ensued.

I asked him what he was doing for the next little bit of time and he said, hanging out here, and we chit chatted and I said, well, I have some time, so, give me a paw.

And I sat and gave him a hand massage.

It was awesome.

The sun was setting warmly behind us, the rain spat having passed, the air was still a bit brisk and the sun felt wonderful on my back.

His sweet face was silhouetted and we snuggled into each other and watched as folks wandered in and out of the church.

Some to pound away on the organ.

Some to orate from the pulpit.

Some to joke about passing the hat.

One group sang Leonard Cohen’s “Hallelujah”.

I am not sure why, perhaps it was just the laugh lines radiating from his eyes, but I asked my friend if he wanted a story.

It just sort of happened.

I am a nanny, sometimes I like to tell a good story.

He said yes and sank into the pew, wrapping his other arm around me he closed his eyes and I spun some tales.

I told him some fairy tales, my personal interpretations of Grimm’s fairy tales.

I told him Snow White and Rapunzel.

I rubbed his paws, and behind his ears, they looked like they needed some tender attention.

I told him about Paris and walking the streets and eating apples and getting high on art and writing in cafes and my friend who is some where out in the night waiting at gate to get into the event who is visiting from Paris and has never been to Burning Man before.

I can’t wait to see him!

I told my friend what is magical to me about Burning Man.

Moments like the one we were having.

We could not have planned it and it could not have been sweeter and lovelier.

Especially after my sad little pity party I had yesterday, which basically dissipated once I had a good nights sleep.

When my break was up I hug my friend, took his photograph, and he took mine.

The Senator

The Senator

I popped open my umbrella and flew back to my camp.

Just like Mary Fucking Poppins should.

Mary Fucking Poppins

Mary Fucking Poppins

 

A little Sad, A Little Lonely

August 25, 2013

I just wish that you were here to hold me.

Fell into the self-pity trap today.

Everyone has someone but me.

Gah.

I hate that my head goes there.

I am just feeling a little isolated while everyone is out there building and hammering and setting up theme camps and getting their party on.

The event opens in eight hours and it’s already pretty crazy out there.

But I am not out there.

I am in here.

I am at camp.

I agreed to it.

The parents are in the middle of their longest shifts.

Dad went on shift today at 7:30 a.m. and is still working.  He had no breaks, no naps, cereal for dinner.  Mom started at 8a.m. and she is still working.  Although she did get a nap and I got an hour break mid day.  It is eleven p.m. right now.  Mom should be in by midnight or so, dad a little thereafter.

In that hour break, while mom napped with the baby,  I would have gone out and taken photographs, but my camera was in dad’s car and dad was all over the place, but never in the neighborhood.

I might have gone for a bike ride, but the wheel is flat.

Maybe, I thought, I should just take a nap.

No!

You only have this hour, do something with it.

I am working now.

Not crazy work, but I am here, I am awake, I am tied to camp until mom and or dad comes back.  Dad is actually working fairly close to me so it’s not a huge deal that I am here and since I knew I was going to be in it I told my friends that I would not be out and about.

However, I am feeling lonely, the irony of being at Burning Man is that sometimes you can get really isolated.  And I also happened to have fallen into the expectations trap once again.  Which I had believed to have avoided really well, but fucking things snuck up on me today.

Too many couples cuddling around me in cute furry outfits.

Fuckers.

Go away.

I want to be cozying up to some snuggle bunny.

I want someone to be holding my hand and making out with me.

Which is pretty much what I always want at Burning Man and I typically get bit by that expectation.

I have written of it again and again and again and frankly, I am tired of it.

“You will keep repeating the same relationship until you learn what you need to learn,” she said to me when I complained about my room-mate.

I can’t get out of this relationship, it is with myself.

I am stuck with me.

I write the god damn affirmations all the time, but sometimes those old records get slipped out of their dust covers and I am playing the I am so lonesome blues once again.

Really what it comes down to is that I am tired.

I have been working twelve days in a row, seven of which have been out here on playa, and the last two have been 8 a.m. to midnight or there about.

So, yeah, feelings, I am having them.

What I am doing, however, is just letting them happen.

And I am practicing good self-care.

I expressed that I really needed a shower, and I went and took one.  I got in a small nap today too.  The hour that I was free to wander about I ended up sitting down in a camp rocking chair and closing my eyes.  I accidentally fell asleep.

My intentions were to do something, but when the bicycle and the camera were taken away and I was left with nothing but myself, myself needed to sleep.

I certainly did not think I was going to do that, especially with the camp next door blasting old Snoop Dogg.

But I fell the fuck out.

And when the mom popped out of the trailer one hour later I startled awake and apparently I woke up on the wrong side of the rocker.

I was emotional, I still am, but it is passing.

And this is Burning Man, where the crucible is harsh and the layers get scrubbed down fast and the emotions are just there.

Part of being able to have these emotions, too, is that I am safe and protected and very well taken care of.  I have food and shelter, amazing shelter, hot tea, and shade during the day time, A/C when ever I need it.

Sometimes when I have everything I need I end up yearning for things I want, it’s somehow permissible to yearn then.

But truly, if I am not happy with what I have, why would more make me happy.

I like myself and I like that I can feel.

In fact, I am very lucky.

I am not checked out.

I am present.

Oh, so present.

Which is a gift.

The nice thing about having a good cry?

It’s done.

It’s cathartic and I usually feel hollowed out and clean and ready to be filled with joy afterward.  I am allowed to be sad, I am allowed to run the full gamut of feelings.

And they are feelings, not facts.

Which doesn’t discount my need to have them.

Thankfully I don’t stifle them anymore.  I have them, they go, and then I move forward.

There will be another 24 hours of really intense work–which is not quite that hard, more just that I am tired to it, I am here to be of service and I get to be a little cog in the machine that makes Burning Man go.

That is pretty special.

Tomorrow I will throw on my crinoline in acknowledgement of the gates opening and I will smile and gift my love and my strength and my grace.

I have plenty yet to give.

And a heart freshly washed with tears to open up to the sky.

One week down.

Two to go.

Hang on, it’s going to be an emotional ride.

It always is.

Mary F’in Poppins

August 24, 2013

I have a playa name.

It’s about to be “official” if anything out here can be considered official.

I will have a laminate tomorrow, it helps me with my job, bah, who the hell am I kidding.  I don’t need the laminate to do my job, but it is fun to hang stuff off the lanyard and I can unhook my commissary passes from my belt onto the lanyard and have an easier time when I go to meals with my charge.

Mostly, it is, as my sweet mama boss said, nice to have for your scrapbook.

She didn’t say scrapbook, but you get the gist.

I have had a lammy every year for the last five and was a little sad when I was told that I did have one this year.

Not a huge deal, but I miss having it stuck around my neck.

Then today after I got back from a little art adventure while the baby was napping, voila!  The mom gave me the paperwork to go get an official laminate for the team.

So, tomorrow at some point between noon and five p.m. I will got to the ID office, have my photo taken and get official.

My new playa name will be on it.

Not my, well, uh, real name.

Carmen.

That’s always been my name out here.

I have been gifted other names, Ophelia, The Wayward Niece (my uncle gave that one to me and I cherish that actually) Mama at Media Mecca last year,  and the name one of my mom’s back in the bay area gave me as she was washing dishes at the counter in the kitchen recently, “you know what your playa name should be?  Mary Fucking Poppins!”

Holy shit.

I had mentioned it to a few people in a funny, joking, sort of let’s try this on for size and the response was always really great.

Funny.

And on point.

In fact, everyone has loved it, but I was still a little hesitant.

I mean, I like my name.

Carmen is a good name.

It means music in Latin.

And my middle name, Regina, means Queen.

Got to love that, Queen of Music?

Fuck yeah.

Plus, the moniker, Mary Fucking Poppins, it just sounds too good to be true.

LIke do I deserve to have such an awesome name?

Yup.

It was confirmed to me tonight that I do.

Or rather this afternoon.

As my monkey went down for his second nap of the day, the mom came home on a much deserved break between wrangling and cat herding, to have some down time and that meant I got to have some down time.

I decided I would go out on a ride and see what else had popped up on the playa–it is freaking happening out there, so much art coming in, so many of the theme camps, holy moly, the landscape that just a moment ago was, or so it feels, empty, is now full.

Except there was to be no riding my bike.

Sad face.

Flat tire!

Frogs.

I got rather pissed as I realized, I have every tool needed to change a flat tire on my bike, my street bike, not my playa bike with its fat cruiser white wall tires.

I came this close to throwing a fit and sitting isolated in my trailer.

I mean, I could use a manicure you know.

Then, I took a breath and thought, this means you get to walk about the playa and, oh yay!  I get to break out my heart-shaped parasol.

Sometimes a good long walk is nice.

You get to meet more people.

Which was the case this afternoon.

I went out the 9 o’clock keyhole to the playa and looked around at what was attractive to me.

There were two pieces that I wanted to take photographs of and I vacillated between the one on the right and the one on the left.

Go left, a voice whispered, so I went left, twirling my heart over my shoulder and throwing a little sass in my walk.

One has to have a swagger if they are going to walk with a heart-shaped umbrella across the playa.

I made my way across the Esplanade and toward the Man Base to go check out the Church on a stilt.

That was the best way my mind could describe it.

It’s called The Church Trap.

It is basically a small church that looks like a mouse trap, you are “lured” into the piece and it is alluring, let me tell you.  I walked right up and started taking photographs.

Next thing you know I am sitting on a church pew having a heart to heart with the builder, the Reverend Frogbeater, yes that is his name, and yes, he is ordained.

Want to get married?

Want to be absolved of your sins?

Need an ear to confess in?

He’s your man.

The Reverend told me about the project, how it was conceived, it was his friends idea, who, heaven help me, I have forgotten her name, but she was sweet as pie, and he, he was just the person who designed and built it.

It looks like an old-fashioned trap like you would see in a Tom and Jerry cartoon, or maybe an old Bugs Bunny, the box tilted up over the bait, propped up on a stick that can be pulled away after you have been lured in.

There is a chapel, pews, a pulpit, stained “glass” windows, it really looks like a small church, an older one, at that, weather-beaten, and dusty, but completely at the ready to take you in its fold.

A sly poke of the tongue at our ideas of religion and how dogma can trap you?

Or a cathartic option to find your way into a new spiritual domain?

Only you can decide that.

As we talked I took his hand and gifted him a hand rub, he melted and we bonded and he asked me my name.

I told him, Carmen.

Carmen?

No, what’s your playa name, he asked, I will never remember Carmen.

I told him what the options were.

Ophelia.

Mama.

The Wayward Niece.

And…

“Oh!  No question about it, you are Mary FUCKING Poppins!  When I see you, and I will, you’re coming back to church for services, I just know it, that’s what I will call you, I won’t forget that any time soon.” He concluded and gave me a huge hug.

I got up off the pew, gathered my water bottle, adjusted the radio on my belt, looked at my watch and realized it was time to join back up with the family, break time was over.

I picked up my parasol and opened the heart into the hight dust clotted sky and twirled the umbrella.

“Oh, for heaven’s sake,” the Reverend hollered, as I walked away, “you even have the umbrella.”

I did not fly back to camp with the aid of my umbrella.

I did, however, float gently that way with a large, happy grin on my face.

Same one I will wear when I get my picture taken tomorrow.

Maybe I will even bring my umbrella with me.

 

 

Your Blog Here

August 23, 2013

Who Am I Trying To Fool?

Me, myself, and I.

I have been trying uselessly for the last half hour to get up online again.

It is mercurial out here, shocker, Internet disconnectivity.

But I do get online at odd times.

And my good “friend” facecrack loads up pretty darn well, which doesn’t actually surprise me, what’s his face flew into Burning Man last year via a helicopter.  He could have walked past me and waved his skinny white butt at me and I would have had no clue.

I have met some famous folks out here, but the fact is, we are all just famous in our own minds.

I saw a bumper sticker today that made me laugh out loud, “I’m pretty famous at Burning Man.”

Aren’t we all?

I also overheard someone say, “that’s my new go to: fuck you, it’s magic.”

And it is.

Things pop up so quickly out here that it does feel like magic.

I went out for a late afternoon bicycle ride on my break—I am in the middle of a very long shift—and got to see some art being built up.  I was really impressed with what I saw and quite smitten with two pieces.

One, which for short hand I will just call “Iron Wolf” shocked me at how fast it was installed.

It was not on playa this morning, then boom.

Huge metal sculpture of a wolf howling at the sky.

I saw it and immediately change the route I was taking to go see it.

Man, was that worth the detour.

Beyond cool.

I got lots of photographs and actually managed to get myself in a picture.

There was a guy bicycling by and he was drawn out to it as well.

“Was this here yesterday?” He asked me, inquisitively.

“Nope,” I replied, “ I think it just got installed, pretty amazing right?

“Fuck yeah.” He said and smiled.

I asked him to take my photo in the belly of the beast—I had clambered up and nestled into the space that was open air to the sky and warm metal from the sun.

If it weren’t so high up and with scant railing, I might have taken a nap up there.

I did lie down on the warm, smooth metal and enjoyed the feeling of being lifted toward the sky like a sacrifice of self, take this person and remake me stronger, better, more selfless.

I give up myself, my old ways, my hiding under the bushel of who I am, and let it come out.  I dress up, I wave at folks riding by, and I smile, a lot.  I cry a lot, and you think I don’t already?  My emotions just spill forth like nothing else.

I am the water works out here.

Although I am not the only one.

I just feel more attuned to it out here.

I rode the entire Esplanade, getting photographs of theme camps setting up, the rigging, the fire prep—the burn platforms being set up—the scaffolding and dome building.

And the art.

Oh that art.

Another piece that totally smote me is called the Photo Chapel.

A stunning chapel by the artist that built Ego last year.

I was scampering all around it to get the right angle, the sun so here, the stained glass windows (doubtful that they are glass, it is a burn piece, but they looked astoundingly realistic) the photographs, the sepia portraits and the gothic details of the piece.  It might be my favorite piece ever on playa.

I can’t wait to see the finished work.

Speaking of artists, I may be hosting a friend here again tonight, in my little trailer, his tent got smacked down with the wind and his art piece got smashed.  He and his team have been working night and day to get it back together and he has not had a spare minute to fix his own gear back up.

He spent the night in his car.

I saw him hollow eyed at the Commissary and offered him a place to crash.

I said swing by whenever.  I am at the camp all night.

Mom and dad are celebrating their ten-year anniversary tonight.

When I found out I insisted that they go out and have a night.

They were so sweet.

They met ten years ago today on a Rangers shift.  I got to here the story tonight at dinner and it was adorable.  Plus dad whipped out a tablecloth for the table we sat at, brought a long a bottle of champagne, and we had celebratory dinner with friends.

I really like this town, this city I live in.

Mom likened it to a small town feel with an urban appeal.

It is just that, it is small town without the small town mentality.

There is an unusual openness and tolerance of all kinds of folks.

All shapes, sizes, colors, ages, religions, and backgrounds.

I adore it.

But you already know that.

Sigh.

Pardon me.

I am tired.

It is just after midnight and I did not take a nap today.  Just sort of happened that way.  I had intended to do so, but had a sudden impulse to get out there and utilize the light that was smothering the playa with golden goodness.

And I was well rewarded.

I don’t like to boast of my work, I am not a professional (yet) but I love to take the photographs and it fills me up with a kind of joy that I is inexplicable and deep rooted in me.

Today I was fed and satiated with the images.

I got more shots that pleased me then I have in the previous days.

I popped them up on my other blog—www.whereintheworldisauntiebubba—then put a bunch up in my facecrack album, Burning Man, 2013.

I got some lovely response.

Including, wait for it…

An offer to be paid for some of the photographs!

I was so flattered I just about fell out.

REALLY?

Yay!

I have to go over to Media Mecca tomorrow and talk with the managers there and see if I can get my camera tagged.  I never thought I would be doing that.

I’m not sure if I’ll get approval for the department, but I almost don’t care (it’s not a huge sum of money) just to be asked was such an honor I am blown away that someone wants to pay me money to put my photographs on their website.

That and the smell of wood smoke drifting currently through my door as I wait for the anniversary couple to return from their playa date, made my day.

That and the photographs themselves.

My little piece of art out into the world.

So thrilling to be asked.

Makes me want to run right back out and take a bunch more tomorrow.

 

The Rainbow Connection

August 22, 2013

I should just start calling these the day after blogs.

The weather was big time again yesterday.

Dust storm white out.

Lighting.

Thunder.

Three different systems that moved in and out and flew across the playa, kicking up high winds, hail, rain, and yes, of course, dust.

The squalls blew in quickly, winds up to 42 miles an hour and then blew back out.

I was fortunate to have gotten in a quick shower before the last of the storms blew in.

Just as I was leaving the shower area another started.

I tell you, it’s nice to work for people who have a direct line on what the weather is going to be like.  It is unpredictable, but there are, oops!

Interject, someone’s shade structure just blew over and smacked into the trailer.

Damn, Gina, stake that shit down.

This wind is not fucking around.

Thursday is supposedly the last of the “bad” weather.

Although, again, it can turn on a dime and I have seen it do just that.

I was able to duck out from the trailer in between the storm systems and grab a few shots of the double rainbow that appeared right at sunset as the setting red-gold orb sank below the mountains, a few God rays peeped through and sprayed a beautiful rainbow across the desert.

The hooting was heard all across the playa.

Rainbow

Rainbow

The photograph does no justice to the beauty of the sky, but it was the best one I was able to cull from the bunch I took.

I have been taking on average about 75-100 photos a day.

I have been editing them down and I get about 10-15 that I like and of all the photographs I have taken, I have gotten about five really good shots.

That is not bad.

I used to think those were horrid odds.

However, I feel grateful to get any.

And grateful that my camera still works.

One trip to Paris five years ago for ten days sparked buying the camera and it was the best purchase.  Thank God, too, for digital photography.  I don’t think I could afford the film I would be going through if I didn’t have the camera I have now.

I have not had much of a chance to get out and about during the day, morning or afternoons, I have been with the baby.

He’s doing fairly well, but there are times when the melt down happens, and he’s cutting molars.

Ah.

Teething.

NO fun at all.

Again, grateful that the parents work for the Borg (Burning Man Organization).

They have a trailer with air conditioning and a fridge with a freezer that actually works.

I have been cutting up fruit for the peanut every day and sticking it in the freezer for him to gnaw on when the molars get bad, he’s had his little paws in his mouth a lot the last few days.

Working on keeping those clean too.

Lots of baby spa time.

Lots.

He’s the envy of the playa, is what I think.

A buxom woman taking care of his every need, hauling him around in a snugly or in the covered wagon, standing in front the swamp cooler at the commissary (it is the largest one I have ever seen, the fan is easily five foot by six-foot), drinking cold bubbly water from fancy sippy cups, eating frozen fruit, getting foot rubs with vitamin e oil, and lots and lots and lots of cooling cream on the bum.

Not a bad way to spend your Burning Man.

Plus, everyone wants to say hi to him and pinch his little cheeks and coo at him.

The family has taken to eating on the less populated side of the commissary, away from the entrance and the main aisle that leads to the food line, as the constant attention–male and female–is distracting to the bunny at meal times.

We go “en famille” every day, breakfast, lunch, and dinner.

It is nice to feel part of a unit and I really like the parents more and more and more.

Not only for the unstinting way they take care of their child, but also in the way that have accommodated me into their family.

I do feel like I am family.

That is how I like to roll.

Plus, I get to see more of my extended family every day.

Mostly in the commissary, where the meals are sit down and every one chatters about their day and what they are doing, where they are camped, what art project they are working on, what jackassery is in the making, and who is batting eyes at whom.

Speaking of art, I got the Where/What/When map today and I am excited for a day to go out and start seeing more of it.

Not Thursday, though.

It is mom and dad’s ten-year anniversary!

They met ten years ago on a Ranger shift.

So romantic.

I think there may be a moon lit golf cart ride out to deep playa with a bottle of champagne.

I am going to be staying back at the camp to keep an eye on the baby.

I will make a cup of tea and write down what I did during the day and fingers crossed, there won’t be anymore storm systems.

The weather clears after Thursday.

It should be hot and clear for the event.

I am sure there will even be a moment when I miss the rain.

The sound of it on the roof of the trailer and the feel of it on my face, the cool ozone smell that drifts across the playa is delicious.

Tonigh the storm brought the first chilly evening I have experienced out here.

And the smells of the first burn barrels being lit up.

Wood smoke.

My favorite smell.

So good.

So happy to be here.

Home is where the heart is.

And mine, albeit normally on my sleeve, is right here.

Right now.

 


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