September 1st, 2005


Burning Man 2005 Monday Evening

Monday Night

Oh my God, I'm on line! I can't believe this. We're in the middle of nowhere in the midst of a blinding dust storm on a dark moonless night. It is truly the modern version of the old Wild West. How did they do this? Oh damn, I spoke too soon -- we're down. That was sure exciting though for a minute there.

We're here everybody! We're here. We got in a couple of hours ago. Beau is off riding his bike somewhere out on the playa. He's safe. I'm not worried, and won't start getting Mama-anxious until he's been gone a good while longer. As long as he checks in regularly I trust him and everyone else here pretty-completely.

People are very protective of our kids here and if some odd person messed with him in some way, which would be pretty hard to imagine in this very loving climate, all he'd have to do is call out and he'd have volunteers lined up to help. There's a very powerful community/family-spirit/vibe here and people try to look out for each other. When you see anyone from Burning Man, either on the way to or from Gerlach, they're happy to see you and will give you hugs. It's lovely and heart warming.

Of course now that's it's gotten so damned big, it's not like it was in the old days -- I can't believe we've been around for long enough to have old days -- but people are basically good here. I worry more about accidents at night than anything else, so of course he's well lit. He's got lights on his bike, a powerful headlamp, a flashlight, and assorted blinking things. I gave him a Claritin for the dust, and he's using Ocean salt nasal spray to ward of the bloody noses he's prone to. Keep your fingers crossed for us.

I think he may have gone to some kind of enormous interactive art installation called The Mousetrap. From what I can make of this it's a large scale recreation of the game Mousetrap, and they're having some kind of event there for a couple hours tonight. But he's certain to visit the man, that'll be his first trip, he always loves to do that, "Mom, I've gotta see the man, see the man, see the man...," and if he has the energy he'll ride all the way out to the temple and then swing back through center camp to see the decorations, the art, the people, and whatever performance art is going on there. I have to find our bike locks so we won't suffer any more "disappeared" bikes this year.

I wish I could go with him, but my back did it's valiant best to get my here -- I'm grateful to it for having put up with the sudden intense demands I've placed upon it -- and that's all it can withstand. I'm done for the night. It's spasming and so twisted up that stretching, resting, and my wonderful, microwaveable seed pad that Scotty bought for me, wouldn't do the trick, so I resorted to taking a Valium. I have something stronger, Flexeril, but it knocks me off my feet and leaves me in a stupor the whole next day so I reserve these for extreme muscular emergencies which don't happen more than two or at most three times a year. I've got them with me just in case.

I'm in my bedroom at the back of the RV with the radio I bought especially for Burning Man, tuned to a great, and very local, radio station. It's this alternative country/folk station and I love it, apparently they're streaming, are available on I-Tunes, and there's a podcast as well, but someone else is pumping out some generic trance beats (I actually love trance, it's really cool, and always reminds me of Burning Man, but I found this station and fell in love instantly), and they're crowding my newly discovered station out. I have to get their call letters and address for Scott so he can send them a CD. He has a few songs that I know they'd love. There's another radio station in Nevada City that is really popular with all of the people there and I have to tell him about that one as well. (Scotty, it's, in Nevada City California, call them and send a CD. You'd like them, and there are a lot of people who've moved out here who might hear your music, like it, and be able to help, you never know.) Oh I wish you could hear this station I'm listening to right now, very Songcatcher bluegrass old timey. I love this! Oh cool, they just gave out the name; Boot Licker Radio, it's, I think. Oh man, this just makes me miss Scott.

I haven't been anywhere other than to visit just a couple of my nearest and dearest long term neighbors and friends here. My favorite people here in our camp are Julia, Jay, and Mark. I've written about them before, but just to recap; Julia and Jay are a deeply loving, and lovable, lesbian couple who are co-parenting Julia's children with Mark. It's very cool how they've handled all of this. Julia didn't come out to herself or anyone else until she was vastly pregnant with her fourth child, darling Anakin, who is old enough now to have blown me away tonight by humming the theme song to Star Wars while playing quite seriously with a light saber. His brother and sisters named him because they were/are big-time Star Wars fans, and now he's just following along in their shoes. Julia and Jay fell in love when she was pregnant and everything kind of fell into place or well, fell apart and then came back together, from there. They are everything you would want in a friend -- wonderful in every way, salt of the Earth in a cool liberal way -- and I adore them. Plus, they are both super attractive -- so in love -- and it's just the dearest thing. I am so happy for them.

I also took some champagne and chocolate to the mayor and will ply him with beer tomorrow. I passed out some light up toys to our neighbors on either side of us. But the best thing I've done so far was to hang out with my dear, dear friends Julia and Jay. Getting to see people you've shared all of this with before is one of the best parts of coming here.

One of the best things about being in Kidsville is, of course, the kids. I love them all so much. It feels so good to just be here and be a Mom on call. When someone falls over and scrapes a knee you can scoop them up and run them over to whoever is parenting them. I love to help, and Lord knows I love kids. They are sooooo sweet and so grateful for anything you give them here. Love, love, love, love, love them! Wait till you see how cute they are with their colored hair and painted faces. I can't wait to pass out all of these fairy wings we bought for them for just ONE DOLLAR a piece, Lord love the Dollar Tree.

Sometimes I wonder if my writing seems odd to people -- the juxtaposition of my sort of normal, dull, agoraphobic, stay-at-home life, mixed in with my compassionate, vegetarian, liberal, all-inclusive world view and politics, and then there's my love of swearing, the belief in freedom of expression, while at the same time wanting to be polite and never offend anyone, sigh, oh me -- the mundane and the profane, and the way I throw the words God and Lord around. I was raised Catholic, even though I think I'm more of a Hindu/Buddhist/something-or-other now. Catholicism was my foundation and while I disagree with some of it, and am feminist, (while still wanting to embrace and protect the rights of men, who -- and this may freak you out -- I feel are becoming emotionally confused, marginalized and made small in some ways), it feels comfortable to me to use these words. I don't want to replace the word God with Goddess. God doesn't have a sex to me, God is just, well, God to me, and it would be silly to say, "Oh Lordyess, or Lordess," although I've started to write WoMan now whenever I feel the need to write, "oh Man," just to be fair to my own sex, but it still feels odd to me.

I've finally given up on this poor radio signal and changed the channel. Damnit, I really loved that, I must remember to go find these people and give them beer and kisses. I don't know what this is yet, but it's good. I bought a new CD/tape-player/radio so I could record some of this. I thought I'd be able to do this last year but my little boom box didn't have the ability to record radio. The music, the DJs, the patter, the stations, are all so good here that I wish I could take them home with me. So this will be my way of keeping a bit of this with me when we leave. I wonder how many little radio stations are broadcasting to us our here. There must be a guide somewhere... Oh if only I could share all of this with you. Ana-honey, and Scotty, you would go mad for this, it's musical anarchy in the best sense. Freedom from corporate politics, music being shared for the love of music. Oh what heaven.

Oh and last but not least I was pleased as Hawaiian punch when we arrived and our mayor handed us not one, but TWO pieces of mail! I've never received mail here before. I wanted to try it but who knew this was possible; mail, on the playa, in the middle of nowhere. Thank you so much Susan and Wanda, they're beautiful and I will treasure them!!!! For anyone else reading these posts, please fell free to comment if you like, and I'll do my best to read them when I can get online longer than the time it takes to try to send these posts out to you. I may not be able to respond, but I'll do my best to catch up when I get home.

Big dusty ever-loving hugs from your friend,

Burning Man 2005 Tuesday Morning


Well, we survived our first dust storm, and made it through our first quarter day and are now beginning our first full day here. I went to bed exhausted and depleted and woke up feeling sore and underwhelmed. It's always like this, and again I have to remind myself to take it easy, go slow, Rome wasn't built in a day, or as in our case, Kidsville.Collapse )

Burning Man 2005 Tuesday Afternoon

Tuesday Afternoon

There are five wireless networks functioning out here, but with a city of this size, the dust and all of the other interference, they aren't working too well, darn it. I just wanted to check in. I'll keep writing as promised because, well, because I love you damnit. Besides what else am I gonna do when I have to rest my weary sun baked body? I can't really rest though because every five or ten minutes there's a timid little knock, (or a really loud banging), on the door and one of our MANY kids is standing there asking me if they can have a ball. I tried to give them out to everyone, but with this many kids, you can't help but miss a few, and of course there are color swaps to be made, and popped balls to replace : ) Oh God I love the kids here.Collapse )

Burning Man 2005 Tuesday Evening

Tuesday Evening

Gotta get the papers
Gotta get that cash
Gotta get that stash
Gotta get that hash

Weather-wise today was perfect. Not a single dust storm, woohoo!!!

We've been hosting all of the Playstation playing kids here in the RV.

I'm listening to Disco Franny freestyle hour, with Annie Franny, and San Fran Disco. She's playing Bob Marley's Kinky Reggae.

There's a nice family camping behind us. I met them last year when their little baby was really little. I gave him a sippy cup and a little giraffe smushy toy thing I got from my neighbor back at home, Caryn. Their little boy Paris has been spending a lot of time with us. He is such a little doll and acts much older than eight. He has juvenile diabetes and has to have his blood checked constantly -- gets five or six shots of insulin every day -- so sad : (

Earlier today there were three little girls who came up to me and asked for directions to someone who was doing Mendi tattoos. I was trying to tell them where to go when I looked down and realized they were holding kittens. Kittens, on the playa! We have trouble keeping ourselves alive, animals don't know how to fend for themselves out here, they don't know how much water they have to drink and they can't take the playa dust, that's why it's verboten, big time verboten to bring them in. As you can imagine I freaked out, inwardly, and firmly guided these girls back to their RV. It was a little hard to communicate with them because they're from Finland and have heavy accents but I managed to get them to take the cats and me back to their parents who were very cool but a little too casual about the kittens for my taste.Collapse )

Burning Man 2005 Wednesday

Here's an entry you may have missed if I haven't added you to my friend's list yet, (I'm really bad at this and it may take some tugging of my sleeve to get my attention -- damned ADD brain -- but if you have a real journal, or let me know who you are, if I can trust you, I'll happily add you back), I posted it with the rest of them but I locked it by mistake.

Oh today was a long one, a really full day in every respect. So much happened. I want to go back out and play but just to ensure I stay well I've put myself to bed. Beau of course is out playing on the trampoline wearing his big bunny costume. He can't play on it during the day because there are too many little kids bouncing on it and it wouldn't be safe for them to have a big kid on there at the same time.

I'm so excited that the Internet it up and working again. I keep checking to see if I can get some posts out but it's always been down. I just opened my laptop to write an entry anyway and saw that I had a strong signal so I quickly uploaded the posts I've written so far. I have lots of pictures but it's slow and I doubt I can get those out. I'll try when I'm done with this entry, but I can't promise. At the least I'll make a photo album when I get to Phil's and you can help yourself to my pictures then.

Oh God I have to stretch my legs. There, that's better. My back is getting better but still delicate. Despite using sunscreen I wound up with a sunburn. Oh well. It's not that painful, just stinging and hot, mostly on my back and shoulders. I spend a lot of time running around in the sun here so it was to be expected.

I finally managed to attach the basket to the back of my bike and wire all of the happy smiling felt flower people to it so it looks like a fuzzy green grassy flower garden thing. This morning I made nicer tassels for it out of lots and lots of yarn. Beau took some of our flashing wand necklaces and attached them to the spokes of his bike so it looks really cool when the wheels spin, but this is nothing compared to some of the things people are doing here. I saw the most amazing dragon fly bicycles today. I don't know how they were able to ride them and keep them balanced with all of the weight. They had tails and huge wings, just beautiful. And the EL wire artwork on the bikes here is outstanding. There's no keeping up with it. You just have to do the best you can to contribute some beauty and forget about, "keeping up with the Jones's." You know, I've been using that expression for so many years and I don't even know who the Jones's are or were.

Kether, a fellow Mom here in Kidsville, who does a lot of work, organizes some terrific workshops and things, and has a sweet little girl, rode out on E-Dave's art car with us this afternoon. She seemed pretty overwhelmed and tired. She told me she had a piece of mail for me but never gave it to me. I'll have to try to find her and pick it up. If you've sent me something, it's kind of a haphazard chancy thing. So far I've received three cards and I am so grateful for them. I've never received mail here before and everyone is so impressed, which is fun for me. Kether made a little comment about how I write so much that I must not have a full time job. This is my full time job ; )

It turns out that Kether was so wiped out because she'd worked a greeter shift and she's taking care of another Mom's little girl because she, (the Mother), was run over by an art car trailer in one of those accidents we hear a lot about out here. The kind where you fall off the front car and get run over by the truck or trailer in the rear. This happened Sunday night and she was in very bad shape and had to be Medivac'd out to Reno. It ran over her face, shoulder, and ribs. She has a lacerated liver! But we heard she had been released from the hospital today. She's a single Mom like me and was here by herself. No one knows if she's going to be able to come get her daughter. Kether also mentioned that she was riding with one of our rangers when they were stopped by a naked man on a bike. Turns out the jerk was some kind of undercover agent for the Nevada DEA or whatever they're called. When once they were so cool about everything out here, these guys are serious about busting us now. They go undercover and try to get into camps and RVs score some weed or something and then bust you. Wow, times sure have changed. I guess the days of innocent naive stoners walking up to cop cars asking for a light are long gone.

Some of the people from the Nevada Home School and the Bureau of Land Management came by in period costume. They were dressed as pioneers and were looking to attract a few kids for their program tomorrow at ten. They have some artifacts from the pioneer days of the playa and want to do a presentation for the kids. I took them around to chat with all of the parents I could find, but there is no way that Beau and I will be up by ten, nooooo way!

There were more skywriters today and paragliders which are always fun to watch. Santa came by to give all of the kids wrapped presents, which was so nice. Then later Santa and his entire camp full of Santa people came by in a great big parade of insanity, with angry screwed up clowns harassing the Santas. The Santas would say things to the clowns like, "Who invited the Fucked up clowns?" It was all so funny. Then after the Santa parade was over, there was a black light puppet show, a movie screening, and the fire spinners came.

I met someone very important to me tonight and it was good. I'm so relieved and still a bit shocky. I've mentioned before that I can't write about it because I need to protect her privacy. It's complicated. Anyway, I've been waiting and waiting to see her and didn't know she'd stopped by yesterday and left a note in the mailbox. On a ride out past the man and the temple, (which sadly is nothing compared to last year's temple, or the year before, or the year before, for that matter, it's beautiful, but very, very small and just nowhere near then magnificent structures of years past, I don't know what the deal is), Kether mentioned that she had some mail for me but it never occurred to me that it might be from the person I was trying to connect with. I thought it was more real mail.

Tonight, after a long day of helping kids and their parents, and having a nice potluck dinner with our neighbors, I had gone over to watch the fire spinners who come every year to camp to put on a demonstration for the kids. There were so many different spinners and my knees were hurting so I sat down on the playa and was watching. Then several of my little girlfriends came and sat with me. I was having so much fun talking to the kids and watching the fire spinners that I just barely heard someone calling my name. She said, "Jacqui, Jacqui, is that you? (It was dark) I have so and so here for you. She's been looking for you." I was floored, just completely shocked, because after several days of waiting for her I just wasn't expecting her to show up right then. We hugged, and she hugged me so tightly and hung on tighter and longer to me than I did. I suppose I was feeling shy and I had been prepared so as not to overwhelm her. Her boyfriend was more emotional than we were. He started crying, then I started crying, and I don't know if she cried. Then we went to my RV. I gave her the three magazines we were in and some giftys. Then Beau came by and they hugged but he wanted to go off on his bike with friends so he left. My friend and her boyfriend were hungry so I made them veggie burgers and we sat around talking while people kept stopping by to say hello or ask for directions or help.

I'll write more about this privately after I've had a chance to think about it for a bit. I'm kind of overwhelmed and wrung out right now. It's so odd but I feel kind of numb. I expected it to be different. I thought I'd be much more emotional but it was okay. It was weird; sweet, exciting, confusing, and okay. She is so pretty, smart, self possessed and interesting, and her boyfriend is just a big ball of love. I just wanted to take care of them -- give them water and sweaters and keep them safe. I'll be seeing more of them soon, I hope.

There is the weirdest radio program on right now, well, how can you call anything out here weird, but this is definitely different. It seems to be all of the radio transmissions having to do with a terrific train derailment long, long, ago. There's a train with thirty cars on it in addition to it's engines, the brakes have failed, and the train keeps picking up speed. It sure sounds real. There are people on one end of the radio trying to help the poor engineer -- telling him to bail out into a snow bank. So compelling.

After my friend left I hung around in my camp and played host to friends who would come by, have a drink, and sit and chat for a while. It was nice. I was sitting with my friend Baba and my new neighbor Vag who had come to tell me she had found her son who I had offered to help her go look for, when the little girls from next door came running over to tell me that there was a drunk man in their RV. A drunk stranger in their RV when their parents have gone out for a couple hours? I ran next door and by then the guy had figured out that maybe he shouldn't just be hanging out in a strange RV with a bunch of scared little kids.

He was young and attractive, blonde and so cute, and he had a sweet vibe, but he was seriously Fucked up in the weirdest way. He smelled of booze, but he was mostly just really tired. He had had way too much to drink, wound up in some strange camp, passed out, and woke up to find a couple of guys trying to pull his pants down. He had passed out in a very gay camp. The boys invited him to, "Come and sit by the fire," and brought him something to drink that he knew had been spiked as soon as he had a good gulp. It was clear that he was on something much stronger than booze. And he was so sincere, had the cutest Irish accent, was so polite, and told the same story over and over so I believed him. I wanted to get him some help and report what had happened to the rangers, because hell, if you can't be irresponsible and pass out here without worrying about being molested, then we are all screwed, literally. But I wasn't feeling strong enough to trek out to the med tent and the rangers so Baba and Vag kindly did it for me. I got his e-mail. I hope he's okay. There was no way he was going to make it back to his camp in that state. I mean he was in Kidsville pulling a Robert Downey Jr. even with the water, protein bar, and lights I gave him, he needed some real help.

Then all of the kids from next door and some neighboring camps came and hung out with me and we talked about what happened while waiting for their parents to come home. Their parents were not happy about this. Their Dad was so angry.

One of my favorite, favorite men here, Rashid, who I bonded with last year, and who is soooo helpful, kind, generous, and handsome, in the coolest Asian kind of way, came and hung out with me, which was really nice. He has his two super cute kids with him. His ex-wife is here as well, but she isn't camping with them.

Oh my God, I was reading my comments and found one about New Orleans. When we left the world to come here the hurricane had slowed down substantially and it looked as if everything was going to be okay. I had no idea it had hit this bad and that thousands of people may have drowned. I'm crying. I'm so sorry. How can I be here, lost in this world, with no one saying anything about it, while this is going on? We have a complete news blackout here, or well, I do. I haven't picked up our daily newspaper that I love. I just haven't had the energy.

Crap, there goes another helicopter. I hate hearing them because I know they mean someone's been injured : (

Oh dear, Beau's back and he brought a teenage girl with him who I've never met or even seen in Kidsville. She says she is too tired to go home to her camp. It isn't in Kidsville. Oh God, if it were me and my child just holed up in someone else's motor home all night, I'd be a wreck. There's no way I have the energy to walk her home, and she won't go, says her parents won't care and probably won't even be coming back to their camp tonight, and Beau wants to sleep with her. Oh my God, it just never ends...

Big hugs,

PS: Sorry I haven't been able to reply to your comments, keep 'em coming though, they mean so much to me. I feel a wee bit lonely and cut off out here, yep, even in the midst of all of these people. There's a guy way, way out there on the playa, past the man, past the temple, who was lonely here last year and came up with the idea of making himself an art project that required community interaction for his survival, so he's put himself in a Plex box of some kind, (I haven't seen it yet, but Beau has), and will be living there for the duration of the festival. There is a little cut out in his box where people can hand food, water, and gifts through, and speak with him. I think his name is Dickie and he's got to be the most popular guy out here this year, although it sure doesn't look like he'll be getting laid this year, which seems to be the main preocupation of most of the men and some of the women, if you go by what you hear on the radio.