Mare Ingenii (sonicbunny) wrote in burning_man,
Mare Ingenii
sonicbunny
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second try - bmorg an adventure with beauracracy

A good friend of mine wrote this last year. I changed all the names to protect the guilty and figured this might help someof you out if you're trying to register something with DPW.

***

I wrote this after Burning Man last year. It
is an accurate description of what I had to go through to 'register' my fire
cannon with the BMORG (with a few obvious embellishments). Given the recent
discussion about the DMV, and other BMORG departments, I thought I'd
repost it. It's long, but I think it's funny, in that weird way that talking
about really stupid fuckups that you've been through can be funny. It might
also be educational if you're thinking about taking them on, because the people
I had to deal with are probably pretty typical within the BMORG.

*******************************

The first thing you want to ask yourself is, "Do I really want to do
this?" After all, as Mae West once said, "I'd rather apologize than beg". The
chances of getting busted for an unregistered flamethrower in BRC are
probably only slightly higher than getting arrested for being drunk in
public during the burn. In my case, there was a rumor of possible propane
availablilty that made the job of dealing with a large bureaucracy on
the playa just slightly appealing. So I gave it a go. If you ever feel
the need to go orthodox, and give the BMORGers everything they want, there might
be some good pointers in here, as well as some things to avoid.

This guide should also be of value to anyone dealing with the BMORG for
any reason.

HOT TO REGISTER A FIRE CANNON WITH THE BMORG

Step 1:

All contact with the BMORG on the playa begins at the Information
Booth. The Information Booth is grossly misnamed, since the only piece of
information it has is the name of the other place you have to go to to get the piece
of information you need. Very few people understand this. They will try
to engage the workers at the Information Booth in long extended
conversations hoping that the workers will inadvertently let slip the piece of
information they are so desparately trying to discover, whether it be the exact
location of a theme camp on the playa that decided two months ago that they
weren't going to make it this year after all or a good vantage point for
watching Critical Tits. This behavior will make for very long lines. Be ready
for it. Take a piss right before you get there.

Listen patiently as the girl in front of you in line explains to the
Information Booth worker for the seventeenth time how her friend was
supposed to be here by now and since she didn't bring her own food, water, and
sunscreen is probably going to die a horrible lonely death on the
Esplanade unless the information worker can supply her exact location, preferably
in GPS coordinates. Continue to listen patiently as the information
worker repeats for the seventeenth time that she will have to take her request
to . Watch him as he says it and
realize that his brain syrum serotonin level has dropped to a medically
impossible minus point one five micrograms per cubic litre of brain
tissue.
Understand that he is a volunteer working here on a single four hour
shift who has had exactly one hours sleep in the past two day and has also
had exactly five minutes of orientation from another similarly
serotonin-depleted volunteer, during which he was taught to parse all questions down to a
selection of maybe 50 keywords, match each keyword to a , and tell the person that they will have to go to
aforementioned . He has no other function, indeed, is
capable of no other function, than to give you a
where your question can actually be answered. Accept it. Be ready with your
keywords. Think Google, but far less intelligent. In my case, the
words were 'register', 'fire', and 'cannon'. Remember, he's parsing. The
order, context, indeed any other words in your sentence are irrelevant.
Eliminate them. Just say your keywords in a clear, firm voice. You will
instantly receive your . In my case, it was The
Artery.

Step 2:

At this point, you don't realize that The Artery of BM 2003 will in the
future be mentioned in sentences that also contain the terms Gulag
Archipelago, Devil's Island, Bataan Deathmarch, Spanish Inquisition,
Black Hole of Calcutta, and Internal Revenue Service. That's OK, you're
ready for anything.

Enter the Artery. Stand behind a guy sitting at the table talking to
the Artery worker. Listen to him put the make on her for fifteen minutes.
She's not going for it, so wait for him to give up and leave. Spend your
time looking at the four other Artery workers standing around doing nothing
but compare notes on last nights adventures. Eavesdrop on some juicy
gossip from Crimson Rose about the goings-on at First Camp that you can trade for a
free drink at any of BRC's thousand bars. Thrill as you finally sit down at
the table and are talking to one of the most spectacular 19-year old bodies
on the playa dressed in a suede micro-bikini. Feel your heart and your
erection fall as she opens her mouth and you realize that she started out with a
sub-par IQ before she started doing the drugs. Realize that last night
she just had the first multiple orgasms of her life under the influence of
Ecstacy, GBH, and Pablo of Italians Make Better Lovers Camp's enormous
penis (my god, they DO come that big) and her main activities right now are a
small sigh every time she remembers some new position Pablo introduced her to
last night and worrying about whether the slight bleeding is normal under
these particular circumstances. Deal with it.

Observe her habits. Once again, you are dealing with a volunteer who
has had about five minutes of orientation, and then been pushed out into a tent
with a table and a dozen petitioners wanting something. Watch carefully.
Her modus operandi is to ask each questioner, "What is the name of your
registered art project?". Shit. She wants a registered art project,
and you're trying to register an art project. Note that each time she is
given the name of a 'registered art project', she proceedes to look up the
name in a loose-leaf binder. When she finds the page with the art project's
name at the top, there's always a name associated with it. She then says, "You
need to talk to
[Error: Irreparable invalid markup ('<name [...] project's>') in entry. Owner must fix manually. Raw contents below.]

A good friend of mine wrote this last year. I changed all the names to protect the guilty and figured this might help someof you out if you're trying to register something with DPW.
<lj-cut>
***

I wrote this after Burning Man last year. It
is an accurate description of what I had to go through to 'register' my fire
cannon with the BMORG (with a few obvious embellishments). Given the recent
discussion about the DMV, and other BMORG departments, I thought I'd
repost it. It's long, but I think it's funny, in that weird way that talking
about really stupid fuckups that you've been through can be funny. It might
also be educational if you're thinking about taking them on, because the people
I had to deal with are probably pretty typical within the BMORG.

*******************************

The first thing you want to ask yourself is, "Do I really want to do
this?" After all, as Mae West once said, "I'd rather apologize than beg". The
chances of getting busted for an unregistered flamethrower in BRC are
probably only slightly higher than getting arrested for being drunk in
public during the burn. In my case, there was a rumor of possible propane
availablilty that made the job of dealing with a large bureaucracy on
the playa just slightly appealing. So I gave it a go. If you ever feel
the need to go orthodox, and give the BMORGers everything they want, there might
be some good pointers in here, as well as some things to avoid.

This guide should also be of value to anyone dealing with the BMORG for
any reason.

HOT TO REGISTER A FIRE CANNON WITH THE BMORG

Step 1:

All contact with the BMORG on the playa begins at the Information
Booth. The Information Booth is grossly misnamed, since the only piece of
information it has is the name of the other place you have to go to to get the piece
of information you need. Very few people understand this. They will try
to engage the workers at the Information Booth in long extended
conversations hoping that the workers will inadvertently let slip the piece of
information they are so desparately trying to discover, whether it be the exact
location of a theme camp on the playa that decided two months ago that they
weren't going to make it this year after all or a good vantage point for
watching Critical Tits. This behavior will make for very long lines. Be ready
for it. Take a piss right before you get there.

Listen patiently as the girl in front of you in line explains to the
Information Booth worker for the seventeenth time how her friend was
supposed to be here by now and since she didn't bring her own food, water, and
sunscreen is probably going to die a horrible lonely death on the
Esplanade unless the information worker can supply her exact location, preferably
in GPS coordinates. Continue to listen patiently as the information
worker repeats for the seventeenth time that she will have to take her request
to <insert BMORG bureaucratic location here>. Watch him as he says it and
realize that his brain syrum serotonin level has dropped to a medically
impossible minus point one five micrograms per cubic litre of brain
tissue.
Understand that he is a volunteer working here on a single four hour
shift who has had exactly one hours sleep in the past two day and has also
had exactly five minutes of orientation from another similarly
serotonin-depleted volunteer, during which he was taught to parse all questions down to a
selection of maybe 50 keywords, match each keyword to a <BMORG
bureaucratic location>, and tell the person that they will have to go to
aforementioned <BMORG bureaucratic location>. He has no other function, indeed, is
capable of no other function, than to give you a <BMORG bureaucratic location>
where your question can actually be answered. Accept it. Be ready with your
keywords. Think Google, but far less intelligent. In my case, the
words were 'register', 'fire', and 'cannon'. Remember, he's parsing. The
order, context, indeed any other words in your sentence are irrelevant.
Eliminate them. Just say your keywords in a clear, firm voice. You will
instantly receive your <BMORG bureaucratic location>. In my case, it was The
Artery.

Step 2:

At this point, you don't realize that The Artery of BM 2003 will in the
future be mentioned in sentences that also contain the terms Gulag
Archipelago, Devil's Island, Bataan Deathmarch, Spanish Inquisition,
Black Hole of Calcutta, and Internal Revenue Service. That's OK, you're
ready for anything.

Enter the Artery. Stand behind a guy sitting at the table talking to
the Artery worker. Listen to him put the make on her for fifteen minutes.
She's not going for it, so wait for him to give up and leave. Spend your
time looking at the four other Artery workers standing around doing nothing
but compare notes on last nights adventures. Eavesdrop on some juicy
gossip from Crimson Rose about the goings-on at First Camp that you can trade for a
free drink at any of BRC's thousand bars. Thrill as you finally sit down at
the table and are talking to one of the most spectacular 19-year old bodies
on the playa dressed in a suede micro-bikini. Feel your heart and your
erection fall as she opens her mouth and you realize that she started out with a
sub-par IQ before she started doing the drugs. Realize that last night
she just had the first multiple orgasms of her life under the influence of
Ecstacy, GBH, and Pablo of Italians Make Better Lovers Camp's enormous
penis (my god, they DO come that big) and her main activities right now are a
small sigh every time she remembers some new position Pablo introduced her to
last night and worrying about whether the slight bleeding is normal under
these particular circumstances. Deal with it.

Observe her habits. Once again, you are dealing with a volunteer who
has had about five minutes of orientation, and then been pushed out into a tent
with a table and a dozen petitioners wanting something. Watch carefully.
Her modus operandi is to ask each questioner, "What is the name of your
registered art project?". Shit. She wants a registered art project,
and you're trying to register an art project. Note that each time she is
given the name of a 'registered art project', she proceedes to look up the
name in a loose-leaf binder. When she finds the page with the art project's
name at the top, there's always a name associated with it. She then says, "You
need to talk to <name at top of art project's registration page>. This (and
dreaming of seeing Pablo again tonight so they can try it on mushroons)
is pretty much all she's capable of right now. Accept it. Your advantage
is that you can give her ANY art project's name, and she won't know the
difference.

Make up a name. Any name, it doesn't matter. The Flaming Tower of
Power. Girls for Davis. Burners for Bush. Doesn't matter, she'll try to look
it up.
Marvel at the way she always starts with the Ts, assuming that
everything is alphabetized including the beginning "The". Look over
her shoulder. Watch the names as they fly by. Try to pick one that has
something to do with fire, and then say, "Oh there it is. The Tower of Flaming
Drag Queens. I forgot that that's what it's really called." She will
answer, "Oh, you need to talk to <name at top of art project's registration
page>."
Congratulations, you've just gotten all that this particular volunteer
knows.

However, you now have two new problems. The first of which is the
20-80 rule, which states that in any bureaucracy, 20% of the people get 80%
of the work accomplished. Since everyone knows this, people tend to ignore the 80%
and go directly to the 20%, since they're the only ones who ever get
anything done. This results in the 20% getting swamped with requests, and the
80%, who don't really have anything else to do anyway, end up trying to
limit the access to the 20% so they don't get swamped with requests and can
actually get some work done. The practical result of this is that 80% of the
BMORG is now dedicated to actively preventing you from accessing <name at top of
art project's registration page>.

The second problem is that beautifulnineteenyearoldinolvedwithpablo has
been preprogrammed to send <name at top of art project's registration page>
directly to <location of art project on the playa> as specified in <art
project's page in loose leaf binder> to meet you. This is a problem,
since it means that <name at top of art project's registration page> is gonna
show up at the Tower of Flaming Drag Queens asking about you and your fire
cannon, which ain't gonna do you a damn bit of good what with the actual fire
cannon still parked in front of your tent in my camp, and besides you have no
clue as to where Tower of Flaming Drag Queens is on the playa anyway. Tell
beautifulnineteenyearoldinolvedwithpablo this. Explain that you need
<name at top of art project's registration page> to meet you at AT YOUR CAMP, not
at the Tower of Flaming Drag Queens. Marvel as she once again radios the
dispatcher and asks him to tell <name at top of art project's
registration page> to meet you at <location of art project on the playa>. Explain
to her very slowly and distinctly that you need to meet him at AT MY CAMP. Gape
in awe as for a third time she contacts dispatch and tells them to have
<name at top of art project's registration page> meet you at <location of art
project on the playa>. Don't give up, your dog didn't learn to heel the first
three times out, did he? If you're lucky, like me, she'll get it on the
fourth try, well, kinda, she tells dispatch to have <name at top of art
project's registration page> to meet you EITHER at <location of art project on
the playa> OR at MY CAMP.

It's the best you can do for now. You've got to give the bureaucracy
time to screw up (as you're 99% certain they will), before you can push it any
further. Jump on the passing DPW truck and have a few beer bongs with
them, there's nothing you can do for about four hours.

Step 3:

After about four hours, return to The Artery. If you're lucky, you'll
find someone there who is actually reasonably sympathetic, and willing to
help you all they can. The catch phrase is "all I can".

Cut straight to the chase. Tell them that you've been trying to
register a fire cannon for four hours straight, and you need to talk to <name at
top of art project's registration page>. Tell them that you need to meet them
at MY CAMP so the fire cannon can be inspected and permitted.

Listen to them try to contact dispatch on their radio. Listen to them
fail. Listen to them tell you that they'll contact <name at top of art
project's registration page> and have him meet you at MY CAMP. Realize that
this means that they've tried once and they'll probably never get around to
it again. Ask which dispatcher they're calling. When you've gotten an
answer of DPW, you're through. Despite their protestations, this person will
be of no further help to you. Your next target is the DPW dispatcher.

Step 4:

The DPW dispatcher, whatever they tell you, must be contacted in
person. Ignore all requests to talk to him via radio and get your ass out to
him.

Despite the bans on dogs at Burning Man this year, the first thing you
will see at the DPW compound is a gigantic Rotweiller trotting up to you
with a ball in his mouth and a wagging tail. Do NOT make the mistake I did
and assume that if you make friends with the dog you will get some brownie
points with the resident DPWers. Be ready to move your arm really fast when
he tries to separate it from your shoulder blade.

This would be a good time to hide your CAMPS 'All Access Pass' in
your back pocket.

OK, you've just earned yourself some playa cred by not running
screaming from the area when a 200 pound dog snapped at you. Use it. Ignore the
80%er at the door whose job it is to keep you away from the dispatcher, and walk
right into the trailer. Tell him your story. Ignore the protests from the
80%er standing behind you in the door. Listen to the dispatcher (who has
done this a couple of time before and knows his job pretty well) tell you that
<top of art project's registration page> will meet you at YOUR CAMP within the
hour. Recognize that, while he's not lying, he hasn't contacted <name at top
of art project's registration page> yet, and will probably try once, maybe
twice, before getting inundated with further requests and completely
forgetting about you and the fire cannon. Move on to the next step. Ask him when <name
at top of art project's registration page> will be in the compound.

You're job from now on is to get information from various 80%ers on
when and where <name at top of art project's registration page> will be located
on the playa. Then go there. Repeat as necessary.

I got lucky. First time. <name at top of art project's registration
page> was in the compound when the dispatcher said they would be.

We talk. I told my story. They say, "Hell, we WANT as much
flaming propane in the sky as we can. It's Burning Man." I'm in good hands.
They explain that the propane truck is only for funded art projects. Their
vocal tone and body language tells me that this isn't important. They tell me
that what IS important is writing a blank check to the propane dealer,
which will be filled in at the end of the festival. Last thing on my to pack list
is a checkbook. I tell them I'd be willing to drive the cylinder to them. We
work out a deal. I'll get my propane in Gerlach, they'll give me an
in-and-out pass, we'll both be happy. They radio The Artery to give me an
in-and-out pass, I leave, giving the dog a dirty look.

Step 5:

Show up at The Artery. Be brief. State that <name at top of art
project's registration page> has said that The Artery should give me a gate pass.
Watch as the woman behind the table weighs contacting <name at top of
art project's registration page> to find out if it's really true. Smile
reassuringly as she comes to the conclusion that since she has to go
through the same dispatcher that you did it's going to take all afternoon and
probably part of tomorrow morning and she'll be late for her dawn yoga
and group hug at Camp Dirty Hippy. Wait patiently as she fills out not one
but five gate passes, one for each remaining day of the festival, in
longhand.

Congratulations! You now have your five 'Get Back Into Jail Free'
cards.
You can go to Gerlach and pick up more propane whenever you want
without paying the $20 return fee.

And Camp Tower of Flaming Drag Queens is still out on the playa
wondering if the flame thrower that <name at top of art project's registration page>
said was affiliated with their camp is ever going to show up.
</lj-cut>
Step 6:

Next year. Skip the crap.
Go directly to The Artery and initiate step 5.
Collect your 'Get Back Into Jail Free' cards. Return to camp, have a
beer bong, and contemplate what you're going to do with the 8 extra hours
you have on the playa this year.
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