Shady Backflash (merlinswheel) wrote in burning_man,
Shady Backflash

from an email response i sent to my sister when she asked if i went to burning man again this year...

yes i went to burning man again. i got my ride to burning man off of
craig's list. flew out to oakland -- $99 on jet blue -- and stayed with
stephanie, got a ride to the burn from craig's list since stephanie's ride
was full, and then hitchhiked back to sf, stayed in sf for another week and
then flew home (ny) on the 12th. it was as much fun or more fun to spend a week
in sf as the burn itself. but i had a bike at bm this year... my first year
with a bike. and friends are keeping it at their place so i'll have it next
year. i bought it at target for $55 and took it out there to fuck up a bit.

burning man is wonderful and incredible and intense and beautiful and
amazing, but it's funny because there is nothing like the first year. every
other year is just so much less amazing than that first jaw dropping year
when everything is so new and weird and you just have no idea how incredible
it is that such a place even exists. after a while you start to even take it
for granted. weird but true. and the awe is just sort of something that you
start to become familiar with... "oh, a giant metal fire breathing dragon
made out of subway cars linked together... that's kinda cool... ho hummm..."
and so forth...

not really, but at some point you do start to sort of expect the unexpected.

plus, since i broke my ankle earlier this year, i stayed pretty sane and
sober most of the time out there, with the exception of a day when i was
drinking bloody marys all afternoon helping stephanie put her art project
together and then after getting drunk on those, went over to another camp
and this great crazy woman from prague that i'd made friends with gave me
some absinthe that she had made, and it was nasty shit, like drinking sterno
or something, and that sent me into some weird bad hallucinations so after
riding my bike all the way across the playa to some dance camp, i realized
how bombed i was and had to ride back to my tent and tuck myself in bed
before i hurt myself... (the night before this same woman -- katya -- gave
me some pot flavored vodka that she'd made and that was really good.
especially since it didn't get me stoned -- she said it wouldn't before i
tried it. i'm not a big fan of pot but i love the smell and taste and it
tasted awesome with this vodka... but the absinthe... ugh... evil... bad

most of the week, with the exception of a bloody mary here or there, i was
sober and the best way to really experience burning man is warped out of
your gourd. at least that's been my experience. the more warped the better.
and i was in no mood to get warped this year. just play it safe and take
care of myself because the last thing i'd want to do is be tripping my brains out and
rebreak the ankle out there in the desert. they have paramedics and such,
but it would still just really really suck and it would actually be pretty
easy to really fuck yourself up there. there's a reason that the ticket has
the words "you voluntarily assume risk of serious injury or death by
attending." there are many many opportunities to seriously injure or kill
yourself. but it's also fun as hell. the most fun ever, i'd say. the best
circus on earth.

whatever you want to do, it's there... all night dancing, go roller skating,
ride a roller coaster through flames, get lost in a fun house / maze, have
public sex acts, hurt yourself on a trapeeze, ride on a tiki bar made out of
a converted volkswagon bus, take drugs you've never heard of with names that
sound like the robots on star wars (C3PO, etc.) and wear 3D glasses and walk
through day glo or 3D art projects designed for tripping people, get naked
and dye your body orange from head to toe and walk around for a day naked
and orange, get a new soul mate by trading in an old soul mate at the Costco
Soul Mate Trading Outlet, pick up a costume at "Cross Dress For Less," pick
up a Drag Queen at Cross Dress For Less, etc. etc. etc.

(i love the name Cross Dress For Less. it's obviously a parody of the Ross
Dress For Less stores...)

the slogan on the roller coaster is "Where Safety is Third." I asked what
first and second were and the guy said, "beer." And I said "second?" he
said, "more beer. oh, and women." the roller coaster has to be seen to be
believed. it is truly a dangerous scary looking thing. i was trying to talk
stephanie into riding it and she was not having any part of it. i was
actually willing to ride it, i just didn't find anyone who wanted to stand
in line with me and try to ride it. but what's wild is that while this
insane roller coaster is going, there are women in cages above it that are
dancing like strippers -- only they keep their clothes on... at least they
had clothes on when i was there -- and they are blasting fire at people.
it's quite the spectacle...

there was this awesome article on burning man that was written in '97 called
"Me, I Didn't Burn A Thing" by this person Janelle Brown that i read when i
was out there. i tried to find it but couldn't... all i could find was this
passage, but it pretty much sums up a lot of what you go through during the
week -- "I'm stuck in a limbo-land of exhaustion: I can't sleep because I've
hardly moved all day, and I can't move because I've hardly slept. I lie in
the eerie blue shade of our plastic tarpualin in a semi-lucid state, spray
bottle in one hand, gin and tonic in the other." ya gotta read the rest of
the article to really get the whole sense of it, though. it was an awesome
article and i am sure it will be posted online to soon but it
isn't up there yet. (they just reprinted the article this summer and haven't
posted the 2004 articles...)

anywayz, yeah, go to burning man when you get a chance. it will definitely
change your life. probably even for the better... who knows? next year we
might have a whole new york posse going out there and if we do i'll let you
know. if you go, try to get a bike out there. it makes it so much easier to
see all the weird art that's out in distant corners of the playa.
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