Oh, I've started reading Snow Crash by Neal Stephenson, at the recommendation of jferg, and so far it's not bad. One fact that's worth a note, if only to me, his descriptions of the "Metaverse", so closely reminds me of the Playa it's uncanny. This book was published in '92. Burning Man at that time was nothing like the apocalyptic circus it is now, yet he could be describing almost perfectly the chaos that is there.
"Your avatar can look any way you want it to, up to the limitations of your equipment. If you're ugly, you can make your avatar beautiful." ... "You can look like a gorilla or a dragon or a giant talking penis in the metaverse. Spend five minutes walking down the Street and you will see all of these."
That's pretty much what I get from my experiences there. Thousands of Avatars. There are some who live as their avatars in real life, sometimes I envy these people, because they can live this way, and to be honest I find myself pink with envy at times, so to speak, but could I really go to work like this? or maybe this? I'm sure the dress code police would say something "I'm sorry sir, that isn't a company approved scepter is it?...yet I digress. The impression I got was that the overwhelming majority where in cognito. The way they represented themselves on the Playa was their created self image, themselves as they see it, without fear of social criticisms, and within the limits of their equipment. Equipment like Imagination, cardboard, motivation, glue, creative talent, feathers, whatever... If you where able to rebuild yourself from scratch, what would you look like? Since you would have virtually total control on the output, couldn't this essentially be the unadulterated you... so then is it still a costume? Perhaps this daily grind of reality is really the costume?
Just as a smal fix... Here's one of my favorite pictures from last year...