August 5th: What It’s Like Here

Last night there was a bit of a party at the Social Club. It was fun enough that a few of us made the rounds this morning apologizing hopefully for whatever we might have said or done that was inappropriate/embarrassing/stupid. I have a headache. Let’s just leave it at that.

Bruno stopped me on the way to work today. (Note: My commute is about ¼ mile. From the outskirts of town to the middle of town.) He noticed I was always riding my bike around and wanted to tell me that he used to race in Italy when he was young. Apparently he was pretty good- he talked about being part of a team and winning a race when he was 17 years old. He’s 80-something now, so that was truly back in the day.

I missed breakfast, so when Jack Rabbit brought in an extra egg andwich and offered it up, I gladly accepted. As I was devouring it, this conversation took place:
Me: This is the first bite of bacon I’ve had in 10 years.
Cobra: That’s the first bite of bacon you’ve had in ten years?
Me: Yep.
Cobra: Welcome to DPW.
Me: Yep.

Logan and PhoenixSpeaking of Logan, he got a phone call this morning that turned out to be complicated and unpleasant, and he handled it exceedingly well. I could tell it was difficult on the other end, and the guy had serious problems that needed to be dealt with, but Logan was even-tempered and respectful, at the same time telling the guy how it was going to have to be. Also, Logan was the creator, designer and producer of the Dicky Box in 2005. Remember that? Dicky was locked in a 10x10x10 plexiglass room out on the playa for the duration of the event. He interacted with people when he felt like it and spent all of Burning Man on display. Brilliant, huh? See it here:

Today at the office was pretty relaxed, and something really funny happened later in the afternoon. I’m not going to name names, but let’s just say that some of the highest level Burning Man organizers were positively eager to get on their computers and play World of Warcraft together. They had worked all day on the event (it’s Sunday), but now they were ready to unwind. When they realized they might be exposed via this blog, one of them, let’s call him “Hogan,” urged me to say that Gate was the group in question. Specifically, I am to say that Gate has been in the office steadfastly playing WOW. So there you have it.Coyote went to jail today. Apparently he had a ticket from last year for a broken headlight, so the Washoe County Sheriff drove him to Reno and “processed” him so he could take care of it. It’s Hot August Nights in Reno, so it might take a while, but until he gets back survey is officially on hold.

Vaughn Some items of note:
1. DPW smokes, and mostly they roll their own cigarettes.
2. Some people get to work topless.
3. I know it’s a shock, but sometimes DPW uses the F word.
4. DPW has better hair than you do.
5. They will tag your face with a Sharpie if you pass out.

Gerlach BBQToday was the town picnic. Every year Burning Man has a BBQ picnic potluck for the town of Gerlach. The food was excellent. Seared ahi, Cajun grilled salmon, beef tenderloin, lamp chops, barbequed spare ribs, and a huge assortment of homemade side dishes. Then pie and ice cream. Blue cheese Alfredo sauce and other yummy goodness courtesy of the Sauce Boss.

Helpful responses
Otto wrote on the palms of my hands last night some responses he thought I might need during the event. See them here:

Weld Boy & the trencherTonight at the Social Club Weld Boy told me an excellent story from last year. The guys at the Belgian Waffle needed a trench dug around the entire installation in order to lay cable for light and sound. Weld Boy took the trencher out there one hot afternoon and got to work. Somebody parked a truck in his line of sight, so he asked the guy to move, and the guy said “In a minute.” So Weld Boy turned off the trencher and waited. The guy didn’t come back, so Weld Boy had to go look for him. Asked him again to move his truck and the guy said “Yeah, in a minute.” Weld Boy went back to the trencher, started it up, and launched into the side of the waffle. Everybody ran over and yelled “What the f**k are you doing!” The truck got moved.Word.-Marnee

About the author: Marnee Benson

Marnee Benson

Marnee is Burning Man Project’s Associate Director of Government Affairs. Her work focuses on permitting and relationships with the Nevada Legislature, the U.S. Bureau of Land Management, Pershing County, and multiple other Nevada agencies. She helps Burning Man navigate Nevada politics and federal issues affecting the Burning Man event. Marnee’s first trip to Black Rock City was 2001, and in 2007 she worked with the Department of Public Works and the Communications team, writing and photographing content for the Burning Blog “Building Black Rock City”. From 2009 to 2013, she served as the Deputy Director at Black Rock Solar. She loves the way Burning Man expands her world and flips ideas upside down.