Well, this is exhilarating: D.A. said Day Four was one of the more inspiring days Playa Restoration has ever had out here. Maybe it just felt nice to go full speed for a full day, after all those weather-filled half days.
The choreography of Line Sweeps, Special Forces, and infrastructure crews swirling towards the goal, the dirty ballet in work boots … it’s a logistical symphony to behold. We’ve had some practice this weathery week with evacuations. Now we can’t help but muster forces and move out and load up with ever more economy and efficiency.
Fluff breaks are happening more often as the temperature rises. People out here get loopy and dehydrated after stooping and MOOPing all day. Line bosses are instructed to slow the eager troops down do a less-fevered MOOP march, so they don’t overwork and collapse from too much ambition and enthusiasm — i.e., heat stroke.
On Day Five, Line Sweeps marched over 5:30 to 1:45, Esplanade to C, as well as 4:00 to 1:45 on blocks C through G. On Day Six, the Resto crew swept between 5:30 to 10:15 on C through G. That’s a big chunk of land.
Special Forces started culling a couple line sweepers per day first thing today, and hitting this difficult site full of small aluminum shavings they found yesterday. It had to happen first, while the morning light was still right for seeing all the bits. Then, Special Forces stormed across the city killing final cones (removing hot spots) wherever they found them. They’ve officially cleared the back blocks for Bobtuse to bust the non-MOOPy dunes within the city.
Dune detectives at the MOOP Map coloring party in the afternoon imagined the circumstances behind the small-shavings-of-aluminum situation. Was it a trailer fix site? Some impromptu metal art or repair? Well, why don’tcha put a tarp down first (bolt it into the playa with long lag bolts and washers, just like with your wood construction areas) and sweep up your shavings right after you cut. Otherwise they blow all over the block, and it takes dozens of worker hours to clean it up during Resto instead of five minutes right then.
So next time, O ye makers of Burning Man who don’t know the necessary MOOP protocol, it’s this: Tarps tarps tarps! Keep a small shop vac around for cuts. Have a piece of cardboard or plywood to throw over the work area in case a dust devil kicks up. And wait for the opportune moment — don’t try to machine an adjustment on your fire-breathing aluminum rooster art bus or whatever until the wind dies down.
Every once in a great while, a Scribe (the GPS-carrying data recorders of the lines) will come upon a site where there’s such a random assortment of MOOP there, it’s obvious the campers just left it. Which is demoralizing, until you realize how few and far between these events are.
OH on radio comms –
Bastard: “F’n Andy F’n Andy, do u happen to have any southern rock on your truck”
F’n Andy: “Uh yeah, i could play some Freebird allllllllllll day”
Bastard: “Make it so.”
Three more learning-experience tales of bad MOOP from the field:
– Another wide smattering of broken glass across the block kept Resto busy for a minute. It looked like smashed glass from outdoor biergarten-type lights. This area took all of Special Forces (maybe twenty people?) half an hour to pick it up. There’s no way the campers didn’t know it was there.
– Eggshells are MOOP. They may be good to throw out in forests for the lizards and bugs to eat for calcium, but there are no living things out here and eggshells don’t deteriorate — they just count as MOOP to the BLM and to us.
– When your hexayurt smashes and you don’t call your campmates over to pile on it instantly and contain the styro-explosion, there will be three blocks of tiny pieces of styrofoam nuzzled into the playa after having blown away from the blast site. Okay?
Last year in 2015, our BLM Site Inspection reflected a series of weather events that hampered us: 70,000 people packed up in a dust storm, after being pummeled with dust storms all week. The temperature dropped, and people started leaving early. There was trash flying off cars maybe and out into the city as people exhaustedly readied themselves for home in whiteouts.
Then, at the end of Resto, three days of rain preceded the inspection and exposed any buried MOOP. So we had a huge increase in MOOP found (still a miniscule amount compared to what’s NOT there) … and most of it was layered under dunes in the most populated areas of town, and the areas Resto refers to as the Rave Zones.
The “Rave Zones” are communal party areas — and therefore communal problem areas. The front yards to well-trafficked camps, and the open playa across from the 10:00 and 2:00 radial streets, usually get a little yellow or red around the edges, and additionally Resto always finds a few MOOPy spots where it’s apparent an art car stopped and threw a party.
Camp members and art car stewards can do their best on their line sweeps, and still the dunes could blow in and cover MOOP only to be uncovered by us later. How bout help ‘em out, especially if you spend a lot of time there?
The action happens at night, so it’s hard for citizens to see to MOOP. But maybe the community can get inspired by the DPW’s MOOP Pub Crawl, or the independent leave-no-tracing MOOP Squad, and start figuring out how to sexy up the idea of MOOP teams and MOOP games in the rave zones.
Side note: We don’t use the term “rave” disparagingly, nor do we think it’s only EDM fans causing MOOP. Nope. It’s just that both verbal efficiency and radio protocol are important to the DPW and especially during Resto operations. “Rave zone” or “rave camp” is the shortest way to convey the idea, but we know it could be any type music, any type of party that’s crowded.
For the DPW, our closest equivalent to a rave zone would be our 4:20 Spire, our “Art” on the playa, which also invariably needs line sweeps during Resto, particularly because we like to smash cars that are already broken (and prepped by Auto Shop so no fluids will leak on the playa when the vehicle gets destroyed) in a fit of comic aggression by whoever in the DPW feels they need to smash something.
We always know the 4:20 Spire will be a flaming hot spot — safety glass, wood chips, nails, screws, etc — but like the Trebuchet, it’s the DPW’s “Art;” our pre-season we-built-this catharsis. Our performance is making a huge crazy mess like that and then demonstrating line sweeps in cleaning it up real good.
The whole concept driving the Cacophony Society, the parent organization behind this Burning Man thing, was to pick a weird place or situation, fabricate a carnival cosmology in a Temporary Autonomous Zone, and to act however you wanted within it, as long as it didn’t negatively interfere with anyone else’s experience. Then, the Cacophonists would make all evidence of the Zone go away — or make the location look nicer than it did before they got there, as quickly and cat-burglar-ly as possible.
Now, Burning Man is a city — a temporary autonomous zone — full of a million other TAZs. Theme camps, art cars, sculptures, and two chairs on an empty playa can all be temporary autonomous zones. And if you used that TAZ, you’re not commanded but rather encouraged to see that TAZ as the space you steward as well.
To reiterate, here’s how this whole TAZ thing works, and another main Cacophony Society teaching, which we also believe is simliar to early conscious rave teachings:
We have to clean up after ourselves to where it looks as much like we were never there as we can make it look. That’s a huge part of what makes it both temporary AND autonomous. It’s an ideology in complete opposition to the current default-world “don’t worry, someone else will do that for you” mentality. We Burners, Cacophonists, DPW roustabouts and Resto crew are proud to do our best to uphold a more sovereign concept of recreation. It’s Resto’s job not to berate, but to to point out the weak links in the Leave No Trace chain so everybody can make MOOP plans for next year.
Special Forces reports that there were 70 cones in the 2:00 rave zone. Seventy cones means there were 70 times a line sweeper found a spot too hot to MOOP and keep the line in formation so they had to raise their MOOP stick and wave it in a circle to call an oscillator to bring over a cone for them to stick on the pile of whatever. Could be small bursts of safety glass or splinters from a broken OSB board or … Seventy of them in one area. Seventy.
It’s a cleaner city than maybe ever before, as we tentatively said in another post … but some gnarly action happened in the admittedly insanely-high-traffic rave zones this year. Not anything like Woodstock ’99, mind, just a little gnarly in the moment, and some jank left behind.
We remember hanging out off the Esplanade and 2:00 corner some night where it looked like one person had driven their truck up by the portajohns just to stuff half a dozen landscaping bags of trash into a men’s urinal. At the same portajohn where the urinal full of trash was, all the toilet seats also got ripped off in that row. In all our years out here we’ve never seen that. Does anyone know what happened with that? Hulk, is that you?
Some 10:00 and 2:00 dwellers could also come up with fun ways to rotate stewarding the porta-potties near your camps, and calling a Ranger to call the porta-potty staff to come handle business if things go sideways.
A preliminary look around the Man Base tells us that there’s a huge fireworks splotch, no surprise. But then also it looked like there was an art car who had a party there for hours and people just dropped stuff.
Art car party animals, please mind your MOOP, and maybe stick behind with a couple flashlights and volunteer to sweep the ground before you go — even if it’s in the middle of the party. Hardly anybody stays for a whole art-car dance marathon from beginning to end, and that’s how these archaeological MOOP sites happen.
Any of these sites could be randomly chosen as a waypoint for the BLM Site Inspection, and if one bag is full then the whole test fails and Burning Man can’t happen again, which is why hot spots are bad and all cones must be killed to death. So maybe if y’all know that, you’ll take more care to make sure you get the MOOPy spots during the event, as they happen, in whatever Zone you’re at, before they get duned over.
One of DPW’s favorite “rave” stories is of a DJ at a huge art-car party on open playa stopping his set to announce he wouldn’t play again ‘til folks MOOPed the area for a minute. Happily, the dancers complied, and a few minutes later, the party was back off and running, with the channel changed, new friends quickly made, and the playa clean behind them.
To that DJ, we offer thanks, and a cheerful DPW middle-finger salute. We’re number one! The more champs like that we have in control of the mic in our Temporary Autonomous Zone, the better.
And now, here’s Day Five and Day Six of Playa Restoration MOOP Map 2016.
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