Tips & Tricks #30 “Darkwads & Lightwads”

Hey Goldilocks, make sure you aren’t too dark…OR too light.

Check out all of my Tips & Tricks videos like #25 “Skincare” and #14 “What You Get From Theme Camps”

NOTE: I am not an employee of Burning Man. Just an enthusiastic Participant.

About the author: John "Halcyon" Styn


Halcyon is a 19-year Burning Man participant and co-founder of Pink Heart camp. He is author of "Love more. Fear less." and producer of the Burning Man short film, "The Pink Path." He's won Webby awards for his over-the-top personal site & his "Love On Demand" video podcast He hosted the defunct web series "Fears. Regrets. Desires." and frequently speaks about Gratitude & Gifting. In 2010, Halcyon co-founded the San Diego based "1st Saturdays" homeless outreach program based on Burning Man Principles and the idea of "Service Without Sacrifice." You can find his digital home at

8 Comments on “Tips & Tricks #30 “Darkwads & Lightwads”

  • roissy says:

    I do have issues with Lightwads while trying to view a burn. If you would like to test at home if your prized piece may be too bright for those behind you. Set up a coat rack up (or some kind of stand) where you can hang your piece on, turn off ALL the lights in your room now try to watch a television show with the piece in question between you and the TV…
    And have an easy way to turn it off, unlike the guy who stepped in front of me at Crude Awaking who said “I’d have to shut off 25 switches” to turn off his blinkly EL wire coat.
    Halcyon said it better than I did…

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  • Christel says:

    I went to Burning Man in 2012 and didn’t have room to bring a bike, so I was using community bikes ( the green cruisers that you aren’t supposed to lock, so others can use them.) Well, I brought tons of blinkies, leds, etc., for bikes, but every time someone took “my” bike, more of my lights disappeared…by Sunday night I had no lights left, but had to bike around to coordinate my camps exodus. A lot of people shouted “Darktard” at me! I really felt that the people shouting at me could have been more proactive and less judgey by just offering me a light? Maybe bring extras, and be part of a solution?

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  • kaleidoscopiChris says:

    solved problem with headlamp retina burn ,wear on wrist,directional light control at your invention,works everytime

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  • Mastersodium says:

    So wait, now we’re policing everybody on exactly how much illumination they have? Really? Sounds like a big fat pile of white people problems to me. You know, have enough expendable resources to go to the middle of nowhere, party like crazy and have an amazing time sharing in everyone’s creativity and expression, but it’s still not perfect enough? “It was fun, but, like, I had to be near someone who was, you know, just, like, a little too bright. It really messed up my good time, cause, like, I hate it when everything’s not exactly how I want.”

    When is the org going to put an asterisk next to the “radical self-expression” principal, to let everyone know their expression is only okay so long as it doesn’t offend, bother, annoy, or slightly inconvenience anyone else.

    Things will always change, for sure. But I do miss the older times, where “fuck your day” actually meant fuck your day, and self expression was only limited to not physically harming others without their consent.

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    • Halcyon says:

      Not policing. Just advice. Or an alternate perspective.

      As I said, there is no rule.
      And you can slightly offend people all you want. This advice is for someone who would rather not.

      *But the org has offered expanded explanations of Radical Self Expression to define that art should fall into the “Gift” category. If your expression hurts other’s experience, it is not a gift and therefore may not be “protected expression.”

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      • Mastersodium says:

        I guess I haven’t seen seen that specific explanation of radical self-expression. Just that you should respect the rights and liberties of the recipient. Where, I guess it would be quite rude to hold someone down, shining your leds in their face, screaming “look at my blinkies!”.

        But regardless, I disagree with your statement that no one wants to be a wad. I wanna be the brightest wad around. However, I must give you appreciation. You at least offended one person, and I can totally support that!

        I think though, what we really need, more than addional ways to shame people (I don’t think you were shaming, but these perjorative terms have become a popular way to shame others) for not fitting into everyone’s expectations of how we’re all supposed to behave, is tools so everyone can respectfully interact with each other, and express problems, and find solutions, without degenerating to name calling, passive-aggression, or yelling matches. When we decide, say, blinkyman is automatically wrong for being blinkyman, then it makes it easy for all who aren’t blinkyman to come down on blinkyman with self-righteousness indignation.

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