Survival Guide

Survival Guide. noun.
A document that tells you how to keep yourself alive and happy on the playa, or at a well organised regional event.
Survival guides are a no-brainer really. As soon as events are large enough that you can’t reasonably sit everyone down and talk about potential issues over food, you have to start writing them down along with suggestions on how to deal with them.
The survival guide for Burning Man is especially important, the environment there will kill you if you are too careless. Probably the only more inhospitable environment for a burn is the Antarctica regional burn, and they are wise enough to do it indoors.
The thing about the survival guide is, the Vets all read it years ago, and for the most part never looked back. The essentials are all common sense once you’ve gone a few times. The virgins study up on it like their life depends on it. (or they should) But the guide changes. New things are learned. Guidelines become refined. Wood is the worst MOOP.
So often virgins no more about the Survival Guide than the vets, which is kind of embarrassing when you are designing some new costume and the virgin goes “tsk. Feathers?”



Camelback. noun.
Forget your camp lead, your significant other, and that overly helpful sexy neighbour. A camelback is your best friend on the playa.
Another of those don’t leave camp without it items. A camelback, (or re-hydration pack) will do more to keep you alive and happy than any other item you bring. It’s basically a back pack rigged out with a water bladder and a hose for you to drink out of, but it extends your ability to wander around on the playa hugely. Bring it with you even on the shortest trip, you never know when the TARDIS art car is going to pull up and change your life, and you’ll want your water with you.
I refill mine when I arrive back in camp, just in case I need to run off.
Choose one with a wide mouth for easy filling and pouring ice cubes into. I also like a large volume of water, 3 litres or more, but I don’t mind hauling it. Put full bottles of pop in a backpack to see how you like the weight. More water means more freedom to explore the playa between refills, but not everyone wanders as much as I do, and if you don’t need it, why do the extra work.


Dust Goggles

Dust Goggles. noun.
Dust goggles are a basic, never leave camp without them, necessity. Seriously, never leave camp without them. It’s damn embarrassing to get stuck in a porta-potty because the wind came up strong while you were peeing, and now you can’t make it back to camp.
Dust goggles come in thousands of varieties, from built for the job, aviator, motorcycle, and tank goggles, to ornamental plastic quiddich goggles that’ll mostly do the job in a pinch.
What you want to avoid is something that fits too poorly to keep the dust out, put them on and look for large gaps around the nose and cheeks, feel for gaps around the brows and temples. Small gaps are manageable, large gaps will let the wind blow through and have you pressing your mask into your face all the time.
Also avoid anything that seals too well. If they don’t breathe a bit, they fog up and fill with condensation as you sweat. Swim goggles and masks are out for that reason.
What’s that leave? Anything with a snug but breathable seal. Ski masks are perfect, as are dirt bike goggles. Some folks use plain old workshop safety goggles, and there’s kitchen goggles for cutting onions that are cheep and perfect.
If you are only going with one pair of goggles, don’t go with a dark tint. When the dust is high the sun isn’t a problem, and tinted goggles will leave you blind at night.



Handy video tips!

Surviving a Burning Man Whiteout Dust Storm Like A Boss

It was better (X) year

It was better (X) year.
Another of the anti-principles it’s difficult not to indulge in. “It was better (X) year”, is a common way of expressing dissatisfaction with this year. There’s always more dust, more noise camps, more tourists, more frats, and it was always better (x) year; Where x is usually one of the first years the jaded vet arrived.
Fortunately jaded vets self mock almost as much as we complain and saying “It was better next year” has become the way to acknowledge our own lack of immediacy.
Ultimately we know that, while it always changes, Burning Man hasn’t really lost it’s boom, sparkle, and shine, It’s us that have lost our sense of awe and wonder. If we want it to be better, it’s up to us to make it better. Either by building it better, or by recapturing that sense of wonder.


Decompression. noun.
An afterburn party, to ease your transition into the default world.
After a burn, especially that big one in the desert, making your way back into the world of enclosed spaces, flushing toilets, and people in line ups who don’t want to talk or share stories can be difficult.
A Decompression helps remind you that the burnerverse is not too far away, gives you a chance to share some stories, relieve some memories, and reinforce some of the connections that you made at the burn.
“Official” Decompressions must follow Burning Man principles and guidelines, and are often organised by the regional representative, but many places and groups throw decomps and afterburns that fill the same role.


See also:

That thing in the desert

That thing in the desert. noun. aka TTITD

Bill (standing next to time machine): “Hey Ted. Know what would be excellent? Let’s go to the first Burning Man!”
Ted: “Uhh… dude, what’s Burning Man?”
Bill: “It’s… That thing, you know… in the desert.”
Ted:”OHHH! That thing in the desert! That would be most excellent!”

Burning Man is hard to describe at the best of times. Depending on your perspective, it might be a festival of some music or art variety. It might be described as a party, or a rave, or even a social experiment. Describing it that way doesn’t come close to capturing it though, and other participants will argue against your position based on their perspective. No two people experience the same burn in the same way, and with over 60,000 participants, experiencing it in even a similar way could be difficult.
Free form, participant driven, constantly evolving events are not yet common enough that there is language to describe them, thus “That thing in the desert” is as accurate a description as you are going to get.
~ Shenanigans

see also
Uban Dictionary:

Deep Playa

Deep Playa. noun:
“Way out in Deep Playa there’s a fantastic art piece that you HAVE to see. I’m not going to tell you what it is, because that would ruin the surprise. You’ll know it when you see it.”
The above statement is absolutely true, every year. It is also absolute fuckery.
Deep Playa is huge, huge enough to lose large and amazing art in.
If you extend the circle formed by the esplanade out to the temple, Deep Playa is all the desert from outside that circle, all the way to the trash fence. You will never fail to find amazing art out there, but you have to be prepared to cover some ground, and you won’t see it all.
~ Shenanigans

Drink the Kool-Aid

Drink the Kool-Aid. verb:
The Burnerverse can be exciting, especially when it’s bright, shiny, explody, and new. Sometimes you want it to go on all year. Sometimes you get all excited and go running to that that friend you must share it with, or even all your friends. Sometimes the default world seems pale, boring, and unfriendly in comparison.
If any of things apply to you, congratulations, you may have drank the kool-aid.
An inappropriate reference to the 1978 Jonestown massacre, where 907 cult members died from drinking cyanide laced Flavor-Aid; Drinking the Kool-Aid in the Burnerverse refers to the almost religious enthusiasm that burners can have and serves as a humorous reminder that we can go a little far with our enthusiasm, especially from an outside perspective.
It’s good to get enthusiastic, to jump in with both feet and get involved, go for it to your hearts content. But you may have to reassure your grandmother that it’s not a cult.


Burnerverse. noun:
All things Burner, the people, the art, the people who are art, the fashion, music, and schools of thought that have sprung up from the thing in the desert. And, as it’s getting mighty crowed in the dust, the Burnerverse is growing rapidly to include all sorts of people, events, and things that have never been to the desert and never will.
The Burnerverse practices border gnosis, taking, reshaping, and keeping the elements of greater society that fit within it’s needs and principles, and creating new art and ideas that are quickly being absorbed and utilized by the default world.

The Temple

The Temple. noun:
Out beyond The Man, at 12 O’clock on the dial, and easily the largest art piece on the playa, The Temple has grown to become an integral part of Burning Man culture.
Begun in 2000 by Sculptor David Best, the temple quickly became the place where burners put down our burdens, lay our losses to rest, celebrate our weddings, and focus of all the intention and meaning the community can lay on it.
The Temple is a place of celebration, but it’s a very different type of celebration than the rest of burning man. When The Man burns, it’s pandemonium, when The Temple burns, it’s silent except for the sound of flames and crying.

-> good time to link this 😀