Vote Charlie!

Man burns, desert chills

Posted at age 28.
Created . Edited .

Saturday I mostly chilled at camp in preparation for the highlight of the week, the burning of The Man. The temperature continued its weeklong decline, but I was prepared this year with many coats! Some dust storms delayed the burn almost an hour, but that was fine as the storms delayed all of us as well. Most of our camp watched the burn together, and then we mostly danced at art cars nearby, including Dancetronauts. Due to poor planning, I was somewhat more sober than expected, but I still managed to go out for a second round with Erik and Phillip, and we stayed out dancing past sunrise. It was tiring, but I am glad I did it once this year.

This entry is No. 11 in a series of 14 entries.

Saturday, September 3: Slept ~05:30 to ?. Unknown since Fitbit died unexpectedly.

My notes end shortly into Saturday, so this entry will be less detailed than others. That’s probably for the best! I did write, “Erik needs to follow instructions,” I think in response to seeing the coolers full of water when I thought we agreed to keep the ice and food all separated in zip lock bags. It wasn’t anything I was upset about, but just a note.

It was my last day to indulge in some day drinking, something I had said I wanted to embrace once before the end of the week. But I was tired. The big DJ set people were excited about was supposed to be something around 16:00 to 17:00, but I was still not sure if I would go even by the time it was ending.

I had some good conversation with Dillon at camp about school and his research involving HIV treatment. He mentioned he goes to Washington D.C. for work five or so times a year, and we commented on liking the city. I still don’t know what I want to do for work or school right now, but it was good to hear how someone else was making his life work.

Some of our neighbors from across the street came by, and I learned some of them were from D.C. They also said they were going to burn their piano, which I thought was strange, for what would you then do with what remained? I was glad to see they apparently didn’t actually burn it by the end of the week. I asked about their giant bike poles, and whether they rented or owned their RVs. She said they used to rent, but bought one a couple of weeks ago, which caused a bit of drama with her upstairs neighbor while it was parked in the driveway for repairs. The neighbor was losing patience apparently because the RV marred her lovely ocean view.

Dillon eventually headed to Pink Mammoth even though he planned to go with Brett. Once Brett returned from a diversion on the trip to the porta potties, I figured I might as well accompany him to the party. I was finally tipsy enough, though I didn’t know if it was even still happening. It was, and I had a good time for the half hour or so that remained.


Joshua had a change of plans and needed a ride, so he hauled his gear to GlamCocks camp Saturday to get it on their truck.


I remember building one of these out of logs in boy scouts!


Only poo or pee in the porto potty!


By Saturday evening, it was getting pretty chilly, but the impending burn excited everyone.


My camp necessities: overbrewed kombucha tea, whiskey, trail mix, water, meat and camera in bags and a cup with matcha powder.


Matt took the time to read an album accompaniment where the musician explained the inspirations and story behind the tracks. I liked the concept.


Steven enjoyed his drinks. Usually matcha, sometimes alcohol, sometimes both.


I tried to get some notes into my journal before the craziness of the burn carried us all away. A passerby hoped to find directions to a camp he sought, but couldn't remember the name. He browsed my directory for quite a while, and upon detecting my congested nasal passage, produced some eucalyptus oil for me to rub on my wrists and sniff. It actually helped! He told me he also uses oregano oil as a disinfectant and more, and thus carries both with him everywhere.


Saturday Sunset


Be neat! Plant your ass on the seat! Or at the very least... If you hover, raise the cover! RobbiDobbs


I really enjoyed the porto potties with added flowers. I hope to do something similar next year!

Most of camp returned before 19:00 or earlier still. The Man was set to burn at 21:00, so we wanted to leave early enough to get a good view. Around an hour before the time we should have left, dust storms began while the temperature dropped quickly. We retreated to yurts and tents for cover, assuming the burn would not be happening as scheduled. Eventually the dust cleared, and while it was still fairly cold, we made it out in time and the rest of the night went wonderfully.

I will allow the photos and captions to tell the rest of this story.


1. I love Danny's spacesuit looking jumper thing, which he found at a thrift store! 2. Scottie, as always, you're a shining beacon! 3. Steven, thanks for bringing all of Andy's extra onesies! 4. I'm definitely bringing the tripod next time and doing a better photo. Random passersby can only do so much with a strange camera… but better than nothing!


The atmosphere before the man burned was festive and chaotic as always.


Erik was somewhat concerned the man would, once lit, break free from the rooftop and deliver to the crowd a ring of fire and death. For that reason, and perhaps the reason of a better vantage point, we sat in front of him!.


My last attempt at a photo before the burn commenced one minute later, at about 9:50 p.m. according to my camera. I think the whole thing was later than planned due to heavy dust storms that started around 7 or 8 and didn't clear till almost 9, when the man was scheduled to burn. Or maybe it's late every year. I'll have to check my notes!

This is a panorama I made just before The Man began burning, followed by the first 10 minutes of the show.


After 20 minutes, the ring was still intact. Perhaps Erik's worst fears will come true and that man will go rolling after all!


After 20 minutes, the ring was still intact. Perhaps Erik's worst fears will come true and that man will go rolling after all!


The man fell about 38 minutes after first catching fire.


Within 10 minutes of the man's demise, the group started seeking to dance. Dancetronauts was nearby, so most of them went there while I wandered a bit taking photos. Here we have Kalliope, which is built on a car but was stationed at their camp on Esplanade all week. It migrated to the Man for the burn, and I must say its lighting and effects were amazing and intricate, something I didn't appreciate last year, but which isn't noticeable in this photo due to the massive amounts of fire everywhere!


I love props.


The atmosphere of the burn is something else. Rainbows turn into blazing orange everywhere around the former Man's location.


If ships in the desert were cool, flaming ships sailing the nighttime desert are even cooler – or hotter!


So much fire.


I liked this little cart.


I could wander around here forever.


After an hour, I ventured back to camp for a bit before heading back out with Erik and Phillip.

I was astonished to see the Tesla coils were shooting lightning bolts. I saw the coils last year, but never saw them do anything, so figured they were just art. Camp Sextant’s Indiegogo campaign details how these Tesla coils use “a traditional Spark Gap circuit design” as opposed to the “all solid-state ‘ultra-high resonant gain’” design that apparently exploded on the playa in 2015.


We spent most of the cold, dusty night at the Mayan Warrior.


I wish I had a better camera than my phone to capture the sky lasers, but this gives a feel.


I ended up not using my big rainbow lights coat despite it being cold, for I didn't make enough controllers to use both the coat and my hood, and I opted for the hood since it kept my face warm.


Crazy desert people dancing at 5:22 a.m. at the Mayan Warrior. What a scene!


Crazy desert people dancing at 5:22 a.m. at the Mayan Warrior. What a scene!


I loved all the lasers!


Just after 7 a.m., the sun was rising, and I couldn't believe Erik and Phillip were still going! We headed back shortly after for some much needed sleep.


Just after 7 a.m., the sun was rising, and I couldn't believe Erik and Phillip were still going! We headed back shortly after for some much needed sleep.


My pile of batteries and speakers and other electronics served us well, and we will begin packing after our nap.


This night was the longest I stayed out this year, and it was a weird feeling being back in the yurt. I was definitely tired, but not sure if I could sleep.


I took a selfie and barely recognized myself with multiple colors of dust coating my face and chapped lips and red nose from the cold weather and wind all night.

The story continues in The Temple.

Entries in this series

  1. Unpacking Burning Man 2016
  2. The journey ‘home’
  3. Social apprehension
  4. Race prep by day drinking
  5. Third ultramarathon fastest yet
  6. Feeling astonished, validated, home
  7. Recovering, welcoming
  8. Lost at day, seeking friends
  9. Lost at night, seeking joy
  10. Joy, right at home
  11. Man burns, desert chills
  12. The Temple
  13. Return to default world
  14. Bonus: The golden stool