Thursday, August 29, 2013

Burning Man Thursday Evening: The Golden Clitoris

Whew!!  It turns out Tania is not a serial killer, but a Burning Man virgin just like me.  AND just like me, she decided to take a chance and go all out by driving another Burner to the Playa.  Yay!! I’m so glad she took the chance.

In addition to me, she’s also taking her friend Anna who’s coming in from San Francisco.  Anna’s been to the festival one time before so she’s a little more prepared, which is excellent as it’s giving me the girl’s perspective on the event.

First of all she warns me about the dust. 

“The playa is toxic,” she said looking at my sandals. “You’ll want to wear your boots as much as possible as it’s going to crack the heels of your feet open.”

Eww… okay. Boots it is.

“And, if you do decide to go naked, don’t sit on the Playa,” she warns. “I had a friend who did that and she had Playa Pussy for a week.”

Tania and I let that sink in.  I don’t think either of us were planning to go naked, but imagining dried cracked feet in one’s vagina is enough to prevent that from ever happening – ever.

Which brings us to the Golden Clitoris.

Anna had recently heard about Sophia Wallace’s ClitorisaryProject and was enthralled by it.  

“Did you know that the clitoris was only discovered in 1998,” she told us.

We didn’t know and we were shocked (and more than a little saddened) by this new fact.

Yes, we just met, but were three highly educated, dynamic women – and when stuck together in a car for hours, we talked about stuff. Lots of very interesting stuff – and except for the boot warning, none had it had to do with fashion or beauty. But there was a long discussion about how men have gotten off with the excuse that not all women can orgasm – and whether it’s because they really can’t or because they haven’t been given the chance.

Yup…we were on our way to Burning Man, but ready to write a thesis on how the sexual revolution needed to be revised to reflect the rise of the female orgasm – with the help of the Golden Clitoris.

But our time together didn’t end there as we had an expectedly 6.5 hour delay at the gates of Black Rock City. No, there wasn’t any traffic when we got there at 10 p.m. on Thursday night, but there was some sort of “over-population” issue happening and the volunteers at the gate couldn’t let us in.  Instead they had to put us in what they call a “staging” area.  This sounds fancy, but it just means a massive line-up on the outskirts of the playa.

Of course, when they put us there, we had no idea we wouldn’t arrive at camp until nearly 5 a.m.

But when surrounded by fellow Burners, you are never bored because that’s when we met Pimm and Michael.

Monday, August 26, 2013

Burning Man Part 3: Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Playa

Two days until I leave for my first Burning Man experience and I’m running trying to get all the last minute stuff down.  I’m now the proud owner of gold and purple shiny disco shorts, an orange tutu, a lavender wig, bunny ears (borrowed from work), orange leg warmers, two different pairs of Steampunk style goggles, a weird fake fur coat and an assortment of shiny, pokey bras and halter tops that rival Madonna’s closet.

I also own killer biker boots and when I say killer, I mean they kill my feet.  Ouch.

Yes, I am colorful and shiny -- and if I had more time and more money, I may even be more bright and shiny. But I’m not exactly a Sparkle Pony. I might just be the Sparkle Pegasus, especially as I’m still worried about the camping part and hoping I can handle the dust, sleeping in the dirt and living outside for 4 days.

But let’s not worry about that now, because I have good news!  I have a ride from the Reno airport to the Playa!!!  I’m very excited about this, but don’t tell my mom because basically I’m doing modern day hitchhiking. 

I posted my desperate request for a ride on the Burning Man message board and a random stranger agreed to pick me up and drive me the 4 hours to the Playa. Very cool – as long as you don’t think about all those warnings you heard as a kid about accepting rides from strangers.

Her name is Tania – and she drives a Mini Cooper.  So she must be safe, right? Because how many mass murderers drive a mini?  It’s a super cool car owned by super cool people. Besides, where would they put the chain saw?  

Friday, August 16, 2013

Burning Man Part 2: Am I a Sparkle Pony?

Counting down to Burning Man. My ticket to Reno on August 30 has been bought and I have to have my suitcase packed and ready to give to my friend on August 24. 

The question is: What do I pack? 

Food is easy. I have my peanut butter and oatmeal (my staples for 12 hour hikes and 24 hour Ragnar runs).  And I gave my friend a couple hundred dollars to simply buy more of whatever he was bringing.  Done.

What I was stressing over was the outfits.  Burning Man is a strange event. You’re supposed to be a free spirit, but yet there is a certain look to “Burners.” 

It seems being a free spirit doesn’t mean wearing your comfy yoga shorts, flip flops and a bikini top.  Your free spirit is apparently your creative spirit and as an attendee of the event, you’re not just there to look at the large, interactive art and sculptures, but be part of the scenery – making you a piece of the art and an active participant of the event.

Oh…the pressure.

Unlike Halloween, you can’t just buy a “Burning Man” costume like you can with a pirate costume or a sexy angel costume.  It’s supposed to be something unique – but there are requirements.

  1.  It needs to be warm as it gets cold at night on the Playa.
  2.  It needs to have lights so you can be seen in the dark and not run over by people on bikes.
  3. It needs to be something you can wear on a bike (no long skirts or things too tight to pedal in).

And I need to find 4 outfits for daywear and 4 for night time fun in a week – for cheap!!!

Pressure. Pressure. PRESSURE.

I ask my friend for advice and he tells me I can wear anything – but I should try not to look like a Sparkle Pony.

Hmmm....I’m so new to this whole Burning Man thing that I don’t know what this is.

So I do what every techie person does; I google it:

Crap…I think I may be a Sparkle Pony.

Monday, August 12, 2013

I'm going to Burning Man!!! (I think)

There are many rules I follow, but one of them is this: If someone offers you the chance to do something you’ve always wanted, say “yes” – even if you’re not sure you can pull it off.

That’s exactly what happened when a friend texted me yesterday saying he had an extra ticket to Burning Man that he wasn’t able to sell. He said I could have it if I went as his last minute back-up date and I found my own way there as he was going early.  I also agreed to paid for the gas on the way back, the hotel and my share of expenses. He would take care of the tent, packing and set-up, etc. Deal!

Burning Man has been on my Bucket List for years.  If you don't know what it is, check out this "what is Burning Man" link (although, I admit it's not that useful.) I’ve gotten close to going in the past, but haven’t actually done it yet for many reasons.  
  1. First of all, the tickets always sell out and the lottery thing is confusing.  
  2. Secondly, it’s expensive.  
  3. And thirdly, I was a little scared to show up by myself as it’s massive and I wasn’t sure how it worked. 
I’m also not a camper so if I went on my own, I would have to rent a tent, sleeping bag and all the gear – and figure out how to put it up by myself in the middle of the desert.


When I got the text message from my friend with the offer, my answer was “yes” – but my head was saying “no, no, no!” This was mostly because Burning Man was not in my budget this year. Even though my friend already had the tent and camping gear, I knew I would have to spend money to pull it off.  There was food to buy, gas and plane money, overnight hotel expenses on the way back as it’s a long drive to Black Rock City from Phoenix, and then the $380 Burning Man ticket  isn’t exactly cheap.

Then there are the costumes.  If you know me, then you know I don’t own anything Burning Man acceptable.  I own work clothes and working out clothes.  I would have to buy everything.

So this last minute trip was going to be a big last minute expense especially as my credit cards were already feeling the pressure of taking on my tuition payments for my Masters Program at Drexel – which brings me to the other reason my head was going “no, no, no!!”  

Burning Man was happening the same week my semester case study, multimedia project and final exam were due.  To pull it off going on the trip, I would have to go into a bit of debt (to pay my share) and I would have to finish my case study and multimedia project a week earlier than expected  -- which would be a struggle considering I only found out about the extra ticket 13 days before the trip.

But the hard part was the writing the final exam as I was supposed to write it the SAME week.   Yup, Burning Man was August 26 to September 2 and I had to write my exam between August 29 and September 2.  The exam is available through an online link – and there is no internet access at Burning Man.

So you see my dilemma? I was screwed.

I instantly went into what I call “spinning mode.” 

I always believe there has got to be way to do something. It just might not be the way you expected to do it.  So I texted my friend:

“What if I only come for part of the week? Is that possible?”

“Yes. Which part?”

“I don’t know yet. When are you driving down?”

“I’m leaving Monday, and starting to drive back on September 2 and back in Phoenix on September 3.”

Hmm….this is not going to work.  More spinning.  Keep in mind I’m trying to save money and was really hoping to at least share a ride back with my friend to cut the costs. Flights were much cheaper during the week than the Labor Day Weekend -- so maybe if I flew back mid-week.  

“What if I go down with you on Monday and then flew back from Reno on Thursday?”

“You mean Thursday September 5?”

“No, August 30.”

“That would suck! You would miss the best part. You would miss the Man being burned and the Temple burning.”

Okay….I guess missing the Man being burned at Burning Man would be bad.  More spinning. The earliest I could write my exam was Thursday morning – if the link was available. Otherwise, I would have to write it on the plane to Reno and then quickly upload it once I landed.  I could be there late Thursday night.  I could then ride back with my friend. Yes, I think this could be doable.

Of course, there was a glitch to my plan.  How would I get from Reno to Black Rock City which was four hours away AND how would I find my friend when I got there in the middle of night?

Sigh….details, details.  I’ll worry about those tomorrow.