Burning Man Sketchbook: Wednesday
Wednesday morning, I was up just after dawn. The sunlight was bright outside my tent. It turned into a beautiful day. Across the road, a forest of dome tents had sprung up overnight. That was the home port of the Green Tortoise, the daily lifeline to Gerlach. Over by Moonbeam’s camp, someone called my name. It was Star! It was great to see her again. She was all bundled-up in a sleeping bag on one of the camp chairs.

In the bar, I talked to Spoon, who had the perfect phrase to conclude an uncomfortable conversation: “Get away!” That was the morning I took advantage of the camp shower. I’m not sure I would have put it right in plain view of the stage and everyone in the bar, but hey. I lugged over one of my water jugs and took an invigorating cold shower. It felt great to get my hair clean.

Breakfast was a packet of tuna, chased down with beer. I walked out to the playa, the air brisk but still. I didn’t want to get too tied up with anything, because that was the day I volunteered at Burning Man Information Radio. Located right off Center Camp, the room I worked in was actually the back of refrigerated truck. (Besides being cooler, it was mostly soundproof.) I was shown the computer program I had to work with, Adobe Audition, which was pretty easy to learn. My job was to record public service announcements from people as they came in, advertising events, art projects and parties. The master fader had to be turned down, to avoid overmodulation, and I had to pay attention to the sound levels.
During the afternoon, I got to meet fire dancers, pirate ninjas, and the Flaming Lotus Girls. I recorded their announcements, then saved them to the computer for editing. PSA’s that needed extra work, like background music, were saved in a separate folder. Folks coming by with immediate stuff were sent around to talk to the DJ. I worked with a very interesting guy called Lucky. He’d done lots of voice work for radio, owned his own business, and dabbled in politics. He once ran for mayor of Phoenix, and was thinking of running for senate. He actually did the voice-overs for a couple of PSA’s. I got to meet Dogzilla, the guy in charge. He was a little late arriving because he was out “getting cheesed.” (He had dressed up as a slice of cheese, and people dressed as mice chased him.) I also met a very nice girl named Christa. Someone whose name I did not catch came in to record the daily news from the “default world.” Burning Man organizer had held a press conference to talk about that year’s theme, and said that, after “the floating world,” he was determined to hot have themes that could also be somebody’s “high school prom.” In no time at all, it was 4 PM, and my shift was over. I knew I’d be volunteering there again. It was neat working in one of the few air-conditioned places in Black Rock City.

On the way back to HOTD, I got sidetracked at a camp just off 7:30—they announced they were serving homebrew beer. So, I relaxed there for a while. I met a very nice girl with a peacock feather tattoo on one arm. Lots of good people there, and good beer. Lots of good beer. I stumbled back to Hair of the Dog, where music was already being played on stage. Someone called my name—it was Gomer! I went over and gave him a hug. I also met a sweet girl named Lisa and a guy called Cannibal.. Star, wearing a top hat, was helping to tend bar.

For supper, I’d put a can of ravioli on the dashboard of my car, to be heated by the sun. Boy, did it work! The can was almost too hot to pick up. I watched an art car drive by. It was built to look like the Flintstones' car. Someone remarked that there were several like that on the playa, possibly because a recent popular magazine had done an article about how to make one at home. I went back to BMIR for the “cocktail hour” and gave away a bunch of “press passes” I’d made with a radio station design I came up with. They all seemed like really nice people. Out on the playa, the Lamplighters were busy lighting up the city. They take their job very seriously. That was the night of the “assless chaps” party at Pandora’s. Everyone had to expose their butt to attend. That’s where I ran into Becka and even more Burners from the Midwest, including Celebration, Aldric, Quill and the delightful Infinity. I may have seen General Loofah. I think that’s also where someone gave me some awesome Burning Man swag: a colorful, metal medallion. I wore for the whole rest of the festival. That was a fun party. I think I called it an early night that evening. So much is just a blur…

The Journey West
The Sketchbook
The Journey East
Broken Arrow to Albuquerque
Black Rock City to Provo
Albuquerque to Las Vegas
Provo to Pueblo
Las Vegas to Beatty
Pueblo to Broken Arrow
 Beatty to Black Rock City
Dashboard cooking 
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