What a suprising new thread to find about my machine. While it would be nicer to hear stories of fun and good times like the kind words of erosgodess, I understand that "Playa Time" is not always perfect. My effort spent in this response will hopfully lead to better understanding of what really occurred and what my intent is with the creation and operation of my machine. Ultimately, the burn is what you put into it and the memories you take with you.
My first year at the burn, I found that I was denied access to art cars almost every time I asked and though, "I will build my own art car." Watching the other machines, I came up with some fundamentals that I wanted to include in my vehicle.
First and foremost, I wanted her (I will use the female pronoun here as a term of respect for the Exploratorium) to be about people. Many machines had drivers isolated from the passengers and I really wanted to interact with those who might share my experience on the Playa by joining me on my art car. Also, I wanted the vehicle to be open and encourage interaction between the passengers as well.
Some of the people involved with the machine fight "Live Steel" which is real armor and real swords (as seen in Thunderdome Thursday night). Considering that, an open stage for combat, art, poetry, or anything else was thought as the ideal. True, it has become a dance stage as well and thank you everyone who have enjoyed that.
Reality has since set in about what is entailed in an art car. She has enabled me to roam the Playa and see more and meet more people than ever. Unfortunately, these experiences tend to be more transient as people come and go and many use the machine as a taxi. I am happy to give rides and probably too often divert my intended direction to accomodate someone who is, "... camped just right at ______."
Do I remember you, Playa Face? Do I remember you, Markov? Of course I do. Negative situations, sadly, are far too memorable as there are always the question of, "How could I have made that better."
Brutus experienced the playa for the first time this year and did a great job helping me with the art car and most of you probably remember him as "The Bouncer". Me, most refer to me as, "The Cowboy" because of my hat.
One late night, we were cruising the Esplanade near the 3:00 plaza and had a pretty full load. It had been a long night and as the weekend got closer, there was a much different vibe with people just jumping all over the machine without a, "May I have a ride?" or "Do you have room?" or even without the courtesy of even waiting for us to slow down to let you know either way.
That night was one night where Brutus "The Bouncer" was driving and I (Captain Chuck aka The Cowboy) was doing what I could to keep everyone on and around the machine safe. This is when we met you, Playa Face. I remember approaching you as you ran through the darkness, jumped on the moving machine, and planted yourself right in front of the driver.
Approaching you, I grabbed your shoulder to get your attention, told you not to jump on a moving art car, and asked you to sit in the back. As I recall, you said, "Don't fucking touch me." I then tried to explain that I needed you to show some respect for the machine and the people aboard. Again, I heard "Fuck you!" You were then told, "Get the fuck off my machine." and, of course, you did. The time for discussing whether or not I was too agressive with my shoulder grab was over. You were pissed and I really wanted to move along.
As I stood on the front of the machine, you approached me, as though you wanted to fight. This was far from my goal but I would deal with you on whatever terms you chose. It was probably Brutus standing behind me that changed your tune from wanting to kill me to saying, "If I see this machine around, I am going to fuck it up."
So let's recap. Now you have endangered yourself and those on board by jumping up in front of the driver, you have threatened me personally, and you have threatened physical damage to the vehicle. Is it any suprise that you were asked to leave? I was not there the second time but did you really come to apologize?
The second unfortunate occurence was with you, Markov. Having had been towed in previous years, I was sympathetic to the request by another art car for a tow on Sunday. We tied a 15-20' rope between the machines and hung some red cloth from them and took them for a tour around the playa.
Enter Markov on his bicycle. Though I could not see him approaching the two vehicles from the side (and behind me), I could hear the yelling of warnings toward the bicyclist from the car I was towing. They had seen Markov approaching to side between the two MOVING vehicles. They yelled that there was a rope and to stop for the last 50 feet of his journey; before he ran into the rope, crashed his bike, and damaged the other art car.
Everyone was concerned for your well being, including myself and the one I believe was operating the PA system. Once you said you were alright, he said something in jest, perhaps about the strobe light (which, incidentally, is 22 feet off of the ground and in broad daylight, does not seem so blinding).
While I am sorry for your misfortune, Markov, I may have been a participant, but I certainly did not "cause" it. Thank you for your kind words about your '03 experience, but if you want to talk about owning responsibility, own up to the fact that you just wrecked your bike in an unfortunate situation and thank goodness you are ok and thank goodness that anybody can laugh about it.
I agree with Playa Face with the question, "Did anyone else have problems with these guys?" Please, post them here and let me know. It is my intent to provide as much fun and entertainment as possible without getting anybody hurt. Also, for those of you who might have enjoyed their time with the Exploratorium, please share those experiences as well. That is what she was made for and those stories are what inspire me to put forth the effort to not only bring the machine each year, but to improve her to make her even more fun; which, hopefully, will allow me to meet and interact with even more of the phenomenal people I have met at Burning Man.
Thank you KrystalWolf and DivaDiane for your passion and your support. It was my pleasure and honor to camp with you and share all those playa experiences including all the great times on the Exploratorium.