Greetings fellow burners

Greetings fellow burners

Postby chinacatsunflower » Tue Mar 11, 2008 10:06 am

This year will actually be my first burn. My friends on the west coast have been going for a few years now and have been urging me to join them. My only dilema is that I reside on the east coast and havn't been able to convince anyone to take the long journey with me. I have registered with the New Jersey tribe (that is where I live, unfortunately) so hopefully I will meet some people there, but if anyone lives in the tri-state area and wants to help organize a theme camp with me, or else just make the 2000+ mile drive with me, I would be happy to hear from you!
I have a ford ranger pickup and plan to buy/rent/build a trailer as well so I shouldn't have much problem taking one (1) other person's belongings. More than that and we will have to organize some sort of caravan.
Anyway, hoping to hear from you fellow east coast burners, or anyone else for that matter!

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Postby Funky Monkey Mech » Tue Mar 11, 2008 10:13 am

Hey Hey i am Stationed on the West Coast ( San Diego) but i am originally from Bergen County New Jersey... If you need a camp to stay with let me know i am a member of Stag Camp a great mix of guy and girls that just want to hang out and have a good time..... let me know if your interested or find our thread in 2008 Theme Camps. As for the Drive i can't help there... i can try and contact some of my east cost friends i know that 2 of our camp mates from Mass are driving out again this year so you can come over to our thread and try and find them or you can find them on our tribe at the link below. Hope to hear from you :)

http://tribes.tribe.net/stag_camp?_clic ... da5b65a%5D
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Postby BitterDan » Tue Mar 11, 2008 11:02 am

I love ambitious newbies who want to start a theme camp. So clueless about what actually goes into a theme camp. :wink:
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Postby chinacatsunflower » Tue Mar 11, 2008 12:29 pm

Hey now, I am not completely clueless as to the goings-on of burning man :wink: A theme camp may very well be out of my reach this year, and it certainly will be if I cannot enlist the help of some local burners. I just don't have the resources to organize something like that myself. However, I am an experienced camper, i have access to virtually every power tool you can think of including a machine lathe, my dad is an experienced carpenter (and amature machinist) and has already begun helping me contruct my shade structure (I am opting to build a traditional mongolian-style yurt with a wood lattice wall, an exceptionally strong structure resistant to wind), and additionally I am a professional chef with personal connections to food suppliers, so I was hoping to set up some sort of communal kitchen or at least feed as many people as I can.

I may be ambitious, but I am not naive, and I know what sort of environment awaits me at Black Rock. I guess I won't really know until I get there, but I have done a lot of research (and continue to do so almost every day) and I think I have a pretty good idea of what I need to do to build a "successful" camp. Thanks to all that have replied, and Funky Monkey, I will try to contact your friends in Mass. and see if we can't put something together.

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Postby BitterDan » Tue Mar 11, 2008 2:38 pm

may be ambitious, but I am not naive


Oh I didnt mean to imply that your were naive just that there are a lot of newbies who get gung-ho and want to start a theme when they really have no idea what that means (other than what they've seen in pictures). Theme Camps are expensive and usually require many people to run efficiently. For example, the booze ALONE for Moonshine Tavern last year was over $5000. That was just booze and not counting the cost of the public shelters, the cost of food, the logistics of getting 12 people crammed into a theme camp placement, etc.

Additionally if you "run" a theme camp guess were you spend your time at burning man? That's right. You end up stuck at camp the whole time. Trust me, burning man is not as fun when you are stuck at camp.

If you want my advice (hell, you dont have to want it, I am gonna give it to you anyway) then I would forget the Theme Camp for your first year and just concentrate on getting there with a regular camp (or join someone else's theme camp. Just be sure to know what they expect of you and what you expect of them). Once you have BEEN to burning man and you KNOW what it's all about, then start thinking Theme Camp. Trust me, no matter how much you THINK you know about Burning Man, you've barely touched the surface. You cannot know what Burning Man is like until you have actually been there; no matter how many people have attempted an explanation.

Sorry if my post came across as brash, I didn't intend it that way. You'll find that I am a snarky bastard so get used to it. :wink:
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Postby Funky Monkey Mech » Tue Mar 11, 2008 2:54 pm

I lived right down the street from you guys last year... i started my morning at pancake playhouse then got a little bit of your booze to wake me up in the morning.... :) did you guys actually have moonshine last year cause i asked for it once and the bartender pored about a shot in my glass and it tasted like everclear... but stronger... more of a kick to it... and you guys also had that amazing drink apple pie or cider or apple somthing that was way good dude...


Also another thing you can think about insted of doing a MEGA HUGE theme camp... there was a few people who set up little playa booths that they worked part time.. like Starfuckers... or the russian people out by 10 oclock and deep playa that would cook pancakes with caviar to give out to people with a shot of vodka mixed with pickle juice and cucumber slices for breakfast... or like me with my night time traveling bar... i would load up 1 massive backpack, a bullhorn, and sometimes my bike and then pick a random spot between the man and esplnade put out some lights and glowey shit and make a bar on the playa and serve drinks... i now call my self the Moble Playa Bar and Lounge....
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Postby BitterDan » Tue Mar 11, 2008 3:02 pm

did you guys actually have moonshine last year cause i asked for it once and the bartender pored about a shot in my glass and it tasted like everclear... but stronger... more of a kick to it.


Absolutely! I think there was 20 gallons of shine last year and hopefully 25 this year. Synergy's shine isn't as potent as hillbilly shine. I believe it ranks around 140 proof. It does burn like hell on the way down though.
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Postby Funky Monkey Mech » Tue Mar 11, 2008 3:15 pm

Yeah it does WOW lol i thought it was gunna rust my canteen cup! WOAH!!!
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Postby chinacatsunflower » Wed Mar 12, 2008 6:49 pm

I have done a lot of reading, and thinking since my first post and have more or less decided that for this year at least I will be sticking to a rather small camp. I have more than sufficient resources for myself and a handful of other people, so if I meet anyone new in my area between now and then, great, if not, I'm not going to loose any sleep over it. I have enough on my plate right now with planning my own camp site and openening two restaurants in the next month. Let's hope at least one of them is still open come labor day.

I totally feel you about being stuck at camp...I want the freedom to discover BM for myself and don't need the added responsibility. Anyhow, I may or may not join another camp, but I am leaning towards a smaller camp with a group of friends I will be meeting there a couple days before the burn (I plan to go as early as I can to do a "land grab" and have the camp more or less set up by the time everyone else gets there). This way, I have the opportunity to meet people etc. on my own terms and experience everything the first time by myself--everyone else I am going with has already burned multiple times.

Funky--those all sound like cool ideas, however, I think I am going to keep most of my "goodies" close to my camp, but you definately got me thinking about some shit. Preparing food was one of the first problems I worked through, but never thought to take it anywhere other than my own camp. I guess it depends where my camp is relative to the city and all the "action" or whatever (forgive my ignorance in this case, I have never actually been there). Expect some sort of food service and rudimentary bar set-up at the very least.

I was thinking a couple kegs may be the way two go to reduce waste.. my worry is how I will keep them cold (there's gotta be a cooler big enough for two pony kegs, right?). I want to keep the glass and cans to a minimum as they are a source of massive, stinky waste and who wants to waste water rinsing out 50 beer bottles. I think I have the food part covered, but any tips on liquor storage, etc. would be appreciated.


Anyway, thanks for all the response, I am sure you all are quite accustomed to enthusiasm bordering on delusions of grandeur. However, I am fairly certain that whatever I decide to do, when you all meet me and see my camp, you will be surprised that I am a "first year". At least I hope so :)
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Postby BitterDan » Wed Mar 12, 2008 7:30 pm

I was thinking a couple kegs may be the way two go to reduce waste.. my worry is how I will keep them cold (there's gotta be a cooler big enough for two pony kegs, right?). I want to keep the glass and cans to a minimum as they are a source of massive, stinky waste and who wants to waste water rinsing out 50 beer bottles. I think I have the food part covered, but any tips on liquor storage, etc. would be appreciated.


There is ice for sale at the event so you could just keep icing them down. At night there's not as much concern but during the day you'll need to keep the kegs sheltered and cold.

Regarding cans: There is an aluminum recycling center right next to Center Camp. You have crush your own cans but you won't have to haul them out. They won't take bottles though, just aluminum. Think Tecate and PBR. :D

If you're going to bring liquor it is best to bring the plastic bottle kind. It sucks to have a bottle break in your camp and you are stuck trying to pick up shards of glass mixed with Playa Soup.
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Postby chinacatsunflower » Wed Mar 12, 2008 7:41 pm

Oh I will definately have enough ice, that is not the issue, only the container. I don't want it to be in an open bucket or something like that as the ice well melt rapidly in the midday heat, even in the shade--I had this experience in west va when it was only about 90 or so. The keg needs to be in something insulated. I was thinking of a cooler big enough for 1, maybe 2 kegs (I can always tap them one at a time) with one of those flaps on top to run the tap through so you don't have to open the whole lid every time you pour a pint. That's about as far as I have thought it through.
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Postby AntiM » Wed Mar 12, 2008 8:13 pm

If you are serving food, you are supposed to have a health permit. Info on the main site. There's some good threads about coolers and ice on eplaya in the Q&A section, one of them is a sticky thread .. dry ice discussion also gets into regular ice and coolers.

We're a smallish camp (4~12 people, it varies) inside a larger village. There's as many ways to do burning man as there are people. We serve art, not food! :lol:
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Postby chinacatsunflower » Wed Mar 12, 2008 8:43 pm

Yeah, I read through the dry ice thread already. My plan is to get 2 25 lb blocks here before I leave and load a cooler (my freezer, if you will) with the dry ice and about 10-15 gallons of frozen water in assorted gallon and half gallon jugs which will serve to cool my beverage and food coolers as well as provide cold ass drinking water when it melts most of the way--keeping the water sealed means it doesn't get all your shit wet and turn into grey water that will stink to high heaven after a few days. Additionally I will have 4-5 bags of cubed ice for beer and drinks in between two stacks of the larger ice which will not touch any food products. This will be a large cooler, one of those ~100 gallon jobs. If I have any room after that, I will put any frozen foods I can fit. When I get to Reno I will reup on my dry ice to the tune of another 50 or so lbs so I figure everything in the "freezer" should stay frozen for a week or so. Maybe I'll even have extra dry ice to use for super cool visual effect.

Thanks for the heads up on the health permit. Does this apply if I am serving anyone outside my camp, like if I am just having a meal with my neighbors? I will look into it.
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Postby AntiM » Wed Mar 12, 2008 8:47 pm

A meal with neighbors should be okay, serving random passerby, less so. Not everyone gets nailed, but some people have been inspected. Do check the regs so you know worse case scenario.

Can you lift a 100 qt cooler when full?

I made cooler covers out of quilted material my first year out. we're still using them, although I had to go through a training phase with some of our campmates.
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Postby chinacatsunflower » Wed Mar 12, 2008 9:09 pm

The cooler will be on some sort of wheeled device (or else it will stay in the trailer until I get someone to help me move it:). They have them on the beach here on these big baloon tires and a frame of pvc. Guys go around selling bottles of water and shit to people laying out. It has to be elevated from the ground anyway. I would love to hear more about your cooler covers.
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Postby AntiM » Wed Mar 12, 2008 9:20 pm

They're simply quilted fabric and some fake fur sewn into "cozies" which drop over the coolers. Fitted, but not too tight. We still keep the coolers in the shade and on carpet. We have a drink cooler and a food cooler, a small car cooler for the trip, and a smallish hospitality cooler which holds beer and juice for our guests so we aren't rummaging in the deep drink cooler all the time. Some years we bring a freezer cooler, some years not so much. Did the dry ice thing but it carbonated our cream puffs and we haven't done that again. Oh, and a small cooler for the four-wheeled bike, in a treasure chest. And a very small dry cooler which never sees ice, but holds the medicines and make-up and such things.

A veritable plethora of coolers.
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Postby plowman » Wed Mar 12, 2008 9:33 pm

Watch out about getting in early. You have to have a pass.
You have to get permission. You have to be a volunteer and get
approval or you have to be in a registered theme camp and get approval.
You cannot just drive up and say you are here early to get a camp
space. They will turn you away. The gates open at 12:01 August 25th
Enjoy your " Long strange trip" to burning man.
We are hoping to camp around 8:45 and "F" again this year.
Stag Camp is in it's 2nd year, We come from all over. We all met last year on eplaya. No one knew each other before then
The only requirement for our camp is to be self sufficiant
"but everyone shares". We are not a registered theme camp so our
location might not be exactly at 8:45 and "F" again, we do the land grab also.
You are more than welcome to join us. (no dues no fees just show up)
If you choose not to thats cool too. But please come by and say high.
I would like to meet you
We will once again be flying the "Steal your face" flag (with teddybears)



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Postby chinacatsunflower » Wed Mar 12, 2008 9:49 pm

I wasn't talking about early arrival, only arriving earlier than my fellow campers, probably around first light of the first day so I can place my structures accordingly.

I know about stag camp, and am not sure if I want to go that way or not. I'm thinking my first year I would like to see what I can do by means of radical self-reliance!

It sounds like you have about as many coolers I am contemplating bringing. Definately needs to be some sort of cooler art or something.
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Postby theCryptofishist » Thu Mar 13, 2008 3:11 pm

chinacatsunflower wrote:I was thinking a couple kegs may be the way two go to reduce waste.. my worry is how I will keep them cold (there's gotta be a cooler big enough for two pony kegs, right?).
Apparently you can just cool the beer as it comes out through the tubes. They were talking about that in the Burning Man Tribe on tribe.net.
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Postby BitterDan » Thu Mar 13, 2008 3:25 pm

Yes, you can absolutely do that. You need a CO2 canister (or 3) and a keg dispenser cooler (you can actually rent these). Basically the keg sits on the ground and inside the cooler are aluminum tubes that spiral like a water heater. You fill the cooler with ice and it cools as it goes thru the iced tubes. Works very well. You will still want to keep those kegs in the shade and covered though because hot beer will not get cold enough through the tubes. It's definitely easier than keeping whole kegs cold though.
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Postby chinacatsunflower » Thu Mar 13, 2008 5:41 pm

I used to be an engineering student, so the physics of that obviously make sense.

however...

One of the main things that affects the quality of beer over time is heat. Having beer at "burning man room temperature" would quickly lead to skunked beer, I would guess in a couple days. One way to prevent this is to use beer that has a lot of hops which acts as a preserving agent (it's how IPA was invented). Additionally, the warmer a liguid gets, the less gas it can keep soluble so warm beer, even if it is protected by hops, will go flat faster if it is not cold, especially if you keep pouring from the keg. If you don't use the keg during the day when it is warm, but wait until night, this probably wouldn't be a factor so much but you always have to worry about skunking. There are few things worse than having a half keg of beer you can't drink.

edit...

a small p.s.

if you plan to finish the keg the day you tap it (and shortly after you hault it out to the playa, I would recommend...), the cooling the liquid in the tubes thing is a fine solution, but the keg can't be hot, as dan mentioned. One of the kegs I am bringing is for my friends from the west and has to keep for 3-4 days not counting the drive so this won't work for me, I have to keep it cold for that time or it will die a slow, painful death by microbes.
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Postby BitterDan » Thu Mar 13, 2008 5:44 pm

Trust me, we don't care about the quality of the beer. Flat beer is better than no beer. Shit, we drink PBR all week. Piss would be better tasting than that swill. :D
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Postby chinacatsunflower » Thu Mar 13, 2008 5:55 pm

haha, I appreciate the sentiment...but, I care about the quality of the beer;) If I can serve beer in its finest state, I will. Hell, I would sacrifice a lot if I could have a quality, cold pint. Also, it would break my heart to destroy the hard work of a lot of hard working, skilled local brewers. Maybe I can get my friends to swing by stone brewery before the come and pick me something up fresh...if all else fails I will buy a pallet of pbr cans.
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Postby Funky Monkey Mech » Thu Mar 13, 2008 8:49 pm

ohh ohhh what about Dry Ice packed around the keg to keep it cold... friend of mine did that with her kegs of raspberry mojtos!
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Postby BitterDan » Thu Mar 13, 2008 8:59 pm

I'd worry about freeze and expansion but I've never tried so I can't attest to whether or not it works.
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Postby chinacatsunflower » Thu Mar 13, 2008 9:25 pm

You know what, that just may work...while I would be worried about freezing the keg, it could definately take the pressure, and I would think that if it froze, it would only be partially. As long as there is some liquid, it will pump through the tap, theoretically. If your friends said it worked for them I guess this is confirmation of this.

I was thinking maybe at night time, have it in some sort of semi-open container filled with cold water and dry ice. It wouldn't loose too much heat if the ambient temp is around 40-50, and the dry ice would keep the water cooold and smokey.

If it froze, you could always thaw it out I guess. The problem with freezing beer in cans or bottles is that it will burst the container before it finsihes freezing and makes a huge mess, but a keg could definately handle that stress. It would be an interesting experiement anyway..
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Postby chinacatsunflower » Tue Mar 18, 2008 5:59 pm

I just wanted to thank everyone who took the time to respond and/or answer my questions. I have a pretty good idea where I am going and what all needs to happen over the next few months. I look forward to hearing from all of you in the future, and to meet you this labor day!

I had a pretty cool gift idea the other day while I was sitting down to some fine mexican cuisine--Burning Man hot sauce! I don't know if this has been done before, but I couldn't resist the idea once I had it. I even have a couple designs for labels. One reason spicy foods tend to be popular in hotter climates is that it actually helps regulate your body temperature. The "heat" from the capsaicin makes you sweat which cools you down and also induces a craving for water which helps keep you hydrated.

I was thinking of doing a "full burn" with habeneros, a "partial burn" with chipotles and a "green burn" with fresh jalapenos and tomatillos. The health dept. shouldn't give me too much trouble for hot sauce, right? We'll see if it works out.

Anyway, again thank you to everyone who responded to this post. See you in a few short months...
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