"Participate" versus "don't commit your first year"

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Re: "Participate" versus "don't commit your first year"

Postby BeyondIndigo » Fri Jan 27, 2012 11:07 am

Bob wrote:With all due respect, some new comers remind me of scouts expecting to earn all available merit badges before their first scout meeting.


In what way exactly am I doing that? I asked for clarification about what you meant, in what I thought was a concise and respectful way.

You seem to have misinterpreted my meaning in this thread. You make it sound like you think I'm like some kind of naive, overstimulated little kid trying to get round every stall at the local fun fair.

All I said was that I wanted to find SOME WAY to participate. I don't have any intention of trying to volunteer for every available thing. I don't intend to try and work 12-hour shifts every day I'm there. I do enough of those at home. What I said was, I wanted to be sure that I could find some way of being a part of things and making some contribution to the community. That doesn't mean overestimating how much I might be capable of, overcommitting, or running around frantically trying to be a part of every single thing, all the time. I just want to find some small way to be a part of the bigger picture.

I appreciate what you say about having my shit together. I understand that survival is the single highest priority. I have no intention of neglecting my self-care. I'm not an airhead. I'm not even that young anymore (woe!) and I do have my head screwed on right. I fully intend to take care of myself as my first and highest priority.

But you seem to be equating enthusiasm with naïveté, and I think there's a marked difference between the two. I don't intend to be on the wrong side of that dividing line.
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Re: "Participate" versus "don't commit your first year"

Postby lemur » Fri Jan 27, 2012 11:09 am

he did say 'some newcomers' and didnt seem to imply that you were one of them...

only you know about whether youre one..



you arent the only newcomer to read eplaya, and wont be the only one interested in this thread
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Re: "Participate" versus "don't commit your first year"

Postby BeyondIndigo » Fri Jan 27, 2012 11:14 am

lemur wrote:he did say 'some newcomers' and didnt seem to imply that you were one of them...

only you know about whether youre one..



you arent the only newcomer to read eplaya, and wont be the only one interested in this thread


As it was in direct response to a post I made, in which I mentioned Bob by name, I kind of thought that I wasn't making a massive leap to assume I was included in that subset of newcomers. If I'm not, then I'm not.

But I also think that what I stated above could equally apply to other newcomers...that just because they're enthusiastic doesn't mean they are naive. I thought the analogy about scout badges was...well, horrid.
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Re: "Participate" versus "don't commit your first year"

Postby AntiM » Fri Jan 27, 2012 11:18 am

BeyondIndigo wrote:I'm not gonna be able to help so much with practical hands-on things as I have serious tendonitis issues in both of my arms. Anything that puts more than a little weight or pressure on my hands and arms is painful. The doctors say there's noting they can do about it.

I worry about not being able to help with lifting/carrying/etc and people thinking I'm just being a douche or unwilling to help when the truth is that I CAN'T help...

:-/


Oh, crap, ouch. I have tendonitis in my right thumb, can't imagine it in both arms! Mine improves with rest and a brace (yeechhhh).

You can always hand out a cold beer ....
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Re: "Participate" versus "don't commit your first year"

Postby lemur » Fri Jan 27, 2012 12:00 pm

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Re: "Participate" versus "don't commit your first year"

Postby illy dilly » Fri Jan 27, 2012 12:06 pm

BeyondIndigo wrote:I'm not gonna be able to help so much with practical hands-on things as I have serious tendonitis issues in both of my arms. Anything that puts more than a little weight or pressure on my hands and arms is painful. The doctors say there's noting they can do about it.

I worry about not being able to help with lifting/carrying/etc and people thinking I'm just being a douche or unwilling to help when the truth is that I CAN'T help...

:-/

Hum?
Maybe washing peoples hair? Could be kinda yukky, but it would be very nice. Though, I imagine that washing hair could jack with tendinitis as well.

I wasn't so much making a point that only lifting and holding things is the way to help. It was more an example of being in the right place at the right time is very helpful.

Another example, someplace on the main site there are some 'tales from the playa' one of them is about a gal who's friend had to go to medical, and she had to get a bike all the way back across the playa, so random people helped her ride it as far as they could. Those folks were in the right place at the right time. Disclaimer: I only vaguely remember the story and I could be absolutely lying when I tell you it was from the main site, and I apologize for not being able to give the correct source.
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Re: "Participate" versus "don't commit your first year"

Postby Savannah » Fri Jan 27, 2012 12:16 pm

Here we go, Illy Dilly. It was a good story. :)

MoonSplash wrote:On the playa, I've been given as gifts:

The best hugs in the world
a barbecued turkey leg at 2 am while walking randomly in the dark
A bottle of water when I most needed it after a hot sweaty hour of dancing
a leather bracelet with the MAN on it (wore it until it fell apart)
an Arabic scarf
Help with getting rebar out of the playa when I was totally exhausted
Cold fruit
Shaved ice

Most memorable: day 1 in 2008, my friend is suffering terribly from heat stroke when we're a mile away from our camp, I'm a virgin and not sure how this whole thing works and my heart is telling me, "Just Ask For Help." I flagged down a Mutant Art Vehicle and they kindly agree to cart her back to camp. I'm left with two bikes and I'm not coordinated enough to ride my own bike and handle hers as well. And suddenly a stranger walks by and offers to help walk the other bike up a couple of streets - he's gotta turn left, so he cajoles someone else to help me walk the bike another couple of streets... and THAT stranger hands me off to another stranger to help me... home. What a gift.



From the thread Gifts Given and Received:
viewtopic.php?f=3&t=34974
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Re: "Participate" versus "don't commit your first year"

Postby lemur » Fri Jan 27, 2012 12:21 pm

MoonSplash wrote:On the playa, I've been given as gifts:

A bottle of water when I most needed it after a hot sweaty hour of dancing

...my friend is suffering terribly from heat stroke when we're a mile away from our camp, I'm a virgin and not sure how this whole thing works and my heart is telling me, "Just Ask For Help."



a good gift, as tends to be the suggestion for new comers is: dont be that person who needs a bottle of water

and dont be that friend who ends up suffering from heat stroke.

clearly the best gift is not putting yourself in the situation where youll need someone elses water or some medical care..


if you need water as a gift.... yer doin it wrong!
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Re: "Participate" versus "don't commit your first year"

Postby Savannah » Fri Jan 27, 2012 12:44 pm

Yes, don't be that person.

. . . But if you do end up being the person suffering from heat exhaustion, for god's sake go to Medical at 3:00 & C street, 9:00 & C street, or approximately 5:15 and Esplanade immediately, or dispatch a friend or neighbor to one of those locations to come and get you, because heat exhaustion is correctable (and for free). But if not caught, it turns into heat stroke and if you are really badly off, you will be transported off the playa--and that's when it starts to cost you both your Burn and your wallet.

Last year one of my friends (a seasoned Burner) did everything right (ate, drank, slept) and still got heat exhaustion. It happens. She went to Medical while she was still ambulatory and only lost part of a day getting rehydrated.
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Re: "Participate" versus "don't commit your first year"

Postby lemur » Fri Jan 27, 2012 12:53 pm

yep.. lotsa longtime seasoned burners who did it all mostly right ended up with the IV juice plugged into their arms in the med tent..

always fun to try and convince them they are not totally stupid for ending up there.. it can happen to anyone..

no reason to be embarrassed or ashamed of needing help.. get it asap!

in fact now that i think of it more of the old timers have ended up in the med tent than the new
folks (well.. apart from the drunkards who cut themselves/fall on stuff..)
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Re: "Participate" versus "don't commit your first year"

Postby AntiM » Fri Jan 27, 2012 1:08 pm

We were passing in front of medical when a lady waved us down, in tears. She'd been on the Esplanade for four hours, looking for someone who could open a car. The locksmith guy wasn't available until the next day. Sure. We took her with us to our vehicle, across the city, and got the slimjims. While we were stopped, two different people had Larry fix their bikes. He was able to open the car, and she was thrilled. LOL, her sister came out and demanded she hand over the spare key which had been locked in the car.

Right place, right time, totally random.
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Re: "Participate" versus "don't commit your first year"

Postby illy dilly » Fri Jan 27, 2012 1:10 pm

Savannah wrote:Here we go, Illy Dilly. It was a good story. :)


From the thread Gifts Given and Received:
viewtopic.php?f=3&t=34974

BAM!!!Link stalker strikes again

Thanks for having my back!

AntiM wrote:Right place, right time, totally random.

Ahmen!
Totally random, by 'accident' help... Totally saves their burn!!!! And probably saved them some cash!
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Re: "Participate" versus "don't commit your first year"

Postby theCryptofishist » Fri Jan 27, 2012 1:47 pm

Much as I adore the couch, I'm going to tell you not to take Bob too seriously in this case. He's seen a lot of newbies come and go, and recognizes some patterns. You get to have your own experience, don't worry if some of us recognize something broader than that.
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Re: "Participate" versus "don't commit your first year"

Postby Lord Of Ruin » Fri Jan 27, 2012 3:59 pm

I have the easiest and most immediate way to experience giving back for first timers. I did it my first year it was enormously fun.

Set up your camp when you get there. Get yourself a cold drink in whatever you decided to carry with you. Put on your sun hat...then grab a pair of work gloves.

Walk to the nearest camp that isn't fully set up yet. Walk up to someone working and say "Hey, I' m your neighbor and this is my first Burning Man. I'm rested and hydrated...need a extra set of hands or eyes?" Just do it until you have somone that accepts the help. Repeat until you're tired.

Everyone I walked up to at least laughed and hugged me (and I'm a big 6 foot tall guy), some actually got misty that someone "got it" their first year (which I didn't understand why they got all choked up then). Most personal camps struggling with tents, shade, unloading will be super jazzed to get anohter set of hands, especially if they just got done driving.

Easy to do, takes no prep, and helps you meet your neighbors and see the city a bit.

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Re: "Participate" versus "don't commit your first year"

Postby ygmir » Fri Jan 27, 2012 5:39 pm

Lord Of Ruin wrote:I have the easiest and most immediate way to experience giving back for first timers. I did it my first year it was enormously fun.

Set up your camp when you get there. Get yourself a cold drink in whatever you decided to carry with you. Put on your sun hat...then grab a pair of work gloves.

Walk to the nearest camp that isn't fully set up yet. Walk up to someone working and say "Hey, I' m your neighbor and this is my first Burning Man. I'm rested and hydrated...need a extra set of hands or eyes?" Just do it until you have somone that accepts the help. Repeat until you're tired.

Everyone I walked up to at least laughed and hugged me (and I'm a big 6 foot tall guy), some actually got misty that someone "got it" their first year (which I didn't understand why they got all choked up then). Most personal camps struggling with tents, shade, unloading will be super jazzed to get anohter set of hands, especially if they just got done driving.

Easy to do, takes no prep, and helps you meet your neighbors and see the city a bit.

LoR


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Re: "Participate" versus "don't commit your first year"

Postby Savannah » Fri Jan 27, 2012 5:41 pm

Don't say such things, Yggy, or he may stop telling us heartwarming stories.
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Re: "Participate" versus "don't commit your first year"

Postby lemur » Fri Jan 27, 2012 5:49 pm

burning man... come for the work........ stay for the heartwarming stories
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Re: "Participate" versus "don't commit your first year"

Postby Katiebaby25 » Fri Jan 27, 2012 6:21 pm

Savannah wrote:Here we go, Illy Dilly. It was a good story. :)

MoonSplash wrote:On the playa, I've been given as gifts:

The best hugs in the world
a barbecued turkey leg at 2 am while walking randomly in the dark
A bottle of water when I most needed it after a hot sweaty hour of dancing
a leather bracelet with the MAN on it (wore it until it fell apart)
an Arabic scarf
Help with getting rebar out of the playa when I was totally exhausted
Cold fruit
Shaved ice

Most memorable: day 1 in 2008, my friend is suffering terribly from heat stroke when we're a mile away from our camp, I'm a virgin and not sure how this whole thing works and my heart is telling me, "Just Ask For Help." I flagged down a Mutant Art Vehicle and they kindly agree to cart her back to camp. I'm left with two bikes and I'm not coordinated enough to ride my own bike and handle hers as well. And suddenly a stranger walks by and offers to help walk the other bike up a couple of streets - he's gotta turn left, so he cajoles someone else to help me walk the bike another couple of streets... and THAT stranger hands me off to another stranger to help me... home. What a gift.



From the thread Gifts Given and Received:
viewtopic.php?f=3&t=34974


Beautiful, that story gave me chills!
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Re: "Participate" versus "don't commit your first year"

Postby Bob » Fri Jan 27, 2012 8:49 pm

Thought you were Canadian, I was *trying* to be polite.
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Re: "Participate" versus "don't commit your first year"

Postby Chris Wood » Tue Feb 07, 2012 1:58 pm

theres some excellent information on this thread, we were thinking about creating something and bringing it along but after reading this I think just getting there and surviving the first time is the aim...

that said if there are any projects going on in the UK that we can participate in then we'd love to get involved!
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Re: "Participate" versus "don't commit your first year"

Postby Savannah » Tue Feb 07, 2012 2:24 pm

Get in touch with UK Burners here:
http://regionals.burningman.com/eu_uk.html

There's also a General Europe page:
http://regionals.burningman.com/eu.html

And don't forget to search Facebook for Burners in your area.
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Re: "Participate" versus "don't commit your first year"

Postby ZaphodBurner » Tue Feb 07, 2012 2:27 pm

BeyondIndigo wrote:Hi guys. I'm reading through some posts in this forum and trying to reconcile the whole participation ethos with the advice everybody gives to newbies not to commit to anything in their first year.


That was all previous years, when the ratio of virgins to veterans was much smaller.

That can't happen anymore, if 50% or more of the people are virgins, and some huge fraction of them are people who read an article or saw a YouTube video and just want to come out for the weekend expecting everything to be already built for them. The "camps"--which is to say, artists, builders, all of the people who make the city light up at night, are going to need you to participate.

Let me tell you, everybody says "Oh, it's your first burn? Just go out there and have fun" but what causes people to exclaim with joy is a playa virgin with the shit-eating grin plastered on his or her awe-blasted face, who can't wait to help build something.

All the hippie-dippy e-playa shit aside, somehow it just -happens- at Black Rock City that as you do something that seems to be of no reward, expecting none, and something fucking awesome comes around to you in return. It's actually kind of weird, but everybody can give you examples.

The most obvious fucking awesome thing is watching Black Rock City come to life and knowing that -you- helped build it. This year, it's going to need you. Thanks!
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Re: "Participate" versus "don't commit your first year"

Postby remi » Tue Feb 07, 2012 2:28 pm

For my first year, my biggest artistic contributions will be costumes, and a one other secret idea. I don't want to go over the top by joining theme camps with people I don't know just to feel fit in, and I don't want to take on a big task like a mutant vehicle or a big art installation, even though some of the people I'm comming down with own a fab shop. We'll save that for next year.
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Re: "Participate" versus "don't commit your first year"

Postby ZaphodBurner » Tue Feb 07, 2012 2:31 pm

BeyondIndigo wrote:I was just hoping the other poster didn't mean, I dunno, some horrible playa disease that I have yet to hear about.



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Re: "Participate" versus "don't commit your first year"

Postby Elliot » Tue Feb 07, 2012 6:16 pm

Can you sing? To my mind, BRC desperately needs strolling minstrels. Totally set your own schedule, yet contribute immensely. And you have half a year to practice! :D
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Re: "Participate" versus "don't commit your first year"

Postby JCarter » Thu Feb 09, 2012 1:12 pm

The way I see it there are three things you can contribute right off the bat.

1. You are a virgin.
2. Take care of yourself.
3. Be British.

Now you might be thinking to yourself. "Excuse me strange man that looks like Dan Akroyd dressed as Jimmy Carter, I don't see how me being British is a gift."

To which I would respond, "Oh, dear British person, how wrong you are." Remember that there is a TV channel in the United States that is nothing but British people. John Oliver's whole career is centered around his Britishness. If I ran into someone and they said their gifts to me were that they were a virgin and British, I would nod sagely.

Of course, you might say to yourself, "But I would like to do something more tangible or active, Mr vaguely creepy Anglophile."

Think of some things that you do that people in the US might not do or know about and figure out a way to do that with people on the playa.

Bring tea and a few cups, maybe a teapot if you are feeling ambitious.

Make up names for things that sound obscenely British and see how many people you can fool into thinking that is actually what British people call those things.

Tell people that you are one of Doctor Who's dirty secret companions or lesser nobility. The Princess of Sussex has a nice ring.

You don't have to work like you are in a prison movie to participate.

I will leave you with something from John Oliver.

http://www.thedailyshow.com/watch/mon-j ... share_copy
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Re: "Participate" versus "don't commit your first year"

Postby lemur » Thu Feb 09, 2012 1:23 pm

if anything ...being british could allow americans to enjoy your accent!!

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On the plain! Henry And where's that soggy plain?
Eliza In Spain! In Spain! The three
The rain in Spain stays mainly in the plain!
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Re: "Participate" versus "don't commit your first year"

Postby Savannah » Thu Feb 09, 2012 1:54 pm

ZaphodBurner wrote:
BeyondIndigo wrote:Hi guys. I'm reading through some posts in this forum and trying to reconcile the whole participation ethos with the advice everybody gives to newbies not to commit to anything in their first year.


That was all previous years, when the ratio of virgins to veterans was much smaller.

That can't happen anymore, if 50% or more of the people are virgins, and some huge fraction of them are people who read an article or saw a YouTube video and just want to come out for the weekend expecting everything to be already built for them. The "camps"--which is to say, artists, builders, all of the people who make the city light up at night, are going to need you to participate.


TRUE. (Although I don't think the city will be 50% virgin; but that's neither here nor there. 'Cause if I'm wrong . . . even more true).

The most obvious fucking awesome thing is watching Black Rock City come to life and knowing that -you- helped build it. This year, it's going to need you. Thanks!


Agreed. It might not have to be overwhelming either, to be significantly felt. I didn't volunteer or gift at all my first year. Simpler times, simpler city, and I had no idea what ePlaya was, or what I was getting into, or how to manage my time once I got there. But if I'd done one shift somewhere (and additional virgins that year had as well, not just the ones who actually did) it would have been a significant contribution.

Say we get 10,000 virgins this year, and of those--in a normal year--500 would volunteer, 500 would help set up neighboring camps, 500 would bring art or perform on a stage or on the move, and another 500 would gift cold canned beverages (or whatever) . . . i.e., 2,000 people taking a stab at first contributions, in addition to being full participants. (Those are totally made up numbers, of course.)

But if we were to encourage "activity" more than has been standard, and virgins were to accept that they were needed, the normal rates of contribution might be doubled to (an again imaginary) 4,000 people, and that would have even greater ramifications with multiple people per motivated virgin.

. . . I am tentative in my thoughts so far, because I don't want all the virgins to be in the Medical tent by 6pm Monday of the event because they help set up other camps all day and have heat exhaustion. :lol:

Which is why I like this too:

JCarter wrote:The way I see it there are three things you can contribute right off the bat.

1. You are a virgin.
2. Take care of yourself.
3. Be British.


This is true, because if you take care of yourself well out there, it taxes the resources of the city less.

Now you might be thinking to yourself. "Excuse me strange man that looks like Dan Akroyd dressed as Jimmy Carter, I don't see how me being British is a gift."

To which I would respond, "Oh, dear British person, how wrong you are." Remember that there is a TV channel in the United States that is nothing but British people. John Oliver's whole career is centered around his Britishness. If I ran into someone and they said their gifts to me were that they were a virgin and British, I would nod sagely.


JCarter, where have you been? We've needed this. :lol:
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Re: "Participate" versus "don't commit your first year"

Postby some seeing eye » Thu Feb 09, 2012 2:07 pm

BM is a voluntary community of ~50,000 people. A many year participant will know ~500, fewer years, fewer. In life we usually have much longer than a week to make deep and long term connections.

The intent of the gift economy is to create an opportunity for interaction between strangers. The city layout, volunteering, costumes, art installations and other BM design elements are the same. It's been an experience design success through 2011.

So new attendees might ask themselves what is their intent for attending, then plan their participations accordingly. Not that it might change on the spot, of course!

Do you want to meet and connect with UK'ers, Euro's, International, CanadAmericans? Push personal boundaries? Have a psychological reset? Or?

I am a strong proponent of experience gifting rather than material gifting, something to think about too. If you run into a stranger at BM you want to connect with, how does that work beyond offering a trinket? Sure you know situations in your home country and experience where that happened.
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Re: "Participate" versus "don't commit your first year"

Postby Savannah » Thu Feb 09, 2012 3:02 pm

some seeing eye wrote:BM is a voluntary community of ~50,000 people. A many year participant will know ~500, fewer years, fewer. In life we usually have much longer than a week to make deep and long term connections.

The intent of the gift economy is to create an opportunity for interaction between strangers. The city layout, volunteering, costumes, art installations and other BM design elements are the same. It's been an experience design success through 2011.

So new attendees might ask themselves what is their intent for attending, then plan their participations accordingly. Not that it might change on the spot, of course!

Do you want to meet and connect with UK'ers, Euro's, International, CanadAmericans? Push personal boundaries? Have a psychological reset? Or?

I am a strong proponent of experience gifting rather than material gifting, something to think about too. If you run into a stranger at BM you want to connect with, how does that work beyond offering a trinket? Sure you know situations in your home country and experience where that happened.


That is a fantastic point. (Dammit, I can't stop talking in this thread!)

I try to think of the last time someone I ran into gave me an impersonal trinket in the real world--a trinket that wasn't tailored to me, or otherwise meaningful--and that I liked anyway. Nothing comes to mind, because it so rarely happens, and because maybe those aren't memorable. (I will always love Burner necklaces, but even then, I like them to represent a good chat, an interpersonal tie of some kind, or an adventure).

But if I want to think of the last time somebody in the default world gave me an experience, or did something nice for me when I needed it, it's easy to come up with some stuff.

The lady who invited me to go ahead of her in line so I could catch my bus at night.
The random chocolate-covered fig.
Better hand position during billiards.
A ride home.
Being asked to collaborate on the dialogue & costume research for a friend who's doing a short comic story.
An invitation to a great Superbowl party.

Stuff like that . . . assistance, food, a lesson in something, a ride, artistic collaboration, invitations . . . those things translate to the playa in some interesting little ways, and are gifts. You don't necessarily have to plan them all out in advance, one just needs to recognize an opportunity.
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