Good Morrow Poopers!
Presenting the Potte Project 2012 FINAL WIPE-UP!
It was actually an OK year for shit, Campers. Steve, the Field Manager of USS and Mike, the Site Operations Manager, informed me that the amount of garbage in the potties was about the same as last year. But we’ve been doing so well these last couple years! My only explanation for this was a 10% increase in newbie population that caused this STATISTICAL slip. Overall, there was a net decrease in baby-wipes, but an increase in what I call “party trash”. This is general trash, cans, bottles, whateverthefuck… garbage that doesn’t belong there! So the work continues relentless. The mission of the Pottie-Project is to get the message into everyone’s head, even when they don’t give a shit about anything else! I get to see the horror and it’s not pretty. Next year if I’m able to split the city, I’m hoping to get back on track.
USS and the Glopeta-Glopeta Machine
For all you Campers that didn’t get to come out with me to JotS Camp this year, you missed quite the treat! The Glopeta-Glopeta Machine! This is basically a huge dryer-shaped tube that slowly spins the sludge, sifting it of garbage. This is WAY more efficient and safe than the cyclone fence separator. We still had a stupid amount of trash in the toilets, but their crew was able to process it without incident or injury that I’m aware of. Congratulations guys on an excellent decision.
There was one important improvement suggestion by Steve: he recommended: a NO PARKING sign on both sides of each bank set about 20’ from the doors. There was a problem this year of people parking their cars too close to the banks and the trucks had difficulty getting through. I’m thinking something with a picture of a forklift would be appropriate. I’m passing this on to HazMatt to present to DPW, as it would involve drilling two posts at each bank. Great idea!
VOLUNTEERS: participating in the BEST job in BRC!
Black Rock Army and Stag Camp were my go-to camps for volunteers this year. Due to the amazing managerial expertise of these two camps, I was able to recruit enough enthusiastic volunteers for the entire week. Thank you very much CO, Smashy, Motsky Plowman and gosh EVERYONE who helped get people into my car!
This was Gonzo Frothwood’s 5th year out there. Once again, he carried me thru the event with amazing stamina and patience. His role is as well crucial – he educates and leads by example my volunteers. While I’m spewing forth on the bullhorn or wrangling Pottie Friends, he and the volunteers are distributing tp to the units and mooping the area. He reports that he often is asked about excremental correctness by participants while he’s working, and of course he knows the answers. Excellent backup! Let’s give a round of applause to Gonzo Frothwood for his amazing commitment!
For 12 years, I’ve been begging…BEGGING for full-time help with the Pottie Project. All this time, other than Gonzo’s assistance, I’ve only been able to get short-time, albeit enthusiastic and extraordinarily committed volunteers. This year toward of the event, CO, Mayor of MASH 4207th asked me to hire him for next year. HOLY SHIT ON A THIN SLICE! I was truly floored when he asked me. I graciously accepted his commitment, and advised him that what I truly want to do is to split the city. I HAVE GOT TO SPLIT THE CITY!!! I can’t keep doing this shit at 2 mph and do anything close to what I believe to be a decent job! The fucking time sucker is now driving time! I spew forth on the PA with PSA’s the whole time that I’m not negotiating my way thru an intersection, but FUCK it’s grueling!
So I told him: there are two things that he must be able to do to pull this off: One – he must be loud and proud. He then looked to Oregon Red, and she looked at him. They both said – yep I can do that. Heh! If there’s one person that can take this bull by the proverbial horns, its CO. The other thing that I said he must have is to be vehicle mobile, to which he replied: “Gawd damn it Robbi! You’re MAKING me build an Art Car?!? By his own admission, he’d wanted to get a tank for years, and he now has a mission to build The Septic Tank, outfitted with a pants cannon to launch toilet paper rolls to his volunteers. Nice performance art idea! Good luck CO!
The Pottie-Friend program got even better this year! Throughout the city, I was able to front load tp for the event and they stayed on top of it thru the whole week. I am sincerely grateful for their efforts in helping with this important community effort. I’ll apologize in advance for mis-writing/remembering camp names, or those that helped that I didn’t get on my list:
Thomas & Marta @ Campo Santo
Rocky & Wes @ Camp Beer Belly
CRAIG! (what a beautiful man)
Lee @ Dirty Mitts
Jasmine @ Elbow Camp (I call them the elbow lickers – long story)
Phil & Kenny @ The Pottie Pigs! Holy shit – they are amazing!
Sarah (you know who you are)
Bounce – sorry I couldn’t find you again.
Spirit Dream – what a lovely group!
Jesse & James @ Birch tree
Tabasco @ Iron Monkey
Robin Hood and Capt Visqually @ Wet Dreams
Crystal and DanD
Casa de HoustErin
Adam @ The Crossing
Feral @ LAF
Ian @ Camp Stop, Don’t Stop
Bill @ Heaven’s Devils
Biffy Bar and Lavatory Lounge – Cripes! What a party!
John & Tiki
Gabriel, Sabastian, and Jason – lovely gents!
Part of the responsibility of being a Pottie Friend is just keeping an eye on things, and I leave the level of scrutiny up to these camps. Some are better than others, to be sure. One complaint I heard from a couple PF camps this year early on was about “hovered” units. When I encountered a “hovered” unit – one where some lame-brained jerk crapped on the seat – I’d zip the unit so nobody would have to witness this catastrophe. An NOBODY wants to get “hovered”. When it came up, I instructed my Pottie-Friends to zip the units should they discover this horror. Steve is ok with this procedure. These instructions will be included on next year’s Pottie Friend laminate.
Back to Poop Patrol: Thank you CO for posting my call out for volunteers at your front door! Just for the record, here’s the job description:
The shift is 4 hours long, or whatever works the best for you.
Help Gonzo and RobbiDobbs distribute toilet paper to camps in line of sight of the pottie banks so they can keep us in paper AT NIGHT.
Spread the word about Excremental Correctness
Make the USS guys happy.
Promote the Adopt a Potty-Bank program.
Make sure RobbiDobbs stays hydrated and sane.
This last item is crucial and not bullshit. Volunteerism isn’t just about humming toilet paper. Sometimes it’s just making sure Robbi doesn’t go off the deep end. I’m pulling down 12 hour days, and with the WHOLE FUCKING CITY in my head, I forget to take care of myself. I have SO MUCH LOVE for my volunteers for staying on task. Note to self: a quart jug is the perfect size to refill and keep filled. If I feel weird (!), just STOP and empty that jug. This totally worked as a general protocol. As it was, I did have a melt-down on Friday afternoon, but it was remarkably short-lived. When it hit, I immediately stopped at the closest Pottie-Friend’s camps – Craig’s. Gonzo and he chatted while I cried it out and drank the damn playa-punch until the endorphins kicked in. Thank you Craig! I also had a bad turn at DPW Depot on Monday due to mild heatstroke, but I got rescued. I’d also like to thank Ranger Sasquatch. Nobody messed with his Robbi this year.
Poop Patrol and Pottie Friend isn’t the only volunteer needs of the Pottie Project. Oh hell no! It can also be a camp that is just always there as a support. On Wednesday, I was on 7 days without a shower, and I was getting fucking SURLY! Due to scheduling conflicts thru normal channels, at the end of my proverbial rope, I went to my favorite chill camp: Barbie Death Camp, and begged Doc Pyro to help me. Like the managerial wizard that he is, he made this happen. What a huge difference a single, albeit engineeringly difficult, relief this was. Thank you Doc and the participants at BDC/WB that made warm water flow! On Monday, I was able to secure a 2nd shower. Thank you Mike! I cannot start to tell you how important that gift was!
After the event, I stumbled upon Medic 26’s camp. Apparently, she’d wanted to hook up with me all event to get the low-down on my art project. Pre-event, she’s inundated with virginal enthusiasm, and ESD just can’t put these good people to work in her venue. She’d known about my project for a while, and as playadipity will serve – I ran into her randomly! We had a lovely chat at her camp with her gracious S.O. who served me chilled Snapple tea. Email addresses were exchanged etc. I believe this could be the beginning of an excellent resource. Thank you Medic 26!
PARTICIPANT ART: positive attention is always appreciated
I just LOVE it when participants take their creative juices and decorate the porta-johns! We had several groups this year decorating the units and entertaining the poopulation.
The Potty-razzi: this camp would watch for someone to go into a unit. They’d then roll out a red carpet, and about a dozen people would greet the unsuspecting participant with WILD enthusiasm ala Hollywood.
Butler service: a butler with theater stands would “seat” a participant. Comfort offerings included scented oils and ass-gaskets. I heard a line formed at this unit even though there were open ones available.
The Fabulous Bathrooms sign and Toilet Bowl game: on open-playa banks, there was unattended entertainment for the excreting masses. Nice.
The greeting card tunes in the random units all over the city continued. I think people look forward to them now! I always smile when I first find one.
Biffy Bar and Lavatory Lounge: at the 8:30 inner bank this camp set up an open walled tent with a bar and lounge that served coconut water. They had music on HUGE speakers and a regular party went on all week. They were outstanding!
The Potty Pigs: Phil and Kenny for the 13th year generously served at the 4:00 inner bank. They provide a comfort station table with a protected stand of TP, baby-wipes (and trash basket), and a plethora of goos for the masses. I love you guys!
NOT SO NICE STUFF: when good intentions go foul
Pre and post event USS zips up the central units so they’re not used. This is to make cleaning more efficient. There are some misguided but no doubt community minded citizens that are under the belief that these units were forgotten or otherwise being “blocked” from use. The zipties are being popped by these participants. These units don’t have tp or blue schmoo and units are freed up/shut down as the population increases/decreases. Next year, I’ll make specific signs about the zipties for the exterior to notify the population that they are there for a purpose and are to be left on.
Every year it’s the same bullshit – somebody who doesn’t enjoy the smell of effluvium, puts a smoldering stick of incense with an intensely strong smell in a unit, and walks away, comfortable in their community minded efforts. Ok, let’s go over this: you’ve just put SMOKE in a plastic BOX that can get up to 120 DEGREES! The next person inadvertently goes in, and WHOOF! They’re stuck there for the duration of their ablution. There were two (2) complaints I heard from the USS guys, and this was one of them. THEY COMPLAINED ABOUT THE SMELL!!! I’ve included this in my Pottie Friend laminate for years but I guess I need to include more signs on the subject.
My boss, HazMatt asked me pre-event to take pictures of any egregious behavior at the portos, as there will be a file made of these instances. I only saw two (2) examples, and got pictures to prove it. One was late in the event- a porto at the 9:00 inner bank, that had caution tape and two (2) bins zip-tied to the chimney. They were both filled with trash and the urinal was filled with trash too, plus all over the floor! I didn’t see a urinal with this much trash in it in the entire city! This was a perfect example of “degradation of resources” that I’ve been going on about for years. Once one person puts trash somewhere, other’s think this is ok, and the moop factory begins. Gonzo reported mid-event he saw one potty with a basket of bottles, yet not one of them had a lid on it! Your guess on what happened to those lids.
The second example of bad behavior was post-event on North-side – there was a shit-load of gray water buckets left around a urinal. I had to deal with the random trashbags left there but didn’t have the resources to deal with the buckets of fluid. What a clusterfuck!
MY ART: how I do that thing that I do.
So many things went right this year! Pre-event, Motsky, Plowman, Gonzo and I were able to get all the exterior signs up by Sunday dusk. This was only possible due to 95% of the units were ones returning from previous events, so they most likely already had interior signs. I dodged this logistic bullet this year, but have no illusions of escaping it next year. There are a plethora of interior signs that were introduced to the pantheon this year that didn’t get exposed, so next year I fully intend to get the old ones replaced. There are a LOT more wonderful pooems that need to be enjoyed. One major improvement was we had multi-colored duct tape for the exterior signs. Very eye-catching! Next year I’m hoping we can continue with this – extraordinarily effective in getting attention.
A few weeks pre-event I had an epiphany that made a HUGE difference in managing pottie logistics in our JINOURMOUS city. In the last 2 years I was using the greeters map to keep track of what banks got signed and tp’d during the event. This truly beats keeping this bullshit in my head certainly. This year I just made up a spreadsheet of all the banks with space to write in the Pottie Friend camp names. THIS FUCKING ROCKED!
The Pottie Project is fundamentally an advertising campaign, and taking the message off-playa is as well part of what I do. I monitor ePlaya, and have many folks all over the internet watching my back and keeping the message straight. For the first time pre-event, I was interviewed by Nico for a documentary on the BM infrastructure, porta-potties being essential (to be sure!). Once on-playa though, it’s usually just me and the microphone. Previously, I’ve had scarce interest by those of the Media ilk, but this year this turned around suddenly and without any effort on my part. BTW: not ONCE have I been asked for my real name on a consent form, or any piece of paper for that matter. This year I had three (3) media people ask for this! I was video interviewed, photographed and had a volunteer who joined the Pottie Crew, and learned the ins-and outs of the Pottie Project. You were terrific MK! I’m just hoping that I get to see some of this published. Call me a slut. I’ve wanted my spew published for years, and it just might happen this year!
POTTIE SCHWAG: Keeping the message on people’s bodies
This year was the year for schwag for the Dept of Excremental Correctness. I made 103 2.5” buttons that said “I KNOW HOW TO GO AT BURNINGMAN” and Box Burner’s “I GIVE A SHIT, DO YOU?” These were a huge success! Gonzo and I saw these buttons proudly worn throughout the city. Marketing works! This is how Nike does it; this is how CocaCola does it. Get the slogan out there and the message will follow! I have about 100 more blanks for next year, so you can bet we’ll keep this going.
In years past, I’ve spent an excessive amount of time shopping at thrift stores for t-shirts that were about 99 cents. I just didn’t have the time or resources to do this kind of shopping this year. About spring, I had also read that the price of cotton had skyrocketed this year, so I made an executive decision to just buy them at $1.49/ea from a website. Buying them in bulk saved me a crap-load of gas and shopping time. The upshot is that I have a terrific stock for next year, and will only buy about a couple dozen to fill in.
One day mid-event I was walking thru Kommissary with my volunteers when someone asked me if I was starting a cult. “I’m doing my best!” was my answer. The uniformity of the t-shirts gives that impression, and is very effective when our group is mooping a potty bank. I’m hoping that past volunteers wear their shirts casually in their playa travels. CO informed me that he proudly wore his “Thank you for giving a shit” t-shirt on Burn Night. Wow! That’s the spirit!
The other schwag we gifted was at a much lower capital outlay. By his own admission, Gonzo is addicted to Altoids, so he’s been saving the cans all year. This year he spray painted them with textured paint then shined them with shit-brown glossy paint. They looked like shit! On the backside (heh) they had a sticker with PoopingMan, the “Thank you for Giving a Shit” logo, and the baby-wipe message. Gonzo’s showing no signs of slowing down his couriously minty addiction, so we’ll have more to give away next year. They are a movable advertising piece that is both educational and practical.
DOING IT WRONG: Lessons learned
Every year I bring out a sack of sunglasses to gift should my volunteers be shade-free. It turned out that it was my year to consume sunglasses. I thought I had the perfect pair, and they quickly gave me a headache! So I chose a different pair, and they slipped and sucked. I went to a 3rd pair, and they were too big too! So I went to a fourth pair that I didn’t like much, but they at least fit right. They served me for the rest of the event although I looked like I had a uni-brow. Fuck it. Next year, the mission is to test-drive sunglasses pre-event as of June 1 so I don’t have to fuck around like I did this year.
My job absolutely requires that I am loud and proud all week! This involves a bullhorn and a PA. This year was the Microphone Fiasco! On the same day, my PA microphone clicker and my bullhorn microphone clicker failed. I discovered this at about the 7:30 bank, so I bounced the spew off the back wall. I knew I was fucked! After my spew, I deadheaded to Stag Camp to seek out engineering assistance. Motsky was not up to regulation lucidity specs, but was able to secure the assistance of a stagger who hardwired the mic to always on. No problem, I have lots of C batteries! I was back in business! Thank you again Motsky and Stag for your generosity of talent! The PA clicker had basically the same solution, so I was good for the remainder of the week, but a new bullhorn and PA microphone re-engineering is definitely in the queue.
CONCLUSION: It all came out ok in the end
At the end of the event, Steve sat with me in their lovely shade at JotS Camp, and we reviewed the week. The one thing that I have to report to you amazing fans of shitters is that he said that Jose, the talented supervisor that manages the glopeta-glopeta machine, was SMILING at the end of the week. This was Jose’s fourth year out there, and he had a good time! Throughout the week, I check in with the drivers and employees while they’re working or at JotS Camp, and overall, they seemed glad to be there. I heard very few complaints, no horror stories, and no shit storms! One employee said we were WAY better than Bonaroo. That’s because it’s BURNINGMAN! We KNOW how to go!
You can all give yourself a hand! Given the skewed newbie population, we still pulled it off. Ultimately the Pottie Project is about making USS happy that they’re with us. And it’s also about ensuring that participants are having a positive excremental experience EACH AND EVERY TIME. SO many people are responsible for keeping the Digestive System of the Man flowing smoothly, and I’m deeply grateful for the role you played in this. You get it!
In closing, once again, thank you. I wouldn’t be able to do it without such an amazing group of people.
Have a pleasant Decompression,
Chief Poopervisor of the Pottie Project