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Archive for the ‘Burning Man’

Ear Trouble & Other Stresses

November 16, 2007 By: admin Category: Burning Man, The Album, Video


I seem to have lost a bit of hearing in my right ear. I know… My Dad is reading this right now and saying to himself: “WHAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAT???????????!!!!!!!!!!”

We don’t know how it happened but it seems stress and sleep-deprivation related. Nice, right??? Anyway, I wake up and my right ear is all clogged. I can still, technically, hear with it, but it feels imbalancing and like it needs to POP! Ya know? I was never the kid who had to “equalize” after swimming. Never. But, then again, I was never the kid to puke from smoking pot and we all know how that goes now… ‘Course, I didn’t so much tell you about that, did I…????

Well, then, here it is: I puked on the Playa. From a pot cookie. Yup. One of the cardinal sins of Burning Man is to puke on the playa and I did it. The last night. While the Man was burning. Uh-huh. As SuperFriend Mike wasn’t around it fell to M and my best bud from college, Nathan, to–literally–haul me to my feet and DRAG me off the fucking desert. Isweartogod…. Not my finest hour, but I WAS lucid, which is really, kind of MORE FUCKED UP, ya know? There I was, you know, PARALYZED from the waist down, but making perfect sense. Mind you, all I was able to say was “Thanks, guys. This is so fucked up, I’m so sorry. Thanks so much, guys.” But that’s something, ain’t it? I mean, if you’re going to ruin your friends’ experience of THE VERY LAST NIGHT OF BURNING MAN at least be gracious about it.

Anyway, the Other Stresses referred to in the title has to do with lack of sleep due to The Album freakout. One of the reasons I like being as slap-dash a filmmaker as I am is that I don’t actually have to work very hard. It’s a cop-out, I know, but I have a skill–as an editor I can make chicken salad out of chicken shit–and so I capitalize on that when I go out to film something. Watching M struggle through the process of just RECORDING this new album has been H-E-L-L. I’m like “justfuckindoitalready” and she’s like “the mics aren’t in the right place!!!” *whatever*

Of course, SHE’S right and I’m fucked, but the time it takes to prepare to record an album is enough to keep me faaaaaaaaar away from that as a private personal goal. I’ll still borrow her Korg, snag some samples and make fun experimental tunes myself–for you all, of course–but the seriousness of the prep process is too much for me. I’m a hack and I like it that way. :)

I Finally Learned iPhoto: L.A. Decom Pix

October 17, 2007 By: admin Category: Burning Man

Here is a pic of L.A. Burning Man Decompression. This is a nationwide series of events that give burners a chance to reconnect with their last burn and each other in a cool, vibrant, creative space. In other words, it was a killer rave. :)


The pic is of a projection on the wall of footage from Burning man. Most of the footage was of the fire dancers who did incredible things the night of the burn. Once M gets her pix developed, you’ll see some of the art from the playa as well as funny pics of M and our new best pal, Mike.

Crossing Over

October 16, 2007 By: admin Category: Burning Man, Gadgets/Tech, India, Music, Video

No, I’m not going to write about that guy on TV who talks to the dead. I’m going to write about L.A. You won’t believe this, but I love it a little. I’ve crossed over to loving it. How did this happen? Maybe it’s because M is finally having some of the life she wants and it makes me so happy to see her living it. Maybe it’s because I have a job I enjoy and and am in a location to do some great work for it. Maybe it’s because we’re finally meeting people who make us feel connected to meaning. Recently, we’ve been spending a lot of time with Burners, and they just — well — fucking ROCK. Two weekends in a row we’ve partied with these crazy, creative, kind folk and had the time of our lives. We have growing new best friendships, and are working with motivated, active people, not the usual all-talk-and-no-action “I came to Hollywood to find my dream and I’m still waitressing” types. Seriously. I’m on a people high. WTF???

Anyway, so things are great, and I’m loving what I’m doing. I finished up a kick-ass short version of the Shadhika promo film–with Usha’s help–and am so excited about the upcoming b roll shoots for the sustainability series. It’s good that I let that one sit for a bit to simmer. There is SO MUCH to cover I actually have to know it all so I can see how best to cut it down.

So…. I’m babbling. *thumb twiddle…* Started watching “Heroes” again. Loving that. Bought a fancy new audio recorder for India and am PSYCHED about it. Actually, I should put up a picture of it, shouldn’t I? Well, here’s the sales picture anyway:


Meow, right? Edirol R-4: 4-channel recording to an 80 GB hard drive. I can’t even believe I have this thing!!! It’s first test will be M’s show in Ojai. Rockin’!!!!

Thanks for reading if you got this far. Really. This was the dumbest blogpost ever. You RULE for still being here. Wish I could give you a cookie. :)

Portion of an Email to Mike B.

September 25, 2007 By: admin Category: Beer, Blogging Dinner, Body, Burning Man, Cooking, Fatblogging, Food, Health, Mom

“I remember a few years ago my Mom was doing the Atkins diet. When I was visiting I saw her eating bacon every day. This was a woman who was already comfortably 30 pounds overweight. I asked her what she was doing and she described the diet. I stopped her from continuing it THAT DAY.

I struggle with weight issues myself, but they’re mostly related to beer. As you know, I fucking love beer. The thing is I can’t drink it regularly. Just can’t. Or, well, I can but then I’d have to give up something else–like food. Currently I’m trying to eat waaaaaaay more fruits and veggies than anything else, but as I run and bike regularly, I’ve found that I definitely need my protein every day at lunch and dinner or I crumple like a discarded prom dress. Breakfast can be a fruit smoothie with protein powder, but lunch HAS to include a medium-sized piece of chicken or fish, and dinner and has to include the same, just a smaller piece, and both meals have to include major veggies.

I’m at a sort of constant crossroads with carbs. I LOVE them, but who doesn’t…??? The good news for me is that I don’t crave them regularly. Not even once a month (except as beer). So, god smiled on me on that score… Also, because I’m–fundamentally–a drunk, I need a little alcohol buzz every now and again just to keep me happy, so … drumroll please … I’ve started drinking WINE. Now, remember, please, that I’m a chugger. I don’t SIP anything. So this wine business is challenging me and WINNING. Because I can’t chug it or I’ll get sick (not to mention wasted) I’m forced to CHILL when I drink, and I hate that. In my dreams I’d prefer to be a hard-drinking, pub-crawling, unforgivable skirt-chasing Irish deckhand, but my waistline just simply can’t take it. The only good thing about wine is that, because I fear hangover so much, I never drink enough to actually get fucked up, so the other benefit of wine (other than the *head-shaking* social acceptability) is the assurance of waking up clear as a bell. *Whatever.*

So, anyway, carbs are an issue for me. :)”

Burning Man 2: The Heat, Pt. 1

September 17, 2007 By: admin Category: Body, Burning Man, General, Health, Living

100+. More like average of 110 all week. There were record dust storms due to the persistent dryness in the region in the last months, but the stroms were actually the best parts of the whole experience.

M and I arrived, classically for two Los Angelenos, in traffic. There were four long lines of “burners” all trying to merge as we approached the massive main gate area. This is the first time you get a sense of the size of the event. Approaching from the tiny town of Gerlach you see a tall dust cloud of arriving cars way off and realize you’re at the back of one hell of a line. There were a lot of those type of perception distortions (non-drug-related) at the event. Distance was hard to determine due to the flatness of the playa.

Anyway, so when we finally get to the main gate there are a bunch of naked people–completely naked except for shoes and maybe a hat–who greet you, take your ticket, and–if this is your first time at the event, ask that you step out of your vehicle, ring a crude bell and scream “I’m not a virgin anymore!” Now, I’m all for ritual, but if you’re going to make folks do something like that in the 10,000-degree heat, have a goddamned welcome party out there to chear’em on, ya know? Make it A Thing.

So, we get back into our car and make it to our camp. My friend Nathan–one of the most wonderful people that there is on this earth–greets us and shows us where we can set up out tent, shade structure, etc. So far, all is well except that, um, I’m dying of heat prostration. I ask Nathan, who is already a bit more than pink on the shoulders, what he does to cope. “Lots of sunscreen and plenty of water.” No shit. My mantra for the week became: “Drink to drown!”

Burning Man 1: Appreciation

September 08, 2007 By: admin Category: Burning Man, General, Health, Living

I have to preface this first in a series of posts about my Burning Man experience by saying that I did not have a great time. There are a lot of BM zealot blogs out there that will want to sell you a bill of goods about the event. This blog will not be one of them… That said, I was a great camp, met some great people, and had a great time being there with M, who is the perfect person to have in a crisis or camping situation. But more on that later…. :)

So, by “appreciation” I don’t mean I came back with a renewed sense of faith in my fellow man, or a new, clearer mission for my own future. I mean air-conditioning. I mean clean, flush toilets. I mean cleanliness overall, and hot food, and quiet nights, and SHOWERS. Right now, there isn’t a thing I took to the Black Rock desert that doesn’t have “playa” on it. “Playa” is the alkaline dust that, compacted into a hard clay-like surface, makes up the floor of the Black Rock desert. It gets on everything. I am told that once you get home there is always a lot of cleaning to do to get the playa dust off your stuff, but this year was also the worst dust year in recorded Burning Man history so there’s dust in places the sun don’t shine, ya know what I mean…??? So, yeah, appreciation. I came home with an appreciation for modern living. I can go camping, I just wouldn’t want to go there ever again.

What was it that made it all so awful? Well, the heat, but I want to save that discussion for a post unto itself, so the next issue was the hypocrisy. There was a certain hypocrisy that I just wasn’t ready for. A whole ‘lot of people telling me they were one thing and then behaving in ways that were contradictory to that. Specifically, I was told that everyone there “respected the playa,” meaning gray water and trash and “MOOP” (Matter Out Of Place) was the paramount concern at the event and that, as a good Burner, you were obliged and expected to pick up as you went along, even if the MOOP in question wasn’t yours. Well, I did that, and also judiciously gathered all of our gray water into a gallon-sized plastic milk jug every day… until I saw veteran Burners dumping there’s all over the playa. Makes sense. Water evaporates very quickly in the desert. The thing is we were told not to do it. And, although I’m not some good-two-shoes, I did take the environmental requests very much to heart and so was pretty massively demoralized when I’m doing all this work for a cause I believe in deeply only to turn around and see everyone else making their own rules.

The other example of hypocrisy was the discovery that Burning Man is a for-profit organization. I know this makes me stupid not to have known beforehand, but it also makes the company owners shiesters because they promote this “noble” communal-style of living as the only way that the event will work. But they ask for volunteers to do ALL of the labor while they collect $10,000 in tickets, coffee, ice and lemonade sales. Every day, at all hours, there was a long line at the coffee at “Center Camp,” and an even longer one for bags or blocks of ice. I think if you’re asking folks to volunteer and that THAT volunteerism is what makes the event what it is (which it does), then you better fucking not be making a profit. PUT THE MONEY BACK INTO THE “COMMUNITY.”


Who had the best time there, I cannot say, but I will say that not a day went by when most of the people we were around weren’t either drunk, stoned, or high on ecstasy. Maybe that’s the best way to survive “fun” in the desert. I don’t know… What I do know is that the only time I truly had a good time was riding my bike across the vast expanse of the playa at night, when it was cool and dark. Nothin’ like riding three miles you can see all the way across. More later…