My birthday present

Last monday was my 27th birthday.

I found myself an awesome deal on Craigslist, a 2005 Giant TCR 2 bike. And with the economical help of Kelly, it became mine. ( By the way, anyone wanting to give me a birthday present, feel free to make a small donation to go towards the money spent on the bike)

2005 Giant TCR2It’s awesome! The front and rear derailleurs are Ultegra, and the brakes are Shimano 105s. It’s very light-weight, and it rides very smoothly… and it looks sexy, as you can tell by the picture.

I’ve only ridden it a bit in its first week, but I’m already enjoying it a lot. The uphill ride from work took 10 minutes less than on the old bike, and it’s such a treat to ride on something that gives me a bit of pride. It’s the best birthday present!

My 3rd year at Burning Man

It’s so hard to try to tell a story, that I’m not even going to try! Instead, here are a few tid-bits of how it all went, in no particular order:

  • We left on Thursday, September 3rd. It took us about 3 hours to arrive to our camping spot. Not bad!
  • One of the first people we saw at Burning Man was a man in his late 40s, wearing nothing but shoes and a hat. His testicles were dangling around, remarkably stretched. The heat probably was to blame for that.
    At any rate, Kelly was welcomed by cock and balls. We gave the guy a nice and cold beer, and chatted it for a few minutes. It was a great way to start, with a friendly naked guy.
  • Kelly dancing in the dust stormOur camp, BRCU, was awesome. We had two big domes, one for partying (with our DJ, dance floor and lights) and the other one for chilling out (full of kiddie swimming pools, overflowing with stuffed animals). It was home for a few days, and it really kicked a lot of ass.
  • There was a lot dust wind. Of course there’s dust, it’s a dry lake bed. And the dust is a pleasant experience as long as the wind comes and goes, or is a breeze.
    On Friday, Saturday and Sunday, the wind was strong. It was also consistent, starting at around 10am and dying down sometime around 11pm. Ridiculous, crazy and annoying.
    What’s one to do? Well, you can either find shelter, or you can spontaneously dance.
  • I’d always heard the myth that there are a lot of orgies at Burning Man. Well, let’s just say that -without participating!- it’s not a myth.
  • On a somewhat related note, and once again without being involved in it, I’ve learned about more and more people into polyamory. I guess my upbringing makes it something that would never work for me, but that my open mind makes it acceptable as long as it’s not shoved into my face.
  • Our diets consisted of a lot of canned foods, like Spaghettios. All we used was a couple of plastic spoons, and not even half of a very small camping propane tank.
  • The one thing I enjoyed the most this year is easy for me to decide on, and probably easy for you to guess: having Kelly with me.
    We spent most of our time together, sharing our experiences and caring for each other. Every single moment worth remembering involves her as an integral part of that memory, and I wouldn’t have it any other way. I love sharing my life with her!
  • TypewriterThe second “best” thing this year was on Saturday morning. We rode our bikes into the “deep playa”, and checked out the random art installations that were there. There’s stuff out there that you can’t see from far away, but it’s definitely worth the shot journey.┬áIt’s far away enough from everything else that you don’t hear the incessant music, which is a welcome change.
    While cruising around, we found plenty of art pieces, ranging from a collection of statues to a huge guitar. We’d ride up to something, check it out, look around aimlessly until we saw that there was something out there, and then do it all over again. It was a very wonderful way to spend a day with Kelly.
    I’d like to share about one of the things we found: a typewriter on a tall desk, with a tall chair. There was roll of paper, and the machine seemed to be in very good working condition.
    I climbed on the chair, and while Kelly took some pictures, I figured that I might as well write something. Without difficulty, a love note was born. When I was done, I handed the note to Kelly. She smiled, and climbed on the tall chair to write a note to me.
    The notes that we wrote to each other will be a good addition to a little scrapbook that Kelly is making, but even if those were lost, I’ll never forget how we spent our time together. The fun, the playfulness and the love are things that I’m grateful for, and they sometimes make me wonder how I ended up being so lucky.
  • Sleeping in a tent is nice, even with an air mattress. But it’s not nice enough for Burning Man, when your body needs good rest after battling playa whiteouts, climbing on art pieces and cars, dancing, walking and riding bicycles.
    We’ll try to rent an RV for next year, and hopefully we can share with a couple more people, to lower the cost, and share in the awesomeness of having some more comfortable living quarters.
  • I’d never really gone and hung out at Center Camp, but this year we went there a handful of times. We had some iced coffee, and sat around enjoying all that goes on.
    The Center Camp scene is apparently what most people stereotype Burning Man to be: hippies hanging out, people doing Yoga, drum circles, dancing. And in a way, the stereotype is true – but with a twist.
    Most people’s stereotype includes the above mentioned activities, and that’s it. My stereotype goes a bit further, and involves the reason why people are doing such things. So of course it’s true that people are doing all those things that some people label as lame, stupid or childish. Of course they’re doing what they want to do. It’s obvious that all they want to do is enjoy themselves, and that there’s at least one place where they can totally freely do it, and that’s at Burning Man.
    I don’t really want to go deeper into how people could have fun in the “default” world, because that’s not what I’m trying to get to. My point is that I don’t understand the criticism of people doing things that they enjoy.
  • I took my Canon 40D camera, and took a few pictures. I didn’t have it on me at all times (in fact, I had it with me very little), but when I did, I think I captured some decent photographs. If you’d like to check them out, head on over to my Flickr.Darwin Dome at sunsetI feel like Burning Man is my yearly test of how my photo skills are doing. It’s a good reference point to look back and compare, and -just like last year- I can say that this year’s pictures are better than last year’s. This is a nice feeling!
  • Our “exodus” took us 5 and a half hours, with 2 of them being spent on the exit line from Black Rock City to the highway. We left on Sunday, because we were exhausted and ready to get home to our dreamy bed, and anxious to be able to spend at least one day snuggling in the morning. We got home, enjoyed the wonderful feeling of a hot shower, and went to bed.
  • On Monday, Labor Day, we woke up 11 hours after having gone to sleep. And then we spent the rest of the day cleaning up, and enjoying each other. We had no regrets of having left on Sunday and missing the Temple burn.
    Our Burning Man experience ended on a high note. Additionally, we would have been dead to the world for the entire week if we had to do all the cleaning we did on Monday during the week, after very busy and stressful times at work. So busy, in fact, that it’s my excuse for posting this almost a whole week later!

Burning Man 2009

On Thursday, Kelly and I will be going to Burning Man. This will be my third year, and it will be Kelly’s first.

We’ve been getting ready for a while:

  • We have scavenged thrift stores and garage sales, ending up with a selection of excellent outfits. Kelly is definitely not going to look like a burning man virgin, and I probably won’t look like a ridiculous mess of unmatched garments once again. I will still look ridiculous, but I think this will be my best looking year yet, because all my clothes go well with each other, and the outrageousness will be of the awesome kind, instead of the “oh, boy” kind.
  • There are lists for food, packing supplies, people we definitely must visit and attempt to see, and places or things that we’d like to go see (such as the Raygun Gothic Rocketship and the Bootie mashups party).
  • We are actively participating in a registered theme camp, and have been involved in the planning process since day 1. We are part of the Black Rock Center for Unlearning (Washing all that knowledge right out of your brain since 2009).

BRCU

Our camp’s theme is exactly what I need, because I’m in need for some unlearning. You see, last year’s experience was positive in some ways, but it was overall a negative one. My enjoyment was shadowed by the frustration and disappointment that some of my company brought. There were several times where I just wanted to drive away, and go back to the default world.
These circumstances saddened me, especially when I took into consideration how much effort, time and money I invested, and how little I got in return.

Well, fuck all that!

This year, I’m unlearning all that.

I’m unlearning my self-destructive tendencies of letting people take advantage of me, so I’ve distanced myself from parasitical personalities. I’m unlearning my reluctancy to be impolite, and if someone needs to be told off, flipped off or punched out, I’m ready to do it. Most of all, I’m unlearning to settle, and I’m going for what I want.

Kelly is my partner in crime and my other half. With her hand in mine, I look forward to re-discovering Black Rock City. She’s excited to see the things that everyone talks about, and I’m even more excited to be there to see her jaw drop with every “oooh” inspiring moment that we experience. I know I won’t have to babysit her, and I know that she’ll be genuinely enjoying herself.

That is why this Burning Man should be the best one yet for me. Because Kelly is coming with me. Also, because BRCU is an awesome camp, and the people I’m befriending through it are sincerely good.

This is also why I love that the theme this year is Evolution. I’m saying “fuck what I know” about Burning Man, and ready to know it in a whole different way: with a heart full of love.