PolyParadise - 2011 - What Worked
Thursday December 8, 2011
Each year this is my space to reflect on the year that was in Black Rock City.
To take a look at what we did right and what we did wrong; how the changes we
instituted from the previous year worked out and what we might do to improve in
2012. This was the 13th year of PolyParadise; There is no doubt that it gets
better & better each year.
I thank you all for being part of the 13th Anniversary
I offer my own observations and as always welcome
Comments, Praises, Bitches & Roses for areas of your
concern as campers that I have not addressed. Please post
to our Yahoo Group, generate some chatter; let's get
PSYCHED!!! 264 Days!!
You all should be very proud of the Community you created & nurtured all week long.
I thank you all for being part of the 13th Anniversary of PolyParadise.
I offer my own observations and as always welcome Comments, Praises, Bitches & Roses for areas of your concern as campers that I have not addressed. Please post to our Yahoo Group, generate some chatter; let's get PSYCHED!!! 264 Days!!
PolyParadise's population decreased by 24 campers in 2011, to an On-Playa total of 144. Within our borders there was an additional 6 people; who did not use the camp infrastructure, who wanted to be part of us but separate, I know they all enjoyed their Playa Address. Total population was 155.
We had 75 veteran campers return and 69 new campers and of that number 46 VIRGINS. I thank all of the returning campers for making PolyParadise your Playa home, I so depend on each & everyone of you in making our camp an amazing loving space. We had 13 International campers from (Canada, England, Germany, Israel & Finland).
I hope that all of our Virgin campers have seen what Community really means, and I hope that you will all camp with us again.
I hope that everyone had an amazing time as a PolyParadise Resident.
Our 2011 Playa dimensions, almost identical to 2010 gave us the necessary space to give each camper enough area to erect whatever infrastructure they brought to the Playa, enough space for our Community Shade/Kitchen, Event Space and Human Carcass Wash. With efficient placement of vehicles in vertical rows between Engagement & Funeral we had defined walkways thru camp that made getting from the ends of the camp to the Community Space easier. The Community Space, Serving Area & Kitchen was an INCREDIBLE space in both day light and at night.
PolyParadise continues to be a ‘Camp Drama Free Zone’, I mean everyone seems to get along, no assaults, no fisticuffs between campers.
We did have our fair share of Camper Medical issues that necessitated the calling of Rangers & EMT services. Most of the incidents were for dehydration, I cannot stress enough the necessity of drinking enough water. Other calls were related to persons ingesting 'Baked Goods'. It is not enough to know your pharmacist, but it is also important for you to know your own limits. Start out with smaller portions, you can always ask for more...Enough said...
A special Callout to all Rangers & Medical Staff that cared for campers of PolyParadise and all Playa Citizens. Your dedication and sharing of your heart and skills is a real gift to our Community and I thank you so much.
Congratulations & Kudos to Corvus and Gizmo for becoming Rangers at Thursday's pinning ceremony. We all appreciate your effort & service to the greater good of the Playa Citizenry; know we are proud of you both.
In our Theme Camp Registration we asked to have the same location that we occupied in 2010. Our location @ 4:15 & Engagement is in my opinion ideal. This is a great neighborhood with Porto Potties on the 4:00 & 4:30 sides between C & D. We had great neighbors with whom we shared with all week. We had awesome foot traffic in our Community Space and incredible attendance at all of our camp events. I would certainly be in favor of asking for the same Playa Location for 2012.
What were your impressions of 4:15 & Engagement & Funeral?
****Kitchen & Stuff****
In 2011 PolyParadise continued with the Community related ‘Requirement’ upon registration; to be part of the daily cleanup crew or cooking a meal for 25 and sharing a meal. The Community Kitchen was an awesome success! Thanks so much to Stephanie & Patrick and all of their helpers that maintained the kitchen all week long.
The kitchen & serving areas encompassed a full 40'x40' – the layout was awesome for ingress & egress in and out of the kitchen area. With the six (6) 3-Burner Cast Iron stoves, we had plenty of cooking surface area.
We had plenty of snacks for everyone, and all seemed satisfied with the selections available. There was some comment post-playa about the ‘Amount’ of snacks we purchase and their respective total cost. The total amount of snacks that are left and brought back to Phoenix is minimal and very small in relation to the total amount we purchase. There have been some other comments about the ‘Type’ of snacks we purchase. As mentioned in the Survival Guide; if you have special dietary requirements, the camp is not responsible for meeting those needs in what snacks are purchased or what our campers choose to cook. There still must be some moniker of Radical Self-Reliance.
Thanks to everyone that took the time & effort to create some awesome meals all week long. There were so many great courses served each day. Thanks to everyone who assisted with Trash Can Pizza & Trash Can Turkey!!! Thanks to everyone who cleaned up, picked up, MOOPED up.
Dishwashing and keeping the Pots/Pans washed and available for the next person continues to improve as some campers used this option as their contribution to the camp. Thank you everyone who washed dishes!!!
Was very excited that as this year’s MOOP MAP was revealed - we were shown as ALL GREEN!!! Amazing job to all that assisted all week in Never Letting It Hit the Ground!!! Thank you to everybody that stayed for teardown and beyond...You guys ROCK for making those last sweeps through our space and making sure we would be GREEN! Kudos to Stephanie, Mark, Patrick, Jacques, Theresa, Uncle Bob, Knotch, Shadow, Nikki, Wanderingangel, Tailfeather & Endeavor.
In 2011 we rotated the two 40’x40’ structures (Kitchen/Serving Area & Community Space) so that the straight edge met instead of at the peak and used tarps to 'Wall Off' 20' (10' on either side), having a 20' opening (in the middle) between the two structures to better manage wind thru the kitchen. It Worked AMAZING and also gave us the two corner areas that housed the shelving with the snacks, pots & pans and the other side was the coffee tea area as well as coffee pot, toaster & microwave. I thought this worked as I envisioned and will certainly be our setup in the future.
We purchased additional shade hardware to make the Kitchen/Serving Area & Community Space actually four (4) 20'x40's structures and also purchased new 20’x40’ tarps. This reduced the total mount of poles in between each structure. We will need to purchase additional 20’x40’ tarps to complete this on each of the structures.
In 2011 we were required to apply for and adhere to the standards of a Nevada State Health Department Food Permit. This requirement was new and was mandated for camps with a population over 125 serving community meals. The cost of the Food Permit was $50. With our Official Food Permit prominently displayed within the kitchen; we had a visit on Tuesday from the Nevada State Health Department to see that we were complying with the stated rules, which included: Hair Nets, Food Handler Gloves, Hand Washing Station (Hand Soap, Towels, Continual Flow Water) Bleach cleaning supplies, clearly visible menu, separate food preparation/serving areas, food thermometers, and clearly marked Community/Personal Coolers.
During then inspection we were flagged for two things: In addition to the Wash/Rinse sink area, we were asked to have a sanitizing bowl/area post rinse for pots & pans; In the community cooler there was salmon (Purchased by me) that was repackaged with a Food Saver that did not have within the packaging the original UPC/Label and was deemed not able to be served to the community and must be a personal meal. Other than those two areas we passed with flying colors. Again thanks to Stephanie and all her helpers in keeping the kitchen clean & organized all week long.
I realize that using the paper plates and plastic silverware creates additional trash, but I am convinced that going the disposable route is better than having regular tableware - having to constantly clean dishes & silverware. Of course needing to continually wash your own dishes and silverware for each meal requires water – then disposal of additional waste water. We will continue to use paper plates and plastic silverware in 2012.
Having the Menu & Volunteer list printed in a 4'x5' poster size board displayed in the Kitchen was awesome, letting everyone know what was going to be cooked at each meal and who volunteered for what events.
With regards to Syrup - We had many campers volunteer to make pancakes/waffles or things that needed syrup. The food items were delicious & tasty but each person brought their own supply of syrup, which means we have lots & lots of syrup. We now have enough syrup for pancakes/waffles to feed several armies. So if you plan to cook Pancakes/Waffles for 2012 WE HAVE SYRUP, no need to bring anymore.
Thanks so much to Alien & Sarge for taking over as Garbage Czar and heading up the Trash area and to everyone that assisted in bagging, tagging & tapping up trash. More importantly, thanks to all of you for taking some trash home. We generate this trash as a camp; we need to deal with its removal from the Playa as a Community. Because of your efforts and commitment and Love of Community Trash…We transported ZERO bags of trash off the Playa in the truck back to Phoenix. We did have 4 buckets of general slop, generator oil, left over food stuff slop, the remnants of many a thing on the Playa.
Thanks to Taz for purchasing several oven mitts for moving hot pots & pans on and off the stoves.
Many thanks to Trevor for creating a shade cover for the Dish Washing area so people are not out in the sun getting a Tan/Burn while doing dishes.
During the annual Work-Party in March we got rid of several redundant items and saw other kitchen items that had seen better days, those items were replaced.
Thanks again go to Twist for the Dishwashing Station. A marvelous portable double sink with drain…A great design; easy setup and durable enough to last another Playa Year.
Thanks to Tailfeather for constructing a new sink faucet with pump and black hose. We had HOT running water for dishwashing, just amazing!!!
In 2011 PolyParadise had a Community related ‘Requirement’ upon registration, a choice of being part of the daily camp cleanup or cooking & sharing a meal for 25. The meals and the variety of all things cooked were amazing!!!! There was never a want for food, there were always choices.
Special callout to everyone that assisted in the creation of Trash Can Pizza on Tuesday, Of course to UncleBob for coming up with this crazy idea. Thanks to for everyone that assisted with Trash Can Turkey and a HUGE Thanks to Trevor, Patrick, Tailfeather, The Doctor, Knotch & Shadow for jumping right in and carving up all 5 turkeys (100lbs of BIRD) while an anxious crowd awaited food…Amazing!!!
Thank you so much to everyone who contributed to the planning, cooking, serving & cleanup of each and every meal. For when we share a meal and break bread together we grow from just being friends to being FAMILY!
The space itself was awesome, area for chairs, pillows, crash space and the massage table. Thanks again to Dr. J for that wonderful gift to the community, it has lasted 3yrs now and shows no major wear & tear..
The space worked out well with the Community Space, Serving Area, and Kitchen all just one big connected space, so that the straight edge met instead of at the peak. The space measured 80’x40’, we used tarps to 'Wall Off' 20' (10' on either side), having a 20' opening (in the middle) between the two structures to better manage wind thru the kitchen.
The space really kicked ass at night. With all the lights, the Glow Stick Arches, Rope Light…It was really an awesome sight!! Thanks to everyone that helped create such an amazing space.
This was an amazing year for PolyParadise Playa Events. We had lots of amazing events that drew large crowds each day. Being able to have a separate space away from our main Community Space has had a huge impact.
The Heart of Now - Jealousy Workshop - Poly High Tea - Human Carcass Wash - Radical Honesty Workshop, Revolutionary Honesty - Mind Melt - Herpes/STIs Out of the Closet & Hiney Hygiene Station
Major Judos to the organizers _Greg & Crew (HCW), Facilitators & participants of Poly High Tea, BrotherLuv (Mind Melt) , Keith & Lenel (Heart of Now) , Aurelia (Jealousy Workshop) & Pete (Hiney Hygiene Station) , Endeavor (Radical Honesty), The Ted’s (Revolutionary Honesty & Herpes/STIs Out of the Closet). You all are aces in my book!!! Thanks to everyone who assisted in each and every event. The events are as much for us as a camp as well as sharing with the Playa Citizenry.
With other infrastructure purchases that needed to be made we did not have the funds to increase the size of the event space, which remained 20'x40'. If funds permit in 2012 additional shade infrastructure will be purchased to increase the events space to 40'x30'.
The Human Carcass Wash space measured 20'x40'. The HCW event attracts so many people that this space must be increased to 30’x40’. If funds permit in 2012 additional shade infrastructure will be purchased to increase the Human Carcass Wash space.
****Perfect Place for Poly Play****
We all must collectively thank Tailfeather and everyone that helped erect the Poly Playa Space. Each year the space has evolved and creates an awesome addition to our Community. The new and improved viewing tower atop the dome was amazing. Thank you all for creating such an awesome space to let loose, a space to explore sexually. Thank you Tailfeather and his orchestra - to everyone that assisted in the assembling & teardown of the dome.
Major kudos for another year goes to Tailfeather & Twist for the shower base & frame they worked very well again and will be available for another year. We purchased a kitchen type floor mat to keep the shower slippery safe. This mat appeared to work great; I am not sure in what condition it will be when we pull everything out at the annual Work Party in March 2012, it may need to be replaced.
Thanks again to Twist, the shower drain and kitchen sink pump/drainage system worked flawlessly. When the water level filled the container, the pump would turn on and shoot the water to the storage tank. Well Done TWIST!
2011 marked the fourth year of the PolyParadise Survival Guide. The survival guide was emailed to all campers upon registration and was available via the web site for review. I hope that each of you found it useful.
****Gray Water Reclamation****
Our Gray Water disposal was again assisted by Twist with the drain system for the sink and the shower that emptied into the holding tank provided by Sani-Hut, this system provides us as a camp a no-worry way to deal with the Gray Water issue.
The Tank delivery, service and pickup were without incident and thanks have been given to Sani-Hut. Over the course of the week we generated just over 1,800 Gallons of Gray Water. We will again be using the services of Sani-Hut in 2012 for our Gray Water collection & disposal; it is well worth the cost.
In 2011 we paid for & received Gray Water Tank service by Sani-Hut on Thursday & Saturday. We did this to avoid having the Gray Water Tank in possible overflow on Monday breakdown (as happened in 2010) when Sani-Hut comes to retrieve the tank.
****Water – Water - Water****
In the desert water is a commodity – it is used to cook – clean posts/pans & dishes, starter for the Human Carcass Wash and of course for taking a shower. As a camp we require each vehicle in camp to donate 5 gallons of water to assist with our water supply as a camp. We obviously use a lot of water to do these tasks; even if we had 75 vehicles all bringing 5 Gallons of water that is only 375 gallons to add to the 100 that we bring in the U-Haul.
I have looked into getting potable water delivered On-Playa, of course there is a cost for that service as well as needing additional service for the Gray Water tank as this is not water that would just evaporate, it would be additional waste water. It is my opinion that the additional costs out way the potential benefit, we just need to be more vigilant in our use of the water we have. Of course if some campers were able to donate additional water to the camp’s supply that of course would help.
****Garbage, Garbage, Garbage****
In 2011 we were in need of a new Garbage Czar as Stagger was unable to make the Playa. I cannot thank Alien enough for stepping up and taking on the role of TRASH!
Please all thank Alien & Sarge with me for taking on this daily chore; thank you all for taking Community Generated Trash Off-Playa; major kudos to anyone and everyone that transported more than one bag, you are aces in my book!!
From the Czar de' Garbage
It’s a trashy job but someone has to do it. My first year doing it and it was an eye-opener as to how much garbage we created. It’s definitely a full time job for one person and should probably be handled by several people. The aluminum cans go to recycle camp. The paper and garbage can be burned in the burn barrels on the playa (hey, you can have your own burn). The plastic water bottles go back with campers to be hopefully recycled but probably thrown away. What’s left, the rubbish, is sent home to also be disposed. Yes, some of this could be recycled, however, there’s no way to do it on the playa and even if it were to be separated out, the problem would be to get it to someone who would do the recycling and not just put it in the trash. Thanks Knotch and Shadow for your help. We also had a LOT of glass bottles which someone graciously volunteered to take to a recycler. Please do not bring glass containers to the playa; they are heavy, they are bulky, they can break potentially injuring the person taking them away.
Stagger is very excited to take the Czar de Garbage job back in 2012 and be the person who leads in dealing with bits and pieces, debris, detritus, dreck, dregs, dross, filth, junk, muck, odds and ends, offal, rubbish, rubble, scrap, scrapings, sewage, slop, sweepings, swill, trash & waste we generate as a camp and distribute it double bagged to each of you to transport off-Playa.
****Carpets, Carpets, Carpets are NO MORE****
As mentioned in the 2010 wrap-up all of the carpets we previously used were discarded. For 2011 we purchased 20’x20’ canvas tarps to cover the floors of the Kitchen, Community Space & Events Space. Even though there was a significant cost to this purchase, they worked out awesome. We will not know in what condition they are in until the Work-Party in March; to know if some need to be replaced. Regardless; the Canvas Tarps will continue to be the flooring for PolyParadise in 2012.
****Early Arrival & Exodus****
Early Arrival - Many, Many thanks to all of our Early Arrival crew. Kudos go out to Mr Bird & JenyBe , Touch, Kiera & Trevor, Jacques, Theresa, Brother Luv, Knotch & Shadow, Nikki, Patrick , Stephanie, Ranger Beethoven, Pete, Uncle Bob, Captain Jack, Kilted James, The Doctor, Bill, Stealth Angel, Alien & Sarge, DeRo, Brian, Tailfeather, Wanderingangel, Endeavor, Cristal Light for their tireless efforts to get the camp erected and all system connected. You guys ROCK!!!
This crew of 29 was awesome!!! We rocked the house and had the entire infrastructure up & functional by Sunday afternoon. I thank you all so much for doing what needed to be done, being out in the Sun & Dust; making PolyParadise happen On-Playa!!!
We set the camp up over several days, but we take it down in just a few hours, it is a massive undertaking that requires lots & lots of hands. You cannot be 'Required' to stay and assist with breakdown, but know that each and every one of you that did help is so very much appreciated. This year’s crew was incredible. Thank you all so much for doing the dirty work and being there to pack away our community for another year.
****Those Amazing AZBurners****
BIG BIG Kudos - To our fellow AZBurners who are always available to assist during the year; for Truck Loading & Unpacking; carrying, cleaning, sorting and building PolyParadise year-round here in Phoenix. Special Thanks to (UncleBob, Big Phreekie, Alien, Sarge, Knotch, Shadow, Soroka, Kilted James, The Doctor, Corvus, Sandman, CactusMan, Cassie, Lauren, Captain Jack, Filos) You are all ACES in my book!!! Thank you all so very much!!!
Another Playa year is upon us; PolyParadise will be celebrating 14 years within the gates of Black Rock City...
Running a large Theme Camp is a year-round process and requires participation by many people, especially at our annual Spring Work-Party. This is where we take the contents of our garage, all the PolyParadise Playa Gear, and clean, sort and other wise inventory what we have and what we need...making an assessment of what we have, what broke & what needs replacing.
PolyParadise will be having its annual Work Party (Clean Scotto & WildChild's Garage & thus the PolyParadise Playa Gear) on Saturday March 24, 2012 in Phoenix, Arizona starting at 10a.....You are welcome to come for the day or the weekend...We have enough room to accommodate a few overnighters and can set up tents in the backyard.
Once we have cleaned the PolyParadise Playa Gear and are sufficiently covered in Playa Dust, there is a Hot Tub and of course if it is warm enough, or anybody is adventurous enough, we now have a pool; we can PARTY!!!
WildChild & I would like to thank the following people who were here to help in 2011 (UncleBob, Poje, Sista, Stagger, Big Phreeky & Marsha, Theresa & Jacques, Twist, Knotch & Shadow, Mark & Stephanie, Tailfeather, Brotherluv, Corvus, Kilted James, Cactusman, Captain Jack, Alien & Sarge, Fawn & Tristan), we certainly hope we can entice them to come back this year.
Of course you are all welcome to come to Phoenix and join us, just drop me a line.
We promise to take lots of pics as we sort & clean the Playa Gear and get our garage in some semblance of Playa order.
When it comes to the camp’s Generator, there is someone who needs special THANKS!!! TWIST!!! Hats off to you my Right Hand Man & Rocket Scientist!!!!
The generator worked flawlessly for another Playa year. The Honda EU3000 we purchased several years ago continues to work amazing; that is mainly because we have serviced it each year. Thank you again TWIST!!!
In 2010 we purchased a Battery Reserve brick so that when the generator was off (ran out of gas) the pumps to the Kitchen Sink & Shower continued to have power so that an overflow or backup in the system was not a concern. The system did not work out as planned and alternatives were investigated post Playa.
Instead of buying another generator (~ $2,600) - transporting and burning another 70 gallons of fuel, Master-Twist!!! came up with an idea for a home-built Battery Brick System. ALL HAIL MASTER-TWIST!!! for having the knowledge, time and funds to start the project before camp fee funds could reimburse him as the costs were estimated at ~ $4,000.
TWIST created a portable 2,500W Battery System. The generator plugged directly into the cart maintaining the power level in the onboard batteries, it also provided us with Dusk to Dawn switches so that lights would come on automatically as darkness approached .The system worked like a charm; when the generator was off, there was still power for not only the Sink & Shower pumps, but the lights in the community space, laptop/stereo, kitchen, garbage and dishwashing areas had power until the generator could be refilled with gas. All Hail Master-Twist!!!
With continued maintenance of both the Generator & Battery Brick system, I think they will serve our needs for a few years.
There was some discussion on PolyBurn post Playa about Wind or Solar power, and as nice as that would be, the costs, storage, Playa footprint and transportation issues are beyond what we will invest in as a camp.
****Burning Man Tickets 2012 – The Lottery****
As you may have heard – Tickets for Burning Man 2012 will be based primarily on a lottery system. I am not hear to debate the merits of this choice, but I do suggest that you read the following links to better understand how this impacts you getting a ticket.
There was some discussion on PolyBurn about tickets for Burning Man 2012 as this all was announced. PolyParadise as a camp will not be involved in securing tickets for any potential camper, by registration costs, or any other means. Securing a ticket to Burning Man 2012 is your responsibility.
With that said, in all I have read about the impending lottery system for 2012, I am not thinking that you will be unable to secure a ticket; what I do think is you should be prepared to pay up to $390 each.
The idea of the lottery makes sure that a random sample of people will be selected for the lowest level tickets instead of those that have the time to spend on their computer on Day One of ticket sales as has been the case in past years...
****2011 Financial Shortfall****
I our Financial Report for 2011 - we ended the year with a negative balance of $837, of which $800 is owed to Master-Twist as he fronted the monies for the Battery Brick System. It had been discussed between us that if a shortfall of funds ensued that it would be made up and given to TWIST upon registrations from PolyParadise 2012.
I so appreciated posts on PolyBurn and to me privately that many of you wanted to donate to the stated financial shortfall from 2011. If you still would like to donate additional funds to make up the gap – please send funds via Paypal to:
****Camping Fee - 2012****
Our main source of income to cover the costs of bringing PolyParadise to Black Rock City each year is thru the Camp Fee. In 2011 we established a camping fee of $170/person; this was an increase of $35 from the previous year. The increase was primarily raised to cover the initial investment costs ($4,000) for the new Battery Brick System; designed and built by our own resident Rocket Scientist, TWIST!!!
We did end 2011 with a negative balance of $837, with the additional infrastructure purchases that need to be made for 2012, my best guesstamte of costs we will incur; the Fee for Camping with PolyParadise 2012 will be $150/person.
Registration for PolyParadise will begin on March 1, 2012...
2011 was my 12th Burn and the 10th serving as Camp Daddy, Benevolent Dictator of PolyParadise. We gather together from all corners of the globe to share, learn & grow - a passion & commitment to Community and lifelong friendships created on the hallowed grounds of BRC and within the borders of PolyParadise. I cannot imagine my life without Burning Man or PolyParadise. I thank you all for being part of it all with me.
The Burning Man/PolyParadise experience is different for each person. It is my hope that each of you felt you had a home & a family within the borders of PolyParadise and that each one of you had the MOST AWESOME TIME EVER!!! I hope that if you return to Burning Man again, you will camp with us and again help create the Community we love, PolyParadise in BRC!
My overall assessment of our camp is that after 13 yrs we have this Playa thing down pretty good. We provide a great home within the Gates of BRC, a drama free space with an amazing Community Space/Kitchen, Events area, The HUMAN CARCASS WASH, Shower and of course the power of family & friends.
There is an extra special Callout; reserved to my Life Partner, Wife, Friend & companion, WildChild. You teach me each day the value of a Big Heart and are constantly there all year long with a smile, encouragement and new ideas to make the Burning Man/PolyParadise experience better & better each year. You are there to meet each challenge, you are there for our campers and most importantly you are there for me, I am forever yours.
Again, it has been my pleasure and honor serve as your Camp Daddy (Benevolent Dictator). Each year brings a different set of challenges, a different set of lessons to be had & learned or stumbled upon; you just never know what the Playa will bring....
We will learn from our mistakes, we will again come alive with PolyParadise, Version 14, it will be better than ever!!!
August 27 - September 3, 2012 - 262 days left till Burning Man!
- Camp Daddy
- Benevolent Dictator
- Burning Man Lifer/Geek/Zealot