A departure from the usual tech blog, for a moment.
Here’s my updated braindump of Burning Man for newbies.
Note : I’m a preparedness guy. I’d rather be over-provisioned than under-provisioned, because asking things of others because I didn’t prepare makes me feel like a mooch. This is both very in theme for the event – Radical Self-Reliance – but being emotionally open to relying upon others is also important. Find your middle ground; but items with a (#) are simply mandatory for anyone.
This may sound daunting — but this is an amazing experience if you allow it to be. Prepare as best as you need – trust the universe and your community to take care of you when you missed something; or in your ability to persevere without it. We are amazingly hardy and impressive creations – a week in the dust and heat is nothing; and our ancestors called that everyday. Remember that.
(#) Be who you aren’t usually; be your inner nature; explore something new – just don’t be what you are at home.
I’m a planner – learning to allow myself to accept and rely upon the gifts and kindness of others is a real challenge- and this is a great place for it. I’d suggest this attitude for almost everyone. Center Camp is the best place to hang out if you’re feeling lost/lonely/overwhelmed. You can refund your center there.
When they talk about compression and decompression – they mean it. It takes a while to adjust to being there [try to get in the mindset on the drive up by reading materials that speak to you] — and it definitely takes effort to adapt back to the busy, planned, monetary, expectation-oriented world of home. It takes a few days – and this is how it should be. Make space for it.
You won’t see everything. A Friend of a Friend, Kathi Fuentevilla, posted this on FB – wisest thing I’ve seen to a friend who was planning intently.
“we all did it. We all marked the things we’d like to see and the things we absolutely had to see in the guide – I’ve done it for 6 years. I’ve never made it to a single one, but that doesn’t stop me from researching it & marking it all down.”
Time doesn’t operate usually out there. Most people don’t carry watches – and people leap into experiences when they’re exposed to them. Everyone is flaky about meeting up on time, events just don’t happen; and that’s just the way things are. Accept it and love it.
Burning Man is an excellent introduction into living in the Now. The environment is harsh enough that you can’t ignore it – so you’re always aware of it. The things happening around you are interesting enough that you can’t ignore it – so you’re always aware of it. This is beautiful. Take some time and just watch – and do nothing. You aren’t checking off a todo list, you’re living at it’s purest.
Leave your rational mind and judgement at home. There is a lot to be said about being a rational impartial observer – but do it after you’ve left. Empty your Cup. http://www.c2.com/cgi/wiki?EmptyYourCup
But into the insanity, and reflect non-judgmentally on the drive home. You’ll never been the same.
This is unlike anything you’ve experienced, not just because of the culture but the environment. The environment is punishing for those that live in the first-world; large temperature fluctuations; dust storms of corrosive sand; and very little ‘indoors’ space.
The city changes from day to day – early in the week its far more spiritual, naked, and empty; later in the week it’s far more of a spectacle. Both are wonderful, but the longer you can stay and watch the city grow around you; the better. I’m told by those that go in pre-event that the week before the event starts in magical. Some year after your first, pick a camp; get involved; and try going early.
There are spectators and there are participants. One of the goals of the city is to be totally-participatory, but dressing in the clothes out of you closet, showering daily, watching events and photographing them rather than sharing in them; these are a spectator mindset. Become a participant as often as you can; dress like the locals, live like the locals. You’re not an anthropologist, and you’re not writing a academic paper when you get home.
When wandering the Playa – you don’t need a wallet, ID [unless you're likely to be carded at the bars], etc. Keep those things locked in your car. (#) Bring a Bike Lock. There is theft – it’s tragic, but it happens, and often. Keep anything expensive locked in your car.
(#) Read the Survival Guide. Reading and know it. Grab the PDF of this years, and at least skim the Recommended Reading section. http://www.burningman.com/preparation/event_survival/recommended_reading.html
Know the ten principals – they say a lot about our temporary city and it’s ideals.
The weather is flickle. We’ve had snow just before the event started; we’ve had rain on multiple occasions, and sudden bouts of wind that last anywhere from two minutes to two days are not uncommon. You don’t have to plan much for snow or rain, don’t worry, but keep in mind that weather is dynamic.
If you aren’t in a climate-controlled place [or an advanced shade structure/yurt] – don’t expect to sleep past 10am, regardless of what time you went to bed. It gets really hot; and tents get humid from water lost through the night. A shade structure over your tent will give you a few more hours.
For clothing in the daytime, bring light, flowing clothing (or nothing at all.) Lots of sunscreen, no matter how dark you are. You can wear street clothes, safari clothes; but I personally think that dressing normally takes away from the experience.
For clothing at night, layers. The weather can dip into the 40s, and if there’s a solid wind, it gets even colder. If you need to wear street clothes here; this is the time; but preferably, have a few costumes. Scan the internet, or ask me for ideas — there’s a million creative ideas out there; and Goodwill + Halloween store is your friend.
The stories you’ve heard about the dust is for real. Think finer than talcum powder. It’s very hard to remove permanently from fabrics, particularly mattresses; so keep that in mind. The dust is alkali and somewhat corrosive; treat your hands and feet with a wash (1 vinegar:4 water) once a day to prevent ‘Playa Foot.’ Keep your feet out of playa as much as possible – socks are your friend. When the wind starts, the Playa hits the wind, and visibility and breathability of the air goes down dramatically. If the wind picks up, you end up with a white-out – visibility as little as 6 feet. For these reasons, (#) ALWAYS carry Eye Protection, A Breathing Mask, and Water. Eye Protection can range from fancy goggles to cheap googles; but have some. Breathing Masks are painters or surgeons masks; although a bandana covering your mouth works in a pinch.
(#) Water is it’s own special thing. Carry some with you ALWAYS – Camelbaks are exceedingly popular – it’s very easy to get dehydrated; and very easy not to notice it when you’re sweating constantly. You might also get trapped somewhere during a whiteout – having water is a life-saver.
Bring a GOOD LED Headlamp and Flashlight, and spare batteries. Keep them with you at night at all times. They are required at night – if you’re walking in remote areas, bicyclists are libel to hit you if they can’t see you — we carry some extra glow sticks and zip-tie them to my backpacks.
Communication off-playa, while improving these past years, is still sketchy. The best shot your family has for getting a hold of you in a catastrophe is to email firstname.lastname@example.org with your exact camp location, and a Ranger will try to find you – but this is sketchy at best. Emergency Services also has a similar service – http://www.brcesd.com/?pg=contact.
There is wifi at Center Camp – it’s optimized for Skype traffic; but as the event progresses it gets sketchier and sketchier. It is not a reliable method; so don’t plan on it, and you’ll be pleasantly surprised when it does work.
The Black Rock Rangers are your friends. They come off a bit gruff– but the responsibility for keeping everyone alive falls on them; and they take it seriously. If you’re simply overwhelmed – you’re feeling majorly ill, having a bad drug experience, having heat issues – find a ranger; and they’ll get you to the hospital, or to special places for helping people down from bad trips.
Once you leave Reno, you’re on your own. There’s a tiny store in Empire that’s usually overwhelmed; and there is no commerce on Playa. Get your supplies, substances, waters, everything beforehand. Carry a tiny bit of cash – Camp Arctica sells Ice every day, and Center Camp has Lemonade, Coffee, Hot Chocolate, etc. [No water.] Spending days without spending anything is a novel experience, and definitely one that changes your perspective when you get home.
Bring all your own water. You will eat less than you think; but bring your food. Involved cooking that requires many steps or lots of cleaning is far less likely to get done. It’s hard to cook when you can’t just discard of waste water easily — you can’t pour it on the Playa.
If you’re taking substances – hide them well on the drive. The police know what’s going on. If you’re trying them on Playa for the first time; have a trusted sitter.
I bring gifts. It’s a huge part of what I love about the event. Give wholeheartedly and whimsically – it’s good for the soul. If you bring gifts; avoid brining stuff that is MOOPy (read the Survival Guide), or easily discarded – we find either mementos or functional gifts are well received.
Pack street clothes for your drive home. Keep them sealed in a Ziploc bag and do not touch them until you’re WAY off Playa and have found a place to shower – there’s a truck stop in Sparks, NV that’s pretty popular for that.
From Richard :
Richard Becker, a friend of mine from Enigma, gave me this sage advice on 6/29/05. I agree with almost all of it, and have included it in it’s entirety.
(He’s also a far better writer than I.)
1. Bring plenty of water.
2. Drink plenty of water, especially when you’re not thirsty.
3. You’ll never see everything, so read the maps and lists of things and pick what you really want to see.
4. If you see something cool going on while you’re on your way to your planned site/event at BM, GO TO THE THING YOU SEE RIGHT NOW. It may never happen again. It may be better than where you were going. Don’t miss the good thing you can see right now in favor of the thing you read about!
5. Wear sunscreen.
6. Bring canned, dried, pickled foods, and eat them straight out of the container with the one or two utensils you bring with you and wash after each meal.
7. Bring goggles and a cloth to wrap around your face. There are dustclouds and duststorms every year, without fail. You will face them.
8. Bring warm clothing for the nighttime. It can get quite cold. The weather can also turn.
9. Watch the skies. I’ve seen some very weird things. Things that don’t require any drugs or alcohol, because they’re real. Things your friends will doubt. You might see them too.
10. The Black Rock Desert is not made of sand. It is made of dust — talcum powder, to be specific. It will be in your food, drink, washing water, clothing, everything. Get used to it.
11. The gender ratio is 2/3 male to 1/3 female. This will affect your experience somewhat, particularly depending on your gender orientation. If you prefer females, you should anticipate that you will not meet one on the Playa. If you want a woman to be there for you at BM, plan ahead and bring one.
12. Bring colorful clothing and wild costuming. That, or skin, is the normal garb for BM.
13. Wear comfortable boots with everything. If you have costume shoes that you’ve *got* to wear, fine. Otherwise, don’t bother with any other footgear.
14. Bring a bicycle that you don’t mind messing up. It will get you around everywhere. But — BUT — make SURE you have a VERY comfortable seat, such as a gel seat, for it. And good shocks, if it’s built with shocks. And excellent tires. And make sure it’s visible at night.
15. Do not partake of any illegal substance in public, ever. What you do in privacy is your business. If anyone did take anything illegal at the Burn, I’d advise them to make sure they trusted the person giving it to them just as they should do so anywhere else.
16. Art cars are there to be seen and ridden on. Do this. But beware of them at night.
17. Your ticket to Burning Man says words to the effect of, “You could DIE if you go to BM.” Guess what: It’s true. Several people die every year at the Burn. *Take danger seriously.* You are at risk. But on the other hand, don’t be a worrier. Live smart and have fun at the Burn.
18. Don’t miss the burning of the Man on Saturday night.
19. Don’t miss the burning of the Temple on Sunday night.
20. Bring things to give as gifts to strangers — trinkets, doo-dads, cool little things. Only trade with people who insist on it. BM isn’t supposed to be a barter economy, it’s supposed to be a gift economy. Don’t encourage the trend to barter.
21. To barter, though, make sure you bring cigarettes, liquor, and drink mixers.
22. There will be a lot of nudity. It’s normal at the Burn, and it’s not intended sexually — it’s freedom. Just get used to it; before you know it, you’ll not even notice it.
23. Be kind to others.
24. Be generous to others.
25. Clean up your campsite and truck your own garbage out of the Playa — and take as much of other people’s trash with you as you can.
25. To coin the cliche: “What happens at Burning Man, stays at Burning Man.” Wherever you think your friends and companions do or act out something that is a different aspect of themselves, and shows a (possibly startling) new facet of their personality, if it does no harm — let it be. And let them be. Don’t publicize what is meant to be their free expression. And rely on others not to publicize yours.
There’s certainly much more to say: Take siestas by day, don’t overdo it, bring a foam pad to sleep on if you camp in a tent, bring a shade structure to keep cool, etc.
But ultimately, enjoy the Burn.
From Hollee :
My friend put it beautifully this evening for a virgin we were talking to.
You’re brain fills in new experiences with old information, every time you eat a sandwich, every time you drive to work, you brain is constantly filling in all the familiar things from memory so it does less work. The first time you experience this its going to be it’s most vivid and interesting and intense, bask in that. This is going to be the newest thing you’ve done in years, take in every sight and smell, and taste and voice because it’ll mean more this year than every other time.
Burning man is an Arts festival, pack what you need to survive, but make sure you enjoy what everyone has come there to contribute.
Things might be silly, you should be silly, this is a place for self expression in all it’s outlets, pick your vices and respect others’.
Some things that might be in the guides but are worth mentioning twice:
Baby Wipes are a god send, you can even pack a separate set and pour vinegar into them as an appendage remedy,
Make spare keys, not being able to drive home and waiting for an $8 an mile tow truck from reno is a crappy way to end your trip
As an alternative for a sleeping foam pad, the 99 cent store pool mattresses are great too.
- Somehow I'm missing my house keys, my MLS keyfob, my favorite scarf and a pair of jeans. Last seen on Thurs.In Boston. I think I'm going mad #
- Feel a little bit like the Doctor. I have a fab coat, a companion, and am exploring a strange land. (Vegas) #
- @egradman Skype uses wideband codecs past the 8khz range that the PSTN supports. It's not your carrier or iPhone sucks,it's that phones suck in reply to egradman #
- I have yet to find an ailment that can't be mended by 80s clubbing in New Orleans. And absinthe. #
- Frenchman St in NOLA suffering a power outage. Live music and bartenders just kept on going, barely skipping a beat. Love it here. #
- @stevenswei was in Vegas as an overnight stay on my way to NOLA. We should hang out next week whenever I finally decide to come home. in reply to stevenswei #
- @Colleenky yay! in reply to Colleenky #
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- Puerto Rico, finally. http://twitpic.com/18q9un #
- Puerto Rico, finally. http://flic.kr/p/7KRz88 #
- Oriental Trading just went up three notches in my book – a CS followup caller took great care of me. #
- My office for today. It's sort of impractical given the sun, but I can't really resist. http://flic.kr/p/7LcSVH #
- @tarahalwes is the hat fetching on you, or made to wear when fetching things? … Ok, I'm going to regret that joke. in reply to tarahalwes #
- @stevenswei tell me how you like Made To Stick – where's the roadtrip to? in reply to stevenswei #
- Spent the last ten minutes photographing beach chairs. At 1am.i had never thought about them after dark. They seem so … Out of place. #
- Playa Flamenco- gorgeous on the isle of Culebra. Best slogan ever : "it's the beach on your desktop wallpaper" http://flic.kr/p/7Lw5eX #
- @Mhoraigh *evil grin* in reply to Mhoraigh #
- @randbot ended up skipping vieques and mosquito bay this time. Heard they're great. Maybe nxt time. Hope SD is working out well for you. in reply to randbot #
- @Mhoraigh replying to your birthday message. in reply to Mhoraigh #
- Oh, that burning sensation? That's a sunburn. #newexperiences #
- @Wishme how long in LA? in reply to Wishme #
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- Anyone *love* their 3G data plan? Turns out AT&T requires a 2yr commitment, even if I use old equipment – not interested… #
- Loving Intercon J – Setting up the set for Limbo now, then gaming all day! #
- Man, I really want to sit down and write a game now. #
- I'm thankful that the challenges in my life stem from an abundance of opportunities/ideas/directions rather than a lack of them. #
- @randbot man, I thought you were referring to something that happened in game. in reply to randbot #
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- Oh, my, what a party. Can I turn 29 again? *glee* #
- @Madrox now I'm curious. #
- @heathervescent I hear you. I feel like a well intentioned foreign exchange student half the them. Thankfully people are often kind. in reply to heathervescent #
- Sorely needing is a process for organizing the various business ideas that come up. Need to prioritize, archive, develop, followup. Ideas? #
- @jory would love to know if you get any great advice. in reply to jory #
- All about the PyCon wireless network : http://www.tummy.com/Community/Articles/pycon2010-network/ #
- @gregvaneekhout I suspect it's not that we're stupider or crazier, but we're just being exposed to larger groups of people. Selection bias. in reply to gregvaneekhout #
- @brentbushnell Know if they're still interested in applicants — this looks *amazing* in reply to brentbushnell #
- I just bought the Mac Heist bundle. 7 Top Mac apps worth $260+ for only $20 and got 3 cool bonus apps free! http://bit.ly/heist-it #
- @gregvaneekhout I've never been there before – looks awesome! in reply to gregvaneekhout #
- I don't understand why 50-60 year olds insist upon telling me about the the state of the art in tech, while they're not aware of Linux. #
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- Hmm, Suzanne Vega is in town right now, performing tonight at Chico.. #
- @MartianFrmPlnV wowie! For what! in reply to MartianFrmPlnV #
- I think this may be my favorite VHS tape ever. http://twitpic.com/15j00m #
- @Madrox you made my day. in reply to Madrox #
- @andysternberg because folks are afraid of bad education, being homeless or unemployed. Not that I agree… in reply to andysternberg #
- @mikeprasad neat idea! in reply to mikeprasad #
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- Just called sir at the airport parking lot – by the sort of person who calls any stranger sir (I'm one of them). Disturbing nonetheless. #
- @randbot congrats! in reply to randbot #
- @boogah I love that area. Go by Cambria next time, I know a little inn there to die for. in reply to boogah #
- @boogah @egradman I've used Dreamhost PS and I was decently impressed. in reply to boogah #
- Leaving for San Jose for the Billy Joel/Elton John concert tonight. Bonus : Going with one of my dearest friends from undergrad. #
- @boogah off the top of my head, think it's Little Sur Inn. Do visit Cambria on this trip- eat at Robin's or Wild Ginger. Have fun! in reply to boogah #
- @boogah If I didn't have 20 of my own servers, I'd be using PS more. That link is neat! in reply to boogah #
- Elton John and Billy Joel – "Dont let the sun go down" http://twitpic.com/13pik5 #
- @rebelprince Totally random, but I'm with Tara right now! in reply to rebelprince #
- "I'm Billy Joel's dad. Billy was sick today, but I know all of his shit. You've got to be saying, man, he's old!" – Billy Joel #
- @lifeofreilly I am. in reply to lifeofreilly #
- @HilaryAndrew teehee in reply to HilaryAndrew #
- RT @codinghorror: "all email responses regardless of recipient or subject will be five sentences or less" http://five.sentenc.es – hmm #
- @gregvaneekhout are there any pirates or monkeys near by? Or better yet – Monkees? in reply to gregvaneekhout #
- @stevenswei Andrew used to use Amazon Mechanical Turk to do translations. It went … okay. in reply to stevenswei #
- Rate of increase :
Amount of things I can do simultaneously:linear.
This is cruel. #
- @timiat Pink Martini "hang on little tomato". Billy Joel "The Stranger" in reply to timiat #
- Mai Tai's, Blue Hawaiian's and Hawaiian Punch. But what drink to make for the sugar/rum overloaded? Margaritas? Whiskey Sours? #
- @lifeofreilly @HilaryAndrew @Colleenky @gregvaneekhout @dustchick @keltraine – Jonathan Coulton at the Largo! Whoo hoo! in reply to lifeofreilly #
- @lifeofreilly grin. They are some hot geek women. in reply to lifeofreilly #
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- I decided to stop working 1.8 hrs ago – I'm just now pulling myself away and having a meal before the clubs. I have no discipline. #
- @RichardABecker I haven't had an eight hour workday since I was 14. I'm told it's doable, but first step is to lose the home office. in reply to RichardABecker #
- @Colleenky mmmm cheese in reply to Colleenky #
- I have never regretted going out 80s clubbing, ever, in my life. I have to get Enigma out to Blue or Clockwork soon – it's high time. #
- @dustchick what's so terrible about French, save for it's lack of relevance? in reply to dustchick #
- @cyuskoff where? in reply to cyuskoff #
- Damned openwsman update uses /dev/random rather than urandom in cert generation. In a boot script. Drove to server to fix after 2hr wait. #
- @andysternberg jazz in LA? in reply to andysternberg #
- @stevenswei grin. Using other languages since Py makes me sad. in reply to stevenswei #
- @timiat what should they have taken out instead? in reply to timiat #
- @kjkjerstin I lost mine in Hawaii. (Pilot Knight) Bought a new one the day I got home. I know your pain. in reply to kjkjerstin #
- @andysternberg I assumed I (and you) would be at a BIL event. in reply to andysternberg #
- @timiat pretty good way of influencing basic users to upgrade without taking away real functionality. Sounds saavy (and evil) to me. in reply to timiat #
- While it definitely took away from my plans for today, that last hour debugging/fixing that SQL Server locking issue felt really good. #
- @andysternberg Sad I didn't make it – sounds like you enjoyed yourself though. in reply to andysternberg #
- @mikeprasad are you at the food cart festival? in reply to mikeprasad #
- @Wishme man, now I want one too. in reply to Wishme #
- @Colleenky turns out the Goodwill on Santa Monica does ewaste recycling for free. in reply to Colleenky #
- @stevenswei did you ever end up reading their ebook? in reply to stevenswei #
- @chews did you go to PS or LB this year? I think I missed the window to apply for next year in reply to chews #
- @Wishme we're going late March – it can't come soon enough. in reply to Wishme #
- Now to find a Viking Costume for tonight. #
- Man, a Gil Elvgren pop-up book. Pin-ups for the five year old crowd. Egads. #
- @andysternberg *why am I not surprised you are at lucent? in reply to andysternberg #
- RT @ThatKevinSmith: "No threesome with the Missus then?" On Valentine's Day? Please, sir – we're in love. The threesome's the night before. #
- In the fantastic kitchen of a notable director. Funny thing to realize – "I actually prefer mine to this one." except for hanging pot rack #
- @dustchick ask and ye shall recieve. http://twitpic.com/136tax in reply to dustchick #
- Although I wouldn't mind having an indoor hottub. #
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EDIT : Newer Instructions are here.
this is a repost from my old site.
I’ve created RPMs for RHEL 5.0, 5.1, 5.2 and 5.3, as well as CentOS 5.0, 5.1 and 5.2 for Python 2.5 and 2.6.
The RHEL/CentOS line only supports Python 2.4, and as it’s an integral part of yum and many other packages, any installation of new Pythons will require parallel installation.
(Note : Currently, the 2.5 and 2.6 RPMs cannot both be installed without an RPM –force)
TODO : Repository URL & GPG signing
As for the RPMs themselves :
- Python 2.6 – Built from Fedora Core 11 Alpha
- Python 2.51 – Built from Fedora Core 10 (by Bashton)
Neither of these packages fully pass the Python test suite (import test.autotest).
That being said, we’ve been using the Python 2.5 package, released by Bashton, in production for a while now, and we haven’t seen any problems.
4 tests failed: test_distutils test_email test_email_renamed test_nis
I don’t know about email, but there are patches for CentOS/Fedora against distutils, so I expect that’s why it fails the test.
For Python 2.6, note the following :
- I had to gimp autoconf’s version detection to force it to use 2.59. This may have unintended consequences
- This RPM uses patches from the Fedora Core 11 Alpha release. (python-2.6-4.fc11 specifically). As Fedora updates this package, I’ll release updates. (Feel free to email to remind.)
Just install the RPMs for the version that you want. You’ll need at least the base python version package and the libs package.
To start Python 2.6, type python26 at your commandline rather than python. (Your original Python 2.4 is still installed.)
If you’re installing packages with setuptools, make sure to use the correct python version. (i.e. python26 setup.py install)
If you’d like to build an x86_64, call rpmbuild –rebuild with the appropriate arch setting.