After the Burn is Over

 Raking up the ashes after “The Great Train Wreck” a collaborative piece by artisans from Reno & Sacramento. Leave no trace!

Raking up the ashes after “The Great Train Wreck” a collaborative piece by artisans from Reno & Sacramento. Leave no trace!

Burning Man 2018

It is now twenty-one days since the Man burned.

Over two weeks ago I returned home from Burning Man 2018. Only today, I finished cleaning and putting my dusty things away.

As I stuffed my fuzzy pink leopard print pajama pants into a big black bin, I got a bit teary eyed. “You never know what can happen. Maybe next year I’ll return to the burn. Or maybe this was my last time.”

Today, my hair and nails are clean and my body is on the way to desert detox recovery, but I am still suffering from Burning Man Burnout. Still feeling a bit of the Burner Blues.

 Crazy cats from California on the back of a colorful bus.

Crazy cats from California on the back of a colorful bus.

 You couldn’t help but to sing along. “Birds fly over the rainbow, why oh why can’t I?”

You couldn’t help but to sing along. “Birds fly over the rainbow, why oh why can’t I?”

 My Selfie Project - Learn how to take a selfie.

My Selfie Project - Learn how to take a selfie.

And, still no Whelan on Walkabout blog post. I tried to write while at the Burn, but the dust called me to ‘carpe diem.’

I like blogging because it helps me to reflect, organize, and sort out my thoughts and feelings. What better way is there to sort out my post-burn ‘decompression’ thoughts?

So, “Whelan on Walkabout, what did you learn at Burning Man?”

When I asked my fellow Burners “Why can’t real life be more like life at Burning Man?” Mostly the replies were “It can be like this! Why not?”

This was my eighth Burning Man Festival, and at one time I did get philosophical and ask myself “What have I learned at Burning Man that I can take into my everyday life?”

 Making new friends at Burning Man. “Desert Guard” by Lu Ming from Beijing, China

Making new friends at Burning Man. “Desert Guard” by Lu Ming from Beijing, China

I want to remember what I learned from the Ten Principles of Burning Man. I want to walk the talk and take part of it all home with me. I hope the ten principles can become a part of my normal life.

Principle #1, RADICAL INCLUSION. Welcome everyone and treat them with respect. Including others may be challenging, but worth the effort. Everyone benefits.

Principle #2, GIFTING. Unconditional giving is hard, but worth the effort. Never give up on giving unconditional love.

 Simple things are important, like a morning cup of coffee.

Simple things are important, like a morning cup of coffee.

Principle #3, DECOMMODIFICATION. There is no selling on the playa. Sometimes you just gotta get away from advertisements and commercials and breathe. Life is not about buying things.

 Tape on a commercial truck to detract from the advertisement. This message works for me.

Tape on a commercial truck to detract from the advertisement. This message works for me.

Principle #4, RADICAL SELF-RELIANCE. It feels good to make your own decisions.

 My kitchen for the week. The back side of Eggburt.

My kitchen for the week. The back side of Eggburt.

Principle #5, RADICAL SELF-EXPRESSION. We all have unique gifts to give the world. Don’t be afraid to give. Don’t be afraid to accept a gift.

Principle #6, COMMUNAL EFFORT. Cooperation and collaboration and part of being in a community. It is OK to go along to get along. We are all in this together. We need each other.

 The Aztec Dancers lead a procession to dance and be thankful for the gifts of life.

The Aztec Dancers lead a procession to dance and be thankful for the gifts of life.

Principle #7, CIVIC RESPONSIBILITY. Don’t hesitate. Care about the communal good and take actions that support everyone.

Principle #8, LEAVE NO TRACE - Sometimes it is hard to leave something better than how you found it. I spent time helping burners keep grey water, black water, gas, and oils off the desert floor. Imagine what we are all leaving in our communities! There is a lot to clean up. Pick up matter out of place and find it a home. It is good for the soul.

 70,000 people can leave behind a lot of bad things. The Earth Guardians help burners keep the playa clean.

70,000 people can leave behind a lot of bad things. The Earth Guardians help burners keep the playa clean.

Principle #9, PARTICIPATION. Life is better when everyone works and plays well with others. I like working with a group toward a common goal.

 Learning how to record Leave No Trace contacts into a database that is shared with the Bureau of Land Management.

Learning how to record Leave No Trace contacts into a database that is shared with the Bureau of Land Management.

Principle #3, IMMEDIACY. Be in the moment and enjoy life. The past is gone and who know’s what the future will bring.


Here is a very cool video about Earth Guardians and what they do. Video by Philip Safarik. Produced by the Burning Man Documentation Team.


 Earth Guardians, Burning Man 2018. You are the best! Thank you for a great burn.

Earth Guardians, Burning Man 2018. You are the best! Thank you for a great burn.

 “Baba Yaga” from the Russian tale “The Hut on Chicken Legs.” by: Jessi Sprocket Janusee and Baba Yaga's Book Club, Reno, NV

“Baba Yaga” from the Russian tale “The Hut on Chicken Legs.” by: Jessi Sprocket Janusee and Baba Yaga's Book Club, Reno, NV

Other things I learned from Burning Man

 One of my favorite pieces entitled “I Will Always Find You” at sunrise.

One of my favorite pieces entitled “I Will Always Find You” at sunrise.

I joined Earth Guardians without knowing anyone. I met people, we told stories, we shared experience, we worked together and everyone was so nice. No drama. No hype. No snarky remarks. What a pleasure!

“We are all just dust in the wind.” “And this too shall pass.” Life is an adventure, no matter where you are. Enjoy where you are now and don’t wait for another moment.

Sometimes it is good to stay up late. Live music and theater are worth the effort to stay up past bedtime.

Sometimes it is good to get up early. Watching a sunrise is the reward of honoring and setting the alarm clock.

And Sometimes, it is best to sleep. A cozy bed is a treasure. Feeling well rested is a gem.

I had several moments when I was suffering from a fear of missing out. There is never enough time to see and do everything. Don't worry about what you aren’t doing. Don’t worry about what you can’t do. Make a plan, pick a path, and go with it. Be thankful for the moment and enjoy.

 RadiaLumia was a geodesic sphere, five-stories tall, and covered with a breathing skin of origami shells and radiant spikes. Art by FoldHaus Collective, Oakland, CA.

RadiaLumia was a geodesic sphere, five-stories tall, and covered with a breathing skin of origami shells and radiant spikes. Art by FoldHaus Collective, Oakland, CA.

 “Lodestar” by Randy Polumbo, was made of an old military jet that involuntarily blossomed into a contemplative flower and gathering place for human pollinators.

“Lodestar” by Randy Polumbo, was made of an old military jet that involuntarily blossomed into a contemplative flower and gathering place for human pollinators.

Wearing funny old used clothes is fun. For the two weeks I was in the desert, I wore strange things I purchased at discount and thrift stores. And it was fun! Clothing is a form of self expression so why not have fun with it? I’m looking at my wardrobe and maybe adding some interest to my outfit selections.

Music is everywhere at Burning Man. I realized that music does make everything better. I am going to explore and enjoy more music in my life.

Food is always fun. I was gifted French toast for lunch and I had to stand in line and fill out the forms to get a burrito from the “Bureau of Burritos.” The fresh vegetables from the commissary were a blessing.

Art is worth the effort. You can’t avoid art on the playa, but in life, sometimes it takes a little imagination and time to find it.

Self care is always valuable. Yoga is good for the body, mind, and spirit. It is hard to have fun if your body hurts. After a week without bathing, my skin hurt. My nails hurt. My hair hurt. A simple shower with a bar of soap is beautiful thing.

Quiet time is valuable and a necessary part of self-care.

 The last moments before the burning of the temple “Galaxia” designed by Arthur Mamou-Mani.

The last moments before the burning of the temple “Galaxia” designed by Arthur Mamou-Mani.

I love you Earth Guardians. I learned a lot. I may return to the Burn, or I may not.

 Rainbow fur is always in fashion at Burning Man. But in the real world? Maybe not.

Rainbow fur is always in fashion at Burning Man. But in the real world? Maybe not.

If I did it in the dusty desert, maybe I can do it in my life. If I saw it in Black Rock City, I can seek it in other places around the world. If I had fun playing on the playa, I can find other playgrounds to enjoy.

I love Burning Man, but there are many travels ahead for me. And I will always have my lessons from the playa. It’s what happens now, after the Burn, that’s important.

 A Selfie a Day at Burning Man 2018. Selfie lessons… not all success, not all failures.

A Selfie a Day at Burning Man 2018. Selfie lessons… not all success, not all failures.

‘Gourmet’ or ‘Gourmand’?

Buoy Beer, Astoria, Oregon

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Gourmet or Gourmand? 

“These two words from French—"gourmet" and "gourmand"—sound so alike that you think they must have common roots, but they don't. They both relate to loving food, but one is positive and one is more negative.” Grammar Girl

https://www.quickanddirtytips.com/education/grammar/gourmet-or-gourmand 

 Hint: You may be a beer gourmand if you fall from your bike after visiting Buoy Beer.

Hint: You may be a beer gourmand if you fall from your bike after visiting Buoy Beer.

During my fitness walks I like to listen to podcasts. One of my favorites is Mignon Fogarty’s “Grammar Girl”. She has been podcasting since I first discovered podcasts and she is still on my download list.

While listening, walking, and reflecting on my recent visit to Astoria, Oregon, I ask myself, “Have I become a beer gourmet or gourmand?” My last adventure was supported by Alien Pale Ale, and now on my trip to Astoria I toured Buoy Beer.

The Great Pacific Northwest is filled with exciting dining and drinking opportunities.

 

The Washington beer blog states that there are over 360 breweries in Washington State. Add to that, nearby Oregon boasts of having over 375 locations associated with Oregon beer brewing.

Meeting our friends Tom and Mary in Astoria, Oregon, we met their friends Dan and Diane for a tour of Buoy Beer.

Astoria is located at the mouth of the Columbia River. I have never seen a river this wide! It is where Lewis and Clark completed their epic trip to the Pacific Ocean.

 It takes a lot of time and skill to load and fire a flintlock rifle.

It takes a lot of time and skill to load and fire a flintlock rifle.

We camped at the nearby Fort Stevens State Park and visited the Lewis and Clark National Historic Park where we watched a flintlock demonstration with a gripping story about Lewis and Clark encountering and shooting grizzly bears. Fort Stevens is also a WWI and WWII historic site with many structures still in place.

Back in Astoria, our new friends Dan and Diane told us their stories of beer making and the short evolution of Buoy Beer. Their passion and energy were contagious.

 People standing at the door waiting for Buoy Beer to open. “Open. Open. Open…”

People standing at the door waiting for Buoy Beer to open. “Open. Open. Open…”

 Dan, our brew man, showing us the ways of the brewmaster.

Dan, our brew man, showing us the ways of the brewmaster.

 Buoy Oysters, a house specialty.

Buoy Oysters, a house specialty.

Dan started making beer in his garage. It as a fun hobby for this retiree. Then one day, he invited his arborist, who was trimming his trees, in for a homebrew.

The arborist liked what he tasted, and he said he could hook Dan up with “all the right people”. Buoy Beer was born.

First, the food had to be amazing. When the beer was paired with the food - the people came. Beer recipes were scaled up and the brewery’s new location was established in Astoria with wonderful views of the Astoria Bridge and the Columbia River.

Bit by bit, it all came together.

Now, in the course of only five years, Buoy Beer employs over 150 employees and offers 17 to 20 different beers on tap. It is available in grocery stores and while we were there the place was packed with a waiting line out the door.

Dan treated to the full sensory experience.

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Smell the hops roasting. Old-school, Rolling Stones is playing in the background.

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Shiny stainless steel vats and oak barrels from Germany. All immaculately clean and beautiful. 

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Fantastic fresh oysters, clams, and harissa-rubbed halibut collars.

And beer tasting, “I’ll try today’s sampler, please.”

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 "I'll take this home with me. Just put it in the trunk of the car."

"I'll take this home with me. Just put it in the trunk of the car."

It is easy to move from beer gourmet to beer gourmand. I expect that you haven’t listened to Grammar Girl, so here is the difference. 

Gourmet - is a cultural ideal associated with the culinary arts of fine food and drink, or haute cuisine, which is characterized by refined, even elaborate preparations and presentations of aesthetically balanced meals of several contrasting, often quite rich courses. 

Gourmand - is a person who takes great pleasure and interest in consuming good food and drink. A gourmand has also been defined as a person who is "a glutton for food and drink,” a person who eats and drinks excessively.

There is such thing as too much of a good thing, but I think I can pace myself and maintain my gourmet status.

No need to “Eat, drink and be merry, for tomorrow we die.”

 Olympia Beer Festival - sampled beers including Buoy Beer, with oysters from local Chelsey Oyster company.

Olympia Beer Festival - sampled beers including Buoy Beer, with oysters from local Chelsey Oyster company.

I prefer the saying, “When in Rome, do like the Romans.”

So, when in the Great Pacific Northwest drink craft beer with your fresh oysters. 

It is the gourmet thing to do.

Return to the Burn, 2018

Getting Ready for Burning Man 2018

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Under hot desert skies,

I’ll renew our good-byes.

Each sorrow in turn,

In the fire they’ll burn. 

 

“I’ll live for today.”

“No regrets” I will say. 

You still will be free,

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Yet not forget me. 

 

And remember my dear,

I will always be here. 

In a dream I will dwell, 

In the past very well. 

 

A year has gone by

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I look back with a sigh; 

with love and with joy,

no longer so coy. 

 

Life’s all the same,

It is not about pain. 

It is peace that I seek.

“Be strong!” (Hide the weak.) 

 

So each year I’ll return

To the fire and burn.

And renew my good-byes

Under hot desert skies. 

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A Woo-woo Walkabout

UFO Festival and Cosmic Symposium, Yelm, Washington 

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From the Urban Dictionary:

"Woo-woo is a slang term used to describe those who believe in phenomena that lacks substantiated evidence to prove the claim of the phenomena. It can also refer to the explanations for the specific phenomena itself. It also describes the method a person uses to understand such phenomena, based on the subjective nature or their personal philosophy which can be neither proven nor disproven. In this sense, one could associate woo-woo with philosophy, religion, or any other branch of study concerning itself with knowledge that is open to interpretation or subjectivity."

https://www.urbandictionary.com/define.php?term=woo-woo

 Who me? A woo-woo? I'm just here for the beer. I hear it is out of this world. 

Who me? A woo-woo? I'm just here for the beer. I hear it is out of this world. 

 Yoda looks like he had one too many.

Yoda looks like he had one too many.

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When I was in High School, I loved "Chariots  of the Gods," Erich Von Däniken's book speculating about "unsolved mysteries." Were there ancient astronauts? Was earth visited by aliens? Have we already had "the first contact?"  I found it fun and fantastic speculation. There was nothing really harmful in the questions, and it was all in good spirit to speculate "who knows what really happened?" 

Amazon still declares it "the groundbreaking classic that introduced the theory that ancient Earth established contact with aliens." I love science fiction, and this UFO stuff is one big bag of archaeology, mixed in some colorful astronomy and tossed with a dash of imagination and speculation.  

Things have changed since 1968 when the book was first published. 

The UFO Festival and Cosmic Symposium, Yelm, Washington, 2018

Could the event be a dramatic as the video? 

 
  "And I think it's gonna be a long long time 'Till touch down brings me round again to find I'm not the man they think I am at home Oh no no no I'm a rocket man Rocket man burning out his fuse up here alone."

"And I think it's gonna be a long long time
'Till touch down brings me round again to find
I'm not the man they think I am at home
Oh no no no I'm a rocket man
Rocket man burning out his fuse up here alone."

I thought it would be in good fun to visit the local event. After all, one of the main attractions was the beer garden. 

I grabbed a roll of aluminum foil and with my tongue-in-cheek, I made my tinfoil hat to shield my thoughts from any aliens, or government agents, who may attempt to read my mind.

 Retro alien - One eyed, one horn, flying purple people eater. 

Retro alien - One eyed, one horn, flying purple people eater. 

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 A Yelm supporter pulling the tap - Alien Beer. 

A Yelm supporter pulling the tap - Alien Beer. 

The online information about the event wasn't clear. Who was talking about what? UFOlogy? Is that now a word?  The latest in alien abductions? The website listed the speakers, but from the descriptions, I really couldn't understand the symposium topics other than one speaker with something about Area 51.   What does the Vatican have to do with this?  They were clearly adding to the mystery when they wrote the speaker's descriptions. I clearly wasn't in the UFO loop anymore. 

What I did understand was the price,  $25 to hear an individual speaker and $200 for a weekend pass.

A little pricey for my taste. But, I did get the part about free music, food vendors, and a beer garden. Plus, last year they were visited by an actual UFO. You never know what might happen in Yelm!

 If you were throwing a card party, and you could invite any alien, real or not real, which aliens would you invite? 

If you were throwing a card party, and you could invite any alien, real or not real, which aliens would you invite? 

 Can you read my thoughts now? 

Can you read my thoughts now? 

While enjoying my beer, I am approached by a friendly lady in an alien green t-shirt. She complimented me on my tinfoil hat. 

"Do you know about the 'Q'? They are here. You should check it out" she says. 

"Oh yes!"  I say. "I love Q. We know all about him. The way he messes with Captian Picard and the crew of the Enterprise. He's great." And I'm picturing someone dressed like the Star Trek The Next Generation character played by John de Lancie. Maybe John de Lancie is here!  I just drank an Alien Pale Ale with Yoda! 

We continue the conversation about the UFO symposium and a few other things I didn't understand.  I get more and more confused. Maybe my tinfoil hat is working the wrong way? Or maybe I need another beer. 

Finally, she realizes "You two don't look like woo-woo's. Enjoy your beers and have a good day."  

"What did she just say?"  

We pull out our cell phones and start looking things up.

 Now appearing: the Alligator Man, the Tatooed Martian, an Alien Family, a magician, and the "Tall White Nordic." 

Now appearing: the Alligator Man, the Tatooed Martian, an Alien Family, a magician, and the "Tall White Nordic." 

This is the scary part. 

 Diversity in aliens - more than just little green men. 

Diversity in aliens - more than just little green men. 

The "Q" or "QAnon" she was talking about is a current topic in several articles by the Washington Post, NPR, the New York Times, and CNN. 

QAnon, the storm, the great awakening is "a growing number of vocal followers of a conspiracy theory, known as Qanon, that has taken hold among some Trump supporters. The theory centers around an anonymous source, Q, who is trying to tell the world about a secret battle being waged by Trump and special counsel Robert Mueller against a pedophile ring filled with celebrities and political elites who have been covertly running the United States government for decades.

QAnon supporters say Hilary Clinton is secretly tagged with an ankle bracelet, Obama and Clinton are tied to a sex ring, Pizzagate is real, and JFK didn't die he is working undercover for Trump. They believe in numerology and proclaim that any time Trump speaks and the number 17 appears, alone or in a combination of numbers, Trump is talking directly to the Q. 

What does any of that have to do with UFO's?  And why did she bring it up? Did UFO's turn into partisan politics?

 UFO's should be fun.

UFO's should be fun.

I hope not.

But I think so. 

Some things have changed since I was in high school. But some things haven't.

I like a good phenomenon, but I still want evidence. I like to ask questions, but I believe that some things are still objective. I want to view the universe with awe and wonder, but I want it to be verifiable based on repeatable observations. I like a good hypothesis, but it needs to be tested, reviewed, and independently evaluated. 

Looking back at the test of time, the super cool Carl Sagan and others debunked most of Erich Von Däniken's theories, and Von Däniken was imprisoned for embezzlement, fraud, and forgery.  Hilary Clinton promised to release everything about Area 51, but she lost. 

I like UFO's, but I am not a woo-woo.

Now, I need another Alien Pale Ale, please! 

 Merchandizing of Alien SWAG. 

Merchandizing of Alien SWAG. 

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 The Stargate wasn't working. My UFO party partner wasn't transported. He is still here. 

The Stargate wasn't working. My UFO party partner wasn't transported. He is still here.