One morning in early September I developed a small pain in my left foot while walking in to work. It felt like nothing more than one of the brief aches a habitual ambulator like myself occasionally experiences, and I figured it would subside after I’d sat at my desk for a bit. I was wrong. By mid-afternoon the pain was so intense I couldn’t keep a shoe on without wanting to scream. Aside from some very slight swelling above the arch there was nothing visibly wrong, but what felt alarmingly like a protrusion of bone had formed just under the skin. The slightest touch on the area sent fresh lancets of pain up my leg.

A friend drove me to an urgent care clinic after work, where the doctor on duty gently poked and prodded at my foot while I flinched and yelped. After x-rays and a blood test he concluded that the bones were fine, and diagnosed my ailment as a sprain of the joint between the metatarsals, exacerbated by a slight excess in body fat. He gave me a prescription for anti-inflammatories and some information on joint pain and sent me hobbling on my way.

Though I was relieved not be to suffering from something more severe, the treatment was hardly the cure I was hoping for. The medication (2400 milligrams of high-grade ibuprofen daily) did little for my immediate pain and, as an initial side effect, gave me indigestion and some deeply strange dreams. The only shoes I could wear with any degree of comfort were my Converse Chuck Taylors, but walking anywhere, for any length of time, continued to hurt. Despite this I started hitting the gym with regularity, as losing weight was an imperative part of my recovery; with some disciplined exercise and calorie-cutting I dropped about eighteen pounds between my initial diagnosis and the end of October. Until I became acclimated to the pain, that first week on the elliptical was a study in agony.

It worked, to a degree. The swelling subsided some, as did the pain. But not enough, and after seven weeks I went to my primary care physician for a follow-up exam. She concurred with the urgent care doc’s diagnosis, though she had me leave another blood sample with the lab for comparative analysis.

She contacted me less than a day later with the test results and a new diagnosis. My foot pain hadn’t been due to an injury, but rather was a symptom of a larger issue: hyperuricemia, elevated levels of uric acid in my bloodstream due to my kidney’s failure to excrete it out properly. These elevated levels can – and in my case, did – cause an attack of gout.

Uric acid is a waste product created by the digestion of purine; uric acid levels in the body are raised by the consumption of high-purine foods: meat, certain types of seafood, fructose, and alcohol. No problem for a normal renal system, which then filters it out, but with an under-performing one like mine, the leftover uric acid crystallizes in the joints and tendons. In the majority of cases hyperuricemia is genetic, so while the symptoms are preventable, there is no cure.

This diagnosis meant that I had to make some lifestyle changes, and quickly. Unless I want to suffer another one of these attacks, I have to switch to low-purine diet, meaning that I am now, for all intents and purposes, a vegetarian, and quite possibly a sober one at that.

This, to use the vernacular of our times, really fucking sucks the big one.

It’s been about a month now since I received this diagnosis, and my emotional response has alternately been one of depression and one of resentment, both due to my body having made such a determination without my input. At the risk of sounding petulant, the entire matter struck me as simply unfair; I was already exercising regularly, had been cutting back my meat consumption, and have never been a particularly heavy drinker. For fuck’s sake, I didn’t even start drinking until a few weeks shy of my twenty-first birthday.

I was in too much of a funk to even write for a while, and turned my attention instead to researching my affliction. There’s a maddening amount of conflicting information on gout nutrition out there, and parsing through it just increased my depression even more; the websites of major medical institutions like Kaiser-Permanente, Johns-Hopkins and the Mayo Clinic all contradict each other. Plus, there’s no way to determine what specifically triggered my attack, as unlike an allergy, there’s no clinical test for susceptibility. Tolerances vary from person to person, so avoiding an attack is pretty much an all-or-nothing deal.

It could be worse, I know; as annoying as it is, hyperuricemia isn’t fatal, and once my foot heals won’t impair my day-to-day activities. And technically speaking, I do have a choice in the matter: I can keep eating what I want, as long as I’m willing to live with the pain. But that doesn’t really amount to much of a choice, does it?

Understand that I have nothing against the vegetarian lifestyle, save for a small measure of scorn reserved for those who embrace it solely because it’s currently trendy to do so (this is exponentially increased in the case of trendy vegans). Several near and dear friends – not to mention a couple of past girlfriends – are vegetarian, and out of respect I’ve generally abided by their diet when around them. But I’ve never wanted to be one, cheerfully preferring the options available to me as a dedicated omnivore. Hell, I’ll admit it: I really, really enjoy eating meat. I can’t look at a pig without craving bacon.

Ultimately though, I’m too much of a Darwinist at heart; adapt, or die.

It’s been an uphill battle so far, mostly because the learning curve is pretty steep, and I’m proving to be a genuinely terrible vegetarian. I’ve never really cared much for vegetables, and know almost nothing about creating a balanced meal out of them. I make salads so dull even rabbits find them uninteresting, and a couple of weekends ago I managed to create an inedible mess out of a very straightforward recipe for butternut squash soup. My digestive system, long accustomed to extracting nutrition from bits of dead animal, is only begrudgingly adjusting to the increased amounts of plant matter I’m now consuming.

I’d be in even more dire straits if I weren’t graced with some very cool, very generous vegetarian friends both locally and abroad, all of whom went above and beyond in response to my clarion call for aid, providing me with advice, recipes, cookbooks, and some much-needed moral support. Thanks to them I now have a small (but expanding) repertoire of dishes that I enjoy eating, and have so far managed to avoid malnutrition.

I do have some flexibility in my diet: eggs are fine, and low-fat dairy is encouraged, as lactose helps neutralize the presence of uric acid. It also looks as if white fish such as mahi mahi and cod might be safe, though the ever-present threat of mercury poisoning that comes with eating too much seafood still remains. Recent research suggests that white meat poultry might be all right, if servings are kept small and infrequent – say, five ounces or less twice a week, though again this varies from person to person.

I’m not going to chance it, however, as I hope that by going the full vegetarian route I can continue to enjoy the occasional drink. I genuinely enjoy the taste of beer, and I live in a city that has seen a massive rise in excellent microbreweries in the last decade; to cut myself off from enjoying their wares just seems masochistically cruel.

And, more importantly, I’m not going to push the threshold of my diet because I’m still in pain. Three months have passed and my foot is not healing correctly. The initial teeth-clenching hurt has diminished but never completely dissipated, and the mysterious bony protrusion remains. The recent seasonal drop in temperature has caused the joint to ache in a myriad of new and unpredictable ways, and on the worst days, I limp. My doctor has effectively shrugged her shoulders and referred me to a specialist, who is not available to see me until two days before Christmas.

I’ve become acclimated to this ever-present pain, but I’m weary of it, and I’m beyond ready to wear shoes other than my Converse. If giving up meat – and if necessary, even alcohol – is what it takes, then so be it. I’ll take my place among the herbivorous, begrudgingly though it may be.

I really am going to miss bacon.

In the annals of professional breakfasting, perhaps no name has sounded out quite like that of Richard Alpen. His appeal was unique, his influence on breakfast undeniable. Having earned the respect of luminaries of the field of professional eggs and baconing when his peers were still fighting their way up the rankings, Alpen expanded the International Breakfast Association into an industry force. His charitable work in the development of free facilities for children to eat breakfast under I.B.A. coaching is as notable among humanitarians as among advocates for the regulation of pancake size. Innovator, champion, loving husband and father of two, Richard Alpen was more than just a great eater of eggs and bacon. He was an eater of life.

Alpen started his breakfasting career auspiciously, winning five out of six I.B.A. Grand Slams in his rookie season, and making 1997 Egg and Toast Magazine “Man of the Year.” Alpen’s Eating Breakfast for a Better You motivational video series topped bestseller lists in 1998, and the film biopic, depicting his rise to breakfasting glory in the greasy spoon diners of Hoboken, New Jersey, won four statuettes in the 2002 Academy Awards ceremonies, including Best Song for Celene Dion’s ballad, “The Most Important Meal of the Day.” Experiencing a minor setback after releasing an album under the hip-hop moniker, M.C. Egg Whites, Alpen bounced back with a successful petition to the International Olympic Committee to include professional breakfasting in the 2004 Olympic Games. After his subsequent appointment as coach, Team U.S.A. won the silver medal for Eggs and Baconing and a gold for Toast Sopping.

Alpen wasted no time in silencing those critics who had speculated that Olympic coaching had softened his form. Upon resuming his professional career, analysts and fans alike agreed that Alpen’s egging technique had maintained the consistency and ruthless elegance of his brilliant early years. Due to stress injuries, Alpen originated a new fork-knife position in the second act of his career, a stance since coined as the “Curly-cue Crossbent,” a tines-down fork orientation with the opposing forefinger bridged over the dull edge of the knife.

A study done over several months in 2006 at the Motor Skills Initiative at The University of Toronto showed that Alpen’s form had actually improved compared with footage from his rookie season, his perfectly triangular bites as accurate and streamlined as ever with an almost robot-like efficiency to his chew technique. A 20/20 “Special Report” with Barbara Walters conducted in conjunction with the study showed the now famous slow-motion footage of Alpen cutting a piece of sausage, dipping it in the yoke of his egg, lifting the morsel to his mouth, sipping his coffee, and then tearing off an additional bit of toast, all in a fraction of a second and with a fluidity of motion not previously thought possible at such speed. In the televised special, the slow-motion footage was shown in split-screen alongside video of cheetahs bounding over the grasslands of the Serengeti. Additional trials in the study conducted with random degrees of difficulty—jelly added to his toast, syrup to his pancakes, even some loose grounds in his coffee, requiring picking of the teeth—showed little to no difference in IBA style points or Bites Per Second.

Alpen’s golden boy image declined somewhat in the post-Olympic years. Always intensely private, Alpen did his best to keep his wife, Jeri, and his children, Ethan and Jennifer, out of the limelight. But the 2006 publication of the unauthorized biography Egg on My Face sent shockwaves through the professional breakfasting community, giving light to revelations about his swinging bachelor past, a doping scandal centered during his college days from which he was eventually exonerated, and a salmonella accident on the compound of his New Jersey estate. These events shook the faith of even his most hardcore fans. Alpen’s closely guarded childhood history was also finally revealed, passages on Alpen’s formative years painting his mother as an obsessive who controlled every aspect of her son’s eating habits. During this time of public hardship, opposing fans at his away matches took to chanting “Over easy! Over easy! Do it again!” as a send-up of one particular passage from the biography where Alpen’s mother allegedly forced him to eat breakfast ten times during a 24-hour period. The man himself never responded to such taunts, though his trademark smile and perhaps something of his swagger were lost forever.

But Alpen outlasted his critics, bringing his professional career to a close on a wave of popular resurgence following the 2008 public television retrospective directed by Ken Burns, in which the director was granted unprecedented access to Alpen through a series of in-depth interviews. After retirement, Alpen took a teaching position at the Academe Gastronomique, where he had learned breakfasting methods with the French Masters and first competed as an undergraduate. His biggest collaborator at the Academe was his former teacher, Gaston Gourmagond, an Austrian master known for his radical views that breakfast should be motivated from existential hunger, an approach he called the Alienation breakfast theory. Alpen and Gourmagond would write a book together, entitled Unbreaking the Yoke: How to Bridge the Void With Breakfast, in which teacher and student shared equal billing defining what would become the “New School” of professional eggs and baconing.

In his twilight years, Richard Alpen enjoyed standing invitations at the finest restaurants in the world, though most days he could be found bellying up to his old table at the IHOP a block from his parents’ house. A steadfast man of the people, he believed the greatest effect of his celebrity was to inspire the egg-deprived children of his community. Every Sunday, his fans crowded around his table at his neighborhood IHOP to watch him eat eggs, the diner keeping permanent accommodations for a press line. His every bite was an event, and the last bit of egg-sopped toast from his plate was invariably met with rounds of applause and cheers. He always stayed after his performances to sign autographs or take pictures with his adoring fans, posed with his empty plate, brandished a smile and a thumbs up. And when the odd nay-saying bystander broke through the clamor of hero-worship with remarks like, “Aren’t you just eating breakfast?” he only shrugged and nodded his head amiably. Perhaps Richard Alpen was just eating breakfast. But his eating was like no other.

Richard Alpen was laid to rest on Tuesday at Lily of the Valley Cemetary, dead from heart failure at the age of 29.

It was located in the basement of an old craftsman that had virtually no ventilation, directly across from the elementary school on Pine Street. When you walked down the stairs and into the dank space the air was hazy with dust particles that shone in the sunbeams that had bullied their way in through the highly set windows. The fractured yet cheery sunlight being the only reminder of outdoor life to the subdued musty feeling that hung in the underground quarters.

The house itself was a rundown rental: The small front yard was an odd mixture of overgrown weeds and patches of dry bare earth. Plaid couches, rescued from various dumpsters around town, littered the crooked porch of the sinking haven. Discarded empty bottles of whatever cheap alcohol someone managed to shoulder tap and smashed beer cans lay strewn about the base of the discolored sofas like barnacles. Really, the exterior appeared much like the interior, sans the heavily used and abused musical equipment and beer matted shag carpeting. The windows sat askew in their rotting wood frames like the crooked smile of a child who had just lost its first tooth. The filthy glass was covered in punk rock ooze, creating a darkened hue, that you couldn’t see in, or out of.

The film that coated the windows rendered them darker and more distorted than a carnival funhouse. Today, window tinting on cars that dark is illegal in most states. You have to find some shady-pines window tinting company, pay in cash and pay extra for it (not that I would know about doing something like that). And, though professional tinting may deflect heat better than this particular brand of shadowy slime,  I can guarantee you it isn’t made of the same self righteous matter; Mohawk grease, Knox Gelatin, raw emotion, teen angst and god only knows what other pillaged sentiment or stolen idealism.

It was the brainchild of a guy named Dave who lived in the house, along with his band-mates. He was a little older than the rest of us, he had a fire engine red mohawk and black, black eyebrows that were tweezed into long upward points at his temples. A true artist, he was the one whose ideas we all played along with. In whose eccentric projects we all partook. He was a bass player in the coolest punk band in town. I heard he once took a dare that he couldn’t swim the full length of a swimming pool with the neck of a bottle of Jack Daniels stuck up his ass. Unfortunately, I can’t remember the rest of the story, or if he made it the whole way, maybe no one ever mentioned that part. Whether he did or not, there is not a doubt in my mind that he tried his best. He was just that type of person, who, for obvious reasons, was insanely fun to hang out with.

Once your eyes adjusted to the light, or lack thereof, you could see through the dusty air to a bank of shelves along the far wall. Lining these shelves were a number of tightly sealed jars. All the jars had handwritten labels, some made of masking tape, some were just written in Sharpie directly on the glass. Upon closer inspection you realized that each of the jars contained urine. Dave’s urine. Hence the name, The Piss Museum.

Labeled, dated and sealed mason jars full of his piss. Each label told its own little story.

January 2-Tripping on acid.

February 18-Ate a side ribs.

June 23-Had gonorrhea.

June 30-Finished antibiotics.

July 25-After I had sex with my girlfriend.

July 28-Drank a case of Meister Brau.

September 9-Ate 2 pounds of bacon.

October 1-On painkillers from breaking my wrist.

October 6-Drank a gallon of apple juice.

October 9-awake for 32 hours.

Dave documented his day-to-day life, as well as more significant events by saving his own urine in jars and labeling the events that preceded each collection. There were hundreds of jars. These he kept in a separate special location on display inside his house. If you weren’t totally repulsed by the idea of The Piss Museum to begin with, and picked up the jars to examine them, all the urine was completely different. When the light from the windows hit the jars’ unusual contents you were awed at the extreme variations in color and substance. It was as though you were looking through a portal into another universe.

It’s not often that one comes across such great conceptual art that, somehow, in its own vulgarity can speak to you. There have, however, been many artists who have done works involving bodily fluids, each making their own individual statements. One that comes to mind, and makes me laugh to no end, is Piero Manzoni, that had an exhibit titled “Artist’s Shit” in 1961. It’s a series of, you guessed it, the artists shit, canned. Which he sold on par with the price of gold.

It’s anyone’s guess if the cans contain his (or anyone else’s) excrement. Does it really matter? He also had other works involving his own body matter. Balloons filled with his breath and egg shells that he marked with his thumbprints before eating them. Kiki Smith had a project like this as well. A row of large jugs that you couldn’t see through marked “tears,” “spit,” “diarrhea”  etc… Though her jugs remained empty.

In the case of The Piss Museum, we knew it was the artist’s urine filling those jars. I don’t recall any other works by Dave involving bodily fluids or excretions but this doesn’t mean that they didn’t exist. He was a devout “meatitarian” for a period, where he promoted vegetable rights and carrot love, and on occasion he would drink a substantial portion of bacon grease for an audience. He also kept a collection of photographs of all of his girlfriends when they were seven years old, which I see as another example of his unusual artistry .

The last time I saw Dave was about ten years ago. He, our mutual friend Ali, who was also an ex-girlfriend of his (that he did indeed have a picture of when she was seven), and I, met for breakfast downtown at a restaurant that hires employees based on their natal charts.  Dave had just gone back to meat after a long stint of veganism. He remained as striking, witty and true to form as my sentimental teenaged memories of him. He had retired his mohawk and was now sporting long dreadlocks and he drove a Gran Torino that had been restored to look like the one in the TV show, Starsky and Hutch, except that his was green.

I wish I could recall more of the conversations the three of us had that day as we laughed hysterically and overstayed our welcome in that semi-dilapidated oddly placed booth in the center of the restaurant. He had become a DJ and quite the wine connoisseur. He gave me some great recommendations for red wines, all of which I later bought and thoroughly enjoyed.

Later that night Ali and I went to house party where Dave was spinning. The party was packed, we drank cheap keg beer and chuckled as we watched the row of groupies stand in front of his turn tables and ogle him. After the party got busted, Ali, Dave and I stood outside, tipsy and giggling pretending to be newscasters, speaking into our thumbs and trying to get interviews from the disgruntled underaged kids as they scattered from the police.

I don’t know what ever happened to The Piss Museum, if it was left for some unsuspecting landlord to find during a property walk through or thrown into boxes and left curbside for the garbage truck. Maybe it’s packed in a storage unit, napping, and will at some point, awaken in all its glory and once-again, be relit by sunbeams.

What I do know, is that there are times in your life when you look back and acknowledge the little things, the random seconds, the individuals that shaped your person and made you who you are. The moments when we find great beauty and serenity in the centered sounds of nature or are lulled into a meditative trance by the bombastic lights of Tokyo. It’s when you recall these characters and snippets that have fallen into your world like raindrops. When you acknowledge the people that have unknowingly given you the strength to create by example, that you realize; you can find an astounding amount of clarity while staring into a jar full of cloudy piss.

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I pulled up to the gas station in a 1978 Bonneville that was by far the worst car I ever had to drive or ride in. My girlfriend had that same stupid, sweet smile she had on her face as when we’d stolen some gas a few days before. We were in Akron, Ohio. A few days earlier, we had poured about sixteen bucks worth in the tank and took off without paying. It was easy as that.

We were living on the edge, but that was the state of things back in 1996. We were traveling in a terrible car, wishing we had more money, wishing we had a real vacation. We were living on the edge like some kind of Hunter S. Thompson fiasco. My girlfriend had just gotten a job as a waitress at a restaurant where she stole bread each night for us to devour. It was that and the eggplant from a forest ranger who had a big garden in his yard. He made his own mulch, grew his own delicacies. Nick (that was the ranger’s name) had bought his car dirt cheap after some people drove it into a lake and drowned in it. “The car smelled for a while,” he said.

I stole a few boxes of canning jars from the house where I was staying. That way Nick would keep handing over vegetables.

At the gas station we hopped out for a fill-up. That’s when we saw a pig come running out of nowhere and dive under the car across from us. The person pumping the gas got a dumbfounded look on his face. I’m sure I did too. Then some people came running. “You see a pig?” someone said. I gestured to the car. Seemed like ten people peeked underneath at once.

My girlfriend’s stupid smile turned into a roar of laughter.

She liked attention and a circus (whenever she could be near one or create one).

The pig acted like it sensed some kind of insanity in the air and bolted for our car. Either that or my girlfriend’s chaotic laughter had attracted the beast in her direction. It dove underneath the car. I took a peek.

I could see the pig had a terrible panic in its eyes, like it had just seen the secret of the universe because God had left his Book of Infinity open on a desk somewhere. Then, when an arm reached under the Bonneville, this magical pig of Akron bolted again. It zigzagged in an evasive maneuver and was back under the other car in a cloud of dust.

People tried to pull the pig out, but the little fatso had wiggled itself firmly beneath the gas tank.

Then someone came with a rope and tied a slipknot. The pig squeaked. The rope was hooked around one of the pig’s feet. And then it screamed. Mix Luke Skywalker wailing after getting his hand lopped off with Joe Pesci screechin’ for his life—then you’ll have some idea as to the wail of this pig as it was slowly dragged from its freedom.

Once out from under the car the pig didn’t squirm. It let out a shiver, then continued to squeal as the man cradled it in his arms.

Nothing was said. Nobody asked where the pig was from. Nobody asked where the pig was going. No one asked who owned the pig or what its piggy name was.

All around were bushy-headed trees and red-bricked buildings. This was summer in Akron. A time of petty thefts and pigs running amok.

For a brief moment I smiled at the goofy grin splattered on my girl’s tan face. We watched gleefully as the man cradled the crying pig. We stood like idiots under the crackle of distant storms. We were idiot lovers lost somewhere past middle America where dirt roads and city asphalt collided in God’s kaleidoscope.

And then, in an instant, karma took a sudden turn. As we stood there watching, the man darted away with the bawling pig in his arms and walked right through the doors of an Italian restaurant.

It’s Wednesday, August 20, 2008.

The Man burns in ten days.

In three hours one of your best friends will arrive from Australia. You have not seen him in two months.

In fourteen hours the person who your heart and mind and body desires most will arrive from Israel. You have not seen him in four months. He will be followed shortly thereafter by his father, who will arrive from North Carolina. You have never met him at all.

In three days you will all leave together, in convoy, for eight days in the searing, brutal and unpredictable Nevada desert, driving through the night to take part in an event so wild, so beautiful, so bizarre and so life-changing that your brain cannot yet begin to fathom the most basic aspects of it, let alone it’s myriad intricacies.

And you haven’t even packed.

Yes. You may vomit now.


Dano, your brother from another mother, arrives on Qantas flight whatever. Your excitement at seeing him is immense. Spastic jerking happy dances ensue at the airport. Once at home Dano carefully hands you the three precious containers of smuggled contraband you requested from the Motherland. You sniff the inky contents, dip a finger in the viscous tar, lick aforementioned sticky finger to ensure the purity of your prized black goo and, once assured, whisper with tremulous glee… “Ah. Vegemite. I love your work, son.”

Dano’s suitcase, when opened, looks like this….

It is an orgy of cuteness, a heaping of duty-free idiocy, a mess of koalas *.

* Made In China.

The fact that you have not yet packed or readied yourself at all is some bother to you. It is counter intuitive to your organized and somewhat busy nature. You like to be prepared. Fortunately, so does Dano, and thus you have both come up with The List.

Culled from websites and friends suggestions The List is a basic recipe for all of the ingredients you will need to keep you comfortable at Burning Man. It does not include foodstuffs (except for the most essential of all foodstuffs – something I assure you that you will crave if you don’t have it, even if you are vegan).

Without further ado… I give you….

ZOE AND DANO’S BURNING MAN LIST 2008

Essentials- DO NOT FORGET!!

BACON! (And none of that turkey bacon or vegetarian bacon, either. Bacon bacon only).
tent (unless you are a pussy and/or can afford an RV)
three-foot lengths of bent re-bar to hold tent in place (it’s a tad windy sometimes)
inflatable mattress and pump
sleeping bag/duvet
bike
camel pack (or a camel)
3 gallons of water per day
earplugs (no explanation necessary)
dust masks (again, no explanation necessary)
goggles and sunglasses x2
Ziploc bags (for everything, and I mean everything. If there were Ziploc bags with air holes you would want one for yourself, even though Ziploc bags with air holes would totally defeat their purpose.)
more bacon!!!

Basic stuff- TRY NOT TO FORGET!!!

umbrella/parasol
Leatherman/tools
plate/cutlery
toilet paper
blanket
pillow
towel
batteries
airtight plastic containers for clothes etc
garbage bags
lighter/matches
camera
extra camera bits
sun shower
coolers
WD40
bike repair kit
torch, personal and bike
head lamp
shade structure (it’s bright and hot out there)

Medical/Skin care-

sunscreen (STRONG)
unscented baby wipes (in lieu of showering. You will need plenty)
moisturizer
paw paw ointment
leave-in conditioner
foot cream
hand cream
first aid kit
electrolytes
mouthwash
toothpaste
toothbrush
sleeping pills
vitamins (5HTP)
painkillers
Dano’s anti-inflammatory pills
Something in case you get a rash on your botty

Clothing- (optional)

hats
boots
socks!!
beanie
gloves
scarves
coat
pants w lots of pockets
fluffy legwarmers
full body fish net- crotchless, of course
holsters
leather things
head-dresses
tutus
sulu/sarong
prom dress
tool belt
stilts
fluffy muff
frilly apron
lacy things
corset
anything that makes you feel beautiful, adventurous, free, comfortable, sexy, silly, regal, hard-core or just downright kinky.

The above portion of The List is fairly self-explanatory. The final section includes items that won’t necessarily aid in your comfort, but might certainly aid in your enjoyment.

Fun Stuff-

totems
flag
roo stamp and ink
kite
bike
stubbie holders (beer can coolers)
easel
whip
roll of paper and crayons
fake lawn

face paint
guitar
blinky things
journal
texta (sharpie) on a string
periscope
telescope
cow prodder
wig
pogo stick

And now you are ready. This is all you need and more. Feel free to take none of it and I’m sure you will be looked after. Remember that absolutely everything that you take in to Black Rock City must be taken out again. You can leave no trace. Remember that there is only one phone out there (not including the direct line to God) so chances are you will be out of contact with your Loved Ones for the duration of your stay. If this upsets you I suggest bringing your Loved Ones. If your Loved Ones are on the smallish side there is a camp called Kidsville where families congregate. Kidsville is Utopia for small humans.

Fall in love, find yourself, lose yourself, find yourself all over again just in time to lose your friends and make new ones. Confront your fears and insecurities. Give them away. Blow your mind and heart and soul wide open. Dance. Get dust in your eyes and nose and ears and bits. Discover Playa Boogers. Look after people, just as others look after you. Serve. Explore. Be stimulated. Be tested. Survive. Grow. This is Burningman. Before I experienced it I would roll my eyes at the people who claimed that it was indescribable. It IS indescribable. In the most wonderful way.

Perhaps you’ll know what I mean some day. I really hope you do.