tiedyedave: (Default)
I spent the weekend (from Thursday afternoon to Monday afternoon) at Flipside, in a camp with [livejournal.com profile] pfiddy, [livejournal.com profile] ikarpov, [livejournal.com profile] pa3be, and about seven other people. Our camp was advertised as the "Sanctuary of No Drama", and with very few exceptions it did indeed have that atmosphere, though that was easy to maintain since we were on the edge of the camps area and had very few visitors.

For those of you unfamiliar with Flipside, it's a regional burner event in Austin, similar to Burning Man but on a smaller scale and in Texas hill country instead of in the desert. (For those of you unfamiliar with Burning Man, go Google it.)

The logistics of the camp were kind of a pain in the ass. Though everything ended up coming together just fine, we were continually troubled by intermittent rain turning the ground to mud and dripping into our tents. I actually abandoned my tent for sleeping purposes in a matter of hours, since the door seams and opposite window seams weren't adequately weatherproof. Instead, I just nestled my van near the camp space, stuck my air mattress in it, and used it as a big metal tent; all of the back seats had already come out to haul large cargo (like our shade structure and some lumber). By the second night, we had successfully set up the generator and the lights, and things got more tolerable from there on (the weather also improved on average).

I will also admit to being kind of sensitive to these troubles since I have very little camping experience, and my recent change in diet made it harder for me to share meals. However, I've accumulated a number of good ideas about how to camp more effectively next year, and at other similar events: put tent under larger shade/rain structure (like a pavillion), learn how to build a geodesic dome, bring disposable dishes and utensils, look for more food in those boxes with the foil bags that store at room temperature. (I've got my eye on some ready-to-eat Indian food if that brand is still available next year.) Also, water bottles are awesome and 2.5 gal water jugs with spouts are awesome, but 1 gal jugs are useless.

Also, there are never enough chairs.

I learned a whole lot this weekend. Some of the learning experiences were uncomfortable, but they were all worthwhile. I can't go into much more detail in the context of livejournal; talk to me in person if you care and don't already know.

I feel, despite the admonition "no spectators", that I really was a spectator this time. There was lots of crazy awesome shit going on almost all the time, and my particular approach to taking it in was to stay with my friends and drift as a group between points of immediate interest, such as dance camps and trampolines. I didn't do much solo exploration, didn't set my own agenda, and didn't really consult the list of activities to cherry-pick what I might be interested in. Furthermore, I don't really feel like I actively participated in the festivities, other than to enjoy them. However, I still feel like I had a legitimate good time, and that I understand the burner culture better than I used to. I know that there are completely different ways of approaching the event, and I wonder whether I will actively try to approach it from a different angle if I go next year.

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tiedyedave

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