PolyParadise - 2012 - What Worked

Monday December 24, 2012

Each year this is my space to reflect on the year that was in Black Rock City ala  PolyParadise. 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 2013. This was the 14th year of PolyParadise; There is no doubt that it gets better & better each year.

You all should be very proud of the Community you created & nurtured all week long.

I thank you all for being part of the 14th 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!!! 244 Days!!


PolyParadise's population increased by 26 campers in 2012, to an On-Playa total of 170 Campers.

We had 85 veteran campers return and 85 new campers and of that number 53 were Burning Man 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 8 International campers from (Canada & Germany).

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 2012 Playa dimensions were amazing - I think we ended out with ~600' of frontage, and being on the corner of 5:00 A-to-B gave us awesome access to wandering Playa Citizenry. With efficient placement of vehicles in vertical rows between Asylum & Begonia 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. No one acted like a 3-year old; Except me at times :) So Thanks to all of YOU!!!

Congratulations to Touch & Bedbug for becoming Rangers at Thursday's pinning ceremony. It was very fun to STOMP on your hats!!! We all appreciate your effort & service to the greater good of the Playa Citizenry; know we are proud of you both.

****Playa Location****

In our Theme Camp Registration we asked for 4:15 & E-to-F streets but of course ended with a Mapped Location of 5:00 between Asylum & Begonia. I thought our placement was ideal - incredible & amazing. Porto Potties were still relatively close 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 2013.

What were your impressions of 5:00 between Asylum & Begonia?

****Kitchen & Stuff****

In 2012 PolyParadise continued with the Community Kitchen related ‘Requirement’ upon registration; to be part of the daily cooking/feeding ritual - make one meal for 25 people and be able to enjoy a smorgasbord of food the rest of the week. The Community Kitchen was an awesome success! Thanks so much to Stephanie, Patrick, Tigrezz 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.

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 year to year as we as a community become better washers. Special callouts to Bud & Bunnie, Moushie & Indigo for showing me that Dishwashing can be a family fun event - You guys are awesome; hope that if the Burn 2013 is in your travel plans you will again camp with us. Thanks to everyone who washed dishes during the week !!!

Was kinda left wondering as the 2012 MOOP MAP was revealed - our entire block Asylum - Begonia 5:00 - 4:30 was shown in a Green/Yellow Cross hatch pattern. There does appear to be a few other areas on the MOOP Map with the same designation. My presumption without a legend on the map that this is somewhere between GREEN & YELLOW - which of course means that we need to be more diligent in our final MOOP Sweeps - cause ALL GREEN in 2013 will be our goal.

In 2011 when I had a chance to talk with the Playa Restoration crew about MOOP cleanup - they said that it is the smallest of things that need to be picked up - the biggest culprit is wood chips & carpet fibers. Remember it is MOOP if it is not Playa -that is the definition of Leave No Trace. Overall we did an amazing job - thanks to all that assisted 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 MOOP FREE!

The Kitchen/Serving Area & Community Space were (2) 40’x40’ structures oriented the same as in 2011 with the straight edges meeting instead of at the peak. With this arrangement we are able to use 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.

The Event Space was 20'x40' - we continue to see an increase in the attendance to our Playa Events - It is time the Event Space was increased to a 40'x40' - additional shade hardware & 40'x40' tarps will need to be purchased.

We purchased additional shade hardware to make the Human Carcass Wash  a full 40’x40’ structure.  Long gone are the days from circa 2001 when the HCW was a 5'x7' piece of Astroturf. We purchased four (4) 20'x40' tarps - this reduces the total amount of poles in between each structure. We will need to purchase additional 40’x40’ tarps to complete this on each of the structures.

In 2012 we were required to apply for and adhere to the standards of a Nevada State Health Department Food Permit. This was the second year of this mandate 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 Monday from the Nevada State Health Department to see that we were complying with the stated rules, which included: 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 in three areas: When they inspected the Community Coolers - right there on top someone had placed chicken in a bag that was not packaged properly and was under temperature. They also looked at the Frozen Fruit packets we had made and said that since it was not in its original packaging it needed to be served now or thrown away. They highly suggested that we switch from using the Iodophor cleaner to bleach so as we should be using test strips to test the bleach solution for the sanitizing area.

They were very impressed with the foot pump activated Hand Washing Station. Thanks so much to Mark for coming up with the idea and making it happen.  Look forward to seeing what Foot Pump/Hand Washing Station 2.0 looks like (Hint Hint).

Other than those things 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 2013.

With that said - we do go thru a lot of Paper Plates & Bowls, so many so that it the begging of the week only bowls were being used for food service and wouldn't you know it we ran out of bowls (1,500 as a matter of fact).   Regardless of the cost of these items we obviously need more so that people latter in the week that need bowls for serving soup have bowls for said serving of soup.

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 2013 WE HAVE SYRUP, no need to bring anymore.

Thanks so much to STAGGER for again 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 5 buckets of general slop, generator oil, left over food stuff slop, the remnants of many a thing on the Playa.

Thanks to all the PolyCampers that stayed till Tuesday and took any remaining trash bags Off-Playa.

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.

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 an upgrade to the sink faucet with pump - it worked awesome!!!

****Community Meals****

In 2012 PolyParadise had a Community related ‘Requirement’ upon registration, a choice of being part of 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, Hypno, Knotch & Shadow for jumping right in and carving up all that turkeys (80lbs 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!

****Community Space****

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 4yrs now and shows no major wear but one tear in the fabric.

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.

****Playa Events****

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 - Cracking the Door to an Open Relationship: One Couple’s Experience and Insight - Poly High Tea - Human Carcass Wash - Radical Honesty Workshop, Greater Intimacy thru Hypnosis - Mind Melt - Rope Harnesses, Dresses, and Bondage: Oh my!,  Past Life Regression & Hiney Hygiene Station

Major Kudos to the organizers _Greg & Crew (HCW), Facilitators & participants of Poly High Tea, BrotherLuv (Mind Melt) , Keith & Lenel (Heart of Now), Dr. Jones (Hiney Hygiene Station), The Ted's (Revolutionary Honesty), Hypno (Past Life Regression & Greater Intimacy thru Hypnosis, Elaine & Mu ( Rope Harnesses, Dresses, and Bondage: Oh my! ) . 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.

****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.

****Poly Shower****

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 2013, 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!

During the week I was asked by a fellow camper if we could look into making the entry way to the shower a bit more Private. I think we can add an occupied sign on a chain to better 'secure' the shower when it is being used.

****Survival Guide****

2012 marked the fifth 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 - though the tank did not arrive at our camp until early Sunday morning - which meant that we were unable to have a functioning shower or a full kitchen sink drain until it arrived. Over the course of the week I estimate we generated just over 1,700 Gallons of Gray Water. We will again be using the services of Sani-Hut in 2013 for our Gray Water collection & disposal; it is well worth the cost.

****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.

Bottom line - if you have the means & space to bring additional water for camp use it would be appreciated.

****Garbage, Garbage, Garbage****

Many Many thanks to STAGGER for again heading up all things Garbage Czar for stepping up and taking on the role of TRASH!

Since the Trash is generated by the community - our camp requirement is for each vehicle to take one-bag of Trash Off-Playa...Thanks to Stagger for making it easy with double-bagged/tapped/labeled bags for each of us.  Were you surprised to find your personal bag-o-trash at your vehicle :) Major kudos to anyone and everyone that transported more than one bag, you are aces in my book!!

We had purchased two different types of bags (Thickness vs. drawstring) in coordination with Stagger it is a necessity that thickness counts more than drawstrings.

I also think we need to have at least five (5) more feet between the Kitchen shade & Event Space to accommodate more storage space as the bags of garbage accumulate before being placed at the vehicles.

****Early Arrival & Exodus****

Early Arrival - Many, Many thanks to all of our Early Arrival crew. Kudos go out to Sista, Poje, Shadow, Knotch, Uncle Bob, Tigrezz, Dash-O, Elaine, Mu, Hypno, Stagger, Sprinkman, Stacey, Nudefish, Pockets, Stephanie, Mark, Touch, Sherluv,  Endeavor, Dr. Jones, Keira, Trevor, Tailfeather, Theresa, Merlin, Conchita, Mr. Mom, Corvus, Tarzana, Brotherluv, Pimpo & RJ for their tireless efforts to get the camp erected and all system connected. You guys ROCK!!!

This crew of 33 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, Sista, Poje, Big Phreekie, Alien, Sarge, Knotch, Shadow, Soroka, Noah, Kilted James, The Doctor, Corvus, Sandman, CactusMan, Captain Jack, Mr. Mom, Conchita, Dach, MaryJane, Mystiic, Mardell, Frankie, Gecko, Tigrezz, Dash-O, Elaine, Mu, Stacey, Daniel, John, Hypno, Amanda, Carol, Pimpo) Back in the day circa 2006 it was only WildChild & I that represented Arizona in PolyParadise.  It is amazing to have had 34 AZBurners in our camp this year. You are all ACES in my book!!! Thank you all so very much!!!

****Annual Work-Party****

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 23, 2013 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: Tigrezz, Scotto-O, UncleBob, Stephanie, Mark, Tailfeather, Nancy, Frank, Bradley, CaptainJack, Kilted James, Corvus, Sista, Poje, John, Elaine, Mu, Mistress Barney, Marsha, Phreeky, Sandman, Robin, Dick, Richard Wizardry, Twist, Debra, HypnoBurn, Ozzie, Kristi, Fawn, Tristan. (If I forgot anyone my apologies) that came by in 2012 to assist with cleaning the Playa Gear.

Many thanks to Tigrezz for doing the silk screening project, Uncle Bob for the Trash Can Pizza, Stephanie for the wings, Twist for being the MASTER at the Generator (which is now good to go for another year)

The three dogs, Toby, Sammy & Vinny for keeping us all entertained.
, we certainly hope we can entice them to come back this year.

Here are some pics to have you all share in the fun we all had...


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.

****Generator Power****

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!!!

The portable 2,500W Battery System created by TWIST! worked AMAZING!! Providing a way for us to have continual power to the Shower & Sink pumps and critical lights within the Kitchen & Community space when the Generator was off or had run out of 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.

****Burning Man Tickets 2013 – First Come First Serve****

As you may have heard – Tickets for Burning Man 2013 will revert to a First-Come-First-Serve model.

All Burning Man 2013 Ticket information will be posted January 4.


****Camping Fee - 2013****

Our main source of income to cover the costs of bringing PolyParadise to Black Rock City each year is thru the Camp Fee. In 2012 we established a camping fee of $150/person; this was a $25 decrease from 2011.

We did end 2012 with a positive balance of $1,958, with the additional infrastructure purchases that need to be made for 2013; The Fee for Camping with PolyParadise 2013 will remain @ $150/person.

Registration for PolyParadise will begin on March 1, 2013...

Because of recent changes in the use of PayPal and its requirement of being tied to a SS# or EIN# I will no longer be able to accept payment for camp fees in this manner. Camp Fees in 2013 must be paid via check or money order.  Bottom line if your check BOUNCES please plan on camping elsewhere.

****Scotto Speak****

2012 was my 13th Burn and my 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 14 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 15, it will be better than ever!!!

August 26 - September 2, 2013 - 244 days left till Burning Man!

- Camp Daddy
- Benevolent Dictator
- Burning Man Lifer/Geek/Zealot