PolyParadise - 2013 - What Worked

Sunday December 29, 2013

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 2014. This was the 15th 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 15th 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 18 campers in 2013, to an On-Playa total of 183 Campers.

We had 95 veteran campers return and 88 new campers and of that number 55 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 13 International campers from (Canada, Germany, Israel, New Zealand, Mexico, Switzerland & England).

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 2013 Playa dimensions were amazing - with the addition of 9 Energies as an embedded Theme Camp within PolyParadise we were 550' x 200'.  We did not get the corner of 5:00 this year but very much enjoyed being much of that block. With efficient placement of vehicles in vertical rows between Biggie Size & Consumer 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 Amanda aka Watercolor for becoming a BRC Ranger. It was very fun to STOMP on your hat!!! 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 5:00 & A-to-B streets but of course ended with a Mapped Location of 4:45 between Biggie Size & Consumer. I thought our placement was ideal - incredible & amazing. Porto Potties were very close C-to-D on the 4:00 & 4:30 sides. 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 2014.

What were your impressions of 4:45 between Biggie Size & Consumer?

****Kitchen & Stuff****

In 2013 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 and more aware that if we want clean pots & pans that the only way that is accomplished is by each of us doing some dishes during the week.

As far as MOOP goes - we did much better in 2013 when the final MOOP Map was released. Out of 55 squares defined by our camp there was only One (1) that was not GREEN!!! Way to go!!!
MOOP Map 2013 MOOP Map 2012  
PolyParadise 2013 MOOP Map PolyParadise 2012 MOOP Map  

This is a vast improvement from the 2012 MOOP MAP was revealed - our entire block Asylum - Begonia 5:00 - 4:30 was shown in a Green/Yellow Cross hatch pattern.

For 2014 our MOOP MAP Footprint goal is ALL GREEN. 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 2012 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 supposed to be 40'x40' - I had miscalculated the number of additional hardware pieces we needed to purchase from the previous year so the event space was a 20'x40' with an additional 20'x20'.  It worked OK, but was far from ideal as the additional cove was nice but was not fully utilized for our events. I will endeavor to purchase the correct additional shade hardware to make the event space a full 40'x40'..

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. With this additional space the HCW now serves ~350 participants daily!!!  Freakin INCREDIBLE!!!

In 2013 we were required to apply for and adhere to the standards of a Nevada State Health Department Food Permit. This was the third 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 received HIGH MARKS for our kitchen layout and accoutrements for safe food handling & preparation.  The only area we were told we could do better was with the Sanitizing station. Instead of using the standard Bleach Testing Kit we had purchased it was suggested we use a different Test Strip method to better  measure the Bleach Concentration of the sanitizing mixture.  They were kind enough to give us information to make this purchase for 2014.

They were very impressed with the Foot Pump/Hand Washing Station 2.0 - Our hats OFF to Mark for coming up with the idea and its ever changing design. VERY WELL DONE!!!

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 2014.

Having the Menu & Volunteer list printed in a 5'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 2014 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.

****Community Meals****

In 2013 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, The Doctor, Big Phreeky 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 5yrs 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 - Mind Melt - Rope Harnesses, Dresses, and Bondage: Oh my!,  9 Energies & Hiney Hygiene Station

Major Kudos to the organizers _Greg & Crew (HCW), Facilitators & participants of Poly High Tea, BrotherLuv (Mind Melt) , With Keith & Lenel not On-Playa thanks to all that facilitated the (Heart of Now), Dr. Jones (Hiney Hygiene Station), Elaine & Mu ( Rope Harnesses, Dresses, and Bondage: Oh my! ), Martin & Susan (9 Energies). 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 Play 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 2014, 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!

We will need to SERIOUSLY clean out the two bins that house the pumps at the Work-Party 2014 cause they are getting way grimy - this will not be a pretty job by any means but must be done.

****Survival Guide****

2013 marked the sixth 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 come with a Drain Cap and we had some water spillage in a very confined area in front of the tank; which was very well documented & reported to Playa Restoration by Kyrka. 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 2014 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!!

In talking with Stagger - It is getting more difficult to BURN the Burnables on the Public Burn Piers that are provided on Sunday & Monday; they are getting more strict on what can be tossed on the fire. We do generate quite a bit of 'Burnable Garbage' we discussed a Burn Barrel but that has its issues as well - we are also thinking of crunching down the full paper compost bags / wrapping them up tightly with gorilla tape & transporting them Off-Playa with the other garbage; this will mean that you will be asked to take additional garbage Off-Playa as a PolyParadise resident as this trash is Community Trash and you are all part of the Community.

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

Early Arrival - Many, Many thanks to all of our Early Arrival crew. Kudos go out to Sista, Tailfeather, Martin, Sista, Brotherluv, Peter, Gretchen, Knotch, Shadow, Brandy, Alien, Sarge, Merlin, Theresa, Touch, James, Duncan, Iris, Ranger Beethoven, Keira, Trevor, Dr. Jones, Stephanie, Mark, Sprinkman, Honest John, Mistress Barney, Dave, Lisa, Mu, Meep, Kerrin, Kyrka, Endeavor, Merlin, Corvus, Yobi & Uncle Bob, TommY, Lisa, Atira, Daniel for their tireless efforts to get the camp erected and all system connected. You guys ROCK!!!

This crew of 38 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 Phreeky, Alien, Sarge, Knotch, Shadow, Kilted James, The Doctor, Corvus, Sandman, CactusMan, Ray & Karen, Captain Jack, Mardell, Frankie, Gecko, Tigrezz, Dash-O, Elaine, Mu, Pimpo, Cobalt) 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 15, 2014 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, Dash-O, UncleBob, Stephanie, Mark, Lars, Robin, Yobi, Endeavor, Rhonda, Ron, Corvus, Alien, Sarge, Merlin, BusterRevolver, Richard, Martin, Susan, Rabbit, Turtle, Scott, Elaine, Mu, Theresa, Rachel, gekko, Cobalt, Jeff,  Poje,  Twist, Pimpo, Trouble, Sista, Brenda, Mardell. (If I forgot anyone my apologies) that came by in 2013 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 2014 – First Come First Serve****

As of this writing BMORG has not updated the 2014 Ticket Page - but this was posted in the latest JRS:

We know you've been awaiting information about tickets for Burning Man 2014, but the plan hasn't been finalized. Why the delay? We haven't finalized agreements with the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) for the 2014 permit. So while we don't have all of the details, here's some info to help you plan:

1) There will be a Pre-Sale, but it will not happen until mid-January. As in the past, this sale will only offer the highest priced tickets.

2) The full ticketing plan for 2014 will be announced in early January on tickets.burningman.com

3) While details are still pending, our intention is to repeat the basic process and structure from 2013: all of our ticket sales will require pre-registration through the Burner Profile system, there will be a Pre-Sale, a Directed Group Sale, an Individual Sale, a late-season OMG Sale, and we will again offer the Secure Ticket Exchange Program (STEP) and our Low Income Ticket Program. We are also striving to keep ticket prices as in line with 2013 as possible. While all of this is still subject to final
changes, know that this is our aim.

In December of 2012 the Pre-Sale designated a percentage of the income to the nonprofit Burning Man Project. By not having this sale in December of 2013 we're missing the opportunity to make this useful year-end donation to the Project. The leadership of the LLC are in the final stages of negotiating and completing the transaction that will make Black Rock City, LLC a subsidiary of the Project. Now more than ever the Project needs your support. Please consider making a donation to the Project as you look at your year-end contributions. You can donate online here:



****Camping Fee - 2014****

Our main source of income to cover the costs of bringing PolyParadise to Black Rock City each year is thru the Camp Fee. In 2013 we established a camping fee of $150/person.

We did end 2013 with a positive balance of $1,716, with the additional infrastructure purchases that need to be made for 2014; The Fee for Camping with PolyParadise 2014 will remain @ $150/person.

Registration for PolyParadise will begin on March 1, 2014...

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 2014 must be paid via check or money order.  Bottom line if your check BOUNCES please plan on camping elsewhere.

****Scotto Speak****

2013 was my 14th Burn and my 11th 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. Rinse - Repeat - Revise. 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 16, it will be better than ever!!!

August 25 - September 1, 2014 - 238 Days left till Burning Man!

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