Monday, June 30, 2014

Long overdue updates!

Well it's...holy moly THREE years later! And somehow, the Bureau of Unclaimed Secrets is still kicking around.

Burning Man 2011 was quite a success. Here's a blog post from a participant - I love it! :) I felt I connected with lots of people and I ended up with some really amazing secrets. Since then the project has evolved a bit.

I took the unclaimed secrets to Chicago's 2011 Decompression event. I did a 1 for 1 secret exchange...I simply laid secrets out on the floor and invited people to take one in exchange for leaving one. It was a hit! I did the same thing at the 2011 Burners Without Borders Winter Ball.

Then the project took a bit of a backseat. I became a primary organizer for Lakes of Fire and found that trying to do a project at an event you're organizing just doesn't really work.

I once again did a secret exchange at Chicago's Decompression event in 2013...this time I set up a table and got dog tags without the year on them. Once again, it was big hit. I was surprised to find I still had fans from the last time! :)

So I have decided to dust off the original concept for Mosaic 2014. It will be a new event for me, and somewhat of a new community. I'm looking forward to connecting with a whole new group of people.

I realized that I have been carrying around a stack of secrets for almost 3 years. It feels a bit like a burden and a bit like an honor. I have read them (I read them when I get home and remove items that are not legitimately secrets), and I know how heavy some of them are. How full of joy and pain and anger and raw emotion. It's pretty humbling.

And I'm looking forward to getting more. :)

Friday, August 5, 2011

three weeks!

just three weeks until we arrive on the playa! we are all very excited and scurrying to shore up all our loose ends...reno rental cars, playa arrival times, where to buy food, etc.

i drove last year (36 hour drive from indy) and although i'm glad to say i have that experience, i'm not planning on doing it again. so this year 4 members of our camp will be taking the california zephyr from chicago to reno. it is a 44 hour train ride and i must say, i'm really looking forward to it.

the idea of taking a train is, i admit, somewhat romantic to me. i've loved trains since i was a little girl and riding one across the country feels like the ultimate train adventure! it feels like a great time to compress and do some last minute prep work. :)

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

sold out!

wow, so the event is sold out.  wild.  i wasn't expecting it, but it makes me glad that i had the money to buy tickets early on.  those who are close to me know that i am a perpetual over-planner.  i am a project manager by trade and after the debacle of the first day of ticket sales, i knew i had to get my ass in gear and get tickets sooner than later.  my heart goes out to those who didn't.  :(

the burning blog has an interesting post this week about ticket sales and an attitude of abundance vs. scarcity.  as someone who refuses to use the scarcity model in other areas of my life, i likewise feel that it is unnecessary here.  i think that the post in the burning blog is a great starter for a larger discussion that needs to take place.  as our community grows, what are our responsibilities, as members, to continue with the mindset of abundance?  how do we create burning man EVERYWHERE WE GO instead of relying on that thing in the desert once a year to create it for us?

maybe it's by participating in regional events.  or precomp/decomp parties.  or hosting an orphan burner party the week of the burn.  whatever it is, in the spirit of burning man, there are no spectators allowed!  if you want more of burning man around you, CREATE IT.  take the 10 principles out into the world and make them real...make the people around you curious about it, and when they ask you, encourage them to learn about it!  burning man is as much a social experiment as it is anything else, and this is where it gets juicy, folks!

do we buy into a mindset of scarcity...of us vs. them? or do we open up and invite others in? hint: the answer may or may not be here. :)

Tuesday, July 19, 2011


I was able to get some really amazing tags for our participants.  I can't wait to start handing them out!  :)

Just a little over a month before we head out to the playa, and we're getting very excited!  :)

Still left to do:
- modify Amtrak tickets for early arrival
- decorate the secret storage boxes
- finish up the number tags (these will accompany the swag tags above and will allow access to specific secrets)
- QA and finalize the sound project
- finish up flat pack furniture (2 more chairs, 1 more table)
- add grommets to the side walls of our shade structures (sorry Costco, the velcro is just *not* cutting it) (these have been bought, will install on the playa)
- procure bungee ball ties for said side walls
- figure out how to get from Reno to BRC on Friday, 8/26
- pack and deliver freight to Chicago (we are shipping our freight with the amazing guys from Monster Wheel Grand Prix)
- pack personal items and board the train!

After a LONG weekend of moving and unpacking (yes, I moved this weekend), I feel like we are a little behind, but there's still a month left to get things finished up.

Friday, July 15, 2011


I am absolutely pleased as freaking punch to announce that the Bureau has been placed on the 3:00 plaza as requested!  Our frontage will be a little different than planned, but we will get something fabulous and beautiful figured out.  I am very honored and excited about this!

Much thanks to the placement team for all their hard work, I'm sure reading through 1000+ applications was pretty freaking nuts.  Your efforts are appreciated!  :)

The man burns in just 50 days!??  Whew, I better get cracking!

Tuesday, July 5, 2011


The burner-run website Playatech provides plans and instructions for flat-pack plywood furniture that works great for Burning Man and camping in general.  Recently our friend Eric helped me and John make 2 chairs and a table based on their plans.  For our BRC project, I plan to make another table (maybe two) and at least another two chairs for our lounge area.  Although the process of marking and cutting can be a little maddening, it was a fun team-building exercise and we were quite pleased with the results.

john & eric, hard @ work
the chairs are big enough for little people like me to curl up.  :)

yep, that's a chair!

eric enjoying the fruits of his labor

We took our new furniture to Lakes of Fire, and it was amazing.  Sturdy, sustainable, easy to put together and take apart and relatively cheap (we used 2 sheets of 3/4" and 1 sheet of 1/2").  We camped with a bunch of friends who also brought Playatech furniture...6 benches and a bar for our camp, S'moregasm (which was a huge hit).  Here are shots of the goods in action:

it was that kid's first s'mores ever.  :)

stilts + marshmallows + booty
One of the other great things about this stuff is that since it's all wood and doesn't use any glue or hardware, you can burn it at the end of the week.  We didn't need to do that at LoF, and we probably won't do it for the big burn either, but if you're tight on space, it's something to keep in mind.  Overall, I highly recommend the stuff.  If you are looking to furnish a camp, it's a great option!

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Secret Storage

I went back and forth a billion times about how to store secrets.  I considered some kind of filing drawers, tool organizers, shipping boxes with dividers...all kinds of stuff.  Most things were either just too big or too cost-prohibitive.  I was planning on doing the shipping box and divider plan, something like this:

...except it was hard to find a decent price for the size I wanted.  Everything was either too big (made for storing glasses or bottles while shipping) and/or too expensive.  There's also the moop factor...cardboard doesn't weight could easily fly away, get wet (I learned last year that the playa is NOT safe from rain!), rip or tear, etc.  Plus I wanted to be able to collect upwards of 200 secrets at a time, and 200 little slots...whew...that's a lot of cardboard boxes.  I found a $20 set of 5 dividers with 36 partitions each on eBay, so I pulled the trigger on that.  But I still needed to come up with 5 individual 12"x12"x6" boxes (no idea where I could find those)...and it still didn't feel like *quite* what I wanted.

Then one day, while scouring my local Goodwill, I happened across these cassette tape organizers:

Apologies for the bad picture, but you get the idea.  Lightweight but sturdy, relatively compact (they are like 3'x3'), 100 slots each...they can be painted, decorated, then wrapped in a blanket and shipped out with my freight.  And did I mention they were $4 each?  I LOVE the Goodwill.  :D