PolyParadise - 2014 - What Worked

Saturday January 3, 2015

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 2015. This was the 16th 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 16th ANNIVERSARY of the Village 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 or to our Facebook Page - generate some chatter; let's get PSYCHED!!! 240 Days!!

****PolyParadise****

PolyParadise's population increased by 33 campers in 2014, to an On-Playa total of 218 Campers.

We had 113 veteran campers return and 105 new campers and of that number 51 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 20 International campers from (Canada, England, Germany, Switzerland, Israel, Mexico, Brazil, Russia).

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 2014 Playa dimensions 500' x 200'.  With efficient placement of vehicles in vertical rows between Basra & Cinnamon 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. So Thanks to all of YOU!!!

****Playa Location****

In our Theme Camp Registration we asked for 4:45 & B-C streets but of course ended with a Mapped Location of 4:15 between Basra & Cinnamon. 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 2015.

What were your impressions of 4:45 between Basra & Cinnamon?

****Kitchen & Stuff****

In 2014 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, Theresa, Keira 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 - our Footprint was about the same as 2013. Out of 40 squares defined by our camp there was only Two (2) areas that were not GREEN!!! Way to go!!!
     
MOOP Map 2013 MOOP Map 2014  
PolyParadise 2013 MOOP Map PolyParadise 2014 MOOP Map  

For 2015 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 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 do think it is time we upgrade to a 100-cup coffee maker as the current 30-cup model just does not make enough for the masses wanting that caffeine elixer.

We do need to come up with additional area to house camper coolers as the current amount of space we allocate for that purpose is just to small.

In 2014 we were required to apply for and adhere to the standards of a Nevada State Health Department Food Permit. This was the fourth 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 Tuesday 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 which for the first time was during a meal service we were cited in a few areas including: Gloves not being worn by food preparers, Food needs to be served to guests as opposed to guests severing themselves. We did receive HIGH MARKS with the Foot Pump/Hand Washing Station 3.0 - 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 2015.

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 2015 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 7 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 2014 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, Mr. Bird 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!

There were several campers that mentioned to me that they arrived for a meal and there was not enough food for them or that they saw some campers going back for seconds and when they had not gotten any food. I understand your complaints - meal times are set at two hour intervals 8:00a-10:00a 12:00p-2:00p 6:00p-8:00p - Policing who gets in line and how many times is not where we are headed. There are two possible solutions to make sure you get food - Get to meal times ON TIME or see that there is not enough food and  STEP UP and be part of the solution which is to Cook an additional meal for the community. Remember meals are not included in the Camp Fee; they are a GIFT to the Community.

****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 6yrs now and shows a few minor tears in the material but no major structural damage.

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.

With the increasing population of the camp I think it would be beneficial to add another 20'x40' creating a 60'x40' space for hanging out and a place for people to eat. 

****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 - Polyarmory & LGBTQ Community - Poly High Tea - Human Carcass Wash - Mind Melt - Introvert Awareness,  Revolutionary Honesty, Swingers Meet&Greet, Poly Friendly Social Mixer, 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), Keira for the Poly Mixer, Martin & Susan (9 Energies) Janet & Vanessa for Revolutionary Honesty &  Polyarmory & LGBTQ Community, Pan Das for Introvert Awareness. 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.

The Human Carcass Wash is now 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 well over 400 participants daily!!!  Freakin INCREDIBLE!!!

****Perfect Place for Poly Play****

Due to technical & manpower difficulties the Poly Play Space did not get erected until Wednesday/Thursday.  I do thank all those involved in finally getting the structure erected.  I hope that campers still had the opportunity to space to let loose, a space to explore sexually.  For 2015 please volunteer with Tailfeather as many hands makes light work & then Johnny can play!!!

****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 2015, 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!

For 2015 - we need to purchase new hoses and position the shower drain tub for better access as we did have one overflow of water because the float on the float pump did not raise the required height (It was stuck) and access to the pump proved difficult :)

****Survival Guide****

2014 marked the seventh 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 - In 2014 we were provided with two 500 Gallon tanks instead of one 1000G tank.  This system worked well as we had one tank for the shower and the other for the sink.  Over the course of the week I estimate we generated just over 1,600 Gallons of Gray Water. We will again look to use the services of Sani-Hut in 2015 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.

Some people have suggested that we get potable water delivered so that the amount of water is not an issue and do away with the requirement of the water donation and eliminate a lot of plastic waste.  My opinion is that we need to remember that Burning Man is a desert camping trip and part of its ethos is we bring what we need to consume and take away what we use. Each camper manages their own water and as a Theme Camp we need to do the same.

In that vein I highly encourage - 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 2014 we adhered to the restrictions on the Public Burn Piers that are provided on Sunday & Monday; on what can be tossed on the fire. We do generate quite a bit of 'Burnable Garbage' we compacted the Burnable bags / wrapping them up tightly with gorilla tape & transported off-playa like other plastic bag garbage.  This appeared to work well.

I encourage all campers to check in with Stagger and see how you might assist him in the managing of the garbage - Community Generated - Community Managed.

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

Early Arrival - Many, Many thanks to all of our Early Arrival crew. Kudos go out to, Tailfeather, Martin, Susan, Brotherluv, Knotch, Shadow, Brandy, Alien, Sarge, Merlin, Theresa, Touch, James, Duncan, Ranger Beethoven, Keira, Trevor, Dr. Jones, Stephanie, Mark, Sprinkman, Honest John, Mistress Barney, Dave, Lisa, Merlin, Corvus, Uncle Bob, JimmyMac, TwoCripsy, Plan B, Dr. Dirt, Stagger, PainterBoy, Ethan,  Easy Rider, Mark, Tequila Mike for their tireless efforts to get the camp erected and all system connected. You guys ROCK!!!

The crew 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.

For the first time in my Burner career we stayed until Tuesday and bypassed Reno on Monday night.  This allowed for a more cohesive teardown & truck packing and my. This move was great for my soul and made my own exodus off-playa a way less stressful experience - I had a great time with the folks that stayed and many thanks to Geoff for allowing us a place to sleep in his rig.

****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, Poje, Big Phreeky, Alien, Sarge, Kilted James, The Doctor, Corvus, Sandman, CactusMan, Ray & Karen, Captain Jack, Jim, Rich, Katlyn, Painterboy, Ethan, Justin, Sr. Steve, Amanda) Back in the day circa 2006 it was only WildChild & I that represented Arizona in PolyParadise.  It is amazing to have had 41 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 17 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 14, 2015 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: Big Phreekie, Candi, RJ, Yobi, Adrianne, Elaine, MU, DeRo, UncleBob, Stephanie, Mark, Lars, Corvus, Alien, Sarge, Richard, Rabbit, Turtle, Scott, Theresa, Katlyn, Cooter, Ray, Karen, Cobalt, Cactusman, Twist, Pimpo, Trouble, Liz, Watercolor, Ted,  Jen, Dave. (If I forgot anyone my apologies) that came by in 2014 to assist with cleaning the Playa Gear.

Our two dogs, Toby & Sammy 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...

http://azcompuguy.com/photo-gallery/main.php?g2_itemId=20172


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!!!

There were several times in which multiple high power items were used at the same time (Rice Cookers, Coffee Pot, Deep Fryers & Microwave) we are now in need of additional electrons to power all of these items.  For 2015 we will be looking to rent a Honda EU 6000 to handle this load.  The additional Watts & the Battery Brick should serve us well.

****Burning Man Tickets 2015***

The distribution of tickets for Burning Man 2015 has been announced on the 
2015 Ticket PageThe Main Sale of tickets will be Wednesday Feb 18 @ Noon PST.  Registration thru your Burner Profile will be Wednesday February 11 - Saturday February 14. Tickets are $390 + $50 Vehicle Pass.

http://tickets.burningman.com/

****Camping Fee - 2015****

Our only source of income to cover the costs of bringing PolyParadise to Black Rock City each year is thru the Camp Fee. In 2014 we established a camping fee of $150/person.

We did end 2014 with a positive balance of $1,850. Out of this money we assisted with $500 to the costs of purchasing the infrastructure of the Twisted Swan. The remaining money will be used to purchase the additional infrastructure we need as a Theme Camp. 

The Fee for Camping with PolyParadise 2015 will remain @ $150/person.

Registration for PolyParadise will begin on March 1, 2015...

Because of the income reporting changes made by PayPal I am no longer be able to accept payment for camp fees via said PayPal. Camp Fees in 2015 must be paid via check or money order.  Bottom line if your check BOUNCES please plan on camping elsewhere.

****Scotto Speak****

2014 was my 15th Burn and my 13th 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 16 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 17, it will be better than ever!!!

August 31 - September 7, 2015 - 240 Days left till Burning Man!

Scotto
- Camp Daddy
- Benevolent Dictator Village of PolyParadise
- Burning Man Lifer/Geek/Zealot
 
 
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