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The Assless Chapel Newsletter #39: Doing It Better Edition

The Chaplain’s Screed

Wow… I have still not come down from this amazing Burning Man. Thank you all for making it so special. And thanks to the rain gods, too! I am, if you haven’t noticed, already looking forward to next year! And I’ve decided to spend today, my birthday, going over the notes I’ve made on how to do things better next year. So, instead of the screed being a bunch of my bloviation, here are the things I’d like to do differently:

Things to Remember to Bring Next Year

Looking over my notes, here are things I wrote down that we should remember to bring:

· Muck boots and wag bags

· Bubbles (someone brought some and I just want to make sure we always have them)

· Plastic champagne glasses, with our sticker on them

· New light for the trailer’s license plate (this one broke)

· Add plywood to enclose the trailer and make it easier to pack

· A narrower tarp for covering the trailer

· More pliers

· A replacement crosspiece for the brown carport (we found a way to improvise, but it would be better to have the perfect piece

· 2 more footers for the rusty carport (again, we improvised, but better to have these)

· More ball bungees, zip ties, spring clamps

· Shelf for the podium on L-brackets

· Trash bags

Grey Water Management

We had trouble with grey water. We ended up having to pack out really dirty water... [redacted] We didn’t have enough evaporation capacity for 15 people and the cool weather and rain certainly didn’t help. Here are a few things I think we should do next year to make this easier to deal with:

The Assless Chaplain Needs to Be Realistic

I’ve generally been very careful about dumping even clean water on the Playa. After talking to Mo and Sia and witnessing the deluge, I’ve realized I am being silly. If it’s clean enough to drink, it can go on the Playa, as long as it doesn’t cause puddling. If it’s no dirtier than water that has been used for washing, it can get sprayed on the Playa in moderate amounts. If it’s filthy, it needs to be evaporated or packed out.

Bring Containers for Ice à la Smart Seamus

Curtis has for years brought plastic containers to hold ice. When the ice melts, he easily removes these containers and empties them of what is now clean drinking water. If we all do this, it means we don’t have to pack as much water, as we can use this for drinking and showers. This leaves us less grey water. Even excess melted water that is this clean could be responsibly disposed of on the Playa. We should all do this, at least for our food coolers (as ice that melts in beverage coolers is still fine for showering.)

Create Less Grey Water

I think we mostly did a good job on not creating grey water. But some of us used a little bit of water for washing dishes and spit our toothpaste into this water. We should try to rely on wet wipes for cleaning dishes and each spit toothpaste into our own designated bottle. I used the bottle method in 2022; don’t know why I felt the need to spit into the evaporation bins this year.

Everyone Should Bring a Small Grey Water Kit

In addition to having a bottle to spit toothpaste into, everyone should bring at least 1 towel for wicking shower water and two spray bottles of some sort. One spray bottle can contain water from beverage coolers or the plastic bottles that hold our ice (in short, clean-ass water). That spray bottle can be used to spray each other. The other is for water that is slightly grey, like used wash water. This can be used to spray the Playa in small amounts, using up the water and keeping down on dust.

More Depravity

I won’t post it here, but I am keeping a Hall of Shame list of the depraved things we accomplished this burn. We need to start thinking about next year. Kudos to Peaches who has already shared with me an idea: Sangriva Shots.

[photo redacted]

Scheduling Weddings

There were moments during the ceremonies where I was a bit stressed out. I felt like I had to rush some of the weddings, as people were waiting for other weddings to conclude. I’m trying to think through how to avoid this and I think next year I’d like to schedule the interviews and the weddings. Of course, as long as we had open slots, we could still do some walk-ins. Also, Sia, please put me in touch with your friends that wanted to get married, so we can plan something for next year.

Staying Organized

Red thinks we can do a much better job of keeping our stuff organized for efficiency’s sake. One thing he and I brainstormed was having one person, during build, organize everything. Then when build is done, s/he can tell everyone where to find things. Pretty simple. I think we should try it.

Send Me Your Thoughts

Did I get something wrong here? Did I forget something? Do you have a suggestion you’d like to make? I wanna hear it!

Group News

So, as of now, I am keeping everyone on the newsletter list. That includes everyone below:

1. Squid

2. Katie

3. Seamus

4. The Assless Chaplain

5. Red

6. Curtis (Smart Seamus)

7. Fresh as Fuck (Becky)

8. Sia

9. Clayton

10. Peaches

11. Noone

12. Kate

13. Tanya

14. Santi

15. Kayla

Please keep me updated on how likely you are to come in 2024, as you figure it out. And let me know if you don’t want to get the newsletters anymore (you must get the newsletters, if you want to camp with us, though!)

I plan to possibly add a few people to this list for next year:

1. Gianna (my wife)

2. Mirit (a friend of mine from Israel)

3. Ava (someone who has been interested in our camp for a while now, but couldn’t make it this year)

Stupid Seamus, his wife Caitlin and I got to spend a night at his house hosting the degenerate Australian couple from The Dusty Mules. It was so much fun! Without it I think Seamus might have died from Burning Man Withdrawal Syndrome. This helped to ease him back into the Default World, though I think he’s still struggling, like a fish out of water.

Peaches is also coming to San Francisco Decompression! It’s October 21st, for anyone else who may be able to come. I am so excited! Here and I spent like 4 hours on Zoom together the other day. Peaches, we should plan your trip sometime soon. Here’s a picture from a previous Decompression:

If you have any news you’d like to share with the group, please let me know.

Wedding Planning

I have started reaching out to some of the couples we married. I’ll also send some of the classier pictures to the County Clerk to thank her for approving my chaplaincy. This little picture is our first couple, Curtis’ friend [text and picture redacted]

Black Rock City News

Wanna know how Playa restoration is going? Check out this link. Here’s how Center Camp looks, as of 3 days ago:

How crazy is that?

Oh, and by the way, if you’re itching for a little bit more burn before the actual Man Burns again, check out the Regionals event calendar for something in your area.

I’ve been in touch with our neighbors from Brasa, The Dusty Mules and Kelly’s. I’d like to put together a HUBS for next year, so we can be assured of having them as neighbors. A couple of our neighbors this year highlighted how it can be a bummer to get shit neighbors. I’d like to ensure that, instead we get the wild and fun Mules, the kind and welcoming folks at Kelly’s and the adorable Brazilians. Does that sound like a good idea to everyone?

I also wrote to Placement about our neighbors. I’ll spare you the full 500 words. I gave rave reviews to Brasa, Kelly’s and The Dusty Mules. Gave detailed information on the implosion of [redacted] and panned [redacted]. If you don’t know the names of [redacted] and [redacted], you’re not missing out on anything. I’ll tell you about it next time I see you.

Placement / Ticket News

Placement News

Here’s the remainder of the Placement Calendar for this cycle:

October 25: Post-playa Report due

November: Statement of Intent opens for 2024 returning theme camps and villages

January 2024: 2023 Camp Standing announced to placed theme camps/villages

Current Pre-Build, Build Week, Burn Week and Exodus Schedule

Nothing on the schedule right now.

Upcoming Tasks

Nothing you need to do, but if you’re looking for something to do:

· Send me feedback on some of the things I wrote in the newsletter.

· Find your local decompression party. Send us pictures!

Closing Thoughts

Next time I hear some boomer tell me about how amazing it was that he got to be at Woodstock, I’ll tell him: “That ain’t shit; I was at Burning Man 2023. We didn’t need the National Guard to help us survive a music show. No, we took care of ourselves and even kept officiating weddings. We didn’t starve or spectate; we thrived, participated and created.” Well, I doubt that I’ll say that, but I’ll think it.

Man, that rain; that mud. I love how it brought us together. I love how it challenged us. I love how it sparked our creativity. I love how it bonded us to our neighbors. I loved it.

Reminds me of this Larry Harvey quote:

“Well it seems to me, that all real communities grow out of a shared confrontation with survival. Communities are not produced by sentiment or mere goodwill. They grow out of a shared struggle. Our situation in the desert is an incubator for community.”

The Man Burns in 348 days!

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