Burning Man 1999

Some pictures taken at The Burning Man Project in 1999.

You click the little picture to get the BIG PICTURE.

Burning Man 1999 Ticket
1999 Ticket
Location was ½ mile north of last year's site: 119°19'W, 40°42'N.

Rebar with nice pretty ends
After last year's educational toe wound I beveled and pointed all my rebar.

Parachute dome
Sun Shade
This year I made a parachute dome. The design is taken from www.spacelounge.com and scaled down to fit a 20 foot military surplus parachute.
The poles are made from eighteen 8 foot 9 inch lengths of 1 inch gray PVC electrical conduit glued to make 6 lengths. The poles are woven over-under-over-under-over and then lashed together at the joints. Lash the outer 6 points at the pipe couplers so they don't slip and so that the lashings are automatically spaced evenly. Then lash the 6 inner points where they happen to cross. The pipes fit just right in my Toyota station wagon with all the passenger seats removed. They are made a bit long so I could saw them at the joints to get them home and then buy pipe couplers to use them over again next year.
At each of the 12 corners there is a 3 foot piece of 5/8 rebar with a cord tied at it's center with a loop. The bar is driven into the playa up to the knot and the pipe slipped over. This makes a nice neat place to tie the parachute cord and there is no nasty exposed rebar to trip over.
Take the time to lay out an accurate dodecagon and have the poles equal length so the dome does not end up funny looking. Drive a temporary center pin and use two equal length 11 foot non-stretchy strings with loops in the ends to locate the 12 corners. First make a hexagon, then bisect an angle and repeat for the other 6 corners. Remember constructing a hexagon with a compass in high school geometry class? Same deal only you use string. The rebar is tilted at uniform angles by the use of a cardboard gauge. The tilt is not straight across the circle but to the bar just left or right of center so the poles end up in 3 parallel pairs like this. When newly driven the rebar pulls right out again but after a while the damp playa closes in and grips it tight.
On ducking inside I learned the shocking truth about parachute cloth; it does not block the sun! It is just thin white ripstop nylon and the heat of the sun can be felt right through it. Actual protection from solar radiation came from a big beach umbrella and the Space® blankets tied to the inside of the frame.
On Wednesday the wind came up and as a precaution I drove 12 more ½ inch rebars to tie the remaining 12 parachute cords to. When I took it down on Monday I experimented with removing the 12 extra stakes and then all the lashings; it did not fail even when the wind was raising dust clouds. I missed out on the very strong winds of August 30 though so it has not really been proven to be wind proof but it does seem promising.
To remove the parachute simply free the cords and pull it down right through the center and into a sleeping bag stuff sack; it need never touch the ground.
I placed a mail box at the side of the road and people put lots of stuff in it.
The bicycle odometer counted only 70 miles this year; I did less aimless wandering.

Formal portrait
I went about nu de for much of the time and now quite used to the idea. In fact I am so used to it that I did not even waste much film on other nak ed people.
I did made a formal portrait of myself though.

Nu dist
This guy is a serious nu dist whose ambition is to get on as many Web pages as possible.
So ... here he is.

Small After All World (detail)
Small After All World
A half scale model of the famous one.
Great was the joy expressed at it's demise.

Two people dressed as flowers (detail)
Flower People
Two people in very convincing flower costumes.

The Man tilted down (detail)
Man down
The Man lies down to have his head examined ... and stuffed with fireworks.

Big wooden ball
Orbicular Affect
One of the four large wooden spheres within the inner circle.
They burned with the Man.

Big head

Equatorial sundial
This year I built an equatorial sundial.
I forgot my compass so I aligned it roughly by the shadow-on-the-watch-face method and dug a hole for a leg to make it read right. When I returned at sunset to realign it correctly by the solar declination method I was surprised to find it still reading correctly despite being pointed about 10° off.
There were several sundials at Burning Man this year but this was the only one that told the correct time.
Someone burned it late Saturday night, which was not the plan.
Marking the equatorial sundial
Marking the sundial
The sundial was made of ½ inch MDO plywood and trimmed to size with a router and circle attachment. The back was stiffened with 2x4 ribs forming three triangles. The gnomon was made of 3 inch ABS sewer pipe, the old solid kind; not the new spongy kind. The ends were plugged with wood and the assembly turned in a lathe to form a true cylinder with square ends. A 3/8 inch threaded rod held it all together.
The radius of the disk was 36.09 inches so that the circumference would be 5760 millimeters, this would make the minute marks 4mm apart. But when I tried to wrap my metric tape measure around I found that that was just not going to work so I made a jig for just one hour and copied it all around the edge. The straight edge rests on the left side of the gnomon and the long hour lines show which edge of the shadow to read. There is a stop block against the gnomon and some marks to show the various lengths of the marks. Then I sat down for a couple hours going "1 ... 2 ... 3 ... 4 ... 5 ... 1 ... 2 ... 3 ... 4 ... 5 ...".

Two people whacking each other
Thunderdome by Death Guild
Two contestants hang from bungee cords and whack the hell out of each other.

The Fire Cell by day
The Fire Cell by night
Fire Cell
Not much to look at in the day time, but at night a volunteer is sprinkled with a little water and placed in the cell. The bars are filled with gas, set on fire, and spun! Seen live it appears as a near solid cylinder of flame.

This machine and the Fire Cell was made by the Seemen who brought many other dangerous things.

Lighthouse on top of a car
The 25 foot lighthouse by Robert Burke. This makes a poor navigational beacon because it moves about the playa.

Several miles of cars
Rush hour
Burning man 1999 is over, and what better way to prepare for the workaday world than to sit in one's car with the engine running? It took all of Sunday and most of Monday for the long line of traffic to drain out through a single lane. I left late Monday afternoon and got out non-stop no problem.
There were about 24,000 people total this year.

Burning Man 1997 Pictures
Burning Man 1998 Pictures
Burning Man 2000 Pictures
Burning Man 2001 Pictures
Burning Man 2002 Pictures
Burning Man 2003 Pictures
Burning Man official Web site

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Last Update: October 6, 1999