Shane or Tastierkakes
Defaultia Region of Origin:
Years Burning/home burn:
I've been attending regional burns for three years now, including Mosaic, Playa del Fuego, Transformus and Frostburn. PDF is the closest in terms of location but I feel even closer to the communities at Mosaic and Frostburn.
Years of Servitude, ahem, volunteering:
I've volunteered at almost every burn I've attended. Mosaic this year is the first time I've served as a co-lead for a volunteer team.
Being a greeter is my favorite since I get to meet so many people and welcome them into the community. For similar reasons, I also enjoy working Gate.
Why do you do it?
As a greeter, I'm one of the first people that everyone sees coming into a burn. I love seeing old friends just as they are arriving and it also gives me the opportunity to meet new people and make them feel welcome. And it is fun to balance being serious and silly while doing all this.
How does your dept matter?
First impressions are important to shaping someone's viewpoint on an event and a community. People are often rolling into burns after a long drive and lots of stressful defaultia logistics, and an enthusiastic and friendly welcome can make a big difference in their outlook. It is also a great opportunity to inform newer people about the principles that make us such a unique community.
How does volunteering improve your burn/make you happy/work for you?
I derive so much enjoyment from the hard work that people do putting together theme camps and the infrastructure of the burn itself, so volunteering is an important way for me to show my gratitude and feel like I'm contributing to the community. Volunteer shifts also put a little extra structure into my burn weekend which helps me to discover people and parts of the burn I wouldn't necessarily otherwise see.
Why should someone consider volunteering for you?
Because I'm just that amazing. Jokes aside, I get the job done but I would like to think that I don't take myself too seriously.I have plenty of experience with organizing from the defaultia world, but I don't feel the need to micro-manage people. I'm open minded and adaptive, and I love to meet new people and hear about new ideas and experiences.
What's your favorite volunteer story?
My first burn was Playa del Fuego in 2017 which ended up being a sea of mud. I observed (and tried to help) a ragtag team of impromptu volunteers that got several cars/trucks out of the quagmire and on their way on the last day. It was incredibly messy but also amazing to see the gratitude from helping people out of a tough spot.
What's your best burner skill?
I have a particular dancing technique which, though it may not look like much, enables me to dance for hours upon hours with only occassional refueling via alcohol needed. I'm a perpetual motion machine of weird dancing.
What's your choice nugget of wisdom for a virgin burner?
Don't push yourself to see everything at a burn. Take your time and just enjoy what is going on right around you. Some of my best burn moments have been deep and unexpectedly long conversations with someone I just met.
Why do you love burning?
I think that the principles select for kind and generous people who are also extremely creative and talented. We experience too much commodification and not enough empathy in Defaultia, and burns are a great reminder that there is an amazing and welcoming community of people out there for us. I also think fire is really warm and pretty.
How have burns changed your life?
The friendships that I've made through burns have been important sources of support and fulfillment over the past few years. I also really try to bring the presence that I experience at burns into my default life, which has been really helpful.
What does consent mean to you?
It means an awareness and empathy towards the person/people that I am with, and a greater responsibility to ensure that I am communicating with and listening to that person.
Which principle is primary for you and why?
I tend to think of the principles more as a collective intertwined entity but if I had to single out one principle, I think that radical self inclusion is perhaps the most fundamental idea that must be always respected and protected.
What keeps you sane in Defaultia?
Keeping in touch with my burn community through social media really helps, and trying to bring the presence that I feel during burns into my defaultia life is a constant goal (and challenge).
What do you want to be when you grow up?
I have a pretty great gig as a professor right now, but when I really grow up, I'm already looking forward to being retired.
What's your snack of choice?
Spicy bar mix, especially if it is heavy on sesame sticks. Or anything that is pickled.
What groceries do you bring to a burn? Fancy vs easy?
As easy as possible. Lots of easy grill stuff like bacon and sausages. Lots of chips and bar mix. Bags of wine and lots of cheese. But I've come a long way from my first burn where I survived almost entirely on slim jims.
What are your top 5 decomp tips?
1. Soup! Soups are always great but especially good during decomp. Pho, Tom Yum, Ramen, Gazpacho are all on the rotation in the week after a burn.
2. Naps are an essential part of my decomp. I tend to sleep an awful lot in recovery but can't always wait until night time for the exhaustion to hit.
3. Ideas for next burns. I'm trying to be better about writing down right away things that I missed or would have done a little differently so that the next time around is even better.
4. Getting back out in nature. I live in an urban area but I try to take a day or afternoon and just go hang out in a big park or get out into the woods a bit during decomp, just as a nice reminder of the world outside.
5. Did I mention soup? Minestrone, chicken noodle, tomato soup with grilled cheese, etc. Such good recovery food.
How has burning changed Defaultia for you?
It helps to remind me that defaultia isn't the only way we can live, and that people can be so much more amazing and caring for each other at a personal scale in self selected communities. I try to take the presence and empathy that I feel at burns back with me which really helps with the struggles and challenges that face in defaultia.
If you could go to a burn anywhere in the world, which one would you attend and why?
I haven't yet been to the big one and I would really like to experience the scale of that one of these years. The heat and sand is pretty intimidating though.