August 22nd, 2007

white boa

playa meals and other delights

I am up to my eyeballs in playa prep, and OMG I am loving it!

We finally got past all the orders (we do have one last thing to finish up but it shouldn't take long.)  Now we can start on our own stuff!

I don't know that we'll have anything new  *for us*made in time (though I do have an awesome furry hoodie vest with kitty ears, in superbright UV reactive HOT PINK fur, yay!  and I might get paw mitts for it - we'll see!)  Hopefully Jovino will make himself a few things (and let me cut them out...)

Mostly, I've been focussing on the essentials - doing laundry so we'll have enough clothes; purchasing and preparing food, etc.  We have a Foodsaver vacuum sealer, and I am putting it to good use!  I'd seen other folks pull out a vacuum sealed bag of food (home made - or take out!) drop it in hot water, and have a meal in minutes - what a great idea!  The cooler water doesn't get in, and if you freeze them, they can act as ice!

There are commercial foods which come in this kind of packaging (tasty bites etc) but having our own sealer means we can pack ANYthing - in a way that is IMPERVIOUS to cooler water!  It's AWESOME!  (Unlike the TBs our stuff does have to be kept cool - but that's easy when waterlogging isn't an issue.)

I have to say I've been loving the cooking.  I've been working on it and I've finally got to the point where I feel I can improvise with the risotto instead of just repeating the recipe - which BTW came from a cookbook given to me by Peter and Robin (my favorite of Peter's girlfriends... Mare is my favorite of his other wives!)  ;-)  I've been reading a lot about restaurant cooking and trying to apply some of the info I've been learning to my own meals.  (I'm just about through the book Heat, by Bill Buford, a writer who apprenticed with famous and famously nutty chef Mario Batali... though the book covers much more foodie ground than just Batali's kitchen.)

Here's this year's base menu (8 days on the playa):


pizza (fresh made - dough + ingredients chopped/pepared and vac-sealed in individual pizza sized quantities... baked in the CBQ!)
chili - home made and vac sealed in portions sized for us both to have some with no leftovers, and frozen (it's ice until we eat it!)
risotto - made it up tonight and DAMN but it is going to be GOOD!
organic pasta with garlic-roasted cherry tomatoes, artichoke hearts, kalamata olives and basil (drool!)
mashers - aww yeah, with buttah!  (I sealed up a BUNCH of individual butter portions for this!  Mashers on the PLAYA, yo!)
sammiches (for lunches - spicy veggie "salami" plus TJ's "garlic aioli" mustard, fresh veggies/greens, tomaters, etc
miso soup for my breffy
TBs for when we can't be arsed to make real food - we've found a better (more authentic, spicier) vac-pack Indian food, yay!

So, that's basically 4 types of "dinner" food, plus TBS, sammies, mashers, miso etc for lunches or snax.  Unless I come up with some other ideas for entrees (like vac-sealing our fave takeouts - laugh if you want but I've seen folks do this!) it looks like we're going to have each thing twice over our 8 days.  That's not so bad.  (And of course there is always random yummy stuff offered by friends from time to time.)

trail bars
thai cashews
chexymixie (2 kinds)

champagne (for our real friends - real pain for our SHAM friends!)
chai - iced for day, hot for night!
frappucinos (one of those "only on the playa" convenience treats)
FAT TIRE (want some?  come visit us at the Dusty Bunny Bar - we'll have it on tap and ice freakin' cold, yo!)

It's late... tyord... I keep glancing at my battery life readout and thinking it's the time (except it's going down and the actual time is going up...)

Time for bed with my baby!  I love him so much.  He's smart, and strong, and sweet, and easygoing... he loves and appreciates me - and lets me know it.  He is also incredibly encouraging!

He's creative and brilliant, yet totally unassuming and completely not egotistical.  Plus, he's an adorable, fluffy (and sexxeh!) BUNNY.

I am truly fortunate.  My longtime friends surely remember my poly days - and I have to say those were good times. 

I learned a lot, loved a lot, and soaked up a lot of love.  When it was good, that life was AMAZING.  The downside, though, was that hardly anyone I had a relationship with could "give as good as they got" where poly was concerned.  I met several folks who could talk a good game, but with  few notable exceptions, so many of them were either unable to deal (the kindest interpretation) or simply out for themselves.

It really is rahter unfortunate.  I have so many good memories of those times... being in a lovely triad, having my husband's girlfriend (who I'd never met) reach out to me and turn into a close friend (we used to get together without him!) etc etc.  Some folks really did get it, and were able to walk the talk. 

I loved being poly - especially the family element.  I always used to throw a valentines day party at our place, inviting all of our sweeties (and their sweeties!) complete with home cooked meal and handmade valentines (I was a freak Martha!)  Waking up with a partner and our mutual partner (or even a partner and their partner-who-I-wasn't-involved-with) was always sweet - cozy and family.  I loved it!

I never thought I would want to change (and I knew that my nature would prevent me from changing "for" someone.  I am who I am, and beneath it all, I own myself (both a blessing and a curse, lol!)

The last thing I expected was to turn my back on my poly ways, but that is exactly what has happened!  I didn't "give it up" - I didn't give up ANYthing.  I am doing exactly what I want to.  Just because I never envisioned this doesn't mean it's not perfect for me now.

When I met Jovino, he had a girlfriend.  Nevertheless, my interest grew, until I finally asked him out.  He was dating other girls at the time (more than one of whom also had pink hair!) and I was involved with the abusive ex - who had actually managed to talk me into agreeing to marry him.  Fortunately, I didn't go through with it!  What a mistake that would have been!  (He apparently really wants to be married - given how quickly he managed to get engaged again after I finally dumped him - and considering how much credit card debt he has, as well as having to pay for school, it's actually a very smart financial move on his part.)


I gotta go.  The vac-sealer is calling my name, and then it's time for bed...  ahhh, bed.

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white boa

she keeps a moet et chandon in her silver cabinet

yes folks, I'm the girl they call the Cooler Queen.  by request, some cooler maintenance tips for you.  (guaranteed to blow your mind - anytime!)  ;-)

I learned this stuff over time, and got my start at my first burn back in '96 by bugging those who had been there before for info.  back then, there was no ice concession (oh, the horror!!!)  I was so proud to make it to the end of the event with ice still in our coolers on my very first year!

in no particular order, here ya go:

- KEEP YOUR COOLERS OUT OF THE SUN!!!  this is rule #1.  it makes a huge difference.  ideally, they won't be kept inside a tent or dome, as it gets warmer in there unless they are extremely well ventialted.  a space blanket or car windshield shade is the absolute minimum.  plan to shift them a couple times a day as the sun moves!

- keep your coolers elevated off the ground!  you can use those styrofoam sheets with silver foil for extra cool-reflection (tape around the edges to avoid a styro mess) but anything will do... I've seen folks use wood pallets etc.  the ground will suck the cool right out of your coolers when it heats up each day!  I have also used one of those plastic sheving units from the homo depot.  those have great air circulation, but you want to make sure you have all-day shade as you can't really move the whole shelf.  this is that physics concept of "things want to equalize" in action!  and actually, a lot of cooler maintenance deals with this concept.  I think of burning man not as "raver hippie disneyland" as has been said, but more like "art freak physics summercamp"!  ;-)

- insulate: you can use a space blanket if that's what you've got, but the best is that stuff that looks like silver bubblewrap, cut and duct taped to fit.  overall, shade is more important.

- block ice lasts a lot longer than chip ice.  also, do not drain the water until you have to - water cools more efficiently than air (and you're just going to wind up with more water anyway!)

- maintain coolers when it's near dusk or dawn - not at noon!  at the very least, take a moment before bed to check them and see what needs to be shifted.  likewise, buy ice early or late (the ice places usually are open from 9 am until 9pm and any time after 7pm is my favorite time to go - shorter lines, and less melting on the way back.)  also, ice makes a great contribution to your favorite playa bar!

- if possible, having (at least) three coolers is ideal:  one that is only for sealed beverages (to be opened repeatedly during the day - and you can let the beverages float in water up to the top - as well as dump excess water right on the playa - because there's nothing in it but playa dust anyway.)  your next cooler is your food cooler - this one must be strategically packed (unless you have vacumm sealed food, then it's just like the bevvy cooler!)  otherwise, be conscious of keeping stuff out of the drink unless it is impervious to waterlogging.  stack things carefully, and place ice strategically (I like to freeze the individual odwalla juices to use as edible block ice and also a handy way to elevate stuff that needs to stay above the water line.)  you can also freeze bottles of water - but of course you don't want to freeze ALL your water, since you won't want ice water at night!  the third cooler is the 'ice cooler" - ice and frozen stuff - longer term storage.  do NOT open this one in the heat of the day unless you really really REALLY have to!  if you get dry ice, only put it in the ice cooler - you can actually freeze things onsite (given enough dry ice.)  the downside of dry ice is that as it melts it carbonates stuff - and fizzy edamame are just nasty.  so if you have food in with dry ice, make sure it is well sealed and try to avoid keeping it in there too long.  some folks have a "frozen storage" cooler and a separate cooler just for dry ice and water they re re-freezing. 

oh yeah - and mark your coolers on the outside "food" "beverages" "ice - KEEP OUT!"  ;-)

- how to maintain your coolers:  when the temp is more moderate, check the beverage and food coolers to see what they need... shift water/ice and restock.  same with ice cooler.  chill the stuff you'll want chilled for the next day, move things out of the ice cooler that you want thawed soon.  if you do this daily, you should have a pretty good handle on what you'll need anyway.  taking care of this once or twice a day is easy - and it makes a HUGE difference!

- also, if one of your campmates stands there with the cooler hanging open in the heat of the day trying to decide what they want, go "shut the cooler!  shut the cooler!  shut the cooler!" until they shut the freaking cooler!  when it's hot out, decide what you want, then open the cooler.  you know what you have, so don't stand there like an idiot while your ice melts - and don't let anyone else do that either.  it's just dumb!