Hey there sports fans, MOOP maniacs and line sweepers extraordinaire! The Hun here, reporting from Gerlach where morale is high and the DPW Playa Restoration team is on track for a BIG WIN. Yes, it’s mighty MOOP-free out there folks. All of you at home who cleaned up your camps, pat yourselves on the back for helping your home team secure what looks to be a smashing victory.
In Day Seven of Line Sweeps, the front line picked up its pace. Lean and hungry for MOOP, they marched across 44 blocks — the entire area from 10:00 to 2:00 between Engagement, Funeral and Graduation, and part of Hajj!
44 blocks is a lot, almost as many as the lines covered in the early days of the season. But how did those blocks fare? Was the quick pace due to a lack of MOOP, or to a highly skilled group of MOOPers? Well, it looks like a little of both:
Yep, we had a couple of serious red spots near 9:00 and 9:30, and one along 2:00. A few yellow blocks slowed down the line slightly, but there were also many, many blocks that were clear and green.
Today’s score: 87% green, 10% yellow and 3% red. Great job, you Leave No Trace superstars!
MOOP Treasure: The Cool Stuff We Find
In the context of a Leave No Trace event, MOOP is a bad thing. But sometimes the MOOPers themselves benefit from being the last people out here picking up litter. Truth is, some of Black Rock City’s discarded items are pretty cool.
There are always stories, and I can vouch that they’re true: a $50 bill buried in a sand dune… two antique silver dollars… a few years back, a diamond ring. Lots of times, though, the MOOP has little monetary value. Out here, we collect it because it’s interesting, or pretty, or maybe just because it’s there.
After two months in this desert Utopia without any need for money, and a couple of weeks picking up cigarette butts, your sense of value shifts. Sure, we find some cash — each of us winds up with a couple bucks in spare change — but the real goodies are the things we can use. Or at least decorate ourselves with, bohemian pirates that we are.
When we find things that we can’t hang from our ears, braid into our hair, stick in our hatbands or sew over the holes in our pants, we start getting creative. After all, some of the best bits of MOOP have no discernible use. We are driven to find a use for them — despite our nagging sense that maybe it’s just junk and we ought to throw it out.
This is where it starts to get interesting. People start sorting and organizing their MOOP, assigning value. Ten or twelve people start collecting specific things for specific uses.
This year, Special collected over a hundred stars. Most were given to him by crewmates. He will sew them all onto a vest for next year.
Some of the crew makes jewelry in the evenings. They share their MOOP jewelry as gifts, or keep it, or throw it away if it doesn’t turn out great. Who cares? It’s only MOOP.
Still, mixed in with the detritus there are a few things that someone must’ve been sad to lose. These — mostly keys, but jewelry and other valuables too — will be posted on ePlaya’s Lost and Found board.
And then there are the truly awesome discoveries: the things that might be worth an awful lot of money in a few years, and are pretty cool right now, and don’t belong to anybody because of gifting and finders keepers. I’m talking about Burning Man swag, which is one of the most common types of MOOP and also the most collectible.
Still, at the end of the day it’s all stuff we find on the ground. Most of it has little to no value, most of it isn’t that pretty or cool, and most of it will eventually make its way to a garbage bin. We save what we can, but there’s only so much we will truly treasure.
That’s all for today, folks. The BLM inspection is just two days away, and the storm front is coming in. Will we be able to have our inspection, or will we be driven off the playa by rain and wind? We’ll find out soon. ‘Til tomorrow, this is The Hun signing off.