Gameshow ‘n Burnin’ Man

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Gameshow ‘n Burnin’ Man

June, 2013

My first Burn was ’99 and I swore I would never go again ~ way cold and waay dry for a nose the size of mine. So I did it again in ’02 with friends in an RV. I began my “ten-year” at DPW in ’03 on the Night of the One-Armed Man. After missing the left turn from the North I drove through Gerlach and, sensing I’d fucked myself, I found one person working at the gypsum plant. He sent me off in the right direction which means I encountered Gringo staphing the work ranch (we lived there rather than at Gerlach Estates back then) gate at about 2:30 in the morning. Sobriety was not his strong point at that particular point in time. I wanted to just beach for the night and find my friend and new boss Rivka (aka Miss Rivka aka Phoenix) in the morning. He insisted that he take me to her here ‘n now which is how I got the crease in my truck’s passenger door: He was driving a cut-down DPW’d Econoline van and left it in neutral when he got out. I watched in my headlights as the driverless van s-l-o-w-l-y backed into my truck which I couldn’t move because it was towing my trailer.

The next morning in ever-so-appropriate tie dye I stood at the morning meeting, introduced myself to everyone there (my knowing only Rivka) and said that I knew I didn’t know shit and with their help I would be able to help them as their new DPW Dispatcher (an honor shared with Alipato that year though I’m sure he was smart enough to not wear tie dye). My first shift was 11 hours long dispatching out of Rivka’s Suburban (or some such land yacht) on Soldiers Meadow peak cuz the radios wouldn’t reach from the ranch to the playa. At the next day’s morning meeting Mr. Kleen proclaimed me to be Gameshow (Host) as TPR in concert with others felt I sounded like one when I dispatched.

The next year, 2004, I was asked to be Dispatch Manager, a position I happily accepted. Over the years Dispatch and the Depot progressed through cigarette smoking exploding watermelons, near death by marine flare, and other such significant events. In 2008 my wife Katy joined me as a Dispatcher and became my unofficial assistant manager. Three more of our clan joined the playa family in 2010: step-daughter Aimee who found a home in Art Support Services and step-son twins Andrew and Benny. The playa family took them in including Topless Deb who had the boys help create Greeter packets and Shelly and the Commissary crew who blessedly took them on as volunteers.

As many of you already know, on March 13, 2013, I received a phone call from my immediate supervisor, Playground, in which she told me that the new Operations Manager wanted a closer working relationship between DPW Dispatch and ESD and I therefore no longer had a job at Burning Man ~ the new Ops Manager whose name I did not know and to this day still have not met or talked to instructed PG to fire me.

I have processed my thoughts for the last several months, my feelings have run the gamut, believe me. And this is what I’ve concluded: My goals as Dispatch Manager were to create a department of people dedicated to safety, the flow of information, and the best service possible to all of our clientele both internal (DPW, Gate, HEaT, etc.) and external (citizens). I approached my position with honesty and integrity.

There is nothing I have to gain personally from spending my time presenting this information – fired is as fired does. But my goals have not changed. And firing me does not solve the problem. One point of relief I discovered in my processing is that I neither I nor anyone working for me will be put in the position of impotence by a radio system that is grossly deficient. And therein lies the series of events leading to my firing.

Joseph Pred and I used to be friends. That can no longer be said and I have no doubt that he was the primary instigator of my departure. I asked for mediation with him in 2011 and he refused. He has stated in the past that DPW Dispatch does not handle matters of life and death. I experienced a much different reality.

I don’t know how long Burning Man has an Executive Committee (, that website page says it was last updated in 2011, a tad before Mr. Dolman was hired) which, according to the Burning Man website – that’s where I found out Charlie’s name – includes all Board members plus Charlie Dolman, Events Operations Director, Doug Robertson whom I don’t know that I know, CameraGirl of IT fame, Joseph Pred, Emergency Services Operations Chief, Kat Steinmetz, head of HR and Administration, and Ray Allen, Government Relations & Legal Affairs Manager. I find it curious that two weeks after PG’s phone call to me a Board member told me he had no idea that I had been fired...

You will find a number of files in this collection of data. Many (maybe all?) of you know that managers are expected to write EMBER reports post-event. What went well, what didn’t, and how to change the latter. I am including my 2010, 2011, and 2012 EMBER reports. As I looked them over I realized that, in a way, the Quote of the Day list is the canary in the coal mine: ~ when the radios don’t work there is less communication and much more user frustration which means people with radios become both disinterested AND unable to “play.”

You will also find my letter to Mr. Dolman and a chronological list of events Dispatch experienced in 2011.

Many of you are my favorite peoples ever and I will miss what we shared in the desert. I wish you well and if you’re ever in Eugene…

If you wish to contact me, you’ll find me on Facebook or at . My old email address of is not the best route to try…

Gameshow clear


You get what you give! Payback sucks, doesn't it! LMFAO!!!!!!

Well, I'll admit you've confused me...Dunno who you are, Guess Who, and dunno how this figures to be payback for things I did. Glad you got a laugh out of it, I guess.

Enjoyment of "payback" is a sign that your soul is infected by hatred, or even worse fear.
Perhaps if you had attempted using real communication with Gameshow regarding any "issues" real or perceived you may have had, instead of acting like a four year old, you would be better on track to have healthy relationships in your life.
Maybe you could even work on repairing your soul and work on "you" instead of deflecting your issues onto others. Which would bring you closer to the happiness in life that you are obviously craving but can't figure out how to get there. Hint...Be nicer to others

Who are you? Seriously... I don't get it.. If you have an opinion, regardless if its "positive" or "popular" are you really that spineless as to not identify yourself? That's really sad.

We miss you and your family very much,gameshow. It ain't the same without you. Your name has been written on the Lost board at the depot.

Thank ye.

I told you I would bring you cookies back in 2008. I think I remembered to bring them in 2011. You gave me back the tin with an unpopped microwave popcorn in it, but I didn't have a microwave. Best.DPWgift.ever. I don't know the details of any side of the situation, but I will certainly miss your quotes of the day (and hope the tradition will be preserved) and know you are loved!

Thank you for the smile you just created.

All BM part time employees unless full time staff positions are terminated at the end of the event and rehired every year, therefore, its impossible to be 'fired'. Your contract employment was simply not renewed. Welcome to a right to work state.

I believe Nevada is an at will work state, actually. And I can see your perspective on non-renewal of contract vs being fired. But to me, after nine years of being expected to return ~ being welcomed back ~ then being told not to come back...that's fired.

At-will Employment only means termination may be with or without cause as well initiated by either employer or employee.

Actually, it's more complicated that that. There are people that are "full-time" by virtue of the time they work but get their contract, or in some cases, contracts reniewed several times a year... It just depends on who you are and what you do. Although your statement is correct, it's really beside the point of what Palmer's saying here... Being someone who's been involved with the DPW for a long time, I see Palmer as an employee who's "tenured" regardless of technical HR issues.. Therefore I empathize with what I'm sure was a painful shock embodied in that phone call.

Palmer, I'm sorry, Friend.. It is really disheartening. It does seem like there's a "changing of the guard" as of late, for whatever reason or reasons. Personally , I have t been around for a bit, as I've been working as a paramedic (my actual career) but when I left, I felt that The DPW was at the top of its game- across the board, and I don't.knoe why anyone would want to mess with that. There is a flip side though, one that could be viewed as positive... It does open up your life for the next adventure, which could be AWESOME, which hopefully IS awesome, and thinking about it, we all deserve a vacation by the beach. :) keep your chin up. You and your team did a great job, and that's something to be proud of, no new "boss" can take it away from you.. Not unlike the 80 Acres, The Black Label Contigent, regular red neck soccer and the need for incredible ingenuity secondary to lack of budget... Everything/one goes sooner or later.... I was out there for 24 hours yesterday and it was weird walking by the comm shack and not seeing or hearing you. I'll never forget the "my hand to your hand" code of ethics that I'm sure is now gone, and I hope to see you someday soon! You are awesome and you're highly revered in my book. Catch you on the flip side! - fstick

RE: You get what you give! Payback sucks, doesn't it! LMFAO!!!!!!

Although not absolutely positive I'm pretty sure I know who wrote the above statement. Unfortunately this person represents a great many in the Org who unknowingly suffer from the "My ego rules everything I think, say and do Syndrome". A common by product of heat, drugs and alcohol combined with the absence of any conscious intent to evolve and engage in substantial focused self development and reflection as a human being.

Palmer, as to your situation in general my friend, you have my love and my knowing of how shitty it is to be in your situation, one that at the end of the day is the result of little people with little minds playing with powers they have no comprehension of.

Sorry to hear about this sad turn of events... you were definitely one of the things I took as a given on the playa. But perhaps it's really just a reminder that the reactions of those around us really aren't as important as the things we do, and the reactions we have to ourselves...

Hope all is well in the rest of your life, and I'll see you at the Fair if not before :-)

EverywhErE / Kris

Gameshow, I only did DPW twice but you were always one of my favorite persons out there. I feel sorry for future generations of DPW that won't get to work with you. No idea why BMORG would let stuff play out this way, if you're ever able to make it down to Texas in May for Flipside I'm sure they'd love to have you on a radio shift.

Fuck BM, the regionals are where it's at nowadays anyway.

Thank you very muchly for the warm fuzzies and, if ever in Texas again at the right time, you'll see me Flipsidin' Away :-)

I second that invitation! We'd love to have you here in Texas; your experience and wisdom would contribute greatly to the experience had by all, I'm sure.

Aw, shuckers, thanks! I appreciate the appreciation...

We'll always have:

(Of all the dusty Dispatch centers in all the world, you had to prat fall into mine.)

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