Chaos Camp and What’s the Point?

20+ hours into travel (LAS->TXL), I watch the sun set over German forests. Two new friends sleep hard in the seats next to me, our luggage tucked under the seats. Cellos in my ears. Camp tomorrow.

Sitting in the woods, aircraft from WWII the Cold War (thanks, Skytee!) surrounding us. Chill acoustic music over the quality sound system (likely being played live a short walk away). Mate in hand, disco balls in trees. Every person I have met here is exceptional. Ever talk I have heard has been interesting.

As camp closes down, I feel like I’m doing the walk of shame back home from The Future. Unwashed, same clothes as the night before, the people I pass and I smile knowingly at me.
I’ve been walking and walking and walking. Finding tiny pockets of projects I hadn’t yet seen. The crepe robot. The lamayed fighter jet. The ammunitions bunker tiny rave. I haven’t slept yet since last night: there was a flash mob dance party that lasted 6 hours followed by a celebration party for going so long. There was Chinese tea service and stories in the Metalab tent in the wee hours.
I think it must be the sleep dep – people speaking moon language and wandering around in thongs and with bloodied eyes. There are fighter jets whose bombs have been yarn-bombed and a lounge on top of a tank.

But no.. It’s just Camp.

It’s not all party tho. I learned about electronic waste and more about bitcoins. I learned about my new favorite activist group, Telecomix. A lovely gent walked me through how to use sonar to make me brighter as people get closer to my bike. We’ve cooked, we’ve lugged pallets, bridged politics and hacked badges.

Was asked today what I’m taking away from life. Here are my thoughts on it:
Most mornings I wake up and I have to watch Carl Sagan videos on youtube. We’re all monkeys in clothes with language and illusions of grandeur. We have no purpose, but we can give ourselves purpose. I don’t know what answers are, but I can push to empower individuals in such a way that also makes stronger communities. I don’t think the biggest dangers will come in my lifetime, but I can help prepare for them. Shoulders of giants and all that. Ella and I get in fun conversations all the time about fighting for the survival of the species, or fighting for the advancement of the species, or just fighting for the diminishing of suffering while we’re around.
So.. taking something away? I don’t know about that. I’m learning. I’m fucking up. And I’m meeting amazing people who are far smarter and kinder and powerful than I am. And that’s an entirely enjoyable existence.

Something I love about Berlin and the European hacker scene is that there is an assumption of competence AND people tend to be much more politically minded. Of course you know what’s going on. You have an opinion on it. And you take action about it.

I could get spoiled about this.

Train Station!

even the train stations are awesome


Things are getting really big, really fast.

Pulling from an e-mail I just had to write to someone, especially as I’m not sure the readership here knows all this stuff:

I’m director of Jigsaw Renaissance, a learning and making community based out of Seattle. We’re built on the image of Bucketworks (out of Milwaukee), dubbed “the world’s first health club for the brain.” We’re into transdisciplinary and intergenerational learning. We’re into helping you discover your world, and how to engage with it. Jigsaw (and Bucketworks) is (are) program(s) of the School Factory. That’s a 501(c)3 aimed at changing the way people educate themselves and interact with educational systems.

The School Factory has seen a lot more activity in the past year than in its first 8 years of existence due to a thing called The Space Federation (drawing a diagram yet? and I said corps were bulky..). Fed aims to offer a support network – fiscal sponsorship, basic paperwork, mentorship, etc – to hacker, maker, artistic, coworking, etc spaces across the US. This is a big part of The School Factory because we see these spaces as where people go to continue their educations or to find ways of learning that they didn’t get in our current educational systems.

So, all of that is fo realz. School Factory‘s new site went live last month (though it’s still not fleshed out enough for a big publicity push, so please keep it to yourselves, at least for a bit). Jigsaw got mentioned specifically by The White House.  W.     T.       F.

I talked with Beth Kolko a couple weeks ago about linking up Jigsaw with some of UW’s programs. Ezekiel and I are working on linking his certification system into education outside of academic settings. Jordan and I are working on an OpenDoor Hack-A-Thon to link up membership status with space access, potentially between spaces across the country.

And and and. AND. So that tour I went on? For Geeks Without Bounds? Well. Currently submitting proposals to become the director of GWOB as a program of the School Factory. Which would mean it would be potentially sponsored by Tropo. And other big organizations. Which would mean I would be paid to do the stuff I love doing. Set of my time to GWOB, paid; set of my time to School Factory, eventually paid; and set of my time to Jigsaw, as always. Again, the big proposal is not official yet, but my being paid is. But still. How cool would that be?! Link communities to learn to use their powers for good, which I do anyway, but on a bigger scale, and be able to eat more than ramen? Plan huge events that may or may not involve zombie apocalypse scenarios? ZOMG.

I am bouncing in my seat. And not just because I failed at not drinking coffee.