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.


Spring is coming to Seattle (see look!) , and that means asses are in gear, and I cry at my calendar again. Now that I can not only walk but run and jump again, I have returned to Parkour, which makes me happier than I can possibly convey. Also there is hip hop bellydancing with Libby, which is a fabulous excuse to spend time with her. Our instructor goes on tangets, teaches us kung-fu, and giggles at his own movement in the mirror. Been getting schooled on Buffy with Jon, becomming surprisingly good friends with my new roommate, and blogging. There has also been the sitting and the studying with Baron, though not nearly as much as I’d like. I’m happy with my life.

The weekend after ECCC, Seattle was graced by a Matt, which involved lots of cooking, pontification, and planning (mu hu, ha ha). Can’t wait to start working on those ideas, again with people I hold dear. We are currently being graced by Ann, which is also phenomneal. I hear there will be dance fight movies tonight. Hooray! Then I go to Logansport Saturday. That next Friday Madison comes to visit for the weekend. Weekend after that I’m pushing volunteers around at SEAF (go volunteer if you haven’t already! It’s a great time and cause, and totally worth it). Weekend after that is an event Libby and I are putting on – mark your calendars for May 10th, flyers to follow sometime in the next several days. There are also, of course, normal full-time work, H+ discussion groups, and Kaleen and I just submitted to Ignite. Fingers crossed. And then later there will be Maker Faire and quite possibly ToorCamp.

Been thinking a lot about how I treat my friends, and need to actually write out an entry on it. I think I do a pretty good job, but that sometimes things just don’t work out. I have also been eating a lot of potstickers.

And a haircut:

just breathe and all else will follow

Holy crap, what a weekend. I don’t even know if I can come close to summing it up, so how about random tidbits instead? Yeah, that seems pretty close to normal.

Listened to metal on the way to Portland with Nathan and Davis. We practiced metal faces and did different parts of the music. I laugh so much when I’m with those two.
There’s something completely magical about sitting and reading while live music is being played. And not performance but practice.
I think by this point I owe Coral my firstborn. Seriously. She drove an hour (one way) to get me to my LSATs Saturday morning with a smile. And there was chocolate milk and breakfast.
Took my LSATs. By no means a perfect score, but I feel pretty good about it, all things told.
Had the awesome feeling walking out of the test of having *no* idea of how I was getting back to Portland. I love having actual things to deal with, and it helped me remember how trivial the test was so I didn’t freak out.
Saw some amazing musical exchanges (including throat singing along with violins, tombstones, drums, guitars, bass), some epically bad performance art, retied the MC’s tie, and mussed the lipstick of the lovely Unwoman.
Petra seriously makes the best cake ever, which just so happens to also be vegan. Good lord woman. She also picks out way rad restaurants and is an incredibly gracious hostess. Thank you.

Yesterday was spent getting together the LRS space for the concert. It was so fucking amazing. I love seeing people I care about for emotionally as well as wanting to share their musical abilities be received so warmly. The audience was amazing, the music was amazing, everything was just awesome. Everyone was incredibly helpful and engaging, and knowing that I have competent friends that will actually get shit done without prodding is enough to make me sane.

The music and people.

Life is full of Win

In the continuing awesome saga of my life, Rexlor arrives from SF today to visit for the weekend. Chris also arrived today. And Libby is here. And hopefully Preston and Matt will come visit soon. I get paid to walk around an office succumbing to my OCD tendencies. I’ve drastically cut down in my drinking. I’m making awesome new friends. I’m getting better at Rock Band (And be a juke box hero, got stars in his eyes).

Twitter basically gets all of my updates. Maybe I’ll do the cross-post thing. But go check it out if you want to see my ADD in effect today.

my weekend is crazy:


I went to the range in Bellevue yesterday with my friend Joshua. I had never been in a gun store before, at a range, or held a really truly loaded weapon in my hands before. I think it’s important to know how to work as many things as possible, at least on a basic level, both for the sake of simple competence but also for the Zombie/Singularity Apocalypse.

Home, Home on the Range..


Driving up to Mutiny last night, at 75mph on an empty road with the stars clear overhead and the windows letting in the brisk autumn air, I turned to Matt and said, “I can’t wait for a time when I won’t need obvious mechanisms to go this fast.”

I’ve always somehow equated speed with freedom.

Speed means getting things done. Speed means escape. Both things are essential to freedom (at least to me) : covering my responsibilities with the ability to not, if I don’t want to be doing them.

Because here’s the thing. I don’t do anything I don’t want to do*. I go to class because I love being in class. I work because I love to work. I see people because I love interactions and what I get from those people and what I can give to them. And so on.

Do you ever have those moments, when you’re doing something, when you realize that’s where you want to be? I mean, maybe something as cool as realizing how kick-ass Axis is, and that I helped make that happen, and that I wouldn’t be anywhere else right then. Maybe it’s just doing the dishes, or sitting on the porch with Libby, shooting the shit. And you suddenly realize how awesome life is. (Nathan, you know what I’m talking about). If there is NO chance of me doing that while I’m fulfilling a task, I probably won’t do it.**

On a somewhat related note, last night Mutiny was PACKED. To the point of discomfort for Matt and myself. So while we waited for Petra and Chris to finish shaking their booties, we went upstairs to the restaurant/bar and drew on the tables. Venn Diagrams. Intersections of [You’re Doing it Wrong], [Win], and [Club Nights] was my favorite.

The Tarot reading was right. Time of upheaval indeed. Moves are odd things.

H+ meeting on the 9th. And also a meeting for Axis sometime soon.

*with the rare exception of the potentiality of last Wednesday
**which is not to say I don’t keep obligations if it just doesn’t suit my fancy. it’s complicated.

student life

Sitting at a desk at home, newly connect internet.

Just got in from smoking the hookah and chatting on the porch with Libby and Jeremy.

Trip hop playing.

Kitten sleeping next to me.

Most of my homework for the upcoming week done; one final task, and some polishing yet to do.

Doors and windows open, breezes.

Glass of wine in hand.

I feel alive.

This is what being a student is about for me: learning, in my environment, the things I’m passionate about.

I’ve spent the past few days doing homework, in and out of the company of people that appreciate me, give me space when I need it, but can also have a good laugh. Especially you. (Cheese?)

Who knows, if I get this reading done I may even post about the rest of my Seattle trip.