too many adventures

up at 7! reading the MLA handbook before my coffee, even. I worked a bit, printed the thesis by 10, and off to the cafe for bad mom coffee. JP, Ep, Mary, SuperT, els, Grace… it was nice. JP and Ep and else talked a lot about Vancouver. Mary and I tried not to talk about Blogher ALL the time. Long discussion of fashion and comfort and how people judge by clothes and what your knowledge of that and response to it means. SuperT said she was miserable for years trying to be preppy when her “look” is truly “elegant earthy”. We then noticed that her purse matched her shoes. yo. Books were exchanged… gossip… kid gossip… Squid and Jo missed and lauded.

Home – to collect papers etc. – to campus.

Can I just say…I did the same Thing. I wrote Prof. DJ ahead of time to say I’m dropping off a new version – then he said yes do it Thursday – so I figured I’d put it under his office door “sometime Thursday”. Then in an attempt to be responsible… I realized what if he’s only on campus until a certain time Thursday? So wrote back to say it would be there by noon. Then wrote back again to say actually, would it be okay if it were later than noon, probalby close to 1? Would he still be able to get it? No reply… but then AFTER I showed up to drop it off and realized he was in his office … went and checked my email and saw that he had responded to me that morning to say “Sure, I’ll be there, let’s chat around 12:30 or 1 and go over the roadmap…” AAAAAAAAAA because I had not been trying to schedule a *meeting* but only to establish if he were going to be on campus all day.

To lunch with Grace and Elswhere. Food still hurts but I’m eating yummy food instead of crackers. Grace ran off “to work” while els and I went into every bookstore on Valencia. She’s an ideal person to go to bookstores with because she disappears and then you can track her by the little squeaks of joy back in the stacks, and she pops out again to shove some amazing treasure in my face. I bought 84 Charing Cross Road (very cheap, 3 bucks) on her recommendation and just read it and like it. Also she said that she’s surprised Iris has any respect for me at all since I haven’t read Cold Comfort Farm, so I bought that too for a dollar. Els found the exact huge beautiful illustrated version of the skipping rope fairy story about the enclosure of the commons by Eleanor Farjeon which was uncanny as she’d just told me about it the night before….

We sat in Ritual Roasters for a while to check email. My other advisor wrote me back and accepted my apology and then kind of more gently yelled at me some more, but ended on a positive note and said “I look forward to working with you in future.” (Heavily implied, “if you shape up” codicil.) It cheered me up very much. Then Chris and Kristie showed up and I was instantly sucked into talking about unconferences and brainjams and why exposing process = empowerment. And why it does not leave a “power vacuum”… and people step up to participate. Chris said a couple of things I wrote down because they were super pithy: Leadership is hosting – leadership is temporary – leadership is emergent behavior. I agree with all that and think it crucial. “Hosting” is a good metaphor – of making a space physically and emotionally, almost ritually, for conversations to happen. If I’m having to be involved in a conversation between people i’ve just introduced then something’s not right. It is not about being a nexus or a bottleneck for communication to happen (much less a Teacher lecturing.) Me and Kristie also talked and talked about collaborative intellectual etc. etc. and how intense it is to be doing that.

Off to Zeitgeist for Vim’s birthday. I bought him a dorky hit-location or perhaps massage-location dice sort of thing in the pirate store. It was crowded and smoky and I got very cold….. we were there for about an hour and a half. I ate half a hamburger and then was a) in pain b) still starving. Chula came (and bought me the hamburger). Rook and Squid came… I barely got to talk to Vim… but was fading a bit from the land of the real… more unconference conversation. Els was having her “i’m in a way different place doing something I’d never normally do!” feeling very strongly. I was mostly having my “why am I in a bar? it is not fun” feeling. I am half-deaf and can’t hear what people are saying. Smoke. Freezing. I can’t drink b/c of my stomach, not even a sip. Asthma was kicking my ass and I had to do my inhaler for the 2nd time. (This is very bad – I am going to have to go to the allergist.)

I realized suddenly my laptop was gone, freaked… FREAKED… and then it was in Chris’s car. Whew!

We went over to the EFF thing expecting to catch the tail end of it and say hello to A. but instead it had started late or something so sat through all of it, which was interesting. It was warm and smoke free and no one was actually expecting me to converse. What did I think of the debate? Well… many things. It was entertaining. I like it when people disagree spiritedly in public. I am not super up on the technical issues but am also… not ignorant. It seemed a bit moot to go on about free markets and then about free speech in response when … to me the key issue is obviously a) is it illegal to do what aol wants to do or something similar? b) should it be? My answer would be to regulate the net like you do the phone companies, as a utility. Okay… not *like you do the phone companies* because that’s fucking messed up. But… government regulation is the way to protect the small. Spam and advertising is not the only thing that would be affected by “sender-pays” which… I really think would result in legitimizing corporate ad-mail…. a nd will further widen the divide so that it will be harder for regular people to speak up and be heard or even to interconnect with each other. Dyson so far removed from this that she began saying that if somone believes in their message or wants to send her a personal email they will pay, they’ll find or raise the money. Oh, beautiful. What happens to actual regular people who are not the tech elite and upper class and who go to the library to check and send their email… it should be immediately obvious that sender-pay schemes mean that poor people can’t afford to send, but will be put right back into the “passive consumer” category. Right when… at least in Silicon Valley… I’d say that this generation of teenagers no matter what their class status or race, they ALL have email and use it, they all seem to have myspaces and use them.

Dyson’s libertarian stance is so incompatible with her (funny, cool attitude, good presence) question, “you put your money in a bank don’t you?” Um yes but BANKS FAIL and until the govt. regulated and backed it, they failed more often – and the govt. backing it still doesn’t mean it will never fail and they will always give you your money back. A singularly bad argument for a libertarian to make. A lot of rhetoric about evolution and merit and personal freedom… but a lot of total hypocritical ignoring that the internet would never have “evolved” in a free market but was funded by the government in a sort of ivory tower hothouse. Danny is lovely and smarter than toasted cheese… but I did laugh when Dyson said “that was a very pretty speech but…” They were both speechifying – Danny much more beautifully and coherently.

Praveen asked me what I thought of Dyson as a feminist, or something, and I just kind of hung there with my mouth open because… um, what? I mean, I could analyze the gender dynamics of their debate alone I come up with, hey, good job Dyson, a master mouther-offer, obviously a powerful and knowledgeable person. It’s not my job as a feminist to consecrate other people’s feminism….Also it’s not really Dyson’s to represent the honor of all geeky womanhood. I think I’m not sure what he was actually asking.

Then everyone went next door where we stayed for a few minutes and then I wanted to leave because a) exhaustion now complete b) more smoke started up.

it was too long of a day, i was oversocial, everything was reallly fun and good… but i’m going to go home from Chula’s early this morning and work hard in a hermity way.

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5 Responses to “too many adventures”

  1. Frances

    You’ve never read 84 Charing Cross Road????? I can’t believe that!

  2. Iris

    You’ve never read Cold Comfort Farm ????? I was about to send it once but then thought that you must already know it. I expect els has already said .. but it is a take-off of all those slightly pretentious books about the majesty of ‘nature’ that were so popular in the ’20′s. Mary Webb, Cowper-Powis etc. There is also quite a good film of it with Kate Beckinsale.

  3. Mary

    I’m tired just reading about your day yesterday. Coffee with guest star els was nice! As always, an enjoyable time. Zeitgeist… haven’t been there since BK (before kids). It’s nice on a sunny day. Brings back memories.

  4. savtadotty

    Thank you for your report of the day! It does sound wildly social. I found two family connections in it: 1) it was elswhere’s maternal grandmother (i.e., my mother) who “discovered” 84 Charing Cross Road, when it first came out, for our family; 2) it was E. Dyson’s mother who introduced els’s sister-in-law’s parents to each other. You are definitely in our orbit. Or vice versa.

  5. serena

    Leadership is hosting – leadership is temporary – leadership is emergent behavior. I agree with all that and think it crucial. “Hosting” is a good metaphor – of making a space physically and emotionally, almost ritually, for conversations to happen. If I’m having to be involved in a conversation between people i’ve just introduced then something’s not right.
    Yes, yes, yes! Pithy and deeply true. It’s odd how people perceive you as a ‘leader’ when you do this, but don’t understand either what you’re doing or how it is situational and temporary, not part of your identity. I find it mind-bogglingly frustrating when people ‘rebel’ against my ‘leadership’ when all I’m really doing is stepping into a vaccuum, and trying to help people empower themselves.
    It’s not my job as a feminist to consecrate other people’s feminism….Also it’s not really Dyson’s to represent the honor of all geeky womanhood.
    Yaaaaaaaaargh! We are not truly liberated as women until we are free to stop concerning ourself with this crap. Judge not lest ye be judged. Sheesh.

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