Posts Tagged ‘barcamp’

How it went today and other stories

Today I woke up at 7 not hurting too much, but hurting in my back and knees and toes and finger joints, and shoulders. (As is nearly always true.) I made myself get up and move around when I couldn’t stand to be in bed hurting any more. I did some laundry and picked things up and I think cleared off bits of the kitchen table while I waited for my coffee. Bustling around in the morning works well to force me to move around, so my joints unstiffen. I looked at Rook and Moomin and Mina and Zond-7 asleep all in their different rooms and wanted to wake them up but didn’t. Well, periodically I curled up with Zond-7 hoping that I would either fall asleep again or that he would wake up and distract me from myself. But he would gaze at me dreamily and then pass out again. It seemed more merciful to let Rook sleep since he had been up late and of course I would not wake up any sleeping small children. So I drank my coffee and continued to bustle around from room to room exulting a little that despite hurting… and a limp… I could walk so awesomely. At times today I was almost *striding*. (Unlike the last 2-3 days which have been a hell of physical pain, especially my left knee, which is somewhat from barcamp and exhaustion but somewhat my own fault for overambitious sex; all worth it and I haven’t complained much.) I set out food for kids and poked at my computer and email a bit and thought about work and made notes and plans and more lists. Kids woke up. Rook woke up. Zond-7 remained vague. Showers…. food…. I made Mina’s lunch… folded more laundry… and made lists. I drove Moomin to his slightly squalid summmer camp, got a block away and realized it was his field trip day, went back home to get the correct tshirt id-ing him as being from that camp, dropped him off… Chaos… uncertainty. Then impatiently I poked up Zond-7 again and whisked him and Mina away to Bad-ass mamas coffee day. No grownups really talked with us which was too bad but sometimes happens. Mina was shy of the big kids. The cafe was unusually noisy…I love going there even so. The perfect pancakes! and M. and her sister who are so lovely. And Squid finally showed up and was in tears and I thought maybe she just cracked a bit from the pressure of life or Leelo had hit the baby or something extra difficult but it was some bad news about family friends who died. She does not like for her emotions to be visible so even sympathy or awareness is difficult as one does not want to embarrass her. And yet. And she was trying not to cry in front of Iz, which I understood, not because Iz should not know her mom cries but because Iz is extremely inquisitive and S is quite private and reserved, like Rook. Then we almost missed the train and I got out to see them off figuring that if they had to wait extra I would hang out or take them to the library. But there was another train! Or the first one was extra for the baseball game! Off to work… where I collapsed onto the couch and began a day of vaguely wrassling with the damn licensing thing. I am just making it up based on what a bunch of different people say it should be. None of them seem to realize how deeply they have no real idea — if it were not a grey area there would not be such disagreement and confusion. Sometimes I think my value as a worker is in knowing I have no clue and pulling together judgement from many different intelligent sources. The annoying and very unsatisfying bit is when people think that it is really very simple — and one view is right and all others are wrong. Or that because no one quite knows, I could just pick one “expert” opinion basically at random and go with it. Perhaps one could get away with that. I can’t and won’t. The other problem with this is that no matter how carefully i read a document and interpret it, it is not that that’s the problem, it’s the context, the precedents, various levels of politics, etc. Do I enjoy it? I can’t tell. I like some bits of it, but I really hate the lack of respect and the position I’m in of having no authority or power, but an awful lot of the responsibility for things going wrong, in such a classic bad-management situation I wonder that the world doesn’t explode. If not for that, I might like it. Not to mention the endless phone call meeting with VB the father of numbers who is perfectly nice and vastly intelligent and yet I cannot bear another avuncular explanation of bits of trivia that are outside of my control (Like, why does the Closed Minds Institute have the wrong kind of quotes on the page. I know they do. I have said. Others have said. all one needs ot say is “fix the quotes” to the right person. One need not lecture me endlessly about the need for file formats to be good. If you look for 2 seconds on the interwebs to see the problems of pla1n text compatibility then you will see this is not the first time this has happened… Anyway, clearly VB has mistaken me for his errant grad student. also i didn’t do it. I did another dumb ticky thing, but not THAT.)

A. brought me delicious yogurt which cheered me … food is love…

But most of it was frustrating, and i didn’t get enough done, and I didn’t get the other thing done I meant to do, and I spent a bunch of time flipping off the air while on a phone call and some more time staring off into space feeling vague while trying to think about what next, in between trying to outline on paper what to do next and IM-ing people whinily about how it sucked and reading public snarky blog posts about it. Quick…. i must develop a thick skin AND a positive attitude.

IM-ed snarkily myself with co-worker while in realtime conversation. Oh naughty addiction of note-passing in class! Went off to have a beer. Tried to talk about sporty things with other co-workers (for once) as i had by coincidence done both the sporty things they were talking about (rafting and paintball). Amazing! I hope to take photos of their paintball bruises tomorrow. Home. YAY HOME so cosy! I cooked stir fry with frozen stir fry bag of things from cosco. and it was super yummy and satisfying.

I bought plane tickets for thankgiving after conferring with Rook. He had picked up Moomin and fed him and paid lots of attention. Oh and had taken him to a movie and shopped and read books yesterday.

Somewhere in the day I read bits of things. And last night I read all of Nnedi Okorafor-Mbachu’s Zahrah the Windseeker, which was quite excellent and satisfying with its nervous tough reserved girl-hero and its weird world ripe for sequels and prequels and its Forbidden Greeny Forest with intelligent gorillas; and then a very cheesy space opera that I’m just finishing now to go to sleep with, called Skirmish, by Melisa C. Michaels.

On the way home (partly because of noticing qp’s post and clicking a link on hammocks during a 5 minute LJ break, I was imagining a long fantasy as codependent people in new love do of how when Zond-7 got his new place I would sneak in (“sneak”) and competently (it is a fantasy) install a sort of infrastructure over the bed (which would magically be nice but not too nice) for him to have a hammock and I would also have this fancy hammock which I would have secretly obtained, perhaps the triangular kind that is very fancy that qatipay was writing about on LJ; and i would cunningly arrange it all so that the hammock could be unhooked and swung away, and it would be over the bed so that Mina could play on it and fall off and not kill herself; this all because yesterday Zond-7 and I were in the Pilot’s hammock in the back deck and he was entranced and had *never been in a hammock before*. So when he IM-ed me he had been surfing hammocks I confessed this thought sequence knowing he would understand…

Meanwhile! Moomin told me all about his field trip to Santa Cruz. And read me many comic strips. And we ate on the patio table in the back yard. I did not clean it up. Rook ate banana cream pie from yesterday. I had some hot chocolate and graham crackers in bed while blogging. Rook is writing up his short article on D and D and gender for Cerise magazine. We are almost up to now. I left out how I drove to pick up Eliz. from Jo’s house and we talked gaming. Tonight is the only time before Rook leaves for Burning Man that I have time to be with both her and Rook, I think, so I needed to whisk her away. Realized I ahd screwed up my planning of tomorrow as i was going to hang with skud down here but also said i would be in the city. OOOPS and also i have to be in the city at around 2 to get Zond-7 as we are going off to elope temporarily into the woods by the sea. I have not had a vacation other than the day at Oz Farm. This wll be another long drive and quick vacationy moment. But I wish it were longer. Then suddenly Zond-7’s tooth filling fell out so he must go to the dentist… alas… And so I will go to the city early and hang out and work there and also hang with skud. THEN perhaps take Zond7 to the dentist and THEN go drive off down the coast to the redwoods and a very fancy B & B with a hot tub with vaguely reasonable disabled access with only a few stairs. I want to go into the redwoods AND go to the beach on Saturday if we can pry ourselves out of the hotel room with its amazing looking hot tub. I meant to write about how funny it was the other day when we wrestled each other in bed while arguing with intense passion about epistemology and data structures, really it was the hottest thing ever. Instead I wrote about my very long day so that I could hide that one funny sentence near the end. If I actually told the story it would be even funnier and also the story of his response to my hammock construction fantasy. Now I need to go pack for tomorrow and get ready for bed. I will see tons of friends in the city, I’ll get some good work done, I’ll poke at a fun hackery thing with skud, and I’ll go on fabulous brief vacation. I feel super happy and loved!

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Putting off the actual talks

the funny thing about today is that because I was so busy and a bit worn out I didn’t have a lot of intense talks or thoughts. but instead would listen to people and go “AHAHHH you! I must talk with you …. but next week. Please call me… and let’s meet.” My day was fairly free to have those conversations, but I kept expecting it not to be free, so I kept a little bit detatched. But maybe I didn’t need to be. and yet I found I was trying to track so many things mentally about the logistics and other people’s needs, and about the mood of the crowd (like a DJ) that I couldn’t spare the brain cells to think deeply, even about things I care a lot about!

Talked with Jen M, Susan M, did not get to hang with Grace (alas), did get to connect a bit with people, played with kids, listened to bits of talks (but some were just too crowded for me to fit conveniently in) But I also felt like i was missing out on connecting with lots of people I would like to hang out and have great conversations with… so I have a vague sense of loss. But, on the other hand, I helped make a good conference happen! And despite its difficulties, it was really fun… and I learned a lot about logistics and organizing, which I like doing. I’ll be at someone else’s party another time and will do my usual talking and geeking then.

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Unconference schedule

BarCampBlock Palo Alto
Originally uploaded by Liz.

I love this photo! Here’s part of the structure we provided for the day for 900+ people. Organizing an unconference made me think of setting up a role playing game. You make geographies and frameworks and organizations and relationship networks, and provide a variety of types of unstructured spaces, and then stories can happen without the players being railroaded. In this event, the maps and schedules and physical locations, and especially the writeable walls and blank paper, were our geographies. As we scurried around in the weeks before the conference, I thought of that quote from Coleridge about organizing the hours and giving them a soul.

Sappy but true!

I’m really happy the day went so well today, and I hope tomorrow also rocks.

Bad attitude moment, and HP without spoilers

BlogHer 2007
Originally uploaded by Liz.

I love this photo soooo much. I swear, it heals my soul just to contemplate it.

I had a fantastic time at the conference!

I did get in touch with my anger… travel in wheelchair can be really annoying and humiliating. I’m thankful for my sense of humor & my resilience that means I can feel like this one minute, and then the next, reenact it to make myself laugh!

Worst moment was in the airport dealing with some dumbasses and I was so tired and hurting that I could not look at or talk with anyone anymore. I just thought darkly, and angrily, “I will not cry. I will not cry. Fuck this. NOT CRY.” But then… THERE WAS THE HARRY POTTER BOOK in the airport bookstore! and I got a free tote bag with it that has the book cover on it, which was cool. NO SPOILERS ARE AHEAD. I finished the book with half an hour to spare as we began our descent into San Francisco! And zond-7 made me cheer up in the Denver airport by texting me funny fake harry potter spells… and cheerily met me in SF. I usually like to whisk quickly out of an airport and do not care about fuss or being met. But it was still nice to be met! And to have someone do all the heavy lifting for me without it being intrusive or embarrassing, but instead, just okay and normal. Rook and Zond-7 and I hung out until way too late, gossiping. Rook has had a very funny trolling by the rpgpundit on Blue Rose; I read only a little bit of it but will catch up later in the week.

So about Harry Potter 7. NO SPOILERS ARE INCLUDED HERE. The book rocked. There were scenes that made me cry the good way, with sentiment, a particular moment in a forest where a person was accompanied by others on a task and it was all about being brave… and war. All very moving. And then the sustained pace of the ending scenes really blew me away!

I kind of was disappointed that a certain character didn’t end up with a certain other character or at least even have a moment of actual dating with them, and thought that certain character kind of got the shaft! I need to go write some fanfic now.

As I predicted, the *THINGIE* subplot became important though it was ignored and mocked a bit in other books. But of course it was part of the whole point.

So I passionately liked books 6 and 7 as they got darker and more complicated politically. And I hope people see that what I have said is true and the earlier simplicities are for a reason; especially the Establishment and Authority and suchlike.

I think that 10 or 15 years from now someone will do the movies RIGHT and put in everything.

BY the way… everyone go sign up for BarCampBlock! It’s coming up soon and it’ll be a blast. If you like the BlogHer unconference I think you’ll like BarCamp!


The aftermath of Moomin’s party lasted till noon. We hung out and played a few games of “Hey! That’s MY Fish!”, a game of penguins jumping on ice floes. Moomin came with me to SuperSillyDorkHouse, where I doodled around with wikis and various software demos & talking with people, and lured whump and cyn to come there and hang out. It was very barcampy but without a schedule or organization. I expected that towards midnight it would be more party-ish, but instead it just got more intense and the people passed out across their glowing laptops weren’t even drunk. They just hacked themselves into a coma. That was cool.

Sunday, hanging out in the morning with Rook and Moomin, graded papers in a burst of intensity, talked with my uncle, dropped Moomin off at Squid’s house and felt a sudden pang that maybe her stress level was too high for me to be doing that (weight of stress of extra kid responsibility against Moomin being there as a playdate for Iz actually being helpful…) Then to drop off some things for a friend at Borderlands bookstore, met Caraja, bookstore, brunch, got a couple of things at Buffalo Exchange. I had a wild feeling like I could buy anything and not feel bad or guilty…. Anyway, I got a cub scout shirt that fit me perfectly! And a see through beige tank top with black lace on it, made of basically very thin kleenex-like silk, perfect for the summer… and a pink thing from the 80s that is beyond horrible… and a cheap belt because my jeans were falling off. Caraja and I walked to Progressive Grounds. (Ritual was way too crowded.) Some earnest white people in the cafe asked us if we “feel safe living in that neighborhood” and I didn’t feel like getting into it but the whole way of describing a neighborhood as “safe” strikes me as fucked up and frankly I feel safe whereever I go, so fuck that question which always gets asked of women. (Actually I feel like turning it around and asking people if they feel “safe” in their heterosexual nuclear families? Because being in one is more dangerous for women and girls than walking on the street at night by themselves.) And that was too complicated to go into to the earnest Unitarians or non profit helpy people with notepads and pecils and lattes, and so I just said something noncommittal and acted busy, as did Caraja who seemed full of her own unspoken response such as “Dumbasses, do yo think I feel “safe” anywhere I’m walking on the streets in the same way you do, as a transwoman?” though she like me acts with fearlessness and goes everywhere anytime.

I talked about work and my thing with xyzzy, and she told me her most recent naughty adventures plus stuff about her possible next novel/project. At some point I realized I was doing that annoying thing where I interrupt her way too often and she is not interruptible. I am most used to talking with people to whom interrupting and having conversational stacks is normal and in fact a sign of excitement and interest, and I tend to forget that to her, it comes off as rude, beyond rude, and not listening. That was a significant part of our relationship difficulty. anyway she nicely walked back with me to the bookstore to help carry my overly heavy backpack that I had… somehow… filled with books! At 5 or so met up with xyzzy and we drove around in a touristy way for a while going over the bridge and through town and down the big hill with the very twisty road, and thence to a fancyish hotel in the middle of crackland. If you want a very cute funky hotel for a tryst, then I recommend it… I like how the hotel’s site describes the vivid experience you’ll have only steps away from shopping; for some of those steps you’ll step over homeless guys having seizures on the sidewalk. (Of course, I felt just as “safe” as I do anywhere else.) I worry a bit that I’m jumping into things, but I seem to be, or already have, so, there it is. And it was nice.

Yesterday I was going to grade papers and catch up with everything, and I didn’t — instead I got sucked up into thinking about K. Sierra and the surrounding issues and people and posts and I pounded out my immediate polemical reaction, which was a very no fear thing. People were calling me and im-ing and emailing and every few minutes there was a new issue to think about. What that meant for me – I felt I *had* to respond and if I didn’t my silence would be notable and questionable. But I’m still reacting, still in the process of reacting and thinking. And I see other people coming across it and starting the same chain of reaction. What that means for me is that what I think about it is still evolving. I began considering harder the tangle of allegations and the way that was done, and it strikes me as a major mistake that is understandable in mid-freakout, but I would hope that in a bit there would be an apology on her side too for some of that. Also, I began to consider WWS. And I don’t think anonymity is bad. YOu know what really chaps my hide at the moment…. “I nuked the entire site rather than censor any individual.” WTF…. that’s so dumb and annoying. Rather than exercise judgment, negotiate, or… *gasp* “censor” (apparently using any editorial judgment less than nuking a site is censorship? in what sophomoric libertarian-ass universe?), go off in a giant pout and take down a whole site, so that people will then respond as if an even bigger censorship had occurred. So when I write someone and say “Hey, those photoshops of me freak me out, I think they’re wrong, please take them down, they cross the line” rather than do that, a whole group site disappears? I like anonymous snark and when people have said mean-ass snarky things about me, it pisses me off but I’m okay with it. Sometimes it’s even interesting or makes me think; i’m open to criticism and to take it seriously. And I know I risk it on a large scale, the more I write and am online. I agree with MJ that the solution is more openness and wider openness; if everyone’s vulnerable to it then there will be more pressure not to do it. On the other hand I agree that the pressure to be nice and civil all the time (especially to Cuddly Nice Popular People) is annoying and must be bucked. C.L.’s response just reminds me of an ex I had who, if I voiced any objection to a plan, would cancel the whole plan in a snit, like, if I said maybe I’d rather have thai food than indian, that place is a bit too loud… she’d stomp her foot and say “FINE. Then we just won’t go ANYWHERE, you always DO this… you don’t APPRECIATE me…” and would turn around and drive home in a horrible tense silence. That kind of thing ends up being quite abusive emotionally because you know that the mildest of objections or requests could result in the destruction of everything… There are many layers of truth, in other words. I can respond again, and it will be very different from what I said yesterday. But, my no fear message is important, as is the support for her, and I’ll let it stand for a bit. Plus I need to work now. So I’ll come back to it tonight. (When I should, again, be grading papers.)

too tired to blog

I had a great day, somewhat bleary-minded breakfast at Las Manitas where I ran into lots of people, walking up Barton Creek and sunbathing and dipping into the swimming hole with S.D., registered for the conference, sat and talked intensely with Virginia, Sarah, Shannon C. for a while, then the “Rawk” panel, (where I think they were drinking a lot of whiskey before and during!), blushed up to the ears when T. cited my twitter, thought it was neat that i had input into the panel *during the panel* yet obliquely, i.e. without having to raise my hand and say anything; dinner with jory and a. and elisa & others; then the fabulous blogher party where I met a gazillion people and reconnected with people from last year. fun conv. with tracy who I met at Stanford Barcamp and Erica from metblog minneapolis – we talked about fiction blogging panel & about metblogs & about local wikis and neighborhood-level blogs and wikis – not just city-level – and she *knew all about plain layne and had been in it at the time, whoa*. And other erica O. from librarian avengersTalked with Dawn F. about work stuff. Talked with metrokitty, & with someone who *actually was part of the lavender menace protest omg* do you realize how strangely thrilling that was! (and she also was a founder of Ol1via Records and was in the DC Furies!) and kaliya and some cafe mom folks and lauren from austin metblogs and jeanne gomoll’s sister who has a company that does chatrooms with browsing, and briefly met Gina T, and and and and. Flirted. Talked. Goofed around. Took tons of somewhat bad snapshots. But surely in there, a nice one or 2 will surface. At least 70 people showed up – I did a count at some point and got 60, but then people came & went and new batches kept coming. Help! Tired. I did not take good notes and I am afraid I’ll forget people and conversations. Everyone gushed over moo cards. It is impossible to get a cab. I was super happy that the Blogher party was so much fun and that so many people came and that it was a great space to talk with people, not too loud, very relaxing or as relaxing as it can be to be On and talk with so many exciting people.

Codeathon in Austin

A cool thing! I love how Silona’s idea was to make it like a “lock-in” which if you didn’t grow up in the South you ‘ll have no idea what that is. I kind of don’t either but it’s what the Baptist kids did on weekends and although the God brainwashing part would have been hell for me, it always sounded like fun otherwise and with at least a tiny potential to make out with someone in the church basement.

48 Hour Codeathon

A new experiment in programming and politics ala Barcamp fashion The is gathering together a herd of programmers to create, fix and modify pre-existing tools in Drupal to focus on advocacy. We want to create modules that help join together tech experts and NPOs to better influence legislative process in a effective way.

an added rant

Notes on barcamp here.
Added rant.

I continue to think… late at night here at home… About the people who want to profit off other people’s every move. I am thinking of my absolute rage at my friend Derry when we were at the height of playing Magic cards in the early 90s and he was “Mr. Suitcase”. He would come in with a smile of pure car salesman and offer to buy up our rare white and green cards. (Since we were too proud and fierce to play “girly style”.) And we had Scrye magazine okay? And knew the market value… And he would offer us something we wanted… But we knew he would make an enormous profit. “Well it’s of value to you because you’re going to play with that card and have fun, and it’s the card you want. So, what does it matter to you that I make 50 bucks off your Green Lotus that you’re not going to use and you have two of them anyway?” Somehow, it mattered. (And one also suspected it was not 50 bucks, but was much more, because he knew a collector who really, really, really wanted it.) And I will always root for the person who is going to be doing the playing and not the person making the obscene profit… He just wanted to live and pay off his student loans… Also, we were “friends.” I did not hate him… I was only annoyed and suspicious and minorly resentful. But some asshole is going to get rich off of my creative play, which is work, and labor, and has value, and I’m mad as hell about that, realism be damned. I don’t have to love capitalism or its vision of the “free” market, which depends on hiding the value of people’s labor from themselves, and using that hiding to mask outrageous thievery.

falling-over exhausted, but happy

I overdid it on the activity this weekend, what with surgery on Tuesday. I ggot that idea yesterday when I tried to walk from Bloggercon to Barcamp and faded back to my car after a couple of blocks, walking slower… and slower… and ouchier… I hit a wall where I can’t think clearly anymore, “oh shit. now what.” But driving was fine, I sat around at Barcamp eating and drinking till I felt better, my mind cleared, & then I went home.

Today in theory I was going to simply hang out on a picnic blanket at the Pride March, maybe walking over to the train, two blocks, and hopping over to Barcamp again… with Moomin. The “with Moomin” part adds a lot of time and energy and wear and tear, a lot of cajoling and having-to-carry-juice-boxes, etc. But somehow instead of minorly more difficult it was a day of picking up Moomin and holding babies, so, lifting heavy objects. And more walking than I thought. I went to the Writers’ village mainly to recuperate in the shade, and got to see C. briefly, & then figured Barcamp would give me a chair, some pizza, and an electrical outlet to recharge my phone… But they were closing! Damn! Oops! So I had to haul my even-more exhausted ass out of there and onto BART and then Caltrain and then more walking home.

It was great anyway… I’m just confessing that I overestimated myself physically, didn’t plan very well, and am now paying the price.

Tomorrow will be a day of extreme loafing and resting! I’ll stay in bed and read some stuff that I want to learn about and will finish writing my SXSWi panel proposals.

Moomin has dragon wings now! He spent hours running around on the playground at Pride with my ex-girlfriend’s kid, who was wearing a plaid skirt and tons of glitter. Gina came and said hello… My ex was full of her usual amazing energy, and knew everyone!

Everything was sunny and gorgeous and breezy and full of balloons & cheerful wandering people happy to be there! Kids running around shrieking in the sun! Kids in cloaks, and funny hats, and with balloon swords, and tie-dye, and sparkly beads, and saucy political t-shirts, and moms in rainbow feather boas with gay pride crap all over their strollers. Everyone a little freaky-looking and dressed in their parade best. Yeah! It doesn’t get any better.! The playground was better this year than last – less crowded, I think because they opened the other playground that last year was stupidly closed off. Kaiser had bottled water, juice, oranges, and COLAGE was passing out stickers, sidewalk chalk… I think the bubbles came from Kaiser as well.. plenty of useful & well thought out schwag, good job on them. Oh, and the little packets of free sunscreen. That was smart!

Everyone super friendly on the playground, extra smiley in fact. Was the cute woman in the pink surfing shirt flirting with me a little? We were eyeing each other like two particularly exotic birds.. both in the brightest clothes around… And her kid in rainbow socks and suspenders.

Moomin likes the train. He is thrilled with the dragon wings because they aren’t femmy like most angel/butterfly/fairy wings are. All afternoon he was admiring his bewinged shadow.

I thought hard about various job possibilities and am now doing a lot of background reading.

happy pride day!

My mom in law just called to say “happy gay pride day!” and said that the minister in her church in Brooklyn had a cross earring and told their church that Jesus is marching today in the parade.

Just so you know! Say hi to him if you see him!

Moomin and I will be at the playground at Civic Center! Rook was coming too but then he realized he double-scheduled his new superhero rpg this afternoon. And then probably we’ll go to barcamp to rest & recuperate before hopping back on the train. Though I’ll feel goofy at barcamp without my computer. computer at gay pride, hmmm, not a good idea.