Posts Tagged ‘barcamp’

butt-kickers panel: increasing women’s visibility

Here’s my notes from before the panel.   I meant to write this up much more coherently, and I’ll still do that. But have the rough notes – I tried to lay out the idea very quickly.

I also want to note that Ayse, Jan, Tara, Virginia and I all talked a lot over email and then again before our panel, and it was super interesting to see the evolution of our conversation. And I hope we can all post some of those conversations as well as what we said on the panel!


An immodest proposal

We need protocols for identifying authorship. At BarCamp at many of the women’s discussions, we talked about people as tag clouds. Gender is just one of the possible tags.  Put gender, identity into html markup just like the xfn markup for relationships.   Or create some other protocol or standards.

Try doing some studies. We know what importance rankings look like  with a genderblind algorithm.   Then try labelling authorship and identities, try dividing the web and see what happens.  Actually test it.  Then re-integrate.

If you are going to ask a question like "who are the most important/relevant (to a topic) women bloggers" then you need to be able to identify them. Right now we can’t.   

Other people could maybe tag or ID you, but your self-identification is the one that counts in the most important way for most algorithms.

More information is good. The individual author or blogger has control over their own flexible cloud of identities. More information could then be put into transparent algorithms that are flexible, so you can have a technorati-like engine but adjust it to your own (or someone else’s ) vision of importance.   

Think of it like thermodynamics… through the identity-tag webs, right now you have a power imbalance on the net echoing existing power inequalities. I have this whole weird analogy of patriarchy as maxwell’s demon, as an invisible, imaginary gatekeeper that keesp imbalances going. If this system existed, then, what mechanisms would you invent to reverse its workings?   You can’t kill Maxwell’s Demon – that’s not allowed, and it’s just too hard. Making it past the gatekeeper on an individual level is how you get tokenized, and it also keeps up the myth of meritocracy. You have to invent structural workarounds, other maps and roads.

It’s cheaper to experiment with restructuring technological spaces than it is to restructure society.

I think women need to be visible *to each other* in order for important conversations to develop. Trying to be "genderblind" doesn’t help women, because we still have many systemic inequalities which stack the deck against us. I think self-identification in the form of tagging, or identity authentication like I’ve heard Kaliya (Identity Woman) talk about, or a new XML standard, would help with this: if we’re going to ask who the most important women bloggers are, then we need to be able to find them in the first place. I’m arguing for identity-based markup and search, not just for all genders, but for any kind of identity like race, multiracial identifications, class, ethnicities, age. Authorship and identity in the mind of a reader (and the mind of a search algorithm) can’t be separated. Self-identification should be differentiated from the ways other people identify an author.   Visibility should also be broken down into frames of references, so that we can ask, "visible to who?"

For example, we could do a gender-based technorati search to see which women other women think are important; then which women men think are important; then which women everyone does – and see if those rankings are drastically different.  I suspect they would be different, and those differences would be *interesting information*.

We need many ways of looking at visibility. If I’m a firefly, I don’t care if humans see me. I want other fireflies to see me. Humans might *want* to perceive me.  Or to put it another way, if I were an alien fnnargh artist, doing the fine art of fnnargh for other aliens, those aliens would want to be able to judge my fnnarghing compared to other aliens’ fnnarghing.  Humans might think fnnarghing is totallly hilarious and weird and cool, and so they might want to be able to find it too and talk about it compared to opera; but the aliens don’t *care* what the humans think or how Snarx’s Forty-Third Fnnargle is really similar to Wagner. And if they do, they can search on what humans think, or on what humans think with a little bit of what aliens think  weighed into the mix.   In other words, we need identity, authorship, and open, flexible search parameters.

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rough liveblog of folksonomy/tagging panel

(I’ll fill this in later today.)

 

- use folksonomy to make meaning.  tools. why. what do you use tagging for? who for? maybe you don’t use your own tags, but someone else does. and you use theirs.

reorganizing is a lot of work – we’re lazy -

clustering of tags around "web development"   web html java etc.   this gives implicit information

attentiontrust.org – swedlow talks about it…   Hodder mentions she is on the board – protecting people from not *having* to give all their info away.   but useful to visualize how you spend your time online.

dabble. video…   

Mary Hodder on automatic or automated tagging.   "The value of tagging is that a  human has done it, not a machine.  There’s a barrier to doing it. The barrier means better information.  "

swerdlow on that dude who’s going to talk about The Wisdom of Crowds.   if people give their authentic info, opinion, heartfelt, = wisdom.   faking it, groupthink, saying what you think people will want or should say, = stupidity of crowds.     automatic is not the same as implicit, as using the info of other people’s tags etc.      "Each of us is an expert filter, a signal-to-noise filter.  The trick is, your signal is different from your signal is different from YOUR signal."   At this point I am dying to say what the women were all saying at barcamp:  we need to tag people, and tag our trust levels of people’s expertise in particular areas.  I want to know Prentiss’s opinion about brazilian music and punk rock but I don’t trust his opinion of places to eat in the Bay Area. 

liz l.  says do you tag? whole room says yes.  well then you’re weird.   most people don’t.   tagging needs to be integrated into tools.        Librarians and profs don’t trust the wisdom of crowds.   antipopulist. people are dumb. "friends" is not info.  different groups of friends. 

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Seven competencies

Wow – this is amazing stuff.  Bev Trayner has written up some notes on Nancy White talking about seven competencies of online interaction.

OMG Nancy and/or Bev, marry me please!

We’ll be talking about this stuff at WoolfCamp for sure.  Not the marrying part; what Nancy/Bev said!

I was trying to say a bunch of this at BarCamp but felt like a lot of people didn’t get it, especially when I was talking about flexibly managing multiple identities. I swear to god a roomful of guys was looking at me like I had three heads. (I have at least 6.)  And were asking me questions like, “Why would anyone want to have multiple online identities?”

Reading this, knowing other people grok it, is making me freak out with happiness! Especially points 2, 3, 5, 9, 10, 12, 13, 16.  Grace, you are particularly good at point 13, the art of invitation.   I agree with all the points, but some are harder to explain than others.

Quilter, go read it! I feel like calling you up and talking all night.  But first I’ll listen to Nancy’s actual talk, and will try to respond to it with more coherence & with new thoughts.

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totally insane cultural appropriation

Another literary hoax. This one is particularly bad, and also particularly juicylicious at least for me because I am certain a bunch of people I know actually know this guy, who was in the late 70s-80s leather scene in SF.  So certainly Dr. Bit would know him. And I bet Doss knows him. And there’s a photo of him by Michael Rosen right in this article.  Snort.  Anyway that’s the strangely juicy gossip part of it.

I consider this hoax to be totally unethical and awful. There’s no room here to claim the protection of performativity or literary hoaxes as Art or how white people can write from non-white identites, there’s no room for that.   The dude cranked the handle of fake ethnicity and stole money, major awards – the PEN award given to a Native American writer – and claimed to be speaking for people he had no right to speak for.  And to make it even worse, he got so many things wrong, and cranked the worst sorts of stereotypes.

I think a lot about appropriation and making cultural capital because I’m a translator. I’m from the U.S.   And I’m taking work from other countries and cultures and presenting it to people in the U.S.   So I feel like I have to be particularly careful not to claim to speak for the people I’m presenting and translating, careful in how I frame things, careful in stating what I don’t know, etc.  And I feel like I still make mistakes, huge mistakes, in participating in this certain yucky exoticization of the "other" that goes on, in this other-izing, and that’s not my goal.

I also think with stomach-churning horror of actual people who have children with health problems or terminal illnesses, and how fucking obnoxious it is for this dude to yank that chain and claim to speak for them.  I’m super perturbed that "Nasdijj"’s wife Tina Giovanni runs the autism911 site. I wonder if my own friends have relied on it for information or support? How nauseating…

Again, if it were fiction, fine. We could criticize it from knowing it was fiction, it was an attempt to approximate, it was this guy’s understanding from a distance.  I want to make it clear, I like lying, I love the lies of fiction, but I want to know they’re lying, I want that information.  I guess this is where Layne crossed the line for people too, when she wrote about her experience of rape, and people responded. It is because memoir writing is TESTIMONY.  We write testimony before an imaginary courtroom of witnesses, something that was made suddenly clear to me by listening to Beatrice Sarlo talk about testimony and memoir in Argentina, in the Dirty War…   When our belief in one person’s testimony is destroyed, it violates a sort of social contract, and all testimony is undermined, and I believe that to be the worst and strongest effect of this kind of lie.

Anyway, back to "Nasdijj" – which apparently actual Navajo or Dine people have been pointing out is not even a name in their language, it’s gibberish – And this really gets me angry beyond belief, that all these people have been pointing out the insanity, and the mistakes, for years — and the publishers ignored it. I mean, they were making money. They had a lot invested in protecting the fake identity of Nasidjj.  Oh, but the egregious errors! And how the guy’s kid’s symptoms were obviously NOT fetal alcohol syndrome, it’s just like no one bothered to check the most basic of obvious facts.   PLUS the dude was a complete lunatic, from his blog. And "Nasidjj" clearly knew what he was doing, as he wrote:

Fictions like this are  murderous. They pass off illusion as fact, stereotype as portraiture… Counterfeit  comes to be seen as the genuine article. It kills people. It kills culture. It  kills even the shadow of truth.

I agree.  He is a murderer of culture.  Mixing cultures, and fiction, and trying to approximate and interpret even when it’s kind of problematic, that’s all good. But man, this crosses the line SO hard.  What a total asshole.

Also, it is not about whiteness, though in this case it is. For example if the world were to find out that all along, Buchi Emcheta were a very upper class Egyptian man, that would be just as fucking heinous. And it wouldn’t be quite as heinous if John Updike’s stories about whiny upperclass US dudes were actually written by Buchi Emcheta, though it would still be lying and violation of the social contract, but I think there’s something worse about privilege and claiming to speak for people who are less privileged, though I’m not clear in my mind about this or how to explain it. Both would be bad, but there are many, many other instances of upperclass US white guy for us to refer to, so it’s not like Emcheta would be speaking *instead of* or representing in the way I’m criticizing… 

I have one more thing to say about testimony, identity, and social contracts.  I have been writing with my laughably non-anonymous "veil of mystery" for a while now, and have had pseudonyms for 20 years. But I stand behind all my pseudonyms.   And I also think here is a case where technology, where the net, has helped to verify truth of identity – if you read the whole article revealing Tim Barrus (and you should read it all) then you see how googling, online reviews, and online author lists helped to expose Barrus.  I think about the possibilities of identity verification I heard at places like BarCamp. There, identity verification even through layers of anonymity was valuable I think mostly to protect monetary transactions.   But I was interested in identity for the reasons I outline above, about lying, identity, and the importance of our ability to believe in testimony as a form of truth. Money and currency are, in a way, a metaphor for all that.

Even if I have several identites online, and my opinons vary from hour to hour, they’re all ultimately backed up by whatever "Me" is.   It’s other people’s knowledge and testimony that exposed Barrus as bogus.   I hope that social network software people think about this!  About the ways that social trust is established and what it means when people decide it’s been violated.   

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Woolf Camp

The date for WoolfCamp is set!

I invite you, Dear Readers and Interested Parties, to WoolfCamp, Winter 2006, Saturday, 2/18 and Sunday 2/19:

Behold, our tee shirt/schwag logo and image of our muse, Virginia Woolf, Her Very Self.

The “camp” concept is based on the barcamp and brainjam innovative models of conferencing- cooperative, participatory, zero bureaucracy, zero power tripping, total immersion, big fun.

Historically, these camps and jams have been geek-based. WoolfCamp will differ in providing a focus on the creative aspects of blog content. The goal is to help each other with writing on our blogs, in whatever form we wish to explore – memoirs, creative non-fiction, fiction, poetics.

Let’s pack Grace’s house, and bring cupcakes, and groove on all each other’s projects and throw each other a lot of sparky ideas!

Meanwhile come on over to WoolfCamp’s planning/event wiki, sign up, and begin to meddle.

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steeling myself

All this week I drive Moomin to the zoo for special zoo camp and will work on my thesis in the library while he’s in camp. I’m far behind on basic housekeeping and so this means that everything here will go to hell. That should be interesting as an experiment.

Today we hung out at whump’s house all afternoon… We played more “King of Beasts” which is an excellent game, very balanced. It’s rare to find a game that isn’t dull but that 5 year olds can play.

Dr. Bit came over! After a fun grown-up conversational moment with Kragen who I met at Barcamp – he and Beatrice are going to Peru and elsewhere – to visit and then to settle for a while – Beatrice will send me a new Internet Archive sticker, oh joy! – Computery stuff – I spout off about SF – Kragen recommends the book 1491, which sounds very good – Also, he’s awfully cute – I bounced off with Moomin and Dr. Bit’s kid, Jay, because otherwise he doesn’t give her a moment’s peace… We walked a few blocks to stare at the sadly empty train tracks, then played imaginary bears in the mysterious forest (about 4 trees in front of the Mtn.View police station). I thought they had some especially nice moments of feeling independent and brave when I would tell them to go on ahead and (pick up different kinds of leaves (run up the hill (go walk on the wall ( go into the “forest” (go up to the fire station door and look inside (ride the bike down the hill … They both enjoyed this and were challenged by it. They were happiest in the “forest” gathering sticks for their house and fireplace, where Jay toasted marshmallows and Moomin defended against the bears which became increasingly fierce, robotic, zombie-brained, and alien-influenced. That’s my son! They liked collecting all different leaves but when it came down to the follow-through on leaf-rubbings, they didn’t care anymore.

Well! Meanwhile it was very nice how they got along and how they paid good attention to my pointing out of things like the fuzziness of magnolia buds or the way to sling a sycamore spiky-thing by its stem for maximum distance-launching. Jay did not talk about trains hardly at all, which was a relief because the Idea of Trains bores me to tears. And I felt good for giving Dr. Bit a nice hour of grown-up board game playing! I took my pay in squeezes… Because as always, she’s delectable… and hey! she’s writing her Dr. Norman Greeeenstein column again!

I was feeling super bouncy and hyper and happy today and full of ideas, and bubbling with the amazing pleasure of wearing the Jayne hat that my brother-in-law made!!!!! Moomin’s still dubious and won’t wear it. odd… but he explained the entire plot of the Jayne-hero episode of Firefly and how everyone thought he was a hero but really he dropped the food sort of by accident. Then it became clear he knew the song. Rook didn’t admit to it, but who else could have taught it to him?

I am now behind on snarfling up all of whump’s new books. He is an excellent source to keep me current… he buys a ton of books… and I can borrow them and rip through them and give them back. “Accelerando” looked interesting.

Whump gave me a ton of old tiptree shirts!!! woot! kind of too big, but I can always modify them to fit somehow or just wear huge tshirts.

Read “Writing the Other” – it was good – funny – useful. Nearly done with The Corn King & Spring Queen. Dying to read the Journal of an Artist that Minnie gave me for xmas. But I can’t tomorrow… and also I have to check out Madeline Love soon or Ide Cyan won’t let me forget it!

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cruising, tagging, the non-existent “played with” xfn tag

The first thought I had about building a Ning app was about disaster relief… the second about cruising, sex, and bdsm negotiation. Then I began the general musing about geotagging, personal relationship markup, and … research.

So, I heard about xfn probably either at BlogHer or at Barcamp. And only last week looked at it. I remember some of the attempts to do visual representation of blogrolls and blog linking – interesting but never quite “there”. xfn is quite cool. I would like to add more to the list of categories, though it’s a good beginning.

About the cruising – it would be like an online hanky code, I guess. So immediately I think of the “creep factor” and have no idea how to combat it! Do we care? Does it matter? Maybe I’ll just make a woman to woman cruising app and see what happens!

About personal relationships: why do we care? Why do we gossip so much? Should we? I would argue yes: it’s not trivial knowledge. It’s significant information about a person’s identity. We understand who people are through knowing about their relationships, past and present. It’s also important for many practical reasons – including STD transmission but I’d put in almost the same category “information transmission”; the spread of ideas, rumors, secrets. Now, for example on the STD transmission and anthropological understanding… recall the sexual relationship map of Jefferson High. For the importance of ideas, consider how slutty people keep different social groups in contact with each other; they’re cross-pollinators of information and ideas, not just popular and affectionate hedonists. (Er, that should be “we” not “they”.) Consider in biographies, that we want to know who has slept with who, and how much that tells us about how ideas jumped social bridges (for example, politics and poetry… or when considering artistic influences…). You can’t assume a level of intimacy, trust, or information sharing just because people have had a sexual encounter, but… it certainly makes it more likely. Well, I said this in my old slut manifesto, and I still believe it.

I’m remembering times I’ve drawn those little sexual-encounter maps with other people… I did with my friend G. back in college and then again many times over the years… Plenty of people have joked about “Whorekut”… and it would be quite interesting especially if extended back into history! X. and I made one, with all our mutual friends and acquaintances, and were both astonished at some of the information we had that the other one didn’t know. And woudl sit there going “Oh, my god, that explains EVERYTHING…” i.e. some level of those people cutting each other some slack, or maybe the other way, some inexplicable tension or hostility. It explained tensions between people who had maybe shared the same lover for a while… Stuff like that!

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organizations

pheret1 talks about the strength of her desire to trust authority. Even after all the experiences of disaster & relief efforts, people want there to be authority, leadership, answers, truth, help from the top down.

I don’t want to destroy or undermine institutions like the Red Cross – or government! I want them to have better people, better philosophies, and better tools. Their culture and their structures do need to change, but there are things about vast, sluggish, stable organizations that are beneficial.

And she notes how information keeps changing:

tried to call the number today that helped me find Mr. Robinson (because I’m looking for someone else). There is no answer. Many of the services and help are disappearing because the perceived need is over.

That is a pattern I have seen over the last week. It was not unexpected. Services are disappearing. They think they’re consolidating, they claim to be serving the need – but they aren’t, not enough. In your contact with evacuees it is valuable to record their current needs and report on them. Once people left the big shelters, as I predicted, it was out of sight, out of mind… they are expected to melt into the urban poor… that’s not happening and instead, the small social service agencies and churches, etc. are getting an eyeopener of what it means to “reinvent taxes”. god it’s frustrating to think about.

Anyway, in the meantime here’s something I just heard about, probably too late for me to participate given my schedule this week:

recovery 2.0 (once again I run into the socialtext people!)
Tagcamp – growing out of Barcamp – I’m definitely going! I want to get more ideas and throw my own into the mix. And I’ll liveblog what I can, which I’m sure someone in another city will find useful & stimulating. Strata was nice enough to tell me about it!
buzzmachine mention of recovery 2.0 that James sent me – James my hippie freak buddy from the Astrodome.
I spouted off in the comments – read it if you want – and will try to rewrite those ideas & add to them.

My point in the comments best summed up as: we don’t have “documents” we have small granular truths that go out of date quickly. we also have reputation & degrees of reliability of truth-filtering. At least, I think that is my point. Everything we said in the women in tech discussions at Barcamp would apply very well to the disaster relief situation. Everything granular, people are in a way just like tags, and tags can be like people, and we need complicated relationship structures for information, identity, and geography…

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superhero update

FYI. An evil villain named Rayzar is about to DESTROY CALIFORNIA. My “secret identity” is Violet Storm, and my superhero name is Zapgirl. Moomin’s name is Beezle, and his superhero name is Pollen Bee. Rook is “Electro” and can control things that work with electricity. Pollen Bee has a lot of superpowers.. including his sting ring which sends beestings to get the bad guys.

Moomin demanded that I email Ross Mayfield’s daughter, who he played with at barcamp, and invite her to Webzine. He wants her phone number.

We are going to build a Machine out of legos that will amplify our superpowers so that we can zap the invulnerable bad guys.

also FYI I did not choose Moomin’s outfit … I did help him to clip the orca laser-flashlight onto his Star Belt.

It’s going to be an interesting day.

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wholesome nerdy fun & endless babble

I’m at Webzine and I just realized why all these strange guys are grinning oddly at me and acting like they know me. At first I thought they might be confusing me with L, but then … that seemed v. unlikely. Then I was like… oh, maybe they’re all from barcamp and I just can’t differentiate them from the mass of nerdy hipsters I met there? Then after Kay came up to me giggling, I realized it was because of the flickr naked photos with Nakedjen. Heh!!!

***** LATER, at home*****

They let me in free and I made a fun nametag with pictures cut out of magazines. Laminated! woot! Very zine-ish to make your badge and have them laminate it, very jolly… I have to say it was pleasantly retro. How strange is that? DIY should never feel retro! Reality should just BE like that!

Leeann came to shush me as Kay explained how the flickr or the yahoo people had to make an Incident Report to the Yahoo HR people because of me and nakedjen taking our naked photos. Leeann was nice about it and said she had just been talking herself and was a big hypocrite but could we shut up for Lulu of bittergreens comic webzine fame? Please? I tried to shut up, since I DO EVERYTHING LEEANN TELLS ME TO. Yup! Later Lulu said she reads my blog! I was very suprised. I don’t think that has ever happened before that someone I don’t know walked up, recognized me, and … had not just seen my picture somewhere indecent.. .but who possibly knows more about my life than I even remember revealing. I don’t mind at all, and kind of like it. When I think of all the great people I have met from this blog, and ones I have never met in person… but that I’ll always be friends with – like Iris in England! What would I do without her, and how sad if we had never known each other.

Later, this is so heinous, but me and er, this other person, were talking during the incredibly fascinating great presentation from the guy from Make magazine… I’m all his starry-eyed fan now too btw…. and we realized that Matt, dorkmatt, or photomatt, or whatever, i’ll link to him in a second, was taking a million photos of us. Brightly I chirped something like, “gosh it makes me feel like we should be making out or something like madonna and britney spears…” and Leeann said no, she should be licking my face. So there is some crazy photo of her licking me on Flickr right now, I’m sure. and we both started screaming with laughter and I fell over backwards. DURING THE GUY’S TALK. We realized we had just been extremely awful and rude. OMG. Then I paid attention and … WOW.. here are my inadequate notes:

wipeout – cheap game device w/ browser in it – holy fuck! find this!
hand crank / solar etc. power supply for ipod, etc
make blog…
diyparts.org

It was all about things you can do with an ipod or a cheapass digital disposable camera. There was one sequence in particular where he was telling how he loves the Olympus something or other model, an old model, because you can take it completely apart. “And so I hooked it up to a timer. So it takes a photo every possible second it can until the batteries run out. And so then i could do all these other things… And so I put it on my kite. (slideshow click) and then i got a coathanger. (click) And then i got a gps thingie. And then I plotted it on a map…(click) and you know, it’s just me going to the store, but for each picture you can see exactly where i was on the map and it’s…. well…. And then I figured well with this disposable 17 dollar camera I could just put it…(click) on my dog… And then I took some toenail clippers and an Altoids box and this 50 cent chip from radio shack and I made this Thing. And now I will take over the world.” Oh, man. It was so great!

A few minutes later I was crazed with glee that the new guy on stage was giving the IP number and password to ssh into his robot. I have never been to something where someone gets up on a stage and goes, “and log in as root and the password is “robot”…” I will just confess right now that I love having the keys to all the locks, and to log into anywhere as root always gives me a smug little shivery thrill. So yeah, duh I ssh into it, pronto! and… how cool is this…. an instant crowd of hot chicks came huddling up to me to stare at my computer screen and at me ssh-ing as if my having a term window up were the pinnacle of studliness. Hot chicks, I am sorry if you feel objectified. I am one of you, and yet again, I am not quite one of you because that wrong-locker-room R.Crumb feeling was strong in me as y’all looked at me starry eyed and for a brief moment I felt like the nerdy kid from War Games typing this stuff and getting my black and (retro) glowing green term window as follows:

root@(none) ~/src # ./drive
initing teleo
creating mc2 left
creating mc2 right
got c K
current 200
got c R
turning right motor on
got c L
turning left motor on
got c k
speed 10
got c k
speed 20
got c k
speed 30
got c
Usage:
j – reduce speed by 10
k – increase speed by 10
J – reduce current by 100
K – increase current by 100
l – turn off left motor
L – turn on left motor
r – turn off right motor
R – turn on right motor

But alas! The robot was not moving! WTF! Afterwards I went up to the dude and was all like, “Dude! I totally ssh-ed into your robot right then! And I was giving it commands and it was answering on the screen but it didn’t move in real life! WTF!” And he was all like, “OMFG a hot chick is talking to me about my fucking ROBOT! And she talked to it, all unix-like! What is happening! Help me, Lord!” And I was all like, “So, fix it! I must drive your robot around!” And then he was all like, “Here’s my cool kid, she’s 10 and writes computer games!” And I talked about my nerdy child and suddenly he was all…. “aaaaaaaaaa! BADGER!!!!!!!” “Aaaaaaagh! Mikhail!” It was one of those moments when your dark past comes back to haunt you and bite you in the ass, except in this case it’s not very dark and you don’t mind getting bitten. So we knew each other 10 years ago when he and his partner were trying to conceive. You know, like… do I have to spell it out… I totally saw them conceiving! That was surreal. He looked way different with all his hair cut off, and with clothes on. I recall when I played with him in public at some faerie thing everyone fell over in shock because they thought i was the queerest lesbianista ever on the planet because they only saw me flounce around with Dotty. (Since Dotty and my’s flouncing often, often involved guys, I can’t imagine….)

Um!!! Anyway.

Meanwhile wherever I was sitting, MORE HOT CHICKS were coming up to me and poking me and giggling and saying things like, “How come your ass isn’t hanging out? Huh? Damn, I loved that!” What, did collective nerddom all see that one 10 seconds when I took off my clothes at the “Flickr Fiesta” in the Yahoo cafeteria? I bitched to L. and Chula that no one will know about my giant brain, and will think I’m a bimbo… and R. promised that he would blog a photo of my giant, sexy brain on his blog, whatever it is.

At dinner I was sitting next to niall from technorati and he was like…. “Yup, I remember you from BlogHer. (why are you following me to dinner, strange internet chick!)” He probably thought I was totally stalking him! But it was an accident! I was just along to hang out with my girlfriend. Well, anyway, we all had a nice time and I liked talking with Niall about the current state of (web)spamhunting. And I told him some insane story about how my relatives taught me to shoplift when I was a kid and I was kind of a little sociopath. (It made sense in context of the conversation.) We agreed that broccoli should never be in lasagna. Also i had fun with … I’m sure I should know who she is as everyone expects everyone to know already… but I don’t… E. who talked with me about translation & was very interesting and we decided suddenly that we were part of the Peter Kaminski Fan Club. That was funny! He will be surprised to know it, maybe. His own fan club!

Chula was getting teased by L. for coming to webzine and working on her novel in the back row, wearing headphones. But it seemed totally natural to me. If you can’t geek out in a crowd of geeks, then where? Earlier at Borderlands, people were huddling in corners reading the Bob the Angry Flower preview chapbook right while the Famous Readers were reading. No one minded! It’s the nerdly way.

Earlier in the day… this is such a long post, but the Badgerbag knows no length limits… Earlier in the day I spent all morning at the cafe with Moomin, playing Apples to Apples Jr. with him and Iz, while Squid watched, listened, ate breakfast, and tended Leelo & baby Mali. We went over to Squid’s house & I made a very quick, kinda lame “animal rescue hunt” for Iz and Moomin, with 5 stages of written clues in their huge backyard. It’s so beautiful there, with the mountain there, Edgewood Park overhead, and deer coming by, and her big garden of rosemary and california tufty grasses… hummingbirds & bees… I always think of it as the bee-loud glade, even if it’s not a glade. It’s for sure bee-loud. Sandia and her daughter and 6 year old son came over to play & babysit all the kids. I went with Squid to her pedicure/manicure appointment down the street on Canyon… that little shopping center is becoming extremely pleasant, with the homey taco place, the cafe, the ice cream store, emerald market, etc.! Nice.

Watching someone else get a pedicure! OMG. I became very aware of the sweatiness of my own feet. they were gritty and linty in the socks and sneakers. The manicurist was shoveling bits of dead cuticle off of Squid’s feet as if she were going to sculpt a whole extra set of feet out of the gunk, for spares. Grody! Then afterwards squid was all gorgeously be-sandaled with smooth, shiny pink nails. And I was sweaty and gross and… horribly… (curse you, IUD!!!) have been on the rag for almost 2 weeks solid. Tube-tying is looking good, folks. No, I just DON’T care what I say on the net, do I? *emotional moment* If it helps just one person feel more comfortable with themselves and their menstrual blood… then it’s all worth it *sob*…. HA!!!! NOT. No, seriously, I am now dying to get a pedicure and have someone rub my feet and calves with exfoliating lotion. MMMMMMMM.

Earlier at the Tachyon party at Borderlands Books – I had a great time talking to Debbie and Alan & then some nerdy boys, who could not stop with the insane Serenity trivia (and I am dying to see it too, but do not know nitpicky gossip about its creator nor do i even know the actors’ names or anything…and of course they have all either seen it already, or have passes to see the preview on tuesday night, damn them!) then a long conversation with Jill from tachyon. I now love her forever because she spent like 10 minutes praising my girlfriend and saying how she is a Personality and is magnetic and a force for good and positivity and cheerful fun-having in the world, and Honesty and Fun. And being Funny. and more Fun. and Optimism. and being Wacky unabashedly. And how whenever she is in the room, everyone can’t stop just naturally gravitating towards her and thinking about her. Of course, I completely agree. And next to getting flattered myself, there is nothing better than hearing someone do some high-level praise of the people I love! Especially when they are wearing what Jill was wearing. One did not need to upskirt her to have a good time. Her outfit was stunningly gorgeous! A short 60s style dress with black boots… & thick rimmed nerd-girl glasses. Aaaaagh! Best of all and hottest of all, the fun conversation we had about multiple identities, feminism, online presence, books, publishing, and our mutual general feeling of being Really Interested In Everything Good; the difficulty of being either “generalists” or dilettantes or amazing renaissance women, or something of all of that. “Oooh, shiny!” And then haring off after that new interesting thing. The she was like, “It doesn’t matter! just be your identity! do it all online, who cares, no closets! not to worry about being a media whore! Represent! Be that thing! We’re the good people and we have to speak up and not be in little boxes! you are the zeitgeist!” and I was like, WTF, you have no idea, I just gave that VERY SPEECH to like 6 different people lately, are we twins?

And Jennifer also from tachyon was kind of like, So what is this blogging thing anyway? And why would you do that? How can we use it? What is it? I could not explain it, since a new reading was starting, but all the way home when i was driving I was trying to answer her telepathically. (I could answer the part about what Tachyon could do with blogging, but instead, the other bit: why do I do it?)

Why do I do it? I love to keep journals and write letters. I like documenting the minutiae of my life, my feelings about pedicures, the lint between my toes, my good moments and also any moments of doubt, fear, and despair. I mean, why not? So what? I’m so insignificant. Who cares really! Everyone’s doing it! Or — because of loving attention, and… sure. *shrug* But that is not why. It’s really because of being hyperverbal. If I’m not talking or writing, or mentally composing something I’m going to write, or if I’m not listening or reading, I’m not necessarily thinking and I might possibly not exist. When I start writing or talking, I think better. Do other people think in words and sentences? Just all the time? Do you? So I get a little high off it, off that moment when time, when my brain, switches the switch between non-verbal/preverbal, and words. I love words! I am reminded suddenly of that time I took some mescaline (oh, so long ago – 20 years? ) after reading “The Doors of Perception” & painted the walls, doors, and ceiling of my ex-boyfriend’s room at Taos Co-op with crappy abstract designs (er, sorry… I have no excuse… i was only 16…) and felt ultra-conscious of that edge. The moment between doing nothing, and Deciding, and the paint coming off the brush like a fabulous miracle. So, words always feel that way to me, even when it’s total drivel coming off the pen.

Actual revision & structuring is even better, but of course way more difficult. As a writer i’m still undisciplined & lazy – unless I’m translating or writing my own poetry. With poetry & translations I revise 20 times, I rewrite over & over, usually handwriting but then it moves into being typed & I do lots of printouts, edits, reading-aloud, and revisions.

I did no relief work today. I think that was burn-out, last night. I can’t stop doing it, but I had to stop today. My feelings were way too intense. I’m sorry to be such a wuss…. I’m going around talking about Grace’s blog a lot and handing out the URL, and that in itself, I hope, helped today. All the intense stimulation was so great today and was JUST what I needed – including playing with kids!

After Webzine & dinner, I drove back to Deadwood City, up to RJ’s house, said hi to Minnie, RJ, Vim, Zombiegrrrl, Lex; made out with Rook; & picked up Moomin to bring him home and put him to bed. Brushed his teeth, gave him his allergy medicine & inhaler, read him some books… He spent the afternoon at RJ’s Firefly marathon, bouncing on the trampoline with Iz — Rook took her for the afternoon. I think they had fun!

And so to blog.

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