Maker Faire == ++good

Bless those who use their volunteer mojo to distribute free passes to us lazy slack bastards who can’t be bothered to get an early discounted ticket: Em was kind enough to offer me a pass which was a wonderful way to end a truly suck-ass week of invasive dentistry, stoopifying painkillers and craptacular health.  The weather was gorgeous as I headed out to the expo grounds fairly late in the afternoon.  Bug, Em and I did a round of the craft booths, then I was sucked into the scrap metal and Tap Plastics area.  We watched some laser etchings in progress and I got a sweet t-shirt featuring a lady drumming with a screaming tiger for a head.  ISHians were out in force and kicked ass in bringing the fountain out.  It seemed like a respite spot for folks who had had a lot of robot and tesla coils buzzing about all day and just needed a break.  Jack, Sarah, Dr. John and JP brought out a crazy cake-pinball machine and rescued me with a fizzy water when I was starting to wilt.

My favorite project this year was a model train setup (HO scale, of course, shout out to my Dad!) made by an architect who had a knack for finding perfect mid-century flotsam, glueing it together and backlighting it.  It was a lovely 50s sci-fi City of The Future! setup and I loved it for combining such an old school nerd hobby with sexy junk recycling by way of Amazing Stories circa 1954.  Update: I found the builder’s url – http://sites.google.com/site/megamodelsite/   The day was capped off by a very wrong gypsyPunkMarchingBand from Chicago who freaking rocked.

The weirdos were out in force and many brought their kids.  Freaks in training: I’m for it.

art
geekery

Comments (2)

Permalink

Latest Political Junkie Crush

A project of the St. Petersburg Times and Congressional Quarterly, PolitiFact is my new fact-checking sweetheart. And it has a sense of humor!  My personal favorite: the Pants-on-Fire page.  Hurray fact-checking journalism geeks!

politics

Comments (2)

Permalink

Not-so evil schemes to avert soul-consuming anger

These last few months have had me designing a stock trading application for a major trading house.  To design this I spend my day looking at stock trading applications and financial tools online, which means I’ve had a very close (and mandatory) look at the recent financial meltdown, as well as the long run-up to it.  There has been a lot of election news interspersed with it and this, combined with my political junkie tendencies, has led to an ever-heightened feelings of fear, anger, incapacitation and sick glee at the rapid downward spiral of Things in General.

It has interfered with my sleep.

I went to Seattle a few weeks ago to see a play written and put on by an old friend and  to see my best friend play a noise show.  Steeping in all this creativity really put a point on it that I haven’t been doing shit but working and steeping in wretched political and financial news these last 9 months and that it’s no way to go through life.   I’m feeling rusty in doing community work and art.  So, I’m starting small.

My not-so evil scheme: register voters at the coffee shop next door.

Yes, that’s right, I sacrifice an hour each Tuesday and Thursday drinking tea, flirting with the cute staff and reading the paper, all while pestering every single person who goes into Progress about registering.  Oh, if all things were this easy.  So far I’ve registered 14 people.   For whatever reason, this has made me feel a lot better about this crappy election.  It’s nonpartisan, I’m not asking for money, it falls in line with my Iowan small-d democracy beliefs and I don’t have to deal with any nutjobs at campaign headquarters, which my braver and stronger friend is doing.

It won’t save the world, but I’m sleeping better.

geekery
life
politics

Comments Off on Not-so evil schemes to avert soul-consuming anger

Permalink

The Unforeseen

I went to see the Laura Dunn documentary The Unforeseen tonight at the Alamo. I’ve been wanting to see it and with M out of town I took myself on a movie date and went on my own. It was a little slow out of the gate, but the cinematography made up for it. It’s sad, uplifting, completely depressing and moving. It’s haunting, really. I was so at a loss when I left the theatre that I drove to Lady Bird Lake and walked out over the water on the pedestrian bridge and watched the sun set to get myself collected.

There were so many people on the bridge. Many sat with their friends, laughing in the warm wind. I watched the cars go by on the Lamar bridge and thought about how much I hate driving. I thought about the project I’m currently working on and how it has little redeeming social value. I thought about how I’m not volunteering for anything lately and how that makes me feel crappy. I felt overwhelmed and buffeted. And then I remembered the game I played with my brother on Monday, the problem/obstacle/solution game. So I played it with myself and came up with some solutions to feeling crappy. Here are some I came up with that I’d like to try:

* ride my bike more
* volunteer to help Project Transitions with their terrible web site so they can get more donations and better help their clients
* insulate and weather-proof my house
* work for better transit solutions in Austin (the new light rail proposal was unveiled today)
* win the Texas Lottery and buy a huge tract of land over the Edwards aquifer and make a nature preserve out of it

That last one will take a bit of luck. Oh, and me buying a lotto ticket.

life

Comments (2)

Permalink

Miami, first impressions

I attended a preconference seminar with Peter Morville today at the IA Summit. The summit starts tomorrow. I’ve met a lot of interesting people already. Kia is here and it’s been wonderful hanging out with her. She is speaking during Sunday’s session. We went to the mixer this evening and then went with a new friend Alla to Versailles, a famous Cuban restaurant in Little Havana. We drank strong sangria, I ate a lot of seafood and then we went to the Cuban bakery next door where I got the craziest Cuban-tiramisu thing. Nom nom nom.

Miami is strange. It meets my stereotypical expectations in some ways and is delightfully surprising in others. There are palm trees, tourist crap and gleaming white buildings. There are also tons of people speaking Spanish, but not Texan/Mexican Spanish. Caribbean Spanish. And there there is the Creole, which is so unlike Louisiana Creole that I actually giggled with joy when I first heard it. It bubbles and is full of Haitian French and African nuances. It’s gorgeous, and those that can speak it seem to have a lightness to them that the rest of the Miamians don’t have.

I’m staying downtown in a hotel by the conference center, so I know this is nothing like the Miami that locals know. It was nice to go farther out into a neighborhood tonight. Kia is threatening to take me to South Beach, which should be, um, something.

life

Comments Off on Miami, first impressions

Permalink