my tv-b-gone needs a new battery

Wired did a nice write-up of hackerspaces, featuring Mitch and Jake‘s NoiseBridge, where Lung and Natasha and I slept over our second night in San Francisco:

DIY Freaks Flock to ‘Hacker Spaces’ Worldwide

Noisebridge’s members have filled this small space with an enviable collection of shared tools, parts and works in progress.

"Since it was formed last November, Noisebridge has attracted 56 members, who each pay $80 per month (or $40 per month on the "starving hacker rate") to cover the space’s rent and insurance. In return, they have a place to work on whatever they’re interested in, from vests with embedded sonar proximity sensors to web-optimized database software. (…)

Noisebridge is located behind a nondescript black door on a filthy alley in San Francisco’s Mission District. It is a small space, only about 1,000 square feet, consisting primarily of one big room and a loft. But members have crammed it with an impressive variety of tools, furniture and sub-spaces, including kitchen, darkroom, bike rack, bathroom (with shower), circuit-building and testing area, a small "chill space" with couches and whiteboard, and machine shop. (…)

The drawers of a parts cabinet carry labels reflecting the eclecticism of the space: Altoids Tins, Crapulence, Actuators, DVDs, Straps/Buckles, Anchors/Hoisting, and Fasteners.

Almost everything in the room has been donated or built by members — including a drill press, oscilloscopes, logic testers and a sack of stick-on googly eyes. (…)

In Noisebridge’s case, the community had a boost thanks to Altman’s geek cred (he’s the inventor of the TV-B-Gone) and his connections to existing geek societies, such as Dorkbot, a monthly gathering of San Francisco techies. Other cooperative arts-and-technology spaces in the San Francisco area — such as NIMBY, The Crucible and CELLspace — also helped prepare the ground. And of course it helps that San Francisco is already receptive to geeks, anarchists and other square pegs.

The recent crop of hacker spaces has followed a rough blueprint prepared by Jens Ohlig called "Building a Hacker Space" (.pdf). Ohlig’s presentation is a collection of design patterns, or solutions to common problems, and outlines some of the best practices used by German and Austrian hacker spaces.

Many are governed by consensus. Noisebridge and Vienna’s Metalab have boards, but they are structured to keep board members accountable to the desires of the members. NYC Resistor is similarly democratic. Most of the space — and the tools — are shared by all members, with small spaces set aside for each member to store items and projects for their own use."

I want to meet the sort of man who will go barefoot in a tuxedo.
“This is not Werner Herzog. This is his blog”

Writing is in backlog. Photos are in backlog. My time is my own, but my tools, they are failing. My computer was wiped clean and still isn’t working. I don’t even know where to start.

Flew into town this morning, head thick with the memory of dancing with Rafael and Tony in Seattle after That Mike’s Valentine’s show. Something about the motion, about the movement, reminded me, the weightless acceleration, the droning, continual prop plane hum. Despite the novelty of being in the air, (a day where I’ve been flying never feels quite real), I curled up against Will and napped for part of the trip, bag in the back, camera tucked against my belly, my hands warm against his side. Cracking my eyes open to look down at the water and islands smoothly running past below me, I felt safe. I felt safe and protected and alright. Everything in my head, no matter what it was, was alright.

Last weekend, in Whistler, was much the same. Waking up on the couch after after three hours of sleep to Dragos on the porch, knocking at the top of a champagne bottle with a samurai sword, attempting to slice through the glass so he could make properly extravagant mimosa, that also felt like home. The sheer absurdity that no one questioned, like flying, was an every day miracle that we all passed through, as comforting as curling up exhausted and wrung out, but not dry. It was exactly the sort of pretty thing I needed. It is important to have perspective, to realize and deeply understand that our lives are all minuscule grains of sand, but it is equally essential to learn that there are always a million fascinating, beautiful things happening in every direction during every second, and that sometimes we are lucky enough to be part of them.

my friends are more awesome than I am

The Hasenmenschen Ballet, by Marcel Steger & Luzie Strecker

I’m leaving for the Island after work today. Thumbing a ride to the ferries with Lung, to be snagged by Esme on the other side, I’m delivering one of these to one of these and don’t expect to be back until Monday morning, when apparently I’m being put on a sea-place back. (Because life sometimes is just like that.)

In other news of the faintly ridiculous, Dragos is holding my bikini hostage, on the terms that I only get it back if I accept a year of cell-phone for my birthday, something we’ve been arguing about for almost a year. As soon as I began my usual protesting, however, he waved a gleeful finger in my face and said, “Ah-ha! This time you cannot possibly refuse. I know which one I’m going to give you. This isn’t just any phone. It’s got a story.” and proceeded to play to my greatest weakness, that of narrative. The one he’s picked out, it has history. Not only history, but hilarious history – a fascinating little back-story involving an Argentina black market, expensive consumer electronics that fell off the back of a truck, untraceable drug dealer SIM cards, and what happened next, when a British friend flashed around just one too many fresh hundred dollar bills – and, as usual, he was right. I can’t say no. How could I? How could anyone?

Also, though only tangentially related, there was a story about basement scam strippers, but that was someone else.

No, I can’t twitter from there. I do not have a mobile phone.

A new comic in The Secret Knots: “On Spam

Morning just wasn’t sporting today. Dinner last night, an improbable feast of only meat, cowboy delivered by sword to each table, led into a punishing bout of intense karaoke that lasted until an unwholesome, head smashing o’clock in the morning. I slept poorly at the hotel in a spare bed on the 19th floor offered by someone who lacks a real name, certain I should have simply tried to stay awake for tradition’s sake, curled up on the 31st floor, quick in a couch, a chatting apostle at the altar of party, until dawn wedged streaky fingers into the surgical gray sky.

Tonight instead, perhaps. Tomorrow almost certainly. Tonight, though, Dragos may have my house keys, but I’m not going back until later, until after I go home and dye my hair, charge my damned camera battery, and cook dinner with David. (It pained me almost physically to be on the rooftop deck of the Wall Center penthouse and not be able to take pictures.) I need rest. I am yawning at my desk, half baked, certain that I have not been eating enough to keep myself cohesive, and my eyes are trying to lock closed when I blink. No matter the addictive charm or ballistic voltage offered by CanSec, I am not quite caught up with myself for unrestricted thrills.

Hacker loses finger in motorcycle accident, replaces it with USB drive.