Hi everyone, new readers and old.
I'm down in San Diego at eTech where the theme has been magic. It's been interesting to think about magic along with technology and visa versa. I've got a lot to write about, both about eTech and BarcampLA3. So stick with me, which I continue to stuff my brain with information and coffee and these many pots bubbling on the back burners. Don't worry though. Have a spot of tea, sit down for a bit and these ideas stewing will become buffet of ideas over the next few days.
If you're at eTech, please say hi. I'm the one with faded purple hair.
From the eTech Innovation prevention, happening right now.
William L. McKnight joined Minnesota Mining and Manufacturing Co. in 1907 as an assistant bookkeeper. He quickly rose through the company, becoming president in 1929 and chairman of the board in 1949.
Many believe McKnight's greatest contribution was as a business philosopher, since he created a corporate culture that encourages employee initiative and innovation.
His basic rule of management was laid out in 1948:
This post by Kathy Sierra, who canceled her appearance at Etech, explains why - Death Threats.
As I type this, I am supposed to be in San Diego, delivering a workshop at the ETech conference. But I'm not. I'm at home, with the doors locked, terrified. For the last four weeks, I've been getting death threat comments on this blog. But that's not what pushed me over the edge. What finally did it was some disturbing threats of violence and sex posted on two other blogs... blogs authored and/or owned by a group that includes prominent bloggers.
Really people, what kind of world is this coming too?
I am holding a mad tea party in the middle of a tornado - won't you join me?
As the world spins around and throws various unbalancing situations, people, interactions in addition to exhilarating, positive possibilities, projects and travel, I invite you to take a moment. Step out of the whirlwind and join me in the center. The eye, the center silo, that vertical shaft between earth and sky, heaven and earth.
Here's a cup of tea. Look at how beautifully everything spins. Now think about what you want, to do next, to have, to experience, what-ever. Now dip your fingers into the wind. If it's quite strong, let's move to another section of the whirlwind. There, that's a bit calmer. I can even dip my whole hand into the wind and hold my tea with the other one. Now, I am thinking of the thing I need. I feel something in my hand - it's just that thing! I pull it out of the tornado and now it's here.
Wait - some crazy kite just came buzzing in, knocking over the tea cups and generally causing some mayhem. Don't get sucked into the tornado! It's ok. It's very calm in here. It will quieten down or be swept back into the swirl and spit out onto the plains. What a bit of excitement for a moment, hmmm?
I'm holding a mad tea party. To join me, you must enter the tornado and find the quiet place, the eye, the zero point. Here, I am in the center of things. Everything I can possibly want, need is within hands reach.
Won't you join me?
This weekend was excellent. The extended schedule (with sessions starting on Saturday) was packed, in addition to full sessions on Sunday. PPT Karaoke was awesome. Our sponsors were awesome. There were tons of new people and lots of familiar friendly faces. It was a great time. Files and podcasts will be on the wiki eventually. But for now, I've got to pack and get down to eTech.
Thank you to everyone who came out, who mopped the floor, who went on ice runs, who wrangled and made this happen. The successful barcamp is testament to the LA Tech community blossoming here.
Cooking Advise from Chef Joanna - chefjoanna.com
8 inch non-stick for eggs etc
10 inch stainless steel skillet - for it to stick
saucepan - 3 quarts
pasta/stock pot-non stick ( can sautée meat and then add the stock and use one pan)
really good silicone spatula - they don't usually melt (watch out for the handle)
I only cook with silicone spatula.
slotted spoon with a flat edge in the bottom (to scrape stuff off the bottom of the pot)
Independent markets with cheap and fresh produce: 99 branch (asian chain) 1 step up is Jons.
Never shop at Ralphs, Pavillions, Albertsons - yuck
Trader Joes - can't buy just one - must buy in a package - too much quantity + packaging
Bristol Farms then there is Golden Farms - totally good produce.
Whole foods very expensive (1.19 bunch of scallions) Golden Farms 10 bunches for 1.
Yummy golden yellow tomatoes for 69 cents.
Farmers Markets are good, but the selection is limited... unless you know exactly what you want and/or are flexible.
My background - personal chef and caterer, went to school in santa monica. worked for all the catering companies in LA. And gives cooking advice.
buy Pyrex. "you can bounce that stuff off lino and it won't break" try big lots or bbb w/ 20% off coupon.
"pick a protein, pick a cuisine and pick a starch to fit."
chicken + rice
chicken + Moroccan spice + couscous
make your own wholesome TV dinners.
so knives - you can spend a fortune on knives... unless you use them all the time, not good cost ration.
Buy cheap knives, and use them until they are dull and then thrown them out.
12 Wusfof knife - the longer the knife the longer the cut.
boning knife - flexible
chef and bread knife, get longer knives - you'll get more cut out of it.
efficiency of motion -
the less you go back and forth
messaluna and a pizza cutter do the same thing.
nonstick vs cast iron - a properly seasoned cast iron is nonstick.
to season a cast iron pan - you can use Crisco. (high smoke point)
so much cast iron, that I don't go to the gym.
do have to keep seasoning it and treat it right.
put the oil in and heat it once a week.
if you wash cast iron, you must heat it on the stove, right after each washing or else it rusts.
If you you can't make it to barcampLA this weekend, but want to participate virtually, then I have the solution for you. ooVoo is a new company that just quietly launched it's real-time video messaging application. [Disclosure: I'm currently working for ooVoo as a consultant, and I think it's hawt!] Until this week, very few folks got to experience the real-time video messaging experience with ooVoo. But now, you too can see the reaction on someone's face - not wait for the smiley.
I'll be demoing ooVoo at Barcamp, but you can experience it for yourself. Download the application at www.oovoo.com. If you need an invitation, email me and I will send you an invite. Once you are on the system, search for BarcampLA 1, BarcampLA 2, BarcampLA 3, or BarcampLA 4. (You can also search for me: Heather). At various times in the weekend I will be streaming the sessions - live. You can watch along. If you want to do a remote session, let me know and we can project you on the screen, all from the comfort of your own home. It will be fun. Try it.
See ya this weekend.
In the middle of my sophomore year of high school I moved to a small town in Iowa and started a new high school. Perhaps you can image what 16 year old Heather was like based on the present extrapolation. No, I did not fit in. I didn't wear the same clothes, or have the same attitude and I challenged myself. I wasn't a punk rocker, I wasn't a goth, I wasn't a prep or emo or hippy or anything. I was myself. One of the ways I expressed myself was through my beaded necklaces.
I had a huge collection from thrift stores. I collected beads and made my own out of Fimo or Sculpy. My peers would make fun of my necklaces, calling me a hippy and other things I can no longer remember. I thought they were lame white idiots out walking around. Clueless. They could have their ignorant opinions and I went to read Kafka and Pirsig and dream of California and open roads.
Two years went by. I said sayonara from high school and graduated a semester early. Moved on with my life and my adventures. That last month as I tromped up and down the stairs I started to see more and more handmade necklaces. An acquaintance asked me how I made the beaded flowers without a loom. Others were making their own beads like I had. I found much amusement in the situation. What they once mocked, they now desired to be a part of.
That's what it's like as a trend setter. All the lame ass early adopter naysayers will eventually jump on the trend. By that time, I'll be doing something novel.
That was a great turn out Tuesday night - it must have been the I <3 LA t-shirts.
We took over .... what was the name of the restaurant, again, with about 30 of us. New faces, old faces, lots of fun, good mole and who's idea was it to go bowling? I hit the arcade playing pinball, watching air hockey and I played this strange animal catching safari game. Paradigm shifting.
So anyway, save the date for the next g33k d1nner: April 17th, 8pm. We're returning to Shakey's pizza in Hollywood for Speed Geeking.
You heard me. You've heard of speed dating, well, we're doing the geek version of it. (Note this is not geek dating!) Want to know who you have what in common with? Speed geeking is just the activity. We'll spend 5+- minutes with each person sharing your geektendencies.
So save the date. Sometime this summer we'll return to uWink and I suggest polishing up on your hacking skills before we do.
G33k d1nner tonight in Santa Monica. Arrival of the I <3 LA g33k d1nner t-shirts that crystal made. For this time only there will be Web 2.0 inoculations and powerpoint karaoke. I'm gonna bust out some real-time conferencing, so if you can't attend in person and have a PC/webcam - hit me up for a free accounts to tune in.
I slept dreaming of other lives. Waking up at my friend's house in Austin to childish giggles and laughs. I rolled out of bed and showered for the first in several days, purple running down my back and into the white basin. Coffee, fretting over my packing, calling the cab. Waiting, waiting, late, waiting. The plan was to stop by the airport, drop off my luggage for my 5pm flight and head downtown to catch a couple movies before heading back to LA.
Cab arrived. I piled my luggage in the back. It was heavy. Made fast friends with the cab driver who was from Nigeria. He tried to hit on me (as usual) and I started talking about the boyfriend. He wasn't really my type. My friend Suz had more in common. I prefer the quiet geek type with secret superpowers. During the drive to the airport, I told him I would need another cab back to the airport later in the day. He offered to pick me up. This could be sketchy, right? But he was a sincerely nice guy. MBA, considering Law degree. Used to work at a semi-conductor company in Austin until it relocated to Korea. Maybe this was a sign from the universe. So far, I had not had one second of trouble finding a cab when I needed one, despite the explosion of SXSWers. I took this as yet another boon from the universe - the tricky part was finding a cab on time who would be able to rush me from the movie to the airport in time to catch my flight - and here I was - sitting in his cab. He dropped me off, and we made arrangements for him to pick me up later.
Then I went to check in my luggage. This was much more difficult than I had planned. I should have known, with my liter of Tito's Vodka and the bullet belt in my carry on. Then there was the 4 hour pre-flight check in limit. And no lockers. I had to think on my feet and be creative. I rebooked on a flight that would leave in less than an hour. Twenty minutes later, my luggage was on it's way to TSA's security check. I had my boarding pass in hand. 30 minutes. Could I get downtown in 30 minutes? I had nothing to lose. I decided to give it a try.
I'm still parsing my week in Austin at SXSW. I've come to use the mental metaphor that I had my own Alice in Wonderland experience.
I drank and got big, then I drank and got small. And all the while there was the white rabbit tap tap tapping about his watch. Who was the caterpillar, the Cheshire cat? the Mad Hatter? Was it Tom Ze Frank or Robert Scoble? The tweedle-dee brothers (although the brothers I'm thinking of, don't remind me much of tweedle dum/dee - they were more delightful). And when did I stumble upon the mad tea party? I think that was the night I drank too much. I don't want to deconstruct this metaphor too much, because it loses power in the deconstruction (and maybe it loses the deconstruction in the deconstruction). All I know is that I fell down a rabbit hole and came out in Austin. Then I flew on an airplane and shared the row with a crying boy, a lawyer turned rock star and some dude having a seizure. I can't seem to get away from adventure these days.
Hang on baby, cause I'm turning up the throttle!!!
Note: I am leaving this post at the top of the list for the next week, cause I'm pimping! Scroll down for recent adventures...
So it's one week until BarcampLA#3. Some folks had some questions about what Barcamp is and Carmen wrote up a great guide.
What is Barcamp?
BarCamp is an ad-hoc un-conference born from the desire for people to share and learn in an open environment. It is an intense event with discussions, demos and interaction from attendees.
All attendees must give a demo, a session, or help with one. All presentions are scheduled the day they happen. Prepare in advance, but come early to get a slot on the wall.
Presenters are responsible for making sure that notes/slides/audio/video of their presentations are published on the web for the benefit of all and those who can’t be present.
Anyone with something to contribute or with the desire to learn is welcome and invited to join.
1. Fear of not being “Tech-savvy” enough.
BarcampLA is not just for coders. Though the focus is on technology, we gather people of all disciplines, philosophies and skillsets for the purpose of knowledge sharing and community building. The use of technology to connect people and improve lives is a shared goal and passion of most Barcampers. You will not be ridiculed or diminished if you don’t speak in binary, or if you have no idea who Ruby is, or why she’s on Rails, or why people would be talking about the cleaning product AJAX. People who come to Barcamp are programmers as well as users, and if you don’t understand something, someone there will be kind enough to explain it to you. Isn’t that beautiful?
2. Fear of socializing in Meatspace
Coming out from behind the screen can be daunting. Our online avatars do so much of our socializing for us. BarcampLA has a host of other things to do besides attending seminars. Food, drinks, games, engineering challenges, jell-o shots, networking for collaborative projects and jobs, free schwag. Like a trade show, but more fun, and most importantly - FREE. And you can camp overnight if you want. Or you can be like me, show up, do a presentation and lurk in the back talking to other fellow lurkers. It’s just like being online!
3. Fear of participating as a presenter
You’re not required to get up in front of people and do a presentation if you don’t want to. Participation means attendance, helping out to set up, clean up, showing up, taking photos you can upload to Flickr, liveblogging and generally being a decent, not-obnoxious attendee. Previous presentations have focused on new applications and best practices, and have included sessions as diverse as “How to Make a Digital Camera for $35″, “3D Metaverse Roadmap” , “Coder Yoga” , “XML-RPC APIs” , “GTD with Google Tools” and “Web 2.0, the pain, problems and paradoxes”.
4. Fear of “L.A. People”
No glam, fancy cars, or press passes are required, and paparazzi are absolutely invited to capture photographic evidence of technophiles in a collaboratively created weekend terrarium. And while you may fear “L.A.” people, rest assured that the Barcamp in LA is not a clusterfuck of incestuous blogerati bending over to kiss each other’s asses like the Oscars or some ____Camp up in NorCal (who are just trying to get mentioned in Valleywag anyway). (just kidding, i’m a born San Franciscan. I’m not hating. Maybe trolling. A little. Teeny bit. Skosh.)
For the uninitiated who don’t really know what the hell an “ad-hoc unconference” means - BarcampLA is a biannual weekend-long event hosted, created, facilitated and populated by people seeking to build community, share knowledge, meet, greet and make friends/strategic alliances with other motivated individuals who want to learn and get involved with using technology to connect and share personal experiences and other data sets. Organizers are unpaid. Registration is free. Sponsors who want to reach out to this “wired” demographic help pay for the event location, food, drinks, schwag, and bring info, product demos and opportunities. It’s an “open and collaborative” environment rather than a competitive one.
C’mon down. Don’ be skeered.
If you're coming down for eTech, stop by LA early and meet the LA Tech peeps. See you there!
I live my life like the movie I want to watch. I am the main character and try experience an interesting time. Today, has been one of the major turning points in the story. I will tell the story about the activities in a moment. Now, all I can say, is that from this point on I am someone different.
I jumped into the cab and said "How fast can you make it to downtown?" "15 minutes!" And we did. I tipped generously and slide out and into the theatre. I ordered breakfast: coffee and a chicken quesadilla. The Age of Aquarius was playing on the screen. Auspicious. Very Auspicious. Then the movie started. I haven't heard a Robyn Hitchcock song for a long time. And I haven't regularly listened to him for almost 10 years. The movie I went to watch was called: Robyn Hitchcock: Sex, Death, Food and Insects (or something like that). To really understand Heather, listen to Robyn Hitchcock.
I was obsessed with his music when I was 15 through my early 20's. Not necessarily obsessed with Robyn, but his music, lyrics. They soothed me through my horrible parent's divorce and living with my evil stepmother. (Yes, I did have an evil stepmother!) They inspired me, they crystallize me, and made me want to live, be, the best, most interesting amazing person I could possibly be. I took it as a challenge. I made him my mantra. And I started to mold the person I am today and will become.
Now cut to today. I'm that person. The Heather I always wanted to be (and of course I continue to want to expand and change and be better and explore and evolve.) I went out into the world and became myself. Now imagine returning to, seeing that which inspired you to be like this in the first place. And that is what happened to me today. Thank god the theatre was dark, because I was crying. Why? I am not obsessed with Robyn as a person or his music.
I was mostly reminded of myself. What the songs did and meant to me then. The crystallization of the 15, 16, 17, 18 year old Heather - cocooned in fleshy embryonic nutrient rich fluid - cracked. Right there in the theatre. I don't know what I am now. Something I can only dream of being. But the Heather that came to Austin, is not the Heather that returns to Los Angeles.
Los Angeles. I miss you so much. I know you are a city full of traffic and pollution and problems and egotistical Hollywood wannabes and assholes. But I love you. You are my home.
Update: At the end of the movie, the director was present for Q&A. Robyn was there! And came up to the front. No one had any questions. I know I only wanted to praise the film. After a long silence, I raised my hand. This is what I said.
Me: "This was an excellent film. My flight left 5 minutes after the film started. And the film was completely worth it." It took a moment for what I said to sink in. (Hell, why did I even say it in the first place, sometimes something inside me takes over.)
The Director's response: "you missed your flight to see this movie? I think that's the first time this has happened." Then he handed the mic to Robyn. He spoke to me saying, something like,
Robyn: Where were you going?
R: Have you been there before?
Me: I live there.
R: Then he started talking like the shadow of myself is on the plane to LA, but I'm here and all it cost was my luggage. And now that I'm here and my shadow self is on the plane back to LA, I'm free. I have total freedom to make up whatever happens next.
I don't know if he realized what the words meant that he spoke to me. It as if God him/herself was speaking directly to me. Indeed that shadow self of heathervescent has landed in LA, picked up her bags and gone along with the plan. While the person here, typing this, has split from the tree, total freedom to do it all differently.
After all this time, all this work, I've finally reached the starting line. The gun has gone off. And here now, when I can be, win anything I can possibly imagine, I no longer care about winning. I'm going to run, fly, swim, drive, harder, faster, better, longer than I have ever before. Just to see where I'll end up. And I'll enjoy the journey all the time.
I'm on the 23rd floor of the Hilton in Austin. The sky is filled with black storm clouds. A break in the clouds shows blue laced with orange. It's time for night. Neon lights look stronger in the wet rain. I'm looking straight out on a building. It dominates my view. Looking like an insect en chrysalis, wings about to spread and fly. Or maybe one of those worms from Dune. A single circle eye focuses my attention. I love looking out at it. I'll give you an update on the sky. Black clouds have rolled in. Yellow-Orange shows through like those black paint etch drawings you do as a kid.
I'm being a voyeur. I'm watching the people inside their lit hotel rooms. Curtains open, tvs on, moving people inside. I watch them. No one seems to notice my observation. I make up stories about them. Which ones are geeks, rock stars, bloggers, or the like. I'm one of them.
Yesterday I met Capitan Sodium! It was exactly the break I needed. He tried to convince me to come to Flipside... and now I'm seriously considering it. A few more days at SXSW and then back to my Los Angeles. I miss her streaked skies full of vanilla possibilities. I miss her California scent. I miss her pavement, roads traveled by foot or wheels. I will enjoy my travels while I travel, but I dream of home. And I suppose that's true on a meta meta level.
my Brazil. There is something to be said to running into your friends in random bars or on the street. It's kind of cool and something that doesn't usually happen to me on a regular basis. It's strange and wonderful. And reminds me of my months in Brazil. Hot moist night air. Meeting with friends sporadically. Things happening. Connections. Magic. Possibilities tempt me and I taste them on the tip of my tongue. The wind caressing my skin. The sound of birds in the trees. Lights flickering. My equilibrium less than equal. It's times like this that I must remember what I want and not be swept by the many possibilities. To plunge my hand into the swirling possibility and return with something sweet and magic.
I'm enjoying my moment of solitude with Party Ben and my favorite mashups. Highlights of the past 24 hours include
- being recognized fairly regularly. this is really perplexing to me, because I don't feel particularly internet tons of new ones. celebrity. why would these people know me from anyone else. It's great to see old friends and I'm making
- Can I say the red bull house fucking rocks? The liquid dance floor is really spectacular.
- I am digging on the purple hair
- the high brow/low brow design session today was really fabulous.
- I've become crack addicted to twitter.
- I really am utterly introverted.
Tonight I'm going to take a practice from one of S's friends and bring along my ipod. That way I can listen to my own soundtrack. That should motivate me enough to leave the introverted heathervescent in the hotel room
I woke up this morning to a wall of fog. The window to my hotel opened out on a blank slate. Full of possibilities. It's been burning off the past several hours and now I can see off into the distance.
What a strange and wonderful experience this thing called sxsw. I a loner and an introvert at that. I don't like large group gatherings. I either have my extrovert personality turned on or I'm going to leave. Everywhere I turned there were people I knew. I met more than one person who was at my Birthday party. I ran into old colleagues in the elevator. In badge line. At the bar, and then another bar, and that bar too. Wow, what fun. Having great conversations, meeting new people. I knew this was what it was going to be like, but I didn't realize it would be this so exactly.
yay. I'm sitting in the airport waiting for my flight to Austin. This is going to be fun. I'm getting excited. If you're going to be there, be sure to say hi!
This past week I was uberbusy. So many things packed into a crammed week - home, business, project stuff. And although I was stressed more than usual, I was pretty calm and feel really good about things getting done. I even made a new GTD notebook, which always makes me feel better. It feels great, when there are so many things going on, and it's all flowing. yay!
My friend Carmen is doing another one of her GTD (getting things done) workshops. She uses David Allen's method for keeping your life together and kicking ass. I use it and it's the only thing that keeps me mostly sane as I juggle about 8 million projects while flinging a pillow and boarding an airplane.
Location is in Hollywood
March 11th, from 2pm - 6pm
The March Productivity Workshop is here!
Materials will be provided, and all you have to do is bring any physical or mental clutter, any disorganized papers, receipts, tasks and goals, and we will put them all into a organizational system that you can trust to keep you on track and stress-free.
A single bird chirp
The pitter patter of a soft shower through an open window
The slow scraping of an insect moving a leaf
A male voice singing opera
The Sky is overcast
The Air is moist and cool
No sound comes from my fountain
Water flows noiselessly over curved ceramic
No piercing sirens invade this early quietude
The potential of the day stands before me - around me
And I am in the center of that potential
inspired, refreshed by the sounds surrounding me.
At 10pm last night I was sitting at my kitchen table calmly reading a magazine. In two hours I would be on stage with 4 hot men in tuxes and a gorgeous pink draped Madonna. I was calm. Almost too calm. I had my costume complete, all the guys had showed up for rehearsal and it went great. Susanna was looking gorgeous in pink - as usual. Why did I need to fret? I didn't.
At the club we took over the backstage area and it was covered with tux jackets, rhinestones, glitter and jelly bracelets. Then it was time to hit the stage. Three minutes goes fast when the lights are blasting on you. All I could see was a crowd of people. Faces in the front row. But I heard the reaction. This is why I do this. It's not to be on stage. It's not to get the applause. It's to hear the synapses .
It's shifting what they know. That's what a mashup is all about. You've got two or more known songs. They mean something, because of their timing, your personal reasons, the lyrics. When songs are mashed up, they make a new meaning. The story is retold. The story becomes something else. The known is opened to the unknown. And I try to do this in my mashup shows.
The crowd loved each of the mouseketeers. Who wouldn't Handsome guys, dressed in black tuxes and bow ties, the adorable mickey mouse ears hat on their head? The crowd went wild from the beginning. Then Susanna came onstage, in her gorgeous pink dress. A couture material girl. She moved from one to another, each begging, giving her gifts, rings, jewels. Then I came bouncing on stage, spazzing out Toni Basil style. I had the totally 80's style right down to the lacy socks and jelly bracelets. I could see the crowd having fun, and this is why I do it. But then, right on cue, Elliot came in, at the Quiot Riot break. This was the turning point. This is when I heard the synapses move to a new place. That move, is why I did the show.
Thank you to everyone who came out last night and caught the show. Thanks to Tawny for being in charge of hair and video. Thanks to all the great guys - Nathanial, Steven, T-Bone, Sam, Elliot. Thanks to Susanna for kicking ass on the costumes and looking fabulous. Undying thanks to A+D, not only do you throw a kick ass club, in addition to making Don't Stop Believing into mashup and giving us a warm return to the stage.
And Heather, I thank you most of all. For continuing to have novel, creative ideas, for finding amazing collaborators, for never stop believing, and for aiming as far and high as you can possibly imagine. Oh yeah, and executing on those ideas. This show was another knot, another data point on the line that is your life. And a fun one at that.
Well, the results are out. My sandwich, which I competed in the missionary position category, got 9th. Interestingly enough it was sandwich number 9. I haven't really written about my grilled cheese invitational experience. But I'm happy enough with the results. My inspiration was from a 3am twigsville recipe. I wore my silver evening gown and tawny's borrowed cherry apron. Someone took some photos of me, but I was being bitchy (sorry - I'm not usually like that). I grilled, I ate some sandwiches just for me and then I was overwhelmed by the number of people. I left at 11pm - disappearing into the anonymous night. Later I walked Romeo in my silver gown around the hood. We saw a Coyote. I love the GCI in concept, but in my reality experience, I must remember that I really do hate people in large numbers - and I shouldn't go places like that. Still, I was glad to have participated, to see many of my friends and to make sandwiches for them.
You want a number 9 sandwich? I'll grill one up for you right now.