26 September, 2009

7 Kinds of Awesome Busy

I have been 7 different kinds of awesome busy lately, although at the moment exhaustion is chipping away at the thick layer of exuberance I've been smearing across my forehead lately. Please do not expect this post to be in chronological order.

Last Tuesday the flow cytometer I needed to get data was broken. So instead I went to Chicago and Milwaukee and drove back in the same night for the Two Hands Project. I also went to Boston for a week at the beginning of the month with absolutely no hotel reservations, just friends of my brotherfriend to stay with. There I met Prime*, who is awesome in 17-8,597 different ways and I'm 97% certain that I'm in love with her now and I can't help it and don't care except that there's a rather inconveniently large physical space between us (1Mm, too big for catapults!). We're trying to figure out how to fold the space between us into technical nothingness, so if you live between Michigan and Boston please be aware that there may soon be a sudden extreme change in the topography of your region. I'm sorry, Cleveland, but Prime sends me cookies and cookies > Cleveland, although it should be noted that I can be bribed with plane tickets now.

I did many other things in Boston, some of them rather unbloggable** now that I know my boss reads this site, but they include surviving biking through downtown Boston traffic with several kgs of computing and goggles and letting complete strangers surprise-dye my hair however they wanted to. They're not strangers anymore and my hair was a very lovely bright pink for about a week when it faded to a strawberry blonde. However, the purple sides did not fade nearly so quickly and now, even after buzzing away the unruly mop that needed trimming anyway, I have a subtle bright yellow blotch on one side of my head.

Regarding blog-reading bosses, I changed laboratories shortly before going to Boston and am quite pleased with the change. In Immunolab, I read papers to actually apply them to the science I'm doing and planning instead of just reading because I'm bored, and doing so matters(!) and this is also awesome even though it has also resulted in a drastic cut in how many PLoS Computational Biology articles I have time to read. I expect to find an equilibrium again sometime as I climb the learning curve.

But as for equilibria, that's been thrown even further off balance by trying to organize a local hackerspace. And that brings me back to the Two Hands Project, but only in a moment. A hackerspace is a place where creative awesome people can come to build their ideas, talk technical shop, imagine, invent, innovate, destroy and re-create whatever they want to. It's essentially a community in a common shared working space with shared tools and parts, and maybe even eventually club-like membership to buy those parts, that fosters creative productivity by pitting like-minded people of completely different backgrounds into their own creative passions. These emerging spaces have the potential to remodel the entire American economy by shifting innovation from closed-source company driven patents to fast and flexible open-source crowdsourced invention. So far we have computer programmers, musicians, roboticists, artists, biotechnologists, cooks, textilers, and other crazily awesome people coming to meetings and generating large numbers of incredible project ideas. However, forming this group involves a lot of email management, community outreach, calender planning, part sourcing, charter writing, agenda creating, etc etc etc and I for that I am grateful that I can rely on most of my friendfamily, who're also all embroiled in this.

And yes, I have a friendfamily that has coalesced. Sister Doom, Brother Discord, Brother Deliverance, and myself, Brother Destruction. These are people whom I can completely count upon to have my back, whom I can trust and who know that they can depend upon me as needed. Sometimes I want to kick Brother Discord in the face, but that's probably because he's also my roommate. Sister Doom and I drove to Chicago and back last Friday to pick up a stranded Brother Deliverance.

But The Two Hands Project is also awesome. As I understand it, Brother Deliverance first came up with the project when he found out that JetBlue was offering a $600 ticket that lets you fly as much as you want from September 8th to October 8th. So he put out a call for donations at http://www.twohandsproject.com and raised enough money for a ticket and people donated equipment, and 2 have even joined him on his bad dash from coast to coast. It was with him and his crew that I (politely and enthusiastically) stormed Pumping Station One in Chicago, went on to interview James Carlson (director of Bucketworks in Milwaukee), and then drove from Milwaukee back to Ann Arbor so I could be back in lab by 10am. Because Brother Deliverance et al are too busy recording footage, flying, and meeting awesome people across the country to keep up the blog at Two Hands Project, they've enlisted me to do it for them remotely. I posted the first semi-polished video from San Francisco's Noisebridge and The Internet Archive*** today here and will be posting a string of profiles of hackers/makers soon.

There're some sweet experiments coming up that I am very excited about, and I just realized that I forgot the slip of paper that has the part name of the low-voltage audio amplifier I wanted to buy from RadioShack tomorrow on my desk in the lab.

I'm not quite sure what to do with Atomic Pudding. On the one hand, I could just use it like I've used this venue and let my awesome shine through, but on the other hand I liked what I was doing with open-access research and interviews, but it was just getting absolute crap page views and as such I'm not sure I was doing very well with it. Thoughts?

I also went out to visit i3 Detroit recently (Wednesday night, I think?) and had mjaddra before that (I think?) after a local maker/hackerspace meeting that Brother Deliverance recorded for the Two Hands Project (I had a lapel-mic, but was probably still unintelligible) and invited them to the free Drupal Web Development class that our as-yet-unnamed space**** is holding this coming Wednesday. And somewhere in here I know I made some really awesome live music with a fellow maker/hacker at a meeting sometime that may have been last night but I can't be certain. Wasn't I in Boston last night?

*Whose intellectual and physical hotness are mutually inclusive and inseparable properties! In testiment to her awesomeness, note that she was the first person to ever convince me of the functional utility of buying clothes that don't need to be modded to fit and has even inspired me to replace the whiskey in my burritos-cookies-and-whiskey diet with vegetables!
**Get your mind out of the gutter!
***Technically not a maker/hackerspace.
****We're working on it!

P.S. - I don't recommend prying all the keys up off your keyboard and rearranging them from QWERTY to DVORAK before you know DVORAK very well. Makes passwords very difficult.

1 comment:

Science Bear said...

AWESOME post! I'm just now getting a chance to read it but am glad you've found so many new and interesting things!!