Silly songs

Day 3 of DWeb Camp. Judy and I sang our translation of the Free Software Song into Toki Pona (only got through the first verse though…)

o kama poka mi mute o pana
e sitelen pali pi ilo sona
sina mute li ken pali e ale,
jan pi pakala pona o

Then I showed off me and Danny’s Hackernationale and a bunch of us sang it in the geodesic dome! (I need to re-do the syllables which aren’t always correctly under their notes, there)

Then, somehow, we ended up on the floor of the dome collectively writing a filk version of Sweet Caroline, which we then performed in the EFF Lounge at midnight! Here are the lyrics!

Sweet Copyleft
(lyrics by Liz, Leez, and Judy)

Where it began, I can’t begin to knowing
But then I know it’s growing strong
First GPL,
Then came Creative Commons,
Who’d have believed you’d come along
Files, touching files
Reusing them, remixing me, remixing you

Sweet copyleft,
License never felt so good
I’d be inclined
To share everything I could

but now I
look at the net and it don’t seem so lonely
we filled it up with all of us
when i create,
the code flows out my fingers
We make so much when I remix you
nodes touching nodes….
touching nodes, touching nodes, touching nodes

Sweet Copyleft,
license never felt so good!

Earlier in the day I got to play with a Waffletone, which is kinda like a Monome but with mechanical keyboard keys! The github repo is a beautiful and elegant marvel of great documentation!

DWeb Camp Day Zero and One

Day Zero at DWeb Camp. We drove down Highway 1 stopping in Moss Beach to look at a strangely cheap vacant lot to try and figure out what is wrong with it (On the fault line, a weird shape, has a utility pole smack in the center of the tiny property.) Saw a huge hawk in the tree next to the utility pole and then realized I had dropped my car keys somewhere in the tall grass. If we buy this vacant lot and park a derelict trailer on it and build cinderblock library and a tiny house from a kit, I shall name it Keyhawkia. (I never found the keys but Danny had a spare.)

I brought an entirely unnecessary cooler and bag full of food. There is abundant and delicious vegan food 3 times a day! Our glamping tent is comfortable, equipped with a foam mattress, a wooden crate, and a battery powered lantern. I brought a Yeti 150 battery hoping to heat my early morning coffee with it, a solar lantern, a second lantern to charge off the Yeti, my two wheelchair batteries, and about a million different charging cords.

Met a ton of people, passed out some copies of my zine, and helped wash and sanitize some loads of thrift store dishes. Went to bed and as soon as I laid down realized my body was screaming in pain – oh fuck! Vowed to lie down and rest more during the day the rest of the time here.

I was saying to some of the mushroom farm people that, everyone coming here is used to being the person who just does stuff directly and feels super confident and capable of being in charge of whatever, and so we are about to have a physical manifestation of decentralized activity and it will surely be a bit hilarious. (So far, from day 2, definitely true).

Day One. Woke up at 6am, made lukewarm coffee using my Yeti and a car charger travel mug. Sat in zero gravity chair before it was fully open, falling slowly and gently backwards, and actually set the coffee mug down without spilling it AND no one saw me fall over.

Over the afternoon a couple of hundred people arrived. It started to feel festive. The “Mesh Hall” now looks like Noisebridge complete with “sans flaschentaschen”. Lots of discussions of Scuttlebutt and also of Kazakhstan. I love seeing everything take shape.

I pedantically corrected the sign for Shiitake Camp with a sharpie, adding the second “i”. The kerning may bother someone but it wasn’t a bad job of insertion given the spontaneous nature of the action! Danny laughed at me…Guys sitting by the sign somewhat bemused…

Set up my tarp outside the tent so that my wheelchair has shelter from the dew – within 5 minutes I found some pointy iron rods which Bill, who is amazing, told me were foundation rods. People passing by had sledgehammers, extra tent spikes, a hatchet which broke while being dramatically used in exactly the way you should not, so that the sharp end is about to embed itself in your forehead – All was well and my wheelchair is protected from the elements in the night. While I took a short nap, someone (probably James) left me a little roll of cord to tie up the tarp! Miraculous!

I washed more dishes and spent the day mostly loafing. (Under my tarp lean-to.)
Did some crosswords in Portuguese with Seth (I don’t know Portuguese but faked it from knowing Spanish) – relaxing and fun.

Could not hear or see most of the opening circle stuff but some of the talks made it to the outer fringes. At one point I gathered that people were sticking a branch into a fire pit and then saying a word in their language and maybe explaining the word’s significance (to them? to the moment? to their culture?) and I had a saucy suggestion to Danny as to what his special representative British word should be. 10 points if you guess it!

Day Two – The showers are amazing in this upper camp. Huge compared to my bathroom, a handy bench to change on, everything rather beautiful in that people-who-have-spent-years-living-on-communes wood shop way with shelves constructed of sections of tree trunk and attractive large pebbles as decor – Lots of Dr. Bronners soap to share. We had a nice camaraderie in the shower this morning as I complimented someone’s tshirt which said in scrolly print, “Brats push to master” and she then explained it to the people in the bathroom with us (Christie the biologist and her daughter) who were not familiar with version control software or its jokes. (“Good bois push to branches” I guess would be the alternate version.) “I’m blogging this” – my sudden declaration from behind the shower curtain after like 5 solid minutes of explanation of the joke.

My yeti battery heated the travel mug of instant coffee beautifully today. It takes a while. The trick is falling back asleep after plugging it in so that you aren’t waiting tediously for the water to hot up.

Plans for today: set up a little zine making workshop. Get set up with scuttlebutt. go to some discussions or talks. Work on my small text adventure game of this event and then put it up somewhere in the hackitorium room if anyone has a spare computer to display it on.

Better make it count

This news anchor absolutely went bananas on the air cussing out Vladimir Putin. (Full video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tfTCNniSy-8)

“Giorgi Gabunia, a presenter on the main commercial TV channel in Georgia, used highly offensive language in a message to Vladimir Putin on Sunday. He went on to insult Mr Putin’s mother.”

Now undoubtedly he had good reason to be a hero and let his anger fly on national television, now reported all over the world. And it seems likely he will suffer for it. I wish him luck. To honor his anger I went looking for translation of his speech. The best clue I had was that part of it was “walrus c—” which surely would be, as the 1811 Dictionary of the Vulgar Tongue calls it, “the Monosyllable”. Googling “walrus cunt” got me several interesting leads!

Here’s the first translation:

Good evening, dear viewers. You are watching the main Georgian TV channel Rustavi 2. We start the program “P. S.“, and I am the host of this program George Gabunia. First of all, I would like to say a huge, huge Hello to our great friend — Russian President Vladimir Putin.
Vovochka, bitch you podzabornaya. You dog shit. You fucking walrus’s pussy. There is no place on our beautiful earth for such a wretched creature. A freak like you. You’re a stinking payback. Fuck you, Volodya. Fuck you and your slaves. I fucked your mother. Oh, your mother’s dead. Oh, sorry. Oh, please. So let her burn in hell with you and your father. I wanted to shit on your grave. Amen.

There’s some awkward bits in there!

Here’s another translation I found deep in some forum:

Good evening, dear viewers. You are watching Georgia’s main TV channel Rustavi 2. We are beginning the program Post-Sciptum and I am the presenter Georgiy Gabuniya. First of all I want to send a gigantic – gigantic hello to our big friend President of Russia Vladimir Vladimirovich Putin. Vovochka (dimunitive and disrespectful way of addressing someone named Vladimir), you bitch who sleeps under fences, piece of dog shit you, you walrus’ cunt, in our beautiful land there is no land for such a miserable creature, for such a freak such as yourself. You are a stinking occupant. Go to asshole, Volodya. Go to hell together with your slaves. I fucked your mommy. Oy! Your mommy is dead. Very bad. Oy let’s not talk about it. Let her burn in hell together with you and your father. I want to shit on your graves. Amen.

While I don’t know a word of Russian… I bet that “stinking [something]” is something like occupier or invader.

For context, here is a Washington Post article that goes a bit further than the BBC, illustrated at top with a photo of a protestor yelling while burning a photo of Putin.

“The on-air rant, broadcast Sunday evening, came after two weeks of violent anti-Russian demonstrations in the Georgian capital, Tbilisi, culminating in a Russian government ban on direct flights between the two countries. The ban took effect Monday, disrupting travel for thousands of passengers.”

and let’s not forget the actual recent war,

“Ties between the neighbors are at their worst point in years. In 2008, hostilities erupted into a brief war when Russia backed the breakaway South Ossetia region, and Russian troops invaded Georgia proper. Relations gradually got back on track, with trade and tourism between the two fully reestablished by 2013. ”

Bonus, here’s an extremely contentious Wikipedia article on the history of Georgia-Russia relations and extra information on the Georgian language(s), which arew interestingly unrelated to other language families!

So far, Gabunia has been suspended from his job for two months.

A good adventure on the road

On the road by myself this morning to Calistoga I pulled off of 101 figuring I could have a little Olompali State Park lookaround. So I’m on San Antonio road, parallel to the highway, and passed a young person with a backpack…. thought a second, stopped & stuck my head out the window. WANT A RIDE! I screeched out the window after a quick assessment. The young person ran to catch up looking absolutely gobsmacked and hopped in. Rather than drag them to the park I figured we were on the back road to Petaluma (where they said they were headed). After some consultation of maps (young Tad was walking to Bodega Bay) I offered to take them to Santa Rosa where they could take 12 to the coast. Offer accepted!

Our mysterious encounter continued and I hoped my tacky dance music was acceptable (“Hashtag this you basic bitch!” was blasting, which felt wrong for my new friend somehow.) I mentioned the land and the Mushroom Farm as a conversational hook to no avail (My first guess of eco-farm-hippie was wrong.) An observation on some sort of Path (terminology that I don’t remember) was made. “So… Buddhist? Hindu? Krishna?” Yes to Krishna! That explains the cute lil dots and stripes of white face paint. “I’ve always liked the story of Krishna stealing the butter and his mom telling him to open his mouth and she looks in his mouth and instead of the stolen butter there is the whole world and the whole universe!!! Enthusiastic agreement from Tad. When you are first on the path, you’re like a child seeing the forest from a child’s perspective! Then, the next stage, you’re like a mother holding the child in her lap, in the forest (on the path?) and you have to be both mother and child, to yourself! Enthusiastic agreement from me. Priest and poet journeying together! We entered historic Petaluma.

Somewhere in downtown Petaluma they offered the thought that I should see Scott Pilgrim (movie, full title escapes me) which I had not. “Is that.. uh is that by the guy who did Slacker?” No. But Tad loves that movie. I was like Tad, my friend, I lived that movie and knew everyone in it! Turns out Tad was a street kid in Austin for some time. We high fived for love of Austin at a streetlight. How about the movie Waking Life? Yes! Tad loves it! I think it is a little sad but beautiful. Why sad? Because, I take it to be all a dreamlike mind journey in the moment between a car crash and death (feeling a little weird to say this to my hitchhiker as I, a stranger, drive my FMINIST-mobile.) “I’ll have to watch it again! I didn’t notice that!” Tad had left the hari krishna festival in Fresno (to go their own way still a personal follower of krishna) and it was an uneasy path and difficult but worth it.

When I said I love trains, they quoted Buckminster Fuller on public transit. Hahahah, lovely. I explained about 4D Timelock and the towers and airships. Also I was offered a Bob Dylan quote (always stick your tongue out at babies) and something about the Grateful Dead.

This young puppy, voice barely breaking, utterly charmed me. I dropped them off by the side of the access road to highway 12 in Santa Rosa, offered $20 bucks “because you’re a holy pilgrim, and to get some food and water!” (I thought of giving more but did not want it to be weird.)

We are now Facebook friends. An auspicious start to my mini-vacation at the hot springs. Wow I do love life quite a lot. A small human connection. All of these moments should be valued and held close to our hearts.

On the horrible human rights abuses perpetrated by the USA

Just a note that it is completely horrifying that the US government continues amping up its focus on concentration camps, detention centers, etc.

AND also, no one at all should be in prison or jail as it currently exists and this is just one more manifestation of an unsustainable multigenerational injustice of the growth of the carceral state, or prison industrial complex, or both. Abolish prisons and abolish ICE. This is the greatest horror of our time and country and it has been so for all my life. Ethically I should probably focus whatever of my energies aren’t going towards my job in open source software, into fighting the carceral state. Must think about how to do this and look for good organizations to join & support. Donating to bail people out is one thing, for immediate relief of a few people, but it needs huge legal, cultural, structural changes to stop what’s happening and try to undo the incalculable harm…

kthanxbai, Just had to get that off my chest.

Back on my bullshit!

I’m back from my trip to Seattle, Vancouver, Whistler, and beyond! Now that I’ve taken the Coast Starlight train to all its destinations I can’t wait to take some more long distance train journeys!!

Danny has often pointed out to me how I go down a social class for every bag I’m carrying and it was even more true for this trip. As I went from my friend Els’s house near the giant geodesic dome thing in downtown Vancouver, to the train station, at 4:30am, laden with giant backpack hanging off the back of my wheelchair, smaller backpack at my feet, and duffel bag balanced on my lap, a little group of maybe 30-somethings was heading away from the crosswalk I was approaching. One of them veered off towards me holding out a bag. “Would you … would you like breakfast?”

Now…. what a question since I was just looking around wondering if anything was open so I could get a muffin or whatever before getting on a 3 hour bus to Seattle where I’d get back on the train. Perhaps this young man had been at some sort of … early meeting rife with donuts, or was a baker carrying home some fresh pastry and a MAGICAL CROISSANT was going to appear for me.

Thus I paused a bit, consideringly, and said “Um… what is it?”

“It’s my leftover McDonald’s pancakes. Please, take it, go on!” (Earnest eye contact, look of deep and pained concern.)

Maybe I should have taken it so he could feel good about himself but I did not and I may have giggled inappropriately without explaining but I did smile and was as nice as possible at 4:30 am on the street. Then I passed through a sort of encampment in the park and at the train station a cab driver was screaming at a definitely homeless dude who was asking for change and so I gave the homeless dude my leftover Canadian money mentally attributing it to the nice man with the free bag of (gross!) Mcdonalds pancakes.

Completing my downwards journey to squalor I then just flat out laid down and fell asleep on the (relatively clean) floor of the bus.

p.s. I did get breakfast from a nice man in the train station who opened a tiny cafe at 5am and sold me a slice of lemon cake!!!

p.p.s. Wait staff in Vancouver AND Whistler sensitively offered me a straw, multiple times! They lean over and say it with soulful discretion, while making eye contact and touching my arm a little! “Would you like a STRAW, ma’am?” (They have HEARD that disabled people have this whole straw thing so…….)

More about the amazing adventures on my trip later !!! A little at a time!!!

p.p.p.s. CRIPS!!

Reading The Cruel Way

I am reading Ella Maillart’s The Cruel Way, about her road trip from Switzerland to Kabul in 1939 along with her friend Annemarie Schwartzenbach. This book was in theory free from University of Chicago, but I ended up buying it after several failed attempts to get the free book in a readable form, having installed several ugly and pointless pieces of bad software which I then had to uninstall. Better to buy the book and crack the DRM myself! Ridiculous!

Maillart is an ethnographer and writer, is interesting, often fantastically racist, hates Hitler, and is trying to help the famously “androgynous” men’s-suit-wearing Schwartzenbach clean up from a heroin addiction (what better thing to do than bring someone straight to Afghanistan????!!!) and get over some sort of stormy lesbian heartbreak. While I hoped initially they were lovers, now I think not – Schwartzenbach seems to have some other affairs along the way, though. Their relationship is pretty cool though. I enjoyed the moment where Schwartzenbach moans that Ella is more famous because her books have been translated (even though Schwartzenbach had more publications). Still true and no one seems to have translated her to English yet. Also fascinating, Maillart’s recordings of sentiment from people in various countries about Hitler, Mussolini, Britain, the US, Russia on the eve of war.

Neat stuff looked up in Wikipedia along the way
* Windcatchers of Hyderabad http://localcode.org/2017/03/windcatcher-passive-cooling-and-cultural-identity/ https://www.fieldstudyoftheworld.com/searching-windcatchers-hyderabad/

* The Tomb of Kabus and the Qabus-Nama

So many other things but it’s now a week later and I have moved on to read some other things! Oh well, I’ll post this anyway.

Making a cinderblock bench

I’ve been looking to build or buy some kind of patio sofa. The ones I like that would be comfortable to lie down and work on for any length of time (for me anyway) are two thousand dollars or more! Ridiculous! So I am setting out to build a sort of bench or sofa out of cinderblocks and 4×4 beams. They look way nicer in people’s photos than mine are going to be. But, thinking it through and doodling different designs, and going to the hardware store, all the logistics of getting the stuff here and mobilizing help to do that has been amazingly fun. I love building things!

Yesterday I got the cinderblocks and some primer paint. The Lowe’s dudes were somewhat difficult to deal with as always, but I finally hit on a responsible and helpful person who made one of the unhelpful ones go get a forklift and reload their brick area with cinderblocks. I could see his forklift wasn’t going to fit int he space when he came back with it loaded, because there were a couple of bags of Quikrete in the aisle behind him directly opposite the spot for the blocks, and tried to tell him without like accidentally cutting his entire dick off with my POWERFUL EVIL WOMAN WORDS but he could not accept my vision of reality so kept backing into the quikrete, then plunging forward into the floor to ceiling metal rack full of cement and bricks rattling it visibly in a way that made me retreat like, 4 aisle back so as not to be crushed when the whole thing fell. It didn’t fall and the Responsible man came back around and made him move the bags, eventually. Really what the fuck, though. Forklift guy was such a downer, there was no dealing with him.

Then another guy was made by Mr. Responsible to load some onto a cart for me and help load them into my car. Cart loading guy was another story, fairly cheerful and chatty, but it became clear as we traversed the expanses of parking lot that his talkativeness could veer way off the rails about like, corsets or girdles or something, and then even worse when he started explaining to me how the San Francisco Mayor (London Breed) was actually a yoga lady from Marin (untrue) who was also Donald Trump’s cousin and who had once yelled at him over the phone and then went to jail for it. I was like, Uhhhhh hmmmm! and nodded along only commenting when he pressed me that I had no idea who Trump’s cousins might be or anything about them. Our conversation went OK for a while but then as the brick loading into my car continued he suddenly started throwing the bricks in (on top of my scooter, which, uncool and also it chipped the bricks) and getting very loud and red faced yelling about how the Mayor had thrown some bricks right at Trump’s face because she was just so ANGRY about THROWING BRICKS! This got disturbing but he was nearly done and I didn’t want to make any waves. So, he finished up, I tipped him, and drove off thinking that it is good that he has a job. Whew.

On the other side at home it became swiftly clear to me that I could not really carry a giant brick to the back patio even once so I pressed Ada into service. She had just been saying she planned to exercise and lift weights. “Hiiiiii you know how you were going to lift weights? Well what if they were BRICKS and you could also get PAID.” Obligingly she wore some work gloves and learned how to operate a hand truck as I painted a rosy future where she becomes a falconer on some land in the mountains somewhere and needs to know how to build an aerie out of cinderblocks! (Not needed to persuade, and not persuasive, but I can’t resist spinning a line of bullshit, and who knows maybe it will someday be true!)

Today I got her dungeons and dragons group to help move the bricks onto an old sheet, spreading them out for painting. I put a layer of primer on them & then went to writing group meetup and back to the hardware store for spray paint. Who should unlock the paint for me but our friend of the story about the mayor! He was more restrained today. I got 6 colors of paint figuring we could paint the blocks all different colors.

The D&D players enjoyed the brick spray painting I think. We started out doing solid color block faces and then ended up with stripes, spots, all sorts of weird patterns. It’s going to be fun to pick which ones are most visible in the bench construction.

spray painting cinderblocks

Lowe’s is going to deliver the six 8 foot long 4x4s (when? no way to fucking know!?) and I really hope it is not the brick throwing guy driving the truck. I liked him, and was cool with his stream of consciousness, but I also ended up feeling a bit unnerved by his yelling and roughness.

OK, so, then there will be 4 blocks on either side as the base, 8 really, but the seat will be 4 times 8 inches so 32″ deep. I have a very thick cushion coming from Amazon that is 30″ deep and 70″ long, which I hope will work out OK. I haven’t worked out exactly what I want to use for the bench back, yet. The extra 10 inches of bench will have another rectangular pillow of the same thickness and then maybe a wedge bolster on either end (also not sure what will work till I build it.) And, I have two 2′ by 4′ plywood sheets also being delivered with the beams, in case I need them as the base under the foam cushions.

This all made me ridiculously happy. It’s fun to think about & plan and I am excited to see how it will end up. If it isn’t useful or comfortable then maybe I’ll have to buy a real couch. Ideally this will work though and it can be a comfortable spot on the patio for me to lie flat while working. And it should be big enough for me and Danny to both lie on it as we do on the living room couch!

Huzzah for Krypto!

I just got a sweeeeet backup Model CI chair off ebay from a nice guy whose mom used it and as he delivered the chair to me just now we were chatting about crypto. So, I don’t usually name my chairs, but perhaps this one, which I can’t wait to hack on, will be named Krypto! Or, I could go obliquely over to Supergirl’s cat and call it Streaky. (Which just makes it sound like I’m planning to ride around naked and, that is unlikely though I could be persuaded IN THE RIGHT CONTEXT.)

First task I need to switch the right and left arm thingies since it’s set up for a left handed user. Then, must figure out where its brain is so that I can remove the excrescence that is the tilt detection (to stop it, I hope, from slowing down when I hit a bump or go downhill). Stretch goal, figure out what controls the voice of it and hack it to say amazing things on command. What if its phone app were ACTUALLY FUN?!

Krypto, except really robot-Supergirl’s giant rideable robot cat! (New headcanon.)

My main chair of course remains . . . Murderbot.

Reading Richard Hughes

I started reading Richard Hughes with High Wind in Jamaica (or, The Innocent Voyage) which was so strange and charming and unsettling that I had to set out to read this guy’s other books as well. In High Wind the adults in the book (and the reader) realize how amoral the children are – they’re terrifying, not innocent. You get a small taste of the protagonist, a 10 year old girl, starting to become conscious in an adult way. Glimpses of what we might think of as the reality of her situation appear to her and then melt away like mist.

My memories of these moments were like looking at mortality directly (since not only would I die but, the continuity of existence meant that the “me” of that moment would disappear and be forgotten) so I would vow to myself to remember particular things and write them someday so as not to lose the self of that time (paved over by some blithe future me.)

Next I tackled his incomplete trilogy, The Human Predicament. Also good and disturbing, with half the books taking place in England and the U.S. (with a detour to Morocco) and half in Germany during Hitler’s rise to power. It is pretty wild to read a novel that has Hitler as a character making his cameos. Hughes can get very digressive in a Melville sort of way, prosing on about philosophy and psychology, which I enjoy but I’m sure not everyone will. Augustine, our young protagonist, wanders around rootlessly having just missed the Great War by a hair as an 18 year old cadet when Armistice was declared. Cut off from the generation of men above him who experienced the war directly, and having grown up expecting to die in the trenches, he had no plan for how to live his life.

I was thinking of Anthony Powell and his protagonist Jenkins (comparing him a bit unfavorably with Hughes’s narrative point of view which hovers & dips into many people’s minds, crossing class & gender & other boundaries)… Then wondered if Hughes is a character in Dance to the Music of Time and if so… who…. I have to poke around and think about it. He was a bit older than Powell so they weren’t at Oxford at the same time. Bonus tangent: find and read The Loom of Youth by Alec Waugh to find the controversial queer bits.

I’m now in mid-read of In Hazard, a novel based on a steamship caught in the 1932 Cuba hurricane, which is even more obviously Melville-ish than the others. I wondered about the casual racism of the British seamen towards the Chinese crew members and then happily the point of view switched to some of the Chinese crew, without making me cringe. We first see the thoughts of a young man, P’ing Tiao, praying to T’ien Fei. Then a young Christian guy Henry Tung, trying to keep up the spirits of his mates with tall tales, and then the view switches to Ao Ling, P’ing Tiao’s friend, who isn’t religious at all and who lived through famine and became a follower of Mao. (I enjoyed Hughes’ asides comparing Chiang Kai-shek to Hitler – calling him the first fascist revolutionary whose first act was to start shooting leftists). Oh, god, then the cringe when the Brits come down the hatch and start talking the worst condescending pidgin (they are terrified of mutiny).

Interesting books – I’m so sad not to have the rest of book 3 of The Human Condition (there are 12 chapters of it.)