"Undermining my electoral viability since 2001."

Zombie Smooth Jazz

My first blush with the festival gave me The Fear. There's a huge amount of visual noise. Brands, bands, posters, pasties, people in suits, people in costumes, people looking lost, desperate, hungry, hung-over. People in lines. People cutting lines. People talking about how it used to be.

It makes me question a lot of my basic assumptions about the Goodness of what I do for a living. The revolution hasn't changed human nature, and it's unpleasant to see how sheepie we beings can still be. As the man says, I am the things I hate about other people.

On the other hand, some dudes made a massive Tesla coil that can play music.

My talk was well received I think, and now I'm just wandering and soaking it up. There's a lot of good stuff here, now that I've gotten over my initial culture shock. Austin is beautiful and warm, and there are lots and lots of happy smart brilliant buzzing people around. I'm going to enjoy my sunday.

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Spring Break For Nerds

Assuming the weather doesn't totally screw me, I'm headed to Texas for SXSW interactive. You can check my song and dance on yr schedule. I'm gonna do 70 slides in about 35 minutes, so it should be good.

I expect I'll get all caught up in the digital excitement, so probably plenty of twitters and the like.

And BBQ.

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Hymns From the City

Music Please.

Looking out over the man-made mountains of Manhattan, full moon reflected off concrete, the lingering bite of snow in the air, wrapped up in shadows out on the fringe of exhaustion, pushing finally to the borderline of innocence past all the complications and angles; there's where you find the essence of your reality, where control and construction fall away, where you are overtaken by events, have no choice but to Be There, suffering your nerves, grinding your jaw, feeling your guts churn, your heart about to leap or sink or smolder or burn.

And even though this can be at times quite unpleasant, the greater way is to ride these waves, breathe deeper into the butterflied tummy, the tensed-up shoulders; to channel all this energy, to let it all flow, to have the essence of original cool, neither loosing or asserting control. Because this is your life, and it's not really something that should be rationalized. It's something you aught to live, deeply if at all possible.

A pretty smart and pretty passionate (and it should be said, pretty pretty) woman I know explained to me once how getting out on a long road trip was a good way for her of "hitting the reset button," getting re-acquainted with what's important, real, true, etc. I know the feeling, but unfortunately don't have a personally reliable formula for getting there myself. So it's blessed when I'm transported thus, smack dab back to the moment.

It's not really like turning your mind off so to speak — just drink five shots of whiskey if that's what you're after; gets boring, don't it? — but more like getting your brain to take its foot off the brake. Scary, yes, but scary good, or to be more specific scary in the only way that anything will ever matter.

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Zipping Along

Man, I wish I could write and drive at the same time. Last weekend headed up to my old homeland on some unfamiliar highways, Rolling through the town of White City, Oregon — gun shop, churches, VA recovery center, two kids wearing weird mascot-type costumes dancing on the side of the road to entice drivers-by into struggling strip-mall businesses — and on up the Rogue River valley, eventually into the high national forest above Crater Lake. Got a bit dicy in the pass: snowfall, sunset, fuel level and elevation all hitting at about the same time combined with me not being 100% sure I was on the right road; made for an exciting hour or so while I wondered if I'd end up hitching my way back in conditions that reminded me of nothing more than the Donner Party.

But of course I made it with some skillful no-chains driving — light touch and steady speed is the key — and crossed into the relative civilization of the Central Oregon valley. Had a great time doing not a whole lot with some old friends there. Parlor games, kid wrangling, gumbo, scotch, lots of laughter, etc, all in a big warm house in a pretty (if slightly Stepford) "Golf Community."

I didn't even feel out of place hanging out with a bunch of common-law/married/engaged couples. Just grown ass people enjoying their time. It did hit me a little when I left though, after cruising over to the Euge and enjoying a lovely Valentines dinner with my Mom, that itchy urge to email all my old ladyfriends or fall down a bottle, or possibly both. Couldn't get to sleep in any case.

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Black Butte Weekend

So this weekend I'll be jetting up to Mighty Oregon for a weekend retreat at gorgeous Black Butte ranch. As a sign of my continual resistance to maturity, the guest list:

  • Steve and Hannah
  • Chris and Meadow (and Logan)
  • Zya y Marko
  • Gina and Luke (and Elle)
  • Hope and Bond
  • and Josh

Perhaps I should be exiled to Mt. Bachelor! (to my national audience: that's a Central Oregon joke).

Anyway, after that I'll shoot all the way down to SF for a couple weeks. Need to figure out if/how I'm going to jet out to NYC while my moms is on the scene there, and also how I'm wrangling travel to/from SxSw in March. Looks like I'll be something of a road warrior again!

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Talk Nerdy To Me Part Deux

This is my "good" presentation. I'm looking a little haggard here — this is after two more days of being on a boat in Stockholm, and two more nights out with the king of Denmark, then flying back to spend Friday/Saturday nights in Austin, Texas — but this is the best Video I've got of my "inspired by Lessig" deal.

Someday I'm going to get my own projector, a foot-pedal clicker, and a few weeks of time, and make some king-hell presentation-art. Lots of potential.

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Talk Nerdy To Me

One of the things I did while on my world-tour last fall was give a talk about Drupal and academia in the belly of a ship in Stockholm. And the cameras we're rolling.

How Berkeley and Stanford University Use Drupal (Joshua Koenig) from NodeOne.se on Vimeo.

It's not my best presentation due to jetlag/sickness and a funky mic (I also never really had my breath working right, a big no-no from Theater World), but I did a decent job of regulating my pace and I think it's a more or less accurate talk.

Huge thanks to my hosts who cut together this video really well, and gave me some lovely liquor that I didn't quite get to drink. Looking forward to showing them a really good time when they come out to San Francisco in April!

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So Much More

Back on the west coast, where I'll be for at least the next two or three months. It's been a long and winding road, and lots of fun, but I'm happy to be decreasing my rate of motion. Time to come to a more settled place and process.

There's still a big load of things to get through before the end of the year, and I wish wish wish I had more time to digest and to write, especially to write good big emails to all the people I love. Maybe that's a good holiday project. It's a good way of figuring out where you are in life, writing your old friends.

Anyway, I'm safe and sound in rainy California, getting ready for a final couple weeks before I retire to the relative isolation of Oregon for a spell. More when I get the chance.

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So Much

There's so much to say. I couldn't sleep last night even though I was totally exhausted. Buzzing buzzing buzzing thanks to the great city of New York, the Brooklyn winter market, and my utterly inspiring friends, family and comrades.

I am in a meaningful way a whole different person here, near the center of the clockwork. I'm looking forward to taking a few weeks off at the end of the year, figuring out next steps. It feels significant, the pull. More than just a jonez for city life.

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Now You Labor Every Day

Returning to the romance.

It's been a dark fall so far, hard-pressed and shut in. I'm looking forward to getting healthy so I can go back to getting drunk like a sailor, heaving to and fro, freewheeling and going where I will. Getting out on the road was good, but work-travel is more draining.

High time now to ride another wave, to get up on it and roll. It's unlikely that I'll have any less work to do anytime soon, but like every self-help manual teaches (and my own philosophy preaches) the X factor you've got real control over is your mind, not your circumstances. Big changes begin as shifts in perception. Mad lib it. Fill in the blank with confidence and everything will be fine, or as fine as it can be.

So there's an inflection. My situation can be seen as being overwhelmed by an unreasonable and untenable tumult of todos, or a raging whitewater sluice of opportunities to be rafted. We're in the deep fast water now, the difference between going under and riding it for all its worth really comes down to attitude. If we head into this thing with joy, it should work out. If not, well, there's a reason the skaters say fear is the mind-killer.

But what's really missing from all this is the romance, and really it's nobody's fault but my own. I'm pretty much impossible to please, my desires in love taking on the same grandiose scale as the rest of my outsized ambitions, even as my ability to invest time, energy, effort ever dwindles. What exactly can you expect?

Of late I'm all wrung out and hung up, exhausted, scheduled, and sick. No room for special lady friends. No time to be genuinely interested even — so long since I've been smitten — just the dull sense that I'm missing out and a flickering hunger.

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