"Undermining my electoral viability since 2001."

Workin' The System

Well I'm back in the Bay Area for a couple weeks. It was a beautiful windy drive through the flourishing greenery of springtime Nor*Cal. Wine vines are just starting to get rolling and all the hills are blowing up with new life. Radiolab kept my brain active for a few hours, its infectious spirit of inquiry lingering after along with some good music. It made for a nice mood to see the sights.

When I can give it a whole afternoon, I really do love that trip. Everything down to Cloverdale is a series of bucolic treasures: the rich north coast flood-plain bottoms, the redwood curtain through to Willits, the northern Russian river watershed and wine country. It's a great stretch of county, and feeling more and more like home these days.

Last night we held a great dinner party w/family of the Girth, uncles and cousins and all that jazz. Good excuse to break out the china, scotch, etc. There was a great spread of chicken and pesto and salad and bread.

This week should be busy busy bizzy. Making it come together never comes easy, and it keeps coming (and it keeps coming; and it keeps coming) until it stops.

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Ribonucleic Acid Freak Out!

Flashing through the accumulated images of the past week, it's a heady mixed bag. Trying to work my way from being a direct-actor to a manager. Trying to get ahead of the curve. Trying to continue my studious avoidance of all feminine diversions. Trying not to get boring as I get old. Trying to figure out what I want to be when I grow up. Trying to communicate. Trying to love. Trying to speak correctly. Trying to listen. Trying.

And a few things occur to me.

In the smear of pint-night down at Everett's, veterans of the military and Gillman st telling stories early, Kelly and Zya creating interpretive dances to Neil Diamond, then the kids coming in as the evening sets in; there emerges a ray of light in shiny blue tights, sheer brilliance, such as to make me avert my eyes. She looks pretty good at the coffeeshop usually, but this is another level, enough to make a man reexamine his beliefs. It occurs to me that my "my head's not in it" excuse for studious avoidance of such is a self-fulfilling prophecy with real limits in its utility. Something's got to change, but for the moment, hey, at least you've got a collectable pint glass to duck into.

And from this, a potential remedy for my romantic listlessness, a possible self-concept, an avenue of habitual action. How does "power-dating" sound? It's more applicable than my retired manslut persona non grata, and it could be useful to get me out there in some way. It ties in with ambition and other shadowy forces that need outlets. I don't know how it squares with living half-n-half between here and the Bay -- where exactly do I set my sites? both? -- but it seems worth trying.

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Back From Boston

Back from Boston. It was good. Exhausting. Challenging. Inspiring. The buzz is back! I'll be writing some of it up for the workblog, and maybe my own unprofessional gonzo notes on being an open-source entrepreneur here.

I've said recently that it often feels like there's not much of interest in my life to relate on ye olde blog, and certainly it's not the same as the wild and free days when I started. But we can't all stay in post-9/11 pre-hipster-supersaturation bohemian BKLYN forever. The sentiment I've expressed that nothing interesting is happening is, I think, a sign of low-grade depression. Which I hope will turn itself around with Spring Awakening and maybe a little vacation or guilt-free sex or something.

Anyway, I'm going out to The Devil Makes Three tonight. Here they are from back in the day:

Ahh, the 330 club. That show is what originally tipped me towards moving to Humboldt County, you know. We got all het up on PBR and Psilocybin and raged away in a construction garage cum concert hall, tailgating in the gravel lot outside, K-Dawg on parking patrol and me and Mark telling those girls from Redding to "put some south in your mouth" (which is what all the BBQ signs say in Tennessee). I never did that evening justice in writing, just another throwaway post rife with misspellings. Ah me. Two years just flies right by and it still feels the same.

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The Con is On

Overnight flight to Boston. DrupalCon. My third. The first one was kind of magical, back in 2006, Vancouver BC, getting the real buzz for the first time. I haven't been able to explain very well to my non-geek peers how awesome this software project is, which is a shame. Because it really is pretty rad.

To wit: some Belgan computer science students started working on a system for their dorm-hall community to use to stay in touch after graduation. Eight years later the open-source software, Drupal, is powering hundreds of thousands of websites, including bigshots like The Onion, MTV UK and others. But that's not even the cool part.

The truly awesome thing about this project is that it's been built by literally thousands of people. For free. There are a core cadre of a few hundred or so coders who do a lot of this, most of them (like me) making a living off it in one way or another, and an even smaller group of legendary developers at the center of all of it. But it happens openly, as a community affair, and it works in large part people people are friends over it, taking pleasure from working on something together.

This is what open-source is really all about to me. It's the recognition that programming is an act of creativity, and the growth of communities of creators around their project. It's no coincidence that many Drupalists have artistic backgrounds; it has many aspects of a theatrical troup, of a band.

This is a kind of cultural production that's really new. Never before have people been able to be intellectually creative in this way and on this scale, and it's deeply gratifying to be a part of this scene, exploring a new mode of association and camaraderie, proving that the ethos of a community can outperform that of a corperation.

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I'm headed down south for a week or two. It's all-hands at the office next week as we gear up for a big group project that runs through April.

This will also be the innaugural journey to Man House, the East Bay pied'a'terre I'll be establishing in conjunction with LGD and The Girth. It'll be interesting to see in what ways this will differ from skuzzy early-20s dude-house living, and in what ways it may remain the same.

We've all got high hopes, and there will be warming parties and more.

So far, 2008 is off to a slow start. Post-project crash and a generally listless feeling. Even flossing has become irregular. I'm hoping my full health will return and a taste of ramblin will put a little spring back in my step.

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Forward all Mail to O'Hare International Airport

This is a first. I get to live in an airport for two days.

My flight yeseterda was (eventually) canceled and the next for-sure seat is on Monday. So I'm "standing by" all day today.

Hopefully if that doesn't work out they'll comp me a hotel room again.

Update: I snagged the last seat on a stand-by, so have made it back to Portland. Now to find a place to stay here...

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Happy New Year From St. Louis!

Happy New Year Everybody!

I managed to wing it from Portland to St. Louis without any trouble and even some sleep -- thanks to the "economy plus" seating upgrade and my amazing luxury headphones (thx, mom!). I've landed in the Robbins' budding family nest. It's a cozy brick house in a cute neighborhood with a big basement and a tiny garage built for a model-t ford; very nice.

We had a pretty rad New Years Eve. Laura cooked an amazing rib roast, and a family friend of Frank's parents had given them a big grip of fine wine (now residing in a rack in said basement) of which the Two Hands Shiraz was a perfect compliment. Their good friends Matt and Narcissa came over and we had a great meal and some good well-wishes for 2008.

My winning slogan/resolution: 2008 -- Less Work. More Sex. Flossing.

I also managed to get in on some classic New Years Predictions via phone with LGD and The Girth. It's a tradition in which we venture guesses on things ranging from the stock market and congressional makeup to who among our friends will have a bun in the oven by the next trip round the sun. They're fun to look back on.

After dinner we went out to a hip spot with some quality burlesque dancing and an outdoor fire to count down the new year in public. It was good for people watching, and I did at one point have a woman tear open my shirt (cowboy snaps) and give me a little dancefloor humpin', which is always nice. Bodes well for my slogan. Pregnant Laura was our faithful designated driver, and we didn't really stay out too late, though Frank and I did get into some loud story telling and scotch-bottle-finishing back at the ranch.

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Another Quickie

I'm headed up to PDX. Been back to the grindstone after enjoying a lovely christmas. I discovered that one excellent way to deal with my money problem is to give people things. This makes me feel good.

I'll spend the weekend in Portland, than fly to St. Louis for New Years. Hopefully closing this big project the week after. Then, Insha'Allah, I will take some actual vacation. Just about out of gas here.

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I rolled and rambled over the Santiam pass to the ranchy subdivision outside Bend where my father lives to visit with him, my step-mom, and my step-sister Tara and her two kids. Good times. I hadn't seen Tara in like seven years and it was really fantastic to catch up. She's a bonafide supermom and powerful professional person. She also has some deadly accurate astrology which is online somewhere and I will find a link too, for all y'all star-watchers.

It felt really positive to reconnect with that wing of the fam again. They hosted a dinner party for a bunch of neighbors, and it was fun to mix it up with a crowd of relative strangers for a bit, hear what other people thought of politics, etc.

The drive over was also an adventure in chains and a brief near-blizzard. Driving through the beauty of the cascades, fir tries laid down with snow, craggy peaks swirling out of the clouds; it's some big beautiful country, prime Northwest.

And I'm back in the Euge now, ducking in for a night after closing out some gift buying. There's something deeply unsettling to me about the consumer season. It seems different from when I was young, though I don't really know how much has changed. I do know that I fear and loathe the word "doorbuster."

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Here Comes The Rain Again

The rain is on, steady and heavy for the past two days. Listening to it fall in my bedroom reminds me of childhood home. It's peaceful and soothing as long as you've got a roof over your head, especially if there's also a fireplace going.

Things have been going really well. I'm stuck working though the holidays on an overdue project, but we're making steady progress and I've come to accept that it just needs to get done, stopped being angry at myself for letting it get out of hand and frustrated with the other cogs in the system. This too shall pass.

I had a really scary moment on Satuday. Trying to wrap things up and get ready for the party, I accidentally deleted some critical files. Luckily there are multiple backup systems in play, and very dependable people out there too. Nothing was actually lost, but for the twenty minutes or so it took to sort out, I found myself staring down the barrel of a truly colossal fuckup. Feeling that kind of weight made me realize my stresses and troubles now aren't so bad, and (silver lining ahoy!) it makes them that much easier to deal with.

Getting that crisis resolved to neatly sent me into the evening with a lightness in my spirit and a new energy for life. Contrast reveals. That feeling is carrying on, and I'm learning the practical truth of my words about the contagious nature of Love and other emotions. Attitude is infectious, and in any organization or relationship, we all feed back into one another, both positively and negatively.

It's a lot of responsibility, really. I'm reminded of a cheezy country anthem by Hank Williams Jr, and the traditional barroom call and response:

Why do you drink? _(To get drunk!)_

Why do you roll smoke? _(To get stoned!)_

Why must you live out them songs that you wrote? _(To get laid!)_

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