Friday, March 31, 2006

BrainJams New Orleans!

OK, so I just posted about the event details yesterday morning and things are already flying pretty fast. It seems the time is right for the good people of New Orleans to look beyond the trajedy of the past year and into the brighter tomorrow of what can be.

In that I don't have a lot of money to donate and I can't afford to get down there to do the physical stuff that needs to get done, this is the best thing I can contribute to help the great city of New Orleans. It is a great feeling to know that a little good intention and a lot of writing can actually make a difference. It seems a lot of other people what to help with this as well, so I think this might be one of the biggest "unconferences" of the year - mashing up technologists and small business folks in a BrainJams can hopefully contribute towards making things right.

If you can take a moment to blog about the event, or perhaps reach out to some of the folks you know down there, that would be amazing! If you can perhaps help in any other way, please let me know. In addition to the things I mentioned on the blog, I am going to really need help with the "people wrangling" aspects of coordinating volunteers. That is perhaps my weakest skillset and I don't want this great opportunity to fail because of one of my weaknesses. This is particularly true of coordinating the Peer to Peer Learning volunteers. Fortunately, the new BrainJams site runs on Drupal, so we have most of the tools we need to do this properly.

The best part is, if you can make it down there to share what you know with the good folks of NOLA, you also get to party with us at JazzFest! If you can't, I will just have to drink a Hurricane for you as I Jam away with all of my fellow Parrotheads...

Thursday, March 30, 2006

Speaking of bloggers . . .

My daughter is a champ at it. Right now she's in the middle of a series of performances with the NY Philharmonic, and just glowing about it. Read at http://www.supermaren.com/ (her blog) or http://www.marenmontalbano.com/, which is her newly self-designed website. Daddy is so proud. Check them out, maybe you'll become fans, too.

Monday, March 27, 2006

Still Thinking about Iz's Position on Gay Marriage and then this dropped into my mailbox

On Wednesday, March 1, 2006 , in Annapolis,MD at a hearing on the proposed Constitutional Amendment to prohibit gay marriage, Jamie Raskin, professor of law at AU (AmericanUniversity), was requested to testify.

At the end of his testimony, Republican Senator Nancy Jacobs said: "Mr. Raskin, my Bible says marriage is only between a man and a woman. What do you have to say about that?"

Raskin replied: "Senator, when you took your oath of office, you placed your hand on the Bible and swore to uphold the Constitution. You did not place your hand on the Constitution and swear to uphold the Bible."

The room erupted into applause.

Sunday, March 26, 2006

e commented on my post about the Pivotal Moments writing exercise, wondering, "why do you feel it must be a Happy Thing, em?" My answer grew long enough to cut from the comment I started and paste it into this new post:

I didn't feel my Pivotal Moment MUST be a Happy Thing, e, but reading over my growing list of semi-tragic episodes and- even though I grew and developed in really positive ways as a result of all the Sad/Bad Things I noted- the list wasn't an accurate representation of all that has spurred change in my life, what I would consider Pivotal Moments.

I've been thinking about it more overnight, and decided that the reason my list consisted of the Hard Shit is that those events are the stand-out types in my life, because the norm overall is that my life has been filled with a lot of joy and with joyful experiences (lucky me). I have changed, gradually, through the joyful times, but they didn't stand out to me initially as Pivotal Moments, being overshadowed by the memory of rapid and sometimes unwelcome er, pivoting initiated by trauma. Thinking of it in these terms, I can cite many many "happy" Pivotal Moments; times where I had vim and inertia and the opportunity to choose where to direct them. So.

(Also it is a very Mormon thing to accentuate the positive and flat-out DENY the negative, so there's probably a bit of that cultural influence emerging, as well.)

Anyone else want to chime in? Is there a persistent tone to the Pivotal Moments in your lives? Would you define them as positive/negative, or another category? Are they patternless? Or do they elude this type of definition altogether? I'd love to hear other responses, especially from you e, if you will...

-EM

all things web 2.0

via BlogHer: a list of links to "all" currently available web tools, for our perusal. if you want to do anything on your blog, including things you never thought of before, it's probably here.

Saturday, March 25, 2006

while you were all doing things important and glamorous...

i finally got the toilet seat fixed!

stickies

I wonder what all those kids will remember of moments like these?

They were all bopping around with sticky papers, making fart jokes, snickering, taking photos... Maybe having fun... maybe wondering why we were all glued to our computers.

It was nice to see them, but it did get too chaotic for us to think or talk. So we ended up with more of a laid-back full-of-children party in the afternoon.

I felt a little bad for not paying attention to them. Today I didn't have it in me to juggle Grownup Interaction and also deal with kids!

Iz and Alex tagged me with "G.I.P. Funny" and also "I.C.U.P.", which cracked me up...

ignoble moment

Earlier today... someone said, "I don't know whose drink this is... maybe Mary's.. but I'm drinking it anyway even if it has cooties."

Me: "If it's Mary's it probably does have cooties... Bwahahaa!"
trying to participate in the Pivotal Moments writing excercise. it feels so huge i don't know where to begin. i came up with a list of some of the major events that have changed my life, all these months-long kinds of crises and spiritual ordeals that are both too personal to publish here and so big i couldnt choose just one to write on. then i read jo's post and changed my whole perspective. like, aha! i can write about just a single componant of a whole giant overarching theme. how novel!

thinking of the excercise in this new way i feel like i could come up with a Happy Thing. whereas the events on my list were all these traumatizing difficult times. what are some positive Pivotal Events for me? i know what i'll be thinking about for the rest of the weekend...

Emily

More Clarification and Explanation of the Fruitfulness of this Exercise

It's interesting how resistant people are to this exercise... "My life cannot be summed up in one moment." and etc. I didn't explain... this is more the admission that your life is a series of moments, and they can be seen as emblematic of a larger theme, when you look back at them. It's the nature of memory that the same thing can mean something different at different times. It's sort of fascinating, if you're a navelgazer, to discover that some event you remember is quite revised when you revisit it after five years, or ten, or twenty, when everything is different and your life has changed. When I was in college and looked back at violin lessons as a child, I felt a sort of claustrophobia and guilt and shame toward my mother, who had big expectations that I would "be better than anyone else, at least at one thing," and she had decided that one thing was playing the violin.

Now when I look back at the memory of violin lessons I think about the gift my mother gave me of her time and energy, and also feel myself infused with shame over not doing the same sort of thing for my kids. And then out of that shame spiral I find myself saying no, I don't need to be All Things to my children. I am enough. I have to live my life, and they are cared for as well as I can do it.

So anyway. That's what I meant, sort of a view of parts of your life with perspective and interpretation.

pivotal disconnects

Em just asked if all mine were crises and I'm not sure. I was just wondering that. A lot of times, yes. Other times no,... or moments that are both horrible and positive. Moments when it becomes clear that meaning is constructed. Where communication seems impossible, but it happens anyway... like Jo launching herself across the hallway in that kiss... Moments where I've broken up a relationship and realize there's a fundamental disconnect between my reality and my partner's, or when I've started a new relationship and a new mutual reality seems to form.

But those moments don't have a "real" meaning and can always be rewritten to mean something else in another context. I get trapped in multiplicity. I get to where I feel that giving too much structure or only one meaning would be fundamentally dishonest. So any memoir I write will have to have layers of revelation and re-evaluation when new things become true without making the old truths false. (This is why I like reading Gene Wolfe's novels, and also I think Timmi Duchamp is doing this very well...)

Perhaps staring up at the stars over Enchanted Rock, lying on top of the rock drifting in and out of sleep with the stars in obvious rotation. Or going through the cave there, completely in the dark, by feel. That comes to mind, but I reject it.

Does the pivotal moment have to be an epiphany? I don't think so, but it's what we seem to turn to first. Moments of evaluation.

Instead, I consider action rather than introspection. I like the idea of fights or Happenings as holders of meaning.

blah blah blah!!!!!!

Resenting my memories

Crossposted from over here:

Jo Spanglemonkey suggests a memoir blogging exercise: write about a pivotal moment in your life. If you were writing a memoir, this would be the moment everything leads up to. The One Thing that happens.

My mind goes blank for a few seconds - how can I possibly come up with One Thing that is important in my life? And then one memory emerges, unbidden, old and crusty yet still as vivid as all those years ago, and I am appalled. Why this one? Is that really what my life is about? Am I defined by heartbreak? I do not like this at all. I resemble this remark ...

Kissing Manny

There was a moment; I was standing in line for the bathroom at the punk commune. Everything was very loud. Everyone was drunk or drugged or whatever, dancing, talking loudly. Smoke filled the room and it was probably one in the morning. This was a place we'd been every night for the last 3 months of summer. Manny was standing across from me in the hall, and we were staring at each other.
I was seized with courage. "Would you mind terribly," I said, "if I possibly kissed you? I mean you don't have to if you don't want to, but I want to, and well, would it be okay?"
"Yeah, okay," he said.
So I kissed him. I launched myself across the hallway and jammed my tongue into his mouth.
I don't think I've been that brave since then, frankly. It was an impulsive moment and one that defined our relationship, in many ways. I'm not sure how to describe how defining a moment it was. It crossed boundaries for me. Despite the appearance of the setting, in which you might imagine rough people whose confidence and bluster drove them to extremes. You might imagine people who flout convention to be hard, brittle, brutal. But my experience of the punk commune was of people who hid behind their costumes. If they wore black and safety pins and had outrageous hair, if they offended their parents any way they possibly could, it was out of a protective impulse, and inside they were small and unsure and frightened. Many of those kids were abused as children, or kicked around in various ways, and used their appearance for a smokescreen.

pivotal moment

when i was 16 my family disintegrated. i hadn't thought about that. i was a teenager and it was 1968, everything was going to hell and it was Up To Us to Stop The War, don't you know, so i hadn't had any time yet to realize the nature of family structures, that they were structures and not impermeable objects. the summer between sophomore and junior year my mother decided california was going to fall into the sea and put our house in Daly City on the market. when i begged and pleaded she said don't worry, it won't sell.

it sold in three weeks. by that fall we were in a motel in Sedona, Arizona--long before there *was* a Sedona, Arizona as you would know it; there was nothing there but a grocery store and the motel in the wide space in the road where we'd stopped-- watching Richard Nixon get elected. my lifeline was writing hundred-page letters to my friends back home, all of whom were scheduled to fall into the sea at some point. i guess they did, because i have no idea where any of them are now. not much idea where i am, either. not too long after that i hit this road.

last month grace drove me back to that house. we were in a screaming hurry to get me to my plane and her back to her family, and it had been 30 years or so and then i couldn't find the neighborhood, the neighborhood was somebody else's neighborhood, and gracie was true to her name putting up with my ineptitude, and then finally she found it herself and we drove up the street i have been walking down in dreams every night of my life for the past several decades. walking down and down the hill and never reaching the bottom. the houses were there, my house looked the same. the people next door were probably there but they'd be about 100 now and I hadn't been in touch for a couple of years, so I couldn't just pop in and say hi, i'm leaving now. so i didn't. i stood in the street and looked at the house, we weren't there ten minutes. time warped, but i don't know just how, exactly. i was rip van winkle. i was the ancient mariner. i was odysseus and penelope in one, i was home. grace took me home. "you'd do it for me," she said.

yes. yes, i would.

WoolfCamp writing exercise

(big, complex ideas flying everywhere, but I'm having a Bad Menopausal Day, and I'm having a tough time figuring things, any thing out...so I think I'll just go with WRITING ABOUT MY MOM.)

(gah!)

My mother married too young, had too many children, suffered too many heartbreaks and disappointments that any day now, all of that cumulative pain would splinter her into a thousand little jagged pieces. That is, if she actually paid attention to her heart, if she twisted herself in a weird yoga pose and pressed her ear to her chest. Then she'd hear sirens, thunder and nuclear explosions. The decibel levels of all that racket? Would break her into those thousand little jagged pieces.

I nearly wrote that she doesn't have a heart, but I know she has a big fat aching one. One day I saw it leak right out of her chest at her mother's funeral, she threw herself on top of grandma's casket and cried scary, awful tears. My uncles gently pulled her off the casket, then mom walked in quick mincing steps to the bathroom. She came back dry eyed and composed.

My grandma who was good to us, but brutal to my mother, her youngest daughter. My mother who is good to my daughter, but brutal to me, her second oldest daughter.

I have no part in this chain, I know yoga.

Writing exercises (one and two and one and two)

We're trying to figure out what kind of writing exercise we can all do together. I talked about the "pivotal moment" I'd read about in the memoir-writing book. It's an event or moment that centers the memoir, instead of just wandering around in the account of your life saying this happened and then this -- instead it has a focus and direction.

Everyone sort of looked blank. "That's too big," said Badger. "That's like a two-hour exercise."

"You could narrow it," I said. "A certain time in your life. Or a relationship with a certain person."

Personally I'd like to write about mothers, but of course that is also Big and Difficult.

Badger suggested an exercise wherein we all describe the same thing twice, in different moods. Again with the "what?" response from many people. "What would that look like?"

"How about "write about something yellow,'" I said, but then noticed that everyone had started to type and they weren't paying attention to me any more. "What are you guys doing?" I asked.

"Writing a pivotal moment!" They said in exasperation. Okay! I will do so as well.

memoir assignment from Jo

Jo is talking about memoir and pivotal moments, and structuring a memoir, maybe a snippet of one from a particular time in our lives, around that moment. I'm having trouble coming up with a Moment, and then also feel like if I did it would take me hours to write such a thing. But I could sketch out possibilities and thoughts about it...

- I like the idea of a pivotal moment being a bit imaginary, or making it be a completely fantastic unreal event. Push that moment over the top. For me it might be something like "And then I grew an extra head" or the moment when I noticed (but no one else did) that all the trees on Earth had disappeared. Okay, not those, but something odd which could carry a lot of meaning.

- The attraction of making that moment the very beginning of a book, like putting the murder first in a murder mystery

- i wrote something like this once in a memoir called "The Thing!". It was about a road trip I took with my ex-husband before we were married and before I moved in with him. We were in a weird limbo... and set out from Santa Fe to Tuscon down the lower highway, whatever that is, and then up and around back the other more northern highway. A thousand miles away in the wrong direction we started seeing billboards for The Thing! and the pivotal moment would obviously be when we finally got to the cheesy roadside attraction and saw it. I wrote big chunks of this, and saw the structure of it very clearly, maybe because the pivotal moment or climactic moment was so obvious. So I saw how every tiny thing, every trivial moment and conversation on that trip, could come together and mean MORE because of that ending or that moment of seeing The Thing.

- it strikes me suddenly this is what I love about long-running episodic tv shows like Blake's 7 and Space Island One. The final moment of the final episode makes everything mean more, more intensely. It ups the ante. It makes me go back and re-evaluate the meaning of all the stuff that came before.

I like books where the pivotal moments are actual conversations.

Am I evading the question?

I wrote another thing about a road trip with M. when we moved to California in 91. Which ended in a truly low moment for me where I had to pee and she wouldn't stop the car for me to go to the bathroom, and the cats in the cat carrier kept escaping out of a hole they'd torn in it, and we were on some freeway in oakland in the middle of the night. I was crying and in terrible pain and I think I was having some kind of huge problem, like I had a kidney infection or PID or both, we never figured it out despite a bunch of emergency room visits. I have written that scene in the car about ten different ways to mean different things about how I saw my life and what it meant to be a bit out of control of my life and body.

so i'm thinking...

here i am 3000 miles away from you all, and i'm talking over a computer to jo and commenting on your posts and looking at everybody's pics on flicr, which is all pre-setup for just that, and this wouldn't have been the case before WoolfcampI. well, commenting, but not the rest of it. we're getting there, gang, all the way into the 21st century, even me!

i'm checking in, gracie!

here i am, over on the other side of the continent :( but tim the fixit man is fixiting the toilet seat, so that's a plus. no cheese here, though.

on the porch

Jo and e. talking over skype on the porch. Fun!

Checking in...JUST BECAUSE...

Greetings to the world beyond our happy WoolfCamplet bubble. We're well into the festivities and the Cowgirl Creamery cheese is quickly disappearing, but, because I'm the crabby cronemudgeon in the room, I insisted that we all Check In.

EVERYBODY CHECK IN!

And, whaddaya know, we're checking in.

As our beloved Jo has had way too much experience lately 'checking in', I'm letting this go free- form, so now we're talking about why we blog. The inevitable question at all of these bloggity gatherings. And then we segued into Mormons, these days the most fascinating of all subjects.

I'm a horrible liveblogger, can't think and write at the same time, just like Gerald Ford couldn't chew gum at the same time. Please depend on others for live blogging. I'm posting this pup to check in.

And I'm going to have to insist that you all out there do the same.

How are you feeling?
What's going on?
Do you need anything? How 'bout some of Squid's excellent cheese?

Checking in.

Blogging as "keeping in touch with other people." Also forming community and having company.

People appreciating each other in a public meeting format. Grace is moderating. How we love her!

Why did you start a blog in the first place? Asks Mary. An interesting question.

Ep: letters to the editor were too terse. She wants to be more verbose with the same subjects. But not to build community.

Mary: What is "community blogging?" In a meeting where people want to keep in touch. Or a town blog, like a Deadwood-wide blog.

Elke: Why compelled to write in public? She has no idea.

Mary: Blogging is in its infancy. But read them for years before starting her own. FAscinated by the minutia of someone else's life.

Badger: Kept journals for years and years. Since she was a kid, five or six. Three or four going at one time. Book of dreams, current, poetry journal. Web pages she updated often.

Mary: wrote diaries as if someone else would read them. Even when the diary had a lock.

Em: Memoirs as "posterity." A cedar chest being opened by grandchildren. The Mormons. It's into every aspect of your life. Culty.

Mary: A planned monthly meetup to write together, maybe a central coffeeshop? Elke: Yes! Yes!
Mary is going to Las Vegas. She is an "online poker widow." But will spend the weekend with her husband alone. What a concept!

Emily: Looking for a job. Anyone have one for her? Blog more and blog better. Keep up with other people's blogs.

Badger: Fun and happy. Overstimulated lately. Physically injured from overwork and no stamina. Distracted by blogs, putting so much energy in, wants to figure out how to make it more job-like and possibly more money involved somehow. Teach blogging classes? Local rec center. Community college class. Face book and MySpace. Wants to talk about the theory of it more. It's much more complicated than a class about "talking on the phone."

Everyone murmurs in agreement.

Grace: Lisa Canter says that the first phase of blogging is over. Now we will talk about "content." Whaaa?

Badger: Means that it will be a new class of professionals, more like journalism. How the writing changes on the BlogHer site because they know advertisers are looking. Does not want it to turn into stupid magazine articles.

e says: Jeneane Sessum is talking about RSS feeds, the mechanical nature of same. she doesn't want to be "fed", she wants to visit people. (the linked post and one several below it.) she wants personal voices.

Memoir Writing. Why!

Memoir writing: is it the same as personal blogging? What about writing a diary?

What use is writing in the process of personal development and "growth?"

Do you need a witness? For what?

Can we all write about a "crucial point" in our lives? Can we write about those points in each other's lives?

thoughts on the tagging exercise

Looks like Em is writing up the notes I took on how we tagged each other!

I'm happy that everyone let me use them for my experiment. I talked for a few minutes about tagging, and then passed out post-it notes and sharpie markers. I asked everyone to write down at least three tags, and more if they liked. The tags were for each other - and it's okay to tag one person three times or three people one time, or whatever. No limits. So: an initial writing down tags phase. (Everyone self conscious! What to write! Who to tag!)

Then, all at once, we walked around and stuck the tags to each other. A giggling flurry of sticky paper!

We went around and read them off ourselves. I took notes. Now, we were all very nice to each other and so there was a happy effect of validation and seeing-how-we-see-each-other. But the effect I was after was to see what tags were common, what meta-information emerged. We tended to tag with adjectives or nouns. There were some verbs and short phrases. We tagged our ideas of each other as people and also we tagged the blogs (since some of us know each other mostly through blogs, this made sense.) It was interesting to see who got lots of tags and who got few. I didn't ask people to ID their tags: but this would have been good info as well, to write your name on all the tags you give to other people. Who produced a lot of tags? Who produced only three? Whose tags do you admire or think are clever? That's also info that emerges. I also wanted people to experience the moment of self-consciousness at the moment they are deciding to tag and how to do it. Everyone will see what you think is important.

Then, round two. Now we all know who is tagged with what. We might want to add stuff to a person that we feel is missing, or copy some of the good tags on other people, or tag up ourselves some more. I'm not sure the information changed all that much, but everyone's awareness of what they were doing and that it was visible changed.

I have to think about this exercise some more and how to fiddle with it!

technorati tags: , , , , , ,

First Liveblogging I've Done Ever!

There are kids everywhere here at the Woolfcamplet! It's fun to learn their real-life ways (hearing their voices, their clever conversing) vs. the identity perception we have of them from the mom's blogs. Also fun to see the way they are like their dear moms who we so admire....

After mingling/snacking Liz led us in an excercise in tagging. We took a moment to all write tags for one another on little post-it notes, then danced around in confusion slapping the tags on one another and cracking up heavily. Read the tags aloud, rinse and repeat! Some made tags for themselves, and we observed how some tags very much reflected our blogs more than our "Selves."

ROUND ONE
JoSpangleMonkey - uberblogger, verbose, blahh!!, addled, prolific talented writer, abundant
Eliz - playful, thoughtful
ep - anarchist, eh?, good friend
Em - mormony, funny, nice friendly
Liz - studly, me, teacher, purple, feminist x 2, reckless
Grace - self-aware, fierce, shameless do-gooder, tenacious, asskicker, social goddess, feminist
Mary - Bloggie badass, bad girl in high school, wry, mommy, professional, able to interview and write in a single bound [!]
Jenijen - prosh [precious], craft diva, resourceful
Squid - arty, radical, inspirational, good cheese, cephalopod, ha!! good taste

ROUND TWO
JoSpangleMonkey - introspective, scooby, extravagant, tolerant, generator, strong, beloved, mommy
Eliz - uncanny, logical, rainbows n' unicorns
ep - reluctant mama bear, thoughtful, political newbie but not for long, curly, observant, sharp
Em - more radical than she appears, bawdy, dogged, bold
Liz - poly, colorful, open, exciting, Fluevog, informative, mentor, cutest son ever, here, extrovert, aware, role model
Mary - assertive, friendly, trained assassin, mommy, professional, defining lines straddler, competent
Grace - ass kicking, activist, womanist, snuggy, enthusiastic, on fire
Jenijen - outwardly, indefatigable, happy, patient, straightforward, red hot mama

An impression- seemed like in Round Two Tagging we were more inspired on some level by some of the things written during Round One, but also then then pressure was on; we needed more time to come up with the tags and felt like they needed to be more clever. Discussion followed about the value of tags, how to read tag clouds, and how those of us new to tagging or don't tag find it hard to come up with them, more experienced taggers, conversely, are quite facile with the labels. Mary mentioned she likes to order her tags so that they make sense, syntactically, eg. "badass mommy blogger." Rad.

More on the Most Pressing Topic

We're back to the thong/buttcrack conversation. Why is it that Squid's butt does not grab hold of a thong and irritate?

The possibilities abound. She has a "flat butt," she proclaims. Grace also shows us hers. I contend that really the operational attribute of not having a thong travel too far up your butt is "separation of cheeks." This is the crucial factor.

Squid: I think probably butt cleavage is just as variable as boob cleavage. We all silently agree with solemn nods.

Further research is necessary. A double-blind test, perhaps. We will do it for Science.

First Activity: Tagging Each Other

In new developments: Mali has had a bit of trouble taking a nap, and wishes to "NURT." She proclaimed it loudly.

Badger has introduced a tagging game. We all have been given small postit notes. Why do people tag? Why bother?

If everyone did it, something interesting would happen. The cloud of information of what everyone has tagged with that tag.

Squid: Analogies to google? What does it do? Never used it before.

Badger: List of tagging topics. A "tag cloud." Font size shows popularity. In flickr. Another service that can do it.

Mary: someone does random tagging. "dragon tapeworm butt fairy." ricky's "hideous running jumping things."



The activity: we tag each other with words, something to do with the concept of the person. On social software what you would think would be useful as an attribute.

(we're all a bit stumped. how do you get past "bimbo?" heh The cat is immediately tagged with "fuzzy" and "drooley", "ginky-eyed")

Mine all have to do with the amount of writing I do. Heh.

Lots of people have "arty", "wry," "bad girl", "feminist," "social"

Now we will figure out what we have in common. Collate the results. Badger is rabidly talking about biligual blogging and the tagging potential there.

------
We're doing a new round. This time instead of pink we'll use blue.

Badger: the moment of self-consciousness as you realize the person will read what you say. Do it again now that you've seen everyone else's tags.

Today's Very Vague Agenda (aside from the eating and drinking)

Ideas for exercises or topics to discuss today?

1. Tagging with Badger.
2. What use memoiring? What good is journal writing? What version of self can be presented in print? Why does it matter what happens to us? Who cares? Is history useful at all on a personal level? What will our biographers want to know?
3. Follow-up from last Woolfcamp. Emily: did anyone come away with a new agenda? New ideas about how to approach blog differently and use it better? Advertising? What do people charge?
4. Stream of consciousness liveblogging session, together. Although Squid's computer was cruelly wrested from her hands by her evil husband.
5. Getting to know each other initially with the stream-of-consciousness "all about me" writing for seven minutes. This should probably be #1, but isn't, because I'm so not into organizing this list. In fact I'm sort of hostile to the notion of organizing it. What does it mean!
6. Children. Why! WTF!
7. Privacy in personal writing. Why publish it! And asking people permission to blog about people. How does it change your blog?

It's Quite Exciting

Word of the Day for Saturday March 25, 2006

metier \met-YAY; MET-yay\, noun: 1. An occupation; a
profession. 2. An area in which one excels; an occupation for which
one is especially well suited.

Badger and I sitting on the couch tappity tapping away. I am wondering what, exactly, makes this a "conference" rather than a bloggin party. Perhaps it is the atmosphere of heady anticipation? Perhaps someone will propose a topic. Something will happen. Grace is serving mimosas and some kind of evil tangerine drink.

What will happen next!

I must note at this point that I am, indeed, wearing underwear. So far Badger has not shown hers, but the day is still young.

Woolfy Day Camp

Here we are at Squid's house: the sun is out, people are bustling in with great armloads of food and children. Laptops tickety-ticking! Flowers blooming!

The merits of thongs vs. no underwear at all. Squid claims that if you get the right kind that fit right, they don't go up your butt. Me and Mary...."Maybe you have some kind of different butt.... Squid backtracks a bit... Now she claims that if you've got a lot of junk in the trunk it's all different. I can't see how! We all pause in silence to consider butthole placement and whether it's possible to "get used to" assfloss. Worth it, for the moment when the top of your thong is glimpsed? Huh.

The house wireless network is named "floober" by the way if you're trying to find it... Oh no! I've busted their security! Security breach! Red alert!

I plan to show off my new love, the Performancing blogging client on firefox... was it e. or Debra Roby who showed it to me? I can't remember?

and

Everyone brought pastries. The mimosas are starting to flow, so soon everyone will be on the same wavelength with me, what with my New Medication and all. Jenijen has arrived with husband and four children, each of whom is more attractive than the last.

looks like this is the place again

for the new doin's? who all came? what'ever everybody saying? why aren't i there??

We Eat Cheese in Solidarity

Hooray! I'm in the inner sanctum of Woolfers! Everyone is arriving all at once. Which means that they missed the pre-game discussion of thong underwear, pros and cons. Everyone discussing the food at this point. The food! The groaning board!

I will give Ativan to anyone who asks.

Thursday, March 23, 2006

Iz's Position on Gay Marriage

I am spreading this post everywhere as this is the proudest I've ever been as a parent.

Today was Iz's parent-teacher conference. It went the way these conferences usually go: our girl is bright and does good work when she's interested and crappy work when she's not. But, yeah, whatever. We all know that Iz is a smarty pants and likes to fuck with or cirucumvent authority.

What made me proud to the point of tears is an Iz essay the teacher handed me at the end of the conference (image below). It is Iz's own take on MLK Jr's "I Have a Dream" speech. She didn't wish for a pony or her own Queen Bee book. No. From the bottom of her heart, she wished that gay marriage was legal. *Sob*

My kid has a social conscience. My god. I'll take that over top marks any day.

Sunday, March 19, 2006

WoolfCamp Blog

Hi, guys, remember me? Grace says "check in," whatyagonna do, here I am. Have not forgotten y'all, but am still in an indecisive state about whether or not to follow Grace's urgings and start my own blog . . . she's been on me for a while about this. I think I'm inching towards doing it, will keep you posted.
Feeling in limbo here in Berserkeley, in the States only because if in Thailand I couldn't make the kind of money that would support son Mike at NYU. Trying to keep the creative juices flowing, but the 9 to 5 thing is just a bit of a drag on that. Never mind, onward and upward!
One question . . . what ever happened to that podcast we did during the podcasting workshop? Did I understand correctly that that never actually became a real one? Chris? I'd be really interested in hearing it now.

Friday, March 17, 2006

What's been happening since WWC-06?

(That's Winter WoolfCamp-06)

> So, what's going on, everyone? Check in!

I have been in a doldrums (is it spring fever?). But I think I'm coming out of it. I almost desperately want to work in my yard; I'm feeling the frustration with all this rain. (However, I did just come in from 1.5 hours getting messy in the garden. Woot!).

OK. Here's a bit of ramble on several things...

The main thing I'm thinking about is how to take the energy and sense of sharing we had at WoolfCamp and extend that to "technique sharing" experience for the arts/crafts bloggers. Do I want to start by setting it up as a wiki? As a group blog? Have a camp here in late fall?

At the moment I'm leaning toward setting up the wiki as a beginning, using the WoolfCamp idea as a kind of template. Then figuring out how to get the news out (yes, BlogHer is a start; and day 2 of BlogHer will be a great resource.) Need to define the important features of an art/craft blog... the things that distinguish these types of blogs from others. Why did people fall in love with Steph's Little Bird blog?(and did you see she has snuck back to say hello?)

I can see "specialized" wiki/camp units for other specialities, too, like the foodies.

I go back to Flickr once in a while (even uploaded more photos yesterday. I take weather photos from my deck. Go see them, you'll understand why.), but I'm not feeling the love for Flickr. I can't easily figure things out and find it frustrating. That and another web-based time sinkhole. Still... we'll see.

I'm reading everyone's blogs (T, silent since 3/4??)... and still fascinated by the wonderful camp experience.

Chris, are women in the majority at any of your other camps? Could the incredible energy and sharing that you wrote about at WoolfCamp be explained by the strong female presence? And Grace's fabulous feminine sense of consensus. I'm interested in speculation about this from the male perspective.

I find that kind of cooperation has only occurred in women majority groups.. but that the women majority is not the defining factor. The "permission" to participate is another important factor. Usually happens when the women feel a sense of security in their standing and a sense of belonging. Darn. Why didn't I study more social anthropology? I could explain this more clearly.

I'll see everyone at BlogHer!!

Debra

Thursday, March 16, 2006

Bullet Points o' News!

I'm back from South by Southwest/SXSW, still feeling funky from drinking tequila. Why did I do that? Why did I drink all that tequila? Why, why, why? Now I'll have to get my blood transfused and pump in some fresh blood cells, just like Keith Richards.

Because I'm firing off only the most random of synapses (tequila!), I'm reduced to simple, bulleted hot news items:

  • The most important news? Chris Heuer and Kristie Wells set a date for the wedding on 7/7/07! Jackpot! Go over to their blogs and wish them 7 x 7 x 7 layers of happiness! Congratulations to this beautiful couple, two extraordinary individuals, loved and respected by all.
  • A WoolfCamplet has been announced for Saturday, March 25th at Squid's house. This will be in honor and celebration of Jo Spanglemonkey, the big hive mind behind the WoolfCamp concept. Go on over to the wiki and sign your fine self up.
  • Further to the wiki, I'll be moving text around in the next few days. The main page will serve as a home base with general information about WC. I want to create a do-it-yourself WC page for folks who want to"make camp" in other areas of the country such as the Pacific Northwest (suggested by the delightful Janeen, a BlogHerista and friend to many), and in Chapel Hill, North Carolina (after talking with some North Carolina guys I met at SXSW). I already moved the WC Winter info to its own workspace/page and will create more links for the upcoming WC-let, and....
  • ...another wiki page for the possibility of a WC the day after BlogHer! Lisa Canter, Liz Henry and I talked about this at SXSW. It would be perfect after BlogHer, an extension of the conference hallway conversations, and a way to offer the "un-conference" experience to the BlogHer community. We have lots to think about - where should we do this? How can we accomodate more campers? So, clearing space on the wiki for this venture will be necessary to plot and plan.
Now, what do you think? What's up? Why don't you all check in with a comment or a blog post?

Last cool thing:
  • "WoolfCamp" was mentioned in awe by our pals like BlogHer founders and, dig this, random bloggers at South by Southwest! Our excellent idea of a gathering focused on blog writing has stirred the imagination of fellow writers and techies from all points in the Geek Universe. How about that?

Peace to all from Santa Cruz,
Grace

Wednesday, March 08, 2006

South by Southwest

I'm off to Austin tomorrow, for South by Southwest. I posted my probable schedule here.

Who else is going? Anyone? Anyone?

MySpace article

i think we were talking about MySpace at some point during the weekend, yes? here's a link i found to a talk given re: MySpace at almost that same time.

Grace's Heart Pumps Life into WoolfCamp

I was thinking last night about how difficult it was to form a community, and especially how difficult it is to form a committed community that continues it's conversations long after leaving their shared camping space. I still don't know the secret sauce per se, but I sure do admire what Grace has done in continuing the conversation here and I particularly admire how extraordinary all of you WoolfCampers are with your truly insightful contributions!

Once again, I am just glad I had the chance to play a small part and experience it all for myself. You all taught me many lessons that weekend and I look forward to the next one - perhaps this time we can try that collaborative writing exercise - or perhaps if we can just pick a date we can all chime in remotely...

Regardless, thank you Grace for keeping the torch aflame and the spirit alive!

Tuesday, March 07, 2006

WoolfCamplet to Honor Jo Spanglemonkey/Jackie Olsen

Since Jackie couldn't attend the inaugural WoolfCamp, how about a day camp in her honor?

Proposed Date: Saturday, March 25
Proposed Site: Chez Rosenberg, Redwood City (easy 280 access)

Liz Henry and I were thinking that people could bring their kids if they really wanted to...we could lock them outside with a herd of babysitters. However if it rains then that could be Not Good as our place is tiny--though the yard is really really big and there are decks to spare.
(Photos of our digs at: Flickr: Chez Rosenberg)

Comment if you can make it. Or if you can't. Or if you just want to wish Jackie well.

Saturday, March 04, 2006

You've been Blogrolled!

Hey Woolfcampers,

I just took this blog's blogroll and translated over to my own list of links.

But here's the cool part. All of my links have titles that define their awesomeness and defend their categorization as "Creative Professionals." So go check out what I wrote for you.