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Notes from Underground: Digging Out

from the DJ's booth

To ensure your future, some freedoms must be surrendered …
We will save you
We will save you
We will save you
From your selves

Robot Revolution (Say no to SOPA remix), Virtual Light vs. Wizack Twizack vs. ?,

San Francisco over the holidays was a lot of fun but by early January we were really glad to be back in Washington.  We got there Thursday afternoon and spent the next few nights at The Atrium: psytrance Thursday, stompy darkwave on Friday, and then more psytrance on Saturday at Brightness.  The next week it was a darkwave set Wednesday, psytrance Thursday … happy 2012!

Saturday, it was all night psytrance at Gibbous/Deadly Snow. The drinks were strong, the snacks were tasty, the place looked fantastic, and DJ Anomaly was on a roll. Monday night was stompy darkwave at Dead Snow … hey wait a second, I’m noticing a pattern here. Continue Reading »

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Quite a contrast, which seems like a good thing to me: New Year’s Eve 2011/2012

2011 wasn’t the year I expected it to be.  But while it’s easy (and depressing) to look at what didn’t happen, one of my resolutions was to take a more asset-based thinking approach to life.  If I look at what I — and we — accomplished this year, it’s pretty impressive.

NanoEvolution

In keeping with the goal I overachieved on the most in 2011 (“spend more time with family and friends”), we decided to spend a quiet New Years Eve at home hanging out with a few people … most of whom got sick and cancelled. So it was a very low-key wrap-up to 2011 and start to 2012, quite a contrast to the last couple years.

Which seems like a good thing to me.

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Notes from Underground: IllumiNation, Travelling, and Transition II

IllumiNationWhy yes, I have been quiet for a while now that you mention it. 

We spent almost a month on the road, starting with Sacramento for a privacy coalition meeting,  and SF for Olli Wisdom at Space 550.  We had juggled our plans to be at IllumiNation, and it was totally the right call.   550 Barneveld is a great venue, and we ran into plenty of familiar faces from back in 2003/2004 when we used to hang out there all the time.  Musically, DJ Dragn’fly was great, and Olli was Olli — not as good as his legendary 2004 (((thump)) set, but still.  One of our friends was at her first psytrance party.  How cool is that?

The rest of the weekend was sunny in SF.  We took it easy on Saturday, and I spent Sunday hanging out in Dolores park with a friend.  Life is good.

Monday morning, it was on the train to DC.  Well, more accurately, the train to Chicago, which got there eight hours late.  So we missed our connection.  So we wound up on an overnight thirteen-hour bus ride to DC.  Fun!  Well no, not actually.  But still, we made it; and BORDC’s board retreat (the main reason we were there) was excellent.  From there it was on to Charleston to see my Mom; very weird not celebrating Halloween, but it was great to see her.  And then back to SF again, and finally home to Seattle.  After sleeping at four different hotels, three residences, the train, and the bus (or at least trying to, on a 14-hour overnight trip from Chicago to DC) … can I just say how good it is to be home?
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Time for a break

time for a breakI love social networks.

They’re how I follow the news, get different perspectives, stay in touch with friends — and make new ones. When people complain that online connections are just a poor substitute for “real life”, I just shake my head and tell them they’re doing it wrong. And as I’ve argued passionately in Cognitive evolution and revolution, The future of civil liberties, A grassroots social network activist’s perspective, and Freedom not fear, combining social network and real world activism is a great opportunity to regain our rights online and off.

But there are downsides as well. Facebook constantly changing its interface and finding new ways to violate my privacy, the arrogance and elitism of the guys running Google+ and their evil naming policy (along the incessant circling over the last few days), Diaspora*’s inability to edit posts or block obnoxious people … and the time I spend checking FB, G+, D*, Twitter, Quora, Dreamwidth, tribe.net, free-association and elsewhere.

So it’s time for a break from social networks.

See you in a week or two!

jon

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Notes from Underground: Equinox+One and Solitude

Tonight at the Atrium -- Equinox+One

rainbow matrixSummer ended quickly in Seattle this year. One day it was sunny and 80 degrees; the next it was cloudy and 60. DJ Anomaly’s Thursday night Equinox+One marked the official start of fall with a great set — and some familiar faces. “Hey, I remember seeing you years ago at Infected Mushroom and Astral Projection at Premiere … what’s new?” Good times!

D was out of town over the weekend, so after a long day of work on Saturday, instead of going out I decided to stay home, put on a DJ Anomaly mix, and enjoy the solitude.   At first I was thinking it would be a night filled with introspection, checking out old journals and photos and blog posts and reflecting on what’s happened and where I’m going next.

But as I listened to the music, my mind wound up turning off …

So instead I just enjoyed myself.

I heart psytrance.

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Notes from Underground: Interim

DJAnomalySF: Tonight at The Atrium - Interim - psytrance!

interim flowersIt had been a week of solid work so by the time the weekend came around we were both more than ready for a break.  Friday night was 80s night at The Atrium … the champagne flowed freely and the hits just kept on coming, everything from Head over Heels to Two of Hearts (!), the Bangles to ABC.   The lighting made everybody look great, and there were cupcakes!  What’s not to like?

Sunny days and warm nights
Appreciating good friends
The moon smiling down

Saturday DJ Anomaly kicked off Interim with One World One Sky, of all things, but after that it turned into some serious psytrance and another great night.    The name struck a chord: we were both in something of an interim mood, enjoying a brief respite as the summer wraps up before heading into what’s looking like a packed fall.   And with 9/11 and Constitution Day coming up, my thoughts were as usual on social networks and civil liberties.

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Notes from Underground: Intention and Transition

laptopAfter last Saturday’s inflection point, the week was filled with writing, outlining, and business modeling.  Oh and Google+ of course.   Anxiously masculinity under threat, structural oppression, and nymwars … no shortage of interesting topics!  In a depressing kind of way, that is.

So once again I was ready for the weekend.  Friday night, we dropped by Gibbous, DJ Anomaly’s bi-weekly, for a couple hours.  Saturday was burn night on the playa; here in the Seattle area, it was Intention, again with DJ Anomaly.  And then Sunday, while the Temple of Transition burned in Black Rock Desert, I was back at The Atrium one more time for Transition.

It was a sparse crowd and the DJs were okay but nothing out of the ordinary.  D stayed home writing and I wound up running into a friend I used to hang out with a lot a few years ago.  After we exchanged hellos and caught up on what was happening, she told me that she was thinking of buying a new Android phone but was concerned about Google tracking her.   From there we drifted to a discussion of Google+ and pseudonymity.

The two of us first met online, at a social network site where almost everybody used pseudonyms.  I spent most of my online time there for a couple years, back before Facebook and Twitter.  The discussions were great, the people were interesting, and over the years many of us wound up meeting and often becoming friends in real life.   Long-awaited first meetings, dancing at Bar Sinister, zooming through the streets of DC at 3 a.m. on the back of a scooter … you don’t need to know somebody’s “real name” for any of this.

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Notes from Underground: Darkness and Inflection

“When a corporation acquires great power, the use — or misuse — of that power is everything. Will it be used for the greater good, or for selfish and destructive means? Now this is a question we must all ask ourselves. Why? Because we are Google.”

Evolution (nymwars remix), Skyloops, remixed by anonymous

It was another week of nymwars, uncertainty, booking train tickets instead of flying, and helping friends deal with difficult emotional situations. Good thing I was inoculated! And a good thing too that DJ Anomaly’s residency at the Atrium continued with Darkness Friday night followed by Inflection on Saturday.

snickerdoodles under black lightThe crowd and music were great both nights, and the food just keeps getting better and better. Jupiter is still bright, and with clear skies and a new moon the viewing was great. The energy was somewhat relaxed, for lack of a better word … a lot of people stayed home preparing for Burning Man, so it wasn’t real crowded on the dance floor. But everybody there seemed to be having a good time. Including me!

sparkling lightsD tells me I was fairly quiet both evenings, lost in my thoughts … stop me if you’ve heard this before: dancing to psytrance, fighting for civil liberties. Back in June 2010 the Social Network Users’ Bill of Rights phrased it as “the right to self-identify”. The right isn’t widely recognized yet, but we’re doing a better and better job fighting for it. Who knows how it’ll work out, but Eric Schmidt’s dream of Google+ as a government-friendly identity system (and perhaps a job in the next administration) has met with almost universal opposition in the tech press and more and more people are aware of the threat and looking for ways to respond. That’s a good thing.

Alas, as a result of all this, looking at my goals for the year, I haven’t made a lot of visible progress over the last few months. And in the process I’ve been spending most of my online time in an environment that’s hostile, sexist, and overwhelmingly male. Drat. I hate it when that happens.

Oh well, it is what it is.  And more positively there’s plenty of encouraging stuff as well. So, while things are dark in a lot of ways right now, as I let myself get lost with the music and the vibe take, I found myself thinking that perhaps the nymwars and the rest of summer 2011 also mark an inflection point.

And when I woke up late on Sunday morning, an inflection point still seemed like a good idea to me.   I heart psytrance.

blue and purple

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Notes from Underground: Inoculation

Inoculation at The Atrium tonight. Psytrance!!!

Once again it had been a long week. Friday afternoon we went out to happy hour, then took a nap and danced for a few hours at Gibbous. And lucky us: Saturday night, DJ Anomaly was back at the Atrium for Inoculation. w00t!

Like a snake that simply uncoils itself form its own not, passion returns to its natural state independent of any external antidotes.  It is self-liberated.  It is already in the nature of transcendence.

— Dzogchen Ponlop, from Four Great Modes of Liberation, in Mind Beyond Death

Inoculation

It was pretty darn transcendent at Inoculation.  The place looked amazing, there was a seemingly endless supply of strawberries and watermelon, and it was DJ Anomaly’s best set yet.  By 3 a.m. we could see the waning gibbous moon over the dance floor — and Jupiter too, unusually bright!

the moon and the sun

Inoculation

Inoculation
Making our own happiness
At the atrium.

Today’s been a lazy day after, sleeping late enjoying the sun and taking it easy.  Who knows how long it’ll last, but for now I feel totally inoculated.  I heart psytrance.

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Notes from Underground: The Union of Bliss and Emptiness

multicolored candlesA lot’s happened since Anomalous: Seattle Startup Weekend, a friend’s wedding, Pink Saturday and Pride in San Francisco (with sets by Liam Shy and Psysas!), Death Guild, Spook at Synchronize, Strangelove, the SF Mime Troupe in Dolores Park on the Fourth of July … after 10 days in San Francisco, we drove back to Seattle early last week.  And oh yeah, Google+ launched, and seems likely to integrate question-and-answer functionality soon — impact on qweries to be determined, but certainly cause for some rethinking.

So I was ready to dance, and DJ Anomaly once again obliged with a killer set at The Atrium.  Work was on my mind a lot more than I had inspected; no surprise, really, since that’s where the big open question in my life is at this point.   But once again the decor was great at the Atrium, candles and black light, reflections stretching out to infinity — and lighting that makes everybody look good — so for most of the night I was able to leave day-to-day concerns behind and get into the music and vibe. Continue Reading »

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Notes from Underground: Anomalous at the Atrium

lights in the cornerTonight’s the Atrium’s official opening night, with DJ Anomaly headlining.  The venue’s really taken shape over the last few months and it’s been great to be a part of it.   There’s so much to like about it, including the way the lighting makes everybody look good.  Four friends drove up from California, reminding us of other good times with friends coming to town for shows.  The weather’s great in Seattle this weekend, too, so it should be a great night.

It’s been a busy couple of weeks, working on qweries‘ next prototype, cleaning up around the house, and looking forward to Startup Weekend.   It’s mostly been good, despite a lot of fighting with buggy software and even some hardware.  Thanks to Insinkerator’s Disposer Doctor, though, I was able to unclog the disposal — I felt like such a guy!

The next several weekends will be pretty crazy, so this seems like a good time to step back.  Almost halfway through the year, how am I doing?  Pretty well, I think — although of course there’s certainly room for improvement.

Looking at my New Year’s resolutions, I’m doing well on almost all of them.  Have more art, beauty, and fun in our lives?  Check.  Listen to new music?  Check.  Hang out more with friends?  Check.  And the list goes on.  I’m even making progress on “get more sleep, work out, meditate regularly, and do the other things i know i should be doing to reduce stress” — and conveniently enough, thanks to qweries next prototype I’ve met some amazing women who have mad skills at helping people make these kinds of lifestyle changes.   So with any luck at all, progress will really accelerate over the rest of the year.

And at the risk of sounding like a mid-year review, I’ve also made great progress on three of my five goalsqweries, family, and activism.  g0ddesses.net is harder to calibrate; I’m really happy with the re-outlining I’m doing, but it’s taken a lot longer than expected and I’m not sure how much time I’ll have during the second half of the year for revising it.   We shall see.  Still, I’m very pleased with where I am overall; and once again, looking forward to things accelerating — especially with qweries, where co-founders and partners will be a big help.

All in all it’s been a great first half of the year, plenty of wonderful time (although never enough) with my closest friends, and the 25th anniversary of our first date.  Oooh!  So I’m in a great mood, and am looking forward to turning my mind off and enjoying the weekend.  This afternoon, I’ll go for a walk and enjoy the sun.  And then tonight at the Atrium, getting into the music, and falling through the limitations of intelligence into pure and simple creativity.

Who knows what DJ Anomaly will be up to but I’m sure it’ll be amazing.   To commemorate it I’m working on some new poems, remixes, and a collection, tentatively titled The anomaly at the atrium.  Stay tuned for more!

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The first Facebook skirmish of the 2012 election

ABC News, LA Times and other media reports show how ForAmerica FB fans crashed Obama's Facebook Townhall page today.

Not too shabby at all.  The Town Hall itself seems to have gone well (Ryan Singel’s Softball questions, familiar themes has the details in Wired, and Sharon Gaudin’s A Sign of Things to Come in Computerworld puts it in context), but there’s no question that ForAmerica showed a lot of strength on what used to be Obama’s home turf.

Linnie Rawlinson’s Will the 2008 USA election be won on Facebook? is a great portrait of where things were at this stage in the last presidential election.  Social networks played a huge role in Obama’s victory, and the One Million Strong for Barack group was the epicenter on Facebook.  There was plenty of trolling then too (like the time the Hillary Clinton group was overrun by troll mob), but most of the campaigning was positive.  Cognitive diversity and the 2008 US election discusses about some of the group’s successes — and has plenty of statistics showing how what a big advantage Obama had on social networks.

Since then, though, conservatives and tea partiers have been far more successful at organizing on social networks.  On Facebook, the energy and participation in the One Million Strong group has dwindled, and while Obama’s page has almost 20,000,000 followers it doesn’t allow for a lot of participation and discussion.  Byron Tau’s Obama Faces Brave New Web World in Politico sets the scene for the 2012 battle.*  Perhaps ForAmerica’s successful action will act as a wake-up call to the Democrats.

In the LA Times, Michael Memoli quotes ForAmerica’s chariman Brent Bozell as saying “We are only beginning to see the untapped power of this growing, formidable online army.”  It’s going to be an interesting 18 months …

jon

* and includes the mandatory reference to Get FISA Right 🙂

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