Searching for the Moon

Shannon Clark's rambles and conversations on food, geeks, San Francisco and occasionally economics

Connectivity, Hackerspaces, and influential people

Posted by shannonclark on September 29, 2008

In the past few days a half-dozen or so of people I knew back in high school have connected with me via Facebook, as we have been catching up on nearly 20 years of our lives it is amazing both how much and how little has changed. In nearly all cases i immediately could recognize them from their posted photos and so far at least i haven’t been overly surprised by their choices of careers or educations. I suspect that via Facebook as it continues to grow I’ll reconnect with even more of my oldest friends.

On the front of making new friends I learned about a very cool new project here in San Francisco, Noisebridge which has just (as in earlier today) signed a lease on a commercial space here in San Francisco where they will be opening up an open HackerSpace for everyone to enjoy and use as a base from which to build and create amazing hacks. While I don’t know if I’ll be active enough to pay a large monthly fee to support the space, I plan on doing what I can to support them – and hopefully as a result may finally get around to doing far more hacking than I have of late. Including perhaps exploring how to hack my largish collections of conference schwag and old electronics into something more interesting and useful (or at least fun).

On a more serious note I hope to participate in more hackerish spaces and events to expand my personal network in still further directions. In the past few days I have been thinking a great deal about who I know, what I do with my friends (or more accurately don’t do) and what I really would like to be spending more time (and to the extent I have it money) on doing.

A few of the things that I realized I am not doing to the extent that I would really like, and to the extent that they are in fact important to me, is I have not been anywhere nearly as active in an arts and literary scene as I would like. I want to get out to art galleries and openings, start to the extent that I can afford it to collect art, to make more of my own (for example finally print my best photos of the past years). I want to attend live theater and other shows, go to even more literary events and readings and in short spend more time around others who share my tastes and cultural interests.

Sure, i am a geek and like technology, but I am a geek about many different fields. In high school besides all my honors science and math classes I took as many (perhaps more) honors history and english classes and I was an editor of the school literary magazine (which I’m proud to say won a national award that year for design). In college I did performance art, attended tons of live theater and shows, hung out in amazing art scene cafes and bookstores, wrote poetry and had a great time – and had friends with whom to share those interests and explorations. But in the past decade or so I have not had friends with whom to share my loves of art, design, poetry (of some forms), writing, theater and other arts.

My tastes are complex, I like certain types of literary writing – This American Life for example and related works of literary non-fiction. But I generally do not like the fiction of the New Yorker (read it each week hoping that I will like the story but rarely do) and though I feel I should, I haven’t every really gotten entirely into McSweeney’s though I love the physical design of each issue. Sure I’m a huge science fiction and fantasy fan, but I love many other genres and my own writing (and interest in writing) tends towards the fairly serious – if with more plot than most “mainstream” fiction.

In terms of art I tend to like certain types of design driven art – I prefer art that is physically pretty vs. art that is only confrontational. I have collected a lot of small works of art – art books for example, though I don’t yet have a good way to display them. If I had the money I would love to collect a lot of visual arts and perhaps select sculptures. At the highest end probably my favorite artist is Juan Miro. When I was in chicago I attended serious art fairs a few times each year – by serious I mean the types of fairs where you could have bought a large, original Juan Miro if you happened to have had a spare $1.5M or for less works by many living artists.

Also this week i am amused by the release of the BusinessWeek 25 Most Influential People on the Web a list on which I know nearly half of the members, have been to parties at some of their homes in fact. And even the people I don’t know personally, I know that in nearly every case friends of mine do, in fact, know them (and work for/have worked with/invested in them). A simple reminder of why I moved to the Bay Area.

This could be one of the most critical weeks in American (and world) history in terms of the financial markets, I plan on spending this week working on what I can do to weather the storm – how I can generate revenues for my advertising network and/or other revenue streams to support myself and projects i am working on in the potentially turbulent times ahead.

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