The only not yet checked point on my check list to evaluate the completion of the program is the »Wrap-up blogpost«. I guess the title is intimidating me. On the other hand check lists are calming me down. The most if they are all checked. Done. The best moment to open up a brand new check list (to-do list). It is a banal platitude that every end is an beginning at the same time. In the case of Outreachy (former OPW now officially opened up to all kind of underrepresented groups in FOSS) this however feels more fitting to me then in many other cases. But even in the middle (or at the beginning) of somewhere, there is always a good point in taking a break, sit and write down. Try to clarify some of the gut feelings and endless monologue inside your head and put parts of it into words down on paper or screen. And for me this is not to explain the world to anybody, but rather as Joan Bolker puts it: »You will learn how to write in order to think, to encourage thought, to tease thought out of chaos or out of fright.«
Transparency and complexity
This is not going to be about financial markets. Read More
Lots of input sometimes makes me silent. And it makes me a little sad, when it’s over. Like a junkie I immediately start to miss all the excitement, that was flickering around and in me before. The crystal clear aha-moments, I had, become nebulous or I seem not to remember then clearly anymore. This is frightening. It’s not too frightening anymore though, as it is not new to me. When you talk to people, or sometimes listen to talks, there sometimes are this magic moments, when something seems to become very lucid all of a sudden. And not only by reason, but also your body is responding to this, in resonance. It’s a pure optimistic inspiring feeling. (And you don’t necessarily have to share it with the person(s), who provoked it) Usually this doesn’t last to long for me. I’m probable not an enthusiast. (This maybe also keeps me definitely from being ideologically) But apart from this, I love all enthusiastic moments in my life! And even if it appears, they are not long-lasting (in the same intensity), I’m convinced these are the most powerful motives to reconsider your attitudes and to find your own words for the things that matter to you. So I’ll definitely need some time to digest all this. But I’ll be back to write about it in my own words then…
A couple of weeks ago, when I decided to register for volunteering on the conference, I did so, because, I wanted some »hands-on« connections with the people organizing the event. I also thought helping out, would make me feel more involved, than just visiting. It was said, it would be possible to volunteer before or/and during the conference. I felt it would be too much for me to focus on work and content during the conference, so I told them, I was ready to help out only before the conference, with whatever is necessary. And I meant it. I was not expecting any challenging work or a special learning experience, I was ready to fill in as needed. But after two days in the office I’m a bit tired of helping out and I had to ask myself why that could happen. I tried to write down some ideas.
Yesterday I spent most of my day folding T-Shirts in the fsf-office downtown for a good cause. When I decided to leave the office for a walk along the sea side I was fooled by the blue sky and sunny weather outside and entered the streets with spring-like expectations. Instead I was hit by a polar-like icy wind channeled between the huge buildings in such speed, that it was clearly not up to me, which direction to take. I was freezing more badly then I did during this whole mild Berlin winter so far and soon came to give in my plans to stroll. This year’s Boston winter is talk of the town. I haven’t met anybody, who did not tell me about the immense snow fall (breaking the All Time Seasonal Snow Record just on sunday before my arrival). So compared to what the Boston citizens have been to the past months, it probably feels quite spring like already. This occurred to me, when I met a teenager in basketball shorts and tank top standing next to a heap of snow, a man jogging with no shirt along the riverside, many girls wearing sneakers with naked ankles and somebody with a half liter cup of coke (with ice, I assume). Squeezed into the T-line (metro) during the rush hour, as biking or walking is no alternative, I found Boston people a lot more cheerful, than I would expect the people in my home city in a similar situation. Maybe, besides the said american friendliness, it’s because they found some warmth.
The jetlag caught me. In the morning, I was so excited about all my impressions, I couldn’t wait to write them down. But now my head refuses anything but sleep. Patience. ~
New morning. ~
Yesterday morning Dr. Temple Grandin was in conversation with Rosalind Picard at the MIT MediaLab. This was maybe the most appealing public talk, I attended so far. Temple Grandin, a Lady and a Cowboy in one, is an intriguing straightforward person. The way she speaks, makes me not only think about what she is saying – and this is very worth thinking about it – but also about the way I am speaking. It’s like watching her expressing herself makes lots of the implicit invisible parts of conversations visible. I haven’t seen Rosalind Picard in other public talks. But I would bet she appeared much more confused (but very kind) yesterday, than she usually does. She felt a bit uncomfortable not pulling the strings as she is probably used to. This was not a convention, this was a happening. But Temple Grandin was not provocative in any way, she was just very slightly »playing by different rules«. So slightly that it was even hard to tell, what exactly it was. It was a lot easier to feel it, than to name it. Maybe a slightly wrong moment to start answering (though not interrupting), a way of answering, a frank reply that she does not understand a certain question and else. But more important, than analyzing the tiny interventions Temple Grandin performed, was to sense a completely different atmosphere in the setting and in the audience. An atmosphere much less personally detached or professionalised (what often seems to go along) as we are familiar with in similar settings. An atmosphere, that finally led to the »maybe the best audience-member question ever« – »How do I love myself?«. Thank you Temple Grandin!
I took a plane from Berlin via Paris to Boston. This sounds as simple, as it is amazing. Crossing half of the world, investing less than a day in time. First there were landscapes of clouds, hiding if we were flying over land or sea already. But later the sky cleared up and I could see the ocean as far as I could see anything. I was trying to spot a whale (my son told me this should not be a problem, because you can see the fountain from it’s breath), but there were only waves and waves. I could not resist watching a movie with Charlotte Gainsbourg, I passed the movie poster the whole last week biking to my office. But when I watched out of the window the next time, I could see Greenland (the real time flight map was telling me it is Greenland), huge snow- and ice-covered mountains in the distance. And from this moment on, I was the person in the plane pressing its nose against the window, while everybody else had its windows closed and was watching the screen instead. I’m not a frequent transatlantic flyer. I flew only once in my life to the USA before. With my high school English class, about twenty years ago. It’s ok to be amazed. By ring-shaped lakes, snake-like rivers and glossy mountains, by the length of the day (flying with the sun), the seize of the plane and everything else.
I’m going to Boston! Part of my Outreach program is a travel fund, which shall give you the possibility to visit at least one conference or other occasion connected with the free and open software community live. I chose Libre Planet, taking place at the MIT at march 20/21. I was curious to visit the MIT Medialab for a long time, but never had the chance to do so. I want to sketch some of my impressions here …