things i do

facebook interest recommendations crack me up

Monday, June 7th, 2010

awww, did you figure those out all on your own, honey? that’s sweet…
[chuckles softly, amused by the world, and sips tea]

back on track(s) – kynthia’s year in music, 2009

Wednesday, December 30th, 2009

As promised (and much discussed as a concept) in my previous post, I present the soundtrack for my year. I prefer this approach to tromping you through a verbal summary, and hopefully, so do you. I tend to do a lot of verbal tromping during the rest of the year. :)

So go listen to some music and drink some cider and make snow angels, if you are fortunate enough to have the cooperation of mother nature to that end.

Yo ho ho.

<3 Kynthia (click below to download)

Part One
Part Two

    [hanging out in the Springs and Boulder]

  1. Up Up Up Up Up Up – Ani DiFranco
  2. Disappearin’ Ink – Stephen Brunette
  3. Chicka Chicka Boom Boom
  4. The Cartoon Song – Jack
  5. [off to San Diego, at last!]

  6. Fidelity – Regina Spektor
  7. Say You Will – Kanye West
  8. Packt Like Sardines in a Crushd Tin Box – Radiohead
  9. Naked As We Came – Iron & Wine
  10. Theme from Battlestar Galactica (2007)
  11. Will You Be There – Michael Jackson
  12. Pizzahut Tacobell – Das Racist (Guy Michael-Barletta Remix)
  13. Ain’t No Rest for the Wicked – Cage the Elephant
  14. L O S T
  15. In or Out – Ani DiFranco
  16. [brief northern interlude/water, wine, and a wedding]

  17. Me Gustas Tu – Manu Chao
  18. Comes Love – Billie Holiday
  19. [the twin spirits of crisis and opportunity nudge me away from San Diego sooner than expected]

  20. Apres Moi – Regina Spektor
  21. Chicago – Sufjan Stevens
  22. Born of a Button – Erik Pukinskis
  23. Evolve – Ani DiFranco
  24. All I Want – Joni Mitchell
  25. [wherein I was saved from a foul mood in Black Rock City by an unexpected meeting and had the chance to see the city through virgin eyes]

  26. God Only Knows – The Beach Boys (Aeroplane Remix)
  27. [soaking in hot water, pine trees, starlight, and slide guitar]

  28. On the Radio – Regina Spektor
  29. Hummingbird – Wilco
  30. The Sailor’s Grave on the Prairie – Leo Kottke
  31. White Summer/Black Mountain Side – Led Zeppelin
  32. [writing 50,000 words]

  33. Violin Concerto in E Minor Op. 64/Allegro molto appassionato – Itzhak Perlman/Daniel Barenboim (Felix Mendelssohn/Sergey Prokofiev)
  34. [the hanged/burning man means surrendering to flow]

  35. Teardrop (Theme from House, M.D.) – Massive Attack
  36. Wishful Thinking – Wilco
  37. Birds – Kate Nash

practicality was never a part of my advertising campaign

Tuesday, July 28th, 2009

so, some of this is liable to have bled through my facebook status updates and such, if you’re one of those people who watches facebook all day, or you’re like, stalking me, but otherwise it’s probably hazy at most, so let me just go ahead and say it straight:

i quit my job in san diego, and i’m moving north to santa cruz.
i’ll most likely be there until the end of the year, but i don’t really know for certain, because i’m not really going to finish planning that part until after burning man.

i know!
you didn’t even know i had a job!
and if you did, it’s probably because you were otherwise privy to some of my first month and a half in san diego, wherein i was agonizing about money, because gainful employment in any capacity was starting to feel dangerously elusive, and i had to admit that picking myself up and moving across the country to a town where i knew only a handful of people and had no plan for survival beyond the promise of some design brainstorming with erik and the horizon of my initial two-month sublease, IN THE MIDDLE OF A RECESSION, was maybe a little bit less than the smartest plan i could have come up with.

[see post title]

but then, just as i was investigating escape routes, i landed a nearly full-time job with a tiny little research chemical supply house, doing what was supposed to be mostly office work with a touch of web design, but ended up being mostly web design with a touch of office work. the pay was not really fair for the work i was doing, and the amount of time it took, particularly when i included the commute, was really making it difficult to continue to work on other projects i actually cared about, so i was feeling wary, like a horse who let herself get saddled because there were apples involved, but now she isn’t so sure she likes the look of this trail…

but i told myself there was no reason to bolt – it was time to knuckle down, and quit whining, and be grateful to have a job at all. i had a lot i wanted to do, but what i needed most was the chance to relax into having a routine for a while, because my nerves were beginning to fray from the uncertainty of being on the road so long, and my health was beginning to suffer.

so i found a neat house with nice artsy folks and a dog and a big yard and a room for rent, and i focused on the positive sides of my new job (the people were friendly, and troubleshooting their website was educational, and the agreement was only until december, so i wasn’t too worried about them expecting me to stay for all time), and i tried to enjoy the summer. i went to the beach, and a padres game, and turned 30, and began making plans to get certified to teach english abroad. a month passed, and over the weekend of the 4th, i traveled north to wine country for an old friend’s wedding.

the wedding gave me the chance to tell the “so, what are you doing?” story about 100 times, and meet some new friends, and spend a few mornings walking along dirt roads in a pine-scented valley that began each day blanketed in fog. it grounded me sufficiently that when i got back, sticking with my job seemed ridiculous and cowardly, and i resolved to just quit before burning man, instead of risking being fired when i asked for the time off, which was my ingenious current plan.

that same weekend, my mother’s partner went into the hospital.
his kidneys have been failing, and this time they found out that he is going to require a whole new level of home care. :(
right now my mom has some time off to be able to get used to the transition, but in the fall it will suck, and if i were to come and help with the cooking and stuff it would be a tremendous help, and i could live rent-free, and look for a part-time job in santa cruz, and have time to work on kwerk, and a kitchen full of food to play with.

and, as a complete bonus, i had been handed a pretty much fault-free way to quit my job, with no need to wait until burning man.
i could just walk away.

it was crazy, and since i know that i am susceptible to looking for excuses to do crazy things sometimes, i wanted to think it over, but it just felt like the right thing to do on a lot of levels, and when i told all of this to erik after he picked me up from the airport, the first thing he said was: funny thing, but this month is going to be crazy with sprout robot, so if you want part-time work during the transition, i could find stuff for you to do, and pay you a fair wage, so that would mean you would have another month of work, really, even if you quit tomorrow.

and that pretty much sealed it.

so here i am.

the last few weeks have been a wild ride, but i still feel good about the decision.

this week, i am trying to spend as much time as i can helping with sprout robot, and also deciding whether i have enough room in my car for the things i had with me plus the things erik has been kindly storing for me since last august, because if i don’t, i need a trailer.

i am leaving town at the end of the week.

as of today, i have one month, exactly, to ensure that all the bits and pieces are in place such that a kitchen will be equipped to feed 50 people for a week in the middle of the nevada desert.

i am frightened at times, but the wind on my back feels good.

border crossing

Monday, April 27th, 2009

last summer, i set out for southern california with the intention of setting down some semi-permanent roots in the san diego area by september. instead, i spent all my money on running a kitchen at burning man, and ran my energy bar down into the blinking red along the way.

the adventure was worth the risk, but i needed to recover, so i returned east to search for powerups, play some old mini-games i had already figured out pretty well, and develop my strategy a bit better. i learned a lot, and had a lot of fun, and felt very grateful for my friends.

i also thought quite a bit about the potential benefit of using games as a metaphor for life, and that may impact how i write for a while, so… fair warning.

last wednesday i arrived in san diego with a carload of assorted possessions, a two-month sublease on a room that is two blocks from the ocean, and a relatively well-defined concept for a web project that erik has agreed to work on with me for a while.

these are all very good things, and i’ve spent this weekend taking many deep breaths while looking out the window at the palm trees, listening to the birds, and trying to just let my new surroundings sink in.

i love california, but right now, bouncing back and forth between time zones as much as i am, i can’t help but marvel at how different it feels from the rest of the country when it comes to the simple mechanics of daily life.

when abundance can be taken as a given in life, strategies change.

whenever i’m here i feel like i’ve just been dealt a really great hand of cards, and at first it’s really fun to play it out and get a lot of points, but after a while it starts to get boring, and i start to wonder if maybe someone forgot to shuffle the deck…

for now, here i am, and my hand excites me.
i am good, but tired, and there are many stories to tell.
over the next few weeks i will try to figure out where to begin.

it is a dark and not at all stormy night…

Friday, November 2nd, 2007

every day i go through a little dance with myself in order to find the motivation to work on the things i really want to be doing right now even though i know i should also be spending more time focusing on making money.

i have spent a good bit of time in these past few months sticking my tongue out at the whole “making money” thing, and i think i’ve just about got the nyah, nyah bug out of my system. i can acknowledge that my current patterns are unsustainable (and waiting for an unknown uncle to bequeath me a castle is always best as fallback-plan rather than centerpiece-of-financial-portfolio), and that i don’t seem all that driven to find short-term work in portland for some reason, so i had kind of given myself an end-of-year deadline on deciding whether i am going to stay or move.

in that spirit, and with the “make money” script running as well, the other day i started applying for holiday work around town, but then i realized that i am going to be in florida for nearly a week in november, and i am most likely going back again for christmas, and there is really nothing on my calendar in portland for december other than “become progressively annoyed with the rain.” so…

i made the decision that i really should just give my notice on my apartment, move out at the end of the month, and pursue living arrangements that do not require me to pay rent until such time that i have secured gainful employment.

that decision made me feel good, but there remains a playful “i see your bluff, and i call” twinkle in my eye that the nyah, nyah bug has made difficult to see, and the fact that i am feeling about ready to lay down this hand does not at all mean that i am second guessing my game.

this summer has been very, very, good for me, and i am not so much walking away from the paths i have been teaching myself to walk as i am taking the time to prune and weed the garden that i am learning to plant as i go. that is the dance of finding motivation that began this post. it takes energy each day, but at some point, one message i always come to is “write more,” “write anything,” “write every single day.”

i was remembering this message this morning when kevin says to twitter he says:

WTF am I thinking?? I just signed up for NaNoWriMo.

and i says right back:

@kmakice WTF are you thinking, indeed?! I’M the one who should do that! In fact this is the first year i’m not too overcommitted. hmmm…

NaNoWriMo, you see, for those of you who have not followed the link yet, is a brilliant project wherein some folks try to get you to commit to writing a novel over the course of the month of November. NaNoWriMo is funspeak for “National Novel Writing Month”, and i realized when i was thinking about it today that the idea is really the same as the idea behind the one hour essay project: use the power of a community of accountability to get people to write stuff they already want to write anyway but usually make excuses about. NaNoWriMo is just on a way bigger scale and has a way better name. but NatEsWriHo doesn’t really roll off the tongue very well, so i think i can be forgiven.

anyway, the actual commitment is to write 50,000 words of fiction between November 1 and November 30, and i have thought about doing it for many years, but i always felt like grad school or work or the fact that i was out of the country and changing where i slept every few days were sufficient excuses to defer. today, however, i woke up saying to myself “you are going to keep working on your own projects for the rest of november” and “write more” so when kevin reminded me about NaNoWriMo and i realized that it was indeed november 1, it kinda felt like the universe could not possibly have hit me on the head with a bigger stick.

so what can i say?
i listened.
i have officially pledged to write myself a novel this month.
and move out.
and keep working on a web project with a friend of mine.
and go to florida for my mother’s ordination.
and enjoy some birthdays and turkey days with the fine, fine folk here in stumptown.
because of all the things that have kept me pulling for a reason to stay for a while, they are the only ones that ever really mattered, and i will miss them deeply and visit whenever i can.

so here’s to friends, freedom, and fifty-thousand fucking words.

because if i write a novel this month i will not even care if pirates ransack all of my possessions and leave me penniless on the plank.
i will do a swan dive and swim across the sea because i will be just that cool.


for erik, re: angles of approach, aka the bigger-than-burningman convo i wasn’t sure how to begin as we walked home across the UCSD campus with much in our arms and minds and hearts

Sunday, September 30th, 2007

because perhaps an online record should begin, no? considering we both aspire to full disclosure? ;)

other folks, please feel free to toss in any change your pockets care to share.

an excerpt from prometheus rising, by robert anton wilson, which i finally finished this morning after a multi-month hiatus:

Intelligence is the capacity to receive, decode, and transmit information efficiently. Stupidity is blockage of this process at any point. Bigotry, ideologies etc. block the ability to receive; robotic reality tunnels block the ability to decode or integrate new signals; censorship blocks transmission.
If intelligence could be increased, obviously solutions could be found more quickly to the various Doomsday scenarios threatening us.
If each scientist working on the energy-resources problem could double or triple his or her intelligence, work that would require 20 years might be done in six.
If human stupidity in general decreased, there would be less opposition to original thinking and new approaches to our old problems, less censorship and less bigotry.
If stupidity decreased, less money would be wasted on vast organized imbecilities such as the Arms Race, and more would be available for life enhancing projects.
There is nothing rationally desirable that cannot be achieved sooner if rationality itself increases. This is virtually a tautology, but we must consider the corollary:
Work to achieve Intelligence Intensification is work to achieve all our other sane and worthwhile goals.
Maurice Nicholl, physician, psychiatrist, student of Jung, Gurdjieff and Esoteric Christianity, wrote that “the only purpose in work on consciousness is to decrease the amount of violence in the world.” This is Public Health Problem Number One in the nuclear age, the age of overkill.
We are not talking about mere increase in linear IQ – third-circuit semantic cleverness. We are talking of also the kinds of right-brain intelligence that Nicholl acquired from Jungian neurogenetic research and Gurdjieff’s meta-programming techniques. We are talking of, say, Beethoven’s intelligence, which so disturbed Lenin, who could not bear to listen to the Appassionata (Sonata 23) because it made him “want to weep and pat people on the head, and we mustn’t pat them on the head, we must hit them on the head, hit them hard, and make them obey.” More of Beethoven’s intelligence is needed, desperately, to create a signal that the current Lenins cannot ignore, that will make them weep, and stop hitting heads.

you can still dance like nobody’s watching because i can’t see from here

Friday, August 17th, 2007

tonight, many of my friends are at sugar hill, a contra dance weekend just outside of bloomington that i attended for four years, and organized for two. it’s one of those things that, when you’re doing it, you can’t imagine not doing it, but i am learning that the worst part about living in portland is that flights in and out are expensive, so i couldn’t make the trip this year.

i’m thinking of everyone, though, and i hope the dance tonight was awesome, the stars were out for nightswimming, and tomorrow shines clear and not too humid. i’ll be there in the future whenever i can.


Wednesday, August 15th, 2007

i know i make a lot of references to stuff i want to post about but don’t, and you may or may not know that i think and scribble about many things that i don’t even manage to refer to obliquely in what survives the grueling gauntlet of distraction to make it into post form, but, fwiw, if you want a fun introduction to one of the concepts (arguably The concept) that drives the distribution of my interests across the worlds of design, the internet, cognitive science, developmental psychology, consciousness, mysticism, drugs, public health, and politics, have a listen to this radiolab episode on emergence.

it’s an hour long, but do what i do: listen while you wash the dishes. or eat. or put together a jigsaw puzzle of warholesque popart lips. ok maybe that last one’s not on your list, but tif and i had fun at the toy store the other day, so the gauntlet lengthens. :)

and sign up for their podcast while you’re at it, eh? folks do a damn fine bit of radio programming. even if the ideas aren’t new to you, i bet it’ll make you smile, and think a bit, and maybe ask me a question. and thus the march of progress continues. ;)

burning my draft cards

Thursday, August 2nd, 2007

here’s a fun chain of events for ya:

my mom emailed me an announcement that this american life is hiring a web director. and i consider myself qualified and available. whoa!

thinking about applying to work for an organization like TAL is an interesting mind game, because apart from a desire to sound sincere and professional without geeking out and being like “OMG!! i listen to your show all the time!! i even have the juice glasses!!”, there is also the consideration that actually? geeking out a little bit is probably advisable. because not only are they hiring you to be a web geek, but the whole culture of the show is geeky. i mean, if they interviewed someone who was talking about how it felt to apply to work for people she admired and she didn’t admit to freaking out a little bit? i don’t think they would believe her. ira would be like “come on… wasn’t it just a little weird? wasn’t it kind of like not wanting to wear the band shirt to the concert because that is totally lame but still thinking about the fact that you weren’t going to wear the band shirt, and being kind of proud that you were cool enough that you didn’t need to show off like that, and so you hoped that would somehow get across?”

and yeah, it is kind of like that. where does he come up with these questions?! ;)

but whatever, the mind shows its propensity to dizzy itself, and it is far too easy to get wrapped up in overthinking such matters.
i’ll just write them an honest letter and see what happens.
wish me luck!

in the meantime, however, i searched my blog for posts wherein i might have mentioned the show in the natural course of conversation. it has happened several times, actually, which does far more to show that i actually consider the show to be a part of my life than any assertions i could make at this point, so score one for blogging!

two of the mentions, however, were in unfinished draft form, and that got me thinking. the first post was about habeas corpus, and the date suggests that it was actually the first draft i posted after writing a REALLY LONG rant about a variety of things, including the decision that i should publish my drafts somewhere on the public record, if not on my main page.

well, that was a noble aspiration, and reading the habeas corpus post reminded me of why. i have this funny habit, you see, of almost finishing posts and then stopping because i can’t get the conclusion quite right. it’s really quite ridiculous, but it is the only way i have found to get myself to cross the hump of starting to write something without having to worry about perfecting it on the first pass. one of the reasons that the one hour essay project is such a compelling idea in my world is that i tend to bite off way more than i can chew in most of my writing. i want to somehow connect every idea i have to some larger law of the universe and also throw in an entertaining childhood anecdote, an obscure pop culture reference, and a puppy. such neatly bundled packages take time, however, and i simply can’t do that for every blog post i dream up, as much as i may wish otherwise. instead of just posting half-formed ideas or trying to chop things into smaller pieces, however, i end up with lots of posts about fluffy stuff, and a mess of unfinished posts that i can’t bear to delete, but also almost never get around to finishing.

SO. the one hour essay project is actually an attempt at the cutting things into smaller pieces approach, and i hereby redeclare my intentions to post all my drafts, which i had stopped doing at some point while traveling. you can read them via the blither and blather link in the header, or by clicking on drafts in my fancy tagcloud. i think that i will also make a little “current drafts” list in the sidebar, because that would be sweet, and make it easier for me to remember to edit them.

and to close, for those of you intrigued by my references to TAL posts, i offer the following reference list:

here’s to life in progress.

pencils down, essays up

Wednesday, August 1st, 2007

i started a little side project this month called “The One Hour Essay Project.”

it’s goal is to provide a structured space wherein people can spend one hour a month writing their response to a shared prompt, and then benefit from the feedback and discussion that is generated by others’ essays and comments. the essays are posted anonymously, and the short time limit is intended to both keep people from worrying about getting things perfect and make it easy to scrounge up time to participate.

i thought of the idea because i had too many things on my list of stuff i wanted to blog about, and never enough time to tackle the ones that i thought deserved the most attention. because you notice that most of the posts that get through are about food or random activities, right? ;)

anyway, it’s just getting started, and there’s a lot i want to to with the site, but the first batch of essays is up at: if you want to drop by and check ’em out. i won’t tell you which one i am. :)

i’m not sure yet how i’m going to handle recruitment and registration. it seems like there is an upper limit to how many essays are absorbable, but we might be able to break it into clusters or something… the response this month was already more overwhelming than i had anticipated, and only half of the people who replied ended up submitting, so i’m blessed with a healthy batch of guinea pigs, and i’m excited to see where it leads. drop a comment if you’re burning to play along and i’ll see what i can do. :)