November 2007

Empty streets at 3am

What do you want from my life, I ask myself.
Loading my questions like a shotgun.

Walking around in major cities in the middle of the night where there isn’t a soul around is quickly becoming one of my favorite activities. The newer the city to me, the emptier the streets, the quieter the air – the better. Tonight Vienna filled that role. I walked back from the Museumquartier to the place I’m staying which is some number of KM which I didn’t bother to convert to miles but more than one, less than two I think. It was beautiful. Street lights on, store lights out. Not a car in sight. There’s nothing to disappoint on walks like that. It’s you and the city and nothing else. No expectations of your own or someone else’s to live up to. No hopes, no dreams, no fears. Just the sidewalk and the night air. I can’t get enough.

I found a cool irish pub/vegan restaurant tonight which isn’t really that far and I think I might get into the habit of walking over there. I’ve been thinking a lot about expectations recently, and talking to friends about them when the topic finds it’s way into conversation. They are scary things that compound themselves. The ones we set on ourselves, the ones our friends/family/lovers set on us (and we set on them), and the ones we assumed they are setting on us. It’s seems harder and harder to enjoy today when you are focusing on tomorrow. I’ve spent a lot of this year trying not to think about tomorrow, and trying to forget about yesterday. It’s been working to some extent, but of course I drag everyone around me into that as well some not as willingly as others. Some too willingly.

Whitewashing the past is easier than you might think, to some extent anyway. Forgetting the lessons learned isn’t, but probably shouldn’t be so that’s OK. Not looking for something tomorrow is not quite as easy as I’d like it to be. Of course I’m scared of setting myself up for disappointment by betting on something I don’t even believe can happen, but I also don’t want to lose sight of what I have and can do today. Don’t even ask, I confuse myself with these vague circular ramblings so I’m sure I’m confusing everyone else too. The point is that finding something to make you smile today, right now, is the most important thing. It’s worth trying now and again. I think so anyway, I mean really, what’s the worst that can happen?

Less than a week

Vienna streets

It’s been less than a week since I left Los Angeles and much less than a week since I got to Vienna but it seems like muck longer than that on both counts. Man, people sure have a bad impressions of LA here, when people ask me where I’m from and I say LA it’s been pretty amazing how many people have negative reactions, almost all of which have never been there but instead have “heard all about it.” Yeah, and I’m sure that is all accurate too. Sorry I haven’t been posting here so much but if you’ve been following me on Twitter or Flickr you know I’ve been keeping those pretty up to date. I’m trying to be a bit more organized with the photos I’m taking so if you want to see photos of things around Vienna check out this set, and if you want Roboxotica photos specifically check out this set.

I was also a guest on monochrom’s Taugshow on Friday night and photos from that are here. I talked about blogs and metroblogging, and how it’s changing the world. When that goes online I’ll link to it for sure. Saturday I gave the opening talk at the English portion of the Roboexotica symposium about this years theme “Ghost in the Machine.” I drew the conclusion that similar to the concept of Koestler’s theory about how primitive man’s mind still lingers within our own modern and evolved minds and drives many of our actions, that online communities were the “ghosts” actually driving the decisions and actions of more modern and evolved websites, sometimes to the benefit of the companies behind them if they are smart enough to know that they aren’t that smart. The overall point I was making was that the companies that think they are smarter than their users are the ones that fail, the ones that accept the fact that their users are smarter than they are early on, and trust them to help lead the way, can only benefit from that insight. That said, many much smarter and more interesting people filled out the talks for the rest of the day.

So far Vienna has been very fun, hectic as hell, but I’ve been enjoying it. I’m looking forward to things calming down a little more so I can explore the city and see what it has to offer. I’ve met a handful of new friends already and I’m excited to hang out with them when we’re not rushing to meet some deadline or to make some event on time. I’m sure I’ll have more stories soon, better ones than this anyway.

24 hours in Vienna

If I had a list of things to do before I die, and if on that list was “get kissed by a girl I just met 24 hours after being in a country I’ve never been in before, without ever knowing her name” then tonight I’d be crossing that one off. Of course I don’t have such a list, but now I’m thinking it might not be a bad idea. Anyway as you might guess it’s been a fairly action packed day or so since I got into town. Here’s a bunch of photos I took at the Roboxotica 2007 opening event but a few things I’ve learned so far:

  • At some restaurants they will refuse to bring you water unless you order another beverage with a price tag.
  • At Starbucks, a large latte comes with only 2 shots
  • You can rent bikes on the street from automatic machines.
  • Pouring several gallons of Orange Juice and Vodka into a vintage cement mixer and then basically waterboarding someone with it may not be a smart idea, but it’s damn entertaining.

OK, it’s almost 4am here, I need to go to sleep. More news, photos, and even some video coming soon.

UPDATE!!! OK, two videos from roboxotica are now posted after the jump.

Where are the kangaroos?

In Vienna - at monochromJust checking in really quickly as finally made it to Vienna and I’m here at the monochrom offices (see photographic proof to the right) and trying to catch up on what’s been going on in the world since I left it to fly to the other side of it a few days ago. Maybe next time you jerks could just take a break and stop doing shit for a few days or something because there is just too much going on.

Now that I’ve caught up on my scrabulous games I need to try and finish my presentation for roboexotica. Speaking of, if anyone happens to have screenshots of old Fakester accounts on Friendster, pretty please let me know like right this very second or sooner. As a reward, here is something so cute you may very well die watching it.

I’m expecting zombies any second now

ORD at 2am

Ticketing mishaps, power failures, delays, reroutings, and a whole host of other chaos today has landed me here, Chicago O’Hare International Airport at stupid o’clock in the morning. I found wifi and power so I can occupy myself but the abandonedness of it all is pretty fantastic honestly. It’s a mix of creepy and cool, while still being super peaceful. The only sounds at all are the looped broadcasts coming through the PA every every few minutes about not leaving your bags unattended and about terror threats. Sounds you are used to only hearing when surrounded by crowds but there’s no one here at all and the recordings are just playing by themselves. It’s very 28 Days Later in a lot of ways – I just need a John Murphy soundtrack to kick in and I’d be set.

It’ll all be ruined in a few hours when people start showing up, but some of those people will be flying planes that will take me to Europe so I guess it’s OK. The end is very fucking neigh indeed.