dream of Free TV

I dreamed that Downhill Battle had started some kind of free culture television station, that was striking fear into the hearts of evildoers everywhere. They had gotten some kind of TV studio through grants, and they were building it up into a juggernaut.  And it was changing everything… all of those people who watch TV but don’t go to free culture websites, who don’t listen to podcasts, etc., it was reaching them all. Which was like the entire nation. I’m not sure how they got the show into people’s homes, maybe they partnered up with TiVo or MythTV/Torrentocracy or something. The shows were just people, people who were tired of being passive, and it was so beautiful that I wanted to cry.

Me in the news

Today there are 3 articles related to me online, two in the Swarthmore Phoenix, and one on Keystonepolitics.com

– The one that I’m most proud of is the first installation of my tri-weekly column called “Peer to peer”: Swarthmore ITS an ally in quest for freer society

UPDATE: Eric Behrens of ITS responds.

– I was kind of frightened by the Nelson-worship in this article, The Nelson in you.  This was a positive, friendly, and well-written article about Free Culture Swarthmore, but I’m not sure how I feel about my leadership role being emphasized so heavily.

The KP Interview: Nelson Pavlosky, Founder of FreeCulture.org – This one took me FOREVER. The reporter asked me to respond to all of these questions, and some of them were really hard! And since my responses were going to be printed verbatim I had to put in a lot of time making them pretty. I’m glad I did it, as I answered a lot of questions in writing that I never had to answer before, but in the future I think I’ll try to make the reporters do more of the work πŸ˜‰


“I know the best reason why we should call it GNU/Linux… so that Richard Stallman can get on with his life.”

Sarah had a pearl of wisdom the other day about the Linux vs. GNU/Linux naming controversy: “I know the best reason why we should call it GNU/Linux… so that Richard Stallman can get on with his life.” And Sarah is right… in one e-mail exchange with RMS, I was trying to make a point, but I accidentally said “Linux” instead of “GNU/Linux”, and he focused on telling me what I already knew, which is that “GNU/Linux” is ideologically superior, rather than responding in more depth to my point. It’s a waste of RMS’s time for a smart, creative, influential man like him to go around repeatedly telling people the same thing over and over again. In the words of ESR, “Hackers (and creative people in general) should never… have to drudge at stupid repetitive work, because when this happens it means they aren’t doing what only they can do β€” solve new problems.”

I realized recently that this somewhat applies to me as well, even though I’m not much of a hacker and I’m certainly not as useful as Richard Stallman (yet). I tell a lot of the same stories over and over again. This is good, insofar as through practicing I become good at telling these stories, and it’s also more interesting for people to hear about, say, the Diebold case from my own mouth. But there is one particular story which I am tired of telling, because it makes me angry every time I tell it, and I want to put it in the past. I’m going to write it down once on my blog, and then in the future whenever it looks like I’m going to have to tell the story of how I was defeated in a student government election through sabotage and sleaziness, I will simply point people to that post, and carry on with my life.

That will be the subject of my next entry: The Rise and Fall of the Action Party.

UPDATE: OK, maybe not the next entry, but it’s coming soon and I’ll link to it from here.

Because the air outside will make / our cells divide at an alarming rate

Sarah in bed with her Powerbook
Sarah in bed with her Powerbook
Sarah is so chill… she’s getting all of her laptop work done without getting out of bed. I brought her breakfast in bed, you can see the OJ glass off to the side πŸ™‚

As I may have mentioned, Sarah Brown is my hero for letting me stay in her apartment for the week… waking up here is wonderful, I love her decor. I think today we’re just going to stay inside, I’m going to work on reading through and proofreading the Public Knowledge website. She’s going to work on her law school application essays. Wish her luck! (Sarah said that she wants her name linked to the Public Knowledge mailing list signup page so that we can googlebomb it… I don’t know if that’s really the best place to find information about her, but you should definitely sign up now!)

For those who I haven’t already told, I’m doing my winter “externship” with Public Knowledge, a public interest advocacy group for free culture issues based in Washington DC. (An externship is like an internship, except it’s only for a week or so over winter break.) This was actually a “create-your-own-externship”, because I missed the deadline for officially applying for an externship through Swarthmore’s Career Services office, so I just IMed a few people and invented one independently. Fortunately, one of my New Year’s resolutions was to be on time and not procrastinate, so that won’t be a problem anymore ^_^ *knocks on wood* Even more fortunately, I’m planning to crash the official externship party in DC with Lisa, so I’m getting all the benefits without all of the paperwork! Circumventing red tape makes life better.

I’ve written some songs, I’d like to write more

My guitar in front of my piano at home

I have managed to complete a few songs since I started playing guitar in 8th grade, but I’d like to turn all of the parts of songs I have lying around into… finished pieces πŸ˜‰ Each song has taken about a year to write, so it will be a long time before I have an album’s worth of stuff at this rate. Usually the music comes to me first on my guitar, and eventually I hear a line or two of the lyrics, and build the rest of the lyrics off of that inspiration. You can hear a few of my recordings at Nelson’s Music.

Therefore, even though I’ve done this as part of my 43 things, it is still on my to-do list! For those who don’t know, 43 things is kind of like Flickr or del.icio.us, except instead of sharing photos or bookmarks, you share to-do items. Neat concept, can’t wait to see how it evolves!

New Year’s resolutions

I resolve to be on time for things from now on, including personal appointments, classes, and deadlines.  That started with being on time for FC.o’s conference calls, and successfully picking up Lauren when I said I would and dropping her off before her curfew.  Look, see how happy she was that I dropped her off on time!  Punctuality makes everyone happy!

Lauren in lights

Of course, I was late to the last FC.o conference call, but that was because I had to pick up my parents when the cops towed our car, so I’m not sure how much that was my fault…

I also resolve to post to a blog every day that I have internet access.  This means that the FC.o blog counts, and if I guest blog somewhere else, that counts too.  It also counts if I post privately or friends-only, so you may not see every entry.  But mostly it means that you’ll be seeing updates here more frequently πŸ™‚

New Year’s Eve party in Mahwah

Me, Kamraan, and Kim went to visit Kim’s friends from Columbia for New Year’s Eve. It was a pretty good time, I met some nice people, but Kim’s party last year was better because I knew most of the people there. All of the friendly girls at this party seemed taken. I watched the ball drop on TV, played some pool with Kamraan, fooled around with my new camera a bit, watched some of Garden State again, and then hit the sack. Not a bad evening, but not particularly exciting either.

While we were waiting at Lia(?)’s house before going to the party, I saw Megan Slankard on this “How Not To Dress” makeover show. I got to talk to her in person a little when she played at the EFF Freedom Fest while I was interning with the EFF in San Francisco, so I felt happy to see her on TV! I felt bad, however, because basically her style before going on the show was just jeans, a t-shirt, and Converse sneakers, and I thought she looked fine in that laid-back style. The makeover people wanted to put her in these funky dresses and make her wear high-heels (which will screw up her back no doubt), and I’m sure Megan was happy to be on the show because she got $5000 to spend, but I just didn’t like them harshing on her style. You should choose your own style, and I think it would be great if she became famous without having to dress like a pop princess.

In other news, I am in love with my Konica Minolta DiMage X50! Great little compact 5 megapixel camera: the internal zoom and a sliding lens-cover that is also an on-switch make it a good pocket camera. You will be seeing a lot more pictures on my blog in the future πŸ˜‰