Older blog entries for rachel (starting at number 25)

Hey ho, remember me? I have blue hair now. At least, it was blue before Burning Man; it's a kind of blue-silver-gray camoflage pattern now. I think I like it.

BM rocked the known universe, surprise. It was my hardest Burn yet, and the best. The bunch of people I camped with - Moonbase Nevada - were just awesome; mostly newbies, but all perfectly in tune with the city and with each other. We'd head out into the night separately and all find each other somewhere out on the playa at 3 in the morning.

And the art this year was just beautiful: the Hearth - a 20- foot high heart made of recycled metal with a furnace inside it; a trapeze suspended inside a rib cage; a garden of rebar hung with bells and bottles to catch the wind; another rebar garden, of tripods with lights buried at their bases. And the usual giant lasers, twin Tesla coils, Viking ships, glowing Playa fish and so forth. Walking around Black Rock is like walking into a short story by Borges. It's full of wonders. Wonderful.

And then I came back. (Thud.) I was fascinated to read Eric's comments on Linus. Burning Man and lkml are tackling similar problems right now. As things scale up, infrastructure takes a beating. To be non-ironic for a minute - and you must realize this isn't easy for me - this is the question that's occupied most of my attention for the last two years. How can we organize ourselves to tackle huge projects without coercing or exploiting anybody? Anyone? Anyone? Bueller?

LWCE tomorrow and Wednesday. I'll be at the keynotes and the Gnome press conference. If you have exciting Linux stories to tell, please come find me. We can go out for churros.

Peter, you have great taste in music. One half of B(if)tek is the wildly gifted Kate Crawford, a colleague of mine at the451. Holy small world, Batman!

In other Jesus-but-my-friends-are-talented news, San Franciscan theatre lovers might want to see the current production of Deep Space by Alex Johnston. I won't say it's as entertaining as spending the evening drinking with Alex - nothing else is - but it's a pretty damn good play.

Last night I dreamed that someone - I think it may have been Phil - was standing in front of a red brick wall trying to sell me on Piranha. I kept thinking, "But it's Red Hat, not red brick."

No churros, though.

Last night I dreamed I bought a churro.

Flying down to Def Con tomorrow. If any of you 3l33t hax0r d00dz want publicity, I'll be the short Australian with the spiral-bound notebook and the faintly alarmed expression.

Finished The Making of the Atomic Bomb. It's astonishingly good. If you read it, make sure you have a bottle of wine and a reassuring SO around when you get to the Hiroshima chapter. I'd read John Hersey's book, but nothing could have prepared me for spending all this time inside the heads of Oppenheimer and Groves and learning to respect them -- then walking around the ruined city facing the consequences.

The whole book -- written in 1985 -- is a plea for openness and the free exchange of information in science and technology. I had some revelations about the fundamental interconnectedness of things. Fr'instance, I think it's interesting that Vannevar Bush is chiefly famous for three reasons: for his work on the Manhattan Project, for the legend that he was the head of Majestic-12, and for writing As We May Think.

Salonslaught, heh, I wish I'd thought of that. Hey everybody, sorry for bringing about the end of civilization as we know it. At least I managed to annoy God.

Having fun in Monterey, chatting to ubergeeks, hunting out sushi bars. I'm reading Richard Rhodes' The Making of the Atomic Bomb at the moment, which is kind of a mixed blessing; completely brilliant and absorbing, but even in paperback, very, very heavy. I'm carrying it with me everywhere, and it's like packing around a baseball-sized lump of neutron star. Fortunately, I'm nearly finished. Unfortunately, I'm nearly finished. Fortunately, I have the sequel.

Unfortunately, I have the sequel in hardback.

Incidentally, Napster was Shawn Fanning's nickname in high school, after he got an extremely short haircut. Just in case, y'know, anyone was still wondering about that.

Okay, so I was distracted there for a minute.

Had a great deal of fun at Usenix, running around with Evil Genius Matt Crosby and finally getting to meet all sorts of interesting people, like Rob Pike, Jim Gettys, Greg Rose, Evi Nemeth and Miguel. I got so caught up in BOFs and things that I never made it out to the zoo, which was a little disappointing as I've been a Hua Mei groupie for nearly a year. Luckily the hotel had Hua Mei merchandise, so I bought an official mug. I'm a good little consumer, yes I am.

Otherwise: work work work work work. Startup fever turns out not to be the acute delirium I expected; instead, it's this chronic low-level anxiety. Reminds me of the weeks before university finals, except that I don't get to sit exams then take three months off. See, this is exactly what I'm talking about, I can't believe I'm actually getting nostalgic for my finals. The low point of the month had to be when a PR flack who shall not be named interrupted an interview to say: "This isn't vaporware, you know. All the really technical journalists we've spoken to have seen the need for it..." Gee, thanks. I think I'll go and stick my head in this bucket of water over here.

"Say, what's Rach doing?" "Not sure, she seems to be washing her head." "Is this another one of those obscure references to Hitchhikers' Guide to the Galaxy?" "Uhh, I think so." "That girl needs to get out more." "Yes she does."

On the very hot night - Tuesday night - I dreamed that I was in a shallow doze and kept waking up. But when I woke up for real - if that's what this is - I realized that my dream had been a big, confused web-surf, in which "waking up" had meant clicking back to the Linux Journal home page.

Dream spam. Bah. This looks like the work of Don Marti.

On the bright side, I just found a copy of Paul Fussell's The Great War and Modern Memory, which I've wanted for ages. It's a relief. I've been feeling a bit lost. I had a great run with Patrick O'Brien's Aubrey-Maturin series and Jane Smiley's Horse Heaven. Since then I've been trying to get stuck into Graves' Lawrence and the Arabs or Nabokov's Sebastian Knight, but neither of them have grabbed me yet.

Nabokov will get me in the end. He always does.

I have the depositions in the DeCSS case printed out and sitting in front of me, and my colleagues are enjoying a good chuckle at my expense. The stack of paper is three inches high. So far I've read Jack Valenti (one inch), who says he knows nothing, nothing. As I was reading it, I kept thinking of Gates' videotaped deposition in the antitrust case. Then Eben Moglen called and said "Didn't it remind you of Gates in the antitrust case?"

Two inches' worth of dry legal document to go.

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