six and a half months gone by,
not a post to write
the pudgy capitalist slave stirs in the early morning, nervously twitching and itching to unveil his prized machine. the machine that he toiled for in his past. the machine he is so outwardly proud of yet generates no inward satisfaction. the snow falls like rain on this morning. his machine is primed to the best of its half-assed manufactured ability. and all it does is drag him and constrain him. it sloshes the snow around like water in a bath tub. and he doesn't have to put his back into it. the putt and couch of black smoke contaminates the perfectly cold air . but he still sees the value in using a shovel. his now 9-o-clock shadow beginning to show, a patch of snow like a bird's nest on his head. maybe he'll stop and look. watch the rain fall slightly slower, slightly colder than he's used to. watch a particle stop moving as it grabs hold to the fresh coat beneath it. listen to his child in her bewilderment, playing in endless devotion with the snow and space around her. maybe he'll turn the machine off. to give it a moment's rest, allow it to feel the warmth of the cold around it, allow the air to be still in its audible vibrations and dissipate the foul stench that has hung low around it.
And when he gives up the sky will cover it all again. a blank slate, another take, to do what he must.
made some burritos this morning with jasso and gavin and ben, nick came over too then we went kiteboarding on briggs. not too much success.
Felt much better today. The whatever it was is pretty much gone, just got tubes full of mucous for a bit. Lethargic in the morning, read a bit of catcher in the rye and talked to good people.
We got lunch and ate ma po tofu. The mouth numbing peppercorns are really interesting. They're not spicy at all, and they don't numb your mouth either. They have a distinctive flavor and tingling that spreads over your entire mouth. Not anywhere near burning sensation, just tingling. The flavor is strong, in the same way that cloves are strong, but less pungent. Lots of garlic, and less spicy than I thought it'd actually be. Translates to: "pock-marked grandma tofu", apparently named after some old lady's recipe.
Surprise shipment of pcb's came in today, so I populated the boards and made a cool stop-motion animation.
Then we went out for dinner and walked about 40 minutes to a huge plaza at the civic center. Busted out my kite and flew in the wee hours of the morning. The policeman stationed there really liked the kite, but didn't want to fly it. Kinda light wind. Lots of people rollerblade in the plaza at all hours of the day. A group of three were interested, so I taught one of them how to fly without being able to communicate verbally. He learned really quick, and taught one of the others himself. Really cool to see teaching and learning work like that. Turns out they were cooks at some restaurant alex and i will try and score a free meal from in the future. Took some night photos. HDR ones too.
Today I looked at a map of Shenzhen. It's a large area, about the same size as LA. I started orienting myself and learning the streets around Chegongmiao.
Alex and I went down to the hardware district to find a small piece of corrugated steel roofing to do some RF shielding testing. We mount some of the panels directly onto the corrugated steel roofing, and we were wondering if that blocked any of the GSM cell signal.
Along the way, there were more dystopian vistas. Antenna spires atop cheap housing cathedrals. Juxtaposition of bright lights with unkempt infrastructure slightly overrun with vines, tropical vegetation, and settled pollutants from the air. I found a small path that led up a hill overlooking a grid terminal. Real Glass insulator pucks. We navigated through a couple barbed wire fence and found a grove of ten banana and papaya trees.
On the way home we went climbing in a bouldering gym above 100 badminton courts. Shuttlecocks asynchronously arcing in the still air.
I made it to shenzhen. Alex picked me up at the airport in hong kong, where we took a taxi to the northern border and buzzed over to his apartment.
I'm temporally disoriented.
Woke up and shot the sun rising. I love the dystopian blue they use on buildings. There was a subterranean explosion this morning, they're working on a new subway line.
Alex showed me the ropes around his hacker's den, we played around with his hardware for a bit then went over to seeed to talk prototypes.
I crashed in the middle of the meeting, jetlagged.
the murals in seeed were inspired by a tour of senior house, but I don't have pictures of them.
there were some pretty cool cardboard displays and tables in the lobby, though.
Eric took us to play soccer with some of his seeedlings. It was interesting playing with people that I couldn't understand. They made a lot less noise than I, almost no yelling or cheering or clapping. the moon disappeared at some point and a couple stars came out. The pollution isn't all that bad.
Alex and I got some jujube (Zao) and a purple towel at walmart, where they sell frogs and musk turtles.
Lots of discussion on the maker movement today. Apparently the maker mentality in China is heavily focused on money - starting businesses, selling designs - to the point where hacker/makerspaces are no longer functional as centers for creativity, exploration, and learning, but have become incubators. The Chinese government is pushing to start thousands of makerspaces, but they aren't living up to their potential. Likewise, the maker movement in general is not living up to its potential. The movement has been encouraging guided kit construction more and more, to the point where people are afraid to stray from kit directions or paradigms (the most heinous of which is the shield paradigm). We need to stop teaching people how to snap black boxes specifically designed to mate together, and instead teach them how to tear apart anything they see, to learn to understand how things work, so they are the masters of their own creations.
After cooking some tasty dinner while listening to the blues, esther and I whipped out a solarpocketfactory kit and made two 2.5V cells on playing cards.
It goes like this: you put some copper tape on either side of the card you super glue the raw cells together with small drops, stacking the bottom of one on the top of another (each cell should put out ~ 0.5V in broad daylight) test the cells electrically to make sure they work solder the two 2.5V cells in series to make one 5V cell encapsulate in EVA and PET between two sheets of kevlar you're done!
It was a load of fun - we even hooked the cell up to a seeedstudio lipo-rider pro to solar charge a battery!