Sunday, October 04, 2009

Validation and Ripples

So I was sitting out on the dock of the Charles River in Boston's esplanade (highly recommended) talking with my friend Jeff Lieberman. We were talking about the ripples from the boat that rode by a half mile away on the absolute other side of the river. They came in as small waves under our feet a couple minutes after the boat went by. But what we were talking about was how much these ripples are put out by all of our boats as we sail around our daily lives. We're not used to seeing or looking for these ripples, but they are there, everywhere. So this morning in pops Star Simpson to tell me about how we're going to swing this next Media Lab Tea (mini party thing) by forming the Yummi'ness Foundation and by making food and drinks that will make everyone in the lab feel alive (fresh juice, chai tea, nutritional yeast tofu on toothpicks...). Right so here I am telling you this story, and now you're watching the ripples go through you and maybe even into someone else? To top it off she show me this 16 minute video. "It's like Cafe Gratitude," she says. Well here it is. "Watch the first 2 minutes," she said, and so I say the same to you.

Note: I did not make this video or have any thing to do with it except watching it and passing it on.

Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Walking Through Walls... & Le Nature's

So today I get two beautiful little emails. The first one was from Brad Simpson about a dream with me in it. The funny thing was that at the same time he was having the dream he wrote me about, I was writing a generals proposal to do more or less what he was dreaming I was doing. Here's his dream email:

you can teach anything!

i had a totally amazing dream that you knew how to walk through walls, and the wall did this crazy ripple effect when you walked through them. and then you succesfully taught me and alec resnick how to do it as well. the trick was to put your fingertips on the wall first, and wait until the wall would "let" you pass in, it would start to sort of give way. thanks for teaching me how to walk through walls.

Meanwhile, I was at Joy Labs writing about how things like walls are more than just walls and if we can learn to see them the right way anything is possible with them. I was writing my goals for the next few years and how to accomplish them. I wrote them as notes to prepare myself to write a proposal for my generals exams. Here's the notes I wrote to myself while he was dreaming (at the same time):

Obtaining Limitless Vision: Learning to see every day life without limiting the possibilities of what we and our friends can become. This allows people to create their own world any way they imagine it and think of themselves as limitless and wonderful beings.

I want to help people learn to see the limitless possibilities of their everyday life. This means thinking without preconceived notions about what something is. These somethings include: your friends, trash, pencils, grandpa, trees, fridge food, rain, cats, t-shirts, play-dough, etc.

In "Last Child in the Woods," Louv says the loose components of nature itself are the world's biggest toolkit. I say Modern Nature has supplanted archetypal notions of nature. Modern Nature is both urban nature and personal nature. Urban nature includes wild and manmade. Personal means your hyperlocal environment is your actual real nature, not some picture of a mountain (unless that's where you live).

I plan to persue this in my PhD thesis by creating rituals, techniques, and tools for re'seeing and re'imagining the possibilities in our everyday lives. I will narrow the contexts to small and practical domains, like Drawdio does by only allowing musical notes as the output, while taking anything in your modern nature environment as the input.

For my generals, I would like to study how people make their view of the world (education/constructivism/constructionism/unschooling) with Mitch, how the everyday world can be transformed into textiles and interactive components can be woven in the fabric of life with Leah, and _______________ with ______________ (currently talking with Edith Ackerman and Nicholaes Roosevelt)

I thought this was a beautiful coincidence and it gave me a lot of confidence that I was on the right track. Around the same time I got a really interesting email about Le Nature's. I asked the author if I could share it and he said yes. I can't believe how much drama there is around this topic and that appreciation and information about what I wrote about Le Nature's continues to role in years later. Here's the letter about Le Nature's:

Hi Jay,

I was doing a search on breaking news about LeNature's and their scumbag management when I ran across your posting on ASS Water (funny as hell and very weird, all at the same time). Just thought you'd enjoy knowing that the former president, Greg Podlucky, and his henchmen are being indicted for their actions while at the helm of that shill of a company to the tune of $806 million.

Why am I interested in Podlucky? His dad took over the Jones Brewing Company in Smithton, PA back in the eighties, where my dad had worked for 35 years. He too deceived the government, scammed money, and ran that business into a premature demise. Sound familiar? Greg was actually an officer at Jones for a while, and his own dad fired him!

I'm not surprised that you were threatened by those juveniles, nor am I surprised that justice will eventually be served. The apple doesn't fall far from the tree, boy!

Really enjoyed your posting!

Best regards,
xxxxxx xxxxxx

Wednesday, July 08, 2009

Yogaville Intermediate Hatha Teachers Training

My training at Yogaville so far has been really positive. We're studying raja and hatha Yoga, including the Bhagavad Gita and lots of asanas. As always, there's lots of delicous healthy food, really supportive community of people, and a beautiful setting. Practice is regular, 6 days a week, 12 hours per day, and nothing silly like TV. The main Swami leading the course tells amazing jokes! My favorite pose we studied today was camel pose using the wall for support to go deep.

See The Rest of the Pictures

Read an old entry about the first time I visited Yogaville

Wednesday, June 24, 2009


I've been trying to figure out which different establishments accept which actions as currency. One big one in academics is publications. But what's a publication?

-Books (kids/howto/philisophical)
-Other things that are totally out of the norm?

My goal this year was to try some of all of them, which has been a big challenge. I'm still working on it. If you know what you want to do next it's no problem, you just "publish" in the currency they accept. But I can't pick what's next, I can only unfold one step at a time. That's why I'm trying different paths out. I wish I could just pick one, and maybe I'll be able to sometime, but it seems like the only real currency I can offer is to step back and be who I am and let myself do the work that I'm meant to do. In that case I don't know what my "report card" will be, but I imagine it'll shine through.

For now I've got a few exhibitions

I've got a few exhibitions going on. This July I'll be showing Drawdio Brush at the National Taiwan Museum of Fine Arts as part of the Freeze! show. Some doctors will be examining its value as a tool for art therapy.

The mural competition exhibition is starting this July 6th

And the Drawdio Table is still being shown at MITs Wiesner gallery for a few more days.

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

PowerPoint-B-Gone & Fruity Workshop

I'm at E Tech right now in San Jose. I'm having a good time, and we just finished running a workshop on scratch (article). It was the first Scratch workshop fully loaded with fruit and vegetable craft materials. One of the groups that really took to Scratch was "Play Power", so much so that they incorporated Scratch into their presentation the next day. I video'd their scratch "power point" presentation (it would have been power point if they hadn't switched), and i thought it was informative and got me out of my normal mode for receiving presentations. There were slides with words, lots of pictures, and lots of nonlinearities and live improvised music. I made a short video about it.

Thursday, March 05, 2009

Streetfight Interventionism (don't taze me bro)

Don't try this at home... Try it on the street of course!

It all started when me and Elliott ate an awesome veggie burger and fries at 4 burgers and decided to ride our bikes through central square to get home (asking for trouble already I know). Two guys stopped at a red light were fighting, one was out of his car, "Get out of your car dipshit," the other guy had his door open, "get back in your fucking car."

So what can be done but an intervention. Quick examination of the people... intuitive check to see which kind of intervention, and bam I'm on the street on my back flailing my arms and legs around "oh no there can't be a fight, everything's okay, everyone's gonna drive away happy..." and the corvette mustache guy who was out of his car bights and starts laughing, "It wasn't my fault he started it..." Good he has assumed he has to explain himself to me. That means everything will be over soon.

Then a cambridge cop car pulls up. Yay the cops are here to break up the fight, right?
"What the fuck are you doin on the street son?" Now since this is central square he's thinking "on a scale from 0 (no crack) to 100 (all crack) where between 50 and 100 is this guy at?"

"Officer, sir (they love when you say that) there were two guys about to fight and I wanted them to leave peacefully."

"What two guys?" The guys are sitting there in the cars right next to me.

"These two guys (without gesture) who were fighting, and I just wanted to distr..."

"Get the hell out of here! You're in the middle of the road."

"No you don't understa....."

"Are you talking back to me? Go!!!!!" (super mad!)

I answered his question by going. Meanwhile Elliott is still thinking "Should I chime in here with this hat I'm wearing (a joker hat with 20 crazy puffballs on the end of it) or is me talking just going to make things worse?"

And we were off and 20 minute later I'm at the lab just in time to write it down while it's fresh, fries still only 1/4 digested and paining my stomach. Sorry I didn't remember to take a picture.

Thursday, February 12, 2009

What makes up our experience?

video and picture of me and Logan just before he died

You know when you are in a new place with new friends and new feelings and a new culture, and you almost can't remember what the last place you lived felt like? You can remember a few things about it, like what the air smelled like, but you forget other aspects, like what the slang and dialect were and more importantly how that slang made you feel or what it enabled or made impossible. Well, a few years back when I lived in Cocoa Beach a close friend of mine overdosed, and I made a webpage where people could post their memories. Today, someone posted on that webpage, and just reading it brought back so many aspects of what it felt like to be living and breathing and intertwined with Cocoa Beach and the mangroves and the people and the drugs and the ocean and the music. It's a slice of that life, and not one I always appreciate. It brought back a web of memories of living in a small beach town on 13th street, next door to Sean O'Hare, playing with Logan.

Sean Volland says:
i had a dejavoodoo the other day when i pulled up to 13th street to check the waves. so much has changed.its ohares street and we used to be best friends, and now arch enemies, but so goes cocoa beach, but the flashback was of say 93-94'ish, and bowman and logan were dangling there on the old boardwalk, b4 all of the storms and rebeaching, and they were punk teens on the verge of degbauchery, yet still golden hearted and harmless, just wound like balin wire, and we all know that im the advocate surfer for smoking cigs, and as usual, i was puffing a dirt, and they both approached me cautiosly as kids like them did in those days, and bowman said nothing, but logan winked at me and said, " hey col. can i get a cig off ya", and just as quick said, " dont tell my dad", so i gave him one, and bonehead was just carousing, spacing, no balls to ask for one himself, so i said, "hey kid, u want a dirt too or what", and he acknowledged, i obliged, and it was all cool. a step had been taken by groms, just as a decade before, i had asked billy atkinson and mcmillen for a bong hit as a teen, and although this is no grandoise story of mentorship, nor tuteledge of our youth, its the truth, and its the way it was, and still should be, and maybe we wouldnt be burying so many of our young hero's if we just treated them more like equals and men. i miss u lotion, i loved u dearly, and im so blessed that ive seen bowman grow up to be the best surfer intown on any board,(while slatz isnt around), and to be a good man and a gr8 father, and i know 99% of this town hates me and rightfully so, but im so real, im so here, and i so love cocoa beach, as did logan, bob, d. codgen, bruce, and all the others we have lost. GOD BLESS this shitty lil town. sean "da col." volland

Thinking about all of this makes me reflect on all the aspects of my current life that make up the flesh of my experience. What words are used daily? What activities? What is the attitude of the people who surround me? What tools do we use? What world are we creating for ourselves? This last one being the most important point: that we can create the experience we want by choosing and also realizing and reifying the landscape of a sweet great joyful awesome loving experience in every moment. And so I will. I will. I will.

Photo of me last week

Sean Volland posted a response to this post (above) on Logan's website. Here is his response reposted
im not sure i know jay silver, but he posted my comments on logan on his blog page, which being computer wetawded, i know lil' about, but he posted a video of logan jamming, playing air guitar, driving down s. a1a, and it was sooooooo real, and soooooo logan, and now im balling, snivelling, and really comprehending what loss really is. GOD BLESS U ALL!!!!! ill truly miss this place, as i miss logan, codgen, dr. al, sterling, foster, devon, valuzzi, my grandma, and anyothers i cant quite put my shrivelled mind on currently! reflection is a bitch, especially if u r sean volland, but 2 u all, tell someone how much u love them today; send an enemy a nice email or a card; hug someone u care about, apologize if if u didnt think u were wrong, becuz time is so short and we r all one another has. sorry 2 ramble, just way emotional right now, and thank u mr. jay silver, cuz that video made and ruined my day, and quite possibly changed my life. yall be good, 2 yourselves, and those u love, and those u dont even know, cuz one never knows where u will find, need, or lose a true friend. sean volland

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

My Dad with a gun (well sort of)

I'd like to start with an old picture of my dad. This is at his old party house way back in the day by the lake. The officer on duty was making out with chicks at the party, so my dad slipped on the officer's belt with loaded gun and started goofing around. Ahhhh the old days.

And now a recent article on my dad in the "The Beachside Resident" in a section called "20 questions"
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(You'll need to click the images to enlarge them)