saturday wanderings

The last two saturdays have been extraordinary. i have taken to a habit of simply walking out the door on saturday with no expectations and the whole day to do whatever i am lead to do in the moment. Also I have a no-computer policy on saturdays except for communication such as email and twitter. And even then, no sitting in front of a screen for very long - the point is to get out the door. My cell phone keeps me connected anyways.

I was walking down hawthorne from 20th toward downtown. I got to the hawthorne bridge when I got a DM from @pdxsays. It was 7pm. I'm not sure what I did previous to that but the DM changed everything.

@PDXsays: "chk this: 24/7 OR Symp Orch. W|K 7 pm Saturday for 24 str8 hours 4 Nation at War no joke pls RT".
A free concert, actually 24 one-hour concerts played continuously at Wieden and Kennedy, and I was already near there by being in downtown. I have recently enabled a long-standing desire to play the piano again and to hear some live music would be fantastic. So I walked down to W+K and heard Rosa Li play the piano. She is 17 years old and already an accomplished concert pianist. Listening to the beautiful music she made and seeing her hands move with tremendous speed and skill was inspirational.

I saw @pdxsays sitting in the benches opposite to mine. I waved to her to come over and we enjoyed the rest of the piano recital. i tweeted that we were there. The next hour was the portland gay mens choir which i had heard of a number of times but have never heard before. We stayed for the next hour to hear them sing. They were tremendous and had written some thoughtful lyrics to go with the war-protest theme. A choir of human voices is possibly the most beautiful sound in the world. In my upbringing, a raised voice was most likely done out of anger or frustration. A choir is the opposite, a powerful sound that communicates love and feeling in cooperation with each other.

The list of performers included Pink Martini, which is a bit misleading as the band was not appearing but a founding member was a prominent organizer and performer during the event, Thomas Lauderdale. @pdxsays and I looked over the schedule and saw that Thomas Lauderdale was performing at 3am. We thought about staying up for it but instead went home to sleep, with a plan to meet again outside my house at 2:30am to return to W+K. I got up and we met and returned on time. The auditorium was now half-full instead of completely full. Which is impressive for 3am. There was a lot of yawning, though I felt rested. Lauderdale started to play on the piano and was mesmerizing, like Li had been. This time there was a tenor, Carl Halvorson, singing pieces of operas in Italian. I was so glad to be there and thought that it was a tribute to the generosity and compassion of the Oregon Symphony, Thomas Lauderdale, and Dan Wieden.

Because of my earlier tweet, @writeinmovement and @justin_nitz joined us at around 3:30am. This was the first example of the power of twitter. I have been following writeinmovement for a while, met her a couple times at the usual events, but we run in different circles. Because of my tweet, she and justin did not hesitate to join us and we had an enjoyable time listening to the music. At about 5, @pdxsays and I left W+K to have breakfast. We went to the 24 hour hotcake house for some greasy omelet goodness. I got home at around 6 and slept for a few hours. It was a good time.

The next saturday I knew that @melissalion was reading from one of her books. It also happened to be at the expo center where a "sustainable living" convention was going on. I had lunch with @yuetsu and mentioned this event. He offered to drive so I rode to the expo center with him. The convention was better attended that i was expecting. @yuetsu tweeted that we were there to hear Melissa. We found her at the "SWAN" (Support Women Artists Now) stage and listened to her recitation and some backstory on the writing of each book and how autobiographical or not, they were. She was charming as usual, and had her son with her. By chance, @brampitoyo was at a lecture on innovation with @lilbutterfly in another part of the expo hall. Because he saw @yuetsu's tweet, he came over to the building we were in, to find us. @yuetsu had another engagement and I wanted to stay and continue to wander around the hall and around the city so I told him I'd stay behind and take the max home. After a few DMs between Bram and myself, we finally ran into each other. I was wondering how our cellphones could be used for location tracking. cellphone GPS accuracy is too low-resolution and has spotty coverage indoors.

Bram and I looked at some more exhibits and then left the expo center to take the max back to town. It was a cold and wet day so we were glad the max was already there and waiting for the right time to leave. I started talking about an ecommerce site I am starting and of the product it focused on. He suggested New Seasons, right on the max line, as a place to fulfill some data points i was looking for on price and availability. We browsed the store, I got some data, and on a whim got a can of sardines in oil, to have something to eat later. We got off the train in oldtown and the rain was still coming down. We walked across the hawthorne bridge and over to cubespace where Bram's bicycle was. We checked to see if anyone from the 'R' dataviz meeting was left over from that morning's meeting (saw it on, then walked in some particularly wet and cold weather to the luckylab. My birkenstocks were soaked and my hoodie rather wet by the time we got there. We ducked under eves and tried to find the driest side of a given block to walk on. I tweeted that we arrived.

I suggested the luckylab because I knew they had boardgames there and its a place that has the right atmosphere to spend a saturday afternoon not doing much of anything. By chance, Russell and Caleb from the Personal Telco Project were already there. We sat with them for a minute and I talked about wifi and caught up with Caleb who is working on his PhD at a university in Colorado. Then we noticed Ray King (@rathbone) of AboutUs playing "Go". It turns out he is an experienced player. Bram and I already talked about playing Go on the max train so he got out a "Go" board and Ray said he'd help us if we got stuck. I knew a little about how to play and with the help of the wikipedia article on the rules of Go, we got started. After some false starts we were starting to get the hang of it. Ray finished his game and instructed us in "capture" go which is a short focused form of go that is a great way to learn. Now Bram and I could really see and understand some strategies and we started to enjoy the game. After about 30 minutes of capture go, Ray left and I got a DM from @pdxflaneur, who saw my tweet and invited us to a birthday party a few blocks away. It was for a long-time friend of pdxflaneur's who was a local expert in performing Balkan music. We heard some of his life story and then a number of his musician friends started playing in the livingroom. I met a couple people and listened to some music. I was glad to have seen it but then got anxious to move on, plus it was getting kind of late (9pm). I walked with Bram down to the food carts on SE 12th. The foodcarts with the unusual hours - Wed-Sat open at 8pm and close at 3am. I've always wanted to try the fries at Potato Champion so we did. They were good and salty and there was a large outdoor space heater that we stood next to under a tent. The heat felt wonderful. Bram dried his wet gloves by holding them out next to the heater. After a bit too much grease and salt, we parted ways and I walked home.