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Well okay then - Tactical Ninja

Mar. 18th, 2014

09:29 am - Well okay then

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Flag of the day that I struggle to remember: the Romanian one. It's three bands of colour in vertical - blue, yellow, red:



And there is nothing in this that says 'Romania' to me. It doesn't even have a design that I can bastardise into alliteration like the Serbian seagull or the Moldovan mollyhawk.

So instead of alliterating (?), I'm attempting to remember it by telling you about it. I guess I could also go Red, Right, Romania.. hmm.. hey guess what LJ? You're learning the flags with me! Congratulations! *ahem*


A couple of years ago I created a bit of a storm in a teacup by saying on Twitter that I think Foo Camp is elitist. New Zealand has one of these camps, and a significant number of people I know have been invited over the years. The premise is gathering together interesting people to see what happens - and because the people who I know that have been invited don't even scratch the surface of interesting people I know, I felt, rightly or wrongly, that the exclusivity created a layer of elitism that I am not entirely comfortable with.

The reactions were interesting, ranging from "Of course it is, that's the point" (I liked that answer by the way), through "Feel free to create your own event that's inclusive" (to which I replied "You may have heard of Kiwiburn") *ahem*, through to staunch defences and some attacks on the idea that 'elitist' contains a value judgement.

And there was one person who said "If you're invited, go, judge for yourself."

And that's what just happened. So I will go, and I will judge for myself. I accepted the invite this morning.

Interestingly, now I'm feeling two warring emotions. One is the same one that makes me refuse to use the Koru lounge* - not the same because Foo isn't a pay-for-privilege thing, but a similar 'what makes me and these other people so special?' type feeling.

The other is the one where I wonder what the hell I have to offer. Because from in here, it doesn't look like I'm all that interesting. This is not your cue to tell me how interesting I am by the way - I'm aware that other people tend to find the things I do fairly interesting. But self-effacement has been a coping mechanism for me, with the consequence that standing up and going "Look at me, I am interesting!" feels very very weird, and a bit like faking it. I much prefer to be background interesting and hope people notice.

But then when they notice, I feel embarrassed that they noticed, and wonder how on earth I'll measure up to these expectations I've created.

Anyway, you have to hashtag yourself with three tags, I think as part of an introduction thing. I tagged myself the following:

# ethical hedonism
# evidence based drug policy
# making stuff

Because # not-a-hacker sounded too negative and facetious even if it's true, and # refuses-to-use-the-koru-lounge, well, that's just asking to spend the weekend having people explain to me in detail why I'm wrong. ;-)

And those ones up there are pretty accurate, I think.

So I'm looking forward to that on a number of levels. I'm told there's a lot more Humanities creeping into the STEM these days, which makes me happy and also makes me feel as if I may have something useful to offer. I guess we'll see.


Yadda yadda, self doubt warring with ingrained tall poppy syndrome, blah blah blah. Meanwhile, back at the ranch, I had to duct tape the greenhouse together to keep it in one piece for the storm, but it's still sitting there like Buddha and the chillies and capsicums have survived. Go me! Or technically, go the duct tape.

# taping up your greenhouse

*cough*

* This is something to do with the idea of paying money for special treatment and 'free stuff' as if you're better than everyone else, rubbing me up the wrong way. As if money makes you more deserving or something. I'm aware that very few people share my feelings on this but there you go.

Comments:

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From:anna_en_route
Date:March 17th, 2014 09:17 pm (UTC)
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You taught yourself to program your own electronics board...that's kind of hackerish.

There's also some STEM creeping into humanities (that's what my partner's thesis was arguing for anyway).
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From:tatjna
Date:March 17th, 2014 09:22 pm (UTC)
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Well, technically I relied heavily on my partner who's a proper geek and am still not very good at it. But I did teach myself to solder and do circuitry!

I'm of the opinion that a lot of the segregation between STEM and Humanities is related to arbitrary labelling that's mostly there to make administration easier. I get the impression that I'm in good company.
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From:anna_en_route
Date:March 17th, 2014 09:44 pm (UTC)
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I couldn't do most of my job without google (too many languages and techniques to pick up on the fly).

To my mind a hacker is someone who sits down and makes things work, no matter what resources they bring to bear.
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From:tatjna
Date:March 17th, 2014 09:45 pm (UTC)
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That's what he said too. Heh.
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From:morbid_curious
Date:March 19th, 2014 05:18 am (UTC)
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You are in good company. I'm there too ;-)
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From:bekitty
Date:March 17th, 2014 09:49 pm (UTC)
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I seem to recall that "foo" was a semi-random way of saying "this thing" for programmers. At least it was in the early 90s. The way of describing "that thing (which is not foo)" was "bar". Sort of like A and B, or ping and pong. It was also used as a call-and-response.

Which makes me think that wirh your expertise in sheep, you could be the "baa" at Foo. :D
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From:tatjna
Date:March 17th, 2014 09:51 pm (UTC)
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Putting the 'baa' in Baa Camp?
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From:Will Marshall
Date:March 17th, 2014 11:50 pm (UTC)
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I'm super-curious how it is for you.

My experience of Foo was that it was almost anti-elitist on the inside. Lots of people bunking in a school library. People wandering from conversation to conversation freely. Limited visible hierarchy: what I saw seemed to be earned rather than inherited status.

My experience is that egalitarian, non-hierarchical communities can only exist within well-defined constraints. Someone in Melbourne said something that resonated with me a few months back: "within any big thing, you need to create a smaller thing".

FWIW, I also think the Koru lounge is stupid.
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From:ferrouswheel
Date:March 18th, 2014 06:00 am (UTC)
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"within any big thing, you need to create a smaller thing"

Airports are big, the Koru lounge is small. Instead of later missing out on things more interesting than sitting around in an airport, some people prefer to work while they are travelling.
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From:richdrich
Date:March 18th, 2014 11:33 pm (UTC)
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It's like, instead of paying $10-20 for a snack every time you pass through the airport (at snack time) you pre-pay $500 for snacks, in a slightly nicer environment with no giant birds falling on your head.

FOO stands for Friends Of O'Reilly, I believe. My objection to the "geek elitism" thing is it favours people who make the most noise, not always the ones who actually create stuff.

(I'll never get asked, because I think Russell Brown is an over-entitled jerk).
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From:tatjna
Date:March 18th, 2014 11:35 pm (UTC)

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Wait, giant birds fall on your head in airports?

Clearly I'm missing out!
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From:richdrich
Date:March 19th, 2014 12:21 am (UTC)

Re:

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http://wellington.scoop.co.nz/?p=63856
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From:tatjna
Date:March 19th, 2014 12:32 am (UTC)

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Huh. I completely missed that.

Meanwhile, I'm looking at that picture and wondering how they managed to make the feathers so individual that it actually looks like a dead bird.
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From:pundigrion
Date:March 18th, 2014 12:49 am (UTC)
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Hmmm, the colours on the Romanian flag remind me of the bright colours in folk costumes:

Of course, this might not be helpful depending on what country you are confusing them with!

Of course, then I saw this and now I am distracted:


Third time is the charm?

Edited at 2014-03-18 12:50 am (UTC)
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From:tatjna
Date:March 18th, 2014 12:54 am (UTC)
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Hehe, I can't think why you might be distracted by that...

.. and unfortunately these look pretty much exactly like the costumes that the Yugoslavian society in Dargaville would wear for their cultural displays. Nowadays all those states that used to be Yugoslavia have their own flags, and none of them are Romania. ;-/
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From:pundigrion
Date:March 18th, 2014 12:58 am (UTC)
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Oops, holy big pictures Batman!

Actually I was somewhere between being distracted by trying to figure out if perhaps she has just finished plying in this illustration and is now winding off, or perhaps winding off singles, but the ball looks enormous! Or else I am too busy looking at her hairstyle, which happens to be my absolute favourite.
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From:polychrome_baby
Date:March 18th, 2014 05:23 am (UTC)
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I'm a little embarrassed about this, but I'll, uh, pony it up.

Those three colors are basically the My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic Rainbow Dash colors.

In other words, the pony named Rainbow Dash? Her cutie mark is made of blue yellow and red. Romanian Rainbow Dash.

And that is exceptionally unlikely to be helpful to you, but there it is.
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From:heathersmoo
Date:March 18th, 2014 05:53 pm (UTC)
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Ooh, I like your answer better than mine!
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From:caycos
Date:March 18th, 2014 08:17 am (UTC)
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When I travelled a lot for work I got access to the lounge because I travelled a lot - and when you're travelling that much and have long days, it's not so much about the privilege, it's about a place where you can get food and drink before another long flight home..
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From:caycos
Date:March 18th, 2014 08:18 am (UTC)
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(but there were definitely people in there who just liked the idea of having a special place for special ppl like them..)
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From:danjite
Date:March 18th, 2014 09:42 am (UTC)
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The Koru lounge is fairly essential for me, as I travel weekly. I can work at a workstation while charging my gear, take a nap in an overstuffed chair, even shower. Also, as a professional mingler, I run into people that are important for me to talk to- both for business or activism reasons.

Also, given that Koru members get free extra luggage and the amount of extra luggage I drag around, Koru membership actually saves me up to a grand a year on extra luggage fees.

I could go on. :)

I am also excited for Foo that you will be there. You bring great value and clear thinking-and-expression on important topics. Happy to share a $beverage and go deeper into the whys, if desired.
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From:heathersmoo
Date:March 18th, 2014 05:52 pm (UTC)
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It doesn't say Romania to me either, more like PRIMARY COLORS, YA'LL!
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From:tatjna
Date:March 18th, 2014 07:48 pm (UTC)
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And just to confuse the issue, here's the Moldovan flag:

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From:polychrome_baby
Date:March 19th, 2014 02:29 am (UTC)
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Moldavia: a lot like Romania, but with more cow loving eagles.
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