What has Karen been up to?

Jun 10, 2007 • Karen

A lot!

First, I flew out to Arlington, VA.

Shortly thereafter, I and four other individuals crammed ourselves and our luggage into Gavin's car, got lost three times on the road to Boston (we ended up somehow going through Baltimore twice), and attended the 2007 Free Culture conference at Harvard. Nelson, Gavin, and I stayed at Elizabeth's apartment--the same place Nelson and I had met 17 months previously.

(Photos by Fred)

We participated in an anti-DRM protest in Boston the day before the conference, the day Pirates of the Caribbean 3 came out. The hazmat jumpsuits were sweat bags of death in the warm, humid weather, but it was still fun.

(Photo by Fred)

An unaffiliated group of street musicians dressed up as pirates joined in. Techie pirates and salty pirates, united against DRM!

At the end of the conference we participated in a Dance Conspiracy. Everyone got a cheap FM radio with headphones, then danced around Cambridge to the tunes of a radio transmitter on someone's iPod. The reception was kinda spotty at times, but I still had fun.

(Photos by Fred)

After the conference, I spent a week getting my ducks in a row, getting to know Virginia Square, reading books (Black Hole, The Diamond Age, the fourth Y: The Last Man, and Girl Genius: Circus of Dreams), and applying to jobs while Nelson packed up stuff in New Jersey.

Then on Saturday I took the Chinatown bus from DC to Philadelphia to attend Nelson's graduation at Swarthmore. That night Nelson and I went to the class of 2007 bonfire in Crumhenge, where there were s'mores, a trampoline, booze, and glow-in-the-dark frisbees. The ceremony on Sunday morning was fun. Hooray for Nelson finally graduating!

The speakers were all really good. The senior class speaker ironically was not graduating that day (there was some issue with her using material from one of her own papers without citing it, which was referenced in her speech hilariously). There were three honorary degree recipients: one who started a liberal arts college for women in Saudi Arabia, one who set up a math education project for underprivileged kids (his speech was short, slow and sweet: "Teach math in inner city schools."), and one who was Canadian and was a good speaker, though I'm not quite sure what he did. With all the speeches the ceremony was kinda long (as people looked up at the drizzling remnants of Barry nervously) but worthwhile.

Then I started my summer job at the Panera Bread at the mall down the street from the apartment. I had a day of training at "Planet Bread" on Monday, then had my first actual day at Panera on Wednesday. It's hard work--my feet, knees, and back are always sore at the end of the shift--but my co-workers are really awesome and I think I'm starting to get into the flow of things. I worked the closing shift yesterday and got to take home a whole bunch of leftovers--a baguette, a loaf of ciabatta, a muffin, and a few scones. Some of the other associates were taking home whole shopping bags of stuff--I guess they have enough mouths to feed to get it eaten before it goes stale--yet we still threw out a ridiculous amount of food.

Between Monday and Wednesday was Tuesday, which I had off. Thus, Nelson and I decided to take a trip to Washington DC and do the tourist thing. We went to the National Mall, International Spy Museum, Washington Monument, and Jefferson Memorial. Nelson wanted to paddleboat in the tidal basin, but unfortunately the boat rental closed early. It was a good day nevertheless.

Nelson and I also purchased some plants from the nursery near Planet Bread, and with the pots and dirt his parents brought when they visited Friday, put them out on the balcony. We have a rosemary, a cilantro, a dill, a parsley, a sage, some chives, some oregano, and two basils. I don't have any pictures of our plant children yet, but they seem to be doing nicely. Nelson also wants to get a hanging strawberry plant; we'll see how that goes.

Upcoming activities: Nelson and I will be going to the iCommons summit in Dubrovnik, Croatia on Wednesday along with Gavin, Asheesh, and loads of other cool free culture people. I now know that I'll be staying at the Hotel Astarea, which apparently has an indoor pool and awesome views of the Adriatic. I can't wait.

After that, I guess I'll continue working at Panera and try to get some freelance web jobs. Gavin will likely be moving into Nelson's apartment at the end of June when he starts his SPARC internship. Nelson seems to have found a GMU Law roommate for the upcoming school year; we talked on the phone and he seems appropriately geeky and easygoing. He'll be visiting sometime in late June and moving in August 1.

So that's the news from Lake Wobegon!