Sunday, May 26, 2013

The Drive Home (written may 23d)

Today I drove. 7 ½ hours up through the Sierra Nevada mountains from my sister's appartment in Mammoth Lakes to my parent's river view home in Redding. I listened to self-help tapes because my drunken advances on my sister's christian friends and that cute blogger from the conference were pathetically unsuccessful. But after listening to the tapes it seems that improving my pick-up game will require a lot of practice and with my life already outpacing me the way it is, I don't really have time to waste on girls right now anyway.

It was a clear day and the clouds took turns shaping the hue of the vast meadowland at the base of the mountain range. After passing several particularly inspiring vistas, I began forcing myself to pull over and take pictures whenever the thought struck me because I bought this expensive camera and I need to practice using it because I'm trying to be an artist now.

I didn't let myself play too much music because I told myself it was a waste of time since I was just using it to numb my mind and not really listening to it. I listened to some short stories from a collection entitled “Best American Short Stories” I tried to pay attention to the authors' techniques so that my own writing might improve, but the styles were so different and I kept getting caught up in the plots.

And I became frustrated because my blog is such shit I'd be embarrassed to let anyone read it, and not only do I need to create worthy content, but I have to design and organize the blog so that it is visually pleasing and accessible and can eventually be monetized and that part is actually proving lot harder than I'd thought. And at the same time I absolutely have to get out of my parent's house, and Redding for that matter, and that involves so much planning and arrangements I haven't even started to think about. And how am I going to do any of this when trying to clean my room leaves puts me on the verge of nervous breakdown?

And I'm telling myself that I need to love myself because if I can't love myself then I can't love anyone else and I will never be able to have a healthy relationship and I will always be alone like this and I had to let myself cry for a while because of how much everything hurts even though everything is going according to plan and I've worked out such a grand future for myself and there's not denying I am probably one of the luckiest people in the world considering all the shit I've done.

But there's no escaping it now. That terrifying feeling I've been trying to out maneuver this entire trip has cornered me now. That feeling that there's something intrinsically wrong with me. It's so obvious now. I'm broken. I'm a completely botched human being. The evidence is undeniable. My very normal family who tell me incessantly how much they care about me and how wonderful it is to see me and how they miss me so much, and even after 5 months abroad I can't manage a 10 minute conservation without screaming at them.  I can't open up to anyone without being drunk off my ass. 

I had a perfectly compatible girlfriend who showed me more love than anything I've seen, even on tv, all she wanted was to be with me and I told her I'd rather be alone. And now I am. I really am alone. Why do I hate people so much? Where does all this unrest and angst come from? Why can't I focus my energy on anything productive or creative or relational? I'm constantly bubbling over with self-loathing. 

I pull over to the side of the road so that I can really cry because its too hard to fight with it anymore. And then I decide to write this down because the whole reason I went off my meds in the first place was I thought they stifled my creative flow and now that I'm completely uncorked, how wasteful would it be not to try and spill some of it onto paper? And then my car starts rolling back and forth like some teenagers are bouncing on it and I freak out because this whole time the corners of my eyes keep pretending there is a figure approaching in my side mirrors and then they laugh at me when I fall for their optical trick. So I lock the doors and look around but its become dark on the side of this heavily wooded highway and although my car is most certainly rocking, I cannot discern any external cause. Either a bear is trying to crawl under my rental car or this goddamned forest is haunted, but either way I decide its time to pop that cork back in and stick it in drive. 10 seconds later with my tires screeching in my ears and my mind, in its present state, perfectly mirrored in the eyes of the deer I'm about to hit, I decide to fuck all this artistic crap. I'm getting back on my meds and I'm going to go somewhere that doesn't remind me of anything painful and I'm going to rebuild myself from scratch and I'll have plenty of time for taking pictures and for writing stories after I get myself out of this goddamned thicket.

Since I've got home and learned about the 5.7 magnitude Earthquake I mistook for a bear and got back on my meds and worked (somewhat) diligently on my escape plan, I feel better about things.  Except my photography is still shit.

Mammoth Lakes

After the conference I decided to visit my sister and her husband in Mammoth Lakes. For some reason I thought that because they are in Southern California, and San Jose is in Southern California (relative to Redding) that my trip would be shorter than heading from Redding itself. I have since learned that Mammoth Lakes is basically 7 hours from everywhere west of the Sierra Nevada.
My sister and brother-in-law in their appartment

 When I arrived, they graciously took me for a tour of their quaint little town
The church they go to (not really)
 I insisted we stop for drinks first
This is Grumpy's.  Both Elise and Jordan work here sometimes

Elise pretends to be camera shy

Elise was handicapped by her unwieldy hair so Jordan had to lead her around.

We stopped at some chic coffee house and bought cookies

Said cookie

Chic coffee house owner operator and crossfit enthusiast.  Married.

Elise thinks she's cool

To the grocery store for barbecue supplies and orange juice 

mission accomplished

My sister is a one of those modern nutrition quacks.  This is basically squash and cinnamon.

To the park for a barbeque

Some kid massacred a dandelion village and left their carcasses as a warning   

Some guy was streaking.  I'd have uploaded it, but this is supposed to be a family friendly blog.

Jordan checking on our brats 


Ok, honestly, it was a pretty lame barbeque
This picture pretty much sums up how I felt the whole time.

Hiking next with my sister and her friend

And her friend's dog

a moment of contemplation

That chick could take a single photo in focus

Experimenting with my new camera

It got pretty boring pretty fast

Then we went to this house

And played this game

And sat in a circle and drank

Jordan's a stud

These are just two of the girls that would end up drunkenly harassing all night

Sulfur-ridden hotsprings

Mammoth style party

A lot of weird people showed up so we left.

I can't remember the game we were playing, but there was a lot of jumping on couches

This is just before the slalom  team came over and started the orgy

Saturday, May 25, 2013

Bitcoin May 2013: The Future of Payments. San Jose Convention Center

San Jose Convention Center

This last weekend I went to Bitcoin 2013 San Jose.  I've been very excited about bitcoin for 2 years now and was bummed that I couldn't attend their previous conferences in Europe.  Honestly didn't know what to expect, but I knew I ready to finally meet some real live bitcoiners.
I was a little lost trying to check in.  But this guy let me know I was in the right place..

I got to the event a bit early and started wandering around while the booths were still being set up.

This guys are working on a meshnet.  It doesn't really have
anything to do with bitcoin, but its still cool
These guys run a bitcoin investment fund that helps newbs with
too much money get themselves a piece of the coin
These guys created the Glyph app which allows private texting
as well as bitcoin transfer.  It's super nifty. I downloaded it and you
should too.

I'd never heard of these guys before, but apparently they are
 developing a bitcoin wallet that will work on older model phones
and help give accessto all those without bank accouts
I don't know who these guys are or what they do, but they made
it into my camera somehow
These guys help people send fiat money around the world,
which can help people buy bitcoin

I kept my eyes peeled for the bitcoin bigwigs, like Erik Voorhees, and Jared Kenna, and Roger Ver and Charlie Shrem etc.. but I was a bit disadvantaged by the fact that I had just started on some new meds and the conference was catered with a full bar..  Needless to say, my first night was a bit hazy...

These are the famous Winklevos from the social network.  Apparently they own 1% of all the bitcoin in existance 

I have no idea what is happening here, nor do I understand why I'm sitting in the corning taking this picture

This is the VIP party thrown by Tradehill.  I vaguely remember Jared giving me his card and inviting me.  I'm sure he regrets it.

He seems cool

I don't know these guys, but they graciously let me share their table

This guy this a CEO of something, I can't remember what.  I don't know why he's green, I didn't do that.

Super friendly guy and his wife from Chile, I think.

Don't know these guys, but I wish I did

Ok, I'll be honest, I don't remember taking any of these pictures, apparently I appointed my self the even photographer.

I must have really liked this guy because I have a lot of photoes of him.  He looks annoyed in every one.

except this one

Apparently I did some exploring..?  I'm guessing this is the Hilton kitchen

The guy who looks creeped out is Stephan Thomas, he's kinda a big deal in the bitcoin world. I might have been staring.

The cutie smiling at me is Adrianne Jeffries.  She is the infamous journalist that first outed the Silk Road.  I must have been creeping on her because she is in my camera a lot.  Apparently though, She interviewed me for the article she posted on the conference.  It can be read here:
(I'm Jack Alderson in the article)  It turns out I'm a compulsive liar when I'm drunk :/

I must have been annoying people.  I have a lot of pictures of palms :/

These guys look important

I must have loved this guy because I have a hundred photos of him

Such a compliant modal

Here is the lovely Adrienne again with a super hot Asian chick.  I won't even say how many times these girls ended up in my camera

Here they are with their douchy friend who probably came over to stop me from harassing them. Tool

I know neither who these gentlemen are, nor why I'm shoot from this angle..

I woke up the next day in the parking garage, with 43 business cards. 
This is some boring panel talk about regulation

This is the after party from the second night.  It was super lame.
They had video games though

Somewhere in between all the excitement I went and tried to take some artsy pictures.. Enjoy:

So stoked when I woke up and found 5 of these pictures on my phone. (It's Erik Voorehees, idiots)
Last day of the conference I interrupted his really important dev meeting for this photo

Yea, so that's it.  Basically I got really drunk, made a fool of myself and have the pictures to prove it.

Oh, and there was this really cute blogger chick who was totally into me until I exhibited my golf-ball-sized spider bite than has been oozing puss for the last 8 days.. No I'm not giving you a photo of that.  I'm going to the doctor on Tuesday