Non-art-life has been getting in the way of art somewhat, when I much prefer it the other way around. But, I did have good adventures recently, as I headed west with friends to Toorcamp – a few hundred geeks of various stripes camping together on the furthest northwest corner of the lower 48.

It is very pretty there.

It is a fun juxtaposition to have so many tech heavy projects far from traditional cell phone reception or internet access (but, of course Toorcampers are the people that can -and did- build it for themselves.)


Welding! One of the highlights of my weekend.

At any of several campfires would be people working on their laptops, or playing chess or Go. A geometric tower was built, soldering stations could (and would) be used around the clock. There were more sound systems than revelers to enjoy them. You could learn to weld, solder, pick locks, or create papercraft automatons. There was a weekend-long cryptography challenge.

Remote controlled quadcopters surveilled above. One managed to catch the wind and crash into the massive fir trees. But, because we were where we were, well, it’s only a matter of borrowing an antenna to locate it, and then appropriating one of a few 3D printers that happen to be set up to fabricate replacement parts.

Not pictured: the crazy sounds these things make

There was a massive laser, a Tesla coil gun, the Church of Robotron, bicycle jousting. I met very smart people who live all over the world. There was a station to be implanted with an RFID chip (no, really.)

In the midst of all these things, we were invited to sit at a campfire one afternoon to hear the stories and songs of the Makah people – the campground is part of the lands they have inhabited for thousands of years.

If I’m allowed one misgiving it’s that the offerings were (understandably) aimed at the ends of the spectrum- beginners or experts. I am rather further along than the beginning soldering/microcontroller classes, but couldn’t even decipher the titles of some of the keynote speeches.

I do often feel that I live in-between, knowing I can never know everything. It’s comforting and frustrating in equal measure.

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