Back Home in Vienna

Creative Commons 5 year party @ c-base / Berlin

That sure is funny to say, but it’s pretty accurate at this point. After a week of planes, airports, security checks (including 3 at London Heathrow where I only changed flights!), conferences, events, hotels, and sleeping on assorted floors around Europe, being back in my own flat in Vienna is extremely comforting. The empty fridge not so much, but I’ll take care of that tomorrow.

The Creative Commons 5 year anniversary at c-base in Berlin was pretty fantastic. A few hours of talks about CC and demoing CC’d web projects (of course that was all in German so it was lost on me) and then tons of cake and adult beverages for those who wanted to partake. I was rocking a Club Mate or four, as you’d expect. Here are all of my pics from the evening and yes, that really is a European version of Edward Fortyhands. Of course they don’t know what a 40 is, so maybe this is Edward halfaliter hands.

I forgot to mention another super fun part of this week’s travels. When I got to Austria I bought a T-Mobile SIM card and threw it in a world phone I’d borrowed for the trip. It’s a prepay deal so I just buy a block of minutes and use them till it runs out and then buy more. Technically you can call a number and see what amount you have left, but it’s in German so doesn’t so a lot for me. Well, right after I got to France it ran out. I couldn’t buy minutes from any vendors there or later in Berlin because it’s T-Mobile Austria, not T-Mobile France or T-Mobile Germany which I guess aren’t linked enough to allow that. In theory I should be able to call in and just buy minutes with a credit card as well, but the SIM needs to be registered to an account to do that, and the number to call to register isn’t free, so I can’t even do that. I’m back in Austria now but since every single place is closed on Sundays I have to wait till tomorrow to get it running again. The slightly interesting part is turns out SMS messages are free to receive, so I keep getting them from friends and from Twitter, but I can’t respond which has made things a little difficult.

Also, bike nerds, I finally spotted a few fixed gears. I saw a few in the Plazes office in Berlin, and then tonight walking around Vienna actually saw two of them. Guess this isn’t the multi speed wasteland I thought! Also, Joi just got a new one, gonna have to send him one of our sweet new IAAL/MAF spokecards for it. Here’s the first one I saw in Vienna…

The first fixed gear I've seen on the streets in Vienna

Checkpoint Charlie


Paris was hectic and insane. It was great to see some old friends, meet some new ones, and do a bit of networking but in hindsight the majority of my time there was spent walking the streets looking for a hotel, sitting in the lobby of a hotel I wasn’t staying at, or sitting in the room of the hotel I was staying at watching live video streams of the LeWeb3 conference happening down the street. I probably could have done that from Vienna, but oh well. More stamps on my passport if nothing else. I left Paris at stupid o’clock yesterday morning, flew to London, then backtracked to Berlin. Clearing customs in Berlin was the first time this entire trip that the agents have given me a second look. I guess my travel is starting to look suspicious.

Agent: You were in France this morning?
Me: Yep.
Agent: And now you just flew here from London?
Me: Yep?
Agent: Seems like a long route to take, any reason for it?
Me: That’s a good question, if British Air will answer it for you I’d love to hear it.
Agent: Is this business?
Me: Nope, visiting friends.
Agent: How long are you staying in Berlin?
Me: About 48 hours.
Agent: Then you return to the US?
Me: No, to Vienna, I’m living there for the month. That flight is also via London, if you can believe that.
Agent: ..
Me: .
Agent: Have a night stay in German. *stamp*

Unfortunately there are no trains that run to the Berlin airport so I went to the taxi stand and hunted down one that was covered with stickers of all the credit cards the accept. Half hour or so later we pulled up to the flat where I’m crashing and I hand the guy my plastic. He’s not thrilled. I point to the stickers and he just shakes his head no. I pay the man in cash and go on my way. The rest of the day was filled with food, coffee and friends. Both online and off. Tonight is the Creative Commons 5 year anniversary party at C-Base then then I’m back to Vienna tomorrow. Very excited about both.

Berlin Streets at night

More Paris/LeWeb3 last minuteness

Oh, and in a short follow up to the travel part of my previous post – after trying to book no less than 10 hotels in Paris, and having the price jump significantly on the checkout page I got fed up and quit. This means I’ll be landing in Paris with no solid plans for a place to stay, at least as of this moment. I’ve got a few offers from folks who live in/around Paris to crash at their houses but I don’t know if those are going to be convenient to LeWeb3 at all, and while that’s a better option than sleeping on a park bench, spending assloads of cash on taxis defeats the purpose of not staying in a hotel. So, any friends, neighbors, countrymen who are already set up and booked at hotels in/near/around the LeWeb3 conference in Paris who have an extra bed, couch, floorspace that they’d be willing to share, please let me know. I’ll happily chip in for the cost of the room, I just couldn’t deal with jumping through any more hoops today.

That said, I land at 5:30pm ish – should I go straight to the conference hall or somewhere else? I checked FaceBook but all the events listed seem to start at 8am so I’m sure I’m missing something.


The journey continues

Naschmarket at night

Physically and metaphorically. In a few hours I’m jumping on a train and heading back to the Vienna airport where I’ll catch a flight to London, then another back to Paris. I’ve never been to Paris, or France for that matter so this will be cool for crossing off one more place from the list, though I’ll only be there for about 48 hours and most of that will be spent at LeWeb3 so it’ll be an interesting way to see a new city. Then, before I even know I’m back on a plane, back to London, though again only as a stop over, and then over to Berlin. I’m going there to wish Creative Commons a happy 5th birthday and see friends who I haven’t seen in, well.. weeks? Right about the time I catch my breath and stop my head from spinning I’m back on a plane, back to London, and then back to Vienna. Nothing like zigzagging all over freaking Europe. W00t!

That’s the trackable stuff, the personal, less quantifiable continues as well. The people I’ve met and hung out with on this trip have had a huge impact on me, and pushed me to think of and consider things in entirely new ways. This is always good, and something I seem to be drawn more and more towards. “Oh, you want to totally shatter my current thought process and rebuild the ideas in ways I hadn’t thought of? Tell me more!” Of course seeing those around me also considering, changing, tearing down and rebuilding is also inspiring. Tantek & Micki – I’m doing my best to pay it forward. I totally know what you were talking about before, I didn’t then but lots more makes sense all the sudden. Funny how that works out I suppose.

That said, it’s 2am and I need to be on a train to the airport by 8. I haven’t packed at all, nor figured out where the hell I’m even going when I get off the plane in Paris. One way or another tomorrow is going to be packed with adventure. And I’ve got a feeling the week is only going to get more interesting each step of the way. Fingers crossed…

Oh gang violence, wah wah, we had the third reich!

Scott Blake talking at the Musemsquartier, Vienna

Tonight Scott Blake presented his Bar Code Art at the Musemsquarter here in Vienna. I worked with monochrom to get him in while I was here as part of my residency. I’ve known Scott for like 15 years or something and the amount of trouble we’ve caused over the years is rather immense, and I’ve loved his work since he first started playing with Bar Codes so I was really psyched to help get this together. I really wish we had video of it, because hearing him talk about it was amazing. (more pics here)

It funny, I was expecting this week to be a bit more calm from the first week I was here since Roboxotica is officially over (btw, audio from all the Roboxotica talks, including mine, are online now) however it’s been anything but. On Monday I spoke at the Akademie Der Bildenden Künste Wien aka The Academy of Fine Art here in Vienna (yes, the very one Hitler was kicked out of before moving to Germany) – I was expecting it to last an hour or so, but it went for almost 6 hours. Contrary to what you might instantly assume this was a good thing, the class was interested and asked a lot of questions and Leo, the professor, had a great deal of accessory info to add to what I was talking about and I have a list of notes I need to follow up on and research myself. I’ll have more to write on that very soon. I didn’t realize it was going as long as it was until, well, until it went that long.

Next week I’m playing insane jetsetter again and decided to bounce over to Paris to lobbycon LeWeb3. Then I found out about a Creative Commons 5 year event in Berlin just following that, so decided to tack that on to the trip too. And just to make it that much more fun every stupid leg of the trip, Vienna to Paris to Berlin and back to Vienna, in 3 days, routes though London. Fucking hell. At least none of it is overnight. So yeah, Paris folks who want to get together on the 11th or 12th let me know, and Berlin folks let me know about the 13th and 14th. I’m back in Vienna on the 15th.

Academy of Fine Art, Vienna

Tomorrow I meet the other residents at the Museumsquarter this month, which I expect will be cool and I’m going to try and hit up some of the other amazing museums withing spitting distance of my apartment. That feels so funny to say, I’m actually living here now, as opposed to sleeping in someone else’s guest room or at a hotel. Even if it’s just for a month, it’s still something I never thought I’d be doing. Before I leave at the end of the year I hope to pull off some other cool events, and I think I’ll be speaking at the University in Graz as well. I’ve made a few great new friends which is more than I was expecting honestly, but I’m rather happy about. Of course I miss my friends in LA, but a few folks here have been going above and beyond to make me feel welcome. And I can’t thank them enough, so I won’t even try. More soon.

(title is a quote by Johannes at dinner tonight, top photo is Scott talking, bottom photo is the Academy of Fine Art)