Category Archives: the unexamined life


From Marcel Proust’s Within a Budding Grove :

“We are not provided with wisdom, we must discover it for ourselves, after a journey through the wilderness, which no one can take for us, an effort which no one can spare us, for our wisdom is the point of view from which we come at last to regard the world.”

I am feeling a bit wiser these days. Older, sadder, wiser. But in the end, better.

Happy International Women’s Day

Was I born a feminist, or am I always growing into being one? Sure, I was born a woman, but as we all know, that’s neither a necessary nor sufficient condition for being a feminist. Many women won’t or can’t call themselves feminists. My brothers and some good male friends are what I would call feminists, in that they are aware of their inherent privilege, work to live with it and to mobilize it against injustices (individual, systemic) that affect women.

I am a feminist myself in that I try to do this too, even though I sometimes find myself unwittingly participating in situations where sexism and patriarchy are reinforced. In these moments I remember that being feminist is not about proclamation, but about action — beginning in our everyday lives and practices but grounded in social justice. So, today, on International Women’s Day, I would like to provide some reminders of why we, women and men, still need feminism. For our bodies, our selves, our work and our lives.

. . . and on the mountain

Away from the books, Saturdays are a heady mix of sun, snow, mud, leaves and sky, with excellent and charming company to boot. From theory — “wait, hasn’t Latour gone back on actor-network theory – oh, watch out for that tree” – to practice — “Technology is useless! Do you have the trail map?” – it’s a pleasure to play. Thank you to Antoine, Steph, Anne, Agn”s and Eric for proof that there’s more to life than the city.

Ghosts like the cooler weather

. . . so says Hawksley Workman. I think it’s time to get my ghosts out of the closet, to let them walk around a bit so I can see what they’re made of before they disappear again into the back of my mind. It’s also time to end the madness of summer and settle into what is most important in my life — thinking and working and developing projects that reflect what it is I can do.

I’m working on a propsal to determine the cultures of development and use of open-source software — there seems to be a gap in the literature concerning “bottom-up” development as culturally speaking the developers don’t think of themselves as users. I want to try and think about this more.

My trip to London also made me think more about the intersections of culture and policy with grassroots tech development. The German wireless community groups like Freifunk are purposefully decentralized; there seems to be a political motivation for this linked to postwar German culture.

Food for thought, and thought is the theme of the month.

Sleeping in my own skin

On Sunday night at 8:15 pm I woke up in the back of a car, blinked, and saw the the lights of St-Leonard off the Metropolitain.

At 7:45pm I fell asleep speeding south out of the mountains.

Before that there was no time, just sun and clouds, and blackberries hot from the sun falling into my mouth, and water. Mountains all around. And up the hill a fire and some slow jazz, and people I didn’t know last week, but who cares, really, if there is no time you are always a part of someone else’s story. Today, or yesterday, or next week. For a while. And then you are not, and you blink and see the lights, and see that even if everything is changed you are still sleeping in your own skin, wherever that might be.