Thursday, March 31, 2011

All Hail The Hackerspace Charlotte, Plus Image/Dumb Move of the Week

So, something sort of unexpected is happening right now, thank my internal being that I gave up expectations when I was seven years old.  This unforeseen chance is the end result of a thought made transfer with communication and honesty from one individual to another.  Many of you know that an article was written by Karen Sullivan of the Charlotte Observer (which Cedar lovingly refers to as: the wet thing at the end of the driveway) on the Hackerspace's donation of time effort in providing 6 of the ten laptops thus far delivered to Haiti via the Laptop Round Up for the Real. 
Well, what was so unexpected was the amount of folks from the greater Charlotte area who contacted us wanting to make a donation, or as most of the cases donations from this one article printed Sunday.  Here is the math as of right now according to the high speed encrypted message board that the Treasurer of the Hackerspace set up for the project:  Twenty humans have made contact with 38 machines total for the project.  As you already know, we have delivered 10 operating Laptops to Haiti as of a few weeks ago.  Previous to the article being in the paper, there are 4 machines in the hole awaiting delivery to the not so far away place. 4 of the 38 have already been brought by the Hackerspace hideout by Bill (not me, another Bill), Peter and his daughter Katie.  Thank you HSCLT and those of you who became motivated to get a hold of us this week.

Now comes the challenge that I never planned for, yet somehow I feel prepared to handle.  There are 34 machines in the county that need to be picked up and warehoused. Once in a safe place which is looking like between my studio here at the ranch and the Hackerpsace's hideout, they will be inventoried and scheduled over the next few months for repair.  This is really exciting and leading me to believe that I should form a small delegation willing to travel with me to Haiti soon.  The idea would be that we would each be carrying with us computers to be put on the ground there. 

In the meantime, the Hackerspace Charlotte is offering an open door Friday night during the North Davidson (No Duh) gallery crawl.  The shop will be open to the public and all y'all are encouraged to stop by and say hello, even if you do not have laptop to give.  Word is that there will be an adult beverage available and you can check out not only their newest CNC machine, but as well that crazy thing that makes lightening.  No tease, you will feel alive once you set foot, or feet into their space, the Hackerspace. 

The location: 430 East 36th Street, Charlotte.  After you cross Davidson on 36th, just before the first set of tracks, go left around the side of the building and look for the wooden stairs seen above in the image I made this afternoon while looking for my long lost (since Tuesday night) glove.  In case you were wondering I wound up finding it as I re-rode my route home the other night.  Amazingly enough I found my glove at the 4800 block of Shamrock balled up, and soaking wet.  I hate when I loose gear, but love when I find it a few days later after thinking about how the search would play out.  For the past few days I have felt like Michael Jackson, now that I have both of my gloves, that feeling should dissipate. 
For those of you who missed this little tidbit on my Faceliftbook Page, enjoy, and ask to be my 'friend', that way you will get the sneak peeks.  If I knew who you were, I would surely ask to be yours!
Sunday night I injured myself while cooking St. Lissa's and my 19th pre-anniversary diner, that's right diner celebration. The fork had been in the hot grill for many minutes when I picked it up to stick the French Dijon yum bit in need of a test. Then the fork touched my tongue making a loud searing sound branding it deep. Happy Anniversary.
Tongue Con Report:  Four days later, my tongue is almost completely healed.  The only problem is tasting stuff is hampered, I feel like I have the palate of a 5th grader...

Sunday, March 27, 2011

Blogcation, all I ever wanted. Blogcation, had to get away. Blogcation, meant to be spent alone...

Apologies from the headquarters of Rock and Roll Stop the Traffic regarding my unannounced two and a half week blogcation.   Fortunately for both you and I, the time was well spent sleeping in and concentrating on a few other side projects that I find myself compelled to be part of.  There is so much more that I have to say and share visually with you, my lovely audience.  In time I will crawl out of this block and be posting more regularly once again.

Until then, check out this brilliant piece of work that the Charlotte Observer's Karen Sullivan posted in today's online version as well as the printed Sunday paper edition.  In the past few hours I have been privy of the response via my ubiquitous contact at Hackerspace Charlotte.  Charlotte North Carolina is helping, the emails are coming in with plenty of folks willing to donate laptop machines.  Details, and numbers will be out soon.  My former background in and passion for logistics will be quite useful in the near future.

Thank you to all of those who have made a contribution thus far.  As well thanks to the Charlotteans who have emailed today with new donations. And of course, none of this would be happening without the braintrust that is Hackerpsace.

Click here to read the online edition or simply scroll down:


Hackers reach out to help Haitian school

Hackerspace Charlotte is restoring laptops to send to a grade school.

By Karen Sullivan

  • The refurbished laptops are sent to a public grade school in Barbancourt, Haiti. COURTESY BILL FEHR
  • Charlotte Hackerspace member Ryan Stachurski, center, works with other members of the group at its lab in a former textile mill. COURTESY RYAN STACHURSKI

More Information

  • Hackerspace Charlotte is looking for outdated or broken laptops that can be repaired and sent to school children who have little or no access to technology. Leave a message at to make a donation.

Hackers often get a bad rap.
They're often known for breaching computer systems or leaking sensitive information.
Members of Hackerspace Charlotte, an open lab space, want to show the positive side of being creative, independent and tech-savvy. They built five laptops from scrap heaps, cleaned them up and donated them earlier this month to a public grade school in Barbancourt, Haiti.

Now the group is taking donations of working and fixable laptops for a second gift to the school, where most children have never used a computer."It has the potential to do a world of good," Hackerspace Charlotte Treasurer Ryan Stachurski said. "If you have children growing up without technology, that is an essential part of life in this day and age, they're going to have a very significant disadvantage."

The project, called Laptop Round Up for the Real, started when Charlotte blogger Bill Fehr visited the rural community of Barbancourt and toured its grade school. More than 200 children attend the rural school, located about two hours north of Port-au-Prince.

Fehr asked the school's principal what he could bring on his next visit that might help the children. The answer: 15 laptops.Fehr would like to send even more laptops. He wrote about his goal on his blog,

Members of Hackerspace Charlotte responded.The group celebrated its grand opening in December last year in a former mill property in the North Davidson Street arts district.Its 30 members pay a fee to share the lab. The space allows them to move their personal projects off their dining room tables and into a community of like-minded people.They also can work together on charitable projects such as this one.

Members have backgrounds in engineering, information security, corporate management, woodworking, experimental art and other areas. About eight members helped with the laptop project. They found laptops and hard drives at Southern Resources, a scrap metal processing and recycling operation that's also in the arts district.

The volunteers rebuilt hardware, fixed power supplies by hand, erased the hard drives and installed the Ubuntu operating system.A member of the Haitian American Association of the Carolinas delivered the equipment to the school.

"We've repurposed this trash and put it into use," Stachurski said.
"It wasn't very difficult, it was being persistent. The technical part of putting things together is what we excel at."

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Postponement (Post Pone Meant) in the Case against Radok's accused killer...

My eyephone camera should never reduce the way I see my world.
Jittery.  This morning started with not only my job, but real work as well.  Paul had given me a tip that the Rule 24 Hearing set for tomorrow in the State of North Carolina v. Antoine Dion Young had been postponed until sometime in April.  As a friend of Radok and a citizen of this beloved county, I became curious as to the reason behind the postponement.  Of course I am not trying to be lie able or anything, but there is a real connection to understanding the process with the judiciary when it comes to the case of your friend's accused killer.

I did not learn much today other than the Rule 24 hearing that was supposed to happen tomorrow regarding the prosecution's intention to use, or not use the death penalty as punishment for the crime of first degree murder upon a conviction has been postponed until April.  Apparently a Rule 24 hearing in State Superior Court, in Mecklenburg only takes place once every month.  The date for the April session has not been made public to the best of my knowledge and understanding at this time.   As soon as I find out anything else I will be sure to let you know.

Tomorrow I will be giving a 30 minute slide show presentation of my images from Haiti to the MPA's quarterly luncheon meeting.  I will be sharing around about 150 images that I made.  As well I am prepared to openly discuss the way that experiencing a post earthquake torn Haiti made me feel.  My presence will project the need for awareness, and the call to round up some more laptops for the result that is already on the ground and bringing experiences to the few.

It's official, Hackerspace Charlotte, who requests to be shortened to the HSC, like the Humane Society of Charlotte has issued a press release which you can read here.   Raquel did a brilliant job of assessing the situation.  I like her original letterhead version:

Tuesday, March 8, 2011


swimming towards an unseen coast in a swelling sea of absolute insanity.

The other day I noticed a Faceliftbook post put up by my friend girl who has been close by my work daily for a better part of the last decade.  She is of normal human variety in a sense, southern and straight up.  Actually many years ago she asked me to document her wedding up in Lincoln County with my camera, so I wore shorts and brought Mary (German Shepherd) as an assistant and date.  Clear Carolina skies and plenty of green earth spread out towards the long tall tree line with its full saturated green tops blowing gently in the wind. 

T saw the following little nugget on one of her friend's wall, and because she agreed with the info transfer, she posted it up on hers:

"Charlie Sheen, 47, is all over the news because he's a CELEBRITY DRUG ADDICT! While Andrew Wilfahrt, 31, Brian Tabada, 21, Rudolph Hizon, 22, and Chauncy Mays, 25, are soldiers who gave their lives this week with no media mention. Please Honor them by posting this as your status for a little while, or at least Pray for their families. May they rest in peace. SALUTE!"

Exactly, was my immediate cerebral response.  Then feeling kicked in and I had to figure out why I had never heard of these names, or recognized their faces in three dimensions on the movie screen at the front of my mind.  You know, like I can do with a celebrity (film or blog, it's both the same), a corporate logo, or a hemlock tree for that matter.  The Internet provided answers to a few of my initial questions, however it is limited in visceral capacity to give me what I am really looking for.  I feel that it is important to share the identities of the four men named above who died in multiple incidents, in several provinces of Afghanistan between Sunday and Monday of last week. Upon looking in I found out that there should have been five names listed on the post, here they are in alphabetical order:

Rudolph Hizon:   This 21 year old was with 2nd Battalion, 30th Infantry Regiment, 4th Brigade Combat Team, 10th Mountain Division out of Ft. Polk, La.  According to the State Department, Hizon was killed while operating in Logar Province Afghanistan on February 28, 2011.

Chauncy R. Mays:  25 year old Mays was with the 63rd Explosive Ordinance Disposal Battalion, 20th Support Command out of Aberdeen Proving Ground, Md.  According to records, Mays was killed on the ground in Wardak Province Afghanistan on February 28, 2011.

Christopher Stark:  Stark, 22 years was in the same unit as Mays, the 63rd Explosive Ordinance Disposal Battalion, 20th Support Command out of Aberdeen Proving Ground, Md.  He too lost his life on the same day (February 28, 2011) as Mays while fighting on behalf of America in Wardak Province Afghanistan.

Brian Tabada:  This 21 year old soldier was with the First Battalion, 327th Infantry Regiment, First Brigade Combat Team of the 101st Airborne Division based out of Fort Campbell Kentucky.  According to Defense Department records for the public, Tabada was killed while carrying out combat duties in Kunar Province Afghanistan on February 28, 2011. 

Andrew Wilfahrt:  Wilfahrt was a 31 year old MP with 552 Military Police Company, "The Peace Keepers".  According to Lt. Colonel Matt Garner, public affairs Officer for the 8th Theater Sustainment Command, Wilfahrt was killed while on patrol in Kandahar Province Afghanistan on February 27, 2011.

As I went a bit further into the binary cloud I did see a path start to emerge out of the liquid crystal display, it got worse and was somehow even more frightening.  According to multiple sources including the AP:  On Tuesday March 1, 2011, at 11:30am local time, troops in a U.S.-led coalition Helicopter opened fire with machine guns and rockets on nine children collecting firewood in the Pech Valley, Kunar Province Afghanistan.  The nine boys ranged in age from 7 to 13 years old.   Regretfully my search to locate the identities of these small victims dying in their now was fruitless.

Appoligies have been sent through the diplomatic channels, but it sound like they have fallen on deaf ears from what I can tell.   Hundreds took to the streets in Kabul the very next day to exclaim their hatred of those, which is us who are responsible for the deaths of the innocent young.  The rhetoric from Hamid Karzai to President Obama through Commander of Operations, General David Petraeus took a hard line straight through the end of last week.   Karzai was quoted with stating to Petraeus that, "Apologies are not enough."  I am not sure what that actually means, however I do know this; this one incident, this one example of what detachment from rules of engagement actually manifests, creates more enemies in the now than you could ever imagine existed just ten years ago. 

To me the deaths of the soldiers and the children being hit in the middle of the day seem intrinsically attached.  As with ego based pride (we are conditioned that pride is good), the minute that the look inward reveals to any human willing to accept how easy it actually is, what is truly going on will stop, and in its place will be the reality of being.  Until then, it is all a complete nightmare so scary that it is almost a parody of itself as it plays out before me.

Saturday, March 5, 2011

Major Developments in the Laptop Round Up for the Real

Grinning profusely seems to be the common denominator as Luiguuy picks up five lap tops recently brought to life by some gracious folks at Hackerspace Charlotte.   One of those who gave plenty of time and brain power to this latest drop was Ryan, seen below using his powerful intellect to generate resplendent levitating balls of light.  Projection, this kid has it mastered. 
My contact approached a few weeks ago after considering the Laptop Round Up for the Real.  With confidence and the calm of a CIA agent on the ground in Iran during the American initiated coup of Mossadegh, Ryan informed me that he had an idea that would help the Round Up's goal of raising laptops for the primary school mobile computer lab in its infancy.

These laptop machines are something that we take for granted, I thought to myself as he described that he was part of a local organization dubbed, Hackerspace Charlotte.  Part of his network includes another entity identified as, Southern Resources, a local organization that has been looking for a chance to help out an international community in need.  Ryan explained that this could be a perfect match once the channels were authenticated on all ends.   If he could get the support of the vendor, HSC would devote the time, resources, man/brain power and commitment to get the machines up and running with clean operating systems.

So, just a week and a half ago armed with some of my images and words, a letter from Luiguuy and his ever present power of projection Ryan went to meet with Mark at the Southern Resources.  The meeting went well, and within an hour there was agreement that HSC was allowed to come and grab a first run of six laptops out of the ubiquitous 'bin'.  As fate would have it, in full synchro style Luiguuy was getting ready to depart for Port au Prince with a small delegation on Friday, March 4.   The timing for this good news could not have been more perfect.

By Thursday morning, after many hours of running back and forth from the Hackerspace ops center to the warehouse, Ryan and his cohorts were able to fix four of the initially picked up six, plus the Sony VIO that Brian (random kind bachelor citizen) donated by fully letting go with faith.  The three of us met at 0900hrs in an open air cafe near Dresden, I mean Charlotte.  Ryan brought the goods and Luiguuy brought the smile as well as the transfer that the computers getting to the community is really a big stride forward in progress for the people who everyday live the experience of Haiti.  He explained that if the people are to understand technology, to even have a chance, they must be able to experience it.  The big picture playing on the movie screen in my mind was crystal clear at that moment taking me back down the dirt track to Barbancourt.   I have seen that living the situation in Haiti daily is different than any perspective from here based on solution or judgement.  The moment of reality is always now when it truly counts.

Yesterday, the day after our successful outdoor cafe meeting, Luiguuy arrived in PAP with the laptops dispatched amongst his travel companions.  He then connected with his colleague, Pastor Lyonel at the Haiti Mission in the capital.  These five laptops, plus the first run of four bring the grand total to nine that are now in the loop on the ground in Haiti.  This week I have three more arriving by mail from my 'Ph.D.' Student friend up north and east of here.  Those three and the two left from the Southern Resources original pick up means that five more should be ready for delivery within the next two weeks.

Huge THANKS to Ryan, the Folks at Hackerspace Charlotte and Mark from Southern Resources.  Your efforts are recognized and will have an impact on the future of a small community in Haiti.

Please send me a laptop and I will hook you up.

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Message from St. Lissa and Doulas of the Charlotte Area-DOCA

Over the last few weeks there has been a lot of talk up in Raleigh about the laws related to the practice of midwifery in the State.  It is presently not legal for a licensed midwife to assist a mother in a home birth, however it is perfectly legal for that mother to go it alone, without the care that a midwife can provide.  The state law that is in place now is due to lobbyists working our senate and congress on behalf of the insurance companies and other 'big' business in the medical industry. 

St. Lissa asked that I post a few of her words and as well a press release regarding the march at the State Capital in Raleigh scheduled for tomorrow.

As many of you know I am attempting to leave the Corp World/Stock Market behind to continue on a new journey as a Doula.  What is a Doula you may ask? Doula is Greek for "caregiver" usually to woman.  My main function as a Doula is to give emotional and physical assistance to a woman in labor.  Laboring women who use Doulas tend to have shorter labors,  a lower rate of Cesarean surgeries, a lower rate epidural or drug use, less medical interventions and less postpartum distress.

There is a newly formed Doula group in the area, Doulas of the Charlotte Area (DOCA), I would appreciate your help in spreading the word.  We also have a blog that Bill has posted on his side bar  .  As a group we are trying to make a difference in our area.  Cesarean rates are skyrocketing,  new mothers have higher rates of postpartum depression then ever before and interventions are being used unnecessarily.  A Doula can make a difference, I have seen it personally and have saved a new mom from a cesarean that was never needed.  

Birth Freedom March – Wednesday March 2nd at State Capitol in Raleigh

RALEIGH, NC (February 28, 2011) – Midwife and home birth supporters from around the state plan to gather at the Capitol on Wednesday March 2nd at 10:00 am, and march to Jones Street ending at the State Legislative Buildings in support of licensing Certified Professional Midwives, and expanding access to care for North Carolina families that choose midwifery care and the home setting for birth.

“Right now a fully trained and credentialed Certified Professional Midwife who can legally practice in Virginia, Tennessee, South Carolina and Florida is at risk for being arrested for providing the same quality care in North Carolina. This is not right, and makes North Carolina home birthing families less safe,” said Russ Fawcett, Legislative Chair for North Carolina Friends of Midwives. “Hopefully, the North Carolina General Assembly will recognize that the safety of NC home birthing families is at stake, and they will pass legislation to license CPMs with purpose.”

A Centers for Disease Control National Health Statistics report released in March showed a five percent increase in demand for out-of-hospital midwife births in 2005 across the United States. In North Carolina, homebirths increased by 32 percent from the 2003-2004 period to the 2005-2006 period analyzed. This new data increases the urgency for passing the current pending legislation in North Carolina to license and regulate Certified Professional Midwives (CPMs).

“Now more than ever it is crucial that North Carolina’s home birthing families have access to trained midwives,” said Russ Fawcett, Legislative Chair for North Carolina Friends of Midwives. “Midwife attended planned home births have dramatically increased in North Carolina in the past few years. Each year, more North Carolina families choose out-of-hospital birth for many reasons. These families deserve safe and affordable maternity care, and the midwives who provide it deserve legal recognition.”

Currently, there are no laws in North Carolina to regulate CPMs, who deliver babies in private homes and freestanding birth centers. Studies show that low-risk women who plan home births under the care of CPMs have outcomes equal to low-risk women who deliver in the hospital, but with far fewer costly and preventable interventions. A study commissioned by the Washington legislature found that during the last five years alone, the state’s licensed midwives saved taxpayers and private insurers more than $10 million.

Consistent with the medical literature on the safety of home birth under the care of Certified Professional Midwives, the CDC report also found significantly reduced rates of pre-term and low-birth weight in out-of-hospital populations. Certified Professional Midwives, who specialize in promoting optimal maternal health and who deliver the majority of U.S. babies born in private homes and freestanding birth centers, provide intensive, individualized pre-natal care that focuses on prevention and risk assessment. The authors of the report identify appropriate risk assessment as a likely factor in the reduced rates of pre-term and low-birth weight in out-of-hospital settings.

North Carolina Friends of Midwives is a grassroots organization of midwife advocates dedicated to promoting, supporting, and protecting midwifery in North Carolina. North Carolina is a priority for The Big Push for Midwives Campaign, representing tens of thousands of grassroots advocates in the United States who support expanding access to Certified Professional Midwives and out-of-hospital maternity care. The mission of The Big Push for Midwives is to educate state and national policymakers about the reduced costs and improved outcomes associated with out-of-hospital maternity care and to advocate for expanding access to the services of Certified Professional Midwives, who are specially trained to provide it. Media inquiries about North Carolina Friends of Midwives should be directed to Russ Fawcett at (910) 471-5187, Media inquiries about the Big Push should be directed to Katherine Prown (414) 550-8025,