Tagged: BarCamp

Quick Note About BarCamp and Burnout

BarCamp 6 Kick-off
Excited BarCamp attendees during kick-off session. Photo by www.cesarpinera.com.

I’ve been feeling really burnt out and for several weeks, if not months. In fact, it’s been a tough couple of years: job changes, marriage, family crises, health challenges. In other words, Sherri and I are going through a bunch of life crap just like everybody else is.

Lately I’d started questioning why I was spending so much time on my unpaid community work. I spend upwards of 20 hours a week organizing events and running our new non-profit, the Stumptown Syndicate. And I’d been feeling as if no one was noticing our work, no progress was being made and I was just getting more and more worn down.

And then we had a BarCamp. And I was reminded why I do all of it.

Because I get to work with talented, dedicated organizers and volunteers.

Because I get to help facilitate conversations about lock-picking, maps, 3d printing, working in tech, teaching code, writing interactive fiction, building distributed systems, graph theory, letterboxing, fiber arts, applying martial arts philosophy to every day life, and more!

Because attendees care enough to come up to us and say things like:

“Portland BarCamp 2012 is one of the best Barcamp experiences I ever had. Kudos to the Stumptown Syndicate for their amazing production team.”

Because I get to see faces like the ones in the above photo: engaged, alert and happy.

So, thank you again everyone who helped with this year’s BarCamp. Because of your contributions I feel a bit more energized and I know that people are paying attention and do appreciate the work that we do.

I feel privileged to be part of our awesome community.

BarCamp, Home Insulating, and Rainbows

I keep thinking I should write here and then realized I don’t really have the energy to do so. The last month has been incredibly business, with lots of community activities, some pretty heavy deadlines at work and major home improvements.

Perhaps the most time consuming community activity was running BarCamp Portland 4, which took place at the end of October. Despite being exhausted, I had a really good time and the event went really well. I got to try out a few new facilitation techniques that I learned at the “Art of Presentations” class I took in early October at Portland Center Stage. Attendance wasn’t as great as at previous BarCamps, but I think most people had a good time. I only went to one session and it was one that I lead, a Q&A about Legion of Tech. The rest of the time I spent running around answering volunteer’s questions and just hanging out with good people.

Organizers at the end of the day
BarCamp Organizers at the end of the day (photo courtesy @akfarrell)

Planning for Open Source Bridge is now in full swing. I’m co-chairing this year, along with Reid Beels. I’m really excited about this year’s core team, which I think has a great combination of skills and is going to work really well together.

There’s another project Reid, Audrey and I are working on that isn’t quite ready for prime-time, but which I hope to announce soon (hopefully this week).

I’ve also been spending a fair bit of time on Legion of Tech business, including wrapping up some unresolved business from last year and managing board elections.

All this is going on while I’m working at a startup, which has been intense, but manageable. Oh, and I got a small raise in the form of coffee subsidy: we got a fantastic espresso maker for the office. Seriously, it’s fantastic. I wish I had a photo of it to include in this post.

On the home-front, things have been a bit chaotic as well. During the summer, we applied for EcoTrust’s Clean Energy Works program. Our house qualified and work began last week. We have a storage pod in our driveway, and our living/dining rooms as well as my office are nearly empty. The insulation team has been drilling giant holes in our walls and filling the space with cellulose insulation. Once they finish up, the plaster team will remove the old wallpaper and paint and then repair the holes. Sherri has been amazing through this process and has really been doing the most of the work coordinating with the contractors and doing the majority of the packing. That’s really nice for me since these things really stress me out. I did manage to pack most of the office, however, which you can see below.

Prep for Home Insulation
Prep for Home Insulation

November is VeganMoFo, the Vegan Month of Food. Sherri has been writing a vegan food blog for sometime now and we’d talked several times about moving it, along with her other blog, from blogger to a WordPress installation on my server. Vegan MoFo gave us the incentive to get it done for the start of November. We bought a copy of the Thesis WordPress theme framework and Sherri and I have been working together to skin the re-named food blog Vegan Nosh. I think it turned out really well. This weekend I updated my personal homepage from an outdated WordPress installation to a single, static page. Since I have no plans to start freelancing again any time soon, I took down the now defunct CK Web Development blog and put up a static page there directing people to my homepage.

Vegan Nosh
Vegan Nosh

Phew! I’m getting exhausted just talking about it all.

But, it hasn’t been all work. Sherri and I have managed to spend some quality downtime together amid the madness and enjoy the beautiful Autumn we’re having.

Crisp Autumn Morning
Crisp Autumn Morning

And we’ve even managed to catch a few rainbows.

Amazingly Bright Rainbow
Amazingly Bright Rainbow