i've been back for about a week and i miss BDYHAX a lot. i did have some travel problems getting in - there were 3 flights to get in and 3 to get out. the first flight was no problem but at the end of the transatlantic middle flight, there were thunderstorms over Atlanta, Georgia which stopped us from landing on time. after that the security queues to check our documents for entry to the USA were more than an hour long and the combination of those things made me miss my connecting flight on to Texas. i ended up sleeping on the floor of the Atlanta airport then taking a flight to San Antonio (instead of Austin), then getting a paid-for taxi to Austin to find my hold baggage. the taxi man had no idea what was going on and kept asking me questions in Spanish and saying he didn't like the looks of my airline taxi voucher, and in the end i had to ditch him at baggage claims and run around looking for another taxi to take me to the hotel.

America was so strange. the taxi rides showed me a barren, mostly empty desert wasteland with many abandoned construction projects, ones in progress, and land lots for sale; but then we crossed a bridge and suddenly we were in a fully built-up city centre. i found the hotel and checked in to what was absolutely the nicest apartment i have ever stayed in - bigger than mine, with better amenities, and it even had a little terrace on the balcony outside. a dear friend had even sent a package with some Sergio Aragones cartoons to distract me from my impending panel appearance and some delicious gourmet biscotti. it was amazing to arrive in this beautiful place - the kind of place i'd never be able to afford on my own - and not have to worry about money.

that day some Austrian TV crew wanted to meet for an interview and even paid me for it, which was ace and never usually happens. there was a pre-meetup thing at a sausage restaurant where i got to meet some friends, which was pretty chill except i got lost when i went for a smoke and missed like half of it.

the panel the next day went well, i think. people on Twitter seemed to like it, even though i kind of thought my responses were kind of just fancy ways to say "gender isn't relevant to me" or "i don't know enough about that" or "that isn't really my conversation to have". but the rest of the con was incredible. i met so many amazing people doing amazing things, and everyone was so friendly. i never got used to being recognised by people i didn't know, so i ended up just saying hi and talking with absolutely everyone and anyone. i had some really interesting conversations, then and at the Wormhole after party thing that night which was also pretty chill.

my talk the day after was called "Fun with Self-Surgery", just a basic overview of how to keep things as sterile as possible and relatively safe while you're working on yourself. it was packed, as was my longtime friend Vicarious's talk just before that on RFID programming, which i think is an indicator that it went well. there were a lot of questions at any rate. i used the money i got from the Austrian crew to get a VivoKey Spark implant installed, and spent the rest of the day just hanging out smoking and talking to everyone. i went for a burger with Vicarious and the lovely Anastasia Synn (at Hut's Hamburgers, the tastiest burger i have ever had in my life, no joke.) i met Tim Cannon of Grindhouse Wetware, who was completely lovely, and acquired a Northsense unit i need to install sometime soon. c00p3r let me have a couple of prototype magnet implants to test out and promised i could test out something truly revolutionary if i managed to get to Grindfest - more on that when it's installed. i had dinner that night at a vegan place with a huge collection of fellow grinders.

mostly, i was just amazed that the community has become so big and achieved so much. i was told i'm "the spark" that set everything off - if that's true, i am so proud of you all that it hurts my heart. all i ever wanted was to pass on knowledge and ideas to smarter people than me, who'd do better things with it than i was capable of doing, and it's come true. people are doing so many utterly amazing things. i'm so proud of all of you and so happy, i ended up having a cry when i had to leave. it felt like i'd found "my tribe" and i truly didn't want to leave and go back to crappy Birmingham. but i have some things to be getting on with now, and i've booked my tickets to Grindfest thanks to some lovely people crowdfunding last year. at least i can meet up with friends again come May.

i know i keep saying it, but i am so so proud of you all. this is exactly what i wished would happen fifteen years ago.



Dan Campbell said...

Holy sht. I didn’t realize there were so many flight obstacles to getting there. If possible, during Grindfest make sure that you call a popular taxi service rather than search around for a stray.

It could have been worse, and you seemed to have handled it remarkably well.

It was extremely exciting to hear about your hotel experiences, from your Tweets ; followed by nothing but friendly greetings from friends and fans. You have deserved this treatment for a long time, Lepht.

Yeah, Sergio Aragones never fails.

You actually got lost, going out for a smoke? Hahahaha. Sorry for laughing. Ya see what nicotine can do to ya? Heh, heh.

Packed audience. Not surprised.

“I’m the spark.” “Found my tribe.” WOW. Damn. FINALLY, you’re getting the recognition that we all knew you deserved. In fact, you always had that recognition, but it was difficult to see it from your vantage point, in the U.K.

“Crappy Birmingham”

Ok, I can’t really speak to that one.

Glad that you finally made it to the States, and that the U.S. will have the same privilege a second time this year, at Grindfest. Hopefully, you can bring Paul.

All this proves that Happiness really CAN be contagious. Thanks so much for sharing all your experiences & joy, Lepht. And for sharing your science, of course. We’re proud of you, as well.

L & R,


IdolRevolver said...

Count me as another vote for you as the root of the modern biohacking movement. Your 2010 CCC talk also introduced me to biohacking, and really set off a lot of things in the wider world. It's great to hear you got to see just how much at a packed conference, and maybe one day I'll meet you at another.
I still read every post on this blog, and I thought I'd pop up and represent all of us who silently keep up with your progress. You have an audience, and we're happy to wait and see what comes next.

Brian McEvoy said...

It was awesome to have a few words with you. I hope your air plant survived the trip and your sister was pleased that you thought of her when you found it.

Liam Thompson said...

Not quite biohacking, but have you seen Jacom smart nails there is an RFID version

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[pls no ask about the vodka. debate is always welcome. remember, Tramadol fucks you up]