Boing Boing Meetup report: Los Angeles

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I've been meaning to report on the Los Angeles Boing Boing Meetup, but weeks and weeks of travel have kept me busy. I'm at the airport now, waiting to catch a plane, so I have a bit of time.

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About 25 people came to the event, which was held by the kind folks Machine Project in Echo Park (the photo above is of the early birds). The theme of the evening was "Wonderful Things." We sat around two large tables pushed together and took turns showing the objects we brought with us and talking about them.


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Brett Doar showed us a cube of graphite, which he found in Tom "Fidonet" Jenning's collection of techo-detritus. (When it was passed around the table, Bruce Sterling used a napkin to handle it because he didn't want to get graphite on his fingers.)

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Luke Pebler brought these Star Wars figurines that adorned his wedding cake. The reason he shared them with us was because one of them looks just like Xeni!

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Luke also demoed his iPad stand made from a piece of L-shaped extruded aluminum and an old book.

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Bruce Sterling showed off a nifty iPhone app from String called the Augmented Reality Showcase that displays 3D creatures and other objects when you point the phone's camera at encoded pieces of paper.

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Jasmina Tešanović had a beautiful silk scarf patterned with headshots of heroes and villains throughout history. I saw Bruce's head in there!

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Meet the big butt cat. I can't remember the name of the fellow who brought it or the story associated with the cat, but I hope he will post it in the comments!

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A pack of Facebook Cigarettes, found in the streets of Hollywood.

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David Acevedo is a graphic novelist who hails from Puerto Rico. He brought along this devil doll made of string.

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It was fun to hear about a book. A Devil in Paradise, by Henry Miller, is about a houseguest who turns out to be a pain in the neck.

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Mike Pusateri not only showed off his steampunk light fixture, he gave it away to a lucky happy mutant!

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One of my favorite things was Bart Gold's handmade The Wire lunchbox. It has a perfect 70s vibe. It reminds me of the lunchboxes I had as a kid, where the artist looked at reference photos of individual cast members, and arranged them in a way that made them seem unaware of the people standing next to them.

Bart also brought along a collection of robot statuettes that he made from trash that he found in the street. You can see videos here!

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We were treated to a composition played on the nose whistle.


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Penguinchris showed us a badge that says something about Chernobyl. Is it pre-disaster, or post? The jury is still out. Perhaps one of our Russian readers will settle the matter. If not, we may have to consult Judge John Hodgman and ask for his ruling.

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One of the rules of the "Wonderful Things" was that the things we brought should have personal value but not intrinsic value. Nobody paid heed to this more than this fellow, who showed us three lowly objects: a paperclip, a rock chip, and a barleycorn. The barleycorn was found at an event honoring the Dali Lama. The rock chip is from Tiananmen Square. The paperclip is memorable, explained the fellow who brought it, because when he tossed it on his desk it landed on its edge. (Freeman Dyson once remarked that statistically, a person can expect a miracle to happen to them once every four months or so.)

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A mysterious wooden box. What's inside? A casting of this fellow's teeth!

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A weird lunchbox from a small restaurant chain in the midwest. These would probably sell for 10,000 Yen at Kiddyland in Harajuku.

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Puppets from Taiwan.


Everyone's favorite "thing" was this Australian bird named Mookie, a long-billed corella. Related to a cockatoo, according to his human companion, Dimitrios Papagiannis. The funny thing is, the bird wasn't part of the show-and-tell. He just tags along wherever Dimitrios goes.

The thing Dimitrios brought is his 3D printed gadget called the iCrap.

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Fluxx is a game of cards in which the rules change as cards are used.

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I'm sorry I wasn't able to write about every person who came to the meetup. I took lousy notes, and a lot of my photos were blurry. If you were at the meetup and would like to be included, please post a link in the comments!