About 10 years ago I was in a book shop at the Johanassburg International Airport, getting ready for the very long flight back to New York and I saw a copy of James Gleik’s Faster: The Acceleration of Just About Everything”. It had a catchy black and yellow cover, with “faster” spelled F S T R, and and “James Gleick” spelled, J M S and G L C K.
I really hate traveling on airplanes for more than about two hours. I get restless and fidgety and so I avoid it as much as possible. But had learned on the flight from New York to South Africa is that a really, really long flight isn’t so bad. Past about hour seven you stop wondering “are we there yet are we there yet are we there yet?” and just accept that you are stuck on a plane, that it will get there when it gets there, and you should just relax and make the best of it.
With that in mind, I bought FASTER so I could read it during the flight home.
FASTER has all sorts of interesting observations in it, highly recommended. But the thing that really stayed with me was the way that computer airline routing has taken all the slack out of the system. This means it’s efficient, but it also means when it fails, its fails bigger; when it fails you don’t get stuck for an hour or two, you get stuck for a day or two.
Best ever, when my eldest was 6 and my youngest was 6 months, the three of us got stuck for 12 hours in the Baltimore airport because our flight was cancelled because the weather was too good. Very excellent weather across the whole US meant there were no weather cancelations, which meant there were too many planes in the air for the system to safely track (because there had been no weather cancellations) so flights were being “weather cancelled” because the weather was too good. Of course this was an act of God, so we didn’t even get a meal voucher.
Anyway, I’m really big on slack. Slacking off of course, but also just having slack laying around, just in case.
Comstock Foundation SubGenius Grant
WHERE: Montauk, NY
WHEN: Sept 12 – Sept 16
WHAT: 5 day/4 nights by yourself aboard the sloop Intemperance. Intemperance is a fully equipped live-aboard yacht. There’s water, refrigeration, a full galley. You can even plug in your laptop. You might able to pull down a WIFI signal, but don’t you want time away from that noise? Also, if our Kickstarter campaign succeeds, there will be a $500 stipend to help cover your travel costs, not showing up for work costs, or whatever else you want to use it for.
WHO: You. You’re a musician, a writer, a designer, a computer programer, a draughtsman, a composer; pretty much anyone who could use a few days of uninterrupted quiet time to get some work done.
HOW: Write me a short letter. Of course I want someone who will take full advantage of the opportunity, but I’m not going to tell you what to write because this is one of those “I’ll know it when I see it” kind of things. Please include references because I’m not going to let an irresponsible person stay on my boat, get drunk and drown. That would be a bummer.
REQUIREMENTS: You must be an adult, that means 18+. You must have dinner with me and my family on Wednesday Sept. 14.
The problem with a lot internships/fellowships/etc is only people who already have money can take advantage of them. It would be nice for this to be open to anyone. To that end we’re sponsoring a Kickstarter campaign to raise a modest stipend to open this up to someone who otherwise might not be able to take advantage of it.
The Comstock Foundation SubGenius Grant will be awarded on July 4. That’s enough time to get the word out, and enough time for our first Comstock Fellow to sort out their travel arrangement. Whether or not there’s a stipend depends on you, my dear readers. I can only do what I can do, it’s up do you to do the rest!
Kickstarter suspended the fundraising for the stipend portion of this fellowship on March 28, at 11:30am:
Dear Tony Comstock,
This is a message from Kickstarter Support. As our Guidelines
(http://www.kickstarter.com/e/GrA6B/help/guidelines) state, Kickstarter is a
platform for creative projects, and projects that don’t meet our guidelines are
Your project, “Comstock Foundation Sub Genius Grant,” falls outside of our
guidelines, and as a result it has been removed from Kickstarter. We apologize if
there was confusion about Kickstarter’s Guidelines.
After 25 years of doing the independent artist thing, I know one of the hardest things is to have time and money at the same time. That’s why I wanted to figure out a way to have a stipend to go with the quite time on the boat. I will put my thinking cap on and see if there’s some way of to make this happen.
Starting right now we’re doing a 50% fundraiser. For the next 24 (12pm-12pm) hours 50% of all purchases will go into the Comstock SubGenius Grant fund. Maybe that’ll be $12.50, or maybe it’ll be $1000. It’s all up do you!