January 7, 2016: Online Work Bee

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Thursday Agenda

  • Check in
  • Opening Blessing
  • Project Work
    • Brandon: Beginner’s study guide draft
    • Brandon: Create a project plan for the Gaia Statue
    • Brandon: Email Devera about the Gaia statues … contact the Portland Arts Council about the Gaia statues
    • Brandon: start writing a Gaian perspectives blogpost for Humanistic Paganism
    • Ben: finish a draft of the Gaia statue videos and upload it
    • Ben: contact Jessica Perlstein about her art
    • Ben: Work on the Fall Newsletter
    • Ben: learn about some Imbolc rituals
    • Ben: Work on the "Gospel According to Ben"
    • Ben: Update something on Gaia.wiki
    • Ben: listen to the Lovolution podcast
    • Ben: Work on the hemisphere code
    • Eric … Robot power supply kit and soldering iron tlc
    • Eric … Plan a Meetup for Gaia’s People
    • Eric … Read KickStarter Rules
  • Evaluation
  • Closing Blessing

Check In

  • Ben … I’m sick, probably a cold. I’ve been working from home.
  • Brandon … I'm coaching Sequoia's class basketball team and really enjoying it

Opening Blessing

As we think about all the work we've done, and consider what remains ahead, may we feel proud about our effort and our attitude. As we take on new challenges, may we continue to cultivate an attitude of gratitude and a spirit of perseverance. -- Blessed Be

Newsletter with links

This Fall was a lot more fun than I expected. We established awesome new traditions for Halloween and the Winter Solstice, honoring the "spacy" aspect of the associated liturgical seasons, and made slow progress toward two new, very "earthy" projects that should come to fruition in the new year.

Our Halloween celebration in Portland naturally included NASA flight suit costumes, but that was just one element of the overall project: turning the Seed Village into a make-believe Mars colony! Partly a celebration of the just-released movie The Martian, our activities included pasting up porthole and airlock-door decals on the walls and front door, setting up a projector screen in the front window to display "the view outside," and a long but far from boring game of Martian Rails, a board game that celebrates the many popular sci-fi visions of life on the Red Planet.

Meanwhile in Ottawa, Eric and his family completed their move to a large house on the edge of the immense urban forest of Gatineau Park--which they plan to turn into a small bed-and-breakfast business, with a SolSeed twist. Guests will be offered not only room and board, but participation in meditation sessions and group hikes and bike rides through the park (which will be open to people just stopping by for a few hours as well). The idea is to spread simple ideas that anyone could agree with, but that aren't emphasized enough in our culture: the need for mindfulness and the importance of experiencing the natural world to which we all belong.

And in Redmond, I finally managed to finish my motorized LEGO camera mounts and start filming the panning shots of the Gaia statue we need for our Kickstarter project. It looks like I'll need a lot more takes than I'd expected to get everything just right, but you can look at my rough drafts here. The videos are sped up by a factor of 8, and the shots that rotate around Gaia's legs and over her head were actually filmed with the camera upside down (and the statue on its side for the latter case). We're also working on getting Oberon Zell, original creator of the statue, to say a few words for the video. If all goes well, the campaign should be ready to go sometime in February.

While working on those camera mounts, and thinking about my commitment to hosting our Winter Solstice gathering this year, I had a brilliant idea. Instead of launching rockets like we've done in the past, why not celebrate a potentially much cheaper, nonpolluting means of reaching orbit: the Space Elevator? Inspired by several successful climber competitions for kids at Seattle's annual Space Elevator Conference, I invited several adults, including two major players in those conferences, to try their hand at building a functional ribbon-climbing robot out of LEGOs. (Sequoia and Ren helped out too, of course.) Thanks largely to an engineer who recently joined a sci-fi book group I'm a member of, we passed the test with flying colors.

Brandon has been taking us through some strategic planning exercises lately, and Michael Laine gave me some interesting ideas about other uses of Kickstarter at the Solstice party, so this winter may hold some surprises in store. Stay tuned for details in early Spring--same SolSeed time, same SolSeed channel.


  • Brandon … I really enjoyed working on the lesson plans for Gaia’s Beginners' Study Guide (for little kids)
  • Ben … I’m happy with the email I sent and less happy with the really slow computer that is taking three hours to render the Gaia Statue Video draft

Closing Blessing

As consider the work we have done tonight in a larger context it may seem insignificant and worthless but we must remember that the only way to accomplish something huge is with many many tiny steps. There is no end to the work ahead of us and we should be thankful for that as it will enable a lifetime dedicated to our highest aspirations. -- Blessed Be

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