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"I want you to be there." Micro Meetups in Detroit and San Francisco this week!

OK first off, the new blog I tried to make is being a jerk, so long live this one for now! It’s good to be back in the neon green. :)

This week there are 2 informal micro meetup micro parties for LOVELAND micro real estate, one in Detroit THIS WEDNESDAY and one in San Francisco THIS SATURDAY. Mary and I have the honor of being flown out to west side for a talk about the project at a conference by the Institute for the Future in Palo Alto and want to make the most of our trip there.

Here are the details on both:

* The Detroit event is this Wednesday, May 12th at 7 PM at our studio at the Russell Industrial Center, 2nd floor, building 2, suite 211 at 1600 Clay St. Here’s the Facebook event page with RSVP and here’s the google map.

* The San Francisco event is this Saturday, May 15th at 7 PM at the Noisebridge hacker space in the Mission at 2169 Mission St. Here’s the Facebook event page with RSVP and here’s the google map.

My cell is 908-343-1981 if you get lost, want to talk, or anything else.

Here’s generally what to expect: We’ll have some refreshments and things like that, and we want to share a short interactive presentation on the adventure-in-progress that is LOVELAND, brainstorm cool ideas, hang out and help connect some cool peops. It’ll be nice and casual.

LOVELAND rolls pretty punk rock and mysterious as far as startups go because we’re trying to create a culture and a brand that can constantly transform itself, and I can’t wait to share the more comprehensive and complete story of where this came from, where it’s at, what we’ve tried and learned so far, and where we see it going as we continue leveling up and adding definition.

It’s gonna be fun and interesting. We hope to see you there! : )

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Breaking Ground On A Ground Breaking Work of Staggering Inches

Hear ye, hear ye. This coming Sunday we’ll be at 8887 E Vernor Highway, the site of Plymouth, the first 10,000 square inch LOVELAND property, to break ground on the construction of the grid, and the property lines for LOVELAND’s initial 588 inchvestors will be set in place.

Here’s the location again (google map) on Detroit’s east side, in The Villages.

Here’s Mary doing her trademark Motor City Badass pose. The other day Mary, Alan, James, Mary’s dad, and met there to finalize the construction plans

One of Courtney’s friends should be out there this week to mow the grass and then on Sunday we’ll be out there with some shovels, some bags of cement, a pole (gosh willing) for the solar camera, and some stakes, tiles, and wood.

Here are some great images that Alan made in Sketchup (flickr set) of what Plymouth will look like.

We made an executive decision (love those) when we were on the property to ditch the metal grid in favor of a wire grid strung between eyelets all around the interior frame. That will make the grid itself more fluid and inchvestors won’t have to deal with bars of metal on their land. If anyone wants to help volunteer in digging up some ground, setting some cement, or any other handiwork, please let us know!

If you’re an inchvestor in Plymouth, get your mind fired up for what you want to have happen on your inches. You can mail things that fit on your property (flag poles, models, pictures, seeds, etc, anything PG and safe) to:

LOVELAND
at The Russell Industrial Center
c/o Jerry Paffendorf
1600 Clay St
Detroit, MI 48211 

You can see the online property map of inches along with inchvestor’s who’ve logged into their land right here.

See the original time-lapse of Plymouth being designed in tape form on the floor of the Russell Industrial Center:

Crazy Company Presents A LOVELAND Premonition from Jerry Paffendorf on Vimeo.

Which was scraped up and displayed as an art piece:

And then reincarnated in the form of Russell tiles (which will ring the installation on Vernor) in the new studio at the Russell:

So the on-site installation will be maybe the fourth incarnation of Plymouth. Wow. Thank you for your patience, all Plymouth inchvestors, as we’ve worked through this process. And don’t forget we’ve got a new grid to fill in on a new property (the exact location of which is still a secret, even from us :)). You can get inches there via the big green Get Inches! button on makeloveland.com.

Here we go…

4 years ago

April 4, 2010
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Animated Gifs + LOVELAND Fashion = <3

50 inch inchvestor Nicki Manchisi models her new LOVELAND shirt in San Francisco:

We were just catching up about the project and Nicki was reminiscing about its origins and all the inch grids I was leaving around the house back in the day, which are still hanging up on the walls. <3

4 years ago

March 9, 2010
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Building The Bridge To Everywhere

One of the components of LOVELAND Season 2 is that we’re building a bridge from Detroit to Canada. What? Yep. Well, it’s an imaginary bridge that will be visualized inching across the Detroit River (all 50,000 inches wide of it) as inchvestors move into the second property. I’m giving some images to Pierce so he can create an awesome new illustration and visualization based on reality, but up a notch. If you know of any iconic Detroit-to-Windsor pictures, for inspiration, preferably showing the Ambassador Bridge, please send them on, either linked in the comments or to jerryp[at]gmail[dot]com.

found on a google image search:

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Mystery Is Strength: Lost, LOVELAND, and The Mystery Box

J.J. Abrams traces his love for the unseen mystery –- a passion that’s evident in his films and TV shows, including Cloverfield, Lost and Alias — back to its magical beginnings.

Here’s something I think about a lot while working on LOVELAND. Because many aspects of the project are necessarily and openly improvisational, and there’s an evolving storyverse alongside the reality (think ghost inches…what’s up with *that*?), there are fundamental uncertainties and abstractions as to what LOVELAND is and will become. I want to make that mystery as interesting as possible, and set the tone that anything is possible (because it really is).

One inspiration here is definitely the television show Lost. Above is a great TED talk by its creator on his concept of “the mystery box” and how it informs his work. At the same time as we strive for enough clarity that there is no false advertising and people get what’s going on, we want to embrace the mystery and make it as fun and as valid and as compelling anything else, and keep the surprises going. People should be able to watch and follow and enjoy LOVELAND as a story, at the same time they do anything else with it.

4 years ago

March 6, 2010
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Project Lemon Battery Sucks In Sun, Spits Out Fun

Check it out, Alan’s got an update and video showing more early progress on the DIY solar powered web-streaming camera we’re going to try out on LOVELAND properties: And then there was light…

Incremental progressing being the name of the lemon battery game, here’s a big upgrade and good news for the project. Gone are the days where stabbing a lemon with nails and pennies gave us our scarce bits of power. We now have a working scale model for Project Lemon Battery solar powered web cam.

Yep, keeping with the LOVELAND theme of scaling up from inches, Alan literally started out by lighting up LEDs with a lemon (hey, they look like little suns!). Part mad scientist hacker, part elementary school science fair. I love it. As they say (in auto-tune, no less), Science is the poetry of reality:

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To L3C or Not To L3C, That, Is…Confusing

Hokay, so. I have an open question. When I started working on LOVELAND I incorporated an LLC in Michigan called Why Don’t We Own This? as the legal entity behind it.

A lot of people have asked why LOVELAND isn’t set up as a nonprofit. Well, I have experience working at a nonprofit and two early-stage for-profits (one from scratch as a co-founder working directly with venture capital). While I never got terribly deep down into the technical guts and limits and loopholes of each, I know the broad strokes, and I know the way they feel and how they operate and what they value and what the shareholders want in either case.

I knew that with LOVELAND I wanted to be commercially self-sustaining, to be free to advertise and sell things and entertain and make money etc etc. I also knew that I wanted to be artistic and educational and cooperative and charitable etc etc.

So basically I wanted both worlds (my mind does this a lot). Legally, it seems the best way to do this is to be for-profit, like an LLC, and “just be cool, maaannn”, but then you don’t get some of the advantages of a nonprofit (which range from the soft stuff like how people view you and your intentions, to the hard stuff like eligibility for foundation money).

But recently I was introduced to a third option between the two called an L3C, or low-profit limited liability corporation. You can see it on Wikipedia here. A couple quick points:

[An L3C is] a hybrid legal structure combining the financial advantages of the limited liability company, an LLC, with the social advantages of a non-profit entity.

OK.

As of September, 2009, an L3C can only be formed in the states of Michigan, Vermont, Wyoming, Utah, the Crow Indian Nation and the Oglala Sioux Tribe. On August 4, 2009, Gov. Pat Quinn signed Illinois’ L3C Bill SBO239 and the law will take effect on January 1, 2010.

OK.

So it’s a combination structure, and it’s brand spanking new and untested (Michigan, Vermont, Wyoming, Utah, the Crow Indian Nation and the Oglala Sioux Tribe? Jeez, I’ll bring the cheetohs and see y’all in my living room at 8!).

In common English what I understand, and what intrigues me, is that you’re allowed to make and sell things and do business like an LLC (but you can only make a certain amount of profit on top of operation costs, and you have to follow some sort of social mission or guidelines in your actions) and in addition to customers in the marketplace, you can also raise money from foundations and other donors who would normally give to nonprofits with similar missions (but it seems like the taxes don’t work out quite as well for you or your donors — I’m a little unclear here).

I’m very interested in hearing more stories about and from people who’ve started L3Cs. If it looks good, maybe LOVELAND will jump in that direction and fly the nascent L3C flag. I’ll keep poking through the information, but I don’t see any lists of established L3Cs. If you’ve got knowledge, connections, or run one of these bad boys please get in touch. I’d love to talk.

Til then I’ll be reading out the corner of my eye and watching these videos:

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Let’s Get Physical: Plymouth Grid Update

The snow is coming down in New Jersey, with about 12 inches on the ground [badumbumching].

I was talking to my dad about the latest plans for the physical grid on the first property. I told him how we were working on individual square foot tiles that would be gridded and installed in the ground, and why in the matrix of tradeoffs between cost, clarity of division between spaces, durability and looks, I thought that was the best most doable solution to start out with.

That got him thinking, and he disappeared down into the basement with an idea to prototype.

It’s pretty sweet! I need to talk to James about it, but basically he took 1/8 inch steel rods and welded them together into a grid of square inches. The idea being that the grid would lay directly on the ground and serve the same function as the tiles in showing a clear grid and letting people build on top of it, being sturdy and cheap, but also keeping the ground and dirt visible and open for maximum landyness and for people who want to plant things.

So now I’m thinking this might be the really great solution that could be put together cheaply, quickly, and (importantly) very well. Dad’s got ninja skills.

Last week Philip brought me to his friend’s silkscreening lair and we made a square foot screen for silkscreening inches on the tiles.

We could use this for screening 51 tiles that could go around the edges and on the inside walkway of Plymouth, around the wire grid, and also mark a key on them so it’s easy for inchvestors to find their spaces, and for visitors to identify who’s got what space. Magical Mystery Sketch (the rainbow area represents where the tiles and map key would go):

To be continued…

4 years ago

February 28, 2010
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Project Pico Mover Update: Making Robots Is Like Making Sausage

Mike Mayfield writes to check in on the status of Project Pico Mover, the LOVELAND robot that can zoom around and manipulate a grid or tiny landscape:

Hey DUDE,

Just wanted to give you an update on the pico mover… 

This weekend I was able to fully assemble the first drive system and was a little underwhelmed with the performance. My current design requires the rotation of a 6’ threaded rod at least 100 times a second in order for the robot to reasonable speeds (1-5 inches per second). I am finding that the cheapo threaded rods from Home Depot generate way to much vibration at those speeds, so I am rethinking my design. 

The hardest part, as always, is trying to keep costs down… 

Also, I am a little concerned about the design working well in the vertical or outdoors. So lets chat when you have a sec! 

word,
mike

Wishing Mike good robot luck as the edumacation continues. Here’s a Japanese character set I will take to mean just that: 

\|  ̄ヘ ̄|/_______θ☆( *o*)/ 

Perhaps a proper Kickstarting of old Pic-y is in order soon to fund non-cheapy rods and such. Stay tuned…

4 years ago

February 1, 2010
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Oh Snap, I Got Illy Macked

While I was getting coffee this morning I ran into an artist named Illy Mack who was drawing amazing characitures of people at lightning speed.

I sat down at his table and in just a few minutes he popped this out:

Awesome! I mean, it’s got a little more Michael Moore:

meets Shaggy:

than I think I have, but I love it, and he definitely got Inchy in there:

I asked Illy if he takes requests and commissions and the answer was an emphatic yes. I have his number now, maybe he can draw some things for LOVELAND

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