[Noisebridge-discuss] Sat night: There's good crazy & not-so-good crazy

Just Duncan justduncan at gmail.com
Sun Sep 4 21:06:45 PDT 2011

Things have slowly been getting crazier this week, escalating
to the police being called last night.

In order descending order of severity and risk are:

(1)  Jay (J?) who is belligerent, disclosed he has schizophrenia but
won't take medications for it, has auditory hallucinations, paranoid
delusions, and has basically moved into Noisebridge every night and
day.  He disappeared for a few days last week and then reappeared with
scrapes and cuts to his face, saying he had been arrested and beat up
by police for doing "mime" in Union Square, was 5150'd at SF General, and
"escaped" (his claim) when the drugs they had injected him with wore off.
The tipping point is that he drinks heavily and generally sees NB as a
place to come by, get smashed and party, interrupt work, ramble on with
his latest drama, and swing from being civil to belligerent and

Last night he was very intoxicated and, as I sat next to Kayla on the
couch eating a burrito and enjoying the 1 beer I got with it, he came
over to get a laptop off the table and wanted to apologize for an
outburst he had at me earlier.  All fine and good until he decided he
wanted a hug from me, comes over into me sitting down after I'd verbally
but declined, stumbles on a power cord, and drunkenly slurs/knocks into
knocking the newly opened beer in my hand and splashing it all into the
keyboard of  Kayla's Macbook Pro laptop.  Seeing it was his intoxication
that had
caused it, Kayla was furious as her computer was dead by appearance.
She called the police and went downstairs to wait for them with Ramon.
Prior to leaving, Ramon talked with Rolf about asking J to leave and
Rolf asked if I would assist.  I agreed.  Alex was also enlisted and
very rigid about the police not coming in.  I went down to find Kayla to
see if that would work for her, but she and Ramon had gone down to 17th
street to find police and were no where to be found.

Returning upstairs, NB was clearly emptying out.  Alex said he was about to
leave with Stephen and Mek, said it was then or never.  We all agreed and
 J was asked to leave... which turned into him becoming belligerent,
refusing to leave.  Meanwhile, I left them them trying to convince him to
leave and was
pulled to go down stairs to handle another person of concern.  This was
successful and is detailed below.*

Returning upstairs again, it was clear that Alex, Ramon, Rolf et al. had
failed.  I was going to stay, but frankly didn't/don't feel safe being alone
at NB with him.  I left, only to encounter the police outside with Ramon,
Mek, Stephen, Kayla, and Alex.
Kayla wanted them to remove him and get his name for her; she called the
police.  Alex didn't want police to come up stairs, even though there
was no way to remove him and he, himself, had failed to remove him.  The
officers were an older-school/rookie-- but even the older-school had the new
police view of "look, we know you're a collective and you don't
want outside involvement ever.  Unless someone is dead, you can't have
it both ways and we're very hesitant to go inside until you've all
consensused on it and agreed to let us come in."  The younger rookie was
clearly new and naive, telling Kala to file a claim under her renters
policy or her parents homeowner policy... i.e. he had no clue that
people might not have such things.  I proposed the compromise between
everyone (Alex, Kayla, police) that we were OK for now, but if we needed
help further would call them back.  Kala left upset that when a person
calls for police help from inside Noisebridge that "police" aren't
allowed in when things are out of control. Neither she nor I are any
great fans of the PD, but they do have times and places where they are

Moreover, no one here knew who to call (e.g. a Board Member).  This was
very frustrating as J stayed the night and is still here when I came
back at 10 this morning.  The man is quasi-psychotic, is almost always
wearing a knit cap for id., paranoid, and clueless... he was playing
punk acid rock in the kitchen Friday night on the laptop, even after
Rolf politely asked him to turn in down.  I, personally, do not feel
safe with him in the space... and some basic level of personal security
is-- per Milo's argument at last week's meeting-- in my view, a
reasonable expectation of NB, along with the door working and Internet

(2) Some guy named "Evan (aka Taemon?... "I'm the new guy that brought
beer!" at 3pm on Wednesday) has recently been showing up and always
with alcohol in tow.  Just for the record, I've got no problem with
alcohol (I had some of one last night with my burrito), or other
substance usage.  It is only a problem if people are using it and not
taking responsibility for their behavior and others in the space.
Getting angry or choosing vent frustrations with others while
intoxicated isn't productive; having the judgment to know when it is
best if they remove themselves from the space is.  I'm particularly
bad, personally, at reading the difference between trolling and anger
with someone who intoxicated or in a different "reality" space than
myself.  "Taemon" was a pure accelerant to J's drinking/drugging & general
craziness/instability the other night.  Both were loud,
constantly inserting themselves into conversations not involving them, while
saying nothing of relevance. Taemon has spent the night both times I've seen
him this
week; I woke him on the couch at 11am this morning.

As someone who uses the space  nearly every day, this week has been
a difficult one given the absences  due to Burning Man, greatly reduced
presence of Robert 1.0, the "squatting" over-night by the above, and yet a
steady stream of new guests and potential members.  I've stepped up to
giving tours. I love
and cherish this space, understand and know first hand that change is
constant in life, and think Noisebridge is getting better every day.  I
put at least an hour every morning into cleaning, do my best to do the
"are you new to NB?" and "what are you working on?" questions, and encourage
some sense of maintenance routine to keep going.  It is all good, though I
look forward to the return of others (members or not) who can help out
with these things so I can put more time into working on the various
projects that are demanding my time and attention.  Lately, this
includes not only the wallets, but building a website/store, settling
an insurance claim for my backpack stolen in June.

On the positive side, I have probably given at least 25 tours this week
and fundraising donations seem to be coming in.  The Noisebridge WW are
also selling, 100% to the NB General Fund.  Also, Ed, has been  week
and really helped launch an attack on the fruit fly situation.  Best of
all, he has a particularly wonderful talent for cranking out totally
AMAZING PIZZA!  omyn, yom, yom!  Joergen has also done some culinary
wonders this week.  Best of all, both of these people and most people
around this week have really pitched in and worked hard to not only get
the place relatively cleaner, but to keep it that way.

Lest this be taken as NB being "all weird and scary," let me be clear:  It
is not.  If anything, from what I've observed over the past 3 months, it is
becoming more excellent every week.  The vast majority of what's going on at
Noisebridge is awesome, outstanding, fantastic, and positive.  People are
what make this such an excellent space/community.  Nevertheless, Noisebridge
*is* a part of the community around it and, I think, evolving for the good
because of this.  If you are curious, want to learn, want to create, want to
share & contribute, want to be able to do something more than covering the
basic needs of existence... then Noisebridge is for you.  The only concern
is that what before seeming to a few outliers has been creeping lately into

I thus raise this issue with the following statements in mind:
-Communication is leadership.
-Problems are easiest to solve early and small vs. later and huge;
Prevention is best.
-No growth or change is possible until everyone admits the truth of the
reality of a situation.
-Groups working together can generally find better solutions than
individuals acting alone.
-This is an opportunity to improve, not a call to isolate.

Noisebridge is an awesome environment/space/community
and one that I am passionate about sharing and contributing to.

Peace and thank you,

Duncan (the Weightless Wallet guy)
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