PRAM Zapped

Zap Your PRAM Mark II is over, and I’m just back from dropping Olle and Luisa at the airport in Halifax at the finish up of their 3-week residency here in Charlottetown. Tack our trip to Iceland on to the beginning of all that, and it’s been an exciting month filled with all sorts of talk and reflection. In the spirit of Dan’s bullet-list of Zap points, here’s my own:

  • Dalvay-by-the-Sea, our venue, makes every other conference venue seem like an impersonal prison. It seems absurd, for example, to even consider attending a conference that doesn’t have roaring fires, an espresso machine, and grapefruit slices at the breakfast buffet.
  • The breadth and quality of the formal program seemed like the result of careful and deliberate decisions on our part. Which is remarkable given that we threw it together so haphazardly.
  • What Dan Misener called “inline discussion” — others might called it “interrupting the speaker, a lot” — seemed, with a few exceptions, to work really well. Unlike the usual 95% formal, 5% “I’ll take a few questions” format, the ratio was often 30% formal and 70% back-and-forth.
  • The only thing that didn’t really click for me, Steven’s comments aside, was the live music: I was hoping for a sort of coffee house slash kitchen party atmosphere but what we ended up with seemed more like “nerds in the rec room with the lights on” and I don’t think the performers got the audience they deserved.
  • I kept trying to use the word “atemporal” sarcastically after it was used during a session, but nobody bit: apparently atemporal is a word that people (or at least Zap people) use in regular everyday conversations and thus it holds no sarcastic punch. Same thing for “touch-points.”

  • I believe the word “space” was used only once at the conference, in the “social networking space” way. This was nice. “Monetize” came up more frequently, but not to an annoying extent.

Like every experience that’s collectively experienced as being awesome, there was chatter about doing another Zap next year, or at least not waiting five years to do it again: I still think we should wait five years (or 7, or 12) to do it again, as it’s important that it’s a completely new thing every time and doesn’t become something that’s a hassle to organize and/or something that’s done only because it’s scheduled to be done. Like Dan says, we should do it again when we’ve got the fire in our bellies for it again.


Steven Garrity's picture
Steven Garrity on October 22, 2008 - 15:39 Permalink

Turning down the lights for the second night of live music made for a 30% improvement in comfort and atmosphere.

Alan's picture
Alan on October 22, 2008 - 16:38 Permalink

Next time consider a Zap attendee band and/or other sorts of party favours. The music was very good but it was sourced outside the circle. It was passive. Sure doing it ourselves sounds like “let’s ask Dad if we can use the barn to put on a play” but putting on barn plays is always a good idea even if everyone looks like a goofball to each other at some point.

Plus, Ollie seems to be playing a penny whistle in his photo. I’ve played penny whistle for years — alone in my penny whistle cocoon. If Brad sets up a way that Ollie and I can practice together in the way that he works on setting up his own music from separate actions, we would actually be quite good come the next Zap. I bet there are more penny whistlers…or banjo pluckers…or tuba hoomphers out there.

What else could be done collaboratively?

Peter Rukavina's picture
Peter Rukavina on October 22, 2008 - 17:18 Permalink

@Alan that’s an excellent thought: perhaps the music didn’t work because it was more of a performance in an environment of collaboration. Next Zap I will bring my guitar and sing “Kitchen Utensil Love” if you will back me up on the whistle.

Alan's picture
Alan on October 22, 2008 - 17:35 Permalink

If we wait 5, 7 or 12 years, the penny whistle may have grown to a tuba.

I wonder how many musical instruments sit in the closets and rec rooms of zappers…or is it “the zaparati”?

Peter Rukavina's picture
Peter Rukavina on October 22, 2008 - 17:38 Permalink

+1 for zaparati. We have: several sets of bongos, two acoustic guitars, several recorders and penny-whistles, an accordion, an cheezy electric piano and a weird instrument made out of a log.

Steven Garrity's picture
Steven Garrity on October 22, 2008 - 17:50 Permalink

We had invited the musician’s to participate in the conference, but they were unable to. I agree that this would have augmented the awesomeness.

As for a Zap band, this would conflict with my “no jamming” policy. Though, apparently Hannah plays the cello, which is awesome.

Alan's picture
Alan on October 22, 2008 - 17:52 Permalink

We have an unfair advantage as Kingston has this phenomenal thing called “the musical instrument lending library” which provides an insane opportunity to be quite poor at any number of instruments.

I have had an accordion and wish I still did. We still house a guitar, banjo, mandolin, keyboard, penny whistles.

Alan's picture
Alan on October 22, 2008 - 18:39 Permalink

It’s not jamming if you practiced, have a song list and wear co-ordinated outfits..

John Hawbaker's picture
John Hawbaker on October 23, 2008 - 01:09 Permalink

I thought the music was good, but a collaborative effort would take it up even another notch. That said, my musical talents extend only as far as singly poorly alongside Rock Band.

Count me firmly in the “let’s not wait 5 years” camp, but I will agree that the best time to do it is when you just can’t wait any longer because you’re burning for the experience again.