PtP Explanation, Part Five
At this point, since it's just me, there are no heroes or villains. I have no wish to be one of the heroes of the story. Those (along with the
villains) will no doubt, come later, and make no mistake - there will be conflict. There will be villains.
I say this because as the PtP Network grows, it's going to scare the everliving HELL out of entrenched interests. They will not understand it, or its
purpose, and we've seen countless examples of what happens in those cases.
When something changes, and is not understood, it is reflexively despised.
When it is despised, an attempt is made to destroy it in order to prevent it, and the ideas behind it from spreading.
Whether these attempts ultimately succeed or fail will be up to the heroes who arise from the community to prevent this from happening. Their stories
and struggles will come later. Consider this to be the prologue.
Since I am neither hero nor villain, call me the Architect. My lot is simply to build the framework around which the story will grow.
It's an interesting story, and I'll tell it to the present day, then keep this post updated periodically until launch day.
Here's My Story:
The Tale of The Architect
"Is it possible to create a (computer) game that, when played, the simple act of playing the game can cause a variable to change in the real, physical
When my friend Daniel first asked me this question, I had just had my third heart attack.
I was dating a woman named Cindy at the time, and it was she who called the ambulance and took care of me until the EMTs arrived.
I was taken to the hospital, evaluated, and a quadruple bypass planned.
The surgery was delayed for 12 days because I had been on blood thinners, and it took that long for my blood to thicken to the point that the surgery
was not a risk. Every day, they'd come in to draw blood in the morning, assuring me that "today was the day," and every afternoon, they'd come back
and tell me we'd have to wait again.
Having that looming like a shadow over my head for the better part of two weeks was pure, nail biting agony.
Eventually, however, the day came.
I told the Anesthesiologist that she'd need to give me quite a lot of anesthesia, and that when I came out of it, it would not be a gradual thing, but
a sudden awakening.
She didn't believe me, but she should have. When I came awake (suddenly, just as I told her I would), I reflexively tried to pull the breathing tube
from my throat.
They had to handcuff me to the bed to prevent me from doing so.
My acute pancreatitis scar was now joined by the classic "zipper scar." The two are separated only by about two inches.
My body is a patchwork of scars. With each new accident or medical malfunction, I look increasingly like Frankenstein's Monster.
I used to have a hat that said "Scars are tattoos with better stories." Lost the hat in the "Tragic Bear Incident of 2010," but still remember the
phrase, and I'd agree. I have some pretty good stories.
Anyway, eventually, they let me come home, back to Cindy's, since I was living with her at the time.
She took care of me.
Nursed me back to health, which was no easy task.
Sleeping sitting up, being unable to draw more than a shallow breath...it wasn't a picnic, but once physical therapy started, I began to recover more
It was during this period that Daniel asked me the question that changed the course of my life.
I had lots of spare time to devote to the question then, because I was healing, and this was the thing I poured myself into. This, and regaining my
former sense of self. My former strength.
Eventually, I answered Daniel's question and began working on the first (very early, buggy, crash prone, and hideously ugly) prototype of the website,
and had begun conducting my earliest real world experiments. I completed the game's first "Quests" and measured their effectiveness.
Here were the prototypical quests I designed for myself:
I had been reading about small plot farming techniques, two of which appealed to me. Jeavan's Biointensive Method, and Bartholomew's "Square Foot"
There were things I liked about both, so I took the bits I wanted, and combined them to create my own methodology, which I gave the rather unfortunate
acronym HYNA ("Hyena"), which stands for High Yield, Natural Agronomy.
Unemployment was still quite high at the beach, and area homeless shelters and soup kitchens were stretched thin.
I found one of these (serving 90 plates a day), and spoke with the people who ran the place.
I offered to help them double their plate capacity, and promised that it would not cost them a dime.
The first thing I did was buy them a greenhouse from Amazon (Shelter Logic, 10'x20').
Then I learned how to build raised beds for planting out of wood from shipping pallets.
The greenhouse was set up in the rear of their parking lot, and as I began putting it together, something magical and amazing happened.
As the people who ate their meals finished, and exited the building with full bellies, they stopped.
Not all of them, to be sure, but a big percentage.
They asked what I was doing, and why, and when they found out, they pitched in to help me.
They became part of the process.
The soup kitchen stopped being "just a handout," because they were INVOLVED.
Things went much faster after that.
Once my new helpers were up to speed on my "cutting edge" raised bed production techniques (no measuring - just eyeballing, a sawzal, and a nail gun),
I went off to find a guy named Dan.
I had seen Dan's van around town, and had the first inklings of an idea.
Dan was a small businessman. "Dan the Gutter Man."
He, predictably enough, installed gutters on the sides of houses.
I asked him what he did with the old ones.
Come to find out, they all wound up in the landfill, so I asked him for some.
He gave them to me, and I took them back to the soup kitchen.
We cleaned them, and I went to Lowe's to buy some shelf brackets.
We mounted the gutters on the side of the building, and used them as really long planter boxes.
Before long, we had tons of green, growing things, and the people that USED the soup kitchen's services got into the habit of helping tend to them.
Again, they became part of the process.
By itself, this did not double the number of plates served at the soup kitchen, though it did give them a solid increase.
We needed more, so of course, I went home and started watching TV.
One of the shows I came across was the silly "Extreme Couponing" show.
I knew they probably used some off camera cheats that most people couldn't replicate, but I resolved to replicate the basic process.
Got a methodology to about 85% of what the show promised.
Armed with that information, I went back to the Soup Kitchen.
I discovered that while they get most of their food from food banks, they DO have to go to the grocery store to pick up ingredients that are needed to
complete a menu.
I found that they were saving, on average, about 15% per shopping trip, so I offered to teach them my methodology.
We went shopping together, and sure enough, they were able to save an additional 50-70% over and above what they'd been saving before, per trip.
That, coupled with the success of the HYNA beds in the parking lot actually MORE than doubled their number of plates served.
(continued next post)
edit on 19-12-2015 by Velociryx because: (no reason given)