The Periodic Calendar’s Maker Faire Debut

After two days of exhibiting the Periodic Calendar at World Maker Faire in New York, it ended up taking five days for my voice to come back!  But that’s what happens when you talk pretty much non-stop for eighteen hours.  This was my first time being part of Maker Faire and I took it seriously when the schedule called it “SHOWTIME”, for a show is what I tried to give the wonderfully smart, curious and friendly crowd this remarkable event brings in.


If you’ve never heard of it before, Maker Faire is the “Greatest Show (and Tell) on Earth”.  A manifestation of DIY culture with a heavy technological bent, makers are the new garage bands.  And as we were getting started on Saturday morning, I was a little intimidated looking around at my neighbors.  3D printers were spitting objects out in every direction, Google was a few spaces down, NASA was around the corner and there I was talking about something printed on a piece of paper.


Why was I at Maker Faire?  …  Because I’m a conceptual maker.  While I might not be handy with tools and can pretty much guarantee that anything I take apart is done for, I love deconstructing ideas as much as I enjoy putting them back together again.  In fact, I’m driven by the idea that humanity’s problems are mainly in our head at this point.   So lack of hardware aside, I felt like P-Cal fit right in with the diverse range of innovative works being showcased at the New York Hall of Science last weekend.


…  Or so I continued to explain to wave after wave of visitors.  The first two hours I thought I was going to pass out from the combination of nervous excitement, a fruit smoothie and a tight hat.  Eventually I got the hang of speaking in a loop.  I found myself in the midst of a verbal marathon, complete with the buzz of a time ball two spaces to my left announcing the top of each hour.

A few hours into it and I couldn’t imagine stopping.  It didn’t matter if there was one person standing in front of me or twenty, everyone that came close got a sincere earful about what I’ve learned so far in the process of creating and exploring the Periodic Calendar over the last year.


The crowd was full of questions too and it was particularly fun helping kids find their birth elements.  What year was most common?  1999.  Yep, fourteen year olds and younger were taking to the Periodic Calendar like fish to water.  Watching their faces light up as they got how P-Cal flips around our perspective of time, I felt like a magician.

There were plenty of adults with big smiles on their faces too when the revolutionary/ridiculous simplicity of P-Cal hit them, from the Englishman who was taught to always include the day of the week with the date back in school to the mathematician who just said “Yeah” about a millisecond into my explanation.   And of course some reported not understanding a word of what came out of my mouth, although I assured them that the Periodic Calendar is the last calendar they’ll need for a reason.  It takes seconds to learn, but will perhaps require decades to get the hang of.

By the end of the day on Sunday, I was ready to collapse.  But as if all the interactions and all the new P-Cal Pioneers roaming the Earth weren’t enough, I was surprised by two honors that absolutely made my day.  I knew the Maker Faire audience enjoyed the show, but would the Maker community think I was truly a fit?  Happily the answer to this question was made clear when I was bestowed with ribbons for Editor’s Choice and Educator’s Choice by the staff of Make magazine!


I couldn’t ask for much more than that and when asked if they would see me next year, my answer was a resounding “Yes!”  I learned so much this first outing that I’ve already got a bunch of new ideas for next year’s presentation.  And hopefully I’ll get a spot as part of the mother ship of all Maker Faires in the Bay Area next May!

Thanks again to my co-pilot Cara, to everyone who came out and to everyone at Maker Faire for making it such an incredible experience.

P-Cal Fun at the Mensa Annual Gathering

While there has been radio silence here on the blog over the last three months, behind the scenes it has been anything but quiet.  After spending April digging into the implications of the Periodic Calendar on our perspective of history, I dedicated May and June to the development of the hour-long presentation I had been invited to give at the Mensa Annual Gathering in July down in Fort Worth, TX.


Although my fifteen minute presentation at Electric Works earlier this year was a fantastic experience, this appearance at Mensa was my first long form talk and there was more than a little pressure involved with preparing to face an audience from a high IQ society.  Over two months I developed a little over 150 slides of material before paring it down to a fast and fun 120.  It covered everything from my history of making calendars and the history of calendars themselves to a thorough breakdown of the Periodic Calendar system, comparing and contrasting it with our current calendar, before closing with a finale centered on our misguided history of talking about history.  And despite being quite nervous leading up to it, once I got in the room, all of my preparation paid off and I found myself excited to be back in front of a crowd talking about one of my creations.


Happily, I not only survived the trial by fire of the Mensa brain trust who turned out for the show, but got a strong, warm response in reply.  There were a lot of questions in the crowd and the discussion continued for quite a while afterwards as a few Mensans hung around to get into some finer points of the Periodic Calendar with my six foot display copy.  Of course I was already warmed up for such a conversation after spending the day at a table talking to folks as they went back and forth between other events at the Annual Gathering.  This crowd definitely “got” the Periodic Calendar and I had a blast engaging with such a smart and friendly bunch of people.


What’s next?!  Well, I returned home hungry to hit the road again and am pleased to announced that my wish has already been granted.  The Periodic Calendar has been accepted as an exhibit at the World Maker Faire next month in New York and you better believe we’ll be there!!!  Get your tickets today and stay tuned for more details once we know where the P-Cal table will be situated at the Greatest Show and Tell on Earth!

It Was Electric!

After eighteen years of writing and making things to little avail, the presentation at Electric Works was like arriving at a forgotten destination.  Me in front of people talking coherently about something I created?  It doesn’t sound like the reality I know, yet according to multiple reports, that is what happened on Sa³ Jan 19 here in San Francisco.

What I can objectively confirm is that the 6 foot vinyl banner of the Periodic Calendar was a mighty sight to behold.  Also, my chalkboard display breaking down how many three-day weekends the federal holidays yield in the seven types of years completely betrayed the fact that my handwriting is generally a poor show.

EW materials

And look, … people!  …  Awake people!  …  It was standing room only!


Of course that picture was taken before the crowd got angry and started chanting “Heretic!” while throwing fruit and vegetables at me for claiming that there are 438 elements representing 365/6 so-called days.  …  Aside from that however, the audience remained not only friendly and alert, but were brimming with questions about the inner workings of the Periodic Calendar.

Thanks again to everyone who came out and to Electric Works for hosting this inaugural event.  Based on the interest in what has been unearthed about the calendar in the first few weeks of its existence, it seems I’m not alone in thinking the Periodic Calendar has some surprising and perhaps even valuable insights and perspectives to offer the world.  I look forward to sharing more, both in person and here on the site, as we continue to explore this new way to look at time.

Meanwhile, we wait with baited breath to find out what the San Francisco Chronicle, who was also in attendance, thought of the proceedings.  Check out the SFiS section of the Su1 Feb 3 paper to read the verdict!

P-Cal Event at Electric Works Sa³ Jan 19

Hot off the fine art presses at Electric Works:

Special Event: The Periodic Calendar with APE CON MYTH!


Electric Works is pleased to present the Periodic Calendar, a new breakthrough in temporal technology, created by Joey Sellers and conceptual art think tank Ape Con Myth.

Modeled on the periodic table of elements, the Periodic Calendar reveals the full landscape of possible days by categorizing years based on their first day of the week. In this new system, the days of the month shatter into the isotopes of multiple elements, creating a perpetual calendar capable of exploring past, present and future dates as never before.

Ape Con Myth’s work revolves around the search for new possibilities within reality by rewiring the abstract structures governing it and for five years has produced variations on the traditional wall calendar in an effort to change the way the world thinks about and experiences time.

Please join us on January 19th from 2-3pm to get a glimpse of the future with the creator of the Periodic Calendar. Sellers will give a short talk about what Type of Year 2013 will be and help the curious find their Birth Elements.

You can also participate in Ape Con Myth’s Calendar Trade-In Program by bringing in your new, yet hopelessly outdated, regular wall calendars for a $5 discount on the Periodic Calendar.

Hope to see you there!

Electric Works
1360 Mission St.
San Francisco
(Sa3) January 19th, 2013