About John

My name is John “Halcyon” Styn.
Artist, Designer, Strategist, Seeker, Reverend, Uncle, and Friend.
My life is my art.

born: 5.28.71 (3:20 pm, san diego, ca) 45 years old
color: pink
sounds: electronica
faith: self-defined. (see: Belief Buffet)
clothing: textured (and often pink)
style: flamboyant
piercings: ears and nipple (00 & 10 gauge)
body hair: rigidly groomed
greeting: hug


  • Bought first URL in 1996, prehensile.com, to migrate my xeroxed zine to this new worldwide publishing system I heard about. Published funny stories every Monday.
  • Worked as the very first Webmaster for Sony’s E-commerce Mall before they took it in house.(Sony Station)
  • Sued by Fruit of the Loom for a parody piece called “Meat of the Loom.”
    After grassroots protests and press in Wired magazine, FotL back down in one of the first demonstrations of web as tool for collective action against evil (corporations).

  • Launched cockybastard.com to publicly explore inward using this new medium.
  • Won the 2000 Webby for best personal website, cockybastard.com.
  • Employed as Spokesperson and Community Voice for the 2 million member CollegeClub.com web community from 1999-2001.
  • Shot a TV Pilot, “Hot Tub TV”
  • Employed Kaycee Nicole and promoted her weblog enthusiastically. (Her fake persona and death was one of TWO highly public times when I was played a fool.)
  • Coined term, digital intimacy to explain the real connections people have over the net
  • Explored webcams as a tool for connecting via the web. After developing CClive at collegeclub, created and ran CitizenX.com, experimental webcam community. Interviewed in “Design For Community” by Derek Powazek.
  • Hosted and ran live audience interactive webcam events like Virtual Grace, HugNation, and the Feel The Love call-in show.
  • Lived for 2.5 years in a 24/7 webcam house with night vision and audio.
  • Subject of an MTV documentary about living publicly.
  • Sam Donaldson said “Get a load of that guy! What an ego!” about me on the air at the 2001 Webby Awards.
  • I MC’d The SXSW web awards (live event) from 1999-2003.
  • Won a second Webby with my grandpa in 2007 for our video podcast, HugNation.
  • Did the first ever “Hug Tour” in honor of Grandpa Caleb.
  • In 2002, I was named one of the 10 most hated sites on the net by Yahoo Internet Life Magazine.
  • In 2007 Yahoo featured me & Grandpa as notable “People of the Web”
  • hosted the NBC.com experimental project “FEARS. REGRETS. DESIRES.”
  • featured on the prestigious hotchickswithdouchebags.com in Nov. 2008.


  • Sometimes when people are explaining things to me in a warm way, I get a blissful tingling sensation. I’ve called it “the feeling” since I was a kid. Sometimes an interesting accent can trigger it. Sometimes a cold chill, or foreign accent helps maintain it.
    UPDATE: Now I know this to be ASMR.

  • I cut off my long hair on a TV makeover show.
  • Had my first real date on the Gameshow STUDS.
  • Burning Man is a central part of my spiritual practice. (participant since 1998)
  • Pierced my right nipple in 1991 and my left in 2001.
  • I have no tattoos.
  • My best friend is my brother.
  • I tend to be very good at being in the moment. But much worse at remembering moments.
  • I forget everyone’s names.
  • I love dancing in places where you can take your clothes off if you want. At least your shirt.
  • My skin complexion is my weakness. I pick at my face and then get depressed when my face is a mess.
  • I enjoy self-grooming (aka “manscaping”)more than I should.
  • My personal mantra is, “love more, fear less. float more, steer less.”
  • I had a spiritual experience on a mountaintop in Turkey in 1991 and have been changed ever since.
  • I hosted a weekly call-in radio show for almost 2 years.
  • I’ve had the personal licence plates: DEF MANE, C*CKY, HUGABLE, and HUG NATN


  • Lost my virginity or Prom night, right before my 18th birthday. Neither one of us climaxed.
  • I wore turtle necks every day for a year (10th grade) because I thought it made my ears smaller and my ‘pencil neck’ not-so-noticeable.
  • I wore makeup (foundation) during jr. high and high school because of my complexion.
  • I was heavily into underground rap in 1988-89. My rap name was “Def Mane”
  • My first car was a beige Volvo Station Wagon.
  • I Helped start a fraternity while in college.

About the ‘Reverend’ Thing…

  • I am ordained in the Universal Life Church.
  • I have performed many marriages.
  • I do not consider myself a Christian, but do consider Jesus to be one of my valued teachers.
  • I believe that a spiritual path is deeply personal. And whatever works for you is perfect.
  • I distrust anyone who knows “the true way.”
  • I tend to believe what my grandpa believed. Summed up in the title of a book given to me by him: “All Religions Are True” by Gandhi.
  • I consider myself a spiritual infant.
  • I believe in love.
  • I love you.


If I ever say anything worth reading, it is because I have learned from great teachers. Here are some people/places/things that enrich my journey.


Schools of Thought

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11 thoughts on “About John”

  1. Hug Nation? Are you There? Hello? Hug Nation – Where are you?
    John– Thank you for all that you do! I have enjoyed your blog and am left wondering what happened in April?
    Are you ok?
    May June July August September?
    Give us an update Hug Nation!

    With {hugs} and in harmony, Bee

  2. i love your message! I am thinking of coming to B.M next year for the first time, Your videos and comments are so inspiring. Cant wait to meet n greet you! Have a great fall wherever you are x pink love

  3. Hello.

    A little shy, but I think meeting you would maybe save my life. OK that’s a bit overdramatic. Clearly, you are a Very Busy, Very Popular Person. But a lovely random woman in a medical office lobby mentioned something about a Burner group in OB… and I think she said you are connected with it. Is that perhaps a way?

    Giving thanks for you today.

    Peace –


  4. Interesting discussion about ticket scalping and radical inclusion. I have attended only local burns like PDF because you can people on a personal basis. My heart lies with the National Rainbow Community.

  5. Gosh John….your open ness, sweet heart and well spoken clarity on a range of subjects is absolutely refreshing my heart and faith in my life.

    thank you for your gift of being the way you choose to be


  6. Holy Fuck man,

    This video made me feel really emotional. The relationship you had with your grandfather is/was immensely beautiful and significant and I could tell he was very proud of you and cherished the relationship you guys had.

    I wish you all the very best on your journey, with the love, intention and confidence that you have you’ll change and inspire many many lives for the better.

    Maybe one day our lives will cross paths.

    Love and light,

    Gareth Bawden

  7. I discovered you on splat.com when i was looking at hair dye. I discovered that you are expressive person. you are filled with great ideas, i hope in the future you come up with more awesome ones.

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The Unofficial Blog of John Halcyon Styn