link to it 26jan06: home2snow
It's got to be some sort of sign of getting older when you come back from a trip and say "Wow, I didn't get any sleep." and then reveal that it's not because you were out all night partying, but because the B&B plays cool jazz in the hallways all night long and you can't tune out the saxophone solos since they sound like mosquitos. I'm back from the library conference, I'm incredibly tired, and I'm sure I'll have a lot to share once I'm rested. You can peek at some pictures in the meantime to get an idea of what I've been up to.
link to it 21jan06: alamoo
[alabama acorn]
If you can read this, I have gotten the ALA wireless to work, or something. Right now I'm en route to San Antonio for what I hope will be my second to last ALA conference for a while. The last one, happening in New Orleans in June, seems more appealing at this point. Somehow I am managing to travel someplace where I don't know anyone living there and so my lodgings are a combination of borrowed beds and floors and two nights someplace nice, courtesy of a leftover holiday present from my Mom. When she asked what I wanted, I said "peace of mind" which to me meant spending the night before the next day's 8 am Council meeting someplace quiet, with a shower and Internet access.

I've finally gotten Winter to the point where I can roll with it, with the eating too much comfort food, and the lack of movement, and the unsteady footing anyplace outdoors, and the oversleeping. Part of this may be the new swim routine -- I'm up to almost 1.5 miles a week -- part may be the mildness of this particular Winter, and part of it is just that Greg and I have finally learned to live together in a small room during a short season in a cold house. This is of course just in time for it all to end; both the season and the housing should be wrapping up in a few months. If you'd ask me I'd say I don't like this feeling, but my life has too many of these "I don't know what I'm going to do next" precipices for their appearance to be just a constant stream of inopportune coincidences. In any case, here's the latest one....

Big suprise that working for a large government agency which I'lll call BananaCorps is full of a lot of paperwork. I expected that. What I did not expect -- and maybe I'm just a dorky pollyanna here -- was my emails going unreturned, my quarterly reports suddenly declared unacceptable a few days before Christmas, my (local and much appreciated) boss to get yelled at due to my questions about the first two things, and being told that I was ineligible for an "education award" despite asking and receiving assurances to the contrary well before I signed this year's contract. In any case, long story short, this week I'll be finding out how we're handing this. If the monkeys at BananaCorps know what's good for them, they'll graciously let me out of my contract and find someone else to yell at. If not, well me and my boss-with-a-law-degree will have some work cut out for us. The school I've been working closely with seems willing and able to pay me themselves and, as I've mentioned before, I really like working there. I'm not sure if it's the good news or the bad news that a lot of this is happening while I'm out of town, but since I'm not one of those people who normally dreads reading their email, a few days of it can't hurt me.
link to it 17jan06: mlk too
I don't know about where you live, but at least one of the major papers here only ran the story about MLKs heirs fighting over his legacy for MLK Day, for shame. Today Greg saw Congressman John Lewis speaking at Vermont Law School. He's still a total civil rights spitfire. Not only did he get Greg singing in the balcony with everyone else there (or most everyone else) he gave this reasoning on his site as to why he wasn't in Georgia to celebrate MLK Day.
"I believe it was too great a contradiction," said Rep. Lewis, "to celebrate the legacy of Dr. King in one hour and pass the Georgia photo ID bill in the next. The photo ID bill is a modern-day poll tax, and the insistence of Georgia Republicans in passing legislation that will disenfranchise thousands of elderly, disabled, rural, poor and minority voters in Georgia is a stain on our democracy. It shows no true regard for the legacy, life, and sacrifice of Dr. King or for all those who struggled during the Civil Rights Movement to bring greater justice to the ballot box in America."
I read a great article yesterday about how Dr. King was always miffed that he could get a ton of people outside fighting the police but had a harder time finding people to actually do work in the community, address the causes of poverty, organize to create the "beloved community." The article gives a nod to the Corporation for National Service which just barely employs me. I took a day off yesterday mostly because the rest of my days are "days on." Today I talked with one of my students about the time she spent in Hollywood when her husband was a B Movie actor and managed to turn it into a small class on how to use IMDB. Another student of mine showed up with a motion sensor camera, but he couldn't figure out how to get the pictures off of it. I took his compact flash card home and said I'd let him know what I found. I like the blurry work/home distinction I have at this job, I only wish I could find a way to get this while working at a library.

In any case, someone posted to the ALA Council list this article about how MLK Day as a holiday is due in a large part to the work of labor unions. Surprised? You shouldn't be.
link to it 16jan06: mlk

When people tell me that protesting never fixed any political problems in the US, I point them to Dr. King and the civil rights movement. When I looked up Kelly Ingram Park (formerly West Park) in Birmingham, on Google, the scene of some horrifying and widely televised police brutality, it was gratifying to see some of our own pictures from the trip coming back to me.

My friend James has done a timely remix of parts of the I Have a Dream speech, apropos for today. Download it and listen to it here: I Have A Dream.
link to it 14jan06: the year in cities and towns
Little did I know when I started taking pictures of all the places I'd stayed in 2005 that it would segue nicely into a meme that other people were doing. So, I get to have an illustrated version of every place I stayed in 2005. I'm behind for 2006 because we've stayed in three places (one is home) and I've photographed only two of them, so there will have to be a placeholder for the forgettable hotel in Montgomery with the unforgettable Alabama-shaped pool.

Here's the list, in order, links go to pictures of guestrooms:

Bethel, VT [I live here, no picture because it's no guestroom]
Brattleboro VT
Long Branch NJ
Hoboken, NJ
Halifax, VT
Westport, MA
Amherst, MA
Somerville, MA
Manchester, NH
Pittsburgh, PA
Silver Spring, MD
Hackensack, NJ
Brooklyn, NY
Chicago, IL
Bloomington, IN
Plainfield, IN
Mishawaka, IN
Boxboro, MA
St. Albans, VT
Burlington, VT
Monterey, CA
San Francisco, CA
San Jose, CA
Anthem, AZ
Tucson, AZ.

I've already talked about how this was over two months of travel time. I'll see if there's some way to see how I compare to this, on average, as 2006 goes on. It seems like I was pretty busy but/and it was a good year.
link to it 11jan06: and we're back
Greg posted a summary of some of the things we did on our trip. I posted a list of the libraries we went to, all fifteen of them. We spent all of our money and were treated to some wonderful hospitality by our friends Jonathan and Julie who live just south of Birmingham. I gave a talk, we went walking through all new cities and I learned a lot of things about the civil rights struggles in the South. I'm reasonably learned about civil rights things, and having a partner who has been writing long papers about the Voting Rights Act (still in effect today) helped that. However, I hadn't known -- even after watching Eyes on the Prize and writing several short encyclopedia articles about the Civil Rights Act -- just how institutionalized racism in the south was, at a state level. When black people started the bus boycotts, the state moved to outlaw carpools. When they started boycotting local merchants, the state moved to cut off their food stamps. There were laws against black people playing dominos with white people, with the merchants owning the eating and drinking establishments being held financially accountable if these laws were broken. There's racism on a personal level -- which is deplorable but often avoidable -- and then there is a systematic inexorable sort of racism where people use the power of the state to make wide sweeping anti-black or anti-minority or anti-someone policies where none had existed before. This isn't too far from what we saw in the 2000 elections with the massive cleansing of the voter rolls and what we see with felony voting laws generally. For shame.

The trip was punctuated with a lot of walking, eating, and driving and looking at things. Every building or house we went inside had its own unique and often lovely scent. The weather was generally agreeable though it did snow ever so briefly when we were in Birmingham which was pretty novel. All the things that can go wrong on a trip didn't. We had no rental car hassles, no housing hassles, no airport hassles (though US Air has some of the shabbiest planes I have ever been on) and no parking hassles. We got home with about $20 extra dollars and we spent it on salad which was probably the first raw green vegetables we'd had all week.

My pictures from the trip are here, and fairly well annotated. Greg took a few more, sometimes of the same things, and sometimes different. I leave for ALA in about ten days but for now, it's good to be home.
link to it 03jan06: and we're off
I swam a half mile today because I had the fidgets because we're going on a trip.

Greg had free tickets to go anyplace in the US which he got because he was bumped off of a flight in March 2005. We had to use them within the year and time was running out. I've been travelling so much that the thought of getting on another airplane was not really exciting to me. However, we made a plan for early '06. We wanted to go someplace warmer than here, where we didn't really know anyone, someplace urban (when country folk travel, they go to the city) and not a beachy/resort type place since we can and do lie around and read at home. Plus I burn easily. I asked Greg what he'd like and he suggested a civil rights tour of the South. Since we had to be practical we settled on a little less than a week in Alabama. The rest you probably know. I went to to get an idea of what I could get a last-minute rental car for, and wound up with a teenymobile for only $15 a day which sounds like an amount I'd be willing to pay. We're mostly packed up even though we don't need to leave until lunchtime. We're bringing syrup to our librarian friends in Birmingham who graciously agreed to put us up. Packing early is important since I've been sleeping 9-10 hours a night since I've been back on the serious swimming routine. Drop an email tout de suite if you'd like a postcard. It's been a while since I've sent a real stack of them.
link to it 02jan06: happy new year
[coins that didn't make it through the coin machine]
It's a holiday for some people and I guess officially it's my first day of work. Since I'm still in scheduling/planning mode, I got to work from home in my pajamas. Interestingly Jessamyn West, the other, original one, has had things to say about working from bed.
It just seems like the place to write. It would seem businesslike to write at a desk. And, if you're a housewife, there are two good reasons for staying in bed. One, you have on your nightgown or pajamas and can't go running to the door at the knock of strangers. Also, once you're up and dressed, you see ten thousand things that need doing. So, I wake up and get some coffee or orange juice and go back to bed. I write everything in longhand. I could type at one time, and I suppose I still could, but it's not very easy to have a typewriter on your stomach in bed.
I'm fairly certain most people who have the same name as famous people don't find as much sympatico as I do with the original Jessamyn West.

Greg and I went for a New Year's Day walk yesterday and he took some pictures. On Friday we went to the bank and cashed in the large jar of change that we've been collecting for a few years now, in order to finance our Alabama trip. This is the second trip to the bank coin changing machine, and yesterday's haul netted us about $300 for 25 pounds of change. I also found a few T tokens and a lot of Canadian money which you'd think I'd use, being so close to Canada. We leave on Wednesday. You can see the places we're going to visit by going to Greg's page tagged alabama. I tried to teach my Dad how to use over break but it was too many new metaphors at one time. Anyone who wants to learn more about it, feel free to email me or try it out. This was going to be the year that I finally got this site on some sort of blogging software, but I've got some specific requirements and I'd rather have them work my way than have something that was easier to use. This is the beginning of my tenth year working on this page specifically which feels weird and incorrect but is demonstrably true. It's odd having a running narrative going -- even if it's limited like this one is -- that you can check in with from time to time and say "huh, I thought differently about things then" That realization, of course, leads you to believe that it's likely you'll likely feel differently about things in the future too. Humbling.
Jessamyn is in...
the archives

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20jan... ALA
??jan... puzzlehunt
26apr... TLA
08may... SLA
18may... OLC
01jun... RILA
??jun... wikimania

more? more?