When the phrase "radio silence" doesn't make me think of Thomas Dolby, it makes me think of a bunch of guys in a submarine turning off all of their soundmaking equipment and engines and floating quietly in the water looking nervously around waiting to see if something bad happens, expecting something bad.

So, I've been MIA because I've been waiting for some test results from the doc that turned out to be nothing but had a small chance of turning out to be something and I sat around with my noisemakers off for a week, worrying. I am developing a very very annoying [to me] habit of becoming irrational about my health during periods of great stress. Now that I'm back into rational-land [or "illusion of rational" land which will have to suffice] it's something I'm officially working on.

Or will, when I get back from Boston, and Puerto Rico, and Ann Arbor Michigan, and New Hampshire. I know, I know "Gee, Jessamyn can't imagine what in your life could be stressful!" Today I can mostly laugh at myself, yesterday things weren't seeming so funny.

But despite my seeming hibernation, a lot has gotten done. I helped install an online catalog for a public library. I used a reel mower to mow my lawn. I sent out some letters. I almost finished a book. I took a lot of people out to lunch in the past week or two and got taken out to lunch myself. Yay for lunch. Today I get in the car and drive down to Massachusetts. Check me out on this list of fancy people! I hope to be checking in here a little more often. Thanks, as always for checking in with me.

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I have a heavy heart this week. A longtime friend of the family died on Tuesday. I put a photo of her up on Flickr, but otherwise I haven't been talking about it much. Pat's obit is here and it's more of one than she would have had if she had gotten her druthers. I took a friend out to lunch on Friday.

I deal with grief poorly. Generally I just sort of slosh it around inside of me and usually it manifests itself as stress-related slightly-hypochondriacal random symptoms, and a lot of irritability and sleepiness. So, I'm laying in bed looking out the window at the wet trees in the backyard, realizing I'm not going to mow the lawn again this weekend and trying to make some escape-from-the-house plan before I get bogged down in endless linux upgrades and housecleaning busywork. On the other hand busywork beats moping and both of them beat more typing, so I guess I'll wrap this up here. If you're so inclined, it would be nice if you took a friend out to lunch.

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red - cardinal
orange - mystery orange thing, also baltimore oriole
yellow - goldfinch, evening grosbeak
green - ruby throated hummingbird
blue - indigo bunting
brown - finches
tan - chickadee
black - grackle
white - nuthatch
black and white and red all over - rose-breasted grosbeak


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It's a good and bad week for birds. The grosbeaks have come back this week and I saw a Baltimore oriole way up high in the trees which never happens. My neighbor Chris was over so he was able to help me identify the bird and share in the little "yay orioles!" party. It was a bad week for the hermit thrush who flew into the window, first one of the season.

It was a good and bad week for Ubuntu+Jessamyn. I got briefly internet-famous which as you all know does not translate into beer or anything useful most of the time. Then I spent too much of yesterday trying to get Ubuntu to do all the great stuff it does on my own laptop. I installed what seemed like several hundred package upgrades. I got Flash working. I was online... and then something happened and I wasn't anymore. Then I looked out the window and was like "what the HELL am I doing inside today?" and left.

It was a good and bad week for the lawn. I actually got off my ass and raked up last year's leaves and gave everything the once over. The good news is that tulips and daffodils are up and looking great. The bad news is that I have no idea what the hell I am doing and that's going to be clear in about four days as the lawn gets overgrown and I don't even know how to start the lawnmower. I'd consider investing in seven cats just so it's obvious that I plan to hole up here for the next 40 years (j/k, j/k) but my neighbor has those. Maybe he'll let me borrow them.

My Summer travel plans include Burlington (VLA), Puerto Rico (ACURIL), Ann Arbor, New York (wedding), Portland (MeFi Anniversary) and Seattle (wedding). I think I am taking August off.

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hi jessamyn May 10, 2007

taken by drunkenass.

Message in my inbox today, not at all about Ubuntu.

Hi Jessamyn,

As a teacher in China sometimes you get to name children. Well, give them English names. So tonight at a restaurant a young girl was drawn to me at the prodding of her English speaking aunt. I asked if she had an English name. When the answer was negative I then asked if she'd like me to giver her one. When she replied, "yes!" I quickly came to the decision to name her Jessamyn. I told her it was a special name and that it wouldn't be common. I assured that it was a good name for lovely, smart girls. BTW, she is 5.

I give you, Jessamyn.

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So I got back from the Massachusetts Library Association conference on Friday. Monday I went to one of the little libraries I work with and installed Ubuntu on their donated PCs. They have two Windows machines and the new machines asked for a Windows product code key when you turned them on. Pretty annoying. I had been messing around with Ubuntu -- a user-friendly Linux distribution -- and was pleasantly surprised how well it worked on my new laptop. Previously I had messed around with Linux on old PCs and it had been a nightmare of drivers and missing fonts and me not really understanding enough to make it work right. That has changed.

So I installed Ubuntu and made a little movie of it. I'm working on my little movie skills as I'm sure everyone who reads this knows. Each time I try to learn one more new technique. This time it was the freeze-frames and I actually put myself in this one doing a small voice over spot. It took an hour or two to put the thing together, cheezy graphics and all, then I went to bed. Tuesday I got up and went to work, sent the video around to my friends as usual. I'm always happy when 30-40 people see them. YouTube has a lot of little statistics so you can see what people rate your movie, or who links to it.

So by Tuesday afternoon, I checked my movie page and instead of a few hundred views I had a few thousand. That was weird. I clicked around somewhat and discovered that my movie had been linked as the 802 Online VT Video of the day and Cathy Resmer had sent the link over to Boing Boing who also linked it. I got email. I always get a fair amount of email from random people thanks to working for MetaFilter and having the job that I do, but this was a whole new crowd. I got install advice & tips and just a lot of nice "you go girl" messages. The video makes installing Ubuntu look fun which has always been the sticking point for a lot of non-super-genius geeks like me, the unfunness.

So then I got home after some burgers with Stan (amusing recounting of this whole thing on his blog) and Ubuntu called. Actually it was a guy who does support and systems whatnot over at Canonical and we had a long rambly phone conversation about tech geekery. He said he'd send me a bunch of pressed professional looking Ubuntu CDs so I could hand them out to librarians everyplace. I said that was great since I go to library conferences all the time, and that my local conference was next week. I told my friends "Ubuntu called!" and their first question was oftn "How did they get your phone number?" but of course, my phone number has been on the internet since 1996 or so.

I watched my little video creep up the stat-o-meters over on YouTube for a while, replied to more email and IM well-wishes, took out the garbage and went to bed. I sort of feel like the continuous partial attention that the networked world gives us results in not just continuous partial friendship [as my friend David Weinberger calls it] but also continuous partial fame. When Boing Boing linked to me -- calling me an "Internet folk hero" which I find gigglingly amusing -- they linked to an old post they'd made about me from 2003 and I had a hazy memory of this sort of thing happening before. Meanwhile I had eight people at drop-in time yesterday, a new high for 2007, and I signed people up for PayPal, showed them how to "make a link," helped them make flyers for their Mary Kay spring sale, explained gmail and helped them with resume templates. To a person they were all like "Boing WHAT?" which is always a good keeping it real moment for me. Parlaying the Internet Folk Hero karma into Local Hero greenstamps is pretty high on my "to do" list. This all may help.

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I got back from the MLA conference and my little write-up is here. I gave a talk that went well, and I got to see a bunch of friends that I don't see nearly enough.

Just recently, however, I got back from the post office. I had a few little packages, two postcards, some frequent flier flyers and some mail for Ola. I talked to the lady at the post office about the rate changes going into effect this month, Unlike past rate changes where the costs increment by a few cents, this rate change is complicated. The post office calls these "more choices" a feature. A few highlights

- The second ounce rate for heavy mail is actually going down instead of up
- The postcard rate goes up to 26 cents, thereby missing the 25 cent sweetspot that I was hoping for.
- There is this new weird hack called the "forever" stamp. In brief it's a stamp that will allow you to mail a first class one ounce letter, forever. If rates go up, you can still use this stamp that you bought for less. It's got a picture of a liberty bell on it. I wish it were more attractive because I'd like to buy a thousand off them. I love a good deal.
- Otherwise, a lot of rates are changing to include stuff like the size of your package or parcel which I think is just going to drive more people to Fedex and UPS. It may also encourage Amazon to use more appropriately sized boxes for some of the stuff they sent [I got a gift card in a box the size of a loaf of bread once]

I feel pretty unique in my generation as someone who is both a heavy post office user who is NOT running a business. I don't think any of these changes will be a big deal. After living in Romania where you had to pretty much supply your own glue for the stamps and sew bags for your international parcels (this was in 1995, no I am not making this up) I am actually mostly happy with the post office and my post office in particular.

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Jessamyn is in...
Bethel VT

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17sep... novascotia
24sep... NH lib thing
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