Dear Senator Leahy,

I voted for you. I appreciate everything you're doing up to and including subpoenaing Vice President Dick Cheney. I am pleased as hell to have you as my senator. Thank you.

Jessamyn West

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city/country Jun 26, 2007

Got back last night. The wedding was great. The train ride back from New York City was relaxing and lovely, watching the sun set over the Hudson River Valley. My train car was full of (I think) teenaged musicians going to some sort of summer music thing at Killington so all the luggage space was full of cellos and guitars and other large instruments. I got to spend the time captioning my photos from the trip and staring out the window, letting my voice recover. I managed to lose my voice sometime on Friday before all the festivities thanks to some sort of a summer cold, so while I had a great time hanging out with some of my favorite people -- both at the wedding and also in Park Slope at my friends' place -- I did a lot of croaking and heard a lot of "you sound like Kathleen Turner" and "that must hurt." Actually, my throat felt fine, it just functioned poorly, so having some time to rest it was great.

My photos of the weekend are here. The one above was the last one I took before I got home.

The longer I stay in Vermont, the more I'm a gawking slack-jawed tourist when I'm in the city. Look at these PEOPLE. Look how TALL that BUILDING is. I got to do a lot of late night subway riding. Look how LATE these people are AWAKE. I had tacos out in Redhook while watching a soccer game. OMG how TASTY is this food?! I paid equal amounts for a taxi ride and a fancy cocktail. Twelve DOLLARS. I got to hang out with ten friends at once and it wasn't even a holiday. It sure was fun.

Then I got in my (unlocked all weekend - you know how this part goes) car to drive home from the train station. When I was just a few miles from home, driving along a road (yes it's called notown, I know I know) that is bordered on one side by a river and one side by a pretty steep hill. I saw what I thougth was a horse in the road and slammed on the brakes, skidded a little and came to a stop next to a moose. We regarded each other for a while in the light of my headlights on the totally-abandoned-at-10-pm route 107 and then he trundled off. I've never been that close to a moose in my life.

I got home and my house smelled funny. After ruling out the usual suspects (trash, compost, dead animal in wall, mold, tray under fridge, leaving cereal bowl wiht milk out) I went down to the basement where I found out one of the windows was out of its frame. The basement was damper than usual, so damp that the dead spiders in their webs in the ceiling were growing a thin coating of moldy fuzz. Gross! I turned on the dehumidifier and headed off to bed only to be awakened by a different smell a few hours later that could only be the result of a skunk fight. I talked to my neighbor this morning and we discussed whether or not to call the trapper. I finally put the screens in the last windows that didn't have them and I am airing the hell out of this place. I hope it helps.

I haven't done the city/country back and forth thing in about four years now. Seattle is really seeming far to me (though I'll be there next month for, you guessed it, a wedding!) but I could really deal with some regular city time like this. I'll have to see what I can scheme up.

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my driveway, june 20th Jun 20, 2007

taken by jessamyn.

I wasn't having the best day, then I walked outside. I thought you might like this picture.

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about me, sort of Jun 19, 2007
I know the whole universe sometimes seems like it's just this blog now, but there's a lot here. I did update the "about me" page today, for the first time in a few years. I didn't write anything new, just copied the Valley News article that was published about me and now no longer online, in flagrant violation of applicable copyright. I guess if there's one thing that blogs and continuous partial broadcasting have taught us, it's that there's never a whole story. So this is another freeze frame from back when that article was written. Close readers will notice a few teeny inaccuracies, but it's really mostly right. I added a few hyperlinks but otherwise it's just how it was in the newspaper.

update: in the "weird timing" category, I ran into Valley News writer Alex Hanson, who wrote this article, at Onion Flats this evening where I went for dinner. I don't think I've seen him since the interview.

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the story thus far Jun 18, 2007
I wrenched my shoulder overswimming and now have to take it easy and do exercises according to my physical therapist (a nice Libertarian sort who uses words like "wimpy" and "freaky" to describe my physiology but I have to believe he means it in the nicest way) so I've been annoyed and a bit under the weather lately. Add to this that two of my other female colleagues seem to have fluish symptoms of eerily similar description and I've shifted from my normal low-grade hypochondria to full-on chemical warfare conspiracy theories. My guess is that I am only right if they've been able to somehow lace the toxic agent into the local pollen because there's certainly a lot of that around and I haven't had any of my normal Spring sniffles....

In any case, I've been tired and achey and taking it easy. I got back from NH only to head back out to go to my Dad's for Father's Day and a MetaFilter meetup in Marlboro MA on my way back home. This weekend I'm going to a wedding in Brooklyn and then I swear I'm staying home.

I had some good successes at work today, more Ubuntu happiness as well as more old people with new computers who seem to think I am some sort of super wizard lady when I explain how to open a program, follow a hyperlink or send an email. It's sort of low-hanging fruit I guess, but it's fun for me to do I also got to talk to one library about a long range plan that might include an open source library catalog and a media creation center for people to learn how to interact with their web environments. I'd be happy if that happened, but I was happy just to get to say it out loud and have someone seriously listen to me.

When I got home from my friends' house this evening, there was a phone message from JetBlue -- the airline that lost/stole my stuff in Puerto Rico -- saying they had forwarded the letter I had sent to their CEO to some central baggage specialist who would be calling me back in a few days. Apparently JetBlue may not want to go to small claims court over $70 worth of cables. I, on the other hand, would love to go to small claims court over $70 worth of cables. I have nothing but time and a burning distaste for getting jerked around over technicalities on stuff like this. I like JetBlue an awful lot most days, but I think they could have handled this with more class.

My only other recent event of note is that I bought a car, on Facebook, from a friend of mine. I need to go to Ithaca to get it, or get someone from Ithaca to drive it here. If you are Ithaca-linked in some way, please feel free to drop me an email.

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a few other people Jun 12, 2007
Some neat things have happened in the lives of my friends and family, while I've been gallivanting around.

- My lawyer friend Kelly got pissed off at what she thought was a spurious lawsuit and filed a press release when the case was finally dismissed (before it went to trial but after a jury had been empanelled). It hit the AP wire. Way to go Kelly!
- My uncle just had his lay ordination ceremony at the Vimala Sangha in Marin.
- My friend Stepahie who I stayed with in New Hampshire a few nights ago is going to be the new library director in Stowe Vermont, I'm happy for her and happy to have her and her family back in Vermont

I got home from New Hampshire this afternoon to see the DHL guy just pulling in to my driveway. He had a package for me, from Kyrgyzstan! A pal I know from MetaFilter works in Kyrgyzstan. I asked him to send me some stuff a few months back. Today it arrived. The package had a few postcards, a letter, a satchel made from some old rugs and a neat felt hat. The hat and the bag smell amazing, like woodsmoke and trees from other places. I'll put up a photo at some point, but my camera is out of batteries until I replace the charger that went missing from my bag in Puerto Rico. I did manage to take a few photos in New Hampshire with my old crappy camera. I'm back from the road and have no more travelling work for several months, just weddings and visiting and whatever comes to pass. I already have the fidgets but I think they'll smooth out over time.

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fantasy home Jun 9, 2007
Yesterday was deemed "one of the country's worst days this year for air travel." And hey check me out, I made it home! Well, I made it home this morning actually at a time which is late in my world but not obscene. I had a good time in Ann Arbor and even a decent time in the Detroit airport where I was waiting, loaded on to the plane, loaded off the plane, delayed and finally transported home where we had to stay in a holding pattern over Burlington waiting for the wind to die down. By the time I got back, the Thrifty lot place where my car was had closed. Thanks to my cellular telemophone I had arranged with the guys to leave my car in their parking lot, key under the floormat. I got a ride to it from a guy on my flight. I drove home on an empty foggy highway which was lit mostly by the moon. I pulled into my driveway as the church bell struck three, noticed that someone had mowed my lawn while I was away, and went immediately to bed.

I talk a lot about places I travel as not really being my idea of a fantasy. I got home and got out of the car and heard the river rushing behind the house and the peepers making all of their noises and saw the freaky looking moon hanging over the neighbors' yard and figured maybe it's just tough to top this.

Here are some links from the past week.

My Ann Arbor talk and photos.
My (similar) Puerto Rico talk and photos

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where to begin? Jun 4, 2007
I'd have a photo to show you of Puerto Rico except I don't have the cable for my camera. I don't have it because either I lost it or it was stolen/lost from my luggage. Either is about equally possible. But I'm getting ahead of myself here.

I know that if you travel enough once in a while all the forces conspire to give you a truly bad trip. This trip is, apparently, mine. That said, it's not too bad. Here's what's been happening. I got up early on Sunday to get to the airport. I don't like getting up early but I accept that it's necessary. However, my flight was delayed. Then it was delayed again. Then it was finally cancelled. I was too busy fruiting around on the free wifi to get in line quickly enough to complain, so I got to twiddle my thumbs on hold (yay for cell phones) and figure out my next move. US Airways said they could get me out the next day. Jet Blue said they could get me out in a few hours. These two airlines don't really talk to each other in a computer fashion however, so it was time to shell out for a new ticket and hope against hope that the conference people would see this as a necessary added expense. As usual, my lack of "What would a normal person do in this circumstance?" sense means that I had far more nervousness choosing this route then I might have otherwise.

JetBlue got me out of there at 4 pm and then stuck me in JFK for a few hours, and on the tarmac in a rainstorm for an hour more. I got into San Juan at 1:45 in the morning -- this is totally a normal hour for me, not so much for other people on my flight -- and was in bed and asleep at the Intercontinental by around 3. My room faces the ocean. It's nice. The room they tried to put me in faced the highway and was right up against the elevators. I traded it in. I don't think I took anything out of my bag there. When I unpacked I realized that my stuff was soaking wet. Not like a little damp, like dripping wet. This was mostly okay. I hung stuff out to dry. One of my shirts may be a little screwed up. When I got back from my trip to Old San Juan today (more on that later) I went to offload my photos and realized my camera cable wasn't in my bag. Neither was my battery charger. Neither was my dongle, the stupid expensive dongle that I need for my laptop to talk to the projector. In fact everything in the side pocket of my bag was ... gone. Solving these problems takes time. I didn't lose anything I can't replace, but I do sort of need that dongle for my talk tomorrow. CompUSA has one I can buy, but I'll have to spend all day tomorrow on busses (or $40 on cabs) to buy one. I was hoping to go to the beach.

I've spoken to people at the places where I think I might have left my stuff, in case maybe this was my own fault. My day yesterday was pretty long, I forget things occasionally. I worried that when I told JetBlue that TSA left not one but two "we inspected this!" tags in my bag that they might hand off resposibility to them, but I guess that's not how they operate. They say they're treating this like a "pilferage" as if anyone wants my stupid cables. I'm treating it like a "some things fell out of my bag" case, but one that happened on JetBlue's watch. I talked to my contact here today and he mentioned something about being on "Carribean time" and said he didn't even know if my talk was going for 90 minutes as we discussed or 60 or even when it started. With this sort of approach, I'm not biting my nails down worrying about it, seems like they'd be happy with a decent puppet show and maybe a few duck jokes.

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Jessamyn is in...
Bethel VT

last month | archive

17sep... novascotia
24sep... NH lib thing
15oct... NELA

more? more?