Skipped my usual Valentine’s Day post for reasons I can’t now remember. I made another heart outside in the snow with red sugar and printed some photos of it and sent them around. Here’s a photo. The above photo was taken during that short period where there were a few 50 degree days out here and Jim and I went for a walk in Destruction Brook Woods. Now it’s snowing again.
I’m down in Massachusetts for the week taking care of my Dad’s house while he is on vacation. Been getting in to a pet routine, waking up early to feed the dog, napping during the day. I’d like to say it’s been relaxing except that I’ve also had a lot of work ramping up including getting the page proofs to check for my book, getting ready for the SXSW conference and doing another piece of long form writing for a library blog I love called In the Library with the Lead Pipe.
Today I got up early to get interviewed on WDEV which is a terrific radio station in Vermont. I am not actually in Vermont at the moment, but thanks to the miracles of technology I could call in. Additionally, I could let people know sort of last minute via Twitter/Facebook so that people could listen in. It went well. I like talking on the radio and I feel that I’m pretty good at getting my points across in pithy but effective ways. Also I worked in a few of my favorite recent internet enjoyments such as the honey badger [link] and was happy to get someone calling in to promote the VT Community Broadband Project.
The fluish thing I was starting to get last weekend appears to be entirely gone, though replaced with a sort of “Zingzingzing I have SHIT to DO” nervous energy that I’ve been managing by taking the dog for long walks on the beach. Today is, I guess, a holiday. My plan is to find a place to get a taco.
I am fortunate that there are a lot of people in my neighborhood who like to do crazy things like sled down luge-like hills late at night and then eat hot dogs. Lucky because I was always a bit of a shy kid and while I might not do a lot of dangerous sledding myself, and don’t have kids to act as my foil, I like being able to stand by and cheer and take some photographs. These events take all kinds. I did sled down the hill a few times. Once I lost my mitten. Once I bottomed out and had to hurl myself off the track to avoid being run over by more fearless sledders. Once I made it down okay. I did take a great set of photos which I tossed up on Facebook because that’s where a lot of the other sledders can be found. Here are some more photos.
I was also asked to write a piece on Wikipedia and gender for the New York Times’ Room for Debate section. I kept to the requested word limit and hammered out a few paragraphs in a few hours that said pretty much what I wanted to say. I then watched a bunch of grouchy internet people complain loudly in the comments section. Usually I’m pretty cautious when I write online. I try anticipate people’s objections and write with a lot of equivocal language. This time I said more or less what I wanted to say–that Wikimedia Foundation deciding that they care about things like this is a good thing and an opportunity, and that there are ways of trying to make online spaces welcoming to women–and if people didn’t like it, well I guess they didn’t.
It’s not always the best way to make friends, to talk about gender differences and social inequality and centuries of unequal representation, but I’m coming to terms with the fact that I’m not always doing what I do to make friends. We’ve taken some affirmative stances on MetaFilter to try to keep women interested in participating. Not all of them are successful but many of them are. I work in my real world to help women (and men) get interested in technology and to pass on the general idea that interacting with computers is something that anyone can do, given the right motivation. It’s been interesting watching Facebook, in many cases, becoming that motivating factor.
So just as I was thanking my lucky stars that this has been a disaster-free year, the bathroom ceiling starts leaking. Mercifully this is not actually a bathroom ceiling belonging to me, but one that I rent. So I called my landlady who told me the ice-breaker man would be out in the morning. Another small mercy: morning meant more like 11 which meant I was awake by the time the terrible crashing started and pictures fell from the walls.
For two days in a row Terry came by and hacked huge chunks of ice off of our roof, sometimes from ladders, sometimes from windows, where it would fall two stories to the ground. Now there is no more giant dam of ice keeping water on the roof where it leaks into my bathroom. As I mentioned on Twitter, it’s like our own version of Most Dangerous Catch. Terry is a bit of both a local legend and a town trade secret. He seems to love the work and is good at it. My bathroom has dried up and I’m optimistic that if it starts leaking in the future it will be handled. It’s snowing outside and I’ve got noplace I’ve got to be. Not bad for Winter so far.