Return to DC, also I made a thing

Briony Morrow-Cribbs from Christopher Schwarz on Vimeo.

Video detailing the work of Briony Morrow-Cribbs on the etchings she made for The Anarchist's Design Book by Lost Art Press. Filmed at The Putney School, Putney Vermont.

Music: Red Favorite/Jeremy Pisani

Film: Jessamyn West, James Poolner and Elizabeth West

I’m heading back to DC next week for the Computers in Libraries conference. If you see me please say hello.

This is a thing I made a few weeks ago. I posted it to social media on a Friday afternoon which is sort of a dead zone and didn’t get a lot of feedback on it. So I wanted to mention: I made this. I’m really proud of it and it was a lot of work relative to pushing memes around the internet so I hope you’ll watch all six minutes of it and I hope you like it.

It’s a little promo movie, a small paid gig, about a copperplate etching artist who did the illustrations for my cousin’s most recent book The Anarchist’s Design Book. I did it with my mom and Jim and with the very pleasant cooperation of the artist Briony Morrow-Cribbs. I put up a little photo set of pictures here.

I spent all day Tuesday at Town Meeting and then the next eight hours staffing the polls and counting votes. For all of my very serious beliefs that electoral politics at a national level are devoid of integrity (as much as I like Bernie) I still like watching local people try to work out their local issues by all getting together and talking about them. Not sure if I will write up a thing or not, but some photos are here.

Escape from DC

Library of Congress Interior I

Note: If you happen to read this blog on its actual website you may notice that I have updated the template. Let me know if you see anything weird.

I got back from DC on Friday night. It’s a decent story, the whole trip. I was invited down to go to an all-day meeting for a library-adjacent project that Mozilla is doing along with IMLS and some other folks. I got invited because I understand tech and digital literacy and understand digital inclusion issues. “Great,” I thought, “I’ll extend my trip a few days and see a few DC sights while I am down there…” Great plan, mostly. I got in Tuesday and went to the MLK Jr. branch and caught an MLK movie playing the Black History room. The meeting was fine, just sort of long and I am not great at meetings. I got in and they had misspelled my name on my name tag and even though I’ve been doing a lot of meditating and other uncrabby-me work, it still set the day off on a bad foot. I appreciate being invited to high-level meetings. I like the people there and feel like I contribute usefully, but there is something about them that brings out the worst in my psyche. I wish I understood it.

By the time the meeting was over on Wednesday, and I was having dinner with a Twitter friend (Hi Kyle!) it was clear that leaving town on Friday was going to be a mess because of the snow. I called the airline and they could reschedule me for a fee but not cancel my flight without a fee. Later in the week this moved to free rescheduling options but still no cancelling. I bet on it being cancelled and bought a train ticket for Friday. Since I flew out of Providence and not Burlington this was a shortish ride. When I went to bed at a friend’s place (Thanks Mary!) on Thursday after a long day of walking around downtown DC and dinner with a friend my flight was cancelled, entitling me to a refund (I can pay for my ticket online but a refund takes several weeks and forms to fill out). I got up Friday and went to the train station to get my train only to find that my ticket had been purchased for the day before. I accept this absent-minded professor brain I have been gifted with, but it’s a pain sometimes.

Despite all the news of people fleeing the city, I was able to get another ticket and had a nice Acela ride to Providence. The quiet car is a thing of beauty. Took the MBTA from the train station to the Providence airport and as I was lugging my bags from the train station to the parking garage (a schlep of about twenty minutes) a bored newslady grabbed me and asked how my day had been. Apparently there were no more flights in to or out of PVD and she was thin on story material. I blabbed for a while and then got to my car to find that I’d lost my parking ticket. Nervous about “lost ticket” threats I explained my “I just left DC!” story to the guy who took pity on me and charged me about half of what I would have paid if I had my card on me (money Mozilla doesn’t have to reimburse, you’re welcome!). Got home via the Miss Cranston Diner just in time to see myself on television.

Spent the entire day at home Saturday watching it snow and didn’t see another human being. I also visited the White House on Thursday (actually the Eisenhower Executive Office Building) to talk to the folks I spoke with over the summer, but there’s no real news and I said I wouldn’t be blogging about it. You can see some nice photos of the four-story library which is inside it and a photo of the bowling alley in the basement. Apparently once you get inside you can just walk around with your Appointment pass all day long.

Today was shoveling (Westport for eightish inches) and watching some football with Jim. I head back to Vermont tomorrow. Being back on the road has been great since I’m feeling good enough to do it. Here’s to more good days.

from here to there

I am once agan confronted with the old travelling salesman/Jessamyn problem where I have to get myself from here to DC somehow. The good news is, this is easy. The bad news is, there are a ton of options. If I were going to LA, the answer would be simple “Fly! Find a cheap ticket!” but to DC the possibilities are all over the place. Drive? Bus? Bus + fly? Drive + train? Carpool? Rideshare? Trip + visit? Through NY? Boston? New Haven? Amherst?

I settled on a short drive + train + train plus a quickie stop in Brooklyn to see some friends and their baby who I haven’t seen since she was about a week old. When I get to DC I’m staying in a hotel that costs more than I pay for a month of heating oil, but it’s covered by the conference committee. I am going to be giving a fun talk on how to make Firefox (the browser) do the things you want it to do including make searching easier, make pages easier to read and putting more resources at your fingertips. I’ve been spending a lot of time mucking about with it this week. The real reason the train won out, of course, is that I can read on the train.

I can, of course, read here at home but there are a lot of other thigns to do as well. lately I’ve been watching James Burke’s Connection series and relearning some of the science and technology history that I had long since forgotten. I have also been watching some old Hercule Poirot mysteries with David Suchet, many of which the library has.

It’s supposed to snow here tomorrow. I suspect there will be cherry blossoms in DC.