where I’ve been


It took a really long time before I felt like myself again after The Sinus Troubles. And then I was out running around hollering “THE KID IS BACK” and not so much writing things down. But now whatever the crud was is slowly sneaking back into my ear (maybe?) and so I’m on a slightly less manic-pitch and I figure it’s time to play some catch up.

I went on a vacation! I visited friends in North Carolina because 1) they’re awesome and 2) I had some airline refund-ticket-money I had to use or lose. So I got to go someplace where it was warm enough to walk in the grass in bare feet. The best. Some photos from that trip (including Kelly/Rachel’s 40th Birthday Bash and Fakesgiving, our family non-holiday turkey dinner) are here. That trip also included a visit to see Matthew and Michelle in Amherst and a stop by the Connecticut Library Association to give a talk that went well, like really well. Titled How to Bridge the Empowerment Divide by Being More Like Vanilla Ice, it was the first talk I’d given this year.

Taking time off was useful for me, now stopping taking time off is where I am headed. I’m giving a talk at the Vermont Library Conference (a pecha kucha if you know what that is) on Tuesday and today I am getting together with some librarians to assemble 1000 Vermont Library Passports which is an extension of my 183 project to include … all Vermonters. It’s going to be great.

I’ve also been JP-ing. I sat in on a deposition this week and got to administer an oath to some witnesses. And next week I have 1.5 weddings to perform (one is a big ceremony with family/friends and one is just a local “OK you are married” occasion). In a month or so I head down to MA for the summer with a few trips up and back. In the fall I am teaching an HTML and CSS class at VTC which is going to be interesting. It’s a lecture class with additional labs scheduled where students can actually work on computers. I’m interested to see how that goes.

As someone who has been maintaining a blog that has required some level of CSS/HTML knowledge for the past 18 years, I think this sort of thing is important but it’s been interesting talking to people who have asked “Who needs to know that?” about this sort of skillset. And I’ve been so buried in dealing with offline populations and getting them basic email and link-clicking skills, I may be out of touch with what “mainstream” tech skills look like.

So cross your fingers for me that the crud is not coming back (and, as always, I really do not want health advice) and I hope your springtime is the way you want it.

party of one

I think he sees me

I’ve made a few more mixtape recordings and attached the mp3s to their accompanying photos over on Flickr. Since I’m often hanging out at the computer for work or for play, pressing record while I’m doing that is just not that difficult. I’m a little surprised I’m doing this while the weather is nice, not crappy. I’ve also recorded a few “hey you made this tape for me” tapes that are not popular music, so they’re not part of the public listing but maybe soon will be.

It’s Spring which means my landlady was in the backyard trying to chop down a tree and I have stopped wearing socks. Well I did stop until the temperature plunged into the 40s a few nights ago and I put the socks right back on. I did put my sweaters away however, so that’s either a sign that Spring has come, or a come hither nod to a huge blizzard.

My talk at MLA went fine. I felt it suffered from a lack of narrative, but I’m always my own worst critic. My talk was about Intellectual Freedom and Social Software and it went pretty well. I had a quick trip to Springfield MA which was a lot of fun. That trip was bordered on two sides by visits to the Tunbridge Library where I have slowly and with help been putting barcode stickers on books as part of our slow crawl towards automation. I had the genius idea to do a work party, but chose Mother’s Day as the day for it (dates and times and especially holidays are often a bit of a furze to me) and as a result it was a party of one. That said, I got 900 books stickered. That said it’s difficult sometimes to have a party that no one comes to. I’ll try to plan better next time.

Other big news is that my digital divide book proposal about tech training in the unconnected library “Without a/the Net” has been approved (accepted? okayed?) by Libraries Unlimited. Haven’t seen the contract yet. Pretty excited and a little aghast at myself for taking on another project, but this is one I’ve been wanting to do. Wondering if writing books about technology is approaching the “dancing about architecture” realm of nonsense. Hoping that’s not true for another few years maybe.


HOWTO: postcards on walls

We had two days of sunshiney melt here and had that day where everyone goes for a walk outside and says “Oh hi, how have you been since you went inside for Winter?” when they run into their neighbors that they haven’t seen for months.

Today it’s raining, all the better for me to get in my car and go to an airport. Destination: Crystal City Virginia for a Computers in Libraries conference. I’m giving a few talks (preview) and mostly getting a chance to catch up with librarian pals and do a little (more) travelling. Next weekend I’ll be on a panel at a Library 2.0 Symposium at Yale which will be an interesting affair where I expect to do much more listening than talking.

This photo is from a recently solved problem. I took some of those poster hanger doinker things and stuck them to my 80° walls and now I have a place to display my poscards. I’m planning to get a ton more of the stuff and make my angley walls into an ever-changing art gallery. Buying the hangers in sets of two is a little spendy relative to their wholesale price, so for the first time in I think ever I’m thinking of a scheme whereby I buy hundreds of feet of the stuff from the wholesaler and then start a little business selling the stuff on eBay. Because I need a new hobby/business/money-making scheme like I need another hole in my head.

And speaking of money, I went to the bank down the street to deposit my change jars. My sister (whose birthday is tomorrow, wish her a merry one) has something of a change problem and I wanted to do a little proactive change hygeine. So I brought my change jars to the bank. It went like this… I put my two big jars of money on the counter. The banker lady filled out a deposit slip asking “How much do you think is in there?” I said I wasn’t sure. She said “Guess.” So I said “Okay, $150. Maybe?” She filled out the slip and said they’d count the change and mail me the deposit slip with the actual amount on it. She said I could come back later for my jars. I sort of can’t wait to see how much was in there.

on/in wisconsin

Guestroom, Lacrosse WI

I went to Wisconsin. I stayed in the perfect B&B. I gave a good talk. I read a good book. I ate orange cheese. I had no idea that Western Wisconsin looked so much like Vermont, except for the cheese, of course. I had good bus karma; my flight arrived in Logan early and I caught the bus I was going to just barely miss. I got back almost before dark. I slept.

I am formulating a plan for dealing with the front yard. I’d like to just mow it with the push mower, but when I try to do that one of my neighbors will invariably hassle me to use their mower and then watch me (clumsily, ineptly) do it. Maybe I’ll sneak out at night with nail scissors. If it were up to me I’d just let the damned thing grow.

the iceberg in my yard and the onset of spring

that fucking iceberg I always say there is a day when the day gets warm in that way where you know (or you think) it’s not going to get cold again and people get outside and start attacking their yards because they’re so darned sick of being outside and the air is full of dust from people getting the road salt out of their flowerbeds. I remember this from Seattle, a similar sort of day, when the rains finally stopped and it was sunny long enough for things to dry out and people came out from their apartments covered in lichen and moss and coffee stains and ennui to greet the returning sun.

So, that day was Friday here, I think, and then it continued all weekend. I did the raking of the grasses and the pruning of the lilacs and the filling of all the bird feeders and the picking up of all the junk that had accumulated in the yard. My last order of business, when I was so full of ENERGY that I just had to do something else, was to go after the iceberg that was melting too slowly in my backyard. Since there’s a plow that comes to do the driveway in the winter, there is also a pile of plowed snow. I’ve got a pile, my neighbor has a pile. Mine is, mercifully, in the sun. Hers is not. So as the sun was setting I was outside in shorts and a t-shirt hacking away at the little mound of snow with a rake for hours, hoping to get it flat enough that it would be melted, mostly, by today or tomorrow sometime and then I could actually see and get to my yard.

It’s school vacation week this week, which means no drop-in time and no classes just a vast expanse of sunny days. I’ll be scooting down to Boston to catch Matt Haughey at ROFLcon and see some folks and teach a library/tech class on Monday next. Say howdy if you see me.


Sometimes my body is safe at home and my mind is elsewhere. That’s sort of been the last week since I got back from a few weeks mostly gone. I did some things that I was pretty happy with. Here are some links to some of them.

  • I was interviewed for a short bit on public radio, Future Tense, talking about “user revolts” on community websites.
  • I finished up an article about user revolts for SXSWorld magazine. It will be in print… sometime. Are you noticing a trend here>
  • I did a “web conference” about Library 2.0 stuff. I’ve always been a bit skeptical about this method of content delivery, but I decided to give it a try. Since my talks are generally in the form of HTML slides, talking into a telephone while I screenshared my desktop just to show people a browser window seemed a little convoluted, as did the fact that this technology didn’t work on a Mac, at all. So, I spent my usual “polishing” time trying to scare up a PC (number of operating systems on functional computers in my house hovers around nine at this point) which derailed my usual flow. So, I think it went okay, but now I’m a bit better prepped for next time when I speak about collaborative information systems.

Other than that, as everyone else seems to be getting their Spring on, there was snow here this weekend. I had a friend up from points South and it made for some dramatic Vermont show and tell. “Here is my favorite lookout. Wow, it’s snowing that’s crazy looking….” It didn’t stick though, and as the iceberg in my backyard melts (it’s currently blocking all non-snowshoe backyard access) I supposed I’ll get back out in it. Soon.

it’s a good and bad week for….

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.