If I remember correctly, I watched the moon landing on the TV in the lounge at the Stanford AI Lab, 45 years ago today. It was the start of my first year of grad school.
I missed my 45th reunion at Carleton a few weeks ago. IIRC I went to my 25th, but it might have been my 30th.
My 50th high school reunion is next year.
I don't think I count as middle-aged anymore.
It's been a rough week, for some reason. Possibly knowing that the Starport is about to be gone forever. And that the money we make from the sale isn't going to come close to what we need. Don't get me wrong -- I love it here, I love my family, and I love our house. It's just...
A couple of fun wikipedia dives -- details in the notes, though I don't actually log the URLs.
Colleen and I went to Seattle Optix Tuesday and got measured for new glasses. It's been three years for her, and two for me, so it's definitely time.
Thursday after dinner we watched the dvd of Company, after listening to it in the car with Naomi (who is trying to educate me on Broadway since the '60s). The staging is weird, but it works.
The week wrapped up with a nice drive with Colleen, and salad from our garden with dinner.
There are links in the notes, as usual.( raw notes, with links )
I realized that I've had more distinct jobs (even full-time jobs) than romantic relationships, and that this differentiates me from folks who have had more relationship experiences than jobs.
Intense friend-feeling is weird! I wear my heart on my sleeve, and I feel embarrassment when I tell a friend how intensely I care about them, and it's doubly embarrassing in public. The other day, on the Hacker School chat network, Julia Evans thanked me for sharing a useful resource on a topic she had been thinking about, and I burst out, "I could live my whole life just trying to create and curate and give you the resources that you are about to need, like rolling a carpet out in front of you, and that would be a worthwhile life." And then felt really vulnerable. What if people think I am in love with her? I'm not! What if she thinks I feel too strongly and am creepy? (She reacted happily so I do not think she thinks this.) I bet non-English languages are better at this, or maybe English registers or dialects or discourses that I'm not used to.
A friend asked me what is most meaningful to me in art, what it is in art that affects me. I slightly got at this when I wrote about what I like and do not like in fiction, but I also ended up saying: seeing some bit of the human experience, described or shown, that I deeply recognize and/or that I've never seen put that way before. And then, what changes me? Travel and music and sex and meditation, which get past my word-shields, I think.
I feel as though I am the most sentimental person I know, aside from my mother.
A few of us were talking about Seth Schoen, and about open source culture. He was my first open sourcey friend and the guy who got me into All Of This. He is my origin story. And he is a gentle hippie who loves to teach and who exuded calm and kindness whenever I asked a question. So I suppose I thought he was what FLOSSy types are like. And then some of my friends came in a different way, and imprinted on shouty people and rose in hierachies where articulating your anger scored you points, gave you cred, got other people to pay attention to you.
A friend has just made me oatmeal. Post.
Today I am thankful for...
- My favorite cats, Curio and Colleen.
- My family. The whole, crazy, loving bunch of us.
- My massage therapist.
- A buyer. (If you want to buy the Starport, this weekend is your Last Chance!)
- Good weather.
- Good Drugs. Especially ethanol, caffeine and theobromine.
I like to think that in another, better, universe, it went like this:
When we launched Google+ over three years ago, we had a lot of restrictions on what name you could use on your profile. This helped create a community made up of people who matched our expectations about what a “real” person was, but excluded many other real people, with real identities and real names that we didn’t understand.
We apologise unreservedly to those people, who through our actions were marginalised, denied access to services, and whose identities we treated as lesser. We especially apologise to those who were already marginalised, discriminated against, or unsafe, such as queer youth or victims of domestic violence, whose already difficult situations were worsened through our actions. We also apologise specifically to those whose accounts were banned, not only for refusing them access to our services, but for the poor treatment they received from our staff when they sought support.
Everyone is entitled to their own identity, to use the name that they are given or choose to use, without being told that their name is unacceptable. Everyone is entitled to safety online. Everyone is entitled to be themselves, without fear, and without having to contort themselves to meet arbitrary standards.
As of today, all name restrictions on Google+ have been lifted, and you may use your own name, whatever it is, or a chosen nickname or pseudonym to identify yourself on our service. We believe that this is the only just and right thing to do, and that it can only strengthen our community.
As a company, and as individuals within Google, we have done a lot of hard thinking and had a lot of difficult discussions. We realise that we are still learning, and while we appreciate feedback and suggestions in this regard, we have also undertaken to educate ourselves. We are partnering with LGBTQ groups, sexual abuse survivor groups, immigrant groups, and others to provide workshops to our staff to help them better understand the needs of all our users.
We also wish to let you know that we have ensured that no copies of identification documents (such as drivers’ licenses and passports), which were required of users whose names we did not approve, have been kept on our servers. The deletion of these materials has been done in accordance with the highest standards.
If you have any questions about these changes, you may contact our support/PR team at the following address (you do not require a Google account to do so). If you are unhappy, further support can be found through our Google User Ombuds, who advocates on behalf of our users and can assist in resolving any problems.
I’m glad they made the policy change. But I sure would have liked to see some recognition of the harm done, and a clearer demonstration that they don’t think that “real people” and “people who were excluded” are non-intersecting sets.
This is a short update, because I'm sneaking it in under the wire before elbow surgery (which is scheduled for 24 hours or so from now, eep), so I may not be able to respond to all comments and I definitely won't be able to respond past tomorrow -- prognosis is anywhere from 4 to 8 weeks before I'll be typing regularly again, and dictation software doesn't work for me.
Behind the cut:
* Responsive design: styles changes
* Date/time check removed when posting
* Bugfix for comment import problems
* Mail sending problems
* Tales from the Conference
A reminder: Whenever a news post is posted, all notifications are delayed for a little while as the mail system sends out notifications of the announcement. Comment notifications may be delayed for up to an hour or two. This was posted slightly before 0830 EST (see in your time zone). Please don't worry about missing notifications until at least 1030 EST.
( Dreamwidth news, 14 July 2014 )
(The site may be a bit sluggish for the next 20 minutes or so while the caches warm back up -- you don't have to tell us about that!)
An update was posted to dw_news slightly before 0830 EST (see in your time zone). Comment notifications may be delayed for up to an hour or two, due to the high volume of notifications generated by each news post. Please don't worry about missing notifications until at least 1030 EST.
Good grief! I think I started this post a couple of hours ago. Bears are easily distracted.
Anyway, not too bad a week except for the fact that I'm extremely low on cash. Let's see.
Sunday was my older daughter Chaos's 29th birthday. Gleep. I'm not that old! Also, Glenn ran ethernet cable from the far side of the Great Room (where the cable comes in) to the Rainbow Room and the top of the stairs. We now have reliable WiFi in all parts of the house.
Tuesday I hauled out the old box fan and installed it in one of the windows in the Rainbow Room. (A few days later I screwed the screen down so the cats couldn't push it out and escape. They like the window sill.)
Wednesday I took Colleen to see her gastroenterologist, who gave her a clean bill of health. For the first time in half a dozen years! I also (finally) got around to re-enabling my backup and mirror crontab on nova, the file server. It hasn't seemed too important since I haven't been adding much, and everything I have worked on is under git control and backed up in multiple places, including offsite.
And yesterday I went with Colleen to the local annual street fair. The only thing we bought besides food was a couple of (purple, of course) sarongs. I wore one in the evening because the temperature had gotten up into the high eighties. Comfortable, and very practical around the house.
Lots of links. I've been spending too much time on G+, FB, and Wikipedia. You can tell.( raw notes, with links )
Not out of the woods yet but as long as I can actually eat, things are great.
When you stop eating things get scary kind of fast!
Random doc not actually useful; kept recommending naturopath, betaine hcl. She started the ball rolling to switch my stomach meds to some fancier one, and did some blood tests, which is fine. I didn't have a lot of expectations. I just wanted to establish contact and some sort of baseline reality because last time things went so badly.
I read The Stone Boatmen, The Savage Detectives, and a book about Korean court life and also some very stupid girls' boarding school books by Jean Webster (Just Patty) and Alta's memoir called "Momma" which was very good but a bit devastating. Stone Boatmen felt like a long strange dream. Good but won't be for everyone.
Played some MTG with Moomin.
I sat in the sun on the front porch yesterday and had the energy to start dusting off and sweeping under all the flowerpots with a little whisk broom, which I could do gradually and while sitting down next to the flowerpots. Several of them need repotting or other major care. Then I swept off all the leaves (though they are still on the stairs) Had giant allergy attack from having temerity to touch outdoor things. As usual.
I also fixed the garbage disposal, which was full of the remains of fish soup making the house pretty gross smelling. The nice plumber emailed me how to do it (unplug it; stick an allen wrench underneath in a little hole in the center of the disposal; turn the wrench till the motor turns with it and the whole thing un-jams; hit reset button)
Now my porch sitting spot is much more peaceful. I plan to inhabit it some more today. I would also like to clean off the desk (another thing I can do mostly sitting down)
Yeah, it's Saturday. Deal.
Today my gratitude extends to...
- Scraping by
- Street fairs
- Colleen being well enough to go to a street fair
- People who sell sunscreen at street fairs
- Colleen bringing my attention to the fact that the potato chips taste sweet after the street fair
- A freezer with an icemaker, and a fridge with a bottle of gin in it
- A fan in the window
- The fact that some things are "not my circus, not my monkey"
- Not being the only techno-bear in the house.
- City water
This challenge has me reviewing temporary tea spaces that others have built, and I'm so impressed by their creativity and beauty that I wanted to share:
( more photos beneath the cut )
Incidentally, I'm trying to think of a name for my tea event. It should distinguish this from other on-playa tea events by referencing chado / chanoyu / Way of Tea. It isn't going to be ceremonial, so I think "tea ceremony" would be inaccurate. And ideally it would tie into cosmic rays. Any ideas?
I gave talks, ran unconference sessions, and sat on panels at each event, as well as talking to lots of smart people doing good stuff. In between, I hung out with remote colleagues and met new ones in spaces like San Francisco’s feminist hackerspace Double Union.
Along the way, I made three realisations, all of which are related to community in some way.
1. Community is my career, now
Especially at AdaCamp and OSB, I found myself looking at the schedule and considering which talks and sessions were right for me.
I find I’m no longer interested in most of the tech talks — if I want to learn about a specific technology, I can usually do so more effectively online when I need it. I used to go to those sessions out of a sense of duty, but now I’m out of the tech industry and working for myself, I don’t have to fake it any more. I still go to some tech talks, but usually to see what cool stuff other people are working on, not because it’s particularly relevant to my work.
Then there were the community sessions, ones covering topics like how to create a welcoming environment for newbies to your open source project, moderation strategies for online forums, and distributed agile development. All interesting and worthwhile topics, but ones I’ve been dealing with for years.
Back in 2009, I attended SXSW (and hated it, but that’s another story) and went to a session for first-timers, where someone gave the advice: “Never attend a session whose subject you already know about.” You’ll sit in the audience either bored, or frustrated. Without wanting to denigrate the excellent community sessions at the conferences I went to, I do have to say that a lot of them fell into this category for me. I attended to support my friends who were speaking, and I certainly picked up a few interesting tips, but if my goal was to learn new things then I’m not really sure these sessions were worth my time.
My realisation, over lunch on the first day of OSB (and thanks to Sara Smollett for helping me figure this out), is that I’m a mid-career community organiser. This is why open tech/culture events aren’t working for me — the tech content is no longer particularly useful to me, and the community content tends toward the 101 level.
So, how can I advance my skills and experience as a community organiser? Community management events in the tech field aren’t going to do it. I need to look wider, at fields with more established community theory and practice: social work, activism, politics, organisational behaviour, social psychology, just to name a few. So this is what I’m doing now: trying to learn and level up my community skills by reading and studying in these areas. Next year, I hope I’ll find a way to get to conferences that cover those areas in depth.
2. Community organiser, not community manager
The second realisation I had is around terminology.
Management is a business term. Organizing is a political one. I’m more interested in community organizing — helping people come together to achieve social change — than in managing people for business purposes.
I came to this realisation through my efforts to study things from outside the online/tech community management field. I’m re-reading Jane Jacobs’ “The Death and Life of Great American Cities”, which talks about what makes effective neighbourhoods. Jacobs was instrumental in organising her neighbourhood community to resist having a freeway put through it in the 1950s. Reading about her on Wikipedia I found that she appreciated the work of Saul Alinksky, considered to be the founder of modern community organizing.
That’s when it clicked for me. Community organising is a practice with a long and successful history of working for social and political change, and community organisers aren’t afraid to upset those in power to make a better world. That’s what I want to be doing.
So, from now on I am using the term “community organiser” rather than “community manager” about my own work. Reframing it this way has given me a new perspective and momentum. I have a lot to learn, but at least I’m clear on what direction I’m heading in.
3. I’m still not an open source person
Back in 2011 I wrote Why I’m not an open source person any more, and reading back over it, it still holds true… mostly.
At AdaCamp someone requested an “introduction to open source” session in the 101 timeslots, and I since I wasn’t interested in most of the of the other 101 sessions and knew the subject well, I stepped up to run it. I talked about licensing, culture, and software development practices. I hope it was useful to the people who attended, but I felt unsatisfied by it. It’s not what I wanted to be doing.
The next day, someone asked me if I would help them promote their open source outreach program in Australia. I said, regretfully, that I wasn’t up for that. Open source isn’t my thing any more, and I don’t have the enthusiasm to do a good job of it. She pushed me, and I pushed back, and I came away really frustrated — partly that I hadn’t been listened to, but also partly because I had had trouble expressing my own boundaries and needs, because I didn’t really understand them myself.
Well, reframing my community work as political has helped me figure that out. For me, open source is a tool for social change. Specifically, I’m interested in social justice and sustainability, and I use open source toward those ends.
If someone asks me to do something simply “because it’s open source” (or open data, or open access, or whatever other kind of open stuff), I’m not going to be into that. I’ll need a lot of convincing that open source is a worthwhile end goal in its own right.
If someone asks me to do something open-source related that’s for another social or political goal that I support (say, government transparency, or individual privacy) then I’ll wish them well and help spread the word, but it’s not where my focus is.
I use open source and other open-licensed stuff as a tool for social change, especially in the areas of social justice and sustainability. But it’s just one part of my toolkit. I’m not an open source person any more. I’m a community organiser who uses open source.
I am only able to move around slowly and am sort of having to pause for breath. Like even sitting up or tring to get dressed. I went out to the doctor today (but it was the wrong day..... sucky) And coming up the stairs I had to actually pause at each step, going very slow already, and have an extra breath. I don't understand what that is from. it's like a sensation of pressure (in my chest and throat and sort of in my head, like a head rush) or like i'm going to faint. Maybe from gas in my stomach or some sort of swelling... like i can't get a deep enough breath? I could test this with a peak flow meter, maybe. Maybe it is like low blood pressure? am i not hydrated enough? It is not something I've experienced outside of these bouts of gastritis and reflux.
Reflux, pain, etc. I am still handling this without painkillers. So far.
The stomach pain is very intense and I feel like i am just sort of clutching my upper abdomen/chest and thing to keep it still when i move around.
today I had warm milk with condensed milk in it, yogurt, and a spoonful of hummus. I am not eating enough or really drinking enough either. How can I do more, I don't know. I am worried this can go downhill kind of fast. It already has. But I mean, more downhill. Last night I was like, ok realistically I'm not working this week. But I can't tell if I'm getting better and if i'll be working next week. I have to just be ok with that uncertainty.
Usually when stuck in bed I can at least do things like get up and water my plants. That is getting harder and harder. Not easier. Eating also not easier. I am about to lose the ability to put on my pants standing up.
oK, I have another dr. appt tomorrow with a doctor i've never seen. This will not do any good. What are they going to do. Probably a blood draw and refer to gastro doc. I would like to see a new gastroent. as my last one did not inspire confidence.
Food is so amazing to taste and stuff, I miss it, and would like to eat it. Two weeks ago I could eat a hamburger.... omg.. .hopefully I will magically heal from this again.