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It's CC BY-SA; please feel free to redistribute, link, remix, and so on, as long as you attribute me as the vidder. Comments are welcome, though moderated.
Today I hiked part of the Treadwell Ditch Trail on Douglas Island in Juneau Alaska. I accomplished this without getting into a car. I left my house, got to Crowhill Avenue and walked to the end of the paved road. I walked around the gate at the end of the road and after about ten minutes arrived at the Gastineau Meadows Trailhead. I took the switchbacks through mountain meadows to reach the Treadwell Ditch Trail. Then it was a matter of walking uphill for a couple of hours. I saw birds, skunk cabbage, bridges streams. Several times I felt gratitude to Trail Mix, our local trails organization that works with the feds, state and city to maintain our trails. They put in new bridges and reinforce sagging parts of the trail. It was a good reminder that there are some things (like maintain a great trail) we simply can’t do working alone.
I kept walking until just past the trailhead for the Dan Moller Cabin Trail, which splits off from the Treadwell Ditch Trail. It had been about 2.5 hours, so I turned around. Partly because it was a decent turnaround point, but mostly because I was meeting friends for a 1pm lunch and wanted to get home in time to shower and change.
On previous trips up this trail, I made it a loop by taking the Blueberry Hill exit off the trail. This trailhead is in a pricey neighborhood of Douglas and one walks down some steep streets down to Douglas Highway where one can either walk along the highway or wait for a bus. I’ve done both and I’ve always found the walk down on pavement to be hard on my feet. So I decided to simply go back the way I came. It had more roots and rocks, but ultimately more fun than the streets to highway to home path.
I got home around noon, about when I expected to. I’d been gone about five hours and hiked 9.6 miles according to my MapMyWalk app. Part of my wanted to wander around to get that last 0.4 miles to get 10 miles, but my feet wanted nothing to do with that plan. So I stayed home, changed showered and had a lovely lunch with friends at the Sandpiper, probably the best breakfast/lunch place in Juneau.
That’s how I spent my Saturday. How did you spend yours?
Gastineau Meadows Trail (also includes information on Treadwell Ditch Trail)
I have a blog post up (in two parts) focusing on the frameworks that we free software/open source folks often take for granted, what might have been erased from our FLOSS intellectual heritage due to sexism, what FLOSS might look like under a different approach, and what practices and perspectives we might borrow from the fan fiction/fanvidding realm of speculative fiction and media fandom.
Please feel free to comment at CT or GF.
My wife and I subscribe to an every other week box of fruit and vegetables from Full Circle, an outfit that sources from small farmers and delivers to consumers. They do deliveries in Washington State, Oregon, Alaska, Idaho and the San Francisco Bay Area.
My wife and I have lived in Alaska since 1998. When we lived in the lower 48 we were big fans of farmers markets. Not only did the produce tend to be fresher, we appreciated the chance to support small farmers directly. Both of us feel that keeping some diversity in our food chain is important and that corporations rarely treat individual farming families well.
But Juneau, while technically on the North American mainland, has an island like atmosphere cut off from the road system. And we have a fairly poor growing climate and limited land. We have some great gardeners, but farming on a commercial-scale doesn’t seem feasible. So when Full Circle – then Full Circle Farms – first started offering produce to Juneau, we jumped at the chance. There have been a few periods when we’ve dropped the subscription but we came back.
Generally the produce is of good quality. When it’s not Full Circle is great about issuing credits. We generally use most of what comes in our box and it’s a greater variety of fruits and vegetables than we would buy for ourselves. As advertised, the food does come from small growers.
So why I am ambivalent? Mostly because of the distances our produce has to travel. Buying organic local produce to be lighter on the Earth doesn’t seem as Earth-friendly once you’re shipping it a thousand miles. Also, Full Circle has gone beyond farms in their state to source stuff from as far away as Mexico. I’m not against foreign produce per se. I do wonder how I can say “I’m supporting local farming families!” If I’m sourcing my produce from foreign countries. On the other hand, they do seem to all be small farmers.
If you subscribe to Full Circle, especially if you’re outside their driving radius, I’d like to hear from you in comments. Do you think subscribing to Full Circle is supporting small farming? Why or why not?
With this post, I surpassed my previous Write. Every. Day. streak of eight days. So now I will stop routinely prefacing my blog posts with the day number except:
1) When I hit certain mileposts, say 30 days of writing every day.
2) When I fall off the wagon and need to restart.
Today marks my tie with my previous longest streak in Write. Every. Day.
As a result of a purchase on Humble Bundle, I wound up reading the e-book:
Lang, David, and Rebecca Demarest. 2013. Zero to maker: learn (just enough) to make (just about) anything.
From the WorldCat summary:
“Are you possessed by the urge to invent, design, and make something that others enjoy, but don’t know how to plug into the Maker movement? In this book, you’ll follow author David Lang’s headfirst dive into the Maker world and how he grew to be a successful entrepreneur. You’ll discover how to navigate this new community, and find the best resources for learning the tools and skills you need to be a dynamic maker in your own right. Lang reveals how he became a pro maker after losing his job, and how the experience helped him start OpenROV–a DIY community and product line focused on open source undersea exploration. It all happened once he became an active member of the Maker culture. Ready to take the plunge into the next Industrial Revolution? This guide provides a clear and inspiring roadmap.”
I found this book to be mostly interesting and inspiring. Mr. Lang hooks you with the first chapter that begins in a cave surrounded by foul weather. A robot descends into deep water. The inventors are excited to see their product working. Then Lang tells us that just months prior, he was a Silicon Valley social media minion with no manual skills. He got laid off and was envious of people with back-up manual skills like carpentry. He resolves to “re-skill himself.” Most of the rest of the book is his story of finding people in the Maker movement, apprenticing with some of them, taking classes at Makerspaces and elsewhere. There are sections of the book that offer advice on finding maker groups, creating your own workshop and how to go about starting a business as a Maker. The sections that focus on how particular people got involved with Maker culture were the most interesting to me. The chapters later in the book about the mechanics of finding business funding and considerations about filing patents were less so. That probably says more about me than the author.
Mr. Lang was ultimately successful in reskilling himself and is a main partner in the OpenROV project. So his book a legitimate story of being a zero (manual skills wise) to a Maker. If you’re looking for a book to inspire you to pick up new skills, have fun and join a global movement, this book is for you.
The sun continues to shine down on Juneau. I took the opportunity to walk home tonight. I strolled along the water front for most of the way, soaking in details that I miss when I drive. The ships in the channel, the state of the tide, the wildflowers beginning to bloom. There were people jogging and washing their cars. The sky was very blue, but I can tell that from a car. I could have stopped and taken pictures, but I was running the MapMyWalk app and I wanted to see if I could hit three miles an hour in walking. Turns out I could. But maybe I would have been better served by moving even slowly and trying to capture some of the beauty that is Southeast Alaska.
I also proposed "What Does Feminist Tech Education Look Like?", "Impostor Syndrome Training Exercise", and "Entry Level Discussion Group", but am not a panelist or presenter for those sessions; I bet they'll be interesting, though, and you could do worse than to check them out. You can read Entry Level ahead of time for free online.
I look like the photo to the left. I am often bad with names, and will remember 5 minutes into our conversation that we had an awesome deep conversation three years prior. I apologize in advance.
If you are good at clothes, consider joining me at the Clothing Swap portion of the Gathering on Friday afternoon to help me find pieces that suit me. I'm introducing two old pals to WisCon and spending a lot of time with them (we live in different cities), and they're both white, so I might not be able to come to the People of Color dinner on Friday night. And sadly, The Floomp dance party on Saturday happens during the Vid Party so I probably can't attend that. I did buy a ticket for the Dessert Salon and will attend the Guest of Honor and Tiptree Award speeches on Sunday, and maybe you will be at my table!
Also I am open to doing a small room performance of my half-hour geeky stand-up comedy routine if several people ask for it. I don't know when or where it would be; Monday night would be easiest. Speak up in comments or some other medium if you'd be interested.
I’d like to think that I don’t perceive things differently depending on whether a man or woman does them. Every once in awhile something comes along to rudely remind me that I have been molded to see some things through a gendered lens.
For those of you living in a cave, the video above is for Taylor Swift’s “Blank Space.” I love the song and I think the video is great. My favorite part of the video is when she looks into the camera and says, ” ‘Cause darling, I am a nightmare dressed as a daydream.” The rest of the video has her cutting up her boyfriend’s clothes, ripping up paintings she had made of him and finally just beating the crap out of his car with a golf club. I laughed the first several times and if I was single, I still would have been tempted to obey Taylor’s instructions to “grab your passport and my hand.” Not that I’m EVER Taylor Swift’s type in any reality.
But .. after about the fifth go round, I mentally flipped the genders of the couple in the video. If Taylor was a guy, bragging about his ex lovers who swore he was insane, I’d wonder what the woman was doing there. If it got the point where the guy was shredding the woman’s clothes and wrecking her car — not funny. Not something we want to show, really. Not for laughs anyway.
And yet I did laugh as did many others. I’m claiming this is a cultural thing instead of my character flaw due to the lack of outrage from anyone over “Blank Space.” I’m positive there would be an outcry if some male pop star did a cover of Swift’s video.
I’m not saying we should damn Taylor Swift or demand the retraction of the video. We might want to take the opportunity to reflect on what we feel is appropriate gender behavior and why.
Last week I had an opportunity to visit with Dave Joens and his staff at the Illinois State Archives—the first AOTUS to visit since Wayne Grover was there in 1952. Dave and I were able to reenact the original photo op at the same catalogue drawer!
Margaret Cross Norton was the first State Archivist of Illinois from 1922 until 1957. She was a co-founder of the Society of American Archivists, served in SAA leadership roles for many years, and edited American Archivist from 1946 to 1949. Her “Catalog Rules: Series for Archives Material” trained generations of archivists.
She fought the good fight distinguishing archives from libraries and historical societies:
“One might conclude…that the ideal archivist is a scholar sitting in a remote ivory tower safeguarding records of interest only to the historian. In reality the archivist is at the very heart of his government and the archival establishment is a vital cog in its governmental machinery. Archives are legal records the loss of which might cause serious loss to citizens or the government.”
In the mid-1950s, Grover was working on “The Archivist’s Credo” (later Code) and sent drafts out for review. Our records are rich with the correspondence between Norton and Grover. She challenges language and basic principles, addresses the non-partisan nature of government archives, and makes it clear that archivists are hired to process and serve archives and not to research their own scholarship!
An added general comment to the draft:
“Probably this also does not belong in the code, but I would say that the most important single need for the archivist is for a strong sense of order. Disorder must worry him. I don’t think enough emphasis has been placed upon this in the training of archivists.”
We have three days left to fund The Recompiler, a new technology magazine that will combine tutorials and technical articles with personal narratives and art. My household has now funded this campaign and I hope to attend the launch party in Portland next month. I particularly loved seeing (via the video on Indiegogo) that 2600 is one of the inspirations for The Recompiler. 2600 has many virtues, but it pays people in a free t-shirt or a year's worth of issues of the magazine. I am looking forward to seeing The Recompiler pay people to write "you can totally do this, here's how" high-quality technical articles.
My old boss Erik is running a new video interview series called "Passionate Voices" and kicked it off by interviewing me (72 minutes); if you are interested in my work on inclusive communities, my thoughts on codes of conduct, and my reflections on the Recurse Center, you might want to watch this.
In about ten days, I'll be leading a Geek Feminism book club on Courtney Milan's Trade Me -- read the first chapter free online, get hooked, and snarfle down the rest by May 28th so you can participate in the comment thread.
Also on Geek Feminism, I posted a quick note about the word "girl" in the name of superhero Supergirl.
Finally: I met some pretty interesting people via the Columbia master's program I did. And for several years, I've known Jack Barsky as a mentor, a tech executive, and a friend. He's now the subject of a profile by 60 Minutes because, no joke, he used to be a Soviet spy. This guy who gave me important advice, who always got to the heart of the matter and had super emotionally honest conversations with me, has a past that sounds beyond melodramatic. I was not aware until this month of all the twists and turns within his story, and I am honestly still processing it. Give it a look.
via Cosponsors – S.1346 – 114th Congress (2015-2016): A bill to require the Secretary of Energy to establish an e-prize competition pilot program to provide up to 4 financial awards to eligible entities that develop and verifiably demonstrate technology that reduces the cost of electricity or space heat in a high-cost region. | Congress.gov | Library of Congress.
This seems like a worthy cause. Although I’d like to know how the Republican Senators sponsoring this legislation expect to pay for it since their caucus is completely opposed to additional taxes.
Day 5 of this stretch of Write. Every. Day. has me trying out mobile blogging.
A sunny day in Juneau masks fiscal storm clouds I likely won’t discuss in public.
It was great having sunny weather for the weekend and I was out and about both days. IF our current forecast holds I’m planning on several after work walks this week.
I’m just as compelled to seek the sun as most Juneauites.
Sometimes we labor hard for a modest result. Such was my experience with Week 2 of the Programming With Scratch. I found week 1’s music based project empowering. Week 2’s Drawing with a Computer was considerably harder to get through. I feel like I understand the basic principle well enough – Put a pen on the screen, move, turn, rinse lather, repeat and you have a picture. I also did very well on the homework and quiz questions for the most part. But actually programming a sun and mountains picture was a struggle. It took me time and Google searching to figure out how to change the pen color. Then my mountains were staircases, off the stage entirely or vertical. I kept at it in part because the project required us to use repeat loops in our program.
Although I’m not particular proud of this project except for the fact I completed it, I did get the hang of drawing shapes like squares, triangles and so forth in the homework. Maybe I would have been better off with an abstract design that incorporated these shapes instead of trying to draw a nature scene.
One nice thing about this unit is that my knowledge of junior high geometry came in very handy. Knowing that all the angles in a closed figure MUST equal 360 degrees in Euclidean geometry came in handy in deciding how many times a pen must turn and by how many degrees. And if you get the degrees backwards, you’ll wind up with stars instead of polygons.
Week 3 is variables, something that I think I know reasonably well from other programming efforts. We’ll see how I do.
Today I hiked the Perseverance Trail in Juneau, Alaska. Along the way I caught this fuzzy picture of a grouse running away from me. I’ve seen more grouse on the trail this year. Not sure if there really are more or if I’m just noticing them more.
If you come to Juneau and you’re in moderate physical condition, I strongly recommend this trail. It is three miles long and offers some great waterfall views as well as a number of mining artifacts. It is up and down but at no point does it shift from walking to climbing. Though if you want to climb, that is easily arranged. Branching off from the Perseverance Trail at the Mt. Juneau Trail, a difficult trail with about a 10 hour round trip and the Granite Creek Trail, which is a vigorous but not uber-difficult hike into a basin with a couple of ponds.
I started my morning by taking the main trail. Parts of the trail have been covered with broken rocks and there is almost always a threat of more coming down. Much of the trail is along the swiftly flowing Gold Creek. One simply must pause from time to time to enjoy the flow of rushing water. The trail is in a canyon/basin, so beautiful snow topped mountains were bearing down on me each step of the way. There is a hill at the end of the current trail that I paused at for a few minutes to take a drink of water and to photograph the grouse above.
I finished my hike earlier than I expected to. I covered the six mile round trip in two hours twenty minutes rather than the three to four hour time frame I had given myself. So I decided to go to Community Day at the University of Alaska Southeast (UAS) in order to visit the Juneau Makerspace booth. I had learned about their presence through their Facebook page. I drove the 15 or so miles from the trailhead to UAS and counted myself blessed to find a parking spot close to the festivities. My hike had left my stomach growling, so the Makerspace booth with not my first stop. I found a place that was making bratwurst dogs. It barely fit the bun and the sauerkraut and mustard were great finishing touches. It practically melted in my mouth and let me focus on the faire.
Juneau Makerspace is just getting started. They don’t have a permanent home yet but have incorporated as a non-profit. I need to donate to them. Today they were demonstrating a 3D printer that seemed reasonably speedy. It wasn’t a Makerbot, but I’m not sure what brand it was. They also had the parts to wooden toolboxes that kids were putting together with the help of adults. I watched for a bit and introduced myself to the people in the booth. As a librarian tasked with tracking emerging tech and trends, I have an interest in the makerspace movement. Though as someone with too much stuff in his house already, I’m not sure how much I’ll be making for myself. Though I would like to help make stuff for others.
It looked like the kids had things covered for building the toolboxes so I drifted away from the booth. I noticed that Coppa – my favorite ice cream place in Juneau had a booth. So I had to have a Belgian chocolate ice cream cone. I could have had Devil’s Club or Spruce Tip ice cream, but today I played it safe. Perhaps next time I drop by the main shop.
And that’s Day 3 of this installment of “Write Every Day.”
So, here I am writing for two days straight. Today I don’t really have a plan. It’s been a sunny day with a few emotional ups and downs. When I came home I thought about walking out in the sun — and may still do so — but decided to read for a while. Currently I’m re-reading Foundation’s Edge by Issac Asimov. Foundation’s Edge is the fourth book in Asimov’s Foundation universe. I think it’s held up pretty well and I’ve gotten enjoyment from reading it. In some ways it is a galactic road trip picture or interstellar Odd Couple with the two leads – a smart and hot-headed politician and a historian ostensibly searching for Earth – the origin planet of humankind.
In addition to reading I made bean and cheese burritos for dinner and ran our dishwasher. Such is my exciting Friday. Whatever you choose to do this weekend, I hope it gives you pleasure.
Asimov, Isaac. 1982. Foundation’s edge. Garden City, N.Y.: Doubleday.