Monday, January 16, 2017

MLK Day Field Trip

Housekeeping first: Blogger, in an attempt to look more like WordPress, I guess, dumps us into a new dashboard -- and it reveals that I have 23 unposted Drafts?! wtf. Wait - are they really drafts? It looks like the Mulch Heart one is live. So, 22 now that I've deleted one. I am not hunting them all down. I see that I typed DRAFT onto the post below this, but don't hold your breath that I will really edit it.

The impetus for this post is a trip to the Moton Museum in Farmville. I hoped it would be uplifting, I suppose. My uncanny ability to choose the wrong direction to go through galleries didn't help; and I missed that the banners in the darkened auditorium key the visitor into the major themes. The major themes do not include the final act of desegregation. I found that unsatisfying.

It certainly wasn't the scope of the museum to dissect whether integration failed us. The exhibits praise the well-educated African-American teachers and preachers and other leaders of Prince Edward County; there are oral history interviews of former students describing the expectation that they'd all go to college. These gave me that icky "gee it seems like things weren't so bad." Yet I know separated but equal never is. I also know schools full of kids with no expectation of or interest in college; schools that are predominantly black. When I substitute taught, I guarantee I met no Ivy League-educated teachers -- even in the wealthy school districts -- like the principal of Moton School was.

I was charmed to learn that Barbara Johns, a student leader of a 1951 student strike -- one that led the teens of Prince Edward County to be folded into Brown --  went on to become a librarian. I was interested to see she was something of an "outside agitator," a New Yorker staying with grandparents.

One moment of clear uplift and understanding came from my internal rebuttal to a quotation from a segregationist.

The second from the last was easy: I have been made better by attending integrated schools. There's that to be thankful for on the day we remember the life of Rev. King. There's that to be thankful of as we approach the swearing in of a horrific bigot as our president. I, at least, have been elevated.

Tuesday, October 04, 2016


The Four-Dimensional Human: Ways of Being in the Digital World, by Laurence Scott


The introduction and first chapter -- essay? -- present the meat of what drew me to this title. Scott asserts that smartphones and social media push us into a fourth dimension. We are often both with friends face-to-face while we connect to people online: we are "co-present."

Social media, for example, makes a moment four-dimensional by scaffolding it with simultaneity, such that it exists in multiple places at once. A truth and a cliche of digital life is that our comeliest meals occur both on our table and in the pockets and on the desks of our international 4D colleagues, a meal to be both eaten and approved of. (p. xv - xvi)

You're living four dimensionally when you are aware that n people are also tracking this eBay item, considering that same flight.

We're still shaping the etiquette of living four dimensionally: "one illusion that we're continually perfecting is not simply how to be here and there at the same time, but how to be there while looking like we're here." (p. 15) He offers the poignant example of UK's moment of silence on Remembrance Day: people lead a drive to extend it to online life -- and to achieve that goal, they had to be super-noisy in the fourth dimension to call for digital silence at the appointed time. Also, some automatic posts embarrassingly broke the silence (pp. 49-51).

Considers fb HBDs

He explores though an example how we feel when we follow an active, lively 4D acquaintance: "When we met in person I felt that see-saw of inequality that arises when in the presence of someone famous. I knew more about her than she me .... Such is the imbalance between the prolific social-media-ite and the silent loiterer." (p. 133)

"Fully fledged young 4D adults find it natural and efficient for ads to be (in the cosy language of marketing) 'targeted at you.' How crude it must seem to them now, this idea that television commercials used to some at us, in comparison, like grapeshot, rather than lined up through a sniper's sight." (p. 148)

We've all seen, he says, that digital screen destroy our sleep; we resolve to keep devices distant from the bed. "Except there's no landline now, sitting venerable on that little table by the stairs. What if someone needs us in the middle of the night. That is a call we should take. And so the phone stays resting on the nightstand...." (p. 168)  THIS

Ends with how we present our best selves online - we tell all, but not really. 

Monday, February 22, 2016

California Bird List

The BBF and I visited Palm Springs, California! I snuck in some birding. There were quite a few things I saw but could not identify -- warblers, sparrows, and hummingbirds. Very disappointed that I could not identify a single hummer! But look at all the highlighted ones for my life list! Here's one list for three days (backyard, small city park, Indian Canyon):

mourning dove
Eurasian collared-dove
house sparrow 
white-crowned sparrow
western bluebird
ladder-backed woodpecker
yellow-rumped warbler
chipping sparrow
Oregon junco 
house finch
black phoebe

Wednesday, November 25, 2015


Read this Washington Post article about nostalgia web, and it's a poignantly appropriate time. P and I have split up, and as happens when one turns single again, I need a new place for the daily brain dump. A "new" place to talk about what they guy said (about my accent?) when I volunteered at the marathon water table; about work; about what I read about blogging and whether I miss it.

Sunday, August 02, 2015

So Richmond

My library location will be replaced by a new building this fall, so we're all cleaning out not only our own accumulated junk -- this calendar illustration I loved, for instance -- but also almost 40 years of library paraphernalia. Old photos show me that we got rid of some things weird wall hangings and what not, but many office supply type things were still in place. I memorialized some library and office supplies here. A few pictures of old library interiors are here.

The painting is from a calendar that came in Richmond Magazine. I love the way it reminds me of all of my apartments at once.

Friday, July 17, 2015

Birthday Birding List

Powhatan State Park
(mostly sunny, mild -- low 80s)

northern bobwhite
turkey vulture
mourning dove
yellow-billed cuckoo
red-bellied woodpecker? (by ear only, maybe it was a flicker?)
pileated woodpecker
eastern wood-pewee
red-eyed vireo
american crow
carolina chickadee
tufted titmouse
carolina wren
wood thrush
northern mockingbird
field sparrow
indigo bunting
orchard oriole

Indian pipes
turkey tail fungus
passionflower vine
butterfly pea
trumpet vine
lots of butterflies: tiger swallowtail, and probably spicebush swallowtail, and several others

Monday, June 29, 2015

Yes, This (Leadership)

Real Simple magazine profiled GSUSA's CEO Anna Maria Chavez in February. To the question "what kind of leader are you?" she said, in part:

If a troop comes to the office while I am meeting with a donor or the board of directors, I stop that meeting to meet with the girls, At the end of the day, that's whom we work for.


I made a recipe I found on Pinterest and it looked like its picture! And tasted great! Cheated with a premade crust, though.

Friday, March 13, 2015

Sea Cake

I finally used the octopus cake pan I bought at a yard sale ... in 2013? Right before the oven died, I guess, which was August 2013. Time flies. Anyway: it seems I need this product I've never tried. The company that makes the pan suggests a oil-and-flour-in-one spray in place of shortening and flour, which didn't work well.