Friday, January 23, 2015

Presentations and Groups


I missed the last ISEPP lecture.  However I've remained active in ISEPP management at least insofar as I've helped with a likely transition to a Google Group with overlapping calendars, for managing the conference room.

I need to call Don back (we were just on the phone), to find out if we have the Wanderers stuff scheduled.  I don't think I saw our schedule last I checked.

I've joined the May Day Coalition's fundraising subcommittee this year.  IT workers of the world do not get as much respect as they deserve, for often meeting a 99% operational standard.  I'm happy to join in solidarity with these unions and after the last meeting (where I was note taker) I snagged maydaypdx.org (with a little help from an LLC).

I did make a Thirsters talk recently, on Sierra Leone, and what a particular group is doing to catalyze healing.  The State Department is privy to a lot of this same information.  We learned about the impact of ebola, hopes and dreams for the region.  I'd been under the impression Sri Lanka was the topic owing to a mistake in one of the circulars.  I would have gone anyway as I was looking forward to having a few minutes with Barbara, driving her home.

I could go on and on about Sierra Leone.  Lets just say I'm glad a lot of good people are doing their best.  We've trained really hard around potential conflicts so our disaster relief skills as a species are severely wanting, anyone can tell you that.

For NPYM Quakers I created MMM-PSC and MMM-EEG and quickly gave the latter away, as it's unbecoming of a Friend to appear too greedy.  Owning just the former is sufficient for my practice at this time.  MMM-SMAD would be for some other Friend to establish.  I fully appreciate that some Friends may not wish to choose a Google service.

Sunday, January 18, 2015

Selma (movie review)


MLK Day is tomorrow, a national holiday. Yay.

I've just launched a new listserv named MMM-PSC for use within the meeting, others invited to join, and since it's a Google Group, I'm learning more about the calendar feature.  I'm to set up another Google Group for Pauling House, which will also need to use that feature.  So far so good.

I put down the 3:05 showing of Selma at Regal Lloyd 10, as a first test event for the community calendar. Then I hopped in the Nissan and high tailed it to the show.

I'd use this film to talk about "reflex-conditioning" and the need for "upgrading".  Christians pray for "divine grace" which means upgrades from God, the ultimate in Cloud Services.  But when push comes to shove, falling back on old reflexes seems easiest, and Alabama becomes a scene from Walking Dead, with white people really scary.  I mean zombie scary.

You have to empathize with the president, needing to work with these "people" (they have the right to vote).

The religious people in funny clothes show up after it's already too late, on cue, and Dr. King does the religious thing and prevents super duper violence.  Those nut case zombies had something up their sleeve for sure.

Later, with US Army protection, they make it to Montgomery.  The Army always gets drafted into protecting lost causes it seems, "tricked" by the Constitution or a Federal treaty into doing the right thing.

Great acting, well researched.  Not like I was there or anything (in Selma, myself).

If you want to understand my timeline, my parents were Chicago-based activists who wanted to live in a "mixed" neighborhood and not be gentrification agents when moving to Portland.

Dad was somewhat disgusted with US culture (too militaristic) and yearned for a more ethical sense of professionalism i.e. planning for "developing" (so-called "third world") nations.  So when Dr. King was murdered, we were already out of the country.

Nixon started bombing Cambodia soon after that, the White House going through another "episode" (picture an epileptic seizure, known as "governance" on the east coast).

Hey, the new Terminator film looks fun.

I want to say (and it's true):  the audience applauded sincerely at the conclusion of this film and I found myself filled with admiration for the cast, and of course for the true heroes this film hopes to faithfully render for newcomers.

Thank you for a great re-enactment of a terrible chapter in the North American territories, when the "freed" slaves still had an uphill battle to get any recognition for their status as full citizens and competent governors.

In 2015, with a so-called "Negro" (black) president, we're manifestly a long way down the road, but still have a long way to go.  Racism is a deeply rooted meme virus.  We should have black presidents from now on maybe, but with more women butting in.  It's not up to me, just I wouldn't mind that outcome.  Native Americans have dual citizenship so vote in both local and Federal elections.

Thursday, January 15, 2015

Launch Party!

:: new Quaker listservs on the radar ::

Tuesday, January 13, 2015

Another Boycott?


Why submit to taking the SAT when Pearson holds back our American Heritage?

More context @ Math Forum.

AFSC knows a lot about BDS campaigns, I should consult with them.

Tetra-volumes:  a New England Transcendentalist idea.

If you don't know about tetra-volumes you're maybe illiterate regarding American Literature?

Through no fault of your own perhaps.

Saturday, January 10, 2015

Meeting a Plane


I'm at Beaches again, meeting a plane.  I was here a few days ago, meeting Lindsey's from Florida.  Now I'm meeting Steve's.  Other near and dear are flying today.  I had Patrick and Spencer over.  Patrick brought a locally famous fresh hops beer, Sticky Hands, and I supplied fried chicken.

Mostly I've been blitzing for work, given the seasonal sale and all.  The PSF is wondering why we make people log in at the web site (python.org).  Other serious language web sites aren't so encumbered.  I think it was a case of "we might need it someday".  Open governance is messy, but more democratic than you might think, especially for a benevolent dictatorship.

Speaking of ministerial matters, the next Edu-Summit (Pycon Education Summit) is fast approaching.  Given Pycon is coming to Portland in 2016, I'm not sure my bid to attend will get the serious attention it deserves.  I don't actually have much insight into home office deliberations, given I'm a telecommuter.

I am monitoring Tara on Facebook, just back in Indy from Nicaragua, with Sadie.  Her away team was studying coffee crop issues, biological in nature.  The team was computer science oriented, however they also needed someone with serious skills around lab equipment.  They had some expensive gear which Tara was helping to order when here over Thanksgiving break.  I remember printing a manual.

Lindsey's Florida visit went about as expected.  She's moving towards "third culture" status slowly but surely, a status I've held for awhile now.  Her sangha in Portland is strong and supportive.  Lower48 nuclear families tend to be launch pads for such alien spawn (as in "funny looking ETs"), as seen in American Dad.

Speaking of my multi-cultural upbringing, I was fortunate to attend a Thirsters session on Bhutan the other night.  I'll make a slide show of the slides, plus some from today.   That was Thursday night, just before meeting Lindsey's plane.  Tonight is Saturday, two days later.

Seattle is scoring well against some other NFL team (Cowboys) on Fox.  It's 31 to 17 with 2:25 left in the 4th.  OSU's Ducks creamed Florida State the other day.  You can read all about it if you go Google.

Sunday, January 04, 2015

Wednesday, December 31, 2014

New Years Resolution

In the spirit of the season, I just came up with this project to "cut back on bad wiring".

Yes, that's something neuro-scientific:  talking about miss-wiring in that graph database we call "the brain" (you'll find "brain" used in many namespaces so buyer beware).

Of course there's "old wiring" in a state of disrepair.  "Use it or lose it" is another Darwinian law, or call it Lean management (related to Agile).

Then you get what I'll call outright mistakes, where you've confused identities, swapped in bold fiction (lies) as fact (truth), and / or allowed senseless filler to substitute for real thought (picture a vast range of phenomena, not just a few dust bunnies).

Organized religions are especially ineffective at clearing out the latter and become "cruft boats" in the blink of whatever deity's eye.  People don't like to offend one another unnecessarily and you never know when this candy wrapper on the floor might be sacred to someone, so onto the altar it goes.

The globalized borg among us, those steeped in IT, meaning anyone who has fought with a computer (e.g. a brain), knows that "purging cruft" becomes a responsibility sooner or later.  We sometimes forget that's part of the job.

Happy New Year!  I wanna to see that new movie about Alan Turing.  I asked another geek to go with me, we'll see if she's free. 

We talked about "passing the Turing test" at Wanderers last night (it's getting harder to tell the difference twixt human and "mess of firing wiring" in some contexts).

Saturday, December 27, 2014

Marketing Considerations

Reconnecting to USA TV has proved somewhat trippy.

As Leonardo Di Carprio, a Catholic school boy "juvenile delinquent" rebels against authority in some B movie, the commercials come hurling out of the screen about all the lawsuits I might join, in case the drug I took to control something or other, spun me out and maybe left me for dead.

Then the very next commercial is for a like-named drug still on the market, but with dubious side effects such as lactating, even if you're a dude.

Am I saying it's a bad idea to update us couch and bed potatoes about our options, lawsuit-wise?  Maybe a substantial settlement, which it's suggested I might get, would pay for the next diet and hair grow drugs I buy on my credit card?

Just kidding, I don't buy those kinds of products, but a lot of us do, I realize that.  Stu Quimby would go on QVS with his magnetic toyz, and they'd get gobbled up like gangbusters.  The medium is the massage.

@DekeBridges and I discussed the effectiveness of some ad campaigns at a StarBucks just now, having done a quick trip to the Lewis & Clark college area.

The Mennonites in our hood have a QR-code in the window and that sparked some interest among Quakers in following suit, although some of our iPhone people may find QR-codes redolent of some lower class of Wal*Mart shoppers and TriMet riders.

As an Android user, I find myself on the bus a lot, and the QR-codes at every stop are a welcome convenience.

Tom Peterson was the "Crazy Eddy" of Portland in the 1980s, offering those knock-down better prices on the whole couch potato / bed potato setup:  a bed that or lazy chair that reclines at various angles, and a big screen wired to some back end that's not so virus-infested it won't even turn on (alluding to some of today's "buyer beware" purchases -- actually those are looking more like DDoS attacks).

At least the digi-TV broadcast stations are still offering PAAS (programs as a service -- advertiser-sponsored).

The idea of a "Quaker TV station" (more likely a syndicated show) came up.

Our Progressive branch is not into proselytizing or "spreading the good news" in the conventional missionary sense.  Actually "preaching to the choir" is what a lot of these televangelists at the other end of the spectrum already do.  We'd be a lot friendlier to atheists right off the bat.

The focus would be more on bringing our own up to speed on various STEAM topics (A for Anthropology).

The Coffee Shops Network (CSN) could be a vector for that.  Some of our programming is only available in the shops.

Wednesday, December 24, 2014

Christmas Story

I raked leaves today, cleaned up around the front sidewalk.  I told Lindsey this was when I felt most like a member of the "petty bourgeoisie" as raking all those damp leaves felt about as petty as it gets, though edging is right up there.  It's a good workout though, and as a middle aged man, I should be engaging in semi-strenuous cardiovascular activity from time to time.

The FCNL liason phoned me as I approached the Narnia light on Mt. Tabor and requested directions for Bridge City Meeting but it turned out the event she wished to attend was at the Stark Street facility.  I decided I'd attend and went home to dress more appropriately, while also confirming Lucy Duncan as my associate on LinkedIn (AFSC business).

I discovered my "NATO pants" in the closet, Army surplus woolen monster pants from Andy & Bax, a favorite army surplus outlet on Grand Avenue (near Bridge City Meeting as it happens).  I could belt them above my belly button, humpty-dumpty style and drape a T-shirt over that, then a maroon Python zipper sweater completed the outfit.  Green and maroon, silver hair, why not?

But then when shaving... what are those black spots on my pants? -- noticed in the mirror.  Wait, those are holes!  Good thing I caught it then.  I'd have shown up at the Christmas Party all in moth eaten tatters, back from the grave, the zombie look.  Not festive.

So then I rushed to change my outfit yet again and this is when the keys went missing.  You already know the punch line:  they were in the NATO pants.  But I'd looked and looked, checking pockets thrice.  Then I spent an hour looking other places.

Uncle Bill called.  He's with his son Matt in Tualitin.  He's been through the wringer but had the bandwidth to commiserate with my key issue.  I have a friends mailbox key on it too, so if I'd dropped this on Mt. Tabor, near the Narnia light... what a nuisance!  We think Uncle Bill is on the mend but I know from my bout with pneumonia last January, recovery takes time.

So yeah, the keys were buried deep in a NATO pant pocket.  By the time I found them though, I didn't think walking to Stark Street would pay off.  Weren't they going caroling those Quakers?  They'd be singing "shaggy shaggy locks" (one of our Quaker songs) to bewildered neighbors by then.  No way I was going to drive mind you, given Peacock Lane hell (just kidding, it's pretty -- just not good for traffic).  Walking takes about twenty minutes, give or take (I might stop at Red Square or Movie Madness).

I'm not making a huge deal out of December 25 lets remember, but nor am I trying to tune out the holiday experience such as it is.  New Year's means a lot too and I do spend extra time on renewing and reconnecting during this solstice period.  That's what a lot of people are in the mood to do and I'm not about to be a grinch about it.  That'd be really petty.  Not that I'm above petty.

I'll plan to check in with the FCNL liaison tomorrow.  That will mean driving but I don't expect much traffic.  I may visit Uncle Bill on Friday.


Tuesday, December 23, 2014

Hanukkha 2014


My many thank yous to Laurie for helping to anchor the holiday season with a low key charming Hanukkah party that we've belonged to for many years.

Neither of my daughters could make it this year.  I decided for gift giving I'd pick a local business I respect and appreciate, Third Eye, and buy a stack of incense, Grateful Dead playing cards, and a special T-shirt.

We ate latkes, I made my lentils, and then conversations for me wandered from Aliens (starring Sigourney Weaver) to Mt. Tabor, the nearby public park.  We also talked a lot about property redevelopment, the house next door having just been replaced, along with others nearby.  How many Facebook accounts belong to members of the dog species?  More than one, we know that.

I much appreciated getting to meet the psychiatrist / naturopathic healer, someone who'd left Portland in the 1990s when Dawn was still alive.

This was not a PTO day for me.  I'm part of that working class red eye shift that keeps the holiday season chugging along through the (in this hemisphere) cold part of the year.  I "slew my queue" (euphemism for attacking my inbox) for some hours.

Monday was also haircut day at Bishops.  At 56, I'm more hirsute than I'll be at 65 but I'm changing my look to be more like the picture, minus the aviator glasses as I mostly favor clear lenses these days. While waiting for my haircut I drank two beers (on the house) and read People Magazine about missing Robin Williams, and about the Obamas and their family life.