Dec 19

data management

Today at work I had to get a huge amount of badly organized data into a form I could manipulate. It was an extremely frustrating process — after a handful of false starts, what I ultimately ended up doing was setting up a Google Form with all the relevant fields and just re-entering the info.

I felt, the whole time I was doing it, like there had to be some easier way. One of the vast territories I could imagine was computer skills — I think there must be a tool, either one I don’t know how to use or one I don’t have access to (Excel would have been awesome) that could have cut my effort into ribbons.

The other territory was statistics. I strongly suspect there are mathematical systems designed to do what I was doing manually, but I have no idea what they are. Furthermore, I suspect that if I took a class in statistics, this sort of practical data manipulation would never come up.

I have no clue if I’m right in that suspicion. I haven’t taken a math class since 2005 and I was barely paying attention at the time.

Dec 18

Naps are weird

Okay, well, sleep is weird. Bodies are weird. Energy is weird.

I took a nap about an hour ago, by which I mean I was lounging on the couch reading Tumblr posts and my eyes started to sag and I didn’t fight it. I drifted into sleep or something sleep-like, and I weighed in my head the odds that I was going to wake up again before midnight, and the consequences of falling asleep. I would miss my blog post today. I would fail to take my pills. I would sleep in my clothes, and in poor posture, so I would wake up stiff and in pain tomorrow. I would fail to turn the living room light off, so Violet (Caitlin’s hedgehog) wouldn’t feel safe to come out and run on her wheel and eat food tonight.

Fortunately, it was only 9, and I thought it was pretty likely that I was going to wake up. I hadn’t dismissed all of my phone’s alerts, so that would go off within 15 minutes, and my new watch buzzes every 5, reminding me that I still have to think about getting up.

And I went back on the computer eventually, and still felt groggy and fuzzy but my eyes stopped slipping shut, and I woke up enough to read some complicated posts, and I woke up enough to write this post, and I’m awake enough now to take my pills and get ready to sleep and shut the light off.

Good night.

Dec 17

Time management

Today was a somewhat more packed day than I had expected it to be. I attended the second or third planning session for a film festival that doesn’t have a name yet, depending on whether you count the meeting of a different organization in which it came up at first. That went on longer than I had expected it to, because for some reason I have convinced myself that anything ever takes an hour or less.

I also picked up a shift at my new job, so I will be up late into the night editing things and posting them on the internet.

So, despite the fact that I am now two days into my winter break, I’ve managed to get myself just about as busy as I was all through finals, at least for one day.

Looking forward to going home at a reasonable hour tomorrow.

Dec 16

Isolation and connectivity in Solarpunk

In my idea of a solarpunk future, there’s no single right way to do solarpunk. Instead, diverse communities from around the world adopt the name, ideas, or both, and build little nests of self-sustaining revolution tailored to meet the needs of their revolutionaries and specifically target and combat the worst effects of exploitative modernity in their immediate environment. Maybe in Las Vegas that means optimizing efficient use of water, while in New York the top priority is developing institutional solutions to homelessness.

That model for solarpunk communities involves a lot of isolation — and I think that’s a good thing, because it puts up resistance against the impulse to try and build a single, coherent, all-encompassing movement that tries to solve all the world’s problems all together and at once — an endeavor that usually results in genocide.

But it also requires connectivity, and working with alternate models for connections that emerge outside modernist, hierarchical institutions could be a big part of building a solarpunk movement, or constellation of movements.

Speaking of which, take this tree:

mic-photo2.jpg.824x0_q85_crop-scale

 

From the Tumblr post on which I found it:

Solar trees are taking root around the world
Sologic’s sustainable eTree provides free electricity, free WiFi and even cool water for you and your pet. Plus, each eTree connects to other eTrees, allowing people across the world to video chat.

It gets water from the city plumbing it’s connected to, but in development they did get it to pull water from the air.

This tree, or things like it, represent a kind of solarpunk project I hadn’t thought about before — one not grounded in a specific geographical space, but in a specific technology or endeavor that could help seed, expand or interconnect localized solarpunk communities.

Dec 15

The semester is over!

Well, for me, anyway. Finals go on for another two days, but all of mine are done.

I actually studied yesterday — like, I crammed. It was a kind of weird experience, because normally I keep pretty solid pace with the course content throughout the semester and don’t have to do much more than brush up when finals come around.

But I’m not good with history the way I am with philosophy or literature. I struggle remembering specific dates, or the order in which things happen — mainly because it’s Western Civilization, and mostly wars, and wars are boring, and early 20th Century Europe is boring.

So I crammed. I got a big list of all the terms and essay questions the professor said we could expect on the test, and picked out all the ones I knew well enough (that is, vaguely) that I thought researching them would allow me to retain the information. Then I researched them all and wrote down all the bits of information I would probably need to get full credit for answering them, then I copied those notes out into another notebook in paragraph form, which I brought with me to read over and over again while I waited for the test to start.

The exam required us to identify and explain five out of a list of eight terms — from a review list of 30, of which I learned 19 — and answer two out of three essay questions — all of which we were told in advance, so I basically just regurgitated from memory the essays I had pre-written.

I think I did okay. Definitely not great, but I’m confident I didn’t fail, either.

▒▒▒ ▒▒▒ ▒▒▒

Also, I got that watch I wanted! Which I apparently have never blogged about here. It’s called Durr, and it’s made by a Norwegian design collective. I wrote about it for the Interstitial Arts Foundation Tumblr, here.

Dec 12

They Might Be Giants in Boston!

They Might Be Giants’s tour dates have finally posted, and so obviously I immediately got tickets for the Boston show. I got two, because I’m unreasonably optimistic about the odds that I’ll meet anyone in the area who likes TMBG enough to go to a concert, who is in the area, and who, also, I like enough to take to a concert, by April. (Or that the people I know who are not in the area will be able to arrange to come with me.)

Dec 11

Finals, complex thoughts and brain-fry

I think the most frustrating thing about finals is that (a.) my brain feels like a pile of autumn leaves that has been laboriously sorted by exact shade, then randomized by some asshole with a leaf blower, and (b.) I’m engaging with a lot of complex, interesting ideas — things I’d love to devote a fair amount of time and attention to, and write a well-constructed and communicative blog post.

But I can’t. See above: leaf blower.

Dec 10

Over The Garden Wall — a procrastination

This entry is coming to you at just shy of midnight because I’m starting writing it at 11:30, and I’m starting writing at 11:30 because I just binge-watched the 10 episodes of Over the Garden Wall1 — and, honestly, I’m a little disappointed.

Not in the show — which was great — but in the fact that I have basically nothing I want to say about it. Not before I’ve had some time to think about it, anyway. I was told that I should try to watch it the first time through without any kind of analytic effort, so that might have something to do with it. I’m not sure if it’s (VAGUE THEMATIC SPOILER) something to do with Wirt’s romantic life, and some heart-wrenchingly familiar teenage experiences, or if it’s just because I’m fried from finals. (Definitely didn’t have an essay I should have been writing during the two hours I spent watching this series. Nope. Nuh-uh.)

So unfortunately, having invested a couple hours into something I expected to turn out a decent blog post, I’m left with this vague and slithery mess. But it’s almost midnight and I don’t have another skip day until February. So, here’s 250 words on the fact that I don’t have anything interesting to say about Over the Garden Wall.2

  1. Which, every time I have typed, I have almost spelled “Guardian,” because that just seems more like a word that belongs in media titles right now I guess?
  2. Which I am now misspelling as ‘guardan’ because my brain is dead.

Dec 09

Anti-technology Roman emperors

I wrote part of a rant today about social justice, and it started to turn into an essay about equality as a necessary precondition for certain kinds of technological development. I’m not going to post it here, because it’s long and unfinished and I want to do some more research, but I remembered a story —

Vespasian, a roman emperor during the first century C.E., was managing the construction of the Colosseum. An engineer suggested labor-saving machinery that would substantially cut down on the amount of labor necessary for the project, but Vespasian refused to use them — the Colosseum project was designed to hire impoverished Romans to keep them busy.

— I checked with my Western Civ professor, and he remembers the story (and also gave me the emperor’s name) and said it sounds plausible, but I haven’t confirmed yet that it’s actually a true story, or if there’s any record of it happening.

I’ve heard a lot of people argue about whether the industrial revolution could have happened during the Roman Empire, and if so why it didn’t. I wonder if the Labor Movement might be part of it.

Dec 08

[bail]

I’ve had this tab open for twenty minutes. It’s been a very long day, and that follows a very long weekend, and precedes a very long week.

No post today. I promise not to do this again for two months, again.

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