Category Archives: learning
a time of growth, regrowth, renaissance, hard work, learning, growing, absorbing, etc.
this week, which feels like it started today even though it’s Sunday, is going to be a busy one.
today i was so glad that a Milwaukee-based fam-member, Freddi (3rd cousin once removed), gave me a call because she was in town for a quick visit.
our relationship is clear as mud, eh? basically her mom and my grandma — well their grandmothers Brauna and Chana were sisters. our common descendants were Mondral sisters (Brauna and Chana) whose kids (Ben SEGALL ne LOPATKA and Leo STEIN ne Szafirsztejn, among many other LOPATKA and STEINs), cousins from Radzanów, Poland, came to Milwaukee from Poland together. there is another sister, Shaindel, who are also part of the mass exodus from Radzanów, Poland to Milwaukee from abt 1885 to 1939….
basically this is my paternal mom’s branch of Segall and Stein families in Milwaukee.
i don’t usually like to post pics of myself — find the selfie fad to be fundamentally disturbing — but i loved seeing Freddi and i’m smiling like an idiot here so enjoy a rare glimpse.
Broadway Bagel has these mounds of cream cheese, sort of awesome and very New York.
reminds me of the New York chain of Strawberry stores…
so spending a couple hours catching up with Freddi sort of restarted something fundmental in me. i don’t want to say my faith in humanity is restored or anything quite so dramatic, but when i meet up with people who are so clearly mishpucha of loveliness, well it’s a magical thing for me.
it also means in addition to my other summer projects, i’m going to re-focus on the family genealogy. first priority is going to be Frank’s of course (hope he’s doing okay). but then also the Milwaukee branch, who i just love completely.
rest of week plans…
so the rest of the week will be busy.
i am finally sitting down to learn Adobe InDesign CS6. bless you Lynda.com for making tutorials that may take me forever to get through (i get distracted by shiny objects) but are comprehensive and informative.
BagIt/Bagger at METRO
i missed the in-person workshop on File fixity and checksum tools (but got the course materials that i will go over after the InDesign deal).
this Tuesday will be METRO’s BagIt/Bagger workshop. these great workshops are part of the Keeping Collections series, and are excellent. there will be an ExifTool workshop in July that i’m planning on attending.
July 16 (Tuesday) – ExifTool
also this week, in a longer, all-day format, is a MODS workshop called “Using MODS to Describe Cultural Heritage Resources.”
am a little gunshy about attending a cataloging workshop because i have such a low comfort-level with description — haven’t flexed that muscle in any significant sense since taking classes in grad school with the awesome Rick Block. so in other words, no real life experience. but i think that i need to just go and absorb and allow myself to have cataloging anxiety. i hope to surprise myself.
MODS stands for Metadata Object Description Schema and was developed at the Library of Congress. the MODS website is here.
so this week will be intensive skilling up. i need to contact temp agencies and head hunters but i would like to be able to truthfully say i have a familiarity — even if it’s at an Essentials / beginner level — with InDesign. it seems to be a mandatory requirement in addition to Microsoft Office, for word processing jobs in NYC these days. at least for jobs that pay enough for me to work 3 to 4 days a week while i job search and/or work on my passion projects and figure out my future. you know, small stuff!
music discovery of awesomeness ‘o the week!
new Mando Saenz record is out and it is WONDERFUL. produced by Mark Nevers and featuring great folks like Bobby Bare, Jr. and Kim Richey. highly recommend. so so worth it. talented singer-songwriter with a velvet smooth voice.
okay, just wanted to check in here in blog-land. going back to the salt mines of learning! yay….? oy.
it is june, that time of the year when i am grumpy (29 years as of June 10, RIP MGH) but also sort of amazed and glad to have a lot of light and sun and nice weather.
well it has been raining nonstop here in NYC, but summer, in general, as a principle, seems to be here and/or coming.
so i have a couple of summer projects.
i’m beyond frustrated with how many files i have, how impossible it is to find stuff, and the fact that i have duplicate copies of things like my itunes library (in various iterations) in multiple places. plus the fact that i need to deal with Frank’s vital records archive. aagh.
so i decided to do Network Attached Storage (NAS) and got a Synology. very reasonably priced. and two Western Digital reds in a RAID setup.
i took loads of pictures during the unbox and installation, which i hope to do in a more detailed blog post but for right now it’s broad strokes time until i feel less sour about stuff.
this is it, fast forward, up and running.
so that is one summer project.
the other summer project is that — from the hours of time i seem to be keeping my balcony door open lately — i was inspired to actually try to get some greenery out there on the balcony. i need to liven this joint up if i’m going to be home so much.
so i got an EarthBox Junior (organic). yeah it might be a nightmare / overkill but i wanted a kit and it looks sort of cool.
as a hedge — and just in case it looks to be a long-term project similar to the Synology (which is taking longer to play with than i expected) — i also got the following:
and for the EarthBox, couldn’t resist the idea of a non-controlled, semi chaotic bomb name….:
i like purple. and don’t mind the smell of lavender.
don’t have cats, though i plan on skilling up to them here chez moi hovel. but i read catnip retards mosquitos, which seem to mercilously bother me here at the hovel. so the smell will hopefully help mitigate that.
this pet grass should also help with greening up the joint and fill the EarthBox. it is an uncontrolled plan / experiment.
am feeling a little burnt out on the blogging, social media, screens, etc. so this is a brusque, less friendly blog post than i usually aim for.
i am trying to keep it on the road, stay in the driver’s seat, keep on truckin’, etc.
but this under-employment situation is not a comfortable fit for a workaholic, no-life person such as myself. i am pretty discouraged and yet at the same time i am not trying hard enough.
though i feel very strongly that the right fit is out there for me, the right position with the right team of people and please oh please god a manager / supervisor / mentor who appreciates what i bring to the table, can provide structure and guidance, and will let me, well, blossom.
i know, a tall order. we shall see.
On “A Case of You”…
“I remember playing it for Kris Kristorfferson. And he was kind of shocked by it. Said, ‘Oh Joni, you know, save something of yourself.’ I think he felt that I had gone to reveal too much of something. I’d laid myself too vulnerable.’
Enthusiasm, muddling through
Not to underline myself as a creator of the magnitude of Joni Mitchell — no Kanye West messianic histrionics here, thankfully — but the words and thoughts in this Joni Mitchell documentary really spoke to me today.
I watch this documentary (American Masters’ Joni Mitchell: Woman of Heart and Mind) a few times a year, if not more often. I love the ideas of Joni Mitchell, of her creating, doing her own thing. This documentary has a lot to dig into, in Joni’s own words. Plus Joni Mitchell represents my childhood, that time of my life in the 1970s. She was so much about being an independent women creator, just being, just being brilliant, herself, ferociously.
I was one of those kids who sat with a headphones on, in the space between the huge armoire and the stereo cabinet, record sleeve and cover in my hands, parsing every bit of the lyrics and images possible. I felt this connection to the emotionalism of the songs Joni Mitchell sang. The melodies, her singular voice.
I err on the side of enthusiasm so much. And I live my life in a certain way that is very open (in many respects). I love to ask questions and have discussions about stuff. I forget all the time, because I get caught up or I don’t operate in any other mode, that other people are definitely not as enthusiastic. And they aren’t necessarily open — or most importantly, they aren’t interested in a conversation.
Or, more brutally, that they don’t see the world like I do. They have their own thing going on that may not correlate with my oftentimes clumsy, enthused, barreling through.
I forget this. All the time. I can guarantee I will learn from my mistakes with this kind of enthusiasm. But I can also guarantee I will screw up again and again going forward. It is a problem of boundaries, unclear thinking, and hard wiring.
At this point in my life I can learn from experiences — and I am glad I have the chance to continue to do this. But also some things are hard wired into who I am as a person. It is just how I am and I don’t think I can stuff my square self into a round hole to the extent that I could adjust this personality trait enough to “fix” it.
It is what makes me me. A flaw and an asset. I apologize. But I am not sorry. If that makes sense.
And in the end analysis: I can only admit my flaw, try and learn, and continue to move forward. And hope those around me can be patient, loving, and kind if at all possible. I write that and think, yeah, not other people’s problems. Understood. I sort of just have to throw myself on the mercy of the general good in others, I guess. And really, no one is really all that interested in going this deep (or noticing), thankfully.
capturing the smile
it is a sunny Sunday afternoon in May* and i have my balcony door open and my window blinds up. making sure i get my Vitamin D and fresh air fix. have exactly two weeks left on my internship at the Graduate Center Library. so decided to take a blog break from pulling together geographic references for the geotag portion of the excel extravaganza that is the metadata of the Activist Women’s History oral history project. whew!
*freaking Mother’s Day, a day i never love every year (RIP Mommy, 1984).
i feel like i am learning some good stuff.
i participated in the Global Women Wikipedia Write-In (#GWWI) and spent an intensive day (or two) forcing myself to learn Wikipedia editing (tutorials, helpful #IRC help desk, trial and error). it became pretty clear that if i dedicate my energies towards technical skill building i can learn things — or at least get a muddle-through adequately level of workability. but did i enjoy the process? not hugely. coding and stuff like this doesn’t come easy to me, but then learning something like this maybe never does? at least for me…. it isn’t where my natural skills lie. maybe this relates to how i approached math and science as a kid, and the phobias / lack of girls participating remainders from childhood. who knows.
late night boringness
saw on Twitter and the New York Times that Seth Meyers will be replacing Jimmy Fallon as the late night host on NBC. ridiculous. seriously, do we need another white man hosting a late night talk show? it is time for some changes. it would be so nice to see a woman — or a person of color, or god forbid, both — on TV in a position of authority and fun. i mean, really, it’s enough already. and in his tweet Seth Meyers thanked Lorne Michaels. yeah, here’s hoping Lorne Michaels won’t be part of the show*, because that can only be a bad thing. the limitations of the Lorne Michaels model are plentiful — as exemplified by the frozen in time and innovation Saturday Night Live.
wow. didn’t know i needed to get that out there like that. feel a bit better. well not really but at least i am not screaming at the computer and/or TV. just screaming on the internet via this blog.
*aaand, reading the nytimes article, Lorne Michaels will oversee the show just like he does for Jimmy Fallon and others. well, here’s hoping that it is minimal overseeing…
Frank and his legacy
my friend Frank has been sick. i get periodic updates but i worry about how he’s doing down in Australia. he has lived a very long life, is a survivor (literally, figuratively). but age is not a kind mistress (cliched but true). the comfort i can give myself is that we have done a lot of great work together, and no matter what, his legacy of materials will survive. i will do my best to continue to work on it, organize it, and make sure that it has the proper disposition and survives. take that Hitler and your killing machine. a big F U.
made reservations for the IAJGS Boston conference this summer — ah, Boston in August. the joy. prediction that will be 100% true: i will be schvitzing, actively and profusely. can’t wait to spend time with a bunch of grumpy Jewish genealogists, of which i am a card carrying member. these are my people. and now i am in my mid- (late!) 40s, i am getting closer to the typical demographic (of being an old grumpy Jewish genealogist). well i feel old. och.
interviewed for an interesting part time job not specifically related to library science, but something that i am interested in, thankfully. not sure if i blew the interview or not. i always feel very pessimistic about my interview experiences. am trying to follow the excellent Ask A Manager advice of moving on and letting go, as these types of things are totally out of your control. but it is difficult to follow this advice sometimes.
i could have been much more prepared, which i am peeved at myself about. that was a definite learning experience which i will not repeat. and interviewing for a position with more than one person is always non-ideal in my book. this was four people, which is nerve-wracking. i guess this is how job interviews are done nowadays but stressful. i don’t think i’m the best interview, but once i get into a workplace, well, that’s where i do well. semi-desperate (true, but not true) for a foot in the door. oh gads, i don’t know…
the folks involved in the project i would potentially work on are scary interesting and talented, have implemented a very cool technical interface. plus it has to do with CUNY, a place i have become passionately a fan of, so there is that… more smart people doing cool stuff. i hope it works out because it would be fun, interesting, and very cool.
in addition to feeling like i will never be able to earn a living again, which is obviously a ridiculous thing to even say, but at this point post-CS it is a very real experience. all the jobs in academia require a second master’s, which i would happily get if the institution would let me go for free AFTER hiring me… (yeah not very realistic) i loved grad school, love learning. but i am also very ready to complete this shift into a new career already.
i know a lot of folks have been working at getting a full time library gig — or any substantive library gig — for much longer than me, that i need to be patient and keep my nose to the grindstone of creative problem solving and hard work, but it is inevitable that i am questioning my efforts here. do i succumb to a money job in a good environment (if i can find something like that, hopefully)? or do i continue on this broken-down, unstable / sketchy path of cobbling together a library science career? which is going to take a lot of time and effort.
the conflict i feel is that i could continue to do what i did in my last money job (of 16 years). i could work on things i love, things like the work with Frank that have no financial compensation, that actually cost me money and my time. but make me soul-deep happy and satisfied. do i continue to do what is technically classified as “hobbyist” work for free, follow that passion and journey? or do i try and shove my square shape into a round hole of a library science job. it is very unclear right now.
SouthLAnd was canceled. not a surprise but damn.
not a lot to smile about there. sads.
okay, back to the grindstone of prep for geotagging locations. hopefully can use Leaflet, though i suspect the tech side of this Activist Women’s Voices oral history project will not be part of this journey / experience, is out of my hands. oh well, i will use it for Frank’s stuff maybe? or another project. oy.
thanks for reading, if anyone made it this far.
so i am blogging in multiple places right now, at the cost of only intermittently blogging here. which i suspect will be the way things will be for the Spring 2013 semester while i am working on this internship.
in addition to this SchmattaLUV blog….
i am doing a private blog (private due to permissions / rights issues*) that is my own personal process blog: Activist Women’s Voices
and i am doing a public blog via the CUNY Commons: Graduate Center Special Collections CUNY Activist Women’s Voices
the CUNY blog is going to be more formal, with less tangential forays into free associations (think less Library of Congress / public domain images, less YouTube videos, etc.).
so i’ll still have this one, and will post when i can. but feel free to visit the others, if you want.
*will try to unlock selected posts if i can get them approved to be public
Mark freaking Mothersbaugh
first off, i want his glasses. so aluminum and shiny!
second off, his office building is that weird circular building on Sunset i always drove by and wondered about when i lived in El-Lay….
it mystifies me that more buildings aren’t circular. it makes much more sense to me than square. i think circular, more pod-like, egg-like structures would create a more welcoming and organic work and living space. big fan of the circular.
it was white back in the day, but i love this color — lime green!
and then, thirdly, there is what Mark Mothersbaugh talks about when he talks about Devo. which totally blew my mind.
DEVO, when we were starting as a band it was right after a shooting and not just
at Kent but other campuses around the country there.
Students were saying, hey!
We don’t want to be part of this Vietnam War.
You know, we were watching it on TV and we are like who are we defending and
why and why are we attacking people over there?
They didn’t do anything to us.
What is the point to this war?
It’s not a good war.
During that time period Jerry Casale who I’d collaborated with on a few
visual things already that year, he came over and he started playing music
with me and he was a bass player and he was playing in a blues band to make some extra money.
I was a keyboard player but I was playing like synth stuff and it was more like
Soft Machine or something.
It was kind of like more acidy and we were trying to figure out what is this
sound we were thinking. Oh!
It’s like Flintstones meets the Jetsons.
You know, like I was playing kind of space age-y kind of sounds and he was
playing like kind of primitive bass sounds, blues, blues-y kind of things.
We started talking about what was going on around us and then what was happening
at school and what was happening in the world.
We came to the conclusion that what we were observing was not evolution but
So, that’s where we’ve got the name the De-evolution band and then the
De-evolutionary army before we cut letters off the end and turn it into DEVO.
De-evolution was sort of our platform.
It became a way that we could talk about things that we were curious about,
that concerned us and we could make fun of things and we could draw attention to things.
So, we looked at people like Andy Warhol for inspiration.
We saw– and not so much in his messages but in his techniques.
We saw that was the perfect.
He was about ideas and it didn’t matter what medium he worked in.
I’d liked the idea that he wasn’t just locked into like playing guitar or to
painting watercolors on a piece of paper, the same exact thing every time.
He was into solving problems.
So, we kind of wanted DEVO to be like that.
Devo came from the idea of de-volution, a reaction to the Vietnam War and the Kent State shootings and trying to make sense of the world at that point in time. it’s just all sort of brilliant and so much more connected and much more meaningful than i ever imagined Devo to be. just love this, hearing such a smart man talk about the ideas behind what made Devo Devo.
and more to the point, the name Devo and the idea of de-evolution, and the ideas of doing things however they came to be (i.e., Warhol example) was also about parsing process and vision and intention in the most organic and revolutionary, naturally evolving way. as Mothersbaugh describes, it was about solving problems. and agitprop.
Agitation propaganda (commonly shortened to agitprop) is the systematic spreading and thorough explanation of political, philosophical, economic, historical, as well as scientific, technical, and other types of ideas by the political leadership of a movement, society or organization, advancing the effectiveness of political persuasion and training on the target, leading to rapid action, or mobilization. In a simplified sense, Agitation Propaganda is focused on causing an excitement of emotions in the target, with the aims of stimulating action.
it’s a great example. a great example of inspired thinking. makes me want to keep it on the road, keep going, keep at whatever i’m doing that’s working….
the history of my Devo-revolution
and on a more personal note, my earliest memories of Devo were their record (below) i think my brother Michael had.
and then of course i remember a high school performance of the annual Roadshow (i think that was it) by my sister Claud’s friends (including Saybert) where they did a song by Devo, wearing the same outfits and hats. it was so cool. i loved her friends.
this picture isn’t that but it captures how awesome these guys were.
some video awesomness. my favorite Devo song, “Uncontrollable Urge”.