Category Archives: smart people
my friend Debra Jane is continuing to do her roadtrips documenting signs and mid-century buildings and features of interest via her Roadside Architecture resources.
the main website is called Roadside Architecture.
please definitely follow along on her amazing blog.
The Internet Archive is just all sorts of wonderful.
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”.