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posted by [personal profile] strata at 10:23pm on 07/04/2016
... I should have changed that stupid lock,
I should have thrown away that key,
if I'd known for just one second,
you'd be back to bother me!

It's only been, let's see, seven years.  So, who's still here?

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A friend (and colleague) of mine is finishing up her dissertation, and could use a few more study participants before closing results up at the end of the week. She's studying education and learning in virtual worlds, specifically in Second Life.

Visit for details; basically, get a free Second Life account, spend a little time inworld (free class on building in SL!), and fill out a couple of short surveys along the way.

Please give it a shot if you have a few minutes! Thanks!
(OK to forward, just be mindful of the deadline)
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posted by [personal profile] strata at 10:41am on 01/05/2009
Take a 2-liter clear soda bottle, remove the label.

Cut a tall cylinder out of the middle, like a belt or a collar-- a slice out of it. Optionally, smooth the edges or put clear tape over them.

Make a cut so that you have a long rectangular strip. Slit halfway from the top about a half-inch from one end, and from the bottom on the other end.

Get copper-foil sticky tape from the garden store or craft store. Make a line of the copper-foil tape the whole width of one side of the rectangle. It should cross the slits, but you can just slit it. Or tape first, then slit. Hey, this is freeform blogging here.

The tape placement should not be in the middle, it should be offset upward about an inch. Why? Because you will be setting this down into the dirt so the above-dirt portion should be what you center on.

So, now you have a freestanding plant collar that you can either use by itself, or expand to join another collar onto. The copper will keep snails and slugs from climbing it. Sinking it into the dirt around a tender seedling you've transplanted will keep pillbugs from trundling up and girdling your seedling until it falls over like a Paul Bunyan special. (I lost almost all of my from-seed peppers that way last year, had to go buy seedlings, bah.)

You can re-use it year after year, as I do. You can join a bunch of them up to make a little fenced area. Don't let the copper touch the leaves of neighboring plants, they don't like it (not sure why). Also, don't let it touch the ground. I think how it works is that the difference in potential between the ground and the copper gives the snails a little zap.

Sure, you can put copper tape all around your raised bed, but that gets expensive fast, and doesn't keep out the snails that are already in there, hiding down next to the edges.

This post in honor of DreamWidth's opening day, rock on! Going to cross post it to my garden blog. :-)
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It's here, and it's in full swing. The past month has been kind of like that song on the radio, "you're hot and you're cold". We went from some early March days in shirtsleeves to a couple of weeks of cold-n-rainy, then some nice daytimes with back down the mid-40's at night. This weekend it's supposed to get into the mid-80's. My lettuce is CONFUSED, I tell ya.

Things I've been doing, some of which may be things to think about doing in your garden:

Greens, greens, greens!
  • Harvest the first crop of spinach, Catalina Baby, (outer leaves only), and hope I didn't take too much
  • Plant more spinach, this time a heat-tolerant variety, Oriental Giant (a spinach-alike, really) and a quick to mature type, Nobel 45-day.
  • Harvest rainbow chard, cutting it all way back to some inner leaves. No leaf miners (yet?) this year, for which I'm grateful.
Peas on Earth, Goodwill to Munch!
  • Check on your peas every couple of days-- they may need a boost grabbing onto their trellising. I find myself patiently helping them grab the trellis instead of throttling each other. Hmm, sounds like kids!
  • Pick the first few pea stragglers and eat them as snap peas, whether they are conventional or snap peas. Don't let your pea plant produce full-grown seeds and then think it is done for the season.
  • Dress their roots with a good layer of compost. In addition to keeping the soil moist, this helps keep it cool. Peas with cool feet will produce longer and be less prone to mildew.
  • Now that the weather is getting hotter, make sure that you don't spray the pea vines themselves when watering if you can help it, and when you water, do so with plenty of time to dry out before the heat of the day. Once mildew takes hold, it can spread pretty quick.
Strawberry Fields (and Containers) Forever
  • Strawberries are flowering now; have you fertilized them since tucking them in for fall? This is a really good time. If you wait until the first crop of berries is ready, they may need a long break to absorb nutrients before putting out lots of replacement flowers.
  • Mine are everbearing, which produce a berry here and there all summer, but if yours are June-bearing, it's doubly important to fertilize as soon as they start greening up and forming flower buds. You're only getting the one shot with the berry crop!
  • Before you fertilize, especially if you're using compost, carefully pull out all the winter-killed foliage. You don't want rotting vegetation under that compost-- the crowns need to breathe and get good air circulation. This will help prevent fungus problems.
  • Be careful what you are pulling on, and either snip out the old foliage at the stem, or grab only a stem or two at a time and give a quick sharp yank. It's too easy to pull out the crowns!
  • If your strawberries are in a container, like mine, check the crowns. The soil levels drop as organic matter is used up, and you may have little strawberry castles raised up 2 or 3 inches above the soil. Fill in with enriched potting soil, or regular potting soil mixed 50% with compost. Be careful not to cover the crowns themselves-- err on the side of caution, because if you cover them, you are very very likely to have fungus or mildew problems.
  • Container strawberries are sensitive to minerals, too-- be sure to sprinkle some greensand and bone meal or eggshell into your containers annually. Now is fine, it's not too late at all.
Gracious, where did the time go? I guess I've been a bit busy in the garden lately. We haven't even talked about the runner bean seedlings, the tomatoes and peppers, and the squashes. Next time!
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posted by [personal profile] strata at 11:46am on 05/04/2009
Either mosey on over to Food Democracy Now to use their letter or write one of your own.

Here's mine.. )
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O so brief, so blinderingly brief...these are pretty much only my own notes to myself, waiting to speak, didn't note the whole session.

Conjurer's trick: whether you see the tricks, you are still following the hand, forgetting your seat. Whole novel is this way, creating an altered state when linearly read (or not!)

Nice point by a gamer (nicely riffing off previous session on Growing Up Weightless): they read the book like gaming material: description of world, with short adventure set in world to help you grok it, then tables at end, lol!

Bram Stoker's Dracula: inaccessible to me, until in a moment of clarity I saw it blogged as what it is, a series of letters (doh!) and then I got hooked. Note: only recently has novel been ensconced in form it takes now, was much more a collection of notes, letters, etc in some previous states. Refs to some early work in non-linear novels, did not get details bah.

I think ACH would work better for me if considered as a Group Blog. Most multicharacter, shifting storyline, multiview stories maintain a uniform tone. The tone changes in ACH suggest (deliberately, I am certain!) different authors, which is more of a break for me than style. Original edition came With A Box and a Tape (ooh!) which I didn't realize. Can still get the tape/music/material off a related website.

Good point on prescriptive utopia & asthma sufferers (aud memb: I'd be dead!) but raises questions for yrs trly:
* Why is that not a utopia? AudMem: genetic disease, they argue, etc
* Stealth utopia, imho, tho in eye of beholder
** If society is in balance, is that utopian or dystopian? Isn't that a viewpoint? Depends on where your place is in the heap and if you like it, eh?
* Guy panelist says he'd like to visit but not to live there
** Intrigued: what would he gain by visit? What does he perceive he'd lose by residency?

Second level of indirection present in the book for me. I could not read it at first, had to make a real effort-- dropped it the first couple times I tried, stuck it out for Potlatch until I suddenly got hooked in, not sure where exactly, within first 25% by volume.

"There will always be a sickness in man." Good point. Culture as a mitigating force vs a redirecting force, goes back to u/dis/topia again. I see a transfer or encapsulation of xenophobia here that is in some ways healthy: brought plants, animals, environment inside as 'brethren'. Contrast with Condor Culture, City of Mind: are they opt-outs for Kesh, or is Kesh the opt-out for them? Mutual "islands of the blind"?

I need to get a strong binder clip to use as a notebook capo for best legibility of notes!
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posted by [personal profile] strata at 03:14pm on 28/02/2009 under
Mostly list of pointers; GREAT panel!

* Farley (sp?) on
** "Adventures into Digital Comics"
* Finder, Carla Speed MacNeil, Lightspeed Press
* Castle Waiting
* Amy Unbounded
* 13 Marys Ballad (hard to describe but definitely fractal media!)
* "God's Man", 1920s-ish graphic novel without any text or captions
* "Afterlife", Donna Barr; combining finally the plotlines/characters of:
** Stinz, centaurs in the fictional Gieselthal Valley of Switzerland in WW-II timeframe
** Desert Peach, Erwin Rommel's gay younger brother Pfirsch and his misfit army unit in the African Desert
* great looking site on comics, The Midnight Library
* Scott McCloud has 3 books now, sheesh, yr hmbl nttkr is 2 books out of touch
* Delta Thrives

Concept of The Gutter, the action happening in your head like in a text-book, only in graphics: this panel has The Axe, and this other panel The Scream, *you*, you killed the guy! In the gutter! between the panels!
** Hey, the whole Talmud is kinda like this, they just only transcribe the gutters every generation or two and condense stuff ;-) (yr nttkr gn)

* Astro City
* The Classics Illustrated from the 1950's
* Astroboy's Osamu Tezuka now doing The Life of Buddha illustrated manga
** Vol 1, Kapilavastu, I think vols up to 6 or 7 are out now
* Zhuangzhi Speaks: the Language of Nature
** popular graphic novel format telling of ZhuangZhi, Lao Tzu, Confucian teachings, great series
** Tsai Chih Chung is the author; gold here! :-)

Concept: Tribes (McCloud), e.g., Robert Crumb of the Iconoclast tribe (prolly Ernie Pook's Comeek would fit there too), also Harvey Pikar's "American Splendor" where the lines of expression on characters' faces tell so much of the story; homage to Will Eisner, of course, on that. Fagin the Jew passed around, Eisner's hookup/mashup on Dickens.

Linearity, graphic novels/comics vs movies; point brought up that Tivo and the like changing how we view that content, loop back and slowmo to grok the fullness; convergence!
** Close captioning apparently sometimes gives name of song and also sometimes lyrics, so you can see the metapoint being made there by the soundtrack, adds dimension

Web comics are Da Bomb: so many demos of great stuff!

* Girl Genius, Phil & Kaja "civilizing influence" Foglio (ooh, my fave!!!)
* Yowtzel / Yotzel (sp?), sketchbook form retelling of 'what if my family had not left Warsaw during WW2'
* Strangers in Paradise
* Fables (Rose Red, Sleeping Beauty, others, in Manhatten, war vs ancient evil, etc)
* Akiko, for kids just too old for Moomin, not anime; Mark Crilley
* Why the Last Man (title?) Brian K Vaughn
* Alan Moore nonsuperhero, like V for Vendetta and a ton more
* insanely ossm (imho) James Blish meets psychedelia, flying guitar cities
* Larry Madar's ossm Tales from the Beanworld
* copy of Bone was being passed around
* Sinfest, another ossm webcomic

Enjoy! Send links! will update!
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posted by [personal profile] strata at 02:40pm on 28/02/2009 under
Notes from the spirited yet finely moderated discussion that is/was the Scalzi Rule panel. Attenuated due to hotel computer costing in the office module. USA Today, the Nation's New PAP. ;-)

Tracking the bulleted points of journaled thought:
a) A libertarian is someone who believes zhe has a shot at (pun intended) having The Biggest Gun.
b) Fandom treats rules as challenge-damage (just scream and leap!) and tries to route around them.
c) The Scalzi Rule can be the Gun of the Meek, and some support it therewith.
c-prime-alpha) Roleplaying the Bad Cop, or how Moderators can Still be a Nice G/Shy
c-prime-beta) The Stream of Consciousness Damocles is hanging over my notes; I'm forwarding my mindtrack in the hoping that you'll like what I wrote; oh, the huge manatee; what's coming over me...[zippit!]
d) There's a metapanel (never that I didn't like) in here somewhere:

  • entertain
  • share knowledge
  • feel good moments/barricade of culture
  • 15 mins of fame
  • brainstorming
  • get acquainted/closing the gap
  • (added later) see/hear Foo who never comes to conventions anymore, or who is a Very Unusual Guest the Like of Which We'll Prolly Neva See Agin
  • (ditto) Like but not exactly the same, come see/hear Foo and Bar compare notes on being founders of the Foo Bar and Grille or likewise

e) I love the idea (who spake?) of iconography in conbooks to denote which of above categories are met; knife, fork, spaceship, deathray, no gas for 3.75M parsecs, etc
f) Also love the "Scalzi bringing his blog/net culture into 'real life'"
There's a metidea in here: tools for creating & maintaining consciously consensually managed communication space

Tag Team Tips Trailing, non-Tenative:
* Brad, from his moderating experience: "Any questions, or really long polemics phrased as questions?"
* Kathryn, ditto; went to a Vocal Expert of Strong Opinion before a panel in which said expert was NOT a panelist and nicely said, essentially, "I respect your expertise but please don't hog the questions, this is aimed more at beginners" and experience was more productive and less painful than zhe'd feared.

Duty of the Audience while Piloting the Airwaves (Sounding! Zhe Sounds! Thar zhe blows!)
* The whole Scalzi Rule thing is to prevent That Guy (whump, quoting Darien/Damien someone) from taking over the panel
* Modeling Not Being That Guy is a duty now for the future evermore everlasting (ting ting tinnabulation)
* Moderators should not be That Guy while on the panel
* Facilitators vs Moderators: no expectation of contribution, which can prevent accidental That Guy Zeal from emerging as a behavior
* Anecdote by ConRunner Smoftaculaire re: meeting expectations of being a moderator
** Sometimes the Moderator is an Interviewer
** Sometimes a referee
** They should do homework!
** No, say some, they should get a briefing!
** At least on what the program committee wants the panel to be, if not on the folks themselves.
* Model appropriate audience behavior! Early n often
** "My question is, 'what does this panelist think about xyz'?"
** Nicely, without the "this panelist who you skipped over, steempy you eeediot" part.

We Can Haz TrainingZ?
* tools for moderators new to it
* Guidance on how to manage cliques, err, eminence grisee, um, local FGoH's, whatever
** "You weren't fair!" --> My ox! My ox! You weren't supposed to gore MY ox!
** Great anecdote about how a moderator completely ignored a subject matter expert on a panel, audience member hated the session, but later found rave reviews from much of the audience who loved that THEY got to talk so much instead of the panelist(s); loopback to expections, expectorations, and See Figure One-ations.
** What about the Jumpers-In, who just KNOW how smart they are, and that they are Among Friends, etc but do kind of spoil it for the quiet types (/me guilty, sez note taker, sometimes)
* (??) Mindfulness: "Yes, have some!"
* "Waiting is"
** Someone also smart will ask your question, or a better version of it, likely
** You can always keep bulletpoint notes
* Beautifully working observed technique of taking queues and dividing room into quadrants

Note taker Me sez:
Want to talk to folks about programming. Sounds like we are identifying another axis of ^Hevil meaning for programming: already have topic, type (roundtable, panel, reading), fame of panelists; need to explicitly add 'affordances of panel' (e.g., entertain, knowledge share, 15 mins of fame, brainstorm, etc as above). Another kind of balance.

Would be interesting to do exact same panel description, but run as different type on that continuum, explore different ways it would manifest.

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posted by [personal profile] strata at 12:19am on 28/02/2009
It was only kinda sorta official before, but now there's a press release and a case study and everything. So I can finally talk about what I've been doing for the past year or so. Nope, it's not a good excuse for dropping out of all my non-work activities, but it's Very Shiny.
We built a behind-the-firewall Second Life Grid for IBM. (As that article said, it jumped the gun-- I sure couldn't talk about it!) I had the privilege of being the Project Manager for what turned into an amazing interdisciplinary intercompany effort-- Lindens are awesome, and it's great to be one and help with things like this. Years of experience working on challenging rollout projects with multiple vendors didn't hurt either. ;-)

Now we're in the sweet triumph phase of the project. It's time to take that deep breath and let it out with a happy sigh. "Ahhhhh." ... and then get back to work on the current thing that I can't tell you about either. I'm trying for better work-life balance this time around!

OK, maybe Twitter, Facebook, and blogging are not what we call "better work-life balance" outside of Silicon Valley, but since here is where I am, well, see you online!
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posted by [personal profile] strata at 12:14am on 23/01/2009
Don't let that Promise you won't let the revolving door hit you in the butt on the way in or out ... let's say for 2 years.

Oh, and how about we comply with FOIA requests by default, mmkay? In fact, don't even wait for folks to ask.

The presumption of disclosure also means that agencies should take affirmative steps to make information public. They should not wait for specific requests from the public. All agencies should use modern technology to inform citizens about what is known and done by their Government. Disclosure should be timely.

I'm in love, I tell ya.

Sure, he's married, I'm married, but this is a love that can be consummated simply by being proud to be a citizen again. This could go on the rocks. Small-minded folks will get in the way. But I think we can go the distance.

There won't be magic and unicorns overnight, but the world looks a whole lot brighter.


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