Categories
Environment Sustainability

Climate Reality Global Training

I signed up to be a mentor for the Climate Reality Leadership Corps virtual, global training this month. There are more than 500 mentors this time. It’s a chance to meet new people who are taking climate action. The training is also a form of renewal.

I attended the Chicago training in 2013. Since then I mentored groups in Cedar Rapids, and twice virtually. It is a unique kind of work. It is based upon Vice President Al Gore’s slideshow, An Inconvenient Truth. Gore updates the slides continuously and presents it so attendees get a current and terrifying picture of the state of climate change on Earth. It is a crisis.

Sleep came slowly after viewing the first half of the presentation last night.

I wasn’t terrified by the terrifying information Mr. Gore presented. I witnessed the effects of climate change multiple times since moving to Big Grove. The flood in 1993 delayed progress building our home as we moved from Indiana. We experienced multiple straight line wind events that damaged the house, uprooted trees, blew down large branches, and tore through our neighborhood. In 2008 there was record flooding that filled much of the Iowa and Cedar River basins, backing up water into the Lake Macbride watershed to within 100 yards of our home. It made roads around us impassible, and devastated Cedar Rapids, Iowa City and other nearby places. In 2012 there was record drought which made life outdoors difficult and reduced corn yields significantly. On Aug. 10, 2020 there was a derecho which took down one tree and damaged several others on our property. My greenhouse lifted in the air like Dorothy’s farm house in the Wizard of Oz. Winds up to 140 miles per hour destroyed 70 percent of the tree canopy in Cedar Rapids. I know about climate change from living it.

What kept me up late was a newfound sense of hope. There was cause to re-engage in preventing the worst effects of the climate crisis and in mitigating its damage. I couldn’t sleep while the prospect of making a difference surged through me.

The Climate Reality Project rightly focuses on the change in society that most affects global warming: increased burning of fossil fuels. We must find alternative, renewable sources of energy, stop burning fossil fuels, and keep them the ground. We must find and adopt breakthrough technologies for electricity generation to use them to electrify transportation, buildings and industry. Agriculture must play its part by reducing emissions and sequestering carbon in the soil. Let’s put new technologies to work releasing energy for the economy in a way that will improve our quality of life. We must stop using the sky as if it were an open sewer.

I ask myself, how can I make a difference where I live? Personal change is part of solving the climate crisis. We must reduce our personal reliance on burning fossil fuels. Collective action is needed more and that means finding and organizing like-minded people in our area who are inspired to take climate action.

A solution is not evident today. I’m hopeful over the next eight days, along with my colleagues, we’ll discover and take a path forward. I’m okay with losing a little sleep from excitement about our collective future for now.

Categories
Kitchen Garden

Gleaning in Mid-October

Five gallon bucket of mostly peppers: Guajillo, jalapeno, Serrano and sweet bell.

Some parts of Iowa had a frost warning last night but not here in Big Grove. At 3 a.m. ambient temperatures were in the 60s and all was well with the gardening world.

That is, except for little green worms devouring kale and collards as they do at the end of season.

Kale plant with little green worms.

Despite the kale infestation there was plenty of chard for the kitchen as I gleaned the garden Friday morning. The season is bound to be over soon, even if exceptionally warm temperatures due to climate change extended it.

Chard, Guajillo chilies, eggplant, bell peppers and tomatillos drying on the counter.

There were a few tomatoes, mostly small versions of Granadero which produced well this season. The tomato patch is ready to be deconstructed, the fencing rolled up and stored for winter. The question is when I’ll feel like doing it.

Jalapeno and Serrano peppers drying, along with other garden items on the counter.

Partly because of the long season there are many peppers: Guajillo, jalapeno and Ace bell peppers grew better this year than ever. I’ll prepare Guajillo chilies with garlic and apple cider vinegar as a condiment for storage in the refrigerator. The jalapenos are a bit of a surprise as they didn’t produce much earlier in the season. They are big ones, so that increases the possibilities for cooking. My jalapeno needs have already been filled so I’ll have to get creative.

At the end of Friday I picked some basil for pizza making. Basil went into the sauce and whole leaves on top in a pseudo-Midwestern version of pizza Margherita. Fresh mozzarella would have been better, but we make do with what we have. If I try this again, I will wait to apply the basil topping until about a minute before cooking is finished. The pizza was eminently edible. This from a man who at a younger age would eat leftover pizza from a box left overnight in the living room.

Midwestern-style Pizza Margherita.

There is at least one more pass through the garden to get Brussels sprouts and maybe some more chard. The herbs under row cover could use another picking. There are plenty of pepper flowers but it seems unlikely they will make it to fruit. It’s been a good garden season and even the gleaning was bountiful. As fall turns to winter, I’m ready.

Categories
Living in Society

Rain, Rain, Rain

Nine deer grazing at the apple smorgasbord.

It was another day of rain on Wednesday. We need rain yet I’m getting a bit tired of being cooped up.

We ate the last of the acorn squash I grew for dinner. We are down to the yellow and red storage onions, 27 garlic heads, and about ten pounds of potatoes. There is garden gleaning to do and the first frost has not been forecast. We have a glut of apples and deer are not making enough progress eating fallen ones under the tree, even if they all know the smorgasbord is open.

I bought two boxes of packets of USDA organic gummy bears for any trick or treaters this year. I haven’t decided whether or not to turn on the front door light because of the recent outbreak of COVID-19 in the schools. I want to be ready because of supply chain issues much publicized in the media. Only regret is the gummies have gelatin, so are not a vegetarian option for the kiddos, as parents today call their children.

I wonder how my mental capacity is changing with age. I wonder if I will be able to tell it changed… probably not. I’m not ready to kick back and work on my reading pile for the rest of my days. God help me if I connect a new television to the cable. There are more gardens to grow and a house to fix up, all with the limited resources of a pensioner. I’m ready to retire, but not sure what that means in 2021.

Meanwhile it rains, rains, rains.

Categories
Living in Society

Iowa Caucuses in Presidential Election Years

Caucus-goer signing petitions.

On July 1, 1971, the 26th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution was ratified, lowering the voting age to 18 years. I was eligible to vote in the 1972 general election yet I have no memory of doing so. There was little guidance and I recall confusion about whether to register in Iowa City where I attended university, or where I grew up in Davenport. Absent guidance, it was one less vote for George McGovern. I figured I’d vote in the next election.

On Oct. 26, 1972, McGovern gave a speech at a rally in Iowa City on the steps of Old Capitol. His motorcade of small-sized vehicles arrived late. This first paragraph from the New York Times coverage captured the subject and mood of the speech.

IOWA CITY., Oct. 26—Senator George McGovern expressed hope here today that the Nixon Administration’s confidence of an imminent cease‐fire in the Vietnam war was well founded. But he refused, in a carefully worded speech to 15,000 people on the campus of the University of Iowa, to credit the Nixon Administration for the prospect of peace, saying that those who had opposed the war deserved “much of the credit.”

New York Times, Oct. 27, 1972.

We were an anti-war crowd and McGovern was just what we wanted to hear. Many of us had protested the war in 1970 after Kent State and on campus in 1971 where we encountered the Scott County sheriff’s posse, tear gas, and more. I wasn’t worried about using my newly granted voting rights. We were involved in something bigger than one person. I remember this part of the speech.

“The question that haunts my mind this afternoon,” he told the cheering audience “is this: Why, Mr. Nixon, did you take another four more years’ to put an end to this tragic war?

“What did either we or the rest of the world gain by the killing of another 20,000 young Americans these past four years?.

“What did we get from the terrible unprecedented bombardment that has gone on these last four years—bombardment and artillery attacks that we are told have either killed or maimed or driven out of their homes some six million people, most of them in South Vietnam?”

New York Times, Oct. 27, 1972.

As we now know, Richard Nixon won the presidency then resigned in disgrace, making Gerald Ford president.

In 1976, I was serving in the U.S. military and unavailable to attend caucus. After getting rid of Nixon, I didn’t care who was the next president. Anyone would have been better. I was in transit from Fort Benning, Georgia to Mainz, Germany during the general election and did not vote. To be honest, I didn’t think much about voting and was ready to accept whoever was chosen by the electorate. Jimmy Carter was nominated by Democrats and won the general election.

The rest of my Iowa caucus life is as follows:

  • I first attended caucus in 1980 in the neighborhood near where I was born. I caucused for Ted Kennedy, who wasn’t viable. My late father’s union buddies tried to get me to join the Carter delegation. I didn’t. We elected Ronald Reagan that year.
  • I was living in Iowa City in 1984 and caucused for George McGovern. We re-elected Ronald Reagan.
  • In 1988 I was in Lake County, Indiana where I voted for Michael Dukakis in the Democratic primary. I recall cursing Iowans for giving us that guy, even though he did poorly in the Iowa caucuses. George H.W. Bush was elected president.
  • In 1992, still in Indiana, I voted for Bill Clinton in the primary and the general. I had been following him since his keynote address at the 1988 Democratic National Convention. I have a copy of the speech sent by his Arkansas staff. Tom Harkin won the 49 Iowa delegates during the Iowa caucus. As a favorite son, he did not have staying power. Clinton won the election.
  • In 1996 and 2000, I skipped the Iowa caucuses. If Democrats couldn’t re-elect a popular president then they should just disband, I thought. Same went for his vice president, Al Gore. Clinton won in 1996 and Gore had the 2000 election decided by the U.S. Supreme Court. We elected George W. Bush.
  • 2004 was when the Iowa caucuses started to get unmanageable.There were a lot of Democratic candidates and some came to our small city in Eastern Iowa. George W. Bush won re-election, beating John Kerry. 2004 marked the beginning of the myth about the caucuses being a vital party-building asset. This turned out to be malarkey.
  • 2008 was the zoo of caucuses. I led our precinct delegation for Edwards AND served as caucus secretary. It was a bitch to just get a count as the Middle School Cafeteria was too small and our delegation bled out into the hallway. Barack Obama got the most delegates and won the general. 2008 was the last time any attempt at diversity in attendance was made. We had people in wheelchairs from the assisted care facility lined up in the hallway just wanting to vote and go home. It was the last year care center people who needed accommodation attended.
  • In 2012 I chaired two precincts that were not my own. We all listened to the Barack Obama webcast and for the last time had serious conversations about platform issues and party building. While his margin eroded in our precinct, Obama won the precinct for the second time, and the general.
  • I got smarter in 2016 and served only as precinct captain for Hillary Clinton. I had learned to talk to attendees as they waited, encouraging them to stay. Clinton easily won our precinct, although statewide, the delegate count was even with Bernie Sanders. Trump won the general, as we know.
  • By 2020, the number of Democrats attending caucus decreased by 30 percent, driven by Republican and No Party registered voters moving into the precinct and Democrats dying or moving out. I led the caucus and that part of it went well. The results reporting process was glitchy, to be kind, and a national embarrassment. Biden won the general.

Going forward, I don’t care what the Democratic National Committee does about the nominating calendar. Unless the state party uses the caucus experience for party building, what’s the point? David Yepsen of the Des Moines Register was a peddler of the party building myth. I doubt Democratic activists are willing to swallow that any more. In the meanwhile, Republicans gained hegemony in Iowa.

Who knows if there will be a presidential preference poll at the 2024 Iowa caucuses? More importantly, who cares?

Categories
Living in Society

Into Autumn

Fallen apples, some partly eaten by deer and other wildlife.

It rained the last two days and Tuesday’s forecast is clear in the high sixties. After my appointment in Cedar Rapids, the plan is to work outdoors. There is the garden to glean, apples to pick, dead branches to trim, and a brush pile to build. As I age, progress on my list of tasks proceeds steadily yet more slowly.

I don’t like where the coronavirus pandemic is going. It’s not ending. In fact, there was an outbreak this month in the K-12 schools. It doesn’t appear Iowa will hit anything close to 70 percent of the population vaccinated. The delay in a vaccine for young people is part of the problem. Rejection of the science of vaccines is the rest. Iowa used to lead the nation in the quality of our education, but no longer. Living in society is being dumbed down.

Rain is typical of mid-October and this year it is welcome. I’ll wait a week or two to mow for the last time. I’ll set the deck low to produce a lot of grass clippings for the garden. After that, I’ll schedule the mower in the shop for what is becoming every other year maintenance. I don’t use my tractor for much besides mowing.

We scheduled the HVAC technician to come out and go over our furnace. It is the same shop that installed the system new, although staff changed since 1993. Once that is done, we are as ready for winter as we’ll be.

A pall hangs over everything. Partly it is the isolation caused by participating in so many things via Zoom, Google Meet, Twitch and social media. Partly people are focused on their families. Our politics is unreasonable, and there seems to be less common cause in everything. Dog eat dog, every every person for themselves is the way things are going. The insularity will not be good for society, yet I have no good alternatives.

I’m thinking about the burn pile I need to build. It’s purpose is to clean up the yard of brush from trees and bushes I planted when we arrived in Big Grove. I could have saved the trouble and not planted them. Yet what kind of place would this be without them. It would be the less and we can’t settle for that.

Based on squirrel activity the last two weeks, our backyard will be a Bur Oak forest in ten years. I hope we live to see it.

Categories
Writing

Postcards from Iowa #9

“In All That Is Good, Iowa Affords the Best”

Reverse side: “In All That Is Good, Iowa Affords the Best.” Iowa was admitted as a state Dec. 28, 1846. The Capitol was built 1873-1886 at a cost of $3,296,256. The domes are plated with 22-carat gold. The mural “Westward” hangs at the head of the grand stairway. “Iowa, Her Affections Like The Rivers Of Her Borders, Flow To An Inseparable Union”

We don’t pick the circumstances of our birth. Because life has been tolerable in Iowa I stayed. I had experiences elsewhere: in the military which took me to South Carolina, Georgia and Germany, and a work transfer to Indiana. Both times I returned to my home state. If I had found a place more suitable for living I would have moved there. A person gets used to what they know.

I graduated from the University of Iowa twice yet I don’t consider myself to be a “Hawkeye,” the nickname for graduates. I don’t even follow the sports teams despite large sums of money the state invests in them. I don’t farm or work for someone any longer. As a pensioner I could live anywhere. So far I continue to choose Iowa.

It is not bad living here… yet. Despite growing coarseness in society, where personalities rage at one another, denigrate liberals and intellectuals, and do dumb things, I’m still here. We are a place where Qanon members and dark money lobbyists are close to the governor while I am not. The postcard is not clear about “all that is bad” yet we have plenty of that in Iowa. At the point where there is concern for personal safety I might leave. Where would I go? To a place where my pension dollars would stretch further. Perhaps outside the United States.

The designer of this card was a publicist and an optimist. I recognize the objects on the front side and have been in the state capitol and historical building many times. The idea we are an “inseparable union” is ridiculous in 2021. It would be fitting to mention the two bordering, polluted rivers flow to the Gulf of Mexico where they contribute to a large dead zone. Hardly stuff to be used in promoting the state. The card is undated but is a product of the 20th Century. We are so past that now.

We make the best lives we can. We are handicapped by education, social status and physical attributes. Those handicaps can be overcome. In Iowa I’ve always been able to find work enough to own a house and pay the bills. Emblematic of our financial circumstances is I drive a 2002 automobile. It is low mileage and serves basic transportation needs. I wouldn’t want to make a trip to New Jersey in it.

There is a migration of young people leaving the state. Why would they stay? Drawn to large cities like New York, Chicago and Los Angeles, they also move to Colorado where Denver has become a gathering place for young professional people. Florida used to be a destination until Governor Ron DeSantis came along. Now there is an ongoing exodus from Florida as well. Iowa’s governor seems resolved to follow DeSantis’ lead. It’s another reason young people leave the state.

I like this postcard and wish the slogans were true. If wishes were horses, beggars would ride.

Categories
Living in Society

School Board Election Coverage – 2021

My coverage of the Solon School Board election can be found at this link.

I’ve written what I intended before the election with the exception that I will attend the Oct. 20 candidate forum. If there is anything to report, I will write a post. I learned what I need to know to pick three. After doing so, it’s hard to be unbiased in my coverage, so I’ll stop. I will wrap up the election once the results are known.

Thank you so much for following along. I hope readers in the Solon Community School District vote and encourage their friends and neighbors to do likewise.

Click here for all 2021 Solon School Board Election Coverage

Categories
Reviews

Book Review: The Decarbonization Imperative

It’s easy to write a post on social media that says we should reduce greenhouse gas emissions then add a hashtag like #ActOnClimate. What’s harder is knowing what greenhouse gases are at work across the economy and the steps required to reduce them. The upcoming book by Michael Lenox and Rebecca Duff is here to help.

The Decarbonization Imperative: Transforming the Global Economy by 2050 takes “a deep dive into the challenge of climate change and the need to effectively reduce net greenhouse gas emissions to zero by 2050.”

When the authors say “deep dive” that means the book doesn’t read like your parent’s latest mystery novel. It is packed with details and examples, along with questions about whether society can make the transition to a decarbonized economy effectively and in time to avert the worst effects of climate change. The authors remain positive about the prospects even if their narrative presents a bleak answer to both questions. The book welcomes a reader already engaged in how to combat climate change. It takes them beyond generalities.

“The challenge before the world is overwhelming, requiring a profound shift in so many large economic sectors over the course of a few decades. But try we must,” wrote Lenox and Duff. They present five sectors of the economy for review: Energy, Transportation, Industrials, Buildings and Agriculture.

Running throughout the book is the theme of electrification as a way of economic decarbonization. Energy, or electricity generation more specifically, is a key consideration. The other four sectors depend to varying extents upon the energy sector, according to the authors.

Lenox and Duff name all the carbon-free operating methods for generating electricity and point to solar as the one with the most promising capability to disrupt current patterns toward decarbonization of the economy. The narrative is familiar: solar technology is effective, it is currently inexpensive, and costs continue to decline. “Utility-scale solar is now competitive with fossil fuels,” wrote the authors.

Nuclear power is mentioned multiple times in the book as a potential solution to decarbonize electricity generation. Readers of this blog know my skepticism about building new nuclear power generating stations. Like many, I point to the failures at Three Mile Island (1979), Chernobyl (1986) and Fukushima (2011). According to the nuclear regulatory commission, “Today, the Three Mile Island-2 reactor is permanently shut down and 99 percent of its fuel has been removed. The reactor coolant system is fully drained and the radioactive water decontaminated and evaporated.” The other two disasters remain ongoing.

Lenox and Duff acknowledge the high cost of current nuclear reactor technology. They also mention Bill Gates’ nuclear project. In his 2021 book How to Avoid a Climate Disaster: The Solutions We Have and the Breakthroughs We Need, Gates wrote, “I put several hundred million dollars into starting a company to design a next-generation nuclear plant that would generate clean electricity and very little nuclear waste.” While Lenox and Duff acknowledge new nuclear power is too expensive for economically disruptive potential by 2050, Gates’ investment is of the kind for which they advocate throughout the book. If Gates’ company resolves issues with nuclear power, as is its stated goal, it may be worth another look.

The authors emphasize no sector of the economy is without challenges in getting to decarbonization. The benefit of reading the book is its broad overview of these challenges.

There is a lot to absorb in The Decarbonization Imperative. Unless advocates are willing to do the work to understand this narrative, what’s the point? I recommend the book for its analysis by sector and for the ways each sector is connected with others. Climate advocates often focus on electricity generation and electrification of transportation yet to decarbonize the economy, all sectors must be addressed. Zero emissions will be a tough nut to crack, especially when zero means zero.

The Decarbonization Imperative: Transforming the Global Economy by 2050 by Michael Lenox and Rebecca Duff is scheduled for release from Stanford University Press on Oct. 29, 2021. Click here to go to the book’s page at Stanford University Press.

About the authors

Michael Lenox is the Tayloe Murphy Professor of Business Administration at the University of Virginia’s Darden School of Business. He is the coauthor of Can Business Save the Earth? Innovating Our Way to Sustainability (Stanford, 2018) and The Strategist’s Toolkit (Darden, 2013).

Rebecca Duff is Senior Research Associate with the Batten Institute at the University of Virginia’s Darden School of Business. She also serves as the managing director for Darden’s Business Innovation and Climate Change Initiative.

Categories
Living in Society

School Board Conflicts of Interest

In the many and complicated discussions between voters, social media users, bloggers and candidates the 2021 Solon School Board election has generated some concerns about conflicts of interest. They can be addressed.

The Iowa Association of School Boards has specific guidelines about conflict of interest for school board members. I clipped the following image from their website.

Concerns about conflicts of interest were raised about Dan Coons, Stacey Munson and Cassie Rochholz. I’d point out the district has counsel that could guide the board through potential conflicts of interest and how to handle them. I’m not an attorney and am just reading information that is commonly available to voters. Here’s where we are:

In his response to my questionnaire, Kelly Edmonds asserted the following:

Dan Coons and Stacey Munson have spouses who work for the district, they would have to recuse themselves from voting or even being part of the upcoming 2023 contract negotiations.

Kelly Edmonds via email Oct. 8, 2021.

The Iowa Association of School Boards addresses this directly. “Iowa law does not prohibit a school employee’s spouse from serving on the school board.” While it may make some voters uncomfortable to have a school board member with a spouse that works for the schools, in my reading of the IASB site, it is permissible. If this matters to a voter, there are plenty of good candidates from which to choose.

What about upcoming contract negotiations in 2023? Wouldn’t spousal relationships affect them? We can look back to the communications disaster that was the 2019 negotiations and learn.

In 2017 the Iowa Legislature removed much of what could be collectively bargained with public employee unions. The way the board presented contract options in 2019 in light of the new law was more the problem. Every school employee had an opportunity to know the legislature gutted the collective bargaining law. The school board chose to bludgeon employees in the represented bargaining unit with the fact the law changed. As we saw in the 2019 school board elections, despite whatever anti-incumbent movement was created by contract negotiations, voters chose incumbent Adam Haluska for reelection. The school board’s handling of contract negotiations alienated teachers and community members.

Conflict of interest, in my view, is low on the priority list of issues as it relates to collective bargaining. Communications between parties is a more important issue. If I had advice for that school board it would be to avoid use of legal counsel to state the obvious.

The question of whether Cassie Rochholz’ employment with Edmentum represents a conflict of interest is more relevant.

At Edmentum, a single mission guides and inspires us as it defines our core purpose and the contribution we make to society: Founded in innovation, we are committed to being educators’ most trusted partner in creating successful student outcomes everywhere learning occurs. To help us work toward that mission while operating business, our key values guide our priorities and are evident in everything we do.

Edmentum mission and values statement from their website.

Edmentum sells learning solutions to schools, including those in the district. Cassie Rochholz has worked there as a director since December 2019, according to her LinkedIn profile. According to the IASB website, the restriction regarding conflict of interest is specific: “prohibiting being an agent of a textbook or school supply company selling to the district.” Rochholz was asked about this on her public Facebook page and I clipped the following discussion:

Cassie Rochholz campaign Facebook page.

I confirmed Edmentum products were used in the Solon School District. The basic framework of this concern is accurate: there is a potential conflict of interest in that Rochholz’s employer, where she is a director, sells to the district. Rochholz has addressed it. It is now up to voters to decide if her explanation is sufficient.

Conflict of interest is “in the weeds” of what voters look for in a school board candidate. Voters do appear to be interested in learning more about the candidates in 2021. Not many vote, though. 1,225 voters went to the polls in the 2019 school board election. The candidates got votes as follows:

Johnson County Auditor website.

If the 2021 school board election is like 2019, every issue will matter to voters. In my view, concerns about conflict of interest are reasonable. Candidates for office have a responsibility to address voter concerns on this or any topic. Any board member may have to recuse themselves for a number of reasons. Administrative staff has the resources to determine an appropriate course in specific situations or on specific votes. Concerns about these specific conflicts of interest, in my opinion, don’t rise to the level of being actionable. They certainly don’t disqualify anyone. In any case, voters should look at the whole person when selecting three on Nov. 2. There are seven candidates, each of which has much to offer and could be considered for the board.

Click here for all of my coverage of the Solon School Board Election.

Categories
Writing

New Writing Computer

Drying drainage ditch leading to the lake before the rain.

Friday I moved my 2013 CPU and installed a new one on my writing desk, a consequential decision for a writer.

On the one hand, things go bad with old hardware and I don’t want to crash and lose files. On the other, there is a lot to learn about using the new computer even though for most applications the transition has been reasonably smooth. I have a lot of files to deal with.

The most consequential decision was to convert from my 2006 version of Microsoft Office to Microsoft 365. The concern is I haven’t been through all of the email files going back to 1999 and that remains on the to do list for my autobiography. I don’t really want to import all those files to the new hardware or put it in the cloud. Luckily the new version of Outlook can synchronize with the web version of Gmail, or so it seems I’ll have access to that part of the archive. Is it worth a three-hour tutorial video to learn the functionality? Probably.

The other decision pertains to photos. I used Google Picasa since close to its inception. I have files from the earliest days of my conversion from film photography to digital, including a photo of Barack Obama taken on my flip phone at the Harkin Steak Fry in 2006. I began curating all the photos yet I hadn’t planned to convert software while I did. Google stopped supporting Picasa in 2016, which shows how closely I follow that segment of the internet. I don’t remember a notice from Google. I’m looking at newer photo managing software like Fotor and GIMP, but I may finish the curation project on my old CPU with Picasa and use the new software going forward.

Saturday morning I looked up a lot of passwords. I kept the old monitor, Made in China in October 2003, according to the sticker. I should likely upgrade to a new one when the budget gets a bit ahead of where it is now. A new monitor is not as critical as a new CPU. Other old peripherals bought long ago continue to function so they won’t be replaced until they die.

Sometimes I think we’d all be better off with a text-based command line interface to the internet. But for IBM, Apple and Microsoft, that could have been our future. It would have been a different digital world.

I needed this change. As I approach my seventieth birthday there is an urge to discard stuff not worth passing along to those who succeed me. Old computer files may be one of the least important legacies to leave behind. Curation work is full of memories and I appreciate that aspect of it. Curating files keeps me busy without spending money, which is also something a pensioner needs.

I welcome the new Dell CPU. Hopefully I won’t have to buy many more.