Categories
Writing

Technology in the Present

GUI Search
GUI Search

LAKE MACBRIDE— To support a couple of significant projects, more computing capacity is needed in our home on the lake. It seems unlikely any funds will be disbursed to support the projects. Rather, old computers and equipment will be located, resurrected and deployed in a way to create a couple of new work stations and bring focus to these new intentions. What does that mean?

Like many who have been on-line since the mid-1990s, we bought, sold, donated, gave away and recycled a significant number of computers. I lost count, but over the years, at least 20, with a number of them still in the house. At first, the trouble was finding a way to dispose of them without tossing them in the landfill. Some were given to a local political activist for potential use in campaigns. Too, for a while we donated old equipment to Goodwill, and now, they have a local specialty store called Reboot that will take old computer hardware and recycle it. In the case of those remaining at home, ample storage space and entropy have accumulated ten CPUs or so. There are plenty of working processors for new projects.

What are the projects? Two are most important. First, there is the persistent need of consultants to focus on business development. Determining how we will pay the bills and seek fulfillment at the same time requires a minimum number of distractions. For this, I chose an old laptop the battery charging function of which ceased to work and is too expensive to repair. It works fine while plugged into an electrical socket. Whatever work is not backed up may be at risk, but that can be addressed with good backup habits.

Secondly is a big writing project that requires a focus on words on a screen. For this project, no Internet access is needed or wanted. Regardless of the information available on the web, the craft of writing is done a word or phrase at a time, and distractions of any kind are unwelcome. For this work station, I picked a CPU returned from a family member with a monitor returned from another. The main challenge will be getting the same version of Microsoft Word installed on all three CPUs without feeling guilty about using the same license on more computers than the software package allows. There is also the issue of finding the disk, which eludes me at present and will eventually show up (I hope).

Operating systems? The desktop CPU has Windows XP, and the two laptops have Windows 7. XP is on the writing CPU, so that will take me into a different world when I boot up, and that may be okay. Regrettably, it has a 2002 version of Microsoft Word on it, and that’s too different from the 2007 version on the other two.

All of this is minor accommodation to a person who continues to recall the MS-DOS command prompts, and using computers before the introduction of the graphical user interface. One suspects people don’t even recall what is a GUI, but they have gotten much better.

Just about done with the setup, so now, let the working begin, he said hopefully.

Categories
Writing

Leaving Colorado

Tejon at Bijou
Tejon at Bijou

Writing on Tejon at Bijou (This post was first published on Feb. 3, 2012).

Unexpectedly delayed by the snowstorm, I have time on my hands. All of the big stuff at the apartment was hauled away or packed for the trip back to Big Grove. Near the door are the boxes we finished packing last night, waiting to load, hopefully tomorrow. There is time for writing.

I drove to the Arc Thrift Shop and made a donation of unwanted items found during the apartment cleaning. On the way back, I stopped at Starbucks at the intersection of Tejon and Bijou in downtown Colorado Springs. I ordered a grande brewed dark roast, sat at a table and connected to the free WiFi for a session. It is the table and chair that is lacking at the apartment, not the WiFi.

Of the places in Colorado Springs, the downtown area on Tejon is a favorite. Constantly strolling people make downtown seem alive and vibrant. The coffee shop is not busy, what with the snowstorm and all, so I don’t feel bad about renting a table for an hour or so at $2.09. Checking email, and other applications is actually nicer using a table and chair.

This may be the last trip to the Springs, but I have fond memories of visiting here over the last two years. It doesn’t feel like home, but I feel comfortable here. The mountain view is exhilarating. A constant reminder that humanity is but a brief blip on the radar screen of eternity. But there is something more.

I have been exposed to a different social environment. First in a neighborhood near Colorado College where the broad boulevard that is Cascade has large, old homes mixed in with college students and drug users. Next at the Knolls off Uintah where up-scale apartments housed what looked to be a transient but affluent population, based on the vehicle license plates. And finally in an apartment complex where working poor and lower middle class people try to make it. The observations and conversations could fill volumes, but what I heard in the parking lot a couple of nights ago says a lot, “Not ever in your life…don’t you think you are better than me.” Evidence that living life is about respect; giving it, wanting it and earning it.

Categories
Writing

Domain Renewed for 2014

Harvesting Fallen Apples
Harvesting Fallen Apples

LAKE MACBRIDE— During the more than four years since retirement, writing 300 to 750 word posts each morning has become a way of life— something to start the day, clearing the path for engagement and productivity. As the seasonal farm work ends in October, I hope to regroup and refocus here, but what the hell: it is hard to predict what will happen.

I do know this. The website pauldeaton.com will continue for another year, as I renewed my agreement with WordPress. It has been worth the $18 per year for the domain name registration and mapping. Now comes the task of writing something worth reading. I hope readers will hang in as the process works.

Categories
Writing

We’re All Bloggers

Richard Engel
Richard Engel

Richard Engel of NBC news testified to the United Nations Security Council on July 17, “’We’re all bloggers and punks and rebels with cameras. There is absolutely no respect for career journalists anymore,’ said Engel, who was kidnapped by pro-regime gunmen in northern Syria and held for five days in December 2012.”

Engel was one of four journalists addressing the U.N., calling for world leaders to do more to protect reporters risking their lives in conflict situations. This in light of the 600 journalists killed during the last ten years and 41 killed in Syria alone during the last year. If one has seen Engel’s reports, he gets into the thick of conflict to collect and deliver stories for the corporate media. He’s also on the micro blog twitter.

The Associated Press wrote a story on Engel’s testimony and it can be read here.

It is a marvel there are people like Engel, who put themselves in harm’s way for what they believe is a greater good. In our house we don’t watch television most days, and my Engel fix comes from his 140 character tweets @RichardEngel. It has a democratizing effect, giving meaning to his quote at the U.N., “we’re all bloggers.” He often comes up next to the orchard where I work, @anamariecox and @realDonaldTrump.

Engel was trying to maintain the special status of his profession, something hard to do when there are tens of millions of bloggers, and ubiquitous social media outlets, all chattering away 24-7. With the erosion of the importance of newspapers, magazines and television in many people’s lives, and politicized everything, there are a few who stand out as superior working employees of the fourth estate. What is the fourth estate anyway? I can almost remember it, and it has new meaning with Richard Engel in it.

~ Written for Blog for Iowa.

Categories
Writing

Eleven More Days

Trimming Onions
Trimming Onions

LAKE MACBRIDE— There are eleven more posting days in my work for Blog for Iowa, after which I’ll fade into the background from that very public blogging. I have been covering for a colleague who is taking a summer break and if the opportunity is around next summer, I might do it again.

After re-starting pauldeaton.com last March, I didn’t know where it would go. The 196 posts thus far have been focused on topics related to the blog’s title, “On Our Own: Sustainability in a Turbulent World:” Farming, gardening, cooking, eating, work life, home life, local event coverage and discussions of the two biggest threats humanity faces: climate change and nuclear proliferation. There is more to say on these topics.

Today, there are 281 followers of On Our Own, which is posted on my home page. Of those, WordPress is counting my 233 twitter followers who see a link to my articles after they post. I don’t see readers who find me through WordPress’s reader, except if they like my posts or begin to follow me. I appreciate every person who finds their way to pauldeaton.com.

After Labor Day, the posting is expected to settle in around homelife and worklife, which have been the most popular topics. I’ll revisit this year’s work on the CSA and in my garden, and who knows what else? Here’s hoping followers and readers stay tuned.

Categories
Writing

Guest Editor

Blog for Iowa

LAKE MACBRIDE— Trish Nelson, editor of Blog for Iowa, will be taking a summer break and I’ll be pinch hitting as weekday editor from July 15 until Sept. 2. I’m looking forward to regular posting on the Online Information Resource for Iowa’s Progressive Community.

The blog originated in the wake of the Howard Dean for President campaign when John Kerry won the Iowa Caucuses in 2004 and Dean dropped out of the race. Dr. Alta Price, a pathologist from Davenport, helped lead Democracy for Iowa, and decided to publish Blog for Iowa, a role she continues to play today. The first post is here, although what may be most relevant from it today is this statement, “we also seek to make Democracy for Iowa a place where all progressives and moderates are welcome, whether they consider themselves Democrats or not.” More than 5,000 posts later, Blog for Iowa continues to present a progressive viewpoint and maintain a friendly relationship with Democracy for America, the organizational successor to Dean for America.

When I write original content for Blog for Iowa, it will be cross posted on this site a day later. Among the topics will be the challenges of temporary workers in Iowa; implications for Iowa of the immigration legislation working through the U.S. Congress; Iowa’s role in mitigating and adapting to climate change (not the same thing); and occasional posts on energy policy, local food system issues, and peace and justice activities in the state.

I hope you’ll check in at Blog for Iowa from time to time, and continue to read my original content on On Our Own. It should make a great end to an already fine summer of 2013.

Categories
Work Life Writing

Sustaining a Creative Life

Barn WallLAKE MACBRIDE— Today, the key element in sustaining a creative life in Big Grove Township is magnesium sulfate, or Epsom salt. A thirty minute foot bath provides a form of relief few other things can provide. I recommend it, although for the most part, people already know about it, and for some it works, for others, not so much. Well-cared for feet are something we take for granted, but shouldn’t, because they are an important foundation to creativity.

When I was at university, I shared a house with a constantly changing group of creative people. We had our own rooms, and shared the living room, bathroom, and kitchen. Every once in a while we had a joint clean up activity, although housekeeping was not a priority. My contribution was to attempt to keep the kitchen clean, and recall doing a lot of everyone else’s dishes. I didn’t mind and enjoyed seeing pots and pans my grandmother had given me mixed in with everyone else’s kitchen gear.

Writers, poets, musicians, artists, a drum maker, a publisher, an aquarium builder, a travel guide and emerald seller, an auto mechanic, and guests of all kinds passed through the doors of that place. Some found notoriety in what would later become the city of literature, but mostly, people were not well known, except to each other.

I briefly shared my room with some buddies from Davenport. One went on to become a librarian. Another, who practiced martial arts, moved to California, and eventually got a credit on the Hollywood movie “The Matrix.”

A woman arrived halfway through my stay. She found a part time job, and spent every morning at a table in the entryway writing. As an early riser, I often ran into her, but tried not to interrupt. She hooked up with a poet, and eventually left with him for California, taking one of my grandmother’s saucepans with them on the train. I don’t think we called it hooking up during the early 1970s.

Later, the poet was known to sit at a typewriter with a gallon of cheap wine and write until he finished the bottle. This lifestyle is said to have led to his early death. I don’t know what happened to her.

That house was a place to camp out while pursuing other things. For me it was finishing a mandatory, but uninspiring bachelor’s degree. It was there I spent a morning tie-dying T-shirts while listening to my commencement address on the radio. I declined a job offer from the Oscar Mayer Company, which had provided a four year scholarship. When the summer ended, my sparse belongings went into storage, I took what money I had, converted it to American Express traveler’s checks, and went to Europe with my backpack for what began without a plan, but ended being twelve weeks of youth hostels, art museums and train rides. My backpack was stolen when I arrived in France, and that is another story.

There is no defined path to sustaining a creative life. Instead, we secure food, shelter and clothing, protect our health and well-being if we are able, and go on living. If we are creative, it is that spark of interest in society that sustains us, or can, if we recognize it— and Epsom salt and other common elements to help ease the pain of living.

Categories
Writing

Brownies and the New Format

LAKE MACBRIDE— Last night I made brownies for the first time since I can remember. I saw the box of baking cocoa, the recipe on the package, and knew we had all the ingredients in the house. They came out very well, light and chewy, so I copied the recipe into my red book.

Have been preparing my new blog on a test site, and here is a very tentative snapshot of what it will look like. More to come as it develops.

Draft Blog HEader
Draft Blog Header
Categories
Home Life

Snow Cover is Deceptive

LAKE MACBRIDE— The snow cover is deceptive, hiding spring, which is here, but not showing for a couple of weeks— an illusion that there is more time before outside work begins. There is a lot to do to organize for planting, and everything else.

The blog books have been shipped from the printer, and I am a week or so away from creating a new look for my blog. I have been sampling the free templates, and the only one I settled on was the same used during the previous iteration of this blog. Will work harder on it.

I have resolved to take down most of my posts here, once the paper copies have arrived. Browse through the older posts if you are so inclined. By April, they will be deleted.

Categories
Home Life

Almost There — A New Blog

Almost There
Almost There

LAKE MACBRIDE— Walking There is my third iteration of a blogging site, and it is time for the fourth. Please be patient while I use the free services of Word Press to pick a new template, new images and different widgets to re-engineer my on-line presence here and elsewhere.

Fair warning: I plan to take the previous posts private, or remove them completely when I launch the new site. I just ordered the archive paper documents, and once they arrive in a couple of weeks, I’ll be ready to make the changes here.

I hope you will stay with me during this transition.