i wanna go camping

So, VALA is running a tech camp in July and I wanna go. In fact, I’m fairly sure I will go. I can teach myself coding things and did study computer science a decade or two ago. Actually now I think about it, it was nearly 3 decades ago. Eep! I’m almost 50 and still pottering along and trying to work out what I want to do with my life. Anyway I can teach myself but do tend to learn better with other people around.

A year or so back, I was playing with code on my vaio (running Win8 then, win10 now) and trying to get stuff working to explore and analyse web harvesting stuff. Got caught in a neverending circle of installing software dependencies and eventually ran out of puff without getting to the playing-with-code stage. I did have docker running, virtualbox running linux, and got most of the way with maven2.

30533574640_5de8d36502_nThis year I’m trying again on my mac mini. Installations ran smoothly, I’ve had few issues with software dependencies…I now have docker and maven3 and SPARQL apache spark installed and running. I have approached it differently this year, following a different guide. Also, the mac is easier as unix is fully integrated with the OS, whereas it’s a separate thang under windows.

I stalled a month ago as I couldn’t get the test example in SPARQL spark/scala to work. I realised a few days later that it was probably an issue with pathnames. Finally got round to trying again last night, and it was indeed a pathname issue and I resolved it in minutes and got the text example to work.

Yay me.

So my current dev environment is a mac mini, not the windows laptop. But I wanna take it to tech camp. So I looked at connecting the mini to laptop and it’s sorta doable but a little bit painful with reduced functionality.

4556812857_f81e7c3078_mI could hire a screen in Melbourne and travel with the mini and a keyboard.

I could get a handheld mini projector…and they really are handheld now.

Or I could apply what I’ve learnt from the mac install and revisit the windows install and get it all running there too. That’s the cheapest option and a happier one as I remain fond of my laptop and want to keep using it. I love the idea of a handheld projector but it is a wee bit excessive and possibly gratuitously so.

stuff I haven’t read

There is a fun meme going round, #iconfessineverread (Con, Rachel and others) and I had fully intended this post to be in similar vein but I seem to have rambled on instead :) Perhaps I will try and list some books I should have read but haven’t, in another post.

It’s fair to say that beyond what was required for school I have read little of the literary canon. I have on occasion dipped my toe into literary waters and at one stage I was at least trying to read Booker winners. That’s mostly a fail these days. Yet what I did read I enjoyed including Arundhati Roy’s The God of Small Things and Ian McEwan’s Amsterdam. McEwan I particularly liked as he managed to write interesting, intelligent books that were also short :) I haven’t read of his in years either including Atonement which everyone tells me I should read.

A lot of my reading has been more what is termed “genre reading”. Truckloads of science fiction, not to mention thrillers. Later I “diversified” into fantasy and other things. These days I read a mix of SF, fantasy, graphic novels and of course gaming. I’d argue that the games I like to play generally reflect a story telling approach and could be included in a list of “stuff I read”. I’ve recently finished Uncharted 4: A Thief’s End, and it was split into sections labelled chapters to chart the plot progression. This worked for me and it felt like I progressed through a story of the classic 3 act approach, with a beginning, a middle, and an end. I think it even had a prologue and an epilogue.

I’ve not been particularly keen on writers’ festivals or conventions either. I’ve been to the odd event at the Sydney Writers’ Festival but mostly skip it. On the other hand, the few times I’ve gone I’ve usually run into people I know in the crowd and had engaging catch ups. Despite my fondness of SF, I’ve never been fond of SF conventions either and usually skip them too. Looking back I think it would have been nice to have got involved in a book club at least. I’ve had friends who’ve been in clubs for years and enjoy the continuing engagement with a group of familiar faces.

This week in fact I have started a book I should have read years ago, Neil Gaiman’s American Gods. I have no excuse, I even bought the hardcover when it was first published. Disappointingly even though it’s the first edition, it’s the 8th printing. I have had a look around and it seems there was a very nice edition published some years ago by Hill House. Unfortunately it’s also a little expensive.

mucking about

Yet another “…been awhile…” sort of post.

Currently at the National Library of Australia for THATCamp, which I’m hoping is a a way for me to reconnect with my techier side. I was last here for THATCamp in 2011 when I was getting into digital assets management. Having moved into eresource management, I haven’t had much of a chance to play at what I call the “command line” level.

I installed xampp on my laptop several months ago but haven’t had much of a chance to do anything beyond some simple html. This morning I participated in a session on dealing with bulk downloads from Trove’s newspaper archives and I spent most of it learning my way round my web server and dealing ultimately, with stuff that was mostly just pathname issues: working out where to store files, and where to reference them. Happily I got most of the way along and got an OAI harvester up and running. Still got a few errors to nut out but feel like I’ve made progress and starting to make use of the tools I have available.

of bits

My good self seems to be returning at a rapid rate. The downside of working from home is that I am always home in the company of myself. With that said, I have a busy weekend ahead with various friends and looking happily to an influx of friends for a conference in February. While my life picks up, news from Queensland continues to sadden though all my friends there are doing ok, though it was scary for a while for one.

As part of my attempt to reconnect with the world, I joined the #dailyimage2011 group and will try and post a photo a day that features some aspect of me. Been fun so far and folk have been able to chart my changing moods.

One of the things I had hoped to do over my christmas break was add lots of my books to my LibraryThing account. Alas, all my time was taken by things beyond my control though all were very, very necessary. The good news is I finally have ADSL2 and a wireless modem which means very fast internet and lots of it, from any device anywhere in my flat. This means I will be able to connect my barcode reader (cuecat) to my Asus 901 Eee and wander the shelves scanning as I go, directly into LibraryThing. A project for January methinks.

I haven’t read a book in over a month…my head has not been in the right sort of space. That space is returning and I have lots of books waiting. I have at least managed to stop buying at least…for now. There are always temptations, and the strength of the aussie dollar against just about everything only frustrates the desire further. Not to mention my strata and bills all fall due in the next few weeks…my quarterly pain…I should investigate the possibility of staggering them across the 3 months…or learn how to budget effectively…ooh shiny thing!

One of the tasks over the break was to move everything out of my mother’s house…and there are now lots of boxes at my place. I managed to rearrange boxes so that I could squeeze my car into its parking spot…just. My study where I spend most of my time (all my computer gear including 22″ widescreen monitor is there – wifi is potentially lovely but 22″ screens ain’t particularly portable) is awash with books. I think I need to rearrange things to regain a better space. I have half a dozen boxes in my bath and there’s the potential to add a lot more with a bit of rearranging. I also have a 66cm WS TV (old, heavy style but bloody good picture and sound that I may need to find an alternate home for) – a friend gave me their old 81cm WS LCD which better suits the space and I am already appreciating the bigger picture. The 66cm though better, looked tiny in my lounge space.

Life is about space: finding space, creating space, rearranging space, me sized spaces.

finding snail

The snail I am is no longer the snail I was.

It’s long been important for me to have a sense of who I am and to be able to say “I am” without additional clauses.

I am

I draw strength from being in a spot to be able to say that. Without it, I am adrift; lost.

Today, I can still say it, but it means something different to what it did a week ago. I’ve changed; a change that was a very definite klunk in my being – like an elevator stopping at a new floor; up or down or left or right; does not matter. On Saturday, I spent a few hours sitting in a comfy, leafy space – on a sort of jetty – at the State Library of QLD, by the river. I was going back through the day before and the conference stream I co-convened (that requires another post – it worked and was good and was fun). Klunk.

My answer to “Who am I?” has changed.

I have spent 12 months or so, very out of my comfort zone…so far out of my comfort zone that I don’t know where it is anymore. I co-convened a committee of 5 to run a full day stream at a national conference. An experimental stream incorporating elements of things that were well known on smaller scales…in the library world at least. I like structure but it was unstructured. I like engagement and there was. I suck at minutae but folk around me covered it, and impressively so.

A year of politics and discussion and fear and planning, and times I simply buried my head in the sand and hoped the world would leave me alone.

It didn’t.

And I changed.

My sense of what I can do has expanded. The passion remains; burning within.

I am.

a summary

Oh my, a month ago, I heard the call to participate in a brave and foolish venture, that is to blog every day in June. I was a wee bit flexible and decided a day didn’t finish until I went to bed, which allowed me to get several posts in after midnight. That was ok, as it was still the same day in Perth. The #blogeverydayofjune challenge was indeed just that, though I had it a little easier than most participants, in that I had 30 films to blog during the Sydney Film Festival. I’ve been blogging in one form or another for near enough to a decade; however in recent years I have become increasingly sporadic: a post or two a month and occasionally a month missed. I said at the start that it would be nice to recapture my blogging sensibility ie to achieve that sense that all items encountered, situations experienced, and so on, are potentially bloggable moments. I haven’t quite achieved that, though I am happy with my progress. I would like to think that I will continue to blog on a more regular basis, but I have said that before. Yet it must be said, my blog has continued to wander ever on, so it will continue and there was never any doubt of that. It remains my own space, though it’s also space I’ve been sharing and people have been commenting and that has been really lovely.

As for my stats for the month of June:

  • 34 posts
  • 30 films reviewed
  • 107 comments on my posts by other people! Having people comment on your stuff is really cool. I don’t otherwise pay attention to stats so comments are really nice.
  • over 19,000 words written in those 34 posts. Oh my oh my! The longest post was my Kindle review at around 1,800 words and I generally strived toward 500 words a day as a sort of goal.

There was a second challenge for June and that was to comment every day on someone’s blog, which dovetailed nicely and encouraged engagement and participation. I know I commented at least twice per day on other blogs, often more…yet I know there were quite a few blogs I never quite made it to either. The joy of the ANZ blog community these days is that are so many participating, so many making a claim to their own space. It was only a few years ago when you could count the ANZ Biblioblogosphere on one hand. Now there are many hands.

Now we have community.

There were people blogging that I had never heard of, whereas in the old days I knew everyone. Old faces still going, and new faces stepping in; there is a vibrancy to the scene and a diversity of interests, though all united via a connection with the greater library community.

All up, the month of June has been bloody awesome!

I don’t think I can manage blogging every day as it was rather exhausting…with that said, June is a busy month with work and films and other months are potentially quieter. I can see, with my trips away, that blogging in July/August will be a tricky business but I shall see what I can do. There is continuing panic ahead too, with ALIA Access moving ever closer. Surprisingly, folk are willing to pay money for an unconference style of event…though the stream ADHD Librarian and I are coordinating isn’t really an unconference though it has unconference-y bits. We now know people are going to spend time in our little experimental space. Some of it will be good and some of it may fall flat – regardless, I’m hoping it will be fun. I am tearing out what little hair I have in anticipation :-)

excitement on the bank

I can see once filmfest is out of the way, that I’m going to have a whole series of more think oriented posts to propel me through the rest of June [I say hopefully :-)]. I now have 4 semi written posts in draft mode, at least one of which will need to be split in two. My head is still a little zombie-ish, though not as bad as yesterday – whilst it’s hard to think thoughts through, I am at least jotting down thoughts as they occur. Prior to the June challenge I had fallen out of the habit of writing things down (admittedly that’s electronically and not that paper stuff). A little bit of me wishes that filmfest would hurry up and finish so I can think about such things. Though really, it’s just procrastination and if I did have plenty of time, even less would be achieved.

Finding it a struggle to keep up at the moment; not to mention I also have stuff to do for ALIA Access too. Co-convening is a weird place for me to be; even stranger, given the Camp approach, I have speakers not to manage and I am at least successfully not managing that aspect…mostly because I have no idea how. I keep waiting for someone else to tell me what to do, then I remember that the rest of the committee is waiting for me to tell them :-) And so we fudge ever forward, progress is being made but this is very definitely a leap out of my comfort zone – getting out of comfort zones is good, though often a scary thing too.

Oh bugger, this post was just going to be two film reviews. Oops! Sorry about that, I got distracted. I really don’t want to work today as I keep having thoughts that need development. However, this is the busy time of year and my break will soon be over so on to the film reviews. The good news is that I have manage to obtain a ticket to the Guy Maddin film, Dracula, pages from a virgin’s diary, on Sunday night at the Opera House. Maddin is one of my favourite directors ever and it would be remiss of me to miss one of his films on the big screen.

On to last night’s films, starting with Lola, directed by Brillante Mendoza, set in The Philipines. A studied piece on folk in poverty, especially two grandmothers: one who’s grandson was killed, the other whose grandson did the killing. This event caused both women much hardship, the former trying to get money to pay for the funeral, while the other trying to get money for an amicable settlement to get her grandson out of gaol. This was set against a rainy environment, with floodwaters, which served to accentuate the hardship both were dealing with. It was also a look at how justice is handled and how the community works. An insight, with feeling, of how life works at the lower end of the economic scales.

The second movie was a sellout. Exit Through the Gift Shop by Banksy. A film by a graffiti artist about graffiti artists, not to mention the change from being covert street art to an accepted art form, attracting the big end of town. This was a lot of fun, it flowed well, and had things to say. Occasional comments with various artists and associated folk in LA and London. Some scenes of the shadowy Banksy at work; a few of the artists had their faces blurred on screen. As Banksy commented, they operate in a sort of legal grey area, ie the cops can bust them. The film referred a bit to the move from straight spraypainting to the use of stencils, transfers and other such to paint their works. It had things to say about the nature of art and how it’s received and perceived. It was fascinating and fun with a good sense of humour throughout; would love to watch it again.