Safety pin as training wheels or token

November 25, 2016

paradoxAffinity groups that preach radical egalitarianism are a paradox. We organize in order to work for equality for all, but it is so easy to slip into the romanticism of MY PEOPLE!  The joy. Separate from Them, the delusional haters. If you are not part of the solution, you are part of the problem. The statement is binary.  It divides. Which side are you on? I declare there to be two, and mine is Right.  I mean Left, but Correct.

safety_pin2Before googling and finding this awesome snopes post about the history, legends, and symbolism of wearing safety pins, I thought to myself: wearing a safety pin is a poor substitute for actual human contact.  The post confirmed my suspicions that the idea of secret signs and signals is romantic folly, easily thwarted and misappropriated. Why use a semi-secret sign instead of a button with explicit meaning that one can simply read? Because it is safer? more fun to be part of a semi-secret sect?

Wearing a safety pin, if you must, should be used like training wheels for looking people in the eye and being open and friendly in that very moment, however brief it might be.  Or not training wheels, but a token, a reminder to practice reaching across the false dividers.

This takes practice.  Not doing it, out of fear of the unknown, or laziness, is precisely part of the problem.  Learning to do it without annoying the heck out of every person you pass in the grocery aisle takes practice, but that practice is what should make you feel good, not wearing a semi-secret symbol that by its very nature is divisive.  You can trust me, you might not want to trust her, she has no pin and might be a Hater.

I love my sisters.  I know one voted for Trump, and I assume the other did as well, though we don’t spend time discussing such things. Sara, in North Carolina, feels that Obama emphasized existing divisions and whipped up hate. I saw Obama, by his mere existence, exposing divisions while calling for love and tolerance. My heart-sisters, here in California, Krista and Carolyn are in much the same opposition, and their brother voted for Trump, too.

It is uncomfortable, sometimes, but I am so very grateful that we have each other so that we know, deeply, how human and real, intelligent, thoughtful, and fundamentally loving those Others are.  It is not possible that our families are the exceptions and the other half of the voters who elected Trump are categorically delusional.

My daughter, age 23, nestled in the people’s republic of Berkeley, my beloved college town, said last summer, “Read this, it is very discomforting for liberals: Smug American Liberalism.” She is right! It is discomforting, and the intellectual points are spot on.  Even worse, though, it takes as given the division and the us vs. them. Because it is a given, unfortunately.

That is the good fight, the daily practice. Figuring out how to love Them, individually, ordinarily, daily.

1838tokenback 1838tokenfront

Here is a token that would work better for me, in my pocket, as a reminder of how far we’ve come and yet how far we have to go.  I would not use it to foster discontent with the present in myself, but rather as a reminder to do my part in both the personal and the political.


Comments Off on Safety pin as training wheels or token

Not 100 Years Ago

November 7, 2016

My husband told me recently that some women who live near the gravesite of Susan B. Anthony take their “I Voted” stickers and attach it to the headstone.  ivoted

I dropped my ballot off in a 24-hour ballot box outside of a public library before dawn this morning. Less than 100 years ago, my grandmother, Nana, born Irene Robb in 1892, dressed up with her mother and sister and went to vote for the first time, ever. She told me about it.

Today I voted to repeal the death penalty in the state of California, and I voted for a woman for president.

There is a chance that Clinton wont win, and while Trump does a good job of impersonating the devil incarnate, the fact is that people are not good or evil. They do good and evil things, which are rarely clear cut, though sometimes they appear pretty certain in hindsight.

Supposedly good presidents have done some very evil things. Supposedly evil presidents have done some very good things. The current tradition of history is to gloss over those exceptions and imagine people are good or bad. This encourages the tradition of no one progressing to run for high office, like the presidency, unless they are a megalomaniac.

I’d love to read a book written by a historian with a title like “Good and Evil Acts by Supposedly Evil and Good People.” I did read Lies My Teachers Told Me, but it was light on facts and heavy on outrage. It was interesting, but not as informative as I had hoped.

Comments Off on Not 100 Years Ago

Standard Energy Efficiency Data Platform – SEED

October 9, 2016

I was delighted to dive into another actual open source project in the world of energy efficiency this week: the SEED Platform. Not the greatest name, since there are so many other things named seed, many of which have to do with nature or agriculture. (For example, Seed: The Untold Story, featuring Jane Goodall and others.)

However, google SEED energy and the SEED Platform from the DOE is the first hit.

doe-seed-logo_v7_0I cloned the code from github and followed the Getting Started instructions on readthedocs. It went quite well, though it might have gone better if I were the kind of person to read all the instructions before starting the work. The “Quick Installation Instructions” are woefully incomplete, and may (MAY) only serve for a do-over by someone who is starting over but had everything more or less working before?  I am definitely in this set: “developers who may already have their machine ready for general development.” But apparently the devil is in the details, and my general development is not the same as theirs!

Much better to go through the complete install instructions for OSX, adjusting for obsolete commands (syncdb deprecated) and finding the correct way to do the equivalent as needed.

Most notably, the script will be missed if you skip over these details, and it is quite useful. I also had some permission and user/role problems with postgres, but that might have been my own fault or related to my existing dev environment and django/postgres/python apps.

Once I got it up and running (which took hours, not days), I was surprised that clicking on the Getting Started Guide link on my locally running copy of the app produces a pdf that is an extremely detailed, long explanation of the web app.  I don’t see that anywhere else on the web pages, which is a bit surprising, but I forwarded it to the energy consultant who asked me to look at this with him to see if it will serve the needs of a client.

Comments Off on Standard Energy Efficiency Data Platform – SEED

Note to self…

September 9, 2016

I still love the Azul theme which I modified for this blog apparently in 2010!  Those flowers are from my own garden, after all.  What is not to like?

But there are auto-suggestions to update my themes, and I think it broke once already and I had to fix it, a few years ago.  So this is a note to self: upgrade to a new theme and, assuming I want to modify again with my own pictures, follow the advice of wordpress:


The following themes have new versions available. Check the ones you want to update and then click “Update Themes”.

Please Note: Any customizations you have made to theme files will be lost. Please consider using child themes for modifications.

Child themes are a great idea.

Comments Off on Note to self…