the Skinny

I'm going to Space. And what I mean by that is I'm moving to Truth or Consequences.

SpaceX

There is a city council woman in Atlanta who got her first taste of government work through an ‘internal’ hiring process by making folks believe that she already worked there.

What that looks like is she got dressed for work in the morning for days on end, and headed to her local government offices, and started occupying an empty office. The way she described it, she started…

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Remote Project Management for Smarties: Slack, Stories-On-Board, Trello, Jira

OctoManagerThis is a guide for those considering growing their businesses to better integrate remote work-teaming.

Many utilize the Google Suite of Calendar/Hangout/Email/Analytics, so I will not be covering the Google Suite except to say that it is a necessary evil.  In that vein, I would only recommend using Google for the Calendar/Hangout/Email/Analytics functions.

In truth, there…

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On Conjuring a Team

PlantMoonThoughts for the Jedi Job Seeker

Today and generally these days, I am in the process of conjuring a working team.

To most this would look a lot like what looking for a job looks like, but it’s actually a bit different in several important ways.

In this writing there are a few notable things that I will not be covering…

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The Skinny: Drupal 6 to Drupal 7 Migrations

I just finished battling the windmills of Drupal Migrate (6 to 7) File Migrations, and perhaps unlike Don Quixote, I managed to win. 

I first have to say that I love and have used Acquia's site-upgrade tool for the d6 to d7 migration, and it was awesome. 

In my recent experience for the drupal 6 to drupal 7 realm, this is no longer the case.  Too much time has passed.  I had many iterations of failure upon failure.  Hacking and patching along the way.  I had to cut bait.   

I am saying this as a developer who has experience…

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You are Human.

cry me a river

You are not a number on someone's ledger, you are human.
You are not a citizen, you are a human being.
You are not an employee, you are human.

You may have been born on a piece of earth
that lies within the arbitrary
and blood-soaked boundaries
of whatever given country,
but you are not of that country,
you are of the stars…

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The trick is knowing you're on fire.

A person on fire.Nov 27, 2017

Sometimes we are given a chance to do something extraordinary. But sometimes, this opportunity to do something truly extraordinary places us in situations we have been culturally taught to avoid because they might lead to our own peril.

I dove head on into an opportunity like this about 10 months ago.

I have worked my entire life by necessity…

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We are dreaming ourselves into existence.

 

Verse 1:

We are dreaming ourselves into existence.

In a process many of us mistake for complaining, we are dreaming the next thing. You are doing it every day. You were probably doing it before you started reading this.

But now there's this clearing. What to fill it with?

We are dreaming ourselves into existence.

Weaving a tapestry we only vaguely feel we are the makers of, are we choosing the important battles? Are we putting out the flame of whatever candles were still lit in honor of the establishment, and taking those candles to gods who…

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The Witches Slippers: the Ruby and the Laser.

Laser

First off, we start with a Ruby.

It's the start of all good stories, really. Imagine it beautiful and regally suspended, and wrap it in material that reflects perfectly the light, and give it a shape that refracts the light equally as perfectly.

And then imagine sending a searing beam of a very pure light inside the encasement wherein the ruby sits suspended and perfectly cut.

The ruby goes nuts, of course.
You can imagine.

All this…

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How to hire a Developer: a guide for those who have been burned.

geek

So you've been burned by a technology professional, and you're worried about jumping back in. This is for you. You are my clients. I come in after the storm and clean up, or help you understand how to get out of the corner you seem to have painted yourself into.

You hire a professional because there are business needs you have that lie outside of the expertise that you and/or your organization command or…

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Wave Topologies encountered in the spliced Mayan Calendar

tzolkin

I believe that there are some sacred and ancient texts/manuscripts/diagrams that exhibit a holographic quality in that they are small pieces of a larger reality with enough information that you can reverse engineer the complete system if you look at it long enough.

I am certain you are aware of the work being done on the Torah in which it behaves as almost a holographic film in which information is encoded that can be unlocked if you…

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BLUR: a new paradigm for engagement

weird two-faced dude

I am looking for a great project. My engagement with the projects I have been focusing on has organically either hit a maintenance phase or has been completed, and I am finding myself, as many entrepreneurs do from time to time, under-utilized.

I'm not looking for a job, I'm looking for a context in which I can use the things that I am good at like well oiled tools.

I'm looking for a group of people I can join voices and hands with…

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What does the Flux Capacitor in our bodies look like? An open letter to Nassim Haramein.

Chinese meridians and Channels with Time standing still

First off, I want to give you gratitude. Thank you for inspiring me. Thank you for shifting all sorts of paradigms in your work and life and insisting on doing it in a big way. Thank you for insisting on just being you, and holding it up like a beacon for those of us who cannot choose the 'normal' way.

By way of introduction, I like puzzles, and have been working on several including some that involve the systems of Traditional Chinese Medicine…

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Financial Derivatives 101

I'm no 'HooHa' but let's say that I'm also no Banker Extrordinaire. I got no MBA. I'm no resident expert on the financial systems of the world. I try to stomach through a medicinal dose of conspiracy theory videos about the banking system. The only credentials I hold are those of an Industrial Designer, and I'm afraid they've expired from lack of use.

If only that were so for the debt.

All that…

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Plato and the Calculus of a Dimension Shift

I don't know about you, but when I read Plato in High School and then again in College/s, I had to wonder a little about what they were pumping into the campus water that made this guy so friggen important. Particularly the Platonic forms. I just didn't get it. Who gives a fuck about 'Chairness'?

Dude going on and on, boring his own damn self. Please.

Pan out like, I don't know, say 20-30 years later, and I'm having a bit of an 'Aha' moment out of the blue…

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Least we forget ourselves

NOLA House

I remember an indomitable spirit when I was 8 and prancing around in the forest or at a campground somewhere. Something that would overtake me, and that gave everything a smell and taste and feel of something really special always about to happen.

I wonder if 8 year old's still feel that way.

I wonder if 8 year old's still go around mesmerized by the puzzle-piece-butterscotch of some ponderosa pines: go around walking just to find and smell the candy bark. Or…

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The Looking Glass, and the possible nature of the Snowden revelations

pleiades

The quality of some of my time these days seems punctuated strongly by the literal sense of other cities, other times, other frames of reference.

We come into this life and we start growing. I am a different person now than I was, say 30 years ago. Somehow these last weeks, the dreams I had then I am re-experiencing now through a different lens.

What I am finding is that I am having to recreate the symbols that my ten year old brain was generating into the frame of reference in…

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Fukushima, living in a post-historic world, and doing my part to put the rap back into rapture.

http://www.scottgbrooks.com(digital art courtesy of http://www.scottgbrooks.com)

These days I begin my morning with a bowel movement, a smoothie, and short self-reminding acknowledgment that I am living in a post-historic world.

What that means for me transcends what I have normally understood when the Buddhists and other spiritual traditions talk about non-permanence.

It means that in addition to understanding that I, a…

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If we're going to get fucked, let's get fucked together with the lights on.

existence

The relationship each of us individually has with our planet's existence is looking more and more like that of the relationship with a beloved family member or friend who has been told they have a potentially fatal disease.

It occurred to me today, in the short pauses between the focused preoccupations and distractions of working, that myself along with all the people I know are in the various and well documented stages of grief at the beginning of what could be our…

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The Gospel according to Thursday

If all the DNA in my body that the doctors always told me was junk is really my own internal internet system connecting me with the rest of humanity, then what would become possible?

If this long and glorious experience that I was under the impression I was having in 'real time' on this planet is really just the day dream of one mitochondria in one cell inside the gut of the one true love and light and ever-giving presence of God, then what would it mean to 'fail'?

Imagine that you are…

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Changing Contexts: developing secondary social networks for a not-quite information-based culture.

As many of you know, I have been developing websites from Mexico and Guatemala for the last year or so. In particular, I have been working on a personal project for a tourist oriented website/social network in my time between gigs. I am lucky to have worked with a variety of now-mentors who are also experts in the field of developing secondary social networks for non-profit organizations and technologists.

I would define a 'secondary social network' to mean a network…

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The New Revolutionary

snowden_hope

It's time to start retelling ourselves the story of what it means to be a Revolutionary before we are lead to believe what we are reading and seeing in the Corporate/State-run media.

The call to revolution is not a call heard only by those who will resort to, or have resorted to, violent acts against humanity or the state: it is a call heard by a moral majority of humanity, many of whom are unaware of their allegiance to this movement.

We are in a collective state of blessed…

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The War on Food

Have we lost the war on our Food?

Have we lost that last little battle?

This is a prayer to Saint Judas, the patron of lost causes. That there can be a final and unbelievable turning of something deep inside each and everyone of us that enables us to see the way through this together.

The framework is in place now in the United States to regulate the use of GMO crops in all farms on US soil that…

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Translate This Button: the 15 minute module that will open up your world.

I just translated my entire site into 36 languages. It took maybe 15 minutes, might take the novice a half hour, and is probably the best half hour you will ever spend on your site.

You can do it, too.

A drupal module that combines the amazing power of Google Translate with the ineffable coolness of drupal called…

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Miner's Canary

Some folks are miner's canaries.

One of the liabilities of mining is that there are all sorts of gas pockets in the mantel of the earth. Miners would run into them, and because often they are odorless the miners would asphyxiate. Canaries are little beings, and their bodies have a much lower tolerance for poison. A miners canary sacrifices (in most cases unwillingly) it's existence so that a much greater body can survive.

When we look at the conditions of society at…

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The Dolor of Pencils

Whenever I've been forced to inhabit a cubicle, I've made sure Theodore Roethke's 'Dolor' hung on the wall. I first read Roethke in my American literature class as a freshman in high school (thank you Mr. Wofford and shortened here):

“I have known the inexorable sadness of pencils,
Neat in their boxes, dolor of pad and paper weight,
All the misery of manilla folders and mucilage,
Desolation in immaculate public places...
...And I have seen dust from the walls of institutions,

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The Flipside of Uranus

I keep reminding myself that, technically, I'm a little early for a midlife crisis. I was happy to turn 41 because the sting of 40 is gone, and 41 is prime, and it's next to 42, and we all know what 42 is.

Along with being the proverbial answer to the Universe, 42 is when your Uranus starts to oppose itself.

Now firstly, I want to give a high five to all of the folks who just read that and laughed like a teenager.

Y'all have…

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Have we lost our minds?

I was a freshman at Reed College the year the Renn Fayre t-shirts were maroon, and had a drawing of a naked woman with beer bottle tits. We considered ourselves progressive. The big fight on campus that year was about the rights of students to write the names of their rapists on the bathroom walls. The zygote of The Yes Men had been organizing 'Reverse Peristalsis' protests of the US Administration where we all ate potatoes and food coloring and…

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Too Much Information


The information that surrounds us has many layers.

Overlapping like so many translucent angels projected onto the screen of 3 dimensions, they give the part of our brains that actually notice these kinds of things subtle clues, urgent or whispering compulsions, maps, even. Our lives are spent dancing through the eddies of these projections.

We are continually softened like river rocks.

In…

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Fair Sourcing: a new take on an old idea

chiapas

There are many social, political and economic implications, benefits and detriments of hiring technology outside of the country in which you live. I am going to be speaking here about only a few of them, and want to apologize in advance if my treatment of the subject is focused in a way that seems to ignore things that, in a similar but different discussion, would seem important.

I also first would like to say…

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The Chat: the future of the culture of work

If the natural evolution of technology and work continues at it's current pace, those who are fluent in the culture of distributed teaming will come out a league or two ahead of the others. Your ability to navigate the unspoken rules of distributed teaming will eventually, and directly, effect your personal bottom-line.

The move from a local work culture to a distributed work culture is not a small one. Indeed, many of you have worked or are working for companies who are in the…

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How I spent the End of the World

tzolkin

I am writing today because I have to get this out.

I know that some things do not make sense until viewed through the lens of time. I know that events create phenomenon that appear both before and after the experience of the linear experience of the event itself. I wanted to start from the beginning, but I no longer trust that I know where that is.

So instead I'll start with the part that is seared most in my memory.

We were walking in the middle of a bright deluge along a…

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On reverse engineering free energy.

TeslaCoil

As trite as it might sound, I started thinking about Free Energy yesterday. To be fair, I've been thinking about it for a while. Yesterday was the first time I started writing it down. My normal thinking about Free Energy has been typically as a sort of bystander. I know that it is possible. I also know that it can't be metered which makes it unpopular in the eyes of the money. I know that many very smart and educated folks before me have lived solely…

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Plugging in: when an adapter isn't just a widget.

We did not begin our journey intending to get lost. Sometimes in life you get stranded in paradise, and it's (already) been one of those kinds of years.

Not that I did not sign up for it. My sweetie and I have been traveling in Central America looking for a good place to land for a while and working along the way. It's a plan I hatched a decade or so ago when I was working in a particularly dreadful cubicle. The walls…

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When should an idea become a 'Project'?

Making your ideas pay off

seed

Let's say that you are walking down the road one day, and you somehow stumble on this friggen awesome idea.

I mean like a really good idea. You know?

And if you are like me, you'll probably want to entertain it. So you think about it, and maybe draw out some poorly hacked-on-napkin sketches for yourself. Maybe you talk to a couple of people about it and get their reactions. But at some point, the idea is…

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Atitlan: a case study for lakeside remediation and economic growth

I recently moved to Lake Atitlan, and was sitting yesterday on a dock in the rain when I saw some boys pulling up a plant called 'Hydrilla'.

hyacinthHydrilla is considered an invasive weed. It gets pulled up by folks here, especially around the lake docks, and thrown into the jungle forests).

It turns out that Hydrilla is a somewhat oily plant that, when mixed with a bit of animal manure, can be placed in a low cost (and homemade) 'biodigester' which turns the concoction into methane and…

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Atitlan: a city worth it's salt.

Atitlan in real life is a lake with many villiages and communities surrounding it's waters. These villages each have a unique personality, and different aspects (small, large, crime, less crime, friendly, protective, road access, etc.) that make them unique.

Taken individually, each village community is small, and their infrastructure does not of it's own accord necessarily demand attention.

If the assemblage of lake communities in their totality is taken as one whole (where the villages are…

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Atitlan: on owning my own tourist

santa_cruz_bridge

Tempest is the nearest thing to it, I imagine. This sort of whipping effect as when traveling 70 miles an hour over choppy sea on a small boat, or like the nausea of recovering from too much food. It's a weighted shifting of direction suddenly, where you are confronted with the last great stand of the person you were playing before all this started, and that no longer feels right.

But this time it's beautiful. I mean just literally surrounded by the most beautiful bounty of what the…

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Atitlan: if effigies can drink...

maximon

There was an unformed question in my last post about hope that has unwittingly been answered in the past few days. Sometimes our prayers are answered in a way that we can understand, even if the initial questions were unclear.

In this case, the answers have been at once humbling and generous.

First off, the conclusions I drew about the reasons for the rise and pollution in these waters turned out to be (mis)educated conjecture. We can read and read, and…

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Atitlan: the journey begins.

atitlan

We came to this watery place by way of a long coast, and then mountains that made the engine of my car ring like an omen. Two weeks we traveled by day light, and then scrambled to find shelter and food and rest by night fall. As with many travelers from a country full of false and neon-blinking riches, all clearly marked, we must have passed a hundred less apparent restaurants before our eyes and appetites became acclimated to understand them as food. Not to…

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The Unbearable Lightness of Being Virtual.

switches

Thanks to my very sweet and very gay ex-husband and his generousity, I am in the unpleasant but grateful position of owning his car (Suzuki Forenza) that cannot be fixed without the blessings of a dealership. No heaven without a priest, making commerce look more like the unreformed catholic church in the middle ages than a viable system of exchange. I could go on and on about this but I won't for the sake of my own will to prod onward.

In this case, as we have all come to…

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SEO (Search Engine Optimization) Demystified

Huh?

Search Engine Optimization (SEO) is basically a process of making your site very clear and welcoming to search engine robots that will hit your site about every two weeks or so and want to quickly gather information about the page without having to understand or read (parse) the text. Time is money, especially where robots are concerned, and so instead of having to read and understand your site, there are various ways that…

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Fukishima: the (other) definition of Insanity

The Pliedians have a mythology about this planet we live on being a sort of sacred library of information. And while you may not believe that there are life forms in other galaxies who appreciate (or even know of) our planet, it turns out that they are correct.

The life forms we all are (humans, fishes, fungus...) amount to vast storehouses of information encoded and encrypted in our DNA and in the structure of the building blocks that make up 3 dimensional matter.

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It might be their Software, but it's your Social: making your technology (ac)count

6 awesome projects that could change the way you work.

 

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These things are designed to break us open

jung redbookAbout a year and a half ago, I had the privilege of meeting Jo Carson, who read her incredible account of her own death from which she returned at the Alternate ROOTS annual meeting in 2010.

Jo spent her life talking and writing about the way symbols and stories co-create and become us. At the annual meeting,…

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How to install your drupal website: a guide for the adventurous.

This is the age of the DIY (do it yourself, for the uninitiated), and as organizations get crafty at organizing themselves for survival, building a website in-house (READ: yourself) is becoming more common. I have a great deal of respect for do-it-yourselfers. It's how I first learned to build drupal websites 8 years ago, and at this point, I am able to contribute work towards building drupal itself.

That being said, there was a learning curve. This blog is being written with the intent of helping the brave and geeky lay-person get their heads around building a drupal website.

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The cost of adventure is a torn t-shirt.

be_prepared

I was 8 years old and was setting off on a family vacation. We lived in Las Cruces, and my father who was an avid camper wanted to check out the 3 Rivers camping area up north of us in the mountains East of the Tularosa Basin.

We were relatively new to New Mexico (3 years) and my father was a professor, so summers were our time to get out into the family car camping version of the wilderness. Anyhow, it was dry on the way up, and hot as hell although I wasn't allowed to say that at…

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Pulling ourselves through

wormhole

The department head at the college I graduated from gave me some great unsolicited advise when I was graduating. Keep in mind that this was my 3rd try at post-secondary school as an adult, and I was at least 7 years older than the average age of my class.

"Two things," he said. "One: if you get to a job and they don't listen to you, move on. You got too much going on to be working with folks who aren't going to pay attention."

I smiled.

"Two: don't become the computer guy.…

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Wanna be starting something? Tech advise for the entrepreneur.

So you're smart. You've got an idea and you want to change the world (or at least your world my making some cashish). These days, it takes more than an idea to make it happen - especially when you are competing with the Kardashians and the Republican presidential candidates (and their inverted sense of elegance and poise) for air-time.

If you are wanna be starting something but aren't sure where to start, you might find the following helpful.…

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Resolve

sims

I have a friend who, last time I checked in, logs over 93 hours a week playing the SIMS. This SIMS is a video game in which you have a virtual 'avatar' that you have to feed and make sure they go to work and socialise in a perfect harmonious rhythm determined by an algorithm designed by the toy maker. 93 hours a week. That is twice as much as most of us work.

I say that with a certain amount of disbelief but if you clocked the hours that my screen is lit (it automatically…

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Urban Public Art: a manifesto

if i could whisper softly into the absolute,
after saying thanks,
i might make a wish.
tonight i would wish for understanding.
i would wish that these scripts,
sometimes held in disdain,
were understood as coming from a place of purity,
and by way of an ancient disposition.
we have been scrawling these mysteries on our walls
since before there were walls.
i would wish that these expressions
were considered fundamental and innate:
as if having emerged from our very humanity.
we have a…

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Creation Myths

We write our own stories. We make shit up, and then we listen to ourselves say it out loud. We create ourselves over and over again this way. We decorate our houses like hermit crabs, we wear certain clothes, and we use them like props in the play about that time we spent here, once.

That we believe these plays are true makes them confusing, and that we believe they are important makes them holy.

In mysterious ways that we don't always grok, we create ourselves from…

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Talking Story

I have been doing some thinking about what it means to have a culture that is self aware and how that would distill down to the level of individual values and relationships between people.  I've been specifically thinking about verbal or physical communication between individuals.  
 

Storytelling

The story is a way to connect people powerfully with one another.  It can be both receptive and directive, although is mostly composed of non-directed communication.  A story is…

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Chasing the Dragon: or how I'm curing my Lyme Disease

We are all habitat.  Microscopic condos for animals old as dirt.  We breath and eat at their mercy.

I first found out I had Lyme Disease in 2003, about 3 years after I initially became infected.  In order to find it, I had to reassemble my own history.  I haven't trusted my memory since.

I was living in Carbondale, CO and we had just declared war on Iraq.  I wasn't getting meaningful work in my field, and so I spent a lot of my time tracking down the plastic candy machine salesman who…

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Holy Wars

The wars we wage against ourselves are probably the only wars that are truly holy - truly blessed. Maybe because they are the only ones in which winning is even possible. It feels like I am probably in the middle of one such war, or maybe just a particularly nasty battle. I trust that I am destined to win eventually. I feel blessed on days when I understand that there is no other outcome possible. It can be hard keeping the faith sometimes.

Which brings me to the Santa Fe Flea Market. My good…

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Can Technology throw a party and save the Universe?

I went down to the city of New Orleans about a month ago in a quest to continue to explore how what I do for a living can make a difference for the world.

Don't worry, it wasn't all so serious.

New Orleans is a playground, and I definitely played with my little collection of familiar places and good heart connections.  I love New Orleans because it's the kind of city that goes un-phased seeing someone riding down the street in a bicycle and covered entirely in silver paint, but screeches to a halt, mouths universally agape, when they see me going for my run in the morning. …

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Test Blog for Kenn

Test Blog for Kenn.



A prayer for Donald Vidrine

When I was organizing for the first United States Social Forum, I sent an email out in a somewhat public forum that was very hurtful to someone who I now count as a dear dear friend and confidant.  

At the time, I was a mess.  I had spent the previous 6 months working 60 hour weeks - 20 of which were volunteer hours, and the remaining 40 my day job.  I was moving across the country for work and to assist the USSF on the ground in the few weeks that preceded it.  The email was written from my parent's house where I was sleeping on the screened-in porch on a cot, and sharing living-…

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Oil and Water

I have consumed 2 plastic water bottles this morning and it's not even 10. I say this with some degree of frustration. American's consume 60 million bottles of water a day, and so I am counting myself lucky. I am living the American Dream - I have the privilege to be wasteful.

Still, 2 bottles before 10am is not a common practice for me. I am coming to the end of my stay in New Orleans, and frankly do not trust the water here. There is a 
camaraderie in sharing a glass of tap water here that…

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Managing the Deepwater that was on the Horizon.

WAS being the operative word, because here we are. Welcome.

I don't usually read the paper, but sometimes do glance at headlines - especially when I'm not at home. You can get a lot about a place through the cadence and structure of a hometown newspaper headline. In this case, I am in New Orleans, the paper is the Times Picayune, and some of the headlines juxtapose one another perfectly. Above the fold on the front page:

Pelican to take hiatus from…

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The Gospel according to Manny: Chapter 1

The desert is the kind of environment that requires an adaptive strategy.

People and plants are at the mercy of the elements here, and have to endure times of feast and times of famine - both of which can be fatal. And just like in those elementary school movies featuring lizards with strange plumes coming from their heads, and snakes shedding their skins, and birds hiding inside a spiny cactus, desert dwellers, particularly those of us who were not born here, can be a motley and tragically beautiful bunch.

Our adaptive strategies, born from the necessity of an extreme…

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How the Revolution will be Wired

Communication is becoming increasingly web-based as the use of database-driven social media tools and apps becomes standard for social interactions, business, networking, and project management.

While this technology is being used by many, it is in the hands of relatively few.  Larger businesses and organizations with the resources to build and maintain comprehensive custom database driven technology platforms have an edge in a market where a users attention and participation online is a benchmark for success.

Smaller organizations, with much smaller technology…

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Facebook in Fur

Facebook broke Google's lead last week for most visits to their site. Facebook had been getting a little over 2% of all visits on the world wide web a year ago, and topped off last week with 7.07% of the market share – beating Google's lead by 4 hundredths of a percentage point. What this means is that out of the estimated 200 million websites and services on the internet, 14% of all traffic was directed at two of them last week. One of them a (diversified) search engine, and the other a social media tool.

These tools obviously fill fundamental human needs. The steep increase in the…

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Should Non-technical Organizations model Agile principles? (no brainer)

Organizations are nothing without structure.

Structures give people avenues for interacting with one another, and when there is a desire to accomplish work collectively they give us tools with which to share that work. There are many ways that organization an organization can choose to structure itself ranging from the very hierarchical structure in the armed forces to collaborative consensus models.

Agile development methodologies are…

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Pilgrim

I'm sitting in my new living space, alone, having just found out that the project I came here with dreams of doing is not moving forward. I know that I will go through a variety of different emotions as the reality of this sets in.

My dog is outside playing with a piece of bark she found. She does best when my doors are open, and her outside world and inside worlds can merge. As I move into my reality here, I become increasingly aware the degree to which she is a projection of myself. I…

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David and Goliath: a new skin for the old drum.

This blog is about mobilizing our communities in support of (and somewhat demanding) fairness in business. We have the power collectively to leverage some power, and this week I made it my hobby to develop a mechanism by which that might happen.

Imagine that the game we are about to play is your life, and you have just put it all in an 8'x4'x7' box. In this case, the box was rented from a company called 'Door to Door' (or 'City to City'), and the game should typically go something like this…

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Nest

Right now I am in this room. I am sitting at a desk that is a horizontal hollow-core door exactly three paint cans high. I'm looking at a room that isn't quite mine yet, and just a little in awe about this whole experiment.

Image

There's no scientific method, so no worries. The experiment is existential and starts out with a fundamental query: what if I could just do what I want?

Of course, there's booby traps. Not the good kind. The question…

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the Persistence of Memory

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I have not forgotten that I used to live on 242 Josephine St. Apartment A. Atlanta, GA.

I used to get up every morning between 7:30 and 9:00 and take my dog on a run or a long walk. Like clockwork. Sometimes, I would pass by Christy Bradley's house. I passed by her house, and the green Godfather van with the AK-47 stenciled on the spare tire cover, whenever I decided I wanted a radial bagel.

And now I do not live anywhere, and pretty soon (this…

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The Muppet Pirates

I'm sitting in a recording studio in New Orleans listening to my friends record their 4th album: two blocks away from where I am staying with a friend in the Bywater. It floors me the extent to which my life right now is a series of pretty and benevolent accidents.

At some point I decided that, as long as I'm living, I might as well make things interesting. And even more recently decided that interesting does not always have to include a broken heart. I am listening to myself write…

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Green Eggs and Ham: a resolution.

There are a host of us who have been accused of having a Peter Pan complex out there, and we're sensitive. The inference that we might be acting childishly, or clinging to childish things is one that some of us generally avoid. 'Why even go there?', we might ask? 'What good would it do in the end?'

So - trust me - I am not turning my back on my fellow victims of Peter Pan complex accuse, when I say that my resolution this year is to have more Green Eggs and Ham.

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On Moving: again.

It's midnight in the garden of Santa Fe or Atlanta, and the vertigo of having had to decide to choose between the two cities, again, is disorienting. I've been on a series of nested Odysseys and at this point am not sure that life is made up of anything but. So much so that it's hard to distinguish when they start or end. Sometimes, in order to tell yourself a story that makes sense, you have to just choose a landmark.

In this case, I am remembering the candles that I lit as an Oracle, and…

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Mapping for Food Security with Online Web-tools

I was recently in New Orleans working with different organizations and government officials to better understand the opportunities that data-driven websites and online information systems would present in mitigating the effects of tragedy. In their case, the tragedy has happened, and they are very aware that it might happen again. Their experience in having to rebuild after Katrina has made it clear to them the importance of being prepared, and the things…

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The Future of Education Software

Those of us who have integrated our work lives into our homes successfully understand the way working can feel when it is integrated into our living. It goes way beyond just being able to work in our jammies, and listen to the music we want and fix ourselves tea. These little freedoms we have in controlling our work environments add up, and eventually we are left with a sense that our work hours integrate into our lives seamlessly. There is no longer a…

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Cloud Computing and Free/Open Source Software

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Within the field of technology, there is an undeniable bias towards web applications. There are a number of reasons for this. While still nascent, the internet is the most stable infrastructures in large part due to it's lack of centralization. It is also one of the single most readily available communication tools (probably right next to the telephone). Unlike telephone communication, the internet has the ability to store information in digital…

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Values + Organizing Principles

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Regardless of whether organizing principles underlying the process of technology development are stated, they exist.

Being intentional about codifying these values at the beginning of a project creates an environment for collaboration and informs the process of integrating technology into the larger context of life's various projects.

The central guiding values for jellobrain are:

  • The goal of…
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Website Development Primer for Non-Profit Organizations

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Creating a website involves the coordination of different technological and design systems. This primer is aimed at demonstrating the steps and what is involved with developing websites using content management systems.

 

Technological Systems

Technology development begins with building blocks of systems that must integrate with one another in order to be successful. These building blocks exist discreetly, and some…

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Can user generated content change the world?

An organization is a collection of people and resources whose common goals create an interdependence between them. The methods used to achieve these goals create flows of information, services, people and resources that mirror exchanges between stakeholders in the different communities they touch. These infrastructures (and the organizations that utilize them) become more effective the more they mirror the human systems which depend on them.

Traditionally underfunded, non-profit organizations (more than anyone) have a lot to gain from web and internet technologies customized to…

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Urban Hiking: the first date

I had been planning this for a minute (southern for an unspecified and somewhat longer than expected amount of time). We would leave around 6pm, get on the trail by 7pm, and then arrive at the lake around 7:30pm with a wine bottle and some citronella candles. She would be pleasantly surprised by the whole event. It's not common to take a first date for a dog walk, and she might have been skeptical of the idea at first.

It ended up being a wash.

The first date was…

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Urban Hiking: for the birds

One reason I go hiking is to hear the sound of birds. On almost every trail I have traversed, I can hear them. All different kinds with different calls. If I were not so quick to associate bird watching with middle age (which I am in denial of), I would know their names. As it stands now, I only know them by their calls, and because those calls are nameless, they exist outside of the culturally dominant scientific rationalism. Which is another reason I go hiking: to remember that there is something else, and to surround myself in it.

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Urban Hiking: the Yellow Brick Road

It all started when I woke up to doggie diarrhea. I have wall to wall carpeting, and unless you are a product tester for Nature's Miracle, they just do not mix.

My dog has a sensitive stomach, and this isn't the first time for this kind of rude awakening, so after the mess was cleaned up, I decided to look for fencing materials. Sometimes these bouts of digestive distress can last for days, and I wanted to avoid multiple puddles while I am away at work.

So I headed out looking for abandoned chain link fence. Why pay $70 for more fencing material than I need, when I can…

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Urban Hiking

Urban Hiking is at once an act of desperation, and a celebration of place.  I am finding more and more in my life that the experience of one is necessary for the existence of the other. 

Urban Hiking is a response to the city. 

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It is a reclaiming of the tucked away spaces within a metropolitan area that are hidden,  These places are everywhere, and often connected with one another,  They are where you will hear birds singing. …

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Fishing in a Bottle

I was told to put fish in my office.

I don't want to give away too many trade secrets.  My sister said it was good for feng shui and encouraging abundance (money).  She said that I should get Betta fish because they are nearly indestructible.  So I got two, just in case.

The point being that sometimes running your life can be just about as scientific as a Ouija board.  In this case, I'm ramping up for business.  Economic disaster or not, I'm convinced that there are folks out there who want and need websites and databases.  And really, why shouldn't they?

Organizations…

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Finding money in Trees

As all business people do from time to time, I was sitting in front of my computer yesterday and wondering if I was going to have enough work in 6 weeks to sustain me.  It's something that can eat away at a person.  It's a fear that we are almost encouraged to have these days.  When we talk about it with friends or colleagues, they shake their heads and agree.  And so we think we find our fears, sadly, justified.

Until we look out into the world around us - at really what's going on.  I don't mean this is a zen way.  Let me explain.

Today I was getting ready for work, hopped…

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Cultural Viruses

There is a kind of information exchange or cultural programing that holds a particular interest for me as a technologist. 

We are aware that there are certain kinds of knowledge that stem from direct cultural context.  An example would be music or food.  These arguably are linked in some way directly to the land or culture they originated in.  And although when people move, they take these cultural tastes with them, they are visible even when they mutate into some sort of form.  An example would be that Mexican food in New Mexico is very different than in Texas.  Or that Cajun…

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Pro-Creation: it's as fun as it sounds...

If I were to adopt a polemic, this would be it.

In any sense that these little two words together might be interpreted - as in:

  1. being in favor of creating things
  2. supporting people procreating (although maybe not literally)
  3. being in favor of the act of creation
  4. add yours here.

It's like saying 'good-good'.
no bad thingsAt Reed there was a button that people would wear (it was the early 90's, people) that said 'No bad…

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Creative Strategies for Survival

I don't need to say why this is important right now. We all get it and experience it every day. Survival is getting tricky for all of us but especially for organizations who rely on grant and foundation money for their bread and butter.

Survival of the Creative

We attribute 'survival of the fittest' to Darwin. And regardless of whether it really was Darwin or not, I would argue that to be creative is what was meant.
The word 'fit' conjures images of cave folk running away from woolly mammoths: the fast ones made it, the slower ones got squished. Or we might…

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Working Smarter through Tough Times

We have resources available to us that we don't see.

In lean economic times, it makes sense to account for the various flows of information and resources that travel through an organization. Mapping these flows enables us to take a birds eye view and see visually things that otherwise would be invisible. Especially in difficult economic times, working smarter means understanding what you are working with. There are some tips that I can offer people, businesses and organizations that are…

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How to get the most out of your geek.

Technology is great until it doesn't work. And because most folks who use technology haven't had the stomach to look under the hood, when things stop working it requires the assistance of someone who knows their way around a computer.

Enter the geek.

Technological cries for help can range in intensity from, 'hey, when you get a chance can you take a look at this?', to 'holy shit, my face is melting!'. And the truth is that when technology goes wrong, because it's function is so central to the process of work and getting things done, it can seem like your face is melting.…

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Organizational Ecosystems

This is a concept that is actually really simple.

Organization has a root word: organ. So does organism. This shared root is not accidental. In this case, and organ is an entity with a specific function.

You are an organism, and inside your body you have organs. Your lungs are meant to do something different than your heart is. But they both work together. The larger system of your body has sub-systems within it that work together to…

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Tips for Embarking on a Website Project

So you've come to the realization either that your current website isn't working for you, or that you want to create a new website for yourself, but you don't know where to start? You've come to the right place.

What kind of website?

There are different kinds of websites technologies out there that can make the web more accessible to you and your clients/customers/supporters. Below, I will briefly list each one, and talk about the pros and cons of each. Remember that there is no 'right' or 'wrong' type. They all work, it just depends on what your needs are.

Basic…

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