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Zer Netmouse Below are the 10 most recent journal entries recorded in the "Anne" journal:

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November 18th, 2019
08:41 am


seriously considering a Patreon or something, but it's not like I have a base of followers

For four years, now, I've been doing essentially a loose systems study of York, PA. I have studied the history, volunteered in the city and county, swapped data and talked initiatives with a lot of officials and grassroots activists, and worked as a robotics team coach and a substitute teacher to really get an up close look at a school district that is clearly failing most of the people involved in it, including the teachers. I have triggered some initiatives, been part of some, and some have failed, some have succeeded, and many have just... happened and been mildly successful but so far not had a big impact.

A lot of the time, the difference between an idea being really successful and an idea not really going anyplace appears to be whether or not there is money to make it happen.

And in this city, there is not much money. In the county, (especially the suburbs right outside the city limits) there is a lot more money. But the county as a whole is still one of the less wealthy and more troubled counties in PA.

So I have been studying how to write grants. I'm not really crazy about the grant funding system as a whole, though, because clearly there have been a bunch of helpful initiatives in the city that were grant-funded and sure they were great for the period of the grant, but then they just *ended*. This is actually a problem with public funding in general - the funding is unstable. My sister has been mostly working for public entities like cities, so I have seen pretty close second-hand how de-stablising it can be not knowing if your job will be funded next year.

Anyway, in all of this volunteer work, I have been pretty quietly in the background. Building relationships, finding out what different groups are doing, considering how new information systems could help. And I've attended terrific talks and discussions, taken copious notes, meant to write up a summary or reaction for wider distribution, and just not had the time.

I'm trying to decide right now if I should pursue, like, academic or magazine publication of these things, or just blog about them. I'd like to have a circle of readers I can discuss them with who are interested in things like institutionalized patterns of injustice, intersectionality of challenges, and the various systems involved, like health care, mental health care, food production and distribution, banks, the justice system, the educational system(s), social work, drug and alcohol rehabilitation, the environment, government, and the many dozens of mostly non-profit non-governmental organizations that are already trying to engage with these complex problems.

I also need some income, and am just enough disabled by my chronic health issues that taking a full time job is not in the cards.

So I was thinking about creating a Patreon to see if other people would be willing to support my work - support me as a tremendously underpaid substitute teacher, support my ability to travel even regionally to connect with others, and support my spending time to write grants that will hopefully give us some of the wherewithal to try some of the solutions this community has already suggested. And one of the things I can offer my supporters is to write up for them those inside-look summaries or workshops and meetings that reflect my growing understanding of the various challenges that lie before us.


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October 20th, 2019
11:39 pm


Movie comments: The Laundromat
My back was killing me this evening, so I decided to do something fairly rare for me, and just rest and watch something. The fluffy black kitty on my chest might have helped with that decision. Anyway, I have just finished watching The Laundromat, starring Antonio Banderas, Gary Oldman, and Meryl Streep. Fascinating and entertaining film, with a very important underlying message: Campaign Finance Reform Cannot Wait. Because the people who make these unjust laws are dependent on financing from the people who are most motivated to hide their wealth in tax havens and preserve their ability to avoid taxes in a plausably legal way that may or may not also have unfair consequences on consumers of "services" (like insurance) of shell companies that are employed in laundering their money. I did not expect the final note of this film to be so serious, based on the trailer. Nor so, well, open ended. A call to action.

But action. is. required.

Sooner rather than later.

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August 10th, 2019
09:43 pm


Not just Fair and Equitable, but also fiscally responsible.
I haven't made a big deal out of it, but the PA Post recently picked up a question I submitted to their "Listening Post" segment. Reporter Ed Mahon spent some time researching whether or not it would be legal for school districts to go ahead and redistribute funds from the state on their own, rather than wait for the Legislature to force them to do it.

The report is here: Could Pa. school districts change funding themselves? A substitute teacher wanted to know

Sadly, one person he referenced about that actual question came back with nothing stronger than "I don't know," whereas my own investigation concluded it is not illegal for school districts to redistribute state educational funding to other school districts.

Sadly, Ed failed to capture one thrust of my argument, which is that, given that many people are trying to pass existing legislation that would apply the Fair Funding formula to all 500 PA school districts, I think it would only be prudent for the districts that are currently deemed "overfunded" accordnig to that formula to go ahead and increase their school property tax millage to go ahead and make up the difference. That way their schools will not suffer a gap in funding.

Then</a>, once they have ensured that alternate source of funds, they can go ahead and start funneling funds to one or more of the chronically underfunded districts, as identified by the "fair funding" formula, which everyone agreed was fair back in 2016, but which is so far only being applied to "new" educational funding from the state, so only some 11 percent or so of state educational funding is disbursed fairly and equitably at the moment.

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August 6th, 2019
07:24 am


For Better or For Worse, revisited
I am really enjoying reading For Better or For Worse online the past couple years. Not just because I like the strip, but because the author and illustrator, Lynn Johnston, has been adding comments as we run back through the strips from the very beginning. You can learn where different ideas came from and how they were received at the time. It’s really interesting.

Check it out:


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July 27th, 2019
11:18 am


Starting a new Convention. Or Rather an Omni-Futurist festival. Help!
I live in York PA now and everything around here seems to be some kind of Fest, so we’re calling it York FutureFest.

It will be the first weekend in October, and even if you can’t come, I could use your help.

I’ve been doing this for over twenty years, so I know what needs to be done, but I’m also just one person, and can’t do everything. I have a web team, but none of them are familiar enough with this kind of event to generate content. We are working on a site on http://www.yorkfuturefest.org, and in the meantime I put a skeleton page on the site of the parent non-profit, York XL.


Early bird memberships are really cheap right now but go up to $40 August 5th.

If you or someone you know can produce a Call for Art and specify artist rules and registration for the web team, I’d really like to have that go out August 1 if not sooner.

If you or someone you know can write press releases, and/or be a press officer, that would also be quite helpful.

I have a couple of copy editors but could also use someone who can translate things into Spanish.

We have a local graphics designer working on a logo for York FutureFest and as soon as we settle on that (probably tomorrow), we could really use a good layout person to make up a flyer and a postcard.

We also really need a treasurer with time available. Part of the reason for this event is that York PA, once the Detroit of the East Coast, is struggling like, well, Detroit.

Most of my friends here are community activists. They are amazing and capable and already doing a lot, so I’m asking if any of my other friends can lend a hand. York XL has a treasurer but not one who has run conventions.

The long list of roles for which we could use experienced smofs is long, so please, if you know people in the region or can travel here in October, please reach out to those friends personally, and then let me know if you or they can help.

I can be reached at yorkfuturefest@gmail.com or by cell at 734. 649. 4534.

Thank you.

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March 7th, 2019
08:43 am


How do you return to regular sleep?
Rosie has been sick on and off for weeks. With the latest flu, this past weekend, she took to sleep ping long hours in the daytime then being up late at night, unable to get to sleep p. I am our semi official on call late /middle of the night person, because B turns into a zombie in disrupted sleep conditions, and he was already obviously catching the flu. I adapted by also taking a longer nap in the middle of the day. It feels a little like I'm serving on a submarine, doing short shifts, instead of having normal length days.

Yesterday when I got home from running early evening errands, Brian apologeticaly told me he had kept her awake as long as he could but she was asleep in the Guest room. so I was not surprised when she woke up hungry at 11. I got her ready for bed and fetched her a banana and her meds, including 3 MG of melatonin. I also brought up a fresh batch of library books. She read for a bit, then settled down. I ribbed her feet and legs, which have been hurting. Then I turned off the light. she asked me to sing, so I did. I got back to me own bedroom at 2 am.

How do we get her back to normal?

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February 12th, 2019
09:10 pm


York Race Revolts - the presentation
Dr. Peter Levy gave a talk at York College on February 6, 2019, and the York Daily Record posted a video of it.

I have added it to the York Reflections page. This entry was originally posted at https://netmouse.dreamwidth.org/816062.html. Please comment there using OpenID.

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February 11th, 2019
11:09 pm


Doing too much, yet getting things done... in the interstices of Life.
It snowed today. About 3 inches, which in Michigan would just mean getting up half an hour earlier to shovel snow, and otherwise winter as usual, but here in York meant they panicked. And by "They" I mean the school districts. At first they notified us there would be a two-hour delay, something that never even existed when I was young in Michigan, but by the time we started getting moving in the morning they had canceled school.

This worked out well for Rosie, who wasn't feeling well anyway, but I had an appointment for massage therapy and chiropractic care, and Brian still had to go teach. Brian actually decided to walk to work to skip dealing with PA drivers who have no idea how to handle snow and also avoid putting his car out in the snow. That left me to shovel, which mostly just consisted of shoving the snow off to the side. The ground was still above freezing, so the snow was wet and heavy, and one of my biggest jobs was pushing the two-foot wide swamp of slush in the road down past our driveway and into the storm water drain that is just downhill from our mailbox. Once I did that the water was able to drain past our property instead of accumulating in the road, but the plows may ruin that tonight just in time for it to freeze by morning.

I don't know if school will be delayed or canceled tomorrow but I'm guessing it will be one or the other.

Rosie's synchro swim practice was also canceled, which again was just as well. I really can't tell if this is a new cold or a relapse of the ongoing cold but either way she seems pretty miserable. She did get dressed (blue like Jewel the Macaw) in time to go to Brian's work so I could hit my appointment. She likes to play with the legos his colleague Joan keeps on hand, and later she told me she played with Brian's Transformers as well. She got moving to let me go to the appointment because she wants me to be relaxed, she said. I admit I can get pretty snappish these days when I'm stressed and headache-y.

I also just get snappish because I make silly mistakes and feel stupid when I'm tired, which is a lot of the time. I was thinking about this as I went down for my nap before going to pick her back up after lunch. I had just recently told a new associate about my condition and how I had to nap in the middle of the day or I get stupid tired. He kind of chuckled and shrugged it off a bit, saying we all get a little stupid when we're tired. Not me. When I am crashing I feel like my IQ plummets at least 70 points in very little time.

I'm sure Brian can confirm this, but here are just a few examples of how this affects me. For one thing, although I *know* I need to nap around the same time each day, which I get tired enough to really need a nap, I get easily distracted, such that my 8-year-old comes up to me me and asks, "Did you nap yet?" and pointedly orders me to bed. Today I went to the guest room to take my nap, picked up my phone to set the timer, and promptly forgot why the phone was in my hand. I remembered I had to set the timer and opened the clock function. The display was totally confusing. I could make no sense of it for a second. Then I realized it was on "world clock" or something and I needed to change the function setting. I looked down at the bottom of the screen, proudly remembered "timer" was on the bottom right, and hit that button. Then I set the timer for 25 minutes, put the phone down, lay down, and fell deeply asleep.

Outside of shoveling the snow, taking out the garbage and recycling, remembering to finally give the recycling guys their winter holiday tip, that appointment, that nap, a quick stop at the butcher, managing Rosie, making Chili for tonight, pre-preparing burgers for tomorrow, doing the dishes, processing one load of laundry, and getting Rosie to bed, I didn't get much done today.

I have a bunch of volunteer web design and event promotion work I wanted to get done last week (Does anyone have a copy of the font Winner Narrow Black, btw?), and am also working on a wikipedia article I want to finish and get out there. I managed to get Rosie to finish writing a letter to her pen pal and to make some progress on a needlepoint project she's doing, but I have to admit that she also spent a fair amount of time lounging on the couch with tea and a cat, watching Rio and Moana on my laptop.

Now that she is in bed I have just caught up on email a little and on updating my calendar, and other correspondence. I don't know if Rosie will be staying home tomorrow but even if she is I'm going to have to insist on using my laptop myself.

How was YOUR day?

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February 5th, 2019
10:52 am


All Deaf kids should get a chance to learn sign language (ASL)
A discussion elsewhere has made me aware that hearing parents of Deaf children are and have been discouraged from teaching their kids ASL (sign language), and that there is a political movement to counter that -- to assert that Deaf children have a right to language they can use to communicate with the Deaf community.

I just want to say that I support that movement.

for more background, read https://www.theatlantic.com/amp/article/278527/

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February 3rd, 2019
08:55 pm


Grow with google: Getting Found on Google Search and Maps
Despite the title, this is really pretty much just a talk about Google My Business:


I attended the workshop and found it useful.

This is part of a Grow With Google series, which included a talk on email, spreadsheets, etc:

Reaching Customers Online with Google

Digital skills for your community:

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