“I’ll Never Vote for Hillary!” Yeah, OK.

Bitter Gertrude

hrc.sanders
The latest installment of “The Internet Explodes with Hatred for Hillary Clinton” happened earlier this week, when HRC (whose own record on AIDS research and funding is better than any other candidate) mistakenly said that Nancy Reagan was a lowkey supporter of AIDS research, when Reagan was, in reality, a massive asshole about AIDS in every possible way. Clinton immediately apologized, then apologized again, at length. Yet we’re still seeing a wagonload of “I’ll never vote for her” from progressives, as if her words about Reagan trump (and I’m using that verb deliberately) her actual record on AIDS research and funding. Why?
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Clinton’s stellar record on AIDS is ignored while people indignantly attack her for making an inaccurate statement. I like Bernie. I really do feel the Bern. But I see Democrats brush aside things he and other male politicians have done while raining fire on Hillary for…

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Black History Month and Black Makers

This post was originally posted on Makerbridge:

February is Black History Month and in honor of that, MakerBridge is highlighting some wonderful black makers, groups, and resources.  We’ve talked about the lack of minority representation in the mainstream maker movement before (see our Diversity in Making  and Ada Lovelace Day: Women in Maker Culture posts) and we hope this list helps highlight the significant involvement of African-Americans to the Maker Movement. 

This is by no means a comprehensive list,  so please feel free to contribute names and/or links of additional Black makers (past and present) that aren’t listed here to us on twitter, @makerbridge, or in the comments below!

 Organizations

Black Girls Code: We’ve talked about Black Girls Code before but they’re awesome, so we’re mentioning them again! BGC aims to give young and pre-teen girls of color the opportunity to learn coding and other technology skills.

All Star Code: All Star Code is a new, NYC based non-profit that seeks to educate young black men for careers in the technology sector. 

Code2040: Code2040 works to increase the representation of underrepresented minorties, especially Blacks and Latinos, in the technology industry by placing Black and Latino/a engineering students in internships with technology companies.

AkiraChix: AkiraChix is an organization headquartered in Nairobi, Kenya that works to empower and increase the number of women in the technology industry in Africa through training and mentorship. 

Liberating Ourselves Locally (LOL): LOL founded the Oakland Makerspace in East Oakland. LOL provides a safe place where anyone in the community (people of color, members of the LGBTQ community, immigrants, women, and youth) can go, to make, tinker, build, and teach, regardless of their socio-economic status. 

National Society of Black Engineers: NSBE is a non-profit, national student organization that is committed to increasing the number of academically and professionally successful Black engineers in America and across the world. 

Individuals

Kipp Bradford: Kipp Bradford is the founder of KippKitts and We are the Black Makers! 

Faith Ringold: is an American artist who is most famous for her painted story quilts. Follow the link (http://www.makers.com/faith-ringgold) to see her video profile on Makers!

Kimberly Bryant: Kimberly Bryant is the awesome founder of Black Girls Code, and will be speaking at the Library Information Technology Association (LITA) President’s Program at the American Library Association’s Annual Conference in June!!! (note: We’re very excited about this!)

Issa Rae – Issa is a producer, writer, and director who is most famous for her YouTube web series “Awkward Black Girl”, which by the way, is HILARIOUS!

Resources/Events

Bold and Beautiful: African American Masterworks from the Collection: Through March 16th, the Fort Wayne Museum of Art is showing an exhibit of art in which all the pieces were created by African-American artists.

BlackFemaleCoders: A tumblr blog that focuses on black women who code!

Black Creativity Innovation Studio: The Innovation Studio is a makerspace at the Museum of Science and Industry in Chicago. The Black Creativity program pairs making with highlighting the contributions of African-Americans to STEM fields. 

 

Additional References

Thanks to Our Fearless Leader, for letting me model this post off of her lovely Ada Lovelace Day post. 

African Americans and DIY: Using Etsy and Kickstarter to Boost A Business

Lifestyle30: Category Archives: Black DIY: Making and Sustaining 

 

Review of “Everybody Sees the Ants”

Everybody Sees the Ants by A.S. King

Summary from Goodreads:

“Lucky Linderman didn’t ask for his life. He didn’t ask his grandfather not to come home from the Vietnam War. He didn’t ask for a father who never got over it. He didn’t ask for a mother who keeps pretending their dysfunctional family is fine. And he didn’t ask to be the target of Nader McMillan’s relentless bullying, which has finally gone too far.

But Lucky has a secret–one that helps him wade through the daily mundane torture of his life. In his dreams, Lucky escapes to the war-ridden jungles of Laos–the prison his grandfather couldn’t escape–where Lucky can be a real man, an adventurer, and a hero. It’s dangerous and wild, and it’s a place where his life just might be worth living. But how long can Lucky keep hiding in his dreams before reality forces its way inside?”

Spoilers Beware!

The beginning of the novel takes place in Lucky’s Pennsylvania hometown where we see Nader’s brutality in all it’s cruelty. Since we’re seeing the world through Lucky’s eyes, we live his experiences, and don’t fully comprehend the extent of Nader’s assault until Lucky allows himself to share it with a girl he meets in Arizona.  Lucky’s mother drags Lucky to her brother’s house in Tempe to get away from the bullying and the tension in her marriage.

Being an Arizona native, I was excited to read a book that takes place (for the most part) in my home state (even if Tempe is Sun Devils’ territory). Goodness knows we could use the positive press!

Throughout the novel Lucky sees his own peanut gallery of ants who provide comic relief in situations that would otherwise be relentlessly painful. The humor makes the book easy to read despite the dark and frustrating concepts it describes. King’s use of magical realism in this book is amazing! It’s refreshing to see this literary tool used in this genre.

I found Lucky’s mother and her refusal to deal with her son’s tormentors to be extremely frustrating. Lucky blames her for his problems when he’s feeling low and depressed, but as he gains in confidence he stops placing so much blame on her. I feel that he absolutely has the right to blame her for not sticking up for him! Yes, a part of growing up is learning to fight your own battles, but it’s the job of a parent to defend their child, especially when he is a victim of physical assault! Perhaps because my mother was the stereotypical mama bear I found Lucky’s mother to be unbelievable and fairly useless.

I thought that the character development and plot was believable all the way up until the end of the book, when Lucky and his mother return to Pennsylvania. At that point, everything just seems to end up a little too “neat” and the plot seemed to be rushed to a conclusion.

Overall: 3.5/5
ISBN: 0316129283 (ISBN13: 9780316129282)

Two and a Half Months Later

On August 28, 2012 I began my first professional job out of graduate school as the Web Services Fellow at the University of Houston Libraries!

My position as a Fellow is a term entry-level assistant librarian position in the Library Web Services department. According to the job description:  “This position will work collaboratively with the Web Services Coordinator and key stakeholders to further goals of the Web Services Department in streamlining and integrating web-based access to library resources and services in support of the teaching, research, and the learning needs of the University of Houston community as well as providing innovative resources and tools to librarians and library staff. The Fellow will have opportunities to assist in project management, technology training, web content management, usability testing, multimedia production, and web development. “

The first few weeks of any new job can be a bit slow, filled with training, HR paperwork, and small tasks.  Now that I’ve been here for some time, and have met with many other librarians and staff members throughout the Libraries, I am busy with my own set of projects and committees.  True to the position description, I am involved with technology training, web content management, project management, and multimedia production. The web development and usability portions of the projects haven’t come up yet, but I’ve only been here for two and a half months!

In addition to these general projects and responsibilities, I’ve had the opportunity to explore some of my own interests, such as looking into data management services offered by other academic libraries and getting involved with the local digital humanities group on campus.

As part of my goals for the (professional) year, I want to get into the habit of writing about the projects I’m involved in and what my work entails. To this end, I aim to be writing weekly blog posts. My hope is that my writing skills will improve and thinking about my work will help me identify future possibilities for research and publication.

Feel free to leave any comments, questions, or suggestions!

Review of Paper Towns by John Green

Summary from Goodreads:

“Quentin Jacobsen has spent a lifetime loving the magnificently adventurous Margo Roth Spiegelman from afar. So when she cracks open a window and climbs back into his life – dressed like a ninja and summoning him for an ingenious campaign of revenge – he follows.

After their all-nighter ends and a new day breaks, Q arrives at school to discover that Margo, always an enigma, has now become a mystery. But Q soon learns that there are clues – and they’re for him. Urged down a disconnected path, the closer Q gets, the less Q sees the girl he thought he knew.”

I’m a bit late jumping onto the John Green fan girl train considering Paper Towns is my first John Green novel and I just read it last week. I typically stick to science fiction and fantasy novels, so the genre of this novel is a bit of a departure for me. However, I really enjoyed it!

*Spoiler Alert*

The story itself is divided up into three parts: the Night of Revenge wherein Margo Roth Spiegelman enlists her childhood friend and next door neighbor to assist her in a cross-suburbia adventure of revenge. This part of the story is extremely hilarious and exciting; I couldn’t turn the pages quick enough! As thrilling as this portion of the story was, I also found it incredibly nerve wracking. I am terrified of getting into trouble and it makes me nervous when characters in books or TV shows do things that they are not supposed to do.

Breaking into Sea World when acceptance to Duke University is on the line, for example.

The second part of the story, after Margo has disappeared, is not very exciting. It mainly focuses on Q’s obsession with this girl and his mental grappling matches with the clues she leaves behind. While the plot itself is slow in this section, the characters and dialogue are gems.  Q’s parents are both therapists and the vast majority of their dialogue consists of them trying to out therapist each other. I found this uncontrollably hilarious! Radar, one of Q’s best friends, suffers from parents who own the largest collection of Black Santas in the world. At one point, they drop everything and rush to out of town because the man with the second largest collection of Black Santas has kicked the bucket and they are determined to purchase his collection.

The last part of the story, The Road Trip, is the flipside to the Night of Revenge and is just as funny and entertaining, if not more so. I love how every person in the Minivan has a specific role: Lacey is the Caretaker, Ben is the person who ALWAYS has to pee, Radar is the Logistics Man, and Q is…well Q is Q.

The Road Trip is even better than the end of the story, because it is random, crazy, witty, and filled with caffeine, ironic clothing, and Metaphorical I Spy.

The entire novel is filled with wonderful little quirks like these that make the characters so relatable! People are weird, and John Green completely captures this. Often times throughout the book, characters will say or think things that completely summarize real life, in a way so many books don’t do these days.  One of my favorite devices that Green uses is in depth literary analysis of poetry and intelligent references to important literature.

John Green’s characters in this novel are, overall, incredibly endearing. Q, the main character, is completely infatuated with Margo Roth Spiegelman, who is actually the least sympathetic character (IMHO) in the entire novel. I don’t think that there is enough Margo from Margo’s point of view to make me care very much about her, at least compared to the other characters. Q, Radar, Angela, Lacey, and Ben are much more real to me. However, that is part of the entire point of the novel. Margo is a mystery who is thought of as an idealized girl by everyone in the school, especially Q. By the end of the story I realized, along with Q, that she is actually nothing like the person everyone thinks she is, but is actually very thoughtful, not very self-assured, and struggling to find her place in the world, just like everyone else.

Overall: 3.5/5

I now plan on reading every one of John Green’s books – after my Great Move South.

List of books I will finish this YEAR, gorramit!

Also, a list of reviews of books/series that I’ve read recently but have been slacking on the actual writing of said reviews. Maybe posting this will hold me some kinds of accountable?

1. Jekyll and Hyde by Robert Louis Stevenson (the Barnes and Noble Edition)

2. Invisible Man by Ralph Ellison

3. Collection Development by Vicki L. Gregory (Textbook for my Collection Development class, I should probably finish it at some point!)

4. Learning PHP, MySQL, and JavaScript (See above)

5. Observing the User Experience (See above)

6. The Handbook of Usability Testing (See above)

7. The Beekeeper’s Apprentice by Laurie R. King and the rest of the Mary Russell novels.

8.  Jane Eyre by Charlotte Brontë

9. Fledgling by Octavia E. Butler

10. Anything else I can get my grubby hands on – maybe make a dent in my recent ALA Annual ARC haul? 😀

Reviews

1. The Seventh Tower series by Garth Nix

2. The Beka Cooper Trilogy by Tamora Pierce

3. Outliers by Malcolm Gladwell

4. Magisterium by Jeff Hirsch

 

*UPDATE*

Let’s be honest – these reviews are never gonna get written unless I re-read the books. I’m going to attempt to write reviews as I go along from now on. Is it too late to add to my New Year’s Resolutions?