Cogito, Ergo Sumana
Sumana oscillates between focus and opportunity

(2) : Announcing Changeset Consulting: I'm delighted to announce the launch of my new business. I am the founder of Changeset Consulting, LLC.

Changeset provides short-term project management services to free and open source software projects. Need to expedite the releases of new versions of software, write developer onboarding and user documentation, triage and respond to bugs, clean out the code review queue, or prioritize tasks for upcoming work? Changeset Consulting lightens the load on your maintainers.

Details about the services I offer, my past work, and useful resources I've made are at I'm seeking new clients and would love referrals.

For now the shop is just me, but I'm aiming to have enough income and work by summer 2016 to hire an intern or apprentice, and to eventually hire full-time staff. We'll see how it goes.

I highly recommend Galaxy Rise Consulting, the firm I hired to design my website. Much thanks to Shauna Gordon-McKeon, and to all the friends and family who encouraged me on my way here!

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(3) : Words I Didn't Know in "Camp Concentration": I recently re-skimmed Camp Concentration by Thomas M. Disch to list the words he uses that I did not know. In this list I do not include words he uses and then immediately defines (e.g., orthoepy), or obscure words I already knew (e.g., supererogatory), or words I believed to be proper nouns. I mark with an asterisk words that are nearly defined in the text and words I was nearly sure I already knew. Where the word appeared at the beginning of a sentence and I'm not sure whether it's a proper noun, or derived from one, I've preserved the initial capital letter. Here they are, in the order they appear in the book:

Pellucidar, empyrean, hermetic*, triturated, factoricity, tappets, lutulence, caliginous, resile, chrism, Hierodule, hypogeum, breccia, spirochete*, treponeme, orchitis, tabes dorsalis, Adamite, chilead, megrims, scherzoes, quaggy, unhouseled, fire-drakes, squitters, jactitations, hassock, enfouldered, stabile, quittors, oblate, athanor*, electuary, telluric, minorating, perfervid, concinnate, factoricity, ortilans, sacerdotal, philoprogenitiveness, ruck, hypogeal, daedal, fane, cornua, epalpibrate, picador, pic, banderilleros, hierograms, catechesis, symbolatrous, cope (noun), drier (noun), benisons, tellurian, bellycrabs, viscid, Carmot, crozier, hyperdulia, opuscula, crapulence, stelae, chiliasts, glouting, epithesis, illapses, wyverns, virescense, latria, umbelliferous, plash, fascinariorum, Ramiform, conatus, Anastomosis, haecceity, farctate, flagitious, squiffy, satispaison, rugate, cerebration*, emulous, gravid, compassionating, spining, sybilline, moiety*, perforce*, bolking, innocuity*

I have not looked up any of those words yet, as I am posting this partly to suggest Camp Concentration as a word source to the officiants of my neighborhood vocabulary bee. Also, I used my phone to note down the words I found, so a side benefit is that my autocorrect just got a lot more highbrow.

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: Ways to Toss Your Stuff in NYC: I've been on a house-cleanout kick recently. Thus I am grateful for the New York City Compost Project, this list of food banks & food pantries in New York City, SAFE (Solvents, Automotive, Flammables, and Electronics) Disposal Events in the city, and Greenmarket textile recycling collection.

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: A Few More Fanvid Forebearers: Next week I'm speaking to a college class about my video art piece "Pipeline" which critiques the tech industry's hypocritical diversity narrative (making-of). When I posted the vid in May I also posted a list of some vids I'd learned from.

But just now I also remembered a couple of other pieces of video remix art I'd loved:

In 2008 Leonard and I discovered a super-erudite "lyrics misheard" video focusing on religious history, anti-oppression organizing, and Star Trek. If you have not watched "Wishmaster Misheard Odysseus' Idealist Alchemical Revolution" and you like silly juxtapositions plus extremely 2008-era "and now a few reminders of the US same-sex marriage debate" please take the five minutes.

And from just before the US general election of 2006, "Freedom", a witty and angry and comprehensively anti-George W. Bush montage. Warning: Upsetting photos throughout, including dead or injured people from Abu Ghraib, Hurricane Katrina, and the 9/11 attacks. Perhaps my favorite part is the extremely didactic 3:19-3:40 visuals atop the "that's what you get!" repetitions, reminding us to vote for specific Democrats and finishing with a triumphant shot of Ned Lamont.

In "Pipeline" I enjoyed the self-indulgence of inserting references I loved even though they'd only resonate with a teeny percentage of my viewers. And I got straight-up didactic and wordy with screencaps and onscreen text, and I got funny-angry in a way that's hit a chord with some folks. It's hard to trace precisely but I think KleistGeistZeit and mgarthoff helped me see how to do this -- thanks!

: A Month, Ish: I have been fairly low-volume on this blog lately. Some stuff I've been up to:

I wrote a Geek Feminism piece about feminist tech demos I saw at a showcase in New York City. I also asked the Geek Feminism book club what we want to read next, and then posted some thoughts on Zen Cho's Sorcerer to the Crown. I'll be posting more about Sorcerer to GF this week.

I wrote fanfic about Star Trek: The Next Generation and current events.

I helped spread the word about a bunch of openings for UX experts, developers, and sysadmins at the New York Public Library.

For the first time, I've signed up to participate in the Yuletide Treasure fanfiction exchange (my "Dear Author" letter). I'll get my assignment by November 1st and I'm pretty curious -- this experience will inform my answers to my question: What would a "Secret Santa"-style gift exchange along the lines of Yuletide Treasure look like in other parts of open source or open culture?

Leonard and I finished watching The Legend of Korra and I read Ancillary Mercy (my review), and I got most of the way through Stone Butch Blues by Leslie Feinberg. I listened to the entirety of Gimlet Media's show StartUp and cried at the end of the second season. And I got super into the musical Hamilton, getting to see it for $10 via the lottery for front-row seats, buying the cast album, and listening to it many, many times. I've started posting thoughts about it in the Hamiltunes community on Dreamwidth. For those of us who miss The West Wing and good Star Trek it fills quite a void.

Leonard and I hosted various visitors. I cooked a few dishes I'd never cooked before. I cycled places (my longest ride on this bike so far: from Astoria to Park Slope and back, about twenty miles) and learned how to clean and lube the chain. I worked on business planning and started talking to leads. I got used to a Jolla phone running SailfishOS (it's a little underfeatured but improving steadily).

In perhaps the most boring news at all, I'm trying out the world of the standing desk, using a stack of books to raise the laptop to typing height; I'll have to take out Gooseberry Bluff Community College of Magic by David J. Schwartz from this pile in order to finish it.

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: Preserving Your Old Art Or Activist Videotapes: These notes on a panel about digital preservation of fanvids spurred me to note down some links in a comment, and I figured it was worth publicizing further here.

I myself put vids on Critical Commons and have started also putting them on the Internet Archive. The Internet Archive is also willing to digitize and post VHS tapes (witness the John Morearty archive), but you may want to take a preservationist approach and pay someone like Bay Area Video Collective to digitize the tape more carefully and in higher fidelity, if it's particularly historic or visually artistic. In my experience that kind of preservation service might cost about USD$135 for a 60-minute VHS tape. BAVC and similar nonprofits often have grants to help with this, e.g., the Preservation Access Program.

You can find vendors for $20/tape but those vendors basically do parallel digitization, with lots of consoles going at once, so there's more risk that a problem will happen with any one tape.

The California Preservation Project's CAVPP (California Audiovisual Preservation Project), which also has a grant to make archival-quality digitizations of historic media, has put together a useful guide to identifying and taking care of various kinds of cassettes, DVDs, etc. Page 9 (Environmental Conditions) has more details on the best temperature and relative humidity for storing these things. Here's a version one can print out. And here are some more resources, including webinars, for people getting into video preservation. I went to a CAVPP workshop this summer, which is how I know their particular resources.

If you or your organization have activist or artistic videorecordings on analog media, now is a really good time to start planning to get those into a digital medium. Magnetic and other media deteriorate, and the clock is ticking.

(2) : Penumbra, Apotheosis, Friable: I had a pretty full weekend here in Queens.

Saturday morning I went to an information session in Flushing about a business plan competition in Queens. About 170 new or small businesses enter each year for a chance at one of three $10,000 grants (the three categories: Food, Innovation, and Community). I also learned more about the Entrepreneurial Assistance Program, a 10-week, $500 night course. I am thinking seriously about doing this; my MS in Technology Management focused much more on big corporate tech than on solo entrepreneurship, and it's been several years since that coursework anyway.

MergeSort logoThen I went to Maker Faire to help staff the table for MergeSort, the new New York City feminist hackerspace. A year or two ago I entertained the idea of cofounding a feminist community workshop in Astoria and decided I did not want to try without several dedicated cofounders. Then, a few months ago, I happened to meet Anne DeCusatis on the subway (she noticed my laptop stickers) and found out that she and Katherine Daniels are founding MergeSort! Right now it's a monthly meetup in Brooklyn.

I brought my zines "Cat, Dog, and Badger Each Own A Bookstore. They Are Friends." and "Quill & Scroll" and taught passers-by how to turn the letter-sized sheet of paper into an eight-page booklet with one slit and a bit of folding, just as Liz Henry taught me at that Double Union workshop where I started "Cat, Dog, and Badger." (Brendan, there are now like 150 more people who have received copies of your gorgeous illustrations of a hedgehog running an all-night bookstore.) I saw a few people I knew, and met Jenn Schiffer!

the three words I defined in oral rounds Saturday night I attended a vocabulary bee sponsored by my local bookshop. During the first round, in which we had twenty minutes to define fifteen words, I discovered I did not know the meanings of "flocculent", "phthisis", and "dipsomaniac" -- and I was slightly off regarding "trenchant" (which means "forceful" rather than "perceptive"). The MC encouraged us to write in jokes in addition to or instead of accurate answers, as the judges also appreciated and awarded points for style and hilarity. So I defined dipsomania as an obsession with the singing the "dip da dip da dip" scat from "Blue Moon", and I japed that "flocculent" is a service that lets Catholic priests monitor their congregations on Twitter during the 40 days of Lent. I made it into the oral rounds, during which I successfully defined "penumbra", "apotheosis", and "friable," each time adding a little something -- about constitutional law, about the first becoming the last, about how we, too, will crumble into ashes and dust.

my winnings - a book, a t-shirt, and gift certificates to Astoria Coffee and Astoria BookshopI won first place.

Yesterday: back to Maker Faire for more tabling. A Philadelphia visitor in an International Workers of the World shirt recognized me because of my Dreamwidth pin, but declined to sing a labor song with me. (I have been working on "Banks of Marble," personally.) It feels possible at this point that the majority of the sentences Anne has heard me say are: "Hi there, we're starting a feminist makerspace here in New York City." (A little misleading, since I am not one of the founders, but hey, clarity over precision for a carnival barker's patter.) I can stay on message and repeat talking points for many hours, and was glad to deploy these skills in the service of a good cause, while also giving away silly zines about animals who own bookstores.

I grew much better at teaching people how to cut and fold the zine; sometimes, when I said to an adult or a child towards the end of the process, "Do you see how it wants to become a book?" I saw the joy of discovery and mastery in their face. "It's yours to keep," I said, and maybe they'll unfold and refold it, to understand. I think some of those people, kids and adults both, have started thinking about what zine they might make. Maybe some kid got some paper and pen on the drive home to Long Island or Connecticut or Jersey, and sat in the back seat drawing, making and numbering eight cells on a sheet of notebook paper or the back of an old math worksheet. Maybe a couple of women, on the long subway ride back to Brooklyn, used the back of a flyer to start drafting -- maybe I'll see them at a MergeSort meetup one of these days.

We ran out of zines, and of business cards, and of eighth-of-a-sheet slips Anne had printed Saturday night, and of hastily-handwritten DIY cards cut from notebook paper and the back of a mis-cut "Quill & Scroll".

I got home to a Leonard-cooked dinner, some Internet time, and a few episodes of The Legend of Korra, then the lunar eclipse, then sleep.

2015 November

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