First day back at work

Today was my first day back at work after vacation. I got a bit of stuff done -- including drafting a to-do list for intersession (which is about as long as my arm. Sigh...) Between catching up with email, touching base with people regarding intersession projects, and cleaning up, I snatched a few minutes here and there to start pulling the things together for the Austin LAN party: I got out my old airport basestation that I had taken into work and I'm checking a couple of ancient laptops to see if I can get one running linux with a modern enough browser to accomplish useful work with Drupal. I've been meaning to try PowerPC Ubuntu with them anyway, so this is as good a chance as any.

Quarterly Report for ELNA

Board members are supposed to write quarterly reports regarding their activity related to the ELNA board. I didn't write one last quarter (I think only one board-member did), but this year I resolve to do better. Below is what I submitted.

I have continued progress toward having a re-designed website for
Esperanto-USA. I collaborated with Robert Read to find that our
existing hosting service has a cheaper plan for non-profits that
included in the increased services necessary for using the
content management system we had selected (Drupal). I set up a
new site for Esperanto-USA using Drupal, including the creation
of a custom theme that includes the ELNA logo, installed the
software and database at hypermart.net, and began migrating
content from the old site to the new site.

I have established and maintained a relationship with Global
Voices, a Harvard-based organization that espouses values
parallel with Esperanto, but that seemed largely unaware of
Esperanto's existence. I have been trying to educate them about
Esperanto, by maintaining a page listing Esperanto-language
blogs:
http://cyber.law.harvard.edu:8080/globalvoices/wiki/index.php/Esperanto
I succeeded in recruiting a British esperantist, Tim Morley, to
attend their first annual "summit" in London, where they were to
discuss issues of multilingualism. I have agreed to write an
article about this for Esperanto-USA.

I corresponded with the British Esperanto Association to get them
to release to the public domain the rights to the 1906 book
Esperanto: a Grammar and Commentary by George Cox. I am working
with Robert Read and William Walter Patterson to make this
excellent book (I think one of the best ever written in English
about Esperanto) available via Project Gutenberg.

I developed a new strategy for local organizing: creating protest
signs in Esperanto (e.g. ESPERANTISTOJ KONTRAUX MILITO) and
having groups of esperantists attend demonstrations to hold
signs. This is useful, as people will ask you what the signs say
and why an Esperanto speaker is protesting and as pictures of the
protest can show up in the media, putting words in Esperanto
before the public's eye.
http://blog.bierfaristo.com/?q=node/13
http://blog.bierfaristo.com/?q=node/14

Finally, I had a piece of fiction, "Milos kaj Donos" accepted for
publication by Literatura Foiro! It probably doesn't have
anything to do with the board, but it was very time-consuming and
very satisfying nonetheless. :-)

Amherst Paca Solenaĵo

Amherst Paca SolenaĵoHodiaŭ Lucy kaj mi iris al la Amherst urbocentro por partopreni la Amherst Paca Solenaĵo. Ni portis niajn ŝildojn kiuj diras "ESPERANTISTOJ KONTRAŬ MILITO" kaj oni bonvole akceptis nin. Kelkaj homoj interesiĝis pri Esperanto. Multaj ŝoforistoj rigardis dufoje kiam ili vidis kaj ne tuj komprenis la ŝildojn. Ŝajne neniu kredis ke ni varbis por Esperantan Armeon. La reago de la plejmulto estas subtena: oni svingis la manon, indikis supren, aŭ blekigis siajn aŭtojn.

Amherst Paca SolenaĵoLa solenaĵon oni okazigas dimanĉe ekde 1979 -- preskaŭ tridek jarojn. La diraĵo de la grupo kiu kunordigas la solenaĵon estas "Se vi deziras pacon, laboru por justecon".

Estis eble dudek homoj kiuj venis entute (oni faris la bildojn ĉe la komenco kiam estis nur dekdu aŭ dektri). Mi pasis la plejmulton de la tempo babilante kun aktivuloj pri Esperanto kaj pri la politiko de la venontaj loka kaj ŝtata balotado.

Mi iom timis ke oni malakceptus ke oni portu ŝildon en alia lingvo, sed tio tute ne estis problemo. Oni tre volis kompreni kion ĝi diras kaj, se ili ne kredus ke ĝi povus diri tion, eble ili plendus.

Lucy kaj mi restis tie proksimume unu horo kaj, kun malvarmaj piedoj, ni iris hejmen por tagmanĝi. Ĝi estis facila kaj agrabla horo kaj mi atendas fari same estontece.

Leadership

It's astonishing to me how, as soon as you assume a position of leadership in any organization, it's like a target gets painted on your back. No matter what you do (or don't do) people will be unhappy and will blame you personally for their unhappiness. I always assumed there would be a honeymoon and that people would at least accord you some respect for being willing to give it a shot -- especially for being a volunteer. But no! Many people aren't afraid of pulling out all the stops to insult, humiliate, and degrade you. Not everyone does this, of course. On the whole, I've received more thanks and compliments than complaints, but I was surprised at how quickly I started being presented as the enemy and how much bitterness could be directed at me for trying to steer a course of action. These are also the people most likely to need to use the pronoun ŭi.

Mexican omelet

Meksika OvaĵoI was supposed to go the fitness club this morning with Lucy, but overslept. To make it up to her, I fixed omelets for each of us. I fixed Lucy what she requested -- a cheese omelet -- but I made a special omelet for myself.

When Alisa and I lived in Kalamazoo, there was a great little restaurant named Maggie's near campus that made a couple of great, unique breakfast dishes. My favorite was always the Mexican Omelet. Here is my omage to it:

Beat two eggs and pour into a small, pre-heated, buttered teflon skillet. Cover with a plate on medium heat until mostly firm, flip, and grate a little colby longhorn over the eggs, lay on several pieces of thinly sliced chicken (I used peppered turkey), grate a little more cheese over the top. Once the cheese is melted, fold (in half, if thick, or turn two edges in to enclose the contents). Spoon on salsa and sprinkle with jalape

Enjoying my vacation

I'm enjoying my vacation. Today, for the first time, I went out and did stuff (other that walking the dogs -- I've done that most days). Lucy and I walked the dogs first thing and then went to the grocery store and laid in provisions sufficient for the rest of the week, though we may want to pick up a few more things before New Years. Upon getting home, Phil and I played a game of Starcraft. After lunch, I set up the computer in my office and started scanning the rest of Cox. I took a break to go with Lucy to the library to pick up some books and DVDs. Among other things, I picked up the Seven Samurai, which I haven't seen for 10 or 20 years. I had forgotten how long it is. I can appreciate it a lot better now than I could then. After we got back, I finished scanning Cox! The project is moving forward!

Cox Grammar and Commentary

Cox Grammar and CommentaryI wrote about learning Esperanto with this book and wanting to make it available via Project Gutenberg. Our first request was denied because the laws make the rights unclear, so we solicited a letter from the publisher that would establish the work as public domain. We got a reply, forwarded the letter to PG and, on Christmas morning, the email giving us clearance was in my in-box! The project is on!

I'm about half-done with scanning -- I'll head back down to the basement tomorrow and see if I can get it finished. I expect another 4 to 6 hours will finish it off. I'm really pleased that this book is going to be available to the public again. In some ways, it is a bit dated (as it was published in 1906. Nevertheless, the fundamentals of Esperanto haven't changed a bit and the commentary that describes the grammar is exceedingly well-written.

Italan pasteĉon

Italan pasteĉonEkde mia juneco, mi kaj mia frato esploris prepari italan pasteĉon. Mi ŝatas pensi ke mi nun estas spertulo: mi povas komenci kun faruno kaj tomata pasto, kaj post horo kaj duono, jen bongustan italan pasteĉon. Kiam mi estis junulo, mi studis en Hispanio. Mi loĝis kun maljuna virino kiu preparis por ni ĉiujn manĝojn. Mi decidis danki ŝin per preparo de italan pasteĉon. Ŝi iom dubis ĉu ŝi lasu nin fari tion (iufoje, usona knabino kiu restis ĉe ŝi preparis ovaĵon, kiu estis bruligita "kiel karbono", ŝi diris). Sed finfine ni konvinkis ŝin. Mi kaj mia amiko vojaĝis al magazeno kaj aĉetis ĉion necesan. Estis tre malfacila trovi ĉion: oni vokas aferojn malsame en malsamaj landoj. Mozarela fromaĝo oni ne havas: ni devis uzi "francan fromaĝon". "Pepperoni" oni ne havis: ni devis uzi ĉorizon. Sed ni trovis ĉion necesan, preparis la pasteĉon kaj montri ĝin al ŝi. Ŝi miris kiom bona ĝi aspektis: "Que presentaci

Vacation

I'm on vacation! Yesterday I finished up my last work-related tasks. I've posted signs at the BCRC letting people I'm not planning to come in next week and plan to enjoy a few days off. I've felt kind of burned out this semester and am looking forward to the time off.

Today I actually did a lot of stuff that is just like work. I got the new Esperanto-USA site moved to the new hosting service. We've been working on it for about a year and are very close to having the new site go live. On January 7 and 8th, I'll be in Austin for a LAN party to finish our work on the site, but we could probably have the site go live now. It actually not a new hosting service. The plan they were signed up for didn't provide mysql, but after checking we found that they offer a package for non-profits that cost less than what we were paying and included a database. We got the plan switched and we're all set to go.

I didn't just do work, though. Phil and I played a couple of games of Starcraft too. Phil is going to take a vacation roughly corresponding with mine, so we should have time for a good number of games.

Richard send me a Christmas card that included a copy of the slip that the FedEx delivery man left after leaving a package tied to a poison-ivy vine along their driveway. They marked the slip to say that they'd left the package at "tree". I suggested that maybe we should push for FedEx delivery people to have a good botany course.

Zamenhof Bankedo

Zamenhof Bankedo 2005There were only six esperantists (seven, including the 3 month old infant) who came to the Zamenhof Banquet this evening. Still, it was a pleasant dinner at China Dynasty. Last year, I had to drive two hours, but this year it was only 15 minutes from home. And I got to read my speech, which was well received. Originally, I was planning to do a potluck where we would make a pot of stone soup and maybe even have a little theatrical stone soup sketch, but this worked out perfectly well.

I had originally believed that the elementary school would let me set up an Esperanto club for the kids (the principal had agreed). If we'd had the kids, I was thinking we could get them to write and perform the stone soup sketch. I was excited by the possibilities. Then reality set in: the principal backed out (claiming that the person who'd coordinated the clubs previously had left and needed to be replaced before there could be clubs again). Then, I couldn't find a meeting room with a stove. It was discouraging enough, that I didn't get around to actuallly organizing anything until the last minute. But at least it actually happened.

David Coffin and I spent most of the time having a discussion (read "argument") about the value of unions. He holds that I support unions because I've already got mine, whereas I contend that he undervalues the security that having a union provides. He thinks unions make jobs too expensive whereas I believe that the disorder that having no security imposes on people's lives is incredibly destructive to our social fabric and discourages civic engagement. He agrees that he thinks civic engagement is stupid and doesn't have any value. I wonder if he'll still feel that when his daughter is in school.

Bob Lidral came, which was great -- I hadn't seen him since the jarkunveno last year. He has since moved to New Hampshire. I encouraged him to propose a site for the spring Jarkunveno. And Paul came -- Paul looked like it was the middle of finals week or something (which it is, of course). It was great to see everyone and maybe next year we can pull off a more elaborate plan.

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