Ecto – Because Bleezer Doesn’t Like Me

This post (if it even reaches the web) was written using Ecto. I tried Bleezer (a free desktop publishing tool) but couldn’t figure out the correct port for my self hosted WordPress blog (why do I need a port??).
Anyway, now I can write offline (without writing in MS Word or whatever) and post it directly. Or, if you think about it – I’ve just found another way to use up space on my already full hard drive. 🙂 Maybe the upside will be that my post increase in quality and thoughtfulness…hmm.
I stopped by the lab today after most everyone had gone. The kids that were there and had been there yesterday asked me why I hadn’t come in. Our group was able to hold down the fort – so hopefully we are well on our way to making my instruction optional. 🙂
I tried something in class the other day (a new teaching technique) that worked really well. I think I’m getting better at this. I’m excited.
All of my books are on their way (finally) :). I sent back that $100+ pamphlet that they called a textbook and got a used one for $80… -_-

Orientation starts in a week…hmm. Am I ready for this? Of course that’s a senseless question seeing that wether I’m ready or not – life keeps coming. To that point I’m realizing more and more that my schedule is my life line. I’m already off right now so this post must end.
We’ve gotten between 35 and 50 kids through the lab in the past 3 weeks. Now the staff are interested. They want to make shirts. We’re going to plan a staff night. 🙂
A Russian supply rocket, headed to the ISS crashed today. It didn’t even get into orbit. I think we should try a space shuttle. Of course NASA says that, even in light of the difficulty that the Russians are having with getting into space – we don’t need the shuttles.
I shook my head and laughed.


An Earthquake? What Earthquake?

So, I am trying to get started with the blogging tool of choice (as I read online), Ecto. (It’s free for almost a month so I figured I’d try it out.)

I am currently lost and far too tired to get found. Therefore, I’ve gone back to good ole’ Copy n’ Paste for all my blogging needs.

There was an earthquake today – or so I heard. I remembered what seemed to be a large truck going past right about the time. I afterwards remembered that large trucks don’t usually pass by the lab.

I’ve spent almost 8 hours a day at the lab on average this week. I’m getting better at teaching – but I’m also very tired. We’ve been working with groups of 10-12 kids (sometimes more) at a time. I planned to only work with groups of 5 at a time but they all want to come and camp is over in a week. We’ve had about 30 kids go through the lab so far.

Effect? I won’t be going in tomorrow until the staff meeting at 2. Maybe. (Hears the lab calling in the distance…)

I repaired my electronic business card that I made in NC 😀


Acting “Black” – an aspiration

I’d like to share a piece I wrote. I’m particularly posting this in honor of the opening of the Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial on the National Mall this week. This is a first draft. It is actually part of an essay that I wrote for a scholarship application.

What comes to mind when you hear the phrase “acting black”? How would you describe what is meant by that term. How accurate, factual, is your description?
To those of you who are African-American, or any other “black”, how important is your heritage to you? How important is it that you have a correct perception of your heritage? How do you think our perception of our heritage shapes who we are? What effect does it have on the larger scale (how we interact with others, how others interact with us)?

Do you aspire to “act black”?

Food for thought.

Acting “Black”

I was born to a young couple, who, while they were not of remarkable economic status possessed a quality of person and well bred manner which they sought to instill in their children. They sought to foster our natural curiosity and train our minds in wholesome ways, giving us glimpses into the worlds of, nature, science, culture and art and encouraging us to explore the beckoning beyond. To this end, my parents decided to home-school us. They sought to surround us with positive social and cultural situations through church, youth groups, Pathfinders (similar to Boy scouts), and supported travel opportunities.

It has been said that it takes a village to raise a child. For me the “village” came most strongly into play at 12 when my family was introduced to the community Fab Lab program at a local tech center. (Fab Labs started as an MIT outreach project and are internationally connected, digital fabrication laboratories whose purpose is to give lay people access to high-end technology for innovation and personal problem solving – technology such as is typically found in well endowed research labs.) My “Fab Family” (the MIT folks involved in Fab Labs) guided and inspired me as I learned to use the tools in the lab and supported me as I went from a user to a contributor and eventually began developing curricula to teach young people math, science, engineering and technology in the Fab Labs.

If you accede our society’s oftentimes-arbitrary stereotypes, you might be surprised to learn that my family is African American. The “black” culture, as presented by mainstream media could be described by and abundance of crass, irresponsible behavior. It’s a culture of people who live for the most part in either poverty or extreme wealth, the wealth being derived from occupations that destroy society. The people are portrayed as violent, insolent, unproductive, under-educated, out of control. We are depicted as prioritizing appearances over substance and as having an aversion to upward movement and engaging in activities that would benefit those around us. We are portrayed as the party people who can sing, dance and play ball –and very little else.

This is portrayed as “the way to be”. They call it “acting black”. We have to “be hard”. Being well spoken is often considered a bad thing.

I am a person who knows better. I’ve seen both sides of the coin. My parents and grandparents have always told me about my heritage – that of the African-American Diaspora. The story of my people is the story of a people in harsh servitude, ground into the dust and yet alive. The story of the African-American is a story of a people dealt with in violence and heartlessness, which were able to respond with peace. Our story is the story of the men and woman who built the world’s greatest country. With their blood, sweat and tears they watered it’s fields. With hope in their hearts they longed for their “inalienable right(s) to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness”. Even when it was illegal, they learned to read and write. Our leaders were the ones who did everything in their power to obtain an education – knowing that it was the golden key to success. They were the ones who, once they had achieved, reached back to lend a hand and help someone else up. They were the ones who braved brutality and injustice so that I could have a better chance. I know what it truly means to “act black”. It means to strive towards better, and to help your neighbor get there too.

I was born at the crossroads of these twain perceptions, and, like the wind and rain carve out the landscape, these cultural forces have helped carve me into the person I am today. I have been described as “with it”, “capable” “confident” and a “strong leader”. Why?
I’ve been able to make an informed decision, partly because I’ve seen both worlds. For a time, my family of six lived in a one-bedroom apartment with prostitutes, gangbangers, drug dealers and drunks on the next floor. The place where we currently live is rife with violence, ignorance and irresponsible behavior. I’ve made a conscious decision to dream and go higher instead of lower.

I want to be a consequential force for good, not just in my neighborhood – but also in the world. I am interested, inquisitive, and place a high value on my education. I see myself as a bridge, a helping hand, to those who will follow in the footsteps of our great African-American leaders, embrace our heritage, dream past what we don’t have, and cross over into the sun of a better life.

Just a few minutes ago, as I Googled “blogging software” – it hit me. I was reading one blogger’s take on a particular desktop publishing application when I realized “I’m a blogger”. I think this is the first time I’ve really “felt” like one. Hmmm…this is interesting. At any rate, as I now have two blogs with identical content (this one and the one hosted on my server [that one is still under aesthetic development but is online:]) and numbers three and four in the making (not with identical content), I need a desktop publishing/blogging tool. I saw one for windows, but I need one for OSX. And it needs to be free (this is already costing me enough lol). What do you use? Experience is the best review tool. 🙂

What a day, what a day. This morning I went out to the park with my mom and dad… We walked/jogged/ran about 2 miles. (I’m not sure what kind of delusion I was under to suppose that I might be able to keep up with him…especially in my lack of shape.)
My mom is a runner and my dad is just an antelope. I am short, with short legs and I’ve only just started (again, in the last couple of weeks) going out and speed walking. I’m trying to build up to running – but I was there today. It actually went much better than I thought it would. I’ll just be the short antelope. (Lol). I did my couple hundred yard sprint that I like to do at the end and it hurt. I did finish it and then raced my mom in a hundred yard dash. Smh. Then we went home and went out to play basketball with the guys.
Needless to say, between that, the lab marathon this afternoon and the fact that I spent the vast majority of last night working on my website – I am exhausted.
I felt awesome today but I don’t even want to imagine how I’ll feel in the next couple days. :S I’m still going out in the morning. I will not be a victim of inertia (or fear of pain).

The lab was full today. This time mostly kids. We helped with the development and printing of 6 t-shirts (I’m pretty sure that’s a record). Here’s a t-shirt one of my girls made (she’s 7 or 8):



I’m very excited. My website is coming along :). I’ve installed a wiki and a blog on my server. I’m currently working on getting the blog properly set up and syncing it to this one.

Now I need a home page. I’m working on that tonight.


Happy Sabbath, I have a Wiki now :)

I had 4 brutal essays to write, but now they are all behind me. I have conquered them. Now I can catch up on my sleep. I’m learning that when you are under the most pressure is when you need your schedule the most. Of course that’s when you are most likely to NOT follow it.

Ooh! Ooh! Ooh! (jumps up and down) I have a wiki now! 🙂 I installed it today. It took forever and as yet has no content – but you should still check it out: I’ve decided that this is where my tutorials and such will be posted (for those of you who have noticed that I have yet to do my t-shirt tutorial). Actually, I’ve been planning this for a bit. It’s part of my web project that is slowly taking shape. I’m setting up my blog on my site next and a couple other pages (such as my Fab Academy archives).

I’m very glad for the Sabbath. This week (and every week really) has been hectic. I need the time to break and refocus.
God is good!


Fab 7 – Happening now in Lima, Peru

Fab7 is happening in Peru. We were able to connect via video conference for the initial meeting of the International Fab Lab Association. I may serve on one of the committees. We’re voting today and tomorrow I think. There is another meeting tomorrow. I’ll post some videos another time.

I christened the new milling machine with its first bit of copper and PCB dust today. 🙂

I tried to cut out the one layer lilypad, but after some software issues, I got this:

My mom made a really cool t-shirt:

I’m starting to speak English with a French accent. -_-


I (really) miss traveling…

Facebook is really rubbing it in this time. I just saw a note “From this time in 2009” (August 15 2009) which read

Destination: India Please keep us n your prayers! Courage to Stand shoutout!

By the time this week is over, I will most likely have posted a travel blog…I can feel it coming on. 🙂

At any rate, I must needs depart from you with nary a word, as I have 4 essays to write tomorrow morning (full length essays mind you) and a class of excited youngsters to teach in the afternoon.

I had planned on doing the t-shirt tutorial today…but life had other ideas (like going to the lab and teaching decidedly un-geeky adults how to fabricate with the vinyl cutter).

It appears that I’ll have to return one of my textbook supplements as it appears to be the wrong edition. -_-


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