Thoughts on Life

I never thought about how much I needed to get out-of-town until the past hour. I saw yet another homeless person, which made me think about how I’m much closer to them than they could ever imagine. The situation in the US when the Supreme Court can require people to pay for insurance when not able to afford to live in a dwelling space, period, if they want the status of legal, law-abiding, tax-paying citizens is too much. I have not yet read the legislation. I will admit that. Just not a fan of the Supreme Court writing into law yet another tax. And upholding it due to tax reasons. Same idea as getting Al Capone on tax evasion, which was brilliant for its time but kind of… getting them on the side instead of dead between the eyes as is the ideal. So basically, annoying. Satisfying when there is nothing else to work on besides that particular thing, but in general… not enough unless there is no other approach towards justice.

In this case, it’s working on the American people when it is a matter of regulating private agencies and upholding a system corrupted at its core in an inter-layered web of intensive and extensive lies and kick backs. I am not a fan of this. I am a conservative with small government preferred whenever possible.

The idea of the government forcing me to pay for something where I do not have a choice in the matter… I realize that Social Security is there and it set this precedent years ago. The idea was for a temporary fix, not permanence for all citizens. It was the answer to the Great Depression and did not have cost of living or other economic factors fitted into it. Watching how it happens now, people get discounts when it is their only support. That means that it doesn’t work for the time. That, and/or the cost of the good or the charge for it is too high. Same deal with students, and there are problems with what students make, also. While there is nothing that appears possible for solving the issues with Social Security, its existence and “constitutionality” was what made this pass the Court. And the fact that part of the ruling mentioned that it was due to the political race and leaving it to the people to change it. Guess what?

Our rights hang by less than a thread. They hang by the scraps of fingernails and nothing else. I’m done and sick of the lies that plagued the system for the past four years. While I used to not care, I’m done with that.

I glanced at a grandpa (or older father?) buying and eating an ice cream cone with his daughter/granddaughter today at the place where I found wi-fi. I got a hot dog because where I am traveling does not have hot dogs like this place, and it’s become an “addiction” of sorts. Watching a man who cared about his daughter (or grand-daughter) I grinned about memories where I did that with my grandpa’s. Just loved it. It really was about taking time, and the little girl was utterly cute and sweet. Things like that are what SHOULD be happening. People at Church have incredibly cute little children, and it helps me think that maybe it’s not quite as incredibly scary as it’s seemed during my entire 20’s. I’m not sure.

Definitely not baby hungry, but watching these grandpa’s (another came in with a little boy and they bought fries and drinks), it just makes me think of this place as a throw-back to a much simpler period where things still had some goodness. Life circumstances were less convoluted, complicated, and utterly survival-driven. I have not thought about childhood in a really long time. It will be nice to get somewhere where I can get away from men and just be GenealogyDr. No frills, no performing needed. No need to worry about making a good impression other than being respectful with friends.

I am the adult, but perhaps even I can take time out once in a great while and simply “be.” Otherwise, burn-out inevitable. I cannot out run my problems, but I can let myself relax (I usually describe this as “breathing”) once in a while. Everyone needs that. I need to get away from constant reminders of people who make me want to cry.

Off for the weekend although still working,

GenealogyDr

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Zee-Maps: My App is a lot easier than I thought

I feel a little dumb now. I think that I can create the cool layer of my app using ZeeMaps and some pretty common lists. At least, it works that way in my head. It was not that big of a deal, but I was looking forward to learning how to make the maps for myself. Sad day. But, useful. At least I now know that this exists. Still considering whether to take the GIS class because mapping is hotter than Hades in dead summer. See this for example of one layer of the potential app: Wisconsin Public Libraries map.

Why did I think that Geography was a dumb major when I was in undergrad? Oh yeah, I was busy off in la-la land learning all about my family and falling in love with dead people! Now, I need to know ALL of it. Wish that my undergrad worked more inter-disciplinarily than my Masters are. …Now what? Oh yeah, create app. (Check. – Soon or someday.) Or start over? Great. What else am I going to do to change the world one person at a time? Completely unknown.

Things will get better, or else it will be time for the next task. Still have to make the app before I declare myself out of options!

Training for Reality: Librarians and Genealogists

Why don’t library schools train in family history/genealogy? It’s the same methodological thought processes, just more of them and more of the historical aspects. If librarians get requests for it regularly, then why in Hades not train for it? I hear in library school all the time about how librarians get requests for genealogical help or information and they seem incapable of answering the questions. Um, duh- teach the students how to deal with it. Make sure that they know something about what is there, beyond simply Ancestry.com, and have the librarians start working on their own family history as the assignment.

Nothing about family history matters until you try looking up your own family. The next thing you know, it’s the most fascinating stuff in the entire world. YOUR history, not someone else’s, exactly. Yes, it is training that helps a person with customer service skills in the ability to help others, and it’s the most addictive stuff on the planet. Instead of getting into crack, people needs family history training. The only people for whom it is boring are the people who have never tried it, or more accurately, the people who never found anything. One hit, and you’re hooked. Maybe it would be better likened to LSD. Never having taken drugs, I really don’t know what the proper analogy would be for this, but instead of getting depressed over the ineptitude and vicissitudes that accompany familial rejection, despair, loneliness, or otherwise some combination of vices that really helps no one, go to the library and find someone who has some good training in a topic that is the main crux of the problem.

A feeling of the sense of self that completes a person enough to get them away from depression or the things meant to lift it comes from knowing where you come from, coming to grips with it, and dealing. (I am no psychologist, and not a professional in that regard at all. I have nothing against anyone who needs medication or similar things whatsoever.) It takes a lot of strength to see that your family is not perfect, and even (heaven forbid!) sharing it with the relatives involved.

I saw the cover of a book last year that showed a librarian looking like Superman, but a girl. Train librarians in what the people need, and then no one will ask whether or not libraries are worth the funding necessary to keep them open!

More thoughts on New Apps?-NUCMC Mobile

Since I plan to learn how to program apps for historical repositories to make the genealogical world an easier place to navigate for friends, relatives, and the rest of the world, I want to work on getting more thoughts down on paper. I make notes everywhere. Can’t stop writing if I wanted to, but they do not always make it here. Must write this down before it leaves my thought processes.

So, NUCMC exists. It’s this massive union catalog of manuscripts done by the Library of Congress.

  •       For anyone not heavily invested in libraries, a union catalog is how a bunch of libraries together (supposedly) try to save money by using one major catalog and adding entries as needed. Since supposedly no government entity has money anymore (and most libraries are the forgotten beneficiaries of Borders closure, hence making a lot of people try to return to libraries that lost funding and programs in the never-ending stream of budget cuts that come out when people lose interest in culture) then the union catalog supposedly helps people find their information faster. Once I had a teacher who was extremely upset about converting a library to a union catalog. I need to hear positive opinions about them before I can give a more-accurate conclusive judgement. So, consider the above paragraph biased due to that experience.

NUCMC is a manuscripts version of OCLC’s WorldCat. In the end, it’s all about finding the right piece of information as quickly as possible. I was wondering when it comes to NUCMC, is there an app for that? I know that is a trade marked catch-phrase from Apple, but really- IS there an app for that? I am investing my time and energy in learning more about how to make existing technology work easier. If something exists and it’s not incredibly easy to use and does not function on a level where it only takes a few taps, then it’s outdated already. Not as if everyone has the time or power to use such technology on a grand scale. That is not the point here. Accessibility, while a hot topic in any archive or library, along with a basic design, (advanced design principles) that clarify and streamline are the essentials to an effective group’s work.

History matters to the people who live it and somehow either loved it or hated it. And it also matters to the people who don’t know about it for themselves, meaning “Was this family story for real?” That is where the repositories come in. The places that physically host or hold the information must be open virtually, 24/7, while the staff go to bed, live, eat, take care of children’s runny noses, and have lives. They don’t have to operate staffed all the time, although this would be a little ideal for the world employment situation. Someone complains about money issues and then everyone curls up in virtual fetal positions or raise their hands and say no.

I can see when war is the only option to divest tyrants, and military actions tend make really great, detailed records, but it’s like no one has the ability to tell me where all of the money went. Congress has not passed a real budget in 3/4 years of the current presidency and runs on these strange executive orders. I’m sorry. I don’t elect kings. I elect a president and I can get them out. America feels more like a police state now than it did ten years ago. I am not a fan of the illusion of security over the reality of corruption in every level of government and spying on your own people because you are afraid of losing your power. That smacks of fear and lack of confidence in a huge degree. I mean, when you are done being president, you continue with your security detail, you have a huge paycheck, and if the spouse wants to, she can run for president, too. I mean, it seems incredibly silly to worry so hard over the power struggle. And no, it’s not a case of scarcity of resources. It’s a struggle against innovation to clean things up versus keeping costs low. Other countries figured out how to get away with much less oil consumption back in the 1970’s during the first oil crisis by using sugar and other plant-based fuels that Americans seem completely unaware of. No, it does not cost more to convert over. It costs lobbyists and politicians their dependence on the fuel profits from corn shares that literally change how all food grows in the US. I may not know a ton on this topic, but I do see inter-connected webs throughout. It’s a pain in the rear.

Back to the libraries and archives, there is need for NUCMC to be accessible by app if it is not already. When thinking about how historians actually work, it’s not just IN libraries and archives. We need as much portability as any other traveler. Most of my research time is on a day off from other things, or maybe on Saturdays. I research on the way to other places instead of that place being the only thing on the list. It’s the only way that I do not feel guilty for taking the time out to make my work happen. I have yet to be able to do a work trip specifically geared for simply research unless I plan it way in advance. I know of other professionals who actually do plan for research trips and spend their time in the libraries and archives akin to gold.

Due to the expenses involved, online record repositories like Ancestry are incredibly popular, and if I am correct, just passed the one billion mark for profits for good reason. Some of the basic records should be free, and it would be the ideal in the best of world for the whole thing to be, but that is not going to happen either in the current economy or any other. A market economy will not allow it. However, instead it comes down to enough people basically buying into the program to lessen the charge for everyone else.

A lot of apps are free or else people do not try them. I want to do things that are free and somehow make ends meet and get paid for it. I am too much of an idealist in that regard. Not sure how in the world it will work out, but I love the idea of flooding the earth with the ability to find what is necessary to get the research done. I am a romantic in this ideal, and I understand it. Going into academia unfortunately will not pay for it, but I also love teaching. Why is it that everything that I get a kick out of does not pay bills?

*sighs from the GenealogyDr*