rstidyman (Richard)
I’ve had enough
  • Have you had enough? Me too. I’ve had enough of so called representatives of the people who protect a president, well known before he was elected to be a womanizer, an accused predator, a lousy businessman, a liar, and an adulterer. 
  • I’ve had enough! I’ve had enough of 8 years of nothing but opposition/obstruction  to anything Obama tried to do, no matter how worthwhile. You obstructed, because you couldn’t stand the thought of him succeeding.
  •  I’ve had enough whining and moaning while our brave public servants testify UNDER OATH of the truth of the events, while the GOP obstructs, whines and refuses to comply with legitimate subpoenas. In prior years, refusing to comply meant arrest and jail time.
  •  I’ve had enough of your bragging about all the jobs and growth of the stock market, when in fact income inequality is greater than ever since the census has been in effect. And the party of fiscal resposibity is mum about the record high deficit.
  •  I’ve had enough of bragging about low taxes in this state while poverty levels and lack of affordable health care is some of the worst in the country and affordable housing is so difficult to find.  
  •  I’ve had enough our our schools barely getting by, and teachers subjecting themselves to pay much lower than their professional peers for the benefit of children, and your governor takes even more money away from public schools for charter schools.
  • I’ve had enough of money of politics, where representatives have to worry about pleasing their corporate donors more than doing what is right for the people. 
  • I’ve had enough of a pay to play system where people are unqualified for the position they are given after giving a million dollar donation to the presidents inaugural fund.  
  • I’ve had enough of politicians that sit on their hands and look the other way in silent complicity while thousands of children are separated from their parents in violation of international law. 
  • I’ve had enough of politicians putting their heads in the sand refusing to look at the facts about the climate crisis and do nothing except whine that it is not 100% conclusive.  
  • I’ve had enough of the obstruction in the Senate where McConnell refuses to bring a vote to over 200 measures that were passed in the house.  
  • I’ve had enough of tax breaks for the rich and little or nothing for the people that need it. 

I could go on and on. 

In summary, I’VE HAD ENOUGH of whining GOP representatives that refuse to be transparent, that prefer to twist the facts, ignore those in need, pass legislation that benefits the rich while the poor and the middle class try to make do on less. I’ve had enough of elected officials treating us like mushrooms, keeping us in the dark, and feeding us BS. 

In November, hopefully, you will see we have had enough of you as well.

git-annex devblog (Joey devblog)
day 608 easier git-lfs setup

The git-lfs support I added to git-annex had one small problem: People expect to be able to clone a git repo and get right to using it, but after cloning a git-annex repo that's on a server that uses git-lfs, there was an extra git annex enableremote step to be able to use it as a git-lfs special remote. And, you ended up with a "origin" git remote and a git-lfs special remote with some other name.

Now, it's this simple to set up a git-lfs repo on eg, github:

git annex initremote github type=git-lfs encryption=none url=
git annex sync github
git annex copy --to github ...

And then for others to clone and use it is even simpler:

git clone
cd lfstest
git annex get

The only gotcha is that git-annex has to know the url that's used for the remote. Cloning any other url any other way (eg http instead of https) will result in git-annex not using it. This is a consequence of git-lfs not having any equivilant of a git-annex repository UUID, so git-annex can't probe for the UUID and has to compare urls. This can be worked around using initremote --sameas to tell git-annex about other urls.

Anna (Anna and Mark: Waldeneffect)
New mushroom books and movie
Jack-o-lantern mushroom

During the last month, we had a very late first frost (November 1), rapidly followed by a freeze down into the teens. I went on a caving adventure, Mark learned to make movies on a hand-cranked, black-and-white, film camera, and I published a new werewolf novel.

But none of that is the topic of this post.

Instead, I want to talk more about --- fungi!

Hare's Foot Inkcap

Fantastic Fungi
Mark and I just got back from a showing of the documentary Fantastic Fungi at the nearest art-house theater. We both highly recommend you check this movie out!

The stunningly beautiful time-lapses alone were worth the price of admission. But it was equally fascinating to hear Paul Stamets speak about his life and work. (Michael Pollan, although listed in the description, plays a much smaller role. There is also a cameo appearance by Tradd Cotter!)

I was a little uneasy about certain New Age/overly-poetic language. But Mark felt like the subject matter merited the flourishes. The second half also goes deep into psilocybin/consciousness/mental-health experiments and theory, which was thought-provoking but may turn certain members of the audience off. (I can't decide whether or not I'm among that number.)

Girl gathering mushrooms

New Mushroom Field Guides
Of course, my feet remain firmly planted in the dirt, so I got just as much out of the two new field guides I splurged on a couple of months ago. When I experienced my first round of mycophilia two decades ago, there were so few book choices out there that I was soon disappointed by the fact many of the species I found weren't ID'able. Nowadays, there are lots of local field guides that contain most of the species in certain areas.

For our region, I settled on two new editions. First, Appalachian Mushrooms by Walter E. Sturgeon feels like a (big but) traditional field guide. Species are divided up by category with great images and descriptions.

In contrast, Mushrooms of the Midwest, by Michael Kuo and Andrew S. Methven is a little denser and more scientific (arranged alphabetically by scientific name), although still with excellent photos and good descriptions.

The rule of thumb when identifying mushrooms you intend to eat is to use at least two field guides for ID, preferably also begging backup from a real, live person. Together, Appalachian Mushrooms and Mushrooms of the Midwest make me feel good about at least some of my IDs. Obviously, I don't eat the ones I don't feel good about.

Tiger Sawgill mushroom

Mushroom ID Websites
Of course, you don't have to pay for books unless you want to. As I think I mentioned in a previous post, iNaturalist is a great social-media-style gathering place to share information about species you find in the wild. Don't eat something just because someone on iNaturalist tells you it's okay! But, beyond that caveat, you can learn a lot by posting your tentative ID and waiting to see what others think.

A more field-guide-style website is This labor of love is put together by one of the authors of Mushrooms of the Midwest, and it has even more photos and species than Kuo included in his book. Definitely worth a visit if you have an unknown fungus in your hands!

Mushroom log

And that's probably about as much mushroom enthusiasm as you can handle for one day. I hope you enjoyed the photos, which came from various hikes over the last few months.

rstidyman (Richard)
Our older selves can speak to us.

I was sent a link to an article that talks about the five things needed to do to be happy.  Yeah, right.  Haven’t I read them all by now?  Out of respect and appreciation to the person that sent it, I opened it and read it.  One of the five ideas to me is  huge…a paradigm shift.


I’ve been sorting and sifting through my Catholic upbringing, a short stint in Jesus Freakism and then in my 20’s started to explore parapsychology and mysticism.  The crowd I run with for now resonate with native American motifs, seven generations, and spirituality and the other talks about archetypes, corners, and Robert Bly, inner child, and healing.


The paradigm I’m comfortable with these days, and imperfect to be sure is one that says we are spiritual beings having a physical experience.  Call it God, love, source, “all that is”is part of us, and we are part of it.  Same track maybe, or parallel tracks that sometimes split and we get a little lost along the way, only to find our way back to a place that honors all things and the spirit that resides in them.

I have looked to others for wisdom in the words they speak and still there is sifting and sorting and trying to make sense out of their words.   It is never quite complete or perfect.

do-not-follow-the-ideas-of-others-but-learn-to-listen-to-the-voice-within-yourself-your-body-and-mind-will-become-clear-and-you-will-realize-the-unity-of-allThe concept in the article resonates inside me. Speak to, or at least listen to your older self.  For me that means me, in my mid 80’s, who sees me, knows me, and despite the good, bad and ugly, mistakes and all, loves me.  That old man has wisdom for me, custom made, and perfectly suited to my situation.

He is also a reminder  of my mortality.  He says, make the years count.  There is no destination but the process is what counts.  Therefore, make each day count.  Never miss a moment to show kindness and appreciation.  If you feel the urge, call someone, and by doing so, you may cheer up both you and the other. If there is an opportunity to learn and have fun at the same time, go for it.  It may be theatre again, as it was last year. Or it might be a new job. A new club.  Hanging out and making new friends at the senior center. Volunteering for a worthy cause. It may be with family scattered around the east coast. It may be dancing, or singing, or a festival or a holiday celebration.  Show up. Make it count.

article-2643858-1E55436500000578-585_634x366My older wiser self also tells me not to get complacent.  There are enough good years left and you don’t want to squander those years with bad health.  If you are going to dance, travel and play, to fully appreciate those things, you need a certain level of health?

Older self says “Check in with me next time you have the temptation for that donut, cookie, sugar sweet drink.  I won’t tell you what to do, but let’s have a conversation about it.  We’ll talk ever so briefly about your goals, what you hope to accomplish, and how to best share your many gifts with the world.images Because if you are not healthy enough to participate fully, it won’t be as rich and good as it could be. It’s your choice.  You can settle for some temporary pleasure, but look around you.  Who lives life to the fullest?  Who has given up and just taking up space?  The choice is yours.”


git-annex devblog (Joey devblog)
day 607 v8 is done

Spent the past two weeks on the sqlite database improvements which will be git-annex v8.

That cleaned up a significant amount of technical debt. I had made some bad choices about encoding sqlite data early on, and the persistent library turns out to make a dubious choice about how String is stored, that prevents some unicode surrigate code points from roundtripping sometimes. On top of those problems, there were some missing indexes. And then to resolve the git add mess, I had to write a raw SQL query that used LIKE, which was super ugly, slow, and not indexed.

Really good to get all that resolved. And I have microbenchmarks that are good too; 10-25% speedup across the board for database operations.

The tricky thing was that, due to the encoding problem, both filenames and keys stored in the old sqlite databases can't be trusted to be valid. This ruled out a database migration because it could leave a repo with bad old data in it. Instead, the old databases have to be thrown away, and the upgrade has to somehow build new databases that contain all the necessary data. Seems a tall order, but luckily git-annex is a distributed system and so the databases are used as a local fast cache for information that can be looked up more slowly from git. Well, mostly. Sometimes the databases are used for data that has not yet been committed to git, or that is local to a single repo.

So I had to find solutions to a lot of hairly problems. In a couple cases, the solutions involve git-annex doing more work after the upgrade for a while, until it is able to fully regenerate the data that was stored in the old databases.

One nice thing about this approach is that, if I ever need to change the sqlite databases again, I can reuse the same code to delete the old and regnerate the new, rather than writing migration code specific to a given database change.

Anyway, v8 is all ready to merge, but I'm inclined to sit on it for a month or two, to avoid upgrade fatigue. Also I find more ways to improve the database schema. Perhaps it would be worth it to do some normalization, and/or move everything into a single large database rather than the current smattering of unnormalized databases?

how I maybe didn't burn out

Last week I found myself in the uncomfortable position of many users strongly disagreeing with a decision I had made about git-annex. It felt much like a pile-on of them vs me, strong language was being deployed, and it was starting to get mentioned in multiple places on the website, in ways I felt would lead to fear, uncertainty, and doubt when other users saw it.

It did not help that I had dental implant surgery recently, and was still more in recovery than I knew when I finally tackled looking at this long thread. So it hit hard.

I've been involved in software projects that have a sometimes adversarial relationship with their users. At times, Debian has been one. I don't know if it is today, but I remember being on #debian and #debian-devel, or debian-user@lists and debian-devel@lists, and seeing two almost entirely diverged communities who were interacting only begrudgingly and with friction.

I don't want that in any of my projects now. My perspective on the history of git-annex is that most of the best developments have come after I made a not great decision or a mistake and got user feedback, and we talked it over and found a way to improve things, leading to a better result than would have been possible without the original mistake, much how a broken bone heals stronger. So this felt wrong, wrong, wrong.

Part of the problem with this discussion was that, though I'd tried to explain the constraints that led to the design decision -- which I'd made well over three years ago -- not everyone was able to follow that or engage with it constructively. Largely, I think because git-annex has a lot more users now, with a wider set of viewpoints. (Which is generally why Debian has to split off user discussions of course.) The users are more fearful of change than earlier adopters tended to be, and have more to lose if git-annex stops meeting their use case. They're invested in it, and so defensive of how they want it to work.

It also doesn't help that, surgery aside, I lack time to keep up with every discussion about git-annex now, if I'm going to also develop it. Just looking at the website tends to eat an entire day with maybe a couple bug fixes and some support answers being the only productive result. So, I have stepped back from following the git-annex website at all, for now. (I'll eventually start looking at parts of it again I'm sure.)

I did find enough value in the thread that I was able to develop a fix that should meet everyone's needs, as I now understand them (released in version 7.20191024). I actually come away with entirely new use cases; I did not realize that some users would perhaps use git-annex for a single large file in a repository otherwise kept entirely in git. Or quite how many users mix storing files in git and git-annex, which I have always seen as somewhat of an exception aside from the odd dotfile.

So the open questions are: How do I keep up with discussion and support traffic now; can I find someone to provide lower-level support and filtering or something? (Good news is, some funding could probably be arranged.) How do I prevent the git-annex community fracturing along users/developer lines as it grows, given that I don't want to work within such a fractured community?

I've been working on git-annex for 9 years this week. Have I avoided burning out? Probably, but maybe too early to tell. I think that being able to ask these questions is a good thing. I'd appreciate hearing from anyone who has grappled with these issues in their own software communities.

rstidyman (Richard)
Beliefs are a Choice

Power of Beliefs


While lying on the couch this a.m, I started musing about beliefs.  I’ve heard, and have grown to believe that a. Beliefs are a choice and b. “Beliefs are just thoughts you keep having over and over.”  

imagesThere is a big difference between beliefs and facts.  Of course there is some grey area but something as well documented as the sun rising in the a.m. and the planetary path around the sun we hold as facts.  Throw a rock into the air, and it comes down. Our interpretation of why something happens is where our beliefs come in. Opinions on why something does or doesn’t happen,  maybe are more of an expression of beliefs than of facts.  

A belief is evident when you interpret and may even judge a situation or a person, especially yourself.  a belief about your abilities and learning has been thoroughly researched and documented in growth mindset vs a fixed mindset.

For example:

Let’s first look at some minor irritations.

Another driver cuts me off  .

Possible interpretations:

  1. What a jerk.  He did that just to piss me off.  Where’s my gun when I need it.
  2. Poor guy doesn’t know how to drive.  Probably didn’t have the good teachers I had.
    1. I need to pay more attention to the other driver.
  1. One belief system asserts blame, and being an innocent victim.
  2. Another belief assumes legitimate reasons for others seeming ignorance and is tolerant. 


An example for my teacher friends:

Kids in my class do not behave, or pay attention, or put forth very little effort, and then complain when I give them a grade. misbehaviour

Possible interpretations:

  1. They are lazy, stupid and a victim of their own doing.  Furthermore, they deserve the grade they get and the miserable life they are going to have.  (Punishment and justification.)
  2. There is a good reason they are struggling.  Maybe their home life, maybe genetics and unidentified learning disability, or they have been beaten down by life and others that they no longer have hope that effort will do any good. (Assumes all human beings are naturally happy, loving, and motivated and when not acting that way, there is a good reason for it.  More compassionate and problem solving oriented.) 


An example in human relations: 

A social event is coming up, like a contra dance.  I don’t know anyone that goes to those. I’ve asked other friends if they will go with me but they don’t want to go, or they are not available to go tonight.  Do I go or stay home? My beliefs about myself, in effect, my sense of self worth will determine my beliefs and my decision.

dance inspirational-quotes-dance-sing-3

   If I go by myself, people may not like me.  I won’t dance well ‘cause I’ve never done it and they will like me even less. I might not look like them (color, size, shape, etc.)  I’m going to feel awkward, if not downright terrible. Worse yet, I’ll come home, despondent, and probably sorry I tried. If they don’t like me, either it confirms my worthlessness, OR confirms my suspicion that most people suck. (Low self esteem or feelings of unworthiness.)


I may not know anyone but maybe I will.  I won’t know unless I go. I may be different than others and a poor dancer, but only through practice will I get better.  People tend to like me in other situations so they will probably (but not guaranteed) to like me there too. I have little to lose and much to gain.  I can leave early if it isn’t for me. Generally speaking, most people are pretty cool, no one is perfect, we all have our issues, but hey, I’m a good person and anyone that can’t see that is blind.  (beliefs about self and others couched in worthiness)


I could go on and on but here is the point.  Our beliefs, and thus our interpretation of an event through the filter of our beliefs, determines our emotions and our behavior and overtime, those beliefs become hardwired.  Habitual. Covert. Unconscious. We think we know what we believe but forget that our beliefs are a choice.  

NPR used to have a segment called “this I believe.” There might be something in there worth listening too, especially if you don’t know what to believe. 

Our beliefs, many of which I believe are unconscious, shape our reactions, emotions, decisions, actions, habits (and reinforcing one’s habits at that) and a life.

homelss on a bench

Your gut reaction is a clue to your beliefs?

  1. When you see people shopping with food stamps, what is your reaction. 
  2. Half a dozen Harley’s go by with guys and girls with leather vests.
  3. An older man or woman, disheveled, sleeping on a park bench.
  4. People eating alone in a restaurant.
  5. Teenages hanging out in the Wal-Mart parking lot on a summer night.
  6. You tell someone you love them, and they are speechless but don’t return the same sentiment.
  7. Your child/teenager screams at you “I hate you.  You are the worst parent ever!”
  8. You get an assignment back from your teacher or professor with a C-.  You were expecting an “A”. 
  9. You “lend” something to a friend and they don’t bring it back.  You remind them, and they don’t bring it back.  
  10. Your boyfriend or girlfriend breaks up with and totally caught you off guard.

Those kinds of ups and downs are part of everyone’s life.  Here are some things I’ve heard along the way, and seem to make sense to me. 

  1.  People are generally doing the best they can with what they’ve got.  Walk a mile in their shoes first. Besides, who is so high and mighty that they have a right to judge the value of others?
  2. We are all born for a reason, and it isn’t self sacrifice.  It is to figure out how to find and share love, laughter and fulfill our highest dreams of what we are capable of.
  3. Everything happens for a reason (and people enter and leave our lives for a reason as well).  Physics works, and it helps to look for the lesson or the silver lining of every hardship or challenge.
  4. No whiners.  We are responsible for where we are, and not victims.  We can change our thoughts, beliefs, and ultimately sometimes the circumstances.  You are driving the bus, unless you relinquish control of the wheel to someone else.  If they crash, you gave them/it the power to do so. 
  5. We (the world) have everything we need, and there is enough to go around.  No need to be greedy. No hoarding necessary. (Abundance mentality). Sharing is caring.
  6. If you believe in nothing, you will fall for anything.  While no belief system or religion is perfect, neither is human nature.  We are limited in our understanding of the non-visible, non-physical world but it helps to have a paradigm to make sense of it all. 
  7. Everything we need to know to make a better life is available to those looking for answers.  (It’s called google and youtube)


Anna (Anna and Mark: Waldeneffect)
Gardening during drought
October harvest

Life on a ridge is very different from life in our former swampy bottomland. On the plus side, we miss a lot of gentle frosts and we never have to deal with waterlogging. On the downside, this past summer's hot, dry weather was really, really dry.

Dealing with drought is very new for me. So this post is probably Drought Homesteading 101 for many of you. Still, just in case this is new....

Composting in dry conditions

Manure pile

I'm so used to piling up organic matter then coming back in a few months to beautiful humus, so this was a shock to me. But the lovely pile of manure above...did absolutely nothing all summer long.

Worm composting

What worked? Our bathtub worm bins. I actually had two side by side, one seeded with worms and one not. Both promoted a lot more composting action than happened with the compostables piled up out in the open.

In retrospect, this is pretty obvious. Contain the moisture with an impermeable bin, then top it off with a lid that holds in water while letting a little rain drip through. Voila --- perfect composting environment!

So, yeah, bins are clearly the solution if you need to compost in the dry.

Seedling germination during drought
Compost, of course, was the least of my worries this past summer. In retrospect, I should have started watering the instant the ground went a little dry and kept it up multiple times a week. In reality, I let the soil grow so parched before I started irrigating that getting seeds to sprout and seedlings to stay alive was an uphill battle.

Volunteer lettuce

Luckily, nature is resilient. Remember those wood-chip aisles I put between my beds? I let spring kale and lettuce go to seed before pulling them out, and both managed to self-seed into that high-humus, moisture-rich environment. Which sure is lucky because almost none of the seedlings in the beds themselves sprouted!

Transplanted kale

Transplants moved from aisle to bed at the couple-of-true-leaves stage saved the fall garden (although I wasn't so lucky with the pea and carrot crops or with a lot of my second and third summer plantings). Phew! Lazy garden-bed cleanup to the rescue!

More to learn

Rain gauge

Obviously, I have a lot more to learn about ridgetop gardening. For example, we need to get gutters on our trailer so we can capture rainwater, and we need to try some other irrigation tactics. (Impulse sprinklers were awesome in our damp, free-water environment of Homestead 1.0 but didn't cut it here when the ground was deeply dry.) But that can wait for another post and another drought. For now, the rain has returned!


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