9.30.2010

















































Image: source.
I was lucky enough to get to see my friends Humble Tripe play a show in Ashland last night (they are based on the east coast, and ventured out here for their first west coast tour!) Talented, lovely people and beautiful music. Check out the two videos I uploaded, and head over to their tour website.


"The Matchbook Registry is an online showcase of the typography and design of matchbooks collected by the site's author, Daniel Blackman, his grandfather, and his mother." via Quipsologies.

Image: source.

I listened to American RadioWork's piece "The Little Rock Nine" today. A powerful, humbling story of American history, the civil rights movement, and heros like Thurgood Marshall. Definitely recommended.

"Progress not perfection...."

9.29.2010

Ira Glass on the Simpsons. Gotta love the self-mockery.

Image: source.

Love this: " 'I'm strictly a recreational cyclist,' he says. 'I've never been one of those guys who gets on a bike and sees how fast I can go. I just trudge along at my own leisurely pace. But I've been doing it almost all my life.' Jack Thacker, who will be 97 in October. He cycles about 12 miles every day, and credits his daily bike routine, in part, to his good health." That's right dude, just keep trudging along - that's pretty much all we can do, and also the most heroic thing in the world.

My mom and I just registered to do this Relaxation, Concentration, and Meditation retreat. I've never been to Breitenbush Hot Springs but someone recommended it to my mom and we we both thought the retreat sounded like a good experience. I'm nervous about going for 2 days and 2 nights, being somewhat isolated, free of cell phones and just focusing on the present, but the mere fact I'm nervous about it reminds me why I need to go!

Tara Brach's (free!) podcasts (also available via iTunes) and book, Radical Acceptance, have been really important to me in the last year. Here is a short interview with her that serves as a good introduction to the Buddhist teachings she discusses and her philosophy of "radical acceptance."







































Image: source.

9.28.2010

A great video and campaign from ColorLines: Stop using the "I" word! ("illegals") Language matters - think about the words you use, and what they convey.

The MacArthur "genius" Grant recipients are always an interesting bunch and this group is no exception! It includes a type designer, a marine biologist, and the producer of The Wire.

Image: source.

Very interested to see "Waiting For Superman."



Another song on rotation: Aloe Blacc "I Need A Dollar."

‎"Yo tengo un sueño que mis cuatro pequeños hijos algún día vivirán en una nación donde no serán juzgados por el color de la piel, sino por el contenido de sus carácteres." - Martin Luther King Jr. (I'm preparing next weeks citizenship class, think I'll try to focus on MLK and the civil rights movement. Hope the students like it! I always feel torn between just helping them memorize the answers to the test, and really wanting them to understand the content of the questions and answers, and to feel some interest and ownership over U.S. history. It's an ongoing balance/exploration.)
Songs on repeat right now: Brazos "Tell," Onra "High Hopes," Coconut Records "West Coast," The Dream "One In A Million," Sade "Soldier of Love" (the original and the Kastle remix). All accessible via the awesome (and free) hypem.com!

Image: source, (art from pulp paperback covers).

I recently asked my Twitter and Facebook friends what they would do if they had a year of downtime (but no money), during which to learn anything they had always wanted, complete a project they had always put on the backburner, etc - the answers were totally fascinating! I asked for selfish reasons - I currently have a pretty quiet life as a small town legal services attorney, and am trying to make the most of this low key year. So far I've spent quality time with my mom and stepdad (who I live with), renewed my library card and tackled a lot of wonderful books, completed a triathlon and gotten in better shape, gotten my finances under control, am working towards my first 10K, and am in the process of learning how to cook and embroider. Not too shabby! Things my friends said they wanted to do included becoming a yoga instructor, building a canoe, beekeeping, learning to tattoo, writing a book, and mastering languages. I have cool friends.

"Our lives are not as limited as we think they are; the world is a wonderfully weird place; consensual reality is significantly flawed; no institution can be trusted, but love does work; all things are possible; and we all could be happy and fulfilled if we only had the guts to be truly free and the wisdom to shrink our egos and quit taking ourselves so damn seriously."
- Tom Robbins

9.27.2010

Make the new (and long overdue) crack law retroactive: "Opportunities to rethink — and cleanly remedy — social injustices are rare. The new crack sentencing bill signed into law last month presents just such a chance, one that lawmakers should not pass over. To do otherwise is to perpetuate mistakes that have taken a generation to fix."

The Quilts of Gee's Bend were in the early 20th century by 45 Alabama artists, African-American women from a rural community in the Black Belt. They are amazing.

Image: source.

Roger Ebert has a cook book entirely devoted to what you can make in a rice cooker - I'm unconvinced but intrigued.

I love all the triangle patterns around these days. I'm hoping to find a way to work them into my new adventures with embroidery.

Interesting: The IKEA Effect: "You build something and you fall in love with it. When marketers do sell you a product, their theory is about preference fit. You like pink and I like orange and I like this a little higher and everyone knows their preference. That’s important. But I think the more important issue is not the preference fit but the investment in the product."
Interesting article from the NYTimes about a private company that takes over failing libraries (including my much beloved Jackson County Library system). As to the questions in the article about whether people will still recieve good and community-based service once the library is run by an outside company, I can say without a doubt that the staff (and volunteers, of which my mom is one) remain local folks who are very committed to the library and the people it serves. It's not staffed with corporate drones all of a sudden. I definitely don't know enough to have a solid opinion about the issue, but I do know that the entire County was about to be library-free until this company took over, so it's hard for me to feel like they are a horrible idea across the board. Ideally, such involvement from a private company wouldn't be necessary, but when it is, I would much rather see a publicly-run but open (and much-used, in the case of the Ashland library, left) then a closed public one...

9.24.2010

SFGate: Judge rejects lifting disabled inmate decree: "Nearly nine years after a federal judge ordered California to protect mentally disabled inmates in state prisons, those inmates are still being beaten, robbed and deprived of food and sanitation, the judge said Thursday in refusing to lift the decree."

Image: source.

Incredible video of one man's journey to overcome depression and being out of shape, to complete a marathon. And find happiness. (Yes, I cried).

9.23.2010

The Indy: "What rights do undocumented immigrants have when they become crime victims?" via The Immigration Prof. Blog.

Love this redesign of a pizza box. Very clever.

Image: source.


A somewhat daunting discussion of retirement funds and how much you should be putting away. I just "rolled over" money into my IRA account, marking my 6th year of having the world's smallest retirement account. I've started adding to it again, however, and am hoping I'm pleasantly surprised by it's growth...

I've liked Mark Bittman's columns on eating for one - much more like my form of eating (albeit, a LOT healthier) than most recipes etc I see. For the last three weeks I have spent Saturday or Sunday afternoon cooking and packing my lunches for the week. It saves me money and makes me eat a lot healthier, but it's gotten pretty boring. Any suggestions for affordable, reheatable meals to make for the week ahead welcome. (Also I'm currently in my second day of cutting sugar out of my diet for a week (maybe longer). This might not be huge for a lot of people, but I have at least one baked good (scone, cookie, muffin) a day, as well as 1 or two candy bars, and then also dessert. I know, a lot. So it's feeling hard to cut it out. But hopefully will lead to me feeling healthier and having more energy....)

9.21.2010

Dan Savage and his husband assure kids suffering bullying and homophobia that It Gets Better.

Image: source.


They Draw and Cook, a collection of illustrated recipes.

Currently re-reading two long time favs: An Unsuitable Job For A Woman and Skinny Legs and All. (Sometimes when I'm in a reading slump, I need to return to the tried and true winners). Also, finally getting around to reading: Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close.

9.16.2010




























The time will come
when, with elation
you will greet yourself arriving
at your own door, in your own mirror
and each will smile at the other’s welcome,

and say, sit here. Eat.
You will love again the stranger who was your self.
Give wine. Give bread. Give back your heart
to itself, to the stranger who has loved you

all your life, whom you ignored
for another, who knows you by heart.
Take down the love letters from the bookshelf,

the photographs, the desperate notes,
peel your own image from the mirror.
Sit. Feast on your life.

- Derek Walcott

Image: source.
U Visas Speed Up for Immigrants Who Flee Abuse.

Loved this ode to Jane Tennison, Helen Mirren, and Prime Suspect.

This might just be the perfect house. Wow. Old farmhouse, with updated solar technology. Worn wood floors. Tons of windows. Yes.

Image: source.

Amazing base jumping video. I wanna go!


More on solitary confinement and mental illness. Stop the torture!

[W]e can also just see what we do - not only with honesty but also with a sense of humor - and then keep going and not make a whole identity out of it. - Pema Chodron

9.15.2010



































































Dave Eggers can be pretty annoying, but I can't help but love these animal drawings.



































































Image: source.
It's been a loooong time since Woody Allen came out with a movie I liked. Actually, scratch that: it's been a long time since he came out with a movie I've loved, because that's how it is with his movies and me - I actively dislike most of them, and love 5 of them. But those 5 are in my top 10 movies of all time.

So while I doubt anything will match the perfection of, say, Manhattan or Crimes & Misdemeanors ever again, the interviews he's giving about his new movie sound promising. Dare I hope to LIKE a Woody Allen movie?


Amazing photography of the oil spill in the gulf.

What's on my tv (computer screen, really): looking for a new show, I started watching Nurse Jackie but I can't say that it's pulled me in. I want to like it - Edie Falco seems like a cool lady and I love that the show has a number of "real-looking" cast members. But the acting and writing seem forced to me and I just don't really....care. I'm on the final season of The L Word (via Netflix) and, while I will be sad to see one of my favorite guilty pleasures go, I really cannot wait to have Jenny Shecter out of my life. I have been dreading that character for years and the fact that she's now (spoiler alert if you're like 3 years behind in pop culture like me) sleeping with Shane just increases my ire (jealous much?). Goodbye, weird drama of LA faux-lesbians, you served me well. Other show that everyone seems to love: Mad Men. I have read and seen so much about it, I pretty much don't care anymore. However, I watched a few episodes from season 1 and enjoyed it, so I'm giving it another go. Same with The Wire and True Blood, both of which I have only seen 2 or 3 episodes. Let's see if any of those series grab me on second viewing.

This past weekend I completed a triathlon! It was only a "sprint" distance race, but hard for me nonetheless, and it felt awesome to accomplish. My only goals were to complete it, and to run (well, jog) the entire running portion (i.e. no walking), and, despite some bike complications on mile 2 (fixed by men with trucks and tools - gotta love Oregon), I achieved them both! Next up: a 5K and a 10K, both in October. I really hate running, so I'm open to any suggestions on how to get past that. So far, downloading the Nike+ app to my iPhone (only $3 and it keeps track of distance, time, etc) has helped with the motivation. That and the fact I've already told people I'm going to do the races.

“I took a deep breath and listened to the old bray of my heart. I am. I am. I am.” - Sylvia Plath

9.14.2010


































From the WaPo: "Gay couples seeking immigration rights."

And from the WSJ: Most Illegal Immigrants Don’t Get Legal Representation. Discuss.: "Our federal government rounds up a lot of immigrants -- about 400,000 per year, to be precise. But only a fraction of them are afforded legal representation."



New EP from The Tallest Man On Earth. Always beautiful.

"Build personal wealth / in the comfort of your home / read to your children." Atlanta Street Artist Writes Poetry on Illegal "Bandit Signs."

9.10.2010

SF jail installs condom dispensers. It's not about being "progressive," it's about health, safety, and human rights.

Beautiful gardening calendar makes me wish I gardened...someday when I have a yard (or so I tell myself).

Respect for the handmade.

Image: source.

I adore this beautiful and simple ring.

Absolutely amazing card catalog makeover. Wow.

Awesome. "Taking over 2 years to complete the laborious process, photographers Aneta Grzeszykowska and Jan Smaga shot people in their homes from above, meticulously piecing together the photographs to form detailed floorplans of each."

More coverage of the on-going horror that is solitary confinement.

‘The miracle is not to walk on water. The miracle is to walk on the green earth, dwelling deeply in the present moment and feeling truly alive.’ -Thich Nhat Hanh
































I love this whole series. Via.
Do I *need* a $40 lunch box? Certainly not. But do I appreciate its sleekness, its adorable pockets, it's commitment to keeping foods separate? I do indeed. Via.

So much gorgeousness at the Rifle Paper Co.


I'm doing a sprint triathlon tomorrow (my second - my first was about 7 years ago) and I'm not feeling at all prepared. I hurt my back two weeks ago, and then was on vacation this past week, so my training has been less than perfect. However, a wise person reminded me that it's just another 2 hours (hopefully) of my life that I'm showing up for and doing my best at, and that is the mindset I'm trying to take into the weekend. Wish me luck!

“Where there is no joy, there can be no courage, and without courage, all other virtues are useless.” - Ed Abbey

9.06.2010

Today I watched "William Kunstler: Disturbing the Universe" and had a pretty mixed reaction. It's less a straightforward documentary about Bill Kunstler and more an autobiographical exploration by his two daughters about their upbringing, being the children of such a public and controversial figure, and their residual anger at him for his choices ("representing bad people").

At first I had a hard time with how clear they make their disapproval of many of their father's decisions, but in the end I found the film to be a chance to reflect not only on the fight for civil rights and social justice, the work of Kunstler and his choices as a lawyer (about clients, trial techniques, etc), but also on the relationship between parents and children, and the role of parents in educating and radicalizing their kids. Recommended.

(I'd also recommend Kunstler's autobiography, My Life As A Radical Lawyer, as well as the wonderful documentary "The Weather Underground" which, while not directly related to Kunstler, gives a complementary vision of the U.S. the 60's).

Image: William Kunstler (July 7, 1919 - September 4, 1995)