12.22.2011

Powerful interactive obituary format from the NYTimes: The Lives They Loved: "We invited readers to contribute a photograph of someone close to them who died this year. Here are some that illustrate a story from their lives." I could've spent all day reading these.

The Best Comics of 2011 as selected by the awesome (thanks PCHH!) Glen Weldon.

Uh huh. Yep.: Inappropriate, by Gabrielle Bell.

Image: source.

Worth a read: Uninvested In Being Beautiful.
From 1958, a piece from Fortune magazine written by Jane Jacobs called Downtown is for People: "There are, certainly, ample reasons for redoing downtown--falling retail sales, tax bases in jeopardy, stagnant real-estate values, impossible traffic and parking conditions, failing mass transit, encirclement by slums. But with no intent to minimize these serious matters, it is more to the point to consider what makes a city center magnetic, what can inject the gaiety, the wonder, the cheerful hurly-burly that make people want to come into the city and to linger there. For magnetism is the crux of the problem. All downtown's values are its byproducts. To create in it an atmosphere of urbanity and exuberance is not a frivolous aim."

12.21.2011

Being queer and undocumented: "Viviana, an undocumented and queer student talks about coming out as an immigrant and a member of the LGBTQ community and the importance for unity. The Coming Out speeches are a series from the Immigrant Youth Justice League."

Starlee Kine: Fear, Heartbreak, and Making It Happen Against All Odds (video)

Before and After: Portraits from Dathun: "This series of photos...comes from a larger project called 'Contemplatives,' a visual exploration of the physiological qualities of meditation practice. I set up the “Before and After” project to explore the observable effects on practitioners after long periods of intense meditation practice."

Image: source.

An excellent article about one family's experience with foster care, and the real costs of caring for our nation's children. Taxing the Kindness of Strangers: "Foster parents like us willingly pay a heavy price. The GOP wants us to pay more." (Sort of a misleading title - it's less political, and more about the actual nuts and bolts of being a foster family).

“I’m fat positive because I’m a feminist, and I refuse to acknowledge in the magical thinking that if you’re small enough, quiet enough, compliant enough and saccharine enough, you will somehow be enough.” - You’re Welcome - Why I’m Fat Positive
"Finding Emilie," Winner of the Best Documentary: Silver Award in the 2011 Third Coast International Audio Festival.

From the NYTimes: After Drugs and Dark Times, Helping Others to Stand Back Up, and Jurors Need to Know That They Can Say No.

Image: source.

I haven't seen "Homeland" or "Enlightened," but this article makes me curious about both.

Last night, in a bout of insomnia, I finished "Death Comes To Pemberley," and I'm sorry to say that while I love P.D. James and Jane Austen both, this book isn't a complete success. This book feels like what it is - a true Austen lover who has undertaken the fun excercize of imagining what the characters in P&P were really thinking, and envisioning what their future might look like. I totally get why James would want to do this, and why it would be enjoyable, but if you've read P&P you have your own ideas of the characters and it can be jarring to have someone else's foisted upon you. Additionally, the author's hand just feels to heavy. It's like she's playing with dolls, having fun making these characters say what she wants them to say, but it doesn't always feel authentic to the character. This review has come off more damning than I intended - James' is such a talented and charming (and 91 year old!) writer, and I'm sure fully understands the challenges of her task with "Death Comes..." But the book just didn't work for me. There were too many awkward moments of, "This doesn't seem like something Darcy would say, it feels like James' just has this fantasy about him" (who doesn't!), and the mystery was wrapped up in the last 10 minutes with, basically, a speech. Overall, not James' (or the Darcy's) best. (For another, more positive, take, the book is also reviewed in this weeks episode of the always-wonderful NYTimes Book Review podcast.)

12.20.2011








Image: source. Still have some Boston love....
Since she knew I was home sick in bed last week, my sweet mom bought me PD James' new book, Death Comes to Pemberley. The classic mystery writer also turns out to be a big Jane Austen fan, and decided to set her new book in the world of Pride & Prejudice. While combining two things I love is not necessarily a recipe for success (witness most fusion restaurants), I'm enjoying it so far.

Ha! Watch ‘Portlandia’s’ Tribute to ‘Battlestar Galactica’

From Cover Me, some Covers of the Best Songs of 2011.

Image: source.

There're only about 3 weeks left till I leave for Nicaragua - for a whole month! Yep, 4 weeks in a small town, with no internet or phone, no English....just me, living with a family, getting one on one Spanish instruction, and trying to stay sane and enjoy myself. I'm excited but definitely nervous - I'm a creature of habit, and solitude, so being out of my comfort zone for a whole month is gonna be a challenge. Of course for me, one of the big questions has been, "What do I bring to read?" I don't want to bring too much English language material, because I'm worried I will use it as an escape. However, my Spanish isn't (yet!) to the point where I can read a lot. I'm thinking two potential options are graphic novels in Spanish or children/young adult books in Spanish. Current options include: Harry Potter y la piedra filosofal; David Boring (Spanish Edition) by Daniel Clowes; La perdida (Spanish edition) by Jessica Abel; and Persepolis (Nomadas) by Marjane Satrapi.

“Knowing how to be solitary is central to the art of loving. When we can be alone, we can be with others without using them as a means of escape.” - bell hooks, All About Love: New Visions

12.15.2011

Gift Guide: Etsy Wearables

Uh oh, now the "gift guide" bug has bitten and I'm on a roll. Here, some things to wear from Etsy that I adore. xoxo

A charming fireflies t shirt shirt (who doesn't love a scoop neck?) Black, organic cotton. (Kinship Press)

Love this Box Elder sweater (left), in eco-friendly grey fleece. (also from Kinship Press)

This description doesn't do it justice, you have to go check out this unique dots wrap sweater jacket elegant and cozy with red pin.

Ok, I think I'm showing my weakness for comfortable sweatshirt fabric clothes but....here's another! Fall sweatshirt in olive green eco fleece "Love Tree."

Love this simple but unique, made to order, two-tone t-shirt from ThimbleandAcorn.

Finally, I've loved the bags from valhallabrooklyn for years. This 6 pocket Okinawa bag in dark grey looks like the perfect size, and totally functional (I also wouldn't turn my nose up at this black beauty!)

12.14.2011

After about a week of refusing to admit I've been getting ill, I'm finally waiving the white flag and am home in bed sick. My waking hours today have been spent watching Masterpiece Contemporary: Collision, an unusual 6-part drama surrounding the various people affected by one car crash. The show jumps back and forth between what was happening for each person before the crash, and the impact of the event. Slow at times, but recommended.

The humor and droll accuracy of this never gets old to me: Adventures in Depression

Image: source.

Ha, this is spot on: Hate Actually. Summarizes much of what is great, and terrible, about that modern Christmas classic Love, Actually.

The Millions presents their annual A Year in Reading for 2011, where they ask a bunch of people their favorite reads of the year. This year's contributors include Duff McKagan, Mayim Bialik (!), Jennifer Egan, Colum McCann, and Geoff Dyer.

I like Taysa's Holiday Gift Guide: Friends that want to move toward "Zero Waste" (not as contradictory as it sounds!)

“To refuse to participate in the shaping of our future is to give it up. Do not be misled into passivity either by false security (they don’t mean me) or by despair (there’s nothing we can do). Each of us must find our work and do it. Militancy no longer means guns at high noon, if it ever did. It means actively working for change, sometimes in the absence of any surety that change is coming. It means doing the unromantic and tedious work necessary to forge meaningful coalitions, and it means recognizing which coalitions are possible and which coalitions are not. It means knowing that coalition, like unity, means the coming together of whole, self-actualized human beings, focused and believing, not fragmented automatons marching to a prescribed step. It means fighting despair.” - Audre Lorde

12.12.2011

Check out this trailer for the documentary Lead With Love: "All of us can relate to the pain and anxiety of coming out and how the reaction of our families affected us for years to come. Lead With Love follows the comings out of several kids and pays special attention to how each parents’ reactions affected the emotional well-being of their children. The black, white, and Latino families each tell their heart-rending stories, but also offer insight, education, and hope by reflecting on their experiences with the insight of supportive educators, spiritual leaders, and psychologists."

The second season of Sherlock returns to the BBC on January 1st - and will hopefully come to the US soon after?


Since starting CrossFit (6 weeks ago, almost!) I've become really interested in the benefits of weight lifting. I admit that I had never lifted weights before because (a) I was intimidated by all the dudes in the weight area, and didn't know what to do, (b) I didn't want to get "big" and, (c) my focus was always losing weight (sad but true), and I didn't think weights would help with that. However, doing CrossFit and reading more about weight lifting has convinced me that weight lifting is a crucial part of maintaining overall health, injury prevention, and increased endurance. One short article from the NYTimes supports these claims (there are lots of similar articles out there as well, some VERY detailed): Cross-Training by Lifting Weights: "[R]esistance training improved endurance in running and cycling. The effect occurred both in experienced athletes and in novices."

I appreciated this: Pastor Jay Bakker talks about his gay-affirming church, the 'next generation' of Christians, understanding the Bible, and Hell. He's calm, well-spoken, and speaks of a form of Christianity much like that I see lived among those I know and love - one of true acceptance, celebration, individual journey, and respect.

"there are nights, & there are other nights. we feel our highs, we feel our lows. we feel the sadness crushing our bones. we wallow in our self doubt, what we are & what we’re not. we seek to destroy our selves but what good what that do. open your arms, fill them with happiness. the kind of happiness you can touch. something tangible. fill yourself with the music of your body. feel yourself, each particle. even if you feel you are crawling in your skin. let it crawl. let it shift. embrace it. we write our words, our words are right. they’re the happiness, the sadness inside of ourselves. keep them balanced. you are beautiful & you are living & things will lift you up soon enough. lift you up towards the mountain tops." - you are remarkable
Rob Delaney has his moments (and linking to TAL doesn't hurt).

Sounds like a good wintery meal: One Pot Kale and Quinoa Pilaf

At this family-tastic time of year, take a listen to the TAL episode, Nobody's Family Is Going To Change.

Image: source.

A beautiful short about the end of a very loved dogs life: Last Minutes with ODEN. Anyone who has loved a pet will relate (and cry).

From the Boston Globe: Led by the child who simply knew: "The twin boys were identical in every way but one. Wyatt was a girl to the core, and now lives as one, with the help of a brave, loving family and a path-breaking doctor’s care." (The start of the article rubbed me the wrong way - gender expression that is not in line with societal expectations, as in a boy liking tutus, doesn't neccesarily mean that a child is transgender, or gay. But, overall, a moving and well-done piece.)

Per my friend Brett's recommendation, listening to Mayer Hawthorne on World Cafe. And Mavis Staples and Win Butler cover "The Weight."

12.08.2011

Gift Guide: Friends Friends Friends

Time for another gift guide - this one is things I would get my much beloved, and very wonderful friends, scattered around the country. xoxox

* Cribbage! Never heard of it? I grew up playing this card (and board) game with my dad and an honorary aunt of mine, Betty. This cribbage set, from Renegade Handmade, is all you need to get started. (And, ideally, a spot in front of a toasty fire.)

* For anyone looking to cozy up a new apartment or house, posters for the kitchen from The Victory Garden of Tomorrow!

* You can't go wrong with a gift certificate to Good Vibrations or Babeland - single or coupled or anywhere else on the spectrum, everyone can find something to make their new year extra satisfying.

* Buy Olympia is always a great place to look for gifts, including beautiful prints, calendars, and books by one of my favs, Nikki McClure. They also have a lot of cool books and zines: for the new dads I know, I'd choose Rad Dads; for the foodies, subscriptions to Remedy; for the fashionistas, subscriptions to Worn; and a book for all those badass urban farmers I know and love.

* Check out this unique silk wrap bracelet (left)! Love the grey bird one as well (of course).

* I rarely buy jewelry because of a traumatic past event where a bunch of my jewelry was stolen (and also I just tend to break stuff), but I bought myself this ring about a year ago and wear it almost every day. It's bold but practical, tough and seemingly unbreakable (fingers crossed), and it gets lots of compliments. If possible, I'd by one for all my ladies.

* Lots of my friends have waded into (or are considering wading into) the world of online dating. For those folks, or for any lovers of awesome comics, I would buy "So This Is What It's Come To... ," a comic zine about the trials and tribulations of ok cupid by artists Ramsey Beyer, Kettner, Leslie Perrine, and Liz Prince.

* Finally, if I was really dreaming big (and why not?), I would fly all my closest loves out here to spend a long weekend at Breitenbush Hot Springs, a calm, steamy oasis in quiet, snowy, Oregon. Sigh. Dare to dream....

12.07.2011

Excellent, and true. I hadn't thought of it this way before: You Can’t Fight Child Abuse Without Fighting Ableism

Listening to: WBUR, Anatomy Of A Bad Confession (hard to listen to at times, but important)

Image: source.

They're making a movie out of Cloud Atlas (one of my all-time favorites)? I'm dubious, but definitely curious.

Awesome: posters from the Occupy movement.

Hillary Clinton Is Not Helping the Gay Civil Rights Movement: "Is the United States really in a position to make an international call for gay civil rights when the Obama administration, which Clinton represents, has failed to give any federal teeth to the gay marriage campaign? Gay people can marry in New York City, but if their partners are Russian, Canadian, or any other nationality, they do not quality for citizenship rights and are deported. Clinton discusses violence committed against gay people abroad, but what about the staggering rates of suicide among gay teens and the violence committed against them?"

Mmmm, I wanna try this: Sweet Potato Black Bean Crock Pot Chili

Awesome: Youth Demand Quality Alternatives to Incarceration in Chicago
"The New York Times... highlights what increasingly is a poorly kept secret but which is no less disturbing nonetheless: the hundreds of thousands of immigration detainees caught in the far-reaching web of the nation’s punitive and inhumane immigration detention system are at grave risk of being sexually assaulted and abused." source.

Image: Eartha Kitt, 1970

Watched some footage today from the Butch Trans Women Panel at the Butch Voices 2011 Conferences. It definitely brought to my attention some of my biases, assumptions, and general ignorance about transwoman (and how limited I still am in my understanding of gender expression generally).

I was talking to a friend of mine about Luther this morning. I finished the first season - it's only 6 episodes - and was pretty unimpressed with how they handled the plot and characters. It was like they jammed 3 seasons of 2 different shows into 6 episodes! But I'll still check out Season 2..... Anyways, I ended up ended up giving her an (unsolicited) list of my favorites from the BBC. Man, do they do tv right. I bet you wanted a run-down of BBC shows I love:

Classics: This is the only Poirot I consider legit. "Inspector Lynley" is great, as are "Inspector Lewis" and "Inspector Morse." I was way too excited when I checked out the Masterpiece Mystery site (sure) and saw that they are doing a prequel to Inspector Morse, which should be great. Also, a few years ago I got really into "Mi5," which I should return to (I can't remember if I finished the entire series or not....).

More recent: This year's "Zen" was ok, but not great (it's main strength was it's unusual lead, Rufus Sewell, but otherwise I didn't care for much). I liked "Case Histories" a little more, due in no small part to the hotness of the lead (might've also helped that I read the first book the series. I tried to do the same with "Zen" but couldn't get into it.) The "Song of Lunch" is an odd, one episode drama between two ex-lovers, Alan Rickman (Alan Rrrrrickman!) and Emma Thompson (perfect deo). Weird and sad, but excellent (and available to watch online). Finally, a favorite of both mine and my mom's (I even bought it for her one Christmas) is the drama/romance "Reckless." Oh, and last but not least, whoever had the idea of having Alan Cumming be the new Diana Rigg is a genius - thank you.

12.06.2011

Gift Guide: Natasha

Despite my attempts at anti-consumerism (or, perhaps, because of them?) I felt like making a gift guide. The theme of this one is "Natasha." I know that might not mean much to you, but it's a list of gifts I would get one of my favorite people if I was loaded. And it might be a good place to find presents if you have a cat-loving, fashion-fearless, bad-ass radical in your life (you should be so lucky)! xoxo

* This Dreamcats 2012 calendar from Etsy seller fieldguided is gorgeous and funky, yet discrete enough to have in your office. Plus it ensures your friend thinks of you every day, which is very important.

* I love colorful little bags - you can always find a use for them (makeup, pens, hair ties, electronics cords, etc), and, I know it sounds lame, but just seeing a burst of color in my all-black, all-denim lifestyle does give me a little boost. I wish I could buy these cheap ones from F21 for all my ladies.

* This black garnet necklace is the perfect sorta punk, sorta classic accessory that both Natasha and I love to rock (or, ok, dream of rocking).

* This kitten awesome journal is hilarious (and the perfect place to rant about your frustrating days, if I'm not around to listen).

* I try to buy all my books used and/or from local booksellers (when I'm doing online shopping, I always get them from Powells). I'd love to buy Natasha and myself both copies of Manning Marable's new biography of Malcom X, to keep us inspired for the fight, and so we could have a mini bi-coastal book club.

* Spending more than, like, 10 cents on a hair tie seems ridiculous to me, but luckily this is just pretend, so I can say that these are super cute. They would be adorable worn as bracelets when you are letting your hair flow, and are perfect for ladies like me and Natasha, who like the long messy look but sometimes have to reign it in to be "lawyers."

* I'm a big fan of Yala, a company based here in Ashland, OR that sells insanely soft bamboo clothes and sheets. Having a comfortable bed is the best, and I would love to give my hard-working friend these luxurious sheets (and maybe also this shirt so we could be twins).

* This kitty sweater (left) from Need Supply might not be work-appropriate, but it's just perfect for weekend wear (with leggings, natch).



Happy 15th anniversary to my bff Lisette, my rock, and my inspiration. I love you, ELM - meeting you changed my life.

12.05.2011

More great work by the NAACP LDF (and my incredible friend nk): "The findings of our research are gathered in this report, Defending Democrary: Confronting Modern Barriers to Voting Rights in America. The report reveals direct connections between the trend of increasing, unprecedented turnout among voters of color and the proliferation of restrictive measures across the country designed to thwart electoral strength among people of color—particularly those who are poor, young, or elderly."

Left: I just started reading "Blankets" by Craig Thompson. I was intimidated by it's size (over 500 pages!) but it is very absorbing. I would almost say it's a "quick" or "easy" read, but neither of these are quite true, since it's often (and pretty much immediately) heartbreaking, with powerful images and tales of an abusive childhood, religion, and first love.

I recently began listening to "Lost and Found: Unexpected Revelations About Food and Money" by Geneen Roth. As with "Women Food God," I found Geneen Roth's voice pretty grating, but the content worth sticking it out for. With this book, Roth explores the the same connections between money & worth, control, mortality that she has previously explored with food. There are definitely a lot of moments of "I don't feel sorry for you, you're rich" and "Ugh, please stop talking about those glasses that you so badly want" - but then I realized a lot of the things she's saying are the same things I get sick of hearing in my very own head. Is listening to the truth of our unhealthy attachment to money and acquisition (and it's sometimes inexplicable relationship to food) enjoyable? Nope, but neither is living with it.

Also reading: "The Impossible Dead" by Ian Rankin (always gotta have a mystery), and "Let the Great World Spin" by Colum McCann.

Looking forward to listening to this (they do a great job of filming the talks to make them available online: Zinn Lectures: Immigration and Occupy: Aviva Chomsky, a history professor at Salem State University will be giving a talk on Wed. Dec 7 at 5pm at Occupy Boston. She will be discussing Immigration and Occupy.

12.04.2011

Go SOU! So proud of my friends that are working to make SOU (and the whole of Southern Oregon) more progressive and supportive for everyone. SOU pushes measures for gender-neutral campus: "University continues to make changes to reduce gender differentiation, and students like it."

Left: from Liz Prince

I'm worried I'm getting sick so I'm taking a few days off working out. It totally sucks but I hope it prevents me from getting really ill (everyone seems to be sick right now - guess it's that time of year.)

Still watching and liking the BBC show Luther, although the 3rd and 4th episodes definitely get more violent and have a little much of the explicit violence against women. (There're also some great music choices: Muse's cover of "Feeling Good," and Beck's "Everybody's Gotta Learn Sometime")

My mom got me two of these shirts (thanks, Mom!) and they are perfect - nice fit, soft fabric, good colors, and the right length (not so long that they are tunics or awkward with pants, but not so short that they ride up or show skin, even with low riders). Recommended!

Bhopal Disaster Survivors Protest On Anniversary: "Thousands blocked trains through a central Indian city on Saturday to demand more compensation. In 1985, a Union Carbide pesticide plant leaked lethal gas in Bhopal, killing an estimated 15,000 people and maimed tens of thousands more." Help demand Justice for Bhopal survivors!

Excellent documentary "If A Tree Falls" is now available on Netflix Instant! Check it out if you haven't seen it.

12.02.2011

A Glimpse of Death Row in China: "Pictures of women on death row in China, republished online this week, provide a rare but officially approved glimpse of capital punishment in a country that executes more people each year than the rest of the world combined."

Check out the trailer for The Invisible War, which looks like a very powerful movie about the incredible epidemic of rape in the military.

Image: source. Hibernation time.

From the Sylvia Rivera Law Project, a guide for trans activists, and those who support trans activists, for staying safe in direct actions.

The Millions: "The Harry Ransom Center has scanned and uploaded the syllabus from David Foster Wallace‘s Fall 1994 section of English 102: Literary Analysis."

I realized I haven't talked about it much lately but I'm still doing (5-7 times per week) and loving CrossFit. I'm definitely gaining muscle and strength, and appreciating the daily variety and challenge.


“Women who are fat are said to have ‘let themselves go.’ The very phrase connotes a loosening of restraints. Women in our society are bound. In generations past, the constriction was accomplished by corsets and girdles…. Women today are bound by fears, by oppression, and by stereotypes that depict large women as ungainly, unfeminine, and unworthy of appreciation…. Above all, women must control themselves, must be careful, for to relax might lead to the worst possible consequence: being fat.” - “Letting Ourselves Go: Making Room for the Fat Body in Feminist Scholarship,” by Cecilia Hartley






Image: Diana Nyad (62 years old!) bears welts from jellyfish stings days after swimming 90 miles in the ocean. source.
Interesting article in the NYTimes about gift giving, its historical intents and current incarnation.

Just started watching "Luther" this week. I don't know what took me so long, it has so many things I love - it's a BBC show, it's about detectives, and Idris Elba is the star!

Image: source.

Excellent: My Sluthood, Myself (thanks pc!)

I got my mom the Clean Food cookbook a while back and have been really impressed by what she's made from it (it helps that she's a great cook) - clean, simple, yummy recipes, arranged by season, with beautiful photos. I wanna try this one next: Carrot Ginger Soup.

The Awl staff’s list of “Top Longreads of 2011.“

KDRV Amateur Athlete of the Week: My bada** coworker, Jim Sims! When not representing people in social security & disability hearings, Jim is winning Ironman triathlons - and, oh yeah, he's almost 70.

"Today is the anniversary of Rosa Parks’s refusal to give up her bus seat, resulting arrest and Montgomery boycott. The Grio discusses Park’s life and legacy, calling out her mischaracterization as 'a simple woman who chose not to stand because she had tired feet,' and recognizing her for who she was: 'a tireless advocate for justice.'"

11.30.2011

An interview with Rebecca Solnit in The Believer. ("A lot of people think of political activism as some grim duty, and I think we do have an obligation to be citizens—to be informed and engaged—but it’s not just duty. Public life enlarges you, gives you purpose and context, saves you from drowning in the purely personal, as so many Americans seem to. I still think that walking down the middle of the street with several thousand people who share your deepest beliefs is one of the best ways to take a walk. I’ve also learned by firsthand experience and eyewitnessing that popular power matters—to recognize the power of citizens and grassroots efforts and not be so depressingly, disempoweringly focused on the power of the elected and elite, as so many Americans are. Alone, we’re powerless in many ways that we’re powerful together, and that power is one of the great pleasures and purposes of life we hardly have language for in this culture.")

Everything about this tiny house for one in Carrboro, NC makes my heart skip a beat.

Image: source.

"The Fresh Start program at Rikers Island gives participating inmates classes in parenting and cooking."

Listening to: World Cafe 20th Anniversary Concert (feat. Feist, Dawes, Mumford & Sons and Lucinda Williams), and, of course, Wild Flag.

"The moment we are living in is full of the groans and shrieks of a culture at sea with questions of love, sex, disease, and desire, how do we differentiate them and do we need to. The sirens we hear, women, homosexuals, and all the pioneers of our time, are calling for a culture big enough to contain or embrace or encompass the shapes and needs of all our bodily destinies. It demands an extravagant poetry." - Eileen Myles
It breaks my heart how many people who need serious psychiatric care are incarcerated in prisons, where their conditions only worsen and they are subject to even greater abuse and victimization than other prisoners. After closing psychiatric hospitals, Michigan incarcerates mentally ill. In Michigan, "more than 20% of the state's prisoners had severe mental disabilities -- and far more were mentally ill. The same study found that 65% of prisoners with several mental disabilities had received no treatment in the previous 12 months."

Image: source.

We made these twice baked sweet potatoes for Thanksgiving; super simple and super tasty - highly recommended.

"Finding Oregon is the compilation of six months of timelapse photography across the state of Oregon, punctuated by a 1600 mile road trip in September. We've filmed the Columbia River Gorge, Mt Hood, Mt Jefferson, the Southwestern Coast, the Alvord Desert, Leslie Gulch, Blue Mountains, Crater Lake, Eagle Cap Wilderness, Deschutes River, and more."

“I think one of the primary goals of a feminist landscape architecture would be to work toward a public landscape in which we can roam the streets at midnight, in which every square is available for Virginia Woolf to make up her novels ” - Rebecca Solnit

11.27.2011

"Student committs suicide, letters reveal he was worried immigration status"

"This is just another reason why we need real change. I hate how games are played when it comes to immigration and how some people are towards the undocumented community....The DREAM Act and CIR are not just about being able to fix our status and work legally or go to school. It's about not being afraid, not having those barriers anymore, and felling like you are someone..that you are worth something and are a human being just like everyone else." - a DREAMer

Artwork by Julio Salgado

11.24.2011

ASK LESLEY: HOW DO I STOP HATING MY BODY? "Sometimes, loving your body is not an option. Sometimes, the best we can do is accept our bodies as the changeable, beautiful, frustrating vessels they are. That’s OK. Expecting yourself to have a full-on love affair with your body at all times is asking too much. Bodies are occasionally annoying. What we can do is know them, and decide for ourselves when they feel good, and when they feel less good, and what we might do to make them feel better again. Even if we can’t love our bodies, we can make sure we don’t hate them."

Image: source.

OR Governor Will Allow No More Executions: "Oregon Governor John Kitzhaber said this week that he will halt the execution of a death row inmate scheduled for next month and will allow no more executions in the state during his term. 'It is time for Oregon to consider a different approach,' Governor Kitzhaber told reporters. 'I refuse to be a part of this compromised and inequitable system any longer; and I will not allow further executions while I am governor.'"

A serious problem: Study Finds Foster Children Often Given Antipsychosis Drugs: "Powerful drugs intended for people with severe mental illness are prescribed for children in foster care at a disturbingly high rate."

The Jayhawks and Gillian Welch on World Cafe.

“Do stuff. Be clenched, curious. Not waiting for inspiration’s shove or society’s kiss on your forehead. Pay attention. It’s all about paying attention. Attention is vitality. It connects you with others. It makes you eager. Stay eager.” - Susan Sontag

11.23.2011

NYTimes: A Serving of Gratitude May Save the Day

PBS' American Masters is airing a two-part documentary on Woody Allen this week.

Image: source.

An op-ed by Rebecca Solnit: Occupy Wall Street: Civil society's awakening: "Americans everywhere have realized that government and corporations depend on consumers, workers and ultimately citizens who may yet succeed in reining them in."

Never ever ever thought I would say this but - good for Newt Gingrich: Gingrich Risks Conservative Outrage on Immigration: “I don’t see how the party that says it’s the party of the family is going to adopt an immigration policy which destroys families that have been here a quarter century . . . And I’m prepared to take the heat for saying let’s be humane in enforcing the law without giving them citizenship, but by finding a way to create legality so that they are not separated from their families.”

‎"Dorothy Day used to pray every day, before her Catholic Worker house opened to feed homeless strangers: Lord, I know you’ll be coming through the food line today. Don’t let me miss you when you come."

11.22.2011

A short but on point video of Dean Spade on "trickle-down social justice."

Oops, started on page one of Kim Gee Comics and definitely spent a lot of time devouring every page....

Image: source. I like it.

Awesome comic artists unite to tackle everyone's favorite jackpot of good stories and harrowing tales, OK Cupid: So This Is What It's Come To.

This year’s New York Times Notable Books of the Year list is out.

Oh yep, who hasn't had this thought as they pass a roadside covered with used-once, thrown down cups of water: Are Marathons Bad for the Planet? "Sure, races are fun. But today's events also leave behind record-breaking environmental footprints."

This article from the NYTimes is getting a lot of discussion on legal blogs: What They Don’t Teach Law Students: Lawyering. I'd agree that the practical nuts and bolts of practicing law should be a larger part of legal education, which is one of the reasons I chose a school that places so much emphasis on the actual practice of law.


(thanks e.l.m.!)

11.21.2011

Cruel and Unusual: A President's 'Pardon' as Dark Parody: "The White House turkey "pardon" is a distasteful reminder of the power we give politicians over death-row prisoners."

Image: source.

I've watched a few episodes of the BBC's adaptation of Kate Atkinson's mystery novel Case Histories - I like the adaptation (you'll never guess where you recognize the main actor from), and was impressed by the use of music. The main character, Jackson Brody, is a fan of American folk/blues/country music, and the tv adaptation does a great job of including this music. The only problem is they haven't released a soundtrack! Luckily I'm not the only one who liked their selections, and I found someone who put in the work to post a list of the tracks here. Great stuff, and I'm always thrilled to hear Lucinda Williams in any setting.

NPR: Mexican Deportees Strain Cities South Of The Border: "For many Mexican migrants who've just been deported from the United States, the border city Reynosa is where the American Dream dies...."

A powerful comic about abuse the power of friendship. Simple, short, but effective.

From Jezebel, Are Bisexual Women Getting The Short End Of The Emotional Stick?: "A new study found that bisexual women are more likely than bisexual men to suffer from depression and stress, and abuse alcohol. Researchers don't really know why bisexual women tend to fare worse than men, but they suspect feeling excluded from two communities may have something to do with it."

Inside Guantanamo, Detainees Live In Limbo: "NPR's Dina Temple-Raston has reported on prisons for years, but says Guantanamo is different. In this Reporter's Notebook, she visits the notorious prison and says it feels like a terrorist museum."

11.20.2011

Very cool, Ann Patchett (and yay Buffalo Street Books in Ithaca for the shout out!): Novelist Fights the Tide by Opening a Bookstore

Image: source.

Not your usual love story: Vows: "Each accused of murder and released after their convictions were overturned, a couple find each other and marry."

Two very powerful videos. First, "in a demonstration of support for the Occupy movement, a small group of protesters was sitting, arms linked together. Campus police told them to move. The students didn't. And that's when an officer walked down the line of seated men and women, pepper-spraying them. Some took it straight in their faces. Many of the several hundred others who were there screamed in terror and frustration."

Next, as Chancellor Katehi emerges from her office "there was one of the most amazing scenes so far related to the Occupy movement. As Katehi and another woman walked three blocks to an SUV, they passed through a gauntlet of several hundred students — who remained silent in a powerful show of their disdain."

Very cool project. “Chicago-based cartoonist Sara Drake will work in Cambodia for . . . teaching young women to cultivate their own personal narratives by utilizing skills such as drawing techniques, creative writing, zine production/bookmaking, independent publishing, and basic screen-printing methods. 'Comics as a medium,' Sara explains, 'is a unique form of self-expression that easily lends itself to serve a pedagogical function. This project will support a women’s comics community, by and for women, in a place where their inclusion within the medium has been extraordinarily complex and limited.'” Check out the project's blog. (source.)

11.18.2011

Interesting! (h/t moosh): "Exhibition Road is Prince Albert’s legacy. By 2012 we are going to make it a place where culture and learning are accessible to people of all ages and backgrounds with a streetscape that makes that ambition a reality. The crowded, narrow pavements and heavy traffic will go. In their place we will make an elegant kerb-free surface across the length and width of the road. Pedestrians will have more space and vehicles will be limited to 20mph. We’re changing Exhibition Road from an area dominated by cars to one that puts people first."

NYTimes: Young Farmers Face Huge Obstacles to Getting Started

Image: source.

Ugh, horrible: Millions of Americans Face Life Without Dental Care

Listening to: Wild Flag On World Cafe

2011 National Book Award Winners Announced

11.16.2011

Ha! I relate. Liz Prince, What Am I Doing At The Grocery Store?

Still loving CrossFit; I've even gone twice a day a few times. I hate those burpies and box jumps, and I can't lift much weight....but I keep going back. As always, love the variety, love the supportive environment, and love challenging myself. Thanks for all the encouragement, folks!

Listening to Ryan Adams On World Cafe.

Image: "This is Lady Pink, one of the only female graffiti artists active in the ’80s. Jenny Holzer, famous for her feminist postmodern “Truisms,” designed this shirt and Lady Pink wore it around NYC." source.

A New Civil Rights Movement in Alabama. “I am in Birmingham because injustice is here.” - MLK Jr., Letter from Birmingham Jail

Added to my "to read" list: Hillbilly Nationalists, Urban Race Rebels, and Black Power: Community Organizing in Radical Times. Check out this interview with the authors.

Although my affection for Annie Hall the movie is greater than my affection for Annie Hall the character, I really liked this: Manic Pixie Strong Girl: Annie Hall as a Misunderstood Heroine
Thirteen people were arrested yesterday while in Alabama non-violently protesting the anti-immigrant laws passed there. One of them was Jamie Limon Guzman (pictured left), a young man I had the honor of meeting and speaking with on a number of panels recently. A hard working and intelligent father and husband, Jamie risked his own arrest and possible deportation in order to speak out against racist and unconstitutional laws. I can hardly think of a more American action to take. More info here from the Huffington Post: Alabama Immigration Law: Police Arrest 13 Protesting Controversial Legislation. Go here to donate to their bail fund.

11.14.2011

Tiger Beatdown: Why Are You In Such A Bad Mood? #MenCallMeThings Responds!

Swings Tampa Bay is a spontaneous community building organization that hangs hand-painted swings all over Tampa Bay in the middle of the night

Image: source.

This is NOT what democracy looks like. "The State of Alabama continues to deny the right to vote to citizens who have served and completed sentences for felony convictions. Alabama's disenfranchisement rate of one in 14 residents is triple the national average. Mass incarceration has a disproportionate effect on the voting power of poor and minority communities." source: Equal Justice Initiative

I loved book one of the Hunger Games trilogy, but will admit that I didn't finish the whole series. I'm still excited about this trailer though!

This weekend I ran a local 9 mile race, the Pioneer Road Run. Nine miles?, I should be absolutely pysched - I haven't been running much at all, and I certainly haven't run that far in months. And, yet, instead of being proud of myself for finishing (and for not walking once!) I was totally embaressed to come in third to last (the organizers even asked me "So, is anyone else still out there?"). So silly. My back is hurting (my reoccurring middle-back spot of pain), so I took Sunday off from excercizing. I woke up in a lot of pain this morning, but going to pilates and streching it out helped. Still deciding about whether to go to CrossFit tonight. It's been a few days since I went and I really miss it, but also I don't want my back to get worse....

From the Atlantic: Would Cracking Down on Illegal Immigration Really Cut Unemployment?

11.12.2011


From New Hampshire Public Radio: New Hampshire's Immigration Story: The History of Immigration Law: "Although we are a nation of immigrants, the first laws to enforce who could be an American citizen and who couldn't didn’t appear until the late 1880s. Since then, new legislation like the Immigration Acts of 1921 and 1965, as well as the Refugee Act of the 1980s have both strengthened and loosened these rules."

Image: source.

Typography love: typeverything.com

If you're hating the new GoogleReader like me (yes, still!) one thing that makes it a little better is hiding the lefthand column, so that there's a bit less white space - just hit "u" (and "u" with the arrow key to bring it back). I still want my old GoogleReader back!

I'm still loving CrossFit so much - each workout is different, it's always a challenge, and I feel strong and accomplished after I go. Today I ran a local 9 mile race - I'm not gonna lie, I was second to last coming in, and that was embarrassing, but, hey, I did it.

A great post about Explaining Health At Every Size to your Personal Trainer, and generally working out as someone fat, and/or not interested in losing weight/taking measurements, etc (from Persephone Magazine)

11.10.2011

Go, Jamie & Christian, Go DREAMers! We would be lucky to have these intelligent, hard-working, compassionate youth as US Citizens. Ask an Undocumented Immigrant: Young Local Immigrants Are Coming Out—And Using Their Voices.

Awesome quote: “It’s looking less and less like an Irish rugby team." Boston Globe: City Council race shows how far Boston has come. Congrats to RK and co, who worked so hard to get Ayanna Pressley and other deserving candidates into office.

Mos Def reads Malcolm X, "Message to the Grassroots" (November 10, 1963) (From the awesome Zinn Education Project)

PRI: Nigeria turns to empty plastic bottles to build homes in remote villages

Girls Just Want to Go to School by Nicholas Kristof

Crisis pregnancy centers are a dangerous scam: The Truth Is Better Advice: "I disagree with their views vehemently, but abortion rights opponents have a right to try to make their case to women considering abortion. But they have no right to deceive them, offering bogus science intended to make them delay, or fail to exercise, their legal right. Honesty is always best, even if it makes it harder to get your way."

Left: Ha! Loving these: The League of Ordinary Ladies: Coffee Shops, by Esther C. Werdiger

“I use labels because we haven’t gotten beyond race or class or other differences yet. When I don’t assert certain aspects of my identity like the spiritual part or my queerness, they get overlooked and I’m diminished. When we come to a time when I don’t have to say, “Look, I’m a dyke,” or “I’m spiritual,” or “I’m intellectual,” I’ll stop using labels. That’s what I want to work towards. But until we come to that time, if you lay your body down and don’t declare certain facets of yourself, they get stepped on.” - Gloria Anzaldua

11.09.2011

Two articles on SCOTUS and the current discussion about warrantless GPS surveillance by cops: Which Way Privacy? The Supreme Court asks whether the government can put a GPS device on your car without a warrant, by Dahlia Lithwick and Rethinking Warrants in a Wireless Age by Gail Sullivan.

My hatred of the new GoogleReader design rages on, and others agree.

Image: source.

GOOD: Can I Get an Abortion Here? The Abortion Rights Map of the World

A video of one woman's transition, and a reminder of all the brave trans and gender queer people among our friends and families.

LA Times: Immigrant detainees deserve lawyers: "The vast majority of detainees, including children and the mentally ill, are forced to represent themselves in immigration court. That could, and should, change soon."

Love it: Reading, Writing And Roasting: Schools Bring Cooking Back Into The Classroom

11.07.2011

Interesting: In Phoenix, The Dark Side of Green: "So 'greening' the city is all the rage now. But if policy makers end up focusing only on those who can afford the low-carbon technologies associated with the new environmental conscientiousness, the movement for sustainability may end up exacerbating climate change rather than ameliorating it . . . Solar chargers and energy-efficient appliances are fine, but unless technological fixes take into account the needs of low-income residents, they will end up as lifestyle add-ons for the affluent."

Listening to TED Talk: Brene Brown: The power of vulnerability

Image: source.

Random House will donate 1 new book to a kid in need for each new follower First Book gains on Twitter (@FirstBook) this week or on Facebook.

Yes yes yes. Right on: the New York City Council has ended co-operation with Immigration and Customs Enforcement. "By an overwhelming majority, the council passed a bill Thursday ending the Correction Department’s cooperation with federal efforts to deport undocumented immigrants." I especially appreciate that they address the claim that so many make that SecComm allegedly only "catches" people who have previous criminal convictions: "More than 50 percent of all prison inmates who are discharged to the ICE have no criminal record, the council bill states; for 20 percent of all the inmates who are discharged to ICE, their highest offense is a misdemeanor." I firmly believe that Secure Communities should be dropped - because it doesn't only "catch criminals." Because it does lead to racial profiling. Because it doesn't create a safer environment for crime victims. And because this - "The Obama administration has announced that it would suspend deportation proceedings for undocumented immigrants who pose no threat to national security or public safety" - is a lie, and those of us who are advocates for a just immigration system see that it's a lie every day.

With all the focus on heirloom seeds and locally raised pigs, this article in the New Yorker had my mouth watering: True Grits: In Charleston, a quest to revive authentic Southern cooking.

11.05.2011

Completely unacceptable: Military sexual assault and rape 'epidemic': "Studies suggest as many as one in three female soldiers are raped during their US military service."

Awesome: What's the Best Way to Turn a Parking Lot into a Garden?

Beautiful: "A collection of starlings is called a murmuration"

Image: source.

Finishing the end of Friday Night Lights today, with my friend Brett. Clear eyes, full hearts, can't lose!

This morning I did my third CrossFit class and I'm loving it - each workout is so different and I love how the focus is always on strength and each person pushing themselves to their individual limits.


"Julian Bond, the former chairman of the NAACP, and the first president of the Southern Poverty Law Center, supports same-​sex marriage equality, as he discusses in this video produced by the Human Rights Campaign (HRC) for their new Americans for Marriage Equality series."

11.04.2011

Ugh. "The End of Childhood? France's Biggest Supermarket Chain Sells Bras to 5 Year Olds"


“What we see in many places is that while you can bring crime down by occupying the neighborhood and stopping everybody, what you do in the process is lose that neighborhood. … You fuel the idea that the police are an occupying, inimical force in the neighborhood. You play into these real and toxic racial memories about what came before civil rights. And you can make it work in many places, but you can’t stop. You can’t ever say, ‘We’ve won. Things are good. Things are stable,’ because you have driven them into hiding.” - David M. Kennedy, on Fresh Air, speaking on programs that target specific geographic areas through car and pedestrian stops in order to stop crime.

‎"In the Life" has a moving video profile - Finding Home - on homeless trans, gender variant and queer youth.

Video from The New School, Milano School of International Affairs, Management, and Urban Policy, Feet in Two Worlds Project "DREAM Activists and the Immigrant Rights Movement": "Tens of thousands of youth graduate high school each year in the US with an inherited title: "undocumented immigrant." Passage of the DREAM Act would make many undocumented young people legal residents, start them on a path to citizenship and make them eligible for financial aid if they finish college or serve in the military. While Congress considers—and delays—passage, legislators in states nationwide are debating and passing measures of their own. And a new generation of activists are "outing" themselves as undocumented Americans, giving the immigrant rights movement a new, more aggressive face. What is the status of the national DREAM Act campaign, and those being pursued state-by-state? Are the new activist strategies proving effective? And what are the political implications of young, undocumented immigrants taking a central role in the movement for immigrant rights?"

The Ella Baker Center, on Occupy Oakland: The Morning After: Keeping Things in Perspective

Prescient: “I think people are dazzled by Obama's rhetoric, and that people ought to begin to understand that Obama is going to be a mediocre president — which means, in our time, a dangerous president — unless there is some national movement to push him in a better direction.” - Howard Zinn

11.02.2011

From the NYTimes: "At the Gentle Barn in Santa Clarita, Calif., inner-city gang members, drug addicts and abused youngsters can feed a cow, hug a pig or just try to find peace in a pastoral setting."

Image: source.

"Provide legal support to those most vulnerable," says Margaret H. Marshall, retired chief justice of the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court.

Secret To A Long, Healthy Life: Bike To The Store: "Even if people used bikes to run short errands than half the time, it could save more than 1,100 lives a year in 11 Midwestern cities, thanks to reduced air pollution and improved health."

Listening to/watching The Black Keys "Lonely Boys" and Dr. Dog "Heart It Races"

Formerly Incarcerated & Convicted People’s Movement launches national conference to fight criminal justice industry
I went to my first CrossFit class this morning! Since it's too dark for me to be biking into work now, and I don't want to run more than twice a week (occasional ankle and knee pain persists), I was looking for something to get me energized this winter. CrossFit looked pretty bad ass, and doing my first dead lifts today (this is basically me) felt pretty hardcore! I'm excited about going back, and about gaining strength (and the ability to do handstand push ups!)

Image: haha, love it - "Don't let him talk to you like that, Terry!" source.

Woah. Measuring your slavery footprint.

From the NY Review of Books, Day of the 40,000 Dead: "Alma Guillermoprieto on Mexico's new grassroots movements against violence the state has been powerless to stop"

GoogleReader is the #1 way that I read my news and find things to post about here. I absolutely HATE their new design - it's hard to read, there is so much wasted white space, and it's making me miserable (dramatic but true). If you hate it too, please give Google some feedback, it would at least be great to have the option to switch to the old view.

10.31.2011

Just outrageous, creating a hierarchy of U.S. citizens. Students Born To Illegal Immigrants Sue Over Tuition: "A class-action lawsuit has been filed in Miami by Florida residents being charged out-of-state tuition rates to attend state colleges and universities. The students are American citizens — children who were born in the U.S. to illegal immigrants — and they say Florida's regulations violate their constitutional rights."

I saw Ides of March last night, and was more depressed by it than I expected. I mean, it's a good movie - solid acting, a wonderful cast, a well-paced plot, decent script etc. And it's not like I'm particularly naive about politics. But, man, I just walked out of the movie even more hopeless about politics and our country and the human race than when I went in. Whew.


"The editorial boards of The New York Times and The Washington Post urge Congress to pass the National Criminal Justice Commission Act, a Brennan-Center supported bill to study the nation’s broken criminal justice system." via The Brennan Center.

Wow. NOLA Activist Forgives the Men Who Nearly Took His Life: "Last month, a random act of violence nearly took Rafael Delgadillo's life. The 29-year old was at a stop sign in the Mid-City neighborhood of New Orleans when two young men approached his vehicle in an attempted carjacking. As he drove off, they opened fire, shooting him in the head. Miraculously, he survived, although the bullet lodged in his brain still threatened to leave him without his eyesight."

10.28.2011

‎"It's not a miscommunication - it's communication." Postage paid, yo! Keep Wall Street Occupied: "An easy, free, and non-violent way to drive the big banks out of their greedy little minds is sitting in your mailbox right now. You just don't know it yet."

Inspector Lewis!

Image: source.

Would love to be part of an immigration law clinic at a law school (preferably my alma mater, NUSL) someday.

Teaching Feminism in High School: Moving from Theory to Action

Listen to: Little Black Dress – Don’t Worry Baby (The Beach Boys cover)

From NPR's Latino USA: Nicaragua: Women, Violence and Elections

My love affair with BSG continues, full-steam ahead! But I will admit to finding it overwhlemingly heterosexist, and, yes, complicated in its psuedo-feminist rhetoric: from Slate, Chauvinist Pigs in Space: Why Battlestar Galactica is not so frakking feminist after all. (Warning: spoilers. I was cruising around today, looking for articles on BSG and religion, as well as BSG and feminism, and definitely had to avert my eyes from some important plot developments....didn't finish the Slate article, for instance)