Excellent, hilarious, true: Why Yoga Can Be So Irritating (Although You Should Go Anyway!) (The part about "There are teachers and students who think flexibility is some kind of indication of how good a person you are," especially rings true to me - so much (self) judgment!) Related: I've decided September I will tackle a month of Bikram - every day for 30 days....

I've heard great things about Gun Hill Road, looking forward to seeing it.

I'm in the midst of a week long vacation (much of which has involved being unplugged, hence the lack of posting). I spent the weekend in Portland, eating a lot of good food, looking at a lot of nice stuff, drinking a lot of excellent beer, and generally indulging. Now, I'm back home, trying not to get bogged down by the "to do on vacation" list....So far I've been doing exactly what I wanted, which is sleeping a lot, and reading a ton - most recently Bel Canto, An Ordinary Decent Criminal, Borderlands, and Nemesis. (Image: I'm also drying peppers (outside), drying tomatoes (in the oven), and generally tackling some domestic projects I've had in the works for a while...more to come)

Some tips for fellow introverts: How To Get Some Time To Yourself.

"Slow gardening," eh?

From Serious Eats, this video: "Janus Youth Programs has operated community-based programs for children, youth, and families in Oregon and Washington since 1972. They have a network of over 20 programs includes, including Janus Food Works, which employs 14 to 21 year-olds from Portland. The youth get involved in the planning, growing, selling, and donating of over 4,000 pounds of organic produce each year from the one-acre organic farm on Sauvie Island."


from “What Work Is” by Philip Levine

We stand in the rain in a long line
waiting at Ford Highland Park. For work
You know what work is — if you’re
old enough to read this you know what
work is, although you may not do it.
Forget you. This is about waiting,
shifting from one foot to another.
Feeling the light rain falling like mist
into your hair, blurring your vision
until you think you see your own brother
ahead of you, maybe ten places.
You rub your glasses with your fingers,
and of course it’s someone else’s brother,
narrower across the shoulders than
yours but with the same sad slouch, the grin
that does not hide the stubbornness,
the sad refusal to give in to
rain, to the hours wasted waiting,
to the knowledge that somewhere ahead
a man is waiting who will say, “No,
we’re not hiring today,” for any
reason he wants. You love your brother,
now suddenly you can hardly stand
the love flooding you for your brother,
who’s not beside you or behind or
ahead because he’s home trying to
sleep off a miserable night shift
at Cadillac so he can get up
before noon to study his German.
Works eight hours a night so he can sing
Wagner, the opera you hate most,
the worst music ever invented.
How long has it been since you told him
you loved him, held his wide shoulders,
opened your eyes wide and said those words,
and maybe kissed his cheek? You’ve never
done something so simple, so obvious,
not because you’re too young or too dumb,
not because you’re jealous or even mean
or incapable of crying in
the presence of another man, no,
just because you don’t know what work is.
An interview with the filmmakers behind the excellent documentary Better This World.

From GQ: An Intimate History of Gay Men in the Military: "On a day to come very soon—September 20, 2011—a serviceman's sexuality will no longer be grounds for dismissal from the U.S. Armed forces. These are the voices explaining what it has been like to be a gay man1 in the American military over the previous seventy or so years, from World War II veterans in their late eighties to young servicemen on active duty."

Image: source.

In honor of my upcoming weekend in Portland: A Dirt Cheap Guide To Portland, OR and The Stumptown Vegans Guide to One Day in Portland

A photo gallery of the "Stone of Hope" granite statue (created by Chinese sculptor Lei Yixin) in the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial in Washington, D.C. And an op-ed from Cornell West, "Martin Luther King Jr. Would Want a Revolution, Not a Memorial."

Cyndi Lauper Opens Shelter for Homeless LGBT Youth


A friend (hey Lex!) recently asked for tips on starting running. Truthfully, my running days seem far off, but it is true (as I need to remind myself occasionally), that I went from barely being unable to run a mile in October 2010 to completing a marathon on May 1, 2011 - and running the whole darn thing without stopping. Hope these help you reach your running goal!

- To start, go slow. Like, even slower than you think possible. Most people start out too quickly, then get uncomfortable or in pain and are like, f it, running is impossible. At least that was my experience for the first 29 years of my life.

- Don't be afriad to alternate walking and jogging, but try to do it in a planned way, not just, "Ugh, I don't wanna jog anymore." Say you will give this walking/jogging thing 30 min, and then do little spurts of jogging - set a tree to jog towards, then walk till the next house, then jog again, maybe till the next bush or phone pole. Don't be afraid to set really small goals for jogging, just keep moving with some brisk walking in between.

- Eventually step it up to do tiny sprints, too. Walk a block, jog a half block, then try to "sprint" (or just more than super slow) for like 10 feet. Even little variations like this help your body get used to jogging and running and strengthen different muscles (and help prevent injury!)

- Don't feel like you have to run more than 2-3 times a week to start. Make sure to fit in some other activity if you can, like swimming once a week or yoga. I have a Jillian Michaels' "30 day Shred" video I like because it's only 20 min but I feel like its a good work out. Sometimes I bike, sometimes I swim, sometimes I combine them when I'm really antsy and can't focus (bike 10 min, swim 10 min, etc).

- Last but not least, sign up for a race - a walk or a 5K run or something, anything. Races were always when I hit the next level when I was training - for instance, I had only run 2 miles before I did a 5K, or 8 miles before a 9 mi run, had only run 20 miles before the marathon, etc - the adrenaline and community help push you....

Good luck!
It's no Dutchess & The Duke (RIP) but I'm enjoying the somewhat reminiscent The Head and the Heart "Rivers and Roads." (also: their Daytrotter session)

From NPR: Alice Waters: 40 Years Of Sustainable Food

Happy Birthday to the amazing Howard Zinn, who died last year. A true hero.

Image: source.

A recent article from the Times, The High Price of Looking Like a Woman, and commentary from Feministe

One thing I love about Fall (which is swiftly on it's way!) is wearing socks. I love socks - cozy socks, handmade socks, striped socks. So I'll take one of each of these please.

NYTimes: Addressing the Justice: "The poor need representation in court and thousands of law school graduates need work. This shameful state of affairs is unnecessary."


Added to the "to read" list: "this article by Berkeley historian Rebecca McLennan, which traces the nineteenth-century legal and political changes that have enabled twentieth-century Americans to write prisoners out of the categories of 'human' and 'citizen.'"

More brilliance from Fashion It So.

Image: source.

Yay bikes and kids, yay BNB, yay Neil! Bike program gives youth a path for life: "...pilot program, On My Way, On My Bike, which started earlier this month. It is a collaboration among the nonprofit Bikes Not Bombs, the city of Boston, and Brandy Cruthird, who runs a nonprofit fitness program in Roxbury for city youths...The new summer program emphasizes fitness, self-esteem, and self-confidence, and the children are encouraged to participate in year-round activities of Bikes Not Bombs, which is dedicated to peace and social change."

On the growth of farmers' markets - are there too many? Are they helping farmers?

Gorgeous: Cozy Swiss Alps Chalet in a Retrofitted Barn

Interesting: from Tiger Beatdown: Moving away from Social Justice towards Social Wellbeing

Paul Farmer, “This I Believe.”

Despite having grown up here, last night was my first time at the annual Daedalus Project, a fundraiser for HIV/AIDS research and nonprofits at the Oregon Shakespeare Festival. It was a great time, entertaining and touching, and also maybe the only time that the OSF has felt to me like a "locals" thing, instead of mainly for tourists. I'll definitely be back next year.

Image: "Frida Kahlo wore plaster corsets for most of her life because her spine was too weak to support itself. She painted them, naturally, covering them with pasted scraps of fabric and drawings of tigers, monkeys, plumed birds, a blood-red hammer and sickle, and streetcars like the one whose handrail rammed through her body when she was eighteen years old."

Tonight I'm headed to Britt to see Aimee Mann and the Weepies. I'm not a huge fan of either, but any chance to see a show at the Britt with friends is not to be missed, and I'm looking forward to it.

Apply for a School Garden Grant from Whole Foods: "Beginning August 17th, Whole Kids Foundation School Garden Grant Program will be accepting online applications for school garden grants! In partnership with FoodCorps, Whole Kids Foundation will grant 1000 schools $2000 each to build or expand their school garden."

Love this idea! "Tired of forcing your excess garden produce on friends and neighbors? The website Ample Harvest makes it easy for gardeners with extra produce to connect with local food pantries in need of fresh vegetables." source.


Paddle To Seattle: "Follow two friends as they build their own kayaks and paddle together for 97 days through the wilderness on a journey from Alaska to Seattle—only to survive to talk about...most things."

Image: source.

Interesting and beautiful video about photographing rock climbing in Yosemite.

"That buzzing sound you hear at Chicago's O'Hare International Airport could be a jet taking off. Or maybe it's coming from the 1.5 million bees that call the airport home. In May, the Chicago Department of Aviation partnered with a community group to start a 2,400 square foot apiary on-site. Now 23 beehives are up and running and are scheduled to yield 575 pounds of honey this year."

Beautiful and very creative vertical gardens!

Anastasia at Sweetbutterbliss posted a rave review of Yum & Yuk months ago and somehow I just saw it! Thanks for the kind words, Anastasia, and sorry again for the delay!

Bill Clinton's Vegan Journey: Former president Bill Clinton says he consumes no meat, dairy, eggs and almost no oil in an effort to stave off heart disease.


"Let Evening Come" by Jane Kenyon

Let the light of late afternoon
shine through chinks in the barn, moving
up the bales as the sun moves down.

Let the cricket take up chafing
as a woman takes up her needles
and her yarn. Let evening come.

Let dew collect on the hoe abandoned
in long grass. Let the stars appear
and the moon disclose her silver horn.

Let the fox go back to its sandy den.
Let the wind die down. Let the shed
go black inside. Let evening come.

To the bottle in the ditch, to the scoop
in the oats, to the air in the lung
let evening come.

Let it come, as it will, and don’t
be afraid. God does not leave us
comfortless, so let evening come.

Pesto Love

I did it! My first batch of home grown and home made pesto!

Because pine nuts seemed super expensive, I decided to try and make pesto with another nut. Luckily I found Farmgirl Susan's Lower Fat, Full Flavor Basil Pesto, which uses almonds. I made a few changes and additions, and came out with a very garlicky, refreshing, and delicious pesto. I was unsure how lemon basil (which was what I had in the garden) would affect the recipe, but I thought it gave it a nice fresh little bite, without being as overwhelmingly lemony as the basil smelled on its own (maybe the best smell ever). Here's how we did it:

1/2 cup roasted and salted whole almonds
4 ounces fresh lemon basil leaves (about 4 cups packed - it's amazing how much basil it takes!)
6 large cloves garlic, peeled (if you're not a huge garlic fan - whaaaa?? - you might want to cut it in half)
1/2 cup finely grated parmesan
1/2 teaspoon salt
6 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil

Process the almonds and garlic in a food processor until finely chopped. Add the basil, cheese, and salt, and process until thoroughly combined. With the food processor running, drizzle the olive oil through the chute.

Look at that gorgeous green color! We ate ours with some pasta and a freshly sliced tomato - the first red one of the season from my garden! The thrill of eating food I grew and made has yet to get at all old....
Totally curious to read this (I love me a zine!): Taking the Lane #1: Sharing the road with boys by Elly Blue: "Elly shares her thoughts and stories about being a woman on a bike in Portland, Oregon. Having been a cyclist for several years, Elly is well-versed in the law and her rights as a cyclist. This doesn't, however, stop men from trying to prove her wrong. Thankfully, Elly doesn't back down. Instead, she is one of many women leading the way towards more bike-friendly (and hopefully less misogynistic) cities."

Image: source.

Maybe I'm jaded (well, I'm pretty sure I am), but I can't get excited about this. To me, it sounds like they are just doing what they promised to do a long time ago - deprioritize the deportation of ppl without criminal records. They are still deporting both people with criminal records and without, AND they are still not providing the large majority of undocumented immigrants (including DREAMers) with a path to residency or citizenship: BREAKING: Undocumented Immigrants Without Criminal Records Facing Deportation Can Stay In U.S.

Now, here are some heroes: Undocumented Student Fanny Martinez Arrested Protesting Controversial Secure Communities Program

Awesome news from a local farm: Rooted in community: Billings Farm owners open their acres to less fortunate folks who are willing grow their own crops: "The local homeless population and low-income individuals can sign up for a new community garden at Billings Farm near Ashland. Participants either can work alongside others in a large garden area, where produce will be divvied up according to work hours, or establish their own section to maintain and harvest alone."


Architectures of violence: Famine and profits: The widespread scarcity of food is mistakenly viewed as a crime without a culprit.

Katie Orlinsky‘s photographs, including her incredibly powerful portraits from El Cereso, the Ciudad Juárez prison, in Mexico accompany Damien Cave’s New York Times Sunday Review article Mexico’s Drug War, Feminized." source.

Image: source.

Yum, definitely want to make these corn fritters once the fresh corn is ready to harvest...

From NPR: Songs That Make You Feel Good

Solitary Watch launches a YouTube channel; check it out and learn more about the state of solitary confinement in the US.

Listening to: My Morning Jacket On World Cafe and This Week On Alt.Latino: Reinterpretations

Tonight is gonna be my first foray into pesto-making! If it's successful, I'll share the recipes tomorrow. If not....I'll give you some tips on what not to do....

Check out this video of "Dudes On Media" tracing the Ganges River. Spending a few weeks in Varanasi (Banares), on the shore of the Ganges (including an amazing sunrise boat ride on the river) was one of the most amazing experiences of my life...

A Solution to Recidivism: Let Ex-Offenders Vote: "According to a recent report by The Florida Parole Commission, “the overall three-year recidivism rate based on all released inmates” was 33..1, while the recidivism rate for released prisoners who were given their civil rights back and were allowed to vote stood at 11 percent."

New Tumblr addition to the GoogleReader: Latin American History, Fuck Yeah!

Image: "This limited edition letterpress print is part of Dutch Door Press’s series "Birds and Blooms of the 50 States". This print features the state bird of Oregon, the Western Meadowlark, and the state flower, the Oregon Grape." source.

Definitely interested in seeing this doc, and appreciate this critique. HBO's Gloria Steinem Doc Glosses over Race, and Fails to Assess the Second Wave's Legacy

Outrageous: No Cause for Marijuana Case, but Enough for Child Neglect: "The police found about 10 grams of marijuana, or about a third of an ounce, when they searched Penelope Harris’s apartment in the Bronx last year. The amount was below the legal threshold for even a misdemeanor, and prosecutors declined to charge her. But Ms. Harris, a mother whose son and niece were home when she was briefly in custody, could hardly rest easy. The police had reported her arrest to the state’s child welfare hot line, and city caseworkers quickly arrived and took the children away."


Another great critique of The Help, this time from The Rumpus: The Solace of Preparing Fried Foods and Other Quaint Remembrances from 1960s Mississippi: Thoughts on The Help

Image: source.

In urban farming news, SFO starts offering local food at the airport! Especially love this because airports always make me feel so unhealthy and disconnected from everything...

Videos1: Check out this video visualizing the expansion of the United States from 1700 to 1900 through the establishment of post offices. And watch a hexacopter (dunno) fly through Cameroon.

Listening to: Edward Deer Tames “Animal” by Miike Snow


Powerful story of one woman's incredible work to help victims of sex trafficking and abuse in Vietnam.

Image: source.

I was sort of worried they would stay green forever, but my tomatoes are finally turning! It's only a few of them, and they are still far from red, but I'm excited nonetheless. Now, what am I going to do with dozens of tomatoes?? I considered trying to can a bunch of sauce, but then realized two things: (1) I don't really know how to make tomato sauce, and (2) I'm scared of botulism. So, I'm going to try making sun dried tomatoes instead (why not, since I love them on everything....) Now I just have to decide whether I'm going to get ambitious and make them outside (very romantic, but probably a pain in the butt and a bad idea when there are 3 dogs running around our backyard), make them in the oven, or make them in my parents dehydrator....

Website I'm liking: Heavy Petal "Gardening from a west coast, urban perspective" (including their adorable, free seed planning chart!)

A recent decision by the Board of Immigration Appeals outrageously denies rights to immigrants under arrest. The decision "held that noncitizens need not be informed of their right to counsel or warned that their statements can be used against them until after they have been placed in formal deportation proceedings." source.

Rebecca Weiker On the Need to Pass Crucial Juvenile Justice Reform in California


Loved it: Embracing The Other I Am; or, How Walt Whitman Saved My Life

A short video of a few people biking through small towns in Eastern Oregon (in case you're small town and Oregon obsessed like me).

Image: source.

There are no perfect role models or heros, but I will always be grateful to Gloria Steinem for being one of the first people to introduce me to feminism via Ms. magazine and via her books, and I'm looking forward to seeing the new HBO documentary about her life.

Had a wonderful time at the Alpine Century this weekend - another century down, and thoroughly enjoyed!

Watched this weekend: No Impact Man. "Colin Beavan decides to completely eliminate his personal impact on the environment for the next year. It means eating vegetarian, buying only local food, and turning off the refrigerator. It also means no elevators, no television, no cars, busses, or airplanes, no toxic cleaning products, no electricity, no material consumption, and no garbage." The project (as its portrayed in the movie) is imperfect - the most gaping omission is any mention of money, class, race, or other variables that make the life they live possible. However, despite this, I still found the movie entertaining and thought-provoking. Recommended.

Awesome: Finding the Potential in Vacant Lots: "the question may not be what we can do for our vacant lots but what our vacant lots can do for us. Ms. Nassauer encourages cities to think of ways that open land can clean and replenish the watershed, absorb urban heat and carbon dioxide, and create recreational opportunities."


Powerful and humbling: People Are Awesome: Man Becomes Pen Pals With Daughter of Man He Killed in War

Listening to: new Feist, “How Can You Never Go There.”

Also: Rage Against the Machine, "Bulls on Parade (Free Tibet Concert, 1996)." A classic.

Image: source.

Pretty nervous for the (6000 ft elevation gain and loss) Alpine Century tomorrow - wish me luck!

Even if you can't donate money to East Africa, will you consider donating your name and a minute of your time?

Interesting essay over at Autostraddle: Trans Men and Queer Women: Who’s a Boy to Date? (and lots of good discussion in the comments)

Fixing The Economy: Could Localism Provide A Boost? A short film about Bellingham, Washington.

Swimsuit: "A powerful and evocative experimental documentary about a young person's conflict between the desire to transition, and passion for swimming on a women's college team."

My Morning Jacket and Neko Case perform the Kenny Rogers and Dolly Parton duet ‘Islands in the Stream.’
Listening to: Mason Jennings, "Be Here Now," and Foster The People on World Cafe.

"The new film 'I Love Trash' is a documentary that follows two friends as they live for three months by getting everything they need out of the trash." (the whole film is online for free)

Crater Lake (OR!) at night: a beautiful short film.

Image: source.

NYTimes: an op-ed on the role of transgender rights in LGBT activism.

A powerful story from the LATimes: Kelly Thomas' father fights for justice: "Ron Thomas, a former cop, can't understand why his mentally ill son became the victim of a violent confrontation with Fullerton police. He won't rest until he finds answers."

"Whatever life you lead you must put your soul in it--to make any sort of success in it; and from the moment you do that it ceases to be romance, I assure you: it becomes grim reality! And you can't always please yourself; you must sometimes please other people. That, I admit, you're very ready to do; but there's another thing that's still more important--you must often displease others. You must always be ready for that--you must never shrink from it. That doesn't suit you at all--you're too fond of admiration, you like to be thought well of. You think we can escape disagreeable duties by taking romantic views--that's your great illusion, my dear. But we can't. You must be prepared on many occasions in life to please no one at all--not even yourself." - Henry James (The Portrait of a Lady)


From the Boston Globe, the story of one marriage, and a transition: Goodbye husband, hello wife: "He had come to the realization he was a woman with clarity and joy. I reacted with confusion and despair."

Love it: IBM and Portland team up on data to build a 'smarter' city

Image: source.

"Drawing America by Bike is multimedia project which aims to create portrait of America as seen through the eyes of nomadic artist Eric Clausen. On September 5, 2010, Clausen embarked on a bicycle journey around America. The trip will take about 14 months. This page follows Clausen's adventures across the country through drawings, photos, writings and live updates from the road."

More awesome work by the NAACP (including a very talented and dedicated friend of mine!): NAACP Legal Defense Fund Files Voting Rights Act Challenge to Fayette County, Georgia’s At-Large Election Method

The lovely Amy at Just A Titch seriously flattered me by asking a few questions for her "Inspired By" series - and they are up today! Thanks, Amy, for the really thoughtful and fun questions!

"The country is in deep trouble. We've forgotten that a rich life consists fundamentally of serving others, trying to leave the world a little better than you found it. We need the courage to question the powers that be, the courage to be impatient with evil and patient with people, the courage to fight for social justice. In many instances we will be stepping out on nothing, and just hoping to land on something. But that's the struggle. To live is to wrestle with despair, yet never allow despair to have the last word."- Cornel West


Supermax prisons: 21st century asylums: Solitary confinement in the new dungeons of the US trigger mental illness in prisoners.

Very cool! Self-Serve Bike Repair Kiosk

Image: source.

A seriously impressive "how to": beautiful arrow sandals.

A great post from my friend Zac about gardening (he's super smart, has excellent politics, loves gardening, and quotes Rebecca Solnit - no wonder we are friends!)

Colorlines: Why I’m Just Saying No to “The Help” and Its Historical Whitewash. And a review from Wesley Morris at the Boston Globe, including this take-down to end all take-downs: "On one hand, it’s juicy, heartwarming, well-meant entertainment. On the other, it’s an owner’s manual."

"I cannot hide my anger to spare your guilt, nor hurt feelings, nor answering anger; for to do so insults and trivializes all our efforts. Guilt is not a response to anger; it is a response to one’s own actions or lack of action. If it leads to change it can be useful, since it is then no longer guilt but the beginning of knowledge. Yet all too often, guilt … becomes a device to protect ignorance … the ultimate protection for changelessness." - Audre Lorde, “Uses of Anger: Women Responding to Racism”


If you're looking for comfy, sustainably made, and cute clothing, you should check out Yala. Yala is based in my hometown (just a few blocks from where I live, in fact!) and I'm a huge fan. It's definitely not cheap, but it's good quality and, I think, worth the investment. Check 'em out!

Excellent, thought-provoking post on the riots in London. ‎"People riot because they have spent their whole lives being told that they are good for nothing, and they realise that together they can do anything – literally, anything at all. People to whom respect has never been shown riot because they feel they have little reason to show respect themselves, and it spreads like fire on a warm summer night."

And a related video: ‎"Have some respect for an old West Indian Negro, and stop accusing me of being a rioter...I don't call it a riot, I call it an insurrection of the masses...of the people."

Image: love this beautiful, bike-tastic poster series.

No words. "Citing the Defense of Marriage Act, the Obama administration denied immigration benefits to a married gay couple from San Francisco and ordered the expulsion of a man who is the primary caregiver to his AIDS-afflicted spouse."

"Whatever happens. Whatever / what is is is what / I want. Only that. But that." - Galway Kinnell (thanks elm and J)
From Flavorwire: 10 Books Any Self-Respecting Feminist Needs on Her Shelf

Image: source.

Currently reading: David Byrne, Bicycle Diaries. (Still reading Born To Run, as well. Close to the end and loving it.)

From GOOD: A Pop-Up Farm Opens in Midtown Manhattan

An update to the 2011 version of (the imperfect but worth-a-read) Nickled And Dimed.

As I've gotten more active, and started planning for races and rides months ahead, I've definitely considered this issue: Athletic Performance and The Monthly Cycle. Interestingly, I've found that prior to my period, I often have a really great run or workout. I do live in pretty much constant fear, however, of being on my period during a century or a long run etc. But there's not much to do other than cross my fingers and prepare for whatever happens....Just another thing that makes professional female athletes so badass.

"The very least you can do in your life is figure out what you hope for. And the most you can do is live inside that hope. Not admire it from a distance, but live right in it, under its roof." - Barbara Kingsolver

Langston Hughes: Let America Be America Again

Let America be America again.
Let it be the dream it used to be.
Let it be the pioneer on the plain
Seeking a home where he himself is free.

(America never was America to me.)

Let America be the dream the dreamers dreamed—
Let it be that great strong land of love
Where never kings connive nor tyrants scheme
That any man be crushed by one above.

(It never was America to me.)

O, let my land be a land where Liberty
Is crowned with no false patriotic wreath,
But opportunity is real, and life is free,
Equality is in the air we breathe.

(There’s never been equality for me,
Nor freedom in this “homeland of the free.”)

Say, who are you that mumbles in the dark?
And who are you that draws your veil across the stars?

I am the poor white, fooled and pushed apart,
I am the Negro bearing slavery’s scars.
I am the red man driven from the land,
I am the immigrant clutching the hope I seek—
And finding only the same old stupid plan
Of dog eat dog, of mighty crush the weak.

I am the young man, full of strength and hope,
Tangled in that ancient endless chain
Of profit, power, gain, of grab the land!
Of grab the gold! Of grab the ways of satisfying need!
Of work the man! Of take the pay!
Of owning everything for one’s own greed!

I am the farmer, bondsman to the soil.
I am the worker sold to the machine.
I am the Negro, servant to you all.
I am the people, humble, hungry, mean—
Hungry yet today despite the dream.
Beaten yet today—O, Pioneers!
I am the man who never got ahead,
The poorest worker bartered through the years.

Yet I’m the one who dreamt our basic dream
In the Old World while still a serf of kings,
Who dreamt a dream so strong, so brave, so true,
That even yet its mighty daring sings
In every brick and stone, in every furrow turned
That’s made America the land it has become.
O, I’m the man who sailed those early seas
In search of what I meant to be my home—
For I’m the one who left dark Ireland’s shore,
And Poland’s plain, and England’s grassy lea,
And torn from Black Africa’s strand I came
To build a “homeland of the free.”

The free?

Who said the free? Not me?
Surely not me? The millions on relief today?
The millions shot down when we strike?
The millions who have nothing for our pay?
For all the dreams we’ve dreamed
For all the songs we’ve sung
And all the hopes we’ve held
And all the flags we’ve hung,
The millions who have nothing for our pay—
Except the dream that’s almost dead today.

O, let America be America again—
The land that never has been yet—
And yet must be—the land where every man is free.
The land that’s mine—the poor man’s, Indian’s,
Negro’s, ME—
Who made America,
Whose sweat and blood, whose faith and pain,
Whose hand at the foundry, whose plow in the rain,
Must bring back our mighty dream again.

Sure, call me any ugly name you choose—
The steel of freedom does not stain.
From those who live like leeches on the people’s lives,
We must take back our land again,

O, yes,
I say it plain,
America never was America to me,
And yet I swear this oath—
America will be!

Out of the rack and ruin of our gangster death,
The rape and rot of graft, and stealth, and lies,
We, the people, must redeem
The land, the mines, the plants, the rivers.
The mountains and the endless plain—
All, all the stretch of these great green states—
And make America again!


"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

image: source.
NYTimes: "In the latest installment of the Lives Restored series, about people coping with mental illness, Benedict Carey reports the story of Joe Holt, 50, a computer consultant and entrepreneur who has schizophrenia."

Listening to: tUnE-yArDs feat. The Roots ‘Gangsta’

Image: source.

Went on a gorgeous (and somewhat brutal) bike ride yesterday. A friend and I drove out to Jacksonville and then biked to Applegate Lake and back - 50 miles round trip, with no small number of hills! The perfect prep for another century this weekend.

"3 guys, 44 days, 11 countries, 18 flights, 38 thousand miles, an exploding volcano, 2 cameras and almost a terabyte of footage... all to turn 3 ambitious linear concepts based on movement, learning and food ....into 3 beautiful and hopefully compelling short films.....= a trip of a lifetime. move, eat, learn."

Dive! an interesting looking documentary about dumpster diving and the incredible amount of food wasted in the US. via Frugivore.

Yum! Sweet Potato + Black Bean Enchiladas

This weekend I finally made a new recipe (instead of just endless variations on quinoa and veggies for lunch...). I started with the Black Bean Sweet Potato recipe from the great Cookie + Kate, but modified it with a few changes that I think worked out for the best. Try it and let me know what you think! (Also: I think I figured that it ends up costing about $1 per enchilada, which is a pretty affordable way to make meals for the week!)


1 15-oz can black beans, rinsed and drained
4 cloves minced garlic
4 cups shredded sweet potatoes
1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
1/2 teaspoon chili powder
1 jalapeño, diced (got to use one from my garden - so cool!)
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp black pepper
1 jar of salsa verde
10 organic corn tortillas
8 oz block of Monterey Jack cheese


Shred the sweet potato, and then sautee it on the stove in some olive oil - make sure it gets nice and soft (I put the top on for a while, to keep some moisture in and let it steam a bit)

Shred all 8 oz of cheese.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Mix together the first 8 ingredients in one bowl. Also mix in half of the cheese.

Coat the bottom of your baking dish with salsa verde.

Warm up your tortillas (in the oven or microwave) so they don’t break when you roll them. Add some of the filling to each tortilla (dont fill it up too much!),

Once all the tortillas are filled and rolled and in the dish, cover them with the rest of the salsa verde, and sprinkle with the remaining cheese.

Bake for about twenty-five minutes.


(image: also from the lovely Cookie + Kate)


From The Chicago Tribune, Crack cocaine: One woman's tale.

Image: source.

Douglas R. Smith’s Heartbreaking Photos of Foreclosed Homes

Run, Pharm Boy, Run!: an ultrarunner documentary profiling one runner as he undertakes the San Francisco One Day race. There's something appealing about running a time instead of a distance (ie running for 24 hours with no prescribed endpoint). It like the idea of just getting in the zone of, ok, I'm going to be doing this all day, it doesnt matter if I go quickly or slowly....just accepting that it will be 24 hours and heading into that experience.

From Foreign Policy: Where Have All the Girls Gone? Western money and advice really did help fuel the explosion of sex selection in Asia.

"The passive American consumer, sitting down to a meal of pre-prepared food, confronts inert, anonymous substances that have been processed, dyed, breaded, sauced, gravied, ground, pulped, strained, blended, prettified, and sanitized beyond resemblance to any part of any creature that ever lived. The products of nature and agriculture have been made, to all appearances, the products of industry. Both eater and eaten are thus in exile from biological reality." - Wendell Berry

From Colorlines: "Welcome to the 46th annual Angola Prison Rodeo, the Wildest Show in the South!"

Image: source.

Today marks the end of my first two weeks of kicked up biking - 4 days a week of bike commuting to work! Give me stats, you say? Ok, over the last two weeks, that means about 240 miles biked, approx. $20 saved on gas, and 16 hours of (fresh air, sunshine, podcast-listening) excercize. Being me, I still never feel hard core enough (reading "Born To Run" doesn't help - why aren't I an ultramarathoner??), but the bump up to more regular bike commuting has helped me feel mentally and physically healthier, for sure. (ps - hi, Brett!)

Recently added to the GoogleReader: Nowtopian (economy, 'technology', public space, San Francisco past and present, class, books)

Just today: 7th Circuit Court holds ban on transgender inmate care unconstitutional.

Check it, and maybe get involved: "The Outliers is a project that seeks to photograph people who self identify as genderqueer."

An incomprehensible tragedy: 29,000 Somali kids have died in last 90 days. Donate if you can: $10, $20, anything helps.


"Love the quick profit, the annual raise,
vacation with pay. Want more
of everything ready-made. Be afraid
to know your neighbors and to die.

And you will have a window in your head.
Not even your future will be a mystery
any more. Your mind will be punched in a card
and shut away in a little drawer.

When they want you to buy something
they will call you. When they want you
to die for profit they will let you know.
So, friends, every day do something
that won’t compute. Love the Lord.
Love the world. Work for nothing.
Take all that you have and be poor.
Love someone who does not deserve it.

Denounce the government and embrace
the flag. Hope to live in that free
republic for which it stands.
Give your approval to all you cannot
understand. Praise ignorance, for what man
has not encountered he has not destroyed.

Ask the questions that have no answers.
Invest in the millenium. Plant sequoias.
Say that your main crop is the forest
that you did not plant,
that you will not live to harvest.

Say that the leaves are harvested
when they have rotted into the mold.
Call that profit. Prophesy such returns.
Put your faith in the two inches of humus
that will build under the trees
every thousand years.

Listen to carrion — put your ear
close, and hear the faint chattering
of the songs that are to come.
Expect the end of the world. Laugh.
Laughter is immeasurable. Be joyful
though you have considered all the facts.
So long as women do not go cheap
for power, please women more than men.

Ask yourself: Will this satisfy
a woman satisfied to bear a child?
Will this disturb the sleep
of a woman near to giving birth?

Go with your love to the fields.
Lie down in the shade. Rest your head
in her lap. Swear allegiance
to what is nighest your thoughts.

As soon as the generals and the politicos
can predict the motions of your mind,
lose it. Leave it as a sign
to mark the false trail, the way
you didn’t go.

Be like the fox
who makes more tracks than necessary,
some in the wrong direction.
Practice resurrection."

- Wendell Berry

(image: source)
From Bitch, Murder, She Blogged: Let's Celebrate the Spinster Detective. Yes, let's!

And, on the detective kick, I've been watching the new PBS series Zen with my parents, and enjoying it. It took me a minute to adjust to, since it's set in Italy but the (Italian) characters speak British English (except for the few that speak English with an Italian accent...), but, overall, recommended. Interview here with the star of Zen.

Image: source.

Whale love! A short animated film: Big Brains: Humans Vs. Whales

Wow. Gorgeous rooftop garden in the UK.

Listening to: Bon Iver "Creature Fear," Dale Earnheart Jr. Jr. "Nothing But Our Love," The Thermals "I Let It Go," Damien Jurado "Gillian." Also: Florence and the Machine: "Dog Days Are Over" (Yeasayer Remix). And: the awesome Heartless Bastards cover Dylan’s “You Ain’t Goin’ Nowhere.”

“I don’t believe in charity. I believe in solidarity. Charity is vertical, so it’s humiliating. It goes from the top to the bottom. Solidarity is horizontal. It respects the other and learns from the other. I have a lot to learn from other people.” - Eduardo Galeano


Sort of annoyed that Queerty's write up felt it necessary had to make multiple mentions of Ditto's weight, but love her, and love this performance: Beth Ditto performs Madonna's Vogue.

Wonderful. Prisons, Then Parks: A Therapeutic Journey: "Tree-planting programs not only hire parolees, but give them a sense of kinship with nature that may help prevent recidivism."

Ha! Better Book Titles. Some of these are pretty good.

Image: source.

Listening to: Stars, Tiny Desk Concert. "Your Ex Lover Is Dead" slays me. And Bon Iver, live at the 9:30 Club.

"We have lived our lives by the assumption that what was good for us would be good for the world. We have been wrong. We must change our lives so that it will be possible to live by the contrary assumption, that what is good for the world will be good for us. And that requires that we make the effort to know the world and learn what is good for it." - Wendell Berry [Yep, on a W. Berry kick....]
Stresses me out just to think about, but an interesting photo project: The Burning House: "If your house was burning, what would you take with you? It's a conflict between what's practical, valuable and sentimental. What you would take reflects your interests, background and priorities. Think of it as an interview condensed into one question."

Image: source.

But seriously, your yard is sort of evil...(pretty, though!). My friend Jeremiah says it best: "Yeah, I know, I've beaten this horse pretty well to death. But I have to post this video because I feel a deep spiritual kinship with this angry nerd as he performs his nerd-rant, which, as you probably know, is my primary form of communication."

NY Mag's always entertaining Look Book focuses this time on recently married same sex couples. Great portraits and interveiws.

I know bike or walk commuting isn't feasible for everyone, but these findings are interesting (and seem to hold true from my personal experience): "According to a paper by the Swiss economists Bruno Frey and Alois Stutzer, a person with a one-hour car commute must earn 40 percent more money to have a sense of well-being equal to someone who walks (or rides their bike) to work. Fey and Stutzer say that people underestimate the down side of a long commute when choosing a home, and that psychologically, a long commute often negates the benefits gained by living in the suburbs."

‎"The mind that is not baffled is not employed. / The impeded stream is the one that sings." [from "The Real Work," by the always lovely Wendell Berry]


Gorgeous and inventive: A Visit to the Prinzessinnengärten: Berlin's Mobile Community Garden

From the Detroit Free Press: Faces of the immigration crackdown

Image: source.

Charles Simic on The Lost Art of Postcard Writing

I'm working on starting a small flower and vegetable garden with with the kids at my church - if anyone has tips on introducing kids to gardening or activities, let me know! I plan to prep the beds and fill them with soil, and then teach the kids about planting seeds and some small plants as well (just seeds would probably be boring to kids). I was also planning on making garden markers with plastic utensils and permanent markers/paint (a cheap, simple idea I found online), and a chart for them to track plant growth as well.....

The summer issue of YES! magazine is devoted to "Beyond Prisons": "The United States locks up more people than any other country, but that hasn't made us safer. The drug war jails thousands of nonviolent addicts. Taxpayers and poor communities lose as states slash social programs to pay for prisons. There's a better way—compassion, not punishment; restoration, not isolation. It's less costly, more humane—and it works."


Listening to: Newport Folk 2011: Middle Brother, Live In Concert: "[Dawes] singer Taylor Goldsmith is one of the stars of Middle Brother — the group he shares with Delta Spirit's Matthew Vasquez, which also plays Newport this year, and Deer Tick's John McCauley." I love Dawes, Deer Tick, AND Delta Spirit - what a combo!

Image: source.

I don't know anything about him, but I tend to think any public discussion of mental health is a step in the right direction: NFL Star Brandon Marshall Has Borderline Personality Disorder

From the NYTimes: Analysis Reveals Asylum Records of Judges: "Mr. Spector, who for more than 20 years has represented asylum seekers, believes that those from Mexico face a higher threshold because the United States has a significant financial and political interest in supporting the Mexican government in its struggle with narcotics traffickers and drug cartels."

Some recent online reads: Soiled and Seeded ("an online garden magazine intent on expanding the conventional approach to gardens and the practice of gardening"), Urban Farm Online, And Then She Saved (thanks NK!) ("And Then She Saved started as simply a way to keep myself accountable in my desire to become debt-free it has morphed into something more. This blog has become a way to share hope with people who are in the same place that I was in when I started my Spending Fast - in the depths of the debt. In that overwhelmingly horrible and demoralizing place.")

If you're having a bad day, this might help....
Fresh Air had an interesting interview with Henry Louis Gates about his new book Black In Latin America - there's so much I have yet to learn about the history of slavery and racism in Latin America (I'm totally guilty of hearing "slavery" and thinking only of slavery in the US). I'm really curious to see the PBS series he produced, Black In Latin America.

On the "non consumer" front, I went through my closet again and got rid of more clothes (probably about 40 pieces of clothing). I also found another 15 or so books to get rid of, and some assorted other things. My process is to try to sell everything first, and then donate whatever doesn't sell. So far, so good.

Image: source.

I appreciate this blogger writing about the running magazine fixation on losing weight. It's been especially frustrating to me to see the difference between magazines that cater towards men (most running magazines, triathlete magazines, Outside magazines - all about bad ass outdoorsy stuff, and "push yourself to the limit!") and those that focus on women (Women's Running, etc - lose weight, lose weight, look cute, lose weight!). Am I totally happy with my body/weight? No. But I get reminders about that constantly - I'd like some sources of inspiration that are about healthy, fitness, kicking ass, and reaching goals.

This short article about the role of the bike in Dutch culture highlights the effects of bike riding on everything from driver education to eating fresh bread.

I signed up for another century, this time the Alpine Century in August: "Alpine Century is your opportunity to ride through some of Oregon's wild and scenic beauty on some of the best cycling roads in the Northwest, Alsea Scenic Byway and Lobster Valley Road. Challenging ascents and descents, rest stops and SAG support staffed by friendly local volunteers, and fresh local food served to you at the completion of the ride. The 50-mile or 100-mile routes include 4000 ft or 6000 ft elevation gain and loss, plus the chance to ride the gorgeous Alsea Scenic Byway and Lobster Valley Road." I'm pretty nervous about that 6000 ft elevation gain and loss, but here goes nothing! Last week I biked into work 4 days (a total of about 120 miles) and I'm hoping if I keep doing that through August and Sept I'll be in pretty solid shape....and then ready to start running again.