7.28.2011

Hahah, YES! This blog is cracking me up big time. Fashion It So: "Charlie and Anna are revisiting Star Trek: The Next Generation. In a big way. And we've noticed that the clothes on that show are AMAZING. And not just 1987 amazing, or 24th century amazing, but BOTH, SIMULTANEOUSLY. We celebrate those fashions here." (This one had me laughing pretty hard, maybe due to the strong Wesley Crusher presence)

Image: source.

Yay Bard Prison Initiative (started by fellow Bard alum Max Kenner)! "Last night PBS NewsHour aired the first of a two-part series on the BPI. "From Ball and Chain to Cap and Gown: Getting a B.A. Behind Bars" highlights the economic benefits of educating incarcerated men and women in America. Part two airs tonight on PBS NewsHour."

Ha! I'm Training For An Ironman: "A conversation between someone training for an Ironman, and someone not training for an Ironman." (Warning: NSFW, potentially). (Also: "I'm Training For A Marathon")

I liked this article by a recovering alcoholic about life and socializing while sober. I've never had a drinking problem, but I severly cut down on alcohol about a year ago (going for 6 months without drinking at all, now I drink maybe 2-4 beers a month), and it's been fascinating to see how that changes socializing, dating, everything. I also realized how much of pop culture is obsessed with drinking! So many songs are about drinking, jokes about drinking, books about drinking, so much alcohol advertizing (and advertizing with no relationship to alcohol that referenced it somehow) - it's been a little overwhelming to start to see how fixated our culture is on alcohol.

7.27.2011

This morning I volunteered alongside kids at a local organic farm, and was incredibly heartened to see that farm education really works. Amazing kids saying things that sounded like ads for farm-to-school programs: "I'm not usually a fan of vegetables, but these are great!" "Home grown veggies are so much better than ones from the store!" Kids forgot about video games and the mall and ran around catching butterflies, picking carrots, learning about herbs and compost, and eating food they helped grow - really incredible stuff.

Image: source: me!

Since my acupuncturist told me to take another month off from running, and I'm high on the recent century ride, I'm trying to get more into biking. Mainly, I'm trying to bump up my bike commutes into work to 3xweek, instead of 1 or 2. That would mean about 100 mi/week in bike commuting, which is decent!

Related: now that I'm spending more and more time outdoors, I'm thinking of getting a RoadID or something similar. I try not to think too much about the risks out there - getting hit by a car, especially - but I know that they exist, no matter how safe you are as an athlete. I always, always wear my helmet when I'm biking - due to a combination of liking my brain, and having a mother who spend decades helping people rehab from serious injury - and I feel so uncomfortable and angry when I see people biking without helmets. Please wear your helmets, everyone, wear visible colors, and carry ID!

Also related: watched video of Ironman races at lunch yesterday. Now that I've completed two of the Ironman events (ran a marathon, biked a century), I'm feeling a renewed hope that I could complete a "half Ironmn," or 70.3, event. As always, the big challenge would be the swim, but maybe I can commit to it this winter. I can't even think of committing right now, having just pulled out of the August 70.3 I registered for, and still being on the mend physically, but it's neat to start to feel excited again after a few months of post-marathon and injury malaise....

See the amazingness for yourself! The Spirit of Ironman, Kona 2010: "Perhaps the most magical time during any Ironman race is the last half hour before midnight [the cut off for finishing the race]. Seventeen hours seems like a long time to cover 140.6 miles, but for some amateur athletes that last 30 minutes is the most important. It is in that last 30 minutes before midnight that all of the training and effort comes to a glorious crescendo of victory." (I cannot watch this without tearing up - these people rock)

7.26.2011

Recently finished: The Dogs of Riga (Wallander #2) by Henning Mankell. Currently reading: Born to Run: A Hidden Tribe, Superathletes, and the Greatest Race the World Has Never Seen by Christopher McDougall, and Mortal Causes (Inspector Rebus, #6) by Ian Rankin

All signed up for the Farm To Farm Century Ride in September! So excited, it looks like a great event.

Image: source.

Listening to: juicy-r [the notorious b.i.g.'s juicy vs. the xx's vcr] - wait what (mashup)

Next up for my garden: growing garlic? My roommate grows garlic in his garden and it's so great to have it last throughout the year. I'd love to give it a go...


Simplicity quest update: refunds from the canceled magazine and newspaper subscriptions are starting to trickle in. I sold 26 pieces of clothing this week. I sorted through and set aside over 100 books to sell the next time I'm in Portland (yay, Powells!). AND....I've started the project of listing everything I own. I put up a bunch of paper on my walls, divided by type ("pants," "books," "toiletries") and am writing things in. I'm doing it for a number of reasons - (1) to become fully aware of how much stuff I own, and (2) to track the process of getting rid of things (I'll cross them off the list as I sell or give them away). A note on the ridiculousness of my consumerism: I considered, for a moment, how I "needed" to go buy big sheets of paper for the project. And then realized the irony. And so am using the backsides of paper I had lying around. Amazing.

7.25.2011

Incredible (I love whales.....I will admit to crying at this story.): "The group came upon a stranded humpback whale who was so tangled in a mesh of nylon netting that she was beginning to drown, and...was possibly an hour from death. The crew worked tirelessly for more than an hour to free the stranded whale and, to their elation, eventually succeeded. Then, magic happened."

Image: source.

Oooooh, I aspire to be crafty enough to build something like this iPhone alarm clock holder thingy.....

These wine crate gardening boxes are gorgeous.

Already looking for the next century bike rides to sign up for! The best looking contenders right now (based on proximety, cause, date, and a variety of other things) are the Alpine Century in August, and the very awesome looking Farm To Farm Century in September (which looks sooooo cool - combining my love of farms, local food, and biking? Win!). Now I just have to wait for my next pay check to register, and see if my biking buddy is up for them too.

"I wish I could describe better the kind of happiness mid-summer always has given me, ever since my infancy almost when the wide extents of ripe corn stretched away endlessly and gave me even then a feeling of security, of peace, of happiness. The harvest songs of all peoples have given vent to it, but not in words.”- Bernard Berenson, Sunset and Twilight (source)
Some powerful letters to the editor in the NYTimes about solitary confinement.

Interesting idea! "ScholarMatch connects donors with college-bound students and helps bring college into reach."

Image: source.

A few true, painful words about addiction, in the wake of Amy Winehouse's death.

Oh, I'm loving this idea...."When we debut this fall, in.gredients will be the first package-free and zero waste grocery store in the United States."

Unfortunately, the severe drought and food crisis continues in East Africa. If you're looking for a way to help, I'd encourage you to consider donating to Oxfam. The organization is aiming to help a quarter of the 12 million people now affected in Kenya, Ethiopia, and Somalia. Their goal is to reach three million in dire need of clean water, food, and basic sanitation. I donated $10 which is, amazingly, a day's supply of clean water for 40 people.

An infographic about the long wait many immigrants have who are hoping to come to the US (legally). You might be surprised.

This weekend I read, and enjoyed, the recent New Yorker article on the small house movement - this article from GOOD is worth a read as well.


"To free us from the expectations of others, to give us back to ourselves--there lies the great, singular power of self-respect." - Joan Didion



"Phyllis Siegel, 76, right, and Connie Kopelov, 84, who have been together in Manhattan for 23 years, were the first couple in. Ms. Kopelov used a gray walker as they were married by the city clerk, Michael McSweeney.

As Mr. McSweeney declared to the couple, “I now pronounce you married,” Ms. Siegel held Ms. Kopelov's head and kissed her on the left cheek." source.

7.24.2011

On repeat: Dawes Daytrotter sessions. Serious perfection. If you're not listening to it, why not??

Image: source.

McSweeney's cooking magazine? Looks interesting.

Well, I did it! Yesterday, for the first time in my life, I biked 100 miles! It was difficult but fun, and today the only pain in my body is my sunburned back (for which I only have myself to blame). It was an awesome day - nothing feels quite as good as pushing yourself to the limits, and realizing you're stronger than you thought.

Jealous and in awe of this woman who is doing her first Ironman today - good luck to everyone racing in Lake Placid on Sunday! It's still a dream of mine....someday....

"Being thin is just a proxy for having power, and power is a dirty thing to want. It is really important to be healthy, and feeling unhealthy or unattractive sucks, but feeling fat and therefore bad is a feeling that we have specifically to prevent us from not hating ourselves (which is what patriarchy needs us to do)." - a very wise friend

7.22.2011

Uncluttering....

Confession: I have an issue with magazine subscriptions. They appeal to me for numerous reasons - I love getting mail, I love magazines, and when you subscribe they are like a bazillion times cheaper than buying them at the supermarket (we are talking $1/issue instead of $6). What a deal, right?? It's like sending presents to myself! But, as part of my current attempts to par down (for money purposes, environmental purposes, and just "having less stuff" purposes), I made some cuts.

Here're the subscriptions I canceled:
Vogue
TeenVogue
Allure
Glamour
Running Times
Details
Vegetarian Times
Vanity Fair
Health
Cooking Light
GQ
Esquire
Everyday Foods
Fitness
and....my beloved NYTimes weekend subscription.

And the ones I kept:
Whole Living
Self
n+1
OP
Atlantic Monthly
Harpers
Runners World
The New Yorker
Bitch
Bust
The NY Review of Books

Wow, intense to see them all out there. Yes, it's embarrassing to admit the magazines I subscribe(d) too, but it's all part of a process....The way I decided who to cut was to think about not only which ones I really enjoy, but also which ones make me feel good - or at least, don't make me feel bad (i.e. like some women's mags). I also considered which I'm happy to support because of the publishers or organizations that put them out. Finally, I tried to get rid of the magazines that focused on or encouraged more consumerism. Fighting against that impulse is hard enough without being reminded of the importance of STUFF every month....My love for magazines is the same as most of my consumer pull - the promise that somehow these purchases will transform me. Somehow if I get magazines about being stylish and organized and healthy, I will become that way. Now, sometimes magazines can be encouraging towards these things, it's true. But for the most part they just end up making me feel bad about myself and inclined towards purchasing shit. Don't need it.

Other attempts at cost saving: putting my YMCA membership on hold for the next two months, since it's nice out and I can excercize outside. Biking into work 2 days a week (saves gas, the environment, and I get excercize sans gym! Takes some planning, to be sure....). Selling books and clothes. Reports to come....

More Gardening Resources

Wow, thanks for all the suggestions everyone! Here are some more books (and one blog) on gardening, food politics, etc:

* The Urban Homestead: Your Guide to Self-sufficient Living in the Heart of the City (K. Coyne, E. Knutzen)
* Your Farm In The City: An Urban Dweller's Guide to Growing Food and Raising Animals (L. Taylor)
* Apartment Gardening: Plants, Projects and Recipes for Growing Food in Your Urban Home (A. Pennington)
* Farm Together Now: Communities Across the U.S. Bringing Food and Ideas to Your Plate (A. Franceschini, D. Tucker)
* Staying Alive: Women, Ecology and Development (V. Shiva)
* How And Why: A Do-It-Yourself Guide (Matte Resist)
* Ripe from Around Here: A Vegan Guide to Local & Sustainable Eating (J. Steele)
* Made From Scratch: Discovering the Pleasures of a Handmade Life (J. Woginrich)
* Get It Ripe: A Fresh Take On Vegan Cooking And Living (J. Steele)
* Don’t Throw It, Grow It! 68 Windowsill Plants from Kitchen Scraps (D. Peterson)
* Canning And Preserving Your Own Harvest: An Encyclopedia of Country Living (C. Emery, L. E. Forkner)
* Toolbox for Sustainable City Living: A Do-It-Yourself Guide (S. Kellog, S. Pettigrew)
* The Art of Simple Food: Notes, Lessons and Recipes from a Delicious Revolution (A. Water)
* Slow Food Nation: Why Our Food Should Be Good, Clean and Fair (C. Petrini)
* Manifestos on the Future of Food And Seed (V. Shiva)
* All New Square Foot Gardening (M. Bartholomew)

And a blog: 66 Square Feet

(bonus: most of these are available at the wonderful Buy Olympia!)

7.21.2011

Maine's Dramatic Reduction of Solitary Confinement: "The state’s new governor and corrections commissioner have sharply reduced prisoners in solitary without a rise in violence. They may have shown other states a way out of the supermax morass."

Image: source.

R.I.P. Lucien Freud. I don't know much about art, but every time I've seen his work I've found it thought-provoking and powerful. (A gallery of some of his work here.)

Enough is writing a book (should be cool)! Think about submitting: Enough: The Personal Politics of Resisting Capitalism is "seeking essays about how we conceive of and live a politics of interdependence, resource sharing, and wealth redistribution beyond and in resistance to capitalism."

"I understood that I was inventing myself, and that I was doing this more in the way of a painter than in the way of a scientist. I could not count on precision or calculation; I could only count on intuition." - Jamaica Kincaid

Gardening Resources

A few people have commented that they wish they could have gardens, but aren't able to because they live in a city. When I lived in Boston, I didn't have a garden, so unfortunately I can't share my personal experience, but I can offer a few tips/stories. I visited Boston about a month ago and saw the gardens of two good friends who each have a plot in a community garden space and they were growing amazing mixes of flowers and veggies. Also, some other friends showed me their awesome bucket garden, with plants in buckets and soft gardening bags that seemed to be flourishing. It was super impressive! All of these sights gave me hope that I could keep my gardening love alive even if I move to a city (right now I have a raised bed garden).

Additionally, I read a lot of blogs and books about "urban gardening." Why, when I live in a rural area? Well, partially because it's awesome, and I love learning about ways to make urban living more sustainable, and partially because a lot of "urban gardening" should just be called "small space gardening." There are plenty of people here in small town Oregon who don't have yards or big pieces of land either - I'd love to see "urban gardening" (which has sort of become a hipster, big city thing) be "re-branded" as "small space" or "personal gardening" (or something catchy I have yet to think of), so that everyone - in small town apartments, suburbia, or city sprawl - can get in on the action.

Anyways, here are some resources that keep me inspired, excited, and informed. I can't say they are all great, or the best out there, they just happen to be ones I've stumbled across....and some I haven't even read yet! Please let me know if you have suggestions.

Blogs (some on gardening, some on sustainable living with occasional gardening discussions)Urban Veggie Garden Blog
Tiny Farm Blog
This Garden Is Illegal

Also check out Real Time Farms: RTF helps you understand where your food comes from. You can learn about farms in your area, and see where you can get their goods at farmers markets, farm stands, and restaurants around you.

Books (many of which I haven't read but want to/am waiting to arrive in the library)

The most invaluable book to me has been a local book that you can buy at the Grange called something like "Gardening in the Rogue Valley." Wherever you are, I'd suggest you try to find a similar book (maybe get in touch with the Master Gardeners in your area, or just go to the local Grange). It is divided up by months, telling you exactly what to plant, harvest etc - really accessible and invaluable.


On food politics:
Tomatoland: How Modern Industrial Agriculture Destroyed Our Most Alluring Fruit (B. Estabrook)
Second Nature: A Gardener's Education (M. Pollan)
The Way We Eat: Why Our Food Choices Matter (P. Singer)
Food Matters: A Guide to Conscious Eating with More Than 75 Recipes (M. Bittman)
Food Rules: An Eater's Manual (M. Pollan)
Fast Food Nation: The Dark Side of the All-American Meal (E. Schlosser)
The One-Straw Revolution (M. Fukuoka)
Eating Animals (J. S. Foer)
In Defense of Food: An Eater's Manifesto (M. Pollan)
The Omnivore's Dilemma: A Natural History of Four Meals (M. Pollan)

On gardening:
Grow Great Grub: Organic Food from Small Spaces (G. Trail)
You grow girl : the groundbreaking guide to gardening (G. Trail)
Four-Season Harvest: Organic Vegetables from Your Home Garden All Year Long (E. Coleman)
A Little Piece of Earth: How to Grow Your Own Food in Small Spaces (M. Finn)
Animal, Vegetable, Miracle: A Year of Food Life (B. Kingsolver)

Etc:
Made from Scratch: Discovering the Pleasures of a Handmade Life (J. Woginrich)
Urban Pantry: Tips and Recipes for a Thrifty, Sustainable and Seasonal Kitchen (A. Pennington)
This Organic Life: Confessions of a Suburban Homesteader (J. D. Gussow)
Coop: A Year of Poultry, Pigs, and Parenting (M. Perry)
Clean Food: A Seasonal Guide to Eating Close to the Source with More Than 200 Recipes for a Healthy and Sustainable You (T. Walters)
Farm City: The Education of an Urban Farmer (N. Carpenter)
The $64 Tomato: How One Man Nearly Lost His Sanity, Spent a Fortune, and Endured an Existential Crisis in the Quest for the Perfect Garden (W. Alexander)
It's a Long Road to a Tomato: Tales of an Organic Farmer Who Quit the Big City for the (Not So) Simple Life (K. Stewart)
The Garden of Vegan: How It All Vegan Again! (T. Barnard)
How It All Vegan!: Irresistible Recipes for an Animal-Free Diet (T. Barnard)
Plenty: One Man, One Woman, and a Raucous Year of Eating Locally (A. Smith)
The Dirty Life: On Farming, Food, and Love (K. Kimball)
Jamie's Food Revolution: Rediscover How to Cook Simple, Delicious, Affordable Meals (J. Oliver)
My Life in France (J. Child)

p.s. I was thinking about how my life has changed in the last 16 months or so. One way to sum it up is to look at the summary of Y&Y I provide. Originally it was "books, beer, the law, and design I can't afford." Slowly but surely it's become "books, running, the law, & my first garden." Life is funny.

p.p.s. My bff and her dad pointed out that I actually have more gardening experience than I initially remembered! One summer in college, my bff and I worked doing landscaping at the ranch her dad manages, where we deadheaded flowers, planted things, and generally loved rolling around on the Gator - thanks for planting the gardening seed in me, Murphys! xoxo

7.20.2011

Green Thumb

Something I've mentioned here but never gone into detail about is the fact that this year, for the first time in my life, I've fallen in love with gardening! I've never gardened before, never even planted a flower, as far as I can remember. But I live with a pro gardener (with a garden so big we call it a farm), and he pointed out this spring that we had two empty raised beds in our yard, if I wanted to use them. I said yes!, even though I had no idea what that would entail.

So, in March, I began. I started with just one bed, since it was the only one with dirt in it, and I was wary of my ability to grow anything (I'm one of those people who can't remember to water the sole plant in my office). At my roommates suggestion, and with a book on hand about regional gardening (available at the local Grange Co-op), I planted little broccoli transplants (small, beginner plants), onion sets (again, small beginner plants), and some seeds (chard, kale, and carrots). There were some cold nights in March, and I was scared that the frost would ruin my garden before it even began. But somehow everything seemed pretty unscathed, and I breathed a sigh of relief when spring felt like it was here for good.

All the rain paid off, and by April I was seeing some progress! Little carrot sprouts, chard and kale were popping up, and my broccoli was looking super hearty. It was still so rainy (yay, Oregon!) so I didn't even have to water the garden much - I mainly just weeded occasionally, and kept an eye on things.

By May, things needed to be thinned (photo 1) (l to r: carrots, kale and chard, onions, broccoli). At first I was sad about this, because I didn't want to get rid of a single little plant in my garden. But, once again, my roomie came to the rescue and pointed out that I could eat the baby veggies - so I did! I threw the baby onions (photo 2) and baby carrots into the oven with some olive oil and salt and they were great. Oh, and this is also when I realized I had bought white carrot seeds - that was a surprise! But in a fortuitous turn, the white carrots turned out to be specifically recommended as baby carrots, so it all worked out.




















By June it was looking like a real garden (photo 3, below)! The only duds were the little chards. They grew into tiny plants but were stunted there. Notice how you can't really see them in the photo? That's because they never flourished. I don't know if they just got overshadowed by the abundant kale or were just attacked by bugs, but the chard never really took off. By this time, I had pulled three of the broccoli, and planted 2 pepper plants in their place.

Since things seemed to be going well, I expanded into the second bed in early June. I decided to plant tomatoes and peppers (beginning with small plants, not seeds), and call it my "salsa garden." They took off immediately, the tomatoes sort of exploding!

4 months in to my gardening adventure, this is the state of the garden now (mid-July):

Bed 1 (The Original): the carrots, onions, kale, chard, & broccoli have all been harvested and eaten! The broccoli was the first thing I ever ate that I had grown myself, and maybe the biggest treat - unlike store-bought broccoli, even the stems were dark green and delicious. And it was such a hearty and beautiful plant!

For the second round of bed 1, I planted (photo 4, l to r) poppies and carrots (seeds, currently invisible), lemon basil (plants - they smell so good!), onions (seeds, currently invisible), peppers (plants), tiny beets, tiny cilantro (both started from seed, starting to come through).

Bed 2 (photo 5): In a change, bed 1 now looks empty and bed 2 is plentiful. The tomatoes are exploding (first time gardener lesson: don't wait too long to cage those suckers), and the peppers are looking good too (there's also a lone little cilantro in there).
Also, as you can see, my roommate just installed the drip irrigation system, which is great. It doesn't cover all the watering needs but is a good constant source of moisture.

Anyways, it's been an awesome adventure, and there are so many things I've come to love about gardening - it's a really relaxing thing to do at the end of the day (just pulling weeds and smelling the plants); it's such a treat to be able to bring veggies you've grown yourself to bbqs and dinner parties (I definitely make way too big a point about how they are home grown - embarrassing); it's given me more respect for the fruit and vegetables I buy at the store or farmers market; and, it's made me excited about helping others learn to grow their own veggies. On that final note, I'm working with the Sunday school director at my church to start a garden there with the kids, and I'm starting to volunteer next week with a local farm-to-school program. Who knows, maybe I'll transition from lawyer to community gardener some day!

(Sorry for the wonky formatting, I'm not great with uploading photos). Thanks for reading, and for sharing your gardening stories and tips!

xoxo
Sarah
Great story: Ex-inmate offers financial advice for recently released felons
Image: source.

From an eloquent friend, about a serious need. Please consider donating: "though it's getting frustratingly awfully heartbreakingly little coverage in the US media, there is a raging food crisis in east africa. it's a hurt so enormous that though almost no amount is enough, no amount is too little. every dollar donated is directly helping to alleviate the imminent threat of death by starvation, dehydration, on and on. please consider throwing five or ten bucks their way." $10 = a day's supply of clean water for 40 people.

An interesting article from the NYTimes about whether running on trails (as opposed to road) is really easier on your body. In my experience, it is a little easier in terms of impact, but then causes it's own challenges because my feet aren't landing flat and so I'm more inclined to twist my knees or ankles at weird angles....

My friend, and one of my all-time favorite people, nk and I have started a joint document (thanks GoogleDocs!) where we list at least 3 things each day that we have done that we are proud of. It's a seemingly small thing, but I think it has helped us both try to keep an eye on the positive, and acknowledge the things we are doing to live the life we want. I'd really recommend you try it! (You could definitely just keep a list on your own, but it's really nice to have a friend to share with.)

7.19.2011

Take a listen: from The Tavis Smiley show, "Undocumented students granted in-state tuition rights" (not in my state [OR], what about in your state?)

Image: source.

More on the hunger strike at Pelican Bay, including an op-ed in the NYTimes, and radio commentary from Mumia Abu-Jamal.

An adorable and touching story about a smart kid and a good parents (and a little nerd pride).

A few people wrote or commented yesterday with mystery suggestions - specifically, they reccomended I checkout Elizabeth George, Martha Grimes, Sara Paretsky, and Robert B. Parker's Spenser series. I can't wait to give them a look! I love the Elizabeth George's Lynley series on PBS but I've only read one of them, so this is a great reminder to go back and read more - he's a great character and she's a great author. And yay for women mystery writers! There is something extra awesome about them....

For now, I've just started the second Wallander book and also got Let The Great World Spin (both from the library - I love our local library!). Thanks for the tips, everyone - I love that so many other people love a mystery. (Oh, and if you are on Goodreads and want to check out my reviews or share suggestions, you can find me here. I love Goodreads, it makes it so much easier to keep track of my "to read" lists and see what friends are loving (or hating).)

7.18.2011

This past weekend I ran my first 10K in about two months. It was a trail race, so there was a fair amount of walking uphill (I'm keeping it real with you), but for the most part my knee and ankle were pain-free and I was thrilled to be running again. Yay!

This coming weekend is the Ride Through Paradise, a 100 mile bike ride to raise money for CASA. Have I been training the way I planned? Heck no. Am I gonna give it a shot anyways? Yep. I know, I'm a little crazy. But it's supposed to be a pretty flat course, and my mom is willing to drive me out there and cheer me on so...here goes nothing!

Image: source.

I finished two books this weekend: the first, State of Wonder (Ann Patchett) was an interesting ride. I didn't really emotionally connect with the characters, and felt a little "eh" about it while reading, but couldn't seem to give it up. AND by the end, I found myself emotionally affected by one of the plot twists. I'd say it definitely ended up being a good read, even if I never connected with the protagonist and think the book had some flaws.

The second book was Faceless Killers (Henning Mankell), the first in the Wallander series about an brooding Swedish detective. I don't know if it was the translation or just Mankell's writing, but some of the writing felt almost laughably clunky to me. Also, the character of Wallander felt too familiar - another unhealthy male detective with strained family relationships, a distant daughter, and yet a seemingly constant supply of women who want to sleep with him. Snooze. You know what would be facinating? An exploration of whether there can be a detective who is gritty and dedicated to his job, and also manages to be semi-emotionally healthy. I'd like to read that. That said, I will probably be back for more Wallander, since I always sort of need to have a mystery series going....

7.15.2011

Reading: "The Transfeminist Manifesto."

A good summer tune: Real Estate, “It’s Real”


Image: source.

Taysa wraps up her series of posts about getting debt free. I especially appreciated her reminder that it helps to always keep your goals in mind - not your money goals, but your life goals that money (or lack thereof) may be holding you back from.

From Jezebel, Can Feminists Go On Diets? As always with Jezebel, the comments are where its at (for better or worse).

A great letter from one of the prisoners on hunger strike at Pelican Bay. Prisoners' rights are human rights! SHU is torture!

"History should be honest." - California Gov. Jerry Brown on the bill he signed requiring inclusion of LGBT contributions to history in school textbooks.

7.13.2011

From Dissent, an essay by a female college professor about teaching film (and feminism, and gender critique) in prison: Dangerous Worlds: Teaching Film [and feminism] in Prison

Image: source.


Usually neck tattoos have my cringing, but this one is gorgeous.

Currently reading: Ann Pachett's State of Wonder. It's no Freedom, but it's been a decent read (damning praise, I know, but Freedom is a damn hard act to follow!).

Taysa's documentation of her amazing journey to being debt-free continues. I'm going to sit down this weekend and give some serious consideration to what I can do to undertake a similar journey. I love the idea of doing an inventory of everything I own, to start with.

7.12.2011

Fearless by Jeff Sheng, a photo exhibit of out LGBT student athletes.

Feministing: Leave me alone! On women and solitude

Image: source.

My journey back to being a runner chugs along....slowly. Which I guess is apt. Last night I did a 20 min jog, with little ankle or knee pain, and then 10 burpies and some upper arm weights. I'm working on finding that middle ground between not letting myself slack but also not expecting every workout to be the way it was when I was in marathon training. I text my friend NK when I work out, which helps me feel proud of my (even brief) runs, and encourages me a bit (thanks, NK!)

A good intro to embroidery for everyone.

This case is so upsetting, and the verdict is devastating (I learned about it via the documentary Hot Coffee - watch it if you can. Her case is only one part of the film, but it's really worth learning about): Justice denied to Jamie Leigh Jones: "Jamie Leigh Jones, the Halliburton/KBR employee who reported being gang-raped by her co-workers, only to then be held hostage by her employer, and who had to fight through an absurd stipulation in her employment contract that required sexual assault allegations be addressed by private arbitration in order to take her case to court, has lost the civil rape case against Charles Boartz and KBR."

7.10.2011

Another take on Freedom, worth a read (spoilers, if you haven't read the book yet): Franzen goes exotic: the Indian woman and the Great American Novelist

From the NYTimes: Removal of Priest’s Cases Exposes Deep Holes in Immigration Courts. Frustrating on so many levels.

Image: source.

From Racialicious: Domestic Violence Isn’t Just About What Men Do to Women. A female abusers powerful personal story, and discussion of abuse.

Boston Review: The Morning After Marriage: Should the gay community really be saying “I do”?: "The question is this: will these extended queer families exist in the future, to continue their pioneering tightrope walks over those universally prickly fields of jealousy, intimacy, adventure, and security? Once the rosy crown of marriage is on the table, won’t there be a powerful incentive to leave our relationship experiments behind? And if marriage equality launches a widespread flight to the culturally sanctioned form of partnership, have we lost a history and a field of experience that the rest of the world might well have benefited from?"

7.07.2011

A great explanation of the criminal justice system and why criminal trials aren't about "seeking justice" for the victim: Dershowitz on Casey Anthony: The System Worked: "Even if it is 'likely' or 'probable' that she committed the murder, she must be acquitted. The standard is proof beyond a reasonable doubt."

My friend Taysa gets serious about reducing her consumption - I'm in awe! And inspired.

Image: source.

Excellent (and an extra "Yay" to the Hon. Wardlaw, who I had the privilege of interning with during law school): U.S. court tells military to stop discharging gays

Really interesting: Journalist’s Essay About Engaging in Violent Sex to Treat Her PTSD Stirs Controversy

In honor of the recent holiday: Langston Hughes: Let America Be America Again

7.06.2011

From the wonderful Linda Holmes (of Pop Culture Happy Hour), You Can't Possibly Read It All, So Stop Trying: "As books, magazines and blogs proliferate, avid readers are often frustrated that they don't have time to consume everything. NPR's culture critic Linda Holmes says it's time to face facts: your time is better spent deciding how to choose what to read than bemoaning you can't digest it all." (thanks, moosh!)

Image: source.

NYTimes: Better Lives for Mexicans Cut Allure of Going North: "Economic, demographic and social changes in Mexico are suppressing illegal immigration as much as the poor economy or legal crackdowns in the United States."

Cycling: What’s Holding Women Back?: "The question of why more women aren’t cycling is a subject that could probably fill volumes. But it doesn’t get enough play on blogs of this type." (thanks, nk!)

"Molly Landreth’s A Portrait Of Queer life In America started as a simple self-portrait project in 2005 but has since expanded into a national archive and an international collaboration with the GLBT community. Molly’s goal with the series is to create images of her community that she can relate to and to tell new stories not typically represented in conversations about queer life."

7.05.2011

I'm back from a wonderful week long vacation in Boston...but now I need a vacation to recover from my vacation! It's been great being so busy and social and traveling so much, but I'm definitely missing having down time to just take care of business like laundry, bills,....and just being alone. I'll figure it out.

Image: source.

My current obsession is Franzen's "Freedom." I read "The Corrections," when it came out and remembered liking it, but got overwhelmed by the "Freedom" hype and didn't make it a priority. However, a respected friend of mine (who doesn't even read much fiction) really loved it, and my library happened to have a copy available, so I nabbed it on my way to Boston. And, WOW. I don't really know where to start, other than to say that in the last 4 days I've read all but the last 50 pages, and I can't remember the last time I was this excited about a book. Maybe I'll say more when I'm done with it (although I feel at a loss to discuss it with the appropriate intelligence), but suffice it to say that I'm already sitting on a copy of the n+1 symposium on "Freedom" so I can dive in as soon as those last 50 pages have been digested....

The garden continues to be such a joy! In the past few weeks I've harvested and devoured the remaining broccoli, carrots, onion, and kale. The only thing that was sort of a bust was the chard - I don't know if it just got overshadowed by the kale or if I did something wrong, but it never quite came to fruition. Now I'm waiting on the tomatoes, peppers, beets, and cilantro. And thinking about what I can plant for the fall and winter....not to mention beginning to plan my garden for next year! I had no idea that planting my own garden could be so rewarding. Also on my agenda: learning more about companion planting. Hit me up if you have suggestions or tips!

7.01.2011

From The New Republic, Transitions: What will it take for America to accept transgender people for who they really are?

I love the unusual, geometric jewelry over at Marta Lugo's Etsy shop, especially this pin, and this necklace.


Image: source.


On the future of LGBTQ activism: Beyond Gay Marriage: "One can only hope that some day we will have an open dialogue about what the agenda should be for all LGBT people. And when it happens, one hopes that the voices of the poor, the disabled, the feminists, and the queers of color will be heard, so that we end up with an agenda that is more reflective of the progressive politics that ignited the Stonewall riots and led to the modern gay liberation movement—a movement that seems very far from where we are today."

From The Atlantic: America's Top Cities for Bike Commuting: Happier, Too: "A nationwide analysis shows that towns where people bike to work are richer, fitter, and more successful in many other ways."