15 December 2010

13 December 2010

seeking celebrity cyclists!

I'm calling upon your collective wisdom.

I am developing a list of celebrities who are avid cyclists. Please send me names. I am especially interested in female celebs who are cyclists.

Leave a comment below or feel free to email me.


12 December 2010

gender, sexuality & cycling re 1920s

As I do research on my 5 cyclists, I am finding all kinds of nuggets about gender, sexuality and cycling. I am struck by how cycling was and still is so male-identified and interested in how females--then and now--attempt to negotiate these gender dynamics.

Here's a short story from a reader of The Chicago Defender newspaper from 1927.

The Tomboy

Rhoda Maude was sitting one evening in the swing, waiting for the mail. Suddenly she heard a scream filled with terror and anguish. She, whom people had called tomboy and useless, jumped up from the swing and rode on her bicycle toward the direction from which the scream had come. When she had arrived at the place from which she thought the noise had come, there was no one in sight. Although she was particularly glad that for the moment she was not in danger, she hurried on toward the place where she heard a shriek, not of terror but of one giving his all in a last struggle.

As she neared the place, she saw a little spot surrounded by trees and a small boy being whipped by a snake. She rode swiftly, fearful lest the snake should strike the boy with its poisonous fangs. When she reached the spot the snake was aiming to strike the child, but with superhuman swiftness and strength born of the element known as fear, she snatched the little boy from the ground and sped out of danger.

She was lauded as the heroine of the day and the gossips proclaimed her of some use after all.

Virginia Ogden, Clarksburg, West Virginia
italics mine

In the 1920s, bicycling was very popular among children. I read a piece in the New York Times about girls no longer riding bicycles. So it's interesting here that central to her "tomboyness" or "tomboyicity" is the fact that she has and rides a bike. Are there also some religious overtones re trees, a snake and a girl saving a boy?

What do you think?

11 December 2010

cfp: australian animal studies group 2011 conference

The Australian Animal Studies Group (AASG) & Environmental Futures Centre - Griffith University are presenting the 4th Biennial Australian Animal Studies Group Conference 2011.

The theme for 2011 is: Animals, People - a Shared Environment

This conference will examine the interrelationships between human & nonhuman animals from cultural, historical, geographical, environmental, representational, moral, legal & political perspectives. The 3 day event will bring together animal theorists & scientists from a broad range of academic disciplines, with representatives from nongovernment organizations, government officials from several nations and representatives from industry.

Call for Papers - Extended to 28 January 2011
The Call for Papers for AASG 2011 has now been extended until Friday 28 January 2011. Abstracts can be uploaded by visiting the dedicated AASG 2011 website and following the detailed instructions:

10 December 2010

the vampire & the vegan novel

My friend, Merlene Vassall, has published her first novel, The Vampire and the Vegan.

check it out!

The novel is about a vampire who vibes off of the necromantic energy of the blood of meat eaters until she encounters a vegan. And everything changes. (so true!)

It is available on her website and from Amazon, etc.

07 October 2010

waba's ccc classes

Last night, I took part 1 of WABA's Confident City Cycling classes. There are three CCC classes in total.

I am taking the classes as research for my 5 cyclists project, to improve my cycling skills and because completion of the classes would make me eligible for the League of American Bicyclists' LCI certification. I would be able to teach children & adults "smart cycling".

There were more than a dozen attendees, most of whom were 40+ years old, which surprised me. The majority wanted to gain more confidence riding on the street. (Which I have been doing quite a bit--it is exhilarating and scary as hell.) This was a very basic & quick-moving class on how to select a bike & helmet, proper hand signals, parts of the bike, pre-ride bike check, proper mount/push-off, scanning left & back without veering & how to repair a tire.

After 2 hours, these are some of things I learned:

1. X-nay 2 hanging my lock on the handlebars. It can interfere with steering and also break the handlebar. oops! Solution: mount the holders directly on seat tube (!) or tie it down with a bungee cord on my back wheel rack. (I saw one rider with a u-lock (!) in the back pocket of his shorts. I didn't ask about that.)

2. On a 3-gear bike, it's best to keep your left gears locked in the middle position and adjust your right gears, unless you are going up/down a hill. Your chains will love you for that.

3. If you are looking for a bike on craigslist and someone is selling one with a "down tube shifter" keep looking because it means that the gear shifters are not on the handlebars but down near your knees & that ain't good.

The class worked. I do feel more confident! I rode home after the class, in the dark, up a long ass hill and it feel great once I made it up and home. And today I rode on the street to the Library of Congress --about 3 1/2 miles says Google Maps!

I can't wait for CCC2!

06 October 2010

library of congress: i ♥ you, again

I'm at the Library of Congress doing research on my 5 cyclists project. This is huge because I have been avoiding the Library of Congress like the plague.


Because it had turned into an impenetrable fortress with its new rules, regulations, cameras--seriously over the top security. The Library of Congress was sending seriously mixed messages about being a public site that both wanted and deeply mistrusted researchers.

I started doing research at the Library of Congress more than 20 years ago. I was a research assistant to Dr. Bettye Collier-Thomas, who was then executive director of the Bethune Museum & Archives (BMA). My sister, Tracye, was the manager and she encouraged Bettye to hire me as a research assistant. And she did!

It was my tenure @BMA that propelled me to pursue graduate work in history. I followed Bettye, in fall 1989, to Temple University, where she was hired as a faculty member in the history department. After my masters, I went on to the University of Michigan for the PhD.

While working on my dissertation,"Claiming the City: African Americans, Leisure and Urbanization in Washington, DC, 1902-1957," in the late 1990s, I started using the Library of Congress again. It was during this time that the security measures were hardened. To be fair, a high profile scholar had committed unbelievable thievery, so, yes, the practice of allowing researchers to go in the stacks and of having easy access to primary documents needed to be reigned in, but the other security measures, no!

Nevertheless, here I am again @LC. And I was pleasantly surprised by the relative ease of getting a new card, handing over nonessentials to be stored in the cloakroom and ordering books. And, of course, I love having access to millions of databases. (And I'm stunned that many of the same librarians are still here!)

So I am happily researching the 5 cyclists that I first found, while working on my diss, in the New York Age & Washington Tribune newspapers on microfilm.

Most likely in the microform reading room @LC!

04 October 2010

tiny house movements @dc!

I recently had a wonderful conversation with two individuals who are in the beginning stages of designing and collecting materials for their tiny houses.

what's a tiny house?

A tiny house is a small home that provides just enough space to shelter you from inclement weather, for sleeping, eating, bathing, clothes washing/drying and for play time with family and friends.

building & designing a tiny house

One of the individuals has the trailer already (above photo), which she purchased from craigslist. The plan is to get all of their materials secondhand in order to make their houses as sustainable as possible, which includes scavenging for local, recycled, reusable and renewable materials.

They are working with a local architect, Longben Guyit, who is designing their houses and helping them to build.

why a tiny house?

Both of them have been motivated toward tiny houses out of a desire to be green, to be self-sufficient and to be mobile. One of the beauties of a tiny house is its mobility—it can be moved from place to place as needed, like a trailer home.

In DC, mobility has been primarily seen as a transportation issue. How should the city get people from their built-into-the ground homes or apartment buildings all over the city, often far from where they work and play, to where they need to go in as efficient and eco-friendly a manner as possible? The two people I spoke with are exposing the limitations of a mobility concept that's focused solely on transportation.

They are also motivated to detach from the grid via a tiny house in order to:

1. not participate in the cycle of indebtedness that is central to conventional
home ownership;
2. simply their lives;
3. blend their mobile businesses with their homes;
3. literally live (in) their values!

I was particularly interested in talking to these tiny house pioneers because they are both mothers, one has three children and the other has two children! And they do see themselves as pioneers because they want to model for other single moms how to be proactive and to take full control of their and their children’s lives.

So what are their names and where are their photos?

They have requested anonymity and desire invisibility because of their concern about how their families and others might respond to what they are doing. It's one thing for tweens and twenty-somethings to be countercultural, but adults, especially mothers with children, are expected to be more conventional. They'd rather focus their energy on building their houses and playing with their children than dealing with the scrutiny of naysayers.

I am excited about following them through this process, sharing their stories and providing space for a dialogue between you and these tiny house builders!

17 September 2010

cfp: animals & prison

The Journal for Critical Animal Studies
Special Issue: Animals and Prison

The connection between nonhuman animals and incarceration discourses has never been more intimately associated. It seems one cannot discuss animal liberation without conversing about prison, whether that be in the form of imprisoned nonhuman animals or human prisoners incarcerated for their role in liberating nonhuman animals. As activists continue to be sentenced under the Animal Enterprise Terrorism Act, prison becomes more reality than metaphor in human-animal studies.

At the recent Let Live Animal Rights Conference in Portland, Oregon, former political prisoner Andy Stepanian served as the opening speaker. The synopsis of his talk asks, “what if you closed your eyes and woke up a prisoner? What if you were estranged from your family and labeled a convict? What if you lived your entire life in a cage? What if you were convicted and imprisoned for trying to set beings free from their cages?”

It’s unclear whether he is speaking about nonhuman animals or his own incarceration, which is exactly the point. We are at a critical moment in history with mass incarceration and mass exploitation of nonhuman animals. This issue seeks to illuminate connections between animals and prison and to generate new ways of thinking through and tackling nonhuman and human oppression.

Possible Areas of Inquiry:

· Policing bodies
· Prison industrial complex and mass animal agriculture production
· History of prison reform and rise of the animal rights movement
· Nonhuman animal prisoners/ human prisoners
· Invisibility and incarcerated hidden populations
· Nonhuman animals in human prisons, such as dog training programs
· Linked oppressions
· Connection of race, animals and prison culture
· Prison abolition/animal abolition movements
· Discourse of prison in animal liberation material
· Capitalism and the animal/military/agricultural industrial complexes
· Caging, control, domination and power

Papers Due: 15 April 2011 @5pm EST

Send papers to:

Susan L. Thomas, Director, Gender and Women's Studies
Associate Professor of Gender and Women's Studies, and Political Science
Hollins University
Roanoke, VA 24020
Email: herapellet@aol.com

Visit http://www.criticalanimalstudies.org/?page_id89 for submission guidelines

14 September 2010

cfp: sex, gender, species

Sex, Gender, Species: A Conference at Wesleyan University
25-26 February 2011
cfp deadline: 1 October 2010

The growing field of animal studies has turned critical attention to the real conditions and stakes of human-animal relations. It has also become a new and important focus for debates over identity and difference that have embroiled academic theory over the past quarter century. Recent scholarship on animal otherness as well as discussions of how to traverse boundaries of difference often draws upon a history of feminist theory and practice even as this borrowing remains unacknowledged. The purpose of this conference is to foreground the relations between feminist and animal studies and to examine the real and theoretical problems that are central to both fields of inquiry.

Possible topics might include, but are not limited to:

• gendered ethics and the politics of animal rights discourse and activism
• queering the animal
• animals and “nature”/ animals in “culture”
• violence against women and violence against animals
• material feminism and companion species
• pet love and the boundaries of kin, kind, and sex
• technologies of seeing or the gaze of/on sex and species
• otherness, empathy, and animal care ethics
• the woman and the animal – pitfalls and strategies of essentialism.

We are soliciting abstracts for papers that can be presented in 30 minute time slots. Selected presenters will receive a $1000 honorarium to cover travel expenses. We invite extended submissions of versions of presented papers for a special issue of Hypatia on Animal Others. For more information go to: http://depts.washington.edu/hypatia/cfps.html#animal_others.

Abstract Submission deadline: 1 October 2010

Submission guidelines: Please email a 1-2 page (500 -750 word) abstract for your proposed paper to lgruen@wesleyan.edu and Kweil@wesleyan.edu.

13 September 2010

ron walters: what a life!

Ronald Walters--scholar, public intellectual, activist--is a model for how to use different media and spaces to share ideas: a force in the academy, politics, print & visual media and more.

I never had the opportunity to meet him but he has been a persistent voice for me.

I am surprised and saddened by his death. And look forward to remembering with others how his commitment and fearlessness for more than 50 years has made the world a softer place.

photo credit: http://www.pbs.org/moyers/journal/12142007/profile3.html

09 September 2010

borrowing gardens--the next big thing!

You can borrow books from the library why not borrow a garden?!

I am currently borrowing my girlfriend's container gardens. Why? She is in the midst of a big move and didn't want to risk them getting destroyed in the process, especially since they are all bearing fruit.

I now have cucumbers, carrots, red bell peppers, purple eggplants, thai peppers and basil! All grown in a total of 4 containers.

i love it!

Container gardens are the new mobile!

24 August 2010

petworth free store on saturday 28 august!

Petworth Free Store #2 will take place this Saturday 28 August, 8am-11am @intersection of Rock Creek Church Road, Illinois Avenue, 4th Street & Randolph Street. Click here for map.

It's like a yard sale but everything's FREE!!!

DONATE what you don't want and TAKE what you do!

find us on facebook: Petworth Free Store
find us on twitter: @petworthfree
email us: petworthfreestore@gmail.com

NEW FEATURE: post what you'll donate & what you want on Facebook & Twitter



no large furniture items, please!

see you on saturday!

19 August 2010

handwashing vs. dishwasher

i miss my dishwasher!

Since moving into a place w/o a dishwasher, I feel like I spend half my time washing dishes. What used to take <15 minutes has easily morphed into 1 hour+.


Because there's a lot involved in washing dishes:

*dishwashing liquid
*hot water
*cold water
*a strategy for executing the last three

I like to place all the silverware in the container first. Plus some bowls and cups. With a sponge, I clean the bowls and cups first and then place them directly in the sink. And then I wash the silverware and place in bowls and cups. And then I rinse with hot water (yikes!) and place in the rack.

We have a small rack so it fills up pretty quickly. Then I dry the dishes and return them to their designated spaces.

Then I start the process all over again. I probably wash, rinse, dry and return at minimum 10 intervals. And then in between I use another sponge to wipe up excess water. And then I also refresh the water, usually right before I wash the pans and the removable stove parts.

Yes, we use a lot of dishes. We prepare mostly all of our dishes from scratch. And there are usually at least 3 entrees for dinner. Which means at least 3 pans. Sometimes we have leftovers which means a leftover bowl to clean and a pot. As well as preparation bowls. And Mara likes to have a separate bowl for each of her dinner items!

(And then I also wipe the kitchen table, sweep the floor (usually moving the chairs to the living room to do so), mop and take out the trash, which involves multiple doors and multiple keys and and walking to the front of the house to get shoes.)

whew! I'm tired just writing about it.

The Green Lantern column @Slate has addressed the handwashing vs. dishwasher debate. If one has 2 sinks (1 w/ hot soapy water and another 4 rinsing w/ cold water) and scrapes off hardened food, then environmentally it is better to hand wash than use a machine. But the Green Lantern admits that the time saved w/ a dishwasher may trump the environmental benefits.(For those of you lucky enough to have dishwashers check out the column to learn how to be most efficient w/ your dishwasher, including making your own detergent.)

Fellow handwashers unite, commiserate and share your time-saving & fun-inducing strategies for making handwashing less sucky.

17 August 2010

cfp: 'dirt' conference

The New York American Studies Metro Association (NYMASA) announces a call for papers for its 2010 conference:


Saturday 4 December
St. John's University in Downtown Manhattan

Dirt is among the most material but also the most metaphorical and expressive of substances. This conference seeks to explore how people imagine, define and employ the various concepts and realities of dirt. What does it mean to call something dirty? How do we understand dirt and its supposed opposite, cleanliness? How do we explain the points at which we draw the line between clean and dirty, what we embrace and what we refuse to touch? Drawing on multiple disciplines, we hope to uncover and foreground the (often unconscious) centrality of the metaphors and actualities of dirt to U.S. cultures, values and lived experiences.

Among the possible formulations of this keyword include animals & animality and sustainability.

We seek proposals from all academic disciplines and particularly encourage "nontraditional" presentations, including performance, visual art, mixed-media, and pedagogy.

Please send abstracts of no more than 500 words to nymasadirt@gmail.com by Friday 10 September.

Sarah E. Chinn
English Department
Hunter College,
City University of New York (CUNY)

Click here 4 more conference details.

16 August 2010

cfp: animals & humans in the middle ages & renaissance

22nd Barnard Medieval and Renaissance Conference
4 December 2010
Barnard College, NYC

Animals and Humans in the Culture of the Middle Ages & Renaissance

An interdisciplinary conference that will explore some of the many ways in
which the human-animal connection and ‘divide’ was imagined, employed,
figured and explained by people in the Middle Ages and Renaissance.
Special attention will be given to the multiple constructions and fluid
and tense nature of the boundaries between wild and civilized. We seek
proposals that go beyond animal figuration and instead focus on literal
and metaphorical interactions between humans and other animals. Papers
might consider texts on husbandry, falconry, hunting, companion animals,
warfare, bestiaries, fables, encyclopedias, heraldry, visual arts,narrative, philosophy and theology, and analyses informed by current critical animal theory are especially welcomed.

Plenary speakers:
Laurie Shannon (Northwestern University
Bruce Holsinger (University of Virginia)

Plenary panel:
Aranye Fradenberg (UC Santa Barbara)
Paula Lee (Arete Initiative, U of Chicago)
Karl Steel (CUNY Brooklyn College)
Sarah Stanbury (Holy Cross)
Julian Yates (U of Delaware)

Please submit a 1-page abstract and cv to conference organizer: Laurie Postlewate by 1 September 2010.

14 August 2010

rooted in the earth book is out!

Dianne Glave's Rooted in the Earth: Reclaiming the African American Environmental Heritage is available for purchase. Encourage your local bookstores to get it. It is also available @amazon and as a kindlebook.

Check out her blog of the same name here.

Dianne and I are making plans for an interview via skype.

Read my earlier post here.

06 August 2010

8 blocks make a world of difference

Mara and I just moved 8 blocks away from our apartment to a house and it feels so different in so many ways.


1. We are now in a completely residential area and it is quiet. On our former street, there was a 2 hour window, between 2am and 4am, of quiet. This was, in large part, due to the questionable/often-raided house directly across the street from us that had some ties to the apartment building next door to us where illegal drug selling & prostitution took place. But we also heard buses, sirens and people coming home from late night fun via the subway.

2. We have to take a bus to get to the main action. At our old place, we were the main action: we walked out of our apartment and the subway, 6+ bus lines, stores, a library, a post office, 2 playgrounds and Zipcars were right there. It made it so easy not to drive. I definitely sympathize more with people who drive. Nextbus is my new best friend.

3. We don't hang out outside as much. In our old neighborhood, people were always out and so there was always someone to talk to. In the new neighborhood, the mosquitoes rule. They make it quite unpleasant to hang out.

4. Trash talk: There is no litter in our new neighborhood. It was awful in our old neighborhood. With Safeway, corner stores & carry outs, our streets & yards served as garbage cans.

5. We can recycle now! The DC government gives all home owners recycling cans. Apartment building owners with 4+ units are required to hire an approved trash collection company that picks up recycling but mine didn't.

6. Main similarity: the ubiquitous whiff of mice & rats in the air.

How has a recent move impacted how you move through the city?

05 August 2010

chocolate & arugula's 1 yr anniversary!

On 31 July 2009, chocolate & arugula went live! Click here 4 my 1st post.

And I'm still excited about the blog. More so, in fact!


Because I see so many more ways that black & green and identity & energy intersect, converge, conflict & confound, especially in cities. And this renewed interest in the city is taking me back to my dissertation: "Claiming the City: African Americans, Leisure and Urbanization in Washington, DC, 1902-1957." At its core, my diss is about space, mobility and identity. I argued against static & fixed notions about the racialization of space by showing how blacks physically, virtually & dreamily moved throughout the city.

In 2010, I am finding (sadly) similar limited notions about who uses the city, i.e. who bikes, who goes to the farmers market (!) and who shares it with a dog. So, I'll be writing much more about idealized notions of cities. (And I'll admit to my own valorizing.)

I will also be writing about the actual, ideological and gis remapping of cities, especially DC, from black to green. From 2001-2003, I directed the DC's African American Heritage Trail project, where we remapped the city using historical and contemporary coordinates. Recently, the city has done a virtual and material green remapping of the city. And I can't wait to compare these racialized/colored mappings.

I will also be doing my own videos, webinars and interviews.

And, as always, I look forward to your comments.

13 July 2010

world peace cafe @atlanta

I had my birthday dinner tonight at the World Peace Cafe in Atlanta. (thanks Wanda & Robert!) It is a Buddhist-run vegetarian restaurant (with many vegan dishes) that is run primarily by volunteers. It is the first World Peace Cafe in the United States.

The food was quite good. Check out the World Peace Cafe here.

05 July 2010

slate's nimble cities project

Slate has initiated a "Nimble Cities" contest. The challenge is to suggest ideas (textually & visually) to make cities more transportation-friendly and savvy. Nimble Cities is the 2nd theme in Slate's Hive series: "a project designed to harvest the world's collective wisdom to solve the world's most pressing problems." And the pressing problem you are invited to solve is "how to move the most people around and between cities in the most efficient, safe, and perhaps even pleasurable manner."

Why is this a pressing problem?

Slate fact #1: The majority of people around the world live in cities. By 2050, approximately 75% of the world's population may live in cities.

Slate fact #2: Transportation contributes close to 30% of the world's greenhouse gas emissions.

Slate fact #3: U.S. households spend close to 20% of their income on transportation.

Slate fact #4: The World Bank states that "road deaths" could edge out malaria as the 4th or 5th leading cause of death worldwide.

Does this inspire you to become a transportation planner? If so, you have until Tuesday 6 July to submit your ideas here. You can also view and vote on submissions there, too.

Read Tom Vanderbilt's article on Nimble Cities here.

01 July 2010

cfp: animal rights & the gulf oil spill

Crude Behavior: Animal Rights in the Wake of Deepwater Horizon

The U.S. popular media had constructed the 2010 oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico as an environmental, ecological, economic and even political disaster. While all of these are undeniably fair readings of the catastrophe, these same outlets have not expended much of an effort considering the effect that this event can and should have on how we perceive our duties and responsibilities toward the individual animals impacted by it.

This volume seeks to call attention to the ethical issues that a moral individualist approach raises in the aftermath of the BP disaster. Papers from all disciplinary and methodological viewpoints are encouraged.

Sample topics:

*conservationist v. moral individualist approaches to the disaster

*treatment of the Deepwater Horizon disaster from positions in traditional and non-traditional animal rights/welfare philosophy

*the larger issue of ethical responsibility to non-human animals in light of the oil spill

*insightful cultural studies’ approaches to the media’s responses

*theoretical musings about the implications that this event will have for future animal rights debates

*human v. animal rights in the public discourse

Please send a 500-word abstract along with a brief bio/cv to Sean Kelly at skelly@fgcu.edu. Deadline for abstracts is 1 August 2010.

23 June 2010

the bike house

Last Saturday, Mara and I went to The Bike House, a community bike shop in Petworth (DC), just a few blocks from our apartment. Open since June 2009, I had been trying to check it out for several months.

The Bike House is located in the back of Qualia Coffee, a coffee shop at 3917 Georgia Avenue, NW. You enter through the alley off Randolph Street. They offer diy bike repair and also have volunteers who can do or walk you through more complicated repairs.

Mara wanted help taking her training wheels off and I needed help figuring out why my kickstand didn't work.

Mara was given a two-headed wrench to take the bolt off with. With some help, the training wheels were off and she thought of different things that she could now do with the training wheels--here they're earrings!

After one of the volunteers found a shorter kickstand for me and replaced it, we gave the suggested $5 donation and were on our way. I hope to return this Saturday and start to learn the mechanics of a bicycle from one of the volunteers.

oh, didn't i tell you: in addition to being a champion cyclist, I also want to be a bicycle mechanic.

for more photos of mara & me @thebikehouse, check out jameel's photo album.

22 June 2010

petworth (farmers) market opens friday 25 june

The Petworth Market opens this Friday 25 June, 3pm-7pm. There will be a produce vendor, a bakery, entertainment and much more.

View Larger Map

come & meet your neighbors & take some food 2 go!

1st petworth free store a big success!

The free store was everything I hoped it would be. It was a perfectly gorgeous hot day. And at least a dozen people dropped off items to donate. And many of them took something that they wanted. And dozens more dropped by and took things that they wanted. it was great!

Mara and I distributed flyers to our neighbors. And I posted to several listservs, including Prince of Petworth. I knew that if it was posted there, the people would come. And they did!

The donated items included:

twin bike trailer
sewing machines
children's bikes
filing cabinet
rolling cart
coffee machine
photo frame
peruvian rug
throw rug
women's clothes
children's clothes
women's shoes
tv w/ cart
weed wacker
punchbowl set
air filtration machine
handmade diaper bag
infant bathtub

At noon, the only thing left was a box of cups, other knick knacks and a comforter. An AMVETS truck picked up the box, so by 12:30 we were done. A neighbor, who was having a community sale nearby, had contacted me a few days earlier and offered to contact AMVETS about doing a pickup at my house before hers. perfect!

I will do another one in a month or so. Several people have expressed interest in helping me with the second one so I anticipate it being even bigger.

11 June 2010

1st petworth free store update

The 1st Petworth Free store preparation is going well. I have posted flyers at the Petworth Library, at Qualia and Mara (in a ballerina dress, of course) and I delivered flyers to our neighbors last night.

Also, the Prince of Petworth blogged about it! And from that, so far, I have a promise of a small file cabinet and a microwave.

And my posting on the Petworth Parents listserv yielded a truck that's going to come and pick up the remaining items. (thanks, Carrie!) So I don't need volunteers for that anymore.

Today, I will print out more flyers and distribute them to the apartment buildings on the corner.

Early Saturday, Mara and I will post flyers on Georgia Avenue to entice the passersby looking for a yard sale.

I plan to have everything out of my apartment and on the front yard by 8:30am.

And we may bake vegan chocolate chip cookies.

i'm so excited!

feel free to share

10 June 2010

smartbike take 2

I did smartbike today! I checked online to make sure that where I wanted to pick up had bikes and where I wanted to drop off had spaces. I caught the subway this time, helmet in hand, to 7th & T. I swiped my card and I was told to take bike #3. It was very easy to remove the bike. (Click here for photos of the full station.) Number 3 referred to its spot in the station not the number that each bike is given for tracking. See how beautiful it is:

I adjusted the seat and was on my way a few blocks to 14th & U streets, NW. I was surprised that I liked the uprightness of the bike. I rode on the street and on the sidewalk. The fast cars on U Street made me nervous and the bumps in the street made me jump.

(I saw at least 2 other smartbikers!)

When I went to return the bike, I wasn't sure what to do. So I swiped the card and was told, "You know you already have a bike out, why in the hell are you trying to get another one!"

Turns out that you simply have to return the bike to an empty slot.

Now I know!

biking (& rollerblading) in mississippi

Alicia posted on the vegans of color blog a PBS report about efforts to grow fruits and vegetables by residents in rural Mississippi. These efforts are in response to the existence of 'food deserts'--the lack of local, healthy and inexpensive foods within 1 mile of a significant housing density.

There's plenty to applaud & critique in the piece but what I'm most intrigued about is the lack of comment on the widespread biking and rollerblading among children and adults of ALL sizes.

amazing, right?!

08 June 2010

marya's cycling lesson #1:

obtain a bike that is so light that i can easily carry it up/down the stairs in my apartment building.

[back story: the bike i am using now is too heavy for me to easily lift. Yes, lesson #1 could have been to build more upper body strength but obtaining a lighter bike, especially for my long distance cycling, is a much better idea.]

photo credit: usdot highway sign bicycle symbol @wiki

07 June 2010

i went bike riding today!

¡por fin!

My sister, Tracye, loaned me her bike. muchísimas gracias, Tracye. It had 2 flat tires so I walked it over to 13th Street between Park Road and Columbia Road (DC) to a house that offers free air for bicycles. (I also use it for my jogging stroller.)

The front tire filled up easily. The back tire was more stubborn but it eventually relented to the pressure (!).

I was a little nervous about how well I would ride since it had been so long. But I got on right away. I felt a little stiff, especially my neck, but only a little more so than when I walk.

After a few minutes, I was hooked again. And my dreams of being a long distance cyclist have returned to the fore.

06 June 2010

phone charging while biking

talk about multitasking! You can charge your mobile phone while you bike.

Your phone attaches at the mid-point of your handlebars to what is essentially a big rubberband. (yes, it's supposed to be safe.)

The bike charger works with the bottle (or sidewall) dynamo (if you look closely at the front tire in the 1st photo you'll see it, too), a small electric generator, to convert your energy into electricity that charges your phone. In between the phone and the bottle dynamo is a small circuit box, w/ a 2mm jack, that provides a smooth current.

So how long would you need to ride to completely charge a phone that is in the red zone? According to Wired, "pedal at 6 mph for just 10 minutes, and you’ll get almost half an hour of talk time or a stunning 37 hours of standby. The minimum speed required to charge a phone is 4 mph, or walking speed, so even a modestly jaunty commute should be enough to keep your cell going for a whole day."

Nokia will first market the charger in Kenya for $18. By the end of 2010, it will be available worldwide. A few comments on the Wired article suggest that $18 is pretty steep for most in Kenya.

Just as I was wrapping up this post, I found this BBC article from July 2009 about 2 electrical engineering students @Nairobi University, Jeremiah Murimi & Pascal Katana, who have developed a dynamo-powered smart charger to help individuals in remote areas generate their own electricity while biking.

Half of Kenya's 38.5M population owns a cell phone.
Many of them travel great distances (by bike?!) to have their phones charged with car batteries or solar panels at shops that charge $2.

Bicycles in Kenya are already sold with bottle dynamos in order to have lights on their bikes. According to Murimi & Katana, "the dynamo lead can be switched to plug into the charger instead."

The students charge $4.50 for their device. A marked difference from Nokia. And it takes about an hour of riding to fully charge phones, which is the same amount of time using other charging sources.

Is it possible that Murimi & Katana partnered with Nokia to market these devices initially in Kenya because Nokia read the BBC article about how this technology was available elsewhere but not in Kenya where it was sorely needed?

An NGO ordered 15 to test them in rural areas. If the answer to the above question is no, perhaps the locally-produced charger will provide some stiff competition.

photo credits:

1. bicycle
2. bottle dynamo wiki
3. bottle dynamo
4. smart charger

related post on electricity-generating exercise bike

05 June 2010

1st petworth free store on saturday 12 june!

I am hosting the 1st Petworth Free Store on Saturday 12 June, 9am-noon, at 907 Quincy Street, NW WDC 20011: 1 block from Georgia Avenue/Petworth Metro station, 62, 64, 70 & H8 bus lines. It's like a yard sale but everything is free! Take what you want/need. Donations accepted on Saturday 12 June between 8:30am and 10:30am.

For more info, email Marya at chocolateyarugula(at)gmail(dot)com or call 202.372.5804.

Volunteers needed:

1. w/ access to wheels to transport remaining items to the Georgia Avenue thrift store (6101 Georgia Avenue, NW) at 12:30pm

2. to put up signs near the Georgia Avenue/Petworth metro and around the neighborhood; feel free to email me for a printable sign or make your own

3. to loan/donate clothes racks for hanging clothes

4. to loan/donate hangers for hanging clothes

5. to loan/donate boxes to place items on

6. to help at the free store sometime between 8:30am and 12:30pm. please email or call re the times you are available.

Marya at chocolateyarugula(at)gmail(dot)com or 202.372.5804

Please pass this on to your dc friends!

04 June 2010

♫ free is in the air, dah dah dah dah dah ♫

I saw this sign while walking up 14th Street NW (DC) on my way to Sticky Fingers.

The Greater First Baptist Church, at 13th & Fairmont, NW, (2701 13th Street) will have a free store (!) full of spring and summer clothes for children. Tomorrow, Saturday 5 June, 10am-2pm.

(you know) i love it! and that ♫ i'll be there ♫.

smartbike take 1

Yesterday, I was ready to take my first smartbike trip.

water bottle✓
iphone 2 take photos✓

I hopped on the 79 express bus down Georgia Avenue (DC) to 7th & T, the exact intersection for 1 of 10 smartbike stations.

First, I took photos:

Then I swiped my card and the word "blocked" yelled back. bummer!

I called the toll free number and was told that someone would get back to me either within 10-15 minutes or a little later.

So I chilled and had a wonderful conversation with a young brother in the shade.

After 15 minutes, no call. So I took a walk.

A few hours later, a call. It turns out that the # on my card didn't match the # in their database. click, click. I should now be all set.

stay tuned for smartbike take 2.

03 June 2010

cfp: beyond human: from animality 2 transhumanism

The editors of Beyond Human: From Animality to Transhumanism are currently soliciting 1 additional chapter contribution for Section II (‘Representing Animality’). The essays in this section explore human endeavours that seek to imagine what it means to be an animal from a range of perspectives. We are particularly interested in submissions that examine representations of animality in contemporary popular culture although proposals that deal with some other aspect of the representation of animality will be considered.

The essays included in Beyond Human: From Animality to Transhumanism are theoretically informed by a range of thinkers from the continental and analytical traditions of philosophy and critical theory. The collection seeks to investigate and discuss the various questions raised by contemporary understandings of the animal/human interface, on the one hand, and the emergence of human/ post- or trans-human interface on the other. The volume deals with various ontological, ethical, aesthetic and socio-cultural debates which are grouped across four sections. The first section of the book explores human/animal boundaries and definitions, the second section focuses on representations of animality, the third section is concerned with human/animal encounters whilst the fourth section brings together essays that explore how the machine and the ‘inhuman’ intervene in our understanding of ‘the human animal’.

Beyond Human: From Animality to Transhumanism will be published in 2011. Interested authors should note that the 6000 word chapter will be required by the end of October 2010. Please submit a 250 word abstract and an author biography to 1 of the editors listed below by 28 June 2010.

Dr. Claire Molloy
University of Brighton


Dr. Steven Shakespeare
Liverpool Hope University

02 June 2010

united nations sustainability panel 4 veganism

The United Nations international panel of sustainable resource management, under the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP), in a report released today, is encouraging a switch to veganism to save the planet. The panel is charged with determining the global measures necessary to drastically reduce our impacts on the earth. The report was released in anticipation of the UN's World Environment Day on Saturday 5 June 2010.

According to the report, "Agriculture, particularly meat and dairy products, accounts for 70% of global freshwater consumption, 38% of the total land use and 19% of the world's greenhouse gas emissions." These statistics are directly related to our numerous global challenges: "climate change, habitat change, wasteful use of nitrogen and phosphorus in fertilisers, over-exploitation of fisheries, forests and other resources, invasive species, unsafe drinking water and sanitation, lead exposure, urban air pollution and occupational exposure to particulate matter."

The population is expected to increase to 9.1 billion by 2050. Current world population is 6.6 billion. The panel submits that 9+ billion people eating the way U.S. residents currently eat is completely unsustainable.

So, if this is true, how many of you would be willing to stop eating (and drinking from) animals?

01 June 2010

happy 1st day of june!

& congratulations to Taylor, my youngest niece, who graduates from high school today.

28 May 2010

cfp: virtual environmental history workshop 4 grad students

i love it!

The New Scholars group of the Network in Canadian History and Environment is hosting a graduate student workshop on the theme of place and placelessness in environmental history on 1-2 October 2010.

They invite submissions of draft papers and unfinished work from graduate students in any related discipline on topics that address, complicate or illustrate the local, regional and transnational ecologies that bind us together.

This is a virtual un-workshop focused on unfinished work: participants will meet via Skype in small panel sessions to collaboratively and constructively discuss these works-in-progress. To help facilitate clear and problem-free participation, all invited participants will receive a FREE Skype headset. The workshop is limited to 20 participants.

Participants are also invited to collaborate in creating an online field trip that will explore the commodity chains that bind us in relations of production, consumption and destruction. Meet and network with your peers – explore new ideas–and have fun in this online workshop that explores new trends in environmental history and digital humanities.

Click here to register. Presenters are asked to submit a 300-word abstract outlining their works-in-progress by 16 July 2010. The full schedule will be announced 31 August 2010.

The conference organizers seek help developing this new model of academic gathering — save your scarce graduate funds and reduce your conference carbon footprint!

Follow them on Twitter at @Place_Placeless and join their Facebook group, Place and Placelessness.

Conference organizers, William Knight and Lauren Wheeler, can also be reached via email, virtualeh2010@gmail.com, and on their website.

27 May 2010

cfp: philosophy of silviculture science symposium

What the hell is silviculture? Now I know I wasn't the only one who didn't know.

Wiki says that it's "the art and science of controlling the establishment, growth, composition, health and quality of forests to meet...the needs and values of...landowners, societies and cultures." What about the needs of forests?

The Yale School of Forestry and Environmental Studies seeks papers for its Philosophy of Silviculture Science Symposium on Friday 15 October 2010.

There are 4 major themes:

1. Political and Historical Ecology of Silviculture Science
2. Philosophy of Forest and Ecological Sciences
3. Social Construction of Forests
4. Relational Epistemology of Forest Actors

James M. Brown, Coordinator, requests a cv and short abstract asap. Limited financial assistance is available. If needed, provide an estimate of travel and lodging expenses. Email material to jason.brown@yale.edu.

Check out Yale's School of Forestry and Environmental Studies here.

photo from wiki's forest entry

26 May 2010

western history association scholarship

Are you or someone you know a graduate student doing environmental (or other) history in the U.S. West? You can apply for the Western History Association's Trennert-Iverson Scholarship Award to lessen the costs of attending the conference.

Two $500 annual awards will be given to graduate students, MA or PhD, to be used toward travel, and the cost of conference registration, tickets to the welcoming reception, the graduate student social hour and the Presidential luncheon are also included in the award. excellent!

To be considered for this award, send a letter of interest, a cv and a letter of support from a faculty advisor to each member of the committee (see below).

Application Deadline: 16 July 2010


Melody Miyamoto, Collin College (Chair)
Laurie Mercier, Washington State University
David Nesheim, University of Nebraska-Lincoln


Melody Miyamoto
P.O. Box 123
Waimea, HI 96796
Attn: Trennert-Iverson Award

Laurie Mercier
9610 SW Third Avenue
Portland, OR 97219

David Nesheim
University of Nebraska-Lincoln
Department of History
1034 Oldfather
Lincoln, NE 68588

The conference will be held in Nevada, 13-16 October. Click here for more info.

good luck!

24 May 2010

smartbike dc

I received my SmartBike card today! i'm so excited.

I can now go to 1 of 10 smartbike locations, secure a bike and ride around for 3 hours and then return to any of the locations.

And it was incredibly cheap--just $40 for an annual membership. Operated by ClearChannel, it is billed as the U.S.'s first self service public bike rental program, modeled after Montreal's Bixi program.

Though there are changes afoot. I read on Greater Greater Washington's blog that the program will greatly expand and double in price. Read it here.

I joined to support cycling and non-car transportation. I also joined to satisfy my serious cycling joans and jealousy, especially when i see horizontally-inflected cyclists.

Here I wrote about my intent to start cycling again, about the 5 friends who cycled from NY 2 DC together in 1928 (!) & the tweed ride.

Now I've go to get a helmet.

19 May 2010

baltimore free store take 2

I admit it. I was going to the Baltimore Free Store because I was hoping to snag 6 dining room chairs, which I so desperately need. Turns out that there's not enough space in the store for furniture, so there was none to be had. I was bummed. And still very excited.

Mara and I arrived, via Zipcar, a few minutes before 10am. I asked Mara what she hoped to find. She was still struggling to fully grasp the concept of free. There was a line of about 20. I was hoping to be first in line. (Those who know me are shaking their heads 'of coursedly'.)

Turns out that since the store is small they let in a group of folks at the top of the hour. They get to shop for forty minutes and then the store closes for 20 minutes to restock. Everyone is welcome to get back in line and shop again. I may have gotten a little rowdy after hearing this. It turns out that the wait wasn't long at all.

I followed Mara to the children's section and she marveled at all the great toys. She played with a bunch and grabbed a few that she really liked.

The other shoppers (is it really shopping if no money is exchanged?) had planned ahead and brought their own bags and carts. (BFS also had bags available.) Folks snagged clothes, shoes, toys, books, videos, kitchen appliances, knick knacks, bags, purses, videos, books, art work, bicycles and more. The store was chock full of great goodies and junk. A few lucky shoppers left with televisions and other big electronics after handing over their winning raffle tickets.

Besides the chairs, I also wanted to meet the person(s) who made all this possible. That would be Matt, who started BFS back in 2004. He says that his goal now is to train neighborhood residents to run the store and then jet to start up another one in another neighborhood until, I guess, there are free stores throughout Baltimore.

Stay tuned for a full interview soon.

To read more about the Baltimore Free Store, click here.

Click here and here for my earlier posts on BFS and free stores in general.

14 May 2010

green america green grants

Green America has a new green grants program. They are seeking nominations for organizations that have green projects that are worthy of a small cash prize to help them toward completion. 4 prizes will be given--1 in the amount of $2,500 and 3 in the amount of $1,000. I said small! But still significant.

For a school wanting to create an organic garden, they could use the cash prize to purchase tools, soil, wood, etc. For an organization wanting to encourage bicycling and bicycle repair, they could sponsor free monthly bike workshops, renting out bikes and teaching bicycle repair.

Maybe I'll submit one of my cazillion ideas: the long vegan table! Neighbors would bring their own tables & chairs and share a vegan meal outside in the street. Like a block party! There would be fancy plates, silverware, cloth napkins & candles and fresh cut flowers from neighbors' gardens. And the ingredients would come from people's gardens and, perhaps, neighbors would cook together outside. Maybe stone soup!

Green America is open to all ideas. The only real requirement is that the projects have to combine social & economic justice with environmental & community health. (The organizations don't even have to be non-profits or have 501(c)3 status.)

I find it quite interesting that Green America is stressing the social justice angle--that it cares as much for people as it does the planet/nature. It sounds like Green America is responding to criticism that it didn't give a damn about people. Is this a complete rebranding, a move to something like ' Green America For All'. Watch out 'Green for All'! Or a niche move. I just noticed that they have a new motto--Come Together. more interesting!

For more information about Green America's green grants program, click here.

Click here for my review of Green America's new t-shirt design.

table image from Stone Soup by Jon J. Muth.

13 May 2010

baltimore free store grand opening

The Baltimore Free Store's grand opening is this Saturday, 15 May 2010, 10am-4pm. I'm so excited!!! Their new location is 1413 West Baltimore Street, Baltimore, MD 21223.

What's the Baltimore Free Store? It's a thrift store where everything is free! I wrote about it here in January.

Check out this video, which was made before they moved into their storefront:

They will be giving away items and accepting donations.

Check out their website here.

peach trees in dc

There are fruit trees in DC! And I don't believe these are part of the Casey Trees program. I'm sure they have been planted by an individual/family. I photographed these peach trees coming back from an afternoon walk. They're at the corner of Randolph Street and Kansas Avenue, NW.

While doing research on Echoing Green's social entrepreneurship fellowship, I came across a recipient who had developed a neighborhood fruit tree project. She identified and created a database of all the fruit trees in her neighborhood, shared the information and, with others, picked and ate the bounty.

i love it!

It has now morphed into the Portland Fruit Tree Project and also includes nut trees. Find out more here.

Do you have fruit or nut trees in your neighborhood? If so, send photos. And let us know when they're ripe!

photos: feel free to use/credit