Thursday, October 14, 2010

parking meters

Check out this cultural jamming (courtesy of Adbusters) in our hometown. Incidentally, it was on a Berkeley parking meter that I first learned "Indigenous People's Day" was the preferred name for Columbus Day. Who knew that a parking meter could be a medium for so much activism?

Monday, July 26, 2010

local eateries with a side of links

I think they call it "link-love." Somebody links to your blog and you link back.

Lettuce Eat Kale is a real blog (i.e. regular posts by a professional writer who happens to be my best buddy Sarah.) Last week, Sarah documented her discovery of local eateries after a post-surgery convalescence in which she was all but house-bound and banned from driving. In Learning to Love the 'Hood on Foot, she not only calls me "Marge" in public but she nicknames me Nurse Ratched. All in good fun. I guess. All I can say in my defense is that nothing comes between me and my morning coffee. And, honestly, Sarah, would it have killed you to have a supply of coffee on hand in anticipation of my visit? (Ideally, a medium roast, fair trade blend from Cole Coffee.)

Anyway, you linked to me so I'm linking back.

For the record, these are some of my favorite local eateries, all within walking distance of my home:
Meantime, another good friend, Matt, read both of our blogs and writes:
  • "You should write something scathing about Sarah in your own blog just for revenge." (Done!)
  • "After reading your blog, and spending some quality time getting a smog check for my car, I was ready to sign up for carlessness!"
I'm happy to have inspired you, Matt. (For now, I won't recount any of my recent doubts about this whole carless experiment -- I'll save that for a future blog post.) Matt, by the way, is one-half of the Matt and Ashley partnership. In the spirit of link love, I'll link to Mrs. Dalloway's Bookstore where Ashley has several of her one-of-a-kind, button and wire necklaces on sale.

More gratuitous links: Jan Dunsford is a talented, Maine-based jeweler and artist (who happens to be my mother-in-law). Check out Jan's work at ArtJewel Designs and on Etsy.

Feel the (link) love! Ditch the car!

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

car-free challenge week

It's the car-free challenge week. A San Francisco Chronicle feature, Volunteers cut back on car use for a week, profiles some families' efforts to participate in this challenge. For me the most interesting part of the article are the reader comments. Here's a smattering:
  • "Good idea, quit driving, who's going to pay for the roads you're using? If you're not using gas, it means you're not paying taxes and since you used to drive a prius you've been ripping everyone off and not doing your share. I guess it's time to tax bicycles." (Hmm ... if you don't drive a car, you don't buy gas, therefore you're not paying gas tax, therefore you're ripping off the system. That's a new one.)
  • "Yet another anti-car article brought to you by SFGate ... please, stop shoving the anti-auto agenda down our throats."(Perhaps this reader hasn't seen the Chronicle's car section.)
  • "If a lefty leftist has his/her chauffeur drive, does that count?" (Huh?)
Some of the commentors were more positive:
  • "I thought it would be difficult to not drive, too ... Once you get our of the mind frame of 'getting there in 20 minutes,' it's not so bad. The exercise doesn't hurt either."
  • "I walk, bike , ride Muni/Bart 90% of the time now. I only drive when I go outside SF. The good thing is my blood pressure is normal now, lost 30 lbs and healthier."
  • "Would much rather take public transportation and spend the time reading a novel. See who is happier, the person who just got off BART or the person who drove a car in rush hour traffic."

Tuesday, May 4, 2010


Project Laundry advocates hanging clothes on the line as a simple way to save money and conserve energy. A particularly charming feature of the Project Laundry website is their gallery of laundry art; their goal: to 'promote the beauty of the clothesline.'

My friend Alan runs a website called Hay in Art celebrating, well, hay and all its bucolic wonder.

So, what about the art of carlessness? It may be difficult to represent carlessness in art but I found this striking poster, which I've posted with permission, by Washington-based artist Nikki McClure. (Among the many images in Nikki's portfolio is, not surprisingly, a lovely one of a clothesline.)