best when viewed in low light


Put your money where your mind is

Woman-owned business? Check.
Building community? Check.
Bicycles, bicycles, bicycles? Check!

Usually when I get a request to fund something, I have to just run with my initial no-thank-you-very-much response and justify it by lamenting that I don't have nearly enough myself to wantonly spread it around. And it's true, I don't. But no one considers their stash "enough," it's positively un-American!

But some things matter more than money. Empowering women and girls, for one. Community oriented businesses and events, for two. And energy neutral transportation counts for a HUGE third.

I can't stress the benefits of bicycles enough, especially in an urban environment like New York, where anyone able bodied enough to walk or ride should feel it is their utmost duty to reduce the amount of energy, space, and time they take up to an absolute minimum. Cities are made for cycling (except, perhaps, San Francisco...but hills are no excuse! Just think of the Shwarzeneggerian thighs you'd develop riding up just one SF hill every day?!), and so I feel called by a higher motive than money when I have a chance like this:

Bicycle Roots is doing their damnedest to reopen after a bad deal with a landlord, and I'd like to see them do it! So far, it's the only bike store in the metro New York area that I've ever stepped inside feeling like a competent , intelligent human and left feeling the same way.

On the whole, bike shops are populated by boys whose phallic references are made of Chro-Mo or Carbon, rather than steel and chrome. But it's still the same damn metaphor.

So here's my $50 bucks towards a better bicycle shop! Go, Bicycle Roots! Go!


Warriors or Redskins?

My parents are resurrecting their inert activists!

As a DC native, I'm a fan of the Washington Redskins, even when they suck because that's what real fans are.

For years there has been talk of changing the name of the team. And I've always had mixed feelings, not because I want to be racist against Native Americans, but because the term "redskin" is so archaic that it doesn't denote insult in its contemporary usage.

But my dad, who's an avid fan and couch philosopher posited this gem: Change the name, but keep the logo--with its iconic native american warrior--the same. And really, what better way to pay homage to the native people of this land than to employ an image of their warriors as a sigil for the warriors of spectacle from our modern day?

Sign the petition to support the Washington Warriors (and save our beloved team logo) here

Warriors of the Rainbow

A Cree legend:

There would come a time when the Earth would be ravaged of it's resources, the sea blackened, the streams poisoned, the deer dropping dead in their tracks.

Just before it was too late, the Indian would regain his spirit and teach the white man reverence for the Earth, banding together with him to become Warriors of the Rainbow.

There was an old lady, from the Cree tribe, named "Eyes of Fire", who prophesied that one day, because of the white mans' or Yo-ne-gis' greed, there would come a time, when the fish would die in the streams, the birds would fall from the air, the waters would be blackened, and the trees would no longer be, mankind as we would know it would all but cease to exist.

There would come a time when the "keepers of the legend, stories, culture rituals, and myths, and all the Ancient Tribal Customs" would be needed to restore us to health. They would be mankind's' key to survival, they were the "Warriors of the Rainbow". There would come a day of awakening when all the peoples of all the tribes would form a New World of Justice, Peace, Freedom and recognition of the Great Spirit.

The "Warriors of the Rainbow" would spread these messages and teach all peoples of the Earth or "Elohi". They would teach them how to live the "Way of the Great Spirit".

They would tell them of how the world today has turned away from the Great Spirit and that is why our Earth is "Sick".

The "Warriors of the Rainbow" would show the peoples that this "Ancient Being" (the Great Spirit), is full of love and understanding, and teach them how to make the Earth (Elohi) beautiful again. These Warriors would give the people principles or rules to follow to make their path right with the world. These principles would be those of the Ancient Tribes. The Warriors of the Rainbow would teach the people of the ancient practices of Unity, Love and Understanding.

They would teach of Harmony among people in all four comers of the Earth.

Like the Ancient Tribes, they would teach the peoples how to pray to the Great Spirit with love that flows like the beautiful mountain stream, and flows along the path to the ocean of life. Once again, they would be able to feel joy in solitude and in councils. They would be free of petty jealousies and love all mankind as their brothers, regardless of color, race or religion. They would feel happiness enter their hearts, and become as one with the entire human race.

Their hearts would be pure and radiate warmth, understanding and respect for all mankind, Nature, and the Great Spirit. They would once again fill their minds, hearts, souls, and deeds with the purest of thoughts. They would seek the beauty of the Master of Life - the Great Spirit! They would find strength and beauty in prayer and the solitudes of life.

Their children would once again be able to run free and enjoy the treasures of Nature and Mother Earth. Free from the fears of toxins and destruction, wrought by the Yo-ne-gi and his practices of greed. The rivers would again run clear, the forests be abundant and beautiful, the animals and birds would be replenished. The powers of the plants and animals would again be respected and conservation of all that is beautiful would become a way of life.

The poor, sick and needy would be cared for by their brothers and sisters of the Earth. These practices would again become a part of their daily lives.

The leaders of the people would be chosen in the old way - not by their political party, or who could speak the loudest, boast the most, or by name calling or mud slinging, but by those whose actions spoke the loudest. Those who demonstrated their love, wisdom, and courage and those who showed that they could and did work for the good of all, would be chosen as the leaders or Chiefs.

They would be chosen by their "quality" and not the amount of money they had obtained. Like the thoughtful and devoted "Ancient Chiefs", they would understand the people with love, and see that their young were educated with the love and wisdom of their surroundings. They would show them that miracles can be accomplished to heal this world of its ills, and restore it to health and beauty.

The tasks of these "Warriors of the Rainbow" are many and great. There will be terrifying mountains of ignorance to conquer and they shall find prejudice and hatred. They must be dedicated, unwavering in their strength, and strong of heart. They will find willing hearts and minds that will follow them on this road of returning "Mother Earth" to beauty and plenty - once more.

The day will come, it is not far away. The day that we shall see how we owe our very existence to the people of all tribes that have maintained their culture and heritage. Those that have kept the rituals, stories, legends, and myths alive. It will be with this knowledge, the knowledge that they have preserved, that we shall once again return to "harmony" with Nature, Mother Earth, and mankind. It will be with this knowledge that we shall find our "Key to our Survival".

This is the story of the "Warriors of the Rainbow" and this is my reason for protecting the culture, heritage, and knowledge of my ancestors. I know that the day "Eyes of Fire" spoke of - will come! I want my children and grandchildren to be prepared to accept this task. The task of being one of the........ "Warriors of the Rainbow."

From Native American Indian Legends

Dr King's day

I had a conversation last year with a gentleman whose fraternity played a large part in funding the recent Dr. Martin Luther King memorial in DC. I had mixed feelings, and what he said changed my mind.

If racism (or any kind of bigotry, really) is an insurmountable monolith, then Dr. King managed to carve out an area in that monolith about the size of a man. What he represents is simply the recognition of the monolith's existence, and the hope that we can do better if we scrape and scratch away bits at a time.

Last night Fuzzykins McGrath and I saw DJANGO: Unchained

I went in expecting to be disappointed (but that's another post), which is the best way to see a movie.

What I saw was a recipe for empowerment, and it was a work of genius.

I don't even want to say anything about it, really. Let the work do itself. If I were to point out elements of the film to watch, it would only distract you from the humor and tension and horror that works its way so deeply into our psyche and lets us see things a little differently than we did before.

I can't think of a better way to spend a day that honors a man who gave his life for his own freedom than by seeing this movie again. Tarantino has done what no other director could do at any other time in history. Jamie Foxx as Django has done what few other actors could, at the first moment in our present when such a role is possible. Leonardo DiCaprio is probably the only white dude that could play Candie and not be so widely despised for being convincingly, achingly naive in the face of his own brutality and still survive with a career. Christoph Waltz...

When we came home, I insisted that we watch Inglorious Basterds, because the seamless transfer of character from one QT flick to the next is part of the fun. As "The Jew Hunter", Waltz's mastery of tension and humor is mind-dumbingly frightening. As Dr. King Shultz (great grandfather of Paula, perhaps?), those same character traits make him appear confidently badass and threatening only in so far as you know this ruthless bastard will do whatever he can to destroy the institution of slavery...even though he can't.

Just go see it. Or watch Barack Obama's second inauguration. Or both.


You sure know how to turn a phrase, Mark Deuze!

To describe my encounter with Dr. Deuze as lucky is an underwhelming platitude, nowhere near as significant as the impact he's had on my professional development.

But luck it was - I went to school certain that I'd spend my time conducting economic experiments in 3D virtual worlds and extrapolating grand conclusions about reality from those glass-encased paramecia. Fascinating as that topic is, I found quickly that I'd rather be the Architect, moving screens and pulling strings, than the Observer, watching as behaviors unfold and doing one's best to have no impact. (As y'all might've concluded, I'm nothing if not high impact.)

But back to the point: I came across Mark and his surgical insights into the synthetic relationship between our animalish species and our beloved tools, especially those electrified ones we inundate ourselves with these days (you're doing it right now)! Recognizing the brilliance and rarity in Deuze's media doctrine, it literally changed the course of my studies and my career since.

We worked together on a couple articles, which I no doubt bragged about when they were published.

But here he's hit me with a new nuggest: We don't live with media, we live in media. He's probably been saying that for a while, but it just hit me with profundity.

Rock on with your bad self, Mark.

"the universe wants to be noticed"

In the past several weeks I've been reading a bunch:
The Girl Who Fell Beneath Fairyland and Led the Revels There, Catherynne M. Valente
Under Wildwood, Colin Meloy
Stormbreaker & Point Blank, the first two Alex Rider books, by Anthony Horowitz
Sway (the first ibook i ever tried...better than i'd hoped), Amber Mcree Turner
The Fault in Our Stars, John Green

Research, yeah, but sometimes I find the books I select mirror some internal process, and this past year has been bombarded by rites of passage. Losing things and finding more.

My grandfather died, and I lost the first person I've ever missed. And later, Carter died without my knowing he was sick, and so I missed the passing of someone I loved but had already lost. I fell in love with Fuzzykins McGrath...finding the one I've always missed, and hope I'll never lose. I made a world with some of the most talented people I've ever had the honor to meet, and then somewhere along the way I lost track of most of them. It's been a rollercoaster, so the books of going into the dark unders and insides help me keep that bright end-of-tunnel light in mind. It makes me realize that happiness is like the superficial sweetness of sugar, and fulfillment more like the layered, vibrant, murky flavors of honey - there is more to be had in depth.

Each of the books has made an impression.

Valente's second act was impressive if only for the glaring fact that she's a prolific and imaginative young writer (and I better get cracking if I wanna be published before death). Also, I love September, who does not flinch at uncertainty or call for mommy. I will be reading the story of Queen Mallow.

I was happy to be surprised by Under Wildwood, also a sequel, also a second act in the underworld (obvs). But this one, rather than resolving smoothly--fairytale-ish--at the end, barely spits us out on the eve of an ever-worsening disaster. There are many victories, but the war is still on. More like a Reloaded, where you leave feeling the tension of uncertainty. Suddenly, we recognize ourselves as denizens of that same part-real, part-imagined life that seems to lead us, only to leave us befuddled in the midst of things we're not really sure we can handle. Wtf, life?! Mr. Meloy, I anxiously await your next authorly escapade.

I'm gathering profiles for my next adventure into the phallic realm. (what?! no, I'm not talking about porn!) And as a young Bond with an almost-man complex, Alex Rider is about as phallocentric as it gets - the author actually refers to plane and car make and model numbers, like we know wtf he's talking about! And though the all-knowing marketers will be flabbergasted, I have to say I love a good gun-filled romp. Maybe these books aren't brilliant or inspired, but they are impeccably paced and riveting: I've finished both in under 36 hours (life, be damned)! And Alex rides a bike everywhere in kinda guy!

Sway... I cried through most of this book, even though it's actually hilarious. It was just so touching, so charming, so...innocent and accepting. What is it about the american south that--like Africa or India--escapes the philosophical sterility of modernity and globalization? There is another (much better) book called Swamplandia! that I love and have still not read the last 30-50 pages of, which better illustrates the synthesis of conventional reality, mundane existence, and human cruelty with a (spiritual?) whimsical worldview. The metaphors have a literal weight. The unlikely is possible. I guess there was this in Huck Finn, or Their Eyes Were Watching God. Does this have a name?

And this brings me to The Fault In Our Stars. I need to think about it, I guess. What I can say is: read it. What I can't say is whether or not it's deep and meaningful, or whether--because it's about cancer--it's just a book about cancer. Just two teens in love. But then, I guess regardless of the circumstances, one third of all stories are written about two teens in love (the other two thirds go to Heroes of all sorts). Anyway, it's John Green that says, "I think the universe wants to be noticed." And I agree.


Always worth watching, Ms. Foster

Amazing! Season ?? of the Bachelor

Planning has begun for my BFAM's bach, and as if the mood was in the air, last week saw the launch of this season of the Bachelor. Hearts aflutter.

I (not so secretly) love this show. I'm not sure whether it's the addictive pulse of quick emotional highs and lows, or the superb editing and evolution of the show's format over time. Needless to say, I'd buy a round for Chris Harrison and the production team of that show any time.

When I first saw Tila Tequila's Shot at Love oh so many years ago, I was bowled over by her mirroring abilities. How was this robo-human capable of masking and mimicking others' feelings so expertly? And, I assume, consciously?

Despite the likelihood of making us both asses, I also assume that each season's Bach and Bachette are initiated into the...shall we say...storytelling aspects of the "reality." I know they have rules to follow - it couldn't be a game show without them - but it goes beyond that. Their curatorial contribution matters, otherwise we can't get the satisfaction of seeing the poisoners get their comeuppance, or outing the ones who are there "for the wrong reasons," or tearing up when the "right one" is there at the end.

As so eloquently identified by Mr. Kimmel, this season's Sean is "our most sincere Bachelor ever," and he and his pursuers' list of regularly used superlatives is amazingly limited.


Get it: "A Secret History of Coffee, Coca, and Cola"

Ricardo Cortes, the "Secret" author, has been researching this book for years. It's the kind of journalistic work that changes the way you see the world. (And he can draw!)

His campaign for transparency in the international trade of the coca leaf has lead him here: the 1961 Single Convention on Narcotic Drugs, which he explains way better than I ever could in the linked editorial.

Evidently, that schoolyard legend about cocaine in your Coke is actually still true...maybe. At least, the Coca Cola Company includes coca leaves in its legendary secret formula...and the treaty says their brewing partners--Maywood Chemical Works--are the only ones in the world that can get them.

My doesn't that keep the price low?


Tangent...letterpress printing

I've finally settled on a pretty decent business card design. I've abdicated those tricky and critical decisions about job title and what contact info to include by choosing a Victorian calling card style...premature commitment, averted!

But ok, so instead of doing some overblown design or cutie-pie graphics, I'm nerding out big time on the printing process instead. Letterpress, of course. And not only cause it's more beautiful than any digital process, but because...der...that's how the Victorians did it!

I like to get distracted by things I know I'll never do so I don't have to spend time doing all the shitty things that nobody wants to taxes. Here's one sweet way to spend time - taking letterpress classes at The Arm, a community letterpress shop in Brooklyn - and making my cards myself!

Yes! But no, Phoebe, no you're not.


Best Woman evarrrr!

My 2013 is pretty much set. I've accomplished all I need to for the year. I have been selected as the Best Woman for my best friend's supergaylawaspulisticexpialadohiocious NH wedding this summer!

And in the same vein, I can't wait to see the full film of Wonder Women!, a doc about society's manifestation of contemporary gender profiles through everyone's favorite superheroine: Wonder Woman!


Get it: Dragimals!

My gal Kat made this game, Dragimals, that's so good it makes me want to have a friggin baby.

If you have one (or just get down playing like a baby), you can get it at the app store.


New toy!

When the first iPad came out I was like...yeah, but its too big! I can't carry that in my bag - I need a whole fraking backpack to accommodate this "mobile" device!

But you know what would be cool? A screen about the size of a that, I'll buy!

And I did.

In the past...