Tuesday, April 29, 2008

stuff and stuff.

1. Dresses Perhaps Going Out of Style?

Uhh, not on my watch.

2. Second Runway, at the Living Green Fair this weekend

Sustainable fashion! I'm going to see if I can stop by this.

3. Updated Muxtape

I'm mad at this place because I can't upload m4as, which is what most of my music is. Oh well. This one has a theme! (But is missing many of the songs that belong with it...)

Monday, April 28, 2008

notes on history. (note: i am not a historian.)

We've been studying World War II at school, which has gotten me to thinking about victory gardens, social persuasion, and the power of propaganda for good.

Whenever I read accounts of the war effort at home, I am confounded by the fact that the government simply asked people to constrain their use of certain goods and resources, and most of them just did it. Huh? How much would political popularity plummet if we were asked to only buy three pairs of shoes a year?

Not buying as many items as usual isn't so difficult, but growing a huge plot of vegetables is work - and still, people did it. 20 million people started gardens of their own and up to 40% of the produce nationwide came from them. Michael Pollan can ask us nicely and eloquently to throw some tomato seeds in the ground, but his message will only reach a relatively small percentage of people and most of those who do read it will probably be too busy to actually act on his request.

Which makes me wonder: why DID propaganda work?

Not all of the posters were as heavy-handed as this one [see many more here], but I still look at this and laugh, wondering how anyone could buy such a thing.

Obviously, propaganda can be used for very bad things, but I don't really have a problem with it being used for positive things like recycling, growing your own food, buying less, driving less and so on. So why wouldn't it work today? Is it because we're not at war? (Even though, technically we are.) Is it because our economy is strong and we don't want to give up our niceties? (Oh wait, it's not, and we're already doing that.) I can come up with lots of theories and speculation, but I don't know the real answers. I just wonder if a little guilt with a little persuasion wouldn't have to be a terrible thing.

Tuesday, April 22, 2008


Yesterday I went to Express Bike Shop (which I totally recommend, by the way) and was pleased to find at least a couple of suitable used bikes at reasonable prices. Riding around the block made me super excited, but I knew I had to exercise restraint and not buy the first pretty thing I see. Last year I was so driven to just get a bike that I made a foolish mistake and bought a crappy one from craigslist. It was such a disaster that I pledged to myself: never again. [Fine, I'm exaggerating, but it really wasn't a good bike. I have learned.] So, I called my dad the bike expert to give me a second opinion today.

But as luck would have it, my dear old dad took a walk this morning and found two vintage bikes about to be thrown away. He saved them from a horribly mangled landfill death and called me up. One is a super nice, really light Raleigh racing bike. It was a little too big for me and also just a little too racy. (No, not in that way! I mean...ah, forget it. You know.] The other one is a lady Schwinn, which my dad described as "dorky" over the phone - but dorky to him is RETRO and AWESOME to me. While I've joked before that I'm usually too much lady for a lady bike, with some adjustments, it worked.

It makes sense, really. Last year I got burned by a loser bike, and this year I come across a free one. I consider it good bike karma.

[And there will be pictures at some point, but this bike deserves to be photographed against a good backdrop with sunlight, which my apartment cannot provide at this time.]

Sunday, April 20, 2008

micheal pollan does it again.

The World We Live In: Why Bother?

I love this article. I'm sure there will be millions of blog entries about it, but what gives. I love how Pollan illustrates the annoyance of trying to change things for the better when you know that others aren't doing the same. I love how he points out that we all sit around waiting for other people to take care of the problem instead of doing something on our own. I love how instead of making me feel ashamed or frightened - it gives me hope. Hope for a future where "not having things might become cooler than having them." Hope that the green movement will not be a passing fad. (Because if it is, that's when I'll really be scared.)

Related: for information on community gardens in the Twin Cities, click here.

Monday, April 14, 2008


Where the hell did April go? Taxes are due tomorrow and Earth Day is soon! Let us not forget that. In fact, here are some of my eco-conscious goals and my progress (or lack thereof).

1. Bike more/drive less

I still don't have a working bike, but my insane jealousy when I see others biking will drive me to the bike store soon, I swear. It was pure torture today being inside the stupid clammy gym as I watched people bike merrily past. There I was, going nowhere, with only parked cars and bikers to look at. Sigh.

2. Start composting and/or join a community garden

I'm pretty waste conscious and I tend to be pack rat instead of throwing things away (the waste! the waste! also, what else could be done with this?!). When I do throw things away it's mostly smelly vegetable scraps. So, composting makes a lot of sense...except for that whole apartment problem. I found this article, which led me to discover that there are friendly worms that can help with apartment composting. Then I saw the picture of said worms, freaked out, and decided they would live nowhere near me. But, curbside composting is coming "soon" to St. Paul?

Oh, and community gardens...I started looking that up in January and got distracted. Probably because it was zero degrees out.

3. Not really a goal, just a general rant against number 5 plastic containers

I hate you, number 5 plastic containers. But I love you, yogurt and sour cream! And other dairy filled niceties! Also, I can't even believe that freaking COON RAPIDS now recycles number fives. This puts it ahead of every other municipality on the recycling curve, and yet it is a horribly sprawly suburb that doesn't allow pedestrians! Agh.

4. Take shorter showers

My way of trying to control this is finding a song that's approximately 5 minutes long, playing it really loudly, and then take at least two songs to shower anyway because my stupid old shower has no temperature control whatsoever.

I'll keep you updated. Must get a bike.

Sunday, April 13, 2008


I'm a firm believer in taking things that are less than satisfactory and reinventing them. Such as this coat:


I got it at Target a few years ago, right after my car got broken into and they took some other stupid coat I had. It's a large, and I don't know if I've lost that much weight in the meantime or I've learned to buy clothes that fit (I think a combination of both), but it's just dumpy enough that I never ever wear it.

I was about to just give it away while cleaning out my closet earlier this year, but I thought it had potential...in fact, maybe just move the buttons in to cinch it a bit? Maybe add colored buttons to make it more interesting?

I didn't get around to it until today, when the odd weather sent me searching for suitable jacket. [Also exciting: I found an old pair of sunglasses in the pocket of my thrift store trench coat.] I managed to find enough buttons in my collection of crap to make this formerly stupid coat new. Yay!


Thursday, April 03, 2008


apron close-up

Besides my tax return (woohoo!), here is the first tangible product of spring break that can't be eaten. Aprons are some sort of eternal, unlike peanut butter cookies and bread. The pattern is from Lotta Jansdotter's Simple Sewing, which I have hawked here before. The apron itself is reversible. I love it when I'm sewing something and even though it becomes a semblance of what it should be, I don't really know. And then I put in the last stitches, turn everything right side out, and oh my god, it's an apron! So fun.