brilliant business plans

me: We're going to be rich.
me: 1)  Open a yarn, knitting and fiber arts store next to the Best House, which of course, was formerly the Wurst House.  Call it The Worsted House.

me: 2)  Tee shirt:  "Anarcho-cynicalist"
ka: zowie
ka: maybe the lady at the worsted house could knit that into a sweater for ya
me: or gentleman. we anarcho-cynicalists don't believe in gender stereotypes. Not that there's anything you can really do to fix them.

Meeting this Wed about proposed Starbucks at 42nd and Woodland

USP and its food service provider, Sodexo, want to put in a Starbucks-branded storefront at 42nd and Woodland. They are applying for a zoning variance to do so, and there is a meeting this Wednesday for community input.

Details: The meeting to present plans for the new bookstore/Starbucks will be Wednesday, April 14 at 7:00 in Rosenberger Hall, Room 101.

Here is a detailed and thoughtful description of the situation from Four Worlds Bakery, who could be impacted by the decision:

Don't phear teh Linux

Oh hey, there's a workshop coming up where you can get an introduction to Linux in a totally friendly environment. How 'bout that!

Full post

On Sunday, March 28 from 10am-3pm Hive76 is holding a basic Linux install class. This class is perfect for total Linux beginners and people who want to take the plunge and install Linux on their computer. We’ll talk about what an operating system is, what free and open source software mean, implications of using proprietary software, and differences among distributions of Linux. Then we’ll install Ubuntu on computers that people bring, or for people who aren’t quite ready, we can install free software programs like Firefox and Open Office. This class is open to everyone, and woman- and trans-friendly. The class is sliding scale/pay what you can $0-$30. A donation will make it easier for Hive76 to provide snacks and keep hosting affordable classes.

kids, gender, and soldering irons

Last night I helped a friend teach 9-14 year olds how to make very simple devices that light up an LED when you hit the thing or something that the thing is taped to. The gadget is really clever, which is not surprising because my friend, who designed it, is very clever. There's a little Piezo speaker soldered to a MOSFET transistor, a couple resistors, a battery and an LED such that the tiny electrical impulse created when the Piezo is hit, gets amplified and results in the LED lighting up. When you attach the speaker to a drum with some masking tape, you get an instrument that blinks when you hit it. The kids will use them in a parade during a festival of lights in a couple of weeks. Pretty freakin' cool, especially if you are 10.

Because of some scheduling mixups, the only people available to make these devices with the kids were myself, a white-for-most-purposes woman, and the designer, a white male. I walked in and got up to speed as quickly as I could because he was swamped with kids. By about the 2nd build I pretty much knew what I was doing, and was taking on a 2nd line of children to do one-on-one tutorials.

Something odd happened. After the first couple of kids, my constituency became exclusively girls. Not that I'm complaining, certainly! I relish teaching tech to girls. But I wonder what caused it. It could have been that I simply got a line of girls with social continuity, as in, one girl worked with me, then her friend followed her, then her friend followed her. But it could have been behavior modelling, too. It could be that the girls found it easier to see themselves soldering with a woman showing them how. It could be that working with a man was somehow awkward for them. It could be that I smelled slightly less funny. But who knows? It would be interesting to ask them, and see how many say they made a conscious choice versus how many say they didn't really think about it, and hear whether they talked about "the girl" versus "the guy", or had developed some other identifiers or reputations for each of us. Maybe the adult moderators were sending kids to one or the other of us.

What's anecdotally clear to me though, is that women need to be available to teach electronics to children--especially girls--early and often.

Urban Agriculture Workshops tomorrow

Registration is officially closed but they are looking for more attendees, and may be willing to give a discount. If you have questions: please call Penn State Extension at 215 471-2200 x 0. Flyer and stuff:

Doing it in The City – 2010
Workshops for Urban and Suburban Ag Project Startups

Saturday, February 20, 2010,
8:30 am to 4:00 pm
Community College of Philadelphia
Center of Business and Industry
17th St. and Spring Garden Ave.
Philadelphia PA 19130

Sponsored by:
Penn State Extension - Philadelphia
Community College of Philadelphia
Chester County Economic Development Council
Pennsylvania Association for Sustainable Agriculture


• PERMACULTURE – preparing your soil and growing crops in tune with nature’s rhythms. Ben Weiss, Lower Susquehanna Valley Permaculture, and Phil Forsyth, Forsyth Gardens.

• TERRA PRETA or BIOCHAR – producing and using charcoal to increase yields based on pre-Columbian farming techniques. Mark Highland, The Organic Mechanics Soil Company

• VERMICULTURE – raising worms to recycle plant material and produce a valuable soil supplement. Wilson Alverez, Home Grown Edible Landscaping

• FOUR HENS, NO ROOSTERS – raising poultry for eggs and meat without waking the neighbors. Phillip Clauer, Penn State University.

• NEIGHBORHOOD COMPOSTING – locating and running a composting site in your neighborhood for use in urban gardening and farming. Meenal Raval and Lee Meinicke, Philly Compost.

• SEASON EXTENSION – constructing and using high tunnels to extend spring and fall season crops and facilitate cultivation during warmer months. After the workshop, a field trip to area high tunnels. Bill Lamont, Penn State University, and Nicole Sugerman, Weavers Way Farm

Who should attend:
• Back yard farmers and small commercial startups.
• People ready to start this season to test production.
• People who want to know what they need to get started.

What to expect:
• Presentations on a variety of urban ag topics by experts in their fields & local practitioners of the production arts.
• Advice and sources of materials, supplies, and biological inputs needed to get started, from local and regional people with experience.
• Opportunities to connect with others interested in the same topics as you are.

9 am – noon
Permaculture. Ben Weiss, Lower Susquehanna Valley Permaculture; Phil Forsyth, Forsyth Gardens

9 am – noon
Terra Preta (Biochar). Mark Highland, The Organic Mechanics Soil Company

1:00 – 2:30 pm
Vermiculture. Wilson Alavarez, Home Grown Edible Landscaping

1:00 – 2:30 pm
Season Extension* – High Tunnels. Bill Lamont, Penn State University; Nicole Sugerman, Weavers Way Farm

2:30 – 4:00 pm
Four Hens, No Roosters. Phillip Clauer, Penn State University

2:30 – 4:00 pm
Neighborhood Composting. Meenal Raval and Lee Meinicke, Philly Compost

$15 (1)
2:30 – 4:30 pm (field trip)
*Season Extension Field Trip to area high tunnels – weather permitting. Bill Lamont, Penn State University; Nicole Sugerman, Weavers Way Farms

music to spawn to

No, I'm not knocked up, but someone close to me is about 17.5 months preggers and her baby, named Mr. Yakasori in a dream she had, will be joining us, like, any minute now. Mom is a fucking force of nature: dynamic, curious, determined, spontaneous, and wickedly smart. I made these for her.

Babyday 1: For the well-researched, pragmatic, loving, protective, passionate, kind, nurturing and challenging who is going to be an incredible mom.

1) Doug and Jean Carn - Little B's Poem
2) Joao and Astrud Gilberto - Girl From Ipanema
3) Towa Tei - Luv Connection
4) Ken Nordine - My Baby
5) Erykah Badu - ...& On
6) New Sector Movements - Sho You Right
7) The Applejuice Kid - The Window
8) Dirty Projectors - Stillness is the Move
9) The Roots - The Seed (2.0)
10) Jorge Ben - Meus Filhos, Meu Tesoro
11) Joyce - Feminina
12) Tom Ze - Ma
13) Animal Collective - Baby Day
14) Bjork - All Is Full Of Love
15) New Air - Achtud El Buod (Children's Song)
16) The White Stripes - We're Going To Be Friends

Babyday 2: For the marathon-running, world-travelling, derby-skating, ESL-teaching, shit-kicking, awesomest in the world.

1) X-Ray Spex - Oh! Bondage Up Yours!
2) Yeah Yeah Yeahs - Phenomena
3) Rasputina - Momma Was An Opium Smoker
4) Kimya Dawson - The Beer
5) The Fiery Furnaces - I'm In No Mood
6) Noisettes - Nothing To Dread
7) The Slits - Typical Girls (Live)
8) Delta 5 - Mind Your Own Business
9) Ari Up - Baby Mother (Toxicgirl Strip Mix)
10) Northern State - Signal Flow
11) Missy Elliott - Work It
12) M.I.A. - Pull Up The People
13) Lady Sovereign - Chi Ching (Cheque 1 2)
14) The Soft Pink Truth - Make Up
15) Caro Snatch - Say Trees
16) Cibo Matto - About A Girl (Nirvana)
17) Twisted Blue Folk - Leicester Square

Ok Mr. Yakasori, you can come out now!!!

Philly bike ticketing TODAY

I just got a text from a friend and bike mechanic that says
"We just heard from a source inside City Hall that there's going to be a major effort today from 1 to 5 to ticket as many cyclists as possible. Let people know to keep an eye out."

I can't substantiate, but this is a source I trust.

Social markers, and snot

As the autumn chill descends upon our noses, and the mighty triumvirate of bicycles, hoodies, and hankies comes to the fore, I am made grateful once again for having switched from facial tissues to snot rags. While bombing down Gray's Ferry last night, I rediscovered the utilitarian nose-blowing ease of having a hanky half hanging out of a back pocket, which is easier than having it tucked in all the way. In other words, I was flagging.

Because my hankies are garden variety white and I am right handed, I was flagging white on the right. If this is to be taken as a fetish signifier, I suppose it's not so inaccurate. But reviewing the list, I'm thinking that I might want to invest in some gingham and argyle cotton to rip down to hanky size. It doesn't hurt that I like gingham and argyle anyway.