Picking up the Gantlet

Submitted by Ben on Wed, 02/19/2014 - 11:02

(I originally wrote this article as a submission to PermacultureNews.org, but decided it would be better as a blog.)

I don't know about you, but I was really shaken by Peter Harper's insightful critique of permaculture last summer, “Permaculture: The Big Rock Candy Mountain.” It has caused me to rethink the way I approach my urban farm, at least for the coming year. Let me explain.

Why I'm a top Pocket user

Submitted by Ben on Mon, 12/16/2013 - 14:29

I got an email a few days ago informing me that I'm in the top 5% of users of a service called Pocket -- I've used their free service to read more words on more Web pages than 95% of their users.  This is a totally unpaid and unasked-for endorsement, but chances are you haven't even heard of this service, so let me introduce you to why I use it so much:

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Savannah trip, part 3

Submitted by Ben on Wed, 12/19/2012 - 17:06

Saturday, July 14

Ben outside the Contemporary Art CenterOn Saturday morning we paid our respects to the farmers' market in Forsyth Park before hitting the Interstate to Atlanta.  Our first stop in Atlanta was the Contemporary Art Center, which was in a surprisingly rough-looking neighborhood -- we were pretty certain our GPS had led us astray!  It doesn't help that the museum building looks kind of like a warehouse that burned up in a fire, but we had to assume that was intentional.  The exhibit featured several artists who were aiming to stretch our comfort zones.  There was a mostly-nude lady dancing erotically with a dead salmon, for example.  And there was "Hennessee Youngman's" thought-provoking (satirical) video on "How to be a Successful Black Artist."

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Savannah trip, part 2

Submitted by Ben on Tue, 10/30/2012 - 19:11

convention center on the far side of the river, ferry dock in foreground

Monday, July 9

On the first day of the conference, we rode the ferry together over to the convention center and had an overpriced breakfast in the conference hotel; then I rode back to our hotel on the Savannah side of the river.  Jessie attended an all-day workshop on image-based narrative inquiry, while I gave my successor at Prairie Star District UUA an orientation to her new tools and responsibilities.  I also drove out to a grocery co-op on the far side of Forsyth Park to pick up some food for future breakfasts and moved the car to a cheaper lot for the week.

When Jessie returned to the hotel, we went for a swim and had dinner at Vinnie Van Go-Go's before attending the conference's opening reception.

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Biking (Halfway) Across Kansas

Submitted by Ben on Tue, 07/10/2012 - 13:20

It's been over a month now since I joined 800 other people in Biking Across Kansas.  This was my first "supported ride," meaning that I was not carrying my own gear but only responsible for bicycling to each day's destination.  It's taken me this long to blog about the experience because, well, I didn't have a great time, and I quit halfway through, and I needed some time to put a positive spin on the experience.

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10 lessons learned from rewiring our house

Submitted by Ben on Sat, 12/10/2011 - 12:22

A big part of the reason I haven't blogged here since March is that around that time I took on the project of rewiring our 1920 house (replacing the old knob & tube wiring with modern nonmetallic cable that meets code), and it's consumed much of my spare time ever since.  It looks like I'll finally finish the wiring part of the project later today, and then it'll just be a question of patching holes, etc.