Thursday, January 31

Fritschelles Club

I'm delighted with this piece of dirty paper I found out in Cityshack this week; it appears to be an unfinished plan by a young person named Fritschelle to create her or his own club.

What a good idea! Everyone should have their own club, I think, and invite other people to join it. What does the square mean? Is it the beginning of clubhouse blueprint? Is it a box to put names of friends in? All I have to say is, Fritschelle, you're a genius. If you ever read this post, please leave your email address, I'd love to learn more about your club. And if you invited me to join it, I wouldn't say 'no'.

Friday, January 25


Our new favorite TV show at home is a Canadian series called "Little Mosque on the Prairie". It's really extremely funny. In episode four, the Imam decides to Islamize halloween and creates..."HALALOWEEN". I laughed for an hour. Amanda's got a special thing for Yasir Hamoudi on the show. (For the adventurous...)

Today the temperature didn't break the 20's. On that note, I'd like to introduce you to one of my winter trash collecting methods.


(click the play button on the lower left)

This past July, my friends Dan and Samantha and I were cleaning out the hills behind the Blackwell path when Dan stumbled upon something interesting; someone had dug a hole in the side of the wooded hill, big enough for a person to sleep in (there was a couch cushion in it, all molded over), with logs thatching over the entrance. We wondered at how long the person might have lived in it. Then Dan found a package of photos that had been there for at least a season. They were all wet and decomposing, and the weather had done really cool things to the paper and chemicals. Each one looked almost like it had been painted in abstract, but you could also make out outlines of people and things. Here's one of the photos:

"Lady Madonna"

Dan lent me the stack of 30ish that he kept, so I'll scan them all in and upload some (or maybe all) of them in time.

This week I'm starting a class called: The Politics and International Relations of Iran. Dr. Houchang Chehabi has come highly recommended to me, I think this is going to be a good one.

And here's a voicemail from my old buddy Chris Sand "The Sandman, Montana's Rappin' Cowboy" from out in North Dakota.

Wednesday, January 23

Spilling the Beans

Today I listened to an episode of "Democracy Now" on my iPod while I picked trash on South St. It was a heated conversation between Gloria Steinem and Melissa Harris-Lacewell (Associate Professor of Politics and African American Studies at Princeton University) about their respective support of Clinton and Obama.

Harris-Lacewell's criticism of both Steinem and Clinton were, I thought, harsh; she said Clinton is trying to "have it both ways" by claiming to be qualified based on her own life's experience and at the same time profiting from her political exposure as 'Bill's wife'. I see no reason for her not to advertise both. But I appreciated and agreed with much of what she said about the overlooked intersection of race and gender and liked her broad perspective. I'll vote for Obama myself (if I don't vote for Kucinich). Steinem had great things to say about unity (that feminists need to maintain open discussion and good relationships in spite of disagreements) but, in the end, didn't seem to agree with Clinton on political issues (for example, the fact that she voted for war.)

This is one of my favorite trees, next to the barrel on Peter's hill: the honeylocust.

Sometimes I find ceremonial items on the grounds; this little package looked like it might be one...

And it was. Beans and toast.

Friday, January 18

Graf Writers

This week it snowed so hard the trees groaned and broke. Heaviest snow I've ever seen. So heavy that some trees keeled over and their root balls ripped out of the ground. I wish I had a picture to post but I forgot my camera those days, and now it's rained over and melted.

I'm writing a paper about Abdul Karim Soroush, the Iranian secularist philosopher. People say he might be the 'Martin Luthor of Islam'. But according to Omid Safi (who Sandman opened up for last year, you can see the photo if you follow the link to his blog), they say that about someone new every 18 months, and on top of that, old ML hated Muslims, Jews and the Pope, so it's kind of a crappy analogy. Soroush thinks that there can be Islamic nations where law is based on a flexible combination of Islam and human rights. I can't follow everything he says, but I'm hooked on his ideas.

No interesting trash to speak of this week: all the snow put the kabosh on that. And nothing good in the barrels. In the summer it'll flow like the brook.

I discovered a blog on graffiti in Iran:, those Tehrani writers have talent. Here are some photos from the subway wall at the marsh behind the Blackwell path, at work. Our writers end up throwing their cans into the marsh and I'm trying to devise a plan to provide waste barrels for them. They don't want to get caught with cans if the jake finds 'em on their way out.

Saturday, January 12

Three Women

I found this by Poplar Gate on thursday. It's too bad when friendships get ruined. Hard to be a young woman these days, so many things to get in the way of your friendships. I hope they work it out.

First Post

I am 30 years old.  I work as a garbage-man for a public park somewhere in the United States.  Really I'm a sort of outdoor handyman; some days I pick up trash with a trash picker and a barrel on wheels; some days I change the liners in the 28 trash barrels (lots of dog shit and coffee cups); other days I fix the wooden benches, remove graffiti from the roads and walls or rake leaves out of the sewer drains. Much of my work life involves garbage.  The perimeter of the park is surrounded by city streets, and there's a street that bisects the grounds, so the streets form a kind of figure 8.  People throw cans, bottles, drinks, packages, CD's, DVD's, cigarette packages and other things out their windows as they drive by.  I don't really mind, they're the reason I have a job.  (I do spend a lot of time ruminating about the waste created by advanced industrial capitalism, and on a broader scale that drives me crazy.  A new Styrofoam coffee cup every day!?)  People park at the gates at night and on the weekend when they need a private spot; I clean up their condoms and underwear.  You'd think they would want to put the underwear back on afterwards, but this is clearly not always the case.  People leave syringes lying on the roads and walls.  I have a red sharps container where I collect those.  At some point I'll take them all out and take a photograph of them.  At certain times of the year, people leave sacrifices on the grounds; lots of coconuts, sometimes other vegetables and sometimes animals, usually chickens or other birds.  I find those.  I haven't been able to figure out exactly what religion these ceremonies belong to but my guess is either Haitian Voodoo, Cuban Sanataria or Brazilian Condomble.  All of those communities are represented in our area.People leave couches and televisions, dolls and toys, books, clothes, magazines and torn up photographs.  Once I found two 45 automatic shells.  My plan is to begin photographing the trash and post it for you to see and share.  My trash is your trash.