Saturday, April 25, 2009

The Award for Best Name and Graffiti Combo goes to...

The Fair Deal Meat Company. What an awesome name. Better yet if their deals are fair. Which I hear they are.

This Garnier Fructis-style graffiti around West Oakland is very intriguing. I wish I knew who does it.

Thursday, April 23, 2009

Sunday, April 19, 2009

Art Was Had

An exclusive event was enjoyed last night at the Myrtle Street Review headquarters, featuring the fabulous Miss Tiffany Lee Brown and her Easter Island Project.

If you would like to participate in our events in the future, send us email explaining why.

Photo: Tiffany Lee Brown

Saturday, April 18, 2009

Mixed Use = "Just shut up please"?

In the last couple of weeks, I was faced several times with the same kind of comments, expressed directly or indirectly. The gist is that I "should have understood" when I moved here that West Oakland is a mixed use area. And "there are just certain things that go with making this choice". Followed by references to drugs, violence and prostitution.

I have been trying to tease out the logic from this, and I think it is roughly this: "mixed use" means businesses get to treat West Oakland as "industrial only", because whatever they choose to do here has to be better than poor people and poor people's problems.

"Mixed use" does not mean that businesses have a responsibility to residents' health and well-being, or that they "should have understood" that this is also a residential area, or that business owners need to treat residents with any semblance of respect.

"Mixed use" in West Oakland means as a resident you're a victim, and get used to it.

Friday, April 17, 2009

Police States are Sexy!

We got our Neighborhood Watch signs this morning, and they are very shiny and stylish I must say. Maybe we'll decorate them with glitter or blinking lights or something. This one is positioned in front of the two properties that are currently unfortunately standing empty. Here's to hoping they will find good people soon! Maybe Oakland should start some kind of Adopt a House program?

We plan to celebrate by drinking champagne and cutting ribbons and generally being fabulous, but you'd have to be in the know to find out where and when.

Photo by Jesse Evans.

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Dreaming on

This is the unused lot on our block that in our minds' eyes is a lovely, verdant, refreshing, eclectic, shared, social community garden.

If you are in the business of wishing others well, you might spend a couple seconds wishing that we can pull this one off.

Tuesday, April 14, 2009


In a report related to our earlier post about treeheadedness, a Russian man has grown a 5-centimeter tree branch in his lung. The trees are taking over, and it's going to be all Lord of the Rings, I tell you.

Monday, April 13, 2009

Awesomeness for Shipspotters

Should you decide you need to know exactly which vessels are in the Port of Oakland at the moment, what type of vessel they are, and which ones are expected, you can easily check that on this clever website created by the University of the Aegean. In fact, you can check any port in the world. You can also see pictures of the ships and information about the ports themselves.

Saturday, April 11, 2009

Liminal Pendulum sees the Light

Liminal Pendulum had problems speaking the truth. In fact, she always lied. If you asked her what time it was, she'd lie by fifteen minutes or a half an hour. If you asked her what her name was, she would say, "Lisa." If you asked her if she was happy, she'd say she was sad, and when she was dejected, she would say she was blissful. It got so bad Liminal had no idea what was true or how she actually felt any more.

It wasn't until she found the kitten that things changed. She named the kitten Rumpy, and always told it the truth. This, decided Liminal, was love.

Ikea on the Moon

Those clever Swedes are planning a flat-pack house on the Moon. Mostly it used to be just one Swede, an artist called Mikael Genberg who wanted to send a robot to the Moon to build a traditional Swedish cottage. But now he's got the Swedish Space Corporation, the Ångström Space Technology Centre, and Christer Fulesangs, the first Swede in space, involved. Mälardalen University has already built the robot.

Finland has to step up to the plate! It's a Nordic space race! We've got to build a sauna on the Moon before the Swedes get there!

Friday, April 10, 2009

Last 15 minutes on Myrtle Street

You can see the last fifteen minutes of action on the MyrtleCam here.
(Ewww, I just saw some guy taking a leak in the corner and then carefully wiping off his, uh, equipment and tossing the toilet paper on the sidewalk.)

Thursday, April 9, 2009

The Dr. Bronner of Crime Scene Cleanup

I can't believe I have a favorite Crime Scene Cleanup guy. Maybe I should Yelp this.

My guy's name is Eddie Evans. He has a tremendous blog, first of all. A philosophical, political, personal, poetical, practical, rambling crime scene cleanup blog. Listen to his musings about the recent cop killings: How would Professor Lumpin explain the doings in Oakland this weekend? Were these police officers acting as part of the "repressive apparatus" when they stopped this violating parolee? Or were they more like working class keepers of the peace trying to earn a middle-class income by risking their lives? The latter appeals to me, the former has its place in a general discussion of nationalism and the State.

There's lots more on the blog, and it's all very interesting. About himself, Eddie says: I am a 60 year-old "baby boomer". I give my age because this is what I did when I was little, say about 4 years old. I think I was probably a better person then, fewer bad influences, I suspect.

I wish Eddie had moved to our block. We could have tea together and discuss moral philosophy. We could read each others' blogs.

His professional website isn't going to win any design awards, but it continues in the same multifaceted, civic-minded vein. He covers topics such as cronyism in crime scene cleanup (there are kickbacks! the public ends up paying too much for services!), "is poop a biohazard?" (Eddie breaks it down like you wouldn't believe), as well as gives useful advice on employment, DIY crime scene cleanup, and life.

If you do not have a high school diploma, shame on you. Stop being lazy and turn the television off and leave it off. Stop playing games and get real. Read books, big fat books that keep your attention. Study night and day. It is time to grow up. Take control of your mind. Stop day-dreaming. You can make it big if you work hard and study hard!

I love this man. I wish the world of crime scene cleaning – and the world in general - had more people like him. For 29 bucks you can join his Crime Scene Cleanup school and the ranks of people who think this will make them millionaires.

Sunday, April 5, 2009

Morning Beauty

One morning the fog was particularly magical and beautiful and my husband ran up to our roof deck to take pictures of it. This is our neighbor's tree. It is an unruly, funny tree that drops absolutely gigantic pine cones, big enough to dent your car or make a big bump on your head. We are trying to train the tree to only drop them on mean people, but so far it's not really listening.
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