Off Road Living

On a recent Car Talk episode, Tom and Ray called Victoria to see how their advice had benefitted or ruined her life. Victoria called about how to finance a car for her sons. It was supposed to be a talk of Volvos, but the Magliozzi’s common sense and humor shook something loose in her. Victoria’s follow-up report of what had transpired after the initial phone call was thrilling. Instead of following her original plan of buying her sons a car, she had changed her own life. She ditched her plans of business school and moved to California to be a working artist. And no car for her sons, but now she lives closer to them. I nearly cried when I heard this segment two weeks ago. Listen to the segment here.

For the past several weeks, I have been collecting stories of people who scrapped a mundane plan and ended up following a path of uncertainty. The take away message for me is not that dreams will be fulfilled. But if one follows a passion, the path is compelling and becomes a reward. Lately, every time I work hard and diligently for X, something intervenes and my  dream is dashed. Once the initial disappointment passes, I get a rush of freedom. I am on a path not entirely of my own making. And that is a relief because my imagination is not large enough to envision a life I want to live.

Today, I am glad my plans have been scrapped. The pressure is off to DO something to make my dream happen. Instead I am pleased to live for right now and to pour my energy into having a good day than getting some future reward.

No Computer Increases the Peace?

radio-image

This radio is simliar to the boom box I have.

With 13 minutes remaining on a computer housed in the children’s section of my local library on 6th and Girard, I thought I’d dash off a blog post. Going offline was not my choice, but going on week 4 of not having a computer, I don’t miss it that much. I admit my social world has shrunk to include people who have comfort with using the telephone. But my 20 minute check ins on public computers has been sufficient for everything, including IM.

It’s hard to convey deep thoughts when the clock tool bar says 10 minutes remaining and has a green counter pulsing the seconds. I don’t like to write under time pressure.

Not having a computer has freed my time for mingling with people. Now that the baseball season is over, I am occupying my time with thrift shopping, searching out new foods at my local supermarket Cousin’s, and finding excuses to call my friends. I have NPR on in my apartment so much I actually have heard radio shows twice in a day. I get agitated by the endless stream of commentary about the Afghan war, no job’s created recovery, and the latest senseless act of violence. But I am soothed by the endless stream of talk.

Instead of reading from a computer screen, I listen. First, to my pounding heart and shallow breath. Then, to the stream of journalists and artists who spill their thoughts onto my living room carpet.

I’ve Fallen in Love With Another

For several months, I kept my feelings of restlessnes secret. No one saw me on my 3 am rides on the Night Owl Bus back to Ardmore, a lovely spot in the western suburbs of Philly. It’s a lovely bauble on the long strand that is in the Main Line.

I reminded myself that for a long while I was truly happy. And then I was dissatisfied, but I was thought I was too old to make a change. I was resigned to staying in the same place until maybe I’d get rescued somehow.

But a friend made a simple statement, “If you are happier here, why not move here?” And the light bulb went off. And I made a decision, gave my landlord my 60 day notice, and established my escape plan.

And as of 3 pm today, I am now completely immersed in feelings of happiness and love. I am now immersed in where I am surrounded by love. Sitting at the computer in my not yet furnished Kensington apartment, I know I have made the right decision. I needed to follow my heart.

And I will shout it to the roof tops…I love Philadelphia with every fiber of my being. And I’m so glad to be living here.

Whoa, this looks rad: Activist convergence at the Wooden Shoe this Saturday

Note: I almost never repost press releases, but I absolutely have no time to write a story about this. However, I love, love, LOVE this event. Spending the day at Wooden Shoe Books (anarchist bookstore in Philly) with ACT UP, Prometheus Radio, the Coalition to Save the Public Libraries and TransHealth is too good an opportunity not to talk up.

So, I’m sorry for this sloppy post & don’t blame Wooden Shoe for this post. Because I’m virtually WordPress illiterate, I have no idea how to change the font size and formatting of the original release, which I got second hand & ended up looking ugly and messy. But the info is all there…

Wooden Shoe is moving soon

Wooden Shoe is moving soon

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
September 24, 2009

CONTACT: http://woodenshoebooks.com sabot@woodenshoebooks.com 215.413.0999

Moving Forward: All-Day Convergence to Celebrate the Wooden Shoe’s New Space on South Street

Saturday October 3rd, 2009 11-7 pm

Politics, Skillshares, Organizing, and Fun

At 508 S. 5th St. (old) and 704 South Street (new)

PHILADELPHIA–The Wooden Shoe Books Collective is moving about two blocks away to 704 South Street in the fall. For 32 and a half years, we’ve been distributing radical literature, serving as an informational space for radical movements in Philadelphia. In early October, we will be relocated to 704 South Street, in a bigger space with a little more flexibility and a bit more foot traffic than we have now. We have been at our current location for twelve years and it has been nice, but we feel like we have reached the limitations of what we can achieve with the space.

We are excited to announce that The Wooden Shoe will be opening our new space on October 10th and invite you to a preview of it on October 3rd for a full day of workshops and a roundtable discussion on “Sustaining Radical Spaces in the Capitalist Crisis” featuring local and regional activists…

Saturday October 3rd, 2009
11:00 am-7:00 pm

SCHEDULE

11:00-12:00

WELCOME
@
704 South Street (New Space)

12:00-12:15

INTRO OF THE DAY
@
704 South Street (New Space)
12:30-1:15

Promethesus Radio Project

“Prometheus builds, supports, and advocates for community radio stations which empower participatory community voices and movements for social change. To that end, we demystify technologies, the political process that governs access to our media system, and the effects of media on our lives and our communities.”
@
704 South Street (New Space)
Union Organizing Basics with Dorian Lam and Daniel Duffy
If you wanted to start a union at your workplace, what would be the very first things you’d do? How do you keep it going?
@
508 s. 5th Street (Old Space)

1:30PM-2:15


Know-Your-Rights with Aaron Marcus
A Basic Know-Your-Rights in encounters with the police.
@
508 s. 5th St. (Old Space)
ACT UP Philadelphia
Aids Coalition to Unleash Power, one of philly’s oldest and fightingest organizations, in a presentation on the fight to end the AIDS crisis.
@
704 South Street (New Space)
2:30-3:15

Coalition to Save the Libraries
A Presentation on the year-long fight to Save the Libraries and other Essential Services in the face of a relentless mayor and a tough economic crisis, and how you can help!
@
704 South Street (New Space)
3:30-4:15

TransHealth with Kelly and Carolanne (in assistance) of Babeland

This interactive, candid workshop explores sexuality for transsexual, transgender, genderqueer, intersexed, and gender variant folks and partners. Learn sex toy tips and advanced techniques, communication skills, and negotiating partner play. We will… cover tools and information for choosing toys and products that are right for every BODY and how to incorporate them into your sensual life.
@
704 South Street (New Space)
Running a Radical Newspaper
with the Defenenstrator Collective!
@
508 s. 5th Street (Old Space)

4:15-5:30 BREAK

5:30-7:00PM
A Roundtable Discussion
“Sustaining Radical Spaces In the Capitalist Crisis”

WITH

James Generic
of Wooden Shoe Books (Philadelphia)

Clarissa
of A-Space (Philadelphia)

Kate Khatib
of Red Emma’s (Baltimore) and the AK Press collective

Suzanne Shaffer
of AK Press Collective

Vallan Anundson
of the DC Space (DC) (a new space in the works in Washington DC area)

Suzanne Shaffer
of AK Press

Come help us welcome in our new space and learn a thing or two, with our friendly staff and friends!

Showdown in Fishtown

sugarhouseno

Casino-Free Philadelphia is upping the ante on it’s battle against casinos in Philadelphia. On Tuesday, September 29th at 6 am about two dozen activists are blocking (civil disobedience) a portion of the Sugarhouse site in Fishtown (Frankford & Delaware Avenue).

They are mobilizing a crowd of concerned Philadelphians to rally near the site and be witnesses to the mayhem that ensues. This action may become an arrest situation, so things might get hairy. And those of us observing may be called upon to help with spreading the news and bearing witness to what happens. Bring your friends and iPhones.

I’m definitely going, so if you want more info feel free to hit me up on gmail or Facebook. Or follow me, @caroline815 on Twitter
For more info, follow @CasinoFreePhila and check out their website… http://www.casinofreephila.org

Still Alive…Just Drowning in Awesomeness

Avalon NJ at sunrise

Avalon NJ at sunrise

Quickie update to say I’m not letting my blog moulder (geez, why did that word pop out of my head. I’ve never used that word. Ever.)…Went to the shore for a week with no internet access. Wow, crazy. The weirdest part is I didn’t miss the internet at all and not once did I look at the ocean and think, “Wow, I wish I could Twitpic that.” I did enable my phone to text tweet, but I didn’t do it at all. Anyway, it seemed kind of creepy to zap in a tweet from my phone with no contact with Twitter at all. Like a deus ex machina thing, but only on a feebler scale.

I’m positively giddy right now from sleeping 10 hours a day and doing nothing but swim, walk, bike, and veg out in front of cable tv. (Don’t have cable at home, so I went on a binge of Food Network and HGTV programming. Actually, came back home with a new vocabulary -eg. remoulade- and knowing new things like every modern kitchens needs granite countertops and stainless steel appliances.)

But I’m buried under a massive pile of grant writing with 5 giant deadlines in October, including a behemoth federal grant AND I’m moving around Oct 3. The past week, I’ve done nothing but throw shit out of my apartment, write, and have those seemingly hours-long dreams induced by the nicotine patch. People who’ve used the patch know what I’m talking about. For people who don’t, briefly: the stimulant nicotine pumping in one’s system at 3 am creates some funky dreams.

The hard part of all this is I haven’t gone dancing for over two weeks. I’m horrified by this development, but plan on amending for this soon.

Ok, now back to work. I have a 9 hour information conference with the CDC tomorrow to prep for. Fun times.  I’ll try to stay in touch.

<3 PC

PA Budget Crisis Explained in Plain English

 

Credit: Alan MacBain from The Mercury

Credit: Alan MacBain from The Mercury

Yes, the Philadelphia public library system is about to close. In case you missed it, here’s the announcement. This week I have seen the uproar of the entire Philadelphia public library system shutting down on October 3. And I’ve known about this situation for months now, and I’ve been to demonstrations, called representatives, but it never occurred to me to say something on my blog except for this. I’m sorry for that. 

Yes, Philadelphia’s famed “Doomsday Budget” is upon us and if no budget, it will be enacted on October 2. This is Mayor Nutter’s “Plan C” budget that was created as a result of the impasse in Harrisburg to pass a Pennsylvania budget. 3,000 city workers will be getting two-week, lay-off notices this coming Monday, September 14th. The Inquirer explained the details succinctly and clearly – so clicky right here

But I hope people dig a little deeper and recognize that the misery is far bigger than the layoffs, library closings, and the shuttering of rec centers. Yes, all those things are extremely bad, but that is only the tip of the iceberg.

The entire Philadelphia services system is running on fumes. Since July, money from the State of Pennsylvania has stopped and anybody to who uses state money gets nothing. Because my agency works with people with HIV/AIDS, I know this first hand. My agency has had layoffs and is borrowing money to stay open. From a bank – with interest. So, yeah the State money will eventually come in, you think, and then everything will be ok.

No, things have changed. Forever. Imagine if your boss stopped issuing you a paycheck and said she’ll pay you back later. You are living paycheck to paycheck. Rent needs to be paid and you need to eat today. So you move in with somebody, sell your stuff, eat Ramen, and stop going to the doctor. And then you get the money back – you can’t exactly recoup your losses easily. So you get a new place and new stuff, but some things are lost forever, until you can make a profit again. But wait, we have a recessed economy. Raises aren’t coming anytime soon and cost of living increases. So essentially, you are fucked. 

That’s how it is for lower-income people in Philly. Services are shuttered already and they aren’t coming back. Pouring food on a person dying of starvation may not save them, since they are to weak to open their mouths to eat. And the budget we are begging for has deep cuts in services. So yeah, we’ll get a budget eventually. But we’ll be getting less. Oh yeah, there will be interest to pay too – so money will be going to the banks as well as the people who need services.

I hate the word services – it is so vague. So let me be specific. Right now, day care centers can’t stay open, which means kids with no place to and working parents scrambling for help. Foster parents aren’t getting paid, which means they can’t buy their foster child school supplies at the start of school. And since Philadelphia teachers can’t get money to have books in their classroom (yeah, teachers usually buy stuff out of pocket for their students), no books at school. Senior citizens don’t have a place to go during the day. Cuts in housing in a city that is desperately in need of it – so more people in shelters and the streets. And the health centers aren’t getting money, so if somebody is sick, well I guess they can wait in line longer. Or hit the ER and endure the 6 hour wait. 

I could go on…but I think you get the picture.

As for what you can do, I say call your state rep. If you know anybody who lives in Delaware County, get them to put pressure on State Senator Dominic Pileggi. He’s on the Senate Appropriations Committee and a mover and shaker with this budget stuff. He’s also a Republican and not sympathetic to Philadelphia so he’s needs nudging. So talk to him. 

Also, what you can do is work to improve life in Philadelphia over the long run. The recession has devastated us all, but threatens the very survival of poorer people. Get involved now and stay involved. Putting in some volunteer labor & throwing in some charitable donations can’t hurt either. In fact, I’ll be hitting you up for the Philly AIDS Walk soon.