Arts, Culture and Happenings in Oaktown

 

How to Have a Green Cold - The Green Scene - July 16, 2012

There’s no way to say that without sounding disgusting. Have a green virus? Suffer sickness in a green way? Gross.

What I mean is, you can go ahead and have your summer cold and flu without damaging the environment. I just recovered from my de rigueur annual summer cold and it was no fun, but guess how many redwood trees or whales or monarch butterflies were harmed in the process? None. I came through this tedious summer malady with my eco-credentials intact.

Gesundheit!

We don’t use Kleenex in this house; we use handkerchiefs. As it happens, my mother-in-law thinks the ideal gift for Mr. Husband is a new package of white handkerchiefs for every Christmas. That’s 50-some packages of hankies, my friends. He was giving them away to Goodwill for a while, but I made him stop. We can use those, I said, instead of endless boxes of tissues.

Photo By: Julia Park-Tracey

I found a pretty box designed for storing photos, etc, and it has a nice piece of elastic around it to keep it closed. All the laundered hankies go in there until someone has a cold. Then the box comes out, and a laundry basket goes near the user, and it’s really no different than using up a couple of boxes of tissues. And it’s much gentler on the nose.

How yucky is it to wash handkerchiefs? Not at all. You wash sheets and towels, don’t you? Throw the hankies in with the sheets and towels, or any other load of whites. Wash them in hot water and dry them on the line or in the dryer. Heat and light will help kill germs (note: this won’t kill every germ — you’ll have to turn your water heater up to 180 degrees and add some bleach for that — not so good for the planet). They are no more disgusting than a dirty towel or baby burp cloths. And since I just fold and put them back in the box, it’s not like there’s a lot of extra work involved, O Lazy Ones. A handful of handkerchiefs will not overload the laundry, I promise. (And why so squeamish about your own body, anyway? Might want to take a look at that; I’m just saying…)

BTW, I don’t iron handkerchiefs because it’s important that they stay soft and absorbent. (I do iron my pretty little lady hankies that I take to weddings and movies for gentle weeping, but those are not sturdy enough for a head-cold.) If you don’t have access to a washer or have some other reason that you can’t use handkerchiefs, at least purchase recycled paper tissues (Full Circle, Seventh Generation, Green Forest are some brands you may recognize). And then dispose of these in the garbage, not the recycling bin. I also recommend against composting used tissues of any sort – home compost piles don’t get near hot enough to kill germs like this, and you don’t want viruses hanging around in the soil. No, you do not. (Note: the link is to a blogger who won’t carry a hankie when he’s ill, so check him out and see the other side of the argument.)

Antibiotics: Just say no

The other major way you can impact the planet for good when you have a cold or flu is this: Do not ask for or take antibiotics. Antibiotics are not for viruses. They are for bacterial infections only. Sinus infection? Yes. Bad cold? No. Go to the doctor if you need clarification, but over prescription of antibiotics is a global disaster in the making. You make yourself resistant to antibiotics by using them when you don’t need them. Then you will need stronger drugs, and you might be out of luck when that time comes. Or you might find yourself with a flesh-eating bacteria or lots worse. So say no to the drugs unless it’s absolutely vital for fighting a bacterial infection. And your summer cold is not that.

How else can you take care of the planet when you’re taking care of you? Stay home and don’t spread your germs around. Wash your hands frequently with plain old soap and warm water. (Stay away from antibacterial soaps for the same reason to avoid antibiotics.) Rest and catch up on reading. Snuggle with your pets, who never get enough cuddle time. Listen to some of your vast music collection. Take naps. Ask someone to make you some soup (any clear broth-based soup is good for you.) Use old-fashioned remedies like steam, hot tea, lemons and honey, to help you get well.

It’s boring to be ill in fine weather, and vexing to have to miss a barbecue or a parade (I missed the entire Fourth of July holiday, boo!). Give yourself the week to be ill. And pat yourself on the back for making a baby eco-step while you’re at it.

Julia Park Tracey feels much better now, thank you.

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Julia Park Tracey is an Alameda eco-freak, writer, author, editrix and conservatrix of her great-aunt’s diaries from the 1920s. You can read more about Julia’s green-ventures at modernmuse.blogspot.com or follow her at facebook/julia.tracey. Her diary project is online at twitter/thedorisdiaries.

The Green Scene - April 19, 2012

I’m not a single female. Happily married, see? (waggles ring finger.) But I’m the only female in this house. So why am I head-down in the trash can? How did taking out the garbage become a gendered job? Should I feel like I’m doing the gentlemen (Mr Husband and The Boy) a big fat favor when I’m taking out the trash? Should I get annoyed when it’s still sitting here in the kitchen? Who died and made me the Boss of Everything?

Uh. No one. Of course, I wouldn’t be alone in thinking that taking out the trash is the man’s job. Check out these marriage experts, and this one, and even these knuckleheads who have strong opinions about the Taking Out of the Trash. Looks like everyone has some thoughts on the matter.

Amusing, but that’s not really our point today. I take out the trash as much as anyone else. It all depends who’s home when it’s full. But more important — it’s not just trash. We have a system of what goes where. Actual real garbage (which includes nasty bathroom stuff, old Band-aids and soiled plastics) is not much in existence at this house (apartment). We have a 1-gallon can in the kitchen that is lined with a small plastic grocery bag and is rarely even filled. One of us takes it down every week or so to the gray can. The gray can is usually pretty empty. We could get away with once-a-month service. Not so for the green and blue cans.

Everything else gets sorted and either composted or recycled. Broken glass? Recycled.

Electronics? Recycled.

Old clothes? Used for rags, then recycled.

Empty paint can? Recycled.

Paint can with some paint left over? Taken to Alameda County Industries for household hazardous waste disposal. (Free!)

Plastic bags? Collected and returned to grocery stores.

Sometimes people (I won’t name names) put the wrong thing in the trash. Bottle caps, for example, are recyclable. Don’t throw them in the garbage. How long do you think it takes a metal can or bottle cap to decompose in “garbage,” aka landfill? About 50 years. More or less.

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Julia Park Tracey is an Alameda eco-freak, writer, author, editrix and conservatrix of her great-aunt’s diaries from the 1920s. You can read more about Julia’s green-ventures at modernmuse.blogspot.com or follow her at facebook/julia.tracey. Her diary project is online at twitter/thedorisdiaries.

Although I hail from New York, a center for some of the world’s most renowned art institutions, it wasn’t until I relocated to the West Coast, that I truly began enjoying and appreciating art.  New York has an extensive art world that runs deep but it can also require deep pockets and projects a very subdued and pristine attitude.  After attending a few Art Murmurs and other various art shows, I was delighted at how affordable and diverse the concept of art is out here.  Beautiful hand crafted pieces aren’t hidden behind secured panels of glass and I don’t have to spend the day in hushed silence as I cautiously maneuver around large intimidating museums.  Art is everywhere in Oakland.  On the street, in pop up shops, in galleries no larger than my apartment and in renovated parking lots.  I can touch the art and speak to the artist, all in the same moment.  It is in a word gratifying.   
-Bincy Stephen, Photographer

Although I hail from New York, a center for some of the world’s most renowned art institutions, it wasn’t until I relocated to the West Coast, that I truly began enjoying and appreciating art.  New York has an extensive art world that runs deep but it can also require deep pockets and projects a very subdued and pristine attitude.  After attending a few Art Murmurs and other various art shows, I was delighted at how affordable and diverse the concept of art is out here.  Beautiful hand crafted pieces aren’t hidden behind secured panels of glass and I don’t have to spend the day in hushed silence as I cautiously maneuver around large intimidating museums.  Art is everywhere in Oakland.  On the street, in pop up shops, in galleries no larger than my apartment and in renovated parking lots.  I can touch the art and speak to the artist, all in the same moment.  It is in a word gratifying.   

-Bincy Stephen, Photographer


Burning Man Comes to the East Bay: Oakland’s April Art Mumur saw more daylight, more families, and more fire. The piece featured above, entitled The Golden Mean, is the brain child of husband and wife team Jon Sarriugarte and Kyrsten Mate.  Jon Sarriugarte is the owner of Form & Reform as well as co-owner of Kraftworks, a collaborative of Oakland’s finest industrial artists. 
A giant iron fire snail, The Golden Mean first made its debut at Burning Man in 2008, and joins a menagerie of fire-breathing animal creations by Mr. Sarriugarte, whose pieces are featured regularly at in Oakland’s Art Murmur and frequently displayed during the summer months in front of Warehouse 416 on 26th Street.  
See more information on Jon Sarriugarte’s work and The Golden Mean. 
Bincy Stephen, Photographer


Burning Man Comes to the East Bay: Oakland’s April Art Mumur saw more daylight, more families, and more fire. The piece featured above, entitled The Golden Mean, is the brain child of husband and wife team Jon Sarriugarte and Kyrsten Mate.  Jon Sarriugarte is the owner of Form & Reform as well as co-owner of Kraftworks, a collaborative of Oakland’s finest industrial artists.

A giant iron fire snail, The Golden Mean first made its debut at Burning Man in 2008, and joins a menagerie of fire-breathing animal creations by Mr. Sarriugarte, whose pieces are featured regularly at in Oakland’s Art Murmur and frequently displayed during the summer months in front of Warehouse 416 on 26th Street.  

See more information on Jon Sarriugarte’s work and The Golden Mean.

Bincy Stephen, Photographer

East Bay Monthly’s Photo Theme:  Welcome photographers!  Each month we will be posting a photo that ties to a new theme.  We will explore many different avenues and encourage all of our followers to post their contributions.  Photography is an art form that can be captured with any type of equipment, even a camera phone so please don’t be shy and let your inner Ansel Adams shine!  
April Photo Theme: Reflections:
In photography, a great picture can happen by accident.  You intend to create one image and end up producing something completely different and beautiful.  I wanted to name April’s theme Reflections because often times, the best images or part of an image are the reflections that are captured unintentionally.  It could be your shadow in a puddle after a rain shower, or how your glass of water reflects light coming in from the window.  The play of light on surfaces produce amazing photography.  My Reflections piece occurred while I was walking down Piedmont Avenue in Oakland.  I passed an antique store that had intricate and gorgeous furniture on display.  In the midst of the treasures was an art deco lamp with a metal base.  The rounded shape of the lamp created a “fish eye lens” affect, adding to the overall composition.  
Now that I have shared my little masterpiece, I hope to see some of yours.  Happy Shooting!
Bincy Stephen, Photographer

East Bay Monthly’s Photo Theme:  Welcome photographers!  Each month we will be posting a photo that ties to a new theme.  We will explore many different avenues and encourage all of our followers to post their contributions.  Photography is an art form that can be captured with any type of equipment, even a camera phone so please don’t be shy and let your inner Ansel Adams shine!  

April Photo Theme: Reflections:

In photography, a great picture can happen by accident.  You intend to create one image and end up producing something completely different and beautiful.  I wanted to name April’s theme Reflections because often times, the best images or part of an image are the reflections that are captured unintentionally.  It could be your shadow in a puddle after a rain shower, or how your glass of water reflects light coming in from the window.  The play of light on surfaces produce amazing photography.  My Reflections piece occurred while I was walking down Piedmont Avenue in Oakland.  I passed an antique store that had intricate and gorgeous furniture on display.  In the midst of the treasures was an art deco lamp with a metal base.  The rounded shape of the lamp created a “fish eye lens” affect, adding to the overall composition.  

Now that I have shared my little masterpiece, I hope to see some of yours.  Happy Shooting!


Bincy Stephen, Photographer

Editor’s Note April, 2012 - by Autumn Stephens

"Please, Mom, we need some childhood memories!” my offspring have been known to plead, trying to guilt-trip me into acquiring a fur-bearing mammal or taking a road trip to Alaska or cooking something other than spaghetti à la Costco for dinner.

What they mean, of course, is not that they lack memories—they just don’t have the picture-perfect kind depicted in English novels about five charming siblings who live in a quaint old mansion and solve an improbable number of mysteries.

I know where they’re coming from—I’m coming from there, too. Unlike other space-age spawn raised on the Spocks (Dr., Mr.), I never wanted to go to Mars; I wanted to go to Middlemarch. Mine was a childhood with too much time, by most American standards, devoted to reading lace-collar novels (The Secret Garden, Jane Eyre, Gone with the Wind, every last blessed volume by Louisa May Alcott) and not enough to fashioning tinfoil hats. The story of my fiction-obsessed life: Remembrance of Things (Not Actually Part of My) Past.

No surprise, then, that I’m immersed in the tsunami of Titanic centennial commemorations this month. On my side of the family, we lack the antibody that makes you immune to nostalgia for events you didn’t actually experience (and that, in some cases, never even happened—for example, the pretty cross-class love affair at the center of James Cameron’s top-grossing blockbuster).

So I’m all over the bodice-ripper details of the North Atlantic tragedy that took down the largest, fastest, supposedly most unsinkable ship that had ever been built. On, no less, her maiden voyage. The Astors and the Strauses, the 13 honeymooning couples, the 1,000 oyster forks, the 1,500 Champagne glasses, the tinkle of privileged laughter. Refresh your libation, madam? You only go around once, you know.

Perhaps the story’s plunging arc limns a cautionary tale about what English professors invariably term “overweening pride,” usually while lecturing about the very pre- Titanic tragedy, Oedipus Rex. (Those ancient Greeks were all about nipping O.P. in the bud, may they R.I.P.) Maybe we should view the smash-up as a comment on social class, an epic episode of “Upstairs, Downstairs,” in which 75 percent of those Downstairs die, compared to only 37 percent Upstairs. Or maybe the apt headline is simply “Another Random Act of Unkindness (Make of It What You Will).”

Speaking of death (and aren’t we always, really?), one of the striplings and I once took in an exhibit of Titanic memorabilia where we were assigned the names of real-life passengers—a clever ploy to make us feel the disaster on a visceral level. In the end, we were told, we’d find out whether we’d lived or died.

We lived. Now that was an afternoon to remember.

(Source: themonthly.com)

Students, parents, and other supporters of Santa Fe Elementary School at 54th and Market streets in Oakland—one of five schools slated for closure in the Oakland Unified School District—gathered March 28 to speak out against the closing of their school.

Students, parents, and other supporters of Santa Fe Elementary School at 54th and Market streets in Oakland—one of five schools slated for closure in the Oakland Unified School District—gathered March 28 to speak out against the closing of their school.