myurbandream: (Default)
 http://www.cracked.com/blog/dont-know-what-to-do-with-your-life-its-not-your-fault/ - everyone should read this.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zG-wTCyvsIk - video of a little girl mistaking a water heater for a robot.  she gives it a hug.  my heart melted!!!
myurbandream: (let's have fun)
Rep. Straus,

As you prepare for the upcoming special session, I just want to thank you for your decisions earlier in the year on the proposed "bathroom bill", and I hope you will continue in the same manner in the future. I hope the legislature can reach a compromise that is not damaging to the well-being of transgender students. Even more so, I hope the legislature will focus on the much more important school funding situation that desperately needs to be resolved. I'm so grateful for all you have done already on these issues, and I want to encourage you to keep at it! It's nice to see that Texas has at least one Representative who is doing the right thing. Thank you so much for your hard work!

Very Sincerely,
[redacted]

~

https://www.texastribune.org/2017/05/26/texas-house-declines-negotiate-senate-its-proposed-bathroom-compromise/
https://www.texastribune.org/2017/06/08/what-greg-abbott-said-special-session-agenda/
https://www.texastribune.org/2017/06/14/straus-special-session/
myurbandream: (zeguenerin=ich)
imho the song "Nach Haus" by Silbermond is pretty much perfect for Bagginshield happy AU fic:

Ruhig und königlich liegst du hier vor mir (Calm and royal, you lie before me)
Deine Anmut ist schon zu sehn von hier (Your grace can already be seen from here)
Du wirst sie nie verlieren (You will never lose it)

Ich war so lange weg, das trägst du mir nicht nach (I was gone for so long, you don't hold it against me)
Du empfängst mich doch noch mit offenen Armen (You still welcome me with open arms)
Mit offenen Armen (With open arms)

Ich komm nach Haus (I'm coming home)

Wir beide kennen uns gut, besser als gedacht (We know each other well, better than we thought)
Durch deine Straßen zogen wir so manche Nacht (We walked through your streets for so many nights)
Du hast mich bewacht (You watched over me)

Und jetzt zeigst du mir, dass wir uns nie verliern (And now you show me, that we'll never lose each other)
Was uns verbindet, das krieg ich nur bei dir (What connects us, I can only get it from you)

Zurück nach Haus (Back home)
Zurück nach Haus (Back home)

Ich komm nach Haus (I'm coming home)
myurbandream: (zeguenerin=ich)
Sea Fever
By John Masefield

I must go down to the seas again, to the lonely sea and the sky,
And all I ask is a tall ship and a star to steer her by;
And the wheel’s kick and the wind’s song and the white sail’s shaking,
And a grey mist on the sea’s face, and a grey dawn breaking.

I must go down to the seas again, for the call of the running tide
Is a wild call and a clear call that may not be denied;
And all I ask is a windy day with the white clouds flying,
And the flung spray and the blown spume, and the sea-gulls crying.

I must go down to the seas again, to the vagrant gypsy life,
To the gull’s way and the whale’s way where the wind’s like a whetted knife;
And all I ask is a merry yarn from a laughing fellow-rover,
And quiet sleep and a sweet dream when the long trick’s over.
myurbandream: (zeguenerin=ich)
Ok, so there's this book.

It's a new book. Self-published. I’ve been following this author for over a decade, and her writing was great 12 or 13 years ago and it's even better now. And now she's just published this book, and it's amazing, and I want everyone to read it and love it just as much as I love it.

And believe me, I LOVE THIS BOOK. The plot kinda sneaks up on you: it starts out as a kind of modern day romance/drama, with the main character as a competent ex-soldier who has friends and family but nothing exciting going on in his life... until he meets a snarky redhead in a bar on his birthday. This brings about lots of change: a new boyfriend, new friends, and the first hints that all is not exactly normal with this world... and something is coming. Something big, something life-changing... definitely something dangerous.

If you like sci-fi/fantasy, action/adventure, some very smutty romance, and more representation for LGBTQIA characters and characters of color than you can shake a stick at, please go read Ashleshá by Jer Keene: https://www.amazon.com/Ashlesha-Part-I-Awaken-Stars-ebook/dp/B01M3WV0JD
myurbandream: (zeguenerin=ich)
The word "druther" (as in "If I had my druthers, I would eat cake all day.") is a pluralization of "druther" which is actually an 1800s contraction of "would rather". Example: "I druther eat cake all day."

English, why?
myurbandream: (zeguenerin=ich)
@jasperskywalker on tumblr asked to hear my opinion on the impacts and implications of single-family homes. This is the answer, and it got LONG.

~~~~~~

Housing 101: the “single-family home” is generally defined as “a free-standing structure that is meant solely for the residential occupation (no business activities) of a nuclear family (two adults and their children), and that is located on a piece of land also owned by the same people and which has no other structures on it (except a garage/shed).”

The concept of single-family housing is not particularly new, and it isn't inherently evil or anything either. There are plenty of great perks to living in a single-family home, and for many people it is perfectly suited to their lifestyle. *I* live in a suburban single-family home, and as much as I hate some aspects of that, I admit it does have some benefits that I enjoy. So please don’t take my rant here as if I’m saying single-family housing is bad and needs to be bulldozed entirely. That’s not my intent.

However, everything needs to have a balance. The dominance of the single-family home in the modern housing market is historically very new, and that dominance is destroying our cities and our economies, expanding the income gap, dividing us socially, increasing stress and general unhealthy lifestyles, and reinforcing the cycle of poverty in our society. Click here for the rest of my rant. )
myurbandream: (zeguenerin=ich)
FIRST DAY OF VACATION, WOOHOO!!!!!

yuck

Mar. 9th, 2016 06:28 am
myurbandream: (zeguenerin=ich)
First menstrual cycle since I got pregnant with Remy. Forgot how much this sucks.

:/
myurbandream: (zeguenerin=ich)
For hadanelith, who asked about this weeks ago, sorry for the delay!

I'm going to preface this with a disclaimer: I'm an urbanist, I dislike suburbs for a number of reasons, and land-use zoning is one of the tools of suburbia. Of my two points below, one is intrinsic to the loss of walkable urbanism; the other is only tangentially related. So there's my bias, up front and disclaimed.

I'm gonna skip all the history of land-use zoning, which can basically be summed up with two phrases: "the road to hell is paved with good intentions", and "Not In My Back Yard" aka NIMBY. We'll come back to that last one, though.

My problem with land-use zoning is two-fold: 1) it curtails pedestrian accessibility and is therefore deadly to walkable urbanism. And 2) it lets other people tell you what you can and can't do with your property.

Allow me to elaborate.

Land-use zoning means that you have only one land use on each piece of property. So each property can be an office OR a restaurant OR a house OR a bookshop, etc. That rules out the ability to have mixed-use buildings, where the restaurant and the bookshop are on the ground floor, the office is on the second floor (or next door in the same building), and the apartments are on the third and fourth floors, etc. With zoning, every use is in a different building and, thanks to minimum parking regulations, on a different block as well. That means from your house you have to walk AT LEAST one block to reach the restaurant, the office, or the bookstore - and because the suburbs take this concept to the extreme, it's usually more like six blocks to one of those and another four blocks to the next. In suburbia, similar things are concentrated together, so there are a bunch of houses next to each other, and six blocks away are all the restaurants and offices and bookshops. That doesn't sound so bad.... except that there isn't usually a direct walking/bicycling route to get there, so a 10 minute trip by car is a 25 minute trip by bicycle and a 45 minute walk. Pedestrian traffic dies, the only way to get anywhere is by car, and the people who don't have a car are screwed.

For extra detail, it's generally assumed that a residential density of 15-20 dwelling units per acre is the threshold for walkable urbanism, aka enough foot traffic to support commercial developments just from people walking by. Garden-style apartment buildings average about 18 units per acre. Single family neighborhoods average about 3 homes per acre. That's a huge gap.

Part Two!

Land-use zoning is under the purview of the city/municipality that regulates development in your area. Zoning is generally handled by a planning/development department within the government, and approved by City Council or the equivalent political body. For cities with zoning, those people, whoever they may be, get to pretty much arbitrarily decide what they think any given piece of land ought to be developed as, and then make it basically illegal to do anything else unless you come and ask their permission, and they still have the right to tell you "no" JUST BECAUSE. I have seen property zoned for X that has stood vacant for a decade, because there's no market demand for X, and when the owner tries to have it re-zoned into something that will sell, the city staff have looked me in the face and said they don’t care, they're willing to wait until the market changes so they can get what they want on that property. Meanwhile the owner (my client) is stuck paying property taxes on land they can't sell or develop, just because of the zoning.

That's bullshit.

Coming back now to NIMBY, which drives me up the fucking wall. NIMBY is what happens when people buy a home that backs onto commercial property and then get upset when the restaurant behind their house stays open until 2am playing live music and hosting large parties. What the hell did you think was going to happen, people? And then the neighborhood gets even more upset when the City won't let them build a ten-foot fence between the houses and the restaurant. Property owners think that zoning should protect them from their neighbors by preventing any activity they disapprove of ("Not In My Back Yard"), but at the same time, zoning should not prevent them from doing whatever they want on their own property. You can't have it both ways, people.

Here ends my soapbox.
myurbandream: (zeguenerin=ich)
"The high cost of maintaining contact with inmates puts more than one in three families with incarcerated members into debt to pay for phone calls and visits alone, according to the Ella Baker Center for Human Rights.

Recently, the Federal Trade Commission began investigating price gouging by telecommunications providers that service correctional facilities."

-- from "The Statistically Predictable and Wholly Tragic Story of Aquil Bickerstaff"
-- link: https://nextcity.org/features/view/life-on-a-million-dollar-block-north-philadelphia
myurbandream: (zeguenerin=ich)
I just experienced the coolest (lol, pun) weather event: standing outside in front of the house, there was a nice cool breeze blowing but the air was still humid and comfortable in the temperature department. Then the breeze picked up, and then a strong gust hit me with cold air like a wave - just, WHOOSH, smacked in the face with cold air. It was like opening the door of the oven, how a wave of heat rolls out to meet you - but the whole damn sky is doing it instead. Not five minutes later it's raining sideways. I experienced the edge of a cold front. Awesome!
myurbandream: (zeguenerin=ich)
In which this blogger says exactly what I've been thinking:

"...It’s the ultimate unfairness in the American transportation-funding scheme: we accommodate the every desire of drivers, trying to eliminate any possible inconvenience at massive expense, while transit, pedestrians, and bicyclists have to fight for tiny scraps. Alternative transportation advocates like to frame their requests for more funding in terms of reparations for 60 years of policy that has favored roads, but I’m not sure even that rhetoric captures the true inequity of the situation. We haven’t just favored roads; we’ve built a truly decadent infrastructure system for drivers, while everyone else gets shoved out of the picture." [emphasis from the original]

https://itineranturbanist.wordpress.com/2015/01/08/small-cities-big-roads-part-ii/
myurbandream: (zeguenerin=ich)
today i learned about the ampersand, and other letters no longer a part of the English alphabet.

http://blog.dictionary.com/ampersand/
http://www.adobe.com/type/topics/theampersand.html
http://blog.dictionary.com/letters-alphabet/

as a result of this, i'm determined to put a proper calligraphic et into my handwriting from now on, instead of the sloppy-backwards-3 i've been using instead.
myurbandream: (zeguenerin=ich)
Harry trudged to Agincourt, ankle deep
in mud, and wistful, weary, thought of sleep;
thought of crowns and souls, and old life-goals told
to empty rooms when he was young and brash.
The world still thought him young, beguiled by gold
and trinkets made of names. Names are just ash,
he’d learned, had taught himself, but writ in blood
they thicken, may be set and shaped like mud.
But spilt in love it must be, willingly,
and for a cause near-just (but only near—
for mortal men justice runs crookedly
as any crab). He held his soldiers dear,
like children, brothers, even as he spent
their lives like coin.
.. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. The royal French, they bent
the weight of all their bitter scorn on him,
and vowed they’d eat his heart where all could see,
would drive his army down into the grim
shadow of the grave. Surely victory,
they said (and all the world with them agreed)
must go to those with strength, with eager steed
and arms still fresh, not yet worn down like teeth
on sand or bone. The outcome’s known. Why try?
Return your rusty sword to battered sheath,
bow your head and bend your stubborn knee. Why
take the field when you cannot win the war?
But Harry — he went down to Agincourt.

http://archiveofourown.org/works/2112627
myurbandream: (zeguenerin=ich)
really glad i randomly decided to log in to Facebook this morning (i do that like once a week or so). i don't normally get much in the way of news (no TV) but Facebook informed me:

Robin Williams was found dead in his home in California yesterday around noon.

D:

"O Captain! my Captain! our fearful trip is done,
The ship has weather’d every rack, the prize we sought is won,
The port is near, the bells I hear, the people all exulting,
While follow eyes the steady keel, the vessel grim and daring;
But O heart! heart! heart! O the bleeding drops of red,
Where on the deck my Captain lies, Fallen cold and dead."
- Walt Whitman

(thanks to L for the very appropriate poetry quote. <3)
myurbandream: (zeguenerin=ich)
alright, kiddos, buckle up and grab your snacks. THIS IS ABOUT TO HAPPEN!!! http://www.fifa.com/worldcup/matches/

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