Postcards from Mabel

A few nights ago Mabel and I took a break from our regular readings of Dostoevsky, Bryon, and Chaucer to look at a book of horrendously amazing postcards. It was entitled, fittingly, “The Worlds Tackiest Postcards.” We examined it with great fondness, then she promptly insisted returning to The Brothers Karamozov. Today, while reading the boring part of The Canterbury Tales, she said, “Father, I’ve been thinking. That book of postcards you have is simply gathering dust in our otherwise impeccably clean abode. I fancy such cards should in fact travel the globe as intended – don’t you?”

Oh, the things kids say! I couldn’t argue with that. So if you’d like a postcard from Mabel email your name and mailing address to  Include ‘postcard’ in the subject please!

She decided she’d paint her footprint on each card as well. A decision that made her very happy.

I helped her with this, and, in hindsight, realized that a smarter person than myself might have waited until she was sleeping to do fingerpaint footprints. Oh well.

The artist merit of the ‘prints’? Well, she’s a young artist.  The whole process was rather tiring though.

Sun-Ray Cinema

Mabel and I stopped by the Five Points Theatre yesterday to talk Tim Massett and witness the first steps of the buildings transformation into Sun-Ray Cinema.   The plan includes new seats will be on more of a riser with each seat will have bar table in front of it – running the length of the row.  A new kitchen will offer a variety of pizzas, and of course copious amounts of beer.   The entrance lobby will be covered in a  mural by Jacksonville’s own Shaun Thurston. The mural will feature early tourist images of Florida to the tune of orange groves and general swampiness and highlight the famous, or not so famous, monsters from Florida made movies. The lobby will have two, maybe three, arcade games including Street Fighter and Terminator. Come for a movie, and come back again and again because the place is awesome and a great place to chill.

The theater project started gaining momentum, and cash backing, from the excited and supportive neighborhood in August with it’s crowd-sourcing page on – helping earn over $100,000 towards the endeavor.  Considering Tim’s programming from The Pit and San Marco Theatre, I’m excited. Events won’t be limited to great films either.  Tim mentioned an upcoming event with the showing of Beerwars, that will also feature an evening of getting to know your local breweries and microbrew aficionados.  Occasional live shows are on the table as well. I booked live shows frequently at his micro-cinema The Pit, and Tim was sure to mention “when The Body rolls thru again,  I want to have them play at the theater.”

A webpage for Sun Ray is in the works, but for now they’ll be using the old Five Points Theatre Facebook page and rebranding it. So if you haven’t ‘liked’ it yet, do it now.

The Times Union wrote about it here.  And if you really have time to kill, here is an interview I did with Tim in 2007.

The theater was formerly known as Riverside Theater upon it’s completed construction in March of 1927. When the theater began showing talking pictures, it was the first in the state and only two other facilities did so in the United States. Admission at the time was $1.10, an expensive ticket considering the prevailing wage was less than a quarter per hour. I think the new admission price will be a bit higher.

Black Hog Farm – “Farm to Door”

We get all kind of rad food from local farms, delivered bi-weekly, to our doorstep through Black Hog Farm. You can sign up for weekly or biweekly. Ours is for the big bag of vegetables and fruit, and we pay a bit extra for eggs as well. It come to about $24 a delivery. It’s a fast and easy way to make sure you eat healthier – since you get excited about your delivery, and want to make sure you use it all / it doesn’t go bad.  And it’s nice knowing you are getting local food that is in season.  When you sign up you can specify what veggies or fruits you don’t want.  It’s a really neat concept, and I’m glad it’s taking off in Jacksonville so well.

EDIT 3/2012 – We have stopped paying for the food delivery. It just goes bad too fast. A tomato should last more than three days once delivered.  After talking to the Black Hog booth at RAM it quickly became apparent they trade a lot with other neighboring farms. We’re all for that, but logistically the “farm to truck to farm to truck to door” must have just been taking too long.  We asked once at RAM where the peaches came from we were buying. “I don’t know, some farm up in GA.” We asked if they were organic.  “I think so…”  We asked if they knew about when they were picked. “No idea.”

Also, when we emailed to cancelled the service we didn’t get any response back.  It wasn’t a big deal, but still, you’d think even a ‘sorry to lose your business, have a great day’ or something. There was no sign of them wanting any sort of feedback, which may have been useful to them.  I guess being the only people in town doing this makes it easy. Oh well.


The Future Abides

September is almost here, which means my daughter is almost here.  That also means 2012 is right around the corner. Closer maybe for me, due to the the zombie-like parenting befuddlement that is bound to occupy the last four months of 2011 as I know it. I’m sure I’ll just wake up, January 2012, in the middle of some department store baby section, idly and cautiously assessing my surroundings, like the opening scene of the Big Lebowski, or when Bill Murray sees Slimer for the first time.  Just coming around to reality.

But, 2012?  TWENTY-TWELVE! That’s like, the future.   I’ll be waking up in the future.  And while, cinematically, no one has really hit the nail on the head, no flying cars or Bartertown, this is what my daughter will be born into -whatever this is.  It’s probably why I tend to read mostly non-fiction, learning about past, present and future across a variety of disciplines.  It seems important to me, and it’s interesting.

For now though, I mostly stay away from the the giant section in the library on parenting books.  The only real idea I have on parenting is one I came up with.  That if your childhood was good, you want to recreate it as much as possible for your child.  This isn’t necessarily easy, but at least you know what you want.  Having a destination, a goal, makes things easier. The flip side of this is of course that if your childhood wasn’t so great, you want something different for your kids.  A little more elusive, since you mostly know just what you don’t want.   Amber and I have been lucky in that we’ve both had really good childhoods, with plenty of great models and memories to emulate from.   It’s probably the biggest leg up in life we’ve been given, and we haven’t fully realized it yet.

Of course the wake up call from that big warm ‘n fuzzy is that the world is, and always will be, a changing place you can’t control (sorry if the rest of this post is a bit of a downer). And instead of reading the latest book about how to handle your teen daughter dating, driving, getting a D in math, and not liking the music you listen too – I read Howard Kunstler’s The Long Emergency; Surviving the Converging Catastrophes of the Twenty-first Century. It’s really more my style, plus – I hate math.

Despite the subtitle, The Long Emergency doesn’t talk about getting a place in the mountains, stockpiling firearms and canned food, and living off the land. It’s not the non-fiction version of  The Road. It’s more about how we’re gotten where we are as humans in the industrial age and how we’re nearing the end of that era, or “oil fiesta” at the author says.  Of course it also includes the authors thoughts on what this all means for the future.

Whatever media you are taking in, time and place obviously takes a bit part in how you see it.  And your wife about to have a baby is certainly not an exception when reading a book primarily dedicated to examining  how our species handles it’s resources and what it means for our future.  It got a little dense at parts and bit boring in others. When you’ve read and seen other things on the same topic the parallels and shared information seem to ramble a bit. It had plenty of new information for me though, as well and an interesting and appreciated perspective.

But don’t take my word for it.  Here’s some videos I found of the author discussing his book’s topic.

As an aside. I also read his World Made By Hand book, a fictional version of life in the future world The Long Emergency illuminates.  It wasn’t amazing, but nice to have another post apocalyptic author keep things, not only in the realm of realism, but based on a good deal of facts that his non-fiction work covers.

The Countdown

The countdown is upon us.  It has been for a while, but I think lately with a bit more gusto. Maybe it’s the heat or smoke, but whatever the reason, things you could  hear around our house frequently include – “100 more days”,  “6 weekends off” or, after a particularly not-so-good nights sleep, “that was like practice.”

So the countdown is on.  Not in a bad way though. Everything being done between now and baby time isn’t some grueling trudge towards the annals of wasted time.     It’s more a celebration.  Obviously, having a daughter is going to be an awesome celebration. But for now we’re making sure to celebrate (and appreciate) something as simple as that full night of sleep.

Here’s some pictures of stuff we did last weekend to celebrate,  some of it is a bit more interesting than getting a full night of sleep.

We went to the Jacksonville Museum of Contemporary Art.

They had up parts of the regular collection, which we had never really seen before.

And a special exhibit on Howard Finster. And special is the right word.  It was actually pretty interesting.

We did the family thing for a bit too in St. Augustine.  It was hot and smokey out, so very few of us could keep their eyes open long enough for a picture outside.

 Sun in Eyes 2

We celebrated some birthdays at The Floridian.

And actually went inside the Lightner Museum, instead of just parking at it. We arrived just in time for a small tour of the automated music players. It was awesome!

We also got to see some of these manual style instruments.

…even got some of that on tape here.
I got an amazing jazz band to come play for kids and teach them about music.

They even played some songs the kids would recognize.

And, I got to hang with these two dudes when I went fishing.

The countdown has been awesome.

See more pictures and video here.

Orlando Food Not Bombs Arrests

Seven members of Orlando Food Not Bombs (FNB) were arrested and are facing charges of violating an Orlando, Florida city ordinance that could get them 60 days in jail, a $500 fine or both. The ordinance was passed in 2006 by Orlando City Council, limiting any group that holds a food sharing-event that attracts 25 or more people (including those serving the food) to two permitted events per downtown park per 12-month period.

I was part of the FNB group here in Jacksonville that operated a bit over a year.  Every Sunday around 1pm.  Having the feeding event at the same time and place is a crucial part of it being successful.  We would feed in Confederate Park in the Downtown / Springfield neighborhood – and people would begin lining up well before we arrived.  People being fed would include homeless people as well as just local families who would happen to be in the park.  The City Council’s ordinance was an attack on just this sort of scheduled event that makes FNB effective.

I’m glad this is getting international media attention in the UK.  Orlando FNB has been doing amazing things since 2004.

Orlando Food Not Bombs shares vegan and vegetarian food with hungry people in the Orlando area. Some are homeless while others are the working poor who have homes, but whose labor doesn’t provide them with enough to enjoy a basic standard of living. Ours is the richest and most wasteful society on Earth, and we prepare our meals using some of the vast amounts of perfectly edible food that otherwise would go to waste.

Our group shares food because people need it and as a means of calling attention to our society’s failure to provide food and housing to each of its members. We do this in public spaces, such as parks, because we believe that space should be reclaimed for the use of everyone, not just the privileged.

Learn more about them at You can view the groups wish-list, or make financial contributions here.

October 8th

Library Book Vending Machine

The Toronto Public Library is looking at setting up a vending machine for library books.  The plan is for the kiosk to be set up at Union Station.

A lot of comments on the news site basically said “why bother? Everyone uses digital media readers anyway.”

Well, you can already get digital media online.  From A) everywhere, and B) the library.  A kiosk to hook up you I-Pad to download a book, uses the same technology you used in 1990 when you asked you mom to get off the phone so you could get online.

To me, libraries have always been about breaking economic barriers between people.  Focusing on readers who don’t have a Kindle sounds like a great idea.

Although – where would we put one of these in Jacksonville? We have so many branches as it is…

Jacksonville Library Hours

So the library hours are restored now.

The Jacksonville City Council’s Finance Committee has tentatively approved restoring the hours to five library branches where services were cut earlier this year. The committee agreed to reduce the Jacksonville Public Library’s materials budget by approximately $540,000 in order to free up money to finance the restored library hours.

Earlier this year, five library branches’ operating hours were reduced to 20 a week. In addition, the Sunday hours were eliminated at four regional libraries.

Taken from The Times Union article here.

Excellent timing, too.   A recent survey released this year by OCLC, a nonprofit library co-operative and research organization, found that public libraries in the U.S. lend an average 2.1 million videos every day. That’s just over the 2 million that Netflix ships. The report stated that the other top competitors, Redbox and Blockbuster, register at 1.4 million and 1.2 million. That makes sense.  I’ve literally had Blockbuster employees tell me they use the library and Netflix.

And frankly, I can’t help but think of libraries as being a bit more personal and friendly as well.  Plus, we have books, and programs such as teaming up with WJCT for Voices of The First Coast.  Our own homegrown Storycorps project.

This all reminds me of this most excellent advertisement I remember seeing for Gainesville’s Video Rodeo.

As much as I love it, I’m glad libraries are winning the ‘circulation standoff’ and don’t have to run ads such as these.

Mother's Day Weekend

The weekend of lots of eating.

Well, I worked Friday. Friday night was Indian food at the Tea Room place in Five Points. Super good food, but maybe not enough of it for me.

Saturday was of course more working. Although I used my lunch break to try and catch Thou playing at zombie bikes. They showed up late. So instead, I helped build the velodrome a bit and mostly witness a snow ball fight. Not bad for a Florida summer lunch break.

Got to say howdy to Brian from Thou, got some records. And went back to work. I must say, that band is a bunch of troopers. Gainesville Friday night till 4am. Matinee show in Jacksonville on Saturday, then drive to Miami for a show Saturday night. Sunday they played in Pensacola. Wow. Mega props.

I haven’t heard them much before I got the records. And now that I have a new record needle (YES), I was able to check them out. I like it a lot. It’s funny how much it reminds me of his old band I did a CD for, Dear Diary I Seem to Be Dead. Bummed I couldn’t stay to see them play, but all in all good times.

Saturday night was food with the in-laws. Very awesome and fun hanging. Although Towncenter is always crazy and full of very odd people – or maybe exceedingly normal people.

Sunday morning was breakfast at the Fox and some house chillin.

Her parents have a few very large staghorn ferns that have been in the family for years. They brought one over for the tree in our front yard! It looks rad!