Thursday, March 21, 2013

I've moved

One of the two or three blogging buddies who still now and then check this blog for new posts asked where I've gone. So I think it's only fair to say, even though I don't expect it will increase traffic to it, that I have moved to WordPress, and my blog there is called "Carry a Tune." It's all about music, which has pretty much taken over my life in the last couple of years. Yes, I still rescue dogs, I still have two foster cats, and I still sail (we're going out Saturday, in fact). But learning to play guitar (so I can accompany myself and pick my own songs!) and singing with a band and also with my jazz guitarist husband are what give my life meaning now.

Come on over and visit!

Wednesday, October 31, 2012

The Black Cat Project

I never set out to acquire a black cat, but when a snowbird heading north found this kitten the night before she was to leave, I got the call and took him in as a foster. He's named Ozzie and now he's a teenager, a force to be reckoned with. He wakes me at 2 in the morning by sitting on my chest and ducking his head under my hand for a scratch. He regards Sugar, my other cat, as his surrogate mom and still likes to occasionally nurse on her, which she tolerates with amazing grace. They've bonded to the point that the Capt says they're inseparable and I'd better forget trying to find him another home (to my secret relief).

One of the biggest challenges about Ozzie is photographing him. I've spent considerable time at it (always thankful for digital cameras), and aside from the fact that he's very active, because of his coloring he's usually just a cat-shaped silhouette! I try to get his  eyes (see below) because otherwise you can't tell whether you're looking at his front or his back. But this morning he sprawled in the sun on the kitchen table (normally forbidden territory), revealed all his glossy glory. Lucky me, I was around to get the shot.

Hope you have a lucky and happy Halloween.

Sunday, September 09, 2012

Whatta concept: The Stealth Street Library

As a part-time librarian working for an exchange library here in Mexico where English-language books aren't sold at every bookstore, I couldn't help but applaud this idea: phone-booth libraries.

Now that everyone apparently has a mobile phone, what happens to the public phone booths that remain in the cities? They've already been scaled down from actual glass-door booths to something more like alcoves in most places, and cities like New York have been haggling over ways to repurpose the 872,000 booths still standing there. Proposals for everything from wi-fi hotspots to charging stations for electric cars have been on the table, but little or no action has been taken.

Meanwhile, in New York where it's not unusual for individuals to undertake what's currently called "spontaneous intervention," a designer and innovator has begun quietly slipping pre-constructed bookshelves into phone booths, and filling them with books. Free books. Then he waits nearby to see the reaction. Most don't give it a second glance. Some stop for a second, look it over and then hustle away. Some passersby pause to browse, take away a book. Others even leave off books of their own. And a few walk up with bags, load up all the books and take them away, presumably to sell to a bookstore.
Photo: The Graceful Spoon

The bookshelves' displays are ephemeral, some lasting only a matter of hours, others a few days or weeks. But designer John Locke, who resembles a young George Clooney, keeps patiently restocking and observing the results. This morning's New York Times article about his project reports the idea has caught on sufficiently that he gets a supply of books from publishing houses, bookstores and individuals.

Locke designed his bookshelves so they need no hardware for installation and just hook in place with an open spot for the phone, which sometimes still functions. He even posted plans for them on his modest website, The Graceful Spoon. Apparently he didn't do all this work to make a quick buck. But since he's teaching a course called "Hacking the Urban Experience" at Columbia U, it's a way of transforming ideas into action in the vast human laboratory of the New York City streets. I can't wait to see if it catches on in Chicago, Atlanta, San Francisco, Dallas...