Saturday, March 31, 2007

When you least expect it.

Thursday, we took it easier than we had yet to date, and hung around in the apartment with Malcolm. The big events for the day (for me) included cooking (yay!) and dumpstering numerous vases worth of flowers i had never seen before. i filled the apartment with them.

Friday is a completely different story.

We left the house at nine thirty to grab a cup of coffee and catch the train to the Museum of Natural History. We visited the Lennon memorial, which is incidently, the most peaceful of memorials I have ever seen. Then, we met our friend Patrick (we originally met at common ground - talk about fated!) at the museum for a day of super fun and learning. Marshall and I honestly visited every exhibit.

The museum filled me with a jealousy I can honestly say I've felt before. It would have been an immeasurable advantage to have lived near this sort of information during my childhood and adolescent years. Maybe you are scoffing about how teenagers aren't interested in museums? Well, for one, I was. For two, they have dinosaur bones.

Okay, the second picture is some extinct super moose. A moose of unmentionable proportions!

Everything in the museum is beautiful. Here is another (slightly blurred) example:

After the museum, Patrick took us out for pizza under the brooklyn bridge (which was delicious) and ice cream (which was delicious). We then walked the bridge to the Manhattan side. We took no pictures of this event, so you can imagine the beauty.

We returned to the apartment with just enough time to go move the car (i now have three parking tickets) before we joined critical mass.

Marshall and I had been wondering where we would be for critical mass, and we were definitely fortunate to be in New York. (Critical Mass is a bike ride that involves a large number of people as a statement about earth friendly transportation.) Apparently, there has been a two year long fight with the police over the legality of critical mass in New York. This led to the critical mass we attended being more akin to a protest than a peaceful ride. The City claims that the assembly of bicyclists is a parade without a permit, and will ticket and/or arrest riders.

There were around two hundred and fifty riders and probably fifity police waiting at the meet-up point when we arrived. The ride managed to go almost two blocks before any police involvement. There were police stationed strategically along the street, followed by a barricade - a full street blocked by police who began pulling riders from their bikes. Marshall and I pumped some pedals and managed to use our weaving and dodging skills, and even had a chance to warn some other riders before cutting down a side street.

We met up with a few of the other riders (we probably had a group of about thirty now), and headed toward times square. We covered all of the streets on Broadway and did a bike stand (holding our bicycles in the air to stop traffic) before the police came again (We were actually within the legal limit of bicyclists to not be considered an 'unlicensed parade' at this time). Then, we were furious pedalers. We had been to times square a few nights before. This is what it looks like when the traffic is allowed to go by unmanaged -

This is times square plus bicycle resistance-

After this ride, we joined the other, seperated riders at a meeting point. We rode back through times sqaure - taking over an extensive amount of the street! Some of the tourists were cheering us on and videotaping the ride when we came across another police stronghold. There were transporter vans at two major intersections, and many riders were grabbed by police. I overheard a few commands to not resist. The group split, and we spent a while riding to find other critical mass riders before returning to the apartment (there's something about getting away four times that made me feel like our luck might run out).

This was one of the strangest encounters I have ever had with police. At the march on the pentagon in DC, it was apparent that the police were willing to arrest anyone that left the designated "free speech zone" (don't even get me started), but they were not pulling people out of the march and ticketing them. This parade law is an obvious excuse for the police to eradicate and disassemble the people that they see to be a nuisance. I had never seen a person pulled from a bicycle just for riding before, and I want you to know that this is really happening. This happened. Our rights are being compromised.

Now, it is Saturday. I have washed my socks nad undershirts in the sink, Marshall is sleeping, and we will be leaving New York sometime before eight. It has been wonderful to spend two full weeks here. I'm glad that we had such a variety of experiences - and who knows what we didn't see? We discovered dumpsters and markets, lower east side radical bookstores and vegan restaurants, traffic and politeness, poverty ignored and wealth exhalted - and most of that is just Manhattan.

We don't really know where we are going. We are each alternately homesick and excited to be travelling.

We love you,

Wednesday, March 28, 2007

And so here we stay in numbers, warm

It is late in the day and we're still in New York.

We were going to head out Monday, but we ran into our friend Patrick, whom we met at Common Ground. He convinced us to stay for a few more days. Jeanie and I were very glad we did because he took us to open mic night at St. Nick's Jazz Club in Harlem last night. We were witnesses of something beautiful.

So, we arrived in New York and since then we've seen many tall buildings and now I am convinced that there are at least five empire state buildings, we've enjoyed the company of a friends both new and old, and devoured many a free bagel.

Also we got the chance to see some of the Wooster Collective 11 Spring street art exhibit, which I was pretty excited about. We almost flew out to New York just to see it while the event was going on last fall.

After we got the car out of paid parking we parked it in Brooklyn near Malcolm's work. We have been walking, riding bikes, and taking the subway. Public transportation that is reliable is so fucking amazing and bicycling in New York is too- though it can be scary sometimes. Bicycle lanes are the way to go, I assure you.

We spent this past Saturday with Ed, who seems to be having a good time living and printing in New York. We walked around the lower East side, stopped at Blue Stockings infoshop and Mooshows vegan shoe store. He showed us 'Kid Robot', a designer toy shop and we ate at a Vegan fast food joint known as Curly's. It was a gay ol' time.

Malcolm went with us to Central Park a few times, and Jeanie and I got tattooed. We walked to battery park and did a few other touristy blahblah things. Tomorrow we are going to play music in the subway and visit the museums for free with Patrick.

We are seriously living it up- barely spending money other than a few splurges for parking and tattoos, eating our hoard of bagels, and enjoying the sights that are oh so free. I'd say we could live like this forever and we just may.

And now for a flood of images:

Peace March On The Pentagon

Battery Park

Central Park

St. Nick's Jazz Pub in Harlem

Street Art

Lovely times ahead both tomorrow and when we all meet again, but for now it is time to sleep.


an early morning p.s. - new york is full of food waiting for you to get it. seriously, you could go gourmet here just on what you find - packaged mushrooms, fresh parsnips, boxes of ritz crackers and stovetop stuffing - this is the way to live. we honestly ate ritz with apple slices and brie last night, and never spent a penny. amazing. -j

Monday, March 19, 2007

updatin' the people - New York City

We've travelled a bit since Virginia Beach, and are currently in New York City (Greenwich Village for you exacticators) staying with Malcolm and his awesome fiance, Meggie.

I'll try to be quick, and will follow up what I'm saying with pictures. Do not skip ahead to the pictures; they are to reward you for reading. (jay kay, my friends, jay kay).

We beelined from Raleigh to Virginia Beach on Wednesday, making it just in time to set up camp after the ranger station had closed. We finally had the oppurtunity to use all of the camping supplies we had been carting around! We set up camp, gathered a heap of wood to warm our hearts, then set out to see the ocean before sundown.

We had a dinner of roasted smart dogs, peppers, and onions on cabbage. it was the best!

The next morning, we woke up and took our tent down before the ranger station was manned again. This left us a large amount of time to explore the beach.

Through an act of the wills that be, it was eighty degrees AND there was free coffee at starbucks. We drank up, bought some gifts for our families, and spent the rest of the day walking the shore. The Atlantic Ocean is a cold place to die, but a nice place to dip your feet into and then run away from in search of hot sand. I know the latter from experience.

We were unsure of where to stay for the night and decided to splurge on a hotel. It turned out to be a really good idea! The snow storms that took out part of the northeast edged over Virginia Beach while we slept, and we awoke to temperatures (that i estimate) were below thirty.

It was cold, so we drove to Richmond, Va a night early and were welcomed into the home of one very gracious woman named Allison, who offered us her fold-out chouch for the night. Needless to say, we gladly accepted. We even got to meet some of Allison's friends, all of whom wailed serious ass.

The next morning (this is Saturday), we boarded a seven thirty a.m. bus to Washington D.C. for the peace march. An estimated 10,000 people showed, but many left after the march due to the blistering cold. (For more information about the march, look here.

We were hoping to get a little of our tourist on before the march began, but found every monument to be surrounded by proponents for the war. Not surprisingly, the people that will support killing people they can't see will also (passionately) harrass people they don't agree with. Marshall and i took many insults with a smile and a peace sign (hey, i don't care). We also took a few - among the classics being, "where's your rainbow flag, faggot?" and "i fought in a war so that you could be an asshole" - with a good amount of privately shared sarcasm. Wooooooooo, protest!

We returned to Richmond without a definite place to stay for the night, and spent a few hours in the car debating sleep or travel before Allison again opened her home to us. Richmond is a little scary, but Allison is its beacon of hope. At least, as far as i'm concerned.

We drove from Richmond to NYC yesterday. (A word of caution to those who wish to do the same - There are tolls! Many tolls!) We found Meggie's place and brought up all of our stuff, and slept a good night's sleep.

Seeing Malcolm is a relief. I've been wishing that I could somehow stop by Oklahoma for a moment, and this is the next best thing, for sure! Malcolm parked the car for us until Thursday, but we would like to stay here long enough to see Ed - which means at least until the weekend.

I left my camera in the car, so there may not be that many pictures of the 'big apple'. Just believe that it is totally awesome and only for people who are ready to walk. Be ready!

Here is your payment -

this is the ledge we slept on in Raleigh. Neither of us is a sleepwalker.


Fire pit!


Statue in VB.

Sandcastle we built : )

There are photos of the march, but they are with the camera .... sigh.

We just turned the TV to democracy now and the march was being broadcast!!!! That is so cool. Boooo bush!

p.s. all travellers will benefit by bringing their bikes with them. bikes are the best!

Safe travels,

Friday, March 16, 2007

Reflecting While Contemplating Virginia Beach Departure

We left Cookeville on Monday (the 12th) after a week of rest and relaxation at my brother Jesse and his wife Bronwynn's house, whom I hadn't seen for nearly two years. It was really nice to get to see and hang out with them. While we were there we saw waterfalls, played disc golf in the park, and went to see '300' (which is pretty good, you should see it maybe sometime). We also dumpstered our hearts out, played scrabble, and ate at Jesse's restaurant Toot's a few times. I went out to the gun range with Jesse and shot many a coke can with high powered rifles. All in all it was a down to earth feel good time.

Two hours of driving lead us into Knoxville. Knoxville is lame! This is how we feel about it after spending four hours in it's downtown area. We did find a cool coffee shop near the two venues in the town that didn't play country rock. We met a nice girl who told us that the area was pretty dull unless there was show or something else going on. So, if you ever find yourself in Knoxville go to Old City Coffee in the downtown area, a nice girl works there and a refillable cup of coffee is two dollars.

We had intended to stay in the Smoky Mountains but it was dark, all of the campsites were closed or confusing, so we drove around and ended up at a Denny's in Asheville, NC. We crashed in the car and woke early to head toward Raleigh. (After the fact, we learned there was a wicked infoshop in Asheville. -booo) So, we drove to the University of North Carolina in Raleigh. When we first arrived we found a wicked little alternative coffee shop dubbed 'Cup a Joe'. Next door was a pretty neat used book store which we perused for a moment. We parked in the campus lot and rode our bikes around the campus. There were some fun hills to ride down and a few good fields for laying. We got condiments from the Student Union and had a picnic of cabbage, tomato, onion, and cheese sandwiches during which we took swigs from a not-so-hidden bottle of Negra Modelo.

After our picnic we checked out the library and played a futile game of checkers in their new east wing that is more like the hang out area by crossroads in the OU Union. They had computers all around surrounding a flat screen with a new Nintendo Wii setup for anyone to come and play and at one point during our game a band started setting up to play. After a walk through the campus and a meeting of a girl who's phone we found, we decided to settle in. We watched Unbreakable in the Library and then climbed up a ledge on one of buildings to sleep.

The next morning we woke up for free coffee in the library, took pictures in some echoing sculpture that were out in the 'brickyard', and ate free pizza that was being distributed for 'Founder's Day'. Also there was free ice cream and we each snagged an extra piece before heading out.

Six hours later we were in Virginia Beach.
Picture post soon to come with what the hell's up with VA beach.
And all that.


P.S. You're great.

Monday, March 12, 2007

leaving tennessee .....

we are leaving cookeville today and heading for the unknown. look forward to seeing what happens!!

Wednesday, March 7, 2007

cookeville, tn

we left new orleans on saturday and drove through mississippi to birmingham, al.

but first ...
photo update!!!!

old transmission out!!!

new transmission in!!!

jackson square.

joan of arc.

where we stayed in n.o.

our cots!

an example of the damage.

work crew eating.

one of the many alligators we saw while working in the bayou.

this is a statue in birmingham, al. of the greek god, Vulcan. He hangs out on a hill that overlooks the city.

We hiked to the base of this waterfall yesterday. It is called Burgess Falls.

our adventures ...

we drove to brimingham with an idea of going to see Isis, but the show was sold out. instead, we explored the campus and ended up scoring some food from a building that was probably not supposed to be unlocked. we fell asleep listening to al franken on the boombox in a parking garage.

the next day, we went to what may be one of my favorite health food stores - Golden Temple Foods! We asked if they had any food to throw away and were amply rewarded for our inquiry. Loaded with six new meals, we drove out of Alabama and into Tennessee.

we are now in cookeville,TN, at the cusp of the Appalachian Mountains. We are staying with Marshall's brother and sister-in-law (They are sooooo nice!) for around a week, and then we are heading to a Peace March (founded by answercoalition) on the 17th.

We miss you!

Safe travels,