A Theory of Signs

I’ve mentioned needing good signs in past entries without, I realize, specifying exactly what makes for good signs.

I’ve also been threatening to bring back the philosophy.

I think it’s time to make good on my promises. Continue reading


#coffeeneuring 7, 7.5, and beyond: The Old Familiar Places

7: Maryland Food Collective (7.7 miles), blend of medium/dark Equal Exchange in house mug for 75¢ and Campfire S’more Sundae from the Dairy

8 (7.5?): A Baked Joint (4.4 miles), Elixir washed process Konga Yirgacheffe pourover and butternut squash/pumpkinseed focaccia stick.

IMG_3374Wait, why 7.5? I thought the rules only required 7 stops?!?

IMG_3373Well, yeah, that’s true. I wanted to do 7 places I didn’t do last year, though, and I realized after the fact that I’d hit up Coffee for People, Not Profits previously. I mean, it’s not like I begrudge my favorite Den of Equity extra publicity—The Revolution must be caffeinated—but I was trying to do New Places and New Things. Continue reading

2: Retrofitting Suburbia

  The key, I think, to making infrastructure work out in the ‘burbs is less to try and copy what worked in the core, but rather to take advantage of what already exists. It’s a key concept behind Dunham-Jones and Williamson’s Retrofitting Suburbiarather than raze and rebuild, find ways to adapt and work with what already exists.

So what do we have to work with out where the sidewalk ends? Calm, suburban streets. Existing recreational trails along rivers, old rail grades, and parkland. People who already walk or ride bikes somewhere other than their neighborhoods. People who already walk or ride in their neighborhoods, but become invisible people in a car-centric environment. In the best of cases, small, local civic governments that respond to the needs of their citizens. That’s more than a bit, come to think of it. Continue reading

1: Trouble in the Suburbs

IMG_2917Oh, what the hey, accidental biketransitblogger, I swear I’ll get back to talking about philosophy one of these days..

We’ve pretty well established in previous episodes that, yes indeedly, bike transit is possible in suburbia. It’s where many of us learned how to ride bikes as kids, after all, and where many of us who continue to ride live. So why do so many people look at me like I’m nuts whenever I gush about the transit network out here in suburban Prince George’s, where you absolutely must have a car to get anywhere, right?

Here’s the thing. Suburban bike infrastructure needs to use a different approach than we’d use in an urban core. The built environments are different, approaches to navigation and engineering are different, and, oftentimes, even the terrain and ecosystems are different than what you’d find downtown. Continue reading

Another Explanation

Whenever the lights go dark here, it’s not because I’ve forgotten about things—it’s because I’m working on and writing about something else.

Those of you who like commentary about philosophy, academia, and publishing: be of good cheer, but patient good cheer. We’re on hiatus, but we shall return. I haven’t forgotten that I need to finish that series on academic minigraphs, and I do intend to finish it.

I’ve also been making lots of pottery, riding my bikes, applying for Real Jobs™—as well as writing about those somewhere else. One of these days, I’ll return to writing here.

In the meantime, try reading Fitness is a Feminist Issue and Elly Blue’s Taking the Lane. Those will give you a flavor for what I’ve been reading and writing lately.

Until soon!

*Another* Critique of Cycle Chic

Elly Blue at Taking the Lane has already written the feminist takedown of Mikael Colville-Anderson’s Cycle Chic movement that needed to be written—but there are even more Issues with CC than just its inherent sexism and objectification. While I have fewer than no problems with making roads safer for cyclists, I do have problems with Colville-Anderson’s casual classism.

His tagline may be “Urban Cycling for the 99%,” but, to look over the CC photoblog, one would be excused for thinking Copenhagen—and Amsterdam, and Fort Worth, and every other bustling, cosmopolitan, diverse metropolis—was free of cyclists from working class, immigrant, or other non-priviliged backgrounds. All these candid photographs of beautiful people (usually women) on bikes, artfully composed with a narrow depth of field, and never a helmet in sight to mess up that perfectly wind-touseled long hair. Continue reading

More Google Penance!

Google Penance—in which I atone for all the strange things I wrote that lead people here.

“Medieval Marginalia/Yves Klein X, W, and V:” yup, this is how most people find me.  Boy I’m glad I can claim fair use for those images—I mean, I’m pretty sure none of them are under an actionable copyright, but . . .

“Brian Leiter is an Ass(hole):” a near-universal sentiment, it seems.  There are others who say it more articulately than me, others who can use more rage, but one understands the feeling.  Sure the PGR’s a sham with more unwarranted assumptions and obvious biases than you can shake a stick at, sure the man can, by all accounts, be just a bit nasty, sure philosophical naturalism’s a joke, especially in law, but hey.  I’m sure there’s something nice that someone could/should say about him, even if I can’t think of it.

“Are Philosophers Weird People?”  Have you read anything I’ve written?  Have you ever met a philosopher?  Are bears Catholic?  Does the Pope . . . well, okay.  Yes.  We’re weird.

The Things They Carried

It’s a long story involving a hated high school English teacher and my first published piece in a newspaper, but, after ten years, I finally got around to reading Tim O’Brian’s The Things They Carried.

Highly recommended to all, which I expected—but not for the reasons I expected.  Yes, it’s a great set of war stories, but an even greater set of meditations on storytelling.  As he realizes, through stories, the absent become present, and fictions become real.

Go find it.  You won’t regret it.

For those who follow such things

For those who follow such things, the deliciously wonderful Publishing Trendsetter is doing a series on positions in publishing; though it’s geared mostly to trade (surprise, surprise), there’s naturally a nice bit of niftiness.

Of course, you could just skip straight to their YouTube channel and indulge your impatience like I did.