Monday, August 27, 2012

Mystery Fredenburg Craft: Mystery Revealed

Earlier this summer, I showcased a mystery craft (see previous post) which my Grandma had given me to complete. "Solve the craft puzzle and stay in the Haunted Castle overnight without leaving, and you get the diamonds which have been hidden inside the castle for decades," she said over iced tea and snacks.

Well, mystery revealed! Its an "over blouse", though I'm not really sure what that is.
Now I just have to stay in the Haunted Castle.

Added bonus! John Acquadro has been inspired to pen a novel about the subject, which you can see the cover now and read about later. 

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Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Mystery Fredenburg Craft

My Grandma, pictured below, recently gave me a mystery craft project.  It is something she started 40 (50?) years ago but didn't get around to finishing.  I'm not sure what its going to look like in the end, but I'm sure it will have the world renowned Fredenburg Style that we've all grown to know and love!
There are several cut fabric pieces, shiny blue buttons and pattern instructions. The kicker is that there is no illustration of the final product. What will it look like?

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Friday, July 13, 2012

Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta Photo Essay

This is a long overdue notice, but my dad and I have co-authored a photo essay, published in an the academic journal Consilience: The Journal of Sustainable Development in the beginning of this year. Who knew!?

Armed with our joint knowledge of the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta waterway, we managed to convince editors that our photo essay was easy-on-the-eyes and an easy read!

Briefly, The Sacramento - San Joaquin Delta is the roughly 800,000 area where the Sacramento and San Joaquin Rivers meet before entering San Francisco Bay.  The article details the current state of water scarcity in the Delta and also lays out good water practices that the currently exist in the waterway.  Efforts to control flooding and also water allocation to neighboring areas mold the current structure of the vast waterway and may influence its future state.   

For the full essay with more photos and more detail click here. 

Also worth mentioning! For the uninitiated, I have been taking photos of the Delta for some time, and you can check out a summary of those here. Or the whole shebang here

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Thursday, February 9, 2012

New James Rabbit Band Video, Jamie As Starlet

"Ghost In Grey" by James Rabbit from Young Pasta on Vimeo.

Jamie makes his farmer's debut in James Rabbit's latest hit video! Watch the video and learn the secrets of Jamie's constant enthusiasm as well as James Rabbit's hidden agenda.

James Rabbit is not a person, but a band that comes from the Crystal Palace, 107 Blackburn Street Santa Cruz California.  Go there and they will make you tea!  Jamie has performed with them for many years, bringing spirit, noises, dancing and sometimes lighting or software!  But if ever James Rabbit could be one person it is John Tyler Martin!  He started the band when he was in high-school, playing and recording with his brother in a room at his mom's house in Fresno California!  Conner Martin is an amazing drummer and is Tyler's married brother!  He's super strong and when he's playing the drums he's like a very precise animal with powerful empathy and excellent nutritional advice!  At times James Rabbit is like a music school with 18 performers.  Good thing they have Max Bennett-Parker who can lead everyone in vocal warmups around the kitchen island before we play a house show!  His strong and beautiful voice charms audiences when he acts in musicals and is A Whole New World at karaoke!  Plus he can play those keys!  Drew Stoeckel, aka Young Pasta is the mastermind who directed this video!  He also plays the bass, engineers and masters the sound and has a visual association with auditory sensation.  Dylan McKeever, Michael Rekevics, Spencer Owen, Dorota, Richard... ... ...  There are so many more people in the James Rabbit Band it calls for ellipses of ellipses of ellipsis!

"Candles" by James Rabbit from Young Pasta on Vimeo.

Even with James Rabbit in California and Jamie in New York, there is a way that James Rabbit songs make ideas come true, and the whole United States becomes a trans-continental home town with couches in every city, every state for us to sleep on.  I very much enjoyed last year's tour and look forward to another one this summer!  Coast to Coast and Heart to Heart.

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Thursday, December 22, 2011

Christmas Competition

We have really been getting into the holiday spirit this year, and you know what that means: bad - spirited decorating competition with our neighbors!

Several weeks ago, we decorated our front door, in the way in which we normally do, by adding decorations on top of our previous year's decorations, in order to equally celebrate all holidays that have come before (please take note of the Halloween pumpkin, 2010's Thanksgiving turkeys, and Valentines day hearts. So festive in every way!)

All was going swimmingly until our next door neighbors decided to up the ante and compete directly with us for holiday cheer.  Clearly they are looking for a mean-spirited competition on the fourth floor for best holiday decorations. Jamie says that they are just trying to join in the fun, but I don't buy it! Next-door single mom and two small children are trying to one up us this holiday season, and I'm ready to fight for the title of best holiday door decorations!

Stay tuned for when I make the pug-with-lights-on that I saw the other day stand gaurd in front of our door as a sort of a holiday watchdog. 

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Monday, December 5, 2011

Video: Mega Bog Pays a Visit

Some friends from the Pacific Northwest paid us a visit! The charming band Mega Bog toured the nation and stopped by our neck of the woods to enjoy our fabulous company and play a show in Manhattan.  It was great to meet them in the flesh and hang out with them for a bit. Mega Bog played a great show at the Cake Shop and Jamie has co-created a great video about it!

Mega Bog "Throat MTN" at Cake Shop, NYC from Jamie Burkart on Vimeo.

They stayed with us for the night and enjoyed a few Apartment Activities!

For a little context, in the spring of last year, Jamie went on tour with James Rabbit and iji (members of which rearrange to be Mega Bog).  They hit all the hotspots throughout the West and Middle West, and terrorized groups of young people. (See below)

Mega Bog in NYC:
Erin Birgy (Mega Bog, bandcamp + Wizards of the Ghost <- Tape Label She Runs)
Zach Burba (iji, bandcamp)
Shelby Turner (Sundance Kids, bandcamp)

On tour with Kusikia.

On their way east they played in Kansas City and we talked about it here.
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Thursday, October 27, 2011

Grad School: What Do I Do There?

Many may have wondered what I actually do at grad school (many have not wondered this).  So I thought I would present a few things that I've worked on. Generally, I've found that you can do whatever you want at grad school, and still I've chosen fairly boring topics. Let me convince you of their merits! 

Last semester I was looking for a tactic that would help declining cities deal with mass amounts of vacant properties.  I found that Genesee County, Michigan (where Flint, Michigan lies) has a lot of vacant properties, as you can imagine.  To deal with this they formed a Land Bank. What does that mean? 

Land banking is a way for cities and towns to organize all their vacant (foreclosed, abandoned, all of it) into one place and to have ownership of it.  By gathering all these vacant houses, commercial spaces, and vacant lots into one organization, it would be easier for people to buy these things and the county would have less to deal with.  

Also! When someone else buys them, the new owner will pay property taxes (hopefully) on them.  Property taxes are the main way that cities get money, so this means the more property tax revenue they can generate, the more garbage they can pick up, the more firemen/women they can hire, the longer they can have the library open.  

As you can see from the graph, the population of Genesee County could not be falling any faster. Because people are leaving so quickly, they have way more housing that people that need it, created a huge problem with vacant properties. I won't even bring up the housing crisis because clearly thats a whole other issue.

The Genesee County Land Bank was created in 2002, and you can see from the graph below that even though people are leaving as fast as they possibly can, the county has managed to increase its revenue from property tax because of the land bank.

Ok, so land banking has not made Flint, Michigan into a thriving metropolis, but it has managed to mitigate serious negative effects that go along with incredible population loss!

So! If you are just itching to buy a $100 vacant lot or $10,000 house, check out their site! 

Also, if you were really enticed by the above graphs, feel free to read my whole paper about it!  PDF or word doc.
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