Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Some Blogs I Read and Maybe You Should, Too

Part of a series of Lists of Cool Things.

Why don't you write me?
A letter would brighten my loneliest evening. 

"Why Don't You Write Me?" Simon & Garfunkel

Lots of folks out there have blogs, and some of them are really cool. I wanted to share a few that are written by friends of mine and that I think deserve a little more attention. Each item on this list has a link to the blog, a short description, an excerpt from a post I think is a good place to start, and a selection of other posts to check out if you're intrigued.

Between Times

My friend David is a former assistant pastor and current vagabond DJ/independent musician. If you're interested in modern Christianity, independent music/art, or both, you should consider checking out his blog, Between Times. The excerpt below is from a post about visiting a Sikh temple in the aftermath of the Wisconsin Sikh temple shooting last August.

I haven’t talked about it before, but my church building is next door to a Sikh temple. I’ve driven by it almost every day for a year, but I have never gone in. But as we were praying, God spoke to me and asked me, in no uncertain terms, whether I was going to practice what I had been preaching to these young people all week; whether I was just a fan, or a follower. So after the meeting finished, I got back in my car and I drove home. I passed the temple. I told myself I would go later. I heard there was a memorial service at 6, so I would show up for that. But when I walked in my door and hung up my keys, I couldn’t sit down anywhere in my house. I simply stood in my kitchen, shoes on, staring at the couch in our living room. I had a choice. And I almost blew it.

I turned around, grabbed my keys off the key hook, hopped back into my car and drove back to the Sikh temple. The whole drive, which wasn’t very long, I just prayed, “God, what do I say? I don’t know what to say.” So I pulled in to the parking lot, put on my name tag, and walked through the doors to the temple.
Politics - Dave describes emerging from politically conservative Christianity into a more apolitical stance
Tunage Tuesday: Bandcamp Discoveries - an entry in a weekly feature highlighting independent music

Intersections: Urban Mission Blog

My friend Phil is a Salvation Army Officer who has served in urban settings like Detroit and Chicago throughout his career. His blog is about faith, life, and troubles in the inner city.
the love of life in quiet Detroit:
When in the Detroit area I like to visit the old neighborhood.  We worked for six years on the west side near the New Center.  The last eighteen months we were based out of a new building on West Chicago at Dexter.  But for the first four and half years we worked out of an older building at the corner of Grand River and Dundee near Livernois.

I exited the Lodge Freeway, west on Chicago Boulevard through the Boston-Edison Historic District.  On the corner of Chicago and Dexter, the new building with a prominent Red Shield.  Can’t miss it.

North on Dexter.  Stopped by the traffic signal at Tuxedo.  Bad feelings.  Twice I was stopped at this light when shots started.  This time no shots.  But it’s afternoon, the wrong time of day for gunshots.   Evening.

A few blocks up I turned east on Buena Vista.  While we served in Detroit one block of Buena Vista between Dexter and Wildemere caught my attention.  Its old brick homes were well-kept.  Yards tidy.  Older folks and a few families.  A quiet street without the drama which typified too much of the neighborhood.  Like drug sales.  Teddy bears and plastic flowers at the base of utility poles.  Drama.  This afternoon I wanted to check on Buena Vista.
What people are saying about Detroit - a short reflection on a piece of journalism about Detroit's crumbling infrastructure
imago urbs - a post about how transit maps shape views of a city

Tiny Fix Bike Gang

An acquaintance of mine from my days in AmeriCorps co-writes (under the name "Lorena Cupcake") this blog about cycling and Chicago. It's got a feminist, liberal activist twist to it, which I enjoy, and I think other folks I know might also. Below is an excerpt from a post discussing cycling and gender norms. (Note: this blog contains some vulgar language.)
The Gender Candy Store: Biking While Genderqueer:
There’s an episode of Roseanne where her daughter Darlene is throwing away all her sports equipment because she’s a girl. Roseanne plucks her beloved baseball glove out of the trash, and tells her “These are girl’s things, Darlene, as long as a girl is using them.”

That’s exactly how I feel about my bike. It’s not a girl thing or a boy thing. My bike is mine. That’s it.

I don’t need to, like, fill a Pinterest board with photos of tall bikes drawn in latte foam and ethereal model-looking girls with skinny pins posing with vintage Peugeots just because I’m a girl. I don’t need to go on cupcake rides or learn to bike with heels. But if I wanted to? I could. Because you can relate to biking however you want.

Biking makes me feel powerful, and yes, masculine...Wearing dirty bike tights and jorts and rain jackets all winter makes me feel like one of the messenger boys since we’re all in the exact same outfit.

But that doesn’t mean I’m ok with biking being a boys club.
The Myth and Truth of the Super Secret Chicago Bike Community - a post about some exclusivity in the Chicago biking community and Lorena's reason for starting up the Tiny Fix blog
How To Pack a Messenger Bag as Carry-On Luggage - one of many practical posts on how to do something challenging related to cycling


Another AmeriCorps acquaintance, Robert, has spent the last several years traveling through and living in various Middle Eastern countries and writing about the experience. While his blog follows the "leave them wanting more" principle a little too strictly in my opinion, when he does manage to post something, it tends to be equal parts funny and fascinating. Below is an excerpt from a post last year about a visit to Turkey. (No other recommended posts on this one: if you're intrigued, just start from the beginning and read 'em all; there aren't too many.)
When I first came to Lebanon it was so exciting to see beer and ham and the ocean and women’s necks and garbage collection that I was oblivious to all the things that have become so gallingly apparent when seen in contrast with America. So there’s no sense of public space, well there’s more than there was in Jordan. So people still throw things on the ground rather than take the minor effort to throw it in a bin, at least they pay someone to pick it up instead of burning it. So everyone drives stupidly short distances in stupidly congested traffic that belches horrifically toxic smoke; have you even BEEN to Amman? In retrospect, Beirut was just exciting because it was a break from the norm, a little weeklong adventure to help escape the drudgery of Arabic.

Istanbul’s the same way.

I think finding a new blog about something I care about is a great experience, especially if it's written by someone I don't know. If you read this post and know of a good blog by a friend of yours, share it with someone! (Share it with me, for starters!) People might be more interested than you'd think, and your friends will thank you for sharing their thoughts with new readers.

Image source: http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Blog_iconoiiiiiiii.jpg

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