Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Happy


Who wants to come to the Rose Parade with me?? I'm pretty certain I'm going!

Recently, I've gotten really into parades and other silly forms of american-ness(TG parades in Chi, for example). Okay, so maybe I'm just into parades? Anyway, the Rose Parade is probably the biggest tradition we have in LA and since I've never been, I figured I'd probably go! I'm not camping out, though. Funk that. I'm just gonna roll up at 4am or something.

The Gold Line runs all night
! In LA, all the rail lines are running allll nightttt longggg. So don't drive (in general), but especially tonight. My days of getting stranded in Pas and getting driven 3/4 of the way back to the valley are over! (for tonight, anyway).

Upcycle, please,

Antonio Pacheco

New year


For some reason, it's impossible to find something awesome to do tonight.

I wish I could I could be in Montreal.

Upcycle please,

Antonio Pacheco

Monday, December 29, 2008

I Wish My Camera Worked


My camera is dumb.

but... I had a bus/walking adventure today!


VEGAN DONUTS HAVE BEEN CONQUERED!!!! sososo good. Laura and I hit up the Intelligista and finally, found some of the much-desired vegan donuts. They were pretty yummy and glazy. Sticky fingers ensued. They have really strong espresso and tasty tonic water.

Walking the streets of Los Angeles is fun except that it's been nice and warm and I still dress like im in st louis (read: scarf/coat). Oy.

I went to the Iliad Bookstore in North Hollywood (NoHo) and bought a book, but I can't say which one. It's a really sweet place, you should check it out. Again, it was hot; I walked down the North Hollywood/ Burbank Chandler bikeway.

I also went to Carter Sexton (bought some Le Pens) and a small russian grocery store.

Yay. This kind of doesnt relate to anything? Idk.

Upcycle, please

Antonio

Sunday, December 28, 2008

Nourishing Traditions



Santa gave me several great gifts this year, but my favorite so far has been this book. It looks like it could be a guide to Holistic Healing or Andrew Weil's newest manifesto. It speaks along those lines- an alternative approach to considering nutrition. Okay, all of my posts have been about food. I can't help it. But this book is really cool.

When we think of contemporary nutritional guidelines, we think of the USDA Food Pyramid, the American Dietetic Association, the American Heart Association, etc. These large organizations/societies have been the decreers of how we should eat and have trained missionaries, nutritionists, who then coach us on how to eat and influence what's available to us at cafeterias and hospitals around the country. The author, Sally Fallon, argues that these organizations are in fact representing other interests- mainly corporate interests- and thus what they're telling us is not what is actually good for our bodies, but what is good for the pockets of the grain processing industry and its allies. She argues that the current recommendations, of a diet low in saturated fat and high in grains, is not actually what our bodies evolved to eat. The current craze over margarine and adding omega-3 fatty acids to everything we eat, while throwing out our egg yolks and consuming vast amounts of processed grains is not only wrong, but harmful to our bodies.

She advocates eating unprocessed grains and eliminating our consumption of processed sugars, which makes sense and vibes with current recommendations. She suggests a huge shift in the way in which we view fat and cholesterol. No longer, she says, should we stress only polyunsaturated fats, currently what margarine and olive oil offer us. Margarine and similar shortenings, and most vegetable oils, are harmful to our bodies through their free radicals, the products of high-temperature processing. She believes that our bodies are made to eat large amounts of animal fat, including butter, as long as the animals were raised on their natural diets (think grass) to assure the optimal Omega-3:Omega-6 fatty acid ratio. This argument is supported in part by studies of the primitive populations of the world known for their longevity. These populations eat chiefly animal fats and animal meat, but have little or no tooth decay, excellent bone mass, little aging, and no weight problems (as well as long life spans). Even contemporary diet villains, like butter and coconut and palm oils, are acquitted by her arguments.

More to come on Nourishing Traditions, but I'm optimistic. Be prepared for some startling conclusions. Did I mention that this is a cookbook?

Will

Malibu

And the Winner Is....

After a multitude of bicycle-bound adventures around the StL metro, I've decided on my winner for best farmers' market of 2008. The pool was rather small- I visited the Maplewood market, the Tower Grove market, the Clayton market, Delmar market, the Soulard market, and Bon Appetit's very own mini-market which made its debut this fall. Of these places, two don't qualify as farmers' markets- at the Delmar and Soulard markets, the produce is simply sold by a smaller vendor. However, it's still the same produce that you'll find at Schnucks or Shop n' Save. I also did not consider the North City market, mainly becuase I never visited it, but also because I believe that that produce is aimed at lower-income citizens. I didn't feel like I am the desired clientele at that market, and thus didn't make it a point to visit it.

That leaves us with three full-blown markets: Clayton, Tower Grove, and Maplewood. They have very distinct differences: the weekly fee for a vendor at the Clayton market is around $150, the most expensive out of all of the StL markets. Tower Grove features the largest number of vendors and live music. In addition, the Maplewood market is open every Wednesday, whereas the others are open on Saturdays.

In the end, I had the best experiences at Maplewood! It had a beautiful combination of organic produce vendors selling at reasonable prices and local vendors with spreads, sauces, and chocolate. Attending Maplewood was great- I talked with vendors, traded old Oberweiss jugs for reduced-priced produce, and filled up on scrumptious Black Bear delights. It's real close to campus- a 15 minute bike ride at most- and doesn't require you to wake up real early to attend- it's open from 4-7pm on Wednesdays during the warm months. Make it a point to visit Maplewood. You'll find a wonderful collection of people who are interested in what they're eating and how it impacts their world. Avoid the hype and greenwashing that plagues most current "sustainable alternatives." Really, check it out, and I'll go with you.

If you're hungry, and you're NOT waiting until April, check out one of St. Louis's winter farmers' markets. The Tower Grove market relocates to the St. John Episcopal Church at 3664 Arsenal, just across the street from Tower Grove Park. It's open the 2nd Saturday of every month from 9am to 1pm. Maplewood has its own farmers' market during the winter. The schedule is more intermittent, but the first date in 2009 is January 31st, 2009, open for the same times. For a schedule, see here.

Eat locally, please. In fact, let's do it together

Will

Saturday, December 27, 2008

San Diago


So I missed my bus back to Los Angeles by like, thirty seconds? Per us. I managed to come up on some bandwidth at a local Coffee Bean. Do they have those in the Middle West? I'm not quite sure.

Anyway, I've spent the last few days in the San Diego burbia, hanging out and getting retro with my dad. I finished Animal, Vegetable, Miracle. I'm working on a review! but its not done. anyway,

i dont know why im blogging!
have anice day!

Antonio

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

We talking bout PRACTICE

One of the problems I see in US food culture (if it exists) is the prevalance of rewarding mass eating. The most famous example is the Coney Island hot dog challenge, but any American city you go to, there are a million opportunities for you to try to eat an unreasonable amount of food to earn a pittance. I love the idea of a duo finishing up a Pointersaurus or a crazy person drinking 5 malts at Crown Candy as much as the next person, but I wish that kind of thing didn't proliferate the everyday dining experience. It's only a skip away from that kind of culture to the Supersized fast food meal or the ubiquitous huge portions at restaurants. Maybe if eating itself was an enjoyable, entertaining and fulfilling experience, we wouldn't have to make it an event where people end up puking. A meal is not a frat party, you know?

Friday, December 19, 2008

Animal, Vegetable, Miracle


Like the fool that I am, I mistakenly forgot my copy of Omnivore's Dilemma by Michael Pollan in my bedroom in St. Louis. After grieving for a few days and attempting to fill Mr. Pollan's void with some Benjamin Button, I decided it was time I end my pitty party and find a new read.

So,yesterday, I bought a new book: Animal, Vegetable, Miracle- A Year of Food Life by Barbara Kingsolver at Portrait of a Bookstore. The book chronicles the Kingsolver family's year-long experiment with growing/finding/buying most of their own food in rural Virgina. It reminds me a lot of Michael Pollan, but it's different in an interesting way.

You should read it.

Upcycle, please

Antonio Pacheco

Original Farmers


I came upon this article just now on the LAT website that mentions the Los Angeles Farmers Market's recent efforts to increase the number of farmers who sell produce at this beloved FM. For those of your who don't know, the LA Farmer's Market, like most everything else that goes on around here, is kind of a farmers market in name only. It's first and foremost a place to get lunch, secondly, a stepping stone between the parking lot and The Grove shopping center, thirdly, a place to get Pinkberry and last, but not least, a place to buy groceries and specialty foods.Maybe that indictment of the LAFM is a bit too scathing, but, to quote the LAT article,

"It’s been about eight years since a farmer sold his produce at Farmers Market, a spokeswoman said."

That's kind of a startling fact. While I appreciate the ability of the LAFM to be a legitimate place for social and community interaction, the fact that it is not first and foremost an actual farmers market is really disheartening, especially in a city like Los Angeles that is not only within extreme proximity to good food, but has the population levels to sustain widespread participation in innovative and healthy systems of food growth and distribution. This city, with its endless square miles of underutilized suburban roofs and freeway medians/on ramps has the capacity, ability, and even, willingness to grow much if not all of the food it consumes. Not only that, but with that same vastness comes an opportunity to create a multitude of localized, community-organized and opperated gardens and farmers markets.
Not only that, but it's a situation that can be repeated all across this country. Cities used to have these sorts of farmers markets and corner grocers all over the place, no? What changed was that the prime farmland that was once used to grow all the food sold in the city has now been plowed over by the wheels and gears of the suburbs. Well, maybe it's time to reclaim those farmlands and reap the suburbs for what they're worth.

Upcycle, please

Antonio Pacheco

Thursday, December 18, 2008

Angelic Travels



I had an amazingly random day today out in and about in the city of angeles.

I havent time to upload pictures, but I went here, bought a book here, and ran into her (we go way back).

Took the metro here and ran into some hipsters.


Slowly, I'm starting to actually appreciate home and what it's worth.
Slowly.

Upcycle, please

Antonio Pacheco

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Let The Games Vegan!


I stumbled upon this cool vegan blog. I'm not vegan at all, but it's a neat site. Who wants to grab some vegan donuts!??!

Upcycle, please

Antonio

Train Stations


As you may or may not know, I am terribly interested in all forms of alternative/ lower-carbon modes of transportation. To me, the ways that we choose to move about and through our environments is tied irrevocably to our own personal relationship to all facets of the environment. There are walkable cities and drivable ones; places that love bikes and others that are just straight up scary.
Of all these varied forms of lower-carbon transports, the one I’ve recently become most enamored with architecturally is that of the train. Specifically, I’ve fallen for train stations. There are a lot of train stations in the United States that date to the early 1900s that I find compelling and inspiring in an architectural and even, social sense. I’m talking about the Union Stations that lay scattered across the country, these vast and epic architectural monuments from a time long past. They’re symbols of a day and age when trains ruled the world and the relentless march of the steel track was unstoppable and unforgiving.
But now… these places all suck. The glamour has gone; the patina of time has taken over. Like many of the other emblems of that age, the train station has fallen victim to the ravages of time. And it’s all too apparent. These massive buildings-though mostly newly renovated- sit half empty, cordonded off, inaccessible and underutilized. Instead of being meaningful, useful members of the contemporary architectural scene of our cities, they’re merely blips on the tourist radar, poorly done indoor shopping malls, or half-working, semi-revived train stations.
So, I’ve taken it upon myself to begin talking about these places once again. Starting with Los Angeles’s Union Station, I’m going to begin a series of posts on the big stations I come across during my travels. As of now, I’m planning on writing about stations in Los Angeles, Kansas City, St. Louis, Chicago, and possibly San Diego. If you would like to submit pictures or text about train stations you’ve been to anywhere in the world, please do so. Email submissions to a.p.8.9.88@gmail.com and label them accordingly!

Upcycle, please

Antonio Pacheco

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

The Max



They say Kansas City is too sprawling to have a light rail system. It’s too vast, too spread out, too suburbanized. But this weekend, I saw something that was quite the contrary, that is, the Max. I’m not entirely sure how it works yet (I’ve only ridden it, I haven’t researched it), but I do know that it worked out pretty well for me. Essentially, the Max is a Bus Rapid Transit system, sort of like a Metro Rapid (in LA) or Express line (in StL): a specialized bus system that runs along on the street with other cars and makes stops at significant intersections. These routes are usually outfitted with snazzy, often shiny, signage and equally supped up buses. These systems are often used when light or heavy rail are too expensive or do not yet meet the level of demand necessary for the serious investments that come along with expansion of public transportation.

Anyway, Kansas City’s 57 Max is great. I took the Megabus to Kansas City from St. Louis. In the past, getting from the Mega Bus stop consisted of a lovely and enlightening 15 block saunter through downtown Kansas City and its immediate areas to the south, but the Mega Bus station recently moved to a new spot on the north eastern part of the downtown area. At first, I was worried about this because my grasp of downtown Kansas City was pretty minimal, so the prospect of sleepily walking off a bus in the middle of an unexplored part of downtown was maybe a bit frightening. But, as it has it, the new Megabus stop is half a block away from the Max line. Not only that, but it’s the same distance from Kansas City’s market. I’ll post about the market later; it’s awesome.

So, the 57 Max line runs from the Mega Bus stop, past the market, through the financial district, down Main Street from downtown, through the Arts District, Union Station, the Hallmark Factory, and down through the southern part of the city. It runs two blocks away from the Nelson Atkins and Kemper Art Museums as well as the Country Club Plaza. So, on my visit to Kansas City, I was able to hit all of my favorite spots in the city in one fell swoop. It was pretty great. My favorite part was that each stop along the route is marked by these monoliths that shave little LED displays that show when the next bus is coming. They also show the route itself, something I haven’t seen much of, even though it’s incredibly helpful.

Effectively, the 57 Max allowed me to gain a much richer and dynamic impression of Kansas City than I would have had I traveled by foot. And it does so both ecause of convenience and explicit choice. This route connects many major cultural and economic centers across the city in a pretty effective way, providing the traveler with an opportunity to reach all these important places with relative ease. So, it raises the questions, 1) what do we allow to dictate route selection for public transportation routes?

And 2) why aren’t planners taking a more proactive approach in structuring a way of moving about the city that includes more than simply traveling from point A to point B? I believe that it is possible to create (or perpetuate) circulation routes through and within the city that can themselves become culturally significant as well as eloquent and stimulating- without being inefficient or overly expensive.

Kansas City’s 57 Max is a first step in this direction.

Upcycle, please

Antonio Pacheco

Not Writing Sucks



Not having time to write really sucks. I think I’ve realized that I am generally happier and healthier when I am constantly putting out a stream of consciousness on this here blog. That becomes troubling when my time is sucked up by other aspects of my life and/or I am too mentally preoccupied with these other aspects that I don’t really have the energy to process critical thought. Of course, this was the first semester of schooling while blogging and although, the results were mixed at very best, I feel encouraged. That’s because there’s room for improvement.

I feel like I have learned a great deal over the last six or so months we’ve been blogging, both about the world, as a whole, and myself, specifically. And that’s essentially been the point of this endeavor- to learn and teach, about our soundings, ourselves, and where those two ideas intersect.

So, hopefully, as I have time to collect and nurture my thoughts over the next three weeks, I will begin a series of writings that will hopefully carry well into the coming semester.

Upcycle, please
Antonio Pacheco

Sunday, December 7, 2008

Riles Files


Richard Reilly is probably the coolest person I've met in a long, long time. He's a big deal around St. Louis, is involved with (among other things) Architecture for Humanity STL, and our grocery project. He keeps a blog. You have to read it.

Ive found myself increasingly coming into contact with incredible, inspiring, and interesting people around this city. I think it's a sign of whats to come, hopefully. There are a lot of talented individuals, working in groups, making the city a better place. we're all trying to reach for a more positive, healthy, and productive future.

Upcycle, please

Antonio

Saturday, December 6, 2008

Publication




I've always wanted to start a publication (magazine, newsletter, comic book?), but I've never been able to. I guess Upcycle Diaries is sort of a publication, but its not tangible enough.

I want something that I can hand out and leave on the Metro or staple to telephone poles.

Is there anyone one out there who'd like to help??

I havent really thought of a theme yet, but it'd have to be something awesome (obviously). And I dont know that it necessarily has to be something that's straight up sustainable. But it'll probably end up being so in some way, however hidden that way might be.

It should also be fun. And colorful.

Upcycle, please

Antonio

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Urbanity


Chicago is a city with suburbs in three states: Illinois, Indiana, and Wisconsin. It cuts a wide swath across the prairie, relentlessly crawling towards the horizon. Last week, I was able to spend time there, taking in the sights, sounds, and smells of the city and its surroundings.

This time around, I traveled through many of these suburban areas, attempting to broaden my definition of what Chicago- and ultimately, urbanity- is and how that relates to what I want to do with my life. After my first visit to the city two years ago, the image of Chicago in my mind has been pretty synonymous with tall buildings and El tracks. Somewhere between then and this most recent trip, tall buildings had been replaced with medium-density neighborhoods; main streets clad in Chicago brick, with small shops, bookstores, restaurants, and fixed gear bicycles. This time, those neighborhoods were replaced by subdivisions and the El Tracks with Metra trains.

Now, my understanding of the city is on one hand, broader and probably more accurate, and on the other, infinitely more confusing. In some ways-that is, for some people-, there is a great permeability and fluidity between life in the suburbs and life (work) in the city. It's easy to hop on the El in one part of the city, take the train to downtown and transfer to a Metra train and end up 50 miles outside the city in a low-density, consumer-driven, suburban utopia. Is that okay?

Upcycle, please

Antonio Pacheco
 
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