The other day i discovered a treasure in North Berkeley: Karma Kitchen at Taste of Himalayas restaurant, "a volunteer-driven experiment in generosity." Karma Kitchen has been happening since Spring of last year. My first time there was an awesome experience for my whole family.
The KK website intones "Imagine a restaurant where there are no prices on the menu and where the check reads $0.00 with only this footnote: Your meal was a gift from someone who came before you. We hope you will pay-it-forward however you wish." This was exactly my experience there, as the volunteer staff truly shined with enthusiasm, and the flow of generosity and gratitude were palpable.
The food was great, fresh ingredients crafted into fine vegetarian Indian-style dishes. Chef Chatra Lamichaney, who has cooked in restaurants in Cyprus, Iraq, India, and Vietnam, truly 'puts it down' for All the homies at Karma Kitchen. Incidentally, a good friend who's had alot of diet restrictions has sung the praises of Taste of Himalayas' quality ingredients for years now.
I'd highly recommend, to anyone, checking out Karma Kitchen and jumping into the cycle of giving at any and multiple points. As for me, I felt very much that I would like to volunteer there sometime as a server or dishwasher or whatever, so maybe I'll serve you at the next Karma Kitchen!
One of the cool folks I ve come to know through my work as Soul on Wheels at the Berkeley Flea Market is Rick Rocamora. He's a photographic journalist with a keen eye and seemingly open heart - just look at some of his work. Check out his recent work from the Malonga Center in downtown Oakland, one of my other favorite places to be on a Saturday.. Rick's work speaks for itself, and Rick sure is nice to talk with on a Saturday afternoon... Peace.
Healthy Ergonomic Tips for Bicyclists:
1. Proper frame size can be pretty accurately & simply gauged by straddling the upright bike with both feet on the ground. How much space is there between the top tube and your crotch? One inch? Less!? That bike's too big! Two to four inches clearance is generally what you want, though there can be some variation with different types of bikes and frames. Well-fitting Road bikes will definitely be at closer to two inches, while hybrids & mountain bikes will often fit well with three, four and even five inches clearance.
2. Seat height should be high enough so that while pedaling, your legs are almost fully extended at the bottom of your pedaling motion. If you're no getting this much extension, your knees will work alot harder than they need to. If you're locking your knees or find yourself sorta rocking back and forth when you pedal, your seats too high, also no good. (You may even decide at some point to try slightly longer or shorter crankarms, as you fine tune your comfort and performance needs.)
3. Your handlebar height/stem length should be to where your back is at about 45 degrees to the toptube with your arms relaxed-not quite fully extended, while riding. Your seat can be adjusted toward the bike's front or rear to help dial in your reach.
4. If you bike needs repairs, get 'em done. Just like how over time your bike's parts will wear faster if they aren't properly adjusted, you can do real cumulative damage to your body as well. For instance, if your bottom bracket is loose or a crankarm is bent, the slight irregular variation in your pedaling motion can horribly trouble your knees.
That's right neighbors, Saturdays
I have removed the price list from this post and indeed, from this project. Understanding what this work is all about for me, I have been drawn to the social theory of gift economy. Reciprocal actions of joy and friendship now freely follow my recurring gift of bike repair service.
See You at The Flea Market, Ashby BART, Saturdays!
Well folks, you may have noticed that i haven't been at the Market very consistently this last month, and indeed i will not be there this SAturday, either.
This week there is a special reason for this: I will be working with Word.Sound.Life. to document the goings-on at the Oakland Green Jobs Now event in MOsswood Park, Saturday 1-4pm.
The event, hosted by the Ella Baker Center in support of Green For All's Nat'l Day Of Action to Build the New Economy, will include a free concert by local artist Femi and should be a truly exciting coming together of socially and environmentally aware and motivated folks.
Come Check out the Event at Mosswood,
Look out for follow-up info here, regarding the Event AND the return of Soul ON Wheels to the Market...
** St. Mary's Center's tireless director Carol Johnson and her development staff are now unofficially on board with this project as of now, as her esteemed Board has given the go-ahead to explore funding options. This would be the first ancillary program that St. Mary's Center has fiscally sponsored. The Center is in the midst of a vital Capital Campaign to continue demolition and construction projects on mission to build their Senior Village, a beautiful vision for this West Oakland community. I am thankful St.Mary's Center's staff and board of directors can see the correlation between my vision and theirs and that they are willing to take it on. Ongoing talks with like-minded friends at CalTrans bodes very well for this project's true potential as a pilot program. This is all very exciting, and I look forward to sharing developments here as things progress. Many thanks for patience support and friendship; Be Well. -frank m.**
Occupying the iconic space in our society where the fastest-growing segment of the U.S. Population-seniors-meets the astounding persistence of urban poverty, homeless seniors face particular challenges in meeting the most basic and everyday needs.1
The St. Mary's Center annually serves thousands of local citizens of low income aged 55 and over, including many homeless persons, through its Senior Services Program. It is the only agency in Oakland with programs specifically designed for seniors. These include daily meals, case management, counseling, health screening, substance abuse and dual-diagnosis programs, as well as music, art, communication, wellness and meditation groups. For many impoverished local seniors immobility is one of the most daunting obstacles to procuring food, getting medical attention, and engaging in healthy social relations. Many able-bodied seniors can and do use bicycles to overcome this problem, and there is a real need for education around urban cycling safety and health. Other seniors need only the opportunity to have a bicycle, or a tricycle, in order to immediately feel the positive benefits in their lives. For instance, many of the homeless and disaffected, yet resilient and active seniors in the Bay Area already include recycling among their varied means to survival.
Folks from backgrounds as diverse and storied as the numerous communities of the world whose descendants are found here, by bike and on foot, can daily be seen precariously pulling shopping carts full of painstakingly scavenged and sorted recyclables up & down Adeline Street, San Pablo Avenue and Peralta and Market Streets, trudging westward across the 34th street overpass from Telegraph Avenue - from all around Oakland, Emeryville and Berkeley to the Recycling Company on 34th and Peralta Streets, a scant minutes walk from St. Mary's. These elders need safe, properly fitted working bicycles, helmets, lights, access to repair help, tools, and supplies. They need bicycle trailers to pull their materials safely behind them, out of the range of vehicles.2 Many other area seniors need access to bicycles, tricycles and recumbent bicycles, so that they too can enjoy the benefits of regular cycling.
Oakland area seniors need to take part in the bike commuter lifestyle that is burgeoning amongst the nation's seniors. Groups and city officials in other parts of the country, like Elders in Action with the Community and School Traffic Safety office of the City of Portland, have been able to obtain recumbent trikes for use by a community of seniors; in Portland they accomplished it by using Federal Safe Communities Grant funds. Projects which seek to provide the sort of support mentioned here surely are what the proponents of Measure B had in mind when they cast their vision for a more sustainable Oakland.
Community bicycle programs operate in communities across the U.S. to offer free or low-cost access to bicycles, repair, and training. Indeed, around the globe, the bicycle's importance to sustaining healthy communities has never been more apparent. From Ghana to Australia, from Santa Cruz to New Orleans to Baltimore, people are coming together to tackle the issues of health, economy, and environment on a local, neighborhood level, by operating and supporting community bicycle programs.
The authors of this proposal have been developing a long-term vision of addressing the aforementioned and other needs of their Oakland area neighbors, and have the necessary skills, background and contacts to realize the potential of such an undertaking.3 As a pilot program, St. Mary's Bicycle Program seeks to begin to address these needs and to engender a sense of independence and of caring community amongst the St. Mary's Center's many clients and neighboring downtown West Oakland seniors.
1From U.S. Census website at http://www.census.gov/population/www/pop-profile/elderpop.html
2Such trailers can be made from scrap metal readily found at Recycling Co. and the numerous other recycleries in the greater Bay Area; Skill in building them should be passed on, as well.
3 Biographical information is accessible via the web at http://peoplesbike.blogspot.com