I live in a neighborhood called Powderhorn Park in south Minneapolis. The neighborhood runs a project called Powderhorn365, the point of which is to gather stories in the form of photographs and captions of people and places that can be found in Powderhorn. I volunteered to be a photographer, and on Friday my first picture went up! Click the thumbnail below to go to the Powderhorn365 website to see other stories from my new neighborhood (and the full image of my first evar P365 photo!).

Photo shows a a Latina carrying a pink shoulder bag, a white purse. She's wearing a red-white plaid button up blouse. He hair is straight, dark brown, shoulder length, parted down the middle. Shes looking directly at the camera and giving a small, closed-lip smile. Behind her in the background, a building with the words "Pillsbury House" is visible.

I believe that photography can be a way to remind us that we do all have unique situations and circumstances, and also that there are shared experiences that we can understand, and through those better connect with each other. Shared stories have the potential to build stronger, more supportive and diverse communities.


Tire Deflation Devices

Law enforcement tech isn’t something that I follow very closely (that is to say, at all), but I came across a piece of equipment that I know about, but to which I”ve never given much thought. So purely in the vein of “that’s kind of neat” let’s talk about tire deflation devices.

Say police are chasing a fleeing suspect by car. One of the fastest ways to stop or slow the car is to pop the suspect’s tires with a strip of spikes that gets manually rolled out across the road in the path of the vehicle. But what about the cars behind the suspects? The officer who deployed the device has to get whatever popped the suspect’s tires out of the way of oncoming traffic – namely the police vehicles in pursuit – without compromising her own safety. She has to pull the strips back quickly, and officers have died while attempting to remove them. Think about coordination of communication between the pursuing officers and the officer running the spike strips. And the stress for the pursuing officer about whether the strips will be off the road in time for them to safely pass. [Read more…]

Dear Internet

Dear Internet,

I think I say this pretty often, but maybe not often enough.

Thank you for challenging me to not let my initial reactions and emotions be the first thing that I show in a debate. You have helped me learn that when I feel angry or vulnerable, to not lash out defensively but to retreat and think about why I feel these things before deciding whether or not to engage.

You have taught me to listen, to let others talk, that my opinion is not always needed in a conversation.

[Read more…]

Mr. Paul Aints vs. Winnipeg Goldeyes

This past Saturday evening, the Hubby and I went to see a baseball game at the new CHS Field in Saint Paul’s Lowertown neighborhood. We’re not really sports people, but this Saturday was a special event – it was the third annual Mr. Paul Aints game!

Photo of the CHS Field Jumbotron. Advertising is on the borders, the main central portion shows the Aints logo - beginning with a large red capital "A."

The Saint Paul Saints is the minor league baseball team in the Twin Cities, but on Saturday the team donned special jerseys and hats and became the Mr. Paul Aints. Minnesota Atheists and Foundation Beyond Belief came together to sponsor the annual atheism visibility event. Soles4Souls partnered with us to collect gently used shoes from attendees; the promotion was called “Leave Your Soles at the Gate.” We had our boxes filled by the start of the game! [Read more…]

Dear FSM, it’s time for a link dump

Holy shit – I still have the RD Foundation and JREF on my list of links.

Wonder Woman looking done with your shit and the text "Aw HELL no."

It is time to clean house!

While I’m doing that, if you know of or run a blog or site – especially if it pertains to atheism, freethought, LGBT, feminism or secular philanthropy – that I should be promoting, leave ’em in the comments and I’ll take a look. And don’t be shy – I want to know about YOUR blog or website, too!

Talking Points from Planned Parenthood

As a Planned Parenthood volunteer, I have been impressed with the communication coming out of the volunteer coordinator’s office about the recent attacks on the organization. They have sent several emails out to us with offers to provide information about the attacks and reassurance about this organization that we support with our time, money and efforts. They’re doing their due diligence even though most of us – and the mainstream media – are moving rapidly away from this embarrassingly incompetent and transparent attempt to discredit Planned Parenthood.

[Read more…]

Happy Atheist Moments

I’m an atheist.

Those words used to be difficult for me to say to people in casual conversation. I grew up believing that God is a fact, and that everyone believes in God. Even after I made a conscious decision that gods aren’t real (except for Thor. Thor can be real. As long as Thor is Marvel and Chris Hemsworth), even after being an Atheist On The Internet, those were some deep feelings to shed. And knowing that “atheist” is a naughty, eye-widening word for many people, a word that gives some a warped sense of justification to judge, that can also make it a hard word to claim in mixed company. But it’s gotten easier* and I find myself coming out as an atheist more often and in more types of situations. I’ve stopped minding that people might not want me – an atheist – around them and settled into the comfortable space of not wanting them if they don’t want me for such a crap reason.

[Read more…]