Page 1

Spring 2012

Quarterly Speed Bump magazine Slow Down & Relax Slow Down & Relax Slow Down & Relax Slow Down & Relax Slow Down & Relax

Volume 2

QSB No. 1

Contents QSB: Spring 2012


Frontage: From the Editor

3 Mileposts: Things to Do 4

Potholes: One Pot Plot

6 Work Ahead/Quail Pillow 15 On the Road to...Fantasy Baseball

34 On the Corner 38 At the Crossroads 40 Interchange: Get Ready to Read 43 Off the Beaten Tracks 44 Undulations

18 Roundabout: Orange Asphalt 26 Roadside Stand: Save Some for Later 28 The Fork: Cook Something for Yourself

A note on the products in our pages: QSB only features items that we like and actually use. We haven't been paid for any of our comments or recommendations; we just like to share. 1


It's raining as I write this which is not so surprising in Spring. What is surprising is just how mild the winter was. We hardly had any cold weather or rain or even fog. The weather might not be warmer now but there's still more light every day. Flowers are blooming, bees are buzzing, and birds are twittering everywhere when they're not hunkered down waiting out the rain. What a wonderful time of year (is it my favorite season? Could be.).

J. Vaughn

From the Editor

We have a full issue of things for you to do outside when the weather's nice or inside when it's a bit soggy. In any case, we hope you have a wonderful Spring! Cheers,

Rebecca L. Wendt Editor-in-Chief

Editor/Publisher: Rebecca L. Wendt


Jessica Herrick Sebastian Nelson

Contributors: Jeff Crawford Joseph Vaughn Scott Wendt


Quarterly Speed Bump Magazine | Spring 2012

Mileposts: More Things To Do

& in June:

14 - Flag Day 16 - Bloomsday 17 - Father's Day 3


The One Pot Plot 4

Quarterly Speed Bump Magazine | Spring 2012

Find a sunny spot with 6 hours of sun/day minimum.

+ Find 1 pot at least 18" in diameter and 24" deep, Good quality potting soil, & Large saucer (maybe with wheels).

+ Grab a tomato transplant, snip off bottom sets of leaves, remove from transplant pot, and gently tease apart some of the roots.

+ Plant the tomato quite deeply in the soil & pat soil gently to firm.

+ Place tomato cage over tomato plant. Plant 3 peas at the base of each cage leg. Plant lettuce seeds in a circle, 5 inches in from pot rim. Plant radish seeds in a circle, 2½ inches from pot rim.

Water well, Check moisture levels frequently, & Keep damp but not soggy. Watch things grow!

= 5

Work Ahead 6

Quarterly Speed Bump Magazine | Spring 2012

The state bird where I live is the California Quail, Callipepla californica, an amusing bird to my way of thinking. These chubby guys (just a little smaller than your average pigeon but much prettier) post lookouts while the covey (technical term for a group of quail) eats or bathes in the dirt. Their curving feather head plumes are distinctive as is their three-syllable call (some say it sounds like "Chi-ca-go" but I swear they're saying my name). Quail seem reluctant to take wing until the very last moment. Generally, if startled, they run away into the underbrush in a speedy move that makes them look like they're levitating.

This season's crafty project is inspired by one of the lookout quail that I snapped while we were out on a walk one weekend. He was braver than most or maybe just a camera hog. 7

Quail Pillow Pattern You'll Need: • 2 16 inch squares of white cotton fabric (medium weight) • 2 yards ½ inch black piping • Black embroidery floss (cotton) • Embroidery hoop • Embroidery needle • Sewing thread - black or white • Pins • Pencil or other way to transfer image • 15 inch pillow form or stuffing • Sewing maching or the patience to hand sew • Iron 1. Make a sandwich with the black piping in between two white squares. Pin all three layers together. Remember to have the right side facing in. The raw edge of the piping should be aligned with the raw edges of the squares. 2. Sew the sandwich together a ¼ inch from the edge. Use either a sewing maching or needle and thread. DO NOT SEW ALL THE WAY AROUND. You must leave a large opening to get the embroidery hoop through as well as room to fit the stuffing into the case. Turn right side out and press. 3. Transfer quail outline to front of pillow case. Trace, use carbon paper, or other method.



Quarterly Speed Bump Magazine | Spring 2012

3 9

4. Place your embroidery hoop over the quail image. Be sure to only catch one layer of the pillow case in the hoop. 5. Tie a know in an 18 inch length of embroidery floss. Stitch over the transferred image outline. Be sure not to go through more than one layer of the pillow case. For more information on embroidery stitches, go to



6. Use any combination of stitches that you like. This is freestyle embroidery. You may even want to fill in the entire outline to make a silhouette. The sky's the limit (plus your time and inclination). 7. Once you've finished your stitching, fasten off you loose ends. Then remove your pillow case from the embroidery hoop. You'll notice that the hoop has left creases and folds in the pillow case. 8. In order for your pillow to look professional, you must rid it of these creases. Iron using a press cloth to protect your work.


Quarterly Speed Bump Magazine | Spring 2012


9. Stuff your pillow. 10. Sew up the opening. 11. Admire your work! 11


Quarterly Speed Bump Magazine | Spring 2012 13


Quarterly Speed Bump Magazine | Spring 2012

On the Road to. . .

Fantasy Baseball

with Jeff Crawford For the "On the Road to..." column a Quarterly Speed Bump writer sits down with a hobbyist and finds about how to get into their particular hobby and what they find to be rewarding about it. In this issue we're on the road to fantasy baseball. We were pleased to sit down with Jeff Crawford to learn more:

QSB: Do you refer to this hobby as "fantasy baseball" or is there another term that's preferable? What, in a nutshell, is fantasy baseball? Jeff: We just call it fantasy baseball--nothing special or high-brow. Ours developed by coming up with our own system. It's not rotisserie baseball that started in a New York broiler. We started in 1993. It was just us doing it for fun, no money. Ours is just for fun.

my brother Brian won't get them in the last round. With me, my real life team eventually was the Giants after growing up with a dad who was a Dodgers fan but I went through the Brewers and Twins first. QSB: What about fantasy baseball appeals to you? Jeff: I love baseball as a sport and really enjoy watching baseball. I just enjoy it. It hearkens back to the pastoral era of our times. It is a little bit cerebral, a little more complex than just getting hits.

Fantasy baseball is the use of statistics for the players who you select for your team. You compete against other people in your league. You have a "salary" and so much "money" to spend. It's all statistics-based and doesn't really reflect baseball. Strikeouts don't count against you. You're rewarded for the 35 homers. It may cause you, at times, to root against your own Players hold up one finger per time they've won the league. Jeff is on the left. real life team. I avoid this problem by never having Dodgers on my team. Here's a problem: almost everyone in my league is a Giants fan and they have an aversion to Dodgers except my bother. Someone has to step up to pick up great Dodger players so

I only do fantasy baseball. It's the same group of people for 20 years; the same group of family and close friends-the Gorskis-- who I've known since elementary school when we moved to Pleasanton in 1977. It's a family thing, a reunion. Bragging rights are involved. It's being connected to the same group. It's my Christmas. I look forward and I wake up that morning and it's draft day. QSB: When did you get into fantasy baseball? How did you get started? 15

Jeff: We started with just four teams in 1993, have had as many as 9-10, and will have 8 teams this year. Steve, Larry, Vince and I went to a preseason game at The 'Stick in 1993 and decided how we were going to do it. We sat down with our notebooks. The first pick of the first draft I selected the new Giants outfielder, Barry Bonds. For the first couple of years all the statistics were totaled by hand. Funnily enough, the person doing the math won each year (I was that person twice). Now you do it by computer so it's much easier to change players if they get injured. The league has always been called the Humm Baby League--we were coming off that great era of Giants baseball when we started. We've never played for money but in the first few years the winner was feted at a Giants game. I got a really sweet Giants hat one year and haven't won the league since I lost my hat.

QSB: What would you recommend to others who might be interested in getting into fantasy baseball? What supplies do you need and what would you recommend to a beginner? Jeff: Buy a magazine or study guide. Or,Yahoo, USA Today, CBS Sports, and others all have up-tothe-minute online study guides. There's strategy involved. Some people have mock drafts. Traditional fantasy baseball leagues have pitching and hitting stats--basically runs, steals, average, homers, and RBIs. Because of the way our league developed we use way more stats. We even use triples. Our league puts more of a premium on speed and we're weighted towards hitting and speed.

We use Yahoo for stats. Just enter what stats you want to track. Steve's our commissioner and will enter the draft results. Then, you manage your own team. You have to Three times we have held realize that as soon as you the draft at Spring drop somebody, somebody Training. In 2000 at else is going to be right Spring Training, the draft there to pick him up. I like weekend was the most The virtual passing of the Rog (the trophy) since last to look at who's panicking enjoyable weekend I've year's winner,Vince Gorski, was unable to make it from Portland for the draft. early and getting rid of ever had in my life. All the players. I hope the bad important people in my statistics are eaten by the other league player. life were there. Kristen got us great hotel rooms and service at the restaurant. It was just perfect. QSB: Is there a player you most want to It felt like everything went right. Unfortunately have on your team this year and who has it's become more difficult. Since we started the been the best in past years? League we've had life and death events happen. There was a period of six straight years when, if Jeff: There's always a premium on Giants in our you had a major even in your life, you won the league. About 3-4 years ago I said that if I had the league. One week after we came back from number 1 pick, I'd take Albert Pujols. For a long Spring Training in 2000 we found out my dad had time I was always drafting Brian Giles--especially melanoma. He won that year. Steve passed the during his pumped up 'roid years with the trophy on to my dad just days before he passed Pirates. Greg Maddox too. He was just a good away. My dad was not able to move and, maybe, pitcher. not even speak at the time. But everyone was around the bed. 16

Quarterly Speed Bump Magazine | Spring 2012

QSB: What are your expectations for this year and what have you gotten out playing fantasy baseball? Jeff: This is the first time my son older son, Luke, is going to sit in on the draft. Hopefully this will lead to a generational shift and, hopefully, the boys and girls--the kids--will want to play along. QSB: What happens during a season of fantasy baseball?

Our trophy is a bobblehead. Steve won it when he was feted--in 1994 maybe? First the winners' names were just written on. One year the bobblehead took a tumble and now it looks like it's had surgery. It's on a trophy base now and the winning team's name is engraved on. QSB: Are there any publications or websites that you've found particularly useful? Jeff: Any of the magazines are useful. They have projections but I like to focus on previous years. Sometimes it's better to grab a general baseball magazine to focus on previous stats. Generally, the people who study the most do the best though some of it's random due to injuries and such.

Jeff: Before the draft everyone creates a board. You paste on the players you want, there's a grid to track who has what players. Some of the boards are 2 feet x 3 feet or they might be the size of a legal piece of paper. I'm more of a cut and paste and tape-it-on kind of QSB: Anything guy. The board's you'd like to proprietary. We add? don't use a computer for the Jeff: I do the draft. We sit at a league and I do it table, draw names for one reason: out of a hat and it's family. Our figure out if we kids all play when want to trade our we're doing the draft positions. draft. The draft is Our draft is in less about the person or by draft than about phone the day and the conference. It's people that are hard to all get there. It's more together now but The intense studying that goes on during the draft. However the league's motto about family than is "Study Long, StudyWrong." we always have a baseball. And draft. We each we've literally get 7 pitchers, 11 position players, and 2 for the seen life and death. bench. I'd like to win the league again. Last year I tied I check stats daily. During the season I probably for second place with my mom. That was kind of make more changes than most people--a couple cool. The draft is at her house this year. of changes a week. I draft on hitting but change pitching later after I see who's hot. I can bump ——— up my strikeout and win categories by choosing middle relievers rather than closers. I take a Jeff was born in Superior California and completes in chance but it doesn't always work. his fantasy league under the team name "Bandidos Feos de Muerte."

Asphalt Photos and Text by Sebastian Nelson

Someone once said “you are what you

eat.” If you had asked Frank E. Pohl, he might have said “ you are what you sell.” Or rather, your place of business is what you sell. Pohl was one of those visionary pioneers of what has become known as roadside vernacular architecture. Starting in the 1920s Pohl and his family opened a chain of roadside orange juice stands across California that were built to look like giant oranges. His iconic oranges served as beacons to generations of thirsty travelers, until new highways and changing tastes began to take a bite out of the oranges. One by one the giant oranges closed, were abandoned or repurposed until just a handful were left. The Society for Commercial Archeology, an organization dedicated to twentieth century architecture, included California's giant oranges on its list of the ten most endangered roadside places, joining the ranks of the Teapot Dome Gas Station (a 1920s gas station in Washington State that looks like a giant teapot) and “Tex Randall” (a 47 foot tall concrete cowboy in the Texas Panhandle). 18

Quarterly Speed Bump Magazine | Spring 2012


Mark's Hot Dogs in San Jose, California 19

What is it about these crazy buildings that have endeared them to generations of Americans? How did structures of plaster, concrete and plywood enter our collective pop culture consciousness? Are they still worthy of our attention and protection? Today two of Pohl's last giant oranges can be found in the cities of Dixon and San Jose, and I decided to take a trip and try to answer these questions.


San Jose

Dixon's giant orange has stood sentinel on the south side of Interstate 80 since the mid1940s. Pohl's family operated the orange juice stand, also know as George's Orange, until 1973. More recently the orange housed a Mexican restaurant called Mr. Taco. A few years back Mr. Taco moved into a nearby strip mall. The new location is no doubt clean, comfortable and convenient. The orange, however, was vacant and lonely when I arrived. The whole building is painted orange, while the ten foot tall orange itself is emblazoned with paintings of dancing Mexicans. A weathered neon sign above the building looks out across some nearby fields. 20

Quarterly Speed Bump Magazine | Spring 2012

George's Orange in Dixon, California 21

I can see some framed photographs of anonymous individuals inside the orange itself. As I leave for San Jose, I wonder if this orange has seen its last customer like so many others around California.

Last look at George's Orange in Dixon, California


Quarterly Speed Bump Magazine | Spring 2012

San Jose's giant orange has, since 1947, housed a hot dog stand started by Mark Yuram. Mark's Hot Dogs is an east San Jose institution featuring car service and arguably the best natural-casing hot dogs in Santa Clara county. Around ten years ago Mark's moved about a mile to a new location, and remarkably the owners brought the orange with them (in part because the orange was declared a city landmark in 1992). Today patrons have a variety of dining options. Car service is still offered, but on warm days you might want to eat your hot dog sitting on one of their outdoor tables. Mark's orange is bigger than George's orange, measuring fifteen feet high and 37 feet in diameter, and includes a grill, cash register and even a few seats. It too is painted bright orange. I treat myself to a chili dog and an orange flavored milk shake. Business seems brisk and encouraging, but as I leave I realize that the urban surroundings makes it difficult to imagine what the orange must have originally felt like back in the 1930s and 40s.

Now we're in San Jose


The freedom that many Americans must have felt in the early twentieth century by having new roads and automobiles seems more tangible while looking at the rural landscape around the Dixon orange and listening to its nearby interstate. Perhaps Pohl's giant oranges remind us of a time when travel was more adventurous or glamorous than it seems today. Maybe they remind us of mirages reported by weary desert travelers; fanciful sights that couldn't possibly be real. Unlike mirages, however, the giant oranges are real and don't disappear as you approach them. Most of California's giant oranges have vanished, however. The few that remain serve not only a geographical markers letting motorists know where they are, but also as temporal markers that tell us where we have been and, perhaps, where we are going.


Quarterly Speed Bump Magazine | Spring 2012

Sebastian is an archivist at the California State Archives and a native Californian. He enjoys sleeping, CivilWar reenacting, the gentle art of heraldry, and things that go bump in the night. Want to see more photos of Sebastian's road trip adventures? Go to: 25

ROADSIDE STAND: Save Some for Later


Sometimes know as the pie plant, rhubarb is available in late winter and early spring when most other local fruits are not yet ripe. It's beautiful color and perky flavor offer welcome relief to the sometimes colorless days of winter. Rhubarb is pretty sour and needs a nearly equal amount of sugar. Don't eat any of the leafy parts (the leaves have a high oxalic content and may also contain anthraquinone glycosides: toxic and poisonous!) but the stalks are just fine and yummy too. You may want to pull off the strings if you find the stalks to be very tough when you cut them. Raspberry Rhubarb Jam Makes 2 cups

12 ounces raspberries (fresh or frozen) 6 ounces rhubarb, chopped into berry-sized pieces 18 ounces sugar Let fruit mascerate in sugar for half an hour. Then, over medium heat, let the mixture boil until it thickens to a pleasing jam consistency (about 1/2 hour), stirring occasionally to make sure it doesn't stick or burn. Store cooled jam in covered, clean jars in the refrigerator. Great on bagels with cream cheese.

Rhubarb Syrup

Makes just over a cup Cook 4 cups of rhubarb in a tiny amount of water until soft and jucy. Pass through a food mill then add 3/4 cups sugar to the juice. Bring to a boil until sugar dissolves. Store syrup in a tightly sealed bottle. Good on pancakes or add two tablespoons of syrup to a glass of seltzer water for a refreshing drink.

The Fork:

Cook Something For Yourself


Quarterly Speed Bump Magazine | Spring 2012

Ah, Spring. Asparagus is plentiful and, hopefully, local. Rhubarb is making its ruby presence felt. And, if you feel like making a light but satisfying meal, you'll want to try these recipes. For a spring picnic, these dishes travel nicely--the pasta tastes great hot or at room temperature. Cavatappi with Chicken and Asparagus (Pictured next page) Serves 6

½ pound cavatappi pasta Cook pasta until al dente in boiling salted water, save some of the pasta water to thin out the sauce if necessary, then drain. 1 ½ pounds asparagus Remove tough ends then cut on the bias into one inch long pieces. Simmer bias-cut pieces in 1 ½ cups chicken broth until tender. Set aside. 1 pound skinless, boneless chicken breast, poached in poaching liquid (below) Poaching liquid: 2 quarts water juice and rind of 1 lemon 1 bayleaf 1 teaspoon whole pepper corns 2 peeled garlic cloves sprigs of fresh herbs (I like marjoram or thyme) 1 teaspoon of kosher salt the ends of the asparagus spears Let cool, then chop chicken into bite-size pieces. Sauce: 1 tablespoon olive oil 6 ounces mushrooms (at minimum), sliced 1 large shallot, minced 4 tablespoons butter ¼ cup flour 3 cups milk 2 tablespoons finely chopped fresh herbs (basil and parsley) salt freshly ground black pepper Add 1 tablespoon of olive oil to a skillet over medium-high heat. Add the sliced mushrooms and shallot. Sauté until mushrooms are tender, about 5 minutes. Melt 4 tablespoons butter in with the mushroom mixture over medium heat. Add flour and stir 2 minutes. Gradually whisk in milk. Stir over medium heat until sauce thickens, about 5 minutes. Stir in chopped herbs and season to taste with salt and pepper. Remove from heat. Toss pasta, chicken, and asparagus with the mushroon herb sauce. Thin with extra pasta water as needed. Serve with Recotta Focaccia. 29


Quarterly Speed Bump Magazine | Spring 2012

Ricotta Focaccia

Makes 1 dozen squares 2 ¼ teaspoons (1 packet) active dry yeast ½ cup warm water pinch of sugar 1 cup white whole wheat flour 1½ cups all-purpose flour ¾ teaspoon kosher salt ¼ teaspoon baking soda 2 tablespoons sugar ¾ cup ricotta cheese ¼ cup olive oil 1 egg, slightly beaten Soften yeast in the warm water with the pinch of sugar in a medium bowl. In the meantime, combine the dry ingredients in a large bowl and make a well in the center of the mixture. Beat together the rest of the wet ingredients with the yeast mixture once the yeast has bubbled. Then gradually add the wet ingredients to the dry mixture. Knead until the dough is smooth and elastic. Shape into a ball and place in a well-oiled bowl. Cover and let rise until double--about 1 hour. Punch down and press into a well-oiled 9"x13" pan. Cover and let rise for 40 minutes. Press your fingers into the top of the dough to form the typical dimples of focaccia bread then brush top with 1-2 teaspoons of olive oil. Bake at 350° F until nicely golden brown--about 40 minutes. Cut into squares to serve.

Rustic Rhubarb Pie Serves 6-8

3 cups rhubarb chopped into 1 inch lengths (about 1 pound) 1 cup sugar plus one tablespoon, reserved 3 tablespoons flour zest of one orange 1 tablespoon butter 1/3 recipe of Favorite Pie Crust (below) Mix 1 cup sugar with the flour. 31

On a piece of parchment paper, roll crust into a 14 inch round--no need to be perfect here, just be approximate and rough edges are fine. In the center of the crust, place half the sugar/flour mixture in a circle. Place rhubarb on top, then sprinkle over the remainder of the sugar/flour. Add the orange zest and then dot with butter. Fold the edges of the crust up and over the rhubarb so that you have approximately an 8 inch pie. Leave some uncovered rhubarb in the center for good looks. Sprinkle the reserved 1 tablespoon of sugar over the top. Transfer pie on parchment paper to a rimmed baking sheet. Bake at 425° F for 20 minutes then reduce temperature to 350° F and bake for 25 minutes more or until crust is golden brown. Let cool slightly before slicing and serving. Top each slice with cardamom whipped cream (below) when ready to serve.

Favorite Pie Crust Makes three crusts

Note:You can use 3 cups of all-purpose flour instead of two different flours or play with the ratio of all-purpose to whole wheat. Below is what works best for me. This recipe makes three pie crusts--enough for one double crust pie of your choice plus one pie shell. 2 cups all-purpose flour 1 cup whole wheat pastry flour 1 cup shortening (I like one without hydrogenated oil) ½ cup (1 stick) unsalted butter ½ teaspoon salt 1 egg, slightly beaten 1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar 5 tablespoons cold water In a food processor mix the flours, shortening, butter, and salt until just combined (you still want lumps). Quickly pulse in the wet ingredients until the dough just barely comes together (visible pieces of butter and shortening are desireable). Divide dough into thirds, place on plastic wrap, and press into 7 inch disks. Chill until workable-about 30 minutes--or freeze until you need pie crust. Works great for both sweet and savory pies.

Cardamom Whipped Cream Plenty for 6-8 servings

½ cup heavy whipping cream 2 teaspoons sugar ¹/8 teaspoon ground cardamom Beat cream, cardamom, and sugar in a large bowl until soft peaks form.


Quarterly Speed Bump Magazine | Spring 2012 33

On the Corner

D.H. (David Herbert) Lawrence was a modernist English novelist, artist, poet, and critic who lived from 1885-1930. You may be more familiar with him for his once-considered-racy novels such as Women in Love and Lady Chatterly's Lover. "The Enkindled Spring" was first published in his 1916 volume of poetry, Amores. More conventional than his later poems (I mean, really, it rhymes!), "The Enkindled Spring" still brings nature to the fore. Lawrence is generally concerned that civilization is becoming more unnatural and dehumanizing so spring and this poem must be an considered an antidote. Read it and see...

The Enkindled Spring by D. H. Lawrence

This spring as it comes bursts up in bonfires green, Wild puffing of emerald trees, and flame-filled bushes, Thorn-blossom lifting in wreaths of smoke between Where the wood fumes up and the watery, flickering rushes. 35

I am amazed at this spring, this conflagration Of green fires lit on the soil of the earth, this blaze Of growing, and sparks that puff in wild gyration, Faces of people streaming across my gaze.


Quarterly Speed Bump Magazine | Spring 2012

And I, what fountain of fire am I among This leaping combustion of spring? My spirit is tossed About like a shadow buffeted in the throng Of flames, a shadow that's gone astray, and is lost. 37

At The Crossroads:

Puzzle Pages

Cryptoquote Each letter in the original quote has been replaced by a different letter. To solve the puzzle, you must determine the original lettering.




Go to


answers next issue (answers to the Winter Check out the above web page for th

Pile-Up: A Scrambled Letters Game by Scott Wendt



from-the-mag for printable puzzle pages.

r 2011/2012 puzzles wouldn't fit in this issue. he answers to those puzzles as well).


Interchange: Get Ready to Read

My spring is full of gardening and wanting to garden. The selected reading material reflects a garden grab bag. Some are fluffy and ephemeral. Some are educational. At least one will keep you coming back for more. There's something here for every mood you might experience in this most changeable of seasons, spring.

First, the Fluff Ever read Frances Hodgson Burnett's The Secret Garden when you were younger? That's a perennial favorite. In The Forgotten Garden, Kate Morton's grown up version of the tale, a little girl (named Nell by the family who takes her in) is found on the docks in Australia in 1913 not remembereing who she is or where she came from. She grows to adulthood and starts on a quest to find out who she really is. But, her task is interrupted and it's left to her granddaughter to carry on the search. There are three parts to the storyline: the granddaughter's story, Nell's story, and her first family's story. Some darkness lurks around this garden's edges but it's pretty much a light (though lengthy) and quick read. Heck, Frances Hodgson Burnett makes a walk on appearance; you wouldn't want to miss that, would you? Perfect to read out in the spring sunshine after your gardening tasks are done...don't forget the sunscreen. In Wild Designs by Katie Fforde when Althea loses her job, she decides she'll just make a go of being a garden designer. A gardening contest comes at just the right time and of course, there's the man who owns the greenhouse she's been secretly borrowing for her plant 40

Quarterly Speed Bump Magazine | Spring 2012

production. Happy endings all around but you knew that. This one's firmly aimed at the romance novel reader but will appeal to anyone who likes domestic fiction because of the well developed characters and more humor than your average "chick lit." This was one of Katie Fforde's earlier novels and the one that firmly hooked me as a fan. Give one of her books a try on one of those rainy spring days when it's too soggy to garden but you really wish you could. Now We're Getting Serious I can't think of a better place to read the poems of Robert Hass (rhymes with grass) than outdoors in the California he loves-particularly Pt. Reyes, the coast, the Sierra--or even under an apple tree in your own garden or someone else's. Hass's poetry is free verse but full of the imagery--not like some free verse that I'd swear is just ordinary prose formatted differently--that makes

poetry last. The themes of nature recur as do love, loss, life, and death. Hass was US Poet Laureate back in the '90s and I think he was good poetry ambassador; you'll find his poetry accessible. The Apple Trees at Olema is a good place to start as it's a retrospective collection of previously published poems with a front section of newer works. Perfect for contemplative times in spring and on into summer. Learn Something Weeds: In Defense of Nature's Unloved Plants is the kind of rambling read that I enjoy-the kind that touches on a myriad of subjects while using (in this case) weeds as a jumping off point. Richard Mabey makes a case for weeds as part of the planet's immune system...moving into brownfields and bringing life back to abused land. He notes that there are few (but the few are horrible like kudzu in the American South or prickly pear in Australia) weeds that are really out of control and explains why and how plants become weeds (it's a cultural construct to some extent). In sum, weeds are a sign of humanity's presence and disturbance of the ecosystem. An English perspective on weeds but relevant to the entire world and definitely food for thought.

journalist, of course). His first published book (1991) documents his battle to create order out of the chaos, impose his own will, or leave nature alone on the land around his house in New Jersey. Of course, along the way, we learn all sorts of social history tidbits on suburbia, land ownership, gardening politics, and on and on. This is a precursor to his other books documenting humanity's relationship (or disassociation) with the earth. You will be inspired to get outside, note the changing of the seasons, and think about gardening. ———

Frances Hodgson Burnett's The Secret Garden is worth another look if you haven't read it since you were a kid.

I'm a Michael Pollan fan (if you haven't read Omnivore's Dilemma or The Botany of Desire, that's a bandwagon you should get on and we'll discuss them later) and the quietly composed Second Nature is what first drew me to his writing. Before Pollan became the unwitting spokesperson for the sustainable food movement, he became a gardener (and always a 41

Library List Books on biking can be found in the 796 section of the Dewey Decimal System hanging out with the other books on outdoor sports. Don't forget to wear your helmet if you go biking. If you just feel like reading poetry, head to the 811 and other 8XX sections. You'll find lots to ponder there. Try a new poet in the month of April. Baseball is America's sport but books on baseball are going to be with all the other outdoor sports books in the 796 section. Books on Fantasy Baseball will be there too. Also check to see if your library has magazines on baseball-usually shelved separately from the books. Books on birds (like the California Quail) will be in the 598 section but I guess we've been over that before. If you're inspired tohit the road just like our intrepid Sebastian Nelson, head first to the California section: Dewey Decimal 979.4. Vernacular architecture more your thing? Admire works in the 720s. Manuals on how to embroider as well as embroidery patterns are located in the 746 section of the Dewey Decimal system. As always, if you want to read up on ballroom dance before you hit the floor, you need to be in the 793 section of the Dewey Decimal System.


Quarterly Speed Bump Magazine | Spring 2012

Grouplove Never Trust a Happy Song A pop-y indie-rock group whose songs make be want to dance while I'm typing--probably because they remind me of what I listened to when I was in college (we won't say when that is but perhaps you can guess after listening?). Favorite tracks: "Itchin' on a Photograph" and "Tongue Tied."

The Drums Portamento Many of these songs sound similar or even familiar on first listen. Then you realize you've been infected with an earworm. Favorite tracks: "Book of Revelations" and "How It Ended."

Dum Dum Girls Only in Dreams Influenced by Sixties girl bands in look and sound, the Dum Dum Girls sing of sadder and darker times--an interesting juxtaposition of sound and meaning. You'll find yourself tapping your toes anyway to this retro album. Favorite tracks: "In My Head" and "Heartbeat."

Off the Beaten Tracks

Pop music might be your summer fare but I look at it as a reward for making it through the dark times of winter. Like most genres, pop is a little difficult to define--all these albums simply have pop elements--but I look at pop songs as fun, upbeat, catchy, and not too cerebral. Some of these songs will stick in your head but that's okay; it's a new season. Try on new music as you slough off your winter sweaters. Dance around, feel carefree, and HAVE FUN. You deserve it.

Tennis Young & Old Decidedly the most pop-y album of the five reviewed here. This husband and wife team produces clear and youthful vocals with lots of keyboard and bass plus an upbeat tempo. Favorite tracks: "Traveling" and "Petition."

Youth Lagoon The Year of Hibernation Dreamlike and haunting is the only way to describe this work by young artist Youth Lagoon (aka Trevor Powers). He sings in falsetto, writes some dark lyrics, but there's an undeniable upbeat sound. Favorite tracks: "Cannons" and "Daydream." 43

Photo by B. Drawdy



t i u o l a n ns U

Essays in Dance

by Jessica Herrick

Dedicated to Todd Ohlander and Chris Martell. We will tango again, amongst the clouds.

“What’s your favorite dance?” That is the question most often asked when people find out that I am a ballroom dancer. Some ballroom fanatics may have difficulty answering this, as each dance has its own flavor, its own character, so that choosing between them can be like picking an apple over an orange…it just depends on what you feel like at the time. I, however, have an answer instantly ready: Argentine tango. Hands down. Best. Dance. Ever. 45

Argentine tango is therefore a dance of many moods. It can be playful or passionate, seductive or solemn, steamy or angry, grandiose or whimsical. At its heart, tango is simply a couple walking around a dance floor together in an embrace, trying to harmonize their movements with each other and the music, trying to connect with each other. Tango is viewed by many, including yours truly, as a form of moving meditation. Tango is not danced for the audience. It is danced for the dancers themselves. It demands that each person in the pair live in the NOW. There is no past, there is no future. There is only the next step of the dance, which, as in life, can be completely different than what you anticipate.

B. Drawdy

The beauty of this dance lies in its improvisational and intimate nature. By most accounts, Argentine tango was born in the dockside neighborhoods of Buenos Aries during the last few decades of the nineteenth century. Thousands of immigrants flooded into Argentina during a period of rapid economic growth from about 1880 forward, most of them male. Tango evolved as a form of courtship and flirtation, in an environment where men outnumbered women sometimes 50 to 1. Such high stakes led men to hone their dancing skills with other men, while women, who of course did not want to be left behind their partners in ability, practiced with other women. Both sexes brought their talents out of overcrowded tenements onto the street corners and into bars, bordellos, dance halls, and a wide variety of other social venues.

There are no set steps in Argentine tango, and very few “rules,� all of which are meant to be broken. This intimidates many people, particularly ballroom folk, who love their patterns and steps. I cannot fault this, as I too love the graceful patterns of a waltz, and the sexy steps of a rumba. But in tango, dancers are not limited to a proscribed set of movements. You can dance exactly what the music makes you feel, to any beat that inspires you. A freedom such as this is as exhilarating as it is terrifying. Tango music is as varied as its moods. More traditional tango music, such as that created by Carlos Gardel, Carlos Di Sarli, Juan D’Arienzo, and other talented musicians in the first half of the twentieth century, generally features the sound of a bandoneon (a type of accordion) accompanied by a violin, guitar, or piano. This era of tango music peaked in the late 1940s. A great many tangueros (Argentine tango dancers) still love the feeling that this music evokes.


R. Molavi

As a product of my generation, I prefer the more modern twist that groups such as Tanghetto, Gotan Project, Bajofundo, and Otros Aries have brought to the scene. Their music, often referred to as tango nuevo or neo-tango, is influenced by rock and roll, new age, techno, and electronica. Djimi (my dance partner) and I have found, though, that you can tango to any music which inspires you to move. Two of my favorite pieces of music are Bajofundo’s “Pa’Bailar,” and Salt-nPepa’s “Shoop.” Vastly different genres…one 2000s tango nuevo, and the other 1990s hip-hop. But both with a varied beat structure perfect for the Argentine tango dancer. Tango music, like Argentine tango itself, is constantly evolving, changing. In that sense, tango is alive in a way that many ballroom dances are not. It has not been formalized into a set of steps, a specific tempo, or certain type of music. If, by some hopeful chance, this article or some other influence brings you to venture into a dance

studio for Argentine lessons, be wary of ballroom’s need to categorize every movement. If the instructor starts teaching the “eight count basic,” run, do not walk, out of the class. Argentine tango cannot, should not be reduced to a formula. It is a feeling as much as it is a style of movement. Learning how to move, how to step, how to feel the music, how to connect with one’s partner…those are the important things in dancing Argentine tango. I simply cannot do justice to this dance with mere words. It requires experiencing the dance, the music, the motion, the connection with one’s partner. Consider yourself warned, however…in the words of tango dancer Naomi Hotta, “Tango contains highly addictive ingredients, such as pain, pleasure, passion, excitement, connection, freedom, torment, and bliss. In seven out of ten cases it takes over a person's life.” How lucky I am to be one of the seven.


Jessica Herrick is a regular columnist for Quarterly Speed Bump. Follow her continuing adventures in ballroom dance in our next issue. Contact Jessica at or learn more at 47

Don Quarterly Speed Bump Magazine | Spring 2012

n't forget to enjoy the journey.

Come back around June 20th for our Summer 2012 Issue. Have a great Spring.

Spring 2012 Quarterly Speed Bump Magazine  
Spring 2012 Quarterly Speed Bump Magazine  

A free quarterly magazine full of Things to Do. Articles on ways to help you slow down and relax including hobbies, recipes, and reading.