Category Archives: Love

New Blog Website!!

Hey folks!!

I’ve moved my blog over to a self-hosted site!

Please go to for new blog posts!

In particular, check out my breakdown of California Propositions..starting with Proposition 30:



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Oakland Gems..revisited and newly discovered.

Hola Oakland Fans!

While I was away, taking care of some side-hustle business, I got an interesting response to my Oakland Mystery post!

The spreader of good Oakland news: Justin Kanalakis wrote in to share how he got started on his journey to share  “Who Made Oakland”. Check out his reply below:

To the People of Oakland!

What a phenomenal thread of discussion around this project! This kind of public reaction and curiosity is exactly what the project was meant to inspire.

To cast some light, my name is Justin A. Kanalakis and I found the WHO MADE OAKLAND? book in my Grandfather’s library shortly after he passed. This was a couple years back and I’ve been slowly archiving and condensing the volume into a series of messages that would translate Florence B. Crocker’s message in 1925, into one that speaks to our Oakland today. The original book can be viewed at the Oakland History Room on the 2nd floor of the Oakland Main Library (I encourage anyone who’s interested to visit, take a look).

Initially the project began by wheat-pasting large posters around my neighborhood:
…and passing out smaller posters to local businesses. It has since grown to include a sponsorship by the Downtown Oakland Association which has provided a modest art grant to spread this incredible message to the People of Oakland by any means necessary. As Gene discovered, you can view the initial proposed projects here:
…a lot of the energy thus far has gone into passing out free prints to people on the outskirts of the Saturday Grand Lake Farmers Market (on the corner of LakePark & Lakeshore btwn the Sprint and TMobile buildings) and hanging oversized window displays that include various messages and photography from the original book. The first of which is at 1610 Telegraph (across the street from Van Cleef Cafe), the second is scheduled to cover the HUGE windows of the Newberry building at Telegraph & 19th. There are also banners on light posts at various cross streets of Broadway in Downtown that were just hung, which include Florence’s “Invest, Build, Prosper & Live Happy in Oakland” message. Go check ‘em out when you’re downtown.

As far as the future of the project and how you can get involved, you can contact me direct at with any ideas of how to spread the message. You can also come visit my mobile booth outside the Grand Lake Farmers Market on Saturday’s from 10am – 2pm’ish (I won’t be there this Saturday (10/22), but I’ll be back the following Saturday). I can provide you with various size prints of “To the People of Oakland.” So if you want to take a stack and hang them in your neighborhood and/or to friends/family/neighbors please email me and specify how many you want and what size(s) and I’ll print them up for you.

Thank you all for your interest and support of this project and remember, through putting energy towards making our city a better place to live, work and play, WE ARE ALL GUARDIAN ANGELS OF OAKLAND! Again, feel free to contact me with any ideas you may have to contribute to the project!

Invest, Build, Prosper & Live Happy in Oakland,
Justin A. Kanalakis
– Also visit for more historic Oakland goodness!

Be sure to check out his website..and visit his booth at the Lake Merritt Farmer’s Market! 🙂


Another good find in Oakland is the photographer of this picture:

Daniel is a worldwide traveler, DJ, photographer and a high school teacher/administrator in Oakland. After perusing his photos on Facebook, I immediately fell in love! Visit to learn more about this awesome Oakland Gem who has a mean camera aim.

Later taters..

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Filed under Love, Oakland

Oakland Mystery: who is doing this?

Oakland, have you seen this in your neighborhood?

I first saw this as a wall photo on a friends Facebook Account and thought it was awesome. Now, months later,  I was pleasantly surprised to find this wonderful poster on a pole!  Have you seen this? If not here is what it says:


Dear Friends:

It is up to you what the future of Oakland will be. Oakland is no longer a village. It is a city, a growing one. It is your duty to keep it growing, to keep it prosperous.

Oakland, with it’s wealth, beauty and brilliant future, is an ideal attained by pioneers who struggled for years over innumerable hardships. The cement, the steel, the mortar and glass and the thousand and one things which go into Oakland, was not conceived overnight.

I realize the future of Oakland is far beyond human imagination. I thank you for your wonderful work. So partake of her hospitality and prosperity, invest, build, prosper and live happy in Oakland.

Your well wisher,



Written and Compiled


Florence B. Crocker

Published in Oakland


Clyde Dalton, 1925

My inquiring mind wants to know.. who is doing this??

Is our Guardian Angel Florence B Crocker? Or is Clyde Dalton riding his wheel chair throughout Oakland and putting up posters (no offense but Clyde would be pretty old by now)?

OR is our Guardian Angel someone else altogether. Who are you???

Dear Readers: Have you seen this on your street? Comment and let me know where! Share with your online friends. Lets create an online map!

Dear Guardian Angel: Am I ruining your purpose by posting it on the internets? Let me know. I can delete the post… but I want to help you. I think having an on-line presence would be a great way to help spread your word.   Tell me your plan. Can I help you run around town putting up posters?  I’m nozy..but I won’t tell anybody if you don’t want me to. 🙂

=====UPDATE 9 Hours Later =======

We know the who..sort of. A vender of Grand Lake Farmers Market  and owner of the following website:    is our Guardian Angel.

Gene has posed this question though: “The real question is, did they install any of the associated art/signs, and is any of it still about? It’s a great idea, building on 90-year-old Oakland love.”

What say you readers? Have you seen any artwork associated with this project? I still want to know what neighborhoods have you seen this poster.

The pic of this one is on Moss Avenue in the Grand Lake area.


Filed under Advocacy, Love, Oakland

Happy Birthday to Stephen King

How could you not like a guy who uses THIS as his profile pic?

No not that Stephen King who gives me the willies.  I can’t fool with him. I’m talking about another writer with a great sense of humor, Ulysses Stephen King II, Pastor of Memorial Tabernacle Church in North Oakland California. July 23, 2011, Pastor Stephen King turned __ years old, and this is my special ode to him.

A little background to put this post into context. I don’t feel like I truly was a believer in Jesus Christ until I came to Memorial Tabernacle. My mother did her duty and raised us in Church as much as she could since we moved around a lot. She swears up and down that I enjoyed attending church in Portland when I was young, but I don’t remember it. When I was a teen, attending church wasn’t enforced (and yes we are supposed to make that decision at 12 to continue), but I didn’t.   When I was in college, I didn’t go to church. I didn’t feel it was necessary. I knew God was out there and he was watching over me. He knew my heart.

Memorial Tabernacle Church, Oakland. See that little cross sticking out from the roof. It glows red at night. It used to scare me.

However, I was encouraged by an ex to start attending Memorial Tabernacle, and slowly but surely it became my church home. It was a long process. I used to sit in the back. I would arrive late and leave early. And apparently I wrote on a comment card that I could teach Pastor King a few things about The Bible. (I refuse to remember this.)

Anyway, the small family atmosphere of the church and the leadership of Pastor Stephen King has kept me a member for over 8 years.

Why do I like my Pastor so much? I have a list! Peep this..

1.  He’s just a man who loves to serve God.

If you check out our church website. you might search for a bio for Pastor King. You won’t find one. On the postcards we pass out, there isn’t a picture of Pastor King. He doesn’t have entourage. He doesn’t have a huge house, or expensive car.  He doesn’t boast about himself, attend events promoting himself, or make anything involving the church or representing the church, about him.  He is our shepherd and makes it his business to teach and preach the word of God. That’s it.  The only thing he asks of us members is to bring more members, so that he can bring more people to Christ.

2. He is spiritually led.

He is a Bible scholar. Every sermon, Bible study, church meeting, choir practice, prayer is led by the Holy Spirit. If I ask him a question involving Christianity, he’s probably prayed over it and studied the Word, before giving me an answer.  Ask him for advice, it will probably be from God. Sometimes you will hear something you don’t want to hear..but sometimes, God will tell you something you don’t want to hear. Pastor King is His messenger. Don’t be confused, now!

3. He’s approachable.

Are you your Pastor’s Facebook friend (1 of 80, not 8,000)? Can you send him a text message and he will answer you back? (Do you even know your Pastor’s cell phone number?).  Can you go to the movies with your Pastor? Do you share books from his library? (I still have one of your books, Pastor..I think..) Do you feel comfortable sharing whatever is on your heart with your Pastor?  I DO!!

4. He supports my efforts.

I coordinate the Health Ministry Program at Memorial Tabernacle. When I heard of an opportunity to get grant funding for a program to encourage healthy eating and physical activity within the church and asked my Pastor if I could apply for it, he didn’t blink an eye. When the program asks that he preach about health topics on the pulpit and participate in Health events, he happily cooperated.

I am in no way shape or form a model Christian, however I am a visible member of the church because he lets me serve in a way that fits my own personal gifts and the needs of the church. He supports my efforts to grow in Christ, along with everyone else who is a member.

Another Facebook Photo. I'm thinking Pastor was a little like Huey when he was younger.

5. He’s funny ..and has a sense of Humor.

The man is hilarious and appreciates good humor.

How can you not like a man who enjoys The Boondocks?

I’d continue..but I gotta get ready for church!!  Memorial Tabernacle Church : Morning Worship Services, every Sunday 10:30 am. You should come by and check this awesome man of God out!

I should probably include a bible passage in here (Yes, I am a work in progress). Below is an excerpt from a letter from Paul to a church in Colossae.   I am sure Pastor King feels this in his heart for members at Memorial Tabernacle. Well here is my prayer for you Pastor King. Especially in bold. 🙂  Happy Birthday!!

Colossians: 9-12
9 For this reason, since the day we heard about you, we have not stopped praying for you. We continually ask God to fill you with the knowledge of his will through all the wisdom and understanding that the Spirit gives,[e] 10 so that you may live a life worthy of the Lord and please him in every way: bearing fruit in every good work, growing in the knowledge of God, 11 being strengthened with all power according to his glorious might so that you may have great endurance and patience, 12 and giving joyful thanks to the Father, who has qualified you to share in the inheritance of his holy people in the kingdom of light.

Share with me friends! What do you appreciate about your Pastor and/or church? Even if you don’t go to church, what helps you to feel spiritual?

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It takes a village..but the village needs encouragement.

Neighbors help to weed the Marcom Rose Garden, Oakland, on Earth Day in April.

I don’t agree with everything our new mayor is doing in regards to Oakland’s budget, however I applaud her efforts at community engagement. Jean Quan writes an informal case study of her experience at an East Oakland neighborhood  in the following Huffington Post San Francisco article.  During her campaign she visited a predominantly African American community and made significant changes by simply showing that she cares about what happens there.

If you are at least 30, I am sure you remember having your neighbors,  family friends, or other adults outside of your parents playing an important part of your upbringing. Your ‘hood may have been a relatively safe place for you to exist, because your neighbors came together and made it so. If that wasn’t the case, you probably heard about that rare phenomenom from older people.

I say rare, because it doesn’t seem to be like that anymore. In “rough” neighborhoods, it seems like residents don’t care or are afraid to care about what happens there. This could be because of fear of violence and retribution or lack of education and efficacy to make change in their community. But because the residents themselves don’t seem to care, it makes it easier for neglect and more violence to occur.

This is why I LOVE what the Mayor is doing. By doing something as small as getting 15 people to help clean up a neighborhood that she doesn’t live in, it shows that SHE cares enough about them help keep their streets clean. By giving them self-reporting tools and having the city and police be responsive (that’s key!), she helps them not to be afraid to care as well.

In the two months before our outreach, no one in the neighborhood called the anonymous drug hotline to report drug hotspots. In the past six months, the City’s drug hotline has received 103 calls and police have made several arrests. More residents are also reporting illegal dumping, graffiti, pot holes, broken street lights and other infrastructure issues at almost twice the rate of the previous year. In six months, there have been 507 calls for service, as opposed to 690 for all of 2010.

..In this time of budget cuts at all levels which are tearing the safety net apart, we must engage citizens in every community to join us in providing basic services and help for all neighborhoods

via Jean Quan: Strong Neighborhoods Are Safe Neighborhoods.

Neighborhoods that are upper class, clean and safe, are that way because the residents care to keep it so. They watch their streets, they make sure that it’s clean, they watch over each others houses and children, and they have a good relationship with the police. My somewhat middle class neighborhood is that way..and as expensive as my apartment may be, I will gladly pay to stay.

Residents come together to create a community garden at Memorial Tabernacle Church, North Oakland.

All neighborhoods in Oakland can be the same way.. they just need a little encouragement! A small intervention can make a world of difference.

Critics might have a problem with bigwigs like the Mayor swooping down on the ‘hood and making a show of “doing their good deed” to get or stay elected.  Was she really responsible for helping to change that neighborhood or is she just taking credit? Does she really care about what happens after she leaves?

Who knows. But at the end of the day, does it really matter as long as the real change that she made was motivating the people to care enough to take ownership  for themselves?

What do you think? What have you done to make sure your neighborhood is safe? Do you even know your neighbor? Why do you think it’s so hard to get us to advocate for ourselves?


Filed under Advocacy, Love, Oakland, Politics

Dear 16 year old me..

In twitter verse there is a topic #twitteryour16yearoldself and it got me thinking..

I have complained about this before: wishing some empathetic person pulled me aside and told me things about being an adult. I feel that I have made some really silly mistakes in my time, which could have been avoided if someone warned me. Because of this, I make it a priority to be a mentor to young people and give advice to any one who asks. Sharing is caring and the easiest way to give back to your community.

So, if I had a chance to encounter myself at the age of 16, what would I say?

I can’t just say one thing. I have so many!

Here is my list:

1. Develop a relationship with God.
2. Don’t take your mother for granted. You two are more alike than you think. Take the time to talk to her more, you won’t regret it.
3. Don’t spend all your money on slurpees.
4. Go running with your’s easier while you are young.
5. Eat your vegetables. Canned spinach isn’t the only kind of spinach there is!
6. Don’t take what people say in high school so seriously, you will meet your lifelong friends in college.
7. Don’t get a credit card…not yet. WAIT!!!
8. Learn how to drive.
9. Walking long distances and Reading becomes your drug of choice. Thank you for starting early.
10. You will get caught jaywalking. Look both ways before you cross the street. Turn down the headphones.
11. You are allergic to medicines that contain sulfanomides.
12. A Black man can be President. Yes HE CAN!
13. You don’t have to be a doctor to work in the field of science.
14. Berkeley is hard. REAL HARD
15. Run for student council president
16. Don’t be afraid of boys, not all of them lie.
17. Don’t get a perm.
18. Take every opportunity you can to travel.
19. Practice wearing heels.
20. Dampen your tendencies towards procrastination NOW!

What would you say to yourself?

Have a great weekend!!

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Good News about Oakland!!

I LOVE my city. I am constantly asked to move to another location in order to live closer to family.  My answer is usually no, and folks don’t understand why.

Oakland is more than just what you hear about on the news. We all know how slanted the news can be. What’s the latest headline: A disaster, a crime, or juicy gossip of some kind. Hardly ever any good news.

And when it comes to Oakland, it’s almost always bad.

That’s why I appreciate this article by the LA times so much. It highlights neighborhoods in Oakland that are the ‘hot spots’ for shopping, eating, and even a little exercise.

Oakland is not perfect, but it is home. Check out the good news about Oakland, and hopefully, it will inspire you to come and visit.

A thoroughly modern Oakland –

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My Purple Banana.

UPDATE —  June 7th, 2012

In honor of  Prince Birthday I am reposting my experiences my experiences at a concert that I attended on in Feb. 2011. I heart this man a lot. Read about why below!

Happy #PurpleThursday!


Last night, I went to the Prince concert and it was one of the best experiences I have ever had!!

I post this blog under the category, “Love” because quite simply, I love this little man!

He is sexy, crazy, weird, smart, quiet, shy, mature, funky, strange, soulful, artistic, mysterious and quite simply a genius! He is the only man who can pull off looking ridiculous and sexy at the same time.

He’s my purple banana..and would be glad to be thrown into a truck with him.

I named my laptop Purple Rain in his honor.

What I find most wonderful about him is his sense of humor. My favorite song of his is Pink Cashmere. It’s not one of those songs that is played constantly on the you have to be a true fan to know about this (which I am).

Pink Cashmere: What’s that all about? It’s about a man that will do anything for the woman he loves. It has everything, his sexy falsetto, his deep speaking voice, romantic vocals, acoustic guitar, violins. He comes out of his shell, he does things he has never done before..he prays and thanks GOD. It’s epic!

My favorite part of the whole song is his last verse at the end …

“Cause you got to know..

How I feel about you, babe.

How I feeeell about you babe.

Gonna make a little pretty coat

I gonna count every second,

every minute, each and every hour of every day

Til you come on back, you come on back

to your little man!”

He refers to himself as a little man. He’s perfectly aware of himself and that is soooo sexy!

Then comes the hot violin and guitar solo. AWESOME. If I EVER get in a car and drive- it will be listening to this song along the coast of California.. with Prince by my side. ( A dream worth having, no?)

I am sure Prince would not approve of this song being posted on vimeo or on this blog..but just to give you a taste.  However, I plead that you BUY it off of Itunes. This song deserves your $.99. Trust.

Anyway, the SF Chronicle writes  a pretty accurate review of last night’s show. (Except folks bringing their little kids..WTH!!)

It was wonderful. If you ever get a chance to go to one of his concerts you should go.

Prince in Oakland: The 10 Craziest Things About Last Night’s Show, Santana Cameo Included – San Francisco Music – All Shook Down.


Filed under humor, Love, Random

Wednesday’s wee little chuckle.

Ladies!! Ever get an inappropriate approach from a sketchy gentleman?

This blog post by a gal named Cheekie made me smile… I can relate, but at the same time I can’t.  Click here to find out what I’m talking about.

Pinch My Cheekie | With cheeks you wanna pinch… but don’t..

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Oakland welcomes a new branch library | A Better Oakland

As most of those who are acquainted with me know, I am an avid reader and spent most of my young life at somebody’s library.

With that in mind, I am excited to share with you that the new East Oakland Branch is opening this weekend!!

I can’t go this weekend, but I am definitely going to visit. You should, too.  “A Better Oakland” talks about it here.

Oakland welcomes a new branch library | A Better Oakland.

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