Monday, July 30, 2007

worm to Wyrm

my thoughts are all over the map. for a while, i've felt scattered and unfocused but now things are coming clearer. there've been lots of cool new folks over here, including an olde buddy from KY, and all the interaction with positive people and my thoughts racing out my mouth to them has whushed out the cobwebs. so bwaHA! i can write again. this is what i did this morning.
Not acting myself
Or anybody else
I stagger along in the darkness

Trapped in a story
That feels really borey
I squirm like a worm
On a fish hook

Earlier today, this worm realized
That his writhing couldn’t get him
Off the hook
& he refused to believe
that life could not be better
for a trout in the sacred brook
below (he’d read it in a book somehow)
Smashing his forhead
Onto to the wicked barb
Of the instrument of his torture

He shredded the blindfold
From over his third eye
He pulled the pie
Down outta the sky
& as the fisher-Man yelped and ran,
the Wyrm levitated off to adventure.

Saturday, July 28, 2007

real post coming soon! in the meantime, the Badge Man is finagalling to get to this workshop on building a quick, small, strawbale house. can i get a heavens yesh? me a small crew could throw up one of these anywhere in the Midwest, with a couple hundred bucks and a few days!

Wednesday, July 25, 2007

Animals In Our Urban Homestead update: vertebrates!

First, not in our yard, but a block from here, we've seen a pair of snakes sunning on some leaves that had accumulated between the base of a stoplight and a fence. They slithered under the stoplight when Kid Khalila and I approached. I suppose the people driving by all day long have no idea what they're missing. Hooray for bikes. More recently--Sharqi saw a snake slithering into the mulberry bush right here out by the street! It was almost caught on film while she was making a li'l video about our chaos garden.

Second, in the alley that runs down the middle of the next block over, I was riding around looking for Khalila's missing bike, and saw a turtle (double-take, yes, a turtle) turtling along the alley. It withdrew into its shell when I stopped to look at it. I went back to look for it later but didn't see it. I don't know how much water it would need (not sure what kind it was) but it looked like there was plenty of alley foliage for it to hide in and munch on.

Third. We have cats who sometimes like to stay outside overnight. So we've been leaving food & water out for them so they don't wake us up way early in the morning. The food attracted a reticent stray male cat (Groniger Whitefoot) whom we're trying to catch so we can have his sprayer "fixed" so to speak. (Our cat door had a funny smell on it one day.)

But one night I looked out and saw a young opossum chowing on the cat food. It was so cute! In that ugly, possum kinda way. So I stopped leaving cat food out back and moved it to the front porch, like right where a lot of the cats hang out, and where people come and go all day. Then just the other night before bed I turned on the porch light to see if any cats wanted in one last time, and there was a young opossum--now larger--chowing on the cat food. It sort of hesitantly ambled away in that lazy possum way. Our calico kitten (the cuddle-lion) was relaxing on the porch swing while possum helped hirself to the cat food.

So, no more cat food out overnight.

So, I looked up possums, and found there are a couple societies online dedicated to educating us about these mostly harmless critters & helping hurt or orphaned ones. Apparently, leaving pet food out is one way to attract them. (D'ohh!) But, I don't think I want to try to repel or otherwise get rid of our new friend. They like to eat "pests" like slugs, snails, cockroaches, mice, and rats, as well as carrion.

As The National Opossum Society informs us:
  • Opossums regularly consume insects, snails, worms, rats, mice, and carrion. They can actually help keep your yard free of these pests.
  • They are far less of a health risk to you or your children or pets than nearly any other wild animal. By eliminating the opossums, you may create a niche that will be filled by a less desirable species. Rabies and viral diseases (e.g., distemper) are practically unheard of in the opossum. [low body temperature]
  • They are exceptionally non-aggressive and non-destructive. They will not dig up your lawn, chew wood or wires, or create burrows. They do not "attack" anything that is not a food source, and is not threatening them. If you keep prey animals such as birds, rodents, or rabbits, you must keep them secure in their enclosures from any wild animal. Adult cats and adult opossums generally get along together, or ignore one another. Dogs are a serious threat to opossums, but not vice versa.
  • Just because you see an opossum around does not mean that they are the ones causing your trouble. Opossums are much less secretive than animals that cause damage, and you are more likely to see them, when it is actually another animal doing the deed. It is very unusual for them to be the culprits of any damage to property or lawns.
So I'm becoming a fan of these mammal cousins of ours. Maybe it should be our totem animal here at the odhouse. They are the only North American marsupial! They have opposable thumbs on their feet! Their tails are prehensile, for help in climbing and carrying, but they do not hang from their tails as portrayed in the TV cartoons I recall from my childhood.

They're said to be the size of a cat, but I'm sure I've seen some pretty big ones in the past. Maybe they were pregnant, or well-fed suburban possums. This youngish one on our porch was about the size of a year-old cat. I don't care if it helps itself to our compost (rotting onions ... mmmm ...) but to encourage it to eat pests I'll keep the pet food inside. They're also said to be nomadic, so I expect it'll move along and find new food, water, and nesting sites someday. BTW, swimming pools can be a danger if an opossum tries to drink, falls in, and cannot climb out.

Nomadic, omnivorous foragers, opposable thumbs, non-aggressive ... sounds like an ideal post-civilliesed vagabond tribe to me!

Sunday, July 22, 2007

the middle name game

Sara tagged us (me) for the middle name game. First I must post the rules, copied from her post:

Paraphrased rules: 1) post the rules, 2) list one fact that is somehow relevant to your life for each letter of your middle name, 3) blog your list, 4) tag one person for each letter of your middle name, 5) comment-notify each taggee.

Hakim Baker doesn't have a middle name, but the guy at the keyboard here does.

T: Thomas was my Grampa's name. I like it. I like Doubting Thomas (Grampa was a skeptic/atheist/rationalist) and I like the Gospel of Thomas (I'm an agnostic gnostic, to put it one way).

H: Hard work is easier when I'm doing it for my community & love, as opposed to for a boss or money. (Community means people I like to be with.)

O: Orange is the color of the monarch butterflies in our yard, feasting on the milkweed, instinctively heading forth on their migrations for what they do not know. I guess they have faith. Or maybe they know but just let me think they don't.

M: Monday we start "eating only from our yard" day. I have no idea what that will mean for breakfast in eleven hours.

A: Alienation only barely begins to describe how far apart we are, how much we could have that we don't. There are so many people on the Internet, whom I like so much, whom I'll probably never see, it makes my heart ache. Alas. It's like dard, the beauty of the pain of longing.

S: Silence is how they worship God in the church I was raised in (Religious Society of Friends aka Quakers) (I'm from a very liberal strain of Quakers ... there's a few different kinds out there.) I'm not active in a Quaker scene any more--I, um, commune through a variety of means and like to use as many names for the Source as I can think of--but silence is useful and important. Maybe I'm more comfortable with it 'cause I'm an introvert anyway. Just in the past year I've learned "The proper response to a fool is silence" from this dude, who knows what he's talking about.

Friday, July 20, 2007

damnit, i've got this crazy plan in my head that won't let up! planting fruit and nut trees on the no-personland above the ghetto, below ritzville, on the wooded hillsides of Cincinnati. i feel like one of the Shao Lin monks who dedicates an hour a day to learning how to move boulders with a bunch, or jump 15 feet straight up in the air. little by little, this scheme is creeping towards manifestation. no need to be puritanical about it, just steady and true.

Tuesday, July 17, 2007

zines: Village Magazine is all you want, and more; Just Slingin' it with Modesto Anarcho's new zine

if you're interested in an earth-respectin', ecstasy induced, professionally produced zine about radically healthy independent living in the ghetto, check out the Village Magazine. Hakim can hook you up. i've read #1, workin' on #2 and #3, and they got poetry, rants, herstorical reflections, and even some D.I.Y. it's what a good zine should have in it.

i just sent away from the Modesto Anarcho zines, which i am also very excited about. particularly anticipating #3- check out the description! from

Modesto Anarcho 3
April 2007
Contains articles on surveillance technology, community gardening, "Rogues Against the State" essay, and local news. Also contains a DIY guide to slinging.

holy methane-producing cow crap! they be slingin'!?!

Sunday, July 08, 2007

magic (un)school bus

last weekend i went on a neo-tribal bus excursion with the Bears. lemme pour you a glass.

i got bored, so i hollared at the Bears and biked over there. just kicked it, with them parents and the 5 kids. i'm a lil older than the eldest of them, and they treat me as if i'm a well-liked uncle. i dig it. we ate dinner and goofed around, watched the Big Lebowski. it's a well-told story, and very entertaining. set the tone for my whole weekend.

MG had gotten an open call to party, by some other herb garden. that night i extended the invitation to my hosts. "You (Bears) want to go to a giant party tommorrow night? It's supposedly gonna be 300 people on a Goldenseal Farm. Pizzas made there, we bring toppings. Then we dance around a bonfire at 3 o'clock in the morning, stay the night and leave after brunch on Sunday." acourse they were down.

it came out that we Mountain Gardeners needed a ride, and that Papa would want to bring folks too. as we thought about it, his eyes sparkled, and he sqirmed and giggled and arched his fingers. "Maybe we could take the bus! I'll have to ask Steph." i had registered the presence of a yellow blob in the far reaches of their yard, but junk cars are such a common site around here, ya know?

We walked over the patch of ground that used to be the barn, under the ramparts of a new deck, to where Steph was chasing chickens or children or someit. "Steph," Papa Bear said, nonchalantly, "I'm taking the bus to a big party tommorrow night." He was trying to hoodoo it over on her, pass it off like a done deal. Didn't work, of course. it would take some powerful mind tricks, or a gang of thugs, to browbeat a momma like that into anything. Eventually she agreed, though, and watched the littler ones when we went off to play.

The next morning was magic. I woke early and took a bath in the crick, and this school of small fish came over and nibbled my skin. Fish kisses. They were helping me get clean, like those little white birds, what are they, oxpeckers, on the backs of rhinos. Several cars passed without responding to the large naked dude right beside them, and I was not afraid. As Sharqui pointed out, the PPSM (pigs per square mile) reading is pretty low in the countryside, and the Baptists and Quakers ain't gonna say shit.

When I returned, we all entered the bus. Its previous incarnation was as a Mountain Justice Summer mobile, so twas already well on way down the unschooling path before Papa Bear converted it to run on veggie oil. We hooked up some speakers, swabbed the deck, topped off the fluids, took out the trash and squashed the wasps that were taking holiday above the front door. She was in good hands, so I went and helped Steph in the garden for a few hours. All aboard at 5 o'clock. We made the rounds and picked up all the local crazies, including Shaman Lee, who's a new character in ma story, and busted off into the unknown. The bus heaved and hawed to the beat of Tupac and laughter.

It started to get trippy. Shaman Lee didn't stop talking, neither did Herbal Gerbil/Crazy Steve. Pearls were richoteing all over the place! I learned that the local dump recovers the methane, burns it for electicity that goes into the grid and uses the waste heat to raise tilapia. Pleasant anticipation grew and grew and grew as we nibbled on snacks and watched the changing countryside. I remember feeling that exhalted state, where ya remove your scalp and the gods come on down to frollick in the hills and dales of the ridges of your brain, as easy as if you were just tipping your hat to 'em. The great psychonauts always rip on Mircea Eliade, because even though he knew his shit about ancient spititual mystery shit he said that using entheogens was a sign that the spirituality of the culture was waning, cuz they should be able to do straight-edge trances and spirit journeys. Not right, but he's wasn't wrong, either, becasue you CAN do crazy shit with your mind. This Iranian dude in the latest issue of Fortean Times grew a horn on the back of his head because he was really afraid a horn might grow on da back of his head. But what I was saying before, I thought to myself that I was was experiencing straighedge ecstasy again, and each time it gets less harsh and the comedown is better.

We got way back in a holler, and started goin' by backwoods shacks and over less maintained roads. It was a rollercoaster, ta be sure! People were yelping and whooping. then we had to pile out, cuz we were there. a ton of cars, a lil vegetable garden, and people playing volleyball. there was a middle ages jam band playin', and people were scarfing down homemade pizza.

i'm hot blooded, so i headed down the hill, way down the hill, and plooped into the river. it was the french broad, and it was slow, wide and shallow. algae grew on the rocks, and the warm water and tree studded valley, filled with laughing and splashing people, reminded me of what Cincinnati and the Ohio River Valley looked like 200 years ago. may it shine that way agin, and may i live to see it. reminds me of that picture i posted a year ago.

when i got back up to the party, it started going down hill. the "hippies" turned out to be bitter, straightlaced sellouts that don't crimethinc and repeat a statist, green capitalism mantra. and there was no drumming, 'cept ours. our little tribe of bears was all alone, and we mourned the hippydom of bygone days by sipping salvia divinorum tinctures and gettin' plastered. we didn't all keep aloff- one of the organizers of the party dragged Herbal Gerbil away from the musician's circle when he brought over his gourd rattle. i felt like popping a monster Mercury boner and smashing some Priuses with it, fo real.

we slept, woke up, ate a surprisingly honest brunch with the skeleton crew that had hung around, and voyaged back home. when i got back, i tried to write this story backwards and with feeling, but it came out as babble.

Wednesday, July 04, 2007

a shout out to Alberto Santos-Dumont, who built a dirigible out of bamboo and canvas!

yesterday i took the first long run in a good long while, and instead of breathing in and out through my mouth, i breathed in through my nose. this was hard work, because i had to pay attention to my inner wind. but it was so worth it! i zenned out, and my mouth didn't dry up. if you like to jog, and aren't in the inner city where jogging brings pain to your throat no matter how ya breath, i heartilly endorse this breathing pattern. don't forget to expel all your stale air by exhaling for longer than you inhale!

Independence Day

It's great to remind ourselves how free we are.

We just had a righteous thunderstorm, a lovely way to begin the day. More storms are predicted for later.

Independence Day Clarifications

I love this country.
I love this land.
I love these people.
I do not love this nation.
I love this country.
I love this land.
I love these people.