The economics between bird and man

I'm thankful.

smbc comic depicting a family - eyes cast down - having Thanksgiving dinner, the patriarch of the family says through a speech bubble: And we wish to thank evolution for slowly turning some species of dinosaur into a walking ball of meat with a tiny head

SMBC - comic 2011-11-08

It's thanksgiving after all. My small family sat down to enough food to feed two or three families, which is to say we have plenty. An old friend saw my parent's home for the first time last week. He gasped at our opulence "I knew you were rich", I attempted to place us more fairly on the spectrum. Little did he know that we were just an entrenched, with debt and a house with leaking windows. Saving face? Not wanting to be confused with the undesirable classes above?

We are maybe two or three rungs above. I would say "they", as in my parents, but that would be dishonest. I know, when it comes down to it, I could bring to bare the full economic power of my parents (along with extended family) were I trapped in a North Korean jail or hit by a car.

I'm starting to understand what being thankful really means. I would always tell myself it was family, more out of expectation than an honest feeling. I can't remember what I was REALLY thankful for as a kid...

I have no debt, most of a "college education", a knowledge of computers that allows me to live independently. I have a home which I can now and for always go back to. I have a safety net. We have plenty and I can always come back to this. I grew from this rich loving family, we might not have always had an organic Turkey on the table, but we were stable and in love.

I owe everything to them. I tumbled into the world from nothing and with nothing. They positioned me to take on the world.

I am the living breathing man, I am myself and responsible for myself, but I fill what they made. I seize the opportunities they prepared me for.

For this I am thankful.

After we were full from turkey, sweet potato, mashed potato, greens, and some pie the mother and father and I settled down for the film: Park Avenue: Money, Power & the American Dream.

About the real rich. The .01%.

I wonder what they are thankful for.

Weekend in the Dirt Ball

I'm on a bench outside Duarte Square. Behind me a large temporary building hosts "talking transition", discussions around the changing politics of NYC, with it's liberal incoming mayor.

Two years ago, almost to the day, I was here for a different "discussion" of transition. Duarte square was empty, encased by high chain link fence. The recently evicted Occupy activists were staging a hostile takeover of the space, owned by Trinity Church. The highly symbolic act of erecting a stair case over the fence to allow access to a handful of brave souls failed to take the space. Instead scared that little bit of history upon the place.

I drove up to NYC with CZ. On our ride we listened to a radio interview with a prolific preacher of The Law of Attraction. The intro asked me, the listener, if I were depressed, scared, anxious, unhappy with where my life was going. For maybe the first time ever I honestly considered the question.

"No" I silently answered back. I holster none of those undesirable emotions. I am unburdened.

On Saturday I went to a fund raiser for the Cargo Bike Collective, an anarchistic cooperative with a small fleet of cargo bikes. The event was at a cooperative house in Bedsty, where I was staying. As I stood in the backyard looking over the crowd of nonconformists I was struck by the beauty of the scene. An MC was standing above the crowd on a brick stove containing the fire. Casting tall shadows on the apartments beyond the back fence.

The MC was reading off raffle ticket prizes which included free cargo bike services, vegan pies, and dumpster diving lessons. When he reached the drawing for a free month of compost collection he asked "who here composts?" a great many hands and cheers went up.

Things are changing, again. I looked at this crowd, this tribe in Brooklyn. More than ever I saw the potential for them to really support each other. Maybe things will be all right? Of course a life style choice, be it composting, short showers, or saving food from the waste stream are not an end but a beginning.

It reminds me of that protest sign, simple text painted on cardboard: "The beginning is near".

And it is, knocking on the door.

How many tribes are out there? I must know of at least 10 in Brooklyn alone, interwoven through activism, parties, and life style. Hidden in plain sight. Invisible to even some of it's members and more so to those still within the system, still under the oppression of the machine. It's like the first western settlers to the new world who looked upon the forests and native people and though "look at all this unused land, the savages know not what profit and abundance they could have" while all the while blind to the highly nurtured and cultivated landscape that was actually before their eyes. We don't yet remember a method for quantifying these things.

Upstairs I sat cramped in a room strobing with red, white, and blue lights which reacted to network traffic passing through the wifi in the house while a crusty punk band played their music.

Here I am in the cyberpunk future struggling to becoming human again.

Time Dilation at the Newtonian Scale

I'm sitting on CZ couch this last night in Blacksburg. Tomorrow CZ and I drive to NYC. I will be meeting friends and visiting for the weekend then catch a train to Atlanta on Tuesday.

I did some accounting today and found that I've spent about $2,000 on gear, plane/train/bus tickets, and food/drinks over the past month and a half. Not a frugal start, but I've been moving around quite a bit and have been under certain obligations to be places on time, limiting the type of travel I can choose from.

As I prepare to leave I'm taking account of what I've accomplished down here. I connected with Ray and got quite a bit done on the Phenological Clock project. I fell a great many invasive trees at Crow Forest Farm and helped dig holes and move earth for their budding garden. I've gotten started with my Kairos project, a YouTube channel where I will do live interviews. I've also gotten some other projects in order and tied up some loose ends. Most of all I decompressed from the city.

Didn't do a drawing today, but I think I'll expand my goal of a drawing a day to simply something creative a day. Today I worked on the Kairos logo. Max send me an illustration for the faces and I've come up with this:

kairos badges mockup

Here you can see detail of Max's illustration.

kairos branding mockup

I'm using gradient mesh in Illustrator for the rainbow effect.

Treechops

I am a mighty force. Thousands of years I have studied the nature of how things break. First by feel, now with instruments. The steel on the business end of the ax has been perfected from the very first wedge held in human like hands some 10,000 years ago.

This marvel was used to fall a Tree of Heaven grove.

There's a tree that grows in Brooklyn. Some people call it the Tree of Heaven. No matter where its seed falls, it makes a tree which struggles to reach the sky. It grows in boarded up lots and out of neglected rubbish heaps. It grows up out of cellar gratings. It is the only tree that grows out of cement. It grows lushly...survives without sun, water, and seemingly earth. It would be considered beautiful except that there are too many of it.

A Tree Grows in Brooklyn by Betty Smith

We are building fires around the stumps to try and destroy the roots. Seems we picked a bad time to do the cutting. Ailanthus Altissima is invasive in this area (as I'm told). Trees have the most energy saved up for winter these days, so they are stronger, and have extra energy to produce new shoots and roots when cut.

I went into town to meet Jen today. She is working on a hacker space here in Blacksburg, they have the incorporation down, now just waiting for the space. I'll see if there is more to this...

Dancing

In an effort to do things that make me uncomfortable I went to Salsa Dance lessons today. The beginner class was great, it was the basic class (or advanced if you were me) which made me uncomfortable. I'm not good about doing things I'm bad at. I don't like being bad at things, which you have to do with anything you eventually get sort of good at... so it's a problem.

I was also able to get the RSS syndication on this blog working, which is great. You can see it at http://freeradical.biz/rss.xml

I've also started drawing a picture a day, here is todays:

small version of a sketch I drew