The Wolf and the World

We sit in a middle school biology class; substitute teacher, cart carried TV plays nature videos. I have always been fascinated by the predictor vs prey. A wolf, or some bio regional equivalent, stalks the lonely tundra. On the sent of the elk, it's prey. We all know what happens next.

Who do you root for? As the wolf singles out some young big eyed - sorta lame - calf. Will you silently root for the predator or prey?

It sucks either way, does it not? If the calf makes a false move it will literally be eaten alive. Devoured by wolfs at the end of a exhausting chase. —

I remember waking up one morning to a bird flying around my room. In my attempts to extract it I chased it from corner to corner of the room. until, finally, it succame. The bird gave up, let what will happen happen.

It must be like that when one is being devoured.

— On the other hand, if the babe is fast on it's feet and manages to make it back to the herd, what then of the wolf?

Exhausted after a failed hunt she returns to her little Disney-sparkling-eyed pups, free of blood and gore, to nurse what she can to them. The cold creeps in and there isn't enough milk to go around.

Pups starve to death.

The natural state of things is that of horrific suffering. This is the background noise of all life.

This is a truth. It is not good or bad, it simply is. It is from where all joy and wonder come from. Out of this struggle everything has emerged.

I consider this in light of a friend's blog post about the animal holocaust and it's relation to activism. I find this to be a complex question. The world is a fierce place. Right now billions of creatures are starving to death, being eaten alive, rotting from the inside out from fungus and disease.

Is our industrialized slaughter some how more right or wrong? Or is it just so. Is the fear and stress that consume those animals souls while they trot through the blood and gore, the smell of death all around them, is that something that will seep into our souls?

What of the millions of acres of land stolen from animals to be planted, dusted with poison, for our consumption? What is the nature of us?


Sort of depressing thoughts, enough heady bull shit.

I've made it back to Brooklyn and am renting a loft apartment til February. It's good to be back in the excitement of New York City where I share this insanity with all these other apex predators.

Improbable not impossible

I am sitting at the dinning room table of my parents home. I am coming from worship at a Kingdom Hall which I was invited to by a man who came to my door the other day.

I let him in because I am curious and am trying to say yes more.

The service was interesting. Jehovah's Organization prints these work books which are given to all congregations across the world. Each contains a simple work sheet with simple statements of "truth" of which simple questions are answered about those truths. The answer seems to relate to a passage in the bible from which all truth is gathered.

What I found surprising was their opposition to both evolution and creationism. They spoke at length about science and it's impact on the world and how it showed the glory of god. This was something I was not expecting. Creationism cast doubt about god because it ignores science, in so far as 6,000 year old earth and the like is concerned.

The handling of evolution was puzzling. They speak about the origin of life and how evolution gives a false account of the origin of life. Of course, anyone familiar with evolution knows that it deals not with the origin of life, but of species, or the diversity of life.

There was something, however, that really struck me. A woman stood up to respond to a question about preaching to others. She said in a conversation with a friend who believed in evolution that she stated some reason the "evolution is impossible" but quickly corrected herself to use the word improbable.

Evolution, which in their minds (as far as I can tell) contradicts the idea that god created everything, is held not as an impossibility but an improbability... at least in this particular group's mind, as the elder made no effort to correct her on that point.

There are plenty of criticisms of the faith so I won't get into what other things I didn't like. Aside from the hegemony of ideas. The though of millions of people reading these publications, being taught the same thing... very odd.

Further, when I had a chance to speak with one of the church "elders", who are only men as I understand it, I asked him about the actions witnesses take to be more Christ like, to counter the wickedness in the world. He basically said that all there is to do is convert others and wait for god to come back to earth.

While I can put aside the sexist hegemony, inaction I can not abide.

The devil wants nothing more than for good people to not act. For it is us who will build the kingdom of heaven on earth and keep it from the wicked among us.

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

Poverty Creek and the Pond

I went for a long hike today. Down the poverty creek trail.

Lost in thoughts I missed the jacknife trail head.

Past it, unmakred, I found the old bike trail leading up the mountain to the old road.

Beyond the private property sign.

With waldon in my headphones.

Sun on my back.

In the Cellar

Sitting in the Cellar listening to jazz over rum and pizza.

CZ's new lover plays the upright base. she glows while she watches. she is quite happy here. last time I was with her she was beaten down by the cold bitch that is new your city. now life is full and rich for her. it excites me just being around such happieness.

I met the artist ray K. over the weekend. he and a small army of locals who were helping him move paintings over to a new storage location on his property.

I told him about the clock project and he sees a possibility for collaboratuion. I will introduce him to nat soon. CZ also introduced me to her project farm book. the Facebook for farmers. normally I am quite sceptical about anything that is the Facebook for anything but this seems very promising. she has a fairly well mapped out plan for it and she can go to VT for funding. her work ties into the clock and into things I worked on in occupy.

I am thinking about building a tiny house up here in February and using this as my first work stop. I could stay Feb to May. four solid months, after January in NYC. this could all work out.

a sense of fear

washed over me the other day. I've still got a bit of work from my past life itching at me. I feel like I'm not doing enough. a familiar feeling.

after going to ray's I went out with dan and grace. a local couple who took me out to some of their old highschool friends. they watched internet and drank. maybe I'm too hard on myself. is it wrong to do not much? I feel lost, but isn't that the point. I'm a vagabond now, the traveler. don't I get to do nothing?

it passes and I march on.