Wednesday, December 27, 2006


Sometimes I see the fragility of everything around me with a clarity that is hard to deal with.

With my internship wrapped up, the holidays coming to a close, and a new year closing in on me, I feel a sense of relief and trepidation, relaxation and terror. What is next? What has it all meant? What choices do I need to make now?

The fragility is everywhere. The fragility is in my new little niece with tiny macaroni fingers, in my girlfriend as she wakes up and gets ready for another day at the job, in the clerk behind the gas station counter. The tenous nature of life is so clear sometimes that it makes a lot of what we do seem so stupid. How do we balance career with fun, cooking with conversation, shopping with living? I look around and I wish we could all just stop and try to understand eachother, ourselves, and the world.

Sunday, November 19, 2006

Strawbale madness part 1

Well, it's been more then a month since my last post, and I apologize for that. I've been busy. Last night I went to a going-away party for my friend Krista ( who is is going to California to pursue her Masters degree, and that was fun. We drank tasty good homebrew that I participated in brewing. It had a whole pound of hops added. Very biscuity.

I would add photos to the following but I can't find the cord that connects the camera to the computer so you'll just have to take my word for it for the time being.

First of all, living with a group of strangers is odd. I've become somwhat acquainted to them, but you never really know who they are. I live with my boss who is 30ish lawyer/green builder woman, and the other interns Jesse, 30ish hippy Bahai cabinet-maker man, and Phyllis, 40ish insomniac builder/designer woman. We make a strange team, but we can actually get some things done sometimes. There was actually another intern but he gave up after a month. He was a carpenter for Habitat for Humanity, and he talked in a Clint Eastwood drawl and wore black work clothes. I called him the Carhart Ninja.

The house where we live is relatively large. It's on the market so it's pretty empty of furniture. The heat seems to be cranked to the max even though I've turned the thermostat in the basement to zero, and when every body gets bundled up for the days work in the morning, we all overheat and start to sweat. The boys are in the basement and the girls up in the normal part of the house. One day I was snooping around and I found a piano in the boiler room and then another room adjacent filled with pails full of staple every day items like corn and diapers. End -of-the-world room, I guess.

I don't have a a bed or any furniture, so I sleep on a futon and create back problems for myself.

I'll focus on the actual building of the strawbale house, and write entrys for side projects and other assorted topics later.

We started out with an empty space, just a big chunk of sand. Then a contractor came in and dug out a hole, about 45' by 25', long axis facing south, two thirds of the north side about 3 feet deep, the south side about 5 foot deep (where we were going to put the greenhouse). The contractor put in our septic system, then we spent a few days learning the ins and outs of a batter board type system, trying to get the foundation staked out and ready for construction. Let me tell you that staking out a house is no easy thing. Creating a perfect rectangle in sand with rebar stakes is like trying to eat with your mouth full. But on day we got it down, and we were ready to proceed.

I forgot to tell you that before all that we sat down with the boss and she said that we were going to get a giant 60'x100' tent that we were going to put over our work area adn that we had to build giant wooden skis for it and it might take a few weeks to put up. I felt like that was a waste of our time and said as much. To weigh down this giant structure we went out and cut the tops of 45 plastic totes with a Sawzall, got the Bobcat revved up and filled them up with sand so that they weighed a couple tons each. It was the weirdest task I have ever done. But I like learning how to use the Bobcat, it was as if I was in a Mechwarrior video game, and I had the ultimate power to crush and move and grade. Then we had to move them off the field because the contractors came in to put in the sewer and level the ground.

We also learned that we were going to be building with giant (8'x3'x3', 700 lbs) bales of flax straw, and that we were going to be putting a giant bale living roof on our structure. This sounded amazingly ambitious to me, considering we had to months and we had to construct a giant tent with cranes first. After debate and a couple weeks went past, the giant tent idea was discarded as well as the giant bale living roof system. We were now going to use SIPs panels for the roof, but of course no ordinary SIPs, which are usually a rigid insulation encased in two layers of OSB or plywood, we were using a SIPs that was a partial metal interior inside two layers of rigid insulation.

So in the final analysis, the house we are building consists of a tamped earth foundation with a treated 2x12 toe-ups filled with stone under the giant flax strawbales on the west, east, and north sides of the building. The south side consists of post and beam construction for the greenhouse which will have plastic glazing. The structure will be precompressed with plastic strapping material and the SIPs panels will be mounted on the walls for the roof. There will be solar water heating collected from the roof by refurbished solar panels and circulating throughout the pex laid out in the earth under the cob floor, and their will be a modified heat sink utilizing black drain-tile laid out 5 feet deep in the greenhouse floor. Ther will also be a rocket stove for back-up heating. The inside and outside walls will be cob. There will be a composting toilet. We have been using biodiesel for running a lot of the machines we use.

Now, each of these components could be discussed at length, and sometimes it's hard to focus on one thing at a time. My guess is that you don't know what cob is, because I barely did until I started this internship.It is just a mixture of clay, sand, and straw. It is a very natural and versatile material. The clay is the basic medium, the sand prevents shrinkage and provides strength, and the straw provides an interwoven matrix and structural reinforcement. It is like natural concrete. I have seen many things made out of it, including walls, floors, coat hangers, and dragons. As a structural component it provides mass, and it breathes well, which is important in strawbale construction because you don't want to trap moisture inside the walls and provide a breeding ground for molds.

I'm going to stop here and get back to you later. It's Sunday and I have to do chores and get a breakfast in me before heading back to the north woods. Any questions so far?

Saturday, September 30, 2006

grocery list

Well, I managed to make it to today without any bumps and now tomorrow I am off to learn strawbale construction. This is my first "living by myself without female significant other" grocery list:

2 each five-grain organic tempeh
2 blocks RGBH-free cheese, one monterey jack, one sharp cheddar
3/4 loaf Great Harvest bread
1 head organic garlic
4 each organic onions
1 1/2 pound red lentils
1 1/2 pound brown basmati rice
1 bag organic potato chips, yogurt and green onion
1 jar of local honey
2 boxes organic green tea
1 box "sleepytime" tea
4 free-trade bananas
5 pounds local organic yellow potatoes
1 can organic refried black beans
1 can roasted garlic salsa
1 package 8" flour tortillas
2 thai rice noodle packages
1 box organic Kashi cereal
1 box organic soymilk
1 pound local butter
1 jar Hellmanns mayo
6 eggs
1 jar Spike seasoning
12 pack Leinies
12 pack Sierra Nevada

What do you think?

Tuesday, September 26, 2006


So in a few days I am off to intern at Happy Dancing Turtle for October and November. Happy Dancing Turtle is a partner with Hunt Utilities Group which is a family owned for-profit. It seems that HDT is housing me and HUG is supplying most of the tools, projects, and technical training. Check out the HUG site for pictures of the buildings and projects they are working on and to get a sense of what this is all about. I will be learning strawbale and cob construction, as well as refurbishing solar panels. So I should be done by Thanksgiving.

Friday, September 22, 2006

Thoughts on a rainy day #1

When an ideal is envisioned one must work toward the fruition of that idea. An ideal is something that one creates as a building block of one's moral and ethical reality. When we work toward an ideal, we work toward the idea of something better, which indicates the power of the idea, the power of imagination and thought, the mind. What is the mind? Is the mind the brain? Is the mind the electrical impulses in the brain? Is the mind the individual electrons that make up the impulses? When you deconstruct anything, it becomes nothing.

An ideal can be good or bad. We all have the idea that we are something more then the physical being that we seem to be. We call it spirit or soul or atman or ghost. Most of us don't feel the need to define it. Is it real or as it a collective hallucination?

Then faith emerges to prop up the ideal. Without faith the ideal becomes unreachable, unrealistic, and there is no impetus to reach the ideal. Without faith in the ideal it becomes nothing. So faith arises out of the individual spirit, the jiva in Sanskrit, out of our "minds" and our "hearts". Without the faith that the ideal can and will be realized there is no reason to work toward the ideal. It's an example of quantum physics in that we create what we we see by seeing it, we destroy what we don't see by not looking. In any case, the more you take it apart to look at its parts the more it resembles nothing.

The ultimate ideal is God. God can be described as everything, or within everything, or as a separate being. It is ridiculous to describe God as anything less then everything, as a God apart from everything makes everything look ridiculously like nothing. If God is everything, our jivas are God, as well as everything else. It's simple but important.

Why work toward something good? Why not? Why move or breathe or walk or sing at all? The reason is that you want to become happy, that you want others to be happy. And to be happy you want to know God, and God is nothing less then love, and love is joy. Essentially all existence is joy. At the essence of our enlightenment experience is comapassion and the realization that we are not seperated, that we are all utterly connected, and this brings joy to us.

Thursday, September 21, 2006

a response to my organic farmer blog

Noah said...

All your points are silly. Let's take them one by one.

1. How is it better to support your local economy then the poor Chilean farmer? Is an American better somehow? Is someone who lives close to you better?

2. If the product is being made in Chile there is even less harm to the local watershed then if it is grown by a local organic farmer.

3. The vegetable is probably fresher, but that doesn't necessarily mean it is any more nutritious.

4. You will only save a small amount of petrolium products for your vegetable. Large ships use a lot of oil, but they also carry huge ammounts of produce.

5. Your local farmer care no more about you than the large corporation. They're both in it for the money. But the local organic farmer asks for more of your money.

Also, you say that food co-ops were started to help poor people. If that was the case, it is no longer. They are the gathering places of snobs.

Give me a big Safeway or Albertsons any day.

4:33 PM

Cosmic Monkey said...

Noah, why do you prefer a Safeway or Albertson's to a small co-op or grocery store? Is it because you like being the anonymous shopper, you like the giant buildings pulsing with wasted energy, the glib and unresponsive staff...You need to reevaluate why you prefer a giant box store before I can really debate you about local organic agriculture. You want to pay 5 cents for an apple from mexico? Go ahead and suck down those pesticides and herbicides, go ahead and feel happy about subjecting those farmers to these chemicals. Your points are not thought out:

1. It is better to support your local economy because that is where you live. Don't you want to support your neighbor, build a relationship with the farmer, recirculate your "hard-earned" cash in your town? this has nothing to do with being "better".

2. There is no harm to the local watershed when a product is farmed organically. None.

3. Fresher vegetables are better for you. There are more enzymes and vitamins. This is a scientific fact.

4. You don't honestly believe this? The farther away a vegetable comes from the more fuel is used in getting it to your plate.

5. The small local organic farm cares about the community and the earth. There is no other reason to get into organic farming. There is not alot of money in it. The farmer might as well work at UPS and get health insurance and a decent wage, rather then work their ass off every day for no money and no insurance.

I said in my blog that the co-ops were started to help the poor get bulk commodities, and now they have turned into rich peoples dietary centers. But I think it's important to support them anyway, the same reason I think it's important to support your community even if you think it's full of assholes. Only you can be the change.

1:05 PM

Wednesday, September 20, 2006

You can't understand anything until you have sprouted a seed

No you can't. Not until you've seen a small seed burst with infinite energy out into the universe, expanding forever outward toward the only thing that matters, sex. Whether you sprout a handful of lentils or a ten foot corn plant, seeing magic take place on the linear tightrope of time opens the mind up to the possibilities of the galaxy.

Friday, September 08, 2006

Isle Royale

Well we just got back from a six day trip to Isle Royale National Park in Michigan.

The weather was beautiful the whole time, no rain. Our first boat ride out last Tuesday was canceled because of the waves being too high, so we had to wait around for another day. The boat ride out was fun, buit 3 hours is a long time no matter what you're doing. When we got to the island, we and a few opther backpackers were instructed on the "leave no trace" principles, which was irratating.

The hiking was hard but rewarding. My partner got huge blisters on her toes the first day and we had apply bandages frequently, but she hiked through the pain with hardly a complaint.

Our favorite time was spending a full day on the beach, where we did yoga, meditated, and watched the waves. I also met a giant bull moose on the beach.

The last day was pretty hard. We hiked around 14 miles up and down ridges in the sun and we were tired and in pain overall. But we also agreed it was the most beautiful part of the hike.

I will blog more about it later, and perhaps add pictures.

Tuesday, August 22, 2006

Money vs. Ethics

I talk alot with friends and family about the benefits of small organic farms vs. large agribusiness and their commercial extensions, your local co-op and Rainbow foods. I wanted to make a few points clear here about my thoughts on thses subjects.

First of all, it is ethically better to purchase an organic vegetable from your local farmer at a Farmers Market or co-op then it is to purchase a conventional vegetable from Chile at your so-called "local" Rainbow Foods. Why? Because of these reasons:

1. You are supporting your local economy and your neighbor
2. You are being a steward of your local watershed and your local land
3. The vegetable will be healthier and therefore more nutritious for you
4. You will be saving a ton of petroleum products and other energy sources that are used to get the vegetable from Chile
5. You will not be supporting a large multinational corporation that does not care for you or your family or your neighborhood or your local watershed, but only wants your dollar bill

Simple. Obviously the first thing people say is, "Well, it costs too much." And my first reaction is to be angry because what is "too much" when we are talking about the future of our planet, the future health of our soil and our communities? When you have huge government subsidies for all the commodities that are out there, such as corn, rice, and wheat, but very little financial aid to small organic vegetable farmers, what do you think is going to happen? You can go down to a Superamerica or Cub Food and get pressurized Cheez Whiz in a can for a couple bucks as opposed to a juicy ripe organic tomato for a buck. Which do you think will be better for you? Why do you choose poison over health? Think about it.

What I can't deny is that a lot of co-ops and trendy food stores are starting to attract a more wealthy crowd. This doesn't matter to me. You have to look at the essential nature of what the co-ops were created for. They were created so that poor people could pool their resources to obtain cheaper bulk foods. And they grew into more and more elaborate organizations until what we have now is little different then your average Byerlys or whay have you. But their essential nature is different. Essentially their is democratic co-operative power involved in the governance of the business as opposed to a centralized dictatorial power. What we need to do is create our own modes of purchasing. We can get together with friends and purchase a CSA share and get our vegetables every week, we can go down to the Farmers Market and talk directly to the farmer. We can organize buyers groups and purchase directly from the big companies that supply the co-ops and grocery stores. We can by in bulk and split up shares. Basically we can and should recreate the food co-op that we used to know and love.

Small farmers are not making any money. They are basically out there tilling and harvesting because of their passion and dedication to creating a better world, a healthier reality. I think the least we can do is pay them a few extra bucks for their labor and spirit. Organic farmers are real live Bodhiisatvas on tractors.

Sunday, August 13, 2006

Shadow boxing

There is definitely nothing worse in this world then pain. How can we avoid it? We can't, but we can take steps to minimize causing our own at least.

Today my step was to attend the Minnesota Zen Center for the first time. It is located on Lake Calhoun in a nice building. I decided that I have been essentially a Buddhist now for years so I may as well go see how they do things in their churches and so forth. It went well and I learned the basics of the zendo (the place where Zen Buddhists meditate). The only problem was that it was early in the morning and I had a late night last night, and I did have a number of liquid refreshments at the party that affected my stomach. Not to mention the coffee I gulped as I drove to the Center.

Everyone there was pleasant. I will try zazen (meditation) early tomorrow morning and see how that goes. Well it can't go too badly, I mean, what are a bunch of Bui\ddhists going to do to me? Kick my ass?

Tonight is movie night. I have a movie about the infamous "Protocols of the Elders of Zion" and a movie made in Tibet by some famous Lama. Whatever.

Well, life never stops

Strangely, life never stops. I went to a friend's housewarming party last night and it was good. It was nice to be around good people.

Sometimes though you wonder, what am I going to do next?

My friend is in Peru and I think that would be awesome.

I don't know, any ideas?

Thursday, August 10, 2006

Your cat will make you crazy

Cat Parasite Affects Everything We Feel and Do
Research Shows That a Certain Cat Parasite Impacts Our Behavior and Mood

Researchers say a cat parasite could be responsible for all kinds of human behavior and qualities. (AP Photo )

Aug. 9, 2006 — Kevin Lafferty is a smart, cautious, thoughtful scientist who doesn't hate cats, but he has put forth a provocative theory that suggests that a clever cat parasite may alter human cultures on a massive scale.

His phone hasn't stopped ringing since he published one of the strangest research papers to come out of the mill in quite awhile.

The parasite, Toxoplasma gondii, has been transmitted indirectly from cats to roughly half the people on the planet, and it has been shown to affect human personalities in different ways.

Research has shown that women who are infected with the parasite tend to be more warm, outgoing and attentive to others, while infected men tend to be less intelligent and probably a bit boring. But both men and women who are infected are more prone to feeling guilty and insecure.

Wednesday, August 09, 2006

The end of an era

Yesterday I quit my job. I feel great. You should too.

First a little background: I have been working there at the cafe since January of 2005. Almost every day my boss, Nathalie the Phsycologically Disturbed Progressive Democratic Nazi, would find something to complain about, somebody to ream. I felt that I would try to redirect her energies into more positive avenues, such as food. I don't even know why she has a restaurant, because to me it doesn't seem like she likes food. I love food. I love the farmer's market and the farmers, I love cooking for friends and family, I love the colors, textures, and flavors. I just dig edible stuff. So you'd think working at a small cafe right across from where I live would be a good thing, right? Wrong, man. Wrongo.

NPDPDN and her husband would constantly fight, even screaming at each other about ten feet away from paying eating customers. I honestly thought they were going to get a divorce, I don't even understand why they haven't gotten a divorce with all the pressure. Her husband doesn't even want to be there. He hates the customers.

And there was the heat and the filth and the grease and the mess and the mouse shit and the mice. Those were the physical things that bothered me, but that I thought could be fixed at some point. I also wanted to steer the food toward organic and vegetarian fare, and I didn't want to use bagged mashed potatoes and soup. What the hell is the point of convenience when the whole purpose of the business is to create good food? I wanted to cook, not dish up one more goddamn pot roast with fried potatoes for one more white-haired bitchy welfare sucking blue-brained sycophant debutante geezer. So I had my own problems.

The main mental strain came about because there were a few good things about the place, sort of. Pretty good wage. I had ample time off (not paid). Free food. That's about it, and I didn''t like the free food.

But NPDPDN would compliment me sometimes, make me feel she cared, then yell at me for some dumb thing that I messed up or wasn't even involved with. There were a number of times I came home ready to just quit. But I hung in there, because maybe things would get better.

NPDPDN: I was talking about how all my pets were tragically killed and she said, "You should not have pets. Wouldn't you get a clue after the first few were killed?" And she wasn't joking. That is probably the worst thing anybody has ever said to me. And she didn't apologize. And that same day I came home to find out that one of my best friends had killed herself. There is something about that connection that really stands out in my head.

She fed squirrels out the back door, and had names for them. She liked them more then her staff. I don't really like squirrels. In the city, they are fat indolent scavengers. She would alway tell me to come here so I could see one of them come into the building. I always smiled politely and tried to get back to work. I'm sick of being polite.

She would leave used paper towels everywhere. She would leave messes in my workspace. She and her husband and the staff ate soup and pot roast out of the container, dipping bread directly into the food. Not sanitary at all. They wouldn't clean the baskets for bread or fries ever, don't ask me why. Fish and meat were left out for hours. And so on. One man can only do so much to change the direction a ship is sailing. I tried, but it was like cleaning diaper, smelly and never ending.

The husband never yelled at me. He got mad and told her and she would yell at me or others. That was his way of staying uninvolved. He would storm around furiously for reasons I don't even know.

Every machine would break down every week. The new freezer broke down immediately. Coolers couldn't keep the food cool. And so forth. I could go on indefinitely but I will just tell you what happened at the end.

I went on break for fifteen minutes. I came back and they were both in the kitchen, facing away from me. I started to wash my hands and hear Nathalie say, "When that fucking dumbass comes back I'm going to give him a piece of my mind." I look at her and she turns around, somewhat startled to find me there, and she tells me I am in big trouble. And I say, "What?" I have no idea. The husband is sweeping and there is water on the floor, but the cooler had been doing that all summer so I thought nothing of it. And Nathalie says something like,"I can't believe you didn't notice the cooler was warm, I can't believe it, I just can't, never in my life, there is no excuse!" And I just don't even know what to say. She's picking up stuff and trying to make a point and I'm blanking out. In essence she's blaming me for a piece of eqiupment failure, at least for not noticing the failure of said piece of equipment. Fine. Maybe she has a point, maybe a should have noticed that a cooler was not working in a kitchen that is a hundred degrees without air conditioning, two loud fans on, and me being totally overworked every day, used like a mule. The temp guage is inside this custom made cooler, so I would have had to take out a drawer and peered into the depths of the machine to casually check the temp, even though I had no reason to and you can't tell what the temp reading is anyway becasue it's too far back inside. So I said, "Well..." and I was going to say something like this thing had happened and I will try to help fix it but all we can do is work to make it better. Basically there is no reason to go ballistic ever, really, in a business. I did not deserve such total disprespect after the hard work I have put in for them. She interrupted me and said, "No, don't say a word, I don't want to hear!" She said it in such a flagrantly condescending manner that that was it for me, I wasn't going to be called names behind my back and be discounted as a human being. Everybody has the right to be respected as a human. So I said, "Fuck you, fuck this place, and fuck it all!" And I chucked my apron down and left. And that was it for me. If they want to apologize then maybe I will work a little more for them. But I know them well enough to realize that they are complaining about me to all the other staff, calling me names, and they have moved on and this is just another bump in their Idot's Road to Hell.

So this is what I learned in the last 3 years:

You need to have a plan of where you want to be in three years.

I am a hard worker that can tolerate most anything, psychological or physical.

Your co-workers are the most important part of a job.

I am an artist, and I should behave like one.

Let that be a lesson to you. Don't allow anyone to treat you badly. They can treat themselves as badly as they want, but you are worthy of respect, just by being alive.

Wednesday, August 02, 2006

Industrial Anarchist Co-ops

By Marcello Balve

, a group of twenty unemployed factory workers gathered on a treeless sidewalk in downtown Avellaneda, an industrial suburb of Buenos Aires. They came loaded with poles, plastic sheeting, scrap lumber, and rope. In short order, they raised a tent before a nine-story brick factory known as the Cristalux Glassworks. The factory, recognizable by its billboard-sized bas-relief of a worker blowing glass, had once employed a workforce of twelve hundred. Now it stood abandoned and shuttered.

It was late fall in the Southern Hemisphere, and night temperatures dipped into the low forties. The wide, bleak avenue offered no shelter from wind, rain, or sun. The tent was just an orange tarp strung up between the factory’s main gate and a light post, the sides anchored to crates. But the workers were determined to keep the tent fastened to the gate until they could go back inside. More than one hundred ex-employees eventually joined the protest, either lending their bodies or bringing food.

What strikes me about this article and others I have read in the past few years is that certainly, at some point in the future, our society will look like this, will react like this, will have to cope like this. Surely you do not think that we wil be able to ride this wave of oil-induced affluence forever? At one point, when our oil is to costly for the average working class or middle class worker, we will need to revise our strategies and create sustainable worker-owned businesses.

Tuesday, July 25, 2006

Another post about my dead friend

I posted this at my Myspace account becasue that was where she blogged and where her blogger friends are:

Sunshine is dead I am going to post this here because this is where she let us all know what was going on in her head.

I've known Sunshine a long time. I of course fell in love with her immediately. She became a sort of anti-hero, a punk goddess, a beautiful raging siren in my soul. She was and is a huge important part of who I am. Now that she has gone away, I feel that she has left me a piece of herself to carry on.

When I first heard that she killed herself from Beth on a Myspace email, I was shocked into insanity. I wept, and I swear to god I thought it was a horrible prank being played on me. My heart was ripped into tiny pieces. They are still floating around my head now, and I look at them in wonder and fear. I don't think I want a complete heart again. I just want to stare vaguely out the window at the stars until my soul evaporates.

When she started this blog thing, I was glad because I could then keep up on the goings on in her patchwork life It was so fucking hard to get a hold of her, what with phone number and address changes. I tried at least once a week to get in touch with her.

Her last couple emails expressed things that will be dear to me for the rest of my life, and I will reflect on her words, her face, and her spirit on my deathbed. She also expressed hope about many things, including relationships, education, and the possibility of having children. She also commented on the fact that she felt like she was becoming way to conventional as a person.

I wish to fucking hell that I could talk to her one last time, been there with her one last time. How could this possibly be that that is impossible now? What is death that it is so final?

Her words on this website really express a lot of things and I believe we should all read and reread them to understand all that she was going through, try to grasp her essential sadness and her tough external shell. We need to realize that with this final and devestating action, she has given us a gift that could possibly be the most important gift we will ever receive in this lifetime, which is the crystal clear knowledge of death, the horrifying reality of this present moment, and the importance of living life fully while we can.

With her passing I look around at old friends and new, relatives and grocery store clerks, pretty much everyone, with a new and clear vision. These are the people that I share my time in this world with, these are the people that could be gone tomorrow. So I need to love them today, as a much as I can. And I know I could be gone tomorrow, so I want to give them whatever I can in this short time we walk on this planet.

I am not in charge anymore, I realized. I have many responsibilities.

But then of course there are all those painful thoughts and hazy memories that attack me every few minutes now. What was she going through that night? What was her last thought? Why wasn't I there to help her, to keep her from doing this? Remember that time we walked from Morris halfway to Hancock, remember that time we drank ourselves silly in the middle of the day, remember that time she gave me that crazy haircut? Hanging out at Karls Coffee. Drinking beer over the Flowershop. Walking around Morris.

Fuck it all. It's just impossible to put into words the ridiculous pain of this senseless act. I thought she was tougher, tough enough to handle anything at all. Forever. What an idiot I was. She was a fragile human being, not really a punk goddess. It's so hard to see the true nature of her real pain and fears. I just didn't think she would ever be overwhelmed.

I want to hug her, I want to kiss her, I want to have a smoke down by the water and a beer back by the fire and watch her play with her dogs and smile that smile we all knew and were addicted to. We would do, say, make a funny face, anything for that smile and laughter. It was like a gift from heaven, an ambrosia dripping from the cups of dragons.

And I look around and the world keeps on going, making computers, bombing Lebanon, eating sandwiches, and I want to scream out, "What is the point of all this?" A week has turned into a lifetime. A day has reversed the flow of time.

Choices, my friends, they are all important.

Namaste, Sunshine. I love you. Goodbye.

Monday, July 24, 2006


I woke up a little before 5 in the morning today. I went to the top of the barn and watched the sun rise. Constant change, ephemeral beauty. The cold coffee helped me become conscious again.

Yesterday I fished for the first time in more then a decade. I didn't catch anything.

The day before that I went to my friend's funeral. The pastor said something about Christ's blood shed on the cross as a symbol of peace, and I wanted to strangle him, but I laughed out loud instead. I suppose you could say my friend died for your sins. I suppose everyone dies for someone's sins. Why make the club exclusive is all I'm trying to say.

It's all going to change. That's what I've realized. I'm leaving it all behind. I'm going to start something new, something good. I'm going to grow vegetables. I'm going to make music. I'm going to create community. Life is not as long, nor is it as permanent as I imagined. There is no time to wait for tomorrow to come, there is no time to wait for joy to be given to you in a gift-wrapped box. There is nothing but now. There is nothing but you and me, alive right now.

If I can take advantage of some available resources I should. If I can stand on the shoulders of those who have gone before me I should. All I have is energy. All we have are the reflections of the jewels of this reality.

Right now I hear the loon call. I am reminded that the only thing that is permanent is impermanance.

I'm going to go make breakfast.

Wednesday, July 19, 2006


One of my oldest and dearest friends killed herself on Sunday.

I found out yesterday. It seemed like some horrible cruel joke. But it is true, and her funeral is on Friday.

She lived in Smalltown, USA and lived a smalltown life, with all the drinking, gossip, and bullshit that entails. She never went to college, but one of the last things I heard from her was that she was planning on taking a course in carpentry at a community college in a nearby town. I was glad for her. I knew she could succeed if she truly wished to. Sometimes I wondered if anybody else ever encouraged her to succeed, to enjoy life. Somehow I doubt it.

She loved her pets more then she loved people, I think. She was always picking up strays, and babying them. I think she did that with people, too. I think she felt like a stray cat gone feral.

Her family is poor and troubled. Her younger brother committed suicide a few years ago. Her father tried to commit suicide while in jail, suceeding in permanently damaging himself for life. I knew she felt alone, abandoned by her family and older friends. I feel like I abandoned her, but I don't know what I could have done differently. She lived with us in Minneapolis for a few months, but she didn't really fit in, it seemed to me she was overwhelmed by the sheer complexity of big city life, but I am sure she would haev gotten used to it and maybe benefited from it. As it was, she moved back to Smalltown, USA, for I don't know what reason. Maybe to be with her then boyfriend.

Last time we exchanged emails, she had a new boyfriend, and was actually considering having children. Knowing her, you would realize this was a new and important development in her life. Her boyfriend sounded like a steady type of person, who had owned a house before and had a good blue collar job. I guess he wasn't enough to keep her from despair.

I can't understand it very well. Death is somewhat new to me. My grandmother died, and so did my girlfriend's, as well as all my pets in various horrific ways. But this is new. I grew up with this person, I remember her early sadness and despair. It must have evolved into a very serious and complex cage in which, finally, she just could not extricate herself from. I wish I could have at least talked to her one last time.

Her last message to me was on my answering service. It was a Friday and we were far from Minneapolis, and she was trying to call late at night, drunkenly. She said something like "I called, I try calling you all the time, but you never answer, you fucker." I tried calling her all the time, but she never answered.

I still love her. I don't think it matters that her body is dead, her spirit will be with me as long as I live, and my spirit will be with someone else as long as they live, and in that way we can keep each other alive, afloat in this sometimes sad world.

The world, this reality, is nothing but constant changes, and sorrow is merely a reaction to these sometimes abrupt and suprising changes. Love is the glue that binds us together and when we are ripped apart it hurts like hell.

I am going to miss you, Sunshine.

Thursday, July 13, 2006

Winnipeg Folk Festival 2006, overview

Oh, the Folk Festival. It came and went again, in it's inevitable infinite and supersonic way.

This is my 5th one I think. Every year it is different, every year it opens up my mind to something new, and renews my commitment to dedicating my life to this amzing stuff we call music. Music is water for our souls.

We took our time going up, and camped at Grand Beach, Rushing River, and Someplace Else. We saw ancient petroforms, supposedly where the first Ojibweh peoples came down from heaven unto this earth. We saw endless rocky lakes, and picked fresh blueberries from misquito besotted woods. Our car was loyal and it continued until the very end.

Is there anything better then a beach? Is it because the beach is where our minds began to form, the meeting of water and earth?

We got to Bird's Hill on Wednesday, and all the good campsites by the trees were already taken. there is only the Festival Campground of course. We set up our ancent screen tent, the decrepit two room tent, and our two new dome tents, in preparation our five family members who where to arrive on Thursday night.

And beer was drunk.

It was so hot the whole time, we didn't want any food except for the Festival Food. Between all seven of us we probably ate 20 meals at The Good Indian Place. Yum.

The tents blew down once, but with so many people we got them up again relatively easily.

The highlights musically, in order of importance:

1. Hawksley Workman
This man has inspired me to find my true voice. He has inspired me to tell you my true thoughts. He has reassured me that people appreciate emotion, humor, thought, and sexiness. He is a revelation, and I am eagerly awaiting a call from the Electric Fetus so I can get my album.

2. Chad Vangaalen
This man also made me happy with his quirky freeness. He had the best made-up song about bugs, and I will try to get back to you with the lyrics. I bought his album, and it is good, but not as good as he was live.

3. K'naan
He is the best rapper I have ever heard. The dancing was fun, but the real treat was when we listened to his album on the way home and realized it was the best album ever. Get it, now.

4. Vishwa Mohan Bhatt and Salil Bhatt
Wonderful wonderful wonderful Indian music played on modified Hawaiian guitars.

5. Taqaq
The best inuit throat singing I have ever heard, with an awesome DJ that had me dancing like a fool in the beer tent. So happy, so sexy.

6. Mihirangi
She was an awesome looper with an incredible voice. the workshop she had with Taqaq was by far the best one at the Fest and I will never forget it. It was full of this incredible womanly energy, a fierce joy, and creative freedom.

7. Greg Macpherson
He sounded great.

8. That 1 Guy
How can you beat a guy who plays a giant instrument he made out of pipes and has smoke coming out of it at the end of the set? You can't, unless you're any of the above performers.

Son Volt, Afrodizz, and a number of the other Singer/Songwriters were awesome. I heard Crooked Still and Oh Susanna were good. The workshop with Vangaalen, Sparhaw (Low), Hawksley, Macpherson, and Vic Chestnutt was wonderful. There was just so much good things happening, musically, culinarily, and spiritually, it's hard to note all of them.

The weren't many highlights at the campground this year except for the glowing dragon.

The ride back was long. The border crossing took a long time, and finally the guard just asked me if I play the drum and I say not very well and we got through quickly. The life that had luster now lacks in love. The things everyone does constantly are stupid. I hate the way they look at me when I walk down the street. TV is the worst thing in the whole wide world. It is too easy to turn into a psycopath. It is too easy to get fat and order pizza. Fuck all this horrid DEATH that just parades around like it's nothing. Stop doing what you're doing and do something else.

So here I am. If you were at the Folk Fest and would like to chat about it, please do so with me. Leave a message. Awesome.

Tuesday, June 27, 2006


I understand that the most important thing to do right now, the most important work we can do as human beings is to to envision, create, construct, and harmonize our realities in accordance with the principles of permaculture and sustainability. That to me is our primary task; there is an intense need for our society to reconfigure, to rearrange this unusable mass of impotence, this garbage heap of useless infrastructure destined to fall fallow in the low tides of the inevitable onrushing lack of energy. The oil will run out, the coal will run out, the slate will run out, the gas will run out, it will all run out. All the alternatives rely on some form of natural capital, and without the concentrated efforts of all nations to create solutions immediately, now, there will be no salvation. We will all die or exist in servitude, except those who have control of everything.

Bleak? Yes. Hopeless? No.

When one realizes that there is no salvation, one becomes supremely free. When one realizes that, in the end, every one and every thing will turn to dust, to particles of sun and surf, to a whisper in the Milky Way, and ultimately to nothing, then one understands that the struggles we undertake to free ourselves and others are relatively meaningless in a cosmic sense, but so extremely important in personal sense as to be almost all-consuming. There is nothing more important then self-realization, to come to some semblance of wisdom, to comprehend enlightenment, because each thing is a universe unto itself, and each universe is a fragmented self, struggling in the infinite confines of time to be whole, to be free.

When one understands these truths inherently, with no need for fragile reasoning, one develops compassion for those who can't or won't or don't understand, or even those who don't feel the need to understand, to come to wisdom, to comprehend enlightenment. One realizes that the fundamental truth of the world is that it is made of energy, that we are all energy interracting with energy. That this is the primary mode of existence, and energy communicating with energy is the primary work of existence. When we eat or drink we take on energy from other energy. When we sleep we store up energy. When we walk or talk we spend energy. Just little balls of energy. Nothing too complex.

And then we find that the earth, a big ball of energy, is rapidly losing its energy, because we, the human conglomeration of energy, are rapidly taking on its energy to expand our masses, and we're suprised.

It all comes down to energy. Simple Zen physics. "Those not busy being born are busy dying."

All I want to do is find my potential and expand my spirit. All I want to do is exist and decrease my consumption. All I want to do is begin again today and tomorrow, be born again every moment of every day, remember myself every breath that I take. And one day I will become more or less a featureless particle of energy, or many, and I will not remember this day, or maybe I will. Maybe every particle in every chair, sofa, hotdog, or rose remembers every thing its ever been. Maybe I remember being a mushroom and a tree and a river and that's why I am attracted to those things. Energy communicating with energy. Like attracted to like.

I feel that the potential of communciation is essentially limitless and that it is so important to continually work on that aspect of our lives. And not just with other humans, but with plants and animals and objects, as well as ourselves. There is so much to learn from yourself. I mean, I'm a galaxy, for God's sake.

Thursday, June 22, 2006


I have ten minutes. Ten minutes of my life to kill. Ten minutes before I get up and put my wallet in my pants, go outside and lock the door, get in the car and pick up my SO. Ten minutes in which I continue to live, to breathe, to think, to hear and smell and taste the environment. And so I sit here and write about how I have these ten minutes to use up, to waste, to commit to memory. And I continue thinking about the Folk Festival in Winnipeg and how annoying going across the border is, especially on the way back when we're exhausted and just want to get home. They almost always search our car, probably because we're from the Festival and are deemed Highly Suspicious by those in authority. I think about that and the weekend, and work and what we'll have for dinner and the DVDs we might watch tonight and the heat and then I have four minutes.

Four minutes to exist in, to lick like a lollipop of pure awareness.

I just had a shower and I feel refreshed.

And then it's over. My ten minutes are up. And I'm still not famous.

Tuesday, June 20, 2006

Mind seeds

I sit here on this dark day after reading that article on Zen and composting and I think of why it is that I am enamored with the natural processes that surround me every day. I wonder at the way the universe collides with itself to create a perfect harmony of enzymatic reactions and rainbows of fungal spores. I wonder how we as humans look at each other and speak our words and communicate somehow. I wonder how coffee can taste so good somedays, yet another example of natural perfection, fermented beans roasted and brewed with crystal pure water. Somedays it shines, somedays it seems so dull.

I think of what I have done this summer and what I will do and where I am going and what I really think I am doing on this earth, in this universe. Am I really here to figure out how to be comfortable or am I here to figure out how to communicate with you, with a crooked cucumber, with a maple tree, or with that otter? Trying to decipher the vibrations between what I perceive as myself and what I perceive as something else. Trying to be a cosmic musician, a wordly artist.

When the day tires me out it is so hard to feel like that matters, that anything so esoteric has any validity. But how does it not? How can we just go blindly through the motions to arrive at somewhere so comfortable only to eventually die? Death is the ultimate teacher to us. It reminds us that nothing we possibly can do has any permanance. That doesn't mean that there is no point to anything, only that the point exist only in the present. Nothing stays the same for long. Nothing has any reality based architecture. We live in dreams and rivers, rainbows of fungal spores and mind seeds sprouting in black earth. And someday we will go to seed and spread ourselves infinitely or become mulch. Either way, it has meaning.

Composting Yourself

This is an awesome article about zen and shit:

Growing Ground

Cultivating compost in the murky depths of a monastery toilet, Steve Krieger learns to break down his raw material, inner and outer.

View the print version of this article in PDF format

IT BEGAN AS A FINE PLAN: replace the primitive outdoor toilets at our rural, monastic-style Zen Center. The head monk at the time was an idealistic German, and he made the final call to install composting toilets. CTs are based on a beautiful principle. It’s a principle with great metaphorical as well as practical value. The way the toilets work is, you crap down a long, narrow chute, and it accumulates in a large, plastic box. Once a week you shovel a bag of wood chips into the box. Eventually heaps of rich, earthy soil appear. This manure, or “humanure,” makes primo fertilizer for your gardens. What you took from the earth in food, you return to it as food. Beautiful, right?

Tuesday, June 06, 2006

The sun comes up and I wake up in a blur. My glasses are greasy and my house is warm. I try to focus on what is real, I try to focus on what is good in life. Life slides past me fastly like broken jelly.

I taste phlegm and brush my teeth. I don't even want to speak about the day time, when I earn my pay. When my hours are counted as something worthwhile. I struggle, I get through, nobody else seems to care.

I just want a shower. I snidely remark about something. The air is too hot. I make excuses. I want to leave or go to sleep. It's killing me, this world.

-blue, a pencil, Tangerines-

I take a breath of air, I inhale the cosmic surf, I smell the pine needles and grubby earth.

Goddamn the day is done.

She's off in the distance, a flying dakini. The choices I choose I chose quickly, with no weighing.

Too quickly, smelling of beef, tired and scared of the bare naked realness. Sleeping.

-night, the rushing of Aspens, zookeeper-


Come play

Down in the soil

You remember the rhymes?

The taste of mineral salts?

The stagnant water hanging still in the marsh?

You remember the gravel road bridge over the dark sucker filled river?


Come play

With us in the dark

Are you afraid?

Friday, June 02, 2006

flavor of the month

Today today today. What is it about today... Where can I go to play, what can I say?

The man took away the fun. The sun is done. Morning turns inside out and falls apart and kisses the sky. The farewell.

Dust in my eyes. In the cumulous clouds floating so high. I don't want to die.

The sun is undone. A great white bird is floating away. No one cares. No one cares.

Flavor of the month. Give me a lift. The asphalt is hard and smells of death.

terrible terrible terrible things
floating in spurts of black paint and screams

but the ocean does have a bottom!
She outputs.

I give in to my weakness and sleep. Terrible sleep. Waste of life. Morning is broken.

Tell me you stupid fucker do you have a purpose? He says to the mannequin.

Plastic handholds on steel limbs.

Give me a beer and a pizza anyday, he says, he has said, he does not know why he has said it.

Nothing I want to do makes money, he thinks, he has thunk, he doesn't know why he has thunk it.

flavors flavors flavors bittersweet
cooking with shards of glass and steam

No one can steal what he has hidden in his head. No one can replace what he has lost. There is nothing he hasn't lost. There is nothing to lose.

No One Thing

Wednesday, May 31, 2006

quick update

I always go to a friend's blog and find that it hasn't been updated in weeks and I go, " Come on, lazy!" but now its been a few weeks and I haven't updated my blog even though I have actually done things for a change. Well, suffice it to say that since my last entry I finished my novella, went backpacking for a week, and got to sleep on a sailboat. I am still alive, and I still want a new job, one where I get to travel around and drink beer.

My friend and his boyfriend moved back to town, and that is good. It is good to have real folk to talk to and do stuff with.

I don't want to write any more.

Friday, May 05, 2006

Good Article in the Orion Online

This is a really good article in Orion Online that talks about giving up hope, as a positive action. I really agree with most of it's premises. Please read it.

Beyond Hope
Derrick Jensen

THE MOST COMMON WORDS I hear spoken by any environmentalists anywhere are, We're fucked. Most of these environmentalists are fighting desperately, using whatever tools they have—or rather whatever legal tools they have, which means whatever tools those in power grant them the right to use, which means whatever tools will be ultimately ineffective—to try to protect some piece of ground, to try to stop the manufacture or release of poisons, to try to stop civilized humans from tormenting some group of plants or animals. Sometimes they're reduced to trying to protect just one tree.

Thursday, April 27, 2006


I am at 23,000 word and 34 pages. This, I can assure you, is a lot of work.

Monday, April 24, 2006

Project Info

I am not going to write here for awhile, as I am channeling my writing into some more serious writing pursuits, specifically a possible novel or novella. I will be updating word count/page count and all that every now and then. Having already started a project I am awed at how much editing and reworking I am doing already, and I barely started. Wish me luck, and any encouragement would be helpful.

I am at about 7,000 word and 10 pages.

Thursday, April 20, 2006


There is nothing new under the sun. All my thoughts have been thought. All the places I have been or are going to are populated. There is nothing new.

I need to go to a place I haven't been, to see a thing I haven't seen, to hear a sound I haven't heard, to smell a new scent, to taste a new taste.

Spring fever. Getting Out Of Here! Making Wild Ass Plans (WAPs)! Eating and drinking too much whilst thinking and dreaming.

MAPS! I need more, I need more gear, I need more money. Fuel is expensive, should I take a train?

Should I just start walking now and walk around the world?

I only have One Life. Unless reincarnation is true in which case I am sure I will be a bird.

I will be a blue bird that flys around the blue world over the blue ocean.

Tuesday, April 18, 2006

I found the haiku.

there is sun under
dark and mossy places where
newborn green things grow

friend or foe?

I wanted to talk today a little bit about friendship. I tried writing about it last week, and it came out really didactic and foolish, so I hope I can just put a few thoughts out there before I descend into the maelstrom of idiocy.

I love my friends. I wouldn't be who I was without the reflection of myself friends provide me with, as well as the examples of their own lives. I don't have a lot of friends but the friends I have are strong people who are very individualistic. I'm sure sometimes they don't think so, but they are.

I have a friend who is coming to live in the Twin Cities again after an absence of at least 4 years, This makes me happy, because like I said I don't have a lot of friends but those select few are pretty important to me. He is a person that showed me that life is large and exciting, and it is important to live it well. He showed me that "well" can mean a lot of things.

I have a friend who I see about every three years, but she makes me happy every time I get to see her. She reminds me of who I am and where I came from. She reminds me that I need to keep in touch with those I love.

I have a friend who I've lived with for the past 8 years. She reminds me that I need to keep challenging my fears, that life isn't about settling into a pattern of work/sleep/eat, that love isn't about reinforcing each other's insecurities. She keep me on my toes.

And then I have friends who some would call relatives, but I just see as people with their own problems, fears, joys, and tears. They remind me of the interconnectivity of all life, and they provide a continuum of reliability.

Maybe someday I'll be able to repay all of my friends for what they do and have done for me.

Do you see what I mean? When you start talking about friendship or love you start sounding like a bad Oprah episode. But the feelings are true. I try to do what I can do.


Monday, April 17, 2006


Easter came and Easter went. I am tired. Much beer was consumed, lots of good food, lots of good company. I am not a fan of holidays. But sometimes they are a good excuse to relax and have fun.

If I could, I would holiday with all of you. But I can only be at so many places at once.

Tomorrow I will explain why humans act the way they do...

Thursday, April 13, 2006

Exit the monolith

Why is my profile down on the bottom of my page here? I don't get it. It annoys me, and I can't seem to do anything about it.

What is there to say today? Spring is here in a major way. The SO and I are getting out on more bike rides and walks. The air is sometimes balmy, sometimes clean. The little green things are poking their heads out of the earth, seeking answers to their questions, getting a taste of what's to come. They remins me to start planting my seeds, physically/spiritually/mentally. I need to work on cultivating the correct conditions for the successful growth of my soul.

I wrote a haiku, but it ran away.

Saturday, April 08, 2006

Life is.

It is interesting to contemplate the interconnectedness of all things in relation to the growing digital network of communication. The latent Christian part of me says "Is this a good thing or a bad thing?" My current Buddhist mindset says "This is a thing." Is there no morality attached to these vast webs of communication? On one hand you have the ability to talk or text or send images to friend or family in different parts of the world, on the other you have the opportunity to spend large swathes of time mesmerized by the stream of human thoughts, stories, myriad gaming opportunities, music, eBay, etc... Basically a dynamic window into the inner workings of samsara, the karmically enhanced cyclical condition of suffering via greed/desire/craving. When you stop and think about it, you are doing nothing while you stare at the computer, TV, cellphone, camera, or car window screen. A world of screens.

The question then arises in my mind "Is doing nothing a good thing or a bad thing?" I think it depends on your idea of nothing. There is active nothing and passive nothing, sad nothing and happy nothing, tired nothing and energetic nothing. While you weed the garden are you actually doing anything? While you clean the bathroom are you doing a thing, or are you doing nothing? While you meditate are you actively meditating or passively existing?

I find the internet extremely helpful if I want a thing, or want to know a thing, or want to do no thing. Want, of course, is desire, which is the primary cause of suffering on the planet. I feel better when I talk to a friend or play guitar or cook a meal then when I do anything involving a screen. Those activities are relatively free of desire. You may say "But you want to eat a tasty meal, or you want to hear a nice tone, or you want to shake off loneliness." But I say "My desire for those things are good for me and for others." What am I doing that is good for me and or for others while I am on the internet? I can say with some certainty that it is usually nothing. I do some research on environmental, political, or spiritual issues. I write this blog as a place to put my thoughts for others to read, in case they might find some use or insight or entertainment. I guess at the end of my contemplation I would have to say that the majority of the time I spend online is wasted time.

I really believe you can only spend time, you can not save it. Well, I also believe time is a mirage, but I won't get into that. If you feel you are not spending your time wisely, you should change your behavior, correct? Therefore if I feel I spend eighty percent of my time online doing nothing with desire I should instead use that time to do something without desire.

At the end of it all, really, everything you do is good if you do it mindfully and for others. At the end of the end of it all, really, life is but a dream. At the end of the dream, life is. Life.

Wednesday, April 05, 2006

the ripples

It is beautiful outside. Would that it were as beautiful inside. The sun shines, bulbs are breaking free of their earthly confines, and robins are scampering to and fro, pecking for worms.

I walked down by the Mississippi yesterday as the sun went down. As dirty and polluted as the water is, it is still a beautiful flowing stream. Ducks and geese honked and brayed like waterborn camels.

I see prisoners being set free, bodies burning, hungry people sailing across seas in rickety boats, prisoners being tortured, and dead animals on the television. I see buds bursting with life on the real vision.

The dreamlike quality of existence is particularly illuminated for me in spring and fall. You can easily see the transitory nature of phenomenon. Every thought, breathe, word, and action sets in motion the ripples of constant change.

Monday, April 03, 2006

thich nhat hanh

"Remember, there are moments when you are driving your car, and he or she is sitting next to you. You are thinking about everything, but you don’t think about the person sitting next to you—you think that you know everything about that person. You can even be singing a song, and thinking about your future and your plans, and you are quite unaware of the person who is sitting next to you. There is no mindfulness. You are not practicing love. Love is the energy of mindfulness which surrounds and embraces the object of your love."

Saturday, April 01, 2006

Pentagon to explode big stupid bomb,,1744506,00.html

Good afternoon and good luck

We're doing body twisting asanas for this week's yoga lesson. Killer, absolutely killer. I am going to have to lose about 80 pounds before I can get into some of these positions.

I just tried roasting my own coffee beans in the oven. It smells weird, not like a coffee shop, more like an accident.

It's my niece's birthday today. One year old. Little buddha baby.

Weird weather today. Weird weather all this week. A hawk squawked at me yesterday.

Good luck.

Friday, March 31, 2006

The ocean is dying.

What is a real something?

How is this possible? It is March 31st, 2006, 6:10 PM. Where did last year go? What happened to all my ambitions and plans? What am I doing here, sitting in front of a computer screen? I should be on a beach somewhere, tossing rocks into the ocean and listening to seagulls. Sleeping in a tent 10,000 feet high, on a whistling rocky outcropping. Having a latte in Switzerland wearing a sombrero. Snorkeling in Thailand with Elvis. Flying to the moon on a modified tricycle.

What happens to time? Where does it go? Can you really save it or can you only spend it?

My intentions are to keep going, not to stop, but to continue onward into the infinite. Does anybody else realize that they are ultimately going to die at the end of this life? Then do they ask themselves "What the hell am I doing wasting my precious minutes, hours, days, years, decades screwing around?" "Do I have the right to do that?" "Will I be reborn as a newt?"

Does anybody really care about these questions or is it just me, a 27 year old cook/musician/buddhist white male with no real problems and no real solutions and no real anything? What is a real something? If I had a house and kids and a career would that be real? Does that change the fact that I am ultimately going to die at the end of my life?

I guess it all comes down to one question: How do I want to spend my time while I am alive?

M & M

Somedays, nothing makes me happier then a Mark Morford article.

"My Parrot Screams Like A Girl This is your pet. This is your pet yelping and burping and chatting on the phone. All true

By Mark Morford, SF Gate Columnist

She used to just squeal and chirp and squeak and burp like a tiny feathered sailor. She used to just make adorable little noises like a moderately hyperactive little monkey holding a banana and looking at the sky and talking to the clouds.
But not anymore. Now, the SO's African Gray parrot, 1 foot tall and 2 feet of wingspan and 1 solid pound of tiny-boned flesh, named Anaya and cuter than a drunk squirrel and more exasperating than a knotted shoelace and more lovingly spoiled than a blond grandchild in the Hamptons, this bird, now nearly 2 years old and maturing a bit and moving away from her fledgling awkward vocal confusions and into a more adult phase of happy confident incessant noisedom, this parrot has learned to scream. Like a girl. Exactly like a girl. And also chat on the phone. Sometimes at the same time. "

My Parrot Screams Like A Girl - This is your pet. This is your p...03/31/2006
Long Live The 9/11 Conspiracy! - Anyone still care about the hea...03/29/2006
Three Years Of Happyfun War! - 1,100 days of brutal violence and...03/24/2006
American Teens, Perky As Candy - Disney's dorky smash hit "High ...03/22/2006
Behold, A Furry Blond Lobster - Pipe down your jaded overfed mul...

Thursday, March 30, 2006

Masanobu Fukuoka

Masanobu is a hero/guru/teacher. I've enjoyed learning about him and his work with natural farming. Here is an excerpt from a great interview.

"Robert: What have you learned in your 50 years of work about what people could do with their agriculture?

Masanobu: I am a small man, as you can see, but I came to the States with a very big intention. This small man becomes smaller and smaller, and won't last very long, so I'd like to share my idea from 50 years ago. My dream is just like a balloon. It could get smaller and smaller, or it could get bigger and bigger. If it could be said in a brief way, it could be said as the word "nothingness." In a larger way it could wrap the entire earth.

I live on a small mountain doing farming. I don't have any knowledge, I don't do anything. My way of farming is no cultivation, no fertilizer, no chemicals. Ten years ago my book, One Straw Revolution, was published by Rodale Press in the United States. From that point I couldn't just sleep in the mountains. Seven years ago I took an airplane for the first time in my life and went to California, Boston, New York City. I was surprised because I thought the United States was full of green everywhere, but it looked like death land to me."

more info here:

Wednesday, March 29, 2006

The point.

What's the point of earning money if you don't want to buy anything?

Meditation, as well as other physical/mental practices, is the most subversive activity, because all you need is the ground under your feet and your mind. Once hooked on meditation other addictions become ephemereal in substance. Once hooked on the infinite the finite becomes clear.

I went to work today. The dead mouse in the basement was finally gone. I earned some money. My bosses were fighting when I left. I have some dishes to do. It is sunny and warm outside, I should be outside. I still haven't done my taxes, even though I told myself I was going to do them a month ago. The car needs some work. I need to straighten up the bedroom. Water the plants. Clean up the whole damn apartment! Clean out the hard drive. Go get some toilet paper. Do yoga lesson, you fat slob. Hurry up, hurry up. Take a shower. Do one more load of wash. Clip toenails. Make some dinner. Take out the trash and recycling. And the compost, gross, overflowing. Do something significant you loser. Write a poem, a song. Yeah right. Walk to the river. Call a friend. Pay my rent. Pay the bills. Switch the phone to a package deal, with DSL and cellular service? No, no, no. Why are we paying for Working Asssets Long Distance when we only use it 5 times a month? It's like $25. Take some pictures with the new camera. My feet are cold, turn up the thermostat. No, idiot, put on warmer socks, put on sweater. Clean the place up you slob, stop writing a blog! I need to exercise, I need to get outside. Work was boring, everything sucks, my life is pointless. Nothing sucks, well, The History of Violence sucked. Why do they always pretend to have some deep meaning while they have people shoot at each other? I'm tired of figuring out what to eat...Maybe I should light some incense. Meditate.

You are always beginning now.

Morning Blah

Sometimes you wake up with disgusting breathe, hazy eyes, a tired soul, and an empty garbage can where your energy stockpile usually is. Sometimes. Sometimes I take a shower, brush my teeth, put on clean clothes, and breathe. That usually gets the transmission in gear. Sometimes it doesn't. Today, I don't know what will get me doing jumping jacks for joy.

At least it is sunny. And we had the first total solar eclipse the world has seen in years.

I just skimmed the article and I came up with this quote: "I believe it's a wonderful work of God, despite all what the scientists say," said Solomon Pomenya, a 52-year old doctor. "This tells me that God is a true engineer."

Despite the glaring grammatical issues and pointed philosophical problems, he is being an ignorant fool. Scientists do not necessarily say that an eclipse or other natural phenomenon is not the work of God, they are just trying to give logical reasons for why and how they happen. Scientists look for cause and effect, and by using the Scientific Method they create a continuum of recordable scientific explanations for the existence of the universe. A lot of scientists are religious. What is this fool trying to say? That if you are a scientist that believes in God you should spontaneously explode? If you were God and you created the universe, wouldn't you want the universe to figure itself out? And what is a "true" engineer? What about "an engineer is a true God" ? Or how about "God exists in an engineer, an eclipse, and in me, therefore I am going to have a lollipop"?

Sometimes my soul wants to explode with frustration.

Tuesday, March 28, 2006

Try this

Every hour, yell to yourself "(your name) , WAKE UP!"

It should give you a small satori.

"Knowing truth is Buddha; expressing truth is Dharma; embodying truth and living truly is Sangha." -Lama Surya Das

I have no real independent existence. Since I found the truth, I have vanished. I am happy, I am alive. I am I am I am I.

Esoteric nonsense? Exactly. You are right. I am wrong. Forgive me.

Have a nice day.

Next post: What the hell are you talking about?


For those who are reading my blog, please post a comment here...

UPDATE: I am not kidding. POST SOMETHING! Let me know you are reading. If nobody posts anything, I'll quit writing. This is a threat.

ANOTHER UPDATE: Alright alright. I get it. You don't exist. You, the audience, are all only in my head. There is nobody out there in the soft vastness of the galaxy. Well fine. Don't write "hello" to me. See if I care.

Monday, March 27, 2006

Chop wood.

Before enlightenment,
Chop wood. Carry water.
After enlightenment,
Chop wood. Carry water.

-Zen saying

Sunday, March 26, 2006

A startling truth

"The startling truth is that our best efforts for civil rights, international peace, population control, conservation of natural resources, and assistance to the starving of the earth-urgent as they are-will destroy rather then help if made in the present spirit. For, as things stand, we have nothing to give. If our own riches and our own way of life are not enjoyed here they will not be enjoyed anywhere else. Certainly they will supply the immediate jolt of energy and hope that methedrine, and similar drugs, give in extreme fatigue. But peace can be made only by those who are peaceful, and love can be shown only by those who love. No work of love will flourish out of guilt, fear, or hollowness of heart, just as no valid plans for the future can be made by those who have no capacity for living now."

-The Book by Alan Watts

Saturday, March 25, 2006

A wholesome blog entry

Today I woke up, drank some fair trade french roast french press coffee, had some tasty mango smoothie, stretched, meditated, and went to my DFL senate district caucus as a precinct delegate, my first time there. It was long, some people smelled bad, but in the end democracy reigned supreme. I was illuminated, disappointed, and hungry at the end.

Then my girlfriend and I did our yoga lesson. Backbends this week. Opening up to the world, vulnerable, elongated. This week will be very hard. Not exactly human pretzel yet, but stunts I haven't pulled off since I was 8. Will we make it? Stay tuned.

Then we went to the Chatterbox Pub, a neighborhood bar with free Nintendo & Atari, as well as delicious beers. There we ate food which made us semi-ill, but the hard cider was very good.

We wrapped up the day at the Heart of the Beast Puppet Theatre to see the next-to-last showing of Gotama, which was relatively good puppet theatre, but had nothing really new to tell or show me about the Buddha's life. The tree at the end was beautiful.

There you go.

Friday, March 24, 2006

no alarms and no awakening....silence

Great doubt : great awakening.
Little doubt : little awakening.
No doubt : no awakening.

-Zen koan

God help them...

Why is it that so many people that call themselves religious cannot stand other people who call themselves religious or other people in general?! Notice my fervent use of punctuation.

Take for instance the Religious Right's Crusade Against Gay People. Alright, let's start out with the fact that people exist...then we move onto the fact that some people are gay...then we move on to the fact that some gay people want to be married in the old school sense of the term, with a pastor and all the bells and whistles...then we move on to the fact that a large populous of supposedly religious people want all gay people to die. Okay, maybe that is overstating their position, but I for one see their need to "protect the sanctity of marriage" for what it is, unabashed hatred/fear. It mimics the attitude I have towards "them" at this point, you know, the "others".

They are my dark side, deep down, the one that hates you and is flagrantly racist, the one that wants my woman to clean my socks and people to bow to me in worship: the dark demon of self. The selfish ego grasping at what it wants, cowering from what it does not understand, crying to itself in agony when the world looks scary. The most unimportant part of me that insists it is THE MOST IMPORTANT PART of me, yelling and frothing at the mouth with rage and lust. The little reptilian consciousness secreting itself way back in my cortex, whispering cold sweet dreams of conquest and pillage. The finite "me" that, if I don't strive to understand it and hold it at bay, will devour the infinite "me" down to my existential bones.

Sanctity: 1. holiness of life and character: GODLINESS 2. a : the quality or state of being holy or sacred: INVIOLABILITY b: pl sacred objects, obligations, or rights

When Jesus Christ was reported to speak about how those without sin should cast the first stone, was he saying do not judge those outside of your self? When he insists that instead of taking an eye for an eye we should offer the other eye, was he saying that we should not take justice into our own imperfect hands, should instead let the wisdom of the world take it's own karmic retribution if so needed?

I can't help but think that if those who call themselves religious would spend all of the precious time that they spend condemning others and instead use that time in perfecting themselves, the world would be a far less tragic world, indeed. I suppose I could just chant a mantra: God help them...

addicted to the infinite

Is glimpsing the infinite just another addiction like drinking, TV, God, crack, cars, TV, cellphone, junk food, unrequited love, smores, etc...? Is searching for the underlying reality of existence simply a moron's pastime?

It seems to me that since we are all going to grow old and die, the numero uno job we have as intelligent monkeys bumbling around on the face of the planet, eating and farting and praying, is to UNDERSTAND OURSELVES. To awaken from an empty path of running from one desire to another, away from one suffering after the other. All these addictions, including the addiction of feeling happy, comfortable, and poppin' fresh, are simply ways to avoid seeing that great yawning maw of endless nothing we perceive to be just around the corner. The movies and soft drinks and video games and blogs and cameras, as well as the TV news the newspapers the books the magazines.

Where is God when your loved one dies? Where is God when a tsunami hits the coast? Where is God when your car gets a flat in the middle of nowhere? God is your loved one, the tsunami, your car, your friends, tortured prisoners, your lunch, the park, a cloud. God is playing hide and seek with itself, endlessly. How could it be otherwise? How could there be a God, as the monotheists propose, that is outside of everything, acting as the supreme arbitrator of reality? It becomes clear to me that when you cannot see god in the "other", be that the trees, your waiter, or the watershed, then your relationship with the "other" suffers in complete ignorance, and you perpetuate the suffering of all mankind.

Therefore we must all strive to awaken from our stupor.

Thursday, March 23, 2006

A movie without corpses, violence, hate, or pointless glib conversations between people who are sexually attracted to eachother

Probably the best movie I have seen in the last year, maybe five : The Real Dirt On Farmer John, info here:

How is it that so many movies have so little worth? I feel that I have seen countless movies in the past years that have no relevance to me whatsoever in any way, shape, form, or smell.

Which leads me to the question: What is art? Is the simple act of creation the bare requirement for a piece of something to be called art? Would not therefore my trips to the lavatory be artistic endeavors? I believe this is so for I have seen many movies, paintings, and architectures, as well as heard many songs and singing voices that fall a close second to my bathroom opuses.

Fare thee well, I say, fare thee well.


rolling boiling frothy anger
down in the carved out kettle
foam-lipped, rushing
smash and crash! and gurgle
the river flows down
from the highest peak; frozen, calm, tempestuous
through glacial remains and canyons
every wave tip singular
every bubble free
gravity sunk, down to the sea
over sand and muck and stone
waving reeds, green and streaming
a yellow footnote on the day
trampled grass trail down to the shore
agates and quartz and more
bare toes slam against hardness
shouts and glimmers

a stray stick
bouncing down through the rocky maze
should I pick it up?

Message to the goddess

Please do not allow me to live my life

It is too hard for me to live my life. Therefore, be it resolved that I withdraw my nomination for human being and instead place a fleshy automaton in my stead. Thank you and fare thee well.

This is what I dreamt of 5 minutes ago. My mind, pacing like a wild cheetah, spat this at me sexily, drunk on the punch of reality, gibbering with desire for the infinite, essentially maddened by the boredom of a life spent in careless pleasure, wild with yearning for the ultimate, naked and strapped to the plush bed of the inner soul.

There is no dog, only cat. There is no cat, only dog. Bark, meow. Bark, meow.



the cat had wandered to the neighbor’s garage
I panicked at work and came home and we found him which made us happy
The cat was confused, like: where am I, how did I get here, what is the meaning of this?
We left the cat at home and went back to work

We have no way of knowing what the cat did for the rest of the day
We could install a camera and videotape the cat’s daily actions
How valuable would this be?

postscript: the cat is now dead, run over by a careless driver

See the monkey dance!

Big zen here:

Dear Today,

Who am I? Why am I here, and how come I have to die in 50 some years? What is the point of all of this? Why are you running past me so fastly?

Well Today, I have nothing to show you. My mind is clear yet my body is muddled. My soul is a mixed drink in the hand of a drunken brunette on a burning cruiseship. There is no paradise in the thought of sleep, no vast comfort in the soft hands of the couch, no safety in this island of nowhere I call home. Yet I persist.

So what time will I see you tomorrow? Same place? Take it easy...

Yours forever,
Cosmic Monkey


Like Frankenstein, I am alive. I begin my awakened existence by welcoming you to my blog-space. Feel free to have a snack. Begin.............NOW!

I've learned many things in the last decade, and I will try to share them with you.

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