Blogs

Friendly Lizard

Wil changed his name to Wild Horse, which fully represents his old name, but projects more of his real character.  Here is a picture from earlier today, when he had a friendly lizard climb onto his hat.

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Here is a bit of a detail of the lizard on his hat

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Wild Horse had saved the lizard from a cat which was trying to kill it.  And the lizard felt safe on the hat and actually crawled back onto it once when he put the hat on the ground and took the lizard off gently.

Ultimately, the lizard went off into the grass, and Wild Horse picket seeds with Mac and i late into the night, with only fond memories of his new friend.

Removing the Ads on WordPress

Dearest Friends and Readers:

i just discovered that WordPress is now more actively putting ads on blogs.  I totally understand their need to monitorize this service and i dont want ads on my blog [especially for outfits like Walmart, which i am trying to boycott].  So bear with us for a bit, and we will pull them off as soon as possible.

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Hot Cha – Not recognizing the song written about me

My brother very generously gave the communes two dozen free tickets and back stage passes to his show last night in Cville.  The Acorners and Oakers loved it, some attendees were repeat offenders from last years show.

The band played it’s only platinum album Flood, for most of the show.  And on this album is the song Hot Cha, which is the most clearly about me song my brother has written. The lyrics of Hot Cha were written (i believe) in response to my disappearance from contact with my parents for much of 1982.  My brother and i often played the game Derby Day when we were little and Hot Cha was horse number two and my favorite.  Despite his claims otherwise, i am clear that this song on the Flood album is about me.

Derby Day Horses

Derby Day Horses

The funny thing is that i told Mac that this song was about me just before the show and when it started playing she said “This is your song!”.  But i did not really recognize it.  At first this struck me as odd.  Here is this song, written by my brother, on his most famous album, which is about me and i dont even recognize it.  That seems lame.

Pantsless Dance Party and the Pearl Harbor Theory of Funology

One of the most studied attacks in military history is the Japanese invasion of Pearl Harbor at the end of 1941 and near the start of WW2.  One of the often criticized aspect of this daring and hugely successful attack was the failure of the Japanese to launch a third wave.  Had the Japanese hit a third time, they would have been able to destroy much of the pearl harbor infrastructure and would have set back perhaps by years the US pacific fleet from attacking Japan.

USS West Virginia one of many sunken ships at Pearl Harbor

USS West Virginia one of many sunken ships at Pearl Harbor

Similarly, organizers of the great Acorn 20th Anniversary Land Day party, needed an exceptionally successful after party, to both finish the beer left behind at the main event and to offer something wonderful but much smaller and more intimate to the people who made this large commemorative  event happen.  The pants-less dance party was everything it needed to be to deliver this critical third wave of fun.

Part of what made it tremendously successful was that it was organized in the highly organic, super low overhead/planning Acorn style.  [This is quite different for me than the Twin Oaks parties i have helped plan which have far more meetings and logistics associated with them.  For the Land Day after party the organizing went like this.

"We have two kegs of beer left over."

"We should have a party and drink at least some of it!"

"What will get people to come to such a party?"

Negligent Parenting Magazine

Willow’s first home schooling lesson from me was about swearing.  I give him a dollar every time he can pick my pocket without me noticing, and he is getting pretty good at it.  My son has a dreadful disrespect for the police.  i totally forgot to get breakfast for him the other morning.  And tonight his 17 year old friend Rowan turned down the midnight laser tag adventure we (Willow and i) organized, because it was going to be too exhausting (Willow is 11).

The joke is that my style of child care will get me to the cover of Negligent Parenting Magazine.

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family negotiations

And it was charming working with him on this evenings activities.  In a series of staccato conversations it came together.

“Laser Tag – let’s do it!” Willow wanted in on this new game

“We’ll drive in the Acorn car i have.” i offered

“I will get Rowan and Evan to come.” Willow offers

“I will call Craig about Adrian” i suggest

“Where will we meet?” Willow inquires.

“Let’s meet at MorningStar.” i propose

“At 10 PM, we will be ready.” And he turns and walks out of the dining hall with an air of confidence i find unusual in kids his age, but i don’t see him at all clearly.

So let the fine editors of from Negligent Parenting bang on my door.  i am helping craft a curious titan, who seems unafraid to take on anything.

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I am uncomfortable writing about my mental illness, which is why I do it anyway

Reblogged from Well Behaved Women Rarely Make History:

(This post isn't a subtle cry for help or anything like that- I'm pretty good at obvious cries for help. This is a theory piece discussing why I write about my own struggles with mental illness even though some people will think I am attention seeking whiny pants.  It's been languishing in my drafts for a few months but since I'm likely to post about going back on meds a lot in the next few weeks this feels like an appropriate time to post it.)

Read more… 552 more words

One of the hardest vulnerabilities to admit are the ones which you can hide. Angie deserves credit for her daring in showing the rest of us what mental health struggles look like for the inside.

April is Manifesting Loud Love

What is important to me in this coming month is promoting the Loud Love conference and so we get a bunch of people to experience it.  We have a good program and a great team of organizers (see below)

Loud Love is about exploring, expressing, exporting and celebrating your romantic identity and experience.    There are a wide range of workshops offered from Blues Dancing (a non-sexual intimacy building skill) to Honest Seduction (yes, this is not a contradiction in terms) to Drag King 101, to Transcending Jealousy and building compersion (yes, people actually succeed in this) to advanced polyamory techniques.

Plus there is a days worth of open space technology which permits conference participants present on topics that the group in interested in.

Loud Love Logo

The New Loud Love Logo – art by Mac

Cards Against Humanity

As a funologist, part of my tool kit is games.  And i like games.  And recently i have been laughing quite a bit over a game called Cards Against Humanity, which i had never even heard of a week ago.

Single question with multiple answers from Cards Against Humanity

Single question with multiple answers from Cards Against Humanity

The game is elegantly simple.  There are black question cards and white answer cards.  You get ten answer cards and replace one for each question card read.  For each question card that is selected by each player in turn you provide your best answer card.  ”Best” is defined perhaps as the one which the reader (who selects the winner) will find most funny or thought provoking or gross.    It is a relative of mad libs and the card game Apples to Apples, if you are familiar with those.

When we first started playing the game i search (as i oft do) for a political slant.  The game authors make it a bit easy because they go after Glen Beck in a couple of the answer cards.  And there is no shortage of scatological, sophomoric and off color jokes.   It is also often funny.

i wrote 50 answer cards tonight for the  new internal version we are creating.  [The Twin Oaks internal version is called Cards Against Community.  Acorn does not have a name for our game yet.  The internal version uses the same format and refers to things which Acorner’s know about like Daniel’s moped gang and bacon that got cooked for 12 hours.  My favorite card of my design (which is unusually long) refers to something that has not happened, but many people could imagine.

What's Happening: March 2013


Spring Equinox
East Winders gladly greeted the spring on March 20ththis year.  We celebrated the equinox with homemade beer, wine, root beer, snacks, and fun.  East Winders appreciated the beauty of the coming spring and the anticipation of the warm sunny days ahead.  At dusk, many of us gathered to watch a “dragon log”, which was undoubtedly a spectacle to behold.
Forsythias, flowering quince, cherry, and peach trees have all put on a beautiful display of flowers this month.  On the ground, toothwort, trout lily, dandelion, chickweed, cress, henbit, dead nettle, and sweet violet are beginning to flower.  Elderberries and dogwoods have begun to bud and leaf out, though most hardwoods will continue to remain dormant for just a little while longer.  This winter’s spinach and kale are still producing in our gardens, while spring wild edibles appear in abundance along trails and throughout the woods.  Some favorite wild salad greens this time of year include toothwort, trout lily, chickweed, chives, violet, cress, dandelion, chicory, and yarrow.









Shagbark – a small and beautiful thing

“i am excited about your homestead and i want to help you find magical people to be in it” i messaged Joan.  i see myself as a recruiter not just for the communities i live in but for the movement in general.  Shagbark looked to me to be a very promising project, and i wanted to help in this way.  So it was doubly disappointing to get Joan’s reply.

“we are not actually looking for anyone else, we are going to be small for a while at least.”

joanandchicken

What makes communities is the people in them.  It seems obvious, but when you look at the success rate of new communities, you know that it is going to take some pretty extraordinary people to make them work.    Joan is like this and then some.

Henna artist, reluctant geek, pocket philosopher, social networker and cute animal magnet, Joan Underhill Shagbark is one of the tiny crew of pioneers of this 6 acre ecovillage, near the well established north eastern Missouri communities of Danging Rabbit and the income sharing Sandhill Farm.  Shagbark is a pod inside the Red Earth community effort.

Commune Snapshots

Darla Plays Heartwood at Acorn

Darla Plays Accordion in Heartwood at Acorn

Behaviorism Lives!

Behaviorism Lives!

i was an accomplice

i was an accomplice

Madness – It takes a village

There is a story i often tell, about a dear friend and long time member, Kristen, who went a bit crazy here (Twin Oaks) some years back.  It was not a scary kind of crazy, like my friend who punched me in the face while i was driving with him to get some food.  This was a more of an Alice in Wonderland affair, where she wandered around the community, spoke German and French a lot (which she had studied years before) and was relieved of her commune work responsibilities while she was on this adventure (kid care, managerships, and other work areas).village

Kristen had been institutionalized against her will when she was 23 years old in Kansas, and it was awful.  Imagine a prison-like situation with forced medication and unsympathetic medical people.  Even in her Alice mindset, she knew she was not going to go back to the hospital; nothing was as clear as this fact.  So we carried her.  Collectively: care teams were formed, child care was organized, her various work areas were covered  by other communards.Computer-Hospital-picture2

Of course this is what Hillary Clinton means when she says “it takes a village”. [Permit me to quickly point out that Clinton does not have a village, she has instead a detachment of secret service officers, which is not the same thing at all.]  You want to be able to take care of the people you love in the way they want to be.  If Granny gets sick, you want her in her room, with the people who love her all around and her needs getting met.

Building Metrics – the end of the busy season

“The Seed business busy season is over when we have two days in a row of less than 100 total new orders.”  i proclaimed recently.

In a time long past i studied economics.  Economists love to define things this way.  A recession is two consecutive quarters with negative growth in gross domestic product.  [Tho one of the many rye and weak economist jokes is that a recession is when your neighbor is unemployed and a depression is when you are unemployed.  There is a reason this is called the dismal science.]

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We have not quite reached the end of the busy season, which has had me running around in circles in the seed picking room.  i have been employing a few operations research and queuing theory tricks to go just a bit faster in filling the flood of orders we have for mostly organic and heritage seeds.

i dont know this person, but this is definitely the Acorn Picking Room

i dont know this person, but this is definitely the Acorn Picking Room

Freedom Lives in Your Vote

Reblogged from Whisky Doll:

Click to visit the original post

Today I write less romantically.  My friend Pax commented on a blog I wrote a while back entitled "My Best Friends".  I intended to answer him in the comment section, but the answer "grew and grew and grew until ceiling hung with vines and the walls became the world all around"...  Here are my thoughts, pricked delightfully by his mind:

Read more… 487 more words

This is a thoughtful response to my comment, pushing my analysis to consider the structural misogamy of the dominant paradigm and how this plays into the experience of being a woman. Please feel encouraged to comment directly onto Karin's blog.

Forced initmacy

“i appreciate the work you do around here, like fixing the floor in the smoke shack or the many times i see you up very late packing seeds.  There is no doubt in my mind you are a good communard in this sense. ” i was doing my clearness with Sandy who might be 35 and has been at Acorn a bit longer than i have.  But this was not the important part.

“But when i think about you more deeply, i realize i have an enegmatic experience of you.  i think i have a pretty good understanding of who most of the people who live here are and what motivates them.  With you i am much less sure.  i know that i like you and have enjoyed your company, but really what this clearness drives me to do is suggest we hang out more so that i can get to know you better.”  She smiles and agrees and a few minutes later our cleaness is over.

Show me what is really inside

Show me what is really inside

A $100K fire

A crew from Twin Oaks came over to help with the cleaning up of Acorns steel building which burned a couple weeks back.  i ran around with a dust mask on mostly shoveling and moving wheelbarrows full of charred often indistinguishable items to the large rented dumpsters.  We dutifully separated out copper and other valuable parts, which one day might be usable.  But it was not til today that i really realized the magnitude of the loss.

Rejoice, myself, Augie, GPaul, Xian and Shua in our appropriate attire

Rejoice, myself, Augie, GPaul, Xian and Shua in our appropriate attire

A newly purchased vehicle was destroyed (despite Daniels heroic efforts to move it from the steel building inferno).  A $8K table saw is now junk.   Tens of thousands in seed inventory was destroyed (tho curiously, some thousands of dollars of seeds which where were being stored in a deep freeze that was completely engulfed in flames may have survived – as did some ice cream).

And it leaves Acorn with the vexing problem of what to do with the hull of the torched Quonset hut.  The structural engineer we employed to review it says that the building is probably structurally sound, but the galvanization which coated the steel has been burned off and if we want to use the building we should 1) paint it to prevent rusting and 2) store things in it which it is okay if the building collapses on it.  Sadly we do not have enuf stuff which can have buildings collapse on them and as an operating farm and agricultural business, we have significant storage needs.

The Revolution Next Door

Nuclear boosters and most power utility executives are fond of telling us that renewable power can’t fill the need for reliable electricity and it’s costs are too high.  The graph below is telling because it shows that the path being blazed by Germany is actually representative of the entire European continent.  Specifically, new installed capacity of wind and solar far exceed all other fuels.  And that even with record low natural gas prices, over half of the amount of new installed capacity in gas was decommissioned last year. Despite dire warnings of increased coal burning, the amount of decommissioned plants well exceeds new installed capacity.  Little new nuclear went on line and a fair amount was pulled from the grid (almost all this year from Germany, but with many more countries likely to close them in the coming years).  There are only 4 reactors currently under construction in all of Europe – excluding Russia.

What Europe is doing with its power mix

What Europe is doing with its power mix (EU 27)

Source http://www.ewea.org/fileadmin/files/library/publications/statistics/Wind_in_power_annual_statistics_2012.pdf

Comparing Community Businesses – Twin Oaks and Acorn

Both of the intentional communities I live in have cottage industries.  These are the economic engines which allow us to buy the many things we don’t make or grow ourselves.  Most of Twin Oaks’ income comes from the hammocks business and the tofu business, over 90% of Acorn’s income comes from the seed business.  I’ve been involved with tofu and hammocks for over a decade, but I’m just starting with the retail part of the seeds business.

twin oaks logo

 

There are some highly desirable features to Twin Oaks’ Hammocks business, which i believe are part of the reason the community has been successful.  The first aspect is that production is highly flexible.  You can come in to the hammock shop at any time and weave or do other fabrication tasks.  You can work for as long as you like, there is no “boss” telling you what to do, though there are people who will train you and direct you, should you need it.  You track your own hours on a trust-based system.

this pattern is called interweave

this pattern is called interweave

Just can’t get enough!

For those of you who can’t get enough, or just can’t wait for the Twin Oaks Communities Conference, The Farm in Tennessee is hosting it’s 5th annual Conference on Community and Sustainability.

Held Memorial Day weekend, May 29 – 31, here’s some words from the organizers on the event:

Farm  School building web

The Farm’s Solar School, a conference workshop location

“In community we depend on each other, and it is clear that each one of us has value and something to give, contributions to the whole, made visible through our work.
Find your passion:

  • Green Building
  • Green Business
  • Organic Food Production
  • Alternative Education
  • Midwifery
  • Environmental Activism
  • Peace and Justice Activism
  • Music and the Arts
  • and more

There is room for everyone in community, and you will have the opportunity to see how this can be expressed in a very real way when you are part of our special gathering.”

Why Republicans are dying out

Reuters tells us that the Republicans are trying to rebrand their party.  After losing the presidency, several senate and house seats in the most recent election, this would seem a good time to re-evaluate.  And what was the conclusion of the most recent effort to understand the problem?

Republicans on Monday outlined a broad plan to attract racial minorities, women and young voters – and shed their image as a “narrow-minded, out-of-touch” party of “stuffy old men.”

Republican National Committee Chairman Reince Priebus

If we are being more precise we would have said “stuffy old rich white men.”  But this only scratches the surface of the republican parties problems.  [in the spirit of transparency, if you did not know, i am an old white guy with access to resources]

As long as they are wedded to southern Christian conservatives, they will oppose gay marriage, which they are loosing votes on all over the place.  Should there be any doubt left about the political advantage of supporting gay marriage, Hillary Clinton (perhaps the most calculating politician in recent history) has changed her position on this issue and  just signed on supporting it.

We can tell where this is going

We can tell where this is going

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