Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Dreaming of AnEndless Summer

Here in Richmond, amid the humid stickiness that shrink wraps the clothes to ones back, people tend to complain about the summer heat. It's a wave of it right now, a smackdown of 100 degree weather that is unorthodox for these parts, where usually they crank the A/C up to deal with 90 degree heat round' this time.

I love it. Every sweat driblet. Sure, the James River would be nicer if it was actually cool, not so near the same temperature as the air. I guess that's what happens when it is so low. But nevertheless I could grow really used to living like this. And the evenings surpass pleasant. They're downright grand.

Now mid day I am still not apt to go for a jog or anything, and the shade, at that time is definitely preferable than the sun light. Yet the shade is entirely bearable, and while the rest of my family is sheltered in the dehumidified carbon intensive interior air of the townhouse, I will most likely
be found swinging on the porch swing reading a book, soaking up my environment and very content to do so.

Winter is miserable. No matter how pretty a coating of snow can be, I hate it. I hate being stuck inside.

Even California winters are too cold for me, I now realize. I like being half naked, barefoot, and warm. Perhaps my thyroid is sensitive or something but after a week of overcast skies I feel seriously lacking, like mother earth has robbed my of my UV prosac, upon which I have developed a thorough dependency.

Monday, June 9, 2008

To Richmond, East

Now in Richmond, among the quaint buildings and scrunched together streets. It seems as thought there is a higher ratio of occupied space to streets here than there is in most West Coast cities. Everything just seems closer together. I like it.

I read in a book about Bangkok that that city is 16% streets to occupied space, London 24% and New York 32% give or take. L.A. must be 40% I'm guessing.

I am very interested in traveling anywhere where there is less space occupied by cars and more foot traffic. In regards to Bangkok, that would mean Sois, very small streets with little room for cars. Of course, pedestrian malls are always nice too, but at least on a small street, even if cars are allowed, everything is much more intimate and one can actually see the people across the street well, rather than a sea of cars monopolizing the entire landscape.

Here in Richmond things are very nice. I escaped the rain and gloom of Seattle, for which my threshold reduces seemingly by the year. This spring in particular has been lacking in clear sunny days. I am simply not cut our for being stuck indoors all day every day, as my hyperactivity is severe.

There is a river, the James, running directly through town here in Richmond. Apparently it has been cleaned up in recent years and it is fine to swim in. My cousins and I went there yesterday. We all forded to the other side, Annie, the youngest at ten years, on my back holding tight, Eleanor, the second oldest to me, down river from us a ways to catch Annie in case she was pulled off of me, and Andrew and Gray taking up the perimeter. It was a wonderful experience with nature, right in the middle of a semi large city and not far off from perfection.

Andrew at one point saw a snake in the river which I went after, Gray, our resident snake expert, having told me it was a harmless species. After I had the serpent by the tail everyone changed their song, and all of a sudden I was holding a potentially poisonous species.

"It might be a Cottonmouth!" Andrew and Gray exclaimed. I dropped it back into the water, worried that I had broken it's tail while it helicoptered in my hand.

The people here in Richmond are nice too, not all sodden and opposed to interaction as seems to be the status quo in Seattle. At one point during our wade, we came upon a rock with some beer drinking college students posted on it with a cooler, right in the middle of the entirely shallow river. We had just made our way half back from the other side to the shore where we began, and we rested there.

"There's a nice spot to jump off into right there." Said one of the guys.

"I have a paranoia of breaking a leg." I said. It was true. Strange water I am never eager to jump into without making sure it is clear of rocks and debris.

"Oh it's perfectly safe," the sole girl of their trio said matter-of-factly. "See, watch, it is plenty deep, you just need to jump in right where I do," and then she hopped in, a girl after my own heart.

After she got out she and her friends debated which exact spot was ideal to hop into. Granted, this was a whole one foot of a drop, "Not too extreme," as one of the young men mused.

I hopped in, touched the bottom, and managed not to break my leg.

Tuesday, June 3, 2008

Back out at Camp now, Monroe, Washington. Rain, rain and more rain. Yay.

Wouldn't be so bad if there was dry firewood and a covered fire pit to chill at, but the entire place is waterlogged...including the logs, and Chris, the camp director, sold the metal car port shelter that made such a nice covering to have a fire under last time I was out here three years ago.

We worked on the dock at the lake, had a few conversations about things.

Last year a few interns had left at the last moment and he was high and dry for help with camp for the summer, his counselors working over time.

"Those interns just got frustrated, they needed my attention constantly, like I was their daddy."

I wanted to sympathize with them. I too had had similar feelings the first time I had come out to camp. The way Chris' web site made it seem, he was highly organized and structured. He even professed that structure was important. How could one blame the interns for feeling gypped? Going back to the land and practicing earth skills is a difficult and trans formative process. Chris set himself up as a sort of guru to guide people on this journey then complained when his students complained about him falling short of near perfection.

My perspective is entirely different. To me, the first order of business is fire. When I am in the wilderness, at a summer camp, or just hanging out on some dudes property as is more accurate in regards to Chris' situation, I don't feel much implored to do anything until I have a nice stash of firewood.

Firewood wise, the situation at camp is abysmal. Basically it's all wet, none chopped. I find myself asking over and over, how can we have a summer camp if the only dry wood we have to burn is left over 2x4 scraps from different building projects?

That Chris is disorganized is acceptable. That he is disorganized and simultaneously seeks to establish himself as an authority is absurd. He once told me, "Teaching is about manipulation and control." Gee thanks Edward Bernays. Sure, if one wants to argue that the only way to keep throngs of people from turning on each other as if they were chickens in a crowded coup then perhaps manipulation and control of them is in order. But speak to any individual with their wits about them and they would hardly feel free to submit to such a course of action. I guess all robots should not become self aware. Maybe I should keep my anti authoritarianism to myself, as a nation of critical thinkers would be essentially leaderless.

Leadership can accomplish things much more quickly than a mass of bickering independent thinkers seeking consensus, but 90% of everything is crap, including politicians, teachers and cops. Due in part to my lack of good parental guidance, I spent much of my extended adolescence seeking that difficult to access 10% of leaders that is not in fact crap.

Back to the fire, I am all about it. Fire is my element, perhaps because I am an agent of change. Earth, wind/air, and water all change slowly. Fire can change the landscape within between minutes and hours given certain conditions. So it is a nor brainer that being in the middle of the forest, in the Pacific Northwest, during rain season, without dry firewood, is not a very comfy situation for me. I need fire like I need food.

But here I am again. It seems like all I can do is criticize. What about me? Am I immune to criticism? Well, I am a hell of a lot more immune than people who attempt to assert authority over others. And no one anywhere can challenge my pragmatism. I am more military minded than just about anyone.

"One day you're going to need to learn to accept authority Gabe." I remember Chris telling me years ago.

My only retort is, what revolution was accomplished by people who accepted authority? What significant change has occurred due to people who do not question authority? More often than not it is rebellious people that do all the leg work in progress. So I decided not to salute Chris when he asserted that I was in dire need of structure. As if he could provide it anyways.

Nevertheless Chris is a good guy and I do consider him my friend. And he deserves to have me speak my mind freely regarding my assessments of him and his authority.

Friday, May 9, 2008


Soon I stand to stack some lettuce at the Northwest Folk Life Festival. Folk Life is a gathering in Seattle that I look forward to all year because I meet up with old acquaintances, see awesome buskers, lovely ladies and all in all the winter gloom has worn off and it is a quintessential early summer experience. What I plan on doing with the money I make performing at Folk Life for my first time ever is another matter. Don Scobie, the leader of our band, who has played Folk Life many times, says that it will be fun and lucrative. At this point I am considering a couple of options.

A. Stay in Seattle, buy a camcorder, and start making my own movies and filming my own monologues.

B. Go to South East Asia.

This passport is burning a hole in my pocket. I haven't had one since I lost my previous one eight years ago.

I got distracted from my plan to go to Thailand by moving into my new place. The woman who manages the house I live in is from Brazil and she almost had me convinced that I should go to Rio. But after a spate of experiences and much deliberation I have resolved that if I travel internationally, it is going to be to either a Buddhist or Hindu country. I do love Mexico, and I am not totally opposed to visiting a Catholic country again, sometime. But not now. Sure, the majority of the most dangerous countries on the planet are Islamic, but any Abrahemic country is going to have it's issues, and Catholicism has not mixed well with third world countries in my opinion. If I am going to be immersed in poverty, I want the state religion of the country I am visiting to be based on tenets of peace, not guilt, dogma, and violence.

Wednesday, May 7, 2008

Barefoot Worship

Well, it seems as though someone has beaten me to the punch. Or the kick I should say. I'll get to the point of this first paragraph, but first I need to recap on my journey up until now, starting at when my right brain was a sperm and my left brain was an egg, before they were joined I mean. Kidding.

I spent years trying to reclaim my connection to nature, but something always held me back. There was always a nagging feeling of disconnection that ran deeper than simply my being raised as a member of a very concrete and brick square civilization. There was a missing factor in my quest to go back to the land, no matter how many cords of wood I chopped of how many frigid rivers I jumped into naked while my nuts shrank to the size of peas.

I dabbled with going barefoot over the years, but never really connected the dots. Now that I have, and if I didn't know better, it would be very easy for me to get caught up in a dogmatic belief system where nature is the only church and going barefoot is the only way to worship. I mean, I spent many summers practicing primitive skills, dancing in drum circles and tripping on mushrooms, and while I had some amazing experiences, there was always a barrier left after the high wore off. I never realized that the barrier was simply my thick rubber soles that prevented me from feeling the ground beneath my tarsals and metatarsals.

The beating to the punch, or kick, of this post comes in the form of a barefooter who has combined Christianity with going unshod. It really is an easy association, though one I would never in a million years make. Sure, I silently chuckle to myself when I am out walking at the futility of hikers and walkers and joggers who are out in the fresh air on a bright sunny day with their feet bound up two sweaty damp caves, or worse, moldy cramped mobile homes. In a sense, getting out of the car and on two feet seems almost worthless if we keep our feet inside. But I am not a Christian, specifically for the reason that dogma and authority are a load of bullshit. And my reasons for being what I suppose could be equated with atheism but is more like a weak agnosticism negate any move I could make towards a dogmatic belief system.

Anyways, here he is the Christian bare foot runner, ERSKIEN. That dude is a trip.

And now for bare foot worship of another kind. Women bare foot? MAJOR turn on. Check this youtube video. Now I am not coming out of the foot fetish closet or anything. I mean what's a good pair of feet that isn't attached to a fine set of legs. And what's a fine set of legs that doesn't round off at the top in to a plump...you get the point. But women going barefoot is a turn on because it takes guts to go barefoot and in this day and age there seems to be an inundation of scared little princesses who were raised anything but brave and assertive. Barefoot is a state of mind. Too bad there's not enough of us to create our own dating personals.

Tuesday, May 6, 2008

The Gospel of Consumption

And the better future we left behind

by Jeffrey Kaplan

PRIVATE CARS WERE RELATIVELY SCARCE in 1919 and horse-drawn conveyances were still common. In residential districts, electric streetlights had not yet replaced many of the old gaslights. And within the home, electricity remained largely a luxury item for the wealthy.

Just ten years later things looked very different. Cars dominated the streets and most urban homes had electric lights, electric flat irons, and vacuum cleaners. In upper-middle-class houses, washing machines, refrigerators, toasters, curling irons, percolators, heating pads, and popcorn poppers were becoming commonplace. And although the first commercial radio station didn’t begin broadcasting until 1920, the American public, with an adult population of about 122 million people, bought 4,438,000 radios in the year 1929 alone.

But despite the apparent tidal wave of new consumer goods and what appeared to be a healthy appetite for their consumption among the well-to-do, industrialists were worried. They feared that the frugal habits maintained by most American families would be difficult to break. Perhaps even more threatening was the fact that the industrial capacity for turning out goods seemed to be increasing at a pace greater than people’s sense that they needed them.

Article continues here...

Saturday, May 3, 2008

New Horizons: Seattle

Yesterday my neighbor Damien brought home a waif like heroin junkie. I called him from my side of the duplex and he said, "Why don't you get over here."

I went over to his side and there she was, very thin, but attractive. She had dark features and was half Puerto Rican. On the corner of her mouth was a giant hepatitis sore. She monopolized the computer, bending over the keyboard with her small nearly emaciated bottom pressing close to my crotch, fully aware of her space and where her extremities where directed. Her body was like a twelve year old girl's, but her personality was fully developed.

She insistently showed us videos on youtube and myspace. She had a slide show on myspace showing pictures of her when she was healthier and more filled out. Some of them featured her in self made Star Wars costumes, including a Princess Lea Jabba slave bikini. Geeks have been getting sexier by the year and after my first few episodes of Attack of The Show on G4 network I was hip to the talent pool of fandom, and this young aficionado of all things Force reiterated nerd potential for me. Too bad I am more Folk Life Festival than Sci Fi Con. There is just too much of a rift between nature and pop culture, but I have learned not to typecast myself that way. One never knows who is waiting in the wings to share the stage of life.

Our new friend was a charmer to no end. She played music on the computer and danced a little in her seat and on the kitchen floor and was just adorable all around. My captain save-a-ho instincts were seething through my brain. I wanted to take her under my wing and nurture her, to spoon her...to fork her.

It is a very primal thing, the attraction between man and downtrodden prostitute. Who can blame Jesus for loving Mary Magdalene? I once tried to write a song called Fragile Dolls. It was great in theory but never got past the title. I wanted to sing about how the toughest, most street smartest chicas are also the ones who have experienced the darkest life has to offer, lived to tell the tale, broken, and how it is all part of their mystique and appeal.

Against my better judgement I drove her down to Bell Town to get her fix. On the way there I gave her, in only so many words, the basic "you're way to hot to be fucked up on that shit" lecture. The unfairness of life was not lost on me, there, in the car, saddened at beauty gone to waste. I mean, she could be doing more productive things with her time, like breeding for crying out loud. No, she was more than just a good pair of genes. She could tailor her own jeans and that means she would make a great partner in crime. But what was unfair is that had she been homely the conditions of her despair, and no one can claim this young woman was not in despair, would have seemed more fitting.

She proclaimed that she was unhappy sober, and she cried. I couldn't tell if it was a fake cry. Women will fake an orgasm and they can fake tears, sometimes both at the same time if they really have game. And who can blame them. They are faced with a bottomless well of douche bags in the world. Too bad I don't have time to get to all the girls. Because I'm superman.

"I'm not superman." I told her.

"I know, I know," she said.

When she spoke she spoke in flail speak, street language that was up tempo, full of double entendres and ambiguity and far too abstract to recreate here. I could understand her but not comprehend her when she asserted nothing and stated vague fleeting facts. Do I surround myself with these types of people to fill some void? Is it that I want to feel sane by being immersed in crazy geniuses or that I just feel like I can be myself, unjudged and content?

I didn't have the time or resources to sponsor a junkie, even if she did treat me like her savior and share my bed. It's a good way to ruin a career, getting involved with a woman. Guys who through nepotism or luck manage to have a torrid love affair while simultaneously amassing their fortune are few and far between. Any guy who still excuses his infatuations with interesting women, women who by default and sheer charisma demand attention will often point to those lucky blokes who balance money and vagina. But the examples given as evidence are often older more traditional men who had traditional women. The modern relationship is a different breed entirely, taking the form of a friendship rather than a top down male lead bureaucracy, a model which if possessing few good qualities is at least conducive to the cut throat and dominative world of capitalism and business . If a guy like myself happens to fall in love with a modern woman who is not as driven or ambitious in similar artistic and creative fields as I, I'm bogged down, and my time is diverted, enslaved by the fascinating layers of a woman while my career potential fades. That would be tragic, because I have a lot of potential, and realizing that potential would open up my access to more interesting and creative women.

Before I dropped her off, she asked for my number, cute as a button. I gave her my acting business card with my picture on it. That way she can remember my name and face combined.

I went home and waited for her to call. I felt like a puppy but didn't sleep like one.