Posts Tagged ‘Order and Disorder’

fun & frivolity

Not, perhaps, so much, Gentle Reader.  After the washing machine (loyal up to now) first tried to electrocute me the other day and then wouldn’t really work at all, I had to conclude that perhaps it was kaput at long last.  Not a happy thought at all.

It meant, of course, a trip to the laundromat for the whole enterprise, the jaunt of an afternoon.

There, I found the following:

a) most of the washing machines were broken, and

b) a family with a pet rescue operation had the roughly ten machines still working full of dog blankets.

The good news was they had, as they informed me, brushed said blankets quite thoroughly and there really wasn’t any pet hair in the machines afterward, which was very nice indeed, since long wet chihuahua hair is pretty gnarly in a washer.  I used the extra time involved in washing everything we owned to unravel the Mysteries of the Recently Acquired from the Phone Company Tablet, feeling a bit nerdly as I did so.  (I mean, how tired are we all of looking around and seeing nothing but people staring down at their “devices”?) Because of course the Tablet, being meant to be a Labor Saving Device, has been a challenge, starting from the jump.  I think I have it more or less wrestled to the ground- I mean, I can actually get it to work, which is awesome.  Not quite as well as I’d hoped, but well enough.  It seemed reasonable to have something that I could take with me and get work done on, after all.  The new account billing, which so far has been so byzantine even THEY can’t figure out what they did, may have been straightened out enough to step away from.   So I had a feeling of slight accomplishment, didn’t lose any socks and managed to make a decent dinner later on.    This is what passes for large success in my world.

This level of accomplishment allowed me to remain fairly calm when it was revealed that the wood we so laboriously got at New Year’s turns out to be from a burn area and thus….HAHAHAHAHA……covered with flame retardant.  So it doesn’t burn and also has some kind of enormous mutant ants buried in it as well.  I step on them with my boot and it’s as though they look up at me and say, is that all you’ve got?  I feel guilty enough already and still apologize to every bug I kill.  Although after a recent massive vacuum and scrub extravaganza I did expect the moths to be gone, and they aren’t, and I noticed I’m not apologizing to THEM anymore.

So anyway.  There we are, swinging between multiple realities, just wondering, you know, if this is really how it’s going to be from here on out.  However, we saw our Resident Rabbit this week and he is quite splendid.  I’m pretty sure it’s him because although he is now really big, he still has that mad scientist gleam in his eye, that touch of “you can’t see me!”.  This year’s dove explosion is interesting too because they are all a bit differently colored than prior years.  They’re almost white, and when they swoop around the garden and driveway it is practically transcendent.  All the birds do what appears to be a vocal check in about 8 am every day; a round of all the different calls and songs, going around in a circle.  The one voice I didn’t recognize turned out to be a heron, who flies over everyone on the way to various ponds.

So anyway.  It’s all magnificent and awful at the same time.  Keeps it interesting, and I think it is true that since it’s mostly all small stuff, you shouldn’t sweat it.  Still.  As we hurtle through space on this teeming and twirling ball, we’re so immersed in our own realities it’s hard to keep the idea in mind that actually if we would just put down the things we keep hitting ourselves with we’d be pretty happy.   I’m still finding that confusing, but we live in hope, don’t we?

 

 

bears, pink mountains, and fracas

That’s pretty much it of late, Gentle Reader.  I hardly know where to start.

1) Obviously last week really was tough and not just my imagination.  On the way into town I saw two cows having a fierce argument, butting heads and roaring.  I felt the same way and was somewhat calmed by the thought that it was just the order of the day.  This was after fighting off the two pit bulls who were living across the road from us while paying rent, and before the pickup truck in front of me on the road with a whole bunch of garbage bags in the back managed to flip open its back gate and strew bags all over the road.  It was like barrel racing in a car.

2) We had a large bear.  We did.  I was pretty excited, really.  He was (I’m assuming it was a he, about 300 pounds worth) very neat about moving all the metal fence posts, cinder blocks, rocks and tarps from atop the garbage pile, delicately extracting only the newest bags in order to first slide them down the hill then drag them about a third of a mile away for further perusal.  I actually DID hear him one morning and felt quite strongly that it would be a mistake to open the front door, not knowing what was really out there and all.  Which it would’ve been , except I would have seen a real bear.  Anyway he has moved on for the time being and we’re thinking that we’ll put the garbage even farther away from the yurt pending dump runs- that way the danger of getting the walls clawed through will be minimized.  Perhaps.  But what a pawprint!!! WOW.  It’s quite something to see that a creature that big was just inches from our heads.  I thought it was pretty cool.

3) The landlady’s errant dog who has been barred from our garden via fence continues with her new trick of rushing to the post where the electrical box is and jumping on it just so.  It’s exciting being plunged into darkness at odd and unpredictable moments., but then again, knowledge is power and at least we know that with a walk of a half mile and a flashlight we can usually get things up and running again.  SO EMPOWERING.

4) But not as exciting as the continuing visits to the hill here from the sheriffs and their helicopters and trucks.  We have no idea what they’re doing but there it is.

5) Mt. Shasta finally has snow on it and in the evenings it looks PINK.  Totally amazing.

6) And then there’s the mid term election.  The local TV station on which we watch news was not coming through (many calls to the engineer later it mysteriously came back on) so I actually missed quite a bit of the returns, but not enough to avoid being seized by the thought that the end may really be near and people really cannot see the forest for the trees.  I mean: When a gubernatorial candidate says eliminating the use of plastic bags statewide in California stores is “irrelevant”, you have to wonder just exactly what planet he’s really living on.  One seemingly without oceans.  Dear, oh dear.

7)  Hope springs eternal and somehow we put one paw in front of the other every day.  Muffins are helping, oddly.  Quickbreads turn out to be remarkably restorative when one is having intermittent weirdness.  Pumpkin and pineapple for starters.  And, since it hasn’t been infernally hot in the daytime or freezing at night, the garden has taken a new leap forward and we still have some tomatoes and squash and volunteer bok choy.  I admit I’m spoiled by this garden!  Roses are blooming and the hummingbirds are buzzing around us all the time.  I saw a roadrunner the other day too!  Which really just about says it all, since we have coyotes as well.  Acme dynamite, anyone?

8) Beep beep, I guess.  For now.

no name for it today

I did realize this morning, when I got up and actually felt perfectly fine, that it was a mistake to think anything about it, such as that it might last the entire day.  Things have been more than dicey for us at Yurt Central of late; it’s been exhausting.  However.  We made decisions, acted on them, resolved differences and conflicts, and found out that contrary to what the dealership in this benighted place said about The Car? there was nothing at all wrong with it.  Mid-Other-Crises our CHECK ENGINE light went on, and I don’t know about you, Gentle Reader, but I no longer ignore that.  Especially given that we live in a place there’s  no walking out from in less than four hours.  So we really need our car.  Going to the local dealership aka only game in town seemed reasonable, at least to the Partner.  We went, they were the usual non-mechanically oriented service department with a focus on Getting You In A New Car.  They estimated that whatever was wrong with the car merited a new $520 part, plus labor.  Also, the clutch seemed to be going.  Able once again after family conferencing to go back to my beloved, life long mechanic, it was revealed that a) the check engine light was indeed related to a gas cap incident and meant nothing, and b) since the car has a hydraulic clutch, which cannot be adjusted, they were talking through their little pointed hats about that too.  Whole cloth, practically.   In the process of visiting my mechanic in the bay area, I also saw many people on my early morning way there who appeared to have been treated more roughly by life than usual:  8 am and a woman of some size walking down an Oakland street in a bathing suit.  People shambling barefoot, clutching the blankets and sleeping bags they’d used overnight, wherever they found a place.

It’s hard to make sense of a world where there is so much constant cognitive dissonance.  Then again, apparently a Republican congressman believes the temperatures on Earth and Mars are the same and testified thusly- this was in favor of coal mines.  This, I believe, is due to there being NO cognition whatsoever.  Which leads us to today’s news which we foolishly turned on, and which left me with the firm conviction that there is a widespread epidemic of no cognition.  Either Malaysian Airlines is cursed somehow, or the Russian Separatists are excellent shots with absolutely…right, no cognition.  Then we see that Israel is actually invading Gaza .  This is totally beyond my truthful comprehension.  I mean, I realize Israel feels Gaza is a swarming nest of terrorists.  But honestly? It is as though everyone has completely lost their minds.  There is no excuse for any of this.

Still, there is a wider gyre than we know- all you have to do is look at the fossil record!  Or read Sandor Katz’s excellent discussion of bacterial activity in THE ART OF FERMENTATION.  In spite of all the atrocities and stupidities and hastenings toward disaster, I believe that if we can be honest with ourselves, things could be worked out.  I’m less sure than I used to be that everyone can be communicated with, but if the teeter totter could just….inch its way toward balance, the non-cognitional would have to shift somehow.   Perhaps they’d fall on their rumps and reconsider.  It just doesn’t seem to me that, however appealing it might be, blowing people up and away is any kind of solution or appropriate action in any situation.  Just my opinion.

The Now, with circus music

The eternal now, right Gentle Reader?  We strive to stay out of the future and ahead of the past, and then…..just when you think it’s safe to get out of bed/work/do anything….BAAAAYYYYYYYAAMMMMMMM!!!

There are complexities in our living situation which I have not touched upon, and since all roads lead to Rome and all happy families are the same, it may not matter much about the actual details.  However.  Suffice it to say that a Hummer has manifested in our “neighborhood”.  Regularly blaring out Ranchero music at something over 150 decibels.  In consistent, if unpredictable, lengthy dreadful driving all over then parking at the top of a hill for maximum effect sequences.  It actually woke me out of a (let’s face it: torpor) deep sleep early one morning.  I found myself sitting up with my heart pounding and the glassware rattling.  In that moment I recalled my friend saying, just the prior week, jeez, isn’t it amazing? Ranchero music!  I can’t stand it but I love it, it reminds me of living in (—–).   I have never found Ranchero’s circus-like cadence appealing, to be honest.  Mariachis at least allow my mind to drift back to Mexico City, and the lyrics are always interesting.    This stuff? Not so much.  In fact, at this particular early AM juncture it made me want to take the shotgun, go across the road, and blow the Hummer and its musical apparatus to kingdom come with an imagined expert perfect shot.  Since I didn’t have my glasses on that was a complete non-starter.  Since, also, the heat deep fried the CD player, finding something special like the Thai Elephant Orchestra, or Maria Callas, or AC/DC, or the Eels, or one of my personal favorites: Now Go Away, to blast out the front door wasn’t an option either.  Once again, I had to Grow Up.

The additional fun thing about it was of course that the owner of the property which is the current resting place of said Hummer and mad radio operator, when asked to step in and establish some ground rules, essentially refused.  He’s afraid of his tenant the Hummer Man as it turns out.

So.  I had to really analyze what the issue was here.  It is the same issue that runs through everything else, on some level.  Nobody wants to do the right thing.  An element of the bad enters a situation, people either think it doesn’t concern them (wrong) or they’re afraid (silly), or they don’t want to be bothered (wrong).  The entire situation degrades, and each intrusion of crud just brings it lower. In our particular locale, people need to be mindful of this sooner rather than later.   In this specific case, this behavior made me feel completely disrespected, as in I am minding my own business and working away- why must someone eviscerate my peace and quiet?   This is why I’m really glad I didn’t storm out and demand action – because on some level, everyone in this case feels disrespected and nobody wants to step forward and initiate cooperation.  Being angry about it would just provoke conflict, which of course is at least a bit of the original intention.  People manifest the discomfort they feel within externally, thinking this will save them pain.  Anyone who disagrees with the behavior encounters the wrath of the discomfort manifester.  Standers by may feign total unawareness of the scene.  You might call it Barfight Syndrome.  Or bullying.

And here we have the bigger picture of life today.  I’m working out in my small but active mind what to say to all involved, remembering a story about the Buddha which I have struggled to understand and implement.  It’s the one where he’s teaching someplace and some complete jerk just interferes, heckles- well, you know.  Plays his Ranchero music really, really loud.  The Buddha asks the man if he can ask him a question, and getting a yes to that says, if I wanted to give you a gift and you didn’t want to take it, who would it belong to?  To me still, the heckler responded patronizingly.  Yes, the Buddha said.  And even knowing that, I cannot accept your abuse.  There is a way, then, to stop the rain of B.S.- you just have to stay calm and in what is true for you.   So as soon as I get my current Donald Duck tone out of  voice and posture, we’ll attempt just that.

Meanwhile in more uplifting news, I saw a brand new baby calf the other day, just arrived.  The calf and mom were nose to nose with each other, calf glistening, mom breathing calmly over its little head.  It was the most wonderful thing I’ve seen in a while.  Then, last fall’s potatoes that didn’t quite grow? Have sprouted full force, as has some red romaine from the same time.  The rabbits are back and the bluebirds give us doses of BLUE all day long.  We’re always at the balance point, the knife edge, of everything.  There is also hope and faith that is produced by a lengthy relationship with another human, and here I speak of The Partner.  We have our conflicts, to be sure.  They feel devastating- similar to Mr. Hummer’s effects.  But when one can remain calm and not react to the initial GIANT THING THAT’S PISSING ME OFF- miracles do happen.  The bigger picture shows itself and, as usual.  Really, no reason for too much worry.  Now, to tell that to my chest.

Cacophony

I decided yesterday was a Study Day and sat facing my zillion pound book on reading the pulses.  Too bad the tv was on and the news streamed through endlessly, disturbingly.  According to the BBC, WordPress got attacked, and all kinds of nasty other things happened besides the Big Nasty Thing in Boston.  I managed to concentrate on the meaning of wide, absent, full, hollow pulses nonetheless.

The quotidian crud has, indeed, been driving me a little batty of late.    I did manage to get my taxes filed online after some effort (and got a charming email from the IRS congratulating me on my success)  but I can’t help but wonder how it is that I had to pay when…well.  Let’s just say it’s a bit incomprehensible….Pfizer has no reportable income.  Pfizer? No reportable income?   I also have been struggling with confusion over how, exactly, U.S. Social Security can be termed an “entitlement” when one has paid into it for lo, so many years.  And, as usual, I wonder how “elected officials” can blatantly disregard the instructions and wishes of their constituents in favor of the corporate interests (NRA, this is about you!) who pay for that privilege if not any others they benefit from (like, you know, infrastructure and stuff).  So I’ve been pretty mad, actually.

I think it has to do with the sense that people who really don’t care about anything except money have so much control over how all the rest of us live.  Or don’t. Who gets electricity or bandwidth or clean water or education or doctor visits.   Finally it seems to me that their time must be coming to an end.  The historical sweep of what has often been referred to as the Piscean Age, with its patriarchy and authority substituted for things of the spirit- JEESH.  ISN’T TWO PLUS THOUSAND YEARS ENOUGH?  I saw a man in Tikrit and a man in Boston yesterday on PBS, both in the same situation and both incandescent with pain.  This sort of grisly, meaningless violence really just has to stop, and stop now.  And the only way that can happen is if we all make it so.   Given that we have to make an effort in life anyway, why not make an effort toward the good?  Toward curiosity and cooperation?  It’s hard.  It’s not impossible.  You just, as Martin Luther King Jr. observed, choose love.  Hate is too heavy a burden.

There is also a question of time.  As in, we don’t have that much.  All this stupid stuff? Really it makes me wonder.  Do we really have time to be obstinate and uncaring toward each other and toward the earth we all live on?  No.  But the question does arise as to what one’s proper response is when experiencing such things.  I still think that stepping back, taking a deep breath, and being open even while not accepting abuse, just has to be the first tool we pick up every day.  I’m more convinced than ever that even though non-violence takes a long time, it is the only workable way to proceed.   Since this is something I have a bit of a time with myself, we’ll keep working on it with the daily variations in levels of success and all that implies.  Dealing with one’s intrusive thoughts is a big piece of all this, and there will be more on that topic to come.  A key to balance outside oneself is balance INSIDE, and that has elements of being a habit that can be developed.  Until next time!

I Was Off the Blog Train

Firstly, a thank you to those who are reading!  And, Well, it WAS Thanksgiving and we had engagements and we also cooked a turkey (as you know,  Gentle Readers), made pies and sourdough bread and a whole bunch of other things.  Words floated through my head but evaporated into the steam from all the dishwashing.  Even now, I’m waiting for the Partner to put his tools away (from the initial rig up of our greenhouse protection for the garden for the winter- very impressive to my mind) so we can go to town and dry all the laundry I washed earlier.  No dryer yet, and not sunny enough to dry outside anymore.  Or warm enough.  November, indeed.  Snow covering the top of Mt. Shasta again at last and the whole thing.

Meanwhile, holidays being the potentially taxing things they are,  there were many philosophical and emotional potholes to navigate, explosions to avoid, and ultimately, as usual, we come again to the realization that it really is easier and more functional to drop the Opinions and the How It Is’s and the Why Can’t I Know Absolutely What Is Going To Happen, and the quotidian anxieties along with them.   After all, it is what it is, and what will be will be, even if we haven’t got a clue about any of it.  It just IS.

WHICH,  as we find ourselves continuing this after a break for what seemed like an unrelenting stream of  extraordinarily bad news, is easier said than done.  We already know that but apparently we haven’t passed the exam on it yet so it keeps coming up.  It just does seem that we’re continually being thrust onto the brink, and what can you do there?  Put one foot after another, somehow, summoning the toe holds as you go along in the pitch black dark.  Crying doesn’t help ESPECIALLY IF YOU WEAR GLASSES, and getting ticked off doesn’t do anything for you either.  As humans perhaps what we do when under a cascade of this sort, is we try to think of solutions.  What can I do about this?  Often there isn’t a darn thing except to take a deep breath and trust that you’ll be able to take that upcoming leap as many times as are required.

We all have so much history we carry around with us, and we can all be brought back to some earlier age of reactivity about whatever it is that we carry around unresolved.  This is on top of all the STUFF that happens in every day life.  I’m starting to wonder just how this ultimately gets worked out.  Say two people have a..uh…Situation.  This Situation has gone on for A Long Time.  So much time has passed, in fact, that one person has changed quite a bit and the other hasn’t really.  The Unchanged, in essence, cannot see the Changed for what it is.  Or so the Changed thinks, since explaining things doesn’t seem to be productive.  Still the Situation exists, and requires some attention and one would hope solution.  I like to think that everything can be worked out, I guess.  Maybe it just can’t.  But what do you do then?  I suppose standing steadfastly in your honest situation, speaking simply and clearly, is all.  The other elements of the thing, let’s call it,  will either get it and things will be in balance, or perhaps one side of the equation just disappears.  It seems as though it should be so much easier, this getting along with humans, than it seems to be.  But.  Then again it’s a long process of divesting yourself of resentment, anger, fear, ugly fat, compulsive whatever it is, in this life.  Maybe the real thing is to get to the point where you can walk easily on your road because you are truly not weighed down.   Kind of amusing when you think that we’re in a culture that values accumulation.  Are we laughing yet?

 

Another Day

There is snow dusted over the mountains now; it rained all night, snowed at low elevations too,  and the view toward those mountains  is wreathed in violet.  Out toward the coast the sky is blue and the sun can be seen moving toward the nightly denouement.

We’re putting one foot in front of the other, carefully.  It seems as though everyone is feeling their way toward something, taking what they think are risks and wondering what’s going to happen.  My wish continues to be that all the voices in my head would just.be.quiet for..well, regular intervals at least.  Meanwhile, we are cooking a turkey today.  We got a fantastic deal on it at our local grocery and figured, why not? We’ll be eating turkey for a while and are looking forward to it- we didn’t have one last year what with all the excitement and we have some different plans for Thanksgiving this year, so it made sense at the time.  Tomorrow we’ll make stuffing, maybe.  There’s still pies to go, too, which means pumpkins to roast.  Sometimes it really is good to have something familiar to fall back on, to do, especially in times where you can hardly figure out how to brush your hair.  At least *I* am experience challenges on that and, let’s face it, every other level.

In other Surprising News, the “Super Committee” seems to have not been so super.  Wow.  Didn’t see that coming, eh?  Iran is certain to have nuclear weapons.  Seriously, Gentle Reader.  I continue to be amazed that people don’t have this stuff figured out any better at this late date.   Meanwhile, we have a turkey to baste and at least that is something one can get one’s mind around.

It Goes Round and Round

I think my sense of humor is hiding somewhere with the dust elephants.  Just an alert.

I DID get up again today, against all sane advice, and found that my order of glass jars for Christmas product making arrived yesterday, packed in styrofoam pellets.  Which you can’t do a damn thing with except palm them off on the next person.  So, I don’t use styrofoam anything of course, can’t recycle these things either.  I called the supplier and they said that yes, I had told them before to use paper only, waiving any damage claims should something get broken, but they couldn’t remember to look each time so I’d have to remind them every order.  This is precisely why everything is so EFFED UP.  How hard would it be, Gentle Reader, for people to stop using all this harmful stuff to begin with.  Save the earth, how about it? Packing materials would still have to be made- perhaps it’s about the profit margin.  You think?  Anyway I’ve still got a veritable pile of “regular” plastic to lug to the recycle place because we bought an overhead light for the kitchen (WAHOOO! LET THERE BE LIGHT!) and some other things, all encased in plastic. For no, I might add, apparent reason.  We only get money for beer cans and bottles, sadly.  But at least they take the plastic stuff and recycle it so it’s worth it to bother, in my mind.  Now, if I could get cash for empty wine bottles?  Fat City.  And if there were something to be done with those frigging styrofoam pellets….Still.  So many people get all this stuff and don’t dispose of it properly.  Such a simple thing could be done in this instance and make such a huge difference for the whole world.  The Heifer International magazine came yesterday too, and it had an article about how much FOOD gets tossed, and the melancholy result of that?  There actually IS enough food to feed everyone at this point.  Except for the wastage and the, what I shall call, Styrofoam Pellet Syndrome.  So we have a crudded up environment and hungry people.  For no good reason except that apparently no one along the line wants to read the Essential Operating Instructions.   Keep it simple and share.  How hard is that?  (OH, I KNOW.  It’s HARD.)

Meanwhile, I was perversely cheered to see that my dear friend, who lives essentially at the opposite end of the hemisphere from us, had green water the same day we did.  We’ve known each other for a long time and have ended up in similarly rural situations, which is interesting.  It really did help to feel less like I’m encased in a dayglo, glow in the dark, flashing arrow laden bullseye.  Heck.  ANYBODY could have green water!

Harmonic Oscillation

This is the technical, and I think much more lovely, term for washboarded roads.  Apparently this is inevitable on an unpaved dirt road, these waves of dirt and shape that take form while people drive over them.   Apparently the speed at which you drive isn’t critical; driving slowly doesn’t inhibit this formation.  I can’t imagine that driving like a bat out of hell helps either, but WHAT DO I KNOW.  We have harmonic oscillation on an operatic scale here, anyway.

Every time we have to go anywhere, including our neighbors houses, we must pass over these sound and movement shaped things and it is more and more like driving over mountain ridges.  So I wasn’t surprised to learn that I need an alignment job on the trusty Subaru.  Not happy, either, but there it is.  I’m happy it isn’t a full suspension job but that is no doubt looming on the horizon somewhere- perhaps in a low spot on the harmonically oscillating plane of life, just waiting to leap up.

Anyway, one nice part of the oscillatory journey is passing the place where The Chub Group lives.   The Chub Group is four pygmy billy goats; one is somewhat polka dotted, the others are white and grey and mottled black.  They have splendid horns and eyes, too, even though they are very, very, very short.  It’s disorienting to look from the ground up, these tiny legs leading to stout bodies and then!  The heads!  HORNS! Solemn noses!  During the summer we didn’t see them often because they were lounging back in the shade out of sight.  In the winters though they are always out in their yard eating.  Always.  There’s a big pile of rusted metal in the middle of their space and sometimes they eat that.  Other times they’ll drape themselves over it after midday to soak up the heat.  It is so easy to picture them sauntering out of some Club, smoking cigars, heading out to run/ruin things with those yellow captain of industry eyes they have.  They’ll sit in a circle, or stand in one, and you just know they’re discussing Something Important.  They always make me laugh.

Continuing on down the road, the two lustrous calves seem to mostly relax under the big tree in their area.  They are usually lying down, with the black one resting its chin on the red one, just gazing off.  They always make me wonder what they’re thinking.  Across the road from them is the colt- not quite a yearling yet- who is still working out how the four legs work, still bugging its mom for milk, following the other horses in an important, look at me! See what I’m doing! I CAN PRANCE sort of way.  The yoga doing goats next to them are far back in a field now and I can only assume that the babies who were practicing their jumping in May have now become Full Fledged Goats, well on their way to running someone’s life.

Anyway, even way out here Real Life is inescapable, and often hugely dislocating in the midst of nature which continues to do its thing regardless of the stupid stuff humans do.   There’s the oddity of balancing the sure knowledge of the enormity of everything, the transitory nature of US, with the intensity of what happens in life, what is happening, and trying to remain calm in the face of what looks like is coming down the road toward one.   Despite my vow to abjure “news” for a while, my dear friend posted something on Facebook, which I already knew but still.  The U.S. has five percent of the world’s population.  It has TWENTY FIVE percent of the world’s prison population.  Broken down that means roughly one in five people in this country is in the slammer.  So? I think this means it’s either incredibly dangerous here in the U.S.of A., or our power apparatus is crazy.  If the latter, then both statements are true.  Maybe that’s why I went to college- to be able to figure things like that out.  What I come to, can’t always stick to implementing, is that the only response to this is to acknowledge it and then not carry on with the mindset that allows such things to happen.  It always boils down to money, of course.  Prisons are things that are traded on the stock exchange, after all.  Their “owners” make money now that so many are “privatized.”  So that’s pretty sick if you ask me.  Also, prisons are fantastic sources of essentially free labor- you’re housing and I suppose you could say feeding the prisoners, but you aren’t paying them for what you have them do.  Plus you have a steady supply of people who are not acclimated to life on the outside, if they ever get there, so no worries about supply of bodies.  Win win for Mr. Big once again.  Mostly I feel almost sick unto death about all this stuff- but then I see the Chub Group and hope springs eternal.  Which it must if we are to move into the light from this ever darkening dark.

Conflicted Hour

Usually, of course, it’s Happy Hour.  I KNOW THAT.  Still, with the extra load of (self inflicted, I admit it) pain and injury and having once again looked at the news, it’s more of an alligator wrestle with the mind to get it to sit down and focus on the important things, like…dinner?

Speaking of which, last night we did indeed have chilis.  In a sauce that eventually required more heat than originally included.  So I put a small piece of habanero in, from an already cut specimen on the counter.  I always test them with my finger to see what to expect.  I touched the end of the chili, but being a bit dried it revealed nothing.  So, I, Genius, got my finger wet, touched the chili, put the finger in my mouth.  Then, in an extraordinary display, even for me, I put that same finger ( I’d rinsed it off by then while screaming) in my eye.  Yes.  There’s also a third degree burn on one hand and an injured thumb on the other.

So then.  This morning I learn that the Oakland P.D. shot an unarmed and nonviolent #occupy oakland protester.  In the head.  They haven’t commented, the OPD.  Why should they?  The video footage makes you want to scream.  Two IVAW and Veterans for Peace members are standing at the perimeter of the “protesters”, in front of the barriers behind which stand the Darth Vader’d Out aforementioned OPD.  These two men, one of whom is in a Navy uniform, the other of whom is in a camo jacket and booney hat, both well worn and obviously by him for a long time, are standing quietly and peacefully between the OPD and the crowd.  Suddenly you see a projectile and sparks and the man in the camo jacket, Scott Olsen, is on the ground.  People from the crowd quickly rush up to help him- remember this is in front of the barricade behind which stand people..uh, sworn to protect and serve and who see this man fall to the ground with a head wound (which I am pretty sure they witnessed as it happened.  Unless they were napping at the time.).  And then? Then the OPD contingent fires a tear gas/ flame thingy RIGHT NEXT TO OLSENS’ HEAD.  While he’s on the ground.  Filling the area with smoke so no one can see or do anything.  Except the Navy guy who had, after calling for help at first injury,  immediately walked right over to the OPD line, faced them, and presented the Vets for Peace flag: At Arms.  So, to continue getting this straight, this man lying on the ground bleeding from the head  in front of the OPD line has served, at age 24, two tours in Iraq. ( Which for OPD? is probably more often than not pronounced EYE RACK.)   No injuries or wounds except the ones you can’t see.  Until now, when he is exercising his supposed First Amendment rights, peacefully and non violently and documentedly to boot.  (oh, dear…) When he gets shot by civilian police.  With a tear gas cannister to the head.  For extra fun he gets to go to Highland Hospital, about which I have written before.  Because, see? The Partner is FROM Oakland, and I have lived in and around it for the bulk of my adult life.  Until we Came To The Yurt.  So we already know OPD.  This seems pretty raw even for them.   And they are renowned for raw.

It makes me think that back when dinosaurs roamed the earth, and the Black Panthers were a presence in the community, and people in East Oakland often took shots at the OPD helicopters buzzing their neighborhoods with bright lights at all hours of the night (ever had that happen? It is quite something, and a real test of your commitment to non violence)- maybe they weren’t wrong to do that, take that shot, say You Can’t Do This In My Neighborhood.  It’s just that it never gets anywhere, that sort of action.  Which seems to be something Mr. Olsen understood and felt strongly enough about ( perhaps naively but what the hell- he earned the right) to attempt to express the awareness that peace IS the way,  in a setting where it might be of service, the best way he could see at the time.  Perhaps, if this senseless act provokes some communication it will be of immeasurable service.  But I think about his mom and his friends.  And him.  And it took me a long time to stop crying today and although I still don’t know how to deal with all this? One thing is for sure.

I’m a person who has always voted, has always felt it was profoundly important.  Now I see we have a completely corruptible system, we know voting has been a sham and twisted to the purposes of those who meant to win no matter what. The people who are running for and in office are despicable more often than not, and also more like something straight out of the Psychiatric Diagnostic Manual than is even palatable to think about.  It is very largely about how much money they can raise.  So I decided to register to vote up here- I hadn’t yet, being so disgusted and confused about it all- only to enter NONE OF THE ABOVE.  Some how, some way, Gentle Reader, fellow beings, we have to turn this thing around.  We are here on earth now, and really.  We need to remember that.  We have to have an alternative so that we can all move forward for the good of all, not just the few.