Archive for April, 2013

Lace and I went out to see the falling cherry blossom petals this morning. ❤

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It all started because I woke up too early. I didn’t know what to do. I took my shower, did stretches, made my coffee, and sat in my clam shell sipping and looking out the window. Lace was there on the balcony. I looked at her wheel and the triangle of her frame and thought about reading for a bit. Then I thought, why not take Lace out around the lake?

When we started the sky turned my favorite shade of grey, dark and foreboding. Then lightning split the sky and from the rift successive blankets of hard-hitting rain baptized us. With the rain, the final cherry blossom petals departed from their homes and flew on twirling wisps of wind around us. The bite of cold is gone from the air, and the only sensation in my skin was the soak of raindrops.

Coming back against the wind, my mouth filled with droplets, water coming down harder than before. Every part of me was drenched. Lace’s brakes whined a little in the final stretch. Sorry, sweetie, we’ll be home soon.

Back at home, we dried off with a warm, fluffy towel and I sipped a bit more before going to work. Coming down from that has left me passive and ready to rest. But my day has just begun…

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For Earth day 2013, why not learn a new earth-friendly skill?

With my students I like to recycle paper. It’s a nice activity, and many creative projects can come from it. Journal covers, project paper, you name it!

One of my students said the most interesting thing while we were recycling last time:  “Teacher. We are using water and energy for the blender. Are we really helping the planet?”

I had no comeback. I didn’t think about it until later that night: plug up your bathtub the next time you take a shower! I mean, who cares if your filth and sweat ends up in the paper. It’ll just have a bit more love in it! Also, you don’t have to blend with a electric device. You can crush the pulp. Anyhoo, since a picture is worth … you know… a bunch of words… check out the details below.

This photographic essay is called Barnabas Collins’ Guide to recycling paper. Photos by Mack Mackenzie Smith.

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You want me to do WHAT?

Step 1: Conquer your fear of garbage. Find a nice trash site that contains the following paper recycling must-haves:

1) a wire coathanger

2) pantyhose

3) a bucket

4) a mashing tool

5) sheet plastic

Step 2: Prepare your pulp

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Well, I say, this wheel ought to do fine for my motorcar.

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My word, some bourgeoise miscreant has done away with a perfectly good electronic organ!

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Oh, fine. Let’s see… paper, coat hanger…

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No, I’m not going to. I refuse.

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You bloody post-consumer paper! Feel my wrath!

1) Rip up your paper into nice, small pieces

2) Add water and white glue to your mixture

3) DO THE MONSTER MASH! Make sure the mixture is mashed thoroughly.

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Zounds! What alchemy is this?

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You’re telling me modern women wrap their legs in plastic? I may have been asleep for the last century, but I really did not expect this.

Step 3: Time to make your paper.

1) Stretch the pantyhose over the wire coat hangers to make a frame.

2) Use your pantyhose frames to squeeze and squish all the water out of the pulp.

3) Shape your pulp like sheets of paper. Or anything you like, really. You could make them into masks, wallpaper, biodegradable underwear… hey, use your imagination.

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Thank goodness that’s over. Now just fifty more to go. Sigh.

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Alright, pantyhose hanger. It’s squishing time.

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Ewww. No one told me it would be this wet. My manicurist will slay me.

Let it dry and voila! Recycled paper. Happy Earth Day, Earth!

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Yay! I’ve done my part to save the world. Now I’m off to massacre a village.  Good night, my eco-conscious darklings!

Off the top of my head, I can think of two kinds of artist. One is an artist, and the other is a capitalist. Both of these artists have their merits, but they are divided by perspective and worldview.

What differentiates the artist from the capitalist is that she draws inspiration and motivation from something I call “love” but that word has so many meanings, doesn’t it? I only register one. See below.

The capitalist, on the other hand, is primarily motivated by money or material goods, affluence, and privilege. One might even say that to the capitalist, these material gains ARE love.

As Thoth the Atlantean once wrote, nothing there is below thee but a different operation of the law. The law is love. We’ve known that for millennia. No matter how much money the artist has, abstract numbers and dollar signs float around in the ether devoid of meaning until they feed the hungry, develop a project, or are manifested in something real, which is a product of love. That is the only use for the acquisition of money.

The capitalist, on the other hand, finds the idea of love quite perplexing. What is love? How can I quantify it? How can I spend or trade it? Moreover, how can I own it? Money is much easier to handle. I can check my account and see how much of it I have. I can’t do that with love, can I?

So, the capitalist learns a trade, say, painting, guitar playing or singing. He studies the status quo and learns from it. He attempts to fashion a high-quality product for mass consumption. He checks his account and watches the numbers in his ledger get bigger. He becomes happy when he has been compensated well for his hard work.

The artist called capitalist has become unhappy in decades of late. People now get media for free. Many artists are distributing their music for free. No longer can the capitalist simply learn a trade, promote his excellence, and be compensated duly. Now he needs to learn about love, something that he has been putting off for entirely too long. He finds the idea of spontaneously playing a free show in the park with no planning repugnant. There are municipal bylaws! There is no profit to be made! Somebody needs to alert the vendors! Someone needs to promote the tour! NO! YOU CAN’T JUST DO THIS! IT IS TOO ERRATIC! I DON’T UNDERSTAND IT!

Painting ze yin und yangNO, he cries, I WILL NOT JUST HELP PEOPLE REALIZE THEIR DREAMS AND LET THEM HELP ME! I NEED TO KEEP TRACK! I NEED TO ACCOUNT FOR INFLATION, GET A PROMOTION, GET A RAISE, AND RETIRE IN TAHITI! ACCOUNTS AND BALANCES, PEOPLE! YOU CANNOT PAY THE BILLS WITH LOVE! YOU PEOPLE ARE GODDAMNED CRAZY!

Meanwhile, the artist does what she always has done. She walks the land, giving and receiving love. Oh, yes, and there were times when we were burned for it. And it could happen again. Nothing inspires more fear than the thought that what one has worked hard for could fall apart.

Siva-sakti, you told us this is what love really is… the acceptance that what we have worked so hard for could crumble at any moment. That is the truth of creation, destruction and rebirth. Please help us all to see this.