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Articles in "Island Life "

"…The noise and vibration produced by rumble strips is intended to alert inattentive drivers that they have departed from their lane, or to give advance notice of a change in the roadway ahead…." from WSDOT Rumble Strip Design Policy Pages

Unlike in the above stated intent of adding etched grooves to the sides and centers of the state’s highways to protect drivers from themselves

Certain items will assist you in making bread, though few of them are strictly necessary.
from the Utensils section of the Tassajara Bread Book- Edward Espe Brown

Recently, when I walked into Bill Freese’s backyard bakery, I was faced with a minor dilemma.

I’m not sure when the break came- when I stopped accepting the Walt Disney Wonderful World of Color for what it wasn’t and began looking for something real. I can remember the approximate timing of my disconnect from pop music- when I spun the dial on my radio and turned off WABC and the Cousin Brucie machine and tuned in to the underground sound of WNBC and Allison Steele, Roscoe and Scott Munie.

I don’t recall if I ever saw that end-of-the-world, nuclear apocalypse film, On the Beach, a second time in ensuing years after having viewed it when it first came out way back in the ancient times of my impressionable youth. What sticks with me, image wise, is the guy closing his garage doors and climbing into his racer sports car which is up on blocks, and gunning the engine in order to fill the closed space with exhaust and carbon monoxide so he can "go out" on his own terms instead of succumbing to the cloud of nuclear war produced radiation that is circling the globe and taking lives, pretty much all lives, with no remorse, as clouds of that sort are wont to do.

There is a stack of used salsa containers that continues to grow on our counter in the kitchen. As they have been thoroughly washed and air dried, they are not growing anything from any former food residue that might have been left behind after the contents were consumed. In fact, the only extra on them besides the color imprint telling of their former contents, nutritional value and place of origin, are sometimes bits of the second, redundant seal and cap that refused to let go of the rim of the vessel part of the container when it was first opened. That thin sheet of fossil fuel based plastic has long since passed into the waste chain.

There is some comfort in residing somewhere between jaded cynicism and wonderment- it allows one lots of options. Take, for example, my lack of surprise the other day when I turned to The Current Cinema pages in the New Yorker and read the line: "…all the women have the same body- tall, with small, high breasts, long waists, long legs, and full, rounded rumps." It was a description of a scene from documentary filmmaker Robert Wiseman’s latest offering, Crazy Horse, about a sixty year old strip club in Paris.

Perhaps like you, I have been having various levels of internally roiling turmoil surge through my assorted thought channels and portals as to how I might contribute to the Occupy movement, as well as personal queries as to whether such an endeavor was even a valid use of my time, even though my time these days seems to be of mostly no value to anyone but me. Having received a blanket request to participate in a street action by the folks at our Backbone Campaign, with the option of using my video skills in the process, the thought came to me almost instantaneously- "Why Not?" So, on a crisp and sunny day after Solstice I packed what I deemed to be the maximum of the minimalist essentials

Somewhere in my archives, at least mentally if it has indeed been lost to the physical world, there is an image of a baseball viewed through scrub and small trees. For as long as I have been driving I have also been stopping in odd places to record images to various media. In this case, I don’t remember whether I came to a screeching halt or looked for a convenient turnaround spot and doubled back, but I did stop and explore and commit at least one image to 35mm Tri-X Kodak safety film.

For them that must obey authority That they do not respect in any degree Who despise their jobs, their destinies Speak jealously of them that are free Do what they do just to be Nothing more than something they invest in.
Excerpt from It’s Alright, Ma- Bob Dylan

I’m not really sure why it popped into my head as I was contemplating this particular meditation, but it did. At the time of those times of Dylan the Younger, when the other major groundswelling of activism pulsed through my generation, I was living in Leave it to Beaver land, where protest consisted of refusing to eat that liver no matter how "good" it was for me, secretly not wearing my retainers for three nights in a row and faking sleep and exhaustion when the call came down for everyone to get in the station wagon to go to church.

"Unless you frame yourself, others will frame you- the media, your enemies, your competitors, your well-meaning friends…All words in all languages are defined in terms of frame circuits in the brain. But, ultimately, framing is about ideas, about how we see the world, which determines how we act…" George Lakoff

For most of my life I’ve always felt that even though I was a part of a club, I never really felt like a member. This is why I have a hard time with committees- why I recently deactivated (love that term) from the Facebook.  

The first thing I noticed was an abundance of sky where leaves and branches used to be. I knew what had been there, why it was there and where it had come from. I also knew what had been there just a year before and, like the present vanishment, had come and gone with little to no fanfare. As there was not much fanfare when we put them in, one could say that it’s easy come, easy go, although for some the going part is not so easy.

I have been thinking about history lately, which is nothing really new, on a number of levels. Along with that I have been contemplating terms that are inherent to the domain of historical record- those of permanence, impermanence, loss, gain, proliferation and extinction. There is also the whole thing of interpretation, where we find something of a curiosity from the past, and because of its oddness or state of decay we surmise and extrapolate a meaning for it that suits our need for an assigning of purpose for this thing’s coming into existence.

Well, it is that time of year, and as anyone who has been reading words from this space on a somewhat regular basis should know, we generally pen a report from the hot, dry, high desert environs of northwest Nevada about this time every year. As it so happens, this year will be no exception. What I would like to have said here was that certain aspects of our yearly trek to Burning Man had not been a part of our collective experience this time around. Unfortunately, and in spite of all our pre-burn preparation, our vehicle of transport choice chose to crap out on us once again. I had thought about titling this piece "Four for Four", for the four times in a row we have had varying degrees of vehicular indifference to anticipated travel plans.

At the Island Poetry Fest this past May, poet Larry Matsuda read from his book, A Cold Wind From Idaho. In it he wrote of his experiences growing up at Minidoka, the Idaho War Relocation Center where 120,000 Japanese Americans were interned during World War II. He prefaced one of his readings with an explanation of the term "shikata ga nai",

I think I may have used this title before, although this time around it is for something altogether different, on first look. Floating World, the earlier, was about my first experience at Burning Man, and a year in which the aforementioned title was the theme for the festivities there. Floating World, the latter, is intended this time as an all encompassing file name for the activities experienced throughout the weekend just passed.

This was supposed to have been the second in a gruppetto of articles announcing a series of free bike workshops, the first of which happened a month ago. I knew at the time that the lack of publicity would probably doom the intended first meeting- I was right. But I was also amazed at the range of response I got within a few days of the article.

When those ominous words came up on the screen- the truth is out there- during an episode of that gone but not forgotten show, the X-Files, they could have been understood in a number of ways. From the spatial differences implied by off world alien encounters to the paranormal weirdness of the various metaphysical battles waged by the intrepid Skully and Mulder,

It’s not that I couldn’t think of anything better to call it- I just wanted it to sound fun. It could have been a Bicycle Workshop, or a Bike Intensive or even a Two-Wheeled Tutorial. In many ways, it hopes to be all of the above, but mostly it should be fun. As with the old bugaboo of getting back in shape, enjoyment of your exercise regimen of choice is key to being able to stick with it.

I remember how the meaning of words began to change. Valerie- fromV for Vendetta

            Perhaps I was more acutely aware of a vocabulary of time and place because I had just spent the weekend immersed in words. A random occurrence of synchronous events tends to be one of my secret amusements.

It is bicycle racing season, although the only thing most people are hearing about the sport these days are the echoing doping accusations being flung by disgruntled and often disgraced former teammates at cycling legend Lance Armstrong like so much over-cooked pasta, in the hopes that some of it will finally stick.

I have decided to stay back in New Hampshire for another week- there were still a few things that the doing of other events had left undone. It was the participating in these other events that brought me back here. Unlike in the past, where coming here to my parents’ house was usually the obligatory annual visit to check in from across the country and generally set out to set right, on my mother’s terms, what was wrong in the garden.

I sent an email to a friend the other day. It was in response to the recent Island screening of the film the Economics of Happiness and the panel discussion that followed. As it turned out, I had seen the film a while back and had been underwhelmed by it. In the email though, I had promised I would give it a second viewing at some point.