11 Nov 2015, 4:32pm
Gnomes Ponderings
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No Travel At All

Those 5 or 6 days of laryngitis turned on me. I went from being an unintentional practical joke with mom calling and not believing that who answered the phone was me, insisting that Brian hand the phone over. To being aspiration and mouthing things for a couple days. To a soprano boy’s cracking voice. To it wearing out after a sentence or too. Me on mute.

I’ve been coughing for days. Hacking out a lung that won’t quite come right out. Holding on by mucus of steel.

I don’t feel congested. I feel like a plague-bearer.

Slowed thinking has its advantages.

Economics is not growth like plant growth.

I put 1 potato in the ground, split 3 ways and I got a bagful of potatoes back.

Invest money and your just take it by “interest” from someone else. It is not alive. All the movement is by outside forces.

Maybe new ores are squatted on by corporations skimming the land from beneath where plants, humans and other animals have been living but money is a process more than a product.

Money is a convenience for trade. Why go to make a transferable neutral of cash when you can find and trade directly and skip the middle means? Cash is a failure of communicating with a tribe that you can be useful to and who can provide what you need.

Writing things down is in the belief that otherwise it will be forgotten. What if it isn’t? And writing just prevents further thought and releases things to be forgotten?

A while back we went to Pink Lake where sunning on the trail was this guy. I say guy because male garter snakes are smaller than females and it is late in the season to be young.

I have always loved garter snakes. To encounter a species not-human is a gift. Snake, cat or Firebrat, which prefer 98 to 102 °F (37 to 39 °C) and an optimum of 85% humidity. A niche I can understand myself.

I like water snakes. And garters. Even when I found one eating peaceably as a little kid. But I ran to dad who came and “rescued” the mouse from her mouth. I didn’t even offer the snake an apple in return. The mouse was wet but ran off.

I’ve never written that. Now that I have it will disappear like all things consigned to text. The construction of language confers a lack of real to anything it touches. What stays outside language in the 90% of the world that is non-verbalized has a reality to it that is hard to bring over the border of 2-D.

Talking is good. I can understand how it has all kinds of leakage and slippage, and refusal of one narrative. Talking is messy and takes up a moving sack of space of body, a larger one of sound. When we pare it down to text, we keep a spilled dried spatter of egg white and the chick had left to dry and scratch. The shell is something to marvel at and hold. It is everything all together that adds up. The whole stories.

Pink Lake
Pink Lake is extremely low oxygen. The water doesn’t cycle in it and in fall especially the algae builds to make it bloom. It looks more Mediterranean than dreams of the Mediterranean. Than tourism guides for the Mediterranean.

A month ago there was snow. A month ago there was ice on the water. And still the trees aren’t bare.

On one hand, I appreciate the warmth. On the other, I’d like to try out our snow shoes.

15 Jun 2015, 5:11pm
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Talking & Walking

So, was going to show you “my” caterpillars. Or the small press fair, but Flickr is down, as it has been so often since Yahoo bought it.

*sigh* I suppose I can point and it will be up again eventually.

Can I embed instagram here? I don’t think I get instagram anymore than I get Tumblr. I am bucking the trend of time propelling us forward by regressing in my internet savvy at more than the inverse of Moore’s Law. How about you go to Instagram, see the reno. The new flooring is about 1/4 in. Which is an astounding rate.

Hm, how about this, if you’re on GoodReads, you can enter a contest to win the pet radish, shrunken. It runs until Sunday and 3 copies are up for grabs.

Soon, NYC. Then a radio show then it’s July. How crazy is that. There are some gaps in between, but still.

Maybe I’ll go for a walk instead. Walks are good. Maybe I’ll photograph the garden. Could happen.

Why am I looking for something for you to do? Mother Hen Impulse clucks up again, pardon me. I’m sure you can self-govern.

I read that article on healthy and unhealthy couples and it seems to me there are a few models of conversation:

  1. elicit to avoid self-reveal,
  2. offer to get reciprocal offers to connect,
  3. offer with no interest in hearing, perhaps turn taking the monologue to appear like dialogue or
  4. keep it light and minimal while monitoring for something better

Who uses which strategy dominantly? The behaviors come from reasons, and habit is sometimes the reason. An unexamined ham in a large pan with the end cut off because that’s what mom and grandma did.

The 4th Scenario happens in interstitial events among strangers but some people can zoom in on real connection. 3rd scenario seems inept but may be at its core most egoist. But if all people need is a witness and to express, maybe an intricate dance is just superfluous art. Offering in the 2nd case seems the most healthy and yet sometimes seems self-serving. It puts the ball in the other court. Eliciting makes me feel drained, insecure and sometimes flattered but not connected.

Sometimes it seems I have trouble jumping skip rope to some conversations but part of that is trying to speak with so many. Now and again I meet people with which conversation is easy and natural, whether agreeing, disagreeing, overlapping or not. I realize I sometimes skewer myself unnecessarily. I remember, it’s not all about competencies, but something else. A willingness. A compatible energy. Synchrony for reasons outside of either person’s control. A right time and place.

5 Dec 2014, 11:27am
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On and Off

Did you know there’s a Lindt store open at Landsdowne park now? It’s been open two months. Not that they’re chocolate. They’re more chocolate coloured candy. But still,

I bought the Soma hot chocolate mix but it is an art beyond my reach to make as perfect of chocolate shot at home. Their version,

chocolate shot
Around noon the next Eaten Up pops up. It is an all-chocolate post.

The food blog, incidentally now runs Monday to Friday as I scaled it back last year after running it daily since 2006.

Those who don’t know history are condemned to repeat it. Unfortunately that doesn’t carry over to repeating successes. The New Republic after 100 years aims to be the next buzzfeed. Writers and editors quitting en masse results.

Social media is hard in that it is visible. It’s quick access cuts both ways. In person and slow-social can get deeper understanding once there’s too much data to parse. Quick-zip access to people can be insightful of tick-making but tends to have high noise.

While recording your life happens, even when you can dance like no one’s watching, and when no one is watching, people can come back years after the fact. But that’s the problem with the future, isn’t it. It has more time to crunch data and presupposes in the past we had that data to work with. Values and therefore filters of the salient change.

Once things are recorded, they are still ephemeral. Some massive Big Borther may save everything but with Big Brother motivation, fast as computers are, and as heavily staffed as it could be, it would be faster just to make stuff up, skew to skewer. Who fact checks after all?

If you disappear without a trace into the Atlantis world of off-line, there’s no data. You may hear someone saw someone months ago. But basically they step outside of existence. There’s only so many people you can keep track of and keep in touch with.

This all makes people seem more ephemeral. (Therefore cherish people you get to see in your everyday because they are disappearing, surely, just as new people appear.)

Twenty years later someone may reappear in the flesh. But likely not to stay.

The number of whole entire complete parallel lives and cultures always mind boggles. Healthy or unhealthy, whole systems that don’t crash nor become rockets. Perfectly sustainable one foot after the other.

I can hardly bridge one morning to the next of myself and I’ve been here the whole time. What all have I missed? The amount of disconnect of the daily, the hourly, the minute to minute seems to make a chasm that can’t be bridged. And yet people have some carry-overs, some constancies. Some continuity that isn’t projection of a constellations into their moving stars.

Maybe not seeing one another one feels there was never separation because there was mutual fondness sent out the the universe. There was a willingess to reunite, even if, bitter bitter herb, neither cared enough to bother to try. You do what you can.

Online can give a false sense of intimacy. As well as a true growing closer. People gravitate towards those on the same reactivity. Those they can hear clearly and hear not at all.

A caveat or mercy is that in text, markers of good will can be contrived. It is easy to be kind, in the abstract. Or mean I suppose according to one’s habit.

But in either case true telltales can be tucked away. One instant of face-to-face chemistry can blow that all away. Intense affection or…nada.

All the make nice or make sparring was so much thumb twiddling.

Where to get a clear vantage point?

Online presents a different set of constraints.

If you are visible somewhere someone can be be injured at being lower priority, or feel a pecking order. It’s frustrating to be shut out.

As in, what you haven’t answered my email and yet you are evidently not dead? But you have time for _____ and _____.

And each blank can be weighed against jealousy. Cat video more important than me. News story more vital than me. Going to such-and-such. Reading such-and-such. Talking with that person. Or that one.

Maybe the person feeling like an unequal half of the relationship is gaslighting themselves, being their own in-house crazy maker as ascribing injury and lack of caring.

Maybe it’s a stage of asking for what you want rather than passively accepting the fortunes of time that people drift.

the case of the subway horse
It can be the case of the disappearing subway horse.

One is an agent in one’s own life. And yet sometimes it’s not working. Chasing is breaking and wasted energy. How to discern a correct reading of the big picture?

Downgrading aspects of life to “a thing” rather than “a telltale thing” is generally a healthy thing. Sometimes telltales are useful. Is there a pattern that can be refined or fixed?

If jealousy, fear and frustration get to narrate they throw on more significance than there is. They would make it hurtful on purpose therefore urge the outer human to jet off to self-protect. But what part of self should write the speculative narrative of motivations of others?

Every life has busy phase and slower phase and hermit phases. It may not be personal. It may not be articulable.

Some relationships in passing are valuable, internalized, but won’t last long. Some relationships are slow waves with occasional contact, some frequent but shallow. Some have dormancy that take years to sprout.

6 Oct 2014, 12:02pm
Citizenship Equity Ponderings
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What my Canada would look like once it gets done

A minimum standard of living guaranteed. If the system isn’t trying to trick you, then people don’t need to scheme back to get through its loopholes.

Call me a dreamer but I’d like to see a safety net of basic living wage where the objective of the system is not to drum people out or make hoops to prove they are trying to learn a skill, a language, or get a job. Cooperation rather than presuming only those who don’t need it won’t sign up and those who would cheat would. What does the person need from the width of the system? What other parts of the person need to also be prioritized?

A network of quality of life of public water fountains, bathrooms, public showers, heated indoors spaces without programming. Shelters which are guaranteed no questions asked without religious indoctrination as fee. Signs of washrooms for patrons only all over the city is hostile and miserly. The only option of sugar drinks, caffeine drinks or plastic bottled water is unnecessary.

A culture where cycling and walking is the default. A habit of people dancing and exercising in the parks and squares.

Well-being embedded in schools and the everyday. To train citizens on conflict resolution, compassion, principles of logic, numeracy/budgeting, and the nature and biology of hundreds of species.

Funding to cover and easy access to dentistry for life, physiotherapy, abortion, therapeutic massage, autism programs, medicines, home help support for seniors, and counselling for mental health issues. Funding for faster on demand service. If a pet needs an MRI, it happens that week. A person with compromised health may wait months. There’s a bottleneck that could be addressed.

Two years of paid maternity and paternity leave. Universal childcare. Recognition of the fluidity of family where a child is raised somewhere in the extended family or step-family or can be adopted with more ease.

One system of education, public. Or two, public and privately funded, whether elite, science, arts, or based on religious or linguistic lines. Earlier apprenticeship. Some children are held in the school system past the point of use. If cultural principles aren’t across by age 13 or 14, another few years won’t help. Options for all children to learn hands on skills in any field.

Suffrage for children. Voting by age 10 so that they don’t spend their first 20 years exiled from having a say and being sub-citizens.

Continued budget for measuring things: the full census, status of women, the polar measurements, the assessing of state of water and ocean.

A culture propelled by curiosity. Research for its own sake to learn in field biology, astronomy, other hard sciences, art, social criticism and literature.

Top-down and bottom-up controls on sound. Mandated enforced sound pollution laws so that planes and busses and motorcycles and etc, all run at lower volumes. What can be done for the engine design and tire design. Air shows, fireworks, music concerts. We are overcompeting for noise we don’t even care about while drowning out other species that need to use sound for communication and finding mates.

Light pollution control. There’s no reason lights need to blaze while businesses are closed. Rollback the culture of always-on to presume 6 weeks of universal paid vacation. Leading up to new years might be good. That way the consumer mania of Christmas could be tempered.

There has to be a certain amount of top-down or else people will continue using toxic but cheap paints, importing tomatoes and apples from Brazil and Mexico during peak tomato and apple harvest season here from economic contracts with corporations ahead of getting the freshest food to the nearest person.

Protecting lakes from factory effluent to motorboats that leak petroleum that isn’t maintained. A conscientiousness of citizens.

Should the state get out of the business of marrying? Naturally, but if in it, it should marry whoever wants to pay the licence, regardless of gender. Three or four marrying if they choose.

A habit of gender neutral names, an animate gender neutral pronoun as default, a shift in ingrained assumptions of gender so people enter careers independent of gender baggage.

What to do with religions? China and Russia have had limited success in reenculturating to non-superstitious minds. Luck is a pervasive thought-gnat. Our brains are pattern seeking. How to tilt them towards a Carl Sagan balance?

What to do with the 88 languages and the cultures tethered to them and what they have to say about what the world is?

What to do with gun lobbyists and those who want a model of “strongest surviving” and justify bullying in all forms as a symbol of strength? What to do with dissent in all forms? How to respect the disrespectful? How to nudge those who celebrate brokenness into considering less violence?

What to do with the fisheries? Or general natural resources exploitation that is major industry, the mines that poison waters and the forestry pressed on as market demands toilet paper to printer paper that isn’t post-consumer fibre?

What to do with Quebec and its history? Regarding natives? What to do with nation versus international? The continued mass consumption of the U.S. media? We can’t be safely blissfully oblivious to trends there and people are one people moving through these lines we draw. Some Canadians are also American, half time or have family in various countries.

What elements have I missed?

10 Sep 2014, 12:23pm
General Ponderings
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The Economics of our Built Systems

While waiting for godot-transpo, I ended up walking 20 minutes since there was a longer wait than that between connecting busses.

It’s interesting walking with a device. It’s like a tricorder to reveal all the invisibles. I names and places put to wifi signals, like HappyAlphabet, BadAstronaut, AnLEDSign, and Password is Password. As Snowclone-a-Minute might put it if the bot were interactive: “Crouching messes, hidden insisting”.

climate change protest
Corrective graffiti on Bank Street.

It’s a bit hard to make out but over the words “Quality Moments” is written “Climate Change”

Our society is like an alcoholic with a cirrhosis that continues to drink.

I presume it was a car ad but I didn’t glance down. Looks like one.

We never need to get advertised at to buy commodities, potatoes, carrots, etc, yet there’s a constant push to try to induce appetite for cars and other luxury goods.

What does it mean about need that supersized farms have costs that make them band together and advertise as lobbies? Egg marketing, pork producers. The aim is to raise consciousness for the general idea. Now that pulled pork is ubiquitous on menus, there’s a virus going thru U.S. pig herds that causes almost 100% mortality in piglets. It can’t hop to humans and hasn’t made it into Canadian-traded animals.

Farming is a complex economic juggle, heavily subsidized since Canadians want one thing from their food it seems: cheapness. Price as the main thing create brutal situations. Cattle prices fell while feed prices rose, so it became expensive to keep the cattle. So some farmers culled. Smaller herds, higher demand, and vagaries of market ask for a higher price except now demand outstrips supply and there’s no way to make an animal breed faster. Gestation is gestation. Maybe for a tool you can build another factory, import more workers, get a supply chain of materials rerouted to respond quickly but 9 months and a week to make a new calf.

Really absurd practices reign of treating lives like inanimate goods. Even inanimate goods shouldn’t be destroyed en masse if there’s a market glut. Yes, it corrects the supply and demand but it disrespects the energy, lives and materials it took to make the widget, or life.

If we see a product as a commodity we don’t care who made it or where it came from. One material is interchangeable with another like cash or gasoline, rice, coal, soybeans, silver. There’s no intimate relationship to the source. The general idea is pitched.

Are books unditinguished commodities? In genre is one looking for the next Harlequin? When it’s pulp fiction when readers consume many books by cowboy genre, or thriller, romance, werewolf, do they act like commodities?

Is poetry like that?

When we have a luxury item or some good with product differentiation it is all about the distinguishing features, the niche, the quality or timing, place, availability, distinct aspects.

Many literary especially small press publishers seem to pitch their books as if commodities. This is the book. This is the price. There’s no excerpt, no reviews, no indication except title and author of what the niche or distinguishing features might be. This is at odds with their nature.

What to do with a cover information alone? If there’s only the cover to go on, it limits the market to someone who knows the author by name, or already knows enough of the press by other means to want to buy anything coming from the editor’s aesthetic. Or, as on twitter the dead author [Sep 4] quipped, “Show me on the book cover where you stopped reading.”

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