Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Take-off clearance

Sometimes I travel for work... To get to where I am supposed to be, it is expected that I fly there.
Right now I'm in Ramingining... It's been raining and the roads are quite muddy. It makes sense to fly right?

Well sure it makes sense to fly from an immediate needs pragmatic perspective and out here everybody does it but... It's completely unsustainable and somewhat outside my preferred mode of transport. I don't drive my car, partly because I like to ride my bike but it's possible that I got to like riding my bike so much because I'd made a decision to reduce my carbon footprint and stop driving the car... at this point it's not that important which came first, the point is that I'd prefer to burn as little fuel as necessary in order to get where I'm going.

My Youtube account is full subscriptions to amateur film makers documentaries, mostly promoting the virtues of riding bikes, sailing and generally doing stuff that is designed to reduce fuel consumption like This Go Small video:

I am actually quite ambivalent about flying. If you take the fuel consumption and pollution elements away I'd have to admit I actually love flying... It's like most things we like, things such as sweet food. We like eating it but we don't like having decayed teeth wrenched from our mouth. Flying is like that.

I used to love travel... now I just like it a lot. One thing I was looking forward to about going away is that I'd have a little free time to read (since I don't have to look after the kids). So I've brought along my new favourite book Rules For Radicals by Saul Alinsky, which I thought would have nothing to do with my environmental concerns until I read this:

A Pilot speaking to his passengers prior to receiving Take-off clearance:
"Incidentally, I will let you know when we get the take-off clearance and from the instant you hear those jets roar for the take-off until the instant of lift-off, we will have consumed enough fuel for you to drive an automobile from Chicago to New York and back with detours as well!"
(Saul Alinsky, Rules for Radicals (p82)

Great!


Incidentally today was a new record in last minute booking for me. I called the airline 1 hour before take-off and asked if they had any tickets left. They did and gave me 20 minutes to get my act together and check in.
I grabbed my laptop computer and a few documents from work, sped home to get a change of underwear and a couple of T-shirts, blurted out to Sam that I've got 5 minutes to get to the airport, jumped in the car, she surprisingly quickly behind me and made it to the airline hangar just 3 minutes later than they'd advised.

We flew into Ramo over shimmering weltands through thick cloud cover and landed in the middle of a heavy shower. I stepped off the plane into ankle deep water and begged a ride into town with a family who had room in their troopy. I hope the meeting won't be too formal. My only footwear is an old muddy pair of thongs!

I love flying... ;)

Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Dental cabaret

Teeth again!
I'm sure I've written about my teeth before. Teeth are important we should look after them right!
I'm not on a crusade for dental care I'm just fascinated by the fact that it is possible for people to outlive their teeth, when in ages past, lack of teeth was surely a sign of decrepit obsolescence and senility... anyway I'm not planning to go Yul Brynner on oral hygiene but my new dentist has assured me my teeth would last longer if I flossed... So "...whatever you do! Just..." FLOSS OK!

After loosing a huge chunk of tooth last year the date for my appointment at the Public Dental Clinic has finally arrived! And what time was my appointment you ask... (OK you wouldn't ask that question but let's just pretend you did!)

My appointment was for 2:30! Get it? Two Thirty.... Oh Come ON! Do I have to spell it out for you? "TOOTH HURTEE!" It's a joke! or a pun or something like that! I use it all the time!

It goes like this...
I say - "What time is it?"
You say - "Two thirty".
I say - "Well you'd better go to the dentist then..." Waka Waka Waka"

Ok, so I'm at my Toof hurtee appointment at the free clinic for folks who can't afford a qualified dentist and I meet my Student practitioner... He's a clean cut young fella from Brisbane... maybe Indian descent. He's sitting down with his leg out stretched.
"Good afternoon" He says with a smile. "My name is ------  (I'll call him Dr Teeth) I am a student dentist, as you can see I have a broken foot. Are you happy for me to conduct this consultation today?"
"Oh yeh.." I say... "Hey I could have tripped over that!" Trying to keep the interaction light while noticing that both the Dentist (Student dentist) and his assistant appear so young they could be just a couple of kids wagging school and here for a laugh!

The consultation continues... Dr Teeth inspects my battle scarred choppers and proceeds to list the casualties and those missing in action... Lucky for me you can't get locked up for for tooth neglect! I think he listed 6 as missing! He must have counted the wisdom teeth...
"Better check the floor.. I'm sure I had them when I came in!" 

So it's all going quite well. It's obvious he's not going to get down to business on the smashed tooth so I'm kind of relaxed and enjoying the banter. Dr Teeth tells me about his foot and how he came to Darwin in between rattling off the location and chemical compounds of every filling in my mouth to his assistant. By now I'm kind of enjoying myself, this guy is really light hearted for a dentist! Then he performed a maneuver that nearly caused me to choke on the ex-ray plate in my mouth.

We place the uncomfortable piece of plastic sheath in my mouth... I bite down on it as intended... fighting the urge to gag on the bloody thing... Then Dr Teeth says to me in all seriousness, hold perfectly still while I hop over here and press the button...
I'm sitting up straight focusing on a spot on the wall directly in front of me... not moving a muscle... Then Dr Teeth hops across the room on one leg right past my field of vision! The bastard! If you've ever seen the Centurian Guard in the Life of Brian trying to hold back a laugh... you'll have a pretty good idea of the situation I was in! He presses the button. The photo is taken and I nearly choked on the uncomfortable piece of crap I had in my mouth! It was so funny I couldn't believe it!

Apparently there's a fair bit of work to do and I have to go back in a few weeks! Same Dentist, Same time! I can't wait to see what he comes up with for my next visit! Apparently I'm in line for a root canal and a crown...
Life on a low income is such good value! I could never afford a root canal or to go to the theater... when I was earning more money, now here I am, technically poor(ish) and I'm served cabaret and tooth repair for nothing! Now that I've got the date for my next appointment I'll have to schedule a session at the blood bank for the morning so I can make a day of it...

Monday, February 27, 2012

Los Ginger Ninjas, Rodando México

Hey film buffs, beatniks, minstrels, followers of troubadour wandering and utility bicycle freaks!
Today I received an email notification from Kickstarter...
That film featuring the Ginger Ninja's 2008 pedal powered musical tour through Mexico has finally been completed and is about to be released at the 'Festival Internacional de Cine' in Guadalajara... Mexico.

Here's a bit of a blurb from Guadalajara film festival website about:
The Ginger Ninjas Ride Mexico
Los Ginger Ninjas, Rodando México (Spanish)
 
Synopsis
The documentary recounts the one-and-only tour in the history of a band, treading Mexico from the United States by bicycle. The members of Los Ginger Ninjas carry their musical instruments on their bikes over 8 thousand kilometers. The group generates its own electricity for the concerts with the bicycles. The documentary illustrates the transformations and conflicts of those characters influenced by the physical and emotional demands of this aforesaid adventure.



I really hope this film will be available in Australia. I'm pretty sure Australia and Mexico are both coded as region 4 so there should be a bunch of DVDs that will be viewable down here. I'll definitely approach the producers to find out how long we will have to wait! Anyone interested in a screening?
Maybe the Deckchair will show it for us. If not I'll just have to rig up a data projector and stereo to the cargo cart chariot and screen the darn thing myself!
See you at the Australian Premier!

The only thing I'm not too impressed with is the name change... I'm so sorry Mr Morkin, I really liked the original title 'Stuck on Earth'! It seemed to cover the all aspects of the ride including the reason behind it. We only have one earth and we must commit ourselves to it's care... the grass is not greener elsewhere... we're stuck here with what we've made of it... The lives of the participants, regardless of having their heads in the clouds their feet, or wheels, remain; sticking to the earth. When plans, materials, relationships fail... we're left feeling like we're stuck here. Ultimately the title says to me Hey we're here right now, lets make the most of it...

I think the original title would have drawn more of an audience but at the end of the day it's a film that's going to appeal mostly to cyclists and all those who'd like to reduce their carbon footprint on the earth. We'll watch it whatever you call it! Please make your film available in Australia.

Sunday, February 26, 2012

Is it? A beautiful World...

This tune just came into my head and wouldn't leave...

So I searched the net and found it and now if you like you can watch it! I hope DEVO don't mind...
DEVO Nailed it!




Today I sat in Church and listened to some kind of rendered version of the Noah and his Arc story... All cooled up and translated into contemporary theatrical translation...
I've never liked being presented with this story by people who think of it as a factual account of something that actually happened... But now I've discovered something even less palatable. Being delivered the story without the mystical conversations with the big 'G' and then attempting to rationalize how Noah realized the flood was coming is just plain crazy making! Why alter the narrative like that? It doesn't make any sense! If you're trying to make the story more credible by omitting conversations with the almighty and replacing that with logical explanations for the flood you're barking up the wrong tree! Stop doing that! It works much better as an improbable metaphor! A Mythical tale... Damn!

Saturday, February 25, 2012

Onfootfoods

Things are really kicking off down at the Mulch Pit!

The Mulch Pit is the community garden, we've been plodding away with over the past... er I think two years... Down at Nightcliff Uniting Church, Cummins Street. Rapid Creek.

People come and go from active service in the garden but since Daniel the Garden Coordinator (For want of a better word) arrived we've really enjoyed some great garden activities and the space is really getting that lived in and well loved feel about it!
Here's the latest initiative.. Onfootfoods! Personally I'd prefer to deliver by bicycle but you can't fault the good sense of buying food which was grown and picked just a short walk from the store you bought it at! 

  Food grows here!



onfootfoods
what is onfootfoods?

Well...we are local, actually, pretty much residential. 
Our growing systems strive to be active in food metres rather than food miles.
Our growing system is approximately 816 steps from where it is harvested to this very store...so yeah
we deliver our fresh, nutrient-dense produce on foot.

Our growing media (soil) is from locally sourced vegetation and animal by products.  our "dirtiliser",
liquid compost we use keeps the plants and system in healthy balance mostly from onsite ingredients.

We trust you will enjoy your produce grown by onfootfoods and look forward to your support of this
very, very local entity that is supported by themulchpit community garden.

onfootfoods....... being active in the change,
                         one step at a time.

tip toe a tip tap on the keys...www.themulchpit.net

this project was launched on the new moon in february 2012.
                                                                most auspicious.
 (Words thanks to Danial Sheridan)


 A Place to sit... It's much shadier now!

Sunday, February 19, 2012

Geting radical

At play with devils...

Don't be alarmed! It's only a book... I'm not about to go out and stock up on 'Brown rice and kerosine!'

What I like about this book... Well I like the Type set used on the cover... And if the prologue is anything to go by I am really going to enjoy reading this book!
Sometimes when I'm scrounging through piles of books at the tip shop or an opp shop I am lucky and find a real gem! Mostly children's books but last week I discovered this classic at the Church Opp Shop in Cummins Street! As I read through the prologue I just knew I was meant to find this book! Whether or not I can find a practical application for it isn't really the point. It is a portal to a reality we've been brainwashed out of thinking can even exist. If Orwell's hapless protagonist, Winston, had discovered this book he would have stashed it away and read it in secret when he thought no one was watching! Well thankfully treasures like this can still be found and read, pondered and put to good use... in dice games with devils, heroes and fools!

Reading the prologue I realize how messed up we have now become. Alinski talks about the overwhelming amount of information that young people have to deal with... This book was written in 1971! Imagine if he'd been plonked down in 2012!
I remember reading that in the frightening dystopia of 1984 information would be recalled and republished in order to alter the public's perception of history, or even current events. Well in 2012 it's much easier to alter documents, which are stored online but there's no need! Good information can simply buried in plain view under a plethora of useless information, which we are bombarded with daily. Short attention spans and no training in critical thinking has eliminated the need to fool us into believing lies... The perfect solution was not to hide the lies... Better to remove the public's interest in discerning truth from lie...
Who Cares...Right!

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

On 14th Feb

Happy 15th February!


14th Feb

Don't waste it! Try not to loose it... Don't you throw it away!

Thursday, February 09, 2012

Gratitude list

After a much needed conversation with some equally baffled individuals yesterday we staggered across the subject of gratitude. That wonderful attitude that is able to keep self centered obsessions and depression at bay.

So the subject is raised and I feel this awful retching inside... I don't want to talk about Gratitude! I want to talk about tearing down empires and smashing through illusions and stepping on users... The conversation continued and for the first time in longer than I can remember I couldn't think of anything I felt grateful for... (I am in a Bad way!) I kept my mouth shut fearing I might burst into profanity...

Anyway by the time I went to bed last night I couldn't help feeling grateful for all kinds of things. On my way to work my mind started drifting back to my youth and childhood. I noticed a clumsy kid trudging along to school, head down he stumbled over a fallen branch on the footpath. Then I remembered how much I hated School! I really hated it! I remembered how I felt belittled, humiliated, scared, stupid, clumsy, unwanted....
Then an amazing thing happened, I was filled with gratitude!

I looked straight at that kid as I rode along beside him. I felt sorrow for him (Hey maybe he likes school! It doesn't really matter, in this story he's only a projection of myself at that age!)

GRATITUDE LIST
  1. Today, All day, I was grateful that I am not studying and I don't have to go to school! Ha! I am 42 years old and still overjoyed by the prospect of not having to go to school! Having returned to study as a mature age student and even without all that teenaged angst I am now more certain than ever. I don't like school!
  2. I am also grateful that I'm not a whale!



Thank you.

Wednesday, February 08, 2012

fallen bark and broken hearts

love tree

Etched jagged through the bark
Torn fiber, coagulated sap
the trauma leaves a familiar mark
No retreat for the broken heart

Monday, February 06, 2012

Saturday, February 04, 2012

More coincidences

Ok usually when I'm surfing close to the edge of the reef (this is just a metaphor I can't actually surf.. yet), I am inclined to seek something to guide my decisions, help me choose a course of action or just a sign that the apparent futility I am facing is not the universe telling me to jump off!

At times like this the air always seems to be thick with coincidences (if I have my eyes open). I don't usually talk about these things but am enjoying jabbering away here where it's pretty safe (when I last looked at my stats there were zero page visits over the course of a week... That makes publishing online a pretty safe place to hide all those secret thoughts and be confident no one will ever discover them! LOL!). I wouldn't want any cynics to start explaining why I'm deluded, I'm already acquainted with that side of my personality.

Anyway here's a few coincidences, some that happened after the shocking coincidence of having posted a story on my blog that the very next day wound up being not too different from a statement I had to make to the Police! (weird!) This will not seem too special to you but I take what I can get!

Last night we happened to watch the film The Men Who Stare at Goats. We were only a few minutes into the movie when Ewen McGregor says within a few words of each other.... "...Wake-up call.." and even more freakishly, because I don't think I've ever heard this term before, he actually said...  "Memento mori"! I can't f-ing believe it! I'd just been meditating on those two ideas and there I am listening to them being repeated to me in a movie! It's a pretty freaky movie too! The crazy thing is I didn't go seeking out this movie because I'm in that sort of a mood. A friend had just happened to leave it for us to watch a couple of weeks ago and Sam just happened to suggest it on the spur of the moment because the kids were actually in bed at a reasonable time! It freaked me out!

Then this morning for no obvious reason I picked up a book from the shelf.. I actually sought it out, for some reason it just came to my mind.The Plague by Albert Kamu. I had started reading it a couple of years ago but I found it a bit heavy and it was lost under a pile of other books I'd intended to read. Actually I probably picked it up again because somewhere in the back of my mind the idea erupted that there were a lot of similarities between how I've been thinking lately and the 'absurdity' within that story... anyway I haven't read it for ages so won't try to unravel how my thoughts and the book are connected or if they even are. However on the back page of the book there was a quote worth noting. "Our townsfolk were like everybody else; wrapped up in themselves..."  (Albert Kamu, The Plague)...

But where to from here?

Now I'm not going to start gabbing on about how what I write appears to come true, that would be really dumb, I just want to acknowledge life can dish up some pretty freaky coincidences. There are no coincidences. What meaning to I draw from this particular experience? The Universe has a sense of humor! I guess... Oh and maybe a timely reminder to WAKE UP!

I love it when things like this happen! It's a great diversion from wondering if pharmaceutical companies invented the Wiggles in order to increase the sale of anti psychotic medication!

Stripping it down

Today the area outside the building where I work will be cleansed with smoke.
Having given my statement to police I was informed of the identity of the deceased. He was a Yolngu man from a community in North East Arnhem Land. Family and ceremony leaders have already arrived in Darwin and will proceed with the sad task of grieving and cleansing which must happen for life to go on for those of us still living!

Having spoken with the designated liaison for this ceremony I was kind of surprised how calm and organized he was. After all this was quite a shocking and situation, blood had been shed. The people in our workplace were quite horrified by the scene which greeted them on Wednesday morning. But I guess for Yolngu these things happen all to often! Death is always close and so many people live in such unpleasant circumstances, they are forced to deal with situations like this far too often!

I will give my condolences and do what I can as the period of grief proceeds, but something inside me is demanding that I must change my own personal direction in life. What is it that I am supposed to do? 
I have been reflecting on my own world and the limited personal interactions I have with people around me. I find it very difficult to find a single person with whom I can talk, that actually bothers to listen to anything other than what is already going on inside their own head. I watch. I wait for a sign that they are there and far too often I discover nothing more than a childlike demand to move away from the idea or subject and back onto Self! Of course I am also guilty of this but I am finding it harder and harder to stomach. What on earth am I supposed to do with this?
I have attempted to join in community but have found it void of community. When I've been amongst a group of people I cant see beyond a bunch of individuals all scrambling for little bits of attention for themselves. Talking over each other, bragging, showing off, name dropping, pretending to sound clever... On and on it goes and rarely even the vaguest hint that anyone is really there for any other reason than to receive the attention of the others... This environment itself leads me to feelings of inadequacy and hopelessness. Maybe I'm not good enough? Maybe they're all so much cleverer than me and I don't deserve to be here... I realize now although many people might be more clever, more witty, more sociable, that's not the actual problem. It's time to realize that in this world, which is full of profound paradoxes. Although we are all in this together and connected by blood and the mystery of the cosmos.... We have to face the fact that in this journey and everything we experience, we walk alone. Why go looking for approval love and understanding from people? They are just caught in the same rat maze seeking for themselves what they think they need, they are lacking and what others can give them... No person can fulfill that empty space, to believe that would be the ultimate in self delusion!

I dropped in on a friend, who once he took a breath from unloading all the amazing things he's done lately, his fears and desires, how he's making all these connections in his own world etc.. etc.. I told him about the tragic event that happened at my work and deep down hoped that there would be some kind of acknowledgement that... well this was a heavy thing, and maybe worthy of a sign of compassion, understanding, concern for the deceased and his family.... Nope! Big mistake. I did get a sense that he was just a little agitated that I might divert the conversation, to start talking about something that might shove his own life experience left of center stage... for even a moment... What do we really care for each other?

Generally when I interact with others, there is a part of me that wants someone to give me some attention! I suppose it's kind of normal but given the state most people I come in contact with it's quite an unrealistic expectation. Is this a legitimate need or just a lot of crap?! It's time to grow up! Time to stop playing these ridiculous and futile games! Have you ever tried to talk to an addict who's strung out waiting for a fix? Or a drunk with the DT's? Or even a smoker who's missed his hourly cigarette! Anything you say is just background noise!


Wednesday, February 01, 2012

Wake up call

Last night I wrote a whole bunch of crap on my blog which was based on a theme of Memento mori, which is the idea that we must face our death every day, get used to the idea that we aren't going to live forever and get comfortable with the simplest of facts... This is a temporary arrangement! This concept is stressed pretty heavily in an audio book I've been listening to and has influenced my thinking lately. There is nothing morbid about this practice it is actually liberating and can give us freedom from that great fear so that we can actually get on with living! It is nothing to do with having a fixation on death.

Anyway mostly the post was pure crap! I bleated on about not having enough time etc... but the post included a some stuff about a situation with some drunks outside where I work. The situation was nothing new but for some reason last night I decided to write about it. This morning I received a call and was advised not to come to work. Someone had been killed last night, right on our doorstep! Literally at the front door of the office!
I haven't heard the details of the incident yet but the coincidence was far too much for me and I decided to delete a huge portion of last nights blog post.

The situation is tragic and it is horrendous! People are getting seriously hurt all the time. Booze, Gunja, abuse of every kind is constantly there right beneath our noses but it is all happening amongst the highly visible yet some how unseen, and untouchables. Aboriginal people who live rough on our streets! Somehow so much suffering is being ignored in our town simply because it's happening to 'Them'! We've created a whole language around exclusion of indigenous people so that injustices can quickly be ignored on the vaguest of assumptions. "It was just a Longrasser", or "The bar is known for serving Itinerants" etc... etc... As soon as these terms are used it's like a verbal vito of human rights and some other bizarre social policy is enacted! It's all Bullshit! But so long as the streets are clean when Obama or some other important person rolls through town then we can happily get on with ignoring the squalor that many of our citizens are living in! It's crap!

As my Bosnian Friend Mr Alex used to say.... "Laif iz SHEET!".  Alex was a fella I lived with for a while. He rented me his apartment but camped on the couch... and smoked day and night! Alex survived the Bosnian War at the expense of his sanity! I reckon being Black On the grog, and in the Longgrass can't be much fun either!

I haven't heard yet who the man was, that died there yesterday... It could have been any of the regulars that I chat with on my way into the office. I can't imagine there was any good reason for him to die.Sometimes Life is Shit!

Today I took the family down to Adelaide River to see the Jumping Crocks! I'm trying to drop all my moral objections and this is one of them. After 15 years without paying to see people encourage crocks to come looking for meat in a boat I have finally given in! What the hell! Who wouldn't want to see one of these glorious creatures lunge out of the water and take hold of a chunk of flesh! This fits in really well with my current attitude of contemplating my death... After all... That chunk of pig meat could be... ME!
The cruise was part of a birthday present for Sam but we all had a good time finding out up close why momy doesn't like us to go swimming in creeks! Happy Birthday Darling. I hope you liked the cruise. I found it exhilarating!
 

IMG_4359_1
Old Stumpy



IMG_4328_1
GLAD TO BE ALIVE!

Ride

Contents of this post deleted....


Something very strange has happened


Storm water drain... to cross or not to cross?
It had been raining all day and the sky was Dark when I left work. The women in the office I work were all concerned that it might be dangerous out there, I'd get soaked, the roads are flooded! etc... etc... "Yes I know! Isn't it great!"
It was pouring rain! I mounted my bike and rolled out onto the highway which was swamped with a river of water two feet deep. Cars splashed torrents of dirty water from the road as they passed me, lights were on people had pulled over, emergency vehicles were all over the place. It was pandemonium. Peak hour traffic and all the major roads looked more like streams.  There was a hint of apocalypse in the air, the Imperial arches of Gold on Bagot Rd had even taken a battering, red and yellow perspex had crashed to the ground! 
There was flooding on the Stuart Highway, Bagot Rd and Mc Millans Rd. Rapid Creek had completely engulfed McMillans and I was forced to double back and cross a fast flowing open drain to get home. What a joy! There's nothing quite like a monsoonal downpour to wake you up!

Shed water




Crumbling empire




Rapid Creek... where's the bank?



On days like this I love to Ride!