Friday, November 28, 2008

new unfinished works of 2008

Yea, that's right, they're hilarious abstractions from my thoughts that somehow lend themselves to the clay..
i am an abstraction to myself, that somehow lends my mind toward strangled orifices,gagged reflexes, oceans of lacey scaling, screws to the head, broken wings, bleeched coral death and sagging pufferfish..

all on this random idea called "commitment" or "committed", not sure which is the more appealing.
this is probably why i have few friends who can stand me for more than five minutes.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

The Greeniest

Some may already know about my love affair with the Green Festival here in San Francisco, so it will not be shocking if i write another update on the state of green affairs and the rejuvenation i experienced being among my fellow humans who care and stand up for those things they cherish.

Again, missing Friday, i found my merry way via bicycle thru the streets of SF on the morning of what was to become a very hot Saturday. Just in case we were about to forget that global warming is happening... along comes a November day in the 80's to remind us.
Arriving to check in with the volunteer side of GF, i was immediately aware of my calm and premonition toward the betterment of humanity which was taking place. The various vendors were beginning their day, prepared for the onslaught of festival goers that was about to file in. I got my coffee, surprised to find they were using a Starbucks, supposedly fairtrade style, but would not pass up the free caffiene fix, nor chastise the ones responsible for our being there to experience this. I set out to help the Green Team out back by sorting the beginning of the day's garbage, in hopes of helping them create only 1% landfill waste for the whole event. I am doubtful now whether this was actually acheived, or if they fell short of their expectations for making the least waste possible. Regardless, last year's astounding 2% landfill waste is reason enough to be proud, and i was humbled as always by the chance to witness our frailties as a people so close at hand.
After 4 1/2 hours of sorting, i had to call it quits, since it really was hot out there, and i was so excited about what lie inside the Concourse doors. Note to self: Eat first! No one should stand outside in the heat sorting garbage on an empty stomach for that long! But i digress, I got inside just in time to enjoy a great veggie lunch from the ASIAN stand i often frequent at festivals. I love them the most for their utterly reliable and yummy sustainance, their mango lassis, and because they usually give out returnable & washable dinnerware instead of disposable. But of all the atrosities, they were denied the right to do so this year due to health code violations or some such nonesense. Argh! Thank you very much city of San Francisco!
Regardless, i took in the sights and sounds of the event over my fine faire, and was lucky to be on hand when Jahi (myspace/hotbutterflows) & Abba Yahudah were performing on the music stage. I loves me some solid hip hop and old-school raggae! I got over to Mark Shapira talk on The Toxic Chemistry of Everyday Products, and was disgusted to hear more about how our government has not demanded the same stringent rules for household and personal care products that they do in the EU; and of course, this is mostly due to our lack of a universal healthcare system, which would ensure our national interest in keeping the citizens healthy and the healthcare costs down. It is all cyclical, and we must pressure our representatives in Washington toward making sure our health comes first on EVERY level. He brought up the WTO protests in Seattle of '99, which i was lucky enough and/or cursed enough to be a part of... knowing then what i know now about our planet's health and our government's attrocities, as well as those of giant corporations & the IMF/World Bank, well.. i would fought much harder and more seriously those ten long years ago...
But i was uplifted in attending the Gift Center for the keynote speaker Dr. Cornell West, which was opened with a performance by Ricky Byers Beckwith. She must be one of the most soulful women of the 21st century... with lyrics that are so familiar and yet ancient, so enchanting and joyful, that they can't help but bring crowds into the light. I was entranced for several moments. Then came Dr. West, with his bright and dignified character. He grabbed hold of my heartstrings the moment he came on stage, because the look on his face just screamed: OBAMA!!!!!! He praised and surely he testified, yet in the end he said we should be wary and cautious of our next moves as a people. His evidence for this is the latest of Obama's chosen cabinet members, and the fact that it does matter whom one surrounds themselves with. Here, here! Yes, we must be vigilant if we want our voices to continue to raise above the rhetoric of the war mongers, the corporate lobbyists, and the political elite. Whew, we have lots of work to do!

On Sunday, i arrived bright and early to get there ahead of the massive crowd which would ensue, and to be on time to hear one of my all time favorite journalists, NPR's Amy Goodman, from Democracy Now. She began her tales with an beautiful bioptic of Obama's roots and the grass movement that took him to the White House; this led to her recanting the story of Mt. Misery, where "difficult" slaves were taken to be brutally broken by means of torture; Mt. Misery, it turns out is now owned proudly by none other than Donald Rumsfeld, she reports; Tied into this whole tale is her plea for us to be heard among our leaders in terms of not wanting our country to be perpetrating torture & to demand the closure of Guantanamo Bay. She then spoke about reporters being arrested at the NRC, and herself being rudely arrested for requesting that a journalist be released. Amy always is so good at reminding me that we are treading on very thin ice, our society is ready for something monumental, merely because we are at our wits end... and i love her for it! But she makes me cry every time..

After Amy was the Bay Area's own proud green warrior, Van Jones. He too praised the triumph and progress we made in electing Barack Obama, and also said we have alot of work yet to do, and statements yet to be made heard. But he did point out three initiatives to look at from Obama's campaign plan: cap & ban legislature to decrease carbon emmissions, infrastructure work on existing buildings and city plans, and ... oh now, i forget the third... but i think at that point i was already dreaming of a brighter tomorrow and a greener economy. He said the truth of the matter: that we will make money and create jobs simply by doing the right thing, right NOW. Ooh, he got me fired up like i knew he would!

So once again inside for "Asia" and music, this time playing was SeaSunz & Akosua... both thoroughly enjoyable hip hop & soulful lyrical accoustic. I made to just the right mix of musicality for me this year, so i was very pleased. Then i decided to shop...
Yes, that's right, i said it... after two whole days there, it is impossible not want something you see here, or maybe ten things... but nobody's counting.
Anyway, my top ten buys were:
One bottle of Olive Oil (from Plaestine) whose proceeds go to rebuild a bulldozed school in in the region;
One copper reusable water canister from the green dentist (;
One organic cotton T-shirt which will read "Buy Local" and has myself counted as a specified number in a total sum of people making a difference in the little things they do daily;
One bottle of "Napa VinJus" which tastes bitter & alittle tangy like a white wine but is only concentrated pure grape bliss;
Two peace dove pins handcarved from wood of trees from Palestine from a booth hoping to end the occupation;
A pair of the most comfortable colorful and rhythmic shoes this side of fairtrade Columbia from "Kuna prints" (;
Three bodycare products from a local organic supplier who told me his products were cheap ($6.99 for a decent sized bottle) because bodycare without crap in it SHOULD be affordable (Right on brother, now you're speaking my language!), his company is Griffin Remedy and it is some delightfully good stuff which he gave me a coupon to buy more of & it is made right here in SF (;
A 2 part steel container from "To-Go Ware" ( to cart leftovers and my lunch;
A medicinal tincture from Bear Wallow Herbs (;
and some handmade Peruvian incense that is delightfully pungent and fresh smelling which reminds me of the pine tree plantation three fields behind my home growing up after a really great thunderstorm. Get your own at!

I would have also bought a patch with the World Flag on it ( but they had only recently sold out so i just made do with a fine conversation and appreciating it from afar.
To say i bought more than all that would make me a clever American with purchasing power, taking the advice of my ultra consumer sister, who says the answer to our financial woes is to shop, SHOP, SHOP! Well... ahem... at least i did my part here this weekend, buying what i felt to be worthy, responsible, good natured & devoid of sacriledge. Who knows? Maybe we do save the world by shopping... i'm only concerned that we save it in the end.

More to come on the vendors and non-profits i spoke to at the Festival in Pt.2 of "The Greeniest".
Peace out.

Obama's Triumph; the whole world sighs...

This was a post from myspace, which was actually written by me the day after elections, but i forgot to copy to here... but since i am so into this duality of me,
here it is...

"When i am older and i look back on this year, what happened last night will be a defining moment in my life and the history of our nation. Though i was sitting in a normal bar usually patronized by the terminally cool spouting their regular diatribe of exhaustive exclusivism, by the nuerotically stoic who hang over their beers like woolen trenchcoats, by the depressed after work bunches regailing the gossip and the sadness of their dreary existence... what i saw was all the more astounding for the readiness and eagerness displayed by these less than attentive souls; i saw a room lit up by the light of change, a room so utterly devoid of morosity that it seemed to float on the subtlest of wind. These people were thrilled to the core! They were ready to believe again, to make such life moments sacred again, to hold a stranger's hand again, united in their common hope for peace and fluidity. In that room last night, i saw real magic happening.

But it was not just a spirit felt by the huddled mass at Mad Dog in the Fog. What took place there could be seen in the eyes of young and old, rich and poor, people of any color, background, and state. It was on the faces of every tv screen surrounding us, every person walking by on the street, driving by with the horns blowing and the cheers erupting; the face of a people massed and ready for a brighter day than any of the thousands previous. Their faces held the light just so because of one man, who was chosen to lead them, by the toil of their souls and the desire of their hearts.

This man walked onto the platform in front of a million others, who all shared the same look of light, and he accepted their challenge with the roar of a lion and the passion of a crusader, the intelligence of a sage and the thoughtful bravery of any a righteous warrior. This was the man they all had chosen because he spoke to them, at some given point, to each and every one of them...with his words, somehow, they felt a tug to toward trust & compassion. Through his words, at one point, they were uplifted and transformed. In his words, somewhere, they heard a distant prayer, a call to unify, a song that was yet to be sung.

Perhaps that song was the national anthem, or America the Beautiful, or some such... because, lord did we feel patriotic again! People,like myself, who once may have grunted and moaned over the slightest of reference to their own homeland's "greatness", now took to the streets bearing flags with the idea that had never once occured before: It felt good to be American! (The irony was not lost on us either, but rather brought to mention several times, and we cried, and we cried out...)

But this man...

whose ancestry lie near the cradle of humanity, & whose skin color vastly differed from those who took this march before him, & who made history by merely acheiving this victory; this man is not great for those things.

He is great because he made the room float, and the crowds alight, and the men & women cry, and the anarchists wave flags, and the hope in our hearts a reality, and because, most of all, he made the magic begin.

I will forever remember this day, November the 4th, 2008 as the day our future looked brighter... this day, when Barack Obama took the stage as the next President of the United States.