Thursday, February 25, 2010

For you

This is dedicated to my Mom.  Happy Birthday and many sunny warm days ahead....

There was a child went forth every day;
And the first object he look’d upon, that object he became;
And that object became part of him for the day, or a certain part of the day, or for many years, or stretching cycles of years.

The early lilacs became part of this child,
And grass, and white and red morning-glories, and white and red clover, and the song of the phoebe-bird,
And the Third-month lambs, and the sow’s pink-faint litter, and the mare’s foal, and the cow’s calf,
And the noisy brood of the barn-yard, or by the mire of the pond-side,
And the fish suspending themselves so curiously below there—and the beautiful curious liquid,
And the water-plants with their graceful flat heads—all became part of him.

The field-sprouts of Fourth-month and Fifth-month became part of him;
Winter-grain sprouts, and those of the light-yellow corn, and the esculent roots of the garden,
And the apple-trees cover’d with blossoms, and the fruit afterward, and wood-berries, and the commonest weeds by the road;
And the old drunkard staggering home from the out-house of the tavern, whence he had lately risen,
And the school-mistress that pass’d on her way to the school,
And the friendly boys that pass’d—and the quarrelsome boys,
And the tidy and fresh-cheek’d girls—and the barefoot negro boy and girl,
And all the changes of city and country, wherever he went.

His own parents,
He that had father’d him, and she that had conceiv’d him in her womb, and birth’d him,
They gave this child more of themselves than that;
They gave him afterward every day—they became part of him.

The mother at home, quietly placing the dishes on the supper-table;
The mother with mild words—clean her cap and gown, a wholesome odor falling off her person and clothes as she walks by;
The father, strong, self-sufficient, manly, mean, anger’d, unjust;
The blow, the quick loud word, the tight bargain, the crafty lure,
The family usages, the language, the company, the furniture—the yearning and swelling heart,
Affection that will not be gainsay’d—the sense of what is real—the thought if, after all, it should prove unreal,
The doubts of day-time and the doubts of night-time—the curious whether and how,
Whether that which appears so is so, or is it all flashes and specks?
Men and women crowding fast in the streets—if they are not flashes and specks, what are they?
The streets themselves, and the façades of houses, and goods in the windows,
Vehicles, teams, the heavy-plank’d wharves—the huge crossing at the ferries,
The village on the highland, seen from afar at sunset—the river between,
Shadows, aureola and mist, the light falling on roofs and gables of white or brown, three miles off,
The schooner near by, sleepily dropping down the tide—the little boat slack-tow’d astern,
The hurrying tumbling waves, quick-broken crests, slapping,
The strata of color’d clouds, the long bar of maroon-tint, away solitary by itself—the spread of purity it lies motionless in,
The horizon’s edge, the flying sea-crow, the fragrance of salt marsh and shore mud;
These became part of that child who went forth every day, and who now goes, and will always go forth every day.

Friday, February 19, 2010

Does this mean the countdown has begun?

Here in Burlington, VT there is a food co-op and a whole bunch of supermarkets.  People go in and out each day spending vast amounts of the money that they just sat around 8 hours in front of a computer to be given.  They also use this given money to purcahse other things to fill the home they have and must pay for with money not given but lended so that they must always work to pay the debt off.  Then they get two weeks vacation.  This is good.  This is the life we want, the life we have created, the one we say that there isn't any other way.  That its "normal" to want this and be a part of it, and crazy, outsider, leftist, etc to not.  We like to routenly justify our cooperation in a system that inherently destroys and kills, whether here in North America or abroad by saying we buy organic, we support local systems, or maybe just eat Stonyfield yogurt (now sold at Walmart). 

90% of the world participates in an organized religion.  90% of the grain goes to feed caged animals so that we can kill them.  80% of the wealth is in the hands of the top few, etc etc etc.  To me, it often seems that as a mass, we do some stupid things (see above).  We are all spokes in community, which are spokes in larger cycles and all of this is part of the big cycle.  I was given great advice recenlty from someone who doesnt think i listen to his advice, though I'm not sure he would want me to use it in the way that I ultimialty will use it.  He told me that the longer you put something of, the less likely you are to do it.  Simple, but profoundly true.  The longer any of us puts off "living", of living our dreams, of failing, of seeking adventure, of being soveriegn, of being filled with all that is good and all that is bad, the more likely that you'll end up behind a computer your whole life so that you can collect social security and play shuffle board in the sun (which doesnt sound that bad). 

To make a winding incoherent rant come to some kind of point, i am offering a challenge.  That we address our routines, our habits, our dreams,  to see how they support our ability to feel alive and love life, and those that don't.  And then using this knowledge, live.  "Genlty, but with undeniable will, divesting myself of the holds that would hold me".  This won't happen over night, or a week, or a year, it might take a whole life to start living.  But the sooner we start, the better chance we won't find that it slipped away becuase we never acted in the first place.

Crazy that i didn't even mention biking once right?  Not today.  What about living off the excess of some of the people mentioned above?

Thursday, February 18, 2010

We choose to ignore while pretend to care

Animal Use and Abuse Statistics: The Shocking Numbers

Published October 05, 2008 @ 07:10AM PT
Listed here are statistics in the following categories: Animals Used as Food, Animal Agriculture and Environment, Animal Testing, Companion Animals, Animals in Human Entertainment, Fur, Wildlife, and Activism.
Animals Used as Food
10 Billion, 27 Million, and 19,000:
Every year, 10 billion domesticated land animals are slaughtered for food in the United States—27 million each day and 19,000 every minute.
50 Billion and 1,680:
Worldwide, the yearly slaughter count is more than 50 billion. Every second, 1,680 animals are killed for food.
Most farmed animals are killed when they are barely adolescents or even younger, such as the "broiler" chickens raised for meat who are slaughtered at only 6–7 weeks old.

Friday, February 12, 2010

Pedal one, Pedal All

Although many people across the globe depend on a bicycle, and may even identify themselves by the style or type of bicycle they choose to ride, the bicycle is not a god, a deity, or some holy item.

It won’t deliver your baby, make stock picks for you, or hit a grand slam at the bottom of the ninth. At it’s most basic level, there’s only one thing a bicycle can do: transport you. You’d think that given this one fundamental quality there might be some similarity to bicycle cultures and lifestyles across the world. And although there is a kernel of connection between these cycling cultures, there is also a wide rift between them.

The bicycle in America is often seen as an accessory. It seems so many are occupied with what kind of bicycle they are riding: fixie, carbon, mountain, hybrid, track, etc, with what kind of clothing they wear: lycra, wool, short shorts, etc, that it all makes the bicycle out to be way more than what it is, and distracts from that simple point. The bicycle becomes something to spend thousands of dollars on, its something used to create separate groups (an us vs them mentality), it’s appropriated by other groups to discredit bicycling as a whole, as extremism, as a political statement and action every crank. The bicycle can be all these things, but at the expense often of what the bicycle really is at heart: a way to transport you.

In Europe, they too have bike cultures, clothing, expensive modifications to buy and tweak. However, they also have in the heart of many of their cities and communities respect for what the bicycle does. It’s easy to point to somewhere like The Netherlands and show what the pinnacle of bicycling can be. There, no matter what type of bike, no matter what kind of clothing, you are a bicyclist. The system is made for you, the signs are made for you, the traffic lights, the lanes. There is an understanding that regardless of the looks, those two wheels are simply trying to transport you. Other places across Europe, while often not as bicycle friendly as the Netherlands, work hard to recognize the bicycle as a bicycle, and not as a protest, as a fringe, as a Sunday afternoon recreation.

And then there are others who don’t even have the luxury of knowing the bicycle can be anything beyond what it is. Across Africa many use bicycles to travel to schools miles away, as makeshift ambulances to take villagers to hospitals miles away when no other type of transport is available. In China and Japan elderly zig zag across the sidewalks due to the denseness of these countries.

The bicycle is an amazing machine that can more efficiently transport you than anything else. It can also be dressed up, scaled down, welded, lifted in anger and protest, left under billowing snow falls, it can be your escape on a weekend, it can be your way of making a living, it can mean the difference between life and death. The bicycle can transport us not only to distant destinations, but beyond.

Sunday, February 7, 2010

Everyday should be Bike Month Day

Ahoy my little bike pirates scouring the high seas, I hope that the recent tidal waves of snow on the east coast don't trick you for a minute into not gearing up and going for a ride. Plowing through the snow on your bike is a wonderful experiecne that truly seperats us from the animals, except maybe the weasel.

As many of you know, i have started to amp up my mechanical skills at a local bike collective here, Bike Recycle. It's a project of Local Motion who are sorta of the Transportation Alternatives of Burlington. Once a week I am hitting it up, learning how to fix and repair bikes by fixing and repairing bikes that will be sold for nearly nothing (with helmets, lock and lights) to those who need to have transportation and freedom. It's a great project.

I also will be making money by helping kids and dudes looking to blow a lot of money on bikes reach that goal. In March I will begin working at Earl's Cyclery, a locally owned bike shop here in the Urban Burlington area. More on that as it develops.

Stuck at work or the rain with nothing to read? Well, I ahve the solution to that. Fietspad Magazine, the brainchild of us at Sonadei is a bicycle community magazine that will work to highlight the goings on, comment on those going ons, and generally make for good bicycle related reading. You can subscribe to it just like you do my blog.

While there are still winter chills making my bike chain less productive, the knowledge that spring and summer will come already makes me start thinking of some tours. This year I wont be doing any crazy tours (I'm saving up for that ONE!!!!) but rather little doodles, maybe a few days here and there, like riding around lake Champlain, or up to Quebec, down to the Garden State, etc, just little guys. But regardless of the distance, I am getting closer to making a hardline desicion on how to carry my cargo, via a free-radical system from Xtracycle

What about some biking news I hear you screaming? Well, this just in, women are better at biking (or so says the internet:


More cycle-hate?  Another critical mass crackdown.  This helps make cycling mroe dangerous by making it fringe and seen as only a radical lifestyle rather than allowing criticl mass be a welcmong event where all people from all walks of lfie feel comfortable aprtaking in.  

Monday, February 01, 2010
By Yokota Fritz

Back in 1997, then Mayor Willie Brown of San Francisco was slipping in the polls. To direct attention away from his failing policies, he set out to crack down on the San Francisco Critical Mass. When 5,000 cyclists showed up at Justin Hermann Plaza in response to Brown's public challenge to Critical Mass, police responded by arresting (and eventually releasing without trial) 150 cyclists and pedestrians, violently attacking many of them without provocation.

In an apparent repeat of this history, newly appointed police chief George Gascón says a review of Critical Mass is under way at his department. “I am not satisfied with Critical Mass,” he says.

Gascón threw some fuel on the fire with a direct challenge to cyclists, suggesting a (clearly unconstitutional) ballot initiative to ban Critical Mass would "pass with flying colors."

The SF Chief's review is supposedly part of his plan to reduce crime in San Francisco by 20%. Cutting down on the number of red light cyclists just might do that!

Keep pedaling!!!