April Reviews

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Books-

Non-fiction-

The Unhealthy Truth
Robyn O’Brien
4 stars
I was skeptical at finding out that the author was a mother with no background in nutrition or medicine or anything of the kind. However, within the first chapter, it seems that she actually more than made up for her lack of credentials with passion and a mind-boggling wealth of research. In fact, I believe she did a better job of researching and explaining every aspect in detail, along with citing each study and how it was done, than most of the books I’ve read written by doctors- probably because she wasn’t one and therefore had to be extra-careful about backing up her thesis. And what a terrifying thesis it was, quickly sending me into a spiritual crisis trying to process the overwhelming proof she was presenting in those pages. Along the lines of a modern day, non-fiction version of “The Jungle”, read this book when you are ready to seriously change your health and activism habits.

Skinny Bitch
Rory Freedman and Kim Barnouin
3 stars
I still disagree with the message of veganism touted in this book, we are omnivores and need a well-rounded diet, however, if you want to get serious about being conscious of what you want to put in your body, this is the bootcamp of diet books.

The Nice Girl Syndrome
Beverly Engel
3 stars
For every woman who feels overwhelmed by life and especially human interaction, this can be a huge help. From levels of giving in so many times your mind goes blank when someone asks your opinion, to trying to stand up to someone treating you badly and ending up leaving the conversation by apologizing to THEM for you being so “emotional” or “crazy”, this book is a good first step in the right direction. She breaks everything down, gives encouragement, and plenty of actually achievable exercises for starting to break out of old habits. My only issue with the book is lack of information about studies and references, though she speaks with authority of a doctorate’s and experience behind her words.

Good Calories, Bad Calories
Gary Taubes
4 stars
All the questions you’ve ever had about the contradictory diet advice to be found all over the bookstore shelves explained and challenged. Ideal book for those with a major academic interest in nutrition and health, and goes into serious scientific explanation of how the body’s metabolism works. Brilliantly reference with studies and doctor’s notes dating back hundreds of years and from around the world. Will challenge everything you every considered about how food works in the body, though it’s basically a textbook so be ready to spend some time on it.

Fiction-

The Night Circus
Erin Morgenstern
4 stars
I downloaded the ebook with some trideptation, so many of the novels I’ve gotten in ebook form have been disappointing, but within the first page I was intrigued, but it still had such a gothic flavor I was a little afraid it would be juvenile or insipid, and as I kept reading I was thrilled to find it was complex, unique, beautiful and artfully written. Definitely worth the read if you are at all into fantasy, romance, or alternative cultures.

And more Game of Thrones(books 3 &4)
I can’t help it, I’m addicted. And frankly, the most enjoyable part about studying to be a writer is that I have the perfect excuse to read stuff like this, I swear it’s work 😀

Restaurants-

San Francisco –

The Citrus Club
A small Thai restaurant tucked in among the glittering displays of Haight st, this place is perfect for a group gathering. Their bowls of soup are easily big enough to serve three, maybe four people and range from $8-11. Oh, and they are addictive with their creamy spicy broth, giant chunks of vegetables, and melty rice noodles.

Chile Pie Kitchenette
Brand new authentic New Mexican food(Zoe and Aaron were fiending for homey spicy food) in the Castro district. Their green chili stew is delicious for you, dangerous for your wallet. Spectacular desserts will have you in a blissful sugar coma as you drain your life savings.

Cole Valley Cafe’
Cute, laid back local place, with all necessary amenities though they do have a thing against decaf coffee.

Cole St Cafe’
Literally a nook in the wall, this hobbit sized place has big people sized flavorful chai tea. The strangest thing is that there is wifi, but no place to plug in a cord. Very hipster chic.

Sacred Grounds
Stylish and quirky, decent food for moderate prices, but they were stingy with the honey- what if I don’t want to put brown sugar on my oatmeal? Great place for a simple drink though, and I approve of the use of loose- leaf for their teas.

The People’s Cafe’
Very simple decor, not much ambiance. They have a strange blend of high and low quality food. Some of the stuff is very good and fair priced, some is low quality for a high price. By this I mean, I don’t like being charged $8 for a sandwich with wonderbread. The vegetarian options seem to be the best value, but still I doubt I’d eat here again.

Ukiah & Garberville-
We weren’t in Ukiah long enough to really try anything, but there were quite a few unique places that specialized in raw, vegan and vegetarian options, and just walking by them on the way to, sadly due to need for wifi, Peet’s we were sorely tempted by the mouth-watering smells drifting out. Definitely a place I want to return too, lots of cute places to explore. And we spent twenty minutes in Garberville before heading to the woods, but fyi, Treats is the only place in town with wifi and coffee.

Arcata-
We hunted, and hunted, and searched and threw up our hands and asked locals all to no avail. After visiting at least a dozen cafe’ we gave up trying to find anyplace that had everything we needed- bathroom, wifi, outlets- just didn’t exist. However- Cafe Mokka is the perfect hipster cafe open until midnight some nights and hosts local shows(no wifi); Brio is perfect if you want gourmet cafe’ dining(no outlets); Luke’s Joint is laid back with epic bathrooms and decent food(no wifi and Zoe says they are stingy with cheese on the “goat cheese salad”); Los Bagels makes cheap, delicious pastries and is open the latest(no outlets); Jitterbean has wonderful coffee and simple breakfast fare(no bathroom- frankly that’s an insult in my opinion).

Ashland-
Mix Sweet Shop is wonderful! Delicious food, desserts, all kinds of coffee and tea (the hibiscus ginger is one of the most reviving blends I’ve ever had), outlets, clean bathrooms, laid back staff, and two stories of hipster mellow. Also right downtown, with all-day parking in the city park area right around the corner. I love this place!

Camping-

Surprisingly, there has been a lot of available parking in San Francisco. We parked on side streets off Judah, and ran into some trouble but not what you’d expect. There was a ticket, that we contested, saying that we were beyond the 7 ft hight, 22ft long limits of our vehicle, which we measured to be sure we fit within, so that got dropped. The other thing to be aware of is the street cleaning- they are sticklers about it, so be sure you know what day and hour the street cleaning is on the block you are parked. Other than that, you can get away with being parked and camped for weeks as long as you are unobtrusive. Ukiah and Garberville have been super laid back about camping anywhere, only had one cop interaction the whole time. Arcata was strange: two nights camped a few blocks from downtown (they have a ridiculous amount of parking) with no issue, but when we drove out of town to this lovely place off the highway by the river, a cop showed up at two in the morning threatening to cite us and trying to make us drive an hour away to the nearest RV camp. We told her we were “resting”- which is legal for up to six hours- and went back to bed. No citation that night, but we did move to another spot, ending up staying there for over a week before anyone even noticed. The Trinity National Forest turned out to have some very suspicious and insistent rangers, but we just drove a little ways into the Kalamath National Forest and nothing more came of it. Ashland was surprisingly mellow about camping. We have been parked on the side of the road for a week without any issues. One cop showed up to ask if we had seen a lost teen girl they were looking for and didn’t even comment about us being parked.

Vending-

Hippie Hill, and Golden Gate park in general, is great for blanket street vending. Cops and Park Rangers haven’t even stopped to bat an eye at three of us set up, a city this size has bigger fish to fry, esp if, as per usual, you aren’t causing any trouble. I even saw a cop do a double take when Aaron was carrying a bottle of soda that looked like beer, then shrug and keep going since we were not obviously intoxicated. You’ll mostly get approached for drug trade, I have actually been shocked at how de facto it seems to be, but money is available if you have something interesting. But in general, everything in San Fran is so expensive it’s not really worth it if that’s all you’ve got to go on. Didn’t do any vending in Ukiah or Garberville, though saw people out on the street in both places without any problems. Arcata was a great trading environment, though they have a strict no sitting on the sidewalk or smoking laws, and they will ticket you. We got away with it by sitting in the plaza and on stoops just off the sidewalk. We stayed over a week, and enjoyed the community center pool, hot tub, sauna and showers (totally worth it, and free entry for an hour on sundays) before heading to the national forest for a few nights. Ashland has been a great stop so far, lots of trade, some commissions for Aaron and plenty of work available in general that we have been offered. People have just been super friendly and understanding. We’ve also been invited to a couple house parties and had a great time.

Music List-

Tom Waits
Modest Mouse
Devil Makes Three
System of a Down
Marilyn Manson
The Beatles(always)
Marvin Gaye
Janis Joplin
Memphis Minni

 

 

April Carousel

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 This monthly article is shamelessly copied after Galadarling. It’s my favorite post every month, so I figured creating my own would be fun 😀

Frankly, if more presidents were on this level I think we would have a very different, and certainly better, world:

http://news.yahoo.com/uruguays-leader-declares-322-883-132648036.html

I don’t agree with it all, but he does make some hard truth points about some uncomfortable human tendencies:

If I can’t accept you at your worst, then maybe you should stop being so horrible

Free University writing courses:

http://education-portal.com/articles/10_Universities_Offering_Free_Writing_Courses_Online.html

Free University Courses from Ivy League Schools- videos of lectures:

http://www.courses.com/

Some wise words from one of my favorite bloggers, I’ve been following her for a few years now and am shocked at how often she says what I need to hear at just the right time, this one hit me hard:

http://www.daniellelaporte.com/church-of-self-improvement-1/

For those who want to make an impact from inside the system:

http://www.fastcompany.com/3028762/bottom-line/an-ex-bp-employee-on-how-to-change-the-system-from-within

THE #1 MOST AMAZING THING I’VE HEARD ABOUT THIS MONTH!!!:

http://www.fastcoexist.com/3028200/the-quest-to-eliminate-debts-from-medical-bills

Morbidly lovely:

http://thehairpin.com/2014/04/10-things-i-learned-from-editing-obituaries-for-two-years

When you’ve lost all faith in the world, let this restore your hope:

http://news.distractify.com/people/complex-humans/?v=1

I’m not generally into country, but some of the pictures and commentary were too good to pass up:

National Forest Camping laws with links to individual Forest regulations:

http://thenationalforests.com/the-national-forests/national-forest-camping-rules.html

Emilie Autumn’s new work, I can’t this this level of amazing out of my head:

Phenomenal Street Art:

http://www.deviantart.com/art/Brun-447689021

Other worthwhile Alternative Living blogs:

http://thegreenists.com/
http://noteasytobegreen.wordpress.com/
http://planetsave.com/
http://www.envirogadget.com/ ( I like this site, they have a lot of interesting stuff, but the fact is that recycyling already used items or simply going without is the most green thing you can do)
http://botanical.com/

 

tips of the week #4

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– When drying a comforter or other large bulky item, pull out when hot and let cool before checking for dryness, sometimes the heat can hide dampness from your touch

– do not use a vaccuum on ash, it can destroy the filter or worse, set the machine on fire if a stray coal gets sucked in, sweep first, then use a cleanable filter vaccuum for the edges

– distilled vinegar and dr.bronner’s works perfectly as a laundry detergent

-pine cones make a great alternative fuel for a fire if you can’t find wood

-petting friendly cats is good luck or karma, whatever you’re into, showing love is always good

– speaking as a convert and without any fiscal sway, Kindle is a great investment, you can hook up to wi-fi anywhere and get access to music and movies as well as books. Also a lot of major libraries, such as the Denver library where I’m a member, have pretty impressive ebook collections now that you can access from anywhere. And having all that media and internet access in a notebook sized place is a lifesaver. I have heard the smartphone argument, but personally I find that as I don’t spend a lot of time on the phone, a tracphone for quick texts and calls makes more sense than a monthly plan and the kindle requires no contract beyond the initial investment and serves to fill a lot more uses.

How to Pre-Prep Food

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     This one is kind of common sense, but sometimes it’s good to go over basics and staples. First make sure you have enough preferably glass, but plastic will do, containers. Baggies will work for things like pancakes or fries, etc. depending on your situation, and I’ve been shocked at how perfectly the bags that bread loaves come in work for a bag lunch. I try to do a grain, a legume, 3-4 veggies, meat and flatbread of some kind, but you should adjust to your tastes. The key is really about how everything can mix together in as many variations as possible. For instance, I make herbed crepes- basically flour, water, and dried herbs poured into a hot greased pan, flip to cook both sides- and on top of that I can put nut butters, cream cheese or jam, or I can roll it into a thick wrap and fill with beans, veggies, and cheese. I tend to cook down things I use all the time such and an onion/pepper/garlic mix, mushrooms(which I do seperately because Aaron hates them, another good reason to pre-prep), eggplant slices, squash, etc, which I can then mix into omelets, wraps, and every kind of pasta or rice variation imaginable. Another favorite is sweet potato fries, filling and nutricious. I also like to cook some meat, ground or sliced depending on what I have, as it seems to keep longer with no refridgeration as opposed to raw. Fried chicken is a junk food treasure of mine, and it’s a great way to store and reheat meat. I also cook ground pork or beef into patties to make a quick burger another night. It takes about 4 hours to cook millet, black-eyed peas, hard-boiled eggs, onion/garlic/peppers, eggplant, sweet potatoes, and herbed crepes as one standard list, and that gives enough food for breakfast/lunch/dinner for 3 for about 4 days, with supplements of fried eggs, cheese, nut butters, and pasta. It cuts cooking time down to a third, and allows me to customize to each person’s taste- i.e Zoe is a vegetarian, Aaron is allergic to peas and hates mushrooms. ( I, personally, love food in all possible forms and don’t know what they have against their tastebuds, but that’s just me 🙂 I also love to premake cookie dough and add whatever nuts, dried fruit or chocolate I can find throughout the week- it’s led to some very interesting inventions. So, in one go it sounds like a lot of time, but believe me, one afternoon can save your week, esp if you make it a family activity and get everyone chopping and stirring. Enjoy!

Tips of the Week

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-Not being a Grateful Dead fan myself, this was learned through observation, wearing their paraphinalia will get you messed with ENDLESSLY by cops. Just sayin’

– Ukiah is a great place to stop for gas on RT 101 up the coast

-Humbolt is very mellow about roadside camping, as usual, this is only if you are being courteous to the community, buy some gas and food, clean up your trash, don’t get fucked up on anything but the local agriculture and you’ll be fine

-Always wear ridiculous layers in San Fran, the temperature there will change dramatically in minutes, worse than the desert.

– In San Fran pay very close attention to the street cleaning signs for parking, we didn’t realize that it was the first Monday of the month, and ended up with a hefty ticket.

-If you stay anywhere more than three days you will get messed with by SOMEONE, and once the week marker hits be ready to move on at a moment’s notice

– Even if a place has “no camping” laws, if you are in a vehicle you are legally allowed to “rest” for six hours, after that you can be “parked”, use your words wisely, the cops are normally hooked up to audio and once you phrase it that way, they can’t enforce it. Also, in an RV, you are not legally required to open your door, though you may have to hand your ID through a window, and they can’t search your “home” without a warrant. 

Welcome to a new world

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capitalism hoax radical dryer

Part 1-

A man stands outside the food co-op, demanding that they live the values they preach; a social worker calls me homeless, and I am shocked, offended even, before realizing that is in fact true and what place that gives me in society; a toddler with a food allergy leads to a concerned mother writing a book about GMO’s, national health boards with corporate ties, a company patenting natural human genes for control of research and treatment; day after day, month after month talking, living, learning from strangers living on the streets, trying to survive and daring to thrive without a penny in a society that equates human value with dollar signs; dozens of people tell me the same thing “I want to build a community that actually cares about each other, someplace that everyone can share and care for the environment”, ” I want to be a …. but I can’t afford school/don’t want to get into debt so I’m just miserable working this dead end job”; a thousand cells of memory come together in my brain leaving profound rage, burning away social stigma to a new world view. Welcome.
You may have heard of her: Robyn O’Bryan of “The Unhealthy Truth”, who has appeared on a number of news shows and radio talks after founding the website AllergyKids. I stumbled on this book looking to continue my personal education about natural health and lifestyle, and was impressed by how, lacking any medical or scientific background to credit her, she made up for it with a library worth of research that would make any doctoral thesis advisor proud. This combined with a whole new lifestyle, living in the national forest, wood stoves, solar panels, bucket baths and all, with exposure to subcultures and ideas I’d never before encountered. All of this fresh information combined with frustration at social (and legal) limits on how one could live, and what one can do in life (despite the propaganda to the contrary) and sent me into deep depression. Days were spent weeping at the unfairness of the world, the insurmountability of it all, a dark night of the soul as I wondered what was the point in trying any more? And it came to me, ignited one day with a simple thought, who says it has to be this way? And the rage came pouring out. One thing I’ve learned in my travels and coming into adulthood, is that most people don’t really care what you’re up too and you can get away with a hell of a lot in this life, no matter what the authorities want you to think. And really, risk is always there, so why try to hide from it? The fact is, I’ve come to far and seen too much to ever be able to close my eyes to truth again. Delusion is a sweet balm to the self and poison to the world, as much as I want to close my eyes and hide away, one day, the effects of that poison will come to me too. So, I’m doing something radically different- Living my convictions. I am fortunate to have a wonderful network of support around me, others who understand, agree and are actively working to create the world they want to inhabit. I had been curious before, seeking the way I have in a hundred different worlds for the “ding!” lightbulb I’ve been looking for, and one day I woke up and my soul found it’s place.
There are seven basic things I think all human beings have a right too: Food, Clothing, Shelter, Medical Care, Information/Education, Creative Supplies, and Transportation. Given these basics I believe the accomplishments of the world could be limitless. Considering the world we currently live in, I can only personally focus on so much, however. Medicine and education have long been deep passions of mine, along with my creative outlet of writing. I went to college in the medical field for a while, and was disgusted by what I saw there, the corporate ties and the focus on treatment rather than prevention, pills rather than lifestyle. And I didn’t want to be hundreds of thousands of dollars in debt, and then have to charge patients buckets of money to pay said debts, and the other costs of this kind of modern medicine. I shared with Aaron how much I wished I could study medicine and be a healer with all of this against me, and he answered in the way anyone who started making income at 14 as a self-taught artist and blacksmith would, “Why can’t you? People didn’t always go to school, they just studied.” And suddenly it struck me, I read voraciously, and have consumed hundreds of books of nutrition, medicine, biology, herbal treatments and so on. I thrive on learning, and I already have done a lot of successful simple treatments on others who have crossed my path. Why couldn’t I just be self taught?At some point, by spending enough time and energy on ANYTHING, one can legitimately be an expert. With this in mind, I began to document all of the books I was reading(see my monthly review column) and made a list of all of the subjects studied for standard and natural medical schools(through online syllabi), setting myself the bar of 25 books minimum on each subject. That should get me reasonably familiar with each topic. I spent time in college, the method is simple- read, write/discuss, test, next. As I read each book, I write about each one, and discuss the subjects with my road family until they understand the basic concepts as well, or have brought up points that the author was somehow lacking, and I continue my research. When we find property I intend to start a small free clinic, grow herbs and so on, and have a legal waiver, doing all the treatment on donations or trade. I don’t need much to live on anymore, I did the consumer thing for a while, very enthusiastically I might add, never finding joy, only that the cost to body, soul and the world around me is just too high. I also do free online classes, and am seeking a mentor to train under and a lab connection for blood work or other testing.
I had always envied people who had a driving passion, that focus to the exclusion of all else, the high that was better than any drug and the force that created such impressive impact on the world around them. I had thought for so long that I could never pursue mine- writing and health, health and writing-  because of social restrictions and spent many years to depressed to even write a word, and was miserably unhealthy and overweight. At first I decided to do it just for myself at least, until finally I realized, the only way to do the things I wanted to in life was simply to do them. No excuses, no if’s and’s or but’s, just doing, one day, one word, one new piece of information at a time. I’m on a whole new path now, one that is based on my beliefs- that people have a right to pursue whatever lifestyle they choose, whatever passion that drives them, and that no one is more or less worthy of the basic necessities and also comforts of life- NO MATTER WHAT. The problems of poverty come not just from lack of material goods, banded together their is plenty for all, I’ve seen it work. The main problem stems from hopelessness- the feeling that what they want most in the world in impossible, so the spirit turns selfish, clutching everything in it’s sight, trying desperately to fill the void, or forget it altogether with a name-your-addiction induced high. I have never met someone who genuinely wanted just to be rich or have stuff, what people seek is comfort, security, love, intimacy, control, challenge, expression, achievement, mastery, connection, respect, to name a few, and the way it expresses can be strange sometimes; because when one is starved for security regarding the bare requirements of life his drive and passion gets twisted. “I worked at a job I hated my whole life so that you could have food on the table”- how many of us have heard that? And what does that translate too? Certainly not display of love the person intended, but guilt at another’s suffering for your benefit and the feeling that to survive one must give up everything of desire in life- an absolute falsehood in the modern world. Of course, one must still do things one does not WANT to do, it would be foolish to think otherwise, but the QUANTITY of time spent at those activities can be the difference between life being seen as a mountain of misery or a challenging hike. We live in an age where a legless man competes in track in the Olympics and still think that ANYONE given the right tools couldn’t climb far above even their own expectations?

I’m not reinventing the wheel here, these ideas have been around for a long time, I’m saying that I now believe them and am working every day to live them, and hope you enjoy hearing about my journey. A life change like this requires connection and encouragement, and I am looking for others walking this path. More thoughts to come and please feel free to leave questions or comments on the issues I’ve discussed here.

blooming eyes coming soon

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Image 

Anger by liza23q on Deviantart

 

 

One eye, milky white, only sees inside

forced shut from birth

my hands, determined, pull open

dripping pus blood thoughts self 

onto the page 

torrential flood of dammed memories

dreams fears revolutions

One eye, nature colors, only sees outside

forced shut from birth

my hands, determined, ripping open

shut pain blinding truth others

blocking revolution self preservation

torrential flood of forge fire

pen to sword

Time to face the world