31 August 2008

Innocent questions of a 7 year old

  • Aug 31, 2008

Innocent questions of a 7 year old

"You don't ever clean your house?"

Guess I better clean my house.


  • Aug 31, 2008


I wish I knew how to put together words in such a way as to accurately describe the thoughts and feelings which so totally envelope me.

28 August 2008

Is it me afterall?

  • Aug 28, 2008

Is it me afterall?

For my entire life I have been the beneficiary of what I think(?) is an abnormal amount of generosity.
Of course when you're young enough, you tend to take everything which happens for granted, because you haven't learned a baseline yet. Ok, so the nice lady gives you some candy, and you are supposed to say "thank you" and this is considered a normal social transaction.
So, when the administrative staff of your elementary school calls your family a couple weeks before Christmas and says that someone donated a really nice bicycle along with all the other toy donations and they want you to have it rather than putting it in the first-come-first serve toy bin that the whole school will have access to... you don't really question that either. That was only 1 of 3 bikes I was given by teachers at that school.
In high school I always assumed it was because I was so obviously poor.
I got a steady supply of free meals when I sat looking forlorn while everyone else ate (there is a fine line where it becomes obvious you are doing it on purpose. I always blatantly crossed that line. Never seemed to matter)
The free clothes from relative strangers was because of how I dressed. They assumed I couldn't afford decent clothes, and didn't want to embarrass me by asking, so I would just get random gifts. So I thought.

It may well be that this is the motivator still, since I couldn't care less about clothes and I work and play hard and they tend to disintegrate off of me before I get around to the rather tedious chore of finding replacements.

It can't explain all of it though.

Maybe the very idea of capitalism, Ann Rands virtue of selfishness, it is all rhetoric, and Burning Man's culture of gifting (not bartering, gifting - major distinction) is actually a universal standard. Maybe I just never noticed. Actually, I suspect this is it. I don't see anything so particularly special about me, (beyond the requisite "everyone is special" kind of way)

27 August 2008

What defines generosity is not how much you give away, but how much you keep for yourself

  • Aug 27, 2008

What defines generosity is not how much you give away, but how much you keep for yourself

Which is to say, if a millionaire gives $500,000 to charity and good causes - a full 50% of his assets - he has $500,000 left over to keep and spend on himself.

The impoverished man who gives away $5, but only has 1,000 to his name, gave but 0.5%; however, he has only $995 left for himself.

This makes it by far the greater personal sacrifice.  True giving can not be measured by the benefit to the receiver, but only by the sacrifice made by the giver.

He who is destitute yet giveth still, shall be the world's greatest philanthropist.

"The Wacky World of Rapid Transit" - By Del the Funkee Homosapien

  • Aug 27, 2008

"The Wacky World of Rapid Transit" - By Del the Funkee Homosapien

This song does a really excellent job of explaining the real reason why it is I ended up being a bicycle riding kind of guy.

I learned to fix bikes because if I didn't fix the problem, the story line of this song was my fate.

Chances are, unless you happen to be a black male who grew up in a poor part of the east bay who never got involved with the "thug" mentality, you won't particularly sympathize with the protagonist's lyrics.

Suffice it to say this is not merely a bus ride into a fanciful hypothetical for the sake of an amusing story line.  It is quite an accurate description of travel via AC Transit in certain neighborhoods, from the inexplicably long delays to the fun characters on the bus.

I particularly like skit 2: "A-yo, you Rosa Parks' son motherfucker?  Bring your ass back here..."

22 August 2008

my new life: accidental "green" rep and writer (or: excuse to post more links of my movies)

  • Aug 22, 2008

my new life: accidental "green" rep and writer (or: excuse to post more links of my movies)

I never set out, intended, nor expected to become a representative of the environmental movement, an activist, or really anyone special at all.

As I mentioned in blogs past, I believe the most significant and positive thing we can do to be responsible citizens is to truly live each of our own individual lives as close to our own principals as we can.  I believe this makes more real difference than all of the shouting, the signs, the email letters to representatives.  If everyone just did their own little part, there would cease to even be a need for the grand gestures.

And yet, as it turns out, apparently living by my modest principals has propelled me into this role without my having to try.

In just the past couple weeks:

20 August 2008

Take that capitalism

  • Aug 20, 2008

Take that capitalism

I finally got the person who had reserved "biodieselhauling.com" to release it from it's parked status.

It should be a few hours to process, but soon www.biodieselhauling.com will redirect to my website, www.biodieselhauling.org
Most people assume all websites to be .com, so this means a lot of confused customers will be able to find me a lot easier.

The person who owned it until today, a college student in Oregon,  he had a similar business idea to mine, and a few months before I first set up my website he reserved the name. 
I contacted him and offered to buy it almost two years ago, but he said he intended to use it in the next few weeks.
However, he never ended up using the site.  I checked in recently, and found it was still idle.
I contacted him again, and offered to buy it and let him pick a price.  He refused payment, and transferred the domain to me the next day.  I wrote again, explaining that I am using the site for commercial reasons, and offered to pay, at the very least, whatever he paid for the domain in the first place.  Again, he declined.  
Without a Paypal address or mailing address (the DNS had the school's address), there isn't much I can do.

He said he agrees with what I'm doing, and to re-invest what ever I would have paid him.

The GoDaddy website (who the domain is registered with) specifically encourages people to register domains for the sole reason of reselling them at a profit to someone who will actually use them. Plenty of people do just that, essentially web domain speculating - and making money while providing literally nothing of value to society.
This person did just the opposite - paid for a site, and then gave it away.

Take that capitalism!!

I am not the only anti-capitalist still out there.
There is morality, generosity, left in this country.
To the guy in question (perhaps he doesn't want his name public, but he knows who he is) you have all of my respect and gratitude.

13 August 2008

Summary of not-very-thought-out rant on pending video

  • Aug 13, 2008

Summary of not-very-thought-out rant on pending video

A few weeks ago the creators of faircompanies.com came to my home with cameras, and I gave a tour of my home, and spoke of some of my political and philosophical ideas while I worked.

I didn't prepare what I was going to say, and in retrospect, perhaps I should have.

After, I tried to figure what exactly my overall point has been.

Some things in personal life have been getting in the way of writing for a while, but I think I can summarize it all now.

The overall point is this:  Do the big stuff.  Having done that, don't sweat the small stuff.

Americans have grown accustomed to a excessively high level of luxury and convenience, to the point where some of what we take for granted doesn't even improve quality of life. 
And among the people who are aware of the implications of our impact, it has become all too easy to rationalize doing the exact opposite.
Today a great many people do all the little things, and this makes it easier to rationalize not doing what will make the biggest difference.

Part 2

  • Aug 13, 2008

Part 2

Something feels off about my last post.
Too negative.
I forgot the important part about how being "green" isn't really a sacrifice at all.

Because, really, a great many things that we take for granted today, many of the conveniences and luxuries, don't really add much to life - in fact, some take away from it.

Say, for example, you trade your car for a bike and your steak for a salad.
Right off the top you are saving money. In the case of the car, thousands upon thousands of dollars.
Then, after a few weeks, you are getting healthier, stronger, losing weight, feeling better about yourself, feeling better about getting up and starting each new day.
The same goes of you just take a partial step, say riding the bike to work (or to the train station, whatever) once a week, and reducing animal product intake by half.
You still find yourself with more energy, a more positive outlook on the world. After a few months, maybe a year, chances are you are up to 3 days a week, and meat only for special occasions.

Meanwhile you have this big ole stack of bills piling up in your bank account - oh, and as a side benefit, you are doing a huge service for the environment ("the environment" being short-hand for "the future of all life on the planet, including ourselves")

Its like smoking. For a smoker, there really isn't any reward to each cigarette, other than the cessation of the withdrawal symptoms. The reward to giving it up is significantly improved health, both in terms of being able to catch the bus that's just pulling away, and in terms of a long life. Plus, all the money you save by not buying the cigarettes (and the health care costs some day - because yall know we aren't going to get a nationalized health plan anytime soon).
Its just habit (and chemical addiction) that keeps them going back for more.

Our cars and diet and electricity use and all the rest are basically like cigarettes. They don't make us happier in life, but we have a lot of trouble giving them up.
(The good news is, no physical addiction!)

Other things that are good for the earth, which in the long run are good for our pocketbooks, our health, and/or our happiness, include buying the absolute smallest car you can find, buying less stuff (we all know stuff doesn't really make us happier), living close to work (or better yet, telecommuting), eating organic (more nutrients, less toxic chemicals), saving energy (this should go without saying.) It does take more time to put the clothes on the line. But not only do you save money, that is time spent outdoors in the sun, instead of in some laundrymat or the basement.

Then, with all the surplus in good deeds, spend some of that on the things that make life better, (but maybe aren't the best things ecologically)
If you spent all year saving electricity, go ahead and put up that elaborate xmas light display.
After buying everything on Craigslist.org or from thrift stores, go ahead and buy a brand new high quality food processor.
After biking to work every day, take the car up to the mountains for vacation.
And don't feel bad about it!

Enjoy life. Doing good should not be a sacrifice.

06 August 2008

we have some seriously f*cking gnarly trails right here in Oakland

  • Aug 6, 2008

we have some seriously f*cking gnarly trails right here in Oakland

It was many years ago when I last rode a mountain bike on a trail.

I had this heavy old Fuji that folded in half, weighed about 50lbs, had a 5 speed freewheel and friction thumb shifters. For those that don't know bikes, that means it was a pretty crappy bike.
But, I had really nice tires on it, and it is just amazing the crud you can ride over with fat knobbies.

But then I moved into an RV, there was only room for one bike, and I took my more versatile road touring bike. The mnt. bike went up on the wall in the garage in Mom's house.
Before long I moved out of the area, then out of the state, and clear across the country. The bike hung upside down, its tires sad with nostalgia of mud. We had once encountered a small stream at about 15mph, and before I had a chance to even get scared (nevermind brake) we were already over and past it. Now, without me, they did nothing but than lose air molecules, one by one.

I came back, eventually, to CA. I took the mountain bike with me to Burning Man.
One night, I parked it outside next to my RV. Someone came by and claimed it. I suppose the idea is, in a semi-anarchistic gifting culture, no one can lay claim to property, and so this wasn't so much theft as involuntary sharing.

I decided that next time I wanted to get a half-way decent mountain bike. Which meant that for years and years, I had none at all, because there was always more important things to spend money on.

Many years passed.

I became a hauler. You wouldn't believe the things I get paid to pick up from people. My TV, DVD, VCR, RePlay, CD changer, sofa, scanner/printer... these are all things I was paid to take away. I have had several bikes, but none were quite right, and they passed through my hands to new owners.

And one day, just last week, I ended up with a mountain bike, and this one I kept.