Japan is Nuclear Free, again

A brief, dirty and biased history of the nuclear experience in Japan:


The Oatmeal is right: printers were sent from hell to make us miserable.

I have fixed printers at every single job I’ve ever had. It never matters what my actual job title is, or what I was hired to do. There will be a printer, the printer will break, and I will fix it. And then I’m drawn into printer hell forever.

This didn’t change when I moved to Twin Oaks. The main difference is that this time I did it to myself. I didn’t have to do tech work when I moved here. I could have been like many other Oaker techies and just said “nope, I moved here to do , fix your own damn printers.” Alas, I actually enjoy systems and network admin work, and once you start doing that, fixing printers is inevitable for some reason.

Luckily, I don’t have to spend all of my time with printers. One of my favorite things about this place is that I can usually adjust my labor scene when I start getting bored with a job. There are things I’ve discovered I really enjoy, like fixing cars and putting things in boxes (aka shipping). There are other things that were fun for a while, but got old or started making me cranky, so I moved on. I can explore new areas, quit them, and the whole time never worry about things like being homeless or not being able to pay bills.

I’m not always the best at quitting things though. Take printers, for example. If I could never fix a printer again, I’d be a happy person. However, there aren’t that many people that can deal with them, and it’s expensive to just keep buying new ones. Also, we print *a lot* in seed racks, and I’m the one that has to keep the things working so we can pack seeds. It’s much harder for me to just say “eh, don’t feel like this anymore” in that situation. So, my future will contain printers for a while. Luckily, I enjoy enough of my other work to make dealing with printers worth it.

Mackelmore is reminiscent of MTV in Eastern Europe

I was driving around in highly conservative North Carolina on a hammocks sales trip and i kept hearing Macklemore and Ryan Lewis’ haunting song “Same Love.”

This is basically a protest song demanding the right for gay and lesbian couples to get married.  It is being played on every pop station in North Carolina.  It is a beautiful song, it is also quite a radical song to get airtime in this state which is on the forefront of blocking same sex marriage.  The popularity of the song reminded me of the influence of popular media on the minds of especially young people in eastern Europe in the years after the Berlin Wall fell.

raionbow flag damn right i support it

In pre-revolutionary Europe the communists had done an excellent job poisoning people’s tolerance and acceptance of gay and lesbian couples.  Even after the wall came down, many of these heterosexual biases persisted.  But communist memes would turn out to be no match for the western pop culture-induced cultural constructs.

When Republicans become Anarchists

Certainly many of my friends who identify as anarchists will bristle at Senate Speaker Harry Reed’s depiction of Tea Party House Republicans as “anarchists”.  Despite our upset , we should not be so quick to dismiss the accusations.  Consider these facts.

House Republicans have effectively shut down the legislative process in the House (for example not passing the Farm Bill or the new Energy Efficiency legislation) because they are all being held hostage in their effort to try to kill ObamaCare (aka the Affordable Care Act).  Which the Republican controlled House has now voted 41 times to repeal or defund the Affordable Care Act.  These votes are completely symbolic, for without Senate and Presidential approval, they mean nothing.  Instead of doing the real work, they are focusing on symbols.

Tis the Season for Dumpster Diving

Reblogged from Disrupting Dinner Parties:

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Fall is almost here, my friends. Forget candy apples and halcyon hayrides: we begin the glory days of dumpster diving. It's cool enough to keep the apples crisp, and warm enough to make the late nights welcoming.

While I wouldn’t call myself a freegan, about half of the food that I eat is “rescued.” Though I have  the means to buy the food I need, dumpster diving supports the life I want to live: one of generosity, community building, and obscenely good food.

Read more… 2,249 more words

Keep resident Reyes lays out the mechanics and politics of dumpster diving. And how her personal journey changed her thinking of food and privileged.

Treating Kids like Dogs

The comment traffic on this blog is picking up, which is great, though i am not able to respond to all of them as i once did, which makes me a bit sad.  In response to a comment by Keenan about kids being a deal breaker for people moving into community – when we don’t have room for them,  i got this comment from Courtney:

I am confused about the concept of having an upper limit on kids, as you do on dogs…

i did not have time to respond to it before i hopped in the car and went to my last sales calls for this hammocks marketing trip, which gave me a lot of time to think about it on my way back from Connecticut to Death City.  I decided i have three different leaves of answers: defensive, contextual and aggressive.  Here they are:

Downsizing Princess Charming

I am a sociophile.  i really love to be among people – both strangers and those i know.

I went to the Transformus regional Burning Man festival a few weeks back. i went with Mac and some other Acorners and Sky from Twin Oaks.

Poly propaganda picture - L 2 R Mac, me, Cassandra and Brian - Circa 2013

Poly propaganda picture – L 2 R Mac, me, Cassandra and Brian – Circa 2013

It was Mac’s first transformational festival event and she was completely enchanted.  We were doing different things and for the first couple of days; i actually felt a bit lonely at points.  Add to this that my ex-lover Kate was at this event.  Kate and i had a major motion picture romance, big attraction, myriad actions and events under our belts together, turbulent untangling.  A big part of me craves this type of tightly connected, take-on-the-world romance.  Looking for this type of partner is what i call the search for Princess Charming.

Ricing Moon and the Healing Circle

Alex and I spent the whole day today canoeing and gathering wild rice from the lake. I've been ricing for about two weeks now, and it looks like today was probably the last day. The stalks are browning, and the rice falls light. The wind was coming in heavily from the north, blowing white caps on the water that chopped at the canoe. We used all our strength to paddle against it, and once we got to the shore, the wind lay low, blocked by a stand of trees. I looked around and noticed the color of the trees. Yellows and browns spotted the coast, and a few specks of red maple leaves showed their fall colors. I felt chilled. I wished I had brought an extra sweater. Fall is here already! It's beautiful...

Photos from last weeks wild rice harvest:

The long Wisconsin winter

Fall gives a reminder of the incoming white season. The snow will start falling in October, and continue until April. Sometimes it snows in May or June. In the middle of winter, the temperature will drop down to -20 at night. I’m afraid of feeling cold. I want to make peace with the cold, but I’m not sure how.
Maybe this winter will be an experiment, to see how well I can acclimate to change and discomfort.

9/11 + 12 or + 40 or + 0

I thought about going into Manhattan yesterday morning to be at “ground zero” at the moment of the 12th anniversary of 9/11.  But the more i thought about it, the more i realized the image makers combined with the people who suffered real personal loss would make the experience unworkable for me.

These light up the sky most nights in Manhattan

These twin tower light beams can be seen most nights in Manhattan

First some uncomfortable history.  The 9/11 attacks did not come from nowhere, nor were they a surprise, nor was it because “they hate our freedom.”  The reasons for the jihad against the US were publicly outlined by bin Laden in 1997.  The reasons were threefold:

  1. US military presence in Saudi Arabia (despite significant protests)
  2. US sanctions in Iraq that killied 600K children
  3. US support of Israel’s oppressive policies towards Palestine

Though you would never know it from listening to the US media, much of the Middle East viewed these attacks as self defense against a US regime which was running over the region in a fashion mostly invisible to US Americans.

It was not a surprise because then president Bush II got the Aug 6, 2001 Intelligence briefing which sited that Osama was determined to strike within the US.  This was just 5 weeks before the World Trade Center (WTC) attacks.

Kick perfection in the face

Reblogged from Disrupting Dinner Parties:

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  • Click to visit the original post
  • Click to visit the original post

I keep starting this and stopping three lines in.

Trying different titles, going down different paths.

Vulnerability, depression, strength, what it means to be human.

Every time I stop, because nothing feels right. Nothing feels good enough. Nothing feels perfect.

And that’s ironic, because really what I am trying to say is: Fuck perfect.

Perfect is a lie that we tell ourselves.

Deal Breakers

Acorn is doing an internal survey about what we are looking for in new members. This came out of a discussion and brainstorm from a recent community meeting.  The survey is interesting if a bit incomplete.  But one of the final questions is what are “deal breakers” for you – people who you would not consider from membership, regardless of how wonderful they might be otherwise.  This is my (likely incomplete) list:

Serious drug addict/alcoholic: i dont actually have that much experience with these states, but i can easily and prejudicely imagine that these types of self destructive tendencies could destroy the membership of even the most charming or talented prospective member.

We make an exception for the most dangerous drug of all - tobacco

We make an exception for the most dangerous drug of all – tobacco

Suicide attempt or mental break down in last 6 months.  Twin Oaks requires a year of recovery before we will consider someone usually, i could see circumstances in which this could be shorter, especially if giving some amazing person who had a bad run a “visit again” means we would forever loose them.   Part of the reason we (Acorn and Twin Oaks) are cautious about these types of things is that we dont want people running to community to try to get their lives together.  If you have had some emotional or other shock that drove you to a break down or an attempt on your own life, we want you to have done significant work on that before you put yourself into an unusual environment like community.  

Offing Peter Pan

“You are 56? Nice Job!” The young visitor puts up his hand for a high five to me.

It has long been the case that people have thought I looked younger than my age.  There are numerous theories about this.  Good genes, no alarm clocks, little alcohol and no coffee, a child like world view, commune life is relatively low stress, sucking the life energy out of the young people I often hang around with, a Dorian Gray-like picture hidden in a closet somewhere.

paxus with beard

About a month and a half ago GPaul asked me to grow my facial hair out.  Unlike most of the hair on my head, my beard has lots of white and grey in it. This makes me look more my age.

Which sets my head to thinking about all of the cultural baggage that most people take on about trying to look younger and the psychological cost associated with that obsession. And then I think some about my luck, and whether I should keep this facial hair that most people review favorably.

I will probably shave it off for this hammocks sales trip I am currently on, because it is not clear that real hammocks vendors would support such a look.  But perhaps I will let go of the Peter Pan persona and let it grow out again after this trip.

[Edited by Judy Youngquest]

Should the US bomb Syria?

Recent polls show 91% of the country thinks the US should not bomb Syria.  Sadly it seems the other 9% has control over the bombs.

Tom tomorrow on syria

So where is the error in my thinking here?

Before the congressional approval process is complete, Iran threatens retaliation against Israel if the US bombs Syria.  After the proposed US bombing raid in Syria, Iran is likely to strike at Israel.  Israel will respond by using superior force, possibly nuclear weapons against Iran.  Russia and China will face off against a US-backed Israel and we get a full-on World War III.

Perhaps this a 5% chance.  Certainly, the situation in Syria is not trivial.  Chemical weapons use matters.  Obama said it was a red line, this means something for the deterrent credibility.  But the problems with the US “going alone” with only France as a significant ally in the attack are serious as well.  It matters to some, that only the UN Security Council can permit such strikes short of an attack on the US.

Obama’s plan will violate international law and it is quite unlikely to change much in the Syrian conflict, unless we are unlucky like the disaster forecast above.

The two tests of an organizer

There are many ways you can influence a group. One of the most common formats is the leader/citizen model. But his approach has all kinds of problems with it from misrepresenting constituent voices to corruption to ego mania. What some of us in the radical community propose instead is a organizer/facilitator model.

people on gears

There are two important tests for the difference between organizers and leaders. The first is the scope test. Leaders are responsible for big ideas, agendas and quests. They need to find people to do all of the tasks (or find people who find people to do them). Leaders are busy managing the collective resources of the group to complete the shared vision.

No job is too low for an organizer. They fit in where needed. They help draw the agenda and vision for the group from the best ideas of the group. Organizers are busy too, but they are working on being part of the ad hoc collections of teams and task forces that get things done. Sometimes they manage these, other times they are doing things anyone could do.

hands of color sillotte

The second test is a credit test. When the work of a leader is completed and the populace is asked what has happened, most will respond by saying “Look at the wonderful things our leader has accomplished.” When an organizer is finished the people will say “Look at the great things we have accomplished.”

Judy’s Bio

216645_559062070793709_1492675781_nJudy Youngquest is our newest editor.  She is also helping with some layout and blog promotion.  Paxus met Judy on OkCupid and we have been having a rambling and far reaching conversation ever since.  For people who care about grammar and spelling, Judy’s high speed turn around means more posts go out more “readably” edited than ever before.

Originally from the Ithaca, New York area of the Finger Lakes, she is currently based in southwest Florida. Judy has been writing, editing and proofreading since 1980. Her writing has appeared in “Growing Without Schooling” magazine and the book, “The Summer of the Storms.” You can also find examples of her writing on, USA Today, and Garden She provides travel-related content for

She worked for a magazine typographer in New York State where she edited American Photographer, Omni, Cuisine and Penthouse magazines.

Editing-Bake-Sale Murder

Poly Date Night

Reblogged from Running in ZK:

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While not quite the norm, polyamory is far more common at Twin Oaks than in mainstream society. Community living provides unique opportunities for making non-monogamous relationships work comfortably, and I am glad to be part of what has so far been a wildly successful group of loving individuals. Elspeth and Rosie are a well-established couple that have been together for a number of of years, and in the past year have each started dating another person, Elspeth seeing me and Rosie dating Brittany.

Read more… 567 more words

Adder writes of the experiences of a new poly family and how they dont track with the usual assumptions.

Customer Service

Working on the hammocks desk, I field a lot of questions about our products.  Ten years of doing this job, and this is the first time I’ve ever seen anything like this one, that came in the other morning through our site:

Slow Dancing with My Ex-Wife

Ma'ikwe and I agreed to restart our intimate partnership Aug 24. While I'm very happy to have this chance, our re-entry is downright meditative.

Now 10 days into the current incarnation of our relationship, we've had three dates where we hung out and cuddled some. We've been together at Twin Oaks since Friday (first for their Communities Conference and then for the FIC fall organizational meetings) and most days we've eaten a meal at the same table. 

Every now and then we'll be together and she'll hold my hand or lean against me (which is precious), but there are days we don't touch at all. Ma'ikwe is reacclimating to me as partner at her own pace, and I get to practice patience.

We're basically working on her timetable and, at least for now, that means all ahead slow. Ma'ikwe and I will be together for another week before she returns to Missouri (while I remain on the East Coast for the remainder of the month). While I originally thought that her accepting my offer to try again meant that we'd be sleeping together, it hasn't meant that so far.

Given that I've never before attempted what I'm doing right now (trying to start over again with my wife) I don't have a road map to follow. Maybe going slowly is exactly right.

While I miss having more regular time with Ma'ikwe, the limited amount we've had has lead me to treat those occasions with heightened consciousness. Of late, intimacy has come to mean paying close attention, being minimally reactive, and taking pleasure in Ma'ikwe's emerging smiles. It's about enjoying what's possible, being available, and not pushing for something else. It's about presence.

I Do Not Like “Green Eggs and Ham”

Most are familiar with Dr. Seuss’s Green Eggs and Ham. Having read it as a child, without remembering the details, I’ve gone through life taking from it what I believe to be the intended message: it’s good to try new things. The story involves Sam, aka Sam-I-Am, trying to make an unnamed character, who I’ll call Joey, eat green eggs and ham. Joey refuses to do so, so Sam asks him again and again in slightly different ways (“Would you eat them in a box? Would you eat them with a fox?”) until Joey finally caves and tries it out.

I recently came across, for the first time in about two decades, a copy of Green Eggs and Ham. It’s in our storytime reading pile at Unicorn School, the homeschool cooperative for the kids of Twin Oaks. Our storytime pile is made up of some combination of books owned by the community (45 years of collection has led to an annoyingly vast collection), books currently borrowed from the library, and books loaned from kids’ personal collections. It’s been read a few times in storytime as of late, and while it has silly illustrations and fun rhymes, I became quite disappointed with the content of the story.

A Strange Hammocks Customer

We run an unusual hammocks company.

We apparently have some very unusual customers. 


Well hello dears,

This is Norma Fredrickson trying to reach you! You may or may not remember my husband, Walter, and I purchasing a lovely hammock from you awhile back; perhaps 2 or 3 years ago. A very sweet woman named Spring or Summer or Sunny (or something like that) gave us the best help in picking it out! Since the time, we’ve greatly enjoyed the wonderful relaxation of laying in a hammock! Your craftsmanship is excellent, and this hammock has been very good to us. Yet I have a terrible story concerning Walter. You see, he has passed away. Shortly ago my late husband was struck with pneumonia coming out of surgery. The doctor who gave him care thought it would be fully recoverable. Despite his old age, they told us, he’d be fine.

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