Friday, January 23, 2009

tears for Aris

Part of my job, if finding gifted young people and offering them tools. Aris was an easy find at even at Casa Robino. Amongst all the charming and attractive people who storm thru this adventure in radical hospitality, she stood out. We spoke on the back porch for some hours, about skillsurfers about what she wanted to do with this group and these people. This eloquent, multilingual 19 year old spoke of land in Slovenia that she controlled that she wanted to do collective things with. We spoke of hitching and of how she transended her fear.

Aris has passed. A boat capsized and took her from us. My eyes bleed for this loss.

Thursday, January 8, 2009


Wikipedia has it that when Wam Kat was 18 the doctors told he he had a year left to live. Faced with this horrifying fact he told an affirming solution - he decided to live an entire life in a single year. Then he did not die, nor did he slow down. Now nearly 4 decades later his life could fill several biographies.

Founding of the European Youth Action network EYFA and summer activist gathering Ecotopia. He was also the mastermind behind the differential currency rate conversion based on countries earning power rather than the legal conversion rates - calle dthe Eco-rates. During the Yugoslavian conflict he set up the largest non-state refugee camps in Croatia as well as the Pakrac housing reconstruction project. He's set up email networks, written books on the history and reciepts of the Dutch mobile anarchist kitchen Rampenplan. And won a city counsel seat in Belzig Germany.

Now he wants to do the 20th Ecotopia in Belzig in 2010. since the network he founded seems to have lost interest in the project, fearing it is not action oiented enough and too "life style" in approach.

Wam is a digital pioneer, but did his heavy lifting long before Facebook showed up. So is exploring this as a new organizing/discussion tool.

Wam tells stories and makes up words. "Constantainiously" is one of my favorites. It does not exactly mean constantly + instantaniously, but if you hold this meaning in mind, you will get something of the flavor of what he is trying to say.

Sunday, January 4, 2009

Travel Troubles

When i hear something like "Romania is terrible" in my mind it translates into "we lost our bags and missed our train." As it has oft been ironically noted "all people who generalize are fools." [My experience of Romania, in years long past was it was wonderful.]

This trip has not been without it's troubles - between Hamm and Minden in Germany my backpack disappeared. i think it was stolen, since when the train stopped, i searched every wagon for bag to no avail and due to a communication failure with the conductor ended up getting separated from Angie, Hawina and Willow, who ended up going on to Belzig without me. [i arrived within minutes of them by taking the fast, but expensive ICE - intercity express].

A couple of new years back i resolved to stop packing, i made a number of trips without a bag, borrowing clothes and other key items from comrades on route, which worked okay - but slowly i gravitated back to bringing my own stuff. This bag which was lost, despite being mostly my stuff, was harder for the rest of my party, because it had some of Willows toys and our movies and Angie's clothes and trinkets.

More distressing was Willow tripping yesterday and ending up between the train and the platform in Berlin Haupt Bahnhof. i missed most of the action because i was wrestling with a Hawina's big rolly bag. But when i looked up i saw Hawina blocking exiting travelers while rescuing Willow's sneakers from beside the third rail. The quick German rail staff miss identified Willow as a girl and his foot as broken. Then again quickly another German rail person showed up with the forms to fill out to for us to receive paid for medical coverage. But after quick consultation with Willow, such assistance was not necessary and in an uncharacteristically rough manner i made the rail staff back off. I knew that Willow would be very unhappy if on top of his fall we missed our time compressed connection to Prague and some mama bear instinct came out in me that was going to get my kid to the train, regardless of the misinformed bureaucrats in the way.

Saturday, January 3, 2009

Family Snapshot

my mentor told me to live like you are trying to keep the rader of your autobiography engdged.

i am in prague w/ my first wife adela my ex-daughter barborka and my second wife hawina and my lover angie and my son willow and we had dinner with janH who is bara's dad and adela's ex. part of the evening i spent skype chating with alda (who works for greenpeace in Latvia), who is janH's current partner in the presense of curious mix.

Teaching willow how to operate a lighter and to light candles at varying different flame heights. Listening to bara's music - some Czech, some English (Annie MacDonald and Snoop Dog), adela translates the piece she wrote for the Czech Maxim editors slamming her ex-boyfriends critique of womens aging bodies - by being even more critical of men becoming decrepit, angie shooting pictures of willow dancing on my sholders to bara's music, hawina chatting with corb and then coming up to watch the snippet of Happy Feet which is bara's favorite (in Czech, English and Spanish alternatingly) and brushing willows hair. It is simultaniously wonderfully cross cultural, richly intergenerational and fully alive.

There are perhaps people luckier than me. But i have never heard of them.