Monday, April 28, 2008

It's Not a Circus without the Dog

We've come to calling it "the circus"
Which is the small gaggle of people around my son

This weekend it was Angie, Rosie and Spot.
W/ wonderful path crossings with Beth, Rez, Nadine
and the infamous Johnny Sacko.

And on this trip i was especially appreciative of Spot,
my most complicated friend. Spot has quite some number
(i thought 16, but this might be low) of different personalities
and fractional identities.

"Spot" is an important integrative personality. It empathizes
with the noble trains of the domesticated canine: loyalty, joyfulness, tenacity

Someone once asked me if i had any fear for
leaving my son with someone who many would consider crazy.

I said my only fear
was for someone who messed with Willow
and Spot didn't like it

Between Bed and Brunch - dying

I have asked her to marry me. She has declined.
When i said to Kat Kinkade
"You're playing hard to get."
She corrected me
"i am hard to get"

Monday, April 21, 2008

God is a verb, Goddess is a noun

For the last 10 years, almost every full moon, Shal and i climb trees. When i started, i did not really know how to climb tress very well. But with Shal, you dont have to worry about time - he has approximately endless patience. Safety, training, long conversation - Shal embodies these and over the years i have become quite a reasonable tree climber - both technical and free style.

It is a spiritual experience for me - someone who does not identify themselves as a very spiritual person. While we were in an amazing ironwood tree that put us well over the river recently, Shal shared one of the distinctions he had read recently about dieties which really struck me. He described the male god as the action and goddess as a presense. That the female diety is the biosphere and all that is life and the male godhead is the interactions and motion within it.

One of the things which i love about this dear friend of mine, is that he makes me think about things differently.

Friday, April 18, 2008

2 Letters

Dearest Forbes Magazine:

We were pleased and frankly shocked to discover that you had selected Twin Oaks to be one of 8 modern utopias. We were surprised that the "Capitalist Tool" selected an organization with "from each according to their ability, to each according to their need" in it's by-laws as a model to be emulated.

From a classical business perspective it is perhaps easier to understand how a mostly untrained group having amassed a $10 million fixed plant and sitting on over $1.7 million in our self insurance funds might be chosen for your recognition. Members of our community receive and allowance of $76 per month and collective decide how to spend the money which comes in from our 5 major businesses.

We don't consider ourselves to be a utopia, but there is basically no crime, no unemployment, and an idyllic self sustaining environment here. So perhaps some Forbes readers disillusioned with the dog-eat-dog world will drop out of the mainstream and consider coming to our unusual place. Which we joke is "not utopia, but on a good day you can see it from here". And there are a lot of good days.

Paxus Calta
co-manager of Outreach
Twin Oaks Community

To the Editors of the Central Virginian (incomplete)

Wednesday Nuclear Regulatory Commission public hearing was an amazing exercise in cherry picking data. The NRC themselves informed us that the chance of a serious accident at the proposed new reactor at North Anna was 1 in 10 million years. They came to this estimate using data about the design of the proposed reactor and performance of the existing US fleet. Of course in well under 10,000 operating years there was a partial meltdown at the Three Mile Island plant outside Harrisburg PA in 1979. We are told, incredibly, that the NRC left this major accident out of the data, because the plant is no longer operating.

Listeners were told repeatedly that nuclear power is cheap. That the two North Anna plants provide electricity at well below the costs of fossil and renewable fuels. All true. However, this is perhaps not the best way to estimate the operating costs of a new reactor.

In 2002 the generally pro-nuclear US Department of Energy funded Sandia National Laboratories produced a report saying that wind power was competitive with new nuclear plants. Since then the price of wind power has decreased and nuclear has increased. What is perhaps most telling is that neither Dominion will not release the price of the "Economically Simplified Boiling Water Reactor" they are considering.

Thursday, April 10, 2008

Overheard on the road to Tupelo

“He cant come and play with us because his dad is upset with him” Willow said.

“I feel like his dad punished him without warning him what would happen if he continued,” I said, then curious for my own performance evaluation I asked “Do I give you enuf warning before I punish you?”

“Yes” and then after a pensive pause, “but really you don’t punish me hardly at all.” Says my son as I carry him up the dirt road to Tupelo, his head huddled in my shoulder, mop top of blonde hair flopping gently in the breeze.

And my heart sings. That is what I hope he says 20 years from now when he is talking to his councillor or to his boyfriend when he is telling his life story.

I feel like we are cutting this huge dynamic deal. With the home school Heroes Game there are times when he objects to the reality which I have described. The goblins didn’t attack in the woods, they attacked in the city. Most adults would push their point, Games Masters are notoriously controlling of the fantasy worlds they describe – players simply can’t disagree with the GM.

But the purpose of the game is teach geography (today we did the tallest mountain from base to summit and the river with the largest flow today) and multiplication. The reality of the game can morph. If they want to be in the city, or for the cheetah to have not died last game, then it’s fine to twist the world that way. As long as he can find the capital of California on the world map.

Wednesday, April 9, 2008

TOAST gigs

"We could contact sociology departments at colleges and get them to pay us to come talk with their classes about Twin Oaks." Kate suggested. "It will never work." i replied. And thus TOAST was born, the Twin Oaks Academic Speaking Tour. Ever defiant, Kate created exactly the thing i said was convinced impossible. Now with some regularity members of the community go to colleges and get paid to talk about the community.

Angie and i are currently at Hampden Sydney College in Farmville, Virginia. A town i had only previously heard of because it is where ex-Oaker Rob Mills robbed a bank.

I have no idea who these people are. But the picture comes from the Hampden Sydney College website and perhaps reflects the student life of this all male college (one of the last two in the US i am told by our lovely host Claire Deal, who teaches rhetoric here).

I love doing TOAST gigs. I love how the professors are amused when i call the written material we bring to the classes "propaganda". I enjoy how the students eyes get wider and wider at lunch as Angie casually drops that she and her former gal lover are now best friends. I am proud of what we have accomplished at Twin Oaks that does have model value to the mainstream. I get to rant about how sharing can end climate change, how communes could save us from peak oil and how there is still hope in a world drenched in pessimism.

And TOAST has been a great escape for me and my lovers. Caroline and i went to East Carolina University, a large mostly Christian college in North Carolina and got to talk about polyamory in the family and marriage class. Caroline, who is a natural at public speaking, had never presented about Twin Oaks before at a college. And she wowed them, despite their inclinations to be dismissive or critical of our radically different belief systems.

Last night here at Hampden Sydney perhaps two dozen students plus a dozen faculty listened as we described the other American Dream. It is unlikely we will recruit any students from this mostly conservative Republican audience, but the conversation was lively and respectful. And dangerous ideas were advanced, just as Kate thought they should be.

Thursday, April 3, 2008

Funology's big sister

One of the key axioms of funology is that we are looking to drop social barriers to create experiences which are not otherwise possible. That the way to radicalize people is to create an unusually wonderful experience in the context of a party or festival and thus transform their perceptions about what is possible.

I just figured out there is an analogy for why i do workshops. I proselytize about a number of topics: funology, co-empowerment, honest seduction, memetics, polyamory, new culture, nukes and more. And in a good workshop we are looking for a vaguely similar type of barrier lowering that we get at a top ranked party. But instead of lowering social barriers we are lowering ideological ones. A good workshop hypnotizes like the best party music, it creates an experience in which you can imagine things happening and you being part of them in a way in that seemed unlikely or even impossible before the workshop. The job of the cultural revolutionary is to present powerful progressive ideas if manners so seductive that critics change their minds.

Robbery of the Week

Angie gets the prize for most clever amplification. One of my slightly uncomfortable self crafted aphorisms is "Every gift is an obligation." If you have a talent or capacity your job is to figure out how to best serve humanity with your gift and then do that. Angie heard this and tricked it out a bit. "Every great gift has a great obligation." As i was thinking about what i would do this summer, pondering doing more workshops on cultural things or organizing a canvas to stop the local reactor complex from expanding, Angie said an insightful thing. "Many people can stop reactors, very few can spark a cultural revolution." Of course, she is foolishly assuming we will have some measure of success (and there seem precious few people willing to fight reactors these days), but the logic is tight. And in the non-exclusive thinking of new culture, we will try to do it all.