All posts by Fuze

ITF Day 7

Saturday October 31st

Halloween, Día de Muertos, and International Taco Fort Night

After breakfast, we are honored to have Corinna Gould (Lisjan/Chochenyo and Karkin Ohlone) and Michelle LaPena (Pit River, Maidu, Washo, Cahuilla) here to give a presentation “Buried in Shells,” which introduces the burial practices of xučyun, halkin, and saklan (misnamed as Oakland). As Gould and LaPena state, “That the Ohlone buried their dead in mounds with the remains of abalones, clams, mussels, oysters, and cockles, as well as the bones of other mammals, has always confused non-Indians. The difficulty non-Indians have in understanding the Ohlone perspective comes from the separation by non-Indians of humans from the rest of the environment. The living and the dead, the human and nonhuman, all coexisted on, in, and around the shellmounds. In this way, the shellmound could be considered a temple, a holy place, because the continuous link of life over time was holy.”

Members of the Elder’s Council of the Uypi will then talk about sacred burial sites in Aulinta and the nearby areas, with special emphasis on the shellmound at Satos Rini Rumaytak on the brow of Beach Hill. The members will narrate the story of land restoration in our town, and the continuing negotiations and reparations that settler colonialists must pursue in their continued presence as now-guests in a land they once thought they conquered and owned.

As is says in the call from the Confederated Villages of Lisjan: “Through the practices of rematriation, cultural revitalization, and land restoration, calls on native and non-native peoples to heal and transform the legacies of colonization, genocide, and patriarchy and to do the work our ancestors and future generations are calling us to do.”

After lunch there will be a procession up to Satos Rini Rumaytak, and a presentation on the Mejican holiday Día de Muertos and the Anglo/Celtic holiday Halloween and the ways these holidays can be celebrated with an awareness of the traditions of death celebrated by the original inhabitants of the land and by the tribal people who are again stewards here.

Afternoon presents a busy schedule!

First we have grave-cleaning and decoration, which will continue tomorrow and Monday, for the Día de Muertos celebrations.

This is followed by the children’s costume parade, which will wend its way from The Hub on B40 hill to the Taco Fort at the conference grounds.

Then it is International Taco Fort Night in the Taco Fort! On Halloween! The Taco Fortnight Taco Fort Night Taco Fort Building and Furnishing Collective have really outdone themselves this year, and the fort is amazing. We’ll be making dinner together in the communal kitchen, and after cleanup there will be a costume dance party! Those who wish can stay the night in the fort, and there will be materials to make blanket sub-forts for extra fort-ness and fun.

ITF 2020 Day 6

Friday October 30th

We’ve been talking so far about food and the human spirit, with an emphasis on indigenous foods and comfort foods. We’ve also interacted with the folkloric, mythological, and religious beings that make up the Other World. Today we will begin a 2-day exploration of feeding the dead.

Our morning session will include:

Suad Altorki, Professor of Egyptology, University of al-Qāhirah, al-Qāhirah Miá¹£r. “Packing a Lunch: Eternal Eating in the Middle Kingdom.” In this talk, Professor Altorki will discuss the development of grave goods in Ancient Egypt, the variety and kinds of foods found buried with mummified bodies, and the use of among the wealthy of offerings tables where family members would provide daily food for the deceased in the afterlife.

Ing-Marie Back Danielsson, Reader in Archaeology, University of Uppsala, Uppsala Sverige. ”The Last Meal. On the Importance of Food Preparation in Connection to Scandinavian Late Iron Age Cremation Burials.” Danielsson discusses the ceramic urn as part of the earthly household family. Specifically, she delves into the significance of what can be described as the last meal, where both ceramic urn and body/ies seemingly required special treatment before they could come to rest, and the grave could be sealed in an appropriate manner.

Lunch will be catered by Taquería Del Pueblo

Our afternoon session will be:

Lee Kwong, Independent Arts Producer, Feast Magazine (Albion). “Food for Ancestors and Deities.” Lee will give a slideshow of the food offerings to deceased ancestors typical in his parents’ birthplace, 香港 (Hong Kong). As Lee explains, “At certain annual festivals like Chinese New Year, Ching Ming and Hungry Ghost, food and drink offerings form an important part of paying respects to deities and ancestors as well as a means to ask for health and protection for the living. Alongside real food, there are also paper and card crafted versions of affordable everyday foods such as dim-sum, sushi and fruit.”

After a communally-prepared dinner, in the evening we will travel up to Pogonip for an astronomy session with renowned Opaskwayak Cree astronomer Wilfred Buck, science facilitator at the Manitoba First Nations Education Resource Centre. Buck will draw from tales gathered in his recent book Tipiskawi Kisik: Night Sky Star Stories. We hope you enjoy this really special event!

International Taco Fortnight–Day 5

We’re still waiting on the printer to get the official schedule from Tuesday and Wednesday, but we have today’s schedule so we are almost caught up!

Thursday, October 29th

Today we will be focusing on how indigenous foods feed the spirits (and bodies) of indigenous peoples.

In our morning session, we have two presentations:

Doctor Katina Nijmeh (Muwekma) and Doctor Jake Scott (settler-colonialist) from The Valley of Heart’s Delight Center for Indigenous Health will give a talk on the work of their center.

Dr. Nijmeh will focus on the evidence for how including indigenous foods and centering indigenous healing practices leads to better health outcomes for indigenous people in a Western-influenced hospital setting.

Dr. Scott will talk about the Center’s garden program, which works to grow food appropriate for the cultures of indigenous people under the care of the Center’s healers and doctors.

Since people from many indigenous cultures, including ones from other continents, come to the Center for care, the gardeners must grow food from many areas, resulting in a need for hothouses and cold houses for foods from radically different climates. And the healers must work with indigenous practices from around the world, by bringing in healers from the the patient’s own culture or, if that is impossible, working with healers from the patient’s own culture in phone and email consultations to provide care.

In the second part of the morning’s session will are pleased to welcome back from ITF 2018 Suleyman Mohammed Demi, Professer in the Department of Social Justice, University of Tkaronto (Tkaronto/Toronto, Haudenosaunee/Iroquoian Cross Border Reconciliated Area, An Overlap Enclave/Enclave of the State Entities Currently Known as Canada and the United States [OEESECKCUS]).

Professor Demi will talk about his monograph, “African Indigenous Food Crops: Their Roles in Combating Chronic Diseases in Ghana,” his further research on that topic, and his coordination with researchers in neighboring regions of the Parent (formerly Afrika).

Professor Demi, Doctor Nijmeh, and Doctor Scott will then take questions from the audience on the improvement in health outcomes in indigenous populations who return to their native foodways.

Lunch is at local taquerías (lunch vouchers provided, so that no one taquería gets overwhelmed with people).

In our afternoon session, we are honored to welcome back Vincent Medina (Chochenyo Ohlone) and Louis Trevino (Rumsen Ohlone), founders and chefs of mak-‘amham Contemporary Ohlone Cuisine. They will be joined by some of their tribal healers in a roundtable discussion on the ways that indigenous foods of this region support the people who have always lived here. As Medina and Trevino say in their manifesto: “We will do everything in our capacity to continue to fight for what matters: the sacred, our culture, our families, and our land. We strive to live as those before us did.”

Dinner is with mak-‘amham Contemporary Ohlone Cuisine.
The menu includes:
*acorn bisque served with local wildflower honey and walnut milk
*local seaweed tacos served on acorn flatbread with bay salt
*yerba buena roasted venison backstrap served with duck fat sauteed sorrel, local laurel-infused mushrooms, and local blackberries
*sweet pinole seed cakes

mak-‘amham means “our food” in the Chochenyo Ohlone language. All of the primary ingredients mak-‘amham utilizes are foods that would be recognizable and attainable in the traditional Ohlone world before contact with outside forces.

During and after dinner, we welcome back Bear Witness, DJ NDN, and DJ Shub (aka A Tribe Called Red) from Odawa, (Haudenosaunee/Iroquoian Cross Border Reconciliated Area, OEESECKCUS), whose work has been hailed as an “addictive, modern celebration of indigeneity and an act of decolonization.”

International Taco Fortnight 2020–First Day

International Taco Fortnight 2020

Feeding the Spirit(s): Cuisines of Play, Ritual, and the Sacred

Hello, eveyone, sorry that the written welcome didn’t get printed in time for Sunday’s opening of the conference! I hope you all enjoyed the day, and for those of you who arrived late or are coming later in the conference, yesterday’s conference opening forwent any kind of keynote-style talk, and instead we had a day in the outdoor area of the Palomar Conference Center and its surroundings. People could move from place to place (transportation and physical/psychical accommodation provided) and participate in the various “tour stops” set up for the day.

We began the day with a Uypi Amah Mustun ritual burning of herbs. As stated by the tribal members: “Our ancestors believed that the Creator always watches over us. When we pray, we burn sage, root, bay leaves, and other herbs depending on the season or particular ceremony – so the smoke carries our prayers closer to the Creator. Smoke also appeases the Creator as these plants are sweet smelling to multiple spirits or intercessors as our prayers are carried onward. Using plants in prayer represents an element of truth – of balance.”

Visitors and residents from settler colonial groups were allowed to watch the ritual, and we are really grateful to the Uypi Amah for the opportunity. We (I use we because I come from a settler colonial lineage) hope to be able to, as always, use these kinds of opportunities to better remember the daily work of decolonization.

Throughout the day our presentations/participatory events included:

*Breakfast served by the chefs of Pressed, a Quiroste-Basque Cafe

*Acorn Harvest at Deer Back Ridge (formerly Delaveaga Park, which we renamed finally this year)

*“Ritual Herbs of Wicca and Other European Pagan Traditions,” led by Witch One, at their herb garden on The Bluff, and including an herb harvest

*“Frankincense and Torchwood: Olefaction in Judeo/Christian/Islamic Rituals,” led by the Liberation Theological Union of Grey Whale Bay at the purple Nature Church on the Bluff

*Storytelling at the bandshell, with the audience encouraged to tell stories of comfort food traditions of their personal families of origin and families of choice

*Related to the storytelling, a group decision-making process that will help shape some of the meals in the second week of our conference, where we hope to use locally-sourced ingredients to recreate some of the storytellers’ comfort foods, and then feed everyone with them!

*A Coastal Prairie tour with Alder and Anja, looking at plant communities and our restoration process, with an emphasis on edible plants of the coastal prairie, at the West Cliff Coastal Prairie Restoration De-Center

*Lunch at the communal kitchen, catered by the Asociación Comunal de Taqueres Festives

*“What Is This? Smelling Things that Smell Pretty Good, Really,” with Alm and Ceanothus, our local Describers of Stuff and Things. I don’t know where all they went. I think they just wandered around and picked plant leaves and held things out to people and said, “Smell this! Isn’t it great?”

*Naptime! A couple of hours of rest and relaxation in the grassy area around the conference center bandshell transformed into, like, a giant bed with tons of comfy blankets and pillows. Thanks to the newly-formed Taco Fortnight Taco Fort Night Taco Fort Building and Furnishing Collective for the cozy afternoon, and we look forward to Taco Fort Night next weekend!

*Our evening presentation, on soul food’s origins in slavery and its subsequent place in liberation and land return, was led by Botany Bae (aka Justin Robinson), founding member of the Earthseed Land Collective and author of “The Country Gentleperson’s Guide to Plants of the Southeast.” He was joined by Sunn m’Cheaux, Professor of Gullah/Geechee Language and Culture in the Department of Languages of the Parent (formerly Afrika) at the University Formerly Known as Harvard.

*Our dinner menu was created by chef Alisa Reynolds, founder of Tacos Negros. Reynolds has used her family history and her extensive travel experience to create what she describes as a soulfood taco fusion. As she has said, “I want to expand on this whole diaspora of Latinx and Black people in America getting together and eating tacos because I could eat a hundred thousand of them, I love them. My dad was obsessed with tacos.”

Below: a cornmeal catfish taco from Tacos Negros

Taking Applications

New Job Opportunity!

Karst University, in coordination with the City of Aulinta, is pleased to announce a new position.
Apply now to be an avatar of the supernatural folkloric witch Baba Yaga, for a period of one year (with possibility of extensions).

Duties will include:

  • Taking small groups of incoming university students and exchange visitors into the fields and woods and teaching them about flora, fauna, what not to eat, how not to get lost, how to make a debris shelter, and other woodcraft.
  • Living in the Baba Yaga hut located in the former Kalkar quarry near the university.
  • Once every three weeks, acting as the 24-hour crisis support for university students.

Compensation will include:

  • Membership in one of the University Food Co-ops.
  • A adequate amount of your preferred medium of exchange (t.b.d.).
  • Free housing in the Baba Yaga hut and occupation rights for the Baba Yaga clearing, which includes a spring, nearby herb and vegetable garden with guest cabin, storage shed (on stilts, naturally), and other amenities. The hut is not on the city grid, but does have its own small cleverly-concealed solar collector. However, the Baba Yaga is expected to primarily use candles and candle lanterns, and to cook on a woodstove.

We are employing the Baba Yaga in her aspect as a powerful earth witch (though we do not require that the avatar be a witch themselves). While you can be strange or even somewhat frightening, we ask that the Baba Yaga refrain from:

  • Cannibalism.
  • Decorating the place with skull lanterns.
  • Forcing students to do impossible tasks before dawn.
  • Absolute mayhem (minor mayhem ok).

We are asking to receive your applications by June 1st, so we have time to interview and select the right candidate as well as train them before the start of the new school year.

The duties of the avatar of the Baba Yaga may extend to groups of secondary school or even younger students, depending on the chosen candidate’s particular manifestation. Weirder or more terrifying Baba Yagas may be limited to university orientation and to exchange groups from more-Baba-Yaga-savvy Slavic areas.

*Please note that while Baba Yaga is depicted as female, we are not limiting the gender of our candidates. Anyone can be the avatar of the Baba Yaga!

Below are some photos of the house, shed, garden, and guest cabin of the Baba Yaga.

Not interested in being the Baba Yaga? Please watch for our upcoming calls for applications to be the avatars of Great God Pan (nighttime woods safety and Panic control), an as-yet-to-be-decided supernatural river being (river and stream knowledge and safety), and an as-yet-to-be-decided ocean god or other supernatural ocean being (ocean and lagoon knowledge and safety). Please be aware that all avatars will be on the 3-week crisis support rota.

Thieves Guild

Ceanothus and Alm were meeting with the new director of the Aulinta Regional Airship Aerodrome and Transport Hub. Cândido Rondon Oziel had, on a dare from his new co-workers and the probably-sarcastic advice of his pal Professor Rye Must, decided to invoke Cean and Alm’s dubious aid as Official Describers of Stuff and Things to answer some questions about his new home.

The three had arranged to meet up at happy hour at No More the Drudge & Idler, the new craft beer place in the relocated Red Church, now sited across from the Logos Bookstore & Book Arts Institute on the former corner of Mission and Chestnut Streets.

“The whole repurposed-church thing seems to be working out for these folks,” Alm remarked.

“And the craft beer thing, too,” Cândido said, hefting his pint of But We Fight for Roses Too Dubble Brown Ale. “Do they have actual monks making it?”

“No,” Cean replied, “but they got some monks to come on the train from St. Joseph’s in Massachusetts. Once the monks heard that the place was going to be a non-profit and whatnot, they decided the venture was Trappistlike enough that they were willing to do a consultation.”

“Yeah, it’s pretty, uh, Trappist-y,” Alm added. “The monks helped them with growing the yeast on the beams above the fermenters so that it’ll just naturally drop into the wort. It’s super Olde Fashioned.” Alm pronounced it “old-y.” Cean, who was friends with one of the brewers, added, “The whole idea of inviting the monks was because the brewers were sick of other people’s craft beers relying on hops and hops and more hops and they wanted other methods. I mean, they use hops obviously. They grow them in the garden across the way and on the terraces up to Highland and the grain comes from Salinas Valley, but they wanted to see if they could get even more hyperlocal and use the wild yeasts from, like, the very room they ferment in.”

“In Brazil,” Cândido said, “we have this drink called cauim, which I think you could translate as manioc beer. It is an indigenous thing, and has been made since pre-Columbian times. First the root is sliced and boiled, then the paste is chewed and fermented. The enzymes in human salvia are part of the process, so it is the epitome of hyperlocal. You are drinking alcohol that you made with your own body. It used to be only women who made it, but that’s slowly changing in some places, ever since the Brazilian Intertribal Urban and Territorial Rights Movement started talking about how the two-gender system was a colonialist imposition….” Cândido trailed off. “Well, I’m not sure how it’s done among the uncontacted peoples, since we try to…not contact them, but nowadays in my mother’s tribe the cauim is chewed by adolescents of whatever gender.”

“What’s it like?” Cean asked.

“I like it,” Cândido replied. “There are these enormous parties with hundreds of people that last for days…it’s difficult to not like it when you grow up with that. White people always tell me that it tastes like sour milk. Do you people go around drinking sour milk all the time? Because I hear the taste comparison to sour milk for a lot of different things, but I’ve never drank sour milk so….”

“Huh,” Alm replied. “I never thought about that. You can only compare things to sour milk if you, like, know what sour milk tastes like. Or maybe imagine what sour milk tastes like? Or just want to express disgust with a comparison to a beverage that more than half the world can’t drink because they’re lactose intolerant. Either way it seems like it’s probably racist. Now I want to know the history of that phrase so bad.” Alm wrote it down in his notebook.

Cândido looked at him strangely. “It was just a casual remark,” he said.

“There’s no such thing as a casual remark for Alm,” Cean said, gesturing to Alm’s notebook, which was bulging with newspaper clippings and extra pages and covered with taped-on pieces of paper with scrawled notes. “He’ll be able to give some kind of answer to your question in no more than a month. And then he’ll find you wherever you are and tell you about it even though you will have forgotten about this whole interchange. It’s, mmmm, handy I guess? I mean, more knowledge and whatever. But it can be quite startling when you’re there, washing your hair in the sink or something, and Alm walks in and pronounces the answer to a question you can’t remember having asked on a topic you could swear your were never interested in.”

“Hey, it’s a service!” Alm objected.

“Yes. It’s a good service,” Cean reassured him. “I just sometimes think you could wait for better moments or, I don’t know, remind people of the topic before just blurting out the name of every Micronesian island where sweet potatoes are cultivated or whatever. You know, context.”

“I’m working on it,” Alm said, slumping down a bit. “I know other people are real now, don’t I?”

“Yes, you clearly know that other people are real these days. I’m going to touch you now, ok?” Cean patted Alm’s shoulder and he brightened up.

“Yeah, so, anyway….” Alm said.

“Yeah, so, anyway….” Cean echoed. “What was the Stuff or Thing you wanted Officially Described? Rye said you had a particular question.”

Cândido was busy chewing one of the homemade locally-sourced potato chips and accidentally swallowed wrong. The ensuing cough soothed by a fresh pint of We Bring the Greater Day Pale Ale, he said, “I’m really interested in what I’ve heard about Aulinta’s approach to petty crime, or from what I understand the almost completely absence of petty crime. I know that the Society of Friends are running as actual reformatories the carceral systems in most of the U.S., but you seem to have….”

“Headed some things off at the pass?” Cean asked.

“That’s kind of a sheriff’s posse-inspired metaphor,” Alm observed.

“Oh, wow. You’re right,” Cean replied after a moment’s thought. “Ok, so, we seem to have nipped some things in the bud? No, that seems anti-ecological. We seem to have channeled some things differently? That’ll work. So we have directed some of the, well, what used to be called criminal impulses into different channels, both by not thinking of them as necessarily criminal per se and also by making structures for their outlet.”

“Channeling seems like a great metaphor,” Alm interjected. “Think of all the possibilities: flood control, spillways, reservoirs, dams, levees, rapids, waterfalls, rewilding….Ok, not all of those are going to be useful, but you know what I mean.”

“Yeah, definitely better than the ambush thing I started with,” Cean acknowledged. She turned to Cândido and asked, “What do you think makes someone want to steal. I mean, once you’re in a post-scarcity economy and you don’t have to steal out of need or want, really?”

“Is that a rhetorical question?” Cândido asked.

“No, I’m actually interested in your thoughts.”

“All right. Hmm. I guess that outside of needing to steal things, people might steal things from a sense of, what would you say, adventure? Risk-taking? Thrill?”

“Yes! That’s exactly the idea we started with, and it seems to have been largely right,” Cean replied.

“Thence the Thieves Guild,” Alm blurted, rocking in his chair in excitement. “I love watching people learn about this!”

“It is pretty good,” Cean acknowledged. “Ok, let’s take it as a given that there are some people who like to steal for the thrill of it and even in the absence of need or want or addiction or other adverse pressures will still want to steal stuff, right?”

Cândido nodded.

“And you know about the Stuff Libraries?” Alm asked.

“I have been told, but I’m not really one hundred percent secure in my understanding,” Cândido said. “Let me see if I have it right, yes? All the land here is held in trust by descendants of the indigenous people, and we are here via negotiated treaty rights. We cannot own our houses or living spaces, but just….”

Alm jumped in to help out. “I use ‘occupation’ or even ‘squatting.’”

“Squatting? Oh! Like building squats. I’ve never used it in a verb form. But you also don’t own things so much? That’s the part I’m still unclear on. There was already furniture in my house when I got there, and I did bring some things from Brazil, but if I need more things I don’t have to buy them?” Cândido looked back and forth between Alm and Cean.

“That’s right. You can own things but you don’t need to own things. Most things you can get from the Stuff Libraries,” Alm clarified. “Furniture, household appliances, dishes, even some clothes if that’s your thing. You can buy those things and then they’re your things, or you can go down to the relevant Stuff Library and check out, like, a coffee table or a blender or suchlike.”

“And then, when you’re done with the thing,” Cean continued, “you can return it. Like if you only needed the blender for a couple of months because it was strawberry season and you were on a smoothie kick. And this is where the Stuff Libraries interact with people who might like to steal for the thrill. You can return your blender to the Small Appliance Stuff Library nearest you, or you can give it to the person who comes around with the donkey cart Stuff-mobile and that person will return it for you, or you can just give your name to the Stuff Library or the Stuff-mobile driver and then your name and your item go on the list.”

Alm picked up the story, “And then they give the list to the Thieves Guild. And then the guild members have to get into your house and get the blender and return it to the Stuff Library. And they have to do this in a way so that no one sees them.”

“They have to do all the thief-y stuff that would make thieving thrilling: case the joint, sneak, use social engineering,” Cean concluded.

“But if there’s no punishment, if this is in fact a job, then why do they have to sneak and not be seen?” Cândido asked.

“There’s two reasons: first, most of them don’t want to be seen because they only thieve part time and want their thief persona distinct from their non-thief persona,” Alm replied. “Then the other part is that the Thieves Guild treats thieving as an art form. Not being seen is the highest expression of their art, the thing that gains the most admiration from the other thieves.”

“Their meetings are secret, and we only hear rumors about their lair,” Cean continued. “We know it’s in a cave. We know that one of the Master Thieves is named Lucien Praxis. But we do not know who Lucien Praxis is outside of the Thieves Guild. I mean, we could be friends with them, and not know it.”*

“So this really takes care of thievery? People truly do not steal things outside of the guild structure?” Cândido asked.

“It really does seem to work,” Cean replied. “Part of it is the education system, of course. And then if you have a kid who starts, like, stealing from the food co-op for who knows what reason, well, if the kid is 16 or older then the parents or guardians can give permission for the Thieves Guild members to come and wake up the kid in the middle of the night and take them to their lair and train them.”

“But even that is tied into the educational system in a way,” Alm clarified. “The master thieves are all very good at reading people and learning about human motivation. They try to figure out why the kid is stealing things. Are they having some kind of trouble? Do they need to go out with Penske and do the slightly risky things that Penske facillitates, like climb the tall trees or swim in the ocean, or do they need to go with Colleen on a backpacking trip and have the adversity that attaches to long backpacking trips?”

“Or do they need to start at the trade school to train and become sky tram mechanics? Do they truly have that psychological set point that makes them need the adrenaline rush of doing a job that includes some danger?” Cean elaborated. “Should they become one of the people who dive down and work on the pilings of the wharf? Or, in the end, do they actually need to be thieves? In which case the Guild will train them and help develop their…I don’t know….”

“Their sense of artistry,” Alm concluded.

“You really don’t know where their cave is?” Cândido asked.

“We really don’t,” Alm answered. “We’re pretty sure it’s somewhere near the amusement park, because reports from The Blackpools seem to indicate that some of the entities of The Blackpools are Thieves Guild members.”

“The Blackpools?” Cândido wondered.

“We can go there later if you like. You’ll see. The thieves would fit right in I think,” Cean replied.

*They do not know it, but Ceanothus and Alm are indeed friends with Lucien Praxis, who in non-thief land is Celeste, a math teacher at the Radix Center.

Practicing Sincerity


Our beloved local band PRACTICING SINCERITY with their first show of the new year!

Sempervirens is an all-ages venue.

Excellent food and a variety of beverages both alcoholic and not are available. All the normal mediums of exchange accepted. Work-trade encouraged.

my friend died
three years ago today
I woke up and went to work
and then came home and I did nothing
fourth of July
managed to drink enough to speak
I tried to impress somebody
but I don’t think it is working
no I don’t think this is working

spilling my guts
on my therapist’s couch
for fifty bucks an hour
I can leave here feeling empowered
sip down a milkshake on the walk home
lie down let me get my phone out
three notifications
I’m feeling impatient

I am waiting for someone to call me
I am waiting for a message that says
please come over
I’ll meet you at the bar I’ll meet you at the show
just don’t leave me here alone

all my friends have
the most beautiful intentions
Amber’s telling me to listen to
Elliott Smith pre-Figure 8
and I think I almost get it
yeah it’s pretty fucking great

but no one wants to feel lonely
on a Tuesday
it’s your day off and the
grey finally cleared away
you can see across the whole bay
and you’re sitting on the cliff
because it has the clearest view
and the notion falls upon you like a flash flood
you’re here because this is what you wanted

© all rights reserved to Practicing Sincerity

Found Object

While restoring a wall in a house, one of our residents found this interesting sketch. It’s from 1978 and seems to be signed by the city planner at the time. It shows some of the public transit lines and bridges that we have now—including the dirigible aerodrome—and seems to anticipate the moving out of all buildings in the flood plain after the ’89 Loma Prieta Earthquake.

The city planner died in 2003, and so we can’t ask about this sketch, but please enjoy the work of this early visionary.

Writing Advice

It was Open Stage night down at the The Last Visible Dog, and Fuze was up.

“Ok, so, I was looking through old journals for something to read, and I stumbled across ones from when I was younger and…it was terrible. So, instead of reading any of that stuff, I’d like to read this review of them and some advice.

It’s possible that when the author achieves her mature voice her work will be interesting. But as it stands now her writing is a monument of how not to write when in your 20s. Or, perhaps, a series of examples of the kind of personal journals that should be lost and never rediscovered.

The only benefit we get from these petty maunderings is a list of things not to do if one wishes one’s writing to be readable by one’s future self. Namely:

1. Don’t date anyone. Or, if you do date anyone, don’t write about your everyday feelings. Or, if you must write about your feelings make sure to write both the first and last names of your love object as well as a description including their job, pet names, etc. Include a photo if possible, but don’t make a fucking scrapbook because that’s just sad.

2. Don’t write about yourself. You will not care about how awkward and out-of-place you saw yourself. It’s precisely the amount of awkward and out-of-place you will feel twenty years later. Just take awkward and out-of-place as a given and move the hell on.

3. Write about things you see in the world. Not the world at large. What are you, a historian? NOPE. What you see, like, out the tram window on the way to the county fair. That’ll be way less abysmal to re-read later, let me tell you.

4. Don’t write about your supposedly deep thoughts on how humans work. You’re in your 20s. You don’t know. I don’t know. We’ll never know. It’s all speculation, and it’s really not very interesting to read about.

5. If you travel, don’t write about how travel has really made you know yourself. Because it hasn’t.

6. Write about other people. But not people you’re dating. Seriously. That shit’s a total snoozefest.

7. If you cannot follow these guidelines, do not for any reason return to those journals. If you encounter them DO NOT READ THEM. Instead, gather them up, build a wee boat, and give them a Viking burial on the duck pond at the city park. That’s the only way to be sure.”



Our friend Struggles lives in Red Wood (formerly known as the Forest Formerly Known As Nisene Marks), in a tree house halfway up a big redwood, powered by a variety of solar collectors. His ski-lift-style zipline allows him to zip down into town, then hitch a ride back up on the circular line.

Struggles takes people with struggles of whatever kind (developmental, mental, social, physical) on woodland adventures.

Here is a picture he drew of his house and surrounding area. The lower self portrait expresses his feelings about himself nowadays.Click on the image to see it bigger for more details.