Friday, September 16, 2011

The Five-Year Plan of My Glorious No. 6 Tractor Factory

The Soviet Politburo and I structure our futures in Five-Year Plans. It's worked out better for me, I'd say. Maybe it's as far as anybody can see without walls collapsing. But we were both right in choosing the scope: five years gives both a long and short view. It's plenty of time and no time at all. Hikers, packing for a long walk, fill fat plastic tubes - like toothpaste tubes - from the bottom with peanut butter and chocolate-hazelnut Nutella paste troweled and stabbed down the tube like feeding spackle to a baby bird, then pinched closed with a clip - the fatty fuel too dangerously power-packed to be licked off thumbs in the pleasant, sedentary kitchen, its stacks of homework and bills in the foyer where bottoms slowly spread like cookie dough on a warm cookie sheet. But stuff the tubes like sausages, like squishy cartridges, into a pack's outside pockets - one buried under rain ponchos for emergencies, the whole thing flung over a shoulder and you're out the back gate, crossing the pasture sending the cows trotting, and down to the treeline. Those five years are going to be salty and sweet, energy-crammed, and gone-too-soon, of course. And like Nutella and peanut butter, five years can be squeezed right into a mouth, head tipped back, sucking the nipple mid-stride stomping down woodsy paths. Hold them clamped between teeth with both hands full of crumbling Welsh slate in the wind. Spread them out with you in the grass and admire them, arriving finally on the whittled edge of a purple cliff and tarn below, moos rising up. No matter how you eat them, it's really the view you've come for.

Just back in the United States from a year writing about apple orchards in northern England, I've started counting from the beginning. Now writing about small-scale suburban food production in Northern Virginia - Fringe Food. I am allotting these five years to peer-review, and the next five to establishing a vanilla-marketing cooperative in the Uluguru Mountains.

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Spam in Autumn

Stewing in Doldrum Summer Spam of Senior Dating, Genie Bras, DailyCandy, and people who want to put $1500 in my bank account, I've just gotten "Stick for Ice Cream Wooden stick for ice cream, medical stick and stick for coffee (Birch, alder) Origin- Ukraine 94x10x2, 114x10x2, 150x16x2." Clicking, you can smell the Taiga. It's the Spam of Autumn. Like tendrils of airconditioning along your bare legs in summer. As I click "Delete," Siberian tigers are listening to the chainsaws, horse sleds are hauling bouncy birch and alder corpses waving their beautiful arms to the mill and on to the new global marketplace.

Thursday, July 14, 2011

Fairfax County Gov media folks

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Link Between Creativity and Eccentricity...I Told You.

Schumann, they say, believed Beethoven, long-dead, was channeling music to him. Ai Wei Wei insisted on stating the dangerous - long after it became obvious that things would get ugly.

Ah...creative minds - so rarely tidy...Psych Central talks here about research showing tangible, physiological links between "creativity" and a reduced ability to filter the noise and irrelevance around us - seeing relevance everywhere. Some one wrote a (long) comment to the article asking who's really crazy, the person who throws herself into her thankless art, or the person who hates his job. Hmmm.

The Link Between Creativity and Eccentricity

If Beethoven were sending you music, what would you do? Would you have the nerve to play it, write it, paint it, build it, expose it, suggest it, eat it, perform it, set fire to it, sing it? Maybe he is. Can you hear?

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Lomography: Shooting from the Really Hip

Confessions Of An Editor - Nights Out from Lomography on Vimeo.

Imagine the surprise of the LOMO Russian Arms and Optical Factory when it invented the LOMO Kompact camera with such superior optics that the heartbreakingly clear shots of dams, train stations, and missile silos caused agents to find each other in gloomy naves, sunny parks, and busy cafes, dropping small packets into baby carriages, sliding them under their Figaro's, and dropping them into raincoat pockets of the man facing west on the Dneiper Bridge murmuring code like, "Lo-fi grain," "Beautiful light leak," and "Contrast and saturation, comrade, contrast and saturation."

Some say it was the warmth of this little camera that melted the Cold War, that put shooting from the hip in a better light.

Use your power for good at Lomography

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Fish and Spatial Scales

The American Institute of Biological Sciences' Public Policy Report today lists this whale of an achievement: the USGS has released at last its interactive choropleth map displaying "Risk of Current Habitat Degradation for stream and coastal fish
habitat." They provide links to USGS-NBII-hosted public WMS map services and downloadable data and metadata.

A mammoth undertaking and immensely powerful tool for natural resources and fisheries biologists, water conservation scientists and engineers, this map, using vast datasets covering spatial levels from Ecosystem Drainage level (think Chesapeake Bay watershed) to the Reston-sized water catchments, was compiled by the National Fish Habitat Board. Their report, called affably “Through a Fish’s Eye: The Status of Fish Habitats in the United States 2010" brought news that more than a quarter of all streams in the U.S. are at high or very high risk of habitat degradation.

Poor land and water management practices
nation-wide include intensive row crops, fertilizer use, channelization,
water withdrawals, loss of perennial vegetation, and invasive species.

The map scores specialized-ecoregion and volunteer/community efforts called Fish Habitat Partnership Boundaries - like the intriguing Desert Fish Habitat represented by the Mexican Stone Roller in cold rivers like the Chiricahua and its high montane conifer forests increasing parched by years-long drought; and "Driftless Area" whose 24,000 square-miles covering parts of Minnesota, Iowa, Wisconsin and Illinois full of spring-fed coldwater streams and a resulting diversity of plants, animals, and habitats are being impacted by field agriculture and habitat fragmentation.

Eastern Brook Trout Habitat Partnership ( web-based interactive data management system with GIS capabilities has also been developed.

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Jenny O: That's What Girls Are Made Of

Female artists who couldn't catch a break, catch fire at SXSW Austin this week,
and Jenny O is smolderin': ember-warm, cheeky, elemental. Likely to get loose. (some word-play about "fan" goes here)

"Well, OK Honey" and its 1966 girl-band groove - You'll like it. And what's not to like? in its pony bounce.

But its freshness is its "secret-life-of-girls" frankness that seems to divulge that that's how girls really dance, and they do it in the woods and in neighborhood streets: smelly kittens in mocassins, parkas, and uncombed hair with fat bottoms and red knee socks.

"Well, OK Honey"'s the track chosen for mass consumption - others songs are smokier, plain, about love, home, food, bravery, and confusion - that's also how we dance.

Brian McNight said of Jenny O: "A night of unadulterated, gluten-free sexual healing." Steve Martin (I don't know why) It's like we're listening to Willie Nelson making love to a Staples singer."...I don't know why...