Saturday, May 17, 2003

Dumpster Diving Basics
Pirated from Sheldon Miller

Every few days, I become an enigma; a painfully obvious, yet completely invisible enigma. Whether alone or with friends, on foot or in my car, once I bypass the front door and head for the treasure-laden dumpster out back I am transformed. At best, I become a non-entity, at worst a disgusting eccentric.

Augsburger's presents a prime example. The dumpster lies in a path from apartments behind the store to the back driveway. Occasionally people will pass during the course of my investigations of the treats available that day. Invariably, they speed up and determinedly focus on that point on the horizon used to make uncomfortable "situations" disappear, and I evaporate.

I started dumpster diving this past fall and winter with my housemates and curious friends, after reading an article on a longtime dumpstering advocate / free spirit / funhog. We ventured out and collected our biggest haul ever. The inaugural trip yielded a whole produce section of barely blemished fruits and vegetables. After a canning, freezing, and cooking frenzy, we were hooked.

But people's reactions to my dumpster diving has and still intrigues me. Whether a knowing, dismissive chuckle from more respectable family and friends or looks of disgust from some stranger, public response to dumpster diving is strong and predictable.

Why is dumpster diving socially dirty? Why is it radical? I'm familiar with the ready answers the calculus of our economy and waste gives. Anyone who has spent any length of time in our country must certainly be aware of those ideological commitments.

But at what point does something actually become trash, become totally worthless? How can an $.85 bunch of broccoli mutate into irredeemable garbage on the basis of its being two days past its prime? What's the functional difference between my window fan that I picked from the trash and the rejuvenated and the new $17.50 model?

Very little. I must quickly add that not everything is salvageable. Food can sometimes fall into a questionable zone of personal tastes and tolerances. For instance, unlike Matt "Iron Gut" Kanagy, I refuse to eat any tuna salad sandwiches that I may find in the trash, no matter how good they look. But one can count on finding plenty of things still highly recoverable. I've given the Pepsi challenge to some of my pickier friends and relatives, and they don't question the food's quality until after revelation of its roots.

And this is to say nothing of goods. My son sleeps in a dumpster-found sleepers and wears dumpster-diapers. Our house is partly furnished with dumpster finds: chairs, lamps, shelves, sofas, TV/VCR stands. We grill on a trash-picked barbeque. We ride my dumpster bikes, have had a dumpster Budweiser (just as bad as fresh Bud), have been cooled by a dumpster fan, brewed wine in dumpster jugs, and hope to fill our dumpster aquarium before too long (with dumpster goldfish?). Anything that we don't eat, of course, goes into our dumpster compost bin.

Given the mountain of stuff that we've saved from the landfill, the pile of cash we haven't spent, and the ridiculous amount of fun we've had collecting all of our finds, I can't see any reason to look askance at the fruits of the dumpster. If the rest of society chooses to ignore this vast resource, the that decision speaks volumes about our culture of consumerism -- but it also means more selection for those of us who choose to take advantage of it.

Dumpster diving hints/tips
Be careful around dumpsters. Lids can slam shut from the wind amazingly quickly.
Watch out for intentional contamination and sharp trash. Some people will bleach their food to prevent theft. Bottles, metal and general glass just hurt.
A good long stick with a sharp end is really nice to poke at bags and reach way back into corners.
Please avoid meat, eggs and dairy food. Everyone knows this, but as a reminder, the stuff gets really nasty really quick.
If anyone in authority asks what you are doing, the safest thing is to say that you are looking for boxes

Dumpster etiquette

Be aware of what you are taking. You can run afoul of people if you take sensitive materials (e.g. office refuse with bank numbers). This in itself isn't bad, but is a potential problem if you get caught taking something you didn't mean to.
Be conscious of how much you are taking and how much you use. It's simple ethics: taking more than you can use and throwing it away takes it away from other potential users, some of whom may be far more dependent on dumpster treasures than you are.
Leave the dumpster looking better than you found it. Just a simple way to ensure that diving will remain a resource for all.

Friday, May 16, 2003

Seize the image
by Skald Hareksson

They want us to bow our heads and shuffle. They want us to smile, shuck and jive. They want us to apologize for being unemployed. They want us to beg them for help. They want us to praise their Gods and damn their devils. They want us to surrender our ferocity, our fire, and our dignity. They want us to tow their line: "all drugs are evil all the time" (unless they prescribe them). They want us to follow their rules. They want us to be predictable, safe, and sterile. They want us to be good little consumers. They want us to be good little workers. They want us to keep their appointments, accept their diagnoses, take their medications, submit to their treatment, follow their intervention plans, take their classes, see their doctors, ......

They want us to buy their useless gadgets. They want us saddled with rent, credit cards, bank loans, car payments, insurance bills, utility bills---- OBLIGATIONS.

They want us to accept the image they project: that we are poor, pitiful, depraved, mentally ill, chemically imbalanced, undisciplined, unfashionable, uncool, ---- VICTIMS.

I say fuck them! I say its time to seize our images. I say its time to raise our heads and stare them straight in their shifty little eyes. No more apologizing. No more bullshit stories. No more.

Let's re-define ourselves! We are the descendants of a noble tribe... we are poets, pilgrims, pagans, painters, artists, avatars, wanderers, warriors, nomads, hobos, holy men, earth women, shamans, searchers, sufis, sadhus, sorcerers, sculptors, saints. We carry on the noble tradition of Thoreau in his cabin, Jesus in the desert, Buddha under the tree, Mohammed wandering thirsty, a million Hindu sadhus.

We carry on the tradition of the Beat Poet dharma bums. We carry on the tradition of Whitman and Basho.

We defy the suburban social workers and their forms and their shelters and their curfews and their judgements. We defy the psychiatrists and their BMWs. We defy the rich donors and their gaudy jewelry and self-congratulating smirks. We defy the drug warriors and the police. We defy the SUV assholes. We defy the latte-liberals. We defy the suits.

We are fierce and we are free!

We are the new tribe. We are Hobopoets!
Hobovan Journal, dated 9/29/02
by Skald

Last night I looked at her picture and cried-- thumbed through my planner and stared at the date: July 9th. I'd written in "Jessica died" and also the names of her children- "Heather" and "Benjamin". The tragedy is more than I can bear-- how will I ever get my heart and mind around it? How will I ever accept it?

The gaps in my memory are troubling... How will I re-construct the life I had with her... the life she had after me?

There are no answers.
Hobovan Journal, dated 9/26/02
by Skald

Bought a pair of wool pants today... something satisfying about getting these-- tough, practical, unfashionable. They are German Army issue-- stamped "1940". These bad boys have been around 60 years and are still in great shape! They are warm, thick, and sturdy. Should get me through the worst that a southern winter has to offer.

Note- Army surplus shops can be great suppliers for Hobopoets-- I got these pants for only $18... they'll probably still be around when I'm 100 years old.
Jessica Haiku

Crowded coffeehouse,
but I'm alone
-- Staring at your picture
Satori in Nepal
by Skald

In Pokhara I snorted a dried ampule of ketemin and danced joyfully with death. I was comforted by my contact with the dark Tao and laughed when it was all over... chanted "nothing to fear" for days after. Could it be that death itself is not traumatic-- but rather ecstatic? Is it really death that I fear?

Lately I hear whispers from that ketemin quest and from Jessica dreams and lonely night walks and Varanasi's river of ash. I hear, and I am not afraid.
In the Beginning
by Skald Hareksson

You wrote my name in the
sand with your toes,

As leaves danced with the breeze
and a stream whispered
secrets that are still heard

In the cries of those left behind.

Thursday, May 15, 2003

Everything Changes
journal entry dated 8/20/02, by Skald

A puppy in New Delhi station- stumbling. It's body felt hard,.. its skin taut, like a tabla drum. It could not bark, only "mew" a pitiful croak. It's eyes filled with yellow mucous which quickly crusted.

Why is the truth so hard to feel?

Jessica is dead yet I dream of her and pretend it isnt so. Everything has changed but in my life nothing changes. I am consumed by a thousand irritants. The lie of security envelopes me.
Hobovan Journal, dated 8/17/02
by Skald Hareksson

"You are not your car, you are not the contents of your wallet, you are not the clothes you wear... you are the all seeing, all knowing crap of the world"-- (paraphrased from Fight Club).
Dancing with the Most Noble Prince
by Skald Hareksson, journal entry dated 7/25/02

Two deep hits last night.... the little lego people came again but then I became enmeshed among them, one of them... I was a vibrating quantum packet in a field of other red and tan packets.

I moved through them and passed into new rooms, different worlds, but no discernible macro phenomenon. Where was I? Had I blended with the sub-atomic? Was I a living particle? Everything vibrated.

Towards the end I felt somewhat lost and shaken.... remembered that I was an "I" but what was I? Where did I come from? What form did I usually take? Could I get back?

Quite strange, to forget you are human (or to remember that you are a vibrating field of quantum Tao).

Eventually I begin to remember.... I'm human!...... I was in a room..... I smoked salvia!!!! That's right... and I remember names... Todd,... Lewis.... slowly I return to the ordinary world.

I open my eyes. I'm sweating.
by Skald Hareksson

Omens of death today:
I talked with a dead friend in my dreams,
And awoke to find a cat by the road.

I was a guest of The Most Noble Prince...
who dreamed of my death.

A snake caught a frog and pulled him underwater--
I saved him.

This is a strange time.
Whispers of mortality on the wind.

Jessica is dead
But the shadows have come alive.
I Know That This Is Not Goodbye
by Skald Hareksson

Sitting in a field listening to the trees whisper,
I hear your voice.
I remember the green seas of Thailand-
Your eyes were watching me.
White-cap whispers.
Beatific. Beautiful.
by AJ

Rainbow high tops
You have one leg kicked high
And you're pointing to your shoes.
The sun is in your hair
But your smile is brighter.
That's how I will always remember you:
With the sun on your face
and rainbows at your feet.
The Hobopoet Joe Reynolds
Joe's Website Link

So anyway, today started slow with me getting up just before seven and starting the clean up rounds. Jimmy showed up obstensibly to finish the roof over Lang's and some work on the sprinklers but he was acting a mite on the bizarrre side. Nothing I could definitely say but he was raising the hackles on my neck and the sooner I was away the better. There are a couple of people who want me to room with him to keep an eye on him which is not what ither his mother or grandma want. Besides I didn't care for the way he was hitting me up for cash.

I have much better use for my money. Haircut and more laundry this week. Computer time is free for me this week - I did a favor for them here and I am paid with free time online.

I love my cheapo inverter. Four hundred blazing watts to charge laptop or cell phone now that I am looking into them. Trac phone offers no contract but first few minutes a day come to two-fifty and ten cents a minute after that. And if I use that as a modem- well at six bucks an hour to be online Cyberzone is cheaper at two an hour (unless they owe you favor and make it free and unlimited - unkless they are closed of course!).

Nextel- I have to call them because for under sixty a month I get four or six hundred anytime (forty cents per minute after that) and unlimited night and weekends. Additional ten bucks and they will give me email access and use of them as ISP and my phone as modem. That may be the best Thing is I have to give them a year contract with a two hundred buck fee if I cancell early. That part makes me worrry a little but it may be something I can live with. hell probably not as much of a problem as I can dream up; I do tend to be a worry-w! art.

Also have found nice not too expensive fifteen amp solar charger that I can mount on van roof or just plain old on dashboard when not running. Plugs into cigarette lighter to charge car battery or into (Taaa-Dah) sealed storage rechagable battery meant for when you have a dead battery. It also has two plug outlets so you can charge laptops or cell phones or lights when camping. So for about a hundred/hundred twenty I can be independent of the power grid or running stuff with my car engine running (so my battery doesn't die). I am not sure what my cost of electricity is using my van as a gas powered generator but I assume it isn't cheap or anything near to "competative". Cost-effective? I doubt it but under the circumstances there isn't a lot of choice.

Two solar panels would be best maybe but that can wait. However it makes me wish the van was one of those camper RVs! They have showers and kitchens and a toilet (that has to be pumped out every now and then or hooked up to sewerage in campground.) ( You have no idea how attractive that sounds to me compared to what I am doing now!!!!)

Last night had a treat, when pizza palor was closing the owner gave me the remaining half of a medium pie with chicken and garlic. He would have had to throw it out as it was what they were eating and it being only the two last night there were left-overs for once. It was pretty good I have to say. I'll order that nexttime I am getting a pizza!

So anyway I had a beer I bought at Lang's - Arrogant Bastard Beer , it has a rather mean looking devil on bottle with caption "you aren't worthy". Went well with the pizza as I played a DVD on my laptop. Not to bad a way to end the day especially considering everything!

Well okay so an anime feature and some writing for about half an hour and I was down to eighteen percent power on my battery and I decided to call it a night. No reading, no radio just straight to put stuff away. Brush teeth in the bathroom - lotsa fun when the power isn't on - which is why I am so rechargable battery oriented right now. Yes and I did see that nice solar-powered battery charger on Real Goods!

So what am I just lucky but not lucky enough or some new type of homeless person or just a dumb schmuck who hasn't seen the wall approaching at about ninety miles an hour and will find out when I splat that this moth-race is over.
See I told you I'm a worry-wart!
Zen hugs, Joe
Notes from the Hobopoet Joe Reynolds

After a small scare today (loose ignition switch) I got a small solar recharger for the car battery. Also retightened the switch in place - whew, motor would barely turn over! Anyhow I can't run with inverter on all the time as battery does need a full charge somewhere along the line!

This way the car will be maintained which is priority one. If no running van then all else falls down.
However there are larger cheap panels and some not so cheap that will also keep the battery charged.

Just wish finding a job and place to live was as easy. That is the funny part, I mean I am making enough to make me partially independent of the "system" but not enough to be part of it?

Welcome to the new America.
Abandon all dreams beyond this point at least it says to above the portal...

Decided to rent the remake of Lolita on DVD. Should be interesting, wonder if it will seem as funny as the one with James Mason and Peter Sellers did to me when I was a kid. (Sorry folks back then Sue Lyons never reminded me of the twelve year old girls I knew. Eighteen yeah but come on, she looked like a rown up to this kid!)

Bit of excitment this morning- looked like another break-in but turned out Gamar just forgot to lock up the carpet shop last night!
Dropped in at John's and shared some coffee and time. We both are feeling a bit lonely. In his case the wife is now absent with her friends all the time. He is thinking of going up by family in Oregon. He mentioned some property one bought, slightly over two acres, small log house just off highway with all utilities and only cost three thousand...

Of course the price is a dead give away there is zero work available in the area.
Jumbo-sized Rats!!!!!
Wll can't have it all, I guess!
Take care, Joe
Taxi Trip by Matt Salleh
Originally published in Hobopoets Issue #1
I got into a taxi the other day. I was on my way to get a physical examination for a job prospect so I was headed to the hospital. I figured a hospital would be a pretty easy place to find. I thought anyone that lived in this town would know where it was. I also figured any taxi driver could find it. Not so. Bad assumptions.

The guy that responded to my wavering hand was a Chinamen. Not that Chinamen are anymore incompetent than any of the rest of taxi drivers in this city. Not that he could have been anymore incompetent than an Indian taxi driver or driver of any nationality. Its just that his China-men-ness accentuated the conversation.

He was very exuberant about getting me in his cab. For some reason, mat sallehs are preferred customers. Probably because we usually dont know where were going and were funny to look at.

He was expressive about his lack of knowledge of any place I wanted to get to.

"Ampang Puteri Hospital Please". I requested.

"You know where is"?

"No. Youre the taxi driver. Youre supposed to know where things are and how to get to them." I didnt really say this I just thought it. Instead, I just looked dumb, a look us Americans have cultivated and turned into a science in order to get what we want.

"You don know? I dont know." He said to me, along with a couple of other things for which I cannot find symbols on my keyboard to represent. He threw up his hands and waived them around and said some more of those things that are not represented well enough in the alphabet I know.

I showed him a slip of paper that had the words AMPANG PUTERI HOSPITAL written on them. He kept driving so I figured he finally knew where I was talking about. But then, suddenly, as if frozen in his tracks by the prospect of an instant meal of kueh teow or dim sum, he stopped in the middle of the road. From his gunung berapi spewed forth yet another eruption of words, which both dismayed and mystified me. I think it might have been one word that took a total of 10 minutes to say all at once, or maybe a string of mutterings that should not be repeated in front of those not used to hanging out with construction workers or taxi drivers. At any rate, we were again having a "cultural moment" and were at the crossroads of our language barrier.

Finally, I said "H-o-s-p-i-t-a-l" in a loud clear voice. We Americans tend to do that when we want to communicate with someone with another language. Our theory is that if we say it loud enough and slow enough then it wont matter that they dont speak English. Theyll figure it out anyway. I mean, after all, English is the only language anyone needs to know nowadays. And again, I showed him the scrap of paper with the words AMPANG PUTERI HOSPITAL scribbled across them.

He erupted into a fit of laughter.

"Oh, hospiterhl. H-O-S-P-I-T-ERHL" he screamed back to me in a state of delerium. He kept laughing. So much so that I thought I might have unwittingly stumbled upon some inside national joke that amuses everyone in the country. The kind of joke you just dont get when youre an outsider. I was almost proud of myself, pretending that I could relate to his humor while shaking my head up and down and laughing too.

"Hospital" I replied as if it were the funniest thing I had ever heard.

And again he let into another set of symbolic gestures and words that I took to mean "Why didnt you say so in the first place you jack-ass?" and then drove off towards the hospital.

Once in a while I could here him mumble "hospiterhl" and giggle to himself up in the front seat.

Im glad he was amused.

Im glad we made it to the hospital.

At least I learned to add a little "erhl" to the end of my words that end in L.

Chris Moses
Originally published in Hobopoets Zine

The point and the goal

Answer a fool according to his folly.
-Proverbs, 26:5

The man is the richest whose pleasures are the cheapest.
-Henry David Thoreau

There is no knowable point to life, so let's make one up. The imaginary point to life is satisfaction. The imaginary point to life is procreation. The imaginary point to life is salvation in the everlasting hereafter. The imaginary point is a combination of the above. The imaginary point is the conspicuous acquisition and consumption of goods and services at a rate above the average bloke in general and, specifically, at a rate above you immediate neighbors.

Push polls indicate, in that least common denominator kind of way, that the correct imaginary point to life is conspicuous acquisition and consumption. Thus and so our life goal is to outspend our neighbors, to put more cash into our houses, cars, and green lawns. We are status sensitive creatures; we like tangible evidence of our success. The square footage of our dwelling, the purr of our sports car's engine, the color saturation of our lawn- all are solid, empirical indicators of our personal worth. Let's call this outlook and practice the status-driven orientation.

To understand our personal value we can use these indicators just like rulers. To discover your intrinsic worth stack your indicators up against the indicators of your neighbors. But perhaps your neighbors have acquired and consumed certain things of which you are unaware. How should you account for this? The answer is do not make any attempt to estimate this unknown. It is practically unverifiable and represents the primary reason why the conspicuous component of consumption is so important. Please remember that it's not your fault if your neighbor fails to maximize his indicators. He or she probably just needs a little peer pressure to stay on track.

Once you have stacked your indicators against those of your various neighbors, you should calculate two things to get the clearest picture of your human worth. First create a ranked list with the person/family with the highest indicator in first place. These are the most successful neighbors; it's fair and reasonable to call them "the best." Fill in all the people in the middle through to the lowest place. The neighbors in last place are termed "the worst" and may deserve your scorn. But try also to pity them by remembering that each neighbor has an important social function and role within the group's hierarchy. For example, the disgrace of those at the bottom helps maintain the upward pressure, which is essential to the validity of the ranking process.
Second, calculate the average of your neighborhood's indicators and stack against your own indicators. Create a standard deviation curve and rate the first, second, and third deviations with the letter grades A, B, C, D, F. If your indicator value falls within the first deviation consider your value as a human to be average. Use your grade in combination with your rank from the ranking list to discover whether you are a success, a failure, or just lie somewhere in between.
picture of standard deviation curve

Perhaps the status-driven orientation appeals to you. If so, I imagine you might be able to learn more about how to pursue it from books with names like How to Win Friends and Influence People or How to Marry the Rich Man You Deserve. However, at this point you may alternatively feel like you've been beaten with a bag of oranges. If so, let's examine another imaginary point to life. (Actually you have been beaten with a bag of large-ish lemons.)

The imaginary point to life is procreation. We can call this view the blue genes orientation. The best we've got lies right below our belt buckle. Basically, we serve the interests of our genetic material and are rewarded with things like orgasms and children. Unfortunately, we are also rewarded with things like sexually transmitted diseases and children prepared paternity-suit style.
image of man and woman in silhouette

The Gnostics are likely interested in the point to life option that focuses on the hereafter. As I understand the Judeo-Christian tradition, the point to life can crudely be reduced to this: the Gnostic exchanges 60 or 70 years of life on earth for an infinite period of peace, happiness, and wisdom. This approach takes some patience, but the returns sound far far better than those Peter Lynch could ever get. To continue with the attractively vulgar monetary comparison, it takes big risks to achieve big rewards in investing. Conservative investments yield modest returns; speculative investments yield proportionately more for the level of risk you assume. Interestingly, this risk to reward ratio is liner only over a limited range.
graph of risk to reward efficiency frontier
(For a comprehensive and readable analysis of the relationship between risk and reward in investing read A Random Walk Down WallStreet by XXXXXXXX.)

When you invest everything you've got, namely your entire life, for everything that you could ever want, namely eternal peace and satisfaction, you're placing a big bet, namely the biggest bet you could possibly make. If you win, you win in all. If you lose, you lose it all. It's risky for sure and the lack of empirical evidence for the integrity of the investment may be cause for some concern.
Perhaps the moderate, risk-adverse Judeo-Christians will wish to hedge their bets a bit. Using Modern Portsoulio Theory sophisticated Jews and Gentiles can allocate certain percentages of their time to specific behavioral categories. For example, one could invest 60% of his behavior in following the Ten Commandments, helping the less fortunate, and attending services/ praying every day. This would be the bread and butter allocation for your soul- nothing to radical, just good solid J-C behavior. Another 15% of the pie could be dedicated to aggressive Judeo-Christianity such as orthodox kosher practices or self-mortification. Perhaps liberal doses of Jonathan Edwards. The last 15% could be allocated to J-C neutral activities such as golf or mildly questionable activities such as very occasional non-procreative sex between husband and wife and always in the missionary position.

Atheists (heathen communists), agnostics (heathen biologists), and perhaps some pagans (heathen idolatrists, get a job!) may need to look elsewhere for the point to life. Some may opt for short-term hedonism- the 4 D's- drinking, drugging, dancing, and doing it ASAP. These folks are living in the present and if philosophically driven, understand that there are no guarantees of a new brighter tomorrow. Essentially behavior is directed toward the goal of physical pleasure and avoidance of mental discomfort.
If boneheads tend to opt for the 4 D's (honestly, how many folks of this type are philosophically driven?) then eggheads tend to opt for long term hedonism of the slightly acetic type- avoidance of physical pleasure and pursuit of intellectual challenge.
Adapted from Walden III, unpublished text
Creative Clusters
Pirated from Julia Cameron

As artists {Hobopoets}, we belong to an ancient and holy tribe. We are the carriers of the truth that spirit moves through us all. When we deal with one another, we are dealing not merely with our human personalities but also with the unseen but ever-present throng of ideas, visions, stories, poems, songs, sculptures, art-as-facts that crowd the temple of consciousness waiting their turn to be born.

We are meant to midwife dreams for one another. We cannot labor in place of one another, but we can support the labor that each must undertake to birth his or her art and foster it to maturityÖ

Success occurs in clusters. Drawing a Sacred Circle {of artists} creates a sphere of safety and a center of attraction for our good. By filling this form faithfully, we draw to us the best. We draw the people we need. We attract the gifts we could best employ. The Sacred Circle is built on respect and trust.

What we are talking about here is the power of breaking isolation. As artists we can consciously build what I call Creative Clustersóa Sacred Circle of believing mirrors to potentiate each otherís growth, to mirror a `yes` to each otherís creativity. In my experience we can benefit greatly from the support of others who share our dreams of living a fuller life. Often someone elseís breakthrough insight can trigger one of our own.

Success occurs in clusters. As artists, we must find those who believe in us, and in whom we can believe, and band together for support, encouragement, and protection.. rapid and sustained creative gains can be madeóespecially if people are willing to band together in clusters. As creative people , we are meant to encourage one another.

Let us form constellations of believing mirrorsÖ creativity grows among friends.
Poetry by the Hobopoet Todd Huey

My love comes from a spiritual awakening.
Why then does my percussion of love pain me so?
This trance dance groove that I hold so dear vibrates
whole new waves of painful evolution.
My belief system now has no charts where love lies.
So now I hate my melodies. Abolish this instrumental heart
from my imposed limits.
I accept this unusual loveless dream-like journey.
Where there is no creation of love resides.
Torture of the heart, no beauty in a flower, nor in a sunset,
Nor in God himself. I damn my love. I damn my soul owned love.
There is no sword that afflicts such sorrow as the distant shore of love.
Oh, distinctive voice let me love so;
As this hypnotic journey of love you possessed me with.
For all my pores bleed of love found. The gentile book of love,
The exploration of love gives me the light of day.
New sweets. My love is blinding light,
My hands, my fingers, my tongue, my body and soul
are tools for giving an electrifying celebration of life.
Wandering peacemakers- this aural traveler of deep space awakens
from the spellbinding life plan.
For the awaking of fireflies and moonlit nights.

My vibratingÖ.
My vibrating windowís to my head--
resonates my sound to you.
My fingers skipping over wind holes of wood and soul.
This compassion being-instrument will give you a
vibrating dance.
The ear to the universe is now open.
Dust trails light years long and lifetimes thick;
The fireball which is us,
which is one ,
which is forever.
Seeing beyond past, present, and future.
My music will unveil this picture to you.
Dance, dance, dance fingers and tell her my message of love.

How I Contribute
My pain is the blanket I cling to when
I am alone in the darks of my mind.
This colored mist hides many shadows of self.
The irony is my light source is ëselfí.
This choice Iíve made will lighten my spiritÖ
So to remember again.

My Transformation
My transformation is flooding with confusing
ripples of choices.
The riverís soul is now boundlessÖ..
and running rapidly lost. Cascadeís turbulence
is my consciousness. Feeling dazed as I am
draining down the side of the mountain.
Losing my breath.
Open to the driving desire.
White water with tiny dancing bubbles.
Peering in hopes to spot lifeís eddies.
It is not my lungs that burn, it is my heart.
My soul being recirculated.
The river has changed level once
again and now it is as if I have
never held a rudder. Find the will.
The voice speaks,
The life lifts to higher places.
The Library
by Chris Moses

Libraries are the great givers of life and much that is good in life to the disciplined hedonist. Entertainment and knowledge for your mind, heat in the winter and air conditioning in the summer for your body. Homeless folks realize the bounty to be had and many of the brightest can be found surfing the internet or sending email at the library. Surely this is no coincidence.

How many books, videos, albums can be taken out over a lifetime? What is the value, monetary or otherwise, of such a resource? How much more pleasant it is to check out a classic movie such as Citizen Kane from the library than to pay to rent Dumb and Dumber from the Video-Mart. And then after discovering that Dumb and Dumber is a movie that really lives up to itís name, I have the privilege of making sure that I donít forget to rush it right back the next day. This pattern of behavior that so many take part in is difficult to understand. Although some libraries lend videos for just three days, many lend for a full week- a policy that solidly fosters the hedonistic lifestyle.

Libraries allow the hedonistic practitioner to have access to the classics, reference, and current periodicals without the burden of buying, storing, maintaining, and hauling these resources about. There exist few protocols that hold the virtue of the interlibrary loan in either the secular or non-secular domains. Rarely rivaled in poetic justice or beauty, it should be used sparingly due to the moderate cost for the library that makes the request.
Oil Drinking
by Chris Moses
(from draft Walden III: An Approach to Disciplined Hedonism)

One practice that can be employed to lower daily food costs is oil drinking. When I was living next to the housing projects in downtown Syracuse in 1993-1994, I used oil for one meal a day- experimenting with both oil breakfasts and oil lunches. I found generic vegetable oil (made of soy or soya oil) to be the best combination of taste and low cost. It was easiest for me to consume the oil as one would consume a quick shot of liqueur and chase it with a full glass of water. I would drink about a º to a 1/3rd cup of oil for a meal- this was about the most oil my body would tolerate. More than this and I would feel or actually become sick to my stomach.1/4 cup vegetable oil contains xxxxx calories, xxxxx grams of saturated fat, xxxxx grams of monosaturated fat, and xxxxx grams of unsaturated fat.

I cannot empirically say whether oil drinking is or is not a physically healthy and sound practice. On the face of it and from my personal experience it was at worst a neutral practice and it would likely compare favorably to the harmful and expensive practice of consuming an equal amount of calories from animal sources (dairy and meat). Overall, I believe oil drinking may be an appropriate part of a diet for the disciplined hedonist who is living on a very low income.

I was a regular oil drinker for about 8 months and only during the weekdays, not he weekends. During this time I saved ~ $200.00 or a bit over $1.00 a day. I plan to avoid a return to this way of getting calories, but should I find myself in the position of having little to no income I may return to it. In 1993/94 I was spending $300.00-$400.00 per month in repairs on my 1986 Ford Escort. This is a seemingly outrageous amount when I think about it now and remember that I was making ~$14k/year (pre-tax) at my full-time group home job. Had I not been required to have a car as a prerequisite for my job, I would have gotten rid of it and done away with oil drinking altogether!

Immediatism Excerpt
Pirated from Hakim Bey

Immediatism means to enhance individuals by providing a matrix of friendship, not to belittle them by sacrificing their `ownness` to group-thinkÖ What must be overcome is not individuality per se, but rather the addiction to bitter loneliness which characterizes consciousness in the 20th [and 21st] century.

Capitalism only supports certain kinds of groups, the nuclear family for example, or `the people I know at my job,` because such groups are already self-alienated and hooked into the Work/Consume/Die structure. Other kinds of groups may be allowed, but will lack all support from societal structure, and thus find themselves facing grotesque challenges & difficulties which appear under the guise of `bad luck`.

The first & most innocent-seeming obstacle to any Immediatist project will be the `busyness` or `need to make a living` faced by each of its associates. However there is no real innocence here- only our profound ignorance of the ways in which Capitalism itself is organized to prevent all genuine conviviality.

No sooner have a group of friends begun to visualize immediate goals realizable only thru solidarity & cooperation, when suddenly one of them will be offered a `good` job in Cincinnati or teaching English in Taiwan [or Japan!]óor else they`ll lose the `good` job they already have and be reduced to a state of misery which precludes their very enjoyment of the group`s project or goals (ie. They`ll become `depressed`). At the most mundane-seeming level, the group will fail to agree on a day of the week for meetings because everyone is `busy`. But this is not mundane. It`s sheer cosmic evil. We whip ourselves into froths of indignation over `oppression` & `unjust laws` when in fact these abstractions have little impact on our daily livesówhile that which really makes us miserable goes unnoticed, written off to `busyness` or `distraction` or even to the nature of reality itself (`Well, I can`t live without a job`).

Yes, perhaps it`s true we can`t `live` without a jobóalthough I hope we`re grown-up enough to know the difference between LIFE & the accumulation of a bunch of fucking GADGETS. Still, we must constantly remind ourselves (since our culture won`t do it for us) that this monster called WORK remains the precise & exact target of our rebellious wrath, the one single most oppressive reality we face.
Day of gray
by Todd Huey

Damped mood, mellow, less
Dramatic- calm as the trees
on a gray motionless morning.

The clouds themselves seem lazy
no place to go, no one to see.
Legs up, sandals off, knees to chest.
my outgoingness now introverted. Deep
peaceful breaths fill my lungs.

My brain is not craving the many
half read books.

Daydreaming is a part of who
I am on this day of gray as the
unique clouds are to the sky.

Staring off into nothing

The meditation of a daydream
The mind stops leaving something deep
inside to take over.
The true meditation
Natural in its form

No special place you need to be

At an instant everything goes quiet and still

The picture in my head is as the framed
art hanging on the wall.

Seeing my surroundings only with

Mind blank as the pages of my journal
Sitting motionless, mime-like

An instinctual need to put my arms
around myself to embrace myself.

Comfort in a day of gray as my
hands rest on my shoulders and
mind opens to nothing and everything all
at once.

by Callan Bentley

In June and July of 2001, I traveled to the Philippine islands, of Southeast Asia. This was my first summer of being a teacher, and this trip was the main thing I was doing with my summer off. I live in the District of Columbia, and do not own a car. I took the subway to the airport. Everyone else on the Metro train that day was a commuter, on their way to Thursday at the office. I stepped aboard with a tiny backpack, on my way to a jungled archipelago, on my way to the Philippine Islands. The backpack wasnt actually that tiny, it was a decent-sized daypack, but it seemed tiny in my mind because I knew that that one small pack alone was the sum total of my luggage. Gone for a month to Southeast Asia, and all I took would fit in a small pillowcase. I had never packed this light before, and I hoped that it would be enough. The Metro took me to National, where I took a Northwest flight, through their hub in Detroit, and then up and over the frozen territories of Canada. Looking out the window of the plane, I saw glaciers spreading out from a Yukon mountaintop like tentacles from an immense icy octopus. There were two wizened Japanese women who also wanted to look out the window. We had to share a window; all the other passengers had obeyed the flight attendants?edict to draw down the window blinds (so that the crappy in-flight movie would be more visible to everyone). We were stuck like junkies, taking visual hits off the small half-open porthole in the rear emergency exit door, pitiful addicts of the landscape below. These ancient Japanese women and I were not actually talking, but gesturing and repeating the few words we had in common that could describe the scene we were seeing below. Snow, one of them kept saying to me. She had wrinkles that stretched back from the corners of her eyes into her graying hair. Snow. Her companion asked me Where? I ventured to guess, Alaska, maybe. I shrugged my shoulders and smiled. The first one smiled back and said to me again, Snow.

There was a layover in Nagoya, Japan, and I strained to see Mount Fuji as we landed and took off again. The sun set again after we left Japan, and the plane landed in Manila well into the night. Stepping off the plane after a long flight is a terrific relief. Entering the airport (named after Filipino patriot Ninoy Aquino, who was assassinated on its own very runway), I began taking in the new country, began making impressions. I was amused to notice industrial-sized bug zappers in the departure lounge for international flights. My flight arrived at 11pm, and no one else was waiting in the area. The blue glow surged and crackled as it electrocuted mosquitoes. There was a prominent sign that welcomed back Filipino nationals who had been working abroad. Apparently this is a prominent source of income for the country. They have a robust national program to match up eligible workers with employment outside the Philippines. I cleared customs without a hitch, and turned over the form that declared in red ink, WARNING DEATH TO DRUG TRAFFICKERS UNDER PHILIPPINE LAW. A dire threat, it seemed to me, even though all I was guilty of ìtrafficking?were cassette tapes and a pair of binoculars. I changed a little money, and then stepped outside to find Noah.

Background about Noah
The man I was going to visit was my friend Noah Jackson, a compadre from my days of working in California as an outdoor educator. Noah was the sterling example of a workhorse on our staff. His roots in New Hampshire and Maine have imbued him with a sturdy dose of the Puritan work ethic. On more than one occasion, he inspired us all by continuing to do his job even when sick and laryngitic. Noah takes his moral sense of duty and ecological responsibility to new lengths. He works incredibly hard, putting lazier naturalists on my staff to shame. Noah was our collective exemplar of generosity and creativity. He had a blossoming romance with another staffer, Kara, at the same time that I was falling for another, Scarlett. I remember, the four of us went to Death Valley one weekend, and had a terrific adventure among the arid wastes, the canyons, Badwater, and the empty streambeds. We dipped our arms into a hypersaline pool in the Devils Golf Course, and came away with crystals of salt studded from fingertips to elbows. Another weekend, we drove to Big Sur. I had been training for months to run the Big Sur Marathon, a tortuous and beautiful 26-mile run along Californias Route 1. Noah joined me with a few days notice, signed up for the race when we arrived, and ended up winning his age category for the entire race! He beat my arduously-trained-for time by a good 45 minutes. This is not your average human being. This is Superman.

There was a mild thunderstorm in Manila when I stepped out of the airport. Noah was there, precisely where he said he would be. We walked out of the airport parking lot in the drizzle, and hailed a cab. The ride was lengthy due to intense traffic on Roxas Boulevard, the main road north along Manila Bay.

We arrived at the Pension Natividad, a great lodging that would become my home away from home in Manila. The Pension is situated a block away from the Bay, in the shadow of an immense high rise, the Diamond Hotel. On the other side is a raucous karaoke bar. It is situated on the boundary between the neighborhoods of Ermita and Malate, both relatively well off and directed towards tourism and merchandise. Out in front of its cement wall, the Pension advertises Clean Guest Rooms for Individuals, Married Couples, and Families. It is made of concrete and stucco, with bars over the windows. It was at the Pension that I was first shown what a Catholic culture prevails in the Philippines. Tile portraits of Jesus and the Virgin Mary beamed benevolently at Pension guests. Each of the religious figures were fitted with a Sacred Heart which was startlingly anatomically accurate, and spouting flame like a Zippo, to boot.
The damp Philippine air penetrates most buildings, as they lack the climate control that pervades Western architecture. The rain imbued everything with a wet smell, including the concrete walls of our room. Still, it was a room, and not Seat 13C.

Upon arrival, I showered and reclaimed my sense of hygiene. I was in a zone between jet lag and exhilaration at being in a new country, and was ready to go out and experience something. Noah recommended that out first stop be the Hobbit House, a bar not far from our lodging. We passed another Peace Corps Volunteer in the lobby of the Pension, and Noah introduced us. When he mentioned that we were on our way to the Hobbit House, a look of intense amusement came over the womans face. Noah refused to explain, telling me that I would understand soon enough. I realized the source of her bemusement as soon as we ducked into the bar: the Hobbit House is staffed entirely by dwarves and midgets. I am no Wilt Chamberlain, and I measure a modest 6 feet in height. As such, it was surreal to enter a place where everyone else was less than four feet tall. The set-up for a bar like this seems incredibly un-P.C. Im sure it would never fly in the United States, but I guess it works for what it is here in the seedy capital of the Philippines. We ordered San Miguel, the Filipino version of Budweiser.

Not everyone was a midget; a talented band of ordinary-sized Filipino men was playing covers of American pop tunes. An attractive Filipina ascended to the stage and sang Korn in perfect imitation while gyrating her bare stomach and showing off the top several inches of her thong underwear. Though we were enjoying the (ahem) unique vibe offered by the Hobbit House, it was too loud to talk. Since Noah and I had been years without seeing each other in person, we decided that catching up was going to take priority over bopping with the little people.

Outside, the sewage smell was rank and fetid and distinctly third world. We wandered through alleys, and along a maze of dripping streets, taking shelter where possible under awnings. Many of them were so low that I was forced to duck, lest I stay dry only at the expense of knocking myself cold. We searched out another place, helped along by Noah asking directions in Tagalog, and the restaurant delivery boys looking amused to see a white man talking their language. It turns out that Noah speaks Kinaraya, the dialect of the central Phillipine island group known as the Visayas. He was using his rural accent here in the height of Philippine urbanity. To these locals, it must have seemed comical. A comparable situation might be found as New Yorkers deal with a Japanese man asking for directions in a pronounced Creole drawl.
The Cafe Adriatico: We found a small table by a rain-streaked window overlooking the street. When our beers came, the waiter brandished a small towel and wiped clean the lip of the bottles. This was new to me: why would he do that? Noah explained that in the Philippines, a glass bottle is a commodity not to be wasted. Each bottle would be reused again and again. Indeed, I inspected the bottle and found two parallel rings of scratches around the outsides, and a faint rim of rust around the lip, where liquid beer had oxidized the metal bottle-cap. This rust was the offensive material wiped off by the waiters towel.

Noah conducted a ranging monologue about his life in the Philippines, his village, his girlfriend, his work life. I was listening and drinking beer, gazing out the second story window into the rain, lit by a string of bulbs burning above Adriatico Street. We stayed up late into the night, sitting and talking at that table.

I had not seen Noah in over two years, and though I had kept in touch with him by means of e-mail and writing letters, there was one aspect of his physical presence that I had forgotten. I refer to his laugh, which is a braying guffaw. In fact, it stretches the limits of the definition, to merely refer to his noise as laughter. Noah expresses mirth with a gasping honk, like an asthmatic donkey. It had not been my fortune to hear this laugh for 2 years, and judging from the reactions of the other patrons in the restaurant, no one there had ever heard anything like this before. Heads turned. I sipped some more from my bottle of beer, smiling at the scene.
Back to pension, sleep on dampish sheets in a dampish room. I woke up early in spite of only 3 hours sleep and whatever jet lag I was harboring. As Noah slept in, I engaged myself with a novel and by attempting to bird-watch from the barred window of the room. There was mystery out there in the morning Manila air, I thought. As I listened to sounds, I hypothesized what strange feathered creature might be making them.

We went jogging that first morning. If you care for your lungs, do not attempt to go for a run on your first morning in Manila. We loped across town, breathing gross air, dodging holes in sidewalks, and in places where there werent any sidewalks, we shared the street with jeepneys.

A jeepney is a vehicle unique to the Philippines. Mechanically, they are a cross between a bus and a jeep, but then decorated in hallucinogenic garishness. Images and slogans are plastered over every available surface, including the windshield. They proclaim the drivers sexual prowess to the same significant extent that they exhort God to bless their trip. Each jeepney has a name, emblazoned in letters so extravagantly ornamented that they strain legibility. As we ran, I read the jeepneys:
Gift of God, Scorpio Boy, Virgin Snow, Fine Lover, May God Grant Us A Safe Journey. Images of astrological signs, the Virgin Mary, and plagiarized commercial logos predominated, all rendered in the most eye-popping glossy colors known to science.

There were numerous big hotels in the area, located there for the good view west over Manila Bay. As I ran, I wanted to look in a thousand directions at once: at the street-side spectacle around me, at the skyscrapers overhead, the whirring colors of the umpteen jeepneys, and even occasionally at the pocked street itself, so as to avoid tripping.

We jogged through the mile-long Rizal Park, where practioners of tai chi and homeless men and women could be seen in equal measure. At the end of the park, a large square pool featured a model of the archipelago. Little chunky islands like paiper-mach?demonstrated the diverse sizes and shapes of the 7107 bits of land that are designated as the Filipino nation. My love of maps was excited by this encounter with an acre-sized topography. I stopped my run and studied it for a few minutes. Large cone-like volcanoes rose from several of the islands, painted as if they were snowcapped, which they are certainly not. The islands of Luzon (where Manila is located) and Mindanao are the largest landmasses by a wide margin. Together, they comprise over 65% of the land area. A thousand of the smallest islands do not measure even one square kilometer; a further 2500 even lack names!

When we got back to the Pension, I was raging hungry, and the food was slow to arrive. I had several cups of coffee and a pile of fruit. The mangos and bananas came with a nice local yogurt.

This was to be our day of chores in Manila before venturing out the following morning to Noahs site.For readers not familiar with Peace Corps, each volunteer is assigned for a two-year assignment at a particular job, in a particular town. The combination of address and job description is referred to as the volunteers site. After breakfast, Noah and I went to the Peace Corps offices on Roxas Boulevard. I checked my e-mail, and sent out notification to friends and relatives of my status. I mentioned the Hobbit House. I also amused myself by turning down an electronic party invitation with the unusual excuse that I was in Southeast Asia, sorry, cant make it.
We arranged a flight for the next day.

The next task was to pick up Noahs camera lenses, which had been dropped off for a cleaning several weeks previously. For this, we had to travel to a different part of Manila, the district of Cubao. A train ride was necessary to get to Cubao, some miles from the waterfront.

The presence of terrorist cells in the Philippines have led to bag checks as a fact of life whenever entering a shopping mall, bank, or system of transport. I unpacked my bag to guards?observation hundreds of times in the next month, resenting it every time. Of course, the events of September 11th have softened my resistance to security precautions. This was back in June and July, before the attacks in the US, but after the beheading of an American tourist on the Philippine island of Palawan.

In Cubao, we navigated through a maze of shopping malls inside and out, and found that Noahs camera lenses were not yet cleaned. I was frustrated with the lack of good customer service, not realizing that the behaviors that I deem good service to my American view are not necessarily the same qualities that Filipinos look for in their commercial establishments. Noah handled the poor service with remarkable restraint and aplomb. I felt like hitting the snotty brat who was working behind the counter. Noah negotiated a better deal, and then we adjourned for lunch.

We dined with a fascinating character. Noah knew of this odd place, and led the way past a stagnant lake with large lumpy sculptures of Disney characters rising in the middle. (It is worth noting that all of the water around Manila is hopelessly polluted. Eight rivers run through the city, and Noah informed me grimly that all eight were classified as biologically dead. Past the lake we came to another enormous shopping mall. I had not expected malls and pop commerce itself to be such a prominent part of life in urban regions of the Philippines, but malls proved to be the mainstay of my experiences while in Manila.

This was a half empty mall, where the odd restaurant was located. The Cod Building, as it was called, was partially occupied by active retail, but we had to hike up through several empty floors of space before finding the EartHaven cafe Now if I was surprised to find a culture of materialism and shopping in Manila, then I was truly floored to find an organic cafe in the midst of it. Noah knew the owner, Edgard, and he introduced us. We all sat down at a rustic table and had a delicious lunch of pasta and lemongrass tea and little wheat-germ candy bars. Edgard was intense and opinionated. Talking to him, I got the send that he had been forced to explain his beliefs and politics many times before, and he rose to the task with a practiced air and (it seemed to me) a standard and well-worn series of phrases.

Some might think that an Environmentalist Filipino would be an oxymoronic description, but Edgard fit the bill. Besides running this strange little haven of hippie foodstuffs in Manila, he also owned and ran a Geo Farm in the Sierra Madre of north Luzon. His environmental beliefs meshed with my own, but he also had a lot of the so-called New Age influencing his mindset. He mentioned auras, and how he could see them. He waved his hand at the area around my head, as if to indicate like this one here.
Digesting my lunch was just the opportunity that latent jet lag had been awaiting. It overwhelmed me. Back at the Pension, I fell asleep for several hours, and only woke because we had to go run some more time-essential chores. I needed caffeine.

We got it at, of all places, a Starbucks franchise, one of ten in Metro Manila. It was just like an American Starbucks, decorated in that well-designed but canned style that may be found so many places in DC and in America. There were differences: the security guard at the door, searching my bag for bombs, the prices in pesos, and the clientele: no Dupont Circle yuppies here! I ordered in English, but all the conversation around us was in Tagalog. Noah lamented his ability to speak well in the national dialect, and assured me that he would be in command linguistically to a greater degree when we got to Panay the next day.
Noahs friend Carmela and her sister Sophia met us at the coffeehouse. They were cute and animated to me in a phenomenon unique to Asian women and puppies: the smaller they are, the cuter they appear to me, and the more energy they seem to possess.

We talked mostly about disgusting foods, a subject that evidently fascinated us all. They detailed some Filipino dishes for me: dinuguan or chocolate meat,for instance, a dish of cooked offal and blood, and bulalo, a sort of kneecap soup. Most repulsive was balut, an embryonic duck egg, cooked just before it is ready to hatch! Balut adventurers from the Western world (Noah included) can distinguish the beak, feathers, and legs of the developed birds as they crunch them down. I decided then and there not to try it, though in most cases I pride myself on the breadth of foods I consume. I have sampled widely among the species, but Ill leave balut to the macho Filipino men who believe that it jacks up their virility better than Viagra or Spanish Fly.

We also discussed Noahs remarkable propensity for hurting himself. He listed off a terrific series of ailments that have befallen him in this country, and Carmela, Sophia, and I listened in awe. Noah was attacked by a colony of stinging ants while dangling on a rope 40 feet above ground in the rainforest. He writhed in pain on his tether, unable to descend, unable to escape. Another time, he groped his way to an outhouse in the midnight darkness, only to put his hand directly atop a scorpion. A month previously, Noah had been guiding a photographer from National Geographic through the rainforest in search of hornbills. A branch smacked Noah in the face, carrying with it a small leech. Hours later, they noticed that the leech had attached itself to Noahs eyeball. He told us, as he was pulling it off, there was a tremendous pressure. I wasnt sure which was going to go first, the leech, or my eye! Then he got roundworms. Then he fell down a cliff. Then he was in a motorcycle sidecar when the motorcycle flipped over and crashed. All these stories he told in a jocular way, as if it was all happening to someone else in a movie. He grew somber when he related a final tale, of how he became trapped underwater when a bamboo bridge collapsed on top of him. Pinned by its lattice structure, he nearly drowned, and escaped just as he was on the verge of blacking out. He has not told his mother about that one, he told us, which we knew to mean that it really shook him up, and counted as being truly dangerous.

We four went to dinner at a restaurant called Shwarma, which served Indian food. Shwarma was smarmy. We were seated in their lone upstairs room, with a wide low table surrounded by flat cushions. A stray cat had skinnied through a broken windowpane and had deposited a stringy turd on one of the cushions. To my utter shock, the waitress left it there after I pointed it out to her. We ate there anyways; I was hungry. I had eggplant dip and pita bread, which was tasty, though I worried about its level of contaminants.[For the remainder of the story, check out the following website:
Callan's Gypsy Journal]
Married to an Indian Woman
by Matt Salleh

Red bindis cling quietly
to the sterile
apartment-square mirror
in the bathroom next
to our toothbrushes.

Curry stains linger
under my nails
sometimes for days.

I own a veshti, jippa and two woks.

These are things
I could not
have dreamed of
as a boy
eating Spam biscuits and grits
growing up in a double wide
and dreamin of huntin deer
and squirrels.

These days the Malaysian sky hangs heavy
not unlike the humid summer rains
where katydids
and cicadas sing beneath kudzu leaves
dug deep into red Piedmont clay.

And there will always, always
be bindis and veshtis
and deer hunters and squirrels
as long as I can dream.

And sometimes,
only sometimes
even those things
I could not dream
are even better.

Poetry by the Hobopoet Lewis Jones

Look at the Moon
We've thrown away all our troubles
for a journey that has no end.
And when its over I hope well look back
and know in our hearts we made some friends.

Because weve been traveling down this highway,
Dont care if we get there soon.
If theres questions we need answered,
All we have to do is look at the moon.

When we wake to see the sunrise,
And all the love that God has to give.
It reaffirms just why weve done this,
I cant think of any other way to live.


Late at night your mind gets weary.
Dont know if your spirits done.
That lonely road it keeps unwinding,
Well steer Champagne into the setting sun

Do we meet in the stars
Do we meet in the stars
and is it possible for eons to repeat?
How many times have brothers been brothers?
I walk a path I have certainly tried
to take before- were you with me then too?
If this is common ground, please let me find
the mistakes from the last time.
I have my brothers.
I have my tribe.
I have my destiny.
Rivers run downstream with a life
all their own.
Life unstoppable to a destination-
uncertain but inescapable.
Will I join the river?
Of course.
Creating Livable Alternatives to Wage Slavery
Pirated from

Are we "anti-work"? No, it's not that simple. We are pro-leisure, and we think leisure has gotten a bad rap in societies driven by the Protestant/Puritan work ethic...but the best answer to the question of whether we are anti-work depends on how you define the word "work".

Paraphrasing Tony Gibson, we can define work simply as the expenditure of energy in a productive process, and leisure as the expenditure of energy without productive result. We're not saying one is good and the other bad - they're just two ways of being. We are not against being productive and we recognize the satisfaction that can result from being engaged in productive activity of one's own choosing. (Hey, we put together this Web site, didn't we?) So we aren't anti-work in this sense.

But we are critical of the mindset (supported, as it were, by social norms, government policies and collective fears of poverty) that results in people working against their will, and believing there is no other way to "survive". This results in taking jobs out of joyless obligation, need for money, coercion, or a desire to "get ahead" in some sort of competitive social status or consumer game, for example. We think such a mindset is at the root of many, many otherwise solvable social, economic, and environmental problems.

But many people today don't use the kind of simple, non-judgmental definition above. Many of us think of work not just as effort expended in a productive process, but as a "necessary evil" - in other words, work is what we have to do so we can support ourselves. If your concept of work is drudgery, if you think of your job as something you'd rather not do if it weren't for the money, if you simply can't wait to retire so you can "enjoy life" - that kind of thinking is what we define as wage slavery, and we seek to abolish it.
Thailand Trip by Matt Salleh

The restaurant by the shore is a step up from the one across the street. They have a few more things on the menu, including french-fries and a damn near perfect Southern fried chicken? Of course they dont called it that, but thats what I compare it to. They also have a bar where I order big beer Chang and deep-fried cashews on Friday afternoons. The beer is 35 bath for damn near a liter. I cant tell exactly how much. Its not labeled. The servers sinewy arms and fingers flex as he brings me beer with the stereotypical Thai smile. I figure he must have been into Muay Thai (Thai kickboxing) at some point in his life.

Just offshore is the small T-shaped island Koh Samet. If Ban Phe is known for anything, its known for Koh Samet. A 50 baht, 45 minute ferry ride will get you there. You can get a bungalow for about 400 baht a night and spend the day reclining in hammocks drinking Mekong and Coke or swim in the water. The beach there is much nicer. The sand is clean and the waves are less harsh. When I was there a few weeks back I walked in knee deep water and saw inter-tidal life galore including sea cucumbers, living corals, sea urchins, Technicolor clams, and schools of unidentifiable fish being stalked by a large heron.

When I return from my morning walk I shower and head to class. I usually take about three showers a day. The heat is inescapable. The dust and grime seem to accumulate on me faster than I can wash it off.

Geetha and I are here getting our certification in TESOL (Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages). The school where I work didnt have any science positions so they hired me contingent upon me becoming certified to teach ESL (English as a Second Language). So I researched the Internet and discovered this training center in eastern Thailand.

During the day we attend class from 9-4:45. The classes entail methods of teaching, learning theory, and classroom management. We also have a student teaching portion.

Ive just spent the last 6 days in a Thai school teaching English to Mateom 3-6 students (roughly grade 10-12). The school was very resource poor and has recently had Peace Corps volunteers. We rode for 45 minutes in songthaews (truck taxis) and arrived windblown and cranky, ready to teach. My classroom lacked A/C and a fan and I roasted in the stale oven air. The walls were barren and there was no textbook. I had to create all of my materials back at the training center.

The students wore uniforms. The girls wore a blue skirt and a white blouse. The boys wore brown shorts and collared white shirts. They would wai (bow with hands in prayer position) shoeless, as they entered the room as a sign of respect for the teacher. Discipline problems are almost non-existent. They stand up to answer when asked a question. In Thailand teachers rank just below the King and Buddhist monks in social status. A far cry from my teaching days in gangs ridden Riverside County, California!

I completed my student teaching on Tuesday. Geetha started hers today. Now all I have left is phonology and grammar. Stuff I havent thought about since grade school. If I even thought about it then. Its intensive.

In the evenings we go for walks, read books, prepare our lessons and go to the restaurants. Every Monday there is a night market where you can get cheap wares and prepared foods. The mango sticky rice is the best. The fruit is unbelievable! You can purchase rambutan, durian, custard apple, longan, mango, pomelo, dragon fruit, coconut, watermelon, papaya, and of course, bananas.

In December, Geetha and I hope to go to London and visit some of her family. While weve in the area I figure we might as well head over to Dublin and partake of the nectar of the gods, Guinness made in its homeland.

As a result, I had a mission to fulfill and walked to the night market last night. I walked in and one of the vendors offered me a shot of his whiskey. Again, I declined because I had something to accomplish. I bought a pair of jeans and a hat. Not just an ordinary hat, but the kind you always see James Joyce wearing as he smokes his pipe and ponders whatever he ponders. Itll be perfect for wearing while I sip on the black stuff.

While I was there I spotted a food stall selling something I had been looking for. Deep-fried insects! Two gorgeous Thai girls were standing in line. They were wearing tight short shorts and standing in their cocked Thai girl stance ordering a bag load of grasshoppers. I couldnt help but think of the farangs that come here to rent those kinds of girls for the night. I wondered how they would feel if they saw their fate munching on a deep fried cricket. Or how they would react if they discovered a small bit of grasshopper leg lodged in their lovers teeth! It was irony come to life. I lined up behind them. The stall was offering crickets, grasshoppers, beetles, and grubs. The grubs seemed to be most popular. I ordered a bag. They set me back 10 baht. The Thai girls smiled at me, a few more gathered around to see the farang buying grubs. I was a 10-minute celebrity.

My friend Callan and I have a deal between us that well eat something weird whenever we go to a new place. Last time it was birds nest drink, made from the nests of swallows, in Singapore. My friend Seth, whom I met here in class, also has the same philosophy. Seth had already tried grasshoppers.

I bit into one and swallowed. It tasted nutty. I tried another one. Not bad. But Ive had enough. I tossed the rest out. At least Ive given them a try. I washed them down with a salty drink that I couldnt identify. It tasted like tamarind or something. I bought a sweet pastry filled with coconut and sugar and walked the 3km back to school.

100 cc motor scooters, like the kind I wanted as a kid, whiz by carrying 3 and 4 passengers at a time. They pass by and scream Hello! and try to practice their English. Its a daily occurrence.

I just finished my work for the day. We learned about the phonemic alphabet, rhythm, stress and intonation when speaking. We started working on transcribing a tape into phonemic representation.

Tomorrow well head to Chantaburi, a small town on the Cambodian border. Its supposed to have an interesting mix of Thai, French, and Vietnamese influence left over from various occupations and immigrations. Well catch a songthaew into the nearest city, Rayong, and from there get a bus.

Right now Im tired of thinking about diphthongs and bilabial plosives. Im about to head to the beach and drink a couple of beer Chang with my friend Seth. Like me, hes always up for a beer. Especially when the sun is setting, especially on the beach.

Wednesday, May 14, 2003

Note From Malaysia
By Matt Salleh

Sitting here drinking my Jittery Joes freshly ground coffee... Seth
brought me a pound-o-beans from the states.. man.. excellent stuff... Also
listening to Radiohead.. a new purchase from Chinatown upon Seth's
recommendation.. for US$1 I coudn't argue!

Seth also brought a nice bottle of single malt scotch from the Isle of
Jura somewhere off the coast of Scotland I presume.. living it up!

We made it back from Phuket and Krabi with no hitches..

We flew in.. stayed in Phuket town for the night, next morning caught a
ferry to the mainland.. Ao Nang.. hired another boat after lunch to
take us out snorkeling. Came back, stared at the gorgeous waitress for dinner,
had a few beer Chang and caught a taxi to the Holy Land Bungalow, a
secluded little private beach and bungalow about 10 minutes from Ao Nang.. which
is also about as close to Railey Beach etc (never made it to Railey
etc..)we met up with Thom Henley and discussed the Reefs to Rainforest trip for
April, ironed out some details..

next morning we got a truck taxi to the coast and did some sea kayaking
on Hong Island.. white bellied sea eagles, crabs, tons of fish,
epiphytes.. gorgeous scenery.. we kayaked to a 'hidden' cove with our guides,
bought some freshly caught squid and crab from the local fisherman and headed
to the beach.. smoked the fresh catch on the beach... ate, had a few beer
Chang and clove cigarrettes, snorkeled a bit more and headed back home.. went
back to Ao Nang and ate some pancakes from a street vendor before dinner..
went back to the same restaraunt and stared at the same tall, dark, long
haired gorgeous waitress.. who,by now, was friendly and smiling back.. more
beer chang, bought some Mekong whiskey and got a taxi back to the Holy

we were the only guests that night.. so we ate yet another dinner with the
owners.. fresh fish, sticky rice and rice noodles.. they also had some
plants on the table they were eating.. when we asked what it was they
said 'PAK' which means vegetable.. there were several kinds unidentifiable..
but damn good.. we ended up getting drunk with the owner who is a 33 year
old Thai woman.. she's pretty wealthy and a rarity by SE Asian standards (
a woman in charge).. she was sweet, but the conversation was awkward and
broken.. Seth and I drifted off to blissful, Mekong whiskey sleep after
we stumbled back to our bungalows..

the next morning we caught a ride into Krabi town and serendipity
smiled on us as we wandered into a restaruant.. none of them understood my best
Thai, which consists of asking for water, Pad Thai, Som Tom or Tom Yam.. it
turns out they were Chinese-Thai and only spoke Chinese.. and it was a dim
sum house.. man it was the best food of the trip.. since they couldn't
understand us they just brought us the works.. about 10 types of dim
sum (mostly pork).. so damn tasty! Next we bussed back to Phuket town..
got a foot massage and caught the plane back to KL..

not bad for a 4 day adventure huh?

Now I'm back to school.. Seth has caught a train back to Thailand.. up
to Chang Mai.. he spent a few days here exploring KL (China Town, Little
India, KL towers etc..).. I envy that trip..

I've got a trip up to Cameron Highlands planned.. another stay at
Father's Guest House.. and a trip to Tasek Bera planned.. both planned for the
last 2 weekends this month..

I learned a good lesson the other day...

we took the 1st grade out to the outdoor classroom.. we got rained on..
we live in a rainforest right? It's tropical..

well, the elementary principal FREAKED OUT! He couldn't believe I used
such bad judgement and took the kids out and got wet! WEll.. the kids LOVED
it! So did the moms who went.. how often do they get to go out into the
rainforest in the rain? It was,in fact, a defining moment for some
kids.. when they do something out of the ordinary.. something fun... something

Anyway, the bottom line was.. he was wrong.. he himself was judging the
situation from a perception (that it was dangerous).. not a reality..
there NEVER was any danger.. getting wet isn't dangerous, it's FUN.. the kind
of fun kids crave!! it was the end of the day.. and there was no harm

I realized a few things..

1) He needs a little re-education himself.. as well as some experiences
outdoors.. I think he doesn't have any background in that..

2) I'm no longer working with other outdoor oriented professionals.. to
any of us.. it wouldn't have been worth a mention.. just another day at
work.. getting rained on, snowed on.. fallling down.. getting back up.. it's
all part of it..

3) my mission to get kids outside, get them to expand their comfort
zone.. has to start with the adults.. only 1 mom complained (she wasn't out
on the trail with us.. and she's the type that would wear high heels and
lipstick out hiking..) I made a point to talk to all the other mom's that were
actually on the trail.. they praised the experience..

so go figure..

then I wondered?

1) would he have freaked out if we were out playing soccer and it
rained on us and we had to leave the field and we got wet in the process?
Probably not.. but because we were in the forest.. he FREAKED OUT! (the outdoor
classroom and 'forest' are only 150 meters from the school I might

Anyway, I thought that was the purpose of the outdoor classroom.. to
see and do things you can't do in the safety and comfort of the box...

something to think about!

take care!
YHP- Post It Poet
by Matt Salleh

I’ve decided that the world needs more poetry.

I recently attended a funeral and a wedding. On both occasions poetry was recited to invoke the human spirit, albeit for different purposes. I asked myself if those should be the only two times in life when people spout poetry. The answer was a resounding NO.

But what to do?

Give people poetry. Disposable poetry with no strings attached. Poems that could be found in any location, at any time, completely unexpected with no author, no gratification and no criticism. A pure art form. I was sure it would change the world somehow, at least for a few people.

I came up with a plan. I’m not sure when the Muses presented the idea to me. I’m not sure how it evolved. But to me, it was ingenious.

I would write poems on Post-It notes and leave them in random locations throughout the city. The Muses were smiling. I set to work. I procured a bunch of Post-Its from work. I sauntered to Jittery Joe’s 5- points, ordered myself a coffee and set to work. I wrote tons of poems. Some were placed immediately. Others were kept in my man-purse for use at a later time, whenever I might be in a new locale and in need of a random Post-It poem.

On those small sheets of yellow paper I wrote things like:

A Post-It from Buddha
Crush my bones and
filter me into a pot.
Make me into a cup of
spiritual coffee
Drink me to awaken your
body and mind.

-Post-It Poet
(posted on the bottom of a coffee mug at Blue Sky)


Of All Things innate in Humans
to eat
and know the Holy

-Post-It Poet
(rolled up in the toilet paper at Espresso Royale)


here you are.
You are a poem.

-Post-It Poet
(posted on the mirror of Jittery Joe’s bathroom)


awaits time.
A Poem
This life

-Post-It Poet
(posted on a phone booth downtown)
For Jessica
By Skald

I cried and wailed for you--- bit my lips, shook my head, crouched and tied myself into fetal knots, but nothingóabsolutely nothingócan soothe this loss. I struggle for words but all mine end in platitudes. Iím devastatedÖ but that word means nothing compared to this experience.

I looked around your funeral and saw a horde of diminished livesÖ.so much sufferingÖ so many regretsÖ so many doubts. They cried about things theyíd said or things left unsaid. I saw confusionÖ. people gibbering on the edge of madness asking, ìwhy, why, why, why, why?î. I saw people whoíd remained close to you-- people whoíd drifted away. I saw, and felt, pain.

I saw people just like meócrying because your light is gone from our lives. This canít be realÖ the horror of your death is impossible to understand. Of all people, why you? And why your sweet Heather (who had your irresistible eyes and irrepressible spirit) Ö and why Benjamin (who had such a divine sweetness). This cannot be real because my mind can make no sense of it.

I cannot comprehend the finality of these events and cannot bear its consequences. I still hope to call you on the phone and tell you about my travelsÖ and hear the latest about your children, Jon, and our old friends. I want to do this, but I canít.

Thicht Naht Hahn wrote, ì A wave on the ocean has a beginning and an end, a birth and a death. But the wave is full of water. If a wave only sees its form, with its beginning and end, it will be afraid of birth and death. But if the wave sees that it is water, identifies itself with water, then it will be free. Each wave is born and is going to die, but the water is free from birth and death. So too are weî. I hope this is true.

But you are gone now and I have no hope. I donít believe that healing is possible. I donít believe your death can be accepted.

I have no hopeÖ and yet I search for it. I feel that healing is doomed and yet I pray for healing. I want to sink into despair and surrender but I fight for meaning instead; because I donít have to guess what you would say to usóI know what you would say because your life shouted it with thunderous clarityÖ you would tell us to live with the pain and live with the doubt, but live nonetheless. You would tell us to live with joy, with love. Youíd tell us to never surrender to despair. You would not equivocate in the face of tragedy. You never did.

I remember that you never gave into despair, never turned to cynicism, never embraced pessimism, never used pain as an excuse to harden. Your life leaves no ambiguity. We know how you lived, and we know what you would say.

I remember that your joy could not be suppressed and a thousand sorrows could not diminish it. You had a manic energy that buoyed everyone in your vicinityónone could resist or oppose you.

I remember you throwing water balloons from rooftops and grinning like an angel.

I remember you dancing like a dervish in a blue dress-- your green eyes flashing, your dress hem spinning wildly.

I remember your sunflower hat and rainbow high tops.

I remember you shooting a crossbow and dancing a jig when you hit your target.

I remember you holding snakes, feeding owls, rescuing possum.

I remember you hanging upside-down from a rappelling rope, laughing and grinning and scaring me witless.

I remember parties at Gilís when youíd crank Led Zeppelin and shake your golden hair- you bounced and shook the floorboards.

I remember the awe struck look in Charlesí eyes whenever he looked at you.

I remember the sadness you disguised with laughter.

I remember the sweetness of your smile when you discussed Jonathan.

I remember my own dark lurking presenceó your sad patience with my jealous rantingsóthe resignation in your voice, the frustration in your eyes.

I remember your late night sewing sessions at the villaÖ talking manicallyÖ listening with wide eyes.

I remember your irresistible energy. I remember your fierce hip checks during toli gamesÖ and the time you drug down Scott Ennis during a football match (he smiled sheepishly as we laughed).

I remember you screaming your lungs out at Rush concerts.

I remember that you grew wild gardens full of herbs.

I remember that you sawÖ you touchedÖ and you listened.

I remember that you were honest (though some called you ìtactlessî). You were forgiving (though some called you ìfoolishî). You were kind (though some called you ìsoftî). And you were optimistic (though some called you ìromanticî). You ignored the cynics.

I remember that you were never guarded, never smug, never cool. Your moves were not studied, your words were not rehearsed, your love was not demanding. You never tried to impress and thus you impressed everyone you encountered. In your presence we all became romantics. You made people better. You made me better.

You are gone now, but we are all thinking of you.

When I think of you my first thought is of sunflowers. You used to have a green floppy hat with a yellow sunflower on the front. You had a sunflower heart tooóbright, open, vibrant.

Maybe we should have filled the funeral home with sunflowers. For me it was nearly unbearable- the pain was too much. Yet my eyes continued to drift to the back cornerÖ to the cluster of bright balloons. I smiled despite the pain.

In our shock and horror we had to wail and cry and moan and weíll continue to do so for a long time. But maybe someday we can gather again- when we are able- and truly celebrate your life. Perhaps weíll wade in sunflowers and fill the room with balloons and wear floppy hats. Weíll let our dogs and children run and weíll let the sun shine on our hairÖ and weíll think of you and your beautiful smile. And weíll smile too.

I canít do that now, but I want to because I know itís what you would do. Maybe on that day weíll forgive the people who have wronged us. Maybe weíll be honest instead of tactful and warm instead of cool. Maybe weíll give without expectation. Maybe weíll love without trying to love and be good without trying to be good; and for that day weíll remember the child-like sweetness that most of us have forgotten. Weíll forget cynicism and abandon guile.

We will be like youófeisty and aliveÖ and weíll forget how weíre supposed to act and act as we always should.

I hope weíll give you the memorial that you truly deserveóthe one that, in our pain, we cannot give now. I hope weíll forget ourselves and be more like you, because your life is the only memorial that is good enough.

On that day, in the future, weíll remember you and forget our loss. And by remembering you we will also remember that our jobs donít matter, that our egos are a burden, that there are no rules and no commandments, and that there is no religion and no philosophy but love.

I hope weíll play games on that day and dance, because youíd like that too.

You are gone now, but I know that this is not goodbye. We will meet again; until then Iíll continue to think of sunflowers-- and remember you.

Tuesday, May 13, 2003

A Benefit of the Hobopoet Life
Next week I'm off to do a ten day Vipassana Meditation retreat (fellow Hobopoet Todd/Sky will also be doing the retreat). Having the freedom and flexibility to take this sort of time off is what the Hobopoet life is all about. Though employed, I don't have to worry about vacation time, sick leave, or all that non-sense. I simply told my employers when I would be out of town and took the time without pay... with this lifestyle, that's no hardship.

In the past I would have "asked permission" to take time off... like some damned child going to mommy and daddy. But my increased freedom means that Im not afraid of being fired (and in fact I would have quit if I my employers "forbade" me to leave). So I'm still working part-time but I have much more freedom AND my dignity remains in tact.

That said, I am very curious/excited about the Vipassana retreat, as it will be my first. I'm also a little intimidated... as it will be 10 straight days of nothing but meditation. Still, I am thrilled to finally be doing this. My vision of the Hobopoet life has always been one of spiritual practice and creativity. I envision a clan of modern pilgrim-poets.... wandering the world, pursuing their life's vision, writing, painting, meditating, learning, exploring. I haven't done much of this this year, as my energies were focused on adapting to life in the van and adapting to life with very little money.

But now I have adapted and am finally ready to more fully enjoy the fruits of the Hobopoet life!!

Sky and I will report on the retreat next month.

Sunday, May 04, 2003

Our "Skalds Guild"

Wanderers, poets, sorcerer-shamans, warriors, freemen. In viking times "skalds" wandered the world from Scotland to the Middle East... composing poetic sagas for kings and peasants. Some drifted endlessly... others settled for a time, perhaps serving as court poet to some local chieftain.

The skalds delved into sorcery and rune-craft.... ever searching for the spiritual and the mysterious. They followed signs and omens. They sought visions. They meditated.

They lived simply-- always ready to move on. They valued self-reliance and were fiercely independant-- refusing to swear allegiance to any king (though many received patronage from rulers eager for word-fame or counsel).

Though beholden to no one they did form alliances-- a guild in fact-- a Skalds Guild. They met and exchanged stories. They travelled together and hosted one another in their homes. They swapped poems and shamanic practices. They came to the aid of poets in need. They shared intelligence, secrets, and practices learned from the worlds they travelled. They recruited and trained new skalds--passing on their knowledge.

Announcing the formation of a new guild of Skalds!! We will wander the world in search of visions and satoris!
Grand Jubilee
Hakim Bey

In the ancient Hebrew tradition, Jubilee was celebrated every fiftieth year. It was supposed to be a great festival of social leveling, a time when all debts were cancelled, lands were returned to their traditional inhabitants, slaves and prisoners were set free, all taxes were suspended, fields lay fallow, gleaning rights were extended to all, people quit their labors and joined in all manner of feasting and revelry.

Those with a mundane and practical turn of mind will protest that the feasting could not have gone on for long, with no one in the fields or the kitchens.

We will complicate your distress. Since Jubilee was proclaimed for one year every fifty, and since there has not been a proper Jubilee in the five hundred years since the European invasion of the Americas began, we are proclaiming a Grand Jubilee of ten years duration.

And now, regarding your mundane concerns, we refer you to Charles Fourier's theory of "attractive labor," which suggests that in a convivial and harmonious social environment many of the activities we tend to think of as hard labor become a kind of playful celebration for those who are inclined towards them. We don't pretend to have solved all of the problems of alienated labor, particularly in a world which appears to have lost even imaginative alternatives to the planetary work machine. But we think things may yet find a way of working themselves out. We all certainly feel worked out.

Of course, there may be people quite unable to hear and heed the trump of Jubilee, unfortunates so damaged by the machines of work and war that they mistake the ticking of the time-clock for the beating of their own hearts. They might go on working, oblivious to the good times rolling on around them. Much of the work they continue to do is quite useless - often even very harmful. Perhaps they can be subtly steered toward more suitable machines.

In any case, full zerowork is what is called for, and we're not backing down from that goal. A Jubilee is a Jubilee. The Bible said it! We believe it! That settles it!

Bathing While Car Living
My most sublime joy, during hobo experiment #1, was bathing in the river. I'd seen people doing this in India all the time but never realized how wonderful it was. After a sweaty game of Ultimate Frisbee I'd rush over to the Broad River... carry a towel and some Bronners soap... and walk out onto the rocks. The water was cool but not too cold... a refreshing wake-up call in fact!

I bathed and rinsed quickly to avoid detection... but would often sit for a long time in the water and watch the sky, the trees, the birds. On several occaisons I saw a large heron swoop gracefully down the length of the river. The sun was hot on my face, the water cool,... the trees danced in the breeze. I felt connected to it all. And so I had the sense of purifying my mind while washing my body. These river-baths are one of my fondest memories of that summer.

Obviously, such a technique is not suitable (for me anyway) in colder weather. So I've developed some other options. First is the sponge bath. I bought a sponge and a quick drying towel. I hide these in a bookbag and carry them into a public restroom... one that can be locked. I then strip down and take a sponge bath... using the sink. I try to squeeze the excess water back into the sink, though the floor inevitably gets quite wet. Once I dry off and re-dress, I use paper towels to soak up the water I have splashed around. Its important to clean up afterward in order to avoid detection and complaints... after all... you will want to come back again.

Another option is the super-speed outdoor method. I put on a bathing suit, park my car in a hidden area, and then use the water in my two gallon storage container. I prop this container on the roof of the van and then pour a bit over my body. I soap up and then use the rest of the water to rinse. In cool/cold temperatures its best to warm the water... either by filling up with hot water somewhere.... or by putting the storage container near a heat vent in the car (while driving... it can take some time for this method to work). After rinsing I strip off the bathing suit, wring it out, quickly towel off... then jump into the van to get dressed. A camping "sun shower" could also be used for this method... they are designed to heat up when put in the sun (on a dashboard for example). These are available from campmor or from most mega-mart stores.

Finally, there is the luxury method-- a gym membership. This is the method I am now using, as I am currently working. My gym is open 24 hours a day so I can shower/shave any time I want. This is a great option for people who are working or who have significant savings. And hell, you might even get in better shape.