running errands

smallish steps 
(tiny little miniscule footfalls toward living in a way that actually makes sense)

#4 running errands.

lately i've been feeling a little short on hours. this idea definitely helped.

when i exercise, it's commonly by running; and usually all that running is done in the neighborhoods around my house. i also tend to shop at the market on hilyard, which is pretty conveniently half a mile away. so i took my run at night, and picked up groceries on my way back.

it is a little weird walking around the grocery store a little sweaty and wearing workout clothes... but i like to think of it as a great potential conversation starter. a lot of people run in my neighborhood, but even if they didn't, it's not really that big of a deal.

this is a super convenient way to save time (one trip instead of two) and energy (no bus or cars involved). do you have a market near your house? try it out! : )



it has long been my intention to read stuff. i wanted to earn the prestige of being a casual reader... and i wanted to be smart too.

i longed to be a quasi-academic consumer of info, and began (almost) daily turning my attention to such renowned gems as google news and the new york times. lately, however, i've taken recourse to focus on my followship of the blogs of a couple of friends.

'why so backslidden?' you may ask.

i don't know. but reading local is surely good for your brain, and there's a lot fewer pesticides for sure! check out these wonderful willamette valley writers:

the substance of one step big shot is a scavenger hunt for visual art in eugene, oregon. osbs's jordan eddy is a student of the uo school of journalism and communication and now blogs for the on-campus jordan schnitzer museum of art. jordan certainly has an eye for enthralling images, and some pretty great suggestions for what they might mean to the reader.

natalie brooke photography centers around the photographic adventures of one natalie poindexter, formerly of eugene, or. documented in these pictures are not only geographically disparate novelties, but also culinary adventures and serendipitously captured journalistic shots. natalie has a sharp focus on human-centered portrayals; watching people react, while the world spins behind them.

i don't know anything about wished upon a sun, but it's lovely. the author is somewhere, from the looks of things, the author is somewhere in corvallis, or. come claim your blog! you have lovely poetry, and a funny little tendency to repost the silliest little bits of nostalgia.


old ideas

parmenides was so stoned
that he survived ensuing centuries
in statue form. (image: wikimedia)
mr. arola asserted today that "the idea that history is getting better and moving forward has only existed since the enlightenment."

this highlights another of the major perspective rearrangements that have occurred to me recently: a realization that my patterns of thinking, my notions of correctness, and even my ideas of what constitutes a truth are drawn from and contiguous with historical movements of culture and philosophy.

this realization not only encompasses the substance of the things i think about but also their framing. "i think, therefore i am" just like descartes. but i learned today that i also conceive of that "am," that being, in a sense that is concerned with exclusivity.  i assume that something that is contains in its definition the qualities of being exclusively opposed to everything that isn't (correspondence theory).

lately i've been thinking about the vast and seemingly never-ending inventory of cultural arbitrations with which i have framed the world. here are a few that i've noticed so far:

  • positivism - wikipedia calls this the collection of "epistemological perspectives and philosophies of science which hold that the scientific method is the best approach to uncovering the processes by which both physical and human events occur." i keep hearing that its modern form was developed in the 19th century... does this mean that my way of conceiving of the world, something i thought inherent to all human beings is less than 300 years old?! perplexing.
  • capitalism - no, not just capitalism, but a fun little strain i like to call neocapitalism. this is the idea that community is best served, individuals are best protected, and resources are best managed by a sizable oligarchical governing body. until recently, i assumed that this notion was well believed by any sensible person. cultural precedents may have had a lot to do with that...
  • theism - the assertion that a personal god actively engages with the universe. "theism... conceives of [g]od as personal, present and active in the governance and organization of the world and the universe." (thank you wikipedia) while i am not against the idea of theism per se, i am in conflict with my old ideas about theism. i have previously naively assumed that everyone in their lifetime comes to a knowledge of something called "the sovereignty of God," and those that claimed that this notion is not the best description of the known and unknown universe were simply in denial.
so there are a couple of examples of how i can trace what i thought were the inherent facts of life and the obvious ways of thinking about it back to historical movements and specific schools of thought. i now have a harder time excusing a thought process or an action as "simply human," because there are and have been millions of smarter people who thought a lot differently. go figure...

smallish steps 
(tiny little miniscule footfalls toward living in a way that actually makes sense)

adventure coasters (c. 2011 ce)
#3 functional art.

the epic of the adventure coasters must not be lost to man! i will tell of an ancient house, a place of learning (and also a place of trying to learn while someone plays loud rap music in the next room). herein there were no coasters. the residents yearned for coasters as they yearned to write their parents and yearned to take out the trash. basically: they yearned a lot.

but at least three brave residents engineered a plan: they would build that everyone was always yearning for. and stuff. two of these residents broke out their shredded magazines and used stamps. they slew the monsters in their heads that told them they should be doing their homework. it was time.

they cut up some cardboard squares, and began to paste the snowboard magazine images of yesteryear on city maps, ticket stubs and old-school decorative envelope fragments. they worked into the night. "adventure is out there!" quoth one. it was pretty cool.

a tragic hipster works furiously (and tragically)
to engineer a cozy coffee coaster.
adventure coasters: they could happen to you.

smallish step #3! cook up some functional art
cost: paste($), lamination ($), and a little time : )
benefits: form, function, decoration and fun!


card tricks

flickr: @stewtopia
i have adam arola (this guy) for ancient philosophy class this term. first lecture, he made the statement that "the willingness to admit ignorance is the condition of learning."

i could not have learned a more difficult lesson over these past few years. my worldview, what i described three years ago as a precariously balanced house of cards has full-on collapsed, and left me in absolute shock and wonder.

i have since set out to see if there was anything left of me. maybe there is, and maybe i'll come to see how that shifty-sunken house was only a game i was fiddling with, an elaborate card trick i was playing on myself. then again, maybe not.

smallish steps 
(tiny little miniscule footfalls toward living in a way that actually makes sense)

jt. this was not his most full-color day.
#2 baking together

while being efficient with my time is definitely a goal, it's nowhere near the top of the list. more than anything right now, my focus is on developing good relationships with people by serving them and sharing life with them.

so jt and i slightly modified a scone recipe. we began a-baking with enthusiasm and candor (and coconut oil)!

"the consistency is off," i observed. "i'll be right back." i sprinted to laurel's room and stole her hair dryer, certain that a couple minutes beneath the heat would amend our pastries' awkward texture.

as it turns out, the substitution of key ingredients in the making of our scones greatly affected the outcome of this little culinary adventure... but who's to say for the worse or the better?! we soon had a plateful of extra-crumbly dairy-free scones to share with our housemates. who could ask for more?
smallish step #2? find a friend. make some shareable food.
cost: baking supplies (a little $)
benefits: a great time with friends, scones a-plenty!

these super-yummy scones are almost never
frizzy after they shower.
p.s. check out jt's blog!


back to

... commitment and routine, but not back to stress and confusion.
back to schedules and timelines, but not back to loathsome mundanities.

we in the oregon university system are back to school. the term structure (weird, i know) has got us doing ten weeks of condensed lectures, excerpted readings and value-packed discussion sections.

this summer:
i traveled as a homeless wanderer across the states, observing the mad realities of my culture. seriously, i thought to myself. this is depressing.

shoving those italics aside, i rushed and stumbled back to oregon equipped with a cursory knowledge of the specifics of survivalist dumpster-diving and excited for the possibilities that home-ful-ness would afford me.

maybe i can live in a way that's not so arbitrarily wasteful and lonely... maybe we all can.

smallish steps 
(tiny little miniscule footfalls toward living in a way that actually makes sense)

#1 hanging out the laundry.

in ithaca, where my silly little barefoot self realized the
benefits of more efficient laundrification
(and not in the urban dictionary sense of the word).
there was a super obvious discrepancy between the way i thought about laundry and the way i was actually cleaning my clothes. but it took a change of circumstance to motivate me to be creative in this area.  the circumstatntial shift occurred when i was dirt-poor and homeless in ithaca, n.y.

i realized upon entering a local laundrypalce that i had loads of time on my hands, and very little money. it didn't any longer make sense in this situation for me to pay a time-saving machine to clean my laundry for me.

i borrowed some laundry soap, and set to it, cleaning my clothes in the utility sink, before wringing them out to the best of my ability. in this specific situation, it was expedient for me to use the dryers, making sure to conserve quarters for coffee money as i went.

another common sense thing that hadn't occurred to me was a strategy for dealing with the time i spent waiting for my clothes to dry. i pulled out a couple magazines, and started to read about the struggle for social justice (inefficiency diminished).

since coming back to eugene, i've found that it makes more sense to dry my clothes under the eaves of my house. it saves me a couple dollars a week (plus a lot of previously wasted energy), and, contrary to popular opinion, the hobos don't steal them while they're drying. as an added bonus, my clothes smell like the autumn air. they even dry when it's raining out, so long as they don't blow out from under the eaves.

step number one? do smart(er) laundry.



right now i feel as if mysticism is the only kind of spirituality that could ever make sense. any assertion of transcendent truth will inevitably step on toes, ruffle feathers, and cause violence.

hand-me-down truth claims have emerged as epistemological car crashes in the ambiguous turn lanes we somehow left unmarked.

... and then it occurred to me that judaism and christianity are perfectly adjusted means of atheism, two towers of systematized didactic addenda for the cryptic musings of an enigmatic God.

and then it occurred to me that i could be wrong. what do you think?



are there unseen and misunderstood happenings? it seems likely. some have speculated that there are ten dimensions, see:

could the factors that determine the outcomes of out lives be transcendent of the surface of a largely arbitrary social consensus? it's very likely that they are. "god" and "karma" are both examples of extrasocial explanations of the working of the universe (natural selection too!). we can imagine something bigger, and thus our intellects are liberated from the arbitration of our eras.

we are free to think bigger thoughts and live smaller lives (in our own estimations). we are at ease to commit horrible atrocities, armed with the knowledge that tar, feathers and public opinion aren't really hell. maybe there is no hell. maybe there is. it is in this line of reasoning that we can start to expect to wobble and/or soar, perhaps crash-landing with excellence on the rocks of impassioned indifference. ingenuity may thrive and frustration may abound.

we have slipped the grasp of moralism, sink or swim.

we can learn to love, only to be mocked for the sentiment, chained half-willingly to the outside of society, spit on by the unsuspecting, with the keys heavy in our back pockets. the powers that be and the powers that want to be have in common that they fail to recognize the value of helplessness. what is regarded as pathetic in this life may be of infinite value in a contemporary eternity.

to that effect jesus is quoted as saying "unless you change and become like little children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven."

can i launch into a discourse now on how to be childlike in your living? i asked myself that, while i was thinking about writing this. i can't, but i want you and i, reader, to understand why so many do:

  • not everyone knows what it is like to be a child. for instance, my thoughts were fear-motivated as far back as i can remember. i discovered wonder and ecstatic abandon somewhere around age 15.
  • the childlike experience is by no sense uniform. scholars may be hard-pressed to determine and communicate the specific of this quote, and many others like it. it's very unclear, but many demand clear answers.

i am of the opinion that it is a pathetic tendency to focus on the acquisition of physical objects. i believe the current wisdom is: ' you can't take it with you when you go.' that's an incomplete reality: you can't take it with you ever. while i can't speak authoritatively of the spiritual realm, your physical belongings can leave any moment. surely you recognize that there are forces beyond your control.

perhaps it is equally grotesque and pointless to engineer and entertain notions of a fantastic afterlife in which all things will be made right, and all persons set in order.

"the kingdom of heaven is within [among] you."

well, is it?