March is Trump Indicted
If you have read this blog for a long time, you may have noticed i name my months. This is inspired by the revelation that the Slavic languages do not name their months after Greek and Roman gods, but rather important things happening in the natural world around them.
And every so often when i am feeling reckless and clever i will name the month after a forecast of something which i think will happen. In February of 2011, i predicted Egyptian dictator Mubarak would fall. He did. In October of 2011, I predicted the closed reactor at North Anna, shuttered by an earthquake, would not restart and i got this one right as well. In May of 2012, i correctly predicted Japan would close all its reactors. In March 2011 and Sept 2011 i predicted Lybia’s Qaddafi falling and got it wrong, tho he did fall in Oct 2011, so i was pretty close.
In August of 2012, i predicted Syria’s dictator Assad would fall. I was completely wrong, and he reigns comfortably today.
I’ve waited two years to make the leap, but i am calling this March “Trump Indicted”. And i actually have placed a $100 bet on this with my old friend Amanda.
Why do i think Trump will be indicted this month particularly? Well, when i first made the guess it was based largely on the progress of the District Attorney Fanni Willis of Fulton County Georgia, who late in January said, “decisions are imminent ” in the Georgia election fraud case (where Trump said “find me 11,780 votes”). She said this when asking a judge to wait on releasing the grand jury report, because it might adversely affect the criminal case against Trump and others.
I was recently alerted to the effort by the Georgia legislature (which passed some of the most racist and restrictive voting laws in the nation after Jan 6th, with the intention of giving the legislature the power to throw out the popular vote in future election) to allow it to actively interfere in state criminal investigations like the Trump investigation in Fulton County. In the worst case, these criminal charges against Trump, recommended for indictment by two grand juries might get dropped if Georgia governor Brian Kemp signs this bill (approved by the lower houses) into law.
And since i have made this prediction, new developments in the Manhattan case against Trump’s crimes connected with the payoff of hush money to Stormy Daniels may have put reluctant DA Alvin Bragg at the front of the list of possible indicting state attorneys. Specifically, Bragg has invited
Trump in to answer grand jury questions in the hush money case. This is not a subpoena, which is largely useless because of 5th amendment protections. And it is unlikely Trump will choose to testify, but this step of inviting the likely target of an investigation to answer questions for the grand jury (before being charged), is an excellent indicator that this case is ready for trial, because the DA would not do this until all the other evidence is processed.
The hush money case will focus on the testimony of former Trump fixer Michael Cohen who has already done 3 years in prison for these crimes he admitted to. Because Trump sloppily tried to take the repayment of Cohen as a business expense for legal services, this relatively minor business fraud charge might then also acquire an additional tax fraud component. But this entire case is viewed as somewhat extraordinary, and might not go forward for political reasons.
And given all the other tremendous illegal things Trump has done (conspiring to overthrow the government, endless emoluments violations, stashing secret documents, threatening elected leaders both domestic and international, and more) it feels like a cheap shot to go after such a relatively small charge given his large and impressive collection of crimes.
There are other criminal investigations of Trump. Most importantly, perhaps, are the two being handled by Special Counsel Jack Smith. The first is the basically open and shut case of Trump stealing classified documents and then refusing to give them back when caught. The law is clear, his violations are clear, he was given lots of chances to cooperate, and he blew it off completely, making public statements admitting his guilt and basically demanding the stolen documents be returned.
The other case is the conclusion of the Jan 6 insurrection charges. This is a very complex case, where literally hundreds of people have already been tried, and most of them convicted, of storming the Capitol following Trump’s request. This case is complex, because it involves conspiracy charges, which require proving both intent and an organizing effort by multiple people. Important convictions of Oath Keepers and Proud Boys are the building blocks for this case. And what may well be happening is Special Counsel Smith is waiting until both cases are completed before indicting Trump on either. This could easily put the Department of Justice indictments off until 2024.
It is worth pointing out that Trump has already gotten away with a tremendous number of crimes, which he is not being punished for. The Muller Report famously provided a complete road map for indicting Trump on 10 counts, including multiple obstruction of justice charges. Nothing seems to be being done with this collection of crimes. Alvin Bragg stopped the process for indicting Trump and the Trump organization in the Manhattan district, which led to two of his top prosecutors resigning in protest.
Trump has been exonerated for emoluments crimes because he was no longer in office, despite ample evidence he is guilty. It is worth pointing out that Trump and his corrupt Justice Department did everything they could to slow these cases in the courts until after he was out of office and could dodge responsibility. Trump’s unusual frequency of law breaking has been one of his shields.
And Trump is breaking new laws every day. Recently, he said he would release everyone who had been arrested in relation to the Jan 6 insurrection. This is material support of insurrectionists, which is itself a criminal offense. And an offense which includes the option, if convicted, to bar Trump from seeking political office. He also recently wrote that Biden is hiding part of his border wall which was “sitting there waiting to be installed,” and “put it in a hiding area.” Which is not in itself illegal, just crazy.
[All the images for this post were created using OpenArt.AI using the prompt “Trump in prison surreal”. Interestingly, the new fancy DALLE 2 program rejected this prompt as too political.]
NY Times article on Ira
Feb. 1, 2023
They Call Her the Godmother of Southern Seeds for a Reason
For a quarter of a century, Ira Wallace has nurtured seeds and gardeners: ‘When you say her name in our community, all this love comes up.’ Ira Wallace, 74, has played a key role at Southern Exposure Seed Exchange for about 25 years, and is referred to by those she has mentored as a godmother.
By Margaret Roach Feb. 1, 2023 6 MIN READ
It was the allure of peanut seed that drew a big-dreaming beginning gardener to the Southern Exposure Seed Exchange catalog decades ago. I was madly imagining a zone-defying adventure with the tropical legume in my decidedly Northern plot.
What I found at Southern Exposure amounted to a lot more than mere peanuts, and way beyond the packets of collard seed and okra that I added to my order from their list of Southern specialties.
I began an education there — and at Seed Savers Exchange, and a few other like-minded catalogs that are no longer around — centered on the lesson that seeds are no mere commercial product, but the embodiment of our living history.
In those catalogs, I received encouragement, and information, to learn to grow each crop organically and save its seed, rekindling a traditional skill that empowers us to feed ourselves season after season, while helping to keep seed strains going.
For some 40 years, Southern Exposure has stewarded an ever-evolving list of regionally and culturally important seeds, now numbering around 800 varieties. And for about a quarter of a century, Ira Wallace, 74, has played a key role at the company, which has been owned since 1999 by the place she has long called home.
Peanut seed has been in the Southern Exposure catalog almost since the beginning, about 40 years ago. The Fastigiata Pin Striped variety has large, wavy pods, with nuts that have orange skins marked with purple when they’re dried.
The farm-based Acorn Community is a secular, egalitarian intentional community on 72 acres in Mineral, Va., that supports “radical sharing” and “encourages personal responsibility,” according to its website. Such ethics, and the energy forged by its communal spirit, have been assets in the face of the seed industry’s modern era of dramatic consolidation and its focus on the pursuit of patented varieties.
Four multinational giants that are also in the pesticide business now own much of the precious genetics of our agricultural crops; seed has become intellectual property.
But not here. Southern Exposure offers heirloom and open-pollinated seed, each variety with a story to tell — a link to those who grew it before, and the places it originated.
One that Ms. Wallace looks forward to each year is roselle (Hibiscus sabdariffa), a big, beautiful plant that produces “the zing in Red Zinger tea,” she said. It used to be grown in Florida, where she was raised. It’s sometimes referred to as sorrel or Jamaica sorrel; in the 1890s, it was called Florida cranberry.
Ms. Wallace screens seeds of her favorite Whippoorwill cowpea, an heirloom that traveled with enslaved Africans to the Americas and was eventually grown by Thomas Jefferson at Monticello.
‘Collaborators, Not Competitors’
Southern Exposure mails out about 80,000 catalogs each year. In 2022, it filled 52,000 orders, most to customers in the Mid-Atlantic and Southeast, with a segment of shoppers elsewhere wanting a taste of the region — as those long-ago peanuts promised me. Radiator Charlie’s Mortgage Lifter tomato, with giant fruits exceeding two pounds and sometimes reaching four, is one such headliner.
As if her role there and as the elder at Acorn were not enough, Ms. Wallace applies her seemingly inexhaustible energy to other forms of nurturing as well, and to teaching. Prepandemic, she was a Girl Scout leader and “the math lady” at the local library, using math games to engage children with numbers.
She has also mentored countless grown-ups who were curious about seed farming, helping to connect them with other growers who could share information and equipment, improving their chances of success.
She even mentors other seed companies.
Okra, a mallow family member, has been part of the Southern Exposure assortment from the start. The current catalog lists 20 varieties, including Puerto Rico Everblush — early yielding, bountiful and delicious.
Credit…Chris Smith/Utopian Seed Project
“I remember a really early conversation, where Ira told me small seed companies needed to be collaborators, not competitors,” said Chris Smith, the executive director of the Utopian Seed Project, a North Carolina-based crop-trialing nonprofit. He expressed gratitude for Ms. Wallace’s role in helping to jump-start the Heirloom Collards Project, which he is part of, and her early support of another small Southeastern specialist catalog, Sow True Seed, where he worked.
The role she has assumed has been described by many — including Ms. Wallace herself — as that of a godmother.
“When you say her name in our community, all this love comes up — a standing ovation every time, from all the young’uns and friends who sit at her feet, whom she has blessed,” said Bonnetta Adeeb, of Ujamaa Seeds. Ms. Wallace has advised Ujamaa, a collective of Black and Indigenous growers focusing on culturally relevant seed, which just introduced its second online catalog.
Witnessing this traction is joyful for Ms. Wallace, and even a little surprising, in the best way — particularly set against the backdrop of the last century’s sharp decline in Black-owned American farms, to fewer than 1 percent today.
“The seed world is a particularly white aspect of the sustainable agriculture movement,” she said. “Where Black people were coming in at all to farming was in CSAs and that aspect of the food system — not to grow seed.”
She is delighted to support Ujamaa’s young and emerging seed farmers, alongside retired educators and those in the BIPOC community who want to farm, she said: “This is definitely something I didn’t think I was going to see.”
Radiator Charlie’s Mortgage Lifter tomato, an heirloom with giant fruits that can sometimes reach four pounds, is a longtime headliner in the Southern Exposure Seed Exchange catalog.
Southern Peas, Greasy Beans and More
There are flowers and herbs in the Southern Exposure catalog, too, but it’s the traditional Southeastern vegetables whose stories pull me back every year.
This is where I met greasy beans and certain other pole beans, including Selma Zesta, whose pods remain tender even after the beans have swelled inside, providing green and protein in each mouthful.
Ms. Wallace has a special affection for the Whippoorwill pea, a Southern pea or cowpea — not the green shelling or English pea (Pisum sativum), but Vigna unguiculata, the same species as asparagus beans. Whippoorwill traveled with enslaved people from Africa to the Americas, where it was eventually grown by Thomas Jefferson at Monticello.
Move over, kale: Collards are just as versatile. The Heirloom Collard Project, whose members include Seed Savers Exchange, Southern Exposure, Ujamaa and the Utopian Seed Project, hopes to convince us all to grow some.
Credit..Chris Smith/Utopian Seed Project
Cowpeas, which grow on vines, can be shelled and eaten green or used as dry beans.
“I can’t do without them,” she said. “They remind me of my grandmother, who raised me, who always grew them, and they’re inexpensive protein. The vines build the soil, and you can feed them to your critters if you have animals on your farm. What’s not to like?”
A dozen collard varieties sport leaves ranging from green and blue-green to the yellow-green ones of Yellow Cabbage Collards, a North Carolina heirloom whose leaves form a loose head. Maybe the most striking is a variegated Florida heirloom; half of its leaves display white markings in winter.
And move over, kale: Collards are just as versatile, whether they are harvested young or fully grown, to steam or sauté; or serving as the wrapper for dolmas; or even dehydrated and crispy. The Heirloom Collard Project, whose members include Seed Savers Exchange, Southern Exposure, Ujamaa and the Utopian Seed Project, hopes to convince us to make room for a row.
The South’s population has evolved to include new immigrant communities, and the Southern Exposure list has changed accordingly. Alongside longtime regional family heirloom peppers is Pimiento Lago Agrio, an Ecuadorean sweet pepper with two-inch, pumpkin-shaped fruits.
Go Ahead, Try Some Okra
In the way that the South’s population has evolved, so has the Southern Exposure seed list. Alongside Doe Hill golden sweet bell pepper, a pre-1900 Virginia family heirloom, is Pimiento Lago Agrio, an Ecuadorean sweet pepper with two-inch, pumpkin-shaped fruits. An Acorn Community member whose mother is from Latin America volunteered with Ecuadorean seed-saver groups, forging the connection.
“We realized that, just like the European immigrants spread their versions of different vegetables around, that the current immigrants have communities and varieties,” Ms. Wallace said. “We’re trying to make that a part of the web of American heirlooms we offer.”
Many gardeners, particularly Northern ones, may not have grown a single okra (Abelmoschus esculentus), a mallow family member. It has been in Southern Exposure’s assortment from the start, as if preparing the ground for Mr. Smith, whose book, “The Whole Okra: A Seed to Stem Celebration,” became a 2020 James Beard Foundation Award winner.
The current catalog lists 20 okras, including the winner of Mr. Smith’s 2018 trial of 76 varieties, Puerto Rico Everblush — early yielding, bountiful and delicious.
“A lot are family heirlooms, like the Shows okra, which we sold out of the first year of the pandemic and just got back in,” Ms. Wallace said.
But some are “just fun,” she added, like Okinawa Pink, from Japan: “It’s such a bright pink color that kids come to it like bees to honey.”
One of Ms. Wallace’s must-have crops is the yellow potato onion, a perennial onion that Southern Exposure reintroduced in 1982, from a strain dating to before 1790.
Peanuts in Colors, Onions in Aggregate
The peanuts that first pulled me in have been there alongside okra since the start, or thereabouts — and not just familiar-looking reddish-brown ones, but those with variegated, striped and black nuts.
Also marking decades on the list are yellow potato onions (Allium cepa var. aggregatum), a favorite of Ms. Wallace’s that is also popular with customers, and is shipped out each fall as bulbs. Southern Exposure reintroduced that perennial onion in 1982, from a strain dating to before 1790. “That’s something that, every year, we never have enough of,” she said.
It’s one of her must-have crops — like a larger shallot, but with more true onion flavor. Adaptable to all of the United States, except for Florida and South Texas, its bulbs are exceptional keepers, lasting a year or longer under good storage conditions.
The last word of its Latin name, aggregatum, is a tipoff to the multiple onions that grow in aggregate — a group of individuals nested together. And one of its common names is mother onion.
Somehow it all seems to fit that this particular godmother to so many seeds, and seed people, would have a rapport with a mother plant that thrives, and produces, in community.
Margaret Roach is the creator of the website and podcast A Way to Garden, and a book of the same name.
The price of independence
Professional political campaigns at the US Senatorial level must protect themselves from the many “helpful” constituents who want to waste their precious time with their under formulated notions of how to win their race. For a quasi-independent political group like our Flip Project it is quite hard to convince the official campaign to give us any time. The lovely out-of-state volunteer campaign coordinator is happy to put all people on their door to door canvass. But if we want to do something other than that, their hands are tied. For us, the price of our independence is we need to out perform door to door canvasses.
This year, with a very short campaign duration (thank you Georgia’s new “election integrity”/ voter suppression laws), we have chosen to promote free rides to the polls as what we think our volunteers can deliver that will be the most effective way to get out votes. We are producing assets, like the Spanish language poster below, with a QR code that lands or our splash page, which gives out information on free rides (with ride services or friendly volunteers), polling locations and election protection practices.
We are scrambling to get these assets translated into almost every language, except Vietnamese which broke for Trump in the most recent presidential election. We support everyone’s right to vote, and especially we want to promote voting among non-English speaking citizens, and we promote the languages we are especially excited about. At this point, we only have enough enough money to do poster and other physical promotional materials in English and Spanish. The other languages likely to see translated assets for this election are Mandarin, Hindi, Arabic, Bangladeshi and possibly Pakistani, these will be promoted over social media by our air team. In the 2020 Georgia runoff, we did translations of election materials into 13 languages.
2020 Presidential results national results by ethnic group.
Turns out there are a bunch of studies showing the correlation between access to a car and voting. The above graph shows the somewhat shocking thing which happens in the US, and even though we might not like the behavior, we can not deny the behavior. People who don’t own cars are on the order of 30% less likely to vote than people who do have a car in their household. [What i found interesting in this, is that the absentee ballot use is basically unchanged, where i had thought people without access to cars would significantly increase their use of absentee ballots – but they don’t and instead they often simply do not vote.]
Our high tech partner in free ride share is plus1.vote and their findings shocked us a bit. They found that social media campaigns for their services were far less effective than their other techniques. One of their techniques is to use geographic and demographic data to locate prospective free ride candidates and then push the free ride directly into their Uber wallet. Then they don’t even have to mess with a promo code, they can simply push a button and they will get a free ride to the correct polling station for their pick up.
Looking for high Democrat voting with low auto ownership
We are also digging into the data to find the best places to promote free rides. There is very granular census data we have gotten for free, which combined with political data gives us the ability to look at locations in metro Atlanta which have high Democratic voter preferences and also low car ownership – the sweet spots for free ride to the polls services.
Flip Project Ground Team L to R – Paxus, Jacqueline, Vicky, Spiderman (aka Mark)
We had a lovely Thanksgiving dinner of the project staff in Georgia now (several more folks are coming up). In a beautiful coincidence, the Indian restaurant we went to dinner at overlooked the Hosia Williams Mural (seen in the background of the above picture). In 2020, we help revitalize this mural, we had a GOTV artwork competition near here and several of the current staff met for the first time in this location. For this all out-of-town group of activists, this spot feels like coming home.
There is still time to support this campaign and a significant need. I am also humbled and thankful for the many friends and family who have donated and insured that we can keep this project going. This is a very close race and perhaps our effort will be the piece that pushes us to a win, as we helped in 2020 Georgia senate runoff.
In 2020, it was obvious. We had just finished campaigning in Maine to unseat nationally unpopular Susan Collins. Our team was exhausted, but we knew control of the Senate would rest on the results of the 2 Georgia runoffs. We decided to bring part of our Maine team (and a few new friends as well) to Georgia, where we won, twice. Our calculated gamble saved us from two more years of Moscow Mitch McConnell’s gridlock.
In 2022, it is less obvious. As the smoke clears on the midterms, we know several things:
1) The polls were wrong and there was no red wave.
2) The Democrats maintained control of the US Senate.
3) It still makes sense nationally to return for this year’s Georgia runoff to get that 51st seat.
“But if we have the Senate, and the Republicans hold the House,” you might ask, “Aren’t we just looking at two years of legislative gridlock? Why bother?”
There are three main reasons.
- First off, judicial appointments are determined by the Senate, and do not require a House vote. Unlike the 50 seat situation where the VP must constantly break ties, 51 is a real majority that is harder for the endlessly obstructionist Republicans to slow down. As we know from a collection of recent judicial decisions from the reversal of Roe v Wade to letting Trump off the hook for his crimes, judges matter. Experts tell us that the 51 seat majority will significantly increase the number of federal judges who get appointed. Currently, with both parties having equal numbers on every committee, every judicial vote has to go to the full Senate where VP Harris breaks ties. With 51 seats, majority control of all committees goes to the Democrats.
- With 51 votes, we don’t have Joe Manchin as de facto president. Currently, the even 50/50 split means big legislation (like Biden’s Build Back Better bill) can be held hostage by a single Senator. This happened with Biden’s infrastructure bill, Manchin killed it and delayed passage of the much smaller package by almost a year.
Manchin protects Oil Companies profits over his constituents
- Truthfully, a bunch of these senators are quite old and one may well die during their term (and/or retire due to illness or scandal). This would spark a snap election in some states which will again determine control of the chamber, while in others the governor may appoint an interim replacement to fill the seat until the next regularly scheduled statewide general election. Some states require that the interim senator is the political party as the senator leaving office, but not all of them. The 51st seat is vital insurance that we won’t be in this bad situation yet again in a few months – or still worse.
Soooo…. We’re coming back to Georgia in force.
We’ll be drawing from a number of successful techniques learned in 2020. We aim to do things that are more effective than door to door canvassing, and reach people who might not open their door to a stranger/canvasser. How impactful? In 2020, along with our partner Block Power, our ATL VoteTree activation helped deliver 24K votes. With a 93K vote margin in the Warnock race, our collective effort represented 23% of the vote.
Like last time, our nimble boots-on-the-ground team will be guided by the Warnock campaign, nonprofit strategists, and will be well-positioned to capitalize on opportunities as they arise. We aim to deliver sticky art/music activations and blaze a path to the polls by empowering free rides to the polls in multiple languages. It’s the kind of bold, creative stuff that creates big buzz and big impact.
In the face of a cacophony of noise and profound voter fatigue, the days of knock-and-drop canvassing are over. We’re returning to Georgia to help take the Warnock campaign to the finish line.
And We. Will. Win.
We’re grateful for introductions, energy, and of course, your financial support– and for the next few days, an anonymous donor will match your contribution. Thank you!
If you want to volunteer your time please write quickly to firstname.lastname@example.org or better 541-505-0803
We’re currently looking for new people to help with:
Remote (air team support from your home)
- Demographic and voter data analysis
- Social media campaign
Ground Team in Atlanta
- Street theater and public events
- Door knock with the Warnock campaign
- Distribute posters, flyers, signs, and business cards reminding people to vote, and how they can get a free ride to (and from) the polls, especially in non-English speaking parts of the city
Running Program QuinkFair 2022
(not all confirmed*, times in flux)
* All of these presenters have indicated that they want to do a workshop. Some have specified these things, others are just known for these things and we are guessing.
Friday Sept 23, 2022
- 10am – Gates officially open / Orientation
- 12pm – Lunch
- 1pm to 5pm – Afternoon Workshops
- 5pm – Welcome and opening ceremony
- 6pm – Dinner
- 8pm – Talent Show – Jade as MC
- After the Talent Show – Dancing with DJ Arrow Chrome
- * * Temple of Oracles open into the wee hours of the morning
Afternoon Workshops 1pm – 5pm
- Call me by my name – new name workshop
- Storytelling Workshop by Paxus
- Starting a Black-led commune in Louisa by Moonseed Community
- Mushroom walk and discussion by Jules TO
- Ecstatic Dance
- Jamaica DC Micro Grid by Alexis LEF
- Temple of Oracles – open all afternoon
- Quink books dinner
- Intro to Fire Spinning by Wolf
Saturday Sept 24, 2022
- Morning- yoga with Sarah Haley
- 8am Breakfast
- 10 am Meet the Communities
- 12pm- Lunch
- Temple of Oracles open all afternoon
- 6pm- Dinner
- 8pm – Effigy Burn fire spinners and dancing with Rio as MC
- After Burn – Conscious Cuddle Party hosted by Wolf
- ** Temple of Oracles open into the wee hours of the morning
Workshops start at 1pm
- 1:30pm Learn to do Tarot readings for yourself – at the Temple of Oracles
- 3pm Liberation Arts and Capoeira by Macaco at Acoustic Village
- Community Singing: the Craft of Co-Enchantment by Craig & Cleo Green
- Plant Medicine by guest guide
- Quink Stories
- Future-proof Your Home with Corb
- Consent is Sexy – Playshop with Wolf and Kaviar
- Bondage to break thru sexual trauma by Gereldine
- Self Love Language by Joy Smith
- How metamaterials might save the world by Spiderman
- Authentic Relating games by Mike Jaboo
- Primitive WoodWorking by Kyle
- Can Anarchists work on Elections? by Carlos
Sunday Sept 25, 2022
- Morning Yoga with Coach Jade
- 8am – Breakfast
- 9am to 12pm – Sunday Morning Workshops
- 12pm- Lunch
- 1pm QuinkFair closing celebration, ritual and farewell
- 2pm – 5pm Open Space Workshops and other possible events
- 6pm- Dinner
- Temple Burn
Morning Workshops – 9am to 12pm
- Alleged Urban Squatting Workshop
- Honest Seduction Workshop by Angie
- Can Festivals Save the World – intro to funology
- Politics, oppression, and creative forms of liberation – Gil & Ella Cambia
- Quink Book Trade
- Kink Sharing Circle – Facilitated by Erin
- Ask a Dominatrix by Tarryn Torn
- Love Temple – Sacred Sensuality Collective Temple with Tantric Breathwork
- Sharing Quink Stories
Afternoon – Open Space Technology by you (you can present your own workshop)
Monday Sept 26, 2022
- Morning – Tours of local communities
- 12pm – Lunch
- 2pm- General attendees depart, some volunteers stay to help clean up
If this is compelling to you there is still time to buy tickets, until Thursday morning. We also have
discount and scholarship tickets available, call 541-505-0803 for more information.
QuinkFair DC Dumpster Dive 9/19/22
My stock advice to activists on what campaigns they should pursue is “join the one where the people working on the issue inspire you”. Next week i get to follow my own advice. There are lots of different approaches to dumpster diving. My favorite is risking getting quite filthy combined with making it a fun adventure. This is where Peaches shines.
Peaches is always happy to lead people new to dumpster diving into the art. They have reliable places they know in the DC metro area, but there are always shifts, old sites converting to compactors and new ventures opening up that are often more wasteful than their established counter parts. On our last dive Peaches took us to pop up convenience stores which throw out all manner of products, we scored 30 boxes of 10 vape pens, with a retail value about $3K.
If you are not comfortable jumping into a dumpster, there is still a way for you to help out. Specifically, when the dive is finished at 3 or 4 AM you can be part of the crew which processes the treasure we have hauled in. This includes sorting, cleaning, compost handling and in some cases cooking.
All of this is being staged out of Casa Peaches in NW Washington DC quite late Monday Sept 19th and very early in the morning on Tuesday Sept 20th. Here is the Facebook event, and if you are not on Facebook, but want to come (especially if you need a ride) contact email@example.com
If you are still trying to decide if you want to come to QuinkFair (Sept 23 thru 26), here is the draft program.
Transformus Post Office
Transformus is a regional Burning Man influenced event which used to be on a glorious site near Asheville, NC and has moved to a different beautiful place near Masonville, WV. Rick from Happy Hill came for the first time to this location and observed things i never would have noticed. Specifically, that the huge fields were not actually a monoculture, but a complex mix of different types of plants as part of a sophisticated wildlife and field management program. There is a huge need nationally for this type of soil regeneration and specifically Rick pointed out that they had planted Asclepias which are critical for supporting monarch butterfly populations.
Transformus was the first time i really got to see Dash (our new conference intern) shine. Dash is a gifted cook out of Boston who is helping to organize the Communities Conference and they put out impressive meals on the Camp Contact stoves. No matter where people were in the sprawling Tranformus campus, pretty much everyone made it back to camp around mealtime, despite there being a lot of great food all free at the festival.
Jason Taylor is a hero of mine. A Louisa local who did not discover the communes til he was a teenager, he is now an integral part of holding them together. From building the replacement Llano kitchen (after the actual Twin Oak tree fell on it and crushed it), to repairing the Twin Oaks sawmill and kiln, to repairing and running the seed packing robot machine at Acorn – Jason is our favorite handy person who keeping the communes operating. Jason is the site manager for QuinkFair, last year in that role he manifested all manner of elements from designing and wiring the solar system to leading the effort to build and burn the effigy.
At Transformus he led the screen-printing workshop, using Acorn’s new screen-printing device. This was a test run for the Communities Conference where we plan to print dozens of participants’ clothes (as we successfully in some years ago).
In the above picture Jason is paying for his postage due, by stuffing a huge pineapple top in his mouth. Which requires me to explain a bit about the post office.
The post office is a Burning Man inspired activity, which we ran at Transformus back in 2013 when i was a dual member at Acorn. Burning Man influenced events discourage the use of money internally (as does QuinkFair). Instead of monetary transactions they encourage cultural and comic exchanges. So to get a inter-festival letter sent, you need to pay into the post office with perhaps a skit or a joke or a dance. Similarly, your incoming letter is “postage due” and the postal carrier may try to get you to perform out of character. Asked to “read something that moves you”, a postal customers name Snax who was working registration at Transformus read the section of the Velveteen Rabbit on being real and started crying during their rendition – momentarily all activity stopped at the busy registration to witness this dramatic rendition.
The power of a post office funologically, is it can bring a little culture bomb into a camp. Another postal recipient asked for one of our “Daring” cards and got. “Make out with someone you have never kissed before, consensually, for 30 seconds starting now.” The dare was heard by a lovely person named Freefall, who after a short discussion about risks and STIs, they kissed. Somehow the 30 seconds recommendation got blown threw.
One of the modifications we tested on the regular post office format is we developed a number of postal challenge cards. These including Daring, Beautiful, Funny and Wild Cards. This allows the postal customer to think about what type of way they want subsidize the mail service by delivering a tiny cultural performance of these different types.
Spacious is the principal organizer of the Camp Contact theme camps within several regional burns and at the big burn in Nevada. To the untrained eye, his principal contribution is a tremendous amount of specialty hardware – kitchens, giant shade structures, domes, chill spaces, solar powered refrigerators, drinking and cleaning water systems, showers, bikes, trucks, hand tools and much more. If you are a decerning organizer, you know that the inter-personal stuff is more complex than even the most sophisticated of these inanimate objects: lovely attendees, who can’t afford camp fees or telling prospective participants who make people uncomfortable that they cannot be part of the camp or figuring out how to cover an internal camp task which someone promised to take responsibility for, and then they flaked on it or dealing with people who promise to pay their camp fees and then do not or getting exhausted campers to break down many structures before the rain hits at the end of the event or figuring out just how much the camp attendees are open to building without deciding not to build it or not to come back to the next camp ‘cos it was too much to build.
Camp Contact would not exist without Spacious, the hardware (as complex as it is) is the easy part, creating a harmonious, financially viable, well-equipped camp with a bunch of diverse participants who are not always reliable – that is the heavy lifting of an organizer.
Perhaps because i am so disorganized, one of the things i appreciate in other organizers is being nimble. Being regularly interrupted and still being effective, being able to change plans gracefully on short notice, rapidly adopting to the shifting variables are all signs of a nimble event organizer. Orion Posey is the son of one of my favorite activists Susan Posey and the generous traveling electrician Milo MacTavish. Orion was supposed to be performing in a play near Norfolk, a few days before Transformus, but the play got cancelled and Orion reached out to me about being a conference intern. He agreed to come to Transformus, without really knowing what it is, but knowing that their festival activities would be secondary to the networking and outreach work we wanted them to do. Orion delivered a bunch of mail, dispersed a number of fingerbooks, acted as an ambassador from our events to workshops on topics we are interested in. With Twin Oaks population the lowest it has been in years; we can use all the help we can get, and Orion is the addition of a nimble set of hands.
If you are interested in our small regional burn in Virginia Sept 23 thru 26 – check out QuinkFair:
- Tickets (discounted til Aug 15th)
- Report from last year
- Inspiring influences
- What is a Quink?
If you are interested in intentional communities, consider our Labor Day (Sept 2 thru 6) event, the Communities Conference:
- Tickets (discounted til Aug 1st)
- Call for Presenters (til Aug 1st)
- Better than Burning Man
- Meet the Communities