Saturday, March 31, 2012

The plush toy bunnies sitting in baskets filled with green stuff stare out of the store window at Palm Sunday weekend rain.

Friday, March 30, 2012

Two women of power painted on the wall at 190 Eighth St. really close to Howard, the wall of an imaging place, megapiximaging.

Big eyes, both of them. Their big eyes show they know what would be good and stylish to happen and how to hang with the molecules so it does happen.

One has red curly hair that springs out around her head kind of like a tree crown. The other has black wavy hair that stays pretty close to her head.

You know they fix each other's hair up, and like the vacation with someone else's hair challenges and opportunities. "It really does that, huh?"

They know when it's time to have an outdoor afternoon party.

The time they choose to have it, maybe it doesn't rain. Or maybe it does rain, and partygoer's learn that the two women have ponchos for all, bright colors some of them, others funky designs created at other parties and re-cut.

The walk in the rain route is set and set forth on by the ponchoed. Some don't want to do it, so they stay in the indoor space too small for everyone, and at least two of them have a life changing conversation at just this right time.

The walkers splash and mostly like nature. The power of rain is not just what rain does, it's what it says.

Three block away, Mary and Howard, near Fifth and Howard, another woman of power. Wearing feathers draped down her back, with an eagle head right over her forehead, and mammal horns coming out of her head above her temples. The horns are part of the headdress? The horns are hers growing out? Unknown. It's interesting to not know what kind of universe I'm seeing.

She looks focussed. She is looking in a focussed way. It feels like she knows how to use weapons from several nature wise human cultures. She's ready.

I think she and other women know each other, remind each other to not always look for the fight, to not be so subtle your vulnerable.

Thursday, March 29, 2012

The man walking by talking to a friend said, "I'm grateful anyway because. . ." and then moved beyond earshot, so his words became a fill-in-the-blank work of participatory art.
I like the word "citizens" in the headline in the Potrero View for April--"Citizens Demand More Time to Evaluate SFMTA's Meter Proposal."

The San Francisco Municipal Transit Authority wants to put parking meters in places where they haven't been before. Some people are trying to stop that, people here called citizens, not, for example, activists.

Vaclav Havel, the writer who ultimately led Czechoslovakia and then the Czech Republic as the Iron Curtain unraveled, spent some scary and some boring times being against the oppressive government.

He wrote pieces aimed at people on the other side of the Iron Curtain protesting the use of the word "dissidents" to describe people tangling with the government in the Warsaw Pact dictatorships.

He said people who weren't there wrote like being a dissident was a sort of profession or noble hobby that you decided on for theoretical reasons and then worked on doing.

He said that in an oppressed land anyone can be in the against-the-government position without a considered process like thinking, "Now I will be a dissident."

When Havel was in jail, he met a man who never would have been jailed in any faintly fair situation who was there because he cared about making good beer. He knew about making good beer.

When the government, which messed with everything, told him to do stuff that was dumb in terms of making good beer, he wouldn't.

Hence, he was in jail. Havel felt the use of the word dissident didn't include that kind of person or knowledge of how often that kind of process happened. Having any personal integrity about anything was potentially a source of getting in trouble.

I therefore appreciate these people being low to no risk participants in public decision making being called citizens. That's what they are. Those for whom it is easy should do it with integrity and class to honor those for whom it is difficult.

Citizens are people being awake in their situation and reacting with their best wisdom.

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Sometimes, I think I need help from God or the universe along the lines of a defiance of the law of gravity.

But as I pray along, it emerges that I don't need God's miraculous help but God's advice.

An idea arises in my heaad for a course of action I hadn't thought of before.

It involves my effort but is simpler and more direct than ways I'd been flailing away at.

And it works if I keep praying and breathing while I work and don't get all cocky.
There are stories of animals trying to chew a foot off to get out of the trap. There are stories of humans trying to de-foot themselves though the trap is long gone.

Sunday, March 25, 2012

"There is something fundamentally wrong with treating the earth as if it were a business in liquidation."

--Herman Daly, quoted in "Ecology and the Environment" by R. J. Berry

At an outdoor gathering about women's spirituality, I was present when a woman stood on the grass we were all on and said that a good thing to do is to take some compostible matter and bury it in the soil as a way of healing the soil we humans have ripped off so much.

The usual thing for individual composters is to compost--that is, create conditions for useful rotting--matter and then apply it to their gardens

She wasn't saying that, but saying to people who do that also bury elsewhere. And saying to people who don't want to compost as a way of life, that once is good, once counts. We've hurt the soil so much everywhere. We can move to heal it in many places.

She said this with a matter-of-fact intensity and brevity that seemed like how the soil would speak if the soil could speak, which in this case, it could.
Are french fries a food, or are they more like candy?

Saturday, March 17, 2012

I've off and on read and listened about utopia attempts, and noticed how they seem to be short. Some of them are really influential; most are quite short in time.

Thinking about this off and on for years, I managed to not think of the Mormons. Long-lasting community based on alternative way of looking at thing, and alternative way of looking at things that is and has been disliked by others.

Long-lasting, strong, growing. Yeah, I don't agree with them about a lot, but I just didn't think of them that way, which means I just wasn't thinking.

Even though, I noticed, during one of my thinking about utopia periods, that they started in an area strong in starting movements in this first part of the nineteenth century--upstate New York.

Mormonism, feminism, Shakerness, and more.

I've been to upstate New York once. Really beautiful, in a mild-mannered way. Next to Vermont, famous for beauty, and much like it, less-dramatically, in a less up and down fashion.

Beautiful, and quiet. Maybe too quiet. I wonder if that's one reason people though of whole other ways of living there. Beauty is a demanding question. Being around natural beauty all the time is demanding in a hard to define way. Maybe because it is yet another inconsistency--much is beautiful, much isn't. How can we raise the standard?

In the nineteenth century, upstate New York must have been pretty slow.

I've thought about when thinking of Elizabeth Cady Stanton calling the first US feminist conference there, in Seneca Falls, New York, where she lived. That started the whole lively first US feminist movement which led, they were surprised it took so long, to women having the vote.

She had been at a global anti-slavery conference in London where women delegates from the US weren't admitted as delegates and were sent to be seated in the balcony. "We are doing something difficult and controversial and we can't take on anything else that is difficult and controversial." A recurrent thought in world-changing attempts.

Stanton was not a delegate--her husband was. She was up in the balcony with the pissed-off women, talking and thinking.

Eight years passed. The Stantons moved from a lively city to the calm of upstate New York. Then she called a convention, partly, I'm sure, to make something happen, anything.

Friday, March 16, 2012

Visual artists are interested in seeing and interested in seeing everything. Painter Yvonne Jacquette is especially interested in seeing space.

Her painting of a kitchen stove and a child's chair next to it is also a painting of the space be tween them and around them, because she wants it to be so.

She painted the view looking at a view out of the upper part of a window in a house--painting the space up to the ceiling and the space of the sky beyond the glass.

Taking a plane to California, she had watercolors with her to paint when she got there. She realized she could paint the clouds outside the plane window.

She got into painting clouds and their spaces as seen and felt from airplanes.

She'd fly to a city where she wanted to see an museum and stay overnight--having each part of the round trip be at around the same time of day and seeing and sketching the clouds.

One time she got on the plane, and the plane went up and there were no clouds. And no clouds and no clouds. Disappointment at first. Then she realized she could paint the landscape.

It seemed too big at first, but she went at it. Views from above became a big part of her work--views from commercial planes, from small planes she hired, from high places in cities.

Her stuff is beautiful, healthy for the Earthling's heart. You are here, and that's good.

--information from "Aerial Muse: The Art of Yvonn Jacquette" by Hilarie Faberman, from the show put together by the Cantor Center for the Visual Arts at Stanford University
Traffic wasn't going anywhere, and two buses headed in opposite directions were sitting so that the bus drivers' windows were next to each other.

The drivers were friends and started talking about their new schedules--not precisely what they wanted, but not bad.

When things started moving again, one said goodbye by saying, "Do safe!"

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

--"I'm going to put on a puppet show. Are you going to come to my puppet show and start reading books?"

--Sidewalk voice, one child to another
Dawn in gold sandals.

--Sappho wrote it. Willis Barnstone translated. I got reminded of you.
God told the creation writers about evolution, but they couldn't hear it. They heard it as best they could.

God said, "Time is very important in how things ended up as they are."

They grabbed some time they noticed often and said, "Seven days!"

God thought, "Later for more accurate."

It is like humans have to walk and walk to get close enough to see what's been there the whole time.

Thursday, March 08, 2012

Pretty and chain link fence are things I hadn't thought of together until I saw the mural on Tehama between 5th and 6th created under the direction of Sharon Anderson.

It has an overall lilac-colored chain link fence pattern swooping through it which is between pretty and beautiful. If one hadn't witnessed chain link fences, it would look like a well-done, graceful pattern of undulating diamonds.

Behind the lilac diamonds are children, standing, floating, seeming distinctly individual and basically happy.

And around the diamonds and kids of another pattern , black, irregular, blobby, like dappled nature lovely in black.
Sometimes humans work at restoration of places where humans have chased non-human nature away--paved, poisoned, jostled, noise--something where the place is now way too simple.

Sometimes when humans work to restore a place, they find it's complicated, harder than they expected, longer than they expected. Success is sometimes not in sight, and the main thing learned is that much more needs to be learned.

But it is not unusual for restorers to be surprised at how fast restoration happens. Nature zooms past there expectations. The Green Man re-arms and re-legs himself and is all over the place quickly.

Clean up. Get out of the way. You never know.
The word for a bus stop without a trash can nearby is "messy."
Julian Beck, the Living Theatre guy, said, "You are what you eat, and what you won't eat anymore."

--quoted in Pierre Biner's book "The Living Theatre"

Wednesday, March 07, 2012

A new artwork, an artwork not labeled art--Mission Street without busses from 16th-ish to 24th-ish.

Still many bustling people on the sidewalk, still many cars, but it somehow feels like a relative meditation hall. Without those lumbering, articulated, almost full, full, packed, here comes another one 14 buses and 49 buses, Mission feels odd.

The buses aren't there for six months to make way for roadwork, make way for making Mission less bumpy. The less effect that started on Saturday, March 3 with no buses won't last long.

It will be replaced by the other kinds of noise effect, when all that bus noise that is gone is compressed into the rat-a-tat of breaking up the old street surface and the grinding and scraping of making and putting down the new.

South Van Ness, where the 14's and 49's ore complex, detailed and various to see now that lumbering, articulated busses take many, including me past it all fairly slowly.

Mission 16-24 is all retail all the time. People who live on that part of Misson live over retail, or over something not a home.

South Van Ness 16-24 has lots of residences, residences 3 and 4 stories high and all residential, including the first floor. Lots of Victorians. Many more buildings with a unified look than Mission. Mission has the store first floor and the residential, more sober, often a different less interesting color floors above.

Also on South Van Ness, in addition to the residences, there many businesses, some food places like on Mission, but also, places for a less important street. For example, there's a wholesale plumbing supply place that takes about a third of a block and wouldn't be two short blocks over on Mission.

South Van Ness near 17th has a fencing club, the sport, with blue on white painting of people fencing on it. So it isn't too wild to think that because of the re-route at least one person will take up, or re-take up, fencing, get in shape, getting or touching up skills had by many in the old days and by few now.

That's part of the artwork, if it happens. And thinking about it is part of the artwork, either way.

"I didn't know there was a fencing place so close."

Will passing many unified looking houses on basically the same commute instead of looking at split first floor/everything else buildings make 14 and 49 riders feel strangely, subtly more unified?

Just getting jostled out of the routine, waking up a bit, in the first part of the six months, is artful, might make someone think of art not otherwise thought of.

49 in the I Ching is the hexagram of revolution. Turning a bit and turning again and going in the same direction two blocks over isn't revolution, but when you're not used to it, it can feel that way for a moment, which might be helpful.
I Ching says, under Revolution, 49, "On your own day, you are believed." What does that mean? Maybe it means start with believing yourself, and see what happens. More places to live. More ways to think about living.

Excel Plumbing Supply and Showroom is at 659 South Van Ness. Halberstadt Fencers' Club is at 621 South Van Ness. The Richard Wilhelm/Cary Baynes translation of "I Ching or Book of Changes" at 49 says "Ko Revolution (Molting) The Judgement--On your own day, you are believed. Supreme success. Furthering through perserverance. Remorse disappears."