Monthly Archives: February 2013

March 4, 2013

March 1

Went to dentist here in Mexico City (Bronson set it up for me and came with me). Then, out for late breakfast. Then, to Pulqueria where we drank Pulque (relaxing cactus drink). Then, shopped for mescal and dinner and beer.

Happily listening to jazz and just relaxing here in Colonia Condesa, a  cool, laid-back part of Mexico City. The upwardly mobile live here. It’s like Ojai. Grocery shopping is a competitive sport.

Getting here yesterday with Ireyca, I almost had a panic attack in the Metro station. A crowd was carrying us up a staircase; I felt dizzy. Thought I might just fall down. I applied mind-control: first, I thought, “Everyone here is my friend; everyone loves me.” Then, I pictured everyone naked. Third, I imagined we were all walking into a gas chamber together. Yeah, I know. Weird. But it worked.

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March 2

Here’s part of a message sent (March online newsletter) to all GRASP members by Michael John Carley, former director of GRASP:

“I’m known most as an individual with Asperger’s Syndrome. But I first entered the autism/AS world as a parent, when my then-four year-old was diagnosed with AS (as many of you know, I got diagnosed exactly one week later). So much of my drive in starting GRASP was to create a more pluralistic world for him, as well as others, because a) his initial prognosis wasn’t great, and b) anything on the spectrum was regarded as almost completely lacking in potential back then.

“Without using my kid’s progress as a sacrificial lamb for my career . . . he’s the proof I’ve always seen of our success, as the world’s attitudes around him changed, and gave him a chance to become the confident individual he’s becoming. His difference from spectrumites of decades past is reflected in a comparable lack of anxiety, anger, and depression. And our world has not raised him with the interpretive mistakes that prior generations couldn’t escape from.

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My travel (i.e., living) plans have been changing fast lately. First, I have to return to California to meet with Social Security this month. That changes my plan to go right to New Orleans from Mexico.

Bronson and Ahmed are getting married in November. I may come back down here for the wedding and also to go to the dentist I visited yesterday. Reasonable prices.

I don’t know what I will be doing after California. I will visit Northern California to see Anya in April. I may go to Joanna Salska’s gallery show in Oakland. (She’s a Polish-born artist living in Berkeley. I have stayed in her/husband George’s tree house. They are Couchsurfing hosts.)

I like having my plans wide open. My March money is already down to $500 (with $100 in Gulf Bank for savings). I still need/want a tent (which will be at least $100). And yoga lessons from Suza. And… food. Where shall I bathe if I don’t rejoin the Bryant St. Gym? In the creeks.

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March 3

Sex is emotionally bonding. Once, no, I don’t (the et bonded to the person. More than once, yes, I start getting emotionally tied to them. That’s when I get possessive and jealous. And, if that person has sex with someone else (and if they also start to ignore me sexually), I get furious! I don’t like this aspect of sex; or perhaps I don’t like this aspect of emotions. Sex is fun and feels good physically. Why do emotions have to be involved? And why am I so sensitive emotionally? Why can’t I control my emotions better?

There is no “why” in nature. Or, if there is, we (most of us humans) don’t know what it is. We never know why things happen in nature.

Waking life is like sitting at a big dinner table with a constantly rotating and reappearing group of fellow-diners. Sleeping life (the life behind one’s eyes) is Real Life, the life of the individual. The individual soul lives on, I believe; that’s why I call this Real Life.

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(From uk.answers.yahoo.com)

Question: Why does the Dalai Lama eat meat?
In Tibet the environment is not conducive for sustaining crops as the earth is of a poor quality, therefore the Tibetans have to survive on a diet consisting of meat.
As the Buddha taught, vegetarianism is an ideal which is commendable, yet one must follow the dharma practically, so if one has to supplement their diet with meat on health grounds, then eating meat is unfortunately a necessity for healthy living and mental well-being.
I doubt any Buddhists who eat meat are comfortable about the death of the animal they have partially consumed, yet if we can become compassionate and active for the welfare of animals rights especially wild endangered animals, then we can a least balance out our Karma.
I became a vegetarian for six months but had to start eating meat again when I suffered weight loss and dizzy spells. I could not concentrate clearly which effected my meditation sessions, so I decided to eat meat due to health reasons, although I am uncomfortable about the idea of eating an animal.

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(answer to same question as above: from mysticbanana.com)

The Dalai Lama has very small amounts of meat because he became severely ill living on a purely vegetarian diet. When asked “Aren’t Buddhists supposed to be vegetarians”, he responded “The good ones are!”

Buddhism does not adhere to any single law. Thank goodness the Dalai Lama understands that there is a difference between survival and championing a cause.

The Buddhists I know give their children the things they need to survive regardless of whether or not “God” said not to. If it wasn’t for the Dalai Lama being both spiritual and realistic, Buddhism would be an Abrahamic religion.

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March 4

I posted this on FB today:

I met so many truly divine, inspiring, now-beloved people on this trip. Today, I will savor my last day in Mexico City. The DF (Mexico City: the Distrito Federal or capital of Mexico) is the largest city in the Western Hemisphere (21 million people). Its boroughs, like Colonia Condesa, the lovely, up-scale part of the city where I’m staying now, are easy to navigate, relaxed and delightful. During rush hours, the Metro has some cars just for women (I tried one, and it was peaceful [though I heard mothers with small kids sometimes aggressively use their elbows to push others out of the way!]). Some CS friends visited “Garbage City” recently, a slum where folks live off the trash. This city has it all. Wikipedia calls it “an alpha ‘global city'”. It’s fun, challenging, and amazing, all at the same time!

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Feb. 28, 2013

Feb. 26

I talked to Seth tonight. Called his mobile on my computer. “Myles” is the new baby’s name. Love it, and, of course, Megan has a half-brother with that name.

For the first time, Seth seems to understand the extent of Megan’s anger. Or at least part of it. He fought with Meg often during a late summer visit she and Jeramy made to Seth and Noelle’s. Seth said that he had never seen that side of her. I told him that very few people have seen that, and that’s why people didn’t understand (or believe me) when I reported Megan for child abuse in the summer of 2011.

I feel really good that Seth’s eyes are opening about this. I made a plea for him to keep in touch with Sam, a phone call once a week, for example.

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I am very happy now. I have reached a place of peace and contentment. I know what my dreams are (my hopes and wishes for eternity!). Perhaps I have fulfilled some obligations and lived out some karma I had. Perhaps I have found my One Love. At any rate, my energy is cleaner and freer now. I have a wish now to help others be happy.

Ireyca comes to me and kisses me on the cheek before bed and first thing in the morning. I return the kiss. This sweetness in Latin people is very touching and beautiful to me. The contact with and acknowledgement of the Other is delightful. It makes me feel treasured. And it gives a person space and time to be in the moment with the other person. This is important to me because I do not find physically approaching others to be either easy or natural. Yet, I love and long for this kind of intimacy. I think in a sexual relationship the cool shyness and aloof distance of a person like me (from the US) is a chilling, exciting contrast and compliment to the livid hotness and intense drama of the Latin person.

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Feb. 27

“Always be happy, but stay evil.” (song on WWOZ radio from New Orleans)

Lonely dog howling somewhere in this apartment building.

Ireyca and I went out for coffee, and I commented on the dowdy older women. I wear my short, swinging skirt and walk in that sexy California way. That is disapproved of here in Mexico and in much of the world, I think, where men have relegated older women to a non-sexy/non-sexual category.

Many older men insist upon being seen as “distinguished,” while older women are considered irrelevant, insignificant and ugly. I believe that a sexy and sexually active older woman (over age 50) threatens some men. We older women are not only wise in ways men can not be (because we are different from them and have had different life experiences), but we are also strong and independent (unless life has beaten us down too much), and we older women can and do stand up to men. We have our own opinions. Insecure men are threatened by this strong behavior. They prefer young, naive virgins with no thoughts of their own and no one to compare them to.

If older women are treated as non-sexual and dowdy, they become non-sexual and dowdy. Unless, of course, they are mavericks or artists/musicians, etc.

Ireyca says people in Mexico conform to cultural standards and family demands.  Of course, humans do that everywhere. Social coercion is what makes people do what the society wants instead of what they want to do. Society will shame them if they don’t follow the rules. Family coercion works in the same way, but with the added threat of loss of love and support.

Rebellion and individuality may be more prevalent, encouraged, and admired in the US. The US is multi-cultural and our society has many other social groups based on things like economics, education, intellect, talents, etc. This allows for a great deal of diversity, experimentation, and movement across/between groups.

I have discovered on this trip that, in cases of long separation from American society, I like to go to American-style supermarkets (and even malls) and shop. I am eating very well now (fresh fruits and veggies) after my chicharone debacle the other night.

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Had a wonderful time today with Jean Alain, a CSer from France who now lives in the DF. We went to the Zocolo, out for lunch, walked around the plaza at the Zocolo (and on nearby avenues)–it’s the second largest plaza in the world after Red Square in Moscow. A magnificent place. Went to the National Palace and saw all the murals of Mexican history by Diego Rivera.

I have enlarged my social group through travel and through using Couchsurfing. I now know and can enjoy the company of many more “kinds” of people than ever before.

Jean says a Mexican guy doesn’t see me as a non-sexual old lady. He sees me as a Gringa. Sex between a local and a gringa (even an old one) is apparently a not-unattractive thought to many Mexican guys. Okaaaay.

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Feb. 28

During the early morning and late evening hours, the first three cars of the Metro and the pink buses on Periferico (a huge avenue that circles the City) are for women only. Ireyca doesn’t go on them because some of the women with children elbow people out of their way. The last two cars  between 10 pm and midnight (when the Metro closes, are occupied by gay and bi-sexual men having sex. My gay friend Jean, described these occupants as gay men and bisexual men “taking advantage of them.” Apparently, this activity came to the attention of the authorities (?) a few years ago, and, according to Jean, they shut it down. But Ireyca just laughs and says that, yeah, it’s still going on.

Ireyca has had men put their hands on her butt on the bus and the Metro. She yells at them. She said she has seen women slap men who do this and other women call the Metro police when they get out of the car. Other women and men will help to hold the transgressor so he doesn’t run away before the police arrive. The Metro police are supposed to be present on the subway platforms at the rate of one police person for every three cars.

In a culture like Mexico (and many of the countries I’ve been in on this trip), the Madonna/Whore dichotomy prevails. A pure, good, wifely, motherly, grandmotherly woman is the Madonna. As she ages, she gets fat and dowdy. The woman who looks sexy in public, the woman who admits that she loves to screw, the sexually experienced (and proud of it) woman is the Whore (and usually she’s never gotten money for sex). Above all, never he twain shall meet: a Madonna womannever is and never will be a Whore, and a Whore woman can never be a Madonna.

In Mexican culture, with its special Metro cars for men to have sex in (and other cars where women fear men and no cars for women to experiment with sex with strangers), male privilege is obvious. Women who love sex, at any age, are disrespected. Fucked, but disrespected.

The ancient ways are these traditional values about men and women, and they work well in traditional cultures. But the new ways emphasize women’s equality and our needs and desires (even if some cultures are not overt about these things). Women’s orgasms and love of sex are given lots of attention in American society.

This new positive focus on women has been a cornerstone of my liberation–both sexual and otherwise. I didn’t have an orgasm until I was thirty-nine years old,* although I’d had over 100 lovers by that point. I didn’t know what an orgasm was until I finally read about it and gave myself my first fucking orgasm. (*I did have one spectacular orgasm at age 38 or 39 with Mark Edwards in Santa Barbara. His very large dick (9 1/2″ I’d guess) and relaxed nature [read: total alcoholic] allowed me have what is still the best orgasm of my life. I’ve had many orgasms since. I have a friend from India who is in her 50s, nice husband, kids, and she has no idea what an orgasm is.)

The San Francisco group COYOTE was founded by Margo St. James to support prostitutes rights. I went to one of their meetings when Megan and I lived in an apartment on Geary Street in about 1990. COYOTE stands for Cut Out Your Old Tired Ethics. Brilliant.

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Margo St. James

(born September 12, 1937), a self-described prostitute and sex-positive feminist, founded the organization COYOTE (Call Off Your Old Tired Ethics), which advocates decriminalization of prostitution.

History

Margo St. James (Margaret Jean St. James) was born in Bellingham, Washington.

St. James founded COYOTE in 1973. The forerunner of COYOTE was WHO: Whores, Housewives and Others; Others in this case meant lesbians. The first meeting of WHO was held on Alan Watts‘s houseboat; and the name COYOTE came from novelist Tom Robbins who dubbed St. James the coyote trickster.

St. James began attending international conferences: the United Nations Decade Face of Women Conferences in Mexico City, the 1976 Tribunal of Crimes Against Women in Brussels, the 1977 International Women’s Year Conference in Houston, the 1977 Libertarian Party Covention, the 1980 Decade of Women Conference in Copenhagen, the 1976 Democratic Convention in New York—where St. James organized loiter-ins—and the Republican Convention in Kansas City. In 1974, St. James lectured at Harvard, among other campuses.

In 1976, COYOTE, led by St. James, filed a law suit against Rhode Island. In the case, COYOTE v. Roberts, the argument was based on how much power the state should have to control the sexual activity of its citizens. The law suit also alleged discrimination on how the law was being applied. Data was submitted that demonstrated selective prosecution, the Providence Police were arresting female sex workers far more often than the male customers. St. James testified in the case. Although the case eventually was dismissed when the General Assembly changed the prostitution statute in 1980, COYOTE and St. James are given credit as one of the reasons prostitution in Rhode Island was decriminalized,[1] prostitution was outlawed again in 2009 (see Prostitution in Rhode Island).

Other documentaries detailing St. James’s activism include Hard Work, directed by Ginny Durrin, Ain’t Nobodies Business, and Hookers. Hard Work, which is set in Washington D.C., was filmed in 1976 during the Bicentennial. The short documentary won the NYC Golden Eagle Cine Award in 1978 and the Edinburgh, Scotland award for Best Documentary in 1979.

St. James claims to be a former prostitute and has been criticized by the anti-pornography feminists, including Dorchen Leidholdt. Her claim to have been a prostitute is based on a 1962 prostitution conviction. According to St. James, her conviction was based on her knowledge of the word trick. From 1974 to 1979, COYOTE published its newsletter, COYOTE Howls, from St. James’s office in San Francisco. Fund-raising involved an annual hosting of the well-attended Hooker’s Ball, which nabbed 20,000 attendees in 1978.

In 1985, COYOTE’s records were archived at Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Study, Harvard University, in the prestigious Arthur and Elizabeth Schlesinger Library on the History of Women in America.

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Spectator magazine November 1, 1996
Feature story on Margo St. James’ nearly-successful candidacy for the San Francisco Board of Supervisors.

by Christine Beatty (excerpts from the article/interview)

I first heard of Margo at the tender age of 15 years old when she made headlines by organizing C.O.Y.O.T.E. in 1973. Although I had no idea that I was destined to become a prostitute, nor anything else I turned out to be, I was still impressed by this powerful woman. And my research into her public career bears out my impression.

Born in Bellingham, Washington in 1937, Ms. St. James moved to San Francisco in 1959, joining the beatnik scene in North Beach. In 1962 she was falsely arrested for prostitution, apparently set up by the police department. When she got to court, the judge was unimpressed with her protestations of innocence and convicted her. It was during this time that she began working for bail bondsman Jerry Barrish to work off her bail, and in her employment she met famed defense attorney Vincent Hallinan who persuaded her to go to law school. While she did not attain her law degree, she used her knowledge to successfully appeal her conviction, perhaps the only misdemeanor appeal on record in California. Later she became one of the first female private investigators in the state.

Strong not only in character, Margo reached another milestone in 1962. She began running in the Bay to Breakers race, six years before women were officially allowed to enter. And in 1974, she placed third overall in the National Organization of Women’s Olympics. She is also an avid bicyclist, and pledges to improve conditions for other cyclists in San Francisco.

In 1973, Ms. St. James organized C.O.Y.O.T.E. to address the many issues facing prostitutes, including violence, health care, and discriminatory treatment. In spite of laws that make such organizing a felony, Margo has continued to advocate for women and all marginalized groups. She has a long history of testifying before governmental bodies, local, state and international. These include the state legislatures of California, Hawaii, Florida, Minnesota, Michigan and Washington. She has also participated in many conferences, nationally and worldwide, on the subjects of prostitution, women’s and inidividual rights, and AIDS.

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Christine Beatty is a California Girl, born and raised… a boy. She is a freelance writer and lead singer for the San Francisco rock group Glamazon, which just produced a CD. Her writing has been seen in Spectator, TransSisters, Anything That Moves and Herotica 4, among other books and periodicals. Being one of the few transsexual computer programmers in corporate America, she hopes soon to quit her day job for music and writing.

(See more of this interview with Margo St. James at writings.glamazon.net/margo.html)

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I am and have always been (or always aspired to being) BOTH a mother and a whore. A girl/women who knows what fun means to her (that’s me!), and yet (surprisingly, to some really out-of-touch people) ALSO (drum roll) a loving mother and grandmother.

My Asperger Syndrome (that’s AUtistic, not ARtistic) had enabled/allowed/gifted me with the fantastic ability to be very matter-of-fact about sex. As a typical Aspie, I naturally apply all the rules of logic (rather than romance and idealism) to the sexual act. This wonderful, liberating, detached approach has led me into thrilling and informative experiments with prostitution and other things (like my many escapades with men living on the streets [“homeless” and usually alcoholics, druggies, and/or petty thieves]).I still love those guys.

My children were, of course, not fully developed intellectually or emotionally during the years when I was their major influence. And American society, with its inherent and often unrecognized sexual puritanism, was quickly becoming a major player in their lives. My rational, no blinders/no veils, no romance, unvarnished and ungarnished (“parsley, anchovies, anyone?) approach to sex piqued their interest then and flabbergasted them later. There were and still are many things about my behavior that my kids aren’t (and maybe never will be) able to grasp. All my experiments (in all fields, from sex to travel) have been both highly individualistic and specific to persons with Asperger Syndrome.

Everyone who lives life on the edge makes mistakes. It goes with the territory, and that’s how you know you are walking on the edge, pushing social boundaries, and exploring new territory. I made a few colossal mistakes. I have done all my apologizing, and, believe me, it was with sincere guilt, sadness, regret, and great anger toward myself that I begged for the forgiveness of those people whom I hurt.

My humiliation and self-loathing are gone now, washed away with the help of many healers and other loving people (and animals and nature). I ignore with a “Whatever” people who keep reminding me of my errors and the pain I have caused. I have moved away from that address. No forwarding address.

 

Feb. 26, 2013

Feb. 26

Just sitting at the round black table in Ireyca’s living room, online. I am spending most of each day online. I am glad for this opportunity to be alone and quiet.

I don’t like going outdoors here. The traffic on the way to the stores is intense. And everything looks grey. I went out to the stores yesterday. I liked the trip out, despite the visuals being ugly and crossing the freeway on and off ramps being difficult. I wore my earplugs.

Note: when I went out to the stores today, it was much easier and even pleasant (simply because it was not new). I didn’t even wear my earplugs.

I think I’ll just look at my DF experience for what it is: something that’s temporary and wonderful in its own unique way. Being indoors here is one thing (peaceful), and being outdoors is another thing (chaotic).

I posted this today on Facebook:

The Nazis killed half a million Gypsies during WW II because they didn’t like the way the Gypsies lived, looked, and behaved. The Gypsies DIDN’T “behave”! They didn’t conform or assimilate. They didn’t WANT to! Ha ha.
I object to people treating me badly because I choose to not have a permanent home and because I like to travel (and camp out) most of the time. I am keeping this issue front and center so people won’t forget to respect American Traveller-Gypsies like me.
Sedentary people all over the world have strong prejudices against travelling people. This is an ancient rivalry/conflict.

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Definition of Nomadic

  • The word nomadic describes the state of members of a group of people who have no fixed home and move according to the seasons from place to place in search of food, water and grazing land. Although the term historically described a lifestyle of a group of people such as some Native American tribes or gypsy people, it is also describes someone in modern society who has no fixed residence. Forms of the word include nomad, nomadic and nomadism.

Definition of Sedentary

  • The term sedentary is defined as “remaining or living in one area” or “not moving freely.” This term can refer to individuals, groups of people, animals or even objects. Other forms of the word include sedentarily and sedentariness. Developed American and European societies are examples of sedentary society, marked by land ownership and established localities.

Read more: Difference Between Nomadic & Sedentary | eHow.com http://www.ehow.com/info_8204701_difference-between-nomadic-sedentary.html#ixzz2M0sbiImf

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The difference is obvious. Nomads move around and therefore do not create any artwork of great dimensions,if any. It is a very hard life and leaves them little time for leisure. Nomads however have a love for words and their language is rich and refined. They are born poets and story-tellers,though many of them do not even have a written language.
Sedentary people having settled down build houses,temples,palaces etc and have the opportunity to create art of all kinds. They have more free time and can dedicate themselves to science and technology. They developed a writing system, which was needed for levying taxes, recording property, trade and the administration of the country in general.
Two totally different ways of life which could never co-exist peacefully in one and the same place.

(at answers.yahoo.com, Best Answer to question of differences between nomads and sedentary people, by “Gino’s Mom”: this answer favors sedentary people)

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Interactions between sedentary and nomadic people are very interesting.

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Sedentism 

In evolutionary anthropology and archaeology, sedentism (sometimes called sedentariness), is a term applied to the transition from nomadic lifestyle to a society which remains in one place permanently. Essentially, sedentism means living in groups permanently in one place.

It is difficult to settle down permanently (to become sedentary) in a landscape without on-site agricultural or livestock-breeding resources, since sedentism requires sufficient year-round easily-accessible local natural resources.

In the last 30 years archaeological research has shown the earliest sedentism began with on-site agriculture and cattle breeding, and most researchers now believe that sedentism was a prerequisite for the first agriculture to occur. Sedentism usually meant more people, sturdier houses, new stone tools, more jewelry, burials or cemeteries, more long-distance goods and also clear signs of stratification. At sedentary sites usually more people lived together for a longer time compared to earlier base camp sites or annual gathering sites. This created deeper cultural layers and thus generally richer archaeological materials. There are also indications that the use of rock art is connected to sedentism, both pre-agricultural and agricultural forms.

Sedentism requires good preservation and storage technologies. These include smoking, drying and fermenting of foods, as well as good containers such as pottery, baskets or special pits in which to securely store food whilst making it available. It was only at locations where the resources of several major ecosystems overlapped that enabled the earliest sedentism to occur (pre-agricultural sedentism). For example where a river met the sea, at lagoon environments along the coast, at river confluences, or where flat savanna met hills and mountains with rivers.

At the end of the 19th and throughout the 20th century many previously nomadic tribes have turned to permanent settlement. It was a process initiated by local governments, and it was mainly a global trend forced by the changes in the attitude to the land and real property and also due to state policies. Among these nations are Negev Bedouin in Jordan, Israel and Egypt, Bashkirs in Soviet Russia, Tibetan nomads in China, Babongo in Gabon, Baka in Cameroon, etc.

(excerpts from Wikipedia article)

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Forced sedentarism:

~~Native American tribes in the US and other indigenous people around the world.

~~Gypsies in various countries (eg. England).

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SEDENTARY LIFESTYLE
A sedentary lifestyle is a type of lifestyle with no or irregular physical activity. A person who lives a sedentary lifestyle may colloquially be known as a couch potato. It is commonly found in both the developed and developing world. Sedentary activities include sitting, reading, watching television, playing video games, and computer use for much of the day with little or no vigorous physical exercise. A sedentary lifestyle can contribute to many preventable causes of death. Screen time is the amount time a person spends watching a screen such as a television, computer monitor, or mobile device. Excessive screen time is linked to negative health consequences.

One response that has been adopted by many organizations concerned with health and environment is the promotion of active travel, which seeks to promote walking and cycling as safe and attractive alternatives to motorized transport. Given that many journeys are for relatively short distances, there is considerable scope to replace car use with walking or cycling, though in many settings this may require some infrastructure modification.

(from Wikipedia)

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A QUESTION OF MOVEMENTby Dan Salmon

(excerpt from aquestionofmovement.blogspot.mx/2011/2)

Sedentarism vs Anti-sedentarism
 
     (Lisa) Malkki’s analysis regarding a national perception of being ‘rooted’ to a particular place derives from the post-modern anti-sedentarist school of thought. Malkki’s argument lays in staunch opposition to that of the sedentarists. Sedentarism preaches, “that a culture is the property of a spatially localized people and that the world therefore can be mapped as a mosaic of separate, territorially distinct cultures” (Turton, 2005:260).
     The structure of this paper will first introduce and critically assess the theoretical aspects introduced by to Lisa Malkki in her 1992 anti-sedentarist paper (National Geographic: The Rooting of Peoples and the Territorialization of National Identity Among Scholars and Refugees) where she stated that socially constructed metaphors are the building blocks that territorialize identity. The second part will explore the philosophical aspects of anti-sedentarism space, place and identity. The following section will turn to David Turton (2005) and Laura Hammond’s (2004) case studies exploring how these theoretical approaches of ‘place-making’ relate to pragmatic experiences.
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My aim through this article is to argue that moral and spiritual beliefs are based on sensationalised irrational values and subsequently fail to provide empirical evidence on which to ‘root’ cultural identity to a specific territory.

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Malkki argues “the widely held commonsense assumptions linking people to place, nation to territory are not simply territorializing, but deeply metaphysical” (Malkki, 1992:27). In other words, the belief of being rooted to a particular place, land, country is due to socially constructed metaphysical connotations. Malkki asserts her premise by producing a series of persuasive examples in how, through the use of syntax and botanical metaphors (mythologies), our national identity is territorialized.

     Malkki, through her analysis of syntax, utilises deconstruction as a mechanism to claim that sedentarism is merely based upon linguistically construed mythologies. Deconstruction argues that “in the unity of the community of communication among several persons the repeatedly produced structure becomes an object of consciousness, not as a likeness, but as the one structure common to all” (ibid:22). Essentially sedentarism, according to Malkki, through the mythology of language (community of communication) transforms the concept of being rooted to specific land (object of consciousness) into a national belief (structure common to all).

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     Although Malkki’s anti-sedentarist theoretical deconstruction is logically conclusive, it arguably skirts around several issues regarding the origins of space, place and identity. As Camus stated so astutely a “sense of place…is not just something that people know and feel, it is something people do” (Camus, 1955:88). Anti-sedentarists don’t seem to take seriously that just as ‘homelessness’ entails a precondition of a home, the “notion of displacement implies emplacement, ‘a proper place’ of belonging”(Malkki, 2002:353).
     Foucault expressed that “space was treated as the dead, the fixed, the undialectical, the immobile. Time on the other hand, was richness, fecundity, life, dialectic.” (Foucault,1980:70). The question therefore arises, how is one to position time (life) within the context of space (the dead)? According to Archytasian philosophy “to be is to be in place” (Casey,1993:14). In other words “space is absolute and infinite as well as empty and a priori in status, place becomes the mere apportionings of space, its compartmentizations” (Field&Basso,1996:14).
     The concept of ‘time’ as discussed above has been a key in explaining people’s attachment to places of origin, places of home. As Anthony Appiah describes “time consists in the transmission, through the generations, of distinctive institutions and values and practices”(Appiah,2005:133). This is also recognized in Laura Hammonds research; “On my return visits, I have observed ever-increasing and deepening connection between people and place”(Hammond,2004:14).
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     According to post-modernists, the debate between place, displacement and identity has been heavily overshadowed by sedentarist policies. Refugees “outside of that physical context [home]…are treated as strangers or as non-members of the host society with conditions that attend ‘otherness’”(Kibreab,1999:387).
     In examining the Tingray’s community formation what becomes apparent is that “it is the sharing of a common view…that makes a household”(Aristotle, 1982:60). In fact the debate between the post-modernists and the sedentarists is not one of the territorialisation of a house or a land but rather that of the territorialisation of a home or a country. For a house/land and a home/country represent distinct differences. “The concept of ‘home’…[is]..the place where people live, to which we return, or where they dream of returning if they are obliged to leave” (Hammond,2004:10). ‘Home’ unlike ‘house’, is a place of deep spiritual and moral attachment. It is due to these emotional attachments that such events as “civil war forces one to call into question assumptions about identity and home” (Warner,1999:412). This therefore begs the question when does a ‘house’ become a ‘home’? Or does a ‘house’ ever truly become a ‘home’?
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    With the “integration of international markets for goods, services, technology, finance and to some extent labour mobility” scholars have argued that borders have lost their significance (Goulbourne, 2001:432). Furthermore, this has led anti-sedentarists to claim “that people are becoming citizens of a global world in which we are all refugees or tourists” (Stepputat, 1999:416) devoid of moral and spiritual attributions to a specific land.

Through this analysis, it is feasible to assume that the post-modernist approach dismisses the process of familiarization as an emphasis of rootedness. Cultural identity is removed from ‘a place of familiarity’ and rather claimed to be “matter out of place”, a ‘matter’ which exists beyond the borders of a place (Malkki, 1992:34). Put differently, this can be understood within the framework of Heidegger’s philosophy of the ‘dwelling’, “these buildings house man. He inhabits them and yet does not dwell in them” (Heidegger, 1999:348).[2]

[2] Heidegger’s theory of ‘dwelling’ is based upon the premise that although actions, such as work, occur in buildings, they are not the places with which we identify with. “Bridges and hangers, stadiums and power stations are buildings but not dwellings; railway stations and high-ways, dams and markets halls are built, but they are not dwelling places. Even so, these buildings are in the domain of our dwelling. That domain extends over these buildings are so are not limited to the dwelling places. The truck driver is at home on the highway, but he does not have his lodging there; the working woman is at home in the spinning mill, but does not have her dwelling place there”(Heidegger,1999:347).
     The postmodernist thought, although violently detached from emotions, is based on rational logically conclusive thought. As Malkki explained, our perception of being rooted is based upon the activity of up-keeping social mythologies. Consequently these mythological beliefs, in being communicated through language, have rooted themselves within moral and spiritual values. This has therefore arguably led the ‘national order of things’ to be entrenched within irrational thought. For moral and spiritual ideals, in being emotions entail irrationality. In other words, because emotional attachments are based on intangible evidence, due to being socially constructed, they do not allow for logical origins.
     To perceive one’s faith of being rooted to a specific country entails (to borrow Kierkegaard’s theory) a ‘leap-of-faith’. Kierkegaard explained that in order to have faith in the concepts, such as for example religion (an institution vehemently debated of being grounded upon irrational, unempirical evidence) we must “abandon the laws of logic” and under go a ‘leap-of-faith’ (Evans,1989:348). The same applies to our moral and spiritual perceptions of being nationally rooted to a specific land.
     As we have examined through this paper, the debates surrounding the origins and habitat of cultural identity are not mutually exclusive. Concepts of ‘rootedness’ derive from abstract intellectual theories right through to emotional irrational arguments. What becomes self-evident through this critical analysis is the extent of the feeling of ‘belonging’, whether to a cultural historical identity that is either mobile or sedentary, is the overarching issue in understanding what it is to be rooted. Sedentarism and Anti-sedentarism, although both suffering from contradictions have both been ‘motivated by a [convincing] desire to ‘get a handle’ on populations and their environments” (Turton, 2005:264).
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Here’s the bio of the guy who writes this blog (above), A Question Of Movement: Dan Salmon

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Sexo Hombre
Ubicación Geneva, Suiza
Introducción Junior international migration specialist. Academic background: BA Political Philosophy and MSc Migration, Mobility and Development – School of Oriental and African Studies. Professional experience: Project Coordinator at Intouch, International Team Leader at the Charity Fundraiser Association Cornucopia, Consultant for the International Migration Department of the Australian Red Cross. International NGO work: Nepal, India and Cambodia establishing educational, health and cultural projects. Independent and voluntary projects: Founded and managed the one to one refugee mentoring project teaching English, first aid and I.T. at the Australian Asian Association; set up and managed the artistic association ‘Vine Art’ exhibiting artists from Belgium, Italy and Britain; initiated the SOAS Migration Film Club promoting awareness of current migration issues. Currently interning at the International Labour Organisation. Fluent in English, Italian and French. Key areas of interest: Irregular migration, labour migration rights, climate-induced migration, North Africa and Middle East migration.
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People mentioned in the very interesting blog (above):
1.)     Albert Camus (French: [albɛʁ kamy]; 7 November 1913 – 4 January 1960) was a French Nobel Prize winning author, journalist, and philosopher. His views contributed to the rise of the philosophy known as absurdism. He wrote in his essay “The Rebel” that his whole life was devoted to opposing the philosophy of nihilism while still delving deeply into individual freedom. Although often cited as a proponent of existentialism, the philosophy with which Camus was associated during his own lifetime, he rejected this particular label. In an interview in 1945, Camus rejected any ideological associations: “No, I am not an existentialist. Sartre and I are always surprised to see our names linked…”
2.)     Foucault:  Michel Foucault (French: [miʃɛl fuko]; born Paul-Michel Foucault) (15 October 1926 – 25 June 1984) was a French philosopher, social theorist, historian of ideas, and literary critic. His philosophical theories addressed what power is and how it works, the manner in which it controls knowledge and vice versa, and how it is used as a form of social control. Foucault is best known for his critical studies of social institutions, most notably psychiatry, social anthropology of medicine, the human sciences, the prison system, and the history of human sexuality. His writings on power, knowledge, and discourse have been widely influential in academic circles.
3.)     Søren Aabye Kierkegaard (/ˈsɔrən ˈkɪərkəɡɑrd/ or /ˈkɪərkəɡɔr/; Danish: [ˈsɶːɐn ˈkiɐ̯ɡəɡɒːˀ]  (5 May 1813 – 11 November 1855) was a Danish philosopher, theologian, poet, social critic, and religious author. He wrote critical texts on organized religion, Christendom, morality, ethics, psychology and philosophy of religion, displaying a fondness for metaphor, irony and parables. He is widely considered to be the first existentialist philosopher.
4.)     Kwame Anthony Appiah (pron.: /ˈæpɪɑː/ API-ah; born May 8, 1954) is a GhanaianBritishAmerica philosopher, cultural theorist, and novelist whose interests include political and moral theory, the philosophy of language and mind, and African intellectual history. Kwame Anthony Appiah grew up in Ghana and earned a Ph.D. at Cambridge University. He is currently the Laurance S. Rockefeller University Professor of Philosophy at Princeton University.
5.)     Martin Heidegger (German: [ˈmaɐ̯tiːn ˈhaɪdɛɡɐ]; September 26, 1889 – May 26, 1976) was a German philosopher known for his existential and phenomenological explorations of the “question of Being“.His best known book, Being and Time, is considered one of the most important philosophical works of the 20th century. In it and later works, Heidegger maintained that our way of questioning defines our nature. But philosophy, Western Civilization’s chief way of questioning, had in the process of philosophizing lost sight of the being it sought. Finding ourselves “always already” fallen in a world of presuppositions, we lose touch with what being was before its truth became “muddled”. As a solution to this condition, Heidegger advocated a return to the practical being in the world, allowing it to reveal, or “unconceal” itself as concealment.(all bios are excerpts from Wikipedia)

Feb. 25, 2013

Feb. 21

Oaxaca is so full of art and beauty. Seeing my own version of A Day In the Life of Oaxaca. Eight of us stayed at Lauren and Kevin’s little apartment in Old Oaxaca Historical District last night. Four from Russia (one from Ukraine); one from France; me, Lauren and Kevin from Colorado. A very congenial group.

The question about love is: how well will a person let me get to know him? How much of himself will he reveal to me? And ditto for me back at him: how far into  my soul will I allow another person to come.

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Feb. 22

Last evening Johan from France was describing hitchhiking. He said  it took him years to develop “a screen” to protect him from all the stares and the coldness of those people who won’t even acknowledge his existence when he is looking for a ride. A friendly, kind, dashing, handsome young man.

Andres and Johan both left early this morning, taking off hitching–separately–to “Rainbow” (Gathering) somewhere on the coast near here. Andres is a big man from the Ukraine; he’s a solitary, quiet guy, and he hefts a huge pack. Awesome.

Here’s what I posted on Facebook today:

I am living as though there are no rules, as though EVERYONE is my family, and as though my ONE TRUE LOVE is waiting for me around every corner. My inner life is the real me, the ME who will be alive and well after this old, physical body dies. The material world is a tableau, a stage set, a studio where, every day, I recreate my work-in-progress: LIFE ON EARTH.
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Feb. 23
I am going to Mexico City (the DF) at midnight tonight on ADO bus lines. It´s only 6 1/2 hours from here. (Tapachula is 12 hours south of Oaxaca.) Ireyca will meet me at the Tapo Station where the bus lets me off.
I can´t forget the images of the crowd from Russia and the Ukraine at Lauren´s house the other day. Beautiful people.  Two of the men, Mich(ael) and Andres are real road warriors and hikers. They are the kind of solitary, tough guys you see throughout history, wandering around and forging new paths. Very rugged, wonderful men!
I am so glad to have spent a few days with these two guys; Miriam and Dimitri were also there: a sweet, young couple–also Russians. It was a beautiful gathering of Gypsies. In the evenings, we sat around drinking beer (and some of us smoked pot) before going out to other activities. One night, the two single guys (Mich and Andres) went to the Russian Ballet´s performance here in Oaxaca. It was free for them (being Russian), and afterward they went out with some of the performers (who included ballet dancers and circus performers).
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Feb. 24
Night bus from Oaxaca; arrived in Mexico City at 6 am. Ireyca, friend and CS host, met me at the Tapo Station where my bus pulled in.
Rabbits: always ready to run. Hanging out with Ireyca at her apartment in Alvarro Obregon section of the DF, and talking to Daian on Skype. Daian was the CS host when I first came to Mexico City a few years ago (2009?), and Ireyca, the younger sister, lived with her.
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Feb. 25
Here’s what I wrote to Angel on Facebook yesterday:
“Be nice. No matter how delicious you look, you’ll never have my heart unless you let your goodness and your insanity shine through. Life is long, my Angel. It lasts forever–like True Love–throughout all eternity. Endless love.”
I always think my current love interest may be  MY ONE TRUE LOVE. So, I’m not shy. If it’s not this one, it’ll be the next one. I know I’ll find him.
I don’t know Angel well enough to know if he’s the ONE or not. I’m just saying… It could be him. I don’t let any worthy man go by without letting him know that I am looking for my ONE LOVE. Someday…
It’s important for me to let go once I’ve let the man know my feelings. Have to move on. I held onto Jeremy Birkhead for fifteen years after my intense six-week, mystical experience with him when I was 51 (and he was 20). I still had other lovers–lots of them, but Jeremy remained #1 in my mind and heart. Now, I just let them know, and then I let go and move on. Works for me, and no one gets hurt.
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I have the whole day to myself in Ireyca’s nice apartment here in Mexico City. She’s off at school. Daddy and Mummy (in Veracruz) pay for everything: school, the apartment (which Daian, Ireyca’s sister owns), and spending/food money. It’s a nice place with internet!
I’ll just take a walk later and get some coffee and fresh fruit and veggies. Last night Ireyca and I went out to a great restaurant–lots of Gypsies!–in Coyoacan (an hour away:  three subways and one bus). I spent $100 pesos on two beers and a ridiculously unhealthy plate full of chicharones (fried pig skins) and guacamole. I have at least $700 pesos left, and March first (money day!) is Friday, so I’m doing well. Haven’t had to borrow from Seth for two months.
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Went out to the stores. About a fifteen minute walk alongside and across crowded streets and highway on and off ramps. Got veggies, fruit, yogurt, and cappuccino at a little cafe next to the supermarket.
It took me two tries to leave Ireyca’s apartment to go to the stores. On the first try, I was pushed back in by fear that I would be cold in the strong wind. (We are on the sixth floor here, and the wind was weaker down on the sidewalk.) On the second try, I forget what fear drove me back inside, but it was quickly squelched. I made it outside! This always reminds me of the Bill Murray comedy, “What About Bob?” (about an Aspie).
When going outside in a city of 20 million people, always go slowly and wear earplugs. This works about 90% of the time. The rest of the time, run! This applies to crossing streets and telling men you love them before making a quick get-away.
As far as men go, never marry into a family that will never accept you as one of them. Some families are CLOSED to all but genetic insiders (and the occasional adoptee).
Here is what I commented on Facebook today (under one of Suza Francina’s entries): Love is a hellhole, a pile of shit under the butt of someone sitting in an outhouse.” Suza said, “You are so baaad…” And she suggested that I “clean it up.” So, I changed it to:
“Love means everything to me. Night and day, I dream of my True Love. He is out there somewhere, and he is always within me (spiritually, and in a tantric/psychic-sort-of way).”
In this lifetime, I don’t want to be part of any man’s life. I want to be free. Too much drama is involved in love affairs and marriage. I don’t want that!
True love is a RECOGNITION of the Other; it is not a “choice” (as in, I really love this guy so I am choosing him to be my True Love). No. I don’t call anyone my “True Love.” My love is mine spiritually, not in a physical or material world sense at all. No fears, no losses, no pain are involved. You can’t “lose” your other half. And you don’t have to “work on the relationship.” It just IS.
I am a dreamer, a romantic, an occasional mystic, imaginative, and a true believer (in love). I am also, on occasion, a crass, frank, sarcastic, irreverent realist. It goes with the territory of being a romantic. It’s the yang to that yin.
I am making my decision about who is my ONE TRUE LOVE based on my memory and recognition of him. Jeremy Birkhead is always my default Love. I had my mystical experience of True Love with him. But other men are always stepping in to take his place: the most recent is Angel.
I will decide who seems to be the most likely candidate based on MY feelings. What this man (whomever he is) thinks of me is irrelevant. Jeremy showed me that a man may not realized what in the hell is going on. He may, like Jeremy, just be so young that he can’t tell a tit from a True Love.
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I have always chosen wild, glamorous, handsome men. I don’t know if my Love is a handsome man in this lifetime or if, in dreams, he appears so gloriously beautiful to me (in spirit) that I imagine that, in physical life, he must be very handsome. Life is very mysterious. “When you believe in things you don’t understand, then you suffer.” (from the song” Superstition”) I suffer by constantly (for most of my life) searching for my ONE LOVE and not finding him, but believing that: a.) he is out there, b.) that I will eventually find him, c.) that he is looking for me, and d.) that this search for him is ALL, everything, the main thing (besides developing myself) in this lifetime.

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Cats seem to go on the principle that it never does any harm to ask for what you want.” ~Joseph Wood Krutch

This is how I feel about my ONE TRUE LOVE:

“Most of the time, she’s not even on my mind… most of the time. I don’t care if I never see her again… most of the time.” (Bob Dylan)

He’s always, always with me–in every way, in every cell, in every thought, every feeling. But I have my own work to do in this lifetime.

I have to let go of him and move on. He is my wildest dream and my surest certainty. He is my Everything. He is my Mystical dream-lover and my one reality. We share everything. We are always together in spirit, and yet we are always apart in mind and body. This Love is greatest contradiction of my life. And I accept the mystery of it.

My Love, My Darling, My Angel. I adore you. I need you.

Make my soul Thy temple!
Make my heart Thine altar!
Make my love Thy home!.
~Paramahansa Yogananda~

I am his “One Love,” not his wife, mistress, lover, girlfriend, best friend, etc. I have no place in his life, except this.

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I am drawing away from my preoccupation (temporary obsession) with Angel. I am drifting back into my singular, solo reality. Here in such a big city, I can speculate on my own life with impunity. No one cares what I am doing here; I am completely anonymous (except to the few people here who know me). It’s not like a small town (Nederland, Colorado, for example) where everyone wants to know everyone else’s business, where everyone is bored or depressed or involved in some local drama or altercation.

As Jean Alain wrote to me today, living in a place like Mexico is very different from living here. Jean moved here some years ago from France. He’s a Couchsurfer. We’re going to a lamp market tomorrow. I told him I’m not taking the Metro by myself. Y’know, I know I could, but, hell, I’m not putting myself through that if I don’t have to. Next Tuesday, I will be taking the Metro alone, from Ahmed’s and Bronson’s to the airport. No problem. Bronson will help me get on the right train and will give me great directions. And, as always, I’ll plan on being very early. That reduces my stress.

On the way to the market this morning, I noticed a big highway sign that says, “Alta Tension.” Uh, yeah. It means “High Tension (stress).” Why is this on a big, permanent highway sign? What does it mean?

So many mysteries when travelling. I see so many things that are completely new to me. I usually am walking around blindly. I’m never part of the culture I’m travelling in (except in the US), and I’m usually like a fish out of water. Maybe a fish who breathes air, maybe a whale or a dolphin. I’m always a little off-kilter, off balance, a little out of it.

My autism makes my distance from Other People’s (consensual) reality even greater in some ways, but it also keeps me “in the moment” and very “real.” I adapt rather quickly to new things, people, situations, and places. My emotional reactions are (consciously) kept to a minimum; logic prevails (it’s a choice; it often functions to lessen conflict and confrontation). This attitude helps me retain myself (my ways of Being) while adjusting (which often means conceeding [on the surface]) to neuro-typical reality.

“50 First Dates” (Drew Barrymore) isn’t one of my favorite films by accident. I feel like that: everything is new, eveything is for the first time. And with age affecting my short-term memory, the disconnect with the past and the connection with the NOW are even more pronounced. Of course I remember things and people; I just don’t always want to respond to the present based on some past experiences. The new, the change that has occurred, the transformations that have happened are much more interesting to me.

I don’t want to relive the past. I let go of everything I can from the past. I want to flow with the transformations. Let the past go. Be in the now.

I do hold onto places and people who I love.

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Feb. 19, 2013

Feb. 17

In Tapachula. My Couchsurfing host, Adrian, and two of his pals took me up in the mountains yesterday. We went past some Mayans’ houses, and the people there seemed to know Adrian. They gave us permission to park off the road and go down to the river. We walked downhill for 3/4 hour to the beautiful river where we swam and lazed around for a few hours. The guys played guitar for awhile. Bliss!

My calves and feet were cramping up after that long Tica bus ride from Panama City to Tapachula, Mexico. Three days. Got off the bus the second night for a stay in the San Salvador motel at the end of the Tica Bus line there. $12 for a lovely, clean little room with my own toilet and shower. Towel, toilet paper, soap provided. Wake-up knock on the door at 6 am.

Total cost of the trip: ticket $172. taxi to bus station $4. food en route: c. $35. border fees: $24 total (Costa Rica, I think it was, charged $20). Tica bus motel $12. charity (beggars) $15 or so.

Panama: very beautiful with little settlements and individual country houses.Simple, natural. But few opportunities should someone want something different…

Honduras and Nicaragua: haven’t seen the beauty there.

Guatemala: all Mayans. Wonderful.

Mexico: Love it. Feels like almost-home. Great food.

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Dad and Mom never fully assimilated into American culture. They were upwardly mobile, but, thanks to WW II, they never were able to assimilate. Mom did pretty well; Dad couldn’t get past the starting gate. His accent and other obviously Germanic (or at least “foreign”) attributes, like his almost Nazi-style walk, made him a natural outcast.

This surprisingly made me able to choose to drop out of American society without too much trouble or angst. It also reduced the tyranny of the Catholic Church in our lives. We just weren’t “valued members” (i.e., we lacked status and tons of money) of the Church so we were free.

As both immigrants and as individuals, Mom and Dad resisted assimilation. This is astonishing and laudable because most proles (proletariat) refuse to venture beyond the boundaries of their class. Of all the social classes (except the lowest of the low, below the proletariat), the proles are the least likely to travel outside their own culture/country. They take pride in working hard and providing for their families. They stay put and often barely wonder about what lies beyond their own lives. Mom and Dad came from the proletariat.

Mom was a free (in her own mind) woman with the soul of an artist. She loved theater people, travel, and beauty. She read the newest books fiction) and subscribed to popular magazines (Life, Ladies Home Journal, the Post). Dad’s work (photo-engravings, eg. Breck shampoo ads) was in these magazines sometimes.

Dad planned our European trips down to the last detail. He was a tireless worker and provider. He had no close friends, but then Mom didn’t socialize much either (though she always had one best friend [these changed once or twice during my life]).

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Days on the road, travelling, are not discreet entities as they are when I am settled (for any period over a few weeks long). Days on the road run into each other in a whole. The whole is the road, the journey. It is the travelling life.

The travelling life is about never stopping, never settling down. It’s always (about), “When we move on from here….”

The concept of moving, travelling, of CHANGE seems to have little or no place in the lives of most (all?) indigenous people. And many other people, too. They reject even the notion of change. Tradition rules. The way it has always been is sacred.

In Western culture, we build on the past and prepare for the future NOW.

I was taught (as we all are) how to see my life and the world. I learned the meanings of things from my parents, friends, and school. Later, I realized that my vision and the meanings I had accepted were just ONE VIEW of life. I set out to explore the meanings and create my own vision based on who I am.

J.K. Rowling said that she built her life’s foundation on Rock Bottom. Me, too. My life started off hard (surrendered by Jeanne to the Catholic Church which had taught her parents and her that babies born out-of-wedlock were bad and wrong [Jeanne and I were both victims of the Catholic Church!]) It’s all up from there; one’s life can only get better when they start at the very bottom.

Some people see me as an individual. Others see me as their society has taught them to see people: as “things” with a monetary and sexual value. These people see me as old, female, and useless (to them). It’s quite a strange feeling to be appraised by people like this after being seen and valued as an individual so much lately.

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Here’s what my Panama City CS host (husband of Leslie Sirag) said to me today on Facebook: “you a true zen blessed road warrior, my dear.”

Feb. 18

At internet cafe across the street from Adrian’s little house in the Cafetales section of Tapachula. Very few tourists come to Tapachula so I am stared at.

Jan, one of my CS hosts here, says that in his native Sweden you know what will hap,pen every day. Life is planned and secure. Here in Mexico, he says, you don’t know what will happen in the next hour. Life is freer and wilder here.

I am being more generous, both with my CS hosts (when I have money) and with beggars on the street. My new policy is to give money to whomever asks me for it (on the street).

All my plans from March 6th on have changed (due to Social Security calling me back for a meeting). I love it! It’s practice in letting it all go. Letting go of my plans, of my wishes, of what I think is best.

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Feb. 19

Interfaces I like: where houses meet up with wild places (I look for these special spots as I’m cruising by on buses); art and physics; Psychology: science and spirituality (transpersonal psychology).

The worm turns: me seeing my life in a new way. It took me dozens of years to reframe my picture of my life and my self-awareness. Now I have a more accurate, truthful picture of who I am.

I just got a good slice of life in Tapachula, Mexico, thanks to Adrian “Angel” Casanova and the Jan/Noemi duo.

I identify with outsider/minority groups wherever I go.

YES to: searching, liberty, being in-motion, curiosity, insolence, assertiveness, expressiveness, choice, options, fun, courage, daring, peace, contentment.

Haiti. Kuna Yala. Ayahuasca. These are three of my favorite memories from this trip. And some special CS hosts (you know who you are).

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On the streets of Tapachula: dogs die slowly in public. Death is accepted as a reality (not like in the US where we prefer to believe it’s impossible for privileged beings like us to die). In India, I will probably see humans dying on the streets in public.

Recycling is in its infancy here in sleepy Tapachula, Mexico.

I have given up the freedom to have a close family and many close friends for the freedom to be an individual, free from family coercion (tyranny), free to be myself and do whatever I want. I’m in charge of my life. And I’m someone who knows I’m not really in charge, but at least no other humans are in charge of me and my life.

Feb. 12, 2013

Feb. 11

I am staying in a working class neighborhood with two folks my age from Olympia, Washington. They live down here (in rentals) part of the year. Two young people, bicyclists, are also here: she’s from California, he’s from France. We are a pretty congenial group.

I am recovering from my trip through the Gap from Colombia to Panama, and actually I’m resting from the whole trip. I’ll be off to Mexico in two days; then, back to the US from there. So I’m on the last legs of this trip. I’m already sending out couch requests for April and May in Louisville, Kentucky. I won’t be going to Churchill Downs, but it will be great to see the race at a bar (or…?) in the city where it’s running. And before the race, I want to get involved in some of the events and go see the track and perhaps see some of the horses who will be in the race.

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member photo Majo.Aguilar February 11th, 2013 – 10:35 pm
Hi! Which night would be the one in Guatemala City? So bad you’re going straight up to México… missing great roads and people in CA.
member photo Bunny Boswell February 11th, 2013 – 10:41 pm
I went down through Central America by buses (stopping to Couchsurf all along the way, taking a month to get from California to Costa Rica) two years ago. Then, three weeks in Costa Rica. Then, six days on buses (not every night on buses though) going back from CR to New Orleans.I haven’t seen enough of CA.I will be coming through Guatemala on the 14th or the 15th (Thursday or Friday). I think Friday.Love, Bunny
member photo Majo.Aguilar February 11th, 2013 – 10:45 pm
mmm… friday’s not good for me. If it’s thursday we can definitely meet up and you can surf my couch. Keep in contact.Majo
member photo Bunny Boswell February 11th, 2013 – 11:00 pm
You’re sweet, Darlin’. I am not a tourist on a pleasure trip, as you may understand by now. I’m just livin’ my life.
I get into Tapachula at midnight Friday. My CS host crapped out on me. Some lame excuse (her mother probably said, “you can’t bring a stranger into this house!” I don’t know. I am just trying to get a couch in Tapachula Friday night!
My ticket says that sometime on the 15th we leave El Salvador and go through Guate and get into Tapachula.
Have you ever couchsurfed, Majo? Or been on buses for three (or six) days in a row?
Our lives are so different.
I love my life. It’s really hard to explain or describe it to people who aren’t living this way.
Thanks for the offer. I will keep your phone # on hand in case I need your help.
Love and luck always! Bunny
member photo Bunny Boswell February 11th, 2013 – 11:08 pm
Bus trips like this are gruelling. You have to love (being on) the road to do it and enjoy it! I do, but it’s a fucking lot of work.The borders, the bus changes, the people, sleeping sitting up or in a crappy little motel room at the end of the bus line. Trying to not get myself killed if there’s no motel at the end of the line: I wouldn’t have TIME or TAXI MONEY to get to your house (even if we did get in at a convenient time on Thursday). We often get into places in the middle of the night.And I don’t speak much Spanish (which is fine, it just adds to the challenges and amount of effort required). It’s not a “pleasure trip.” My life is not about finding beautiful places or nice beaches. Been there; done that. This is a life lived on the roads of the world. I think I mentioned this to you before.I appreciate your efforts to help us surfers who are Travelling Gypsies. We are strangers coming into your towns hoping for a little consideration, a good time while we are there, a place to sleep, and some help to get moving on. Our happiness is being on the road!Enjoy your life, Majo. Maybe we’ll meetup sometime. Hugs, Bunny
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Here’s a conversation I had with a young CS host in Tapachula, Mexico, the town at the end of my bus ride from Panama City (which starts tomorrow):
Melissa,
I am so glad you understand that people like me are NOT TOURISTS. I don’t have a home to return to. Everything I own is in my little backpack. I live on very little money.
I am a TRAVELLER-GYPSY. Everywhere is home. When I get to Tapachula, I am home.Settled, sedentary people can be very cruel to Gypsies. They definitely don’t understand us; the idea of having no home drives them crazy!
I am glad you understand this. Thank you for apologizing. (After accepting my couch request, Melissa ignored my messages for several days before my arrival. Then, she said she wouldn’t be available the Friday night I was arriving.) I need hosts to be available by phone and in person when we are coming into town. The best hosts are very aware of this. I have about 220 references; I know how Couchsurfing works. I know I am not asking too much of you.
I am glad we have worked this all out.I will see you this Friday night (actually, early Saturday morning, Feb. 15/16). Looking forward to it!!Enjoy your day! Carnival! Mardi Gras! YEA!!
Love, Bunny
**************************************************************************I was offered another Tapachula couch by Adrian who was going to leave his house keys at a store across from the Tapachula bus terminal. Without meeting me (on the basis of my CS references), he was going to let me stay at his house while he went away for the weekend. I told him, before meeting Adrian, that he is an angel.
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From the New Orleans’ Mardi Gras song, Indian Red:
“We don’t bow down on nobody’s ground.”
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I am going with the Rick Nelson song that says, “Ya can’t please everyone so ya got to please yourself.”
I never mean to hurt anyone, but it happens. People can’t quite stomach my honest writing. I should put a warning at the beginning of my blog: “READ AT YOUR OWN RISK!”
Tact is for people who aren’t smart enough to be sarcastic. (from a New Orleans T-shirt)
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Pedophiles are criminals who PLAN their activities. They choose organized situations in which it will be easy for them to abuse children.
This rough quote is from the film from SolarMovie’s Mea Maxima Culpa: Silence in the House of God.  It’s a 109 minute, 2012, HBO documentary about the sexual abuse of children by the Catholic Church’s priests and hierarchy, and how the Vatican purposely and consciously covered all this up (and has done so for hundreds of years!).
The Vatican group that has been handling ALL cases of abuse of minors by priests, etc., is the same part of the Church that was responsible for the Inquisition!
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I’ve spent five days here in Panama City. The ex-pats (of sorts) I’m staying with are nice people who enjoy their Couchsurfers. I’ve enjoyed this slice of life in an out-lying section of the city. It’s incredibly easy to negotiate Panama (as the Kuna call the city) on the diablo rojo or “chicken buses” because the people are so friendly here. That takes the sting out of inner-city travel for me. When people around me are so approachable and willing to help, I feel safe and taken care of. City rambling becomes an adventure. My age helps because Panamanians want to assist old folks.
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“At the center of your being you have the answer; you know who you are and you know what you want.” ~Lao Tzu

Lao Tzu was a woman.

Ha ha. What if?

It’s possible. Do you really think ALL those smart, wise, famous people THROUGHOUT HISTORY were men?

Feb. 11, 2013

Feb. 10

I am a Rain-Bringer (Rain-Maker). Often, when I go,somewhere, it rains, even out of season. It doesn’t happen all the time, but often enough that I know it’s a weird phenomenon.

They just had a 7.1 earthquake in the Putumayo region of Colombia, where our Ayahuasca shaman (taita) Krispin is from. I wonder if it’s the time of the New Year celebration there now, and if the energy from the people “caused” the quake.

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(enjoyingcolombia.wordpress.com/2013/02/06/putumayo-land-of-shamanism/)

“Taita Lucho” as everybody calls him, is one of the last indigenous healers from the Inga tribe in the Amazonian region of Colombia, Putumayo. Lucho works with Yage in his Maloka, called “Amerrrikua” located only 15 minutes from Mocoa, the capital of Putumayo. It is in this place, and along with Mercedes his faithful wife, the taita has his own garden of medicinal plants and assist not only locals from his community but different people from all over the word who travel to heal their illness.

taita lucho

(from Wikipedia)

Putumayo is a department of Colombia. It is in the south-west of the country, bordering Ecuador and Peru. Its capital is Mocoa.

The word putumayo comes from the Quechua languages. The verb putuy means “to spring forth” or “to burst out”, and mayo is a variant of mayu, meaning river. Thus it means “gushing river”.

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Published on Tuesday, 12 October 2010 13:30

Colombia: Declaration By The Inga And Kamentsa Peoples Of Sibundoy, Putumayao

The ancestral and indigenous INGA and KAMENTSÁ peoples of the valley of Sibundoy, Putumayao-Colombia declare:

As ancestral peoples, the Inga and Kamentsá are thousand-year inhabitants of the Ancestral Carlos Tamoabioy territory which is located in the High and Middle Putumayao and the states of Nariño and Cauca in southern Colombia. We are protectors of life and guardians of the Earth. This is a duty and natural law inherited from our ancestors for our future generations and humanity. In our territory there is an understanding that our laws, traditional education, worldview and cultural identity are what our survival as ancestral peoples and our lives themselves depend on.

We denounce:

The encroachment upon our ancestral lands, which are in a high risk situation, due to the carelessness of the Colombian government’s institutions. In this case, the Interior Ministry and the Ministry of Justice through its Directory of Ethnic Groups and Indigenous Affairs is refusing to acknowledge the existence of the Inga and Kamëntsá peoples in the ancestral lands Carlos Tamoabioy.

(There is more to this…)

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Listening to the Rebirth Brass Band on WWOZ, streaming live out of New Orleans, singing, DO WHATCHA WANNA. The slogan of NOLA.
New Orleans: Comforting the disturbed, disturbing the comfortable. (bumper sticker)
I am a dog /  wolf / coyote / foxes / dingoes person. Anything that barks that’s in the canine family group. They give me good advice, but they tend to be worriers.

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People who feel alone and vulnerable may become defensive and aggressive in order to protect themselves.

I told my CS host Seth that I try to keep about half of my activities shallow, superficial, and insignificant (like reading People magazine and following the lives of movie stars and famous musicians/singers). It lightens up my life and helps me be silly.

Mike Meyers: “Silly is you in a natural state, and serious is something you have to do until you can get silly again.”

I’m watching the Grammys. It’s silly and fun, and that’s why I like it. Oops! My oh-so-serious CS host turned it off. It’s too silly for her.

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An excerpt from an article on the connection between Aspies and IT on computerworld.com:

Asperger’s and IT: Dark secret or open secret?

Asperger’s Syndrome has been a part of IT for as long as there’s been IT. So why aren’t we doing better by the Aspies among us?

Where statistics come up short, anecdote is happy to take up the slack. Ask an Asperger’s-aware techie if there is indeed a connection between AS and IT, and you’re likely to get “affirmative, Captain.” (Yes, Star Trek‘s Mr. Spock is often diagnosed online as having Asperger’s; see “Playing the Asperger’s guessing game.”)

When the question is put to Ryno, he e-mails back a visual:

Aspies --> tech as fish --> water

And Bob, the database applications programmer, says, “Yes, it is a stereotype, and yes, there are a higher than average number of Aspies in high tech.”

Nobody, it seems, has more to say on the subject than Temple Grandin, a fast-talking Ph.D. Aspie professor who’s the closest thing Asperger’s has to an elder stateswoman. Grandin made her mark designing livestock-handling facilities from the point of view of the animal; she now has a thriving second career as an Asperger’s author (Thinking in Pictures, Unwritten Rules of Social Relationships) and speaker.

“Is there a connection between Asperger’s and IT? We wouldn’t even have any computers if we didn’t have Asperger’s,” she declares. “All these labels — ‘geek’ and ‘nerd’ and ‘mild Asperger’s’ — are all getting at the same thing. … The Asperger’s brain is interested in things rather than people, and people who are interested in things have given us the computer you’re working on right now.

Career opportunities, career limitations

Grandin has compiled a list of jobs and their suitability to Aspies and autistics according to their skills. No surprise, tech jobs are cited early and often. Her list of “good jobs for visual thinkers,” for example, includes computer programming, drafting (including computer-aided drafting), computer troubleshooting and repair, Web page design, video game design and computer animation.

Grandin’s “good jobs for nonvisual thinkers,” which she further defines as “those who are good at math, music or facts,” includes computer programming, engineering, inventory control and physics.

Why do Asperger’s individuals gravitate to technology? “Adults with Asperger’s have a social naiveté that prevents them from understanding how people relate. What draws them in is not parties and social interaction, but work that allows them to feel safe, to feel in control,” explains Steve Becker, a developmental disabilities therapist at Becker & Associates, a private practice in the Seattle suburb of Des Moines, Wash., that conducts ongoing small group sessions for adults with AS, among other services.

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Feb. 11

My potential Couchsurfing host in Tapachula is not answering my messages. I arrive in Tapachula at midnight Friday (fe. 15) after a three-day bus ride. This young host promised me a couch, but now–it’s like she’s dropped off the planet (and I see she has been online). I sent out some more Tapachula couch requests this morning.

Things always work out for the best, even if I can’t see it! I am definitely becoming more flexible and tolerant. And I feel the strength and faith of the Ayahuasca taita, Krispin, behind me, protecting and helping me in difficult times. I no longer feel alone and like I have to fight for the right to just exist (let alone get what I need).

The Rolling Stones were right: “You can’t always get what you want, but if you try sometime, you just might find, you get what you need.”

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Excerpt from Wikipedia on the 1969 Jagger/Richards song “You Can’t Always Get What You Want” from the Let It Bleed album:

Meaning

The three verses (along with the varied theme in the fourth verse) address the major topics of the 1960s: love, politics, and drugs. Each verse captures the essence of the initial optimism and eventual disillusion, followed by the resigned pragmatism in the chorus.

(Richie Unterberger of Allmusic) concludes of the song, “Much has been made of the lyrics reflecting the end of the overlong party that was the 1960s, as a snapshot of Swinging London burning out. That’s a valid interpretation, but it should also be pointed out that there’s also an uplifting and reassuring quality to the melody and performance. This is particularly true of the key lyrical hook, when we are reminded that we can’t always get what we want, but we’ll get what we need.”

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Dreams last night: a big, beautiful, Golden Retriever type dog.