September 05, 2006
The vegan/mind connection
During the summer before my last semester in college (1993), I became a lacto-ovo vegetarian, and I noticed a decent boost in my energy and especially in my ability to concentrate. Four years later (1997) I became a complete vegan (no animal products at all), and I've been one ever since, and this yielded an even bigger boost.
I'm interested that he mentions his ability to concentrate... according to my nutrition teacher, Paul Pitchford, the consciousness of the things we eat affects our own consciousness. The more sentient its source, the more a food can "cloud" our mind.
So while Paul doesn't recommend veganism necessarily for everyone, he noted several times that the main reason he chooses to be vegan is because he "likes the way his mind feels" that way.
August 26, 2006
Keepin' it real
Today I was driving home from Rainbow and happened to hear the end of an interview with E-Fierce on the radio.
I had never heard of her, but she was promoting her new book, The Sistahood: On the Mic and for some reason I lingered long enough to get hooked into listening, and thankfully so.
She talked about what it was like for her growing up in the Mission, with relatives in Bayview, and then being shipped off to Lowell, the rich kid school, through some kind of affirmative action program.
And she talked about her work with young people, and the complexities of race, and the realities of growing up multi-racial.
Eventually, I cried. A good kind of cry, a touched kind of cry... but geez. As a queer, white though I may be, I feel like I'm learning a lot about what it might be like to be a person of color just by paying attention to what I face and going from there.
When she talks about the struggles of youth today, and how some things haven't changed from when she was growing up, I feel that. And when she talks about a girl who doesn't know yet how to be comfortable in her own skin literally, because of its color, well, I can only imagine that, and I cried. I know what it's like struggling to be comfortable in other things, like my genitalia and what they meant to everybody else around me growing up.
I cried because of the similarities of experience, and the direct connection from that girl's pain to mine... but also because of the question, something like, "Is it really this difficult? Is it really so hard to live together and not hurt each other?"
I don't think I'd asked it before; I think I'd taken it for granted on some level that childhood inevitably means getting fucked up, whether you realize it or not (and that the folks who are convinced they had "good childhoods" are among the most dangerous, like sleepwalkers with weapons in unaware hands).
She talked about the way we put people in boxes, just by looking at them and making the assumptions we make. I do that. Nearly unconsciously.
It's not an everyday experience, right, to be driving in the car listening to the radio and hear something real that actually touches something real in me. I think I'm going to check out the book.
She mentioned two other interesting authors, Black Artemis and Jeff Chang—the latter's history of hip-hop culture looks interesting, and I remember something said about one of the former's books that made me think I should read it.
Anyway, passing them along to y'all out in cyberspace. One more bit o' signal, or noise, as the case may be.
My latest lens...
This Squidoo thing is a) addictive, b) not necessarily an equal win-win-win, c) giving me some ideas for my own website!
August 23, 2006
The best defense
Self-promotion first: I'm playing with something called Squidoo. It's yet another user-built website, mostly aimed at pointing viewers to other places on the web via topical "lenses"... here's my first lens: http://www.squidoo.com/wholefoods
In other news, looks like I managed to offend some folks with my last post or two... ahh well. If Lewis Black and Michael Savage get to still be alive...
Actually, on anything in the middle east, it's a little ridiculous: normally sane, rational people can't even maintain the peace here at home when the slightest breeze of a contradictory opinion on Israel blows past them. And we expect the folks actually living it not to lob bombs at each other?
Want world peace? Be the change you wish to see: get over your opinion on the Israel/Palestine issue, at least enough to maintain your blood pressure and a civil attitude around those who have a different viewpoint.
No, I'm not telling you mine. C.f. that bit about remaining alive? I don't need any death threats from crazed fundamentalists, or their supporters.
August 15, 2006
After conversing with Steve, we want to know the answer to the following:
Choose the best match...
Straight people are to gay people as:
a) Palestine is to Israel
b) Israel is to Palestine
c) America is to the rest of the world
Gosh, that's offensive. I should stop watching Mind of Mencia. Or start listening to Savage Nation.
If a Non-Violent Communication expert were to mediate, we'd find a lot of frustration, and some fear and hurt feelings, probably on both sides. Instead, we get businessmen versus lesbian moms with politicians in the middle. I'm on the sidelines heckling all of them.
August 12, 2006
And Castro for Us, not Them
I'm sorry, I'm down to us versus them.
If you haven't heard about the straight guy who moved to the Castro and then got lambasted for calling it too gay, well... you need to.
Check the video here: http://www.salon.com/ent/video_dog/latenight/2006/07/13/gayborhood/index.html (Mark Welsh rocks!)
Now maybe Jeremy Paul never complained about any of the window displays, but other people did. He agreed to be their poster boy for the Daily Show, and he's gotten a lot of grief for it. Too bad so many of the actual complainers don't have the guts to be public about their drama.
And when he says stupid things like, "I'm happy people can enjoy a lifestyle that's denied to them back home in Kansas, but there are appropriate standards of behavior, regardless of your sexual orientation," I have to say he deserves all the flak he's getting and more.
Next, read this article on similar problems in recent history: http://www.ebar.com/news/article.php?sec=news&article=336
Finally, my open letter to Supervisor Dufty weighing in on the issue:
I got around to reading the actual article at http://www.ebar.com/news/article.php?sec=news&article=336 after hearing about Jeremy Paul raising issues around Rock Hard and other stores' window displays. I knew about the penis statue drama, but had never actually read the facts.
And now I'm livid reading about Lisa Bennett, who wrote you an email saying that her "patience" with trying to avoid porn in storefronts "is growing very thin". I can tell you, my patience with people like her never existed.
I pay an awful lot of money to live here, and for a reason. If I wanted to live in the ambience of heteronormative values, I could do it for a fraction of the "gay tax" I pay to live in the Castro.
This issue is ridiculous. The fact that gay people are raising children doesn't mean anything. Just because one is a parent doesn't make one immediately mainstream like Bennett. Honestly, she should move. So should Jeremey Paul (without a doubt, he's not even gay).
Now, the woman that I saw at Dore Alley fair one year... she had a kid in a stroller, and when a 40 year old man in a dog outfit trotted up on all fours on the end of some Daddy's leash, she showed her daughter how to pet the "puppy" on his head... SHE can live in my neighborhood.
These people can live ANYWHERE ELSE in the country. I can't. And when they start trying to impose their values on our neighborhood, it begins to feel like I can't even live here. The question to ask about all of these window displays is, If not in the Castro, where?
I don't envy the position you're in, and don't expect a politician worth his salt to take a definite, open position on it. I just want you to know where this voter stands. And Castro for Us!
You know, I had this crazy, relevant dream a few weeks ago... in it, this group of rich gay men started buying up the real estate on Castro Street, and renting it at sub-market rates to select businesses. The purpose was to reclaim the neighborhood.
The only thing I remember was a new restaurant that had a dress code: you had to look gay. And just like those fancy places that have jackets you can borrow if you forget yours, they too had dinner wear for you. If you came from the marina looking like a dumb straight guy with your blond girlfriend and forgot to dress gay, it was sequins and feather boas for you, or you didn't get in.
I think this is an excellent idea. We just need a few wealthy gay guys who want our neighborhood back to make it happen.
BTW, looks like Bennett did or planned to move: http://www.latimes.com/news/local/la-me-castro21apr21,0,4320735.story?coll=la-home-headlines says After failing to persuade merchants to post suggestive ads above the line of sight of small children, the mother, who asked not to be identified, said she plans to move from the Castro.
Honestly, good riddance. I suppose I fall under their label of "equally militant gay residents", although I intend much more than "equally".
I think the inimitable barber Joe said it best:
We're not going to neuter ourselves for anybody," said Joe Gallagher, a gay barber who often runs raunchy ads featuring muscular men in the local gay press. "We're not going to jump just because these people complain. The rest of the country isn't big enough? They've got to try and take over the Castro as well?"
Woo! No neutering! Time to go jogging in nothin' but our jockstraps.
July 11, 2006
Synchronous plant medicine
After seeing Pendell, woke up to find the following link to an article on a scientific study of psilocybin, both from a friend and through a listserv.
"A universal mystical experience with life-changing effects can be produced by the hallucinogen contained in magic mushrooms, scientists claim today."
You think? Well, this is one of the functions of the scientific method, right? "Proving" what we already know.
Friend also included a link to a second article, which is sufficiently different to be worth reading as well.