What do you give to the person who wants nothing (for themself)? Perhaps you would give them an idea. Ideally it would be an idea so novel, funny, daring, newsworthy and crazy enough that it just might work. This is where i need your help.
This Friday is GPaul’s 30th birthday and we will be in NYC continuing with our community building Point A work. I am responsible for his under organized birthday event. Pleasantly, he personally wants little, demonstrated by (among many things) his willingness to stay in a tiny shoe box room in the barn at Acorn for years after he could have moved into a nicer one.
What we want collectively is at the other end of the accessibility spectrum: High visibility, inspiring, urban based, income sharing, intentional communities. And what I am asking from you, even if you can’t join us for this post Pride Friday night party in NYC is exotic memes.
What preposterous yet plausible proposals do you have for how to spark new urban communities? Some examples might help.
Party til Occupation. Both the mainstream media and progressive activists were surprised by Occupy. A call was made for a broad protest, as thousands have in the past, and people showed up in Zuccotti Park and ultimately across the country and started building political community. What had not been expected was that people from different classes and races could work intimately together using consensus to improve the treatment of the poor and the homeless and highlight corruption in banking and politics.
What if (after finding a suitable site) we decided to hold an open ended party. Different collective groups from the city take responsibility for making sure there are people and party goodies for some specific set of days for perhaps the first month or so. Then if it turns out that people are enjoying the party, renew the invitations and simply start pretending that permanent occupation of the site is a desirable and possible outcome.
CommunityCupid.org. Instead of a one on one dating site, this new social network helps people find others to live in community with. This does not need to be a single place based residence, it could be buying clubs and other aggregate discount services. And the structure of the site and the data is such that it is designed to bring people who are looking to spark community into the conversation. A relatively simple solution for starting up such a project might be as a Facebook plug in.
These are two examples of unlikely, but desirable projects. I am hoping you can add your own to be part of the birthday fun.
On Friday we will gather all the cards and all the participants we have and each person attending the party will draw 3 or more cards and choose the one which they think they can defend to the group the best. Then they will present the bold proposal of their selection and the rest of the group will evaluate the proposal to see if it is worthy of pursuing.
If you are in NYC this Friday, then email me and I will tell you where this event is in Brooklyn. If you can’t participate, but would like to submit a preposterous plausible idea you can either email me or leave it in the comment field.
Doing the “Louisa Bus” which is also called the “town trip” is one of my favorite jobs for the communities. This is the centralized shopping job in which a single person drives into town with a collection of requests from members as to the things they want purchased for them. As one person recently described it i am the “personal shopper” for the entire community.
I love the job because i get to learn about things which i never knew about before. I get to sort of do a favor for everyone who submits a request. People are generally quite pleased when their request slightly magically turns up where they wanted it. I get to go to the food bank and rescue pre-dumpstered food. Most weeks i can do both communities town trips at the same time. And i am pretty good at getting all of the requests (sometime terrifically under specified) correct.
Pretty good until yesterday.
Today is anniversary. Twin Oaks is 47 years old and one of our customs is the traveling brunch, where multiple cooks in different kitchens prepare somewhat different meals all over campus. The day before these festivities is a big day for the town trip, because all the cooks put in requests.
Ezra put in a request for “Brisket in a Tube”. i had no idea what this was, but was, as usual, confident that people in the stores would know. I asked the deli gal at Food Depot, no clue. I asked the deli guy at Food Lion, he did not know but he gave me a large piece of brisket and i assumed the tube part was unnecessary.
When i gave it to Ezra he pointed out that it was not brisket that he was asking for but rather biscuits. In my defense, Ezra does have quite exotic spelling and he had left out the “u” in biscuit, so my mistake was somewhat understandable.
Later in the day i went back into town and correct my mistake. Biscuits are out this morning. And Ezra also just presented me we the above dish, with the cooked brisket in a toilet paper roll. And while the deli staff may have never heard of it, but today we are pioneering new culinary delights here on anniversary.
I believe in Aliens.
There I said it.
As you may know, I am pretty open about a wide-variety of things, including, but certainly not limited to my polyglamorous relationships, my obsession with twerking, and my desire for some radical heteronormativity in my life. (while of course still maintaining my polyglamorus status.)
I must come out of the space ship, although I hold some reservations about coming out of the space ship. I feel like I will be judged negatively and that the anti-nuclear activists and the communities movement will shun me, that I will have gone too “woo woo” or maybe people will think I’ve simply gone of my rocker. Perhaps if this was just a small part of me people would understand.
But, its not.
I think spreading the truth about Space Aliens and their involvement on earth is some of the most important activism we can do. I want to be the Chelsea Manning of Extra Terrestrials. The information NEEDS to be out there and people NEED to know that aliens are among us.
You may be thinking “wow paxus has finally snapped.” As if I haven’t already, excuse me.
The rest of you are thinking ” gee, I wonder why he thinks this.”
And a small number of you, the true truthers, are thinking “yes I believe too, please go on.”
I will gladly tell you the story of how I first became aware that Aliens are real AND living on planet Earth. I am especially excited because this is not one of the stories that I tell on loop at every event ever.
When I was in the Czech, protesting nukes, I met a women named Eleanora. Eleanora was, well, odd to say the least. Her diet is one example, she specifically like invertebrates. She always said in her weird, practically indistinguishable accent “It es so much easeiar to eat dah invertabras, you do not eben ned to peek meat off das bones! You jest squeese it out.” Of course I found it to be ridiculously adorable and we spent many nights together, discussing the protein humans are missing and how nukes may destroy the planet, you know, typical radical type stuff. Another odd thing, she introduced me to twerking, before twerking was a thing, she shared a great love for it.
One night we had plans to spend time together in one of the downtown areas of the czech, she called me and told me that she could not come out that night, she didn’t feel very well. She sounded like she had been crying and I asked her if maybe I could just come over instead. After some conversation she agreed.
When I got there she complained about feeling “allown on dis planet.” and feeling like “All the odders like me have jest given oop and become followers.” At first I thought this was just your typical activist breakdown. You know “The worlds gone mad! Nobody cares!”
But, I became fascinated about how often she used the terms “on dis planet!” and finally it escalated into her practically yelling “And dere destroying the galoxy for the rest of us!”
All the emotion faded from her face, realizing she had said a bit too much. I could see it in her face and me desiring transparency asked her to please explain herself. She took a deep breath and told me that she was a Extra Terrestrial from a somewhat nearby Solar System and that she was hear to try and stop humans from poisoning the universe. She said that her species is somewhat related to hers, but that they had blue hair and some other traits.
Suddenly it all made sense, why Eleanora was constantly buying brown hair dye, while being upset about using such nasty chemicals, and why we never played with her genitals. I didn’t complain because I rather enjoyed all the fellatio I was receiving.
This led to years and years of Eleanora introducing me to her underground ET politcal groups and explaining to me the various species of aliens, some being related to humans, some being shape shifters. Cats are aliens that take advantage of humans parental instincts.
Remember when I hitchhiked on boats?
Well the whole reason was so that I could get far enough out to sea so that I could get picked up by a spacecraft to and go visit Eleanoras family on the celebration of some religion from their planet.
I have more information, but I have been to space and back multiple times since then.
This information needs to be out.
I know this is a lot to spring on all of you, but I swear it is all true. Its as true as my love for twerking.
Transparency is my favorite thing and this is no different.
One of the regular Point A heated discussions is around divergent approaches to resource sharing cultures. There is the typical communard way of free access to shared goods and then the libertarian solutions of decentralized micro markets. In home based hospitality services this is exemplified by couchsurfing.org (which is basically free) and AirBNB.com/FlipKey.com (which are renting previously idle living space).
Unsurprisingly, my personal feelings are the more we can keep money out of theses systems the happier we will be with the cultueffects and social impacts. And I am aware that these decentralized markets (where dynamic rents are exchanged) have tremendous appeal from both tenant and space owner. In lovely compromise of these diverse systems, one Brooklyn friend rents out his back bedroom via AirBNB and this pays the rent for the entire flat, and he camps out handful or more couch surfers in the living room, who are paying nothing,
One of the conventional after market sites on the internet is HoteWire.com which I have found about average air ticket prices and good rental car and hotel prices. In the case of hotel rooms, they don’t tell you the name of the hotel so as to not be in competition with the hotels own site. Bryonna and I wanted to run away for her birthday to the beach, I found an inexpensive two and a half star hotel near the ocean facing Virginia Beach. It had these two picture on the wall.
It was a cheap hotel. But I have to wonder, did they think they were putting up two identical pictures in this room and people would not notice, or not care. or would find it funny perhaps?
On the other hand, this monopoly of beach furniture rentals produces high prices and tremendous wasted surplus. The business makes money presumably, but that alone does not justify the resources used to create these items which is then mostly idle and inequitably distributed. Another small example that capitalism is pushing us the wrong way.
On Friday’s i do the Louisa town trip for both Acorn and Twin Oaks. This is basically a centralized shopping task, where any member of guest who wants something purchased in town fills out a pre-formatted form and slips it into the appropriate drawer in the main office at Twin Oaks (or writes it on the right clipboard at Acorn) and the town tripper goes and satisfies all the requests. If you get your request in before 9 AM, there is a 95% chance you have it where you want it by 1 PM the same day. This is a powerful and convenient system. You don’t have to handle money, you don’t have to do the accounting, you are not even expected to thank the tripper.
Last Friday i got this TOR (Twin Oaks Request)
i believe it is the first one Willow has ever written, it is certainly the first one i have ever gotten. And my immediate thought was “He might stay.”
i have always assumed that Willow would in his later teens go off and do something that might result in him never returning to the commune. In the last few years he has talked about becoming a lawyer. This is after some years of him saying he was never going to go to school. Parents who worry about their children’s college/employment plans before they are 15 are people who apparently don’t have enough to worry about. Kids change their minds.
But the emotional impact of getting this first TOR was significant. It was more than just a request for chips. It was Willow stepping into the complex set of systems which make the clockwork community of Twin Oaks work.
The last two teenagers who grew up at Twin Oaks did not go away to college, unlike the half dozen before them who all did. Instead they stayed and became adult members of the commune. [One of the most common questions we get at college speaking gigs about the communes is "What do you do about kids education?" For the college part, the answer is "We send them to college." The community does not simply write a check for the totality of tuition, fees, room and board. Instead we go thru the entire financial aid package, do some combination of loans and grants and money from other places. But what we make sure is that any one of our kids who wants to can go to the school that they get accepted at.]
To go from a kid member to an adult member is a non-trivial jump. Your quota goes from something like 14 hours a week to 42. You need to do a three week visitor period, but you dont go thru the regular membership input process, instead, if you make full quota as a visitor after 3 weeks we simply accepted you as a member.
Until this TOR i had never really thought seriously about Willow following the lead of our most recent teens. When they became adult members they moved out of the residences where they grew up and where that their folks live, into different buildings in the community, where their parents did not live. It is worth pointing out that both of these kids continue to have fine relationships with their folks. And it is some type of vote of confidence that the commune is attractive enough to hold it’s own kids.
i am guessing Willow won’t stay. He has an adventurous streak and will perhaps go see the world, or become a lawyer, or a lion tamer. But who knows. Kids change their minds.
The title of this post comes from an interview with former UN Secretary General Boutros Boutros-Ghali. When asked why he was seeking a second term, having initially emphatically claimed he was only interested in one term as Secretary General he replied in part “Only stupid people don’t change their minds“