stocking up, staking out

I have stopped throwing up. I’m so excited that even Peanut is doing a little dance. Or was a couple of nights ago in the first instance of internal kicking I’ve been 100% sure had to do with the baby and not lunch. Nineteen weeks: check.

In my quest to keep my pregnancy as minimally consumer-oriented as my life, I’ve been scouring the fleamarket for necessities since day one. At first it felt strange to dig through the piles of baby clothes heaped in boxes at every third stand. Now it’s about all that holds my interest. At 50 cents to one euro per peice, we’ve now got all the clothes we’ll need for the first eight months (if not a bit longer). And for the price of two averagely priced outfits at a store. Instead of watching horror films these days I just go into stores’ baby departments and look at the price tags. It really is amazing how much money a body can demand for so very little cloth. But picking out tiny clothes is fascinating. Holding a pair of socks the size of your thumbs has a way of making the inevitable consequences of a pregnancy both more concrete and more surreal.

I won’t be needing any maternity clothes—and hey remember how I was talking about needing a bigger jacket for winter with Mount Peanut last week? a friend just up and sent me one in the mail! score!—as I’ve already got more than enough stretch pants, leggings, and flowy dresses and shirts (as well as access to a sewing machine and the Beard’s closet).

The fleamarket has also supplied us with baby monitors (10 euro), burp towels (30 towels, about 4 euro), hoodie towels (4 towels, 1 euro), two carriers (one for the first six to eight months and one for later, 4 and 15 euro respectively), a car seat (gift), and a carriage that can transform into a robot warrier (30 euro). All in all I think we’ve probably spent about 100 euro on everything.

I’m planning on taking Freya’s advice from last week and cutting up all the soft shirts in the free shop into re-useable wipes and towels; I’ve dumpster dived a number of fun toys, bedding, and a stroller; there are at least ten “baby” tubs lying around the Platz; and my mother has been sending one package after another full of things she’s knit or dug out of the attic from my own childhood. We don’t need a crib as we’ll be co-sleeping or much bottle-feeding equipment as I’ll be breastfeeding, I’ll be building a fold-down changing table, and we even have a ukelele and mini piano that the Peanut will be welcome to play with and/or destroy as she/he will. We’ve got everything we need. Almost.

There is something left on the “to buy” list and that is the set of cloth diapers we’re planning on using. Here’s where you come in. You may have noticed that I have a tip jar on the sidebar of this blog. Ignore it, go to our baby registry, and buy us one cloth diaper. It would be an absolutely amazing way to show your love for Click Clack Gorilla, and the Beard and I would both be eternally grateful. Did you know that there are no baby showers in Germany? Getting cloth diapers sent to me by readers of this blog would totally make up for that.

Keep Click Clack Gorilla ad free! Buy Click Clack Gorilla one cloth diaper!

Read more posts about gorilla mama-dom

if you do not buy our products, we will kill you
buns, ovens
possibly the future kindermobile
ramen confessions

Friday September 30th 2011, 8:40 am 7 Comments
Filed under: conspiracies,gorilla parent (pregnancy)


alphabet soup

And today’s nausea is brought to you by “I didn’t eat enough protein yesterday,” and the letter’s “F” and “U.” So instead of my own banter, I’ve decided to share a lovely guest post from Fish in the Water about the pitfalls of academia. Here we go…

against academia

I dropped out of grad school, if you can call it that. I started taking classes, got through one, and decided it was mental to continue. What the hell would I do with a masters degree? Sure, it would allow me to teach professionally, but I have much more fun subversively “teaching” students at the college by hanging out with them and just talking. Does not being allowed to teach classes annoy me? Yes, but not so much that I want to go back and finish school. I hated school. Always did.

But I love learning. There is just a key distinction: I love learning on my own time, in my own way, with other people when possible. I love finding out why some leaves work better than others to make fibers. I love understanding the parts of a tree, and how they work. I’m all over the knowledge thing, especially when it has a practical application. But the problem with the majority of academia is that only certain types of knowledge are considered worthwhile, and those are the kinds produced by people with alphabet soup after their names (you know, PhD, MA, BS, etc).

This need to have a degree continuously irks me, because it discounts the vast amounts of colloquial knowledge out there in the world. There are many, many people who have studied just as long and hard (or more so) than the people with degrees—but because they didn’t pay money for it, it doesn’t count. A degree isn’t actually an indicator of quality—it just means you had the money and the tolerance to stick out a certain number of hours of “education.” You could be a complete idiot. You could not know a single thing about your subject, you could have just been a really good test taker. But you have a degree. And that’s supposed to say it all?

The reason we use degrees as an indicator of worth is the same reason we use the USDA Organic standard to indicate the supposed worth of vegetables. It allows us to know something about an item (or person) without having to trouble to do the work to actually learn about it. For example. If a vegetable is certified organic, that only means the farmer in theory adhered to a certain set of standards, and refrained from using some particular chemicals. It doesn’t mean he didn’t use chemicals at all. In fact, he has a wide array of chemicals and other practices to select from while still being called “organic.” You have no idea what he selected. For all you know, he pissed on his fields every night. You have no way of knowing. An inspector is supposed to go out and determine whether the farmer followed all the standards, but what if the inspector missed something? What if the farmer hid something? What if the standards aren’t up to your own standards anyway? What if the processor did something—or the store? You have no idea. There’s a vast amount of information you can’t possibly know or likely find out. All you know is that it has a sticker on it that says organic. And that’s assuming someone didn’t fuck with you by going around switching the vegetables in the organic section with the regular ones.

I know exactly what was sprayed on my vegetables (nothing), exactly what was in the soil (cow manure), exactly how often it rained on the damn things- I don’t need a label for my own vegetables. I also don’t need them for my neighbors vegetables. I don’t even need them for the farm up the road, because I’ve been there, I’ve worked there, I know the farmer and the workers, and I know what they’re doing. Why would I need a label to tell me what I was buying?

By the same logic, if I take the time to get to know a person, I’ll have a fair idea of whether they actually know their subject or not. Yeah, they could be lying or faking it, but so can someone with a piece of paper. It all comes down to whether you trust them or not. Just because you have a teaching certificate, doesn’t make you a good teacher. Just because you have a degree, doesn’t mean you actually know anything. Just because something is labeled as safe by the FDA or USDA or whoever, doesn’t mean it’s safe. No, it just means you’re too far removed from the people and things you interact with to have any knowledge of them yourself, and so some sort of governing body steps in. If we lived in close knit communities, and were mutually interdependent for our lives, there’d never be any kind of question of degrees. Who the hell would care? What would be the point? You would know who was knowledgeable and who was not, who was trustworthy and who not.

The vast majority of regulations we have are based around the simple fact that you don’t know what’s going on. And so you trust a regulator to make sure it’s all ok. I don’t know about you, but I’m not ok with that anymore than I am with this assumption that just because you’ve finished college you actually know something. There’s this new commercial on tv for some grocery store that’s like, you don’t have to produce your own food to know its natural! You can buy it from us! We promise it’s really natural! And it shows dumb things like people growing wheat in their living rooms like such a thing was possible. It’s interesting that the industry is really starting to feel the pressure from all of us back to the land sort of people, to the extent that they feel the need to respond like that. You don’t have to have your own garden, is the implication, you don’t have to go to a farmer’s market, come spend your money here, we promise it’s safe. But they can’t make that promise, and you’d be a fool to trust them.

For my own part, I far prefer to get to know things—whether it’s a vegetable or a person. It’s why I don’t call any of the professors “Dr. So and Such”, much to the annoyance of a lot of them. Yeah, so they went through ten years of college or whatever, and wrote a dissertation. I know farmers who have been at it for 50 years, and you don’t hear anyone calling them Dr. So and So, PhD in Agriculture. But many of them have put in more time and effort to learning something than someone with a doctorate. I’m not knocking the time of people in academics. I think it’s great that they devote their lives to learning about things. I just wish they wouldn’t exclude the rest of us with the same passion—just because we don’t care to spend the money or the late nights learning things their way.

Originally posted here.

Thursday September 29th 2011, 4:16 pm 1 Comment
Filed under: conspiracies


how to join an intentional community

The thing about living in a collective is that a collective can’t work without communication, and the thing about communication between 17 people is that you can’t do it without scheduling meetings. And everybody hates meetings. Even when they are part of keeping your heart pumping.

Our meetings take place irregularly, called whenever someone feels the need via a sign hung in the center of the Wagenplatz. (For any new readers here, you can find out more about what the hell a Wagenplatz is by clicking here.) Whoever is around gathers, a recorder is selected, and topics are collected. Then they are discussed one by one until they’re all checked off the list. Pretty much like any other meeting aynwhere. The main difference being that all decisions are made by consensus.

Consensus decision making is a tricky beast. It’s difficult to come to and even more difficult to find without slipping into unsavory habits. (Some folks wrote an entire book about this called Come Hell or High Water that is sitting on my bookshelf waiting to be read.) But it is incredibly satisfying. Because you always know that even if you are in the minority your opinion will be respected, heard, and honored. Because even if you are the only one who sees an issue in a certain way, that you will not be bullied into accepting another fate just because you’re outnumbered. I prefer it to majority rules decision making by a long shot, but it’s also difficult to pull off in large groups.

Last night there were a number of issues on the table, including two requests to become permanent members of the community. In order to move to our Wagenplatz, you first have to introduce yourself and submit your request to the group. If you just want to be a temporary guest, we discuss it, check whether the guest trailer is free, and then decide how long you can stay. If you want to be a permanent resident, you make your request and then leave the round so we can discuss whether or not to give Probewohnen (trial living) a go or not. During Probewohnen you then spend a little time in each of the communal kitchens, a tradition which is supposed to facilitate getting to know everyone in the group. Then at the end of two, three, or six months, depending on the current whim of the group, we meet again to discuss whether you can move in for reals. It’s a heavy process, especially when space (or a lack thereof) requires us to be extremely choosey about who we let move in. With only one spot currently open, we’re currently only accepting folks that the entire group (more or less) is really really excited about. And each individual has veto power in his or her own right.

After a difficult round, we decided to turn both requests down, and it was a sad announcement to make to two nice people. It’s hard to say “it’s not personal but we don’t want to live with you,” but sometimes it is true.

Do any of you live in collectives? How do you decide who gets to join the group?

Wednesday September 28th 2011, 8:39 pm 3 Comments
Filed under: conspiracies,daily life,wagenplatz


the new escapologist strikes again, prints article, wins hearts

Yihaw, yip yip, peng peng! I’ve got an article in the new issue of magazine New Escapologist! Though I am frequently being “published” online, there really is a special feeling that comes with seeing your name and your words printed on paper. As good a reason for two exclamation points as I can think of. !!

New Escapologist is a magazine about leaving behind a world in which you do what is expected of you (whether it be the 9-5 job or the picket fence) and making your life the day dream you used to have by the coffee machine in the break room. I haven’t read issue six just yet, but if it’s anything like the other five issues, it’s full of high-quality writing with stimulating, playful content on the subject of escape. I highly recommend it to gorillas everywhere. If you’d like to buy a copy of issue six and read my own tale of escape from office life, click here. They also run a lovely blog that you can read here.

To celebrate publication, I’m giving away a copy of New Escapologist Issue 3: The Practicalities Issue (remember: this isn’t the issue my article is in). So if you want to get a taste of what the magazine is all about and if you dream of living simpler, living freer, and adding “ers” inappropriately to words, then leave a comment on this post about your own escape (or escape plans). Or just leave a comment saying you’d really like to read this magazine. Either way your comment will enter you to win, and in a couple of days I’ll pick one of your names out of a hat and send you the goods. Consider it the glass of celebratory champagne raised in your direction.

Tuesday September 27th 2011, 12:53 pm 16 Comments
Filed under: conspiracies


golden hearts tour america! break hearts! end capitalism!

Having started the week with a tale of the adventures of Click Clack Gorill and K. Sleeveless, I thought I would end the week with instructions for meeting The Sleeveless One in person.

It’s easy and anyone can do it! Wow! How easy is it, you ask? Well, let me tell you just how easy it really is…

1. Examine list of tour dates below.
2. Select closest city.
3. Attend concert.
4. Start conversation by saying you’ve been sent to deliver hugs from Click Clack Gorilla. And if you go to that last Baltimore show, give my uncle a hug as well.

Golden Hearts/Katey Sleeveless/It’s True/Adam Hawkins Tour Extraordinaire

10/17/11 Tba, Champaign, Illinois
10/19/11 The Verve, Terre Haute, Indiana
10/20/11 Rachael’s Cafe, Bloomington, Indiana
10/22/11 Rhino’s All Ages Club, Bloomington, Indiana
10/23/11 Switchyard, Bloomington, Indiana
10/25/11 Sitwell’s, Cincinnati, Ohio
10/26/11 Labyrinth Press Co., Jamestown, New York

11/2/11 UNregular Radio, Boston, Massachusetts
11/4/11 House Show, New Haven, Connecticut
11/6/11 Fort Something, Bushwick, Brooklyn, NYC
11/7/11 Goodbye Blue Monday, Bushwick, Brooklyn, NYC
11/9/11 Sidewalk Cafe, NYC
11/17/11 Red Hook, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
11/18/11 Bohemian Cafe, Baltimore, Maryland
11/20/11 Normal’s Bookstore, Baltimore, Maryland
11/26/11 House Show, Charlottesville, Virginia

If you’ve been reading this blog for a while, you’ll have heard me shamelessly promoting Katey’s music before. But if you’re new here, here’s a taste. Katey writes folk songs about revolution, about hitch hiking, about farming, about life. I’ve heard people compare her voice to Joanna Newsom’s, which I think is just a lot of people’s way of saying her voice is incredibly unique and awesome. She also happens to be a fantastic person who I’ve know almost since I was born. And she’ll be touring with partner-in-crime Adam Hawkins of It’s True (and they’re doing large parts of their sets together and that Hawkins can sing like a god damn angel), baby Sleeveless, and the Sleeveless Dog. There’s no time like right this very second for a good concert…

K. Sleeveless: Once I Had an Open Heart

Adam Hawkins: War

Friday September 23rd 2011, 8:23 am 5 Comments
Filed under: conspiracies,music


16 weeks pregnant: if you do not buy our products, we will kill you

Businesses sure do enjoy pumping the pregnancy market. As soon as word gets out that you’re baking your very own bun, the scent of fresh blood (to wildly mix metaphors) draws the advertisers out of the dark crevices in which they’ve been lying in wait. The race to win the contents of expectant parents’ wallets is worth the extra effort: whoever wins has a chance not just at immediate profit and potential product loyalty, but at training a brand new consumer to recognize their brand and logo. With the chance to sack two very profitable birds with one stone, advertisers start throwing boulders.

Left: Click Clack Gorilla exhibiting baby hats made by Grandma Gorilla.

Sales pitches aimed at expectant parents (and folks who are already parents for that matter) is some of the sickest bullshit I’ve ever seen. Everybody wants to be a good parent; it’s a physical instinct. So advertisers prey on the inevitable worries that you won’t be able to be as good a parent as you would like and that you don’t have a fucking clue what you’re doing by sending the message that being a good parent corresponds to purchasing products.

It’s not any different than the tactics used to target folks who don’t have children—we’ve been seeing the “create a product and then manufacture a feeling of inadequacy that makes consumers feel that they need your product to be whole” spiel since advertising really got started—but strikes me as being correspondingly more malicious the more vulnerable the targets. And expecting parents, particularly pregnant ladies, are a very vulnerable bunch. Let me give you an example: the line drawings in the book The Birth Partner have actually brought me to tears. Knowing that they are simply designed to illustrate the points made in the book (aka they are drawings of midwives and partners helping pregnant women through labor), I can’t fathom what a well-targeted advertisement could be capable of.

I’ve been lucky not to have come into contact with much consumer-parent propaganda. When the doctor gave me a bag of advertisements (“And we have a present for you!” the woman who checks my blood sugar at each appointment told me as she handed me a plastic sack full of trash), I saved the info booklet and trashed all the catalogues and “money-saving coupons” (aka “shop at my store and spend way more than you intended to” carrots). Then I read the info booklet, realized that it, too, was full of advertisements, and trashed it as well.

While waiting for a train recently I slipped into the book store to flip through magazines and wrinkle my eyebrows at the parenting magazines. They were, of course, also full of advertisements, though more striking than the bulk of ads and product placements were the pregnant models doing their sexy model stance. It was incredibly absurd. Didn’t anyone ever tell them they don’t need to stand like the ladies in the bulimia magazines to look sexy because they are the embodiment of sex, and sexy? Apparently not. Or maybe the magazines just don’t want the pregnant ladies to know that because if they did, they might not feel like they needed to buy a new wardrobe to make them feel sexy behind their new bellies.

Treacherous as advertising can be, I do enjoy hearing about a product that is genuinely useful and whose purchase could help me avoid the purchase of many other products. Once upon a time in a far away land where the rivers flowed with honey and the clouds were made of popsicles, advertisement was about communication, about spreading information. Imagine that. Considering the bent of most advertising around us today, I find it damn hard to.

But take maternity wear. As a lover of stretch pants and owner of many flexibly fabricked t-shirts and semi-flow-y dresses (and occasional borrower of a sewing machine), I have no reason to buy maternity wear—though I am feeling a bit short on pants and winter jackets now that neither will zip over Mount Peanut. And an advertisement in that same parenting magazine presented a solution: the belly band (see a mini picture below).

It works like this: you put on your favorite pants, the ones that don’t fit anymore, and you leave them unzipped. Then you pull the belly band over them, and it helps keep your pants up, hides the fact that your fly is down, and keeps your belly warm while doing it. Which means that even if you don’t like stretch pants, you can still wear your favorite pants while pregnant, without having to buy a closet full of new ones. As for the jacket, I’m just going to steal one from the Beard, though if you’ve ever seen him, you’ll know that I’m going to need to find someone larger to thieve from come December.

So lay ‘em on me parent and parentally interested readers. What are your tips and tricks for a non-consumer pregnancy?

Thursday September 22nd 2011, 7:41 pm 16 Comments
Filed under: conspiracies,gorilla parent (pregnancy)


sleeping bag rodeo and other games to play at gas stations

Winter hibernation modus has set in, so in an attempt to transform lead into gold, I’m doing something productive and going through my enormous Click Clack Gorilla drafts folder. This week I unearthed some hitch hiking stories from the thumb-sponsored tour Katey Sleeveless and I went on together two years ago (shit does time fly!).

If you’ve read a hitch hiking story on this website, you’ve probably read about one of our adventures on that trip. We hitched to Munich and Prague, to Dresden and back. We flew to Spain and stayed at the most gorgeous squat I have ever laid eyes on, where Sleeveless made the only Click Clack Gorilla promotional video in existence. And she later made it solo to Holland despite being picked up by a truck driver hauling a stolen car that the police confiscated during their ride.

Sleeveless wrote this song to commemorate it all, and a very long time ago, I wrote the words you’ll find below the video to commemorate it some more. Talley-ho Kassel, away!

hitch hiker’s day dream

There is a point on every hitch hiking trip when everyone starts to look like someone I saw at the last gas station, like someone I asked for a ride five minutes ago. The business suit in the black Audi station wagon. The green sweater with glasses. The middle-aged blonde in khakis and an SUV. The two clean-cut guys in polo shirts.

“Did you get that guy already?”

“Ummmm?” I squint in his business-suited direction. “No?”

“I’ll go ask him.”

“Ok.”

At this point in the trip, the chaos of it all, the improbability that this is ever going to work, and then the surreal euphoria when it does work, again, go straight to my head like a bathtub full of bubbly champagne.

We were on our way to Kassel—at the rest stop called “Kassel”—when the hitch hiking mojo just stopped flowing. No one actually going into the city was stopping here, they were probably all holding out for the city, home, tomorrow to fill up the tank. Cars came in sporadically, and it had started to snow in fat, wet, movie-set flakes. Show-time was approaching (we were on our way to a concert Sleeveless was booked to play that night). Just when we started to think, hey maybe we should call C (the show organizer), he called himself.

“C! We’re really close. At the rest stop called “Kassel.” But no one is going into the city.”

“I’ll come pick you guys up. Give me fifteen minutes.”

Oh sweet chariot of heaven! Oh sweet wanderer’s angel! A person with a car is coming to PICK US UP AND DRIVE US DIRECTLY TO THE PLACE WHERE WE ARE TRYING TO GO. The novelty of this had never been clear to me until this point. Up until this point I had always taken for granted the idea that traveling involved things like a plan, punctuality, and direct rides from point A (home) to point B (destination). The pure sweet shining beauty of something as simple as getting taking directly somewhere, well, you’ll have to come with us next time so you can feel it for yourself.

hitch hiker’s delirium

We had started the trip outside of a gas station in Wiesbaden. A guy on his way to Frankfurt picked us up and dropped us off at “a really good spot he knew,” which, despite the general inconsistency of hitch hiking experiences, always translates to “the worst spot you will ever spend several hours (or days) trying to get out of.” Usually I insist on being dropped at a rest stop I’ve picked out on the map. But this time I decided to give him the benefit of the doubt. First rule of hitch hiking: the driver who has picked you up does not have a fucking clue what a “good hitch hiking spot” is and his or her advice on such should be ignored at all costs. Damn it. Some rules are better left unbent.

We were ready to give up and get on a bus we’d seen stopping down the block when a car stopped at the light, rolled down the window, and offered to take us, even though he wasn’t actually going in our direction, even though he had just been planning on driving around the corner. We got in the car and granted him immediate guardian angeldom.

“Was just going to meet up with a friend and do some work. No problem to take you to the next rest stop though. I’m not in any rush.”

“Work? On a Friday night? What do you guys do?”

“We build things.”

“Oh yeah? Like what?”

“Well, joints.”

He dropped us at Wetterau on the A5, over a half an hour out of his way. May he be immortalized in hitch hiking yarns for the rest of eternity.

A polish trucker on his way to Hanau took us to the “Kassel” rest stop, and that is where we were when C called and when the delirium found us. We’d gone from stuck to saved twice in one hour. A car was on the way, and we weren’t going to be late for the show. Not needing to beg anymore rides, we stood beneath the gas station awning and decided to make up a game.

“Let’s see how many games we can make up with our sleeping bags.” I don’t remember whose idea it was, but it became a staple of our waiting-at-a-gas-station entertainment routine.

“Sleeping bag hot dog!” Sleeveless pretended to eat her sleeping bag, which was stuffed in a sausage-shaped, hot-dog-colored bag.

“Sleeping bag catch!” She threw the bag at me, and we tossed it back and forth giggling for a few minutes. “Sleeping bag rodeo!” She unwrapped the bag and swung it lasso-style around her head. Drivers on their way into the convenience store were going out of their way to stay as far away from us as possible.

“Sleeping bag opera!” I struck a dramatic pose, my sleeping bag held up to the heavens like a torch. “Oh sleeeeeeeeping bag!” I sung in falsetto. Sleeveless froze and looked at me like I was contagious. “Oooooh sure, look at me like I’m the crazy one when you were just pretending to eat yours and then swinging it around like a lasso!” I whacked her over the head with my bundle, and we were possessed by the kind of laughter that leaves you crying and breathless.

The show went well, and we got a ride almost-home from a friend of C. Our guardian angel had shown his face, we’d teetered on the brink of delirium, and we’d made it there and back again, again.

Monday September 19th 2011, 8:10 am 1 Comment
Filed under: conspiracies,gorilla travel,hitch hiking,music


click clack gorilla on relaxshacks

I am too slow for the internet. While I was off being too pregnant for anything but puking and sleeping, Click Clack Gorilla was featured on the prolific Deek Diedricksen’s website Relaxshacks twice. Take a look:

Nikki’s Super Bad-Ass Caravan/Tiny Home in Germany (and her ClickClackGorilla Dumpster Diving Blog)

A funktified/bizarre caravan sighting in Germany—”The Jesus Wagon”!?

Deek’s blog is about tiny houses, houses built from trash, treehouses, and other small and diy-able structures and is choc full ‘o eye candy of the same. He also wrote a pretty neat looking book/graphic novel called “Humble Homes, Simple Shacks, Cozy Cottages, Ramshackle Retreats, Funky Forts, and Whatever the Heck Else We Could Fit in Here.” I have yet to hold a copy in my hand, but from what I’ve seen on the web it’s a charming hand-drawn zine-esque creation about, well, I think the title covers that pretty thoroughly.

In even more exciting news, this summer two of my Platz-mates and I filmed for an episode of Tiny Yellow House (a series he does on small diy homes) that Herr Deek and Co. are putting together about my trailer. Maybe if we all cross our fingers at the same time, it’ll be done soon, and you all can watch me blab about renovating and living in Trash House on the teevee. Here here.

Thursday September 15th 2011, 8:13 am 1 Comment
Filed under: conspiracies,diy,tiny house livin'


dumpster find of the week: the beginning of our life as conservatives

Just kidding. Owning a vacuum cleaner has nothing to do with being conservative. But since a lot of folks we know like to make jokes about the inevitable journey to squareness that is expected to occur when you get married/have a kid/pass any other coming of age water mark, when the Beard mentioned that we should probably buy a vacuum cleaner before Peanut arrived, he made the obvious joke.

There is little need for a vacuum cleaner in a tiny house with no wall-to-wall rugs. There is plenty of dust, thanks to the wood stove and the constant traffic between outdoors and in, but we sweep, I wash my floor (which I sealed with yacht sealant just for this purpose) with hot water and vinegar once in a while, and I beat out my two throw rugs with a woven wicker carpet beater. But vacuums do manage to do the job more thoroughly, and as is the way of these things, we waited and waited, and eventually a vacuum showed up in the trash across the street. Thanks dumpster gods.

Wednesday September 14th 2011, 8:00 am Leave a Comment
Filed under: conspiracies,dumpster diving,dumpster finds,freegan


hibernation, spiders

At the end of August I decided to accept that autumn had arrived, and once I did I stopped resenting the lack of summer weather and started enjoying the cool air and occasional rain. At the beginning of September the transition weather became Real Fall Weather, and I went directly into hibernation mode where I remain to this very second: sitting on the bed with my laptop, writing, reading, and avoiding going out into the now-much-colder rain outside.

From my place on the bed I watch a striped spider wait patiently in the middle of the web it has built across the window’s exterior. Large spiders (and hairy spiders and spiders that can jump) give me the creeps, but I’m glad for their presence. They are much better than I at annihilating our mutual enemies the mosquito, the fly, and the wasp. I am even glad to find small spiders living in the trailer, and as long as they aren’t creepy and/or living right above the bed, I leave them alone to take care of the fruit flies and wasps that appear like clockwork the second I take a knife to an apple.

The spider outside of the window catches a wasp in its net, quickly wraps it in web silk, and returns to the center of the web to wait. Several minutes later it checks on the wasp, which is still twitching, wraps it a few more times, and after another several-minute wait, carries it up and into the dark space where the siding hangs slightly over the window. It is fascinating to watch, though I am glad for the glass between us, as it is one of those spiders that—regardless of the truth—just look dangerous.

My best guess is that it is a Wespenspinne or Argiope bruennichi—though the web design is a bit different than the spider on my window. (Click on that link and tell me you want one of those staring at you when you wake up in the morning.) Or, more likely, it is a Gartenkreuzspinne. Either way I can’t double check because it is gone. It seems the spider is holed up away from the rain as well, blogging about the strange bumbling creatures that live on the other side of its window, eating strange-looking food out of bags and off of plates, and staring for hours at plastic boxes and small, square sheets of processed wood.

How do you deal with spiders in your home? Do they get room and board or a swift kick out the door?

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Tuesday September 13th 2011, 12:30 pm 4 Comments
Filed under: conspiracies,daily life