Monthly archives: November 2012

gobble gobble gobble GOBBLE

Today a bagillion people in America are celebrating a holiday called Thanksgiving.  I imagine that most of you are familiar with the custom.  Family gatherings, heaps of food, turkey, weird combinations of sweet potatoes and marshmallows, and pie are all key elements.  It’s a good time (I like family and I like food), but it is an incredibly fucked up holiday.  See above graphic (which by the way, I pilfered from facebook and haven’t a fucking clue who to credit to…so if this is your picture, let me know so I can write in big capital letters what a frickin [...]

german eco-villages: sieben linden

The number of people who live in Bauwägen in Germany is immense, as far as a tiny sub-culture can be immense.  But with over 130 Wagenplätze and who the hell knows how many others—living openly in eco-villages and secretly on garden plots and unofficially in backyards.  It all reminds me of the time when the magazine printed in the same office I often work from featured a photo of a woman in front of a Bauwagen.  I was astounded that a kind of conservative publication would feature such a thing.  My colleague had replied, nonchalantly, “Well you aren’t the only [...]

tiny house movement: the t-shirt

When I think about it—and I often do—the fact that living in tiny houses has become a movement is kind of strange.  I mean, that used to just be the way it was, right?  Normal people didn’t live in huge McMansions.  Half of the time people were in homes that might be considered far too small for the number of people living in them. Nomadic peoples built shelters like the teepee.  Small houses were the norm.  Then we (in the western world at least and particularly in America) got all crazy and now couples live in huge, echoing structures that [...]

the further mad cap plans of click clack gorilla

At the beginning of fall a feeling of excitement creeps in alongside the new smells and colors.  The smell of dried leaves reminds me of the start of school, of hats dug out of closets, of new notebooks and pencils, of scarves and hot chocolate, cold hands and red noses. It is a season of transition.  The trees have changed their clothes and then stripped.  The ground is melting into a muddy paste.  The air shows me my breath in foggy clouds.
I thrive on change.  It is why I like phoenixes.  It is why I rearrange my living space at least [...]

(post) apocalypse mix tape: the day the basement flooded

Photo (cc) flickr user GeertBoog
It was John Darnielle’s dirty, fizzley, basement-boom-box recordings that first trained me to turn a deaf ear to scrappy guitar and to love music that did little more than tell a damn fine story.  The Mountain Goats’ early recordings are the music that macheted the way for what would come into my headphones after: anti-folk.  (They are also partially to blame for the folk punk, but that’s another story.)
Anti-folk music covers a whole range of sounds, but generally it’s silly and irreverent.  It usually isn’t the pristine guitar licks or a perfect melody, but the detailed, [...]

and the beat goes on

So there was an election this week in the United States.  I found myself caring more than usual this time around, which still doesn’t amount to much.  The women’s health issues and general fucking crazy happening there made it feel more urgent.  But as Jakob Augstein says in this really hammer-on-nail commentary, “America has already lost Tuesday’s election.”  After reading the piece I couldn’t help but agree.  And here some details had me actually feeling involved.  I mean, we do consider moving back from time to time, and voting has always been an excellent way of making people feel like [...]

tiny houses: living small, feeling big

You expand and contract according to the size of your dwelling. Have you ever noticed? Get a huge living space and you find yourself slowly working to fill it up. Move into a tiny house, and you’ll become obsessed with decluttering and going minimalist, even if only out of self defense.  Our Wagen dwelling was already small, and now it is shrinking.
In the summer, or any of the warm months for that matter, our house expands to include everything outside.  We eat outside, we sit outside, and sometimes we even set up an extra bed and sleep outside.  The size [...]

the dog stars by peter heller

“A novel about the end of the world which makes you glad to be alive.”  That is what it says on the cover of my edition.  They had my at “end of the world,” but “glad to be alive”?  How was a novel about the end of the world going to make me feel glad to be alive?  Now?  With this earth-destroying, soul-sucking system in place?  With corporations pushing through legislation to ban the labeling of GMO foods?  With people being arrested because of the books they own?  With pollution and more pollution and even more pollution?  With factory farming [...]

and also, we have a new wood stove

Winter is long and grueling, in its way. But in its way it is also the coziest season. It is the best time of year for laying in bed under the weight of six blankets, for drinking tea and mulled wine, for the crackle of fires, for reading six books at once.
I have wanted a glass-fronted wood stove for a long time.  Once upon a time in Mainz we had traded wood stoves with a friend who had a huge stove but only needed to heat a small space.  We had a tiny stove and needed to heat a larger [...]