Celtic Japanese Bambo Druid crazy like a fox wordsmith ninja

Saturday, August 27, 2016

Cognizant Dissonance Disorder

Almost five years ago I quit my career as a medic for an EMS service to pursue Permaculture.  The evidence that our way of life is going to collapse became overwhelming to me, and I was left with an urgent need to do something meaningful about it.  To my estimation Permaculture was the only meaningful response (and still is).  I was presented with a home in which I could live rent free.  My wife's aunt offered up her home to us, and since she owned it outright she needed nothing from us financially.  This enabled me to get off of the hamster wheel of working to pay debt and constantly coming up short.  

For the next couple of years I spent all of my time digging in the Earth to grow food in a Permaculture manner.  I trained in Permaculture.  In fact, a week before tendering my resignation to the Matrix (which is what I called what I was doing with my life) I signed up for a program out of Asheville called "Permaculture In Action."  This was hands on Permaculture training where we implemented permaculture design for home owners.  I learned a lot about permaculture in that program.  Two years later I received a PDC (permaculture design course certificate) from Spiral Ridge.  In parting words of wisdom Cliff Davis rightly told us all that "you can't eat your PDC."  

During all of this I was bitten by the bamboo bug.  That resulted in Environmental Control being called to my residence (while I was away taking the intensive PDC training).  Apparently the horse weed that I let grow up in the chicken run sent up a red flag that I was growing marijuana (I was not).  While they were there they took the opportunity to tell my aunt-in-law that she needed to cut all of the bamboo down to 16 inches or be fined.  They said it was a grass and therefore could be no taller than 16 inches...which is a complete joke, and come to find out not even true.  That was the message I was presented with upon returning from the permaculture design course.  I pulled onto the property and was instantly greeted by my hysterical aunt-in-law who had been fear mongered by the local environmental authorities.  I was told I had to cut all of the bamboo down or she'd have to pay $500.  I complied with Environmental Control by digging up all of my bamboo and putting it in pots.  All but one of the varieites I had growing.  I left Phyllostacys Aureasulcata f. Spectabilis in the ground. It was in it's first year that year.  All of the bamboo I had planted was planted that year.  

I left Spectabilis in the ground so that I could confront Environmental Control when they came.  I was going to have my wife video record the event.  I was going to have her record them telling me that I had to cut all of the canes down to 16 inches or that they would fine my aunt-in-law. I never got the chance to confront them because they came by the house unannounced when I was not home.  However, they cleared us of any infractions and said "it's not illegal to have a garden but you have to keep it weeded."  I immediately put all of my bamboo back in the ground where it has been ever since.  This is the third year at "Kitsune Bamboo Nursery," which is the name I gave my bamboo operation here at "The Fox Den."  Kitsune is Japanese for "fox."

Permaculture and bamboo can sustain every single human need.  Bamboo itself can sustain humanity.  In fact, all bamboo wants is to be honored by man.  It bends itself to us and beckons us to eat it's shoots, or to let them grow and then use the poles for whatever needs we have.  A grove that is managed properly is actually much healthier than a grove that is left to natures devices.  The quality of the bamboo wood becomes much better in a managed grove.  It becomes harder and resists splitting better than it's wild counterpart.  The problem with bamboo is that we do not have the culture for it here in America.  Bamboo can provide for every human need, but if we don't know how to use it then it just becomes an invasive weed that monopolizes the landscape much like kudzu does.  Kudzu is a similar story because it too is infinitely useful to our species.  It's a food, a medicine, and a fiber for us to use, but since we do not use it it simply becomes a scourge in our landscapes.  

I am interning with Keiji Oshima of Haiku Bamboo Nursery to learn the culture of bamboo.  I have learned to split bamboo with a traditional Japanese blade, and I have learned to make and play Shakuhachi flute.  Soon I'm going to start learning to weave with bamboo.  Along with learning the culture I am also learning how to manage bamboo groves for all of the various purposes.  A bamboo grove is managed based on what the purpose of that grove is.  Will it be for shoots, for poles, for a nursery, or just for esthetics?  I'm still learning the differences in management.  Every week I go up the mountain to Hendersonville to apprentice with Keiji...to learn the culture of bamboo.  

Now for the cognizant dissonance part of this blog.  I have found the answers to address the future of energy scarcity that we are on the precipice of.  I fear gasoline will not remain cheap for very much longer because it costs the energy companies more money to extract it than they can get in return on the market.  They can't raise the prices to where they need to be because doing so crashes the economy, but they can't not raise prices because not doing so means losing money.  If it costs more to retrieve and render useful the petroleum than is received for that effort than eventually that game has to come to an end.  If it costs you a dollar to do something that you only get .50 cents for, and you are a business and not a government, than you are a losing business.  

Secondly, all of this petroleum is going a long way to explain the rise in global CO2.  Combine all of the emissions of noxious chemicals into our atmosphere with the removal of our forests and you've got a global disaster in the making.  We are poisoning the biosphere that sustains us while at the same time cutting out it's organs.  Basically we are commiting suicide as a species.  Anthropogenic Global Warming is a real phenomenon.  It's not some global conspiracy perpetuated by the hands of the global climate scientists.  The fact of the matter is that effectively immediately we need to stop burning petroleum and begin addressing our climate problems.  Bamboo is more than ready to address those problems.  Bamboo takes up more CO2 than trees do.  Bamboo grows more biomass at a faster rate than trees do.  If taken seriously I believe that bamboo can save us and fix our climate problems.  

We need to be the change we want to see in our world.  I believe that to be true.  But what I've learned over the last few years is that you have to afford to be the change, and nobody can afford it.  Which is why I have ended up as an entrepreneur with my own landscaping business, Ancient Earth Landscaping.  Ancient Earth started off as Ancient Earth Design which was a permaculture business that a friend of mine and I started after Permaculture In Action.  For a while it seemed that we were going to be a success and then for some reason clients didn't have the money, and new clients stopped showing up.  My business parnter got tired of the struggle and went back to teaching.  I changed the name to Ancient Earth Landscaping (AEL) and kept chugging along.  

The point of business is to make money.  I did manage to find a couple of clients here in the Upstate of SC, and I made some money with permaculture design as AEL.  However, what was paying the bills for me was conventional landscape maintenance.  People don't pay for permaculture, but they pay lots of money to have their grass and shrubbery cut.  They pay even more money when nature gets out of hand and needs to be put back in a box.  AEL has becomes a phenomenal success.  I am at a place where I can no longer take on new clients because I can barely keep up with the clients I have.  I'm looking to hire help, but I can't because I need every dollar I can get.  In the South, when winter arrives, my business tanks.  That means I have to save for a three to four month period where I will not be making much money at all.  It is possible to make money in landscaping during the winter, but there is no guarantee.  Cutting grass is what sustains the landscape maintenance business because it relentlessly grows and therefore must be maintained.  If you don't cut your grass Environmental Control will show up and fine you $500.  My business is basically mandated by local ordinance.  

There are a lot of problems with what I have become.  I drive around using a 5.7 L hemi to pull a trailer full of engines and gasoline.  I use the power in that gasoline to violently control nature six days a week.  I try to not work on the weekends but lately I've had to in order to keep my clients satisfied with the services I provide.  I use weed eaters, hedge trimmers, back pack blowers, lawn mowers, a wood chipper, a chain saw, and other small engines to do my job.  I am contributing to all of the problems that I sought to address when I resigned from the Matrix.  I pollute the atmosphere more now than I ever have. 

The question I have asked myself over and over again is "why would a Druid ride a lawn mower?"  A Druid is the last person who should be riding a lawn mower for an entire army of reasons.  On the one hand I have the belief that nature is sacred, and that belief defines my spiritual practice and identity.  On the other I pollute and destroy nature everyday.  Why?  The answer is very simple.  The world of man requires me to make money.  Money is the problem.  I have a wife and children, and even without having to pay rent or a mortgage I still need money.  

Our civilization, the one that is teetering on the verge of collapse, requires me to make money.  That is what plugs us all into the Matrix.  I would love to spend all of my time farming bamboo, crafting with bamboo, and sustaining my needs with bamboo (and permaculture).  In order to do that I need land to do it on, and unfortunately the world of man constantly requires that I be making money.  Money doesn't care about the environment.  Money doesn't care about anything.  It's a bit like our ego is.  It's self perpetuating for the purposes of self perpetuation.  

And so I persist in this state of cognizant disonance.  I'm constantly yearning to awaken from this contradictory state of existence that is my daily life.  I am forced into hypocrisy to sustain myself and my family.  If I put all of the engines down and stop polluting and destroying that which is sacred than I lose my ability to make money.  If I hold onto those engines and continue successfully making a lot of money than I continue contributing to all of our real problems.  

It seems there is no way to win.  We are hopelessly left twisting in the winds of the imploding world of man that we all create everyday.  We are all guilty.  I'm sure of one thing.  Petroleum is a limited resource that will not be replaced by anything on Earth, or in outer space.  Petroleum is the fuel that enables our current global civilization.  We literally eat petroleum.  We chose the wrong substance to depend on, and now we are hopelessly addicted and in denial.  This losing game that we are all playing is bound to come to an end.  Until then...I guess we just keep playing.  It's a dog eat dog world.  I intend to win, and I've gotten just old enough to shed the majority of the idealism that has always lurked in my mind.  In the words of Cage The Elephant "I've got bills to pay and mouths to feed and ain't nothin' in this world for free."    

I suppose our saving grace is that there is a lot of beauty in the world.  The best we can do is to revel in that beauty.  Who knows, maybe a miracle will happen.  Maybe Jesus will come back and save us from ourselves.  In the meantime the Buddha is hear to point the way to salvation here and now.  He's pointing at a bamboo grove...at least when I look at him that's what he's pointing at.  I seek refuge in the bamboo that resides in nature.  After Hiroshima and Nagasaki destroyed everything on the surface, bamboo was the first life form to return.  There is much hope in bamboo.  




Sunday, March 6, 2016

Ten Minutes Hate

It seems to me that we’ve arrived at a moment in our history as a country where certain things are no longer being kept hidden in the closet of our collective delusions.  The light of clarity is shinning brightly on our political process.  Thanks to Donald Trump it should now be clear to any American still capable of simple thought processes that something has gone terribly wrong with our country, and especially with political discourse.  To call what is happening during the presidential debates anything resembling a debate is to participate in the worst kind of Newspeak imaginable.  What does penis size have to do with the appropriateness of a presidential candidate?  On the flip side, it appears that the lack of a penis also apparently makes you a good contender.  That is to say that the two choices it appears we will have for our next POTUS think that their genitals qualify them to lead the global death circus that we have become. Sadly it seems they are correct in their simple analysis. 

Donald Trump, Captain “you’re fired while I go bankrupt for the fifth time” is a serious presidential contender?  Let’s keep in mind that his fifth bankruptcy will likely occur while he’s the damn president of our country.  He’s going to run this country like a business, which I’ll admit is appropriate due to the fact that it is a business that’s run by the Corporatocracy.  The fact that it’s appropriate to think of the president as a business man is telling in and of itself.  Running the greatest country in the world as a business was not what the founding fathers had in mind.  I’d really like to know what Thomas Jefferson or Pain would have to say about Donald Trump (or Hillary…which I’ll get to next) as president.  I’ll admit that being a good business man definitely adds to the portfolio of a good presidential candidate, but there are more skills necessary than just your ability to make money (or balance a budget).  In Trumps case, he’s clearly not a good business man, and I’ll submit his four bankruptcies as evidence.  What does that leave by way of qualification for Trump as POTUS?  That’s right, his penis size, well that and his porn star trophy wife.  He’s going to build a wall around the United States and kick all of the brown people out?  Nobody will have health care under Trump except for the 1%.  Within weeks he’ll piss somebody like Putin off and we’ll be facing another nuclear holocaust with Russia.  I suppose the one good thing about Trump is that he’s outing the dark, displaced, disgruntled, bigoted, and xenophobic American underbelly.  Trump supporters seem exceptionally odious to me.  As horrible as it is to admit, Trump is the perfect president for this time in the history of our country.  At least everything will be out in the open.  Trump represents what the United States has truly become.  We’re a narcissistic and greedy consumer society that cares for nothing but our own interest, and the entire world knows it.  Well, the entire world minus ourselves because Americans seem to have no idea.  

Melania Trump, the next first lady? 

What about Hillary?  Well, have we all forgotten about what her husband did while he was president?  I have not forgotten.  “I did not have sexual relations with that women.”  That’s right, Clinton got his knob slobbed in the oval office by an intern, Monica Lewenski.  Not that this was an exceptionally horrible thing, or even close to the worst thing Clinton did to our country.  I’ll submit NAFTA for the worst thing he did.  The North American Fair Trade Agreement was anything but fair, but then the political process is all about double think and Newspeak, which is to say that the opposite of what is said is actually the truth.  “Love is Hate,” and “freedom is slavery” and whatnot.  Granted, her husband did these things, but does that exonerate her?  Maybe we can exonerate her from these things, but the fact remains that our president will be the first first lady as president to have been a first lady while her presidential husband got a televised blow job in the oval office.  Again, I suppose the truth is that this makes her more than fitting to be the next president.  That way we can all point to the great first female president with pride, and we can say to the world “she stood proud and tall while adulterous Bill got his pole hummed on.”  Seriously, this is okay America?  

Now, keep in mind that this is all happening a midst one of the best presidential candidates we’ve had in a long time.  Bernie Sanders would make an excellent president (not that he’s got a chance in hell).  He want’s universal healthcare, a decent minimum wage, and he’d finally legalize cannabis (which is pretty much a cure for all of our health and economic problems).  However, I’d say he’s worth voting for just to get rid of Wealthcare.  We’re the only industrialized nation in the world that does not have universal healthcare.  Why do you think that is?  Further, why do you think the rest of the industrialized world has universal healthcare?  Is it because it’s such a bad idea?  If so, it seems there would be another industrialized country without it.  We don’t have universal healthcare because “healthcare” in our country is about making money, not about caring for people.  I’m more than qualified with my opinion on this matter having worked as a medic for 8 years in our wealthcare system.  I saw the change that happened around about 2009 that is epitomized in our switch from “patients” to “customers.”  Why would somebody about to die in the back of an ambulance be a customer?  I’ll tell you why, because of the revenue that said customer brings in.  The pharmaceutical companies write the textbooks that our doctors study in medical school.  Why is that?  Well, I’ll tell you money, money, and money is why. 

Cannabinoids cure cancer and can be grown next to your dandelions (pending you stop poisoning them with biocides to keep your lawn “weed” free).   Legalizing marijuana would mean the cure for cancer could be grown in your lawn.  Do you know how much money goes into the “cure” for cancer?  The cure being a strategy of poisoning the entire human body in the hopes that the cancer dies before you do, along with massive doses of DNA destroying radiation.  When I was a nuclear engineer on an aircraft carrier I had to wear a Thermo Luminescent Dosimeter to make sure that I did not get more than 5 rem of exposure per year.  Why?  Because too much radiation kills you.  The last thing the powers that be want is to allow us to cure ourselves with weeds.  There is no money in the cure.

As far as the decent minimum wages goes…well that one is beyond a pipe dream (and not the pipe you use for smoking cannabis).  All raising the minimum wage would do would be to ensure that small business owners (like myself) would never be able to stay solvent.  Within a year of raising the minimum wage to 15 dollars there would be no small businesses left.  It’s hard enough to stay solvent as a business and I have no employees.  It’s just me running my business as an owner operator.  I can’t even afford to pay somebody $10 per hour right now.  Still, Bernie’s idea is at least morally correct.  I agree that somebody working 40 hours per week should be able to at least pay all of their bills without using credit cards.  Why is it that during this election we have two of the worst presidential candidates imaginable along with one that actually makes a lot of sense but has no chance of becoming president?  It sort of makes me angry.  It’s as if they are rubbing it in, and I suppose it’s as if because it is. 

You want to know the truth about all of this?  The truth is that we have a Corporatocracy that runs the majority of the world.  That is, we have multi-national corporations who recognize no lines on a map, no country, and who care about nothing but profit to ensure excessive fiscal bonuses for the 1%.  They will cut the last tree down and continue to poison the only planet that we have, and nothing is going to stop them.  None of this is news, or at least it shouldn’t be.  Our world is in a bad way right now, and it is the world that sustains us.  We have become digitalized automatons contented by Facebook and entertaining violence.  Contented by fukitol, alcohol, factory slave made gidgets, and monoculture.  We are a monoculture of everything.  Our medicine, our food, our society, it’s become a monoculture, or as I like to call it an “anti-culture.”  Culture is mostly about diversity, which is also mostly what nature is about.  The only diversity we have is a man made chemical diversity along with millions of entertainment options on our devices.  We can chose between a plethora of life killing chemicals for our food and our medicine.  Read the ingredients to any packaged food you can buy at a big box store.  I promise of the 50 or so words you read none will be recognized as food.  Real food mostly has one ingredient.  An apple for instance, it’s just an apple, which is food.  A list of man made and mostly petroleum chemicals in a petroleum bag is not food. 

Here we are, on the precipice of completely destroying our biosphere and most of the life in it.  Here we are, and Trump or Hillary will be our next president.  It doesn’t matter what your opinion is where pertains to the next global corporate leader.  What we will have in 2017, with our next president, will be more of the same program.  That program is more poison for us and more money for them.  That program is unsustainable for us and for them.  It’s my opinion that the only hope we have can be found in the nature we have left.  Nature is what sustains us, not the president, or lines on a map.  My country is the human race, and our politics have become a bread and circus meant to distract us and entertain us.  The truth is that Trump and Hillary are destroying our planet, and we are letting them.  I have little hope to offer.  This is the truth, and it’s not kind, but it is, and the only hope we have is that we begin looking at it for what it is and not for what we would like it to be.  In so doing, the seed for positive and life supporting change can be found.  If we can collectively agree that business as usual is killing us than maybe we can agree that we should change it.  That is our only hope, and it’s the only chance of changing the horror represented by our presidential candidates.  I hope that Bernie can win because I want to believe we can change, but I happen to have no faith in the political process.  We might as well start pledging allegiance to the Corporatocracy…I’ll see you at the ten minutes hate. 

Donald Trump Made Claims About His Penis Size... by wochit

Saturday, October 10, 2015

Kitsune Bamboo Nursery

This is the first Epiphany Now post to emmerge from my space phone blogger app bluetooth keyboard device.  I hope all goes well, and the many batteries it requies stay charged long enough to complete this communication (although currently I could just plug in and recharge but that doesn't sound as dramatic).  I plan to write much more here at Epiphany Now, but for now I'm just unveiling some intention into the digital cloud.

Shortly after dropping out of the Matrix I moved to my current residence.  My intention for my new unplugged lifestyle was to learn Permaculture and to create a garden of eatin' into the landscape.  I was following my bliss (and still am) and activeily writing the story of my destiny.  My words shapped the land and fostered the birth of an ecologically healthy landscape filled with intentional spiritual energy and meaning.  Essentially I've created a Druid food forrest painted in the Ogam ( the Ogam, or Ogham, is a celtic tree alphabet I happen to study).  

I bet I sound crazy as a shit house rat to a lot of people reading these words.  I don't care really what I sound like.  I'm authentically on fire and refuse to apologize for it.  

Anyways, when I moved here I dubbed my abode, outside of the actual house, "The Fox Den."  I mostly live outside.  Being that I'm domesticated I am forced to spend time indoors, but I am constantly attempting to minimize that time.  I blame it on Aspergers, at least to use the modern psychiatric explanation for my irregularities (than's an entire other bag of worms).  I'm a shaman at heart, and I have a theory that Aspergers may be displaced shamans, displaced by suburban sprawl and cookie cutter jobs complete with required behavior patterns.  It may be that I'm not an aspie, but a shaman, and it just so happens that the diagnosis for Aspergers overlaps qualities of a shaman.  Whatever the case, I have a very strong need to minimize my interaction with people.  I'm perfectly fine one on one, however, which would make sense following my shaman theory.  

I want to make it clear that I have no desire to fill some egoic need to be special.  I'm no more, or less special, than you or anybody else.  However, I am fundamentally different, and science explains that via a neurological difference...so be it.  

Kitsune is the Japanesse word for a fox, but it has strong mystical and magical associations in Japanese folklore culture as well (if you want an interesting read on the subject than I'd reccommend the wiki article for Kitsune).  When I moved here, and essentially devoted my life to Permaculture and Druidry, I had just found the fox to be a spirit animal that was following me around.  I resonated with fox, and so embraced that friendship and guidance that was being offered.  

Then the Bamboo Monster revealed itself to me.  I fell in love with that monster and was unable to resist the overwhelming need to suddenly begin digging up bamboo to plant it at the Fox Den.  Bamboo even began showing up at the Fox Den in pots due to a serrendipitous friendship that started one magical day in the woods at a near by park.  I have since began an internship with Keiji Oshima of Haiku Bamboo Nursery.  He has been teaching me everything he thinks I'm ready to learn about bamboo.  I am interested in the culture of bamboo and not just the growing of it.  Bamboo is very familiar to the shaman in me, and I know that is because I have known bamboo intimately before, just as I have known Kitsune.  

Therefore, to honor the relationship that I have with fox, bamboo, and Japanesse culture, I have decided to dub this bamboo nursery (with very heavy Permaculture overtones) Kitsune Bamboo Nursery.  To kick off the declaration I figured that I would share pictures of all the characters of bamboo that reside here.  I also want to publicly decree that the Bamboo Monster regurlarly hangs out here at Kitsune, but don't worry because he's a nice, and useful monster.  

Here at Kitsune Bamboo Nursery we have 11 varieites of bamboo (not counting two which we're trying to propagate rhizomally which are Moso, and Makinoi).  Two of those varieties are in pots only, they are Green Onion, and Koi.  Currently we have only Buddha Belly and Medake for sale, however next fall we will have several other varieties for sale.  Within four years all of our varieities will be for sale, hopefully.  I'd also like to note that I plan to have only four varieties growing at this site.  We will be moving bamboos to our Rock HIll property as they grow and we run out of room.  Kitsune Bamboo is already expanding habitate for the Bamboo Monster to inhabit.  

The picture below is a fall Madake shoot (phyllostachys bambusoides), planted August 2015, given to KBN (Kitsune Bamboo Nursery) by HBN (Haiku Bamboo Nursery) and showing how bamboo plays with water.  The presence of morning dew on bamboo auricles is considered a sign of good health.  This, however, is rain water.

The same Madake plant showing rhizomal character.  Phyllostachys like to snake in and out of the ground.  I'm performing an experient with this rhizome.  If you look closely at the left hand sid eof the picture you can barely see a rhizome leaf about to hit that rock.  I placed that rock there, and one under it in the ground, to study what the rhizome will due upon encontering it.  It appears that it is already aware of the rock and is simply going to go up and over it...but I'll see as time moves forward.  

Same Madake plant with a gift given to Ayden Zen by Stefani Oshima at the final intern day of the 2015 season.  Madake is one of the two most useful bamboos (according to Japanesse Culture, the other is Medake featured later).  Madake is a timber bamboo capable of 72 foot tall canes that are 6 inches in diameter.  Madake is very hard and it grows straight.  It's great for building structures or for splitting and weaving.  Madake is my favorite bamboo because it's the most useful to humans.  It's also used to make flutes (which Keiji Oshima makes and sales).
Koi (phyllostachy aurea 'Koi'
Some potted Buddha belly (phyllostachys Aurea).  This was the first bamboo plant I ever dug up.  Buddha Belly is valued due to its ornamental appeal for crafts because of it's compressed internodes.
Some more Buddha Belly, in the ground, with Hairy Vetch planted as a nitrogen fixing cover crop.  I'm trying to keep the bermuda at bay.
Medake (Pleioblastus simonii) purchased at HBN and planted here spring of 2015.  Medake and Madake are considered the most useful bamboos in Japan, and with good reason.
This is Phyllostachys Vivax which I propagated rhizomally.  The rhizomes were given to me by Gary McPhee (the serendipitous friend I met at the park)
This is fall growth.  Here you can see how beautiful this variety of Vivax is.  It's a timber bamboo that is celebrated for it's beauty.  It's wood is not very hard and often breaks due to the weight of ice in the winter.
Phyllostachys Aureosulcata f. Spectabalis.  This bamboo has the most character and a lot of beauty in my opinion.  It has variagation on the leafs like Koi, it geniculates (the can zig zags as it finishes the growth of the last couple of internodes), it changes colors in the sun, and it has the green sulcus with bright yellow canes.  It truly is a spectacular site to behold, but it is not a very useful bamboo...just beautiful.  
Showing the green sulcus of Spectabilis
Another timber bamboo I propagated early spring of 2015.  This is Phyllostachys Nigra Boryana, also known as snake skin bamboo.  Right now it's a sleeping giant capable of 60 foot canes that are 4 inches in diameter.
Bamboo island with two species of bamboo.
This is Phyllostachy Nigra Henon.  This is another bamboo that is considered to be one of the most beautiful, especially in Japan.  This is the original "Nigra," although it does not have black culms.  It's a very useful bamboo.
Close up of a Henon culm showing how it plays with slight color variations.
Psuedosasa Japonica, or Arrow bamboo, so called because the Japanesse used to make arrows with it due to it's straight growth and perfect diameter for crafting arrows.  It also makes a very effective screen for making neighbors dissappear.
This is yet another planting of Buddha Belly with some new growth.  This growth is from the last month.

Monday, October 5, 2015

Plugged Back In

After five years of resistance I'm back on Face Palm.  I blogged about the evils of Face Palm when I deleted my original account, you can read about that here.  I still agree with everything I wrote in that essay, but becoming a business owner has necessitated the removal of some idealism.  I got tired of losing business on Thumbtack because I couldn't respond quickly unless I was home with access to our laptop.  Often times people will select the first professional that contacts them (I know, I've been that professional several times).  We were also commonly receiving texts that said "no content," and I got tired of explaining to potential clients that I had an alleged dumb phone and all I got was "no content" rather than a text they had spent their time typing.  Several times they were long texts and I suspect that was the reason my alleged dumb phone couldn't handle it.  Still we fought on with our obsolete ways. 

Finally Wendy was off shooting a wedding and the phone went missing.  We decided we'd better just accept the fact that we needed smart phones, and so off to Sprint Wendy went to progress us into the 21st century.  I didn't go, but apparently the entire staff circled around my alleged dumb phone and made noises of amazement while they took turns passing around the alleged dumb phone marvel (it even had a touch screen, but we had fixed the phones so that they would not connect to the internet...it was a rumor touch from 2010).  They gave us two iphone 6's to replace our obsolescence.  The next day my laptop bit the bullet for the final time.  My laptop was a Toshiba Satellite that I bought in 2007.  I had the hard drive replaced and had to bring it in to the computer geek many times to have it fixed.  However, seeing as how an iphone is a computer, I found that by simply ordering a blue tooth keyboard for the iphone, along with an iphone stand, I could side step even needing a laptop.

Still, I resisted Face Palm.  I tried running my business Face Palm page, Ancient Earth Landscaping , using my wife's FB account on my phone, but that resulted in me posting to her page.  We couldn't figure out how I could run my page using her account on my phone, and it was just adding frustration to her life attempting to figure it out.  I thought about it and realized that I really had no leg to stand on where opposition to FB was concerned.  I had plugged back in, and that was necessitated by my need to run a business FB account.  You can't have just a business account.  All my opposition was doing was making my wife's life more complicated.  It was rapidly shaping up to my return to FB, and so here I am, completely plugged back in. 

I enjoy being able to listen to Spotify with blue tooth headphones anywhere I go.  The CD player in my truck stopped working years ago, so up till now I've been at the mercy of the radio.  I haven't listened to the radio in my truck since I got my iphone.  I have a camera, a video recorder, a calendar, a virtual jukebox, and the apps keep piling up (so far it's Thumbtack, Spotify, Weather, Blogger, Wikipedia, youtube, FB, and yes even Angry Birds).  It's great except for when I imagine myself holding that damn "phone" staring into the virtual world that I've detested for so long.  My world is the green world of plants and soil, not the virtual world of Face Palm and Instagram, except for the fact that these virtual places are part of my world now.  I'm embracing this inherent hypocrisy.  What am I to do other than accept it?

What is a reason to resist any longer?  The world went and got virtual, at least where people are concerned.  Now Wendy and I can lay in bed and be blissfully alone together in the evening (we have a healthy love life, but you know what I mean).  As far as privacy is concerned, what of it?  I'm amazed at how frazzled so many facepalmer's seem to be about the privacy issue with Face Palm.  What privacy?  Maybe some of my readers haven't heard about a federal agency called the "National Security Agency," or NSA, and the city they have in the desert that is five times the size of Washington DC dedicated to the surveillance of every communication of all stripes in the good ole Fascist States of America.  Every phone call, text, Face Palm message, email, and squeaky fart you let out is recorded and pigeon holed into your communication record at the NSA.  You can read about this fact here.  Here is a quick excerpt from the linked article:

 Under construction by contractors with top-secret clearances, the blandly named Utah Data Center is being built for the National Security Agency. A project of immense secrecy, it is the final piece in a complex puzzle assembled over the past decade. Its purpose: to intercept, decipher, analyze, and store vast swaths of the world’s communications as they zap down from satellites and zip through the underground and undersea cables of international, foreign, and domestic networks. The heavily fortified $2 billion center should be up and running in September 2013. Flowing through its servers and routers and stored in near-bottomless databases will be all forms of communication, including the complete contents of private emails, cell phone calls, and Google searches, as well as all sorts of personal data trails—parking receipts, travel itineraries, bookstore purchases, and other digital “pocket litter.” It is, in some measure, the realization of the “total information awareness” program created during the first term of the Bush administration—an effort that was killed by Congress in 2003 after it caused an outcry over its potential for invading Americans’ privacy.

 So, if you are upset about privacy on Face Palm than you obviously have not been paying attention.  Of course there is the Patriot Act to consider.  If you don't know, that's the legislation that was enacted day's after 9/11 that makes it legal for our government to make you disappear and tell nobody about it.  You'll never be seen or heard from again and this is all legal.  They just have to suspect that you are a terrorist and away you disappear.  So if you don't want to have your privacy trampled on than you should no longer communicate with any kind of device.  Don't talk on a land line, don't use a cell phone, and don't use the internet under any capacity because even your google searches are being recorded by the NSA.  This brings me to the final issue I'll be tackling in this essay...that's right, gun control (and now for my promised trick where I make some Face Palm friends disappear).

In my opinion "gun control" is where you slow your breathing, keep both eyes open as you look through your iron sites (or scope), calm your nerves, and finally slowly exhale as you gently pull back on the trigger knowing that your aim is true.  I am not a violent person.  In fact, I don't believe in violence.  When I was training in Nihon Ghoshin Aikido my Sensei first taught me how to not fight.  He taught me how to use my words to diffuse any aggression and how to not get cornered and assure an escape route if at all possible.  Then he taught me how to use the energy of my attacker against him to cause controlled pain via joint locks and pressure points to further convince him that violence was not the answer.  Then he taught me how to kill with extreme prejudice and efficiency using my attackers weapon.  That's when I stopped training having achieved Ni Kyu or student instructor with all 50 techniques in the art and joined the Navy.

Firstly I'm not going to surrender my guns because I like them.  Occasionally I put venison on the table for my family to eat by hunting with my riffle.  This is 100% organic meat, and it's as organic as meat gets being that the animal has eaten from the wilderness it's entire life.  I could do this with a bow and arrow, but I don't have a bow and arrow right now.  I have guns.  Secondly all disarming the populace would do is to ensure that only our tyrannical government and criminals would have guns.  Law abiding citizens would be the only people without guns.  The hunting industry in the U.S. is a billion dollar industry and so removing guns would remove a lot of jobs from our atrophying economy.  If citizens don't need guns than why do police need guns?  Why does the military need guns?  Would the proponents of "gun control" agree that the military and police should surrender their guns?  I think not.  The fact of the matter is that guns exist, and so bad people have guns, and therefore I need guns.  If I could hockity pockety wokity whack every gun off of the planet I would do so, and I would happily hunt for my venison with bow and arrow, but I, nor anybody else on this side of mortal, have that ability.

Now for the school shootings, isn't this a bit like the terrorist bogey man?  You can't fight terrorism because terrorism resides in the black heart of the terrorist.  At any moment anybody can decide to be a terrorist, just as any kid can decide to go to school and start killing.  Let us imagine for a moment that all guns are completely eradicated from the Earth, even the world's military's don't have guns any longer.  Now some high schooler that's all bent out of shape because daddy left years ago and mommy has taken to prostitution to put food on the table and pay bills.  She's an alcoholic and on cussitol to cope leaving her virtually paralyzed to care for our bent high schooler.  On top of all of this he can't get a girlfriend to save his life, and nobody wants to be friends with him because he has bad hygiene and his breath constantly stinks.  He's also socially awkward.  Well he's had enough of this shit and decides he wants to die, but before he goes he wants to release his rage on the peers that have caused him so much pain.  He acquires a Samurai sword and spends weeks getting it as sharp as possible.  He goes to school one day and just as he enters the main hall minutes before the bell rings, he pulls out the sword and starts decapitating heads.  How many heads do you think he could decapitate before being stopped by the police?  Remember, there are no longer any guns, so I guess the local law enforcement would have to taser him?

Now, before you delete me from your Face Palm friend list, let me apologize for being so crass and brazen with making my point.  I am an Aspie after all, and I can relate to the feelings of the imagined high schooler I just created.  My father left when I was four and I have always been slightly awkward socially.  I was lucky enough to have the unconditional love of a beautiful mother (and I still do), and I was also able to find romantic love as a teenager, and I had a few friends to boot.  I'm not trying to make lite of the recent school shootings, or any school shooting for that matter.  I feel for all of the people caught up in these tragedies, but I also know that our government regularly kills innocent civilians with drones and that they drop bombs on hospitals, mosques, and red cross centers (I was on the USS Carl Vinson during Operation Enduring Freedom and I know this first hand).  There is no shortage of tragedies in our imperfect world.  Removing guns will accomplish nothing except making it easier for criminals to commit crime.  Guns or no, it's not guns that kill it's people.  Now go ahead and hit delete.  Your delusions will not stop me from telling the truth.