Great words…

February 29, 2008 | filed under consider this, do your research!, moment of truth, pay attention, rewritable words | 3 Comments 

“How much is it gon’ cost to buy you out of buying into a reality that originally bought you?”
– Saul Williams, “Penny For a Thought”

I’m inspired!

February 29, 2008 | filed under give time/money, great ideas, inspiring, plain cool | Leave a Comment 

826 NationalMy very favorite organization at this exact moment is 826 National, a “family of seven nonprofit organizations dedicated to helping students, ages 6-18, with expository and creative writing.”  The idea behind the organization is that writing is a democratic process that children need to learn to actively engage in society and that children need one-on-one attention to maximize their educational experiences.  They offer free tutoring, field trips, workshops, and in-school programs. 

All locations are locally designed and locally funded.  To assist in funding, each chapter has its own unique retail experience…and they do mean experience.  There’s a pirate store in San Francisco, a superhero supply store in Brooklyn, the Boring Store featuring secret agent supplies in Chicago, and the Big Foot Research Institute in Boston.  Each location has a storefront with an off-beat retail idea that piques your curiosity while the mission of the stores makes you want to buy something simply because it’s for a great cause. 

The founder, Dave Eggers, is one of this year’s TED prize winners.  As a TED prize winner, you get $100,000 and the chance to make a wish to change the world.  TED helps to make that wish a reality with funding, collaboration, and by providing the platform for them to speak.  Eggers wish was that everyone at the TED conference directly engages with the public schools in their area.  As the result of that wish, Eggers and TED teamed up with a local website design company to create Once Upon A School, where people can share ideas about engaging with local schools, be inspired by those ideas, and share their stories. 

The 826 projects are such wonderful ideas that have the ability to create so much positive change in our neighborhoods and country.  There should be more than seven of them and, in fact, there are plans to create more in the future.  Currently, though, the organization is dedicating its resources to further developing the centers already instituted, but offer information and ideas as to how you can be of service to the children in your community.  If you happen to live in an area with an 826 location, please consider volunteering. 

What’s your form of service and/or activism?

Great Idea!

February 29, 2008 | filed under consider this, great ideas, inspiring, plain cool | 1 Comment 

Carroll County, Georgia

As a most-of-the-time loner, I would’ve never thought I’d be so into the idea of community, yet I am.  Perhaps because I don’t think I’ve experienced the living ideal very much in American cities.  Perhaps because Americans ironically pride themselves on rugged individualism, despite actively engaging in an economic structure that cannot flourish without dependency. 

Anyway, I just learned about a small, developing community in Carroll County, Georgia, about 50 miles southwest of Atlanta by the name of Brokenfoot Ranch.  It’s such a cool idea because what makes this community different–and real–is that it’s an agrarian community whose basis is centered around the farm.  Communal and domestic land will account for only 10% of the 66 acres, while the remaining 90% will remain dedicated to the forest and organic agriculture.

With some experience of community living, and the good fortune to live on 66 acres of rural land in Carroll County, Georgia (about 50 miles west/southwest of Atlanta not far from the Alabama line), I am working to create Brokenfoot Ranch, a small organic farm community whose members will share the work, responsibilities, and rewards of an agrarian, environmentally-friendly, humane, and socially-just way of life.

Brokenfoot Ranch won’t appeal to everyone. For example, it won’t be a co-housing development, although some of the design principles are similar. It won’t be a hippie commune, a religious institution, a haven for malcontents, or a place for people who like to talk about what ought to be done, but suddenly disappear when it’s time to “git’r done”.

Brokenfoot Ranch will make sense to people who aspire to a more environmentally-sound, community-based, agricultural way of life – and are committed to investing themselves personally, socially, economically to make this a reality. Brokenfoot Ranch is about the genuine spirit of sharing, cooperation, and careful stewardship of the Earth’s gifts. It is about the hard work, sincerity, humility, and joyfulness needed to create a sane way of life over the long term.

Read more about the ranch here and if you’re interested in visiting and/or learning more about the ranch, please contact Myra Banes at 770.258.3344 or at 404.895.7057 by telephone or at verdolagas[at] by email.

I’d love to see this idea reworked to be as self-sufficient as possible, utilizing biotecture such as Earthships and definitely an extensive herb garden.  :-)  I can have lots of fun with this idea…I hope you can, too.


February 29, 2008 | filed under consider this | Leave a Comment 

Trader Joe’s canvas bags cost $2.99 and Whole Foods has bags made out of 80% post-consumer materials for $1. No excuses.The operative part of the word ‘movement’ is ‘move,’ a verb implicating action.  In theory, I’ve always been eco-friendly.  It was a novel idea that sounded good and completely fit in with my brand of idealism, but there was no move in my movement.

However, as of late, theory’s been making way for application.

My last few visits to Trader Joe’s furnished me with my very own canvas shopping bags that I’ve used for my purchases pretty much everywhere since, including the farmer’s market I’ve been frequenting in my quest to shop locally.  Instead of using harsh chemical products, I’ve been cleaning the house with baking soda and vinegar with very pleasing results.  I recently made the switch to natural deodorant and hair products and am in the process of transitioning even further into using more and more natural products.  The newest revelation in my life is that I’m not against the use of plastic, as plastic has helped to improve the lives of many people throughout the world, but I’m against the waste of plastic.  With that, the latest toothbrush I’ve purchased is made out of recycled plastics, as are its packaging and insert.

These days, I’m really focusing on the action components to my theories and ideals.   Good ideas never enacted are essentially worthless. 

Do your actions match your beliefs?

Stunted growth?

February 13, 2008 | filed under moment of truth, random, thoughts | Leave a Comment 

I just found a post that I wrote almost exactly three years ago so the fact that it still speaks so poignantly about my life makes me sick.  Really, really sick.

rule #1: never believe your own hype. 

whatever this currently applies to, apply it to life in general.  delusion isn’t the best state to operate in, and what’s worse is to be self-deluded.  it’s not that i don’t have problems; i just don’t focus on them…to the extent that i’m not even aware of what they are.  it’s not that i’m so together that i can’t think of negative things to say about myself; i’m just not consistently conscious of the improvements i should make.  self-absorbed and self-unaware, a paradox that isn’t all that uncommon.i conveniently devise philosophies that make my desired state appear real.  i’m not confused; i’m a wanderer.  my priorities aren’t out of order; i’m doing something different.  euphemisms aside…who am i fooling?  which is real?  and is that a matter of choice? i don’t know what i’m doing next because i don’t know what to do.  i suffer extensively from fear-based indecision.  despite an alleged renouncing of fatalistic behavior, i’m waiting on all the right signs.  when everything aligns itself just so, i’ll move accordingly.  until then, i’ll pass the time making plans that’ll never come to fruition.  i’ve made a personal hobby out of planning the future, and have become quite the salesperson…i always believe my pitch and i’m always shocked when others don’t.  i’d be that friend talking you into some stupid scam, but never actually victimized myself because i got hip to something else before personally taking action…that same thing over and over again.  that’s me with my life’s plans.  lucky me, i have support, which i’m presently wearing down, but nonetheless the heart of the matter lies a new and improved confusion.  how to undo self-obliviousness?  write a book about that and get back to me. 

So where’s the growth? What have I learned and/or accomplished in the last three years that sets me apart from the person that wrote this then?  I fear that the answer is “very little” and that’s why I find myself at 25 still lost and empty-handed.  Well, 25 was always a landmark year for me in my mind.  A lot’s supposed to happen this year.  I won’t say what, but I will say that if this post is as relevant to my life in one year as it is this year and was three years ago when it was composed…I don’t even want to think about it.

Nonaction is also action

February 13, 2008 | filed under inspiring, pay attention | Leave a Comment 

Steven Spielberg did something I admire: he pulled out of the Olympics because of the lack of progress in resolving the conflict in Darfur. 

As the biggest customer for Sudan’s oil, China has been the target of Darfur advocates for the better part of a year, much to the dismay of Chinese officials who have complained that the Games were being politicized.

“I find that my conscience will not allow me to continue with business as usual,” Spielberg said. “At this point, my time and energy must be spent not on Olympic ceremonies but doing all I can to help bring an end to the unspeakable crimes against humanity that continue to be committed in Darfur.”

Spielberg was to join a team led by Chinese director Zhang Yimou, but outside of a visit to Beijing a year ago, he had done little work on the event. He even noted in his statement that he has yet to sign a contract that the Beijing Organizing Committee sent to him a year ago.

“Sudan’s government bears the bulk of the responsibility for these ongoing crimes, but the international community, and particularly China, should be doing more to end the continuing suffering there,” Spielberg said in his statement. “China’s economic, military and diplomatic ties to the government of Sudan continue to provide it with the opportunity and obligation to press for change.”

“The situation has never been more precarious — and while China’s representatives have conveyed to me that they are working to end the terrible tragedy in Darfur, the grim realities of the suffering continue unabated,” Spielberg said.

Everything is political.  Always remember that.  Act in alignment with your beliefs and be willing to sacrifice for them.  Otherwise, what’s the point in having any?  Keep in mind that corrupt systems grow so quickly and copiously not because all people are corrupt, but because all people are corruptable. Enough good people yield and the power tips to the other side.  Don’t walk the line; be clear on which side you’ve chosen based on what you do, not what you think.

Dale Chihuly

February 11, 2008 | filed under plain cool, spotlight | 1 Comment 

Not everyone has a favorite glass blower…I do. His name is Dale Chihuly and I’ve loved him since I found out about him in high school. So for quite some time. He’s been a known artist for several decades now, but I recognize that still not many are familiar with him or his work. Maybe now you’ll have a favorite glass blower, too.









Born in 1941 in Tacoma, Washington, Dale Chihuly was introduced to glass while studying interior design at the University of Washington. After graduating in 1965, Chihuly enrolled in the first glass program in the country at the University of Wisconsin. He continued his studies at the Rhode Island School of Design (RISD), where he later established the glass program and taught for over a decade.

In 1968, Chihuly was awarded a Fulbright Fellowship to work at the Venini factory in Venice, Italy. While in Venice, Chihuly observed the team approach to blowing glass, which is critical to the way he works today. In 1971 Chihuly co-founded Pilchuck Glass School in Washington. With this international glass center, Chihuly has led the avant-garde in the development of glass as a fine art.

His work is included in over two hundred museum collections worldwide. He has been the recipient of many awards, including seven honorary doctorates and two fellowships from the National Endowment for the Arts.

Chihuly has created many well-known series of works, among them the Baskets, Persians, and Seaforms, but he is also celebrated for large architectural installations. In 1995 he embarked on the international project, Chihuly over Venice, which involved working in glass factories in Finland, Ireland and Mexico, with the resultant sculptures installed over the canals and piazze of Venice.

In 1999, Chihuly mounted his most ambitious installation to date, Chihuly in the Light of Jerusalem; more than one million visitors attended the Tower of David Museum to view his installations. In 2001 the Victoria and Albert Museum, in London, curated the exhibition Chihuly at the V&A. He exhibited at the Salt Lake Art Center during the 2002 Olympic Winter Games and Paralympic Games in Salt Lake City, Utah. His first major glasshouse exhibition, Chihuly in the Park: A Garden of Glass was on display at the Garfield Park Conservatory, Chicago. The Chihuly Bridge of Glass in Tacoma, Washington, was dedicated in 2002.

In 2003, Chihuly begins the Fiori series for the opening exhibition at the Tacoma Art Museum’s new building. TAM designs a permanent installation for its collection of his works. Chihuly at the Conservatory opens at the Franklin Park Conservatory, Columbus, Ohio. In 2004, Chihuly creates new forms in his Fioriseries for an exhibition at Marlborough Gallery, New York. The Orlando Museum of Art and the Museum of Fine Arts, St. Petersburg, Florida, become the first
museums to collaborate and present simultaneous major exhibitions of his work. Presents a glasshouse exhibition at Atlanta Botanical Garden.

In 2005, Chihuly marries Leslie Jackson. Mounts a major garden exhibition at the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew, outside London. Shows at Marlborough Monaco and Marlborough Fine Art, London. Exhibits at the
Fairchild Tropical Botanic Garden, Coral Gables, Florida. In 2006, Mother, Viola, dies at the age of ninety-eight in Tacoma, Washington. Also in 2006 Chihuly presents glasshouse exhibitions at the Missouri Botanical Garden and The New York Botanical Garden. Chihuly in Tacoma, hotshop sessions at the Museum of Glass, reunites Chihuly and glassblowers from important periods in his development.

What If…

February 11, 2008 | filed under inspiring, pay attention, plain cool, spotlight | Leave a Comment 

What If logoyou lived in a community where your input was valued?  What if there was a vacant lot and instead of building a new building that would more than likely not benefit area residents, you were asked what you needed?  What if there’s a growing interest in growing your own food in a dense urban environment where land is scarce? 

The What-If Project is a really interesting architectural project that favors community involvement over creating the traditional architectural monuments that most firms seeks to build.  My personal favorite of their projects is the “Vacant Lot” project in the Shoreditch neighborhood in London where a vacant lot was tranformed into a green space.  Seventy half-ton bags were filled with soil.  Each resident looks after a bag and grows their own fruits, vegetables, and flowers.  What a great idea.




Because so many people are trying to kill you

February 11, 2008 | filed under do your research!, moment of truth, pay attention | Leave a Comment 

Okay, maybe that’s a bit melodramatic.  Maybe.  I’ll take that, although I genuinely believe it to be a favorable by-product of greed.  My opinion.

Anyway, I urge you to read Kevin Trudeau’s Natural Cures “They” Don’t Want You To Know About.  It’s an excellent reference for the naive, delusioned, and/or misinformed.  More than anything, it urges readers to take the matters of their health into their own hands.  Thing is…at the same time, Trudeau’s pushing his website,, a subscription-based website.  He purports to charge the $10 per month for administrative and research costs.  At $10 for an excellent resource, I’m not really mad.

Following in the same footsteps, but free is Earth Clinic offering folk remedies and holistic cures.  I just learned about it today and will be visiting often since my health is a growing higher and higher on the priority list.

I went to a farmer’s market today and picked up some produce.  The size of the Fuji apples they had there almost made me gag.  They’re HUGE!  Apples on steroids.

Yeah, the things “they” do to food and so-called medicine to increase the profit margin will eventually cause disease and/or kill people in the long run.  Ehhh…  :-/  Oh well.

That’s the attitude they have, meaning you need to be on your A-game.  Do your research.  Take control.

Natural, nappy and happy

February 6, 2008 | filed under consider this, inspiring, pay attention, watch this | Leave a Comment 

Shed the weight of the lies and gain the freedom of the truth.

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