Monthly Archive for July, 2006

good head space

my my my…

what a weekend! i went to this beautiful place in northern california full of lovely people and big pretty trees, with a spring fed live pond in the middle and hot tubs just off an outdoor dance floor that pumped house music all night. the drive up was with a skilled speed demon and it was a good start. once i got there, there were a lot of people in a lot of places, if you know what i mean. what i got from the weekend is that i am in a good head space. i was selective about my experience, got the most out of camping, met the cream of the crop and danced like i haven’t danced in years.

i could tell you a lot more stories but somehow it won’t translate at all. there aren’t words for everything. but i do love camping, and i can see myself becoming the sort of person who turns to the outside world for balance and comfort, in wonder and appreciation. i haven’t had that experience too much in life – some ocean love in the south pacific, moments here and there, but it’s a lot easier in california to get away.

part of my good head space is focused on my lips and entering the realm of kisses again. chale.

snippets

i am really proud of tchaiko omawale, my old business partner on conscious movements 
collective back in the day. we did some of the first edutainment events that i knew of, amazing
shows with tidbits of information, raising money for hiv/aids organizations. i just chatted with
her the other day, she's jumped across country in such a brave way, working on distributing
her film and committing to the struggle of being a filmmaker in l.a. its just powerful to hear
her workin through it and actually doing it!

--

i wrote this the other night hanging out with naina:

Out in the bay, prism cafe. Most cali hippy happy place I've been yet,
lovely vibe in the literal sense. I ate amazing food tonight by naina's
sister navina and got to see naina!! Naina is my twin star, a ball of
wonder. Now, right now, there's a beatbox vs tabla contest on stage,
they keep overlapping and that's the best part. Do I live here?
i have a picture of naina's crazy ass house - its beautiful and perfect.

Nainas_house











----

Why I Fired My Secretary Today

Last Week Was My Birthday And I Didn't Feel Very Well Waking Up That
Morning.

I Went Downstairs For Breakfast Hoping My Wife Would Be Pleasant And
Say, "Happy Birthday!", And Possibly Have A Present For Me.

As It Turned Out, She Barely Said Good Morning, Let Alone "Happy
Birthday."

I Thought... Well, That's Marriage For You, But The Kids Will Remember.

My Kids Came Into Breakfast And Didn't Say A Word.

So When I Left For The Office, I Was Feeling Pretty Low And Somewhat
Despondent.

As I Walked Into My Office, My Secretary Jane Said, "Good Morning, Boss,
Happy Birthday!"

It Felt A Little Better That At Least Someone Had Remembered.

I Worked Until one O'clock and Then Jane Knocked On My Door And Said,
"You Know, It's Such A Beautiful Day Outside, And It's Your Birthday,
Let's Go Out To Lunch, Just You And Me."

I Said, "Thanks Jane, That's The Greatest Thing I've Heard All Day.
Let's Go!"

We Went To Lunch. But We Didn't Go Where We Normally Would Go.

We Dined Instead At A Little Place With A Private Table.

We Had Two Martinis Each And I Enjoyed The Meal Tremendously.

On The Way Back To The Office, Jane Said,

"You Know, It's Such A Beautiful Day.. We Don't Need To Go Back To The
Office, Do We?"

I Responded, "I Guess Not. What Do You Have In Mind?"

She Said, "Let's Go To My Apartment."

After Arriving At Her Apartment Jane Turned To Me And Said, "Boss, If
You Don't Mind, I'm Going To Step Into The Bedroom For A Moment. I'll Be
Right Back."

"Ok." I Nervously Replied.

She Went Into The Bedroom And, After A Couple Of Minutes, She Came Out
Carrying A Huge Birthday Cake...

Followed By My Wife, Kids, And Dozens Of My Friends And Co-Workers, All
Singing "Happy Birthday".

And I Just Sat There...
On The Couch...

Naked.

--

bus culture in oakland. some overheard convos between bus drivers and passengers are
coming soon!

---

i love the song 'crack music' by kanye west.

--

here is an excerpt of my reaction when a friend recently said she was almost on a beyonce
photo shoot. i have edited out my friend's part out of respect, since she mostly had to say
yes and tell me to calm down:

first, let's get her in your mind:

Beyonce














(12:58:34) lusciousmsbrown: WHAT>S jqw ;gqewh/fkvm q,fE ; 3bqgjssoxjzfdavs
(12:58:39) lusciousmsbrown: woah
(12:58:44) lusciousmsbrown: i just totally froke the fuck out
(12:58:46) lusciousmsbrown: sorry
(12:58:48) lusciousmsbrown: aslkdjhilaggv;ilqwbev
(12:58:56) lusciousmsbrown: THE SHPPTOEOT Wshotoeshoot??
(12:59:37) lusciousmsbrown: sigh
(12:59:39) lusciousmsbrown: breathing
(12:59:42) lusciousmsbrown: (deleted name of person who hooked up the shoot)!?!?
(12:59:45) lusciousmsbrown: damn
(12:59:47) lusciousmsbrown: ok
(12:59:49) lusciousmsbrown: breathing
(13:00:24) lusciousmsbrown: ok
(13:00:26) lusciousmsbrown: ok
(13:00:29) lusciousmsbrown: so you could have been like
(13:00:31) lusciousmsbrown: in proximity
(13:00:37) lusciousmsbrown: ok
(13:00:39) lusciousmsbrown: to her *f l e s h*
(13:00:48) lusciousmsbrown: ok
(13:00:51) lusciousmsbrown: ok
(13:00:54) lusciousmsbrown: like heard her voice
(13:00:55) lusciousmsbrown: wow
(13:01:00) lusciousmsbrown: all of that is overwhelming
(13:02:03) lusciousmsbrown: wow all i can think of is something like velvet
(13:02:49) lusciousmsbrown: water on her shoulder
(13:03:08) lusciousmsbrown: i think i couldn't really meet her. she's gone beyond.

-

i have a grant to work on!! fun stuff...

pictures and words

the protest:

Photo_156Photo_157Photo_151Photo_153

my
heart is hurting over the escalation of world war that is taking place
right now, understanding that the victims will be arab and muslim and
poor, will be those with less power, will be those who race and visions
of international domination isolates.

i am finally home after
chicago-milwaukee-paoli-dc-paoli-chicago-milwaukee-chicago trip. home
means oakland, still weird. my feet hurt like i ran the whole way.
ibrahim and i flew home, i worked all day, and then slept soooo hard!
this week has been meetings and meetings but its all great. i heart my
job, i see why we exist.

been hearing from different folks that necessary conversations to
follow up on this weekend’s hip-hop convention are taking place and
that seems right. i also see a rejuvenated energy in the folks i’m
working with and partnered with who were there. i know i came back with
a million ideas.

since i left the woods i keep dreaming about having leeches on me.
its not really that nice. but i’ve had two nights in my bed, and a good
conversation with my darling and particular roommate. i got to watch
some stargate in my new bed, its starting to feel like home!

i am having a fun time dressing for california. i have access to my
whole closet, not just travel gear, so i am throwing together all the
colors i have at my disposal and loving it!!

i found out a crush of mine was at the hip-hop convention, at the
same hotel, we both had our own rooms! not that my celibacy could be
moved by the proximity of such a juicy treat. still. ahem.

i am doing something secret this weekend. just so you know.

i will post pictures of my room soon – it is so lovely in there -
like all bed! i’m leaving my laptop at work these days so that home is
a respite. my street, my walk to work is plants and birds and sunlight.
i am kind of liking california life.

leaving chicago

The moment: I’m sitting in my little red rental waiting for ibrahim with too little sleep in my system wishing I had coffee and a q-tip. Pg.
We’re leaving the hip-hop convention. There are some who will call the gathering a success, some who will call it a failure; depends on your needs. I was one step away from convention planning the entire time and it was deep to watch folks come and go, envision and plan, fail to communicate, step up in big ways… I saw feelings get hurt, healing happen…but as I leave I think that a lot of conversations didn’t happen. Learning to ask for and accept help is the only way to avoid organizational martyrdom, but its a skill as needed as any other. Pg. What will come out of this? Time will tell. Ibrahim’s here, so we’re off to the airport.

5 am

Its 5am in the morning.
Today included a lot but too much to tell. The highlight was a local protest of the israeli move on lebanon. All week I’ve been receiving news and images of dead children, women…today I got to stand for a minute with brave a vital children and mothers in protest. Ill post the pics up when I can.
The rest of the day was hugs and kisses. I did a panel with three powerful men – troy, luqman and immortal technique. Luqman’s mosque was raided a few weeks ago in pittsburgh, and his was a powerful story in response to the topic: organizing in a post-9 11 world.
I am fallin asleep now, more to come…

farmers markets and more

Farmersmarket3Farmersmarket4Farmersmarket5Farmersmarket6

Farmersmarket8Farmersmarket9Farmersmarket10Farmersmarket11

Farmersmarket7Farmersmarket13Farmersmarket15Farmersmarket14

look at all those beautiful photos of gorgeous vegetables – those come from a farmer’s market in the middle of milwaukee’s southside which has been set up on a park even though the city only granted a concrete sidewalk. they are reclaiming the space for public use and the farmers on the site look so – satisfied, to be able to sell their fresh produce to people who otherwise have no access to fresh stuff.

today i got the tour from a southside organizer who is part of a collective that owns and operates several businesses and organizations and it was super powerful to see it all actually happening, not hypothetical. i hope in the future i can support this work!

milwaukee

what a world to return to. i have been reading the news for the last two hours, catching up on those things that happened while i was away. the destruction of lebanon, the onslaught on the only abortion clinic in mississippi, all this resistance and running; i know its the cycle of history moving round but it looks like an immense amount of pain in the world right now.

there is so much more to act on than there is capacity to act. last night someone was pitching me on new things ruckus should focus on, and it was all good ideas, but i had such a sense of limited capacity. we need so many more people.

my body is sore in a million new ways. the more you learn about how to live, the more you realize you’ve been living in a bubble, living as if you couldn’t take control and survive on your own. i am ok to be back in the world but part of me wants to take my loved ones and make us all go out even further into the woods and hone our survival skills. or do an urban survivalist course. my brain is churning.

milwaukee always shows me a different side. the first few times i was in the city, it was at the side of organizers who wanted to show me the hood, where the gun violence was happening. the last time, i went to a super chi-chi restaurant and got my eyebrows done down the street, got to hear about how this white world had moved in on the hood. this time i have gotten promises that someone will show me the southside.

this is such a summer of gatherings. suddenly it feels very necessary to be seeing each other all the time. this network – if we are successful, by next summer we will have all replaced ourselves with others who train and represent our organizations, or at least added to our numbers.

my major work today has been tending to my minor wounds, remembering how thrilling it was to be hanging upside down having lifted myself to that place. i have a grant to write, a camp report to write up. in short – an exciting day. are you coming to chicago?

i have 730 emails to sort through. the fun just never ends!

beginning

I am back in the world of phones and computers and things, sitting in my girl dani’s basement with the laundry going, about to head up and take my first non-pond water shower in a week. Le funk is upon me, and the whole experience was really humbling.

Pg.

Since I first heard of ruckus I wanted to find a way to be involved, because it just seemed like serious people with serious wins under their belt. Since I first saw New Orleans after Katrina, I’ve been obsessed with the idea of survival, especially for those communities on the frontlines of this climate crisis. This week was the walk down the ideological aisle in a way, getting to meet people who have a deep knowledge of how to survive.

Pg.

These people for whom I have the utmost respect got to see me fumble around a massive kitchen with only a surface knowledge of how to cook or clean for 40 people – a gifted Ruckutista named Rose patiently intervened; they saw me scootch up a rope which busted my hand open – I got halfway up and hung upside down and it was one of most challenging distances I’ve crossed. I can’t wait to do it again. Emilie and Satya were gentle and encouraging as I faced how hard it is to get yourself up a rope.

Pg.

These fgood people got to see me pitch my first tent, then roll my big suitcase in there and take several days to realize we just couldn’t both fit comfortably. I got to stand out in a torrential downpour, get into a pond where I couldn’t see the bottom and slowly stop checking myself every 30 seconds for leeches. And I square danced! I cut open my finger cutting apples, twisted my ankle dancing, and I define dirty.

Basically on every front it was clear how little I know of that world, and clear – at least to me – how little this set of amazing people know about my world. It will take a wealth of patience and effort to bridge the two, but I think for the survival of both, there has to be a real connection made between the survivalists and the frontlines. I await more opportunities for growth.

But first, a nap and a shower.

rain sucks

freedom from oil camp is finished – no more training!! the camp was a major success, and camping is a lot of fun except while i was in d.c. it started raining and its been off and on raining since. everything is stinky moldy wet damp – i haven’t even been able to get my hair dry.

this morning i just went with it, had on my island dress and stood out in it while it just dropped. nice moment, followed by cold cold cold. this type of hot humidity you never feel clean in.

tomorrow i will hopefully get to climb, that’s the most exciting part, as well as sharing the vision for where ruckus is right now with the old network of trainers and ruckus family. folks have been remarkably kind and open and encouraging of what’s next for this work. i hope this moment doesn’t pass too soon.

i miss writing. but i don’t miss email or my phone, which drowned under my sleeping mat the other night. maybe it will dry out, maybe it will work. regardless, i am going to be in chicago on tuesday. hope i have a place to stay…

much love

octavia butlerish

I am about to hop on the plane back to camp, where its been raining since I left but as of yet word is my tent has not flooded. I wanted to point out that this whole camping thing is totally in line with my sci fi survivalist side, its all very octavia butlerish. Pg. This morning I spoke at the campus progress conference, the morning was very action oriented – maria theresa from voto latino came before me, and reverend james forbes after. I made the decision to love the whole crowd but speak to those amidst the mass that might be serious about something more intense than a biz-casual future. My goal was 10 hyped youth, I got the contact info of 50. And they were moved, felt honestly communicated to. I felt like I let go of the need to make them all love me…I could love them enough to adjust my expectations. Pg. I saw billy wimsatt of the league for the first time since I started my new job. It was good to see him, I’m so unbelievably happy and the only odd thing is feeling like I should express a nostalgia I don’t have. It amazes me now to think I once couldn’t imagine life beyond the league, and now I couldn’t imagine being there. Life and god, only take you where you’re supposed to be. Its time to be in the woods for 6 days.