Oh, Stuff

This blog is so neglected, the fact that you're even looking makes it hum with titillation.

Sunday, August 17, 2014

8/16 McKenzie River

The adult-sized big wheel trike we're working on is coming along well! Pics soon. I'm getting better at brazing, and more comfortable with the industrial sewing machine, too. And Occupy Medical made me an official Triage badge, so I'm legit and stuff.

Here's Shamala brazing the seat-tube/top-tube joint on the folding bike we're making (I did the head-tube/top-tube joint):

Yesterday my friend Snow and I took the #91 bus an hour and a half to the McKenzie Bridge Ranger Station, where we set out along the McKenzie river trail, touted as Oregon's best mountain bike trail (we were on foot). Snow taught me a lot about the plant species native and endemic to the area, like Douglas Fir, Incense Cedar, and Vine Maple, as well as some edibles: salal berries (kinda yum; "subtle," Snow says) and wild Oregon grapes (hella yum). I got to take a post-prandial nap on a bed of pine needles, and managed to write a little bit while perched on a bridge built by the Civilian Conservation Corps in the 30s or 40s (below). I don't know squat about writing poetry, but I've been enjoying it, and the few people I've shared it with have encouraged me to keep going; I hope they feel comfortable telling me when it sucks, too. Removing myself from my friends and context and obligations back home has opened up some creative space, it seems. We did 10 miles or so before catching the bus back to Eugene, where, as always, beer awaited.

No title

Rush - not Limbaugh
Is the noise of the tributary pink or white?
Louder than expected

Claim staked on a high-traffic footbridge, muse interrupted
Water all consonant blends
Shhh and whoosh and ssssss
Atop the bridge, cat-tail cordage
A dalliance with whitewater
Dallying for breath and three postures
Pseudo-firs authentically here and now, alive

Recalling families in Latin dyads as if they were our own
BLM plots and clear-cuts weave cartographic plaid
Encrusting sedimentary memories of professed sedition
We bookend the bridge
Sentinels on a bank of climes that climb
Our faces and sensing parts engaged
Feeling carries the day

Tuesday, August 12, 2014

Eugene Haiku

August rains fall here
Just like the tropics, except
It's all white people

Monday, August 11, 2014

Cut my finger. Can't type much without annoyance but I posted some new photos.

Here's one of me in the garden. Lots more images at my Flickr.


And one from the shop:

Oh, and a favorite poem of mine:

Meditation at Lagunitas

All the new thinking is about loss.
In this it resembles all the old thinking.
The idea, for example, that each particular erases
the luminous clarity of a general idea. That the clown-
faced woodpecker probing the dead sculpted trunk
of that black birch is, by his presence,
some tragic falling off from a first world
of undivided light. Or the other notion that,
because there is in this world no one thing
to which the bramble of blackberry corresponds,
a word is elegy to what it signifies.
We talked about it late last night and in the voice
of my friend, there was a thin wire of grief, a tone
almost querulous. After a while I understood that,
talking this way, everything dissolves: justice,

pine, hair, woman, you and I. There was a woman
I made love to and I remembered how, holding
her small shoulders in my hands sometimes,
I felt a violent wonder at her presence
like a thirst for salt, for my childhood river
with its island willows, silly music from the pleasure boat,
muddy places where we caught the little orange-silver fish
called pumpkinseed. It hardly had to do with her.
Longing, we say, because desire is full
of endless distances. I must have been the same to her.
But I remember so much, the way her hands dismantled bread,
the thing her father said that hurt her, what
she dreamed. There are moments when the body is as numinous
as words, days that are the good flesh continuing.
Such tenderness, those afternoons and evenings,
saying blackberry, blackberry, blackberry.

Sunday, August 3, 2014

This week in Eugene was pretty stellar.

I learned how to use an industrial sewing machine and sewed a hideous patch on my busted cutoffs. I practiced brazing, brazed my first mitered tubes, and brazed some binding bolts to the ever-growing "bigass trailer." I learned how to draw bike parts in the program SolidWorks, which is like SketchUp or Inventor, if you're familiar with those. I helped fabricate and attach multiple supports (again out of 1.75 x .049 tube) for the aforementioned trailer -- which sadly got a flat while loaded with 800 lbs of valet bike parking stuff today... in the middle of an intersection. I prepared a bunch of beds for planting, sowed a few hundred brassica starts, and ate more raw kohlrabi than in my previous years of existence combined. I started machining dummy axles for my bike (basically the pieces that hold the front and rear dropouts straight and correctly spaced while you braze and weld). I played the Michael Jackson Moonwalk arcade game with friends from Slingshot at Eugene's hippest arcade-meets-bar, Blairally. I helped make some putrid-smelling kraut that Jan (the executive director at CAT who is for better and for worse also my landlord) swears will still turn out well, given enough time. I helped put into kegs 10 gallons of homebrewed ESB and Amber Ale -- which is now considerably less than 10 gallons. I hung up ears of homegrown Mexican corn to dry so we can grind it into masa and make tortillas. I heard, with a new friend, a band from Portland called Sarcastic Dharma Society play in the show-space of a former firehouse-turned-Cascadian bioregionalist cooperative. (I started with a simple declarative sentence structure and got stuck in it for a paragraph [sorry].)

This week was also exciting on the sexual health/queer theory front: I ironed out the details of a talk that I've been invited to give at Columbia this fall for Prof. Christia Mercer's Philosophy and Feminism course. This course is what convinced me to switch from poli sci to philosophy, more specifically to queer stuff, and Mercer is the prof I went on to work for and write my thesis with. I'll be talking for 1h15m about Michael Warner's 1999 book The Trouble with Normal, arguing that to fully understand the book you have to understand the history of HIV/AIDS in the 1980s and 1990s. To that end, I'm assigning the class a few chapters from Sontag's AIDS and Its Metaphors, which I read in a social history of public health course and was happy to find in hard copy for only $1 recently. (PDF here.) I'm then going to try to use my work in sexual health and the current debate over Pre-Exposure Prophylaxis (aka PrEP) to show the continued relevance of Warner's work, as well as its shortcomings. (Being on PrEP means taking a combination of two HIV medications, tenofovir disproxil fumarate and emtricitabine, both of which help stop HIV RNA from reverse-transcribing itself into DNA to prevent viral replication, and thus infection, in case of an exposure via condomless sex or IV drug use; Google "Truvada whore" if you're curious, but be warned, it's a socio-pharmacological rabbit hole)

Finally, today I biked up to Oak and 8th in downtown Eugene to volunteer with Occupy Medical, an outgrowth of 2011's Occupy Eugene which is essentially a weekly mobile free clinic offering basic primary care services (served up by real live MDs), wound care, herbalism, food, haircuts, and sometimes chiropractic and massage -- fairly similar to the Berkeley Free Clinic, except Occupy Medical doesn't offer ongoing mental health support (just crisis intervention) or, sadly, reproductive and sexual health services. Instead, they mainly refer people out, though this is something the clinic is considering changing. I'm hoping to help explore that possibility. The crew is a friendly, open bunch, and after shadowing triage for only an hour, I was allowed. while supervised, to start doing triage with patients, including taking vitals; gathering info on what brought them in ("history of present illness," just like at the Berkeley High Health Center), current meds, allergies, etc; and helping them decide whether to see the MD, the herbalist, or both.

That's all for now. In the meantime, I'm expecting more weird lightning shows, thanks to the high pressure ridge that's driving the Oregon Gulch fire (32,000 acres burned and counting). Be well.