20aliens:

The Adventures of Guille and Belinda and the Enigmatic Meaning of their Dreams by Alessandra Sanguinetti

I spent my childhood summers at my father’s farm outside Buenos Aires. After the long highway drive and dusty dirt road, as soon as we arrived, I would run to the front of the car and begin the delicate process of unsticking the crushed butterflies from the still hot radiator. Most of them would be terminal, but one or two would cling to my finger, slowly regain center, revive and eventually fly away, always leaving behind some dust from their wings. 

I have two older sisters, but when I was nine, they were teenagers, existing in another dimension, so I would wander pretty much alone around the corrals, the sheds and the fields, talking to the horses and the cows, feeling sad for the perpetually frightened sheep, following my father as he made his rounds, chatting with the foreman’s wife Isabel, looking for snake skins on tree branches, turning beetles right side up, and flying kites made from newspapers.  In the evenings I cut up old New Yorker magazines my mother brought back from her trips to the US, and with those pictures I illustrated my own journal, “The Bumble Bee”, which I would sell to my parents for one peso.

At night we would set up chairs outside and wait impatiently for UFOs to appear, and count falling stars. The only trips we would take were to Doña Blanca’s place, where my father would bring tires to be fixed, and buy eggs, cheese and homemade jam. She had packs of dogs and puppies that would greet us jumping and clawing; sheep, goats, rabbits, ponies roamed loose, and heaps of animal bones, scrap metal, and old furniture were all in chaotic display. In the country, most places go from a dull quietness to an eruption of movement and noise when visitors arrive,  so I assumed back then that at Doña Blanca’s something out of the ordinary was always about to happen.

My parents sold that farm in 1981, and it would be a long time until I returned to the countryside. When I did, it was to his new smaller farm to the south of Buenos Aires, and I was older, just back from a year studying photography in New York.  One day my father took me along for a short drive to have someone fix his broken windmill pump. We drove a few kilometers and slowed down near a group of trees. A pack of wild looking dogs rushed out,  jumping and scratching at the pick-up truck doors, and a round woman opened a flimsy wire gate and walked towards us, both smiling and shrieking at the dogs to shut up.  It was Juana.  I spent the next few years visiting Juana constantly, photographing her animals and listening to her tales of days long gone,  her musings on life and on the Bible. She would tell me all her animals’ names, their histories, and, while gutting a freshly killed boar that she had raised, insisted that if you paid enough attention to animals you would be able to understand and see that each one is singular. 

There were always many visitors at Juana’s, and most of them would sit silently sipping mate and leave without saying a word. Once every couple of hours a car would drive past,  or a man on horseback would ride by and tip his hat in salutation. The most regular visitors were her grown daughters Pachi and Chicha, who lived nearby with their own families. They’d come over with their youngest daughters Belinda and Guillermina, and chat as they prepared sweet fried bread and sipped mate. Beli and Guille were always running, climbing, chasing chickens and rabbits. Sometimes I’d take their picture just so they’d leave me alone and stop scaring the animals away, but mostly I would shoo them out of the frame.  I was indifferent to them until the summer of 1999, when I found myself spending almost everyday with them. They were nine and ten years old then, and one day, instead of asking them to move aside, I let them stay.

(via kittyit)

YES. This explains that strange feeling I got after watching Boyhood: Is this really growing up in America? What America is that? Why does this entire film feel so unrecognizable and stale and flat?

"To be centered is not merely normalizing—it’s elevating. And to be othered is not only to be seen always as potentially dangerous, but also to feel always in danger."

http://www.theatlantic.com/entertainment/archive/2014/09/the-not-so-relateable-boyhood/379700/

Things I sometimes fear when pondering my imminent escape into nature/relative seclusion

http://www.theatlantic.com/features/archive/2014/09/rape-culture-in-the-alaskan-wilderness/379976/

let us return to me being indignant on tumblr

Proponents of gentrification will vouch for its benevolence by noting it “cleaned up the neighbourhood”. This is often code for a literal white-washing. The problems that existed in the neighbourhood - poverty, lack of opportunity, struggling populations denied city services - did not go away. They were simply priced out to a new location.

That new location is often an impoverished suburb, which lacks the glamour to make it the object of future renewal efforts. There is no history to attract preservationists because there is nothing in poor suburbs viewed as worth preserving, including the futures of the people forced to live in them. This is blight without beauty, ruin without romance: payday loan stores, dollar stores, unassuming homes and unpaid bills. In the suburbs, poverty looks banal and is overlooked.

http://www.aljazeera.com/indepth/opinion/2014/05/peril-hipster-economics-2014527105521158885.html

WAIT BUT

what is this sloppy science. Underlying civic meaning aside, not doing a thorough study (“independent researcher and forester” - this sounds like ONE person to me) on full-scale effects of DUMPING PAINT ON THE ENVIRONMENT; since when is this acceptable?

http://muralarts.org/interact/blog/psychylustro-and-its-environmental-impact

    • Most of the plants and trees along this stretch of Amtrak’s NE rail corridor are invasive plants and weed trees.
    • Mural Arts Program consulted with independent environmental researcher and forester and while in some cases the paint we are using could possibly stunt growth of some trees, it will not kill them.
    • Another point that can be noted is that paint is often used on trees, especially fruit trees, to prevent infestation of borers.

Guize don’t paint living trees, is this not a #duh??

captain’s log: ninth september, some year after years i last went to sea

unable to sleep. sky went back to bright blue. floor is clean. arteries are tired, blood is tired. on a delicate sea-saw; every time it moves I topple over. perhaps I am sea-sick.

Hope you are well.

Passed through Reno on Monday at around whatever-AM on the way out of Burning Man. I thought of you guys a lot and wished I had time to stop and have a cup of tea. The camp next to ours played Edward Sharpe one night and I felt the deepest pang that transported me back to some giant, windy thunderstorm just under the shoulder of the Atherton Tablelands, waiting under a corrugated roof for the right moment to step into the mud. Wished I had actually spent the whole week in Nevada learning the ways of your farms instead of in that noise and crowd and isolation. The rain on the Black Rock Desert was wondrous but I’m so weary of people, people in crowds and people being loud, people not realizing what a beauty of a lakebed they were sleeping in. They threw their trash on it and threw their insides up on it, could you believe? I couldn’t. It has changed so much for me over the past years and I can’t swallow how sad I feel about it.

Sometimes I feel so lonely for a creature, any creature, that would go mountain-climbing with me, or stand in the sun and dig in the dirt. Just for fun. Maybe I should get a dog, but I do hate them so, but I probably shouldn’t be given responsibility for another living creature. Maybe I just need a friend. Maybe I should grow vines over my backpack and carry it up the trail. Vines are creatures too, and quick to hug, and ever so quiet.

Anywhere where there is a mountain for me to live on and some trees to think about. Sometimes when I feel bogged down about how unrealistic this is, I think about you two digging in the dirt and tending to honeybees and making things live and grow and flourish, and I feel immensely happy that such a thought exists that I can think on.
How many mails like these need to come out of me before I just get up and put my vined backpack on my back, and just start walking.
It’s not ugly here, I can sense it’s quite beautiful at many times. Has there been something ugly growing inside of me that keeps me blind to beauty? It feels like such a huge effort to lift up all of the smog and honking cars and gritty cement walls to peek at the little beautiful grains of sand sprinkled around, somewhere under there.
Sometimes caverns have bits of light stuck on them when a tiny photon hits a throwaway bead of water.
There is nothing torn until you rip it.

sometimes wellesley stresses me out and reminds me of just how wellesley used to sometimes stress me out

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dog-whistle_politics

thanks google

things I find when searching “studying at caltech library”, trying to find a quiet place to read my pile of papers.

http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S009286741400292X

this is nuts

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Post-glacial_rebound

almond-munching middle class

As this 2014 Oakland Institute report—which I wrote about here—shows, large financial firms are snapping up farmland, switching from row crops to almonds and other nuts, and dropping in wells, positioning themselves to cash in on Asia’s rising, almond-munching middle classes.

http://www.motherjones.com/tom-philpott/2014/07/your-almond-habit-sucking-califoirnia-dry

don’t you love it when URLs have spelling errors?

the ongoing switch from row crops like vegetables to nuts plays a role in subsidence. You can fallow fields of annual vegetables during droughts, but almond trees need a steady supply of water for years.