I also like canoeing Waldo Lake and/or mountain-biking around its 22-mile perimeter. And well, if you're going to do all that, you might as well camp there! That way, you can also get in some snorkeling – during the day, when the clearness of the water gives off a cancun-blue hue, and at night, when the fish and crawdads come out.
I live at the base of Spencer's Butte, so I do a lot of exploring on the trails around my house. Hiking is definitely one of my favorite activities. Backpacking is fun, too. Really, any exploring that takes me to backroads that have more critters than people makes me happy. My dad was really into going for random drives, just for the hell of it. That rubbed off on me. A friend and I once drove from central Wyoming to Bend, Oregon intentionally driving on the sketchiest roads imaginable, so that we could see as much back country as possible. We avoided pavement everywhere we could. What a trip!
I like riding the bikepaths of Eugene, too. Even just going for walks is good. I like gardening (though preferably for food). I like macro photography – filming whatever life forms are living in the world of the miniscule.
I've played racquetball pretty much my entire life, it seems. Okay, maybe not my entire life – there was some sleep in there somewhere, I'm sure of it. But, since I was in junior high I've played lots of racquetball – tournaments, classes, challenge nights, etc. I usually get very involved with it for a few years and then let up for a few years, back and forth.
Frisbee golf anyone? I really enjoy it, especially the course at Dexter Reservoir on a hot day. Because on hot days, you can play around of frolf there (mostly in the shade of the trees) and finish it off with a dip in the water.
I'm a lifelong idealist. I envision a better world and I am constantly seeking ways to get us there. Age, education, and a few too many headlong runs into brick walls have softened the way I approach my activism, but have not softened my desire to speak up. I'm very liberal in my politics. I think that most republicans are voting against their own best interests (unless they are very wealthy, which most aren't). As we are witnessing now, an unregulated free market will destroy itself with greed. Unfettered capitalism knows no moderation. It eats until there's nothing left in any cupboard...and then starts in on the cupboards themselves.
I am smart, dumb, and paradoxical
Although I listed "Buddhism" as my religion, Eastern Mysticism, in general, clicks for me. And if the option had been available, I would have chosen "Taoism" as my "Spirituality." (I don't like the connotation of the word, "religion", and would prefer to think in terms of spirituality. Religion is but a business, in my opinion. Spirituality, on the other hand, is our connection to God, or whatever, and requires no assistance from outside parties to practice.)
I'm trying to live a life of minimal environmental impact. I'm brimming with career potential, but being a Taurus, I am a bit slow building momentum. I'm working on building an internet income so that I can work from anywhere, be it at home, or a beach in the Bahamas. I'm a writer. At times I've gotten paid for it, at other times, not so much. I've been an editor at a daily newspaper. I've volunteered my time/skills to non-profits like, NOW, and environmental organizations, and political causes. I've been the editor of a community college newspaper, where I received hate mail and death threats for my anti-war stance. I founded a short-lived, monthly newspaper which was focused on social issues and causes. I'm building a few websites. I'm taking far too long to finish my degree (B.A in Environmental Studies, U of O). Yet, my meandering ways through school have provided me a very worldly education. I have plenty of credits for a degree, just not the right ones. I've learned to play guitar – well enough that I can now remove the earplugs ... for extended periods! I've learned to write songs. I've written what I call, "Protestry." Which is a collection of protest poems.
readin', writin' ... but 'rithmetic, not so much.
Fixing automobiles. I can find a repair shop with the best of 'em! :)
Playing guitar. Though don't ask me for any requests. I probably won't know how to play them. I play by ear and create my own chords and fingerwork. I think it sounds like classical "acoustic guitar" with some hippie thrown in.
Crossword puzzles. The sunday classified ad section rocks – the New York Times and the Premier crossword puzzles, in one!
• The Tao of Physics, by Fritjov Capra – a physicist delves into the connections between modern physics and Eastern mysticism.
• Small is Beautiful, Economics as if People Mattered, by E.F. Schumacher – the title says it all.
• Lifetide, by Lyall Watson – Watson is a scientist with multiple graduate degrees who writes about the fringes of science – where the grip science has on our reality is most slippery.
• Paul Hawken – a successful capitalist who grew to question his capitalist ways. He has since been at the forefront of the movement to make the business culture more environmentally friendly.
• Margaret Mead – an anthropologist and humanitarian of the highest order. If you want to know about men and women, and gender roles, in vastly different cultures, Mead's your writer, in my opinion. Not to mention the fact that she coined my favorite quote, (paraphrased) "Never doubt that a small, thoughtful group of citizens can change the world, indeed, it's the only thing that ever has."
• Howard Zinn – A People's History of the United States. This book is the antidote to the schlep that we were taught in high-school history.
• Autobiography of a Yogi, by Paramahansa Yogananda – A classic in the field of Eastern Mysticism that reveals the scientific foundation of the religious paths of both, East and West.
Movies: The quirkier, the better. Local Hero; Raising Arizona; Being There; Oh, Brother Where Art Thou? I also like documentaries, such as Zeitgeist, Fahrenheit 911, and The Corporation (Premise: If the actions and tendencies of your average corporation were psychiatrically tested – as if it were a human – they would likely be labeled, "Psychotic." Think about that one for a minute. Especially since, by law, a corporation has the same rights as an individual. All the rights of an individual, none of the social constraints of an individual.).
Music: I like most kinds, though I think I am too old-school for most hip-hop. Notable exceptions might include Black-eyed Peas, "Where is the Love?" (Beautiful lyrics plus Fergie's singing). I love indigenous music played on indigenous instruments. Which probably accounts for my love of tribal/jam bands, with their extended, repetitive rhythms. Classical guitar – John Williams playing Paganini pretty much takes the cake. Allman Brothers, "People can you hear it? A song is in the air. People can you feel it, love is everywhere. We're in a revolution..." Joni Mitchell, Fiona Apple (The youtube videos of her performing with Nickel Creek really show off some of her abilities, as a singer and songwriter. The bluegrass version of "Criminal" is amazing. And I swear, she sounds just like Patsy Cline on "Walking After Midnight.") Cyndi Lauper, Joan Osborn, Ravi Shankar (sitar) with Yehudi Menuhin (violin), Joni Mitchell, Beatles, Melanie Safka ("I've got a brand new pair of roller skates..."), Dylan, Outback (didgeridoo, hand drums, plus guitar and some wicked fiddle). Not a fan of most modern country, unless it's the rootsier stuff. I used to like the Dixie Chicks ... until they dissed President Bush! Now I LOVE me some Dixie Chicks! Alison Krause and Union Station (tight band, awesomest slide guitar-playing by Jerry Douglas). Oh, and did I mention Joni Mitchell? :) I just recently came across the formidable singing, songwriting and guitar-picking talents of Anaïs Mitchell and her new album, "Hadestown, a Folk Opera," which features (among others) Ani DiFranco.
Looking for some great music to dance your way through your household chores? This one works for me, it's a jam band with an african rhythm: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kdO6IMfIw7Q
Food? Yes, please. I like most food. Although, I steer clear of any food with ingredients that sound like chemicals – you know, like, "monosodiumglutamate." I don't require meat at every sitting, usually tending to prefer either garden burger or tofu as a substitute. The closer to me my food was produced, the happier I am about it. And if it's organic, to boot, all the better.
The recipe for my current favorite meal:
Dice an organic apple, dice an organic orange, 3 or 4 handfuls of Hemp Plus Granola (available in the bulk sections at Kiva, Sundance and Market Choice – I've tried other granolas, but this is the one!) and about 8 ounces (1/4 tub) of Nancy's organic vanilla yogurt. Mix well in a large bowl. Makes enough for a meal, or two. Add other fruit as available – Today, for example, I added a plum from my plumtree and some blackberries picked on my hike through the woods on the way home from my bus stop. I could eat this daily, and often do. Sure, it's a glorified bowl of cereal – but, oh, how glorious! It's like breakfast and dessert in one!
A quote I made up and believe to be true: "The best thing you, as an individual, can do for the planet is to buy locally produced products, whenever possible. The best thing you can do for you is to eat organic, whenever possible."
Why? You ask. Consider this: the average foodstuff in this world has traveled something on the order of thousands of miles before arriving at your table. Those New Zealand apples were flown in. A jetliner burns something on the order of 10,000 times as much fuel as your average car ... per mile. So, I'm at the grocery store looking at apples, one bin has apples from New Zealand, the bin next to it has apples from the Columbia Gorge, I'm going with the most locally produced one. And as for eating organic goes, I firmly believe that there is very little produced by mainstream food manufacturers that does not contain questionable contents. I also believe that this "frankenfood" is harmful to us in ways that we don't yet understand.
• Also, in real life, I'm much less serious and much more a seeker of fun and laughter than I am in my writings.
You seek an alternative lifestyle, one where simplifying is the name of the game. I'm not talking candles in a cave here, but just living more simply and needing less store-bought goods. I'm just saying dialing it back where possible and making informed purchases when buying things such as appliances (i.e., I'd look to buy a refrigerator from Real Goods, or the Green Store, rather than from Sears). And where possible, buying locally produced products, maybe even get to know the farmer who grows our food. Simplifying isn't just about money and consumption, it's also about freeing up our time. The quickest route to wealth is simply needing less.