Thursday, August 27, 2009

Communal Living

Today, upon coming home from a sunny hike, I wrote the manifesto for an ecological communal housing co-operative that I would like to start. It's something that's been on my mind the past couple years and I finally wrote down some guidelines. Today all the specifics came to me one after another, so I grabbed a notepad, sat outside on the back porch, and wrote them all down. For once I was actually able to remember every single thing I had thought of. The purpose of the co-operative is to provide sustainable housing that is (for the most part) self sufficient, anti-capitalist, fulfilling, and community engaging. Not only would it have very low environmental impact, but it would allow people to escape the 'rat race' that overcomes so many, removing financial stress and competition.

It allows people to live meaningful lives and flourish within a caring community that provides the needs of all its members. My ideas are nothing special and are already in practice in many areas of the world, but I just wrote ideas for a model that could work in an urban setting such as Toronto.

Now, my question for myself is, which route will I take? Will I band together with like minded individuals and make this a reality, or will I become focused on my career and become too comfortable to make any drastic changes with my life? Only the future will tell.


What seems so exasperating and far away
Always ends up being so simple.
I need to control myself,
Or my quick action will make me a fool
Once again.

Blinding headlights from opposing lanes
This brightness wasn’t meant to exist at night
I want it to go away.
This startling headache makes my eyes roll back
Barely able to see straight, yet I blame it on my neck.

Something always hurts,
So I guess it doesn’t really matter what it is
This time.

Tomorrow will be back to normal again
Not that normal ever existed.
Back to tomorrows past,
Back to the future.

Glimpses here and there shine through
The sun awakens over the horizon
This blinking neon sign
Doesn’t seem so bright
It pales in comparison
To the greatness arising before us.

Clouds lined in silver dapple the sky
Once again I seem to be wrong
But I’m actually right all along through
I just shouldn’t doubt my instincts anymore.
A mind caught on fire
Is a dangerous one.

A mind that isn’t safe
Is always a careful one.

A calm mind with no apprehension
Is the most frightening of all.

Monday, August 24, 2009

No, not that either

I’m not cold
I’m not warm

I’m not happy I’m not sad
I’m not sincere I’m not lying
I’m not living I’m not dying
I’m not here I’m not gone

I don’t love I don’t hate
I don’t sin I’m not pure
I don’t listen I don’t ignore
I don’t embrace I don’t dismiss

I don’t smile I don’t frown
I don’t sleep I don’t wake
I don’t captivate I don’t bore
I don’t breathe I don’t snore

I’m not mean I’m not nice
I’m not rich I’m not poor
I’m not confident I’m not timid
I don’t suffocate I don’t flourish

I don’t scream I don’t squeak
I’m not me I’m just here
Don’t ask me a thing
Cause I just don’t know

Thursday, August 6, 2009

Peanut Butter Banana Cookies

Today, as I was looking for peanut butter cookie recipes online, my neice asked if we could make peanut butter cookies. Which is interesting considering that the other day when I was sitting on the couch thinking about decorating gingerbread people, she asked if we could make gingerbread cookies.

I found a great recipe on the FatFree Vegan Kitchen website, and made a few changes.
Here's the version I made:
1/2 cup peanut butter
3/4 cup demerara sugar
3/4 cup mashed organic banana
1 1/2 cups whole wheat flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 pinch salt

Mix together peanut butter, sugar and banana.

In separate bowl, combine flour, baking powder and salt.
Add slowly to peanut butter mixture.
Rub a bit of margarine on baking sheet, and flatten cookies with a fork dipped in water.

Bake at 375 for 10 minutes.

Super easy to make, and uses only simple/common ingredients. The cookies don't have a heavy peanut butter taste, and the flavour of the banana is nicely prominent.

See the original recipe at:

On another note, the house I'm staying at right now has these large glass baking pans, so I've been using them instead of cookie sheets. They are great for baking both meals and desserts. I just coat them in a little bit of margarine, which in my opinion is a much healthier alternative then Teflon coated cookie sheets. Non-stick cookware contains PFOA (Perfluoroctanoic Acid), an unregulated chemical that is in the bloodstream of 95% of Americans. PFOA is a man-made chemical, and although it doesn't naturally occur in the environment, it has been found in the systems of many types of animals, even in remote locations.

Teflon can be found in all kinds of other products as well, including carpets, clothes, and even food packaging. Even if it is safe, it isn't necessary, so it's better just to avoid it altogether. The amount of fat it takes to prevent other types of cookware from sticking is minimal, and is not enough to actually make any significant changes in the fat content of the food.

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

My first Haiku

Warm tea satisfies
Warms my mood and soothes each sense
A perfect comfort

Monday, August 3, 2009

Palestinian families evicted

Fifty-three Palestinians were evicted from their homes in East Jerusalem to make room for Jewish families who claimed the houses belong to them. The Palestinian families had been living there for over 50 years.

The decision came from a ruling by Israel's Supreme Court. East Jerusalem was part of Palestine before Israel annexed it and started building Jewish settlements there. Although Israel thinks that East Jerusalem is their land, this is widely contested and not internationally recognized. So should the decision really have been made by Israel's Supreme Court?

This cleary is a legal issue in which families were exploited in order to push Israel's oppressive nationalist agenda. The families were evicted because of their religion, by the court of a government that sees one religion as superior to another. Argue with me if you will, but that's what aparteid is. It's about power and superiority. It's never about peace.

Riot police performed the evacuation and protesters were arrested. The families (including many children) are now homeless. Homeless because other families, whose religion is preferred by the country that stole this land, are given priority over the people who called those houses their homes and raised their families there.

It's hard to know who really owned the houses, but this brings into question squatters rights and what ownership actually means. I define ownership as belonging to whoever is using something and needs it. In this case, initial financial ownership was the justification for this move. So who really 'owns' the house, or deserves to live in it - someone who has lived there for 50 years and whose children were born in the house, or someone who hasn't lived there for 50 years?

Some details are missing, such as where the Jewish family was living before the move, and how long they have been fighting this court case for.

Sunday, August 2, 2009

Schmap Montreal

Schmap guides, online maps that allow you to see pictures and reviews of destinations, just released the eight edition of their guide to Montreal. They featured one of my photos for their section on Montreal's gay village. Click on my photo and it will take you to my flickr page. Check it out at: