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Dear Reader,

As you may or may not know, this journal is mostly friends-locked. If you would like to read this blasted thing, comment here and I'll add you. Or languish in silence.

Love,
Aries

re: "I LIKE ADVENTURES IN DC, ARIES."

If you live in DC, or near DC, I want to see you!

I'm making a DC Adventure Team (Kayaking in the Potomac! Board game nights! Film and music festivals!), and I'd like to make it as easy as possible to make it work.

My email address is aries.indenbaum@gmail.com. My twitter is @iAries.

I'll do some things on Facebook, but most things on email, so you should mail me (or comment with) your address, and some statement like, "I LIKE ADVENTURES IN DC, ARIES."

Find me so we can play.

-


Just the facts, ma'am!


I'm living...

... in Clarendon, with a wonderful Oberlin alum (the father of another an Oberlin alum - Marya Johnston-McIntosh '08, a friend of Marta-who-teaches-at-SANCA and Joey and Mark Wessels). Our house is charming, with a huge herb garden in front. The house resembles a B+B -it makes my relationship seem even more like a perpetual honeymoon.

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Nick Cave: artist, dancer, hero.

Adult learning seems so different from “student” learning. The type of learning I excelled at -- memorization, test-taking, auditory recall -- is no longer as useful as it was. My nice adult communications job is great, and has involved learning lots of new systems very quickly, but it's not the stuff I'm so skilled at. I learn by listening. I learn by writing.

I miss lectures, guys.

So, I've gone out and found them.

The first was pure chance. I was restless, and chattering with Adam and Rachel. Adam is my splendid hero-friend-landlord, an accompanist at Cleveland Institute of Music. Rachel is a gorgeous viola player from Vancouver. They wanted to eat dinner; I wanted to shoot fireworks into power-lines. We compromised by walking to the Barking Spider, a beer bar with live music every night. I examined the bands listed on the side of the door, when out walks Emelio.

"Emelio?!"

If you did theater at Oberlin, or graduated from my year, you knew Emelio. Emelio is fabulous, kind, and hilariously funny— he attracts friends and followers easily. In my dofus way, I always balked at talking with him because, well, he’s just so cool.

"Aries?!"

He lives in Tremont, works in a community garden project, and was on his way to a lecture at CIA.

"It's for Nick Cave," he said.

"The musician?"

"Nah, the textiles artist. You should go! It'll be great!"

Nick Cave, the artist-not-musician, was absolutely fantastic. He pairs art with movement -- he studied modern dance with Alvin Ailey, and creates amazing wearable art pieces called Soundsuits. The first Soundsuits was made of twigs, completely overtaking the body of the wearer; others are constructed out of human hair, creating an enormous fur glories. He transforms people into muppets, blurring an individual’s gender, race, and class. He speaks softly and melodiously, and during his talk, I drifted between attentiveness and dreamy nap-land. He made all my fantasies seem so real.



The first Soundsuit!

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The Scientific Question

A favor: can you think of a question for me?

…Not just any question.

What question could you ask a passerby on the street to gauge how much they grasped chemistry, physics, and biology? What signals basic scientific knowledge? What queries create a gradient between simple understanding, some analytical skill, and total cluelessness?

Right now, I like these ones:

How does the sun work?
What remains after you burn something?
Why is the sky blue? What causes the dramatic colors of a sunset?

Or:

Can you define density? Mass? Heat?
What are the four states of matter?
How do plants grow?
What scientific principles do you see in your daily life?
How does the internet work?
How does recycling work?
What is the first scientific principle you would teach your child?

Is it better to ask for opinions and hope for some scientific clarity within the argument?

What are the problems associated with GMO’s?
How would you define (and defend) evolution?
What causes diabetes and why is it dangerous?


If you don't like science, but are married to another field, I'd love to know what question you think signal basic understanding. What sets the boundaries between understanding and ignorance?


I’d ask, “What makes a good story?”

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What is New Culture?

We wrote hundreds of definitions of New Culture. We crossed each definition out, re-wrote it, erased it, and wrote it again. We scribbled out what New Culture isn’t, and what it could be, then threw those words out too.

Each person defines New Culture differently -- for a network without a central leader, it’s nearly impossible to pull out the common threads. Who can constrain a freedom movement with a strict definition? Who can to provide a singular answer to a group that constantly questions? Who can describe New Culture in one sentence?



i.
You can define New Culture by its buzzwords: transparency, curiosity, compassion, freedom and love, intimacy, personal growth, equality, sustainability, open sexuality, and the power of community.

On one hand, this is all fantastically true. New Culture really IS about the honest pursuit of love and freedom. And who hates love and freedom? Who disagrees with life, liberty, and happiness?

Any takers?Collapse )


(Note: This is the group I work for.)

The Illegal Intern

The first task to complete at my internship is to hire my replacement. Center for a New Culture wants another feisty young person, willing to work for food and housing, but no pay, at a socially active not-for-profit.

Of course, it's never that simple.

Most unpaid internships are flatly illegal. Or, they are conducted in a way that violates minimum wage laws, and a variety of labor rules. Volunteer work for a for-profit company is also very sticky, as is the provision of room and board. You don't even want to talk about stipends. In some ways, the more an employer wants to give an intern, the more legally suspect they become.

It's hard to follow the law, dammit. And I am trying.




Aries versus The Law.Collapse )

Resolutions 2011

Resolutions:

To be the person I want to be, and do the things I want to do.

To be open to change, to have adventures, be a good friend.

Become a (flexible) pillar of strength.

Be honest, be clear, be truthful.

Be loving.

Keep trusting. Keep learning.

Celebrate!

Dearest Friends,

I hope y’all are doing well, and if you’re amongst family, they’re being kind to you. I'm really thankful to know you, and hope you know I'm thinking of you.

My mother is a pretty hardcore Lutheran, while my father was raised atheist, leaving me a mish-mosh version of Christianity. My old scripture book covered Christmas like this:

“Christmas isn’t only celebrating Jesus Christ, our Lord and Savior, but the birth of every child. Children of all sizes and races and ages, from a few minutes old, to a whole 90 years present. Children of one, two or many parents; children across the world. Let us take this moment to celebrate the God’s birth within us all.”

While I’m not sure how you think about God, or Jesus, or other messiahs, I think it’s a good day to celebrate children, of all ages.


Love, kisses, and best wishes for a new year,
Aries

PS: The dolls in the photo are Norwegian elves. They are not my parents.


Steam Heat

Warning: Very honest, all names changed to protect privacy.



As a child, I was afraid of heat. Hot showers, steam rooms, saunas -- any confined space with steam and near-scalding water made me nauseous. The instant I started to sweat, boiling bile rose from my belly.

It’s different now. Now, I believe in heat. I love running in the summer, I love laying the sun. I enjoy the suffocating humidity of August in New York, I adore the burning of too-hot miso soup. I delight in sweat. I love dancing so furiously that I am coated with sweat; I love embracing a dance partner and sharing that heat. I love feeling my heart race, and the drip of water sliding down my forehead. I love the taste of salt.

What changed, I wondered. I poked at that childhood fear, teased it, tickled it. Why did I feel vertigo on tile floors?

And then, I saw her face. She was a beautiful woman, with oil-black hair, her features handsome, voice proud. She is an artist, and I see her licking her lips, clutching at water, grasping at cold, desperate hope.

Beautiful Norma, the main character in The Midnight Sun, a classic episode of the Twilight Zone.

I had watched Norma die.

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Changeling

“I’d like a pizza for three. With, um, pepperoni. And sausage. Italian sausage. Not chicken sausage.” the man says slowly. “Yeah, in a box.”

He looks as if he’s going to cry any second.

I nod, but before putting it in the machine, or stop myself, I blurt out, “Are you alright, sir?”

He bites his lip. “Yeah,” he says.

“Can I get you something to drink, sir? Just for while, you know, while you wait?”

“Um. Not yet?” As he signs the bill, his hands are shaking. He speaks in curt phrases, separated by just-a-half-beat-too-long pauses. He’s sweating profusely.

“No hurry, sir. It’ll be ready in about 15 minutes, sir. Would you like to wait here?”

“No, no. I’ll go and come back. Actually-” His face draws in even more, his eyebrows curling in. “Could you hold it? My wife is at the doctor’s office. I don’t know how long it will take.”

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