Abundant Michael: Cool Stuff

Foraging Food

I came across foraging at Rainbow Gathering this summer - eating a wild food salad. Interesting article from the Gaian-Mind festival folks on foraging and other eco activities.

"For 99% of human history we've been foragers. Our nomadic ancestors gathered and hunted for food. Gardening, farming, and animal raising are recent developments in human history going back only about 10,000 out of 3 million years of our evolution as hominids.

The goal of The Gaian Mind is for our eco-arts and education collective to nurture a culture of ecological awareness and provide the means to connect urban youth and families with bioregional natural living systems.

-We hope to build and test replicable modules of alternative sustainable natural living systems that can be applied/adapted to any community throughout the world. Malcolm X advised that the only way for communities to experience liberation would be to create better working systems that make oppressive systems obsolete. We combine this axiom with the wisdom of indigenous cultures and the science of ecology which tell us that the answers to the world's problems are to be found in the ground beneath our feet. The path towards global peace, harmony, and liberation we believe starts by developing permanent local subsistence strategies that rely on the abundance of nature, not the scarcity of the industrial economy, for survival. Our purpose is to reunite people with each other and the land to restore resilient systems of human ecology.

-In this life-time we're committed to growing bioregionally sustainable communites that can survive with or without the global industrial economy.

Picasa vs Flickr

Which is better for photo sharing online -Google Picasa or Yahoo Flickr? I am experimenting with Picasa at home and we have used Flickr at work for years. I like the Picasa photo editoring tool - fast and good features.

This review gives a detailed comparision of the two. And this one adds some thoughts too. You can even use the Picasa editor to upload to Flickr. The cost of storage differs too with free and unlimited options on both services.

Marmite tanker

I eat Marmite on toast sometimes (a British upbringing I guess). I always wondered how it got into those small jars - the answer it arrive by tanker from the marmite oil fields! :-)


Photo by Cross Duck

Blue Moon 12/31/09

12/31 is a Blue Moon - the second full moon in one month. Pretty rare and also there is a lunar eclipse that day and it is last day of the year. Additionally Mercury is retrograde that day. So plenty of astrological excitement to go around.

Eve Ensler on how to help womens' rights

Eve Ensler writes about grass roots womens rights actions in Pakistan. Bringing in the light, bravely these activists help improve society.

"As I leave Pakistan, I think of Fauzia, Abaaz and Samar. One reveals her destroyed face to stop the burning of others, one disguises her face to support her child and protect her security, one uploads an explosive video on Facebook to expose and stop a hideous practice. Each one of these strategies involved creativity, originality, bravery and very little money. I think the U.S. government and the military, the Pakistani government and army could all take heed from the vision and bravery and work of women like these. The change needs to come from the ground. Religious extremism is a virus. It feeds on poverty, malnutrition, humiliation, sexism and fear. As President Obama gets ready to formally announce his plans for a troop increase in Afghanistan, we must recognize that putting more US troops on the ground will only increase the violence, bombings and terror in the region. Our strongest methods of inoculation are to feed, help educate and honor the people of Pakistan and Afghanistan and to support the women, providing them with resources to do what they need to do, what they know how to do."

Yoga Meditation music

Some folks at Sandbox gathering asked about the relaxing music I play before dinner. I get it from Spirit Voyage. More info at:

Another good source of meditation music, and chanting, etc is:


Venus retrograde

This weekend I noticed my eyes were so dry that my contacts hurt. This is very unusual for me. And also some old patterns repeating so that I could clear them. If you are getting similar stuff it just might be Venus being retrograde (started on 3/6 and I think goes on til early May). I got this from Dana's Kundalini class:

"This week I’ll be sharing a chanting meditation for the heart and third eye. To open them both is to gain insight into one’s mode of relating. With Venus now in retrograde there might be a greater opportunity and tendency to rehash old relationships (money/job and love) and the beliefs that surround them. Yogi Bhajan said if you hold beliefs about relationships, you will keep waiting. When the third eye and heart is open, beliefs give way to “knowing” by that quieter wiser voice within you.

And this from Eric's website

"The Course in Miracles takes the position that the search for this kind of relationship is a substitute for finding our inner core and living from there. In effect, what we think of as "love" becomes a substitute for what we think of as "God" and at the end of the day, or the end of our lives, this particular effort typically leads to neither. [snip]

Venus retrograde in Aries takes us into the territory of the relationship we have with ourselves. For one thing, it emphasizes the point that we have an inner relationship at all. That relationship is often suppressed because there is so much misgiving in there, which we call things like "low self-esteem" or "depression." Most humans, so far as I can tell, have not come to terms with their own existence, and so our self-relating is fundamentally an exercise in doubt. [snip]

Plenty of what we experience in relationships -- the adulation, the cruelty, the admiration, the love -- is about projection. Venus retrograde in Aries is about taking back those projections, and seeking something within ourselves. That could be a feminine identity within the prevailing masculine concept of "self" that we exist with. That sounds like making a discovery of the inner goddess, a core feminine identity that is entirely different than what we normally think of as ourselves. For both men and women, Venus retrograde in Aries is about seeking the beauty we see outside ourselves, within ourselves.

So many buttons

I lost my "What if everyone's a different gender?" button at PDF so I figured a google search for the text might find me someone who sold the button. Little did I know that I would find an amazing button store with hundreds of cool buttons for at Nancy's buttons!

Some of my favorites are in the math and programming sections:

  • "There are 10 kinds of people, those who are comfortable with binary, and those who aren't "
  • " x^n + y^n = z^n has no integer solutions other than 0 for n>2 I have a wonderful proof, but it won't fit on a button"
  • "One of the main causes of the decline of the Roman Empire was that, lacking zero, they had no way to indicate successful termination of their C programs"

Also check out sections on Bush, religion, pagan, magic, logic and many more!

Karen's Hot Tips 'n' Tix for Theatre

Good tips on PWYC or free theatre plus Karen's reviews at http://dctheatrereviews.com/review/karens-tips-tix/.

Conways's game of life

I remember programming Conways's game of life on a BBC micro in the early 80s. I was fascinated by the way the patterns defined by only a few simple rules could have such, well, life in them! Here is a web based version of the game that let's you set up patterns and watch them evolve. It also lets you play with the rules and see how that effects the game. Enjoy! http://www.ibiblio.org/lifepatterns/

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