Peak Sriracha

IMG_3442The days of Sriracha may be numbered. Just think, if Sriracha were no longer in existence, how many people would that affect? How many crappy food meals would be in danger of never being prepared and consumed? What will the world come to if Sriracha isn’t the wonderful spicy vehicle for digesting greasy overcooked noodles or bland rice dishes?

The people of Irwindale are taking action with blind anger. No really, the Huy Fong Foods factory fumes are probably making Irwindale citizens all choked up. Now, “Irwindale is asking a judge to stop production of the hot sauce, saying it’s making residents’ eyes water and throats burn.” Really? Come on now. I’m from a little town in Kansas and grew up smelling fumes that were outright revolting, but somehow it brought us closer together! I swear! The smell depended on the time of day, but it would be a mixture of pungent burning flesh and bone from IBP (Iowa Beef Processors) and a sugary sweet aroma from Dolly Madison (see Peak Hostess Twinkies). Some days you’d be reminded of the delicious baked goods wafting into your nose and then smacked in the face with blood curdling burned cow. It was my town, and we survived it. Okay, so the burned cow bones and Twinkie bliss didn’t make me cry or have a sore throat. Irwindale may have a point there. But can’t we win them over with a lifetime supply of milk or ranch dressing to ease their scorched souls?

And what about us? What about the adoring fans of Sriracha who use this glorified food on a daily basis? What will we do if we run out of this chili pepper dream topping? Oh wait, meet Sriracha’s friends: Tapatio, Cholula and Tabasco. For the Sriracha purists out there, I apologize, I understand that no one will win your heart over quite like Sriracha. However, if we keep choosing one thing to make our bad food delicious, there’s going to be trouble. More trouble than peak Sriracha. There’s a lot more peaks out there.IMG_3447

Honeybees, the New Chickens

When going to the Jack London with friends, especially one friend that has a crazy obsession about bees (she stares at them during the day by her neighbor’s flowers), I saw Brian Lacy of LiveHoneyBees present informally to an audience in the dark, but colorfully lit basement of the bar.

I learned that honeybees are important. News flash, people have been watching movies and hearing all about the disappearance of these bees – and how that may be a signal the end of the world is near. However, Lacy said that people tending to honeybees in their backyards is one of the most important actions one can do. Why? Because a lot of the honeybees throughout the world are getting taken to pollinate commercial farming. One example was about almond farming. Apparently people take the honeybee hives from places around the world to commercial almond farms and give high fructose sugar to the honeybees so they can operate at crazy speeds to pollinate the almonds. Not to mention that the bees are ONLY pollinating one type of plant. After the bees have pollinated a crop, they are then taken to the next crop. And, the assumption is that they are left to die after all that use and abuse to get the commercial crops fruiting.

Another thing I learned is that the bees are running out of food due to global warming changing the timing of seasons. The honeybees collect a certain amount of honey for winter, and then begin a certain month (I think February?) to begin feeding this honey to the hive / the little bees growing. However, due to wetter winters, the production of food and honey is much later, and the hive may completely fail due to starvation. Brian Lacy says that when he observes that happening, he sections off part of the honeybees and uses that section for the medicinal purpose of bee stings (which, includes helping with arthritis among other things). He does this to save the rest of the hive from starving and having a happy queen.

Now let’s talk about queens. The queen lives for about 2-3 seasons. The hive wants a queen that is healthy and able to mate with multiple drones, so that way she can have genetically diverse offspring.

After the talk, Brian asked is anyone would like to partake in a bee activity. It consisted of a song he composed and bee costumes (queen, drone and worker bees). I was a drone and pranced around while the lyrics were sung about all the characters. It was a fun activity to be drone in a bar, but I could also see it being done in different ways for more educational venues.

I’m convinced after seeing this that honeybees are where it’s at. So, in a year or so, I will be contacting this Brian at LiveHoneyBees.com to begin figuring out how these hives work to start pollinating the neighborhoods. Plus, I forgot to mention, I do love bees.

So why honeybees instead of chickens in the world of Portlandia and elsewhere? Don’t get me wrong, I love some farm fresh eggs and those feathery little bobbing critters running around, but the amount of literal sh%* that chickens produce in someone’s backyard in overwhelming (Do we reeeally need to check the patio furniture again?!). With bees (and this is coming from a novice having listened to a lecture in a bar) is they provide honey, which is scrumptious and helps with allergies – and it also helps with pollinating the surrounding the region. Pollination helps the world go round, and I’m all about that.

But not Yellow Jackets – those things are carnivorous *&!$ that are actually wasps and once they sting you will leave a chemical signature and chase you for a good long while. Until next time. Bzzz.

Here is a first time sumi sketch of those lovely honeybees:

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The Western Way + Decisions

If one more person says, “Western way of thinking,” hinting at the way Western culture is corrupt, horrible, black and white, leading us to destruction, to the tipping point where humans go all Madmax – I’m going to scream. This, of course, is an overstatement. I notice the sways in people’s perspectives and want to warn them that thinking completely in the Eastern way isn’t going to be all that great either. It’s a panacea trap. We’ve got to somehow identify the imbalance in the world and balance accordingly, not just point a finger at one component and say that’s how we got here.

When people criticize binary thinking, they are obviously trying to shoot for the stars and balance. However, even if we go the rhizomatic route completely, it may lead us down the “only way” path into a pattern of thinking that becomes static – and dead.

We die when we don’t adapt. We die when things are static. The same is true for culture.

Do you believe that in order to take action you must make a decision? What does this decision look like? Is there a fork in the road or another structure? If it’s a fork, then that’s binary thinking.

So, how do you move toward a systems world if the decision-making process still processes in binary code?

A photo taken while in Tibet awhile back. Eastern way. I think the Eastern way is beautiful like an individual person’s idiosyncrasies. We need each individual’s values and voice in order to maintain the constant balancing act of a system.

Lhasa Walk : 01

Art & Design

Since being in the MFA Collaborative Design program, the question of what’s the difference between art and design has come into being again.

At one point, I thought of art as more personal and ultimately selfish and design as more for the masses and selfless. I pictured the artist as starving, introverted and an emotionally-driven creative practice to produce artwork while the designer ate a little bit more, wore those trendy glasses, could be introverted or extraverted, and relied on marketing personas to get them to the end product.

The last few weeks I’m thinking that art is inquiry and design is impact. If you are only in the inquiry stage, then you don’t have much action, but if you’re only focused on the impact stage, it may only result in tunnel vision toward a solution. Obviously, I think you need both, but these two types of thinking frustrate me at times. It’s a constant balancing act.

I hope that my blog postings don’t slow down too much. I’m starting to write for Pacific Northwest College of Art. You can view my postings through PNCA here. Until next time, keep questioning and taking action.

Brain + Mapping

Next, the way the splice of brain is mapped out can actually map out my own personal brain stories – according to whether it it the part of the brain for emotion – memory, visual, etc. This is going to be challenging, but show people not only my personal life journey, but create a life journey for them as well.

I will be highlighting the area of the brain that is triggered when being moved by art. In a way, the person will be experiencing that part of the brain, meanwhile, – the actual structure of the entire piece will actually be framed around that part of the brain. macro. micro. This is the same area as when activated by experiencing nature.

left interior frontal gyrus and temporo-parietal junction

My message tags: brain – biophilic structures, macro + micro, multiple perspectives
brain emphasis on location for being “moved” and relaxing with art is same to experiencing nature

I will be showing macro and micro perspectives of biophilic brain structures of the brain with emphasis on how the same part of the brain is activated when experiencing nature as is for being moved by an art piece.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Being moved by an art piece and experiencing nature triggers the same part of the brain.

Brain structure mimics aggregation and rivas of biophilic forms:

Harper’s Playground

We visited this a week or so ago, and it was an amazing experience. Harper’s Playground is designed to be fully accessible to all and designed, literally, by the surrounding community. It is thought-provoking and the storyteller, Cody Goldberg, is an amazing social entrepreneur – along with his wife, April Goldberg.