Jargonless Culture: A New Mash-Up

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It had been a while since I made any mash-up videos. My usual method required a steady input of new video and music content, as well as access to enormous hard drive space. I was without all of that throughout 2013.

Then I found out about the Maraya Karena Show, a video blog created by massage therapist, writer, cyborg anthropologist — and my friend — Maraya Karena.

A recent episode called “Jargon is the Death of Culture” really captivated me with its insightful message and poetic flow. So I asked Maraya if she’d mind having it mashed up!

I matched it with the song “Fresh Flowers Ahead” by Kona Triangle, from the 2009 album Sing a New Sapling Into Existence. This music is very special to me, and I’ve been waiting for the right opportunity to use it in a mash-up.

Here it is! Hooray!!

I hope you enjoy it! And feel free to share. I also encourage you to watch the original, as well as Maraya’s many other videos. While you’re at it, subscribe to her YouTube channel!

‘Facebook Strike’ Essay on Disinfo

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photo by Dimitris Kalogeropoylos (CC)

My latest essay, “Facebook Strike as Self-Awareness Course,” has been published on Disinformation. With heavy autobiographical focus, it explores the current state of Facebook and – more broadly – the psychology of social media. Here’s the beginning:

More than once I’ve been struck with the desire to abandon Facebook, and at least one of those times I actually deactivated my account. The reasons for my frustration have varied over the last six years or so, from their sudden formatting changes to prioritize business interests, to the way they mine user data regardless of privacy settings. Other reasons have been more personal, like not having a sufficient method for determining who gets to see the more eccentric or extreme parts of my personality, or simply feeling like I waste too much time on the site.

At the end of 2013, a new kind of Facebook frustration began creeping over me. My attempts to explain it to people only seemed to make it worse, especially because – as I realized – I was creating a paradox by using Facebook to denounce Facebook. Then in late December, I simply stopped posting. I thought even announcing that I’d be going on strike would further the paradox. I didn’t deactivate my account, and this allowed me to observe without participating (it was research, not stalking!). I still went on the site to send and receive private messages, and occasionally scanned the news feed. At some point I resolved to continue this posting strike for at least a month. I chose a month and not some longer period because of just how difficult this whole experiment proved to be. In fact, I was aware even before the strike that I had developed an addiction to Facebook unlike anything else on the Internet. Since I’m confronting addictive tendencies throughout my life, the time had come to address this one.

You can read the whole thing here!

Coming This Year: Evolver Detroit

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D-favicon---FB-logoOne project I hope to focus on as 2014 progresses is creating a “spore” (or regional hub) of the Evolver Network in southeast Michigan. This great organization has groups around the world, and they’ve been in transition mode to develop a new approach for the future.

I helped run a spore in Boulder while living there in 2012. We focused on presentations, documentary screenings, meditation events, special topic discussions, and creative mixers.

Detroit is a much different place, with different assets and different needs. I imagine a spore here will first and foremost be a networking engine that connects people and groups in the region who are working to create a more sustainable, holistic, and vibrant community. Then maybe it could lead to periodic convergence events that bring the community together for learning, growth, and celebration.

With that in mind, I’ve created an Evolver Detroit website to track progress. I also started building a local resources page over there. If you want to be involved in any way, please use the contact form on that site. And you can follow the Twitter page and Facebook page, and join the Facebook group.

(Update on 3/5/2014: Added image)

Getting Back to Business

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In 2013 I deleted my existing websites. I needed a fresh start, and I was tired of paying the hosting fees. But in these times, not having a website is like not having… er… uh… something indispensable.

Now I’m clearing out this old blog and starting over. This will be a place to provide updates on my writing and art, any events I help organize, and my development as a counselor and facilitator. I recently got back to the Detroit area (my hometown), and I’m looking forward to organizing people and groups working to build an alternative, sustainable community.

I expect to be finishing my first book this spring. I’ll be posting updates about that here, as well as news alerts any time I publish shorter pieces online. Hopefully I’ll also resuscitate some articles that were lost when I deleted my old website. (Oops!)

You can also follow me on Facebook (which I’m using less and less) or Twitter (which contains posts forwarded from Facebook). In an effort to be able to reach people independently from these services, I’m also starting an email newsletter. Feel free to sign up (Update 3/4/2014: Sign up here). I won’t send more than one or two updates per month — I promise!