Art and Adventure for Ape Conservation, Fall Greetings

Greetings all, its been a while! Wanted to share a few morsels of art and information for you to keep this blog fire alive. First, lets warm up with a reminder of the amazingness of tap dance:

Next, I was asked to share it…and so I will: an article about Eco-living which features some content by little old me. See link below! My blurb is about saving shower water (an idea I credit to my Grandma) and is below the photo of the bee. I’m not sure how I got on the radar for this Real Estate blog, but I appreciated the opportunity to write and share ideas with a wider audience. Boop! https://www.redfin.com/blog/living-sustainably-at-home/

On the subject of eco-living, I also came across an article recently about mobile phone energy saving tips and thought it interesting that turning one’s phone off vibrate is a way to save energy. Its the little things! If we all pick just one of these little things, we can help the world just a little bit. If we pick 2, so much good will ensue. Plus, ringtones can be fun! See article if you wish to learn something: https://earth911.com/eco-tech/mobile-phone-energy-saving-tips/

That’s pretty much it for now. A very belated Happy World Chimpanzee Day, year 4 to you all! The special day was on July 14th. I didn’t manage to properly commemorate it this year, so look out for next year’s festivities.

How bout some music to close us out. Here’s an artist I have been loving for the past few years. Her name is Sierra Ferrell and she started out as a busker and is really starting to make it big. So cool!

Stay safe.

~KB

New Fad Diets- “Eating for your A-hole” and The Zero Waste Diet

Not to be confused with any other combination of those words, eating for one’s a-hole is a diet idea inspired by a Subway Ad declaring colon cancer the #2 cause of cancer in New York City. No pun intended. No disrespect either. Colon cancer is no joke, which is why I am sharing this idea.

The diet concept is simple, every food that enters the mouth is considered in terms of its way out of the body– whether or not the food will nourish the colon.

This diet thus includes high fiber foods: lentils, chick peas, fruit, nuts, seeds, vegetables, carrots, oatmeal. Basically, a healthy diet. Rabbit like. Nothing new. The only novel element here is training the mind to consider and reach primarily for foods that benefit the colon. Shoot for 30 grams of fiber per day. Just remember, when you are eating anything, eat for your a-hole. You’ll thank yourself later.

In addition to eating for your a-hole, I’d like to put in a good word in for the Zero Waste Diet. This diet idea is also simple and will impact shopping and purchasing habits more than anything. The concept, which is probably not new, is to buy food with limited packaging. Why? To benefit the macro-body, Mama Earth, as well as our individual bodies.

Like eating for one’s a-hole, the Zero Waste Diet is heavily focused on the way out. It considers waste generated by eating in terms of environmental impact. The diet is thus comprised of foods that come in their own natural packaging, ie fruits, veggies, nuts, etc with rinds, shells, husks, etc. These foods leave us with no garbage in the end, only compostable material. Bulk bins and farmers markets are critical elements to a zero waste diet, as is bringing re-usable shopping and produce bags along on shopping excursions.

When package free is not possible, paper, cardboard, glass, and metal are preferred packaging options. Plastic is the least preferred packaging option since it is very difficult if not impossible to dispose of and poses environmental and human health risks.

A final component of the Zero Waste Diet is being resourceful and creative. Observing our personal waste footprint can lead us to find new ways to reduce plastic consumption and little by little lead us down the path towards a zero waste diet and lifestyle. For example, recently I have learned how to make my own hummus and nut milks, so now I am free from having to buy packaged milks and hummus. Two steps closer to zero waste livin’. It feels good. Join me!

(This is an original sketch digitized and colored in by Enhance Graphic Design Team, hence watermark)

Plums, Emergency Vets, and Tap Dancing Today

Hello All~

Before too much time passes and in effort to curb writing procrastination, I wanted to write y’all again to say hello and give some updates.

First off, I have made my return to NYC after a month-long break in California, where I spent a lot of time eating delicious plums. MMm. The particular plum tree I was enjoying, I am told, is of the Santa Rosa variety with thin, freckled reddish skin and ruby/magenta flesh. Mm. I must admit I am a little obsessed and have been for the past few years. Here are some photos of the tree and fruit, followed by a slideshow of some quintessential Santa Cruz images in case anyone is interested in the natural beauty and quirk of the California Central Coast.

 

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Do you see anything strange about this photo?

Do you see what I see? Capitola, Ca

In other news, I had my first day of work at an Emergency Vet hospital in Midtown Manhattan today. I’m training to be a receptionist. Thankfully, I have come to my senses and am transitioning out of manual labor and schlepping yard-waste around NYC via subway (being an urban gardener), and am now trying out a full time job with benefits and all that jazz. We’ll see how it goes. I am hoping I like it since this was my childhood dream job. If this doesn’t stick…I don’t know what will.

In other other news, and the real reason I wanted to write today, is to talk about tap dancing. The one other article I have on this site about tap dancing is the single most visited page on my site, somehow bringing in at least one person from the web almost every day. With the sort of traffic I get on my site otherwise (very minimal), that is a lot. So, I’m curious–if I write more about tap dancing, will random people from the web find this article as well?  Or are they only curious about Tap Shoes vs. Clogging vs. Irish Step? Only time will tell. Experiment commenced.

Today, since it is getting late, I am going to start by sharing a video of today’s most prominent and successful touring tap dancer: Michelle Dorrance. She has a company of dancers who have been touring the world for the past few years, with this coming year slated to be the busiest yet. Without further ado, here is a video of Michelle Dorrance and her feet:

I gotta find me a good floor like that to practice on. To date, I have experimented with a few different types of practice floors. I started off with a very large slab of Masonite from Home Depot (~$50), but that wasn’t portable, so I bought myself a foldable board called Fasfoot (~$175), which I have worn to shreds through a process that fancy tap dancers call “shedding” but which really just means practicing.

Recently, I bought another floor from a couple of bluegrass musicians living out of a Sprinter Van. Their boards are called Leo Percussive Dance Boards and I ended up with the larger of the boards which cost $100. Honestly I can’t even find a link for those online but when I do, I’ll share it. So far I like this board because it is raised off the floor and thus gives my knees a little break and has a more resonant sound. Like the Fasfoot, it is portable and sounds best when played outside, but I’m finding at this stage in my tap game, that I want a larger space to practice on, one that enables me to move around more, and also one thats not so loud since I practice in a basement most of the time and the sound gets trapped down there in a way that I don’t like. I think next I will get another piece of masonite since at least that provided more space, is affordable, and sounds pretty ok (not sure about how it will fare in the basement, however). So, that is where I am at with tap dancing today. Stay tuned for more rambling as year 3 of my NYC tap dancing adventure continues.

Until next time and with love,

KB

MLCAA – 1st Reported Case

As some of you may recall, I introduced the Monkey Lung Cancer Awareness Association (MLCAA) early in this blog and have yet to provide any further updates, because, quite frankly, there were none!

Until now.

A stunning development in the MLCAA has been made, an actual case of monkey lung cancer has been reported. Riveting.

Potentially a tall-tale recounted by a mischevious co-worker, this is the story of Riad, a Chimpanzee in Saudi Arabia kept by a young man who we’ll call Mohammed, 21 years old, a friend of a friend that Jeremy, my co-worker, met in college in Kansas.

According to Jeremy, the Chimpanzee was purchased as a baby and was 1-2 years old by the time he developed his smoking addiction and lung affliction.

Apparently, Mohammed at first shared cigarettes with his Chimpanzee pal, but over time Riad learned where to find the materials to roll his own cigarettes, and even learned how to light them himself and ended up chain smoking all day. Eventually Riad had to be chained up to prevent him from stealing and to curb his habit. It is reported that he preferred spliffs.

Not much information was given on Riad’s ailment, but apparently his health soon began to suffer, perhaps losing weight and appetite. Signs point to lung cancer but I have no further information to back that up. His health condition could also be due to loneliness, not having other Chimpanzees around, or malnutrition, among other things. In general, Chimpanzees are NOT recommended as pets because they are wild animals and have complex emotional and physical needs that the regular human, ie Mohammed, are not trained to know about or address. Also, purchasing a Chimpanzee is illegal and supports the Illegal Pet Trade which is responsible for the mistreatment of many wild, endangered animals.

Let this story serve as a lesson that #1 Chimpanzees are not meant to be pets, and #2, feeding them cigarettes can make them sick.

This message has been brought to you by the MLCAA, Brooklyn-Santa Cruz Chapter.

More updates to come!

xo

KB

 

 

 

 

 

 

Happy Earth Day, 2019

Hello fam n’ friends,

Up late after a relatively short day of work and a trip up to Harlem (I swoon) for an Earth Day art show put on in a fancy apartment, showcasing the work of another garbage artists named Daniel Lanzilotta.

He makes work using all sorts of plastic bits he finds strewn about the streets of the world:

DSCN8697.jpg

This piece in particular includes Tropicana orange juice bottle caps (the orange disks) among other items he has collected around Brooklyn and melts down into funky shapes.

Lanzilotta uses art to speak about plastic pollution and how it is affecting our oceans. He mentioned lighters as being the number one harmful litter he finds due to the butane and other chemicals inside which leak out onto the street when they inevitably break, eventually making their way into our oceans after rains and such.

He is collecting 1,000 lighters for an upcoming piece which he described briefly and which I’ll keep an eye out for and report back about. Coincidentally, lighters have been on my radar lately, as I have been collecting lighters and Juul pods (e-cigarette butts) during my walks around Brooklyn and Manhattan. I recently assembled these colorful items a canvas (also found in the garbage). One man’s trash is another’s treasure, no? Take a look:

DSCN8646.jpg

Ok, enough about me. The takeaway point I got from Lanzilotta as he spoke about his work is #1 don’t use plastic. Is that possible? Hope so!

As a group, the gallery attendees were encouraged to discuss ideas of things we could DO to raise awareness in society about plastic waste. The main idea I heard was to try to have a plastic free day, and to invite others to do so as well. May be harder said than done, considering most of our clothes, our shoes, our brooms, our toothbrushes, etc etc have plastic in them. I even heard plastic is now being found in salt chrystals…so we are eating it. Oy vey.

Well, lets stay calm. Remember, it’s all about baby steps. Identifying the items in our lives that are made of plastic and slowly replacing them with non-plastic products is a good way to go. Doesn’t have to be an overnight transition! Baby steps…

So, to close for the night I wanted to wish everyone a Happy Earth Day.

This year marks the 49th celebration of Earth Day. To commemorate the day, Jane Gooddall released a video wishing everyone a happy day. In the video she thanks us for even thinking about Earth Day and encourages everyone to think about our “blue and green planet” everyday, to “make a commitment as individuals to do all we can to get together with other like-minded individuals so that we can ensure a healthier planet for future generations.” So, here’s to doing that for the rest of 2019 and beyond!

And now to really close it off, some tap videos!

Leo Sandoval, Artist in Residence at the American Tap Dance Foundation and member of Dorrance Dance at the Something’s Afoot New Choreography Showcase this past Saturday:

And me and my teacher Christina Carminucci at ATDF last week, working on a piece Christina is choreographing for this class for the adult showcase in June.  The song is called Stormy Weather by Oscar Peterson. Enjoy!

 

 

xoxo

KB

Oh, and I saw this the other day and liked it as a message to stand up, sit down, speak up for what we believe is right:

DSCN8652

 

Chimpanzee, a puppet show NYC Nick Lehane

March Updates – Puppetry, Flamenco Music, Tap Dance, and Flowers

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The Missing Link- A Romance Novelette

Abstract:

A bestial romance novelette about a girl and a rescued chimpanzee who fall in love. Their union results in the birth of “the missing link.”

Dedicated to: my Grandmas, sorry Grandmas

Introduction

The “missing link” may have existed in the past, but, like the mythical “lyger,” this creature is sterile and cannot reproduce, hence the die-out of the species as humans diverged from their chimpanzee brothers and sisters over the years, a separation which began with the discovery of fire.

As time went on, humans became more and more separated from the natural world as their species multiplied and spread across the planet, learning to live in concrete jungles, forgetting the wisdom of the forest.

The love between man and chimp dwindled too as man forgot his roots in the forest. The species interacted less and less, until at some point they stopped relations completely.

That is why humans eventually lost record of the “missing link” and remain bewildered as to how humans diverged from their closest relatives in the animal kingdom, Chimpanzees and Gorillas.

That is, until Girl returned to the forest and met Chimp.

Chimp was a broken soul until he met Girl. He had seen his mother killed by poachers as a young chimplette and was rescued shortly after by a well known rescue group called Ape Action Africa. He was taken to their headquarters in Camaroon and received the tenderest of care by the dedicated staff comprised of local women. Unfortunately, like many chimps in Chimps situation, Chimp suffered terribly from depression, a common and often fatal consequence of what Chimp had been through. …

Girl grew up in a big city across the world. She learned about Chimpanzees at a young age and fell in love whith the idea of these furry creatures, so much like humans and yet so different. She was fascinated by how they lived so simply and so closely with nature. Unlike humans, they did not seem to live out of balance with the natural world, and she wondered if we humans could learn a thing or two from our hairy cousins in the forest. So she vowed to go there and do that, to study Chimpanzees. Her goal was to see if the chimps could give her some lifestyle tips that she could share with her fellow humans and perhaps restore some balance to the planet, which everyone generally agreed was going to shite due to human activities on the Earth.

Well, Girl got a whole lot more than she bargained for when she finally made it to study the Chimpanzees. She ended up falling in love with Chimp, who was clingly and needy due to his traumatized beginnings. For whatever reason, she liked that, and there was something about his his smile. Well, I wont go into too much detail here, but they…ya know…and 9 months later Girl gave birth to the hairiest, strangest looking baby you ever did see. Turns out this child had curious genetics…unlike humans, who share 98% of the genetic material of Chimpanzees, this baby had 99% of the genetic material, thus it was deemed the “Missing Link.” They named the child Marty.

Marty was a curious child, quite wild in many ways but also quite gentle and a bit less hairy than a Chimp. Marty could walk upright and looked a bit more human than other Chimpanzees the child’s age. It was determined early on that Marty was sterile, much like a mule or lyger. Indeed this was, “The Missing Link.”

Marty was raised under the close watch of scientists and was able to teach us humans a lot about how to live closely with nature.

There is one memorable instance of a banana eating contest in which Marty blew all the other human participants away, eating a whopping 35 bananas in one sitting.

Balance has been restored to the planet, now that Marty has given us humans insight into how to live more gently in the world.

Support your local scientist.

The End.

 

 

 

 

Palestine’s Fine: Chapter 2

The Waiting

As soon as we all unloaded from the bus from Jordan and waited in another line to cross the boarder into The West Bank, I could tell something was up. There was tension in the air as we queued up to have our documents reviewed and to proceed across the boarder. It was taking forever.

A Palestinian man waiting behind me made disgruntled comments about how long it was taking for the officials to review another person’s documents ahead of us. I nodded as if I understood his sentiment, even though at that point I hadn’t witnessed any injustice. Beurocratic processes are notorious for being painfully slow everywhere, I thought, so I wasn’t that disturbed by the hold up. I did notice it was a Palestinian person the man was referring to, but again wasn’t sure if it was a coincidence or discrimination and didn’t have enough experience in the land to pass judgement.

Inching along, I finally made it to the counter to present my documents. The officials were Israeli, I came to find, which is strange since we were entering the West Bank, a Palestinian territory.

Technically the West Bank is part of Israel, so I suppose it makes sense to have Israeli government controlling the boarder, but its still a strange situation if you think about it. Usually when you cross into a country, the officials are of that country. Like I said, the land is technically Israel, but we were passing into Palestinian territory so it would have made sense to have Palestinian officials at the boarder. Just sayin’. Especially since the Allenby Bridge is the only border crossing point Palestinians can use to enter the West Bank.

If a Palestinian travels abroad, they are not permitted to fly to Tel Aviv and enter the West Bank from the Mediterranean Sea side like Israelis and other human beings. They do not have the same privileges. Palestinians are only permitted to pass through the Alleby Bridge, which is only accessible by way of Jordan, so Palestinians are restricted in how they can travel abroad. Its a pain. They cannot go through any other border crossing point from the Jordan side either, which there are two of, one in the South via Eilat, and another in the North near the Sea of Galilee. No, all Palestinians have to come through the Allenby Bridge, where I was at the moment being described.

Its a bit confusing but I digress, when it was my turn to step up to the window and present my documents in order to pass through, I was surprised at the way the officials conducted themselves. There were two officials, young military women. The official took a long time to review my passport, passing it to her colleague and the two of them talking between themselves without cluing me in as I stood there, wondering what the issue was, waiting for further instructions. It wasn’t very human, but I suppose any country could have grumpy, jaded border patrol employees. I wont count that as a strike against Israelis, but its worth noting. They were not friendly.

After deliberating and having another soldier come look over my passport, the officials directed me to a waiting area.  I didn’t know how long I’d have to wait or why. Apparently, I was not in the clear to pass through and I had no idea what made me suspicious. As I sat there waiting for the next step, the seats around me filled with Palestinian families. Eventually, Hanan came to meet me, as she was also sent to the waiting area for further review. I was glad to have met her, otherwise I would have been much more anxious and confused waiting there alone.

It was a half hour before my name was called. I went into an office with an Israeli man who questioned me about what I had been doing in Israel and what I would be doing next. In the end I think the questioning was related to my visa, as my re-entry into the the country from Jordan would result in my visa being extended another 3 months.

Since I already had a plane ticket out of Tel Aviv a few weeks later, it was a non-issue and I was allowed to continue through the boarder. Simple fix.

So I went through, first stopping to confer with Hanan. I told her I’d wait for her on the other side, not knowing how long that would be. And guess how long it ended up being, by the way….

7 HOURS.

Seven.

With no clue where I was, no idea where to go, and no gumption to set off on my own, I waited the entire time for Hanan to pass through, even though I barely knew her.

While I waited, I observed the people passing through. I had never been in a Muslim country before, save for Jordan, and was mesmerized by the clothing people wore, especially the women covered head to foot in black, with only slits for their eyes to see. I found it strange, but that’s just the way things are there.

Allenby Bridge Boarder Terminal

During my hours of waiting, two noteworthy things happened. First, I met a man from South Africa on his way to Mecca with a group of 13 others. I had never met anyone from South Africa before, and never met anyone going to Mecca, a pilgrimage I had learned about in religion class back in my Catholic School days. The concept had seemed quite mythical, but turns out lots of people really do that, including my new friend, the South African.

The man was wearing a funny little pillbox hat and a white linen tunic and was very nice to talk to. I sat with him for about two hours as he waited for his party to pass through security and collect their bags, one by one. I asked him about South Africa, the wild animals there (chimpanzees and monkeys, of course). He entertained my chimpanzee fantasies and gave me pointers about good beaches to visit, but I forgot all that information because I didn’t write any of it down. Eventually everyone in his party made it through security and they moseyed along, leaving me with my bags to wait in the figurative dark for Hanan to come through.

It had been several hours already and I was beginning to doubt if she’d make it through. Of course she would, but it was taking so damn long the worries began to creep in. I staved them off as I continued to observe the flow of people coming through.

The second noteworthy thing to happen was among the funniest scenes I’ve witnessed in this life. Funny in a peculiar and irreverent sort of way.

It went like this: I had my big backpacking backpack propped up in a corner and was sitting a bit away from it in observer mode. Then all the sudden a pair of devout looking Muslim folks laid down mats in front of my pack and started bowing to my backpack. Well, actually they were doing their prayer ritual in the direction of Mecca, but it looked like they were bowing to my backpack. I found it very funny and wanted to take a photo, but didn’t because #1 my camera was in my backpack and #2 that would have been oh so rude.

I’ll draw a picture and include it here someday.

Finally, after 7 hours of waiting, Hanan came through. She was surprised and glad that I was still there. It was dark out by that time and we took some sort of bus van out of the terminal to where Hanan’s parents were waiting for us. They had arrived hours before, not expecting to have to wait until 9 pm to pick us up. No one expected it to take that long.

In the drive to Hana’s parents house I gazed out the window into the night as Hanan’s father talked about life in Palestine. I got my first glimpse of the wall and learned that inconvenience and waiting are not at all unfamiliar to Palestinians living in the West Bank under the Israeli occupation, which is what the situation is, I was learning for the first time.

Urban Mining Workshop and The Craigslist Catwalk Adventure

Girl Tech

IFixit Fairphone Urban Mining Workshop – Girl Power

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Palestine’s Fine Excerpt: Peace in the Middle East Tea

Sunrise in Palestine

I learned about this tea recipe while volunteering at a goat farm in Jerusalem. The farm was within a village called Moshav Zafririm, which was probably once occupied by Palestinians but invaded/apprehended by Israel in 1948 when the country was established. Out with the old, in with the new it would seem.

Unlike in Hebron, there was not trace or retelling of foul play in this village.

Propaganda in Hebron
Israeli Propaganda

It was quiet and rather empty, with no banners or propaganda to be found, just an unmanned military check-point at the base of the village to ward off intruders. Unfortunately I have no photos from the village to share.

The tea on the other hand….

Peace in the Middle East Tea Recipe

This tea was made on a daily basis at the farm and we enjoyed it throughout the day, hot and cold. All the ingredients were picked at the farm or gathered in the nearby hills.

Today I drink it as a reminder of the crazy experience I had in “the Holy Land,” encouragement to continue telling the story, and nourishment for the soul.

Ingredients:

Geranium

Pelargonium ‘Citronella’ : Large citrus-scented leaves on a robust plant. Lavender flowers.

Sage “Culinary Sage”

Sage. One of my favorite culinary herbs and one of the herbs people have easy access to no matter where they are. Salvia officinalis – even the Latin name gives us an idea of the respect this Mediterranean beauty has earned. Salvia in Latin derives from the word salvere which means, “to save.” Historically, it has been used in many ways from a facial toner to a plague remedy, as well as drying up breast milk and easing a cough. Sage is a well-loved and well-used herb throughout the ages.

and

Mint (any variety will work)

mint grown in pot

Process:

Steep a few leaves of geranium, a bunch of sage, and a cluster of mint in hot water for any amount of time, add sugar or honey to taste (or not), and serve hot or cold.

Enjoy the pleasant pink color and floral taste of a tea that will sooth the senses, calm the mind, and bring peace to the middle east in your heart, which reflects the world. Enjoy with friends for greatest therapeutic benefits.

Cheers!

KB