EWAP Update: Part IV

Hello All,

As my year of collecting E-waste off the streets and shuttling them to whatever facility will accept them for recycling comes to a close, I wanted to commemorate the experience with a spreadsheet, ah, sweet spreadsheets. In total, I collected 34 items which collectively was probably hundreds of pounds of waste. Unfortunately, I did not take the time to weigh the items, but did take down all their specs in case I needed actual weights for reporting someday.

In summary, I learned that it is inconvenient to recycle electronics, which is why many people opt to throw them out with regular garbage. The good news is, there are many free recycling drop-off options still available, you just have to look for them. Staples and Best Buy are reliable drop off locations that accept most electronics in any condition. Goodwill is a good place to bring working electronics, but note that you must have all associated chords, cables, and remotes for them to accept your donation. Also, they actually throw out, in the garbage, electronics that are found to be broken, so keep that in mind. Other than Staples, Best Buy, and Goodwill, there are also scrap metal/other drop off facilities that may be available to you in your area, you just have to do a little research. Feel free to contact me if you need help investigating.

Without further ado, my life’s work in 2020–

ComputersMonitorsTVsPrintersLaptopsOther
Dell  Vostro PC – Windows 7 home prem OA – mailed to Dell for recyclingLG computer screen Flatron E2211PU-BNSony LCD color tv model no: klv-s19A10 (HEAVY) serial no 7016499HP printer – photosmart C4600 SeriesLenovo laptop – Thinkpad T430s and chargerPanasonic dvd player, DVD-S27
Dell Optiplex Sx270, model no: DCT (~15lbs), mailed to dell for recyclingDell monitor and keyboard – model no. 1504 fp (~30lbs) – mailed to dell for recyclingInsignia LCD tv model no NS-L 19Q-10A – mailed to Dell for recyclingEpson Printer Stylus NX300 model C362ASony DVD player/Video Casette Recorder Model No – SLV-D300P
Dell monitor- model no 1702fp Rev A01 17”RCA 32” HD LED TV Model No – RT3205-CPrinter – Canon- TS6020Emerson DVD Player – Model # EWD7004 (1800-256-2487 for help with operating) – mailed to dell for reycling
LG Monitor, 38″ x 23″ 43UF6430 Model No: 43UF6430-4BIntertek – LE (brand?) Super4 X43 Pro – LED Tv – 38” X 23” HEAVY probably 40lbs
     Maybe the brand is called – Le Shi Zhi Xin Electronic Technology (Tianjin) Limited
Brother, Worksmart Series, MFC-J680DWCooler Master haf 392
Samsung – Standard Telvision Receiving Apparatus Model Code UN32J5003AFXZA Version No LS03HP Deskjet 2540 All-in-one series Serial No. CN37U1FGVX FPU No. A9U22-64001 Regulatory Model No. SNPRB-1204-02, appears to work, turns on, out of inkSamson – servo-170 studio amplifier 85 watt stereo – heavy ~30 lbs
Panasonic High Definition Plasma Television, model TH-42PX600U (70 lbs)Kenwood Compact Disc Player SL16 XS8, “Kenwood Multiple CD Player” CD-204, 1BIT dual D/A converter
Haier Model: 32E2000 TFT-LED LCD Colour Television ReceiverUbee Interactive Corp. TWC Model: DVW32CB – Wireless Modem
Sharp Liquid Crystal TV Model LC-32D43U Serial no: 711851587Speaker Intertek Listed 3044275 CA3554
Panasonic = Plasma HDTV Model No:TC-P42S1
Emerson – Funai Corporation – Model No: LC391EM3*
Hisense LED LCD TV Model No 65R6E3 4.75 ft by 2.75 ft.
RCA Model No. L26HD32D**26″ x18″ Serial No. 196EH29Y May 2008
722565A063SH…works, has remote
Samsung Model No. LN40B550K1F Model Code LN40B550K1FXZA S/N AUD03CLSA00365M*** 39″ x 2ft, works, no remote Version AA04
Hisense Model No. 32D12 Item:D12-WX01A WLCH032D1201446 Manufacture Date 6/03 Works, no note about disposal on TV 18″x 30″
E-waste Collected from Streets Casually March-June 2020

*Sticker (in TINY text) on back of this item states: “THIS LCD TV Contains a lamp with Mercury, please dispose of according to all local, state, and federal laws.” It was not treated as such.

**Also had sticker that said “This product contains Mercury and must be recycled or disposed of according to applicable local, state, or federal laws. Visit rca.com/tv for more information. Note: This link lead to a webpage providing ZERO information about recycling as far as I could see. Emailed customer service, waiting to hear back, email bounced back..shadyyyyy. 1800968-9853 will have to call

***Had in fine print on back sticker, Contains Mercury, dispose according to local, state, or federal laws

In summary, electronics are meant to be recycled. They usually have tiny stickers or text somewhere on the body of the electronic item indicating that the item contains toxic chemicals that must be disposed of properly in order to preserve human and environmental health. Why that is in fine print, I don’t know. In addition to protecting human and environmental health, recycling electronics is important because it promotes reuse of materials. With a reliable supply of recycled parts, the recycling industry is strengthened, and companies can be encouraged to use recycled materials in place of raw materials. Finally, recycling electronics also prevents environmental and species destruction in places where electronic components are taken from the earth, for example chimpanzee habitat in the Democratic Republic of Congo.

It is interesting to note that the majority of items I found set out with regular garbage were large flatscreen televisions and printers. It appears education needs to be put into place to educate consumers on the appropriate way to dispose of their items once they reach the end of their useful life.

And thats about all I have to say about that. I’ll leave you with a photo montage of this years’ collections:

  • EWAP

Zero Waste Cleaning

In other news, on the path towards Zero Waste living, I have a new development–plastic free cleaning supplies. The short story is that instead of buying windex and other cleaners in plastic spray-bottles, you can instead buy glass spray bottles and use either white vinegar and water (1:1 ratio) or hydrogen peroxide for cleaning. CAUTION: USE SEPARATELY, when mixed, vinegar and hydrogen peroxide form an acid. Here is an article that provides recipes and in depth information about the applications of each as a house-hold cleaner –click here for article. While they are not as killer as other chemical cleaning products, vinegar and hydrogen peroxide (separately, remember) are effective disinfectants for e-coli and salmonella bacteria, so thats good. They can also be used to kill mold. Also, vinegar is effective in cleaning windows and mirrors, so why bother with windex ever again?

Vote for a Plastic Free Amazon

My final thought for you all today is, lets show amazon that we want plastic free shipping options!

Here is a petition you can sign, created by a marketing lady who’s goal is to help businesses grow while adopting sustainable practices. The petition asks Amazon to provide a “Plastic-free” option during checkout to request no bubble wrap to be used in the delivery package, as well as a label on plastic-free products. The goal is to get 100,000 signatures and they’re already at 650,000. Take a moment to add your name and reduce the amount of plastic flowing into your home. Remember to uncheck the box that asks if you want to join the mailing list.

Here is that link: http://chng.it/ppJMHWYYfK

And finally, some recent packaging inspired creativity, a window covering:

Made from fused plastic food packaging sewn together

EWAP Update: Part III

Hello All~

I wanted to write a little something about chimpanzees since July 14th was World Chimpanzee Day, the 3rd annual “global celebration of respect for our closest genetic relatives”.* Happy belated! This year, Chimp Day marked the 60th Anniversary of when Jane Gooddall first visited Gombe, Tanzania and began studying chimpanzees in the wild.

*all cited information comes from the Roots and Shoots newsletters

Credit: Graphic template from World Chimpanzee Day Challenge, edited by moi.

The takeaway from Dr. Gooddall’s work over the past 60 years is that chimpanzees are awesome and worthy of our attention and protection.

The Lowdown

Currently, chimpanzees are considered an endangered species. Over the past 100 years, the population of chimpanzees has been reduced from 1-2 million in the wild to between 340,000-150,000 across their entire range in Africa today. That’s about a 15% loss over the last 100 years. Gorillas occupy similar zones and have been similarly endangered. Human population has grown by about 30% in that same time period.

Deforestation, wildlife trafficking (think: Tiger King), and poaching/bush meat trade are some of the main reasons for this decline. Unfortunately, the problem is complex, as many human livelihoods depend upon the very activities that are contributing to chimpanzee loss. For example, industrial and artisanal mining provides incomes for families to survive, but the resulting influx of humans into chimpanzee habitat and mining related deforestation are endangering chimpanzees. It is hard to argue to protect chimpanzee life when human life is also at stake.

Fortunately, there is a solution: education. Through education, people can be inspired and empowered to develop alternative livelihoods and industries that are less environmentally destructive (same goes for the whole world).

Education is particularly important amidst the Covid-19 pandemic. Since chimpanzees are so genetically similar to humans, disease transmission is a real hazard, and viruses like Covid can easily infect chimpanzees and spread throughout their population. This once happened while Dr. Gooddall was studying chimpanzees in Tanzania during a polio outbreak. Unfortunately, the polio virus had infected individuals in a nearby human village and soon was transmitted to the local chimpanzee population, which resulted in the infection and death of many chimpanzees. If interested in that saga, you can read about it in Dr. Gooddall’s book, In The Shadow of Man.

Fortunately, groups like the Jane Gooddall Institute (JGI) are currently working hard to reduce the risk of transmission of Covid to wild chimpanzee populations through education. JGI is also focused on improving captive care standards for chimpanzees worldwide by developing a Chimpanzee Welfare Index (CWI) which outlines care standards for captive chimps. The index consists of criteria that assess an individual chimpanzee’s entire existence in captivity including socialization, psychological behaviors, health, and diet. Using the Index, captive care facilities can assess their level of care and adapt their practices to better fit their animals’ needs.

Side note, the chimps rescued from the G.W. Zoo from Tiger King were transferred to The Center for Great Apes in Florida which is an accredited sanctuary. Tiger King could have benefited from the CWI Index.

Click HERE to find a list of CWI factors to look out for next time you visit a zoo or chimp in captive care, they include ASA and AZA accreditation, having limited visiting hours, having a veterinarian on staff, and a few other things to research and watch out for.

And that is what I learned from JGI’s World Chimpanzee Day 2020. Stay tuned for next year.

Now, on to updates on The Electronic Waste Awareness Project.

The Electronic Waste Awareness Project

So far, from March to present, I have collected 30 items illegally dumped on the sidewalk that would have wound up in the landfill and are now instead *hopefully* being recycled. Unfortunately, I am not confident in the recycling process, but hope, through this project, to become more clear on that matter, ie – Where exactly is “Away?”.

This is my running list of items picked up on the sidewalk since EWAP Update #1

PrintersTVs/MonitorsCD PlayersMisc
Brother, Worksmart Series, MFC-J680DWHaier Model: 32E2000 TFT-LED LCD Colour Television ReceiverKenwood Compact Disc Player SL16 XS8, “Kenwood Multiple CD Player” CD-204, 1BIT dual D/A converterUbee Interactive Corp. TWC Model: DVW32CB – Wireless Modem
Printer – Canon- TS6020Sharp Liquid Crystal TV Model LC-32D43U Serial no: 711851587Speaker
Panasonic = Plasma HDTV Model No:TC-P42S1
Emerson – Funai Corporation – Model No: LC391EM3*
LG Monitor
*Sticker (in TINY text) on back of this item states: “THIS LCD TV Contains a lamp with Mercury, please dispose of according to all local, state, and federal laws.” It was not treated as such.

Following is the breakdown of my project expenses, for transparency’s sake. Funding was awarded in November 2019, collection activity began in January 2020, better record keeping began in March:

Transportation to and from recycling drop-off facility (taxi+tip)

$70

$45

Total – $115

Storage (in my own tiny apartment, RE- precious real-estate–> $75/month)

$225 (for March-May)

$150 (June-July)

$75 (August)

Total – $450

Labor Stipend (for time spent collecting and transporting)

Total – $300

Funding allotted for creating an annual report: $300

Grant total – $1400

Total used so far – $1165

*Grant cycle to end October

Since I am recognizing that my method of recycling action is limited in its impact, I’m not certain I will continue this activity for much longer, given that storing and transporting materials is taxing- energetically and space wise. I feel that education (ie talking to people face to face) is probably a more effective and sustainable solution to reducing illegal/improper disposal of electronic waste. Am I an Eco-prostelytizer? Methinks yes.

That being said, I do continue to find items on the sidewalk and recently discovered most items can now be brought to Staples (up to 3 printers/person/day and TVs less than 20 inches) for recycling. This is a huge relief since there is a store in walking distance and relieves the need to use my own apartment for longer term storage. In the height of Covid, that was not an option since Staples had been closed.

I also found out that Goodwill does not accept electronic waste, only electronics that are in working order and suitable for resale. I haven’t been testing the items I collect to see if they are working, but suppose that is something to consider since there is also a Goodwill in walking distance. Note: in the recycling hierarchy, reuse comes before recycling:

Best buy has a recycling program similar to Staples. Re-these are all places people can go to recycle electronics. It takes more energy than setting them out in the trash, which is probably why most people don’t do it. There is really no incentive to exert the extra energy…unless one cares a whole awful lot…

The Lorax – Dr. Seuss

It seems that a lack of enforcement on illegal dumping is making current regulations ineffective. Supposedly there is a $100 fine for setting electronics out with the trash, but I doubt these fines are being issued. Perhaps if fines were issued, people would start to make the effort. But who will issue the fines?

Last week, while walking home from work late at night, I saw 2 TVs set out in the trash, one on each side of the street. By the time I picked up one and went back for the 2nd, it was already gone. It had been picked up by the garbage men who were making their way down the street. I decided to stop and ask the sanitation workers what they do with electronic waste when its set out with garbage. The gentlemen explained that they used to have special trucks that would come around for electronics, but that was now suspended. He said that now, if the items are large, too large for the recycling trucks to pick up, that they put them in the garbage trucks. They go to the landfill, hazardous waste in all. He candidly expressed doubt in the recycling system as well. Sad. I felt defeated by the system, but also glad that at least I had saved that one TV and all the other items I’d picked up in the past 6 months. There has got to be a better solution.

Thankfully, the city has recently resumed collection of e-waste from building of 10 units or more, but for smaller residences, nothing, which is why it is difficult to identify who is responsible for the electronic waste that is currently, needlessly, heading for the landfill when placed next to curbside garbage and recycling.

My next step is to interview the Sanitation Department for their official statement. I’m curious how the department itself would describe its policy on how to handle e-waste that is left out with regular garbage or dumped randomly.

That’s all for now, thanks for reading!

As a treat for readers who have made it this far, a music video collaboration made with my music and produced by choreographer Jenn Rose for a “Screen Dance” class at Steps on Broadway. The dancer is Becca Fox and the guitar track (pre-whistles) was recorded and produced by my guitar teacher Dave Muto. It was recorded in Ridgewood, Brooklyn.

Also another video by Jenn Rose, showing how tap dance can be used for political commentary:

EWAP Update: Part II

Hello all,

It is quite unlikely but entirely possible that you’ve all been gripping your seats in anticipation, wondering what would happen with all that e-waste I had stored in my apartment for the past few months. Lets pretend that has been the case, for the dry humored among us.

Well, prepare to unclench those fists and breathe a sigh of relief, for I found a free drop off site in Astoria that took everything, all 20ish items listed here. The company, Green Chip – E-waste and ITAD Solutions. Glorious.

Huzzah! So exciting, I know.

No idea where the items went after I left them. A subject for further exploration as the EWAP develops.

Haven’t been seeing as much e-waste lining the streets this past week. Save for a printer I encountered during a long walk through Queens the other day. Unfortunately it was too hot, and the item too heavy, for it to be salvaged. Alas, I cannot close the e-waste loop on my own.

I am curious, dear readers, if you are reading this, might I call upon you to take a tally of electronics you might be holding onto at home, ready for disposal. What are the barriers preventing us from recycling e-waste? Are there any? How do you dispose of your unwanted electronics? Do write in if you have any thoughts on the matter. I’m collecting data and here to help.

And now, onto other topics of import perhaps to no one but myself –here is a list of tap dancers today that are quite spectacular, each in their own special way. I’ve broken them into categories. Mind you, there are a lot of amazing dancers that have been left out here, this is merely a list of dancers that have struck my personal fancy. I am including this list to showcase the variety and versatility of tap as an art and entertainment form and to introduce some of today’s best tap dancers for those who are interested in delving in to the world of contemporary tap.

Most entertaining to watch//best stage presence//most likely to end up on the big screen:

Sarah Reich // Postmodern Jukebox // her own thing

The Syncopated LadiesAssata Madison and Annissa Lee, in particular, plus the rest, including Chloe & Maude, a sister duo and Syncopated Ladies bandleaders who are arguably doing the most to get tap into mainstream media today

Melinda Sullivan – a classy lass, hearkens to the film era tap days (Ginger Rogers, Fred Astaire, Gene Kelly-type)

Funky

Demi Remick // Postmodern Jukebox // Caleb Teicher & Co.

Posessing that “COOL” Factor

Christina Carminucci – she used glitter, enough to win any heart forever

Derrick Grant – excellent teacher, now in Boston, I believe

Starinah Dixon – Chicago

Michela Lerman – NYC, plays with big bands

Dormeshia Sumbry Edwards – in the Derick Grant, Jason Samuels clan, also teaches a lot of people, champions the heels

Legendary

Barbara Duffy – has taught basically every great tap dancer today, her teacher – Leon Collins, among others

Excellent and Note-worthy for their own unique reasons

Ayodeli Casel

Dolores Sanches w/April Nieves tap dancing Acupuncturist and Emma Bigelow

Felipe Galgani – Brazilian

Dorrance Dance – Michelle Dorrance, Leo Sandoval, Claudia Rajardinato, among others

Kazu Kumagai – Japan, often plays with a bassist, does humanitarian work in Japan

People I’ve learned about from taking classes//seeing performance and being impressed by their overall skill and essence:

Amanda Castro, Rachel Binney, The Ground Sisters (Spain), Gerson Lanza, Magaly Azuara

Liz Carroll – particularly for her for her choreography, also – Jared Sprague

Naomi Funaki – Japan/USA // Caleb Teicher & Co. // Dorrance Dance

Melissa Almaguer – Mexico

Ian Berg – saw him dance in a Diane Walker tribute

There are so many more…tap dancers tend to be interesting people of all shapes, sizes, ages, cultures, etc. Check-em out.

And now, three pet insurance companies in order of recommendation by an animal hospital insurance coordinator:

Healthy Paws – cheapest monthly rates

Pet Plan – medium range

Trupanion – most expensive per month, best coverage, fastest response to claims

Thats all for now folks,

KB

litter, art, litter art?

Writer’s Block and 2020

Wawaweewah hello!

It has been a while since there has been any new writing on here…life got a bit sticky and I lost the je ne sais quoi thats required for my writing process. Maybe for me, thats personal space? I think so. From living in a windowless room in a hipster storefront with 8 other quasi-functional human beings, to briefly finding respite in an essentially doorless closet-disguised-as-a room in a place called “Hell’s Kitchen,” I have finally settled into a space that is seeming to work, somewhere I can comfortably live and do creative work without having to cohabit-ate too closely with other people. Who knew “other people” would be such a problem for me. Actually, “other people” are often a problem for me. That’s something I shall explore more later, along with a concept that that the outside world reflects the inner world…that idea has me stumped lately. What is going on in this noggin?!

Happy 2020, folks; thank you for staying tuned in~

I wanted to start off by revisiting my intentions for this blog, which was started in July 2017.

This blog is a platform to share short stories of life’s experiences. I will also share creative projects and develop ideas to promote ape conservation through electronic waste recycling and tap dancing, somehow.

Almost 3 years later, the mission is the same.

This post will focus on Electronic Waste and Ape Conservation, while I intermittently loose focus and step away to tap dance.

This past year, I received a grant from the NYC Citizen’s Committee to promote electronic waste reduction, reuse, and repair. My proposed project, “The Electronic Waste Awareness Project” ultimately seeks to increase electronic waste recycling rates and landfill diversion.

The project is multifaceted and involves:

1. Hosting workshops to raise awareness of electronic waste issues (recycling, reuse, and repair)

2. Collecting E-waste litter and delivering it to recycling centers

3. Writing a report to explore the electronic waste stream

This is the summary of my project as outlined by the Citizen’s Committee, I’m including it here to use as a reference for myself to ensure the program is stuck to.

The Electronic Waste Awareness Project is teaching others how to recycle electronics and is making e-waste recycling easier. The group is collecting electronics from the curb and households, hosting a free e-waste drop off site, transporting electronics to recycling facilities, and conducting workshops to teach participants how to repair electronics.

When I applied for the grant, I had been living in that windowless hipster spot which included a community event space. Thats where I intended to establish a free e-waste drop-off spot. Since moving however, that part of the project is on hold until another drop-off/collection site can be established. The research aspect of the project will explore whether this is even necessary as I identify and evaluate current e-waste disposal options. Apparently there is a municipal service for e-waste collection in NYC and drop off events throughout the city, but I have yet to come across an easy way to dispose of e-waste and hope, through this project, to develop some solutions for myself and the general public.

Thus far, I am 2 months away from the mid-year report being due. I have poked around for places to host workshops and have two sessions planned for a group of youngsters in March. I am waiting for one elementary school to get back to me to schedule a few more workshops before the school year is up and have one printer, plus a bag of batteries, all found as litter on the street, stored under my sink, that need to be taken somewhere for recycling.

In short, I have a lot of work to do for this project. This post was my first effort in getting the ball rolling on the reporting side. So, there we have it, the ball is rolling.

To finish off, here’s a musical break for you. This song below was recorded 100 years ago, in the 1920s, by Bix Beiderbecke who used to live in Sunnyside, Queens, near where I am now living.

And here is a video from a tap class I went to the other day. It was taught by the reigning Queen of Tap dance, Miss Sarah Reich, who is based out of LA. I am not in this video because, honestly, I could not hang with the class, at all. It was enjoyable nonetheless.

Bye for now!

~Kelly

 

Summer Updates: Chimpanzee Party and Tap Dancing in Red Hook

Hello Readers,

Its been a while, hopefully everyone is doing a-ok this summer. I just about melted in New York, so am now spending some time cooling off and rewiring in Santa Cruz where the beach plumbs abound. YUM. Anyone else out there in love with a summer fruit? Do tell…

Meanwhile, let me let you in on some summer updates:

This year marked the Second Annual World Chimpanzee Day Celebration on July 14th, which last year I managed to commemorate in writing here.

This year, the party grew, as I was fortunate enough to team up with two like minded, organized, and driven ladies: Tina DeSanto of the waste awareness non-profit, The World is Your Dumpster, and Maria Molino of the up n’ coming textile recycling company, Marimole.

Together, and funded through a grant from the Jane Goodall Institute (Bravo!!), we hosted a free community event at Big Irv’s Art Collective featuring art by yours truly and a talented visiting artist and sailor- Madalyn Freedman. The photo below depicts my collection of garbage art, Madalyn’s work can be found on her website, click here to check it out!

DSCN9992

The event drew a small crowd including some neighbors I’d seen a bajillion times before but never had the chance to speak with, a few innocent passersby that we rangled in with the promise of cold beverages and snacks, and another few people from the Brooklyn Fixit community. We were lucky enough to receieve a generous beer donation from a company called Toast that makes beer out of bread scraps from local bakeries and also provided an educational component: two speakers who enlightened us with information about fixing electronics and current Right to Repair Legislation.

The important takeaway information from the speakers was this: you can fix your own electronics! Yes, you! There is a great company called I-Fixit based out of California that has created step-by-step how-to manuals to guide you through fixing anything from a broken track-pad on your computer to a broken screen on your phone and much more in between. They sell all the equipment you will need to fix your own devices including toolkits and replacement parts. Check them out next time you’ve got a problem with your device, you might be able to fix your item on your own before scrapping it completely, and you’ll defienitely learn something in the process.

Here are a couple photos of our speakers in action at the event:

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DSCN9881
Vincent Lai, Fixer Extraordinnaire, Brooklyn Fixer’s Collective

By the end of the day, we collected about two boxes of e-waste from the community which were later brought to the Gowanus E-waste Warehouse for recycling. Discussions were had about the impact of electronics on chimpanzee habitat, facilitated by artwork and fixing discussions, and the connection was made between our event and World Chimpanzee Day. All in all, the event was a great success!

Stay tuned for World Chimpanzee Day III, July 14th, 2020, when I hope introduce tap dancing into the mix for a true great ape extravaganza.

Speaking of tap dancing, I have a few updates to share on that front.

This summer also marked the 50th Anniversary of the Woodstock Festival. Struck by inspiration at the original site of the festival, fellow tap dancer transplant Liz Cousins created a show which premiered this summer at the American Tap Dance Foundation. I got to be in it, which was cool. To prepare for the show, the cast (pictured below) all got together one rainy weekend and visited Bethel, NY, the site of the 1969 festival, to learn about the festival and its historical context.

IMG9515681

As soon as I get footage from the show I will share it since it was groovy and different.

Lastly, here is a sound clip from a bluegrass jam I got to participate in a few weeks ago in a breezy spot in New York City called Red Hook. The jam took place in the back of a bar called Sunny’s Bar and was a lot of fun! Take a listen here, if you listen long enough you will here some strange thumping, which is me playing my shoes. If you want the quick and dirty, jump to minute 55. Enjoy!

All the best,

KB

Fire Safety for DIY Spaces, Nina Simone’s B-day, and E-waste News

Hello All,

First off, I’ll start with the fun stuff!

This past Thursday was the late, great, crazy Queen of Soul Nina Simone’s birthday. I was lucky enough to catch this celebration on the radio, hearing many songs she recorded that I’d never heard before. So good!

I’m not sure when I first heard Ms. Simone’s work, but have grown to really love and enjoy her music over the past few years, since one of my favorite tap teachers (Derek Grant) used this song for an improv exercise in a class. This was the song:

Crazy piano!

Another favorite teacher, protégé of Mr. Grant, the young and always so lovely Chirstina Carminucci, used the following song in a class once, which was great for whatever across the floor excercise we were learning at the time that got me all turned around, as usual. This was that song: (ignore the smoking, its bad mmmmkay)

And another great example of Nina Simone in a live recorded performance:

So good! Ok ok, one more video which I love because it uses glitter! Plus it will give you a visual for Christina Carminucci (red pants), a dancer that I’ll likely be mentioning in the future because she performs a lot and is just great:

Alright, next topic:

Fire Safety for DIY Spaces

Tonight I went to a free talk hosted by an NYC artist and fire safety expert Tara McManus. I’m mentioning this because I learned some basic fire prevention tips that I’d like to share with you in case you don’t know, and especially if you’re like me and reside in communal spaces that may or may not follow official codes but want to be safe.

#1 Fire Extinguishers: know where your fire extinguishers are and check them frequently (maybe once/month) to make sure they have pressure. It is important to keep them in a place near an exit as opposed to in a dead-end space like a bedroom; you want to be able to spray the fire as you are making your exit, as opposed to getting stuck in a bedroom.

#2 Extension chords: if you’re plugging in equipment or appliances like heaters that take a lot of energy, plug them into wall outlets and disperse them, so they’re not all plugged into the same outlet. If you have to plug something like a heater into an extension chord, make sure you use a chord meant for higher powered appliances, as opposed to the dinky 2 pronged ones. Also, unravel the chords as opposed to keeping them in a coil (in a coil the chords will get hotter and are more likely to catch fire). And finally, if using multiple extension chords, do not mix 2 pronged chords with 3 pronged chords.

Those are the two main things I think are useful for anyone to know…here is a link to more information if you’re hungry for it: Fire Safety Resources.

Which leads me to my next point:

E-waste News

https://mymodernmet.com/zayd-menk-scale-model-computer-recycling/

**E-waste Art: Model of NYC by Zayd Menk

The Jane Gooddall Institute (JGI) has released a new campaign to encourage people across the globe to become more aware of the impacts of technology on wildlife. That’s what I’ve been talkin’ bout! This campaign is called “The Forest Calls” and I’ll include a snippet from their latest email update to clue you in:

The Forest is Calling

The forest is calling, can you hear it? It’s been a long time since you’ve listened – really listened – to its call. What is it saying? It’s a faint mummer, but if you try you can still hear it’s message: It’s saying that our endless consumption and reliance on new technology is silencing ecosystems, humans and wildlife. It’s saying that you are the only hope the forests have. The forest is calling, and the power is in your hands to answer the call.

The international technology industry is devastating human and wildlife communities, while destroying vital habitats, particularly in the Congo Basin in Africa. Right now, you can do something about it. JGI is launching ‘The Forest is Calling’, a campaign to inspire action around recycling, reduced consumption and extending the useful life of used electronics. The annual campaign will culminate with Mobile Recycling Day on February 26th, getting JGI’s friends and supporters around the world to help protect chimpanzees, people, other species and their habitats.

http://news.janegoodall.org/2019/02/11/the-forest-is-calling-answering-the-call-is-our-only-hope/

So, if you’ve got any old, broken, un-used phones tucked away somewhere, February 26th: Mobile Recycling Day is a decent choice of day to recycle them, or at least research how/where to do that and get the ball rolling. Also, its a good time to think about if you really need a new phone or if your current phone can still serve you. The Chimps will benefit from your conservation efforts as will the chimp part of you (ecopsychology concept to be expanded upon).

More info about The Forest is Calling can be found here.

That’s all, have fun out there, be safe, be creative, and locate your fire extinguishers!

xo

KB

**Find out more about the E-waste art pictured above: Teen Spends 3 Months Building Scale Model of Manhattan from Recycled Computer Parts

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.

 

 

 

 

Change for Chimps Year-End Update

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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.

Reminder to Switch to Ecosia

Hiking in Hana

Shades of Green in Maui

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