My advice on moving to Vermont. The short answer from a liberal-ish democratic perspective.

General, How-Tos, Travel Reports

My Short Answer After Moving To The Town of Brattleboro in Southern VT in 2008.

Generally – A great state! I find myself amidst the voluntarily lower middle class. My friends and colleagues are mostly relatively happy hippie-ish democratic liberals who are into protecting the environment, education, local community support, and healthy living. There are also lots of retired folks, republicans, a few rich, a more poor. There’s the few homeless (more in summer) and those suffering visibly from psychological issues and drug and alcohol abuse.

The tone I experience here is somewhere between New Hampshire’s “Live Free, Or Die” independent, self-sufficiency, and the West Coast’s hippie-dippie liberalism and innovation.

Under that, I sense a deep commitment to community, family and education that crosses political lines. Most Vermonters I know seem to be able to agree on being there for one’s neighbors, supporting good public schools, farming, effective social programs, healthy local food, being outdoors, and spending time with family and friends.

Finally, it’s a very small state, less then 700,000! So scale back the numbers in all your factoring.

My Advice

  • Have quick plans for food you can make for pot-luck dinner socials. So many pot lucks! And you’ll waste money if you always buy prepared food or bring booze. Sometimes I wish someone would just host a dinner, just once…
  • Even one job with low salary, but full benefits, is very valuable here. Then the other person can freelance, farm, finagle, etc.
  • Lock you car during zucchini season if you have out of state plates. If you don’t it will be full of folk’s surplus zucchinis that they are trying to get rid of.
  • Join the COOP
  • Find a CSA for local veggies and/or meat
  • Get a big freezer for blueberries and homemade pesto all year!
  • Join a board *but not too many.
  • Vote and go to town meetings and public hearings.
  • Trim your expenses and dept.
  • Get some tools
  • Plant a garden
  • Get really good snow tires in the winter (Michelin X-Ice for example).
  • Draft proof and insulate your house (consider a heat pump with Efficiency Vermont help).
  • Find the swimming holes.
  • Okay, on the snow tires…With an AWD cars, some say you don’t need ’em, but I got kids now and they make a huge difference. If you don’t have AWD, get ’em for sure.
  • Get wool socks, sweaters, hats, and wear layers. But wait for a sale if you can, at the end of winter.
  • Keep a blanket, water, and a flashlight in your car in winter.
  • Keep a swim suit, towel, blanket, sun screen and water in the car in summer.
  • Leave time to drive on the little back roads when you can, there’s so many cool little discoveries.

ITP Camp 2014 report on National Maker Day

documentation, How-Tos, lessons learned, Travel Reports

National Maker Day

I started this post on National Maker Day, so here’s some info on that. The White House just released this: FACT SHEET: President Obama to Host First-Ever White House Maker Faire: A Nation of Makers: Empowering America’s Students and Entrepreneurs to Invent the Future. It’sFull of leads on grants and resources for Making in higher ed, and K12 here. And the White house had the first Maker Faire Day today: http://www.whitehouse.gov/maker-faire

ITP Camp 2014

I’m in NYC for three of the four weeks of ITP Camp 2014 telecommuting for Marlboro during the day as I refresh the skills I learned while at ITP in 2006-2008.  The camp is part of New York University’s Interactive Telecommunications Program in the Tisch School of the Arts. Camp is for folks who want to come workshops after work, and on weekends, in making, physical computing, digital fabrication, e-textiles, programming, etc. It’s like a mini-graduate school! But without the credit, or the loans.

Here’s my project, the Grass Saver Garden, v1, aka “The Plant Killer”

Here are my photos from ITP Camp 2014 Photos on Facebook

ITP Camp 2014 Photo Album Cover

ITP Camp 2014 Photo Album Cover

I’m focusing on skills around 3D printing, laser cutting and basic electronics with solar panels by making a project that uses all three called the Grass Saver Garden. The project is kind of silly, but it’s a learning project. Simply put, I want to have a solar powered raised bed garden that will allow people to grow a garden, without digging up any of their lawn.

Brattleboro Area Makers (BAM) visits SurfaceGrooves.com and their 150 Watt Laser Cutter

General, Travel Reports

Our monthly meeting of Brattleboro Area Makers visited new Gilford Vermont makers, Elissa and Ryan, owners of SurfaceGrooves.com. Elissa and Ryan were kind enough to walk us through a quick laser cutter tutorial. They also showed us some of their excellent work. Impressive, educational and we got a “BAM” logo cut out of some scrap!

Brattleboro Area Makers gets a laser cut

Brattleboro Area Makers gets a laser cut

Brattleboro Area Makers gets a laser cut
Brattleboro Area Makers gets a laser cut

Brattleboro Area Makers gets a laser cut

Brattleboro Area Makers gets a laser cut

 

Maine Media Workshops HDSLR Storytelling with Brian Kaufman

Projects, Travel Reports

This is a video I made during a week long HDSLR workshop. It was fantastic, despite having a savage cold. The class was very small with 4 folks, vs the normal 10-15, so we got a lot of individual attention. I re-learned how to shoot with SLRs (Canon 5D Mark II) with lots of different lenses and mics. We had endless equipment. I found it hard to re-learn how to focus and zoom on the fly to frame shots with the fixed viewscreen, and use different lenses and mics. It was especially hard to focus on the story and the new equipment at the same time. One more reason that supports the saying that “the best camera is the one you have,” and I’d add that the best camera is also the one you know to use. Maine Media Lab Website

For my story, I found a local couple who are professional pirates and interviewed them at their house and on their boat. I was very hard for me to focus on learning when I knew everybody’s work from all the workshops (RED camera usage, fall foliage photography) would be shown publicly right after the Friday lobster party. I just tried to focus on learning and making mistakes and experimenting, and not focus my energy on the quality of the product. I failed, but tried.

The course was taught by Brian Kaufman. He focuses on using timeless storytelling editing techniques and the use of creative B-Roll shots. He went to Brooks Institute of Photography and started using HDSLRs for video when they came out. He’s won some Emmy’s recently. Some samples of his style are below.

Peaks lsland, ME. Sandy beach

Peaks Island, ME. Off season family vacation in rented house

Baby Shaw's Lessons Learning, Travel Reports
Peaks island, me. View of Cushing island from Whitehead lodge on Whitehead street.

Peaks island, me. View of Cushing island from Whitehead lodge on Whitehead street.

More to come. But so far, Peaks island off of Portland, Maine is a really wonderful family vacation, especially off season. Laura, Baby Shaw and I rented Whitehead Lodge and invited both our granparent’s and friends and family to join us. I grew up 30 miles south in Kennebunkport and left for college in 1984. My mother left in 1991. We both miss the soul soothing sounds, smells, bracing breeze, freeing views of the rocky Maine coast.

I’d never been to Peaks island, a 20 minute ferry ride off of the cool little city of 70,000 that is Portland, ME.  Peaks island isn’t teaming with 5000+ tourists as it does during prime time summer. The roughly 1200 locals are chilled out. The mornings and evenings are cool, the days mid-70s and mostly sunny.

The water is some of the warmest of the summer, with a surface temp in the mid-60s. We’ve been swimming three times on Sandy Beach, which has been mostly empty. A local demystified ocean temps for us one day. He said beach water temps are highest when the wind is blowing the sun warmed surface water towards the beach. Wind blowing out to sea brings up cold water from the bottom.

MORE PHOTOS: Public photos are populating on Facebook over the next few days.

Rocket camping near Cape Canaveral, Fl.

Travel Reports

Laura and I are back from an adventurous and somewhat challenging canoe camping trip in a unsung wildlife lagoon right north of Cape Canaveral, Fla. where the rockets blast off from.

Took the train to tiny Deland, Fla, picked up by friends. Park service rents canoes and gives you a good part of your own lagoon island. It’s only a few feet deep except for 6′ channels, only a licensed fishing tour guides and tours allowed. Fish, birds, dolphins, manatees, crabs, plants, all protected, and the ocean to swim in at the ranger station (with fresh water hoses and shade picnic tables).

The pics below are unfiltered and chronological, but if scan through them there’s some good ones in the middle of the lagoon. It’s about 5 miles wide by 26 miles long and you can drive into town, or canoe to one bar, or the intracoastal.

We had a brilliant idea with our genius camp raccoon who came every night to engineer his way into our food and leave muddy paw prints on our hanging clothes. We gave him 1/8 of a Benadryl in peanut butter and he only came to the camp once that night, then unlike other nights, didn’t rummage any more ’till dawn.

Highpoints

  • The train during the day with cafe and diner. We drove to NYC and took one train to Fla. and one back, which enabled us to arrive in the mornings in a totally different state of mind then a plane trip. As someone said, “planes are for getting places, trains a for the art of travel.” Bad part was “sleeping” in train seats. Next time, one day layovers in a cool town, but still the train if possible. So much more relaxing and sane.
  • Our own secluded beach because we snuck through the dunes by the ranger stations where there’s no parking lots for about 5 miles or big public access, and we could swim naked in the ocean
  • Floating above curious Manatees bumping our canoe in shallow lagoon waters.
  • Low point, bugs. Next time, February break.

Photos: http://picasaweb.google.com/calebjohnclark/CapeCanaveralNatSeashore2009#

Location; Green Island/slippery creek camp site #1: http://maps.google.com/maps?f=q&source=s_q&hl=en&geocode=&q=Cape+Canaveral+national+seashore&sll=28.391772,-80.608261&sspn=0.050816,0.063772&gl=us&g=Cape+Canaveral,+FL&ie=UTF8&ll=28.910963,-80.831223&spn=0.050565,0.063772&z=14

Druids In LA

Travel Reports

Originally written for emailing to the NoEnd list in 1996/1997.


Druids in LA
Subject: CALEB: Druids in LA
Sent: 07/22 5:07 AM
From: Caleb John Clark
To: NoEnd, noend@TAOS.COM

Back in the 1600’s wildly dressed Celtic Druids used to dance all night long, sweating around flickering fires and celebrating our connection to Earth, sex, seasons, and spirituality. Or at least that’s MY image of history, based loosely on one conversation at a Rave last night and a glance at a dictionary.

I went to check out a real LA Rave, and not much has changed since the Druid Raves. It was in Hollywood and put on by Family, one of the big established Rave promoters in LA. I went stone cold sober in every respect, and left with a only a vibrationally induced music high at 3am. It was hot in that sound stage, but the water was cold. If you closed your eyes you could fell your balance start to go and your brain shake, you’ve got to dance to keep from being knocked over. Or watch one of the seven huge screens pumping strange images at Morse code speed.

Hand’s wave, glowing tracing tubes,
cool water flashes to hot sweat,
and rains fine drops.
eyes dilate,
metal pierced lips roll by,
glitter as blush.

Kids now days!

They dress in bright colors, hug each other upon greeting, smoke dope, take ex, acid, shrooms, or Candy Hop (Ex and acid) together for fun. And then they have the guile to drink gallons’ of pure water and dance off all those chems while expelling great amounts of pent up aggression and angst harmlessly. They breath through menthol soaked surgical masks, or suck on baby pacifiers. They laugh a lot, they don’t fight, they don’t drink. As a promoter told me, “It’s hard to have an bad attitude with a pacifier in your mouth.”

A large poster hand out was on our car when we left. It was for a Hippie 2000 Rave and I’m thinking of framing it. It said, “Once again Jungle Boogie would like to take you on an out of this world adventure where U can reunite with your friends for a 12 hour bionic dance festival of our music, our beliefs, and our desire for a better world.” It was covered with huge breasted young nymphs and phrases like, “Please bring lots of smiles, things to share and friends that care.”

To be sure this Rave was not an idealistic out of market anomaly. As Dire Straights put it, “Sex and Money are the major kicks” of Alien Fuel. So they must make money, or break even, as the promoter I talked to said about 1,500 people were at this one at $15 a head. And it’s a place for people to “explore sexuality”, or “hunt” as I heard it put. One freed of ego and self consciousness could randomly have sat down among the intertwined circles of people sitting outside. Once plopped under the radar sweeps of the scanning, standing, ever flowing walking crowd, you would have a good chance sharing subterranean emotions that are normally driven into the gutters of our city streets by the relentless traffic. You could also have gotten some action. Most likely this somewhat utopian view of Raves is shared by less then a majority to it’s fullest. People do come for the babes, the drugs, to be scene, to be heard, to be cool, to be drenched in the chemical sweat of the enlightened crowd that wares stickers saying “Special”.

We may be going to hell in a hand basket, but I don’t think they are. In fact I can’t wait for some of these kids to take over the helm of this silly little planet so the spiritually challenged can work off their hangovers watching documentaries.

Or was there just something in that pure water?

Caleb out

* * *

© Copyright 1994 – 2004, Caleb John Clark all rights reserved.


http://www.calebclark.org Copyright 1994 – 2008, Caleb John Clark all rights reserved

Washington DC Protest. Jan 27 2007

Travel Reports

 

 

 

Bussed from the dark cold dawn of New York City to the end of the Green Line on the DC Metro for my first DC protest since I was a kid. Made it by 1pm to the mall. It wasn’t full, but it wasn’t empty, either. Jane Fonda, Vets, Jesse Jackson were speaking as I wound my way back stage to the start of the march. Jackson was smooth, started slow and monotone, built to a chanting scream. Making it around back of the huge crowd (50,000-100,000?) I perched at the Department of Labor steps to get the march passing by, then dove in for a bit up to the capital with the hippie drummers, highs school, old school, baby carriage crowd. Then back down to the subway 3 hours later and home by 10pm.

My impression was that the march was pretty mellow, and more of a gathering of different voices, than one single protest for a single cause. Sure, we were mostly all protesting the war and Bush, but in so many different ways that were asking for so many different things. I’ve seen documentaries on the organiziing of the famous 1963 Civil Rights march and that was much more unified on a message for what action was desired (jobs, freedom) and professionally serious. I shudder when I see the hippie protesters on drums, as if it was a party. I wish organizers would wear suits like they did in the 1963 one and keep that serious, angry, protesting stance.

I also believe it is more effective to go for what you want, vs for what you don’t. To be for something, rather than against. I wish we could get behind something simple like “US troops out of the middle east in 6 months” or “impeach Bush.” The NeoCons are brilliant on staying on message and sacrificing their specific individual goals for the good of the overall cause.

Riding back on the bus I did feel good though. I had done SOMETHING.

Times Square Protest, Jan. 11th 2007

Travel Reports

 

What a bizarre little protest. Lit by the off-worldly intense giant screens of Times Square, a small anti-war protest formed, in of all places, in front of the military recruiting center. I got their early, early enough to see an older gentleman with a police badge on his long black coat scmoozing with what looked like protest organizers. He seemed to know them all and I sensed mutual respect of all things. Clearly this was the boss on the cop, and plain clothes detective, side. There was a small place made on the opposite side of the protest for the un-protesters for the iraq ware and Bush. Was my picture taken for being there? I searched the windows but couldn’t find any cameras. Of course if I could, that would be sad. It was over in a hour. There were buttons for sale.

Washington DC Protest. Jan27.2007

Travel Reports

 

Bussed from the dark cold dawn of New York City to the end of the Green Line on the DC Metro for my first DC protest since I was a kid. Made it by 1pm to the mall. It wasn’t full, but it wasn’t empty, either. Jane Fonda, Vets, Jesse Jackson were speaking as I wound my way back stage to the start of the march. Jackson was smooth, started slow and monotone, built to a chanting scream. Making it around back of the huge crowd (50,000-100,000?) I perched at the Department of Labor steps to get the march passing by, then dove in for a bit up to the capital with the hippie drummers, highs school, old school, baby carriage crowd. Then back down to the subway 3 hours later and home by 10pm.

My impression was that the march was pretty mellow, and more of a gathering of different voices, than one single protest for a single cause. Sure, we were mostly all protesting the war and Bush, but in so many different ways that were asking for so many different things. I’ve seen documentaries on the organiziing of the famous 1963 Civil Rights march and that was much more unified on a message for what action was desired (jobs, freedom) and professionally serious. I shudder when I see the hippie protesters on drums, as if it was a party. I wish organizers would wear suits like they did in the 1963 one and keep that serious, angry, protesting stance.

I also believe it is more effective to go for what you want, vs for what you don’t. To be for something, rather than against. I wish we could get behind something simple like “US troops out of the middle east in 6 months” or “impeach Bush.” The NeoCons are brilliant on staying on message and sacrificing their specific individual goals for the good of the overall cause.

Riding back on the bus I did feel good though. I had done SOMETHING.