Sunday, October 17, 2010

the fall air

Oct 17th, 2010

The leaves on the tree’s here in Montreal have all changed colours by now in their cycle of death, falling to the ground where they will decompose even more, freeze when the winter comes, and by the time the ice thaws out next spring will be turned back into soil giving nutrients to new leaves which will be born.
I just got home from my recent adventures a couple days ago, coming back to a Montreal that is getting closer to winter every day now. You can feel, and smell it in the air. The extra layers of clothing, and jackets have been brought out and are being worn in full fashion. Most of this change I was away from home for so I usually took it in while on a flight looking out the window to the forests below. Fun times!
The last Propagandhi “run” (only 3 more of a nice walk) was as fun as it always is, taking us to Minneapolis where we ate some incredible “cheese” bread, and mock meatball pasta at the incredible Pizza Luce. The show in Minneapolis was at the Triple Rock, which is always a good time due to good people, and good staff. It was Todd’s first time singing, and the bands first time playing certain songs live, which also ruled.
Des Moines, IA was next destination, which didn’t have the strongest turn out in people but was still fun over all. The last of the 3 shows was in Chicago at the Riot Fest to a packed show at the Metro. I personally thought that this was the best show as far as music, vibes, and the overall evening. After this show the “tour” was done so we all had a major hang out that evening and the next morning we saw Beaver leaving to go stay visit his significant other, and Barney left to drive the rental van/ gear back to Winnipeg. The rest of us stayed for a few days to hang in the city, go check out other bands at Riot fest, eat as many times as we could at the amazing Chicago diner, and celebrate Jords 40th.
One of the plans for staying included a trip to an amusement park outside of the city but this ended up falling through due to lack of motivation on all our parts. So another plan was in store.
The last day we were in Chicago was Jord’s actual 40th birthday so something major had to happen. Jord, Deedee, Chris, Eton and I ended up getting hockey tickets to the Chicago Blackhawks first home game since being the Stanley Cup Champions of 2010 while Todd, and Lia took off to do their thing around the city.
This hockey game was not just another hockey game, and our seats were not your typical (cheap) seats at a pro-sports game either. This game was where they would raise the Stanley Cup banner at the arena, which made for a big celebration and show. 2 of our tickets were in row#18, which ended up being very close to the ice, and 3 of our tickets were in row#3 DIRECTLY behind the Blackhawks bench. I mean you couldn’t get any closer unless you were on the team of course. Wild!! What we ended up doing was rotating our seats so each of us could experience the action on the Blackhawks bench. Fun times and staying in Chicago those extra days made it all worth it.
After the Propagandhi adventures were over I found myself flying to Toronto for the day to get things organized for the upcoming Metric tour which started the next day in Cincinnati, OH with Muse.
In the last week Metric did 2 shows (so far) with Muse, and did their own show in Nashville, TN because Muse took a week off so we will meet up with them in a couple more days in Quebec City.
Muse is definitely on the biggest level a band could possibly be. Every night they play inside a huge sports arena to thousands of people (I hear that the next show is 13000 pre sale) and have a major production to compliment this spectacle. There are rising risers-the band starts their set towering over the crowd 35 feet in the air-, crazy lights with lasers, state of the art audio, and video effects. Thus far I have counted 14 semi trucks, and 8 buses to transport this spectacle, and economy around in. Wild stuff! Their crew is massive by itself and then every show they have local crew on top of that. Muse has one person whose sole job is to work their pro-tools rig during the show. Its definitely been eye opening and something neat to witness.
I arrived at home the other day after these 2 recent adventures and will be here sleeping in my own bed, making my daily smoothie, cooking my own food, and doing yoga/ stretching in my room for the couple of days. It’s nice to be home. The air is crisp, and the fall smells that come with this crisp air which include the random smells of fires warming people’s homes are quite nice too.
The night after I arrived home the Bouncing Souls were in Montreal playing with Bad Religion. I had seen the Souls/ BR a week earlier at Riot fest which was fun but also a quick hello due to both of us going our own ways that evening. The tour that the Souls are on right now I was supposed to be on but the dates didn’t line up so I wasn’t able to do it, which is a bummer and up until a couple weeks ago I thought I was going to be in Mexico when the Souls were in Montreal. Mexico was cancelled so I was able to fly home, and hang out with some dear traveling buddies the following night which was a lot of fun. The dudes were even kind/ open enough to let me (attempt to) play a song with them, which I had done before once in the past but I knew I would do better the 2nd time which I did (my opinion..haha). In fact that day before the show I was definitely in my room practicing it all day. Hahaha.
We are all so lucky to be alive. Each of our lives make amazing stories.

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

the nature of things..?..

Sept 28, 2010
So I just got back from seeing the one and only David Suzuki speak in front of a packed theater here in Montreal and it was absolutely outstanding. There is nothing more incredible then seeing some one who is a big inspiration to oneself talk deliver an outstanding feature focusing all around life, and the mother of life- the earth.
I remember David Suzuki from seeing his program “The Nature of Things” on CBC when I was a child. Thinking back to those times I don’t think I was truly old enough to understand everything he was talking about in his programs but there was something I would always resonate with. His demeanor, vibe, image, hair, and his voice were all something truly unique. A Canadian icon. So when I read he was speaking in Montreal it was something I would not miss.
David spoke about life for about an hour and it was something else.
Life- the condition that distinguishes animals and plants from inorganic matter, including the capacity for growth, reproduction, functional activity, and continual change preceding death.
To sum this up. Everything as we know it.
He first started his speech focusing on about 4 billion years ago when there was no life, and if we were to arrive on earth at the moment we would instantly die without air. So if we were giving air masks then what would be able to see what was next. Water! and how water was formed through gases, and condensation which eventually leads to rivers, and’s veins. Up next was our energy sources and how the sun creates all fuels on this planet in which life wouldn’t be able to survive with out. Fire!
Water, Air, and Fire.
It was pretty funny when he brought up those white hooded freaks whom call themselves the Ku Klux Klan and about life originating from Africa. Haha. Boneheads!!
Other highlights were
-the greek meaning of “eco” which means- “home”, and how “eco”nomics / “eco”logy do not go hand in hand, and one definitely currently triumphs the other.
- the human population in 1927 was 2 billion and now in 2010 we are at around 6.5+ billion. That’s enormous growth which is a major contributing factor to everything that is happening on this planet.
I have gone through periods of major pessimism in the past, and still do sometimes, but I also have seen some people whom I love with all my heart (family and friends)-because they are the most wonderful people Ive come across- give birth to a new life which gives me optimism. The major thing is this new future generation has to be re-connected back to the planet.
This means mud pies and all, grass stains on the pants, playing in the parks until you hear your mum yelling “it’s super time”, building forts out of tree branches, swimming in actual lakes, stepping on bee hives while looking for golf balls in the fields to sell back to the golf course for $.05 a pop, having to take a poop, taking that poop in the fields, and wiping your lil tush with leaves, camping, learning how to build fires, the smell of those actual fires, and on and on we go.
I do write all this but am still a major player in the destruction of the planet which is one of the weirdest things to think about. The other day I had my belongings stolen including my phone, and Ipod so the first thing I did was replace these items. A new Ipod, and I opted for a new Iphone. Yesterday I found myself looking at my new toy/s and getting quite sad thinking about the process which turned these metals, and materials into this material thing. Honestly I know that no matter my thoughts I do need a phone, and honestly no matter which one I chose the process to make this object would be the same.
We have created a weird little world for ourselves but a world which isn’t focused on the actual “world/ planet/ earth”. A world which has been focused on ourselves for to long, and it’s something we all have the power to change but the only way this will happen is if we do take a hard look at our own lives, and the connection we have to this planet.
No individual is perfect in any sense. It’s been 200 000 years since-humans as we know it- started walking this planet and it hasn’t been a perfect ride. We all need a reconnection to the soil, the water, the birds, the bird shit that lands on you as you walk along the street, the air that keep’s us alive every breathe we take, the sun which gives us energy, and the rest of life as we know it.
Who knows? Haha..This is all just personal thoughts that have been recorded for personal use. Im no different then anyone else.

Monday, September 13, 2010


Sept 10, 2010

The other night I attended Against Me!, the Flatliners, and Young Livers show in Montreal which was something I was looking forward to for quite sometime as I knew I would be home.

The last time I saw Against Me! (about 6 months ago in Burlington, VT) it was one of the funnest times I have had at a show in years, and I’m talking years. Most shows I attend these days I am usually part of through work which means I have to constrain myself and be responsible to get things done. All the other shows I attend I do attend because I want to, and am sometimes a fan of the band (sometimes not!) but still keep it chilled and constrained.

Not with Against Me!

This past show (as well as the show in Burlington) I was right up front against the barricade singing along as loud as I could, surrounded by an excited sweaty crowd which gave me the biggest grin all night long. Totally amazing, and needed as its something that never happens anymore with me. Bringing the youthfulness out is always a treat.

AM! is an incredible band live, an incredible band recorded, and all incredible fellows. Watching them play, their interactions with each other on stage, and with the crowd is a treat within itself. Truly amazing.

Also that night I had 2 good friends-Dave, and Mike- who I grew up with in California playing in the Young Livers which made the night even better. The last time I saw both Dave, and Mike would have been about 2 years ago but I was so busy that only a “Hey! Hows it going!” could be said. So catching up, and talking about stories when we were all a lot younger was pretty special. Both individuals I respect so much, and have had a big part in my story.

Thursday, August 12, 2010

August 11, 2010
My keeping track (writing/ documenting) of my adventures hasn’t been that great in the last couple months which is a shame as this time period has been filled with so many fun, incredible times. The travels, the music, and the people that I have been surrounded by have made this year so far one of the best.
It’s too late now to write about everything now as it’s long over due but I’ll quickly summarize it all.
In the last 2-3 months I have traveled across North America a couple different times-East to West/ West to East- on tour with Metric, Strike Anywhere (across Canada), and the Bouncing Souls (Warped Tour). I managed to spend a week in Richmond, VA between one of these tours, which was nice seeing old friends, and cruising around the old stomping ground.
After this 9 week adventure I came home, to move into a new house with 2 nice ladies, and went straight to work here in Montreal helping set up festival shows on the Island downtown.
This past weekend I saw myself in Chicago with Metric steering their ship during Lollapalooza, which was fun, busy, and rewarding.
The other day I did find myself thinking about this summer so far, and everything that has happened, the music I have been apart of, the music I have seen, and it all blows my mind. So I figured I’d make a little list to document everything I have directly been apart of, or have been a spectator of...Here it goes.
Metric (tour, and Lollapalooza), Strike Anywhere (tour), the Bouncing Souls (Warped Tour), Alkaline Trio, the All American Rejects (yes! I am an official fan as this band rules as people), Slayer, Alice Cooper, Megadeth, Arcade Fire (absolutely an amazing show at Osheaga), Pavement, Sonic Youth, Snoop Dogg (your drummer is sick), Weezer (with Josh Freese on drums!!), an old Richmond pal Tim Barry (always moving), the Gaslight Anthem, Lady Gaga (at Lollapalooza-your show was a little lack luster due to sound which is unfortunate. You aren’t supposed to be able to have a full conversation with someone next to you at a live show), the Strokes, Green Day, Cut Copy, I heard Against Me! in the distance which ruled and was told later by my friend Andrew that it was the best show he ever played-damn I wish I was there, Public Enemy (in Montreal-harshed my mellow as they went on 50 mins late for no reason whatsoever, and hearing stories about a particular crew person-boo!)
My ears thus far have only been given a couple of days rest between all of this so I am thankful for them still be there, thankful for my friends who have afforded me these opportunities, and been there through them all, and thankful for my family who is always interested in these stories.
Music/sound has no borders and is universal. It will be there when you are at your lowest, and it will make your highest even higher. So much sadness, and horror is happening in our world these days but music is one thing that does, and is able to help us all through these day to day struggles.
With this I end with lyrics from the song “Gone” by the Bouncing Souls who have moved me for over half of my life.
It was a cloudy night, or so it looked to me,
I felt so lost,I couldn't say why.
I needed strength to change my mind
but those ghosts stick to me like glue,
hatin’ life, believing I was no good

It was a darkness all my own
a song played on the radio, but it went straight to my heart
I carried it with me until the darkness was gone.

It was a cloudy night, or so it looked to me,
I felt so lost, I couldn't say why
I built this cloud to live in,
It was a bunch of lies in my mind.
The world wants me to believe it
so I had to change my mind

It was a darkness all my own
a song played on the radio, it went straight to my heart
I carried it with me until the darkness was gone.

I built this cloud I can break it
The world can’t change how I feel
Because I know it’s a lie
My heart is real

May 21st, 2010
Currently flying to Richmond, Virginia from Chicago where the Metric tour ended last night. This last Metric run was only 5 days with 4 shows so it went by very quick, easy, with 2 very good shows (NYC/ Chicago) and 2 alright shows (Columbus/ Cleveland) but none the less it was a fun run and now I am off to my old stomping ground of RVA before my next adventure starts with the skids in Strike Anywhere.
This last month at home has really been some of the best times I have had thus far while living in Montreal. Don’t get me wrong as the last 3 years in the city has been a blast but definitely this last month has been filled with many good times, and great adcventures. I was able to spend some very quality time with friends and even meet some incredible new friends whom our now part of my story. Welcome to the Jungle!
I am still with-out a place of my own as it would be insane to be paying for a place when I am never home. A big enormous thanks goes out to Philippe, Matt and Kim for putting me up at their places and dealing with me in general. Haha. Truly ya’ll thanks again for the kindness.
Last night I was able to watch a majority of the Habs/ Flyers game #3 which was pretty much a “must win” game for the Habs and with-out fail they came through. It’s definitely hard not being home right now with the springtime, and the current playoff run the Canadiens are making. First time they have gone this far since 93 and the city of Montreal has officially gone bonkers which has been so fun to witness, and be apart of. It’s a feeling a can’t describe and it’s definitely the first time in my life that I have lived in a city as such where “hockey is everything”.
Yes I have lived in other cities with professional sports but quite honestly non of them, or the energy comes remotely close to what takes place in Montreal. Amazing! It’s not everyday you see cop cars driving around with flags of the local hockey team on their cars or these same cops dressed up in full riot gear carrying batons, and shields after the Habs win playoff series. Again I think it’s safe to say this doesn’t happen anywhere else in North America so good on yah Montreal for keeping it alive.
So since I am going to be in RVA these next couple of days so close to Philadelphia I jumped online last night and bought 2 tickets to Game 5 in Philadelphia against the Habs. Can’t wait! Although it won’t be anywhere close to anything like a playoff game in Montreal I think it will still be a hoot and the Habs will need as much energy as they can get in Philly. I plan on wearing my Habs shirt but have already been told by a handful of people to “be careful”. Come on!
I was thinking last night about my recent trip to India and going for a walk at sunrise with a group to the forest behind the Navdanya farm. This forest- like all forests- had it’s own thing going on, and the canopy of the tree’s were very high up due to the type of tree, and because the locals in the area chopping off as much as they could for fire wood. We’ll last week I read a 20 000 word article written by Arundhati Roy (author of The God of Small Things, and many non fictions books dealing with Indian politics, and world politics) where she went into the jungles of India to educate herself, and travel around with a Maoist insurgency rebel group fighting (armed struggle) the Government of India to keep their land.
There are many human, and non human beings living in this world which most of us don’t see or even know about as they aren’t a “consumer” based culture living the life that you, and I know all to well.

May 26th

-Lauren at Ipanema excited to see me, and seeing peoples reactions to seeing me. Her being emotional as it reminds her of Johnny Z’z spirit.
-Johnny Z- impact on an entire community in a city
words not being able to ever explain this anyone not effected. Just words with nothing behind them

Hockey fans-philly/ montreal
Hockey in montreal

July 4, 2010

Sitting here in St Louis, MO on a off day from the Warped Tour with the Bouncing Souls.
I have been on tour for the last 6.5 weeks with Metric, Strike Anywhere, and now the Souls on the Warped Tour. So much has happened in the last 6.5 weeks but I won’t try to capture it here as it’s something that would have had to been done in that moment. The travels have taken me across North America a few times now, with this last little bit finishing it completing the circle.
So the crazy circus summer camp known more as the Warped Tour is going full swing in it’s 2nd week. Warped Tour is such a crazy tour, and it’s a tour I don’t have many good things to say about, however I also do have a lot of fun while out on the tour.

July 17, 2010
It’s been 9 weeks since I left home for an adventure, which consisted of 3 different tours, and a week visit to Richmond, VA. Over the years I have grown quite frustrated with airports, and airlines however today I must say I am quite excited to be taking part in their operations because in about 1 hour I will officially be back “home”.
My trip started in mid-May when I left for a week tour with Metric taking us from New York across to Chicago. After this leg I hopped on a plane for Richmond, VA to visit with friends before my next leg of travels with my buds in Strike Anywhere.
The Strike Anywhere trip took us across the northern part of the US of EH, into western Canada, then back across Canada back to the east coast. This tour was something I was really looking forward to as I would get to spend some more quality time with some very close friends while traveling across the lands of the north, which is always a lot of fun.
This tour as expected turned out to be a lot of fun but it also did take a little toll on me. Being away from home for already sometime, and looking ahead too what seemed like no end in sight did have an effect on my vibes at times. It’s unfortunate but it is what it is. I did sign up for the entire 9 weeks of adventures and was going to honor those commitments. Now looking back on it, it wasn’t that bad but it is something I would not do again-signing up for so much that is. Ha ha. I say this now.
Anyways the Strike Anywhere tour ended in New York where I was then picked up by the superb human being- K8 is Gr8- to head back to Asbury Park, NJ to prepare for Warped Tour with The Bouncing Souls. Ha. With Strike Anywhere some of us would bring up a few different times “Whoa! You are going on the warped tour right after this tour! That’s insane”. At the moment I did agree with but it was with the Souls so it won’t be to bad.
Well I am very please to say that the 3 weeks of the warped tour with the Souls was a lot of fun. Did I just say that the warped tour was a lot of fun? Yes I did. Ha. The sole reason why this tour was what it was, was because of the Bouncing Souls and their family. Even the 54 hr drive with DJ, Dubs, Pete, and Matt from the right coast to the left coast was a total blast. Ha.
I have now done about 5 or 6 Warped Tours over the last 10 years or so, and has it ever changed. I mean it never was anything special but whatever kept it somewhat okay has since disappeared completely. There is a new era in this hard rock, horrible screaming music thing in which the youth these days are grabbing onto. Bright neon colors, high top nikes, and a sort of heavy music mixed with electronic beats are the flavors of the day.
So in a situation as such on the like-minded folks had to stick together and do their own thing, which we did. Everyday we would set up our own little camp with the Alkaline Trio, and All American Rejects to keep whatever sanity we had left holding on. Fun times.
On this tour I became a new fan of a band I never thought I would come remotely close to liking in a million years. That band is the All American Rejects who were some of the nicest fellows on the entire tour. I swear I never ever thought I would be into a band as such, but hanging out with them everyday, and hearing their music everyday has no made me an official fan, which stokes me out. There is nothing like good ol catchy pop music.

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Back from India and back at it again

March 15, 2010

Well I was home from my trip from India for 4 days and now I am off to Austin, TX for the South-by-South West music festival to begin tour with Metric.

The first week of this tour is quite something. Today we are flying into Austin where we will be for 2 days , then fly to Phoenix, AZ to play a festival with some old tour companions named Flogging Molly, the next day we fly back to Austin, TX where we have a day off and I plan on hanging with some friends whom are also in Austin, then Metric plays with Muse on Friday which I am really excited about. Muse just played the Bell Center in Montreal last week and are now playing a small venue in Austin with Metric. Fun times! And then finally we fly from Austin to Seattle, WA to tour down the West Coast. Non-stop travels!!

Definitely not the most environmentally friendly travels but I didn’t make the plans so am here to go with the flow. Ha.

India was truly one of the best experiences I have had thus far in my short little story. I have been asked a couple of times by friends/ family “How was your trip?” and honestly I can’t find an accurate answer. I answer with “good, great, amazing” and find myself wanting to go into it even deep then these descriptive words but can’t figure out what words to use which would actually convey how incredible the trip was. Plus I truly didn’t see any of India really because of the time on the farm. So when the question is posed I can only answer from that experience which was one of the most educational, hands on experiences I have gone through, and like I said hard to explain.

Coming home was definitely a mission. My body, and brain was awake for a total of 45+ hours (not being able to sleep on flights) going from one side of this rock to another side, and arriving on a completely different schedule. It’s the first time out of any of my travels where my body had a major reaction to the travels. For the 4 days that I was home my brain really didn’t function well at all, I was having the chills/ sweats, and the food that I took in wasn’t welcomed well by my system. Eating the same food (chapatti, rice, dahl and usually a cooked potato/ vegi dish) for a month at the farm with really no raw greens at all did a number. My first meal back home consisted of a fresh ginger/ apple/ lemon juice, a salad/ tofu/ rice bowl which seems like my body would have loved…Wrong.

Oh well.

Then on a completely other spectrum life at home is completely different in every way imaginable then life in India. The moment I landed in NYC I noticed myself checking my phone often for messages/ emails/ texts, and being around my computer I noticed myself on it more then I would like. These gadgets eh? At the farm time really didn’t exist at all but as soon as I landed I noticed my existence started revolving around time, which was quite interesting. Again I was only there for 1 month-no biggie- as there are people who go there for months, and months. Coming home for these people must be a total head fart.

On the farm I ran into some people from the Seed Sovereignty class who had much “Hope” (Brand Hope Inc.) in the future which was quite interesting as I wonder if that’s a good thing or a bad thing due to a false hope. Haha. I am asking myself “Am I coming across super negative right now?” as I don’t want to come across that way. Haha. Really!

I have so much fun in my adventures, have experienced the greatest things, have come across the most incredible people imaginable and I have a certain outlook in life which keeps me living my life a certain way. A fun way! There is no way I would ever be a defeatist and just “give up” as there is only 1 life, and it’s worth living it as best as I/ we can. But I still am not too hopeful.

Okay….This is where I am coming from with the whole “Hope” thing. Today at the Montreal airport going through the new “US Departures” section of the airport was a total head trip -the new full body scanner machines, the rubber gloves, and the swabs all trying to combat an unbeatable “war”. Ha. Then I was sitting on thee ol toilet having myself a lil poop when almost every single time I moved my body the toilet would just automatically flush. Really! Is there a reason the toilet needs to automatically flush 5 times in about 3 mins. Nuts. Come on! Ha. On the TV at the gate the latest images from the “War” in Afghanistan were being shown with more destruction, and more death.

Afghanistan is not to far from India at all and seeing the images of the people, and the infrastructure on the screen looked just like life would look like in India or many other places on this rock. We humans are really just trying to survive, and live our lives the best we can whether in Canada, Afghanistan, India or any other bordered country on this rock.

So what’s the need for war? It’s sick.

India #2

The Freedom of Neem

Mar 3, 2010

A couple of us the other day came across another Cobra snake. I was walking down the road and Jai Singh was pointing at something which I soon noticed was a Cobra right outside the farm. Jai Singh and Narinda picked up a big rock, and with 1 throw hit the snake on it's head where it soon perished minutes later. Crazy. This snake wasn't as big as the one I saw a couple weeks ago but I guess any Cobra is big. Sucks the sucker lost it's life but the locals did what they had to do so I just watched the whole process unfold.

Today I was gonna head to Mussorie for the day however yesterday I got myself a major sun burn all over my back. I'd say the worst sun burn I have ever had, but thankfully it's not blistered which would mean trouble. Ha. I am mending it with fresh plants, and aloe vera from the fields.
Yesterday I was in the Chamomille garden by myself listening to my headphones getting into the picking chamomille zone when I thought I would work with my shirt off-give my body some color..Well after a good 1 1/2 hours I put my shirt back on and within a couple hours I could already tell I had way to much sun. Last night, my sleep, and this morning have been definitely pain full but I am still keeping it going.
My trip to Mussorie may take place tomorrow depending on how well I heal today.

There is a tree here named the Neem plant which I have heard mentioned so much while being here.

Neem- In India, the tree is variously known as "Divine Tree," "Heal All," "Nature's Drugstore," "Village Pharmacy" and "Panacea for all diseases." Products made from neem have proven medicinal properties, being anthelmintic, antifungal, antidiabetic, antibacterial, antiviral, anti-fertility, and sedative. It is considered a major component in Ayurvedic medicine and is particularly prescribed for skin disease.
Neem branches are also used here as tooth brushes my many.

We watched a documentary the other day named "Bullshit" which follows Vandana Shiva around on hyer talks, and travels, and focuses on the farm itself. In the documentary Dr. Shiva talks about how sacred the Neem tree is to her, as she, and others defeated the European Patent Office-who was trying to patent the tree- in 2005. To her the Neem tree represents "freedom". Ha. The name of the documentary was named "Bullshit" as a couple of years ago Vandana received the "Bullshit award" by a group of Free Trade Enterprisers who think that Vandana's cause for organic farming, and anti- GMO's is "Bullshit". Bullshit however is also used in so many day to day activites in India from building structures, stoves, buring the stuff for heat, and composting as well.

We'll it looks like Canada beat thee ol Americans in the Gold medal game of hockey. From what I have read, and heard it was definitely a game to see. Oh well. I'll be sure to catch the next Olympics-in 4 years!!!!. Ha

The other day we had a group of Japanese come stay on the farm for 2 nights which was nice. The entire group had smiles on their face the entire times, and during the evening we had a bon-fire where most the older Japanese ladies sang songs. During dinner I was sitting beside one of the fellows and he wasked where I was from so once Canada was brought up he asked if I knew who David Suzuki is which I responded "Oh yah!". Turns out this fellow named Keibo Oiwa is really good friends with David and co-wrote a book with him named "The Other Japan". Damn! I was pumped as he was buds with ol Suzuki which stoked me out. Keibo was saying he went to school in Montreal, and was in that area duering the Oka Crisis outside of Montreal. Keibo also mentioned he was really good friends with Ellen Gabriel who was the lead spokeswoman for the Mohawks during the Oka crisis and who know is the head of the Quebec Native Womens Association. He mentioned that he invited Ellen to Japan to speak and it was pretty difficult to get her to Japan as Ellen refused to get a Canadian passport, as she is not part of Canada but the Mohawk Nation. She made it to Japan and spoke at an World Indigenous Event.
This is what has been so cool about this farm as there have been so many interesting, smart people that have come through in the last couple of weeks which I have met, and talked to. All concerned about ecology and all trying to do their part to save what's left.
Talking with Keibo at dinner we started talking about authors, and the worlds great thinkers. Being here at the farm I have realized that most of the people I read are really Western based, as the last couple weeks I have come across names of thinkers from the East who have inspired many. Navdanya as a farm was formed after a model that this Indian thinker named Satish Kumar developed years ago. There has been many mentions of Satish Kumar's name here while in India and he is a "hero" to Keibo so I plan on leaning more about this fellow, and others from the area.

This morning I went for a walk outside of the farm in one of the suround fields. Both Lucy, and Badu (dogs) followed me on this walk which was neat. All 3 of the dogs here on the farm are quite interesting. They all really know the farm, its grounds, and its area (boundaries of the farm). Walking with the 2 this morning in another field they were both just super relaxed, and chilled but I know they knew when we were back on Navdanya propterty that they were back in their territory which they protect. On the farm they are always on guard and yesterday while I was picking Chamomille there was a huge dog fight between the 3 and a stranger dog. The fight took place near Pinkies 6 puppies which she had last week so I am not sure if this other dog was hungry, or just getting to close. Here in India with the dogs you just never know as there are thousands of em-most of them wild.

Wow! I just cheked this website for a festival in San Diego that Metric is playing whom I will be touring with when I get home and this band Far who I love, and saw a handful of times in about 97 are playing too. Yah! It turns out Metric is also playing with Flogging Molly (whom I have toured with) in Tempe, AZ. Fun times await.

Seed Sovereignty

Feb 27, 2010

Haha. I am sitting here in some small internet cafe in the middle of rural India right now watching a live score feed of the Slovakia/ Canada hockey game (currently 3-0 Can) and in a way wish I was home watching the festivities. Haha. Oh well. Rural India it is which isn't bad.

So the last 5-6 days have been just "another day" on the farm but still fun, chilled, and relaxed. In the last 3 days the farm has had a course entitled "Seed Sovereignty, and Seeds of Freedom" with about 50 people total including Dr. Vandana Shiva, Dr. Benny Haerlin from Germany, Dr. Salvatore Ceccarelli from Italy, a lady named Debbie from the Center for Food Safety in the US, a handful of documentary film makers doing thing, and many Indian farmers/ seed savers from the country.

Genetically Engineerewd Organism's (GMO's)/ Genetically Modified (Engineered) Food's are something I first heard about during the WTO protests in 1999 in Seattle where there was a big outcry of such procedures. GMO's refers to the alteration of genetic material and when it comes to food GMO's is taking one trait from one organism and through technology insertionng this trait (gene) into another organism.

At first I think most scientists/ genetic engineers thought that they were doing a good thing as there was much talk (in the world) that GMO's would stop world hungry/ feed the hungry however through much research and just common sense when you actually start messing with the fabric of life you start heading down a treachourous path.

Now I am no expert on India but from what I have gathered ere in India with 1.3 billion people food/ poverty is a major issue. At some point in the 60's (or around then) there was a "Green Revolution" happening in India where the Govenment focus was put into feeding everyone and policies were adapted through loans/ and aid. When a country as such starts accepting loans/ aid from the outside they then have to essentially play by the rules so India has been forced to adopt certain policies some of which include changing their agriculture policices including GMO's. Right now the only GMO crop in India is BT Cotton but there is a current struggle to get BT Brinjal (Eggplant) into the system here.

Another crucial fact that I just heard in these past couple of days is due to the policies adopted which basically strangle small famers/ and make them adopt policies which they normally wouldn't (the use of pesticides/ adopting GMO's) there has been something like 150 000 farmer suicides in a certain area of India where some of these farmers have actually drank the pesticides they have been forced to purchase.

So the last couple of days in the class have been spent talking about GMO's, talking about organic faarming, we were shown how to cross breed plants (naturally) and then yesterday was spent talking about strategies in the struggle against GMO's.
Most of what was discussed in regards to GMO's and their effect on the planet have been things I have heard but everything which was discussed and focused on around India I didn't really have a clue.
It's not every day that I just meet, and talk to scientists from around the planet which was the best part of it. The other morning Daniel, and I were in the back of the compound and had a huge discussion with Salvatore who is from Italy but living in Syria where he is working with farmers in that country and has many experiments/ farms set up in the Middle East (Iran/ Jordan). There was something he was talking to us about which was quite interesting. Ants for example. People see ants in their field and they want to get rid of them when these ants actually help the plants out tremendously in certain areas. DUe to the ants traveling underground, and making tunnels when it rains the water actually is able to travel down these tunnels made from the ants and feed- water the entire plant. If these ants were not there, the water would moisten the top layer of the soil, and never make it down to the root which is where the water is really needed.

There is so much happening in our world and so much that goes un-noticed by the general citizens which is quite disheartening. We all need to stop swimming on the surface and actually take a dive, and go underwater as there is a lot happening which needs attention.
The fabric of life here is being manipulated through computers, and scientists. Our world, and food has survived for thousands of years in it's natural state and is now being destroyed by major corporations (ie-Monsanto).
I remembed years ago reading about a tomtato which has been spliced with a gene from an artic fish to stop it from freezing during frosts. There are certain foods spliced with proteins from nuts which is scary as some people have nut allergies and may eat this modified food which isnt a nut, but has a nut protein in it and have a reaction.
Another scary thing with all of this is it's not out in the open. For example here in India there has just been a law passed that you can receive a fine, and or jail time if you speak out, or label food that is made with GMO's. Most of these laws have been passed, and forced upon due to the parents of these policies namely the WTO (World Trade Organization).
In the US/ Canada there is no law in which GMO food has to be labeled although there has been struggles to get these laws passsed but when your dealing with major corporations/ industries/ and lobbyists in the government the chances of winning are slim. Also most of my familiarity with GMO's came from living in the US and actually just did some internet searching and it looks like there is tons of food in Canada as well which has been altered.


...So Canada just beat Slovakia 3-2 in the semi finals, whcih means Canada now faces thee almighty US of A in the gold medal game. Kick some American ass Canada!! HaA!

So I think in the next couple of days I am going to take a day or 2 away from the farm and head up to Mussorie which is a town in the Himalaya's whcih you can see from our farm, and where you can actually see further into the Himalaya range which would be nice. I had planned on going there tomorrow but on Mar 1st there is a holiday named "holy" which I have been told all of the buses will be full. The farm is starting to emoty out, as last week the 2 spainards left, yesterday Daniel left, last night Geeta and her Mum went to DElhi (to return back), and Carrie/ Tunvie took off for a couple of days into the mountains.
My trip is slowly coming to an end as my departure date back home is getting closer and closer. It's gonna be nice to get back home although I don't have an official address (home) and I will only be home for about 5 days before I head to AZ for tour. Another chapter, with some more adventures.

Feb 26, 2010

So I just got online for the first time in a couple of days and the first thing I did was check the Olympic hockey scores. Last time I was online Canada was about to play Russia in where whoever won this game would continue, and who ever lost would pack their bags and head home. My cards were thrown completely behyind Russia (and Sweden) and I am now seeing that both teams are out which means Canada does now have a shot at gold. Damn!.

Nothing like bare hand and a fresh cow loaf!!

Feb 20, 2010

Today I woke up bright and early-6:45AM- to go into the Lecture Hall and do some yoga. The morning temperatures here at the farm have been changing in the last couple days and warming up. The first week or so while being here the mornings have been quite chilly and definitely stopped me from doing yoga as I only have shorts due to leaving my long-johns in Delhi. At home I don't think I would ever wake up at 6:45 unless I absolutely had to..ha..but I must say it's definitely really nice although I am usually sleeping by 9PM so....

A couple of days ago I was doing some yoga which I then followed with some crunches when I hurt my back pretty bad. My back has been pretty tight here since my arrival but the other day it came to a tipping point. It's crazy how much your body, and the way it feels affects your vibe/ mood. For the first couple of hours I was definitely not pumped and kept all my movement to a minimum but then slowly regained my spirits and dealt with the cards I had. May back is still not anywhere being better but it currently feels way better then it did.

Since thee ol spine was injured I haven't done too much work here. Listening to tunes, reading my book, and just taking in life in rural India has been the routine.

Manulo, Daniel, and I went into Dehradun the other day to have a day away from farm life. I must say I always enjoy getting on a local bus, which are usually quite rickety (here at least), loud, dirty and in a completely foreign country (very foreign) non the less. After the bus, we jumped into a bik-ram (a taxi but not a car-taxi...kind of a motorized carriage) and headed to the center clock tower where the main market was.

India is such a populated country it's pretty hard to wrap my head around. There is 1/6 of the population of the entire world in this country and it's something that you can't really escape unless you travel in rural India which is where Navdanya is located.

The main market of Dehradun was jammed pack with people/ shops, horns from bikes/ cars, and a lot of dust/ dirt. We didn't really have a set mission to our trip except to get off the farm for a day, plus we had all discussed having a beer, and buying beer to bring back to the farm. It's quite funny as Manulo had gone into town the day before with his girlfriend Naomi, and Carrie but he said all they really did was shop so when Daniel, and I mentioned we were going into town, and gonna grab a beer Manulo instantly said "Im coming to". We bought our beers, and headed to a park to enjoy the sun and our nice semi cold Fosters. It was nice to go into town, and change the scenery a little bit but I must say that I was looking forward to returning to Navdanya back to the peace and quite.

So 2 nights ago after we had returned from town with 9 beers for everyone else at the farm we ate another wonderful dinner, and then head to our lil hang out spot which is behind the rooms we all sleep in and it's somewhat located behind the main area. A little party had begun, the beers were brought out and most everyone gathered there for a lil hang session before bed time. While we were sitting there Geet (who is a genious, an herbalist, a handyman, and an all around good guy) came over to me, and said "Tomorrow. You will build a bench" as everyone sitting around were just on chairs and the bench that did exist was only 2 bamboo poles.

Yesterday I took on this mission of building a bench, and recruited Daniel, and Manulo as my partners in crime. First we decided the plan of attack on how we were going to build such a bench and I then went to get some tools from Satya (another handy man/ chef extraordinaire/ and another person connected to the local indigenous agriculture from the area) and brought them back to begin the work. Our plan on building the bench needed wood planks to be cut so we tried to do this with the saws provided but all the saws they had were way to fragile for the job. I think all of us thought "this is gonna be a long day" as we tried to saw our way through a plank or 2 which was a very hard thing. Geet then came over, and said "you can use bricks" which instantly changed the plan of attack and made Manulo, Daniel, and my mind ease as we wouldnt have to use these weak saws again. We were then told we could use, wood, bricks, concrete, and or cow dung. Concrete was chosen as Manulo had worked with concrete in the past and would be the one handling this task. We gathered more items and started to build "the bench".

After about 45 mins of digging, laying bricks, running to refill concrete, and laying this concrete Carrie came by and told us we should use cow dung. She had actually told us this earlier saying "Dont use concrete. Concrete is bullshit. Use Cow dung" which I would have been into but concrete was chosen. So when Carrie came by I responded "yes" and took on the cow dung as my mission. I found Gunga (chef/ handy man) so he could help me out making this cow dung and intitally getting the mix right. We grabbed a bucket and I followed him to the back of the farm where the seed bank, and cows find their home.

Gunga went right up to the first cow and picked up the pile of its fresh poop from behind him. This was a definite first and since this was my mission I was going full force ahead so I went over to the next cow, grabbed all of its fresh poop-with bare hands non the less- yah!- and continued taking all of the poop from the cows, and the manure pile. Gunga has a cyst in his arm so he showed me the intial "what to do" and I then proceed to do the rest. After our bucket was filled with cow dung we walked back to kitchen area, put a couple of huge chunks of clay dirt in the bucket as well and then proceed to make a cow dung for our new concrete substance.

All the walls of the buildings here, the stove that our food is cooked on, an oven outside, and most any other structures here are made with cow dung.

Like I just mentioned you take fresh cow poop, clay, add water, and mix together with.....your bare hands. Haha. Manulo, Daniel, and I were all quite amused and they both picked me as the one who would deal with the dung. No problem! Ill handle it! Where is the TV show "Dirtiest Jobs" when you need em. Ha. So I stuck my hand, and arm into the bucket and proceed to mix-well-this cow poop, clay and water until it was all mixed, and ready for laying.

Here we are, laying bricks, and using nothing but cow excrement/ and clay as concrete. Truly Genious!! Part's of the world as such are considered "Developing Countries/ 3rd World Countries, etc etc" which are word's used a description but also this description sometimes is used negatively, and used by some for their own good. The other day I was thinking about the farm, and the term "development" in regards to India. Being here in India, and specifically this farm which is the coolest place I have come across (due to the self sustainability) I think of the term "development" not in the sense of "catching up to the West"...Developing into a country with western structures ....but developing into something that is opposite, and more sustainable then the west. Yes there is the craziest population I have ever come across here in India, and the infastructure is sometimes weak-but by whose standards I guess?- but the population also contributes to this. There is 1/6 of the worlds population here.

So back to the cow poop...a good story always usually contains the mention of poop...So for most of the day yesterday I was picking up, mixing, and spreading this cow dung all over the bricks, laying more bricks, and spreading more dung.

When it was lunch time I did my best to wash off my hands before I consumed my lunch with this once poop covered hands. Haha. Here goes some grossness but hey it is what it is but while I would bring my food closer to my mouth I would get a nice whiff of cow manure. A little addition to this lunch. I figured that my string bracelet wasn't going to get clean and thought this may be the home of the smell so after lunch I cut it off, and went back to making our bench.

The bench was a success, and it's not going to break down any time soon as once the cow dung dries today it will be solid for a long long time.

That's really been the last couple of days. Not to much of anything else but farm life.

I have been here for a week now, and have been having alot of fun with all the locals who live, and work here. I do not know much Hindi-well non except for "Goodnight" which is "Shubha Ratti"/ "Thank you" "Dhanyavad" and am slowly learning some more but I have felt they have all been stoked on me which is fun.

Black King Cobra Snake!!!

Feb 15, 2010

Well it's been 4 days now since I have been living, and working on the Navdanya Biodiversity Conservation Farm and thus far it's been the first time I have experienced life as such, and up to this point in my life it's definitely been one of the coolest experiences in my life.

It's really the first time in my life that I have truly worked with the land-I mean I have spent many hours running in fields, and building forts- with only my 2 hands. When you are working on a farm as such there are no tractors, or huge farm machinery you would find in a big-business-agri-farm. This farm is big, but still small enough to work without mechanical machines. No fuel, no diesel, no engines.

This is also the first time that I have been on a schedule as such and it has been nothing but great. I usually wake around 6:45AM naturally from the coming day light, and the sounds of the birds outside. Breakfast is served around 8:00AM when they ring the bell. Lunch is then served at 1:00PM, dinner is served at 7:00PM and then everyone usually finds themselves in bed between 9-10PM to do it again the next day.

The work on the farm is really nothing but a learning experience. The volunteers here work really when they want to work. Some people work sometimes, and some people don't but everyone does do their part. Like I mentioned the first day there was no work at all. The 2nd day I was here I sifted through rice, and seeds and then weeded a couple gardens.

Yesterday Naoma and myself continued weeding the gardens we had started the prior day. Weeding the garden was quite fun and coming across many different insects non of us had never seen was interesting as well. The mornings are usually really cold-cold enough to see your breath- but once the sun is above the day turns into a cooker. So after some weeding the bell rang, so we headed to the dining hall for lunch where we had a couple of visitors pop in for lunch. Gita had brought up a story about snakes (Cobra's) and I instantly said "Around here. What happens if they bite you?" in which she responded "You die". Haha. So I sat there at the table for a couple of minutes thinking about the weeding we just did and how we were picking up all sorts of things with our bare hands, and we had no clue what was underneath.

After lunch I headed back to the garden which Naoma and I were weeding when all of a sudden I saw a big pure black snake slithering under a walk way due to my presence. HOLY SHIT!! Ha. I didn't freak as there was no immediate danger but I quickly told some of the farmers near me who came over to check it out. The snake had disappeared under the stair case but we did find old skin which the snake was shedding which was good cause after I saw the snake I thought to myself "Wait. This is crazy. We were just talking about it and everyone is gonna think im nuts" haha. It turns out the snake was a Black King Cobra and if they bite you, your body soon becomes paralyzed, and then you go into cardiac arrest and eventually turn into soil-meaning you die!!!. So after the spotting of the snake I, and the rest of us just chilled out in the sun, read, I did some yoga, and waited for dinner.

So the food here has been nothing but incredible but every meal-3 a day- has consisted of white rice, and lots of it. 4 days in plus my time spent in Delhi I am feeling the rice catch up to me which is weird as at home I consume tons of rice, but not 3 times a day. I have been doing yoga here almost daily but laying on my stomach I can really feel the rice, and feel very bloated so from here on out I am going to have very little rice if any at all.

Today I set my alarm for early in the morning as I was going to join Gita in the lecture hall for some early morning yoga but the bed got the best of me. I have been having some really amazing sleeps while at the farm which is intersting as I am sleeping on a cot which my back normally doesnt like but its due to the really cold air, plus the huge blankets that I use to cover me in my sleeping bag and use for a cushion. So I chose to stay in bed for a couple of minutes until the breakfast bell rang. After breakfast, and cleaning up a little I went into the fields with Shella (she works in the seed bank) and spread piles of cow poop/ soil/ compost around the area. Ha. It's not everyday you get to get your hands covered in dirt/ compost which has just come from the bowels of a cow. This is traditional sustainable organic farming and this is what it entails. Afterwards Sheela, Naoma, and I walked through another plot of land recovering all of the roots which turned out to be tumeric root. We removed bags and bags of them which we would then hand over where others would separate the roots- to grow more- and use the rest to make into tumeric. I have used tumeric many times in my cooking and had no clue it was a root type plant from the ginger family. After we had separated the 2 we then cleaned off the roots in the water, and they are still outside drying right now.

This was pretty much the extent of the work today as we have 16 guests from SLOW food university in Italy. Slow food is a non profit organization-member supported- eco-gastronomic organization. So since they are hear there are tons of lectures, and the scientists are here to show them what is being done here on the farm. Another productive yet very relaxed day. I have really enjoyed working with the land, in the dirt, in these elements. This is something which really puts many things into perspective from the way, and what we all eat, to the way this food was produced, and who is really benefitting from all of this.

There is nothing like being the middle of nowhere where really the only sounds are from the farmers, the surrounding farms and the sounds of the birds. I have also noticed personally that my walking here at the farm has been a lot slower then it would be lets say back home. No where to be, and no agenda except farm life. All of the farmers here also are some of the smartest people when it comes to knowing the farm, the food, and the land. It's incredible. Truly. A first time I have ever witnessed a true connection as such. This knowledge has been passed on for generations and generations of "mountain people" as this is what the locals are being at the beginning of the Himalayas. Ha.

Speaking of which the last 3 days now the sky has been perfectly clear and in the distant you can see the beginnings of the Himalayas. It's just the beginning of them so its really only small mountains but just letting your imagination run wild and imagining what lies beyond these hills is quite thrilling.

Alright. It's almost dinner time. OH! On a quick side note about farm life. When you are in India you eat with your hands, your right hand as your left hand is typically used to clean your pooper. Anyways working in the fields, spreading cow shit around, it getting your hands, and nails filthy and then going and eating lunch, and dinner with your semi clean hands is something farm life!!!...Hahaha. Fun times!!!

Vandana Shiva in the house!!!!!

Feb 13th, 2010

I left Delhi 2 nights ago around mid-night on a night train for Dehradun where I arrived the following morning around 6AM. Before I left Delhi I ate one last meal before my trip and started talking to this Australian couple about our travels, and our lives back home. One thing we talked about was the trains here in India which I had heard so much about and they were telling me their story of waiting 14 hours for a train so I wasn't sure what adventure lay ahead.

I hopped in a Rickshaw, and headed to the train station where my train would depart. With-in 5 mins of my arrival (45 mins before train departure) the train arrived, and I thought to myself "We'll it's here. Will it be on time?" I jumped in, found my sleeper berth and got my things ready for an all night trip. There was a mum, and daughter from Israel plus a dude from Japan in my Berth so we all chatted for about 5 mins until we all hit the sack.

I woke up around 4:00AM when everyone in my berth was getting off at their stop, and a couple hours later my train finally arrived ON TIME in Dehradun. Funny as it was my first train trip here and it ran as smooth as it could. I jumped in a Rickshaw and headed to Navdanya.

The ride to Navdanya was definitely something else as I was on about 3 hours of sleep, the sun was just coming up, it was extremely cold, and I was a completely new place in India that wasn't a huge city as Delhi. The scenery was also quite nice to see as all I had seen up to this point was a big over populated city but now here in Dehradun which is right where the Himalaya's begin there was tree's, small hills, and plenty of farms outside of the city.

After a very cold 30 min rickshaw ride I arrived at Navdanya which I was super excited about. The rickshaw fellow drove me down the drive way, through a big mango orchard-part of Navdanya- and up to the front gate where I saw no sign of life, but I knew people were here- somewhere. Haha. It was early. It was around 7:00AM. There was someone outside smoking who I walked over to but he didn't speak much english so pointed in another direction which is where I went. I dropped my bags off in the "registration office" and continued searching around the front area for someone. I heard some noise in a room, so I walked into it which ended up being a kitchen where the 3 fellows motioned me to come in which I did. There was no one else around but I was quickly served a plate with chapati bread, and this green dip type substance which was made from coriander leaves, garlic leaves, salt, chili's, and lemon juice. While I was eating everyone else working, volunteering on the farm started showing up for breakfast, and I met Gita who is the head cordinator here.

There is a Spanish couple (Canary Islands), 2 girls from the US, a girl from Korea, a lady from Canada but she left after breakfast for the weekend, and a fellow from Germany here.

Gita who is from California but has been living/ working on the farm for about 6 months brought me into the office, had me fill out some paper work, and then gave me a tour of the farm.

This place is insane. IN SANE!! It's a 20 acre Organic farm which focus's completely on food security, bio-diversity, and conservation. In the front of the property are the dorms, the registration area, the dining hall, the kitchen, the lecture hall, and the library. After getting a tour of this area she took me into the fields which was many, and into the back of the property where the seed bank, the vermicompost- which we went over which we uncovered to check out the cow poop/ worms- the compost, and the cows are.

After my little tour Gita said everyone was going to a temple in a couple of hours for the holiday and that I should go. So I filled up my bucket with some warm water, went into the shower stall and washed off. We all then walked to the main road, waited for the tourist bus and away we went. The holiday was Shivatta (spelling) which is for Lord Shiva and everyone-mostly womyn- were dressed in very brightly colored dresses, shawls, and scarfs. Beautiful! We jumped off the bus and proceed to walk-in the middle of the country- for about 45 mins until we reached the temple. On the walk, while we were walking through the forest a monkey went running by about 10 ft in front of us and then actually tried to attempt to intimidate us. After a little yelling the sucker took off but he did seem like he wanted some trouble. Ha.

After sometime we found the temple which was packed with people wearing very bright colors all waiting in line to pay their respects to Shiva. Again when I say temple it wasn't this huge elaborate temple as one would image because we were literally in the middle of now where. We spent most of the day here taking in the worshipping, and most of us-myself included- joined a all womyns singing, clapping, drumming circle which seemed like it had been going on for hours, and would continue to. After all was said, and done we all hopped in a rickshaw back to Navdanya for the night and to eat dinner.

Okay. NAVDANYA!!!This place is incredible. Absolutely incredible. I really do not know where to begin as there is so much. This place is 100% sustainable. 100% I have actually asked the cooks a couple times "Everything came from this farm? really?" That answer is...."Yes". Yesterday I was walked Gunga (one of the cooks) make Chapati bread and he went into this huge barrel to get some flour which was made from the wheat here on the farm. The 4 cows in the back are used by the farm for milk, and for plowing the field. When the cows decided to poop, that poop is used in the vermicompost, and then also thrown into a huge tank-underground- where water is then added to it so it can ferment over time which then makes bio-gas. The stove that our food is cooked off of uses this bio-gas but there is also a propane tank for the quick stove. All of the water which is used to wash the dishes in the kitchen gets drained outside to a trough which collect in another tank which is then used to water the fields and so on. Now 20 acres doesn't sound big at all as 20 isn't a big number but when you are actually on a 20 acre farm in the very back- or wherever- it's absolutely huge. Big enough to sustain whomever is here volunteering, all of the farmers/ workers which number around 20 plus this farm also supplies schools in Dehradun, and Delhi with food.

Dr. Shiva has an amazing, inspiration, must see example of a self-sustainable farm, and a seed bank to keep this food secure.

This morning this girl Nori, and I went to the back of the farm to the seed bank to help out there. On the concrete deck/ platform we poured out 2 huge sacks of red beans, 2 huge sacks of mixed seeds, and about 4 huge sacks of rice. Big sacks. For the next 3-4 hours we just sat, knelt or whatever position was comfortable and slowly inspected the contents to remove any rocks, plastic, leaves, or anything else which shouldnt be mixed in with the seeds. Unfortunately the 2 big sacks of red beans we poured out got infested with bugs due to the rain this area had a couple days ago whcih made the beans bad. With-in about 4 hours there was literally thousands, and thousands of these bugs crawling all over these beans. It sucked to see so much food/ beans being destroyed as these beans would have lasted me personally (the way I eat beans) probably 1/2 a year. There was that many.

Lunch time came around which was nice as both Nori, and my backs/ bodies were super sore inspecting all of these seeds for the unwanted. There are 3 meals a day which have all been extremely delicious again with everything coming from the farm. You want chamomille tea? You walk outside a get chamomille. This morning Gunga walked outside, cut some lemongrass, threw that sucker in the water, and made me some tea. You feel ill here there is an herbalist-whom I have't met yet- who will mix together something for your aiements. There is also a soil studies building here where the scientists on the farm are doing studies on different soils/ plants. It's the real deal. On the buildings in the front of the compound there are solar panels, and near the front gate there is 4 real big solar panels.

We'll I am going to end this here as I will be at this farm for another couple weeks, and there is going to be many other thoughts/ and words. Oh yah! Ha. Vandana Shiva came to the farm today!! Haha. I didn't talk to her as she was ina conversation while I was walking by to do yoga in the lecture hall but she is returning this weekend as we-the farm- are hosting 16 people from Italy who are involved with SLOW food so they are coming here to view the farm.

Frig this place is everything I expected plus so much more as most of us truly do not think deeply about our food, the environment, and the politics behind both. If we all even had 1 sec to see/ view/ experience a place as such our world be a different place.

Bach, Subash and Gang

Feb 11, 2010

We'll today I woke up with an incredibly sore back, which was expected but I need to try and continue to be on my physical routine although am not sure how often this is going to happen. About a week before I left I didn't have time to go to the gym as I was busy moving out of my damn house, into a storage unit, and now that I am here-without my yoga matt of coure (woulda added that much more weight) I haven't done anything physical and am sleeping on a hard bed too. Booo!. Oh well. Its part of the gig.

I wrote about my cab ride from the Delhi airport into the city and how it was definitely an interesting experience. What I didn't mention and what made it even more interesting was the dude and I were just cruising, and in the middle of nowhere the driver pulls over on some dark street, hops out of the cab, and then some other guy gets in and Im like "What the frig is going on?". Haha. I never really understood what was going on but I made it in one piece.

I have now had my 3rd Chana Masala meal today but threw in a Dahl soup which was incredible and tonight before I head to the train station I am going to have one more Chana Masala. Ha.

I am still amazed with this city although I must say I have only been in a certain part which is the center of the city about a 15 min walk from the main train station. The amount of people just in this little area is like nothing I have ever seen. I wish I could pack up all of my friends/ family and bring them here, or take them here at another time but I wonder who would make it, and who would crack. I know it's not for everyone but on the other hand I think everyone must experience something as such as it's completely different then anything that I/ we have ever experienced in our lives.

Well today has been quite the day indeed. I woke up like I mentioned and had a 3rd meal of Chana Masala although that has since change due to a meal this evening with 2 orders of Chana. Yeah!

After lunch I met some Austrian dude named Bach just hanging out on the street who ended up living in the mountains of Austria where he farmed for a living. The guy lived quite far up in the mountains so only grew potatoes, carrots, beets and other roots vegi's but we had ourselves a good little hang session talking about politics, the world, and the destruction of this world.

Bach was telling me tomorrow in the mountains of the Himalaya's is a huge party/ festival for Shiva which I just looked up and it is the biggest part in Nepal celebrating Lord Shiva....If only I knew I would be there Shiva in party celebrations!!!!!

Bach and I had a little hang session until he took off, and I walked the neighborhood where I am staying until I met someone else named Subash who was from Kashmir. Most people from Indian decent I meet here I must say I keep some sot of guard up as you never know their intentions. Well it seems like ol Subash was an alright dude. We walked down the main bazaar until the end at which time he took me out of this area/ my neighbor which was quite something. This is the first time I have been really away from the hussle of everything although it wasn't much different but then again it was completely different as it wasn't so packed, and everyone wasn't approaching me to sell me something etc etc.

Subash spent all afternoon with me taking me to a completely different neighborhood. I guess homeboy was going to school for english and was also helping poor children learn english, and learn in general. At first he lead me to this carpet/ trinket shop which when I walked in I was bombarded with everyone in the shop trying to sell me a carpet, artwork, painting, or wood carving. Subash and I talked the entire time, and I know he felt my vibe and where I was coming from. So he then lead me to another tricket shop when I asked him "whats going on man?. I am not going to buy anything". So he told me, as he tried to tell me before the first shop which I didn't understand that when he takes me (tourists) to these places he gets a coupon from the business where he can then buy the kids he teaches pens. Now I am not sure exactly what happens with these pens, or if they even happen but I know ol Subash knew I was not going to buy anything in these shops, but I also know that me going in them would get him a coupon of sorts which he would benefit from somehow so I went along with it. He was a good dude. Haha. It was nice to get out of my hood and experience other parts of Delhi. Not as crazy but just as wild.

After cruising around for sometime I came back to my hotel, chilled for a bit until I went back to my lil watering hole (grub hole) and stuffed my face with 2 orders of Chana Masala this time plus 2 King Fisher beers. THe buzz is kicking!! There was a couple that was eating next to me who were eating right next to me last night so we started exchanging words which lead to a cool couple hour hang over dinner, and beers. The dude was from Montreal/ then New Brunswick and his lady was from Australia where both are living now. For the hour or so we talked about politics/ life/ travels around India/ South East Asia and the Olympics. Haha. It's funny how in 2 days the winter olympics are taking place but also how that means nothing to most of the world due to their location (climates, and weather).

Alright. Off to experience the trains of India and where that will take me. Hopefully to Dehradun, then onto NAvdanya Farm and if not im sure ill end up somewhere filled with adventures.

Delhiiiiiii!!! Bring It

Feb 10, 2010

This is going to RUUUUULE!!!!

So I have been in Delhi, India now for about 12 hours and all I can say is "this place is completely wild!!"

I arrived at around 3:30 AM this morning after a 12 hr flight to DOha, Qatar and then a 3.5 hr flight onto Delhi. This trip hadn't hit me until I was walking down through the gate, and down my ramp to board my first flight where the biggest smile took over me with a thought of "here we go!!" Amazing

Qatar Airlines is by far the nicest airline I have flown thus far. It's never nice getting on a long ass flight and finding out that your "requested meal" didn't go through but the attendants really went overboard by giving me a huuuge paltter of fruit and these lil avocado sandwiches, and then the QA entertainment system was top knotch with hundreds and hundreds of movies/ tv shows/ and music to pick from. The first flight-the longest- was only about 60% full so everyone had their own row and I managed to get a couple hours of sleep which is a first for me on flights.
On this flight we flew over Saudia Arabia, Iraq-Fallujah, and directly over Baghdad- which was pretty neat but weird as I looked out the window, saw nothing but clouds, and thought about the current war in Iraq. Up in the air everything seemed normal but thinking about down below and a country being brutally occupied. About 200 miles way from Doha, Qatar I started seeing lights in the distance and once we got closer I realized it was huge oil patches, plants, pipelines all along the coast of the arabian penisula. Kinda weird thinking about that area, the politics, and some of those states-Qatar, and others- being extremely wealthy due to this oil.

After a couple hour layover in Doha borded the next flight onto Delhi where I found myself now. When we landed I started talking to this 40 something year old Indian lady who lives in Philly and she was mentioning to me her Dad who was 80 yrs old was going to pick her up and that he is from old British Colonial times so is very conservative and the first thing she thought he was gonna do was yell at her-again she is 40 +- for the way her hair looked after such a long flight. Ha. She was super nice.
I crossed through customs, I changed some cash, and found a pre-paid cab into the city which was something else. My friend Kriten and Gavin were just in Delhi for Gavin to get stem cell treatment and Kristen had mentioned to me the insanity, and air quality in Delhi. Ha. This is definitely the first thing I notcied and still do. There is a constant haze through the air of dust, and smoke which actually messes with the visibility. The cab ride into the city was interesting as I was a little on guard and still am from scams, and touts. For part of the ride I was thinking to myself "oh no. where the heck am i going" and made sure my cab driver knew that I was alert, and paying attention to what was going on. After sometime we arrived in the Pahar Ganj area where my hotel was located, and the first thing I saw after leaving the cab in the middle of the dark morning street was a big black cow. Haha. I managed to get a room around 6AM , went to sleep and woke up around noon feeling a little crazy to start my day.

The street that I am staying on which was completely dark and empty 12 hours ago is one of the craziest, run down, dirtest streets ever and it RULES! It's the first thing I took in once leaving my room which has brought a smile to my face all day. I walked around this part of the city most of the day with my ears getting blasted every second by horns trying to dodge people, cars, motorcycles, bikes, and rickshaws. After being here for even 12 hours I now think that India is not for everyone. Yes I am in the city and I am sure it gets mellower outside but thus far its been WILD which has been the funnest thing ever. Earlier I was trying to think if the cities in Laos/ Cambodia were crazier but hoenstly I have never seen anything like Delhi which rules.

I have already been taking somewhat advantage of which I think happens to everyone at first but I also know that it wont happen again. I went to the train station to buy a train ticket and some dude was like "no. no. you gotta go here. take this rickshaw" so I did, and went to a travel agent-I coulda walked. It wasn't anything major at all-.50 cents (nothing!)- and once at this agent the guy was saying there are no trains available for a couple days so was trying to sell me a trip to the "golden triangle" of India. He then sent me to another place who were good dudes, and they told me to head back to the train station cause there is a foreigner ticket booth..which there was...and which i was looking for an hour earlier....again it was .50 cents. No biggy. "You wont get me next time people! Youve been warned!"

I bought my ticket to Dehradun where I head tomorrow night on a sleeper train and then I will head to the farm.

Everyone I have talked to when asked "How long are you in India?, and I respond with "only 1 month", respond back "oh..short time" which I agree. I did shorten my trip for work, and have opted to just spend my time on the farm but I will be back for sure and ASAP. Being here for 12 hours I already know this place is out of this world, and I must spend months here which I will. Let the adventures begin!!!!! Yah!!!

Walking around the city today I saw a handful of western tourists traveling around with their little babies being carried by their parents either with wraps, or a back pack. I think it's a pretty cool, and a courageous thing to travel around a city like this with a baby. Another thing I noticed, although I've seen this before traveling, but I am not sure if it's been as intense is the electrical/ phone wires going every which way and hanging extremely low.

Today I saw 2 couples who were on my flight to Delhi, and it's always neat walking by someone as such as you have never met, will never see each other again but were on the same flight, going to the same destination traveling around. Oh tourists!!!

I have managed to get a couple good meals now in the first day of being here which was some delicious Chana Masala, and Roti at this restaurant where they give you pad of paper to write down your order. It's a pretty popular place as it was packed with mostly travelers. For $2 I had a Chana Masala/ 3 Roti's/ some plain RIce and this evening through in a beer for $2 more. Not bad $2 spent.

Sunday, February 7, 2010

India Bound

Feb 7, 2010

I am sitting here on yet another dog (Greyhound) heading to New York to hang with my buddy James this evening, and then catch a flight tomorrow to Doha, Qatar then onto Delhi, India.

The last couple of months I have found myself going a little stir crazy due to no work, the winter conditions keeping me indoors more then usual, and of course my lil brain. There have been numerous times where I have thought to myself "I am not really doing anything" which is a pattern I let myself fall into of course. Obviously there is ton's to do on this little rock that we inhabit but sometimes the motivation gets a little weak when you aren't working, and when it's -20c outside. The last time I actually had some set schedule was the last trip I was on which was in Dec so I figured 2 months was enough and it's time to do something....India is that something.

Now that I am "officially" on my way the adventure that lies ahead is starting to become a reality and is starting to hit me. Ha. People have asked over the last couple of weeks "Are you excited?" and I would answer "Yes" (obviously) but it wasn't something I thought to much about.

So up until yesterday morning-2 days before my departure- I had planned, and bought tickets to go to India for almost 3 months. Originally I was going to land with no set agenda and basically travel around the country evevntually ending up in the north to work on a farm in the Himalayas. I chose to go for 3 months because of not wanting to sit around at home, and no immediate work in the future but I also told myself to leave the option open of returning early if work arose. Well....yesterday morning some work came knocking on my door thanks to my friend Dan. Now I will be in India for 1 month, and return home to become "Production Assistant/ Merch" for a Canadian band named Metric.

So now once I land in Delhi I plan on being there long enough to catch up on sleep, eat some food, and buy a ticket to get out of the big city onto Dehradun where the farm Navdanya is located.

-from the Navdanya website-

Navdanya started as a program of the Research Foundation for science, Technology and Ecology (RFSTE), a participatory research initiative founded by world-renowned scientist and environmentalist Dr. Vandana Shiva, to provide direction and support to environmental activism.
1984 was the year of the Punjab Violence and the Bhopal tragedy. This violence demanded a paradigm shift in the practice of agriculture. Navdanya was born of this search for nonviolent farming, which protects biodiversity, the Earth and our small farmers.

Navdanya means nine crops that represent India's collective source of food security. The main aim of the Navdanya biodiversity conservation programme is to support local farmers, rescue and conserve crops and plants that are being pushed to extinction and make them available through direct marketing.

Navdanya is actively involved in the rejuvenation of indigenous knowledge and culture. It has created awareness on the hazards of genetic engineering, defended people's knowledge from biopiracy and food rights in the face of globalisation.

So this is where I will be spending my "almost" a month in India. It definitely would have been an adventure to travel around the country for 3 months but I also need to work so I can continue with adventures as such.

The bus just crossed into "Fortress America" and I think this may be the first time I have taken the bus across the border since ol Obomba has been named the President. Funny as it's still the same routine at the border with these intimidating lil guards walking around grilling you with questions to keep the "borders secure" The only difference on this cross is usually on the bus they ask you to bring your bags/ belongings with you and this time they didn't. At first I didn't think much of it but a little while later I thought "Hey. With your bags not on you anything could happen to them, or anything can be placed in them"..yah yah! Sounds crazy but if your someone who actually thinks the police, and border guards wouldn't do such a thing you must live in a wonderful lil world.


I booked my trip around a show that happened in Montreal 2 nights ago with some good friends, tour companions, and an old next door neighbor coming into town to do their thang. These fine people were the Cavaliers, Dave Haus (with fellow Dave Walsh), Tim Barry, and Chuck Reagan. The place where the show was booked sold out instantly in advance so the promoters added a 2nd -earlier- show at a small lil bar in Montreal.

The show/s that these individuals played was so much fun. Actually it is definitely safe to say it's probably the funnest show I have been to while living in Montreal and this was due to the company of the night for sure. It was also supposed to be my last night at home due to this current trip so it was exciting to hang with everyone and get words of encouragement however it turned out not to be my last night as I drank way to much and there was no way I was going to sit on a damn bus feeling like shit.

Touring is such an interesting fun adventure. If you have never toured/ or traveled with a group of people for weeks on end then it's something that you would never understand. Being locked in a stinky spaceship with numerous people all doing their own thing but also everyone working for the same thing to accomplish the mission. With this comes many different scenario's that bring a bonding which is indescribable and only the people you share this bonding with know can relate.

This is gonna crack some people up-as it should. ha- but Tim and Chuck have always to me been a perfect example of "men"...Haha. Fuck! I just did say that. Sorry to the 2 Dave's/ and the Cavaliers as you all were there that evening as well and do know what I am talking about, but let's face it, non of us will never come close to this. Ha.

I am not going to go into what I mean by this as I know that most people who read this completely know what Im saying.

Again what an amazing show this was and the feeling one get's when an entire crowd is singing along as loud as they can with the biggest smiles on their faces is something that can't be described or replicated in anyway. It's real.