Thursday, September 18, 2008

If a Tree Falls in the Woods, Would the Hippies Hear It?

As noted, traveling by Weston encourages lots of staring. Some might consider the stares colored with judgment, maybe a dark green for envy. Do these people just want to travel and see our tiny camper van as a representative of childhood vacations? Or do we just look homeless after 2 + weeks on the road and the same number of showers?

In effect, we are homeless for the year, and maybe we're starting to give off that 'vibe.' It could be Rob's tie that I'm using to hold up my pants that are too loose due to not enough vegan cake (though we solved that today). Or maybe it's just the lack of caring that they see, when we pull into a rest stop or a WalMart parking lot to cook & camp for the night in cities. Being tied to one home or workplace can start as comfortable or secure. Forgoing certainty awakens a natural ability to navigate changes without paralysis. Like where to wash your dishes. (The Walmart bathroom, of course. No purchase necessary, don't worry.)

We're pretty darned comfortable in Weston. The only variables in our life are income, Weston's health, and where we're going to sleep at night. Of course there are variables we share with everyone: our own health, happiness, and the probability that I'll finally beat Rob at Gin Rummy and whether or not he'll cry like a baby when this occurs.

The other thing I'm not certain about, but would tell/yell at you a defensive "No freagin' way!" in response, is, "Are we hippies?" I mean, we have the van, and I guess there are some similarities. I have devised a hippy-o-meter to see where we fall.

Yes, Rob and Eleni are Hippies
  • Weston
  • Love (general)
  • Lack of showerage
  • Attendant at gas station in Kentucky said "oh yes, you're hippies."
  • Kleenex box color could be interpreted as 'tie dye'
  • College kids in Chapel Hill yelled "hippy!" at Ms. Binge while driving down the road in Tercel. Ms. Binge reasoned it was one of her bumper stickers.
  • Bumper stickers
  • Rob now flashes the 'peace' sign to fellow VW busses. (He says it is a "V" for "VW." Binge says it is a "V" for "Vegan.")
No, Rob and Eleni are Punk Rock!
  • Avoided purchase of patchouli candle. Scowled upon reading scent.
  • Don't like people (trying)
  • Wear Autumn Breeze deodorant (all seasons)
  • Rob's hair is too thin and short to dread
  • The Grateful Dead evokes a really bad dental visit sustained by Ms. Binge
  • Wash clothes (in machine)
  • Only "baking" in van is of vegan cake
  • They're vegan!
  • Turning on and tuning in, but not dropping out
  • Anything that reeks of 'new age' upsets their auras
I should explain that my bias/perception of "hippy" is of a space cadet; someone who sits around and half-heartedly complains rather than taking meaningful action. Things like drumming for peace, which seem more of a tool for many people to alleviate grief they are feeling at not being able to take direct action. An individual can feel good that they have taken steps to irradicate war through the plesant experience of drumming, rather than doing more difficult work of striking at the root of violence. I'm not saying that this type of activity or meditation isn't effective - the beginning of many societal changes can be at the hand of a well-grounded activist who is "connected" due to the time they have committed to reflection.

Of course there are worse things/people. Those that take negative action. But as a somewhat-organized activist, the label of "hippy" is still offensive.

What might be more offensive, however, is this stereotype. Just do a little thing, here, for me. Google "hippies" and check out the resulting images that display on top of the page.


(If you look real close, you'll see me in the far-right picture, hands up.)

If these photos aren't proof of my own bias, they are simply proof of our larger need to compact movements into neat, square storage bins (the kind Americans use to store their extra stuff...stuff that is meaningless, I think, to hippies?). At work, as well, is the age-old comfort in overthrowing past ideals in favor of new, (presumably) improved philosophies.

After all, hippies stood for dissent from mainstream assumptions, encouraged community, and promoted peace, all awesome things I embrace (though do not think they are entirely possible). Maybe it is the commercialization and superficial symbolism of hippies that I'm adverse to: clothes and peace signs have been marketed to the masses ad nauseum and the people who embrace the "look" as if this alone is a statement that will change the world. If we're talking dissent, why do we all have to look the same?

So are we hippies? Yes and no.

Did we hear the tree that fell in the woods, due to Hurricane Ike, at an Ohio Rest Stop while playing Gin Rummy? Yes. Did Rob win, again? Yes. Is he cheating? Maybe.

So Ike has rendered us jobless for the past week. My last engagement was on Monday when I spoke to a group of Philosophy students at Ursuline. Our show at the Gypsy Hut, my screening with a veg group at the First Unitarian Church, and our show last night at the Rumba Room were all cancelled due to lack of power.

Other than that, here is a little recap-aroo of our past week or so.

We played at Ray's Monkeyhouse following my screening there. Also on the bill was an Old Tyme/Bluegrass band called Say Darlin' Say. I really enjoyed them as a nice break from the typical rock'n'roll.

As a kid, we used to go to California every summer in a VW bus with my mom, brother, and grandparents (all classical musicians, not hippies). We were very predictable and only stopped at the same Motel 6 in Eureka, the same restaurant for breakfast (the Oak Tree), the same restaurants in between (Denny's) and even the same reststops. Heck, even my treats were consistent (breakfast bars, V-8 juice, Treetop apple juice). I always ordered the French Dip at Denny's. Ordering the French Dip would not be very vegan of me now, so luckily there is a delicious alternative. I got the idea directly from Cafe Flora, a great veg restaurant in Seattle.

Pictured here are cast-iron-pan sauteed portobellos & red onions, with a sauce of sweet/savory (Bragg's & black strap molasses) as well as a dipping "au jous" of Bragg's diluted with water. It was delicious and didn't need the dip. For even more protein and bulk, I would suggest adding thin strips of seitan.

We also played a house show at the kind Oldham house. They will be ending house shows in October, but have hosted many bands in the past year. It takes a special kinda person to host these continual shows, opening up your house and cooking meals for the bands. They made us some vegan Indianish dish that filled us all up good. And we got our 2nd shower. We played with the band from Indiana, You're a Liar (pictured below).

Due to cancelled shows, Rob and I have had a lot of time to crave soy ice cream. I decided to go all out and get the cones too. We found Soy Delicious in full supply at Whole Foods. We tried a new flavor, Snickerdoodle, which I don't think is as good as Cookie Dough.

Here you can see Weston in action being a cupboard.

He has many roles: kitchen, bedroom, gambling room, etc. We've been feeling kinda bad because Syba isn't necessarily appreciating all of Weston's contributions. Rob said that her last crap was the Chinese character for "Get me outta here!" (I'm not sure how he knows this, but I'm certain it ties in to his cheating at Gin Rummy).

So we went and bought her this fluffy stuffed 'bear' toy. She is in love with it. She even will go into Weston, willingly, to fetch it and bring it out for play. She throws it around and plays keep away with interested passerby. And of course she just rolls around with it, as you see here.

In addition to the shows & screenings, Rob has been engaged in grassroots activism...leafleting at universities. Here he is at Xavier, a nice campus in Cincinnati. He's leafleting as part of the Adopt a College program. Sweet stuff. The brochures given to students describe the conditions food animals endure, and suggest alternatives. Just the facts, with no fluff required. The facts speak for themselves.

Due to Ike, gas in this same area of town was almost non-existent while we were there. For a moment or three, we were wondering if we'd be able to leave as the fuel needle dipped into the red. We waited about 20 minutes to fill up at the one station in town that still had fuel and power.

Alll of these troubles were washed away with vegan cupcakes, when we came across Pattycakes Vegan Bakery in Columbus. Rob noted that my sweater matched the sign.

Huge thanks to Kim Gray for treating us to this for my birthday.

We soon headed to the Rumba Room, but found this unfortunate message on the door:

We ended up talking to this nice man Adam, who could have applied and been hired for the Dog Whisperer job. Syba would have been happy to stay with him. I thnk she loved Adam more than her anonymous bear toy.

So these are the types of blog posts where I post them, leave, and then sometime around 3:00 a.m. wonder if I offended anyone. Yeah, I care like that. I don't mean to be rude or insensitive to any one person's lifestyle, but I do think discussion of differing viewpoints is important. So feel free to comment. And if you're rude, I'll delete you! (No, I won't).

We're off to Lakewood tonight to play a DIY space. We haven't eaten a Go Back to Durham cookie yet but I'm thinking the can will be opened soon.


Anne said...

when the grateful dead played in chapel hill a number of years ago, the hippie kids left their styrofoam fast food containers all over the freakin' town.

kim said...

Heh! It's a fine line between punk rock and hippiedom nowadays. Maybe you should be more angry. ><

Recently, I was told if I started wearing patchouli, then I had definitely become a hippie. As long as you stay away from it, you can maintain your punk rock status.


Doe said...

Loved this blog! And the photos! I think they are staring because you guys are so good looking and they're jealous, man!

Were you really eating cupcakes that huge?

Maybe y'all are "pippies". Because you have some of the nice hippy qualities: (very earthy, against war, for love), you are punk-like because you are rad, and your music is certainly more punk than hippy...but you don't have that angry edge...and you're not telling every single person you meet to fuck off.

Plus, I think Sid Viscious said "Sex is boring, ugly hippy shit"...and I"m pretty sure y'all
probably like sex.

Miss you,


Sequoya said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Sequoya said...

Happy Birthday Eleni those vegan cupcakes look delicious!
There are bands that have been deemed both hippy and punk. Crass is a good example, they were anti-conformist vegans who didn't fit either genre and you don't either.
we live past the era of divisiveness, you share the better principles of both movements and it should be renamed.

Jay-Ro said...

Great blog!! great pics!
I'm glad to see B is keeping up on his rummie cuz he's gonna need it... You better bring me some of those cupcakes....ha-ha-ha.

Binge Cafe said...

hi anne - isn't styrofoam made of hemp? Maybe we have been mislead.
Ms. Kim - yes, stay away from that scent.
Ruth, I love it. I think we can be Pippies. It evokes pippy longstocking, which is good because according to Wikipedia:

She is very unconventional, assertive, and extraordinarily strong, being able to lift her horse one-handed without difficulty. She frequently mocks and dupes adults she encounters...Pippi usually reserves her worst behavior for the most pompous and condescending of adults.


Though lifting horses isn't my favorite, the other things are pretty cool.

Hi Bonnie....that's a great example with Crass. I guess it is easier for folks to define something by terms they recognize & understand ... which is limited in many cases. Including my own of many areas.

Jay-ro...we look forward too seeing you next Spring/summer and we'll bring you these cupcakes, though you may need to resize your front door as they probably won't fit.

kym said...

dudes i'm so jealous. working on convening for a sec during our pansy tour. love and miss you guys. and you too seba.

Doe said...

You know, kind of remind me of Pippi Longstocking a little...with your sassyness and pigtails!

But in thinking more about the hippy/punk dichotomoy of Beloved Binge, I think y'all say it best in your own lyrics: "I want to be at peace and war with everything".

Now if that aint both hippy and punk, I don't know what is!

wardad said...

I've heard the term "flower-punks" to describe those that lean hippy in sensibility, but have jobs and do stuff.

It think all those terms are bullshit. What you are is caring, thinking people. The uncaring, unthinking people have done a terrific job redefining all of those terms so that when mainstreamers hear “feminist” they think “lesbian”, when they hear “hippy” they think “lazy-burn-out”, when they hear “liberal” they think “faggot”. I don’t know, maybe that’s changing. But when you think, live and act on the margins of the mainstream, not because you are forced out there but because you just can’t help yourself, you are going to be called names, pointed at and laughed at. (BTW: That’s what bullies do well.) In the words of our rightfully much maligned bully of a Vice President, “So what?”

Anyway, that’s my two cents. I would only add this; just keep being, just keep doing, and just keep loving each other. I suspect that your misanthropic tendencies have less to do with hating your fellow human beings and more to do with your disappointment in them. And doesn’t that disappointment come from a deep and profound love of humanity? . . . at least its potential to grow and achieve. Eleni, you are imbued with the ancient humanistic spirit of your ancestry. Embrace that.

Happy Birthday and happy, safe travels.

Gert says, “Ruff!”


Anonymous said...

I think the truth of the hippy term is now a caricature I think Wardad sums it up nicely. What I remember about hippies was that most were intelligent, creative, seeking kind folk. this is what made it so seductive - easy to abuse. Then, as time went by it was just about drugs and users.

O well. it's time to re-invent and move on!

Glad to see your still truckin'!

Lena, taxi and I wish you well!

PS, got the glass in!

Maria Rose said...

It could be worse. My family calls me a Gothic hippie. I don't identify myself as either Gothic nor hippie.

Vera said...

Eleni, I am just dying to know the logistics of this awesome journey...

did y'all get an inheritance?!

what's going on with the house?

did you have to quit your jobs?

Mad props for it! we get so comfortable with security...

Binge Cafe said...

Hey Kym, Aaron, David, Ruth, & Marie...

you all said it better than I could. Woot! Thanks for the good words.

Vera -

haaaaaaaaa (about the inheritance & savings)! Cheap livin' & gigs/screenings. Having Weston to cook in/sleep in really helps. Gas is quite an expense though. We'll see how it goes - it has only been a month, about, so far.

Thanks everyone for reading! Working on a new blog update...

ox ox ox ox

eleni b

SkiTheStars said...

Great doggie shots!

ours are at