Peaked: Stuff

These unwanted toys want you to stop your stuff addiction
These unwanted toys from a trash island floating in the North Pole want you to stop your stuff addiction … and kill Santa.

While it’s been happening for a while, people are starting to finally feel the hurt from the sheer amount of stuff we’ve created. The definition of the word itself is worth noting.

Stuff (noun)  – the material of which anything is made.

Given in that context, stuff has this building-block-of-the-cosmos ring to it. I like to think stuff is some kind of base element which can be reformed to make anything. When to need to refer to anything, you can use the word stuff. “Hey get your stuff out of my house!” or “I have the stuff, do you have the money?” Now, unless you believe in creatio ex nihilo, stuff is a perquisite for existence. According to Carl Sagan, “we are star stuff” which is a noble way to look at it and we’re currently up to our armpits with all our star stuff.

Sure, the Great Pacific Garbage Patch and laws banning plastic bags for single item purchases are important examples of too much stuff but HWTNXT is all about making the obscure relevant so here are other ways to look at the stuff-splosion.

The rapid rise of self storage – According to the Self Storage Association,”Some 65% of all self storage renters have a garage but still rent a unit; 47% have an attic in their home; and 33% have a basement.” Many people just walk away, leaving their stuff to star in “reality” television.

On average, English kids own 238 toys but only play with 12 daily. That’s 5%! Now we know the secret truth about the origin of the heartbreaking and dysfunctional “Island of misfit toys” from the classic Rankin/Bass Rudolf television show. BTW, I’m the jelly shooting squirt gun!

How2HAWT: So what to do about this? Well, thankfully the Swedish have a good idea, it’s kind of an anti-Ikea idea,  Start repairing stuff.  In his misguided 1932 stuff-ifesto “Ending the Depression through Planned Obsolescence“, Bernard London advocates for making stuff cheaply to save ourselves. It lead to a institutionalization of disposability and the tragic death of the fix-it-men. Case in point, my Fisher / Paykel dual drawer dishwasher. I have steadfastly refused to allow this thing to give into it’s makers idiocy of design and potentially despicable intentional failures. I’m proud to claim that I’ve repaired or replaced every internal component of this Kiwi beast. I have accepted the greasy mantle of fix-it-man and I will not allow my dishwasher to be a testimony to the discardable.

 So DO YOUR PART! Grab those tools, set up a workbench, toss that lamp up on it and start fixing it. Thats HAWT!

Pumping Up: Returning Fossil Fuels

Take it back from them!
Take it back from them!

They just won’t listen. Your cobbler Milo, your barber Henry, random normals in line at the co-op … none of them REALLY care about the environment like you do. They take the easy way out. They use cars, electricity, and indoor plumbing. Sell outs. You’ve tried convincing them that they are destroying “our spaceship Earth” until blue in the face. You’ve tried leading by example and demonstrating your devotion to “your Earth mother” with projects like pedal-powered RVs, rescuing ditch trees, and even scything your lawn. But alas, they still hop in their gas guzzling Prius’s and claim to be hypermiling their way to and from the local organic fair trade farmer’s market. It’s time to take matters into our own hands. Let’s put fossil fuels back where they came from!

As with most extreme eco-warrioring, it’s best to work at night, when the normals are all in deep sleep with visions of oil wells dancing in their stupid polluting heads. Sneak into a parking lot with several free-cycled pickle buckets from Burger King and an up-cyled garden hose. Move fast and start siphoning! You will probably get a headache from the fumes around car 37, so have some organic healing herbs at ready in your messenger bag. A ritually blessed (preferably Wiccan) amalgam of white willow bark, bay laurel, and calamus root should do the trick. Any fume-induced hallucinations are a bonus as they will aid in your spiritual journey, just don’t listen to the voices if they tell you to stab anything/one. You will need to make several trips on your fixed gear bike so you’re in for a long night. Make sure your dump location isn’t too close to any major aquifers and have a deep hole ready. Smile smugly as you pour the reclaimed gasoline back where it belongs, in the earth. Pour slowly so the the soil fully absorbs its native nutrients, listen for the satisfied sigh as the earth drinks deep. The only problem with this being a clandestine operation is people can’t (and shouldn’t) see you doing it. How can you talk about it if nobody notices you? The way to work around that little glitch is to look really tired and smell like gas so people ask you about it. Neither of these should require much effort because you just literally stayed up all night siphoning and transporting gasoline. Drag yourself into the artisan coffee shop in the morning. “Oh, the gas smell? Why do I look so tired? Yeah, I’ve been doing what we all should be doing, putting gasoline back where it should be. After all, what’s better than being carbon neutral? How about being carbon negative?” Flora, the barista you have a crush on, will swoon.

Don’t stop here. Oil isn’t the only thing we disgusting “smart apes” rape from “our maiden Earth sprite.” What about that huge coal pile by the docks? They plan to burn it up in their giant power plants to do things like power their idiot boxes and electric toothbrushes. Oh nooo, they can’t be bothered to miss a single effing episode of “Dancing with the Stars!” And as if smearing baking soda all over their teeth with their fingers like you do isn’t “clean” enough. They’d rather line the pockets of Mr. and Mrs. Colgate whilst poisoning themselves with fluoride! Covetous self-indulgent boobs! Ahem. But I digress. The coal re-insertion is a bit trickier than gas as ideally you would return it to its origin in random Montana mines. That’s a lot of pedaling so you can probably get away with just stuffing the coal under roadway culverts. That’s underground right? Pretty much the same thing as a mine. Good enough. The important thing is you’ll be keeping the coal out of the grubby little hands of industrialist profiteers who want to burn it only to waste it by providing heat and electricity to countless people at the expense of “Mother Goddess Terra.”

A few other quick ideas include un-fracking. I’m not sure what fracking is, but I do know that the opposite of it is hella hip right now. Do some of your own research (always hot) and find out just what the hell fracking is and try to undo it. You could also sneak into the backyards and patios of the normal legions and free the propane tanks from the prison of their meat scorching grills. This is a one-two punch because people eat way too much meat, especially mass-produced non-free-range hormone-laden cruelty-full meat. Find a swamp somewhere and shove the nozzle deep into the muck, open the valve and send that propane home. Natural gas lines are easy, just locate them and sever them with a borrowed backhoe.

Alright, some of you are more hardcore than others and I don’t want to stifle any enthusiasm. I have no idea how to pull this one off, but if you can figure out a way to reverse the flow of all of the major oil pipelines in the world please do! Another extreme idea would be to initialize a worldwide grassroots uprising, using mostly peaceful demonstrations and sit-ins (always hot). In the meantime us longer brimmed hipsters will be doing what we can in the smaller ways I’ve outlined, even if we don’t know why.

Trending Up: Getting Wood

woody
These were hip before any of us were hip

Hipsters are returning to the woods. Not in the Emersonian or Thoreauesque way but in the use it for everything way. Think of wood as the all-pupose reuse material of choice. We’ve covered this before so it’s time to actually call it a thing. Forget environment destroying metal for your bike frame, try bamboo. Bamboo is the hipster wood-of-choice these days. It’s sustainable, versatile and the slobby pandas who use it for food are obese and could use a bit less snaking material. Sure, using wood to replace structural material is all well and good but, as we know if its not over the top its not a hipster trend. We suggest replacing other things in your life with wood. Nothing says eco-awareness like using a wood bowl in the microwave. There’s no better way to get that smoked flavor on your ramen than covering the glass turn plate in your microwave with some chips you’ve shaved off your roommate Theo’s ancient familial hickory rocking chair.

Of course, demon plastic is your main target. The best way to replace it with wood is to build disposable hand hewn boxes for EVERYTHING! This is going to cost a ton of money and time but when you pull a finely mitered sandwich shaped box from your oak back-box and slide the top back to reveal the alpha sprout sandwich you’re having for lunch it will cause murmurs in the break-room. Don’t forget to smash it immediately after you’re done eating and bring a new one the next day.

The height of being a “woodie” is of course, wood underwear. Splinters be damned, this is for real and you cant go half way on this. Now, don’t lame out and make your spruce skivvies by constructing them from small panels lashed together with leather, it’s time to breakout the chisels and do it right! You better whittle and wear some one piece tighty woodys or go home and hang up your wooden castro hat.

Sprouting: Rescuing ditch trees

Somebody's gotta do it.
Somebody’s gotta do it.
Look, everybody has been all about “saving the earth” since the first earth day, 43 years ago. Who hasn’t planted a tree on earth day? Who doesn’t recycle? Let’s face it, preserving the health of our home planet has become so mainstream that even republicans are using reusable grocery bags. Lame. It’s time to take it to the next level and let everyone know that you care more about the earth then them! Get out there and start rescuing ditch trees!

The highway department murders millions (billions?) of trees every year with their giant brush mowers (they call the trees “brush” to desensitize us). When we protest they remind us patiently that we need the ditches to be clear so people can see and wildlife doesn’t surprise us. Since the slaughter is inevitable you need to relocate as many of the brave saplings as possible, and you need to do it fast. You don’t want that Indian dude who was actually an Italian dude to start bawling beyond the grave.

Start with snacks. No seriously, you’re going to be out there all day in the sun and you’re going to need something to eat that doesn’t take up much rescuing time. I recommend the classic GORP. Please make sure that you assemble your trail mix from local, organic, freegan sources. If you don’t happen to have a local peanut farm, raisin plantation, or M&M factory don’t fret. You can always bring along what ever regional crop is in season. Today I’ll be snacking entirely on raw garlic and onions with a side of sprouted bulger salad.

Next up, attire. Wear something light and airy that will also protect you from the sun. Prison jumpsuits are coincidentally the best possible ditch-work clothes, but don’t expect a lift.

Finally, you’ll need a shovel. Never call it a shovel though, call it a spade. When people don’t understand what you mean when you say spade you can remark snidely “I’ve gotta call a spade a spade.” Ideally you will smith your own spade from iron that you have personally smelted, but if you don’t have time try to find a local artisan smith and pay handsomely for a spade fit for a king. Have the smith inlay the name of the fine tool, Yggdrasil, in homage to the great tree of legend.

All that’s left to do now is hit the ditches hard with lust for rescue. Don’t just save the maples and oaks, rescue “lesser” trees like alders and willows with equal passion. Relocate them out of the ditches an onto neighborhood lawns. In the event that some normal comes storming out of their domicile asking you what the hell you’re doing tell them flatly that you’re “saving the effing earth, somebody’s got to.” If they have a problem with that your prison jumpsuit should be enough to dissuade them from attacking you. If you accidentally hit any telecommunications lines just carry on like nothing happened. These sheeple should already be no-phoning anyway. You’re doing solid work my friends, between this, helping honeybees, and all of the other amazing stuff we have you doing we’ve really got a shot at the earth being habitable for at least another 37 years!