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Oakland, CA

Posted By Bakari

I guess I'm not all that surprised.


A video I did for an environmental blog ( was posted on youtube.

It is up to 100,000 views.

I have been getting people all over the country tracking me down on Facebook and asking to be friends and asking questions after the see it.


Since there are probably plenty of people with the same questions who don't go to the trouble to track me down, I'm reposting my answers to some of those questions here:




I can't believe how popular that video has become.  It was done with no preparation, no script, no practice, really not even a clear focus (they split the interview into 3 parts, but the other two never gained any viewers)

Its funny, I don't really even think of it as a "lifestyle".
I guess maybe because I've been doing it so long.
I bought a camper van right out of high school, which I slept in during the week to avoid having to commute to work. My girlfriend of the time went on a 2000 mile bike ride, and when she came back she suggested we get a full size RV and move in together. Eventually an opportunity arose to join a traveling carnival in the mid-west, so we set out across the country. We ended up spending a year on the east coast before moving back to the SF bay area. We upgraded to the trailer in the youtube video not long before we ended up getting divorced. For the past 4 years I've been in one place, and don't really consider the trailer to be a vehicle.

So I have been in 3 sizes and types of RV, full timed on the road and in trailer parks, and lived in different climates, different size cities, etc.

For the most part, living in an RV is a lot like living in a house. Driving an RV is like driving a car.

You know, I never thought of what I did as "scavenging" until that video was taken. I didn't come up with a script in advance, and was just making stuff up as I went along. I didn't know it was a movement either.

Find the answers to all of the specific questions I have been asked on my non-charcter limited blog, with MySpace (yeah, that's right, MySpace.  I could start over with a free blogger account.  But I don't feel like transfering everything.  Deal with it!)

Posted By Bakari

I haven't written anything here in a very long time.

I have been too busy with living in the moment, experincing stuff.

All sorts of exciting stuff, which would make excellent topics for blog posts.

The long awaited Berkeley Bike Station 2.0 opened up!

I started going to CrossFit regularly.

I became an official polling place worker.  It was my first time ever doing it, and somehow I was designated as "Inspector", or the supervisor of the site.  I had hundreds of blank ballots sitting in my living room.  Fushi (my feline roommate) really liked to sit on those boxes of ballots.

I learned that I have videos on Youtube, talking about energy efficiency and living small and reuse and all that junk.  And that I have 89 THOUSAND views!!!!!!!!!
I started getting people writing to me (via facebook) to ask me follow up questions, people interested in fulltiming themselves.

I helped build a chicken playground for baby chicks, and then an outdoor run, and then a bigger run, and then an egg box, for 6 growing chickens.

I volunteered at the bicycle music festival, taking it upon myself to be the groups traffic director in minimize any potential conflicts between the cyclists and motorists.

And, of course, I joined the United States Coast Guard Reserve, and spent 2 months at bootcamp in Cape May New Jersey, doing push-ups, getting yelled at from 1 inch away by drill sergeants (they call them company commanders), and learning military protocol, marching, and a few boat handling skills.
I've had my first weekend of active reserve drilling, and am working on getting qualified to operate the 25' Defender class Response Boat, which I will someday use to patrol the San Francisco Bay and help stranded boaters and search for missing people.

Any one of these topics could easily make a whole blog post on their own.

However, I don't really feel like writing that much.

You're lucky you even got this much.

Until next time...

See you later,
and enjoy life

Posted By Bakari

I am going to be the person in charge of my local polling place.
Democracy will literally be in my hands.

It will be my responcibility to ensure every vote in my neighborhood gets counted.

I am proud, and slightly terrified.


How it is I skipped over getting experince as a clerk first, I am not entierly sure, but I just got a very official looking notice in the mail, informing me that I'm gonna be the guy in charge this primary election, June 8th.


I start at 6am, work until 9pm, and I will have a crew of 5 people.

My designated polling place happens to be the same as where I normally go to vote, and its easy walking distance from my house.



Posted By Bakari

Now people who couldn't make it can vicariously experience 4 separate components of the party.


Full Contact Spoons - the only existing recording of the greatest full contact sport in the world.  There is only 1 min and 17 sec worth because we are all old and fat and lazy.

Super Smash Bros - I am playing 3 on one (everyone against me) on one TV while simultaneously coaching the people playing Mario Kart on a different TV.
There is also a handicap against me.
And I won.

Dancing - 4 hours worth.  I only wore the shoes for a couple songs

Cake at midnight - my comment at the end refers to the fact that 3 different people made/brought cakes, and they all independently put my signature smiley face on them

Posted By Bakari

One of the things that happens when you get too old, you spend more time re-telling old stories than generating new ones.
I have a couple new ones now.

Everything went exactly as I had envisioned it, which I find remarkable considering how little planning and prep went into it.  Every portion was filled with participants, and all of you get the credit for that. All in all, not counting guests of guests, and the people who had to attend because it was in their house, about 35 people showed up, which is more people than I would have guessed I even know.

I want to extend a most enthusiastic thanks to everyone who came - however briefly - to my party, helping to make it an unmitigated success.
Most especially I wish to thank Greg for offering his house for the party, and Andy, Peter, Robin, Bret, Vern, and Vern's wife (who's name I don't remember since I met her then for the first time) for tolerating it.
Extra thanks to Peter and Jesse who helped me set up at the mansion and clean up again after, and Laura who helped me clear the field of poop, and to whoever found the 2nd N64.
Much thanks to Beth and Jessica who made 2 desserts each and my mom and Lois who brought one with candles - and all of them with my signature smiley face, "Banana Nose", my trademark since Jr. High.
A special thanks too, to Larry who came early and stayed 'till the end, and Sasha and Irina and Lois and Dajenya and Jesse who participated in each separate stage.
Thanks to Larry for the extensive documentation:







birthday suit






(I broke out the stilettos for the first time since prom for a few songs)

(The very end)

I try not to be too narcissistic, but honestly, I'd have to say last Saturday was the most fun party I've ever been to.  Maybe I shouldn't wait 30 years to have the next one afterall...
(In the meantime, I will have other amtgard/spoons games.  Let me know if you'd like to be on the notification list for future games.)

And now on to other things, being mature and responsible and productive and all that sort of thing.

Posted By Bakari

In less than a month, I will no longer be one of those people who are "in their 20s".
I'm driving slower, I own my home, I'm self-employed, and I have a credit rating above 800.
Defying all that makes sense in the world, I've been gradually becoming a responsible adult.
As of midnight Jan 9th of next year, it will become official.

Living to 90 is a fair goal.
If you chop life into 3 big blocks, 90 / 3, then 0-30 would be youth.  60-90 would be old age.  Which leaves 30-60 to be middle aged.
I am a month away from middle aged.
I'm a divorcee who lives with 2 cats and is currently researching the tax affects of different types of individual retirement accounts.
I don't entirely understand how this happened.

I'm not one to throw parties.
In fact, the last time I hosted a party entirely on my own was - never.

On Saturday, January 9th, 2009, I will have my "Last Day of Youth" party.

Full Contact Spoons and Amtgard in the park (Lake Merrit in Oakland, between fairyland and the bowling green)


Video games: Perfect Dark and Super Smash Brothers and Mario Kart.
Like we used to play in high-school.  I've been playing against my 8 year old neighbor, so I don't suck as much as I did back then.

At the Mansion (292 Lee St)

Hours of non-stop dancing starting at sun down

I went through thousands of tracks, one by one, and selected across multiple genres for maximum danceability, ordered them by beats per minutes, and have them beat-matched and cross faded by robot DJ (aka my laptop - nothing like the real thing, but about $600 cheaper). 7 hours worth of rock-a-billy followed by funk followed by hip-hop followed by "gypsy punk" followed by pop.

There are to be no presents or gifts of any kind.  Seriously.  I have enough stuff and enough money.  And not enough space.  This includes home-made stuff and things that would actually be useful to me.  Nothing.
(Edibles and sorbiles -cake, alcohol, whatever- would be appreciated, but that would be to share with everyone.)
Your presence is my present.
Playing spoons and dancing non-stop until my neighbors complain or we pass out from exhaustion is my present.  Might be a good idea to start an exercise program now to prepare...

Because I would like even my feeble friends to attend, I am suspending my usual rule that anyone who shows up to spoons has to play.

I can not think of a good way to end this

Posted By Bakari

I have not been writing much lately.


Spending my time with work, and new friends, and classes.


Work remains fun, after 3 years of doing the same things (compare to a record of 10 months max at any one job for the rest of my life prior), easy enough to be good at it, challenging enough to stay interesting. 

Just the past few days involved somehow fitting about 10cubic yards of random stuff into the truck for the largest hauling run I've had so far, installing drywall in an attic furnace room so the building could pass fire inspection, and careful deconstuction of the walls holding in the old biodiesel tanks at the old biodiesel fuel station so the lumber could be reused.


But far more important and interesting is the classes.


Little by little I add to my stable of random skills.


Expert in nothing, but my goal is for everyone there is, I can do at least one thing moderately well that they don't do at all. 

Maybe there is someone who does a little carpentry and electronics soldering and computer software troubleshooting and lockpicking and sailing and shooting guns and bow and arrows and swordplay and bicycle repair and auto mechanics and unicycling and gardening.

Just in case, I'm taking muy thai and jui jitsu and I just took a seminar on making fire with natural materials, another on edible wild foods of the East Bay, and today one on tracking animals, and also took my first parkour class.  Judging by the skill level of my classmates, watching YouTube videos and practicing on my own at the playground and on random obstacles I find walking around the city has been more beneficial than I realized.


I feel more and more like a character from an action/adventure movie, where the hero somehow knows how to do everything. 

And yet what strikes me continually is how much I still don't know.  Not even counting all the stuff I am not interested in learning, but the skills I still want, if money was no object, would take a lifetime to learn.

And money is an object.

So one lifetime isn't enough.


I have had debt for a few years, collected over a cross country trip/move and major vehicle failure, months of unemployment,  going back to college, buying a newer larger trailer, and having to buy my ex out of said trailer when she moved out.

I am getting tantalizingly close to paying off the last of it.


I decided once I do, classes take priority one.  Jobs will be fit around them, not the other way around.  I'm looking to work about 20hrs per week.

I am saying this publicly so as to have some accountability.  If you hear me say I am working too much come next summer, remind me I said this.



Posted By Bakari
Very important first point of note:
There is an unfair implication in the title.



[While this entry is not entirely unsuitable for public consumption, my readership is likely to include those for whom it is unsuitable for.

For this reason, you may click the link to the full post if you like, but it won't do you any good


Perhaps I will end up doing the same as I did last time I posted something blocked, and go back half a year later and unblock it when no one will notice and its no longer relevant anyway.

Or maybe I won't.  Who's to say?

...Well, me I suppose.  But see, while I have nothing to hide, sometimes when what I write involves other people, its best to use some descrition.  So we'll just see how things go, ok?  If you are really desperate to know all the personal details of my life, you can always ask me to send you this entry.  Or you can just wait until tomorrow when I will post another general social commentary essay for your Bikeari writing fix]

Posted By Bakari

I am considering asking for a raise.
A 33% one at that.
I am fairly confident I will get it, seeing that I am the CEO and majority shareholder as well as the sole employee.

It is not because I need the money.
Just the opposite.

I have too much money, not enough free time (well, maybe not "too much", but more than I need)

I am hoping that a moderate price increase will discourage people from calling me.
The decrease in work would be made up for by making slightly more when I do.

I justify raising my prices to myself in two ways:

1) I now have 3 years of experience.  I have all sort of fancy equipment.  I have moved hide-a-bed sofas, large potted trees, and several 600lb safes.  My repair skills are getting increasingly refined (as I get to practice on my clients houses).  I am gradually moving along the skill level scale from day laborer toward contractor.  That experience makes me more useful.

2) I am still well below the standard moving company rate.  Not long ago I got a call from someone who wanted to hire me to unload a U-Haul from a local move.  I pointed out that the cost of the U-Haul rental alone would be as much as my charge, and wouldn't include a laborer (me).  I priced the job at about $130.  She was immensely relived, and told me she had gotten several quotes, all above $500!
At the new rate, it would have been $160; still far below what she was told elsewhere, and in fact still competitive with renting a truck and trying to do it all alone, (including a dolly, blankets, and insurance makes a one way U-haul rental $155)

Wow.  I was on the fence when I started writing this, but after doing the math just now, and looking up U-haul's rates, now I am quite sure!

So, anyway... I'll leave my minimum where it is, at $50.  Going up to a more divisible number means I will be able to charge to the nearest 15 minutes instead of the nearest half hour.  And I'll be able to afford to make my no car discount $10 off per hour instead of just $5.
Also, I am instituting a sliding scale.  If someone genuinely can't afford even the discounted rate, I will add in an additional $5 per hour poverty discount.
I'll count that at $10,000 (approximately the federal poverty line for an individual) even though things are expensive in the Bay Area, because I don't really buy that things Americans have gotten used to calling "necessities" really are.  Granted, I don't have kids, but I did live nearly half my adult life on less than $10,000 a year - and pretty comfortably at that.  Of course, I will trust my clients on their word regarding income.
I'll also add something explicit on my pricing page about tipping for people above the median income for our area (about $50,000 for a family, $35,000 individual).
I had been excited for a while about having a sliding scale, but couldn't figure any reasonably simple way to institute it.  I think having a base rate, but with exceptions, will be the best way to accomplish it.

I'm thinking beginning of next month.
So if you need something moved, recycled, or repaired, you may want to schedule it quick.

Posted By Bakari

I am so sick of dating.

I can't say it hasn't been fun.
Its been really fun. Many first experiences.

I have been asked out. I have gathered the courage to ask out.
Some time later I replaced courage with confidence.

I have learned an awful lot of things (and confirmed a few I suspected all along).
I learned just how different I am compared to so many of my peers in this area.
I learned finding what I am looking for is really hard.
I learned all the common stereotypes about gender and dating are totally false.
I learned people really do have sex on first dates (and not just desperate people, drunks, or players, but ordinary healthy well-adjusted people)
I learned women are just as superficial as men (just with height instead of weight)
I learned (at least for those whose standards start at 5'6" or less) I am much more attractive than I had thought I was.
I learned there is very little correlation between stated views on sex and actual comfort and enthusiasm in practice; and little correlation between visual sexiness and actual quality of performance.
I learned the single most important variable is that she is truly comfortable with her own sexuality.
I was shocked to learn how many people think that the actions of the female partner have little bearing on the overall quality of sex, or that being "good" can consist solely of how much she is willing to have done to her. I learned not everyone can match my stamina.
I learned people are much more forgiving of me for my infidelity than I am of myself (I decided against ever making that story a blog, but I have nothing to hide, so if you ask me I'll tell you about it)
I learned I can easily fall in love with someone I am totally incompatible with - in fact, I'm suspect that I have a tendency to do just that.
I have learned a lot about emotional responses and how rare it is to just be told, directly, when something I do is upsetting or annoying or offensive.
I learned just how guarded and polite people are, and how it breeds a sort of inadvertent falseness which I honestly never noticed before.

I have had sex with a number of beautiful intelligent compassionate women of various shapes and sizes and colors. People involved in social justice and environmental protection and education, younger than me, older, people who want to get married someday and others who think monogamy is an artificial social construct. More women in just this past year than I expected to be with in my entire life.
I've shared both physical and emotional intimacy with women who I could have conversations with and find myself questioning beliefs I've refined over a lifetime of thought and debate and felt totally confident about.
I've even fallen in love. It may have been with someone totally incompatible with me, but it was still nice to know for sure I still can.

It turns out that sex with someone who isn't my best-friend-and-long-term-partner is just as unfulfilling as I always assumed it would be. They were everyone of them someone I could consider a friend, a whole world of difference from one-night-stand or purely-physical affairs (the thought of which makes me feel a little sick inside). That just isn't enough.

I have not had a history of following through on this sort of thing in the past; perhaps a public pronouncement will aid my meager willpower - or at least discourage the women in my life from taking advantage of it:
No more sex on first dates, no matter how good that date is. Or second. Or third. No sex unless...


(due to character limit, please click here to continue)

Posted By Bakari

A friend of mine insists that I seem really gay (despite this friend being female, and us sleeping together).
As evidence she questioned someone I had just met, who agreed that whatever I was, she doubted it was straight.
As I found this more than a little strange, I proceeded to ask other people if they thought that when they first met me.
Responses mixed, but I was surprised to find some people agreed with their assessment.

The reasons I got included: that I seem comfortable with myself and others, in my own skin (mind you, I was in my own home at the time), and that I am not a sleazy slimeball.

I definitely consider those both to be very positive (and, I like to imagine, accurate) things to say about me, but it leaves an absolutely terrible implication for like, all straight men everywhere. 
Like, (aside from gay guys and me), they are all fake, all of the time (or at least around women), always trying to show off or prove something, I suppose, or one way or another acting (presumably for the chance to have sex with everyone they meet).
I have a lot of trouble believing that.

Having an inside pass, I do know that this is terribly common.  Disturbingly common.
But if it is perceived to be universal...
Perhaps this is why nice guys finish last.  Women perceive guys who are just regular, decent human beings as all being gay.

When I was younger I used to believe that everyone is naturally bi, and it is only social conditioning that makes us suppress it.  I was raised in an extremely liberal household by an openly bi former hippy who was totally honest and through in education on all topics. 
(A note for the anti-sex-ed folk: nothing can make sex less appealing to a young person than hearing about it in detail from one's mother.  Statistics show that repressive communities have a far higher teen birth rate.  I on the other hand waited until 21, and then only because the other person insisted).
I grew up not just watching but participating in the gay parade.  It was a while before I understood that a certain anonymous alcohol recovery support group was not in fact specifically for the LGBT community.  Many of my best childhood memories was of Camp Lavender Hill, where every kid was from a LGBT family.  So I was open-minded.
Then I got the opportunity to test the theory.
Turns out I was wrong.
It just doesn't do it for me.
Not at all.
Even years later, I tell myself I "should" be more open-minded.  Nothing can make me lose interest in sex faster than watching gay porn.

I am neutral on the gender tests I have taken, and I'm proud of that.  I may act effeminate by this society's standards - mainly because I am totally oblivious to the standards.  I probably wouldn't act the way I am "supposed to" even if I knew, but the truth is I don't.  When I think about it, I don't see what I could do that wouldn't be a blatant caricature of what it means to be Manly.  I think of flannel, a big belt buckle, beer, and slapping women I barely know on the ass.  I think of constantly challenging other guys to frivolous competitions and asking total strangers for her number on the sole basis of her being "hot".  Who does these things?  How can anyone take them seriously? 

(due to character limit, the conclusion can be found HERE)

Posted By Bakari


I just received the 3rd notice in 2 years of a class action lawsuit against a former employer.


Was I for some reason bouncing from one dishonest company to another?

I realize I have had a lot, and so statistically that ups the chances a little, and also that this is a very litigation happy place (owing to our severe lack of meaningful regulations and enforcement).


And it shouldn't be all that surprising, given that the ultimate goal of any corporation is, by law, maximization of profit, which means that even following the law becomes a matter of calculating potential loss vs. potential gain: 10 years of unpaid overtime may be worth a 4 or 5 million dollar lawsuit.


I'm just hope I never receive one of those notices for my most recent job.  If all the employees of BioDiesel Hauling file suit against the owner, I have some serious problems, and not just the financial ones.

Posted By Bakari

Reality is mind-bogglingly complex.


Within the past hour I have written/spoken/read about: over-population, food sustainability, relationships, work hours (I actually had to work 3 days this week!  I don't understand how people put up with this every week),  late fees, and bike repairs.  The last two, ok, because I'm at work right now, but still, so many topics there are in the world, and each with so many levels.  I watched a video about dolphins that blow bubble rings and then swirl the bubble rings around and break them into smaller rings before finally popping them, and how other dolphins have been picking up the technique from those who know it.

Someone painted an AR-15 assault rifle pink with a Hello Kitty.


My brain can't handle so much... everything.


I want to get in bed and cuddle and fall asleep feeling someone breathing next to me.


But instead I have to be at work another two hours.

Posted By Bakari

I was inspired partly by a book lent to me by the first person I ever went out on a date with
(almost a year ago already!)
and partly by the container gardening class I was brought to on Valentine's day by a more recent date.

Yet another person I dated recently is thinking of doing a similar project, and so I have some information and materials to offer her.

When I first jumped into this new experience of dating I wasn't sure what to expect - but rainwater collection was surely no where in my mind as even the remotest possibility.
We actually don't pay for water in the trailer park, (its included in the rent) and RVs use very little water anyway by their nature.

On the other hand, CA is in a drought (again), one never knows when the next earthquake (or revolution perhaps?) might cut off the municipal supply, and I have every intention of starting to (attempt to) grow food as my next project.

Since the trailer doesn't really have gutters, I started by applying a thick bead of silicone around the perimeter of the roof, except above the slide and the awning, so that the water will flow to the low areas.  More silicone on one side of the slide, and the awning has always drained to one spot anyway.

I built the spouts primarily from layers of aluminum tape so I could shape it precisely the way I needed.

The tape feeds into a funnel (mesh covered to keep out the crap), which goes into the pipe.

On the slide side its basically just a long piece of straight pipe,

cut around 2/3s down and rejoined with a flexible connector so that it can bend around my bedroom window. 

The awning side was more of a challenge as it has to go around a number of various corners and through narrow spaces to get to the storage barrel on the other side of the house.

Instead of trying to measure and cut and join a whole bunch of short plastic pieces, I used flexible aluminum dryer vent. 

(Due to the character limit on this free blog space which piggybacks on my business website, you will have to read the rest on my original blog, on MySpace.  The best pictures are yet to come!)

Posted By Bakari

$62 worth of new music + 200 Watts of self-powered sub-woofer behind the seat = early hearing loss.
This knowledge in no way modifies my behavior.
I am no better than a smoker.