Year 1 House 4

18 July 2014

Year-1-House-4


Arguments for New Calendars

17 July 2014

Arguments for Change, Renaissance, and Revolution

Having long ago decided that a change from the Gregorian to something else would be an improvement for the people of the world, the idea of adopting a new calendar is the first step. But which one? And in the course of my search for alternatives, I came up with theAbysmal Calendar, which combines features of the Chinese Solilunar, 13-Month Reform, the Balinese Pawukon Calendars with the Neo-Pagan Wheel of the Year, Western Astrology and Astronomy, the Julian Day, and the Unix Time Code – or at versions meant as equivalents.

Needless to say, I’ve accepted the idea of a calendar to replace the Gregorian for so long, I have to remind myself that this isn’t a subject most people think about. They are immersed in the calendar as much as the city. It’s there as a tool, why change it?

A fair question, of course, but I find it difficult to articulate. So, here is yet another attempt, but my focus is more on the situations in which new calendars tend come to the fore.

DISCLAIMER: I’m not proposing that the Gregorian Calendar be done away with, mmmm’kay? I’m proposing that another calendar replace as the one we use to communicate dates and times globally.

DISCLAIMER ALSO: When I use the word revolution, I’m not talking about armed insurrection. I’m thinking of the turning of the circle, y’know, like the seasons, the year, they revolve, or so we have come to think of them. That’s what I mean.

~ ~ ~ ~ ~

My chief source for this material is Eviatar Zerubavel.

As men free themselves from submission to the external cycles of nature, relying more often on self-created and variable social cycles, they increasingly risk internal disruption.
Kevin Lynch, What Time is this Place?

I suppose you have to accept that what Mr Lynch proposes above is true. Having read a number of books on Chronobiology, including Introducing Biological Rhythms, the Light Book, Space, Time and Medicine, The Time Paradox, Rhythms of Life, the Body Clock Guide to Better Health, which expand on the notion that timekeeping methods removed from the changes in the season, or in the position of the sun, moon, stars, and planets leads to particular health-related consequences. There are a number of examples of biological functions that we do according to the artifice of time, instead of according to the demands of the body. The most obvious are scheduled meals, sleeping times and daylight savings time.

Point 1a: submit yourself to the external cycles of nature, rely less on self-created and variable social cycles.

~ ~ ~ ~ ~

gaining control over the calendar has always been essential for attaining social control in general

  …from the very start, the evolution of the schedule in the West has always been embedded within a pronouncedly economic philosophy of time.

Eviatar Zerubavel,Hidden Rhythms – Schedules and Calendars in Social Life

Control over the calendar. That’s the first bit I wish to address. If we look at the Gregorian Calendar’s history back to its Roman foundation, here are the chief reformers of some sort or other:

753 BC – Romulus – demi-god/quasi-deity
713 BC – Numa Pompilius – King of Rome
46 BC – Julius Caesar – Pontifex Maximus/dictator
8 BC - Augustus Caesar – founding Roman Emperor
325 AD – Constantine the Great – Byzantine Emperor
1582 AD – Pope Gregory XIII
1752 AD – British Parliament

What this tells me is that, yes, indeed, control of the calendar has been in the hands of the powerful. Social control is certainly a part of it, as we now have sports seasons, sweeps weeks, prime time, and other distractions tagged with the indications of time with which we had become accustomed.

The schedule evolved and came into prominence during the Industrial Revolution. Time is money. There’s a reason that saying persists. Are you paid $15/hour or $32,000/year? Time, money. It’s evident in English (can’t speak for other languages): spend time/money, waste time/money, save time/money, bank time/money, currency.

Point 2: remove the calendar from the hands of the powerful (or at least partial-deities, kings, dictators, emperors, popes, and parliament. I’m sure other forms of government are included by extension)

Point 1b: industrial-economic associations are in part the mechanism that pulls us out of natural time and into mechanized time, so this, again, supports our first point.

~ ~ ~ ~ ~

The temporal coordination of complementary differences among members enhances their interdependence and, thus, functions as a most powerful basis for a strong organic solidarity within the group.

The tremendous symbolic significance of the calendar is quite evident from the fact that substantial calendrical reforms have always been associated with great social – political as well as cultural – reforms.

 Eviatar Zerubavel,Hidden Rhythms – Schedules and Calendars in Social Life

This is the heart of it right here. The first sentence sums up my idea for theAbysmal Calendar, however, I envisioned it on a global scale, such that the differences (calendar systems) among members (people who use theAbysmal) enhances their interdependence (working together while retaining cultural autonomy). I didn’t expect it to function as “a most powerful basis for a strong organic solidarity within the group.” I think I’ll use that quote on business cards (if I actually printed some).

The calendar reforms (successful and not) that he refers to can include a number of religious groups with their own calendars: Christians: Gregorian, Julian, Coptic calendars; Hebrew, Muslim, Buddhist, Hindu, Bahai, Zoroastrian, etc. There were reform calendars to go along with the French and Russian Revolutions, however, they were abandoned.

Point 3: make the calendar user-friendly for people who speak a variety of languages, use a variety of writing scripts and calendar systems, and think about time in a wide variety of ways.

Point 4: the calendar has a tremendous symbolic significance

~ ~ ~ ~ ~

One of the most effective ways to accentuate social contrasts is to establish a calendrical contrast. Schedules and calendars are intimately linked to group formation.

Eviatar Zerubavel, Time Maps – Collective Memory and the Social Shape of the Past

Here you go, group-forming enthusiasts. As the Internet weaves its ways farther and farther afield, and more and more people are able to see the state of inequality, locally, regionally, nationally, globally. There should be no surprise about the internet spying and censorship legislation either in place or proposed.

That’s me on the right. No further back. No, further back still. Keep going.

Now, here’s the thing I found rather serendipitous about theAbysmal Calendar launch. The date was December 21st 2012. I chose it as it was the Winter Solstice, and it coincided with the beginning of a new cycle of the Maya long count calendar. I am so impressed with the calendars the Mesoamericans developed that I’m tickled that our calendars are synchronized. The other thing that happened that day, I visited Parliament Hill in Ottawa on the day that Idle No More launched itself. It has since spread quickly, and support from Native peoples worldwide sharing the same struggles.

The Maya have been fighting the same fight as the Native People in Canada.

This is the group with which I associate this calendar. Even if it is intended for the world to use as it will, the local group that is leading the charge towards serious reforms in Canada is the one that announced itself in front of me the day my calendar launched. If the people at IdleNoMore aren’t interested, that’s certainly fine. Imposing theAbysmal Calendar on people is exactly the opposite of the point.

~ ~ ~ ~ ~

As I am wont to do (and want to do, too), I will weigh theAbysmal Calendar against some measure of informed criticism.

Point 1a: submit yourself to the external cycles of nature, rely less on self-created and variable social cycles.

Point 1b: industrial-economic associations are in part the mechanism that pulls us out of natural time and into mechanized time, so this, again, supports our first point.

theAbysmal Response 1: fortunately, theAbysmal Calendar follows the lunar month, approximates the quarters of the year with the solstices and equinoxes, and sets the new year at the southern solstice. It’s not perfect, of course, however, the quarters begin with a day or two of these events. The lunar part of theAbysmal Calendar takes an absolute measure of equinoxes, solstices, new moons, etc. whereas the perpetual annual calendar approximates.

Point 2: remove the calendar from the hands of the powerful (or at least partial-deities, kings, dictators, emperors, popes, and parliament. I’m sure other forms of government are included by extension)

theAbysmal Response 2: Done and done. Although I defer to scientific authorities and standards bodies when it comes to definitions of seconds, times zones, meridians, and so forth when it comes to accepted definitions, the calendar itself, once set into motion, is its own thing. Also, theAbysmal Calendar doesn’t name periods of time: weekdays, months, years carry numbers. Numbers are about as universal a character set as we have, and there is far less cultural bias associated with them. Each community of calendar users is still free to name those measures of time as they will. No one dictates that this month is named after someone you couldn’t care less about.

Point 3: make the calendar user-friendly for people who speak a variety of languages, use a variety of writing scripts and calendar systems, and think about time in a wide variety of ways.

theAbysmal Response 3: As stated above in point 2, the numbering of time periods is a means of transcending communication difficulties between diverse language speakers. As a result, at home we use either an existing calendar (there are plenty), or theabysmal with days, months, quarters, years named or not, as suits, ,and between groups using different calendars, theabysmal numerical system can serve as translation. the inclusion of lunar months makes transition between solar, solilunar, and lunar calendars easier (but not easy by any means).

Point 4: the calendar has a tremendous symbolic significance

theAbysmal Response 4:Not sure about this one. Consider that I stripped the symbolism out of several different systems, and looked at numerology, geometry, different numbering systems,  and so forth. The resulting calendar contains the numerical and relational framework to support a number of rich symbolic associations. I’ve even tried my hand at it. so, I suppose one calendar can have as much significance as it need.

 

mycelia-final


Stuffed Dates

8 July 2014

Various stuffings for sweet, sweet dates provides surprises all over your mouth.
Although the type of date you use is up to you, I have a preference for fresh Persian Mozafati (or Mazafati) Dates. They run like caramel they are so sweet. Moreso than Medjool even.

Anyway, after a friend returned from Dubai with a box of what I thought were chocolates, I discovered (much to my joy) that it was full of fancy dates. All types of dates, stuffed with candied lemon peel, nuts, and other things I couldn’t identify that were delicious.

So I experimented.

Ingredients:
1 700g box of dates (about 50 dates), slit along the long side, stone removed

Stuffings:
gorgonzola cheese
pecan halves
marzipan/cinnamon/grapefruit zest (a guess at a Moroccan type)

1. place one pecan half in a third of the dates, with a little bit showing through the slit.
2. put a piece of Gorgonzola twic the size of the it inside a third of the dats.
3. knead the marzipan with a bit of cinnamon and zest (it was supposed to be orange blossom water, but the stores are closed). fill dates with little bits about twice the size of a pit.

Those are the only ones I’ve done thus far. I will try it with candied ginger and lemon zest, and see what other things can be added (and don’t worry, I know about peanut butter).


Year 1 Month 7

6 July 2014

Year-1-Month-7


Year 1 Lunation 7

27 June 2014

Year-1-Lunation-7

Careful observers will note that although this lunar cycle is equivalent to the Islamic lunar month of Ramadan (and the month-long period of fasting) begins on Sunday. The lunar month for Muslims begins with the first crescent moon, whereas theAbysmal begins its lunar months with the new moon.

The lunar months are meant to be rough equivalents, as others begin their days at different times as well, and there are reputedly lunar calendars that begin at the full moon, but I have yet to come across anything explicit.

Nevertheless, fasting from dawn until dusk, including refraining from drinking water, in the higher latitudes, where the days are well over 15 hours, takes a lot of dedication and tenacity. At the very least, the days are getting shorter (at a few seconds shorter per day).


Stuffed Poblano Peppers

24 June 2014

Arroz-stuffed poblanos.

Ingredients
:
5 poblano peppers, roasted, peeled and seeded
5 ancho chiles, reconstituted, seeded (ancho are smoked dried poblanos)
2 cups recado rojo arroz
1/2 C Mexican cheese (Oaxaca or mozarella/monterrey jack in a pinch)

2+ C spicy chile-tomato sauce

1. cut the peppers along one side, lay a poblano out flat. place an ancho on top. Spoon some of the rice mixture onto the pepper. Add some of the cheese. Roll up the peppers.
2. place some of the sauce in the bottom of a baking dish. Place the peppers in the dish. Cover with sauce and extra cheese.
3. bake at 350 for 40 minutes or so. Let cool. Enjoy


Recado Rojo Arroz

24 June 2014

Yucatan rice with spice paste.

the smoked tofu and paprika is a substitute for chorizo.

Ingredients:
1 TB grapeseed oil
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 onion, chopped
1 block smoked tofu, diced
1 TB hot, smoked paprika
3 C cooked rice
1/2 C + water
1 TB recado rojo spice paste
1 C chopped tomatoes
1 TB dry epazote

1 heat oil over high heat, add onion and cook until browned, stirring often. Add garlic and stir through. Add the rest of the ingredients, stir to mix, and heat throughout.


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