Saturday, March 15, 2008


Well folks, I am a looooong way from Vermont! This post (sorry about how looong it is, by the way) comes from balmy, palmy Anaheim, CA where I'm attending the H-U-G-E Natural Products EXPO WEST at the colossal Anaheim Convention Center. I'm having a good time picking out some of those hand-picked good goods I promised you on my Waste Free Living website--and I've found some really awesome stuff for you!

This EXPO is mind-blowing in it's immensity and energy. So many people (and businesses) are really trying to do better in this world and that's what this show is all about. I got to see two of my heroes speak: Mollie Katzen and Michael Pollan. They were both great and I'll try to remember to tell you what they said on a future post. Practically every "natural" product you've ever seen is here. It's a great place to be if you're selling this stuff, which I am. However, my moral dilemma is this: have I gone too far down into the belly of the wasteful beast in order to come back out living waste free? I mean, to fly out here, with no recycling or composting around, and basically do bad in order to do good. One worries.

Just to give you an indication of where my four day journey has taken me I offer you a short photo mosaic from the green mountains to space mountain. From the northeast kingdom to the magic kindgom. From crusty snow, wood heat, and tasty brisket one day to Royal Palm trees and Disneyland the next!

...the late-wintry woods near my cute girlfriend's house, with deep, hard-crust snow and all aflutter with love-sick chickadees; my cute girlfriend, Alison Bechdel--ya kinda gotta watch out for her when she's a cleaning dervish (a dervish to watch out for?);

...tons and tons of birds of paradise in bloom!!!;

...the new half of the Anaheim Convention Center, quite a glorious edifacial visage to behold, actually, with it's expressive curves and shiny reaching; my new friend, Blake, doing yoga outside of his bus Friday morning--is this the capitalist 00s' answer to the Green Turtle of yore? God help us;

...a field of strawberries bearing fruit; Mollie Katzen!!! (sorry about the blurry photo);

...a brass manhole cover that's a map of the area--genius!; large ballon hanging from the ACC ceiling that says, Steel Libido--I'm not sure if this is supposed to be like "Nature's viagra" or wut?; sore feet on top of a big pile of newly harvested samples and sales literature (notice the pink nail polish, still extant from the Drag Ball in February); home of Minnie Mouse.

See? Don't you think this is a strange, albeit short trip? Since arriving in So' Cal' I have astutely noticed that it's kinda different here. For example, on the local news they recently featured a real estate agency that shows houses via helicopter because the traffic is so bad! The agent was quoted as saying, We want to show houses, not freeways. I can just see my friend Jackie Marino doing that in Vermont!! That would be so funny.

And then again, there are plenty of things that California and Vermont have in common. Here's a couple pictures of another local news story about a school garden currently on the school budget chopping block. This is a garden that's been around for 15 years and it looks totally successful and valued by the community...and yet they're talking about ending it.

Now wait a minute, why does that remind me of something from back home where a long-standing, do-good project is valued by the community but is on the small-mind, bureaucratic chopping block?? Hmmm, maybe it'll come to me later. Until then, here's another photo from my trip. It's a knight in shining armor in my hotel lobby. Oddly, it's full name is "Tomorrow", but people around here just call it Tom for short.

I leave you with an image of a banner held up outside the ACC urging us all to just do SOMETHING!

ciao for niao!
your roving compost maven



Anonymous said...

A strange trip indeed. Nice photo mosaic of the transition. I imagine that helps somewhat to locate yourself, not unlike a brass manhole cover imprinted with a map.

"Edifacial visage." I like it.

Alison Bechdel said...

Your girlfriend is kind of a geek.

Yr. girlfriend

Maggie Jochild said...

Well, I had to go look up edifacial, only to find just two entries on Google (the first being your blog) and the gentle query, Did you mean edificial? Not to puncture your ballon, but...

Still, extremely evocative travelogue, there. You're right, the maps on humanhole covers IS genius, and works of art, to boot. Loved the banner, the blurry shot of Molly Katzen, the spoils of brochures, the Minority Report-ish green tortoise bus, and the existential questions sprinkled throughout.

And the "steel libido" label, ye gods. Why would anyone imagine the evocation of "steel" would appeal to the half of the species whose role it is to be the penetratee is, well, just as nutty as the rest of their sexuality. Which I clicked on that photo and enlarged it (nudge, nudge, wink, wink), smaller text on the label appears proclaiming an ingredient of "horny goat weed". So clever I forgot to laugh.

Holly Rae Taylor said...

Thanks, Maggie. I think your reading of my travelogue is even more evocative than the logue itself! And you haven't burst my balloon (Steel Libido or otherwise) by correcting my spelling. On the contrary, I love it. But I do want to explain that the choice of spelling, right or wrong, for better or worse, was an intentionally creative blend of edifice and face because of my choice- and understanding of the word visage. I thought that spelling edificial with an "a" would help anthropomorphize the building in a way that made visage work... But perhaps that didn't quite work or was unnecessary. Oh dear!

Maggie Jochild said...

Alternative explanation: I'm way too literal. I vote for the latter. I mean, you reel off "anthropomorphize", clearly you can spell, dammit.

Loved it, too, that you mentioned "home of Minnie Mouse". The first time I got to see Disneyland, I was 25 and with a pack o'dykes, steel-toe-boots and overalls type. Raised-poor childhood dream come true for me. Just inside the front gates, on Main Street, I turned round and there was Minnie, who waved her giant white hands and then gave me a hug. I burst into tears and could not stop crying, which embarrassed the fool out of my companions, but Minnie just patted my back and took it all in stride.

By the way, there's a great little interview with Michael Pollan up at Alternet right now, about how we shouldn't eat food that does not rot. Seems kinda obvious, the way he puts things, but duh, clearly we need reminding.

Anonymous said...

okay, need to leave an anonymous comment here.... I'm 55, past that menopause thing, on prozac, etc. Tried Steel Libido. IT WORKS!!!!! I'm sooooooooooo happy!

Holly Rae Taylor said...

Dear Anonymous with Libido of Steel,

Thanks for writing in. That's awesome!!!

All the best,
the compost maven

Holly Rae Taylor said...

Maggie, thanks for your reply. I really loved your Minnie Mouse story. Sometimes the darndest, most unexpected gestures can strike just the right chord, and then we're undone.