G.A. Minutes 5-22-18

G.A. Minutes 5-22-18

We sure got lucky tonight at Peoples Plaza; the weather just rocks. When the first Occupiers roll up, the temperature is in the 60s, the sky is clear and a light southern breeze pays an occasional visit. Several guys from the Anonymous crew are already in the Plaza; they’ve been chalking again. This time they hit Wells Fargo and US Bank; good for them.

The Occupier who brings most of the food says, “Man, we just made it here under the wire this time. We were running around like crazy, trying to get everything together and get here on time. We made it though and I think we have everything”. The Anons haul all the food out of the Food Occupier’s car then help the Fire Magician set up the circle, the fire pit and a table. When they are finished, an Anon comments, “I think there’s something missing here”. The Fire Magician exclaims, “Oh crap! I forgot the bucket that sits under the fire pit; I’ll go back home and get it right away. He jumps in the Food Occupier’s car and takes off; it’s a good thing he lives just a few blocks away. He returns in a very short time and makes a small fire; we have the chairs sitting a good way from the fire pit as we probably won’t need the fire’s warmth tonight. The smell and sound are nice though; the fire also serves as a focal point for people to focus their energy.

Our first visitors are Menagerie Woman, Bush Man and two little dogs. We have not seen them since mid-October of last year when we were forced to discontinue our fires due to an early winter. At that time, Bush Man was in some type of a mental health facility and it was unclear if he and Menagerie Woman would stay together as a couple. Well here they are, still together. They tell us that Bush Man has been in mental health facilities several times over the winter; he’s now staying up the hill a bit in a halfway house. The outside visitation policy at this house is generous so as long as Bush Man attends all his scheduled classes and meetings, he’s able to spend many days and nights staying in the home of Menagerie Woman. He informs us that he hasn’t had a drink of alcohol in four days. Considering how he used to be, four days is an absolute miracle; we all congratulate him.

A couple of folks who we haven’t met in the past arrive, get food and drinks and take seats in the circle. They appear to be people of the street. An Occupier informs everyone, “There was a forum up at the Damiano at 5pm tonight called Beyond Backgrounds. I would have liked to attend but had too much work to do in order to get stuff ready for our fire circle. Anyway, it was about how people who have felonies on their record have a very hard time finding an apartment to rent. I believe the event was created by folks who have that felony problem. The female of the unknown couple nods toward her partner and informs us, “That’s his problem exactly, he has a felony; he served his time in prison but even though he’s out now, no one will rent to him”. The Occupier adds, “Yeah, I know that all of the low income public housing places refuse to rent to anyone who has a felony. That really sucks! Anyone who has finished their time in prison and is out should be given the same so called rights afforded to all other citizens. I hear that local housing advocates are formulating plans to get housing for so called ex-cons. That’s kinda why I wanted to go to their forum so I could hear what they have going on. I know quite a few peeps with felonies who could seriously benefit from having a place of their own”.

An occasional Anon, who has somewhat of a drinking problem, arrives. He brings three guys with him; two of them appear to be pretty drunk, the other one appears to be really, really drunk. The two pretty drunk dudes are helping the really drunk dude to stand and to walk; they’re not having much luck. One of them runs over to the water jug saying, “We’ve got to get this guy some water!” An Occupier thinks to herself, “Looks like he could use a stretcher too”. The drunk dudes all go to sit on a side bench outside of the fire circle. The occasional Anon sits up on the ledge that overlooks the fire circle; he comments, “This is so weird! Those guys are all drunk and I’m not. I haven’t had a drink in 5 days; isn’t that weird?” We assure him that while it may be unusual, it’s not weird and we encourage him to maintain his sobriety.

Another Occupier remarks, “I wonder when the trial of the Water Protector Occupiers will take place. I think their pre-trial hearing happened about a month ago. Seeing as neither one of them are here tonight I guess I can’t find out. Oh well, I’m sure we’ll see them soon”.

The next person to walk up is Mississippi Woman; she’s another one who we haven’t seen since mid-October. As usual, she’s hungry; she greets everyone then commences to survey the food table and the soup pot. She takes some of everything, lines up three full bowls of food and begins to do some heavy eating.

An Anon reports, “Next Tuesday we plan to have a protest out on the corner against Line 3; we hope that a lot of people will join us”. An Occupier replies, “Well you know we’ll be here”.

The big Native Anon strolls in, it’s been a week since he had his tonsils removed and he’s not feeling so hot. He complains, “You all know I’m a regular cigarette smoker but I haven’t been able to smoke since I had my surgery”. All the smokers in the circle groan and he continues, “Then to top it off, someone stole my pain medicine. I was given a big bottle of liquid hydrocodone and it was in the nurses med room and then it wasn’t. They think it was probably one of the staff members who stole it. It was some pretty strong stuff; the nurses had a hell of a time getting the pharmacy to give me another bottle”.

It turns out that Bush Man and the big native Anon are residents in the same halfway house. They’ve seen each other around but have not actually spoken until this evening. The budding of a new friendship?

The female of the unknown couple spies one of the fliers for The Woman Who Tells Good Stories that we always have sitting on the table. She sighs, “You mean they still haven’t found her? Oh my god, how long has it been?” An Occupier answers, “Close to three years; her body has still not been found. We always put those fliers out to keep her memory alive in people’s hearts and minds; when ever there’s a murdered and missing Indigenous women’s event we carry a big sign with her picture on it. Someday the answer will be found, until then, we need to keep her in our prayers or whatever”.

Menagerie Woman tells us, “Many years ago, I lived next door to The Woman Who Tells Good Stories. I didn’t think she was very nice at all; she was always yelling at me. I don’t think we ever had a normal conversation”. We all have to admit that although The Woman Who Tells Good Stories was always nice to us, when she was drunk we’d seen her be very aggressive to other people. Menagerie Woman continues, “To tell the truth, if something bad happens to someone who I don’t know, I don’t really care about it, it doesn’t mean a thing to me”. We all begin to make statements about how “We are our brother’s keeper” and stuff like that. Mississippi Woman comes up from her feeding frenzy and exclaims, “Oh no honey, you got to love everybody! I love everybody”. Then she gets “that look” on her face. We all think, “Oh no, she’s about to go into one of her rants; we have to distract her right away”.

Fortunately, an Anon accidentally knocks over a glass of apple juice that is sitting on the floor. It spills all over the notes of the Occupier who writes the meeting minutes. The Anon is very apologetic; the writing Occupier calmly states, “Don’t worry about it, I’ll just lay the papers out and they’ll quickly dry”. Mississippi Woman is sufficiently distracted and goes back to eating; problem solved.

A young man with spiky blond hair drops in. He’s been attending our fires off and on for a couple of years; the last time he was at our fire he was very upset because he had been kicked out of CHUM and all his belongings had been thrown away. He was kinda strange (who isn’t?) but could make himself easily understood. Then something happened; a few of the Occupiers had seen him around the neighborhood during the winter. He was babbling and completely incoherent. Tonight is no different; he’s not really interested in food or anything, he just wants to talk but no one can understand a word that he says. We all just smile and nod; maybe being forced to spend the winter out on the street just put him over the edge.

An Anon asks, “Did you all notice that someone started a fire in the porta potty across the street?” We say “What?!? Oh, no!” An Occupier remarks, “I did notice that it was sitting kinda crooked”. The Anon replies, “Everything on the inside is melted; the opening is still there and men can use it when standing up but if a person needs to sit down, it’s not gonna happen”.

The big Native Anon looks at one of the fliers for the Homeless Persons Bill of Rights and opines, “You know, I don’t really believe in this. What difference does it make? You all go to all this trouble to pass this policy and then the cops, business owners and others will just ignore it. You won’t have changed anything”. An Occupier responds, “That’s why we’re insisting that the HPB of R be voted in as an ordinance; we refuse to accept anything else. You’re correct, a policy doesn’t really have to be obeyed and it can be changed or discontinued at any time. The public doesn’t even have to be notified. An ordinance is the law; if anyone disobeys it there are consequences” The big dude says, “Oh”.

Menagerie Woman gives her dogs to Bush Man and comments, “I have to use the bathroom, I’ll be right back”. She is gone for a long time and when she returns she reports, “Well, you’re right, the porta potty is unusable. I went into the brew house across the street and used their bathroom. When I came out the staff people were blocking the door. They said, ‘You can’t use our bathroom unless you buy something. You are supposed to use the porta potty across the street’. I was too scared to say anything, I just ran out the door and over here”.

An Occupier tells her, “I’m going to the Citizens Review Board meeting tomorrow; I’ll tell them about the potty. I think they will be able to grease the wheels that will get the potty company to put up a new potty. This fire business sounds like some stupid, drunken, college boy prank to me. Maybe the cops have a camera by the potty so might be able to see who started the fire”.

Changing the subject, the Occupier who lives in Superior reports, “I went to that meeting with area college science professors last Wednesday. It was about the explosion and fire at the Husky Oil Refinery. The professors said that the soil in the surrounding neighborhood is definitely polluted but the company and the government say they don’t have instruments that are capable of measuring what or how much dangerous material is in the soil. The professors also said we should expect the Husky company to be telling lots of lies; they said we should not believe anything the company says. Great, huh?” We all groan.

An Anon has a small packet of something that is supposed to make the flames of the fire turn colors; he throws it into the fire. We all move far enough away so that we won’t breathe in whatever it is that is in the packet. It certainly works; soon the flames turn all sorts of beautiful colors. Everyone is quiet, just watching the flames.

A couple of possibly street young men arrive. They are very hungry; Fortunately, Mississippi Woman has gone home. She actually left some food for everyone else. An Occupier tells the young men, “Please eat you fill; I really don’t want to take any of this home”. The young men oblige; they get some soup from the pot and cookies, hard boiled eggs, pickles, chips and juice from the table. Once they have finished and seeing that it’s almost 10pm, we begin to pack up.

A few of the Anons will go to an Occupier couple’s home for a while. We plan to be back at Peoples Plaza next Tuesday.

G.A. Minutes 5-15-18

G.A. Minutes 5-15-18

We are finally holding our first recreational fire at Peoples Plaza! It’s about time!! In the past years we’ve been able to start up again sometime in April; this time winter started in mid-October and didn’t let up until the beginning of May. That’s way too long; hopefully it’s not the new normal. Climate change doesn’t appear to be cutting any breaks though.

We’ve had a couple of really nice days with temperatures in the 70s and southerly breezes however, this evening is chilly with partly cloudy skies, temperatures in the low 40s and a gusty east wind. We don’t care, we just dress warmly; the Fire Magician builds a big fire.

When the Occupiers who are responsible for bringing most of the supplies drive their vehicles onto the Plaza, they find The Anarchist, an Occupier who has been unable to be around for many months and a small group of the Anonymous crew waiting for them. Everyone helps to get the table and fire circle set up. We’ve been fortunate to be able to provide a big jug of clean water, organic apple juice, deluxe pb+j sandwiches, cookies, pickles, chips and whole bean “Stay Awake Forever” coffee. A big pot of organic whole made soup containing hamburger, vegetables and other good things sits on a small charcoal grill within the reach of an Occupier who fill bowls for all who wish to partake.

The Anons have chalked the entire Plaza before anyone else arrived; it looks great. The chalk letters mostly cover two topics; No Line 3 and Free Palestine. An Occupier suggests, “It might be a good idea to start connecting the Husky Oil Refinery explosion and fire in Superior WI with No Line 3. After all, Enbridge’s nasty tar sands oil pipeline 3 is planned to end up at the Husky Refinery. According to a well known Anishinaabe prophecy, a black snake will slither across the land; if the people don’t stop it, it will destroy the earth. It’s commonly believed that the black snake is all the oil pipelines. It seems to me that wherever the black snake ends could be considered the head of the snake. We could make good use of that analogy”.

Another Occupier adds, “I think Honor the Earth is pretty much the leader around here in the fight to stop Line 3. We should present this idea to them and listen to what they say. I’ll give our friend, one of the organizers for HTE a call and find out what she thinks about it”.

An Occupier tells us, “I recently saw on the local commercial TV news that the mayor of Superior and the County Board (or something like that) have told Husky that they will absolutely not be allowed to have that big tank of hydroflouric acid on the refinery premises anymore”. Another Occupier adds, “No shit aye?! Hardly any oil refineries use that stuff anymore because of how seriously dangerous it is. When the asphalt tank at the Husky Refinery caught on fire and then exploded, the hydroflouric acid tank was sitting almost right next to it. If the acid tank would have exploded it would have taken entire surrounding neighborhoods with it. Thousands of people would have been killed. Another Occupier interjects, “If it was up to me, I’d say get rid of the refinery completely and put solar and wind power making facilities in its place. I know that will be a really hard sell to the families of the 195 employees who work at the refinery but it’s definitely the direction we should be going in”. Everyone in the circle is down with this idea.

A slightly built, older man who appears to be homeless walks up to the fire. We don’t recall ever meeting him in the past. He has a small sign the says, Will Work for Food. The guy waits for a bit then asks, “So what are you folks doing?” An Occupier deadpans, “Sitting around a fire”. We explain the basic premise for our fire circle, offer him free reign on the provisions on the table and invite him to sit with us. He doesn’t take any food but happily pours himself a cup of coffee and rolls a cigarette from the tobacco pouch. He briefly sits in the circle then remarks, “Well I guess I’d better get back out there”. Once the old dude leaves, an Occupier opines, “The letters on his sign are way too small; the people in the vehicles won’t be able to read it”. Fortunately, a person with a sign anywhere around the intersection of Lake Ave and Superior St is a common site. Most drivers will know that the person is asking for some type of help. Some drivers will hand the sign person some money, some will give food and some will yell mean things. “Different strokes for different folks” or something like that.

A middle aged former street woman, who we have known for many years, was hired by a cleaning company last year to work the evening shift helping to clean the MN Power Building which is on the west side of Peoples Plaza. When we see her coming over to empty our big garbage can, we realize she has managed to hold on to her job since last autumn. This is good. We offer food and such; she takes a small glass of apple juice and nervously replies, “I’m on the clock so gotta keep moving”. Off she goes.

A couple of youngish white guys, who are dressed like privileged jocks, walk by out on the sidewalk outside the Plaza; they stop and stare at us. It’s obvious they are not pleased. Their expressions are of shock and indignation; they appear to frown upon a bunch of raggedly looking people sitting around a camp fire in a public place and right out in the open too. Oh well….. too bad for them; we ignore them and they move on.

Both members of one of the Occupier couples are dragging their asses around tonight. When someone comments on this the couple explains, “We were out with some of the Natives Against Heroin crew this weekend. They had us wearing N.A.H. T-shirts and walking up and down throughout our hood. I think the lead organizer wanted us to make our presence known. We’re not sure that’s the best way to go about things but we’ll wait to see how the group develops. Anyway, those N.A.H folks are mostly young; they can easily walk on concrete for hours while climbing up and down the hills. As you may have noticed, we can’t easily do that anymore. We didn’t want to look like slackers though so kept up the pace with everyone else. We’re still paying for it”. Everyone laughs.

Changing the subject, an Anon reports, “Did-ya see where the MN House of Reps passed the anti-protest bill a week or so ago?” When some of us say, “Huh?” the Anon continues, “That’s the bill that increases the penalty for blocking a freeway or any other form of transit. I think pedestrians are considered transit too”. An Occupier, referencing the past Black Lives Matter protests, exclaims, “I guess some of those legislators think we should make it even easier for cops to kill black men”. Another Occupier interjects, “Well it still has to pass the Senate and the governor has to sign it, so I’ll just have to put it a little down on my list of things to worry about for right now”.

An Occupier reports, “The US Senate will vote tomorrow on whether to override the FCC ruling to cancel net neutrality. That’s a pretty big one; I hope it goes in favor of the people”. We say, “For real”.

Someone else reports, “I see that North Korea has pulled out of the agreement to have official talks with South Korea. That’s not surprising as the US went ahead with their scheduled war games or whatever it is in the waters outside of North Korea. All this tit for tat crap will probably go on for a while before the two countries actually have talks.” Everyone groans.

A slender Native man, who looks younger than his years, comes quietly into the circle. After a minute or so, an Occupier calls out the man’s name. The slender man smiles and replies, “You remember me! After 3 years you still remember me”. The Occupier responds, “Oh yeah, most definitely. So how you doing?” The man is about to answer but looks around and asks, “Where’s my girlfriend? Did anybody see where she went?” An Anon points and tells him, “Yeah she took off that way about a minute ago.” The man runs off after her.

An Occupier thinks to herself, “Damn! I hope he’s not back in another bad relationship. It can’t have been very long since he got out of prison because of the false abuse accusations that his last girlfriend made against him. She was a very mean person; when she died in her sleep while he was in prison, I wonder how he felt”.

A dude with a thick head and beard of black hair arrives. We don’t know him but we’ve seen him around the hood for several years. Tonight he’s selling well made, hemp bracelets. An Occupier buys one from him and the furry dude goes on his way.

Another Native guy who we’ve met in the past rolls up. He is immaculately dressed in full skater regalia and possibly a bit drunk. He’s a good friend of the Anons; they give him one of their masks. He says, “You know I’m gonna have to design this mask to match my style”. They laugh and say, “Yeah, no problem”. The skater dude tells an Occupier, “You know, I’m really trying to walk the Red Road but I keep falling off”. The Occupier answers, “All you can do is to get back up and get back on it. Don’t ever stop trying”.

The Most Obnoxious Street Woman turns up. We’re never particularly happy to see her but as far as we have seen, she hasn’t been very obnoxious for almost a year. However, many of the other street folks assure us that she is still very obnoxious. Anyway, she gets coffee, pickles and a bowl of soup. Once she gets her food settled, she gives a gift to the Occupier who brings most of the food and tells her, “Maybe you could use this to put purple streaks in your hair”. The Occupier thanks the formerly obnoxious woman and puts the gift away for later. A friend of the gift giving woman arrives, she gets coffee and the two women sit in the circle and chat.

Another Anon, accompanied by a large group of friends, come up the stairs. We know most of them; everyone is laughing and pleasantly talking all at once. Most get food and drinks and warm themselves by the fire. The Native skater is joking with an Anon, he laughingly announces, “Man, I’m old school. I’m 33 years old; do you know how old that is in skater years” He then takes off on his board and begins doing all sorts of marvelous tricks like going real fast then spinning around, flipping his board 360 degrees and landing back on the correct side, riding down the stairs without falling, leaping over a bench while his board goes under the bench and landing on the board as it comes out from under and riding on the edges of the concrete walls. An Occupier is impressed, “Wow, can you imagine what he could do if he was sober?”

After the show is over, someone asks what time it is. Eventually we figure out that it’s around 9:30pm. Probably time to pack up; everyone helps to put the chairs away. People with vehicles arrange to give rides to those without. Just before peeps start to leave, an Occupier remembers, “Hey, tomorrow over in Superior there’s going to be a discussion with environmental science professors from all the local colleges. It’s going to be a discussion about the explosion and fire at the Husky Refinery. It will be held at Zion Lutheran Church at 2022 E 2nd St and starts at 7:30pm. For anyone who is able to get there, it will probably be worth your while”.

The last few Occupiers who are tasked with putting the food away and putting out the fire are just getting started when a former Anon who is working mostly with N.A.H. these days, appears. They stop what they’re doing and stand around the fire with the big Native dude and talk for a while. He’s going into the hospital tomorrow to have his tonsils removed and seems to be trying to hide the fact that he’s nervous. The Occupiers just listen to the big guy until he feels better then he helps the Fire Magician put out the fire.

The Occupier who brings most of the food reaches in a big bin and pulls out the gift from the Obnoxious Woman. Upon inspection she sees that the stuff inside the bottle will not die anyone’s hair. The label says Egyptian Dark Tanning Cream. The Food Occupier calls out, “Does anyone want to use this stuff to make their skin look darker than it already is? I must warn that my lengthy lifetime has shown me that this type of stuff turns white people’s skin orange. Everyone laughs and she confides, “Sorry but I’m just gonna throw this bottle in the garbage. It’s shaped like an alcohol bottle and if I just leave it here, I’m betting that some messed up person will stagger through here during the night and try to drink it. It might kill them, who knows?

With that, the cleanup is finished and everyone heads out with plans to hold another fire circle here, at Peoples Plaza, next Tuesday.

G.A. Minutes 5-8-18

G.A. Minutes 5-8-18

We’re back at Coney Island again; we’re kinda bummed out about it too. We were so psyched up about starting our recreational fires at Peoples Plaza tonight and for the rest of the non-winter months but all the weather forecasts said it was definitely going to rain. It’s been darkly cloudy with a strong east wind all day however, it has not rained. Now we’re wondering if we made the wrong decision. Oh well…..it is what it is.

The Occupiers come straggling in a few at a time; one of the Anonymous crew puts himself into the mix. As we arrange the tables and order food we do a brief overview of last week’s May Day events. The Anons did a little marching then hooked up with some Occupiers and lots of other folks at the Memorial for Murdered, Missing and Trafficked Indigenous Women that was held in Canal Park. That event was well attended with many indigenous songs and drumming; some good speeches too. A woman from Makwa (bear) Camp who is originally First Nation from Canada gave an impassioned speech about her attempts to get the so called authorities to protect her sisters from the Man Camps that have sprung up all over her province and throughout First Nations territories in Canada.

A Man Camp is a temporary area where lodging is provided for all the workers who arrive to work in an area where fossil fuel extraction is happening. The mostly male workers are paid high wages; nearly all have little to spend their earnings on in the remote and predominately First Nations land. Unscrupulous persons see an opportunity to exploit this situation so bring in alcohol, drugs and sex trafficking. Kidnapping, rape and murder are common however, all of this stuff is uncommon to the First Nations folks who have just been living, practicing their indigenous ways of hunting, fishing and such. Once the corporations are finished extracting the fossil fuels, they and all the workers leave and the people of the land are left to deal with polluted soil, water and the aftermath of the Man Camps. We have Man Camps in the USA too wherever fossil fuels are being extracted.

The so called authorities barely gave the Makwa/First Nations woman or any others attempting to protect MM+TIW the time of day. Many of us were quite moved by the woman’s story. It’s hard to believe that there are places where governments give their indigenous people a worse time than they do in ‘Merica but I guess there are.

After hearing the music and speeches and going in mass over to the canal to place flowers in the water to honor the MM+TIW, some of the Occupiers went up to the Central Hillside Community Center to participate in the Democratic Socialists of America’s May Day Picnic. We arrived late of course, so most of the food and people were gone but we hung around for awhile. We ate the last of the food while sitting with Skip Sandman, his wife and one of Skip’s lead campaign organizers. The discussion revolved around the question of, why did Leah Phifer, possibly the leading Democratic candidate for the MN 8th CD seat currently held by Rick Nolan, withdraw from the race a few weeks ago.

The lead organizer told us (and he would know) that Ms. Phifer did not have a “Plan B”. He said that she and her campaign team thoroughly expected to get the endorsement from the MN Democratic Party so when the party deadlocked at their convention, she and her team didn’t feel confident continuing their campaign. The Occupiers don’t really have much interest in the inner workings of the the 2 parties in 1 party system but we enjoy the company of those at the table, so we sit and listen. Before Skip’s campaign, the lead organizer was a mainstay in our local Democratic party. A few months ago, when he told us that he had finally given up on the Democrats we congratulated him then pretended to bow down saying, “We’re not worthy! We’re not worthy!”

Anyway, since May Day one of the Occupiers has attended the now bi-weekly (every other week) Homeless Persons Bill of Rights Coalition meeting and one of the Occupier couples has begun attending the weekly Language Table lesson in the basement of the Gimaajii Native American housing complex. The Occupier who is a member of the HPB of R Coalition tells us, “One of the leading members of the coalition attended a meeting recently with the City Attorney, the Human Rights Officer, the City Councilor who is tasked with pushing the HPB of R forward and the attorney from the City Attorney’s office who is tasked with researching the city codes in order to find places where the 11 proposed rights can reasonably be attached. The HPB of R coalition member reported he was quite pleased with the attitudes expressed at the meeting, especially those expressed by the attorney who is tasked with researching the codes. The rest of us at the HPB of R Coalition meeting expressed doubts about the attitude of the City Attorney. Someone said, ‘The City Attorney has been publicly expressing his opposition to the HPB of R since day one; we need to watch him very carefully and definitely not trust him’. The lead HPB of R Coalition member stated that he would schedule another meeting with the C.A,’s office asap. Hopefully, a few more of us will be able to attend”.

The Occupier couple report they are quite pleased with the Ojibwe language classes they’ve started attending at Gimaajii. The class is being taught by Anishinaabe elder, educator and healer, Rickey Defoe. The female of the couple opines, “The Ojibwe language is kinda difficult to learn but the way Rickey teaches it, it seems easy. He gets everyone chatting and laughing and trying to speak the language no matter what their level of experience”. Language Table is held every Monday evening from 5p-7p.

An Occupier inquires of the Anon, “So how are things going with your job, school and everything? The Anon replies, “I quit the job and ever since then I’ve been doing really well in school. That job was more trouble than it was worth; everything is looking looking pretty good on the college front though. I should end up with good grades then have the summer off. When I start again in the fall I’ll be in good standing and eligible for the full amount of financial aid . Also, at the last meeting of the Anonymous crew, we decided we might want to stay out of the public light for a while and build up our chops by helping out other good groups”.

The smokers go out for a smoke and discover that……It’s Raining!! Yay!! It’s the really good kind of rain too; soft and steady, soaking deep into the ground and giving all the wonderful growing things a reason to live. We feel vindicated by the rain because we actually wouldn’t have been able to have a successful fire this evening. On top of all this, the brain injured and/or developmentally disabled dude who lives in the Wet House and sometimes attends our fires, comes bumbling up. He asks, “Does anybody have some spare change or a cigarette?” It seems like he doesn’t realize he has met us many times in the past. We give him a dollar and a cigarette then put out our smokes, wish him good evening and head back in. No one is particularly interested in listening to one of the dude’s long and somewhat boring stories.

When we return to the tables, an Occupier says to the Occupier who likes to report things, “I bet you know some of what will be going on for the rest of this week”. She does and reports, “Well, tomorrow there;s going to be a rally about the Husky Oil Refinery explosion and fire on April 26th in Superior WI. It will happen in front of the Douglas County Court House at 5:30p”. Another Occupier adds, “Man that refinery emergency was some serious shit! It was some sort of miracle that lots of people weren’t killed; there’s no telling what the health effects will be on all the Superior folks who were forced to breathe in that toxic thick smoke for hours. Many activists are saying the Husky Refinery is the head of the black snake and that we should chop it off”. We all think that would be a good idea.

An Occupier states, “So what else do you have?” and the reporting Occupier continues, “ Tomorrow, the Human Rights Commission meets at 5:30p, City Hall Rm 303 and the Sobriety Feast starts at 6p in the Central Hillside Community Center. Natives Against Heroin will be doing another neighborhood cleanup on Saturday, May 12th. Peeps will be meeting up at the CHCC at 2p. On Monday, May 14th, the Earned Safe and Sick Time Ordinance will be voted on by the City Council. I’ll be going to the Language Table but it gets over at 7p so I’ll shoot up to City Hall to be a supporter. I think I won’t need to stay long because there will probably be so many supporters already there that there won’t be room for me to even fit into the Council Chambers. On Tuesday, May 15th, we should be holding our first fire circle at Peoples Plaza. Everyone should pray, cross their fingers, sacrifice a burnt offering or whatever they do in attempt to control the universe, in order to insure that we have good weather and everything else we need in order to hold a marvelous recreational fire next Tuesday. We all solemnly swear to do as she asks.

Although Coney Island has extended their open hours recently, we still absent mindedly yak on past closing time. We are incorrigible. The staff guys are quietly standing behind the counter holding their coats; we hurriedly gather up our stuff and head out into the gentle and peaceful spring rain.