I mean, I know we're fucked, but that is the tangible figure I really needed.
From the NYT: A study published this year in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences found that if you look at the world’s mammals by weight, 96 percent of that biomass is humans and livestock; just 4 percent is wild animals.
I mean, I know we're fucked, but that is the tangible figure I really needed.
Drawing on experience, Shaw had been careful to pack a set of aging jeans and sweatshirt to replace those casual garments issued to them at the time of their departure, the latters' institutional flavour so devoid of anonymity that few dared to wear them. His companions, two men his own age, had taken no such measures and crossed the road before him stiffly in their new gym-grey and naval blue ensembles, boots still carrying their factory dust over the muddy tarmac toward a roadside inn. Its ponderous stone frontage was set back beneath a slatted balcony painted a fading pale milk chocolate. Slits of light fell through the yellow bottle glass windows and their thin render of dirt, to lie upon the sodden road. The trio paused to allow the passage of a pony ambling before a trailer of corrugated iron hammered over wood, its mismatched tractor tyres shrieking as they swayed upon their axles. Drifts of misting rain so fine that it settled on their clothing without soaking through blurred the darkness of the hills, their cobalt ramparts penning the listless village like some huge stockade.
The tavern door was manned by an ancient rustic seated beneath the sunken black felt of his hat; he squinted at the Americans as they ducked the lintel and stood before the counter in the shifting glow of christmas lights entwined around its timber fixtures, alternating red and green. Their leader scanned a gloom composed of candlelight and the malted stink of upset beer and smuggled cigarette smoke. Wessner was the tallest of them by half a foot but carried enough muscle to offset any impression of idle length, his face a neat, squared, close-shaven summary of his Pennsylvania Dutch extraction, his pale stare guarded by a forehead promising resolve. Belying these cues, he turned his back to the imbibing locals and reached down into his pocket to consult his GPS device for the third time since their arrival. Their communications officer leant over the small appliance himself, unduly invested in his vacillation. Amis was slender, watchful and dark-haired, possessed of a limpid gaze and restless limbs; Shaw murmured, too late to prevent the staring habitués emptying their vessels down their throats and departing in a flat-footed mass, the exodus leaving a single clique seated at the far end of the narrow room.
Its members sat behind imported beer bottles, nursing half-closed and blackened eyes and other undisguised contusions, their battered faces sharing the colours guttering in the grate of the tiled stove beside them. The shadowed atmosphere agreed so closely with the dark woodland pattern of their partial fatigues that their limbs merged with the furniture. Turning again, Wessner addressed Shaw beneath his breath, looking back toward the bar.
“They’re not our source.”
“We can't look like this.” Shaw muttered, glancing back at the remaining patrons while Amis sucked a corner of his mouth between his teeth. One of the trio beside the stove addressed them loudly from their crowded table.
“That’s okay, you know... your source, he talk to us, and he’s cool. Very, very cool.” he called to them through a smirk, lifting one booted foot and setting it on his knee. Their predacious smiles lit the silver in their eyes and spread into a slow, smug chuckle that they shared, exhaled with cigarette smoke. One of them kicked out a bench from beneath the table; before Wessner could object, Shaw moved to accept the invitation, standing before the stove. Their self-styled host’s star tattoos moved slowly on either side of his throat as he spoke. “You know, I was thinking about this so much... what gets black op guys all the way to here? Maybe it’s big and not so friendly and maybe it likes English girls... because, I think I know where you can find this.” He folded his hands behind his head and leant back against them.
Taking a look around them, Wessner issued a reply without returning his eyes to the alujha, and Shaw withdrew, retracing his steps toward the bar. The thin plank door in the shadowed wall beside it cast a line of light across the floor, and he put out a boot and pushed it inward. Behind it, one of the bright blonde bargirls stood bent over a trough-like sink beneath a naked bulb, her head pulled back by the fist wrapped in her ponytail; it belonged to a youth in a camouflage parka and combat boots, addressing himself with single-minded emphasis to the posterior revealed by the brevity of her denim skirt. She abused Shaw’s intrusion while ash fell from the delinquent guard’s cigarette over the rainbow tattoo on the small of her back; the latter slowed their conjugation and with one hand swung the assault rifle from his shoulder at Shaw’s features. He retreated slowly, looking into the pink-pencilled pout of the older barmaid as she sat upon a high stool, a glass of white spirit at her elbow.
The stove-side conclave adjourned, the sound of shuffled benches drawing the alujha guard from his tryst into the bar, zipping up his pants as he emerged. Shaw looked to his colleagues expectantly as they stepped out onto the street, hunching against the slight slant of the drizzle.
“It was positive.” Wessner assured him, against the weight of his own frown.
"You got a location?" They headed south along the side of the road, the few headlights pushing past them blurred by the mist beading around their eyes.
“Posted on the sat nav... advised on terrain, ordnance...”
“What’d they want?”
“They took a five year NOMO.” Shaw stopped before the turn they were about to take, blinking into the weather; Wessner’s scowl deepened as he looked back toward him. “Is there something you want to say, Shaw?” The demand turned Amis’s head to them as though pulling string knotted beneath his chin.
“These crews know we don’t have a presence out here... they want cash, not non-molestation bonds... they’ve been all about buying land since the eighties.”
Wessner shook his head as though at an absurdity.
“You're saying I should run this entire operation off of hearsay? We gave them what they asked for... what is your personal experience with this genera?” he demanded.
“Eight years, six campaigns, five on point.” The taller man’s stare faltered.
Shaw's impetus carried him past both men and onto the narrow lane running from the main road, the clay turning his boots a claggy yellow by the time he had made their billet in the hamlet’s collective-era grainstore, its blockwork stained with long streaks from the rusting lights on its facade. Josephine sat on a ply chair, eating her rations from a foil tray. Eight black sleeping bags were laid out in rows upon the concrete in the rear of the hangar-like structure; the conscripts assigned to them stood in a line with their hands clasped to the backs of their heads, their faces pressed to the furthest wall in an attitude of punitive immobility. She glanced up at Wessner as he brought his scowl inside, shaking the rain from his jacket and staring at the arrangement of his personnel. One of the entailed men turned slightly toward them and began to speak, shouting loudly over the blade-like tone still screaming in his head, but Josephine reached again for the poison-orange fob clipped to her belt and chastened his presumption. Wessner leant over her while she cornered the last element of her meal against the tray with her fork.
“I left orders for them to be sleeping off their air tranqs.” he hissed.
“I deal with verbal insub before it escalates.” she told him. He shook his head bitterly and looked back toward the punishment detail.
“Hit your bunks. We break at o-four hundred.” he declared. “Shaw... first watch.”
Shaw took a rain-damp chair sited by the door.
CONTINUED NEXT WEEK
© céili o'keefe do not reproduce
And that is how I came across the 15 carats of stunning Bolivian brilliance that is this ametrine.
It twinkled its way into my heart in the auction pics and did not disappoint once it had plopped into my hands and all for sub-$50. This piece hails from a watchmaker's estate and apparently sat in his shop window, casually slaying unwary basics with its understated subtlety and modest proportions. It's like we were made for each other.
What in the ever-living fuck is an ametrine, I hear you gasp. I didn’t know either. It sounded... mysterious. Chimeric. Synthetic, even. The internet informs us that structurally speaking, ametrine is a naturally bicoloured variant of quartz, combining the purple of amethyst and the yellow of citrine in one stone where the composition shifts from the former to the latter. It is hard, coming in at Mohs 7, which makes it practical, and came historically from only one locale; the Anahí mine, named for a high-born Ayoreo lady in the remote Bolivian Pantanál region. I recommend this great piece in gia.edu on the mineral and region if you have some idle moments.
All brokearseness aside, there is a definite case for opting for obscure gems of single or limited derivation. It's generally easier to decide if you can stomach the supply chain; their procurement tends not to attract the most ruthless traders, spark conflicts or devastate entire regions and cultures. And there is a consensus that many are currently undervalued. I concur, having lived long enough to see a number of sources played out and formerly humble materials graduate into conspicuous value in the public consciousness. Padparadscha sapphires used to be cheap as chips on those ye olde Thai beaches, simply because everyone wanted Princess Di blue; now it’ll cost you your left tit for a half-decent one (yes I missed that particular boat and am incredibly bitter). My ametrine would retail for around $250 as far as I can tell and that’s still a bargain, when bang-for-buck size/interest etc. are considered.
It is a beautiful thing in both loud and subtle ways. The refraction is ridiculous due to the high clarity, incredibly bright polish and outrageously buxom cut with its fat arse and puffy disco ball facets. The colour shift runs vertically, like strokes of lightning slashing down into the cellar of the stone, yellow bands soaking through the bright mauve and turning it a rosey golden pink from many angles.
I think I’ll put it in a ring, a thick band with some sort of serpentine hammered finish. Will blog when can afford.
I really liked this image so I fucked around with it for a while and came up with this. It's a greasy dream sort of thing.
Have you ever experienced these kinds of visual effects whilst tripping balls on Psilocybe? There were two different pathways for me- blindly i.e passing/experiencing the sensory stuff through my skin and flesh, and letting myself fall into the drift through my eyes, if you know what I mean. The radiant way, sometimes full of offset detail and weirdly coherent colour shifts that relate to all those other forms of occult logic.
Everyone's all about the mushrooms these days but I wouldn't have the guts to do them now, frankly. While I used to love their utter unpredictability, my brain's just seen too many rough miles. It's like that seething, fleshy stump monster in Flash Gordon in that the best I could hope for while tripping is not being painfully envenomed by some lurking dissociated scenario. I am disappoint. Mushrooms were the only hallucinogen I actually enjoyed from a purely recreational perspective. That's another problem with being middle-aged; you're only halfway through the tedious process of fully getting over yourself.
The prospect of genetically engineered organisms entering the New Zealand biosphere for fun but mostly profit keeps rearing its ugly fucking head. I maintain a hard no position. You don't have to understand the CRISPR processes to smell what stinks about it, though apparently the technicians and researchers pushing for its release still haven't bought a fucking clue. They are giddy about the science. It behooves them to present an unimpeachable account of its utility, and they display both coyly venal and terrifyingly naive attitudes toward its commercialisation. It is not anti-intellectualism to assert that we cannot trust academia with the totality of this decision and if a sizeable chunk of the nerd complex didn't privately acknowledge this, trust me, we'd already be eating tomacco.
We should reject most forms of genetic modification for a hundred different speculative- precautionary reasons. Genetic expression and regulation are bewilderingly polyvalent, to an extent beyond our current collective understanding (not just my understanding). Modded genomes will contribute to wild and domestic biomes to unknown effect. Unknown effect. I'm not down. But there is another compelling reason to reject this technology, one that has nothing to do with the materia, and that is its underlying imperatives.
The proposed modifications to farmed organisms are just doubling down on the greedy, mindless MO that has gotten us into this collective shit in the first place. The expectation of an endless free lunch, of infinite extraction via intensive agriculture has already despoiled the entire planet. How will plants tweaked to fruit all year be anything other than corporate-garrisoned vampires on our insolvent resources? The unprecedented and aseasonal amplification of production will not feed a billion more humans*; it will devolve into jet fuel for a garbage-fire market system in which greed, exclusion and profligacy are utterly intrinsic.
Capitalism as it stands is the enemy of equitable provision. GE tech will make no net contribution to managing our finite inputs. There will be no more water or fertiliser left to lavish on apple trees that never stop fruiting or wheat that triples the currently achievable tonnage, and that production will be squandered anyway. Intensive farming interests in New Zealand have already wrought utterly perverse and irreversible damage under the aegis of a sociopathic corporate entity. The result? A huge chunk of New Zealanders can no longer afford dairy products or drink and swim in what remains of our cowshit-poisoned waterways. Fonterra has already demonstrated both its ruthlessness and its impunity. In a GE near future, when their modified cows need more resources to deliver more profit, who will restrain them? Nobody.
I don't want to consume GE organisms, for both private and extrinsic reasons. Corporate interests are attempting to force them into the food chain. I think we've already established just how much altruism and integrity figures in their reckoning. If that isn't the most compelling of all arguments to say fuck no to the thin edge of this toxic wedge, I don't know what else to tell you.
* Fertility rates are falling around the world to an unprecedented extent: it's not just you who doesn't want to fuck or procreate. Yay herd stress!
Oregon Zoo has pub'd some radiographic images of its residents.
We support well-run zoos and sanctuaries for one compelling reason; for many species, they are their best and last chance at maintaining a viable, diversified population. You can quibble all you like about born-free ideals and the evils of captivity, but there's not enough time left for those sorts of scruples. There just isn't.
top to bottom: Chameleon, Flying Fox, Python, Beaver, Toucan.
Susan was grateful to be able to lie on her side in the darkness, carefully tonguing the smooth new vacancy between her teeth and wishing the scent of the needles padding her repose had proved more soporific. Beside her on his naked back lay Sachiin, arms strewn beneath his head and a rifle set between him and the dark legs of the painted horse, as indifferent as ever to exposure in his somnolence. Her restive gaze wandered across his softly glowing pallor until his arm slid out around her seemingly of its own volition; she shrugged it off and spread her sleeping bag across him, sighing as it sloughed away. The wind had dropped and settled stasis on the gorge, allowing her the sounds conveyed beneath its auspices; fluting south-bound trains of migrant birds, the tiny, squeaking-wood cries of bats hawking across the colonnade and the languid repeat of her companion's breathing. That he would never be conscious of the beauty he wore in repose was a notion that added to the mass that held sleep so steadfastly at bay.
Between her own slow breaths came a distant, concerted strike or clatter, strangely repetitious and insistent; she sighed, sat up and eased her feet into her boots. He handed her the rifle without opening his eyes, which she accepted and then abandoned by the door.
The zip tab beneath her chin chimed as she climbed down the outer steps, her hand against the cold wall of the hillside. Low clouds leant the night its sequestered nature and pallid reflet, loosing harbinger flakes that dissolved against her outline as they drifted earthward, under no apparent duress from gravity. At the bottom of the flight she sat down and pushed off the landing stone with both hands, onto the broken suggestion of a path that skirted the base of the pile toward what might once have been its kitchen gardens, the stretch of half-leveled slope upon which the alujha had stood to issue their complaint. Blocks of toppled parapet lay strewn across its width like pieces swept from an enormous chess board and stamped into the ground, casting little shadow.
Edward stood amongst them beside a great cache of windfall timber. He swung skyward then hurled down the head of an axe dragged from a store in the bowels of the ruin; the ancient implement sectioned the limbs with little aid from its dull edge, driven deeply into the wood with a force that shuddered through his daunting frame. His pullover hung from a waiting branch like the upper half of a form he had abandoned. The crack of the blows flew back at him from the wall then away into the encroaching forest, the trees standing as though they had climbed the slope to satisfy a morbid curiosity. Susan stood hoping for an acknowledgment, but he did not pause to look at her and she sat down on a cap stone in a hunch against the cold, her mood settling around her like the sleeping bag, imposing its dense black presence between her spine and lungs.
Within the fixed frame of her stare and its own mechanized trajectory, his shape suffered shade-like alterations so fluid and persistent that she was forced to blink them away before they became too disturbing. They led her to ponder what he battered so unceasingly when the wood began to blur; through his eyes, she saw so much lie down beneath the blade that she ceased to wonder at his dedication and began to make her own grim offerings, throwing the aborted shapes of spite and insufficiency under the steel. The snow did not melt on his shoulders as he worked, but lay in narrow drifts until it slid away along his back under its own weight. Susan could not bring herself to examine the disfeatured archives on his arms, her stare falling instead to the naked foot with which he pinned the branches and its narrow adjacency to the point where the blade cleaved them. That she minded its atrocious potential more than he did seemed a thing of inexplicit poignancy, referring again to their dispirited impasse until clarity urged her to her feet.
He had set down the heavy haft and stooped to toss the cut wood over the wall, where it cleared the parapet and clattered audibly on the floor of the yard. Her careful navigation of the slope toward him caused him finally to pause, albeit with an expression that should have halted the intrusion. Frowning to herself as she stepped over the branches, Susan encircled him with both arms, turning her head against him.
“We do love you, Kala'amātya.” she sighed. “Please don’t be so sad.”
He smelled of the night and green fir balsam and stood completely still, feeling so much like and yet unlike his brother that she suffered a moment of baffling agnosis, meeting reserve where Sachiin wore invitation, a desolate parity with the granite of the ruin and the snow that fell around them so that she might not have distinguished him from either.
“Let me go.” he said, almost in resignation.
“Make me.” she replied, frowning in the expectation that he might. “Thank you... for my tooth, and... everything.”
“Tout le plaisir est pour moi.” he assured her. Susan released him, but grasped the arm he offered as she stumbled backward over unseen timber. She stooped to pick up one of the lengths, shuffling a small way down the slope and wheeling her arm in a circle before letting the piece fly in the hope it would clear the parapet, which it did not, hitting the wall and bouncing back at them. He put out a hand and caught it before it could strike her, committing it to the yard himself and shaking his head faintly at the smile she turned to him. Her gaze followed him to the edge of the cut wood, where he began to sort the pieces too large to throw.
"Do you mind... being called Kala'amātya?"
"Not any more." he admitted. She was led toward her few coherent notions of Helaine de Marchand, imagining her voice as the analgesic agency that had cleansed the word of its pernicious connotations. She bowed her head and blew warmth against her hands.
"I am sorry, for calling you a sadist..."
Dragging another branch from the pile, he shrugged in a brief concession.
"Never apologize to one." The set of her mouth changed with her appreciation of the remark as he took up the axe again. The first log flew in two directions across the snow; Susan watched him halve another dozen lengths. “You look cold.” he added with his back to her, and she smiled at the unsubtle denotation; the crack and buffet of the wood proved so sapid that she was loath to leave it, but he looked to her and changed his grasp upon the weapon, and she shuffled off in the direction she had come.
CONTINUED NEXT WEEK
© céili o'keefe do not reproduce
The first real bunch of the season. The smell. I almost forget why I am such a slave to a good rose and flowers in general, then I go out into the garden after late spring rain and find them all smiling at me. I am hard-pressed to think of anything more gratifying.
In the pagan canon, the Garden returns to us everything we've lost along the way-
love, virtue, honour, pleasure, even those who have departed and descended- restoring everything we require to endure. I think that is almost true, and if not literally so, at least its gentle substitutions are resplendent and perfumed.
Texturally Janet is a 90% opaque, medium-sheen satin which doesn't bleed, stays put and applies evenly straight from the tube. There's no caking or drying, two minor blights that knock points off the muddier, stodgier UD After Dark. My only real technical gripe is the typical Nars Audacious line's consistent skipping on the midst of my turned-out lower lip, but this shade will cover there if you take the time to drag it slowly over that area a couple of times.
We have Nars Janet (left) and MAC Flat Out Fabulous (Retro Matte) for comparison in the triptych below. Trying to get Janet's blue duochrome to show up without the sensor splitting it into glitter is next to impossible. The pic at far left if probably closest.
And now for the caveats. If you can't werq much blue, don't take a punt on Janet hoping your lip colour might bend her in your favour. It won't. Also- magenta's ability to blow up one's defects needs consideration. This colour clashes horribly with my cheek capillaries and I have to correct that shit before we are simpatico. It's not a casual slap-on shade unless your skin is all dewy perfection and your undertones are unicorn-compatible.
Many of us love magenta but need assistance if we are not to look unwittingly editorial. I've learnt some tricks. Most importantly- hide yo problems: go for a medium coverage foundation or at least take your time with a good concealer. If you really covet that low-information, freshly pissed-on in a fuck tape realness, by all means go hard with the ditchpig contouring and industrial highlighter. I can only advise against it. Related: magenta + asphaltic Instagram dirge-brow = mistake. Stick with a minimal, tightlined, mascara-heavy eye. If you don't have a truly appropriate blush to hand, don't just slap on a peachy random or you may discover there are worse things than looking a bit monochromatic.
Finally, don't succumb to the temptation to pencil a magenta outline, even in the utterly, inconceivably unlikely event your liner matches perfectly. In fact, wipe a fingertip lightly around the edge of your application or do the same with a transparent primer stick to blur it out a wee bit. Extra wearability is achieved just by taking down that margin contrast.
But whatever. I love Nars Janet. She can sit on my face any time.
L2R all MAC unless stated: Russian Red, Nars Janet, Urban Decay After Dark,
Bite Beauty Beetroot, Girl About Town, Rebel, D for Danger