Week 3

Week three, and nothing to report. A year feels like a long time today, but I’m still excited about this project. It makes me think about the way I consume everything: from food to clothes to energy… I just received a bunch of money from the government; they have a startup scholarship to help with the costs of study. There’s a list of things I’d love to buy, but sitting on the idea for a while and thinking about what’s useful in my life, what’s harmful for the world is a process I have a lot to gain from. NNY is slowing me down.

Gauche is going to post soon about toiletries, but I thought I’d get in first with a couple words on Neem, and shaving.

Neem’s a tree which grows pretty commonly around Melbourne, though it’s native to India and South Asia, where it’s been used for years as teeth-cleaner. My friend Ali first taught me how to use Neem about six months ago, and I didn’t take it up at the time, but my toothbrush is starting to look a little manktastic and using Neem just seems so sensible right now. To brush your teeth with it, you take a length of thin branch, and gnaw the tip til it the fibres break into soft bristles. When you’ve got it to that point, you’re pretty much set to go! Like I say, Neem grows prolifically around Melbourne, and only a small amount of the tree is needed. a six-inch stick might last three or four weeks. It’s really bitter, and you need to spit the juices out a lot – I’ve been using the time as an opportunity to walk around the garden of a morning, and check in on the world in my backyard.

Shaving…well, those of you who grow facial hair and don’t want to can maybe share my frustration with my body’s complete recalcitrance when it comes to my desire for being chinbald. Shaving every day can become a drain on resources, though there’s a couple of options other than the go-to of disposable razors. Razors with removable heads are at least slightly less wasteful than single-use blades. Electrical shavers last a long time before you need to replace or sharpen the blades. But I think for getting clean cut in style (and without using power in a frankly unnecessary manner) you can’t go past a cut-throat razor. I managed to pick one up secondhand for $15 about a month back, and got it honed for $5 at a blade shop across the creek from me. It’ll need re-honing every five years or so, and needs to be stropped every time I use it, but it should last me a lifetime. I get the impression it’s already lasted someone theirs. I might write about capitalist conspiracies to incorporate obsolescence into all products some other time, but whatever the reason, tools like straight razors don’t seem to be in fashion at the moment, and I think that’s both dangerous for our longterm survival and a sadness – there is a loss, I think, in the absence of (for want of a better word) soul in the everyday household.

Unfortunately, my housemates broke the handle of the razor. My next job is to make or find another one…

Also, I’m going to learn to weld at loophole community centre in the next few weeks. My bike rack broke as I was dinking a mate so I’ve had to take it off, which significantly decreases my cargo capacity. Oh well; gluing metal to metal with superheated other metal sounds like my idea of fun, and it’ll be a great skill to have.