Alice Toler is an editor at CATALYST and a Salt Lake-based artist. Look for her blog updates, appearing several times a week, here: http://catalystmagazine.net/component/k2/itemlist/category/150-outside-the-box
When I started writing "Outside of the Box" for CATALYST a few years ago, I had a particular goal in mind: The world seemed like it was wearing a fright-mask, and I wanted to get a look behind it to see what was really going on. We have an awful lot of media trying to keep us scared and angry. What are the actual facts of the matter? Is the human race really as badly off as all that? Are we really going to hell in a handbasket—or even a stolen Walmart shopping cart?
There's yet another white powder on the black market that's been killing club kids. Back when I was a child, cocaine was wrecking lives and causing fatal heart attacks in a small number of those who indulged; these days, the devil is named Molly. Four dead in New York, one dead in Virginia, one dead and two made gravely ill in Boston. The Electric Zoo music fest in New York was shut down by the mayor's office after two concertgoers died. Politicians are making statements. Colleges are tweeting warnings to their students. Headlines are screaming.
As far back as we have discovered preserved human skin, we have found evidence of tattooing. It has always been a means of establishing both cultural and individual identity, and often has been used as an approach to both mundane and spiritual power. Although the practice and art of tattoo have changed greatly as new inking technologies have evolved, the reasons why people get inked are often still profound. Salt Lake City has a thriving tattoo culture. If you've ever been curious as to who gets tattooed and why, and more importantly if you have ever wanted a tattoo yourself and have been wondering how to go about getting one, read on.
The Maker culture in Salt Lake City has just enjoyed a facilities upgrade and expansion, so if you've ever yearned to learn more about electronics, 3D printing, robotics, laser cutting, CNC manufacturing, LED hacking, wood shop, Arduino programming, or just about any aspect of custom building new and cool widgets and tech art, it's time to get off your duff and go start making things.
In a way, the U.S. Supreme Court's 2010 Citizens United ruling has done us all a favor when it comes to recruiting individual enrollment in the democratic process: Bring up campaign finance reform at a dinner party and you're liable to be met by a roomful of glazed eyeballs, but pose the question as to whether a corporation is a person, and you're much more likely to get some conversational engagement.
I used to hate my allergies. What's to like about them? When I get a good snootful of pollen, it feels like my brain is trying to evacuate itself through my sinuses. Sometimes I start to teeter into asthmatic territory. I lose my ability to think properly. I can't physically function at all. It is incredibly frustrating. Spring is a lovely time of year, but I've learned to associate fresh plant growth with inevitable bodily distress.
Turn off the bute and go clean out the gutters.
—by Alice Toler
Ponds in the desert. ALSO: Know your tomato types—determinate and indeterminate; the virtues of Umbellifers.
—by Alice Toler
Taking the idea of Lent to a new level.
—by Alice Toler
What's going on with agave nectar? It came on the scene a few years ago, touted as a healthy alternative to other sweeteners because of its low glycemic index, and soon thereafter was summarily disparaged by Joseph Mercola, an influential osteopath and alternative medicine internet personality. Mercola calls agave nectar a "triumph of marketing over truth," equates it with high fructose corn syrup, and recommends steering clear of it.