Categories
Reading

Sunday Reads (2019-12-22)

Settle in for a few long reads of interest this week.

  1. Excellent piece on how we teach writing to students. I found it thoughtful and reflective. Good for anyone who teaches writing or uses writing in their classroom – Is Writing to Text the Only “High-Quality” Curriculum?
  2. A local (Ojai) piece on the ongoing journey of fires, dams, history and floods – Matilija Hot Springs to be leveled
  3. A deep discussion on mental health and Buddhism from a master. From 1975!? – Make Your Mind an Ocean
  4. This one is definitely making the rounds and I encourage everyone to take the time a read this investigative piece from The NY Times – Twelve Million Phones, One Dataset, Zero Privacy
  5. Another great investigative piece on where fascism lives both in America and internationally – Transnational White Terror: Exposing Atomwaffen And The Iron March Networks
  6. A short piece for those teaching mindfulness – Why Mindfulness And Trauma-Informed Teaching Don’t Always Go Together
Categories
General

Getting to Santa Barbara during 2018 Mudslides

We begin the second week with the 101 freeway closed in Montecito due to flood and mudslides. It’s an awful situation. Not for me particularly, but for the people living in the community.

Last week I worked from home in Ojai, but this week I needed to be in Santa Barbara. The trip from Ojai usually takes about an hour but now the options are limited and long. We have Amtrak, but they’ve been running an hour or two late all week and at maximum capacity. The boats that usually do whale watching have switched to commuter boats, but I’m not to keen on spending 120-minutes at sea each day. The last choice is to drive around.

Today I made that long journey around. I figured in a typical week I spend 10-12 hours on the road so the 4.5 hour drive (one-way) seemed reasonable.

Leaving at 3:30am, only 15-minutes earlier than my normal wake-Up time, I was able to be at work by 8am. The traffic was heavy, but not unbearable. The hardest portion was definitely the 100-miles of two-lanes on highway 166. Even at 5am, it was pretty much one long row of cars and semis. We did maintain 45-55mph through all that. The other portions, highway 126, I-5, and southbound 101 from Santa Maria we’re all pretty typical traffic.

I’m not sure if I’ll do the drive next week, even if the freeway remains closed, but I’m here at Santa Barbara City College now preparing for the spring semester. Next week we’ll have an additional 1500 students trying to get from the other side of Montecito to campus. Not to mention all the other 100,000 vehicles that traverse this route on a daily basis.

I wish CalTrans good luck getting the water, mud, and debris off the freeway. And healing for the Montecito community.

Categories
Photography

Morning Gift from a Cactus

Categories
Ojai Politics

Support Local Businesses, No Chains in Ojai

no_chainsBack in mid-2006 I created a wiki to document a community effort to restrict formula businesses (aka-chains) in Ojai, California. We were ultimately successful on November 27, 2007 with the passage of Ordinance #798. A few years later I shut down the wiki because it was requiring too much effort on my part to maintain and I felt like we had enough years with the ordinance regulating formula businesses. Now with a potential revision to the ordinance before the City Council again, I’m finding myself wanting to review the background. The purpose of this post is to simply document the work we did along with a timeline. It will be cross-posted on the Ojai Post.

This type of ordinance has been passed in many cities and towns (must read!) and been upheld in court. See the June 2003 California Appeals Court decision upholding Coronado’s formula business ordinance. Ojai community members began working on an ordinance in December 2006. The final document was called Formula Retail and Restaurant Establishments and it was submitted to the City of Ojai on April 9, 2007 and signatures have been collected from approximately 700 Ojai voters; enough to be placed on the ballot.

Time Line (2006-present) :

Categories
General

Frog Warriors

I'm stepping out of my comfort zone by choosing to join a small group of men for eight gatherings over the next four months. I've done a great deal of group work over the last twenty years, but this one already feels different. It's not a Buddhist group. It's not a 12-step group. Most importantly, I'm not the leader. We will gather to look into our manhood, to learn from each other, and to build community.

Even though I've lived in Ojai for seven years, I've not taken the opportunity to create a community of my own. It's a small town and I know many people, but I tend to honor my introvert self and stay home with my family or do things on my own. I met the eight men last night for the first time. I knew only one person, and even him I only know on a very casual level. What I discovered in two hours was a group of very kind men who want to explore something different and build community.

Let the adventure begin. Open heart. Open mind.

#miscjoy #ojai #family

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Categories
Buddhism Ojai

International Day of Peace

Established in 2002  1982, today is the United Nations’ International Day of Peace. As a lifelong pacifist and peace activist, I see today as another opportunity to take action. Being peaceful in the time of war and turmoil is a very courageous act and often counter to how we are told to act and to respond. Being a pacifist does not mean being passive – it requires action and courage to stand up to violence. One such group that I support is the Nonviolent Peaceforce, an international organization that trains civilians to go into conflict areas to prevent death and destruction and protect human rights. Other groups, such as Fellowship of Reconciliation and Christian Peacemaker Teams do similar work.

Perhaps the easiest route to peace is to find peace within yourself. My teacher, Thich Nhat Hanh (Thay), is well known for his statements and actions on peace. He tries to keep things real simple by encouraging us to come back to ourselves and learn to live in peace each moment of daily life. I have been honored to practice with Thay for the past decade and to learn the practice of true peace. As a spiritual leader in my community, I have been asked to share a few minutes at an InterSpiritual Service that is part of Living Peace in Ojai. Instead of talking about peace, we will practice peace by using the following exercise. As Thay has said, “Even in the midst of suffering, it is possible to bring our awareness to the good qualities within yourself and allow them to manifest in your consciousness. Practice mindful breathing to remind yourself of your Buddha nature, of the great compassion and understanding in you.”

Categories
Photography

Summer Flowers in Ojai




Summer Flowers in Ojai

I just bought a new camera and have been taking a few nature shots. I found a used Canon Rebel XT on eBay for a decent price. Look for more pictures from me in the future.