Wednesday, September 18, 2013

Lora's Birthday 2013

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Lora's Birthday 2013, a set on Flickr.

A few shots of Lora's 32nd Birthday party with the Cagle Crew.

Yuba River 2013

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Yuba River 2013, a set on Flickr.

Had a great time at the river, as usual.

Thursday, September 5, 2013

Moving Time

Plans and preparations continue apace for our giant moving day on the morrow.  Most everything is in order already, things have been boxed and packed and even a little bit of "minimizing" has taken place, though not to the extent I think it should!  I hate moving, so does Yoda, and Mom and Lora.  Hey, only Max has not said "I hate moving," and that's probably because he only says "good-bye" and a couple of other words anyway ;-)  Earlier today mom and I went over to Tracy where she got her satellite TV hooked up and I managed to get the WiFi going.  Mom and I struggled with and finally managed to put up the pool fence so we are confident that Max can safely be in the back yard with supervision, that is a good thing.  It is going to be great once we have moved, but for now it really sucks.  Our new house is closer to the Bay Area, is larger and more logically laid out and has a pool and RV parking.  So, it's a good thing over all.  Wish us luck.

Tuesday, September 3, 2013

Music "The Dawn of Midi"

Anyone who knows me really well will understand how happy this music makes me. :-)

http://feeds.wnyc.org/~r/radiolab/~3/qJ4n2ZC5FfE/

Monday, September 2, 2013

The Joys of Modern Trains

I ride BART to work, the ride covers 28 miles as the crow flies and takes about 40 minutes.   On most days it's pretty uneventful and even rather pleasant, sitting in comfort and reading or napping on the way to and from work.

On other days the ride can be downright weird.  Today was weird.

It being a holiday, Labor Day, the trains were on a limited schedule.  When I arrived at the Dublin BART station there was train at the platform with about a quarter of it's doors open.  Inside were a number of "homeless" people, most of them very pungent.  I walked along the platform seeking a car with an open door and lacking fragrant crack-heads.  As I was passing about the third car with, a half dozen of the seedier denizens of the Bay Area sleeping in the seats in each car, I passed one in which one of these fine upstanding citizens and honored BART passengers was sitting spread eagled in the seat with an extremely explicit large format color pr0n magazine and his hand down his pants.  I kept walking.  

Eventually I located a relatively clean and empty car and settled in for the wait for departure.  Soon a BART employee came through the car telling everyone to leave as this train was being taken out of service.  Ah well, such is life.

I, and the fragrant brotherhood of all night train riders, wandered around on the platform, me seeking to get upwind of all of them, they talking to the air and stumbling about in a daze.  

A new train pulled into the station and I was able to locate a clean car, with the new vinyl seats and no one at all sitting in it.  Ah the joy!  I took out my iPad and began to read from The Treasury of Daily Prayer  readings for today.  Just as I was settled and reading along quietly two older Jewish ladies entered the car, that car that contained only one other passenger, me, looked around as they talked loudly of the upcoming Holy Days, Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur, and of course they sat in the seat adjacent to mine, all the rest being totally empty and thus not suitable for some reason and continued loudly bragging about the New Years cards they'd sent out.  

I stood up in annoyance and left the car seeking one with less chatty neighbors.  The next car back was full of normal BART riders, folk going to work and just sitting quietly reading or napping.  Perfect.

Two stations down the line though two exceptionally large people boarded the train one black lady and a hispanic man, between them I'd guess they weighed over 800 pounds, they too were loudly and animatedly talking, so you know where they had to sit.  Yes, one in the sideways facing seat in front of me and the other taking up the seat next to me, and about a third of my seat as well.  As is often the case with large women this one had at least a gallon of perfume on.  By this time I had given up trying to read and was listening to an audio book instead.  But not being able to hear the words over the loud talk of nearly a half ton of reeking blubber I switched over to SOMA FM "The Trip" http://somafm.com/thetrip/  I closed my eyes and prayed that I wouldn't suffocate before I arrived at the Embarcadero.
  
Not my worst ride ever, but certainly could have been better.  Now it's almost time to go home, I wonder what adventures with humanity await me on the train tonight...

Sunday, September 1, 2013

Facebook - No...

Well, I went back on Facebook a few days ago and it turns out it just makes me even crazier than I am without looking at it.  I'm not going to be specific about why because I don't want to insult anyone, even those friends who really really annoy me.  :-)  So, for my own mental health, and that of those who inadvertently read my posts, I'm quitting again.  

Yes, I'm a quitter, so slap me.  I'm also going to try my best to go back to not posting about politics here.  No guarantees on that though, sometimes the behavior and proclamations of our masters just calls out for response and rebuttal.  

Thursday, August 29, 2013

How an Insular Beltway Elite Makes Wars of Choice More Likely - Conor Friedersdorf - The Atlantic

How an Insular Beltway Elite Makes Wars of Choice More Likely - Conor Friedersdorf - The Atlantic

Do you wonder where all of this "pressure to act" that the Emperor is supposedly under comes from?  This story from the Atlantic explains it pretty well.

Parliament Revolts, Brits to Stay Out of Syria -- News from Antiwar.com

 Parliament Revolts, Brits to Stay Out of Syria -- News from Antiwar.com

Seems to me that if Emperor Obama refuses to consult with congress before attacking Syria the military should REFUSE to launch what will CLEARLY be an unconstitutional, illegal and immoral attack.  Of course they won't do that because they are just as useless when it comes to honoring their OATHS to uphold and defend the constitution as are the spineless and gutless cowards in congress.  It's humiliating when even the British Parliament has more backbone than the American Congress. 

Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Jimmy Carter: “America does not have a functioning democracy at this time.”

Even Jimmy Carter recognizes that the old Republic is dead!

I stumbled upon this story today, somehow it barely got mentioned in the Imperial Press Service coverage of "News" last month.

I give you this so those who think I exaggerate the death of the Republic can have a more moderate voice to consult, Jimmy Carter:
Former U.S. President Jimmy Carter gestures before delivering a speech at a hotel in Yangon on April 5, 2013.
Soe Zeya Tun | Reuters
 Former U.S. President Jimmy Carter gestures before delivering a speech at a hotel in Yangon on April 5, 2013.
Posted July 31, 2013, at 1:16 p.m.
Anyone is naive who thinks the commonly available sources for news in the U.S. are effectively superior to the Soviet news organization Pravda, whose Orwellian name is a hybrid noun meaning both “truth” and “justice.” There seems to be little difference between the dominant news organ of the old U.S.S.R. and U.S. corporate media, which might just as well have a single outlet perhaps titled “Fairalanced” (an English hybrid noun I just made up, meaning both “fair” and “balanced”).
Here in Germany, where I am spending the summer, I have just discovered a stunning illustration of this reality. In mid-July, the German newspaper Der Spiegel reported on remarksmade by Jimmy Carter in his home state of Georgia in which he defended the actions of Edward Snowden and called his revelations “useful,” declared the National Security Agency “has gone too far,” and concluded, “America does not have a functioning democracy at this time.”
This is truly mind-blowing stuff, and yet the American press has played it almost strictly hands off. Eight days after the Hamburg-based weekly, one of continental Europe’s most influential news magazines, reported what the former U.S. president had to say, there had been only a couple of brief reports in the U.S. news media, most from virtually unknown outlets taken secondhand from Der Spiegel at least three or four days after the German news magazine went to press.

I can't do it

Turns out I cannot NOT talk about the obscenity that is the American Empire.  The fact that there is a constant stream of talk about Emperor Obama ordering an attack on yet another Middle Eastern state makes me want to vomit and go buy one of those nasty red white and blue bits of cloth with stripes and stars to clean it up... maybe burn it on the trash pile after it dries.

First of all I am old enough to recall the days when this Empire still at least pretended to be a Republic, and when the press questioned Imperial Pronouncements and sought independent verification of what they said and called them on it when it turned out to be lies.  This is no longer the the way things are in the American Empire.  Today we have an all powerful Emperor who does not even pretend to consult the impotent cowards of the Senate and the House before unleashing the Imperial Legions on the women and children of far away lands, raining down death and destruction to enforce the will of the Empire.

In the latest case we have the accusation that Syria has used chemical weapons on it's own people in it's own capital city, an appalling act, if true.  Though why it is of concern to me here in California I don't know.   Of course actual evidence is exceptionally thin, just as it was when discussing the nonexistent "Weapons of Mass Destruction" supposedly stockpiled under a camel barn in Iraq.  Even after that lie was exposed the Empire continued to spout it as justification for the destruction of a nation, the slaughter of hundreds of thousands of civilians and the virtual extermination of the 2000 year old Christian minority there.  Now the Empire is siding with vicious murdering Islamic fanatics who glory in beheading members of the Christian Community in Syria.  The American Empire is anti-Christian, pro-Israeli and pro-Islamic.  It is certainly not doing these things for the benefit of the peasants in America.

Sadly there is no way to change these things right now, the Republic is long dead, voting is a meaningless exercise that changes nothing.  There is only one party with two faces, the Democrats and Republicans are a single group of corporate whores ruling on behalf of the ultra-rich.  The Libertarians and other smaller parties are tolerated only to provide the illusion that change is possible, it is not.  Only armed revolt could change the Empire, and that is not going to happen because the subjects of the Empire actually like it for the most part.  It makes them feel important to be a subject of the most powerful Empire in the history of the world and they seem to care little for the lives of people in far away lands as long as they have their big screen TVs and SUVs.  

So why do I bother to vent here?   Only one reason, to undermine the legitimacy of the government.  The real way to change things is to stop pretending the government is anything other than a gang of criminals.  Don't ask them for anything, don't accept anything from them, don't obey them unless they are watching :-)  Undermine them at every opportunity.   This will not bring rapid change but if enough people recognize the reality of what government is, naked violence, perhaps change will be possible.  I'm not optimistic, but not without any hope at all either.  I see many more people recognizing the evil of government today than I did even twenty years ago, there is hope, not much but still, there is hope.

Monday, August 26, 2013

Non Political Blog Posts

Oh my, looking at current events in the Middle East I really do regret my irrevocable vow not to pollute this blog with politics. 

Please Pray for peace and justice in the Middle East.  It will not come from the United States shoving it's big nose in places it doesn't belong, that is for sure.  

So, see, this post was really about PRAYER :-)  I won't go in to a long rant about... the US and it's myriad little wars... no... I won't do it!  Arrrrgh!  :-p~

Sunday, August 25, 2013

Tuesday, August 20, 2013

Social Media update

It has now been 15 days since I deactivated my Facebook and Twitter accounts as an experiment to see if I could reduce the amount of time and energy I wasted online.  After a fortnight of no Facebook I find that I have returned to my older habits of reading books and writing.  It turns out that Facebook had been stealing so much of my time that I read little else.  Before Facebook I used to read a couple of books per week.  During the now-ended Facebook phase of my life my book reading ground to a near stop, I was lucky to get through one book a month! 

I must say that I do not miss anything about Facebook.  Not the announcements of glorious victory in various games, not the incessant "cute" cat pictures, not the bombastic political posts from left and right wings both, and yes, I'm guilty of those myself, I vow not to pollute this blog with them in the future. I don't miss the lame jokes, the myriad "blessings from God" posts nor the "new age" crap that filled in the gaps between the rest.  Facebook was a time sink I am better off without.  I know some people are able to have a Facebook account and only look at it now and then but I have one of those weak addictive personalities and I was checking Facebook every hour at least, usually even more often than that, looking for that rush that comes when someone "likes" a post and searching the news for provocative items I could post about to get a rise out of my "friends."   Friends?  I barely knew most of these people!

In the last two weeks I've read "The Tribune, a Novel of Ancient Rome"  by Patrick Larkin, which was wonderful.  I give it my "Larry says you should read this imprimatur."  It is narrated by a Roman tribune who encounters several important characters from the New Testament and is a murder mystery as well.  It's very well written and worth the time to read it.

I also read "Taking Flight" by Adrian Magnusun, which receives my one level up from should read and gets my "must read imprimatur."  It's about a man slowly declining into senility with Alzheimer's disease and a 13 year old boy who travels cross country with him as they both seek to escape from restrictive lives of different sorts.  They find a bond in a mutual love of birds.  This is one of those books I had trouble finishing, mostly because it's so hard to read with tears in my eyes.

Finally I read "The Discovery of Socket Greeny" by Tony Bertauski, which receives only my read it if you want to it's a fun sci-fi read approval, no imprimatur on this one :-)

In between these books I've read in the Bible and Book of Concord daily, also large sections of Mere Christianity by CS Lewis and a couple of months worth of the Analog Sci-Fi magazine.

So, Facebook was sucking my time and energy that I could have spent reading real books but no more.  I know some people might think that reading books all the time is a waste of time comparable to wasting time looking at Facebook, but they are wrong, in my most humble opinion.

Sunday, August 18, 2013

From San Leandro

I'm posting this morning from my RV parked on a city street in San Leandro. I believe this is my penultimate visit to this place. In September we'll be moving to a new house in Tracy.  This will be close enough to BART to make staying in the RV unnecessary.  Well, that's what I think now, I'll have to try it for a while to be certain.  This small space living experiment has met with mixed results.  On the one hand minimizing clutter and excess belongings makes it easier to clean and just feels better over all.  On the other hand being in a small space doesn't work on a crowded city street.  If you can be outside, like in the country, it might be OK.  But being in an RV on the street is pretty claustrophobic to me.  So, farewell street living, one more time and I'm done.  :-) 

Saturday, August 17, 2013

Cosmos

A sequel or perhaps a remake of the classic "Cosmos" series.  Very cool.  Of course Neil deGrasse Tyson is an atheist/materialist so it's going to be tilted that way, but still, I'll bet it will be interesting, Tyson is anything but boring :-)


Dang, I may be forced to actually hook up basic cable...

Evolution - Creation and Christianity

I've been holding off on posting about this subject for quite a while.  It is a subject that is very important to me, in that I've always been fascinated by origins.  Where did we come from?  Where did the earth come from?  Where did the galaxy and the entire cosmos come from?  Why is there anything at all?  I've read extensively on cosmology, astronomy, geology and biology and it's a never ending source of wonder to me the way things have developed over time from the simplest beginnings to the human mind, the most complex thing we know of.

The reason I was waiting to write was because, as you may recall, I allowed this subject to dominate my thinking to the point that I abandoned faith in God and changed my religious affiliation in an attempt to locate a church that was both theologically conservative and liturgical and at the same time fully accepting of the picture painted by science.  Turns out there ain't no such place. :-(  It also turns out that it doesn't really matter nearly so much as I was thinking it did.  :-)

I spoke with Pastor Ledic at my old church, Messiah Lutheran in Danville and while we certainly see things differently in many of the details, in general we see God creating the heavens and the earth and deliberately setting out to create US as well.  Then what follows is the fall and then the redemption through the life death and resurrection of Jesus and the other details of basic orthodox Christianity.  What matter is Jesus being at the center of everything.  There are several ways that Christians look at these subjects.  One is Young Earth Creationism, best represented by Todd Wood who is a real scientist who doesn't just cover his eyes with his hands and chant "La la la I can't hear you" when confronted with the fossil record.  I'm taking a short course on Adam from him right now.  Another take is Hugh Ross and his Old Earth Creationism at Reasons to Believe.  And then there is Bio-Logos which I'm rather fond of at the moment.  But my point is that the precise details are not as vital as I was making them, fascinating but not vital. :-)

Jesus at the center is the reason I'm going back to Messiah as much as possible from now on too.  Other churches claim to have Jesus at the center, but almost always it's not the case.  I went to one church in the valley, which I'm not going to name, which claimed to be Christ centered.  But all of the signs and symbols did not indicate that.  There was a "praise band" that played on a "platform" in the front and center of the church.  The pastor stood in the center of the church to give his sermon.  Then when it came time for communion, there was a little altar set off to the side of the platform where it wouldn't get in the way of the other "performers."  Jesus at the center?  Nope, when he physically came into the room under the bread and wine he was shoved off to the side and distributed quickly and perfunctorily.  All through the service MAN was at the center, both symbolically in the positioning of the "furniture" and "actors" and in the focus of the service in general.  And this church claimed to be "Lutheran" and worse, claimed to be LCMS! 

The Catholics have Jesus at the center, but they have so many other things and people standing in front of him you can't really get to him or even see him most of the time.  I'm talking of the myriad rules, Mary and the rest of the saints, and all that.  Indeed, although they don't mean to be and will deny it loudly, they seem almost polytheistic to me.

But at Messiah Jesus is at the center of everything.  Both symbolically and actually.  :-)  There you have the basic Catholic church of history.  The cross and altar are central.  Preaching is important, and is always about Christ and him crucified, but the pastor stands to the side of the altar, not in the center, because Christ is at the center!  The whole thing centers around the word read and preached and the sacrament reverently administered.  We receive Christ through our ears and in our mouths for the forgiveness of our sins.  Ah, home at last.  Now I just need to figure out how to get there more often.  Thank you Lord for Messiah!  :-)


Wednesday, August 14, 2013

Why America is dead and has been for 100 years

This is a great, short and to the point explanation of the real end of the American Republic
 back in 1913.  It was already badly damaged by the Civil War but this actually finished it off.

http://www.freemansperspective.com/1913-america/

Tuesday, August 6, 2013

Easiest to memorize bus schedule ever

The City of Ripon has probably the easiest to remember bus schedule I've ever seen:  Thursday.  :-)

The Ripon bus service is a fifteen mile radius from the city limits

The City of Ripon offers a transit bus service to the general public, persons with disabilities, and our senior citizens. The city bus runs every Thursday unless special trips are arranged. At least one week notice is needed to secure a driver for special trips.

For more information, please contact the Senior Center at 599-7441, or Sarah Hollander at 599-2108.

Bus Fare 
Thursday Shopping Trip $1.00
Concert $1.50
Special Trip $15.00

up arrow

http://www.cityofripon.org/Community/community-resources.html#bus

A more relaxed pace

I've noticed already, after having stopped using the two major "social media" sites of Facebook and Twitter for only a couple of days, that I'm going through the day at a much more relaxed pace.  


OK, maybe not quite that relaxed but you get the picture ;-)

Monday, August 5, 2013

Social media

I'm reducing my social media participation by deactivating my Facebook and Twitter accounts.  I anticipate that this will be a good thing.  I didn't make any announcements on those accounts, just shut them off.  This is nothing against my "friends" on those services, it's just a huge time sucker that I don't want to bother with anymore.  

I will probably post more here though, which means almost no one will be reading what I write, which is fine with me :-)  I mostly write for my own entertainment and as a way to vent when I'm frustrated. 

Speaking of being frustrated, BART was supposed to be on strike today so I didn't take the RV into the Bay Area on Saturday night the way I normally do.   I had planned to drive all the way into the city and park in a garage across the street ($15) but found out when I got up that the governor intervened so the strike is delayed yet again.  So I ended up losing sleep for nothing, but Idid save that 15 bucks at least.  :-)

Saturday, June 22, 2013

WARNING! May blurt out inappropriate comments at random times in conversation.

I have been asked from time to time "Why do you write so much in your journal?"  The simple answer is, it's how I think.  Without writing, or talking out loud to myself, I cannot clarify my thoughts enough to really be conscious.  I go through the day on auto-pilot and who knows what will happen then.  So I write, and I write and I write.  As the words come out I can see what they are and what they mean, I can see what I'm thinking.  Writing is better than talking to myself in most ways.  It's better because it doesn't make you look like a complete lunatic they way constantly muttering to yourself does, and because it leaves a concrete record I can consult later when I'm wondering what in the heck I was thinking when I made some decision.  Talking to myself is way faster though, mostly because I'm not all obsessed with spelling things correctly and having the words in the correct order.  When I write I have to stop and fix things on the page, or screen.  When I talk I just go "Pbbbbbthit!"  and start over again.  Sadly, chatting to oneself seems to be "wrong" for some reason I don't understand.  I mean what is the problem with it?  Sure some people who talk to themselves are nuts, and you can tell it by listening to their conversations with the air.  They are incoherent.  But if the words make sense, what's the big deal? 
I don't have a filter in between my brain and my mouth.  If I form a thought it's going to come out, right now most of the time.  I am utterly unable to edit my words in the heat of conversation.  I can do it here of course, just stop writing and go back and tweak things, it's simple.  But in conversation I cannot do it.  The words form in my mind and exit my mouth without the least bit of editing.  If I do try to edit them I am silenced completely.  There is just too much going on, people talk back to you in conversations and I have to process what they are saying, sunlight flashing off a car window makes me look at it, and there are extra noises all around in the world, cars passing, heels of shoes clicking on the floor as someone walks by, crows cawing and horns honking.  I'm barely able to stand there and talk, but to actually edit the words is beyond me.  Is is just me?  I have the idea that most people can consider what they are about to say, look at it in their mind and make changes to it all on the fly while talking to others.  
        Even more incomprehensible is the way most people seem to know what is going to be offensive.  I can see the big ones coming and shut up, racist slurs or sexist comments and things like that.  But more subtle offensive words or just things that are going to be annoying to people, I don't see those.  In fact, even after I realize I have somehow offended someone I don't usually have a clue as to what I said that caused the offense.  People who know me and have gotten used to my ways just shake their heads, those who don't know me very well usually stop talking to me then.  When I try to discover what I've said wrong I almost never get an answer, and when I do get an answer, I wonder still why it's offensive.  I just don't get people for the most part I guess.  
On rare occasions, when the outside conditions are just right, quiet and peaceful, and there is only one other person to speak with, and there is a very specific subject about which to talk, then I can pull off thinking before I talk.  I actually did this in a conversation with my sister when I was on vacation recently.  It didn't last long but it was quite different for me to be able to think about what I was saying.  I liked it and I wish I could do it all the time.  
I could label this as an Aspergers trait and call it good, but what does that get me?  Nothing but a nice label to pin on my jacket that says, "WARNING!  May blurt out inappropriate comments at random times in conversation."   Not all that useful actually.  
I used to think I could learn to do better, and I have, a little bit, but it's still a huge problem for me.  I make all sorts of decisions without actual thought when I'm put on the spot in a conversation.  It's really hard to say, wait a moment please while I process your request by sitting down and writing in my journal for ten minutes.  Usually that causes people to lose interest in talking to me.   Actually I've never tried exactly that, but when I pause and try to form words silently in my mind it is much slower than writing them down, and so the effect is the same.  I get one word formed in my mind and a thousand distractions erase it and I have to go back and get it again, and then it's gone again, and finally I get the second word I want and the distractions take that one away too.  So I end up spewing stream of consciousness stuff out of my mouth and make commitments to do things I don't want to do, go places I don't want to go and eat things I don't want to eat.  Because after all, I said I would do, go and eat and changing my mind is offensive.  Which I also don't get.  I am not offended when someone changes their mind about something they were going to do with me, it's fine.  If you say you are going to go camping with me and decide at the last second not to go I don't much care, if it's something I wanted to do I'll do it without you.  If, as is likely about 90% of the time, it was something I agreed to do with you in the midst of some conversation that got out of my control and I really did not want to do it anyway, well that's good too, I won't go and I won't be offended.  
All of  this is why I've always wanted to be a hermit.  I can sit and talk with myself, or write, or read, and no one gets angry with me for saying the wrong things or doing the wrong things or for not being offended with them at the slights of others toward them, which is one I'll never get!  

Friday, June 21, 2013

Wish us luck in our newest adventure

Well now, we've been living in Ceres for a while, got the house all settled in, JD's been doing up the yard nicer and nicer, we know all of the neighbors finally, so, of course, we are going to move again. Mom and Lora both seem to really like Turlock.  They have their reasons, such as being close to church, nicer parks, etc.  Me?  My bedroom is on wheels dude.  It matters little where the family plants its several arses because I'll still be in the same "place" anyway.  I'm in my bedroom right now, before work, and I'm not in Ceres anyway.  :-)

I'm going to prepare for this next move by completing my "minimizing" project.  It is my intent to dispose of everything that won't reasonably fit within my RV.  I have told the family they don't need to find a place with a separate room for me this time, 4 bedrooms will be plenty, as long as there is a place to park the RV close by.  I've also told them it's up to them to find a place and get organized to move, I don't have much interest in the project this time, though a nice park nearby would be cool for the kids,especially Max.  

As to churches and being close to them?  Well, I was Catholic on and off and back on and now off again, and Lutheran in the opposite pattern, with convinced atheist tucked in between a couple of times, and this is just in the last 2 years!  Maybe I'll just give the whole thing a rest for a while. ;-/  I work Sundays and can never really get into fellowship with any congregation it seems, not beyond the very surface level.  I'm not the type to pal around with people anyway so I don't miss it all that much.  I'm thinking I'll go to the Lutheran church with my family in Turlock when I'm off on a Sunday, and see where things go from there.  Actually, right now, in my heart I'm feeling rather agnostic about religions and god anyway, I can't quite sort it out in my head.  I suppose God can deal with my confusion though, assuming he exists of course. :-)


Friday, May 31, 2013

Eating

I said I would write about diet here so I'm going to do that today. When I discovered that many things I did not enjoy, joint pain, digestive problems including cramping and constant gas and others digestive problems that I won't go into detail about here to save on the ick quotient of this post vanished with the adoption of the Paleo diet I thought I had it all figured out. It was those evil Neolithic ancestors of ours foolishly settling down in villages and farming;

By the sweat of your face
you shall eat bread,
till you return to the ground,
for out of it you were taken;
for you are dust,
and to dust you shall return.

Even God said agriculture was wrong! :-) Sort of.

Well, there wasn't much about the paleo diet I didn't like, lots of meat, fresh veggies and fruits, eggs even some dairy could be squeezed in there, cheese and yogurt weren't all that bad really. But I did miss my pizza and pasta! And so I conducted several months of experiments on myself, cutting out and adding into my diet various categories of food. Very quickly it became obvious that I was gluten sensitive if not outright celiac (which I don't want to be tested for due to the intrusive nature of the tests.) So I cut out all the gluten, and continued eating milk and eggs and cheese and meat and lots of vegetables and fruits. I felt pretty good. I wanted some sort of confirmation of all of this so I found an outfit called Entero Lab www.enterolab.com that provides a relatively inexpensive and non-intrusive test for immune responses to different foods. As I had expected I have a pretty robust reaction to gluten. I was not happy to learn that I also reacted to eggs, dairy and soy! This was sucking pretty bad here as far as I was concerned.

Then I flashed back in time to my several month try at being vegan, and realized that the entire range of negative effects that diet had for me, including weakness, pain, bloating and just plain feeling rotten, were probably due to the fact that my diet was very high in two of the things I just found out I was allergic to, soy and gluten. I was eating lots of bread and wraps, drinking soy milk by the gallon and munching tofu inside my "healthy" whole wheat wraps. For some reason I got sicker than a dog. ;-)

So now, here I was finding out that the main ingredients of my vegan diet had been triggering a huge immune response in me, but that I also can't eat many of the things that the vegan diet had cut out for me. In fact the only "animal product" that doesn't make me sick within a day is meat! Of course.

So, meat was the thing that had pushed me into the vegan camp in the first place, the awful treatment of animals by today's factory farms was, and is, disgusting to me and made me want to be vegan. Today when I drive through the Central Valley on my way back to the Bay Area for work I pass by several dairy farms where the cows are crowded into barren corrals with no grass, standing in thick layers of their own waste they look miserable and smell worse. I don't know the real names of these farms but I call them "Vegan Maker Farms" because every time I see and smell them I want to return to being a vegan. I'm glad I don't go by a big CAFO like the Harris Feedlot you go by on I5 about halfway to LA. Nasty, foul, cruel and disgusting, and those are the mildest terms I could come up with to describe that one. Check this out: http://politicsoftheplate.com/?p=1112

Maybe then I should only eat pampered grass fed animals? Well, even well treated animals have those big sad brown eyes, I can't kill one, I have tried while "hunting" a couple of times in Montana and Idaho, Bambi is safe from me. I figure, if I am not willing to kill it I really don't have the right to eat it. Even if I could the reality is I can't afford the prices for grass fed beef anyway so it's all moot.

Which brings me back to what in the world am I going to eat now? I can't eat any animal products other than the meat, and honey if you are one of those extremist vegans who hates the idea of oppressing insects, which doesn't bother me, I'm eating honey and that's that. :-) But since I can't eat all the rest and the CAFOs are where almost all of the meat I'm likely to be able to get is coming from I guess I'm just going to have to get over myself and go back to being vegan, without the gluten and the soy. I found a blog with recipes Gluten Free Soy Free Vegan
and bought a cook book today, "The Gluten Free Vegan." Lots of it sounds pretty good.

Unlike previous times I've changed my diet I'm not going to be extreme about it this time around. When I'm buying my food and when I'm eating out I'll make sure I don't eat meat, that's pretty easy actually. But when I'm offered something with meat I think I'll just go ahead and eat it, at least at first. This is where I am then, gluten free, soy free, egg and dairy free and vegan-ish. :-)

Tuesday, May 28, 2013

That Tiny House and Minimalism thing

It occurred to me yesterday that since I'm living 1/2 time in the RV I could actually conduct an experiment in Minimalism and Tiny House style living.  It is my intention to move into the RV as my bedroom even while I'm at home.  For the last several weeks I've been parking outside, taking my bedroll and a few other items up to my room and staying there while in Ceres.  But it's felt odd, almost like I'm just visiting.  Then when I'm ready to leave for the Bay Area again I wind up having to drag everything back out to the RV and rack my brain trying to make sure I don't forget anything that I'll need in the next three or four days of being in the RV.  So, it seems to make sense to me just to go all out and make the big transition to minimalism right now.  I will sort through all of my stuff and put what I think I'll need in the RV, which is not much more than I have in it already, I think.  

Here are some things that are in my room that just won't work at all in the RV, a big desktop computer, a large reclining chair, two desks and a desk chair.   The computer will become a "family" computer, available for the kids to use whenever they need or want to use it.  The room itself with its desks and chairs can be a "study and crafts room" I think.  Other than these things most of what is exclusively "mine" at the house will easily go into the RV or into the garage or just stay in the closet of the "craft room."  :-)  

Please note all you people who are about to say how crazy I am, I did say that I was conducting an experiment here.  It may well turn out that I do not like this sort of thing after all, I don't know for sure.  Although the several times I've lived in very small spaces I did actually like it pretty well.  The key to this is to keep the amount of "stuff" in the space minimal.  Right now I like the way it works.   Of course I'm cheating by still having a bunch of stuff in a big house, and I'll be using the bathroom facilities and cooking in and eating in the house, and just plain hanging out there quite a lot too.  In fact my vision is that this will just be a detached bedroom set up, more a matter of laziness on my part than anything else.  But if it seems to work I might go ahead and get rid of my excess stuff "officially." Wish me luck!

Friday, May 24, 2013

Trinity Sunday and The Athanasian Creed

This Sunday is Trinity Sunday. This is important in many ways, the best is the chance to recite or just to read over again the  Athanasian  Creed, a Catholic Koan IMO:

Whosoever will be saved, before all things it is necessary that he hold the Catholic Faith. Which Faith except everyone do keep whole and undefiled, without doubt he shall perish everlastingly. And the Catholic Faith is this, that we worship one God in Trinity and Trinity in Unity. Neither confounding the Persons, nor dividing the Substance. For there is one Person of the Father, another of the Son, and another of the Holy Ghost. But the Godhead of the Father, of the Son and of the Holy Ghost is all One, the Glory Equal, the Majesty Co-Eternal. Such as the Father is, such is the Son, and such is the Holy Ghost. The Father Uncreate, the Son Uncreate, and the Holy Ghost Uncreate. The Father Incomprehensible, the Son Incomprehensible, and the Holy Ghost Incomprehensible. The Father Eternal, the Son Eternal, and the Holy Ghost Eternal and yet they are not Three Eternals but One Eternal. As also there are not Three Uncreated, nor Three Incomprehensibles, but One Uncreated, and One Uncomprehensible. So likewise the Father is Almighty, the Son Almighty, and the Holy Ghost Almighty. And yet they are not Three Almighties but One Almighty.

So the Father is God, the Son is God, and the Holy Ghost is God. And yet they are not Three Gods, but One God. So likewise the Father is Lord, the Son Lord, and the Holy Ghost Lord. And yet not Three Lords but One Lord. For, like as we are compelled by the Christian verity to acknowledge every Person by Himself to be God and Lord, so are we forbidden by the Catholic Religion to say, there be Three Gods or Three Lords. The Father is made of none, neither created, nor begotten. The Son is of the Father alone; not made, nor created, but begotten. The Holy Ghost is of the Father, and of the Son neither made, nor created, nor begotten, but proceeding.

So there is One Father, not Three Fathers; one Son, not Three Sons; One Holy Ghost, not Three Holy Ghosts. And in this Trinity none is afore or after Other, None is greater or less than Another, but the whole Three Persons are Co-eternal together, and Co-equal. So that in all things, as is aforesaid, the Unity in Trinity, and the Trinity in Unity, is to be worshipped. He therefore that will be saved, must thus think of the Trinity.

Furthermore, it is necessary to everlasting Salvation, that he also believe rightly the Incarnation of our Lord Jesus Christ. For the right Faith is, that we believe and confess, that our Lord Jesus Christ, the Son of God, is God and Man.

God, of the substance of the Father, begotten before the worlds; and Man, of the substance of His mother, born into the world. Perfect God and Perfect Man, of a reasonable Soul and human Flesh subsisting. Equal to the Father as touching His Godhead, and inferior to the Father as touching His Manhood. Who, although He be God and Man, yet He is not two, but One Christ. One, not by conversion of the Godhead into Flesh, but by taking of the Manhood into God. One altogether, not by confusion of substance, but by Unity of Person. For as the reasonable soul and flesh is one Man, so God and Man is one Christ. Who suffered for our salvation, descended into Hell, rose again the third day from the dead. He ascended into Heaven, He sitteth on the right hand of the Father, God Almighty, from whence he shall come to judge the quick and the dead. At whose coming all men shall rise again with their bodies, and shall give account for their own works. And they that have done good shall go into life everlasting, and they that have done evil into everlasting fire. This is the Catholic Faith, which except a man believe faithfully and firmly, he cannot be saved.

See also:

http://www.integratedcatholiclife.org/2013/05/dambrosio-sunday-reflection-the-doctrine-of-the-trinity-matters/

Wednesday, May 22, 2013

Minimalism, again

It has been almost 6 months since I posted on this blog.  This interruption was due mostly to the fact that I was posting everything on Facebook instead.  While I don't mind posting there the truth is the format is more suited to short bursts of fluff than anything substantial.  In addition posts there tend to vanish into the background rather quickly, meaning I can never find anything I've posted there after a few days :-)  I know those posts are still out there (but who knows where?) but when I post on my blog at least I know where the thing is going to be the next time I want to refer to it.  But now on to the subject of this post.

Some time ago I was interested in the concept of "Minimalism" in life.  This is the idea that by reducing the number of our material possessions we could both reduce our impact on the planet, reducing our consumption of resources, and also improve our enjoyment of life by spending less time on cleaning, maintaining and just storing our "stuff."  There are dozens, maybe hundreds of web sites and blogs describing minimalist lifestyles, I won't bother putting up links here because you can just google the word Minimalism and find them yourself if you feel like it.  Besides, what is there to say about it beyond, get rid of all your extraneous crap and simplify your life.  It's pretty easy.  

My interest in the subject has been reignited by a recent change in my lifestyle, I'm now living 1/2 time in a 24 foot long RV.

 
For the last year I have been commuting from our house in Ceres to San Francisco 3 and 4 days per week, this 4+ hours a day of travel was exhausting, mostly because by the time I got home it was after 9pm and I had to get up at 4am or earlier to leave the house at 4:30 in order to make the train in Dublin and get to work at 7am.  The reality is I was only getting about 5 1/2 hours of sleep on work nights, and I'm definitely a 8 hour a night sleeper.   I was toying with the idea of getting a room in the city, but the only ones that were even remotely possible on my budget were simply vile.  Next I was thinking of selling the Toyota and buying a small camper van.  It was at that point that Mom stepped in and decided that we should get a full fledged RV that would not only provide me a place to stay in the Bay Area but also could be used for her and I to go camping.   So, she purchased the machine you see above here and for the last few weeks I've been living in it during my work weeks.  I really enjoy it actually.  

What this all has to do with minimalism is that I am perfectly content living in the RV with almost nothing beyond my clothes, iPad and iPhone, a bible and a couple of pots and pans to cook simple meals in.  (That is another subject for another post, what to eat and why)  I have a few blankets that I roll up and take with me, at home I sleep on the floor, in the RV I sleep on a bed, that's the only thing I'm not fond of to tell the truth, I'd rather be on the floor, but there isn't enough of that in the thing to sleep on it.  In my room at home I have some things that I think I can not only live without, but would really LIKE to get out of my way.  Knick knacks and my shell collection, those things can go away and I'll be as happy as the clam was that lived in one of those shells that I can't dust around without wasting a bunch my time.   I have a couple of boxes of old photos I'll never use again, they've been scanned and been digital for years already, plus they really aren't all that good for the most part.  I only keep them for sentimental reasons, and to pass on to my daughter, which I think I'll do right away, then she can store them or dump them as she sees fit.  I've already gotten rid of 99% of my books, not counting e-books, where my collection grows daily as I find new free ones to download.  My closet has been reduced quite a bit but still holds too much that I seldom or never use, so I need to go through that again.  My goal is to have my room set up in such a way that I can dust and vacuum in only a few minutes a week and keep it looking clean and neat at all times.  I like it that way.  

See, now all of this rambling babble just would not fit into a normal Facebook post, would it?