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Posts Tagged ‘Freedom’

For some time I’ve been planning a trip in my head. That trip was to drive or train up the Pacific Coastline and enjoy the scenery and feeling of freedom that this country affords us. When my company decided to apply a new vacation policy and forced me to “Use or Lose” my banked vacation this year I knew this was my best opportunity to make this happen. IMG_0710 1

The original plan was more grandiose but given the time available I decided to drive up the coast on the Pacific Coast Highway from LA to the SFO/Bay Area and back in a matter of 3 or 4 days, stopping whenever the I felt like it where my and where my curiosity took me. I have a very over scheduled life so a part of the plan was to not be scheduled knowing that there were a few major beat points I wanted to hit.

This trip if taken on the 101 or I-5 would only really take about 4-6 hours. But that wasn’t the point. The point was to take my time and enjoy the atmosphere and environment of the California landscape and especially the oceanfront. There is an amazing amount of freedom being able to consistently see the expansive view of the Ocean and cruising along the coast at moderate speeds.

IMG_0843 1I’ve discovered a lot of the experiences I think I’d like to have are pretty unique. It’s difficult finding people with the time and desire to jump on board with a similar vision so I’ve decided that this would be a solo trip. In a short conversation about our plans for Thanksgiving my good friend Tara offered to come along. I wasn’t sure if she’d actually do it, cause a lot of people tend to say things they don’t deliver on when they hear about something exciting. There was also a bit of trepidation on both of our parts; I wasn’t sure if she’d really want to be a part of the vision of wanderlust with little structure being “a planner” type person and she was afraid of imposing. In the end I think we hit the perfect balance of “structured freedom” that can enhance any experience. We only listed experiences we thought we’d like to have along the way had an end destination in mind for each day, but were not emotionally invested in where we had to be. We each named our “really like to do’s” on  this trip and the “miss-ables”. Ironically we hit every experience we had  listed and added a few along the way. It was a pleasure finding a good travel partner to as traveling tends to be quite revealing about people’s personalities.

IMG_0844 1Traveling on the road can be a great way to realize how small we are the grandness of our world. I loved watching the scenery of the landscape change from Southern California desert beaches to the Mountainous Pine forests of Big Sur. It’s an ever changing environment of Flora, Fauna and Geology set against the constant waves of the ocean coastline. The Pacific Coast Highway provides a unique seamless experience that is unparalleled anywhere in the world that I know of. In the end it was the perfect detachment from the grind of the day to day. A great way to see the amazing scenery and freedom this nation provides for us.

Tara is an avid photographer and videographer. She really was able to capture the essence of the vacation in this short video.

Itinerary

  • Sunday evening: Got a head start on the traffic.
    • Los Olivos: Thanks to the Nichols family for accomodations.
  • Monday
    • Solvang: The Danish City: Breakfast at Solvang Restaurant
    • Monarch Butterfly Grove: Millions of Monarch Butterflies stop here on their migration to Mexico.
    • Pismo Beach: Arguably the Best Beach in California
    • Madonna Inn, San Luis Obispo: Novelty stop.
    • Morro Bay: The Rock: A stop at Joe’s Surf Shop.
    • San Simeon Piedras Blancas Elephant Seal Rookery
    • Cayucos, CA: A bit of backtracking for a nights stay
  • Tuesday
    • Surfing at the Cayucos Pier
    • Hearst Castle
    • Big Sur
    • Julia Pfeiffer Burns State Park / McWay Waterfall
    • Nepthune Restaurant
    • Belmont Turnaround point.
  • Wednesday: Head home.
    • Half Moon Bay
    • Santa Cruz
    • Return via the 101 to Pismo Beach
    • Pismo Boardwalk: Meet up with a new friend
    • Follow the Coast home
    • North Hollywood, CA

bigsur_coastline

Other Pacific Coastline trips (I’d like to take)

Amtrak’s Pacific Surfliner.

Amtrak’s Coast Starlight

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One of the more favorable things I am grateful for in my life has been the amount of inventive and creatively talented people I’ve been blessed to be surrounded by.

Thomas Crenshaw is one such individual who a few days ago put together this little tribute video for one of his (and mine) favorite TV Shows. The video is fun, compelling and burning up the replays on youtube right now.

Enjoy

Thomas Crenshaw

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Dear friends, acquaintances and citizens.

I’m going to break FB protocol and add a lengthy status update. The double-edged sword about Social Media today is that it allows us to keep in touch with many people, but it’s format leaves so much to be desired that in topics such as politics we are left to the posting of a link and bound by brevity. It has become the equivalent of running into a crowded conference room, shouting a string of one-sided epithets as if it were a ticking IED (Improvised Explosive Device), then slamming the door and running away.

As we enter this year’s election I make a plea for everyone to remain civil in our attitudes. What good is our democracy if we have to spend the next several years repairing hurt feelings and harsh attitudes at each election? Our lack of trust in each other erodes our ability to stay civil, work together and truly progress.

Politics requires a medium where all sides of issues can be explored or it will only serve to divide. Healthy debate and the challenge of ideas must exist for us to make policy. The first amendment can only serve its purpose when we show restraint and kindness and truly open our minds.

We can disagree without ridicule. We can share a counterpoint without disgust. Humor can be used to relieve tension rather than create it. The mark of true tolerance is being able to share space with a person, with whom you disagree, without feeling fear, offense or that they are the enemy.

Tolerance: The ability or willingness to tolerate something, in particular the existence of opinions or behavior that one does not necessarily agree with.

However we as a people have not showed restraint enough to achieve true tolerance to make progress.

  • Tolerance is not the same as acceptance.
    • Our culture has confused tolerance for acceptance.
      • Acceptance: The action or process of being received as adequate or suitable, typically to be admitted into a group. Agreement with or belief in an idea, opinion, or explanation.
      • Tolerance sits on the opposite end of acceptance. If we are to have any exchange of new ideas, we must embrace tolerance and be clear about the distinction between the two concepts and value them differently.
  • Tolerance must lead to co-existence.
    • In order for us to have productive, happy, healthy communities, we must coexist. We cannot merely live next door to each other with a brewing sense of hostility.
      • Coexistence: a policy of living peacefully with other nations, religions, etc., despite fundamental disagreements.

We call upon all people everywhere to recommit themselves to the time-honored ideals of tolerance and mutual respect.

I sincerely believe that as we acknowledge one another with consideration and compassion we will discover that we can all live peacefully despite different ideologies or interests and despite our deepest differences.

I used to love election years, because it was a time when people stopped worrying more about Beyonce Knowles and focused on issues that really make a difference in our lives. We have lost what it means to have healthy debate. We surround ourselves with people, books and ideas that only support our preconceived notions. Places where we have found acceptance.  We insist on/attempt to categorize others and their viewpoints in terms of “good” and “bad,” “black” and “white.” and pit the opposite into an all-good or all bad judgment.

American politics have always been full of character attacks and salacious headlines. It is time to evolve. If we purport to have kindness and tolerance, we must ensure our attitudes and our hearts reflect it first, before our laws can truly reflect it. Before we can make policy, we must truly understand it, believe it and be able to exemplify it.

The question is “How can we be better than we believe we are, when nothing less will do?”

No matter which leader you have been inspired by all of them promote the ideal that we can rise above our current condition and have hope for the future.

“My fellow Americans, ask not what your country can do for you, ask what you can do for your country.”

-John F. Kennedy

“We must develop and maintain the capacity to forgive. He who is devoid of the power to forgive is devoid of the power to love. There is some good in the worst of us and some evil in the best of us. When we discover this, we are less prone to hate our enemies.”

Martin Luther King, Jr.

“Change will not come if we wait for some other person or some other time. We are the ones we’ve been waiting for. We are the change that we seek.”

Barack Obama

“We can meet in service, in shared moral convictions about our nation stemming from a common worldview.”

Mitt Romney

This election year we can stand for civility.

The only difference in our candidates is HOW they propose to effect change. One statement or stance does not make them a socialist, a woman-hater, a bigot, or a tyrant.

I would like to restore the definition of hate back to its former glory. Hate: (v) Feel intense or passionate dislike for (someone). (n) Intense or passionate dislike.

Not supporting a certain cause does not imply hate or a judgment about the opposite. It implies support for a preferred resolution over another. Hate is an emotion, which is completely controllable. Can you disagree with someone and not hate him or her? Of course. However the propaganda today would have you believe this is not so. How do you disagree with someone and still love and respect him or her? Mislabeling someone’s proposition for change in a different way than you would suggest as hate only exposes weakness of heart & emotional immaturity. It will render us powerless in the long run.

Taking offense at the prosperity of another only shows a weakness of heart and mind, which will render you powerless.

I make a call to all journalists to raise the bar of integrity of reporting. Retractions & miscued reporting should be treated with the same import as the original article. If there is a headline that is found to be misleading, inaccurate or untrue, you should reprint the retraction as a headline. The small note from the editor in small print on the inside cover does not repair or redeem your credibility. Glenn Beck, Rachel Maddow, Lawrence O’Donnell, Sean Hannity, I don’t care about your opinions just give me the facts. And BTW folks as much as I love John Stewart and Stephen Colbert they are comedians. They exploit situations for the profit of laughing. It’s not real news.

The mark of the greatness of our country is the peaceful transfer of power. I’ve had the privilege to attend the inauguration of two of our presidents. This one sacred event is a powerful example of how civility marks our nation’s attitude.

For most part of my life I have lived in places where ideologically I am a minority. Even as a white, heterosexual, male I have felt the pangs of discrimination. Ridiculed for beliefs, without proper foresight and feared for my well being if I were to publicly express my own opinion. We must all have the courage to be able to express our opinions without fear. A community that ensures that safety is the true mark what tolerance can do for us. It is true freedom, rather than following the rhetoric of groupthink as we have today.

News flash: we do not live in democracy. We do not vote for the president the same way we “Like” a Facebook post, vote for American Idol or Reddit threads.We live in a Democratic Federalist Republic. By design we have checks and balances for the wisdom of restraint. (Here some reference links. Democracy, Federalism, Republic)

We cannot afford to make assumptions:
Let’s all read the Constitution, Bill of Rights, All the amendments. Let’s study political & social history. Let’s study how read the results of a scientific study. Let’s listen more than we talk so that we can discover truth together.

I learned long ago that when you accuse someone/thing incorrectly without all the information you’re exposing to people much more about your own heart than theirs, even if they are making mistakes. And for those who think the reversal is too late? Well if we have no room in our society for forgiveness than we have no real hope for progress.

“If there are dreams about a beautiful South Africa, there are also roads that lead to their goal. Two of these roads could be named Goodness and Forgiveness.”

-Nelson Mandela

Before you make an accusation, verify the facts, dig deeper, truly put yourself in the others shoes and try to understand why they might feel that is a good solution. Do not vilify others.

This is our greatest hour, and the world is watching. Our greatest testament of the power of who we are is the peaceful transfer of power.

From my liberal friends in Wisconsin to my conservative friends in Utah to all my friends on the coasts, we can be united in purpose and service. Recognize each other’s efforts as efforts. Accept the good in people and see their flaws as just that. Flaws. No one is perfect, but we would be remiss to throw the baby out with the bathwater just because we don’t agree with someone’s point of view.

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Lately I’ve been concerned with the absolute blatant eradication of Christ from Christmas Activities in modern life.

The best evidence is the New York City chapter of the YMCA (Young Men’s Christian Association) has chosen to rebrand itself as the “Y” and no longer allow Santa at it’s holiday parties. They’re replaced it with Frosty the Snowman.

From Christ to Santa is a stretch as it is but calling Santa too Christian at an organization founded as a Christian society is ridiculous. I’m starting to feel like the history books are being rewritten.

Which is why I was pleasantly surprised and happy to find this gem that was forwarded to me. A true modern Christmas story. Merry Christmas everyone! And if you don’t celebrate it or recognize that others do, enjoy the time off from work, compliments of those who do.

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I’ve recently been acutely awakened to the fact that our modes of communication have a very bad side effect as illustrated in this comment by my good friend Rachel.

“If it can’t be understood in a 30 second sound byte America doesn’t get it.”

I am indeed guilty of such brevity in many ways. Every twitter feed, status and mini-post I make can be recalled as only a small sound byte in the full orchestral movement that is my life.

This actually limits my freedom. My freedom of speech in a way. It limits my ability to fully address all issues that have a sense of gravity in life, because nothing that is important is without debate and complexity. The “brevity bias” as I will call it, is sensational and appeals to a visceral reaction. It doesn’t allow for all the facts to be brought to the table. It is not patient, it is not humble, and it is not forgiving. The brevity bias is not forgiving because  it breaks each statement into it’s one full and complete statement without giving ear to context which is everything when understanding statements of power. It suppresses our ability to truly communicate and be understand only giving clues to the audience giving them control to interpret based on their own context.  It also limits my topics. Wanting to be fully understood and understand other points of view, I avoid topics of controversy knowing that and sound byte of info is not enough to give respect to important topics. So if I do know find an outlet that allows me this freedom, I in fact bind myself via my modes of communication.

I fully admit that these forms of communication have a place in our arsenal of communication, but they must augment it as a piece in the puzzle rather than drive it. For someone who spends a lot of time in the social media world this can be difficult to find the right place for it. Recently in his address to the 2010 graduating class of the University of Iowa Tom Brokaw made this statement. “It will do us little good to wire the world if we short circuit our souls. And you should not surrender the essence of the human experience to 146 characters on Twitter or a Facebook page however cleverly designed it may appear to be. No text message will ever replace the first kiss. No keyboard will ever take the place of someone you love nor will it spell out for you just what love is. That irreplaceable condition of the human experience.”

My hope is that we’ll find the patience to think before we act based on a well informed position  so we can act with civility, rather than viscerally.

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This was no doubt the best film of the whole series, with a central message no one can argue with.

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I’ve seen computers as a tool, a toy and something I’ve totally coveted for close to 25 years. I was shopping for computers back when you HAD to order them in a magazine. You couldn’t get them anywhere else. The idea of a computer store was a sheer novelty.  I was always searching and hoping to find a way to get the next best and biggest computer, the one I thought I always wanted has always been out of my price range and something I would have to wait for.

My first computer was a Commodore 128 (128 for 128 K of RAM memory)which my parents spent $250 for one Christmas. Bar none, the best Christmas gift ever and one that would unknowingly direct me into my current career. I spent the next 6 months on my paper route saving enough money to by myself and 5 1/4′ floppy disk drive. Until then I ran all my programs off a cassette tape drive. Eventually I had enough stuff including a 14.4 kbps modem that I ran a bulletin board on. (1986) Take that, Al Gore who invented the internet!

Since then I’ve spent thousands upgrading and buying new machines. To play the coolest games or to hook up video equipment, make it faster, then get a bigger something or other, then get a smaller something or other. About 8 months ago I started to realize I hadn’t fallen into my pattern of shopping for fun toys when I get bored. In fact those direct emails I’ve been getting from Tigerdirect.com and Apple are really starting to get annoying! Those mailers from Microcenter have been shredded confetti even before I take a peek at them. And now I’m wondering why they’re not being very green by sending anything to me.  I’m sure they know I haven’t been back in a long while, given all of my data on their loyalty program.

Just about anything I really want to do on a computer honestly only takes about 1/3 of the resources of anything that costs less than $700.  I’m almost having a mid-life crisis realizing that either my activities are bordering on the old and boring or maybe technology has just surpassed me. It’s a little scary, since for so long I’ve had an identity as the guy who loved computers for so long… now that nothing special.

And like an ailing Mel Gibson my last words trickle out of my mouth….. “Freeeeeeeeeddooooom!”

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