Saturday, August 26, 2006

All gone

Well, my car was towed away this afternoon. I decided to donate it to KCET rather than call around to wrecking yards for the best price. The car started up fine after sitting for almost two months, thanks to having had the battery drain fixed the day before I wrecked it....

The car, at 143,445 miles, provided mostly reliable service for thirteen years. Now on to the next adventure of seeing if I can go without owning a car. Almost two months so far.

After the tow truck left, I filled out the release of liability form, walked three blocks to the public library branch to photocopy the form, walked another block to the post office to mail it, back to the library to browse through the new books, and home again.

Wednesday, August 23, 2006


I am writing this Saturday evening but will not be posting it until later. On Friday morning, I handed in my resignation from work. August 31 is my last day.

I do not have a new job to which I am transferring. I will be taking some time off to get organized around my house (books, papers, the garage). I will also reevaluate my set-aside degree program. I am considering moving back to Washington State, where my family live.

There have been a lot of factors leading to my decision, some of which I am not going to write about here and many others, I am sure, I have not yet identified. I want to write down some of my thoughts, but, once again, it will have to wait because I am so tired from bike riding—in a good way, though.

Saturday, August 19, 2006

Oil from coal

Wednesday's WSJ front page had an interesting article on the conversion of coal to oil: "South Africa Has a Way to Get More Oil: Make It From Coal," by Patrick Barta (paid subscription required). The South African company Sasol developed its expertise during the apartheid era when sanctions against South Africa made it difficult to import oil. The company supplies 30 per cent of South Africa's fuel for transportation. Now other countries, specifically China and the U.S., are interested in developing similar facilities.

The article baldly states in years how much fuel energy the world has remaining:
Current estimates indicate the world has just 41 years of known oil reserves and 65 years of natural-gas supplies. It has enough coal reserves to last an estimated 155 years, with some of the largest reserves in the two biggest oil-consuming countries, the U.S. and China.
Two problems with converting coal to oil are cost and environmental impact, not only of mining the coal but of the carbon dioxide emitted by the processing plants.
The Natural Resources Defense Council, a U.S.-based environmental advocacy group, estimates that the production and use of gasoline, diesel fuel, jet fuel and other fuels from crude oil release about 27.5 pounds of carbon dioxide per gallon. The production and use of a gallon of liquid fuel originating in coal emit about 49.5 pounds of carbon dioxide, they estimate. Even some boosters of the coal-to-oil plants describe them as carbon-dioxide factories that produce energy on the side.
In the U.S., Montana, Illinois, and Kentucky, which have large deposits of coal, are very interested in building coal-to-oil facilities.

Tuesday, August 15, 2006

Catching up

So many things in my head—need to write them here before they disappear.

On Sunday night, Path to Freedom and my church showed the film The Great Warming. Anais has written a nice report of the event, including a picture of my bulletin board.

For my notes, here are some of the links I featured on the board.
What Congregations Can Do: Study resources—"The Cry of Creation: A Call for Climate Justice" (.pdf); and the ELCA social statement "Caring for Creation: Vision, Hope, and Justice" in English and Spanish.

Join California Interfaith Power & Light (or a similar organization in other states) and sign the covenant. Do one or more of the six covenant actions. Energy Star for congregations.

Advocate for just and sustainable public policies.

Emphasize creation throughout the liturgical year. Celebrate A Season of Creation in September - October. (The coordinator of A Season of Creation, Norm Habel, is a Hebrew Bible/Old Testament scholar in the form criticism "school," the same method I was being trained in.)

Declarations: Religious leaders' appeal to political leaders in California for mandating limits on greenhouse gases;
"National Council of Churches—Theological Statement on the Environment" (.pdf); and
"Joint Declaration on Articulating a Code of Environmental Ethics," by Pope John Paul II and Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew.

Organizations: National Council of Churches of Christ, Eco-Justice Programs, Climate Change;
Coalition on the Environment and Jewish Life;
Evangelical Environmental Network;
United States Conference of Catholic Bishops;
The National Religious Partnership for the Environment; and
Protecting Creation.
Recording all those links took too long. Now it's my bedtime, which I can't ignore or I'll not be able to get up in the morning for my ride to work. The weather has been perfect for riding these last days, especially today.

At the film, quite a few people showed up on bicycles, including those from the group C.I.C.L.E.. They were riding some Xtracycles, which I'd only seen pictures of previously. One guy hitched a trailer to his bike made from an up-side-down dog kennel/carrier, as Anais pointed out.

Well, my head is only a quarter emptied. But I must to bed.

Monday, August 07, 2006


The De-MOTORize Your Soul campaign, via The MinusCar Project.
Wean yourself.

It's time for the spiritual transition to a post-oil era.

The internal combustion engine is suffocating our souls as it suffocates the planet. So give your soul a break from the gas-powered frenzy. Relax a bit, and join the spirited slow-down.
The campaign is being put on by Geez Magazine, a new magazine to which I recently subscribed (again, thanks to The MinusCar Project). More-with-less for the 2000s.
Five years

Well, it has been five years since I began posting here. I have enjoyed writing, knowing who (some of) the people are who stop by occasionally, and receiving interesting comments.

I know I need to update the look and functionality of my site—it's so early 2000s—not to mention that it is almost at capacity. But I have appreciated the outlet for jotting things down so conveniently and exploring new ideas via links to other sites. The Web site has been a fun way to stay in touch with distant family and friends, reconnect with former acquaintances, and meet new friends, both online and in person.

As always, thanks for stopping by!

Sunday, August 06, 2006

Back home

I'm back home again after spending over a week in Maui, Hawaii, with my family. It was good to be with family and catch up with my niece and nephew again. The island is beautiful and the beaches fantastic!

Thankfully, I was greeted by cooler weather today when I arrived at LAX. My garden is flourishing, thanks to the good care given it by my neighbor.

Now it's gearing up for a busy week after getting caught up with e-mail, Web sites, mail, etc. No e-mail or Internet, except to print my boarding pass yesterday, was a good break!