Tag Archive: pipeline


(But not really)

(It only feels that way sometimes)

I was out of coffee this morning, so I had tea for breakfast. Ummmmmmmm.

Tea for breakfast

Tea for breakfast

Let’s just say it’s a good thing I also started the day reading a hippie peace magazine. I had no idea coffee was so much of a factor in the outcome of my day, but around 3, after a pleasant lunch with a friend, I was pretty freaking irritable.

My mood was probably not aided by the fact that late afternoon I went out to the garage to clean it, and decided I need to wait until the next bulk trash collection. Mostly, it’s a bunch of large items (read: mattresses) that need to be tossed, and every empty box for every single thing my housemate owns. I’m not sure why he’s storing all of that, but once we get rid of all of the dead computers, mattresses, and old bicycles, there will plenty of room for those types of eccentricities.

For now, however, the garage is an impenetrable, uncleanable wasteland. Especially in the middle of a day without coffee.

So, I gave in. I thought I had a handle on my caffeine addiction, but clearly it has a hold on me. I took Tao of C out to get coffee and muffins, and we sat out on the front porch, enjoying the lovely spring weather.

Precious Necter

Precious Necter

The remains of my butter rum muffin

The remains of my butter rum muffin



After that, I painted some patches of color on various walls of my room, to see how the light looked on them. I had two shades of green and a light lavender. I chose the lavender. It’s pretty close to this color (depending on your monitor, I guess):

Light Lavender

Light Lavender

The friend who was with me when I chose the sample colors was a bit put off by the prospect of a purple room, and persuaded me in the direction of the green, BUT…it’s such a lovely, subtle color I don’t think I can resist it. I kind of can’t wait to paint, but I have an awful lot of room cleaning/organization to do. And room cleaning/organization is making me feel like I need to do WHOLE HOUSE cleaning/organization.

One thing at a time, though.

I was talking to a friend about Way of the Peaceful Warrior by Dan Millman. I finished reading it yesterday. Several people have told me this is an amazing book. The book itself says that it “changes lives.” Truthfully, it just pissed me off. I mean, it wasn’t a bad story. Clearly, it held my attention for a few hours. I think the end of the book was the most dissatisfying to me. *Spoiler alert* (ish)

So, the book is about this man’s quest for spiritual enlightenment, and towards the end, the man gets married and he and his wife have a child, and he’s still not satisfied with his life, so he just takes off to find what he’s been seeking all of his life, ends up in the mountains somewhere and finally finds it.

Here’s the thing that pisses me off…how is it that anyone can just run off seeking enlightenment and leave the care of a child to their spouse (or even ex-spouse) alone? WTF, man? I mean, maybe they had some sort of agreement or something, but really? That shit doesn’t fly with me. Figure it the fuck out WHILE you are taking care of your responsibilities, please. You are no hero or positive role model or even moderately decent spiritual leader or teacher to me if you can’t at least be there for your family. Sorry. Most of us can’t just hide from our lives while we seek what we already have.

The whole thing made me feel blessed (again) for having somehow ended up in a philosophy class the summer of my 6th grade year. I’m not even sure how I managed to get into the class, but I do remember picking up the Tao Te Ching for the first time, and the fascination I felt for the concepts of Taoism. There were several passages that I copied down and kept with me always, particularly the one about the value of nothing:

Thirty spokes share one hub. Adapt the nothing therein to the purpose in hand, and you will have th use of the cart. Knead clay in order to make a vessel. Adapt the nothing therein to the purpose in hand, and you will have the use of the vessel. Cut out doors and windows in order to make a room. Adapt the nothing therein to the purpose in hand, and you will have the use of the room. Thus what we gain is Something, yet it is by virtue of Nothing that this can be put to use.

Lao Tzu

That passage defines my spirituality.  My journey. I like to joke with people that Taoism ruined me for all other philisophical endeavors. Why bother trying to puzzle out the origins or meanings of the universe? It just is. I don’t need to freaking isolate myself on a mountaintop to figure that shit out. In fact, that defeats the whole purpose! Duh. If you aren’t seeking enlightenment in the context of your everyday life, then why fucking bother? What you need to do is create your mountaintop within that context. THEN you’re golden.

That said, the idea of escaping to a mountaintop to be in solitude for awhile is definitely appealing to me.

My other favorite Taoist principle is The Uncarved Block. I like the way Flux (one of my favorite punk bands) interprets it:

Nature knows no divisions / one field runs into the next / Having erected fences / I am imprisoned inside my head.

If you can picture me as a high school student, you should picture me carrying around a huge notebook full of bad poetry with that quote on the cover. Because, pretty much, that’s where my head was at.

The best thing is that both of those quotes have evolving meanings that continuously adapt to the circumstances in my life. I always return to them, and they always direct me towards my center. And soothe.

Here’s another favorite of mine that I go back to all of the time. It’s from Jack Kerouac’s Scripture of the Golden Eternity, which I guess is technically more Buddhist than Taoist, but whatever:

A hummingbird can come into a house and a hawk will not: so rest and be assured. While looking for the light, you may suddenly be devoured by the darkness and find the true light.

It’s all about ebb and flow, baby. Ebb and flow. And being that humans are more than half comprised of water, I don’t have to go to a freaking mountaintop to observe that. I just have to listen to the murmuring brook inside of me and everyone around me.


Today, there is some good news:

BREAKING: Today we’re partnering with the Mayors Innovation Project to announce that *nine* US City Mayors have committed to pursue divestment. These cities join Seattle and San Francisco, bringing the number of municipal governments pursuing fossil fuel divestment to eleven.

SHARE to help spread this big news! The battle isn’t over yet, even in these ten cities. But let’s give a big thank you to these mayors for doing the right thing by their cities and the planet. We’ll be watching closely to see where they take it from here.

*UPDATE: We just heard from the Mayor of Santa Fe, and they’re in too!* http://gofossilfree.org/

Crossing fingers on this one:

“Michael Bishop, who is fighting to stop the Canadian tar-sands oil pipeline from crossing his property, asked a U.S. judge to invalidate TransCanada’s permits and order public hearings on Keystone’s route through Texas and Oklahoma. The Corps of Engineers is the federal agency that issues construction permits for projects that impact waterways and wetlands.” http://fuelfix.com/blog/2013/04/25/texas-farmer-sues-us-army-corps-of-engineers-over-keystone/

I like it when the State Department is rebuked:

The EPA has now issued a harsh rebuke to the State Department’s report, calling for a more careful study of the pipeline. The EPA questioned State’s conclusion that Keystone won’t have a significant environmental or climate impact, and slapped the overall document with the shoddy rating of “Environmental Objections Insufficient Information.” https://secure.sierraclub.org/site/Advocacy?cmd=display&page=UserAction&id=10945#.UXnHR9l2NyA.facebook


Yesterday, I submitted my new-hire paperwork for my new job. Today, I had the phone guy come out and install a direct line in my room. He was nice & didn’t charge me, so I took a friend bowling with the money I saved. ❤

I’ve started packing up my room so I can paint, rearrange, and re-organize my space. I’m looking forward to starting with a clean slate in here.

I keep waiting to stress out about money or being unemployed, but I haven’t yet. It’s doubtful I will. My income will be pretty significantly reduced in this new job, but I’ll be working from home, and should be able to save money. Not to mention the fact that I’ll be able to step out during my lunch break and tend to my garden, hang my laundry, sit on the front porch and write in my journal. Take a nap. Do the dishes. You get the picture.

Is this what it’s like to be a grownup? Things just seem to roll off of me. Maybe it’s a result of having been through a hellish year. I was pretty determined that 2013 was NOT going to be another 2012, which was largely spent having the legal battle that had been waiting to happen for the past 10 years or so. I feel like now that’s resolved, I can pretty much take anything on. Even though I technically “lost” (though, really, it’s the kids who lost…but whatever. They are as tough as I am, and will be fine regardless) I am so relieved it is over that nothing can really get to me anymore.

I guess I just feel very fortunate, having been in the presence of so many people who have struggled through and survived far more difficult challenges than I’ve experienced, with far less agency and ability to control the situation. It doesn’t feel right to allow myself to wallow. So I haven’t. And I’m really kind of proud of myself.

After bowling, I went out and got some paint samples for my room, came home and ordered pizza for dinner, watched Mary and Max, which was brilliant, touching, and perhaps a little too sad for the kiddos, but I made them watch it anyway.

Went for a walk.


Tree Sweater

Tree Sweater

Observed the sky.

Metal Heart

Metal Heart

And fallen pomegranates.



And the beautiful full moon was my companion.

Full Moon

Full Moon

(I really need to start bringing my real camera out with me on my walks. These photos suck!)

The most pressing decision I needed to make today was where to go get drunk this Saturday in celebration of the end of my freedom.

Personally? I got nothing to complain about.


On the other hand…

Fuck this guy:

Noted Constitutional scholar and mayor Michael R. Bloomberg remarked today that given the constant threat of terrorist attacks, America’s views on privacy and freedom may be a tad outmoded. “The people who are worried about privacy have a legitimate worry,” Bloomberg said, “But we live in a complex world where you’re going to have to have a level of security greater than you did back in the olden days, if you will. And our laws and our interpretation of the Constitution, I think, have to change.” http://gothamist.com/2013/04/23/bloomberg_terrorism_warrants_change.php

And fuck all of these people:

“While nearly 15 million Americans still can’t find jobs due to the 2008 Wall Street-created crash, the top hedge manager, David Tepper, earned $1,057,692 an hour in 2012 – that’s as much as the average American family makes in 21 years!” https://www.adbusters.org/blogs/financial-porno.html


Enbridge’s Line 2 **Line 67 tar sands** pipeline has leaked an estimated 600 gallons of crude oil at its pump station near Viking, Minnesota. Line 2 was built in 1956 and has a history of spills. Regulators ordered Enbridge to reduce its Line 2 operating pressure in October 2010 following the company’s Kalamazoo River tar sands spill. http://www.desmogblog.com/2013/04/24/another-pipeline-leak-enbridge-alberta-clipper-line-67-leaking-tar-sands-bitumen

Also, these assholes at the West Fertilizer Plant…who seem to be taking for granted that people will continue to treat the explosion as a natural disaster rather than a criminal act:

The company’s regulatory history going back to 1976 comes to light as investigators seek the cause of last week’s fertilizer explosion that killed at least 14 people.

For example, in 1987, the company — then known as West Chemical and Fertilizer Co. — was venting ammonia that built up in transfer pipes into the air despite explicit orders in its permit not to do so. The company apparently changed its practices. http://www.dallasnews.com/news/west-explosion/headlines/20130422-west-fertilizers-environmental-compliance-problems-go-back-decades.ece

And mad love for the superheroes striking for fair wages in Chicago:

We, Chicago fast food and retail workers, are striking to demand $15 an hour and the right to form a union without retaliation. Our employers are raking in profits while workers, mostly adults with families, don’t get paid enough to cover basic needs like food, rent, health care and transportation. We are willing to risk our jobs to stand up and say ENOUGH. And we need everyone who supports us to join us. It’s time to give every worker a chance to survive and thrive – and strengthen Chicago’s economy. http://fightfor15.org/en/

As well as students who walked out of Chicago schools today, protesting over testing and school closures, and joining with the striking fast food and retail workers in solidarity:

Dozens of Chicago students boycotted a required standardized test on Wednesday in protest of high stakes testing and the city’s plans to close 54 schools as part of deficit reduction measures. The walkout is the latest in a series of community and union protests of the March 21 announcement. http://tv.msnbc.com/2013/04/24/chicago-students-protest-standardized-tests-school-closings/

Flapping Your Broken Wings

Here’s the lesson I keep relearning: We don’t control what other people think of us. Even if they are really, really wrong. Even if what they think of us is hurtful to them. Even if I fully accept another person’s shortcomings and difficulties – that’s no guarantee they will accept mine.

But that doesn’t mean I shouldn’t accept other people…it just means everyone has their limits.

That’s not bad for just one week between Pekars!

American Splendor

American Splendor


Dear 42-year old me,

Thanks so much for writing this post for 14-year old me, so 43-year old me (that’s me!) could read it:

Love openly. Err on the side of kindness. It really fucking hurts to trust. I know. But trust anyway. Stay in touch with loved ones. Pay attention. STOP WORRYING. It really is true that within the margin of error and certain parameters, everything really does turn out ok. But don’t forget those who dwell outside of those parameters for whom things do not turn out ok. When taking risks, consider them, as well as yourself. Don’t confuse luck for skill. Don’t mistake circumstance for predestiny. Give more credit than you accept. Worry is negative goal setting. DON’T GET INVOLVED IN RELATIONSHIPS UNTIL YOU UNDERSTAND FULLY WHAT YOU ARE GETTING YOURSELF INTO. It’s not selfish to conserve your own energy, provided you don’t make promises you can’t keep while preserving that energy. Be nice to your mama.

Dude. That’s good advice.

Good energy (ar ar. SO sorry about that! I didn’t even realize that was there until I proofread, and I just can’t bear to remove it.) (By the way, The Tao of C told a pun-joke today that went like: If you don’t pet this kitty, it will be a cat-astrophe! Like Apocalypse Meow!” hahaha!) in the room today as I stood with representatives from a broad coalition of environmental, economic, and social justice groups in objection to the changes the Austin City Council proposes to make to Austin Energy. Namely, putting control of our public utility, as well as its assets, in the hands of an unelected board. In other words, transferring the LITERAL power out of the hands of the people. I was honored to stand among such a dedicated and committed group of people. I think the next few months are going to be very interesting in my life. I have a lot to learn.

City Council meeting this Thursday should be interesting. It’s estimated that the issue will come before the council between 5 and 7 PM, but that time is not set in stone. Childcare and food will be provided, for those who wish to join us (I say us, but I might have to be late) in opposing this change vocally and in numbers.

Clean Energy For Austin

Clean Energy For Austin

On the way to that press conference, I ran into a client of the program I once ran. We stopped to smell flowers, and I convinced her to come to the press conference and hold a sign.

PJ Sniffing flowers.

PJ Sniffing flowers.

Got my new glasses.

Please ignore my messy hair!

Please ignore my messy hair!

Got some hair dye. Had a good dinner…

Peanut tofu over a bed of sauteed collard greens

Peanut tofu over a bed of sauteed collard greens

I’m writing perfect poetry
In my mind and disappears like smoke

and Tiny bursting dynamites of hope.

Tomorrow is jury duty and hair dying. ❤


I want you to think about this:

Vista Grande High School Principal Tim Hamilton ordered the school — with a student population of 1,776 — on “lock down,” kicking off the first “drug sweep” in the school’s four-year history. According to Hamilton, “lock down” is a state in which, “everybody is locked in the room they are in, and nobody leaves — nobody leaves the school, nobody comes into the school.”

“Everybody is locked in, and then they bring the dogs in, and they are teamed with an administrator and go in and out of classrooms. They go to a classroom and they have the kids come out and line up against a wall. The dog goes in and they close the door behind, and then the dog does its thing, and if it gets a hit, it sits on a bag and won’t move.”

While such “drug sweeps” have become a routine matter in many of the nation’s schools, along with the use of metal detectors and zero-tolerance policies, one feature of this raid was unusual. According to Casa Grande Police Department (CGPD) Public Information Officer Thomas Anderson, four “law enforcement agencies” took part in the operation: CGPD (which served as the lead agency and operation coordinator), the Arizona Department of Public Safety, the Gila River Indian Community Police Department, and Corrections Corporation of America (CCA).

It is the involvement of CCA — the nation’s largest private, for-profit prison corporation — that causes this high school “drug sweep” to stand out as unusual; CCA is not, despite CGPD’s evident opinion to the contrary, a law enforcement agency.

“To invite for-profit prison guards to conduct law enforcement actions in a high school is perhaps the most direct expression of the ‘schools-to-prison pipeline’ I’ve ever seen,” said Caroline Isaacs, program director of the Tucson office of the American Friends Service Committee (AFSC), a Quaker social justice organization that advocates for criminal justice reform.

“All the research shows that CCA doesn’t properly train its staff to do the jobs they actually have. They most certainly do not have anywhere near the training and experience–to say nothing of the legal authority–to conduct a drug raid on a high school,” Isaacs added. “It is chilling to think that any school official would be willing to put vulnerable students at risk this way.” http://shutthechamber.org/news/prwatch-private-prison-company-affiliated-us-chamber-conducts-drug-raids-public-schools

And then thank the superheroes of TWAC:

This protest comes on the heels of TWAC, a weeklong gathering of almost 100 female and transgender activists to share skills and campaign information, and organize opposition to the prison-industrial complex. Prisons and immigrant detention centers, GEO’s primary investments, target poor people, people of color, and transgender individuals. As female and transgender organizers, we are more vulnerable to violence within these institutions. GEO has a clear record of human rights abuses within its facilities. https://earthfirstnews.wordpress.com/2013/04/09/twac-storms-prison-industry-giant-geo-group-hq-in-boca-raton/

This article is spot on, AND hilarious:

So. When “can” you compliment women!?

1. Literally any time!

Yay! I bet this is easier than you thought! Here’s the thing. Do you have a reason to compliment the woman in question? Wait. Let me rephrase that. Do you have a reason to compliment her that doesn’t have anything to do with your penishttp://jezebel.com/you-cant-tell-the-attorney-general-she-has-an-epic-but-471311007

This is some brave ass shit here:

A Tar Sands Blockader disrupted the Valero Texas Open in San Antonio this afternoon during the PGA golf tournament. Douglas Fahlbusch was a standard bearer for the event and used the opportunity to bring attention toManchester, a low income, predominately Latin@ community in Houston’s toxic East End where Valero operates a refinery that consistently violates EPA and TCEQ (Texas Commission for Environmental Quality) laws and regulations.

Once the tournament reached the 18th hole, Doug changed the sign, ordinarily used to display the players’ names and scores, to read “TAR SANDS SPILL. VALERO KILLS. ANSWER MANCHESTER.” He refused to leave the green and was dragged the entire way off the premises by police.

“Business as usual is over, between the BP spill, the current Arkansas spill, and daily life in Manchester,” Fahlbusch said. “Why won’t Valero tell the Manchester people what it is they are breathing every day?” http://www.tarsandsblockade.org/20th-action/

As is this:

ALLEN, OK – Tuesday, April 9, 2013, 9:00 AM – Oklahoma grandmother Nancy Zorn, 79, from Warr Acres, has locked herself to a piece of heavy machinery effectively halting construction on TransCanada’s Keystone XL toxic tar sands pipeline. This action comes in the wake of the disastrous tar sands pipeline spill in Mayflower Arkansas, where an estimated 80,000 gallons of tar sands spilled into a residential neighborhood and local waterways.

Using a bike-lock Zorn has attached her neck directly to a massive earth-mover, known as an excavator, which has brought construction of Keystone XL to a stop.  Zorn is the second Oklahoma grandmother this year risking arrest to stop construction of the pipeline, and her protest is the third in a series of ongoing civil disobedience actions led by the Oklahoma-based coalition of organizations, Great Plains Tar Sands Resistance. http://gptarsandsresistance.org/2013/04/09/3rd-action/

Which explains the praise for the pipeline organizers in this article (complete with throwdown in comments):

The movement to stop the Keystone XL pipeline has gone far beyond what anybody at TransCanada ever could have envisioned when it was first proposed. At Platts’ The Barrel talk at the recent AFPM meeting in San Antonio, a panel of experts all had different views on whether the line would be approved or rejected in the coming months. Ask 10 people in the oil business and you’ll get 10 opinions. (Given the recent ExxonMobil spill in Arkansas, those 10 opinions today might be different than they would have been a week ago.)

But if the protesters lose, and Keystone XL gets an Obama administration OK, it certainly isn’t for lack of trying or organization. They’re highly organized, and they know exactly what they’re doing. http://blogs.platts.com/2013/04/07/golf-protest/