Hanging Out at the Library

I have labeled 2009 as my “year of learning”.

Each year between Christmas and New Years, I try to revise my “life plan” and take stock of how things are.  This year it was particularly interesting because of the massive shift of both economics, politics and many personal elements in my life.  So to have learning be a more focused element of the next year seemed timely.

I have always been an indiscriminate reader but now this habit has been shifted into overdrive.  If for some reason you would like to see what I am reading, one good way is to find my LinkedIn page.  If you scroll down there is a section where the books are shown complete with some comments.  I hope others share reading lists with me.  Recently my daughter, Alana shared a very literary list with me and I dug into those but some were challenging!

But the real point of this essay is that all of this reading has reintroduced me to my local libraries.  For several years now, I have been pretty addicted to just dropping onto Amazon and clicking my way to a larger library.  But I find that about 50% of the books I think I will like end up being dropped by 20% through the book.  And they are not ones I want to take up shelf space long term.

Today’s libraries have collaborative relationships with others in their counties or even wider areas.  So you almost always find that they have the book.  You can have it for 2-3 weeks for free and no shelf space is taken up.  Of the last 10 books, I really liked “Outliers” and bought a copy (Amazon again) but the others did not get across the new and higher threshold.

So try going back to your local library.  See get a card and see what they can get for you.  Find out how to use them from your home by reserving books on line.  I even found that they keep some books now in soft copy form so that you can read them instantly from home.  This was especially for computer language books.

Try it.  And let me know what you find.

Posted in Essays, Personal Stories

Veni, Vidi, Cleani

I received emails from various parts of the Obama campaign and transition team (one was from Michelle Obama … did we all get personal emails??  Ha.) asking each of us to particpate in a day of national service as a prelude to the new presidency.  Barak Obama and his family will be doing this in Washington DC. I suspect there may be easy clean up there.

Anyway to geel involved, my neighbor, Barry Wilson, and I went out to do our part.  As you know I live on the San Francisco Bay and I like to Kayak.  So we took my 2 person Kayak (Barry has a pair of one person Kayaks) and some buckets and some trash sacks and so forth and went for a paddle.

Now we know of an island that is near to land in the northern part of Richardson Bay, a small bay part of the larger SF Bay.  And so we went to the island that was accessible but where humans typically do not go and began our clean up!  Here is a map of the broad area around where I live –


Now at this scale our particular island is not so visible so here it is on a magnified scale –


(these are clipped from Google Maps)

Now on our island we found perhaps 5 dozen tennis balls all pretty much bald from long term outdoor exposure, some glass bottles, a very old plastic toilet seat, and various other stuff.  Enough for 2 bags and that was all the Kayak would hold since it had to carry us back too.

What article is complete without a photo of the intrepid explorers and their treasure (or trash in this case).  So here is Barry and I posing with our trash sacks –


The point of this post is to say to all that you can do this in the next few days and be a part of the transformation that is coming.  Even if we just start by making all around us a little bit better.  That is a very good start!

Posted in Essays, Green Perspectives, Personal Stories