Hey, remember me?

John Lockwood here, the erstwhile favorite blogger of maybe, oh, I don’t know, one, maybe even two people!

Well, I’m back, baby, leaner, meaner, and fighting-machiner than ever, with a brand new vim’ed masterpiece underway.

Now where the heck is that old content I can stuff back here again? Oh yeah – some other repo.

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Voter Registration and Precinct Organizing

The last two days have been pretty active for me, so although I missed writing about Day 18, I’m skipping ahead and calling it Day 19 of my #100DaysOfAction pledge. My activity has been centered on two things, voter registration and Democratic Precinct Organizing.

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Organizing Democrats in My Precinct

Today I went back to work on my 100 Days of Action to free immigrants being held in concentration camps in violation of international law, Border Patrol policy, and human decency. I have begun taking my first tentative steps to organizing folks in unglamorous, old fashioned, retail electoral politics. That means two things, in my opinion – organizing at the precinct level and registering more Democratic voters at the precinct level and beyond. On a level playing field – which is not what we’re playing on – more votes equals a win.

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Do You Have The Support To Be An Activist?

Let me confess once again my amateur, newcomer status to the field of activism. People who are pros at this don’t need to impose learning goals on themselves like “100 days of action”, although I would welcome them to join in on the fun. Indeed, the inspiration for the 100 Days of Action program didn’t just flower in my mind nurtured by the fertilizer that’s found there in abundance. It actually had an external source as well, and that external source is a similar program for newcomers.

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Lights for Liberty Event in Charlotte

This evening I was pleased to participate and speak at the Charlotte Lights for Liberty Event that I helped to organize. Pastor Brenda Stevenson had the courage to go through with the event after I got cold feet, a result of being discouraged by some other activists who insisted that Charlotte was going to be located in South Carolina this year. (Yeah, don’t ask).

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What if Everyone Did That?

Today I spent a few hours working on my remarks for tomorrow’s LightsForLiberty vigil in Charlotte. I have several pages of somewhat disorganized notes. For a five minute speech that’s probably OK (for me), since the sorrow and anger in my heart plus my knowledge of the material will probably be enough, yet I’m sure I’ll fuss with it a bit more before the event. But let me shift gears if I may, because the point of this post is not for you to sympathize with my process. The point of the speech and the 100 days of action and the blogging and the rest of it is to close the camps. How we get from here to there is another point that deserves to be explored.

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A Moral Awakening?

One of the unexpected benefits of this process of engaging in 100 Days of Action for me has been a kind of opening of the heart that has both been quite pleasant to experience.

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New LightsForLiberty Vigil in Charlotte

Today I’m happy to report that a a LightsForLiberty event will be taking place that I like to think I played a small part in precipitating, if only by helping to spread the word to the right people. On Friday, July 12th at 7:00 PM, Pastor Brenda Stevenson will be leading a vigil at the New Outreach Christian Center, 3900 Gossett Ave (3.32 mi) Charlotte, North Carolina 28208. We’re working to provide more details on the Facebook event page and look forward to seeing you Friday night!

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What to Do Next

Today I’m calling it Day 8 of 100 days of action. To be honest I’m feeling a bit lacking in clear direction, so I’m just putting one foot in front of the other and trying to write a few words so as not to get hopelessly behind in that effort. In the last few days I’ve been making friends on Facebook – mostly from the list of folks who liked the Charlotte Poor People’s Campaign and learning about that and Repairers of the Breach.

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Working on a list of folks who might want to meet further

Today’s Day 7 – ONE WEEK – of 100 Days of Action. I’m not sure if I missed yesterday, but in fairness, I did get rear-ended on the way home (everyone’s fine – just a bit sore). Today I started exporting (somewhat by hand) made a list of possible supporters and friends.

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100 Days of Action is Now a Facebook Group Too!

Today’s day SIX of 100 Days of Action to end childhood concentration camps on the Southern US Border. Today I made the decision definitely not to try to compete with the Lights For Liberty Event in Charlotte – well, sort of in Charlotte and have clarified that the one that was going to be really in Charlotte is now cancelled. So I had to write clarifying my position to one of the advocates of the Charlotte event that’s not in Charlotte.

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Sucking at Activism is my Activist Superpower

As I write this post for Day 3 of my #100DaysOfAction to call for an immediate end to the crime against humanity of caging innocent children escaping poverty and violence, I feel once again how inadequate I am to this task. But as I think about the process I went through as I took action, I realize that sucking at this is in fact my superpower.

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100 Days of Action to End Childhood Immigrant Detention (Day 1)

Today I pledge to take action for 100 days (#100DaysOfAction) to end the appalling conditions of putting children in concentration camps at our southern border. The idea is to spend at least one hour per day taking action to make this end. For my first day, I’ve been calling my congressional representatives, a task that’s made very simple using the 5 Calls App. To learn more, read on!

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Writing Before Being Dead Limits My Ability to Do So

A chronic feeling as I hurtle toward retirement and death is that I have accomplished nothing. So I thought I’d blog about it, in the spirit of what we did in the 2000-naughts. I remember that time as being after we put up our underachieving web sites by hand but before we boasted of our non-accomplishments on social media.

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Giving Up Social Media - One Month Later

As I write this it’s February 4th. On New Year’s Eve, or roughly 35 days ago, I announced my decision to give up social media. A couple of days later, I refined that to be a three week test, lest my mind react would react as it often does to a perceived deprivation by doing the opposite of what we’re trying to will it to do. Today I’m here to give a retrospective report on the experiment, which had great results overall.

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Vegan Diet and Cholesterol

This week I got the news of my blood test results from my doctor. I was very pleased to see that my cholesterol numbers had improved dramatically, since this was one of my main reasons to adopt a plant based diet. (In fact my doctor had once mentioned that a plant based diet was the best way to bring the numbers down).

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Best Reads This Week - February 3, 2017

Welcome to our collection of best reads for the week of January 23, 2017. Many of these will be current blog posts as is par for the course, but this week we’ll also discuss a book and audio course. TL;DR – Get Viktor Frankl’s Man’s Search for Meaning and read it, if you haven’t already.

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Short Stories

Yesterday while meditating during a walk with my wife, I realized that my short practice was allowing me to enjoy a pleasant distance from the stories that my mind concocts. Of course, this idea was itself such a story, but without some sort of point of view we won’t have much of an article here, will we?

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Scary Trip to the Sangha, Part One

This was a whole article in itself, that I wrote before my visit to the new Dharma Center in Sacramento. That turned out so well that I considered not publishing this at all as being really rude and tasteless in light of the actual experience, but I’ve decided to leave it in for several reasons.

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Best Reads This Week - January 12, 2017

A very pleasant result that came out of my experiment of beginning to using a feed reader again is that I’ve been finding lots of fun stuff to read. I thought I’d share some of the best of what I bumped into this week, and I may turn this into a weekly feature.

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Two New Mind Hacks - Insight Meditation and RSS Readers

This week I’m revisiting two tools that have been absent from my life for too long, insight meditation and an RSS reader. There’s really not much relation between the two, other than I wanted to re-introduce both of them into my life in the same week. Something you do that you might find useful or beneficial is a good working definition of a mind hack, so I’ve glued them together that way. I hope they like each other!

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Mindfulness Versus Technology

Today I meditated for a little while. I enjoyed that, as I almost always do. As a bad Buddhist, I believe there is a benefit to it. But as I said, I’m a bad Buddhist, which means I’m someone who doesn’t do it enough.

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What Do You Do With The Walmart Cashier?

A Walmart cashier lost his job. Or Safeway, or Raley’s, or pick your store, your supermarket. Once you had a bar-code reader, you could always make your customers do the mechanical act of scanning. Tack on a credit card reader and some software I could have written twenty years ago, and your Walmart cashier loses her job, or pick your store, your supermarket.

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Trying Out Vegan African Vegetables

Yesterday I cooked another another recipe from my Christmas present, the outstanding China Study Cookbook, the one for African Vegetables. This is the fifth recipe we’ve made out of this book, and so far every one has been a keeper. This recipe, especially, came out delicious, even though at first I was a bit nervous about the weird ingredient list that included cinnamon, corn, zucchini, and spinach, sweet potatoes, and peanut butter!

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Vegan Stew

This recipe is a variation on the Hearty Stew recipe from LeAnn Campbell’s excellent, book, The China Study Cookbook. Partly the variation came from the ingredients I had on hand, and partly it came about as a result of one mistake I made along the way, but the end product came out very well indeed so I’m sharing this variation here.

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Have Something to Say

This site is all about experiments. I’m quitting social media, but only on a trial basis. I’m a bad vegan, but I might break down and become a good one. One of the experiments here is to just write. This doesn’t mean it’s all about stream of consciousness or anything like that, it just means writing short posts that have some kind of topic. How retro!

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Bad Vegans, Good Vegetarians

Back when I was eating more vegetarian meals but still backsliding into the more than occasional hamburger, I tried to do the right thing by admitting I was a bad vegetarian. In retrospect I was no such thing. I was not a vegetarian at all. What I really was was an omnivore who was experimenting with portions.

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Politics, News, and Other Noise

Lately I have been either pathologically withdrawing from the world, or embarked on a heroic journey in inner space. It’s too soon to tell which one of those is accurate. Either way, this trend of pathological / heroic introversion started before I quit social media, with the 2016 election.

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Top 8 Mistakes People Make When Quitting Social Media

Since deciding to leave social media sites at the end of 2016, I have been reflecting on earlier attempts to do the same thing that didn’t last, thinking about my success so far this time, and reading stories of both success and failure to see if there are any common themes. I thought it worthwhile to share some of the ideas I have, with the caveat that, at present, my current way of doing things is only a few days old.

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Vegan Waffles

This vegan waffle recipe was quite good – the only thing really disappointing about it was the fact that, made from scratch as it was, they required a bit more beating than waffles I’ve made in the past with Bisquick. But they were crisp and tasty.

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Social Media Withdrawal

Happy New Year to all my readers, which at this point is likely to be just me. But let’s not fret about that. If need be I can chat with my wife and double my readership.

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Consumptive Minimalism and Productive Maximalism

Social networks are infrequently useful but always addictive. They replace sustained original thinking with franticly retweeting the cleverness of others. We click and scroll mindlessly, in the hope of making a connection with someone else who – like us – is not really paying attention. They have turned the Internet into electronic lab experiments on adult human rats. If used at all they are best used sparingly, like jalapeños or salt. The Internet wasn’t always this way. I remember a time in the late 1990’s when webmasters (as we called ourselves then) and bloggers (as we called ourselves later) spent most of our time producing content. To be sure, there was reciprocal linking and other such schemes that we hoped would boost our traffic, but Content was still King. We were producers of the Internet. We were writing it.

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Vegan Cream of Mushroom and Broccoli Soup

This is a recipe my wife and I enjoyed last weekend, so I thought I’d write it all down. It was a great, creamy soup. We like to cook enough on weekends to serve all week, so there’s probably about six servings in this recipe, more or less.

Ingredients

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