Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Ernest Shackelton and Endurance

Glen Ellen, California

Some stories should be read, reread, and fully absorbed by all hands. Sir Ernest Shackleton's life should be part of any amateur historians short list of epics. His book, South : The Endurance Expedition is a well thumbed volume sitting upon the physical and electronic shelf of my life. It can be turned to for inspiration during times of difficulty and tumult. 

During my Coast Guard career leadership was a constant topic. What is it? Is it innate or developed, or maybe a latent gene activated during times of stress? What does it mean to "take care of your people?" What is the correct mix of nurturing and Bligh like discipline? The story of the rush to the South Pole is a terrific study in different leadership styles. Since I have been to the Antarctic while serving aboard a Polar Class icebreaker, The Polar Sea, I've always found all things Polar to be fascinating. Pictured below is Endurance's Lifeboat, the James Caired. Shackleton used this lifeboat to make one of the most treacherous journeys ever in the history of the nautical. He and a small crew crossed the Weddell Sea at the onset of winter in the JC, a 22 foot open lifeboat, navigating his way to South Georgia Island, and then mountaineering his way across the island to a whaling station. He continued to push to save his 28 man crew, and was successful. This unbelievable story took place from 1914-1917.

More than ten years ago, while on one of my numerous walkabouts around New York City, I stood at the chiseled marble steps of the The New York Metropolitan Museum staring wide eyed with my jam dangling. A huge banner read "The Shackleton Exhibit." Holy Ice Floes Batman!!! Within five I was running my fingers along the gunwhale of the James Caird, the actual boat pictured above. My heart thumping, nose pressing against the glass as I looked at Shackleton's journal, ships log, and the sextant used to navigate to South Georgia Island

Thursday, December 15, 2011

A Chapter From My Memoir

Glen Ellen, California 

I've been working somewhat diligently on my book, likely named Land & Sea A Memoir. I was spurred to write by a senior project I must complete for my graduation from Dominican University in May. Once I learned how easy it is to publish, I thought, why not? I've got a story to tell. Below is a little sample of what I've been up to.

Photo Credit Jim Patterson Photography

Chapter XX It’s Turn Key
Boats are a funny thing. Men especially become neurotically attached to these floating affairs. Many become enamored with the dream of sailing around the world. Stroll the docks of any marina and you will see beautiful sailing boats, tricked out with every offshore amenity known to mankind. This is why sailors are fond of saying “You know what boat stands for? Break Out Another Thousand.” Everyone gets a good belly roll out of that well trammeled joke. Like all popular jokes and stereotypes they have a modicum of truth. Once the intention is set to head offshore for a long world-wide sojourn, a low-grade mental illness can set it. The lure of the sea is indeed powerful, and may be imbedded in the male human DNA.

Sunday, December 11, 2011

Yoga Independent Study Paper

Glen Ellen, CA

 I used my yoga teacher training I attended in October 2011 as an independent study for one credit hour at Dominican University of California. Because I am a philosophy major, I was able to parlay a little bit with the school. I was required to write a research paper on the experience, and the result is below! I hope you enjoy reading. To reveal the entire post, please click on the "read more" button at the bottom.
Photo Credit yogaschoolofindia.com
            In October of 2011, I took a significant leap forward in personal transformation by attending a yoga teacher training in Austin, Texas. I’ve subsequently started teaching classes at a local yoga studio. This step, the training and teaching, was the culmination of an incremental swallowing up of my life, and a new way of being, by a consistent yoga practice I’d taken up a couple of year prior. This paper details my yoga journey, some historical research about Indian philosophy, the origins of yoga, the nature of charisma, and a powerful yoga master named Baron Baptiste.
            During my inquiry of self via the ancient practice of yoga, and in concert with my academic pursuits at the Dominican University of California, I’ve come to a deeper understanding of the crossroads of philosophic thought. Including, Indian and Greek philosophy, Hinduism, Patanjali’s Yoga Sutras, modern day yoga masters such as B.K.S. Iyengar, and one of his famous students, Baron Baptiste whom I recently trained under. I was transformed during my week of Level 1 Teaching Training in Austin, and an honor to learn from Baron. Baron Baptiste is world renown, successful yoga teacher, and it’s no stretch to claim he has created a yoga empire via his Baptiste Power Vinyasa Flow yoga. I say empire in a respectful yogic way, as I found Baron to be impressive, charismatic, and possessing leadership qualities I admire. I find the development of personal magnetism to the degree that Baptiste has achieved to be fascinating, and worth a serious inquiry. In this essay, I will lay out the evolution of Baron Baptiste, his style of yoga, and to whom he takes his philosophic cues. A “cult of personality” somewhat surrounds him, much to his chagrin I surmise. I discuss some scholarly research in the field of charisma that feeds such cults.  

Friday, December 2, 2011

My Rooster the Squater

Glen Ellen, California,

I've never written a blog post regarding how I came to own, and now live in my little house in the California wine country. I came to own my house in 2003, purchased while I was stationed here in California. I kept it rented out during the duration of my service time, and subsequent sailing adventure. Painfully, my management company rented the house to some dirt bags who gutted the place, and started to grow pot inside, and outside the house to fuel the burgeoning medical marijuana industry. I got them out of the house, and just did not have the stomach to be a land lord again, especially in a down economy which attracts economically in stable people. It is an old house to begin with making it even harder for me to find good renters. The laws are stacked against landlords, California is the worst, especially in Sonoma county.  It is a shame, because affordable rentals are few. But, more and more people like me become freaked out because the laws become so complicated, resulting in the need for lawyers for the smallest of issues, because a mistake can send you reeling into the 7th circle of hell. I will spare the details of my 7th circle of hell getting my renters out. I feel lucky as my experience could have been much worse than it was. 

Shot with my Canon G11
Thus, I found myself moving off of Christa after living aboard her for 12 years. Surprise surprise, I found I loved living in my house. Even at 1000 square feet I marveled at all the room. I fired up a garden for the first time, and enjoyed that experience. In fact, just this morning I plucked tomato's, and fresh spinach from my garden.

Onward. About a month a go, a Rooster simply showed up in my driveway. No idea where the fella came from. Sonoma county has a fair amount of farming going on, but I know of none that is with-in a mile or two of my house. Maybe someone has a small operation going in the backyard. He showed up on a weekend, I feed him some bird seed, thinking I'll just call animal control on Monday, and they will come by and scoop him up. No joy. They won't come pick him up until I catch and cage him. Thanks for nothing. Another ding against Sonoma county. Now, I've actually taken to the guy. He greets me in my driving and then runs in front of my car down the driveway squawking as I pull up. It is pretty funny. He knows me now, and will eat out of my hand. He never crows, but makes little noises when I emerge in the morning as if to say "good morning." 

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Manifestation of Power Via Art In the Roman Empire

San Rafael, CA


 I took an Art History class this semester that is now coming to an end. A theme in my life has developed over the past couple of years of being astonished at some of the things I've become interested in. Yoga is a total no brainer on the astonishment scale. I mean who would have ever predicted that? If you had told me I'd be teaching yoga in the near future when I was anchored not long ago in Bequia, I would have accused you of shopping for fruit as a cover at the Rasta Man Stand. He sold more than fruit. As an aside 
I am teaching class after class now, and loving it so.

Another pleasant surprise has been my Art History of the Greek & Roman World class. I give substantial credit to my professor, Heidi who is so dog gone passionate about the subject, that you just can't help but get swept up into her historical narrative. Art boring? NOT! I really learned a ton, and would have worn a Toga to class, but Dominican University has a Convent on the campus, and that would have been weird.

I wrote a paper about Roman power in Art after learning that the Saddam Hussein statue that was yanked down in Baghdad after the U.S. invasion in 2003 was inspired directly by the Romans. I started to do some more research, and I've come to learn almost all art is used to project messaging in some fashion. Anyway, below is the paper. Read it if you will or not. Maybe you'll see some connections. Jefferson's Monticello anyone?


Manifestation of Power Via Art In the Roman Empire

            Today the Roman Empire is discussed in the context of a once great empire, its spectacular fall spurred by unchecked pride. The inevitable comparison between contemporary America, and her apparent hubris leading to over reach. The breath, scope, achievements, and length of the Roman Empire are truly amazing. Like all giants, the Romans stood upon the shoulders of those who came before. This famous metaphor, “Standing on the shoulder of giants,” was propelled into our modern lexicon by Sir Isaac Newton in 1676. However, the first usage of this metaphor stretches back to ancient mythological Greece when Orion, the blind giant god carries his servant Cedalion on his shoulders. Indeed, the Roman ruler Hadrian highlights his respect for his much admired predecessor Trajan, by inserting himself in panels on TheArch of Trajan at Benevento; thereby communicating to the Roman citizenry whose shoulders he stands atop.

Friday, November 25, 2011

Happiness on the Otherside of Success

Glen Ellen, California

Another awesome video from Teds.com. This chat is from Shawn Achor who wrote the book The Happiness Advantage. This a great video. Please take the time to view, and comment if you will.


Sunday, November 13, 2011

Quest Entry. Meet Yael of Houston Texas

Ahoy! Below is the lovely Yael, who is the leader, and core of the six person team dubbed the Transformers, or maybe it was Transformation In Motion. I don't remember. We named the team, and I subsequently started to call us the Transformers. Anyway, we bonded, as did our entire team. We did a whole lot of laughing. You can see a picture of the entire team by clicking here. The experience has left a rather permanent mark on me, as it did on most who put their heart into the experience. Here is Yael's experience in her own words. If you like, leave a comment or sent her and email.

Houston, Texas
Had to Cut Ray Out. Sorry Buddy!

So, I’m new to this whole blog thing.  I don’t have one of my own and honestly, before Christian, didn’t know anyone personally who had one.  I don’t even know how I got roped into this.  One minute we’re talking about acne (?) and the next, I’m being invited to write a guest blog. At first, I think our dear friend is soliciting gratuitous self endorsement, but he assures me otherwise and tells me I can write about whatever I want.  I think an appropriate topic to share on someone else’s blog is my viewpoint on our shared experience: Baptiste Yoga teacher training boot-camp!  It’s nice and G-rated!

Post Bootcamp, Operation Fixa-Flat Near Austin

I’ve had a couple weeks to sit and reflect on the experience- not to mention several dozen conversations- I always have my deepest moments of clarity after I verbally articulate my thoughts, which I have to say really came in handy at boot-camp- since there is no way you’re going to get out of talking and sharing during that experience—EVER. 

When I arrived at boot-camp, I had no idea what to expect.  Despite the many opinions I solicited from my various yoga teachers, no one really shared with me what teacher training is about.

I think in my head, I assumed it would be yoga practice, followed by intense yoga lecture and finish with practice teaching.  While all of those pieces certainly had a place in the program, they were not the sole focal point. 

Teacher training can best be described as part teacher training/ part group therapy (and I use that term lovingly- I assure you!).  I would say that would have been good information to share with a rookie, no?? Apparently it’s “common knowledge” and not that important to be so “forthcoming” about.  Whatever.  While I’d like to say I wish I had known upfront, in hindsight, I really don’t.  I’m quite pleased that I didn’t have the opportunity to over think (or set expectations) ahead of time and feel pretty confident saying that it made for a richer experience.

So, on we go.  I show up on day 1 and find there are about 130 participants and that the chef is preparing a low fat, low mucus, gluten free, “life giving” menu.  I don’t even really know what most of those words mean, but I’m an open minded girl (and starving), so I eat.  [As an aside, I think it’s important to note that I thought I had been focusing my entire life on a low mucus diet- isn’t that really the main reason to be nice to the waiter?  (yes, yes, of course, treat others as you wish to be treated, blah, blah, blah, but really??)  We all know what happens to the token jerk before his food leaves the kitchen, right? Come on, work with me here.]

After dinner we are treated to Baptiste’s signature “journey into power” sequence.  It’s challenging and hot, but you can’t imagine how amazing it is to be in a room with 130 other people, whose mats are no more than 1” apart, and whose excitement and enthusiasm are palpable!  I left feeling energized and ready to start the week!  Oh and sweaty.  Very sweaty.  This becomes a theme, by the way. 

Day 2 starts out with an hour long, excruciating meditation followed by 5 hours of yoga.  Why excruciating, you ask?  Have you ever sat in the same position on the floor for an hour and tried to clear your head of the chatter?  Trust me when I tell you it’s harder than it looks.  My feet fell asleep, my hips starting aching and my back was screaming! Unlike the owner of this blog, I was far less successful. The rest of the day is filled with therapy and more yoga.  All in all, they set the precedent for the 16 hour days which will fill the rest of the week. 

We get very regular intermissions to reflect and discuss what is going on in our heads and our hearts and we start to get to know each other- one on one and then, if you chose, one on 130.  At first, I’ll be honest.  It freaked me out!  The first time someone openly cried in front of the group (which was on Day 1), I thought to myself: “Sweet Jesus What on EARTH is happening?!?!”

I came to learn that I was one of very few who did not know what the program was about and the overwhelming majority was more than ready to dive in.  They NEEDED this.  So did I.  I needed it just as much as everyone else. If not more. 

For me specifically, it was a huge challenge.  I needed it, but that certainly did not mean I was ready to receive it.  I think the people who know me best would use the word “strong” to describe me (of course among other things, like smart, funny, and really pretty).  And I would agree – about the strong part.  This means however, that it’s extremely hard for me to show vulnerability- especially with people who don’t know me. 

They did an amazing job however creating a very safe place for people to share, break down and be built back up.  I feel like the program was designed to create a “crisis” of sorts.  You are repeatedly and constantly fatigued to the point of exhaustion- physically, mentally and emotionally, so that you can no longer fight back, repress, or avoid the feelings you’re having.  You have no option in the matter, really. 

NOW, picture sharing that with 130 people – your deepest insecurities and fears.  It’s amazing.  Added bonus: they found 130 truly REMARKABLE people (which I’m still baffled by- Every. Single. Person. Amazing.) You build pretty deep, very rich relationships and friendships—quickly!  It’s not like anything I have ever experienced before.  It’s hard to believe that I’ve only known these people for 30 days.  I feel like I’ve known them for years.  And I feel I am a better person for having known them. 

If you’re out there reading, THANK YOU.  From the bottom of my heart.  You changed my life.  Namaste.

Yael Iffergan

Saturday, November 12, 2011

Yoga Instructor. Yup I Have a Job!

Glen Ellen, California

 Last week, on a Tuesday morning before the sun had risen, I stepped in front of a room full of yoga students for the first time as a teacher. The back of the bicycle seat had been let go by my instructors, and I was on my own. It was awesome, and humbling all at the same time!

4th Street San Rafael, Shot with Canon G11
I think that being a teacher is a real calling. Most people who end up in a yoga room for the first time, and subsequently stick with the practice become amazed at the impact in short order. Some, me included, get so jazzed with the whole thing that they want to teach. When I decided to stop sailing (you can read about why I stopped sailing by clicking here and scrolling to the bottom) and go to college, my initial thought was to become a high school teacher. I love to teach, and instruct, but getting involved with the another bureaucratic organization turned me off huge. I've backed off on the high school teaching idea since. 

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Pearl Jam 20

Glen Ellen, California

I downloaded and watched Pearl Jam 20, the documentary by Cameron Crowe about the bands first 20 years. Apple TV rocks! I wrote a blog post regarding my time living in Seattle during the grunge explosion. Please read that post by clicking here. It did not disappoint in the least. PJ fans obviously will love the film.  I love a good story, especially captured in a documentary. This is in keeping with my latest theme of odd ducks. My respect for people who may do things a little different. Pearl Jam clearly followed the road less traveled, and still does. The first thing that popped into my head as the credits rolled is this is a band with a lot of heart. Not the fake kind, but true believers in their craft. Kind of in the vain of what I wrote in my last post about Sterling Hayden. Neither Sterling nor Pearl Jam were/are conformists. Not that I advocate

PJ20 Promo Shot. Pearl Jam: Matt Cameron, Eddie Vedder, Jeff Ament, Mike McCready, Stone Gossard
necessarily how any of the people I write about live, but having a massive population consistently going along with societal flow breeds a boring society. One that is just not exceptional in any way shape or form. People who are in a constant state of protest over every conceivable injustice is fatiguing. But, they are the ones to agitate pushing back against those (me included) who like consistency. 

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Sausalito Californa and Sterling Hayden

Glen Ellen, California

 News flash. I am writing a book soon to be named, maybe Land & Sea A Memoir. Over the past year and half while attending Dominican University of California, I've done a substantial amount of experiential writing. This is the reason christianallaire.com has suffered a little bit. I love maintaining this blog, and am kind of bummed I don't have as much time write blog posts. I'm graduating this coming May, and must complete a "Senior Project" to satisfy my humanities portion. I have wide latitude on what to do for the project, and have decided to write a book with the intention of publishing to iPad, Kindle, Nook, ePub, and old school book format as well. Adobe's InDesign is the incredible software that allows one to format properly, and Amazon is/has revolutionized the book publishing world. Any shmoe like me can publish a book, and disseminate it widely with a push of a button. The electronic versions will contain picture and video. While researching the portion my life spent in the awesome town of Sausalito, situated just north of the Golden Gate Bridge, I was reminded of the actor Sterling Hayden. Hayden called Sausalito home for many years, and died there in 1986 at the age of 70. Like I always say, I have a soft spot for odd ducks. Mr. Hayden was a very eccentric fellow, and lived a really interesting life. Many things he did one can only shake their head. 

Saturday, October 29, 2011

Baron Baptiste Yoga Bootcamp

Glen Ellen, California

 It was a powerful week that I spent outside of Austin, Texas. That is about the best way to describe it. Powerful. My commitment to spending a week in total immersion is part of my goal of becoming a yoga instructor. You can read some commentary I wrote about becoming a teacher by clicking here.

Savasana with 140 Others
It's tough to know where to begin. I'll start by saying that the week consisted of NO COFFEE, and the food was excellent, but only fruits and veggies. I've never gone more than 24 hours without coffee. The impact of no coffee is tough to quantify, because the days were simply packed tight with no chance to start joanzzin for coffee.

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

The Death of Steve Jobs

Glen Ellen, California

 The passing away of Steve Jobs today at the age of 56 years is a real loss to the country, and the world. Please take the time to read the story published in Forbes entitled "What We Owe Steve Jobs." Not a tribute to Jobs, but discusses the moral nature of his achievements. The more I learn about the humanities the more I appreciate the genius of Jobs. Hope all is well for him on the other side.

Monday, October 3, 2011

On Becoming a Yoga Instructor

Glen Ellen, CA

I took my first yoga class about three year ago. In June of 2010, after arriving in San Francisco Bay Area, after the big sailing trip, I began to attend class five to six days a week. I've kept said pace, doing both Bikram and Power Vinysa.

Creative Commons

Sunday, October 2, 2011

Kindle Fire Will Santa Claus Deliver One?

Glen Ellen, CA

I really enjoy technology. I'm also an avid reader, a decidedly old school habit. The marriage between reading and technology is fantastic. What is really amazing about e-readers and tablets like the Kindle Fire or the Apple iPad, is it is the first technology being embraced by the older generations who did not grow up computer savvy. Why? Simply the font size can be adjusted to ease the strain on eye sight that becomes diminished with age. All the high tech bling that comes with tablets are an ancillary benefit older people ease into after receiving their new machine.

Saturday, September 24, 2011

Midway Islands Current Plight

Glen Ellen, CA

 While stationed in the Hawaiian Islands aboard CGC Washington, I made two separate trips out to Midway Island in 1993 and 94. Midway is actually part of the Hawaiian Island Chain. If you look at a chart you can see the string of islands that are old volcano's. Midway being the northern most volcano that is now just a hair above sea level. The southern most volcano in the island chain is the Big Island of Hawaii. Anything but flat, with its active volcano's. 

sailing in the lagoon

Sunday, September 11, 2011

Pearl Jam 20 A Documentry by Cameron Crowe

Glen Ellen, CA

 I was more than a little excited to learn about a project that has been ongoing, and now is complete. I like odd ducks so to speak. Cameron Crowe fits said description nicely. I've been an admirer of his for quite sometime, based upon his remarkable life, and the awesome films he writes and directs. I can hardly believe that Pearl Jam is now over 20 years old. PJ would also fall under the heading of odd duck. Aside from their fantastic music, and singer Eddie Vedder's distinct, almost ethereal voice, I have a bit of a connection to the Grunge scene of Seattle that they emerged from. I joined the U.S. Coast Guard in 1988 and had my first duty station aboard a ship, the Polar Sea, homeported along the Seattle Waterfront. It was a crazy crazy time. Seattle seemed to be exploding with clubs and music. My mates and me were in the thick of it all. About a block from the Coast Guard Base on Alaskan Way was a neighborhood called Pioneer Square. The hood, not surprisingly, was prominently featured in Cameron Crowe's way cool 1991 movie called Singles. It was a real bohemian situation. The movie promo picture below was taken in Pioneer Square. My shipmates and I would pay a 5 dollar cover charge and have access to about 10 clubs within the square. Bands like Mother Love Bone, and the folks from Soundgarden would play along with old school jazz and blues bands. Vedder and company along with Nirvana jammed at these clubs during this stretch of time.

10 Years Seems Like Yesterday

Glen Ellen, California 

These are tough to watch. I had just woken up aboard Christa in Sausalito California on the morning of 9/11. It also was a gorgeous picture perfect day out west. I was pretty stunned. I went up to Cafe Trieste had some coffee and watched the big screen TV with the water front crowd. I was scheduled for my normal watch that evening in the command center at the Coast Guard Base on Yerba Buena Island. I knew things would be very different, and the course of my career would change. It did.

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

TEDS Videos and Some Musings

Glen Ellen, California

The video below is really amazing. It is short, and I encourage you to watch. I've some thoughts on the topic. But first a quick word on TEDS Video. Here is the websites motto

"Riveting talks by remarkable people, free to the world"

My snazzy Apple TV tracks podcasts for me that I subscribe to, TEDS videos being one of my subscriptions. Nearly each day a video is posted. Short in nature, and each fascinating. I'm hooked!

He is the description of the actual talk from the TEDS website.

Thursday, September 1, 2011

General David Petraeus an Extradinary Man

Glen Ellen, California

Yesterday David Petraeus retired from the U.S. Army after 37 years of service. We, as a nation, should salute him.

Saturday, August 27, 2011

Hurricane Irene

Glen Ellen, California

Here is an Image from NASA of Hurricane Irene as she exits the Bahamas and move north. Pretty crazy! So happy I don't have to worry about hurricanes anymore......for the moment anyway!

Good Luck to all hands on the east coast!

Below are two images from my first day at Infineon Raceway with my buddy Jeff and AJ Foyt Racing.

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Indy® Grand Prix of Sonoma

San Rafael, California

Ahoy race fans! This is a little blog tease.

My little kingdom in Glen Ellen, California is about 10 miles to the north of Infineon Raceway. When I commute from Christa to my house 2 or 3 times per week I pass right by the race track. Plus one of my yoga teachers is also a newly minted professional motorcycle rider and is the founder of Pranaforce Racing. He races at Infineon and I like to go watch and support him. You can see my post on the last trip to Infineon by clicking here.

So, meet my buddy Jeff Britton pictured below.
Image Compliments of AJ Foyt Racing
Jeff and I grew up together in Pennsylvania, but lost touch for a number of years. Then I reunited with him again at my 20 year High School reunion, only to lose track of him again. But, I tracked him down again. I shall not lose track of him again! He is now the Chief Engineer for AJ Foyt Racing team. He is an Indy car guy, low key, mellow and calm by nature. I recon he is superior in his high pressure job. Always analytical. We were a great team. Me a spaz and Jeff at the opposite end of the spectrum. 

AJ & Sammy Hagar. The Race Team and Sammy have a relationship

Jeff was always a motor head and pretty smart to boot. He had a 1977 Camero Z-28 identical to the one pictured below. One day in his parents garage he started to re-build a GM Small Block 350 while I just looked on. I held some wrenches here and there with no desire to learn about said engine. I was more interested in chasing girls and doing burn-outs. Now Jeff simply did all of this mechanical work from the manual by trial and error. Once that Chevy Orange engine was dropped in, she was a rocket. That dude "Mayhem" from the insurance commercials had nothing on us! We were a menace to society, and labeled as trouble makers. I suppose we were, but we seemed to have turned out OK. Both of us marveled that we did not die in that vehicle. I remember getting pulled over by "Officer No Slack Ricklack"on more than one occasion.

Jeff is going to be racing this weekend at Infineon and yours truly has a pit pass. That's right baby, I'm going to be in Pitts with Jeff and my Canon G11 blazing away. So excited to see Jeff and an Indy Car race up front and personal. Here are a couple of pics from the race team website.

Stay tuned!

Capt Chris

Friday, August 19, 2011

Fall Semester at Dominican University

Glen Ellen, California

This summer I completed a 6 semester hour Finite Math class and an internship at Mill Valley library. My 3 week break is coming to a close, and this coming Monday I report back to school to start my senior year. Here is a quick run down of what's on tap for the Fall 2011 semester. 

East side of Guzman Hall

Digital Media Convergence (Monday and Weds)

1.              Course Description:

Facebook and Fox News, Tivo and TV, YouTube and Yahoo, books and blogs, ipods, iphones, itunes, ieverything – we are pretty much swimming in information. How do we navigate through it all? How do we find the good stuff? Which kinds of information should we use for which kinds of research and creative projects?

Through readings, lectures, tutorial demonstrations and hands-on exercises in multimedia technologies, students will explore the convergent forms of digital media, including production for audio, video, and web, as well as interactive communications. Students will be encouraged to articulate the stories they wish to tell and to develop the skills to communicate their messages. Students will develop a critical awareness of their own work and be able to place it in a broader social and cultural context.  

Linguistics ( Monday and Weds)

1.               Course Description

Introduction to linguistics: the scientific inquiry into human language, its structures and uses and the relationship between them, as well as into the development and acquisition of language. 

Classical Arts: Greek & Roman (Weds)

1.               Course Description

Architecture, sculpture, painting, and minor arts of ancient Greece and Rome from the early Minoan-Mycenaean period through the late Roman Empire. The development of the Greek temple and the Roman city and the influence of classical culture on the development of Western civilization. 

Special Project Cap/1 - Senior Project

1.                Course Description

Specific work on the senior project with the student’s primary reader. Requirements depend upon the student’s Concentration Track  

Senior Project Workshop 

1.                Course Description

A two semester practical workshop with other students working on their senior project. The workshop orients students to thesis or project options, choice of primary reader and the process and requirements of the senior project. 

So grateful I am able to attend school full-time, and dedicate my life to the aquistion of knowledge.

Capt Chris 

Thursday, August 18, 2011

Gardening So Appealing

Glen Ellen, California

 My little house here in the Valley of the Moon in the Sonoma wine country is a small plot of land no doubt. But, I do have space to grow organic veggies and what not. I have been really surprised at how I've been sweeped up into gardening. I've positively gotten in touch with my inner farmer. I've never grown anything in my life. When I moved into the house in June I planted a sunflower seed. You can see the results in the picture below. When that little plant popped its head from the soil in a week, sadly perhaps, it was one of the most satisfying things I've ever done! It was truly gratifying.

My First Flower
Since, I've planted tomatoes, strawberries, cantaloupe, and melon. Just recently I built two raised garden beds, both 2 feet by 8 feet. I've now planted an assortment of lettuce and kale. Within the week I've sow some carrots and celery. These are all my fall garden plantings. You see, I'm already conversant with terms such as "fall garden plantings." Living in the wine country it should be obvious that its prime growing territory. With my PVC hoop design I should be able to grow year round. Man, am I into it!

What's really wild about this new interest of mine is that many many retired sailors move inland and become farmers or ranchers. Just take Robin Lee Graham, who in the 1960's was the youngest circumnavigator at 16 years old. He moved to Montana with his wife and lived off the land. The whale industry in New England is another example. Most sea captains owned working farms. Also, my friends from SV Someday Came, the Tillman's, post circumnavigation bought and now operate a Lavender farm in Virginia. For some crazy reason there are strong commonalities.

With all my veggies I will defiantly be slurping on a lot of green smoothies.

Capt Chris

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Adventure in California Wine Country

Glen Ellen, California

This Sunday past I lit out on a fun filled day with my pal Lena, and couple of her friends to Healdsberg California. Of course, I don't consume libations, but my entourage surely does. We hit some wineries for heavy duty tasting while I safely piloted transport between destinations. By late afternoon, we picked up some steaks, culled fresh veggies from the organic garden in the backyard, and had a fantastic home cooked meal. It was a great August summer day in northern California with sunny blue skies and temps in the high 80's. I have to say the highlight was a visit to Francis Ford Cooppla' s winery. Click here if your not familiar with who Francis is. The place was amazing with bars, restaurants, movie memorabilia, and a huge pool with cabana's. For $15 bucks you can lounge at the pool all day. The place was mobbed. So I leave you with so photographs that I shot with my Canon G11 and edited in Apple's Aperture 3.

You Gotta Respect Old Glory

I hope you enjoy! Please don't forget to subscribe! Capt Chris

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Metallica James Hetfield and Absent Fathers

Glen Ellen, California

 You may have noticed a bump in the number of blog posts I've been logging. The fact is I'm on a three week break from school, seriously freeing up my time. However, more importantly for some reason I seem to be in some kind of creative groove and simply have a lot to say. Part of my productivity has to do with living in my house, and having a quite environment with my iMac, desk and all the things I need. Virginia Wolf wrote an essay covering this very topic called A Room of One's Own. In turn I wrote an essay on her essay. You can read my essay by clicking here. Onward.

James Hetfield compliments of Google Images
James and the Family

I have been a gigantic Metallica fan since 1984 when their second album Ride the Lightening was released during my 10th grade year in high school. I remember my buddy Jeff Britton and I saw Metallica play at the Spectrum in Philly in 1986 when they were on their Master of Puppets tour. It was so loud, heavy and just plain crazy. I loved it!

In 1997 while the XO of U.S. Coast Guard Station Lake Tahoe, one of my seaman and fellow Metallica enthusiast were doing something close to nothing when we noticed a pretty blond chick backing a phat cigarette type boat down the launch ramp. Then out pops this heavily tattooed fellow, kisses the girl, jumps in the boat and takes off. You see James Hetfield ownes a house on the west shore. Well Willy and I were just beside ourselves. The rest of my tour at Lake Tahoe I was always on the look out for James while on patrol. Sadly, I would have used my Federal authority to stop him just so I could meet him. 

Fast forward to present day. Allaire is still a huge Metallica fan, but even more so my admiration and respect for James Hetfield is hitting an all time high. Metallica HQ is the bands recording studio and all around base of operations. It is located in a warehouse in San Rafael CA, in an obscure industrial section of town. Recall San Rafael is where I keep Christa and go to school at Dominican University of California. This past April I was walking along the docks of Christa's marina, which sits adjacent a strip mall when James Hetfield jumps out of a black BMW. His gait and neck tattoos so distinct. He's tough to miss. Then that same pretty blond from 1997 exited the passenger side with 3 blond kids exited with great fanfare. He was taking his kids to Karate class. They all kind of milled around the outside door, James hugging his kids and giving them encouragement while his wife fielded a cell call. I admit I was star stuck again! I nearly yelled out his name and starting running toward him. However, I didn't move. I then locked eyes with the man briefly, he recognizing that I recognized him. I smiled and nodded my head and he did the same. I am so happy that I exercised some self-discipline and didn't interrupt his family time like some chump. This gratitude became even more sharp this morning when I learned about the documentary film called ABSENT.

I've not seen the documentary yet. But, the movie chronicles the incredible wound that absentee fathers are leaving on this world. James Hetfield is a prominent feature in this movie as he describes the personal destruction that occurred when his father walked out the door leaving a note, not even for him when he was 13 years old. This is why I was so stoked that I did not do a rookie knucklehead move and interrupt his family time. I witnessed a mega rock star, incredible song writer, yet regular guy engaged in his top priority. That is what that quick nod from his was all about. A quick signal of thank you. Here is the trailer and an interview he did on Fox & Friends.

I have such great respect for my buddy John who I witnessed make very difficult choices creating serious personal turmoil for himself, all to position himself to father his daughter. The result is a gem of a young women. I also recognize how lucky I am to still have a very engaged father in my own life, even as he is engaged in his fathers life while my grandfathers heads into his late 80's. My niece also has a very engaged father and her love for him is strong. A critical component in her continued success in navigating the tumult of the teenage years. 

I think now at 44 years old, I'm ready to become a father. Weird huh? Any takers?

Capt Chris