Local Nomad Moves to www.local-nomad.net

That’s right: Local Nomad has moved to Local Nomad.
Please visit!


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Local Nomad is Moving…

It is, of course, in the nature of nomads to migrate — even if it’s just online. While recuperating from this illness, I’ve decided to set up Local Nomad on its own domain. This will give me more freedom with the content and formatting of the site, while still drawing on some of the goodies that WordPress provides.  I am now in the process of “moving” all my content to the new Local Nomad at www.local-nomad.net. Changes will occur on a daily basis (I’ll be setting up links this afternoon), and posting should begin on that site this week — so please do visit!

There will also be a few changes to the content, with more emphasis on our local resources for food, arts, culture, the environment, and healthy living.

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Having a health crisis can really change one’s outlook on life. I seem to have come down with a case of Bell’s palsy. It may last for a few weeks, or possibly for months. This certainly puts things in a new perspective, and my real priorities are now becoming foregrounded and revalued. I can still write, type, eat, talk, move around. But I have to approach some of these activities differently. I recently read that George Clooney, Amy Goodman, and Pierce Brosnan have had Bell’s palsy — so, hey; I’m in good company.

I suspect I’ll probably be blogging more, and writing more, in general — although in smaller increments. We’ll see where this leads…

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Freecycle. Seems like a good thing; Freecycle is part of a grassroots movement that promotes reuse,  “changing the world one gift at a time.” Local Freecycle groups are all over the world, and locally in Santa Cruz and Watsonville.And here are a couple of articles about the “free market”:

How to Start a Really, Really Free Market

Share American: Finding That Freecycle Feeling

I could use a couple of LARGE plastic containers (the size of file boxes or larger) with lids to hold archival materials.

I have a bunch of books and Music CDs I’d like to pass on to others. What do you have?

Barter: I have  editing, writing, and research skills to trade for a piano tuning.

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4 Years and Strawberry Charlotte

Athena Plichta is a local photographer, blogger, and foodie, who is celebrating her 4th year of blogging. Check out the luscious photos and strawberries, and congratulations, Athena!

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“North County”

Is there another name for this rural/semi-rural area that I live in, between Monterey and Watsonville? To some it’s known as “North County,” but that term doesn’t say much. I think that to some, it evokes a misty border or hinterland between northern Monterey County and Watsonville. It’s those big flat agricultural fields north of the pesticide-laden Salinas River. Or maybe it’s that swampy area you pass before you hit the traffic jam going to Santa Cruz. No, wait — it’s where the Marina police stop lurking on the overpasses above Hwy. 1, monitoring your driving speed…

I think most people see the city of Monterey and the city of Santa Cruz as the two stars on each side of Monterey Bay. I have a slightly different view; I envision the two tourist meccas as remoras attached to each wing of a giant batlike ray (or skate) fish. Curvy Monterey Canyon (one of the largest deepwater canyons in the world) even resembles a ray’s whiplike tail (which conceals a threatening stinger), and we all know how dangerous the waters above Monterey Canyon can be. A remora (if you don’t already know) is a small fish that attaches itself to sharks, skates, and other large marine animals (even boats, sometimes) including whales, by means of a specialized sucker on its head. They are not parasitic; they feed on scraps from the larger fish. But they can slow it (and boats) down, and can be occasionally annoying.

Santa Cruz and Monterey each have their own “personalities”: Santa Cruz is viewed as a university town with a lefty element and a freelance, free-for-all (weird) culture. Monterey, long a host for the military, has a more staid, traditional and conservative reputation, although the artsy and hippie folks claim the southern coastal end  (Big Sur). Both cities have depended on the bounty of the bay for centuries, and on the labor supplied by local and migrant workers. It goes both ways, too; workers living between Santa Cruz and Monterey also depend on companies in those cities or on the big farms and their distributors to supply jobs.

Less snarky, one could also say that the bay is shaped more like one end of a shallow hour glass. Moss Landing and Elkhorn are right at the center, where the fresh waters of Elkhorn slough mix with the salt waters and sand from the Bay and the Canyon.

I’ve lived here for about 5 years now, and often feel like Elkhorn, nearby Castroville, Prunedale, Watsonville, and Moss Landing are a bit lost in time. Moss Landing plays into this, of course, with its pastiched collection of warehouses, old and new boats, gingerbread-victorian (kind of) antique shops, and tilted cottages. The fact that it’s surrounded by acres of farmland, dotted here and there with old barns, only adds to that feeling. The area doesn’t get much press from the two cities on each end, unless there are reports of gang violence, farmworkers go on strike, there’s a shortage of seafood, or the population starts to worry about water quality and availability or the effect of pesticides on produce.

The Bay is a living thing, though, and its health is often judged by the catch at Moss Landing, and the environmental quality of the slough and wildlife. I’ve worked in Monterey and Santa Cruz, and I know what people think of North County folks. Unbelievably, a lot of people living in this area don’t even know that Elkhorn and Elkhorn Slough exist. Unless there’s a good antique show on at Moss Landing, Bobby Flay visits Phil’s Fish Market, or Pajaro Food Market’s burrito shows up in Sunset Magazine’s “Best Burrito” list, the inhabitants of the two cities happily  forget we are here.

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Texas-size Trash Vortex

“Trash and plastics vortex now the size of Texas,” a post from Lola Jane’s World. The good news (locally): Watsonville bans the single-use plastic bags. From Watsonville Patch.

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Invisible People

I feel lucky to have a place to live, food to eat, and people who care about me. But I know that in this economy, one’s destiny can turn on a dime.

InvisiblePeople.tv was started by Mark Horvath, a man who had a career in television syndication, but found himself struggling with addiction and homelessness. He set off on a road trip with a camera and a mission to “empower homeless people to tell their stories, ” making America’s invisible people visible. Here is the initial trailer for his project, but do click on the link above to see the current project and videos, and some very moving stories.

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“Science Experiments”

I was just thinking about kids’ science kits, and how receiving a “lab” for Christmas inspired me to do all kinds of dangerous things not necessarily advocated by the science kit itself. Since I had a small alcohol lamp, and a number of test tubes, why not scrape some match heads into one, heat it up, and see what happens?! WHOOOMP! You get a flame that shoots right up to the ceiling! But don’t try this at home, kids.  What was your favorite experiment?

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94.9 FM

Why on earth am I posting the URL of Party 934 and 94.9 FM, located in Hudson Valley, NY? Because it’s “a community radio station that broadcasts from all over the world. Each person on the air is located in a different part of the world, broadcasting live to the Internet.” It’s a multi-genre radio station that features DJs speaking each to their local listeners with local issues. They do not broadcast top-40 music because they feel that  “mainstream society perpetuates enough of that format.” They are currently hiring DJs.

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