Thursday, December 18, 2008

Dawn Breaks in Ojai

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I woke up on the side of the road feeling proud of myself for not splurging on a hotel. It was before dawn and I started driving up a mountain toward Downtown Ojai. My van started rough, so I called my mom to help me set up AAA. I was having credit card issues. With AAA, I felt a sense of relief in case the worst happened. I also felt the need to get a veggie mechanic so that I could take advantage of the veggie fuel savings. I drove into Ojai, which is a magical little mountain town. Anthony Hopkins lives out here and contributes to the local art galleries. One of my philosophical influences: J Krishnamurti, started a school in this town in the 70's. It's a very photogenic town with snow dusted mountains glowing in the dawn. I stopped in the local cafe and drank sencha and a cream cheese covered bagel. It was quite chilly, so the tea helped. I got on the net and found a veggie mechanic in OJAI! I called him and left a message, hoping he would fix my dilemma. I also called a couchsurfing host in San Luis Obispo to tell her I would be going in that direction soon. Then I bought some diesel fuel treatment to try and fix the slow start up. I thought there was a chance it was caused by clogged injectors. The mechanic's wife, whom is also a diesel mechanic, called me and set up an appt for today or tomorrow, depending on their schedule. I was overjoyed because the closest greasecar certified mechanic was 170 miles away. I met a nice local named Reagan, who gave me advice on local hikes and good places to camp with the van in the wilderness. Now I'm off to explore the hot springs, arrowheads, and other treats she said were waiting in the woods.

The job interview in Ventura






I watched TV and conspiracy movies with Heather until I fell asleep. The next morning I left in the direction of a job interview I had secured in Ventura. The interview was more of an information session about being a sales recruiter for International Student Volunteers, a study abroad agency. I drove north along 101 until I hit exits for Oxnard. I heard it was a cool beach town from a worker at REI. I never found the cool parts, It was rainy and miserable. I walked around getting rained on and solicited by mexican homeless. I went to a "swap meet", which is a warehouse with various mexican vendors. I bought athletic socks for 3 dollars. Then my turn signals stopped working, but I was down the street from a car electrical specialist, so it worked out. I was having difficulty with my credit card and for the second time in my travels, my spare card saved me. While I was waiting for the turn signal repair I shopped in an amazing army surplus store and bought a Columbia rain 2 pc set for 25 dollars and a pocket knife/silverware thing. Then I got food at an Indian buffet, always amazing. After getting lost in the new freeway side labyrinth of condos in Oxnard, I went to downtown Ventura. The downtown was artys and busy. It had lots of thrift stores, pawnshops and more army surplus! I bought chinos, leather Bostonian loafers, kenneth cole dress shoes, and a nautica tie (all at the thrift shop), for the interview. Then I went to the Hotel to change in the bathroom. The information session was filled with passionate, ambitious, stylish LA types that were looking for the same thing I was looking for: free travel. In actuality it was a sales job which didn't pay squat. Perhaps I could be a tour guide for ISV. That would probably work out better. I drove to Ojai at 930 at night. I pulled off the freeway, parked on the side of a back road and slept in my va for the first time. It was surprisingly comfortable. I could have fit 2 more people in bed with me.

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

The little young lady in Pasadena






I left LA and was going to stop and the Getty to see some art, but all museums are closed on Mondays, and I forgot that. I saw a sign for the Getty View Trailhead, and so I started a hike. I climbed about 2 thousand feet and came to a beautiful 360 view atop a mountain. I could see the whole LA valley and the Getty museum as well. I didn't bring my camera due to low batteries, but I'll go up there again some day and take a 360 video shot. I got back on the freeway toward Pasadena where my old coworker Heather lives. When I got there we went to visit her school: Art Center College of Design, she studies film there, but they specialize in industrial design. We took a look at the gallery, which had some great practical products of sustainable design. Then we crashed a faculty luncheon and had free gourmet food and beer. We went out to the movies, which Heather loves as a film major, its practically homework. We saw the Gus Van Sant flick: Milk, starring Sean Penn. It was a classic, very inspiring movie about a gay rights politician from SF that was assassinated. Then the electricity went out at her house, so we went out to eat at California Pizza Kitchen. I ordered a tostada Pizza, which hit the spot. Then we went out to the movies again! We saw the movie: Slum Dog Millionaire, an Indian movie about a slum child that wins a game show. It really moved me, and confirmed my inner desire to work in the 3rd world. The next morning, I went for a walk and took some pics of Pasadena mountains, which were dusted with snow.

Venice Strip






After lunch in Venice, Trish went home and I walked near Muscle Beach down the strip in Venice Beach. There was a plethora of street musicians, street performers, and overall weirdos in painted RV's. There was also a large drum circle with many street people having a ball. I saw a stand for free speech and met 2 lovely women named Therese and Barbara. Therese and I talked about personal sovereignty and Barbara gave me advice on my nonprofit. Barbara is the founder of benefitnetwork.org Therese gave me a bunch of dvd's that promote critical thinking on political issues. I watched some of these later and was blown away by some of the scientific evidence that the AIDS virus is not what it seems. I walked from Venice to 17th street Santa Monica. Its a couple of miles. It was perfect timing because As I got to the Santa Monica beach, the sun set, and I got some terrific pictures.

Venice Canals






After the hike, Trish and I went out to eat in Venice. We went to this great Chinese joint called "Mao's". It had communist pop art on the exposed brick walls. I had coconut curry and Trish had pasta vegetable tofu. That part of Venice felt very young and hip. We walked through the Venice canals, a man-made mimic of Venice Italy. The architecture of the elite homes were very modern. It was a sunny clear day, and the residents of Venice California were making their skiffs into sleighs for the annual Venice canal Christmas parade.

Pacific Palisades Park/Malibu






That night Trish took me to a party in Beverly Hills, hosted by a writer on the show "lost" and an investment banker. I talked to an Investment banker about economic policy. We agreed on focus on education to improve impoverished people's plight. We diverged on whether the system in place was working or not. He was quoted as saying "You cannot have extreme wealth, without extreme poverty." I told him that I agreed and that was why the current neoliberal economic model was flawed. We needed to focus on equality before extreme wealth creation. I told him I disagreed with the current creation and value assignment of currency. He said that value is only created through credit or equity. I told him that he forgot about labor, but he ignored me. It's hard to convince an investment banker in Beverly Hills, who went to Columbia for an MBA and also Law school that the current economic model is flawed. That would make their wealth illegitimate, and their job immoral. People who benefit from the status quo, rarely want to hear about a different system. The next morning Trish took me on a rigorous hike in pacific palisades park. It had stunning views of the ocean, along with vistas of the city and Malibu Mansions. It was nice to know that some land was protected amongst the sprawl. There were lots of friendly LA residents walking their dogs or trail running. Trish and I talked about astrology, dating in LA and screenplay ideas.

Santa Monica








I picked up the veggie van and drove to the DMV. The DMV was too confusing and it was about to close, so I picked up some paperwork and traveled on the freeway during rush hour to Trish's house. I was having technical difficulties running the van on veggie oil (the tank was filled too much and the breather hole couldn't function, causing pressure and leaks), but I did run it for a while with no change in engine performance. That night I went out to eat with Trish at "Sushi King", a great place in Santa Monica. I had Sushi with clover in it! That night, at 2AM, I woke to the sound of wrapping at the door. It was a Santa Monica police officer. He said that Trish's parked car (that she wasn't in) had been involved in an accident. I called Trish and left her a message (she was still out). The next morning I woke up and drove around for good parking for the van. Then I tried to diagnose the leak. In the process, I opened up a pressurized tank at my face was hit with gallons of vegetable oil. I went to the salvation army, bought a cheap shirt and some towls to clean up the van. Then I went exploring down 3rd street promenade in Santa Monica. Its similar to the pedestrian malls in Boulder and Santa Cruz. There were street musicians playing guitar and sax and some exhibitionists doing performance art. Then I walked to the beach and took pictures of the gulls in the wind. LA is a lot more interesting than I thought it would be. East coasters have some preconceptions of LA as a sprawling concrete metropolis with stuck up rich people (yes all of that is true), but its so much more than that. It has sophistication, style, and natural beauty.

My First Night In SanDiego




I arrived in San Diego at 930pm. I had requested various people on craigslist.org rideshare and couchsurfering.com to host me that night. My rideshare person that was to give me a ride to LA offered me a pick up from the airport and a place to stay. I found all of this out after connecting to the airport wifi. The person arrived 30 minutes later. He was a Vietnamese American man about 30 years old and his name was Thai. He was overly exact with everything (on the phone he said that he would pick me up in approximately 23 minutes). He proceeded to drive me to a University of California San Diego, where he set me up to sleep in a research lounge lobby with instructions on what BS to tell people if they hassled me. The next morning he picked me up and we drove around orange county doing errands for him. We went to a great asian mall, all the shop vendors and shoppers were Vietnamese. I had an excellent vegetable dish with cassava bread coconut dessert. Apparently all asian tailors, mechanics,optometrists, and other business places are cheaper than standard ones in CA. They had tailored suits for 75 dollars. Thai purchased Designer Italian Frames for his glasses for 65 dollars while we were at the Mall. I purchased Thai's skateboard, bike, and a sport jacket because he was offering good prices (he was leaving for the east coast and trying to lighten his load). Thai was a conservative republican who happened to be a "conservationist". He refused to use the term environmentalist. He told me about all the freegan lifestyle tips such as showering at 24 hour fitness, eating at holiday inn expresses, and dumpster diving at Trader Joe's. He drove me to my Veggie Van in Sante Fe Springs, but before he dropped me off, he offered me his job as a chauffeur in San Diego. I would have to work 2 hours a day, 5 days a week for 400 dollars a month. Not bad for my first day in CA.

Sunday, December 14, 2008

The Music


Sean O’Donoghue’s music is influenced by the places he’s called home: the mountains of Pennsylvania, the plains of Louisiana, and the beaches of Santa Cruz California. O’Donoghue’s music plays tribute to the roots of American music such as jazz, blues, and folk. Whether it be a strait blues tune, a tortured torch song, or a down to earth folk ballad, O’Donoghue’s music is easily accessible yet deep. His poetry-like flowing lyrics are sung over jazz chords with a sultry voice to the tune of unforgettable melodies. This singer-songwriter commands attention with nothing but a guitar, voice and words. He’s played on the streets of North America and Europe. Ha, that's my press bio, not pretentious at all. You can access the music at www.myspace.com/seanmorganmusic

The Book


The human manifesto is a book that asks the question: “What does it mean to be human?”. And in what ways has modern western lifestyle distorted or distanced humans from their natural habits, dispositions, and rhythms. Furthermore, this work details the scientific evidence of benefits from natural living. It challenges the belief that it is of human nature to be selfish and methodical. In fact, it celebrates human nature as curious, creative, and loving.

Table of Contents

Crying
Laughing/Smiling
Running/Jumping/Sweating
Making Love/Kissing
Squatting/Defecating
Eating/Drinking
Sleeping
Meditating/Breathing
Smelling/Touching/Sensing
Sunlight
Playing/Dancing/Singing
Daydreaming/Active Imagining
Observing
Communing/Cultivating

This book is a bit laden with evidence of health promotion. Health is a focus for a reason. It’s a natural way of discerning truth. No one can convince you that pain, suffering, or illness is noble or right. That is why this book requires no formal ideology or dogma. The proof is in the pudding of health so to speak. As Mary Baker Eddy said: “The natural law of harmony overcomes discord.”If you find natural living promotes your happiness and health, than it is for you. For those of you that say- “Shitting in the woods won’t make me happy!” I provide a plethora of evidence that says it probably will, but it is up to you to be brave enough to try it out, until then you may be both literally and figuratively full of crap. Ha.

The physical, mental, emotional, and spiritual aspects are all affected when we promote health in one or more of these areas. In other words, when we are more physically healthy we will naturally be more emotionally healthy and vice versa. Mental health promotes spiritual health; spiritual health promotes mental and physical health. They are synergistic and provide feedback loops.
The topics of observing communing and cultivating may seem a bit foreign compared to the other topics which are much more physical. The observation aspect relates to meditation and daydreaming in the way that it allows a human to understand his place in the natural environment. In the past, man has subdued his environment, held dominion over it. But this book proposes something different. With true observation comes a realization that man has an integral part in the ecosystem at large, and can commune with it, and furthermore mimic it. Man can be in accord with ecosystems and cultivate the abundance that natural systems create. He can harvest the berries and honey as the bears do. He can drink of the unused milk of cows and goats etc. This philosophy of permaculture is opposed to current agribusiness systems which artificially alter the natural environment to create “products” on mass scale.

Chapters of the book will be posted at a later date!

My "Professional" Backgroud in 3rd Person


Sean attended 6 undergraduate institutions in 5 states within a 2 and a half year period. He graduated from Excelsior College with a Bachelor of Science in 2006. He majored in General Studies with concentrations in Sociology, Education, and Literature. From there he was consecutively enrolled in 2 MBA programs, one at Point Park University and then at Kaplan University. He worked for Americorps near Pittsburgh PA working with at-risk youth in a post steel boom/bust town called Braddock PA. From there he worked as a substitute teacher for the worst district in the state of PA according to test scores: Harrisburg PA. He then worked for Diakon Lutheran Social Ministries as a Wilderness Therapist and Life Coach for Deviant Youth. Before his "professional" career, Sean had worked as a vintage clothier salesman, amusement park hoser, garbage man, night shift waiter, line cook, warehouse worker, cleaner, t-shirt salesman, stock boy, cashier, librarian, junk yard jockey, snowboard tech, vegetable picker, tutor, security guard, and every other low level shit job that props up this arbitrary hierarchy of labor. (Not an exaggeration, he can relate to the book "Nickel and Dimed") Sean has traveled by rail and performed across the North American and European Continents. He is a singer songwriter and recording artist. You can find his music at www.myspace.com/seanmorganmusic

The Non-Profit


The Sustainable Community Education Alliance was founded in 2008 by Sean O'Donoghue Morgan. The goal of the non-profit organization is to start new communities and help existing communities become safe, environmentally friendly, sustainable, and equitable in order to foster an environment for it's citizens to enjoy freedom, the pursuit of happiness, and creative potential. Sustainable Development has become somewhat of an oxymoron. The act of developing an area is usually synonymous with destructive sprawl. Therefore this organization's goal is to develop or build community with others, which is markedly different from capitalistic community/urban development. The philosophy of sustainability is used as a tool to create solutions to food, water, energy, shelter, and economic systems. Media such as books, music, and video are available as well as traveling seminars to educate others about sustainability.

sustainablecommunityinc.googlepages.com

About My Ride






This is the original ebay ad:

VEGGIE CAMPING VAN
This is a **** RARE **** ECO VAN 1999 Ford E350 Turbo Diesel converted to a Camping Van powered by Vegetable Oil.
Converted from highly reputable and reliable GREASECAR, Manufacturer.
30 Gallons original Diesel Tank.
40 Gallons Vegetable Oil Stainless Tank in the back, inside the van.
6 x 6 Gallons additional Oil reserve tanks and 4 x 5 gallons bucket.
Total of 126 gallons of fuel.
With an average of 18 MPG, this Veggie Van drives over 2,000 miles without stopping at the diesel pump or at the restaurant waste oil bin!

I bought the van, right here, on Ebay for $5,200.00 on May 3rd, 2008.
See my feedbacks from FleetForceUSA, TX.
Purchased the 7.3L Oil Conversion Kit from www.greasecar.com
WITH the ON-BOARD 5 microns Filtration System ( http://www.greasecar.com/product_detail.cfm?prodID=9 $795 )
AND the 40 Gallons SS Tank for $2,350.00 ( http://www.greasecar.com/kit_selected.cfm?selectA=+&selectB=+&selectC=16&AddToCart=Find+Kit+%BB )
for a total of $3,150.00 plus Tax and Shipping.
Got the kit installed at AutoTech, Florida ( a GreaseCar Certified Installer ) for $2,850.00

This van is worth $12,500.00 after conversion with camping upgrade and additional features.
Removed the original front seats for more comfortable leather seats with arm rest.
Installed a matching back seat couch, unfolding to a Queen Size bed from an RV, good working condition.
Additional features:
- 1000 Watts Power Inverter
- EcoQuest FreshAir "ToGo" Air Purifier
- 3 plugs electric
- Portable Air Conditioner
- Cooler fiting in between the 2 front seats
- Built-in Balcony on top of the van, used to camp out and watch the stars
- Ladder
- Tinted Windows

- Additional Hoses for pumping oil at distance
- Additional Fuel/Water Pump 8 gallons/Minute
- Gravity Bags 10 microns
- 5 microns Oil Filters
- Tools to change the 5 microns Oil Filter (change every 1,200 miles)
- Reorder the Oil Filters at Greasecar, MA. Phone (413) 534-0013
( http://www.greasecar.com/product_detail.cfm?prodID=14 )

In which my father outsmarts airport security


I was supposed to meet with a potential buyer of my car the morning of my flight, but he never showed up, so I proceeded to go to the airport a few hours early. The weather was cold, wet, cloudy, and dark (typical PA December). I was feeling pretty sentimental as my friend Jon and Mother were supposed to meet me to see me off. However, I was bumped onto an earlier flight because of weather related delays (it was snowing in Florida,... I'm serious). I was eager to get through security because my flight would leave in 20 minutes. I said my goodbyes with my father and he said "Have fun, that's what this is all about." It felt good to know that he understood and I knew I would have to keep his advice in mind as I pursued laborious projects amid a permanent vacation. Ten minutes later, I was just about to walk through the metal detector when I hear my father's voice behind me. He was standing past the secure zone with a security guard waving profusely at me with a big smile on his face. At first I thought he was accosted, but then I realized he was practically holding the hand of the elderly female security guard in friendship. He had actually bullshitted his way past a secure ID checkpoint to say goodbye to me again. He would make the most excellent terrorist agent. The funny thing is that I didn't feel embarrassed from being waved at in front of tons of complete strangers by a man who had wriggled through security, I felt proud that I had a father that was compelled to do such a thing.