The Paredon Fields

The following map shows the locations of the Paredon oil fields,  the deposits in which Venoco Inc. hopes to drill, if Measure J passes on June 8.

The source of this map is Section 5.0, Alternatives Analysis, in the Paredon Project EIR (Environmental Impact Report).

Paredon Fields Map from EIR

Click the map to view a much larger version.

Oil deposits are shown by the blue shapes.  

CPF stands for Carpinteria Processing Facility, and marks the location of Venoco’s property near Tarpits Park and the Seal Rookery, the Carpinteria Bluffs Nature Preserve.

oh the irony

“So the fishermen came to receive training in how to clean up the oil spill that was creeping up on the nearby coastline. They were hoping to be hired by BP, the company blamed for the spill and responsible for cleanup efforts.” – NT Times

A disaster of Biblical proportions is unfolding there. And we don’t need one here.

I’m going to Vote No on Measure J – on shore exploratory oil drilling in Carpinteria. And if I get a chance to vote on offshore exploratory drilling near my home, I’ll vote no again.

Citizens Committee Against Paredon Initiative

a kneadful thought

Everyone is kneaded out of the same dough but not baked in the same oven.

– Yiddish proverb

Boy, that’s the truth, isn’t it? Even in the small town where I’ve grown up, there’s a big disparity in values.

There are the whole grain flakes like me who care mostly about the quality of our environment and long-term flavor of life. And there are the unleavened ones, who don’t care what rises or falls, year to year, and would slice off half a loaf or more to make some short bread.

You thought I was gonna say dough, didn’t you?


writing letters

So I was thinking about the impending ungodly abomination that Venoco Oil proposes to visit upon my little town, and it occurred to me that I might decide to write a letter to the editor of our local paper about it. Then I remembered Richard Ford's advice to writers. He said, in part:

6. Don't drink and write at the same time.
7. Don't write letters to the editor. (No one cares.)
8. Don't wish ill on your colleagues.
9. Try to think of others' good luck as encouragement to yourself.
10. Don't take any shit if you can possibly help it.

Now I'm not saying you shouldn't write letters to the editor, or drink, or take shit for that matter. I'm sure some of you do those things and are abundantly good at it. But for me, just now, I think it's good advice. Notwithstanding I think he's right that no one cares, my powers of rational rhetoric are not at their peak lately. Maybe I'm a little too pissed off about just how stupid and destructive is the idea of a giant oil derrick on our beautiful coast. And about that whole endemic indifference thing.

Besides, I know from copious experience that if I fiddle around with #7, #10 will become a challenge very soon. I also know a picture's worth a thousand words.

Citizens Against Paredon

magically suspicious

Many of us in Carpinteria got another reminder of our abject dependence on electricity tonight. Power went off to the eastern half of town today about 3:00pm. Large residential neighborhoods, the shopping center, city hall, and business/industrial park were effected at first. Some people got their power back in about an hour, while many of us waited about 5 hours.

Arthur C. Clarke said, "Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic." Electricity is pretty close to qualifying, don't you think? Despite its ubiquity in every vaguely civilized corner of the world, it's still a little amazing. From bare light bulbs over barn doors to server farms, to the electronics on a jet, to the pacemaker in Dick Cheney's chest, we have learned to do practically anything with electricity. 

My power is finally back on, thanks to a crew from Southern California Edison, who had to climb down in a damp electrical vault up the street from my place. I certainly appreciate that. My Dad worked for Edison for over 30 years, and I know it's a hard job.

Still it seems like something in that same vault goes kerflooie about once a year. A transformer, a circuit switch, I don't know. But I'm really beginning to wonder what's going on down there. Is there some kind of lingering defect beneath the pavement? A curse? A malevolent mole? Do we need to send Karl Kolchak down there to investigate?

Maybe they're just getting replacement parts in boxes of Lucky Charms. It's Magically Suspicious.


Something kinda strange is going on in Carpinteria, my home town.

Lately, I’ve been noticing a lot more people than usual sleeping on the grass in public places. I’m not talking about somebody taking a nap – or seemingly passed out – in the shade, in an out-of-the-way public park. I’m talking about people unconscious, face down, on the lawns right next to busy city streets. Today, there was somebody crashed right in front of the middle school, with a bicycle fallen beside them. Judging by the size, it was an adult, supine and sucking sod not 10 feet from the sidewalk on our busiest downtown street. Catchin’ some Z’s.

There was a cop car heading in that direction, so maybe the deputy took care of the situation. The streetsleeper was gone when I passed by again, a short time later.

I don’t think it should be illegal to catch a nap in the park, but not in front of the school. The kids don’t need to be stepping over the grownups. It ain’t right. And I would really prefer to see maybe a jacket spread on the ground, or a sweater used as a pillow, or anything that would lend to the reasonable impression that the person intended to be horizontal at that place and time. I mean I’ve seen several streetsleepers now, and they all look like they just had a sudden argument with gravity and lost.

What’s going on? Is there something in the water? I won’t drink the local swill, so maybe I’ll be the last man standing in Carp.

electric blues

  • These are called Lectric Flowers. Not Electric flowers, Lectric. My Dad planted them from seeds sent from Arkansas by my cousin — seeds which belonged to my great grandmother. Not quite grain from the bowels of a pyramid, but nothin’ to sneeze at either.

    Pretty, aren’t they? I’ve never seen them before. And they grow pretty tall; the tallest in this picture is around 5 feet. Here are more photos of them, along with some sweatpeas and stuff.

  • We had ourselves a power failure in Carp today. Four hours it was out. I had no particular plans for using my electricity during that time, but still hate it when there’s no juice. And it was worse than usual. Both of the supermarkets were closed, and the big drug store. Starbucks closed and never did reopen, which I thought showed a lack of fortitude. I guess you might say they didn’t have the beans.

    The best thing about a power failure – except that sometimes you get a chance to read a book – is that feeling you get when it comes back on. “Hot damn, my toys are workin’ again! Sweet.”

  • Since metaphor hopes to be a clean well-lighted, literary place, these lines of Whitman:

I SING the Body electric;
The armies of those I love engirth me, and I engirth them;
They will not let me off till I go with them, respond to them,
And discorrupt them, and charge them full with the charge of the Soul.

Was it doubted that those who corrupt their own bodies conceal themselves;
And if those who defile the living are as bad as they who defile the dead?
And if the body does not do as much as the Soul?
And if the body were not the Soul, what is the Soul?

the condition of being flesh

There’s been a lot of the sharing of opinion in my valley lately. More about that here. Folks are sharing what they think. I appreciate this because we are not entitled to know one another’s opinions. Sharing them is a gift, a glimpse into the mysterious process of becoming who are in the process of Being.

“Be thou being made holy, even as thy Father in Heaven is holy.”

Late last week, I sent out some opinion of my own. I wasn’t hoping for anyone’s agreement. I just thought some folks – particularly those now living away from our home town – might like to take a whiff of this suspicious stuff that we found in the back of our collective fridge.

The responses, and the sharing around town and on the phone and on message boards – has been very interesting. Got me thinking about communication again.

I fear that without sharing, we are all locked away and apart in our little rooms, in silence. But communication is so hard. We open our windows to feel upon our spirits the rare press and flutter of transpersonal discourse. We pretend to be amused or enraged, saddened or uplifted, by a presence in the dim distance of another of our kind. But the human mind is a singular entity and there is no unseen, ephemeral organ of sympathetic, shared neurology at work.

We long for the thoughts and expressions of others to impact us. We pray that some line of poetry will make us weep for beauty, that a joke will force laughter from our mouths, or that some perceived insult will propel us to indignation. We pretend: We say “No one can offend me unless I let him, and please God let him, because between grief and nothing I will choose grief.” But in the end, each man is alone with the static in his skull.

Some of us butt our heads and hearts repeatedly against the intransigent carapace of solitude, tacking lines upon the millions of lines of hopeless, infinite literature.

Others, perhaps as a means of self defense to such futility, resort to censorship. (“Hey, you can’t say that! You can’t put that there!” … Remember the Christmas trees removed from the Seattle airport last year? … Who can blame them?)

It is all so difficult, this life, this intractable Being. In the words of Stegner:

I am concerned with gloomier matters: the condition of being flesh, susceptible to pain, infected with consciousness and the consciousness of consciousness, doomed to death and the awareness of death. My life stains the air around me. I am a tea bag left too long in the cup, and my steepings grow darker and bitterer.

So I envy those who sport a fine, clear, dogma. I used to have my own, but it has drifted away like fog on the Rincon. I just don’t know anymore. It seems like every damn story has two sides to it. And I fail to trust my own subjectivity, let alone that of others. I find myself grasping for syllogisms which have more premises than conclusions. And often I find myself like Diogenes The Cynic – Diogenes the Doggish – dipped in darkness, feeling for the light switch and muttering,

He who thinks he knows does not know. He who knows he does not know, knows.

So as much as I’m into the Progressive movement and its concomitant Change, some days our society is one big soggy, stinky diaper of existential angst. Then I don’t know if we’re up to the task of changing this.

While we ponder how long we can all hold our noses, I refer you to the words of The Chink:

“I believe in everything; nothing is sacred, I believe in nothing; everything is sacred, …Ha Ha Ho Ho Hee Hee.”

easter marginalia

  • Today is Easter on the Western calendar; the first Sunday following the first full moon, after the vernal equinox. Happy Easter to you and your family, if you are celebrating today. Every last soul among you is in my heart and in my prayers. Congratulations on a good race, and the completion of your Fast, if you’ve been so inclined. Greetings also to my Jewish friends as they prepare for the coming of Passover.

    Ah, and there’s the rub. Passover hasn’t happened yet. Pascha (Easter) on the Christian liturgical calendar is the first Sabbath following the first full moon after the vernal equinox, provided that the Jewish Passover has passed. As it was at the time of our Lord’s Crucifixion and Resurrection.

    I’m not saying anyone is wrong here; no schismatic, I. I’m just sayin’, for those of us who are Orthodox, it’ll be another month. So save me an egg; preferably red.

  • Today is also special for me, on a much more personal note. From deep in the dark and cedar-scented recesses of my cerebral toy box, this:

    On March 23, 1978, a girl named Carol and I sat in my 1967 Mercury Cougar, at the south end of Ash St. near the beach, and decided to go steady. I was in my mid teens, a junior at Carpinteria High School, and she was my first real girlfriend. We went out for about two years, until she dumped me for a serious bonehead whose name has evaporated in indifference.

    Do I mention this because I still pine? Carry a torch? Harbor resentment? Hardly. Because I’m a romantic? Well, I can be if properly motivated, but no. (Though I’ll admit those two years were mostly pretty fun.) I mention it only because of the irrefutable drama of the interval. Thirty (30 dammit) years. It was 30 years ago today. When things you can almost remember like it was yesterday actually happened decades ago, it makes you feel old.

  • It’s been a beautiful, warm and sunny spring day here in Carp. I walked the dog, had lunch on the patio over at my folks’ place,took a nice long bike ride. Now I’m off to work on the book.

Good night, Mrs. Calabash, wherever you are.