Tag Archives: community

No Place For Hate

I love living in Clintonville. I love the owner of my local deli, Smith’s, who’ll sell me a $6 Reuben even as he’s preparing to marry off the 3rd of 7 children. I love the community center and art fairs. I love living in a place with trees, even when my house is being hit by acorns. I love the hole-in-the-wall Chinese place on Kenny that I’ll be eating from later tonight. I love my neighborhood full of dogs and little free libraries, and the bookstore just up the road. And I love the people of this community, now more than ever.

Sunday night my wife and I attended a candlight vigil. This wasn’t an anti-Trump rally, or a group of people out to abolish the electorial college. It was a group of our Clintonville neighbors coming together and saying we will look out for one another. Walking from the Whetstone Community Center to North Broadway we were surrounded by people of all ages: from families with young to children, to college students and retirees. My wife and I didn’t have mason jars for real flames, so we brought some battery powered candles (just as well since I probably would’ve set my notebook on fire).

The walk was pretty quiet at first, the group of us moving at a slow shuffle. Somewhere between Smith’s and Torrence things started to get a little more lively. Cars honked in support as they passed, marchers across the street cheered “this is what democracy looks like,” and local businesses made a show of support (the Global Gallery handed out coffee on a cold night).

On North Broadway there were drums and carhorns and cheers of “Love Trumps Hate.” A small group of police showed up to help people cross to the other side of the main road. As I stepped into the crosswalk I heard an officer remark “you guys keep being this cool we’re never going to make national news.” In truth the whole evening was pretty tame. There were a few people who shouted their support for Trump (more as a matter of fact than anything else). There some individual calls of “not my President” and “we reject the President-elect” but these were the outliers, not the rule. Mostly we chanted about protecting the rights of women, of minorities, of different relgions and love in all its forms. The police were respectful and helpful, and the mood anything but antagonistic. Frankly it was a welcome change after the strange week we’ve all had.

My favorite moment of the night was walking back to the car. We were a few steps behind a mother and her 6-7 year old son. The son was holding a big “Love” sign while his mother explained the right to protest and how it can be important to show people how you feel. There’ve been a lot of people saying that we shouldn’t protest, that we need to accept the results of the election and give the President-elect a chance. I do accept the results of the election, even if I have a hard time typing the words President Trump right now. That’s not the issue.

If you take the President-elect at his word then you have to take on board the policies he said he would enact. This is a man who advocated for war crimes, who called for a total ban on muslims coming into the country. He has appalling attitudes toward women, and only a passing relationship with objective facts. Maybe once he realizes what the job actually entails he’ll change. A lot of people who’ve sat in that office certainly have. Being President is an awesome responsibility, but we have responsibilities too. We have a responsibility to protect the rights of the people around us from those who might seek to take them away. That starts at home, in the places we love.

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Filed under Faith + Life, The Next Four Years

Hey, do you have a power washer I can borrow?

There are a lot of things is this life that we really only need once in a while. Even the things we consider our most prized possessions, in my case books, are something we only crack open every once and a while. Sure there are some books you might look at every day, but I could literally run a library from my house and not miss anything that was gone.

And what about tools? There are all sorts of household jobs that require a specific kind of equipment that you maybe do once a year. Or how about computer stuff? I have an IDE-USB adapter for taking data off of really old desktop drives and transferring it to another computer. I’ve used it maybe about five times (total) and it cost me about $18. What if I could have just borrowed it, or at least lent it to somebody else who needed it?

That’s the idea behind Peerby.com, a business started in the Netherlands. It’s an app that lets you borrow stuff from your neighbors and it’s launching in 50 U.S. cities in 2015 (and I’m pretty sure Columbus is one of them) though there only seems to be one person in my immediate vicinity signed up for the service so they better have some cool stuff.

Truthfully, I’m not sure if this is the kind of thing I’d ever be comfortable with. It does seem reasonably secure in the sense that it doesn’t just give you a list of all the valuable things people have in your area, but it still seems like a good way to get robbed, have your stuff get damaged or worse.

I’ll admit part of this is that I like the idea of lending stuff to people in theory, but not really in practice. I like knowing where my stuff is. Sure there are some things I care about less than others, but then it gets into this whole thing of how long do you let someone borrow something until you ask if they’re done with it, and what if you end up really needing the thing while they have it, etc.

But another thing is I’ve always felt this is what friends are for. The idea of Peerby is to work in neighborhoods, but it’s a little sad that we know each other so little that we have to be hooked up randomly by an app just to find a backpack or a grill or a power washer (which I have one and it’s really kind of fun. I grunted like Tim Taylor on Home Improvement the first time I used one, much to my wife’s dismay).

My solution to this has been very simple and it makes my life somewhat less cluttered, though admittedly still pretty cluttered. If I don’t need something anymore, I sell it or give it to Goodwill. Or I try to find somebody who needs it. You can’t take any of this stuff with you, and I live in a nice but kind of small house, and sometimes I need the shelf-space.

You know where this would be great? Churches, or some other community group that met once a week. During the announcements somebody mentions they need something, and someone in the congregation says they have it. Done and done, and without the third party tracking.

I realize that some of these tech posts make me sound like a Luddite, but as someone who works in the computer industry I am the first to tell you that not all problems can be solved by technology. They can be solved by the best kind of social media, face to face interaction.

Though if someone ever wants to lend me a dremel for my dog’s nails, you let me know when you want it back. I have a feeling he’s going to be just as much a baby about it as he is with the clippers, but he is scratching me even through jeans!

What do you guys think, would you lend your stuff to strangers through a service like this?

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Filed under Trube On Tech

Trying Old Things

I just started watching Community, via Netflix one disc a week.

I like jumping into established series a few years in, make sure they’ll be something that’s worth the time. I got burned last year by Up All Night. Solid first season, followed by massive reformat and now limbo before it officially dies. Sure it was nice to spend some time with that show last year, but now it feels like a wasted investment.

I like trying new things. I’m a little too susceptible to the latest food item or gadget. But for whatever reason TV is different, and books and blogs too. I don’t read that many blogs regularly, but those I do I read like I am waiting for my next fix. I actually get a little annoyed if a blogger I like stops blogging, even though I myself take time off to empty my bucket, or sleep.

As new writers we need people to take chances on us even if it doesn’t look like we’ll deliver. But it may also be that certain people won’t take that chance until we show them a body of work. It is difficult to judge if we have been a success, or when success will come. In the meantime we have to write like we are a success, but with a consistency that shows we know the work we need to put in.

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Filed under Writing