Jun 09 2011

Taking stock


Google Earth view of huge storms over the Pacific a week after Fukushima earthquake and nuclear meltdown

Radioactive Hail? Santa Cruz storm 18 Mar 2011Radioactive Hail? – 18 Mar 2011, 8:52am
Downed Tree. Santa Cruz storm 18 Mar 2011Downed Tree – 19 Mar 2011, 8:20am

It’s no fun being Cassandra, and that’s what it’s felt like the past several years, since Oakland’s Measure F, the 1st sin tax on medical marijuana, was put on the ballot and passed by the proponents of Prop. 19.

In fact, it occurred to me maybe I should change my internet nom de plume to Cassandra.

I realized the same people would be up to the same tricks for the next election, and preventing the passage of a disastrous initiative would be an arduous, on-going, up-hill, ordeal.

So I took somewhat of a vacation from it all, and have published virtually nothing since October or so of last year. It’s the 1st real personal time I’ve had in many many many years.

When I initially set up my website back in 2003 the purpose was to document my experience as a medical marijuana patient and to give voice to a perspective that I wasn’t seeing anywhere else.

One of the reasons I put up all the proceedings and documentation for my raid and trial in San Benardino County was that I thought if people could see how much money and man hours the government was spending to prosecute me for cultivating a plant (which was my medicine) that it would make a difference. I suppose I was naive, but the fact was that I was astounded myself at the lengths the government would go to in order to destroy my life, over a plant.

When I began my blog, I realized another chapter in the ordeal was imminent. As it turns out, what I thought was a safe harbour turned out to be a set-up and I found myself homeless for three years.

San Lorenzo RiverSan Lorenzo river, looking North to Water Street Bridge, 23 Mar 11, 5:12pm23 Mar 11, 5:12pm
Looking North to Water Street Bridge
San Lorenzo River, looking South to Water Street Bridge, 24 Mar 2011, 4:00pm24 Mar 2011, 4:00pm
Looking South to Water Street Bridge

The past couple of years, up to the past election, I’ve spent night and day virtually every day on a crusade against Proposition 19 and the overall direction of the marijuana movement.

Beginning before the election I’ve been taking what I’d guess you call personal time. For one thing, I had to get my teeth fixed.

Just before I became homeless I had made an appointment to have dental work done as my fillings and caps had begun to fall out. I had an appointment for a root canal and cap, but cancelled it because I couldn’t go through that homeless. In the meantime, Medi-Cal decided to no longer cover dental work, except for extractions. And then, when I did find myself in a position to afford the massive amount of dental work that needed to be done, I made the mistake of going to a place called Western Dental. They wanted to pull all my upper teeth, and if I hadn’t gotten another opinion I suppose they might have gotten away with it.

On top of that, they were going to charge me several times the agreed upon cost. It took weeks, and it was necessary to file a fraud complaint with the California Medi-Cal office, to get the money back that was paid in advance for work they had not done.

I did manage to find a dentist that gave a discount for low-income and did decent work. It took two dozen or so appointments, over 3 or 4 months, to get everything done. About two appointments a week was all I could take. For the first month, it took me a week to recover from an appointment.

In the meantime, I wasn’t going out in public with my teeth in the shape they were in.

While I was going through that I got tired of looking at the cardboard boxes stacked all over my room and in my closet and decided to do something about it. After keeping an eye out for several months, I found the ideal storage boxes – plastic, see-through – on sale at a nearby office supply and started out with two, around Christmas. By the time it was over I had spent over $100 on those storage boxes, buying 8 of them.

When I started out I thought about taking pictures, and I wish I had.

What we’re talking about here is the pathetic little I’ve managed to save after being thrown out of one place after another, one way or another, because I was a medical marijuana patient, for 15 years.

San Lorenzo River GuageSan Lorenzo River Flood Guage distant shot, 23 Mar 2011, 5:33pm23 Mar 2011, 5:33pm
San Lorenzo River Flood Guage distant shot, 24 Mar 2011, 3:46pm24 Mar 2011, 3:46pm
San Lorenzo River level guage close-up, 23 Mar 2011, 5:31pm23 Mar 2011, 5:31pm
San Lorenzo River level guage close-up, 24 Mar 2011, 3:47pm24 Mar 2011, 3:47pm

The fact is, it wasn’t until just a few months ago I had the heart to go through it.

I had plastic bags full of receipts and mail that I’d carried around for over 5 years.

I took me 6 weeks to go through it all, and file and store what was important. Quite a bit ended up in the trash.

Much of it was an ordeal. There were the records of my stock purchases and sales. When I got the disability settlement in 1998 I put some of it in stocks. This was during the tech bubble. If I hadn’t had to sell those stocks to pay for one move after another after another I would be sitting pretty today.

There were all the court documents, the HUD complaint and documentation.

It was the first time I had to reflect on the past ten or fifteen or 20 or 30 years. I’m glad I kept the receipts. I never throw away a receipt. I filed them all, by month, in those 12-pocket coupon files, going back to 2002 best I can recall. Perhaps before then.

Oil changes, tune ups, insurance, leases, utilities, moving truck rental, storage rental – all reminders of where I was and what I was doing, buying, eating.

Well, all that’s sorted and packed away now, and I know what I have and what I don’t have.

The fact is, until just a couple of months ago, I really didn’t know what I had and what I didn’t have.

About the time I was done with that and ready to devote myself to saving the marijuana movement from itself and start writing again, the weather went wacko.

There was a devastating earthquake in Christ Church, New Zeland.

On March 11 a 9 magnitude earthquake produced what we are now learning was at least 3 melt-downs a Fukushima Daiichi, Japan. And it was all broadcast on the internet – the tsunami, videos of the explosions at the nuclear power plant – 24-hour Japanese television in English with the latest bad news. And radiation dispersment models from the University of Cologne, Germany and the Institute for Atmospheric Studies in Norway. I spent probably a week or more falling asleep while the Japanese news broadcast played on my computer.

The tsunami from the Fukushima earthquake caused considerable damage at the harbor here in Santa Cruz. I was woken by helicopters early in the morning hovering over the harbor. All the water was sucked out several times.

I learned that Santa Cruz is, more or less, directly east of Japan, and that we would be getting the brunt of the wind-born radiation. And the projections that have been released are frightening. When the radiation from Japan reached the west coast on March 18th we had huge storms, with huge hail. There were several hail storms and I remember looking out the window wondering how hot that ice was.

San Lorenzo River tree
San Lorenzo River tree, 23 Mar 2011, 5:35pm23 Mar 2011, 5:35pm
San Lorenzo River tree, 24 Mar 2011, 3:48pm24 Mar 2011, 3:48pm
San Lorenzo River tree, 24 Mar 2011, 3:48pm24 Mar 2011, 3:48pm

The San Lorenzo reached the highest level anyone living had ever seen and there was a tornado in San Francisco Bay – something else no one in living memory has seen.

Readings taken at the Berkeley Department of Nuclear Engineering on March 23rd were 18,100% above normal for Iodine-131, confirming that the rain was washing the radiation out of the atmosphere, onto us.

The health food stores sold out of iodine tablets and Trader Joe’s had a huge seaweed display.

About 6 weeks to the day after the Fukushima earthquake-tsunami-nuclear meltdown, a series of tornados struck Alabama between April 27-29 like nobody living has ever seen. They were huge, a mile-and-a-half wide, and stayed on the ground for hours, plowing paths of destruction 80 or more miles long. This was also a live internet event. I watched the Birmingham TV station live-broadcast on my computer as the tornado plowed through Tuscaloosa and appeared to be heading for downtown Birmingham.

My mother had taken a road-trip to Savannah, and we didn’t know if she had a house left for two days. As it turns out, the tornado missed it by 300 yards. I measured the distance using Google Earth. The internet is plastered with videos and images of the tornado and the destruction.

I guess I was glued to Alabama news reports, via the internet, for a solid week.

More recently another ‘outbreak’ of tornadoes resulted in a path of destruction through downtown Joplin, Missouri.

Meanwhile, Greenpeace has announced they have taken samples of sealife – plants and animals – that test 500 times or more the legal limit for radiation, while Tokyo Electric and the Japanese government tell us they were lying all along, and that things are much worse than they told us, and it will be more than a year before they can begin to contain the radiation, if they can. They’ve been pouring massive amounts of contaminated water into the ocean, in addition to the leakage from the reactors.

In recent days they’ve announced that the amount of radiation spewed into the atmosphere during the 1st week was double what they initially reported. These reports were what the radiation dispersion models (now discontinued) were based upon. Also in recent days they’ve announced that there were three melt-throughs in the days following the quake, and a melt-through is worse than a melt-down.

Well, my teeth are fixed, I know what I have and I don’t have, my life is all sorted out, my past neatly filed and packed away, and the first marijuana legalization initiative – a dog if there ever was one – of the 2012 election season has been filed, so I suppose, as much as I dread it, it’s time to get back to writing one scathing diatribe after another on the leadership of the marijuana movement and where they’re taking it.

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