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Personal LightStrips from Dancing Light Array

Being seen, is being safe.

Your own festival of lights, keeping you safe and sound!

Dancing Light Personal LightStips Safety with style, with fun, with piece of mind. The lightstrip can shine in solid primary colors or stream in innumerable patterns of light.

Dancing Light Personal Lightstips can be easily attached to children’s backpacks, their bikes, helmets, let your imagination be your guide. Or, you could attach one to your handbag when you go out at night. Your bag will shine with jewel like LEDs, to light your way.

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City Sidewalks

When I first came to Nanjing, one of the things that struck me was how nice the sidewalks were.  They were wide, lined with large Platanus (Xuánlíng) trees and paved with green and yellow cement tiles.  The Platanus trees are related to the Sycamore tree in the US and the Plane tree in Europe.  The branches of these white trunk trees reaching out over the street can provide a calming, gentile feeling to a bustling city.

I was told by a friend that a “women could walk from one side of Nanjing to the other without a parasol”. Once a new mayor in Nanjing started cutting down these stately trees, to “modernize” the city.  He upset everyone so much, he had to find a new job.

Tree Lined Streets in Nanjing Suburb

Unfortunately some of these trees were removed and transplanted to make way for the construction of a metro line to the suburbs.  They were replanted, after the subway was built.

Hopefully they can reestablish themselves.  This was a lot of extra effort, but I think it says something about how much the city values its trees.  They were looking good when I left.Patterned Sidewalk

The sidewalk tiles are another story.  These green squares are about 30 cm (about one foot) in width and have a repeating geometric pattern on them.  In the middle of the sidewalk is a yellow line of tiles with raise ovals on them, which provide a guiding right-of-way for the blind.

In many places these green pathways are being replaced by sturdier grey bricks, with a red blind right-of-way, which isn’t as colorful or decorative in my opinion as the green tile.  But one nice thing about the tiles being replaced is that some of the out lying areas in Nanjing are reusing the green and yellow tiles.  Giving the tiles new life.Recycled tile sidewalk patterns, makes walking a simple pleasure.

Pebbled Sidewalk Around a Hospital

The “new” sidewalks that are created with the recycled tiles can be interesting to follow.  When these tiles are placed together they make up a larger pattern.  Plus since some of the tiles were broken, this repeating pattern can change to create new patterns.

When the blind right-of-way tiles are added it can make for a very colorful and interesting sidewalk.  Which makes walking to and from the bus a little more enjoyable.

More walkways to come.

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Pecking At Our Mirror Image

The other day I heard a tapping coming the garden   in my courtyard. It was a wren defending its territory from its mirror image.

I had placed to mirror there to direct more sunlight to some plants. But as soon as my resident wrens saw the “other” birds in the mirror they started defending their territory.  They were so intent on doing this I was able to get within a yard or two of them.

The odd thing was, even though I should have been perceived as the bigger threat the birds completely ignored me.

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Come Out Into My Home

Come, come, come out into my home.

The street for my table, a doorstep for my bed.

Say say say, listen to my poem.

You look right through me, you turn away your head.

Wandering from park to park , just looking for some peace. Pushed at and shoved, beyond compassion’s reach.

You tell me I am free, to get what I deserve. But when I ask for work, my voice can not be heard.

You are not like me, with your take home pay. But you are like your neighbor, laid off yesterday.

Went to you classes, took all of your tests. Did all you asked of me, tried my very best.

Found me a job, did what I was told. My work was sold to others, now I’m getting old.

Shoes have holes in them, spirit becoming worn. Clothes that are ragged, my dignity severely torn.

My life’s in a shopping cart, my hopes are in despair. A world torn and ragged, with dreams beyond repair.

Come Come Come, out into my home.

by Glen Bartholomew

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Giving Problems Dignity

The Ridges, Athens, OH

I went to college at Ohio University in Athens, Ohio. On the other side of the Hocking River from  the main campus, is the Ridges; a stately extension to OU’s campus. The former Administrative Building was a wonderful 5 story building seen below. It used to be a working farm, with a dairy, stables, orchards and gardens. It was self sustaining. It was landscaped by someone from the same firm that did Manhattan’s Central Park.

A friend who grew up in Athens, told me that towns people would have picnics over at the ponds of the grounds, because they were so peaceful. The Ridges was part of Athens, people felt at ease there. It was a place of dignity. The original name for the Ridges was, the Athens Lunatic Asylum.

Los Angles will be voting on a bond issue to Prevent and Combat Homelessness. Homelessness is a big problem in the United States, not just California. I see homeless people in parks, pushing shopping carts, begging, in the library when I worked there. The visible homeless sometimes also have mental problems, which exasperates their condition.

I also see homeless people in cars, on bikes, on buses, trains or just walking along.  These are the people I, may not even suspect are homeless. They have shelter. But they are living in relative’s houses, friend’s apartments, or in their automobiles. Most of these people may even have jobs, but they can’t afford to pay the deposit and the rent payment to sign a lease. So they “rent” hotel rooms, with no appliances. They just keep falling behind. Homelessness can rob someone of their dignity.

Many of the residents might have been homeless, in Athens during the 1800’s, if it were not for the Athens Lunatic Asylum. The residents helped take care of the farm and the grounds surrounding their cottages. It was self sustaining. It was serene. People were not afraid of it.

But times changes and so did ideas on mental health. Most services for mental health have been spread throughout the community. We should not be afraid the issues that surround homelessness either. Because sometimes when a community gives dignity to a problem, the problem gives dignity to the community.

Stories of the Ridges, in Athens OH

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So That Good Deeds Would Spread Out, Like Ripples From a Pebble In a Pond

In high school used to watch a TV action show called, Kung Fu. But I don’t remember many of the action parts. I do remember the interludes when the main character Caine / Young Grasshopper would think back to his youth and his mentor Master Po would guide him.

For Nations Random Acts of Kindness Day, here is one of my favorites.

  • “Young Caine, when I was a boy, I fell into a hole in the ground and I was broken and could not climb out. I might have died there but a stranger came along and saved me. He said it was his obligation. That for help he had once received, he must in return help ten others each of whom would then help ten others so that good deeds would spread out like the ripples from a pebble in a pond. I was one of his ten and you became one of mine. And now I pass this obligation on to you.” – Master Po (episode #15)

May the ripples spread.

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Xin Nian Kuai Le! , 新年快乐!, Happy New Year!

This is Spring Festival in China, where I lived in for five years. I went there out of curiosity, I stayed out of love. I had just graduated and had met some Chinese students who made a good impression on me, I had only been out the country once and had loved it, I wanted to see the world. China seemed like a good place to start.

China had opened itself up to the world and the world responded in kind.  What an exciting place full of transitions. Shanghai and Guangzhou were already international cities. Beijing was holding the Olympics, one of the most international events in the world.

I love nature and I am concerned about our environment, about the way our communities develop and grow. During my preliminary visit a year earlier, I saw people using vacuum tube solar hot water heaters, I saw that most homes had a balcony facing south to capture heat in the winter, appliances seemed very efficient, in the high rise cities the street level was full of small shops, bike lanes had a physical barrier separating them from cars, trucks and buses. There is so much I wanted to investigate.

But what impressed me the most was the excitement people shared with me, their optimism. It was everywhere, it was infectious. There were still traditions, like a week long holiday for Spring Festival, most large cities had an “old town”, people in the cities would find a patch of ground and plant vegetable gardens, there were traditional medicine hospitals. The south facing balcony design was partly derived from fengshui (風水 – wind and water). Everything was there to be breathed in, with an electric feeling of excitement about the future.

I wanted to learn and experience it all, then come back and see what might work here.