Friday, December 02, 2005

Burn blowers, not books

Leaf blowers should be outlawed. Plain and simple. Have a big party in the middle of town, gather up all the leaf blowers, throw them in a pile, and light them up. We could make it a fall celebration.
They’re noisy, pollutive, and quite possibly the most hedonistic device ever conceived of. A person who drives a big SUV can at least use it for the once a year occasion to haul something, a person who uses a gas lawn mower on a 10’ X 10’ patch of grass instead of getting a manual one can avoid getting sweaty in the summer sun. Hell, even everyone in the cafeteria at work who chooses to use disposable utensils and plates even though real ones are right there, can claim that it saves them the time of having to walk all the way over to the tray return instead of just throwing away the disposables. (FYI: These are all very terrible excuses) On a side note, the whole disposable plate things shows that people act more out of habit than making conscious decisions. It’s actually much nicer to use real plates and utensils compared to disposables, but people are so used to using the inferior plastic ones at restaurants (who use disposables due to costs) that they keep doing it even when given the option.

Anyway, back to leaf blowers. I don’t think a leaf blower has any positives. Raking leaves is not that hard!! It’s probably one of the easiest lawn maintenance tasks there is. A blower makes so much noise, much more than a lawnmower, and doesn’t save time. I was watching a guy blow leaves yesterday, just standing there waving it back forth to get everything. I could have raked them in the same amount of time. Plus, fall weather is beautiful, so it’s not like you’re going to sweat your ass off (heaven forbid) by picking up a rake. Plus there the care for the blower, gas, initial cost, and did I mention noise?

This points out one of big catch 22s of living in a free country. People are free to make bad decisions as well as good ones, generally still a good trade off. What do you do when everyone keeps making poor desicions that are hurting everyone including themselves? I meant this post as a joke, but maybe banning leaf blowers is a good idea. Who gets to decide what a "bad decision" is though? Good thing we have an educated, well informed, unbiased, and ethical congress to think these decisions through for us.

Thursday, December 01, 2005

Tree climbing dog

My mother's dog is crazy. About five years ago, there was a racoon in a tree in front of their house. She tried to climb the tree to get it. The racoon was obviously gone the second day, but she kept trying, for weeks, until she finally made it up. For years, she would love climbing up the tree, and my dad had to put a ramp in so she could get down, and put up a board to prevent her from climbing higher. After she got fixed, however, she was to fat to make it up. She still tries though.
In all honesty, this was just an excuse to try out putting video on my blog

Wednesday, November 30, 2005

Everyone else is doing it, so why can't I?

I'm jumping on the blogwagon, and putting in my two cents on the two Slate ariticles about biking that are making noise on the blogsphere.

Good bicycling articles point out that cycling, although different from driving a car, is not worse. They mention how changing your schedule or dress can easily integrate cycling into your lifestyle. They comment on how we have a tendancy to take for granted many of our actions and how our habits are reflection of the environment we grew up in. Overall, they focus on changes, not sacrafices, and talk about the benefits.

Neutral articles weigh the costs objectively. They point out how some benefits may not be as viable in your community, and how yes, it may take more work sometimes. They may even admit the commuting may not be best for everyone. Overall, a good article will mention obstacles, but also mention how to overcome them.

A bad article would look at cycling through the eyes of a driver, only seeing how its impossible to maintain habits they think are necessary while riding a bike.

Bicycle Diaries is a bad article. Actually, its worse than a bad article. Not only does he reinforce myths about commuting, but he actually makes up a couple of new ones. Cycling will get you fired? You'll be outcast from society? I'll admit that some people might look at you differently, but that's just because they're not used to seeing cycle commuters. I bet people gave a weird look to the first person to drive down the street on a car also.

Nobody bikes in LA is a good article.

Stupid Things - Primal Quest

Lots of people think some of the “fun” things I do are actually kind of, well, stupid. (Sorry, the trip postings are slim this fall due to work/school) I just might get a chance to prove them right though.

I received an offer to train with and potentially join an adventure race team for Primal Quest 2006. For those of you not tapped into the adventure race world, PQ is THE expedition race of the world. It’s one of the most extreme, with world wide television coverage, and a $250,000 prize purse attracting the best teams in the world. I thought I would like to do something like this in the future, maybe, if I could ever get a team together. Just getting the option to register for one of the coveted spots require either being on a top qualifying world team, fishing high in the previously years race, or winning one of the lottery spots, some of which are reserved for international teams. Oh yeah, you probably want to make sure you’re in good enough shape to do a 800km race with an estimated finishing time of 5 – 10 days, sleep optional.

Why would I want to do this in 2006?
-The 2006 race is local. (Somewhere across Colorado, New Mexico, Idaho, Montana, Arizona and/or Nevada. You don’t find out until later) 2007 will be on a different continent.
-The guy who contacted me already has a slot, he just needs to put a team together.
-800km, 5-10 days

Why not?
-I’d have to start doing some serious training come January.
-$8000 registration fee per team= $2000 per person. (That does include lodging though)
-800km, 5-10 days
-I might not be capable of finishing it if I’m not in top shape.