Friday, January 15, 2010

Friday soapbox filler post

Today’s post is so boring, I couldn’t even come up with a half-decent title for it. You could quit reading right now, except that what I am going to say actually matters, unlike my usual drivel.

I got a new little something from Smartwool that I’m dying to try out and blog about. Problem is that the snowpack is half of what it normally is this time of year, and mustering the motivation to get up and ski in the dark is difficult under those circumstances. The motivation to get up at 4:30 in the morning is even harder to come by when you think your intestines are going to explode the night before and don’t expect to get much sleep. So instead of making something up about the crappy skiing that I didn’t actually do yesterday or today, I’m going to get up on my soapbox.

Soapbox item #1: texting and giving.

We’re all aware that there was a nasty earthquake in Haiti. As if that country didn’t have it bad enough already. In the past there have been causes I wanted to give to, but actually stuffing a check in an envelope or even going online was just enough of a barrier that I didn’t get around to it.

That excuse is valid no more. Yele Haiti and the Red Cross have both set up systems so that you can donate by sending a text. To donate $5 to Yele Haiti, text “Yele” to 501501. To donate $10 to the Red Cross, text “Haiti” to 90999. Super easy. No more excuses—unless you’re driving. Don’t text while driving cuz you might hit a cyclist. Or a runner. Or another car. Or a fire hydrant and a tree.

Soapbox item #2: turn your key, be idle free.

Hands down the worst part of winter in the Salt Lake or Boise metro areas is inversion. We all complain about it. It may be cool to look at from above, but it’s never pleasant to be in it. When I run at lunchtime, I feel like I’ve exercised AND smoked a pack of cigarettes.

So do something about it—turn off your car if you’re not moving. Your car doesn’t need to be running while you’re at the ATM or getting a burrito. It doesn’t need to be running while you’re loading your skis. It doesn’t need to be running while you’re sitting in a parking lot waiting to pick somebody up. So don’t run it in those situations. You’ll use as much gas in ten seconds of idling as you’ll use to restart the motor. If you’ll be sitting for 30 seconds or more, by all means, shut it off.

A few weeks ago I took JunkieGirl to ballet. Her ballet class is an hour long, and I often just sit in the parking lot and read while she’s in class. Other parents do the same. On this occasion, the guy in the car next to me left his vehicle running FOR THE ENTIRE HOUR. I wanted to go tap on his window and say something, but by the time I was agitated enough to confront him, I was too agitated for it to be a civil encounter and knew it would have been the equivalent of throwing the dog crap in his open door rather than presenting it to him in a civil manner such that there was some chance of attitudes being changed.

Next time I may not be so restrained, so please, turn your vehicle off before it comes to that.

Final, non-soapbox item: new link in the sidebar.

I just added frequent commenter and super-fast marathoner RabidRunner to my links. If you haven’t checked out her blog, her PMS Avenger post is one of the funniest things I’ve ever read. Her other stuff is also refreshing and humorous. If I thought I could keep up and didn’t have a Y chromosome, I’d invite myself on one of her group runs to see if she’s as funny in person as she is in bloglandia.

Happy Friday. Seems like everybody but me has Monday off and is heading to St. George for the weekend. Have fun and travel safe.


  1. Holy smokes, is that some blogger right of passage? To have your name on the Junkie sidebar? I'm honored. For that I just might make a Haiti donation AND turn my car off while idling.

    (You should know, however, that my running pals find me an overbearing and pompous windbag. Just ask Jilene.)

  2. Personally I think fast food drive-ins should close on red air quality days. I'm not a huge fan of the government creating more laws, but in Salt Lake and Utah Counties that would make sense to me.

  3. RR: you're probably making more of it than it is, but I do enjoy your blog. My family finds me to be an overbearing, pompous windbag as well. Either I'd fit right in, or we'd repel each other like two electrons.

    Mark: if people would just quit idling their cars all the time, we'd need no legislation.

    I don't get the idling thing. I've been loading bikes or skis and had the driver turn the car on while I'm next to the tailpipe only to give me a mouthful of exhaust. Why people turn their cars on when they aren't moving and won't be for some time is beyond me.

  4. I agree that everyone should quit idling cars. However I think we need tighter legislation on our major industry pollution. Meaning Coal fired electric plants. What really bugs me is that quite a bit of the electricity goes to California and all we get is the pollution.

  5. Blackdog, to be clear, I'm not opposed to such legislation. It just seems impossible to pass without a bunch of excess baggage to keep the special interest groups happy. Turning your car off, on the other hand, is something easy to do and easy to suggest to friends and family and that has immediate impact.

  6. "I've been loading bikes or skis and had the driver turn the car on while I'm next to the tailpipe only to give me a mouthful of exhaust."

    you're talking to me, aren't you?

    bite me.

  7. You know the day that I locked my keys in the car and you forgot your boots? Well after that brief tour, I was really, really hungry, so I stopped in at Gandolfo's on the way back. Just after I went in, a high-maintenance stripper-mom stopped in with her son. I got my food and left just as they sat down to eat theirs. I was quite surprised to find that the stripper-mom had "forgotten" to turn her car off, and due to her "absent-mindedness", her car would be idling with nobody inside the entire time they ate their breakfast. Fortunately I was there to help her forgetfulness. Yeah, that's right, I opened her door and turned her car off (leaving her car door slightly cracked open in case her car is annoying like mine and automatically locks when it is not turned on). Yes, I too am overbearing and pompous. And very helpful. Man, this comment just cost me a good post.

  8. Dug: yes, but not just you. Banks is on the list as well. You hear that Evil? (I better put it on twitter just to be sure...)

    Aaron: you rule.

  9. when it's winter, and i've just finished a backcountry ski tour, and i'm taking off my gear and getting ready to go home (or wherever), i will continue to start the car to warm it up.

    you hear that? stay away from the tailpipe, junior!

  10. dug: why? why does the car need warming? It's fuel injected, you start it, it goes. The motor doesn't need warming. You've just finished a tour. You're already warm, so you don't need the car to warm you.

    I'm going to start keeping bananas in my pack, and if I get a mouthful I'll stuff them in your tailpipe.

  11. that's IT man, separate cars from here on out. you and your little dog, aaron, too.

    no offense, aaron.

  12. We have some of the most lax laws in the country when it comes to big industry. California has tried to force legislation on Utah to clean up our air. I am with you though. It goes along with most of my belief's on charitable giving. Give it to the source and avoid the middleman. Obviously Haiti is different story. I hate finding out that only 70 cents or less on the dollar went to help people in need.

  13. OK, if it's just the 2 of us, idle away. Still less wasteful than separate cars. Or better yet, I'll drive.

  14. Blackdog: that's why I'm no fan of the LAF. Very little actually goes to cancer fighting. The whales that raise big sums and receive all the perks sure like it though. I heard someone use the lavish events as a justification for LAF's pathetic efficiency, saying that it helps them raise more money because fundraisers want the perks. Needless to say, the guy who said this was one of their big fundraisers.

  15. Wow, I made the side bar as well. It's a journal enty day.

    If it makes you feel better, I'm not going South this weekend, I'm working Monday, I have a head cold and I'm pissed about the snow conditions.

  16. Daren: sorry, should have mentioned you as well. I also should have mentioned that I changed the sidebar so that only the ten who have posted most recently show up. Forgive the non-mention--I added you after I published this post and was too lazy to go back and edit.

    Substitute intestinal distress for head cold and your description of yourself could fit me as well. Good luck making something of the weekend anyway.

  17. I had the exact same thought as Dug: "is he talking about me?". Ok, I admit to being an occasional idler but only here and there, not everywhere. There's something about a warm vehicle in winter that sometimes I just can't pass up.

  18. OK, Banks and dug have been sufficiently called out. I shall say no more forever on this matter. To them at least.

  19. Dug, you better watch your car idling, "Whateva, I do what I want"(in Cartman voice) attitude or I may have to start calling you a republican.

    No offense.