Relax. Life's too stressed out.

Thursday, September 08, 2005

On my way!!

Posted: 2005-08-31T15:35:51Z

Leaving for the airport in half an hour. I am now your excuse to come visit the Swiss Alps!

Flight number: 78
Leaving: 6:50 PM
Weight of my two items of checked baggage: 58 and 45 lbs respectively
Chance of thunderstorms at Newark Airport this afternoon: 62%
Cost of tickets to the pairs figure skating final in Turin: $480
Chances that Grandma will buy me one anyway: don't ask.

Wednesday, September 07, 2005

Things that I'm not going to get around to

Posted: 2005-08-30T13:28:17Z

before I leave for Germany in TWENTY-SEVEN HOURS (OK, that's when I get in the car to drive to Newark Airport, but that's effectively when the die is cast!):

  • Knitting a pair of mittens for the "Afghans for Afghans" program at church.
  • Typing my Anglican Theology and History, and Church History II, notes into the computer. They'll just have to come with me in hard copy.
  • Playing a game of Settlers with Margaret and Catherine (unless "Romeo and Juliet" in the park is rained out AGAIN and we get really bored).
  • Taking Margaret to Chow, the new dim sum restaurant. This is because my landlord is a spaz and didn't get me the gift certificate. Can we say "$40 knocked off the rent for July 2006"?

Monday, September 05, 2005

Just happened to be websurfing whence came up thi...

Posted: 2005-07-14T21:13:45Z

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Just happened to be websurfing whence came up this new map site. A good overhead view of Pinellas County, Florida, that truly underscores the loss of truly viable, pristine wetlands in just a tiny fraction of Florida. The dark green areas are forests of mangrove, scrub oak, cypress, or a combination of the aforementioned (the dark, nearly blackish green color that lines the small area along the coastline (Weedon Island Preserve, et cetera) and a few pockets around the center (Boyd Hill Preserve, et cetera). Not a very pretty picture, if you ask this author's opinion. Now full appreciation of the scope of the losses being underlined in this Blog in bold can grow. An astronaut would frown upon the speed of wetland "mitigation" in Pinellas County if he stayed in space for the span of over a decade, viewing from above, and he too would say it meant "absolve" protection, rather than even mitigate or slow the destruction. Fifteen years ago, the green was a much more noticeable presence on an overhead view. One can watch the development spread, what some would call "progressive" but this author would call regressive, and a threat to our health and safety.

One thing on the mind of many Floridians this month: hurricane season is just beginning. And without our intact barrier islands, beach dunes, and mangove forests to protect those inland, our grid-pattern county is going to invite the inundation by floodwaters and destructive winds, rather than abating any of it. It always makes one wonder how anyone could have been ignorant enough to want to live not just near the ocean, but right on the water's edge, notably in a floodplain plagued by hurricanes and tropical storms. Without the trees, you have a heightened erosive condition of the soil. Forests, marshes, estuaries, these collectives of flora, hold everything in place, and help make more, help keep the land in a perpetual motion of creation. People gamble away millions of dollars to risk losing everything they own when they build upon unprotected shores already stripped of trees and dunes, or they remove the protection when they build in places they should not. Besides, now even a tourist could not watch the sun set or rise unless they paid well for it, and this the intention of developers, not to the benefit to the public. Florida constituents are tired of paying for sand replacement on beaches for other people's "private views", when the presence of marsh, mangrove, and other wetlands would maintain erosion levels and increase the breadth of beaches. Many Florida constituents would rather pay to replace what has been destroyed-as in indigenous flora, not particulates of sand. False wetlands, which act as sponges for our site cleanup projects but not as viable non-polluted habitat, would retain particulates and plant matter, but would serve no other beneficial purpose and would in fact negatively impact humans and wildlife through retention of chemicals in the flora, meaning that as those plants die and deteriorate, the chemicals return to our soil and water, not solving the problem at all. Recycling and reclaiming our waste, refuse, and runoff does not mean burning it to be released in our atmosphere or planting faux wetlands to suck up the muck and release it back slowly over time as the flora deteriorate, or feed human waste and refuse back to native fauna. These are all contributors to bioaccumulation and severe violations against not only our renewable and non-renewable resources, but blows to our economy through later exposure, sickness, extinction of native wildlife. It is also in violation of many local and national laws. It is all a farce. For an American, it is shameful . To the tourist, a detraction, deceiving.

One good example of why humans should not build typical structures that interfere with the progress of the forces and processes that produce and control all the phenomena of the bioorganic world: California's coastline. As geologists understand it, California is sliding slowly into the ocean, and landslides occur on occasion. Yet, let human avarice take away the trees which slow the process of erosion and then build homes for millions of dollars on the mudflows that remain, all for that view. The avaricious will feel the weightlessness of their choices before they hit bottom.

Take a look at your own area's wetland losses at Google's site. Posted by Hello

Sunday, September 04, 2005

Grace's past few days

Posted: 2005-08-23T23:08:47Z

Friday, 10 AM: Receive pruner from boss as farewell present (as did all the other interns).
Friday, 5:30 PM: Hit road.
Friday, 6:30 PM: Eat dinner at Friendly's in West Springfield. Read the Advocate amid screaming children.
Friday, 10 PM: Arrive at Grandma's and hang out with crazy cousins.
Saturday, 11:30 AM: Pile in aunt's Lexus SUV (cousin in trunk) and go to Farmways ("outfitters for man and beast") in Bradford, VT. Buy t-shirt for boss: "Advice from a Tree," size XL.
Saturday, 6:30 PM: Reservation at swanky inn in Lyme, NH. Eat rack of lamb (semi-raw) and complain about loud people at next table.
Sunday, 6:30 AM: Get up.
Sunday, 7:40 AM: Leave Grandma's with cousin. Aunt and uncle follow behind.
Sunday, 11 AM: Aunt, uncle and cousin stop for brunch at parents' (other cousin stayed in VT to go to running camp).
Sunday, 4 PM: Go get shampoo from apartment.
Sunday, 11:30 PM: Go to bed in parents' guest room.
Monday, 9-5: Pack.
Monday, 7 PM: Roast chicken in parents' kitchen.
Tuesday, 9-11: Run errands.
Tuesday, 12 noon: Meet with "mentor" in ordination process. Eat buffalo chicken quesadilla.
Tuesday, 2:30-5:30: Pack.

Yeah, my life is so fascinating. I'm also doing lots of typing, playing with the dog, and re-reading the Little House books. And the mayor is being interviewed about his cool green programs. (N.B. He only got that Prius after heavy pressure.)