Tag Archives: Environment

Sometimes everything just goes wrong

You know how things can be sometimes. No matter how hard you pray for something good to happen or no matter how hard you will things to be different, they are just plain crappy. It doesn’t matter how much time and effort you put into planning something, either: sometimes everything just goes wrong.

So this weekend, my boyfriend and I were supposed to go on a fishing trip with my mom and stepdad. We left after work on Friday and drove the 4 hours to the east coast of Florida, pulling in late and exhausted just around midnight. Fishing in the Gulf of Mexico is great, and it’s awesome how close we live to the water, but we wanted a change of scenery, and the chance to catch some different species of fish, so we planned an overnight trip to West Palm Beach for some dolphin fishing (the fish, not flipper, calm down). Getting up at 5:45 a.m. is only possible when you have the adrenaline and excitement of a big day ahead of you, so dragging our butts out of bed yesterday was no big deal. Driving the 20 minutes to the dock and dropping the boat in was also no big deal; we’ve done this before, right? Right. Bill had checked and double-checked the marine forecast the whole week, making sure our day wasn’t going to be too rough (and also making sure it was worth the 4-hour drive). The Sea People claimed it was going to be 10-15 knots, with 2-3 foot seas. Shouldn’t be a bad day, right? Wrong.

Those Sea People are down-right lying assholes. Once we got out past the inlet (which had about 12 foot seas from where I was standing), we thought things would calm down. Probably, y’know, because the marine forecast only called for 2-3 foot seas. Well those bastards were wrong. It did not calm down. It made being on the boat uncomfortable, and it made even the attempt at casting, let alone reeling anything in, basically impossible. I don’t think any of us wanted to give up (after all, we made that long drive and planned this whole trip and all), but it was clear it just wasn’t going to happen. So we turned around and headed back for the dock. But not, of course, before I puked all over the side of the boat into the angry sea.

Everyone knows I get car sick or motion sickness if there’s too much going on (like say, going on any type of spinning amusement park ride or being on a boat that’s being tossed around like a cork in a wave pool). So it’s not really surprising that my stomach felt like it was upside-down inside of me the whole ride out and back. But usually when I get like that, I can control it and at least keep my breakfast down. Not this time. When it’s going to come up, it’s going to come up whether you like it or not. Thankfully I was able to spew it all over the side of the boat into the water and not fall over board in the process (my mom was not happy with this; she was afraid I’d fall in and wanted me to puke in a bucket, but who wants to puke in a bucket for everyone to see and smell when you can just let it go into the deep blue sea? sorry mom). Although I’m not thrilled I puked (especially since that means I’m now on the scoreboard with Kevin for who’s puked since we’ve been dating- but it’s 3:1 and I’m still ahead so it’s fine), I did feel a little better after the fact. So it’s probably for the best. And we all made it safely back to shore (where we checked the marine forecast again and those bastards were STILL CALLING FOR 2-3 FOOT SEAS THE JERKS). Being alive and back on land was really the end goal, so all in all, it was okay. We didn’t get to fish, and I barfed, but we got in safe, so none of us were mad (just disappointed and bitter towards those lying Sea People).

We loaded up the car and decided just to hit the road and come back home to salvage the weekend (because at this point, it was only like, 8:30 a.m., and we really had no reason to hang out in West Palm). We got about 20-30 minutes in to our 4-hour drive home when the engine started smoking and we had to pull off the road. At first we thought we were just out of coolant, and that’s why the engine had overheated. So we used all the water we had, got back on the highway until we found a gas station and bought some. Problem solved, right? Clearly you should know where this is going by now.

Turns out the radiator was leaking and we needed a new one. We drove to the local Chevy dealership but they told us they wouldn’t be able to even look at the car until Monday. MONDAY. Yeah, because we can just sit around in some random Florida town for two days waiting for the car to be fixed. No thank you.

We had passed a sign on our way to the dealer that said “radiator repair” so we drove back that way to inquire, where we encountered yet another asshole to add to our shit list. While he rambled on about god knows what, we got in touch with NAPA, who told us they had a radiator for us. Finally, someone competent who could actually help us. We bought the part and struggled to find a body shop that was either a) open past noon or b) open at all. Apparently no one in the town we were stranded in liked to work on Saturdays. Assholes. Just when it looked like Bill was going to have to change it himself (and probably die of heat exhaustion in the process), we FINALLY found a shop that was open that would do it for us. They got it done in under two hours and we were (finally, actually) on our way back home. After all that, I am grateful it wasn’t any worse, but I’m still bitter towards the Sea People for steering us in the wrong direction in the first place. You know who you are, Sea People, and don’t think you are getting off so easy.

My friend Nicole sent me a book for my birthday called “Dear Asshole.” It’s filled with tear-out letters to send to all the assholes in your life, yet there isn’t one for Sea People. So I’d like to add my own (and hopefully the publishers will revise the book and release a second addition with my personal letter included, although probably not because they don’t even know who I am). Anyway, here it is:

Dear Asshole Marine Forecast Sea People,

You are liars. You continuously broadcast incorrect marine forecasts to innocent boaters and drive them (literally) into danger. We could have been killed out there (highly unlikely, but still possible). It’s your fault we were even in that situation in the first place, because if you had done your jobs correctly and told us what the seas would ACTUALLY be like that day, we never would have risked it. It’s your fault we drove all the way out there and didn’t get to fish and it’s your fault I barfed everywhere. It’s probably not your fault our radiator crapped out, but I’m going to blame you anyway because you’re an easy target and I hate you. Please stop being terrible at your jobs so people like me and my family can actually know what we’re driving our boat into.

Sincerely,

The girl who barfed

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Trashy with a twist

For some people, living in third world countries, garbage is reality. Living among heaps of trash is part of life and you just become used to it, because there’s nothing to be done about it and nowhere else for all the junk to go. But I’m lucky enough to live in a country that has developed better ways to reduce, reuse and recycle that garbage to make  our country, our home, a little cleaner and a better place to live. So why do people insist on littering? Why do we continue to pollute the world we live in when we have alternatives? I’ve never understood it and I guess I never will, because I’ve always had the mentality that the Earth and the environment is a precious gift we’ve been given, not one to be taken for granted and one to be protected and cherished.

Side note: I once got my sister, her ex and I into a spot of trouble because of my passion to protect the environment. We were at a stoplight and the guy in the truck next to us rolled his window down, stuck his arm out and dropped a huge wad of paper onto the road. I called him an asshole out loud, but because my window was down, he heard us. He then proceeded to engage us in a “high-speed chase,” tailing us for about 20 minutes to try and scare us, acting like he was going to ram us. We eventually dodged him, but my sister was pretty shook up (having been the one driving) and her ex was not thrilled with me. I was most pleased with myself for having called this man out on his horrible behavior, and only hope my words serve him well in his future actions. Highly doubtful.

We found this "no dumping" sign by all the trash we collected. How appropriate.

We found this “no dumping” sign by all the trash we collected. How appropriate.

Back to the point, people are going to litter regardless of what I say or do to try and convince them not to, so it’s up to me and others like me to protect the environment (or so I’ve always believed). So I (finally) started a volunteer group with some friends and family to meet locally and pick up trash in the community. Today was the “inaugural” cleanup and although it was a very small group of us, it was still more than just me out there on the side of the road picking up trash like I used to do for fun. In my spare time. Because I have no life.

Anyway, I’m super excited I have friends and family who not only support my undying love for all things eco, but who get out there with me and share the same passion. It’s a truly great feeling to give back, even in small ways. It doesn’t have to be a global takedown (although I’m working on that one next); putting in any effort, big or small, is all it takes. And it feels good to do good.

And if I never see another cigarette butt again in my life, I will be all too thankful. Really, people, most cars- scratch that, ALL CARS- come equipped with an ash tray. It’s pretty standard. And they don’t put it there for you to keep change in (although that’s what I recommend using it for if you’re a nonsmoker, like me- very useful). And I don’t want to hear any crap about how putting the cig out in your car’s ash tray makes your car dirty and smelly. You should have thought about that before you chose to light up. The environment is not your personal ash tray, so stop acting like it. End rant.

In what ways do you and your friends/family give back to the environment? How can we continue to make a difference, even on a small scale?

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Filed under community, Environment, Uncategorized

A few of my (ever-delightful) theories on Christmas (that are sure to piss off the Catholics)

Now that Christmas is fully upon us (it’s Christmas Eve already? WTF), it’s time to clear up a few things about the popular holiday. There are more than a few lies going around about this whole Christmas business, so of course, being my typical opinionated self, I figured I’d dabble in my own theories on the joy and wonder that is Christmas.

Santa Claus is supposed to be mysterious and unseen, not ho-ho-hoing at me while I shop for overpriced gifts. I’m all about the real Santa but I’m not too fond of the idea of getting a picture taken with some creepy wannabe at the mall. If you think about it, every department store Santa whose lap you’ve ever sat on was just some creepy fat guy who put on a red suit and fake beard (unless he had a real one, which is more likely these days). Without the red suit, he would just be some creepy fat guy and I don’t know about you, but I wouldn’t let my kids sit on the lap of someone who is probably a pedophile. Just saying. I wonder if the department store Santas have to endure a rigorous screening process before being hired?

And even if I did agree with the idea of letting my child sit on some strange man’s lap, doesn’t that kind of kill the magic of Santa Claus? Because that child is going to believe one of two things. 1. They are going to think the creepy man’s lap they are sitting awkwardly upon is the real  Santa Claus, thus ruining the magic. You aren’t supposed to see Santa, you’re just supposed to know he’s there and he’s always watching (also creepy, what about when I’m on the toilet? I don’t want him seeing that). Or 2. they are going to know he isn’t the real Santa, because c’mon, how many fake Santas do you see over the course of about two months? They clearly can’t all be the real Santa, so then you have to wonder why are there so many impersonators? And if this is an impersonator, and you are acknowledging the fact that he’s not the real Santa but simply a fraud, what the hell are you doing sitting on his lap? This is just going to confuse kids and make them resent their parents, who have forced them to, essentially, cuddle up to some strange, smelly man they don’t know. Clearly why most photos with Santa end up looking like this:

scared santa

Retail stores invented the idea of gift-giving. Just like most holidays, I’m convinced it’s the retail stores that somehow incorporated the idea of spending money at Christmastime. I like buying people presents; nothing delights me more than watching their faces light up when they unwrap that thing they’ve been hoping for all year. But we live in such a consumerist society that it makes me vomit in my mouth just a teeny bit. I turned on the news this morning only to hear about mass graves in South Sudan, meanwhile people here in my country are running around like chickens with their heads cut off, trying to buy last-minute presents for people who probably don’t deserve them anyway. If we’re going to spend money and give gifts, why not give them to the people that actually need them? A few years ago, I suggested to my family we no longer buy each other Christmas presents. As the baby of the family, it seemed a bit silly to be buying presents for each other when we could be putting that money spent to better use. For the last few years, instead of buying friends and family presents they really didn’t need, I’ve been buying presents to donate to Toys for Tots. So the next time you’re about to ask someone to buy you something for Christmas, maybe think about how lucky you are to have the things you already do have and ask them to spread the wealth, instead.

And for that matter, if you want to argue that the idea of gift-giving came from the idea that three kings (it was 3, right?) brought baby Jesus presents on his birthday, which is “supposedly” why we celebrate Christmas in the first place (tell that to anyone who buys Christmas presents), well then why does everyone else get presents? Shouldn’t we just be buying them for a tiny, baby-Jesus-like person? Or just leaving them in a barn somewhere?

I’m going to hell for that one. Moving on.

Anti-environmentalists started the tradition of the Christmas tree. I think it’s pretty obvious that anyone who hates the environment would decide to chop down an Evergreen and put it up on display in their living room. Now don’t get me wrong, my family and I used to cut down our own tree every year when I was younger, and it was one of my favorite traditions. The lights,  the ornaments, the smell of the pine needles permeating the house. But I would still mourn the loss of that tree’s life, especially once the season was over and we had nothing to do but haul the dying tree out to the woods to rot. It’s very similar to the idea of mourning the turkey I eat on Thanksgiving. I’m still going to eat it, and it’s still going to taste delicious, but I can’t help but feel sorry for the poor bastard, simply because someone long ago decided a turkey would be the traditional Thanksgiving feast. Maybe that makes me a hypocrite in your eyes, but I don’t really give a tiny rat’s ass. Besides, this post isn’t about my hypocrisy in life, of which there is probably an abundance, it’s about my theories on Christmas. Anyway, I can’t imagine why people are so eager to destroy the plant and animal life around them, without ever any regard for any other living thing but themselves. It’s like when I am constantly yelling at my students for ripping the leaves off of trees, reminding them that they wouldn’t like it if someone pulled their fingers off one by one. Oh, you don’t want me teaching your child? Get over it.

cat ate birdChristians clearly feel the need to one-up the Jews. Think about it. Jews have 8 days of Hanukkah while Christians feel they need to have Twelve Days of Christmas. Who invented that song, anyway? What the hell is a partridge doing in a pear tree, and why would anyone want that? If you ask me, those are terrible gifts to receive.

I have so many more theories about Christmas, life, the universe, everything… But I think that’s enough to get your own brain thinking as you tear through your presents tomorrow morning. Or at the very least, I’ve given you something to bring to the dinner table tomorrow when you can’t take anymore of your great-aunt’s cheek-pinching or your baby cousin’s crying or your uncle’s inappropriate comments.

Until next year, Merry Christmas to all and to all a good night!

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Restoration of Stevenson Creek to resume

CLEARWATER, Fla., Oct. 18 — T.J. Thompson is eager for work to resume.

Thompson has lived on the north bank of Stevenson Creek since 2000 and is hopeful a project to remove muck from the water could help reduce the smell of the polluted water body.

The local water treatment plant responsible for the contamination.

But the contamination hasn’t kept him from taking his boat out on the water, even if the tides sometimes do.

“We have a small window when we can get out,” Thompson said.

Soon though, Thompson and others who live near the creek, could enjoy fishing, boating and watching wildlife. After a prolonged standstill, the Stevenson Creek Aquatic Restoration is scheduled to resume work this month.

The Army Corps of Engineers has awarded the contract to remove 105,000 cubic yards of muck and sediment to Paul Howard Construction Company after firing the initial contractor earlier in the year.

“The goal is to dredge the lower reaches of Stevenson Creek,” said Amanda Ellison a spokeswoman for the Army Corps of Engineers. “Some sandy dredged materials will be returned to the creek to create shoreline mangrove areas, and [the] dredged muck will be trucked to an offsite disposal area.”

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Filed under community, destruction, Environment, Pollution, Restoration

Trash pick-up: not just for inmates and mandated community service

Imagine if this was your backyard.

What you don’t realize is this is your backyard.

Littering doesn’t just affect you when it becomes a personal issue, like having your lawn strewn with various soda cans, water bottles, food wrappers and other miscellaneous junk. It affects you and everyone else from the minute someone tosses an old cigarette butt out the window to the second trash falls off the back of the garbage truck. It may not always be 100 percent intentional, but it is 100 percent fixable.

I felt like a rugged Santa Clause this afternoon, delivering trash to dumpsters around the world. With my sunglasses on, my iPod turned up loud and a decent pair of latex gloves already sticking to my skin and making my hands soggy, I set off down the road with one purpose in mind: to pick up trash.

When I was younger, I used to recruit my friends to walk around the neighborhood with me and do this very same thing. We weren’t as successful, and I’m sure my parents didn’t appreciate the increased bill from Waste Management, but in our own small way we were making a difference. And that’s all that mattered.

Lately I’ve become more and more enraged with the current state of our environment. The world has become one big garbage-filled playground, and no one seems to notice or care. Sure, there are organizations that include trash cleanup as one of their priorities, but it never seems to be enough.

People need to start being responsible on an individual level, as well. I’m in the process of starting a volunteer organization that will allow me to recruit friends and activists from the surrounding area, getting together maybe a few times a month in different locations to assist in environmental cleanup. But in the meantime, I decided today was a perfect day to get started on my own.  I picked a local area of road near my house, so I wouldn’t have to drive anywhere. I didn’t give myself a time limit; the limit would be when the bag was full. When the trash bag became almost too heavy to carry home, and the sweat from my forehead started dripping into my eyes (they weren’t kidding, that really does burn), I knew it was time to call it a day. I checked my watch: I’d been out for an hour.

But in one hour I collected enough garbage to fill an entire trash bag.

My finds included a grungy t-shirt, an old CD, various bottles and cans, and a soggy towel.

One hour. There are 24 hours in one day, 8,760 hours in one year (yes, I used a calculator). Can you imagine how much trash we could remove from our parks, from our neighborhoods, from our sidewalks and highways if every person in the world spent one hour a year collecting trash? That’s math I can’t even do.

But I do know that it would make a huge difference in local, national and international ways. But until we take initiative, nothing will change.

So get out there, do it on your own, or with a few friends. Or find an org in your area that you can participate in. It’s okay if you don’t know where to start, the point is to just start.

Help keep our roads clean by not littering. If you don’t like trash littering your car, buy something to throw it in. Plenty of stores sell trash bags for your car, most of them under $20. There are easy ways to do your part and make a difference, big or small.

The point is to open your eyes. Realize that your actions and the actions of others, and more importantly, the inaction, is causing our environment to become dirty, polluted, destroyed.

But we can change that. We just have to be willing.

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