Wednesday, April 23, 2008

8 miles so far

Sorry I've been so silent lately. I had the flu followed by bronchitis and a weeks-long sinus infection, so between that and work and freelance assignments, there wasn't much time to spend on the computer. Dad will be disappointed to hear that I have started biking to work but have not been posting my mileage to the blog.

Ontario is discussing a province-wide ban on cosmetic pesticide use. Go Ontario! It's hard to imagine this flying here, but there is always hope. My condo association sprayed all the lawns last week but didn't put up adequate signage; I didn't even realize the green behind my unit had been sprayed until several days later, and of course the kids were running all over it. Time to complain to the board, though of course they made a motion last year to look into non-pesticide alternatives, and nothing has come of it. I have an alternative for them: don't f***ing spray. It's just a lawn, after all.

I have spent my fair share of time around pesticide proponents (the University of Wisconsin has a department dedicated to lawn research, I kid you not), and they tell me that pesticides are necessary to prevent nymphs and nematodes from chewing up grass roots and leaving big bald spots in the lawn; and that bald spots lead to run-off, and that pollutes the lakes, and so on and so forth. But our lawns are already pocked with bald spots (most of which seem to be due either to (1) water pooling in low spots or (2) snow plows -- you can tell by looking at them that they are not nematode-caused), and the lawncare folks never reseed; they just f***ing spray.

Tuesday, April 1, 2008

My 101st post

I once broke a compact fluorescent bulb by holding onto the spirals while screwing it into a light fixture and continuing to turn it past the snug phase. Why I insisted on turning it so hard is beyond me. This was back in the days when one CFL could cost you $20 and the easiest way to get one was ordering it from a catalog. It was also in the days before the internet was big, so I couldn't Google instructions on how to clean it up.

I called the company from which I ordered the bulb, and they gave me step-by-step instructions on how to clean the bulb up safely. (CFLs contain a very small amount of mercury, so most municipalities require them to be recycled so that the mercury can be recaptured and doesn't end up in the groundwater. Interestingly, I recently read that the amount of mercury in a CFL is less than the amount of of mercury emitted by a coal-fired plant over the lifetime of an equally bright incandescent. True?)

The Environmental Protection Agency now keeps updated instructions for cleaning up broken CFLs on its Web site. The best practices have been refined since I had to clean up that CFL 10 years ago, which I'm sure means that I inhaled mercury at the time. One would think this would be a cause for worry, but I like to think of it as an excuse for any and all erratic and inexplicable behavior I have displayed over the past decade.