On the Way to and from Work

why is recycling so hard? oh wait, it isn’t…

We have 3 recycling bins – as big as large rolling trash cans – at our apartment complex.  There are 3 sets of these located next to each dumpster area for about 100 units.  That’s a pretty good ratio.  The bins are clearly labeled:

  • Mixed paper (does not include newspaper, laminated paper, or cardboard)
  • Newspaper (does not include cardboard, laminated paper)
  • Bottles and Cans (PET 1-7, includes glass bottles)

Pretty straightforward, no?  And the fact that it can do PET 1-7 is impressive.  Lots of places can only do PET 1-3 or 1-4.

Yet, this is what I saw this morning:

  • Cardboard in both newspaper and especially in mixed paper (note that none of these allow cardboard)
  • Plastic and glass bottles in plastic and paper bags in the bottles and cans bin (not sure if that’s allowed, but I at least bother to empty the bag out)
  • Newspaper in the mixed paper bin

And I often see even worse dumping of the wrong types into the wrong containers.

Now, I’m sure that in all reality the recycling centers know this will happen and sort everything that comes in accordingly.  They just hope that we stick to some kind of system.  But it never ceases to amaze me how wildly off the placement of all that stuff is.  I try to breakdown cardboard to go by the dumpsters (where it says “Cardboard here, please breakdown any boxes”) but even when I’m lazy I at least put it there.

“I support downsizing”

While walking to work, I have noticed this one car with a license plate that says something like “dwnsizyn.”  Obviously that’s “license-plate-ese” for the word downsizing.

Today, the woman that owns the car drove off as I walked by, and it made me wonder…so there really is a person that for some reason promotes the concept of downsizing via her vanity plate.  Maybe it’s an inside joke but, to the outside viewer, it really seems like this person is a proponent of downsizing.

Now, downsizing for the sake of greater efficiency makes sense.  But then maybe the plate should say “6sigma” or something like that.

On the Way to Work – Laptop as Boombox

I walked by someone that was listening to music, publicly, while on his way somewhere. This, unto itself – playing music out loud while walking for all others to hear, in an almost exhibitionist kind of way – is nothing unto itself.

But this time it was via a laptop.

Now, I have listened to music via laptop.  I have watched movies via laptop.  But I don’t think I’ve seen very often someone listening to music via laptop while walking, with the speakers blaring.

On the way to work – the “killer” GPS mount

I am a big proponent of not just GPS, but add-on systems rather than built-in ones.  They are simply far more affordable.

Anyway, California law says these cannot be mounted on the windshield (did you know that?  I didn’t for about a year of use!).  So all kinds of other mounts are used.  I personally use a vent mount, which goes through an A/C vent.  Works great.

There is one type of mount that scares me – it’s a “bean bag dashboard mount.”  This is basically a really heavy (I think I’ve seen 25-30 pounds specified..?) pedestal that sits on your dashboard onto which you then use your normal suction-cup mount for the GPS.  Now, it claims to have a nice “non-skid” surface on the bottom, but it is not otherwise adhered to the dash.  Which means that is could just go flying with enough G-forces.  30 pounds flying through the air in any direction is scary as heck.

Anyway, I saw one on the way to work today…

Painter’s tape and windshields

Walking in, I spotted a car where the windshield was framed with painter’s tape.

I presume that the windshield was recently replaced, and they wanted to put some tape down all along the perimeter to make sure that the glue or whatever method of holding it in place “set.”  However, it seems to me that painter’s tape is not exactly the best of adhesive materials…I know it comes off easily but…it comes off easily.

On the way to work (kinda): The news this morning

On the bus to Educause this morning, what I presume to be the local easy-listening station was broadcast.  The following stories were covered

  • McCain was on the trail in Ohio, touring by bus, to get their key 11 electoral votes
  • Obama was in Iowa, then going to stop home to see his kids for Halloween before ending the day in Indiana
  • A squirrel brought down the power lines at a polling station (somewhere)

And now we’re up to date on the news.  So apparently, along with information on who will be our next president, this squirrel must have been really important.

The politics of the walk to work

I walk to work.  In general, it’s a very pleasant 20 minute walk.  Just long enough to get me going in the morning, get a few steps on the pedometer, and to get my mind in the right place.  Just short enough so that if I’m running late I can hustle and cut it down to about 15-17 minutes.  It’s generally a nice walk.

Depending on when I hit various intersections with traffic lights and crosswalks, I walk along a variety of routes.  I also try to mix things up.  However, there is one route that has become a kind of farcical political maze.

In no way do I believe that walking in front of a house with a particular lawn sign supporting one candidate or political issue vs. another is in some way endorsing that opinion.  However, in my own little, weird way, I feel like I should not “patronize” the sidewalk in front of a home that supports a cause that I do not (as I write this, I realize how crazy I am).

Well, there is one route where the first house on the right supports McCain/Palin, a ticket which I oppose.  So I cross the street.  To my satisfaction, there is an Obama/Biden lawn sign at the house opposite.  I walk a bit further, and I see a “Yes on Prop. 8” sign, which is to change the California state constitution to ban same-sex marriages.  I am opposed to that, so now I change street sides again.  Two houses down, I have another McCain/Pallin sign or some other thing that bothers me.  So I end up zig-zagging back and forth on each block like a mental patient trying to make a political statement.

I guess maybe it is more like a mental patient than I’d like to think 🙂

On the Way to Work: Don’t Let a Chalk Outline Happen to You

After my 2 minute “I’m running so late I have to drive to work” commute, I saw on the sidewalk while walking to campus a chalk outline on the ground and the accompanying text “don’t let this happen to you.”

Now, while I think everyone understands the general meaning, I don’t think anyone really knows the true one.  “In general, try not to be killed” is about all I can get out of it.   Is it killed in a certain way?  Has there been a murder recently on that street (there was a stabbing elsewhere actually over the weekend, but somewhere else).  And what advice does that drawing give on how to avoid becoming a chalk outline?

Any, by the way, chalk outlines don’t “happen” to people.  They happen after people die.