Monday, July 24, 2006

Finally someone is actually doing something about it!

I came across this article a couple of months ago and it made me excited. Currently one of my biggest pet peeves, dislikes, whatever you want to call it is cigarette butts. Why can smokers just throw their butts out of their car windows or drop them on the ground when they are walking. IT IS LITTERING!! How can they get away with this? I find it to be absolutely ridiculous at how unconcerned many smokers are. Do they not realize how detrimental it is? You might be saying "Eric, cigarette butts are small, it doesn't really matter." It does matter. As the article clearly states, 32 BILLION butts were discarded improperly in 2005 in Australia ALONE! 32 billion of anything adds up and that is in one nation alone over the course of one year.

A couple things that irk me the most are
1-Butts on the ground outside of buildings. Almost all buildings have ashtrays by the doors or garbage cans. You are only a couple feet away, why can't you put it in the ashtray or snub it out and throw it away?
2-Finding butts in the wilderness. I do quite a bit of trail running and climbing and on every outing I find a mininum of 2 butts on the trail. I am currently keeping a tally of how many butts I find over the course of the summer.
3-Butts thrown out of cars. Most cars (especially older models) have ashtrays. Snub your cigarette when you are done and put it in the ashtray. Why is this so hard? Are you afraid it is going to make your car smell? Well it already smells. Then when you are at the gas station filling up your vehicle, grab the ashtray and dump it in the trash. You have two minutes to spare, chances are you are just looking around while waiting for the pump to stop.

So to this I propose a couple of solutions. First I provide solutions for smokers. They need to quit being lazy and throw their butts in the trash. If there isn't a can or ashtray you most likely have a pack you pulled the full cigarette from, snub the butt and put it back in there. If you aren't into that then get a pocket ashtray. If any of this seems too hard, THEN QUIT SMOKING! You know what, quit smoking anyway.

To the tobacco companies: Make the cigarette butts out of easily biodegradable materials so in case someone does litter, it has a better chance of not ruining the environment. Better yet, stop putting butts on cigarettes. What? Do they protect smokers from a harmful substance contained in the cigarette?

I like what Australia did and I would be curious how well a program like that would perform in the US. It could probably be a huge source of revenue for local governments. Someone should look in it.

Wednesday, July 19, 2006

This was a beautiful sunset I was able to enjoy coming out of Ferguson Canyon after an evening of climbing. There are a couple of distinct advantages to climbing in the evening. One it isn't so blasted hot and two you get to enjoy the sun going down. Nothing quite like being 400 feet off the deck and basking in alpineglow as you belay your partner up the next pitch. It is rad to be able to look around the canyon and see everything in a slightly golden hue. What is equally amazing is the deep colors that you get to enjoy after the alpenglow has subsided.

This picture was taken from the start of the second pitch of Beckey's Wall in Little Cottonwood Canyon.
Is now really the time to buy and SUV?

The other day I read an interesting article from MSN Money about how now may be the best time to buy an SUV. For your enjoyment here it is.

Although the author brings up the point about using the savings you can instantly realize in buying certain SUVs for gas money for a year (it approximately equals out) what he failed to write about is the additional cost you will spend gasing your SUV for the years to come. Gas prices are on a steady rise, I don't think they will ever drop again. What other costs are associated with SUVs? It seems the bigger you go (even for small SUVs) the more they cost. Insurance is more, tires are more, parts are more, etc. Is it ever a good time to buy an SUV?

Now don't get me wrong. I know that SUVs have their place and they are better than other vehicles for some people, but you have to draw the line somewhere. How many people actually NEED an Excursion or Hummer (I know this is an all too often used example). I have heard the arguments that they have the money so they can buy such an expensive vehicle and the price of gas doesn't affect them. What does this show about them as people, as citizens of this nation? It comes across to me that they couldn't care less about the environment (yet another string that is pulled on all too often) or what is happening in the places we get oil. They in part are large contributers to some of the biggest problems that we are currently facing as nation.

I know some people would say I am hypocritical because I too drive a car with a gas combustion engine and I too buy gas. I believe there is a difference. Maybe I am splitting hairs here but at least I drive a car that consistently gets at least 37 mpg and I carpool everyday to work with 4 individuals. I feel as though I am actively taking steps to better our oil situation and better our environment. Even if you piled a Hummer to full occupancy you still wouldn't get as good of gas mileage as if I drove by myself.

So is this really the best time to buy an SUV. I think this is a sad attempt by US auto makers to pay off reporters to write articles to help drive up sales for our floundering US auto makers?

I will now step off my soap box.

Friday, July 07, 2006

Time to play quick catch up...

Jess and I moved from downtown SLC to Holladay at the beginning of May. We live in a cute little duplex close to the Cottonwood Canyons, Millcreek Canyon, and Parleys. It is nice because moving cut my commuting time in half and left Jess's about the same. We are beginning to prepare the apartment for our first baby whom we are expecting to arrive sometime near the end of November/start of December. We are very excited (and a just a wee bit nervous) about being first time parents. I know it will be a big change but we fully plan on continuing to play and do the things we love.

We have been taking advantage of having weekends off by going on many trips. So far we have been to Moab, City of Rocks, Lake Tahoe, and Lander about two or three times. We know we will be going back to Lander at least once more this summer. I hope to make it up to Lava Hot Springs to do some "whitewater" tubing and sit in some hot springs. Other than that we don't have any other trips planned yet, but we will be getting out some more.

This past weekend I ran my first half-marathon, the Lander Valley Half Marathon. It was a brutal course with the first mile being flat, the next eleven miles were hilly, and the last mile was flat. I pushed a little too hard in the middle section of hills, zapping my energy and leg endurance. As a result i missed my goal by little over a minute. I finished with a time of 2:01:07. I was hoping to run it in under two hours, but I am pleased with my first go at running a "long distance" race. I plan on running Park Citys "Mid Mountain Marathon" in September and I may run the "Jupiter Peak Steeplechase" in August.

With Jess being pregnant I had to find a new climbing partner. I have been climbing about once a week with co-worker/friend Matt. I usually get out once a week. I have been focusing almost all of my climbing time with trad routes. I have only climb sport three times this year and bouldered only a handful of times, the rest has been trad. Below is a small collection of photos from climbing outings.

Wednesday, July 05, 2006

It has been a long time since I posted. A lot has happened since my last post. The biggest contributor to not posting was we moved and have been without internet access for almost two months (now we finally have it and I can get caught up). I will post again soon with updates for what has been going on along with pictures from recent activities and outings.