Thursday, August 30, 2012

A Needless Annoyance

We humans have used our brains and opposable thumbs to build the environments we live in and the various tools and toys we use to make our lives easier and more entertaining. Humans have designed and built machines that help prolong our lives, machines that process, store and cook our food, machines that transport us from place to place over land, sea and air (even space for a select few), machines that allow us to communicate. We even have machines that think for us. Many human inventions were designed to allow humans the time to relax while the machines did the work. And of course, there are machines designed to amuse us during our new found free time.

When one considers the incredible variety and number of the machines humans have built over the past couple of thousand years and how many machines we use every day (often without a thought about the wonder of such a thing existing at all) it becomes obvious that machines are as much a part of the human experience as war. (and they have machines for that too.)

But I have to wonder... are all these machines really necessary?

Do we, as a species, really need the leafblower?

Of all the needless and annoying machines in the world I think leafblowers are probably the worst. What exactly are they for anyway? To blow leaves around? Who thought building an oversized airgun was the way to make yardwork easier? How did that idea even come up? Was some design engineer raking his lawn one day and decided his time was too precious to waste scraping leaves into a pile with a handheld tool, he needed a machine to do the work for him? Or maybe he was just lazy, raking leaves by hand was just too hard.

Whatever the reason, the leafblower was invented and quickly put into use in neighborhoods across the urbanized world. If only there were some way to put that particular mechanical monster back into the box because it ranks as the most needless and annoying machine ever created. At least on my list.

Thinks about what leafblowers replaced... rakes and brooms. (Brooms because people discovered the machines could blow dust from sidewalks and driveways while waiting for leaves to fall from the tree) Rakes and brooms. Tools designed to be powered by the human body using them. Learning the various techniques of their use is easily mastered and they're an efficient tool for the task they were designed to facilitate.

Best of all... rakes and brooms are QUIET! The neighbors next door or down the street are unlikely to care about the gentle rhythmic swish of a rake or broom in use, if they even notice at all. Neither of those tools are likely to raise enough dust to impact a neighbor's hanging laundry or freshly washed car. Sure it may take a little time and some physical effort to rake a lawn or sweep a driveway but it's quality time. Time spent with your body and mind using a tool which enables you to do the task while thinking about whatever you want. (Something people seem to run from these days - quiet reflective moments alone with one's thoughts. It seems more and more people demand non-stop input no matter from what source or how dreck-filled it might be, as long as it distracts them from actually thinking.)

Leafblowers on the other hand are LOUD AND OBNOXIOUS! Not only do the neighbors next door know you're out there blowing leaves and/or dust, so do the people down the street... and the people in the next block... the whole darn neighborhood knows because the annoying noise leafblowers emit smothers the environment with its intensity and volume. All issues about leafblower users carelessly blowing crap onto the neighbor's yard, into the street, against someone's car, at passing pedestrians etc... all those issues aside, the noise annoyance factor alone is enough to warrant smashing every single one of those things to useless little bits.

I'm surprised nobody has started a campaign to ban the darn things. Seems like ban-happy zealots are everywhere these days, everything from plastic bags to smoking outdoors is under attack so why not leafblowers? Why is it ok for one person to blast a whole neighborhood with noise... useless noise... unnecessary noise just because they're too lazy or "too busy" to rake their leaves or sweep their sidewalk?

If I walked around my yard at 8:00 Sunday morning (or any day at dinnertime) screaming my best impression of engine noises as loud as I could someone would probably call the cops (or yell at me to shut-up) yet someone can walk around their yard making even more noise (and raising more dust) and nobody does anything to stop it because he's using a leafblower? Where's the sense in that?

And I'm not buying any arguments that carrying a leafblower around is any easier on one's back than raking or sweeping is. If your back is so bad you can't use a rake or broom it sure as heck isn't good enough to strap a leafblower on instead. If your back or physical limitations are such that raking or sweeping is impossible then hire some neighborhood kid to to the job for you. (I shake my head at the addled seniors who buy a leafblower and then hire someone to use it for them.)

Nope, there's no argument that legitimizes the use of leafblowers.

Here's another thing...


They run on gas, no? So that means they're spewing exhaust toxins into the atmosphere at the same time they're polluting our ears. Is the ecological trade-off worth it? It's okay if leafblowers pollute the air, contribute to the continued use of fossil fuels and add to global warming because they make doing yardwork easier? Seriously?

Leafblowers suck.
That's the truth of it.

Sunday, August 26, 2012

"A Hero's Call" - An Endorsement.

Before I get to adding blog entries created under my newly recognized urge to write I'd like to take a moment to talk about a different blog worth checking out...

Remember me mentioning the gazillions of blog and other things uploaded to the web each day by its millions of users, and how random it might be that anyone would stumble upon one specific blog? It's a crowded place, the internet is. It's easy to miss some excellent stuff amid the plethora of choices. (Most of them bland, narcissistic, paranoid, anarchistic, boring, judgmental or derivative of a billion others posted last week)

"A Hero's Call" is a blog you don't want to miss. It's written by Jon McCausland, the co-founder of what once was Canada's greatest independent pro wrestling company... UWA Hardcore Wrestling

Now, before you go running away in a panic at the mention of pro wrestling... relax. While "A Hero's Call" does chronicle the creation and rise of UWA Hardcore Wrestling, at its core is the story of a young man's climb to maturity, the struggle to attain a childhood dream in the face of discovered realities about himself and the family and cultural environment around him. "A Hero's Call" is more a story about the human spirit than it is about pro wrestling. I seriously recommend you check it out. It's a heck of a read. Find it through the link below.

A Hero's Call

For pro wrestling fans and fans of real-life as entertainment Jon's blog is a piece of a much larger project, a vision that will take pro wrestling to never before seen levels of entertainment and fan inter-action. "Echoes of the Ring" will provide fans a pro wrestling entertainment experience as real as life itself because its core strength is the real life drama and passion of the UWA stars. Inserted within and around those stories are multiple layers and characters adding their energy to the fullness and diversity of the "Echoes of the Ring" experience.

Echoes of the Ring teaser videos and more can be found here

Take a few moments to introduce yourself to "Echoes of the Ring".
Read Jon's blog... It's my first stop when I log onto the internet. (and he's on a brief hiatus to recharge - a great time for your to catch up from the beginning.)

I'll be kicking off Dew On The Newts new direction soon but in the meantime and in-between time, check out A Hero's Call and through it "Echoes of the Ring". There are some exciting things on the horizon... entertainment that matters... entertainment with soul.


Friday, August 24, 2012

Changing Arranging

In the time since my last post I've been doing a lot of thinking about writing. I wasn't sure what direction I wanted to go with this blog. I'm still not sure if I have that question answered yet but it doesn't really matter in the face of something else I discovered...

I had very little time to put toward the task. If I didn't have the time to write, what difference did knowing what I intended to write about make?

Putting aside all the internal arguments about whether anything I might write was of any real importance or had any entertainment or other value that made the time it took someone to read it worthwhile I had to first ponder the question of whether the urge to write was strong enough in me to find the time to make it possible to do so.

Turns out it is.

That wasn't an easy decision. In order for me to write I need the time to do so. Since I can't add extra time to a day that writing time must inevitably be taken from something else, some other part of my life must be put aside each time I sit and write this blog, for as long as it takes each entry to be created.

So, I will be continuing this blog.

As to what exactly I will write about I can't yet say. I have a lot of options (and even more opinions.) My life has been interesting, full of wildly divergent  experiences. My interests in things go far beyond my already stated passions for photography, birdwatching and pro wrestling. Like most people, I have strongly felt beliefs about humans and their behavior, the universe and our place in it. All of it is potential material for future editions of this blog.

I promise nothing except this: I will try to avoid being a negative-spewing jerk using my blog to spread sarcastic, bitter personal judgments across the web. There's enough of those people already. That's not to say I won't write things which some may find offensive, distasteful or ludicrous.

And of course... I do this knowing each entry to this blog joins millions (maybe billions) of other things loaded to the internet on any given day. Odds are "Dew On The Newts" won't be noticed by many people however, it is my hope that those who do stop by find it time well wasted. If not, oh well. It is my urge to write. Whether there's a reader ultimately doesn't matter (but it would be nice.)