Leaf Blower(s)

May 12, 2012 § Leave a comment

Springtime 2012 is well on its way. In Texas, all two weeks of it.

There are so many great things about this time of year. Even in Austin it’s a little nicer in the morning, a little greener and the air is just plain more fresh. The large rains coming through even make it feel like I’m back in the Northwest, if just for a night or a couple hours.

Spring also brings the yearly big clean for everyone, the yard work and the house maintenance bring out both the casual weekend warriors and the large yard crews professionally clearing leaves and cleaning the gutters of the winter leaves.

Which brings me to the annual pain in the butt nuisance – leaf blowers.

For the life of me I cannot understand the point of them.  Sure, I have heard they can clean a silo out, or remove dirt from a concrete floor shed – but all everyone sees are small groups of tiny men with huge jetpacks strolling around outside blowing crap up into the air.  Where are the leaves, grass clippings, and small pebbles going?  Oh, just a few feet away, to then be further blown into a general direction (usually a public street which then gets cleaned by more machines who do more rustling than cleaning).

What a waste, a waste of gasoline, of quiet, or air quality, and time.  Every so often there are disgruntled citizens complaining about the abuse of lawn mowers, prompting many to stick electric cords to theirs and making them hum with the indirect use of energy, but lets do away with leaf blowers.  Next to people waving signs on the side of the street during tax season, this appears the most pointless and irritating “job”.  Brooms, there are brooms and rakes.  These tools actually let you control the noise and the debris that comes with moving vegetation.

A Texas Drought

September 4, 2011 § Leave a comment

Proving the weather is more than the concern of farmers and a good place for conversational agreement, the 2011 Texas drought has quietly stayed under the radar as the rest of the nation gets the more wet kind of disaster.

It’s been since June of 2011 that central Texas has seen a drop of rain. I’ll round off and say it was June 11th at 3:00 a.m in the morning. Imagine that, three months of no rain?! Way back in the month of June the top movie was Super 8, not the motel chain, the top song was Rolling in the Deep by Adele, and the price of a gallon of milk was 3.69. Boy, were those the days!

Well, fast forward to September, and as I look out of my window in downtown Austin I see clouds far in the distance. They are tall, white, and chuck full of rain – rain this poor city will not see. The rest of the nation is under flood warnings, athletic events and car races are all being jeopardized by lightning and flooding, and all we in central texas are asking is – share the wealth!

It’s not only the lack of rain, it’s the weeks of 100 degree temperatures. We are on, to the date of this post, day 80 of over 100 degree highs. The previous record was a paltry 68, and the coming week is looking to bring us a cold break of high 90’s. This is apocalyptic and just no fun anymore. Maybe god is punishing us for Rick Perry, maybe the Chinese are using special un-rain makers on us because we are so amazing at job creation (not), or maybe it’s bigger – maybe it’s Obama!

The sooner the rain starts the sooner, I hope, will the taste of sand in the water go away, the sooner I’ll stop seeing birds with no feathers, the sooner I’ll not feel guilty about taking showers, and the sooner I can wash my car, and the sooner I’ll see the sweet return of blood sucking mosquitoes.

On second thought, it’s pretty great without mosquitoes.

Check out this animation of how Texas has “weathered” in this last month of drought, and the weather site’s tweets. It’s almost os if the state line was keeping the clouds out like an Arizona border agent.

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