Ranting and Raving

I’ve all but dedicated this blog to momentus postings of late – trip reports, deep thoughts, essays, and so forth. I’m feeling the need to buck the cycle, to mix things up a bit, to fire off some inspiration into your otherwise boring day. (I apologize for the assumption, but if you are reading this you must not have anything else very interesting to do!)

First, a rant on building inspectors. We remodeled the bathroom and installed a dishwasher (with ample assistance from my parents and grandparents. I thought we needed to get a permit, being as we are right next to town hall, have an association that I thought might require it, and in general I thought it was the right thing to do. Boy was I wrong. The inspection process has been something of a nightmare. I understand that they need to keep everything to code for safety reasons, etc…but the system and people involved are impossible to work with. So if you are doing a project, I recommend you stay away from permits and building officials. Just do it.

Now I thought I was pretty hard after climbing in the Tetons, mountaineering in the Andes, and running a marathon…but I found something a few days ago that pretty much blew my mind. A couple of college kids in Colorado Springs staged a fundraiser for a pediatric AIDS foundation based on their plan to crawl – yes – CRAWL thirty-three miles. That’s 1.27 marathons, people…and they did the whole thing on their knees. Absolutely unbelievable. You should visit their site at http://33milecrawl.com/ and throw the boys some support.

Finally, here is a great idea for everyone. You know that stuff you couldn’t sell on eBay, even for a dollar? Put it on Freecycle. It’s a grassroots effort to keep useful stuff out of landfills – and makes a ton of sense.

Now, of course, despite their millions of members, they didn’t get it quite right. The system is based on several thousand local groups, all exchanging free stuff within their locale. Did I miss something here? I thought that the internet was a network without boundaries, a way to reach out beyond your little enclave and get your message (or that used toaster) out to millions. But no, they have a group for Denver, Boulder, Arvada, North Denver…what the hell were they thinking? Why limit the system geographically?? I put a toilet on eBay for free and had people asking about shipping across the country. If I wanted to list an item locally – I could quite easily post it on a slip of paper at the library, or local coffee shop. So great idea, but zero points on execution. They’ve done a great job of removing most of the advantage that the internet has.

If that weren’t enough….they’ve got a media relations person trying to keep people from using Freecycle as a verb! Now they’ve pushed the bounds of ridiculous. Why do you think google is the number one search page these days? simple interface, sure (you don’t have to join a local google group to search for webpages, that’s for sure) but no! “Google” has become slang – ever hear of anyone “yahooing” or “lycosing” or “altavistaing” anything? Of course not! But we google everything, and we google all the time. In my not so humble opinion, the makers of Freecycle could hope for nothing less from their concept…if everyone in the country thought, “hmm, why don’t I freecycle that old bike rather than trashing it,” we would be a bunch of serious freecyclers. All I have left to say about that is “freecycle on, my friends!”

So in light of all that, for now, I think I’ll stick to craigslist (obviously geographic limits make sense for apartments – “and how would you like that 1BR 1BA for $450/mo to be shipped? UPS?”) and eBay.

Enough for now. Thank you for your kind attention.


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