Life is a Highway

I’ve had my Jeep 7 months. We got it new and I’ve taken quite a liking to it. That baby now has 13,303 miles on it. I drive. A lot. My Jeep and I have been around southern California, Arizona, Nevada, Utah, Colorado, New Mexico, Kansas, Oklahoma, and (duh) Texas.

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Y’all, I thought Houston was my motoring nightmare until I met southern California. Sure, there are good drivers somewhere – there have to be! I’ve been toying around with these letters in my head for months and every on ramp has only justified the snark that is about to be spewed.

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Dear Suburban Driver of Southern California Roads:
stopDoes it physically pain you to stop at a stop sign? No, really. Because no one seems to stop at them EVER, but if it’s your turn and someone doesn’t stop for you, whoa, Houston, we have a problem. Also, brake lights: are they optional? You have them. I can see them. So why don’t they work? Lastly, I am almost convinced that the blinker is the vehicular equivalent of an appendix in your mind, Suburban Driver of Southern California Roads. Much to your chagrin, I assure you that little stick on the left of your steering column does have a purpose, and a good one: it lets people around you know what the heck you’re about to do.

Sincerely,
Not Miss Cleo

cleo
Dear Fast Driver of Southern California Roads:
literacyI know, I know, you’re in a hurry. Guess what, sugar britches? No one cares. We all need to get somewhere, but you don’t see all of us raging around, in and out of lanes, no blinker, mere inches between bumpers. If it’s really that important, find yourself some lights and sirens. Might I suggest you put your middle finger back on the steering wheel? Please and thank you. You may do well with some smooth jazz or classical music to soothe your ragey nerves. 88.1FM or 105.1FM are good options, as are SiriusXM 66 and 76. Oh, and those pesky speed limit signs: I know you say to yourself, “Fast Driver of Southern California Roads, I know that sign reads 70 miles per hour, but they really meant 90.” WRONG. Literacy isn’t that hard, my friend.

Yours Truly,
Simmer Down Now, Here’s A Baby Animal

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Dear Slow Driver of Southern California Roads:
slugThe pedal on the right makes the car go. You should step on it. Everyone else is flying by at 80 miles an hour and here you are, putting along somewhere between molasses and grandma. ProTip: the fast drivers occupy the left side of the road and the slow drivers creep on the right. It makes sense: traffic needs to slow down to exit, ergo right lane is slower than other lanes. Don’t worry, you don’t have to exit – just stay there and cruise along at 47mph. No one will care. I promise. It’s just when you trudge along at the speed of a turtle when the rest of the road is going Ludicrous Speed, you’re a liability. Someone will hit you, or get unnecessarily aggressive and cause you to have a bad day. Just move to the right. Get out of the way. And, no, driving with your hazards on doesn’t make it any better if you’re not in the right lane – lookin’ at you, rusted blue 1989 Ford Ranger.

Sincerely,
The 68 MPH Speed Racer
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You’ve No One To Blame But Yourselves

It’s been a busy few days and I had not planned time to sit down and blog today BUT sometimes you find a reason so good you’ll forget emptying the dishwasher and starting the laundry to dish out a righteous amount of snark.

sarcasmLast week I lamented about California’s “war on women” as Governor Jerry Brown seeks to limit the amount of time we can spend in the shower. Sorry, ladies, but you don’t have time to shave, let that conditioner set, or belt out that latest Taylor Swift chorus – you’ve gotta save water because the state is in a drought and suddenly it’s time to panic. Or something.

panicBut then the voice of reason steps in and presents SCIENCE! When your primary argument is “Save the Fish!” and the numbers indicate what you’re doing isn’t working, well, it’s time to stop saving the fishes the way you want to and think of something else.

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Malia Zimmerman published an article on Fox News today about California’s drought. Click here to read the whole thing. Her headline is very professional.

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Personally, I would have suggested something like this:

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That’s why Ms. Zimmerman gets paid the big bucks. It’s not that I am against saving the environment. I love the environment, with all of its animals and plants and trees. I’m for clean air and clean water. I recycle and clip 6-pack rings before I put them in the aforementioned recycle bin. Heck, I even use canvas bags at the grocery store (even though I don’t support a plastic bag ban, let’s be really clear about that). We can be good stewards of our resources without being ridiculous.

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AMEN! As we all learn in 6th grade earth science, there is a difference between weather and climate. Weather is the day-to-day activity: it’s sunny, it’s raining, look out the window and describe what you see. Climate is the long-term pattern that defines a region: it’s hot, it’s dry, it’s wet, it’s snowy. Remember the climate zones? Temperate, tropical, polar… (Thanks for being an awesome science teacher, Mrs. Gordon!)

you're awesomeSouthern California, even on the coast, is dry. Sure we get a nice layer of dew every morning, but there’s a reason people love the “perfect” weather here: it’s 70-something and sunny almost every day – it doesn’t rain. Oh, and the desert, well, that’s a desert so, honestly, why would anyone expect it to rain there?! Lack of rain in a desert should surprise no one. If you live in a desert and you know it’s not going to rain, common sense would suggest you plan infrastructure and resource management accordingly.

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Screen Shot 2015-04-16 at 11.37.54 AMThe problem isn’t there’s not enough water. The problem is the water is being poorly managed. Water, water everywhere but not a drop to drink because WE’RE POURING IT INTO THE OCEAN. “But, Ashley,” you say, “they have big water storage and transport thingies!” Yah, let’s talk about those… Next paragraph!

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1980 was 35 years ago, y’all. Can you imagine if we didn’t update our roads for 35 years? Water traveling through this system will cause excessive wear and tear on the network. Building new ones? Nope. Updating old ones? I mean, if we have to but definitely don’t expand them because SAVE ALL THE FISHES!!

As I mentioned earlier, I like fish. I like their contributions to the ecosystem, as well as my dinner plate.

Quotation-Molly-Harper-god-Meetville-Quotes-237278Here’s the problem:

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Dear Environmentalists: YOU’RE DOING IT WRONG! Seriously, if my goal was to save $10,000 over the course of 2015 and I get to December and only have $6 saved, I need to re-think my strategy because whatever I tried, clearly, didn’t work.

wrongCalifornia Congressman Republican (they’re evil, I know) Devin Nunes states in the article that, obviously, the environmentalists didn’t set out to destroy California’s water supply but they got a little carried away and *oops!* they did. He claimed that if the state had built only three new dams and stored water over the last 40 years (instead of allowing environmental zealots to shut down every proposed plan in court), California wouldn’t be in this mess. But we let the fish-savers win and here we are.

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Screen Shot 2015-04-16 at 11.53.51 AMSomething about that fish is just creepy…

Do you want to know how carried away these people are, still? They are opposed to desalination (removing salt from ocean water) because it would require “too much energy”. They’re against building new dams and water storage facilities because it might tear down a tree. And, have mercy, don’t consider removing all the red tape they so carefully, and abundantly, put in place.

Understand me: there are people in this state and country who would prioritize 6 fish over 319 million Americans. “Okay, Ashley, that is a serious overstatement. You’re fear mongering!” Before you go and accuse me of being an evil Republican, answer me this question:

Do you eat food?

Well, do ya, punk? I don’t care if you’re paleo, vegan, vegetarian, pescadarian, carnivore, omnivore, no carbs or all carbs. Do you eat food? Then this drought affects you, too.

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Forget “NO JUSTICE, NO PEACE!” and start chanting “NO WATER, NO FOOD!” because that’s exactly what is happening. If we have to save those 6 little fish that an expert says is probably going to die anyway, if we have to divert water away from farms to save a doomed species, then we will produce less food. Supply and demand isn’t hard.

Less Product + Higher Demand = Higher Prices
More Product + Less Demand = Lower Prices

Take a look at your grocery bills over the last few years. The cost of bread, milk, and produce has skyrocketed while the fishie population has dwindled. It’s not that we shouldn’t care about the plight of one of God’s creatures, but we have to be reasonable about it: people need food and jobs and showers, for crying out loud. Besides, do you really want to be represented by these guys? I can smell the patchouli from here.

damsignWhat’s that about jobs? Oh, yah. Fewer crops require fewer workers. Fewer crops require fewer truck drivers. Fewer truck drivers require fewer logistics coordinators. Fewer logistics coordinators require fewer bosses. As you can see, we’re all in this boat together and the boat is in rough shape. Like, “held together with a wine cork, bubble gum, and a paperclip” bad shape.

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So hug your tree-hugging neighbor, tell them it was a good try, clap ’em on the back and tell them that it’s time to get real. It’s time to re-align priorities and re-think strategies. It’s past time to build a few dams and store rain water. I don’t know about you, but I’m not willing to let my family suffer because a few fishes aren’t smart enough to find less-salty water to live in. Darwin was on to something…

fix stupidBy the way, this is the prized Delta Smelt. It’s really, uh, something…

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Pins and Needles

I’m going to start today by being as honest as possible: Acupuncture is weird. I am now a total authority on the subject because I went to my first-ever acupuncture appointment yesterday. Everything from the tests for identifying problems and solutions to the actual sticking of the pins to the laying there as stiff as a board with pins sticking in you try to relax is weird. But, hey, just because it’s weird doesn’t mean it doesn’t work. Lots of things are weird. Look at cauliflower, giraffes, venus fly traps…

weirdNot willing to deal with the pain in my knee and not ready for cortisone shots, MRIs, or surgery, this seemed like a good middle ground. This Chinese medicine thing has been around for a long while; I would think, by now, it would be widely known as a scam if it didn’t work for most people who try it. If it doesn’t work, it doesn’t work. It’s worth a try.

mehIn my 90-minute appointment yesterday, I had a thorough conversation about my concerns, eating/drinking habits, lifestyle, and goals. While I was advised the 13.1 training might not be the best idea, I wasn’t told to not do it; she encouraged me to try other, less jarring activities (get ready for some hilariously awkward yoga posts!).

panda-yoga1Fortunately, I didn’t have a panic attack or cry when it was time for the pins. Have you noticed I refuse to call them “ne*dl*s”? Makes it less creepy. Honestly, I didn’t feel most of them, but some of them felt like a tweezer pulling out a hair and only one legitimately hurt. I tried to pretend like it was no big deal, but I’m pretty sure no one bought it.

confused smileI was totally going to reward myself for being a big girl by going to Trader Joe’s and buying some pretty flowers, but this happened.

IMG_7700Why have 1 blow-out when you can have 2? Everyone and everything is fine, but the Jeep did take a tumble through a pothole the size of New Jersey. Have I mentioned how much I admire the high quality of California’s roads? Seriously, of all the stuff this state spends money on, “Roads” is not on the list. Oddly enough, roads are one of the few things the states should actually spend money on, but I’ll spare y’all the soapbox today.

ron-2USAA has been wonderful. They took care of the claim, towing, rental car, and everything so quickly. From disaster to home on my couch in two hours. The more interactions I have with them, the more I appreciate their company. Now, I get to ride around in this beast. I think I’ll name her Dolly.

IMG_7703Who has something that needs hauling??