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Month: December 2007

Crazy Italian Men

Crazy Italian Men


From the January 1 2008 Velonews, p. 70

When I was in Europe, I could always pick Italian men out of a crowd. They were the men willing to wear fashion even women aren’t brave (stupid?) enough to wear. Before huge wrap around sunglasses became popular for everyone, I saw Italian men wearing them. Somehow I don’t think Paolo Savoldelli’s hideous pink thing will take the world by storm. Is he wearing two turtle necks below it? Or is the inside gray? Maybe he’s wearing it in honor of his two pink jerseys from his Giro wins, but couldn’t he have found something a little less ghastly?

Amusing Spam

Amusing Spam

Click for full size

This is actually quite a clever spam in that they’re not quoting a ridiculous amount of money. But in other respects they’ve make mistakes. I like how “IWP” seems to stand for some kind of action, like Input With Prejudice, but who can really know? It’s also nine days until the end of year. It’s very kind of the IRS to already have calculated my entire 2007 tax burden already, all my exemptions, and capital gains/losses, before the end of the year. I especially appreciate the Christmas greeting (see the full size).

North Mesa Apartments Lawn

North Mesa Apartments Lawn

Everyone likes a nice grass lawn. They’re soft, aesthetically neutral, and you can recreate on them better than plain dirt or asphalt. They require lots of maintenance and water, but there are definitely situations when they’re a wonderful thing, like in a large public park. You can play touch football on it, or croquet, or play with your dogs. You can also have a picnic on a lawn under a shade tree.

They are not a wonderful thing in the apartment complex where I live. San Diego is in the desert, even though we are next to the ocean. Nearly all of our water is imported from the Colorado river or points north. Water resources are finite and San Diego cannot continue to grow without heeding this fact. I find the lawn where I live to be completely ridiculous, and the photo above shows many aspects of why I find it so excessive.

  • It has been raining almost once a week for the last few weeks, but not enough to make the kind of mud seen here. Furthermore, I see mud like this all year, including the summer when it never rains. These lawns are either over-watered, poorly drained, or on really bad soil.
  • Just beyond the muddy track you can see some dead brown spots. There are spots like this everywhere. Too muddy here, dead just over there. Something is wrong.
  • There are concrete paths between all the buildings. The maintenance workers drive around in little carts, usually on the paths. Even so, they feel their time is precious enough to cut off the paths and ruin the lawn like this. Why even have a lawn here when it’s going to get ruined?
  • In the corner of the photo you can see some entirely reasonable shrubberies that cover the minority of the ground in the complex. They require much less water and care then the lawn. I see them being tended only a few times per year, perhaps as often as once a month.
  • Once a week I see a horde of men (I guess 4) on lawn mowers tear nosily past my apartment. Another day a week someone comes by with an edger, grinding the cutter between the path and the lawn. The next day the leaf-blower comes to blow away leaves and grass cuttings. By adding these up, my guess is that the lawn costs about six days wages per week. That’s a more than a whole employee, and I get to pay for this.
  • Because so many of the lawns are either muddy, or brown, I rarely see people recreating on them. It also has to do with the fact we’re all graduate students and have other things to do (like write complaints like this). Since this isn’t a city park, technically the surrounding community can’t use it (there are ‘no dogs’ signs at the entrances), so the number of potential lawn clients is small.

If things were the way they should be, there would be considerably less lawn coverage. There would be some lawns that were kept in good condition, well drained and large enough to recreate on. Places seen above would be turned into something less water and labor intensive, like a path, or native shrubberies.