Tuesday, June 9, 2009

Tech problems interrupt lauded blog . . . This one!

I've always said that being a freelancer is like being in a rubber raft adrift in the ocean with no shore in sight.

And that being a freelancer with computer problems is like being in that rubber raft when you begin to hear an urgent hiss.

Well, the hiss started buzzing in my ears early this morning when I was trying to conclude a perhaps ill-advised blog post about my thoughts about what would happen if I went streaking in order to liven up the sweet tedium of my 8-year-old daughter's first tennis lesson.

In hindsight, it could have been a career-ending post. And what would I do without all the mighty perks that go with writing a freebie blog.

I tell you what I'd do: I'd be hugely bummed.

Starting a pointless blog from scratch and seeing it grow a feisty little audience is huge fun. Just this week, my friends over at RedRoom.com flattered me by saying my June 2 post about expense accounting the national spelling bee was a home page "Best Of ..." Redroom. They called the post "hilarious."

That's heady stuff. Redroom is crowded with great, witty and accomplished writers. Having them among my readers improves my posture. So the pressure was on to come up with something dazzling and provocative.

Thus, the idea of streaking at my daughter's tennis lesson. I really thought the thing was coming together when that urgent hiss began.

So I'm writing this on my white-haired mother's computer while Mac techs diagnose whether they can save my beloved 5-year-old iBook. I'm pessimistic.

I might have to, egads, pull out the credit card and purchase a shiny new Mac. The impulse is strong, but the finances are weak. I'll need to resolve the discrepancy in the next day or two.

In the meantime, I'm left with the choice of dashing off something haphazard -- here you go -- or digging back in the archives for something I believe can improve our environment, free us from the tyranny of foreign oil and unshackle us from sitting like morons at red lights when the only traffic is tumbleweeds.

This ran last July 4, previous to when I'd been invited to start sharing my blogs at RedRoom.

So check out this encore presentation of "Go Green! Run All The Reds!"

And if you're on board with me and the blog, well, grab a bucket and start bailing. I can use all the help I can get.


I saw red the first time my local gas station posted unleaded at $4 per gallon. I vowed it would be the last time I ever saw red again -- at least when it came to traffic lights.

Now, I’m colorblind. I no longer see reds or yellows.

Yep, I’ve gone totally green. And when I say gone, I mean really gone. Look for me at the stop signs and all you'll see are my fading tail lights.

On July 4, I intend to launch a movement that’s truly about movement. For the good of the environment and to reduce our demeaning dependence on foreign oil, I’m calling on all Americans to stop stopping at red lights.

There’s a fascinating study making the rounds about how U.P.S. saves millions by routing its vehicles to make more right turns.

This is from a recent Elaine Jarvik story from the Deseret Morning News: “The world wastes a lot of time and fuel waiting to turn left -- which is why UPS is going the extra mile to make sure its drivers mostly turn right.

“The package-delivery company has long encouraged its drivers to avoid left-hand turns whenever possible, because turning left in busy intersections is more dangerous, takes more time and uses more gas. Now the company has developed a ‘package flow’ software program that maps out routes to avoid backtracking and left-hand turns.

"UPS, which last year drove 2 billion miles to move 14.8 million packages and documents from one place to another, says all those right turns will save millions of dollars a year. In Washington, D.C., the new route planning technology trimmed 464,000 miles, saved more than 51,000 gallons in fuel, and reduced carbon dioxide emissions by 506 metric tons over an 18-month period, according to spokesman Dan McMackin at UPS headquarters in Atlanta.”

Of course, if they save that much gas by keeping the vehicular Big Browns going right, it makes sense that simply keeping them going would save them even more.

I’ve always been keen on running red lights for intellectual reasons. This makes me sort of soulmates with Cajun man.

I’ve read that nothing infuriates a Cajun more than having to sit at a red light. Why, Cajun man asks, does a stupid machine have the right to tell him when he can and cannot go?

Cajun man doesn’t want to wreck his vehicle. He doesn’t want to hurt anyone. But Cajun man (and I realize this is devolving into an old Adam Sandler skit here) knows better than a traffic light if it’s okay for him to go or not.

Cajun man isn’t blind and Cajun man isn’t stupid.

Neither am I.

It makes no sense for me to sit at a red light when, if I give a sober look left and a sober look right, I can see no one’s coming.

I’m not advocating anarchy here. Until Detroit electrifies the world by announcing the manufacture of invisible cars, it’s simple common sense.

If we’re allowed to go right on red when sparse traffic warrants, why on earth can’t we go straight in the same situation? Or left?

Of course, I know better than the traffic light. So do you. I’m not talking about being reckless. Not at all. I don’t want to wreck my car, hurt anyone or risk jail by fleeing an accident I’ve caused by trying to keep my tank full.

I just am confident I know better than the robotic light.

So I’m declaring the Fourth of July my own sort of Independence Day.

I do hereby declare that I will henceforth shed the tyranny of the traffic light. I will go when I can do so safely, without risking bending the fenders of my fellow man. I will do so confident that I am reducing America’s fuel consumption, saving precious natural resources and that what the state police consider an act of lawlessness, is in fact an act of patriotic rebellion worthy of our tea-dumping founding fathers.

As of July 4th, traffic lights are no longer the law of the land.

They’re merely suggestions.


Char said...

Ahhh, well okay, see you in the cell with stripes (no stars) on the holiday. Good luck.

Angie Ledbetter said...

Yeah boy, we've got lots of Cajun men and women here in my home state! Big Brother has installed electronical eye-in-the-sky traffic cams at key intersections all over town to curb us light runners. :)

Love your blog, cher.

Jinksy said...

Thing about writers,their posts are so long, it takes for ever to reach the comments box! I think I was going to commiserate over dodgy computer originally....

Jenni James said...

LOL! Loved the post! And i'm with you! But only here in Farmington NM, when I head up to Utah I'll have to be a good girl and wait for the light.

And sorry about your comp. It's the third mac I've heard of that's gone bad this week! good luck!

Chris Rodell said...

Char, we'll have a great time behind bars together. I'll sneak in some contraband!

Angie, yes the Cajuns are a wonderful inspiration. I'm eager to hear how they'll foil the eyes in the skies.

Jinksy, Apologies, apologies. That was a two-fer so it was especially lengthy.

Giddymom, bad week for Macs apparently. Have fun on that drive to Utah next time. Sounds lovely. Run those reds, Mormons be damned!