Archive for the Sustainability Category

Is It The End Of The World As We Know It?

On Wednesday morning I woke up feeling like my entire country had been raped. I felt so hopeless, powerless and terrified. So I did what I always do when I feel like that. I called my mom and cried it out. That gave me the strength to call in sick and take a mental health day. I spent time with good friends and commiserated on the horrific state of the nation. That night, I went downtown to meet my boyfriend for dinner and we decided to join the protest at City Hall first. Speaking my mind on CNN felt so empowering. Marching with hundreds of my fellow Angelenos made me prouder of my city than ever. Los Angeles’ diversity is her greatest asset, and it felt so good to be a part of that at it’s best. We all came together to protest this travesty that has befallen our nation.

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Taking an LA Times Reporter for the Ride of Her Life

Pinkyracer caught on film Sunset Blvd blog

Recently, LA Times reporter Robin Abcarian contacted me through our mutual friend Arlene Batishill of GoGo Gear. She was looking for a motorcyclist to take her lanesplitting during rush hour traffic. As this was slated to be legalized (officially), she wanted to write an informed article on the subject. A true professional journalist! So refreshing.

 

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How To Plug A Tire

plug cut

Many years ago, as a motorcyclist surviving the streets of NYC, I had a great teacher. Armen Amirian taught me a lot of things, including things about myself. That I’m more a rider than a wrench, as I lack the patience to do most motorcycle maintenance. One of the more valuable lessons he taught me was how to plug a tire so it will stay plugged. Most bike shops won’t do this for fear of litigation. You can do it yourself quickly and easily on any roadside. Of course, this is all at your own risk. I’m only telling you what’s worked for me. I can’t guarantee that this will work for you. Armen prefers the mushroom type plug, which requires a fancy set of tools, the ability to separate the tire from the rim, and basically a proper workshop. If you’re stranded on the side of the road, or can’t afford to pay someone else to do all that, this is what has worked for me…

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line dry


line dry, originally uploaded by pinkyracer.

what have I been up to? Well, doing what I did best as a child. Degrading the property value of my parent’s home. 😉 Today was very productive, not only did I actually apply for a job or two, I straightened up around the house, and installed this clothesline. And did the laundry to hang on it. I was calling it “The Clothesline Experiment” and then I recalled that I’m an old hand at line drying. Although, for Baywood, where the average home price is safely over 6 figures, it was certainly unusual.

Why, in Barcelona, that’s all anybody did, unless they wanted to pay 4 euros for the (American) dryer in the laundromat. And instead of nice, expansive backyards to hang their clothes in, everyone had a rack hanging out the window. Sometimes on windy days, peoples clothes would blow onto my patio. I never knew quite what to do with them, and put them all in the hall, in case they came from someone in my building.

I never thought it would happen, but I’m actually homesick for Raval. Shitty neighborhood, but I do miss the city life. Even though I’ve been in San Francisco pretty much every evening since I arrived, it’s still not enough.

So none of my clothes blew off, because I used plenty of clothespins. Tried the old-school ones, that are pure wood, no hinges, and discovered they can leave splinters, so the delicate clothes got the little curtain clips I bought for no good reason at IKEA in Barcelona. Which work great for this purpose.

Anyway, I was partly trying to conserve energy, partly trying to prevent undue wear on my clothes. My parents have a rather old washer and dryer, so they are a bit rough on the clothes. But I wussed out and did some things in the dryer, the things I knew would be better off there. So I technically did not save any energy. If anything, I wasted some, since the dryer wasn’t full. Yes, this is one green strategy that should be all or nothing.

I think I’ll talk dad into buying a Bosch energy star washer & dryer. Or whatever equivalent they sell at Costco, the store that can sell him ANYTHING.

It was a good experience for Valentino as well. I finally let him come outside for a minute. After so many years of me acting like the world was about to end every time he so much as looked at an open door or window, he was terrified, and ventured out very cautiously. Poor guy. I think it’s time we got him a chip n collar so he can go play in the grass like a real cat.

a proper trash can


a proper trash can, originally uploaded by pinkyracer.

Now tell me honestly- If it was THIS easy, would you still throw your
recyclables in with your trash??? While the color coded bags might be meaningless to most people, there are little icons of what goes where, and one can peek into the bag to see what has gone before.

Should all trash cans, particularly in public places, be like this? What could be done to improve this design?


This one seems more obvious, with the shaped openings and color photos, but it’s overwhelming and quite hideous. If you’re going for any kind of ambiance other than “trash sorter” it misses the mark. But does it contain lessons for the first model? The first one was in the train station in Bilbao, the second one was sighted at the Barcelona airport.

Sign on Franklin St.


Sign on Franklin St., originally uploaded by pinkyracer.

It’s official! I’m gradumated. 🙂 Need to go to sleep now, but had to post tonight’s pics first. The full force of what I’ve done hasn’t quite hit me yet. It almost did on the way to school, when I thought about the first semester, and how I almost didn’t make it. Thinking about how I got through that and managed to actually graduate from one of the best MBA programs in the world got me a little choked up. But I didn’t want to mess up my makeup, so I thought about how I still need to find a job. 🙂

My peeps:

I’m going to continue missing everybody as I did while in Spain. Never before in my life have I known such an intense level of camaraderie. I feel like I am leaving my 286 best friends.

Salvtem Per Aqvem

Salvation through water. SPA. cool! I wonder if that’s actually how the word Spa was derived. Anyway, this hotel I’m staying at in Bilbao has the most awesome Turkish bath, filled with circus people. OK, so the circus (du Soleil!) people are hotel guests like me, but it’s still interesting. This Italian acrobatics coach invited me to dinner after the show, but since it didn’t include a free trip to see Varekai (again) I demurred. He’s old enough to be my dad, ok. I did, however, talk up my niece, as she is a killer gymnast, and could totally own Cirque Du Soleil.

More later, gotta get out and enjoy this gorgeous day!

I need a jacuzzi.

Can’t wait to get back to the ancestral home and test out mom n dad’s new hot tub. It’s been a rough week. Even the fun times were hard. But I went to Whole Foods, stood in the “pharmacy” looking lost, and the most wonderful associate helped me out. I just told her I needed energy and she asked the right questions to get to the root cause, which I agree is B deficiency.

She also pointed out that too much soy can suppress thyroid function, which explains why my thyroid checks out normal, but I have those symptoms- cold and tired. So I got some fabulous protein powder that solves both problems. We’ll see if it brings me up to speed…

Who is this Johnathan Rea guy in WSB I’ve never heard of before??? He’s got some seriously big ones. And damn, I can’t wait to do a track day at Estoril, they’ve got some killer elevation changes!

Sometimes I have these incredibly vivid, ultra-realistic and completely surreal dreams. Last night I had one which was a manifestation of my current feelings about myself re: men. It was very weird and disturbing. Will take quite some time to record it all, but the details are still quite clear, which is unusual, even for me. It’s as if I actually was doing all those crazy things out in the street last night, when I know damn well I was in bed the whole time.

OMG

I have to stop buying cotton. 🙁 For all my whining about how the cattle industry is sucking up what precious little water we have left, I just found out (courtesy of H&M’s CSR report) that it takes 2,245 gallons of water to grow enough cotton to make one pair of jeans. No idea if that’s with the most efficient irrigation methods (70% of farm water is wasted worldwide due to poor irrigation) or with typical irrigation.

That means I’ve got at least 40,000 gallons of water in the jeans sitting in my closet. Including the socially responsible pair that just came in the mail.

My deepest apologies to those who were hoping to do a little subsistence farming with that.

Dreaming of Frisco and Drunkards

So in this dream I was in a car with some coworkers, looking for some restaurant in North Beach. At first it was a right-hand drive car, but then I realized the driver was drunk, as he was slurring and driving like an idiot. I told him I should drive, and he said OK, and we didn’t have to stop and change seats, the controls just became functional on my side. But the brakes didn’t work, which was scary. Luckily we were on a flat stretch, rare in SF. After much pumping, the brakes started working again, and I continued driving.

Damn, I forgot the rest. If I remember it tonight I’ll record it. Anyway, all is right with the world now, Rossi is leading the championship and won Mugello for the 7th time in a row. Oh, and I had a blast at a track day in Savannah, GA this weekend. Awesome track, adorable city.

Oh wait, it’s back. This is the good part. We were out of the car and walking, about to cross a very steep street with a green median. This punk guy was doing a rolling stoppie BACKWARDS up the hill. I was so impressed with his ability to defy physics and modern motorcycle technology, I simply had to stop and talk to him. Plus he was cute. Similar tall/curly blond hair type to the South Africa dream. Hmmm. So while I was asking him how he did it, he told me his name. Jerm.

This was a real blast from the past (shift to reality for a minute here), as Jerm was this skinhead I’d hung out with at this abandoned school that we used to squat in the Haight. So it’s someone I hadn’t seen since 1985. Back to the dream: I asked to see his arm, to see if the time he carved my name in it had left a scar. Turns out he’d not only carved it bigger than all the other girl’s names, but gone ahead and inked it too, so it became a tattoo. Strange behavior for a man who never called or revisited the usual haunts.

Well, while we were talking, my brain had too much trouble accepting the whole “defying physics/mechanics” thing, and morphed his bike into a skateboard. Pfft. anyone can coast a skateboard uphill and launch it off their buddy’s back. OK, maybe in my dreams that’s easy. That was boring, so I morphed it back into a bike, and said goodbye, as my coworkers were anxious to get to the restaurant. Jerm teased me a little for looking so corporate, and I tried to make some joke about how punk rock it is to be a sustainability consultant. But then I remembered it’s more of a hippie thing, which is even worse than being corporate, really.

Dude. I’ve sold out.