« 'Center' vs. 'Fringe' and a Day at the Beach | Main | Time for a Poll: When Did You Buy Your Camera? »

Thursday, 13 January 2011


Never heard of a leaf blower used on snow before. Next time, try and get a video of it. :)

I've noticed that waiting for parking thing at malls too. It's mystifying, considering that once they get inside, they'll be walking for miles.

I'm truly shocked by your report of the lazy parking. It just simply wouldn't cross my mind to do as the fat but able-bodied woman did. I'm not sure we're quite there yet in the UK, but it's certainly true that what happens in the US tends to come across the Atlantic in a couple of years. Certainly, Britons use their cars for all sorts of short trips when a generation ago people would have walked. Perhaps the forthcoming econalypse will teach us all to use our feet again.

I love cold, clear winters. One of my favourite holidays ever was doing the Haute Route ski tour across the top of the Alps in simply beautiful conditions in the early 80s (I was a young and fit soldier way back then - doing it now would probably take me twice as long, but some added maturity would mean I would enjoy it over twice as much).

Please have some of that snow sent my way.

In the only country with four clearly distinct seasons (a widespread belief here) I miss having in Tokyo what I can identify as a winter. Since winter always included snow before I moved here, it seems almost like I endure a 4-month early March.

Severals years ago, I lived across the border in Kanagawa prefecture, and during the rare snowstorm I could make a couple of hundred dollars in just a few hours cleaning snow from neighbors' and local shop owners' entrances, driveways, and sidewalks. Word spread that I would do this because I had done it for my wife's aunt. Never mentioned a price, but folks always paid 5-10,000 yen. In fact, they insisted.

During the rare snow in much of Tokyo, many sidewalks remain mostly untouched until the snow melts. You walk at your own risk. The leaf blower idea might go over well here, except, being in a southern climate, Tokyo snows are too wet and heavy.

Leaf blower? Genius.

My teenage son thanks you.


Jeez,are you being wistful in the darkroom rejuvenation too.

It's nice here, just north of New York. The kind of winters I remember from childhood - big drifts, lots of shoveling. I don't remember the lower back pain, though...

You don't fire up the snowblower for three inches of snow because you're lazy. You do it because it's fun!

That's it.. time to move to Japan and shovel snow for camera money!

I live in central Florida (Dover, just east of Tampa) and it was 29 degrees this morning when I left for work...I may need to find a good stiff credit card to clear the frost from my windshield if this keeps up! No snow yet, but it could happen... I took this photo in the field behind my house last year about this same time, and I could have duplicated it this morning:
Just thought you'd like the facts, it sure isn't 85 degrees down here!

When I worked up north it was common to have three feet of snow or more by Hallowe'en.

Here in Victoria we actually had snow for a day but fortunately it's gone now!


P.S. Yes, when I was a resort property manager the leaf blower was used on the walkways more than once. We also had shovels, the snowblower, the tractor with the snowblower and the 4x4 with plow blade...

Yeps, and when snow melts due to rain, rivers crash their banks.


Not nice if you live next to the river in question.

Greetings, Ed

From down here it seems that Garrison Keillor gets all the best winters in your part of the world.

The folk in Queensland, Australia are experiencing a summer not to be forgotten--the worst floods in 36 years. It's as well climate change is a myth (!) or they be doing it even harder.

Regards - Ross

You may know of record floods inundating the centre of Brisbane, the third largest city in Australia.... I live in Central Victoria, 1500k south, and have just recorded the highest rain event-- 185mm over four days ... since I started in 1978, Does anyone still believe that climate change doesn't exist????

... and another thing, two years ago, we were in the grip of an incredible drought, culminating in a day of 46.2 celsius ( 115 F)and 73 people dead in the worst fires ever to rip through our area.

Parking lots can be a lot of fun when it comes to watching human behavior. I wish I had thought of watching how many spaces a person will wait for. I did notice, that people will take a space closer to the building over one further from the building - even if the space they chose was farther from the entrance.

If you need a new parking lot game, watch how many people look for a 'drive-thru' spot so they don't have to back up.

Also, regarding parking spaces...

I once saw a study that demonstrated that the difference between the closest and furthest parking space in a mall or grocery store parking lot was dwarfed (*dwarfed*) by the average amount a person walked within said mall or grocery store. The results really made those that get feisty over a given parking space really look foolish.

Since reading the study, I've decided that life is too short to wait for a parking space. If I see a space way in back, I take it. By my measure, the study is correct: the distance I walk to the store or mall is much less than the distance I walk within the retail space...

My neighbour was cleaning his car off with a leaf blower the other day. I went into the garage for something, and was thinking 'What is that noise?'

Ross x 2. The worst floods are in Queensland, but Victoria and Tasmania just coped a pile of unwanted water as well. How about some nice summer floods, we got plenty to spare.

BTW, really liked the 'Center vs Fringe' article, nice advice to remember.

Along the lines of your TV commercial, Pharyngula links to a poster for a conference in San Diego:

Nice to know you like snow. So far here in Pennsylvania, its been nice smaller snow storms that leave a picturesque look to the area. Nothing like last year with 52 inches in one storm and 48 inches a week later. Ploughing the driveway (it's long) in those conditions really inhibits the photography.

Hey, the leaf blower idea pales in comparison to using your riding mower to mow the snow down and blow it away... Saw that tried once in my own drive. It did not work too well, so what can I say. Made a hell of a cloud though...

At this time of year, sometimes the closer space is waited for not to avoid walking, but to get out of the cold faster. 2 spots is still ridiculous.


I won't taunt you with the record setting recent "snow monster" here in Snowy South Bend, though for those interested I have several posts on my framing blog, here: http://frame-notes.blogspot.com/

You'll need to scroll down.

The only problem with shoveling, is it leads to another winter tradition: Ibuprofen, Breakfast of Champions.

Hey, why just lazy Americans? Sure, we may be, for the most part, more overweight than our European brothers. But laziness is rampant the world over. Try living in Italy with their afternoon "pausa" and where everything shuts down on Sundays. Over there they make fun of us Americans for working too much.

Hey, if you can clear snow with a broom, then you can clear it with a leaf blower; makes perfect sense to me.

Now, if we could just get a big enough heating element in the leaf blower so it could clear ice, we'd have something!

When I was in college, my girlfriend would always work to convice me to find the closest parking space, and it drove me batty. After dating for several months, things came to a head. Upon entering a very busy mall parking lot around Christmas time, I began the impossible task of finding a "close" parking space with her comments getting more and more frustrating. After 20 minutes of torture, I drove to the very farthest parking spot that I could find from the mall, and I staked my claim. There were plenty of spots closer, but none were "close enough" for her, so I decided to make a point and choose the farthest. That was a long 10 minute walk to the mall, and, needless to say, that was the last Christmas we spent together!

Will: that is by design. Supermarkets lay-out their products so the most-popular are furthest from the door so you have to oogle everything else in stock en route.

I saw some of the most beautiful snow this past weekend in the Upper Penninsula of Michigan. I was there for a wedding and we got 20 inches of the powdery stuff. There is one tragic thing to note though - I just saw that the lodge we stayed at, Big Powderhorn Lodge in Bessmer, burned to the ground yesterday. I hope the business is able to recover from this because it was a great place.

I like to park out on the fringes because the idiots who can't roll their carts 10 feet to the nearest corral at least won't roll them into my car!

Mike, I tend to fire up the snow thrower for 3 or more inches of snow. Even with the cost of gasoline going up, it's cheaper than the heart attack waiting for me at the end of an idiot stick in below freezing weather.

(While exercise is good for us elderly folks, shoveling snow ain't exercise, it's work. Also it gives me the chance to be a good guy - I generally do two other neighbor's properties after I'm done with mine. Sometimes three, if the old fella that lives next door and I ain't feudin' at the time).

Like Mr. Sinatra said, "You die your way, I'll die mine".



Doctors who hand out handicapped parking stickers to the elderly and those who can walk, and who can climb in an out of jacked-up SUV's and massive pickup trucks make me sick. My wife was in a car accident 17 years ago, and needs hand controls, a wheelchair, and a ramp van to get around. I cannot count the number of times she's been effectively shut out of the one or two handicapped parking spaces by some senior citizen who has a placard, and who pulls not a ramp space,right next to a standard handicapped space, and saunters into a store. Let me say it again: doctors who hand out "handicapped" stickers to those who can walk without difficulty make me sick.

Years ago my fishing buddies and I would
grab a six-pack and our folding chairs
and park ourselves next to a public boat
launching ramp on the opening day of the
boat season. Watching brand new boat
owners launching their craft was hilarious.
When a grizzled pro would launch his boat
with finese, we would stand up and cheer.
When a rookie, in front of his wife and
kids, screwed up by submerging his rear
wheels in the water and burning his
brakes 'till they smoked, we could only
shake our heads. We had too much compassion
to boo. People watching beats TV watching.

I'm just looking forward to Monday, when I could plausibly wear shorts again. This below 70 during the day thing is just not acceptable anymore.

(This after growing up throughout Wisconsin.)

One of my favorites is the 24 Hour Fitness here in San Diego, Point Loma to be exact. There's a set of escalators that take you up to the entrance.

Well...my brother and I, when hearing/reading something like this, always mention what we call the "80/20 rule". 80% of people are just stupid/dumb/ignorant.
For instance, when we get behind that person who sits at a red light waiting to turn right when it's been "Right on Red" for decades, one of us just says "eighty-twenty rule".
The percentage split is debatable, but you get the idea.

I had a client a few years ago who complained regularly about the hassle of 1 hour plus traffic jams sitting in her car to get to her gym where she could work out. I pointed out the irony but it went about 2 feet over her head. Oh, and she was quite a senior person at her company.

I told my daughters that I really only wanted one present for Christmas.

A flame thrower.

I live at the bottom of a 200' driveway with a 6°, 4° and finally 8° incline. Rear-wheel drive car (company car, can't get a 4WD) and all I want is just a little bit of not hacking away at 4 AM at the 2" of ice that I have to clear away before I can drive to work. Was that too much to ask?

Didn't have to be a big one, just enough to lay down 150 ft or so of jellied gasoline to reduce that digging-out process. I could get up, squirt that driveway (made of solid stone blocks, so no tarmac to melt...) up and have time to take a shower, have some breakfast, maybe catch some news before heading out to work.

But no, they got me some tea instead. Next time, I'll have sons. They'd understand...


In regions that have "winter", people frequently dress for their car. They're too lightly dressed for the outside, too heavily dressed for inside, but about right for their car.

And, if you're dressed too lightly for the outside, the amount of walking outside may be much more important to you than the total amount of walking.

I'm about to leave Les Trois Vallées after a week holiday here, and we could definitely use some of that snow (and cold weather)!!!


At work I always park in the furthest spot from the entrance. It forces me to walk further (which I consider desirable).

Waiting for a parking spot at the grocery store only makes sense to me if there are none.

I'm too lazy to park close to the door. Why battle and squeeze into a small spot and wedge my self out the door to shimy along the car. It is so much easier to whip into a distant spot hop out and slam the door. (PS I'm skinny and drive a compact.) I've never understood the value of all that work to be close to the door.

I saw a video of a sailor who hauled his mainsail standing on his dock, allowing the boat to get underway by itself, and then when the cockpit passed him he stepped right into it and off he went. I wish I could find it to link for you. Slickest thing you ever saw, much cooler than my description of it.


Mainly rely upon bus and metro here and no snow.

But your advice on driving the girl friend to the door first and walk your way is a good advice in general. But somehow I missed that approach when reading the story. I reflected the reason is that "normally" there is other games in play. For example, the lady would try to convince whether this is the man that will do thing for her in the rest of her life, good or bad. If you cannot even park in the wimp ...

Oh, bugger that for tuppence! You try pushing a cart full of linens over snow what's like in that photo above. Lemme tell ya, pal, it gets real old, real fast.

And lazy? Lemme tell you lazy: How 'bout the touron who drives right past a sign that says "NO PRIVATE VEHICLES BEYOND THIS POINT", blocks a fire lane in doing so, to offload luggage into their tent cabin, when they could have parked right BY the sign! "But I was just going to unload my stuff..."

OK, so that's more a problem of overdeveloped sense of privilege than lazy.

"Kvetching" is my middle name.

It's been rain and earthquakes here in San Jose. A few nights of sub-freezing temps--I have to defrost my windshield to drive home from work, rather than vice-versa. I was born and raised in the Midwest and remember those winters well!

Not just in America, Mike:

Was shown this photo the other day:

The comments to this entry are closed.



Blog powered by Typepad
Member since 06/2007