Tuesday, May 27, 2014

David Little Strikes Back On Climate Change

David Little is the editor of the Chico ER. He writes a Sunday column which, at times, can be quite readable. Mr. Little is very much a Conservative. But he also is an outdoorsman and a hunter. He wrote a great column welcoming California's first wolf (OR-7) to California. That's a fairly progressive view for a hunter to have: usually they hate the competition from predators.

David has written some great columns on enjoying little known Wilderness areas (Gold Lake). He also has written awesome columns about backpacking the Coastal Range.

I've corresponded with David, although not so much lately. We've argued over Lead Ammunition and about whether the reduction of the deer population is 1. a bad thing and 2. a result of having more Mountain Lion. David Little has never broached the coyote killing issue. Perhaps I should write and ask him his opinion on that.

David Little was critical of both Sam Aanestad and Doug LaMalfa---and refused to endorse either one in the primary of 2012. In the general election, he endorsed Doug LaMalfa, not so much because Doug is so wonderful, but rather because Little really disliked his challenger.

And so, as far as local Conservative Columnists go, I'd give David credit for being a bit more interesting than most. 

But there are times when David Little is just simply stupid. He did that this weekend when he wrote about Climate Change. You can read his piece here. Of course, David Little goes back to that really tired argument that science has been wrong before as when some scientist suggested, for a very short time in 1976, that the world was starting to cool. This hypothesis was quickly debunked---but Conservatives have never forgotten it. They use this as a lens to bolster an argument that global warming is all hyperbole. Never mind that this hypothesis has been studied for forty years. Never mind that it has wide-spread acceptance amongst professionals. That doesn't bother Mr. Little.

Two things are interesting about this piece. One is the comments at end of the piece. Every Right Wing Nerd who thinks he (and it is almost always a he) has done all the research and who quotes Roy Spencer and the Heartland Institute ad nauseum, genuflecting to the denialist Kremlin Wall of the rare science denialists; these guys troll the Internet, looking for articles to bolster their cause and to demean their critics. In this case me: just look in the comments section. Of 68 comments, only a handful are critical of David Little's article.

The other interesting thing is just how much climate denialism has joined the mainstream views of the Conservative Movement. It used to be Conservatives accepted the science. No more. Now they all bow at the idol of the Fossil Fuel Companies. Of all the Conservatives, probably the most honest is the former Governor of Utah, Jon Huntsman, who said that yes, Climate Change is a problem---we just can't afford to fix it. At least that is a straight-forward honest answer.

Monday, May 19, 2014

Good Bye to the Napa Valley...

I have decided to work more for less pay. A dumb idea. I've had this psych job in the Napa Valley for eleven years. For the past six years, I've been traveling 330 miles round trip, at first twice a month, and then--starting three years ago--- once a week. During this time, I've spent a large amount of time away from home. The trips got more and more burdensome. I get more and more homesick.

Satellite radio helped---a present Joni gave me for Christmas. I spend a lot of time in the car. I eat way too many meals while traveling on the road, wiping the French fry grease on my car seat--spilling sodas and ketchup on the passenger side seat as I wrestle with a fast food meal while driving. I eat way too many of these; they are just too convenient while traveling. I've pretty much lived out of the car. Many trips I just left my clothes in the car even when I got home.

For the last six years, I've stayed at Crystal Springs---an old haunted turn-of-the-century Nursing Dorm on my hospital's campus. Many of us older nurses travel to work here in the Napa Valley. We can't afford to live here, so we stay in the Nurses Dorm. It has helped us traveling nurses get close to each other. We have become second family. There have been many nights when we've had a few beers in the Crystal Springs parking lot, enjoying the ocean breeze as it travels up the Napa Valley at night. We'd have beers (against the Adventist Hospital rules, for sure) and we'd process the sometimes violent events that happen on a psychiatric unit. Its a little like going off to war together; only other psychiatric nurses understand the locked and secretive world of a mental health unit.

On the 9th of June, all of this will come to an end. I've decided to take a job in Chico as a home health psych nurse. I will actually drive more miles in my new job---I will have all of Tehama and Butte Counties as my territory. But I will get to go home every night.

There are plenty of reasons for not taking this new job: I will earn a lot less money; the health insurance is awful (to insure Joni it will cost us $700 a month); I won't have the worker camaraderie with fellow nurses I have now. Home health nursing can be lonely work.

So why do it? Because the travel has worn me out. I miss being home. I miss Joni. I miss the girls (although they are moving out in June to live with their mother). I miss the dogs. I miss taking walks. I miss the canyon. I miss my trail camera. I miss working on the house and the yard.

It is hard to have two homes. Time to just have one home.

Sunday, May 11, 2014

Carrot Quinn

Since I've been reading lots of blogs of PCT Thru Hikers, the best one, in my opinion, is by an enigmatic woman who goes by the name of Carrot. She states she was raised by a schizophrenic woman in Alaska who believed she was the Virgin Mary. That couldn't have been a good experience. Carrot seems to have struck out in life mostly alone, being resourceful as kids who have non functional parents often are. She rode trains in her 20's. She supported herself by buying first edition books on Ebay from those who didn't understand the value of what they had---and then resold them on Ebay to egghead yuppie professors with money who like that sort of thing. She finances her second PCT thru hike through donations from readers of her blog. She has 650 loyal readers.

Her writing is smart and edgy. She writes of survival mainly; this is a woman who has seen a whole lot. She has a masterful style with description. At 31 years of age, she seems both younger and older than her years. She is definitely counter cultural; this is not a person who will work in a downtown office building.

Her writing on the trail is honest. Earthy---she writes of chafing and smelly feet. She certainly fits into this young hip hiker culture. As she says, she is 31 years old but looks like a teenaged boy. During the off season, she lives in a house without running water or electricity. She also has spent time living in a trailer.

I invite you to sample her writing here. I'm hooked. This young woman has talent.

Friday, May 9, 2014

PCT Blogs I Follow...

It has been awhile since I've posted anything. As I wrote in my last post, I've been following blogs of current PCT Thru Hikers. Honestly, I'm following so many of them, that I lose track of the characters who are hiking. Here are links to a few of them. You will notice that most of these blogs are written by 20-Somethings. And they are all Caucasian. Most just graduated from college and seem to be taking one last adventure on their parent's dime.

This blog is an exception. It is the blog of the famous "Halfmile". This guy created free apps and maps of the Pacific Crest Trail. He is a legend. He is hiking it this year with his girlfriend. Halfmile is not a youngster. Enjoy his blog here. Another person is documenting Halfmile's hike on this blog that consists of beautiful photographs of Halfmile and other hikers.

There are more than a few couples on the trail this year. Mandie and Josh are both blogging about their experience. This couple is quite likeable. They are different in that they didn't start this hike in super-duper shape; sort of an everyman and everywoman's hiking story. Very approachable. Here is another couple who are doing the trail together. Must be romantic. And yet another by a French couple who seem to live their life together by hiking long trails. Wish I had the money to do that. Must be trustfunders.

There are lots of women  hiking solo this year: Hiking Sunbeam is written by one such person. Erin is another such person writing about her experience. And then there is Alice. And another better than average blog by Berlyn. Unfortunately, Berlyn injured herself and had to drop out for a bit. Here is another blog by Kelsey. And don't forget Nicole. And Laura. Did I mention Joan? How about Emily? As you can see, most of the blogs I've found have been written by women. Brave women of the PCT. I wonder how much of this is influenced by Cheryl Strayed?

There are a few men writing too: There is this guy. And Steven, who at least quotes Aldo Leopold in his title of his blog. And another guy who calls himself: Nomad. And this one by Rob.

That's 20 blogs I'm following about this year's PCT class. All of them are pretty much the same: hike lots of miles carrying as little as possible. Get to the next town: drink beer and eat lots. Repeat process.