Thom on September 22nd, 2014

Over the weekend I cut down a tree and a few limbs off of two others. I was being careful. I used ropes to keep the branches from falling where they shouldn’t (like on my head, but also the garden around them). So instead, while taking the rope off a branch after I cut it down, the knot came undone more easily than expected and the end of the branch caught me in the face. When I checked I found I’d received two cuts just above the jaw-line on one side.

After tending to it I began to think forward to Monday, when my co-workers would inevitably ask me what happened. I was all prepared with the perfect line from a book: “[I] took a duck in the face at 250 knots”.

Then reality set in. I can think of maybe two people who would recognize that line, and none of them work with me.

It’s not fair, but books just aren’t as quotable as movies. Part of it is the nature of books vs. movies. When reading a book you’re cruising through the words at a uniform speed, and most of us don’t really hear the words in our head. They flow straight into our brain, by-passing the “quotable quote” detectors. When everything–the setting, the dialogue, the descriptions–is written out, individual lines just don’t stand out.

It’s also because movies are just so much better at setting up lines. They can use pauses and timing in ways books can’t–at least not predictably. And it’s coming in through our ears and eyes simultaneously, which likely engages our memory better.

But then there’s also the problem with the sheer variety of reading available. The chances of someone, even someone who reads regularly, having read the same book as you are rather slim, really. And given the low retention rate of individual lines, you may have read the same book, but not remembered the same lines.

There are relatively few movies, by comparison, and only a few are going to grab the viewers enough to become part of the daily culture. Their lines resonate, to the point that people who’ve not even seen the movie can still borrow the quotes. (I’ve never seen “Better Off Dead,” but I can throw “I want my two dollars!” out there with the best of them.)

It’s a bummer. There are some really good lines in books some times. But it’s just so much harder to make that instant connection with another fan.

First lines, on the other hand, are another story. There are quite a few memorable first lines. But it’s not the same. Don’t believe me? Without looking it up first, leave me a comment with a really memorable book line. Let’s see what you’ve got.

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Thom on September 19th, 2014

According to lots of popular sci-fi, it’s only a matter of time before we are able to create robots that look and act just like people. And according to some, if those robots turn evil and get hold of time travel technology, they may come back in time to try to destroy the human race, using professional sports teams for cover.

The future is here today. The good news? Evidently someone else came back in time and trained our law enforcement and NFL teams on what to look for. Check out this headline I came across today:


Take that, Skynet!

(The ellipses undoubtedly continue on to say “…of impersonating a human being with the intent to kill Sarah Connor”)

Brandon Mull has a new series, Five Kingdoms, out. The first book, Sky Raiders came out earlier this year, and the second, Rogue Knight is due out in two months. We recently got our hands on Sky Raiders and read it as a family.

The premise is that a boy named Cole and his two friends wind up in an unknown world known as The Outskirts after being ambushed by slavers in a haunted house. Cole is forced to leave his friends when he is sold to the Sky Raiders, a gang of salvagers who loot the sky castles beyond the Brink. He makes some new friends and allies only to find out one of them is central to a looming battle for control of the Five Kingdoms. But Cole himself may hold more potential than anyone realizes.

In his Author One-on-One on, Mull describes the series this way: “With Five Kingdoms, I wanted to bring together much of what I do best as a writer into one place. I wanted to merge some of the fun I put into Candy Shop War, with the discovery and adventure from Fablehaven, with some of the big world-building like I did in Beyonders. I wanted to create a world that opened up story possibilities I haven’t seen before.”

That describes it pretty well, actually. The world itself is quite interesting, and there is certainly a lot of adventure. There’s a sense of danger, as well, but the tone of the novel is certainly more Candy Shop War than Beyonders, and the level of intensity, so far, is below that of Fablehaven. And, I also have to add, the setting is more geared to a middle-grade audience than adult (as it should be, I admit grudgingly). Of course that may change. Each of the five kingdoms uses a different type of magic, and we only see one of them, Sambria, in the first book. The mood there is somewhat whimsical, though there’s certainly something darker lurking about the edges.

My kids enjoyed it, and my youngest already has his name on the waiting list for the next book at the library. I’m finding it enjoyable enough, though it’s no Beyonders, which I thoroughly enjoyed, probably because it was more mature in its themes and tone. Mull does a good job of making his main characters seem like ordinary kids, with both strengths and weaknesses. Cole does some amazing things, but we feel as though he’s rising the occasion with a degree of luck rather than because he possesses any larger-than-life abilities. He is continually torn between rescuing his friends from slaver and sticking with his new friends through their pending dangers, which feels right. While it may be convenient for other writers to have their characters essentially forget their old life and adopt their new one, that’s not realistic, at least not this early on in the story. One of the most interesting things about Cole is watching him balance accepting his current reality with holding on to hope.

You can always count on Mull to deliver the “coolness factor”, of course, and Five Kingdoms comes through in spades. The sky castles alone are a source of cool we don’t get to explore enough, but Cole’s jumping sword, another character’s magic rope, and some of the magical creations they encounter are all ample proof that Mull hasn’t lost his touch. He knows what’s cool to kids, and you can tell he finds it every bit as cool himself.

For all that, though, Sky Raiders feels like an introduction–and probably it is. We’re still getting the sense of the setting, the stakes, and the characters. There’s ample plot line to pull things along, but by the end of the book you realize the stakes are higher. It may also be that the primary plots of this book are initially weak. Yes, we know Cole wants to rescue his friends, and his new friends are headed into danger, but these objectives are largely vague. We don’t know what Cole needs to do to free his friends–we just know it’s highly unlikely he’ll succeed at this point. And thus far his new friends are largely reactive, trying to stay alive, not pursuing a particular goal. That goal takes shape by the end of the book, but as I said, it leaves this book feeling like an introduction with enough plot thrown in to keep things moving.

For kids this won’t be a problem. For an adult it’s only something you notice in passing. I’d probably have noticed it much less if I wasn’t simultaneously reading two other novels with all the plot motion of glaciers.

If you liked Candy Shop War you should enjoy Five Kingdoms. If you enjoyed Fablehaven, be prepared for a rather different feel, but otherwise a comparable experience. If you enjoyed Beyonders, be prepared for lighter fare. There is still a weight to it, but so far you don’t feel it much.

As I said, I enjoyed it. I hold out hope it will get “meatier” was we get deeper in, but it’s a fair beginning. It’s a fun enough ride that I’m happy to go along with my kids.

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Thom on September 17th, 2014

Being a small business owner myself, I like to support small businesses whenever I can. In some things that’s a lot easier than others. For example, I’m something of a gamer. I enjoy board games, card games, pencil-n-paper RPGs, etc. For the most part the games I enjoy are not something you find in mass distribution. With a few exceptions you won’t walk into Target and find the games I play. You’ve got to find small businesses to carry them.

In previous towns I lived in that hasn’t been a problem. There’s usually only one store in the entire town, or at least close enough to me that I would be inclined to go there. But the longer I live in Sandy the bigger the problem grows. I’ve found at least four small businesses within a decent range that carry the stuff I like, and they all have at least some overlap.

One has the misfortune to be located in the mall. I avoid the mall as a general rule. It will be difficult for them to get my business. On the other hand, if they’re able to survive at the mall, they’ll probably be okay without my business. They’re more of a general toy store, too, but their selection of board games is pretty good.

The second is primarily my source for Warhammer Fantasy miniatures and supplies. They’ve also got the nicest older gentleman running the store who, if I’m not careful, I could end up talking to for hours.

The third is the best source of Pokemon I’ve seen in a small business. Target was our main supplier until we discovered this store. And Target seems to get a wider selection of box sets and the like, too, which is problematic. They do carry other games, but they do seem rather focused on a few core games, in which I have little interest so far.

The fourth is mostly dedicated to board and card games, like “Ticket to Ride”, or “Carcassone” and the like. They dabble insignificantly in Warhammer, and recently eschewed Pokemon. Their selection is fairly broad, and they have a game area where most of their games can be tried.

So what’s the trouble? 1) There’s no one-stop-shop that meets all my needs, and 2) I can’t support them all, as much as I may like to. Two of them I found the same day, which caused no small amount of consternation. They’re all run by nice people, and I want them all to succeed.

There’s a fifth store in my area I’ve yet to make it to. That’s probably for the best. I clearly take this sort of thing far too personally. It’s doubtful my patronage will make or break any of these stores, but I’ve lived places where good stores have gone under, leaving a massive void. I’d hate to see that happen, too. The one thing by far worse than having too many options is having no options at all.

Thom on September 16th, 2014

A. O. Scott has an article in the New York Times discussing the death of adulthood in America. He makes an interesting case, even claiming that American literature has been curiously “adult free”. But, as the bulk of his evidence comes from entertainment, I think he misses the mark. Worse yet, he embraces his thesis as inexplicably, intrinsically good:

I do feel the loss of something here, but bemoaning the general immaturity of contemporary culture would be as obtuse as declaring it the coolest thing ever. A crisis of authority is not for the faint of heart. It can be scary and weird and ambiguous. But it can be a lot of fun, too. The best and most authentic cultural products of our time manage to be all of those things. They imagine a world where no one is in charge and no one necessarily knows what’s going on, where identities are in perpetual flux. Mothers and fathers act like teenagers; little children are wise beyond their years. Girls light out for the territory and boys cloister themselves in secret gardens. We have more stories, pictures and arguments than we know what to do with, and each one of them presses on our attention with a claim of uniqueness, a demand to be recognized as special. The world is our playground, without a dad or a mom in sight.

I’m all for it. Now get off my lawn.

This does not sound fun for me, and for any other adult. Putting the inmates in charge of the asylum–or the kids in charge of the household–is recipe for disaster, not for “authentic cultural products”, whatever that’s supposed to mean. Are there “inauthentic cultural products”?

But what Scott overlooks entirely is that culture and society extends beyond popular media. There are plenty of adults left in America. We’re just not interesting. No one wants to watch us. They don’t make television shows about real families unless they first inject them with inauthentic cultural products to make them more racy, controversial, didactic, ironic, or sensational. The reality is that adults make for boring entertainment, even in reality shows. Even such odd cultural artifacts as “Duck Dynasty”, while about as close as the Entertainment Industry gets to showing real adults, derive their watch-ability from emphasizing the ways the Robertson family are different from the TV execs’ image of “mainstream society”, even while they accidentally present a family quite relatable to the adults in the room. I suspect that the reasons the network put them on the air and the reasons they’ve become a hit do not coincide overly much.

Scott bemoans (he claims he doesn’t, then protests too much) the appeal of Young Adult literature as evidence of his thesis. Again, he fails to understand, even though (or perhaps because) he’s a film critic. If adults are reading YA–and not just to see what their kids are reading–it’s because it’s escapist in nature. Teens read it because it depicts people like them. Adults read it because it depicts people not like them, yet simultaneously validating their adulthood. More often than not, the teen protagonists in these books succeed because they adopt adult behaviors, not by becoming increasingly the “typical teen.” Katniss Everdeen takes a stand and fights for what matters to her; she doesn’t retreat screeching to her room, refusing to come out until it’s all over. Au contraire, from the beginning of the first book she is the adult in their family, forced to be one because her mother refuses to be. It’s a validation of responsibility, maturity, and doing what needs to be done, not a paean to permanent adolescence.

Could it be that YA literature is so popular because it’s one place where teens can find role models of adult behavior? Mainstream adult entertainment is increasingly not the place to look for that–I’ll give Scott that. “Breaking Bad,” “Game of Thrones”, etc., are all places to look for grown-ups behaving badly, not mature, moral role models.

In crafting his conclusion Scott betrays himself. What starts out as a sober questioning of what happened to adulthood culminates in a gleeful knifing of the cooling corpse. Adulthood is dead, and he’s glad. He wants to be one of the kids. What might have been a serious examination of the decline of American culture instead becomes a self-congratulatory fluff piece with temporary detours to lay offerings at the altars of “men are pigs” and “Feminism rocks”. The height of civilization, he appears to believe, is to toss responsibility and maturity to the wind and spend all day and night in the Beyoncé Nightclub of Eternal Youth.

But since he likes to discuss literature, let’s mention one particular book–a YA book to boot–that he notably avoids: “Lord of the Flies”. Scott avoids this one on purpose; it’s the antithesis of what he seems to believe–putting the children in charge leads to a degradation of civilization and a return to barbarism, not some Romper-Room utopia. But while “Lord of the Flies” shows what happens when two tribes of children compete, it does not show what happens when the tribes of children encounter adults. Assuming the adults don’t just capture the kids and try to reform them, they’d be easily enslaved or wiped out.

America does not exist in a vacuum. There are other countries out there. You can debate whether those countries represent adults or other children all you want, but you cannot debate that not all of them have compatible objectives with the U.S. (though you can also argue that their desire to destroy us runs parallel with our desire to destroy ourselves). If they are children, then Piggy will only be the beginning of those killed. If they are adults we will be easy pickings. You don’t want to be the only country of hedonist children in a world of hyena children or wolf adults. You won’t exist for long.

Oh sure, there is no arguing that America is strong. But I think we may be facing a test of our childish resolve in the form of ISIS. Whether they are children or adults is irrelevant. They are sadistic, fanatical predators, and they are purposely trying to break our will. If we succeed against them it will not because of the perpetual children among us. It will be because there are still enough adults willing and able to stand up and protect the children from themselves. Only the adults have a chance of defeating such an enemy without becoming them. Children may learn to fight back, but they do so by returning violence for violence, depravity for depravity, in an ever-escalating game of one-downsmanship from which it is difficult to recover.

Fortunately for us all, there are still adults to be found and–at least for now–relied on. Unfortunately, the children relentlessly mock and shame the adults, trying to wear them down into becoming like them. It’s only a matter of time before the adults either give up and join the children, or give up and leave the children to their authentic cultural products and their killing fields. My only question is where, in a world of children, can the adults safely hide?

No, Mr. Scott, it will not be a lot of fun. Why don’t you take your ball and go home. You’d better hope there’s still a mommy to kiss it and make things better.

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Thom on September 15th, 2014

Robert Frost, in “Mending Wall”, claims that “good fences make good neighbors”. If only that’s all it took. I’ve built a few fences in my day, and they’re all still standing. I could be a really good neighbor. Unfortunately, I think it actually takes talking to your neighbor on a semi-regular basis, and I’m not so good at that. We’ve never been particularly good neighbors, I’m afraid. We’re not outgoing people, and in today’s society it’s easier to just live in your own little bubble; open the garage from down the street, drive in, close the door behind you and ignore that the world exists outside your house.

We’ve been trying to do better since we moved into our latest neighborhood. It’s a little easier to be friendly with the people you also see at church on a regular basis, but out of ten houses on our cul de sac only us and one other go to the same church–something of an anomaly in “Mormonville, USA”. But I’m pleased to say we’ve done better than normal. It helps that many on the street have reached out to us as well.

But when our next door neighbors sold and a new family moved in we decided it was time to step up our game. They’re a younger couple with two young, adorable daughters (one that unfortunately shares a name with our dog). It turns out they’re quite friendly, and have responded well to our efforts (hopefully we have to theirs, also). Our conversations are infrequent, but once we get talking it’s quite easy to talk to for quite some time. They’re daughters get along well with our daughter, which has earned her a babysitting opportunity.

This weekend we took the next step and invited them over for dinner. We had a really good time, and we have reason to believe they enjoyed it, too. They’re good people, and it was fun getting to know them better. We’ll be doing this again.

As I said, we’re not really sociable people. Entertaining is not something that works its way onto our “to do” list very often, yet whenever we do finally get around to it we usually enjoy it. It’s just a matter of rousing ourselves to invite people over in the first place.

We really should be more friendly with our neighbors. But I definitely need more practice on how to go about it.

Terhi Stratton liked this post
Thom on September 12th, 2014

I ran across this lip synch version later on, done by the Delta Sigma Phi fraternity. It’s kinda fun, but probably most impressive is their choreography and timing. Unless they’ve got mad editing skillz, this is all a single take, and the cameraman is getting one heck of a workout. We report. You decide:

UPDATE: The fraternity has gained a lot of attention from this video, evidently, including some from Taylor Swift herself. From the sound of it, they’re handling it well and looking to turn it into yet another positive. Kudos, guys.

Wayne Chilcott liked this post
Thom on September 12th, 2014

Taylor Swift doesn’t exactly need me to send more views her way, but I’m going to anyway. I know we shouldn’t feel sorry for celebrities and all, but it’s got to be harder than it looks. You have people masterminding months-long cybercrimes just to get a peek at your online photo collection, for one. And as Swift herself related in a recent interview, it has to be weird to be driving somewhere with your latest boyfriend and hear people on the radio reporting rumors that the guy sitting beside you in the car has bought a ring and is getting ready to propose to you. Under such circumstances you either develop coping strategies or you crack. And that’s if you’re already well-grounded. It’s no wonder that so many other celebrities just don’t know how to handle it.

But then it’s not just celebrities these days. With the advent of social media it’s become easy–no, expected–for everyone to be up in everyone else’s business. Everyone’s got to have an opinion about everything. Facebook doesn’t need a “dislike” button–everyone’s perfectly capable of using all the buttons on their keyboards to express their dislike of anything that varies one micron from their own ideas of acceptability, and far too many do so, and with relish (and mustard, ketchup, and the occasional sauerkraut (This post comes pre-snarked for your convenience. You’re welcome, Bill!)).

I’ve noticed, too, that it’s not just people telling everyone what they think, either. Far too often I see posts telling you what you think, too. The False Dichotomy shows up on my feed with surprising regularity and with even more surprising deviousness. Just the other day I was presented with a meme pic showing the pictures of two women, one nearly grotesque with a garishly fake tan, over-botoxed or lifted face, obvious lip-enhancement and heavy makeup, and the other with a naturally pretty, pixie face, but with her torso covered in so many tattoos I at first thought they were a t-shirt. The text of the picture essentially condemned society for thinking the former was beautiful and the latter ugly.

I won’t take a position for or against tattoos here, but I’m willing to bet that meme picture was created by someone with tattoos, probably a lot of them, and who has–justifiably or not–become defensive over it. And so they created a propaganda meme pic that essentially tries to shame people into accepting them. The logic of this false dichotomy is three-fold: 1) you think the ugly-fake person is beautiful, and 2) you think the tattooed person is ugly because of her tattoos, and 3) this needs to change.

The last point would certainly be true if the first two were also true. But this is the insidiousness of such an approach. It doesn’t leave any room for people to have any other opinions. I suspect a large number of people would find the first picture repellant. I suspect a similarly large number of people reacted to the second picture the same way I did. I thought the woman shown had a very cute face; fresh and natural-looking–the very antithesis of the previous one. But since it made no sense for the meme pic to claim I thought the second was ugly, I looked deeper to see if I could determine why I should think the second woman unattractive. Only then did I notice the tattoos. Not just one or two, but essentially covered in them–though notably not on her face. And I still found her more attractive by far than the first woman. But the meme pic was accusing me of thinking just the opposite, and totally ignoring the fact that there are far, far many more ways to react to those pictures than the false dichotomy presented.

It was rather ironic. Here was a meme pic pre-judging me to try and convince me not to pre-judge its creator. Physician, heal thyself. Go ahead and tell me what you think. I don’t mind that. But don’t try and tell me how I think in an effort to try to get me to think like you.

That’s just one example of how we’re under constant pressure to be hard on one another these days. Other than the advice offered by Dieter F. Uchtdorf (“Stop it.”), I don’t know how to combat that sort of thing. “Haters gonna hate” and all that. But that doesn’t mean that we, as targets, have to take them at all seriously. As hard as it may be, the best revenge is to shake it off and be happy anyway. Hence the Taylor Swift video below.

On first glance it seems ironic–Taylor Swift telling us to just ignore the haters and downers out there and just have fun. What does she have to be sad about? But I’m going to go out on a limb here and suggest that becoming an A-list celebrity, a household name, and the continual focus of celeb-watchers and gossip-mongers doesn’t suddenly make you immune to negativity and snark. Those with any brains know that fame is fleeting, and as often as not what got you where you are over someone you may feel is more talented, more beautiful, or more deserving is just plain luck.

Taylor Swift strikes me as one who’s got her head screwed on straighter than most. She seems to get that this is all fleeting, and while she works hard for it, someday hard work may not be enough. But listening to the critics is only going to accelerate that, not keep it at bay. So I suspect, however catchy and trite the song may be, there’s truth there. Be you, and be happy. It’s not something I’ve been able to perfect by any means, but looking back over my life, the times I was happiest was when I felt comfortable and confident enough with where I was and what I was doing that didn’t feel a need to take ownership of any negativity thrown at me. So I believe Taylor has it right, here.

And it’s a dang catchy song, to boot.

For what it’s worth, while she’s an attractive young lady in general, I think the blond semi-bob, black outfit beatnik/jazz look really works.

Not that I should have an opinion, but at least it’s a positive one.

Thom on September 11th, 2014

My wife and I have been married fifteen years–the better part of my life. Those of you keeping score will recognize that’s not the majority of my life; it’s barely a third. But it has been the better part of my life. I might even go so far as to say “the best part” of my life, but only if I append “so far.”

Fifteen years is not that long, really. It will take another fifteen years before we’ll have been married for half my life. But on the other hand, within the next fifteen years our children will have moved out and started families of their own. An entire generation enclosed within thirty years of marriage. Even at the half-way point it’s incredible just how much has happened in that time. We’ve crammed those fifteen years full of memories, both good and bad, but the good have a massive lead, hands down. Life has thrown a great deal at us, but we’ve come through it all with a reasonable amount of grace (my wife’s doing; she’s the ballerina), determination, humor, and hard work. Most importantly, the things we’ve come through we’ve come through together. We’ve changed in that time, but we’ve changed in much the same direction rather than divergent paths.

I have no idea what the trick is to that, though heaven knows too many couples in the world haven’t been able to do what we’ve done. All I can say is that it takes work–constant, devoted work. It takes a determination to stick together. It means some things are going to have to take a back seat to our marriage.

It means you need to marry the right person (not perfect, but right). I can’t begin to tell you what that means for others, but for us it means that no matter how different we may be (and there are some pretty dramatic differences in some areas), there is a solid core that we share and draw strength from. It means common goals, from the lofty and lengthy to the brief and mundane. It means making time for one another. And it means making space for each other to do their own thing.

Now, I don’t claim any special wisdom in marriage. This is only my first time, after all. All I really know about how to have a successful marriage is this: Marry Terhi. And that kinda sets everyone else up for failure, so I can hardly offer that as bankable advice. I’ve seen plenty of other people make it work–at least longer, if not better–with matchups that leave me scratching my head, so clearly there’s no one-size-fits-all approach. At least not that I’ve been able to come up with.

This much I do know. Couples can let the experiences of life–the successes and the buffetings–pull them apart or bring them together. I’m really fortunate to have a wife for whom the tendency is toward the latter. And it seems that the more things we go through together, the more committed we become to going through things together. The larger our mass of common experiences becomes, the more gravitational weight it provides to keep us together.

I love her, not just because of who she is and what she brings to the table, but because she’s the one who was with me when our car broke down on the freeway forty miles from anywhere. Because she’s the one who endured a week in a motel with three little kids and three cats while we waited to be able to move into our house. Because she’s the one who ignored my crankiness and helped bail out our tent and slept in a slightly-damp sleeping bag with me on our first major camping trip. Because she’s the one who stood by me (and put up with me) through two years of unemployment. Because she’s the one who was cheering in the audience when I graduated with my MBA. Because she’s the one who cried with me upon leaving two homes behind. Because she’s the one who encourages me to keep writing, even if I’m writing stuff she has no interest in reading.

Fifteen years of experiences, memories, hardships, laughs, tears, and more. How do you replace that? Why would I ever entertain the thought of throwing that all away and starting over from nothing with someone else? How empty that would feel. No inside jokes. No subtle expressions that let you know you’re both thinking exactly the same thing. It would be like our first night in our current house, having little more than our clothes and a sleeping bag in a big, empty, strange space. Yes, sure, you set about building a life the same way you set about filling a house; one piece at a time. And some people, because life is not always fair, are forced to do just that.

But to voluntarily walk away from that and start over? I am very blessed to not be able to understand that. I am fortunate to have built a marriage where the positives outweigh the negatives so resoundingly.

I love you, Terhi. Here’s to another fifteen years, packed with memories and running over. I’m a lucky man.

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Thom on September 9th, 2014

So, last week’s emergencies have got me thinking again about capturing rain water from our rain gutters and saving it up to water the garden. We don’t get a lot of water here in Utah, but when we do, it seems to be a real gully-washer. It seems a waste not to try and save up some for…uh…a rainy day.

But it turns out that until recently that was illegal here. In 2010 the state legislature finally gave in and passed a law allowing private citizens–if they register with the state division of water rights–to capture and store rain water up to 2500 gallons in below-ground storage, or 200 gallons above ground. Fascinating, if a little irritating. I hear from colleagues at work that different areas of the state have “culinary water” system and irrigation water systems, and the latter is cheaper. Where we live it’s all one and the same. I’m using chlorinated water to water my tomatoes and grass. And it gets a little pricey. It’s also no help whatsoever if, for whatever reason, the city water system is inaccessible.

It’s no wonder that so few people want to “go green”. We’ve got ourselves into such an intertwined, convoluted system that it’s difficult to really, truly be sure you’re really helping the planet–and doing it legally.

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