Monday, January 19, 2009

Am I an environmentalist?

I'm conservative, and I believe in markets.  Except when they don't work.  One of the reasons that markets fail is that the people making the decisions don't really experience the full consequences of their decisions.

For example, Johnny likes burritos, but they give him gas.  Johnny lost his sense of smell, so he thinks that they don't smell.  But he works in a call center, where people all sit next to each other.  When he has burritos for dinner, all of his coworkers can smell it.  Of course, nobody will tell him that he smells after burritos, because that's kinda awkward.  Without the knowledge that his burritos are causing his coworkers to choke to the very edge of death, Johnny eats three every Tuesday and Thursday.  Since he's not suffering, he doesn't even consider the pain that his beany burritos inflict on his coworkers.

There, now you understand what economists call "externality".  Somebody makes a decision without personally experiencing all of the costs or benefits.

I think our lifestyle is kinda like this.  We love our big houses, big cars, and big tvs (I know that I do!).  And since this whole climate change catastrophe may be decades or even a century away, I don't really consider it in my decisions.  After all, nobody can tell me exactly how bad it will be, and many people are somewhat uncomfortable about it anyway.

So like burrito-eating Johnny, I'm enjoying my consumerism and energy-heavy lifestyle.

But I believe that if Johnny were simply aware of the impact of his decisions, he might make different decisions.  Maybe he'll only eat one burrito, or maybe he'll change his burrito nights to Saturday and Sunday (homemade, of course).  Maybe he'll visit a doctor and get his plumbing checked out.  Maybe he'll walk outside to allow the burrito's effects to dissipate - away from his coworkers.

There are tons of choices for Johnny!

And there should be some choices for me.  I don't know what choices I'll make yet, but I am trying to consider the impacts of the things I do.  Some little things I've already been doing include reusing my nalgene when I have it nearby, CFLs throughout our home, LIVING on cruise control, and considering my electricity usage when setting the thermostat.  I would like to say that I reuse shopping bags, carpool or mass transit, and drive more efficiently.

However, I know that individual actions are practically negligible.  So that's why I support people who find ways to get lots of people to do what's right.  

Although I generally don't like the Sierra Club, they have an invitation to cut your carbon output by 2% this year.  Seriously, 2% is nothing.  Swap out a 5 pack of lightbulbs with CFLs, and you've done it.  And for the pledge, you get this Missy Higgins track as a pat on the back.  And on top of that, for the next 5+ years, your bank account will thank you when you get your power bills.

Thursday, January 15, 2009

Blogging... What a let down!

okay... So it's been 5 days since my post.  No comments.

Haylee told me that most people wouldn't really understand what is in that image from the last post.  For those who aren't aware, it would be the crowning event of the 1994 Maxis classic SimTower.  Only when your tower has 5 stars are you permitted to build a cathedral, and the cathedral can only be built on the 100th floor.  I built a superwide tower up to level 45, then I built an elevator spire to the 100th floor for my cathedral.  That single cathedral is the fruit of hours and hours of effort.

But I understand that not everybody can appreciate my nunchucks skills, so there is no offense taken by all y'all's apparent lack of excitement.

However, I want my footprint on the blogosphere to be at least enjoyable for those who spend time looking at it.  Therefore, I have done some research to see why blogs of some are more popular than blogs of others.  I have come to the conclusion that I lack the childhood cuteness that typically interests people of the Mormon persuasion, which is a healthy chunk of our modest readership.

But we're not having a baby now, nor are we trying to.  Therefore, I am forced to share my very own childhood cuteness in efforts to entice readership.  My mother gave us boxes of stuff that mothers usually keep, and I found these, from kindergarten.  This first picture is of my lovely sister Miriam.  She was born in 1991, the year this picture was drawn, and it still looks just like her!

To properly understand this next poem, you must understand that I have inherited allergies from my mother's father and a genetic kitten-hatred from my own father.

Now, feel free to comment to tell me how you wish that your kids grow up to be as cute as me.

Saturday, January 10, 2009

California and Progress

So we come to California, and we have a relaxing time enjoying the wedding of Haylee's good friend Cristin to her love, Fa.  Of course, it was a beautiful time and we quite enjoyed the company of Cristin's family and friends.

Of course, I do have a great accomplishment that I must share with you:

I remember playing Sim Tower in middle school once I finished my work in computer class.  Never had I enjoyed the success that I have found here.

On to other news, we have been working on our guest room.  It has a bed now and we bought an awesome comforter set.  I'm excited to have out-of-towners come and stay with us.

Monday, January 5, 2009

Budgeting for Marrieds

So here's how it goes:

Of course, we all live on a basic budget.  We know how much we make and we can't spend more than that.  But we have our wish lists.  Usually, mine is full of electronic things that I enjoy while sitting on the couch.  Haylee wants things that are pretty.  Clothes, house decorations, etc.  Also girly books and disney movies.

Of course, my things are very expensive.  Like... Hundreds of dollars, minimum.  That represents many hours of sitting in a cubicle.

How can I possibly not feel guilty for buying those things, when I know perfectly well that buying these toys will have zero positive impact on my long-term financial situation?  I could be putting that extra money torwards paying off the car, student loans, or house.  But those electronic things are so fun.

I need(ed) a receiver.  After all, the speakers are already in the ceiling, just begging to be powered.  And how can you possibly run a surround sound system without a subwoofer?  And once I have my receiver, how can I possibly operate such an amazing system without a fancy remote?

Okay.  I've established that I need these items.  Now how do I possibly make myself feel better about buying these things?

The solution: I can convince Haylee to buy things, too.  That way, if the money is too tight, then it was a contributory effort.  It wasn't just my fault. 

Of course, the end result is that all of my toys cost a bit more than the actual price on the tag, since the total bill includes buying stuff for Haylee, too.

But the "home theater" is starting to be freakin' awesome.  And I figure we have until kids arrive in a few years before we have to be really frugal.


I don't really feel like writing about all the stuff that has happened the last month.  We had Christmas, New Years, my birthday, Michael's birthday and our anniversary is today.  We moved into a new house and started going to our new ward. I finished another semester of school.That's a lot of stuff.  

The end.

p.s. I am not pregnant even though everyone else seems to be. haha.