Thursday, May 17, 2007

First Aid Training

I am already trained in Basic First Aid, CPR and AED through the Red Cross. It is part of a program here at work, and we renew the training every year. I have always been disappointed in the training though, because it has been very basic, and the answer to most questions is "the average EMT response time in this area is 7 minutes. Just do these simple things, and then wait."

That is all well and good if you are in the city. Since I frequenty go away from the city I have always wanting to know more. Especially since the family will be going with me, and more and more as they get older. My inital look at more training found that there was not much for the average person, and geared more towards EMTs or nurses.

I finally came across this program: The Wilderness Medical Center

It is a requirement for US Forest Service backwood guides, and any many other outfitters as well.

I have also spoken with people that have taken the course, and they have had nothing but good things to say about it. I have also been told that there have been a lot of doctors and EMTs to take this course and learn quite a bit about how to do stuff without fancy equipment at their disposal.

This is pretty much exactly what I was looking for, so I will have to sacrifice 5 of my vacation days to be able to do this next year.

Sunday, May 6, 2007

Biking to Work

Well, I have been planning it for a while and have been mainly waiting on the weather. But, last Friday was the first day I rode my bike to work and back.

I estimated from looking at maps that it was around 17 miles one way. I can't take my normal route to work, because there is too much highway type stuff that isn't good for a bike. I found a route with two major roads that seemed like it would work well. I drove it a couple times, making sure there was adequate sidewalk and all the whole way. Riding a bike 17 miles usually would not be a big deal. But, because of traffic, and the roads, this was not the typical ride where you could get on a road bike, and stay on the side of the road and keep a good consistent pace. Instead, I was using sidewalks, crossing streets, speeding up, slowing down. Because of all this, a mountain bike is much more suited to that type of riding. I wasn't ever worried about making it or not. I was worried about making it to work in a reasonable time to be able to do it without taking forever.

I wanted to train a bit, and work myself up for it. But, I didn't want to take off and leave the family alone, and ride for an hour in the evening, to go nowhere, and ride in circles. I am not one for doing stuff that doesn't actually accomplish something. So, I rode a hard 2 miles around the neighborhood, and called it good : ) I figured it was only going to happen if I just did it.

Here are some lessons I learned from the first trip:

- It was farther than I thought.
- It was farther than I thought.
- I used to ride 15 miles of actual mountain bike trail, without it seeming that difficult.
- Did I mention that "used to" has a whole new meaning now : )
- I learned what side of the road to be on in certain areas, because the sidewalk ends sometimes.
- I learned that the spot where the sidewalk ends is different in different directions.
- Even though people pulling out of roads and driveways have plenty of room before and after the sideway, they will always block the sidewalk, and never be aware of it.
- Even though you would catch the occassional breath of exhaust, and the air is probably not as clean as it should be, the mornings are a lot nicer on a bike, than riding in a cage.
- Watch the weather forecast for wind. I had to ride home right into the wind, and it was much tougher.
- It did feel rather nice coming home, when there was Friday traffic on 12 mile, and I was going much faster than all of them.
- Did I mention that it was farther than I thought?

Overall, it worked out rather well. Especially on the way in, the more fat, old women I saw driving hummers and drinking an extra-large coffee, made me feel that much better. The only change I think I will make is that I will start taking my bike to work in my truck. That way I can ride it home, then ride it in in the morning, and not have to do it twice in a day, until I get more used to it. Between that, getting my route more figured out, and getting more used to the ride, I should be able to get to work a lot faster here soon. It took me 1 hour and 34 mins to get there. I got up early, so it was no big deal, but I would like to cut it down to an hour. Sorry, no pics :(

Tuesday, May 1, 2007

Oil in April

I heard a report on the radio this morning that the world’s oil consumption for the month of April has been the highest ever. Not the highest for the month of April, but the highest in terms of billions of barrels. We haven’t even hit summer yet!

I tend not to believe stuff when I first hear it, so I have tried finding the figures for myself, but have not come up with anything (I do have to work too).

Even so, I fear that current price at the pump hike is due mostly to record high demand outpacing supply. If this is truly the case, it could be one ugly summer.

Even if this is not the case, I really think that everyone needs to start thinking about what they can do daily with their lives that can reduce their dependency, and therefore the overall demand for oil.

I am one of those people that do not think that the small actions that I take will make a difference and save the world. I always know that whatever I do, there will still be gluttons out there abusing resources. There is nothing that can be done about that; because this is supposedly a free country (won’t get into that). If you are like that as well, then make changes in your lifestyle for selfish reasons. If we ever get to a point where oil is too expensive, rationed, etc you will already put yourself much further ahead of everyone else by being ready. If some of these fears never come to fruition, so what? More than likely you are already better off, healthier and happier anyway. So, what do you have to lose?

I am not going to tell you all the things that you can do to make a difference. There are plenty of private and government websites out there that can tell you all that good stuff. I just suggest you look at that stuff, and how it can benefit you rather than with the pessimistic attitude of “it won’t change anything.”

The one thing I will give warning about. People tend to not look at the big picture and the irony they create by doing so. For example, riding your bike to work to save fossil fuels, and then spending money on a new flat screen TV. The resources necessary to manufacture such an item probably far outweigh the ones you saved by riding your bike. Vote with your money too! It is what people will listen to the most.

I am stealing this quote from a friend’s website. But, I came across it, and it seems applicable here:

"We must be the change we wish to see." -Gandhi