Friday, May 30, 2014

May 29 (Day 149) - Dorian disconnected (again), Let's exchange stories!

Hey BFB Fans, it’s Sonia. Once again Dorian is without Internet for the evening. As he mentioned in his post yesterday, he planned to make a big climb today and I believe he is currently camping out in hopes of finding the Flammulated owl tonight.  I can't help it, but this is what I picture when I hear him say Flammulated owl:

Suspenders and all

I had to promise Dorian that if he gave me the reigns to his blog again that I wouldn’t allow my Kings hockey fanaticism to take over, unless I want more High School photos to surface (which I don't. He has photos of me in band). This is exceptionally hard for me, especially since they are one win away from advancing to the Finals. But a promise is a promise so I will keep myself in check… almost. Just one photo, no?

Thank you Flyers. Time for another.

Ok, on a more serious note, I do want to thank all of you for your interest in Dorian’s adventure. I have personally been so overwhelmed by the investment so many of you have made to supporting him this year, whether it be through reading the blog, donating, offering words of encouragement, birding and biking with him and/or providing him food and shelter. I have always been of the opinion that there is more good in humanity than bad, and it has been encouraging to see that Dorian has been on the receiving end of all of your good. Thank you.

Dorian has also told me about a few stories some of you have shared with him. He frequently gets emails from people who feel motivated by what he's doing and they tell him about things they are doing differently in their daily lives because of it. Some of you have started birding more by foot or bike. Some of you have starting biking to work. Some of you have said you’re more conscious about recycling. And some of you have even gone without air conditioning in the heat of the summer! It’s so cool to hear these things, so I thought it might be fun to hear more. What else have you done? Or maybe this could serve as a challenge… what could you do? Write them down in the comments section below. Not only will this serve as a tremendous encouragement for Dorian, but it might also serve as motivation for each other.

I’ll start. This year I have decided that I will not take a single plastic bag from a grocery store. It isn’t a major change from past behavior since I have always tried to take my own bags when grocery shopping, but it has lead to some interesting interactions as I move around to different parts of the country. If I’m not purchasing a lot, I typically just carry stuff out in my arms. In those cases, the clerk usually questions my lack of bag.

Me: “I don’t need a bag, I’ll just carry it out”.
Clerk: “Are you sure you don’t want a bag?”
Me: “Yes, I’m sure.”

Sometimes the clerk will go as far as asking again, like I really must not understand what I’m suggesting:

Clerk: “No really, are you sure you don’t want one?”
Me: “Yes, promise I’m sure.”

And on one occasion the clerk went as far as insisting that I MUST take a plastic bag:

Clerk: “Really, you need a bag. Let me just put it in here for you” as she proceeded to put my already bagged medication in another bag.
Me: “No really, please don’t. I don’t need it.”
Clerk: “But you do. We put everything in a bag here. How will you carry it out?”
Me: [pause] “Well, I carried it up to the register, so I think I’ll manage.”

I literally had to remove my item from the plastic bag and tell her that I really didn’t want one because I am trying not to use plastic bags this year. She looked at me like I was a leprechaun jumping over a double rainbow on a unicorn. 

Obligatory photo of a leprechaun 
jumping over a rainbow on a unicorn 
because the Internet is awesome

Ok, honestly, I don’t see myself as some environmental goddess because I don’t use plastic bags at a store. After all, I grew up in Los Angeles, the largest US city to ban retailers from giving out free plastic bags in efforts to get more people to use reusable bags. We’re all just a bunch of unicorn riding leprechauns. That said, it is pretty fascinating to me that something so small is still such a big deal for some people.

Your turn. Any interesting stories out there? 


  1. And seriously, Go Dorian Go. If he comes to Redondo Beach, CA, we will be happy to host him. :)

  2. Of course, if you do get a plastic bag from a grocery store, there's no reason just to toss it when you get home. We reuse them as garbage bags.

  3. Sonia, I'm starting to see you as the Mad Scientists to Dorian's Joel/Mike + the robots on MST3k.

    When thinking of things one can do to help the environment and/or the birds, it always helps to point out to people how they reap benefits themselves. Play to self-interest! For example:
    * Biking: fun, healthy, and saves on gas money (have you seen the price of gas lately?
    * Having a fuel efficient car: see above, in re price of gas
    * Using AC and heating less: Have you seen the price of your utility bill lately?
    * Using reusable water bottle: have you seen the price of bottled water?
    * Keeping cats indoors: I live in an archetypal urban/suburban neighborhood, and the list of things outside I want the kittehs nowhere near is pretty long. (Like that skunk who we see regularly.)
    * Using reusable cloth bags at the supermarket: stronger than plastic ones. No one wants a tragicomic dropping of the groceries.
    * Volunteering with Audubon or other groups on projects to help birds: it's another way to go birding, and who doesn't love that? The missus + I have been monitoring shorebird nests for USF&W - today we saw the first Piping Plover chicks of the year; their cuteness is inversely proportional to their mass.


  4. Jo Hutcheson in Charleston (Dorian stayed with us!)June 5, 2014 at 8:11 AM

    Sonia, like Ruud above, we reuse the grocery bags as garbage bags, but I'd just as soon never see another plastic bag. I'm wondering what you use for the garbage?