Fact: National Lampoon's Christmas Vacation is my favorite movie. Not just favorite Christmas movie, but favorite any movie. I can pretty much recite the entire thing by heart, and I'm not above watching it in the summertime or anytime it's on TV. Hip hip hooray, it's Christmas Vacatiooon! My mom is rolling her eyes right now. My dad is singing along.
Oh wait, this was supposed to be about the car. Yeah, so now that I've had my Prius for three weeks, I've decided I think I want my Corolla back.
JUST KIDDING! Corolla who?
It's insanely nice to have a car with technology, and power locks. I've put entirely too many miles on it already, because it's just fun to drive. Although, I've been probably a little too obsessed over monitoring my efficiency through the entire drive. I've set up my displays to closely resemble flying an airplane. Constantly watching the MPG stats. Keeping an eye on the hybrid system indicator. Checking the energy monitor to see how the engine and hybrid system is operating.
And when I stop, I check my trip's "score"...how high of an MPG did I get?? I'm mad anytime it's under 50, and I fist pump the air anytime it's close to or above 60.
Beyond the hybrid engine, the Prius takes other factors into account in making an eco-friendly car. The car is built to reduce drag, further increasing fuel efficiency. The hood and windshield are a smooth slope, so wind whooshes right past. The seats in the higher models are made of SofTex, an eco-friendly material. On my model, the daytime running lights and tail lights are LED. When driving in eco mode, the air conditioner power is lowered a little - but it's nothing noticeable even in this summer heat.
What I love
Averaging 50 miles to the gallon, and making it to almost 500 miles on a tank before needing to fill up.
The quiet of the engine when I'm running on the battery and electrical engine. (I still always think of that time on The Office when Andy and Dwight were dueling and Andy snuck up on Dwight in his silent Prius.)
Bluetooth connectivity for music and my phone (Hey, funny story. My sales guy helped me do the initial Bluetooth setup, and the music on my phone started playing. Without me even doing anything, my car played MMMBop before we even left the dealership. Could this car BE any more me!? </chandler>)
Cruise control. Yeah, I never had it before.
Hello, backup camera!
How my hatchback door sounds like a spaceship when I open it.
The interior design. During the test drive, I wasn't sure how much I liked the nontraditional center console area, but now I really love the little shelf on the bottom for all my crap. It's nicer than keeping everything in the cup holders.
How I've kept the inside clutter-free for almost three weeks. The only things in my trunk are my cloth shopping bags and yoga mat. Because of COURSE they are.
What I don't love
How I seem to attract every single red light now. Always when I finally get to a good cruising speed, and then I have to stop... and use gas to rev up to start again.
How the backup camera beeps like I'm a damn garbage truck until I put the car in drive.
What I'm still getting used to
The one thing I can say my old car had that this one doesn't is an automatic headlight sensor. The headlights would turn on automatically when it was getting dark outside. Now, I have to actually remember to turn my lights on - and off.
Putting the car into park with a button. The future is here, y'all.
Because of the hatchback windshield design, my rear view is a lot lower to the ground than before. And because of the hatchback itself, it feels like cars are all up in my trunk when we're stopped.
I drove around on probably a few different nights thinking my headlights were on, when, in fact, they were my fog lights. I thought my actual headlights were the brights. Derp.
Oh, and I notice every other Prius driver on the road now. I'm giddily proud to be part of the club. Is there some kind of secret hand signal you give to other Prius drivers?
No? And I'm a dork?
...I'll go get your phone. (Name that commercial!)
But seriously, I'm happy with this bad boy. It was a big leap to take, and I'm aware I have many months of paying on it (and I don't love that), but it was the right move. Thank you to everyone at Courvelle Toyota for the help and hard work!
I can't wait to see where this car takes me in the future.
A recent NOLA.com article introduced the question, "How Can Louisiana Fix Its Litter Problem?" In the wake of increased and more enforced fines throughout the state for littering, many people wonder if it would even have an impact.
If people shirk personal responsibility by choosing not to pick up after
themselves, would an extra $75 fine make any difference?
Keep Louisiana Beautiful Executive Director Susan Russell says the state spends $40 million a year on litter abatement and education. As she explains, and as I've stated before, the impact of litter is not just a surface problem. Litter impacts waterways and wildlife, both of which are ingrained in our culture and heritage.
$40 million a year to clean up our state's litter and educate residents on not littering. And look at how much litter is still on our roads, in our yards and in our waterways. Is it working?
In the article, Susan explains her solution to our litter problem:
Education helps children to start recycling at a younger age, and building that sense of responsibility in them. I learned young, and the principle stayed with me over time. Amelie is a Lafayette six-year-old who already understands the concept of keeping our planet and community clean.
Does enforcement work? People regularly break every single law we have. I love the idea of fining those who litter, but I don't think it will ultimately cause lasting change and reduce the amount of litter in Louisiana.
Funding and budgets aside, one of our greatest resources in the fight against litter are the public initiatives and dedicated volunteers. There are so many organizations in our state that are focused on cleaning up the litter on our roads, in our waterways and in nature. While they are staffed, those organizations and initiatives continue because of volunteer efforts. See: that pesky funding issue.
Volunteers came together for Project Front Yard's Trash Bash in early May. Volunteers walked a five-mile parade route to pick up beer bottles, Mardi Gras beads and roadkill for the Krewe of Rio parade. And those are just two examples of what happens at least every weekend.
Although there are tons of opportunities and some dedicated volunteers, the real solution to litter, I think, is personal responsibility.
Take care of your own litter.
It's that simple. And yes, it is SIMPLE. Although volunteers care enough to donate their time to picking up other people's trash (Michelle and I certainly ...enjoyed picking up hundreds of condoms for the Trash Bash), it shouldn't be up to someone else. Don't carelessly throw yourself on the ground, expecting or relying on someone to come along behind you and pick up after you. Pick it up yoself. Or don't drop it in the first place.
I realize that for the most part, I am preaching to the choir. But through my years of writing this blog, it's one thing I've really stayed passionate about - the way to combat litter is to simply not litter.
Why should you not litter?
Streets and waterways are cleaner
Our wildlife won't get sick from litter
Trash goes where it belongs - in a trash can or recycling bin...or donated to someone who may still be able to use it
You won't have to worry about getting fined
The state will save money on having to educate errybody on not littering
You won't be an ignorant a-hole (Yep, I said it.)
The problem is conveying this concept, and getting more people to care. For lack of a more eloquent phrase, we need to get more people to give a shit. Because they should. If only everyone could practice the concept of being responsible for their own trash.
I wrote about this extensively around Mardi Gras, when our culture basically brushes off the fact of litter. Why are float riders instructed to simply throw their trash over the side before rolling out? Why is that okay? Why is the effort not there to be responsible and throw trash into a trash can or recycling bin? It chapped my ass this year, I tell you. When I was picking up float trash before the parade and literally had a float rider throw a beer over the side that splashed all up in my hair. Ignorant.
How do we get people to take personal responsibility for their own Coke bottle, or Raising Cane's bag, or beer bottle, or apple core? WE know that you just don't throw it out of your car window, or literally drop it as you're walking along. The goal is to get the non-treehuggers, the non shit-givers, the litterers to at least care enough to throw trash away in a trash can. And on a bigger scale, to care enough to instruct others to be responsible as well. If only a fine would cause people to care.
The #Countdownto30 has officially hit 0! Today, I'm celebrating turning 30, as gracefully as I can attempt, and having a great weekend with my boo.
It's been a hell of a ride so far this year, since I created my Countdown to 30 bucket list six months ago. I'm honestly proud of myself for checking as much off my bucket list as I did. And I'm proud of how much ass I've kicked so far this year. I'm finally starting to feel like a grownup with my stuff together. Although there are still more than a few hot mess days that happen.
Goal: Age like a fine wine.
✔Buy a new car. What WHAT! Starting off my 30s in STYLE. With about a week and a half to spare, I said goodbye to the car I've had since high school and drove home in a pretty sweet Prius. I'm in love, y'all. One of my many favorite features is the trip summary once I park. It's already become an obsession of seeing how many miles per gallon I can get on each trip.
1/2 ✔Travel somewhere new. So I haven't really made it to visiting any new cities in the past six months, but as I was talking to a friend recently, I realized I could look at it as visiting new places within my own city. I've gotten to visit local businesses that are either new or new to me, and it gives me a newfound love for my hometown.
1/2 ✔ Clean out, donate and start fresh. Well. I've done alright at purging some more clothes and other things, but unfortunately it's all still sitting in a pile in our house. We still haven't gotten to that damn garage sale, but are planning it for this month. My fiance has sold some of the items in other ways, so we are still making progress.
✔ Learn how to sew better. A couple months back, my fiance's stepmom and I had a sewing date (split into two sessions), and she helped me make a beach/pool bag from a repurposed scarf I had. It turned out way better than I expected, and I had a blast learning how to use a sewing machine. I eventually want to invest in one for the house so I can alter clothes that need a better fit.
Bonus ✔Try aerial yoga. Not long after I wrote about my current yoga obsessions, I learned about a local yoga studio that offers aerial yoga. Sure, I had never heard of it before, but it took about .2 seconds to intrigue me, and I signed up for the intro class. I cannot WAIT to try the full class. It's like you flyin', yeah!
Bonus ✔ Got a ring put on it. Although not really a bucket list item, it is a pretty great accomplishment that happened during the last six months. My mother is proud to report that I am not officially an old maid.
I mean, it's not like I even remember what a summer break is like. But nonetheless, summer break is here. Whether or not you have a big summer vacation with friends or family planned (insert wah-face emoji here), there are tons of destinations here in Louisiana you can visit. From a short day trip to a long weekend trip, get out in the Louisiana nature and be eco-friendly.
If you missed the collection last October, or you've accumulated another pile of trash, your next chance for proper disposal is coming up on Saturday, June 13! Mark your calendars and start compiling your waste.
Available for residents of the City of Lafayette and unincorporated Lafayette Parish, the chemical collection day accepts paint and paint products, turpentine, paint thinner, stains, gasoline, chemical cleaners, photo materials, pesticides, herbicides, pool chemicals and mercury thermometers.
The collection will be stationed at Cajun Field from 8 a.m. to noon. When you arrive, your license will be checked for residence verification, and you'll wait in a drive-thru line. Workers will collect your items for you, and off you go!
I recommend you go earlier to avoid a longer line of cars.
They cannot take electronics or other tricky items, but do provide a list of where you can take them anytime.
A VERY important reminder is that NONE of these items go in your curbside trash can. They cannot go to a landfill, and the point of the chemical collection is to make sure they are properly recycled and disposed of by the collection company.
Electronics (except TVs and monitors)
Louisiana Scrap Metal | 2200 Cameron St. | M-F 7a-3:45p, Sa 7a-11:30a
TVs and monitors (smaller than 32")
Office Depot | fees may apply
Ink and toner cartridges
Some local schools also have programs to accept them | Check with your favorite school
Rechargeable batteries and cell phones
Best Buy | lithium ion only
Louisiana Scrap Metal
Most auto stores
Motor oil or antifreeze
Most auto stores
Compressed Gas Cylinders
Ameri-Gas | 2317 N. University Ave.
Public Works South District Yard | 1017 Fortune Road
Colt, Inc. | 1223 Delhomme Ave.