Renewable Energy

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Movie Reviews

Posted by on 24 Nov 2008 | Tagged as: General, Renewable Energy

Escape From Suburbia:  A good movie.  However you MUST watch the prequel, The End of Suburbia.  Anyone who wants to understand us, should watch this movie.  It is about peak oil, the moment when the world can produce the maximum amount of oil possible.  This would not be an issue, if our civilization was not based on cheap oil.  We can no longer afford a 3000 mile Caesar salad.  The first of these movies will blow you away.  The second was a good documentary, but it was more about the lives of people who were afraid of peak oil, and the choices that they were making.  No new messages, but the same faces.  What made this movie worth a mention was that while all these experts were forecasting doom back in 2006, one of them mentioned that the cost of fuel would reach a certain breaking point, then the stock market would collapse.  Didn’t this just happen folks?!?!?!  Giant corporations tried to save a buck by off-shoring our jobs, but suddenly failed when the costs of doing so bit them in the …..well, go watch the pair of movies.

Best movie ever:  King Corn.  Two guys from Boston learn that you are what you eat. Not only do we eat corn based products, but we feed our livestock corn products….so we are slowly turning into corn based beings. Two Bean Town graduates move to Iowa to grow an acre of corn to learn how it enters the food stream.  Not only is it mind-shaking for our food, it does describe what it’s like living here.  It’s filmed in Greene,  Iowa.  We are in Greene Country, Iowa, but the people and the feel are the same.  I should make my New England relatives watch this to understand why we moved here.

Random Thoughts

Posted by on 23 May 2008 | Tagged as: General, Renewable Energy

Oil Prices, isn’t that on the top of everyones list?

One part I hardly hear mentioned, but then again I don’t watch TV, is that the American economy is tanking. We knew this right, but how does it affect gas prices….Well it’s a foreign commodity. If the value of a dollar falls, which it has and continues to do, the cost of foreign goods goes up. Maybe the cost of oil isn’t changing much in the Middle East, but maybe our money isn’t worth much there anymore. I think that’s a factor to why the prices keep going up. I thought the $100/barrel concept seemed to be an outrage as we hovered close to it. No one wanted to see it. Now that we passed it, record prices come day after day. No one tries to stop it.
Then again, we need to suck it up and get used to it. I’ve talked to my worldwide business partners, and 1-2 years ago, we compared fuel prices. Fuel here is cheap, the government subsidies it. Why do you think Europe has public transportation and fuel efficient small cars? High fuel costs forced them to think about it, and do something.

We were pampered with cheap fuel, and huge SUV’s. I’m tired of hearing people complain of the cost of a fill-up when they commute 40-60+ miles a day in a Yukon, Cherokee, or large truck. Maybe we need the expensive fuel so that this country is forced to act. Bush wants to up the fuel economy in 10 years to match what Europe is running now? What kind of progress is that?! Detroit continues to complain about Honda Hybrids outselling thier large gas-guzzlers?

Driving is a privilege, not a right. Complaining gets you no where. Time to bike, walk, carpool, take public transportation, etc. Wait, what’s that? Oh yeah. We hardly have any. Trade down to smaller cars, go hybrid, go electric or burn veggie. Something drastic will have to take place to change the amount YOU spend at the pump. No more being pampered.

Oh, and all you people who complain about China suppling all our goods, stop shopping at Wal-mart!! Didn’t you realize that 70% of their stock comes directly from China?. I thought 20 years ago, when I first saw a Wal-mart, they had ‘Made in the USA’ stickers everywhere. Where did those go? Now, everything comes from the lowest bidder, China. Progress in the form of shareholder dollars.

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Picture Ratings

Posted by on 07 Jan 2008 | Tagged as: Construction, Gardening, General, Renewable Energy, Sports, The Menagerie, The Organic Life

I saw that rating for the pictures could be turned on…..so I did.  You can click on 5 stars if you love the picture.  Less stars for, you know.

Why?  I have no idea.

I don’t do windows

Posted by on 15 Nov 2007 | Tagged as: Construction, General, Renewable Energy

I need to adopt those words.img_0440-01.jpg
In what seemed to be the never-ending project, the barn has windows in it. I thought I was so lucky to find all the original windows sitting in the barn. There was only one window that was complete. The rest were missing glass. Luckily, our local Ace hardware could do the glass replacement and glazing. I knew it was worth whatever price they set. img_0442-01.jpg

Well then, these windows were original. They were weather beaten, animal chewed, and sometimes rotten. It took days of sanding, gluing, re-sanding, adding filler, and sanding again to get to a good and useable state. Then the painting began. Do you know how annoying painting loose windows are? You can’t do both sides at once, and you can’t get to the all the edges at the same time either. It seemed to take forever to finish a full rotation. The hardest part was getting enough space to lay all these out in order to dry. The best part is that they needed primer, then paint. Another three days of the painting one side at a time.img_0443-01.jpg
Finally, they were painted and dry. Cleaning went pretty fast, I got that done all in one night. I didn’t mask the glass, so a pass of a razor blade was needed on all the edges, then a good blast of glass cleaner to get all the grime, glazing goo, and fingerprints off.
The final step was getting them into the barn. The frames were mostly good, and got some primer during my painting spree. The hardest part was trying window after window in each hole. I didn’t realize that each window was a slightly different size. I think it took about 3 tries to get the best fit.

The locking pins had me confused. Most window frames had a hole on each side that accepted the pins. However, I had 2 windows with a single pin on the top. I looked all around, and found only 1 window frame with this option. There is an opening at the very top of the south side of the barn. I set up the 20 foot ladder inside the hayloft. Yes, this is one floor up already. I doubt that standing, on the top rung, would I be able to reach that opening. Besides, there was so much wind, the window would have flown from my hands. Needles to say, the window found another home.
The sides of the barn have two windows in place. The back wall has two of the three windows on the ground floor done. I am not replacing the one waaaayy up there right now. None of the holes on the north side seem to take windows.img_0445-01.jpg
I have 4 more frames in the garage. These are the ones that will take serious rebuilding, as these are missing pieces. I need 2 of them….I wonder where the other two goes? I think there are some in the upper ends of the crib as well.

I did notice, that once these single paned windows were in place. Standing inside the barn was actually very comfy. We might actually get some work done during these colder Iowa days. I have plans on making a large thermosiphon air heater on the south wall. Maybe some winter work will be feasible.

Simplicity in Style

Posted by on 04 Mar 2007 | Tagged as: General, Renewable Energy, The Organic Life

Or maybe we should call it “High Tech Hippies” This is one goal for our lives. We would prefer to surround ourselves with fewer objects of quality than a bunch of cheap Walmart crap. Both require the same input of funds, but the first is better for ourselves and the environment.

Rich and I have discussed this ideal. It already takes many forms in our current lifestyle. For example, we have banned all TV from the house except in the form of DVDs because we believe broadcast and cable television is a bad influence on kids (and us). However, we like to watch our movies on a great home theater system.

We have banned “uni-taskers” from the kitchen. A utensil or appliance is allowed in our kitchen unless it can serve multiple functions. No pasta makers, pizza makers, deep fryers, cotton candy machines or any other nonsense.

Another example. We fully intend on generating our own energy without compromises OR waste. We won’t be sacrificing our microwave (a notoriously energy inefficient device) and espresso machine, but we will sacrifice other energy hogging appliances (ceramic space heaters, electric dryer, hair dryers, coffee maker, etc). In some cases, we will use energy efficient alternatives such as a gas powered clothes dryer and a french press for regular coffee.

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