Monday, October 15, 2007

Getting bit by the green bug

Here's a couple of stats for you. According to the EPA, we spend roughly 1/4 of our energy bill on lighting alone. More than $37 billion each year! They also say,
"If every American home replaced just one light bulb with an ENERGY STAR qualified bulb, we would save enough energy to light more than 3 million homes for a year, more than $600 million in annual energy costs, and prevent greenhouse gases equivalent to the emissions of more than 800,000 cars."
Wow. Earlier this year, I decided to make a concerted, albeit small, effort towards minimizing our demand on oil consumption and energy waste. While it may be small on an individual level, it can turn huge on a global scale. We started using compact florescent bulbs in our house and at a rental property that we own.
CFs have been around for several years and unless you are coming out of a cave, you have seen them somewhere if not in your own fixtures.
I started out testing 2 different types in our home earlier in the year. I went with the daylight type bulb in our bathroom area. It genuinely replicates the type of light you see coming through a skylight. It was sort of strange at first especially in a dark bathroom. At night, it can seem like daylight fills the room. That took a little time getting used to, but now it's not even an issue.
We then changed out numerous lights throughout the house with the soft white cf bulbs. Their soft white glow is certainly comfortable and what is the norm that most of us are used to.
Much to my surprise and/or ignorance, the bulb manufacturers have a wide range of products including numerous decorative styles, outdoor flood lights and interior recessed flood lights.
At our rental property, the lights in the common areas are on a timer that starts approx. at 5pm and goes until 7 am. For the last 5 years, we were changing out the incandescent bulbs constantly. This was a time consuming and somewhat costly event. In May, I replaced a handful of them to see how they would do. As of the first week of October, they were still going strong and our power bill for those lights alone had dropped substantially. I then replaced the remaining bulbs. All of the common areas, roughly 24 lights, are now CF bulbs. Between those and the ones at my house, it looks like I just helped light a few more homes or remove a few more cars worth of pollution from the air. I guess It's a start at the least.

Friday, October 12, 2007

Great use of the Internet

I think this may be one of the more creative and powerful uses of the internet that I have come across in a long time. Donors Choose
We all know just how bad off our school systems are financially. Not to say anything of the academic "stats", but it is a sad state of affairs when teachers are having to go spend their own hard earned, and all things considered, small paychecks to be able to provide the basic essentials in the classrooms. Things they need to be able to teach our kids, the future of this country. The potential leaders of business and government. The very structure of our society. Without even so much as updated books, paper and pencils. PENCILS? Are you kidding me? Sad. I will spare the reader my opinions on the obviously ridiculous justification for the BILLIONS being spent elsewhere in the world, while some 5 year old in "Anytown U.S.A" has no utensil in which to write the word CAT. It's all too simple an argument.
Take a look at this posting on the site from a teacher in Charleston- One of the most popular tourist attractions in the country:

I teach the third grade in a Title 1 school in North Charleston, SC in a low socioeconomic area. My students love to learn, but I do not make enough money to buy enough supplies for my entire class. We need basic supplies like notebook paper, pencils, composition books, markers, crayons, and tissue for our classroom. I would love to have enough for them to be able to do our daily activities.

My students will use these resources everyday. I know these seem like beginning of the year supplies that every student brings to school on the first day of class. However, this is a very poor neighborhood and most students do not bring in any of these items during the year nor do they have these basic supplies at home. The supplies brought in by the few students that do contribute at the beginning of the year are used up by Thanksgiving or even earlier. I end up spending the little money that I earn on these essential supplies that my students need to have and I simply cannot afford it any longer!

All of my students would have access to these materials and would benefit tremendously from your donation on a daily basis. Thank you for your help!

My project needs basic classroom supplies like paper, pencils, markers, and notebooks to complete our day to day activities. The cost of this proposal is $371, which includes shipping for any materials requested.

When you go to the site which is also posted on the right of my page, you can sign up and review what teachers needs are all around the country. You can find specific projects that teachers are developing and creating to help teach our kids in a better, more creative and stimulating way.
A neat part of the site has a section in which you can create a challenge for others to participate in and help raise money for specific projects. Have a look. A few dollars here and there can make a difference. Pass that link on to as many people as you can. Maybe we can do something about this. Clearly, our government can't.

Add to Technorati Favorites

Thursday, October 11, 2007

Sound work on King Kong

I found this video that shows just how much work really goes into film production. These people did all of the sound editing for King Kong, among others to be sure.
Next time you watch a movie, imagine just how much went in to putting together each individual scene. Even the sound your clothes make when walking around a room had to be miked and recorded just right to make the whole scene that much more intense.

Wednesday, October 10, 2007

Not much between the ears AKA-It should help the Iraq

Sat down earlier today to take a look at some things on the computer. Jumped online to take a look at the whole bloggy-blogg world, check news etc. By the way, Georgy Boy still doesn't quite have a grasp on the English language. Surprised?
(Note: The reader should in no way interpret the following post as evidence that the "Poster"-aka "Blogger" has never viewed either accidentally nor purposely the horrible morning show in which a gaggle of cackling hens sits around yenta-ing it up known as The View)
I realize that I am a week or so behind on this, but can someone please explain to me how the following conversation was able to take place AT ALL? I will reserve judgment until after the transcript.

WHOOPI GOLDBERG: Is the world flat?

SHERRI SHEPHERD: Is the world flat? (laughter)


SHEPHERD: …I Don’t know.

GOLDBERG: What do you think?

SHEPHERD: I… I never thought about it, Whoopi. Is the world flat? I never thought about it.

BARBARA WALTERS: You’ve never thought about whether the world was round or flat?

SHEPHERD: I tell you what I’ve thought about. How I’m going to feed my child–

WALTERS: Well you can do both.

SHEPERD: …how I’m going to take care of my family. The world, is the world flat has never entered into, like that has not been an important thing to me.

ELIZABETH HASSELBECK: You’ll teach your son, Jeffery, right?

SHEPHERD: If my son, Jeffery, asks me ‘is the world flat,’ I guess I would go…

JOY BEHAR: You know, didn’t some person already work this question out? I mean, why are we doing this again? (laughter, applause)

Of all the hens, I would have to say that at least Joy has some wit about her, based on her comment at the end of course. Otherwise, I have no clue about her.

AND, in the interest of fair play let us not forget about the pure genius of our neighbor to the south who also was stumped on a "geographical" question. The lovely, the talented, Miss. Teen South Carolina Caitlin Upton (cue the dueling banjos)

“I personally believe that U.S. Americans are unable to do so because, uhmmm, some people( I swear she said Osama), out there in our nation don’t have maps and uh, I believe that our, I, education like such as uh, South Africa, and uh, the Iraq, everywhere like such as, and I believe that they should, uhhh, our education over here in the US should help the U.S., uh, should help South Africa, it should help the Iraq and the Asian countries so we will be able to build up our future, for us.”

Wow. If you ever need a good laugh, and yet at the same time a little fear shot into you, watch that video. I cringe thinkin that my girls should ever even know of these two nimrods. It's amazing that we live in a time when there is so much concern for sexuality, violence, and language control in the media, yet we keep allowing this kind of stupidity to flourish.
That's all the energy I have to muster at the moment. My brain is starting to absorb the absolute simpletonness-(google that word) of these 2 nitwits. Time for some go juice to get that mid-afternoon pick-me-up started.

Add to Technorati Favorites

Alas the….rrrrriiiiiiiiinnnnnngg….journey begins

Funny, just as I was about to start this post, my phone rings. Literally, as I am putting my fingers to the keys, BAM! That is annoying. Really. Doesn’t it seem like that happens a lot? You finally get to the point of being ready to do something and an interruption occurs which just puts that original activity on hold entirely. How often does that happen and affect us without us even realizing it?

How about those times when you finally get the kids to bed, the miscellaneous things completed that have been needing completion, get the dvd player setup, sound check, color adjustment on the widescreen, all the remotes in an orderly pile next to your bucket of noshes, you just heard that wonderful THX surround sound intro and your significant other decides that it is THE time to have that long overdue discussion about what so and so did at work today. Ok, so that is overblown a bit and quite honestly very cliche. That is NEVER the case in my world. (I think she may actually be reading this) Did I miss the accent back there?

Truthfully though, I often find myself caught in a strange place that makes me cringe when it happens. It is usually when I am with my daughters and we may be having a discussion, maybe snacking, watching t.v, even putting them to bed. The phone is in my pocket, on the fridge, on the mantle, wherever. It rings and I have to respond either to send it to voicemail, or answer it. 99% of the time I am sending it to voicemail and that’s all. But just the act of having to respond to it at all, to look as though I am putting whoever is on that line ahead of my daughters makes me sick. I know what some of you are saying. Well, at least the 2 of you that are reading this. Your saying “TURN OFF YOUR PHONE”. Easier said than done.

What’s even scarier is that my 2 year old will often tell me that the phone is ringing and that I should get it, though not in so many words of course. It usually sounds something along the lines of “Daddy, phone. Phone Daddy. Phone Daddy. UH OH, Phone Daddy!” Often accompanied by, but not exclusively, a sort of 2 year old’s interpretation of the Cabbage Patch, maybe? Not totally sure. Arms moving in a horizontal circular type motion? Check, kinda. Elbows tucked in at sides? Check, sorta. Silly expression on face? ABSOLUTELY. WOW! It is the Cabbage Patch. Kid’s got skills. Oops, I mean, skeeelz, yo!

I’m off. No doubt I’ll be interrupted prior to accomplishing something else vitally important in my life. Wouldn’t it be nice if those interruptions came when you’re neighbor down the block is asking you to help move the Pleather sectional couch he just scored from his brother-in-law moving to Paducah? Yeah, 2nd floor, July 3rd, 95 degrees at 7pm. Oh hooray for the red white and blue.

Add to Technorati Favorites

Midnight in the glow of my LCD

Being on the cutting edge of technology as I often am, I decided to jump into this new thing they call “blogging” Not sure if many of you have ever heard of this new phenomenon or not, but you can bet the farm that it is going to be BIG one day in the future.

So ok, those are the first words I chose to start this endeavour with. Clearly I was making a joke, albeit lame. It is late after all. I have chosen to pursue this amazing outlet that offers so much to so many. Imagine it. I came across the wordpress site, entered some information, created a witty name (don’t you think?) and am now putting these words out into the digital world, for all of 5 people to see.

The ability to create content for anything that one desires, put it together and submit it to millions(?) with the ease of making a peanut butter sandwich is awesome.What’s more is that you can make money doing this?? This I gotta see, and hopefully others will as well. Bear with me.

That’s all I’ve got left at the moment. The coffee is finally wearing off and there is a very annoying high-pitched electrical hum/whir that is coming from my Power Mac. Man that is awful. Painful even.

I’ll leave this little quote I found on writing. I like it. It says a lot.

Get it down. Take chances. It may be bad, but it’s the only way you can do anything really good.
- William Faulkner

Add to Technorati Favorites