D E M E N T E D P E N G U I N . N E T

February 20, 2007

How clean is your electricity?

Filed under: Uncategorized — admin @ 5:22 pm

I recently signed up for a solar installation/rental service called CitizenRe. How it works is they install a complete solar system free of charge, less a $500 deposit. The system doesn’t really save any money on the electric bill, the rental fee of the equipment is supposed to be directly related to the average cost of the utility fed electric bill. There are three main reasons we’re looking into doing this – 1) we won’t have to come up with the money for the large initial cost of installation, 2) during power outages and/or brown/blackouts we won’t be affected, and 3) we will be doing something positive for the environment. It’s easy enough to justify the environment part. I went to an EPA Power Profiler web site that, when I entered my zip code, told me what types of fuels were used to produce the power I use from the local utility company. Apparently 45% of my electricity is generated using gas and about 37% is generated using hydro and solar. The rest is oil and coal.

The solar system will plug into our existing system and will be a supplement to it, not a replacement. We will still need to use some utility power for things like our A/C unit, pool pump, and other high-load intermittent devices I’m guessing. Nothing formal has been set up yet, I’ve only made the initial inquiry and hope to get the process rolling along soon.

On another electricity side note…. I bought a pocket bike about 2.5 years ago and never got the dang thing working. It has just sat and sat – occasionally I’ve tried to start it but it just won’t for whatever reason. I’ve checked spark and fuel and all seem to be okay. Who knows, maybe it’s compression. In any case I got tired of having the thing and not being able to use it so yesterday I finally got around to doing something about it. I went to a local electronics “junk yard” called Apex Electronics and picked up some small 12v 12ah batteries and a scooter motor (24v 16.5a 300W). I got home, ripped out the engine in the bike and mounted the scooter motor. I then connected the 2 12v batteries in series for 24v and it worked like a charm. The only thing I didn’t have was the controller so I couldn’t test drive it but I found an inexpensive controller online and will be testing it out as soon as the part arrives. I’ll post pictures and details when I’m done. I’ve also been drawing up plans for converting a boat to electric – but that will be *WAAAAAY* off in the future.

February 12, 2007

We found Ed!!

Filed under: Uncategorized — admin @ 1:45 am

Late last year I saw my first commercial for a new show that from the first commercial I had been DYING to watch it. It was a new show called Living with Ed. I’ve never been a *big* fan of Ed Begley Jr. per se (obviously who the show was about for those who haven’t seen it), but since moving to SoCal I have been consumed with solar and alternative power sources. This show was all about that.

During the course of the show we learned that Ed lives in Studio City, which is really close to where I live. We found ourselves watching the episodes closely for clues to where he might live. No, we were not stalking him although someone watching us on video camera might have a different opinion on that…. We were picking out stores that he was going to and looking them up on google maps, running the shows in slow-mo trying to catch street signs, noticing aspects of his neighborhood that might stand out, etc. Today all of that research paid off – sort of…well, not really. As a “fun” family thing to do we decided to take a tour of Studio City and see if we could find Ed’s house by locating a particular nail salon that was randomly shown during one of the episodes and start our circle of searching from that point. He had walked to the store so it seemed feasable that he might live close by.

As I type this it’s starting to sound stranger and stranger – but I assure you that it’s totally innocuous and just idle curiosity…honestly.

So now I get to the part about how the research paid off, sort of but not really. We never did find the nail salon that we saw in that episode but through some random turns and because Ed has a solar array up on a pole on top of his garage we sort of some how found his house. It was purely a chance thing. On around our fifth time going around the house we saw Ed at his door letting someone in. Nickey had the window down to take a picture of the house when she saw him and proclaimed quite loudly in a high voice “There he is! There’s Ed!”. If he didn’t hear her (since she was only about 30 feet away from him) then I have no idea how. It was pretty funny.

It was a bittersweet moment because now that I had found the house I was relieved that the search was over but was dissapointed because now I didn’t have a big mystery to solve anymore. We soon started brainstorming about our next endeavour – Bill Nye lived close by, we could search for the Surreal Life house, the Apprentice houses, etc. These are things that we would never have even been remotely concerned with back in Washington but since they are much more attainable here they are soon becoming a hobby.

I’m curious why there were only four episodes of Living with Ed. It wasn’t like the show was pulled off the air, at least I don’t think so. There was a “season finale” so that would indicate that the show might come back again at some point, I think. We’ll see.

February 11, 2007

Feb 10th? It’s time for a swim!

Filed under: Uncategorized — admin @ 2:27 am

I have been dying to go swimming since we bought the house in Nov and have been trying to find ways to heat the pool above it’s original 50 degree mark. Unfortunately my efforts have less than thrilled my wife due to the shrapnel left in the yard from my trials and tribulations, but she’s been a trooper though and hasn’t been too unaccepting so far.

I had been doing yard stuff all afternoon and had made up my mind that today was the day, the day for history, the day of the first human in our pool since we bought it. Sure, it was a frigid 57 degrees but I was undaunted. I proclaimed my decision to my wife, she said to make sure and let her know before I got in so she could witness the event, and even got my son involved when I decided the time had arrived to get in the pool. The first two steps in were okay, it was the third one that almost got me – it’s that critical part of the body that can sway lots of decisions in life given the right situation. Once I had gotten used to the water at that point I decided it was time to go all the way and dunked myself. Whoa.

A funny side-effect was that all this inspired Hayden to join in the fun and he started getting in the pool too. It took him a little while before he got in far enough to encounter the problem I had with the third step listed above but he thought it was more funny than excruciatingly cold and proclaimed – “I got my pe*is wet!”. LOL. What a kid.

By the time I was ready to get out it had been about an hour and Hayden was still ready to go. This is going to be a great summer.

February 5, 2007

The first day of pre-K

Filed under: Uncategorized — admin @ 6:23 pm

The day had finally come, little man’s first day of “real” school. He’s been to accredited daycares before but not real public school until now. I arranged to work from home today so we all walked to the school, got introduced to the four teachers in is class (four teachers?!?) and then when it was time for us (Nickey and I) to leave Hayden said, “Okay, bye” and gave us a hug and a kiss. I guess he was ready! When we went to pick him up we were watching how he was playing and how the teachers were interacting with him. He seemed to be behaving himself and his teachers said he did pretty well. He did *NOT* want to leave when it was time to go though, that was a little hard. He had been a little testy all day and this was just another extension of that. After a few hours at home he went to karate. He’s also got another play date tomorrow – this kid’s schedule is fuller than mine is!

Forcast for the day: 84 and clear skies

Filed under: Uncategorized — admin @ 12:11 am

What a phenomenal day it was today. After doing some mandatory home projects we all loaded up and headed to Malibu beach. We flew a kite, played frisbee, played in the sand, Hayden got knocked over by a 3″ wave…boy was he mad, Hayden talked to a “hubba-hubba” girl on the beach (with the help of mom). A “hubba-hubba girl” is a girl he thinks is pretty, not surprisingly almost all of them look a lot like his mom. That kid really loves the beach, and not just because of the girls 😉

Tomorrow is his first day of pre-K and he’s looking forward to it. Nickey went last week to register him and he was upset when he didn’t get to stay and meet his new friends. Everyone says this school is a good one so hopefully it will do him some good. I’m sure I’ll have plenty to report as he progresses. Makes me wish I could remember my first day at pre-K, or kindergarten for that matter.

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