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

December 27, 2006

Christmas and the Solar Experience

Filed under: Uncategorized — admin @ 4:16 pm

Hurray! Christmas came, fulfilled it’s duty, and will now be remembered as a slice of all our histories. We now jettison into a more non-consumerism focused time of the year (except for V-day). Fewer commercials for my son to salavitate over and scream “Mommy! Mommy! I want that!!”. Don’t get me wrong – I mostly like Christmas, I just feel that the purpose of Christmas was lost a LONG time ago. I’m not talking about the religious meaning, more the good will and cheer part – remembering to be nice to each other, if only for a few days.

Our neighbors seem to understand this concept. They were kind enough to invite us over for their Christmas family dinner. So far we seem to have lucked out by moving to where we did, considering we had no clue what we might be getting ourselves into since we didn’t know the area very well. Nickey did a great job of doing a lot of research online before we chose our home and knew that the school Hayden would go to was a top rated one and we knew the neighborhood was quiet…at least the few times we were there to look at the house. Almost all the neighbors have introduced themselves and are nice. One of our neighbors has a little car farm going on but it’s probably not possible to have a perfect situation.

As a family Christmas gift we all went to Disneyland. I hadn’t been there in…24 years so I didn’t remember much of what I saw. Hayden was a real trooper – we were there for over eight hours and even though he was really tired by the end of it he didn’t complain and was really good the whole time. He’s still a little too young to willingly go on all the rides he can go on because he’s a little scardy of most of them. We had to coax him to go on almost all the rides we went on. One of them would have scared the crap out of me at four years old though. Nickey thought we were in line to ride a train but when we got to the head of the line we found we were going on the log ride. I was in the front seat, Hayden in the second and Nickey in the third. Surprisingly he didn’t scream or cry — or say anything — during the whole ride. Well, until the end anyway. Needless to say we were all soaked and the people on the back half of the “log” were laughing because of the ride. Hayden got mad and turned around to scold them for laughing because him being wet was “NOT FUNNY!”. This just made them laugh more I think. When we got off the ride he was walking straight legged because his pants were wet and for some reason he was saying “Oh man, my left leg is soaked!”. Keeping in mind that he has no idea which is his right or left leg – that just made it all the funnier. Probably had to be there.

We also went to Goofy’s kitchen for brunch. THAT was cool! Buffet of almost anything a kid could want to eat – waffles shaped like Mickey, peanut butter and jelly pizza, eggs, jello, etc. I know I was in heaven. Hayden got a bunch of autographs of the characters in his book. The whole thing was a lot of fun. Some of the locals I’ve talked to go once a week or once a month to Disneyland – I don’t know that I would want to go that often but once or twice a year would be good.

On to the solar experience. I’m planning a solar project – since I now live in SoCal with an abundance of sun – and am tracking it through a link on the left over there. I’ll try to update it. One thing I, at least for now, won’t be tracking on that page is a solar water heater I built to heat the pool. The pool is currently 53 degrees and doesn’t have a heater, nor does it need one since it gets over 100 degrees in the summer, but I want to go swimming now. Through doing some research online I found a few plans for building pool heaters and thought I’d try it. My goal is to swim on January 1st but I don’t think this will work that fast – we’ll see. The initial test I did was using tap water at a flow rate of about 16 ounces every 5-10 seconds. The sky was hazy so it wasn’t full sunlight but I was getting water out the other side at over 100 degrees. Maybe this thing will actually work. Hmm. Next I hooked it up to the pool pump outlet so it’s all automated now and is flowing about twice as fast as the tap water test. With that setup I was getting about 72 degrees, that’s a 29 degree increase! I’m happy with that considering it was a hazy day and the flow was faster than the tap test.

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