Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Jim Kunstler Says it Best

If you haven't already, check out Jim Kunstler's website. If you can get past the slightly offensive title, he has some really interesting things to comment on our society especially as we reach issues of the end of the petroleum era. Of particular note was this quote:

"Of course, one of the reasons that Americans are so anxious to get away on a holiday weekend from the places where they live is because we did such a perfect job the past fifty years turning our home-places into utterly unrewarding, graceless nowheres, where the private realm of the beige houses is saturated in monotony, and the public realm has been reduced to the berm between the WalMart and the strip mall. Now, we barely have the gasoline to run all this stuff, let alone escape from it for a weekend."

Have you seen the ebay and craigslist ads for all of the gasoline powered toys? Boats, RVs, personal watercraft, ATVs, off-road motorcycles. All for sale because we can't afford to keep them running. Where do we go from here?

BTW, I'm not immune to the hypocrisy of this issue. I drive a relatively fuel friendly car (25 to 27 mpg) but I am spending $8.25 a day on gas getting to work and back. There's a guy at my office who is driving 120 milesround trip to work and back. That's $22.00 a day in his truck. He's got 200K miles on it. I'm at 138K. Eventually I might be able to ride the train from a station by my home to the city I work at, then a circular route bus from the train station to within a couple of blocks to work... but the first leg of that isn't going to be available until 2012 and the second train trip and bus...probably not until 2020. By then I'll have been working for the city for fifteen years and a total of 24 years. Somehow, I might be working somewhere else.

The View from a Four-Year Old

This past weekend I spent some time figuring out all my tech. I uploaded a bunch of photos from our camera and organized them on the main computer. I went through and found that we had extra USB2 cables and that for some reason we had for power AC power supplies for cell phones we haven't had in a year.

I also found our old Olympus Camedia camera. The viewscreen broke several years ago when I dropped it getting into the car after the graduation of Meredith's niece. So I've had it around. It still takes pictures, but you can't see them unless you upload them to a computer. Several months ago, Meredith gave Alexander the camera to take pictures around the house. Here is some examples of his unique viewpoint.

Saturday, May 3, 2008

Car Photos

Here are some photos of the 2003 Element we recently purchased. I spent most of yesterday evening and this morning detailing the paint, interior and engine compartment. It only has a few dings and for the most part is a really nice car. Mom and Dad came over this morning for a quick look. I'm really happy with the way it turned out.
With a few minutes of Dad's buffer sometime in the next couple of weeks, the last of the scratches will be buffed out as well
I tried something new - claying the car. Using a detailing lubricant, you use a clay bar (about the consistency of silly putty) and gently rub the surface of the paint, shining, polishing and removing contaminants from the surface. Then a good wax - and the black paint pops.

Thursday, May 1, 2008


We're going to pick up the new vehicle this evening. Its a 2003 Honda Element - or as Meredith lovingly calls it the Talkie Toaster. She's actually rather pumped up about it.

It's from a private seller - a friend of Meredith's who she has been helping out the past week or so when they had a medical emergency in the family. It needs two new front tires and a fine detail cleaning, polishing and waxing. But, I need some zen time tomorrow to work on it. That will be ok.

Before I purchase it, I'm going to take it by my friend Brian's house. Brian is an excellent mechanic and has a ton of experience with looking over Hondas.

Meredith is excited about the poly-urethane flooring in the car - something that will make spills and crumbs easier to clean out. While it does look like a toaster, it has great visibility (much better than the 2008 Chevy HHR we've been driving around for the past three weeks). The Element's back seats fold up and clip to the sides to increase room, or they may be removed totally from the car.

It only has 64,000 miles - which for a 2003 is fairly low. I'll be happier when all of the work associated with it is done...and when we have a settlement from the insurance company representing the guy who's fault it is that we're having to purchase a car in the first place.

Ford is happy to sit in the front seat in Daddy's lap and go: "Vroom, vroom."