mail from the city

The only downside about being part of the Billboard Battalion is that you get a lot of mail from the city. I get a separate letter for each variance contested, and sometimes duplicates, so I get between four and twelve letters after each community council meeting.
You would have thought they could have stuck them all in one envelope, or used e-mail, to save money and paper. But no; we’re a world class city, after all.

Here do books lurk

Catherine has a project involving Toronto’s libraries, and so I, for no particularly good reason, compiled a geocoded list of the Toronto Public Library system: libraries.gpx
Google Earth display of all of Toronto's public libraries

You can thank MapSource for the bloated GPX file. It quadrupled in size when I changed the symbols to look like buildings.

AWEA06: by the river (or in it, nearly)

by a river at AWEA06

We’re not getting the best weather for the conference, but I hear that the coincidentally-running Three Rivers Arts Festival has had rain 18 out of the 20 years it has run, so noone’s surprised.

Conference hasn’t quite started yet, but the preliminary swag is quite promising; yoyos and balsa aircraft.

I spent the day in workshop run by KidWind, who have a school science kit for teaching the basics of wind turbine effectiveness. We got to build wind turbines, and test them. Here’s mine, big wean that I am:
stewart's kidwind turbine

I guess I got some losses near the hub there, but at least it worked. I was the only developer type there (there was a DoE person, and lots and lots of Pennsylvania teachers). I came away impressed, and hope I can work with Michael Arquin of KidWind to bring the project to Ontario.

(This post has the worst GPS location ever; could only get a fix to within 100m, so that’s why the map location appears to be in the river.)

what the tortoise taught us

Just finished Timothy; or, Notes of an Abject Reptile, the fictional thoughts of Gilbert White‘s pet tortoise. Verlyn Klinkenborg has really captured the pace of the tortoise’s life.

The tortoise/taught us rhyme doesn’t work if you’re Scottish; we pronounce it tor-toys, not taw-TUSS. Lewis Carroll didn’t think beyond the RP.

In memory of Timothy, I’ve geotagged this post with the location of a bridge in a nearby ravine, near which a little turtle used to snooze in the sun.

big big blades

Visiting Siemens’ factory in Aalborg, we saw the blade fabrication process. I was pleasantly surprised to discovered that a major component of their blades is balsa wood, which, when combined with clear glass fibre and epoxy, makes a lovely organic-looking surface. It’s a shame that they have to be painted, but environmental degradation will always get ya in the end.

These blades are big:

Siemens B45 blade being loaded on a truck

The above is a 45m blade being loaded onto a truck.

big blades in the yard

Here is a bunch of 45m blades waiting to be finished and painted. You’ll note that there’s still some mould flash on the edge of the blade; that gets ground off. The submarine-like thing on the right is the truly colossal Siemens B52 blade (as a lifelong fan of Kate, Cindy, Ricky, Keith and Fred, the name alone made me happy, even if I knew it denoted a 52m blade). It was so large our entire party managed to stand inside the blade root, with no stooping required.

in Aalborg

I like Aalborg. I think we’re staying in exactly the same hotel (the Scandic) as I stayed in 10 years ago with RES. We’re going to see some really big wind turbines tomorrow.

Oh, and the Google Maps locations I picked off for this hotel are pretty darn accurate; the one I double-clicked on for this hotel is less than 50m from my room. I like.

Tax Time

Phew – that’s the 2005 income taxes filed for Catherine and me, and also my GST return in. I don’t grudge paying taxes (no civilization without taxation, after all), but I hate filling out the returns. I’m also too cheap to get someone to do it for me. Sucks to be me, eh?

Hwy86 Turbine

AOC 15/50 near Listowel

I think it’s an AOC 15/50; note the downwind design and prominent blade tips.

It’s near Mornington, which is SE of Listowel on Hwy 86. Catherine and I spent the weekend in Goderich, and we came home the scenic route through Wingham and St Jacobs.

Victoria parkinglot

It’s quicker – a lot quicker – to walk south on Vic Park from Sheppard to Farm Greenway than to catch the bus and have it crawl south over the 401.

Free the Laserjet 4!

I love the HP LaserJet 4+. Built like a tank, good print quality, and now available used/refurb for pennies. Sure, they weight about as much as a Sherman, and suck power like there was no tomorrow, but one of my 4+s has nearly a million on the page count, yet prints crisp and clean.

Last weekend I scored a 4+ with built in duplexer from eBay for very little. It didn’t want to print at first (giving a cryptic 13 PAPER JAM error), but removing the rather beat-up full-ream paper tray fixed that. It may need a new cartridge (at almost twice what I paid for the printer), but I’m happy.

Wonder if I can direct-connect one of them to the ethernet port on Catherine’s eMac? I know my router won’t talk AppleTalk, so we can’t network just one printer.

Standard Offer is Go – March 21

From OSEA:

The moment we have all been waiting for has arrived! The Ministry of Energy, the Premier, David Suzuki and OSEA will be announcing the Standard Offer Program on March 21st. We are organizing a celebration and press event in partnership with the Ministry of Energy that will take place at 3 pm at Exhibition Place, Toronto, home to Ontario’s first community wind turbine.

Please mark this date in your calendar and watch for further notices (via email and at www.ontario-sea.org) on details regarding location, speakers and entertainment.

This is a celebratory event – please everyone, let us celebrate the positive role the Standard Offer Contract program will play in Ontario for renewables, for community power, for cost effective power, and for our air quality and health!

Thanks to everyone for their efforts!

If the province has got this right, we really will see a lot more wind power in Ontario.

Ontario Government Giving Every Household a Say in Province’s Electricity Future

The Energy Minister wants your thoughts on the Supply Mix. Quick, do you know what the supply mix is? Do you care?

I’m guessing that, as long as the lights are still on, that you can read my blog, the fuel bills aren’t too high, and acide rain hasn’t caused the cat to rust, you don’t really care about the Supply Mix.

But Donna Cansfield wants you to care. She’s sending everyone a brochure Our Energy, Our Future (online here) to make you think that they’d give a one before they go build nukes anyway. And since you were consulted, it’s your fault when the cost overruns roll in.

The week of shaving carefully

So how did my first week of shaving with a plain safety razor go? Pretty well, I think.

I’ve discovered that Weleda shaving cream and after-shave balm work well for me. They have a muted, natural scent, and are very soothing.

What didn’t work for me was Lush Prince shaving cream. This heavy, waxy preparation clogs up the blade, it smells too strongly of neroli, and is a horror to rinse off. I also cut myself the only time I used it. Styptic pencil owies resulted.

Catherine has remarked on the closer shave (I suspect ‘cos I’m spending more time on it). It’s strange, but the stubble seems sharper. I wonder if multiple blades smoothed the razor-cut ends of the hairs, and thus gave an impression of a smoother, longer-lasting shave?

I like my Merkur. Using it for a year will end up cheaper than any cartridge razor, and result in far less trash.

just yer basic yerba, mate

Scored some yerba mate for Catherine’s cousin Phil yesterday. Seems there aren’t so many South American food stores in KCMO, while there’s a strip of them on Augusta in Kensington Market.

The store at 239 Augusta had a whole yerba mate section. Since it was cheap ($2 for the half key), I got some for myself. Wonder what I’ll do with it?

ex-GG at the movies

We saw Brokeback Mountain at the Cumberland this evening, and who should sit next to us but former governor-general Adrienne Clarkson and her posse.

I think she wanted our seats, as Catherine had got there early, and nabbed excellent ones; centre-row, 1/3 back.