Saturday, July 28, 2007

Two Houses -- I know which one I prefer!

I just couldn't resist posting this -- HT to Mommy Life.

HOUSE # 1:

A 20-room mansion (not including 8 bathrooms) heated by natural gas. Add on a pool (and a pool house) and a separate guest house all heated by gas.

In ONE MONTH ALONE this mansion consumes more energy than the average American household in an ENTIRE YEAR. The average bill for electricity and natural gas runs over $2,400.00 per month. In natural gas alone (which last time we checked was a fossil fuel), this property consumes more than 20 times the national average for an American home. This house is not in a northern or Midwestern "snow belt,"either. It's in the South.

HOUSE # 2:

Designed by an architecture professor at a leading national university, this house incorporates every "green" feature current home construction can provide. The house contains only 4,000 square feet (4 bedrooms) and is nestled on arid high prairie in the American southwest. A central closet in the house holds geothermal heat pumps drawing ground water through pipes sunk 300 feet into the ground. The water (usually 67 degrees F.) heats the house in winter and cools it in summer. The system uses no fossil fuels such as oil or natural gas, and it consumes 25% of the electricity required for a conventional heating/cooling system. Rainwater from the roof is collected and funneled into a 25,000 gallon underground cistern. Wastewater from showers, sinks and toilets goes into underground purifyingtanks and then into the cistern. The collected water then irrigates the land surrounding the house. Flowers and shrubs native to the area blend the property into the surrounding rural landscape.

HOUSE # 1 (20-room energy-guzzling mansion) is outside of Nashville, Tennessee. It is the abode of that renowned environmentalist (and filmmaker) Al Gore.

HOUSE # 2 (model eco-friendly house) is on a ranch near Crawford , Texas. Also known as "the Texas White House," it is the private residence of the President of the United States, George W. Bush.

So whose house is gentler on the environment? Yet another story you WON'T hear on CNN, CBS, ABC, NBC, MSNBC or read about in the New York Times or the Washington Post. Indeed, for Mr. Gore, it's truly "an inconvenient truth."

Wednesday, July 25, 2007

The Technology Meme

I realize that I have been derelict in keeping up with my posting, so I thought maybe doing this meme, which I got from CJ via Tracy, might get me back in the swing..

Cell phones

  1. How long have you had a cell phone? (If you don't have one, why not? What would prompt you to get one?) Since Christmas of 2006. My husband, who had been delaying, finally got one for business that September, and decided that I needed one too.
  2. How much do you use it? Our phones are prepaid, with the condition that you must buy extra minutes (about an hour's worth) every four months. So far, I use about an hour every four months! :-)
  3. Do you get jittery without it? Only if I 'm expecting someone to call -- a kid to be picked up from school or something. Since I didn't get it until Christmas, last year the number wasn't on their school emergency cards. But this year it will be. I also like to have it when I am driving a fair distance from home.


  1. How many computers in your house? Since my husband is a self-employed computer consultant, I can see four just from where I'm sitting! And each of my kids (and kids-in-law) has one -- George has two, desktop and Macbook -- so when everybody is here we could have as many as 14, counting the ancient Mac classic on which we still play SuperMines and Spin Doctor.
  2. How much time do you spend on the computer in a day? From as little as two minutes just to quick-check email, up to 6 to 8 hours if I'm working on a project for church or Right to Life. Most days about an hour between everything.
  3. How does the time break down? (work/play/email/blogs/etc.) Email - 2 to 5 minutes; Blog reading -- (including a couple which are prayer-request update blogs for some folks with health needs) 10 to 30 minutes; Work -- nothing to 6 or more hours if a music planning sheet is due; Games -- more than I'd like: 15 minutes and up; Blog writing -- almost none. But I resolve to do better!
  4. If your computer malfunctions, do you-
    1. Log in as root and fix the problem in a few swift keystrokes? Only if I'm home alone and it's a recurring problem.
    2. Get some online help and fix it yourself with slightly slower keystrokes? Never
    3. Enlist outside help? from whom? How does he or she respond when you ask for assistance? Say "Honey, would you take a look at this?" or alternatively "How do you .... again?" In-house tech support rocks!! He loves me! He always fixes it!
    4. Opt for the wishful thinking computer repair strategy, also known as the reboot-with-fingers-crossed strategy? I play certain games that occasionally freeze my machine, and since the in-house tech support assures me that the solution is a hard reboot, that's what I do. But I don't cross my fingers.


  1. What techno-gadget would you most like to own? Photo printer for pictures of my grandchildren that I can carry in my purse,instead of reciting the URL.
  2. Of those you own (including PDA, iPod, etc.), which would you miss most acutely if you dropped it in the lake accidentally while canoeing? Everything I've got except the phone is WAY too big to take in a canoe. I had an iPod nano for a while (George got it free with his Macbook) but I gave it to Katie because I almost never used it.
  3. What's something you'll never buy? (Careful with the nevers, though, says this brand new cell phone owner.) A big screen TV, or any other kind. We have been TV free for our whole marriage (26 years in three weeks!) and I would NEVER go back, especially since I can play DVD's on my computer. ;-)

Since I can't think of anybody who actually reads this blog (mea culpa, mea culpa .....) I won't tag anybody, but if you do it because you saw it here, PLEASE let me know!