Friday, December 19, 2008

Springfield, Illinois Saved From Ice Storm

The December 19th 2008 ice storm that has hit Springfield, Illinois devastated surrounding communities in Central Illinois wreaking havoc on transportation, communication, and electric transmission lines. However, the city of Springfield's electric grid was left mostly intact while millions in surrounding communities find themselves in fear of being cast into the dark and freezing cold of winter.

The difference that residents of Springfield, Illinois enjoys is its municipally owned power company (City Water Light and Power or CWLP for short) which years ago made the tough decision to decline building a new coal burning 200 megawatt power plant to replace its aging coal burning plants. CWLP opted instead to subsidize the installation of tens of thousands of housetop solar power generators, and a mega state of the art greenhouse to produce the city's growing electric and fuel needs.

Over 90 percent of homes and businesses produce solar or wind generated electricity with most selling power to CWLP during the day, which in turn allows CWLP to sell surplus electricity to other communities.

Even smaller homes in poor neighborhoods generate enough power in winter to heat their homes and provide hot water for bathing and cleaning, and this is true due to the way that homes are connected to the electric grid, and because City Water Light & Power spent the last decade spending over a hundred million dollars helping homeowners, and landlords insulate their homes.

The project is expected to pay for itself over the next two decades as energy prices rise throughout the state. CWLP is able to sell most of its surplus electricity to other communities which still rely upon coal generating plants.

CWLPs Phase II initiative set to begin in 2012 will see the installation of wind turbines which combined with the CWLP solar farm will allow for CWLPs coal fired power plants to be decommissioned by 2020 making Springfield one of the first cities in Illinois to go carbon free.

Additional heat containment facilities are already being planned in order to store the hundreds of tons of salt that is electrically heated during the day, and then used to create steam at night to power CWLPs electric turbines.

CWLP also produced enough heat to power and heat several massive greenhouses which are used to produce hundreds of thousands of gallons of biodiesel which are used by the city's state of the art mass transit system.

Springfield, Illinois' commitment to reducing its carbon footprint has earned it an international reputation, and has increased its tourism industry bringing millions of dollars from so called eco-tourism which has lead to a revitalization of its historic city center.

Finding: Spore Is Stupid

Here's an update on Spore. It's a dumb game. I like the concept. I like the graphic editor. And I like some aspects of the game, but overall the game is boring.

You end up doing the same thing over and over and over again.

Definitely needs some expansion packs, and they'd better be really good ones or else I'll probably never play it again.

However, having said all that I think it was worth the purchase price, but I don't play it much anymore.

I'm now playing Morrowind - well, sort of - I just started. Love the graphics, and the concept.

We'll see how long it takes me to become bored of it.

I'm playing an older version, and I could I guess find newer version selling in some discount bin, if I need to. Also there's Oblivion, which I believe is the newest advancement in this series.

Thursday, December 18, 2008

Favorite Verizon Wireless Online Feature

I love the "new" self service feature on the Verizon Wireless website!

Which feature is that?


That's right, if you have Verizon wireless you can deactivate one, or more, of your phone lines right from your PC.

And you can reactivate the phone line using the same page.

And it's very simple to do.

Nothing more thrilling than deactivating a teenager's phone service after they repeatedly ignore your text messages, and voicemails.

Sure has put the power back in the hands of the account owner (i.e., Mom and Dad).

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Let Go Of My Blago!

I wonder if the town's folk of some Serbian village - a village of once proud Blagojeviches - now live in shame?

Once Proud Relatives

That's my Uncle's grandson!

My second cousin is a very powerful man in the U.S.

He got his hair from his mother's side of the family.

And Now

Don't remind me.

Who knew?

He's your side of the family, not mine!

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Blago It Is Time

For you to go.

Dear Online Diary Zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz

I don't mean to neglect you, it's just that I've been so very busy of late.
Work has been intense. It seems like a perfect storm - economic - has hit.

People are having troubles financing their Christmas, and so they have chosen to take loans, and withdrawals from their nest eggs.

And so nonstop work.

It won't end there as there is a mad rush at the end of each year to meet certain IRS deadlines which will result in more stress, and then the forth quarter financial statements go out, and then tax filing statements go out, and then - the cycle repeats itself.

So I come home tired - each day.

And that's when the hell really begins.

Tonight the Princess has cramps. Princess has cramps because she ate an entire bag of Sun Chips.

A big bag of Sun Chips.

And now it is late, very late, and Princess has her mother scrambling around fetching a vomit bag, and Tylenol just as if Princess were four years old - when in fact Princess is a self centered party hardy teen age girl that plans to blow off her Psychology final tomorrow.

And laughed about it when I told her she needed to go to sleep, and go to school tomorrow.

Oh well. So now I blog to tire myself out, and fall asleep.


Sunday, December 14, 2008

Winter Lawn Mowing

As strange as this might sound I must report that as I write this post I am listening to the drone of a lawn mower. At first I barely noticed the sound. That summer sound that drifts through the walls in a low drone - a sound that is reassuring and yet nagging at the same time.

About five minutes into the experience it dawned upon me - that same feeling of guilt - of fear - that my wife would begin nagging me to mow our lawn too.

Hey, the neighbors are out mowing their lawns so I better damned well get out there and mow the lawn too! And my mind scrambled for excuses - our lawn doesn't need mowing yet - it was just last week -

no it was several months ago - hey, wait a moment - what the hell is our neighbor mowing his lawn for?

So I got up out of a perfectly warm bed, and walked over toward the window, and carefully peeped out. And there one of our neighbors was (still is) bundled up in winter coat and hat mowing the lawn.

I notice he is mowing over leaves.

"Maybe that's it?" I thought, maybe he's mulching up his leaves, but he's not using a mulching bag, and the leaves are flying back onto his lawn - in smaller pieces, of course.

Maybe he's trying to clear his yard of leaves?

But that couldn't be it either could it? Our yard is covered with a sea of leaves and so too is his other neighbor's yard.

With winds gusting up to 50 MPH today it is nothing short of insane to think that he could keep his lawn free from leaves today.

Is my neighbor insane - or just terribly terribly bored?

I wonder if he'll be out using his lawn mower on the snow that is expected for tonight?

email jp






Wired News: Top Stories