Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Original Joes Catches Fire

Long time Bear family favorite restaurant Original Joe's at the corner of Turk and Taylor in San Francisco is closed!

There is a sign in the window that says "Closed Due To Fire, Opening Soon". According to an article I read on the web, the restaurant caught fire on October 12th. I was working three days in the city this week and went by the restaurant twice, but saw not activity.

The other sign reads "That 20-something model with 30 years of experience that is on CSI has not shown up yet. So we just don't know nothin yet.

Carmen meets up with friends from Peru

Saturday evening we drove down to San Jose, and hooked up with Mrs Chela, her husband and sister in-law as well as Norma and her husband Terry. We all took off to the Olive Garden for an evening of good food and the ladies chatted the night away.

Terry told me about a movie he and his friends produced "Writers Day" I plan to order it from Amazon and check it out. The story is a mystery that takes place on a train. I love trains and can't wait to see it.

Turns out it was Chela's birthday, so we topped off the evening with a birthday cake and a round of Happy Birthday.

If all that wasn't enough, in the table right next to us were some old friends that live in San Jose Linda "Amsel" and Chuck Spencer from IRC. What a small world!

Solar Living Institute

The Saturday after Thanksgiving Mom, David, Charlie drove up to the Solar Living Institute in Hopland, California. Hopland is located north on Highway 101 just before Ukiah. We rode up in our Ford Escape Hybrid which seemed to fit in with the spirt of things.

The name "Solar Living Institute" is really misleading. They do so much more they, they generate power from Wind, the have their own water well, pond with fish, they grow their own food, the buildings are made from straw and mud, the bathroom doors are made from recycled prescription pill bottles, they have flushless urinals. There is really so much to learn from there. Their focus really seems to be leaving a small footprint on the earth.

We took the tour at 3:00 and were rewarded not only with a good tour and some great information, but you could buy their book called "Solar Living Source Book" for only $20.00, while inside their store the cost was $35.00. This book has 640 large pages filled with great information.

We had a really good time. I think I'd like to go back again, and perhaps stop at a winery and plan to have lunch at the local brew pub.

Thursday, November 22, 2007


Here's a picture from Thanksgiving! This is my friend Wade!

We had quite a few people here for Thanksgiving, we had Carmen, Ed, Lila, Ceci, Edgardo, Lina, Wade, Jay, Laura, Jim, Becky, Susan, Willie, Willie's mom, Jake, Martha, Kike, Edwin, and his two kids, Jackie, Puzz, Joyce, Christine, Mary Ruth, Carol, Scott, Bob, David, Teressa and Charlie.

We had so much great food and finished it offe with two pumpkin pies, a pecan pie and a blueberry pie....

Saturday, November 17, 2007

Eco Fair in Concord

Today I went to the Eco Fair in Concord. I asked everyone I knew to go with me, but no one could or wanted to. It seemed a bit strange to drive by myself in a vehicle designed to hold five to and Eco Fair, but there I was. I realized afterwards I could have asked my mom, but too late. At least I drove the hybrid. I got to tell you, those that did not go, missed out.

It was not a large fair, but it was good. PG&E was there, just outside of the room where the booths were, they had a Plug In Hybrid and were promoting the concept. They also gave everyone who came by a compact florescent light bulb and a book entitled 30 Simple Energy Things You Can Do To Save The Earth. It is actually a pretty good book.

Once inside I got a really nice Frisbee made completely out of recycled plastic, a water bottle courtesy of the Contra Costa water district. I got some pencils and a ruler that was made out of recycled dollar bills. How cool was that?

I got some cloth shopping bags from Safeway. They were giving one per person. I asked for two and they hesitated until I explained that I have a family of six living at home. Don't you think stores should give these away for free anyway?

I got some compresses sponges that expand when they get wet. I love these for preparedness kits. Using a sponge to collect water from morning dew is a great survival technique.

I got some literature with great information. For example, I can take our old Christmas lights that have been in the family forever and trade them in for a string of LED Christmas lights in Concord for free. I also found out that EBMUD who supplies the water where I live, will give me free water flow heads for my sinks and showers. That is great since I was getting ready to buy some. Oh, and PG&E had a booth inside where they were giving out two more compact florescent lights to each person for a grand total of three. My family and friends really should have come with me.

Oh, I almost forgot, I found a company that has a conversion kit to change a normal toilet to a French toilet for only $30.00. It automatically cleans you using the water, reducing your toilet paper consumption. My wife being from Peru is very interested. Bedea's are very popular throughout Latin America.

I found a woman owned company in San Francisco that specializes in maintance on Hybrids. It is supposed to be the first like it. It is claimed that they plan to offer upgrading Hybrids to Plug In Hybrids.

One of the greatest things about the fair was the exchange of ideas and the ability to ask questions and get answers to all those things I had been thinking about. My last stop was just outside across from the PG&E Plug In Hybrid, there was a guy from a home solar company that had an Electric Car that had been manufactured by Toyota about 10 years ago. It still runs great and is still using the original battery.