Thursday, April 29, 2010

Oso Visits Magnolia

I was on a flight from Oakland to Baltimore for work. I had to switch planes in Albuquerque New Mexico. Some long time friends of ours Katy (Magnolia) Sheridan and her husband Marlin live in Albuquerque, so I decided to call them when I landed. Magnolia answered the phone and was she surprised! Then she said "I am only 10 minutes from the airport. Can I come over and visit". My flight was scheduled to leave in exactly 1 hour. In the old days this would not have been a problem. They could have come over and we could sit in the lounge, enjoy a drink and enjoy each others company. The problem is that you can no longer enter through security unless you have a boarding pass. That meant in order for us to visit, I would have to exit the secure area and go through security again. I asked if 10 minutes meant 10 to 20 minutes. She assured me it meant 10, so I agreed to meet them.

I was sitting waiting for them to arrive when Magnolia comes running through the door. I think she did a "tuck and roll" as Marlin slowed the car down. Anyway, Magnolia and I greeted each other with a great big *osohug*. A few minutes later, after parking the car Marlin joined us.

We caught up on what each of our families are doing. It is always a great thing when everyone is doing well. I must say that I really admire their son Edward, who helps farm workers without receiving any salary at all!

In no time at all 20 minutes had passed, we took a couple of pictures and said our goodbyes.

I went through security. Seems like I always warrant extra searching. This time it was my backpack. I was pretty sure there was nothing bad inside. I do have lots of gadgets such as cables, power supplies, cameras and other computer junk and I often get searched.

They did a manual search and took everything out and could not find anything wrong. They then put the contents into one bin and the backpack into another bin and scanned them both. This time they searched the backpack again and down at the bottom of the black bag was a small knife, fork and spoon set in a black nylon sheath. I couldn't believe it. Wonder how many security scans it went through before anyone discovered it. I said I would have to throw it out as I did not have enough time to mail it. The security person said I could have the fork and spoon after she confirmed they are safe. I asked if I could have the sheath and she gave that to me as well. I love that knife, fork and spoon set. What a bummer. Perhaps someone has lost the fork, spoon and sheath and would like to make a deal?

Turns out I just made my plane and yes I was the very last person on board, but it was worth it. I have not seen these wonderful friends in many years and really missed them. I hope they will come visit soon.

Saturday, April 10, 2010

Greenfest San Francisco Spring 2010

I have been going to the Greenfest in San Francisco for several years now. In past years it was in Fall. This year it will be in November again, but they added a Spring Show close to Earth Day.

The Greenfest is held in San Francisco, Seattle, Chicago and Washington, DC. I find it curious that it is not held in Los Angeles, which going really use some greening. How about Dallas, Denver and Miami or Orlando?

I enjoy Greenfest. It is close enough to where I live. It is the largest collection of Green minded vendors that I have come across. That and a combination of educational seminars makes it a wonderful event. There is a certain spirit, enthusiasm that is invigorating.

There were several things I noticed right away. The festival was for only two days (Saturday and Sunday) where in the past it had been three (Friday, Saturday and Sunday). It was also clear that there were significantly fewer vendors. This space was taken up by more seminars, which could be a very good thing. Finally, there weren't quite as much give-aways as there had been in the past. Cliff bar still had a huge booth, but there were giving out pieces of bars, which they do every year, but this year they were not handing out sample bars.

Funds are tough this year, but I really want to continue down the green path. I would very much like to do something solar at my house. I am considering either solar water heating or solar electricity. While I would love to be solar and off the grid, that just isn't going to happen in the near future. What is most likely is solar with no upfront cost. I basically pay what I am paying for electricity now, but pay it to the people that put in the solar panels. That would be a green step in the right direction and it would guarantee that my power costs would not increase for the duration of the contract.

I did not attend any seminars. I was not interested in most of the topics and the ones I was interested were not at times that worked for me.

Most of my education tends to come from the vendors themselves. Seeing the new creative products and services. This year some of my favorites were bowls and plates made from fallen palm leaves by and silverware made from birch by birchware. The toilet with sink that uses the water before it enters the toilet to wash your hands is always a favorite. There is a company that has a store in Richmond, near where I live that has some serious rain barrels, that piqued my interest, but I think my all time favorite this year was the paper made from elephant crap. Fortunately, they were not making paper plates!

There is one booth that provided me with information that I plan to use right away. 1 800-EXHAUST (1-800-394-2878). I have loaded this into the speed dial on my cell phone. When I see a car spewing out all sorts of smoke, I will turn them in. Not only can you call in, but you can email them at and they have a website

Not all of the vendors provided me with an education. I found this one very entertaining.

There is an element of friendliness and fun that I just don't see at a lot of other festivals or conferences. Live music was often being performed. There is nothing quite like live music.

Some of the vendors really got your attention. This one did not have a booth. I really frown on vendors not renting a booth yet working a show. I have to admit, she was pretty clever. She was promoting a machine that created water. It is basically a huge dehumidifier. I'm not sure how green this is. It uses a lot of electricity. I guess if you have enough solar power and water is scarce.

There is so much more I want to write, but I will end with two of my own Green Tips:

1) Next time you buy a computer, consider a netbook. I use one by Asus. Today it got over 6 hours on the batter. They use so much less power. Just make sure that you get one that supports a screen resolution of 1024 x 768 or greater.

2) Get an inverter for your car. When you drive, charge your laptop. I am assuming that you already charge your cell phone when you drive.

Sunday, April 4, 2010

Easter 2010

This year four generations met for Easter at my cousin Nancy's house in Sutter Creek, California. Her and her husband Mark did such a great job. The food was wonderful and they made everyone feel at home. I have to admit that I felt bad. I'm not sure Nancy got to relax for even one minute.

We started off with an Easter Egg Hunt. Jake, Anthony, Angel and Terra with baskets in hand left no stone unturned.

Jennifer and her son Anthony were there.

We managed to get a group picture, but not until after Terra, her father and step mother had left.

We finally got to meet Hank's girlfriend Sue. She was nice enough to take the group pictures.

Condeleezza Rice

Monday, Carmen and I got tickets to see and interview of of Condeleezza Rice followed by a recital with Condi playing piano and Denise Young singing.

I hate George Bush, but did not know how I felt about Condeleezza Rice. I went in with an open mind. This was a fund raiser for "Friends of Faith". Condi talked about her childhood in Selma Alabama, her life in Denver Colorado and a bit about her time in the Bush Administration; but the focus was on her mothers battle with breast cancer. She read an excerpt from her book which will be coming out this year.

Condi has no desire to be in politics. She works with the Boys and Girls Club of America.

She then played piano while Denise Young sang. Condi will be touring with Aretha Franklin. I think that is pretty cool.

I still don't know much about her political views, but I do admire what I heard.