Saturday, November 20, 2010

Bill & Elaine Van Horn

Some of my earliest memories are of Bill and Elaine. When I first knew them, they were not married. Bill was my dad's childhood friend. He had known him since 3rd grade. Both Bill and Elaine lived in the apartment complex that my folks managed. Elaine shared an apartment with Ellie, who often baby sat me. I had a habit of throwing their cigarettes in the trash can.

Bill and Elaine would eventually get married and were always very special friends of our family. They bought a house in Daly City and later in San Francisco. They raised two children Noel and Tish. My mom and Elaine would become very close. I know they miss each other.

Bill is a cartoon artist and Elaine is a retired nurse. Noel is also a cartoon artist. They did work on Duck Tales and Mickey Mouse. Today they write and draw comic books of Donald Duck under the Disney label for a company based in Denmark.

Sometime in the 1980's, they moved to North Vancouver in British Columbia Canada. I recently was in BC while attending the annual Best Western conference. I took the time to visit Bill and Elaine. They really look the same except for a bit of gray hair, but who am I to talk? It was really wonderful and they could not have been nicer. I got to hear some great stories. It would be great if they and my folks could hook up, but Bill does not fly. The border between the USA and Canada has become a real pain, but still you never know.

I am really glad that I got to visit them. It had been over 25 years since I last saw them. I hope I don't wait that long next time.

Monday, November 8, 2010

Green Festival November 2011 - San Francisco

I don't know how man Green Festivals I have attended, but I have been going to them for quite some years and I always enjoy them. This year was no exception. This year I took my wife, my mom and Cindy Riggle President of Sunshine Hospitality. This was my mom and Cyndi's first time attending the Green Festival. The Green Festival is family friendly.

(Family Friendly most of the time)

Starting 2010, the Green Festival takes place twice a year in San Francisco. Once in Spring and once in Fall. Each time the Festival is the same yet different. I keep telling myself that I want to attend some of the educational seminars and each time, I don't. I just don't have enough time and I get so tired. There are so many booths and that is often times where the real education takes place.

The Festival offers a number of ways to get passes. You can pay for them, you can get a membership with Green America, you can donate canned foood. This time you could also recycle a cell phone or get passes from your local Nissan dealer.

The Nissan Leaf was on display. We are currently in the market for a new car and the Nissan Leaf is one of the cars we are considering. We are also looking Ford Fusion Hybrid and the Chevy Volt. The problem with the Leaf and the Volt is that even the dealerships don't yet have them on display. They had one on display at the Green Festival. We got to see it, touch it, smell it and sit in it. I am impressed. Apparently the Federal Government is offering $7.500.00 tax rebates and California is offering a $5,000.00 tax rebate. That makes a total of $12,500.00 which is a lot of money.

One Company makes paper products, including business cards out of Elephant Poop. This is by far one of my favorite booths. It is hard not to smile when you look at it. Recycling Elephant Poop is a wonderful idea, but as Cynidi Riggle points out, shipping it all the way from Africa to the USA is not green. Think local! They should be using these products in Africa and we should be recycling horse and donkey manure. Still, I have a soft spot in my heart for these folks. The idea of giving someone my business card and knowing that I am handing them a pile of Elephant Poop is enough to make anyone smile.

Cyndi was looking over products and services that she could add to her company's line of environmentally friendly products and services. She came across one in particular. A Water Bottle designed for those of use who travel on airplanes. The water bottle has a filter fitted to the top of the bottle and filters water faster than any filter I have ever seen. When you go through security, you are not allowed to bring liquids, including water; The TSA confiscates them, but once you are through security, there are plenty of shops willing to sell you a small bottle of water for $4.00 or higher. With these filter included bottles, you can go through security with an empty water bottle, then fill it up at the water fountain or the sink in the bath room and enough clean filtered water with the taste of that nasty chlorine. This will be a great addition to the Sunshine Hospitality product line.

There was an interesting Hands Free Faucet. As Cyndi pointed out, the problem is you are trading water savings for electricity. That is often a difficult decision. Which is the lesser of two evils. Wasting water or wasting electricity? Is there another option? Sill, with water becoming scarcer and scarcer, we must consider all options.

One thing about Green Festival, is that it is more than just business setup with booths selling there wares. It is a true festival, and the arts and music portion is not to be ignored. One of my favorites was this hand made Alphorn, native to Switzerland.

Most importantly, the festival helps us to stay focused, get back to basics and use our imaginations. I look forward to the next one.