Wow, who is this guy?!  Hahaha just kidding, I remember you!  It’s been such a long time since I last saw you, I barely recognized you!  Anyway, big things going on in the green sector right now.  If you live in the US, then there’s no doubt you’ve heard about the release of the 2011 Chevrolet Volt.  Let’s drop some stats: It gets 60 mpg in hybrid mode, 37 mpg in gas mode, and an impressive 93 mpg in electric battery mode.  The Prius can go crawl back into its shoebox as far as I’m concerned (it’s funny because the Prius looks like a giant shoe).  Price tag?  40G.  Okay maybe the Prius can come out of the box for a few more production years.  It’s hard not to look at that MSRP, but there are benefits.  Buyers may be eligible for a $7,500 tax break.  And this thing is cool.  Look at it!  It looks faster/better than half of Chevy’s current lineup.  It’ll give that old BMW m at the stop light a run for its money, too.  But our Volt has a serious competitor in the form of Nissan’s latest technological breakthrough.

It’s called the Nissan LEAF.  It’s a smartphone with wheels and it’s cooler than the original Tron movie.  Its fuel economy?  106 in the city, 92 on the wide open road.  The LEAF is 100% EV and that mileage stat is proportional to the amount of gasoline it would be burning … if it had an internal combustion engine.  MSRP on this one starts as 32K.  Not bad for the first step towards the future of cutting edge automotive technology.  We’re talking about a vehicle that you charge like your iphone at night; when you’re sleeping, it is too. 

So what are we comprimising here?  Well we should look back at what each model has to offer.  The Chevy VOlt allows for greater range flexibility thanks to its internal combustion engine.  It has the advantage range-wise, performance-wise, and maybes even asthetics-wise.  But, you’re still very much tied to the petrol companies and you’re still buying a GM.  True, the American automakers have been improving over the past few production years, but they still lead the global industry is consumer complaints and mechanical issues.  The Nissan LEAF, our little Japanese beetlebug, allows you to wave goodbye to OPEC with a grin on your face.  Also, you’re buying Nissan quality and the cool-factor that only Nissan is supplying today.  However, your range is limited and so is your driving performance.  Also, the infrastructure for charging stations and parking meter/charging booth combos is lagging far behind the EV market.  This means that 100% EV drivers will have to wait for investors to catch up until they take that road trip to Steve’s house.   What it all comes down to is that both the Chevy Volt and the Nissan LEAF are exceptionally-designed, exceptionally-cool models and represent the consumer understanding that our buying habits greatly effect the world around us, and this, my friends, is a positive step for humanity.

Let me know what you think about these two green pioneering platforms by leaving a comment or shooting me an e-mail, you all always have great thought-provoking feedback.  I’m sorry I’ve been gone for so long, but I’m back and that’s all that matters!

With these spring months sneaking up on us, I thought I’d entertain myself with the backyard this year.  It’s better than staying inside and doing nothing.  And then I thought, why not recycle while I’m at it?  So I built me a little compost bin in preparation for a larger one I plan to construct when the weather wants to not be a jerk.  So my mission here is to see what kind of material makes for the best compost.  You could read about all that stuff, but that takes all the fun out of it, don’t you think?  I think so.  But anyways, it’s a simple little bin made out of treated 2 by 4’s and some chicken wire.  There is a solid bottom so that none of that compost juice gets on the beloved deck.  Dear Jeebus forbid some beautiful nature puree gets on the deck!!  I digress, my apologies, back to the topic of composting.  How does it work?  Well let me break it down (pun).  Little critters live in the soil (who knew?).  These little microbials feed on the delicious stuff that goes into the bin.  But in order to do so, they need some heat, air, and water.  Well here’s a simple solution: install some chicken wire on the sides.  That way all those components get to where they need to be and no bigger critters can get to the num nums inside.  Now if you ask me for the design plans, I’ll give you an honest answer.  I got some wood and some chicken wire, got a hammer, a screwdriver, some screws/nails, and a pair of needlenose pliers and went to town.  If you can’t tell by the picture, it was pretty much an improv project.  And it’s not like I’m building a fine chair for the Queen’s dining room, I’m building a bin to throw trash in.  But if you do have questions, leave a comment in the box below.

The bin’s been built.  Great.  Now what?  What the heck do I put in it so that maybe in 4-6 months I find a bunch of high-quality dirt?  Fancy-pants agronomists say that there needs to be a healthy ratio of carbon and nitrogen present in the pile for good results.  The carbon supplies fuel for those bacteria I was talking about earlier, and the nitrogen-based material is what’s being eaten.  In order to achieve this, a “compost lasagna” needs to be made.  One layer can be “brown” material with dried out plant matter, paper, and dead leaves.  Then comes a thin layer of soil.  To top it off is a big layer of “green” material like lawn clippings, freshly clipped hedge trimmings, and dinner scraps.  So as you can see, I’ve begun the pile with some brown stuff, pistachio shells to be exact, and some green stuff.  When everything starts growing again, I’ll get some soil and fill it in some, eventually.  I’ll get some more pics of how we’re doing in a few weeks.  Until then, my friends, stay frosty, stay edgy, stay alert; you never know what’s around that corner.  Seize the day, for it is ripe for the taking.

The personal computer is the mainstay of this American boy’s modern life.  Obviously, I spend a little too much time on this manmade contraption.  If you’re reading this, then you’re a wordpresser, and thus a blogger, and whether you like it or not, you waste a lot of electricity through that computer screen looking at you dead in the eyes.  I found out the other day that the more white being displayed on that screen, the greater amount of electricity consumed.  So am I right to assume that there is an opposite effect when the screen is displaying more black?  Yes, yes I am.  Blackle.com has proven this, just check it out and see for yourself.  I have to go read, but remember, my friends: when you’re not using that computer, shut off that monitor.  Tomorrow we’ll take a look at the person of the week, a certain Ms. Wangari Maathai.

Everyone loves a nice hot shower to start of the morning squeaky clean or as a way to end that hectic day on a relaxing note.  But when it comes to showers, time is water.  The average shower uses 6 gallons of it every minute.  A ten minute shower each day of the year equates to roughly 22,000 gallons.  Times 4 ppl in your family.  Times the 100 neighbor families in your neighborhood.  That’s enough to fill up the Georgia Aquarium (8.1 million gallons).  Now that I’ve successfully guilt tripped you into trying to achieve that 5 minute shower, let’s learn how to do it.

I’ve outlined a training course for you, grasshopper:

  1. Get motivated.  Imagine all those little Sudanese people who only bath a few times a month.  They have to find and haul their water back home for a meager washing.  Besides, cutting down on shower time saves you money on that water/heating bill. 
  2. Know that Shower.  Put a piece of electrical tape on the shower setting that won’t give you 3rd degree burns, but won’t send you into a hypothermic coma.  Fiddling around to get it just right usually takes me 2 minutes, that’s too much time in our 5 minute goal. 
  3. Don’t Procrastinate, Foo.  Shampoo, wash that body, and apricot-scrub all you want as soon as you get in the shower.  You’ll be less prone to get distracted by the warm water and daydreams.  After you get your business done, you’ll have roughly 3 minutes to enjoy the messaging water, and if you time it, that’s not too bad. 
  4. Close the bathroom door just a crack.  This way, you get a semi-sauna going, don’t have to keep cranking up the water heat, and you’ll still get adequate air circulation. 

Now I realise that not everybody has a clock in their bathroom.  So just wing it.  Estimate how much time each activity takes and see if you accomplished one of the hardest challenges we modern Americans are faced with.  And what’s always the best way to accomplish a goal?  That’s right my friend: do it, and don’t hesitate.  I’m proud of you all, you’re learning quite fast.  Now if you’ll excuse me, I have a shower to master.