Monday, November 30, 2009

Pressure Switch

Our oldest cat is pretty spoiled around here.  More then anything, he hates being cold.  He will huddle down into a little ball and cry and cry until someone makes him warm.  He told me one time that his best friend is sunshine.  He loves to roll around on the warm patio and stretch out in the sunshine.

Now that our mornings and nights have turned so cold, he's not very happy.  About once a week or so, we'll let them (the cats) into the house (they live in the garage and basement) so that he can sleep by the fireplace.

A few years ago, back when we only had one cat, he found Firefly's heating pad she was using for her back and he has been addicted every since.  We now leave the heating pad (on a timer) in his basket for him during the cold months.  The timer was nice but I didn't like seeing the blanket on and him not using it. 

I fixed that problem last night.  A few days back I read about someone building a pressure switch under their cats bed that would turn on a light when the cat was indeed in the bed...why? I don't know :)  I took this same idea but tied it into the heating pad.  Now when our cat climbs into his bed, the heating pad turns on.  Once he gets to warm (if that's possible) he simply climbs out of bed and the pad turns off.

I know we are using power on the heating pad that is not really necessary, but he enjoys it and now with the pressure switch it uses only a faction of the power.

I went to and just did a search for "pressure switch"

I just looked through a few and then build one the way I wanted it to be.  If you need help making one, just leave a comment and explain how I built mine.

Thursday, November 26, 2009

Dreams (part 2)

I was sad when I left the eye doctor but I quickly realized that being sad was not safe where I was so I pushed the sadness deep down inside of me and wrapped it around my dead dream.  And there it sat.

A year and a half later, I left the Army

8 months after that, Firefly and I got married.

Slowly over that first year, my dream of flying came out of hiding (turns out it was not dead, just scared of being rejected again)

One night Firefly said to me, "If you want to fly, you should fly. Follow your dreams."

I started doing some research and found the old school I had wanted to go to.  Over the next to years I talked to the flight school, a local community college near the school, and the VA department.  I got burned on some flight training here locally but learned a good lesson in the process.

As of now, my dreams are back on track and one day soon, I will be a helicopter and float plane pilot.

Thanks Love for believing in me.

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Thanks PETA

Dreams (part 1)

I want to be a helicopter pilot.  This is my dream.

I remember watching the movie TOP GUN with my family as a child, and I think that is where the seed got planted for me.  Yes, I know Top Gun is about jets but at the very end of the movie when the good guys get shot down, who rescues them?  The guys in the helicopter.  The guy behind the scenes is more my personality.  I loved being a NCO in the Army for that very reason.  I was the guy that got things done while the officers debated the politics.

In 2004 I went to see an eye doctor on our base in Balad, Iraq for an eye exam (the first part of putting together my request to transfer out of my unit and become a pilot).  After about 10 minutes of testing I asked the doc if my eyes were good enough to qualify for flight training.  He pulled the equipment away from my face, looked me in the eyes and said no.  He said no.

With one word, this man killed my dream.  I felt empty inside.  I had the next several years all planned out and this one word ripped those plans out from inside of me.  His answer was not what I expected.

Monday, November 16, 2009

Recycling #5 Plastic

I don't know about where you live but here in Reno, our waste managment company will only recycle plastics that are #1 or #2.  They take the rest of it to the landfil out of town and bury it.  Because of this, Firefly and I have tried VERY hard to only buy #1 or #2 plastic if we buy it at all.

This was simply a fact of life until last friday.  I stopped at the Delta Cafe (organic, fair trade, shade grown, coffee @1500 prater way) for my monthly splurge on coffee at work (the rest of the time I bring it from home) and I found a copy of GRENO - all that's green in northern Nevada.

In this copy of GRENO I found an article stating that you can now take all your #5 plastic to Whole Foods and drop them into the #5 plastic bins by the middle front doors.  Whole Foods will then send the plastic back east on it's trucks after they make their deliverys.  From there, Whole foods will ship the plastic to:

Preserve Gimme 5
823 NYS Rte 13
Cortland, New York 13045

You can send them your plastic dirrect if you would like, or if you don't have a Whole Foods.  I recommend calling your local Whole Foods before taking your plastic down.

Saturday, November 14, 2009

Car insurance

The new year is coming up soon and one of the things I want to focus on is riding my bike more.  It used to be pretty dangerous to ride on our surface streets in Reno but not now!  A lot of our busy streets go repaved this summer.  Not only did the potholes get fixed, lanes were reduced down or the street was widened and now most of the busy (dangerous) streets have bike lanes. 

Now that I can ride in a bike lane the entire way to work, I want to ride more.  I don't think we are ready to go with out both cars (it is my security blanket...or crutch) but I don't like the idea of paying for the insurance while it is just sitting at home in the driveway.

what to do? What to do?  How about car insurance that was tied to the number of miles you drive?

The Sacramento Bee had a story last week talking about pay by the mile care insurance.  Right now, it is not offered here in Reno but from the Sacbee story, it seems like it might be a reallity in California. 

There is a company in Texas called MileMeter Auto Insurance which is the first company to offer this type of insurance (their claim).  With there new milemeter 2.0 program, you are covered in 6  months periods but you are only billed for the miles you actually drive.

How nice would it be to only pay for the miles that you drive?  If we had this insurance then I wouldn't be  paying for car insurance while the car is sitting during the week.  This would work for us because if I ride everyday to work then we would only use the car for running around during the weekend.  But I could still take the car if the weather was bad (or I was being lazy)

What do you think?  Do you think this would work for you and your family?  Do you drive less then 12,000 miles a year?

I also know of people that are carless and then just rent a car if they are going out of town.

I think that pay as you go insurance and higher gas prices would help a lot of people on the fence make the decision to start riding more.

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Pescitarian or Vegetarian ?

Ignorance can really be bliss sometimes.  I swear that the more we learn about our food system, that scary it becomes.

Firefly and I became pescitarians 7 months ago for various reasons.  One of those reasons (at the time) was that we really didn't want to support the non sustainable practices of the meat industry.  I say at the time because it has become more of a moral issue for me now on top of the environmental one.

We debated between becoming vegetarian, vegan, or Pescitarians.

We decided vegan was out mainly due to eggs.  Chickens and ducks lay unfertilized eggs regardless of if we eat them or not.  I have however, started leaning away from leather products and am currently looking into non leather work boots.

In the end, we settled on pescitarian because of wild non farm raised fish.  I figured this type of fish was safe for us to eat and save for the environment.  (This is the ignorant is bliss part)  We bought wild fish at the store and ate whatever fish they served us when we went out.  Eating fish just HAS to be better for the world..right?  Depends.

Turns out farmed fish can be better for the environment depending on what it is feed and how the wild fish is caught.  Farmed tilapia is feed plant matter while farmed salmon is feed 3 other fish that are caught in the very unsustainable way of trolling (dragging a large net, up to the size of 6 jumbo jet, through the ocean and clear cutting everything in it's path)

There is a wonderful article out on The New Republic titled : Aquacalypse Now that you should really check out to learn more about how we are killing off the ocean life and how that will affect us.  One major consequence is the explosion of algae blooms which is already affecting the quality of drinking water around the world.

NPR's Fresh Air has an interview posted on their site with the author of Aquacalypse Now, Daniel Pauly.  You can read/listen to his November 2nd interview here.

After I heard this interview and started rethinking my fish choice, I read an article on called 8 Sustainable Sources of Farmed Fish and Seafood

This article lists, like it says, 8 sustainable fish and types of seafood:
  1. Oysters
  2. Mussels
  3. Bay Scallops
  4. Trout
  5. Arctic Char
  6. Tilapia
  7. Catfish (my fav w/mac and cheese and some greens)
  8. Crayfish
Even these could have problems depending on how they are feed.  I have heard reports of farmed salmon being feed left over cow parts and an experiment where farmers are feeding salmon corn.  Salmon are meat eaters by nature- in case you didn't know.  If there are doing this to salmon, who knows how long until they start in on the 8 listed above.

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

New Post Topic

So I'd like to introduce a new Post catagory...
Really!? Really!? Someone really has to tell you this is a good idea?

The LA Times recently did a story titled "FDA urged to ban feeding of chicken feces to cattle"

To the LA Times -  "I'd like to say thank you for this story."  To the FDA -  I'd like to say, "DUH."  To the cattle farmers doing this I say "eww" and "thanks for making me feel better about being a vegitarian"

If you have a few minutes, you really should read the fully story.  The short paraphrased version is this:

The FDA estimates 1-2 million TONS of poultry litter is feed to cattle each year.  In that litter, there are feces, chicken feed, feathers and other farm detritus. 

The article also says:
"That's because the spilled chicken feed and the feces contain tissue from ruminants -- cows and sheep, among other mammals. The disease is transmitted through feeding ruminant remains to cattle."
So chickens are eating some left over parts of cows and sheep (ruminants) and then cows are eating some of the waste products of that...OR...cows are eating cows and then you eat them!

What ever happened to the good old days of cows eating grass?  I miss the good old days

Monday, November 9, 2009

Addictions...round two

I think it is important to stop and take time every so often to check yourself.  One of the things I check is wither or not I have become or am becoming addicted to something.  Back in march I wrote about my addiction to microwaves which led us to get rid of it all together.  (little side note: I am happy to report that I am CURED from this addiction and have no desire to ever own a microwave again.) 

In this post, I want to share about something I just learned I was addicted stuff.  The worst free stuff addiction I have is with alcohol.  It seems that if someone else is paying, I just want to keep drinking.  The good news is that this is not because I am an alcoholic, but rather because I am cheep :)  I love flying Horizon (They run the flight for Alaskan Airlines) from Reno to Seattle because they always serve free wine and beer from local NW vineyards and brewers.  I think I might have had four glasses on one really empty flight once which is a lot with the high altitude.  I'll even drink bad beer if it's free.  Some friends took us out last new years and because they kept buying the drinks, I had more then I should have or would have normally.

Like I said, I am not an alcoholic but because my behavior changes in ways I don't want it to when the drinks are free (i.e. drinking more then I normally would) I do think this is a problem.  My normal rule of thumb is not to have more then two drinks in an evening out or one glass of wine at home.  My NEW rule is to pay for all drinks that Firefly or I drink, no beer and only one glass of wine if at a friends house. This is in addition to the above two drink rule. 

I think it is a good idea to place restrictions on yourself if you feel your own self-control in a certain area needs strengthening.  You should know your own strengths and weaknesses.  If you can't see where you might be weak or weaking, ask those around you to LOVING point it out to you.  And don't get mad at them when they do :)

The other free addiction I have is with piles of free stuff in front of peoples houses.  I just want to load it all up and take it home! I have been pretty good about this and in the last two years have only brought home three items...a bike, a desk, and a rotary phone...all three of which are still in use today.  I only bring home things that will be used immediately and only need a little love.  

So?  What are you addicted to? 

Sunday, November 8, 2009

How to be manly...three easy steps

Do the Dishes

Ride Trail 90's in the hills

Take your wife to see CATS

The playlist I listen to most

  • Hey There Delilah                          Plain White T's
  • White Lines & Red Lights             Between The Trees
  • Clocks                                            Coldplay
  • Zombie                                          The Cranberries
  • I Don't Like Mondays                   Tori Amos
  • Carol of the Bells                          The Calling
  • The Geeks Get the girls                American HI-FI
  • Sand In My Shoes                         Dido
  • (I'd Go The) Whole Wide World   The Monkees
  • I Knew I Loved You                      Savage Garden
  • Girl All The Bad Guys Want         Bowling For Soup
  • When She Believes                        Ben Harper
  • Jumpin' Jack                                   Big Bad Voodoo Daddy
  • What I'm Looking For                   Brendan Benson
  • Bad Reputation                              Joan Jett
  • Your Body Is A Wonderland         John Mayer
  • Blue Balloon                                 Ween
  • Here Without You                         3 Doors Down
  • Let It Be                           Carol Woods & Timothy T. Mitchum
  • All You Need Is Love                   Dana Fuchs & Jim Sturgess
  • Hey Jude                                       Joe Anderson
  • Come Together                             Joe Cocker
  • While My Guitar Gently Weeps   Martin Luther McCoy
  • Broken Hear Hoover                    Once
  • When Your Minds Made Up        Once
  • Super Rad                                     Aquabats
  • Might be crazy                             Billy Joel
  • Hey Leonardo                              Blessed Union Of Souls
  • That's the Girl                              Blessid union of souls
  • It's my life                                    Bon Jovi
  • Ready to Fly                                FFH
  • Callin' baton rauge                      Garth Brooks
  • Ireland                                         Garth Brooks
  • How you ever gonna know         Garth Brooks
  • no one around                             Garth Brooks
  • Till I hear it From You                Gin Blossoms
  • Girl In The War                           Josh Ritter
  • portland Rose                              lorreta lynn & jack black
  • Medusa                                       Magneta Lane

Thursday, November 5, 2009

Kiva hits $100 Million Dollars in Loans

I've talked about here on the blog before but now there is even more good news!  In the 4.5 years has been lending money, they have just reached $100 Million dollars in loans.  I read about this story here, and here.

Kiva's website says that the first loans made in March of 2005 total $3,500.  From $3,500 to $100,000,000 in just over 4 years!  I think this really shows how much good one or two people can do in the world.

We were told about Kiva about 2 years ago and this year started loaning out money.  Right now we have lent $50 and once it is paid back, we will lend it out again along with another $50.  I figure if we keep added and reloaning then in a few years, we might be able to fully support someone.  The way Kiva typically works is to combine our $50 with your $50 and our neighbors $10 and your aunts $200 until the total loan amount is reached.

Click here to check out all the loan requests and see if there is anyone that you want to help.  Our first loan was on behalf of my Dad for his birthday.  Maybe I'll check it out for Chirstmas this year as well.

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Boo! Hiss! Bad Oil Company!

According to, the above that just caught fire has been leaking oil for the past 10 weeks...10 WEEKS I SAY!  Why is it that this is not all over the news and why is there no major pressure to get this leak stopped.

"You might recall back, in mid August 2009, when Matthew noted that an oil rig of the NW coast of Australia had sprung a leak. A rather bad leak that was expected to take some time to plug. Well, it's now November 2009, more than 70 days and four failed attempts later, the oil continues to gush into the Timor Sea, at an estimated rate of somewhere between 400 and 2,000 barrels per day. (A barrel contains 159 litres or 42 US gallons.)

But the news gets worse. On Sunday 1 November the West Atlas oil rig caught on fire, and oil company PTTEP Australasia admit they don't know how they are going to put it out. Should the rig collapse, the opportunities to plug the still leaking oil, pouring from the well bore 2.6km under the seabed, decline markedly. And the bad news keeps on coming."


I am going to do some digging and find out just where this oil ends up (ie. which Gas stations buy from PTTEP) because I smell a boycott coming!