Saturday, November 30, 2013

Small Business Saturday is here!

If you're going to spend money today, head out to your favorite local small businesses. Keep your money in the local economy and support your neighbors. 

I am starting today with a homemade cinnamon roll and an Americano from Yellowhouse Coffee. 

May your day be filled with local goodness! 

Wednesday, November 27, 2013

Infographics? (Part 3) & Where to Recycle in Lubbock

Okay, I have teased you long enough. Here is the link to the whole infographic in all its glory!
And for those of you who would like to recycle in Lubbock, here are the city-operated locations an hours:
(click the link for more detailed info)

(ONLY items properly prepared and sorted can be recycled!)

Hours of Operation
8 a.m. to 5:30 p.m.
* Closed during City of Lubbock Holidays

Drop-Off Locations
1631 84th St.
West of Avenue P

Northside: 208 Municipal Dr.
4th Street Exit From I-27, Follow Road Signs
(Across from Meadowbrook Golf Course)

South Milwaukee:
7308 Milwaukee
(73rd & Milwaukee, west of the Water ground storage reservoir)

North Quaker: 4307 Adrian Street
(N. Quaker & Adrian, north of the Water ground storage reservoir)

There are also a few non-city-operation locations in town:
Market Street - 50th and Indiana (South of building)
United Supermarket - 82nd and Frankford (Northeast of building)
Lowe's Marketplace - 26th and Boston (West of building)

May you reduce, reuse, recycle, and rejoice!

Did I mention that I love infographics? (Part 2)

So, the last post was pretty dang depressing, but what can we do? The same infographic offers up some helpful tips.

These ten steps are pretty simple. If you're new to this, pick one and work on it for a week. Step #1 is a  very easy one to start with. And you don't always have to have a bag with you. If it's a small shopping trip (just a few items) just carry the stuff. Sure, most Lubbock retailers will look at you as though you have lost your mind when you say, "I don't need a bag," but it's great fun to see the looks on their faces. Also, purses, pockets, backpacks, and messenger bags are a great way to avoid plastic or paper bags. Plastic 5 gallon buckets work great too, but you will REALLY get the crazy looks then.
Plastic Bucket Tip: Many Lubbock restaurants throw away large quantities of 1-5 gallon plastic buckets. These buckets are extremely handy, and they are free. Just ask the manager if you can have some. Most are happy to hook you up. (And the pickle smell will eventually go away!)
Step 8: If you're like me, a cheap b-----d who is addicted to caffeine, step 8 will really appeal to you. Many places in town will offer you a discount if you bring your own cup, especially if you purchased it from them in the first place. Yellowhouse Coffee (Buy LOCAL!!!), Einstein Brothers, and Whichwich are three places in Lubbock that offer this discount. And many other places (Sip-n-Dip Donuts) don't mind at all if you bring your own.
May your list of things that you are thankful for overwhelm you. (If you take time to read this, consider yourself on my list - Thank you!)

Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Did I mention that I love infographics?

Some days it's a tough love affair. Take for instance yesterday. I ran across an infographic on plastic...

The keyboard upon which I type this is mostly plastic. As I glance around my desk, I notice that almost everything on the desk has a plastic component. Indeed, the desk itself has a significant amount of plastic. The stuff is everywhere.
So, if I am indeed average, I will throw away 75 tons of plastic over my lifetime. And I am middle-aged, so I have already thrown 33 tons away.

I walk a fair amount. Some days I carry a bag when I walk. The trash on the street is almost always recyclable. Paper, glass, aluminum, and plastic. Plastic is by far the most common trash I find - drink bottles.
Lots of drink bottles - Americans use 60 Billion per day.
So, how about that bag I carry?
It is truly staggering when you sit back and realize how many of us there are and how much each of us consumes.
[More tomorrow.]
May your day be filled with hope and may your actions reinforce that feeling.

Monday, November 25, 2013

So, who drives electric cars now?

Another brave soul living the Dream!

Here's a little vid where John Voelcker explains the personality types who now are purchasing electric cars. I see myself in several of the types. Unfortunately, I am too much of the last type to actually buy one yet. Please post and let us know which category (if any) you fit into.

Plugin Personalities

Thank you to the Green Divas for creating and posting this video.

And here's more info on the car above for your drooling pleasure:

Evalbum Commutacar

May your vehicle bring you a smile like the guy with the trophy and may your inner Mesquite Hugger be satisfied.

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Small Business Saturday - Locals, PLEASE COMMENT!

For those of you who can't wait until Friday to run out and get those Black Friday bargains, here is a helpful link.
Black Friday Opening Hours

As for me, I hate it! As retailers push the Black Friday envelope in a fiendish plot to destroy Thanksgiving and meaningful human interaction, I feel the need to push back. So, I am drawing my line in the sand. I will not participate. I will not participate in the ravenous consumer orgy that now begins at 6pm on Thanksgiving. I do not want to contribute to the competitive and mean-spirited drive to get the best deal on some gadget cranked out in China. I do not want to contribute to a system that turns a family holiday into a day of drudgery and misery for those who work retail.

What's the fallback plan for Friday?
I am not completely sure, but I have several tentative plans:
I want to start the day by spending a quiet morning with my beautiful wife. As I work on the list of that for which I am thankful, she is right at the top, and I want her to know that.
I would like to hike in a canyon, bake sugar cookies, have lunch with friends and family, walk the dogs in a local park, put up Christmas lights, and start working on a few handmade gifts.

And, if I absolutely have to go out and buy something for somebody, I am going to hold out for Small Business Saturday.

It's a great way to support local businesses. One study shows $45 of every $100 spent at small, local businesses stays in the local economy. National chains only keep local $13 of every $100 spent.

Skip Black Friday - Small Business Saturday (It's an older article, but it still makes a great point.)

So, those of you who live here on the South Plains, do you have any local small businesses you'd recommend for Small Business Saturday? Gift shops? Local artists? Specialty food sellers? Local stores that offer great customer service? Please share your favorites in the comments section, so others can support those brave souls who go head-to-head with the retail giants that surround and overwhelm us!

May all your Fridays be anything but black!

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

Shakespeare, a tiny car, and a blog much better than this one

This is my favorite of the sonnets:

Sonnet 130

My mistress’ eyes are nothing like the sun;
Coral is far more red than her lips’ red;
If snow be white, why then her breasts are dun;
If hairs be wires, black wires grow on her head.
I have seen roses damask’d, red and white,
But no such roses see I in her cheeks;
And in some perfumes is there more delight
Than in the breath that from my mistress reeks.
I love to hear her speak, yet well I know
That music hath a far more pleasing sound;
I grant I never saw a goddess go;
My mistress, when she walks, treads on the ground:
And yet, by heaven, I think my love as rare - The crucial turning point that changes the tone
As any she belied with false compare.

My favorite part of any literature is when that transition happens, that direction change that brings it all together, the aha! moment.

So, I was quite happy when I read Jo Borras' article on a very efficient new Mitsubishi and found this jewel:

Instead of behaving like a miserable little “econobox”, the Mitsubishi Mirage CVT in B mode behaves like a cartoon turtle with a nest of angry honeybees crammed under its shell. It scoots, too!

For me, this was the turning point in the article, the line that made me think, "Hey, sit up and take notice!"

For the full text and the link to a very entertaining blog for eco-gearheads, click below:

May your econobox behave like a cartoon turtle (with angry bees)!

Monday, November 18, 2013

Since I am moving slowly on my project...

Roll out the barrel!!!!!

Here is a very cool (and inexpensive) aquaponics project that popped up on Instructables today. I really like the simplicity and detail on this one. And, I think bell siphons are downright cool.

And a bell siphon animation:

May your food be healthy,additive free, and delicious!

Thursday, November 14, 2013

An Infographic for Modern Life

I guess my attention span

keeps getting shorter.

I love info-


which feature simple

fisher-price style


Get out there

and shop!

Honey, we need a bigger house!

Have a great


Wednesday, November 13, 2013

Electric Hooliganism - and the Non-Tiny House Movement

A very entertaining video advertising the Oset 48volt 20" trials bike is making the rounds this week. The first time I watched it, the old brain was bouncing around from wow that guy can ride and has no fear of death or bodily harm or London traffic(!!!) to what a shame to treat a house that way(!!!) to omigosh that little bike's capabilities are truly astounding(!!!)

So here it is for your perusal:
Electric Mansion Trials

The takeaway (and can I squeeze in a hometown twist?) is that this video shows how light, powerful, and tough an electric motorcycle can be. And one of the few Oset dealers in Texas just happens to be here in Lubbock.

Here's the bike:
And here is the dealer info:
Trail JunkyzScooter McNeal806-441-1103LubbockTexas79416

I have never met Scooter McNeal, but I like his name and would  love to have one of those bikes! If you know him, tell him howdy from the Mesquite Hugger!

May you have good times that do not shatter your bones!

Save Lubbock's Rivers!

The Double Mountain Fork at max flow!

Don't you just love misleading headlines!

I drive through Justiceburg often, and the highlight of that trip is usually the craning of my neck to see if there's any mud lingering in the bed of the Double Mountain Fork of the Brazos. There is usually a little. Once in a great while there is actual water visible. And there was one time that I saw the highway department out there monitoring to make sure that a flash flood was not going to wash away the Highway 84 bridge. (One small regret in my life is that I did not head straight home, grab the kayak, and ride the red whitewater from Tahoka to Justiceburg.) Two weeks later I passed that way again and saw only mud.


FYI, I love being near water, especially if that water has the capacity to support wildlife. I love ponds, lakes, streams, drainage ditches, playa lakes, buffalo wallows, mud puddles, and the ocean.  I am not terribly fond of swimming pools and it really gets to me that I live in an area where almost all bodies of water have dried up but the freshwater-for-fracking ponds are full and open for business.

The most intriguing water to me is running water. I love rivers.

So, when I ran across this article about the Freshwater Trust, I was both depressed at the enormity of their task and encouraged by the fact that they exist and are making headway. FYI, the Freshwater Trust is not based in West Texas.

The State of Water in America

May your rivers run wild and clean!

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

Just a couple of cool electric motorcycles

Okay, I have been slacking lately - not much blogging inspiration. Seeing the devastataion in the Phillipines and being generally busy busy busy has left little mental energy, so here are a few pretty cool motorcycles to pass the time.

The first one is from, which is my favorite place to check out the DIY electric vehicle creations. If you spend a little time there, you might even find one or two from Lubbock on there. I love the concept of this old Triumph - just as bare-bones as it can be:
Vintage Triumph

The next one is a work of fabrication art. I found this article on The Electric Chronicles, Ted Dillard's blog for those who like electric motorcycles and such.

Very cool electric motorcycle

May you be blessed with the basic needs and the means to share with those who don't.

Thursday, November 7, 2013

Keep those electrons rocking in the free world!

I admit it - Neil Young's voice does not appeal to me in any way. He has inspired me on many occasions to switch off the radio in search of whatever ambient noise I could find. I do, however, appreciate some of his political views and many of the songs he has written. Feel free to look those up for yourself. And, to be fair, he still has a more appealing voice than I do.

One other thing I appreciate about Neil is big old gas guzzling  electron-eating Lincoln. In case you love the idea of an electric car, but the Tesla Leaf Volt MiEV Citicar Coda Twizzy Smart Prius C-Max converted old Beetle just doesn't do it for you, here is Neil's Lincoln in its latest incarnation:

And here's the homepage:

May your ride have a heart of gold!

Hang Time (Crunchy Clothes) Revisited

When we last discussed hanging your undies out to dry, it was the middle of August (8-13-13), and those suckers would dry quickly. If done with a little care, I could hang stuff up after work and it would be dry before bedtime.

But here it is November, and it takes longer to dry things, and it takes some planning on my part. Really, with the 8-5 job and all the trappings of a modern life, only Saturdays now give me time to hang anything up. Therefore, the dryer has been overly busy and the laundry line has been mostly neglected.

But today, I found a little inspiration in the Ask Umbra column. I'll be busting out the clothespins this weekend.

The Winter of Our Discontent(ed laundry)

May your clothessicles flap happily this winter!

Wednesday, November 6, 2013

Tiny Houses - Real and Imagined

Today's post started with a video of the Nomad Micro Home - a very cool little place from Canada. The video shows a very impressive prefab flatpack building and celebrates a number of did-it-theirselves tiny homes.

Nomad Micro Home

And it set the brain to wandering. As a youngster, I built lots of tiny houses. I built them as homes for bugs, as garages for Hot Wheels, and I built them all out of Legos. So, the wandering brain started thinking of a house built out of big Legos. Then I did a little research and found that one of the UK Top Gear hosts (with  lots of volunteers) built an actual full-size house out of normal-sized Legos.

Lego House

Is there any point to all of this, probably not. But I have been wanting to build a greenhouse, and I'd like a mad-scientist's lab to park in the backyard, and ...

May your goofiest dreams come true!

Happy Birthday, Keith and John

The world is a better place because you are in it!

Tuesday, November 5, 2013

Another Electric Beetle

(This is not the actual beetle from the ad.)

I am just sharing this one because I love the bumper stickers! Be sure to check out the back pic. If you are into that sort of misery, it does look like a great deal. However...

Electric Beetle for Sale

May you find yourself without tailgaters and drive in silence!

Chuck it All - Run off to New Mexico and Live Green

A few months ago, I turned 45. I won't bore you with details, but my spirit and my brain had a throwdown that day, and I came to understand the whole mid-life crisis thing all too well.

I wear slacks to work and stare at a computer roughly eight hours every day. Most days I come home, do a (very) little housework, and then plant myself in front of the TV. And my hands itch to create, to build, to repair, to experience something more vibrant than a remote control, a keyboard, a mouse, and a coffee cup.

As far as midlife crises go, I guess it was pretty mild. I already have a young, beautiful, and loving wife. I don't fit comfortably in little red sports cars, and I do not want another gas burner anyway. One of the many little voices that day screamed for me to go get a cheap motorcycle and fly away as fast as it would carry me, but the practical voices kicked in and said things about burning gas, comfortable places to sleep, where I would carry the incorrigible greyhound, and how deeply I would miss my wife.

My faith, my wife, and my friends helped me through that patch. Thank you God and all others!

So, for those of you whose hands and spirits similarly itch to chuck it all and run away, I offer a pair of books that were written by people who did just that with a very eco-friendly slant. And strangely enough, both books were written by New Yorkers who chucked it all and moved to our neighbor to the west, New Mexico.

The first one, and definitely the funnier of the two, is Farewell My Subaru by Doug Fine. And if you are a Lubbockite and want to be really green about it, the copy I read is on the shelf over at the Mahan library. Start pedaling!

The second book, The Good Life Lab, is much more practical and inspirational, but not nearly as funny. Beware, both both books are likely to encourage your actions and your desires to be at odds with one another.

May your hands, your brain, and your spirit find a path where they are all happy. And thank you for taking the time to read this blog.