Saturday, November 29, 2014

A not so Black Friday

My wife and I celebrated our nation's busiest shopping day by taking our two permanent foster dogs for a hike in Caprock Canyons State Park.

On the trip there, we encountered a massive flock of Sandhill cranes and two flocks of turkey. Birds make me happy!

The only wildlife we encountered on the trail was a small Texas spiny lizard. He made me happy too! There were lots of tracks and lots of scat, but I did not memorize the Urban Bestiary well enough to identify much.

The people and dogs we met on the the trail were quick with a kind word or a tail wag. Kylie and Matilda had a great time on the trail and survived the ride there and back.

My wife and I experienced one of the more beautiful places in Texas together and saw the sun set on red rock and veins of white quartz. It's hard to imagine a better day.

May you know such beauty!

Friday, November 21, 2014

Disappointment: Mini Debuts another Electric Scooter

About four years ago, Mini debuted an electric scooter at the Paris Auto Show. And it was cool and exciting. About the same time, Smart also debuted an electric scooter as well. And the electric vehicle world was a very different thing then. Companies like Tesla, Zero, and Brammo were just releasing electric vehicles and were far from being household names. The Leaf and the Volt were just getting rolling. The EV landscape was very different.

And I looked forward to both of those scooters for a long time. The Smart scooter fizzled a while back - Smart had planned to partner with Vectrix on their scoot, but Vectrix folded and the Smart scooter faded away. And, to be honest, the Mini scooter just faded from my mind...

...until this morning. I saw this Gas2 headline: MINI Debuts Electric Scooter Instead Of Electric Car. And the electric scooter geek in me rejoiced! Then I clicked on the link and saw this crappy little thing that would fit in nicely in the Target bicycle section:

I haven't read the article yet. I will get around to it, but not yet. I did look at the photos and saw an image that took me back to the 80's and a little dream scooter called the Honda Motocompo that was designed to fit in the back of the tiny Honda City automobile in place of a spare tire.

disappointing scooter in Mini 

Honda Motocompo in Honda City

Second-Wave Ska Legends Madness in the Japan-only ads
(If you're a fan on the Nutty Boys, it is worth seeking out the commercials on youtube.)
May your scooter surprises be good ones!

Thursday, November 20, 2014

Lubbock Electric Bike for Sale (and a photo of mine)

I look at the bikes on the local Craigslist almost every day to see if anything interesting pops up. Today something interesting popped up - an electric Schwinn.

I have been aware of the electric Schwinns since they came out, but I have not paid a lot of attention. They were high-priced and low-powered, and that combination never appealed to me. New, this bike was $2,200 and the power system is 24 volt and either 250 or 400 watt. Definitely out of my price range and borderline on whether or not it has enough power for a big guy like me.
But now that it has a used price tag and I can clearly see its list of virtues as a commuter bike (suspension seat post, rear rack, fenders, mirrors, adjustable handlebar stem), yes, I can see this being a very good deal for less money than most would spend on an electric kit without a bicycle. So, if you are in the market, used is always a gamble, but this looks like a solid deal.

My e-bike is all together now.
I hope to do an in-depth post about my experiences building this one soon, but today, you just get to see a pic of my little pseudo-Frenchy.
May you run across a good deal that keeps you from burning fossil fuels, and may you have a great day!

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Two More Copenhagen Wheel and FlyKly Competitors: Daymak DDS and GeoOrbital

Snagit, it is a great time to watch North American e-bike innovation!

Daymak is Canadian, eh?

Daymak makes its way back onto the Mesquite Hugger e-bike radar with the DDS. A cool idea - a complete wheel system that includes a 15W/hr solar charging system. The motor is a geared 250W and the battery is a 36V 12Ah lithium polymer. Another distinguishing factor for this one is that it uses a handlebar mounted wireless throttle/transmitter, which has its own solar panel and can be used to charge your smartphone, which can be used to monitor functions via Bluetooth connection. This Canadian marvel is set to come in at $699 - $100 cheaper than the Copenhagen Wheel.

Daymak DDS Promo Video

Never Fear - I like his t-shirt!

BikemanforU DDS Interview (BikemanforU is my new favorite bike reviewer)

And now for something completely different:

The GeoOrbital - an electric wheel with a Boston Accent
In other developmental motorwheel news, Electric Bike Report featured a very different approach to the same idea. This idea was birthed at Cambridge, so it has a pedigree similar to the Copenhagen Wheel. The differentiating factor for this one is that the center of the wheel stays stationary while the outer rim and tire do the turning. Details are a little scarce, but this setup uses a 350W motor with a wired throttle, and the company, GeoOrbital, hopes to sell their wheel for less than $500.

Here is the link to the article with a short video on

May the wheel on your bike go round and round (under its own power).

Yesterday's Senate Vote on the Keystone XL Pipeline

I just wanted to say thank you to the senate for not passing the bill to force approval of the Keystone XL pipeline. To be honest, I am amazed and very thankful for this outcome.

Please research the issue for yourself. Look at how few permanent jobs will be formed, at how many (more) Americans will have their land taken away through eminent domain, how unlikely it is that the fuel will be used in North America, how destructive other tar sands spills have been in the United States, and just how environmentally damaging tar sands extraction, transport, and refining are, and follow the link below to encourage our president to fully reject the pipeline so that we can put our energies into producing renewable energy and jobs that will support us into the future rather than lead to our destruction. message to President Obama to reject the pipeline

May you and those who follow you thrive in health and abundance.

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Cheap and Green: Dryer Venting Inside the House

Ours look like this one from the HQ article - around $12 at the local hardware store

It happened this week. The cold hit town. On Sunday it snowed all day. The heater has been working hard! And the heater was sucking the humidity right out of the house.

So, I busted out the secret weapon - the alternative dryer vent. (Actually, all I had to do was flip the lever since the device was already installed.) It vents heat and humidity into the house rather than away from it. It is not nearly so green as the clothesline in the backyard, but clothes don't dry very fast when the temp is below freezing. So, if you are going to be using a dryer anyway, you might look into this to help your heater take a break.

WARNING: If your dryer is gas-powered, don't even think about it - this is only an option for people with electric dryers. And it is crucial that you clean the lint out often.

Here are two articles to familiarize yourself with the practice and with potential pitfalls.

Ebay Article: Can You Vent a Dryer Inside?

Homespot HQ Blog: Keeing the Dryer Heat Inside

May you be warm and need less lip balm while wasting less energy.

Monday, November 17, 2014

An E-Bike for Your Commute, A Little Spoken Word Poetry for You

Okay, it's not every day that I run across spoken-word poetry while researching e-bikes, but today is one of those days. An Electric Bike Report post today re-introduced me to the Riide urban commuter e-bike. The bike is a simple and elegant 350-watt e-bike that was successfully Kickstarted in February of this year. I remember checking it out and liking the idea a great deal. And I remember being impressed at its price-point - low to mid-range for the category ($1799). And I am very impressed at its light weight - only 35 pounds. What I do not remember, though. is the Kickstarter video that starts with some enjoyable spoken word by Jamaal May.
A still from the Kickstarter video

And, in case you want a little more bike poetry, here is a Jimmy RoadRash blog post with a poster and a little Pablo Neruda for your reading pleasure: Bicycle Poems or Spoke and Word
[May the life that you are living be] way too wide
to fit inside of a corner office. (with apologies to Jamaal May)

Friday, November 14, 2014

Lubbock Culture: Flatland Film Festival

As per usual with this blog, this is a bit late in the delivery...

Lots of cool things happen around the LHUCA, but my favorite annual event there is the Flatland Film Festival. This year's festival caught me off guard. With anniversaries and elections and lots of other stuff going on, it slipped my mind to get the word out. So, here it is half over, but there is still a lot to see.

A blue heron from Yakona, a visual journey through the history of the San Marcos River - this film looks amazing!

Tonight: 6pm Yakona, 8pm Madly (Taylor Shofner screenlay reading), and 12am Why Don't You Play in Hell? There will be three short films between Yakona and Madly)

Saturday Night: 7pm Que Caramba es la Vida, Closing Reception 9:30

May you go and have a wonderful time!

PS. Be sure to check the official site linked above - a few local media sources have the wrong times posted.

Big Companies Offering a Bit of Hope: Post-it Notes and the Big Blue Oval

Let me start by saying that I appreciate the company I work for. There are lots of perks around here that involve serving others and spending time with one's family. And they have always supported me in charging my various electric Frankenbikes. My boss even encouraged me to park and charge my e-bike in my office - until we moved to the third floor. Even then, the only real discouragement came from gravity.

Moving on, not once have I ever thought to myself, Gee, I want to work for 3M. Not until today, anyway. And Ford, I have have driven and loved a Ford or two, but I never really wanted to be a part of Ford. But the green news surrounding these two companies this week has been exciting for me.

Ford's news is a little less exciting than 3M's, but still cool. Really, the Ford news is very small so far. It impacts four dealerships initially, but it could be the start of something very good. And, that big Ford VAWT (vertical axis wind turbine) could be downright mesmerizing. I like those! Here's the story from Gas 2:

Ford Testing Wind And Solar Power Systems For Dealerships

More exciting on a larger scale (at least to me) is that 3M is now piloting a program to help its employees go solar. The program offers a 25-35% discount on the cost of the equipment and helps the employee with low payments and no money down. That right there would be attractive to me if I were looking at going to work for them. Here's the story from CleanTechnica:

Duct Tape Giant’s Low Cost Solar Stealth Attack

Any time I see large companies embracing clean, renewable energy, I get excited. In the case of 3M, seeing a company help its employees to switch to that same clean energy - that really gets me excited. So, If I can go to work part time for 3M and get solar on the house, and go to work part time for New Belgium to get a fat-tired bike, and go to work for Ford part time to be able to charge my plug-in C-Max that I have not yet bought....

May your employer make it easy for you to be lean and green!

Thursday, November 13, 2014

Lubbock: Striving to Be a Suburban Urbanite

The Urban Tech events of the last few weeks have had me thinking.

"Suburban Urbanite." It kind of rolls off the tongue. Say it out loud and see how it fits.

We live in a place where it is easy to be fat and lazy. (And, yes, I resemble that remark.) When your car is parked very few feet from your kitchen and you can get a pretty good parking space at the grocery store, or the mall, or the superstore, or the doctor's office; and gasoline is pretty cheap... When it's freezing or roasting or dirt is blowing, but you have sealed windows plus central heat and air at home... When drive-thru-window burgers and tacos always come with fries and 32 ounce sodas, and they are cheaper than cooking healthy for yourself... When you can see the game so much better and in much more comfort from your couch than from the stadium... When your politicians can convince you that everything is alright in the world by starting statements with, "I am no scientist, but..."

I am very fortunate to live in the center of our town. Within a very small radius, one can find almost anything needed for daily life. As much as possible, I try to keep my travels close, to walk and ride the bicycle when I can. And I feel better when I do. And my weight has dropped a little. And my blood pressure has definitely dropped. And I find that my thoughts are healthier when I am moving than when I am sitting or driving. The dogs are healthier and less destructive when we walk them regularly. And the do-it-all smartphone is less of a temptation/distraction when I am in motion. And I am tired enough to sleep at night. And I am not a scientist, but I know that we are producing carbon monoxide much faster than our trees and ocean can absorb it, and it's deadly stuff. So the more I walk and ride and choose healthier, the less I am contributing to our decay.

So, here I am in the burbs striving to take advantage of some urban advantages without the downsides: the population, the pollution, the crime rates, the higher prices. And, to quote Mickey Rourke in The Barfly, "It's not that I don't like people, it's just that I feel better when they are not around, yeah..." And I am choosing to live healthier in the hopes that a few of you will too.

Another MH post about living in the middle of Lubbock: How far do you live from _______ ?

Tuesday, November 11, 2014

Lubbock Giving: Operation Wishbone - The Haven and Second Chance Dog Rescue

Here is the flyer

 I stopped by Mr. Aquarium yesterday - 34th Street is blessed with a lot of great businesses - Jenny came right over with a flyer and asked me to spread the word. She knows that my wife and I are dedicated to the idea of supporting no-kill shelters in their quest to make life better for the thousands of cast-aside pets our town sees every year.

From this 2013 Avalanche-Journal Article about local adoption and kill rates
We killed almost 24,000 from 2010-2012

In this season of cold and hunger, please set aside a little to help these shelters care for Lubbock's homeless pets. 

Our Condo in his dino pjs

Second Chance Dog Rescue (Snyder, TX) can be found on Facebook.

May your life be richer for what you give away.

Monday, November 10, 2014

Two-Wheeler Articles from One of My Favorite Blogs

Another tiny post - this one for those of you who like two-wheelers and or the blog Gas 2. So, really, it's a post for me and I hope you like it.

For those of you who, like me, love Vespa scooters, here is a new e-bike from Piaggio, Vespa's parent company. This article features a nice little animated video for what seems a cool feature-rich bike. It is exciting to see a name-brand Euro e-bike that is not based on the Bosch mid-drive system - man, there are a lot of those lately: Trek, Felt, KTM...

Piaggio Launches Plug-in Bike at EICMA

And for those of you who are trying to convince your spouse and/or Santa Claus that you need a scooter or motorcycle for Christmas so that you can save money on fuel - good luck on the math for that argument - here is a great article to help you decide which one to ask for. Ranging from the Grom to the Elio, there is some interesting stuff here:

The 11 Best Fuel-efficient Motorcycles You Can Buy in 2015


Honey, I really NEED an Elio!

May your spouse do the math and place an e-bike under the tree for you this Christmas!

Friday, November 7, 2014

Taos: A Solar-Powered Radio Station, a Frog, a Marmot, and Flaco Claus

On those rare occasions when my wife and I vacation, we try to find a small piece of art to purchase as a momento of our trip. On our recent trip to New Mexico, we went all crazy - we bought a tiny painting from a man who called himself "Ray Suncatcher" and we bought two photos from the Field Institute of Taos. Those photos arrived in the mail this week. I opened the envelope and had the opportunity to re-live a great day in Taos.

The frog is my wife's (a great irony considering her thoughts on frogs) and the marmot (impersonating a walrus) is mine.

Before leaving for Taos, we were given a phenomenal gift. Our good friend Keith, whose name shows up on MH often, wrote out a very informal travel guide of things to do (and eat) in Taos. He sent us many places and never steered us wrong. If you ever get the chance to get your own Keith travel guide, jump all over it!

From Keith's Guide

·         KTAO is a solar powered radio station that also has a very informal bar inside where you can sip your beverage and watch the dj put on music.  I mean. . . . he's a few feet away and if you yell profanities, it will go over the air.  They also have a stage outside and a small stage inside.  It's a really unique place, and I highly recommend it on your way out of Taos. 

After reading that, we knew we had to go by KTAO.

View of the front door

The place was a madhouse. Before we made it through the front door, a really skinny Santa Claus pulled up in his sleigh followed by a few dozen Harleys. Lots of other people were there for the local ski equipment swap meet, and the Field Institute of Taos was having a fundraiser in front of the DJ booth. (This discouraged us from yelling profanities, snagit!)

The view behind the place

But the Field Institute is pretty darned cool! They are a non-profit that offers camps and programs to teach kids about nature and fitness. They even teach photography and mountain biking. One of their fundraisers at KTAO was the sale of photos the kids had taken, which is how we ended up with a frog and a marmot to hang in our house.
You can check them out here:

The view from inside the bar

The view of the massive solar carport - what could be cooler?
(Okay, having the largest broadcast area of any solar-powered radio station in the world is a bit cooler than having a really big solar carport.)

Some random tourists smiling near the logo

May you find yourself in a great place buying frog and marmot photos to send a kid to camp. I highly recommend it.

Thursday, November 6, 2014

Electric Scooter News: Fido Grows Up and Scoots to Italy

Check this cool canine out at!

Here at the Mesquite Hugger Hangout, it's always an exciting day when an email rolls in from the Fido Team. So, yesterday was a good day!!!

The email had two pieces of info - that Fido is being unveiled at EICMA - the international motorcycle exposition in Italy - and that the new Fido was unveiled on the new Fido website.

I went straight to the website. (The MH budget doesn't really support paddling over to Italy to see it in person.) I love the new Fido with its obvious improvements over the prototype model. I want mine in blue with the wood rack on the back! I will shut up now and let the photos do the talking.

May you be fortunate enough to have green transport this cool!

Wednesday, November 5, 2014

Tiny House Articles: A Year of Tiny and USA Today heads to Spur, Texas

A young married couple with the run-down on tiny house living after their first year.

Take special note of the bathroom fan advice and the importance of planning for ice cream!

Favorite line: we have found that our friends now introduce us as “these are the tiny house people we were telling you about”

A Year of Tiny

Back in August, USA Today reported on the phenomena of tiny houses and started the piece with info about Jeremy Hensley, the first person to accept Spur, Texas' invitation to move to town to live the tiny house lifestyle.

Favorite line: Owners of tiny homes "aren't people who are going to be spending money on their mortgage." Jeremy Hensley

Building communities one tiny house at a time

And here is the Spur tiny house blog: Small Footprint, Big Freedom

May you dream big and live tiny, or something like that.

Tiny Post: Fun with Bike Racks

So, there I was in Taos checking out a cool bike rack to share with all of you, but I really needed to have what the young'uns are calling a bio break these days. After the break I came back to snap a pic, but I had to wait a while. The bike rack had become a playground. After a few minutes, a father figure said, "That's enough! Let's go." Kids scampered away, and I snapped the pic.

So today I am checking out a blog entry about a family that has two cargo bikes and no car, and off to the side I notice a link to Kids on Bike Racks. I clicked on it, and now I am smiling.

May you click onto a smile today too!

Tuesday, November 4, 2014

Holy Stalactites, Batman! There's Corvette Glue in the Batcave!

Calling all Batfriends!

Bats in North America are in trouble. White nose syndrome, a fungus-based disease is killing a large number of bats in the Northeast, and there are signs that the disease is spreading significantly. WNS is already affecting a number of endangered species and has the potential to be cataclysmic for bat populations. To learn more about WNS, visit this site:

And, if you would like to know more about bats in our part of the country, visit our neighbors a few hours east of here at the Bat World Sanctuary.

This morning, I was checking out AutoBlogGreen and ran across an article about GM using adhesive from Corvettes and battery boxes from Volts to help create healthier conditions for hibernating bats. These healthier conditions would allow bats to have more space which can slow the spread of the white nose fungus.

May our dream cars become superheroes, and may we do all we can to stop the destruction of our endangered neighbors.

PS. It's election day - get out and vote! (For info on locations and candidates, read yesterday's MH entry.)

Monday, November 3, 2014

Combating Lubbock Boringitis: Urban Tech

Imagine living in a place where there is always something to do.

In case you haven't heard, our fair city has once again been voted the most boring town in America. And it is not hard to see why we have such a reputation. If one is not interested in going to a movie, attending a sports event, or heading down to the Depot District to drink a lot of alcohol, well, you are going to have to do some digging.

Don't do it!

But there have been many glimmers of hope in the last few years. Two that stand out happen in the downtown area: the LHUCA First Friday Art Trail and the Lubbock Downtown Farmer's Market. If you have been fortunate enough to visit either of those recurring events, you've had the chance to see local folks out enjoying the place we call home and the company of our neighbors. And it's pretty darned awesome.

Another group that is working in the same direction is Urban Tech. They are an offshoot of the Texas Tech College of Architecture. In their own words:

A place for students to think, draw, design, model and create.
A product of ideas and information in public exhibition in the form of drawings and models and transportable information via digital media.
A process of civic engagement and exploration.
Urban Tech will clarify the public benefits of architecture, promote the creation of new knowledge and serve as a laboratory for ethical professional behavior where community needs supersede private agendas. (I really like that last sentence!)

Urban Tech has been stepping away from the drawing board lately and taking their work and ideas into the street downtown. And if you have not made it out there, you still have time this week to head over to Avenue J to see what's up and to support the idea of resurrecting our downtown to create an area where people would love to live, work, and play. Besides the cultural events, you can check out the functional art, the pocket park, and the prospective graphics on the windows. You can even pick up one of the cool t-shirts for $10.

Bands on Friday Night

Coffee in the morning and live music during the lunch hour and after work

Last night's Broadway & Gourmet on Ave J

If you are one of those who keep complaining about how boring our town is, here is your chance to truly be the change you wish to see in the world. Get out and support a future that can be.

May you live in an interesting place that inspires you!

PS. Be sure to check out a few of the other projects on the Urban Tech website. BIKE!