Saturday, January 31, 2009

What's a Superbowl?

I mentioned before that in addition to this blog, I have one (and a full website) dedicated to local football. Yes, it includes the professional game but because you can find much of that information elsewhere, I focus on the amateur scene (about 17 to 24 as an age group).

I have put a lot of effort over the past two or three years in trying to help restore a professional team in Ottawa (writing to city council, taking part in a Design Competition for the area in which the stadium is located, etc).

I try to have fun with it, but it is often frustrating. I am not an optimist by nature but if I have to point to one positive, the experience has reinforced my belief that no matter how stupid an opinion is, someone somewhere has it. Apparently, he or she also has an Ottawa address.

Truth be told though, if someone were to tell me that a pro team here will never happen again in my lifetime, I could be perfectly happy with just following the youth levels for a number of reasons. The value of sports in society can be debated endlessly, but I personally believe that whatever value it does have is greater at the amateur level.

Here is an example, from a high school basketball game in New York, of the type of positive impact it can have on an individual and/or group. You don't see this kind of thing in the pros.

Sunday, January 04, 2009

It's colder than a well digger's ass out there...

...but that doesn't mean that your heating bills have to skyrocket.

Low Impact Living (A THIT personal favourite) provides a list of tips on how to reduce your consumption and/or costs. What I like about this list is that they break them down by project "size". Here's a preview:

Something you can do today: "Turn down your thermostat when away or at night. You could save up to 1% off your heating bill for every degree you lower your thermostat. And, contrary to urban legend, it does NOT use significantly more energy to warm your house back up again."

Something you can do this week: "Install a programmable thermostat. Even though it is easy, many of us will decide that re-setting the thermostat by hand every day is a pain. So, let your thermostat do it for you with one of these programmable Energy Star options. Save up to 5% of your energy bill, and avoid emitting 1,000 pounds of carbon dioxide.

Something you can do this month: "Seal your heating ducts. Leaks in ductwork are some of the most costly and easiest to fix heating / cooling problems, often wasting 10% or more of your heating fuel. Find do-it-yourself duct sealing products here.

The full list is here. Oh, and the expression used as a title for this post was borrowed, with permission, from Mrs THIT's grandfather. He has a million of them, and probably a few more just waiting for the appropriate moment.

Maison Idekit

This is neat. I was directed to it from a Green Communities Canada newsletter. The title is also the name of a Quebec-based company which builds homes from recycled freight containers.

Before (or, well, during):


So how much does one of these cost? Well...It's complicated. They can't take into account the cost of land and they don't include plumbing and basic electricity in the construction. So when you first see $62,000 for a 2000 square foot unit that is, by their own admission, misleading.

This article (French only, apparently like the idekit website) has additional photography.

I would love one of these as a cottage or retirement home. :-)