Category Archives: links

waterless car wash

treehugger had a post about a waterless carwash solution a bit ago and I went ahead and bought it yesterday.

I don’t post many photos of my incredibly cute and zippy swank rocket-ship of a honda insight, but if I did, you’d notice I’m not really very good at the car washing shtick. I mean, I’ve mentioned previously how amazing my car looks when it’s nice and clean – it’s something I’m totally aware of. but part of me has always thought “hey, self. so, your car is made out of aluminum and plastic, which won’t rust, so don’t worry about washing it!” and that’s a pretty bad thing for me to think, because I wasn’t that into washing cars when they were made of ferrous metals that would eventually disintegrate, either. I would justify my inattention by saying they’ve already got that “matte” finish, and I am a big car-life-cycle finisher (aka, resale value is not that important to me), so really, what’s the big deal? I would only wash cars when the salt was starting to flake off in big pieces or when I’d go to michelle’s house, because her dad gently ribs me about cars.

about 9 months ago when people were posting to an insight board I read pretty regularly about types of car washing solution and the best way to do it, and I had an epiphany. it’s not the steel body of the car that the washing protects, it’s the paint. and the paint protects the body, which prevents the rust. Hey! honest, I’d never thought about it this way before. The fact that I had to out myself to hundreds of insight drivers as a car-non-washer to reach this level of clarity, now, that was a little embarrassing.

so after restructuring my thoughts on the rationale of carwashing, I thought I should wash my car more. but with the insight you can’t just run it through an automatic car wash because of the wheel skirts, and I never seem to make it to the local cheap hand wash before they close. being in an apartment means no hoses, and my trips to the family seats should be about FUN, not about carwashing. I can probably say with all honesty that in the last 9 months I’ve washed my car less than 4 times. no, really. (eek.) but this waterless car thing, now, that’s more my speed. I could wash my car in the parking lot at work, if I wanted to! I’ll be honest, I will probably never WANT to wash my car, not after the first time, anyway. but at least this way I can’t tell myself that I just CAN’T wash my car. because you know what, I can. I just DON’T.

I bought the starter kit, which includes 4 microfiber towels and the solution itself, for $20. I’ll let y’all know how it works. I’ll also let you know if I am entirely on-board with the notion that the sufactants in the solution successfully wrap themselves around my car’s dirt particles and prevent the paint from scratching as I rub it down.

*** oh, and in crazy synergy news, I just realized that the dude that posted the treehugger article is also one of the brothers in brotherhood 2.0, which I’ve been enjoying pretty regularly. if my brother had to sit in front of a computer all day long like I do, I might make him gank that idea with me. of course, my brother is more of the strong silent electrician type and when we talk I am the chatty one, so it would probably not flow as gracefully as brotherhood 2.0 does. I’m happy with the pre-7AM chats with my dear baby brother when he calls on his way into work.

instructables = teh awesome

this is what the internets are for. instructables is so great! like, for example, check out this cool-as-heck rechargable LED flashlight in a tic tacs container. I don’t even like tic tacs and I’m thinking about eating lots and lots of them now.

tiny little turbines

I read about these tiny plastic turbines in treehugger today – they are so freakin’ cool. I immediately sent the link to my dad and stepmom and stepsister – they kind of live on a compound in the woods, and they need more sustainable energy to truly get compound street cred. In all honesty I must admit that the compound was an accident – my stepsister and her husband sold their house before they bought a new one, and they couldn’t find one that fit their needs, so my stepmom offered to divide her property and stepsis is building a home right next door. See? accidental compound. I’m always joking that I need a place to put my tiny and cute straw bale bungalow but sometimes I think about starting a competing compound with my brother and his girlfriend.

anyway, these microturbines are so exciting! you can put them up as a screen or garden fixture in your yard – they’re not bad looking – and just kind of casually generate energy (I refuse to say “reap the wind”). you can get an array of 20 turbines for about $25, apparently – that’s about 3.35x4ft. That sounds pretty fabulous. Now all I need to know is

  1. can you get these made from recycled plastic?
  2. how much electricity will be generated from the turbines?
  3. How easy would it be to create an array in a sturdy frame for traveling, say, on a camping trip? [besides trying to talk my dad into solar and/or small scale wind power on the compound, I also try and talk him into renewables while they camp at the beach]; and
  4. where can I sign up? I want to get some right away!

treehugger links to this plastics news article with more information about the inventor.

other links

speaking of links, here’s some stuff I picked up today on my stroll through various blogs (mostly via treehugger, which is, y’all may know already, pretty darn fabulous:)

  • this guy and his family have sworn to live no-impact for a year in NYC. totally great, and inspiring. and he makes a really valid point: people say we can’t live in cities as ecologically and less-impactful as we can in the country, where we can compost and tailor our living spaces to include efficiencies and power generation. but I read recently (and I wish I could find it again quickly, I think it was in an article about falling developed country birth rates and how america’s immigrants are propping up our future populations) about how quickly our cities are growing. Not living in cities may not be an option for people for much longer, so we really OUGHT to figure out the best ways to conserve and be less impactful while we still can.
  • I figured out the only reason why I should buy a house: not for the equity, or even the tax credits, but to have an extension cord and a driveway so I can buy a tesla electric roadster. they’re opening a showroom in NYC! and in 2009 they’re going to start producing sedans! though at 50K a pop, they’re probably not the car for me – especially if it requires I buy property to support it.
  • wind cubes are cool. if I owned a warehouse, skyscraper, or big box store, I would totally install one on the roof.
  • green as a thistle is endeavoring to make 1 eco-decision to green her life a day for a year. I’ve only skimmed a few posts so far, but I bet there are a lot of good ideas for people to implement!

In other news, it’s absolutely miserable outside with little ice cubes falling and everyone at work stressing out about the roads on the way home. I’ve about decided to work late on purpose so I don’t have to worry about rush hour traffic (and the associated crazy people).

flor carpet tiles

I mentioned flor carpet tiles before (note to self, I am so glad you set up a “links” category) and just read that you can now get small packs of the modular carpet tiles from target online! they’re $60 for a pack of 6 tiles (roughly 20″ square each). not a lot of variability in colors and patterns, but it’s a great start. They’re even slightly cheaper through target than they are through

must see.

Prefabricated Homes in America: The Early 20th Century Mail-Order House
Exhibition, January 31 – April 21, 2007
Gallery A, 170 East 70th Street

“Facsimiles of vintage catalogs and pattern books featuring mail-order houses and plans for purchasing the ideal home are on view. As early as 1914, consumers were able to acquire prefabricated houses factory-direct through mail-order sources. Sears Roebuck, Montgomery Ward, and many other sources provided a viable way to own a piece of “the American dream.”

With colorful covers, these all inclusive catalogs offered perspective views and interior floor plans, numerous architectural styles, and many optional enticements. Also included were the latest in home appliances, mechanical equipment, lighting fixtures, and built-in cabinetry, as well as coordinating fabrics, wallpapers, furniture, and china. Historically, the prefabricated home has provided a creative and economical solution for housing in America. Related lecture on March 28.”

[[this gives me 11 days to see it after I get back from Japan. I have a little collection of prefab house catalogues at home – I’m sorry that I’ll miss the lecture! and they’re only open Monday – Saturday, 10 am – 5 pm, so I’l have to go on April 21st. shoot. that’s cutting it close!]]

a few things I’ve been learning

that said: I’m so totally off of plastic bags. this is the news story I needed to start getting really nerdy about carrying around tote bags to shops. I even sent an email to my office all about it, and offering to put in a big group purchase of ultracompact bags from Anyway, when I cleaned my apartment and went through Every Single Plastic Bag I Own, I was appalled at how many I have. so it’s not going to be tough for me to reuse what I’ve got until they’re gone, and stick with canvas and reusable for shopping. And when they’re gone I’ll start buying recycled plastic bags so as to support the implementation of recycled plastic.

seriously, though. I know about a lot of things! how did I not know about this?

  • I learned that the store brand cottage cheese? does NOT taste as good as the premium brand. it is so much worth the extra 30 cents to get premium brand. now what will I do with a whole container of gross cottage cheese?
  • I learned that if I send an email to everyone in my office about how I don’t think the realty company that owns the building recycles, and include relevant code, the big boss will call people In The Know and ask them to follow up on the issue. Until then, I’ll be a recycling dork and will continue to bring recyclables home with me from work to dispose of properly. I call it “implementing a recycling program.” Nice.
  • oh, check out this really cool toilet/sink combo. it’s super effiecient. of course, this means one can’t really brush ones teeth while your roommate is on the can, but I bet most people don’t do that anyway.


On this gloomy and grey Reverend Doctor Martin Luther King Jr. Day, I thought maybe I could take a few minutes away from work and list holidays.

Days the FEDERAL GOVERNMENT observes (11 total, from wikipedia):

  • Jan 1 (New Year’s Day)
  • Third Monday in Jan (Martin Luther King Jr. Day)
  • January 20 every 4th Year (Inauguration Day)
  • Third Monday in February (Washington’s Bday/President’s Day)
  • Last Monday in May (Memorial Day)
  • July 4th (Independence Day)
  • First Monday in September (Labor Day)
  • Second Monday in October (Columbus Day)
  • November 11th (Veterans Day)
  • Fourth Thursday in November (Thanksgiving)
  • December 25th (Christmas)

Days MY COMPANY observes (7 total):

  • Jan 1 (New Year’s Day)
  • Last Monday in May (Memorial Day)
  • July 4th (Independence Day)
  • First Monday in September (Labor Day)
  • Fourth Thursday in November (Thanksgiving)
  • Day after Thanksgiving
  • December 25th (Christmas)

[[plus 2 additional floating holidays]]

I’m pretty terrible, in that I’ve said to people in the past that consultants hate civil rights. which is not at all true, consultants are equal opportunity haters. also included in the hating are italians and veterans and presidents. mostly, consultants just love to get lots of work done. or make me look like I’m doing lots of work. something.

In other news I slept a lot this weekend and had a nice dinner on long island and a nice breakfast with rfrd friends and also sewed a skirt. I was thinking that I should use my digicam more, so I’m going to try and take a photo-a-day (nearly) to get back on that horse. Mostly it’s because my friend roz pointed out the calender view in the archive function at flickr, and the month that I DID take a photo a day (July 2005) is much more interesting than the months I didn’t (ex., December 2006).

Also of note: my secret plans to send out Reverend Doctor Martin Luther King Jr. Day Cards have not come to fruition. Which means I have to pick another holiday, and shucks, I don’t really like the next few. I’ll just pick a famous dead scientist’s birthday or something. I would say Happy August Strindberg’s Birthday, in honor of the hilarous Strindberg and Helium (SO VERY FUNNY. Click over POST HASTE), but it might be too esoteric for some of my friends and family.

my friends are famous!

jesse (of pittsburgh and also corduroy orange) is a celebrity chef! check him out at the pittsburgh post-gazette!

tangential round-about story told by a quote.

Kelly to me this weekend [paraphrased]: “you just used the words ‘mitigate’ and ‘hello kitty’ in a sentence. people don’t do that!”

in response to my story about how, when getting the incredibly cool solio shipped out asap for mariss’ birthday, I told the customer service guy that I had hoped to get the white one and not the pink one b/c I have a pink phone already, and I hoped that the white go-go-dancer effect would mitigate the hello kitty effect. but no white, and no silver, so mariss and I both have black ones and I HEART mine and have shown it off to nearly everyone at work. it is so awesome.

dork dork dork

I am such a sucker for solar chargers. I’m trying to decide if the solio charger is what I need, or if I should go for something more robust. Probably more robust b/c my rechargable batteries require a wall-socket to charge, and I don’t want to go buying all kinds of specific accessories. but the solio is SO MUCH CUTER than one of the larger, film based chargers! and it’s “only” $100! and then I wouldn’t have to get a car charger for my cell phone!

(un)sustainable agriculture, e.coli, western water rights, and local food.

there is a whole lot that could be said about the e.coli thing. now that the spinach thing has gone from spinach to also lettuce, I was thinking about maybe saying something. Anyway, this whole situation falls neatly under several of the topics on the “things I feel strongly about” list, so I will try to restrain myself. Jesse over at Corduroy Orange has touched on some of the issues in a couple of posts, as well.

maybe bullets will keep me on-track, ordered, and without too much fist raising prosteltizing.

  • I found out that the strain of e.coli that is responsible for the spinach sickness and deaths is a strain that can withstand high-acid conditions. incidentally, when you factory farm cows you create high acid conditions in their stomachs. cows don’t really eat grain alone very happily – it creates something called “feedlot bloat” which creates excess gas that inflates in the cows rumen and which can press on the cows lungs and suffocate them. this is one of the reasons why it’s GOOD that feedlot cows are slaughtered within a year. The grain also makes a high acid condition in the stomachs, which makes for some happy special evil strain of e.coli.
  • the map that jesse posted says this very clearly, but it’s amazing that we are relying on the salinas valley in california for the majority of our produce. not only is this ridiculous, it’s unsustainable for a number of reasons: 1. we shouldn’t have all of our food eggs in one basket, so to speak. 2. fuel costs have been, until recently, going up superfast. these costs weren’t embedded in the cost of our cheap california produce, but they will be sometime! 3. I hear that the northern groundwater wells (primary source of irrigation for the salinas valley) are experiencing saline intrusion. which means, you know, that we’ve got all these eggs in a basket but it turns out the basket is really just a really big hourglass full of sand, and the sand is dropping out of the bottom of the glass, and the some day the eggs will come shooting out as well.
  • if you haven’t read cadillac desert, you really should. the water rights issues in the west will only become more important as time goes by. and now that farmers are learning that they have to pay attention to the run-off from factory farms I can only see some complicated negotiations in the future.
  • I think there should be a serious dialog about the cost of food in america.
  • and while we’re talking, we might want to look into the ENVIRONMENTAL cost of food in america. I’m not just talking about food miles here, but also the unsustainability of an economy that always comes down to a dependance on oil – usually in the form of petrochemical fertilizers.
  • I also think there should be a serious dialog about homeland security. The spinach situation reminds me a lot of the green onion hepatitis A outbreak when I lived in pittsburgh. we can’t just keep getting all this cheap food from around the world without dealing with the social and environmental consequences. who’s picking your food? are they being paid enough to live well? to be hygenic? to treat their own illnesses or to take time off of work when they’re contagious? if these aren’t issues of homeland security, I don’t know what is.

Anyway! not too bad, no? just a quick hop onto the ol’ soap box! so as not to just wave my hands around without offering any real solutions, how about CSAs? they say the personal is the political, and I see food as an extremely political issue. and with any issue, you have to decide where to start and start slowly. you can’t let the scope of the issue overwhelm you into non-action. I’ve decided to start by eating meat infrequently, trying to eat organic and grass-fed where I can, and by purchasing as much local and/or organic food as I can find and afford.

darn cool links

this is totally awesome: modular radiant heating strips for use anywhere in your home.

I’ve been shutting off the powerstrip that juices up my tv, radio, and dvd player, as well as unplugging my microwave, but this power strip will shut off everything that is plugged into it if you turn off a governor appliance, like, a lamp. very easy for people to do.

after talking about it for about 3 months, I just purchased green power for my home. I wanted to do 100% NJ based wind b/c I don’t use much electricity so I can afford to pay the additional 5 cents/kwh, but instead signed up for the option with 1% NJ solar. My decision was made entirely on what local NJ energy renewable I wanted to support.

I just stumbled onto wiki how and it looks neat.

and writing that down reminded me of this really incredible illustration of how a sewing machine works.

I know I’m late to the party, but I don’t want to forget about these fancy modular flooring tiles. miyo vinyl flooring and flor carpet flooring (which are recycleable and available in recycled/natural materials). and I wonder how they’d work with the modular radiant heating?

also, crafty: I’ve added a few new links to the sidebar. adorn magazine is a wonderful new publication that my birthday twin and good friend linda works on. this is love forever, west coast crafty, and paper dolly girl are all crafty blogs of old internet crafty girlfriends. I love it! they are full of inspiration and I know they’ll keep me honest about my crafting. and by keep me honest, I mean: KEEP ME CRAFTING.

knitting. the beast that won’t die.

even though I’m still putting the corn baby to bed, so to speak (don’t worry Joy! I made the larger size in anticipation of hot summer weather, so hopefully the bambino won’t be too big when you finally receive your very late shower gift), I am still thinking about things to knit. It’s awful! gramma once told me that her favorite part of weaving was the planning, and I know she meant the cool math that she did to come up with her beautiful patterns and to do the “impossible*” but I love the planning most too. I love looking at yarn and patterns and touching them and thinking about them. So today I ended up buying two patterns! argh! it started when a friend of mine linked to the orangina tank (which is very cute) and I continued browsing her patterns and saw this very cool sweater (I prefer the long sleeve version, and I’m thinking about using andean silk because it’s way cheaper and also looks lovely. It’ll be a lot warmer b/c of the alpaca content, though. Something to keep in mind. And then when I went to buy the sweater pattern I came across these crochet hat patterns which are in styles I’ve been trying to find for AGES. I can sort of crochet, so I bought that pattern too.

So, yeah, I know, more projects in the imaginary queue. but at least I’m not buying yarn for these projects! the reason for that is this off-the-top-of-my-head list of projects that I already have yarn for and/or are in various stages of completion:

  • I owe a very cool lady this chemo cap, and I also need to figure out how to cable correctly. Doh.
  • God, I still have this eyelet skirt on the needles. I always tote it to the beach with me b/c the yarn is cotton aka not a hassle to knit with. but it’s a Lot of knitting. Hvae I mentioned I always have to size my needles down to get gauge? even more knitting.
  • I have the yarn for the cheesylove sweater too, and I’ve always meant to make it. you know how these things go! it’s awfully cute, though. I love it. even if it is super cheesy. and not only will I learn how to make a sweater but also fair isle hearts!
  • I also have the yarn for the sitcom chic cardigan. I secretly wonder if the raglan shoulder shaping will do my figure any good, but shoot, I have the yarn, and I can always use a cardigan.
  • Speaking of cardigans, I have the yarn and pattern for the sweet mary jane cardigan. I love the bed jacket shaping! it’s cute and classy, and I have to admit that the photo really sold me on it. it looks SASSY.
  • I’m also still working on those regia ringel socks that I started over a year ago. Ahem. But! I did finish the first one and start the second! that’s something, no?

I think that is enough airing of the hair shirts. suffice it to say, I have a lot of things all lined up and I want badly to do them but most of all to plan plan plan and buy yarn and if only I could spin straw to gold, I’d also be able to wish all my pretty yarn into these pretty projects. sigh.

*note to gramma’s impossible: she wanted to weave us all checkerboards, but someone told her it was impossible with the type of loom she was using. She sure showed him. she did the math and figured it out and busted through it and they were the coolest travel checkerboards ever. additional sidebar: I definately got my crafty stubbornness from my gramma. she is so cool.

linkin’ it up

this morning is a gold mine for neat links. mostly from treehugger, which is a fabulous ecoissues+design blog.

article on red hook farmer’s markets and CSAs made me googlemaps how far my commute would be if I lived in brooklyn (about an hour, but I would have to go over the verrazano bridge every day which is $4 each way (spendy!). and also, drive for an hour every day. in traffic. yuck.

I really love eco-salvage/reuse, so was thrilled to find out about the hudson valley materials exchange. PLUS they are looking for a manager, and while the pay and benefits cut would be substantial, it is SO TEMPTING. plus, I drove through newburgh a week before last and while I don’t know a thing about it, it looks like the kind of struggling urban area that I am so fond of. lots of houses were for sale, at least!

If I had a house I would use small scale wind power. this blog is very very very interesting and great. note to self: seriously consider purchasing a small turbine for dad and maggie for christmas.

Also of note: the instructions for building your own wind turbine. If only I had my own house. The two adjacent empty lots down the street from me are selling for $425,000, y’all. Can you imagine? I want so badly to buy them and put up a straw bale house, but $425K? gracious.

THIS is so awesome: a fuel consumption meter made in Finland that you can install on any car with installed “electric liquid fuel sprayer” (fuel injectors?). Since getting the insight I have noticed that the instantaneous mpg reading really affects how I drive the car, and I think that if car manufacturers are going to continue to make distilled hybrids that are more of a show of “good faith” than actual innovation and conservation, at very least they should install instantaneous mpg meters in all vehicles to change driving habits and to educate consumers. Seriously, (Ford Motor Company, Toyota), you can’t be all talk about being a green company and then blame american buying habits for the lack of hybrid sales or lack of demand for more efficient vehicles without at least trying to EDUCATE people a little!

I will end with this collection of containers that have been reused as structures. Containers are very cool, and being someone who grew up thinking about the smallest area that I could live in comfortably (is this parking space large enough? this very large handicapped accessible public bathroom? it already has running water… where should I hole up if there is armageddon? [not even kidding, I might have been what is known as a “weird kid.”])


blogs I’ve been discovering:

The 100-mile diet is a series written by a pair in vancouver who are trying to eat for 1 year on local foods only. it’s really neat. But then, I’m a nut about homesteading/local foods/skills that may be useful after an apocalypse. I get to it from the author’s page here.

Mighty Foods is pretty, interesting, and has got me interested in a new cookbook about healthy slowcooking.

I can’t handle how wonderful and twee and awesome vegan lunch box is. I went out and got a bento box of my own, though my meals are not as lovely as little schmoo’s.

I am so dorky, check out the kinds of comics that I stay current with. I’m pleased to tell you that after giving cathy another shot, I am off her for ever. Seriously, I thought to myself: she’s married now, I’m SURE she’s happy! I’m SURE she’s content! I’m SURE that now that she has a man to fulfill her, she’s fulfilled! but no, this strip continues to wear out every hackneyed cliche of married life, men, and women. YIKES. if anything it’s worse than it was before. seriously. you can build your own comic page here

csa information

fyi, in case anyone is interested, here are the NJ csa links I put together last april when I was looking for a veggie home.

here’s the blog of my current farmer

two good listings of organic farmers:

in NJ (it IS the garden state!):
roadside markets
community farmers markets
and pick your own

and the robyn van en center for csa: featuring a national search. another search at local harvest.

and for NYC residents, just food

finally, stickers for my car!

I’ve been thinking about making this sticker myself for quite some time – I’m pretty happy that someone else did!

I’m going to order one for my civic (30+) as well as one for my anticipated insight (because I’ve been thinking, and yes, I do think I want an insight, for sure). I’ve also sent the link out to friends who may one one too, so we can share an order.


updated styles

so, I’m really looking for a job, and by looking for a job I mean “uploading a new style to the ol’ blog.” I’m trying out something called kubrick which I really appreciated b/c of the horizontal buttons across the top. But I’m coming to accept that to make this look like what I want it to I’m going to have to hunker down and do some larnin’.

and I should keep this link handy for when I’m ready to prettify.