January 22, 2008

Dead of Winter



Here are a few of my favorite online haunts:

[This is the site I visit to fantasize about living in Toronto again, which is almost every single day during the winter]

Jonathan Cainer's Zodiac Forecasts
[This is where I visit in the morning, when I need a positive spin on things past, present and future.]

Living Local
[This is where I go to see what Canadians are up to, sometimes I even buy things from the businesses listed there.]

Environment Canada Weather
[This is the site I visit every morning, and before every road trip during the winter]

It is snowing again, and very cold. We are entering the dead of winter, a time when one feels perfectly justified in curling up before the fire, curtains drawn against the cold grey light of day, cup of tea in hand and cat on lap. Mist agrees wholeheartedly.

Attila spends his time at home shoveling snow and toting wood. Three fires a day are now required to maintain a livable temperature indoors. We use the electric oven for cooking whenever possible, as it augments the heating system.

Our recent power outage has me researching alternatives for refrigeration and water supply. The solutions I have found are either too expensive or impractical for our particular application. I am truly amazed at how little technological advance has been made in generic home refrigeration; there seems a tremendous degree of inertia in the demand for this line of R&D. There are indeed small pockets of innovation, primarily aimed at off-grid applications, but these products are impractical for us, due to their high cost and issues related to servicing. I believe development is held back by the considerations of mass production and profit margins.

There is a chest refrigerator by Sundanzer that claims to consume a mere 35 kWh per year; but the issues of initial cost and of ease of use are a significant deterrent to adopting this solution, in our case. Refrigerators available through major retail outlets use 350 kWh per year or more, most use more than 400 kWh per year. Even though this is an improvement over the unit we now use, I consider 350 kWh to be unacceptably high. Another very important factor in our search is noise. In an open plan living space a noisy refrigerator can be particularly intrusive. Because no immediate action is required, I can take my time and enjoy this research phase. If we have another power failure now, I will be running outside to borrow a bit of the snow lying just outside my door.

I do feel the media could be a real force for change in the demand for, and subsequent improvement and mass production of, highly efficient domestic appliances. Even the economic law of diminishing returns suggests that it may be time to adopt a small energy footprint. Why aren’t the media owners pursuing this honourable project, bringing high-efficiency standards into mainstream thought and domestic markets everywhere?

It seems to me that a philosophy of “do what you can, when you can” is a far better credo than any dogmatic body of economic or social theory. The world is a very chaotic entity, and it is our flexibility rather than our dogma that has allowed our species to survive.

One can become very philosophical when surrounded by a frozen white landscape.

I have a list of small tasks set for myself today. We seem to be eating a large quantity of granola just now; both Attila and I favour it as a snack. I need to sort out some details related to web servers. I am making good progress on reformatting my genealogy sources, and so will continue to plug away at that.

Ah, yes, I have forgotten something. Mist is reminding me, don’t forget we need a brush and a cuddle…

Top of Page

Worldly Distractions

snow on pine bough
Natural coolant.

Performed by Edith Piaf

On the Screen
Earth Video

Light Snow
Temp -9.4°C
Visibility 1 km
Humidity 88%
WindChill -14
Dew Point -11.0°C
Wind Speed SE 11 km/h

Page by Page: A Woman's Journal
by Maggie Turner

Canadian Maggie Turner writes and publishes poetry, photography, and a personal journal online. Her work reflects the current way of life in Canada, embracing Canada's past, present, and future in a unique portrayal of everyday life. Maggie's voice is one of the many that actively depict the rich diversity of Canadian culture.

Photography: "a term which comes from the Greek words photos (light) and graphos (drawing). A photograph is made with a camera by exposing film to light in order to create a negative. The negative is then used in the darkroom to print a photograph (positive) onto light-sensitive paper.
Source: University of Arizona Glossary

Poetry: "a form of speech or writing that harmonizes the music of its language with its subject. To read a great poem is to bring out the perfect marriage of its sound and thought in a silent or voiced performance. At least from the time of Aristotle's Poetics, drama was conceived of as a species of poetry."
Source: Creative Studios

Journal: " "Though a journal may be many things - a treasury, a storehouse, a jewelry box, a laboratory, a drafting board, a collector's cabinet, a snapshot album, a history, a travelogue..., a letter to oneself - it has some definable characteristics. It is a record, an entry-book, kept regularly, though not necessarily daily.... Some (entries) will be nearly illegible, written in the dark in the middle of the night.... Not only is it a record for oneself, but of oneself. Every memorable journal, any successful journal, is honest. Nothing sham, phony, false...." (Dorothy Lambert from Ken Macrorie's book, Writing to be Read )
A journal is a way to keep track of your thoughts about what you read... as well as what you did on any given day."
Source: Journal Writing

A Blog is an online journal created by server side software, often hosted by a commercial interest.

"The term "weblog" was coined by Jorn Barger[4] on 17 December 1997. The short form, "blog," was coined by Peter Merholz, who jokingly broke the word weblog into the phrase we blog in the sidebar of his blog Peterme.com in April or May 1999.[5][6][7] Shortly thereafter, Evan Williams at Pyra Labs used "blog" as both a noun and verb ("to blog," meaning "to edit one's weblog or to post to one's weblog") and devised the term "blogger" in connection with Pyra Labs' Blogger product, leading to the popularization of the terms."
Source: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/History_of_blogging

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