Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Something's Cooking!

And it's deep green. Kale? Apollo Alliance? holler back if you think you know what it is....

Saturday, December 6, 2008

Conservation Cult

Conservation Cult

Making saving energy better than pheremones. Imagine the day when that
guy who you used to chuckle at as he pulled an aluminum can out of a
trash bin suddenly becomes a hot commodity in the new energy economy.


Aaron
Campbell
Energy

206.898.8337

Thursday, December 4, 2008

Sexy Conservation

Sexy Conservation

I have read literally hundreds of articles about solar manufacturing,
new windmill technology, algae biodiesel and the like; the supposed
cutting edge of the new energy economy. And while I am an unabashed
technophile, I keep coming back to the wisdom of "conservation
first". Reduction before production.

There are brilliant engineers developing excellent technology all the
time, but the major energy issues we face are often better solved by
inexpensive (read: free) changes in behavior, not changes in solar
panel coatings. It can take years before we see good reliable electric
cars or install one of these new helical wind turbines on our own
roof. We can, however, immediately save money and the planet through
conservation. Efficient lightbulbs aside, just paying attention to our
energy habits alone can lower our own utility bills 40% or more.

The trouble seems to be the fact that for most, conservation is not
half as sexy as a new solar panel or a new Tesla electric roadster.

How can we make conservation sexier, more fun, and more rewarding?

Seriously, I don't know how we do this or even if this is the right
question. But I know for a fact that we can't wait 5 years for cheap
solar in order to make changes.

We voted for Obama's promise of change, but are we going to wait until
2012 to walk our environmental talk? Are we hoping that the new $35
billion bailout of The Big Three car manufacturers will magically put
a Chevy Volt in our driveway this Christmas?

I submit to you that we cannot wait, and that hoping for an
engineering miracle is not as good a use of our time as insulating our
homes and sealing our leaky ducts. How we can see that behavior as
cool and rewarding is the trick. Help us all out with some
suggestions. The clock is indeed ticking.

Aaron
Campbell
Energy

Www.Campbell-Energy.Com

Aaron
Campbell
Energy

206.898.8337

Monday, December 1, 2008

iPhone Scrabble Scorepad

No more backs of envelopes or margins of our dictionary. I want a free
iPhone app that simply lists and adds Scrabble scores.

Aaron
Campbell
Energy

206.898.8337

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

turn the hose back on! Thermo-Battery-Monitor

(I'm going to get back on the idea bandwagon. Who let me fall off? Oh, I did. Anyhoo, I want to do a deep green idea per day instead of just random ideas. A more targeted and eco-friendlier firehose...)

How about a new kind of battery monitor that uses a baseline heat signature to tell you whether or not the battery was still good? Thermometers are cheaper than ever. I am so tired of my batteries showing full and then leaving me huffing and puffing up 15th from University District on my Ezee Quando electric bike. Give me a better monitor, stat!

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Leadership

With 349 Electoral College votes (as of noon on November 5, 2008), Barack Obama is the President-Elect of the United States of America. Let that sink in. Take some time with it. Bathe in the warm afterglow of knowing that the USA is not the worst country in the world, and might in fact be one of the greatest, again.

But, don't stay in the tub too long, my friends, we have ten times the work ahead of us now, and wrinkly skin won't help.

To that end, I am again putting my Idea Firehose hat back on and challenging anyone within shouting distance to join me in that work. What work? This work:

1. Recognize that it was absolutely proven beyond a shadow of a doubt that grassroots community organizing can directly change the very world. You can take down your yard signs now, but keep your names on those progressive list-servs and think about volunteering even more after the election than before. I'm personally fired up and ready for 2012. Maybe you might think about starting your own community organization.

2. Fulfill the promise of the campaign and the truth of deep progressive creed that says "This is not a black America or a white America, this is the United States of America". By that I mean that 46% of the USA did *not* vote for Obama, and those people deserve the same things that the 52% of us asked for: Health Care, Financial Solvency, Renewable Energy, Less Waste and Debt, More Jobs, More Peace, and a healthy dose of HOPE. The work will be to include the 46% in our 100%, to reach out a hand and work together like a neighborhood recovering from a hurricane. We're all literally in this together.

3. Get back to work on yourself, and your family. Yes, YOU. The deep work we need to accomplish cannot come from your solitary martyrdom. Barack worked out in the gym the morning of November 4th. He also worked out at the gym *this* morning, despite apparently needing to immediately pick his entire cabinet and lay out every single plan he has for the next 4-8 years. He brought his family with him on the campaign trail, and kept them close to him. Leadership is not simply telling people what to do, it's staying true to yourself and your family, doing the heavy internal lifting required to pull you through in hard times. These are still hard times, without a doubt, and you will need to truly know and love yourself to be of use as we work to change this world.

4. Walk your Talk: better yet, put your muscle where your mouth is. You call yourself Progressive? Prove it. Drop your energy consumption. Drastically reduce your waste. Reach out to your neighbors. Volunteer and keep volunteering. Grow some of your own organic food or herbs. Hire other progressives. Take fewer flights. The more we do as we say, the more progress we'll make.

Today I'm recommitting myeslf to develop my own leadership potential with an eye on those four major work areas. I'm committing to ongoing progressive alignment of my values and my actions. I'm committing to a focus on excellence in my company, Campbell Energy, bringing the message and game-plan of energy conservation and efficiency to everyone I meet. There's a lot of great challenging work to do, and I'm excited and inspired by this election (and my own part in it) to get out and do that very work.

If you'd like to join me in this struggle, I'd welcome your energy, ideas, and challenges and I will give you back all that you offer and more. That's what the IdeaFirehose and Campbell Energy and Aaron Campbell are all about, giving back and making offers of myself so that others will join me and do the same. Honestly, I don't expect many people to join me initially, since we all have our own dreams and challenges to work on, but I would like to offer you the opportunity to do those things with me. Whether that means as a friend or a colleague or mentor or student, I want to engage more deeply than ever before.

Have an idea for an organization that might need my help? Send it on. Want to join one of mine? give a shout. See an idea on the Idea Firehose that you think you'd like to move forward on? I'll brainstorm with you to get it out there. Have a friend who you think would be a great Senator? Introduce me. Want to franchise my company? Want me to help you franchise yours? Let's sit down and talk business. Need a public speaker at your next deep green event? Hand me the microphone. Got a harebrained scheme you want to bandy about? Holler back. Let's just make sure we don't spin our wheels in the mud when there's a winch on the truck down the street, know what I mean?

Here's how to connect to me online:

I blog: http://ideafirehose.blogspot.com

I am on Twitter: http://twitter.com/alphacampbell

I am on LinkedIn: http://www.linkedin.com/in/glowplug

I am a Stumbler: http://alphabeta.stumbleupon.com/

I actually read books: http://www.librarything.com/catalog/campbellenergy

I'm a Washington Fuse Progressive: http://www.fusewashington.org/page/community/blog/aaroncampbell

You might also see me in the physical world at the Northwest Eco-Building Guild meetings, or Meetup group Seattle Renewables, or walking the Meadowbrook Pond with my daughter.

I'm actually fired up, and quite ready to go. Thanks Barack.

--Aaron

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

FREE ENERGY SEMINAR: October 25th

This is my first seminar, so if you think you might want to learn a little more about how to lower your energy bills and save the planet simultaneously, RSVP and see you there!


Friends, Colleagues, Family and Community,

Campbell Energy LLC is officially open for business!

As some of you already know, I had previously spent 2 years as a sales consultant at University VW/Audi. After realizing that although University has a good reputation for being eco-friendly, I needed to pursue my right livelihood in the energy conservation world. Promoting high-mileage biodiesel-compatible Volkswagens put me in contact with a number of excellent people in the alt-energy world. More importantly, for three years now, Elise and I have been performance-upgrading our own home. We were always thinking, “We wish there was a person or a company that could help us make prioritized decisions on which energy-efficiency upgrades to do”. A half-dozen single-skill contractors gave me conflicting advice, leading to the epiphany that my calling was being a Residential Energy Consultant. Thanks to everyone who supported me in that decision.

I think what separated me from other sales consultants at the dealership was my dogged honesty with clients. I told people what was going on behind the scenes, gave people space and time to make decisions, and gave them more information with less pressure. This kept me sane, knowing I was truly helping people make good decisions in the short and long term.

As an EPA Energy Star certified energy consultant, I will continue my policy of honesty and integrity, showing people how they can reduce their utility bills, make their homes healthier and more comfortable while directly saving the planet.

Another great benefit from working at University VW/Audi was meeting Dylan Chalk of Orca Inspection Services. (He runs a carbon-neutral business and was down-sizing his truck to a VW Jetta TDI.) He nearly single-handedly pushed me into the energy conservation field, telling Elise and I heartbreaking stories of energy and resource wasting that he sees every single day as a home inspector. He, in turn, pointed me towards Brent Foster of Northwest Infrared. Brent is haltingly straightforward in his work as a Level II thermographer, telling people right then and there what he sees with his thermal camera and how you can fix most residential energy-wasting issues with "a bucket of mastic and some backer rod". Dylan and Brent are my boots-on-the-ground energy mentors, and I recommend them both without hesitation.

As for my own work at Campbell Energy, it's pretty simple: I take a deep look at your home and show you how to make step-by-step prioritized energy upgrades. With my three years' personal experience analyzing and upgrading my own home combined with my Energy Star and NAHB training, I can pinpoint your home's energy issues. It's essential to do a full in-home analysis to get a thorough picture of what needs to be upgraded, repaired, or replaced. Just as important, I show you how to operate your home in the most energy-efficient way possible. You might be surprised how much energy (and money!) can be saved simply by tweaking your behavior just a little bit, in targeted ways.

Finally, I can help you make some big-picture decisions that will dramatically lower your carbon footprint in ways you may not have previously imagined. I sum all of my in-depth analysis up in my report and give you a blueprint of steps to take to put you on a path to energy efficiency not just in the short term, but throughout your and your home's life. Dylan Chalk calls it giving people HOPE: Homes On a Path to Efficiency.

On that note, I invite you all to RSVP to my first seminar where I will be detailing who, what, where, why and how people can get incredible value, savings, and actual happiness from my energy inspections. It's going to be a fun and information-packed two hours showcasing the nitty-gritty of my work, with time for people to ask specific energy conservation-related questions at the end. Want to know what to do with that 10-year-old 80% efficient gas furnace? Concerned about how to cool your home during our global-warming summers? Wonder how to discover where you have missing insulation that can rob your home of heat this winter? Want to find out why your gorgeous recessed lights might be vacuuming out your wallet this Spring? Come to the seminar. It's free, and I guarantee you will learn something you can take home and use to reduce your wattage, lower your carbon footprint, and be happier at home.

My official website should be up soon, but nearly all the basic information you might want to know about Campbell Energy is contained in this email. Please RSVP to the event so we can plan for comfortable seating and eating:

Campbell Energy Seminar

Saturday, October 25th
1:00pm to 3:30pm
Duwamish Co-housing Common House
6000 17th Ave. SW
Seattle, Washington 98106

If you are planning on bringing a friend or interested colleague, remember to let me know in your RSVP email. I look forward to being of service and appreciate your continued support.

Respectfully,

Aaron Campbell, Energy Consultant
Campbell Energy, LLC

glowplug@gmail.com

Monday, September 29, 2008

Campbell's Law:

If you reduce your energy consumption and waste, you will be happier.
If you manage to become happier in a tangible way, you will naturally
lower your energy consumption and waste.

That's what I believe. Lower energy use and happiness ride the bus to
work together.. Do your Right Livelihood and you'll find yourself
eating out less often, driving fewer miles, and turning on fewer
lights around the house.

Try it for yourself. Prove me wrong if you can. Find a way to lower
your energy bills this month and see if you don't feel seriously
better about yourself inside next month. Reconcile with your
estranged family members and I bet you discover you don't need the
furnace turned up to 75 degrees.

I don't have a bunch of prestigious university studies on hand to back
up my theory, it just makes natural sense to me. Maybe the data is out
there and I'm too busy reading election coverage to Google it
properly. In any case, I'm staking my reputation on the idea, and
further, I'm staking my fortunes on it as well.


Aaron
Campbell
Energy

206.898.8337

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Campbell Energy LLC

Dear Community,
In all the election hubbub, I discovered a somewhat disturbing fact. No, I am talking about Bob Barr. I'm talking about how little we all know about each other's business lives. Sometimes we like to keep it to ourselves, and I can dig that, but I'm not that guy.

But what kind of guy are you, Aaron? Well, I'll tell you:

I'm a Residential Energy Consultant. What the heck is that? What I do is listen to you and your house and tell you how best to reduce your utility bills and increase your happiness. I'm like the House Whisperer. I rehabilitate homes and train homeowners.

How do I do that?
I come to your home, drink some of your tea (and your milkshake should you offer) and I delve into the energy world of your home and its inhabitants. I look at your wattage, tell you what your appliances are saying to you in terms of dollars, listen to your furnace's complaints, and wrap it all up in a report that tells you how to upgrade the efficiency of your home with a customized, prioritized, energy to-do list.

What does it cost?
It's start-up time in my business, so I am doing these audits for $250 each. This is my early-bird discount, as the price will go up $100 in 2009. If you can't afford even the discounted price, we can discuss trade for services as well.

As an incentive, I offer my personal guarantee: If after 6 months post-audit you:

A) Don't have lower energy bills
B) Don't have a lower carbon footprint
or
C) Aren't a happier person,
I will return $200 of my bill. I have to hit one of those three or you get my audit for $50. Deal?

I want you (whoever you are) to lower your bills and save the planet this winter rather than next spring, so email me ASAP. glowplug@gmail.com, btw.

Vote Obama, and email me for more details and energy audit scheduling.

Aaron
Campbell
Energy
{∞}

Sunday, September 21, 2008

The Dream

No matter how corny or trite it may seem, this is my actual dream:
Everybody getting together
Everybody eating well
Universal Human Rights
Children learning instead of dying
Clean air, free clean water, no war
No raping in Darfur
No malaria, AIDS, SARS or bird flu
Repurposing of all nukes for energy
All landmines destroyed no new made
Massive energy conservation
Clean green local energy
Media just reports the truth
Turn pollution into resources
Turn sunlight into power
Stop chopping down trees or plant 2
Stop living beyond our means
So much less worry
So much less hate
More time to think and care
No torture
Less jails
Much Less violence
The virtuous cycle spinning up
Prosperity for all
With planning and foresight
No need to bash republicans
No anger at Christians or Muslims or Hindus or Jews or Scientologists
or Buddhists or people unlike me
Time to relax and look around
Space to breathe and reflect
Wilderness to get lost and found in
Family close enough to walk to
Everyone gets a little farm
Pollution-free public transit
Music when and how you like it
People working hard at jobs they love
So much less stuff needed
More time for naps
Much less danger in the city
An outright end to homelessness
Enough food for the planet
Universal health care paid by govt
World trade is truly fair trade
Every child cared for and loved
Reconciled families
Youth have many outlets for growth and self expression
World rebuilds itself w/cooperation
History is reported accurately


Sent from my iPhone

Saturday, September 20, 2008

It's september 12 that matters

The tragedy is the impetus for change as well as growth, and we all
have our own September 11's.

Who do you want to be? What will you be remembered for? I like to
think that I faced my tragedy head on, learned what part I played in
the event, and consciously evolved to incorporate it positively.

With grand coincidence, my father Richard Scott Campbell died on
September 11, 1984. The event was tragic for many in his and my
worlds. I have been doing my best to keep his spirit alive inside
myself, and I believe that he has had a lasting influence despite his
"death".

My Campbell Charger invention was a channeling of his innovative
energy saving spirit. I made it for myself but I hope it can be used
as an example for others to liberate themselves (albeit briefly) from
the grid, and perhaps inspire further homemade innovations.

Respectfully,

Aaron


Sent from my iPhone

Thursday, September 18, 2008

Dear America,

Dear America,
Are you fully aware of where you are in History? What progress is
pending this November?

That this is the very time you have all been waiting for. That planet
earth itself will directly benefit by this current Peace push.

It's happening all over the globe. Despite the bombs in Delhi, the
baby milk scares in China, the ejection of the US envoy to Venezuela,
and the saber-rattling about a pending Cold War redux, Peace is at hand.

It's always at hand, but, like love, we refuse it because we so often
fail to recognize it. Peace is not marked by fanfare, but by awed
silence. You need to be quiet enough to hear it clearly.

Again, like love, if we were not intoduced to it by our parents and
forebearers, we look sideways at Peace. Think about your first love
experience. Did it soothe your soul or break your heart? Your next
love experience will be flavored by the first, but you do get another
chance.

Countries are like people. They can get along, but they have very
little experience doing so. We need to practice more. And the USA
needs to collectively as a people get better at getting along.

This November, Peace in the USA will be given a chance. We have the
chance to give it to ourselves.

Let's give the candidate that speaks more about giving Peace a chance
to move forward. Let's tell the candidate that talks more about war
that we want Peace instead. This election is a referendum on Peace.
Vote for sanity, prosperity, progress, health, love, community, and
the planet. Vote Peace in 2008.

Aaron Campbell
Seattle


Sent from my iPhone

Monday, September 15, 2008

Campbell Charger 3


This is my iPhone, and if you have a good eye and a clear monitor, you can see the little icon in the upper right hand corner of the iPhone that shows it is in fact charging. Another proof is the iGo blue light to the right of the iPhone. It charges the phone slower than its own AC charger, but it's enough to keep me mobile all day.

Campbell Charger 2


Panel from VW with voltage showing 20.1 volts. This is in direct sunlight. The panel says maximum is 18v. This came for free with many VW vehicles, it was used to trickle charge the batteries during shipping and/or storage. Available on Ebay for $15-20.

Campbell Charger


The Campbell Charger with all parts displayed.
1. Solar Panel free from VW
2. iGo car charging connector from Radio Shack.
3. Radio Shack 12v car connector with alligator clips (could also be a male/female)
4. Apple iPhone being charged

Sunday, September 14, 2008

Heaven in Seattle


Here's the family at Alki, on a ramp en route to my and Piper's first sighting of live starfish. Awesome weather, excellent location, terrific company. It would make a progressive out of anyone. We gotta save this planet, and quick. Piper's kids deserve it.


Friday, September 12, 2008

Becoming a Creek Steward

Okay, so it's really just a picture of me from my iPhone, but it's moments after my decision to become a Creek Steward again. I stopped after Elise got pregnant, and have wanted to start up again. The creek is reflected in my glasses, actually. I'll be cutting/pulling blackberry vines, fishing trash out of the pond, and cleaning up around the Meadowbrook Creek/Pond/Catchment. It's a "grassroots organizing" moment...

Thursday, September 11, 2008

Campbell Energy Earth Charger

This is the crude non-engineering schematic for my Campbell Charger. I imagine my father Richard Campbell would be proud: It's all Radio Shack all the time. I imagine also that he would be somewhat disappointed that I didn't solder a damned thing in my contraption, but it was all off-the-shelf stuff. To the right is a journal entry that blathers on about my other hobby, World Peace.

Campbell Diagrams 9/11/08

These are the updated Campbell Diagrams. They are based on a recurring vision that the Universe is made of tiny figure-eight-looking strings. It's String Theory with a spiritual twist, bundling the forces of Gravity, Love and G0d.

Essentially, the matter in the Universe is affected by gravitational waves that can be easily and scientifically referred to as Love. The Love [gravitational energy] binds the G0d [matter], creating what we experience as the physical Universe. Both particles and waves, the [energy/gravity/mass] is held together (or projected upon) the background radiation [dark matter/anti-particles/anti-gravity].

The Large Hadron Collider should prove this theory fairly directly, showing the deepest look at the particles and their anti-particle counterparts and how they interact with the medium they swim in, background radiation/dark matter. It's all just flavors of the same stuff, the graviton or Higgs Boson, whatever we end up calling it. Big, seemingly empty spaces of dark energy should be discovered soon after we distinguish the matter that it surrounds.

This big empty space is mirrored in cosmic fractalism, shedding light on the theory that there is no incongruity between Standard Model Cosmic physics and Quantum Physics. The smallest does in fact refer and explain the biggest and vice-versa. For the religious, "we are made in G0d's image" can now be seen scientifically, on the Cosmic scale, the Quantum scale, and all scales in between.

On the spiritual plane, the faith that it takes to accept all this Science is the same faith that it takes to believe in a "Higher Power", "Great Architect", or "Intelligent Designer".

From Heisenberg, we cannot know where a thing is and it's speed at the same time, so we must ultimately have faith that what we are "seeing" really is something.

Further, since it's all basically at its core way too big and at the same time way too small, we can't truly ever prove any damned thing at all. This is the meaning of Illusion. This is the Tao of Physics, methinks. It's perhaps more accurate to think of the Universe as becoming rather than being, that it's all always in motion, vibrating this way and that at every level and dimension since "time" "began"....

In honor of that beautiful mystery, I offer up this symbol: {∞}
It is the set of infinity, the totality of it all. It is also a representation of the smallest things, the super strings, hovering in all dimensions in a figure-eight path.
It's my brand of faith, that there is a pervasive Great Spirit that is the essence of each super string, and it makes up the Universe. This Universe is at Peace, and the elements that make it up are at Peace, and all things in between could also be so. Chaotic, but Peace nonetheless.

May you find that Peace yourself.

Aaron

Saturday, September 6, 2008

Sharing all thoughts

Sharing all thoughts

I wonder if it's best to simply share all my thoughts. Radical honesty
some call it. Would I benefit by becoming fully integrated or would I
realize some thoughts are simply best left unspoken and unshared?

Blogs can be places where honesty flourishes, or where supposed
transparency is peddled. I write what's on my mind mostly, but I
confess to periodically writing what I want people to *think* is on my
mind.

Blogging is a phenomenon, a social global one at that, but it's not
without its issues....ditto that with Twitter.


Sent from my iPhone

Thursday, September 4, 2008

God / = \. War

That Guy

Ed Begley Jr.'s personal Pack n' Play

Malarkey and Dutch! This is far geekier than I had anticipated. Here goes.


Ed Begley Jr.'s Personal Pack n' Play

1. Igoogledweefabwhichbroughtuplifeportsolarcarport.

2. http://www.envisionsolar.com/index.php?page=portfolio&id=2

3. I then reviewed it as the first discoverer of the page, with this brief and unenlightened observation:

...
You discovered 7 minutes agoEdit Tags or Review
so many green goodnesses here it's hard to keep track. Here's my short list: A carport. A breezy dwelling. An ideal solar PV or solar HW surface that you can orient perfectly in any season. A tabernacle. A solar wedding canopy. A yurt. A retail shack for beaches (cue Corona ad intro). A Bumbershoot booth (GT). A covered off-grid sound check booth for outdoor concerts. An good investment during an energy crisis. A an off-grid portable roadside fruitstand. A convention booth. An equatorial home. A double hedge on global warming. Beachside sports bar (as shown). Hurricane relief center. Sub-Saharan African medical center. National Guard barracks. Resort beach shades. Small town community center module. --ABC
in list format:

  1. Carport.
  2. Ideal solar PV or solar HW surface that you can orient perfectly in any season.
  3. Tabernacle.
  4. Solar wedding canopy.
  5. Yurt.
  6. Retail shack for beaches (cue Corona ad intro).
  7. Bumbershoot booth (GT).
  8. Covered off-grid sound check booth for outdoor concerts.
  9. Good investment during an energy crisis.
  10. Off-grid portable roadside fruitstand.
  11. Convention booth.
  12. Equatorial home.
  13. double hedge on global warming.
  14. Beachside sports bar (as shown).
  15. Hurricane relief center.
  16. Sub-Saharan African medical center.
  17. National Guard barracks.
  18. Resort beach shades.
  19. Small town community center module.
  20. Neighborhood BBQ shelter
  21. Concert amphitheatre performance space
  22. Willie Nelson's dressing room
  23. Ed Begley Jr's personal Pack n' Play
This is my second piece of "writing" I deem useful to the public at large. I hope to get more gigs doing reviews of this sort, so I'm going to cross-post this to LowImpactLiving.com along with my "10 things that make you a real eco-broker" essay. It would be interesting to hone this craft of review, since it's really a valuable service that I normally do for free, i.e. *ranting*.

Hope I've been of service.

Aaron

Sunday, July 20, 2008

Campbell Energy Saving

So I asked myself, what is it you're going to do to serve?

Campbell will help make your home healthier and happier to live in
Campbell will reduce your waste and increase your recycling
Campbell will work with you on money (energy) saving priorities and goals
Campbell will help you create a step by step plan for a greener home
Campbell will help simplify and clarify renewable energy decisions

Really, it's a lot easier to remember the name Campbell, since it's me that started the company, and so far it's me that will be doing the consulting. I'm an energy coach, taskmaster, drill sergeant, and dominatrix rolled into one.

I know you feel responsible, and I know you are often concerned that you're not doing enough. I felt the same way. I know you've been meaning to get an energy audit or get new insulation, but you didn't know anyone in the field. Neither did I. I know you and your family have been cooking in our global warming summers and shivering in our triple-grande-overcast winters. My family did for years. Is there hope?

Yes, there's hope. Like me, you need a holistic systems-view of your home so you can make the right decisions in the right order about energy efficiency. I work with you and your family to show you how a combination of upgrades to your home and your behavior can substantially change your carbon footprint. I know the right people to bring in to do the work that might be needed. I will follow up with you and make sure you're living in a more comfortable home, lowering your impact on the planet, and saving money on your energy bills.

Call me for a free 30 minute initial consultation (on the phone or at your home) and we'll get cracking on changing the world, today.

Aaron Campbell
Energy Star certified
Residential Energy Consultant

(two-oh-six) eight nine eight, eight three three seven
glowplug at google mail

Thursday, July 10, 2008

esteem-boosting daily service

So, if'n you want to join my no longer secret cult, I think there's one precept that must be followed: service.

Preferably, daily service.

I just got back from an extra-office walk (where I take my iphone and roam around while talking business) where in the middle of the walk I saw that my neighborhood park (The majestic Meadowbrook Community Park) bench had trash all around it. I thought "someone should be paid to go around and pick up this kind of trash..." and realized immediately that I was that someone and I would definitely not be paid.

I made concentric loops around the bench, picking up the trash with my bare hands, and putting it in the now-handy bags left around. There were more recyclables than trash, so it was doubly satisfying. I got to thinking, "I should do this more often", and realized that during my measly 15 minutes of trash/recycling pickup that it would be pretty easy to pull off. I live literally across the street.

As I put the trash in the nearby garbage can (somewhat hidden), I thought for a fleeting second that I wanted people to see me doing it. I wanted people to look at me picking up trash and think "there's a guy doing his part". I then thought that perhaps that was ego-centric of me, wanting people to see me doing this public good. I replied to my own thought "no, isn't that what drives a lot of Toyota Prius sales? the desire for people to see you doing the right thing?". Yes.

So, I think I might just film myself picking up trash and recycling what I can, and sending the clip to Meadowbrook, maybe even YouTubing it. I'm helping, and this is how I'm doing it, and it's not secret, it's service.

Daily Service. If your job isn't service (helping others or the planet), no sweat; you can do some other service activity. Try to do something every day. Make a note of it. Tell people about it. Show it off. If we all do this for our various reasons and some of us do it so we feel better about ourselves, so be it. It's naive to think people can only do real service if it's exclusively benefiting others. Heck, if we became a nation of show-off do-gooders, so much the better. It's a step on the path.

Anyone else feel this way? Ever had a pang of guilt that the selfless thing you were doing was in fact somewhat self-interested? Banish the guilt, I say. If it makes you feel good to serve, do it. just do it.

Thursday, June 19, 2008

public thought

Might as well come out with it:

I have a secret plan.

I'm putting a team together, and you're already on it.

I may or may not have already met you, but I can assure you that you've been picked.

My job on the planet is two-fold: Change how we power our lives, and make sure everyone I can possibly contact is supported in their right livelihood.

Those are my deeper skills: energy and connections.

It's essential, no matter how batty it sounds, that people make these kind of thoughts public. That's what's been missing, I think. That people have been keeping their golden thoughts buried. I would urge you to share those thoughts.

There may or may not be monetary wealth that comes from the sharing of your inner dreams and golden thoughts, but you should share them anyway.

Your right livelihood is beckoning, and you need to make a decision: decide to listen to that inner whisper that will grow to a shout. Trust that pulse of goodness that knows you better than you might (right now) know yourself. Take that supposed risk and make that thought public.

Saturday, May 3, 2008

This is not about Barack Obama.

This is not about Barack Obama.
His candidacy clearly helped wake some people up, but basically this
is about Americans finally having enough hope mixed with enough
frustration to get off their butts and get to work.


Sent from my iPhone

Tuesday, April 29, 2008

My new take on "extremism"

I have always considered myself (hmmm...) a level-headed person. I'm weird, but I like me some logic. This logic drove me away from some things: protests, for instance. I thought of myself as "evolved", that protests were for fundamentalists and people who were into public displays of their politics and values above the hard work that should lead from those values. Plus, all those hippies! Those open minds, leaking out!

Recently, I met a fellow recently who asked me what I thought about "attachment parenting". I have had a somewhat love/hate relationship with attachment parenting. It once again seemed fundamentalist, (or it was *portrayed* that way...). All those hippies, never letting their kid out of their sight, forcing it to sleep with the parents on a bed that was not big enough, kids getting claustrophobic; how could that be good? I said none of these things to him, only let him bring up the idea of the "8 principles of Attachment Parenting". I was expecting some serious rules, all of which would need to be observed or I'd be labeled a bad parent for life. Instead, he asked me what kind of parenting I was doing. I told him, and he said to my surprise that I was *already* doing attachment parenting. Then he went over the 8 principles:

  1. Preparation for Pregnancy, Birth and Parenting
  2. Feed with Love and Respect
  3. Respond with Sensitivity
  4. Use Nurturing Touch
  5. Engage in Nighttime Parenting
  6. Provide Consistent Loving Care
  7. Practice Positive Discipline
  8. Strive for Balance in Personal and Family Life
Wow! My wife and I pretty much do as much of those as we can, not knowing what it was we were doing; we were attachment parents. I suppose what it taught me was that "common sense parenting" and "attachment parenting" are really pretty synonymous.

Now, there are actual extreme attachment parents out there, and bless them for doing all they can to love their kids. Some things I don't think work for us, (like never letting your child out of your sight for 2 years), but hey, that's your kid and your life. Do what you want as long as you don't hurt people. But the other stuff, especially if taken in the general sense, that's spot on. It's still on the spectrum and you can pick and choose what works for you and your child. It's not an all-or-nothing proposition.

Cut to another form of supposed extremism: hypermiling.

Yep, it's that fetishistic practice of getting every single mile per gallon you can from your car. There I go, degrading it by calling it fetishistic. Anyway, I went to Arizona for my grandmother's 85th birthday and we rented a Toyota Prius. Now, I know what you're thinking: why not a Jetta TDI? Well, they don't rent those very often, and at least it's a high-mileage car. In fact, we got an average of 44.6 mpg for around 400 miles driven. That's pretty good.

Truth is, I think I know why the Prius people get such good mileage. Is it the nifty electric motor? Nope. Is it the super-stealth streamlining? No again. It's the simple fact that there is a real-time readout of your current gas mileage, and that you can see when the internal combustion petroleum-powered engine (ICE) kicks in and when it goes back to clean electric power. You change your behavior almost immediately. I found myself learning the tipping points of the two motors, timing the hills, braking way earlier, accelerating much more gradually, thinking about brake return power.

So, I started to become a hypermiler, without even knowing it! I've always been somewhat of a recycling extremist, but I figured that was okay here in Seattle. Now I'm thinking seriously about getting a readout for my TDI and really gunning for the highest mileage possible. It frankly sounds like a lot of fun. Damn.

Now I can see that there must be some kind of attitude shift required if we're to do anything about this climate change thing, and this world-changing
-for-the-better-thing. We've just got to push through the anti-hype, media blitzing, and peer-pressure assaults that label anything out of our comfort zone "extremist". That's the lesson I've been learning.

I'm coming to the conclusion that there are real and imagined forces lining up to tell you that you shouldn't do this or that because you'll be a "------nazi". Some of these forces are in your own head! You might be thinking, "I don't want to join up with my friends and interested people to do co-housing, they are going to be "consensus- nazis". Or I don't want to pick that dirty aluminum can out of the office trash bin because someone will call me a "recycling nazi". Or "I don't want to tell people how cool it is that my wife breast-feeds and we don't use formula because we might be looked at as unreasonable people, La Leche Leaguers, breastfeeding nazis".

Sheesh! that list goes on and on! Organic foods, solar hot water, biodiesel, CFLs, this is all stuff that when taken to the seeming "extreme" (i.e. actually doing it) is somehow leaving the realm of the logical and entering the shady polly-ana world of dangerous fantasy. But look at all the things I'm listing off:

Attachment Parenting
Recycling everything you can
Using solar power or alternative energy
getting the best mileage possible
eating foods that are as natural as possible
Breastfeeding

This is all stuff that the culture (even my supposedly "Green" version here in Seattle) has been labeling as extremism in one form or another. They take the most strict fundamentalist versions of things and point to the "slippery slope" of becoming an avid supporter. They denigrate the efforts as "fetish". They pull out that old Nazi saw. Yawn already! I'm seeing that all the stuff that makes sense (logic and science anybody??) is pointed at and made less "sensible" so people can feel better about not giving a shit.

It's freaking lazy to not hang on to your Coke can until you can recycle it later (and also lazy not to simply ask if a recycling program could be started!). It's good for your kid to breastfeed as long as it wants to. It's good to get the most mileage you can from your car. This isn't extremism, it's progressivism!

Now, I don't think people should enforce their own way of life upon another when they need to get to these places on their own and in their own time. I think people should leave their minds open to all kinds of improvements, but do so with desire instead of guilt or coercing. That's the stuff that the bulk of the world is rightly worried about, it's not the science and logic, it's the enforcement and coercion. We want to see the good in it for ourselves, not have it inflicted upon us from the outside. We worry about that so much that anything that smacks of seriousness gets labeled as extremism. *THAT* is the slippery slope, friend. Let's pull our collective heads out of the sand, open our eyes and minds, and judge things for ourselves. That's how we'll move forward. And if you want to get a little extremist on yourself, go for it; as long as you don't force it on others, or hurt anyone in the process.

Peace, seriously.

Saturday, April 12, 2008

Staying up with coffee, thinking

Yes, I am simply blogging what is going on right now. Twittering old school. I can't sleep right now (and didn't even try!), so I am typing with my ouchy fingers (due to cutting my nails too damn short).

I am thinking the following thoughts:

  1. should I talk about my giving up a bunch of bad habits in my blog
    1. call me if you want to actually know which ones
  2. is it okay to be happy and not to show it outwardly?
    1. yes it is
  3. is "enlightenment" really the final obstacle to enlightenment?
    1. duh
  4. every time you take a hot shower, consider it a baptism, and remember how freaking lucky you are to get a) a shower stall that is your own b) water that you can freaking drink c) HOT water. There's more, but holy crap that's plenty to be thankful for.
    1. seriously. People praise {∞} for food all the time, but best be thanking your Stars you can take hot showers, people.
  5. lately all the proverbial wisdom I thought "someday I hope to understand that stuff" is actually making some sense (one day at a time, let go and let {∞}, a stitch in time saves nine, go with the flow, etc.)
    1. okay, the stitch one I still don't get.
  6. my idea for {∞} will have a hard time taking off since I have to hit so many keys to type it out!
    1. but it's still a great idea. Seriously. Who else (lately) has a Grand Unified Theory in physics that includes religion, love, and community, but also has its own icon? Send me their links!
  7. lists of things seem easier to read than huge bungly paragraphs?
    1. I know, bungly isn't a word. Yes, lists are boss. Outline format for blogging? Super-Boss.
  8. single parents are mostly heros, it's friggin hard to parent a baby by yourself, even for a few hours!
    1. I love my wife and daughter for reals, and appreciate my wife a snick-ton.
  9. I missed Green Fest 08, but my wife was sick. I was glad to stay home, actually, because I got a chance to take my baby out for two walks in the neighborhood, soaking up the excellent warm sunshine.
    1. I'm planning on meeting the people I wanted to meet at Green Fest, only in person and for more than 2 minutes.
  10. my life is going stupendously, and always has been. With or without my knowledge, things were unfolding as they should.
    1. it really is. I'm technically drowning in blessings again. Call me for more details, or text my iPhone, yo. Crap. Did I just say that?
      1. yes, you did.
        1. What the heck is wrong with this outline formatting? Every new indentation gives me a #1? Double Crap.
          1. It's not even a Roman numeral! I'll get over it.
            1. Love is all you need.

Science on hold?

Perhaps this is the ultimate in my secular/humanist heresy, but I think we need to put expensive particle science on hold until we FEED THE PLANET.

That's right, and no more space shuttle launches. For a year. We can do the major research, but hold back on the Large Hadron Collider, things like that.

In addition, of course to STOPPING THE WAR IN IRAQ AND IRAN. That's a given.

The price of rice in Africa has on average doubled this year (between 20-80% more expensive). We cannot in good conscience continue to spend like we're not in a global crisis with water, energy, and food.

This is all (not surprisingly) tied together.

The current push for expanding our military muscle around the globe actually makes the need for that muscle even graver. We must divert money from war to environmental protection and distributing resources for self-sufficiency.

For my part, I'm working on getting the USA on a path to increased energy efficiency and decreased waste of water resources. That's what my work is about, that's what I am here for.

If we can stop wasting so much household energy and water, we can help reduce the global devastation caused by skyrocketing oil prices and drought. All our power needs to shift into the real present catastophes of the developing world.

If we can as science-loving people put our expensive research projects on hold for a bit, we can show the world we have a conscience and the willpower to use it for peace.

Sent from my iPhone

"Third Eye" videos for people on bed-rest

It occurred to me that if you don't have a person in your life that can tell you stories about the world outside while you are sick or disabled and cannot leave your bed, you should by rights have access to the world outside nevertheless.

TV is a pretty stock version of this, quite incomplete, rarely localized, and full of advertisements. Video footage, on the other hand, can be targeted, localized and is blissfully ad-free.

Perhaps a crew of digital video tapers could be employed to help bed or home-confined people see their own world outside. They could get directions via text, email or phone, and of course in person. The service would be like seeing eye dogs but for the seeing.

The footage could be loaded to an online server so the recipient can see it again and again but leave the videotaper free to make more videos.

Think of it, footage of your grandchildren, children or spouse. Footage of an event you missed. Footage of your local neighborhood in spring bloom. A window to the world.

Friday, April 4, 2008

Stamp a carbon number on all sustainable products

That's right, just like the FDA did for food. A list of all major carbon expenditures would also be nice, on the side of the box.

I want to know (and the company to tell me, verified by a 3rd party or the govt) why the product you are selling me is referred to as "Green" or "Sustainably Produced". One can calculate an average of the total embodied energy and carbon in most things. While you may not know what happened to the product once it hit the shelf, you'd know it's carbon footprint right up until then.

Where was it made? How much energy was required to make each unit? How far did it travel before it was unpacked and readied for sale, and how energy intense was that traveling? Once it is used, can I return it, recycle it, reuse it or must it be landfilled?

This won't be an option as the energy crisis worsens and climate change laws begin to go into effect globally. Companies need to get on this now, or be forced to later.

Wednesday, April 2, 2008

Iphone network cloud app

A visual version of LinkedIn, where you can drag and drop your current contact list to make mindmap networks of people. Useful in gathering a particular team (and doing a group mailing, natch), brainstorming possible business connections, and even setting up the noble phone tree.

The Good Virus

*blink*
Then it started happening more rapidly, consistently, thoroughly, lovingly.

The idea of discovering my right livelihood and it not being hokey. That there really is a false veil of Matrix complexity that acts like a fog of morphine. That we're interconnected for real.

As I deliberately pick up the gauntlet and settle in as a lifecycle energy consultant, I simply can't continue seeing life any other way. I began to have a Hope that outpaced Fear, permanently. I see I have (blissfully, thankfully) no choice. All my energy and resource consumption is intimately and directly connected to everyone else's.

All my networks blur into one. All my nodes form an interwoven web of influence and support.

Without doubt, I see (personally) the very fabric of the world I inhabit, and how that fabric can be altered with and for, Love.

All my formerly secret theories overlapped and then were transcended, leaving only the experience of the present as reality.

My friends and family instantly become glowing lanterns by which I can see in the darkest night. My wife glows radiantly, lovingly as I see her for who she truly is. My father comes almost literally back to life before my eyes as I connect more and more deeply with my mother and siblings.

Realizing that we're All siblings, the good virus spreads and we all get a touch of the flu, forcing us all to step back from our daily routines to reevaluate our position and speed as we spin around the universe.

I'm just passing on my collective knowledge chunk as I become aware of my certain and timely passing. We'll all do the same whether we intend to or not, so I want to be intentional about it.

My daughter is asleep in her crib and when she wakes up, I'm ready. Ready to share this beautiful world with her.

Finallly, permanently, I realize my father would be proud of me, that he always was. I got the message, Dad. Thanks. I love you too.

ABC


Sent from my iPhone

Friday, March 28, 2008

{∞} = The Present Day Reality of Inner World Peace

I wanted to make sure my next blog was the most amazing thought to think.
That's it in the subject field.
I apparently had to check it with one of my mentors, Joseph Crick, and he said that's pretty much it.
The idea is that heaven is the inclusion side of inclusion/exclusion. The observer of that is also the idea, they are the same idea.
Really, it's all the same idea.
The idea of Love.
Love.

Love of ones' self is as important (exactly so) as love of any Other. G(o)D, what have you. I'm going to have to point you back at Love. That's the thing that's already universally translated, but you've likely forgotten it already. There are somewhat different iterations of what people refer to as "Love", so it can be confusing at first.

Love is primarily first-person. That means it's experienced internally to verify. Ergo, you can't really share that exact same definition, ever. It's entirely subjective. What's important is that it's overwhelmingly and perfectly "good". That's right, Love is Good. Alright. All Night. Love is Good. Then, you can expand its definition to include what all things you think are good, but the first step is Love, the second step is Love is Good. The third step is Love is Good for Us. That's right, we're all Us. All us humans who can grok this in the first place. Figure it out for yourself first is our motto.

So Joe and I have been wracking our brains all our lives in search of the Ultimate Meaning. I'm not kidding, it's not cliche, it's the real deal. It makes us go crazy sometimes, makes us nauseous to see its opposite as well as itself. I had a conversation with him today that pretty much summed up the entire thing:

Inclusion/Exclusion

That's a definition of two other things, Love and Lonliness. Those are the opposites, not Love and Hate. Here's the secret: Love. It's been waiting for you to call, but you were always so busy.

Inclusion.

We pick inclusion, we think inclusion is peace and it can only start with yourself.

World Peace

is a less than potent brand at the moment. But that's what we're talking about. We need to update it but have it be a more deep and more universal interpretation.

Since all interpretations are inherently subjective (because you are only you), we needed a phrase that did all of what we wanted and none of what we don't.

Here's the trick, some people might interject other meanings into "Love" because the translation itself from "English" to "Hmong" (if that's the name of the language as well as the cutlure) is somewhat already subjective. But in the end, that argument fell away as we agreed that it had already been agreed to by the major religions.

That's right, your religion said this to me. I'm not saying it's what each individual's religion says, but what the collective expression of those religious thoughts truly is embodied by. That's the secret again "Love".

It's not just a warm fuzzy thing, but you can bet your sweet behind that it's also plenty warm and fuzzy. Heck, it's the best thing you can think! Even from your babyhood, the first thought you had was "not other?" That's inclusion folks, you cried when people left you alone in your waste or you were hungry. The left alone was the main issue, the pain wasn't that bad.

It's an economic thing, that's what I'm saying. This is What Barack Obama Means. He isn't just a human, none of us are. But he in particular is saying only one thing: Love will save the world both spiritually and financially. If you are worried about the current interest rate from the Fed is, understand that that golden number is a DIRECT function of the presence of LOVE.

Barack is saying that if we actually, seriously, love one another like siblings, we'll all be alright and the world will actually be a measurably better place.

I think that G(o)D is saying that too, that's as much as you need to know about my belief in a higher power. Nothing more complicated than that. The details are not very important. Seriously, they are in fact, the Devil. The details mean that what you see isn't what you get. The big letters are a lie to bring you into the store, the little letters are the exceptions to the lie I told you, subsets of the lie, and part and parcel of the lie.

The Devil Ignores You. That's what I said. It doesn't respect you. It's always interrupting you. But the Devil Can Change. That's redemption, folks. Jesus-style. You can emulate Jesus by literally coming back to life. No need to actually die, he did that for you. Seriously, what if there was an actual homo-sapiens that lived around 2008 years ago and it said "I don't care if I die, actually, it's what G(o)D wants of me. I'm dying so nobody ever has to die again for Love". That's the biggest thing Jesus did. By that he also meant that the biggest idea Christ has is the same idea that Mohammed has. That's right, present tense, baby. It's all in the present tense.

Allah Hu'Akbar. Seriously, Hutchins, you don't have get rude about it. That's all the silent atheist majority has been saying. Atheist is not capitalized, btw. Back to our story: Present tense. G(o)D IS Great. Check it, that's present tense, folks. All your other defintions of G(o)D are useless if you can't tell me when G(o)D is great. Is, already Is. That's past, present and future tense, yo. Add those up and you get Present Tense.

That's right, G(o)D is Love. In the present tense, but we already talked about that. That is as they say "reality". Or to put it a different way...drumroll please...the Meaning Of Life. It's confusing at first. Could it be that easy?

Yep, it's that easy. We just make sure that Love is the opposite of lonliness and the world heals itself one at a time, individually in order to praise their version of G(o)D.

You heard me again, I said "version". This is my best idea, so you'll have to bear with me as I ramble. I'll go back to more traditional gadgetry soon, but this is my IdeaFirehose blog and I reserve the right to give this idea out globally, instantaneously, over light, to the glory of G(o)D. Yep, since you aren't inside me, you can't tell what I mean when I use that phrase so you'll have to have faith that I'm not in it to kill you and your family. That's lonliness, friend. There is only you and the other person whenever there's another person and your job is to save them not kill them. Wake up and save them, that's what Love is. That's what my religion tells me.

And as I mentioned, my religion is a hybrid. It's all of them combined. Average them out and that's me. I'm just interpreting all of them as truly as I can to myself first. My initial reaction was that each one's details support the overall thrust of Love. Call it what you will, but at some point we have to shake hands and finally admit that we are talking about the same feeling/verb/noun/meaning/expression of G(o)D. That's what Marley had been saying, Ghandi, MLK, JFK, Einstein too. That's what I said. If you go too far into the details looking for the opposite of Love you can get overly judgemental. Don't, this is all subjective.

It's the paradox thing, natch. One one hand, it's inside you and yours is fundamentally unique. On the other hand, everyone else has it and has it exactly the way you have it. That's the trick, remember that at the one deepest level beyond all the culture and victimization is a true perfect soul that says "Love" and I think that means G(o)D.

It means this on a material level as well. That's the gift of Native America, and pretty much as many Natives as you can shake a lulav at. All "pieces" of "all things" contain the Great Spirit. That Great Spirit freaking Loves You. The details are the pieces as well. It's fractal, siblings!

Anyhow, like I said, it has to be fully and 100% scientifically so. That's another red herring for us. The "scientific community" (whatever that really means)(non-sarcastically too) has to sign on before we go too much farther with this Peace thing. They need to make sure it doesn't completely ignore the laws of the physical world as we know them. If you can't bring that, peace is tough.

It has to be internal, as I mentioned, however, so there's the faith component for the science world. You actually have to have faith that there's a superstring universe, that Relativity is Real, and that we can verify reality pretty well.

It has to be gender-non-specific. For reals, this is another huge red herring. G(o)D is so big and excellent that it can be all things to all genders. That's not an optional point, by the way, and it carries it's corollary, that yours is exactly the same.
That's relativity, yo. Special Relativity. Philosophically Special Relativity. Allah is also Tao which is Nothing and is made of the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. That's not philosophy. That's reality, or as close as we can point to.

Will there every be a Single G(o)D? There always was, but you can only experience this single G(o)D personally. And this experience is overwhelmingly direct, Love Yourselves. Love each other. That's the verb, folks. It's only one, and it's the only one.

It's all here in black and white, just behind this posting is the Internet. Take a look, it's the Universal Communicator. Literally, you can Google the word Love and it will literally scour the planet's current networked communications over fibre optic cables for words that get triggered by the search and come to you with a web page or two. Let's give it a whirl right now, shall we?

Tuesday, March 25, 2008

Green job university

In Seattle we need these training facilities that get people ready to
hit the ground in green collar jobs. No brainer.

Sent from my iPhone

Monday, March 24, 2008

Our 100 people can sustain us

Think of your wedding, bar mitzvah, or other large reunion you attended. Now, think of your local coffee shop. Now, with the coffee shop, the people that show up every day are typically local, they can walk/bike/drive there in a few minutes. You don't need a lot of people to support a coffee shop, just a few dedicated folks who show up regularly, or a large number of people who show up less frequently. It's a numbers game.

Now, think of all the real estate agents you know. Think of all the massage therapists you know, the hair stylists, or even general contractors you know. They share the same pool of people, really. And that pool is pretty much capable of sustaining them if they are good at what they do.

I submit that if you are good at what you do and can convince your network of people that they need what you have to offer, you can support yourself.

I sold cars for 2 years and toward the end of that run I had a fairly steady stream of repeat or referral customers. In 2 more years I could likely sustain myself just on those customers rather than relying on the dealership's advertising or new customers off the street.

In time, with some targeted marketing and some realtime examples of your service or products, you should be able to get enough income from the people you know to be able to no longer rely on the people you don't to sustain you.

To that end, I would like to officially post my own services and ask that you, dear member of my 100 person team of sustainability, help me along in my right livelihood. In exchange for that help, I will help you with your right livelihood.
Deal?

Me, I am an energy and sustainability consultant for homes, condos, and small businesses. I help people understand their living and working spaces as comprehensively as possible, and then I work with you to improve the energy efficiency of those spaces. I can help with lighting, appliances, internal air quality, energy usage and waste, water usage and waste, recycling, renewable energy projects and upgrades. If you need home energy consulting, let me know and I'll send you our survey and we'll put you on the calendar. If you know anyone else who needs the service, tell them about me and we'll get together and see if we're a good fit. It's a 30 minute free consultation.

My other service is Energy Efficient Car Consulting and Brokering. With my experience in the car sales world, I can help you navigate the choppy waters of car buying and selling with a focus on moving you toward the maximum fuel efficiency possible within your budget. I'm independent, I walk my talk, and I know both sides of the equation. If you are looking for a new energy-efficient car for yourself or know of a friend or family member that is, let me know. 3o minute free consultations as well.

There you go. From you, go ahead and post a similar paragraph-long explanation of what you do, or email me the same. I'll put it in my database and if I find someone looking for your service or product, I'll send them your way. I bet that if everyone did this same kind of direct offer of their product or service to their own network (and did so with vigor and intent), we'd also help the planet by keeping our money local and making our community stronger.

Tuesday, March 18, 2008

Indoor Baby Stroller

I want a small format baby stroller so I can walk around the house with my baby close to me but not have to hold her every minute of the walk. I don't want a sore back from my sling, either. It's about the size of a compact grocery cart (two tiered, found at Metropolitan Markets). An umbrella stroller might work, but it's not high enough and I can't look at her while we stroll. It should be around waist height. It could double as a walking device as baby grows. Baby boo yah!

Monday, March 17, 2008

Car buyer profile website

Instead of people doing all the shopping for cars, people log in
anonymously and build a profile of their needs in a new or used car.
Internet departments at dealerships can see the profile and bid for
their business.

Sent from my iPhone

Human powered tiny fridge

Could be good for keeping ice packs frozen longer. Pump keeps cool air
moving through a coil, wicking away body heat. Flexible so it wraps
around leg or arm.

Sent from my iPhone

Saturday, March 15, 2008

Rentable Baby Diaper Digester

So, if you use green disposable diapers, there is very little you end up doing with them except send them to a landfill when they are, um, filled.

Enter the Rentable Baby Diaper Digester. Clearly there is a lot of stink going on, and that might mean enough methane to capture and make usable. The rentable contraption would let you put all your diapers in this big sealed bin where there would be a bacterial slurry at the bottom that would help eat the compostable diapers while off-gassing methane. The methane would be trapped and eventually compressed for off-site use. The diaper slurry would eventually become compost. Bonus points if you use the methane or compost on your own property.

Tuesday, March 11, 2008

2 months of Ideas!

It's true, it's been 2 months of intense idea generation, with 250 total ideas collected. Some were mine, some were from friends and some were from my brainiac wife. I averaged over 4 ideas a day for those 2 months, and this was all done with the sleep of a new father!

My deep hope is that anyone who sees any of these ideas and is inspired to make them reality will do so, quickly. I posted these ideas so others could leverage them for themselves. I'd love a nod of credit for the inspiration, but as I consider these to be somewhat open source concepts, I cannot in good conscience dictate what will happen with the ideas once they are posted to the world. Take them and run!

My other hope is that people might eventually see idea generation as a good thing, in an of itself. People give me a lot of guff for coming up with ideas that I know I have very little chance or time to actually make real. This is my response, to simply continue to come up with more ideas and release them out into the world. Good ideas ( of which I can only claim a few) are NOT a dime a dozen. They are rare and they are worthy of recording at the very least. If they become actual objects or movements, so much the better, but it has to be okay for people to simply come up with them and share them. I'd have done it much sooner had there been more people who supported the concept of "ideas for ideas sake" earlier in my life. I won't dwell, as I am blessed with the internet and the money to afford its access.

But if you are out there with your own ideas, get them out of your head and into the world. Write a book, post a note, spraypaint a wall. I don't care how you do it, but get them out there. If you die with your ideas locked inside your mind, it's like letting the government get 60% of your inheritance instead of your kids! Give it all away before you're dead so you can enjoy the fruits of that labor. You'll be free to come up with more, and you might just enjoy the coming up with ideas as much as the capitalizing on them (or vainly trying!).

More to come, for sure, and thanks for reading thus far...

Respectfully,

Aaron

Thursday, March 6, 2008

what is federal government actually doing for me?

Things I know it does: negotiate with other federal governments, levy taxes, wage wars. What else? What can I see on my street that the feds have to do with? Do I really need a federal government? Would it be enough to just have a state or city government?

Love Banking

Just curious if we tallied up the love versus hate in terms of actions during the day if we'd come up with more love than hate. I think we would, and therefore it would be cool to see. Like how we theorize about the existence of a "relationship bank" from which you deposit and withdraw emotional support, but on a larger scale, a global scale. If you did something good or something good was done for you, make a deposit. If things went wrong for you that day, go ahead and make a withdrawal. Blog the item, rate the deposit and/or withdrawal values. I surmise we'd see much more love than hate, and we'd have a surplus of that love to spread around.

What things can a neighborhood share easily?

Not sure that my neighbors can actually share everything they own with me or I with them. A ladder, yes. A hot tub? not as easily. A pool in the summer is nice, but what about the liabilities? A snowblower, sure, but what about the upkeep and storage of the thing? The purchase in the first place? The current worth of the thing? Not so easily done than said, my socialist siblings. How can those things that we agree to share be shared? A check-out system? Is their an escrow situation that lets us buy neighborhood stuff? Does that then necessitate a neighborhood council of some sort to decide what gets bought? Would a bureaucracy like that be helpful or harmful? Argh!

What are the best question ideas?

This entry is that very thing, a question rather than an idea. It's just as valuable in terms of moving ideas forward as an idea, perhaps even moreso. A directed question leaves you wanting to know more, wanting to have input, wanting to answer. From here on out, these good questions will have the same weight as the ideas that purport to answer a question in the first place.

Business directory with teeth

Let's say I want to open up a nail salon. I don't, but let's just say. I'd want to know if there were other nail salons in the area, right? I could walk the beat, sure, but I also want to know if there *isn't* one in the area as well. What I want is a directory of what kind of stores are in a particular area, and if there is a gap in that service that I can fill or a surplus of that service that would make my job harder. Does the chamber of commerce do this? They should.

Micro-federalism

Golly this is a big idea. Not a new one by a long shot, but certainly worth repeating and expanding upon.Imagine if we had the means of local production for a great deal more of the things we use every day. What if we had direct access to recycled plastic, recycled glass, reused metal and wood and aluminum and other raw but sustainable materials.

Then, what if we also had our own means of power production in the
form of geothermal, wind, and solar electricity.What if we also had smaller and more democratic means to decide how our neighborhood was going to look and act? If we didn't have so many fingers in our local pies?

We'd have micro-federalism. That's what the older folks are really talking about when they refer to "the good old days" , not the 1950's. Take back your lives, take back your neighborhoods, your communities, your planet.


Sent from my iPhone

Tuesday, March 4, 2008

Crowd sourcing groceries

Safeway delivers, and should give me a discount if 5 more people in my
neighborhood get deliveries at the dame time.

Sent from my iPhone

Virtual dj on iPhones

Up to Three different iPhones can work together to make a cool virtual
visual dj system. Preview the output on one, mix on the other two.
Zoom and pan, spin and blend using the touch screens.

Sent from my iPhone

Multiple touch screen collaboration

Bring together 4 different touchscreen computers (or iPhones,
itouches, etc) and they can all connect into one larger canvas. Like
the way you can use a bunch of tv's together to make a big screen.

Sent from my iPhone

My mobile office mates

A web 2.0 service that lets you know when a "colleague" is in the same
wifi cafe. Aware of itself and others like it, the app gives out your
virtual biz card and tells a bit about you and what you do while doing
out-of-office work. If you want some comraderie and perhaps some
collaboration, you can put up your flag and see who else is up for it.
Hell yeah, web 2.0!!!

Sent from my iPhone

Non plastic recycled compostable coffee lids

SSIA. Its only going to work for an hour or so before it gets squishy,
but we need these. Made of highly compressed paper or cellulose.

Sent from my iPhone

Saturday, March 1, 2008

Nano belt battery charger

Your belt is in constant motion and flex. With concentrated nano fiber
kinetic battery charging technology, you'll be able to charge the
device nearby in your pocket. Tesla power transfer or bluetooth 2.0 to
send power wirelessly to the device.

Sent from my iPhone

Danger Camp

In the face of all the crazy lawsuits and the wholesale mediocrity it
reinforces I suggest Danger Camp!

Firebuilding, tree climbing, you name it. Obviously its not supposed
to be truly dangerous, but to let kids get back to the fun stuff.

Sent from my iPhone

Friday, February 29, 2008

Glowing lampshades

Not sure how annoying it might be in certain situations when you want
pitch black rooms, but it would be excellent if the globes and
lampshades in my home all glowed for a few hours after we turn off the
light. Cheap fix, and could obviate the need for nightlights in some
circumstances. Options for artistic versions and different colors. How
about the reverse of the original image on the shade? Many creative
applications available. One shade might say ON in the day/ when on,
and then glow OFF at night. That kind if thing. This is a hattrick idea.

Sent from my iPhone

Micro turbines in roof vents

Also inside my chimney. My house vents heat and air all the time and
might generate enough power to run my water pump on cloudy days.

Sent from my iPhone

Flat school tax?

I'd pay a few hundred dollars a year to improve my local public
school. I'm tired of levies to constantly beg for money and I'm tired
of failed govt programs.

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Rain catch and release system

Rain comes down in buckets but just try to catch in them and put that
precious resource to use. I propose that someone should invent a
specific cistern and solar electric pump that gathers up the rain that
falls on your roof to be used later as irrigation.

Big recycled plastic cistern. Sturdy Trex platform to lift the cistern
high enough to give it some gravitas. Solar pump to move the water
faster or uphill for irrigation.

Sent from my iPhone

Wednesday, February 27, 2008

Therapeutic Muscle Clamps

Clamps that normally work with wood, but applied to human muscles. Send a low voltage charge through as well. Can be self-applied. Easy-release. Do they have silicone finger attachments? Can you put them in the microwave and warm them up, or in the freezer? You bet!

Speed Zone indicators in pavement

Idea first posted in GlobalIdeasBank. Just like the rumble strips that get you to slow down as you get closer to the border or an airport, only the rumbling is specific to speeds required by law. The faster, the higher pitch, the slower the lower pitch. Cuts in the road would be good alternative to reapplying layers of cement. Could be done with slightly different grooves of pavement as well, in alternating patterns to indicate speeds. Could be done with road turtles as well, or simply raised paint.

New Sci Fi movie about Siddartha

Non-violent (Sorry, Neo) movie that goes through the life of the Buddha in a regular town, where the Buddha is a regular person who discovers the secret of suffering cessation. Perhaps a woman as Buddha. Non-famous actors. Excellent soundtrack (Massive Attack? Air? Postal Service?). Should be true to the story of the Buddha. Does innovative non-violent stuff to do conflict resolution. Should be a tad psychedelic, but not kitschy. Lots of cool nature shots required. Feel Good, but realistic.

Non-Newtonian Fluid Games

• Tag
• Shuttle Run, like in high school fitness test
• float a friend
• long jump, triple jump
• jump rope

Idea Camp *plus* Conflict Resolution 8x

My pal Joe "ideas in repose" Crick is repurposing his creative energy and asked for some ideas for a mixture of Idea Camp and Conflict Resolution Training Camp. Here are some game ideas for this concept:

• Game that rewards collaboration between kids, where you make one thingamajig and the next person must improve it and/or add to it.
• Game that rewards cross-pollination of 2 or 3 simple ideas to make one novel idea.
• Game (Classic) that rewards kids for coming up with the most ideas for repurposing a basic object. “Paper Bag Skit” equivalent.
• Same as above but instead of quantity, rewards quality (ie best idea)
• Biomimicry game, no idea what it would be yet but it’s where a man-made thing mimics the design of a natural thing.
• “Make it for kids” exercise where you repurpose “adult” stuff for kids.
sensory deprivation games where kids are deprived of a sense (sight, hearing, smell, etc) and then do any other game to see how they would fare
• Gather up game, where the object is to simply get others to join you (with certain parameters)
• RE-DO, drama game where kids get to re-enact a conflict in the past in a non-conflict fashion, could be called “Director” where you direct your own old movie differently. Directors Cut of your life. Playback theatre style, but you do conflict resolution of past traumas.
• VR poverty survival game to get kids to empathize with developing countries kids. Like “Halo 3” but with no guns and no food and no infrastructure and no running water and no support system no vaccines no parents and it’s real.

8x idea, for shizzle biodizzle!

Polarized contact lenses

Never known anyone to have them, and it would really be cool for us myopic folks. Vuarnet contact lenses, yo.

Dryer intakes from ceiling

Heating elements are the biggest energy hogs in the house. Dryer is one of the worst. The silliest part of the dryer setup is that it pulls in cool air from beneath the dryer to heat up in the dryer coils. Why not pull the dryer intake air from the ceiling where it's hotter already? A flat duct, painted to suit of course, runs warmer air from the ceiling down into the dryer. Not rocket science, but requires a bit of an aesthetic workaround.

LED warning lights and detection for stoves

Stove is hot, the big red LED sign blinks HOT. Might as well put it on the oven part as well, and for the blind, a similar system that makes a sizzling noise until the oven/stove cools down. Many ways to set up the LED system, could also just blink, or even show red when it's hot and green when it's cool. X2 idea for universal access!

Foot operable kitchen drawers

not just incidentally operable, but built to be so. The push-pop style is cool, but the mechanism wears out. I want a groove underneath for the bottom drawers and all the handles to be big enough to fit the top of my foot without getting it stuck forever.

New Baby Sling imitates "football" position

With an insulated arm-sized hump in the mix, a new baby sling would hold the baby out in front of you, face down, head to the side. Babies love this position as an alternative to the face-up position. It's just tough on parents' arms. Enter the new sling that suspends baby face down, with an insert that mimics your other arms underneath the baby. Much parental satisfaction to be had here...

Home biogas digesters

geared specifically for parents with newborns. Come on, seriously, all these damned diapers HAVE to account for something! Make your own methane, folks! Burn it in a generator and put the savings in your kids college fund!

Monday, February 25, 2008

Traffic light in-car alert system

Sees the pattern of traffic lights (uses the EMS system?) and repeats
it on your instrument panel. No more sliding into the car in front if
you or people honking because you didn't see the green light above you.

Sent from my iPhone

Sunday, February 24, 2008

Idea Seminars

Like Idea Camp, but for adults, on a short retreat or even a single evening. Using my book as reference and perhaps textbook, have seminars on how to come up with new ideas. I could do my shtick and get people from the crowd to yell out topics or things that need improvement, then I can do my parlor trick of coming up with a solution on the spot. I'm good at facilitation and creative consulting, getting people to loosen up and get their creative juices flowing. Yeah. Brainstorming and Collaboration ahoy!
Thanks again to MF.

Idea Book

Courtesy of Michael LeFevre: Take 15 good ideas from the Firehose and flesh them out as well as I can. Tell the story of how I came to the ideas, and how in general I came to this pleasant affliction. Illustrate the book with my microprinting. Give some tips and pointers on how one can get addicted to creative ideas, then what to do with that when it happens. Excellent idea, Michael, and why the hell didn't I think of it?

New Warriors

I just watched "Valley of Elah" with Tommy Lee Jones. Great film.
Cried along the way, thinking about families of our warriors and my own warrior ancestors (Campbell/Taylors have fought in most of the big 20th century wars: WWI, WWII, Korea, Vietnam). Brother in law is an Iraq II vet, thought about him and his family.

Thought about the current warrior class and what they think they are about, what might drive them forward to sign up. I think we need some new metaphors beyond good (us) against evil (them). We need more than "Army of One" rhetoric. We need these warriors, alright. But the kind of warrior that is ready to respond, not excited to kill. I don't have any desire to fight/die/kill, but I do think I owe my life to this world and if needed, I would give my life back for the world that gave it to me in order to further the values I espouse. Justice, Peace, Love, Equality, Liberty, Human Rights are these values I would sacrifice my smaller life to uphold if need be. Would I kill? No, but I would die.

I don't really know what the new warriors would end up being, how they would be trained, under whose power they would be, but we need to get back to the drawing board on soldiering, and who gets to say when we fight and kill. The Congress is supposed to have that sole responsibility (according to our pesky Constitution), and they should not be able to abdicate that responsibility. I oppose the general idea of warfare, but I do think we need to ensure we are all as safe as possible. Maybe we need to phase out the need to go to war in the first place, thinking about how NOT to go to war rather than how to win it all the time. Department of Peace indeed, Dennis.

There is a need for proper policing of the population, for protection and safety. A national guard that guards ourselves from ourselves. But we spend so many resources on the warfare side of it all, and we don't even prepare the warriors fully before we send them out into harm's way. Perhaps the best way now to reduce the incidence of war in the world is for the USA to just lead by example rather than by weaponry. Take care of our own issues, our own internal battles with crime and poverty and racism and injustice. Who will do this? Who are those people? How are they to be trained?
Can they be non-violent and still be warriors?

Saturday, February 23, 2008

Automatically breathable clothing

Pretty sure this is both possible and probably already exists, but I've not seen it yet. Kind of nano but really more micro idea. Electrical charges trigger the weave of your clothing to contract and tighten up to keep you warmer and then open up more with a flick to keep you cooled off. Electro Gore Tex.

LED lit guitar strings and frets

I want my guitar to light up where I touch it on the frets, and light up the string that I pluck as well. It could be a simple light, or it could be done cooler with a pulsing light that changes according to the frequency of the note. It would look awesome when you shred with your electric guitar, and you could see what notes you were playing if you were not yet skilled enough to shred.

Wacom Portable Art Pad and Journal

The Kindle from Amazon would be cool only if it was actually a Wacom art pad. I want a device that really only does reading and writing. It should let you store hundred of books, and it should let you write just as if you had a pad of paper with you. A cool pencil like stylus (or quill pen as you might wish) mandatory. It doesn't need to be a full computer, so the processor can focus on being pressure sensitive and capable of storing hundreds of hi-res drawings. I want a digital journal, damnit. It doesn't necessarily have to do OCR on my sloppy handwriting, but it could. It should look like a Moleskine journal. Heck, maybe they should do it instead of Amazon or Wacom. Somebody please make this for me. Please.

Current Mileage LED for cars

I want people to know it's possible to get 43 mpg in the city. My Jetta TDI can do it.
It would be cool to have the thing calculate my current mileage and put that number in real time on an LED readout across my back window. Good for the Prius as well methinks. It might sound smug, but it's really why we bought the car, to save the planet. I want people to know that they can do it as well.

Planetary Spirograph

I love that toy, and it's not really a toy. Spirograph lets you inscribe creative circles with an elegant weave with a gear-type set up. Hmm, bad explanation, but it's still a cool toy. Google it for heaven's sake.

While your search is running, ponder the idea of ellipses instead of circles for the Spirograph. Then the idea of each planet getting it's own elliptical gear, and you'll have a cool science project that doubles as an art project. Might just try this one myself...

Friday, February 22, 2008

Tuned Guard Rails and Fences

Wacky public art project that tunes all the guard rails along a parkside or path to real notes. Must be somewhat muffled to keep the neighbors happy. Brass markers in the cement show you what notes are which and even give you songs to play. Would be a fun companion to the brass dance steps on Capitol Hill in Seattle.

Alternate version: Wooden fenceposts tuned like a marimba would do the same thing and sound better. Should be tuned funky, like in pentatonic scale or all minor scales.

Dance Dance Power Generation!

The floor of the danceclub floats on a large platform that rocks back and forth in all directions (or multiple platforms so you don't slip and fall off!). That kinetic energy gets translated into power and that power lights up the club. The more people dance, the more frenetic the lights get. Slower (but still active) dancing will mellow out the lights and trigger a sooting light show. Particular songs during the night might be set to do particular light shows. Hell Yes, Loch Ness!

Chipped auto-cruise control for highways

On my local 520 bridge (Governor AD Rosselini), there's a lot of traffic and subsequent frustrations and accidents. What if every car (I know, crazy) had a chip that was seen by a road computer, and the road computer triggered the cars to go into cruise control for a particularly difficult stretch of road, perfectly spaced apart and requiring no brakes? We'd all go broke paying for it, yes, but it would sure be neat and safe.

Speed suggesting reader boards on highways

Sign on the highway that is connected to current traffic reports could tell drivers that if they ALL go 45 mph, they will get there 10 minutes faster than if they go stop-and-go from 10-60 mph. This will require some training and education, but if you posted the time saved and remind people that it will ALSO REDUCE TRAFFIC ACCIDENTS, they may change their minds about the need to briefly pass that one car they just HAVE to get around only to have him slowly creep by you a mile down the road.

Bonus: if we're all going the same speed and not causing as many traffic accidents, the traffic times will be reduced over again thanks to a lack of bottlenecks and brakelights. It would reduce wear and tear on your cars (and clutches), and make it easier to make cellphone calls (you know you do it).

Time share parking spaces

Groups of people, families, friends, you name it, might want to collectively buy a parking space downtown and post a schedule for its use on an internally accessible website (with cellphone alerts). If enough people do it (and adhere to the schedule!), you might come out financially ahead as well as happily and unstressfully parked. Works best in uncovered monthly spaces.

Alternately, you could auction your daily work parking space off on a website so downtowners might get a break on their bar-hopping or whatever. Lots of spaces downtown go unused at night, and the big garages are super-expensive. Make a buck and help the planet by not driving all around the block 20 times hoping for a space to open up...

Selective Family Reunions

In order to build some dysfunctional families up step by step to a full scale family reunion, perhaps it might be a good idea to isolate certain levels and genres of the family for selective reunions.

All the cousins might have a reunion, without the potential baggage and complication of a lot of aunts, uncles and grandparents (depending on the age of the cousins, of course). But maybe not depending, maybe the younger cousins might go on a chaperoned field trip. Maybe a "siblings only" retreat, or a "inlaws reunion" or a "grandparents golf trip" or a "half-sibling hang-out". The goal may or may not be to build up to a larger all-encompassing family reunion, but sometimes the smaller reunions are what might do the trick for some families.

People do act very differently when the whole misphacha are in the mix, lots of old rivalries and past wrongs are brought to bear. Sometimes it's just best to take it slowly and see what heals...

Baby (un)Steady cam

You know the tool, it's for keeping a video camera steady while you walk around. It has a cool smooth operating effect, and is responsible for making sure we all don't puke at every action movie.

The best ones are hooked directly to the body of the camera person, and the lightweight ones are hooked to a waist-belt that transfers the weight to your hips like a big backpack would. It takes the weight off your shoulders, and lets you keep your arms more free.

I need something like that for carrying my baby around for the hours (sometimes) that it takes to hand-rock my baby to sleep. I have an "Ergo" carrier, but it often squishes them a bit too much and they don't sleep well in it. I want it to be able to support my now 11 lb baby's weight and let me kind of jump walk around with it to give it some motion. I don't want it entirely steady, so some kind of pendulum system should be employed, or perhaps a heavy vibration motor installed.

War mongers must go to War

I am fully against war, in almost all its forms. Even a so-called "defensive" war would be hard for me to get behind. War sucks, and we'd all do better to have less of them.

Enter the classic idea (and still excellent) of sending the warmongers to war. It's just common sense. If you advocate for an aggressive war, you must participate in it. If you think you are too old, then you need to rethink your hawkish stance for you will still be compelled to fight. That's real "skin in the game" as they say. At risk of sounding as political as I am at heart, the Bush administration has many a hawk that never spent time fighting war, yet they are the most excited to wage it. This would end if there was a mandate to fight wars that one advocates.

More Playground water pumps for developing world

On the same idea that Playpumps uses, why not make a bunch of different play equipment that does the same thing (and doesn't make people so damn dizzy!)?

•A see-saw is a simple playground toy, and easily (and historically) makes for a great pumping mechanism.
• Another could be a hard-poled swing (instead of a chain-swing) that works like a pump-jack.
• Another could be a barrel-roll or tire-roll (using stuff that is more readily available), which could be used to turn an Archimedes water-screw.
• Another could be a modified platform teeter-totter that is a big metal disk with guardrails that teeters in all directions.

There you go, an idea worth no fewer than 4 ideas, and helps the developing world by easing their daily water commutes. Somebody, please do this stuff! I'm no engineer...

Wednesday, February 20, 2008

Food Branding Yourself

I'm no chef, I will tell you now. But I am known for two things: eggs and cereal.
I do both well. I would like to add another food skill someday. It's a big deal, to know what food you can make for yourself and others that is edible or even good to eat. It's a tool you can use your whole life. It should be part of Home Economics in high school. It's your food signature. Doesn't need to be fancy, but must in a pinch be able to suffice as an entire meal if possible. Should be adaptable in terms of economics, i.e, should be able to be made cheap *and* fancy. If you blend well, create your own signature smoothie if you must. But have that one thing you can pull out in a pinch. The life you save could be your own...

Anonymous Family Suggestion Box

Needs an interested third party to translate and equalize the suggestions so you can't tell which family member made them. Requires some flexibility and understanding for sure. It's just another tool for a family to make sure each member can be heard. Some people do this live, I think it's called "talking", but I can't be sure. The suggestion box would be great for those who don't do the "talking" thing, but still need to communicate their needs. Could be done via a website if you needs to get your digits on, yo. A family Wiki page, sure enough. Maybe the anonymizer is on the website. Maybe the goal is to eventually not be anonymous...

Home Vital Sign Aggregation

After having my friend help me with my recent home inspection, it occurred to me that I'd like to have a lot more data at my disposal about my home. Easy stuff that should be logged: Temperature rise and fall, humidity levels, air pressure (positive or negative), power loss and gain. Some home automation systems do a few items listed, but not all of them. I want to know what happens when I light a fire in the fireplace, what happens to my home when I'm away for a month, what things happen to my home at night. I don't need to be emailed about it (all the time), but I'd like to see all these stats on a secure website. It's more than just electrical usage, but it certainly includes that as well. It's about knowing what kind of shape your house is in, the current fitness of your dwelling. It's probably a $500 item, with a bunch of good sensors and a USB connection, but I'm not the engineer nor marketing guy. Should come with all new homes, should be subsidized by the power company, yo.