Thursday, February 28, 2008

Life at 30

I think it is obligatory to write about turning 30. Someone asked me tonight if I feel older. In reality I feel a lot older then I did when I turned 28. But that has a lot to do with the kiddo and the other one on the way. I have nothing wise or profound to say about turning 30. I am not where I thought I would be, or doing what I thought I would be doing. But as Father Brown said, "One can sometimes do good by being the right person in the wrong place."

The New Energy Conference

Last weekend I attended the Ozarks New Energy Conference. The bikes that were supposed to power the conference became bikes that powered demonstration light bulbs. I was greatly disappointed. Some people at the conference focused on solving very real problems we are facing with workable solutions. Others simply seem to believe that all energy production will murder the planet. At one point Senator McCaskill made an offhand comment about Europeans having a $4.00/gallon gas tax, and some in the audience cheered. After that speech "America does not pay enough for energy" became the theme of the conference.

Other highlights included the Hydrogen bus with it's 6,000 lbs. tanks. It had to be brought in on a tractor trailer, because it didn't have the range to drive from Rolla to Springfield and back. Also, the solar powered truck was a big hit. The truck was a one person golf cart with an extension behind it for solar panels. You could raise the solar panels and the compartment wasn't completely taken up with batteries, so I guess that is how it became know as a truck.

This conference made me think we are twenty years away from any solution consumers are going to accept for our dependence on oil. Nuclear was a dirty word.

Wednesday, February 27, 2008

Bonus Wednesday

On This Day in History:

1594: Henry IV is crowned king of France in Chartres.

1807: The poet, Henry Wadsworth Longfellow is born.

1922: The United States Supreme Court declares the Nineteenth Amendment constitutional, thereby guaranteeing women's voting rights.

1932: The actress, Elizabeth Taylor, is born.

1933: The Reichstag, seat of the German parliament, is set on fire.

1974: The first issue of People magazine, a weekly publication featuring entertainment and social-interest news, hits the newsstands.

1978: The person, Aaron Ash, is born.

1990: The Exxon Corporation is indicted on five criminal charges relating to the 1989 Alaskan oil spill.

2003: A design by architect Daniel Libeskind is selected to be built on the former site of the twin towers of New York City's World Trade Center.

Thursday, February 21, 2008

Did You Get a Haircut?

I have a bad habit of not getting my haircut. It is a lot like mowing the lawn to me. As soon as you get it cut it just starts growing back again. Also, I don't like spending the money. The solution around our house is for Jill to cut my hair. This would be great except that Jill takes about seven times as long as a professional barber. Because of the time commitment involved, she doesn't really like to do it that often, and I do not like to sit still through the process. This week, though, the time had come. (I can tell because when I would put on my hat, my hair would curl halfway up the sides.) And this time, we decided to do something different.

For the last 18 years or so, I have had the same haircut. This time she cut it shorter and and it has no part. I call it the Peyton Manning. I like the haircut and I think Jill did a great job. However, it has not received a lot of critical acclaim. Several people at work have said something along the lines of "Looks like you got a haircut." and nothing else. I don't understand this. Do they just want me to know they noticed. It's as though, they didn't understand, "If you can't say anything nice, don't say anything at all." Instead, it's "If you can't say anything nice, say something non-commital." It really makes me want to go "Looks like you decided to wear the navy blue dress today."

In Other News

We went in for the ultrasound, Tuesday. The baby is very healthy and everything seems to be in the right place. Although, whenever she would say something like here are the kidneys, I would freak out in my mind. "Oh no, the baby's kidneys are outside her body." But the tone of the technician told me they were actually where they were supposed to be. This little wonder appears to be a girl. If that information is correct, we are going to name her Meadow. The people I have told this to have responded about the same as they do when faced with my haircut. "Oh, Meadow, Ok." Remember if you can't say anything nice...

Note to self: Don't expect any comments this week.

Wednesday, February 20, 2008


I am doing my on-line tutoring thing right now. I asked a student what -8 divided by 2 is. It took him/her 2 full minutes to respond. I am really worried how I am going to explain graphing a quadratic equation to this person.

Thursday, February 14, 2008

A New Bike

I received an early birthday present from my family Saturday. They bought me a new Shwinn hybrid 21-speed bicycle as pictured here. I cannot remember how old I was when I got my last bike. I was no more than 9, and I bought it used from some kid in Lowry City. It has functioned for many years, roads and trails. I am very excited about this bike. It is the same model my father has, so I know I will enjoy it.
Unfortunately, I have yet to take the new bike for a spin. Jill will tell you that is because it is not my birthday yet. However, the real reason is that it is to stinkin' cold. We have had snow, ice and sleet this week. Thankfully Sac Osage Electric Cooperative had already had all the trees in our territory torn down, so we did not suffer any outages. I understand that this is just how winter is supposed to be in Missouri, but I do not like it. Bring on the heat and the humidity.
Global Warming
I have seen the statistics that tell of the earths surface temperature warming. As a marketing representative of a power utility that gets its power mostly from burning coal, I also see a lot of evidence that points away from man-made global warming. (By the way if global warming is caused by CO^2 released into the atmosphere, it just makes me want to leave my engine running longer; bring on the burn.) Next week I get to attend an event that I am really looking forward to, a renewable energy conference. I will not go into all the details, but one thing really excites me. Supposedly the event is going to have three bicycles hooked to generators to power the conference center. Volunteers are going to ride in shifts during the entire conference. The conference center holds 600-700 people. It is being held in the middle of February in Missouri so I can only think that the heating has to be natural gas or something else you burn on-site. But even if they they think they are going to provide light and sound for the event, I think they are out of their minds. We do an energy demonstration for kids where we let them ride a bicycle to power different appliances. A high school student powering a 100 watt motorized airplane (it's a cool demonstration) only lasts about 5 minutes, and you have to insult their manhood to get that out of them. The announcement said that the bicycle generator will be hooked to the grid so anytime they are providing more power than the conference needs, it will go to Springfield's general power supply. I hope these people are there. This is going to be fun.

Friday, February 08, 2008

At the Theatre

This post was supposed to be written about three weeks ago. That is when the theatre in good old El Dorado Springs reopened. Mom and Dad went to the first showing, and Jill and I went to the late night show handing Cannon off in between the two. The theatre owners remodeled the 19th century building to look as it did when it was last a theatre. Here is a glimpse, although it looks much better in person. For instance, the pole, which is prominent in all the pictures I took, is not really noticible when you are inside. Their is only one screen, and they are showing second run family movies. Our show was National Treasure: Something about Gold. It was an enjoyable evening. Mom and Dad took Michele's kids (my nieces and nephew) to Veggietales: The Pirates Who Don't Do Anything.

If you are keeping track, El Dorado now has: three stoplights, a radio station, two grocery stores, a hardware store that has everything (if you just ask), two newspapers (three if you count the buyers guide), a community center (with an indoor track and raquetball court), a skating rink and a movie theatre. What is it missing? A real coffee shop. I don't know how we could economically sustain one, but then I don't know how two newspapers have survived for 50 years. Maybe they could charge for gossip. This is a picture I took on the way to the downtown theatre. I think it adds to the big city image.

Dad's Birthday

My father, Michael Loren Ash (by the way does everyone know that his father's name is Loren, my middle name is Michael, and my son is Cannon Aaron Ash?) turned 60 this year on January 30. My sister threw a party for him at her house. She also gave him a framed document of "60 reasons why we love Dad/Grandpa" with very personal wonderful things about our father. I gave him a water bottle that attaches to his bicycle, and that was 8 days late. She puts this kind of thought and energy into his birthday, and she gave him three grandchildren. It's a wonder that I'm the favorite.
A Word About Rope
A Google search for the "best length of rope" turns up nothing. How is that possible? Also, "best size of towel" gives you zilch. Doesn't this seem like the kind of thing that would be debated on a Hitchhiker's Guide message board ad naseum? I'll put the question to you, Dear Readers. Eventually, when Google's spiders have crawled over this page your answer may be the "Feeling Lucky" page when it is next searched. What is the best length of rope to have handy? I'm talking about in your car or on hiking trips. I think it is six feet, and I usually prefer cord. So many uses, if only I could remeber the knots from The Dangerous Book For Boys when I need them.


In case anyone happens to be checking for a new post, which happens to be 3 weeks late, I wanted to ask you to check back after tonight (Friday).