Friday, April 28, 2006

Let the Music Play

The horticulture students had their annual plant sale today which went well. Some of the students formed a band on the spot. I snapped this shot of the base player and I like the rugged appearance of the hand on the instrument.

Thursday, April 27, 2006

BioDiesel Kinda Cool

I attended a really neat hands-on workshop on Tuesday where we learned about Biodiesel fuel and then actually made it from canola oil from the grocery store and few other simple ingredients. In an hour we had made a small batch that was ready to power any diesel engine. Apparently, in Asheville there is a Cooperative that sells B100, B50, and B20 all made from fats in the local waste stream from several industries. It also take less energy to make than traditional petroleum based diesel. Apparently, when Diesel introduced the engine design at a world's fair in the early 20th century, his plan was for the fuel source to be peanut oil. Left: A small batch made the day before; clear layer biodiesel; dark layer glycerin which can be used as a carbon source for composting, a base for soap, or an animal feed. Right: our batch beginning to settle after only 30 minutes. Brassica species seem to be the best pick for high yield oil crops that could be a source of oil to convert to biodiesel.

Sunday, April 23, 2006

New Career ?

I came across this sign recently and it made me think that maybe there were other things that I could do for money besides teach. It is always healthy to think of alternative paths in life.I wonder what type of training you need for the job and how they evaluate performance? I know I am capable of good work. Hopefully, the corporate mission is quality not quantity.

Saturday, April 22, 2006

France Back By Popular Demand

Several folks had requested more Paris pictures, so here they are. I have a zillion more, but I don't have the gifts that John Coe has so I am already into my "middle of the road bunch", but hopefully the subject matter will be interesting. I really enjoyed all the roof top gardens in Paris, since so many people are crammed in the city they try to put plants everywhere.
Parisians also make regular use of large public spaces since the city is so dense. It is a city built on the human scale for the most part and not the car. I really liked how the paving stones in front of an arch (near the Louvre) extended out to the lawn and transformed into a long row of hedges. It effectively unified the space connecting statuary, hardscape, and landscape.
In the universal language of graphic design it is clear that although these activities are unsafe for children they must be fine for adults. I didn't try the foot thing, but bannister sliding is fun even when you are nearing 40.
Charles DeGaul airport is really interesting from an architectural view. Lots of organic forms. Some of the air conditioning vents apear to grow out of the walls, but I thought this people mover was hilarious. I can just imagine Inspector Clouseau in a ridiculous chase scene trying to run down some criminal.
You could be in Paris a month and not really do the museums justice. The artwork was great, but I was also just fascinated by the spaces that the architects and interior designers have created to showcase the work.
Large gallery roof line in the Musée d'Orsay (converted from a train station).
Gallery space in the same museum. Gaps in the wall entice you into the next viewing space.
What can I say, I love the fact that public transportation is so readily available in Paris. You really don't need a car at all. Between bus, train, and metro you can get anywhere.
Finally, the sister to lady liberty in New York.

Monday, April 17, 2006

Kids Got Your Goat?

Ok, so I really reached for the title on this post, but the images I had were rather unrelated. I believe that I mentioned this sign in a previous post. When I flew back through Cincinnati this weekend the sign was still there at the Peet's in terminal A, so I had to take a picture of it. For the record, the Barista said that she loved kids...just not behind the counter where steam and hot coffee are flying.One of the administrative professionals where I work adopted this three day old billy goat. The mother was born with only one teat and had twins last week. The stronger twin won out and this little guy wasn't going to make it if someone didn't adopt him. These pictures were taken on day 3. He stood and wobbled around on day 1, on day 2 he found reverse and on this day figured out forward.On day 3 the little guy also began to display head-butting behavior. You have to admire a 2 lb creature that will try to knock over a 200 lb student!

Saturday, April 08, 2006

France Final Installment

Just one of the endless alleys at the Versailles Gardens. These trimmed trees give the illusion of the large grounds being absolutely enormous.
When we went to the Louvre they had several galleries that indicated large format paintings. I had seen some of these paintings in books before, but I never read the small print that indicates their actual size. Large format really means large format.
These 'smart cars' actually create new parking spaces for themselves between real parking spaces and walkways, fire lanes, etc. According to a couple of locals the police don't give them parking tickets because even though they are not in a parking space they are also not breaking any laws such as obstructing a pedestrian walkway. Neat.
I think we should all have to own one of these for short trips, but I must admit the thought of being on the road with big American SUVs in one of these is a little frightening.

Friday, April 07, 2006

France continued....

This shot was taken from a pedestrian bridge a couple of blocks from the hotel where we stayed.
If you are going to build a stairway in the Louvre you need architects that can design something to compete with the art treasures within.
This is another shot from a pedestrian bridge. The color of the store fronts really 'popped' against the gray skies and neutral colored buildings.
This was the big train station near the hotel. You could also access several metro lines from here. It was an amazing place to people watch.

Monday, April 03, 2006

Domesticated Animal ???

I am living in a cabin until Christine and I close on our new house on May 3rd. This critter scared the crap out of me on Sunday. I was working away on my computer and all of the sudden I got that crazy feeling I was being watched. I looked over and Mr. Groundhog was peering in the picture window. I swear he was cupping his paws on the sides of his head to block the reflection and be able to look in. I ran for the camera, but by the time I got it he had retreated to the hill behind the house. I am almost certain a previous renter must have been feeding it.