Saving Money On Your Electricity Bill And How To Spend It

I’ve recently written about the movie "An Inconvenient Truth" and did a follow-up post saying how it has really impacted the way I live day-to-day.  It has actually impacted those closest to me as well.  From replacing regular light bulbs with more energy efficient ones, to recycling more. 

My family would regularly have 3 or 4 trash cans out at the curb on trash day.  Since seeing this movie we’ve made a real effort to recycle more – nothing out of the ordinary, just making sure that all the junk mail and catalogs and cardboard packaging goes into a recycling bin.  Since doing that, we haven’t had more than two barrels out at the curb.   So we’re recycling more, saving ourselves some work when it comes to putting out the garbage and saving on garbage bags (surprisingly expensive things).  All while doing something good for the environment. 

Today brings an article about an engineer in New Jersey who has built a house that is completely off the power grid – he doesn’t have an electricity bill and is completely self-sustaining with no carbon output. 

I found myself asking one question while reading it: why is everyone asked about the house so negative towards it?  Obviously the guy went to the extreme and it cost a lot of money – more than the average citizen would be willing to spend on it or could probably be paid back by the savings on electricity.  But it was built by an engineer and it simply shows that it CAN be done.  Naturally, for it to become more common, it has to be cheaper, which will happen.

Consider that when VCR’s came out they cost $3,000.  So did DVD players.  A 32 inch flat screen TV would have cost you $5,000 a few years ago – we recently bought one for $600.  It takes people like this guy in New Jersey to move technology forward.  In 5, 10, 15 years from now, this guy may be a hero or may be forgotten, but I bet his house will be an important step towards cleaner living.

If it isn’t living completely off the electricity grid, then maybe it is living 25% off it, or 50% off it, complementing it with your own solar panels or hydrogen manufacturing.  That is the part that really gets me -they say that making the hydrogen isn’t efficient, so it’s not worth doing.  Well, what does it matter?  He’s using solar power to do it, so it could be only 10% efficient, it still isn’t creating any pollution!

Think about how much you spend a year on electricity for your house.  Imagine not having to sorry about that.  Or only half of it.  Or maybe only a quarter of it.  Do you still think that this guy is crazy?  Do you really not want him to be successful and move the technology forward?  That’s what I thought.

So what do you do with all that money you save from your electricity bill?  Well, you save it up, get on a plane to Cologne, Germany, and buy yourself some sex.  And if you’re over 66, you get it half-price.  I do feel like they may have missed an obvious marketing opportunity here: shouldn’t the age limit be 69? 

If you’re looking to cash in on this idea yourself, here’s how to do it: become a AED equipment sales rep there.  You know there’s gonna be some heart attacks going on with all those senior citizens having cheap sex!   

Your Guide to the Food Network

A lot of people hate Rachel Ray, but we’ve been making meals out of her cook book 365: No Repeats and they have all been great.  I know she’s not a cook and a lot of purists get pissed at her shortcuts and lack of deep culinary knowledge/skill, but whether it is her or someone else behind the scene doing her cookbooks, the meals are good.  We had a shrimp and scallops with a pumpkin ginger peanut soy sauce that was fantastic. 

At the same time, I’m starting to get sick of the food porn that is running rampant through the Food Network.  Barefoot Contessa makes me feel dirty with all of her juicy closeups of chopping garlic and onions.  Giada DeLaurentiis needs to stop smiling NOW.  She is a scary, scary woman who apparently has about 20 extra teeth than normal human beings and doesn’t do anything or go anywhere in a blouse that doesn’t show off her jiggling boobs.

Right after her is Semi-Homemade with Sandra Dee, who always cooks while wearing white and working in an all-white kitchen and never gets dirty.  Who the hell does that?  I make a peanut butter and jelly sandwich and I have to hose things down. 

However, the prize for worst show on the Food Network goes to this new British chick who has started popping up:  Nigella Bites, which might be the most unfortunately yet appropriately named shows in the history of television.  I encourage you to watch this show just for the laugh factor: in each episode this crazed woman does at least 5 recipes, usually more like 6 or 7, and in the process makes such a mess, that they must have at least a dozen people on set just for clean-up.  Watching her juice a lemon is like watching an elephant rape a seal in shallow water: ugly, scary, lots of thrashing and liquid everywhere.  If you watch carefully you’ll see countertops covered with chopped up bits of vegetables, rinds, and oil all over the place.  I don’t know if Nigella Bites, but she better fucking clean up!

The best shows on the Food Network?  They are still Good Eats, Unwrapped, Iron Chef America (though I still miss the original Japanese version), and Food Network ChallengesAce of Cakes and Throwdown with Bobby Flay are pretty good too, though even I’m starting to feel bad for Bobby Flay – he never wins!

So Let’s See Here…

I haven’t exactly been putting the blogging world on fire here recently.  Things have been busy at work and all, but there are a few things that I would like to point out that I’ve been up to lately:

First of all, I just finished the book Who Are You People? by Shari Caudron.  If you’re a fascinated by the deep recesses of pop culture and how people can be completely obsessed with one thing, then you must read this book.  If you have any interest in human psychology or behavior, you should read this book.  If you just like a good, enjoyable, interesting read, then yes, you should read this book. 

The new Shins album is as good as everyone says it is.

I watched Borat for the third time recently, this time on DVD.   It continues to be as funny and shocking as the first time, though on the third go around, it struck me that the same people who came across as the most bigoted in the movie were some of the most understanding at first.  Watch the dinner party scene carefully and those people put up with a lot of shit (literally) before loosing their temper.  The guy at the rodeo should still be slapped around for being a moron though.  And the extra 30 minutes are golden – rent or buy the DVD to watch it – its worth it.

If you haven’t tried Pink Truck Wine, you’re missing out on one of the best pink wines you’ll ever have.  This isn’t some candy-ish white zin – this is real wine with acid, and flavor, and character.

Where’s “Other”?

I just took a survey and the last question was asking me to indicate my gender, as shown below:


Now, I’m sure that there’s a perfectly good reason for them feeling the need to tell us survey takers to select only ONE answer for this, but I’m not sure I want to know what it is.  Did this particular survey designer have an issue with a lot of people trying to click on BOTH genders?  At least with that little bit of instruction I can narrow down my answer.  I have a 50-50 chance of getting it right!