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07/29/2010

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Kerahdah

It's good to hear about some else's real life experience of going solo(ar). Here in Namibia we have so few grey days that they can probably be counted on the fingers of one hand. Par for the course in a desert country. But going completely green and independant can be a very costly exercise initially, and breaking even is not always on the cards, because savings calculated over a five to ten year period can be deceptive, considering the fact that hardware seldom has such a long life. Would you say that you have fatored in replacement costs and calculated actual savings as opposed to projected savings, or is this purely about reliability and independance?. I'm opting for the latter, but that has to include thesupply of clean water, as well as energy storage, because of the huge amount generated under our conditions.

Only a Blockhead

Overall, solar seems to cost more than conventional forms of electricity generation. But once the panels and hardware are manufactured (albeit—and a big albeit--using resources; causing pollution in the industrial process; hard to recycle: see <http://www.lowtechmagazine.com/2008/03/the-ugly-side-o.html>), it’s a benign way to get our electricity fix (no C02 or other environmental blowback).
It would be cheaper to rely on the electric company—who are reliable here in Japan—but then I’d have no say in how they make their power (currently 60% imported fossil fuel and 30% nuclear). So, independence and a leap of faith that overall—manufacture/use/afteruse--it’s better for the environment, is the reason I chose solar.
I look on the money I spent as an investment in a future without oil spills, nuclear plant accidents and waste dumps, energy scarcity, and climate change.
--Julian

bmanny

[this is good] this is so crazy! I just saw a solar panel for sale on Woot the other day and I almost bought it! ha ha, but then I realized how many of them I would need and realized that the whole idea was crazy. And I even live in Florida!

sustainability

Cool, in Germany the subsidie is so good that 20% of electricity is now solar.

If enough people by prices wil get down, just like you said about the old PC.

Chris

[this is good]

Chris

It really great to see you have installed these.  It must be very satisfying to see you are actually generating more than you consume.  I wonder how they will perform throughout the year, especially as the days get shorter and darker.Yes perhaps the price may be higher than conventional electricity supply but that is not the point is it and it is not until people start to adopt the technology that cost start to fall and the technology catches on.-I just thought perhaps with your new woodburner your winter will bills will be less and you will be able to still generate close to what you use.

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Books David finished in 2017

Books Julian Read Recently

  • Elizabeth Strout: Anything Is Possible

    Elizabeth Strout: Anything Is Possible
    Strout writes with notable veracity, revealing what we feel and think under our usual veneer of self-protection and social conformity. Together with compelling truth there is compassion, especially for difficulties like obesity, poverty and bad marriages. The vehicle here is short stories that cleverly jigsaw with characters and incidents in her previous novel “My Name Is Lucy Barton,” and with each other. Reading Strout is both a pleasure, and an encouragement to be a real person. (*****)

  • Edward P. Jones: The Known World

    Edward P. Jones: The Known World
    The antebellum South, with whites and even a few free blacks owning slaves. It's sublime storytelling of a superstitious time when God and the Bible guided thought and embraced the corrosive idea of humans as property, and there is mystery in both content and chapter titles. That said, it’s also a story woven in the truest of terms, featuring characters of the most treacherous and the most compassionate, but mostly going about their allotted lives with outcomes having less to do with virtue or infamy than with luck and circumstance. This microcosm painted in vivid detail shows that the aberration of slavery still infects the present, a mere few generations later. In simpler terms, through this book I lived for awhile on a slave estate in a corner of Manchester County, Virginia. (*****)

  • Adam Mars-Jones: Kid Gloves: A Voyage Round My Father

    Adam Mars-Jones: Kid Gloves: A Voyage Round My Father
    I don’t think I’ll be able to capture my parents amply in words, so I admire Mars-Jones chatty, rambling account of his family, his own growing up with them, and of helping his mother and father as their deaths approached. It’s sometimes insightful and rarely less than fun, the more so for anyone gay, middle-class and British, who came of age in the 1960s. (****)

  • John Berger: To the Wedding

    John Berger: To the Wedding
    This story is told in a flat, grave, fragmented style, with a complex, quasi-mystical framing device. It leads up to the wedding in the final pages, a tour-de-force that leaps off the page and might have worked better as a self-contained short story. (**)

  • Michael Chabon: The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier & Clay

    Michael Chabon: The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier & Clay
    A rollicking saga about cousins growing up Jewish in New York and in Prague in the 1930s, and the birth of comic books. This fiction woven with fact is funny, tragic, epic, and intimate by turn. It’s fluidly written as it sprawls all over the map, with a cast of characters you are glad to follow anywhere. Glorious. (****)

  • Shirley Hazzard: The Great Fire

    Shirley Hazzard: The Great Fire
    This novel quietly paints horrors and tragedies of war, in this case, in the aftermath of World War II. It is also a love story. I was sometimes jarred by a suddenly shifting point of view, or befuddled by high-flown and, to me, opaque passages, but the story and writing carried me along. The ending, encapsulated in the final line, earns it an extra half-star. (****)

  • Elizabeth Strout: My Name Is Lucy Barton

    Elizabeth Strout: My Name Is Lucy Barton
    Centered on a stay in a New York hospital, a woman relates incidents from her life. This novella is artfully artless, with an honesty that leads deep into human motivation and emotions, including the functions and dysfunctions of family, how we hurt ourselves and others, and the aching ecstasy that accompanies love. This is my second Elizabeth Strout, and it’s every bit as good as her "Olive Kitteridge." (*****)

Films Julian Watched Recently

  • Dunkirk
    My moviegoing companion bailed on this one, saying she didn’t like war movies. I think Dunkirk sidesteps that description. It’s very well-made, and the soundtrack is particularly astonishing; I was privileged to see this in IMAX, with images and sound at their most extreme. There is some understated heroism, and a lot of equally understandable doing what one can for one’s own survival. The enemy is not named or shown beyond the planes that strafe the beach and boats, which is a step forward in war movies. It’s also a history lesson that honors the victors, and the enemy as always is given nothing, so there are more steps forward to be made. It’s a horror story you hope is going to end as soon as possible. I could almost watch this as an anti-war movie: both sides fighting for their lives, and life is terribly cheap. (Theater; IMAX) (****)
  • Manchester by the Sea
    Acting comes first in this portrait of a volatile New England man and his extended family. Like "Moonlight," it’s unconventionally made. The eccentric soundtrack music sometimes screams, “This is art.” But it more than gets the job done: It’s real, powerful, sometimes funny, and it may move you. (DVD) (****)
  • Lion
    I enjoy a good cry almost as much as a good laugh, and this tale of families, and a horrendous social problem, builds into a powerful tearjerker. The telling is surreal yet straightforward; empathy-inducing yet unsentimental. It’s an introduction to both India and Tasmania, and is beautifully acted. There’s a lot to like here. (DVD) (****)
  • Moonlight
    If compared to other movies in a vacuum, I’d rate Moonlight no better or worse than average, but thanks to the Academy awarding it Best Picture, it showed up at the local multiplex. It was exciting and moving to see a movie set in a to-me unfamiliar racial/cultural world. In 2017, through its existence and its celebrity, Moonlight adds to the momentum of embracing diversity, i.e., the marginal and despised, into a world of equal human beings. The story is extremely sad. It might also be, below its particular surface, the most improbably old-fashioned of love stories. (Theater) (*****)
  • 海街diary (Our Little Sister)
    Like Kore’eda’s masterpiece "Aruite mo Aruite mo" (Still Walking), this movie is rooted in a particular place and time of year, and the rituals that go with that. In this case, it’s the Shonan area centered on Kamakura and, although the movie follows a year of seasons, it’s the spring with its cherry blossoms, new beginnings and endings, that has center stage. The story and setting are a mixture of the idealized and down to earth. With so many characters interacting to push the plot forward, this very Japanese family drama may sometimes approach soap opera, but it is engaging, emotional, and never less than charming. (DVD) (*****)

Things NC Consumed Recently

  • F. Scott Fitzgerald: The Great Gatsby
    More than forty years on since my last reading, this classic novel is remarkable not so much for its romantic longings as for its emphasis on American violence, its depiction of a country in which California hardly matters and its meeting of the Mid West and East Coast. Plus its succinct nine chapters, its elegant prose and its almost noirish tone: Tom breaking Myrtle's nose would seem to foreshadow Lee Marvin throwing hot coffee in Gloria Grahame's face in The Big Heat - and the use of flashbacks helps too. I'd like to thank the publicity for the recent film version and my current cold for sending me back to the novel (and my young self).
  • Isabelle Eberhardt
    In 1904, Isabelle Eberhardt drowned in the desert, leaving behind, among other things, various writings in French (a novel, travel notes, a journal, short stories), Islam, Lake Geneva, a husband, debauchery in kif, sex and alcohol, and a small collection of male clothing, which she wore habitually, along with her man's name. The lazy say she was an early hippie, because of her nomadic, hedonistic life, and being the first one to die at 27. Lindqvist has her in a line from Villon, Baudelaire, Rimbaud, Celine and Genet. Her story can only get stranger and more fascinating. "In The Shadow of Islam", "The Passionate Nomad", "The Oblivion Seekers" and Annette Kobak's biography are one way in. You'll find there an apt fatal romanticism for vast desert spaces and a depiction of Islam to ponder. Among other things.
  • Listen to Britain - Humphrey Jennings
    Terence Davies is surely right to say Listen to Britain is in part an attempt to define the nation on the eve of its being invaded. But that invasion never came. A little prematurely, Humphrey Jennings's film records what left later, with something messier, less defined usurping through the back door. Terence Davies is surely right to say Listen to Britain is one of the greatest things these islands have produced.
  • Patience (After Sebald)
    Grant Gee's documentary uses a palette of pale black and white, maps and talking heads to comment on W.G. Sebald's The Rings of Saturn, an account of his walk through Suffolk. Unlike the book, where a variety of genres (and photographs) coheres to make a recognisable whole, the film suffers slightly from a lack of direction. It is too specific to serve as an introduction and lacks an overriding arc that might describe a thesis. However, with its archival footage, interviews with the author and shots of the route taken, it is essential viewing for those already in thrall to all things Sebaldian - even if the ending, alas, veers close to Conan Doyle and fairies-in-the-garden territory.
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