Tuesday, April 29, 2008

GAS TIPS, AND I AIN'T TALKIN' BEAN-O

My wonderful friend, Susan, forwards to me the most useful tips. I HAVE to share these. They are about how to save money with gas and what we might do as a big ole team to make an impact on the prices. It's a long post, but read on. It's worth it:

From Susan who got it from Kirk who got it from Noel.....etc etc.

TIPS ON PUMPING GAS

I don't know what you guys are paying for gasoline.... but here in California we are also paying higher, up to $3.50 per gallon. But my line of work is in petroleum for about 31 years now, so here are some tricks to get more of your money's worth for every gallon..

Here at the Kinder Morgan Pipeline where I work in San Jose , CA we deliver about 4 million gallons in a 24-hour period thru the pipeline. One day is diesel the next day is jet fuel, and gasoline, regular and premium grades. We have 34-storage tanks here with a total capacity of 16,800,000 gallons.

Only buy or fill up your car or truck in the early morning when the ground temperature is still cold. Remember that all service stations have their storage tanks buried below ground. The colder the ground the more dense the gasoline, when it gets warmer gasoline expands, so buying in the afternoon or in the evening....your gallon is not exactly a gallon. In the petroleum business, the specific gravity and the temperature of the gasoline, diesel and jet fuel, ethanol and other petroleum products plays an important role.

A 1-degree rise in temperature is a big deal for this business. But the service stations do not have temperature compensation at the pumps.

When you're filling up do not squeeze the trigger of the nozzle to a fast mode. If you look you will see that the trigger has three (3)stages: low, middle, and high. In slow mode you should be pumping on low speed, thereby minimizing the vapors that are created while you are pumping. All hoses at the pump have a vapor return. If you are pumping on the fast rate, some other liquid that goes to your tank becomes vapor. Those vapors are being sucked up and back into the underground storage tank so you're getting less worth for your money.

One of the most important tips is to fill up when your gas tank is HALF FULL or HALF EMPTY. The reason for this is, the more gas you have in your tank the less air occupying its empty space. Gasoline evaporates faster than you can imagine. Gasoline storage tanks have an internal floating roof. This roof serves as zero clearance between the gas and the atmosphere, so it minimizes the evaporation. Unlike service stations, here where I work, every truck that we load is temperature compensated so that every gallon is actually the exact amount.

Another reminder, if there is a gasoline truck pumping into the storage tanks when you stop to buy gas, DO NOT fill up--most likely the gasoline is being stirred up as the gas is being delivered, and you might pick up some of the dirt that normally settles on the bottom. Hope this will help you get the most value for your money.

DO SHARE THESE TIPS WITH OTHERS!

WHERE TO BUY USA GAS, THIS IS VERY IMPORTANT TO KNOW. READ ON

Gas rationing in the 80's worked even though we grumbled about it. It might even be good for us! The Saudis are boycotting American goods. We should return the favor.

An interesting thought is to boycott their GAS.

Every time you fill up the car, you can avoid putting more money into the coffers of Saudi Arabia . Just buy from gas companies that don't import their oil from the Saudis.

Nothing is more frustrating than the feeling that every time I fill-up the tank, I am sending my money to people who are trying to kill me, my family, and my friends.

I thought it might be interesting for you to know which oil companies are the best to buy gas from and which major companies import Middle Eastern oil.

These companies import Middle Eastern oil:

Shell........................... 205,742,000 barrels

Chevron/Texaco......... 144,332,000 barrels

Exxon/Mobil............... 130,082,000 barrels

Marathon/Speedway... 117,740,000 barrels

Amoco............................62,231,000 barrels

Citgo gas is from South America, from a Dictator who hates Americans. If you do the math at $30/barrel, these imports amount to over $18 BILLION! (oil is now $90 - $100 a barrel

Here are some large companies that do not import Middle Eastern oil:

Sunoco..................0 barrels

Conoco..................0 barrels

Sinclair..................0 barrels

BP/Phillips.............0 barrels

Hess.............. ........0 barrels

ARCO.....................0 barrels


If you go to Sunoco.com, you will get a list of the station locations near you.

All of this information is available from the Department of Energy and each is required to state where they get their oil and how much they are importing.

PG Here....Now if we share this information with 10 people each, we might work up enough to pinch the Saudi's in the hiney pocket where they keep their wallet!

Monday, April 28, 2008

SCRUFFY

We have the best neighbors anyone could ask for. Included in this lovely family is their gray tabby tomcat, Scruffy. Though they call him Scrubby. We get to take care of him when they are away. And he is the ONLY outdoor cat in this neighborhood who, for more than ten years, has survived the canyon critters comprised of coyotes, bobcats, mountain lions and cars.

He keeps the rat and other rodent population under control and he considers Wonderboy and I his family now. I, for one, regularly thank him and compliment him for helping to keep our home and neighborhood, pest free.

He is a tomcat of impressive hunting talent. He has felled critters even larger than himself. And not just for the hunt. He actually supplements his diet of canned food and kibble.

Yes, this is where this post is leading. If you are squeamish, stop here and move on to your next blog.

Our wonderful neighbors share their swimming pool with us, as we do not have one. Yesterday was very very very hot. Between activities, Wonderboy wanted to swim, so we geared up and went over.

Scruffy proudly greeted us outside, at the front door, guarding his recent kill of a large, gray rat. We walked carefully around, congratulating and complimenting Scruffy on what a clever, brave, and good cat he is, on our way down to the back yard, where the pool awaited.

Wonderboy jumped into the pool as I settled into a patio chair to work the Sunday puzzle. Scruffy soon trotted on down, carrying his prize by the scruff, and settled down next to my chair to rest in the shade. I put my feet up, just because I am a bit squeamish around dead rats, as Scruffy looked up at me, fondly, and I petted his head.

And I was fine up to this point. Until Scruffy decided to get busy. I looked down from my puzzle to see Scruffy, with impressive surgical precision, begin to peel the skin off the rat's head. And then I decided perhaps I ought to move. So I did.

It only took him about 10 minutes to cleanly take that rat apart and have it for an afternoon meal. When Wonderboy was done swimming and we were getting ready to leave, Scruffy had quite finished. We went to peek. Of course Wonderboy said "cooooool!!" when we viewed the only remains, which were the intestines, sitting under the patio table.

Neighbor "K" had come home earlier and I told him about Scruffy's rat. He said "Yeah, he likes the hearts the best".

Now before you, who have bravely stayed, might say "ewwwwwwww", I've lived with indoor and outdoor cats all my life. And I understand that when a cat shares their kill with you, this is the highest compliment. It means that they consider you part of their pride, as it were. And cats don't pick just anybody.

The other thing that this brought me to, on a hot Sunday afternoon, is how our amazing planet and the gift of creatures on it, truly take care of each other. Scruffy did not savagely tear into this rat. He delicately and respectfully took it apart and ate what was eatable, leaving the rest to biodegrade back into the earth. He helped the rats from overpopulating and having to compete too much for food.

And while I was squeamish, I saw yesterday how, in becoming disconnected from our earth by living in a sanitized, vacuumed, pest barricaded environment, I had to wonder if perhaps there is a better way to approach helping to heal our planet by looking outside the box.

For example, here in Southern California you can hire a goat herd to clear your hillside brush. I find that just so very proper and good.

As God's creatures, animals have been entrusted to us for care. After watching Scruffy, it occurs to me that if we were to support their habitats a bit better, they likely would take better care of themselves, while helping us at the same time.

Just thoughts inspired by the great and wonderful Scruffy. In whose honor I post this picture and song:


Saturday, April 26, 2008

MONDAY BOOK DISCUSSION AT RGBP



Have you read "The Testament of Gideon Mack" by James Robertson?

If you have and would like to discuss it, then this Monday come and visit RevGalBlogPals where Quotidian Grace and I will be co-hosting a lively book chat!!

And if you haven't read it, and would like to, you can buy it here

UPDATE: It's now almost 12:30 PDT and there's only two comments over there so far, one who has not yet read the book. But at least visited! So, just stop over there, whether you've read it or not and say hi at least. I gave up yoga this morning for this discussion!!! And it really is a good book.

Friday, April 25, 2008

FRIDAY FIVE: Old vs. Modern (Postmodern?)

Singing Owl writes:
"Yesterday I had two separate conversations in which people were musing about how much change is occurring. The WW II generation, of which my mom is a part, went from horse and buggy to automobiles, saw the lessening, or even the end of many diseases, went from widespread use of kerosene lamps and outhouses (in the country, and most folks were rural)) to a totally electrified and plumbed society. The fastest means of communication was a telegraph. The second conversation--gulp--was about MY generation and how much change occurred in the last half of the 20th century. The person said his 13 year old had not seen a vinyl record album until a few days before, couldn't remember a time without cell phones, and on and on."

As for the questions!

1. What modern convenience/invention could you absolutely, positively not live
without?

Indoor plumbing.

2. What modern convenience/invention do you wish had never seen the light of day?
Why?

The internet. Which seems hypocritical since I am on it all the time. But I believe there is a better way than the internet that does not physically disconnect us so profoundly from our each other and our planet. There's a huge price for this technology that has yet to be served up in a bill. And none of us is gonna wanna pay.

(EDIT: Now, with all my kvetching and prognosticating over the dire consequences of plastic pollution, I oughtta have said plastic. But I said the internet. *shakes head at self* I got a lot more work to do here....)

3. Do you own a music-playing device older than a CD player? More than one? If
so, do you use it (them)?

Now I'll do this right: YES! I have a turntable and a tape player and I use them occasionally. I use the CD player mostly. And the radio. And cannot deal with an iPod.

4. Do you find the rapid change in our world exciting, scary, a mix...or something
else?

I find it happening without thoughtful regard. Certainly without thought to God and his word. And it scares the bejabbers outta me.

5. What did our forebears have that we have lost and you'd like to regain? Bonus
points if you have a suggestion of how to begin that process.

They had far more time to think over and regard each issue and each person they met. They were deeper thinkers and feelers than we are. How to begin then would be more "how to regain". I believe that if we stop and look at this and then take each moment of our days and ask "What different choice can I make that will lead down a road of connection and healing?" and then make that choice, we can start back to that other road.

Monday, April 21, 2008

DON'T KNOW MUCH- from Part Two

Feeling masochistic, I've been reading old writing files. Here are some sayings from a beginning draft of my sequel to "I Don't Know Much, But I Have a Lot To Say".

Only because it's Monday:


SIGNS OF A BAD DAY:
The memory yarn in your panty hose has amnesia.
Your bowels feel all dressed up with no place to go.
Your computer has a spastic colon.
The Geophagus has vertigo.
Your silk plants have root rot.
Your silk pants have root rot.
Your feet have an argument and will no longer walk together.
The recession is so bad even your gums have moved back.

I finally figured out how to avoid doing laundry with a clear conscience. Zen Laundry: Simply repeat over and over “Nothing gets dirty.....Nothing gets dirty.”

Can you name all the presidents? Why? What’s wrong with the names they already have?

I have the cheapest long distance service. It’s 10-666. The calls are all free, but the bill is a devil to pay.

If a half wit is 50% of a whole wit, is a dim wit less or more than that?

We need Sympathy Cards for:
The loss of integrity
The loss of hair
The loss of mind
The loss of way
The loss of foreskin

That's all for now.

Friday, April 18, 2008

FRIDAY FIVE - Just for 24 Hours

This week from Revhrod:

Yesterday I had the 24 hour flu. I had been told by the people who had it first that it really was a twenty-four hour bug. And so while I dealt with all the blech of the flu, I kept reminding myself that morning would come and I would feel a lot better.

This is certainly a strange way to start out a Friday Five but it made me think about what I might like to do if I knew it would only last for 24 hours. There are no reality boundaries to these imaginings. So here are the five things for you to consider...

1. If you could dramatically change your physical appearance for 24 hours, what would you do?

Lose my gooey marshmallow middle, inner thigh saddlebags, and my wrinkly neck. The rest I'm comfy with.

2. If you could live in another place for 24 hours where would you go?

Only 24 hours? Then it's to my bed with a pile of books and magazines, a bottle of wine, the TV and the remote.

3. You get to do somebody else's job for a day...

I'd do Mindy's and Rach's job. They have the most interesting work I've ever read about.

4. Spend the day with another person from anywhere in time and space...

Hang with Mary in Nazareth watching Jesus as a youngster play with my son , have coffee and talk mom issues.

5. A magical power is yours. Which one would you pick?

Why, I already have them all!! Why would I want more? (I keep them all in my keyboard and pull them out when needed)

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

WE EAT THIS!!

Because I've been feeling so cheerful and brave this week, I went You Tubing again. Here is more on why we need to STOP USING PLASTIC!! I don't have an alternative for us today, but I'm thinkin' on it. Do you have any ideas? But watch this first. After you've had dinner.


Friday, April 11, 2008

FRIDAY FIVE: Moving

From Mother Laura this week:
"We are right in the middle of a move--only twenty minutes away, but we're still a mix of busy, excited, nervous and surprisingly full of grief about what we're leaving, for me at least. So this week's Friday Five asks about your experience of the marvels and madness of moving..."

1. How many times have you moved? When was the last time?

Oh geeze. Now I have to count and I hope I have enough fingers and toes:
~Home to Covenant Player vans to live in while on tour.
~Home to first marriage apartment
~Back to home after divorce and between more tours
~To first single North Hollywood apartment ***SEE BELOW
~To Marina del Rey Apartment with roommate and stories to tell
~To 3 different Tarzana Apartments, with more bizarre stories of roommates
~Back to home to pay off credit card debt
~To rented condo to live in sin with boyfriend
~To second North Hollywood apartment after breakup
~To third North Hollywood apartment with Eiffel Tower on front
~To rented Sherman Oaks condo owned by girl whose boyfriend, her dad, bought for her as first investment(ick)
~To fourth North Hollywood apartment without gang fights in parking lot
~To first purchased house from second marriage
~To apartment because of lawsuit from hell from our neighbor, Satan's idjit cousin
~To second purchsed house, to await arrival of Wonderboy.

That makes seventeen and I have some toes left! And I have not yet moved for the last time. I suspect there's a couple more ahead. **CORRECTION: How could I forget the Moorpark Tropicana in between first NoHo and Marina del Rey! Some of the best stories are from there, including the neighbor who, because the walls were soooo thin, threw out his alarm clock and woke up to mine. That makes 18.

2. What do you love and hate about moving?

Love: The high energy of it. Getting to know the movers. Making everybody laugh. Overtipping the movers when they bust ass for me. When everything is unpacked and fresh and the cupboards are nicely organized for the 10 minutes that will last.

Hate: Packing. Unpacking. Getting rid of boxes. And the need for deep tissue rehabilitation afterward.

3. Do you do it yourself or hire movers?

Both: Move valuables and important papers myself. Hire packers and movers for the replaceables.

4. Advice for surviving and thriving during a move?

First: The three major food groups of moving: Pizza, donuts, caffeine
Second: The three major food groups after all moved in: wine, brandy, takeout
Third: Always pack EVERYTHING. Do NOT throw anything away until you've moved in, because what you throw away will be EXACTLY what you need when you get there.

5. Are you in the middle of any inner moves, if not outer ones?

Now, Mother Laura, you're making me think about this. I am moving on so many different levels: I move with the earth as it rotates around the sun, I move with the solar system as it....yada yada, like that; I move through my life as I age. I am moving out of middle age to upper middle age, while miraculously retaining my immaturity (Ha!); Always moving. This is why changing residences is not that upsetting to me. Perhaps I am part chameleon. Or just a typical Gemini.

Bonus: Share a piece of music/poetry/film/book that expresses something about what moving means to you.


Monday, April 07, 2008

MARK'S MEMORIAL

Today was the memorial for my friend, Mark, who died last January. It was in the Chaplin screening room of Raleigh Studios. I hadn't been on this lot for decades. But then I hadn't seen Mark in as much time. And I had, until tonight, only met his partner, Pat, on the telephone. She is a sweet and wonderful person who I now count a friend.

Anyway, here are some interesting things about Mark (and I may get some of this laughably wrong, but it'll be close):

His entire life was about making movies. He started at Wonderboy's age. Everyone who spoke who knew him through grammar school to high school all said the same things. He was fearless (used to sneak onto movie studio soundstages and ended up meeting people he befriended for life); he filmed his movies, with his young crews on Hollywood main streets. Without permits. When stopped and asked if he had a permit he would say, "Of course I have a permit", and he'd give the right name and the officer would move on. His passion as a youth was horror films. And films with lots of shooting. He went through cases of Bosco for film blood. His tastes grew to Grand Guignol, and film noir. He was an expert on all things science fiction. I went to a couple conventions with him, and got to sit in the VIP rooms with famous writers. He was close friends with William Castle until his death in 1977.

The most inspiring things about Mark --- he knew what he wanted to do from the time he was a kid and did it all his life. He did not do it for fame, fortune or ego. He did it because he loved it. His knowledge of his craft and its history was profound. As well as his knowledge of many other things, not film related. He threw 110 percent of himself into whatever he was doing. And on top of all this, he was a good, kind man. He always had time for others. And others in need, he would help any way he could. And he was an amazing writer. Most of the people there tonight knew him through high school as part of his film cadre. There were articles about him in magazines and a tv show about him on a local network. And while so many of us there had fallen out of touch with Mark, we all still felt close to him. He had a gift for making you feel really special. And the fact was, with him, you were.

He was ALWAYS late. But when he showed up, so full of fun and energy that you did not mind. He had no sense of time. Would call at 3:00 in the morning to finish a thought that had eluded him at 9:00. He wore blue denim shirts, jeans and always a neck scarf. Even in July. When I knew him he was in his piano keys neck scarf phase.

Personally I credit him with my confidence in writing. He told me I was really good. And he was very picky about who he admired in writing. That is a priceless gem I will always hold in my heart as a gift from Mark.

Here we are in 19*covers mouth and coughs*. Yeah. Long time ago. My friend Denice gave me this at the memorial tonight and it was shown on the 30 foot high screen. I was so honored to be included.



God bless you and keep you, Mark. Rest in Peace.

Sunday, April 06, 2008

BLOGGER MEET UP!!


This afternoon Wonderboy and I had the pleasure of making Amy Clifford of Soul and Culture's acquaintance, who flew all the way from Denver just to have lunch with us!!! OK, OK, she was here in town for work and we got to meet her!


Were all your ears just a burnin'? We talked about you and blogging and enjoyed fellowship over some good Red Robin food for two and a half hours.



Here we are smiling for Branden, our waiter, who cleverly knew how to take a digital photograph. Notice how I dip my head coyly to hide my jowls and wrinkly neck! I always knew that those four years of modeling school would pay off someday.

Anyway, you should go visit Amy's blog. She has a cool picture of herself by the Oscar Meyer Weinermobile. And she belongs to an exciting community called Urban Skye. They are a community of faith and artists that I wish we had here. She was also a wonderful listener as Wonderboy regaled her with all his knowledge of Legos. His prodigious knowledge of Legos. For that she earns a medal in my book.

Nice to meet you Amy!

Friday, April 04, 2008

LITANY OF THE LITTERBOX


For PCIT

LITANY of the LITTERBOX

Arm them with plastic shovels for all felines who have selflessly sacrificed their feral adventures and roamings for the amusement of the human and for all meowing fur covered creatures according to their litterboxes, saying “Scoop our poop.” For the cats and kittens who forsake the leash and twice daily required walks of their canine cousins. Oh Human,

Scoop our Poop.

For the room of the house where the plastic container of clumping litter rests, filling daily with the aroma of our territorial markings, O Human,

Scoop our Poop.

For the daily need of fresh smelling litter, unclumped, and yet to be fettered with our scatological gifts, O Human,

Scoop our Poop.

For he or she who ventures each day into the world to earn the needed lucre that purchases our canned food, kibble and premium unscented clumping litter, O Human,

Scoop our Poop.

For the children whose tail pullings, chase tormenting, baby clothes attiring we endure without sitting on their faces when they sleep, O Human,

Scoop our Poop.

For the cleaning up of our royal garp that we intended to savor later in the day when properly hardened, O Human,

Scoop our Poop.

O Humans so bereft of warming fur and purr challenged, please diligently scoop each and all clumps of excrement from our plastic thrones. Replace our litter regularly that we may not be forced to leave “reminders” for you on your white pile carpeting. We ask, humbly as ever, as we kick out half the litter from the box to cover our latest achievements.

A-meow-men

Thursday, April 03, 2008

LITANY OF LAUNDRY


This is my 400th post! And it's dedicated to Rev Kim who gave me the idea (with apologies to those many menfolk out there who help with or do all the laundry in their houses) :

LITANY OF LAUNDRY

Let us sort for the whole household of family and for all humans and creatures according to their hampers, saying “Sort our laundry.” For the whole house that, true to the male and teenaged personalities therein, may witness a narrowing of passageways from dirty socks, underwear and t-shirts. Oh Mom,

Sort our laundry.

For all the rooms of the house, the kitchen with dirty dish towels, the bathrooms with dirty bath towels, the bedrooms with dirty sheets, the family room where hamper overflow doth spill, O Mom,

Sort our laundry.

For all the sports uniforms with creative body odor smells, for all new items of clothing needing pre-washing, for all white socks in need of pre-soaking, O Mom,

Sort our laundry.

For he and she who venture each day to conquer the mighty cash dragon in fresh cotton shirts and knife pleated pants or skirts, that come home dripping with the corrosive spit of “THE MAN”, O Mom,

Sort our laundry.

For children who happily leave for school in crisply ironed uniforms or handbook appropriate school attire, to return home covered in glue stick paste, tempera paint and grass stained knees, O Mom,

Sort our laundry.

For the stains of shame that include underwear skid marks, lipsticked collars, and lunch condiment circles on whites or brights, O Mom,

Sort our laundry.

O Mom so under-appreciated and gratitude challenged, please do not mix colors with whites, or cause whites to turn pink from reds, or wash knits in shrinking hot water. Cleanse our textiles with proper detergents and temperatures. We ask, as we head out the back door to play “skiing down the muddy hill on our bottoms”, while you sort.


Amen.

Wednesday, April 02, 2008

MIGHTY TERMITE UPDATE

The truth seems to be that you never actually get rid of termites. You just have to learn how to manage them. Because living with them means your house will fall down. Perhaps this is an allegorical lesson for life. And they are God's creatures too, after all, although they strike me as terribly immature. Much like us with this planet.

We have these on the lower floor. They are the ones that left the new foraging holes. Seen 'em before. Three months after we'd first moved into the house, seven months pregnant, I walked into our kitchen where a sea of these critters were swarming on the floor. These do not live in your house. They live outside, in the ground, and just visit your walls like we visit restaurants.




We have these guys poaching space in our upper floor, which was an add on before we bought the house. Seems they hitched a ride in the wood when they were teeny little unborn eggs. I guess that makes me a surrogate mom to thousands. And now it's time for all but ONE of my kids to LEAVE HOME.



I have arranged their transport to Eternal Termite U next week.

That sound?

That is the *KA-CHING* *KA-CHING* of a hefty chunk of change leaving with the termites.

We have hired this company to do the job. It's more expensive, but the results last a lot longer. So I've heard. At any rate, the fellow who did our inspection was the most knowledgeable, personable and trust inspiring get rid of termite guy we've hired to date. And we don't have to tent or leave the house or move us and the cats out.

*waves hanky*

Buh bye now. Buh bye Freds 1 through 200; Matildas 1 through 360; Jeffreys 1 through 957 and good night Irenes all 1,259 of you!