Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Skunk Attack

Last night our house got attacked by a skunk. That or something near our house attacked a skunk, because it started smelling extremely skunky in our house, which, no pun intended really stank. I was the first one who noticed it, because everybody else had just thought it was my baby sister, lol. I went out side to try and find it, or to see if any of our pets had been victims, but apparently none were and I didn't find any skunk. But this morning when I came down around 6:50, or so, it still smelled like it in the room that had had and open window at the time of the negatively aromatic event.

It has been very, very busy at the office, what with it finally starting to get cold and all (we sell Alternative Sustainable Heating Systems). Today I had a funny experience. You see, one of my jobs is following up on leads with customers that want to buy heat transfer lines. The leads come in from the manufacturer (people request information on there website), and then I contact the people and let them know that we are the local distributor and (hopefully) sell them everything they need. My usual procedure is to send them and email as soon. I get their info, and then send them a letter the next day. Then, if I'm feeling particularly psyched, I'll call. So yesterday I got a lot of leads and sent the emails. Today, put together the letters and was addressing them, and the phone rang, as it does every minute or so, and Mr. Slack picked it up and said is was for me, and told me who it was, and low and behold, it was the very same person, whose name I had just written on and envelope! Ok, so maybe that wasn't funny, but it seemed like it at the time.

Back at home now... came home early because my Grandpa had to get back and he was my ride, but with how early I'm going in now I'd already put in nearly eight hours.

I've been playing the MM online game, tribal wars, which has been pretty cool. It's sort of like a dumbed down version of Age of Empires, except your playing with hundreds of people at the same time and its completely server based, so you don't have to download anything. I have the button on my blog now, if you scroll down. I'm on world 9 and my name is Vandrew (my village is called vandrewgrad).

- Andrew

Tuesday, October 30, 2007

Rollover Telephone

It's been a pretty good past week. My Dad was in Ohio again, so I stayed home from work for a couple of days, though I couldn't get away completely as we got the rollover phone system working again, which means that any calls that aren't picked up at the office (which, this time of year can be quite a significant number) so I took calls and leads and forwarded them by email. Still, I had time to finish the Halo 3 campaign.

I've been feeling a little closer in my walk with God the past week... it simply seems that some of the things that I had seen as big problems suddenly started to seem less important, as I had hoped, but not believed they would... and I've been able to recognize my need for God, and a desire for him too, which was something I was afraid I had lost. But I've been stretching intellectually not so much in the range of things I would be exposed to (I think that was always pretty broad) but in the sphere of things that I would actually contemplate accepting (if that makes any sense)... we've gone to our old Mennonite church, and heard some different speakers... and read some books that I would have absolutely sneered at two years ago, and listened to some new music. But with some of the things that have happened, I think I'm more open. And through the new things I think I've been able to accept much of my reformed thought that I had become so bitter against... and like I said, the things that used to make me so angry about it don't seem to matter as much. So anyways, I usually have a rule against talking about this stuff on here... so I'll probably delete it later, likely as not. But for now, I could use your prayers.


- Andrew

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

Shooting - Photos and Paintballs

This past Sunday Mattea and I drove up to the Efthimiou's house. We were told that we were going to do paintball, but when we arrived, they told us they had just decided to do family pictures... so we went along with them, and I was starting to feel rather awkward at this point because they had all dressed up for the occasion, and I, who had been told, twice, that we were doing paintball, had dressed accordingly. Which is to say, old cloths that didn't match. So at any rate, we did eventual get done with that, and I think they got some really nice pictures (they had better have).

Finally, we did actually do paintball, and the Roberts (well, some of them, Anna and Pat) came, which was fun. Unfortunately, the 9v in my gun gave out and, after 'killing' only one person, I had to drive into South Corning and buy a new one (only a few minutes away).

Here (above) are Anna and Pat - looking very warlike I might add.

And here, left to right are Daniel, Delian, and Anna, looking strangely like something from Halo, or at least that's what my Mom thought.

The game went pretty well, except for Rachael, Cory, and a bunch of other people getting out, and then coming back, without telling anyone. The last time that this happened I almost get hurt, because we were all standing around the main bunker, and thought everyone was done, and thus had even taken our masks off, when someone who shall remain nameless started barraging the entire area. I got hit right was facing it, and got hit on top of the head. Just a four inches lower and it could have been bad. But, it didn't, so I survived = )

- Andrew

Monday, October 15, 2007

The Environment (and how to help)

Well, today is the official blogger action day, and this year, the subject is the environment. So I've decided to blog about something that I often do, and that is the importance of Alternative Sustainable Energy.

Now, the first question this usually brings up is not why is it important? but rather: what is it? So, first off,

Alternative simply means, different from the norm. Right now, the world gets most of it's energy from fossil fuels, which we all know are dirty, so an alternative energy would have to be something other than a fossil fuel.

Sustainable means something that that will be able to continue indefinitely (pretty much forever) Now, we all that fossil fuels aren't sustainable, we are all ready running out (which, in case you ever wondered, is one of the main reasons gas gets more and more expensive). Now there are other forms of fuel that would qualify as alternative, like Nuclear power, that aren't really sustainable because they are eventually going to either run out, or result in a situation that would force us to stop using them.

So, in order for a source of energy to really benefit the environment, we see that it has to be both alternative and sustainable.

So, if we've eliminated fossil fuels (gas, coal, petrol, diesel) then whats left? Actually a lot. Energy sources like the wind, rivers, the ocean, and then Sun are all around us. Unfortunately, harvesting energy from these sources can often have a bad effect of the environment (don't believe me? just visit the land up stream from a hydroelectric dam, or see what happens when a flock of geese flies through a wind farm) so today I want to bring to attention an often over looked source of alternative sustainable energy that is very easy to access, efficient to use and, best of all, is something that we as individuals have access to and can start to use, without having to wait for governments and big business. The fuel is: Biomass.

Now, most people (normal people anyways) have never even heard the term before. But it's really rather simple. Bio means life, and mass means anything that has, um mass, so biomass just means something that was alive, something that grew i.e. grass clippings, wood chips, corn, logs, weeds, your dog fluffy.

"Now wait a minute." you say "Isn't burning stuff bad for the environment?" Well, yes, in some situations. The first one is if you are introducing new matter into the environment and burning it, like oil. When you burn oil, you are taking all this matter from under ground with all of its own toxins and carbons, combusting it, and releasing all those poisons into our environment, thus, the big whole in the ozone over the Antarctic.
The second is if you are burning inefficiently, which is why thing like wood stoves and fireplaces have gotten such a bad rap. Burning inefficiently means that your not burning as much of the matter as you could, hint, if you see smoke, it's not efficient, thus, the haze over all of China's Major cities.
So in order to burn stuff and still do the environment a service, you need to 1. use things that were already in the environment, and 2. do it efficiently.
Biomass is obviously already in the environment(when a piece of wood falls off a tree and rots, it produces the same amount of carbon that it would if you pick it up burn it), and thanks to technology that has developed just in the past couple of years, we can now burn it efficiently.

As an added bonus, since biomass is all around us and doesn't have to be mined, or hauled in from a distant country, it always much cheaper than fossil fuels. So so you can save money at the same time.

"So just how can the average person use biomass?" I've included some links to websites that show biomass units (machines that allow for the combustion of biomass in a safe, efficient way) Many some of these sites even tell how to get one, and offer support for installing and using them.

Check them out:


GreenWood Furnaces


ThisWarmHouse





Thanks for reading!


- Andrew

Sunday, October 14, 2007

Manitoba

Well, Manitoba was an experience, particularly since we drove... twenty four hours up, spent twenty four hours there and twenty four hours back. Mr. Kimball and my dad drove mostly, although I did while they worked on the business plan on the way up. We went through New York, Pennsylvania, Ohio, Indian, Illinois, Wisconsin, Minnesota, North Dakota, crossed the border (which was an ordeal... normally, you just drive up to the window and show them your ID, but they actually made us park, and come inside and wait. Then they questioned us all together, and then they interrogated Mr. Kimball and my Dad alone (I think I mainly had to do with that they didn't have pass ports and I did). Finally they let us through, and we drove through Manitoba.

We met up with the Greenwood Tech people in Winnipeg, the capital of Manitoba and we all stayed together in a hotel, ironically enough called, The Greenwood While there we ate one of only two real meals that we had on the entire trip (in Mr. Kimball's words: "We lived off of leaves, twigs and pumpkin seeds.") Interestingly enough, I actually ate it illegally, as in Manitoba, they have different laws about drinking, you see, the minimum age is lower, but until you are that old (which I'm not), you are not allowed to even be in a restaurant in which they serve alcohol, which they did, and I was... so I didn't know this all until after I had eaten there, when our waitress inquired as much, but at that point it was too late... so yeah... at least it was in another country = ) After nine and a half hours of sleep (I needed every one as I only slept about four hours a night the night before and fours hours the next, and that only in little naps) and the next morning we all ate breakfast - in the non alcoholic section - and set off to Arborg to see Pro-Fab industries. We got checked in at the factory and attended a seminar on the Pelco, the new bio-mass unit we are going to be selling, and it's huge! We also toured the factory which was lots of fun, and I got to actually see a Greenwood being made.

All said, it was a good trip, I learned a lot and got to go to Canada and there were know major problems, even if the scenery was less than impressive. Well, actually it was impressive, in it's bleakness. I tell you, if I had to describe it in three words, they would be: cold, gray, flat. Now, I'm sure that it looks much better in the summer, but now it looks something like our area does around February, minus the snow, and the hills. It was flat. My goodness it was flat! And the trees were all stunted. You could see forever, which only made it worse, because things like telephone poles, electric lines, cell phone towers, not to mention the huge grain towers that rose for the endless grid, could all be seen at the same time and I doubt there was a place in the whole area where you couldn't stop and count at least several hundred such man made obelisks which gave the whole place a harsh, industrial feel. And the sky was dark and overcast the whole time. Oddly though, it seemed an appropriate setting as it added a slight sense of menace and impending doom (I shutter to think what it might be like in a few months) and watching everyone at the factory bustle around and seeing the truck drivers, in their blaze orange, thermal jump suites loading dozens of units on to their semis preparing to leave, my Dad and I both thought: where could a better place to build stoves be than were your life so obviously would depend on the ability to keep warm?

Hear are some pictures from the trip:



The leaving the Greenwood Inn, Winnipeg, early in the morning. Breakfast with the Greenwood people.


Doug photographing the Pelco . Can you believe that's the small one?

Pro Fab
The Endless Steppe (the view right out front of the building)



- Andrew

Tuesday, October 09, 2007

Manatoba (The Great White North, EH!)

I'm off to Manatoba, Canada tomorrow on business with Mr. Kimball and my Dad. We're going to be getting training on a new product line that we're potentially going to be carrying. It should be a good trip with just the three of us, and it will be the farthest I've ever gone from home, by about fifteen miles : ) So I'm relatively exited about it. The down side is, its a 25 hour drive, 1 way. So I've packed a bunch of DVD's and stuff to watch on my Mac, and I'll bring books, though I get car sick if I read for more that five minutes in the car, blah! Maybe the roads will be better in Canada... I know there health care system is ; ) But I should get to find out (about the roads that is - God willing not their health care system) as Mr. Kimball sounds like he's planning on having me drive a bit as he wants to work on the business plan with my Dad. So pray that I don't forget the metric conversion and end up driving 100 mph in the 100k zone : 0

So the town that we are going to is Arborg, at the NW end of lake Winnipeg, which is so far up there that no major highways go beyond it (at least not that are on map-quest). So it should be an adventure! I'll post if I get a chance and an internet connection, or perhaps I can borrow Mr. Kimball's computer or my Dads iPhone as both of those get it through cellular.

Anyways, see you all later!

God bless,

-Andrew