Since Ali had other plans, Christina and I decided to head to City Hall (30 Church St.) for the city's Standing Tall…Standing Strong Black History Month celebration. Well, actually we went because we knew there would be a food tasting featuring homemade dishes from City employees. As in past years, there's a huge line … and since we got there late, all the [presumably heavenly] macaroni and cheese was gone. We were both very impressed by the Firehouse Meatballs by Carlos Manns and the Lasagna with Turkey Meat by Jeffrey Medford. Everything was great, though. Plus you can't beat the price.
Unfortunately we had to leave early to get to the Dryden Theater at George Eastman House (900 East Ave.) to see The Thing by 7. We got there a little bit late, but there was a huge line. Christina suggested we just watch it off her housemate's Netflix box so we did that instead.
She maintains the film as one of her favorites, but I was not particularly impressed. I guess the whole futile, frenetic activity against an unstoppable force was just too much. I mean, what was the point of watching these people run around killing one another and stuff when their plight was beyond hope? Perhaps as a parable: how can you fight an enemy that can look and act exactly like you do? In that sense, I think the original version, The Thing from Another World, made more sense in the context of McCarthyism when your otherwise unsuspecting neighbor could be your sworn enemy.
Ali and I were out running around in our Buick Roadmaster Estate Wagon to every furniture store in town looking for her perfect couch. Thus far, we had found one that was nice but very expensive, and several others that were cheaper but not quite what she was looking for. We went to Charlotte Furniture and Appliance (3200 Lake Ave.) and the salesperson asked what we were looking for. They had exactly one couch with furniture buttons on the back. When we went to see it, Ali saw the love-seat and thought, "that's perfect if only there were a sofa" just as she saw the sofa. It was perfect. And as cheap as the couches we didn't like. It was great. She ordered it on the spot, picking out the fabric and getting set up with financing.
So we headed out toward 390 via Stone Rd. From Ridge Road we went to get on 390 but as soon as we hit 45 miles per hour or so, we suddenly heard a sound like we were dragging a plastic barrel under the car so we pulled over. We looked under the car but saw nothing — not even from the driver-side rear wheel area. We tried driving again but it made the terrible noise again when we got to 25 MPH or so.
We called the service I signed up for: Better World Club — sort of like AAA, but without all the lobbying for bigger cars and more roads [heck, they even offer roadside bike assistance.] They contacted Towbuster Towing (510 Hudson Ave.) for us and said it would be about 45 minutes. We decided to limp the car to Ridgeway. We checked under again, hoping that we might be able to get it home on our own. Alas, it kept making the noise and I found a chunk of metal all ground down that was warmer than the cold ambient temperature — evidence enough for me that it came out of the car.
We got it to a parking lot on Lee Road and waited. Towbuster called us and said they were 20 minutes away and they had no room in the cab of the truck so we'd have to get our own ride. We wrangled a friend of ours to pick us up — the tow truck even arrived at the same time. Well, despite telling them what kind of car it was, they brought a truck that was too small. The distance from the rear axle of the wagon to its bumper was too long for the truck to accommodate. Well, it was just big enough, but they couldn't do anything more than a really gradual turn. The flatbed truck was another hour away so we decided to just leave the car and go home.
Actually we went out to dinner: Paola's Burrito Place (1921 South Ave., formerly Big Dog's Hots). We received the worst news in the world: Arturo is moving back to Austin in 6 months or so to be with his family, closing Paola's. So, if you like the place, go get your fill because it'll be gone soon. The Upper Mount Hope Neighborhood Association sent out a note that he was leaving in two months, but we're hoping he was correct. Naturally dinner was great.
Anyway, we had our poor wagon towed to Integrity Auto Repair, Inc. (241 E. Henrietta Rd.) As it turned out, the flatbed would have had the room for the both of us to ride along so had Towbuster sent it first, we would have had an easy way home.
As it turned out, it was probably good that we had the wagon towed. The brake drum had been machined beyond specification and the liner finally disintegrated. Had we driven home, we probably would have totally ruined all the brake parts inside. Integrity did a nice job with it and it's fine now. My wallet … well, not so much.
Anyway, since Bechtold is in business to make money, that's obviously one of his priorities, but it goes along the lines of "Eco-Economic Decision Making" — what's now called the "Triple Bottom Line": people, planet, and profits. He's a self-described former-hippie and tried to engage investors in his ecological interests. But none took hold until he started Harbec Plastics (369 State Route 104, Ontario) on an economic basis, then steered it toward ecological goals.
He started discussing Harbec's in-house electricity generation. They have 25 30-kilowatt microgenerators that provide for the company's maximum 500 kilowatt load with 5 generators literally to-spare. They run on natural gas provided by the utility, but Harbec gets the advantage of utilizing the excess heat which is otherwise a waste product. The distributed utility model is terribly inefficient on this front: generating electricity from a heat source throws away 60%-75% of the energy in the fuel as heat, while Harbec retains it for heating and even in an absorptive chiller for air-conditioning. He claims they have measured their BTU efficiency at 70% and calculated that their methods reduce carbon dioxide production by 90% over utility production.
As such, they just use the electrical grid as backup.
The well-known wind turbine has a 250 kilowatt capacity. Their location is a "class 3" wind site: about average overall and not as good as sites closer to the lake. They use the turbine to further offset their utility consumption by about 300,000 kilowatt-hours per year, netting a cost savings of $40,000 each year and a return-on-investment on the turbine itself in 8 to 10 years. Bechtold said that one of the biggest competitive advantages is that it freezes energy cost for the 25-30 year lifespan of the turbine, since the costs are no longer attached to fuel prices.
Regardless of all these improvements, their first steps were ones of reducing consumption. The site has in-floor radiant heating, large skylights for natural lighting, and double-insulated walls. Although they don't meet the requirements yet, they are following Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) building standards. They have also switched their injection molding equipment from industry-standard hydraulic systems to better, more efficient electrical systems. In addition, they added insulation to the molding machines to reduce air conditioning load and to make the equipment run more efficiently. The motors have inverter drives or soft-start for efficiency and to make the equipment last longer. Even their air compressor system is an advanced variable-speed unit. With the help of a grant, the ROI for switching to the T-8 type fluorescent fixtures is only 1.5 years and saves $38,000 each year in electricity.
Bechtold also started Northern Development, LLC (369 State Route 104, Ontario) so he could work toward scaling these efficiencies to an industrial park. If you're really jonesing for more tech-talk, that's the place to go.
During the question-and-answer, it was clear that his message of gains in the "triple bottom line" was accepted. As such, people's questions focused on how to expand his efforts. In answering one question, he said there are anti-franchise laws that prevent people from sharing electricity across property lines, making it impossible to implement in neighborhoods (hint, hint, legislators). It was only through some unique loopholes in that law was it possible for him to run Harbec as he does. However, the individual has a choice: he noted that he's installing a Freewatt furnace/generator at his daughter's house which generates electricity when it heats the house, offsetting expensive electricity (sorry Fairport Electric).
Curiously, New York State isn't so bad for small-scale electricity generation. Not only is it geographically advantaged to be ranked 17th for wind power availability, the legislature finally allowed "net metering" up to 2 megawatts, so small farms can "sell back" generated electricity at utility costs rather than the 1.9 cents per kilowatt hour you'd get from direct sales. This also means that you can use the grid for your excess capacity as it's very difficult to store electricity.
Overall, there's quite a bit of promise in it all.
The Dryden Theater at George Eastman House (900 East Ave.) will be showing Escape from New York starting early at 7 p.m. followed by the dreadful sequel Escape from L.A. at 9 p.m. In the former, Manhattan is turned into a maximum-security prison in 1997 and Snake Plissken must rescue the President to save himself. In the latter, it's pretty much the same thing only it's Los Angeles and he surfs on a big, obviously-fake wave.
Dryden Theater calendar][all ages]
I'm surprised nobody noticed that this would have been the 5th month in a row that the 3rd Friday Songwriters Open Mic with Jim Bowers was listed on Thursday. Anyway, it's really today: on Friday at Equal=Grounds (750 South Ave., formerly Hunt's Hardware) starting around 9 p.m.
Equal=Grounds MySpace page][all ages]
Tonight at The Mez Café (389 Gregory St., formerly House of Hamez and Daily Perks) is Songwriters In The Round with charismatic acoustic soloist Scott Regan, Paul Swiatek, Brian Conconella, Taylor Buckley, and Perry Cleaveland starting around 8 p.m.
Mez website][all ages]
In theory, there is another
Emerging Filmmakers Program
(240 East Ave.)
at 9:15 p.m., but I haven't heard anything about it so your guess is as good as mine. As soon as I get the details I'll post the films.
This page is Jason Olshefsky's list of things to do in Rochester, NY and the surrounding region (including nearby towns Irondequoit, Webster, Penfield, Pittsford, Victor, Henrietta, Gates, Chili, Greece, and Charlotte, and occasionally other places in Monroe County and the Western New York region.) It is updated every week with daily listings for entertainment, activities, performances, movies, music, bands, comedy, improv, poetry, storytelling, lectures, discussions, debates, theater, plays, and generally fun things to do.
Music events are usually original bands with occasional cover bands and DJ's with musical styles including punk, emo, ska, swing, rock, rock-and-roll, alternative, metal, jazz, blues, noise band, experimental music, folk, acoustic, and "world-beat."
Events listed take place during the day, in the evenings, or as part of the city's nightlife as listed.
Although I'm reluctant to admit it, it is a Rochester blog and I'm essentially blogging about Rochester events.
I also tend to express opinions, review past events, make reviews, speak of philosophy or of a philosophical nature, discuss humanity and creativity.
Oh, and it's spelled JayceLand with no space and a capital L, not Jayce Land, Jaycee Land, Jace Land, Jase Land, Joyce Land, Jayce World, Jayceeland, Jaceland, Jaseland, Joyceland, Jayceworld, Jayceeworld, Jaceworld, Jaseworld, nor Joyceworld. (Now if you misspell it in some search engine, you at least get a shot at finding it.)
It's also not to be confused with
or JakesWorld which is a site of a Rochester animator.
While I'm on the topic of keywords for search engines, this update includes information for Thursday, February 19, 2009 (Thu, Feb 19, 2009, 2/19/2009, or 2/19/09) Friday, February 20, 2009 (Fri, Feb 20, 2009, 2/20/2009, or 2/20/09) Saturday, February 21, 2009 (Sat, Feb 21, 2009, 2/21/2009, or 2/21/09) Sunday, February 22, 2009 (Sun, Feb 22, 2009, 2/22/2009, or 2/22/09) Monday, February 23, 2009 (Mon, Feb 23, 2009, 2/23/2009, or 2/23/09) Tuesday, February 24, 2009 (Tue, Feb 24, 2009, 2/24/2009, or 2/24/09) and Wednesday, February 25, 2009 (Wed, Feb 25, 2009, 2/25/2009, or 2/25/09).
indicates an event that's a preferred pick of the day ... probably something worth checking out.
indicates a "guaranteed" best bet for the particular genre of the indicated event.
links to a band's page on GarageBand.com which offers reviews and information about bands.
links to a band's page on MySpace.com which is a friend-networking site that is popular with bands.