Jun 30, 2009

Sears Tower Going Green :o)

CHICAGO — The Sears Tower, that bronze-black monument that forms the 110-story peak of the skyline here and stands as the tallest office building in the Western Hemisphere, will soon have another unique feature: wind turbins sprouting from its recessed rooftops high in the sky.

The building’s owners, leasing agents and architects said Wednesday that they are literally taking environmental sustainability to new heights with a $350 million retrofit of the 1970s-era modernist building — and the turbines are only the tip of the transformation. The plan, to begin immediately, aims to reduce electricity use in the tower by 80 percent over five years through upgrades in the glass exterior, internal lighting, heating, cooling and elevator systems — and its own green power generation.

In such a huge tower, with 4.5 million square feet of office and retail space, 16,000 windows and 104 elevators, the project is bound to be one of the most substantial green renovations ever tried on one site, planners said. The Sears Tower is significantly larger than the 102-story, 2.6-million-square-foot Empire State Building, for instance, which is also undergoing renovation to reduce energy consumption.

“If we can take care of one building that size, it has a huge impact on society,” said Adrian Smith, an architect whose firm designed the Sears Tower renovation. “It is a village in and of itself.”

Buildings are among the world’s largest contributors of greenhouse gas emissions. After the retrofit, energy savings at the Sears Tower, which is to be renamed the Willis Tower this summer, would be equal to 150,000 barrels of oil a year, officials said. The savings are expected to help redeem some of the project’s cost, which is to be financed through private equity investment, grants, debt financing and government funds.

The Sears Tower plans to open a first-floor center to educate the public about the redesign, and hopes to serve as a model for other aging skyscrapers around the world, officials said.

Published: June 24, 2009
Go to
Walletpop for the original post.

Jun 29, 2009

Poison Ivy - My Nemesis :o(

The past three or four days have been a pain in the rash :o) On Monday or Tuesday, while pulling weeds in the garden area, or cutting up a fallen tree, I got a good case of poison ivy on my right knee and right hand (not to mention it that it was really hot and humid, so I unknowingly spread it to spots on my face, chest, and arms).

One of the downsides of living in the country is that there is poison ivy in them thar trees and bushes. I swear, if I just look at it I get poison ivy.

The picture at the left is: Poison Ivy in Summer.
Classic poison ivy in full swing. Some leaves are notched. Some leaves are not. New leaves are shiny and still somewhat reddish. Older leaves are duller.

Some not so fun facts :o)

How do you get poison ivy? From touching it, or touching something that has touched it, like your clothes or your dog. You normally get it from touching the leaves. I have not only rubbed up against it, but I have been splattered with sap from poison ivy when using a weed eater. The worst case I ever had was from when I was burning some brush, and inhaled the smoke. In that particular case, I did need to get some corticosteroid tablets to combat the systemic effect.

Why do you get poison ivy just from rubbing against the plant? There is an oil, called urushiol, that causes an allergic reaction after the first sensitizing exposure (my sensitizing exposure was when I was five and I played with my tonka trucks in it). The oil is in the leaves, vines, and roots. That's why tearing out the vine is so dangerous - it releases lots of urushiol. The oil from poison ivy is extremely stable and will stay potent - essentially forever. You can get a rash from clothing or tools that have the oil from last summer, or even from many years back. So if you don't remove the oil by washing, using alcohol to dissolve it, or by just hosing off with a hard spray from a hose - assume it will stay forever.

Poison Ivy Myth Buster: Once you have the rash the oil has been absorbed and you can't spread it to others or elsewhere on yourself. If you get big blisters filled with liquid it is mostly water and will not spread the rash even if they break.

If you want to learn more, or get grossed out by some wicked rash pictures, go to http://www.poison-ivy.org/index.htm.

Jun 28, 2009

Sunday Silliness - Futility

You'll always miss 100% of the shots you don't take, and, statistically speaking, 99% of the shots you do.

Cheetos or Doritos - Tell me Which You prefer :o)

It's been a pretty amazing week for snack foods. In addition to delivering nacho cheese and big, crunchy flavor, Frito Lay's Cheetos and Doritos brands have also been offering a hearty helping of domestic warfare and illicit sex.

No, this trend isn't part of a new prize promotion, although it is worth asking what, exactly, the company has been putting into its snacks.

In Shelbyville, Tenn., for example, one of Frito Lay's products apparently inspired a couple to go face-to-face in a battle royale. Their weapon of choice? Cheetos.Yes, Cheetos. The little orange squiggles of corn, oil, and fake cheese are, apparently, a major incitement to violence. Apparently 40-year-old James Earl Taylor and 44-year-old Mary S. Childers were involved in "a verbal altercation" that escalated until the two were hurling puffy cheese crunchies at each other. Authorities charged both Taylor and Childers with domestic assault, and both were released on $2,500 bail.

As if the Cheetos assault incident wasn't enough, in Oklahoma, an employee of Frito Lay ran afoul of the law when he allegedly purchased the affections of a prostitute in return for a case of Doritos. The snack-loving woman, Lahoma Sue Smith, was parked in an area known for prostitution, and alerted police to her presence when she began "trying to catch a date" by flashing her headlights. Her customer, who hasn't been named, apparently didn't have any money. However, Smith was willing to exchange her favors for the chips, which were valued at $30. When officers approached Smith's car, she and her passenger were not fully dressed. The police charged Smith with prostitution and driving on a suspended license.

The main gist of the original entry is included here, but to get the full humor, and to give credit to the original author, please Walletpop.com, click here.

Jun 27, 2009

Bladerunner or Minority Report - Does it matter :o)

On 6/24/09, at 7:15pm at the Crowne Plaza Times Square, our future changed forever.

A group of media executives put down their cocktails, filed across Broadway as cops halted traffic, and stared back up at the blank hotel. There was a 10-second countdown, and suddenly, a vibrant video billboard appeared where a minute before, there seemed to be only empty space. It was the New York unveiling of something called MediaMesh, an ingenious invention of LED lights strung unobtrusively across building exteriors. At first, the 783-square feet of woven stainless steel mesh, which upon closer inspection looks something like a pigeon net, seems innocuous, but at the flip of a switch, it turns into a giant TV screen.

To view the full story, click here.

Jun 26, 2009

Summer Job Search Strategies :o)

If you are in the market, or necessity, of a new job, go check out some Job Search Strategies for the summer months at http://buckoprojmgmt.blogspot.com/

Louisville Slugger In Danger?

On June 15th, the emerald ash borer was confirmed present in New York State (Cattaraugus County), in a region famous for its baseball bat-producing ash trees.

The beetle, native to East Asia, arrived in Detroit some 10 years ago, probably by hitchhiking in wooden crates or pallets. Since then, it has killed more than 25 million trees across the upper Midwest and in Ontario.

New York has more than 600 million ash trees — all of which are now at risk.

The fate of the Louisville Slugger may depend on New York’s outdoor enthusiasts. Because the beetle can only move short distances on its own, long distance dispersal is usually due to humans moving infected live trees, logs, pallets or firewood. We could limit the spread of this invasive pest just by remembering to not move firewood — and to buy it where we burn it.

If we don’t, America’s national pastime — and natural landscape — could be vastly different in just a few short years.

Emily Manley is a marketing specialist for The Nature Conservancy in New York. The original posting at Nature.Org can be found here.

Jun 25, 2009

RIP MJ :o(

What ever your personal feelings about Michael Jackson, all have to admit that he was an Icon and changed POP music forever. So, without going into the whole abuse issue, I say, RIP Michael.

Sunscreen - To Slosh or Not :o)

The key may be in what you eat, not what you slosh on your skin.

In a recent study, researchers took a group of people and exposed them to a controlled amount of solar-type radiation. They then gave half the group a cocoa drink rich in bioflavonoids, and the other half a "fake" cocoa drink with little nutritional value.

Result: Those taking the higher flavonoid drink had a 15-25% reduction in UV-induced redness. They also had increased skin thickness, increased blood flow, and less skin roughness.

So, yet another reason to eat lots of colored fruits and vegetables, green tea, and cocoa. Personally, I am thinking a little more red wine in my diet :o)

Jun 24, 2009

Hot, Hot, Hot :o)

The last couple of days here have been in the nineties, both temperature and humidity (at least that is the way it feels :o)

I had an appointment yesterday that required non-summer clothes, and that was brutal. Then, I cleared some of the downed limbs around the yard from the midwest storms last week, and mowed a few blades of grass (about 2 acres I think). Needless to say, it was a two shower day :o)

Today was a belated Father's Day celebration (I had to work Sunday). We had both Beth's folks here and my folks (Mom and Stepdad). I had a bit of angst before they got here because I have been calling Beth's Dad, "Dad", but still refer to my Stepdad as Jim (for reasons I will not go into here). Ended up being no issue, because it was like old friends, and there was no need for salutations. Phew!

I was thinking today how lucky Beth and I are, to be at this stage of our life [guess that would be middle age, nooooooooo, the inhumanity...] and have both sets of our folks here with us. Today, sitting and talking, grilling some burgers, talking, talking, and talking, was awesome. It was a fitting Father's Day celebration.

I broke down today and headed to Lowes to get a portable air conditioner for the bedroom (our house does not have central air, and we use a portable in the living room). The window unit is in the garage, behind some garage sale stuff, and it is a royal pain in the arse (that one is for you Simon) to install (pull out the screen, pull out the storm window, get it leveled just right to not condense into the house [failed with this last year], and then re-insert the storm window and tighten everything up). Having the window unit also robs us of the opportunity to open the window and listen to the [stupid] birds. So we decided today to get another portable unit for the bedroom, and it only took about ten minutes to get everything hooked up and secured.

Tomorrow is my Sunday, as I have not been to work since last Sunday, and then it is a four day stint of twelve hour days (plus commute). This is where I chant - I Love My Job, I Love My Job, I Love My Job. Hope you coast into the weekend. And for those readers who are getting ready for a bit of travel, have a great, great, great trip [Love You Man :o)].

Jun 23, 2009


Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) is all the rage for retailers these days. Companies such as Starbucks and Office Depot are pursuing certification at pilot sites that will set the stage for a new era of sustainable stores. The U.S. Green Building Council is currently working with more than 300 retail companies, each pursuing certification on at least one location. Because these companies have to incorporate this LEED methodology into thier processes and new store construction, most are starting with a lighter shade of green.

How to you make a building green you might as (patiently sitting, waiting for you to ask :o) Prototype stores include such things as natural lighting, integrated photovoltaics, solar hot-water systems, high-efficiency plumbing fixtures, renewable resource building materials, and recycling of construction waste.

Interestingly, currently 20 percent of all LEED certifications by square foot occur outside the United States (excluding Canada and India, which have their own Green Building Council operations).

Jun 22, 2009

Sunday Silliness - Flattery :o)

If you want to get to the top, prepare to kiss a lot of the bottom.

Sunday Silliness - Fear :o)

Until you have the courage to lose sight of the shore, you will not know the terror of being forever lost at sea

Sunday Silliness - Failure :o)

When your best just isn't good enough.

Alas good readers, I have been negligent in my Sunday Silliness postings, so today, a day late, I will give you a triple treat :o)

Jun 21, 2009

Happy Fathers Day :o)

Happy Father's Day. Kind of mixed emotions on this day, as I lost my father and best friend in 1990. Being a Father is special, even when things do not go as you plan. You reach the point where you must step back and let them make their own path. Hope you have fond memories of your Dad, and give him a hug today :o)

Jun 19, 2009

Feeling the Vibe in Motown :o)

Wow, what a great day today. First and foremost, was meeting Mark. He is such a great guy, and we had an awesome time connecting with him today.

We started out by going and having breakfast and getting caught up on his "plans". You will have to visit him at Stars Like Grains Of Sand in My Pocket to figure out what is up, because I am not spilling any beans here :o)

Then we headed to the Detroit Science Institute for the Star Trek Experience. We did the flight simulator, and that was so much fun, it was in an actual pilot flight simulator, and it was fun to do, and fun to watch as it did its barrel rolls. I am glad to announce there were no girly screams from any of the three of us.

Then, since we had a few hours before our Star Trek Movie IMAX Experience, we headed out in search of a location for some cool amber beverages. We found that location at the Majestic, and had a fabulous afternoon. We chatted and laughed, and got to know Mark. I can confidently say that I have made a new lifelong friend. As Beth said, he is a Peach :o)

Then it was to back to the Science Institute for the IMAX movie - IT WAS AWESOME. It was also so much fun to watch Mark as he experienced the nuances of the new movie to the history of the series. We all loved it.

Then it was off to Mexican Town for an excellent meal.

All in all, a great day with my Wifey and new bud, Mark. We are looking forward to seeing Mark again this morning and going to the Astoria (spelling?) bakery. Then it is down to Monroe to see some old friends.

Hope you are rolling into your weekend with style, I know we are :o)

Jun 16, 2009

The American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 (Stimulus Bill) mad significant changes to the energy efficiency tax credits available to consumers.

The energy efficiency tax credits were increased from 10% to 30% and the maximum credit was raised from $500 to $1,500. What is even better about this tax credit is that it reduces your tax dollar-for-dollar (much better than a tax deduction).

You never know, you could even qualify for a utility rebate and/or state tax incentives as well. Not only is this good for the environment and your tax bill, but it should save on your utility bill as well. A Win-Win-Win proposition :o)

So how does it work, you ask? If you purchase and install specific products, such as energy-efficient windows, doors, insulation, roofs and heating and air conditioning equipment, in your existing home, you can receive a tax credit for 30% of the cost, up to $1,500 for improvements you actually "place-in-service". The time frame for the work is 1/1/2009 through 12/31/2010. However, be careful, for some improvements, the credit applies only to the equipment costs.

So if you were fixin to get ready to think about such a project, the time to act is within the next 18 months. You can go to www.energystar.gov for a complete summary of the Energy Efficiency Tax Credits available.

Jun 15, 2009

Making Change Happen :o)

Have you been contemplating making a change? It could be as simple as losing weight, start saving more money, or more challenging like writing a book or stopping smoking. We all have pre-wired things that tend to hold us back (previous attempts have failed, so why bother). How do you evoke change then?

Choose a goal and go! Decide what change you wish to make, and determine what you are going to do right this moment to make it happen. For example, if your goal is weight loss, go and climb the stairs five times and drink two glasses of water. Go ahead, I'll wait.........

Take a step toward your goal each day! When you look at yourself in the mirror each morning, take a moment to contemplate the progress you have made toward your change, have a two second celebration, and then decide what you will do today to build upon that progress. For example, if your goal is to start saving more money, you could spend some time each day researching coupons on-line, and start building a collection.

Choose reality over fantasy! Take the time you're tempted to spend dreaming about changing your life and use it to make some changes instead. For example, instead of sitting down to watch TV, why not spend some time on the book. Turn off unhelpful automatic responses! Our natural reactions can stand in the way of making positive change. Two of the biggest to overcome, in my opinion, are being impatient and procrastinating. Change takes time, and habits take at least 21 days to change. Healthy weight loss means only a couple of pounds per week. It may take some writing classes before you learn the proper technique. So make sure you return to the second tidbit above daily at keep your affirmation positive. A good way to combat, or identify if you are feeling inadequate, would be to keep a journal (paper or on-line). Patterns will emerge, or if you choose the on-line path, you will have a built in support group.

Find a Support Team! You do not have to do this alone. See suggestion above about on-line support :o) Find a peer support group or a person that has already made the change you are endeavoring. If you goal is specific such as savings, consider a financial planner. If it is health related, find a coach or organization.

Review the day's progress each night! This forces a reality check - did you make progress or did you experience some missteps. If your goal was to be more patient, did you get frustrated at a checkout line, or did you browse one of the fine magazines there for your gawking pleasure :o)

Share your growth! The positive feedback you receive will help you maintain your momentum.

Plagiarized from May 1, 2009 Bottom/Line Personal interview with Gary Null.

Jun 13, 2009

Without a doubt, one of the best movies I have ever watched :o)

Jun 12, 2009

MARCO .... polo :o)

The ocean waters of the Mid-Atlantic, stretching from New York to Virginia, provide a wealth of economic and environmental services to local communities, States, and the nation. At the same time, the people of the Mid-Atlantic region are a significant force that influences our ocean and coastal environment. We change the coastline and watershed through our buildings and development, we harvest the ocean’s resources through increasingly efficient means, and we rely on offshore waters to support diverse activities such as maritime commerce and recreation.

As the intensity of these human influences has increased, they have at times led to significant threats to the health of our ecosystems. Now our ocean and coastal resources face a new generation of challenges, and these challenges are only growing in their urgency.

To successfully address these challenges, and to ensure that future generations can enjoy healthy and productive ocean ecosystems, the Governors of New York, New Jersey, Delaware, Maryland and Virginia have committed to a new comprehensive, regional approach, creating the Mid-Atlantic Regional Council on the Ocean. Our five states will work to maintain and improve the health of our ocean and coastal resources, and ensure that they continue to contribute to the high quality of life and economic vitality of our region’s communities well into the future.

We rarely hear the good news about what our politicians are doing to take care of mother nature, kudos to these five governors. If you want to read the MARCO agreement, click the link here.

Jun 11, 2009

Heavy Metal :o)

As you may be able to tell from my posting and commenting patterns, I am working some crazy hours.

My schedule has me working a shift rotation, where you do three weeks of days, three weeks of nights, and so on... When we are working, it is a twelve hour shift, plus turnover time, but we also get 2-6 day gaps. Not the best schedule, but the sliver of silver lining is that when I get off for the day, I am done. No outstanding work hanging over my head (quick, duck :o), and when I am home, no pile or work looming over my shoulder.

The picture above shows the main generator, with the internals removed and sent offsite to be repaired. You can see all the scaffold in the background, we basically took the low pressure turbine all the way down to base concrete, and are re-machining and reassembling now. You can see the scale of the metal pieces, all large castings that need lots of weld repair. For such a large machine, it is amazing that the tolerances are 1/1000 of an inch. Now, we use lasers for alignment and measurements [thinking evil sea bass here :o)], and it makes me wonder how it was done in the olden days.

As we say, we are in a marathon, not a sprint, and we have months to go before we spin again. I go up on the turbine deck when I can, but this picture to the right is where I spend my time now. This is the the Outage Control Center, where I am the Shift Outage Manager when I am there, (head [enter your own epithet here] in charge), responsible for driving work and removing the proverbial roadblocks. It is kind of like the Maytag Repairman, mostly quiet, there for when a crisis rears its ugly head, and then there is a flurry of activity before I pull my head back into my shell.

Hope your week is going well, I am in the middle of my weekend, and my workweek resumes Saturday night.

Jun 10, 2009

Time to Downsize???

Green Lawns Aren't "Green": The Ecological Impact of Grassy Lawns
Of all the strange practices that dominate our culture, America's obsession with green, grassy lawns is the most ridiculous-- and perhaps the least sustainable.

We are fortunate to have a lot of trees, so do not water much, but the mowing and such certainly is not "green". Interesting article, hope you click through :o)


Jun 8, 2009

Cash For Gold $

During this difficult economic time, if you are forced to sell some of your gold jewelry, the best place to sell is through ExpressGoldCash.com. You can check the market value of gold at www.goldprice.org. Remember that is selling for scrap, do not include the weight of gemstones.

Jun 6, 2009

Living For the Night :o)

Night-Shift that is. I leave for work in about 20 minutes for my first night for a three week stint.

I am looking for my cyberbuddies to help keep my bride company over the next few nights. It is a four night on, three night off type of schedule, so you have to keep to the night-shift schedule.

I always make sure I get more sleep when I work nights because that early morning 45 minute drive can be a killer.

I will be lurking, but most likely not commenting much over the next few weeks.

Jun 5, 2009

New Entries on my other Blogs :o)

I am slowly trying to develop two new Blogs, one on finances and one on Project Management. They are called "Bucko's Bucks" and "Bucko's Thoughts on Project Management." Each has a new entry today, check them out if you are so inclined :o)

Jun 3, 2009

Social Media and Personality Disorders :o)

I love the graphic, and think that the intersection with twitter (I like to call it tweeter) in the middle is about right.

Which personality disorder do you frequent? :o)

Courtesy of www.despair.com. I have signed up for their blog, so not only do you have to suffer through the Sunday Silliness entries, but there will be occassional entries due to their blog feed.

Jun 2, 2009

Tiger, on a Different Tour :o)

I am a huge Tiger Woods Fan, and on his recent newsletter, he had the following to say about meeting the President and touring the White House. Pretty Cool :o)

"I recently had a chance to meet with President Obama in the White House. I would love to be able to play golf with him and just talk. Maybe one day we can do that. He's got a lot on his plate, but is a very down-to-earth person, especially for someone who is the leader of the free world.

I got a tour of the White House. What I especially enjoyed was learning about its history and details about all the different rooms. It was pretty neat stepping back in time. I also enjoyed talking with the Secret Service agents."

To follow Tiger, go to his website by clicking here.