Friday, April 30, 2010
Overweight Luggage Fee: 50
Shuttle from ABQ to SF and the Taxi Ride that Followed: 45
Replacement Suit Cases after Southwest Airlines Abused My Old One: 50
Having Three Pairs of Pants Sent to Me After I Found Out that I Only Packed Three Pairs: 20
Household Items (cleaning and sanitation): 50
Train Rides to ABQ with Student Discount: 12
Zoo Entrance: 7
Car Magazines that Allowed Me to Keep My Sanity: 50
Soar Throat Medicine:5
Excedrin that Allowed Me to Work 40 hours in 3 days: 5
Bus Rides: 20
Getting Robbed: 219
Charitable Donation: -200
Cowboy Hat: 52
Shuttle back to ABQ Airport: 25
WPI, please use this as the estimated costs for the Santa Fe IQP, even the cowboy hat.
Monday, April 26, 2010
Over all I love Verizon and the Droid phone, I understand that there are defective products sold occasionally, and I am fine with that. My issue was with the service I received today. I assure you I will avoid that Verizon store as much as possible for the rest of my time here!
Sunday, April 18, 2010
The industry in Gussing can be described as something alien to a capitalist. It takes a resource that is not the cheapest and not the most fruitful and uses it in an economy that is not centralized. Where is the middleman in all of this? He does not exist. The backbone of Gussing is its district heating system which takes cut-offs from local mills to provide heat for industry and residents. The cheap heat has enticed companies into relocating to Gussing, causing the job market to swell. As a result, 18 million extra Euros stay in Gussing when compared to the days of outsourced energy. In a town of four to five thousand, this makes a difference. Instead of allowing a select few to exercise decadence, the whole town lives comfortably. The extra money in the community has led to improvements such as the only successful biodiesel/heat/power cogeneration plant in the world.
In Santa Fe the electric utility is investor-owned and, as such, its operations are motivated by profit. Wherever profit exists for one party, sacrifice must exist for another. It is stated in the Sustainable Santa Fe plan that the community desires an 18.9% reduction in CO2 emissions by the year 2012. A significant portion of this reduction would be possible if more renewable energy was used in the energy generation mix, but that would require a significant capital investment in solar farms, wind turbines, and biomass boilers, all of which are less profitable than coal. Santa Feans have no control over their energy production, which means that they have no control over the biggest contributor to their CO2 emissions. PNM (the electric utility of Santa Fe) has even stated that it will not meet the state mandate to make 20% of its energy portfolio renewable by 2020. To top it off, PNM has demanded five electric rate increases in the last 27 months.
What lesson can be taken from Gussing and applied in Santa Fe? Any change in societal standards must begin with some kind of social suffering. Do Santa Fean’s have any of that? Certainly. It is the reason that my project team became a victim to a robbery, the reason that I was called a “chink” while walking down West Alameda Street, and the reason that the high-school graduation rate is only 50% in this city. There are people who find life dissatisfactory in Santa Fe. If the energy scheme in the City is to change, it must begin with the people who suffer most. For example, the city could offer low-cost district heating for low-income neighborhoods, or even microgrids in the same fashion. This would create the “green-collar” jobs everyone keeps talking about. In Santa Fe, where the sun shines everyday and the wind blows to the chagrin of pedestrians, renewable energy can become an industry.
Tuesday, April 13, 2010
On a slightly less important note, we recently discovered Albertsons Market. Its like Price Chopper from Worcester, but bigger and better, and best of all its about the same prices, which is to say reasonable.
Monday, April 12, 2010
In summation, if you have more money than you want to have then stop by the Ore House to take a load off your wallet and get essentially a $20 appetizer.
Monday, April 5, 2010
Teamwork: The Story of Two Misguided Youth Robbing My Project Team and Our Countermeasure Against Them
On April 5, 2010, the Santa Fe D10 Renewable Energy Team rolled out of bed at 9:00 AM to meet nuclear physicist, Fred Seibel, at the Santa Fe Complex at 10:00 AM. After learning about underground electrical transmission lines and their inadequacies, we returned back to our compound to find something astray: one of our window screens had been popped out of its sill and was resting neatly under a window left ajar. It was then that I realized why off-campus IQP's are done in teams, and human emotion took over.
I stared through the open window into a room that had become familiar over the course of a month. The coffee table was still littered with candy wrappers and empty soda cans. Steve's XBOX and laptop were still there. Had we really been robbed?
Joel entered our house first, while I trailed the group. It was then that we saw two Hispanic kids in the kitchen committing an injustice to us all. One of them was of stocky build, the other scrawny, and both were about 16 years old. "Brother, pull out the gun," one of them said. I shut the door behind me to give me time to think. "Where was the gun? Is there any sign of aggression?" I thought. Scrawny one walked briskly towards the open window and proceeded to shimmy through it to freedom. I grabbed his leg. With his ass up in the air and his head outside the window, he couldn't shoot me even if he had a gun. I yelled, "Call 911!" Joel obeyed immediately while Andrew ran to his room to get his camera (which was later found to have no memory card).
After five or ten seconds of stalling scrawny one in the window, stocky one ran over to me to free his brother from my grasp. Shit, I can't fight both of them. So, I aborted the apprehension of the windowed youngster to focus on stopping my more immediate threat. We scuffled on the couch for a moment as he punched, no, lightly tapped my face with his fist.
When people attack me, the same thing always happens. I grit my teeth and inhale with a hiss. The ensuing adrenaline, oxygen, and anger make me think of the best way to inflict damage on my adversary. Should I throw a haymaker to answer his straw tap of a punch? Or, should I grab his throat with the grip developed over years of turning wrenches and carrying groceries?
The answer this time proved to be neither. I looked at his face and my grip from his neck relented. I just wanted to know why he did this, not hurt him. All the while, Andrew was working to separate stocky one and me, and Steve was engaged in a bout with scrawny one who had equiped himself with a tire iron. The boy swung four times at Steve, but none of them were homeruns. Steve took the tire iron from him, mid-swing, and followed with a front kick to the torso of the scrawny one to knock him back like a sheet of paper in the wind. Knowing that he could not win, scrawny one fled with asthmatic Steve in pursuit. He got away.
Andrew failed to separate stocky one and me, but stocky one side-stepped from the couch and opened the door. I thought quickly about how to stunt his progress, and grabbed his left leg to anchor him effectively. He kicked me against the turquoise door repeatedly, like a feral cat with duct tape stuck to one of its paws. My grip did not fail me. He then tried running away with a 160-pound Asian strapped to his leg. As he moved about, our porch pottery clattered and my knuckles scraped on the brick patio to draw blood. Eventually, stocky one tumbled down to give me a chance to advance on him with a rear-naked choke in partial lock. "Andy! Help me!" The six-foot-five, three-hundred-pound gentle giant obliged by putting his knee in the fat kid's back and pinching the pressure point in his neck kindergarten style. Adding insult to injury, Andrew punched the kid in the side. This, coming from the biggest pacifist in our group.
"You're hurting my neck!" The kid says.
"I don't give a fuck. You shouldn't have tried to rob us," Andrew replies. Just then, a mailman strolled nonchalantly by the ruckus to place gingerly two packages on the rocking chair of the patio. He left.
The police arrive about five minutes after I yelled the instruction for a call to them. First on scene is a female officer who cuffed the perpetrator while simultaneously putting her knees into stocky one's back. She asked the cuffed youth, "Hello. Santa Fe Police Department. How are you today?" The rest of the morning was filled with the formalities of crime: paperwork, witness testimonies, and the inventorying of our belongings. The police left around 1:00 PM.
"Rebuild," I said. It looked like a drunken stupor had run its course about the room. After the carpet was straightened, the couch relocated, and the lamp put back on its base, we laughed. We laughed at the expert apprehension performed by the policewoman, and at the random appearance of the mailman. Unfortunately, I didn't come away from this with all my belongings. I am less a cell phone, green knife, and 200 dollars. But, we also laughed about how the boys must really hate me.
Sunday, April 4, 2010
Saturday, April 3rd, we decided to take the train down to Albuquerque so that we could check out the Zoo. A round-trip ticket costs $6 for students. Unfortunately, the earliest train leaves Santa Fe at 11:20am, so you get to Albuquerque at around 12:50pm. The last train leaves Albuquerque at 4:44pm, so that only leaves about 4 hours to spend in the city, unless you want to stay there all night. The Zoo takes about 20 minutes to walk to, and we decided to stop and get some food from Asian Noodle's and Bar on the main street in Albuquerque where you get off the train. The food was very good and reasonably priced.
The zoo's admission costs $7 for just the zoo, and then some additional charges for the aquarium or train rides around the zoo, but you can only get the package deal if you get there before noon (which I would recommend doing if you would like to be able to see everything in the zoo... so you might need to go there on a weekday so that there is an earlier train ride.)