Friday, December 18, 2009

First Ski of the Season

Monday brought a few friends and I to Alta Sierra, about an hour and a half drive from Bakersfield, for some cross country skiing after the weekend had brought some 12 inches of snow to the area.

I finally got to try out the gear that I had bought at the end of last season and was extremely pleased with the results. Especially the boots - worth every penny!

When we took a little break for lunch in a wide open area, the sticky sunny snow was calling for a snowman. It was a little too easy to roll the large balls of snow, and I destroyed the body with an extra large head on the first try... we did finish him successfully, and even with "hair"!

I'm still a little awe struck that this lies literally in my backyard and up until last year, I had absolutely no idea.

Friday, December 11, 2009

Does anyone see anything wrong with this? Something just seems so inefficient...

Thursday, December 03, 2009

an accomplishment... sort of?

Many of you know that since my arrival to California, nearly 5 years ago, I've been pressing for our school to "go solar" - I mean, of 365 days a year we get maybe 3 with rain and/or clouds. It was (and still is) astounding to me that every building here is not equipped with rooftop photovoltaic cells. It's more astounding that it's not in the code for all NEW buildings being constructed.

Well, despite my constant suggestions (primarily being PV carport installation in the parking lots or on building roofs or both) at various campus-wide meetings, which tended to generate grumbles of annoyance from the administration, I kept on pushing. At one point I was told that I needed to cease all outside inquiries because I had somehow single-handedly pissed off PG&E (which is Pacific Gas & Electric) - an entire company - an entire company who provides rebates for PV installations. I never quite understood this, but under threat of ruining my green dream, I stopped.

Later I was asked to serve on the "Facilities Planning Subcommittee" and also the "Action 2012 Facilities Team" to head up the "green" division. I mostly asked what the hell the point was, since all my efforts had so far culminated to a loud SHUT UP NATALIE from above. But, I guess I also saw those committees as an invitation to keep on being the squeaky wheel. Last year I invited a student to work with me on a project proposal: car port style PV installation as a pool shade. We presented this, and solar security lighting, to the President. At that time, he stated that "a plan is being conceived for PV carports". I was all of excited, angry and confused.

Over the past 4 years I had been told the following: 1) solar carport over the parking lots is way too big of a project, think smaller (hence the pool shade), 2) PV installations are too expensive (hence the 3rd party purchase agreement I had proposed and also... oh, the PG&E rebates), and 3) in our community, which is driven by the oil & gas industry, there's no way a PV installation would be accepted (thus, I suggested Chevron or someone being the 3rd party purchaser so that they can appear to be "greener").

Now, in my 5th year here, we received the following announcement via e-mail yesterday:

Bakersfield College invites our neighbors to learn more about an exciting new project

Beginning in Summer 2010,

Bakersfield College will commence construction on a Photovoltaic (solar panel) field, to be located above the College’s northeast parking lot at Panorama Drive and Mt. Vernon Avenue

Please join us for a presentation, information and a question and answer period.

December 7, 2009

6:30 p.m.

Bakersfield College Fireside Room (Campus Center)

I have absolutely nothing to do with this (on paper). In fact, I am currently in stages of begging to be included in this project - to observe the installation, to be able to use this as an educational tool. This plan, this "new" plan, has been entirely conceived by District Administration...