Saturday, October 06, 2007

Today from 10am to 4pm there are tours of around forty houses in New Hampshire that are built with solar and/or other sustainable technologies as a major part of their operating systems. We’ll be here for the first hour and then our general contractor will host for the rest of the day while we go down to Boston with our Danish guests, eventually taking them to Logan for their flight home.

Last year 50 people signed up for the sustainability tour--we were told that this year the number has doubled. We spent time yesterday afternoon joining the clean-up effort for the visitors. The day had been extremely busy, with a crew of five working hard to complete as much of the great room roof as possible. They also installed the SolarTubes into the master bath and the hall between the sauna and the shower room, the skylight into the attic, sheathed in plywood any remaining exterior walls, made several cut-outs in walls for crawl-space access into first story roofs and for the antique grates that are placed high in the great room‘s back wall to bring a little extra hot air into the second floor guest bedroom and bathroom.

Here are end-of-day pictures. The blue tarp over the great room is to protect the trusses and ceiling planks in the event of rain this weekend.

Completed truss system over the great room. The front gable will be built on these beginning Monday.

Looking from the great room through the kitchen to the dining area near the back wall. The mechanical room is to the left. The little work table stands in for the Aga stove in the big opening that will eventually have a 38" high p
ass-through counter built across it with a Tudor-style arch above echoing the line of the roof over the great room. What's now an open space in the framing leading into the mechanical room will eventually be a shallow alcove with stereo/TV shelves.

Looking from the exercise room into the master bedroom and out through our windows to the view beyond.

The stairwell. The recess to the left will eventually be filled with shelving for books and art objects. There will be down-lighting on the shelves from the underside of that beam.

Looking into the roof structure over the bedroom/exercise/sauna wing.

Sunlight pouring down through the SolarTube into the hall outside the sauna door.

I’ve finally seen the family—a flock, actually—of wild turkeys that have been sighted all over the property. With the light fading last night I remembered that I’d left something up at the new house and went to get it. I went up the gravel road rather than through the woods, and as I got to the foot of the rise on which the house sits, I heard a loud rustling sound, although the breeze was dead calm in the trees.

I looked around and there they were to my right, a line of them, six or seven in the area I could see, moving up the hillside through the carpet of fallen leaves and right past the windows of our new bedroom.

I was pleased for two reasons: 1) I had never seen them although just about everyone else had, and 2) They were perfectly comfortable walking through the construction site. Now, our various crews have been careful of the land up there, taking down no more trees than absolutely necessary and allowing us to keep a clump of white birch and another of shagbark hickory even though they were well within the zone they had asked to be cleared. Still, there’s a pretty big disruption of the land up there. But if the turkeys aren’t spooked by the work, then I figure minimal damage has been done and the wildlife should be back in force once everything’s finished.


For the rest of this entry, I’ve picked some items that I hope will be of interest, from a variety of sources:

1) This was sent by a good friend who is one of the kisser/kissees:

A group of very diverse men--ranging in age from high school to senior citizen--is presenting "When He Kissed Me" a performance of our experiences in kissing and being kissed by a man.

The performance features 12 stories, staged at the Boston Center for the Arts Calderwood Pavilion. Tickets are free, but we're suggesting a donation of $10-20 to benefit gay youth. Here are the details:

October 11, 2007-in honor of National Coming Out Day 8-9:15 PM
Calderwood Pavilion/Boston Center for the Arts
527 Tremont St, Boston

Tickets available at the door only. Please arrive by about 7:30, as seating is limited.

Please spread the word---these stories are funny, inspiring, real and moving!

2) From The Rest is Noise, the blog of New Yorker music critic Alex Ross who is as knowledgeable about Radiohead as Rachmaninov:

From the letters column in the current issue of Science: "...Watanabe and Sato [Behav. Processes 47, 1 (1999)] have shown that Java sparrows can discriminate between Bach’s French Suite no. 5 in G minor and Arnold Schoenberg’s Suite for Piano opus 25. The birds were also able to generalize new music by Bach (Orchestral Suite No. 3 in D major) and Schoenberg (Five Orchestra Pieces, Opus 16) and artists in similar categories, i.e., Vivaldi and Elliott Carter.

In these experiments, music by Bach and Vivaldi was considered classical music, while the music of Schoenberg and Carter was considered modern music. Watanabe and Nemoto [Behav. Processes 43, 2 (1998)] have also shown that, given the option of three perches producing either silence, classical, or modern music, the Java sparrows preferred Bach to Schoenberg and Vivaldi to Carter. These results indicate that Java sparrows or songbirds prefer classical to modern music, or perhaps just more harmonious to dissonant sounds. Additionally, the sparrows chose music they 'liked' (e.g., Bach) over silence or music they 'disliked' (e.g., Schoenberg)."

Aloex’s comment: A flawed experiment — I have a feeling the sparrows might have preferred Messiaen to all of the above. [My note: Messiaen based large amounts of his music on bird songs]

3) With thanks to Ethan reynolds of Brat Boy School:

Religious, Civil Rights and Child Advocacy Groups Back Same-Sex Marriage in California
Written By Chrys Hudson for GayWired

Scores of religious, civil rights and child advocacy organizations—along with numerous municipal governments, bar associations and leading legal scholars—urged the California Supreme Court to put an end to state laws that deny same-sex couples the protections of marriage by submitting 30 amicus briefs earlier this week.

"We are not treating all Californians equally if some can marry and others cannot," said Alice Huffman, president of the California Conference of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People. "The law should protect all people equally, and all Californians should have the choice to marry," she added. "I am honored to join other civil rights leaders in calling on our state to end its ban on marriage for lesbian and gay couples."

The California NAACP joined more than 90 other civil rights organizations in filing briefs with the court. The organization's brief asks the Supreme Court to apply the Court's 1948 decision striking down laws banning interracial marriage to this current case. Longtime civil rights advocate Jon B. Eisenberg authored the NAACP's brief. The NAACP Legal Defense and Education Fund also filed an amicus brief supporting same-sex couples, as did the Howard University School of Law Civil Rights Clinic, in a brief comparing the arguments used in the past to defend laws barring interracial marriage with current arguments used to oppose marriage by same-sex couples.

In another brief, the Mexican American Legal Defense and Education Fund, the National Black Justice Coalition and numerous other civil rights organizations argued that California courts should subject laws that discriminate on the basis of sexual orientation to the strictest level of constitutional review. The Southern Poverty Law Center and the Equal Justice Society also submitted briefs urging the Court to strike down discriminatory marriage laws.

More than 60 Asian Pacific Islander groups, including the National Asian Pacific American Bar Association, joined an additional brief describing the long history of discrimination against API communities with regard to marriage in California.

Briefs supporting the freedom to marry for same-sex couples were also filed by the cities of Los Angeles, San Diego, San Jose, Long Beach and Oakland, as well as 14 other cities and counties.

The City of San Francisco, represented by San Francisco City Attorney Dennis Herrera, is a party in the case. "I am proud to stand with an unprecedented array of community, religious and legal organizations to urge the court to strike down marriage laws that unconstitutionally discriminate against gay and lesbian partners," Herrera said in a release. "The marriage exclusion has denied too much, to too many California families, for far too long. This broad consensus proves that the time has come for this discrimination to end."

Numerous bar associations also submitted briefs urging the court to rule in favor of lesbian and gay couples, including the state's largest bar association, the Los Angeles County Bar Association, and the Bar Association of San Francisco, the Santa Clara County Bar Association, the Beverly Hills Bar Association, the California Women Lawyers and others.

The American Psychological Association, the California Psychologic al Association, the American Psychiatric Association, the National Association of Social Workers (NASW) and the NASW California Chapter submitted a brief on the three decades of social science research that has consistently found that same-sex couples are just as capable of being good parents as different-sex couples and that their children are just as well adjusted.

That was just
about the first third of a lengthy article documenting the unprescedented outpouring of support for Same-Sex Marriage in California. What is not discussed is the tremendous organizational campaign that advocacy groups must have launched and sustained in California to deliver such impressive and comprehensive legal support. My compliments to anyone involved in this campaign.

My experience has been that little rattles local wild turkeys. There's a flock that roams around my work, and they are unflappable (giggle). I leave long after everyone else, and the one time they were directly in the way of my car, when I gave a little toot of the horn, they just puffed up and gobbled back.

One was hanging around my car and left me a beautiful feather on my birthday.

The house is coming along GREAT!!!
a full post!
i should be mostly moved about the works going on in CA but i was most intrigued with the wild turkeys...
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