Originally intended to document my experience of DeLorean ownership, focus is often radical and strange, boring and obtuse.

Monday, March 29, 2010

Earth Hour 2010 Fail

Most homes' lights, TVs, computers, blenders and XBoxes were ON during Earth Hour, resulting in failure.

Ontario failed for the second time during our 3rd installment of the global energy-saving initative, yet you will never read about it in your newspaper, or hear about it on the news.

Starting with Ontario's Earth Hour blunder last year I started to grow suspicious, and conflicted. As an avid energy conservationist I wanted Earth Hour to be successful. But as a decent human being, I wanted the truth to be known. And the information I downloaded from IESO.ca was finally finding some ears willing to listen.

This year, I was contacted by a local newspaper columnist wanting my thoughts and opinions on Earth Hour, specifically regarding the energy spike of 2009 conflicting with the "official" response from IESO.

I’m working on a story for the event this weekend and would love to get your comment on it. (You) had some pretty interesting points and it’d be great to chat over the phone if you have a moment today.

I showed her the graphs I downloaded from IESO.ca; the first showing 2008's energy-saving dip, the second showing 2009's energy consumption spike. She, in turn, contacted a spokesperson for IESO and, unfortunately, decided not to interview me for her article.

I can't blame her. I'm nuts.

Last year's strange 400 megawatt energy consumption spike, I hoped, was an anomaly. I truly hoped I'd see another 2008-style dip. As the LED clocks in my house all struck 8:30 p.m., thus launching Earth Hour 2010, Suz and I shut everything off and went for a walk. A very disappointing walk.

As we walked around our neighbourhood, we counted. We compared dark houses to those with lights or TV's on. What we found was shocking. Of the 130 houses we counted, 82 had either lights or TVs on, or both. The remaining 48 homes were dark, resulting in a dismal 36.9% of homes participating.

According to the real-time energy demand at IESO.ca, there was an enormous spike of energy useage between 8:30 and 9:00 p.m. View the graph here.

The graph, of which I took a screenshot immediately after Earth Hour, clearly shows an 800 megawatt spike over what IESO had anticpated. Not only that, but the amount of energy consumed during Earth Hour was approximately 100 mw higher than the projected peak energy usage of the entire day (16,404 mw).

What does that mean? Earth Hour was the biggest bust since the Hindenburg. But guess what - you won't read that anywhere, because the IESO reported an Ontario-wide drop of 560 megawatts compared to a "normal" Saturday in "late March".

Let's compare.

2008's daily Peak useage on Earth Hour Day was 17,800 mw. 2009's daily Peak useage was about 15,500 mw. And 2010's daily Peak useage was about 16,500 mw, which was during Earth Hour. So, is 16,500 mw less than a "normal" Saturday? It is. But only if you compare to 2008.

Sorry IESO, you fail at math, and at reporting the truth. I've decided Earth Hour is really only for people who don't conserve every day.

2008 Ontario Earth Hour energy usage.
2009 Ontario Earth Hour energy usage.
2010 Ontario Earth Hour energy usage.

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Friday, March 12, 2010

2010 Canadian International Auto Show

Ford Reflex concept with golf cart motor. Because, well, concepts aren't real, people.People have been celebrating the automobile since its creation over a century ago, and auto shows have been drawing gawkers like me since 1907. The automobile was essentially a replacement for walking. Until the late 1800s, people had been using their feet to get around, like a bunch of shmucks. Finally, in protest, some of them threw up their tired dogs, banded together and said, "It's time for a car!"

Most people think the car followed the horse & buggy, but few people realize that the horse was invented at the same time as the car. Old paintings of men riding horseback were merely horse-company propaganda, attempting to promote their less-than-efficient animal.

But it was a predominantly patriarchal society, specifically man's love of technology, that saw the car outsell the horse almost immediately. Some horse companies attempted to attract small children to their products by creating smaller versions, such as ponies. But children simply did not have the means to afford their own transportation and pony production slowed. Horses are now relegated to antique horse shows and one can find ponies and the ubiquitous "pony rides" at various fund-raising events and birthday parties.

I spent the final day of the Canadian International Auto Show wandering from manufacturer to manufacturer with my dad, and Subaru Canada's manager of Product Planning, who both preferred cars to horses.

Battery powered Tesla's are blazingly fast, but not in the recharging department.Among some of my favourite displays were the Targa Newfoundland Nissan GT-R in bright pumpkin-orange, one lonely Tesla roadster plugged in and running, and the Cruise Nationals display, where a friend, Bob Train, had his 3rd place '51 Mercury on display.

Bob had his Mercury Monarch custom built from the ground up, bespoke in every respect. Power comes from a GM crate engine developing 502 hp. Inside, the Merc is outfitted in Cadillac STS upholstery, and includes a DVD/GPS system with multiple video screens. Bob originally considered a custom Clydesdale, but fitting the video screens to the back of the horse's head proved too difficult.

Another big draw at the auto show was the Mercedes-Benz display, and specifically, the new SLS. This one really drew the crowds, making photo-ops difficult and proving Gull-wings never seem to go out of style. I was a little disappointed in Mercedes' choice of displaying the car in red, but the car's proportions were a 10. See the SLS AMG here.

We stayed much longer than we anticipated despite the show's smaller size this year. As we exited, we passed through the Shelby display where a few million dollars worth of classic race cars were displayed.

Towards the end, we encountered one of the most spectacular cars of the show; the Ford Shelby GR-1 concept car, with an astonishing all-aluminum body. The overhead lighting glinted off the finger-printed body reminding me of my DeLorean in full sunlight. I was in awe. No offense to those in the paint business, but gorgeous pure metal is #1 in my books. It's cars like this that really put the hurt on the horse business.

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Monday, March 01, 2010

Denzel Washington Online

It's not okay to look at your neighbour in public washrooms. But front porches are a different story.

The question is, did Denzel Washington really watch my friend's Dorito's Viralocity contest video?

That depends. Are we talking about THE Denzel? Denzel the actor, from such movies as The Manchurian Candidate, The Preacher's Wife, and Courage Under Fire? Or are we talking about some shmoe who just happens to have the same name?

If you ask around, it's difficult to find big Hollywood A-list stars admitting to spending time online. But then again, my pal Kevin did have a little conversation with Robin Williams and his online gaming addiction - in particular, Battlefield 2. It exploded on the net, and gaming sites were abuzz for months. Read the story here.

So, what do you think? Is the Antwone Fisher actor really interested in the Doritos Viralocity contest? Would the Crimson Tide actor take the time to watch a video sent to him? And if so, would he also take the time to leave a comment?

After all, he is a very busy actor who's been in dozens and dozens of films and TV shows throughout his 33 year career.

Read the comments below and decide for yourself. Better yet, log in under the temporary login and have your say! The video is here.

pieface A - 2010-03-01 11:44:44 EST
I personally know Denzel, and he definitely watched this video.
oakes w - 2010-03-01 10:57:19 EST
That's not really Denzel Washington you know. There's no way he'd make a comment online! Especially a Canadian contest.
Tracy O - 2010-02-28 13:11:48 EST
It's great to see Denzel Washington interested in the Doritos Viralocity contest!
washington D - 2010-02-28 13:06:31 EST
Great video!

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This many people accidentally stumbled upon my site
...while searching for porn.