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Thursday, January 31, 2013

Rensselaer Plateau GIS Maps

I was just looking over the Rensselaer Plateau Alliance's website and noticed they now have a section on GIS (Geographic Information System) maps of the Plateau.  There are views on Biodiversity Values, Rare Plant Sites, Important Natural Communities and more.  Quite nice... thank you RPA!

Click here to join, as I have, the Rensselaer Plateau Alliance.

Thursday, January 24, 2013

Thermal Leak Detector

When the temperature dips below 0 degrees, as it did last night and early this morning when my weather station indicated a frosty -15 degrees, I often find myself reaching for my Black & Decker thermal leak detector.  It uses infrared sensors to measure surface temperatures.  Press the button, aim and the LCD display provides the temperature at the target spot, plus projects a blue light for problem areas.

It's much cheaper than paying a consultant to do an energy audit of your house and -- if you're like me -- you will be surprised at the unexpected spots where trouble lurks.  Last night, I found a spot inside a closet (with poor insulation between it and the mudroom) that was a whopper!  Didn't take long to fix that source of heat loss.

Video on how to check for leaks using this cool tool from Black and Decker, the TLD100

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Polar Plunge - Grafton Lakes State Park

Taking the Polar Plunge!
Grafton Lakes State Park 2013 Winter Fest

Monday, January 14, 2013

Monsieur Lazhar

Monsieur Lazhar (Trailer)

I just watched the film Monsieur Lazhar.  In fact, I watched it twice in two days (something I never do) and enjoyed it even more the second time.  It now goes down in my list of all-time favorites.  Best movie I've seen in a very long time.  I will be ordering a copy from because it is most definitely "a keeper."

From the Music Box Films website this film,  "Nominated for an Oscar for Best Foreign Language Film, Monsieur Lazhar tells the poignant story of a Montreal middle school class shaken by the death of their well-liked teacher. Bachir Lazhar (Fellag), a 55-year-old Algerian immigrant, offers the school his services as a substitute teacher and is quickly hired. As he helps the children heal, he also learns to accept his own painful past. This moving film features exquisite performances by Fellag and a stunning ensemble of child actors."

Because of this film, I will no longer avoid foreign films with subtitles -- I forgot I was reading them I was so mesmerized with the film.  The casting is impeccable, the acting extraordinary, the music haunting.  I have never seen acting be children to be so convincing.

Click here for a larger version of the trailer.

Friday, January 11, 2013

Southern Vermont College

Dennis, a very good friend of mine and former college roommate, recently visited me.  In the annual letter that he disseminates with his Christmas cards, he mentioned how he visited his old college friend who "lives on a beautiful lake in the middle of nowhere."  Yes, but....   it's a nowhere at the intersection of three of the best states in the Union and four historic, fun-to-explore cities: Troy, Bennington, Williamstown, and North Adams.   These four cities also happen to be home to some great institutions of higher education: RPI, Russell Sage College, HVCC, Bennington College, Williams College, MCLA and... the very cool Southern Vermont College.

Take a drive up to Southern Vermont College's Mansion someday.  You'll discover a place of beauty and serenity.

Southern Vermont College Virtual Tour

 Click here to read about SVC's and the Everett Mansion's fascinating history