Why You and Your Kids Should Read Charlotte Perkins Gilman

Submitted by Ben on Mon, 11/22/2021 - 08:37

When I was in school, I frequently asked my parents for recommendations of what to read for book reports. They had an extensive collection of classic speculative fiction, so I read famous titles including The Chronicles of Narnia by C.S. Lewis; The Invisible Man, The Time Machine, and War of the Worlds by H.G. Wells; Nineteen Eighty-Four by George Orwell; The Dispossessed by Ursula K. Le Guin, and Stranger in a Strange Land by Robert A. Heinlein.

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Lessons from our first electric road trip

Submitted by Ben on Fri, 11/12/2021 - 08:45

The weekend of November 5, 2021, Jessie and I made our first overnight trip in our 2018 Nissan Leaf SV. The car has a theoretical range of about 120 miles, but the highway route from Omaha to Topeka is 162 miles. There's a rapid charger in Auburn, Nebraska, and we figured if we were lucky we could make just one stop, but if we ran short of range, there were a couple other, slower chargers we could visit. Here's what we learned:

Ben's 2009 Facebook quips

Submitted by admin on Mon, 10/25/2021 - 08:44

I joined Facebook in 2008, but it wasn't until 2009 that I recognized its potential as an audience for my sense of humor. I've been looking through my old posts just in case I leave the platform in the future. One of the main lessons I've learned is that I used to get sick a lot more often when I wasn't sheltering from a pandemic! Most of the articles I linked to are now 404, sadly.

Here are some of my posts from 2009 that I still think are funny or insightful:

The Green Door

Submitted by admin on Wed, 09/08/2021 - 20:31

By the summer of 2012, I was having a lot of brain fog and fatigue from what would turn out to be a gluten intolerance. Not knowing that's what it was, I just seemed to be slipping more and more away from being the productive, reliable Web developer I had been when we moved to Emporia in 2008. I was able to get my act together enough to do home energy audits, most of the time, but I had let all of my freelance Web clients go because I couldn't promise to meet their deadlines.

Central Energy Savers

Submitted by Ben on Wed, 08/11/2021 - 16:02

In 2009, about a year after we'd moved into our house in Emporia, I decided to get a home energy audit so I would know what improvements would be cost-effective. The nearest firm was in Topeka. The auditor was very friendly and asked about my Web work, which I was doing all from home. He said that I should consider getting into energy auditing because the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA) funds were about to hit the state, and Kansas was going to go big into energy efficiency programs, and because the work would make a nice change of pace from sitting at my desk at home.

Smartphone Magazine

Submitted by Ben on Sat, 07/24/2021 - 15:08

When I met Jessie in August of 2007, I was content to work 1/4-time for Prairie Star District and freelance for various other Web clients. I had moved to Fairfield, Iowa, and the flexibility of my work hours allowed me to attend lots of community events and learn about sustainability. The cost of living in Fairfield was very low, and I knew lots of other people who were not fully employed.