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Monday, February 16, 2015

Post Super Bowl Depression and Building Electric Cars

Photo by S. Monte Kase

It's been a long time since I've done a post and I owe you one. If it wasn't for Kathe Frahm's "Seattle Seahawks and Old Women" pieces (scroll down and read them, please) nothing new would be up here.

Kathe got right to work after the Super Bowl expressing her feelings about the loss. I could scarcely handle my emotions about it and clammed up.

But let's settle this. About the interception. Certainly running the ball with Marshawn Lynch was the highest percentage choice, but everyone new that was coming. I'm okay with attempting a pass to surprise the Patriots. On second down with one timeout, you can run or throw. If you run on second down and are stopped, you use the time out and then have to pass or risk running out of time.


I'm not okay with throwing an inside slant. Risky move. You need to throw something that either a Seahawk catches or it goes out of bounds. A fade to the corner or something high in the back of the end zone. Preferably with a run fake and a roll out so Russell Wilson has the choice to run. Too many things can go wrong with a pass in the middle of the field. Something did go wrong.

Anyway, I can't change that. Still a good team with a bright future that was a couple feet away from winning the Super Bowl.

Now about my blogging. It's not that I haven't been writing. I just haven't been writing here. I've been busy with Bright Hub and Writer Access. Through WA I connected with a person building a website about electric and hybrid cars. I've done a lot of work for that site and have become passionate about the subject.

Check out work by me and others at Best Green Cars.

I have become pleasantly surprised that the electric car future is actually getting brighter. Sure, powerful and greedy forces are still pushing gasoline like crack. Yet great green vehicles are on the horizon.

Hate to wait? Build your own. While BGC is primarily about new and future vehicles, I have been trying to shine a light on the fascinating world of EV conversions. A number of creative and ingenious people are gutting gasoline cars and installing electric power-trains.

I hunted down some interesting cars and people, primarily through EVAlbum.com, and received a strong response. Maybe too strong. I was hoping for one interview and ended up with several. Now I'm hoping to get the green light to put them all on the site, but it isn't up to me.

A couple profiles of converters are on their way to BGC already. I'm not sure exactly when, but I'll let you know. Because good people took the time to answer my questions and share their stories, I'm going to mention them here and now.

Ben Nelson's Electro Metro

Ben took a $500 Geo Metro, removed the internal combustion parts and sold them for $550. Then he installed a forklift motor and a dozen batteries. It ain't fancy, but for less than $1500 it gets him down the road with zero emissions.

Photo by Benjamin Nelson


EV-Concepts

S. Monte Kase has been disemboweling and electrifying gas-powered cars since the seventies, despite everything the government, oil companies and auto makers can do to stop him.

Photo by EV-Concepts

Randy bought a previously converted Pontiac Fiero. He has done repairs, upgrades and very technical interior work to make it better than any Fiero ever was.

Courtesy of cztree.blogspot.com


This Frenchman has built is own electric vehicle completely from scratch. It looks like nothing on the road. It's an amazing project.

Photo by Jean-Yves Belet


To compete in the 24 Hours of LeMons (a wacky event for cars costing $500 or less) John converted this Datsun convertible to electricity. He is one of the only EVs to ever race in this series.

Courtesy of EVAlbum.com


Dietrich has converted a Scirocco and built a very detailed blog about what he has learned. To build your own EV, you have to do a lot of learning. Start by learning German.

Courtesy of EVAlbum.com

What I've learned about EV conversions is that the resulting machine is simpler than what it was before. It takes some study and some tinkering, but you can do it. It can be street legal.

I don't have the time to do it, but I could if I wanted to. If my eldest son was older, we'd be building his first car. He's certainly smart enough to do it and I have a wrench. We'd make a great team.

More on my feelings about green cars coming soon. Until then, investigate Best Green Cars. The man behind the site is passionate, honest and deserves some support.


Tuesday, February 10, 2015

Seattle Seahawks and Old Women: One Last Yard

(Editor's Note: We all deal with Post-Super Bowl Depression in a different way. The wrenching, shocking finale inspired Kathe to get her feelings written down almost instantly. My reaction was to think about the game as little as possible for several days, hence the late publication of this post. Please enjoy the last "Seattle Seahawks and Old Women" until September.)


Contributed by Kathe Frahm

One old woman was not in the rec room. She did call and say she was in Maui and would forgo the waves and beach and sun to stay inside and watch the game. The old women appreciated her sacrifice for their Seahawks.

The snack table was loaded with every kind of food. None of it real expensive and most of it homemade. The Hawk blue and green cake did not get made. The old woman in charge of that had a painful attack of shingles and just couldn't bake. There was plenty to eat though. One old woman put a big 12 candle on her toffee cookies.


Everything was laid out carefully with all the spoons, forks, plates and napkins so no one had to get up to get anything during the game.

Old women watch TV. A lot of TV. They work to keep up with the predictions, point spreads and Vegas odds making, but not understanding all that leaves them unsure of just what is going on. Listening to explanations from some of the more informed old women doesn't much help. They just want the game to be on, their boys to win and the snack table fully stocked.


A highlight is always the million dollar commercials. The most giggles were for the Viagra spoof for Fiat and awwws for the Budweiser puppy and Clydesdales. 


The National anthem and fighter jet fly-over always brings cheers from the old women and the scene of our troops far away brought a few tears.


The game was everything the old women hoped it would be. Losing hurt. Their boys played so well with all they had and as was typical of the season's games, it all came down to the last few minutes. It seemed so easy for Russell to just hand off the ball at the Patriots' goal to Marshawn and win. That didn't happen.


The old women picked up the leftover snacks, put the couch back in the hall and just went to their apartments. This was one loss they all shared. They have had many other losses much worse than that of a football game. They still hope for the best.

One old woman said that the Hawks will see to it that many of their boys will get much bigger contracts for 2015. So many of the players are all still under 30 years old and have good prospects for their future football careers.

It is the nature of old women to look toward better times. Some have left the bad days behind. Others carry them around. But for a time, the rec room was a place for shared screams, laughter and really inappropriate comments on the nature of watching beautiful young men in tight pants.


Sunday, January 18, 2015

Seattle Seahawks and Old Women: Sent Packing


It was quiet in the rec room during the first half of the Green Bay Packers game. The old women's "can't lose" attitude was a little shaky with their boys down 16 to 0. They all wanted to just give Russell a hug and tell him it was going to be OK 

Some old women who threw up their hands in defeat were roundly booed and told to cut it out and keep cheering their boys on. One old man who was born in Wisconsin as a Packers fan came in for a while. He had to leave though when the Hawks started getting some momentum going and the old women screamed. Two other old men stuck it out and one even helped serve food. The perfect host.

The one old woman who was counting down how long it takes to make a TD for the Hawks to catch up was getting anxious. Most said to relax and remember when Russell threw TDs in the last few seconds to win games. Knowing it wasn't over, made the old women hope for a Russell, Marshawn or Kam miracle play.

They got to overtime after the Chris Matthews got the ball on an onside kick. Marshawn took it in for a TD to tie and it just got better from there.

In overtime Russell threw 3 perfect passes to move down the field. The last one found Jermaine Kearse in the end zone and the miracle win.


Some of the old women wept right along with Russell during his post-game interview. It has been a long season for them. But they saw how fun and how much it meant to show up, scream loud and long, and share this Seahawk team.

The Packers and Aaron Rodgers with Eddy Lacy played a remarkable and fierce game.

The old women were fearful their boys would not catch up. Every Hawk offensive play was stopped short. When Russell took it in while the Packers' defense was mobbing Marshawn on the other side of the goal, the old women were hopeful this game could be turned around. The tide did seem to turn when punter Jon Ryan faked the punt and and passed it to Garry Gilliam for a complete surprise TD. The old women just shrieked and laughed and loved the show.


Plans were being made for Super Bowl Game day. The old women and the one old man who stayed sorted out who was going to bring what food and maybe some spiked Hawaiian punch. A '12' banner and a beefcake picture of Russell on the bulletin board set the tone. The old man wasn't too pleased and said if he put a scantily clad female picture up there the old women would have a fit. One woman said, "Whatever."


The old women and their Hawks need the 2 week rest until the Superbowl. They hope all that sun and warmth in Arizona won't distract their boys.

Saturday, January 17, 2015

Seattle Seahawks and Old Women: Panther Kittens


Contributed by Kathe Frahm

The old women are happy. They are just waiting for their boys to drop Cam Newton, in his tracks. The last time the Hawks beat this team, Newton made a real display of arrogance the old women found excessively annoying. True, the Panthers had won 5 of their last games, but the old women couldn't wait for Russell, Chancellor, Wagner and Kearse to give them a football clinic.

One old woman bet the others Newton would challenge Richard Sherman and throw to his side of the field. They know QBs avoiding Sherman is a sign of respect and his ability to make big interceptions. Richard picked him off. The forced fumbles also made the old women scream. Kam Chancellor's 89 yard TD interception and 2 leaps OVER the Panther's line to block field goal attempts for some old women were the highlights of the whole year. They do love showmanship and they got it in this game.


Russell is confident and calculates in split seconds that his receivers are where he wants them to be. Some favorites of the old women are Luke Willson and of course their Marshawn. Luke has so much fun when he gets to into the end zone. Marshawn is the one Hawk nearly all the old women would want on their side in a fight. They marvel at his power to just keep going and his way of dragging any team's defenders with him.


So many of their boys have shown great talent and courage in this season. Last year even the most faithful of Hawk fans went into this part of the play-offs with a certain dread and fear of failure. The old-timers were promising a Hawk melt-down. Like always. Not so many naysayers this year. Watching Pete Carroll shepherd these remarkable young athletes to a winning season, has been a wonderful way to spend game day together, eating junk food and working to out scream each other.

The Green Bay Packers are not a team to take for granted. Even injured with an calf strain, their QB Aaron Rodgers is worthy of respect. RB Eddie Lacy is said to be fierce much like Marshawn, but may be limited in play due to a bad knee.


One of the old men called an old woman sick because she said all their boys have to do is aim for Rodgers' bad leg. You'd think he had learned that the blue-tinted pin curl and fluff disguises the fierce "just win" competitor inside.

Sometimes the old women ask each other why these beautiful young men, their team, are important to them. They have had heroes in the past. Famous people, men and women, moved through their lives. Now, the sheer fun of winning almost all the time fills a need to claim some ownership of accomplishment. A small thing, but important just the same.


Wednesday, January 7, 2015

Seattle Seahawks and Old Women: Battering Rams


Contributed by Kathe Frahm

Old women like that their Seattle Seahawks beat the St Louis Rams. They are not sure about all the wild card playoff stuff, they just know their boys won. They are also glad their Hawks get a week to rest while the other teams are fighting it out to see who will play them. Winning home field advantage is good. The 12s will make it real noisy for any of the opposing teams. The old women can scream and yell with the best of them and they do.

The Rams got a little comfortable with their 6 point lead in the first part of the game. The old women encouraged each other by saying that's not going to last. They have not forgotten the embarrassment of having the Rams beat their boys earlier in the season.

The Rams' QB for this game was an older player, another substitute, Shaun Hill. The pressure from the Seahawks' defense was just as intense and aggressive as the old women hoped it would be.


Wagner, Chancellor and Bennett led the best defense in the league, holding the Rams to a couple of field goals. They shut down any kind of running game the Rams tried, making a statement that the Hawks had come to play.

The old women could not believe the fumble by Marshawn Lynch and the rare interception thrown by Russell Wilson. Russell did recover 2 of his own fumbles which made the old women proud.


Key plays just got better and better. Bruce Irvin's interception and 49 yard TD run. Earl Thomas' strip, forcing a touchback. Big Jordan Hill's interception was a treat for the old women. They loved the look on his face: pure joy.


Hawks players all around celebrated his catch. Marshawn's 9 yard TD and the Hawks defense dropping the Ram's Receiver, Tavon
Austin for a loss fit right into the game plan.

Old women in this rec aren't given to swaggering. Not a lot in their lives are worthy of that. But the fun of making this team of talented young football players their boys gives an opportunity for a little bit of a strut.

The old women will try to figure out which teams might play the Hawks in the play off count-down to the Super Bowl February first. But for now they are ready to get together in the rec room at the home, eat unhealthy snacks and show the old men how to properly cheer for their Hawks.