Oh, I shouldn't neglect thee.

Sorry for the lack of posts. I keep saying I'm going to keep up with blogging better, but it tends to fall through. I make no promises, but again, I will try.

What has happened in the last year since I posted? In fact it's been the most that's happened to me in many years. Shortly after I last posted I asked my girlfriend to marry me. She said yes:
 We (she) decided we had no reason to wait around so the wedding was planned and went off without a hitch in Woodstock, NB in August.

Meanwhile Krista was still finishing up her internship as a dietitian until November. One of the places she interned at was the Community Health Centre in Merrickville, ON. I have been debating moving back to Ontario for a while now and Merrickville seemed both like a nice place, and a good compromise between New Brunswick and Northern Ontario (where our parents live). We also have friends and family both in the Ottawa area. So Krista was impressed enough with Merrickville that we up and moved here in December.

We had a nice place to rent for the short term. However it had no yard and was on the main street (a lot of truck traffic). In February we put an offer in on a house just off the Rideau River and it finalized in March. Our closing date is now fast approaching at the end of May.

This is a great place to live as I've found over the last number of months. For one thing, I'm close to trains again!

Maybe too close! ;)

Many more things are in the works, we get a canoe in a couple weeks, as well as the house. Expect lots of photos and videos from that adventure!


Wind Energy & Open Data

I've thought a lot about renewable energy in various forms for some time now, especially since I moved to PEI where a good amount of our energy can come from wind. The official figure I've heard varies from 15% (source) to 18% (source). That is pretty good, but when you figure only 20% comes from nuclear (when Point Lepreau is up and running) that indicates a lot of our energy comes from oil and coal.

In 2008 Premier Robert Ghiz put forth a plan to increase our output from the 149 or so MegaWatts we currently produce to 500. That would allow us to increase our wind consumption to 30%, directly cutting from oil and coal. This has obviously not happened, as his plan called for the first 100MW to come online this year. The culprit was a combination of the recession, the failure of Canada to implement a cap and trade system on our CO2 useage, and low oil prices. The proposals by developers would have required that the energy be sold at a higher rate than what we currently pay, and that's already the highest in Canada (according to Manitoba Hydro (source), .169$/kWh).

One thing that will help out wind energy is that the price of oil is back up (~$108/barrel). The economy looks like it is slowly getting back on track as well, though how much of that is an illusion remains to be seen.

The government claims that the 500MW plan is still in effect, once they get some good proposals from developers. This is good news.

When researching information about wind energy on PEI, or anything to do with electricity, I found there was not a good source of information. I admit I don't look beyond page one of google's search results, but I do try to query the best I can to find this information. The fact that I had to go to Manitoba Hydro to find out what we pay for electricity is funny (of course I could have checked my bill, but I can't link to that). One person who also feels this pain but is doing something about it is Peter Rukavina. He is looking to open up government data, particularly how much energy is being generated by our wind farms. It turns out there just isn't any publicly available data on that. In fact, the North Cape Wind Farm isn't even permanently connected to the internet, it's on dial up! (So much for the island getting high speed internet)

Peter was able to use some data from the New Brunswick System Operator website and scrape the data into an tracking system here. That page shows how much energy and where that energy is coming from for the NB system. Of particular note is the PEI component. I've actually used the code from that page to embed a little graph on the right hand side of my blog here so you can see at any point what our energy flow with NB has been doing. If the number is positive, it means we are importing energy from NB. If it goes negative it means that the wind must be blowing and our demand is actually low enough that we're exporting wind energy to NB. That occurred for the first time since the feed went live last night.

Thank you Peter for all the work, meeting with politicians, writing the code, and the interest in our wind energy. I look forward to further developments and I'd be interested in helping out in any way I could.


Immaculate Machine No More

Sad but not totally unexpected news yesterday, Immaculate Machine, one of my favourite bands, is no more.

I first saw them in 2007 in Charlottetown (also the first time I saw Smothered in Hugs!), and then a couple times after that, every time they came back to the island. I even blogged about a couple of their shows here. Another interesting fact, they were the first band I ever photographed (as evidence by the not so great shots showcased here).

They had a lot of talent and put on a great live show, and I will miss them! They are all involved in new projects though, so I assume I'll see them again someday.


CBC Radio 3 Searchlight Nomination

As the Bad Astronomer Phil Plait would say, Holy Haleakala! Someone nominated sucktastic for the CBC Radio 3 Searchlight for Canada's Best Music Website. Though I'm extremely flattered, I don't really see my blog as a music website. Only because Canadian Indie Music is such a large part of my life does it get mentioned here so often. But I also talk about other things, food, travel, atheism, photography, etc. So I don't really think I qualify.

However, the blog where we keep The Moe and Martin Show, Canada Is a Music Mecca is also nominated! Besides our show, there is lots of great stuff going on on that blog. We have a number of contributors posting interviews, album reviews, daily music news, occational tracks of the day, and more every day.

So please, if you have a Radio 3 account, or want to sign up for one (it's free and easy), consider voting for Canada is a Music Mecca!


Music PEI Week Playlist

I took a lot of video for the Friday night Music PEI Showcases. 3 Venues, 9 bands, and 22 videos have been compiled for your viewing pleasure!

Click YouTube to go to the playlist page and watch in HD.