[Most Recent Entries]
Below are the 10 most recent journal entries recorded in
|Monday, December 18th, 2006|
|More on Biodiesel
People have asked me and Blogged me why doesn’t everyone do bio-diesel, here is a few reasons –
It takes a shop or garage where the space of 1 car is dedicated to Bio-diesel, mine is a 2-car shop and a car sits on one side and the other half is devoted to making biodiesel.
You need space to store 55 drums of Veggie oil. I pick up 55 gallons a week from the fast food places. There are times you can’t process (vacation, illness) and so the drums starts backing up. I currently have 4 drums waiting to process, so a large backyard and friendly neighbors are needed.
The mess – I got started after seeing a Dirty Jobs episode. Believe me it is a messy business. When you crack the wrong valve you instantly have a mess that doesn’t clean easily with soap and water.
The ingredients to make Bio are all nasty -
Methanol – Racing fuel, a carcinogen that is absorbed through the skin, so full chemical gear should be worn
Sodium Hydroxide (Lye) or Potassium Hydroxide (Caustic Potash) – Nasty stuff that can burn you
Sulfuric Acid 98% pure – Battery acid is less than or equal to 50%, This stuff can burn you really bad.
Expensive start up costs, I have invested 2500 in equipment, so I won’t break even until about 1500 gallons go through my engine. I am at 500 now.
You can’t sell bio-diesel! If you do, the revenoors are coming after you! In AZ fuel tax state + fed is 62 cents per gallon, If I were to sell it, AZ is not getting their road tax and that makes them cranky. I understand that some coops exist but I don’t know much about them. I am sure they are paying the taxes though.
|Sunday, December 17th, 2006|
|Why I don't eat at fast food restaurants or at least don't eat somethings!
Continuing on my Bio-diesel thesis!
Ursula is right, I need to clue the world into fast food restaurants, First I am NOT a chemistry major, I make bio-diesel and only know recipes and how to test things.
Fresh virgin oil is rated as 0 or close to it. As soon as you start heating the oil Free Fatty Acids start to form, the longer you heat it the more acids build up. I pick up oil from a little motel diner and they use the oil for 2 –3 days it gets heated in the morning and is turned off 4 hours later. So when I get it, it tests at 1.25. The oil is still very yellow translucent and is wonderful to make bio-diesel with!
I also pick up from 2 fast food burger restaurants that will remain nameless, they use their oil for 2 days also, that’s 48 hours! 48 hours of high heat - frozen hotdogs, hamburger patties, chicken patties, French fries – you name it, it goes in. The oil is black when I get it! I have to strain it with a wire basket made of screen door material to keep the “bleep” out of the pump. The sludge at the bottom of the drum (55 gallon collection barrel) is unbelievable after only one week! Chemically while the two sit down restaurants have oil that tests at 1.25 – 2.0. The fast food place is a 9!!! That’s right folks a 9! To make bio-diesel I have to treat it with Sulfuric Acid to break down the fatty acids just to get it to a 5!
So think about that the next time you grab a yummy French fry. The wire basket was sitting in what I just described being cooked and poured into that cute cardboard tray that makes it look so wholesome! And that healthy breaded chicken – huh uh!
This is why I eat at Pollo Loco and get the grilled chicken, Only eat French Fries at quality restaurants, and if I have to eat at a place like this (on the road) only get stuff that is grilled. If I need to use Sulfuric Acid to break this stuff down, what is our stomachs doing? Since collecting this oil, I have changed my eating habits.
Well everyone have a good dinner now!
|Why I drive Bio-diesel
I have received some requests for info on bio-diesel, so here goes.
For most diesel engines, it does not know the difference between bio-diesel and diesel. I drive a 1998 Dodge 3500 (dually). I just started pouring bio diesel instead of diesel in July, since then I have put 4000 miles on 100% bio and the truck runs the same as before I switched. I can run regular diesel or bio - the truck doesn't care. I get my used oil from 2 fast food hamburger places and 2 sit down resturants. I have to treat the oil differently but the out come is the same a golden oil a little darker then pure veggie oil. The exhaust smells like a deep fat fryer. I get the same performance and milage as with diesel. I can process average 10 gallons a day but could increase to 20 if I really started to use more. Winter is tough using bio-diesel. If you live in a place that freezes or going somewhere that does you must treat the bio. at 32F bio diesel turn to jel, looks like yellow lard. Can't pump it. If you mix with 25% regular diesel you can go to 25F, I plan on going to Oregon for xmas and I will mix once the temp starts down. Diesel and Bio mix perfectly.
Words of caution - All bio is not the same. Obviously commercial grade is all the same and of high quality. They use virgin corn or soy oil. No used oil from them! Home brew is the same as moonshiners, some is great stuff and others will make you go blind! Personally, I wash it carefully, dry it completely, filter through a water block filter that also filters to 10 microns. Some are just as anal about it as I am but others aren't. If you are thinking about getting some, make sure the source uses their own fuel to drive and see if they have had troubles.
Once you change over to bio the fuel filter will clog quickly as bio CLEANS like a white tornado (see, I am dating myself) it removes ALL sludge in your fuel tank, lines etc and it gets stopped at your fuel filter. So after I changed to bio about 3800 miles I started to notice a problem and it was the fuel filter.
Oh yeah - It costs me 75 cents a gallon!
Hope I answered all your questions, I have links for more info some good some bad!
|Saturday, December 16th, 2006|
|almost victim of a scam
Please understand that I am a very trusting person, so I must be a natural target.
On 15 December about 10:30 am a Red Pickup truck drove into my driveway and a tall man, later identified as Alan Sawyer, got out. He told me he was a foreman for an asphalt crew and truck, laying asphalt on Ironwood (a major road nearby that is under major rework). He said they had ended up with a truckload of approximately 100 yards of asphalt that was too much for the job and could give me a “good deal” of 25 dollars a yard, he pointed out the gravel portion of my driveway and told me it was about 100-120 yards worth. I told him I could not afford it as I have been out of work for a while. He said he would take a credit card. He told me a crew would come in and move all the stuff including the shed and would then level the area and pour the asphalt.
Since I know about the construction going on at Ironwood, I assumed this was legitimate. About an hour later a large truck with the name “Williams Paving” on the side arrived. Another Williams Paving truck arrived shortly thereafter. The crew was very efficient and moved everything off the gravel and the bobcat leveled things out. The first truck dumped its load and then the second truck was supposed to back in. Apparently the engine quit and they were unable to restart and a mechanic was called. It was after 5:30 pm before the second truck was able to dump its load. It was after 6:30pm and Alan Sawyer told me that he had a “few” yards left in the truck and if he could dump them by the other gate “I would be doing him and his crew a favor and he would give me “good” deal on the few yards”.
Approximately 7:30 pm the work was completed and he said that the crew would have to return in the morning to seal and move all the stuff back. This is when things stared to get real hinky! He told me that the driveway had ended up being 254 yards!!!! Not 120 yards so the total was 7112 dollars! He then said the small job that I was doing him a favor was 2000 more dollars!!! I was stunned I asked him what happened to the 120-yard estimate and was told that he had made a mistake about that. He then said he would knock 300 dollars off due to all the trouble and wanted 8800 dollars. Needless to say, I felt over a barrel, I mean the asphalt was poured and I couldn’t just say take it back. I said that I would have a credit card for him the next morning. He said “No, I need cash or a cashiers check”. I told him tomorrow was Saturday and I doubted I could get cash, maybe a cashiers check, I just didn’t know. He said he needed cash or cashiers check the next morning.
The next morning I called Alan Sawyer at 8162910845 and told him I would be unable to get either cash or cashiers check, but I could put it on my credit card. He said he needed the cash and would be at my house shortly. The Williams Paving truck arrived with a bobcat and the work was done moving the dirt around that had been in the driveway. Alan Sawyer arrived about 9:30 and immediately started asking for money. I told him that the sealing was not done nor was the stuff moved. He said it would be done but needed his 8800 dollars right away. At this time alarm bells were going off in my head that I was involved in a scam. He then wanted to know how much cash advance I could get on the credit card. I told him 1500 dollars; he said he needed all 8800 of it. I told him to come back Monday with a credit card machine, as I was obviously not going anywhere. He said no he needed the money now. He then called someone (a woman) and they passed me the phone, she said to read her the number and security code on the credit card and they would run it through. I told her I would when the job was done. Alan Sawyer became very insistent that the work would be done but he needed the credit card number now! I told him I didn’t know him from Adam and I was not paying him until the job was completed. He presented me with a receipt and I told him to write his business license number on it. He took it back and went back to his truck and then drove off. A sealing truck arrived and started putting some kind of liquid on the asphalt. It immediately broke down and they were trying figure out how to fix it. By now it was about 11:00 am and I was very sure that something was wrong.
I went on the internet and typed in Alan Sawyer asphalt in the search engine. A link titled June 11,1998 http://www.osp.state.or.us/past_releases/html/june_11__1998.html
was displayed. It said that Oregon had issued 3 nationwide warrants for a Jerry Alan Sawyer for first degree theft, racketeering, and criminal conspiracy. All involving fraudulent asphalt pavers! His mug shot was shown and it was indeed the same Alan Sawyer. I immediately dialed 911 and told the operator that I was being scammed by this person who had 3 arrest warrants out and he wanted money, She said she would send a deputy out.
About 10 minutes later a deputy arrived and as he was walking down the driveway the crews started heading out quickly (picture cockroaches when the light comes on). The man, (who turned out later to be identified as a son of the owner of Williams Paving jumped into his truck and drove quickly off). While I explained the problem and who Alan Sawyer was to the deputy, the sealing truck drove off. The only vehicle and people left was the crew of the Williams Paving truck. I showed the internet print out complete with mug shot to the deputy and he spoke with the crew for quite a while and explained later that they had got a call to get 2 trucks of asphalt and bring it to this address. They supposedly had no idea who was going to pay them.
While the deputy was talking to these people, I googled some more and there was a story of Jerry Alan Sawyer being arrested in Albuquerque, NM in 2000. www.osp.state.or.us/html/august_11__2000.html I printed this and took it to the deputy also. He told me later that currently there was no arrest warrant for Jerry Alan Sawyer but if he were to show up at the house to call the deputy immediately as he would like to speak with him.
Needless to say I feel like a chump. The plan was to get my credit card number, run it to the max, and then skip leaving the paving company holding the bag, except they would have slapped a lien on my house to recover their money. I am sure (no real proof) that the paving company was in on the scam. I mean the son of the owner was driving Alan Sawyer’s truck, and he was right next to Alan telling me how they needed to get the money right away. And of course him taking off when the cops showed up is pretty damning evidence. I know I should have got a written estimate and a contractor’s license number etc. but stories of cheap dirt, concrete, etc happen a lot out here so I just didn’t have my guard up. A lesson to us all. I have contacted channel 5 news and waiting for a call back. Thankfully no money was lost!
So besides making Bio-Diesel my life is 99% boredom followed by heart wrenching excitement!!
My undying joy at having a quick response from Pinal County Sheriff’s office.
|Friday, March 31st, 2006|
I testified before the Senate committee on HB2428, which basically makes an arbitration board available to homeowners having problems with HOA’d without needing a lawyer. It was passed out of committee unanimously. I am sure it had nothing to do with my VERY nervous 2 minute speech to the 6 senators. I was the only non-public speaker person. Everyone else was either lawyers or lobbyists and to them this was a walk in the park. Not me, but I made it through, I seriously doubt I would do it again. I waited 4 hours to speak and everyone else was way more eloquent than I was.
There were 11 of us CHORE people and about 150 lawyers for the HOA’s. I AM SERIOUS! I stopped counting when the seats were all filled and there were so many people standing that I couldn’t see the door anymore to continue counting. I stopped at 110, and there was a CHORE person that wanted to talk about my case so I couldn’t pay attention anymore.
The hearing process takes a long time, each bill has people who want to speak and then the senators ask questions. It really wasn’t boring, but I am not used to sitting for so long.
I was surprised at how little supporters pro or con knew about the bills they were for or against. The senators would ask questions that I am sure were considered. And the speaker would say “I don’t know what would happen if what you asked were to take place”. Everyone just seemed ill-prepared for questions.
Anyway that was my ordeal on Thursday and I am glad it is over,
|Monday, March 27th, 2006|
GREAT NEWS – I went to the board meeting tonight and got there about 6:00. As I waited homeowners started flooding into the meeting house. IT WAS AWESOME!! At least 25 families showed up. The board was already in position at the table and the low talking that started up as homeowner after homeowner kept coming was evident to all to see. The defacto president – Not the real one, told one of the board that he would be making a statement as soon as the meeting was called to order, the guy was totally confused and the president said maybe he should have a private meeting outside. The guy said no - he would support whatever the president said. The meeting started late as more people kept coming in the door, and you could see people walking down the street to get in, it really was great! The board was not happy. The meeting was called to order and the defacto president said a lot of double talk and finally said the decision was made not to proceed against Gary & Mavis Vernon regarding the Solar Panel issue, he went on to say that just because he (Gary) did this does not mean anyone else will be allowed to get away with circumventing the architectural committee. I spoke for about 1 minute, basically telling them I tried to speak to the committee and followed all the rules and nobody would answer my letters. I got the mumble mumble “well things didn’t happen correctly, yada yada yada.” Then after all this some guy in the front row asks “why don’t we pursue the Solar Panel issue”
The President looked at him and said “because the Supreme Court of Arizona has said HOA’s cannot restrict Solar Panels, our lawyers said we would lose the court case, and it could cost us $200.000.00, and we don’t have it.” He went on for another minute or so and said he wasn’t happy doing this but they were not going to fight this.
So a win is a win, and I thank everyone for your support. I am still speaking to the Senate committee on Thursday morning, and I am really nervous about that.
I have definitely decided to run for the HOA board in June, and with luck will try to motivate the same turn out.
Spent all morning practicing my speech to the board tonight. I can't seem to get it below 5 minutes. I hope I will not be forced to stop before it is done. About 20 homeowners have "promised" to be there to support me. If I get that many people to show up, things will be more comfortable.
A few people have asked if I have gone around and got a petition. The answer is no I haven’t. I went around initially to get a feeling if people were on my side or not. It got to 34 people interviewed and 33 people supporting me. So I have the numerical advantage. However, in HOA land, quantity does not make policy. As the property manager says “this is not a democracy it is a dictatorship”. So if I don’t get the board to back off tonight, we are going to get the people together to vote out the board next June. That is the way to change the mind of the board, vote out the board.
Well I must get back to practicing, I don’t speak in public often so I have to practice more
|Saturday, March 25th, 2006|
Today I had my garage sale to get rid of junk and two homeowners stopped by to tell me they are coming to the board on Monday to voice there displeasure. May be a real interesting board meeting!
On October 25 I received my first and only notice of violation. It was the standard form letter that stated that my panels were in violation of the CC&R’s, attached however was a copy of my original request which had been disapproved. Just 7 month’s late! So when I called the management company and told them I had not received this before, he basically called me a liar and said that of course I had received it. I told him again that I had not and we moved on from there. I told him I was removing them and sited the Supreme court of Arizona ruling see - http://www.solar-electric.com/HOA_vs_Solar.htm
for the actual ruling. The next month he assured me that the board would not be pursuing this.
Then all was quiet until 14 March when I received a letter from the HOA’s law firm telling me I had 30 days to get them down or They would get a court injunction to have them removed. I immediately got my own attorney, the same attorney Hyung Choi that took this to the Supreme Court and won! He sent them a letter to back off, so we are in the stare down mode now.
Our housing development is small only 60 people. So I went around last weekend door to door and met with 29 residents. Their opinion was “WHAT!!!! Our board needs to concentrate on more important stuff then your solar panels”. When told that the last time the HOA took a home owner to court they lost, and the HOA paid $200,000.00 in legal fees. That tripped a lot of triggers, as 200K divided by 60 is a $3500.00, a sum no one has sitting around to gladly give their beloved HOA.
I have gotten the 4 homeowners that can see the Solar Panels to sign a paper that says they don’t have a problem with them. So I truly believe I have done everything I can prior to Monday when the formal board meets.
Last installment tomorrow and then I will be up to date and can report the day to day actions. Please stay tuned. Monday evening should be interesting.
|Friday, March 24th, 2006|
WOW - I am really blown away by the support - thank you much. I don't know if anyone has heard of CHORE, it is the Coalition of Home Owners for Rights & Education. They contacted me after the story hit the papers and today I found out I will be testifying to the Senate Government committee here in Arizona next Thursday. I guess I am the new poster boy for the Homeowners rights group. I will have 3 minutes to say my peace. Should be interesting.
In the late afternoon I was preparing for my massive garage sale this weekend and people started dropping by just to say hi and find out if there was any new info from the board. So I am really happy about the support.
So continuing the saga ….
After being told that they didn’t like black, I went back to Heliocol and told them that grey panels were in Black was out.
I hand delivered a letter to El Presidente 21 July asking for a resolution i.e. was the light Gray acceptable versus the rack solution and asking to meet with the architectural committee. He stated that he would give the board my letter the following week when the board met. I called him on the 27th of July, and he said that the Architectural committee did meet but he “forgot” to pass my letter along. I asked him when the Architectural committee would meet again, and he said in August some time. They basically ignored the letter and did not respond either yes or no on the light gray. So after hearing nothing I had the panels installed on August 27th.
2 months went by before the HOA guardians came forth to vanquish the unbeliever and his Solar Panels……
Thanks again for everyone’s messages of support
|Thursday, March 23rd, 2006|
In August 2005 I installed solar panels on my shop roof. Little did I know that this would make me public enemy #1
in my community - According to my HOA anyway! In March 2005 I applied for permission to put Solar panels up. Checked a week later - they had lost the plans! You have to understand, this is a small community, 60 homeowners, this isn't mega-community with a full time staff just keep track of applications. If they get 2 requests a month, that is a busy month! So somehow the plans got lost. After submitting again and confirming (by phone) they got them I did what the normal person does, waited for approval and went on with my life. Wrong decision! The first week of May I finally wake up and realize I hadn't heard anything. So I drive to El Presidente's house (next street) and ask him what is the status. This is a quote "Oh yeah, we meant to send you something but didn't have your address" HELLO - I live on the next street!!!
Okay, so what did you decide.
We don't like black, do you have a different color? We don't like them on the roof, put them on racks in your back yard.
Jeez Marv, these racks would be 14 feet high and 32 feet wide! That's not gonna look so good, do you really think this would increase my property value!!!
Well we don't like the black color. SIGH!
To be continued.... Current Mood: infuriated