Saturday, April 10, 2010

Toms goes barefoot on the beach to mark One Day Without Shoes


Toms Shoes, the company that donates one pair of shoes to needy children around the globe for every pair of shoes they sell, asked friends to go barefoot on the beach to raise awareness for the cause.

On Thursday, Toms founder Blake Mycoskie left his slip-ons at home to mark the third year of One Day Without Shoes and asked friends, including actresses Olivia Wilde ("House") and Julia Jones ("The Twilight Saga: Eclipse"), to shed their heels at Axe restaurant and walk down Abbot Kinney to his sister Paige's Aviator Nation boutique. The point is to drive home the message of what it would be like to spend a day barefoot as many people around the world do when they lack the means to purchase a pair. 

According to Toms' website, more than a quarter of a million people participated in 1,600 One Day Without Shoes events around the world, including the one here.

Mycoskie had biked to the office that morning wearing no shoes and had cut his foot within the first 45 minutes. "One Day without Shoes is to realize the importance of going without," he said.

"It feels great to go without shoes, but it's only for a day," said Wilde, who's about to start shooting "Cowboys and Aliens" with Daniel Craig and Harrison Ford. "It's a brilliant way to raise awareness of children in developing countries and put yourself in someone's shoes for a few hours."

Posted via web from eWaste Disposal and Recycling

Fresno County Fruit Trail offers a fresh bounty of sweetness

Fresno County Fruit Trail offers a fresh bounty of sweetness --------------------

The Fresno County Fruit Trail features roadside stands and farms with seasonal offerings at good prices.

By Jay Jones
Reporting from Fresno

April 11 2010

The last of the fragrant fruit blossoms is gone, their pink-and-white petals scattered across the orchards that nestle among the verdant foothills of the High Sierra. The complete article can be viewed at:,0,3642165.story Visit at

Posted via email from The Newport Beach Blog

Foreclosed? Here comes the tax man......And then there is California

Did you lose your house to foreclosure this year? Did your lender forgive some of your mortgage debt because you sold it for less than it was worth? If so, you could be facing a big tax hit.

It is IRS policy to tax forgiven debt you are personally responsible for as if it is income. Say, for example, your credit card company settled a $10,000 debt for 50 cents on the dollar. You'd have a debt forgiveness of $5,000, which the IRS would count as income, just like your wages.

In general, if you lose your home to foreclosure or short sale, where you sell your home for less than you owe, the IRS won't add insult to injury by counting the difference as income. At least until 2012.

There are four major exceptions to the rule:

1. You did a cash-out refinance and splurged.

Many homeowners took cash out when they refinanced their homes and used the extra dough to pay for new cars, boats or vacations. Say you did that and then got into trouble, losing the house through a foreclosure or short sale. Even if your lender waived the remaining debt, the IRS will treat as income the portion of the forgiven debt that you took out as cash and spent. Only the funds used to actually improve your home won't be taxed. Yes, even if you spent the money on paying off your student loans or credit cards.

The IRS' reasoning is that only the money spent on home improvement actually added to your home's value. And that, presumably, diminished the difference between what you owed on your mortgage and the value of your home when it was foreclosed.

Beware: Some lenders made refinancing offers contingent on homeowners paying off credit card debt, according to Kent Anderson, a Eugene, Ore.-based attorney and tax expert. If you took one of those deals, the refinance money will be reported to the IRS and you will owe taxes on it.

2. You have a home-equity line of credit.

During the boom years, many homeowners tapped soaring home equity to make all sorts of consumer purchases. But the same rules that apply to refinancings also apply to home-equity loans: The IRS will only forgive the tax liability if the loan money was spent improving your home. And, tax experts advise, you'll need to show receipts to prove you did.

3. You lost your vacation home or investment property.

So the market tanked and you lost your vacation home. Unfortunately, if you didn't use it as your primary residence for at least two of the previous five years, you're going to pay the tax man.

More common, however, may be the case of investment properties gone sour. During the housing boom, buying homes for investment purposes soared, accounting for 28% of all sales during 2005, according to the National Association of Realtors. (Vacation homes made up 12%.) And many of these purchases were made with little down payment.

When the bust hit, second home prices cratered. The median price paid for investment properties fell 43% to $105,000 in 2009, from $183,500 in 2005, according to NAR. For vacation homes, the median price paid dropped 17% to $169,000.

If an investor bought a property in 2005 at the median price and sold it in 2009, he could have run up $75,000 or so in forgiven debt. If the investor is in the 25% income tax bracket, that would add nearly $19,000 to their tax liability. Ouch!

4. You owned a multi-million-dollar home.

It may be hard for Americans struggling in this weak economy to sympathize with anyone wealthy enough, at one time, to afford a multi-million-dollar home. But owners losing one could be on the hook for a huge tax bill.

Only the first $2 million in forgiven debt will be voided under the relief act; all the overage is taxable as income.

So, say, for example, you're Scarlett Johansson. You paid $7 million for your Hollywood Hills villa in 2007. (With a 100% mortgage; this is hypothetical, remember.) But now, you have it on the market for $4.59 million.

Say you can't unload it, your movies tank and you have to a short sale. (Hey, it happened to Nicholas Cage; he went into foreclosure.) If you sell it for $4 million, leaving a $3 million balance, the IRS would forgive the first $2 million. But the remaining million? You better hope you have a good accountant and a lot of deductions.

The good news? Even if you fall under any of these four scenarios, you may have a way out, according to Anderson. "If the taxpayer was insolvent at the time of the foreclosure, the forgiven debt can be excluded for tax purposes," he said. "It can also be discharged in a bankruptcy and approved by court order."

And then there is California

While most states follow the IRS lead and don't tax most forgiven mortgage debt, California still makes you pay. The state legislature hopes to change that before April 15, but right now California taxpayers are legally liable for paying state income taxes on forgiven mortgage debt.

The state, which has endured some of the worst price declines and foreclosure rates in the nation, did follow the federal lead when it passed the original debt forgiveness bill, but the state only authorized the relief for the 2007 and 2008 tax years. There have been successive legislative efforts to extend relief through 2009, but none have succeeded.

One attempt at passing an omnibus "conformity" bill resulted in a veto by Gov. Schwarzenegger for reasons having nothing to do with mortgage debt forgiveness. The governor objected to a different provision covering erroneous tax reporting by businesses.

Confusion and anxiety is running high, according to Rocky Rushing, chief of staff for democratic state Sen. Ron Calderon, who is spearheading new legislation. His office has fielded many calls from unhappy taxpayers.

"We've heard about tax bills in the thousands of dollars," he said. To top of page


Posted via web from The Newport Beach Blog

Your ZIP? Home price up in 61% of O.C.

For the 22 business days ending March 25 – DataQuick’s freshest stats — Orange County homebuying patterns showed:

  • 61 of O.C.’s 83 ZIP codes had gains in their respective median selling price. Overall, prices were +10.5% vs. a year ago.
  • Taking sales volume in consideration, home pricing is up in ZIPs representing 61% of the Orange County market.
  • 5 of 83 O.C. ZIPs had median sales prices above $1 million in the period vs. 11 million-dollar ZIPs when the county median price peaked in June 2007.
  • Since that pricing pinnacle, there’s been a -34% drop in the countywide median price!
  • 44 of 83 O.C. ZIPs had year-over-year sales gains in the period.
  • Overall, countywide sales were +5.7% vs. a year ago.
  • 7 of 83 O.C. ZIPs has sales gains of 100% or more in the period.
  • NOTE! 29 local ZIPs had both sales gains and price gains in the period. (Highlighted in green below!)
  • For a detailed report on the price moves, CLICK HERE!

Below is a look at the 83 ZIPs and how they fared in terms of median selling price and total sales for this period.

Also, want to see what kind of housing the median price buys in a specific neighborhood? Click on the ZIP code, and you’ll see current for-sale listings in the median’s “ballpark” — a range from 10% below to 10% above — in that ZIP …

Read the rest of this entry »

Posted via web from The Newport Beach Blog

Friday, April 9, 2010

Zero Nuclear Weapons

Alex Lin, Teenage Activist


He's overseen the recycling of 300,000 pounds of e-waste. He's successfully lobbied the Rhode Island state legislature to ban the dumping of electronics. He's used refurbished computers to create media centers in developing countries like Cameroon and Sri Lanka to foster computer literacy.

He’s Alex Lin and he’s just 16 years old.

“I don’t see anything uncommon in it,” says Lin, a high school senior from Westerly, Rhode Island. “My friends and I have been doing this since fifth grade. It’s become part of our lifestyle.”

Lin’s catalytic moment came in 2004 when he chanced upon a Wall Street Journal article. “It first alerted me to the e-waste problem, and warned of an e-waste tsunami to come.”

E-waste, or electronics garbage, is the fastest growing section of the U.S. trash stream. In 2007, Americans discarded more than 112,000 computers daily, according to the Environmental Protection Agency. Even worse, just 18 percent of discarded televisions and computer products were collected for recycling.

While there is no federal law banning e-waste, 20 states have passed legislation mandating statewide e-waste recycling.

If only the states with e-waste laws in their 2010 legislative pipeline—Kentucky, Massachusetts, Nebraska, and Utah, to name a few—had an Alex Lin at their disposal.

The Rise of E-Waste, the Birth of Team WIN

Almost all electronic devices contain varying amounts of hazardous chemicals and heavy metals—lead, mercury, and cadmium being among the most deadly to the human body.

“When improperly disposed of—i.e. dumping, burning, etc.—these chemicals can seep into the surrounding environment, harming humans, crops, and ecosystems," says Lin. "With the advent of the computer in the 1970s, electronics use has increased exponentially, bringing with it ever-increasing amounts of waste. In the majority of the world, this waste is improperly disposed of, resulting in untold damage to the environment.”

Reduce, reuse, and recycle. These are the so-called 3Rs of eco-friendly behavior. To start, Lin and his student-led community service team, Weste (WIN), concentrated their efforts on recycling.


Alex Lin, third from right, has taken e-waste matters into his own hands. Photo: Courtesy Alex Lin

rly Innovations Network

“We worked with Metech International to hold an e-waste recycling drive that collected over 21,000 pounds of electronics,” says Lin. With assistance from a private recycling company and the municipal government, they established a permanent receptacle that collects up to 5,000 pounds of e-waste per month, and more than 300,000 pounds to date.

However, once Lin and his team discovered that reusing computers was much more efficient than recycling, they decided to create a computer-refurbishing program. “To make this sustainable,” says Lin, “we worked with the Westerly School System to incorporate computer refurbishing into the A+ Certified Computer Repair class's curriculum.”

More than 300 refurbished computers were donated to low-income students without home computer access. “It was an eye-opening experience,” says Jeff Brodie, 16, of the moment when he, Lin, and other WIN teammates walked into one Westerly residence to set up a computer. “The kids were running around very excited.”

A Field Trip to the State House

Mission accomplished, right? Not quite. Lin’s e-waste eradication efforts were only ratcheting up. “We recognized that the true sustainability of our project lay in legislation,” says Lin. Through research, they learned of an e-waste bill that had been in the works for years in Rhode Island.

Seizing on the opportunity to translate their local success into the language of a state law, Lin and his team met with Arthur Handy, the state representative sponsoring the bill, and testified before both the House and Senate Environmental Committees. “He came across very well,” recalls Handy of Lin's presentation as an 11-year-old. “They were clearly well prepared and had clearly thought the issue through.”

The bill, however, did not pass. “We were all disappointed; we had put in all this time and they didn’t listen to us,” says Brodie.

“Looking back at what might have gone wrong, we came to realize that bill was too complicated,” says Lin. To combat this, they drafted a local ordinance encompassing all the positive points of the law. “It was simple: ban e-waste dumping,” says Lin.

This go-round, Lin and his WIN Team sent out thousands of fliers, made radio announcements, wrote articles for local newspapers, and made presentations in front of both student and town council audiences. Handy says he was impressed that Lin had not given up after the failure of the first bill. “It showed that it was not just a school project," says Handy. "It showed that it was something he had a passion for."

Local media got wind of the story and helped spread the word to more than a million people in the greater Westerly area. “The biggest challenge against progress is simply awareness,” says Lin. “When my team and I first surveyed our town, only 12 percent of the residents knew how to properly dispose of e-waste.”

The Law of the Land

Fast-forward to October 28, 2005—the day local officials in Westerly unanimously passed Lin’s e-waste ordinance. “It was then proposed as a bill to the State House,” says Lin. “This time we brought a petition with 400 signatures and again testified before both the House and Senate. Bill H7789 passed on July 6, 2006.”

It is now illegal to dump electronics in Rhode Island. Proudest of all might be Lin’s father, Jason, 47, an engineer who served as the team’s mentor. “It was a tremendous amount of work,” he says with a chuckle.

The bill set the stage for more comprehensive legislation that passed in 2008. “Now Rhode Island requires manufacturers to take back their computers and televisions, and to pay for the collection and recycling of them,” says Sheila Dormody, the Rhode Island Director for Clean Water Action, a nonprofit environmental advocacy organization that worked with Lin.

The youth activist awards were piling up nearly as fast as the heaping piles of e-waste were vanishing. In 2005 alone, WIN won first place at the Community Problem Solving Competition, third place at the Volvo Adventure Competition sponsored by the United Nations Environment Program, and a gold prize at the Christopher Columbus Awards.

Scaling Up

As Lin crisscrossed the country and the globe attending these award ceremonies—from Lexington, Kentucky, to Gothenburg, Sweden; from Orlando, Florida, to Aichi, Japan—he came up with the idea for WIN’s next e-waste endeavor.

“Cooperating with satellite WIN Teams that we established through connections made at conferences and competitions, we have worked to create media centers in areas in need of information technology,” says Lin.

And like that, the WIN Network went global.


A teacher in Sri Lanka uses refurbished computers from Alex Lin's recycling program to teach his students English. Photo: Alex Lin

“To date, we have sent out over 60 computers in seven media centers to countries such as Cameroon, Kenya, Mexico, Sri Lanka, and the Philippines," says Lin. 

Lin hopes that these media centers will become a model for the sustainable and responsible reuse of computers between nations.

He also wants to "raise awareness of e-waste in developing countries so that they will be able to create the infrastructure to handle e-waste before it becomes a problem.”

According to a report issued by the United Nations Environment Programme last month, the amount of e-waste in developing nations is expected to greatly increase. By 2020, the report says, e-waste from old computers in South Africa and China will have jumped 200 percent to 400 percent from 2007 levels, and by 500 percent in India.

For all of his success, Lin’s most far-reaching legacy might prove to be the one closest to home. Like his father did for the original team, Lin has begun mentoring his 11-year-old sister Cassandra’s Junior WIN Team: shepherding their efforts to recycle used cooking oil into biodiesel that will help heat homeless shelters.

Quick Study: Recycling | Landfills | Waste Management

Related stories: The Environmental Casualties of the Great Google-Apple War | E-Waste, The Toxic Ghosts of Christmas Past | E-Waste on the Rise in Africa

Posted via web from eWaste Disposal and Recycling

Bolthouse Farms reduces waste in carrot washes

Bolthouse Farms, Bakersfield, Calif., is changing the way it processes carrots, using “eco-friendly” carrot wash stations at its Westmoreland, Calif., farm to reduce the amount of soil on the carrots before shipping them to Bakersfield.

Bolthouse Farms reduces waste in carrot washes
The elimination of soil weight has reduced fuel use by more than 317,000 gallons between February-May 2009, according to company, and prevented 55,000 tons of soil from being moved out of carrot fields.

Chuck Seitz, director of grower relations, said carrot harvest starts in the Imperial and Coachella Valleys in February and runs until mid-May. Trucks travel 700 miles round from the fields to Bakersfield for processing, but in 2009 the company started washing carrots near winter harvesting areas.

Seitz said 85% of the Bolthouse’s Imperial crop is washed with the new process.

Seitz said the company uses the wash stations at the Peter Rabbit packing facility in the Coachella Valley, which saves an estimated average of 79,000 gallons of fuel per season.

Prior to the change, unwashed carrots were pulled from the ground covered with dirt, increasing their weight and using more fuel to transport them to the processing facility, according to a news release. The soil would be hauled off-site once the carrots were washed.

Bolthouse Farms uses recycled packaging for all product lines and has the largest solar panel farming operation in the country, according to the release.


Posted via web from eWaste Disposal and Recycling

Combat Surfer

When drag racers reunite, it's a gas

SANTA ANA – In the 1950s and 1960s, more than just airplanes squealed and roared at what was then called Orange County Airport.

Back then, a quarter-mile strip of concrete at what's now John Wayne Airport hosted frequent drag races. This weekend, some of the hot-rodders from back in the day are getting together at Santiago Park to reminisce about trophies and busted rods.

Article Tab : long-originally-volkswage
Leslie Long of Yorba Linda sits in one of several retired Volkswagen Beetles, originally souped up for racing, at his warehouse in Orange April 8. Long never raced VW's, but his old-school racer, "Good Grief," racked up quite a few trophies in its hay day. He plans to get together with former racers at a reunion picnic this weekend.

The races pulled in drivers and spectators from across the region. In the 1950s, racers got to use part of the airport, which kept them off city and county streets.

"As time went on, there would be hundreds of cars and thousands of people coming out to watch," said Leslie Long of Yorba Linda, whose car, "Good Grief," piled up the trophies.

"We stopped taking trophies when we found out we could get $7.50 cash instead," Long recalled. "We didn't know where to put them anyway."

Back then, Long, now 80, by day was a physicist at the Naval Ordinance Laboratory in Corona.

"I had a lot of fun. I did research all week and ran races all weekend," a smiling Long remembered.

Still a racing fanatic, Long keeps several dozen binders' worth of old race results, programs, and photographs related to drag racing.

He often helped out an Orange garage, owned by Jack Hart, where several cars got prepped for the races.

Long is helping to organize Saturday's picnic, called the "Main Malt Picnic." The name comes from the Santa Ana drive-in frequented by racers after a hard day on the track. The yearly picnics usually attract about 40 racers and sometimes, some of their old rigs.

Vandenberg said she's looking forward to seeing some of the old cars.

"I'm a Ford fanatic. "My '32 Ford was my first love," she said. "I was one of the few (women) who got into a competition coupe that was stripped down as far as we could with the biggest engine we could put in it."

Vandenberg got into racing because it was a family pastime. She often helped her father maintain the four-cylinder Fords he used for his citrus-spraying business.

"I was his No. 1 son, I guess," Vandenberg said. "My mother even drove a stock car at the drags."

Vandenberg didn't do too well starting out, but later, she began collecting trophies.

"The secret was my shifting...and I only weighed 98 pounds at the most, so that helped, too," she said. "I had an eye for the flag. I could get off the line faster than most. My best time was 103 (mph) in about 13 or 14 seconds. I'm very proud of the fact that I was able to do that."

And though she's a few months away from her 75th birthday, her love for cars and racing is as strong as ever. She still attends races whenever she can.

"I'd do it again, if I could find my (racing) car. I'm still capable of driving," Vandenberg said. "I think I could do a really good job of it."

The Main Malt Picnic begins at 10 a.m. Saturday at Santiago Park, 900 E. Memory Lane in Santa Ana. It is open to the public. Participants must enter the park off Memory Lane and should bring their own lunches. Information: 714-921-1814.

Posted via web from The Newport Beach Blog

Thursday, April 8, 2010

Don't waste your time or money at Barolo By The Sea, Balboa Island California

Sorry to say , this place was borderline terrible. Bland food, lousy service. A miserable dining experence.

Posted via web from The Newport Beach Blog

Brett Rubico.........Newport Beach gallerist

Great white shark amazes scientists with 4,000-foot dive into abyss

A great white shark known to frequent New Zealand waters has given new meaning to the term "Down Under."

Scientists revealed that the 15-foot shark they've named "Shack" probed to 1,200 meters, or 3,937 feet, as it traveled across open ocean.

Malcolm Francis, principal scientist in charge of the tagging study, is calling this "the world's deepest great white shark dive record" and said it extends the predators' known vertical range by about 600 feet--which is substantial given that great whites, until fairly recently, were regarded as coastal predators.

If placed into perspective Shack might as well have been swimming upward into outer space: That's how bizarre the marine universe is at the depth to which the shark delved.

Great white shark amazes scientists with 4,000-foot dive into abyss

By: Pete Thomas | April 5th, 2010 at 10:01am

A great white shark known to frequent New Zealand waters has given new meaning to the term "Down Under."

Scientists revealed that the 15-foot shark they've named "Shack" probed to 1,200 meters, or 3,937 feet, as it traveled across open ocean.

Malcolm Francis, principal scientist in charge of the tagging study, is calling this "the world's deepest great white shark dive record" and said it extends the predators' known vertical range by about 600 feet--which is substantial given that great whites, until fairly recently, were regarded as coastal predators.

If placed into perspective Shack might as well have been swimming upward into outer space: That's how bizarre the marine universe is at the depth to which the shark delved.

It passed through the Mesopelagic Zone (600-3,300 feet), also referred to as the "Twilight Zone," and continued well into the Bathypelagic Zone (3,300-13,000 feet), or the "Midnight Zone."

This is the realm of alien-like sea jellies and squids. It's also home to monster-like, needle-toothed predatory fishes and eels that utilize bioluminescence for light and have spawned nature TV specials and, subsequently, nightmares.

What was Shack doing in the company of viperfish, hatchetfish, dragonfish, sabertooth fish, fangtooth fish and gulper eels?

Unfortunately, nobody knows with certainty. Scientists at New Zealand's National Institute of Water & Atmospheric Research did not address this in a five-year study that also tracked the country's white sharks migrating to warmer areas during the winter.

However, a Southern California-based researcher, who has tracked great whites to about 3,000 feet, believes they're searching for food at deep-water haunts. The chief food source would be various squid species, including the fabled giant squid, whose epic battles with sperm whales are legendary.

Michael Domeier, who runs the Marine Science Conservation Institute in Fallbrook, has offered this theory based largely on anecdotal evidence.

His study has tracked white sharks from Guadalupe Island off Mexico to a vast, mid-Pacific area between Baja California and Hawaii. A similar tagging effort at the Farallon Islands west of  San Francisco has followed white sharks to the same spring-and-early-summer habitat.

In this area there is little productivity. However, scientists have seen squid there, and they've encountered sperm whales, which might imply a squid-based ecosystem far below the surface. Domeier's crew also found a giant squid carcass that had been chewed on.

Though other scientists do not qualify this as proof, the theory is not far-fetched (there are giant squid off New Zealand, too). And as for possible encounters between great whites and giant squid, that's a TV special the "Shark Week" producers at the Discovery Channel ought to be working on without delay.

--Note: Sources for this story include scientists form the Monterey Bay Aquarium Research Institute and the Aquarium of the Pacific in Long Beach, Calif.

--Photos: White shark image courtesy of RTSea Productions. Fangtooth image courtesy of Monterey Bay Research Institute

Posted via web from The Newport Beach Blog

$129,850 income needed to buy O.C. home

Here’s a list of the U.S. regions among 207 towns tracked by the “Paycheck to Paycheck” housing affordability report where by the Center for Housing Policy’s math, typical house shoppers must have incomes in excess of $100,000 to qualify to buy.

Town 2009 Price Needed income Inc. chg. ‘09
San Francisco $625,000 $186,567 -0.1%
San Jose $465,000 $138,806 +4.2%
Honolulu $450,000 $134,328 +3.4%
Orange County $435,000 $129,850 +3.0%
Santa Cruz $431,000 $128,656 -1.0%
New York, NY $425,000 $126,865 -14.2%
Nassau-Suffolk, NY $380,000 $113,433 -10.7%
San Luis Obispo $372,000 $111,045 -9.1%
Napa $360,000 $107,462 -7.1%
Ventura $353,000 $105,373 -3.2%
Bridgeport, Conn. $348,000 $103,880 -13.6%

As you can see, Orange County makes the list. How?

  • Home price data used was from the fourth quarter 2008 and 2009 and includes home sales figures provided by the National Association of Home Builders and/or National Association of Realtors.
  • “Needed income” for this chart was, as the CHP put it, “the income required to qualify for a mortgage on the median priced home by assuming a 90 percent loan-to-value ratio — that is, a 10 percent downpayment plus the use of private mortgage insurance. Monthly payments are calculated to include loan principal and interest as well as estimated taxes and insurance. These payments are annualized and assumed to comprise no more than 28 percent of annual income in accordance with conventional underwriting guidelines.
  • Also tracked is the change in “needed income” between 2008 and 2009!

This same group also questioned the high cost of local rents, ranking Orange County as the nation’s 4th priciest place to rent.

Real estate trends:

Posted via web from The Newport Beach Blog

10 Surprising Reclaimed & Recycled Building Materials


Sheet rock and brand new lumber from the hardware store seem awfully boring – and incredibly wasteful – when you see the beautiful homes and other structures that can be built from recycled materials. An entire Buddhist temple made from glass bottles, modern modular s hipping container homes, houseboats perched on land and resort lodging in a vintage ‘60s airplane are just a few of the awesome buildings that make use of unconventional and sometimes offbeat recycled junk.


(images via: green upgrader)

Don’t throw those empty glass beer bottles in the r ecycling bin – use them to build a house! Or, perhaps, an absolutely amazing Buddhist temple in Thailand. It took one million beer bottles to create this temple, which stands not only as proof that recycled and reclaimed building materials can be truly beautiful, but as a reminder of the waste that we generate.

Because of their translucency and ability to hold thermal mass, glass bottles are also often used in cob building to enhance natural daylighting for a stained glass effect.


(images via: dornob)

Who would have thought that grain silos could be so luxurious? Ubiquitous sights in rural pastures, disused grain silos can often be purchased and moved to create unusual circular homes. Some people use them for quick, upcycled eco-friendly dwellings on the cheap, while others have given them a remarkably modern makeover. Grain silos even have potential for durable, inexpensive prefab housing.


(images via:

When John Milkovisch retired, he got bored – but he didn’t turn to golf for entertainment. He began adding ‘aluminum siding’ to his Houston, Texas home in the form of flattened beer cans “for both practical and decorative reasons”, he says on his website. The house is now covered in 50,000 cans.

Of course, Milkovisch’s home isn’t the only building made from this rather random junk material. Aluminum cans are often used as ‘bricks’ in earthship building, stacked and mortared with lime or earth.

Shipping Containers

(images via: dornob)

When piled high on a barge, shipping containers aren’t exactly fertile inspiration for recycled a rchitecture – but creative thinkers have managed to turn these boring rectangular boxes into surprisingly beautiful homes, offices, apartments and dorms. Like giant modular metal Legos, shipping containers can be stacked into all sorts of configurations with a crane – and of course, they’re really easy to transport.


(images via: global giving, making this home)

Millions upon millions of tires end up in landfills every year in the U.S. alone – but many are salvaged for creative uses like – drumroll please – building houses and other structures. Packed with rammed earth, tires make an incredibly solid b uilding material that helps retain heat in winter and keep the building cool in the summertime. Off-gassing is said to be a non-issue, and tires work especially well when built into the earth as earthships often are.


(image via:, MR38)

Boats aren’t just for the water – as proven by numerous ‘house boats’ seemingly stranded on land, which people actually use as a primary residence. And how better to recycle a ship that’s no longer seaworthy? Huge ships like the Great Lakes Shipping Boat (top) – now known as The Ship Residence on an island in Lake Erie at Put-in-Bay, Ohio – make incredible seaside mansions that are quite a sight when seen from the water.

Wood Pallets

(images via: dornob)

Wood pallets are plentiful, thrown out every day by companies that no longer trust them to keep merchandise safe during shipping. So how could they possibly be reused as a building material? Well, wood pallets are often still in great shape and can easily be nailed back together. And while they may not be a great load-bearing material for anything other than a shed, they do make a fantastic addition to building exteriors to filter sunlight.


(images via: inhabitat)

A cardboard building may sound like the most temporary of structures – something you expect to find in a shantytown, not a suburban neighborhood. That it is, but imagine how such a material could be put to use for inexpensive emergency shelters that set up ultra-fast. Architects Stutchbury and Pape developed a $35,000 flat-packed prefab cardboard house made from 100% recycled materials with a waterproof outer membrane made of HDPE plastic.

Scrap Metal

(images via: dwell)

Surrounded by industrial scrap metal every day for years, a former scrapyard owner saw a lot of potential for reuse – and put those ideas to work in his own home, a modern metal masterpiece 90 minutes northwest of Toronto. A rusted metal gate made from an old truck chassis, old galvanized s teel siding and I-beams rescued from a demolition job are just a few elements of the mostly recycled home. And what will happen to this recycled home when it’s finally due to be demolished?

“With most houses, when they’re torn down, everything goes into a bin,” homeowner S. J. Sherbanuk told Dwell. “When this house gets pulled down 60 or 80 years from now, they won’t even need a bin. It’s all gonna get reused.”


They’re not exactly known for comfort when you’re flying the friendly skies, but take out all those seats and airplanes are really roomy. Just take a peek inside the 727 Fuselage Home at the Costa Verde resort in C osta Rica, a two-bedroom suite made from a refurbished vintage 1965 Boeing 727 airframe. Retired from its former hectic life as part of South Africa Air’s fleet, the salvaged airplane serves as a cozy and unique lodging perched atop a 50-foot pedestal for the feel of being in the air.

Posted via web from The Newport Beach Blog

50 Awesome Ways to Reuse All Your Old Beer Bottles

Whether you live in a frat house or just love to drink beer, chances are you’re hauling lots of beer bottles out to the recycling bin. Why not take it a step further and find something useful to do with your empties? Here we take a look at 50 ways to reuse your beer bottles.

There are a variety of ways you can reuse beer bottles around your home.

1.Wall of beer bottoms: Cover your wall with the bottoms of beer bottles for an interesting design.
2.Clocks: Use a clock making kit and 12 bottles for a glass bottle clock.
3.Fire lamp: Turn beer bottles into fire lamps with this guide.
4.Pebbled rocks: Use a rock tumbler to create pebbled rocks out of recycled beer glasses.
5.Chandelier: Set up a chandelier with light bulbs and beer bottles for a creative look and colored glasses.
6.Beer bottle lamp: Check out this guide to see how you can turn a beer bottle into a lamp.
7.Vase: For a super cheap vase, just use your old beer bottles.
8.Candle holders: Create a cheap candle holder for tapers using beer bottles.
9.Bottle cap mirror: Recycle your bottle caps on a mirror.
10.Coasters: These coasters are made from old beer bottles.
11.Sun catcher: Use beer glass to make a great sun catcher.
12.Beer bottle shelving: With beer bottles, wood, and fasteners, you can create beer bottle shelving.
13.Beer bottom mobile: Use the bottoms of beer bottles to create a light-reflecting mobile.
14.Beer bottle headboard: Stack and glue beer bottles together for a creative headboard.
15.Soap dish: Keep your soap in this recycled beer bottle soap dish.

With these great ideas, beer bottles can find a new home in your kitchen.

16.Rolling pin: Use your beer bottle as a makeshift rolling pin.
17.Countertop: These surfaces are made up of beer bottles and more.
18.Pitchers: Serve your beer out of a beer pitcher made of a large beer bottle.
19.Platter: Serve cheese on a recycled beer bottle platter.
20.Bottle cap trivet: Turn bottle caps into a trivet using this guide.
21.Beer bottle glasses: Cut down bottles for unique glasses.
22.Juice glasses: These juice glasses are made from recycled bottles.
23.Spoon rest: Fuse your bottles flat to create a spoon rest.

Check out these ideas for constructing with beer bottles.

24.Build a house: If you’re low on lumber, use beer bottles to create a house.
25.Solar water heater: Make a solar water heater using beer bottles.
26.Temple: Monks in Thailand have created a temple out of beer bottles.
27.Wall: Use tons of beer bottles for an indoor or outdoor wall.

Put your beer bottles to work outside.

28.Buried edging: Bury your beer bottles to create edging in your garden.
29.Footpath: Use bottles and a mortar mix for an interesting paver.
30.Flower pots: Fill bottles with dirt and seeds to create an easy flower pot.

Make beautiful glass jewelry out of old beer bottles.

31.Bottle cap pin: Use this tutorial to make pins out of bottle caps.
32.Bracelet: This bracelet is made of beer bottle beads and shells.
33.Earrings: These earrings are made out of beer bottle pieces.
34.Beads: Melt down beer bottles to create beads.
35.Glass pendant: This glass pendant is made of fused beer bottle glass.

See how these artists have created art from old beer bottles.

36.Mosaic tile: Break bottles into pieces to create mosaic tile.
37.Beer bottle camera stand: You’ll be able to make a magnetic beer bottle camera stand with this guide.
38.Sculpture: This artist created an array of beer bottle sculptures.

Get into the Christmas spirit with these beer bottle crafts.

39.Beer bottle Christmas tree: Use green beer bottles for a colorful Christmas tree.
40.Christmas ornaments: Use a hot glue gun, scissors, and arts and crafts supplies to make interesting beer bottle ornaments.

Think the fun is over when your beer is done? Think again!

41.Target practice: Use empty bottles and can for shooting target practice.
42.Go bowling: If you don’t care about making a mess, throw a tennis ball at your empties for impromptu bowling.
43.Fishing lures: Use your old caps to create fishing lures.

Check out these creative crafts and uses for beer bottles.

44.Play guitar: Use a beer bottle as a glass slide for warm tones when playing guitar.
45.Beer bottle cap belt: Show off your favorite beers on your belt.
46.Steampunk beer goggles: Turn beer bottles into beer goggles.
47.Message in a bottle: Put a message in a beer bottle and throw it out to sea.
48.Art car: Use beer bottles to create an art car.
49.Home brewing: Reuse beer bottles for home brewing.
50.Recycle them for money: Turn in your old bottles for cash at a recycling center.

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Most for your millions: Newport or HB?

Let's say you have $4.4 million to spend – which of these two Orange County homes, listed at nearly identical prices, would you pick?

House No. 1 has a private dock, was built in 2001 and boasts 6,000 square feet of living space featuring such amenities as a rotunda entry, a spa and a custom library with mahogany built-ins.

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This 6,000-square-foot waterfront house sits on a 7,000-square-foot lot in Huntington Harbour and is listed at $4.39 million. In Newport Harbor, it would likely be far more costly.

House No. 2 shares a pier, was built in 1939 and boasts 2,250 square feet of living space featuring such amenities as "newer roof, paint and carpet," according to its listing.

If it seems like an easy choice, consider one other thing: House No. 1 is in Huntington Harbour, and House No. 2 is in Newport Harbor.

That seemingly minor difference in waterfront location accounts for glaring disparities in home values, with harbor houses in Newport often commanding triple the per-square-foot cost of their neighbors to the north.

The Orange County Register wondered how the price of paradise could vary so widely, and where local real estate experts think buyers get the most for their millions.


Posted via web from The Newport Beach Blog

New slice of Woodbury to be built, Irvine homes

The Irvine Co.’s fast-selling Woodbury neighborhood will soon get another community — “Santa Barbara” built by California Pacific Homes, controlled by Irvine Co. owner Don Bren’s family. The company is now starting an interest list. No date for sales has been announced, but some pre-qualified buyers were allowed to sign contracts before the formal launch of other Woodbury neighborhoods.

What will Irvine’s “Santa Barbara” comprise?

  • How many? 125 homes.
  • Styles? Townhomes and flats.
  • Look? Click on photos at right for larger immages!
  • Sizes? From 1,165 square feet to 1,775.
  • Bedrooms? 2 or 3
  • Baths? 2 to 3.5
  • Pricing? To be determined.
  • Amenities? Builder says “spacious Great Rooms, open kitchens with granite countertops and stainless steel appliances plus charming courtyards. Private deck, office and loft are also featured in select home designs.”
  • Pricing has not yet been determined.
  • Tom Veal, vice president, Irvine Company Community Development: “Santa Barbara truly captures the spirit of today’s very modern, casual Southern California lifestyle and the kind of active living that abounds in the Village of Woodbury.”

Posted via web from The Newport Beach Blog

Churches converted into stylish homes

We have seen people converting airplanes, trucks, buses, barns and shipping containers into beautiful homes, but living inside a place that once happened to be the “House of God” is something out of this world. We are talking about churches that have been now converted into trendy homes. I would never be able to sleep inside such a home, but there are people who have dared to make the old churches their modern homes. Hit the jump to see them all…

• Countryside Church Converted Into Home (Kyloe, Northumberland)
countryside church kysole
This countryside home in Kyloe makes it special because it is turned out from a church. The house comes equipped with all the basic amenities, and an entryway and halls for welcoming visitors as well as remote and secluded spaces that convert well to bedrooms. It is a well-designed house with the combination of cozy and traditional fixtures and furniture seeming right at home in what was once considered a holy space. While they have adapted the interior to provide comfortable living space, the outside has remained intact. High ceilings, dramatic rooms, period details and stained glass are just some of the benefits of living in a recently restored church.

• Golden Gate Lutheran Church into home (San Francisco)
golden gate lutheran church
Earlier know as Golden Gate Lutheran Church, the church now shelters one of the most extraordinary and largest single-family homes in San Francisco. The Gothic Revival style church comprises a 3+ bedroom home with well-designed interiors. The house also features an enormous living area that includes the original sanctuary with soaring, coffered and hand-painted ceilings, arched windows framing Dolores Park as well as most of the original stained glass windows, custom mahogany wood finishes, four fireplaces, a new chef’s kitchen and a spacious dining room. The master suite level features a marble Roman tub room, dressing room and incredible 360 degree views from the tower meditation room and deck. The ground floor level that could be used as exhibition space, recording studio, gym and/or home office. Besides this, a garage accommodates 4 to 6 cars.

• Celina resident turns old church into his home
presbyterian church
Celina converts the 86-year-old Presbyterian Church, into home. After renovating the house, the residents are now satisfied with the architecture. The brick walls and concrete foundation are in great shape with plenty of wide-open space. The two-story building has 15-foot ceilings. Upstairs, where Billick lives, there’s a huge central living, dining and kitchen area, plus three bedrooms and 2½ baths. The brick building doesn’t particularly look like a church from the exterior; the double entrance with the large columns and staircases feels more like an office building. Billick renovated the plumbing and electrical systems, as well as the stained-glass windows, which were single-pane and deteriorating.

• Old chapel into house (Utrech)
chapel desined by zecc
The architect ZECC has converted the Old chapel rather than being demolished into spacious living house. The chapel was part of a large housing complex of the Friars. Many features have been left untouched like the high gothic stained glass windows and the original choir organ. To allow more light to enter the space, they cut a Mondrian-inspired glass window into the front of the house facing the street — perhaps paying homage to Rietveld’s nearby infamous Schroder House. The entire living area has been whitewashed, whilst the private spaces above were painted dark.

• Church converted into Tuscan home (Siena)
tuscan home
The home was once a church dating back to 1200 that is disposed on two levels accessed both from the main road and from the garden. You can enter the home from a main open plan living room with dining room and TV room, everything with vaulted ceilings. The first floor can be reached both through an internal staircase and an external one and is divided into: living room with two windows and panoramic terrace, hallway, bathroom with bath, double bedroom with access to the bathroom, other double bedroom with view on the ground floor, and wardrobe. In addition, it also has the heating system under-floor thermo-circulation, and there is both mains water and a cistern collecting rainwater, mainly used to irrigate the outside space.

• Church turned into Vacation home(Italy)
vacation home church italy
The Westport, Conn., couple transformed an idiosyncratic ruin of a Church into a highly personalized, luxurious vacation home with all the essential and luxurious commodities. The building is designed with the white stones and looks amazingly beautiful. The living room occupies center stage with a royal red sofa and armchairs facing a stone fireplace. There are two other bedrooms, three bathrooms and a roof terrace. The kitchen takes up a sunken orchestra section, a den fills the first balcony and the master bedroom peers out from the second balcony. The church bell sits next to the barbecue grill on the roof terrace.

• Church Converted Into 4 Beds Home (Canada)
church into home canada
Located in Canada, Ontario, the Church sitting in an area of two acres is beautifully designed into bedroom home. The house features4 bedrooms, 3 bathrooms with spa bath complete with fireplace, 600 sq ft new kitchen, 20 foot ceilings and huge loft for master or games room complete with ensuite and walk-in closet. Main floor laundry, 6 brand new appliances and laminate flooring are some of the additional feature of these houses.

• Chapel converted into home (London)
church into home suffolk1
This home, 95 miles from London is converted from Chapel into well living area. The house features art-deco interior decoration and furnishings, and many original features including stained glass; the garden includes an art-deco inspired summer house. With well designed interiors and exteriors, the house looks pleasing to reside.

• St. John’s United Methodist Church turned into home
St. John’s United Methodist Church in Old East Dallas is converted into family vacation home by Fragoso which is listed for sale for $2.4 million. He has since closed the office here, and the family plans to return to their home in Newport Beach. The home comes with two separate living areas, more than 14,000 square feet, 11 bedrooms, 11.5 bathrooms, six private parking spaces and a side alley. It has an unfinished theater in the balcony and an 1,800-square-foot studio with views of the downtown skyline.

Posted via web from The Newport Beach Blog

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Shackleton's whisky stash yields more than expected

Master blender expects the hundred-year-old Scotch to be heavier and smokier than today's whisky.

Sir Ernest Shackleton left behind two cases of Scotch whisky after a failed attempt at the South Pole. (Emily Stone/GlobalPost)Enlarge Photo

Preservationist Al Fastier spent three long, cold days laying on his stomach in Antarctica earlier this month, chipping away at ice that had accumulated under the 102-year-old hut built by Sir Ernest Shackleton. His goal was to retrieve two crates of whisky that the famed polar explorer brought down with him — and then abandoned — after his unsuccessful 1908 expedition to the South Pole.

After getting the two crates out, Fastier and the archeologist working with him peered through the wall of ice that remained and saw another box. They kept chipping away with drills and hand tools, and soon two more crates appeared. In all, they recovered three cases of Charles Mackinlay & Co. whisky and one of brandy, as well as one crate of brandy labeled Hunter Valley Distillery Limited Allandale. He could hear liquid sloshing in the crates and peeked into one box with a missing board and saw a bottle with an intact cork inside.

“It was a fantastic outcome,” Fastier said Saturday from Scott Base, New Zealand’s Antarctic station. He’s program manager with Antarctic Heritage Trust, the New Zealand nonprofit charged with conserving the building.

The first two crates were discovered four years ago when Fastier and his team cleared out a century’s worth of ice under the hut because it was damaging the fragile structure. The boxes were frozen to the porous rock in the foot and a half of space beneath the hut and couldn’t be safely removed without the specialized drills the group brought this time.

Perhaps no one was more excited to learn of the bottles’ safe retrieval than Richard Paterson, master blender at Whyte & Mackay, the Glasgow company that now owns Mackinlay.

“Absolutely fantastic, unbelievable,” Paterson said of the news. He’s been lobbying since the crates’ original discovery to get several bottles of the whisky — or at the very least some samples — so he can learn what a Mackinlay from that era tasted like. Company records show it was a 10-year-old blend. He expects it to be heavier and smokier than today’s Scotch.

If he gets a sample, Paterson is considering issuing a recreation of the Shackleton whisky. The company recipes have long since disappeared, he said, so these bottles may be the only way to discover what that vintage Mackinlay tasted like. If the corks have remained intact, whisky experts agree that the spirit should taste much as it did when bottled.

Obviously, the fact that the whisky has been entombed in Antarctic ice and belonged to Shackleton make this a more exciting discovery than just any old 19th century booze.

Posted via web from The Newport Beach Blog

Fed fears growing foreclosures

Minutes of the March 16 gathering of the Federal Open Market Committee and the Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System reveals a foreclosure fear …

Participants were also concerned that activity in the housing sector appeared to be leveling off in most regions despite various forms of government support, and they noted that commercial and industrial real estate markets continued to weaken. Indeed, housing sales and starts had flattened out at depressed levels, suggesting that previous improvements in those indicators may have largely reflected transitory effects from the first-time homebuyer tax credit rather than a fundamental strengthening of housing activity. Participants indicated that the pace of foreclosures was likely to remain quite high; indeed, recent data on the incidence of seriously delinquent mortgages pointed to the possibility that the foreclosure rate could move higher over coming quarters. Moreover, the prospect of further additions to the already very large inventory of vacant homes posed downside risks to home prices.

Read all of the FOMC minutes HERE!

Lending trends:

Posted via web from The Newport Beach Blog

electronic waste and recycling disposal web site

“Extreme” greed gets Newport Beach man 5 years

A Newport Coast man who committed mortgage fraud and filed for bankruptcy without telling authorities he bought 2 Ferraris and a Lamborghini was sentenced to 5 years in federal prison Monday.

Lorenzo Espinoza, 43, also was ordered to pay the Department of Housing and Urban Development restitution of more than $614,000.

In sentencing him, United States District Judge Stephen V. Wilson said Espinoza demonstrated  “extreme greed.”

Espinoza pleaded guilty in 2006 to conspiracy to defraud HUD, bankruptcy fraud, money laundering and failing to pay federal taxes. Prosecutors said he didn’t pay them for more than a decade and owed more than $5 million in taxes, interest and penalties.

Here’s how the U.S. Attorney’s office described the crimes:

  • Espinoza and his associates fraudulently purchased nearly 100 residential properties.
  • The properties were sold at inflated market values to straw buyers. Espinoza and his associates made the down payments and in some cases submitted bogus tax forms and paycheck stubs with the loan applications.
  • When the straw buyers defaulted on the home loans and the lenders foreclosed, HUD reimbursed the lenders for their costs. HUD’s losses came to $2 million when it sold the homes for much less than the fraudulent purchase prices.

The news release stated:

“In addition to defrauding lenders and HUD, Espinoza committed bankruptcy fraud in 1999 when he filed for bankruptcy and failed to tell the United States Trustee that he owned a Rolex Daytona watch, two Ferraris and a Lamborghini. In late 2002, Espinoza laundered the proceeds of his bankruptcy fraud when he sold the Ferrari automobiles for $127,500.

“Espinoza also pleaded guilty to willfully failing to pay income tax, admitting that he did not pay $199,053 due for the 1996 tax year. In court papers filed in relation to the sentencing, prosecutors pointed out that Espinoza had not filed tax returns for well over 10 years and owes the Internal Revenue Service more than $5 million in taxes, interest and penalties.”


Posted via web from The Newport Beach Blog

Irvine home tops most-viewed list

The folks at compiled a list of the top 10 most-searched homes for sale in Orange County from their Web site (reflecting late March trends) …

Irvine 14 Filare $569,000
Laguna Beach 1087 Flamingo Road $549,900
Ladera Ranch 73 Kyle Court $599,900
Ladera Ranch 6 Minford Circle $574,900
Newport Beach 20491 Savanna Lane #5 $555,000
Dana Point 25251 Mainsail Drive $550,000
San Clemente 424 Camino Flora Vista $689,000
San Clemente 1409 Manera Ventosa $600,000
Anaheim Hills 6403 East Calle Del Norte $620,000
Dana Point 33206 Carribbean Way $559,000
  • These are the listings that online home shoppers check out the most in O.C.
  • The homes are tracked within 20% of the median list price for the county, which is $629,900.
  • This week, Irvine takes the cake with the most popular home for sale. See photos above (click for larger images).
  • The second most popular listing is a foreclosure in Laguna Beach that is currently in escrow.
  • Ladera Ranch, San Clemente and Dana Point dominate the list with the most appearances in the top 10.
  • The last time we tracked the county’s hottest homes, a Dana Point home graced the top of the list.
  • CLICK on address links and photos for additional information.

Posted via web from The Newport Beach Blog

Monday, April 5, 2010

Body of 2nd O.C. Marine returns home today

 Now it's time for the second friend to come home.

A hero's welcome is planned Monday for Marine Sgt. Major Robert Cottle, when his remains will be returned to his family at Los Alamitos Joint Forces Training Base.

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Marine Sgt. Major Robert J. Cottle, 45, of Yorba Linda was killed by an improvised explosive device in Helmand Province, Afghanistan on March 24. Cottle was a 27-year Marine veteran and a 20-year member of the LAPD, serving on the SWAT team.

Cottle of Yorba Linda was killed in Afghanistan on March 24 by an improvised explosive device that also took the life of his friend, Yorba Linda Marine Lance Cpl. Rick Centanni.

Hundreds of police officers and community supporters stood at attention when Centanni's body returned Friday, American flags flapping in the breeze as a quiet crowd on the tarmac watched Marines carefully unload his casket.

Cottle, 45, and Centanni, 19, became close after their deployment, with the older Marine taking the younger one under his wing.

The plane bearing Cottle's casket is scheduled to arrive at 10 a.m., and the public will be allowed to show its respects.

People interested in attending should arrive at the base's main gate, at 11200 Lexington Drive, between 9:30 and 9:45 a.m. Valid photo identification is needed to get on base. A security guard will direct attendees to parking.

Cottle grew up in Whittier, and for years had called Yorba Linda home.

Cottle was a 27-year veteran Marine and high-ranking SWAT officer for the Los Angeles Police Department. He was married to a naval officer and had a 9-month-old daughter.

An event to raise funds for a scholarship in Centanni's name, and a fund in Cottle's name that will assist returning Iraq and Afghanistan veterans, is being held at 8 p.m. Thursday at the Laugh Factory in Long Beach. Tickets can be purchased at

Posted via web from The Newport Beach Blog

Ski Like Bode - Six Training Exercises

American skier Bode Miller won gold in the super combined, giving him three Olympic medals in Vancouver and five in his career. Not bad for the New Hampshire native and new dad. (Read more in the New York Times.)

We dug up some skiing training tips from a few years back, so you, too, can get into the best shape of your life. These are taken from our November 2005 (read the full article), when Miller was working with coach John McBride. "Bode likes to do old-school, Rocky-type training, like pushing wheelbarrows full of friends up steep hills," said McBride for the article. "And he's able to apply the strength and athleticism from these skills to skiing more effectively than most." They might be a little dated, but they made him, at least in part, the Olympian he is today.
Illustration: Walking a Slackline
1. Balance: Slacklining
Find two trees 20 to 30 feet (6 to 9 meters) apart and tightly string a one-inch-wide (2.54 centimeter) piece of webbing two feet (.5 meters) off the ground between them. Keep your eyes focused on one spot in front of you and slowly walk the length of the rope. Use ski poles for balance at first, but as your skills improve, move the webbing higher, nix the poles, and do a single-leg squat on each step. "Slack-lining is great for learning how to move dynamically and for challenging your balance," says McBride.

Continue reading "Olympics 2010: Ski Like Bode - Six Training Exercises" »

Posted via web from The Newport Beach Blog

The Cannery - Seafood of the Pacific Newport Beach Ca

Feds say rip Chinese drywall out of homes

A pair of federal agencies — The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development and the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission — are telling homeowners to rip out Chinese-made drywall linked to corrosion of metal in their homes such as electrical components.

A HUD/CPSC release says drywall studies have shown “a connection between certain Chinese drywall and corrosion in homes’ and the federal authorities are “continuing to look at long term health and safety implications.” Chinese drywall emits caustic airborne compounds at a higher rate than U.S. made drywall. CPSC Chairman Inez Tenenbaum: “Based on the scientific work to date, removing the problem drywall is the best solution currently available to homeowners.”

During the hosing boom of the previous decade, Chinese drywall was imported to meet surging demand for construction. It’s is believed that most of that imported drywall was used in Gulf States, particularly repairing hurricane damage, but that tainted drywall has been reported in most sections of the nation. Federal officials say no Chinese drywall was imported from the beginning of 2009.

The Associated Press reports:

U.S. Sen. Bill Nelson, D-Fla., said now the question is who pays to gut the homes. “The way I see it, homeowners didn’t cause this. The manufacturers in China did,” Nelson said. “That’s why we’ve got to go after the Chinese government now.”

Southern members of Congress have sought to make it easier to sue Chinese manufacturers and to get the Federal Emergency Management Agency to help homeowners pay for costs not covered by insurance. They also say the U.S. needs to pressure the Chinese government, which allegedly ran some of the companies that made defective drywall. About 2,100 homeowners have filed suit in federal court in New Orleans against Chinese manufacturers and U.S. companies that sold the drywall.

Consumer tips:

Posted via web from eWaste Disposal and Recycling

HVAC boot cleared of Asbestos in Los Angeles