Thursday, December 17, 2009

Ahhhh water, the petroleum of the next generation.

This article in the New York Times discusses the difference between the legality of drinking tap water and its safety. Its 6 pages long so be ready if you want to read the whole thing. There are contaminants in the LA water system that form carcinogens when they are hit with UV light. The solution? Cover the reservoir with black plastic balls. Black plastic balls. The photo of the covered reservoir is awesome and disturbing. Its a little too Matrix for me. Related stories on the page tell of brown tap water that people are afraid to drink. I cant say I blame them, we are not strangers to brown water here at STARworks. Our situation has been improved, and most of our brown was rust from our pipes. But imagine having to fix a water system for the city of LA. It makes my brain hurt.

I always tell the kids that our generation is worried about and trying to change our ways about Petroleum and fuel, their generation will deal with water. It doesn't seem to scare them yet, but it does me. I think water purification or desalinization are the challenges of the future.
Here is our water tower, it's kind of an icon in our town, as I guess most water towers are. I don't know how many pictures I've taken of it. Our current water problems are mostly how to keep precipitation out of the building, how much it will cost to get the water to new bathrooms in building 6 and keeping the sprinkler pipes from freezing. Its getting real cold at night and threatening snow for tomorrow. My relationship with water has changed dramatically in the past years. How's yours?

Friday, December 11, 2009

The Roof

So here is the roof of buildings 2,6, 7 and 5. Pretty nice huh? it is almost 50,000 square feet of rapidly decaying foam under gravel. There are about 15 unused outdated a/c units on top of it and scads of unused conduit and wiring. It covers the north half of our building and is going to take about a quarter of a million dollars to replace. Wow.
Here is one particularly beautiful specimen that lives on our roof, the partially protected penetration. This cover consists of some rotting plywood "protected" by some spray foam roofing concoction from the 70's. You might see where I have squirted some caulk in the seams that have started to separate and deposit drips during heavy rains. Replace it you say? Pull it off and put a skylight there? Man that would be a great idea if it was not for the fact that nothing sticks to this foam stuff. Resealing the roof would be near impossible so I'm told. So, the whole thing needs to be replaced at once. If you have been to visit us here at STARworks, this roof covers our big room where we have our Annual Gathering as well as STARworks Ceramics. Santa, Please bring me a new roof, I've been as good as I could be this year and I promise I'll be good from now on!

Monday, December 07, 2009

Tree Trouble

Late this Summer, the 120 year old Turkey oak in front of STARworks was struck by lightning. It took out the top crown of the tree and needed some attention so we hired Total Land Care to come and do some pruning and tell us how to take care of the tree. While Chad Phillips, a certified arborist, was in the top of the tree making a cut to the damaged tree top, he heard and felt a loud POP. You can see Chad below pruning the tree about 40 feet in the tree top. Well, that pop was enough to make Chad stop his works and come down. The tree is heavier on one side and as he made the cut, the tree started to split.
At Chad's recommendation we contacted Guy Mellieur, a Certified Master Arborist that works with lightning damaged trees. Guy came out and climbed the tree and installed a cable to keep the tree from splitting down the center.
You can barely make it out in this photo. It is the thin white line that goes horizontally across the middle of the picture. Below the cable you can see the branch without bark where the crack originates. We think it would be a great tragedy for our tree to come down. It provides us a lot of shade and is truly majestic. Now we just have to wait till the spring and see if the tree makes it so that it can be treated further. If you make it out here to STARworks, hug our tree and hope for the best for it.