Archive for the ‘Fame’ Category

Hello, Scotland!

February 26, 2013

Following a nice mention on the Environment blog of The Guardian a few days ago (thanks!), I was invited this morning to [wake up super early and] chat with Fred MacAulay, host of BBC Scotland’s mid-day radio show.  Apparently there has been a sudden interest in scaled-down home heating in the UK, a result of this photo published by The Telegraph showing the Queen receiving the Australian High Commissioner and his wife, while using a small space heater to warm up the room.  It occurs to me that the Queen may really have been quite comfortable without any heat at all, and only got the electric heater out of the closet for the benefit of her antipodal, “it was a hell of a lot warmer at our house than here” guests.  I know that’s how it works at our house.

Anyway, if you’d like to have a listen, here’s the link.  The segment begins at minute 20:00 with a local environmentalist, then me (halfway awake) about 25:00.  We’re sandwiched between a bit about macaroni and cheese and the actual serious news.  Which seems about appropriate.

And, hello to all seven Scots who found this blog via the radio show!  Come visit any time!

Meanwhile, haven’t had any fire/heat on in here in 48 hours.  A bit of sun, not-so-cold nights, some cooking, and the kitchen is still holding at 50F/10C.


March 9, 2010

A little while ago I had the pleasure of speaking with “The History Guys”, producers of the National Public Radio show “Backstory”, for a story the were doing on the history of home heating and air-conditioning.  The piece is out on their website now; you can listen here.  I learned a lot.  I also found the “Further Reading” fascinating.

One Of These Things Is Not Like The Others

February 27, 2010

The Guardian posted an article today entitled “Five Of The Best Interiors Blogs”– and guess whose blog was on that top-five list?!  Well, not ours. But, the author did list Cold House Journal among five runner-up “Other homes blogs we love…”

Which is extremely complimentary, but also kind perplexing.  All the other blogs in the article focus on interior design, cool and funky home furnishings, fabric, color, patterns, and in general how to make your home beautiful, appealing, and awesome-looking.  Whereas our blog is about, well, how to deal with being cold in your house, and features ultra-low-fashion accessories such as yeti hats and square pieces of rock.  Maybe we got some points for the custom polished copper-sheet heat shield and hand-laid travertine hearth (with matching dinner-table trivets) we built for the wood stove? (Seems like a stretch, but it’s all I got.)

Anyway, I sort of feel like we crashed a black-tie event wearing Bean boots.  Sorry if we’re making a mess.  Thanks for inviting us.  We’ll step back outside now.

Reporter Popsicle

February 1, 2010

This morning we had the pleasure of meeting/freezing Josie Huang, whose voice we hear a lot on Maine Public Radio.  She came by the house to interview us/play with the cats.  We let her sit on the heating pad.  We’re generous like that with guests.

Here’s the bit they aired this evening about our experiment.  I wish the cats had said more; I think they were star-struck.


January 23, 2010

Oh, and also, reportedly, we’re on ABC World News tonight (at whatever time that is on, wherever you are.)  No guarantees.  But you might see some cool hats and stuff if you watch.

Uh, Hi?

January 21, 2010

Wow– thanks to the New York Times for their mention of this humble blog in today’s article about cold-living people.  And hello to the first-time visitors who’ve dropped by as a result.

I have to say, though, that some of the other folks profiled in the article really make us look like wusses.  Building a yurt in the living room, though… now that’s a great idea.


January 14, 2010

There are still comments trickling in on the TV news website from our 15 seconds of confused quasi-fame.  J. forwarded this excerpt from one to me today:

“…What is bad about this cold house story is that it is highly recommended that you leave your house if it gets 55 or below it is a safety precaution for many reasons.”

This made us laugh pretty hard.  Ha!  Ha! we laughed.  What the “many reasons” are that one should “leave your house” if it gets below 55º (13ºC), we have no idea.  Even funnier is the idea of running out of the house as a “safety precaution” to save our lives from the cold, only to wind up outside in the driveway where it’s 45 degrees colder still.

I’m here to tell you that we’ve been sleeping in a bedroom that is BELOW 50 DEGREES for weeks now, and there have been no discernible adverse health effects, except that Max the Cat has taken to sleeping directly on top of me, which left me feeling a bit sore this morning.


December 22, 2009

Predictably, the recent local TV news story about the Cold House—  in spite of being only about 70 seconds long– unleashed a string of vitriolic commentary.  I will take a moment to respond to them:

“I am not impressed. If you are eco-friendly you would probably not use electric to heat your home with space heaters or electric blankets. Don’t these people know that it requires fuel to produce electric? Why not invest in a wood burning stove, they heat an entire home and it is efficient.”

Thanks for the tips.  Now finally I know where electricity comes from!  Before I thought maybe it was the Electricity Fairy.  Seriously, though, possibly you are ignorant of the fact that close to half of Maine’s electricity comes from wood, wood waste, and hydro (according to the Department of Energy).  And you seem to completely miss the point that using a space heater or electric blanket here and there is vastly more efficient than keeping every corner of your house hot with a furnace.  As far as a wood stove– yes, we’re putting one in.  However, even the very small stove we’re installing needs to burn at a minimum rate of at least 20,000 BTU/hour  or so in order to keep itself efficient and keep the chimney clean.  That’s about four times the heat output of the space heater we’ve been using in the living area.  In other words, it’s more heat than we’ve needed, so far.

“I am not impressed either….they still use electricity which comsumes resources, sometimes even more than gas heating….really people, get over yourself!”

So sorry you are not impressed either.  Please rest assured that we are over ourself (?).  As far as your suggestion that electricity “sometimes” uses more resources than a gas furnace, I agree.  It would, if we were using electric heaters the way people use gas furnaces: to keep their whole house at 68º, or even to keep various “zones” in a range from 56º to 68º.  If people could (and then did) use gas heat to heat one room at a time as needed, and keep those rooms well below “normal” temps, then yes, it would be better than electric.  But most heating systems don’t allow that level of control, and most people wouldn’t do it anyway.

“Doesn’t using additional electricity for space heaters and electric blankets defeat their blow hardy purpose? Give me a break! They haven’t given up anything. Congrats on your 15 minutes… clearly that was all you were after. haha Can’t even believe this made news.”

Look buddy.  The electric blanket puts out 614 BTU/hr for the 30 minutes we have it on “high” nightly, then 150 BTU/hr for the rest of the night on “low”.  Compare this to the recommended-sized furnace for our house, which is 88,000 BTU/hr, and you will get a sense of how silly you are being.  As for “haven’t given up anything”, compared to most people (you?) we have given up about 25º in our bedroom when we wake up in the morning, and about 14º around the house most of the day.  It’s not nothing.  As for fame: I’ll take it.  But we didn’t call the TV people– they called us.

“we’ll probably read in the paper that the house has burned down next…so many nuts around ….obviosuly the squirrels didn’t gather them all this fall.”

Wow.  Thanks for the comment.  Remind me not to invite you over when you run out of oil.

“keep useing those will be back in the news (FIRE DESTORIES FALMOUTH HOME)”

Nice.  Merry Christmas to you too, friend.  BTW, we give free spelling lessons here on Thursday evenings if you care to drop by.  But destorying the house isn’t a bad idea– we could probably get by with just one floor.  I’ll take it under advisement.

15 Seconds of Fame

December 18, 2009

Here’s our big TV appearance! What excitement!


December 18, 2009

We had a visit this morning at the house from a super-nice news team from WMTW-8. They read about our little experiment in the USA Today article and wanted to interview us for a TV news segment (presumably, the “Your Weird Neighbors” featurette series, or something.) Anyway J. and I tried to answer their questions and they were very encouraging. I don’t think we converted them, though– the cameraman mentioned that he has a pet snake which needs to stay warm, so that’s definitely a roadblock for him.

Anyway, if you’re local you can watch us tonight on the news, 6pm!

Meanwhile: it was a wicked cold one last night, down to around 1ºF/-17ºC. The cellar pipe area dipped down to 41, and the bedroom was about the same– yet, believe it or not, J. and I both felt overwarm this morning (we kept the electric blanket on “3” [out of 10] overnight, and wore socks to bed– both of which are not typical.)

It’s warmed up to 19ºF outside now, so that’s downright toasty. J. has a friend coming to spend the weekend; maybe we’ll let her do a guest entry, if her typing fingers aren’t frozen.