About Those Solar Panels Now

Remember those solar panels I was all excited about back in January?

Remember those solar panels I was all excited about back in January?

I’ve had them up on my roof putting out clean energy for almost a year now. Eleven months ago today, I generated my first watt, and I’ve been meaning to post about it ever since. The trouble is, for the entirety of those eleven months, until this very morning, I was locked in bureaucratic battle with the electric company to get them inspected, signed off on and correctly wired into the billing system so I could actually benefit by them. That was frustrating. It was Kafkaesque. And it didn’t seem worth posting about until I actually had something to celebrate.

My first day's worth of power - Dec. 30, 2014
My first day’s worth of power – Dec. 30, 2014

Now, finally, I do. Here, then, is a bit of a roundup. This is the laughably short version. More to come, maybe, if you’re interested in the nitty gritty.

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Orange Mycena

Mycena leaiana
On a rotten hemlock log across a brook, Mt. Toby Reservation.

The new camera, for those who care, is this, not a digital SLR but a budget 12 MP Kodak point and shoot the first thing I did on which was reset the resolution to 10 MP. It has a big long zoom that, without stabilization, shockingly works not all that well, and a wide angle that lets me be 3 inches from the mushroom, which is old hat to most people but is new and wonderful to me. I’m still learning the semi-klunky interface, but it takes a nice picture when I let it.


Wild columbine, Aquilegia canadensis, West-facing cliffs, Mt. Toby Reservation, Sunderland.

My camera died. Rest well, Sony Cybershot DSC-F717. You came from the factory with all kinds of defects, your autofocus algorithm was dated and finicky, but you were good to me. You let me recollect beauty in millions of colors. One time you pretended to be a handcannon to protect me from poachers. Curse the loose screw that killed you. I wish I had treated you better.

My old Powerbook G4 12″ has gone the way of the dire wolf and the dodo. Funes, you kept me alive. You ate through rechargeable batteries like a radio-controlled Mechagodzilla. Your touchpad didn’t work for shit, forcing me to wield a retro-aesthetically superheroic rubber ball mouse from my original iMac 233 circa 1998. I was ridiculously, unhealthily attached to you. I am beside myself at the prospect of letting you go—but all things must pass. With any luck, you will only sleep awhile and return from the shadows, like the coelecanth or the ivory-billed woodpecker.

Now I got me a handed-down white dual 1.8 MacBook, christened Ilom, for which I shall remain eternally grateful to parties who know who they are. It stands out less from the coffeeshop crowd than poor old Funes; on the other hand, it can run Illustrator and iTunes at the same time without destroying itself and has carried me forward into the video age. Will I ever learn to love it as much? That’s a question best put to Time.

“They must be pierced by flowers and put
Beneath the feet of dancing flowers.
However it is in some other world
I know that this is the way in ours.”

—Robert Frost, In Hardwood Groves

Greening the Skull (Nerfing the Skjellyfetti)

One of my new year’s resolutions, as urged on me (not really) by Al Gore and the repoweramerica.org mailing list I signed up for sometime in December, was to move my various internet assets to a carbon-neutral hosting provider. So I did a lot of research into green web hosts, and I settled on Green Geeks–they’re among the highest rated “green” hosts, despite the fact that they pay for carbon offsets rather than actually running their servers on wind or sunlight, because they offset three times as much carbon as they produce and are talented and reliable too. It’s only been a couple weeks, but I’ve certainly found that to be so.

So now The Mossy Skull and The Homeless Moon and various other internet projects of mine are carbon-positive. You, gentle reader, need not bother about that so much, except perhaps in that you can feel slightly less guilty as you read. Sadly, I haven’t gained much benefit on that account myself–it still feels like too little, too late. I need to do more. But them’s my personal neuroses, gentle reader, and they need not concern you.

There has, however, been one more substantial change that may require your brief attention. The Mossy Skull has moved–it used to be at the slightly unwieldy, mildly counterintuitive http://mjd.joskinandlob.com/wordpress/, and now it’s at the the satisfyingly clean and transparent https://mossyskull.com/. If you would be so kind, please change your bookmarks accordingly. Those of you following via RSS, make sure you’re syndicating http://feeds.feedburner.com/themossyskull and you should be all right.

And thanks for reading!

"Starlings" in Abyss & Apex #31

My near-future-apocalyptic magic realist short story “Starlings” is now live in Abyss & Apex #31. (Which issue also happens to feature a very cool poem by LCRW author Daniel A. Rabuzzi—lucky me!)

“Starlings” is a story about climate change, tech withdrawal, and memory—themes all very near to my heart. With the possible exception of “Construction-Paper Moon”, in no other story of mine have I laid my own emotional evolution so open on the page.

Please go read it, and enjoy!