Earth Hour, Kill-a-watt and electricity usage

Last night’s Earth Hour reminded me that I had wanted to write about electricity usage at my house and had already drafted this entry. It turned out that Earth Hour was not well observed in my neighborhood. It looked like every other night on my street. Our house was nearly the only one that was dark. My son was curious as to why we had the lights out. We told him it was for him and his kids. We read our bedtime stories by candles and flashlights. It must have been fun for him since tonight he asked for all the lights out again.

I’ve talked about a couple of gadgets here lately. And, trust me, there are plenty more that I haven’t talked about yet. All of these gadgets mean more stuff plugged in either to charge or to use. And, I live in an area with increasingly painful electricity costs.

I’ve already done the logical things. Almost two years ago I converted most of the light bulbs to compact fluorescents. All of our appliances are less than 5 years old and Energy Star when available. I no longer leave my computer running 24/7 purely for convenience. I’m always shutting lights off. But, we’re still using as much electricity as we ever did. So, it seemed to make sense to try to get a handle on which are the big offenders in my house and I borrowed my brother’s Kill-a-watt. The Kill-a-watt is a device that can help you measure how much electricity each consumer of electricity in your home is consuming.

The results were interesting but not earth shattering (no pun intended). I’ve got a lot of devices plugged in and on standby. I’ve always heard that it was best to keep these on a power strip and keep that powered off when not in use. Although, I’ve found that most of these devices are using little or no measurable electric power in standby. I still have more to check, though.

The biggest offender in terms of waste is our Comcast (Motorola) DVR. I knew it was going to be bad because of the heat that the thing throws off. So much, in fact, that the cat likes to sleep on top of the cabinet that houses it. It turns out that it uses 30 watts of electricity when it is operating. When it is powered off and in standby it uses, get this, 30 watts of electricity. I realize it is essentially a computer and needs to keep running in order to run scheduled recordings but this is alarming. My laptop powered on but idling with the display and hard drive off uses just 18 watts. Think about the hundreds of thousands (millions?) of these set top boxes that are out there consuming this amount of electricity 24 hours a day and being actually used some small fraction of that time. The cable company insists that you keep it on 24/7. Damn that’s irresponsible.

1990 7-up Registry helps spread the word about our Carlisle plans

Steve Cracknell from the 1990 7-up Mustang LX 5.0 Convertible site and registry was kind enough to post on his home page information about our plans for Carlisle and even included a link over to my Carlisle page.

Steve has been very supportive of me in the past and continues to be. I should have acknowledged this earlier because as soon as Steve got my email about the plans for Carlisle he had it up very promptly. The best part is that I didn’t even ask him to do it. It is great to have this support in the Mustang community.

And, with all of the talk here lately about convertible tops, you might want to check out his writeup on his top replacement.

Some t-shirts are now back on Cafepress

I’m getting back on the horse, so to speak. As discussed in the forums, it seems OK to proceed with my efforts to offer feature car related items. I thought about leaving Cafepress behind but I think they are still one of the best options in the print-on-demand space. So, I’m sticking with them. I already have a few items out there based upon what was most popular last time around. The shirt has my original three feature car design on the front and nothing on the back. I toned down the gray background by a factor of 50% in order to add more contrast between the cars and background.
Shirts offered on
I went through my whole Cafepress site and stripped out all of the Ford trademarks I could find. My items do not use them but I also wanted to make sure that my descriptions and tags did not as well.

Overall, my approach is going to be slightly different this time around. There won’t be as many shirt options (colors, fits) as well as not as many items based upon the same design. I hope to branch out to some different types of items.

So, as usual, stay tuned. Things are happening slowly but surely. In the mean time be sure to check out the shop.

My “MINI” obsession

Go easy on me…I need to get something off my chest.

Maybe it is just the time of year but I’m really starting to miss driving a fun car. My daily driver just isn’t doing it for me. Actually, my wife and I switched cars this winter since she needs 4WD for her commute more than I do. The Honda Accord we have just isn’t that exciting. OK, it’s not exciting at all.

Although it will probably never happen, I am always thinking about getting another fun car. Don’t worry I’m NOT thinking about replacing the Mustang. Seriously, I have no plans for that.

The MINI seems to be a car I keep coming back to. Curiously, it actually embodies most things I despise in cars: flashy color schemes, vinyl decals, tons of accessory add-ons and retro cuteness. I don’t know why I am attracted to it so much. On the other hand, I do know exactly why I like it. It seems like a blast to drive. The front wheel drive would allow me to drive it all year round. And, you can’t beat the gas mileage.


Now for the obsession part. I talk about the MINI regularly with coworkers. I think my friend at work who sits next to me must be sick of it already. I have a Matchbox MINI on my desk at work (but not a Mustang). I’m reading MINI forums more often than Mustang forums. I have signed up for the MINI web site and have currently two saved MINI configurations.

Phew, now that its out in the open, I feel better already.

When I was a kid and I wanted to purchase something I saved for it. As an adult with credit available I don’t have so much restraint. But, for this I am taking the old school savings approach. Although, at the rate I am going, I should be able to afford a 2008 MINI in 2018. Maybe I should get a paper route. More likely, I will be obsessing about the next want very shortly.

Build Sheets Part III

From my original posts on my own build sheet as well as a comparison of two independently issued build sheets for the same car, You should remember that a ‘build sheet’ is a term Ford uses when referring to the document they can produce that contains the original options for your car based upon your VIN.

The previous posts included only build sheets from the triple white 1993 feature cars. This post adds one from a yellow 1993 feature car as well as one from a red 1992 feature car.

Chet sent me the sheet from his 1993 yellow car.

1993 Yellow Feature Car Build Sheet

Ron sent me the sheet that he just got on his recently acquired 1992 Feature Car.

1992 Feature Car Build Sheet

There are several things to note here:

  • Oxford White Convertible Top. Based upon a recent discussion in the forums, this is another piece of the puzzle that attempts to answer the question: Oxford or Bright/Performance white top for the 1992 Feature Cars. Ron’s feeling is that his car actually came with Bright/Performance White based upon the color of his original rear window panel when compared to his Oxford White replacement top. Pictures of this difference are in the aforementioned discussion forum thread.
  • The option list includes “Limited Edition”. Ron told me that the woman who called him as she was the one pulling together his information noticed that his car was a limited edition so she added it.
  • The Original Selling Dealership is listed. Ron has informed that he asked them to add this information and they obliged.

Thanks are in order to Chet and Ron for providing me with their sheets.

Registered for Carlisle

Carlisle LogoI have finally put my planning for Carlisle into full gear. I have been ramping up for this through the first two weeks of March. I registered my car and did the updates to this site to make the planning official. These things always take a little longer than I think they will.

After I updated my mailing list, I sent out an email to 205 people that have contacted me through this site about feature cars. I always worry about getting this part right. I don’t want to generate unwanted email into people’s inboxes (I get enough spam myself). So, I spent a good amount of time refining the list. I know that, odds are, it went to some people who don’t want it. Hopefully, they will forgive me as it is pretty easy to get off my mailing list. In case you are reading this and didn’t get the message, here it is:


I am trying to get the word out about the second iteration of a “reunion” of the 1990, 1992 and 1993 Limited Edition “Feature” Mustangs LX 5.0 Convertibles at the Carlisle All-Ford Nationals held in Carlisle, PA from June 6-8, 2008. Last year was a huge success! If you haven’t made plans already, it is definitely time to start planning for this year.

Last year we had a tent and I am planning on doing the same thing this year. I don’t mind paying the up front cost. We register as a club and if we get 25 registrations under our club name, the tent will be free. I have posted specifics on how to register for Carlisle and make sure that you are counted as part of our club which is called “ Feature Mustangs” on my web site at:

Please consider coming to this event and, after you register, please let me know that you have. I would like to have an idea of how many people are planning to attend. I have included a discussion item in my forum for the show and will be updating my blog, with pertinent information as we go forward.

Keep checking back for more updates. The hard details will be on my official reunion page, my personal thoughts and experiences will be in this blog and everyone can weigh in with their own thoughts in the forums.

My car turns 15 today!

The build date on my car is March 10 which makes for 15 years today. At the end of this month I will have owned it for 6 years. Wow, time flies.

Over the past weekend, I started to think about getting it ready for the driving season. We have had a lot of rain in the last week and it has washed away much of the salt on the roads. Given that, it might be safe to take her out. I guess I should stop on the way home from work to get her a birthday present: some 10w30 and an FL-1A.

Come on summer

My friend Kevin sent me a link to a YouTube video that has him wishing summer was here. Admittedly, it’s not the most exciting video (more of a slide show) but I agree; bring on summer.