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Monday, November 30, 2009

LA DWP Extra Capacity Fee - Do you see this on your bill?

First, a question...

If you are a customer of the LA DWP, are you seeing and "Extra Capacity" fee listed under the solid waste portion of your bill, even if you only have one of each of the bins - trash (black), recycle (blue) and green (garden)? I am interested in hearing if the fee mentioned below has been appearing on your bills or if this is only an isolated incident.

Now, the story...

We are currently engaged in a rather frustrating go-round with the LA DWP regarding an Extra Capacity Fee on our water/electric/sewer/trash bill. Back when we first moved in, we did indeed have 2 green garden bins, as the property produces a lot of garden waste. Over the years we have started composting more and more and when the price went up for the "extra capacity" bin, we turned it into the DWP.

About 6 months ago, I noticed that the fee had re-appeared on our bills. Calling the LA DWP, they stated that one of their "inspectors" had noticed 2 green bins in front of our house and therefore re-instated the extra capacity fee. Fine and good, expect the that second green bin was from our neighbor, which we had borrowed for a particularly large leaf cleanup.

The operator at the DWP instructed us that they would have to send an inspector out to confirm that we only had the one green bin and it could take up to 4 months to see the change in our bill. This happens as the LA DWP only bills every 2 months. So we waited. Sure enough the next bill still had the charge, so we called again. The operator told us that the inspector had not yet been sent out, so the bill still contained the fee.

Here we are now 6 months later and we are still paying an extra capacity fee for no extra service. Tomorrow will bring another phone call to the LA DWP and we will attempt to finally get this settled.

Frustrating, to say the least.

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Thursday, November 26, 2009

A post-prandial stupor

The Bird!
Originally uploaded by dewelch
I site here now, laptop in position, and send you greetings hazed over by a post-prandial (after dinner) stupor. I didn't really over eat. I had a little bit of everything and it all was amazing.

My sister prepares the turkey every year. One benefit of being the main cook at home is that I don't have to cook on any of the major holidays. Everyone else has selected a holiday that is there and I can sit idly by and make biting comments about how much better it would be if they only did thus and such. (SMILE)

I haven't been idle today though. Business has been discussed and i even wrote a short post for Careers in New Media this morning which has already gone live on the blog. This is also my time to do a lot of reading. Those moments I am not engaged with family, I grab one of the four books I brought with me and enjoy a little "me time" without the pressure of phone calls and emails that must be addressed.

The holidays bring a rush of activities, so I consider Thanksgiving a brief respite before the Christmas and New Year's comes storming our way.

Hope that the day has been good for your and yours!

Happy Thanksgiving from DouglasEWelch.com

Happy Thanksgiving!

Tomorrow is Thanksgiving Day here in the US, so from all of us to all of you, Happy Thanksgiving, wherever you are! We are thankful for much and many. May your day be filled with food, fun and family!

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Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Video: Thanksgiving Turkeys

Sunday, November 22, 2009

Audio: Stay in control of your RSS Feed from PodCampAZ

Douglas speaks at PodCampAZ 2009 in Phoenix, Arizona on "Stay in control of your RSS feeds."

Links mentioned in this presentation:
New Media Interchange

New Media Interchange Community Site

Blubrry.com Powerpress

Listen to the entire presentation (45 Mins)

Video: Stay in Control of Your RSS Feed from PodCampAZ

iPod Ready Video

Douglas speaks at PodCampAZ 2009 in Phoenix, Arizona on "Stay in control of your RSS feeds."

Links mentioned in this presentation:
New Media Interchange
New Media Interchange Community Site
Blubrry.com Powerpress

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Limoncello starts its 1 month aging

My batch of limoncello (Italian Lemon Liqueur) has finished it's 2 weeks of steeping, so today I made up a large batch of simple syrup (basically a highly concentrated sugar water), strained out the lemon peels (which had given everything they could) and mixed everything back together to age for about another month.

We will sample some a little bit early during our annual Christmas Party and some folks may get some as gifts, if I can bear to let go of it.

I took a small taste after I mixed it and it is already phenomenal. Some aging, and chilling it down to near freezing, should make it almost perfect. Yum!

The Pandoro cake lurking in the background will be sliced, brushed with limoncello, and then each layer will be filled with limoncello whipped cream as a special treat for the holidays.

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Video: My Podcast Process from PodCampAZ 2009

Douglas speaks at PodCampAZ 2009 in Phoenix, Arizona on "My Podcast Process."

Links mentioned in this presentation:

New Media Interchange

New Media Interchange Community Site


Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Audio: My Podcast Process from PodCampAZ 2009

Douglas speaks at PodCampAZ 2009 in Phoenix, Arizona on "My Podcast Process."

Links mentioned in this presentation:


New Media Interchange

New Media Interchange Community Site


Listen to the entire presentation (55 Mins)

Friday, November 06, 2009

Photo: Where we live....

Where we live...

Captured on today's daily walk through the neighborhood

Thursday, November 05, 2009

What I'm (e)Reading...Robin's Nesting Place

Robin's Nesting Place is one of the many gardening blogs I follow. It is filled with some tremendous photography, like the post below. Like many blogs, Robin's Nesting Place is highlighting the changes that Winter brings to the garden.

I love hearing and seeing what is going on in other people's gardens, no matter where in the world they might be. The superior photography of this blog gives me a wonderful look -- almost like I am actually there.

Mosaic Monday- Frosted:
I woke up yesterday morning to a heavy frost on the ground. As much as I dreaded seeing it, it was actually quite beautiful. While still in my fleece pajamas and before coffee, I put on my coat and grabbed my camera and headed out to take a few pictures and enjoy the beauty of the delicate frost on my garden.

There is a late blooming sunflower that has just opened up and a few small roses on the Knock Out rose bushes. This frost pretty much finished up what was left of the cosmos.

I know a lot of people don't like the 'Purple Wave' petunias, but I love them and have them every year. They are so easy to grow from seed in my indoor growing system, I usually have a 100% success rate. There aren't too many flowers that I can say that about! When they start looking tacky in late summer, I cut them way back and they come to life again rewarding me with beautiful blooms well into autumn. They can withstand a significant frost and still look pretty. They can also withstand the heat and don't have to be pampered. Definitely a must have for me!

I'm linking today to Mosaic Monday, hosted by Mary, from the Little Red House. Hop on over and see her gorgeous fall collage!

Tuesday, November 03, 2009

Orange Line Busway Cleanup

As I took my daily walk along the Orange Line Busway today, I saw that crews were doing a major cleanup near the intersection of the busway and Kester Street. The planting had gotten very dense here and many homeless people were camping in the thicket. I can understand the homeless camping there, but the heavy cover provides shelter for those with less benign intentions and makes this section of the heavily used bike and walking path feel less safe.

I am not sure the plants chosen were the best for this section of busway. Surely there is something that would beautify the area and keep graffiti down without providing so much density. It will take some time, I guess, before the best balance is found there.

Orange Line Busway Cleanup - 2 Orange Line Busway Cleanup - 1

Click for larger images

Monday, November 02, 2009

Making Limoncello

I fell in love with limoncello on our 2 trips to Italy. The liqueur is a strong and sweet personification of the lemon, made by soaking lemon peel in a high-proof alcohol and then combining the resulting mixture with a simple sugar syrup.

Making Limoncello - Peeling LemonsMaking Limoncello - Peeling LemonsMaking Limoncello - Peeling LemonsMaking Limoncello - Steeping the lemon peelsMaking Limoncello - Steeping the lemon peels
Click for larger images

This first phase, soaking the peels, will take about 2-3 weeks. Then I will strain the liquid and combine with the syrup. It should set, undisturbed for about a month after that. The liqueur will continue to mellow and age nicely the longer you let it sit.

Limoncello is a digestivo, designed to be sipped in small quantities after a large, Italian meal. I love having it like this, as well as sharing it with friends, so this large batch is destined to be bottled in smaller bottles and given to friends as a Christmas gift.

When serving limoncello, you should freeze the bottle, as well as the small glasses for several hours before serving. This chill brings out the lemon smell and flavor while mellowing the alcohol.

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Sunday, November 01, 2009

Making Apple Butter

As Fall approached and the apple harvest came in, I saw many recipes using apples and wanted to try out a few. One that caught my eye early on was making my own apple butter. I have never tried it before, and I found several recipes for putting it together, such as this blog post Apples Galore! How to Make Apple Butter from The Kitchn by Emma Christensen.

This small batch took quite a few hours to cook down and even then I didn't take it to the level of caramelization to what you would find in a commercial product. I was too afraid of burning the apple butter after so much work. In the future, I would probably make it using either the oven or a slow cooker. It would require less monitoring and stirring.

Additional pictures of the process are available on Flicker.

Overall, I am pretty happy with the results. The apples and some apple cider came from today's visit to the farmer's market in Encino and the taste is sweet, but not overly so. My morning toast will be dressed with this for the next few weeks, that is sure.