Sunday, February 8, 2009

Weekend Four

20 artists slept in the shanty village Friday night including me. It was a warm night; 30 degrees and slightly breezy. I arrived with a truck full of supplies at ten PM, and had a chance to see the bathtub in the ice that Jonas and Betsy had made outside of Sweat and Drink Inc, but was too tired to wait for the sauna temps to rise, and turned in early. Saturday there was an art car parade and a steady stream of visitors. The wind was up with a biting air and there were times when I couldn’t get back in the shanty due to the crowds.
The five-week length of the public project is taking its toll on the artists and many were tired of repeating the themes of their shanty. The sheer volume of questions we answer is phenomenal. I didn’t realize how hard this would be. What is most apparent is that we are not scientists. People are asking great questions, “How much power am I making? How long does it take to make the coffee I am drinking? How does it work? What are you doing in here?” Frankly we are still astonished that we are actually generating power out there, even though it is not enough with two bikes to generate as much as we need. We have a Watt reader that tells us when the batteries are being charged or drained, but because we are doing both at the same time, we don’t actually know exactly how much is being created.
The afternoon turned around when my family came by to hear my niece Emme Mandara G. and her friends Isaac, and Martha play music and do spoken word. It was beautiful and angst ridden at the same time. I love Emme’s voice.

Sunday we were able to rally and are feeling grateful for all of the support we have been given. Peace Coffee continues to support our efforts, and friends and family give generously. We spent the day recharging the batteries we had drained yesterday. We heated water with the Solar Oven and White Gas. Dave brought us a thermostat, and the temps inside the shanty reached 90 F with the door open. Outside temps were in the 30’s. The quality of light is stellar in the pod and people were happy to sit and visit with us and enjoy the day.
Resistance on the bikes remains high. We are still looking to meet the person who can help us solve this one. Most people are convinced we have it geared wrong even when we explain it is the current between the alternator and the battery that creates it. Though pedaling is difficult, we have a steady stream of riders.

A big shout out to Bekka Mueller for designing the buttons and Hannah Glidden for putting them together. Hannah did a great job helping in the control booth and fielding questions all weekend. Veronica and I put together our “25 Things about Ped Pex Power Pod” list.

My favorite is 21 “ If laughter charged my batteries, I’d be fully charged” . Veronica quoted a guest for this one.

Tonight we removed one of the bikes, as Colin needs the alternator and battery back in his truck. We have a two bikes and one alternator in the studio, but don’t have any batteries to connect them too. I’m sure we’ll figure something out for closing day next Saturday.

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