Sunday, November 22, 2015

Fairfield 11: Repairs, Renovations, and Upgrades

I will jump this post to the front of the queue, and then we'll get back to Canada.

In November I returned to Fairfield, Iowa for another two-week visit, primarily for extended group meditation in the men's dome (Maharishi Patanjali Golden Dome, a mouthful) at Maharishi University of Management (MUM), but also for visiting friends and just wandering around Fairfield. Speaking of the Dome, it now has a glowing, brand-new roof. The old one had been leaking badly enough that replacing was better than patching yet again.
The women's dome (Bagambhrini Golden Dome) was in better shape, and needed only spot repairs. In this photo, the blue layer (sprayed on just as the underlying foam was) has some pockmarks on it (click to enlarge).
In a couple of days those were fixed. I do love the off-center top cupola; it creates a jaunty appearance.
But soon it was re-centered. At least the golden paint layer won't be applied until the spring, and that provides a pleasing contrast.
A striking addition was 40 kilowatts of photovoltaic solar panels on the west side of the men's dome, to supply power to the dome. At the time of my visit the two rows of panels had been installed but they weren't wired up yet.
The road past the dome from Highway 1 has been completely resurfaced. It sees a lot of traffic and the Iowa winters are very hard on it.
Work was going on all over. The McLaughlin building on the MUM campus was being repainted (work still in progress).
Seamless gutter installation on an MUM dormitory.
Porch repairs on that dorm.
The sustainable living building now has a pair of high-tech sundials on either side of the south face.
A closeup.
These are accurate timepieces, not a stick in the sand. The following poster gets blue vs. green wrong, but otherwise explains how the sundials work.
Just east of the sustainable living building is a small structure supporting more solar panels, and where batteries and other equipment are housed. I noticed a  level 2 (240 volt) electric-car charger from Sun Country attached to the outside. Note the motto, "Greening Canada's Highways." 
This is how the plug is arranged.
The campus library is next door, and in the foyer there was an exhibit by Bill Graeser, MUM locksmith, poet, photographer, and artist. The show included a poem -- my apologies for the poor photo, click to enlarge,
framed art, including this "rejection match,"
and more.

Also on campus one day was a bloodmobile.

At Everybody's, the grocery-and-more store between campus and downtown, the Christmas railroad setup had begun.
Around the square, second-floor space has been and is being renovated into apartments.
Just off the square is the Istanbul Grill, a restaurant I visited for the first time on this trip. The outside is unprepossessing, but the interior is cozy,
the proprietors are charming, and the food is good. There are kebabs, steaks, and burgers to appeal to the carnivorous set, but I tried the veggie platter,
which included falafel balls, pita, tabouli, hummus, and baba ganoush. Yum!

The weather was generally agreeable on this trip, allowing several walks, some on the Fairfield Loop trail. There I encountered this sign describing the stages of the trail's construction. It lies atop a green-tinted map, perhaps a satellite view, of the Fairfield area.
These grasses near the trail caught my eye,
and they also drew the notice of my walking companion, Cary Davis.
One afternoon as I walked to the dome the light and the foliage were just right. The tree on the right of the path started dropping leaves the next day.
Here the Tower of Invincibility catches the early morning sun. It may appear to be a leaning tower, but it's not. Perhaps I was.
In my perambulations I began to take note of interesting "vanity" license plates. Ignoring ordinary specimens, such as people's initials, I focused on MUM-related themes.

I had a great rest and look forward to "Fairfield #12."