Wednesday, November 28, 2007

just some stuff

I’ve got a few posts half written and an exciting insulation project going on at home so in the meantime I thought I’d share a couple of interesting reads.

The Big Sleep

by Graham Robb

In September, at the General Assembly of the United Nations, President Sarkozy proposed "un New Deal écologique et économique," but without explaining how economic growth can be reconciled with conservation. If he is serious about saving the planet, and if he wants to reassure the unions that workers will still have time with their families, he should consider introducing tax incentives for hibernation. The long-term benefits of reduced energy consumption would counterbalance the economic loss. There has never been a better time to stay in bed.

Until the 20th century, few people needed money. Apart from salt and iron, everything could be paid for in kind. Economic activity was more a means of making the time pass than of making money, which might explain why one of the few winter industries in the Alps was clock-making. Tinkering with tiny mechanisms made time pass less slowly, and the clocks themselves proved that it was indeed passing.

You’d barely know it from the press coverage here in the US but France is seeing a wave of violence as President Sarkozy tries to convince the French people that spending more time working and less time with family and friends is good for anybody but the corporatocracy. So it’s interesting to read that apparently the French used to just sleep through the winter.

Looking down from the peak

by Carlos Guerra

This one goes in the “maybe those peak oil people weren’t so crazy after all.” We have to enjoi these while we can because before we know it everyone will be saying, “Of course we’ve peaked in global oil production. It is, after all, a non-renewable resource- Duh!”

Yet another factor is the growing acceptance of theories that, globally, we are approaching the peak of oil production, after which it will decline and become pricier, theories that, until recently, were dismissed as alarmist bunk.

Mainstream media still ends its articles about peak with some sort of forced skepticism and/or misplace hope in continuing business as usual, perhaps because they make their money selling ads for stuff we’re told to buy and then throw away. And consumer culture sponsors have had so much soma that they can’t bring themselves to even imagine that this is all on the way out, but there are hints that this news is about to break.

Chinese tiger has nothing in tank

by Rowan Callick

Maybe you’re too young to remember what the oil shocks of the 70’s looked like. I am. We’ll here’s the updated 21st century version- a sneak peak at what happens when oil dependant societies run low on oil. In China,

A truck driver named Li told the Chuncheng Evening News he had been stranded at the Stone Tiger Gate petrol station for three days after searching for fuel in other places, but failing. Another driver, at Geiju city, said a job that would have taken one day in the past, now took three: one on the road, two queuing for fuel.

Nine days ago, a truck driver was reported to have been stabbed to death in central Anhui province after a row about queuing. A few days earlier, at Ezhou in Hubei province, 100,000 people were stranded, unable to get to work, because city buses had run out of fuel.

Of course China’s fuel distribution system is sub par compared to that of the US but it’s important to remember that per capita, we use a lot more oil than they do. I am reminded of the fact that during the brief fuel shortage (if you can even call it that) in my area following Hurricane Katrina, a coworker of mine actually witnessed a fist fight at a gas station. Like I’ve said before, I am not nearly as afraid of the physical implications of peak oil as I am afraid of the reactions of Joe & Jane Public who still say I’m crazy if I talk about peak oil. He & She are going to be pissed.

Also this week Diane Rehm covered what she called, “Oil Production Forecasts” on her radio show on Monday. She did use the term ‘peak oil’ and she did have Matt Simmons (god bless him) on her show along with the standard economists, to talk about the future of oil production. Hers is a national broadcast radio show on NPR that reaches about 1.5 million listeners.

Lastly I’ll recommend a bit of audio. If you are interested in the stuff I write about, I urge you to take a little time to investigate the way money works in our country. Research the "Federal" Reserve. Research the lack of any law that says you must pay income tax (it's actually unconstitutional to tax income the way the gov't does). Research the history of central banks and their involvement in initiating the Revolutionary War. I bet you’ll be amazed to learn (chuckle) if you don’t already know that our monetary system is a complete fraud. It would take much more typing for me to explain but let me suffice by saying that what seems like a perfectly normal system of dollars and cents to you and I, the average American, is actually a contrived system of wage slavery. I could use prettier language but let’s call it a spade. One suggestion for research on this topic: read or listen or watch everything you research on 'how money works' a few times. Unless you’re familiar with this stuff it’ll take repetition for you to understand what’s really going on. In other words, don’t expect to get it the very first time. But who knows, there’s a good chance you’re smarter than me. If you don’t want to listen to the audio try,

Slide Shows

Some Video

Tuesday, November 20, 2007


Earlier this month, avid local cyclist Mark Ortiz was stuck by a motorist while riding his bike. I shared his story here and the local newspaper covered it here. Mark was quite an inspiration in my move away from the automobile. He is recovering at an excellent pace despite multiple fractures to his back, ribs, wrist and pelvis. He remains hospitalized but doctors say it's very likely he'll make a full recovery.

That road to recovery however will be long. To help cover the costs of his medical care the local community has scheduled a bicycle ride in his honor for this coming Friday, November 23 at 10am in downtown Concord, North Carolina. Mark was 15 miles shy of riding 10,000 miles in 2007. We plan to ride those last 15 for him. Come and join us if you can. Many of my readers live too far away to actively participate in such a local event. I do not advertise at this site and tend not to ask for donations. However if you are moved to help Mark please feel free to sponsor me on this ride to help with his recovery. Any donation can be sent to:

Mark Ortiz
c/o Silvers/Newton
280 Post Oak Ave SW
Concord, NC 28025

You can follow Mark's progress here. I'll update on the event early next week.

Friday, November 16, 2007

bike tires and backyard pineapples

A curious occurrence developed earlier this week. It started out on my bike ride home from work Monday afternoon and shortly there after cut a tire. More precisely the outer layer peel back in a certain spot and started to flap against the frame each time the tire went round. FLAP, FLAP, FLAP. Not wanting to strand myself on my ride to work the following morning, I took the back up bike. Now the bicycle I regularly use to commute to work is pretty fast. It’s not a road bike but a hybrid that puts me in an upright position but has a road bike-like frame and more importantly, road bike-like high pressure tires. This is part of the reason it’s so fast. And while I don’t race to and from work, it’s a 10 mile ride each way. I don’t mind riding 40 minutes each morning and again each afternoon, but that’s enough time on the bike. I like getting home with some time left in the day to see my family, eat before dark (most of the year) and maybe get something done before bed. I like my fast bike. So it was with a little dread that I pulled out the back up bike, a heavy mountain bike with wider, slower tires. I had not ridden it much since the purchasing my new one.

I should stop here and tell you that there are a few hazards on my bike commute. Of course there are the cars, but I manage them as best I can. There are also a few spots where the pavement is bad. Also there are a few intersections where gravel and debris collect in certain spots. On my fast bike, these spots are dangerous because my fast, thin tires don’t do well with sand, dirt, or broken pavement. The few times I’ve been forced off the road or through the debris I have very nearly fallen. Which wouldn’t be the end of the world, but who wants a banged up bike and a few weeks spent with scabs on his elbows? Here’s the thing though, when I rode my mountain bike to work I felt much safer. The broken pavement was no big deal and I quickly found I could float through the debris at intersections without any trouble. My mountain bike ride to work was not as fast as usual but I could see the looming choice ahead. Would I go back to my fast tires or settle for slower, more stable fat ones?

Friday is the day I run errands so a trip to the bike shop would have to wait. For the rest of the week I rode my mountain bike to work. I grew increasingly unhappy about the upcoming choice about having to choose between speed or safety. I kept going over my choice, weighing the pros and the cons of each. Would I get back on the fast bike or would I stay on the safe bike? But then, in a moment of clarity, I realized a very important fact about this choice. It was fictional. It was completely of my own making. There was not a choice between fast and safe. I had made it up.

When I got to the bike shop I talked it over with shop’s sage like owner of 30 years. (This man knows a ton about bikes and maybe more about bread and the steel of Japanese swords) I showed him the tire and he deemed it defective. But then I explained my realization to him in this way. I guessed that are many types of tires to choose from; that my mountain bike had come with wide, knobby tires and my hybrid bike with thin, smooth tires but that there were probably many options in between. He replied that my guess was only a partial insight into the world of bicycle tire choices. Then he got out the book. There are in fact, myriad tire choices for my bicycle. A decision to go with a fast tire or a safe tire was a grand over simplification of what was available. We settled on a tire that is 10 mm wider than my original fast tire. It does have a smooth surface for speed over pavement but the sidewalls have knobs so that as the tire moves through debris the knobs stabilize the bike. It has a reflective component built into the side walls as well as a titanium interior that resists punctures to a greater degree than normal tires. The description in the book said they were sturdy tires made for long distance riding on a variety of surfaces- just what I needed.

The owner of my bike shop is peak oil aware; has been for quite a while. When asked about the short term implications he says, with a sarcastic smile, that it’ll be good for his business. In the long run he says we’ll probably end up riding steel bikes with hard tires at speeds much slower than I aspire to. This is my way of saying that I understand my new tires aren’t the answer to post peak oil bike riding. Titanium is not an especially common metal and my new tires are undoubtedly manufactured in an energy intensive manner in a factory probably outside of the USA. Bicycle tires choices will probably peak soon after oil. But in the meantime I will ride on these news tires and I use them here as an example of the flawed way in which we often think about change.

Very often we think in terms of having something or having to give it up. Or we thinking of have one thing or having another. In reality though these are self prescribed parameters. And the truth is they limit us but automatically excluding a whole range of other possibilities.

Take pineapples for instance. It’s a safe bet that no pineapple I have ever eaten was grown in the continental US. Most of them came from Hawaii. Flying fruit half way around the world requires a lot of fossil fuel energy and burning that stuff causes the emission of greenhouse gasses. It stands to reasons that eating pineapples isn’t something I will be doing much of in the post peak era. And it also stands to reasons that it is something that I shouldn’t be doing in a world that is warming at an alarming rate. So it seems reasonable to decide that pineapples are off my menu forever. Period. End of story. Sad but true. No more pineapples. But this is another false choice.

I have a few different types of compost piles. One of them is an old upright metal basket for kitchen items that are very thick or woody and will take a long time to break down. They do break down, but the basket keeps them out of the piles that do break down quickly so I don’t add big stuff back into the soil the following year. One item that goes into this basket is pineapple tops. You know, the leaves and the inedible cap of the pineapple. A few weeks ago I noticed a curious site. Unlike the rest of the brown withered stuff in the basket, a pineapple top that had been in the basket for months was surprisingly green. Upon, further investigation I discover it was growing roots into the decomposed contents of the basket. A few days later I mentioned what was going to a friend and he said, “Oh yes, my grandmother used to grow pineapples.” My friend Chad went on to tell me the story of how his grandmother grew them in North Carolina when she was younger. North Carolina, as you are probably aware, has a climate that is not like Hawaii at all. It freezes in NC and growing pineapples sounds impossible. The process and his story goes something like this.

After enjoying a delicious pineapple shipped more than 6000 miles from Hawaii Chad’s grandmother would remove the crown of leaves from the rest of pineapple and place it in a glass of water. She would replace the water if it got discolored but would otherwise wait until the crown put out roots. Then she would place it in a pot and water it frequently. In the spring, summer and fall she would place it on her porch. In the winter she would bring it inside and set it on a sunny windowsill. After about a year the pineapple would need to be replanted. After another year or maybe just a bit sooner, it would fruit and produce a pineapple for her. Here’s a question for you, which one do you think tasted better? No I’m not talking about the pesticides sprayed on commercially grown pineapples or the fact that they are picked and shipped before they’re rip so they can make such a long journey across the U.S. I’m talking about the return on investment, the satisfaction his Grandmother most have gotten out of growing her own pineapple. I doubt she did it because she knew how much pollution is produced flying pineapples from Hawaii to North Carolina. I doubt she did it because of peak oil. Even during some of our recessionary financial cycles the occasional holiday pineapple wasn’t too expensive for almost any American family. I imagine she did it simply because she could and because she enjoyed the process of taking what was leftover and making it into something new again. It’s possible that with a greenhouse and a bit of planning that someone in NC could grow more than a few pineapples locally. I’ve read about Citrus growers in Nebraska. Perhaps the energy needs to keep such operations running in terms of fossil fuels isn’t the most responsible way of using them. In North Carolina though it doesn’t take much to keep a greenhouse from freezing. Strawbale walls that slowly decompose during the course of the winter or keeping poultry inside will do the trick.

Hopefully the planet will never warm to the point where we can live off of pineapples alone in North Carolina but that doesn’t mean the end of eating them because of a return to eating locally. It just means that they will be more work, more special, more celebrated as a way of expanding our table not through the continued use of fossil fuels but by returning to the idea of what is probable, what is possible and what the a human being can accomplish if she really puts her mind to it.

The point of retelling Chad’s story is not to undermine the idea of the Bullseye Diet; the idea of eating closer to home. But we humans thrive on challenge. I do not want the return to local, seasonal eating to be viewed as a negative. It will have its challenges as several generations of Americans who grew up without a connection to that which they eat have to begin again to connect with the systems that nourish us. In doing so we should strive to see this revision as a series of possibilities complete with the notion of pushing the boundaries of what is agriculturally possible in our areas. We do not, we must not see these choices in terms of simply doing with or doing without; of choosing one way or another. There is a range of post peak agricultural possibilities just as there is a range of bicycle tire options. Exploring our options will be one of the great thrills of living in an era of change.

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

america searchs for ron paul

Let me make this clear. Supporting Ron Paul for President of the US in '08 is not my first choice. I would like to see a viable third party candidate run free from all corporate sponsorship. But short of that, it looks like Ron Paul is the best candidate this country could get.

I say that even though I disagree with quite a few of his political positions. He wants to turn the abortion issue over to individual states which I think is pretty much like doing away with the Supreme Court's decision in Roe V Wade. He has no problem with individual citizens owning automatic weapons and he is weak on the environment. BUT he wants to abolish the Federal Reserve, which means he understands how money really works in this country. He also wants to abolish the IRS and has a foreign policy of nonintervention. He voted against the Iraq war and opposes the US occupation of Iraq. Of all the candidates he seems to me to be the only one who is truly his own man. And most importantly, he's raising money the grassroots way.

On the 5th of November 2007, with a reference to the movie V for Vendetta, Ron Paul raised over 4 million dollars in 24 hours from over 30,000 contributors. That's less than $200 per contributor on average. It's also the Republican primary single day fund raising record. That is how you fund a Popular election campaign.

But I would never have written this post about Ron Paul if I had not stumbled onto another set of interesting numbers. I googled Ron Paul today to check on his current fund raising total and when I did, I noticed an enormous number of results from my search; over 50,000,000. So I began to wonder how many results would show up from similar searches of the other candidates and this is what I discovered.

But when I looked at the top three search results I noticed that all of them had very common names that might have skewed the results so I used quotation marks on a follow up search to try and make it more specific. Then I got this.

Ron Paul has not gotten substantial coverage in the mainstream media. He had to fight his way into a Republican debate in SC and is still considered by the talking heads of television to be a very marginal candidate. But I don't think there is any doubt that people out on the Internet are looking for more information about Ron Paul.

He has already raised 8 million dollars. He says he only needs $12 million by December 31, 2007 to win in IA, NH, MI, SC, & NV. We shall see.

I don't think traditional media understands the power of the Internet. I don't think the corporate powers who have sponsored previous elections understand the fund raising implications of the Internet. I think the potiential for a real change is possible because citizens who have been looking for an answer to the corrupt system of government in place in the the US are finding answers to their problems. They're searching them out on Google.

Monday, November 12, 2007

Oh, It's here.

For years, I’ve been talking about the coming peak in global oil extraction and postulating about what the aftereffects would look like. My wife once referred to that phase of American history as “the end of the world,” in a mockingly sarcastic toning. It’s become our running joke. The end of the world is coming we say. When in actuality it’s already here. Without any fanfare, without an official welcome, the post peak oil crash is on us.

And I bring this up not to be a Gloomy Gus but because this is really productive way to look at life in America in 2007. As long as we think that the future will be bad, we won’t get to the real work of making the present better. We must beginning doing it now and this shift in thinking has been enormously helpful to me and my decision making process. But maybe you don’t agree. Maybe you think that the escalator of material affluence is still going up. So let me stop and frame it for you.

Peak oil has come and gone.

The German-based Energy Watch Group will release its study in London today saying that global oil production peaked in 2006 - much earlier than most experts had expected.

The cost of gasoline is up 50% from four years ago and the government is doing something about it. It’s sending our children to die fighting over what’s left. There is virtually no other plan coming out of our government to address arguably the single largest event in human history.

I'm saddened that it is politically inconvenient to acknowledge what everyone knows -- the Iraq war is largely about oil. –Former Federal Reserve Chief Alan Greenspan

And when they get home they get poor medical care and a disproportionate number end up on the streets. Happy Veteran’s Day!

Veterans make up one in four homeless people in the United States,

The cost of food is up while more than 10% of our population doesn’t get enough to eat.

How unhappy we’ve become.

Depression strikes about 17 million American adults each year--more than cancer, AIDS, or coronary heart disease--according to the National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH). An estimated 15 percent of chronic depression cases end in suicide.

The US has more people locked up than any other developed nation in the world.

While 1 out of every 142 Americans is now actually in prison, 1 out of every 32 of us is either in prison or on parole from prison, according to yet another report on Americans behaving badly from the Bureau of Justice Statistics.

In a related story, King, er, President Bush can now imprison any American and hold him or her forever without a day in court.

The president has now succeeded where no one has before. He’s managed to kill the writ of habeas corpus.

The U.S. government is spying on its consumers, er, citizens.

In an interview yesterday, [a former employee] alleged that the NSA set up a system that vacuumed up Internet and phone-call data from ordinary Americans with the cooperation of AT&T .

But it’s this one that really convinced me. From our Deputy Director of National Intelligence,

Privacy no longer can mean anonymity, says Donald Kerr, the principal deputy director of national intelligence. Instead, it should mean that government and businesses properly safeguard people's private communications and financial information.

That is fascism plain and simple.

We can’t continue to talk about the coming of ‘the end of the world’ because it’s here. I like how Ran Prieur recently put it.

[T]he crash is not close -- we are in the crash. This is what the crash looks like -- not roving gangs storming your house to steal canned food, but trains breaking down and roofs leaking and unemployed people moving in with family and employed people cynically going through the motions. Ten thousand little breakdowns, and adjustments to breakdowns, will slowly build up until you find yourself eating dandelions and sorting out your pre-1982 pennies to sell the copper.

But on the surface it doesn’t look like we’re there yet. “Reality is a problem for the ruling class,” says Michael Parenti, and because of this, because of the reality of our situation: the pollution of our drinking water, the massive loss of topsoil, the devastation of our environment, the peaking of oil production, the warming of our planet and climate changes that are advancing at a rate much faster than even pessimistic scientists once thought, war, hunger, disease treated with sky rocketing health care costs- this is the reality of life in the year 2007 in America. But because this isn’t good for business instead we get circus.

Once I more fully recognized that the crash is already here, something interesting happened. Quite a lot of the fear went away. A good bit of anxiety went with it. It’s much less worse than anticipated. Also I’ve become even more serious about change but at a different speed. I talked in a previous post about ending my sprint and beginning my marathon. I now recognize that the shift in speed was part of a grander realization, the realization that we’re in it now. The crash has arrived and now we’re going to have to get on with living in it. Life apparently doesn’t stop for ‘the end of the world.’

Friday, November 09, 2007


Inspiration is in the hospital. I went to see him last night. On Tuesday evening Inspiration was riding home on his bicycle when a driver, I’ll call him Cowardice, hit Inspiration from behind with his car. Now inspiration pays his taxes. He has his right to the road just the same as Cowardice, but Cowardice didn’t think so, didn’t even think of Inspiration as a human. Cowardice didn’t stop to help, didn’t call in an anonymous request for help. Cowardice left Inspiration to die in a ditch. Over an hour and a half passed before an EMT, let’s call him Heroism, noticed the mangled bicycle of Inspiration and stopped and started to help.

Inspiration is alive and it looks as if he’ll stay that way. His back is broken in three places, his pelvis is cracked along with 4 ribs. He was hit so hard his tongue is purple and pretty he is not. But his spirit is intact, his sense of humor is undamaged. Cars can’t kill those it seems. He told me he was struck just 15 miles short of riding his 10,000th mile in 2000 & 7. It’s a lot of math I know. It’s a long way to ride. This is why I call him Inspiration because he is part of the reason I ride, an example of how any human can get around without an automobile.

When I used to drive to work in the big city, I would see Inspiration all along an extended stretch of my commute. On the weekends I might spot him clear across the county as I sped from one place to another in my car. This man was a mystery to me with his low slung saddlebags front and back and his flickering lights and steady pace. A thin, gentleman of 58 years, he seemed unenslaved to the auto and I envied him ever time I passed. When I finally decided to regain control over my own oil addiction, it was Inspiration who was willing to talk to me and share stories of how, where, what and most of all why. “Why ride,” you might ask, “Why not,” was the Inspirational answer and off I went.

Without family in the area it was up to Hope to help Inspiration. Of course Kindness tagged along too. Generosity, Bigheartedness, and Faith have pledged to lend a hand. It might be months, many many months before Inspiration is out on the streets again, riding his way to everywhere and anywhere on a bike and in good health. And that will be just living up to his name. Thank you Inspiration and please get well soon.

Saturday, November 03, 2007

off and up out

"Sit, be still, and listen for you are drunk and we are at the edge of the roof." - Rumi, Sufi mystic

My friend Jared once asked me if I secretly desired the destruction of industrialization and the failure of the automotive way of life. That was years ago and I have yet to give him a straight answer. In an effort to remain consistent, nor will I today. In fact I'm planning to dodge his question in part because I think it will soon be moot. My crystal ball is in the shop but as I look out into the world, especially the world according to most mainstream economists, I see trouble up ahead. There is still plenty of bread and circus but the bread is getting more expensive and the batteries of the circus are running low. I think others might notice soon too. By the way, if you like well polished blog posts or inspirational direction on what to do, this offering might disappoint you. If you like reading the rambling thoughts of others as they deal with the issues of our era you might just enjoi the following.

We here in the U.S. have adopted a way of life that cannot be sustained, regardless of what some will say. The neoconservatives have had their chance to play last-man-standing and it hasn't worked. The U.S. is beginning to feel the pinch of peak oil and will soon have to deal with the peak of all sorts of other resources. Then the changes of climate created by global warming will further disrupt what many have come to regard as normal- more, bigger, faster. The latter half of my life will be about doing with less, smaller and slower. The model of industrialization based on growth capitalism is cracking under the strain of resource depletion and peak happiness and it is going to fail. I doubt it will happen in a spectacular flash of the moment, nor will it take decades to settle in; somewhere in between. I am not especially excited about it. I am not actively calling for the dismantling of this way of life because I imagine it could be quite a rough ride at times. But I must admit I am not answering his question- ‘Do I want it happen’- in large part because it does not matter. It is headed our way.

The last few weeks have felt different from the former f
ew years in regards to the issues of energy and those who are following them closely. As we approach the record cost of a barrel of oil, perhaps the collective American psyche is catching on. Or perhaps the smoke in the theater is getting easier to smell. But there’s been a change in the behavior of those who have been aware for awhile of what is going on. Once upon a time the debate was about whether or not the theory of peak oil was correct. Proven accurate, the talk turned to possible dates of peak oil. Oil extraction, in the form of total liquids, peaked in July of 2006 and unexpected depletion rates in countries like Mexico, (third largest supplier of crude to the US) coupled with unforeseen national hoarding tendencies mean we are very unlikely to ever eclipse that production peak. The era of oil, and with it the era of abundant energy, is now in decline. Throughout the rubbernecking of the peak oil incident there has been a running discussion of what could and should and would be done. Debates like, ‘Move to the country vs. stay in the city’ or ‘We are doomed vs. we’ll be fine.’ I have enjoid the conversation. But I’ve noticed that while there are a whole host of newcomers ready to talk about the peak oil and its repercussions, many of those whom I have gotten to know are quietly stepping off center stage. Many are becoming increasingly convinced that “they” aren’t going to show up to save us with alternatives. Others have become too busy with making real changes in their own life to spend great gobs of time writing about the change. I am set to become one of them.

I have been sprinting. I entered this race several years ago without knowing the distance- just started running. But in retrospect my pace has been awful. It is way too fast. This has allowed me to learn lots and help others do the same, but it has also alienated me from some of my family and friends who aren't receiving the same sort of advances warnings my antennae are picking. It's funny to be able to talk about peak oil in conversation now; to be able to express ideas that might have been considered crazy just a few years ago but are now treated as a bit odd but perhaps prudent. But my previous pace is still unsustainable. I cannot continue to sprint. I am moving far too quickly to be able to properly address all of the aspects of life, including enjoiment.

I am a distance running and so I know the difference between running real fast for a few minutes and stretching out the experience over the long haul. At the end of a good long run I can remember much about what I experienced. I feel engaged, alive and thoughtful. In life, sprinting is sometimes necessary but does not come with the same sort of rewards. When I'm finished a sprint I'm just glad to be done. I don't want my life to be like that, to just be happy when it is over. So it is with conscious effort that I am stopping my sprint and resting briefly before starting off on another sort of a run. My friend Sharon struck at it exactly when she described it as The Marathon.

I had my little "enough" moment two weeks ago, I apparently wasn't alone. That is, a number of the people dealing with these issues seem to be struggling a little with their own confrontation with reality… for so long there has been the hope that if we just worked fast enough and hard enough we could avoid the worst consequences of our inaction. And even though I know better, some small part of my mind had hoped that if I just worked hard enough now, I could fix what was broken, and come to a moment at which things are "ok" again. On every conscious level, I knew that was wrong, but denial is a happy space in your head…

Of course we cannot fix it. We are just going to have to live in it and deal with the change. We must set the past appropriately. My marathon will continue to include posting here at powering down. This is where I work out my thoughts on what is happening and what I think about it. But I will not be offering much; maybe a couple of postings a month. I am planning to contribute a few overdue book and movie reviews for Groovy Green. But the bulk of my writing will be dedicated to a book I am working on. I need to focus on this the most important offering I have to make to the greater response of our nation to peak oil and climate change. I hope to be mostly done before the arrival of my second child in March of next year and the subsequent planting of a spring garden. At my paying job I am laboring to retool the idea of development and exploring how existing communities might retrofit their neighborhoods for the lower energy era. At home we are engaging in renovations to both increase our quality of life and address the issues I know will soon be knocking at our door. To finish out this update I am including recommended reading of other people I find interesting and useful. Or you can cruise the the 'Sites of Interest' in my sidebar. I am also offering a few charts and links to back up my claim that the near future will not be like the recent past. I wish you all the best.

Energy Bulletin - energy info clearing house

The Oil Drum - energy info clearing house

The Raw Story – news

Cryptogon – important stories you might have missed

Urban Survival – economic news in the know

The Archdruid Report – the big picture

Casaubon’s Book - the big picture by the woman

James Howard Kunstler – weekly biting response to these issues

Jeff Vail – energy and more

Ran Prieur – smart thinking about lots of stuff

Warning: None off the following is a recommendation to buy, sell or hold any financial instrument.

the price of oil (with an update)

the price of gasoline in my area last month

up and away with food prices

the U.S. dollar

Mortgage means 'Death Pledge' in French

what we owe