Wednesday, August 31, 2005


"Nero fiddled while Rome burned." Yes, these pictures were all taken on the same day. (Courtesy of Ameroblog and Yahoo.)

Tuesday, August 23, 2005

The good old days

I am about to take a bold step, or should I say, back-step. My computer crashed the other day and a funny thing happened, I survived. Thank the four winds for kind web-connected neighbors. I should be up and running in a day or so, but rather spontaneously today, I canceled my broadband; that’s right, I am back to dial-up. The fact is, I am a broadband junky. The rapidity with which I have been able to research any number of things to the speed and ease of posting blog diaries, has kept me captivated for hours at a time. That was all well and good while I was on vacation, but now, starting my third semester in nursing school, it is a different story.

I am going to cut back my posting here. From what I am seeing, the message about Peak Oil is out and the slim-ball-in-chief is in a ratings tailspin. I am most pleased.

Worry not fans, I am only refocusing on my future career, the adjustments to a post petroleum world will be a drawn out process (thankfully), which means there will be a lot to post about during the next several years. I am just apologizing in advance for the lack of frequency.

In the mean time, Jim over at The Energy Blog is posting some really great, inspiring and optimistic energy news quite regularly; my blog wants to grow up to be like his.

Saturday, August 20, 2005


My computer is down. Will post soon.

Tuesday, August 16, 2005

Buying time

Since Toshiba invented that highly efficient Lithium-ion battery a few months back and Mitsubishi is designing an electric car based on that battery, then we would not need as much in the way of liquid fuels. Our impending transportation crisis could be dealt with by adding more electricity to the grid and, of course, more grid.

The environmental concerns of mining and burning coal must be seriously considered, but as I said before, at current rates of consumption, coal will provide electricity for another 200 years.

Perhaps we can add this to the list of inventions that buy us time. Time in which to dump the current neocon oil hogs and time to develop some real homegrown alternative energy sources and storage mediums that have absolutely no connection to the fossil fuels coal, petroleum or natural gas.

Hmm, I'll make an exception for 3-in-1 oil; handy stuff, that!

(Thanks to Jim at The Energy Blog for the MSNBC article.)

Monday, August 15, 2005

Converging vectors

(image courtesy U.C. Davis)

As usual, an excellent article by Jerome a Paris in regards to the multiple converging vectors leading to glorious catastrophe. Damn you Jerome, just when I was feeling the tendrils of complacency….

[from the article. I recommend a full read (link above) as well as a read of the comments, as many of the arguments and other pov's are good.]
So we have the combination of Bush (borrow and spend like there is no tomorrow, give money to the rich and to the corporations), Greenspan (flood the zone with money), the US consumer (stagnant wages, but cheap money from home equity withdrawals or plastic, thus still consuming - including lots of gas-guzzling SUVs), and the oil producers (unable or unwilling to invest), and we are getting very near the end of this exercise in burning your reserves:

  • this is supposed to be an economic recovery, yet debt levels are at record highs and interest rates are still low. What will be available to cushion the shock when it comes? Not public deficts, not private debt, and not lower interest rates.
  • this is an economy built on cheap oil. When it stops being cheap, what will happen to those that have suburban houses, 50 mile commutes, 15 MPG cars and no access to public transport? what will happen to the corresponding real estate markets? what will happen to the manufacturers of the gas-guzzlers?

The recent apparent prosperity comes from having burnt through all our capacity to absorb shocks. It can last for a while, so long as there are no shocks, but we all realise that this is not very reasonable (especially when your foreign policy consists in creating massive instability in the most sensitive area of the world). We are highly vulnerable, and the consequences of any shock will be brutal - and we know that shocks are coming on the money and oil fronts.

As an individual, you still have the chance today to protect yourself from these inevitable trends, because the country as a whole will not escape it, and neither will the rest of the world.

Thursday, August 11, 2005

Site meter

The site meter just broke 5,000 hits. With 760 hits on Personal Note and 1,160 on Post Petroleum Clearinghouse, that makes 6,920 all together. Wew!

Tuesday, August 09, 2005

Back to school

I have been trying to figure out how this blog will evolve. School is about to start again and it promises to be rigorous. I started this blog precisely half way through last semester, with a full head of steam. The paradigm shift I was going through was intense. I was compelled to research, write, ponder and research some more, right in the middle of clinicals and exams; I could not help it.

Of late though, I am feeling that I have less to say. I do not feel that we are in for any less of a rough ride, it is just that it does not seems like such a bad thing anymore. Mentally at least, I am prepared for a variety of lifestyle change scenarios from mild to catastrophic. I have put aside a year's worth of food and 90 day's worth of water (less if I choose to share). In addition, I have been collecting implements and tools that would come in handy in a world without oil and only sporadic electricity. We will be heading back to basics to some degree and, as any musician or martial artist will tell you, getting back to basics is always good.

I think these things have helped me relax a little bit. I have noticed an interesting phenomenon – many of us peak oilers are slowing down; the intensity of the blogging has diminished. Even Jeremy over at fantastic planet was feeling a bit burnt out as of August 2. Perhaps we are all coming to similar conclusions.

Concurrently, witnessing the breathtaking incompetence of the current administrations efforts at, well, everything, has lead me to an interesting inner place. In a sad but reifying way, I have lost all faith. I trust no one in government at any level to watch out for me. In fact, there is no one watching over any of us. You are charged now with watching over yourselves and the small community around you that you really trust. It may just be you; it may include one or two others; it may include a small section of your neighborhood. This may be the most essential ingredient in the recipe for survival; not just survival in a post-petroleum Mad Max world, but survival in the here and now. If you can rely on yourself, you've got it made, if you can rely on just a few others, you have more than kings.

My blogging may be less frequent in the months ahead or I may get a second wind and keep it up. I do recall telling someone that blogging was an excellent creative outlet, sorely lacking in my nursing school studies. We will see.

Tuesday, August 02, 2005

I have always been this way

Recently, while preparing my TEOTWAWKI closet, I pulled out my old backpack to see if there was anything survival worthy therein. The last time I even looked in this pack was before I moved to San Francisco seven years ago. I found my old canteen, some woolen socks, some interlocking silverware and this gem, “Outdoor Survival Skills” by Larry Dean Olsen. As I sat there, thumbing through this book, I let out a chuckle, and had to acknowledge that I had always been this way - the survivalist Indian/Tarzan wannabe.

This was one of my favorite books in high school. This copy, printed in 1976, includes a foreword by Robert Redford who had recently completed “Jeremiah Johnson. I do not remember how I came across it originally, but I remember committing a lot of it to memory. I was wondering about that great book I used to have, which taught how to make bows and arrows, snares, shelter and fire from things found in nature. I assumed I had given it away but it seems that it was with me all along.

It makes sense now why I turned on like a lighthouse when I read my first well-written article on Peak Oil; I had preprogrammed myself to fall into survival mode. Perhaps it was more likely that I realized how lazy I had become and felt the need to brush up immediately.

I remember the energy crisis of the 70’s and my coveted subscription to Mother Earth News. I remember my plans to build an earth bermed/passive solar house and a biodynamic French intensive garden. I remember building a homemade net-hammock and rigging it, dozens of feet off the ground in a tall oak out in the backyard, just so I could sleep in the treetops. (I remember it not being very comfortable at all either!)

Now here we are on the brink of another energy crisis, only this time, no falling asleep at the wheel.