Monday, February 15, 2010

Snow Blog

So it's snowing here in Cleveland/Chattanooga area. It's actually snowing a lot in Cleveland (by Cleveland standards). There are mixed opinions about the "coolness" of this snow. Some wish there were more so we could get out of some work, some hate it because it's just enough to make the roads a bit dangerous early in the AM or late in the PM, others just hate the cold, or have an opinion that goes something like, "So?".

Personally, I think it's awesome. When the roads are horrible and we are kept working till those with authority decide it's too dangerous to leave their house to see if the roads are really that bad, then it kinda sucks, but really it's an indirect suck. The snow isn't the problem, it's the people who care about the money they will lose if they send their employees home before it's absolutely necessary or, as is often the case, only moderately dangerous. One guy I work with lives in Ringold, GA and a 45 min trip turned into a 4.5 hr trip on a snowy, crowded interstate. Oh, to have the lives of many to use as I see fit. Anyway, that's enough about non-snow for now.

Snooooooooow!... Snow! Snow! Snow! Snow! Snow! I think it reminds me of past Christmases/winter breaks, and snow days out of school, of movie Christmases where they almost always have snow (I'm always envious), and good times had with all of those things. Nothing like your parents coming in and instead of waking you, whispering those sweet, sweet words into your ear, "School's out. Go back to sleep." If I weren't so sleepy at these times, I would have immediately jumped out of bed and prepared for a day of... VIDEO GAMES! Actually, that was only a few times when illness decided that a school day was a horrible day for a fever, but a day of playing in the snow with reckless and irresponsible friends was the perfect time to let the white blood cells out to pasture.

Anyway... Yay, fun in the snow! You get it. All of this was brought to my brain by one, the snow(responsible for the nostalgia), and two, a lot of global warming posts(responsible for this blog).

Now, I remember snow as a kid. I don't remember this much snow except in the infamous BLIZZARD OF '93!... A.K.A. "the bread and milk drought of '93". Since then we really haven't gotten much snow lovin. One or two flurry days here or there but most of the time the mountains would be covered in white and it would just be cold everywhere else. What we are experiencing now is, I admit, colder-than-normal weather. I don't play geographer often, because I was never interested in memorizing countries and cities and all of those other geography things. But I think I have a decent enough grasp of vocabulary to understand the term global. Merriam Webster says global =

1. Spherical

2. of, relating to, or involving the entire world

3. of, relating to, or applying to a whole.

I'm aware that 49 states simultaneously had snow on the ground last week. That's pretty awesome but I'm a biased, snow fan-boy. It's also pretty weird. We have some very hot, very dry places in the states. Places that rarely see snow. But, I think it a view of global warming that limits the concept to " it's getting hotter" is a bit simplistic. Two of the effects I've read are increases in regional precipitation and intensity/occurrences of extreme weather. Would you consider snow in Reno, NV or Dallas, TX more toward normal or extreme? I'm not saying they had snow fall. I have no idea where snow fell and didn't fall but from the sound of it, it was in some pretty weird areas... and all at the same time. Are the amounts of snow fall we have experienced this winter consistent with the amounts in previous years? Was D.C, an area I would say expects and can deal with snow, prepared for the blanket of frozen precipitation that drilled that place last week?

I'm on the fence about global warming, leaning more toward the "it's better to be safe than sorry" position, but I don't see how a cold winter in North America discredits the global warming theory. To say so subtlety reveals the chauvinistic belief, admittedly, most Americans have about our country. Don't forget the North Pole, South Pole, melting ice caps, melting glaciers, rising ocean levels, rising ocean and land temperatures, etc., etc. Sure, the theory is controversial, as is the data, but I'll take my "responsible citizen of Earth" cue from controversial data over a couple of snow days any day of the week.

I wonder if my grammar would improve if I wrote these things in the later morning instead of at 2 AM.... I doubt it.

Sunday, February 14, 2010

Conspiracy rant and permaculture

I watched an interesting video the other night. This video was a documentary style interview with a whistle blower/conspiracy theorist named Michael Ruppert. For anyone who may read this and find themselves curious or for myself should I decide I'm interested in watching it again here,, is the link. For those of you who don't have 80 mins to watch this guy talk, he has a website, blog, and newsletter here,

This guy has credentials, facts, supposed past run ins with the CIA, big government, all sorts of things. He seems a bit paranoid. I felt a bit more paranoid after listening to his story but I normally get way too caught up in interesting movies.

So, basically we're going to run out of oil. To hear him tell it, pretty soon. After his rant on what we use it for, I realized that it (oil, petroleum, etc) is likely the 3rd most important form of matter on the planet behind water and air. We use it in everything! Sure, I'm being overly general when I say everything but oil seems to touch,either directly or indirectly, everything we see. In fact, if you think about it long enough I'm sure you could indirectly relate oil to every material things we use in our lives. If it wasn't made from oil, it was transported to us, stored in, purchased with, or driven on something that contained oil. Our medicines, food, clothing, cars, gas, computers, cell phones, toothpaste, plastic bags... anything plastic or rubber, pesticides, products we use to fix our hair, faces, feet, teeth... to write with, type with, record any type of data with be it historical, educational, or today's to-do list is affected by our access to this crap. We are using as much of it in our time as we ever have and we are creating as much of it as we ever have(as in we're not). Imagine running out of water or air. It's hard. I can't imagine not having access to a substance that has become so intertwined with my life that possibly only those two things are more constantly present in my every day-to-day. It's hard because I don't readily know how to and probably because on some level I don't want to. Who wants to admit that they have been so swayed by the ramblings of the latest conspiracy theorist? I don't. Who wants to be the only one who is still buying Walmart out of bread, milk, and batteries believing a blizzard is on its way even though the meteorologists say there's nothing to worry about? Again, not I.

Ruppert's peak oil analysis is frightening. I suppose that's the reason he's labeled a conspiracy theorist. But peak oil is very real, and very out there. Google it. You will find, what many consider, legitimate news agencies reporting on peak oil, getting sound bites and quotes from professionals and academics who know this thing is real. I think the only debatable aspect at this point is how much time do we have left. I know I'm half way kicking myself for buying my last vehicle thinking that if this thing hits in the next ten years, my pampered, dream car is going to be a worthless dust and vermin collector. But my more positive side reminds me that this could be years down the road or beyond my life time if steps are taken to curb consumption. Then I ask myself, am I willing to take the necessary steps? Would I bike to work, or trade in the car for an EV or invest in solar panels, go green and organic, buy the reusable shopping bag at Walmart and save all of those plastic bags? The answer is likely no, unless this problem is smacking me in the face with $2.50 per gallon gas prices. Which sucks btw, both the gas price and the lack of motivation I, and probably a good 70% of the rest of Americans, have for a problem like this until it directly and persistently affects my day-to-day. Not preventive maintenance for us. It's likely going to be a hurricane Katrina-ish event. No work on the levees = a lot of swimmers.

I personally don't know how to swim in the post petroleum world. I can fish a bit, but how many other people are gonna be on the banks of their local river throwing whatever they think will lure and hook a fish into that water. Let's just say everybody. I was at one time a pretty decent shot with a pistol or a rifle but the only deer that would be caught in my sights would be saved by the headgear his deer pals make him wear so he doesn't hurt himself when he's out of his harness. I can put a seed in the ground but I have no idea how long it takes to grow, when a good time to plant it would be, or how many of those things I should plant to keep me alive for more than a week once I harvest them. Oh and if I did learn that I need a crap ton of them to keep me alive, then how do I keep the stuff from going bad or from being food for the creatures whose hearing keeps them from hearing the train wreck, me, that stumbles around trying to get close enough to shoot/trap them. Yes, I'm over exaggerating a bit. I am confident that I could learn well enough to survive but survival will no longer be: wake up, go to work, deposit cash, go to Walmart, rinse and repeat.

So, I'm reading about permaculture, its in the title of this blog, but probably the smallest portion of it. It seems too good to be true though it does make sense on some levels. You basically create a small ecosystem using mostly edible species of the required players: vegetation, critters, critter-eaters, fertilizers, etc, etc. Pests, predators, fertilizers, habitats, vegetation, growth cycles are mostly naturally occurring and supposedly yield greater amounts of food per acre than our current growing methods. I have a hard time envisioning myself letting a venomous snake hang out in my forest/garden so I can grow a few veggies, but I suppose it may be a necessary evil. The end result is a self sustaining, self maintaining, totally organic garden with layers of food, not just in the ground. There's no pesticiding(if I just made that up... who cares), no artificial fertilizing, little to no digging, no real expenses (after the initial setup) and little to no work. We let nature do it's thing and kinda help it out once in a while and we get to eat. I'm thinking about getting this started should I ever decide to buy a house or property. If we have oil for the rest of my life then I'll eat plenty, healthy, and cheap. My grandfather, when faced with the decision to either invest a large amount of money into his chicken house or cash in his chips so-to-speak, decided that it was best to keep working with the birds. He wasn't doing it for the profit over the investment. He told me that while the money would come in to pay the expense, like it always had, he had a feeling that in the future that house may be what feeds our family. Look up permaculture sometime. Of the models I've seen so far, the one constant... is chickens.



This is something I've thought about adding to my life for a while. I think a lot. So much so that it becomes annoyingly noisey inside my mind. I'm hoping to store some of those thoughts here. I'm not sure how regularly I will write these things down but I hope to do so more often than not. Also, I think I will try reading something everyday and commenting on that something as a mental excercise be it creative, persuasive, philosophical, etc. Here's to a productive experience! Cheers!