Welcome to a taste of post-abundance

The PSE outage line reports 700,000 estimated without power in their service area, and days if not a week to restore power to everyone.

… but, you know, at least that power generator you bought for Y2K is useful now … as long as your gas supply holds out. Get your syphon ready to pull gas out of your car’s tank!

Funny things:

  • I can’t go to the bathroom without a candle. Stupid design!
  • It took me 1/2 hour to get candles and search my old equipment for a phone that actually works without power.
  • My nifty camp stove that burns twigs, but requires a 9v battery seems a little oxymoronic to me now.
  • I have way more candles in this house than I realized.

And, best of all, the 3-4 hour battery life of this laptop I use … while awesome that it’s got a battery so I can use it at all … is really short when there’s no power main to plug into. Which is just insane that my computer is my main priority … you know, at least, until I get hungry and realize I can’t cook anything … Wait. What?

Depressing essay, surface the myth-masked system

Via Clusterfuck Nation by Jim Kunstler : Oh Six

You can only introduce so much perversity into an economic system before distortions cripple it. From 2001 through 2005, consumer spending and residential construction had together accounted for 90 percent of the total growth in GDP, while over two-fifths of all private sector jobs created since 2001 were in housing-related sectors, such as construction, real estate and mortgage brokering. Much of the money spent did not really exist except as credit — incomes as yet unearned, hallucinated liquidity, wished-for wealth, all based on the expectation that house values would continue to rise at 10 to 20 percent a year forever.

Pretty depressing, but very interesting, especially in the comments about how the economic / energy crisis links to an American cultural mythic pattern:

This housing bubble economy represented, holistically speaking, the wish to maintain a sense of normality in American life, under conditions of disintegrating normality, and it is no symbolic accident that it centered on the images of hearth and home, because fundamental comforts were what many Americans actually stand to lose in a reality-based future.

Down and out in Ecotopia

Via Synergic Earth News, “A Book Review of The Long Emergency“:

“The reality that our society is currently refusing to face, Kunstler says, is that time is just about up for industrial civilization as we have known it. Kunstler’s thesis is straightforward: Malthus was right, but cheap oil has postponed the day of reckoning, creating a century-long ‘artificial bubble of plenitude’ and generating a host of intractable problems partly or entirely related to our prolonged energy spending spree.”

The review then goes on to point out that the last chapter suggests some areas will fare better in the aftermath. One area is the Pacific Northwest. That’s the eponymous Ecotopia.