One-Month Challenge

Friday, May 25, 2007



While you are waiting, check out this pic...many of the flights out of Seattle pass relatively close to Mount St. Helens; smokin' !

PS check the Live Cam to see if I'm about to be buried in rubble.

Monday, May 21, 2007


Note: I'm taking a short break while my class wraps up.

Sunday, May 13, 2007


And my penalty for being off the interweb for 24 hours: 31 unfiltered spammails

Things I would miss most in a world without readily available electric power:
  1. Hot water on tap
  2. The internet
  3. Light without smoke
Not terribly surprising, I suppose, but there you go. Its not actually that hard to live this way for a day, but there are a lot of things that only show up in the long term: hot baths become weekly affairs, not daily; traveling 3000 miles to see your parents takes a week by rail; it takes a week to let your friends know, individually, by postal mail, what you have been up to.

And did I mention...while living without direct use of electricity and fossil fuels would be annoying, living without their indirect use would be nearly impossible. Without cheap available power, a bunch of products don't exist, and those that do cost orders of magnitude more to produce, since manual labor is once again king. Iron pans? I might be able to afford one. Books? Perhaps a few. My bicycle, ever-reliable source of cheap rapid transit? Weighs twice as much and is in constant need of repair. Cheap, refined soy protein? Not to be found!

Read the rest of my meandering thoughts from the day in the last post

Back online

Friday, May 11, 2007

It's about time...

...actually, it's more about clocks. Digital clocks.

Go one day without using electricity or gasoline (appliances, heating, cooking, cell phone, computer, etc). Don't use any store where your activity would increase the amount of electricity used (i.e., they can have electric lights, but not automatic door openers). ...realize how ubiquitous this stuff is, and what energy reform is really trying to tackle. If you're up to it, don't do it on a weekend. [Luke Donev]

Tomorrow will be my day-without-electricity (as much as I would love to tackle this on a weekday, I am a telecommuter: to do so would get me fired). For the past few days I have been contemplating every action I take, and whether each (directly or indirectly) uses electricity. There are some things I simply can't avoid, so I'm setting the following ground rules (and exceptions):
  1. No direct usage of electricity: no computers, no electric lights, no cell phone; no cheating by intentionally leaving the lights on throughout the house, or hiring a Shabbes Goy to do it for me. I can't even take a hot shower; our gas-powered furnace is electrically controlled. The one exception I'll allow is passive use of digital clocks (I won't use the alarm function, but I'm simply not going to go locate and purchase a spring-powered watch for just one day).

  2. Minimal indirect usage: somewhere along the line, the cold water in our house touched an electric pump, but the last few miles are gravity-fed. I can't convince most stores to turn off their lights for me (though I'll be paying in cash, not credit card, unless they use a click-clack). I will not open the fridge.

  3. If needed, gas, not gasoline: if I decide I must have a heat source for cooking or washing, I own a (cheap) coal grill and an efficient propane/butane camp stove. Were I in a more rural area, I'd chop down a tree...but my neighbors might complain if I burn down our deck to toast marshmallows.
Of course, to truly do this properly, I'd need to go hew my own axe from stone and proceed from there; nearly every component of the home I live in and every object I own was created using electricity. Then again, it seems impractical to replace all the nails in my building with iron pins struck by hand in a wood-heated furnace.

11:05 PM... 55 minutes of internet-usage left in my day, then 1,440 without. I'll be slowly counting them out. One Mississippi, Two Mississippi...