Saturday, April 19, 2008

Two Kinds of People

So, we are being hit by any number of troubles all at once, and there's only so much of the money pie in the average American household budget to go around.

Higher gasoline prices -- $3.59/gallon of regular unleaded gas in Detroit today. $25 got me a little more than half a tank. So I'm driving less, combining errands more.

Higher home energy rates. I cut my energy consumption 18% from last year at this time by tweaking and conserving. Bills are still higher.

Higher food prices. "Substitution effect" -- shift to foods that cost less. Stick to shopping lists. Are Victory Gardens next? Eat out less often, and at less expensive joints.

Higher shipping costs. Use the internet for communications when possible.

Long term, the Walking Man is right. Must retrofit into energy efficient appliances and practices. And walk more, too.

If the global food riots are any indication, such things can happen here, too, and for the same reasons.

Today's Rune: Harvest.

"There are two kinds of people in the world, my friend. Those who have a loaded gun and those who dig. You dig!"


Anne said...

Thanks Erik for your comments. I am in despair these days. My heart is broken into pieces and I am trying to collect them back together. I will continue to write more my memories of my life. It will be intresting because there was a big turn in my life thanks to an American soldier who was in the biggest battle in Vietnam in 1969.

Im sure you will enjoy Vietnam, when you do make that trip happen. I may be able to give you some tips as I used to work as Tour guide, interpreter and receptionist in a Hotel in Hanoi.

Lana Gramlich said...

I'm fortunate to work at the library (a "gov't job," in a sense,) & that our funding was just renewed for another 15 years. I count that blessing every day. It's the first time I've had any kind of job security in my life.

Johnny Yen said...

Oh my god, that's one of my favorite quotes (from "The Good, the Bad and the Ugly")! I think it is the most con concise and complete statement about economics and power ever stated since Mao said "Political power grow out of the barrel of a gun.'

I was talking to a coworker tonight, a Mexican immigrant, who is following the great American success story-- work hard, get an education, etc. It was all about Marx-- capital chases the lowest labor dollar. Capital has fled the US and gone to were the labor our tax dollars subdued all over the world, through death squads, etc. Marx wrote from the perspective of 1800's England, which was complaining about cheap labor in the United States.

the walking man said...

K Erik thanks for the shout out, anyone interested in the tips I enumerated that came about with an ongoing battle with the Detroit water dept, it's in the comments to the post "The call has gone out, so it's off to war again for ME" on my blog. it's too early to tell yet but the new meter seems to show that we have cut consumption by about a third with all of our "tricks"

Consumerist conservation is the only way you are going to survive this next down turn.

Anyone wonder why during the late 70's Jimmy Carter Lowered speed limits to 55mph on the nations highways yet Bush won't and in MI "Jenny in the hood" (governor) actually allowed the highway dept to raise the minimum speed to 55 (was 45mph) on our national highways. To quote a cartoon (Robin Hood, Disney) Taxes! Taxes!

I filled both of our vehicles yesterday, both Honda's one with a 12 gallon tank and the other with a 17 gallon tank. we have almost 300k on the smaller one and it is the car we share and drive as much as possible, both tanks were about half cost was 45$. Why did I do it, the projection from the futures market is $4 gas in a couple of weeks, up to $4.80 by mid summer, yesterday I got it at $3.50.

Slow down it saves you money and grief even when those around you are rushing hither and yon, there is no need to join the fray leave earlier it is only time ffs.

Eventually they, owners, will realize the days of a colossal truck are done, 15 mpg is not OK. A 5mph reduction in speed will give you about a three mpg saving. This shit adds up.

grow your own vegetables is good as long as you have the room and the energy and have not had your home built over brown fill land.

Turn off every electrical appliance you are not using, even the microwave oven clock draws power while the beast is at rest, the only appliance you have that NEEDS a constant power flow is your refrigeration for food. Think about what you can unplug or turn all the way off while not in use, it is different for everyone. For me I will not cut power to my nighttime security lights but they are on motion detectors. first go look at your electrical meter and watch the wheel spin, then go turn off everything on your list and compare speeds.

Now I am seriously investigating the cost and viability of going solar in this area. To disconnect from the electrical grid for as many hours as possible. You have to be wise in cost comparisons though.

I saw yesterday after my wife pointed it out, that my internet service went up by $5 a month. Ok I got on the phone with AT&T and negotiated the same level of service back to the old rate for 1 year. It splits though 6 months at 15 bux and 6 months at 25 bux to avg. the 20 bux I'd been paying. But if I go back to an answering machine and drop the voice mail, I save $8.75 *shrug* FIGHT THE POWER ha ha ha ha

Get away from the A/C this summer, learn to sweat again or get in your car, you're going to pay and the cars use of AC is not appreciable in MPG difference, if you keep the windows up once the car is cooled. While in the home it is a major sucker of your energy dollars. Or go to a space that is air conditioned such as a library or museum those spaces are
climate controlled not for you but to conserve what is stored there, why not take what is freely offered when you can?

You have to simply think about and then read up on how to fix things and save your self. Your government has already abandoned you, and you are it's enemy so peacefully wage the war using what your enemy wants most...$$$

Consumerist Conservation, it is a battle and every turn when you at least break even you win. hah and I am only a poet.



Charles Gramlich said...

Definitely feeling the pinch down here. I picked the wrong time to move out where I have to make a long commute.

Erik Donald France said...

Thanks y'all for the comments!

Anne -- hang in there, keep the faith. I would like to visit Vietnam maybe next spring and will definitely ask for your advice.

Lana -- amen to that great institution! Govt' can do good, certainly.

Johnny, right on! I have still to see the restored GB & U, with the missing scenes redubbed. Can't wait!

Mark, Walking Man -- thanks again a zillion for your insights. I just unplugged my scanner, which is only used occasionally -- the transformer was warm, almost hot, and clearly sucking up electricity.
Amen to consumer revolt!

Charles, good luck on the commuting. Everything's a tradeoff, one way or another!

t said...

just saying hi, joining the chat. I'm trying to turn off appliances more out here too.