The thread increasingly surrounded by darkness Riding out the winter (decline) of industrial civilization

More on having your name cross-checked on the terrorist watch list


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More on having your name cross-checked on the terrorist watch list:

So the FBI and the department of homeland security are putting together a terrorist profile based on all the sites I’ve been “checked” from. All the structures I seem to be interested in. I wonder what it adds up to in their analysis.

I’m trying not to support the government [on not paying taxes]—said with a smirk—further undermining the establishment
Public pool images (England) from GOOD magazine.

Send blue room vid to online version of GOOD.

Your intelligence lies in your ability to filter information, to choose where you focus your attention, and to connect the dots between trends and events.
Santa Barbara is pretty girls carrying plastic yellow “Forever 21” bags up and down State St.
Inventing your own (economic?) niche—take control—refuse to accept the limitations of the obvious ones that everyone can see.
Two groups important not to lock up when your civilization is in crisis: artists and writers (and anyone taking psychedelics)
Being able to project yourself into someone else’s movie—to empathize.
Writing series—seven perfect summer afternoons

  1. the rose garden

Post on the Jensen article and perhaps the future report reported on by the guardian
On places you can occupy for free:

There are fewer and fewer

The beach
You ride your bicycle around all day. It’s like you’re living in a beautiful film set in Italy, (but by a Russian film maker)
Get images from Kyle’s camera. as potentially subversive—the site undermines the hotel industry by making expensive lodging an unnecessary expense.

Plastic pencils: “disposables” gaining value in a deindustrialized world where they’re not being replaced my Papermate Sharpwriter #2 USA mechanical pencil just ran out—it’s meant to be disposable—not refillable—imaging a would where people highly value such objects—where they have barter value because the would isn’t going to be producing any more yet: it’s lightweight and writes well. I like seeing things that are well cared for—fixed many times, even things that are still currently easy and cheap to replace.

More on delivery: a trust building exercise, communication, improvisation—improvised communication, time management, navigation, being observant, business sense, juggling a bunch of complex numbers/amounts/transactions—and doing it mostly in one’s head.

(I mean viewed as investigative journalism—it’s pretty sophisticated work) I mean the most difficult part (besides juggling many unpredictable and volatile relationships) is designing and carrying out the actual exchange/transfer.
It’s about slowly being able to break the law further and further (as the risks and the stakes rise accordingly) until you’ve left laws behind and are operating under your own moral code.
So how does one keep track of how many levels deep in the shit one is? How deep to go if the levels can be established (and how can they be?)

This goes along with having a clear and accurate perception of where you actually “are.”
You’re actually less fragmented, more clear in your thinking. You’re focused on only a few (meaningful) things at once. You’re not scrambling to add trivial things to occupy yourself with.

Ran’s reaction to Jensen’s piece on the ineffectiveness of personal action:

You might have seen Derrick Jensen's new piece in Orion: Forget Shorter Showers. I made a similar point in my July 2 post, that climate change has been framed in terms of reducing consumption, when it's a better tactical move to increase the costs of fossil fuel production. And in this post in 2007, I linked to a 2005 interview about garbage, which mentioned that in 1953, polluting industries formed an organization called Keep America Beautiful, which reframed saving the Earth "as an individual responsibility, and not one connected to the production process."

So, if personal conservation doesn't help, what can we do? Of course, Jensen ends up arguing that we should bring down industrial civilization. But check out his historical examples: "Nazi Germany, Tsarist Russia, antebellum United States". Nazi Germany was not brought down by internal activists, but by Hitler's decisions to invade the USSR and declare war on the USA. American slavery was not stopped by activists, but by violent conquest by a stronger industrial power. And Tsarist Russia was indeed overthrown from within, but the system that replaced it was much worse!
I'd like to see a historical study of how exactly bad societies turn into good societies. Certainly not through violent revolution! It seems to happen through non-destructive changes that give ordinary people more autonomy. Do you know why Americans are not going to blow up dams, or blockade Monsanto, or even put effective pressure on Congress? Because they're too busy at their jobs! And they're terrified of losing their jobs because then they would quickly go tens of thousands of dollars in debt to the medical industry. That's why I've repeatedly emphasized that the point of disengaging from the system is not to avoid guilt but to get free, to shift your time and attention and energy away from forced labor and toward activities that you find personally enjoyable and meaningful.
So turning off that light is not going to help, but dumpster diving, gardening, buying clothing from thrift stores, selling your car, improving your health, and densely sharing living space, are not only helpful but possibly necessary, to build the foundation that makes effective action possible. (Even turning off lights might help, if it makes you feel less dependent on electricity.)

Of course, as the depression deepens, millions of people will lose their jobs and involuntarily get lots of free time. That's why it's important, for those of us who have a head start, to set an example of how to use free time constructively: to grow a new society, through the cracks of the old, that preserves human autonomy and restores the land.


On having the single most insightful and intelligent conversation of the stage while standing in my underwear at a gay club in West Hollywood. The age if exuberance—age of contraction.
Sameer has Overshoot
More to do:

Call Jess about phone and package—(media mail)

Call Jessica Lah

Get phone switched over

Davis House-sits

Bicycle tune-up
Galapagos’ Quote: page 291

Somewhere in Mandarax there should have been, but was not, a warning to this effect: “In this era of big brains, anything which can be done will be done—so hunker down.”
A moveable feast Quote:

A girl came in the café and sat by herself at a table near the window. She was very pretty with a face fresh as a newly minted coin if they minted coins in smooth flesh with rain-freshened skin, and her hair black as a crow’s wing and cut sharply and diagonally across her cheek.
Delivering to Alex and friend

Alex in her Bikini—the pair more than ready to party (so to speak)—said I wish I’d delivered in the other order—(the “optimized” GPS suggestion). Them pulling out their new (giant) bong for show and tell. All this happening right after Alex Z. asks about any deliveries having resembled the start of a bad porn (and at the time I dad to tell him no).
This coming after delivering to Tim (apparently a spoiled gay dude) moving into his beautiful new place on the hillside at the end of a long driveway—and that terrace with the incredible view!

Earlier in the day meeting with John at Java—A platonic man-date with good conversation. Yet still not enough to make me trust him completely—suspecting his friends and his brother are DEA—worked into the plot to confirm that I am who I appear to be.

Graph your expenses from start to finish—use the generated graph image for entry on money
On measuring/gauging the passage of time with the growth of one’s hair and nails—the shave cycle—how often you’re needing a haircut or to cut your finger/toenails. This as opposed to the typical measures of the industrial age—the seven day work week and the monthly calendar.
Erica from San Louis Obispo


surfs, originally from OC?

Making eyes on the train to SB—peaking back at her from between the two seats—making sure she has her turn to look when I look somewhere else. Big lips and big eyes—tanned skin and golden arm hair. Wearing those blue pants of incredibly light fabric with that “wife beater” top. We come to walk side by side after getting off the train and I’m reminded of that brief scene in the film where the strangers walk holding hands down the stairway then part ways—and there’s a naturalness to the whole thing.

[You should get in the habit of pairing your meetings (of girls) to passages or scenes in literature or cinema.]

Then we stand face to face and I tell her she’s incredibly beautiful.

“Come to San Louis—I want to hear about your adventure.”
Thought seriously about getting off the train in SLO but Erica was in Berkeley.
Sitting next to the hyper-texter (100-150 a day) with the boy watch shirt—an employee of the DMV.
Sameer and I doing the same drug in the same form on the same night (and doing remarkably similar things) in two different parts of the world—proving, for whatever it’s worth, that we’re still in sync.

You need to develop a writing style that matches how you’re living—how the episodes of your life are structured. Hemmingway is good at this.

Raine (19) daughter of two successful acupuncturists—the exchange of glances—the walk to the beach (fucking happy dolphins, laughing at us)—making out under the Riviera palms—almost dropping her (embarrassing for both). Her kisses too hard. That spot in front of Ash’s car with the Bogenvia and the lamppost.
Being at Red’s on mushrooms—putting out the “I’m judging you” vibe without intending to—making that girl in the fuzzy white slut boots feel self-conscious—maybe ruining her night but at the very least feel stupid in that outfit.
Southern California Romances:

April (22?) FLAKE

Julia (19?) FLAKE

Jessica (SB—25)

Kendall (19) FLAKE

Jessica (Brea—23?)

Raine (19)
Leigh (23) FLAKE
Meeting the ex-private security guy at the SB station—picking his brain about refinery security procedures- main gate—weighing trucks. (half a dozen guards and a supervisor)

5lbs. off of what the paperwork says and entry is denied (2lbs. during periods of high alert)

The mirror for inspecting the undersides of trucks—wires, lights, anything out of the ordinary.

Rocks putting the truck over weight

He worked at Valero, which is a great “full circle” for stage two.

An FCG could be exchanged for an object of exactly equal weight.
Another addition to the “off the clock” entry:

Everyday experiences seem richer when they’re not diluted by the background noise and anxiety of trivial everyday responsibilities—rent, insurance, job, car, etc. You can more fully live in the present moment, focus your attention, and take things in more completely when you don’t have to be at work in an hour.


Design a survey to be completed by everyone whose home you’ve shared regarding how it was to have you there—your performance as a house guest so to speak. The results, besides being insightful for future stays, could be compiled into an autonomous piece. (complete with pre-addressed stamped emvelopes). Make identifying yourself optional.

  1. please estimate how many nights the subject spent at your residence

You should ask Katie to send you an eight by ten of herself in exchange for fancy cigarettes—the pair of actress headshots would make a great donation gift.

Find somewhere to talk about the desirability of sitting in court and listening to the prosecution build a case against you—tell your story from their point of view.
Another train meeting:

In between stealing looks at Erica—talking to the kid from Santa Maria about Michael Jackson’s trial (the single most eventful thing that’s occurred in his town in the last decade) and the memorial outside Neverland ranch where he bought a button form someone cashing in on the pop star’s death.
To my few and faithful readers:

Most of you know by now that I’ve returned by rail to the sweaty bosom of my hometown. Unless the stars align for a return to Santa Barbara, I’ll be here in Davis for the next couple months to write and secure funds for stage three: Los Angeles to Houston.

Southern California was a maelstrom of sinful exploits and it’ll require what remains of a sweltering central valley summer to process what’s occurred. So in addition to the numerous ‘text’ placeholders on this site being replaced by actual sentences, expect a few revealing accounts of what it was to exist on the margins in some of California’s most desirable neighborhoods. When the deserts of the Southwest begin to cool this fall, I’ll be ready to traverse them: aiming the thread east for the very first time.

On just starting!

Fear of failure

Get good at starting—sucked for a long time—must be ok with this—get comfortable with this.

Fingers must move for a bit before you actually write.

Starting—set aside blocks of time—work on multiple projects at once so that you can switch between them.

Keep the work going—keep moving forward

Develop a tolerance for not knowing what something is going to turn out to be—have a tolerance for not knowing where something is going.

Keep doing it until it starts to get better

Move beyond starting—polish

Learn how to tolerate not knowing everything

Manage your attention!

No more input until you’ve made something—that’s what you’re doing—suspend the southern California process and write about it.

On not taking grant money until the project goals are more clearly established.

Can’t have any surplus funds—only the bare minimum, if you’re to continue the learning process.
A bunch of random bits from Kunstler Casts

Electric cars are coal-powered cars.

A profound cultural transition.

Opportunities for enterprise in the age of contraction: there will be ample opportunity for young people to: make a buck, be of some value to their fellow citizens, and learn to navigate new and more meaningful relationships.

How difficult it is for people to imagine living differently, and in contrast, how differently they end up living anyway.

Maybe visit Kunstler in upstate NY at the end of the East Coast stage—make an appearance on the Kunstler Cast.

The tendency to label someone a “doomer” comes from individuals who see the end of the AOE as a catastrophe. The fear that life simply can’t go on without cheese-doodles, cable television and cars.

There are people cheerleading for the consumer economy to fall on its ass.

Greer (arch-druid): “The Long Descent”—catabolic collapse

J. Hansen: “doomer porn”

We excited the solar economy at a global population of around one billion, around the year 1800.

Everyone has a different worldview and sense regarding where destiny is taking us—the illuminated thread represents one of these perspectives.
We (humans) like fresh starts—there is an appeal in wiping the slate clean—this is a component of “doomer” thinking. That we yearn for a cleansing rain to come in and wash away a bunch of the bullshit and garbage—leaving us to begin anew with what matters. As life has gotten increasingly complicated—there is more and more junk to be swept away.

Many of us yearn for everything to just be still for a moment.

Out of death comes re-birth (we like this story). We are looking at a perverse human system that needs to die—or at least be pruned back some. Clearing out the garbage and beginning a cycle of redemption (for the way we’ve treated our home)/resurrection.
It’s important to remain interested in your world and what’s happening in it.

One who is not busy being born is busy dieing. (Dylan quote)

We’re at our best when we’re completely engaged in something (creative).
Obesity in children finally linked to the design of the built environment (suburbia).

Our physical dispositions have degenerated to such a poor state—and just as we’re going to need our bodies to be strong.

De-complexify/simplify/contract and the diminishing returns of technology. Is it even possible to de-complexify a civilization when it appears to be a ratcheting system? Is collapse the only alternative?


intended for or likely to be understood by only a small number of people with a specialized knowledge or interest

A strange last night in the mountains

Listening to KunstlerCasts in the hammock

Hot tub with perfect-bodied college freshman and mother—good chat—good questions. Even dad liked me.

Nick? WTF? A bear at the dumpster. (Nick’s insistence that I watch for an a bear ambush from the flanks.)

Dancing and walking on my hands while everyone else sleeps.

“You’re a good friend!” shouted by the sixteen year old cock-tease as she bounds off to her room, leaving the dude alone on the last night of his week in paradise. Bitch [joking].

The earth in paradise until it just isn’t anymore.

It’s like the smarter you are, the more ways you can come up with to lie to yourself.

I try to avoid feeling jealousy, but fuck man—Hawaii is flipping awesome. I’m picturing you both doused in tanning oil sipping drinks with umbrellas (while skydiving over a pod of majestic whales. Wait…no, riding naked on the back of a giant sea-turttle).
Let me begin by saying that, in no small measure thanks to you, my time in Santa Barbara has been amazing. I’ve got more friends (and potential lovers) there now than anyplace outside Chicago. I’d be thrilled if it somehow became possible to remain there until November; maybe make out with Raine in someplace other than a parking lot.

As usual, the problem is money—specifically a general lack of it. I’m a pro at living on almost nothing, but at this point in the summer I need to be putting away cash for the ride to Texas. Also, the couch surfing has been pretty good but I’d feel better about myself if I could pay for a cheap sublet somewhere instead of frustrating everyone’s housemates (house-sitting is another option). I guess what I’m saying is that the delivery gig needs to pay like an actual job if it’s going to work. Thing is, it seems like your current operating margins are enough to sustain one individual, but probably not two. This means that taking on a full-time delivery person would have to allow business to expand enough to support the dude performing that function.

That last trip through SB was so good—I felt almost silly leaving when I did, especially after you offered to let me run things for a bit (If I’d stayed I would have been on that shit like kefir and granola). The deliveries were all great and I had that little voice yelling at me: “this is what you should be doing!” Unfortunately, Davis is a bit too far away to make weekend trips from. If I come back now it’ll have to be with the full intention of staying. Thoughts?

For support section:

Working toward the ideal sized audience—just large enough to support continuous/ongoing low budget travel and research for one by distributing the economic burden between a few hundred.
Ask joe the name of that band that opened for health—the one with that gorgeous female singer

Ask Brett if he has any left over pairs of riding glasses he wants to donate to the project.

You shouldn’t have let that girl leave—really—she just walked by, slipped through your fingers. Life will do the same thing if you let it—no more of this bullshit—take control—this passive approach will not get you the things you want—you need to turn up the push factor just a bit or you’ll stall out.

Pitch for big-dick Tom:

See if Tom would be into supporting a little continuous low-budget travel. Write him a nice long email including:

Account of your meeting

A bit of ass kissing

Katie NY referral

Financial success—two houses and weekly flights across the continent—probably wouldn’t even notice the money being transferred from your account every month.

Suggest an amount

Bicycling in common—his need to blow off surplus energy on the stationary bike—how this relates to the project

Pull something inspiring out of his lecture that supposedly made you think he might be into supporting

A supporter of the arts—understand you’ve been to like hundreds of plays

Thought it couldn’t hurt to ask

Make sure to establish legitimacy

I mean you should really be doing this in Europe soon
Marveling at Nick’s stupidity regarding the Bear ambush.

No one will ever marvel at your scribbles

Two pink Flamingoes stolen from my neighbor’s yard—donation gift

For mushroom date—I’ll do my hair up real fancy and futuristic like and we’ll go someplace really dramatic to watch the sunset. Lovely.

Mushroom sunset at the water tower—might be nice
Our collective debts will never be repaid because it is future growth that must cover the accruing interest. If growth is dead and the money supply is unable to expand further, there will never be funds to repay these debts. Money can no longer be loaned into existence in a contracting global economy. We are just beginning to figure this out. Debt forgiveness is inevitable.
You should make avoiding the repayment of your student loans a piece that can be given away as a donation gift—include all official documentation and include the “rights” to the piece. [high level item]
I’d like to spend my thirties biking around the world and my forties engaged in planning and executing serious acts of ecotage.
Please blow up my car Conan—and give me a space age hybrid. Yeah, we know what this is about. We know how were supposed to respond. We get the point.
More work at the Davis Browlands

Some full zoom shots of activity at the top of the water tower. Lounging, enjoying the sunset, exercising, dancing, etc. Showing only the top portion of the structure. Plus shots of other things that are moving—the cobwebs on the light—the spider web, etc. the camera must be shielded from the wind on the ground to prevent shake.

Shot of you lying at the bottom—whistling—with proper exposure
You should consisted attempting to fix those moccasins—that sewing machine would probably do it.

Note: for stage three—are the daily log posts really necessary?
Something has got to be done with the acoustics in there—the clicking sounds as elementary echolocation practice.

It might be nice to have some kind of seat to stop and sit on half way down so that the sound can be enjoyed as well as the view.

Something should be done with the podcast audio—chopped up and sampled at least.
Redemption is key—it’s a huge part of the motivation. Redemption from having spoiled our home.

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