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


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Stuff to get:

Warm Socks

Arm sleeves

Fingerless Bicycling gloves

Bicycling Shorts

Sleep Sack


Le pen

Small Watercolor set/postcards
Smartwater slim

Flexible tripod

To Do:

Press release

Mail DVD for Kevin

Email to Matthew explaining DVD

DOVA email announcement—with image

Add: John Edwards, Matthew, and Ran to the mailing list

Add new sites to waypoints list

Trip to Macy’s for exchange

Re-submit to treehugger

Plan event

JP Tune-up

Black electrical tape racks

Change tire
Advert Concept using audio recorder

Fire ring post

Finish painting-- money from Dad

Music from Eric

stuff back form Eric, kylie, geller

Renew driver’s license

Music vid advert

As I watched eric with the dexcon seven—I thought to myself…

Montage image of the command center—from the center of the room daylight—packing post

Place to stay in Pittsburg/Antioch

Sew button on shorts
Davis to Antioch: 57 mi
Locate backup gloves
Phil Fisher—Arkansas nuclear one


David S. Holloway

Brooklyn Based Photographer


Sendoff Event post:
‘About’ supplements—challenging our species to move out of its adolescence and into adulthood.
The ecological unconscious.
The aqueduct trail as the sort of bicycle-mounted epcot center—educational. Over here is the pumping station, over here is the mine, etc.

Hi everyone! Just wanted to check in and let you know we’re on the road. I’m going to try and stick to a weekly posting schedule and since we left Davis a week ago today, here are some images. I’ll fill in the text as I find the time and vids will be added as they’re completed. Enjoy.

Eric says: don’t do anything to antagonize the husband with all the guns. Forgetting this then remembering it as she’s pressing me into a lower back stretch.
Perfect roads—perfect conditions
Floating through the oil field at night—the smell of sulfur, clusters of odd structures all lit up floating by at varying distances. Spooky quiet well pumps bobbing up and down—occasionally screeching or clicking.
Eating ice cream rolling down the meanest streets in California. the hardest town in California—located next to a prison eating ice cream sandwiches we bought from a Mexican woman driving an ancient yellow ice cream truck we chased down.
We found the only pot smoking yoga enthusiast in the Taft area
We make piles of stuff. Good caption for the piles of sticks.
Not far from these woodpiles were piles of old tires, piles of rusting farm equipment and piles of hay bales.
We interrupted our descent to bandage a fallen Harley rider. Although shocked and delirious, he turned us on to the rails-to-trails bikepath that would safely take us the last six miles to the ocean. the last miles He was clearly in shock and a bit delirious but told us of the bike path that would safely take us the last __ miles to the ocean.
Record the audio walking around a pumping unit—the creepy squeaks and groans.

The end of the oil age has already arrived for this little filling station on the Carrizo Plain. I like the cinderblocks holding the corrugated sheet metal roof down.

de-complexifying and re-localization
the difference in stop activities between bikers and cyclists.

The article also mentions that kids are being trained to have extrinsic goals: money, status, material possessions, power over others. In almost any time and place in history, that value system would be foolish. But in the USA from 1950-1985, it actually made sense. Americans had so much power that you could reasonably expect to set and achieve extrinsic goals. Now that the Empire is declining, extrinsic goals are no longer realistic, and we need to shift back to intrinsic goals -- or better yet, intrinsic processes: doing what we find most meaningful, and following it where it leads.
In a few years, when it becomes obvious that energy is declining, the industrial economy is collapsing, and the climate has gone off the rails, there will be a lot of anger, and it will probably be displaced from the people who deserve it and redirected at anyone who can't defend themselves. And there will be a lot of depression -- especially if the antidepressants run out! Most collapsists focus on technical challenges, but the emotional challenges might be more difficult and important.
Donation gift (dedicated to taft woman)

We’ll call a person of your choice from an inspirational place and give them some piece of life wisdom (from you)

On being in bed with the Jehova’s witness that wont touch your cock while that text from Sameer arrives—his 22 year old girlfriend still wants to have sex after telling her he’s not into the relationship.
On masturbating to her smell left behind on the pillow—on the crazy amount of cum that built up during all that teasing. On the challenge—on getting her wet through her underwear, on her “forgetting” her sleep shorts.

Guidelines for daily posts:

  1. two or four images with smartly written captions. The images will carry more weight—tell the story

  2. try and say things relevant to the larger project’s conceptual base. You will naturally photograph these things anyway. Bridges, infrastructure, oddball Americana, industry.

Day One: Feb. 6
Noon departure—on the dot. Chesapeake crowd gathers for sendoff. Our fathers ride us out of town like some greek ritual. Wayne with that enormous telephoto lens. Document tomato plant. Headwinds, picking our way through thunderstorm cells. Fields of cows run with us. The horizon dotted with sheep and wind turbines. Eric gets first flat of the tour as dad intercepts us. Warm downwind leg, sun at our backs, thin shoulder and traffic into rio vista. Sandwhiches, Uma Thurman crossed with an annime babe: red hair and bangs (later spotted bagging groceries at the supermarket.) Sandy beach campsite. Eggs, avocado, bread. Forgoe the hot showers and the rowdy campers. Tucked away by 9:00. Drift off the whine of some distant piece of industrial machinery humming away in the night.
Wind farm—what the future is supposed to look like. But probably the main reason is that
Kunstler on towns persisting where they are because they occupy important sites—Rio Vista is at a bridge crossing—on the river—trade route, etc.
Day Two: Feb. 7

Creepy/friendly camp maintenance guy with prefect teeth greets us. Says he saw as at the market the night before and followed us in. Coffee pastries and conversation with a group of campers on our way out of Sandy Beach Campground—got the senior discount. Cross Rio Vista Bridge. Great bike shop donates map. Mexican/Italian with cute/attitude waitress. Climb muddy hill to picturesque camp site above Antioch Reservoir. Overlooking the city’s water supply: something reservoir. A particularly difficult place to reach but totally worth it.

Our campsite overlooking Antioch’s water supply: Contra Loma Reservoir. That hill behind our tents provided the early morning shots that start off the Pittsburg Industrial Belt vignette.
The bicycle is a ship—an island. Everything on it has a value—serves it’s function, and is difficult to replace. Even the lowly zip tie where at home there are containers full, the limited supply on the bike has concentrated value.
Eric as a datacenter—information flowing through him.
If you’d like to donate toward a specific item, here’s the project’s current wishlist:

  • gorilla-grip tripod: $40 (medium priority)*

  • fingerless biking gloves: $30 (low priority)*

  • directional microphone: $150 (low priority)

  • sleep sack: $65 (low priority)*

  • moccasins: $30 (low priority)*

* replacement
Everything site that has a wikipedia page—you should post a link to the video or images—great job for the non-existent intern.
Annoying industrial noises trio.
19 year old Raine—incredibly blue eyes-- lashes with curve. Aware beyond your years.
Set up an appointment to see Matthew at CLUI

So it turns out there’s a road the runs almost the entire length of the San Juav valley that you can bike on for days and not expect to encounter more than half a dozen vehicles. Closed to all but white department of water resources pickup trucks and cyclists, the road at the edge of the river that flows uphill took us 144 carefree miles. Ah, but their must be a catch you say.. well indeed there is. Every time the aqueduct crosses a street, from the interstate to ruttiest forgotten back road, there must be a gate, bridge and gates at each entrance to the maintenance roads on either side of the concrete trough.

Stream crossings.

Every time we

Wondering what the thing will be like when the pumps stop pumping—when the water flows the other direction. When the collapsed concrete bridges built for street and stream crossings become the rapids.
Following the water—in a sense you become one with the waterway—even up the 300 feet to the reservoir.
Here's a short audio piece, binaural recordings from three locations:
1. part of the cooling system of a combined cycle power plant in Pittsburg, CA

2. a really obnoxious pump on the aqueduct

3. unidentified piece of equipment in the Elk Hills Oil Field
sucks to live your entire life standing in your own shit only to have a spike shot through your skull.
Examining the human habitat from an anthropological perspective. An alien visitor, examining a civilization: what they’ve built and how they put their resources to work.
So wait a sec… it's a pumping plant and a generating plant? Well done guys... well done. Apparently we were so convinced there should be a lake here that we built a three and a half mile long earthen wall to a height of over 300 feet and pumped in 652 billion gallons of water. Lets go waterskiing!
This is my first time authoring a DVD from the road-- a practice i'll try and keep up. Of the 14 new vids on the disk, five were shot and edited less than a week ago. It was a modest run and several copies are already spoken for so if you want one speak up. Here it is in the support section.One of the four "extras" is fitness (extended). A bit too long to be worth uploading, it's a week worth of training at the brownlands site condensed into thirteen minutes of concentrated effort. Exhausting.

The Port of Long Beach provides a rare opportunity to view multiple stages in the oil "production" process. There are pumping units sucking crude out of the ground, refineries, and facilities further treating the byproducts extracted at the refineries (see sulfur dunes and calciner rotary kiln.) A staggering amount of resources, from manufactured goods to raw materials, is channeled through the port every day. Tractor-trailers idle in long lines, monstrous cranes load and unload around the clock, oil tankers dot the horizon and helicopters circle overhead. Everywhere you look are containers in orange green and blue, stacked to the sky. The noise, filthy air, feverish activity and sheer scale of the operation make for predictably unpleasant conditions if you're not sealed in the cab of a truck.

This 120-acre city of silver spires, storage tanks and miles of tangled pipe refines 135,000 barrels per day. Its desulfurizing capabilities make it particularly hungry for the lower-grade high-sulfur crude that arrives by tanker from far away lands. In addition to the usual suite of refined products, Valero Wilmington supplies Southern California with 15 percent of its asphalt so Los Angelinos can continue to sit in traffic on well-paved roads.
As it slowly rotates, this 270-foot long steel pipe superheats and dries a refinery byproduct called “green coke,” turning it into a calcined product with various industrial uses. Its 13-foot diameter makes it one of the world’s largest such contraptions. It has quite a presence and puts off enough heat to warm the whole block. Grinding along since 1982, the kiln has acquired a gorgeous patina of rust. Cryptic numbers and letters are etched into its surface and oil stains sparkle in the sun. I became quite enamored with the massive object and spent a good portion of my time at Long Beach watching the late afternoon sunlight gradually warm the colors of it surface. Beautiful in its texture and terrifying in its steady dogged movement.
Watching these cranes work was like watching dragons feed. Harbor Patrol Officer Michael Mayor interrupted the shooting if the piece's daylight half with a thorough frisk but let me off on account of not being a legitimate enough threat. While searching my bags he says, sounding almost disappointed: "This is all just bike stuff." This was of course after he'd recited the "(not) since 911" monologue I’ve heard quite a few times now.

I'm really into the video's editing, thinking it some of my best work in this regard. The audio is essential so no laptop speakers. And yes... that is indeed a dolphin swimming through the shot. I like the way the spreader appears to watch the animal for an extended moment before plunging into the hull for another container.

Sulfur is not something you wanna to be pumping into the atmosphere (acid rain) so most refineries remove it from their refined product in a process known as hydrodesulfurization. Nearly all of the 64 million tons of sulfur produced annually worldwide is byproduct from refineries. Alberta, Canada, with its oil sands industry, literally has more than it knows what to do with.
This facility liquefies the yellow powder and sends it away in tanker trucks. If it doesn’t keep up with the local refineries’ output, it’ll be buried under mountains of the stuff. As sour (high-sulfur) crude increasingly becomes the standard, will the citizens of Long Beach find themselves battling their way to work through blinding sulfur storms? Kidding aside, the dunes are truly a sight to behold. Oxidation takes their bright yellow through shades of decreasing saturation to a dull greenish yellow-grey.
On the ride out to culver city
Mom and son scurrying across the street pushing a stroller and a little plastic lawn mower respectively, across a wide busy street. Though about doing a series—catching people crossing the street in LA.
Then the black kid with the blue bike asking if I knew of a pawnshop he could sell his bike to. Told him not to sell it—he says, “trying to pay the rent.” I think: that thing should be the last thing you sell. Better not own a car.
Kids gather to watch the tire change.
Guy pushing the dead car out of the intersection—sitting on the bumper—a beautiful effort—cigarette dangling in his mouth.

Terminal Island—terminal—as in “going to die from it.”

On Mar 1, 2010, at 11:12 AM, <> <> wrote:

    Jonathan Edwards' article in the Enterprise was fascinating, and I've been looking at your photos online.  You are one of the few I've seen who mention that the "green" energy things, like solar panels, take energy (read oil) to make and put in place.  But you don't mention nuclear energy, or anyway Edwards didn't.  Of course building nuclear plants takes energy too, but once built, aren't they supposed to last so long that it would be worth it?  I know, danger, waste, everything -- I'm not a fan.  I'm just wondering if some people won't think that this is the answer, and what is your answer to those people.

    Thank you for mentioning those I-5 feedlots.  I hate them too.  No civilized people would have something like that around.

    Diane Moore


Ah yes... nuclear energy: the salvation of modern industrial civilization. But France does it!
I think the problem is fundamentally one of capital-- specifically a lack of it.  As hydrocarbon energy inputs taper off, strangulating  the global economy by cutting off its lifeblood (ENERGY fuels growth-- steadily increasing energy inputs are what fueled the growth of the last 200 years), there will not be the enormous blocks of capital necessary for such phenomenally costly projects. the reactor trio i'll be visiting outside Phoenix cost like six billion dollars. We simply wont be an affluent enough society for more of this.
Today i stopped to watch some scary piece of construction equipment slowly drive a foundation pylon into the ground. The thing was moving imperceptibly slow yet the rig was banging away-- bursts of bluish exhaust pumped out in time with each metallic thud. I thought:  try doing that with a piece of equipment that only runs only on electricity. We need the energy released by the combustion of hydrocarbons to do what we do-- to build what we build. You're not building a nuclear power plant without fossil energy-- you're not mining the concrete, you're not transporting the (hydrocarbon run factory produced) machinery from distant parts of the globe, you're not building the thing with electric heavy machinery. And they would need to be built and rebuilt-- relatively often. the design life on a nuclear power plant is relatively short-- maybe fifty years. it's because of the absolute necessity that that containment dome remain structurally sound (perfect).

Also, we're out of time. Nuclear power plants take many years to permit and construct (palo verde: 12 years just to assemble-- we would have had to have started a massive reactor building campaign by now for nuclear to be effective at cushioning our descent.

Also, we can already see the last of our supplies of fissionable uranium at the end of the tunnel.
James Howard Kunstler has a good chapter on the false promises of nuclear energy in his book The Long Emergency.
Yes, we may push farther down that irradiated road-- but all it'll allow us to do is keep the lights on a bit longer.
Thanks for getting in touch. enjoy the thread. tell your friends.

We have blown past the thresholds of hyper-complexity so that further hyper-complexity only make things worse.
an exercise in the diminishing returns of grotesque additional hyper-complexity.

Jessica Lah

809 Mira Mar Ave.

Long Beach, CA 90809

Katlyn Carlson

20-37 31st St. #2

Astoria, NY 11105
Edith Sauer-Polonik

3307 Chesapeake Bay Ave.

Davis, CA 95616
The Giver’ Quotes:
a story where a guy, realizing he lives in a world of sameness—without color—takes off on his bicycle to find a place with love, rich sensations and experiences.

“There’s much more. There’s all that goes beyond – all that is Elsewhere – and all that goes back, and back, and back. I received all of those, when I was selected. And here in this room, all alone, I re-experience them again and again. It is how wisdom comes. And how we shape our future.”


“Our people made that choice, the choice to go to Sameness. Before my time, before the previous time, back and back and back. We relinquished color when we relinquished sunshine and did away with differences.” … “We gained control of many things. But we had to let go of others.”


All of it was new to him. After a life of Sameness and predictability, he was awed by the surprises that lay beyond each curve of the road. He slowed the bike again and again to look with wonder at wildflowers, to enjoy the throaty warble of a new bird nearby, or merely to watch the way wind shifted the leaves in the trees. During his twelve years in the community, he had never felt such simple moments of exquisite happiness.

Is there an ecological unconscious? (NY Times Magazine):
anxious, unsettled, despairing, depressed—just as if they had been forcibly removed from the valley. Only they hadn’t; the valley changed around them.
solastalgia is not limited to those living beside quarries—or oil spills or power plants or Superfund sites. Solastalgia … is a global condition … felt increasingly, given the ongoing degradation of the environment.
trace a direct line between the health of the natural world and the health of the mind…
emotional costs of ecological decline: anxiety, despair, numbness, “a sense of being overwhelmed or powerless,” grief.
psychoterratic syndromes”: mental health issues attributable to the degraded state of one’s physical surroundings.
nature’s significant restorative effects on cognition.
two powerful historical trends: the degradation of large parts of the environment and the increasingly common use of technology (TV, video games, the internet, etc.) to experience nature secondhand.

epistemological fallacy”: we believed, wrongly, that mind and nature operated independently of each other. In fact, nature was a recursive, mindlike system; its unit of exchange wasn’t energy, as most ecologists argued, but information. The way we thought about the world could change that world, and the world could in turn change us.

to understand what it is to be whole, we must first explain what is broken.
How does this relate to your work? You speak of witnessing local ecological recovery, especially at former industrial sites, as being emotionally and spiritually healing. Letting this process proceed uninhibited is likely more valuable and wiser than continuing to force a site to meet our expectations whether they be rehabilitation or redevelopment.

Santa Susana Field LaboratoryThis facility has a fascinating history of research initiatives involving rocket and nuclear technology. It also has a horrifying accident record including meltdowns and radioactive fires.wikipedia page34°13'53"N 118°41'54"W

This is the only new construction shipbuilding center on the West Coast. Since production began in 1959, the 147-acre facility has churned out some 300 military and commercial vessels: the infamous tanker Exxon Valdez among them. NASSCO was bought by conglomerate General Dynamics in 1998; making it the fifth largest defense contractor in the world. They also build jets, tanks and gatling guns.
I found the cranes’ triangular shapes referencing sails and shot them drifting across the sky as if propelled by some terrible wind. Their bulk and persistent beeping, however, cancels out any grace they might have.
With well over a century of commercial production behind it, this is one of the oldest businesses on San Diego Bay. They harvest 75,000 tons of salt annually from evaporation ponds occupying 1,200 acres at the bay’s southern end.

There were no devotees—no pilgrims gathered in warship at this crater near Maricopa, CA. It was eerily quiet, just the sound of multicolored triangular plastic flags flapping in the breeze. The flags, along with a stone monument, are the only visible signs that something significant went on here.

It was a much different picture, almost a hundred years ago to the day, on March 14, 1910. The drilling of an exploratory oil well tapped a gusher of biblical proportions. For a year and a half, oil spewed uncontrollably from the hole, pooling into a 60-acre lake of viscous black liquid people floated on in wooden skiffs as if escaping some purgatorial flood. The well’s driller later commented that his borehole "must have cut an artery of the earth's great central storehouse of oil, whereas all previous wells had been merely pinpricks in the earth's thick hide."
Pardon all the theological references, but if the religion of progress had established sites of homage, this one could be high on the list. Officially America’s most spectacular gusher, the well produced nine million barrels of oil during those magical 18 months of superabundance.
At the remote site near the burnt-out oil town of Miricopa. Apparently

The scab of a burst and dried out pimple on the landscape.

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