Pure Energy

Another Use for Books. Targets.

10,663,013,700.  Not that large of a number as far as numbers go.   15,243,487,984,898 (I know don’t start a sentence with a number) is more.  10,663,013,700 is a smaller number.  Unless you multiply it by 365.  Then the product is 3,892,000,000,500.  This is not as large as 15,243,487,984,898 which is our national debt (as of today).  10,663,013,700 is our general daily consumption of electric in the United States in kwh.    Our average share of the national debt is $48,838 (as of today).  Our share of kwh differs from person to person.  My electric bill last month was $165 (combined of several meters…. long story).

The United states is estimated to use 18,690,000 barrels of oil a day.  This is slightly deceptive number, since oil is not just taken from the ground and put in other places but turned into all sorts of products.  Gasoline is the most fun of these both because they can provide Happy Motoring and Indian Fire.  Big fan of Indian Fire….   Or is that now called Native American fire?  (For the kids out there on the intertubes that’s slang for pouring gas on a campfire).  Of that, we use about 388 million…. I mean, 388,000,000 gallons of gasoline for driving those little shits around to soccer practice and picking up sodie-pop.  The above numbers are also deceptive because of all the wonderful ways we can split the carbon chain in oil and make it into other things.  Some of that oil we use every day is filtered through China, turned into plastic dog shit, sent to us in huge containers (I’d love to see a container of dildos spilt open), and bought by us in the Dollar Store, used once, and tossed away.  Ha ha, you thought that poop was real.  So, in actuality, we use more on a daily basis.  I don’t drive much but have to when I go upstate.  I have a crap car that gets crap mileage so I’m not green.  Last month I spent perhaps $100 on gas for the car.  Much less than the average American.  However, I do use plastics, I can’t avoid them, and like you and all the kids out there, I don’t save it up but toss it out.  Also, indirectly, I benefit from other plastic being used and disposed without my ever seeing it.  The veggies in the store come to me to rot in my fridge un-bruised and without blemishes because someone sprayed the shit out of them with a petroleum product and the super market got them wrapped in plastic, in plastic trays, with individual plastic holders for each pear and apple and then put them in a pile on top of plastic AstroTurf.  I know, because when I was a kid I worked on the last privately owned orchard upstate New York and when they finally sold the operations after the old farmer died (or is that orcharder?), they stopped shipping apples in wooden boxes and started to wrap them up in plastic.  After all, we all want perfect fruit to rot on the table.

Natural gas heats my home and powers my stove.  In 2009 we took 21 trillion cubic feet of the shit out of the ground and burned it up.  It’s gone.  The farts of billions of years have been broken by pulling the earth’s finger.  The average house uses 980 therms per year. (google says a therm is “A unit of heat equivalent to 100,000 British thermal units or 1.055 × 108 joules”  Fuck, what’s joules?  Isn’t it that guy who lives nextdoor like, two summers ago?)  My bill (combined meters long story) was $1100 or so for two months.  I also benefit from much more of other people’s joules because it is heated in the store where I forage for food, at the place where people tell me what to do for 8 hours of the day five days a week in exchange for a certain amount of symbolic notes that I then exchange for food, booze, and sex, and at this cafe where it is warm and nice and funky hat people come in and out and where I too, often wear funky hats and the bars where I drink my face off and at friend’s places (one of which is a sauna), and at the actual sauna I go to occasionally.

I don’t use coal.  It’s dirty and nasty and there was this one Disney movie about ponies who worked in mines until they went blind and I don’t want to see ponies hurt.  I’m sure you don’t either.  Except our nation does.  1,060,000,000 tonnes a year of coal is taken from the ground and burned in piles here and there.  My coal use is behind the scenes too.  Much of the electric I use comes from coal.  The Intertubes are running on coal, which is funny when you think about it.  The fuel of the old industrial revolution still powering the “new technology revolution.”  The cement sidewalk I repaired used cement created with coal.  As a matter of fact, the majority of cement comes to us through the power of coal until they invent a microwave oven for zapping rocks.  My daily benefit from coal is all around  me.  The Chinese use a lot of coal.  They are dirty fuel people and I wrote to Greenpeace or clicked a button on a link that sent a petition to someone who said, “bad Chinese, you use too much coal.  Stop it.  But, don’t stop it until I get my iPhone upgrade.  thx.  bai.”  Much of that Chinese coal makes the cheep shit I buy.  I’m using coal, but indirectly.  However, they don’t use ponies in China in the mines.  That’s what kids are for.  But, hard work makes stronger adults.

I don’t use wood to heat, but I do burn a lot of shit in people’s backyards and when I camp I create a campfire, or I camp so I can create a camp fire.  Burning shit is in my DNA.  Many people burn wood to heat their homes, and the general rule is 4-5 cords of wood in most of the lower zones and 5-8 in higher (of what used to be warmer and colder zones since it’s January and yesterday it was 57 degrees).  A cord is 4 feet hight, 4 feet wide and 8 feet long.  Stacking 4 of these and we have 36 liner feet.  That’s a lot of dead trees.  So I don’t use wood.  However, I think this paper cup is made of trees.  And the office papers.  The boxes my food products come in.  I take my little canvas bag to the store since I don’t want to use a plastic bag.  I want to save trees.  I love trees, I’m sure you hug them too.  Now, if we saw all the boxes those veggies come in all wrapped in plastic and considered this pile of boxes in the crusher is there every day, we’d cry a little as we stuffed our faces with artisanal cheese to our lost wood.  The little Bodega next to me in the city always has crates in the trash, made of wood.  I have taken so many of those to use, but every Thursday night, there’s more out on the curb.  Much of my paper use is also hidden from me.  But it also supports my life of comfort.  I will really miss soft multi-ply toilet paper when The Change comes.  Really.  You know the world smelled like ass from B.C.E. 10,000,000 to C.E. 1934 when splinter-free toilet paper was finally produced and the toilet paper revolution started leading up to the release of Charmin’s multi-ply quilted, medicated, scented, lubricated, decorative never-ending roll which I fully expect to the biggest event of 2012.

So there is a lot of energy going about this Great Nation of Ours.  It’s measured in one way, delivered and measured in another.  We consume some of it directly and indirectly it is all about us creating a cradle.  We can’t really find solid numbers on how much of this shit we use, how much is taken out each day, and how much of this shit is still out there.  This information is hidden from us, or obscured in strange ways for various reasons.  Why the fuck does reading the meter (I’m talking to the analog generations out there) get so complicated?  Why does my heat bill not tell me that my thermal units or 1.055 × 108 joules cost so-and-so much but that they give the first such at one price, then another price, and on cold winter months yet another price plus delivery charges.  Same with kwh.  The price of gas is on the pump, but the true cost, when I condier the cost of our War Machine and tax benefits to corporations what a gallon of that cost me.  Also, when I drop back and look at oil, that plastic fork I just tossed out,   I’m not sure how much I use in a day or how much I pay for my oil addiction.  By using this energy, I get to enjoy doing a lot of talking, clicking a mouse on my computer, experiencing angst over the failing in my life, worrying about bills, fall in and out of love, make phone calls, wake up late for work, listen to NPR, masturbate to porn, and eat tacos all in a blanket of carbon chains.  The dead souls of algae, dinosaurs (since disproven but a familiar image), and heaps of poop from long ago (or 6000 years whichever came first).  So much poop I imagine that during the dinosaur times the shit must have been knee-deep, and the knees of a dinosaur were about 6 feet in the air so…..  Oh damn.  What an image…..  stupid dinosaurs.

Now, take the above numbers, and multiply it the context of the world population of 6,840,507,000.  We don’t yet use energy at the same rate, but if One Laptop Per Child has its way, we will.  That’s a lot of energy, and a lot more energy needed since the Intertubes ain’t going to power themselves.  And a few solar panels can’t give Happy Motoring to everyone in the world.  And may not even power what we are using on a daily basis.  Like the National Debt, each one of us has a share of the cost.  To say carbon footprint is to make it sound all folky.  Energy consumption is what it is, most of it combustion (as a species we have been tossing shit on fires since Adam and Eve, we just do it more sciencey and use words like joules but gas, oil, and coal are all providing more fuel for the fire).

It’s a strange situation when I think of what I can do.  Yesterday I just got an iPhone upgrade.  I paid a little over $100 USD for it.  It is very new and advanced.  It’s also the product of much energy, I believe in China that’d be coal (not even going to consider the “rare earth” from Africa which is a fancy term for “mud” since saying our techno-revolution is provided by mud and coal is so Thomas Newcomen).  Right now, I am like all of us addicts.  I know I need to stop.  I’m a good person, I just got caught up with bad kids.  I go back to the land once in a while, but then I go back to the old neighborhood, and the old hang outs.  It’s hard to break the cycle because I’m surrounded by users.  That, and I love the sensation.  Just sitting there.  Warm.  A tummy full of food.  Showered and clean and ready to bitch about life.

2 thoughts on “Pure Energy

    • Thanks for sharing. I wonder what the carbon footprint is from all the Facebook “likes”

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