Wednesday, January 14, 2015

Jan 14 - The good and bad of reintegration to the petroleum-based world

Sorry that it has been a full week between entries! The arrival 2015 has unfortunately disrupted my 2014 daily blogging routine. I hope to tune in at least twice a week with birding, photography, and general bird/environmental news, but we'll have to see how this plan actually plays moving forward. Since I've been a bit backlogged recently, here are a few videos of my return to the car-based world.

I am currently resting and recovering at my family home just outside Philadelphia. Sonia is with me, and the two of us are spending some quality time with my family. We'll be here for a while as we sort out our next move. I am going to need to find a job at some point, but I am completely swamped with follow-up up logistics and writing at the moment. I am starting to sort a speaking calendar. I am also writing a number of interviews/articles for various entities. I find this to be lots of fun in the wake of the successes of the blog this past year. Who knows, maybe I'll end writing in some professional context in the future.

I spent a bit of time on the phone with big year birder Neil Hayward the other day (blog of his record setting 2013 efforts here). We discussed the feelings associated with the marked deceleration that necessarily accompanies the calendar rollover at the end of the a big year. He gave me some good advice as to how to manage my reintegration, which, at least at this point, I feel is going fairly well. I will say that I do feel a bit lazy as I am not pushing myself in the same way as I was last year. Sonia has been particularly helpful as she has been encouraging me to rest and enjoy the downtime. I want to stat running again, but I realize my body needs to rest. This is a crappy boat in which to be stuck. As I discussed at several points in the blog this past year, I am not at all good at relaxing; I always have to be doing something productive. Were the birding and weather around here a bit better, I might be out and about a bit more than I am currently. However, my mom's feeder array seems to be the best birding in a wide radius at the moment. 

I am also having a bit of a hard time readjusting to the petroleum-based world. As I am sure everyone has observed, gas prices have fallen precipitously over the last year. There in one station in Tomball, TX that is selling a gallon for $1.47 today. Certainly, most rejoice over this price drop. I, however, find it a bit worrying. With gas so cheap, it becomes so easy to drive everywhere that I fear much of the environmental gains that have been made these last few years will get left in a bigger, cheaper cloud of exhaust. For my part, I am actually having a bit of a hard time getting behind the wheel. I was hoping to go birding yesterday, but to reach anywhere worth going I'd have to drive at least 45 minutes from my family's home (it's a bit cold for bike birding right now). This was such a painful pill to swallow that I did not go anywhere. I'll be 100% honest and say that right now, birding in a car feels so easy that it's almost not worth it. I feel that I had better spend a full, 8- to 10-hour day birding in nice weather to justify burning the fuel. I also feel I need to see a decent number of birds and get some decent pictures of them. Driving a long way for only 2-3 hours of birding just seems like an incredible waste right now. For example, I would really like to go to Barnegat Lighthouse SP in New Jersey. The problem is that this location is 80 miles from here, or 160 miles round trip. I'm sure I'd have a nice time if I went, but it's really, really hard for me, at least at this time, to burn so much gas for a single day of birding after I burned zero during the 365-days of birding I did in 2014. I am not sure how I am going to deal with these feelings moving forward. 


  1. Glad you made it to the east coast safely. Loved the videos. Hopefully you're getting plenty of cheesesteaks and water-ice when it warms up. I'll be in DC all next week freezing my butt off just south of you. But after seeing everything last year, what birds are you looking for this year, or is it just for the sake of going out there and enjoying them?

  2. electric cars are fueled by coal....


  3. Dorian -- I disagree with you somewhat. Many people are breathing a sigh of relief from exorbitant gas prices, and are happy there is a little more in their pockets for food and oh, maybe, a movie or dinner out once a month. I do not think they are driving more. And really, do you plan to pedal through life ? You may have to drive a little. Get a very efficient car and you will be doing well.

    1. Sales of large cars and pickup trucks are going up in response to cheap gas. I'm pretty sure people will be driving more--happens whenever gas prices go down and they have rarely, if ever, decreased this fast.

  4. Dorian - do you have a figure for average speed over the course of the year. Would take a bit of work no doubt. Interested though.

  5. The price is down because growth of demand is DOWN and Saudi Arabia is not making the commensurate decrease in output. So, unless you work in the industry, live in Houston or Russia this is a good thing.

    Rest easy Dorian, the needle will surely swing the other way soon in this roller-coaster world of ours.

    My advice is that you enjoy the effortless transportation to Barnaget and get some harlequin eadshots for those living vicariously through you!

    Cheers to an amazing year