Monday, August 10, 2015

We are the Tin Man

Being a Thrivalist/Prepper/Survalist/Suburban Homesteader is all about preparedness, and we may not all agree on what we're preparing for ... or it may just be a sense that all things are not right.

Way back in the day, I started following several authors - both on line and off - who considered themselves part of the Peak Oil crowd. Peak Oil, for those of you who may be new to this stuff (because we don't hear as much about Peak Oil these days as we used to), is the point at which the world has used "half" the oil there is available. It's like climbing a mountain. When you get to the "peak", your journey is not concluded. You still have to come back down.

The Peak Oil crowd, based on extensive research by experts in the field (most notably M. King Hubbert), states that the Peak for US oil production happened in the 1970s. That doesn't mean that we're not producing oil anymore, because we are, but that the amount we're getting and the quality of that crude is considerably diminished. It is very telling we discovered the Bakken Tar Sands back in the 1950s, but didn't start drilling until recently, after the pumpjacks in Texas and Oklahoma stopped pulling the black gold from the ground.

Recently, I stumbled upon this article with the very ominous title Oil Collapse Couldn't Come at a Worse Time for the Industry, which made me think more about Peak Oil. What's interesting is that, currently, the price of oil per barrel is under $50, but we're still paying almost $3/gallon at the pump. The article explains why: oil companies are heavily in debt, and Saudi Arabia has flooded the market with their oil (producing around 10 million barrels per day).

What's very telling is this quote from Fadel Gheit, senior energy analyst at Oppenheimer, who said, "At the end of the day, borrowing is borrowing. Having this huge amount of debt is never, never good. Especially, you see what the companies are doing right now. The oil companies are running on cash flow, not on earnings.... So all companies that I know of are not living within their means.... How long can that last? Every company I know of, including Chevron, Exxon, BP, Apache, Anadarko, every company, you name it. They are all exceeding their cash flow. That's not sustainable. Something's got to give."


According to the article, the banks reevaluate their outstanding loans in October and decide what to do. Also according to the article, some smaller oil companies many find themselves without any financing, which means, they may have to close their doors. Maybe they'll get bought out by bigger companies ... unless those bigger companies don't have the revenue (or credit worthiness) to buy them out, and then, who knows.

Whatever happens, it looks like it's going to be an interesting fall and winter, and it doesn't look like the consumer price for gasoline or oil is going to drop, even as the price of crude hits the rocky bottom.

Wednesday, August 5, 2015

Watch Out, Angels! I know Victoria's Secret

Yes, I have often purchased overpriced undergarments at Victoria's Secret.

It started several years ago when I was in the same room with two other homeschooling moms who were ignoring me and entered into a discussion about undergarments (not sure how the subject came up, but whatever). They started chatting, very enthusiastically and animatedly about a particular style they enjoyed from the above mentioned lingerie retailer. I'd never thought much about my underwear brand. I guess I just figured they were all uncomfortable, and it was just one of those things we had to endure if we planned to stay clothed. They spoke about how comfortable their panties were, and so, naturally, I wanted some, too.

Then, I assumed that, because it was a niche market, and VS specializes in the product, what I got from their store would be a higher quality and would last longer. What I'm finding is that it isn't true. The underclothes are comfortable enough, but it's incredibly disheartening to spent $5 on one single pair of panties that are unwearable in less than a year. Okay, I could understand if I only had one pair and it wore out after a year of use, but when I have multiple pairs, and they're still rags after only a few months, it's frustrating.

Last December, when I was making holiday gifts, one of those was to be new undergarments for Deus Ex Machina. I made a pattern and sewed them. They came out pretty awesome - although since flannel doesn't stretch in the same way that the fabric used in the boxer-briefs I used for the pattern does, they ended up a bit too small.

After throwing away, yet, another pair of my panties (sans the salvaged waistband elastic, which I reuse), I thought about those boxers, and I decided I could use the pattern to make some undergarments for myself.

In a true thumbing-my-nose-at-corporate-America, not only did I make a wearable undergarment, but I also reused a stretched out camisole from Victoria's Secret for the fabric. Ha! Take that ;).

I needed one and a half camisoles (I used one pink one and one white one - hence the two tone panties :)) for the final product, and I even reused elastic from the "shelf bra" for the waistband.

They fit, and they are comfortable, and I will make more pairs, when I find a material I want to use.

Forgive me if I don't post a picture of me wearing them. They are underwear, after all, and I'm no "Angel." :)

What are you recycling/reusing/repurposing today?