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Goya Giant

As a recovering cynic, I love to hear stories about people who do truly beneficial work simply because they understand their own abilities and believe in themselves.  I need to know there are people so strong and resourceful that they do their work no matter what, just because they can.  People who have real power and put it to good use.  And because there may be others like me who need to hear such stories, I want to tell one.

Four years ago I knew next to nothing about wrestling.  Real wrestling.  I had seen wrestling in the Olympics on TV and I knew some high schools and colleges had teams, but I had never been to a match in person.   The sport of wrestling had an aura of primal honesty and sportsmanship that I liked, but I never really thought much about it and could not have told you why it felt that way.  Perhaps the caricature of fake Sunday afternoon wrestling, which was so blatantly phony and demonstrated no real contest but begged for attention, stood as the obvious counterpoint and everybody recognized the difference.  But as I said, I never attended a real wrestling competition and spent very little time thinking about anything even related to wrestling.  Now, four years later, I still have to say I don’t know a lot about wrestling.   However, I have been to a real wrestling competition (several, in fact) and have witnessed one of the most amazing displays of strength, commitment, dedication and hard work I have ever seen personally.  Not from the wrestlers, though they made their own amazing displays, but from the elders of the wrestling community who administer the meets, referee the matches, and train young wrestlers to compete at their absolute maximum level of physical and mental strength while being courageous, respectful and dignified.  And believe me, they don’t do it for the money.  They do it because it makes people stronger and smarter and they know how.

My son attends a public high school with many athletic facilities and I assumed that all sports were coached by teachers on the faculty  …  that’s how it worked when I was in high school.  So when he decided to go out for wrestling in the 9th grade, I took his coaching for granted and gave no thought at all to what was entailed with the meets.  Being a good tax-payer, I assumed that the school system provided these things.  As time went on, however, I attended the meets and dropped in on a couple of practices and I realized how much time and effort the coaches were putting in beyond normal school hours.  Then I found out school hours didn’t really matter much because these guys were doing their regular jobs during school hours and coming for afternoon practice having already worked a full day, staying in the gym sometimes until 7:30, often getting paid nothing.  For the dual-meets on Thursday they were with the team from 3 in the afternoon until 9 that night.  On Saturdays (and sometimes Fridays as well) they showed up at 5:30 in the morning, drove the team hundreds of miles in their own vehicles, coached  all day at the tournaments, and brought the wrestlers home late at night.  These coaches have families of their own and jobs and homes to take care of, yet they managed to keep this schedule for months on end, from November until March, year after year.   I met coaches from other teams who spend more time and travel much farther with their teams than my son’s coaches do.  It was difficult for me to accept at first, and a little humbling.  If they were merely baby-sitting for this much time, keeping the kids off the street, they would be doing a heroic job, but in fact they were doing much more.  They were mentoring.

It took a year or two before I really started to see how wrestling was affecting the kids who participated, and to understand why this was happening.  Invariably, every wrestler I saw gained self-confidence, became more open and accepting of the strengths and weaknesses of others and of their own, improved their overall health and vitality, got a lot stronger and more agile, and realized they had limits but that these limits could be expanded.   Every wrestler faced competition with no place to hide and no one to help while everyone watched and they ALL accepted the outcome with dignity and honor.  Win or lose.  They learned to respect their opponents and appreciate their abilities no matter who came out on top .  They honored one another and they learned teamwork.  I was astonished.  Even the kids who tried for a while and decided to spend their time on other pursuits left the mat stronger than when they got on and I truly believe they will always remember wrestling with fondness and a sense of having done something essential, having made real contact with other people.  Then it hit me that the coaches, referees and officials had known about this for years and understood how powerful this sport was and wanted to be a part of it just because it made people better.  I’m sure every sport develops many of the same attributes but there is something so personal and intimate about wrestling that it brings out the deepest responses rooted in mutual respect.  The coaches are compelled to use their knowledge because they have seen the beneficial results of their actions.  I imagine at times they must have felt a little cursed by the sacrifices they had to make, but they did it.  They got down on the mat and made contact so they were respected by the kids and respected the kids in return and taught them how to use their bodies and their brains.  The referees stood proudly erect, nimble and sagacious, demanding good sportsmanship and maintaining integrity while limiting injuries and dispensing justice.  The meet officials efficiently organized and scored thousands of matches involving thousands of wrestlers with fair and honest seedings in safe and accommodating gymnasiums. There was constant dialogue on all levels,  and the only complaining I ever heard was from coaches sticking up for their athletes.

This year – my son’s senior year  – I saw the final results all this teaching and hard work.  The older kids became leaders, standing confidently and comfortably among the younger ones who are accepting their limitations but also realizing their potential.  There is very little fear in any of them.  Every one knows they can be beaten fairly and squarely, but they also know without a doubt that they can defend themselves mightily and they understand that when they get stronger and smarter they will do even better.  They can win.  Not only are their wrestling skills improving but I have noticed that every kid is becoming more tolerant and accepting of the differences between people and has realized that internal strength comes from many sources.  Everyone has something to teach and everyone has something to learn.  Wrestling provides the most diverse cross-section of gender, ethnicity, socio-economic backgrounds, and life-styles found in any high school sport I know of.  Finally, I saw supreme achievement that came from dedication to a goal, hard work, courage and valor.  I saw a bond among people which allowed them all to share in those achievements and truly appreciate every individual involved.  The wrestlers were great.  And so were the elders, wrestling giants, all of them.

So, what about the future?  Will this incredible sport continue to inspire and strengthen thousands of kids every year?  Will it be able to remain a bastion of integrity and sportsmanship, honorable and fair?  Will the elders keep on giving freely of their time just because they know what benefits they create?  My guess is the answer to all three questions is yes, thank goodness.  After all, the sport of wrestling has been around for thousands of years without television and corporate sponsorships.   I am letting go of my cynicism,  holding tightly to the belief that strong and wise people will continue to be strong and wise, that they will get enough reward seeing the results of their work that they won’t stop no matter what.  But nothing should be taken for granted.  Remember, Atlas Shrugged.  Removing wrestling from the Olympics might make sense on paper, yet I can’t help feeling that something essential will be missing  …  something vital and pure and inspirational that might not come from anywhere else.  I know wrestling isn’t for everyone, participants and spectators alike, but removing it from the Olympics undermines the wrestling community.  These people and this sport should be supported.   There should be a place at the highest level of athletics for honoring and ennobling virtues which don’t necessarily have great commercial appeal.  And I am disturbed by watching how commercial forces are perverting the sport of wrestling into a grotesque gladiatorial spectacle which assumes the basic forms and positions of wrestling while filling the time between sporadic outbursts of wanton stupid violence intended to maim another human being.  Call them Ultimate Fighters if you like, but they demonstrate none of the strength, skill, or intelligence I see every time real wrestlers meet at the center of the mat.  Let’s hope I’m right about the future and don’t find myself back among the cynics.





One fall afternoon — red leaves, silver drizzle — a friend and I were given a tour of Canterbury Shaker Village in New Hampshire.  We learned many things:  how the Shakers believed in a life of unceasing prayer defined as everything one did, said and thought.  All activity was an homage to God.  As such, since God is perfect, any homage to Him must also strive for perfection.  Craftsmanship must not be profaned by inutility.  In other words, a snug-fitting, non-squeaking hinge is a prayer.  A fence that doesn’t warp, because the posts are sunk in stone, is a kind of psalm.


Occasionally I encounter a work of art that broadens my understanding of the universe and makes me realize how much more is happening than I ever imagined.  And always, when this occurs, I feel a little smaller and a bit more humble but at the same time I am filled with wonder that so much exists just beyond the fringes of my perception.  Art can open pathways to a richer and more meaningful world.  When it does, from some magical source, the desire arises to share this new understanding and wonder .  And so, after entering Apple’s garden and realizing I was immersed in just such a work of art, a work of intense passion and great effort, my eyes were opened and I wanted to share the experience.  There is much to be learned and appreciated.

Micro-gardening is not a new concept but is a subject of great interest these days because accessibility to large plots of land is increasingly limited, especially in urban environments, while the urge to home-grow flowers, fruits, and vegetables has been increasing.  I can think of no better way to learn the practice than to study the work of a master.  Apple’s garden thrives in a yard 25 feet wide and 40 feet deep surrounded by neighboring walls and fences –  a space no different than countless backyards in every town in California –  and by applying the principles of micro-gardening this yard has been transformed over 35 years into the most beautifully complex, productive and wholly organic urban farm I have ever encountered.  As it evolved, an order emerged with shapes and structures that optimize growth capacity and minimize the effort needed to sustain it.  The relationships between the elements in three-dimensional space allow every level to flourish while supported on wood walls and posts and suspended by a gossamer network of stick and wire trellises and arbors.  Light is controlled and used to its optimum potential, and water is distributed exactly where and when it will do the most good without waste.  Every shred of organic material in whatever form is considered valuable and is ultimately returned to the soil from whence it came through mulching and composting, and for each addition of soil amendment or nutrient brought in from the outside, an armload of fresh vegetables or a freshly potted plant is taken out – a perfectly balanced system.  Aeration, drainage, and composition of the soil are carefully tended throughout a myriad of micro-environments by using drip-irrigation, mixing stations, tiered planters, and an array of turning and raking tools.  The garden is populated by hundreds of busy insects helping to maintain some natural balance which seems to make everything healthier.  There are no poisons and no weed killers.  And all this has been accomplished with an aesthetic flourish which suffuses the entire backyard in a timeless and enchanting aura.  If you are interested how this all came about, I will share some of the details.

Standing in Apple’s garden you can’t help but notice the tiered and terraced raised-bed planters and potting shelves.  They’re everywhere!  From the lowest levels of the gravel and brick pathways, wooden retaining structures emerge to contain the growing beds and define the overall layout of the yard.  The smallest of these is only three inches high, rimming a narrow walkway adjacent to the neighbor’s fence and creating a small strip planter, while the largest of them is nearly two feet tall, buttressed by 4 inch by 4 inch redwood posts which in a few places extend up to ten feet high.  Between these extremes are boards 6 inches, 8 inches, and 12 inches tall; some of them standing alone at ground level and others stepping back from and rising above the larger beds which support them.  The result is a multi-level planting surface up to three feet above grade which offers ideal rooting conditions for nearly any flower or vegetable and working heights that are EASY on the back.  Around the periphery,against the walls and fences, shelves have been built upon which are supported dozens and dozens of pots and trays, all filled with healthy plants.  The structures support growth from ground level to well above one’s head with a vast assortment of environments.

One of the beauties of using wood boards for the retaining structure is their ready availability.  Another is the fact that they eventually turn to compost themselves and don’t inhibit growth.  They are relatively light weight and can be easily cut to any size.  I have drawn a couple of sketches to show the basics of construction for simple raised-bed wooden planters.

Drawings of structures

Thought it would be a good idea to put a few drawings into the cloud, assuming that’s where these are going.













It’s time someone spoke up for the aggressive drivers of the world.  You know, the pushy ones who change lanes and wait until the last second to merge back when the lane ends.  The drivers who seek out the fastest moving track on the roadway in an effort to get where they’re going more quickly.  The ones who get ahead.  A recent letter in my local newspaper called us ‘miscreants’ and demanded an end to our ‘pushy’ practices because we clog up the traffic for everyone else, creating jams and cutting people off, as though we are a bunch of scoff-laws.  In response to this point of view, which is widespread, I feel the need to defend myself and others like me who are the miscreants.

The bottom line is this.  The aggressive drivers are the primary movers in traffic and their behavior increases the overall average rate of flow … for everyone.  Anyone who has ever watched a river move knows that slip-streams form and eddies occur in an overall pattern which results in the water moving at it’s greatest possible speed.  This happens because voids in the fluid are immediately filled from behind by the fastest moving particles.  Cars on the road should (and most often do) move in the same way, as long as the traffic laws are observed and safe driving practices are adhered to.  The surest way to slow down the overall flow rate is to impose restrictions which force everyone to remain in a straight line, one behind the other, with no chance for ‘chaotic’ movement.  It may appear to be more ‘fair’, but forcing every car to wait its turn would make commuting worse for all of us.  As unfair as it may seem that some people get ahead on the road,  give thanks that they do knowing you’ll arrive sooner because they did.

My friend Jules told me to get rid of the eraser and I did.  Never go backwards. I try to feel what’s happening on the paper and if I really don’t like it, move to a different part of the paper or start over.  That was Leonardo’s advice.  I use a 9B pencil exclusively and I have found this to be the simplest and yet the most versatile technique for drawing, and the most convenient.  I guess in this way I also display my aversion to the monumental complexity and volatility found in all things digital and modern.  The 9B technology has reached it’s pinnacle and there is basically no room for improvement.  Now it’s just a matter of expressing myself.

Most of my drawings are awful.  Frank used to say the  first thousand drawings anyone makes should go straight into the garbage can,  but he died and I have kept some of mine.  The ones I like I give to friends, sometimes with a frame and sometimes without but almost always with matting.

I try to do some drawing every day while I drink a glass of wine but sometimes it turns out I just have the wine.



We have a guest contributor who has truly overcome his cynicism regarding the Green Movement and has reached a level of understanding we can all appreciate.  This is from Nicholas…

Cut those trees shading your roof and burn them in your new efficient wood burning stove (made in USA).

Plant corn in their place to supply food and fuel for your ethanol still (made with Levi in your garage.)   Buy a dual fuel car (made in USA).

Install the largest PV array possible (leave some space for thermal solar).

Buy an all electric stove (made in USA )and cut loose your gas meter.

Nevermind your gas furnace…dig for geothermal…by hand with Levi.

Buy an all electric car for Deb (made in the USA).

Cover your  compost with plastic and collect the methane to sell to your less fortunate neighbors.

Remember to carry matches with which to light your farts…more methane…unburned, a green house gas.


(Typed with my thumbs)

Once in a while I come up with an idea that’s truly golden, and it just happened again.  This is great.  An idea that could potentially save consumers billions of dollars while at the same time eliminating clutter from their countertops, pockets, and purses.  It will simplify and enhance the gift-giving experience by offering a far wider range of choices to the recipient (always a good thing) and reward the giver with the knowledge they have contributed to improving the conditions of people throughout the world while reducing the national debt.  And it could turn a tidy profit for someone willing and able to make it happen.  The idea is the ‘Universal Gift Card’.

To understand the potential here, just look at the current state-of-affairs in the gift card industry.  It’s bewildering to realize that the instant a card purchase is made the seller is given a totally interest-free loan of unknown duration and can expect that over time they will have to pay back only part of it, in a currency of their choosing.  How much they have to pay back is affected by several factors:  some cards expire,  some are lost,  most of them end up in the garbage can with unredeemed value,  and then there are the fees.  But if I can make a crude estimate (exact figures are not easily obtained), close to 20% of these partially secured, no-interest loans are simply wiped from the books.  Given this situation, all we need for a bonanza is an alternative card which has the same  ‘I’m a Thoughtful Gift’ credibility as the old ones and which is usable anywhere  for anything.  Tapping into this potential will take time because the entrenched interests – large retailers and credit card companies – will resist accepting the ‘Universal Gift Card’ (for obvious reasons), but as it’s logic and beauty become more apparent the new card will soon be carried and honored by all.

The basic business model is simple.  Money from the purchase of a ‘Universal Gift Card’ is given directly to the U.S. Treasury (minus 5% for operating expenses) with an understanding that when the card is presented to them they will pay the bearer 80% of it’s face value in cash.  The Treasury keeps 10% with the stipulation that one-third will fund small-business loans to aid low income workers throughout the world.  Backed by this promise it should be no problem to find lots of people selling goods and services who would be willing to accept the ‘Universal Gift Card’ as payment since they will get to keep 5% of the card value for themselves in addition to any profit already included in their price.  The total 20% devaluation exactly equals the devaluation already happening, but it will now be offset by an immediate reduction of the national debt (6.67%), valuable international community development (3.33%), increased revenue for smaller local retailers and service providers (5%),  and a system that is simpler and less cluttered (5%).    The final piece of the formula is the creation of a Health Care system to supplement Medicare using the interest earned while the 80% is held by the government before reimbursement (effectively this amounts to a short term T-Bill purchase).  All the numbers are approximate and some of the benefits might be offset by increased operating expenses, but there is a lot to work with here. Of course, as I mentioned before, there will be initial resistance from large retailers and credit card companies who offer their own gift cards and so the available marketplace will be somewhat limited.  But if you also take into account the joy of giving and receiving a gift as thoughtful as the UGC then there is every reason to believe the resistance will steadily erode until everything on Earth is accessible.

The success of this idea depends primarily on the widespread acceptance of the ‘Universal Gift Card’ as a thoughtful and meaningful gift that has all the attributes of current gift cards.  Looking at the situation logically, I see every reason to think that with a little marketing magic this is easily achievable.  The new cards will be used only once (like a coupon) and those accepting them will pay any change to the user in cash, thus making the overall transaction simpler and tidier.  There will be no need to record data on the new cards so they can be made lighter and more flexible, and increasing their size slightly should cut down the loss rate dramatically.  The colorful and visually stimulating UGC will be every bit as attractive as any of the cards now available.  Printed in several denominations, the new cards will be convenient for the purchaser as well as for the user.  And at those times when the expression of love is essential, artistic envelopes will be available in just the right sizes.  Combine all this with the huge amount of social benefit created and it seems to me ‘Universal Gift Cards’ will not only be accepted but also honored and greatly appreciated by all who receive and use them.

It will be possible for those with a UGC to immediately convert their gift into cash either by making a minimal purchase and getting change or by going directly to the bank and cashing it in.  At first glance this may seem a bit tacky and unappreciative of the thought behind the giving, but there will be little incentive to ‘cash in’ and I have to believe most people are sensitive enough of others feelings to hold onto their card until they find something they want more than money.  Looked at from the other side, the ‘Universal Gift Card’ becomes even more precious because it constantly reminds the recipient to appreciate the meaningfulness of everything around them.   Those who want immediate cash are welcome to it but they can have even more if they really open themselves to the possibilities.

This can’t miss.  Billions of dollars are spend on gift cards every year and the amount is increasing steadily.  Millions of small businesses with wonderful products and services now have minimal access to the current ‘gift-card’ market.  The National Debt must be lowered.  Old people need better health care.  Emerging entrepreneurs around the world can use a little more support.  The ‘Universal Gift Card’ is an idea whose time has come!

My friend Emma is excited about the new PhotoVoltaic Solar system which is coming to be installed on her roof very soon.  I understand her anticipation because she was guaranteed it will save her more than $83,000.00 in electric bills in the next 20 years.  That’s a lot of savings!  Emma is smart and if you promise to save her $83,000.00 she’s gonna want to hear the details because she knows offers like this don’t come along every day.  And from what she tells me, there isn’t much of a downside.  She pays $16,000.00 to the installation company and agrees to lease them her roof for 25 years to support the collecting panels.  These will produce electricity from sunlight and feed it into her existing electric supply system which in turn connects to the PGE electric grid.  When operational, the installation will provide a local source of electricity usable by everyone (including Emma!).  The installers build the system and maintain the equipment at peak capacity for the duration of the lease.  Emma makes no further payments and she can use about four hundred dollars worth of electricity every month, or more depending on the array output.  As a recovering cynic, I couldn’t help wonder what was missing from the equation – where was the downside? – but other than the initial $16,000.00 outlay all I could come up with was that the process might damage her roof and make it hard to repair.  Emma assured me that even damage to the roof was covered by the guarantee.  There will be a few wires which need to run through the house, and some additional equipment for inverting the power into alternating current but the company does it all.  After hearing about it, I had to agree it looks like she will indeed reap a great benefit from this arrangement — over twenty years her promised savings will far outweigh her expenses and she did well to make it happen.   I must confess I’m a little jealous of her good fortune at having such a productive solar site but I’m happy for her.

I’ve been interested in solar energy for many years and have built several systems which, while they were working, collected lots of useful heat and light.  But my experience has been that these machines were expensive to build, difficult to maintain, died prematurely and ultimately didn’t live up to the high hopes everyone initially had for them, and because of this I was skeptical about Emma’s new installation.  However, in the interest of better understanding the current state of affairs surrounding residential PV solar systems, I did some research and learned  how it is that Emma can expect to get such a large return on her investment.  I have also learned that the field of solar powered electricity is vastly complicated, both from an engineering point of view and a political point of view, and is way beyond my ability to understand totally.  I am encouraged by some of the facts I found and dubious of others.  The economic realities are greatly affected by State subsidies, Federal tax rebates, and PublicUtility policy derived from the California Solar Initiative (CSI) under pressure from industry lobbyists.  Private solar installation contractors are flooding home owners with offers for free consultations and low-cost installation contracts.  And in the midst of all this I really can’t say whether the benefits will out-weight the costs, particularly if we’re talking about public benefits, but I’m still skeptical.

Three aspects of the current situation strike me as particularly troublesome and I want to say a little about each of them before I quit this screed and get back on the bandwagon to save the planet.  The first issue is a ‘Freakonomics’ effect by which the actual result of public policy incentives may be far different than the intended outcome and will end up being paid for by those who reap very few of the actual benefits.  The second uncertainty lies in the long-term viability of the contracts currently being created with the home-owners, particularly given how rapidly everything seems to be changing these days and how untested the technology.  The last issue is the use of residential rooftops for PV installations as opposed to other structures and locations which may in the long run turn out to be far more cost-effective.

Emma can expect to reap the huge payback she has been promised because of one major factor in the economic formula.  It’s not the Federal tax rebate, which is a deduction allowed for 30% of the net cost of the system.  Nor is it the 20% State subsidy given to the installation companies to effectively lower the price of the individual PV panels.  Emma will profit primarily because PGE is bound by law to buy electrons from her at a rate up to three times what they sell them back to her for, limited only by her total annual consumption.  Connection to the PGE grid makes this possible and Time-Of-Use accounting using Smart Meters determines the rates.  The number of panels placed on her roof is determined based on her current consumption and is intended to make her home ‘self sustaining’, but the fact remains that Emma is not the least bit ‘independent’.  She will gain because she consumes a large amount of energy and she is connected to the grid.  Now and in the future, she has no financial incentive to reduce her consumption and in fact will probably use more just to insure she gets her maximum return.  Anyone who actively conserves energy and has a low current monthly PGE bill does not qualify for this potential benefit.  High consumption is rewarded and conservation is ignored.  I recognize that the overall supply of energy is increased, and that this increase is possibly  ‘cleaner’ energy (unless you live in China or India where the panels are manufactured), but demand is also increased and conservative behavior is discouraged.  Total overall costs are high.  Maybe this is good for the industry and consumers who own large homes blessed with good solar exposure but residential PV installations may not turn out to be the best way to invest public resources.

Despite the assurances of her contract, Emma is not without risk.  She is entering into an agreement with a company which will act as a middle-man with PGE and pay off her bill each month (and keep any over-production revenue for themselves, I believe) while maintaining the panels at full operating capacity for 20 years or more.  I cannot think of another warranty that comes anywhere close to this, for any product,  and the notion that these relatively new contractors will survive 20 years in a field which is changing every day and buffeted by a volatile political environment is really a stretch for my imagination.  PGE buy-back rates may change.  New solar panels may not perform as well as advertised and replacements may not qualify for tax rebates and subsidies.  The average lifespan for a contractor’s license is closer to five years than to twenty.  What will be the legal ramifications?  It seems to me that a lot of assumptions are being made about the future in order to stimulate the current enthusiasm (and resultant sales) which are uncertain at best, deceptive at worst, and bear a large part of the burden for making this endeavor beneficial.

The final aspect which has continued to nag me has nothing directly to do with Emma, but rather concerns the larger goal of producing clean and renewable electricity in the most cost effective way.  It’s tempting to imagine each home as a self-contained, net-zero energy user which can  generate enough power to meet it’s own needs, but this can’t be the most efficient model to use.  When I imagine a future with solar electricity for everyone, I don’t see millions of separate installations spread out on the shingles of randomly shaped and haphazardly oriented rooftops shaded by trees and neighboring houses.  It makes little sense that panel maintenance should be so conflicted by the condition of the roof covering and that we would install dangerous high-voltage wiring systems in and over every dust-filled, fire-prone attic.  Accessibility will be a nightmare (and a danger).  There is no economy of scale.  A far more reasonable approach, I believe, would consolidate our solar production into larger arrays without these peripheral problems and reward everyone equally irrespective of the size of their roof or it’s orientation and exposure.  High volume consumers would continue to pay higher rates because we the public want to discourage excess usage (obviously private home systems could still be purchased).  We should find a way to reward conservation to the extent that it improves the environment for everyone.  Many of the fantasies about solar power were born in the 60’s and 70’s when being ‘independent’ and ‘off-the-grid’ had a lot of allure, but we’re not off the grid and we’re not independent and we might need to let go of some of our old ideas in order to do the most good.

The End.

I love to make compost.  It’s incredibly satisfying.  I see myself as a radical alchemist turning detritus into gold and I can’t get enough of it.  Bigger and bigger my pile grows and with it my lust for more, like some out-of-control Malthusian trap which increases the population at the same time it increases the food supply.  Of course I am the anti-entropy agent enslaved to this ‘creature’, gathering the raw materials, feeding them into a living, breathing organism which has grown to such an extent it now consumes thousands of pounds of debris every year.  The rational part of me knows this is a formula for some sisyphean labor because everything just keeps growing, and yet I willingly cut and trim, rake and shovel, pack and carry for hours so that at the end of the day my ‘pile of gold’ will be bigger than ever.  I feel truly rewarded.

I know this can’t go on forever … there’s hard work involved (dirty, too) and eventually my pile will hits it’s peak … I just hope I can keep it alive until the day I fall over dead.  If I’m lucky, I’ll land in it!