Happy Thanksgiving from Mac & Cap'n T

I’m thinking of changing the tag line of this blog to “on the path to a meaningful life”.

In an attempt to live more sustainably, I’ve morphed into someone with a better sense of purpose.

Along the way, I’ve met others just like me. Okay, I live in Portland Oregon which is a kind of lab for all things sustainable. [Would that make me a lab rat?] I also get that it isn’t so damn easy in the bread basket of America, or in the land of Dixie, but there’s a good chance the term “sustainability” will come to define the Pacific Northwest region of America.

Did you ever learn about the “Hundredth Monkey Syndrome” in high school or college? Or at a management seminar perhaps? Well, it has something to do with awareness, social learning, sweet potatoes, and Japanese monkeys on the island of Koshima.I liken this syndrome to how Americans are becoming aware of our cultural ills, especially as it relates to over-consumption and living more sustainably. I do see evidence that we’re (slowly) changing our behavior. One can see the results of what I’m talking about, if one looks for it. I’ve been (rightly) accused of being an amateur socialist, because I am looking for it, and I am learning from it, and I am doing it, and I am modeling this behavior on the blog for others to consider, follow, dispute, or whatever. I have a purpose to serve.

Call me monkey number 503.

This month marks two years that I’ve been writing this blog. It has become my conscious, my voice.

Since I started (Nov ’09) I’ve posted 167 articles. Some of the posts are quite personal, but most have to do with me trying to live more sustainably, including; my learnings, teachings, successes, and failures. I’d  suppose I’d have to put solarflareblog.com firmly in the success bucket. Working on this blog lifted my spirits and kept me going when times were hard. May sound weird, but it helped keep me focused and grounded. Yes, I’ve/we’ve had some difficult and challenging times here at naturehouse recently, but who hasn’t? That’s life. I know disappointment, but as my father used to say, ‘you gotta take the bad with the good.’

Although my blog is a journal of sorts, I rarely offer a peek too far behind the curtain. I realize that can make my content a bit too dry for some people’s taste, and it’s not like there’s a lack of this of subject matter available on the internet. It is literally everywhere. So, I feel blessed people have stopped by my blog to read something that I wrote.

Readership has grown from 25 visitors a month to over 3,000 a month (on average) – amounting to almost 40,000 post reads by 25,000 readers so far. In addition, solarflareblog.com readers are scattered across the globe.

According to my “count per day” software, the global readership top ten breaks down as

  1. USA
  2. China
  3. United Kingdom
  4. Ukraine
  5. Russian Federation
  6. Germany
  7. Canada
  8. Sweden
  9. Latvia (!)
  10. Romania

Runner-ups are France, Japan, Poland, India … and Brazil is coming on strong. That’s global, baby!

On the road in Southeast China – 2011

It never occurred to me this might happen when I set out to tell my story here in Oregon. I figured I might get a few looky-loos from outside America via the www, but I never counted on 25% of my readership coming from outside the United States! It is a small world indeed.

It makes sense about China, however, as I did visit there last Feb/March and met hundreds of people over a two-week period.  The Chinese want to live how we do here in America. The people there look to American living standards as a model for their future. [For both good and/or bad, I’m afraid.] I like that they’re reading my blog, ‘cuz if any place needs to embrace the notion of less polluting, sustainable solutions, it is China. I’m happy to see India and Brazil moving up on the list, for that matter.

In case you’re wondering … the top ten reads on this blog (in order) are:

1. A glimpse into the future                                           http://solarflareblog.com/?p=968

2. In every endeavor there is conflict                           http://solarflareblog.com/?p=929

3. Living with Solar – Winter is a time of doubt        http://solarflareblog.com/?p=1772

4. SolarCity                                                                         http://solarflareblog.com/?p=1150

5. The Landscape of My Dreams                                    http://solarflareblog.com/?p=1346

6. Put your money where your mouth is                      http://solarflareblog.com/?p=2369

7. Solarflare – News Flash  (BETC / RETC)                http://solarflareblog.com/?p=2136

8. Kevin Costner to the Rescue                                      http://solarflareblog.com/?p=871

9. DIY – Independence Day, indeed                              http://solarflareblog.com/?p=2316

10. Baby Boomer Boomerang                                         http://solarflareblog.com/?p=531

Out of this lot, the only post I’d like to edit is “In every endeavor there is conflict”. This is only because I felt I was a little too harsh in my criticism of a fellow solar advocate, Andrew Koyaanisqatsi. He had the gall to challenge the Portland Solarize campaigns and he called them unjust and some other things. I and others took exception to his point of view and his message. I’ve since gotten to know Mr. Koyaanisqatsi better and I think
he’s a good and principled man. We are both passionate about what we believe, and what we do, and that passion got the best of us. Hey, I’m Irish, what else can I say?!

Solar Beaverton Workshop presentation

My Akismet spam filter informs me it caught/ counted 4,426 messages during these two years. My assumption is the high number of visitors from the Ukraine, Russia and Romania might be responsible for this. I got nothing bad to say about those countries, but this is the result of an audit. Yep, I reviewed a sampling of the spam, and I ask you, how many fake passports, fake Gucci bags, fake Rolex watches, Ugg boats, Viagra, and porno movies does one person really need?

You know, the work to keep up a blog like this is a labor of love. However, the time and effort put into this blog has been equaled by what I’ve gotten out of it – or better. I hope you readers feel the same. Please let me know by making a comment on a post you like, or hate, or whatever. Okay?


Lovely Noriko, my “bag lady”

Over the past couple of years, I’ve had an once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to do whatever I wanted. Think about that! As a full-grown adult, how many of us ever have this luxury?!  It wasn’t done with smoke ‘n mirrors, it was because I devoted myself to the cause, and to my passion and objectives. Mostly, it is because of my wife, Noriko.

This blog, like everything else I’ve done, or will do, is only possible because of Noriko’s love, dedication, and generousity. Whatever I accomplish, she gets much of the credit, because I couldn’t do this without her support.

So, today, Thanksgiving Day in America, I thank God for Noriko for being my love and my life.

And … may God bless you and your family too.


 * The story of “The Hundredth Monkey” has become popular in our culture as a strategy for social change. It is also referred to “Hundredth Monkey Effect” or the “Hundredth Monkey Phenomenon.

Want to know more …  see http://www.i-change.biz/100monkey.php