Where has Marty been? Catching up with the other mind of EOE

Mark is lucky. While it’s true that the topic of energy has completely consumed his life for the past year, at least he put himself there voluntarily.  I’m a different story. Every day at my job as an energy consultant I’m surrounded by discussions of energy, and then I come home, get on the phone, and talk to Mark about it for a few hours more. Now don’t get me wrong, I’m fascinated by the subject, but I just felt it necessary to start off the post by trying to rouse a little pity. Didn’t work? You still think Mark gets less sleep than me? Yeah, you’re probably right. And what’s crazier is that he probably does think about energy more than me, and he’s not even getting paid for it!

It’s been a while since I posted – my last full contribution was the post about Mark’s energy storage problem on his ride. And I know ever since that post all of the devoted fans of this blog have had a little thought in the back of their minds: Hey when are we going to hear from that Marty guy again? I can’t blame you. In that post I hope you had a chance to appreciate just how hilarious and clever Mark’s co-writer is. No? Jokes about mini-nuclear reactors aren’t that funny? Fine. You’re probably right. And actually, that’s exactly the point I want to make. No, not the fact that I’m not as funny as I think I am (though that is ego-breakingly true). The problem is that the subject of energysometimes just isn’t that interesting to people that don’t deal with it on a daily basis.

Marty smiles big for the camera

As mentioned in my introductory post, one of the main things I do at my job is perform energy assessments on buildings. I spend a lot of time during the workday analyzing energy use in commercial buildings. And as I’ve dealt with various projects I’ve come across some interesting situations… Well at least I find them interesting. The thing is, not everyone does; sometimes not even the people that I think probably should.

 

For example: It’s so odd how a wild party just dies when I start talking about the decision for Boulder, CO to start the process of switching to a municipally-owned electrical utility. Ok, no, I don’t talk about energy on every Saturday night. But, even when I’m having lunch with a few friends that live in Boulder, if I try and throw that issue into the conversation, it’s met with stares and possibly eye-rolls. And these are the very people that I believe should care the most because it is going to directly affect them. I understand that at first glance the topic may seem very dry, but there are so many points to discuss and debate. And what’s more, it’s an issue that directly affects the citizens of the town, and the future of their electricity supply. But as I write those last five words I catch myself and think, “the truth is, not everyone finds the ‘future of their electricity supply’ all that fascinating.”

And really that’s fine. That’s one of the things that makes people, people. We all have our own lives, thoughts, curiosities and passions to keep us busy.  But, what if we are overlooking one of the more determining factors on how we live our lives? The world is full of things that you never stop to really take a look at, and then one day something finally catches your eye. And from that day on, you care.  It doesn’t matter what side of the argument you choose or if you choose not to argue at all.  What matters is that something has pulled you in and now you care.  How can you make decisions about something that you don’t care about?  Would you act differently if you did care?

–Marty

 

***Editor’s Note-  Marty was originally introduced in a previous post as having “pursued” a degree in Architectural engineering.  The word “pursued” makes it sound like he tried it out one day.  This couldn’t be more misrepresenting.  Marty holds a BS degree in Architectural engineering and has been working at the forefront of the energy efficiency and assessment industry ever since. Just so you know that we didn’t just pull a random guy off the street 🙂

 

 

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Thanks

It’s that time of the year. Everyone is traveling, spending time with family, and busy with the holidays. Burning Torch Productions would like to wish everyone a happy holiday season, and say thanks for all of your support. We have been traveling a bit ourselves, about 3000 miles so far. Carrie and I have traveled by train, bus, and car in our most recent adventure to the Pacific Northwest. Everything is finally starting to make sense. Having a large amount of the filming done, I have decided to dedicate a number of blogs to writing about the people who I have met on my travels. The list spans from energy industry workers to drifters on the street. There is an entire story alone about the people I have encountered. Make sure to check back to get a glimpse into the lives of some of the most interesting people I’ve ever met.

In the meantime, enjoy the holidays and stay warm! Here’s a picture that hopefully brings a chuckle to your day. Whoever said making movies couldn’t be fun?

Mark jumps on down to Phoenix with Carrie

Pondering in the Mist

The trip to the Northwest has been well worth it.  It has been enlightening, humbling, and inspirational.  Between the huge change in scenery, the interviews with Bonneville Power Administration, and stumbling across more power plants than I’ve ever seen, I have finally found some answers. What is the best energy?  Well, I have definitely come a long ways since I first asked this question.  I have traveled coast to coast, through rain forests, deserts, canyons, and mountain passes.  I’ve traveled by foot, bike, train, bus, car, truck, four wheeler, and plane.  Now that I’ve journeyed over 8000 miles, it’s time to make sense of everything.  The next few months are going to be busy editing interviews and piecing together the puzzle with Marty Pool.  As much as I want to tell everyone what I’ve learned, I have to wait until the film is finished.  As the footage unfolds, Marty and I will be blogging to keep the conversation going.  We will also be blogging about whatever we feel is relevant to Energy! O Energy!  I will be on the road for another 2 and a half weeks gathering footage. I’ll leave you witha few photos of the last two days.  If you’re just joining us, check out some video clips from the first bike ride through Wyoming to explore energy.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NXCjbccG7c8

Happy trails.

Portland Pictures

We’ve made it to Portland and haven’t stopped shooting since we’ve arrived.  The nice thing about traveling to make a movie is that you enter each location with a fresh perspective.  Even the most beautiful landscapes can become boring if you see it everyday.  The change of scenery from Wyoming to Oregon has allowed me to capture the surroundings with a new eye.  The key to getting this perspective is to notice the small things and build with it.  Every moment is different in its own way.  The challenge of making films is making harmony out of those moments; all 29.9 per second.  One of the things that the Northwest far surpasses Wyoming with is water.  Check out our photo blog to see how I’m capturing this idea of water and how a society can be built around it, including energy production in the form of hydro power plants.

http://livingthedream.aminus3.com/

You Can be in the Film!

I have received some criticism for riding my bike on my previous journey through Wyoming this past August.  People have accused me of being slanted because I was riding a bike.  Apparently riding a bike is a “green” statement.  My only statement about riding a bike is that it’s the most enjoyable method of transportation that I have come across in my lifetime.  What other type of transportation can you see the world at a reasonable pace and jump of the occasional cliff when you’re bored?

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For the next leg of my journey I will be setting off in my 1990 Oldsmobile 98 Regency.  This certainly should clear my record.  What is the statement that I am trying to make by driving this car?  It’s my only method of transportation other than my bike and a month-long road trip in the winter, covering over 3200 miles is definitely a limiting factor when it comes to selecting transportation. As much as I would like to take my Olds on the entire trip, I’ll be borrowing a car midway to take to Seattle, riding with friends for another leg, taking the Greyhound bus for a section of the trip, riding the Amtrak train, and then finishing the trip by picking up my car where I’m leaving it halfway to get home.  I am estimating about a month on the road.  Here is a map of my tentative route.

 

 

 If any of you are located anywhere on my way, I would love to stop in and meet you.  I am always conducting public opinion interviews from people who use energy.  Do you use energy?  If you answered yes, this is your chance to be a part of something great!  I am also looking for people who work in the energy industry to comment on their perspective.  Comment or send me an email in a reasonable amount of time and I’ll do my best to give you a voice in the film.

Bonneville Power Administration

I’m back from Phoenix and packing for the next trip.  I have just found out that I’ll be headed to Portland, Oregon to talk with the senior vice president and executive vice president of Bonneville Power Administration.

The Columbia River is a large source of hydroelectricity generation for the Northwest

BPA is a public service organization that is in charge of getting power to the Pacific Northwest.  In other words, BPA makes sure that when you plug in your coffee maker or TV, it turns on and stays on.  That is huge!  Think about the logistics that goes into something that we have come to take for granted.  You have to decide how you’re going to make the energy.  You have to make the energy.  You have to make enough energy.  You can’t make too much energy.  You have to get the energy to the consumer.  You have to balance all of the different types of energy.  You have to make everyone happy, but at the same time, you have to provide them with enough energy to keep up with their demand.  Sometimes we want to save the planet without making any sacrifices.  Is this reasonable?  Whose job is it to make these decisions?  Imagine having to deal with all of these issues.  Doesn’t it sound like a huge job?  It sounds like one of the most complicated situations in our society today.  If this is such a huge job, then why haven’t we heard of organization like Bonneville Power Administration?  Is it a silent art and as long as they do their job well, they are invisible?  What exactly are they doing?  Why don’t more people know about what they do if it’s so important?  Have we taken the most elementary and necessary commodity other than food and water for granted?  Why?  That is my question.  Why do we as a society no longer think about this energy that seems to magically appear from the outlets in our house?  I will be continuing my journey to ask these questions in December by touring the Pacific Northwest and meeting with Bonneville Power Administration. Here is some background information about BPA.

http://www.bpa.gov/corporate/

http://www.bpa.gov/corporate/about_BPA/execs/embio.cfm

http://www.bpa.gov/corporate/about_BPA/execs/bsbio.cfm

On my way, I will be stopping at numerous energy production sites including hydroelectric sites, wind towers, a nuclear power station, and numerous natural gas power plants.  I will be home for about one and half weeks and then I’m setting off for a month.  This will be the longest that I’ve been home since July!  I’m already feeling restless…

I hope you’re keeping up on the blog because I will be posting much more often due to followers’ requests.  The blog has exceeded 5000 views!  I can’t tell you how happy it makes me to know that people are becoming more and more interested in something that is so important.  Please feel free to request posts about subjects relating to what you want to hear.  Keep checking back for a story on my new method of transportation for the next leg of my journey!

Good music? Sure.

The holiday season is here and I have a present for your viewing pleasure.  I have been putting in countless hours editing Energy! O Energy! and didn’t realize that I haven’t uploaded any clips from the film since training!  It has been far too long without at least something to watch.  I decided to edit some of the footage together from the ride to some music by the one and only Johnny Cash.  The song is “God’s Gonna Cut You Down” performed by Johnny Cash.  The original writer of the song is unknown and can be characterized as a folk song.  Out of all of the versions though, Johnny Cash sings the roof off with this one.  The industrial beat really matches the footage well.  It isn’t a trailer but at least it’s something to kill a few minutes at work while your boss steps out.  (You don’t do that, do you?)  As always, I appreciate the messages, “likes”, emails, RTs, and comments.  If you like the clip, post it to your facebook or twitter.  Let’s see how many views we can get.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NXCjbccG7c8

I am shooting to have an official trailer by 2012.   Between traveling for interviews and processing the footage, I haven’t had the time to put together something that I like.  Speaking of interviews, I just got back from Casper, Wyoming where I talked to Jeremy Fugleberg at the Casper Star-Tribune.  He is the energy reporter for Wyoming, which means he writes about energy in about every form in Wyoming.  I finally got to ask some of my “big picture” questions.  Just wait until you hear some of the questions that I’ve begin to explore.  The film is taking a whole new turn.  I am working on securing a few more interviews though.  It seems that I just can’t find an answer to my question of what the best type of energy is.  Every time I talk with someone, I uncover something new to explore.  My newest idea deals with distribution.  The energy isn’t being made without reason.  We are the consumers and we need energy.  This is where the grid comes into play.  What’s the grid, you say?  Well, if things go as planned, I’ll be heading to Portland, Oregon to find out.

In the mean time I’ll leave you with some pictures.  This is what happens when I get let out of the editing cage.  I don’t think the human mind or body is designed to roam freely, biking around the country and then just stop and edit video for days at a time.  These aren’t photoshopped and we didn’t use any manipulative angles.  It’s just a very large amount of suppressed “energy” that I needed to get out.