These end-of-oil books, while I think they'll help me make some smart investment choices (hint: buy gold and anything associated with oil production), are kind of depressing in the context of continuing to read the news. So I'm thinking I'll lay off a bit, make some investments once E*Trade is all set up, then lay off again and get back to my moment-by-moment life.

It is smoky here. If you haven't seen a map, here's a good one. The persistent red sunlight, especially in the mornings when it lights up my white-walled apartment, is downright alien and disconcerting: I'm developing a real sympathy for ignorant earlier generations of humanity who would freak out during eclipses and such. We really rely on, if nothing else, sunlight to remain roughly the same color from day to day (if you've never taken a theatrical lighting class, you may not know that the normal color is actually a light blue). Red sunlight has a deep, elemental wrongness to it. There are obviously a ton of pictures on Flickr, a few of which are here, here, and (almost two weeks ago) here. Especially combined with oil and the economy, it's all got a sort of apocalyptic vibe to it, and it's so dry there's no sign it will let up through the fall. One problem is that with so many fires, like the lightning strikes up north, they can't actually fight them all, so they prioritize according to threats to life and property, and everything else just burns.

Work is chugging along merrily. I can definitely feel myself coasting a bit at this job, which I have to remember is fine because that was partly the point. The demands on me are not high, I do stuff occasionally; I sometimes write some code, and periodically answer questions, often before anyone else has thought to ask. My position there is generally, like The Dude, to abide. I listen in, absorb information, and become magically useful at opportune moments. It feels very odd, and goes against my conditioning that I must work hard and produce stuff; but those aren't the most important things.