I was born Jeffrey Keith Blanch at approximately 11:30 PM on April 5, 1979.
From my date of birth, and instead for a two-year period in 2000-2002, I have lived at the same address in the town of Medford, in Long Island, New York. The town of Medford, although it is my hometown, is a pretty featureless, sprawl-ridden place. But to be fair, most towns in this nation are. From my youth, I remember having some deep, unconscious feelings that something was profoundly wrong with this way of life. Only in the past few years have I been able to partially articulate it in words, but that's for later.
After my birth, I was diagnosed with several disabilities and/or disorders, namely cerebral palsy (albeit a mild case), autism and (later, when I was around 8 or 9), epliesy. As a result, I started my education in so-called "special" schools and classes, with other disabled kids. I was a quick learner, though, and some people in authority thought that I was smart, at least compared to my peers in these schools. So, when I was around 9, I was transferred to the same elementary school that other members of my family attended.
I had my ups and downs in these so-called regular schools. I was ridiculed and bullied in the early going, then was able to turn that around by winning the 5th grade spelling bee, then suffered a setback by being left back because I was deemed to "not be ready" to advance. This went on and on until the time I graduated high school.
My family, for the most part, is very fragmented. Both of my parents were married once before, with children from their first marriages, and each of their families weren't very close to begin with. The only people in my family who I can say are very important to me are my mother and my brother. I know that they will do anything for me, and I them.
As for religion, I have only set foot in a church twice in my life, both of these occasions were the weddings of my sisters. I am not so much an athiest as I am an agnostic, I simply do not know enough to have firm religious beliefs, and at the same time, I don't know enough to totally discredit the idea of a higher power.
Back to school. I was a solid, but not great, student. I feel I could have done better if I'd applied myself in school, but the younger me just wanted to breeze through his homework and get to playing video games or watch TV. I don't know if it would have made a difference, but I have felt a yearning to learn, more so now than ever, when I'm done with my education.
So after graduating high school, I went to college, as was the norm at the time (and still is, although IMO, it ought not to be). In my 2 years at community college, and then in my first semester at a four-year school, I struggled. I studied with the same rigor as when I was in high school (that is, barely at all, I thought I was smart enough to get by, and I usually did, albeit with unremarkable grades) and got my ass kicked. I was hovering around 2.0 GPA territory in my first semester at a four-year school. This forced me to change my habits, in that I began to read what was assigned to me more intensively, and started studying for exams 2 weeks in advance. These simple steps took me from 2.0 territory to Dean's List recognition (that's at least a 3.5 GPA in the semester) every semester from then on.
At nearly the same time, I made what I could say was the biggest mistake of my life: I left home for two years to transfer to a school that was way, way in upstate NY. Even worse, it wasn't even a private college, but Potsdam, part of the SUNY state campus system. While I did well (this was when I changed my studying habits), I was miserable, more than I'd ever been. A big part of why I went away was that I was having difficulties with my family at the time, and I was also looking for a fresh start. I failed miserably at this, making no friends and being stuck in my dorm room at nights, often with a bottle of Jack or something. I learned the hard way that I have a very difficult time getting on with people, and moving did not solve this. If there was a time when I wish someone from my family had given me a good smack on the head, it would have been around summer of 2000, when I was set to move. Alas, it is too late. Being away is responible for why I have the student loan debt that I do. After my B.A., and after leaving my job as a manager at a retail establishment, I went back to school for a one-year program in Paralegal Studies.
Which brings me to the present. I am currently in my third year of working at a big-box store, and am certainly not in the position (or the tax bracket) that I was expecting upon getting my Bachelor's Degree. Going to college in general is probably my biggest mistake. Although I did learn a lot, and it matured me a great deal, it simply wasn't worth the price that I had to pay. College degrees are simply overinflated today. Everyone seems to have one, and there aren't nearly enough jobs out there to situate us all. I have not had a job interview, going on three years.
A very big part of my blog revolves around what is called "peak oil", although my posts are usually just about doom in the news, in a general sense. This started around 2008. Before then, my blog was more personal and kind of dabbled in silly stuff, like wrestling and video games. What changed for me was the rising prices of gas at the pump (of course, stemming from the increasing price of a barrel of oil). I had a lot of trouble connecting this. I figured it was due to speculation, or Bush/Cheney having a hand in it, mucky stuff like that with no sense of clarity. Anyway, I was at the library and saw a copy of MacLean's, Canada's version of Newsweek or Time. The cover was of a guy holding a gas pump to his head. Intrigued, I read the cover article, which had an interview with a man named James Kunstler. This is where I first found out of peak oil, and the article referenced Kunstler's book, The Long Emergency, which my library thankfully had as well. I took out the book and devoured it. I highly recommend it to all. It was published in 2005 and is still highly relevant to the situation we face (as I type this, the price of gas at the station nearest me is 15 cents shy of $4/gal.).
So I spend some time at forums and websites that discuss this and that link to articles about it or some other bad news that is going on. That's how I find the stories that I usually blog about and post links to. A lot of people on these sites are skilled "doomers" (that's a phrase for those who are peak oil aware) who prepare vigorously. I have not done this. First, I live with my family, and they are not aware of peak oil at all. Preparing and hoarding important stuff in a post-collapse economy would be difficult and would require lots of explanation. Believe me, I've tried, without much success. Second, as I said earlier, I work at a big-box store. I'm not exactly bringing home the money to initiate such a task. And third, trying to prepare yourself for peak oil/economic collapse is like trying to brace yourself in a car going 200 mph and heading straight for a brick wall. In other words, you can't, not really, at least IMO. I think that knowing what's coming and being psychologically prepared is at least half the battle. Or maybe that's just wishful thinking on my part.
I started this blog in the first place because I've always liked reading them, and there were a lot of times when I would see or hear about something in the news, and would have a strong opinion of it. And I would have to mainly keep it to myself, or if I was lucky, be able to tell it to someone else, who may or may not understand. By having a blog, I'm always able to post, on a whim, about anything I want or that I have an opinion about. And maybe, just maybe, someone will find it and hopefully agree with me.
So, in a (big) nutshell, there it is. My life up to this point (as of this writing, I just turned 32 last week). There are some things I expanded upon that I probably shouldn't have, and there are some things I have not broached at all. I will try to, one of these days. In the meantime, I hope this brief glimpse into my life will suffice, and I hope that you will continue to visit the blog.
Jeffrey K. Blanch