Tuesday, December 23, 2014

Ice, Ice Baby. Part 3

Day 8.  I won the Pioneer Spirit certificate. Everybody gets a prize!
"Lucky octopus turned out to be as effective as local utility company. Just Googled "things that come in 9s". Welcome to Dante's nine levels of hell."  #endofdayeight #reallynotfunny
Meanwhile, things were an even bigger mess (if that was possible) with the BWL. The number of outages started increasing rather than decreasing, and that wasn't due to worsening weather.  It was due to the fact that NOBODY HAD POWER.


As power was slowly being restored (somewhere) customers were actually instructed to leave their lights on to show that they had power.  Why they thought driving down every road in a 50 mile radius was an effective way of determining outages, I'll never know.


But at least we got a new OUTRAGE map.


Day 9. On the 9th calendar day, and into the 10th 24-hour period, we finally saw the light.
"And lo, on the 9th day, The Lord got sick and tired of the whining, and he bestowed upon the land the Holy Transformer of Antioch, and said it was good. And at the end of the 9th day, there were lights and heat and all manners of comfort. And he said it was good.
There are so many people to thank who helped us, encouraged us, calmed us, sympathized with us, REPAIRED THE TRANSFORMER, hunted down utility trucks, bribed exhausted crews, tended to pets and to the home, dealt with the garage and everything else in between. You were our lifeline and our lifesavers time and time and time again.
The nightmare is over for us, but we're standing in solidarity with those still without power. "Endoftheninthdayforsome  #Timeforthistoend

Amazingly, and sadly, others were without power longer than we were.  And once power was restored across the grid, as it were, the story got interesting, and the people got very, VERY angry.



 
 






Ice, Ice Baby. Part 3

Day 8.  I won the Pioneer Spirit certificate. Everybody gets a prize!
"Lucky octopus turned out to be as effective as local utility company. Just Googled "things that come in 9s". Welcome to Dante's nine levels of hell."  #endofdayeight #reallynotfunny
Meanwhile, things were an even bigger mess (if that was possible) with the BWL. The number of outages started increasing rather than decreasing, and that wasn't due to worsening weather.  It was due to the fact that NOBODY HAD POWER.


As power was slowly being restored (somewhere) customers were actually instructed to leave their lights on to show that they had power.  Why they thought driving down every road in a 50 mile radius was an effective way of determining outages, I'll never know.


But at least we got a new OUTRAGE map.


Day 9. On the 9th calendar day, and into the 10th 24-hour period, we finally saw the light.
"And lo, on the 9th day, The Lord got sick and tired of the whining, and he bestowed upon the land the Holy Transformer of Antioch, and said it was good. And at the end of the 9th day, there were lights and heat and all manners of comfort. And he said it was good.
There are so many people to thank who helped us, encouraged us, calmed us, sympathized with us, REPAIRED THE TRANSFORMER, hunted down utility trucks, bribed exhausted crews, tended to pets and to the home, dealt with the garage and everything else in between. You were our lifeline and our lifesavers time and time and time again.
The nightmare is over for us, but we're standing in solidarity with those still without power. "Endoftheninthdayforsome  #Timeforthistoend

Amazingly, and sadly, others were without power longer than we were.  And once power was restored across the grid, as it were, the story got interesting, and the people got very, VERY angry.



 
 






Ice, Ice Baby. Part 2


Day 4. No power. No miracle. But incredibly grateful.
"Still very cold and very dark at home. Grateful tonight for family, warmth and light. Merry Christmas to all."
After Day 4, it was impossible to know what to do or how to feel, so life was a mixture of humor, despair, anger and worry.  The interesting thing was, between the three of us, we somehow managed to never all be angry or depressed at the same time.  It was as if we had silently agreed that one of us would be the voice of optimism to help the others 
"For those of you playing along at home, cue the sad trombone music. Despite it all, we were grateful for a warm sleep last night with family, and are mindful of what we DO have, even while we wish, pray, and yes, grumble loudly for what we don't. Merry Christmas, everyone."  #whereslinus #lightsplease
Day 5.  The situation was incredibly difficult, and no matter how we felt, none of it helped.  We had no power, and we were powerless.
"Knock, knock. Who's there? Not electricity."  #notfunny
Day 6.  No end in sight.  Nothing in sight.  It's dark.
"Answer: no.  Question: do I have power, patience, heat, any viable groceries, or hope?" #endofdaysix #bythistimegodwasgettingreadytorest
Humor, when we could manage it or stumble across it, was a savior.  Twitter came to the rescue as some genius made a fake BWL account (Board of Water and Light) to keep us updated in the manner that we were, thus far, accustomed, which meant, not at all.  Thank God for sarcasm.





Day 7. Now what?  It was hard to keep saying the same thing over and over again, but all that was happening was the same thing over and over again.
"My house has been declared an Amish-only zone.  Cats are currently growing long bears and learning to craft quality furniture."  #endofdayseven #buyingluckyoctapustomorrow
The biggest problem (aside from the whole ice and electricity thing) was the abysmal lack of communication.  For example, we were told not to call BWL to let them know that the power was out because they already knew exactly where all the outages were.  That would later be classified as a pants-on-fire lie.


The next thing missing was the lack of any sort of outage map which would show people where the outages were, or in other words, provide visual proof that BWL knew where the outages were.  But, since they really didn't know, nor had any mechanism for constructing such a thing, an outage map never happened.


However, we DID get an OUTRAGE map, which was amazing.


One week gone. What next?








Ice, Ice Baby. Part 2


Day 4. No power. No miracle. But incredibly grateful.
"Still very cold and very dark at home. Grateful tonight for family, warmth and light. Merry Christmas to all."
After Day 4, it was impossible to know what to do or how to feel, so life was a mixture of humor, despair, anger and worry.  The interesting thing was, between the three of us, we somehow managed to never all be angry or depressed at the same time.  It was as if we had silently agreed that one of us would be the voice of optimism to help the others 
"For those of you playing along at home, cue the sad trombone music. Despite it all, we were grateful for a warm sleep last night with family, and are mindful of what we DO have, even while we wish, pray, and yes, grumble loudly for what we don't. Merry Christmas, everyone."  #whereslinus #lightsplease
Day 5.  The situation was incredibly difficult, and no matter how we felt, none of it helped.  We had no power, and we were powerless.
"Knock, knock. Who's there? Not electricity."  #notfunny
Day 6.  No end in sight.  Nothing in sight.  It's dark.
"Answer: no.  Question: do I have power, patience, heat, any viable groceries, or hope?" #endofdaysix #bythistimegodwasgettingreadytorest
Humor, when we could manage it or stumble across it, was a savior.  Twitter came to the rescue as some genius made a fake BWL account (Board of Water and Light) to keep us updated in the manner that we were, thus far, accustomed, which meant, not at all.  Thank God for sarcasm.





Day 7. Now what?  It was hard to keep saying the same thing over and over again, but all that was happening was the same thing over and over again.
"My house has been declared an Amish-only zone.  Cats are currently growing long bears and learning to craft quality furniture."  #endofdayseven #buyingluckyoctapustomorrow
The biggest problem (aside from the whole ice and electricity thing) was the abysmal lack of communication.  For example, we were told not to call BWL to let them know that the power was out because they already knew exactly where all the outages were.  That would later be classified as a pants-on-fire lie.


The next thing missing was the lack of any sort of outage map which would show people where the outages were, or in other words, provide visual proof that BWL knew where the outages were.  But, since they really didn't know, nor had any mechanism for constructing such a thing, an outage map never happened.


However, we DID get an OUTRAGE map, which was amazing.


One week gone. What next?








Ice, Ice Baby. Part 1


The one-year anniversary of day 1 was December 22nd.  It was a Sunday morning, a huge church music morning (Lessons and Carols) and we got an ENORMOUS (caps-lock, bold, leaned over) ice storm.  I woke up several times during the night thinking I was hearing things, and at about 4 am I was playing window monitor, trying to figure out where all the noise was coming from.

The answer was, it was coming from the ice.  Breaking things.  Mostly trees.  Which then broke other things. 

I could see periodic flashes of blue in the sky just barely over the tops of trees.  If that would have been Northern Lights, I would have oohed and ahhhed for quite awhile, because it was strangely beautiful.  But I knew it wasn't The Northern Lights. It was transformers that were exploding.

The ice was causing branches to break and trees to fall which took out power lines and transformers, and consequently, the electricity.  At about 5 am we thought maybe we should open the garage and free the cars just in case.  It turned out to be one of the best decisions we made.  At 5:15 am we lost power.  And thus it began.  Day 1.

At first we were good humored about the entire situation.  From Facebook:

"Obligatory post about losing power.  Slight annoyance that across the street seems fine. Major win that we opened the garage 20 minutes earlier.  Wondering about church, knowing cleanliness will NOT be next to godliness. 

All weather considered, church turned out to be a rather heart-warming event.  Despite the fact that an overwhelming percentage had lost power, the choir turned up en masse, and sang our traditional service of Advent and Christmas music.  It was as if nobody was going to miss this Sunday, no matter the weather.  We returned home hoping for the best but expecting the worst.  We got the worst.  But still, we kept a good attitude.  We'd rough it out for the night, wear lots of extra clothes to bed and be surprised in the morning with the roaring heat and blinding lights.  From Facebook that night:
"Power update.  Still none.  Looks like I'm going to make good use of my hoarders stash of candles."
That was another fortuitous event.  I had been forever working on cleaning the basement, and had run across of an obscene number of candles.  I had previously gathered them all together and stashed them in a plastic bin.  Thank Goodness.

Day 2 brought nothing.  No power.  No heat, and now the temperature had plummeted and it was COLD. Luckily (which one never says on a Monday), it was Monday so I headed to work (no use staying home and freezing) with every electronic device possible.  With two days until Christmas, all things considered, the mood was still optimistic and upbeat.
"Why yes, I do look like I got dressed in the dark, but the upside is it's warm and not dark at work and I'm busy charging a pile of electronics.  #LemonadeOutofLemons"
 and later....
"I have achieved master ninja level in finding the only available electrical outlet in any given public establishment.  #ChargeItUp
This was starting to become a challenge. Working at the University meant work closed down at 5pm due to the holidays, so I couldn't stay late, and warm and lit.  We began to travel to different locations with a bag that was stocked with the essentials: a multi-plug power strip, a massive tangle of cords, and every electronic device necessary.  We'd find a restaurant, find an outlet and charge up phones and tablets so we could communicate with the world.  It was annoying, but at least we had contact.  And believe me, we weren't the only ones.  The power outage had crippled the city, not to mention much of the state.

The only thing missing from this picture are all the phones,
which were in our cold, communication-starved hands.

Meanwhile at home, the cats were NOT amused.  They seemed resigned to the situation, assumed a cranky attitude and just hunkered down on the bed, glaring but not moving.  For once I was grateful that they were the hairiest beasts known to man, figuring that had to help because the house was really, really cold.  And dark.

As bad as the cold was, the darkness made it worse because by 5pm it was DARK. There was only so much my candlepalooza was able to do, and even with candlelight, what was there to do but look at each other being miserable?  So, we went to bed really early and just hoped for the best.

Day 3.  Christmas Eve.  No power.  This was no longer an adventure.
"That was the most realistic dream I've ever had. Dammit." #StillNoPower
"You may now call me 'travels with power strip.'"
"They always warn you about carbon monoxide poisoning, but never about the toxic fumes from competing scented candles."  #woozy  #whiffy
We gave up being hearty adventurer's on Christmas Eve night, and after late church, we headed to stay with family, and fell asleep, hoping for a Christmas miracle.


Ice, Ice Baby. Part 1


The one-year anniversary of day 1 was December 22nd.  It was a Sunday morning, a huge church music morning (Lessons and Carols) and we got an ENORMOUS (caps-lock, bold, leaned over) ice storm.  I woke up several times during the night thinking I was hearing things, and at about 4 am I was playing window monitor, trying to figure out where all the noise was coming from.

The answer was, it was coming from the ice.  Breaking things.  Mostly trees.  Which then broke other things. 

I could see periodic flashes of blue in the sky just barely over the tops of trees.  If that would have been Northern Lights, I would have oohed and ahhhed for quite awhile, because it was strangely beautiful.  But I knew it wasn't The Northern Lights. It was transformers that were exploding.

The ice was causing branches to break and trees to fall which took out power lines and transformers, and consequently, the electricity.  At about 5 am we thought maybe we should open the garage and free the cars just in case.  It turned out to be one of the best decisions we made.  At 5:15 am we lost power.  And thus it began.  Day 1.

At first we were good humored about the entire situation.  From Facebook:

"Obligatory post about losing power.  Slight annoyance that across the street seems fine. Major win that we opened the garage 20 minutes earlier.  Wondering about church, knowing cleanliness will NOT be next to godliness. 

All weather considered, church turned out to be a rather heart-warming event.  Despite the fact that an overwhelming percentage had lost power, the choir turned up en masse, and sang our traditional service of Advent and Christmas music.  It was as if nobody was going to miss this Sunday, no matter the weather.  We returned home hoping for the best but expecting the worst.  We got the worst.  But still, we kept a good attitude.  We'd rough it out for the night, wear lots of extra clothes to bed and be surprised in the morning with the roaring heat and blinding lights.  From Facebook that night:
"Power update.  Still none.  Looks like I'm going to make good use of my hoarders stash of candles."
That was another fortuitous event.  I had been forever working on cleaning the basement, and had run across of an obscene number of candles.  I had previously gathered them all together and stashed them in a plastic bin.  Thank Goodness.

Day 2 brought nothing.  No power.  No heat, and now the temperature had plummeted and it was COLD. Luckily (which one never says on a Monday), it was Monday so I headed to work (no use staying home and freezing) with every electronic device possible.  With two days until Christmas, all things considered, the mood was still optimistic and upbeat.
"Why yes, I do look like I got dressed in the dark, but the upside is it's warm and not dark at work and I'm busy charging a pile of electronics.  #LemonadeOutofLemons"
 and later....
"I have achieved master ninja level in finding the only available electrical outlet in any given public establishment.  #ChargeItUp
This was starting to become a challenge. Working at the University meant work closed down at 5pm due to the holidays, so I couldn't stay late, and warm and lit.  We began to travel to different locations with a bag that was stocked with the essentials: a multi-plug power strip, a massive tangle of cords, and every electronic device necessary.  We'd find a restaurant, find an outlet and charge up phones and tablets so we could communicate with the world.  It was annoying, but at least we had contact.  And believe me, we weren't the only ones.  The power outage had crippled the city, not to mention much of the state.

The only thing missing from this picture are all the phones,
which were in our cold, communication-starved hands.

Meanwhile at home, the cats were NOT amused.  They seemed resigned to the situation, assumed a cranky attitude and just hunkered down on the bed, glaring but not moving.  For once I was grateful that they were the hairiest beasts known to man, figuring that had to help because the house was really, really cold.  And dark.

As bad as the cold was, the darkness made it worse because by 5pm it was DARK. There was only so much my candlepalooza was able to do, and even with candlelight, what was there to do but look at each other being miserable?  So, we went to bed really early and just hoped for the best.

Day 3.  Christmas Eve.  No power.  This was no longer an adventure.
"That was the most realistic dream I've ever had. Dammit." #StillNoPower
"You may now call me 'travels with power strip.'"
"They always warn you about carbon monoxide poisoning, but never about the toxic fumes from competing scented candles."  #woozy  #whiffy
We gave up being hearty adventurer's on Christmas Eve night, and after late church, we headed to stay with family, and fell asleep, hoping for a Christmas miracle.


Wednesday, December 17, 2014

The Best Is Yet to Come


There are days when I can and will gut it out late at night to get my post completed.  And then there are days like today where, after 40 minutes of nodding off at my desk and not being able to form complete sentences, it's just better to make the post short and sweet and come back fighting tomorrow.  So, a thousand pardons.  I have a topic, and I have two paragraphs or so, so that's better than nothing.

In the meantime, enjoy some holiday images and pay no attention to me while I collapse.


One of the reasons I'm so tired?
Today was taco Tuesday.
On a Wednesday.
Taco Twednesday?



This is me right now.
And two hours ago.
And six hours ago.
As long as it isn't two hours from now,
it's all good.



This is also me right now
in the form of an exhausted yet lovable cuddly polar bear.
Or, maybe this is my Petronus.
Expecto Patronum?


More tomorrow.  And dang it, it's already tomorrow.







The Best Is Yet to Come


There are days when I can and will gut it out late at night to get my post completed.  And then there are days like today where, after 40 minutes of nodding off at my desk and not being able to form complete sentences, it's just better to make the post short and sweet and come back fighting tomorrow.  So, a thousand pardons.  I have a topic, and I have two paragraphs or so, so that's better than nothing.

In the meantime, enjoy some holiday images and pay no attention to me while I collapse.


One of the reasons I'm so tired?
Today was taco Tuesday.
On a Wednesday.
Taco Twednesday?



This is me right now.
And two hours ago.
And six hours ago.
As long as it isn't two hours from now,
it's all good.



This is also me right now
in the form of an exhausted yet lovable cuddly polar bear.
Or, maybe this is my Petronus.
Expecto Patronum?


More tomorrow.  And dang it, it's already tomorrow.







Tuesday, December 16, 2014

Internet Roundup

Today isn't a day for deep thoughts, so instead I'll give you a few gems from the Internet.

Google Doodle
In honor and celebration of
Wassily Kandinsky's 148th birthday.

and clicking through I also discovered there is a
This Day in History
on the Google Doodle Page.
So I also give you
the 132 birthday of Zoltan Kodaly.
Way cool.



Yet another movie I want to see.
From the same people who did The Secret of Kells
and the soundtrack is once again by Coulais.
Way Way Way Cool.




Tonight is the First Night of Hannukah,
and these guys are great!




Finally,
and neither last nor least is
THE BEST THING EVER ON THE INTERNET
I know it seems like a Saturday Night Live sketch, 
but how incredibly awesome is it that it isn't??
There may be no better Internet viewing than this clip.
"Oh, God... It's Mom"
Instant Classic.


with perhaps the best synopsis
of this gem.

I can hardly wait to see what tomorrow brings.


Internet Roundup

Today isn't a day for deep thoughts, so instead I'll give you a few gems from the Internet.

Google Doodle
In honor and celebration of
Wassily Kandinsky's 148th birthday.

and clicking through I also discovered there is a
This Day in History
on the Google Doodle Page.
So I also give you
the 132 birthday of Zoltan Kodaly.
Way cool.



Yet another movie I want to see.
From the same people who did The Secret of Kells
and the soundtrack is once again by Coulais.
Way Way Way Cool.




Tonight is the First Night of Hannukah,
and these guys are great!




Finally,
and neither last nor least is
THE BEST THING EVER ON THE INTERNET
I know it seems like a Saturday Night Live sketch, 
but how incredibly awesome is it that it isn't??
There may be no better Internet viewing than this clip.
"Oh, God... It's Mom"
Instant Classic.


with perhaps the best synopsis
of this gem.

I can hardly wait to see what tomorrow brings.


Monday, December 15, 2014

Hashtag. You're It


Today was another day and another hostage situation and another tragic ending.  This time the location was Sydney, Australia, and every time I saw a CNN News Alert in my email I cringed a little and wondered what the next round of bad news would be.  The immediacy of news -- bad news in particular -- is one of the real downsides of our global electronic connectivity and insatiable desire for the latest morsel of information.

Finally the hostage situation ended, the casualties were tallied and identified and then the finger pointing and the hostility began in roll in like a tidal wave.  The gunman's nationality, religion, and political views were immediately prime sources of blame, and since blame only paints with an extraordinarily wide brush, it quickly spread to anyone who shared the name nationality, religion or political views.  The act of guilt by association (however vague) is sad, regrettable, and in this day and age, unfortunately entirely expected.

But Australia did something different.  Something refreshing.  Something compassionate.  Something human.  Through the act of one person and a single tweet, a revolution of kindness spread across the internet.  

#ILLRIDEWITHYOU

"I'll ride with you" was born of a simple offer to accompany Muslims on public transportation in solidarity, in peace, in healing, and in order to diffuse the possibility of racial and religious backlash. And with that one little hashtag a revolution was born.  #ILLRIDEWITHYOU became a trending topic on Twitter and provided violence-weary people something to hold on, believe in, and DO during a time when it seems the only thing we can do is despair and be angry.

Reading through some of the thousands of tweets, it was gratifying to see that most thought this offer was a wonderful thing.  It was a chance to display tolerance and show mercy and compassion to others.  Others, predictably (and just as quickly), resorted to name-calling, inflammatory rhetoric, and questioned the timing and the motivation for such a selfless gesture.

If only we could all do something as simple and selfless.  If only we could empathize with those who are different in any one of the million ways that we are all different.  If only we could ride with those who live in fear, or walk with those who are abused, or listen to those who are lonely, or light the way to those who live in darkness.  If only we could be brave enough to speak up, to step forward, to make a stand. Convictions don't need to be treatises, and actions don't require armies.  Today it proven with one person and a 140 character limit.

If only we could see the possibilities.
If only we could believe them.
If only we could act on it.
If only.
If?

We can if we believe.
We can if we see.
We can if we act.

How about it?  Take a ride, live your convictions and change the world.
One hashtag at a time.