Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Notes on the Great Blackout of 2008

Φ: Well we've been without power for a few hours now. Shouldn't we be looting the liquor store or something?

Φ Friend: Naw, this is [Φ's lily-white little burg]. We should go loot Starbuck's.

Not quite as funny yesterday morning when I got a call that our garage doors had been sprayed with graffiti. We live in one of those neighborhoods where the detached garages are accessed via an alley that runs through the back, parallel to the main streets. My garage got some sexual vulgarity or other. The garage opposite got a swastika and one of those yin-yang symbols, like on the Korean flag. I mean, Korean Nazis? What's that about?

But I have to put in a good word for our local police. They were already in the alley writing up the vandalism and looking for empty spray paint cans from which they could extract fingerprints. I asked them, "If I catch somebody doing this, how badly can I beat them?" They gave me lots of encouragement.

Seventy mph winds (or so the weather minions told us we had) aren't really all that scary unless something is actually falling on you. I hadn't really been following Ike's progress, and wouldn't have thought it would come this far north. Until it blew down the trees (the old, beautiful oaks and maples that make our little burg the envy of the city; that and the, um, schools, yeah, that's it), I just thought it was a windy day. So I took the kids out to the park to fly kites. It turns out that hurricane winds aren't really suitable for kite flying: too irregular.

We all went out to clear the trees out of the street after the winds died. One of our neighbors had a chainsaw, so we had just about everything out in a few hours. There are still a few limbs still hanging from the trunks; "widowmakers" as they are known in the lumber business.

Our side of the street went without power for about seven hours on Sunday afternoon. The other side of the street, and pockets around the city, are still without power three days later. That's got to suck. Sunday evening, before the lights came back on, I drove to the supermarket just to enjoy the electric lighting. Fortunately, the weather has been mild, so we haven't really needed the A/C. Still though, the athletic complex is still without power. Meaning no swimming for me and no ice skating for Γ.

Ironically, my Time Warner cable (and therefore internet and phone) didn't fail until the wee hours of Monday morning, and is still out. I can dial up to Time Warner through my cell, but it crawls. Verizon offers a cellular internet service package that is supposedly pretty fast, but as long as I can connect at work, it's not really worth it. My neighbors, who have DSL, allowed me to connect to their wireless LAN, but as of this morning, that wasn't working either.

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