1 One Sunday In Perry
2 What the Army Taught Me
3 Not My Mother's Shopping List
4 Brain Calisthenics
5 The Pono Nano Diet
6 Oatmeal Jim-Jams
7 A Walk in the Park
8 Escape to California
10 Printer's Devil
11 Pono - The Addict
13 Love in the Woods
14 It's a Small World
15 Culinary Crutches
16 We Want Sandin
17 Better With Age
18 Parallel Universes
19 Mårten Nilsson Finne
20 Hawaii Is A State
21 Shake-em-up Flashlight
22 The Use of E-mail
23 Normal American Schoolboy
24 Lake Gogebic Early Days
The recent power outage is probably my fault, but I tend to blame it on the Bank of America. They periodically offer several low-priced items for sale as a “reward” for being a good customer and faithfully paying all the assessments for this, that, and the other 44 things that I have done to cause them “extra” work. Last time they offered one of those shake-em-up flashlights (the kind Pee-Wee Herman made famous) for only $6 or $8 and I was on the verge of trying one. Of course my nature requires a study before a purchase. I researched the technology and found out that the original developers made the only one that seemed to have reasonable numbers regarding brightness, shelf-life and length of use relative to amount of shaking. So, I bought one of the high-end models for about $44 with shipping, tax and tip.
I received the flashlight in a few days and was very impressed with it. As far as I could see, it matched every claim made about it. I charged it fully and put it on the counter in the kitchen, proud to have one more tool to help me survive a hurricane, earthquake, or other disaster causing power failure.
After tempting fate like that, almost predictably, just a few days later I woke up in the middle of the night for my old man trip and found the bedroom pitch black. Outdoor lighting that usually provides enough for me to see the light switch was out and the clock was out. I felt my way to the kitchen and grabbed the flashlight without knocking over anything important and let there be light. The light was very adequate for my purposes and lasted long enough for my trip (which is not insignificant at my age). It also allowed me to unplug power strips and flick off circuit breakers to protect from the surge of renewal, and got me safely back to bed without a problem. I was very satisfied, but felt a sense of guilt, especially to the (ugh) tourists who probably failed to bring their shake-em-ups, expecting the Maui tourist industry to take care of their every need, and expecting Pono and the Bank of America not to double cross them.
When I woke in the morning, power was still out. So what do I do without electricity?
I keep a fair stock of foods with long shelf life that don’t really require heat – Spam, soups, canned vegetables, canned fruits, cereal, etc. There are also whatever leftovers happen to be in the refrigerator at a given time – they have to be used first due to impending spoilage. Most of the frozen foods require cooking and are probably doomed in a long outage. I’m pretty sure I could last anywhere from a week to a month foodwise. And I do keep a personal reserve of what I like to call “readily convertible body energy” in case the food runs out.
Now, my life style puts great emphasis on my two windows to the world, TV and computer, and of course both of them require electricity. I had to find other things to do.
I sat on the patio. I reviewed some genealogy documents. I took notes for a couple of write ups that were pending. I read a bit. I made a list of everything I needed to do on the ‘puter. I noticed a gecko with two tails and I investigated. Turns out the bigger male had forced the female over the edge of the patio to have his way with her. While clinging to the side for dear life, her tail was the only thing showing from where I had been sitting. Since I could now see both of them, and I wasn’t otherwise occupied, I watched gecko sex. (They were probably anoles, but I tend to call all lizards geckos.)
Some clouds rolled in, the wind picked up, and it rained a little. I went inside and sat at the computer. Why? I guess I tried to will the electricity to return.
The rain slowed and stopped. Sun came out and started drying up the few drops that had fallen. The window screen in front of the computer had been hit by a few windblown drops that formed patterns due to water filling the little squares in the screen. As I scanned the screen I noticed that the patterns were changing. The wind would selectively pop one of the little square water membranes, removing it from the pattern that one rain drop had painted.
I determined to directly observe a pop. I stared at one after another tiny square, but each time observed a neighboring pop peripherally. Finally settled on a pattern equivalent to a knight move in chess – two one way and one sideways. I chose the sideways square and stared. After about 4 minutes it popped! Success! I celebrated by checking to see if the power was back on. Not yet.
Eventually, the power returned, I turned on circuit breakers, plugged in and turned on power strips, reset clocks, checked for anything on that should be off, and basically got back to normal. I was left with some “issues”.
I carefully project a budget for 6-12 months in an Excel file on the ‘puter, but never print it out since it is dynamic and I update it monthly with actual numbers, so when the power goes out, I’m lost……………
Over the last few years, I’ve digitized and labeled many of the old pictures and most new ones. I back up my files regularly, but ‘puters and disks all require electricity, so when the power goes out, I’m los…………
My memory gets a little more faulty every year, and as it does, I become more and more dependent on Google and the WWW, so when the power goes out, I’m lo……….
As friends and family move into the electronic world, I communicate more and more via e-mail and less and less via snail-mail, so when the power goes out, I’m l…………
I guess it’s fortunate that I’m still a bit old fashioned. I have hard copy for most of my genealogical efforts. I need to get my fingers and thumbs into a pile of paper at times and I just can’t simulate that on the ‘puter. I still maintain an address book (for those who don’t know, that’s a cleverly designed 6” x 8” assembly of sheets of paper printed with lines labeled with prompts like “Name”, “Address”, “Phone”, etc., bound on one side and enclosed in a hard cover – you WRITE in the information about friends and family so you can find it when you need it at Christmas time). I also maintain my checkbooks so I guess I could recreate my budget.
So, all is not l-o-s-t! If the power stays out for a while, you will find me with my shake-em-up flashlight examining these remaining scraps of paper and eating cold Spam from the can.
Antique Handwritten Things Old Reliable
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