Tuesday, January 31, 2017

Good God! The power is out!

You never think these things are going to happen to YOU, but son of a bitch, this one recently did. 

We got a notice at our house from the Department of Water of Power. They said they were doing some sort of maintenance and our power would be shut off from 9:00 am until 3:00 pm.

OH NO!!!

I am writing this on my battery-driven laptop.

You don’t realize how completely dependent you are on electricity until the prospect that it will be taken away.

I, at first, went into complete panic mode. No INTERNET? No TV use? Forget watching shows I recorded, I can’t even watch anything? My screener of A MONSTER CALLS is rendered useless? Nor can I stream? Or binge?

Oh yeah, and there’s no heat or lights.

I next went into action-mode. Make sure the phone was charged, make sure the iPad was charged, make sure the Kindle was charged, make sure my razor was charged, make sure my laptop was charged. I even checked to make sure there were batteries in the remote before I realized, what difference does it make? The TV doesn’t work. I also added additional minutes to my iPad data plan. One can never be too safe. The forecast was for rain. A fleeting thought: Do umbrellas need to be recharged? No. I was good.

After a fitful night’s sleep (you can imagine with all of this weighing heavy on my head) I awoke early enough to read and respond to my morning email, check that the coffee was brewing, double-check that the refrigerator door was closed and sealed so nothing inside would spoil (that jello mold from Thanksgiving still eerily looks exactly the same), scan my daily webpages, and then shut off my desktop so there’s no danger of a power surge.

It was like I was preparing for a natural disaster, taking all precautions, facing this emergency crisis head on. No undue hardship was going to lick this Spartan soldier.

Meanwhile, my wife got in her car and just drove off for the day.

31 comments :

Bill Avena said...

Remember DEMON SEED with Julie Christie? The movie starts with her getting in her car and driving off, scorning all the really cool computer stuff. Wives just don't get it.

The Moderate said...

There's a drama to be written there....a post-apocalyptic world in which "the bad guys" use an EMP bomb on the globe, rendering anything electric useless....or is it?

Rick said...

I'm going through this today, with the added complication that, as of yet (two hours before shut-off time), my condo complex's management company rep has been unable to notify us that they are going to be able to get the electronically controlled driveway/garage access gates opened in time.
So I'm going to have to park several blocks away before the shut-off time. I wouldn't mind so much, but the LADWP has posted "no parking" signs along the street that fronts the complex and others.

I'm only mildly irritated about the power. I'm furious at the complex's proper management...

Stephen Marks said...



Ed Begley Jr. said:

Fool!

Mike said...

the Department of Water of Power
H Rider Haggard no doubt. Woe betide those who fall behind in their payments to She Who Must Be Obeyed.

Jim Grey said...

My house has a well rather than city water. An electric pump pulls water from the ground when I turn on a faucet. So when the power goes out, *so does my water.*

Wow, is a house considerably less useful when there's no running water.

JR Smith said...

During the recent series of bad storms up here in the Bay Area, I was without power for 38 hours! I know your pain...and then some!

Jim S said...

At least you didn't become one of those guys who spends all day at Starbucks writing the next great American novel/screenplay/TV pilot.

Wendy M. Grossman said...

It's LA. It's not cold enough to worry about the heat being off. And you have *daylight*, which is not so much present in the UK in winter.

I recall strikes at the power plants when I was living in Ireland, and they rationed the power they had available by scheduling outages on a staggered basis across Dublin - eight hours at a time. I figured the most sensible thing was just to sleep when I had no power. You get through.

wg

DwWashburn said...

This is my major worry with the current Boob-in-Chief. The Russians have already shown that they can get their way via hacking. If they hack into the power grid not only will the items you mentioned be effective but things like security systems, gas pumps, street lights, elevators, etc. will become inoperable. Where you experienced hours of inconvenience and were able to make preparations beforehand, a hack of our power grid would cause months or more of total chaos.

Anonymous said...

Clearly a Trump plot to destroy LA.

Unknown said...

Pull out your old "Volunteers" script, see how the 3rd world lives. When I was in the PC, had no power, no electricity, some how survived. But just to be safe, I did keep fresh batteries in my remote. No TV, but had a remote.

VP81955 said...

My FB friend Alison Martino (known both as Al's daughter and for her wonderful work regarding vintage Los Angeles) was stuck at the famed Stahl House last night. Were I in that situation, I'd be very careful where I walked. (That glass-enclosed place, high above the Hollywood Hills, would be perfect for a lights-out thriller.)

Oh, and to Jim S.: A week ago Sunday, I spent more than 12 hours using my laptop at the Coffee Bean & Tea Leaf at Wilshire and Vermont during the downpour (said to be the heaviest to hit Los Angeles in seven years). I bought a few things to make the employees happy, and fortunately for me, there was an AC outlet to provide sustained power.

Buttermilk Sky said...

SIX HOURS? Oh my god. Last fall after Hurricane Matthew my electricity was off for a week. It sucks. I did crossword puzzles by booklight and ate a lot of lukewarm takeout. The worst was never knowing when the lights would come back on. The second-worst was no air conditioning (Savannah in October is hotter than hell and twice as humid). Hang in there, Ken.

MikeN said...

In many countries this happens DAILY. Didn't you have rolling blackouts in California before?

You can expect more of this with the anti-nuclear forces being supplemented by anti-coal and anti-fracking and anti-natural gas forces. When the sun doesn't shine and the wind doesn't blow, there's going to be problems. On top of that, you have crazies that want to blow up the dams and take away the hydro power too. Gray Davis's line on Jay Leno makes more sense now"Take a really long extension cord and plug it into a socket in Texas."

Peter said...

Quick and easy Friday question:

How long do you think Trump will last before an impeachment, one year or two years?

Mateja Đedović said...

You're lucky, in Serbia, they just shut it off, no warnings and it lasts for days sometimes.

Anonymous said...

Yes, losing power can be a nightmare. Only thing that comes close to that is a broken remote control. Imagine having to stand and push the buttons all night with all those channels.Janice B.

Aaron Sheckley said...

So, it's a pretty safe bet you won't be doing any blogging for LivingOffTheGrid.com, or posting your plans for your backwoods yurt, any time soon?

Charles H. Bryan said...

I fear that you might grow to like being sans voltage and go Full Amish on us. Please don't.

Just notied that the "nobody will want to f**k her" post was one day after the Kellyanne Conway post. Heh.

Jahn Ghalt said...

a post-apocalyptic world in which "the bad guys" use an EMP bomb on the globe, rendering anything electric useless....or is it?

NERD IN

Actually, it isn't. Most nuclear bombs will emit the "pulse" along with all the other nasty stuff (no special "EMP bomb" required). Depending on proximity and "hardening", the pulse might disable small-scale electronics (mostly computer-related). This was one reason the Soviets used vacuum tubes for their military electronics. "Valves" (as the Brits call them) are large scale and can withstand electro-magnetic pulses.

Generally, this is why "science fiction" and techno-fiction (i.e. Tom Clancy adaptations) writers should get technical review. It is often fairly simple to scrub the BS - you just have to care about that stuff.

The Martian had some technical BS (not just gale-force wind on the Martian near-vacuum).

Two examples - feeble solar arrays to power the energy-intensive Mars base (aka Matt Damon's flop). And a "supercomputer" to do a desktop PC job - recalculating trans-Martian ballistics.

NERD OUT

D. McEwan said...

The punch at the end made me laugh.

D. McEwan said...

They did just spend two months installing Solar panels all over the roof of the building I live in, so I'd hope we have our own power now.

Pat Reeder said...

For some reason, whenever there's a bad storm, our neighborhood loses power (but no other neighborhood around us). The chipmunk powering our turbine must be afraid of lightning. Since we have both writing deadlines and 13 rescued tropical birds to take of who don't stand up well to freezing temperatures during Texas ice storms, I bought a gas-powered generator powerful enough to run the central heating unit and a laptop. Anyone in California, land of the rolling brownout, should definitely have one.

YEKIMI said...

Wanna know how to feel like an idiot? Call the power company and ask them if they're going to adjust your bill. The guy hesitated and said " Uhhh...no. You didn't have any electricity to use so you wouldn't be charged for it." I just said "I didn't give you my name, did I? No? Good." and I hung up. Felt like an idiot for a day or two.

Cap'n Bob said...

If not for Thomas Edison, we'd be watching TV by candlelight.

Lionheart said...

Back-up battery? Zendure A8, $65. Will charge an iPhone 6+ 5 times.

Barry Traylor said...

With the aging power grid in America I fear this may become the norm (only without any warning).

Mike said...

@Cap'n Bob: That's very good. Who's nominated for this year's Sacheen Littlefeather Academy Award for Most Political Acceptance Speech? Meryl's warming up.

rockgolf said...

@YEKIMI: Most power bills aren't based on on usage. There's a carriage cost applied too, which may be half the bill. So not such a dumb question after all.

Cap'n Bob said...

Mike: I'll wait for Ken's report on the Oscars. I'm sure there will be more than enough political bilge to suit anyone.