Technical Lead's Personal Log: Stardate unknown

by Michael S. Kaplan, published on 2006/12/15 19:08 -05:00, original URI:

(Apologies for the title, it was inspired by the Captain's logs from the Star Trek episode that gave Spock a beard!)

So I am sitting in my apartment, typing a blog post into Windows Live Writer. A post which I cannot of course upload into the blog, since I have no power and there is thus no network (wired or wireless).

The power here went out at 1:03 am, early Friday morning. I was actually working at the time, and watching Conan since he was on.

I decided to take the power going off as a sign that I should hibernate the machines and call it a night.

Anyway, I woke up the next morning and the power was still off. What woke me up was the phone, someone (Cathy) calling me to see I had power (I didn't) since she didn't either. She decided to try and head into work since maybe there would be power there.

I decided to do the same (I figured power would be nice), so after I packed up a laptop or two I scooted out towards campus.

I was immediately blocked by trees on the sidewalks of 40th (both sides), which finally put me on the street for 1/4 of a block.

Of course scooting on the sidewalks of 156th was just as bad since there was a huge tree down there too. But I took the scooter offroad and lived to tell the tale, and made it to the office.

The automatic door wasn't working, but it seems like it is broken most days anyway. So I managed to get the door open and made it to the elevator, which was also not working. Ok, clearly the power was not on here either, so it was probably not useful to stay at work.

I saw Cathy and Julie before I left; they carpooled in together but came to the same conclusion that home was a better plan. I offered to buy breakfast but they laughed, since nothing was open. We parted ways and I Scooted back home.

Now this time I avoided the trees and entered the Cambrian via the first entrance on 156th. I immediately as forced to backtrack since the sidewalk paths have steps. Grrr.... that IBot is starting to seem more and more attractive all the time.

Or maybe an apartment complex with a bit more in the way of  accessibility on its mind (I am usually okay since my back door has no steps to get out, but I can't help feeling like the scooter would be easier if I lived somewhere that was accessible by design rather than by accident. On the other hand it would probably not be as close to work so it would kind of defeat the purpose.

Oh well.

So I take stock of my laptop power situation -- three laptops fully charged, one with a single extra battery, one with two, and a third with three. Assuming I just periodically hibernate for battery swaps and then move to the next machine when the power runs out.

Then if all else fails I have a car with an almost full tank of gas and an auto/air adapter so I can charge back up if I have to. I can probably keep running till the power comes back even if it is days from now!

And I can keep the Zune charged by simply plugging in to whatever laptop happens to be on. I have my music, and the radio, too. That's cool. I'm glad I bought the Zune even if they have all those international issues. :-)

I think I will do some reading rather than staying on the computer the whole time, though. It's funny, even knowing I can I can keep a computer running somewhat continuously if I want, it is a whole different world when there is no power. If you know what I mean.

In this particular situation, there is not much I can do that isn't geeky with everything closed, but that's okay. It isn't like there is something else to do, so I may as well just be geeky. I'll probably write blog posts and maybe work some.

I may watch TV shows I have in WMV format that haven't yet been copied to the external drives I can't reach without power. Or maybe I'll watch movies that are in WMV format that are on drives I can get to, though of course either of those will use up battery power sooner.

It just occurred to me that no power probably also means no heat, which I'll maybe start noticing at some point. I should probably get ready the bundle up and dress warm.

If I need to start a fire I can use one of those Dell exploding batteries. :-)

Just kidding. I actually have all kinds of stuff for a fire. Not just wood but also some paper for kindling and a lot of cardboard boxes that had computers in them if I get really desparate.

It is actually getting kind of chilly at this point. Maybe I should think about a fire -- silly to mention that since no one will see this post until long after there either was a fire or the power came back on.

To be honest, it is even sillier since I just realized that I don't know where a lighter or any matches might be. I think my Ex took all the fireplace stuff, now that I think about it. At the time I was thinking "one less thing to move!" which does not seem quite as brilliant in retrospect.

Maybe I am going to freeze to death here?

I wonder how long I would have slept with no technology or even technology concerns to wake me up, I mean if the phone hadn't woken me up. Maybe I'd be out all weekend, Rip Van Winkle style. I'll test the theory tonight and see what happens, if the power isn't back on yet.

I am going to hibernate for a bit and try and scare up some way to start a fire. See you later....

Ok, I am back. I found one the maintenance guys and asked if he knew where I might find some matches. He thought for a minute and gave me a pack he had in his pocket.

So I am all set now and will likely not freeze to death -- worst case and I'll just accidentally burn down the building.

Oh well, they say if you teach a man to light a fire he'll be warm for a day, but if you set a man on fire he'll be warm for the rest of his life! :-)

I am going to go light a fire now. Back in a bit. If you are reading this then it means I probably lived long enough to post after the power came back on.

Does that ruin the suspense? :-)

The fire is now lit. There is a bunch of smoke going upward and not into the apartment, so it looks like I opened the flue properly (I admit I was mildly worried about this, since I have never actually lit a fire here before!). And I did it with one match, one piece of newspaper, and two sticks of kindling. I guess I've still remembered something useful from my younger days....

It is 4:08pm, so it has officially been 15 hours and 5 minutes since I lost power.

Though I am warm now and I have food (I even have Chanukah cookies that my mom sent me!). So things should be okay here until the power comes back. I wonder if we'll have any of the weekend?

Which reminds me, I have a land line. So maybe I can RAS in?

Let's give it a shot, shall we? :-)

I'm in! I'll send this post up right now....

Ok, that's enough of a stream of consciousness post. I'll strive to write about something more interesting (internationally speaking) in the next post. Three days of this sort of thing and I may as well be on LiveJournal....


No character sponsored this post.

# MichaelDotNet on 16 Dec 2006 1:41 PM:

Glad to know you're still alive! The livejournal comment made me chuckle...but I can't believe that no character sponsored the post! :(

# charless on 16 Dec 2006 2:37 PM:

Well I guess you'll have to track down that Vista modem driver now. You never know when you might want it :(

# Michael S. Kaplan on 16 Dec 2006 6:07 PM:

No character wanted to be in the ethically tricky situation of sponsoring a post about a situation where I might freeze to death, such as this one. :-(

Ok, we are now over 38 hours since lights out. Lights came on briefly at midnight last night but went off again and have not been on since. I have stopped the fire for now on the offchance that I might really need it soon....

# Nicholas Allen on 17 Dec 2006 2:25 AM:


If you're uninterested in becoming an International Popsicle, say the word and you can crash at my place for a while.  The back half of the Cambrian has been back on the grid since this morning.  My perishables have perished and the entertainment is on the fritz (there was a bit of an energy surplus when the lights came back) but I've got warmth, hot water, and an available sofa.  Half-flight of steps to workaround by the door but only minor debris along the way.

Operators standing by - 425#######.  I'll be up pretty late so don't worry about the time.

# Michael S. Kaplan on 17 Dec 2006 1:40 PM:

Hello Nicholas,

I swear that has got to be the second nicest offer of assistance I've gotten during this whole event. And the first place offer required me to fly somewhere, which may or may not disqualify it from the running? :-)

Had I gone on last night and seen it, I may have actually taken you up on it last night....

Assuming the lights don't make it on today I think I might take you up on that for tonight (I should be running out of firewood and laptop batteries at some point today). Thank you very much!

(it is so sad that the Cambrian's back half and Micrsosoft are both back on while the front half of the Cambrian hasn't yet. Though at least they got lights on for all the stores that aren't open today, so there are many more ironic examples around!).

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referenced by

2008/02/18 Hello pot, meet kettle (aka No, I don't want Comcast phone service, dammit!)

2007/08/29 Are you Mr. Kaplan?

2007/08/29 Sometimes a request is made of me and the question is asked in such a way that I just don't know exactly how to respond

2006/12/17 Technical Lead's Personal Log: Stardate {what time is it?}

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