[Just to note, this is my 200th blog post.]
So, last Saturday, in the midst of the snowstorm (which I wrote about in my last post), I headed out to an event at a church in another town. The event was a piano concert given by a friend of mine, preceded by a supper. I arrived at the church to find its power out, but the food had been prepared (in gas ovens) and dining was taking place by candlelight. The concert was being postponed.
After supper, I gave said friend a ride home, and then went home myself, and while a lot of snow had fallen since I’d headed out, the power was still on at our place… for 30 more minutes.
The power blinked out around 8:30pm or so, and once it became apparent that it wasn’t coming back on right away, we got out the candles. While we aren’t the type who burn candles normally, we have collected a lot of tea lights and tapers (many of them Halloween ones bought on sale after the holiday in the past – so they were seasonally appropriate), and have a number of holders that we could put them in. The dining table became the land o’ candles for the next few days.
For many people in the area, losing power meant losing heat. Fortunately, our house has a wood-burning stove that we use as the main heat source, and it requires no electricity. The house also has baseboard water registers heated by an oil burner, and the oil also heats our hot water supply. Since the burner needs electricity to run, we did have some outlying areas of the house that didn’t get so warm, and we didn’t have reliable hot water for showers. Our electric stove wouldn’t work either, but we discovered (through some experimentation) that we could cook scrambled eggs on the wood stove, so that served as our breakfast on Sunday and Monday. We also were able to use the wood stove to reheat some soup that I’d made on a previous day.
What we felt the keenest lack of (besides light at night) was Internet connection. Our phones could get some connectivity through the cell network, but tower signal seemed to get more spotty as the outage wore on. We ended up going elsewhere Sunday afternoon for some network and power to charge phones and laptops.
While out on Sunday, we also decided to look for open restaurants. The only place we found was Antonio’s Pizza in downtown Amherst. They had no power, but since they have gas ovens, and there was enough daylight to see one’s way around in the place, they were furiously making pizzas and selling slices (for cash only), to a crowd that was lined up out the door. We duly waited our turn and moved through surprisingly quickly, and it was nice to have hot pizza.
The power was still out all through Monday, though I wasn’t home for much of it as I went to work, where there was power. Having charged the cell phone on Sunday, I used its alarm to wake up in the morning. Getting to work took longer than usual, as the first two routes I tried driving were blocked by downed power lines. On Monday evening, I spent most of my time doing the same thing I had done Saturday and Sunday evenings – reading by candlelight. It can be fun, although some of what I read was graphic novels with dark panels, so it wasn’t as easy as if I’d had more light.
I set the phone alarm again when I went to bed that night, but around 3:30 in the morning, the power came back on (the hallway light came on and woke us up). I got up and set some clocks, and the normal alarm, and then turned off lights.
Again, we’ve been more fortunate than a lot of people. Our power has been back on for almost 48 hours, but there are still thousands of households without power, and some co-workers have told me they don’t expect to have theirs back on before this coming weekend. This is definitely the largest power outage I’ve ever experienced, both in terms of how widespread it is and how long it is lasting, but I’ve also never seen so many trees and limbs knocked down by a storm as I’ve seen the last few days. The only real saving grace is that we’re still in the Autumn, and while the nights are cold, temperatures are not too bad during the day, and the weather since Saturday has been sunny, helping to warm things. This whole episode would have had much worse consequences for residents if it had happened in January. Hopefully we won’t get a similar storm during the winter.
This year, I’m making another attempt at fulfilling the NaBloPoMo challenge. That is, November is National Blog Posting Month, so I’ll be trying to post something here each day in the month of November. 30 posts in 30 days, and here goes with the first.
If you live in the same area as me, you’re probably dealing with this as well, and if you live elsewhere, you’ve likely heard news reports, but New England was hit by a snowstorm this past Saturday that dumped record amounts of snow for October.
The total amount of snow in our area wasn’t so bad, in and of itself – we got about 10 inches or so, and we’ve certainly had bigger storms than that. What made this bad was how wet and sticky the snow was. It clung very heavily to all trees, causing massive damage to them, and downing lots and lots (and lots) of branches.
The snow started Saturday afternoon, and here was the situation after an hour or two:
The next morning, much more had fallen:
During the night, we could hear branches breaking, and we saw more of the extent of the damage in the morning:
This is a dogwood tree, crushed to less than half its normal height:
Our poor lilac bush:
A severely deformed ornamental pear tree:
One of our two chestnut trees – both of them suffered major damage:
This photo kind of sums up the earliness of the storm:
We also lost power in the storm, which I’ll write more about in my next post. Behind the pumpkins there, you can see soup that I had made on Saturday sitting on the porch – that was a more certain way to keep it cool than putting it the fridge or freezer (which we tried not to open once the power went out).
Next: about the outage.
I seem to have already failed at the challenge of posting to my blog every day this month. I did not post at all yesterday. I wasn’t even all that busy in the evening – I just plain forgot to do it. Easy to do if one is not in the habit.
I still think I’ll try and post every remaining day of November. It’s an interesting exercise to try and make a habit of it. This does put me out of the running for an official prize, though. (registered participants in NaBloPoMo who actually manage to blog every single day are eligible for prizes donated by other participants)
And yes, this post counts as my entry for today. Tomorrow night: another webcomic review.
This technically should have been posted yesterday, but I didn’t get to it. In any case, it has now been 5 years since I started this blog! The first post went online August 25, 2005. Now, I don’t post as often as some people I know, so in 5 years I’ve produced the same number of postings that others would crank out in 6 months to a year, but it has been fun, and I think much of the content has been appreciated.
I have a couple of posts coming up that will relate events from the past month, and I think it’s time for a few more web comic reviews soon. I also am planning on updating the non-blog parts of this site, possibly incorporating a lot of that content into the blog’s layout theme. And then I should probably revive the Sadlibs site.
As always, people can comment here on what they think of the blog, the rest of the site, etc. I’d appreciate any feedback.
So I have an iPhone that I got as a hand-me-down earlier this year. I’m writing this post on the phone, using the WordPress app. If this works well, I’ll be able to do some better liveblogging of my ride this Saturday than I was able to do last year.
If you can see a picture below, then I’ll be able to include those during the ride.
I’ve updated several pages on my website over the last few days, which included adding links to some webcomics that I hadn’t linked to before.Â I’ve also added links to these in the blog sidebar (over there on the left and scroll down a bit), but I thought it would be good to give them some explicit recommendations in an entry.
First up, I’ve had Shaenon Garrity’s comic Narbonic listed on my comics recommendation page for quite a while, but haven’t had her in the sidebar.Â She has several strips that she’s done online, som in collaboration with others.Â This seems like a good time to list her, as she has a new strip that started 2 weeks ago, called Skin Horse.Â I’d give a description of the strip here, but it’s a bit hard to categorize as yet.Â There’s certainly a sci-fi element, and it’s humorous like all her work, and this one is rather surreal so far as well.
Next, I had heard about Questionable Content for a while, but just started reading it about 4 months ago.Â It took about a month to get through the 1000 strips.Â Jeph Jacques (pronounced ‘jacks’) is the writer/artist, and he lives in Easthampton, an adjacent town to me.Â The strip is sort of romantic-comedy-slice-of-life-indie-music-fan type stuff, if that makes any sense. Â It also seems to take place in a world just a little different from our own, as there exist little sentient robots known as AnthroPCs.Â The strip has well-written characters and is often really funny.Â The strip also spawns various T-shirt designs, which Jeph sells on the site.
Last, but not least, is Templar, Arizona. Â Spike is the name of the artist, and she is wildly hilarious.Â This strips cracks me up to no end much of the time.Â The setting of the strip is a fictional city in a sort of alternate history Arizona.Â The rest of that world might resemble ours, but not so much Templar.Â This is another comic with excellent characters, whose personalities contrast withÂ each other greatly, but where details of the city and backgrounds are very important as well (so don’t just pay attention to the people).Â I actually discovered Spike a few years ago when she had a different strip running on Girlamatic, and have been following Templar almost since it began.Â Besides her wonderful writing, I love her art style – lots of heavy lines and subtle sepia tones over grayscale.
Today, I updated the software for this blog and for Sad Libs to the newest WordPress version. Doing this required deleting and replacing a lot of files on the server. I don’t think it will have much visible effect, but if you notice a bunch of old posts appearing on the RSS feed as if they were new, that’s the reason why.
No, you aren’t crazy.
My domain has been transferred to a new registrar and hosting provider.Â I actually posted with the same title as above before moving the blog to the new server, but apparently that post didn’t make it over.Â So the move wasn’t quite as transparent as I thought.
In any case, it seems to be all done now.Â Welcome to my new old site.Â Â
I was looking through the stats for my website today, and was amused to discover a couple of things.
First, one of the referring sites to my site was the blog of a somewhat famous person.
It turned out that, in comments about Mooney going to the midwest to speak, someone remarking on Michigan made a reference to using one’s hand as a map, and linked to this image, which I created a few years ago.
Second, I noticed that, among the top web searches that lead to hits on my site, some of the search phrases for a few months running were variations on “Michigan hand map.”
Third, though this might not be related to that image, for multiple months other referring sites were image searches.
I tried entering “Michigan hand map” on google image search, and I was hit #16. Strangely, if you do just “Michigan hand,” there seem to be more actual hands, but mine isn’t in there. At least, it isn’t in the first 200 hits.
Over the weekend I fixed some links, added some content, etc. Updates have been made to the comics, music, people, and resume pages on the site. There is also a new Sad Lib posted.
As for the blog feed, I’ve added an RSS 2.0 version for those who can’t read Atom (they’re both linked in the sidebar), and I’ve started publishing the full content of the posts in the feed, rather than the first paragraph or so, because links didn’t seem to be coming through. Hopefully they will from now on.
If anyone desires, say, an RSS 1.0 feed, let me know.
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