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Lights . . . [Aug. 16th, 2003|01:58 pm]
[In the Moment |contentcontent]

I woke up Thursday afternoon at 4PM. Heidi rested by me . . . I got up, lurched to the bathroom, and relieved myself . . .

As I washed my hands, at around 4:15PM, the lights went out in the War Bunker.

Actually, the power went out, flicked back on, then out . . . for good.

Pissed, I was. Heidi had told me of the need to check my LJ.

I sat down on the War Bunker couch, flexed my ever-painful back, and waited.

Never did it occur to me that this was something bigger than my local area.

In our area, they're replacing the neighborhood connections to the main water artery. Since the water immediately dropped to half pressure while washing my hands, I figured those chuckleheads had done something wrong, and it was a matter of an hour before the power would be restored.

Waited, I did. I waited and waited and waited.

Finally, I took a shower. Heidi suggested we go get me some coffee. She disappeared outside . . .

I finished my shower, towel tossed to the tub.

Heidi told me the whole eastern continent had lost power.

So this was not just a neighborhood blackout, I thought. Sure enough, the radio said literally every power source blinked out two hours prior, to the moment I washed my hands.

I was washing my hands when the lights fizzled.

We sat around the house. I had leftover pizza in the fridge, so after that 2 hours, I figured with the reports of 3 days or more, I should not let precious food go to waste.

Day turned into twilight, then night. Finally, the house cooled. We had candles, and I lit them for a romantic, if not focused, evening with Heidi.

I went outside for a cigarette or three at 3AM. By now, the neighbors had a generator running to save their fridge contents. They were the only ones in the neighborhood who were attempting this, and the generator was right next to my room, so it wasn't totally quiet . . . until I heard the generator die.

With the peaceful chirping of the crickets, I had never viewed such a wonderful nightscape in the Detroit area. With literally no lights in the Metro Area, the sky looked as it did in the pre-electric days. The moon was rather bright, and it glowed with a bit of perfect glare, bright, slowly fading across the night sky to the West, to total dark. The moon drowned out a bit of the starscape, but the regular stars showed themselves in blazing defiance of the moon's light.

I wished the world would never have power restored.

I went to bed, tired of leafing through the acidic, witty, and utterly powerful words of Hunter S. Thompson's letters, first volume. As I closed my eyes, the neighbor ran out, now fully aware of the unpowered fridge. The startup of the gas generator's lawn-mowerish cycle eventually lulled me to sleep.

Daytime. Heidi reported to me that she was an 'essential worker' at Hell. She had to brave the strange 4 way stops at the major intersecctions to get to work.

Food. There was no food. No stores were open. I planned on going to the store that Thursday evening. No such food existed in the house. We had . . . crackers, sunflower seeds, and a box of cereal. The food supply dwindled.

They didn't have to tell me yesterday that the water supply was probably not safe to drink. I had become enthralled with survival at an early 7th grader age, reading The Stand: Uncut by Stephen King. After that, I knew the water would probably be bad, but I'd never felt the need to hole up in a compound with bunches of assault weapons and other weapons and tin cans of irradiated tuna. That will come someday, but this was not the day.

The water bottle supply we had was sufficient for 4 days, 20 days if we were going to be conservative. I had stocked up on cigarettes before the blackout. We'd be okay . . .

Except, the heat. It was the hottest days yet in the area. And, massive thunderstorms loomed on the way. I figured there would also be a 9 scale earthquake on an Ohio fault line, thus making way for the massive floods, plus the 'pants down' attack from would-be looters and terrorists.

I then experienced the phone line power going dead.

That prior evening, I talked with my mom on vacation up north. Consumers Power had restored most of their clients' energy that evening, and most were not affected. Meanwhile, DTE (our area) had damage to their plants from the outage, and they were going to take a while.

Heat. No food. No gas stations. Limited water.

It was also Friday, August 15th, my mother's birthday. Happy Birthday, Mom . . .

Up north, I could bask in the great power and cooler air. The place was about an hour away, not technically North (South of Flint), but it would do. I planned quickly, as the sweat dripped off my brow like I'd been in the heavy rain.

After checking to make sure all the important appliances were unplugged, and the circuit breakers were all shut down, I began to close up the windows. Then, I remembered that the DVD movie I rented was in the player.

BLAST! I sat there and read the manual. There was no emergency eject feature! Short of prying open the DVD tray, there was no way. I would deal with Blockbuster scum later, I figured.

I packed up my gear and left.

With 3/4 of a tank full with an economy car, I was in no danger. The drive was a lucky one, which only took me 40 minutes over the normal drive time.

My cousins were not so lucky. They hit the sudden surge of cars when other gas stations were announced on generators, able to pump gas. They also had to stop for gas, as their tanks were low. They arrived after 3 hours of drive time, almost double my time.

My mom was rejoiced to see me. I met up with Heidi after work . . . she barely made it up here with minimal gas left in her tank. Our family celebrated my mom's birthday in the swanky part of town up here, and I dined on ahi tuna, cooked medium. It was a delicious treat, but I felt rather guilty after knowing how many Detroiters had no water or food.

Last night, I fell asleep in air conditioning, watching Dead Alive, a most interesting film that I first saw at a USC-related independent movie house in Los Angeles. I laughed again as the priest yelled, "I kick ASS for the LORD!" and proceeded to turn the zombies into kung fu battering targets.

Today, reports are that the power is back on in the city in most areas. I plan to travel back to clean out the melted ice cream and other fridge and freezer messes. I'm not looking forward to it. Yet, it could have been worse.

And if it was worse, I would have welcomed it.

[User Picture]From: maryjane2723
2003-08-16 06:50 pm (UTC)
i'm relieved you are ok. :)
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From: xlindsayx
2003-08-16 08:33 pm (UTC)
my brother's birthday was yesterday too.

while it was inconvenient with the heat and everything... the night sky on thursday was awesome.

i wouldn't be that upset if it happened again, quite honestly.
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[User Picture]From: sauce1977
2003-08-27 01:02 am (UTC)

Very true.

Also, happy belated birthday to your brother.

I'm an only child, so I look upon the world of people as my brothers and sisters.

I'm glad to hear you enjoyed that wonderful classic night sky as well. I'll never forget that night.
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[User Picture]From: hexhive99
2003-08-16 09:31 pm (UTC)
I think it could have been worse. On my drive home in rush hour on Thurs I was making mental notes of how long I could survive with what I had at my condo. I think I could have been ok for about a month.

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[User Picture]From: sauce1977
2003-08-27 01:04 am (UTC)
Men who live like true bachelors, those who do not stock a fridge, who do not keep non-perishables, and who wine at their girlfriends when they bring pallets of bottled water days before unintended shortages, learn to love the wisdom of their special lady and also realize how silly they can be. :D
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From: sub_conscious
2003-08-16 10:02 pm (UTC)

watch out for those sumatra rat monkeys!

"That's my mother you're pissing on." :D

possibly one of peter jackson's better films. leaving out that triology thing he's been working on, what's it called lord of the rings? <~sarcasm

did you ever see meet the feebles?

you definitely have to see it to get a real feel for peter jackson's directing style. :)

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[User Picture]From: sauce1977
2003-08-27 01:09 am (UTC)

Re: watch out for those sumatra rat monkeys!

"It's just my bad luck, these sort of things always happen to me."

Heh, there's a Heidi in this fine production.

I've not watched this as of yet, however it is very much my style of fun, as I tout Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas for all who care to listen.

I shall search for this one, as I have heard about it before, and now I cannot resist the "Muppets on Acid" experience.
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[User Picture]From: sauce1977
2003-08-17 12:43 am (UTC)

Thanks for the votes of support.


Those in affected areas are being ordered to continue boiling water, using bottled water for drinking, and most definitely, refrain from using much water.

While on the same hand, they caution not to leave the water standing in the pipes due to chance of bacterial buildup.


Okay, I took a shower yesterday during the blackout with the affected water. I'm not dead. I will, however, since I'm still up north in non-affected areas, take my shower, then travel home to prepare the fridge for re-stocking. Man, it's gonna be an ugly task tonight.

I have to turn on the power too. I hope the sewers didn't overflow . . .

Thanks to all who read. Actually, I'll get back to normal once I check on my home computer to find out if there was any damage during those final moments of power. Otherwise, it's going to be random posts for a while . . .
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[User Picture]From: grommit
2003-08-19 12:57 pm (UTC)
"BLAST! I sat there and read the manual. There was no emergency eject feature! Short of prying open the DVD tray, there was no way. I would deal with Blockbuster scum later, I figured."

Pretty frustrating I must admit. If you take a look at any computer CD/DVD drive you'll notice a small hole usually located under the drive tray. Stick a straightened-out paperclip in there and press slowly and you'll see that it's designed to eject the CD tray without power. Why this same simple feature isn't built into our home theater components is beyond me.

As far as the Blockbuster scum are concerned... It's a power outage... and a newsworthy one at that. It would be a bad PR move of epic proportions NOT to institute a grace period in all stores effected. Besides, Big Blue is too busy worrying about whether their employees are following very specific protocols regarding checkout procedure and floor sales to worry about any fees you may accrue on your account. I'm betting, if you don't get satisfactory resolution from the staff in the store, you might even profit from taking a complaint up the corporate ladder. But then again... you can never assume anything right?

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[User Picture]From: sauce1977
2003-08-27 01:25 am (UTC)

Very Well Said, Grommit.

You hit the nail on the head with the pin-hole emergency eject feature, convenient, yet missing from the ever-so-wise technology gurus, the Sony.

As far as Blockbuster is concerned, I have waited much too long for the eye-balled time limit on claims due to blackout to happen. At this point, with the blackout a fading memory for local retailers, should I go in there and claim Sony responsible for my tardy return of SNL's Best of Will Ferrell, they would laugh and say, "I may just be a lowly store manager, but we have 100 trained legal ninjas, in a dojo in some backwater corporate headquarters penthouse, just waiting for the likes of you."

In earlier days, I would have flexed, struck a Bruce Lee pose, and motioned with my oustretched hand a "come get some" invitation. Eventually, I will tell my tales of the battles I have fought, and had various wins and losses, with the ever-so-wise corporate moguls over bad services and products.

In fact, my friend and I went to Cafe Roma, a landmark old-country Italian restaurant in a turn of the 20th century building in the Eastern Market area for dinner here in Detroit. The place is beautiful, built before proper building codes, featuring a midget-sized bathroom and the high-ceiling style popular to allow heat to rise above the patrons during the days of steam heaters and before the days of air conditioning.

The food was absolutely Italian, delicious and very worth the 21 dollars I paid for a non-breaded veal and spaghetti dish. The service, however, my friend noticed was horrible. An old-country waiter, one who mumbled, forgot our requests, denied us free refills on our Coca-Colas, and proceeded to wait hand and foot on another table filled with rich and equally old socialites, featured my friend's dismay.

Since the food was so delicious, and my back was turned to this treachery, I had no clue, but my friend watched as he'd wait on the other table about 4 times before he briefly came at our becking for refills, only to deny us, when he had been there with better service earlier that week and had all the free refills he wanted.

It was a case of old man prejudice, filled with snobbery and general dislike for what he perceived to be 4 young punks dressed shabbily (we were just from an NFL pre-season game at the Ford Field, in t-shirts and jeans). His mistake was to prefer the similar old bastards, and make it so obvious that he disapproved of our presence.

I guess it was his own fault that he received a 10 cent tip from my friend on a 99.90 cent total. After all, if he was so high and mighty, he would refuse our gratitude anyway, seeing we were young punks, whose money was barely good but to resolve the register.

My friend was much angrier about this and told me all about what was going on outside the Cafe Roma. He wanted to go back there and demand the waiter give back the 10 cents, but I talked him out of it, stating that the gesture given was due justice enough for his unloving and old ass.
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[User Picture]From: maryjane2723
2003-08-25 02:05 pm (UTC)
we miss you in the @.
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[User Picture]From: sauce1977
2003-08-27 01:28 am (UTC)
I have made an appearance this evening.
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