Monday March 13, 2006

Weekly Wrap-up 2006_10

The weather was weird this week. We had another cold storm come down from the north. There was lots of wind on Wednesday and Thursday. Friday morning there was hail on the ground at our house. "Higher elevations" (i.e. Los Gatos and 17 down to Santa Cruz) actually saw snow on the ground.

On Friday night we had a lightning storm around 7:00. One big Fratz took out the power for the west side of town. We ate a cold supper by candlelight. (We had just been looking over the leftovers, deciding what to have, before our choice was made much smaller...)

I finished filing my taxes. I'm due a refund. Considering that I'm (still) unemployed, every little bit helps

We had a weird electrical problem, exacerbated (but not caused by) the storm. Our UPSs had been clicking periodically for a day or so. On Thursday evening, I finally realized that whenever the UPS clicked, there was also a dimming of the house lights. I mentioned this to Rich. Rich called PG&E. While he was on hold, I timed the dimming. It happened every 24 seconds. Weird.

Rich finally reached a human at PG&E (after first telling the "voice-recognition system" the problem, then saying "I didn't expect you to understand. You're a machine". That made me laugh!). We reported the dimming, asked them to check it out, then went off to dinner.

There was a PG&E truck in front of the house when we got home from dinner. We talked to the guy. Apparently the "neutral" wire in our power line had been abraded by a tree branch and finally broke through during the wind storm. So our power was "floating". He suggested we turn the computers off overnight (which we did). It was an unusual night with no way to check email. Egad!

The PG&E crew arrived at about 8:30 Friday morning and went up the poles in the back 40. They cut out the broken wire, then spliced in a new triple. They were done in an hour and now we have a new power line.

And then, of course, the power went off for another hour Friday night because of another storm. We were a bit concerned that the transformer might have been hit but apparently not.

After our cold supper, we lit some candles in the living room (up on bookcases, away from the cats). Rich took a little nap and I ended up reading by "booklight" until the power came back on. I thought about all of the people throughout history who had to read by candlelight. I'm very thankful for electricity.

On The Web: This week I ran across these two Science-oriented web sites. They've been around for a while but I didn't know about them.

  • LabLit is dedicated to real laboratory culture and to the portrayal and perceptions of that culture – science, scientists and labs – in fiction, the media and across popular culture. The site is intended for non-scientists as well as scientists, and the goal is to inform, entertain and surprise.

  • The Public Library of Science (PLoS) is a non-profit organization of scientists and physicians committed to making the world's scientific and medical literature a freely available public resource. PLoS seeks to catalyze a change from traditional subscription-based scientific and medical journal publishing to open access publishing.

This week I read The Crossword Murder, Two Down, The Crossword Connection, and A Crossword to Die For, by Nero Blanc; Here Comes a Hero, an Evan Tanner novel by Lawrence Block; and Drop the Pink Elephant: 15 Ways to Say What You Mean...and Mean What You Say (nonfiction) by Bill McFarlan.

In between and around the rest, I've had almost enough naps and plenty of snuggles with the cats. There have been good meals (including our yummy turkey pot pie) and interesting conversations with Spouse and friends. I've had a few chats with my Dad and exchanged email with my Mom.

No interviews; no job offers.

Onward and Upward.

Weekly Wrap-up 2006_10 ( in category Gemisch/Gallimaufry ) - posted at Mon, 13 Mar, 00:05 Pacific | «e»