Let there be light

Finally. 58 hours after the power went out I no longer need to drive all the way to the Tully’s on Broadway to charge my cellphone and tap into the Internet. Instead I’m sitting here charging up (and warming up) at the Tully’s on Genesee and Rainier. I guess that’s progress.

Needless to say I’m still without power, as are twenty thousand or so of my neighbors in and around the Rainier Valley, which apparently is one of the last places in the city where main feeders are still down. Not that I know for sure, because I can’t get through to Seattle City Light’s “hotline” this morning.

Of course, despite all my whining, I can’t say the prolonged power outage is entirely without its positives. We tend to learn a lot about ourselves when faced with adversity, and I for one have learned that I really like electricity. A lot.

Electricity does all kinds of cool things. Like keep my food cold — or even frozen — so it doesn’t spoil. It also does a lot of warm things, like… well… keep me warm. That’s cool. Or warm. Whatever.

It got so cold in my house last night that my cat actually tried to join me and the dog in bed. (The dog was, how shall we say…? Uncooperative.) I can’t tell you exactly how cold it was in my house this morning because the indicator on my thermostat only goes down to 40 degrees. I can tell you that unlike her outside water bowl, my dog’s inside water bowl has not frozen over. Yet. So my house is somewhere within that 8-degree range between virtually freezing and literally freezing.

I’ve gotten a couple emails and comments from readers telling me to quit my whining… that I should have just been better prepared. But I’m not sure how much better prepared I could have been. I’ve got a wind-up radio and some candles and a couple flashlights and plenty of food. And with the dead pear tree that blew down in my yard, I have plenty of well-seasoned firewood. Unfortunately, what I don’t have is a fireplace in which to burn it.

I suppose I could have bought myself a generator to power the blower on my oil furnace, but for a city dweller, that just seems like overkill. It’s not like I’m living on some island or out in the country where the occasional power outage is the price you pay for the beauty and peace that comes from such isolation. I live in the middle of a major American city, and it is reasonable to expect the basic infrastructure to function.

Still, I don’t have it nearly as bad as others. My daughter is with her mother staying with family in Mill Creek, and I was fortunate to have a full tank of gas when the windstorm hit. But the Rainier Valley is filled with working class families, many of them immigrants, who don’t have the same resources or safety net. I’ve run into a couple families from my daughter’s school, and they describe people combing the streets for firewood, and elderly neighbors with no heat and no place to go.

And man, is my cat pissed.

UPDATE:
I’ve heard a lot of news reports about fights at the pumps as filling stations run out of gas. Well, the power is back up along most of Rainier Ave. S., and there are no lines at the gas stations. So fill ‘er up.

Comments

  1. 1

    spews:

    Of Self Pity and Faith Based Approaches to Storms and other Disasters.

    Goldy, as an affluent middle class guy, it is a bit much to “represent” the poah folk of S. Seattle. Somehow, it seems … well … out of place. A bit, … well …

    Anyhow, back at disasters and taxes. I learned a bit about this years ago in Seattle’s last blizzard. This was about the year 15 AB (ante bush), and mayhap will never happen again. Well, we were really snowed in that Thanksgiving. As I remember there wer 2-3 feet of the white stuff.

    Of course, Seattle lacked the snow removal equipment to deal with this crisis. (now I do understand that today’s rich folks all drive Mummers but in those days the car of ch0ice for most was a rear wheel drive Buick with no road sense or a light as fluff VW beattle that might float in a flood but was of no use in snow or on ice. So poor and rich, suffered together.

    In the ensuing discussion, the options were clear. Seattle’s chioce could be faith based, trusitng in the Deity to melt the snow at no charge to the tax payers or we could buy millions of dollars of plows and trucks in case another once-in-a-lifetime blizzard came. So we waited for the Deity, Sears ran out of chains making the Buick and my Honda pretty useless. I sneakily had a friend go to Sears in DC, only to be told the DC stores has sent all their chains to the NW!

    About 4 weeks later, the faith based initiative worked, the snow meted and we never bought the plows!

    And, now, the year 6 PB (post Bush), in the age of faith, that faith based snow intiative has been rewarded by global warming. Just think, if we had bought those trucks, they would never been useful! And some say Bush is a disaster!

    So have faith tovarish, the winds will cease, the cat will cuddle to your other side, and taxes will not go up … unless we build the Tunnel!

  2. 2

    kerri miller spews:

    I grew up in Vermont, out in the woods. My father worked for Central Vermont Public Service, first as a lineman, later working his way up to a regional director (just below the junior VPs in Corporate..) Every winter there would be 3 or 4 power outages lasting under a day, and once, sometimes twice in the bad years, an outage lasting multiple days.

    The powergrid is fairly resilient to day-to-day failures – a downed line, a squirrel frying itself on a transformer. However, each failure stresses the rest of the system just a little more, just a little more – death by inches (volts?)

    Access is the big problem for most of the problems and system failures the past few weeks. NO ONE wants to live near feeder lines, so they’re out in the boonies… I imagine that crews had to first repair and unblock forest service roads just to get to where they needed to work, then do the actual work itself.. and that’s just the feeder lines. After that you have to bring each blown substation back to spec, test it, then test what it feeds from and feeds to… and repair every bit of failure in between, before you can roll on to the next bit of disaster.

    My dad used to volunteer to go to hurricane ravaged coastal areas from Florida to Connecticut, staying away from home for weeks at a time to make sure that folks could stay warm and have cold sodas. He would get called in the middle of the night, and sometimes bundle me in a blanket and take me along with him. Perched in the front seat of a bucket truck at 2am, a young girl with a cup of Dunkin’ Donuts hot chocolate steaming, watching my dad wrangle powerlines downed by some yahoo shooting at transformers, some drunk who thought a pole was his parking space, or a random branch the contracted tree crews hadn’t gotten around to clearing..

    So, you see, I have a lot of respect for the effort the power company goes through to get the lights back on. If anything could be faulted in this, its the city’s lack of emergency planning for widespread power outages — where were the shelters? where was extra bussing to help the freezing elderly and children get to where it was warm?

    Where was the community?

    Why didn’t more of us find small ways to help?

  3. 3

    YOS LIB BRO spews:

    I THINK YOU GOT A POINT GOLDY. IN MY NORTH SEATTLE NEIGHBORHOOD WE WERE BACK UP ALMOST NEAR 11 AM AFTER THE WINDSTORM. OUR FIRST OUTING AFTER LIGHTS ON WAS TO A TV REPAIR SHOP IN SHORELINE. SUPPOSEDLY SHORELINE WAS HARD HIT AND WE DID SEE A LOT OF LIGHTS OUT IN NEIGHBORHOODS ON THE WAY THERE EVEN THROUGH NORTH SEATTLE BUT THE REPAIR SHOP WAS LIGHTS ON AND WERE UP AROUND 10 AM.

    WHY THE BIG WAIT IN SOUTH SEATTLE? I CAN ONLY CONCLUDE IT’S WHOSE NEIGHBORHOODS CARRY THE MOST CASH AND INFLUENCE. IT’S THOSE RICH NEIGHBORHOODS WHO HAVE THE TREES TRIMMED AND THE MORE UP TO DATE EQUIPMENT. THE POOR PLACES ARE SIMPLY LOWER PRIORITY. PRETTY SAD.

  4. 4

    kerri miller spews:

    @3

    Well, there is a subtle effect of low-income neighborhoods on the reliability of the power grid. More affluent homeowners have the money to spend on such “trivialities” like keeping trees on their property trimmed and dead limbs removed..

  5. 5

    Emily spews:

    We we all get our electricty back, then City Light can explain to us why they restored the power in the order that they did. Until then, I think we should withhold judgement. (Easy for me to say. I got my power back at ~1PM on Friday.)

  6. 6

    Dan Rather spews:

    Roger Rabbit Reply: The so-called “Killian documents” were NOT proved to be forgeries, but even if they are, that doesn’t exonerate Bush.

    “The documents … purportedly made by Bush’s commander … allegedly showed that Bush disobeyed orders while in the Guard, and had undue influence exerted on his behalf to improve his record ….

    ” … Marian Carr Knox, who was … Colonel Killian’s assistant on the dates of the memos … believed they reflected the truth about Lieutenant Bush.

    Hehehehee

    Now type the same crap in a 1970 sub-script you dumb bunny. hehehehehehe Liberal are so dishonest they even lie about their lies. heheheehe

  7. 7

    Manof Truth spews:

    Welcome to Frat Boy`s Amureeka where the only good thing is more money for the power mongers

    Worse before it gets better you can bet so wake up now & avoid more opportunities to get reamed

  8. 8

    righton spews:

    Goldy,
    Medina remains dark (ok, lightless)….so it has nothing to do with class or money

    dummy

  9. 10

    Jay spews:

    I think City Light owes its customers in the southern part of the city an explanation.

    Why was the result of this storm so much worse than the Inaguration Day storm, and why did it take longer to recover?

    Not that I’m holding my breath.

  10. 11

    bill spews:

    Goldy, I live pretty near that Genesee and Rainier Tully’s and I got power back mid day on friday. I don’t think its class based. Of course, I also directly saw 5 transformers in the area strobe so I am guessing replacing those transformers were a priority.

    Incidently, to all those who have criticized Metro over the years over running on time, I went home from work on a bus on Thursday night around 9:30 pm, right on time, and have taken multiple busses every day since, all have been right on time. If you can’t get gas, the busses are running, on time, and are fairly warm.

  11. 12

    Roger Rabbit spews:

    1 “…mayhap will never happen again.”

    Which? Another blizzard, or another Bush?

  12. 13

    Roger Rabbit spews:

    1 “tovarish” — For you illiterate wingfucks who can’t speak a word of Russian, “tovarishch” (phonetic English spelling; the original, of course, is in cyrillic) means “comrade” which most definitely is not the same thing as “friend.”

  13. 14

    YOS LIB BRO spews:

    Medina remains dark

    WE’RE TALKING ABOUT THE PRIORITIES OF SEATTLE CITY LIGHT. IF I’M NOT WRONG, MEDINA IS PSE TERRITORY. BESIDES ALL THOSE MILLIONAIRES CAN AFFORD A BACKUP POWER SYSTEM, DIESEL, NATURAL GAS FUEL CELL, WHATEVER.

    DUMBASS.

  14. 15

    Roger Rabbit spews:

    2 “where was extra bussing” — Are you kidding? Metro Transit can’t even handle a football game. Goldy — get a generator. Really. No backtalk, just get one. You’re a flatlander and you’re not used to Seattle yet. This shit happens here every winter.

  15. 16

    Roger Rabbit spews:

    6 Blather. No facts, just blather. Bite the bullet and accept the facts — Bush was AWOL, was grounded, and didn’t fly any airplanes after taxpayers spent a million bucks teaching him how — in wartime yet. Fucking pussy.

  16. 17

    Roger Rabbit spews:

    8 Look at a fucking outage map, and THEN tell me it has nothing to do with money! All the money is in North Seattle, and all the “red” (outage” areas are in South Seattle. Coincidence? I lived in South Seattle too many years before moving to my present excavation in Green Lake Park to think so.

  17. 18

    Roger Rabbit spews:

    14 MEDINA IS PSE TERRITORY — Oh God I hope so, yes, please God, yes, yes, yes …

  18. 19

    Roger Rabbit spews:

    18 Okay, so I have a bad attitude toward rich, greedy, sticky-fingered Republicans … so fucking what? They have a bad attitude toward the working class. Turnabout is fair play!

  19. 20

    Roger Rabbit spews:

    wow! This thread is already up to 20 posts even with the power out and the wingnuts freezing in the dark! That’s more than the sucky little jihad blog gets even with the lights on.

  20. 21

    righton spews:

    yos lib bro; i thought the theme was “rich guys get power, poor black guys get zip”

    splain to me ricky then why mercer island and medina are dark. Maybe you sophisticated statistical analysis says the tails are dark, only the middel of the pack gets power

    i’m still waitng for Dwight or other lefty duffusses to come up w/ emergency funding to buyoff more constituents

  21. 22

    RightEqualsStupid spews:

    Most of the fights at gas stations are in redneck republican areas where the righties, who all think they are above the law, have cut in line. I hope they blow themselves up fighting over the hose!

  22. 23

    Roger Rabbit spews:

    21 splain to me ricky then why mercer island and medina are dark

    They should’ve voted for public power. Serves ‘em right.

  23. 24

    spews:

    Some people I work with (working poor) are sleeping in their cars with the engine running (to keep warm) because they have very young children and nobody to stay with.

  24. 25

    Dan Rather spews:

    6 Blather. No facts, just blather. Bite the bullet and accept the facts — Bush was AWOL, was grounded, and didn’t fly any airplanes after taxpayers spent a million bucks teaching him how — in wartime yet. Fucking pussy.

    12/17/2006 at 4:08 pm

    The crap the liberals made up on Bush going AWOL was a last ditch attempt to get the attention off Kerry who was proven to be a fraud by his fellow soldiers and the fact he wouldnt release his military medical records. Nice try.

  25. 26

    Roger Rabbit spews:

    25 It isn’t crap. Bush didn’t attend all of his required drills. That is an indisputable fact. Would you like me to post the details? The only people who still believe Bush wasn’t grounded and didn’t cut required drills are those who refuse to read objective sources.

  26. 27

    Roger Rabbit spews:

    Just because you assholes make shit up doesn’t mean everyone else does. Fuck you, Blathernut!

  27. 28

    bj spews:

    Power in West Seattle (Alki area) was out 37 hours, until about 2 pm Saturday. In the meantime, I have a wind-up radio and listened to Seattle City Light spokepeople give the standard blather hour after hour, without any useful specifics. WHY can’t they simply say “We’re working the problems in the order of doing the things that will get the most people back on-line most efficiently, and today our emphasis is on these areas: ____,____, and ___.”

    And my second peeve is that they’re forever saying “X number of customers are without power.” What the hell do they mean; can’t they say how many PEOPLE are without power, or that X percent of the city is without power??? I can only assume the “customers” means someone who gets sent a bill (i.e., meters), but it’s a near-meaningless way to explain the situation.

  28. 29

    Dan Rather spews:

    25 It isn’t crap. Bush didn’t attend all of his required drills. That is an indisputable fact. Would you like me to post the details? The only people who still believe Bush wasn’t grounded and didn’t cut required drills are those who refuse to read objective sources.

    So according to you moonbats if you miss a drill you are AWOL. hehehehehehe That is rich. Keep on trying rabbit.

  29. 30

    Dan Rather spews:

    29

    Next thing you will be spewing is if you shoot yourself in the ass you deserve the purple heart. Wait nevermind. hehehehe

  30. 31

    Tee Jay spews:

    Karl Rove’s Revenge. Beautiful.

    Forks (end of the earth West) had power early Friday morning.

  31. 33

    My Left Foot spews:

    Rather,

    You fucking moe-ron. A RightWingNut in absolute ignorance of facts. You probably think the war in Iraq is being won as we speak. You believe the election (which you lost in a landslide) was just a hiccup in the WingNut power grid.

    I, for one, sincerely hope you continue to think this way. It is working out real well for us liberal, progressive, Democrats. Thank you.

    Funny how that works, asshole!

  32. 34

    Roger Rabbit spews:

    ROGER RABBIT RIDDLE

    Q: What do you call a redneck who’s out of gas?

    A: A pedestrian.

    HAR HAR HAR HAR HAR HAR HAR HAR HAR HAR HAR HAR HAR HAR HAR HAR HAR HAR HAR HAR HAR HAR HAR HAR HAR HAR HAR HAR HAR HAR HAR HAR HAR HAR HAR HAR HAR HAR HAR HAR HAR HAR HAR HAR HAR HAR HAR HAR HAR HAR HAR HAR HAR HAR HAR HAR HAR HAR HAR HAR HAR HAR HAR HAR HAR HAR HAR HAR HAR HAR HAR HAR HAR HAR HAR HAR HAR HAR HAR HAR HAR HAR HAR HAR HAR HAR HAR HAR HAR HAR

  33. 35

    Roger Rabbit spews:

    29 So according to you moonbats if you miss a drill you are AWOL. hehehehehehe That is rich. Keep on trying rabbit.
    12/17/2006 at 6:52 pm

    No … you’re AWOL if you miss a drill without permission. That’s why it’s called “absent without leave.” But Bush didn’t miss just one drill; he was absent — without permission — for months. Over a year, actually. But the really pertinent thing about Bush’s aborted TANG service is the amount of taxpayer money that was spent to train a guy to fly interceptors who was grounded for not showing up for his mandatory flight physical and rendered little or no useful service.

  34. 36

    Roger Rabbit spews:

    30 Under the regulations in effect during the Vietnam war, if you were wounded by enemy action — however slightly — you were entitled to a Purple Heart. A warrant officer in my unit got 3 of them. The first time, an AK-47 bullet clipped his ear lobe. The second time, an AK-47 bullet clipped the tip of his nose. The third time, an AK-47 bullet grazed his forehead. They were all bandaid wounds, but would you want to be that guy? Luckiest bastard I ever met. A couple more inches, and he would’ve been dead all 3 times. I would say he earned his 3 Purple Hearts.

    Let’s overlook, for a moment, all the fucking lies you wingnut assholes spewed about Kerry’s military service and focus on a few simple facts:

    1. Kerry was a riverine boat commander. That was fucking dangerous duty. Trust me, it was. If you weren’t there, just shut up about it, because you don’t know what you’re talking about.

    2. Kerry was in combat.

    3. Kerry was injured in combat by enemy action on 3 separate occasions. Even though none of his wounds were life-threatening or required hospitalization, under the regulations in effect at the time, he was entitled to all 3 of his Purple Hearts. Why the fuck should there be a different rule for him than for everyone else, just because some asshole like you doesn’t like his politics? Fuck you.

    4. Kerry didn’t approve his own medals, and the wingnuts who claimed he did are fucking liars. Medals have to be approved by superiors in the chain of command. His were, per regulations. There were no irregularities. Fuck you.

    5. Kerry served in Vietnam. Want the list of GOP pols who didn’t — again? How about Five Deferments Cheney? Or Trappers Ass Limbaugh? Or Jet Jock Bush? Shall I go on? All the Republican leaders of our country were fucking cowards when it was their turn to go to war, with a couple of exceptions.

    And let’s not forget how REPUBLICANS TREAT VETERANS. They savaged Max Cleland, who lost 3 limbs in Vietnam. They even savaged McCain, a war hero and POW, and one of their own fellow Republicans. The draft-evading neocon assholes who presume to define “patriotism” for the rest of us not only were draft dodging cowards, not only cut veterans benefits, they’re even disrespectful of the soldiers THEY send to war (e.g., Bush calling a soldier in Iraq “boy”). And they presume to lecture the rest of us about “supporting the troops”? Fuck them — and fuck you brainless wingnuts who worship those slimeballs.

    Now I’m gonna do something truly revolutionary … I’m gonna state the obvious. It’s all partisan politics, and it’s all for selfish partisan gain, pure and simple. When Republicans say, “You’re either for us or against us,” they don’t mean “you’re either for America, or against America.” They mean, “you’re either a rightwing nut like us, or you’re our enemy.” Fuck them! Fuck you! They -= and you — attack anyone who doesn’t slavishly adhere to your wingnut ideology, even though every single one of your insane wingnut policies is an abject, miserable failure. Fuck you fucking thieving lying wingnut incompetents!

    Oh, and in case I didn’t make myself clear about what I think of wingnuts … FUCK YOU!!!

    Any questions?

  35. 37

    YOS LIB BRO spews:

    DOOFUS AKA “DAN RATHER”: YOU LIVE IN A WINGNUT FANTASY LAND. IF YOU’RE NOT A PATIENT AT WESTERN STATE HOSPITAL, YOU’RE WELL ON YOUR WAY.

    FACE IT. YOUR ASS WAS KICKED ON NOVEMBER 7. YOU’VE PREDICTED THAT THE RIGHT WILL COME BACK IN 2008. GOOD. EVERY PREDICTION YOU’VE MADE HAS GONE DOWN THE TOILET.

    KEEP AT IT DOOFUS. I LOVE TO SEE YOU GET BEAT.

  36. 38

    Dan Rather spews:

    You probably think the war in Iraq is being won as we speak. You believe the election (which you lost in a landslide) was just a hiccup in the WingNut power grid.

    Yes. The republicans (especially the religous ones) did not come out and vote in November. Republicans will never change their message because they believe they are right. Unlike dems we dont lie about who we are. We proud to be conservatives unlike you lefties who run from the liberal label and use the progressive title. If we lose we lose, but we all know that we will back in power soon. It is matter of time.

  37. 40

    Jack spews:

    It’s not class based. All of Bear Creek Country Club is still without power. ALL of it. Random areas in Redmond are on. In Kirkland, Rose Hill is still without power, but some of the areas around the high school are back on.

    If it were class based, wouldn’t you need linemen that grew up in Medina?

  38. 41

    Dan Rather Jr. spews:

    Dad, you didn’t respond to the points made in No. 36. If you have a case, shouldn’t you make it point by point?

  39. 43

    righton spews:

    messed up w/ tags… question.. serious… anyone know good blog w/ power outage info? Utility sites ain’t the ones; looking for easy way to check on friends w/out power (alternate is a lot slower; calling them all individually)

  40. 44

    drool spews:

    OK folks,

    We had two days warning this was coming. I presume somebody watches the news around here or listens to the radio.

    The government keeps telling us three days three ways. People where whining on day two that they were at their wits end.

    For crissakes get a warmer sleeping bag if you’re so cold at night.

    This is a good lesson that needs to be heeded. Seems like nobody was taking notice after the earthquake a few years ago.

    Fortunately we haven’t had the place going “road warrior” with civil unrest hitting.

    BTW: MI is out becuse of their trees. Lots of them. Just like anywhere else with lots of trees.

  41. 45

    RightEqualsStupid spews:

    I saw some asshole chickenshit chickenhawk with a Bush sticker on his car try to cut in line at a gas station yesterday. A bunch of us confronted him. He acted like he was gonna fight when the station owner came out with a baseball bat in his hand. That was all it took. The cowardly Bush supporter did what all republicans do – he stuck his tail between his legs, looked down at his shoe while he pissed himself and took off.

  42. 46

    righton spews:

    drool prompted me to wonder…

    Shouldn’t our anti terrorist community response be to not whine, complain…just act “tough” so that nobody glombs onto our feebleness after 2 days without power…

    pipe dream i know

  43. 47

    Aaron spews:

    I’m glad you realize that consumption of energy is not a bad thing, Goldy. It reminds me of my favorite Ann Coulter quote, “Why not go to war for oil? We need oil. What do Hollywood celebrities imagine fuels their private jets? How do they think their cocaine is delivered to them?”