Thursday, January 18, 2018

Today's Lack Of Posting... brought to you due to the courtesy of an Air Handling Unit that leaked in the ceiling at work and a temporarily gravity free refrigerator shelf that landed on the floor.

(Really.  An Air Handling Unit in the ceiling had a frozen coil - probably due to the cold we have been having - which defrosted and then exploded with water through the ceiling at work.  Fortunately, the shut off valves are 15' above the floor level and not at all easily accessible, otherwise we would have had a real issue getting the thing shut down before it leaked a lot of water onto the floor.  And then the floor drain that did not have the capacity to accept the water, which then flooded the hallway outside of the bathrooms...yes, it really was a stellar day.  The cherry on top was when I was pulling down the wet tiles and a open knife, which apparently was just sitting on one of the tiles, came point down. Bonus level:  Accepted.)

(Sadly, the refrigerator shelf was much more pedantic:  I was lifting the milk out of the shelf and lifted it into the shelf above it, which enabled a number of sauce bottles to "fly free"...on to the tile floor.  Fortunately, we only lost two - however, worcestershire sauce is not the smell you want to have in your nostrils at 2130 in the evening.)

Sigh.  We will try again tomorrow.

Wednesday, January 17, 2018

What If Winter Really Was Coming

One thing that our trip to California and our quite recent experience with "WINTER STORM INGA"  (should always be said in capitals - sounds more ominous) is that if civilization ever breaks down and it breaks down in winter, it will be abysmal.

We, in our modern mechanized and fueled age, take for granted that we are going to survive winter no differently than any other time of the year.  We have heat, be it gas or electric or food.  We have food - pretty much any kind of food we want - available within a fairly short period of time.  And, we have both hot and cold water, blessedly unfrozen over.  Our roads can get cleared, our power can come back up, our stores and gas stations easily get filled back up.  It is a sort of magical Winter Wonderland where most of us get to dabble in the cold or get a little inconvenienced - but that is about it.

Driving the desert in a freezing ice storm - as we did a month ago - tells a different story indeed.

Imagine (as I did) living in one of those small towns, or even in a large city and the power dies.  Everything becomes cold:  very, very cold.  If you are smart and/or fortunate, you have a wood burning fireplace and enough fuel to keep yourself.  If not, things become very cold very quickly.

Transportation, like any sort of major disaster, will break down rather quickly - but Winter has the added benefit (above the snow line) of embedding people in place thanks to snow drifts.  Now, many are cold, stuck, and do not have a way to heat themselves or cook.    And the food and fuel fairies that always seem to restock things will be a million miles away.

And water - if you have lived cold enough, you know the briskness that water just below freezing acquires.  Bathe or shower in that if you will!

No, winter without civilization quite quickly becomes a very savage and very terrible thing.  I can (all too well) only visualize what it would be like to be cold all the time, hungry almost all the time, and always having to keep active to be about keeping warm and fed.

Our ancestors were up to this sort of thing - perhaps not enjoying it, but up to it.  Most of us, not so much.

I look, somewhat in shock, at what a relatively benign ice storm does.  And then, unfortunately, imagine the possibilities...

Tuesday, January 16, 2018

An Eerie Sort of Quiet

Things feel quiet.  Uncomfortably quiet.

Oh, not quiet in the sense of the world.  There is plenty of news out there to be had - and if one is honest, you could make a case for the wheels coming off the bus in any number of circumstances. And a very realistic case at that.

No, what I am referring to are voices that I follow - or in some cases now, followed - on the InterWeb.  It is as if a vast blanket is smothering the InterWeb landscape.

People get busy, of course.  And let us be fair, maintaining a regular sort of writing is a difficult task, especially when (for 99% of us) it is a labor of love and not a paying endeavor.

But still, this silence - and the apparent dropping out of so many voices that I respect - troubles me.

Have I missed something?  Has the media paradigm changed so much that a blog has truly been overshadowed by a Video Blog (possible, of course) or social media?  Or (my bigger fear) is that these folks - many much more knowledeable heads than I - have foreseen something that has indicated that posting, for whatever reason, is no longer a priority - or even wise.

It feels much like a forest that is truly still, without the sound of birds of squirrels or other animals.  When it becomes this quiet, that is because something has gone terribly wrong - or is about to.

Sunday, January 14, 2018

Service To Others

May my thoughts and my speech,
leisure and labor,
my acts and reflections,
my prosperity and adversity,
my life and my death,
my health and sickness, and whatsoever else is mine;
that I exist,
that I live,
that I feel,
that I understand:
let all be devoted to them,
and all be spent for them,
for whom Thou Thyself did not disdain to spend Thyself

- Aelred of Rievaulx, Abbot of Rievaulx (1110-1167)

Saturday, January 13, 2018

A Few Words From...Yamaoka Tesshu

"Over a few years
let intimacy
ripen naturally - 
the number of friends will be small
but the quality will be very large."

- Yamaoka Tesshu (1836-1888)

Friday, January 12, 2018

A Pretty Darn Awesome Day

So yesterday was almost an unmitigated disaster.

Something got shipped to wrong place and had to be held and eventually reshipped.  I forgot to send something else out for testing and have to scramble to get quotes assembled and the material shipped.  One material was supposed to ship at the end of last month but the supplier lied (no other way to put it) and now it is out four to six weeks.  A starting material cannot be received until the testing is complete, which is about two weeks before it is needed.  The building management quote is completely wrong and has to be redone (more expensive, of course).  And finally, just before I left, the water system sprung (another) leak, so the system had to be shut down.

And yet in spite of all, that, my house was still intact, my pets still happy to see me, the Ravishing Mrs. TB still as beautiful as ever, Na Clann good and doing well in school, my health is good and strength better than ever, my salvation assured, my iai going well with class that night, japan in threee weeks, and our ongoing project in using food we have for eating going well.

In other words, it was a pretty darn awesome day.