Friday, November 21, 2008

BZZZZZZZZZZZZTTTTT!!!!

That's the sound you hear when you touch two wires together. The ones you're not supposed to touch together. The ones that you were supposed to go and shut the power off for. Sometimes you get a blinding light, and depending on the voltage and amps, anything from a slight tingling sensation, to a kick in the chest. YOW!

Yes, I know from experience. I've even had the tip of my screwdriver "melt" once. I probably should be dead by now, or at least have all of the hairs on my head sticking straight up. Wait-a-minute....... Have you seen me lately?

Anyway, ever since the Professor made Gilligan pedal the bamboo bicycle with wires connected to coconut shells filled with some kind of liquid, we have had Electricity. But it comes from other sources now. Most of it is generated from Coal-burning plants. Some from Hydro-electric generators built into Dams. Some from Windmills on wind farms. And some from Nuculer Power. Some places like Hawaii, have generators that run on Diesel fuel. Some small generators run on Gasoline, Diesel fuel, Natural Gas or Propane.

Anyway, Electricity, no matter how it is generated, is brought into the Los Angeles area from somewhere outside. Most of it is "transported" on lines that are stringed on Power poles that ruin the look of our Mountains and then our Neighborhoods, though some are placed underground in newer developments for a cleaner look.

But at any point along those lines, your Electricity can be interrupted. From the Pole, you don't have any. From the Grid, your neighborhood doesn't have any. From the Source, no one has any.

Electricity is a luxury, and you can live without it for the most part, unless you have a machine that keeps you alive. Mr. Obvious here. But other than lighting, how else does it affect you?

Here are things that you may not realize will NOT work without Electricity, some are obvious, some are not.

Obvious. Refrigerator, Stove, Microwave, Clock, Computer, TV, VCR, DVD, Radio.

Not so obvious. Cordless Phones, Traffic Signals, ATMs, Gas Pumps, Cash Registers, Elevators, Radio and TV Broadcasts. I think Cell Phone Cell sites have some kind of battery back-up power.

Some of these things may work if it is backed-up by a generator. But think about it. What would you do if these things did not work? Eventually, the food in your refrigerator will go bad. Buy more? How? You have no cash, and the ATM doesn't work. You say you have cash or will use your Debit/Credit card at the store? The registers don't work, and the Debit/Credit machine doesn't work either! You are SOL! And now you're stuck because you ran out of gas in your car.

I was vacationing in Maui, Hawaii, when an Earthquake hit off the coast of the Big Island. It triggered the safety systems of the Electrical grid on all of the Islands, though Kauai and Oahu was not as affected as Maui and the Big Island.

I was driving in my car to get breakfast, when the radio went dead. The radio worked, but there was nothing being transmitted to the radio. I had NO idea that there was an Earthquake, though I did see small rocks had fallen onto the roadway. I ran over one of those rocks on my way to Lahaina, and my tire went flat. I drove a few miles with the flat tire, and got to a gas station. I parked next to the air filling machine. It didn't work, so I changed the flat to the spare. BTW, that Shell Station owes me 50 cents. By then, I was getting radio transmissions from Oahu, and figured out what was going on.

Now I was really hungry. The place I was headed to was closed. Most restaurants would close, because in Hawaii, the stoves are Electric, there is no Natural gas there. So I drove to a Super Market. All the lights were out and none of the cash registers worked, so you couldn't buy anything. BUT, this store had a generator, and it was just 30 minutes before they had all of the systems up and running. Great! Now I could buy and have a sandwich and soda for breakfast. MMMMMMM

Luckily for me, it was my last day on Maui, time to go home. I took my car back to the rental agency, and they said they would bill me later. Fine. I get to the Airport, and nothing is working. No Air Traffic Control. It was hours before planes were allowed to land or take off. The Computer Registration/Booking system was also down. No one could get a boarding pass, to a flight that was not going to take off anyway.

Needless to say, those last few hours on Maui was heck. At least the power was restored to all of the Islands before I left. And I was patient. I knew there would be problems, even though I didn't foresee everything. But you should have seen other people. Yelling, screaming, demanding. What did they expect? For a Pilot to fly a plane without Air Traffic Control?

Maybe if the Professor was around, he could have rigged a bicycle to generate some Electricity to run the Island. You know, there's enough coconuts to do that in Hawaii.

2 comments:

jjomomma said...

Didn't realize you were a Bush supporter... Nuculer???

Ninja said...

I use the term as a mocking device to prove my smarty-pantsness is not an accident.