You are currently browsing the power tag archives.

Imbolc Update

Posted 2014.02.01 8.52 in Pointless Blather, Spiritual

The past six weeks, from Yule to Imbolc, have been pretty unpleasant here.

We had the ice storm, which led to damage to the house and a week-long power outage. My cats and I had to seek refuge with my sister. The house almost froze over while I was away and all my aquarium pets died.

Since the power was restored, my fridge has died, my furnace has needed work twice, the washer and dryer have needed attention, and the stairs to the cellar collapsed.

All in all, it’s been an unpleasant (and expensive) six weeks. Here’s hoping that things will improve between now and Ostara.

Looking ahead, I’m still working hard to get the update to Wicca Plus finished. It’s about a fortnight behind schedule due to the aforementioned issues, but with luck it should be completed shortly.

Imbolc

I Apologize For Badmouthing The Ice Storm

Posted 2014.01.03 20.05 in Pointless Blather

I’m sorry for dissing the ice storm.

So the morning of December 22nd, I woke up to find two big branches had come down, one on the house and the other on the shed / back yard.

Turns out, that was just the warm-up act.

That night, the freezing rain came non-stop from before dark, and carried on well into mid-day on Sunday December 23rd. I couldn’t get any sleep, from the nonstop cacaphony of frozen lumber raining down on the house.

On the 22nd, there was one big branch in the backyard. By the morning of the 23rd, all the big branches are in the backyard:

Backyard Carnage

Between 2:00 and 3:00 am, several huge branches came down right ontop of my bedroom. They sort of piled up on the roof for a while, before sliding / falling off the side of the house.

Buried Under Branches

Around 4:00am there were some huge blue electrical arcs that lit up the neighborhood. I was counting myself lucky that I still had power.

When the sun came up, I had a look outside and could see two neighbors across the road had lost power. One of them had their power line down, laying right across the road:

Power Line on the Road

At this point, I was sort of hoping that the worst was passed and that I’d managed to avoid any serious trouble. That’s when I heard a tremendous crash, and my own power went out. Right while I was writing up this entry, in fact…

I have UPS/battery backup power supplies on everything, but they’re only good for 10 or 20 minutes. Enough time for me to go round to all the servers etc. and perform orderly shutdowns.

Then I went outside to survey the damage.

What a Mess

Yep, sure enough, my home’s power line was down. Wrapped around the neighbor’s car, by the looks of it. Worse still, the ‘mast’ thing on my roof took a direct hit. A 2″ steel tube had been folded over like a plastic drinking straw, the cables snapped.

It was the worst case scenario. The neighborhood had power, so we were low priority. And since the majority of the power-line damage was to the house itself, the power company would do nothing until the ‘mast’ had been replaced and everything was up to current electrical code standards.

Folded Over

I stayed a day, but by Monday the temperature indoors was hovering around 50°F and dropping. Finally, I packed up the cats and headed to my sister’s house; she had graciously offered to take us in for the duration.

I came back on the 25th of December to check on things. No good news. The indoor temperature was down to 37°F and everything in my aquariums had died – snails, fish, froggies, all dead. It was very, very sad. In fact the whole house felt dead.

On December 28th, electrical contracters sent by my insurance company had arrived and were working at rebuilding the powerline mast…

Repairs

At long last, on Sunday December 29th, the power was finally reconnected and I could return home.

The ordeal is far from over, though. I still have a lot of branches on my roof, and the backyard is positively full of branches. I had to throw out all the food in my fridge and freezer. I have to file a claim with the insurance company. I have a lot of clean-up to do. And I am worried that my freezer has died; since the power came back on it doesn’t freeze any more. Not to mention all the stress of having my entire business shut-down and off-line for a full week.

It was certainly a Yule to remember, and an x-mas to forget. I’ve decided not to replace the snails / fish / frogs. I miss them, but it’s time to move on. It’s also been a wake-up call about emergency preparedness… once upon a time I was very prepared. Now I am not. I think that needs to be addressed.

Overall though, the cats and I survived our experience as ‘refugees’, and while it wasn’t fun, it wasn’t the end of the world.

The Fun of being Adopted

Posted 2010.03.21 9.48 in Life On Drugs, Pointless Blather

Now and then, I’ve encountered people or situations where it seems like there is some mild taboo or shame about adoption. Or where being adopted is somehow considered to be unfortunate, or otherwise not so great.

I don’t have any such problems with it myself; it was never a secret in my family. I don’t remember being told I was adopted, it’s something I’ve always known. My folks never kept it secret so there was never any ‘shock’ or ‘surprise’ about it.

Some people might feel like it’s unfortunate to ‘have no history’ or not know ‘where you came from’, but I see that as an advantage, rather than a problem.

You see, where all the non-adopted people might know their family background and might be able to trace their family tree, the thing is, typically what they find is that their roots are normal, boring, and un-remarkable. Adoptees, on the other hand, have no such limiting ‘facts‘ and ‘evidence‘, and are therefore able to come up with whatever exciting and unique background that they want.

I, for example, am the secret love child of a european monarch and the descendant of an ancient Celtic demigod. At birth, a mysterious hidden society stole me away from the hospital, smuggled me into Canada, and used forged paperwork to turn me over to the CAS. They allowed the CAS to adopt me out to a normal family, but assigned a watcher to keep track of me over the years. I was to have been inducted into the society at age 21, but my watcher was unexpectedly killed in a tragic blimp accident, and the mysterious society lost track of me.

To this day, they continue to scour the earth trying to track me down. Meanwhile, the fabulous and mystical powers that are my birthright remain largely untapped…

Yet Another Lasers Post

Posted 2006.09.17 0.00 in Lasers

I was doing a bunch of cleaning and a little redecorating today, and for a break in the middle of it all, I made another high-power laser.

In this case, I took an old low-power laser pointer apart, removed the 2.5mW diode, hot-wired the driver board, and replaced the diode with a high-power diode from another DVD burner.

This pointer is old, more than 5 years, maybe as much as 10 years old. I know it cost me about $50, and it came from Radio Shack. But they don’t appear to sell anything like it any more. I like it though because of the tiny size, only 3 inches long and 1.5 inches wide. It runs on two AAA batteries, but they go in side-by-side.

Anyhow, now that it’s been pumped-up and had a diode transplant, it’s now pumping out about 100mW, as much as the low-end Pulsar. Enough to pop a balloon or light a match, with the help of a focusing lens. Without a focusing lens, it’s just a really, really, really bright laser pointer.

Update: As a pointer, this laser has a switch to select between dot and line. The line was produced by a little optic. I’ve removed that optic and replaced it with a focusing lens from a DVD player. Now, at the flick of a switch, I can select between well-collimated long-range dot, or close-up burning power. Now I’m thinking if only I could have put a 150mW diode in there instead of the 100mW, this could become my favorite pocket-laser.

Mini-Laser

Fun With Lasers

Posted 2006.07.27 0.00 in Lasers

Do you know that cheap DVD burners can be had for only $20 or $30, if you go to the right stores?
Do you know that inside a DVD burner is a powerful (40 – 100 mW / Class 3b) visible laser diode?
Do you know how much fun a 40 – 100 mW laser diode can be?

In the photo, from left to right: A collimator lense assembly, 5.6mm diameter. A Class 3b 650 nm laser diode and heat sink, ‘rescued’ from a DVD burner. A cheap tiny pocket laser pointer.

The 3b 650nm diode is a 5.6mm diameter and looks like it will fit the collimator assembly. The cheap pointer is there because its brother was sacrificed to provide the collimator.

I’ve already used this laser diode to burn holes through some black plastic. Without a collimator, the diode has to be right next to the plastic, but it still amazed me when it worked.

Tonight, I’ll be having fun tinkering, to get a working ‘pointer’ with the high powered diode.

Laser Bits