Tuesday, October 31, 2006

Power, what power?

This last week was a bad week for power outages. By the end of the week I was starting to feel like I had some kind of bad power karma. It started last weekend with a 2 hour power outage between midnight and about 2am at work which, for a change, were non events since the generator actually did what it was purchased to do. The problem was that I didn't know about the outage until monday morning when I arrived at work which means that the monitoring system ain't workin' like it ought to. Turned out that since we spent a good deal of the previous week putting the new switches into the server room the SNMP card in the UPS's hadn't been reset and because of this, it was refusing to notify anyone of mains power availability. Wierd I know but this is the way it works. Went out on tuesday night to Rosebank to see 'An Inconvenient Truth' which if you're a greenie you have got to see. On the other hand, if you are are an energy junkie then you REALLY have to go and see it. Got a bit schmaltzy in a couple of places which I didn't feel were required in order for Al Gore to make his point but on the whole, a pretty good movie and well worth watching. Back to my energy woes, about 30 minutes before the movie starts we were just finishing supper when, bang, darkness descended and when you're in a mall, it really is absolutely pitch black. Generators kicked in and the emergency lighting switched on so we could at least finish the dinner but alas, no movies tonight. Received two complimentary tickets instead which we had to use within 2 weeks which was pretty mean of them I thought. Had to call it quits for the evening since caron's favourite cave 'Exclusive Books' closed its doors the moment the power went of. Wednesday morning, up early to go to gym. Had a great ride although I really do prefer to be out on the road as I did on Tuesday morning. Got to the showers, that's strange, nobody else is showering. After a couple of minutes waiting for the hot water it became painfully apparent why. No friggin hot water and I do NOT like cold showers. I have had more than my fair share of cold showers but by this time it was a bit late; so cold it was. After the initial shock, it was vaguely pleasant in a sado machocistic kinda way. Thursday evening, we go out for supper and again, no electricity! This is starting to get like the racist joke about what did people used to using in Zambia before they had paraffin for lighting ... electricity of course. Since there wasn't any electricity, the range of dishes one could buy was somewhat diminished and I ended up have portuguese sardines which if you haven't had them, don't. Unless of course, you enjoy trying to separate a gazillion bones from the flesh. A very delicate operation and not entirely successful, had to chew really well to prevent some body piercing where I don't want it. Friday evening, tried the movies again without too much hope and wonder of wonders, electricity. The movie, of course, is basically about our excessive energy usage and the effect that the production of energy is having on the environment. From what I have experienced this week we ought to be well placed to sell some carbon credits since we never seem to have any to electricty to use ourselves. Saturday morning we drive down to the dam, switch on the lights in the caravan and blow me down. No electricity. What the expletive is going on! In one week, I experienced no less than 5 different power outages, all in different areas and on different power grids. I have to admit that the cold showers was actually scheduled maintenance as I found out afterwards and the caravan was simply because the switch board had tripped most likely due to a lightening strike which is a fairly common occurance. But still, three times in a week ... living in darkest africa is starting to take on some real meaning.

Had the most fantastic weekend after I had calmed down after the electricity fiasco. With the yacht still in Durban there was precious little to do, in fact, there was absolutely nothing to do except read which is what I did almost the entire weekend. Finished 'The God Delusion' which I thoroughly enjoyed and is recommended reading especially if you think you're not going to like it. I've handed it over to my father for a different, independent view point which I'm sure he'll enjoy sharing with me at some stage. On sunday afternoon I saw a rubber duck being launched and it all looked pretty normal until the crew member started to pump up the pontoons and I repeat, after it had already been launched. There is something deeply perturbing about starting the motor on an inflatable boat and driving out into the middle of the dam while the crew member furiously pumps away to prevent the boat deflating. Some people are just plain wierd.

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