Monday, December 9, 2013

Many Are Cold, But Few Are Frozen

obama, obama jokes, name in snow, stilton jarlsberg, ice, storm, conservative, texas, hope n' change, hope and change

We're taking a snow day today, owing to the circumstances described above. A major ice storm hit north Texas last Thursday and knocked out our electricity and heat for 44 hours. This was amusing for about the first 15 minutes, but after the first full day (and interminable, freezing night) the Jarlsberg family found itself drifting toward Donner Party territory.

The thick ice-covered roads wouldn't allow an escape attempt, and the temperature inside our home eventually dropped into the 30's (it seems that Al Gore's promise that "if you like global warming, you can keep it" was as big a whopper as anything Obama has been saying).

And although everything isn't always about politics,  I've got to truthfully admit that in some ways my dark, frostbite-inducing home made me start drawing metaphorical comparisons to Obama's America: the familiar became unfamiliar, the safe became unsafe, and of course - there was nowhere to hide from the encroaching darkness and soul-deadening chill.

Eventually, in the dark of the third night, the electricity popped back on, and my family was magically transformed into the Amish in Wonderland - happily turning on electrical appliance with delight, wonder, and a sense of awe. Miracles! And heat!

Frankly, the whole situation was physically and emotionally draining enough that I just didn't have the marbles to make a standard post today. I'm still trying to get my mind out of survival mode and get it back into "life as usual" mode.

By which I mean I'll go back to worrying about Obama's healthcare plan killing me eventually, instead of worrying about Jack Frost killing me today.

Hawaiians have no idea what "yellow snow" is.


Bruce O'Hara said...

Donner Party territory says it all. I'm glad your juice FINALLY came back on !!!
Stay warm good Jarlsberg family !

Steve Burri said...

I hate it when that happens, but I'm also very thankful for those guys who go out in that weather and fix it.

You can tell that Obama didn't grow up in a cold weather area 'cause one of the first things you learn is 'Don't eat yellow snow!'

Jim Hlavac said...

Well, Stilt, as I've been saying to my Texan and other Southern friends, these past few days have been "Trust a Yankee Week" -- I've had to give directions on how to drive and survive to many folks down there that I know one way or the other. Glad to see you made it through.

Anonymous said...

And now you know why Preppers prep.

If you have a detached house as home, a 2,500 to 3,500 watt generator keeps a natural gas heating system going, as well as the computer, TV, refrigerator and some lights.

A small mobile space heating which uses the RV-size propane bottles is indeed a good thing, even in an apartment.


Best regards,


Bruce Bleu said...

We have been having some rather frigid weather in Colorado too. The last 4 days have been "highs in single digits, and lows in minus double digits". Today it's forecast to be 15 deg. as a high. You can't imagine how excited we were to hear the temperature was going to be 14 higher than lamont's I.Q.
I can really relate to what Bruce O'Hara alluded to... "Donner party, table for 87", Alferd Packer party, table for 1". It has been colder than Hillary Clinton's bra lately, (a "witches ti..."... well, you get the idea), and colder than I've ever ridden my motorcycle, (6 below zero... SIGNIFICANT shrinkage!)
BTW, a friend of mine said that style of "writing in the snow" was called "shnabe runs", and there is amateur competition in Lake Tahoe.

John the Econ said...

Ice storms are the worst, and we're glad you survived, @Stilton. But I have to wonder how many of your "green" neighbors found joy in their temporary suspension of their "carbon footprint"? Reality frost-bites!

It's experiences such as yours that should remind people of what life would be like without solid infrastructure. This is poignant, because for all of the talk that the left spews on "our failing infrastructure", their core agenda is all about doing everything to destroy it. Instead of expanding our capabilities, they seek to limit them. The much ballyhooed "Smart grid" is being approached not as a plan to make our grid more capable, but as a mechanism to selectively cut off users during times of expected shortages for when the wind does not blow, and the sun does not shine. Industrial "visionaries" such as Steve Jobs are designing industrial facilities with independent power supplies. Before his death, Steve Jobs made it very clear to the Cuppertino city council when he said that when the power goes out, his people cannot work and he loses money. Is the power in Cuppertino really that bad, or is it expected to be?

What do they know that you should?

The next Econ household will have redundant power for this eventuality, or inevitability.

Meanwhile, have you all heard that the Antarctic sea ice (which was supposed to be gone by now) is now at a 35-year high? And the polar ice cap, (which was supposed to be gone by now) has grown 29% this year?

I didn't think so.

Anonymous said...

You just lived through the unstated 'green' agenda; freeze in the dark.
Gives appreciation to our ancestors who lived that way , and understanding for their desire to move above that as a standard.

Emmentaler Limburger said...

Shoot? 30°? Should be palm trees and coconuts at 30°. You need ta come up ta da Nort, here, and harden y'self against such balmy weather :)

Really, though: I feel your pain. It really sucks to lose power and suddenly realize how little control you actually exert over just about everything we take for granted.

And, since I so rarely get by here anymore (busier than a double amputee in a pogo-stick test facility), let me wish you a belated Happy Thanksgiving, and an early Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!

Why so busy? Huge changes, and lots of work in the cycle plan, not enough boots on the ground, and not many candidates looking for work. Scary, that. These are high-paying engineering jobs, and we're having difficulty filling them. Has this liberal society lulled so many into believing that the Gummint will give them what they need that they're not even interested in jobs that pay very near $100G to start? Albeit, they do suck - take you away from your friends and family for years at a time, and subject you to a lot of stress, and some emotionally nastiness - but they are great, high paying jobs! I can't even blame Ă˜bamacare as, so far, the Company is not threatening to dump what pitiful coverage they've been providing (for a lesson in just how far down a white-collar autoworker's "Cadillac" benefits have slid over the years: our healthcare policies pass the Ă˜bamacare test...). This is a flat out case of "we don't want that job".

On the brighter side, Mrs. Limburger is back to work after a six month bout of unemployment, so things are looking a little brighter on the immediate horizon, and I can scrap my plan to sell my organs in order to feed the family (Phew! I still need 'em...). Too, the nose of the family's financial plane looks to be pulling up "just in time".

Again - a Merry and Blessed Christmas to all of the Hope n' Change crew.

Freddie Sykes said...

If you dipped it in the water and wiggled it like a worm, I am sure you could catch at most one fish with you pecker. My advice, save it for a real emergency!

Stilton Jarlsberg said...

@Bruce O'Hara- Thank you!

@Steve Burri- Although today's commentary was an exercise in self-pity, I do want to say that the utility crews working to restore power have done an incredible job. The last update I heard said that 14,000 Texans are still without power - but initially it was 270,000.

@Jim Hlavac- My best suggestion for how to drive under these conditions is "don't drive under these conditions." You may be able to negotiate with snow, but when the roads are sheer ice, your personal caution means almost nothing: the dumbest other driver on the road and Newton's laws of motion will join forces to make you their bitch.

@Desertrat- Thanks for the advice. You can believe that I'm already actively looking for such emergency devices. I'm curious about what sort of venting the propane systems would require - but now that my close personal friend "The Internet" is back, I'll find out.

@Bruce Bleu- I doubt I could ever compete in the shnabe runs, because I don't really like beer enough to have sufficient ink in my pen. So to speak.

@John the Econ- EX-cellent point about the importance of solid infrastructure. This takes me to one of my HUGE pet peeves - the vulnerability of our nation's electric grid to EMP (electromagnetic pulse) attack - or natural occurrences like solar flares. With one freaking nuclear missile launched from just offshore and detonated a few miles up, North Korea, Iran, or some other whackjob could basically take down America's electricity for years. The number of deaths would be cataclysmic, and you could stick a fork in the United States - we'd be done.

"Hardening the grid" to protect from EMP would cost less than Obama gave Solyndra to piss away, enhance national security, and create thousands of real jobs right now. But there seems to be no political will to do so. Damnit.

@Anonymous- I'll admit I wasn't feeling very "green" by the second day. Filthy coal power? Bring it on! Fracking? Frack, yes!

And yes, I do have great admiration for those previous generations who didn't have our luxuries - and worked to change that for our benefit.

@Emmentaler- Good hearing from you, and I'm glad that the Limburger family is going counter-cultural by actually working for money. It is scary when good jobs go begging, and I think it's indicative of a mindset in which work is no longer the norm or, for many, even a goal.

And here's hoping that you can drop by HnC again before Christmas. We'll keep a chair open for you close to our propane-fueled emergency heater.

@Freddie Sykes- All I can say is if I dipped it in ice cold water, that fish had better have really, really good eyesight.

Colby said...

Glad to hear you're not freezin' your pecker off anymore, or any other body parts for that matter. Here in NC, we have at least one outage every winter due to ice storms, so Mrs. Colby and I have a big ol' wood stove in the basement to keep us toasty in the winter. And with a little practice with iron cookwear, you can even do a fair job of making hot meals on it. Chili is at it's best when cooked over a wood fire!

That being said, during my years of experience building energy efficient houses, I learned a few useful things. The local mega hardware store will happily sell you a set of "unvented" gas logs that will keep a room or two cozy warm. Beware! The more accurate description would be "house vented" logs. These buggers still put out carbon monoxide, and I personnly would never install them without a vent of some sort. If you absolutely have no way of providing some sort of chimney or vent to the outdoors, at least invest in a good quality CO detector!

@Bruce Bleu,
We used to be neighbors (somewhat). I grew up in SE Wyoming, and can recall experiencing 30 below more than once! What part of Colorado?

CenTexTim said...

Stilt - I feel your pain. It's as cold as my ex-wife's heart in our part of Texas. But at least we have a fireplace and plenty of firewood and 'coffee'.

Stay warm, my friend...

TheOldMan said...

Start with (no I don't work there). I had a 4kw for almost 20 years but with a bigger house, spouse, children, etc... it was time to power up. I bought a 8.5kw (13kw burst) with electric start about six years ago. It cost about $1200 including delivery! It weighs ~120-150 lbs and has wheels. I can run three refrigerators, three propane furnaces, lights, computers, propane range, etc... Very important to put your delicate electronics on UPS because generator power is typically not very "clean". Living way up in the mountains, we always have plenty of gas in storage. If you are a flatlander with natgas available, that is a better option. Forget about autostart, there is no point running a generator at 02:00 and it will irritate the neighbors. Get manual transfer switches.

Stilton Jarlsberg said...

@Desertrat- As a follow-up, I've now got a propane space heater winging its way to me, and I'll be stocking up on propane cylinders when I can get out to Wally World. Thanks again for the tip!

@Colby- Ooooh, a basement with a wood stove. I'm envious! Regarding the unvented gas logs, we've got a gas fireplace with fake logs and used it as our only (miserable) heat source. There are pipe configurations which can be used to pump more heat into the room, and I'm looking into them.

I'm very wary of carbon monoxide and so will have detectors going if I use any emergency heat source.

@CenTexTim- "Coffee" played a key role in our survival.

@TheOldMan- Thanks for the recommendation; I'll check it out. I'm thinking that 2014 is going to be my year for getting better prepared for emergencies of all kinds (like, finally getting a tornado shelter of some sort).

Fortunately, I already have a rechargeable chainsaw on a 9-foot pole, so I'm prepared for Zombie attacks.

Bruce Bleu said...

Sounds like you were in Cheyenne! Ambient temp of -10 with a gentle breeze of 67 MPH.
I'm in the Colorado Springs area, home of Michelle Malkin.

Colby said...

Yes, I am a filty, planet destroying animal. I kill trees then burn them to keep myself warm. But, (for all you libtard lurkers out there), if I do this for the rest of my life, I still will not dump the amount of carbon into the atmosphere that BO dumps in one trip to Martha's Vinyard.

@Bruce Bleu,
Close.... Torrington, WY. I know all about the "gentle breezes" in WY (where the trees only have branches on one side).

My nephew, Sam owns an awesome car audio business in Colo. Springs called EAS (Elite Auto Salon), on Victor Street or something like that. Stop by and tell him uncle Rick said "hey." And since he has two uncle Ricks, I'm the one from NC.

Bruce Bleu said...

I think that's where the east-side Hardly-Davidson [sic] dealership is/was. I might stop by today and say "hi".

John the Econ said...

@Stilton, few appreciate the implications of a solar mass ejection similar to the one that took place in 1859. Such solar storms are not uncommon, and it's only a matter of time before one happens that is again directed towards earth.

In 1859, the only "high tech" infrastructure in existence was the telegraph. Sparks flew from telegraph poles and some lines even caught fire. Lloyd's of London estimates that the cost of such an event today to the world economy would be at least $2.6 trillion.

Oh, by the way, have you heard that the sun's magnetic field may be ready to flip?

It could happen sooner than you think!

Generators are great, but keep in mind the amount of fuel that it takes to run them for anything more than a short-term outage. It's tough for most people to store enough gasoline to run a generator for more than a few days.

The Econ family's next house will have a natural gas powered generator, which can run indefinitely. However, if we were to have a worst-case scenario like the 1859 event, it's likely that the infrastructure that keeps the natural gas flowing would eventually fail as well. It will be very difficult for most to escape the dark ages indefinitely.

Stilton Jarlsberg said...

@Bruce Bleu- Just hearing that low temperature and high wind makes me shudder.

@Colby- You're right; it's pretty hard to imagine that any of us mere mortals is leaving as big a carbon footprint as those left by the people lecturing us about climate change.

@John the Econ- See, THIS is what drives me crazy: solar storms are happening ALL THE TIME, and right now our defense against disaster is to shrug our shoulders and say "glad THAT one missed us!" But one of these days, we will be in the crosshairs, and our electronic lifestyle will come to an abrupt and unnecessary end. People will freeze, or expire from the heat. They will not have food or water. Not for hours or days, but for months or years.

And hardening our grid would NOT be expensive. ARGH!

By the way, not only are the Sun's magnetic poles about to shift, so are the Earth's. Unless, of course, Obama issues a presidential directive stating "if you like your current magnetic poles, you can keep them."

Regarding generators, I don't have one yet but am more seriously thinking about such at the moment. But you're right - they're only a solution for a day or two. That natural gas-powered generator sounds like a good way to go.

John the Econ said...

Actually @Stilton, the solar storms are not happening so much right now, which is perhaps why we're experiencing "climate change" in the form of "global cooling". It seems that discounting the variability of the massive fusion generator a mere 1AU away totally screws up the "settled science" behind what was formerly known as "global warming".

And yes, the earth's magnetic poles have been shifting at an accelerated rate over the last several decades; something else that gets discounted in "climate science".

You see, unless it can be somehow connected to human behavior, today's "scientists" aren't all that interested in it anymore. And they keep making fools of themselves.

In the meantime, perhaps this will warm your imagination of a warmer climate:

PRY said...

The weather has just been a public service announcement from God...who reminds us that the reality of life is...NONE of us is in control down here!

TheOldMan said...

I also have a gasoline siphon and three cars. So I can siphon a max of 70 gallons (keep at least one gallon in each car so we can refuel). Even after the Loma Prieta earthquake, I could drive out of the mountains to a fuel ramp after three days. Also you do not need to run your generator full time. We typically run it for about 2 hours at a time. It's enough time to chill the fridges, do some computer work, run the furnaces way high, etc... Then wait 3-4 hours and do it again. We also have an efficient firebox and keep several cords of wood.