Kevin Standlee (kevin_standlee) wrote,
Kevin Standlee
kevin_standlee

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The Blustery Day

The trip up to Oregon was uneventful. My train was on time, there was an AirBART bus waiting at the station as I came down from the overpass that connects the BART and Amtrak stations, and getting checked in and through security was routine. Would that all travel was that easy.

The weather up in Oregon was cold and dry, with a lot of wind blowing down off the mountains. We had a slightly bumpy ride on the descent into PDX, although nowhere near the most white-knuckled flight I've ever had. We were about 30 minutes late (late inbound equipment), which meant I was around 45 minutes later than expected out to Washington Park MAX station. Fortunately, Lisa had brought her friend Scott Sanford with her to the video show, and he kept her company until I got there. (Lisa says that she managed to remain calm when several of the video vendors did all of their "selling" to Scott even though Tsuki Systems is actually Lisa's company -- technically, I'm the registered owner, but Lisa does all of the work -- and she just invited Scott to tag along for the free lunch.) This was a deferred Valentine's Day, so I took Lisa do dinner at Red Lobster, which we both like, although we both commented that we'd eaten way too much. I took a blood sugar reading and was surprised that it was within normal range.

When we got home to Mehama, the wind was really starting to howl, which made for a somewhat restless and uncomfortable night. Lisa has built a shelter for the trailer, made out of metal piping and covered with plastic. This keeps rain (and pine needles) off the trailer. It is reasonably well reinforced with cross-braces, but it can only be tied off to nearby trees and buildings on three corners. On the fourth, there is no place to which we could tie it. A logical tie-down point would lead to a rope stretched across a sidewalk, where it would almost certainly "clothesline" someone, particularly at night. So when the wind whipped up like that, the shelter started to act as a sail, and certain gusts would cause the shelter to sway so violently that it banged against the trailer. I tried pushing the shelter this way myself the next day, and couldn't do it, which shows me how much force was in that wind.

The power failed on Thursday night, which is not surprising given the wind conditions blowing things down all over the place. As I've mentioned in the past, this isn't super-critical for us, as we do have battery power for lights, and the water pump, and we use propane for heat and refrigeration (the latter only when the groundside 110V isn't available). We had lights and heat, so we didn't worry much about it. The power came back after a while, and we went to bed early, as we'd both had a very early start that day.

Late that night, I woke up with my CPAP machine not pushing air through me. Not surprisingly, this made it hard enough to breathe that I woke up. Lisa woke up as I fumbled with the mask. "Oh, the power's gone out again." The 110V lines were out, and the CPAP isn't so vital as to justify cranking up the inverter that turns battery power into 110VAC. I took off my CPAP mask and we went back to sleep.

When we woke up, the power was still out. We managed to get our day together, however, and headed out to do some errands, such as refilling one of the two bottles of propane. We used to do this at the local gas station, which is only a couple hundred meters away; however, Lisa got fed up with them violating basic safety procedures, including allowing people to smoke around the gas and propane pumps, that she won't deal with them anymore and we take the bottles into Salem as part of our grocery shopping trips.

On Friday afternoon, Lisa sent me over to her father's house so I could check mail. I had around fifty or so pieces of "real" (non spam) mail, many of which were "read-and-delete" or "read-and-file," but a fair number of which needed a reply. I dealt with most of the replies, and started to work on something for CWSFA (Calgary Westercon), when the power glitched again, to the sound of a loud BOOM in the distance that suggested that a transformer had blown up somewhere nearby. That's no problem for the laptop, which of course has batteries, but naturally the internet connection dropped. Fortunately, I wasn't actively doing anything at the time. The power came right back on, and my father-in-law's network came back to life, but we couldn't raise an internet feed. Looked like his ISP was down. Oh, well, nothing so vital that it couldn't wait, but that's why this is a backdated LJ entry being written on Saturday evening; I would have composed this on Friday but couldn't do so without an internet connection. I closed down everything and went back to the trailer.

I have no easy way of watching broadcast or cable TV while I'm here, so I've missed all of the Olympic stuff. I did hear secondhand that snowboard-cross was well-received. That's the only one of the "hot dog" sports so far that sounds promising to me, because it's timed, not judged.
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