Monday, January 02, 2006


Originally uploaded by tardigrade.

It is cold and rainy. I am not sure how folks can sit out in the rain to watch the Rose Parade every year - but they do. This is the first year in 51 years that it has rained on the parade. It didn't just sprinkle, it poured. And after the parade - every year - the City people from the Water and Power folks to the Trash collectors to the Sewer Maintenance all have to pick up, tear down, re-wire, fix, you name it because of the influx of a few more million people in this small town. The trash is particularly disgusting.

At 3:30 p.m. we had a small electrical outage in my neighborhood. Damn! I was working on something on the computer and while fixing a cup of green tea (and to do some thinking) BLIP! So, I rebooted my Mac....
Then again, at 4 p.m. the power went out on the entire street again. The sky was so dark it could have been night. The rain was getting monotonous. I could see there were flashing lights up the street near the main pole. I decided I could go to some store or another (but wasn't interested), sit in the dark, try to read by candle and flashlight, or go out and watch the guys fix the power. I chose mixing with the power folks.

Fred, the cat, seems to have a penchant for tripping me while I walk to the back door... and in the dark he's got his technique for maximum effect. When I was a kid I used to walk around in my dark room to see if I could remember where things were and could get around as if I were blind. My mother never understood why I like to bumble about in a dark room.... I suspect it must have seemed peculiar. I never ran into things - much. However, the practice in my ill spent youth allowed me to find, in a dark closet with lights, my tripod and my camera and I was able to attach the two together. Fred stayed inside while I went to schmooz with Pasadena Water and Power Maintenance Crew.

There were five trucks two of which had 'buckets' one of which was headed for the top of the electrical post. The heavy winds and rains caused the tall palm trees to drop their heavy palm fronds, The fronds have huge serrated stems and one was straddling all four wires. There was a pile of them just at the bottom of the pole.

Several of the guys were actively watching the workers in the bucket and so I thought I would ask a few questions about the procedure for fixing the downed line. They were happy to talk about what they were doing. One of the guys n the bucket took a pole and shoved the frond off the wire and the wires arched.

Then I asked if Pasadena's power plant at the end of the Pasadena Freeway produced enough power for the whole city. One of the guys seemed very interested in describing how our City gets power. Apparently, our fair City helped another or more... fair cities build their large power plants in Oregon, Utah, Nevada,... gosh, I wonder where else?... so we can buy power from them. The Old Pasadena Power Plant was just too small to produce power for the numbers of new households in the city. As I listened I wondered if and when those other Cities would get too big for their britches... and where would we ALL get our power from?

Like a pyramid game, there comes a time when we can't get any bigger. In fact bigger is not better. Growth becomes a reallllllly bad thing. Sustainability, or worse, stasis will be the word of the day.... Now, that many of us are starting to contemplate a time when oil will not flow like water, and cities will have to be self supporting. Suburbia and all that goes with it will be the monstrosity it really is. Individuals owning cars filling up every open space on the surface of ground will be ridiculous.... and all of this could come rather suddenly... Roger Rabbit will fold his arms and say "THee, I told you so!"

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