“If you must find your own path, and we have left you no easy path, then decide now to choose the hard path that leads to the life and the world that you want.” -Stephen Colbert, American comedian
The San Fernando Valley in California where I live experienced a blackout last night beginning at about 8:15. All the power in my house went off as I was watching Jeopardy. I have a flashlight nearby so I thought I was prepared. But not for the annoyance and discomfort. I have little lights plugged in, in both my living room and bedroom, to come on if the power goes off. Neither came on. I picked up my flashlight, made sure it was working and looked for a substitute light. Nothing was available except candles. I didn’t really want to use candles, but I had no other choice. But then my matches seemed to disappear. I could not find any. Just try to find something when it’s pitch dark. Not very easy.
By now, it is too dark to see without the flashlight. I found a second flashlight to carry just in case the batteries in the first went dead on me.
My phone was also not in service.
Thank goodness for my daughter, Circe, who takes care of me and my computer. She had provided me with a back-up telephone that I could take when I go out so that if I had to call the auto club I would have a phone. I also use it to call her since she lives out of my phone number area.
By now, it is pitch black dark in my house. I need the flashlight to go one step. Every single appliance in my house requires an electric connection. I cannot have even a cup of coffee. And it’s too early to go to bed, too dark to read, and no computer or television. I cannot read by the flashlight and I am bored, and annoyed.
Finally, after talking with my daughter and learning that the power outage is in a huge area, caused by a fire in a DWP facility, it is not going to be restored anytime soon, I decided to just go to bed.
Consequently, I woke up very early this morning. I am going to search for matches, find them and put them in a place where I can see them and also try to figure out why the devices I had plugged in to give me light in an emergency didn’t work.
This was my first experience with a black-out, but it could happen again. I need to be better prepared.
“Plan for what is difficult while it is easy, do what is great while it is small.” – Sun Tzu
“Evil is easy and has infinite forms.” – Blaise Pascal
“There is nothing so easy but that it becomes difficult when you do it reluctantly.” – Terrence, Ancient Roman playwrite
My life as an Insomniac
For as long as I can remember I have had trouble falling asleep. In fact, my mother used to tell folks that when I was a baby she would come in to check on me before going to bed and my eyes would be open. She never turned the light on so I was just lying there in the dark, awake in my crib.
As I grew older I didn’t much think about it. I would go to bed and go to sleep. Just that easy. But getting married and having responsibilities must have awakened those very early sleep patterns. I just don’t get sleepy at bedtime. In fact I have stayed awake, reading a book until the wee hours and was still not sleepy.
I have tried several different types of sleep aids including prescriptions, over the counter pills, and even liquor. For many years I had a small drink of a favorite alcohol, such as rum, on going to bed. That seemed to work best.
Lately I discussed this with my doctor who gave me a sleep aid, clonazepam. This is not really a sleeping pill. It is supposed to relax you and make you drowsy. Falling asleep is still up to me. I took this pill for several years and found that it caused excess saliva which created much distress. It was embarrassing in public and at night made my pillows wet.
Finally my doctor gave me a sample pill called Roserem. This, too, is not a sleeping pill as such, but a relaxing aid. However I experienced waking up many times all during the night. It can also cause a very upsetting action in which you get out of bed without being fully awake and do an activity that you do not know you are doing. I had this happen. The morning after I took the pill I came into my den to log on to my computer. I glanced to the left of my desk and my extension phone was missing. I searched high and low without finding it and was expecting to have to purchase a new one. Later in the day I took a waste basket outside to empty it and saw my phone on the pavement. I haven’t taken a second Roserem pill since.
I am weaning myself away from the clonazepam because I hate the drooling. I purchased an over the counter sleep aid, Unisom, to help me get to sleep. It doesn’t work any better, but with a small drink of rum I go bye-bye. However, you would not believe the dreams! They cover every imaginable activity I have ever experienced as well as some I’ve never encountered. And they go on all night long. I wake up a couple of times during the night but usually can go back to sleep most of the time. One night last week I woke at 2am and was not able to get back to sleep. Finally, at 5am I got up and stayed up the rest of the day. Didn’t even get a nap.
Several years ago I made a short trip to Illinois to visit my grandson and his girl friend. My daughter was with me and we spent the 2 nights we were there in the friend’s guest bedroom. I had conferred with my former doctor before the trip and he gave me a prescription for 2 pills of Ambien. I took one as I crawled into bed and within 5 minutes I was out. I had no dreams and no sensation of time having passed when I woke. It was wonderful. When I tried to get a full prescription for the Ambien I was not able to. The company was having some problem with the drug and it wasn’t available. I still haven’t been able to get it.
I’m sure others have similar problems and hope that they have found help in some form. I would love to hear of success.
“There is always an easy solution to every human problem—neat, plausible, and wrong.”
H.L Mencken, American author and humorist
Education is the best protection against computer infection.
My very talented daughter, Circe, has just created a handy book in which you can keep your computer site passwords. The title is “ Keys to the Door” and there are 2 sizes. One is letter size, 8-1/2”x11” and the other is 6”x9” titled “Handy Keys to the Door”. Both books contain the same information and are easy to use and keep safe.
These books were created as a companion to those who understand the importance of computer security. 17 pages in the larger book have several lines and spaces for the date, e-mail or website, user name and password. She recommends you write in pencil so changes can be made easily. Spaces are also available in which to write the answers to your security questions.
The book she gave me is beginning to be filled up. I can now dispose of the bits of paper and scribbled notes I can hardly read, much less find, and locate my password book in seconds. I entered my passwords alphabetically so it is easy to find the site I want. I put 2 letters, more or less, on each page. If you prefer you could enter yours by subject matter. The choice is up to you.
Circe is well qualified to produce these books. She is an experienced computer security advocate as well as a speaker on this subject and other computer information. Her membership in Toastmasters allows her to educate her audience on many subjects. Her speaking biography can be seen on the Qualified Speakers of District 52, Toastmasters website: http://district 52speakersbureau.com/qualified-speakers-of-district-52/. The website for her computer security information is http://malwaretruth.com.
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