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August 30, 2005

POWERLESSNESS

I apologize if this blog reeks of gasoline, but I've been refilling the generator tank. It's a pain, but I am not complaining, because without the generator, we would have no way to make a really loud noise right outside our kitchen window.

The generator has been running constantly for nearly a week now, so I worry about it. I listen to it the way you listen to the breathing of a sick child. Mostly it roars away, but every now and then it sort of coughs, making a noise that sounds like "whut," which makes me nervous. I have no idea how to fix a generator. All I know is it works via internal combustion, which has always struck me as an insane concept, all those explosions going on.

Anyway, when I am not pouring gasoline into the generator, I am out trying to find a place where I can buy gasoline for the generator. I just got some, and regret to report that gasoline now costs one million dollars. When I saw the total, I went, "Whut?"

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First?

Well...at least your can afford it.

For now.

Katrina is raining on us now. It is making the county fair parking lot into a quagmire. Instead of the normal dust covering of fair week on the van, I will have mud patties in my wheel wells. I don't care though because my afghan won the Best of Show ribbon! I didn't have time to do any cake decorating. Four kids seem to consume most of my waking hours.

I'm in SoCal Dave. Katrina made the sky dark here last night. Or was that just the night? Similarly, global warming has made it hot here this summer. I eagerly await global cooling to kick in for the winter.

Anyway, back on point. One thing you might try to solve your gas problem is siphoning. I requires a long tube and you have to get it started. You do this by sucking gasoline through the tube, but not getting it in your mouth. If you do end up with gas in your mouth, you'll understand why it's so expensive. The only thing stronger is Starbucks coffee.

congrats, j.r. !! i know how consuming four kids can be.... and my ex used to complain all the time when i neede MORE $$ for groceries. i always just told him "they're consumers...that's what they do, consume things like food, crayons, playdough etc..... ( did he think i was buying myself furs from needless mark-up aka nemun markus)

make that neamun markus. no really i meant target

Thank god I live in Seattle (motto: it really never rains here just dont tell that to California)

addicted: give me the possibilty of an earthquake any day over torrential rain every year and the hurricanes and tornado's you KNOW are comming

Generally, we like to surprise people, so we aren't big on advance warning. Our favorite trick is to disguise ourselves as a freight train just before flattening a trailer park.

I live in Southern Arizona.

We don't get hurricanes.
We don't get earthquakes.
We don't get tornadoes.
We might get rain (if we're good).

We do get plenty of fires and heat...

...I just realized that I live in Hell!

shadeboy, hell WITH icky bugs like scorpions and ugly lizards....yuk!! give me nice sunny central california gold country any day!!

You should count yourself lucky to have the generator! Families that don't have a generator have the kids take turns outside the kitchen window making generator noises. And if you think generators run out of gas quickly .....

Dave! You're in luck. I did my doctoral thesis on The Interpretation of Mechanical Noises and the Theoretical Ramifications of Necessity on Functionality. I found in my research that generators under duress in tropical climates respond to worry, necessity and mechanical incompetence in predictable language:

"Whiiiiiirrrrrr" = "I'm giving you false hope"

"Whut" = "Heh heh. You don't know how to fix me, and we both know it."

"WhappityWhappity" = "Yeah, read the instruction manual, sucker. WhappityWhappity isn't in there."

"ChingThunk" = "It is the dead of night, and you're losing sleep. I love my job."

"Griiinnnndd Phukawblip" = "There is a squirrel in my exhaust fan."

"BANG" = "I can't believe he had a handgun this whole time."

Hope this helps, Dave.

FD: That clears it right up. Thanks.

Off topic, but to the tune of the Official Worst Song in Dave's Book of Bad Songs:

Machado Lake is scary, that's no fake/
There's an alligator swimming 'round/
I don't think that I will go swim/
'Cause he might just chew off my limb/
And I'd never have that appendage again/
OH NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!

*ducks and covers*

From the swamps of Arkansas, Ivory Bill Woodpecker

Fed,

Thanks for the seltzer water I had to wipe off my monitor.

Dave, I went for 12 days with no power after Hurricaine Hugo a lot of years ago, and can say with confidence that I survived, although almost 2 weeks of no hot showers can wear on a person a bit.

Sthnbelle - to say nothing of the people around the person who's not showering!!

Sthnbelle, I once spent a summer in Kentucy up in the hills where the water smells like you are showering in a vat of rotten eggs. It is amazing how long you can use babywipes instead of showering.

Ooops, Kentucky. Sorry, just thinking about it again made me woozy.

Also off topic, but as long as I'm talking about songs and musicians that became famous in the '60s, Lesley Gore has a new album, "Ever Since" out at enginecompanyrecords.com; I took a chance and bought it, and I think it's quite cool. You can hear the title song for free at the website I just mentioned.

You don't own ME, either, Ivory Bill Woodpecker

Fortunately for those around me it wasn't 2 weeks without a shower.

Unfortunately for me, it was 2 weeks without a HOT shower.

My condolences and prayers to those in affected areas - I know it ain't fun!

Sadly, you will soon have to sell the generator to pay for the gasoline. Then you'll have to sell the children to pay for the generator. Its a vicious cycle...

Maybe just call it camping and give up. Fish can live a long time in unfiltered water. Trust me.

I am worried abotu Judy. How is she handling the lack of power and the lack of postings of her with a petrified walrus penis (which you can buy in Alaksa for $50)

Addicted, why would you want a petrified walrus penis? What kind of power does that show anyway? The walrus was petrified! Couldn't you find a calm, cool, manly walrus and get its penis? Even if you had to pay $75, it would be totally worth it to get the right one. And the walrus would have $75 to spend on a new igloo.

I'd have had a few other four-letter words to go with "Whut" there, Dave!

i'm in upstate ny. yes, it is hot and muggy for the summer... 6 weeks. and we do have those blizzards. but i'll keep em thanks.

I'm not sure that I would keep the lovely Lake Erie effect, but we do have nice weather for 4 or 5 days each season. This past week was quite pleasant.

Regular unleaded gas is $1.79 a gallon in my hometown today. I think that's the most expensive I've ever seen it (here. I've seen much worse while visiting Portland). Let's have a comparative complaint fest here. Who's gotta pay the most?

ncc1701~ I lived in Kentucky for a year. You're preaching to the choir. But they should bottle my current hometown's tap water. It's quite good. Oh, wait. They already do.

I filled up for $2.89 last week (and that was the low-end unleaded -- the expensive stuff is well over $3 at most stations)

Dave, you have to replace the hamsters every 40,000 miles.

Typo. Crap. $2.79, I meant. My brain was trying to think on better days.

Report from Atlanta where gas is a cheap $2.56, but only by comparison: We're probably 450 miles from where Katrina came ashore but we have had high winds, tornado warnings, and heavy rain since mid-day Monday. As far as I know there has been no significant damage around here - a few trees down and storm debris.

Dave, your best bet is to get one of those low interest disaster loans and invest it in higher ground property.

Bumble, thanks for the clarification, I was just about to hop in the car and come where you live. Gas here is 2.80 this morning. Was 2.63 last night.

Dave and bloglits, thanks for the wonderfully funny stories.

Assuming judi doesn't have a generator, are you letting her stay at your place? Hope she and her famous prop are OK. And do remember that beer and Tequila can make even Krakatoa brand generators sound like purring kitties.

Putting the local news spin on the hurricane news, even Chicago is effected [affected? Who (whom?) knows English here?] by Katrina. This is the second time this summer (and probably ever) we've been brushed by hurricane remnants.

So someone who's not very funny, namely me, has to remind everyone to donate to the American Red Cross. An awful lot of people have lost everything and have a terribly long hard road ahead. The Red Cross can help A LOT.

Filled 'er up at 2.51 yesterday... my parents are well above 3.00 now

I got you all beat! Coming back to Northern California From Disneyland, I stopped at the bottom of the Grapevine and paid $2.98 /gal for regular unleaded, premium was up to $3.19 /gal. Unfortunately my idiot light was on so I HAD to pay it. It's highway robbery I tell ya!

Can you buy another couple generators that are a different pitch so you can have harmony?

Dave, check the generator again. Based on a quick internet search, I think it's supposed to look like this.

Or, maybe it's supposed to look like this. Make sure you have a guy in a blue shirt watching the operation, or the guy on the left may take too long a break.

I hope you're following the manual that came with your new generator, Dave. You've got to change the oil at specific intervals, right? Be sure you do that. When this is over, look into one of the automatic, propane-powered generators that power your whole home, including the central air. I've been busy installing one made by Generac at my Dad's house in Okeechobee. Two hurricanes last Sept made us see the light...a month and a half without power.

Ideally, you want this guy in his blue shirt watching your generator.

Hey Dave, you and the family (and Judi, especially if she brings our favorite accessory) are welcome to stay at our place. Here in Colorado we don't have hurricanes, earthquakes, tornadoes, tidal waves, or alligator infestations, and I just bought gas for $2.51.

The crickets were noisy last night though, and a coyote ate the nieghbor's cat. Wait, is that a good thing or a bad thing?

I didn't think I'd start talking about "the good old days" for at least another 20 years, but once, shortly after I got my license, I got gas for $.99 a gallon. Didn't stay that low long, though. I remember thinking once that $1.29 was high.

Jeez, we lose power here about twice a week. I'm having to buy two of everything that runs on electricity, the duplicate runs on gas. Did you know espresso was made for decades on the stovetop? Italy still makes the coolest stovetop espresso machines.

Fortunately, the power's usually off for only an hour or so. But, about once a month, we don't have power for 8 - 24 hours. Ya get used to it. And buy only the best refrigerators. My ice is still frozen solid after 8 hours without power.

$2.51 last night at the cheapest place in town (Richmond, VA) But it's up in the 2.70's now

Prices in Cedar Rapids, IA:

Gas: $2.59/gallon
Milk: $2.37/gallon
Pepsi: $2.00/gallon (a 12 pack [144 oz.] is $2.25)

Brad, if you had to give up your oosik, you'd be petrified too.

PS: Ivory Bill Woodpecker and the Petrified Oosiks WBAGNFARB.

I feel for that walrus with the petrified penis. Maybe it could go to a tupperware party & find a tight seal.

shadeboy - whut are the odds dave would have 2 blogers (ok, one blogger, one blurker) both in sierra vista???? normal reaction when I tell people where I live is.... ?????HUH??? on a serious note - folks, if you can donate to help the katrina victims - please do. and if you are there, stay safe. <<>

note to katrina: DOUBLE BOOGER!

Ocassionaly, Dave makes me laugh like a little schoolgirl.

duh..... it was supposed to say double bracket "end of serious junk" double bracket. so much for genius computer guru's after they OD on work.

Sondra,

Where do you live:

a) early 1900s?
b) next to a power plant (irony check)?
c) rural China?

just wondering :)
I've never heard of such a situation in these United States.

Oodlum - it's not nice to make a person spit oatmeal and yoghurt at their monitor. (This is why I don't eat more healthy food; it's too sticky.)In future, prior to making a comment of a similar degree of humorousness, kindly post a warning.

Dave - "Whut" is exactly what you want your generator to be saying. This is the sign of a generator in peak operating condition. I'm an electrical engineer, so you can believe me. (Did I spell engineer right? How about electrical?)

This exactly why we need to explore the power source that is penguins........

They're reasonably clean burning also.......

Morgana,
Sondra (a Texas native) lives in Panajachel, Guatemala where she has recently bought the El Chisme restaurant and is in the process of updating and redecorating. (The summer storms are doing their best to delay the reopening)

A few weeks ago, I was in Delhi, India for vacation. Power doesn't always work, so some nights I fell asleep to the sound of generators running outside my hotel. Generators, hot humid weather, it felt just like home, sometimes I had to check and make sure that I actually was in India and not South Florida during hurricane season.

Massachusetts gas: $2.66
Fuel oil for the furnace (to heat the water): $2.60

Hang in there, Dave.

Our latest gas prices can be seen on a sign here. (scroll down a little).

Don't worry yourself, Dave. If it breaks down, you can simply remove the housing with an 8mm allen wrench, detatch the shaft cam, and manually turn the oscillating manfibrilator rapidly in a counterclockwise direction.

This won't generate electricity per se, but you'll pass out almost immediately.

I regret to report that gasoline now costs one million dollars. When I saw the total, I went, "Whut?"

Dear Dave,
If you're short on money, maybe now would be a good time to come out of hiatus and get back to work.
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Filled up two gas cans for my lawn mower in spring when gas was peaking at $1.89. It's now $2.59/reg and up to $2.99/premium (D/FW).

$2.99 for the cheap (ha) stuff in the 'burbs of Philly

Dave,

I always appreciate your humor. I find this gasoline thing sickening.

Thanks Cyn,

I didn't know the history. Sondra: Espero que usted restaurante sea muy exitoso!

* * *
After seeing these poor people up on the overpass in New Orleans, with no one giving them water, I have lost my confidence that we are a super power anyway.

I heard gas is going to go up to $4. I guess we will all have to telecommute like Dave from now on!

Sorry to be so grumpy, watched too much cable news !

Dave Barry has come a long way since his salad days at the DLN in West chester Pa1

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