Minding the Dark

‘09 Will Be Fine

Despite a 1931 lifestyle, the last year had its moments, and on top of that the heat is back on. Unitheism is taking hold— at least two or three people visited the site this year (even if only to gawk at the spacemaids) and better yet the universal faith symbol itself (faithsymbol.org) is starting to take off.

The symbol is free for nonprofits, and Car Series paintings are still a bargain even if a bit steep for the Paducah impulse-buy market, so had to downscale income projections for the next five years to no more than $5-10 million tops. Thus figuring for taxes, etc. have had to mitigate hopes vis-à-vis a really cool castle in France.

Do expect though to be able to manage two new elements for the electric stove, as well as paint for the walls and ceilings of the main galleries, front and rear. Also still owe the framer considerable, and would like to relieve myself of that obligation.

In regards to the stove lights, their loss is mostly my fault. Cheap home ranges are designed neither for use as boilers for heating while the gas is off, nor for use as a foundery for smelting in the various metallic arts (in this case for the fabrication of anklets, for the adornment of young ladies).

If you’ve ever blown a stove element it can be an experience of considerable beauty— a hot spot develops which for a few seconds burns as brightly as an incandescent bulb and then fades. The aggravating thing is that it seems they’re considerably more expensive than light bulbs— guess this economeister will find out soon enough.

Speaking of high cost, an even cooler thing to blow is a car engine. Many years ago this child of Indy was on his way to visit the hometown in his old Dodge Coronet, on I-70 headed east toward the state line, when the motor suddenly seemed to get louder, sounding like it was leaving its mount and going over the roof of the car towards the rear.

Of course it didn’t actually free itself from its bolts— that was an auditory illusion. The car came to a stop whereafter a tow was had, winding up trading the vehicle itself for the towing fee, and hitching a ride to pick up an Eastbound bus out of Terre Haute.

The ongoing problem child though was and is the Rotoball light effect, its having spent more time on the bench than whirling on the ceiling. Now it’s down to either finding a replacement rotary contact or ditching it for parts and scrounging a new one on Ebay. The EMI Rainbow on the other hand has only required new bulbs, available locally.

Still plans for a disco focus on the center light, with the intention of surrounding it with ceiling mirrors to double the effect. Also yearned for are some kind of roving spot, maybe a bank of strobes and/or lasers, and smoke and bubble machines— all controlled, as well as the sound, by one or more pocket remotes, again for the benefit of the ladies.

Speaking of romance, a number of beautiful, intelligent, vibrant women of all ages are already in the range of sight, and a couple of them even return calls.

To aid in this endeavor a modest attempt has been made in the entertainment industry. A weekly routine, when rides are to be had or walking is feasible (as usually it is, other than during the season of Winter) is open-mike nights— Tuesday at Jeremiah’s, a restaurant and pub, and Fridays at Etcetera, a coffee house in Paducah’s Lowertown Arts District.

In each of these places, for a period not exceeding five or six minutes, the audience is regaled by a selection of my haiku, or hikues— mostly humorous and sometimes philosophical. The response has generally been favorable, and a bit of a following, or fan-base, is already discernible.

Besides getting art revved back up, plans for the coming year include launching the Salvor Initiative (salvor.org), a non-supernaturalist approach to the problem of an afterlife. Aspects go far beyond current means, so for now it must remain a speculative ideation. Still dreams (like going into space) are often the fountainhead of a later reality.

In short, by the time— hopefully in the distant future— that this artist finds out about salvor in the most immediate way (in other words, kicks the bucket) one part of friends will think of him as a genius, and the other as just a harmless but lovable kook. Have a great year!
Ice Storm

Power was turned back on Tuesday after two weeks of cold and darkness, and phone (including internet) should be back on Monday if an AT&T computer voice is to be believed. Quite a disruption and work setback, going from a 21st-Century lifestyle to pioneer and then back again. If you’ve emailed and haven’t heard, or tried to call, that is the reason.

There was one heavy ice fall, then an additional night of extremely heavy ice. That evening, standing on the front porch with the power already out, the scene was apocalyptic— terrible crashing sounds far and near of falling limbs and trees, a couple shaking the house, and constant flashing of what seemed like lightning without thunder— breaking power lines.

In one moment the sky suddenly got darker as an entire part of the city went black. Soon nearly all of Western Kentucky was out, hospitals and other vital services running on generators. Phone lines were dead and even many cell phones refused to work. Trees everywhere were missing their tops, and some structures were damaged.

Perhaps the worst ice storm here in a hundred years— there was one in the very early years (1904?) of the last century. Grandma Bonner had a pictorial brochure, published if memory serves by one of the newspapers, showing people in horse-drawn sleighs, utility poles tangled, and a few cases of metal roofs actually peeled by the weight of the ice.

Now at my house there was only cold running water and the faint hiss of the pilot light in the silent furnace— no light, heat, stove, or telephone (others in some towns were even without water). A 9-volt battery begged from a neighbor provided news— the local TV station is on channel 6, so its audio signal can be picked up on the FM radio band.

Had the presence of mind to soon dress, five layers of clothing above the waist and four below, and to sleep with clothes on under five layers of quilts and blankets until warmer places to stay were available. Still the stress was so great that the consumption of alcohol was reduced— it takes a lot for that to happen here. Thank you.

My situation was particularly problematic, with meter and weatherhead down and huge limb where the wire should be. In front of the house the street, Davis Avenue, was blocked in both directions— a couple days later a fire crew came in with chainsaws to partially open it pending heavier equipment, and went door-to-door to individually check on everyone.

The governor talked by telephone to President Obama and got a national disaster area declaration, and the National Guard was called in. Also utility companies from all over the country came in to help— first on scene in this neighborhood was a crew from Athens Electric out of Georgia.

In desperation called Buddy in Tennessee, my absentee neighbor, who arrived agape at the devastation Monday after a warming-spell weekend with chainsaw and son to drop and clear all four trees along the service line to the house. Another neighbor came by to help with further repairs, and in return accepted my help clearing fallen branches.

The positive side was friendship, old and new, and neighbors already known or met in the collective hour of need. For the first couple days everyone was without, then a few got power restored— after that there were two different places where one night or more was spent during really cold spells, John’s (one) and Vanessa’s (at least three).

Kroger at Hannan Plaza opened and was running on generators, spooky in the minimal light. Friend Jana, one of the checkers, was also without power, as were others talked to. Employees temporarily blocked one aisle to empty a freezer of ice cream, probably to be discarded. John let me store my freezer contents at his apartment.

It was still lonely, and slow going for everyone. John hosted a small, impromptu Superbowl party attended by Tom, sister Lori, Vanessa, and myself, and walking back into this neighborhood later that night all was dark save a window light here and there, and the distinctive engine sounds of gas-powered generators, running everywhere.

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