Wednesday, June 22, 2022

A Little Systemic Mini-Seizure


For reference only. Not my actual cart.

Relatively small potatoes, but SoCal is not Georgia, so we get severe summer thunderstorms hereabouts so infrequently I can count the remembered ones in the last decade on my thumbs.

Including today.

First rain, then hard rain, then a little hail, followed by crack-BOOM, with lightning inside the 5-second (one mile) zone, followed by power out. Half hour later, same thing at Big Box store.

Which took them out for 45 minutes while their system rebooted. Several hundred of us stood patiently wondering when they'd get their digital sh*t together. No ATM or credit processing, and even if you'd had cash, they couldn't ring anything up, because computerized single-point-of-failure PLUs.

Folks were well-behaved, except for a couple of opportunists trying to create lines rather than waiting in the ones already there, which didn't work out well for them, and store management handed out water to those waiting. And waiting.

Weather was southerly, thus it was Hawaii-hot-and humid, but not Florida/Africa-hot-and-humid, but both worse than California dry, and after about 45 minutes, they rejoined the 21st century.

Silver lining: after a 30-month absence, they had canned roast beast, so those supplies got a long-overdue topping up.

But come harder days next fall or winter, woe betide anyone trying to get up to speed on preps they should have had well in hand by mid-summer.

My personal timeline goals are measured in years, but adding another 6 months' worth of calories today is always a good feeling, and it isn't like the price nor availability of canned meat (or anything else) is going to get better any time in the next year.

I don't own the roof under which I sleep, so solar panels there are right out, but plans are afoot for at least a few that can be placed in south-facing windows, to keep a couple of needful things running indefinitely.

The best time to get ready for hard times is always five minutes ago.

Today's minimal incident was a gentle reminder.


Jonathan H said...

In my little town, when the internet goes down we are reminded of which businesses can't do anything, even cash sales, without internet - think how bad they'd be without power as well!

Mike-SMO said...

Someone else who counts Flash-to-Boom. The Dispatchers rarely have a clue. The Folks in the cars usually understand.

Aesop said...

Since it was 'splained to me around 4th grade. You tend to pay attention even at that age when you're float-tubing down the Colorado River in a T-storm. ;)

Michael said...

I was speaking to some linemen friends of mine, and they were in the process of recovering unused small transformers from the system. Seems there is a year backlog to get more so they are stowing the unused ones to protect from lighting strikes for replacements.

The storms last year the New England states sent linemen and parts to depleted the reserves in my area. Thus the salvaging of slightly used small transformers.

The Just on time system is staggering along.

Charlie said...

There is still time for topping up your food supplies.

There is no longer time for stocking up your food supplies.

Bear Claw Chris Lapp said...

Been using the basketball ref. in the paint counting method for years.

Looks like a pretty healthy basket except for the pizza at the bottom. Not that I'm healthy or complaining.

In early 2020 that would run between 3 and 4 hundred dollars at Sam's on my every other week runs to build up the larder even more, but there was a lot of hamburger in the basket as well as the occasional steaks for a nice dinner.

My guess these days 450 to 600 don't know haven't made those convid runs since then other than replacement.

nick flandrey said...

One benefit of living in hurricane country is that most of the major players have spent serious money on backups and redundancy. After all, if you are a store, you can't make money if you can't sell, and the store that is open after the hurry-cane has a license to print same...

So our HEB grocery chain is very good about getting the lights and computers back on. Home Depots too. Our neighborhood HEB can even do limited sales without any power, and they have done so in the past. As a corporation they are very prepared, and very much part of the community and are geared up to provide a lot of aid in an emergency. They have mobile disaster kitchens that they deploy, for example, and corporate volunteers their truck fleet to move and distribute FEMA supplies.

I spend a good chunk of my food budget with HEB to support them in their efforts, and as a bonus, they are usually the best price for groceries too.

We do all of our pharmacy business with them too for the same reason, and keeping the money in our neighborhood. As an aside, they have been short many common drugs lately. I've had my prescriptions either delayed a day to get more from the depot or they used the last pills in the jar to fill them several times over the last six months. That bit of intel is worth knowing your local pharmacist to get... and to act on.


Aesop said...

Power wasn't the problem. Lights never went out. Lightning-induced voltage surge blew out their computer system like a candle.

No system, no store.
Re-boot took most of an hour.

nick flandrey said...

Ah, I mis-understood. That's a long time to get everything back up. Betcha the surveillance systems didn't take that long...

We're still seeing a lot of empty shelves, limited choices, and odd brands here in Houston. They do a pretty good job of keeping at least one brand of each category on the shelf, but it is still spotty. You can go to the store and not find what you want some days, but it will be back in stock the next visit. Or you might choose to walk away without because the price is crazy high. $2 avocados? 50c limes? I'll wait, thanks.

And fwiw, I tested positive for the wuflu after 2 plus years of avoiding it... so far it's been just like a cold. So much like a cold that I suspect the test just can't tell the difference. I'll isolate at home anyway. No point at all in giving anyone a cold either.

And directly impacting the future of Cali, have you been watching the water level at Lake Mead? I think it's the biggest story not getting appropriate coverage at the moment. It's easy to forget that most of Cali is a desert and will return to such if they stop watering... and that the Imperial Valley grows an awful lot of our food...

Keep stacking :-)


Anonymous said...

nick and all, living close enough just about to throw a rock in the lake; don't just trust what the idjits-who-think-they're-kangz say, nor the media say. Lake Mead (and perhaps Mojave as well) are about two more lousy snow pack winters away from "awww, fuck" - maybe another 100 - 150 feet of drop. No water in the lake - no power generation, no tap water...
Original Grandpa