Sunday, June 10, 2007

Lightening Strike!

Yesterday was an odd day. In the morning, was James funeral. It was a suitably somber occasion. I was very happy that the family opted not to have an open coffin. I am not a fan of that tradition.

Yesterday evening, I agreed to meet a recently graduated senior, who wanted some career advice. As the place we agreed to meet was only around the corner and parking is usually a nightmare, I elected to walk. However, as I had heard a few rumbles of thunder, I decided to take an umbrella with me. It turns out that this was a good call.

I was not too far from my house, when suddenly, it started to rain. Now, you have to realise that this was the tropical kind of rain that we get in these parts. It is like someone turning on a tap. I was grateful for my umbrella. I considered returning home, but decided to take shelter under the overhang of a public building that was closer by. As I was hurrying across the parking lot, lightening started to crash around me. It was actually quite scary, as I was in a large exposed space, with a metal umbrella pointing up, just asking to be hit. Fortunately, I made it without incident.

As the rain poured and the thunder and lightening crashed and flashed, I was pleased to be under cover and relatively out of danger. It was pretty exciting though. The lightening was very close by as there was almost no gap between the flash and the thunder, which was incredibly loud.

After a little while, the rain abated somewhat and the tempest appeared to have moved away. Once it was reasonably dry and appeared to be safe, I continued on to my destination. The meeting with the student was fruitful and I also ran into a couple of other people I knew.

By the time I returned home, the storm was long gone. However, there were residual effects, I was yet to discover. It appeared that during my absence, lightening had hit my external TV mast. The TV and my Tivo were toast. Also, the power had gone out on my laptop. A second computer I also have in the house seems to have had the bun too. It must have been a good strike, as all these things were on pretty good surge protectors.

Although it is rather a pain, it could have been worse. I was glad that I was not home. The cat seemed unperturbed. The lightening did not set fire to my house. I have ordered a new power supply for my laptop (fortunately, it is still under warranty). I got a new TV. MyTivo is now a paper weight, but I may be able to trade it in for something a little better. I resurrected an old Pentium III I keep in the office, for just such emergencies. So, although it has been expensive and a pain, everything is more or less back to normal.

The one thing I am keeping my fingers crossed on is that the laptop did not sustain any damage. Hopefully, the power supply took the brunt of the hit, rather than the computer itself. The batteries were dead when I got home, as I had left the machine running. I will find out on Tuesday whether the machine is OK, when the new power supply arrives. I take this to be an object lesson in the power of Mother Nature and the relative frailty of modern electronic devices.

The CP


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