The Lost Da Vinci Code of Angels and Demons

Yes, this is a fairly accurate representation of how I feel about Dan Brown’s novels.

Click for larger image

Okay, I”d love the guy’s paycheck, don’t get me wrong.  I think his story plots are fairly good (not spectacular), but I can’t make heads or tails out of them because of the grammatical errors and other rule breaking he does.  And no, it’s not a good thing, especially when I’m just trying to read for relaxation.  Steph can attest to that.  I shouted at Da Vinci Code more than once.  And just for kicks, the Telegraph (UK) has a fun article here on his Twenty Worst Sentences.

Were this a real emergency…

What Wednesday at Preus Library Might Have Looked Like.

On Wednesday, September 23rd, Preus Library (where I work) took a trip back to the good ol’ days of pre-electricity courtesy of a blown transformer. It made for an interesting day.

The transformer (a huge eight-foot monster that might have been original to the building) blew at 7:45am, just about 5 minutes after I walked in the door. By 10am, we figured it was a bad situation and yeah, it was.  A back-up generator ‘might’ arrive by noon.  Turns out, it didn’t arrive until about 3:30pm and wasn’t up and running until 7:30pm.

We also learned a few things that were overlooked in our Emergency Planning procedures:

Relocation of the Help Desk was easy and difficult.

  • Upside – We moved into my Olin office and forwarded the phones.  This wasn’t an issue, except for having just one phone line and only one computer available.  It appears that when the Library isn’t open, not nearly as many people visit us.  After 5pm, we were able to relocate into a larger classroom with a phone line.  Easy.
  • Downside – My office is on the 3rd floor.  Heat rises and when we discovered the air conditioning was out, that made it damn uncomfortable.

Flashlights?  Who needs flashlights?

  • Two flashlights for the entire library.  One without batteries.  I navigated in a very dark building (there’s no windows to where our new offices are) via the light taken from my bike.

Silence is beautiful.

  • When the power went out, so did the ventilation system.  It was amazing just how quiet and peaceful it became in a very short period of time.  There was no noise, except what we made on our own.  I spent a good two hours sitting by a window, poaching Internet off Olin next door and getting a ton of work done.  It was fantastic.

The Library really is the hub of information.

  • In our case, this was true.  Before yesterday, all Internet traffic was routed through switches housed in the Library basement.  These were on battery backup, but not hooked up to a generator as they were deemed ‘not essential’.  After two hours, the battery backup failed.  Thus, the Internet failed.  Normally, when the network goes down, the Sys Admins are alerted via a message.  When the Library went down, there was no message, because it all routed through the Library.  That got fixed quick, but made for an interesting morning.

Today, after the power had been restored, was a normal day … in a sauna.  The generator wasn’t powerful enough to run the chillers so we had air moving, but nothing was cold.  Okay, that’s fine, people have suffered through a lot worse.  But it did have a tendency to make people tired and cranky. We will have to put up with four weeks of that until the new transformer is in place.

Around 1:30pm, I learned that they were going to have a planned power outage at 5pm.  Turned out that one of the belts on the generator had broken and the other was about to go.  Well, better to know this one was coming.  So I stuck around after work.  It was kind of weird, seeing the power go out.  It hit some lights first, then the rest.  A lot like stadium lights being turned off.  Then it got real quiet once the ventilation shut down.

Kinda a cool thing.  When your expecting it, that is.

How You Like Them Apples?

Applefest weekend!

I’ve talked about this before. This is my 11th year running the Applefest 5K in LaCrescent (Steph’s 12th).  We love this course.  It’s hilly.  People don’t understand how hilly this course is.  Here’s the proof, compliments of my Forerunner 405:

Applefest 5K 9-19-2009, Elevation - Time

Yeah, that be some hills.  As the race director said ‘Remember!  Where it’s not hills, it’s flat!’  Last year, I placed 17th and ran 21:35.  That was good enough to win my age group.  I didn’t expect to defend my title this year.  Conditioning just wasn’t there (lack of speed – Luther resurfaced their track and I couldn’t get in good speed workouts on the road).

With that in mind, the fact that I missed 1st place in my age group by 3 seconds is pretty damn cool.  And I beat last years time – 20:53.  And I placed 14th out of about 500.

So yeah, I’m stoked.  On the way home, picked up about 10 pounds of apples (in addition to the 3 pound bags we each got for finishing), some Sweet Corn Salsa, Apple Syrup, Wild Rice, and of course, our traditional post-race Caramel Apple.

I like them apples very much, thank you.

Someone Oughta Fix These Roads…

Boy, don’t I know it…

Just spent the last few days having tripped into a plot hole in my story and I couldn’t find my way out until tonight.  Even in a first draft, something like that annoys the hell out of me.  Granted, it’ll change about ten times but still, grr.

And as if I didn’t have enough distractions with work and all, I stumbled across Inkygirl : Daily Diversions for Writers, source of the comic you see off to the right.  Gee, just what I needed…


For the fourth year, I got to be a corner worker in turn two of the Rock Island Grand Prix. Corner two is probably the highest speed corner on the course as they hit 90mph when they enter the turn. That makes for awesome passes and some pretty scary wrecks.  Certainly draws a crowd.

I saw some awesome racing under great weather.  Being a corner worker though means you are the one responsible for getting the karts (and the drivers) out of the way of a wreck.  A kart sitting in the middle of the track is just a sitting duck.  So we did our job.  Jumped a few hundred bales of hay (and replaced said bales when they got hit).  Dodged dozens of karts.  Had a few close calls.  Saw two flips and one guy helicopter his kart into a barrier.

Through it all, I only suffered one minor injury.  That came when a kart broke something and made a sudden turn into our corner.  I managed to avoid the kart but got clipped by a bale of hay that sent me sprawling.  Only a little bruising and a small amount of blood.  Nothing major.

After driving 3.5 hours home … I get out of the car and pull a muscle.

Irony bites.