Monday, January 5, 2009

Snow (or Excuses, Excuses)

It was such a simple plan.

I knew that the library (source of my internet access) was going to be closed from December 24th through January 4th, which meant that I wouldn’t be able to go there to post blog entries during that time. I didn’t like the thought of going that long without a new post appearing on Time Delay, so once I figured out how to upload a block of text for autoposting, I formulated my oh-so-simple plan.

I’d been (more-or-less) posting on Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays. Also Sundays ‘until Christmas’, but I felt that I still had one more properly themed post in me for the Sunday after the holiday. December 24th through January 4th gives us five M-W-F weekdays and one December Sunday. Six posts total. All I had to do was get six posts written in advance, and get them up on the site scheduled for autoposting on or before the 23rd, and I was golden.

Worst Winter Storm in Forty Years

I hadn’t counted on the weather intervening in my affairs. I certainly hadn’t counted on snow, of all things. It never snows here. Not in my town. I actually mentioned this during the last week that my blog saw actual posts. It. Never. Snows. Here. It will traditionally snow in every town around us, and all over the countryside . . . but not here. And if it does snow here, it doesn’t stick.

So after I was caught mentioning this in my blog, snow decided to prove me wrong. In a big, big way.

It snowed. The snow stuck. I looked out my window, said ‘what the fuck?’ (No, this isn’t a poem.) Then the sun came out and the snow melted. It was gone for a couple of days (where, like normal, it proceeded to snow everywhere BUT here). Then big fluffy white snowflakes started falling from the sky once more.

These flakes also stuck. Accumulated. Then froze at night. Started to melt a little the next day, so that when they froze again the next night it turned into a dangerous base level of uneven frozen slush. Then the sky simply opened up. After several days of snowing, the ground was covered with a multi-layer cake composed of snow and ice instead of cake and frosting. Layer of snow, layer of ice. Layer of snow, layer of ice.

The weather was such that is was proclaimed to be the worst winter storm Oregon has seen in forty years.

On the 18th – after the real snow had begun, but before it got really bad – I got a ride up to the library and set up autoposting for everything that had to go out before the library closed on the 23rd. This was done so that I could concentrate fully on the six posts that needed to be autoposted during their vacation.

I posted stuff for the Friday the 19th, Sunday the 21st, and Monday the 22nd. Along with an ‘extra’ for Saturday the 20th. (Which had to go where it did for very obsessive-compulsive reasons that I’ll explain in another post later on this month.)

After checking email, and doing other internet stuff, I eventually left the library and started to walk home. Yes, it was cold and snowing, but I usually don’t mind cold and snowing. I had my trusty hooded sweatshirt, so nothing could go wrong. Nothing, of course, except for that NO EXPLETIVE OR PROFANITY SEVERE ENOUGH parking lot.

I don’t know when the best time to slip on snow/ice and fall hard in a parking lot is, but I can tell you one of the times when it isn’t: When you weigh 450 lbs.

Now, I’m used to falling down. Because I fall down quite often. (Thank you, long list of medical problems.) But usually, gravity just gives me a push, and watches as I plummet toward that ground. (“Whee!” says gravity. “Look at the fat man fall!”)

But this time was a little bit different. This time gravity grabbed hold of me with both hands and slammed me down fast and hard like it was getting scored on both speed and strength of impact. WHAM! I landed on my left side, with my upper arm taking most of the impact. I managed to keep my head from actually impacting this time, which is a rarity for these kind of situations. (The fact that I’ve never actually split my head open like a cantaloupe gives credence to the whole Sunday school concept of ‘guardian angels’.) The sickening ‘CRACK!’ that I heard upon impact did kinda worry me a little, though.

I laid there for a few minutes in the sadly deserted parking lot, figuring out what all hurt, and whether or not I could move everything. My arm was killing me, from (and including) shoulder to elbow, as well as the wrist and hand. Back and neck hurt. The ribs on my left side were just killing me. And – having rolled onto my back by then – my ass was getting really, really cold.

Nothing seemed broken as far as I could tell. So I sat up, and dug my celphone out of my pocket. “Screw this,” I decided, “I’m getting someone to come get me. I’m NOT walking home in this.”

No signal. My celphone wasn’t going to be of any help to me. No rescue coming.

I very carefully got to my feet. (And in so doing, discovered the source of the sickening noise – I’d actually put a crack in the layer of ice in the parking lot on impact.) Once I was upright, firmly on my feet with my cane in hand, I proceeded to very, very carefully traverse the remainder of the parking lot, and then start home. Keeping on the snow covered grass and not the ice covered roads and sidewalks as much as was possible.

I continued checking the celphone for the elusive bars of reception until my hands quit working. (Should’ve worn gloves. Hmm. Should’ve owned gloves.) By time I finally made it home, I think that I was actually colder than I’ve ever been in my entire life.

I’d’ve Gotten Away With It, Too, If It Hadn’t Been For All That Meddling Snow!

Two days later I was finally warmed up again, and had some of the material ready to be set up for autoposting for during the library’s vacation. But when I got my ride up to the library that time (a ride which – after the previous debacle – was going to just wait for me while I went in, posted, and came back out again) I discovered that the library had closed early the day before due to snow and ice, and had decided not to open that day at all. Hmm.

The weather kept getting worse, and by the 22nd it was obvious that there wouldn’t be an opportunity for me to get any of the material posted that I’d written for the library’s vacation. (Nor would there be a need to finish writing the rest of the material on my schedule for that long stretch of days.)

Semi-Unnecessary Autoposting

A lot of the material that went up on the blog in December was autoposted. Early on, to test the system. Later, just to get material out of my way so that I could focus on writing stuff for what would turn out to be a post-less gap anyway. (Fucking weather.)

Sometimes I’d get up to the library the day before the next post was scheduled, and simply set the autoposting to run it at 9:00 the next morning. Other times I’d bring up a couple a posts and finish out the week midway through.

The only autoposting I did that actually turned out to be necessary was the last batch, since the posts that ran from the 19th through the 22nd were on days that the library was shut down due to the snowstorm.

The Autoposts That Were Simply Not To Be

And then there were the posts that I intended for the library’s little vacation period. The whole reason that I started tinkering around with the autoposting controls in the first place.

Scheduled to be written and autoposted: December 24th, 26th, 28th, 29, 31st, and January 2nd. Three of these were completed, the other three made it through various stages of development before I looked out the window at the weather and just gave up on them.

The December 24th post (“The Christmas Eve Time Delay”) was completed. But as it is both no longer topical and clearly (upon rereading the stupid thing) not my best work, it will never see the light of day. It sits in the ‘Cold Storage’ folder, with other mishaps and wrong drafts.

The material I wrote for the 26th and 29th will get posted later on this month. Waste not, want not, and all that crap.

The last of the December Sunday posts wasn’t completed. I’m going to eventually revise what I already have, and finish it off later this year for a probable July post. Why July? Hmm . . . why not?

Most of what I had already written for the December 31st post (“Year’s End”) talked about my hopes for the remaining week or so left in the year when I wrote it. A sequence of days now come and gone. Specifically about Darklady’s New Year’s Eve party. None of that material is really salvageable due to the passage of time. I do plan on writing a post (now tentatively entitled “What Zeitgeist the Clown Did in 2008”) that follows most of my planned outline for the original “Year’s End” post, which should run later on this week.

The final post in the set, which would have run on January 2nd, was just barely started. Good thing, too, because it talked about my costuming plans for Darklady’s party. [Plans which, when writing the piece weeks before the party, I hoped to have gone through with at the party, so that the text posted two days later turned out to be an accurate representation of what I actually wore.] But since I didn’t have a confirmed ride to the party until the night before it happened, I didn’t want to put time and effort (and, you know, money) into a costume that I might not be able to wear. So I wore something different instead, and died a little inside at the missed opportunity. My original plan had been to attend Darklady’s ‘Empire of Pleasure’ New Year’s Eve party as Emperor Norton. That post would have talked about those plans, my costume, and – for those of you who have never heard of the Emperor – would also have included a brief history on the phenomenon of Norton I and his reign.

(I may eventually do a post about Emperor Norton just because. You never know with me. I’m goofy that way.)

Back On Track (Maybe)

If the weather had allowed me to stick to the original schedule, today’s post would be about Darklady’s New Year’s Eve party. But then the snowstorm happened, causing a gap in posting. The same gap that I’d previously discussed not happening in the blog because I had a simple plan to avoid a gap in posting over the library’s vacation. Sigh.

Anyway . . . the current schedule (such as it is) tells me that I’ll be talking about Darklady’s party on Wednesday, and doing my personal recap of 2008 on Friday. Then continuing the Monday – Wednesday – Friday posting schedule for the foreseeable future. I’ve got a tentative schedule sketched out through the end of the month, subject to change. (Always, ALWAYS subject to change.)

Of course . . . that schedule was written before I started getting this horrible cold that seems to be settling into my lungs and sinuses. My whole head is full of snot. And I can’t breathe. I decided to write the piece on Darklady’s party yesterday, and after several false starts ended up in my chair under a blanket watching DVDs of House. It’s entirely possible that I’ll miss a few dates on the schedule. It’s also possible that instead of a post about Darklady’s party, my next post will actually be entitled something like “The Cold”, “Bronchitis”, or “Pneumonia”, followed by the classic, “(or Excuses, Excuses)”.

But I don’t really look for that to happen. I want to get the blogging underway again. I mentioned the above only as a warning in case it happens, but the plan is still to stick to the current schedule.

So, sit back, and take whatever enjoyment my demented ramblings present to you.

Oh, and by the way . . . Happy New Year!

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