Wednesday, April 05, 2006

By the light of the shimmering monitor

The other night we had the first major thunderstorm of the season.

Sure, there have been a few minor skirmishes with rain, thunder, lightning and tornadic activity (there's a new term for all my homies back in LA), but the other night was the first night we got to light the candles.

No, I'm not talking about the candles in our bathroom that combat what Jeff Foxworthy jokingly termed "the invisible wall."

I'm talking about the candles that are strategically situated around our house in the event of the inevitable power outages that will accompany those crackling loud, directly-above-your-head lightning strikes that shake the timbers of our second story and momentarily tear asunder even the strongest of dispositions.

Surge protectors are on and loaded. Flashlights are where I can reach them. Soothing words are prepared to spew forth should my daughters wake up in a startled panic.

Then it hits. The big one.

The lightning strike that is so close by your hair stands on end, your knees weaken, and your mind quickly questions the obvious fact that you don't need electricity to flush the toilet.

And the lights go out.
And the flashlights go on.
And the matches get struck.
And the candles remind us what our cave dwelling ancestors must have thought about the wonder of fire.

After lighting the main three-wicked waxy wonder in the kitchen, I make my way to the front porch to check to see if the entire street is down. The bank up the street has a scrolling sign that must be on a battery backup (why, I don't know), since it's rebooting message (flashing series of dots) is the only source of light up and down the street.

Everything and everyone else is dark.

After a few minutes (this time), the power comes back in a wave of prehistoric relief. From my view on the front porch I get to witness the reawakening and rebooting of all the systems in the 2nd floor computer lab of the church school across the street.

It gives off an eerie, bad 70's movie special effects glow, as the ceiling and walls of the 100-year old room, in the 100-year old brick building is bathed in CRT mood lighting.

The fun comes in estimating which machines have faster chips, more ram, or quicker hard drives by the speed at which the ambient color of the room changes at different rates.

A real life semi-artsy moment from a geek point of view. I say "semi-artsy" since it's obvious that all the machines booting up are running that lowest common denominator excuse for an operating system, Windoze.

It would have been a truly breathtaking glow indeed, had they been Macs.

However, art is a subjective beast.

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