Charge your phone (with wood) free! + tea, October 31, 2012

Approaching this innovative phone-charging station, I thought, “oh, people warming themselves by a fire . . .” . . . only to find out that, yes, they were doing that but also getting their phones charged! One of the enterprising youngsters in charge explained to me how it works: the small containers for burning wood have a semi-conductor metal attached to them on the side, which metal is attached on its other side to a unit (this is where it gets a little fuzzy) with a fan and maybe a battery? Anyway, the heat from the fire going through the semi-conductor material makes enough electricity to charge a phone–nifty!

In other news, Nancy sends this tale of a hurricane of quite a long time ago:

I will never forget the hurricane in 1938.  From my 5th grade class room I could see a young maple tree bend clear to the ground and back.  Then the school let us out in the hight of the storm instead of keeping us where we would have been safe.  Some of the kids had pretty long walks and the trees were going down everywhere.  Margaret was in the 8th grade and was a hall monitor.  She was a real heroine as she kept order as the mothers came in to find there children and the children came out.  Beah had gone to school to pick up little 5 year old Lee Miller because she knew Lee’s mother was not home. She missed me and I don’t remember whether or not she found Carol.  She did find Lee.  I walked home and the tree across the street went down right in front of me.  So no one was home when I got there and the water was leaking through the panes in the window.  Of course the power was out. We were out of power for days.  No one went to work. The weather was balmy the next day and the men were out working together to cut the down trees. Beah had some meeting one evening while the power was still out and I remember the people sitting around the table with all the candles burning.

In the day and age of cell phones, this story is all the more gripping — the very idea of not knowing where one’s child is and not being able to call anyone to find out! I can completely relate to the memory of all the candles, which have been super comforting to me the past few evenings (though not much good at all for reading), alas — though a Kindle is excellent for that!

Post Sandy, day 1

Downed branches, school mosaic, October 30, 2012

On the first day post-Sandy, lots of people in New York have been out surveying the damage, along with me! I took a walk over to the East River and saw lots of downed branches and uprooted trees. This was the most colorful picture I got, though, so I chose it to post. Power is still out below I’m not sure what street, so the University is closed for a second day and has announced that it will be closed tomorrow too, extending our “hurrication” (I didn’t mention in my post yesterday, that a hurrication is the hurricane version of a snow day!)  In the meantime, parts of the library (where I’m typing from now) have been open for part of the day, making electrical outlets for phone and computer charging available along with the internet — ahh! Several NYU buildings are powered by NYU’s own Co-Gen plant, mentioned elsewhere on the Boomerang, hence the power in the library (but not in my building, alas)! In the meantime also, my gas stove lights with a match, which opens up all kinds of culinary opportunities, most importantly hot coffee! Luckily I also ground a bunch in advance so I’m good for a few more days on that score — hopefully the lights will back on by then though!



Fall colors, the puddle version, October 29, 2012

The hatches are still battened here, but the power is out! I’m typing on my phone
by candle light listening to NPR, hearing people call in with their stories–cozy! The wind has definitely died down a bit!

Storm brewing!

Emergency alert, October 28, 2012

You know it’s serious when instead of ringing, your phone makes a long, loud, and high pitched tone and then broadcasts (as in, on speaker phone) a message, in this case this one, which it also received as a text message, announcing a mandatory evacuation of people living in Zone A of New York City. Luckily for me, I live higher than Zones A, B, or C! Now if the hatches stay battened and the power on, I could get caught up on a few things! 🙂 Even if the power goes out, I have food, water, candles, and books, so I think I’m set!