Posted in Monday Mayhem

Fire Sale

For my Monday Mayhem post, I’ve written a lot in the past about zombies, aliens and anything else, really, that could cause the downfall of humanity. In some respect, I’ve documented how the world left to its own devices could collapse.

Fire Sale
Fire Sale

For instance, an antibiotic-resistant virus could either appear from an accidental release from a lab, or spawn from a myriad of other origins. The last known incident took place a number of years ago when swine flu (H1N1) originated in a rural area in Mexico to make its way to the Americas. The other notable event happened in 2014 when the Ebola virus, a malady that causes the internal organs to liquefy, surged in Guinea, Sierra Leone, and Liberia to affect thousands of people. Surprisingly, an experimental drug just happened to be waiting in the wings to help Americans affected by the brutal condition.

Then there is the notion we are not alone. For years, scientists have sent all sorts of messages into space in the hope that another sentient civilization might respond to the greeting. Yet, should a alien presence exist, and should it be of higher intelligence than humans, can you blame it for not revealing itself, given the mess we humans have made of this world we call home?

Fire Sale
Fire Sale

In all this, a movie captures my greatest concern. How can a motion picture do this? The film has nothing to do with the environment, such as The Day After Tomorrow where the earth plunges into another ice age due to global warming. It also has nothing to do with a piece of entertainment where the earth becomes a launching pad for an escape due to a predicted destruction of the earth, such as depicted in the film 2012.

That stuff doesn’t frighten me.

What really scares me is the premise to the film Live Free or Die Hard where the idea of a fire sale comes to play. In financial circles, a fire sale is a liquidation of assets performed by creditors in order to pay off debt accumulated by a now-bankrupt company. In the film, hackers gain control of the stock market, public utilities and transportation system as a means to erase all of America’s wealth with one single click of a button. The same idea comes to play in the movie Sneakers where a little black box could in essence decrypt websites throughout the world yielding control to malevolent organizations wanting to usher the destruction of America.

Of course, the whole idea of “everything must go” is fiction, but it would be reasonable to say the opportunity exists that such a fictional scenario is possible. Look at what happened with the blackout of 2003. In August of that year, the entire eastern seaboard went dark for three days all due to a power surge that tripped relays designed to prevent such a thing from happening.

That was an accident.

Imagine if such a thing were to take place, but not because of it being an accident. As horrifying as it sounds, and given the fragility of an aging infrastructure holding our systems together, again I ask, what’s to say it’s not possible?

Get the Ranger Martin zombie trilogy now!

What do you think about an entire North American blackout? Do you think we can survive without power for a week?

Posted in Freedom Friday, Photo Opportunities

The Ice Storm of 2013

Almost three weeks ago, Toronto and the surrounding vicinity had its power cut from under its feet. Living an hour north from the greater metropolitan, we came out of the disaster unscathed. Other than a few felled trees, we had a virtual behemoth of ice blanketing the area. But we retained our power. That in itself is miraculous. And why wouldn’t Freedom Friday describe the event as anything but?

Our neighborhood one morning
Our neighborhood one morning

I awoke to the sound of silence. Unusual, I thought. The neighbor’s dog should have been out barking in the backyard. A car or two should have been traveling on our street to work. I wouldn’t have known what to make of it until I hopped from my bed and peeked through the blinds to discover everything coated in ice. I felt I was living a real-life scene from the movie The Day After Tomorrow where New York City fell under a sub-arctic weather mass.

My first instinct to call my parents proved unproductive. Their phone gave me a busy signal, which meant one of two things—they were talking with my sister about the storm or they’d lost power and weren’t home. Sure enough, my sister had called to let me know my folks were over at her place after having lost power. The region had shut down and no sign of any visible progress would be forthcoming for the next seventy-two hours.

Meanwhile, I had my own dilemma. Even though we hadn’t lost electricity, we had a driveway covered in a foot of ice. It looked like a literal skating rink out there. When I dared make the trek outside, the five steps from our home mocked me with the words, “treacherous”, “lethal”, and “deadly”. The steps were non-existent, replaced by a hill that wasn’t there the night before. I negotiated the anomaly without compromising my safety.

The first inkling of trouble.
The first inkling of trouble.
Deserted street
Deserted street
Our front lawn
Our front lawn

Once at the bottom, I slid to the edge of our driveway. Had I known then what I know now, I would have never slept. Instead, I would have chosen to stay up all night to ensure the bottom of the driveway remained clear. Well, that didn’t work as expected. I stared at the mound to the mouth of the driveway and measured it to be three feet, more or less. That’s three feet of solid ice. I knew I was in trouble.

Surely, I thought, my snow thrower would rescue me from days of attempting to find the bottom of my driveway. I didn’t know what I was doing. I revved the engine, aimed for the ice and—nothing happened. The machine threw its hands in the air not even recognizing the ice and laughed at me. Okay, so maybe my optimism got the best of me.

Plants  frozen solid
Plants frozen solid
More plants  frozen solid
More plants frozen solid

Next, I put away the snow thrower and went to Plan B: I lined my pockets with cash and waited at the foot of the driveway on the mound of ice that held my weight without a problem. As the cars passed by my street, I held my breath. I hoped upon hope for relief. I didn’t know if it would come, but I kept my wits about me and remained confident.

Half-an-hour later, reinforcements came in the form of a plow. With a pocket full of cash, I felt confident we’d win. And win we did. We managed to get the whole driveway plowed for a $20 bill. Imagine my relief.

A leaf frozen in place
A leaf frozen in place
Branch covered in ice
Branch covered in ice

Well, that was one problem out of the way. It didn’t help my stair problem. What to do with all the ice that had made my steps a ski slope? Unfortunately, folks, this I had to take care of myself utilizing a spade fork to break up the ice. Three hours later, I’d cleared the steps.

Now, this is all very well and fine, but it doesn’t compare to the satisfaction of digging out our neighbor across the street from this mess. But that’s another story.

RANGER MARTIN AND THE ZOMBIE APOCALYPSE, now on sale.

Did you experience the ice storm of 2013? What did you have to do to dig yourself out of its clutches?