Near and Dear to my Heart

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Sit back, I’m about to go on a bit of a rant, inspired by a story I read today in the SFGate.

About six or eight years ago, I was living in a small apartment in the South Bay, in a small eight unit building. The building dated back to at least the 1930’s, if not earlier, and featured this breathing dragon of a wall heater as its only source to take the chill of cold rainy evenings.

I had gone home to New Mexico for Christmas, and my mom, ever the practical one, had given me a carbon monoxide alarm as a gift.

Fine. Whatever. I took it back to California with me where it sat, unused, in the box for quite a while. A year or more, if truth be told.

One day, I was cleaning up the place when I found that thing and figured, “oh well”. I put in the batteries and hung it from my ceiling. Fine. Look at me. Miss Practical.

A couple months later, the damn thing started going off.

I was frustrated. Surely this was defective. Busted. Whatever.

I unscrewed it from the ceiling and moved it farther back.

And the damn thing kept going off.

Weird.

Fine. So after dealing with the piercing noise for, again, if I’m telling the truth here, several months, I finally called PG&E. I knew it would take them *forever* to fit me in, but whatever.

I told them that my carbon monoxide alarm kept going off and could I get an appointment for someone to come out check.

Anticipating at least 30 days before I got an appointment, I was surprised when, instead, the call dispatcher said, “someone will be there immediately” and further, “open all the doors and windows until someone arrives.”

Uh. Ok. Much ado about nothing, right? But at least I’d get quick attention.

Good for their word, a guy showed up within about ten minutes.

He took a reading in the center of the room and said, “I’m going to cap off your gas, you have fatal levels of carbon monoxide in here.”

Well blow me over.

Turns out there was a center tube of metal inside the heater that had slid down when the house settled or from age, and it left a crack about an inch wide that was venting the heater right into my apartment.

The next day, I absentmindedly told this story to a friend at work, and she started crying. One of her dearest friends had died from carbon monoxide poisoning. Her life could have been saved with the simple installation of a carbon monoxide alarm, but it was, instead, lost.

When The Good Man moved into our place, I told him this story and said I will never live in a place that does not have a working carbon monoxide alarm.

I refuse.

I was reminded about all of this today when I saw the headline in the local paper say:

Two Bay Area families survive carbon monoxide poisoning

“The mother said the family started feeling sick around midnight…When their symptoms failed to improve in the morning, they headed for the emergency room.”

That woman’s good thinking saved her family, her kids, her own life.

It scares the crap out of me. Apartments are required to have a smoke alarm, but not a carbon monoxide alarm. They even make dual alarms these days, both fire and carbon monoxide. Easy peasy!

So please, anyone who is reading this, don’t hesitate, don’t call it “some remote possibility”. Don’t put it off.

Get thee to a Wal-Mart or a Target or a Home Depot and BUY a carbon monoxide alarm and install it where you will spend most of your time.

Buy two, one for the living room and one for your bedroom. Just do it, okay?

Thanks. Your life matters to me.

Aw damn.

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Musician Jerry Reed died today at the all too young age of 71.

Ol’ Jerry was one of the first concerts I ever took in. I was with my mom, the venue was Tingley Coliseum. The event was the rodeo at the New Mexico State Fair. Yes, I know it’s Expo New Mexico now. I grew up there. I call it like it was. :)

I don’t remember how old I was….less than 10 I think? Yeah, it was firmly in the 70’s.

I’ve always had a soft spot for Jer. Through all the Smokey and the Bandit movies. Through all his ridiculous and funny songs.

He was a talented man.

He will be missed. At least by me.

He lives on in my memories.

Am I the only one greatly disturbed by this?

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From Yahoo News:

“Meteorologists dispatched eight planes to release rain dispersal chemicals and fired 241 rockets into incoming clouds to ensure a dry Beijing Olympics closing ceremony, state media said Monday.”

Can you do this? Well obviously you CAN, but…SHOULD you do this?

I find this whole thing to be totally sci-fi and creepy as HELL.

So disappointing

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I’m just going to say it. The Olympics. MASSIVE disappointment.

Ok, not the games themselves. No. The coverage. NBC should be shot……and their little dog Bob Costas too.

I have twice now…just twice, sat down to watch coverage during “prime time” hours.

Once was Thursday. As soon as it came on, The Good Man said, “Is Bob Costas sick or something? He looks pale.”

No. Not sick. Just over made up, I think.

We tried to watch it but it was hard. The commercials. The interstitials. The “back story”. The over focus on one athlete to the detriment of the others. The cutting away from beach volleyball just when it was finally getting GOOD. Ugh.

We did get to see Phelps and “the touch” that launched another gold medal.

And we saw a Swiss volleyballer throw a hissy fit.

And some track and field ladies who kick butt.

But it was SO hard to watch.

Second try was last night. As soon as I turned it on The Good Man said, “Is Bob Costas sick or something? He looks pale.”

No. Still not sick. Just bad coverage.

Best line comes from Jim Baca on his blog Only in New Mexico:

“We watched the Olympics last night, or should I say the commercials on NBC which were interrupted by competition once in a while.”

I tried to watch. I really did. But ended up switching over to MythBusters instead.

I remember watching the Olympics when I was a kid. It was all about the athletes. About the competition. About this amazing every four year event showcasing the best of the best.

Now it’s Chinese government coverups, overblown corporate sponsorships, and focus on the most “media ready” athletes.

Depressing.