Friday, October 11, 2002

Now that was a bit of an adventure!

Heard a strange hissing and went to investigate. Not coming from the garage. Not coming from outside. Great Oa! It's the fridge!

Took a cautious sniff. No unpleasant smell. Then I stepped further into the kitchen. There was water streaming out from under the fridge! It was already a quarter inch deep on the kitchen floor, and starting to leak beneath the threshhold strip.

At the back left between the fridge and a cupboard, the line that feeds the icemaker was spraying out a snarling cone. I pulled the excess hose out -- no luck, the leak was only a few inches from the valve. I can't reach it. I know there's a shut off behind the fridge. I try to pull the fridge out. Shoes slipping in water, I can't budge the fridge. I grab both the kitchen towels and throw them to try and block the flood leaving the kitchen. They're barely a sop to it, so I run to the bathroom, and return with three full size towels, and manage to build a dam in a crescent extending into the dining room.

Now I have a moment's spare time. I call Doug. Voice mail. I call my mom's cell phone. Voice mail. I call her husband's office. Pleasant exchange with Julia, but he's not in. I call his cell phone. Larry answers on the fourth ring. I say I have a small emergency, the ice cube feeder line is leaking, and I can't move the fridge to stop it. He says he'll be right over. Good man.

I still have a bit before the towels overflow. I run to the garage -- no obvious turn off for the water there. Looks like all those valves feed the watering system.

I run to the curb, and lift the metal cover to look at the water meter. Meter, spiderwebs, live spider -- no visible valve. I run back to the kitchen.

The water has made it past my dam. I get another kitchen towel from the drawer, toss it on the floor, lift it to the sink, and squeeze it out. Again. Too slow, I'm losing ground. I take my largest bowl out of the cupboard, and start squeezing the towel into the bowl. It holds about two gallons. I fill it once, run to the sink, and empty it.

As I squat and sop and squeeze to fill the second bowl, I think about Loki and his wife and his snake from Sandman, and then I think about the little dutch boy and the dike. Empty that one. I think I'm gaining on the water a little.

Near the end of the fourth bowl, Larry arrives. I left the door ajar after running to the curb. He rings the bell, and I shout for him to come in. We pull out the fridge. A simple twist of the wrist, and the water stops.

We laugh.

He can't stay. I lean on the porch railing, a little breathless, and watch him go.

Then I go back upstairs and mop two more bowls of water off the floor. I wring out all the towels. The floor is pretty clean now.

Then I go blog.
I love paper.

I buy notebooks on impulse more often than candy bars. I've been known to spend hours swooning over online washi catalogs. I have a supply of greeting cards and stationery to cover all occasions. I keep two dozen different rolls of wrapping paper.

I have paper accessories, too. I have a guillotine cutter and a rolling cutter, and exacto knives, and scissors of course. I have two sizes of self-healing mat. I have templates and I know how to sew a simple book. I have two dozen pens on my desk alone, four dozen in the supplies cabinet, and another three dozen in useful locations around the house.

I even do things with paper. I have three dozen origami books, and I fold boxes and flowers and animals. I write on it. I divided my underwear drawer with paper. I occasionally paint or draw on it, and many of my favorite games have paper cards. I covered cans with it to make pen holders, and lined shelves with it. No wall paper though -- my husband used to live in Belgium, and he developed an allergy.

Really, I have a deep and satisfying relationship with paper. So beautiful, so versatile, so abundant.

You can look for me at the stationer's. I'll be wearing my papercuts as badges of honor.

Wednesday, October 09, 2002

What do you want the future to look like?

Not too long ago, I heard a radio interviewer ask a medical guest if science was developing a lot of devices that look like the ones we have seen in the movies and on television. The guest replied that many scientists follow science fiction, so even if the new devices don't do what the fictional ones do, they like to make them look like them.

I think it goes farther than that.

Einstein said, "Imagination is more important than knowlege." Certainly there are accidental discoveries. But most often, first a researcher or inventor imagines something they would like to do, and then works to find a way to do it. So, if there are already images of future devices in the scientist's head, he or she is that much more likely to try to make devices that look and act like them. So we find current developments reflecting the art design and imagination of the past. Thus, artists have a strong effect on the future.

Gene Roddenberry made a conscious effort to imagine and show the kind of future he would like to have. It is a future I would be glad to live in. I want to see humanity grow up, and I want life to be exciting without us fighting one another.

So if you haven't thought about what you want the future to be, you might consider Star Trek. And if you don't want that future, you'd better develop your own vision of the future!

Because our best chance for a good future, is to have images of good futures before us.

Tuesday, October 08, 2002

Listened for a while today to the OPB coverage of the US Senate debate about authorizing military force against Iraq. I found them more eloquent and polite than I expected. And both sides presented arguments that showed they held a perspective that made their choice the right one within their world view.

Strangely, I was reassured. The thought of people killing each other always makes me a little queasy. No matter if it's a national and declared war or a little street shooting or capital punishment, I'd like to think we could come up with better ways to resolve our differences.

But at least our representatives are debating. They are offering both sides of the issue, and trying to decide in a reasonably rational manner.

And, humanly, we haven't yet come up with a better way to run a nation.