Swampposting loudly

It just occurred to me I never posted about this weird thing. So, at my aux transmitter site, the whole thing is built on a weird little island in the Sacramento River Delta, with levees on two sides and a third formed by the grade of an abandoned railroad line. There’s a slough on two of three sides and within the area there’s a series of ditches and culverts that lead eventually to a low spot down the road from the tower.

Sitting in this low spot is a pump station that can yeet water up that big slanted pipe that goes through the levee on one side and opens into the slough outside.

That makes sense, right? Well …

No one seems to know who installed this thing. No one seems to know who maintains it.

Someone must be paying that power bill, but who?

It’s just kinda… there. It was kinda forgotten until we started getting repeated atmospheric river storm systems and water began to build up in the area and threatened to sink the parking lot. I kinda knew the pump was there, and I’d heard that a former engineer used to do something to test and run it in the past, but otherwise it was a mystery.

I found a key that fit the lock but wouldn’t turn, but either way, the thing looked to be complete and functional– it’s just that whoever left the note to check the phase rotation turned off the big disconnect so the pump wouldn’t run backwards if it was wrong. See, with 3 phase motors, all you have to do to reverse the motor is to swap two of the hot wires. This comes in handy in some applications like on the tower elevators, but for this water pump, I’m guessing it’s a vertical turbine type and if you ran it backwards it wouldn’t move much water if any at all.

Figuring I had a 50/50 chance, I just reached through the enclosure with something and turned the switch on. I was kinda fearing I’d see a giant hell vortex form under the thing but all I got was a rather quiet motor sound. I didn’t actually realize the pump was even working until I turned the switch off for a moment and was treated to the sight of all the water in that slanted pipe coming back and gushing out along with foul smelling bubbles. I turned it back on and had a look up the levee.

That looks like success, right? It smelled terrible, but it was doing its job.

I haven’t been back out there in a couple weeks but I’m hoping the foul water has thus retreated.

Rain please

This California fire season is unusually scary. Early in the week, high winds whipped up massive, fast moving fires that consumed dry vegetation and in some cases wiped out entire neighborhoods. I’m very glad to see CALM conditions have appeared, so the fire activity is settling down a bit.

Wouldn’t mind seeing some nice rainfall hit though. I’m told it usually rains in the winter here. How does California winter work? I don’t know yet.

(This is a screenshot and is not current data! Please see links below for live data.)

The red dots on this map show recent fire activity; yellow dots are historic points.

For current data please see the following:
Cal Fire’s live map


MODIS Fire Detection data in Google Earth (as seen in the screenshot)


So here’s why I would have gotten fired this weekend if not for the fact that I’d already resigned with two weeks’ notice.

I found out early today that I would have been expected to come to work and ride out Hurricane Irma right here:

Which is right here….

And those bands are the outer bands of this….

Which at the time was forecast to do THIS.

I’m sorry, I did like my job there for the most part, but if asked to ride out the storm there, in a building which got three feet of water in it during Andrew which didn’t even hit that area much at all…. Well, I’d have just plain refused.

I was hearing stories of how the staff held off on evacuating until it was actually already difficult to get over the causeway due to storm surge and wind.

I’m sorry. It’s one thing to be a dedicated team player with the company. It’s another to endanger your safety to fight a losing battle to keep a broadcast going.

Not much one could do with three feet of seawater in the studios and electrical rooms.

And for that I’m assuming I would have been fired in one of those furious scenes.

This is of course assuming it’s still on a course for us as of morning– there’s some potential for a deviation westwards.

But still, not worth it.

In a couple of weeks, northern California will be my home. The only common natural disasters known there are wildfires. I’m okay with this.

because we're management and fuck you that's why

Yesterday our apartment complex put out reminders on everyone’s doors that we are not allowed to cover or tape* any windows to prepare for Hurricane Irma.

Today, the manager’s apartment windows are boarded up, as well as the rental office.

Meme semi related.

* taping windows is actually totally useless


This morning, some prick jammed a toothpick through the sidewall of one of my tires. Yes– one of THOSE damn tires.

This coming about two days before what’s expected to be a Category 4 hurricane wiping Florida like a piss soaked rag being thrust onto your windshield by a zombie bum in downtown Miami.

Beautiful! Luckily, that same Tire Kingdom (yes, Bullet Hole Kingdom) still stocks that size tire.

There’s no propane, bottled water, canned foods, bread, batteries, or anything else particularly useful left in the stores, and it’s been that way since Monday night. I actually saw some of the questionable little “Food Store” places in the… unsavory areas… spray painted “No Supplies Inside” or “No Water” on their roll up shutters. Yes… All the way back on Monday.

This is pretty much a guarantee that hilarious price gouging will happen on a widespread basis, and to the first person who tries to use supply-side economics to justify this, I will counter with the following argument:

Say I have a great surplus of a special kind of large trout. Its prime directive is to be used for slapping people in the face. However, I have far more slapping trout than I can use, so the cost of a trout slap is so low I just have to deliver them free of charge.

To your heartless late-stage capitalist face.

  • KG4CYX slaps you around a bit with a large trout!