Thursday, January 12, 2012

Interlude, Snow, and Driveways

So I planed to do a single post on the Mayan Calendar, yet now I've done two posts on the topic and still haven't gotten to the calendar I was planning on posting about in the first place. I was hoping to get to that today, I got up (it was snowing) and started to write. I think it was going well, but it was really snowing.

So I went out, figured I'd shovel a bit, come back in, work more on the post, and then go out and shovel some more. Right around the point when I was planning on coming back in I realized that things would go a lot better if I could put the car in the garage. So I figured I'd do that before I went in.

It was at the wrong end of the driveway.

An hour and a half later, after realizing that I'd have to break the problem into stages because the snow was filling in to fast to clear the whole driveway at once, I got the car in the garage. At that point I think I'd pretty much figured out that I wouldn't be going back inside. Too much snow coming down too fast. If I took a break I'd be working into the dark. So, now in the afternoon, I kept shoveling.

This was not pleasant. For one thing I'd chosen the wrong coat and gloves for the job. Neither was waterproof. That wouldn't have been a problem given the amount of time I'd planned to be outside. You can be in the snow for quite a while before you actually get wet (unless it's wet snow to begin with, which it wasn't) so the coat and gloves were fine for the original plan. I'd just put something else on for the shoveling after the break.

Without a break that didn't happen and they both ended up soaked. I probably should have run in and changed into something else when I first started noticing it, but I didn't. I kept the same coat on the whole time, and the same gloves on almost the whole time. Maybe an hour or so towards then end I did in different gloves, not much however long it was.

In addition, I was tired to begin with. I've been tired lately and yesterday I concluded that I'm probably sick. There's a low level of general unease in the vicinity of my entire digestive system.  That and tiredness over an extended period make me comfortable with a diagnosis of “probably sick.” Also I generally only get vivid dreams when I'm sick, and the last few nights I've had completely nonsensical extremely vivid dreams.

Anyway, the tiredness probably wasn't helped by the fact that last night I got to sleep hours later than I normally would, yet this morning I woke up pretty much exactly when I usually do.  (Probably not the best thing to do when one is probably sick, either.)

Finally my back was very unhappy with the entire shoveling thing. That usually doesn't happen, but damn did it hurt this time.

I spent a lot of time feeling like I was going to collapse, as if my legs would just fail under me. At other points I had the desire to just give up, fall to my knees, and let the rest of the collapse come as it may.

It was a long day. It was a cold day. Especially with wet clothing.

I must have composed this post in my head at least a hundred times. Interestingly none of those times even remotely resembles what I've actually written.

I came away from my day of shoveling with this thought:

Driveways should be made of metal grating through which snow can fall, or, failing that, some kind of slats that can pivot like industrial strength venetian blinds allowing the snow on them to fall through when a button is pushed.

Under the driveway would be a cistern where snow and rain is collected. This could then be used.

First it would be melted if it were snow, then passed through a water purifier so that it could be used for the household's water needs. Possibly some forms of waste water from the house could be purified and returned to the cistern (additional purification is to prevent the cistern from getting any more gross than it needs to be given that it collects everything that falls through a driveway.)

When the cistern had no more space for snow/water the overflow would be purified and released into the ground so that, once full, the cistern wouldn't actually be removing water from the water cycle. I understand that having things be otherwise can be catastrophic for those downstream. (Though the only thing downstream from me is the ocean.)

I'm sure there are many problems with this idea that could be pointed out by those who know what they're talking about, but from my perspective it would sure beat shoveling. I should point out that whatever the surface of the driveway should turn out to be, it would be heatable so that if the snow above had clumped together and refused to go through it could be melted into water which would flow through. Like water.

Also, only vaguely related, parking lots should have solar panels overhead. It's been ages since I was at Disney World and perhaps things have changed, but I remember seemingly endless parking lots that just sat there soaking up the sun and making every car parked in them heat up until water could be boiled just by being placed in the same zip code as the car.

If there were, say, arrays of solar panels placed above the parking lot they would generate power and produce shade. And shade is something that the parking lots at Disney were desperately in need of last time I was there.

I'm pretty sure that it's possible to create elevated solar panels, so why not?  (I've thought this for years, by the way.)


Anyway, tomorrow maybe we'll get to the Tzolk'in and Haab' and the Calendar Round. Probably the Short Count too, since it's pretty simple if I understand it correctly.

Since I'm talking about future things, I've been thinking about possibly doing a thing where I go through the episodes of .hack//SIGN one at a time. The thing is, it wouldn't be a deconstruction. I'm not really interested in looking at its flaws. I'm perfectly content to skate over details an not examine things too closely.

It would probably just end up be me talking about things I liked in it and my interpretation of it, and might just end up as episode summaries. And it seems like that might not be the most interesting thing for people to read, so I was wondering if anyone would be interested in something like that.

I've also pondered on doing a similar thing with the video game Deus Ex. Similar caveats, though that I do examine closely. But the larger point there would be that I love Deus Ex and posts about Deus Ex by me might very well end up being nothing more than a fan gushing about the thing he's a fan of, which might not be the most interesting thing to read.  So I'm also wondering if anyone would be interested in that.

Also I've been meaning to write more fiction on various fronts, but haven't been doing well in actually making the words appear.

1 comment:

  1. When I watched .hack//SIGN my main impression was that it was clearly inspired by a particular style of computer game, but not one I've ever played. But there was some pretty interesting stuff there.

    One problem with snow is that it builds up even on narrow things: a grating will get a layer of snow along its lines, and that may then spread and stop more snow falling through the holes. So you'd want the widest grating you could bear to walk/drive on. Allowing a buildup and then trying to move it has a similar problem. Of course, if we had sensible amounts of nuclear or orbital solar power, we could afford to heat the driveway and let the snow run off as water.

    The cistern would have to be heated, but insulation would help.

    How about a fairly conventional road surface, but segmented, and mounted on hydraulic rams so that it could tilt sideways? Of course, the drainage ditch that the snow goes into would have to be made/kept clear.

    Overhead solar is mostly not done because it's expensive - but it's worth noting that what you get underneath is often nearly as hot (because the panels themselves act as glass and let heat in but not out), but also gloomy.