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Spring's storms... and pollen

A bit of a strange weekend. I spent most of Saturday with an itchy nose and no real relief. That hasn't happened in a long time — in fact, I can't remember the last time I had an all-day allergy attack. The pollen is definitely thick this year, though... every morning when I go out to the car there's a nice thick yellow layer of dust on my windshield. I think it's pine pollen from the trees lining the edge of the driveway, but who knows.

Anyway, I'm on the search for something to take care of this on a regular basis. Ideally I'd like it to have the side effect of keeping this dermographism I have at bay too, so I guess some kind of generic antihistamine is called for. Unfortunately they've changed the formula in my favorite, Alka-Seltzer Cold and Flu medicine, because it makes me sleepy now. A damn shame... that was good stuff. But society does not reward sleeping citizens.

Storm cloud over Charleston
A dark storm cloud hangs over Charleston.

On Saturday evening a huge storm ripped through Charleston and knocked out power all up and down the Elk River for at least six hours. That's not a huge revelation or anything. The power grid all along the Elk is notoriously unstable and has been for years. I attribute it to the layout of the land — which is basically (in order): mountain, road, houses, river. Really, add in a set of train tracks and you've described a good portion of the state's topology, or at least the parts populated by people instead of bears. The power lines run in a straight line along the road or river because they have to, and if there's a disruption, all the little river communities connected to that feeder line get disrupted too.

I kind of enjoy an occasional blackout, but really, let's decentralize the grid, ok? Having single points of failure for thousands and thousands of people — or in the case of the big blackouts of 1965 and 2003, millions and millions — is a poor design.

The power dropped at least one other time last night — I woke up this morning and all the clocks were flashing again. Outside, the sky was a crazy end-of-the-world bright orange color and thunder boomed across the sky. Within ten minutes, a rain- and cloud-darkened sky.

Another storm is on its way as I type this, hopefully to clean some of the pollen from the air... but I doubt it.

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