A "good enough" mom muses about alpha moms, adoption, computers, the State Of The World, Internet quirkiness, and the Kosmik All
My love affair with doomsagers
Cast your mind back seven years. We (the Western World) were creeping up on the year 2000. There were folks who were relishing the thought of ushering in a new millennium. Please, please, let's not have a philosophical argument as to whether 2000 was the first year of the new millennium or 2001 was--whichever, there were folks who were hyped. There were the various doomsday cults that foresaw a new Rapture, sweeping up the Blessed and leaving the Damned (that would be me and my family and cohorts) behind. And then there were the Y2K nuts. I was--peripherally, at least--one of them. I discovered comp.systems.y2k early that year on Usenet. I read it compulsively. There were all these computer pros passionately arguing the question: WILL all the systems that run our utilities, our produce delivery logistics, our clocks, our microwave ovens, all crash at once or not? Is it TEOTWAKI (The End of the World As We Know It) or not? There was the guy whose buddy, nicknamed "The Baron", was building a self-sufficient compound in Florida to retreat to when it all came crashing down, with food supplies sufficient to feed his followers and ammo sufficient to fend off the hordes of starving urbanites who would--undoubtedly--come crashing at the gates. There were arguments as to whether the worst effects would be from financial systems crashing, or from all those embedded chips running things like electrical grids. And there were the scoffers, the non-believers, the ones who said their companies' systems were all fixed and ready to go. I listened. I worried. When autumn came, and it started getting chilly, I persuaded Mr. OmegaMom to purchase two cords of wood to tide us through the winter if all went whacky. We would, I reasoned, heat the house with our woodstove if necessary. I had us purchase some extra food and water to stash in the garage. Um. Well, if you were to visit the Omega homestead now, you would find us with half a cord of extremely well-seasoned wood neatly stacked and covered by (newer) tarps over by our fence. It burns spectacularly well. It was very nice to have on hand last New Year's, when the power went out for two days and we didn't have heat. The food is long gone, thank heavens. In other words, Y2K was not TEOTWAKI. But, damn, it was so convincing! I always liked the doom and gloom end-of-the-world science fiction stories, a la David Brin's "The Postman", or the variety of novels dealing with post-plague society. Heinlein's "Farnham's Freehold" was one of my earlier SF tidbits. All of this may key in to an almost Germanic melodrama and pessimism to my personality. It's genetic, I think; my dad had similar tendencies, as does OmegaBro. Anyway, the latest doomsaging comes in three flavors: World culture clash between Islam and Christianity brings down civilization! Peak Oil threatens us in our lifetimes! Global warming will swamp our coastlines and throw our weather systems totally out of whack! (There's also the libruhl conspiracy theory of BushCo trying to impose martial law, that's always a nice scary thought.) Choices, choices. Which disaster shall I choose? Which disaster will choose us?? So, I chomp them up. I think about things. And, is my wont, I worry. But I don't let it ruin my life. Yet. Though there seems to be ample opportunity for me to decide to purchase another two cords of wood to tide us through FimbulWinter...
posted by Kate @ 4/10/2006 05:41:00 PM  
  • At 4/10/2006 06:25:00 PM, Blogger Johnny said…

    At the Mega-lo-corp, we were busy plugging the Y2K bugs (err, design oversights) in our code for a full 1.5 years before the event.

    What you folks haven't worried about is 2038. Have you?

  • At 4/10/2006 06:39:00 PM, Blogger Kate said…

    Now, now, Johnny! Don't you know we have 32 more years to work on that??? (Waves hand.) It'll Get Done! Besides, no-one will still be using these systems then!


    Whaddaya wanna bet that we'll see another two-year surge of desperately overworked programmers burning the midnight oil to fix that issue?

    I'm thinking that WinDoze has a different year as their starting point...?

    Small Mountain University's IT department spent about the same amount of time (1.5 yrs) going through each department and getting rid of the creaky old 286s and 386s, having COBOL programmers go through all the mods on the financial system, and doing other patches.

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About Me
Name: OmegaMom
Home: Southwest
About Me: Middle-aged mom of a 4-year-old adopted from China. Love science, debate, good SF and fantasy, hiking, music of almost every style. Lousy housekeeper. "Good enough" mom.
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