Many of us in Carpinteria got another reminder of our abject dependence on electricity tonight. Power went off to the eastern half of town today about 3:00pm. Large residential neighborhoods, the shopping center, city hall, and business/industrial park were effected at first. Some people got their power back in about an hour, while many of us waited about 5 hours. Arthur C. Clarke said, "Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic." Electricity is pretty close to qualifying, don't you think? Despite its ubiquity in every vaguely civilized corner of the world, it's still a little amazing. From bare light bulbs over barn doors to server farms, to the electronics on a jet, to the pacemaker in Dick Cheney's chest, we have learned to do practically anything with electricity. My power is finally back on, thanks to a crew from Southern California Edison, who had to climb down in a damp electrical vault up the street from my place. I certainly appreciate that. My Dad worked for Edison for over 30 years, and I know it's a hard job. Still it seems like something in that same vault goes kerflooie about once a year. A transformer, a circuit switch, I don't know. But I'm really beginning to wonder what's going on down there. Is there some kind of lingering defect beneath the pavement? A curse? A malevolent mole? Do we need to send Karl Kolchak down there to investigate? Maybe they're just getting replacement parts in boxes of Lucky Charms. It's Magically Suspicious.