have you ever thought about where electricity comes from and how it gets to your house? i know they travel on those telephone/utility poles (unless yours are buried underground), but i know nothing more beyond that. i was coming back from my run yesterday, walking up ash street, when i looked up a utility pole and saw these beautiful translucent blue-green colored knobs that resembled either upside down shot glasses or votive candle holders. after staring at them for a few minutes, i sort of figured out they were acting as insulators for the electric cables. i never gave it much though, but it makes sense that these cables aren't just nailed to utility poles, that some sort of insulation was involved, otherwise people would get shocked whenever they touched a pole. as i continued walking home, i kept looking up and identifying all the different kinds of insulators. however, only on ash street were there glass ones, while everywhere else they were ceramic/plastic.
so being that i had nothing else going on and with the weather being relatively nice (50's), i decided to go out and get some photos of these rare glass insulators. i bumped into bruce and jack and dennis along the way, and i told them what i was doing. i was a little concerned, because i was afraid neighbors might get nervous and suspicious when they see somebody outside taking photos of the utility poles. not sure if he was kidding, but dennis told us he used to throw rocks at the glass insulators when he was a kid.
it came as a complete surprise, but there were a bunch of utility poles with glass insulators along shepard street, at the intersections with avon and walker. the ones here were similar to the ones i saw on ash street, except i noticed a clear glass insulator, and another one that was entirely green.
i wonder if the folks living on ash street even notice the glass insulators adorning their utility poles. how old are these things? and if one breaks, does the utility company replace them with another glass one or one of the newer ceramic/plastic variety? how much is one glass insulator worth, anyway?
ash street not only offers glass insulators and a view of the charles river, but one of the neighbors has some unique "katherine hodgkin" irises growing on their yard. i walked down mt.auburn street into harvard square, passing by a series of crocuses. the pleasant spring weather brought out a lot of pedestrian traffic into the square, as well as various street musicians. from harvard is was another 15 minutes before i returned home.
having done the most minimal of exercise with 30+ minutes worth of walking, i got on my motorcycle and went to the ace hardware store in porter square to buy a radiator key for my father (one of the radiators at my great uncle's place needs to be bleeded). when i got to the cafe, there was a big coincidental crowd of relatives and family friends (sister, aunt, uncle, mr.wong and his daughter). i had some noodles for a late lunch before going home again.
i left the house at 8:00 to take some photos of the city during earth hour, when several buildings and landmarks around boston will turn off their lights for one hour starting at 8:30. it was in the 40's, but i was dressed for the weather and was only traveling a short distance via motorcycle. i headed to MIT, to the banks of the charles river. several other people had the same idea, as two other camera people with tripods set up their equipment along the railing. i had my tripod as well, shooting at ISO 100 with exposure times as a long as 45 seconds. i want to do more long exposure photography this season, but first i may need to invest in a better tripod. the one i use is a simple plastic one, but because it's so light, the slightest wind causes unwanted vibrations. although the biggest problem tonight was the fog, which obscured the two tallest skyscrapers, the hancock and the prudential. when earth hour began, i hardly noticed. one of the hotels turned off its red neon light, and the citgo sign went dark. whether the prudential or the hancock shut off their lights i couldn't tell because of the thick fog. it was all pretty anticlimatic, i think maybe i was expecting to see the whole city in pitch black, but to be honest, probably most people didn't even realize this was happening. i stuck around away, switching lenses, shooting with my telephoto. i was the last person to leave, my camera equipment slightly damp from all the moisture in the air.
when i got back home, there was still 30 minutes left in earth hour. in doing my part, i abstained from turning on the lights (instead i lit a candle), although i did surf the web a little bit on my laptop (does the glow of the LCD count as a light source?). for dinner i made some more french bread pizza, this time going with pepperoni and onion slices. washed it down with some coffee milk, then had a pear for dessert.
eddie grant - "electric avenue"