A hacker in a blackout

So at around 5:00 last night, I was working on a couple of projects – just a crafting thing, mind you – and waiting for a basketball game to stream online.

Then the lights went out.  Poof.


Wait a second.  I paid my light bill.  I ALWAYS pay my light bill.  What’s happening here?

Turns out … THIS is what happened here.

This is a helium-filled Mylar balloon.  And somehow it escaped from whatever party it attended, floated into the power lines, touched two of them simultaneously … and blew out a transformer, plunging the entire Town and Village of Green Island into darkness.

Happy birthday, whoever you were.  Thanks for the present of a power outage.

Now a little background here.  The Town and Village of Green Island has its own power supply, which is generated from the turbines that were left behind when the Ford radiator factory closed its doors in 1983.  Those generators provide municipal power for the entire island, and residents have no problem paying $25/month in light bills.  Okay, $30 a month in the summer when we run our air conditioners all day and night.

And all that energy comes from the Hudson River as it flows through those generators.  Simple, renewable, sustainable energy.  Love it.

It also means, however, that sometimes the entire grid can get knocked off-line – either for maintenance or for upgrades, or for – yep – a Mylar balloon that got tangled in the power lines.

Now something like this draws a crowd, and many residents (including me) walked toward the flashing police car lights, trying to figure out what happened.

And yep … there was the balloon, still dangling off the power pole.

The Green Island Power Authority would need to get that balloon cut free, then they needed to find out which transformer was affected, and there was no guarantee that power would be restored immediately.  It might take an hour, it might take all night.  Or into the morning.  Ugh.

All right … nothing better to do … I went home.

May as well check a few things on my cell phone.  Look at some e-mails, check my Instagram account –

Hey, wait a second.  Why am I getting pictures of Russian poseurs and the like on my Instagram timeline?

And why isn’t my picture of me on my profile?

Oh man.  это пиздец.  The Russians hacked my Instagram account.  They loaded me up with 400 sites to follow, they changed my e-mail notifier, and they swapped out my picture for some headless dude.

So now I have to change my password, reorient my IG account to my e-mail, posted a new picture of me on the front page, and then – one by one – delete 400 sites I wouldn’t visit in a hundred years.  And it felt like it took a hundred years to remove all that crap from my account.

And then … maybe an hour later …

The lights popped back on.  The Green Island Power Authority must have fixed the dsmage, or if nothing else, they at least rerouted power from the affected transformer to the working part of the grid.

Whew.  Now I can get back to my life.

And I can get back to fighting off these scammers, spammers, swindlers and spoilers.

Just another day, I guess…

Or in this case … another night.