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Monthly Archives: October 2009

Ameren UE, the energy providing behemoth in my current area of residence (St. Louis, Missouri.) shut my power off at 10 in the morning today. They had good reason, the management company that had been charging my account to pay the power bill decided they were no longer going to pay my bills for free. This is a somewhat reasonable idea, but would generally warrant notification, yes?

Instead, they simply stopped paying, and since the bills had never been sent from my address, I never received a notice of a delinquent account.

This is not the end of the world, hell I managed to find my way to a working power source and a computer, yes? The difficulty was accomplishing the task of paying a bill. I had the money. I had the means. What I didn’t have was reasonable intelligence from anyone between me and my electricity. My apartment was dark, cold, and apparently hopeless.

Artist's Rendering Artist’s Rendering

With a bent debit card of my roommate in one hand (with his consent, obviously) and a phone in the other, I attempted to correct the lack of modern technology in my domicile.

It took 1 hour and 9 minutes, spanning 6 phone calls, two recordings, two customer service agents, (Editors Note To Cliff: You were helpful and patient, thank you. To Sherry: You were useless and rude, and I hope you step in a large puddle that you first thought was shallow, and have your entire leg, up to the knee, in muddy water.) and a wave a frantic hatred that washed over me.

The problem was rarely with any single person. It was the fault of nobody I spoke to today that my power was stopped. It was based largely on big-business idiocy. After simply paying my bill for months by removing the funds from the account directly, they simply stopped, boredom apparently stole their attention away, and they chose not to tell me.

I spent some time thinking, how best to sum the events of the day? How best to describe in brevity how and why this all happened today. I came up with something highly appropriate, and totally unoriginal.

The lights were on, but nobody was home.

That conclusion sucked!!

That conclusion sucked!!

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Children’s lives are often dictated by fantasy and dreams. They imagine themselves as kings or queens, great warriors or superheroes. They can conquer anything, and they can do it all from their room.

Many fantasy stories exist to entertain and educate children. Yet, for one 6-year-old boy in Colorado, what may have been a fantasy exploration has now become a desperate search, haunted by what it may find.

6-year-old Falcon Heene is the child of Richard and Mayumi Heene. The Heene family is highly unique for two reasons. First, the Heene family was featured on ABC’s ‘Wife Swap’ television series. Second, the Heene family is a family of storm chasers and extraterrestrial investigators. Falcon Heene, according to multiple reports, was seen by one of his siblings entering a large helium balloon that was tethered to the Heene home. The balloon has been reported as ‘part of an experimental arifcraft’ by various news sources, and has an access door at the bottom. It is unclear whether Falcon untethered the restraints holding the craft to his home, or whether the craft became free by accident.

If you don’t know the rest of the story, then it sounds like a Disney movie in the making. A young boy who’s father was reffered to in the Denver Post as an ‘amatuer scientist’ lived his life very differently than you or I. A storm chasing family, devoted to science and the world beyond, seems like the perfect setting for our favorite quirky characters.

The boy climbs into the craft, maybe to find aliens, maybe to go on an adventure, as young boys do, or maybe just out of boredom.

2 hours later, the balloon came crashing down, and the little boy was nowhere in sight.

Reality is never as good as our dreams

Reality is never as good as our dreams

Now, the search begins. Authorities are working at this moment to find the little boy that an entire nation is rooting for. How can we not? Falcon embodies everything we find so wonderful about the young, and everything about them that scares us. Imagination without restraint, wide-eyed wonder without apprehension.

CNN reports that the door to the balloon was not breached or damaged, and that Falcon may not have fallen from the balloon at all. He may have escaped, he may not have been in it, he may be anywhere. The local authorities are optimistic, but logic might be against them. If young Falcon was in the balloon when it took off, and not when it landed, then how many explanations are there.

I hope the boy is fine. I hope he can tell us about his adventure in the balloon one day, about his fantasy journey across the Colorado sky, but I’m scared we may never get that story.

Like most, I’m afraid what the authorities will find. I’m afraid that young Falcon may have fallen from his helium dream world and come down to a very real earth. I’m afraid a family tragedy is currently being broadcasted for the whole world to see. I’m afraid that dreaming may be as dangerous as we all thought. But for Falcon, for the family, and for the unrestrained wonder that so many might approach life with, I’m afraid.