Saturday, December 6, 2008

Cold

Cleveland is certainly not disappointing on the cold side of things. Lately, temperatures have plummeted. Last night I went down to the Winking Lizard to hang with Novi and his girl Liz, Scur, Stacy, Hunter, and some strange couple that I guess Scur knows. It was frigid. I had walked over to Jason's to chill and play some of the new Prince of Persia on the Xbox360 with him (fantastic friggin game by the way), and then walked from there to my truck for the drive down to Scur's neck of the woods. Man, it was cold. When I got in the truck, the truck's thermometer on the little LCD info screen in the dash read 17-18 deg F. Damn. Today when I bought the webcam it was about 20 deg F. =\

The worst part about these chilling temperatures is that I can't really escape them in my apt. I probably wrote on this before, but one whole wall in my living room is basically shitty single pane glass. I'll explain. I have a wide balcony door (which means the sliding door with its accompanying fixed door) flanked on both sides by windows. The windows take up approx 2/3rds of the vertical height of the wall. So, a lot of crappy (mostly) single pane glass, with numerous drafty places. It was worse last year, until I got so fed up with it that I bought some clear silicone caulking, foam tubing, and window covering kits (clear hair-dryer-activated shrinkwrap with some double sided tape).

It's a real pain to put up the double sided tape and then put up the saran-wrap-looking shrinkwrap, then dry it and hope it holds (it will bulge out with the pressure of the drafty air pushing in on the mostly-airtight seal). The silicone caulking was nice because I could plug up the little holes in the corners where the glass meets the metal frame of the door, and the foam tubing is nice for jamming into any long stretches or cracks. It's still difficult though.

What compounds the problem of the poorly insulated living room is the fact that the baseboard heating (stupid boiler heating for this building while others have central air) is right along the very wall containing all that glass. It's frustrating. What little heat is being given off is instantly mixed with any cold drafty air, or all of its heat is rapidly exchanged with the frigid glass and metal surfaces less than a foot away.

It's bearable, I guess. At times it will be downright chilly in the living room, and at others it's really not so bad, depends on how cold the day is and how windy it is. Lately I've been wearing my underarmor longsleeve top, and it helps. Most annoying however, is that my hands will sometimes get pretty damn cold when I'm at the computer (which is almost all the time). That really can't be avoided and wearing gloves is far too cumbersome to manipulate the keyboard and mouse. Ah well.

Interestingly enough, my bedroom doesn't seem to be plagued with the same problems. This is most likely due to the fact that the overall room is smaller, has only one medium-sized window, and has baseboard heating running along two walls. I keep the bedroom door to the hall shut to keep that room nice and warm, and it works pretty well. It's still a bit of a nuisance to have to walk out from a warm room and instantly notice a chill. It's a definite temperature shift.

Hrm. Not sure what to make of this. I've given some thought lately to my desire to be in a temperate zone. I mean, I've lived in it all my life, really. From Pittsburgh to Bucknell to Cleveland, I've faced temperature extremes each year, from scorching summers to freezing winters. I really don't mind the heat, but cold, as I get older, is just wearing on my patience. It used to be a mark of (strange?) pride for me to be able to shrug off 'burgh winters, but I just don't think I care anymore. I think I'll explain a bit more about how I handle heat and cold in a later post (and if I've done so already but forgotten, I'll still post anyway).

Later dudebros.

Webcam

I picked up a webcam today, a Microsoft VX-3000. BestBuy had it on their site for approx $38, but the store had it for approx $44. I got them to price-match their own site (....) and walked away with it for approx $41 (don't forget there was tax in there).

Video resolution is 640x480, so it's nothing incredibly stellar, but it gets the job done decently well. Video quality is good. Picture quality is pretty crappy. Still pictures can be taken at 640x480 or.... 1.3 megapixels. Yeah... It doesn't really improve the quality at all; it just takes a larger picture. Oh well. I only wanted it for video anyway via MSN Messenger or whatnot.

If you also have a cam and you'd like to say hi, hit me up.

Monday, December 1, 2008

Busy Sunday

Sunday was a little busy for me. I lazed around in bed until about 2p, then got up and called Ryan. We had talked the prior night about meeting up on Sunday to watch the Stiller game. I was also interested in seeing Theory of a Deadman, who was playing at Cleveland's House of Blues down on Euclid, right in the heart of the city. After chatting with Ryan to confirm our plans, I drove down to scout out parking and buy a ticket.

I hadn't realized the Browns were playing in Cleveland that day, and so traffic was brutal. The game must have just gotten out, because the parking garages were dumping loads of cars onto the roads, the streets were packed, and I had forgotten to bring directions to the damn place. The original plan was for me to get a ticket, drive to Ryan's apt and pick him up, from where we would then head to Panini's in Coventry to watch the game. I called Ryan, letting him know I'd be a little bit late due to the traffic (and also to find out where the fuck the House of Blues was located). Ryan took the liberty of cancelling the Panini's plans, instead opting to watch the game at his place. Ryan's reasons were threefold: One, reception was pretty good that day to catch the game. Two, Ted was gonna come over and join us. Three, and most importantly, there was a whole bunch of beer at his place that needed drinking. We agreed on the plans and hung up.

I got the ticket and fought my way back through traffic to the Coventry area. Meeting up with Ryan, we each opted for a Great Lakes Christmas Ale and settled in to watch the game. Ryan was finishing up an NHL200x (sorry, I forget the year) game on the PS2. He wasn't doing well. His Pens had lost the last two games, and it was the third period, with Ryan down 3 to 2 vs the NY Islanders. This was doubly embarassing: It was a nasty losing streak and he was losing to the Islanders. I had 5-10 min before he'd finish, so I decided to return my Dad's call that I had missed on the drive to get the ticket. Dad was up at camp getting ready for a day or two of hunting. While I was on the phone, Ryan proceeded to score 6 fucking unanswered goals, obliterating the Islanders. Just minutes prior, Ryan was concerned that his Pens didn't have enough gas in the tank to make a comeback...then he shitstomps them. Most hilarious was that Maxime Talbot scored the GWG. Priceless.

He finished the hockey game, I finished the call, and we turned on the Steeler game. It was a hell of a game. Both teams are good teams, and each is doing decently well in its respective division. The Steelers are #1 in the AFC North while the Pats are #2 in the AFC East. Both teams have lost some good players to injuries. By the half, the game was tied 10-10, but after the half the Steelers just blew things wide open. Our D got to Cassel a few times, twice stripping him of the ball, forcing two costly fumbles that we recovered. With our punishing defense (#1 in the NFL in total yards allowed, passing yards allowed, and rushing yards allowed if I remember correctly), and with capitalizing on Pats turnovers, the Steelers cruised to a 33-10 win.

By this point, Ted had arrived. Ryan and I had been discussing getting pizza, so we pulled Ted in with us, ordered a pizza, picked it up, and ate it while we finished the Stiller game. We lounged around for a little to bullshit about stuff before I took off to see the show. Theory of a Deadman had two openers, Pop Evil and Framing Hanley, but given that I took my time getting there, I only caught Framing Hanley. Not a big deal. Framing Hanley was pretty good, but it was less enjoyable since I didn't know any of their songs and so couldn't sing along. They wrapped up and then Theory took the stage. Man, what a great show. The main hall of the House of Blues is a decent size: Close enough to be intimate but large enough to hold a healthy group of people. If the stage is the center of a clockface, seats/standing room would go from 3 o'clock to 9 o'clock, in two tiers. Standing room/a few barstools are on the first floor with a few rows of stadium seating on the second floor. Again, there's really no place that's far away, so you get a good view really anywhere. I was down in the crush of people standing on the floor. Times like those make you appreciate being tall, heh. It was a blast. Their song selection was really good, playing a mix of their best tunes along with a few less heard as well as a good blend of upbeat/fast and slow jams. Damn near shouted myself hoarse from singing along, not to mention I was half deaf from how loud it was.

All in all it was more than worth it. If you can get your hands on some Theory of a Deadman I highly recommend it, and if you can catch them live, do so! If you're computer illiterate, or don't want to buy a CD you haven't heard at all, let me know and I can send some songs your way.

Oh yeah. I got nearly a whole fucking Thanksgiving cake off Ryan. One of those Giant Eagle store-bought ones. He had two cakes and knew there was no way in hell that he was going to eat them both, so I got to snag one. Free food for the win.

Later dudebros.

Saturday, November 8, 2008

Going to Houston

Earlier this week, I booked a flight to Houston to see Sarah. I'll be down in that Gulf Coast city from Nov 18 until Nov 27, Thanksgiving day. I'm pretty pumped. I really enjoy spending time with her, and it's been a good month and a half/two months since I visited. There was a half a day or so of worry when, the day after I had purchased the tickets, Sarah's boss told her he wanted her to shift her business trip to South America to the week I'd be coming down. The trip was supposed to take place the week of the 10th, but lately she's been crushed with work, so the South America trip spent some time on the back burner until she could grind out the other work she had already.

With some quick thinking, Sarah came up with a valid business reason and was able to get the trip pushed back to early December. I think we both breathed a sigh of relief. It would have been messy on both ends: I would have had to find out if I could recoup the ticket cost (which likely wouldn't have happened) and/or she would have had to pitch a personal reason to her boss as for why she'd like an important business trip to be postponed.

Since I haven't written about it before, I might as well talk about my past trips down and the city. There have been two in total, one of which had us riding out a hurricane. The first trip was great, sans one thing, which I will get to in a bit. We went out to dinner twice, watched The Dark Knight in an IMAX theater (that was badass), and generally had a good time.

As for that "sans one thing"...well, here you go. Not only did I travel to Houston, but I shipped my computer as well, via the USPS. This was a huge fucking mistake. So I ship my PC and monitor via priority mail, get it insured, and fly down. For the next week, I did not have my PC. After calling the USPS hotline numerous times, I finally got some info that helped. They helped me track down the office that my computer might be at. Turns out the fucking thing got down there a day before I did. The USPS had held true to their shipping. It was indeed SHIPPED in 2-3 business days. However, it wasn't DELIVERED.

This is what was so enraging: The fat black bitch that delivers to Sarah's apartment complex couldn't be fucking troubled to put the boxes on her LLV and deliver them to the apartment management office...where big packages go. Ok...fine...they're heavy boxes (well the tower one is at least), so I'll forgive you being a lazy fuck. At the very least, we could have gotten the courtesy of a slip stating that the Post Office was holding large boxes for me. Sarah and I would have had no problem coming out to get them. So, no delivery, and no notice that my packages are there. This is even what's more galling: The bitch had the audacity to note that she left a slip. That's right. She had to mark down somewhere that the package was either delivered or that a notice was left, and she apparently marked down that she did. This was no simple error on our part. We didn't miss the fucking slip, or any notices. We checked nearly twice a damn day, waiting for any information.

So I find out the post office where my packages are located and call them. Great, they're there...and THEY'VE BEEN THERE FOR DAYS. I talk to the supervisor in the place and explain my situation. This bitch, also a large black lady, proceeds to brush off the problem, like it's not for her to deal with. This is not how things are supposed to work. I'm trying to negotiate with this fucking skank on the phone to arrange either pickup or deliver of my damn packages, and she tells me to call back the next fucking morning between 7 and 8a and speak with the carrier i person. This is completely unacceptable. This is not how the post office should work. If my dad was the carrier and his boss was the supervisor, and this same situation happened, that supervisor would be all over that...not feigning ignorance and incompetence.

This many days after arriving in Houston, I'm pissed as hell, but I know I need to keep control because THEY have my $2000 computer and I don't. So I agree to call back. I get up the next morning and call in. I talk to the carrier and negotiate. She's willing to bring out the packages, first thing. I was going to be the first stop before she would start her route. I would meet her personally and take the packages off the truck. She complained about their weight but said she would get one of the guys to put it on her LLV. She asks for my cell phone number. I give it to her. She said she'd call when she got to the apartment. Sarah goes off to work, and I sit around waiting. The morning ticks by. It's now noon. It's now past noon. Fat bitch still isn't here. I call up, mad as hell. The supervisor has no idea where she's at, and says that she has no method of getting in touch with the carrier. Absolute. Fucking. Bullshit. I cannot believe these people are feeding me this crap. I know damn well that supervisors and the office make damn sure they can contact their carriers in a hurry. You need to understand that the USPS likes riding their carriers like slave dogs, going as far as to send out inspectors to literally just watch carriers as they complete their route.

I see no way to get anything useful out of this supervisor...she's stonewalling me like a motherfuck. I hang up. I wait an hour and call back. She knows I'm not going away. The bitch carrier still hasn't delivered the package yet. OH SURPRISE. SHE HAS THE CARRIER'S NUMBER NOW. WOW. LOOK AT THAT. MAGIC DOES HAPPEN. She calls the other carrier on another line (or other phone) while keeping me on the first line. I can hear her. She's telling the other carrier that I'm mad as hell...and to "be careful". NO FUCKING NEED SAYING THAT SHE NEEDS TO BE CAREFUL WHEN THE CUNT ISN'T GOING TO BE STOPPING BY THE APARTMENT ANYTIME TODAY. The supe finds out what happened, hangs up with the carrier, and comes back to my line.

Get this: After having talked with the carrier THAT VERY MORNING...after having left my phone number...after having gotten her assurances that she would drop them off first thing...the carrier has forgotten to put my computer on the truck. She's also forgotten the note with my cell phone on it. You. Have. Got. To. Be. Fucking. Kidding. Me. Not only that, but she's done for the day.

I'm bewildered. I'm infuriated. I'm confused. I'm resigned. This is the thing violent rampage shootings are made of. I don't quite remember EXACTLY what I said, but somehow I made it abundantly clear that I was tired of all this shit and that I would WALK the 4-5 miles to the post office if that's what it took. The supe, perhaps finally, sees that I'm not in any good mood, tells me that I can come in tomorrow, and she will personally stay a little later to make sure I can get the packages. You might be asking: Later? Huh? Well, you have to remember that I'm in Houston. I don't have a vehicle. Sarah does, and she's at work during the day. She gets out of work at 5p. The post office closes at 5p. Yes, I have to inconvenience her by asking her to leave work an hour early, drive to get me, and drive to the post office. I made this abundantly clear to the supe, hence why she told me to come tomorrow, and just get there when I could. I told the supe that I'd be walking there, since I basically didn't trust her. I wasn't going to wait for Sarah to drive back, pick me up, drive there, and get the boxes. No. I struck out an hour and a half before 5p and started walking it. That way Sarah could drive straight to the post office.

Sidenote: That was an interesting little walk. Why? Well, Houston is pretty ridiculously humid during the summer. I really mean humid. Like...I am not a guy that sweats easily by any means. It takes some hefty exertion to make me sweat. Not even halfway there, my shirt is already damp. Just from walking at a healthy pace. Sheesh.

So, long story long, I get to the post office and pace around out front. Sarah shows up, we go inside, and I see the supe. She's all friendly and shit...I want to wring her damn neck. At that point I think both Sarah and I were basically resigned. What do you do in the face of such bullshit? You can't fucking win. We had the packages at that point. What good would bitching her out do? I was curt, signed the form showing receipt of the package, got the shit, and peaced. After that, the rest of my time there went really well.

The second trip was also pretty good, but then we had to deal with the hurricane crap that I wrote about in the prior post.

At this point I think I'm rambling, and I can't think of anything else to write, so I'm going to close this post out.

Later dudebros.

Friday, November 7, 2008

Hurricane

Panda has been bugging me to write about this for awhile, so here:

I was visiting Sarah in Houston back when Ike hit. I don't remember exactly how long I had been there prior to the hurricane, but a good guess would be a week. The weather was fine basically up until the night that Ike made landfall. We started prepping for the storm 2-3 days in advance. We picked up stuff like paper plates, plastic forks/knives/spoons, bottled water, paper towels, some canned goods, munchies like pringles and chips, and food that might be easily prepared.

The night of the storm, we both took a shower in case the water was going to go out, and then using some tilex that we had just purchased, sprayed the entire tub. I let that sit for 5-10 min, rinsed it out, sprayed it down again with another 5-10 min wait, and rinsed one last time. I did this because Sarah picked up a good tip from a co-worker. He stated that when he has to deal with hurricanes and the inevitable loss of water, he goes and buys a large sheet of plastic. He sets this in the tub and fills it almost completely up. The plastic is nothing more than a liner. This liner serves two purposes: One, it keeps the water from coming in contact with a potentially dirty tub and two, it allows you to fill your tub higher than you normally could.

Well, we didn't manage to get any plastic prior to the storm, so we had to make do. Liberally spraying the tilex (essentially something like bleach) in the tub twice should have been enough to sanitize it decently well. The one thing that we could not get around was that there appeared to be a limit on how much water we could save. This problem stymied both of us for a good 10 minutes before I realized what happening. Here's how it panned out: I'd turn the water on and start to fill the tub. I'd get the water line up to the point where the water touches the metal disk-thing that is usually mounted halfway up the tub wall, underneath the faucet. The water would get there, but even with the water running full tilt, it would barely get past that point. I'd shut the water off and then hear water draining out. Thinking it was a leaky seal down at the drain, I tried pushing it down as hard as I could and then tried putting a plastic bag around the seal.

Still, the leaking sound continued. I gave up on it for a few minutes, then came back and tried again. This time I tried to really pinpoint the sound. Turns out it was coming from that metal disk-thing. Getting my head into a better position revealed that the disk thing isn't there for show. I always thought it was just hiding some kind of access into the faucet plumbing. Oh no, it wasn't that. It's a secondary drain to prevent the tub from spilling over. Go figure. I don't recall if I tried to plug that up, but it would have been difficult. The disk protrusion is a good 5" in diameter, and the bottom 180 degrees of the disk is a slot that allows water flow. So with that problem solved, we just filled it to that point and let it go, figuring that amount of water would be enough. Turns out that amount did a pretty good job.

You might be wondering why I'm talking so much about a tub-full of water. Well, it's pretty important when you don't have running water for a week. In fact, I would dare say that in the aftermath of some disaster, I'd rather have water than electricity. More on that later.

I can't think of anything else to say about the days leading up to the storm, except that I was kinda pumped. I wasn't really sure what to expect. Well, Ike made landfall at night. Galveston was the first piece of land it would hit. Well, Galveston is a long, narrow island with a seawall. This island and seawall combo sits a little off the mainland (but I think still within sight). What was worrisome about Ike is that Ike wasn't necessarily a Cat 4 or 5, but was packing some serious storm surge. There was talk of "the northeast quadrant" of the storm that would bring the highest storm surge. I am only partially sure about the east part of the phrase...this is important. I still don't know what that means, seeing as the northeast quadrant of a circle is from 0 degrees to 90 degrees, and with how Ike was going to hit, one would think that the northwest quadrant would strike land first.

Now, Galveston has this seawall. There's a hurricane coming that doesn't necessarily have Cat 4 or 5 winds, but is packing a serious storm surge. At the same time, given the time of landfall, Ike was going to strike when tides were the highest. Are you getting the picture now? 15 to 20 foot storm surge on top of 5 to 10 foot tides equals dangerous. It's worth noting that Galveston has the seawall because of a hurricane that struck many years ago (early half of the 1900s) in which the hurricane's storm surge completely obliterated the island, killing thousands. I read that it was one of the worst natural disasters in the US in terms of life lost. After that, Galveston built the seawall to prevent against future disasters.

All right, so according to the weather guys, Galveston is a David standing in the path of a Goliath. Galveston residents were extremely encouraged to get out. It was so strongly suggested that those who were adamant about riding it out were told to write their name and social security number on their arm in permanent marker so that their body could be identified. Serious eh? Yeah, no kidding.

Let's get to the evacuation details now. It is important to know that just a month or two prior, practically the entire city of Houston was told to evacuate for Rita. Well, Rita was 1) Not as bad as everyone thought and 2) Didn't really hit Houston. The result? So many people jammed the highways that they basically turned into long ribbons of parking lot. People were stranded on the highway for 30 to 40 hours. There were more fatalities or injuries resulting from the evacuation than there were from the hurricane, although in total the numbers were less than 50.

Well, Houston learned from their failed evacuation for Rita and this time only required certain zones to evacuate. The primary zones were in Galveston. Well, the entire island was told to evacuate, but you get the point. Galveston and zones right on the coast were evacuated in a staggered pattern, starting 1-2 days before the storm would make landfall. The city mobilized dozens and dozens of buses to remove those who needed assistance. A sad sidenote is that when one elderly lady with very limited mobility called in to have them come get her, she was essentially ignored. She tried dialing 911, the police, fire, etc... Apparently she was outright ignored. She lived on some street with other mobility-impaired old folks, and I guess they were in the same boat. Her story almost ended poorly, except that some younger guys that were also riding out the storm on her street went around and scooped up the old people and rode it out with them on the 2nd story of some house.

The actual city of Houston was not evacuated. We didn't have to leave, nor would we. Her place is northwest of the city, albeit pretty close. The actual city proper is far enough from the coast. Sometime in late evening, the power started flickering on and off randomly. Soon enough, power went out fully, and a little later the storm hit full force. It was interesting. The wind howled like a banshee, tree bent over completely, and randomly debris blew down the street. What made it more surreal (and difficult to see) was the fact that it was at night. Strangely enough, I remember a distinct lack of lightning and thunder. Things were going swimmingly until we realized that water was coming inside the apartment.

How was this happening? Well, her building must have been built by terribads, because water was streaming down the windows like a waterfall. Your average window is set into the wall, right? At the top you might screw in the bracket for blinds. That top is where water was pouring into the room. It would come out that top and stream down the windows, pool on the sill, and pour down the wall onto the carpet. There was simply nothing one could do. So much water was flooding in that the average bathtowel would get soaked in a minute or two. The water was also tinged brown, probably from any paint pigments, dirt, and who knows what else it picked up. We quickly moved everything away from the window and that part of the room. As the night went on it just got worse. Not only was water pouring from the window, it actually started coming in through the wall. I'm not even kidding. You could see wet spots in the wall and in some parts, water bubbled behind the plaster or drywall (whatever the walls were made of) and would form a water blister the size of your fist. At one point, water actually started pouring in a little stream out of the air conditioning vent in the ceiling. That was additionally bothersome because that was in the middle of the room. Our only luck was that the ceiling vent water stopped after awhile.

I was completely astounded. The building was so poorly constructed that it allowed such a quantity of water inside? It was ridiculous. We were told it was "wind driven rain". I'm sorry, but that's just bogus. We get bad weather in the north. I've seen bad weather elsewhere. Nowhere I seen water "driven" into a building. It's not even like we were facing the direction from which the hurricane was striking.

Well, with all the water pouring into the apartment, all of the carpet from the window to ~10 feet out turned into a marsh. Having done everything we could, and having gotten tired of watching the storm outside, we retired to the bedroom, which is set back a few feet in the building (but still has an exterior window).

The next day, we got up and had no power or water. We took a walk, along with just about everybody and their mother, to survey the damage. Masses of people were in the streets just walking around kind of dazed. Branches and leaves were everywhere. Occasionally you'd see some other debris. If you came out of the apt, turned left, and then went 150 yards, you came to a small bridge that spans (in this order): An outer expressway, a creek/bayou, and an inner expressway. As you passed over this bridge, the creek/bayou would normally have been a few stories below. Not after the storm. The water level was so high it was at best 10 feet underneath. The water was partially covering the outer expressway as well. The water was completely filling the low-lying parts of the inner expressway (that expressway undulates up and down as it skirts around the city). The portion of the bridge that covered a "dip" in the inner expressway had markings on the pillars indicating feet. The water was up to the bottom of the bridge: 16 feet according to the markings. Normally it was a road that dipped down underneath the bridge and popped up on the other side. At that time, it was a road that flowed into water, disappeared, and popped up on the other side. There normally would have been a dirt path to run, bike, and picnic on that traveled parallel to the creek/bayou, but since the creek was so flooded, none of this was visible. Reasonably tall trees with roots at the creek edge were completely covered in water and bending due to the current. It was quite impressive. The flooding was pretty serious.

For the next few days we roughed it without power or water, and here is where I will continue what I hinted at earlier. Going without water really stinks. For things that absolutely required clean water, we used the bottled water. This would be drinking water and water to brush our teeth. For things that didn't require absolute clean water, but mostly clean, we would fill empty bottles with tub water and use that. This would be water to wash our hands, face, our body, etc... We also would use this water to flush the comode. To make matters worse, power was spotty. Our half of the apartment complex didn't have power, but the other half did. It was like this all over the place, but this didn't do anything to make us feel any better. That meant that while they got AC and light, we had no AC, food going bad in the fridge, and darkness. Two of those things are bearable. I can deal with no AC. I don't use it during the summer anyway since the wall-mount units in my apt suck too much juice, and not having light is manageable. What is the hardest is to know that your food is going bad and there's not a darn thing you can do.

To pass the time, we'd play board games, go for walks to survey the area, read books, or find other ways to have fun. We turned our cell phones off to save power. To eat, we either used the munchies we bought, or, later in the week, would hit up the subway or chinese people food place up the road. Those businesses had power...grumble. Since Sarah didn't have a car charger, we couldn't charge our phones...or so we thought. The gas station up the road was always so packed. Well, one day we took a short drive and I noticed a couple clever people charging their phones using the exterior sockets on the gas station. Turns out that the owner was allowing people to use the sockets, which was very, very helpful of him. Since we kept the phones off, we only needed to charge at the gas station once, which is good, since it was boring to just sit there waiting.

It was an interesting experience. What bothered me the most wasn't so much the fact that we didn't have power, but the fact that we didn't have running water. We didn't get hit with an earthquake. It was a hurricane. This should mean that the water pipes are fine. The pipes should be sealed, so it shouldn't be an issue of storm surge, floodwater, or sewage getting in the system, right? You might be asking "But Mike, what if the pumping stations were out of power?" I'm sure some did not. What I have to ask is: Why weren't those the first things they restored power to? You get water back online, you make things far easier everywhere. Well, no such luck after Ike. If I remember both of these dates correctly, the storm hit Friday night and both power and water were out until the both of us flew out of Houston on Thursday. We did get some minimal power around Tuesday, provided by very large, truck-towed generators. I suppose the apartment's management decided to bring them in and fire them up to give our half of the complex some juice. The other thing that made life suck was the fact that the carpet was a marsh. Indoor carpet is not meant to get soaked and then sit there. It started to stink after a day and a half. Shortly after that we snagged a maintenance guy from the apartment staff and told him the situation. He busted out a knife, cut up the soaked carpet, ripped it up, and threw it outside. I tell ya, bare, dry concrete is so much better than nasty, marshy carpet anyday.

Overall, like I mentioned before, it was an interesting experience. The lack of electricity, water, and light certainly made things difficult. It was trying, patience-wise, for both of us. I still had an ok time, and hey, I learned how to deal with a hurricane. Pretty neat, eh?

Later dudebros

PS - A quick addition I don't want to forget: Ike was a mid to high Cat 2 hurricane, but apparently the winds were Cat 4 category a few hundred feet up. Those high winds ended up blowing out windows in numerous skyscrapers in downtown Houston. I took a walk down there one day and man, what a sight. Debris everywhere.

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Rez plz

I'm not dead but I haven't had anything worthy to post.

Later dudebros

Saturday, June 7, 2008

Ugh

A lot of dumb stuff happened mid-April. Reflecting on that period of time, I'd have to honestly say that it was the worst chain of events in my life.

Things haven't really improved since then, unfortunately.

On a good note, summer's here along with its typical warm and humid weather and I like it.

Later dudebros