Wednesday, August 31, 2005

Photo of the day...

Atleast, that's how my better mornings on my way to work look (without all the cars in front of me...)

Hurricane Katrina aftermath in South Florida...continued...

This house is under construction near my in-law's house. There used to be a second story, but the roof wasn't on yet. You can see what's left of the second story on the ground, in heaps of rubble, as well as the bent rebar...
Folks...this was a Category 1 hurricane...not a 2 or 3 (or higher). These things need to be taken seriously. Never underestimate them!

Please, call the Red Cross (1-800-HELP-NOW) and give what you can, or go to their website and give what you can. They take donations as little as $5, and it's tax deductible, too. Do it, now. People need your help!

I knew it wouldn't last long...

Monday (8/29)

Wednesday (8/31)

And...I'm sure...higher prices to come...

Sunday, August 28, 2005

Uh-oh...

This is definately not good news for me...

Ignorant pr*cks and gaming...

This post will be PG likely in nature. You've been warned.

*** GETS ON SOAPBOX ***

I'm going to keep this brief. I was playing Xbox Live tonight, and a player who has off and on annoyed me was in a game I was playing. Now, one thing about him is he won't shut the hell up. The second thing is, not that there's anything wrong with this, but he's not the brightest. You explain the same thing over and over to him, or have to repeat what you say over and over...and he doesn't get it. If he's mentally challenged...so be it. Third, which unfortunately amplifies the first two points, he's a friggin' 17-year-old punk, which does a tremendous disservice to others his age.

So we're waiting for a game to start, and he starts talking trash talk to a player who apparently stepped away from their TV. He goes on to make a comment "hey, if you don't say anything, you must like black guys", making the inference that this other player is homosexual, and that black men/homosexuals are an even lower form of homosexual/man than any other.

I drew the line and muted him.

Now, when I've done this before in the past, he displayed a tremendous amount of insecurity. He didn't understand why I muted him and wanted me to unmute him (when you mute a player, while you can no longer hear them, they also can no longer hear you...just as well, IMHO). He conveyed this through other players, and agreed to behave himself. He...somewhat...did for the rest of that evening.

So after his comment tonight, I muted him again. Out came the insecurities, but so friggin' what. Through the same player as before, he pleaded for me to forgive him/unmute him. He wanted to know if I was black or not, because if I were, he would apologize (meaning, if I weren't, he wasn't sorry). What sort of crap is that? After the other player relayed this back to him, he still didn't understand why I was upset at him and had him muted.

Now, I hear lots of trash talk when I play online, but I do not join in on the name calling. I never say crap like "that's gay" or "I owned you". Hell, I poke fun at myself more often than not, with one of my more infrequent quotes being "What the heck am I doing in first place?"

However, players who...
- makes racially insensitive comments
- makes defamatory comments about anyone's sexual orientation
- are generally loud or obnoxious
- don't shut the hell up so that other players can communicate
...are muted and/or kicked off my friends list (if they made it there in the first place).

So this guy wants to know why I muted him and was pissed off at him? It was relayed to him...and he STILL didn't get it (again, he's apparently not very bright). He does his clan (the game lets players form groups called 'clans', and other players can see which can someone belongs to during a game) a complete disservice because of the way he acts (his clan is LtMyFire). He should be booted from it.

Am I still pissed at him? No. Do I want to un-mute or forgive him? No. Two strikes, he's out.

He's a racially insensitive homophobic idiot, and he doesn't understand that.

*** GETS OFF SOAPBOX ***

Some further aftermath, in South Florida...

...on my way home from work on Friday, I passed by a stoplight that HAD been working earlier...
And today, the particular supermarket that I shop at every week (a mere few miles due west of my workplace), was recovering from having no electricity for a couple days. Thus, no perishables...No dairy...'cept these remnants...

No hot dogs or breakfast meats...

And no produce...

At this point, I am very hesitant to think about what New Orleans is about to go through. I wish them the best. This storm was merely an inconvenience for us, around where I live. Overall, 9 people died here. Many more are going to die in New Orleans...this storm is just too big for that number to not go up drasitcally...*sigh* Be safe, everyone. Go to a shelter, and ride it out. It's going to be hell afterwards...but be patient...you will get the help you need.

I'll leave you with this last image. What's special about it? Look at the red arrow. Now rotate it clockwise 90 degrees...

Friday, August 26, 2005

Sign of the day...kind of.

Now there's what we want to see...FREE GAS!

*sigh*

If only it MEANT that...

The day's wrapup...and cleanup...

My work's hurricane policy (regarding if you have to be in the office or not while a storm is in the area) basically goes like this:
- If there's a hurricane warning that affects your home, you do not report to work.
- If there's no hurricane warning, and you're scheduled to work, you go to work. If you don't, it's counted as a vacation day.

I woke up this morning. We were no longer under a hurricane warning. I called work, and there was power. Ruling: I needed to go into work.

So I proceeded to go into the office, and I took these photos along the way. First, starting with around my house.

The downed palm tree from last night. Still blocking the path. Kinda rude for them not to have moved it already!

More tree limbs, etc. on the ground around my neighbor's house.


Trees knocked down just outside my development

This tree, in the parking lot of the Publix supermarket near my house, tore up the sod when it fell. Talk about a gaping hole torn from the earth! (Okay...that *was* slightly overdramatic...)

More trees down along Miramar Parkway.


More storms rolling through during lunchtime, with more downed trees.

This poor person...they even have roof damage (see the tiles missing from the edge of the roof...)

At the office, things were operational, except we had no net connectivity. Turns out that a fiber optic line that feeds us and other businesses in the area was down nearby...and in a road...and cars were running over it. Nice. They're trying to sort that out.

Other than that, when I went to sleep last night, Katrina was still a hurricane, and apparently it went down to a tropical storm, and then back up to a hurricane by 5am. It's the storm that just won't give up.

*yawn* I'm awake, time to survey the damage...

I'm sure we came through OK. Have digital camera, will travel. I'll post photos as they're available.

Work is operational, so today IS a work day for me. Yippie. :(

Power is back! Yippie!


Sent via BlackBerry from Cingular Wireless

Well, the power just flashed on...briefly....

Damnit, I'm trying to sleep! Don't put the power on now!

Thursday, August 25, 2005

...and the power is out...

Power flickering constantly...

...Outage seems imminent...see y'all!

The 'damage' thus far...

Okay, so I went out during the 'eye' of the storm to survey the damage. This isn't always a smart thing to do, and already 2 people have been killed by the storm, which passed to the south of us after all, and is currently estimated to be a mere couple blocks from my old work building!

The first thing I should note is how warm it was outside. It's somewhat unreal, because you'd think with the wind and the clouds and the rain it would be cooler. However, this is a tropical system, and it does carry heat with it! Rather an amazing t

Anyway, onward with the photos:
What's this crap all over our cars?!?

A downed tree (limb)! Quick! Get the camera crews!

Roof shingles...this isn't good...they're all over the place...luckily, they do NOT appear to be from my roof...
Wind was still kicking up fairly strongly!
Note the EvlD├╣cks...who came running up to me, seeking my protection. They must know we're in the same clan...

I'd say we have a small problem here...

Wind coming right out of the north, across the lake.

Walking on the path back the street...more tree limbs...

You can see the wind here, pushing the palm trees back.

Eeek...a fence was blown down at this house. My in-laws had one blow down at their house as well.

If you look closely at the roofs (rooves? I fergit...) of these two houses, their shingles are being peeled back by the wind...they eventually tear off and fly away. This is what is covering our streets. Luckily, my roof seems to be holding up rather well. A neighbor who I met outside said "If you see your room waving 'hello' at you, you're in trouble." I agree. Of course, the same neighbor was in his van going to, of all places, Blockbuster Video. When I made the comment that they were likely not going to be open in..say..a hurricane...he shrugged and figured he'd try.

I saw him drive back 5 minutes later.

I think we're in the center..or near the center...of the eye...

It's gotten rather calm out...time to take a peek out the door...

Now we're in the thick of it!

It appears, for the moment, that we're in the outer edge of the eye of the storm. The shutters are rattling, and we found a small leak in the house. When will the excitement ever end?

Despite all the excitement...

...the fish are oblivious...

This thing is coming right at my house...I know it...

It's taking a WSW course, and if it rides the Miami-Dade/Broward border...it's going to pass right over my house. Woohoo!

See the road that goes through the H in Hialeah? See where it turns 90 degrees and heads due east? I live just a little bit above that bend, by about 1.5 miles. Now look at the blob of empty space on the radar, surrounded by deep red storms. Find the center of that...that's the "center of circulation"...and picture that travelling just south of due west. It's coming for us. Yikes!

Okay, the shutters are up now...

Winds were really kicking up now...wow!

This is likely my last photo update for the storm, as I can't see outside anymore. We're hunkered down with DVDs, 'net access (hopefully), satellite TV, etc. If there's anything significant to take photos of, be sure that I will do so!

It's official: Hurricane Katrina!

You heard it here...whenever you heard it here...

OK...it's raining steadily now...

...It's getting closer!

Compared to last year's storms...

...Katrina is nuttin'! We didn't even do our shutters for her. Here's what it looks like during one of last year's storms... One of four storms from last year. Don't remember which.
And here's what our house looks like all shuttered up...

Hmm. They just announced a 3pm advisory with winds up to 70mph. 5 more to go and Katrina is offifically a hurricane!

Katrina is coming to take me away, HA HA! HO HO! HEE HEE!

It looks like the eye will go 25 miles north of our house. Still not a hurricane, and may be a minimal one by the time it arrives. If there are any photos that show it's fury (from my home-office window), I will post them.

(Nice to have a day off from work...kinda...)

Wednesday, August 24, 2005

The sunset before the storm...

Katrina is on the way...but before the wrath of nature ensues, we get one last glimpse at something beautiful...

Sunday, August 21, 2005

Roger Waters and opera...

I can't wait for this. News about it is always exciting!

Saturday, August 20, 2005

The "Outback Diet"

Over the last year, I've lost about 40-45 pounds. Late last July, I weighed in at 195 pounds. Then Weight Watchers came along, and I followed the program (I didn't attend the meetings, just did the counting points thing, etc.), and it worked incredibly well! I never starved myself, I still ate foods I wanted to eat, and I lost the weight.

During the last 8 months or so, I stumbled across a rather interesting thing after dining at the Outback Steakhouse. It is something that I now call the "Outback Diet", as this has worked consistently for me for the last 8 months (during which time, I've eaten there on average about once per month).

You see, yesterday morning I weighed myself, and the scale read 153 pounds. This morning? 151 pounds.

Why is this significant? Because each time that I've eaten at the Outback for dinner, I weighed in 2 pounds lighter the next morning. And I only pee'd between the end of that meal and before I did my weigh-in, so it's not like I dumped a lot of stuff from my system to explain the loss.

Here is what I have eaten each time:
- One slice of bread (about 1/6th of the loaf they put on the table). NO BUTTER.
- 7oz. Victoria's Filet (rare)
- Baked Sweet Potato (NO BUTTER, but still have the cinnamon-sugar)
- Caesar salad, dressing on the side (using as little dressing as possible).
- Unsweetened iced-tea (as much as you want)

I eat normal for breakfast and lunch before (i.e. I do NOT pig out/stuff my face with food). In yesterday's case, I had a sesame seed bagel (plain), a half Turkey sub (no cheese/mayo), baked Lays potato chips, and one square of Ghiradelli chocolate (from San Fran, of course!). I also had Diet Sprite, Diet Pepsi, tea and water through the day as well.

Can I promise that this would work for you? No. Do I eat out at the Outback every day? No. You have to do this in moderation and see if it works. For me, 8 out of 8 times is proof enough. I can't explain it...but it sure is damn interesting!

Sunday, August 14, 2005

The last views of the City by the Bay! *sniff*

Monster Park, where the San Francisco 49ers play...

And, under cloud/fog cover...downtown San Francisco...

See ya next time!

I wonder what they use to pull the planes over...

That device, under the wing of the plane? That's one of those standalone radar gun contraptions to tell you how fast you're going. The speed limit was 10 mph. I dare 'em to stop a plane...

The myth about my last day in S.F.

Just had to pay a visit to my current favorite non-fiction TV show's home...Mythbusters. This is where the shop is in S.F., and if you've watched the show, you should recognize it. I just drove by, didn't stop/knock/etc. That would have been rude (even if it was 9:00am on a Sunday morning!). I will say this, tho...the place is a lot smaller than you'd think!

Saturday, August 13, 2005

Speaking of old things in San Francisco

Did you know that the Boudin Bakery in San Francisco has kept their master dough used for the sourdough bread for over 150 years?

No wonder the bread tastes sour!

On the other hand, they do make some pretty impressive bread!

Chinatown!

South Florida does not have any real Asian community center like San Francisco, or even other major cities. Sure, we have some areas were you'll find a bunch of, say, Chinese markets, but nothing to the extent of what you experience in Chinatown in S.F.

One of the neater places to go is the Golden Gate Fortune Cookie Company in Ross Alley. You can watch as fortune cookies are HAND FOLDED (rather than machine folded)...and they'll even give you a free sample. They sell bags of fortune cookies (including some with 'adult' sayings)...and they're really delicious!


I ate dinner at the Snow Garden restaurant. I didn't want to go to a restaurant that was all "done up" Chinese style, but something closer toa cafeteria/chinese food setting. I found that here.Orange Chicken, rice, three egg rolls (closer to spring rolls, really...thin crusts, NOT oily!), hot tea and a Sapporo beer (okay, I screwed up and ordered a Japanese beer...so sue me!). Mmmm...great way to complete a visit to this locale.