Monday, October 31, 2005

Aaaahhhh...that's better...

Amazing what a flash can do to a photo. Here I am, ready to shovel candy at kids when they come to the door. In the meantime, I have Blogging Device™ in hand, but I was using it to IM instead at the time...

Why light is important for picture taking...


One town's good idea for disaster recovery...

Freakin' brilliant idea. Very local disaster information, rather than relying on the general media which are trying to reach a 5-6 million audience and not providing enough specific information about the area in which YOU live...

I hope other communities look into this, because this worked out rather well.

Yes, I need to clean the face off, but...

...the tunes are still cool!

(For those that follow such things, the time of this blog entry is correct. I have not updated my car's clock yet.)

The people I work with...continued...

In all fairness, I normally dress up to the office on Halloween. However, for different reasons, I did not do so today. My buddy was the only one who did...normally we have atleast a handful who do dress up...just not as joyous a holiday as it normally is.

Thanks for dressing up, man!

Pictures across Miramar...

I returned to work today...finally...after a week where the office had no power. On my way in, here's some more observations of the area...

What do you do when you need electricity, but the lines are down? You RENT it! Whatta concept!

Looks like they may be renting power for this intersection's traffic signals as well! Eeek!

Wow...most of the stoplights are gone...and those that remain have no power. It's a giant four-way stop at one massive intersection...and not one police officer around to direct traffic! Brilliant!

Hmmm...but the next intersection up we have police officers...and powered stop lights!

My offices...still mostly shuttered. The shutters were being taken down when I left the office today.

Gas price! The horror!

Well, the price is unchanged...but the horror is the signage that's damaged from Wilma...

Sunday, October 30, 2005

Perspectives on Wilma

Tomorrow morning marks one week since Wilma hit South Florida and caused all sorts of hell. It's time to begin to review what happened, where we are and what lies ahead (past, present and future).

We've seen power restored to about 2,000,000 people, with 1,000,000 people still in the dark. We've seen the end of most of the lines at gas stations (I was able to pull right up to a pump today), and food is slowly returning to grocery stores (between two stores, I was able to get everything except for chicken).

A woman called from my insurance company tonight and gave me my insurance adjustor's name, and said she'd call me in a week to schedule an appointment with him. I'm likely going to keep my agreement with Andrew's Roofing...but I'm not sure. I'll try to decide tomorrow.

Power has been restored to my company, but tomorrow is mostly a recovery day. They'll be bringing our computer systems up tonight, but without our T1s, we will not have any internet connection, nor phones, except that we will be able to make outgoing calls.

My kid's school is still closed, and I'm not sure when it will re-open, but it will likely be within the next couple of days. My mother-in-law still has no electricity, so she can not watch the kids while my wife and I work, so we'll have to tag-team that.

We didn't have a great hurricane plan for our family, but we were enough hurricane aware that we did several things right. It could EASILY have been worse for us, and we lucked out this time. Specifically:
- We had full tanks of gas before the storm hit. (GOOD)
- We left our cars outside, vunerable to the storm. (BAD)
- We fully shuttered our house. (GOOD)
- We had inadequate hurricane supplies, specifically non-perishable food, water, batteries, first aid kit and more. (BAD) Despite this, we didn't have a strong need to rely on them, so we came through OK.
- Our local government prepared for a potential gas shortage by making sure all gas stations had full supplies before the storm. However, they didn't make sure they had generators so that the pumps would run, so the gas sat in the ground. (BAD)

- We need to clear out our garage and get atleast one of our cars in there. Well, the only one that would fit, anyway.
- We need to update our hurricane supply kit, and keep it current.
- Federal and state governments are looking into what can be done about supplying gas stations with generators so that they can pump gas after a storm. It'll be interesting to see what they can come up with.

We did not take this storm for granted. We certainly didn't expect it to be as bad as it turned out to be, and it could have been worse. We hunkered down, and played it safe, and we turned out fine. Many people were in worse shape, and won't have power for another 2-3 weeks. We only had to last 2 days...again, we were lucky. We can not afford to be this complacent again, because the next storm is really going to bite us in the butt!

Power has been restored to my office!

The T1s are down, but the power is back. Woohoo!

Life continues on the lake...

The flock of ibis grows larger...

A couple of guys enjoying some fishing on the lake...just remember, it's catch and release, guys!

What the heck...?

I've never seen/heard of this type of car before...but it's really funky looking. Must be British.

It's a "Nitto X-90"???

More signs of the storm

This picture is rather interesting. First off, you can see where the sign scraped the tree as it was whipping about during the storm. Now the sign has been twisted around at it's base (look at the bottom of it's pole) and faces the wrong direction. You can also see the other signs in the next parking lanes over where their signs have also been twisted around in the same fashion.

Saturday, October 29, 2005

How strong was Wilma? A small example.

The winds were so strong at my friend's house that it blew these two street signs (he lives on a corner lot) so that they point in the same direction. Which is towards his house.

Halloween Party!

Even Wilma couldn't stop my friends from throwing a cool Halloween party last night! Dade county changed it's curfew from 8pm-6am to 12am-6am, so we were able to go.

The gang

Batgirl and, gladiators WERE slaves, right?

Our hosts, next to their pirate ship, which withstood Hurricane Wilma! Great job, mateys!

Me. What am I? I don't know myself...

More friends...and the Egyptian guy creeps me out.

My vote for best costume...

He's a plug. She's a receptacle. Um. You make your own joke here.

I hate it when someone wears the same dress as me!

Thanks for a great party, guys!!!

Lake wildlife...

Life is slowing returning to the lake. We have our ducks, our ibis...haven't been looking for fish yet, or turtles...but the birds are returning, and we have some neat visitors.

A small yellow finch was looking down at us from above. This is in the same tree that I released the iguana in...but he moved on.

Now this guy is our new visitor. We're not sure if he's a hawk or eagle (or even if it's a 'he'), but he's been circling our lake, and diving down and catching fish with his talons...really neat stuff. If you can help identify him...put a comment to this post!

My first adventure outside the development

I have not left home all week. I have been home, watching the kids, while my wife was able to return to work. Her company has power...mine does not. Owel. Time for me to go to Home Depot and Super Target.

I was amazed at what I saw along the way.

Leaving our development. You used to not be able to see those houses, for the most part.

Police directing traffic through a nearby intersection because the light is out.

There's your gas price. And the cars in front of it? You guessed it, waiting in line to get the gas...

A tractor-trailer that didn't make it through the storm. It was likely parked and blown over by the storm.

Notice the edge of the roof? This house is BRAND NEW. No one lives in it yet. How did that much tile get damaged?

A sign is bent over.

This is the Huntington development's sign. Except you can't see it now, for the most-part.

A near-by bank as most of it's sign missing.


This guy must be REALLY DESPERATE to sell his can such that he spray painted it. Couldn't he atleast have included his phone number?

Another line of cars going into a different gas station.

The flag made it! More than likely because the firefighters who take care of it took it down before the storm, and put it back up afterwards.

Yet Another Intersection Down. No police here, however.

A bent over concrete light pole. CONCRETE!
A bunch of maleleuca (?spelling) trees, stripped of leaves. It's amazing to see, really, as normally their brush is very dense.

Coming home...lots of downed trees...

The entrance to my development. never saw so much open sky before....

Driving into the

Friday, October 28, 2005

So a neighbor of mine....

...and I meet at the mailbox. We have community mailboxes, not one at our individual houses, so you frequently meet people when you get your mail. Not unlike an apartment complex's mail box area.

So I'm chatting with her, about how their roof is coming along, because they had a hole in their roof that Wilma created, and the neighbor notices my shirt and says "Oh, that's Beaker!!!" I was wearing a bright-orange Beaker (from the Muppets) shirt that a friend had bought for me. Turns out the neighbor was big into the Muppets, etc., and we chatted for a little bit more.

Before I went to bed, I decided I had to try to impersonate Beaker as best I could...because he's one of my favorite Muppets...!

Don't forget to buy your Muppet stamps!

Scenes from around the lake...

A guy and his dog, who fish on the lake rather often. The dog is really smart, and they are a good team together.

Hey...there's something in that tree across the way...

The pathway has been more trees blocking the path.

Ah, the ibis(es) are what I saw in the tree! Really beautiful!