Friday, September 12, 2008

Hurricane Ike, Part II

So after our plans fell through yesterday, we went and got a few more things at the store and are now in our house for the duration. Kroger is open today until 11pm, a bit of a shocker since the hurricane strength winds are suppose to reach shore at about 6pm.

Not making any full meals, just snacking. The nerves make it impossible to eat a full meal. Watch the news for a couple of hours, take a couple of hours off. Want to stay informed, but too much makes you start to panic. So we watch our recorded tv shows, play around on the internet and such to pass the time. Likely that we will lose power later, so we are saving reading as such for when we only have flashlights. I'll probably take a nap later as I probably won't sleep well tonight.

Ike is 12 hours away, and Galveston is already flooding. The flooding is as bad as with a Category 4 storm because of how wide Ike is. Waves are coming over the sea wall and depositing trash and pieces of broken piers all over the roads. Crews are clearing the debris as quickly as possible so that the rescue crews and emergency vehicles can get through. The floods came up sooner than people expected and the Coast Guard has been rescuing people all morning. There is a freighter that is broken down in the Gulf and the rescue copters can't get to them because of the high winds. (2:44 - the ship has just lost some power and can no longer steer, there was a rescue mission that failed.) The poor men and their families. Over 600,000 people in Texas have evacuated from their homes; and over 100,000 people in Louisiana.

Thankfully, Ike isn't spinning tight enough strengthen further. Now we wait to see if there are any last minute switch in directions.

4:25 - The wind is blowing steadily, though it's more like a strong breeze with gusts that feel like wind. There is a fire burning out of control on Galveston island around UTMB hospital and the court house. The flooding is preventing them from getting to it. The husband had to go lay down and rest for a while, I'll probably take a rest after him.

4:47 - The fire is in the Yacht Club, a transformer blew and set a fuel source alight. They are expecting more explosions because they can't reach the fire due to it being surrounded by water. The smoke is being pushed straight at UTMB, but the hospital is in no danger. There are still patients there, though all critical patients have been evacuated.

4:59 - Press Conference - Need to be off the road by 6:30 because hurricane force winds will be here. Too late to leave, time to get inside and wait. Looting will not be tolerated. A curfew will go into effect starting at 7pm - 6am on Saturday and Sunday in all Houston areas that had mandatory evacuations.

Damage estimates are are at $7 billion. I'm beginning to think we will be lucky enough not to lose power. People were still hanging out at coffee shops and one person was kayaking down the street.

6:00 - The state is now predicting that the damages will reach $81 billion. We've had our first power blink out, just long enough to reset the computers. Could finally hear the wind outside about 10 minutes ago. Hubby is up now, may be time to make a pallet on the floor. The wind is more audible upstairs.

6:45 - It's stalled in the Gulf temporarily, the eye has gotten much tighter and the winds are at 110 miles per hour (almost a Cat. 3). Bayous in Houston are flooding though there is no rain due to the storm surge.

7:30 - Husband and I just blew up our air mattress so we can all sleep in the living room floor. We've set it up right next to our closet beneath the stairs so we jump in there quickly in an emergency. About 90,000 people in mandatory evacuation areas have ignored the orders to get out. There have been wind gust up to 115 miles per hour. Many communities have put curfews in place for public safety and to prevent looting. I wonder what kind of idiot goes out in a hurricane when they don't have to. The lights have just flickered a couple of times, I hope the power lasts a little longer.

Thursday, September 11, 2008

Hurricane Ike, Part I

So, yesterday the city decided to cancel school for Thursday and Friday. Since then our family has been trying to decide whether to stay or evacuate. The last evacuation was a nightmare, our car almost died. We were on the road for 14 hours, A/C gave out and the baby got sick. Then the hurricane followed us to our "safe" location. The car is in no condition to make such a trip, even if we had the money there are no hotels available for hundreds of miles (They were booked on Monday.).

My mother-in-law is insisting that we go with them, so we are going. They are coming to pick us up and we have no idea what kind of space we have for the essentials such as food and water. I really dislike uncertainty in such times. So by 6pm tonight we will be headed out of town, my family split into two different cars and our cat will be at my parents' house. I think this is the right decision, especially since when I was at Walmart getting supplies there was not a single seagull to be found (they are always there looking for free food).

I'll post an update to the situation as I am able. I have no idea if I'll have access to the internet for the next few days.

Evening update: We aren't leaving after all, our ride fell through.

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

A Review I Couldn't Resist

I wasn't going to write a review for Perdido Street Station by China Mieville, because of how busy life has been due to the start of the school year, and reading the next book for our book talk group. In the end, I couldn't resist.

This book is wonderful. It falls into the science fiction genre, under the sub-genre of steampunk. For those not familiar with the term, steampunk is mostly defined by a feel of the Victorian era and a mix of advanced technology with backwards technology or advanced technology run by steam power.

Set in New Crobuzon, this book is about a fringe scientist, Isaac Dan De Grimubulin, who is approached by a client, Yag, to restore his ability of flight after he has his wings removed as punishment for a "choice crime". We also get a view into his relationship with Lin, a kheperi. Lin is a sculpture artist, who acquires a mysterious client of her own. The story develops slowly and evolves into a complex web of events.

The most overwhelming (in a good way) aspect of this book is the masterful use of language employed by Mieville. His vocabulary is extremely rich and varied, even reading it for the second time I had to occasionally reach for a dictionary. The language lends an incredible texture to the tale. New Crobuzon is described in a way that makes you feel as if you could go there and touch the walls of Lin's apartment or the University buildings. It has the feel of an old English town, including horse-drawn (and other creature)taxis. Mieville uses words as a painters use hues and colors on a canvas, giving the reader layers and subtle details. You can tell by reading his works that he has a love of words. Even if science fiction isn't your usual genre, give this book a read, the sophistication of the writing makes it literature without question. If you are a writer, you will envy his vocabulary and weaving of words.