Flint…

Thursday, January 15th, 2009

Is Cold
Ha ha! (Tormenting family and friends still stuck there.)



Snow In Houston On December 10th, 2008

Wednesday, December 10th, 2008

Snow in Houston On December 10th, 2008
Is Al Gore in Town? Stats here. I’m watching it snow! Woot!



Houston Chronicle’s Great Ike Coverage

Monday, November 24th, 2008

Houston Chronicle’s Great Ike Coverage
It was good too.



Global Cooling Phase: Oh! THAT’S Why It’s Called “Climate Change” Now

Saturday, October 4th, 2008

One of these days, the prophets of doom and gloom will be right, but they’ll be dead right, so who cares? That’s why I have a “We’re All Gonna Die” category. Between Y2K, the economic meltdown ushering in the Next Great Depression (Dems and the Press hope, hope! HOPE!!!), and Global Warming, the world is going to end as we know it. The only problem: we feel fine.

The danger of screeching ala Chicken Little is that no one will pay attention when the poop really does hit the wind farm. Now, about that cooling phase:

Since just January 2007, the world has cooled so much that ALL the global warming over the past three decades has disappeared! This is confirmed by a plot of actual global average temperatures from the best available source, weather satellite data that shows there has been NO net global warming since the satellites were first launched in 1979.

Since there was global cooling from ~1940 to ~1979, this means there has been no net warming since ~1940, in spite of an ~800% increase in human emissions of carbon dioxide. This indicates that the recent warming trend was natural, and CO2 is an insignificant driver of global warming.

And it would be so awesome if the world ended–for the Moonbats, anyway.



Post-Hurricane Ike Correction Of Errors–UPDATED

Monday, September 22nd, 2008

Businesses, and I’m assuming the military too, assesses actions and decisions post-consequences to correct any errors. Last night, while I couldn’t sleep (damn caffeine–I had rehooked myself through the long road trips and travel–if it seems like I’m grumpy for the next couple of days, that’s why) my thoughts turned to our experience and what I plan to do differently next time we endure some sort of crisis (could be weather, pay attention to Kyle, could be terrorism, you just never know). I also assessed what worked.

First the gaps:

A back-up generator is not a luxury. When figuring a cost-benefit analysis, the food lost alone (we had a side of beef in a deep freezer), a generator pays for itself after one power outage. So, we need to get a generator. In addition, relief organizations won’t get into the area with ice for at least three days, maybe four. By that time, food is wasted.

We didn’t have enough batteries. I waited until too late to check on how many I had. By the time I figured out we needed more, they were sold out at the store.

Guns and gun training are a must. The police simply cannot be everywhere, but criminals are remarkably effective at being where the cops are not. So, we need to get both.

Don’t let someone borrow tools without supervision. Our chainsaw got damaged. A chainsaw is a precious commodity post-storm.

I ran out of bleach. Again, it was something I thought of too late. Bleach cleans. It kills germs. It’s necessary in large quantities for many reasons.

We needed a good light besides a flashlight for at night. Since we’re not campers, we don’t have a camp light, but we need one.

What we did right:

Plenty of food. We could have gone for a week, probably two with our dry-goods.

Plenty of water. We were okay with that too.

Gas stove. This was unintentional smartness. We do have a gas grill out back fueled by propane and we had extra tanks for back-up, but we used the stove. Here’s the thing though: there’s no ventilation so be careful cooking burgers. Your house will smell for quite some time. Ditto, bacon.

Hand-crank radio. I bought one from Amazon. In fact, after Hurricane Rita, I used Amazon for everything–saw, water purification tablets, bowie knife, etc.

Full tanks of gas. This is a no-brainer but I was surprised how many people were desperate for gas right after everything hit. Lack of preparation has consequences. We needed the gas because we decided to leave The Woodlands. We were at least 100 miles or so out of the area before there were working gas stations. An empty tank would have left us stuck. Also, I was using the car to charge my cell phone every night. The car is an excellent generator. I’m thinking about electric cars too. Wouldn’t get too far with one of them, would you? Trucks are mighty nice in this situation. Our Suburban could be filled to the gills with kids, dogs and stuff and had a nice big (albeit guzzling) gas tank.

Landline, AT&T and Sprint telephone carriers. At one time or another at least one was working–mostly. That was a relief. Its one thing to be without internet (and at my level of addiction that’s painful), it’s another to be without a way to communicate period.

As I think of more, I’ll update.

I’d also like to take a moment to thank the thousands of electrical, tree-cutting, and every other sort of service worker who came to Houston as soon as possible (the tree guy is from Maryland) to help. You cannot imagine the relief and excitement to see caravans of energy trucks pouring into the city.

Updated:

Reader Rorschach adds this in the comment section and I’m adding it in its entirety because it’s valuable. Also, I want to add this before I quote him. My iPhone was invaluable. I had email, text, internet access, WordPress mobile so I could blog, etc. In short, I could stay connected through this one small device. It earned it’s steep price, I assure you.

To the advice:

An addendum if you don’t mind. Not only are chain saws a necessity, but a chain saw that WORKS is a necessity. There are a number of cheap Poulan made ones (craftsman ones are Poulan ones.) that are absolute junk and will run for about an hour or two and then you’ll have to fight with them to get them started and keep them running. Repairing them costs more than a new saw. do yourself a favor and get a good commercial grade Stihl or Echo one. Make sure you store it properly and drain the fuel out of it, or you’ll be sorry.

Generators are a necessity as well. but gasoline powered ones have one major drawback: gasoline. You can’t buy it for the first 3-4 days after a storm. and you are constantly having to go out and refill the tank. You have Natural Gas. go and get yourself a NG fired permenantly installed backup genset. Northern Tool sells several in the 11KW and up range for under 3 grand delivered. The additional advantage is that NG fired engines don’t put out much CO so you should not have an issue of carbon monoxide poisoning.

LED lanterns are great and last a really long time on a charge, but the problem is that the color put out by them is in a range that the human eye is not terribly sensitive to. It is too blue. Fluorescent lanterns are less efficient, but you’ll at least be able to read by them. Don’t get a propane or camp fuel one, they give of CO. You can’t use them inside, and you can’t use them to light the generator while you are filling it with gas either.

Guns: Get yourself a 12 Gauge shotgun with an 18 inch barrel and load it with 00 buckshot. Best home defense weapon ever conceived, bar none. It will not over-penetrate walls and endanger your neighbors. Is somewhat immune to aiming error. (you still need to aim, but with a shot pattern 3″ across, you’re more likely to hit something than a pattern that is 1/3 of an inch across.) They are impossible to conceal, but for home defense, concealment is not really an issue. Here is a blog with a lot of good info on that score:
http://xavierthoughts.blogspot.com/search?q=home+defense+shotgun

Handguns are ideal for protection when you are mobile, but they should be thought of as a bridge to get you to a long gun of some sort, not as a end-all be-all defense weapon.

The concept of being self sufficient for 72 hours is bogus. I don’t know where that number came from but they didn’t even bother wiping the fecal matter off of it when they pulled it out of their butt. 72 hours is at BEST a minimum number, it should really be a week to 10 days.



Abandoning Land Lines For Cell Phones–A Lesson From Ike

Sunday, September 21st, 2008

Many people give up land lines in favor of cell phones. I have friends who have done just that. They’re in their twenties, though. And even though they’ve settled down with a house and a kid, they still have no land line. Well. I haven’t spoken with them about their decision since the hurricane, but Ike confirmed one thing for me: it’s good to have a land line.

Cell towers, I found out, lose power too. When that happens communications come to a screeching halt. For a couple days, the only communication came via a land line. To me, it’s just a good security back-up and important in emergencies.

Our next door neighbors got stuck because they only have digital cord-less phones. Guess what happened when the power was gone? My husband laughs at me, but I keep two boring old phones around that require no batteries for just this purpose–one for upstairs and one for downstairs. And every time we’ve lost power, we’ve used them. In this case, we could let our neighbors borrow a phone.

Conclusion: Yes to land lines. Yes to old phones. It’s just good back up.



Hurricane Ike In Pictures

Friday, September 19th, 2008

It is difficult to comprehend the devastation. Even seeing the aftermath, it is so overwhelming to take it all in. Boston.com has some pictures that might help you at least get a feel for it. Amazing, really.



Hurricane Ike: The Woodlands, Texas, Power Returning–Updated

Wednesday, September 17th, 2008

Just wanted to let readers know that power is returning to parts of The Woodlands and should be up most places there by Friday. Landlines for phone and DSL are still out and cellular service is still spotty. No reports of injuries or deaths, though. Please share your information here.

Other posts about Ike here:
Hurricane Ike, Woodlands, Texas Frustration Edition

Hurricane Ike: Woodlands Evacuee Edition

Live Blogging Hurricane Ike from The Woodlands, Texas

Also note, I’m blogging about other stuff too.

Updated:

People around the Houston area suffer worse. More here:

Residents again waited in line for hours Tuesday at the nearly two dozen supply distribution centers set up in Houston to hand out food, water and ice. Mayor Bill White complained the Federal Emergency Management Agency wasn’t bringing in the supplies fast enough, and Harris County Judge Ed Emmett had personally taken over coordination of efforts to hand out relief supplies.

A note about FEMA and relief supplies to the area. The government is not known for responsiveness, are they? Think DMV. So, relying on them for help seems misguided. That doesn’t excuse FEMA, though. The problem is the “assessment” stage. That takes a couple days. Well by Day 3 post storm, ice is a necessity to save the food a person does have.

I’m not going to say “I told you so”, but man. The problem isn’t often the storm. It’s the lack of power, water and communication after the storm. I could not understand why more people weren’t evacuated–especially those fragile and needing physical help. With families spread out, people are often alone and without support. Also, I know the elderly don’t like to leave home, but if family is offering help, it is wise to take up the offer and go.

UPDATED AGAIN:

I’ve been out of sorts being out of town and out of my schedule. Just noticed that Glenn Reynolds linked again. Thanks! He asks:

Why do hurricanes that hit Texas get so much less attention than hurricanes that hit New Orleans?

UPDATE: Another reader emails: ‘If you want to discuss lack of coverage, wasn’t the hurricane that hit New Orleans the same hurricane that nearly wiped the Mississippi gulf coast off the map?” Yes. Why did New Orleans get so much more attention? Is it because the media wanted to paint the Bush Administration as racially insensitive, or is New Orleans just the only place they could find on a map?

Well, there’s definitely that. New Orleans is an old liberal city. The left loves it because it’s the “most European” city in America. It has history and culture. It has jazz and gumbo. It also has crime and poverty and corruption. It has haves and have-nots. In short, it’s the perfect Leftist city.

In contrast, while Houston has millions more people. It has the oil business and nasty refineries. (It also has more shows than Broadway, but don’t tell liberals.) Basically, Houston just isn’t sexy. But it has jobs and a thriving economy. I guess that’s boring–a basically functional, working city.



Hurricane Ike: The Woodlands Evacuee Edition

Monday, September 15th, 2008

Hi all, I regret to tell you that I am not in The Woodlands right now, so I cannot go and check on your friends and relatives. I’m hoping that other people who read my blog and have a generator in The Woodlands will comment on their neighborhoods. I will take comments out of moderation, so people can write back and forth and share what they know. I will be on the road for the day and can update about my situation and will talk to friends and neighbors back home and update you that way. Sorry I can’t be of more help.

A word about why we left: Certain gas stations and the HEBs around town were getting food and gas, but the lines were long and not indicative of how they would get as people (including my family) ran out of food. We would have been fine for about a week, but we would need ice for perishables. As it is, we’ve lost a side of beef and the contents of our fridge. We gave away what we could to neighbors. It’s a shame to have it go to waste, but neighbors don’t have power or ice either.

Conroe Independent School District has a policy of only giving two-day cancellation notices. This is wholly irresponsible. I actually talked to people who were concerned about that and waiting to decide what to do. This is, of course, illogical. Without power, the schools won’t be going either. People should be making decisions, at this point, that will help them survive. Education is not even a third order priority at this point.

The difficult part of the decision to leave is that much of Houston, ironically, does have power. So, people are worried about being expected to work. But without power which means no air conditioning, and more importantly at a certain point, no washer and dryer, there is no way to stay sanitary. Also, this makes me think of trash and waste removal. Our garbage can was full when we left. I can’t imagine that we were the only ones in that situation.

My neighbors worry about leaving because of looting. That is a real concern considering that Houston does have power and so, the people in the outlying areas like the Woodlands are literally sitting ducks. Crime is not a problem in The Woodlands. Well, not a huge one. This is, however, Texas, and nearly everyone is armed, so there’s that.

Businesses, banks, medical buildings, imagine every small business you can think of, are without power. So a person might have food, but no work. The population of The Woodlands and Conroe area is very dense and I have to tell you that driving out of there yesterday, going up I-45 and not seeing one light until we reached Huntsville was bizarre.

From commenters reports and those of friends and family, The Woodlands area hasn’t been mentioned on the national news. That is unsurprising to me. I remember the Katrina coverage and it was like New Orleans was the city where Christ Himself was returning, probably to the roof of the Superdome. Galveston is the big news now. And it is big news, the area and surrounding areas are a catastrophe. Up here in The Woodlands, the loss is less severe in terms of homes and flooding. But there is still loss and significant loss. And the difficulty will be chronic and build as people run out of food and fuel and sit in their baking homes.

This picture sounds bleak, I suppose. Besides a boy dying after a tree fell on him, I have not heard of any loss of life in The Woodlands area. People are helping one another. Things are being cleaned up. Houses repaired. It could be worse. There are trees through peoples homes all over. And I imagine that with the attention the rest of the city is getting, The Woodlands residents will be a low priority. I don’t know.

Please feel free to exchange information here. Truly, I wish I could check on your family members. Thank you all for your well wishes.

Oh! When we left yesterday, we had no phone service from land lines, no power, and cell service was spotty. So, just because you don’t hear from family and friends doesn’t mean something is wrong. If they were like me, they took their frustration out on tree limbs in the yard yesterday. Everyone is okay, they just seem to be waiting to decide what to do.



Post Hurricane Ike Evacuation–Updated

Sunday, September 14th, 2008

Tonight we made an executive decision to evacuate. While Houston is coming back online, certain areas like The Woodlands will not be put back together for some time.

Phone service, power and even cellular service is spotty. No communication and no air conditioning do not make for happiness in Houston.

Where we live us so densely populated, that getting enough generators and the fuel necessary to run them is an issue.

Certain neighborhoods look like war zones. Every house on my street had at least one major tree down. We are fortunate. Many, many people are not so lucky.

Between water and structural and roof damage, many people will be suffering. I cannot fathom the insurance claims. It will be staggering.

I will write more later. We made the decision to go for now. Please consider giving to the Red Cross or United Way. They are operating at a loss right now. I cannot overemphasize the need. Thank you all for the well wishes. We are safe and our home is ok–one leak. We have some trees that will have to go.

We also will be without income for a while. That’s a worry for another day.

Update:

I just got a text from ATT and the CDC, Center for Disease Control, saying that the Woodlands and Conroe now are under a boil water notice. Please confirm, although this makes sense.

Also, people living in Orange have had power restored by Entergy. Only 3% restored overall.

Heard that Army is bringing in generators for gas and grocery stores, but I should note that we saw no convoys or anything going toward Houston.

Marisco Place, a street near the bayou off of Gosling had multiple power lines down and significant damage. Grogan’s Point was blocked in for one day, but crews from the Woodlands Operating Company were in there. More trees down there than in other places in the Woodlands. Power lines down on Sawdust. This info is good as of yesterday evening.

Updates again:

Roof of Cynthia Woods Mitchell Pavillion blown off.

Yesterday, as I schlepped the leaves and branches with rake and broom, my neighbor asked me “don’t you have a blower?” I just looked at him. Pretty funny. That little thing called electricity…