Post Charley

I’m disappointed in Charley. All this prep work and it didn’t even come close!!
Of course my tongue is firmly planted in my cheek. Indeed, after spending the last day over the Gulf of Mexico, Charley made a sudden jog toward the mainland after reaching North Fort Myers (50 miles directly south of here) and started moving NNE on a path which took it through Punta Gorda, Arcadia and onward toward the Magic Kingdom (which it reached by 9pm; thankfully the theme parks had closed by early in the afternoon). It’s expected to head out to the Atlantic Ocean by tomorrow morning.
Ended up leaving Cam and Melissa’s shortly after 7:30pm; snappd a few pictures before I went inside. Things looked pretty much the same as they did before when I left: wet, and maybe a few extra leaves on the ground. [Update, 8:23am Sat]: It looks like Sarasota had a few road closures.
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One of the Sarasota-based ABC reporters drove down to Boca Grande to see what he could see. I think he’s lucky he didn’t see a tree on his hood. [Update, 10:01am Sat]: View map showing relation of Boca Grande to me and to Charley’s path. By the way, if anyone’s still disillusioned about doing all that hurricane prep work and then having it miss them, have a look at this Holiday Inn in Punta Gorda (be sure to check out the video).
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These kids thought it would be a good time to go swimming.
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A nice little shot showing the relationship of the storm to where I live. For those who don’t know — I live just in-between the white square and the “S” of Sarasota.
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NBC affiliate out of Tampa trying to look all serious. Apparently they were bobbling things all day, hanging up on all sorts of callers “for their safety”. Whoops! I love live TV.
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This is about as bad as it got in Sarasota.
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One of the main drives for the apartment complex. Looks pretty much like it always does after it rains.
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Earlier in the day the apartment complex staff went around and overturned the picnic tables.
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Tree debris.
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This little guy didn’t seem to be phased by the whole thing.
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Back at my place. Everything’s still fine, hooray!
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Didn’t move an inch. Box was a little soggy though.
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Extra water for the toilet etc.
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MaskingTapeMan.
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Looking NE, 8:09pm. Can you believe I got to see the sunset? Maybe a decent Friday the 13th after-all. Pretty cool thing about the weather here is it’s so volatile, you could get dumped on, and 15 minutes later it’s all clear.
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Looking to the SE, 8:09pm.

Live from party central

Over at Cam and Melissa’s now. Charley has since turned into a category 4 storm — winds between 150-160 mph. We haven’t seen those here yet, though we are seeing steady rain and incrementally stronger gusts.
There’s a tornado warning right now for north eastern Sarasota.
The eye of the hurricane is just south of the Lee/Sarasota county border. For about half an hour the local news was speculating that the hurricane might take a turn to the northeast and miss us. But now it’s back to heading up north along the shoreline, which puts us in (relative) danger again.
My lousy attempt at humor… we’ll see if it’s still on my balcony when I get back:

Post-computer packing:

My computer:

The local ABC affiliate gives an overview:

The rain is falling constantly now:

Pre-Charley Prep

[Update, 11:58am Fri]: Added hurricane prep link.
Went out to the grocery store at 9:30 this morning to pick up a few extra bits before Charley arrives. Things are still overcast outside, very little wind. Everyone was being extra-nice to each other, wishing each other a good day, saying sorry for just about any kind of accidental physical contact, etc.
The boarded up Starbucks I mentioned last night which was boarded up but still open (and which Cam visited) — is now closed. So was Subway, which I don’t think I’ve ever seen closed. Publix was super-crowded. Things they were out of: gallon jugs of water, frozen precooked chicken products, and BBQ briquettes. I ended up picking up a loaf of bread, 2 cans of Pringles, 2 frozen pizzas (at least one of which I intend to consume for lunch today, before the power goes out), and a bag of Gardetto Snak-ens (original flavour). I’m set for the next few days.
While I was in the pharmacy beside the grocery store, I saw an old man wander in with his walker, asking for “D” batteries. The store was out, but the people waiting in line suggested Walmart and Target had them.
Looks like about 1/6th of the apts in our complex have their windows taped. Having a place right beside a tree, though, I’m not taking any chances. The news as of 9am this morning states winds could reach 100 miles per hour. I did not see anyone with boards up.
Got my iRiver SlimX 350 mp3-CD player charging. Why would I be doing that, when I’ve got my iPod? Because it’s got an FM tuner in it.
Just got a phone call from Melissa. After I’ve got things secured here, I’ll be heading over there, probably around 2pm or so — and we’ll probably be driving over to pick up Kai. What do we do in a crisis? Well, party of course.
Oh yes — here’s a link to a good article about hurricane prep from USA today (though the time for the advice in it has mostly passed): Protect your home against a hurricane, without wasting time.
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Updates to follow later today (assuming I have access to a computer).

Bonnie and Charley


[Update, 9:33pm Thu]: Added third storm tracker picture of Charley.
[Update, 8:29am Fri]: Added fourth storm tracker picture of Charley
[Update, 10:30am Fri]: Added fifth storm tracker Charley pic.
[Update, 12:37pm Fri]: Added sixth storm tracker image.
Wow, so it’s hurricane time in Sarasota. Hurricane Charley’s just below Cuba right now and moving north quickly — 30 km/hr!
As I said to the family last night over email, I’m kinda excited and a little nervous about this one. Excited because it’ll be my first hurricane. Nervous, because of statements like this one (from StormCarib — the Carribean Hurricane Network):

THERE IS A DISTINCT POSSIBILITY THAT CHARLEY COULD BE NEAR MAJOR HURRICANE STRENGTH WHEN IT MAKES LANDFALL ALONG THE FLORIDA WEST COAST …ESPECIALLY IF IT MAKES LANDFALL FROM THE TAMPA BAY AREA AND SOUTHWARD WHERE THE VERTICAL SHEAR WILL BE LESS.

Whatever the heck shear is. I presume it’s something to do with upward air movement.
Cam and I were discussing today — it’s weird, having so much advance notice of a natural disaster. Up on the west coast, it’s all about the earthquakes — and you rarely get any notice on those. But here, we’ve had at least 24 hours to freak out now, and the major strike isn’t expected for another 24 (we’ll probably get some rain/wind as Tropical Storm Bonnie glides by to the west over the Gulf of Mexico). Cam also made a post about the storm.
I’ve been keeping an eye on the movement of Charley. Here are two three four five six storm tracker images, each separated by 3 hours, courtesy Intellicast:

2pm EST Thu. Click for a larger image

5pm EST Thu. Click for a larger image

8pm EST Thu. Click for a larger image

7am EST Fri. Click for a larger image

9am EST Fri. Click for a larger image

11am EST Fri. Click for a larger image
Click here for an up-to-date image.
As you can see it’s moving pretty quickly, and they still predicting it to hit Florida right over top of the Tampa Bay area. Hold on to your hats!
Shops down the street are boarding up their windows. That new Starbucks just down the street I was talking about a couple of days ago? All boards now. Except for a small bit of spray painted text (“We’re open!”) where the door used to be you wouldn’t even know there was anything there. If things aren’t too hectic on the road I might head down and snap up a photo or two.
As far as preparing my place, there’s not a lot I can do living in my apartment. Being on the third floor, I’m pretty safe from flooding:

That is, if the roof doesn’t rip off. 🙂 Stay tuned for updates…

*$, Vacation

Well here I am at work on Saturday! The whole gang is here, less Hugo. Deadlines are approaching, but it’s a lot less stressful — I think our processes are starting to mature a bit. 😀
All sorts of news. Tuesday a new Starb*cks opened right along the 2 mile route of road/highway I drive to work. I’m thinking this might end up kicking my ‘bucks habit, as I anticipate I’ll be driving right by it every day and not stopping. Either that or it’ll get worse 🙂

They’ll know my name soon enough 😉
Other big news: I’m going to be in Victoria between Sat, Sept 4th and Sunday, 12th. I am free the whole time; it’s all vacation! Let’s meet up.

Back, by demand (of some sort)

Well, ah, that would have been the last time I locked the door on 429. Except the next morning I realized I left a big thing of cream-cheese in the icebox of the refrigerator I’d turned off the night before.
So. Make that August 3rd, 8:05am was the last time I’d lock 429. Just to set the record straight ‘n stuff. 🙂
Wow. It’s been a while since I’ve written. That’s partly because it wasn’t until two hours ago that I found the USB cable for my camera. Right now my new place looks like some kind of warzone where tsunamis go into battle with each other. Or maybe tornadoes. Anyhow, I’m going to show you the new place BEFORE Kai, Darren, Eric G, Angela, Cam and Melissa all graciously came over on Sunday to help me move everything into it (a big “thank-you” to all you guys, by the way). At least that way I can look tidy. It’s a real minimalist thing I’ve got going on these days. Yeah. That’s it.

From the main entrance looking into the living room.

From the living room looking into the kitchen.

I have a hallway! Far left, bathroom/shower, far right, my room.

Looking in my room.

Looking from my room out to the hallway.
I had a tough time with these shots — it’s hard to capture just how big the place really is. I think that’s why I’m somewhat reluctant to clean up post-move. I’m a little worried the size of this place is going to dwarf me, and all my worldly possessions.
And tonight I got broadband officially hooked up. Monday night’s post was made via a stolen wireless signal:

Airport to the rescue once again. This happened to be me last year at the old apartment too. All I did was activate my wireless card, and OS X selected the network for me. Bam, look ma, internet access, no ISP. When will people learn to password protect their networks? Before you wonder if my scruples have taken a leave of absence, I should point out I kept my traffic to low-bandwidth stuff only (email and that blog post), so hopefully whoever-it-is didn’t notice. The local DSL provider is running a promotion where they’ll throw in a wireless router as part of a package when you sign up — works well for sharing an internet connection with multiple computers, without all that wire mess. I showed the cableguy how I was picking up the signal of one such router, and he didn’t have a clue what he was looking at, so perhaps — if the DSL techs are anything like him — that’s why I’ve seen so many passwordless wireless access points around this apartment complex these days. But there’s hope yet. Joe’s network is password protected.
I was going to put them in a separate post but, aww, what the heck — you only live once right? Here are some pictures from the actual move. The first shot is kind of fuzzy — in big part due to the torrential downpour during the move.

Darren closes the U-Haul.

L to R: Eric G, Kai, Angela, Cam. Offscreen: Melissa

Let’s just say I was short on boxes. Who can name all the geektastic bits in this shot?
Anyhow, I’m so glad I had so much help on Sunday — definitely made things go quicker; I’m not sure I could have done it without you guys. Thanks again.. I feel lucky to have so many good friends.
Now… to start planning that housewarming 🙂