Thursday, September 22, 2005

Look, It Flushes!

Just got back to DC from southern Miss. We are ecstatic to see (and use) flushing toilets and running potable water. I'll try and get some pics up as soon as I get back to CA. Wow.

Tuesday, September 13, 2005

Pigeons of Mercy descend on Gulfport, MS

"The Hub" here...guest blogging for Suziehulahoop. Currently said hulahoop is truck drivin' in Gulf Port Mississippi along with her sister, giving away truckloads of food, water, and supplies to the folks of that commnunity for the Red Cross. Last I heard (tonight), they are sleeping in a large military base hangar with more than 500 of their closest friends, with complimentary non-existent air conditioning to boot!! That, however, appears to be a better deal than most around there are getting because they at least have walls, a roof, water and power.

Apparently (this info is second hand from "the hoop" as well) many of the container ships that were trying to hide in the small coves of Gulfport to ride out the storm have been destroyed, and their truck-sized cargo containers turned into giant house-sized rolling pins, just in case the winds, storm surge, and falling trees weren't enough to level everything already. Awful.

Is this what the future holds for coastal communities like Gulfport?Probably (from 2004, before Katrinasationalism...). Here's a more recent paper in Nature about it...eerily prescient that science can be eh?

Speaking of which..there's a pretty good Katrina timeline out there, sourced fairly thoroughly as far as I can tell.

And as long as we're getting facts out there (and since the hoopster makes no bones about the whole bleeding heart liberal thing)--there are other examples of less than enthusiastic leadership on issues of national security by you know who... Maybe one day we'll actually get to read the whole report.

(scuffling sound as soapbox is slid to more convenient position for standing on...)

Maybe one day we'll get beyond this whole liberal/conservative smokescreen and just focus on facts. Maybe one day people will realize that there are way too many life and death problems we have to solve now to let matters of taste and culture get in the way...

But I digress...a lot...more on the hoop to come, as I get the updates...

Send the pigeon sisters your thoughts and prayers!!

Monday, September 05, 2005

Still In Civilization, Sort Of...

Well, so far everything is hunky dory here on the east coast. After two false starts, I did finally get into the Red Cross crash training course. (More on that in a sec...)

Yesterday morning after showing up at the FIRST alleged space and hour, and realizing that the info was incorrect, The Sis, RobbyBlog and I rallied and spent a lovely day at the Maryland Renaissance Faire instead. So that really didn't suck. And, extra special joy of joys, our longtime friend Lovely Lisa got to join us a well. All was super fantastic until some spaz at the knife throwing booth gacked out and somehow hit Lisa (standing NEXT to him, NOT in front of him) with one of his knives. It was only a glancing blow to the hand, but probably rather unsanitary, so we spent a few moments over with the nice folks at the Firste Aide. Getting some tincture and poultice. Or something.

After the slight maiming, there was only fun to be had by all, including such show stoppers as: observing the joust, pub sing, oyster shooters, and my personal favorite, axe throwing. Wheee!

So after a good night's rest, we set out again this morning, bright and early, for that darned required four-hour course, and yet again we found it to be nothing but erroneous info. We chose, at that point, to see it as a test of our persistence and stamina (and a chance to do some light shopping in nearby Georgetown), and hung in there, finally getting into the class at noon. Whew.

After the class finished we stopped by The Sis's (The Sis'? Grammar anyone?) local Red Cross branch to make sure we were all set with paperwork, and found out that I have been called up to be deployed! Eeeek! The Awesome Lady Who Is Helping Us, suggested that I wait until tomorrow morning to call in, when, most likely, Big Sis will be called up as well. So cross your fingers that we get to go, and go together, and I'll keep you as posted as I can. And don't forget to keep those knife wounds clean, okay?

Friday, September 02, 2005

Leavin' On A Jet Plane

Okay, so things have been moving quite quickly here at the HoopRanch. Seein' as I couldn't get into the local Red Cross class for another two weeks, I'm leaving tomorrow to fly to the east coast, meet up with said Fabulous Sister, take the class out there, and then deploy with them asap. Part of me feels like even this is too late, but another part is glad that I am in a situation where I can actually do something. Anything.

Um, so I will be gone for a few weeks. I'll try and post if there is any electricity where we get sent, but don't go holding your breath, okay? Send some positive vibes out for us to take along with us. Okay? Okay. Here we go.

Thursday, September 01, 2005

Stepping Off My Soapbox Into...?

I, along with the rest of the world, can't believe how bad things have gotten in New Orleans. It seems that there is some fundamental organization missing from the rescue effort, and our president is, as usual, useless. BUT, as a budding engineer, I feel the need to disagree with some current sentiment that finds fault with city civil engineers and the failed flood control measures. There are certain natural guidelines that are incontrovertible, engineering intervention or not. If you build in a flood plain, you will experience floods. It is really that simple.

Check out this site about Holland's 700 year struggle with flooding, and the massive engineering that has gone into preventing it. Also, if you get the chance, check out John McPhee's book "The Control of Nature" where he discusses the Army Corps of Engineers' extensive attempts to save New Orleans from the Mississippi. It is important to realize that we (engineers) can do our best, but Mother Nature will always hold the winning card. The underlying mistake is allowing destruction and development in tidal and freshwater wetlands, and on river deltas! All of the previous "engineering" to prevent flooding in these areas has only made the situation worse.

None of this is to say that we shouldn't try to save established cultural treasures, such as New Orleans. But in addition to flood control, there should be a back-up procedure for swift, efficient rescue and remediation. I am agog at the lawless void that is transpiring.

Okay, now that I've gotten that out of my system, I need to thank my wonderful sister. She has gotten me seriously thinking about volunteering to help. I am currently signed up for a local Red Cross emergency training class, but they are full until mid September... I'll keep you posted.