Sunday, August 28, 2011

Update to the Update on Irene

Hurricane Irene turns out to be a strange storm insofar as its kind of hit or miss damage and its doling out of wind and water. 

At our house, we have only the aftermath of what could have been a normal rain storm; just down the street about two miles, in the same town,  the street is closed due to the Pequabuck River overflowing.  The same river took out part of a business in our town and flooded the adjacent village and next town over.  Two men used very poor judgement when deciding to take a canoe out into the Pequabuck. One is now missing. 
Just Down The Road From Our House
The Pequabuck
Meanwhile at the Ted Knight Bridge at the other end of our neighborhood:

Looking For The Maiden of The Mist
In Town the Pequabuck Flows Under Several Buildings
 Which Have Straddled It For Years 
Sunday Stroll In the Park
People Like Us Out Gawking 

Along the Connecticut coast several homes were lost - one floated away in Long Island Sound.  

All was calm except for rushing waters this afternoon, but now at 6:30 PM Sunday, the winds are picking up again and we are a little worried about trees near the house.  There is still a good chance we could loose power.

All of the Northeast and New England is bracing for more flooding as water continues to drain into rivers and streams. 

On a lighter note, my sister who is a nun and living in a house a few hundred feet from the waters of Long Island Sound decided to stay home with another Sister and ride out the storm.  I called her to tell her that the town was imposing a voluntary evacuation and that she should consider leaving.  She said no, she wasn't worried.

The conversation made me think of this story:

There was a big storm coming and the warning went out to evacuate. The local police went to every house. One old die-hard evangelical refused to leave and said to the police, "I trust in the Lord, the Lord will save me"

Then the rains came and the water began to rise. Volunteers came in a Jeep, but still the person refused to go, repeating to them: "I trust in the Lord, the Lord will save me"

The water continued to rise and was up to the top step of the front porch. Then a rescue squad arrived in a motor boat, begging the person to come with them. But, still refusing to leave, only said, "I trust in the Lord, the Lord will save me".

As the flood waters began to inundate the home the person somehow made it to the roof-top with a bible in hand when a helicopter flew over and lowered a life saving harness. They yelled "Put on the harness if you want to save your life." Waving the bible, the person still refused to take the harness and shouted, "I trust in the Lord, the Lord will save me."

Then, suddenly the whole house was swept away and the person drowned in the flood waters.

Standing before the Lord in heaven, the person begged the Lord to answer one question:

"Lord, I believed in you and had faith. Why did you not save me from the flood?"

The Lord replied, "You foolish human. First, I gave you a warning, then I sent the police, then a Jeep; Then I sent a boat and finally a helicopter. What more did you want?"

Irene Update

Well, Irene seems to have fizzled out here in New England - lots of water and a little wind, some power outages and trees down but thankfully nothing too serious.

We are on the side of a hill so we didn't get flooded, but there is some flooding in town. Our worst damage was a few corn stalks and tomato plants that got knocked down from the rain. There was hardly a stiff breeze here. We still have power. And a bathtub full of water...

The weather reporters and news crews have been talking non-stop for three days, substituting the lack of wind with wind of their own. I guess the storm was a windfall for the TV weather-casters and reporters who got lots of overtime!

The sun should be breaking through soon and we are in for some beautiful late August weather.

Saturday, August 27, 2011

Gay Popcorn Movie 2 - While Waiting for Irene - Netflix Saturday

Hurricane Irene is taking her sweet time leaving the Outer Banks and heading north.  While we're waiting for her we are walking the dog between rain showers and Netflix so he won't have to hold it too long should it suddenly get nasty outside.

This afternoon's selection was Chris and Don, A Love Story.  This is a documentary told mostly from Don's perspective, about two remarkable men - Christopher Isherwood and Don Bachardy.  The story follows their lives before and after their meeting and through the time of Chris's death in 1986.  As an out gay couple they were certainly ahead of their times.

The thing that struck me most about the story was how quickly one's life passes by - no matter how filled it might be with the stuff of theatre and wonderful experiences.  It left me with a certain sadness.  The fact that most of us lead quite ordinary lives and will never be famous writers or artists conjures up the words of Thoreau that most of us "lead lives of quiet desperation".   

But while waiting for Irene, we got a little glimpse of the lives of two very interesting men who shared a unique and loving relationship.

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

5.8 DC Quake Sure Sign of Heavenly Ire

An earthquake centered in Virginia, today damaged the National Cathedral.   Surely this must be a sign.  After all it did strike a cathedral.  Somebody's god is angry.  We can't be certain what he or she is angry about, but it must be serious.  Perhaps god did not like the cathedral or wants a bigger fancier one like the Pope's.

Perhaps this finger of god is pointed at Congress for their incompetence or because they didn't Tax the Wealthy.  Perhaps the angry god is a TeaPartier and is upset that Congress did not go far enough to pay the bills.  Perhaps this god is merely disappointed in Obama.

Or perhaps, as with most natural and man-made disasters the earthquake was a warning to this country about those awful homosexuals.

Yeah, I'm sure it's our fault.

Saturday, August 20, 2011

Hindu Rescued

Found this story which gave me a renewed sense that there are still people in the world who care.  The Schooner Hindu will once again be made seaworthy and return to summer in Provincetown with Captain Kevin at he helm.

This wonderful wooden schooner has been a part of our enjoyment of Provincetown until it was basically held for ransom in Key West two winters ago.  It was not in Ptown in 2010 and is not there this summer.

The soul of the ship is Captain Kevin, a former school teacher who has the Irish gift of gab.  His commentary while aboard is always interesting, informative and entertaining.  While out for a sail, passengers can help hoist the sails or steer the boat, or just relax and have a good time.  Dogs are always welcome.
The story of the Hindu would make a great novel or movie, especially when embellished by the tidbits that Captain Kevin relates.  I was especially touched by a gay love story the Captain told on a sail a few years ago, which I tried to retell in a previous post HERE but will reprint here:

Here is one story as told by Captain Kevin: 
    Back in the early seventies two young guys hitchhiked to PTown from Minnesota. They had nowhere to stay, so were sleeping under a dock. (This was the seventies and PTown was a very seventies kind of place.) It was early in the season and he Hindu was in port with a Help Wanted sign. 
    One of the two applied for and was hired for the job as first mate. The Captain realized that he needed someone on the wharf to sell tickets and mentioned the fact to the first mate. The kid told the Captain about his friend “who would be just the person for the job”, so the Captain hired the other young man. In the course of things it was revealed that the guys were living under the dock so the Captain unhesitatingly offered the guys living quarters on board the Hindu where they lived all summer.         
    They returned to Minnesota at the end of the season to pursue their lives and careers. A few years ago they returned to PTown for the first time in nearly thirty years. When they unexpectedly spotted the Hindu, which they assumed was long gone, they both began running down the pier to the boat with tears in heir eyes. 
    They told their story to Captain Kevin and were invited aboard to see the newly restored schooner – the boat that they had lived on during their first summer together. To hear the Captain tell the story, you knew it would make a great movie.
But the Captain tells it so much better.

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

You've Got To Laugh

You've got to laugh at the Republican presidential race or it will be a long, sad, upsetting year ahead.

Saturday, August 13, 2011

Google Storage

Thanks Russ and Cubby for info on photo storage space.  I found this regarding Google+ (plus).  Unfortunately registration is closed at this time.

If you've signed up for Google+

Free storage limits

Photos up to 2048 x 2048 pixels and videos up to 15 minutes won't count towards your free storage.

Automatic resizing

All photos uploaded in Google+ will be automatically resized to 2048 pixels (on their longest edge) and won't count towards your free storage quota.
All photos uploaded  to Picasa Web Albums over the free size limit will count towards your 1 GB of free storage. When you reach your storage limit, any new photos you upload to Picasa Web larger than the free size limit will be automatically resized to 2048 pixels (on their longest edge).

If you haven't signed up for Google+

Free storage limits

Photos up to 800 x 800 pixels and videos up to 15 minutes won't count towards your free storage.

Automatic resizing

All photos uploaded over the free size limit will count towards your 1 GB of free storage. When you reach your storage limit, any new photos you upload to Picasa Web larger than the free size limit will be automatically resized to 800 pixels (on their longest edge).

So, storage not only depends on the kb size but on the pixel size - the way I interpret this is that a picture at 800 pixels on the longest edge will use zero storage but one that is 810 x 790 will count toward storage.

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Some Netflix Suggestions

We don't do much in the evenings after dinner as Leon has to return calls to customers to schedule work or to remind them he's coming tomorrow. Unlike me, he likes to schmooz and has the gift of gab, so when he's done it's generally 9pm and we have time for a few episodes of a TV drama or a short movie on Netflix - Instant Viewing:

"Damages" with Glen Close and Ted Danson, a drama of the rich and powerful who continually approach and often cross ethical boundaries.  What makes this stand out is not just the writing and acting but the way flashbacks and flashforwards create suspense.  The nice thing about Netflix is that you can watch several episodes without having to wait a week in between.

"Rescue Me" a sick drama about New York City Fire Fighters.  The first season was really good but subsequent seasons have gotten very bizarre.  Lots of straight sex.  Alcoholism.  Lying.  Cheating.  Drugs. The usual. Everyone is dysfunctional.  This show makes you feel "normal" in comparison.  Scary to think these guys are firefighters.

"Top Gear" This is Leon's thing.  Cars, cars and more cars.  An endless English series that seems to have about 5,000 episodes.  English guys talk to a studio audience and show footage of their escapades with different cars.  This is when I go read your blogs.

"Prime Suspect" (DVD only) - Another English TV series.  Police/crime drama with a woman in charge of the detective division who is doing her job despite obstacles presented by the men from within her department.

We also use the DVR feature to record and watch without commercials a few USANetwork shows which have a lot of good looking men:
"Suits" (another lawyer show);
"White Collar" (A modern "FBI"/ "It Takes a Thief" - watch it for the eye candy Matt Bomer;  
"Burn Notice" (totally not based in reality spy stuff and Fiona is cool); 
"Royal Pains" (a McGiver-like doctor who makes house calls in the Hamptons);
"Covert Affairs" (another spy show -CIA- with cute Christopher Gorham).

Saturday, August 6, 2011

Man In The Mirror

An acquaintance who I hadn't seen in over six months asked me recently "When did you stop tinting?" Which is gay for "Why the hell did you stop dying your hair?"

I told him "It was just getting to be a chore, it's too messy."

He looked at me with his heavily "tinted" mane and said, "Oh, I have mine done every three weeks,  It's only forty dollars."

I thought, should I tell him I use the drugstore brand at $5.99 and get three uses out of it? but I just said, "Well, that's more than I can afford and I was hoping that people would either begin treating me with more respect or that I'd become completely invisible - AND I want to be sure to get every senior discount I possibly can."  Obviously, I should not have shared that, because he moved on to talk to others in the group.

Honestly, though, I am not aging gracefully.  I probably haven't LIVED gracefully either.  I don't think I've done anything gracefully.  I look at this old grey guy in the mirror every morning and don't recognize him.  Sometimes he frightens me.

This morning I decided to use up the one-third of the color left from last winter.  Now I still don't recognize the guy in the mirror.  I'm not sure it's the hair.  And I think I like the grey better.
The color doesn't work well on face hair.

Friday, August 5, 2011

Reached My Limit

Well, it looks as though I have reached my free one Gigabyte limit for pictures on Blogger's  Picasa Web Albums.  I have deleted several duplicates from the web albums - there are duplicates whenever you post photos, then delete them and put them back again.  In other words, when you delete a photo from your blog, it remains in the web album, taking space.  If you repost the photos, as I have done when I don't like the way the layout is working, those photos are put into the web album a second time.

This is a pretty stupid way of doing things, Blogger!  In addition, when you delete photos from the web album, it does delete the photo from the blog, but it replaces it with a big black box with an exclamation point.  So you then have to delete the black box as you would a picture.

After deleting duplicate photos and a few others, my one Gigabyte storage has gone from 100% used to 99.1%.  This will only buy me a little time.

Additional memory is available - it is only $5 per year for 20 GB, billed automatically.  That is not much but I hate any kind of annual or monthly fees.  And if you stop the auto billing, Blogger will automatically cut your storage back to one Gig - and with it goes all your photos above the one GB limit.  I would much rather pay once for a permanent amount of storage.  I only need one or two Gigs, not 20.

I'm not sure what alternatives I have.  A new account and a new blog?  Or pay the $5 for more storage?  

It is interesting that I have gone from writing longer posts to posting more photos with less text.  Maybe it is time to go.  We'll see.

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Road Trip - Addison County Vermont

It was the best time for a short, four day road trip to Northern Vermont  - just when our congressional idiots were fighting over how to send the country down the tubes.  We didn't listen to the news for more than five minutes a day, just enough to get disgusted and turn it off.

Went to visit two of my college buddies who I haven't seen in over five years - (they have been invited, but haven't been to our house in 10 years).

We did see some beautiful countryside and went on a historical tour of Lake Champlain.
Translation: No Peeing On The Vermont Side Of Lake Champlain -
( Looks A Lot Like The Signs You'd See In Wales, UK, except this IS English)

 Champlain is a long glacial lake that was once (like a million years ago) a salt water inlet to the Atlantic.  It was landlocked when  the land rose in elevation due to the release of the glacier's weight as it melted and receded.  Another nearby glacial lake, Lake George, is less than a mile away, but is 200 feet above Lake Champlain and flows into the larger Lake Champlain.
The Boathouse Of The Carillon Boat Tours
The Carillon Boat Tour of the lake was a history lesson of the American Revolution and the French and Indian War - we heard all about Ethan Allen, Aaron Burr, The Green Mountain Boys, The English Navy defeat on the lake and other tidbits of history and geography.  We've been to Fort Ticonderoga on a previous trip.
Fort Ticonderoga - View From The Lake

Vermont Farm Country
The Champlain Valley is not what most people envision Vermont to be.  The mountains are off in the distance and the farmland is almost flat, with gently rolling hills.  If you scratch your screen you can smell the manure.
If You Scratch Your Screen, And Tap Your Heels Together
You Can Almost Smell The Manure

The Champlain Bridge at Crown Point was deemed unsafe and a new bridge is being constructed.  The bridge was a very highly utilized route between New York and Vermont.  After blowing up the bridge, the 4 million pounds of steel was salvaged to help pay for the new bridge.  A free temporary ferry service is transporting cars, trucks and motorcycles and RVs until the bridge is finished in October.
They Blew Up The Champlain Bridge Two Years Ago -
Now Rebuilding

Our Camper And Truck On The Free Ferry To Crown Point
GPS Shows We Are Crossing The Lake Somewhere Off The Bridge
We crossed the lake via Ferry and returned home on Route 22 through New York State and back to Rutland and to I-91.  Beautiful day and a nice ride.


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