Friday, September 19, 2008

The Galveston Trip Story

I knew the story of the Galveston trip would be much longer than a regular blog post, so I put it together as a 16 page web narrative. Taken together with my gallery of images and Mary Ann's gallery, it's as good an info dump as I can put together while the information is still fresh in my mind.

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Hurricane Ambient Sounds

I recorded a couple of snips of wind noise and I realize now I should have done a lot more, but I was thinking of other things at the time. Each of these was recorded in the San Luis lobby near the door connecting to the Condo area. Since the Condo area external doors were letting in some winds (not all) there was quite a lot of wind pressure on that connecting door. We're lucky it didn't take anyone's hand off when it slammed shut several times.

Back from Galveston

I've updated the picture gallery in the pre-dawn hours this morning. Cell phone pictures aren't the greatest, but with no electricity and no network, the iPhone was a great portable studio for reporting from the island. There's the gallery for pictures, check my twitter feed for the play by play reporting of those days. I'll have to sit down and write a more traditional narrative, once I catch up with email and everybody's questions.

Short version: Being crazy people, Mary Ann and I went down to Galveston to ride out Hurricane Ike in the fortress-like San Luis Resort. We were elbow to elbow with all the major news media, the police and the firefighters. I was out in the eye, checking the sea level as it spashed over the seawall. When it cleared, we toured the island as Mary Ann got photos of the damage and the restoration efforts.

The long version will be much more interesting.

Friday, September 12, 2008

Photos of Hurricane Ike

I'm posting a few images via Twitter but I've uploaded more to a separate gallery. I can't count on Internet, but if I can, I'll keep updating there.

Mary Ann is posting pictures on her blog.

Thursday, September 11, 2008

Hurricane Dithers

Oh, believe me, it's out there. Those waves, although they're the only obvious sign that there is anything out of the ordinary, are much larger than normal. The world of modern media and the natural world are quite divided today. I can certainly understand how hurricanes could come up out of nowhere back in the 1900's and wipe this place out with thousands of deaths. It'll be here in soon enough and yet it's invisible.

On the other hand, we're glued to the weather reports, getting virtual updates almost minute by minute, making us dither between making our escape and staying put to wait it out. I almost prefer the ignorance.

Of course, we're in a rare position, five floors up in a hurricane designed building with a strong confidence that we can ride though it with no harm. That's not the case for most of the town of 85,000 behind us. Worst case could put Galveston on the disaster map right with New Orleans and the Mississippi coast. That's why they ordered the evacuation.

But ... this is a hurricane. When we headed down here, landfall was aimed at Galveston. When we got here, it was nearly down to Corpus Christi. As we watched it came back north. By the time it hits, it may target High Island just like the last one did. Cross your fingers. For the sake of the city, landfall to the north would be great. Dither some more, Ike.

Monday, September 08, 2008

The Temptation of Drama

I have a very good, solid place to stay in Galveston. I have never seen a hurricane in person. Boy, is this tempting!

Friday, September 05, 2008

OSXPlanet and EarthDesk

When Mac OSX 10.5 was released, I snapped it up as I always do. Unfortunately, with all the new improvements, a few things broke. One was the free software OSXPlanet which put a live image of the earth as my desktop, complete with updates for weather, earthquakes, etc. I'd been using it since 2006, especially the city markers. Since I travel a lot, it was fun to mark the cities on the desktop image. It was especially helpful when I went to Africa. Those of you who've been following this blog have seen clips using the OSXPlanet images showing where I've been.

But when 10.5 was released, it broke and there wasn't an upgrade in sight. It was free. Donationware. The author was a student with other things to deal with. After a few months, I gave up and just set my desktop to a plain gray.

But a few days ago, I saw the advertisement for something that sounded almost just like it, Earthdesk. I downloaded it and tried it out. It wasn't as good as OSXPlanet, but it did show active weather, and there were all those hurricanes to watch. In a moment of weakness, I paid the $25.

Hmm, I said to myself. I need to blog. How about comparing the free OSXPlanet with it extra features and erratic availability vs the commercial Earthdesk that supposedly was available, but had fewer features and cost more? Okay.

Then I searched for the OSXPlanet website so I could have a good URL for the blog. Yes. You guessed it. Three days ago a new version came out that I could use. Sigh.

Now I've got two of them. I guess I'll trade off and see which one sticks.

Monday, September 01, 2008

Under Fire on Labor Day

The gunfire out the window is the perfect environment for today. Crazy me, I set the release date for my latest novel, Lighter Than Air, for September first. What with all the other events in my life, that rolled around far too fast. When I awoke this morning to the sound of the first day of Dove season, it occurred to me that my deadline had already arrived and I had a LOT of work to do today.

High on the priority list was this blog entry, letting you know that the book is out and you can order it. But I couldn't do that first. No, first I had to update Books in Print, then I had to make an individual page for it on my website, then update the Library Page. Then there was the business of updating my personal webstore page, and the Amazon webstore page. had to be changed to highlight the new book.

Then, once all that was done, I could finally blog about it with links that actually worked. Even when I'm done here, there is more -- a lot more -- that has to be done. I'll have to upload the text for Amazon's look inside feature and give Google Book Search a copy. Once my initial shipment of books arrives (hopefully with no problems from Hurricane Gustav) then I'll have dozens of books to ship out to reviewers.

I just wish I could get some of that hurricane cloud cover. Working in privacy for efficiency, I'm out in the RV. Unfortunately, I can't get enough juice out here (circuit breaker issues) to run both air conditioner units, so it gets rather warm in the middle of the day. At least the gunfire keeps my mind from getting in a rut.