mellificent: (breathe)
I know some people have seen this article already - and the thing is, I don't disagree with a lot of what she says. But I went to Galveston right after I read it yesterday, and I thought, "Hell, this place isn't dead." It's going to be a different city for a while, and it may end up a smaller city, but it ain't gone just yet.

I drove down Broadway, and there's still a ton of trash piled up out there, but apparently that's because Broadway is technically a state highway and the city isn't allowed to pick up trash there. (It's been in the paper, lately, which is why I know the answer to this. The state said they were held up by having to award contracts for the trash pickup and it will be done "soon".) But things are clean behind the trash piles, for the most part, and the stoplights are all back on and the businesses are starting to reopen in force. In general I was pleasantly surprised.


I went to Galveston because I had a check to put in the bank (a very belated estate check) and then my boss kinda did one of those, "Well, while you're going..." things, and I ended up going by the office. Which ended up being rather heartening, too, really. The rumor lately has been that our building wasn't going to be ready to move back into until January, and I'm sure there's some reason for that that I didn't see - but honestly, our office looked fine. The elevators were working (the front ones, anyway - I didn't try the ones in the back of the building and I suspect they are not functional) and the a/c was on and the toilets were working, although the bathroom lights were off, for some reason. And most of the plants were alive, rather amazingly, after all this time. I think a couple of my co-workers have been up there at various times and have watered them.

Well, anyway, I want to be able to enjoy working at home for a bit, before we have to go back, so I'm not trying to rock the boat. And like I said, I'm sure that for some reason the building is not approved to be open. But from the looks of things it's perfectly okay, at least in our area.

Plans

Aug. 16th, 2007 09:53 pm
mellificent: (umbrellas)
Inspired by that scary-looking track for Dean that came out this afternoon, we went and spent a godawful amount on groceries - we were going anyway, but we bought extra canned stuff and so forth - and we came up with a tentative plan for what we'll do if we have to evacuate. There's no question of staying here if it really comes right at us - it wouldn't take much of a hurricane to flood this place - but we do have Mom's place, which is also in a flood zone, if it came to anything major, but which is 25 miles or so inland, at least. So that would be the first stage, going there. Yeah, it's half empty, but it does have a bed and some furniture, and electricity and water. No cable, no phone, so it's not exactly a long-term plan, but it'd do for somewhere to sleep. And we might repair further inland, to my aunt's, if it becomes anything big. (Also, as I said to Rob, if we end up getting several days off, we might want to go there just for something to do. It will get boring fast with no internet and no cable.)

Yeah, I know this is early. Dean is still a long way off, but it never hurts to have a plan.

Come to think of it, not everybody knows where I live, so let me explain exactly why it's so much of a concern. After the 1900 hurricane (aka Isaac's Storm, if you've read that), they built a seawall in Galveston, right? It's 12 feet high, and they basically jacked up the whole town to match - and I mean that literally. They put everything up on stilts, and filled in underneath it. All of the east half of Galveston starts out 12 feet above sea level on the Gulf side and then slopes back towards the bay. However, where we live wasn't in town at that time, it was out in the country, and the Seawall didn't come down this far, originally. And later, when they did extend it down here, they didn't do the filling-in part, it just slopes right back down on the back side. And that's where we live, right behind the Seawall, a couple of hundred feet from the Gulf. And I don't know how far we are above sea-level, exactly, but it's not far. Five feet, maybe, at a guess. (Maybe. I wouldn't be a bit surprised to find out it was two or three.) And we live in a first-floor apartment. Galveston doesn't normally flood in any major way, because of that sloping-back-to-the bay business, but there's still storm surge. So this is not somewhere you want to be in anything but the tiniest hurricane.

(We were discussing something today that I'd practically forgotten, though. We came to a hurricane party at these very apartments, long before we lived here. Well, it was more of a tropical-storm party, really. We sat in somebody's third-floor apartment till about 4am and got drunk and played Jeopardy! as I recall. And I remember looking down at the pool, and they had taken all the poolside furniture and sunk it in the pool. Wonder if they still do that. Seems like getting it out would be a bitch.)

Muffled

Nov. 4th, 2006 12:13 am
mellificent: (vote)
There was a whole big line of motorcycles in front of the IHOP this morning. It was sort of funny. My muffler seems to be going out in my car, and it sounds strangely like I'm driving a sportscar, but nobody's going to notice that as long as all these bikes are in town. They really make a racket. We live a good 1000 feet or so back from the Seawall, but I still can hear them out there, every time one of them revs an engine.

I told somebody I was going to "earlyvote" today - I don't know when that became one word in my head. I think the flipped word order comes from talking about "early voting" all the time, but it's still kind of an odd usage. Anyway, we have a new courthouse in Galveston, and I had to go figure out where we go for early voting now. It wasn't too hard, although if somebody hadn't told me it was on the 2nd floor I would've been asking the guards, because there was not much in the way of signage.

Guard (in reply to something I didn't hear): "I don't get involved in that. I'm just here for guns, knives and bombs."

It was also the first time I've used the electronic voting machines - eSlate, I think they were called. Dumb name. They were, uh, not exactly intuitive. I don't know, are everybody's machines the same or do different states have different ones? These, you have to sort of spin this wheel thing, and they look like touchscreens but they're not, and it was all rather confusing. They're not actually that hard to use once you get the hang of them, but it took me a while and I'm usually pretty decent with figuring out computerized things.

(I will probably write something about who I voted for later. But not now; I'm beat.)
mellificent: (Firefly - umbrella)
It was actually chilly outside today. It was around 80 a couple of days ago, but it's somewhere in the 50s today, which means I actually wore a coat this morning. In Galveston, this is a big deal, the first coat day of the season. (Some years it comes considerably later than this.)

Galveston is due to be invaded by some 300,000 bikers this weekend - it's something called the Lone Star Rally and it's been going on in Galveston for several years now and seems to be growing exponentially. Coincidentally, I am going to be out of town a good chunk of the weekend, which seems fairly fortunate. I have no problem with bikers but any of those times when there's an extra quarter of a million people on the island tend to get a little crazy.

I am going up to Houston for the International Quilt Festival, which I do every year, but this year for the first time I am spending the night. A couple of years ago they built a Hilton adjoining the convention center, and the temptation to book someplace to be able to go and collapse was just too much.

I know most non-quilters seem to have trouble even imagining what a quilt festival is like, but let me assure you, a lot of you artier types would like it a lot. They have literally thousands of quilts on display - both traditional and art quilts, and even a certain amount of clothing and dolls and so forth. Then there are the vendors, which go on for 20 aisles or so. They sell fabric, yes - but also antique quilts and all sort of sewing stuff and beads and gifts and well, you name it. If they think it will appeal to women - because a good 95% of the attendees are women, I would say - then somebody will be selling it. There are also classes and lectures and things that go on all week, and which usually fill up way, way early. I have never bothered with those.

So it's huge and really tiring, and I have developed this habit of taking hundreds of pictures to post online, so spending the night and going for two days sounded like a good plan. Last year I spent a whole day taking pictures and never even really looked at the vendors at all - I didn't really need to buy anything, god knows, but still I felt like I missed an awful lot. So - two days. Expensive (well, sort-of-expensive) hotel room. Camera and lots and lots of batteries. I'll get to test the limits of my memory card at last - maybe. (I have a really big memory card. That might be another one of those things I couldn't really afford. As is the camera itself, probably!)


 -------------------------------------------

We are going to start having the option to do "compressed schedules" at work - things like working 4 10-hour days every other week and having a day off. No way I am doing 10-hour days - it doesn't make any sense for my job really, anyway - but my boss & I discussed a modified one where I would have a half-day off every week, which would be nice. I'm trying to decide if I could manage to get to work at 7:30 - then I could work 9 hours and still get off at 5:30, which wouldn't be bad. (I could also theoretically switch to 30-minute lunches, would be another option.) All that is still up in the air, though. We're not even implementing it till at least after Thanksgiving, it sounds like, anyway.

-------------------------------------------

I mentioned Holidailies yesterday - it makes me a little sad to look at that website. There's nothing sad about Holidailies, you understand, it's my entries there's a problem with. I'm up towards the top of the list of participants because I actually did update every day - but all those entries are gone. They were on Diary-X, and Diary-X blew up, for those of you who don't already know the sad, sad story. There was some sort of incident with a crash and bad backups, and everything that was there is just gone, gone, gone. (I may have drafts of some of those entries. To be quite honest, I haven't really checked. But I know that I would tinker with my entries after I put them up and I never would bother to save them again. So there's definitely no record of exactly what I had up over there. I even tried to look in the Internet Archives - whatever they're called - and nada.) I guess I should have learned from that. Do I have good copies of what I've written on Livejournal? Heck no.[personal profile] columbinahas an echo of his entries on his personal website, and I really should do something like that, but the odds that I will are pretty damn low.

 
mellificent: (Buffy quote: Anya beer)
Shelly Sikes disappeared twenty years ago today, after finishing up a shift at Gaido's Restaurant in Galveston. The next week, I started working at Gaido's. I met my husband there. Oh my god, I can't believe it's been twenty years.
mellificent: (Default)
It's about 65 degrees here this morning. This is not normal Texas-in-May weather. By May we don't normally see anything under 70, even at night. We had crazy weather blow through here yesterday, though, and apparently that was the usual mess that gets pushed ahead of a cold front - the second one this week! Like I said, very unusual for us this time of year.

The good news is that the cold fronts seem to have blown all that pollen away, or something - my sinuses have subsided to sort of a dull roar, anyway, which is more or less their default state.


I hope everybody in the Boston area is okay - I have heard rather alarming things from a couple of people, and it's bad enough that it even made the news here, an awfully long way away.


This was a rather tiring weekend. Saturday I did docent duty at the Historical Home Tour, which is an annual thing they have in Galveston. Somehow - I have no idea how - I had managed to evade getting talked into doing this before. But it was sort of fun. I met groups at the top of the stairs of this particular house and showed them a quilt hanging in the hall and took them through a sitting room and a bedroom, and told them some family history and then about the cool furniture in the rooms - and managed to get the phrase "burled-walnut half-teester" out of my mouth a dozen times or so without tripping over it, amazingly - and then handed them on to the next docent. (I did way more than a dozen rounds of my little tour,* but I kept forgetting to say that part, darnit. Because when I forgot, a lot of people never looked up at the top of the bed, and the half-canopy thing is pretty cool.)

Then after I got home I played marathon Guild Wars with Col, because, you know, he's gonna be gone a few days, and we had to make up for the lost time in advance! And Rob & I went to the grocery store in there somewhere, too. (Lemme tell you, Wal-Mart on Saturday afternoon is an experience in itself.)

Then yesterday I went over to Mom's, which is always tiring these days, I'm afraid. I don't know why I've started finding her so hard to deal with all of a sudden - this really didn't hit me until a month or two ago. She's just, well, flaky. Very, very flaky. It's exhausting, and also scary, because I'm afraid it's just going to get worse. If she didn't have the brain tumor I would think she was getting Alzheimer's, because that's what it's like, you know? Like the very early stages of Alzheimer's, where the person just forgets random things and is sort of vaguely out of it, and you can't quite pin it down. We went through that with my grandmother, so that's the first thing I think of.

Oh, also - Mom calls me this morning and puts Art on the phone, and we have a conversation that goes sorta like this:

Art: The computer won't turn on.
Me: Well, have you checked the power cords and things?
Art: Yeah, all the lights are coming on and everything. (Pause.) But it's not actually the computer, it's the screen. The computer's coming on fine.
Me: Oh. Well, have you tried turning it off and turning it on again?
Art: Yeah, we did that.
Me: Well.... (trying to think of something else to do)
Art: Oh, wait, you mean there's a button on the screen itself?

Now, in their defense, their monitor puts itself to sleep when they turn the computer off, so they don't normally have to touch it. But still, aargh. I think I was very polite for getting hit with something like that at 8:15 in the morning, on the whole.



*Little tour = tourlet? Ugh, maybe not.
mellificent: (baseball - Kissimmee)
Ooh, I have 101 icons, and room for more! I just got up to 100 for the first time last week, so the extra ones are very timely. And I renewed my paid account this morning, whereupon I got two more! (You get one for every 3 months, right? So I guess that's the two for the extra six months I just paid for.) I am very attached to my icons, for some reason. I was having a terribly hard time deciding what to delete. There were a few obvious candidates (like the seasonal ones, which I can just upload again next year, after all) but after that I was sort of stymied. I also changed my style while I was at it, which most of you will not notice.

(Is the presence of a baseball-player silhouette enough of a clue for non-baseball people to figure out what the Kissimmee icon is about? It's not that I am promoting Florida in general, it's just a spring training thing. Kissimmee is where the Astros are right now.)

I just got spam allegedly from the IRS, saying I had gotten a tax refund, and just click on this link to re-submit so that I can get my money. Are there really people stupid enough to fall for this? There probably are, and that's pretty sad.

I left my flash drive at home, and I may have to go home at lunch and get it, partly just because it's worrying me. That thing's so tiny I always worry that I will lose it. (I have a habit of popping it off of the keychain when I'm using it so the keys won't be in the way, and I should probably stop doing that.) Also I was going to download the new (that is, new-new, as opposed to the new version from a couple of weeks ago) version of Dofus which came out yesterday, because I was unsuccessful at getting it to download at home last night. It would get to about 15% and stop, every time.

It's spring break here, which means horrid traffic. The weather hasn't really been all that great, so you would think people would give up and go home, but noooo. Stupid teenagers. (Disclaimer: any teenagers reading this, of course I don't mean you. After all, if you were in Galveston clogging up traffic, you probably wouldn't be reading this!) The weather keeps changing, which means I have been sickly all week, in a minor way. But I would rather be sickly and have the cooler weather. It's too early for it to get hot.
mellificent: (lotus)

61st Street Pier, 7 am
Originally uploaded by Mellicious.

I took this on the way out of Galveston Saturday morning.

mellificent: (nautilus)
Once again, it's bedtime and I'm writing an entry. The only reason it isn't past bedtime is that I don't have to go to work tomorrow, so I can stay up a bit later. I'm getting my car worked on instead, oh joy. (Mostly routine stuff: inspection, oil change. But I'm going up to the dealer in Houston so that they can tinker some of their past work, which is still under warranty. Thus the need for a whole day off.)

I was talking to somebody the other day about how Galveston was still sort of seedy, but not necessarily in a bad way. (It was because of Columbine's Pensacolas Past entry.) I don't think it's in any real danger of losing that quality any time soon, but there are two large demolition jobs going on on the Seawall, and both of them make me sort of sad. One is the old convention center, which was ugly and unused, and I'll mostly be glad it's gone, except that it's where my uncle Ted (who's now dead) graduated from medical school back in the 60s. I was 6 or 7 and that graduation was one of the first things like that that I was allowed to go to. I remember feeling very grown up. I think UTMB has their graduation ceremonies on campus these days.

The second one was an old, very very seedy motel that had become a haven for prostitutes and drug-users, and so I probably shouldn't be too sad about it either, in a way, but on the other hand it was a very cool-looking hotel in its time - all retro-late-50s curves. (I can't even think what the name of it was - seahorse? sandpiper? some kind of beachy name like that - jesus, my memory is so terrible sometimes.) It even had a double-decker round bar. And I'm sure both of those places are going to be replaced with some sort of chain motel, or maybe a restaurant. Yeah, we need more of those.
mellificent: (Bellagio shiny)
We are still having fabulous, not-terribly-hot weather, although it has finally gotten warm enough that I am aware that my air-conditioner in the car still isn't working quite right. Luckily, it's under warranty and I'm already taking it in to the dealer Friday anyway (for inspection and oil change and so forth) so they can look at it then.

We had a jet that kept flying low over our house today, for no apparent reason. Rob, who usually knows such things, thought it was a MiG. There is an aircraft museum not far from us and they hold periodic airshow-type things on the weekends, so presumably that's where it came from - although usually they have things like B-17s rather than jets.

We went to see Kingdom of Heaven today, and I enjoyed it. Orlando Bloom actually seems like a grown-up in this movie, for the first time I can remember.

If you're interested in seeing all my zillion quilt pictures (ok, actually 49 of them, so far) that I've uploaded to flickr, they're here. And I don't know why I never remember to make livejournal posts except right at bedtime, but it is Sunday night, unfortunately, and I need to go to bed at a decent hour, so good night!
mellificent: (nautilus)
It was so gorgeous outside today. Of course, that's a mixed blessing this time of year, since the Seawall was packed with tourists and it took me a lot longer to get home than it would otherwise, but it was so beautiful I can't say I really cared. I always wonder about the people who come to Galveston to go swimming this time of year, though, because the water is not warm. In fact, it's about 60, which I know from past experience feels awfully fucking cold. But that doesn't stop them, because it's spring and they want to swim, dammit. (What I never understand is why nobody wants to swim in the fall, when it's uniformly gorgeous and hot and the water is warm too, and there's no tourists anywhere. It's something of a mystery to me.)

I might have been so happy to be out with the warm weather and the tourists because I was happy to be away from work. We got busy this afternoon and I got really stressed. I don't even really know why, because it was busy but it wasn't that awful. I think I'm spoiled; I'm just not used to having to work under time pressure these days.

One nice thing - I get to sleep an extra hour or so in the morning, because Rob is going to the oral surgeon to have a couple of teeth out and I have to take him since he's having general anesthesia. (The teeth both have old root canals that are messed up because our old dentist was a quack, and our "new" - non-quack - dentist said since they're way in the back it was probably better just to pull them.) It's only supposed to take about half an hour, and I'm supposed to go to work after I bring him home; I hope he seems okay or I'm going to be afraid to leave him alone.
mellificent: (duh)
I am not sleeping well. I don't know what the deal is, but it sucks. I can't go to sleep until late and then I wake up really early - like 4:30, 5am kind of early. So I go around at work all day a zombie, and then repeat again the next night. I keep taking naps after work, but tonight I'm trying NOT taking a nap and going to bed early instead. We'll see.


This morning I noticed this painted on the wall of a local dive bar:

"Where the elite meet in their bare feet"


For some reason that cracked me up
mellificent: (cat - yuck)
I forgot to mention that we have been completely awash in bikers all weekend, because of this thing. It's kind of fun having them around, on the whole - they're certainly more colorful than your average tourist - but my god are they noisy. Since I don't have a functioning air conditioner in my car I generally drive around with the windows open, and I thought they were gonna split my eardrums a couple of times. I gather making your engine quieter is not a big priority with the Harley-riding set.
mellificent: (umbrellas)
We have surf like it's California today. There were literally thousands of surfers out there. I've never seen so many before. It took me a while to figure out what the traffic jam was, and it was surfers - and probably some rubberneckers, for good measure. (After all, surfers mean girls in bikinis.)

And this is with the hurricane, what, 300 or 400 miles from here? I measure how close hurricanes are by how many TV trucks are on the seawall - yesterday there were two, today there were four. If it was really close there'd be a dozen or more.

I guess after the hurricane goes on in tonight things will go back to normal. I feel for the people in Mobile and New Orleans, that thing looks like a bitch.

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