I was going on about Devil Wears Prada and stuff yesterday, and I completely forgot to say that we went to see Zombieland at the Dollar Cinema yesterday. (Which is actually $1.50 nowadays, even for a matinee. I hadn't been there in ages.) Rob had convinced me that I would like it, and I did. Apparently I only like zombie movies when they're comedies. It wasn't as good as Shawn of the Dead, but it was good. Bit gross in places, but not too bad, considering.
And I'm beginning to think that I am going to have to reconsider hating Woody Harrelson. It's very disconcerting, really, suddenly finding somebody you've hated for years turn tolerable.
It's finally getting warmer here. We've had freezing temps at night for days and days, which is very unusual for us. I've had a sheet over my plants all weekend. (It was the Norfolk pine I was mostly worried about.) I think I can go take it off tomorrow, because apparently it's not actually freezing tonight, although it's still pretty chilly.
Good lord, it's 2:00 already. I gotta go get some studying done before bedtime.
I put it there, but it still startled me this morning. (It didn't help that it's in a zip-lock bag that says "Trick or Treat" on it.) I was like, What the hell is this thing? before I remembered. The snow came off my car, although I think there was enough snow sticking to the grass by the time it stopped snowing that you probably could have gotten a decent snowball there, too. It never did stick on the streets that I saw, though. My car was really covered, and I was a bit worried that it would turn to ice overnight, but since I didn't have to get up early it's not really an issue; it was melted by the time I finally got up. We only have one covered space, which Rob uses, so his car was fine.
I think it's a snowball that would have hurt if I had actually thrown it. The snow was kind of damp, and the snowball was heavy. I am no expert on the physics of snowballs, though.
I have been working on cards this afternoon. One night last week I wrote addresses on a bunch of envelopes, but that was as far as I ever got with that, so today I signed cards and added stamps and licked envelopes. That fun stuff. I don't know why I like sending cards so much because it's really kind of a pain. (I like getting them, I suppose, for one thing - but no, there's some part of sending them that I like, too. It's not that simple.)
I keep saying I'm going to go up to Houston to shop, and today would have been a good day to go since it's warmer and sunny, but, well, I'm still here. Maybe tomorrow.
In unrelated news, columbina linked to this column of Scalzi's and I really, really think it's right on the money. Every Democrat/liberal/progressive in America needs to stop and take a deep breath and refocus. Including me. (And possibly Obama - although considering that he's practically being ignored in the news right now, it's hard to know.)
(Maybe I'll go play WoW while I can. Nothing much else to do.)
(I mostly picked the 'just breathe' icon because my nose is all stuffed up, bad enough that it woke me up. Stupid sinuses.)
Three TV trucks this afternoon (one said CBS News Dallas, and one was the Houston CBS affiliate, which seems sort of redundant) - that's still not very many. I have the local CBS station on though (aka Channel 11) and they are in full-court press mode about the storm - I've been home almost an hour and it's all they've talked about. Also they said they've gotten a million hits on their website, which is interesting. They usually are known locally for having the best hurricane coverage - they are the station that hired away the director of the National Hurricane Center 20 years or so ago to work for them, just for moments like this. He is semi-retired now but he's been on the air today just the same.
Rob is calling this "Hurricane Smitty" which is an old Gaido's joke that nobody else will get, but basically it means it's a little piddly thing. (I thought about trying to explain this expression but it's much too complicated.) We don't live in a spot that should flood from a weak Category 1 storm, and it doesn't sound like the wind will be that bad, so we are staying put unless things change. We don't have to work tomorrow, for sure, and if we get up in the morning and it looks like it's going to be worse than we thought, we should still have time to get out.
Our forecast takes the center of the storm about 50 miles south of the Louisiana coast today, then inland into the upper Texas coast near Galveston mid morning on Tuesday. Squalls are beginning to affect the southeast Louisiana coast this morning, and will spread westward along the Louisiana coast during the day, reaching the upper Texas coast tonight.
That sounds, um, kind of ominous. We haven't decided whether to do the wait-and-see thing or whether to preemptively get the hell out (at least as far as Houston). Stay tuned.
Once again I have written an entry and left it where I am not. So you will get that one later, I imagine. Meanwhile, I am kind of upset by something that happened - not to me, but sort of a family thing - and I am having trouble thinking about anything else. It's not something that I feel free to write about, though, since it concerns somebody else's life and not mine! But suffice it to say that it upset me. My mental state has been sort of precarious lately, anyway.[Bad username or unknown identity: superplin ]wrote an entry where she mentioned the word "limnal" and it keeps popping into my head that that's how I feel these days. I was talking the other day about my life being in transition, and I guess it's part of that. I feel between. Between being happy and sad, a lot of the time. I veer back and forth but I don't spend too long in either place. I guess it could be worse - if I'm not spending a lot of time being terribly happy, at least I'm not spending a lot of time really UNhappy, either.
We went to see The Golden Compass yesterday. I knew the reviews weren't especially good but I wanted to see it anyway. And the reviews were about right, it wasn't great. It wasn't terrible either, it just didn't seem to hang together very well. I think it would be confusing if you hadn't read the books, although Rob hasn't and he seemed to be following it ok. It was pretty to look at, though, which is basically why we went.
And I think I linked to the pictures the other day, but I'm linking again, because there are more of them now, and besides, I put a lot of work into taking them, and attempting to match them up with the right names, and all that. I'm not nearly done yet, either.
The cold front finally came through about noon today. It didn't really get cold at all, although you could tell the difference - but I think it will be pretty cool in the morning, by south Texas standards, at least!
I have been working on a Spreadsheet From Hell at work - 60,000 lines or so that have to have things done to them manually. The end of that is finally in sight, though - I've been working on it sporadically for about the last 10 days. Now I just have to find my boss a nonstop flight to Pensacola that doesn't cost $900, which may be a harder job than the spreadsheet.
But that put us on the dry side, so once it went past us, we were done. The water's all calm this morning and everything. We did get quite a bit of rain, though. It started raining about 4:30 yesterday afternoon - I got really wet getting home - and rained steadily up until the thing went past us around midnight. Not much in the way of wind though, and the power flickered a few times but never did completely go out. (It did turn my computer off and back on a couple of times late in the evening, which can't possibly be good for it, but oh well.)
(Incidentally, the forecaster-types did say that Humberto had the potential to become a hurricane if it stayed off-shore long enough, but nobody seemed to expect it to, really. Predicting what the heck hurricanes are going to do is still a very chancy business.)
IF WATER ON ROAD
The Brazos river was visibly very muddy, even on Monday, but the Colorado wasn't at all - we figured maybe it was because the Brazos was coming straight down from where all the rain was, while the water in the Colorado had been through a couple of lakes and over Mansfield Dam and so forth, in between. (Or it could just have been a difference in the soil upstream, I suppose - that east Texas red mud.) Anyway, both of them were really high, you could tell that very easily.
And gee, it's raining again now. So much for rockets' red glare for the 4th, unless this stops.
(More on the trip to Austin later, if I can get around to it!)
Originally uploaded by Mellicious.
(Explanation of the picture is at the bottom.)
I went home sick today. I think this time it's my boss' fault; she had a cold and now most everybody in our office seems to have come down with it. I'm just hoping I won't be as sick as I was at Thanksgiving. I worked until about 12:45 and got most of the stuff I needed to do, done, so I don't have to worry about it Monday; then I left.
I drove home in fog like pea soup. No burning off in the middle of the day today. It was bad at 1:00 and it was worse at 5:00, when I came back to get Rob. They said on the news that visibility in Galveston was 8/10 of a mile but that's bullshit. Maybe away from the beach it was, but on the Seawall it was not much at all over a quarter of a mile. (Not unless they measure these things in a way that has nothing at all to do with how far you can actually, see, anyway.)
(I have to talk about GuildWars here & there, you know?)
I deleted my mesmer that I made in the original game, because I wasn't playing her at ALL since nightfall started, and I started a new mesmer in Nightfall. This is the new one, in the picture. I really do like playing a mesmer, but - I don't know why really, I just wasn't thrilled with my Prophecies one. We'll see if I keep playing this one.
(Notice the Egyptian influence in that picture, by the way - the giant "queen" statues, I mean. There are a number of those around in the game.)
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.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.
The thing is, I practically missed 9/11. (Not that that's necessarily a bad thing.)
I had called in sick, because I woke up with my usual sinus crap, headache & dizziness & all that stuff, and I slept late and then I read the rest of the morning. Nobody knew I was home (well, except my co-workers) because I didn't realize how bad I was feeling until after Rob had already left, so nobody called me to tell me, they just assumed I was at work & I would already know. I don't remember what I was reading, but I must've been really engrossed in it, because it was 2:00 before I got up. (It's possible that some napping went on somewhere in there, too.) When I did get up, I turned on the computer, not the TV - but I had AOL in those days (yeah, yeah, I know) and the picture of the burning towers was on the welcome screen. Some welcome. So then I turned on the TV, and I saw.
I remember that my first reaction was disbelief. And it's funny, I watched the CNN replay of the original coverage today, and it seemed like that was everybody else's first reaction, too. Not really surprising, but I missed all that at the time, see. Even after the 2nd plane flew into the towers, the commentators were still discussing whether it could possibly have been a mistake - some kind of terrible error with navigational equipment. Yeah, right. Even though it was a perfectly clear day. And it was also very clear that when the first tower collapsed, nobody was wanting to believe what they were seeing. Even after the dust cleared enough that you could clearly see that there was no tower there, nobody would say it. Finally they started saying that part of the tower might have collapsed, that was as far as they went in the coverage I saw. And I mean, I'm not saying that that was an unnatural reaction to a huge event like this one - I'm just saying that I really didn't even know until today that that was the reaction at all. Even after all the years and all the press coverage, there are still big gaps in my knowledge about that day.
They also kept talking today about how beautiful the weather was that day, and I don't remember them saying that at the time. - They probably didn't, actually. It's the kind of thing you think about afterwards. It was beautiful here too. The only reason I went outside at all was because I had a 4:00 psych appointment. (This was during my Psycho Depressed Woman period.) I remember that the sky was very blue and that the dragonflies were swarming - something they do this time of year, but I've never seen as many as I saw that day. Now whenever I see a lot of dragonflies I always think about that day.
I've always thought that having missed all the early coverage of that day made it just the slightest bit easier to get through. Or maybe it was just partly the depressed state I was already in - my emotions were pretty much encased in cotton-wool already, at the time. I mean, I was still somewhat traumatized, definitely, but not to the degree that a lot of other people seemed to be. And at least by the time I found out what was happening, the worst of the uncertainty was over. I do think that was a help.
You know, though, there was another thing going on there. Maybe I'm just a more skeptical person by nature, because I always believed that there would be a terrorist attack in the US eventually. Do you remember people saying things like, "Oh, that'll never happen here"? I do. And I never believed them. I certainly didn't imagine the horror and the magnitude of that attack, but it didn't surprise me a bit that there was one. (I mean, hell, there had already been one. 1993, wasn't it?)
(This is sort of rambly but I'm sleepy and I don't have the patience to edit it any more. I hope this makes some sense.)
It's rainy again today. I guess that's better than blazingly hot.
Speaking of cars, we are not supposed to be buying a new one for a couple of months, but Rob is really shopping already. Our budget is really limited, but we are looking at either a new small car or a "lightly" used one, hopefully not more than a year or two old. We were planning to buy my mother's, but she has decided not to sell it. Which I think is wise. She doesn't need a new one right now.
It has finally stopped raining here - it started raining Friday, I think, and pretty much rained continuously until yesterday. I didn't hear anything about significant flooding here - the advantage of living on an island is that there's usually somewhere for the water to go - but there was a lot of flooding in Houston, especially Monday when a lot of places got 10" of rain overnight. It was bad enough that people were saying it reminded them of Tropical Storm Alison, about 5 years ago when Houston flooded so bad. Alison was supposed to have been a "hundred year storm" so anything that even seems vaguely like that is a little scary.
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.