John Furie Zacharias
having a bad day in a strange place
Thunderstorms Anywhere

Thunderstorms in the Imajica



 The different ways I don't like you 
 in a list that may never become organized
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Thursday, September 01, 2005
Hurricane Katrina - Is there hope?


People who've regularly read Thunderstorms or Dark Skies blog over the many months know how political and sarcastic I can be.  Although the coordination of the relief effort by government officials seems woefully bungled as evacuees are stranded and dying, and corpses are floating in flooded streets, and there continues to be looting, raping, and murdering -- you can watch any television news broadcast to see that and the inevitable finger pointing or blame spreading.  I simply can not bring myself to go chasing after the stories of absolute horror being played out in New Orleans, Mississippi and Alabama.

That's why I didn't blog anything yesterday.  I needed a psychological break.  Since the weekend, I had slept very little and was suffering from some kind of vicarious anxiety for some reason.  Perhaps, it is because of my experiences last year with the multiple hurricanes here in Florida.  Perhaps, it is because I am a news junkie.  Perhaps, it is because I knew someone in path of the killer hurricane and was genuinely worried.  Perhaps, it is because I am here and not there, and feel totally frustrated to do anything to help.

The last time I felt this way was during the days after September 11th.  I lived hundreds of miles from New York City, but like many Americans, I felt traumatized.  Like many Americans, I was glued to the 24-hour news coverage of that national tragedy.  Ironically, I was saved from the continual news reports of horror that week when I turned my television on one morning and it broke.  Poof.  The damn television died.  Or perhaps, I had literally worn the thing out channel surfing for 72-hours straight and old paint just gave up the ghost.

So, today, I decided to do what I did when my television died during the week of September 11th.  Find something I can do.  When it looked fairly impossible for me to drive to New York, I sent out emails to the corporate offices of various companies, specifically suggesting how they could help.

I remember, because of my job in construction, I emailed the Stihl corporation asking if they could donate their saws, and blades, and equipment parts, and personal protective gear to the rescue and recovery crews who needed to cut the concrete and steel at the World Trade Center.  It was something with which I was familiar, and I knew that a saw blade to cut concrete can cost $300 each because it has saw teeth embedded with diamond.  I knew how fast air filters on the saws get clogged up, etc.  Stihl responded to me, and they sent supplies, including palettes of bottled water.

Similarly, I believe we as a nation need to focus on what we can do to help, rather than focus on blaming inept bureaucrats and politicians at every level of government.  There will be plenty of time for finger pointing later, like during the 2006 election cycle.  Right now, people need help.

The most productive thing any of us can do is donate to the American Red Cross, or any organization working on the relief effort for hurricane Katrina.  I've decided that I would focus on the Red Cross and Noah's Wish.  I will keep a link to these organizations on my web pages, to remind people of the need for continued support in the coming months, and perhaps years, after the news coverage dies down.

I want to do this because I have a particular mental image in my mind.  While attending my best friend's wedding in Cape Coral, FL this past year, we drove past a FEMA village of about 1000 mobile homes visible from I-75.  People were still living in those temporary trailers in the aftermath of hurricane Charley.

In the aftermath of hurricane Katrina, a hundred thousand people are still being evacuated to shelters in neighboring states.  The majority of people who did evacuate New Orleans now have no home.  They are refugees.  Counting the affected people in Mississippi and Alabama, it's likely there will be one million people who are now instantly homeless, jobless, and likely feeling extremely hopeless.

Online donations are the best way you can help: Red Cross - Noah's Wish.
You can also volunteer at your local Red Cross chapter.







[Headphones] :: Hurricane Jeanne is Gone - JfZ



Wednesday, August 31, 2005
Tag Board Archive - August 2005


Everyone!  Into the pool!!
So ... why?  Well, I go through the TAG board periodically (or when asked) and delete entries.  Mainly I delete your entries because it reloads the page periodically or when you add a new entry for chatting and when it gets too large, it takes up bandwidth loading constantly.  My general rule was this: if you put an annoying little smilie emoticon on the TAG, that entry was the first to go when I cleaned house.

The second rule: if the entry was older.  But the second rule bummed me out because I hate to throw away memories, so, some entries were deemed to be classics and had to be preserved (like Hygelic reading my blog in the bathroom on his cell phone).

Then the first and second rules unfortunately clashed when it came to old school phreeks who might put an ascii emoticon at the end of their sentence, like Skennedy (et al).  These people were violating my first unstated rule through no fault of their own, and, because the programmers of the TAG board must have thought to themselves, "how handy-fucking-dandy would it be if we just translated every ascii emoticon to a different happy little yellow face?"  So, they dropped another few hits of Exstacy, patted each other on the back and went back to coding the TAG board.

So, whether it is a good thing or a bad thing -- I've decided to archive the TAG board here for all to see -- and still be able to delete older entries (and keep the TAG.html small) with a clear conscience.  I normally archive halfway through the month.

Read 2005 Archive: [July][June][May][April][March][February][January]

Read 2004 Archive: [December][November][October][September][August][July]
[Prior to July 2004]


jan&Nikey floods in western new york too
ssprite WoWWWWWWWWWWWWW thats devastaion *sighs - my prayers to all caught up in the diaster
J f Z That's cool, Ant! It looks like you still have phone and electricity and stuff, too.
ssprite just read your current entry over at BW and laughed my ass off - actually i could use loosing somer of it - thanks for the small blurb for spritey - and since i am a pet lover that did strike home
Anthony Well, I made it through the hurricane
JfZ thinks aloud <-- Acquire Buddha toys for Ebay auction.
CM thanks for the comment, j.
J f Z Of course, Kristi. But, I can watch, right? Heh.
J f Z Above a 'Girls Gone Wild' bar?
Kristi/Unknown Hey JFZ! Wanna know what part of Alaska you are living in now? lol
HotRod thanks cool bro thanks agian
HotRod Thanks Bro thats what I was thinking of doing I have been eating alot of that junk. And u are so sooo right about girls and hard working guys. I take it u have some know alot about that huh?
Britt passed through and became obsessed with your blog. thanks for that.
ssprite luvin your weedy entries lately - good to see so many familiar faces there & great reads
HotRod Ooo the blog looks great keep up the great work
Kristi/Unknown Hey snowblind, who are you? I'm unknown from the Imagica board.
J f Z Snowblind! How's it hanging in the 810?
J f Z GUESS WHAT?! I'm friggin' back, baby!
Kristi/Unknown Hello JFZ, haven't been in for awhile, just stopped by to say hi.
Daveman I like the flora & mushroom shots. Its amazing what one can find localized to shoot, in nature. Now lets get the legendary, "Snipe!" Im still looking...
Daveman Jur nature shot(s) was purty geud stuff, deud. Need more!
J f Z I was totally against injecting kids with Ritalin, but, in Bobby's case, I may have to rethink my position on that use of pharmaceuticals. Spunk is a terrible thing to waste on a cartoon.
Halcyon <----- been a while
7one I've been gone for too long but im back now and i have a big surprise on the way!


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[Headphones] :: BaD DoG Karaoke v1.0 - JfZ

Posted at 11:59 pm by John Furie Zacharias
 

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Tuesday, August 30, 2005
Hurricane Katrina Aftermath Grim


Hurricane Katrina - Coastal buildings wiped clean off their foundations by the massive storm surge
Hurricane Katrina - New Orleans neighborhoods flooded severely
Hurricane Katrina - New Orleans building loses its brick veneer and someone loses their vehicle
Hurricane Katrina - New Orleans Hyatt hotel windows blown out and rooms trashed
From Alabama to Mississippi, coastal communities suffered the wrath of Hurricane Katrina's extreme winds and 20-25 foot storm surge that wiped buildings clean off their foundations and deposited debris a mile inland.  The mayor of Biloxi, MS exclaimed, "This is our tsunami," after seeing what little was left of the city.


In New Orleans, the mood was bittersweet as the initial landfall of Katrina was not a direct hit, but residents soon had to climb onto their roofs as levees were comprised, pumping failed, and the city continues to flood.  Coast Guard helicopter crews who normally pluck people off of sinking ships in the ocean were pulling hundreds of families from the roofs of their homes.  The floodwaters were high enough in some areas that residents could step off of their roofs and right into Fish and Wildlife flatboats.


New Orleans residents and government officials have thought about this ultimate nightmare scenario over the years.  Despite all the brainstorming, theorizing and simulation, the aftermath of hurricane Katrina is turning out to be a disaster beyond imagination.


According to Disaster News Network, "Post-hurricane damage in Mississippi and Louisiana is massive and unprecedented, responders said, even before they could access some of the hardest hit places on Tuesday morning."


With the first light on the day after Katrina, people were able to gawk at the extent of the damage.  Huge 3-story gambling boats, moored along the MS gulf coast were lifted up and the floating casinoes were then deposited far away on top of houses and beach hotels.  The Superdome, where 10,000+ people took shelter last night, had most of its roof membrane ripped off and portions of the dome were compromised.


With the rising flood waters in New Orleans today, people were panicking and some were even looting stores.  With law enforcement so busy with rescue and recovery efforts, much looting had to just be ignored.  People should note that a convicted looter will get twice the normal prison sentence as someone convicted of regular burgarly or theft.  However, in some circumstances, looting to maintain one's life -- grabbing groceries or water to survive -- is often a mitigating circumstance in the eyes of the law.

Gangsta wanna-be thugs looting a jewelry or electronics store probably face 20+ years, if caught.  Looters tempt fate with police, but more so with store owners -- should they see them and just tap two in their chest.  With all of the bodies floating around the city, a dead looter won't be missed, mourned, or be looting again.

Besides the normal dusk-to-dawn curfews enacted in areas affected by hurricanes, New Orleans is now under martial law.  It is also expected that officials will not only order further rescue and recover operations tommorow at first light, but also a full-blown evacuation of the city of New Orleans, including the 10,000+ people already sheltered in the Superdome.  With bridges destroyed and main highways flooded, evacuating people is not an easy task.

Entergy reports that about one million customers are without electrical service.  It will likely be many weeks until electrical service is restored in some areas.  Communication in the hurricane affected areas is also a problem.  Land lines are down and cell towers are damaged or completely destroyed.  Getting word in or out to people is a problem.

Some of the more helpful web sites:

WWL TV parish-by-parish forums
NOLA
Livejournal New Orleans community
New Orleans Metrobloggers
Eye of the Storm blog
Eyes on Katrina blog

If you wish to help victims of hurricane Katrina, donating online is the best way.  Go directly to the Red Cross or Salvation ArmyDisaster News Net also has links to other charitable organizations and how you can help.  I already blogged on Brilliant Weeds about one unique non-profit organization working in the area, Noah's Wish.  I'm sure they would appreciate any donations you could make, too.


More BDKv1.0 MP3s





[Fullscreen] :: New Orleans News live video feed - WWL TV



Monday, August 29, 2005
Hurricane Katrina makes landfall



People fleeing Katrina receive supplies at the Superdome


10,000 people are sheltered in the stadium

Hundreds of thousands of vehicles jammed freeways as people tried to escape the wrath of hurricane Katrina yesterday.  Tens of thousands hunkered down in their homes and emergency shelters, like the Superdome in New Orleans. (above)

Hurricane Katrina made landfall at the Mississippi River delta, southeast of New Orleans this morning. The worst is still to come as I write this.

These warnings were posted for the area where our Blogdrivin' Buddy, CM, is located on the National Weather Service Telecommunications Operations Center (NWSTOC) this morning:
INLAND HURRICANE WARNING IN EFFECT

HURRICANE WARNING IN EFFECT

TORNADO WATCH 754 IN EFFECT UNTIL NOON CDT TODAY

FLOOD WATCH IS IN EFFECT

EXTREMELY DANGEROUS HURRICANE KATRINA MOVING ACROSS LOWER PLAQUEMINES PARISH

DEVASTATING DAMAGE EXPECTED


THE MAJORITY OF INDUSTRIAL BUILDINGS WILL BECOME NON FUNCTIONAL. PARTIAL TO COMPLETE WALL AND ROOF FAILURE IS EXPECTED. ALL WOOD FRAMED LOW RISING APARTMENT BUILDINGS WILL BE DESTROYED. CONCRETE BLOCK LOW RISE APARTMENTS WILL SUSTAIN MAJOR DAMAGE...INCLUDING SOME WALL AND ROOF FAILURE.

HIGH RISE OFFICE AND APARTMENT BUILDINGS WILL SWAY DANGEROUSLY...A FEW POSSIBLY TO THE POINT OF TOTAL COLLAPSE. MANY WINDOWS WILL BLOW OUT.

AIRBORNE DEBRIS WILL BE WIDESPREAD...AND MAY INCLUDE HEAVY ITEMS SUCH AS HOUSEHOLD APPLIANCES AND EVEN LIGHT VEHICLES. SPORT UTILITY VEHICLES AND LIGHT TRUCKS WILL BE MOVED. THE BLOWN DEBRIS WILL CREATE ADDITIONAL DESTRUCTION. PERSONS...PETS...AND LIVESTOCK EXPOSED TO THE WINDS WILL FACE CERTAIN DEATH IF STRUCK.

POWER OUTAGES WILL LAST FOR WEEKS...AS MOST POWER POLES WILL BE DOWN AND TRANSFORMERS DESTROYED. WATER SHORTAGES WILL MAKE HUMAN SUFFERING INCREDIBLE BY MODERN STANDARDS.

THE VAST MAJORITY OF NATIVE TREES WILL BE SNAPPED OR UPROOTED. ONLY THE HEARTIEST WILL REMAIN STANDING...BUT BE TOTALLY DEFOLIATED.

HURRICANE KATRINA CONTINUES TO APPROACH THE AREA. HURRICANE FORCE SUSTAINED WINDS ARE OVERSPREADING THE COASTAL PARISHES AT THIS TIME AND HURRICANE GUSTS ARE AS FAR NORTH AS LAKE PONTCHARTRAIN AS OF 6 AM CDT. HURRICANE FORCE WINDS WILL CONTINUE TO ONSET FARTHER NORTH BY MID-MORNING AND PERSIST FOR 5 TO 8 HOURS. MAXIMUM WIND GUSTS AROUND 175 MPH ARE POSSIBLE IN THE WARNED AREA THIS MORNING.

DO NOT VENTURE OUTDOORS!


Good luck, CM!

More BDKv1.0 MP3s





[Headphones] :: Godzilla - Blue Oyster Cult @ Bob's Garage



Sunday, August 28, 2005
Killer Hurricane Katrina Coming



Katrina has strengthened to a catastrophic category 5 hurricane with sustained winds of 175 mph and gusts well over 200 mph.  Government officials are scrambling to prepare and media outlets are using phrases like "nightmare scenario" and "once in a lifetime storm."  Unfortunately for residents of the Gulf Coast, especially in Louisiana and Mississippi, these alarming phrases are not idle exagerations.  Mandatory evacuatons of millions of people living in coastal communities have been ordered.

As you can see from the GOES-12 satellite water vapor image above (I added the state abbreviations for the geographically-impaired), this is a monster hurricane with a huge, well-defined eye.  Hurricane Katrina will cause damage from storm surge and high winds.  It's like a tsunami with F3 tornado force winds.  However, unlike a tornado that usually only lasts a few minutes, a hurricane's sustained destructive winds will last hours and can carve out its path of destruction over a hundred miles wide.

The storm surge is expected to be 20-25 feet (7-8m) above sea level which will very likely flood the city of New Orleans with 30 feet (10m) of water.  New Orleans actually lies below sea level and is protected from normal flooding conditions by a series of levies and a massive pumping system.  Hurricane Katrina will flood the city of New Orleans to such a degree that it may take many months  to recover.

To get some idea of the destruction headed toward New Orleans, one has to go back in history to 1969 and Hurricane CamilleRoger Pielke, at The Center for Science and Technology Policy Research has an informative website and an interesting photo gallery covering Camille.  Here are some photos of Hurricane Andrew, another category 5 storm.

I'll be adding more information to this entry as the evening progresses.  Specifically, I'm trying to stay in contact with a fellow Blogdriver, Christine, author of BeeDee News.  She is in for a rough night.

[ 22.00 update ]

Christine (aka CM) spent most of the day stressed out and preparing.  I had left Yahoo Instant Messenger up and running so we could chat until her power got knocked out.  Through some collaborative web surfing and searching, we were able to locate an emergency shelter in her area.

From my experience with Charlie, Frances and Jeanne last year, I know that one of the most stressful things running through your mind as you watch radar images of a monster storm heading your way on TV weather reports is your house.  The pre-storm stress doesn't include anxiety about losing your life, or being physically injured.  Rather, you wonder, what the heck you are going to do if your house is totally destroyed?

So, even when you drag yourself out of denial and eventually evacuate, you still have that anxiety.  Finally, after one last chat, CM had to turn off the computer and head for safety.  If she is able to do so, she plans to call in her status and I'll blog it here and on her personal blog, CMBS.


More BDKv1.0 MP3s





[Headphones] :: Godzilla - Blue Oyster Cult @ Bob's Garage



 
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