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 
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Monday, October 24, 2005
Hurricane Wilma Whacks South Florida



Hurricane Wilma whacked south Florida.  Screaming in from her long weekend in Cancun, Wilma raced across the Florida penninsula from the Gulf to the Atlantic communities in just 4-5 hours.  South Florida is the most populated region of Florida, so her drive-by destruction was felt by millions of people, despite her comparatively short time playing God's lawn mower.

Hurricane Wilma slammed into the SW Gulf coast of Florida in hurricane Charley fashion, but near Naples this time.  I'm reminded that Florida has seen 8 hurricanes making landfall in the last 14 months, and everyone is fatigued from it.

Emergency preparedness, rescue, recovery and damage mitigation are becoming all too common for the local and state officials and organizations.  Practice makes perfect -- but each hurricane affects each community uniquely.

Check last year's hurricane Charley images to see how that storm flattened Punta Gorda and ate trailer parks.  Besides Charley, Hurricanes Frances and Jeanne made me hunker down (drink Melicious!) or evacuate.  Luckily for me, hurricane Wilma tracked well south of central Florida.  My area had tornado warnings, but I didn't get any damage.

Also, for those so thoughtful to check in on me, here -- Melicious IMed me to report that she and her family are doing fine, but power was off and on.  No word about her parents in Naples, yet.  Though, we all wish them safety and good health.

The power is out for about 6 million people in the storm's path.  Insured loss estimates range from 2-10 billion dollars.  Double that amount for the true cost of Hurricane Wilma -- because it should be a matter of common knowledge that like the U.S. healthcare industry -- about half of the people can't afford insurance premiums and are totally uninsured for catastrophic events -- whether from illness or mother nature.

[snark] I'm sure that some people should just be relieved that I've been so preoccupied with natural disasters lately, I don't have time to focus on the gross ineptitudes of the current Bush administration and its domestic and foreign policies.

I use the adjective "current" in hopeful expectation of a Nixonesque deconstruction of this BushWorld regime -- hopefully culiminating in federal indictments, presidential impeachment, 2006 elections going bonkers, and some awakening of the apathetic slackers against political corruption.

On the other hand, Florida governor Jeb Bush seems to be a capable leader in a crisis.  Not only does Jeb speak fairly fluent Spanish, but also he doesn't have to pronouce English words over three syllables in length slowly and phonetically while on camera. [/snark]

For the geographically challenged, match up my image above with the websites below for more helpful information for your friends and families in these South Florida counties affected by hurricane Wilma:
  1. Charlotte County :: Port Charlotte
  2. Glades county :: Palmdale
  3. Martin county  :: Stuart
  4. Lee county :: Cape Coral / Fort Myers
  5. Hendry county :: Clewiston
  6. Palm Beach county :: Palm Beach
  7. Collier county :: Naples
  8. Broward county :: Fort Lauderdale
  9. Monroe county :: Key West
  10. Miami-Dade county :: Miami
I hope the links above lead you or your loved ones to information that can assist your friends and family.  While Florida residents are fairly practiced at dealing with hurricanes, lately, it's still traumatic if one's residence is destroyed.

One unreported, but helpful resource I found today was "Operation Blue Roof," sponsored by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers.  Check their site or call 1-888-766-3258 for more information about getting free tarps for damaged roofs.






[Headphones] :: Crazy - Aenonima




Saturday, October 22, 2005
Wilma Went Wild in Cancun


Buy a print of this painting

Cancun is the premiere tourist destination in Mexico.  Category 4 Hurricane Wilma carved an uncozy path straight through the nearby island of Cozumel -- then she hit Hotel Row in Cancun's barrier islands.

Here are some really cool promotional 360 views of a few Cancun hotels:

Sadly, the beautiful views above may now be characterized as "Before Wilma" views.  Hurricane Wilma lingered over the Yucatan for over 36 hours and thousands of international tourists are stranded in emergency shelters inland.

According to official sources in Mexico, over 22,000 people are sheltered in 100 emergency facilities in Quintana Roo and Yucatan.  Nearly one million people are affected locally by the storm damage.

The Mexican Red Cross is assisting people in the storm-ravaged area, but clearly they need international support in the wake of their relief efforts because of Hurricane Stan.







[Headphones] :: Mexican Radio - Authority Zero




Thursday, October 20, 2005
Wicked Wilma Strengthens


This is a frackin' nightmare.  First, Katrina, then Rita, now Wilma?  Hurricane Wilma exploded in strength from a category 1 hurricane to a category 5 hurricane in a matter of hours.

Most of the predictions of hurricane Wilma have it clipping the Yucatan penninsula in Mexico, and then quickly hooking northeast toward Florida somewhere south of the Tampa area.  While that path is not very specific, generally, I think it's heading toward my hood in central Florida, in hurricane Charley fashion.

So, I guess, I better bring in the cat and count the ammunition, as they say.  I already helped a neighbor bring in her all items that she had outside for a pre-moving yard sale.  I told her that her dollar items might become projectile missiles, if Wilma tracks anywhere near us over this upcoming weekend.

If hurricane Katrina taught people anything, it taught that you have the first responsibility for your own safety, not any level of the government.  Last year's Florida hurricanes taught me that preparedness is key.

Florida's Attorney General put out this press release today:

Hurricane Wilma Prompts Consumer Alert from Attorney General

TALLAHASSEE Attorney General Charlie Crist today urged Floridians and visitors to take all necessary safety precautions as Hurricane Wilma approaches the state and to be alert for unscrupulous businesses operators who try to take advantage of them. Crist mobilized his office and staffed a toll-free hotline at 1-866-9-NO-SCAM (1-866-966-7226) to handle consumer calls over possible price gouging.   [full PDF]


Web sites I have been parsing for hurricane Wilma information and news:

Florida Disaster (Emergency Management site)
http://www.floridadisaster.org/Wilma.asp

NASA images of hurricane Wilma (I am a SpaceGeek)
http://www.nasa.gov/vision/earth/lookingatearth/h2005_wilma.html

Nation Hurricane Center XML news feed:
http://www.nhc.noaa.gov/index-at.xml










[Fullscreen] :: DOOM movie trailer - Official DOOM





Tuesday, October 18, 2005
Hitchcock and Halloween



Do you need some help to get in the Halloween spirit of spookiness?

From October 24th - October 30th, Turner Classic Movies (TCM) will be showing 39 movies by Sir Alfred Hitchcock.  You can also enter their sweepstakes to win a four day "Footsteps in the Fog" tour for two and stay in San Francisco's and Sonoma's Fairmont hotels.  Other prizes include a pretty cool 15-disc set of Hitchcock movies on DVD and a "Footsteps in the Fog" book.  Entry deadline for sweepstakes is October 31st.

If you'd prefer to go to southern California instead of northern California, I found another TV sweepstakes for you.  ABC is promoting the American Music Awards with their "Be Here" sweepstakes.  Enter to win an all expenses paid trip to Los Angeles and attend the American Music Awards show at the Shrine Auditorium, November 22nd.  T-Mobile is sponsoring this sweepstakes, so you'll get one of their spiffy Sidekick II camera phones, too.  Entry deadline is November 8th.


Also, don't forget about the other film contests about which I already blogged earlier this month!


First, the Amazon Screening Room is only open until October 28th.  If you haven't already checked it out, go there to watch and rate the top five film finalists.  I just saw the very short, short called "Coming Home" today.  While only less than two minutes in length, it's a great little short because its comedy is perfect and succinct.  For Halloween spooky spoofiness, check out "Duel at the Red Table."  The camera work is pretty cool and the story is original and cute.

Second, if you are an indie film maker, the Intel Indies Film Contest at Atom Films is still open until November 21st.  So you have about a month to make a short that doesn't suck, if you want to win $25,000.  Check the site for contest rules.

Even if you're not a film maker, but you want some Halloween spookiness in short form, you can still check out these categories of short films and animations at Atom Films:
In order to watch these films, a high speed connection is recommended.  However, don't be scared away if you just have a 56K dialup.  When I first started checking out Atom Films, I only had a 56K connection and patience.






[Headphones] :: Dangerous Group - Akira3099




Thursday, October 13, 2005
Space Wire XML News Feed


Some of my space exploration links:

Blogdrive Blogs - Space category


MarsQuest Online
http://www.marsquestonline.org/

Mars Digital Atlas
http://cmex-www.arc.nasa.gov/Atlas96/Atlas96.htm

NASA Planetary Data System MAP-A-PLANET
http://pdsmaps.wr.usgs.gov/maps.html

Cassini-Huygens mission to Saturn
http://saturn.jpl.nasa.gov/home/index.cfm

Space Wire XML News Feed:









[Fullscreen] :: DOOM movie trailer - Official DOOM site




 
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