So, my fellow MENSA members, here's the story of how I totally forgot to pay my electric bill this past week because I was freaking out about hurricane Wilma quite a bit.
After several sleepless nights, scurrying around with my neighbors, I finally went to sleep. But, in my normal vampiric fashion, I finally went to sleep at around 8am and when I woke up a few hours later, I had no idea what time it was, other than it was still daytime. I was totally uncomfortable and I had this nagging feeling. I woke up without morning wood and in a bad mood.
I wiped the crusty eye-poop from one of my eyes and used that one cleaned eye to stare at my ceiling fan like Martin Sheen in Apocalypse Now slow motion. I noticed immediately that I had soaked my pillow thoroughly with perspiration, but this wasn't Saigon. And, there were no helicopter noises. As a matter of waking surrealism, my ceiling fan wasn't moving at all.
What's wrong with my ceiling fan? It's always spinning around, always. It's never not spinning. It should be spinning around, right now.
Ding ding ding! The one-eyed realization hit me. I cursed at myself, "you asshole, you forgot to pay the electric bill and now they've found the time to disconnect you from the planet."
My gaze travelled from the motionless ceiling fan -- which I never realized was so incredibly filthy before this point in time -- down to the three dead, lifeless and blank computer monitors across the room. How hollow they looked in the bright sunlight streaming in from the window.
I thought to myself, "this unfortunate event may just throw my morning routine (a relative term) off quite a bit." Hurricane Wilma didn't take out my power, but my absent-mindedness just had. I squinted at my lifeless coffee machine as if I was expecting it to be alive somehow.
Out of habit, I limped across the room toward the coffee maker, anyway. I poured myself a left-over cup of cold coffee, took a swig, and shuddered at its cold and bitter taste. I took another nasty sip in the hopes that it might clear the cobwebs from my mind, so I could remedy this dire situation.
Eventually, I had my power restored that day. (An Aside: Obviously, you fracking geniuses, because I am blogging here again, right?)
The aftermath of my stupidity was that I lost all the unsaved files on the computers when the power was unceremoniously cut off. I had to re-write my Rosa Parks entry from scratch. If you can count, you might notice that there are about two dozen links in it. Do you think that I put those links in my entries for the hell of it? No, I put them in there for you to read and learn more, if you so desire.
The other thing was that I had to log into all my various accounts again: blogdrive, plastic, yahoo, et al. That was a bit scary. I use different user IDs and passwords for stuff. I signed up for the Supreme Court of the United States newsletter with a Martha Stewart domain email address, for gods sakes.
So what's with that photo above? I happen to find it when I logged on to Flickr. It's a Flickr-freak. I can't honestly tell if it's male or female. It looks a bit androgenous, like Pat, from Saturday Night Live to me.
The other intriguing thing to me is that his/her ears, eyes, teeth and god knows what else are in modification mode. It's just odd. This poor kid, male or female, is surely beat up at school on a regular basis.
And, this is how I felt about myself the other day, drinking left-over cold coffee. I saw this image in my bathroom mirror.
The nation is mourning the passing of Rosa Lee Parks, the matriarch of the civil rights movement, who died Monday in Detroit. Nearly 50 years ago, Rosa Park's simple act of civil disobedience against Alabama's racial segregation laws sparked more activism and galvanized other black Americans to join the movement. Rosa Parks was arrested in 1955 for not giving up her bus seat to a white man. Her quiet dignity, yet resolute conviction to end the racial segregation (aka Alabama apartheid) of that time in United States history launched the Montgomery Bus Boycott that lasted for over one year. The civil rights movement was launched by Rosa Parks and then led by other activists with whom all are now familiar, like Martin Luther King Jr. and Malcolm X. The Supreme Court of the United States may have officially and legally ended segregation, but in reality many black families migrated to northern cities for better paying jobs in the wake of the racial tensions of the times.
We as Americans and civil people are priveleged to have had a person as fine as Mrs. Parks willing to spark change in our country. Her memories will live on and teach our youth that even today we still need to embrace our civil rights as people and Americans. Today we celebrate the life of one of America's most important women.
The following are the locations and times of upcoming Rosa Park memorials:
ALABAMA: Viewing Saturday from 3 p.m. until midnight at St. Paul AME Church, 706 E. Patton Ave., Montgomery, Ala. Public memorial from 10:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. Sunday at St. Paul.
WASHINGTON: Viewing Sunday from 6 p.m. until midnight in the rotunda at the Lincoln Memorial. A public memorial from 1 to 2 p.m. Monday at Metropolitan AME Church in Washington.
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:
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.
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.
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.
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: