Monthly Archives: August 2011

Poll Question of the Day – August 31st, 2011

Hurricane Irene and the Aftermath

Hurricane Irene has now come and gone, or was it a tropical storm when it hit our state.  I don’t really remember.  All I know is that our state got hit.  Connecticut is still dealing with the aftermath of Irene.  The storm dumped a huge amount of rain on us, enough to bring a number of rivers well above flood state.  I even remember hearing on the radio that one river is at its fifth highest level in recorded history, and it was still climbing.  Along with the rain came the winds, which knocked down trees limbs and whole trees.  A lot of this resulted in loss of power.  In spite of the fact that Irene was less powerful than Hurricane Gloria, which hit the state in 1985, our state experienced more power outages than it did back then.  Roughly 52 percent of the state was without power.  There are still some towns in Connecticut that have 90 percent or more customers without power.

We got off a bit lucky.  We lost our power at about 8:30 am Sunday after two momentary outages, and did not have power back until about 1:30 Monday.  There were a few tree limbs down in our yard, but nothing really major.  I guess you could really say we got off very lucky considering the damage the coast felt from Irene.

We managed the storm and dealt with not having power, having assumed that we were not going to get power back any time soon.  We had stocked up on food and batteries, and had enough flashlights to allow us to see where we were going in the night.  We had battery operated radios, which we had tuned to one of the local radio stations, WTIC 1080.  They had extended storm coverage throughout Sunday and Monday, so we were able to keep up with what was going on.  We spent the day listening to the radio and reading (I finished two books over the course of the hurricane weekend).  When storm cleared out enough, I took the dog out, then went for a walk on my own.  The only downside to not having power was that I did need to charge my cell phone again and had to use my car to do it.  That and I drained the battery on my iPod playing solitaire and Bejeweled 2.

Probably the best thing about the whole weekend was going outside at about 12:30 or 1 am and looking up at the night sky.  The clouds had moved away, so all there was to see was the stars.  No street lights from out road to drown out the night sky.  No lights from the streets near us.  I don’t even think there were any lights from the main street or the highway, only a couple of miles from our house.  Just the pure beautiful night sky without the visual noise of artificial light.  It was probably the most stars I had seen without going all the way out to the middle of nowhere with no lights around.

Bracing For Hurricane Irene

Normally, I would be posting a Friday Finds.  But, the reality of the matter is that the east coast is bracing itself for the coming of Hurricane Irene, my state included.  At the moment, it looks like Connecticut is going to get a direct hit from the storm.  The only positive side of it is that Irene could possibly weaken to a tropical storm by the time it reaches our state.  We won’t really have a good idea about that for a while.  There are just too many variables at this point to be sure what will happen.

One thing is for sure, Connecticut does not know how to deal with the weather.  I don’t mean on an official level.  The state is taking every precaution with this storm that can be made.  I mean on a personal level.  The people of this state just can’t deal with severe weather.  Panic has already set in for a lot of people as they ravage the stores looking for batteries, flashlights, bread, non-perishable foods, and bottled water.  That one really surprises me, since it seems that no one has ever thought about filling pitchers and bottles from the tap.

You could argue that it is because the state is facing a hurricane, something that it does not often see.  And this is true.  In my lifetime, I only remember one hurricane actually hitting the state.  I know others have hit Connecticut (the Hurricane of 1938 was particularly devastating).  But none of that really seems to apply because barring the hurricane, this state just does not know what to do when faced with weather.  It seems that the state begins to freak out at any sort of sign of bad weather.  This even includes snow.  Granted, this past winter was particularly nasty, but I remember times when the state went into full panic mode for a half an inch of snow.  A HALF AN INCH OF SNOW!  There is no need for the state to devolve into something that looks like the director’s cut of The Road Warrior because of a half an inch of snow.  The real trick to dealing with snow is to not speed like a maniac just in case that it is slippery.  And stocking up for inclement weather should not be two shoppers enter, one shopper leaves.

The best thing I believe to do is to remain calm.  You should prepare for the worst, but there is no need to act the worst in the process.  Stocking up should not be an us vs. them battle royale with the winner getting that one last loaf of bread.  Acting like a lunatic will only make the situation that much worse.

Anyhow, for anyone who’s in the crosshairs of this hurricane, please stay safe, heed any warnings and evacuation notices that may come down, and remember that we are all in this together.

Writing Update – August 26, 2011

I posted another entry on my fiction blog, which represents the most work I’ve done on it for a couple of days.  Unfortunately, a lot of work that I do on my writing could most likely be offline thanks to the impending threat of Hurricane Irene.

Picks of the Week – August 24, 2011

Next week sees the end of Flashpoint and the beginning of DC’s New 52 with the release of Justice League #1.  But what were the picks of this week?

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Why I Hate Being on a Diet

Writing Update – August 21, 2011

Did not do much work on either the rewrite or the world building.  But then, world building for my stories is not really my thing.

I did post the 9th installment of my fiction blog, tentatively titled Coverage of the Dead.  I posted the link to that blog here, and it is on my side panel as well.

Friday Finds Special – Google+

Okay, this is more about Google+ than about any Friday Finds that I may have stumbled across.  We should be back to our usual Friday Finds format next week.

As many of you know, Google+ is the end all and be all of social networks.  It is supposed to put Facebook to shame, and hammer in the last nail of MySpace’s coffin.  It is supposed to revolutionize how we socialize on the internet.  And, from what I heard, is supposed to cure several major diseases while making unhip people that much cooler.

At least, that was what I kept hearing.  I really had no way of judging what it was really like because I was not allowed in.  Unlike seemingly the rest of the world (more on this later), I had not gotten an invite to join.  At least, I had not gotten an invite to join until this past week.  So not I’m in.  Take that, Google+ bouncer.  You can’t keep all the uncool people out forever.

But I digress.

Anyhow, I decided to take a casual glance around, at least until the Google+ bouncer realized I somehow slipped in and boots me out for not being cool enough.  The first thing I noticed it at it took my Gmail address book and treated it as the pull list for my friends and potential friends.  Since I don’t use my Gmail account for much, I was a bit shocked when it came up with two more names in addition to the person who invited me.  I soon figured out that these two people (myself being one of them) were people I had sent pictures to from my phone.  I also figured out that my phone was using my Gmail account to send my pictures.

Having these three names, I went to the circles to organize them.  I was actually surprised at how easily it was to drag and drop them into various circles for organization, and to create new circles.  I know Facebook has group options or friends, but the circles were much easier to navigate and organize.  Of course, looking at my circles, I realized something about Google+.

No one is on it.  At least, no one that I know on Facebook is on it.  Granted, I only have a small circle of Facebook friends (76, and some of those are duplicates), but I have not found any of them on Google+.  All this time I thought I was just uncool enough to be a part of Google+ and now I realize that I was not the only one.

Anyway, like Facebook, Google+ will suggest friends for you.  Unlike Facebook, I can’t see any logic as to who is suggested.  I’m looking at a gigantic list of people, and I don’t recognize any of them.  Well, that’s not true, “MySpace” Tom is in that list, which makes me wonder what is happening with MySpace.  The rest of the list is just a whole bunch of “Who the Hell are you?”  At least with Facebook’s suggestions, there is a certain degree of logic as to who is put on your suggested friends list (same friends, similar interests, etc.).  I cannot figure out what Google+ stream of logic is.

Moving on, I decided to check out the stream option.  As near as I can tell, this is supposed to be quite similar to the Facebook feed.  It is a bit tough to tell because, well, I have no friends on Google+.  No friends equals no streams from friends.  So, my stream is more like a tiny brook during a drought.

Google+ also offers sparks, which are your interests.  Unlike the groups of  Facebook, the sparks are more of less saved searches.  Once you click on a site that comes up, you are pretty much out of Google+.

I passed on the pictures section since I don’t really have a lot of pics to actually submit to the site and moved onto the Profile section.  Looking over the profile section, It looks a bit anemic to me.  Facebook’s profile section allows for so much more than Google+ profile section, like interests, favorite tv shows, and the like.  As near as I can tell, nothing on the profile page actually is used to determine who might be possible friends on Google+.  More can be done to improve this part of the site.

The most recent addition to Google+ are games.  There are not a lot of games on there, and they are pretty much the same ones that Facebook has.  It does have Bejeweled Blitz, so it does have that going for it.

As for whether or not Google+ is going to put Facebook out to pasture, I am not so sure about that.  The biggest draw or Google+, the circles, is something that Facebook could easily integrate into a new version if they chose to.  And, Google+’s exclusivity is keeping out a lot of people who might actually look to try it out.  I can see continued exclusivity working against Google+ as people who can’t get an invite grow more uninterested in trying it out.  I don’t even think that dropping the exclusivity in the near future will really hurt Facebook since the features in Google+ are not all that spectacular.

Update Friday, August 19th, 2011

I posted a couple more entries on my fiction blog, but did not do any work on the rewrite.  It was a late night at work, and I have another long day tomorrow, er, today, that being Friday.

I did manage to get an invitation to Google+, but I really have not had much time to check it out.  I’m sure once I do, I’ll post what I think here.

Picks of the Week – August 17, 2011

This week seems to be the Marvel week, so let’s get right to it.

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