Thursday, August 31, 2006

and now, advertising ...

Back to Flash Fiction Friday - I clicked on Home to see what else Laurie's got going on in her life. And she has a blog entry about an author she likes. So I go check out the author's site and I'm signing up to promote an author whose book I haven't even read yet. (But I'm planning to!)

So, here goes:

I joined Hal Spacejock's Support Crew

I didn't pay anything,
I didn't sign anything,
and I didn't read the fine print.
Just like Hal!

No space pilot can exist in a vacuum (hah!), and behind every successful pilot there's a talented and dedicated support crew.

Hal Spacejock is one of the least successful space pilots in the history of the galaxy, and a worldwide support crew is needed just to get him off the ground.

Join now for free Hal Spacejock goodies!
| Join the team | - - - - - - - - - | Hal who? |

Hal Spacejock ... Après moi le wreckage

Just from the little I read on the author's site, I am thinking of the Retief books by Keith Laumer and the Phule books by Robert Asprin and Peter J. Heck (I'm currently reading "Phule Me Twice") and hoping the Hal Spacejock books are along those lines. I'm looking forward to reading the books.

Wednesday, August 30, 2006

Trying something new

I started a new blog for creative stuff. Yeah, I'm still planning to sign up for National Novel Writing Month despite two years of not finishing. Last year, I don't think I even got started. But, I had a lot on my plate, so to speak, since I had just started writing a series of articles at The Messenger.

This year I've got those 43 articles under my belt and in my past, so I can do some "fun" stuff for myself.

In aid of that, I am participating in Flash Fiction Friday.

My first entry. It's a bit over the 250-word limit (by about 275 words!) but, hey, it's the first time I've done this. ;-)

Sunday, August 6, 2006

This is the life

I'm sitting outside on a swinging bench with my feet on a folding chair, in the shade. My laptop has a wireless connection, and I can be outside and online at the same time.

Since the storm a few days ago, we haven't had the air conditioner in the window. I finally tried putting it back in today, but it's not working. :-( So it's actually cooler outside than inside now.

Of course, I'm on battery power, which doesn't last that long. But I'm cooler than I would be inside. Yay!

Wednesday, August 2, 2006

Storm damage, part two

I suggest reading the previous post before this one. ;-)

One more photo and a few observations:
When the power is out, every sound is significant. There is no "white noise."
It really helps to have the flashlight at hand when the power goes out. It also helps to know where the matches and candle are (I did!).
Amanda tried to reassure Cayla when she was freaking out by saying that Heavenly Father protected us. Cayla and I said a prayer of thanks later (after Amanda was asleep).
The tree trimming guys and MidAmerican crews worked through the night and into the day. People from town worked all day getting trees and debris out of the way.

This shows the wind direction in a cornfield south of town.

Be careful what you wish for

Last night, as I was leaving work, I chatted with the two Messenger drivers for a couple of minutes. One of the men said he was hoping this area would get more rain.

Now, this follows a couple of weeks of really hot weather, especially the past few days, with heat indices around 100 or so. But, you should still be careful what you wish for.

We got hit. Bad. Not a tornado, but really intense winds.

We lost one tree and part of another tree.

First tree - this one won't make it. I'm guesstimating that it has a trunk diameter of about 12 inches.

The second tree should survive, but it will take some time to recover. The branch is probably 20 feet away from our home.

We heard a sudden whooshing sound and the rain hit. I went to close windows. I had been playing on Kingdom of Loathing. I went back to the computer and soon, the lights flickered and went out. I had the flashlight already. It was around 12:30 a.m.

I asked Kent to help me get the air conditioner out of the window, because the cardboard on the side was blowing away and rain was coming in. We got a garbage bag and put the air conditioner on the sofa and shut the window. It started leaking water, so Cayla got a plastic bucket to catch the water. We let it drip into the bucket, then put it in another garbage bag and took it outside.

Cayla went outside first and started freaking out, saying, "ohmigosh, ohmigosh!" (Yes, she really says that.) We didn't understand at first, because we were carrying out the A/C unit. Then we looked. She saw the first tree.

Then she went down the porch steps, nearly stepped on a bird that was probably blown out of a tree, and freaked out again. She saw the branch from the second tree.

Across the street, we could see a tree laying across the street. Within minutes, people were trying to move it. One guy got out chains and tried to pull the tree, but his pickup couldn't do it. Kent got out his spotlight and pulled the Chrysler over to shine the light on the people working on the tree. Someone from the city got equipment out to move the tree off the road.

While Kent was doing that, I took a quick shower and got dressed. I talked him into going into Fort Dodge for two things: a camera from my work and more flashlights (trip to Wal-Mart). I also got a couple of sodas at Wal-Mart, since the power was out and we didn't want to open the fridge.

So, we came home - back on Hwy. 169 since we were sure that there would be more debris going through Coalville. We put the screen back in the living room window - the A/C unit is still on the porch. It took awhile for Cayla and me to get to sleep. Finally, we slept on the sofa - me sitting upright with my right leg across the sofa and her lying down, leaning against me. I slept for about 1 1/2 hours that way, waking up twice.

I went outside around 5 a.m. because people were working across the street. It was Wright Tree Service, lopping off branches near power lines. One of the guys told me to get back in the house because "they're going to turn the power on pretty soon and you don't want to step on a live wire."

1. I'm fairly confident that the power company guys won't turn on the power with random live lines just laying around.
2. There are no power lines in the front part of the place where we live.
3. Whatever. Maybe he didn't mean to sound like he was talking down to me, but that's how it sounded.

I went inside anyway, since there wasn't much going on at that point.

I woke up around 6 or 7 a.m. and told Cayla to go to her own bed, and I took over the sofa. There was an occasional wisp of cool breeze coming from the window. I woke up again about 8:45 a.m. At 8:50, the power came back. Remember the tree trimming guy saying the power company was going to restore power "pretty soon"? Yeah, define "pretty soon".

Then we had to rush around to get Kent to an appointment at the pain clinic, only to find out he had the time wrong - by four hours. We came home through Coalville, and I took some pictures.

Our landlord is going to look at the trees this evening. I've already posted an offer for free firewood on our local Freecycle group. No takers yet.

I also got some naptime in when Kent went in for his appointment at the right time. All in all, it's been a very interesting day.