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Slashdot.org

Journal: Slashdot just isn't "it" anymore 2

Journal by Safety Cap

My current gig is working on a major newspaper's website. Now that I have access to logs and stuff of a MSM, it is very interesting to see where the traffic comes from—and slashdot doesn't really figure into the mix, even though we've been linked.

The three biggest sources of hits are Drudge, Digg and Fark, in that order, with Drudge being larger than #2 by an order of magnitude.

Least you think this is a small-time site, the whole enchilada gets 6 million hits a month by users, sans bots.

User Journal

Journal: Rita - over, no real damage 4

Journal by Safety Cap

Turns out that from our end, it was nothing.

We rode out the storm; mostly wind, a bit of light rain, and some green lightning (I was unable to get a picture of it--boo!), and that was it.

Saturday, the cable was out, so no TV or internets. We drove back to our place, hauling back the cans and water.

Observable damage:

  • A handful of trees had lost limbs,
  • One abandoned car dealership's canopy was torn from its mounts and was lying on the ground,
  • A store's fabric sign was ripped,
  • Two large flags (10-15 ft/3-4.5 m in width) were ripped and the ends were tattered, and
  • There were a billion leaves on the ground.

No mass destruction here, and the end result was (besides the green lightning) no worse than a normal Spring storm... in summer.

It is still as hot as hell (~90 f/32 c), so we didn't even get a post-storm cooling. :(

Wireless Networking

Journal: Rita Update - more desertion 7

Journal by Safety Cap

I updated the flickr, as I took a few shots on the freeway (they're the last three). It looks like everyone who was going, is gone, because there are nearly no cars on the freeway.

Now it's just us chickens left.

This will probably be it for my updates, as one of the SO's clients invited us to stay at her place. If they have internets, then I'll try to post more later (assuming the power stays on, yadda, yadda).

If not, see you on the other side.

User Journal

Journal: Rita Update - Houston is boarded up

Journal by Safety Cap

We took a walk around last night and took some shots: check it.

It is really weird - the place is like a ghost town. We saw a few people walking and there were a handful of cars, but the majority of folks are gone.

The newsman said Rita will probably drop to a Cat 3 right before it hits, and she's sliding East towards Louisiana, but we'll still get much rain and wind.

I found a nice site with graphs and charts and Google Earth Hacks has some nice Rita overlays (use the site search for 'Rita' as the links are not working).

Updates as they come...

User Journal

Journal: Rita Update - found more water, gas is really hard to find 1

Journal by Safety Cap

I invited one of my Guitar mates to crash at our place if his caves in - he lives in a really flimsy place (aluminum roof), so if the wind blows hard enough, it will probably go. I also spoke with our next door neighbor to let her know to bang on our door if she needed anything, but she said she was going to stay with friends in north Houston.

The SO took me to work in her car this morning, so we can preserve the gas in the Prius. Since the Prius has nearly a full tank, we'll use that if we have to go to Austin, San Antonio or Dallas because it can go father on less. According to some of the people at work who have friends/relatives who've already left, Dallas is close to 20 hours away (normally 3 1/2) and San Antonio/Austin are about 12 each (normally about 3 as well). I guess most people are going north. Meanwhile, I-10 is a parking lot (picture).

On the way to work, we stopped at the local grocery store and they had water bottles coming out the wazoo! We picked up three cases, so that should take care of the water needs for at least a week.

Every gas station within a 2 mile radius of home is kaput. We didn't want to drive around any more and waste gas trying to find gas, but the SO found an actual operational gas station after she dropped me off. Yay!

The Gimp

Journal: Rita update - gas is running out, cash is gone 8

Journal by Safety Cap

Coming home from work today was weird. All of the traffic out of town was clogged and just an awful mess. Going in to town was like there was no one alive. My trip usually takes about 25 minutes, but this time it took under 15. I always get off the freeway on an earlier exit and then take the side-streets around the mess (the exit ramp that is closest to me is the worst), but this time, there was---literally---no cars on the ramp at all.

Later, I passed 7 gas stations on the way back from guitar practice:

3 of them had long lines, stretching into the street, blocking traffic. No one seemed out of control, just everyone was trying to get their gas and go on their way.

4 of them -- all Shell stations -- were sold out. Some had plastic bags over their pump nozzles, others had some kind of red plastic placard locked onto the nozzle. Many people kept driving into these stations, probably because they figured they'd found the ONE station in all of Houston that didn't have lines, but they quickly drove on when it was obvious that there was no fuel to be had.

The banks have all but shut down. A co-worker's husband was unable to get cash this afternoon. They live on the west side of town--Katy--where everyone who is leaving to San Antonio or Austin will pass through.

My SO was able to get cash, though. She told me that the manager at the branch she went to wasn't letting any teller swap money (i.e., trading another teller a hundred-dollar bill for four twenties), so what you got was what you got. By the time she left the bank, all but one window was closed (the other tellers ran out of cash). I think all the ATMs are dry as well.

I don't believe you can buy water here, unless you are very lucky and time your visit to when the delivery truck arrives at the store. On the way to guitar practice, I stopped by a "high end" supermarket (Eatzi's) to get a snack, and I noticed that all their water was gone. This isn't some cheap old Ozarka or whatever; these waters easily cost more than $1.50 for a bottle ("designer water").

Debian

Journal: Is that the best you can do? I'm down here--come and get me! 3

Journal by Safety Cap
(cross-posted to fark)

Here in HooVille, people are paying attention probably more than usual because of Katrina. I hit the supermarket last night to grab some stuff to round out our pantry. Wow - almost all of the cans were gone, and there was not one bottle of water on the shelves. A clerk brought out a pallette of bottled waters while I was standing there; I grabbed two cases before the gathering crowd attacked.

My SO reported this AM that the lines for gas are very long. My car is full, but her's is about 5/8ths full. We'll try topping her off this evening (hopefully the stations won't run out!)

This afternoon a coworker had to go to Lowes (Home Improvement store) and reported that they were completely out of generators (idiot people, where are you going to get gas and an electrician to hook up your home circuits?).

I checked my email and found this little jem:

From: "City of Pearland" <dschielke@ci.pearland.tx.us>
To:
Subject: Important Message from the Mayor
Date: Wed, 21 Sep 2005 12:20:27 -0500

This is an emergency message from the office of the Mayor of the City
of Pearland. A very serious hurricane is approaching the area. There is
a significant probability that it will impact Pearland. Mayor Tom Reid
has issued a mandatory evacuation for those in flood prone areas and
for those who reside in mobile homes or other non-sturdy structures, and
for those with special transportation needs to leave as soon as
possible. In order to avoid heavily congested traffic conditions and limited
available routes, residents are urged to leave prior to 6 p.m. today,
Wednesday Sept. 21.

For those in need of transportation, buses will be available at 2:30
this afternoon at Jamison Middle School, 2505 Woody Rd. (immediately
north of 518 across from Frost National Bank), and Pearland Jr. High East
(one block north of 518 on Old Alvin Rd.) Persons who wish to leave but
are unable to get to those locations may call 281-652-1953,
281-652-1954, or 281-652-1960. For detailed information, go to
www.cityofpearland.com.

9/21/05 11:30 a.m.

Well the problem is that the entire "city" of Pearland IS A FLOOD-PRONE AREA!

So, all you who are also in the path, stay safe and dry - don't be the fool this year who kills him/herself by driving into the water on the submerged road.

Updates as they come...

The Matrix

Journal: Houston Gas Price: $2.99/gal 13

Journal by Safety Cap
Holy COW - I'm now paying just over $17/week!!!

This is totally outrageous. I mean, just a few weeks ago I was paying $14-15/week.

With my car requiring a fill-up every two weeks, this is going to be a major burden. My gas mileage has sucked a lot because I have to run the A/C all the time (thanks to the 100 degree -- sorry, 115 degree heat indexed weather).

I would consider riding a bike, but there's no way I could pedal the ~ 22 mile one-way distance to work every day (assuming I could take a shower when I got to work), 'cause it would take too long and I have too much stuff to haul (laptop + books + guitar).

Dang this sucks.

Classic Games (Games)

Journal: Hillary vs. Video Games: a "fair and balanced" perspective 4

Journal by Safety Cap

Actually, it isn't: Hillary is calling for a $90 million dollar study of the effects of video games, and she's wrong, wrong, wrong. (Note: I'm the Alabama Chapter President of the Elect Hillary '08 to Bust Your Hillbilly Redneck 'Values' Club, so be warned... I might be biased.)

Anyway, the Steven Johnson over at the LA Times sums it up nicely.

In effect, video games are valuable because they teach kids to think.

Of all the games that kids play, which ones require the most mental exertion? Parents can play this at home: Try a few rounds of Monopoly or Go Fish with your kids, and see who wins. I suspect most families will find that it's a relatively even match. Then sit down and try to play "Halo 2" with the kids. You'll be lucky if you survive 10 minutes.

The great secret of today's video games that has been lost in the moral panic over "Grand Theft Auto" is how difficult the games have become. That difficulty is not merely a question of hand-eye coordination; most of today's games force kids to learn complex rule systems, master challenging new interfaces, follow dozens of shifting variables in real time and prioritize between multiple objectives. [Emphasis mine]

If Sen. Clinton wants to investigate a violent activity that children participate in, Mr. Johnson aptly suggests she go right for the belly of the beast:

I'd like to draw your attention to another game whose nonstop violence and hostility has captured the attention of millions of kids---a game that instills aggressive thoughts in the minds of its players, some of whom have gone on to commit real-world acts of violence and sexual assault after playing.

I'm talking, of course, about high school football.

Of course, no politician would go gunning for HSFB; in those tiny-ass towns across the midwest US (I had the unfortunate luck to live in several over the years), there is no more important event than the Saturday-night HS Foosball game. Yes, it may be the devil, but it is their devil, and no Yankee Carpetbagger is gonna take away their Foosball!

Upgrades

Journal: Developer applies to 'eminent domain' Souter's House 5

Journal by Safety Cap

Payback, beeyatch!

A developer has applied to the city council to get a permit build a hotel on the site of Justice Souter's home. The rationale is that a hotel will bring in more funds to the city than the home currently does.

Souter, if you recall, was one of the staunch supporters of the ruling that allowed city governments to take over private land and give it to another private party if the transfer would result in increased benefit to the government.

Now the best part is that the developer doesn't even have to go through with it. All he has to do is tear up the home, break ground and then "run out of funds". (cue Nelson laugh) Ha-haa!

Update:Fixed title (damn stubby fat fingers!)

I took a fish head to the movies and I didn't have to pay. -- Fish Heads, Saturday Night Live, 1977.

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