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Journal Journal: Isabel, McDonalds and Boil Orders

Late in the evening of Thursday, September 18, 2003, while Hurricane Isabel was ripping through Northern Virginia, the Fairfax County Water Authority water treatment plants lost power. All of them. Water reserves ran dry relatively soon after that, and I understand that there is literally a giant sucking sound that takes place when the system is underpressured. Air is sucked back through faucets and the like, and so bacteria can get into the piping system and *could* make its way back to some part of the supply.

(If you've ever seen Blue Man Group, this was the part of the show where they say, "The system has become INTERACTIVE.")

Although power to the treatment plants was restored by 4:30 the following afternoon, customers of the FCWA have been under a mandatory boil order. Any water to be used for drinking, washing, making ice or other instances where pollutants could be ingested or absorbed by the body must be brought to a rolling boil for 1-3 minutes.

The next day my wife and I took the kids to the McDonalds on Van Dorn Street in Alexandria City. We had been cooped up for a second day and thought it would be a quick way to get out of the house. None of us thought about the water issue as relates to restaurants and the like --- it's just one of those things we take for granted (until times like this). Turns out Alexandria City buys their water from FCWA.

Anyway so we eat there and then it occurs to my wife to ask the store manager if they're boiling their water first, you know, to make ice cubes. Nope. They're taking it right out of the tap. In fact, the manager misunderstood my wife's question at first and OFFERED HER A GLASS OF TAP WATER. When my wife corrected her, she rudely responded that they were doing nothing about it.

(At the time, the water coming out of our home taps was yellowish and had little "critters" coming out of it. We've been boiling it, cooling it and then running it through a Brita filter.)

On the other hand, I visited the Border's bookstore in Bailey's Crossroads the next day. They had signs on the doors saying that their cafe was closed because of the boil order. Later, while I was there, they made an announcement saying they would open the cafe but would only sell pre-packaged food, bottled drinks, and things like that.

Granted, Border's main biz is books, not fast food, but STILL!!!!!

I wonder how many things McDonalds uses tap water for. The carbonated water for the soda fountain is pre-packaged... I think... but ice? water for the shakes? water for the non-carbonated drinks, like Hi-C? soft ice cream?

We're complaining to McDonalds. Clearly these guys know that there are plenty of people without power or clean water, and they're taking of advantage of a disastrous event to up their sales without taking responsibility for the healthiness of their food.

User Journal

Journal Journal: music and sbemail

man, I miss playing indie rock. in boston.

there are a lot of good bands coming out of there now, and it's exciting to see that the scene hasn't lost any of its lustre.

loveless and godboxer, both rising from the ashes of expanding man, kick some serious, serious butt. "go" by loveless is guilty of not leaving my head. it's great to see jen trynin playing again, she sounds good. can't wait until they hit DC. "Until You're Gone" by godboxer... wow. that aaron guy is like Gary Cherone with a supercharged soul. a man and his pipes. awesome. and of course they've got my hero mike levesque on skins.

speaking of trynin, I found this cool article about mary's danish and the music biz. she's mentioned as one of the few people willing to talk to the article's author about how the industry treated her. an excellent read, but be sure to set aside some quiet time with a mug of tea... it's a bit long.

also very impressed by the likes of Well with Linda Bean (Orbit, Permafrost/Miles Dethmuffin and Frrrrrrrrrrrigate (Arrr!)), Robert Brazier (one of my favorite drummers, formerly of Smackmelon) and of course that Jeff guy from Orbit. They sound good. I wonder if Brazier still plays those white Yamahas with the cymbals up high; always liked that look. Plus he's got faster-than-normal single stroke rolls... very smooth.

a while ago ... like, when I was playing in Skelp and doing gigs at the Velvet Lounge every other month... so, we're talking 2001ish... I bought the VL "lights out, let's go!" compilation. for some reason I didn't listen to it right away --- mostly because the first track is by the phobes who never f'ing called me back for an audition (sorry, grudges are a bit of a weakness of mine) --- but after I got my Mac my old girlfriend...er... my old CD collection and I were reintroduced. there's a lot of good shit on that compy, most notably "belle star" by squatweiler and "ghostface" by helicopter helicopter. It's nothing less than embarassing to find out about H2 after I left boston. plus these songs are several years old. whatever, it's good.

in non-music: this week I was introducttaped to Strong Bad. yeah, I'm a little late to the party, but who cares? Thanks to trey for throwing the links my way. what a great way to brighten up my mondays. I came really, really close to starting a presentation at work with sbemail65 (unused emails) but was talked out of it by snovick. anyway I'm hooked and liz digs it too. "'Dear Strong Bad,' ... I never tire of hearing that."

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