Wednesday, August 30, 2006

Ernesto is a dud

Listed below are the current preparations for Ernesto undertaken by FEMA and the federal government. I want to point out that Ernesto is now a Tropical Depression, not even a Tropical Storm. Let's not even discuss that this thing never was a hurricane.

A tropical storm is fart on the radar, or at least it was pre-Katrina. Now everyone is so terrified that they've pushed all these assets out there. In other news, this rain event is going to dump lots of moisture on my labor day weekend.

By the way, you can see the current FEMA picture right here. It's actually kind of cool. Okay, I'm a geek.

DHS/FEMA Actions
NOC/NRCC and Region IV RRCC at Level 1 - Full Activation Status, with all ESFs Present

Updated Operations Orders being drafted for Regions IV and III based on changes in Storm Path

Region III RRCC to operate at Level II with ESFs 1, 3 and 10 (from 7:30 am -7:30 pm EDT).

Engaging with governors and state emergency managers in the anticipated impact states to begin federal and state coordination.

Working with partners at the National Hurricane Center to anticipate the storm's landfall.

Forward Deployed Response Teams including Federal Incident Response Support Teams (FIRST), Disaster Medical Assistance Teams (DMATs)and Urban Search and Rescue US&R Teams.

Forward Deployed Logistics Push Packets

Issued 50 Mission Assignments for a total of $17,867,583 including mission assignments to:

Cabinet Level Departments of: Defense, Energy, Interior, Justice, Transportation, Health & Human Services, Agriculture


Four new Mobile Registration Intake Centers deploying to and pre-positioning at Atlanta.
All FEMA Call Centers prepared to transition to 24/7 operations at full staffing.
USACE directed to deploy Housing Planning Team to begin scoping a potential temporary housing mission.
600 staff pre-positioned in Florida to conduct in-shelter registrations, if required.

DoD Actions
Conducted NORTHCOM Severe Weather Teleconference 3:30 pm EDT August 28, 2006.

Providing support to Defense Coordinating Officers/Defense Coordination Elements

Coordinating FEMA ESF1 (Transportation) request for US Transportation Command liaison officer support to NRCC.

Coordinating support to FEMA Federal Operational Staging Areas (FOSAs).

Joint National Guard Bureau, Georgia National Guard, South Carolina National Guard, and North Carolina National Guard are monitoring TS Ernesto, coordinating operational decisions, and executing storm warning preparations per state Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs).

Department of Defense Joint Staff sourcing FEMA request for six officers to support Joint Operations Center (JOC) and NRCC synchronization between NRCC, US Northern Command, US Pacific

Command, US Southern Command, US Transportation Command, Defense Logistics Agency and Joint National Guard Bureau.

Sunday, August 27, 2006

The opposite of Katrina

So I'm watching the media freak out as they have to decide between their specials on the year anniversary of Katrina, or the 5-year anniversary of 9/11. Only so many hour long specials to film. Tough choices. There was one on the Discovery Channel tonight about Katrina. They had too much water down there. I face the opposite problem.

So this is my bathroom. And no, I'm not a slob. The water shut off around 2PM today. My landlord told me it must be the city's fault. So the City of Somerville sent a nice guy over from the Water Department over at triple time on Sunday. He told me it was the building's issue and they needed to call a plumber. He was right. However, the shady landlord isn't really returning our calls.

So I'm doing all the cool stuff, like gravity flushing my toilet with the one source of water I do have, my kitchen sink. I shaved at that sink about 10 minutes ago, using the side of a pot as a mirror. I feel like a pioneer. Except I have the internet and a bed. It's just the water thing. Oh, the Subway near Porter Square has a lovely bathroom. (I mean the sandwich place, and not the T.)

I'll keep you updated as I'm sure you're all curious. Thank God that work has showers.

Update: I have clean water and all the fixin's. Thank you lazy landlord. Oh, and my roommate found the plumber playing darts on our board in the apartment.

Saturday, August 26, 2006

Elusive Lyrics

I can't hear lyrics in songs. It's not that I'm a melody guy either. A friend pointed out that the song I wrote about below was "sad." I had no idea. I can hear words, and generally repeat them in tune. This leads people to incorrectly think that I know the lyrics and I get them. Not true.

This leads to problems when I tell people, usually girls , how much I like a certain song. Then they listen and start weeping when the song's lyrics have to do with a guy who's not really in love, but faking it. Or a girl who's boyfriend cheats on her and leaves her.

It might come from singing a cappella and therefore just singing "doom doom ba da doom" in most songs. I can pick out the percussion part, and the bass line. But those mournful lyrics pouring out of the singer's mouth? Natch. Like the teacher in Charlie Brown.

Good Morning

Sitting here on my porch, with the sun beating down, a nice breeze and a cup of coffee, life is pretty good. I was listening to the Sinead O'Connor song, "In this Heart" and it's a really pretty song. It reminds me of my friend Erin, and it's a wonderful song. I encourage all of you to go onto ITunes or Limewire/BitTorrent or whatever you kids do and download it.

Hope everyone is having a nice Saturday.

Thursday, August 24, 2006

R.I.P Deadwood

HBO has confirmed that it has not picked up the contracts for their hit show "Deadwood." If you haven't seen this show, Netflix it.

This is a sad day. The third and final season has already begun.

Wednesday, August 23, 2006

This is going to be really funny.

YouTube is down for maintenance. Apparently their servers rebelled when too many people tried to watch the horrible K-Fed clip. So you're going to have to click through this link to get to the next bit of movie goodness. My apologies.

To those of you who don't know who Borat is, click this. Same goes to you fine people who already do. Enjoy. Who wants to see this with me?

Tuesday, August 22, 2006

My life has been changed

So tonight I went to a place called Chez Henri which is in Cambridge, off Mass Ave. It's best known for it's steak frites, mojitos and the very famous cuban sandwich. Tonight I had a mojito and a daiquiri and the cubano sandwich.

This sandwich changed my life. I even wrote it on the credit card receipt I signed. This sandwich could make me attend church. The ends of the sandwich has these pieces of crispy goodness, cheese and ham. Tears are streaming down my face as I write this.

I contemplated going straight to bed so as not to sully this evening.

This is heaven.

Sunday, August 20, 2006


Just saw K-Fed at the end of the Teen Choice awards. It was his first live appearance. It was so bad it made the baby jesus cry.


Here is the video of it, with horrific intro by trailer trash wife. This is for those of you who won't admit to watching the Teen Choice Awards.

Word to your mother.

More Snakes

I found this on YouTube, where else? The DeNiro is my favorite, though the guy is really good at Walken.

Greetings on a Sunday

So, after drinking a little too much last night, I took a nice hot shower and had a big glass of milk and decided to make today productive. I've made a to do list and I'm gotten almost all of the things on it done. Today is the day to call all the people that I'm supposed to call, but rarely do.

Oh, and my old roommate Jennie is the best. Apparently if you go to the official site for Snakes on a Plane, you can have Samuel L. Jackson call your friend and tell him/her to go see Snakes on a Plane. I have to see that movie, and I must see it with Jennie.

Yesterday evening was my first experience with an ice luge. Good stuff.

Tuesday, August 15, 2006

Dinner on the road

So I had a late lunch, and then I went to Borders, where they screw you. I bought a drink and I got a "$5 off any purchase over $30" coupon. So I found some books and went up to the register and the exhange went something like this

Me: Hey, I'd like to use this coupon.
Trainee Guy: Uhh...this coupon isn't valid yet.
Me: Huh? I just got it from the Cafe.
TG: I know. See, look at it. It's valid from 8/17 to 8/20.
Me: What the hell kind of sense does that make? know I'm going to lose this or throw it away before then
TG: Yeah, that's what they're banking on.

Damn you Borders, for knowing the slothfulness of the American consumer. I did buy the 9/11 Commission Report. I think this book probably should have been mailed to every home in the country, or put on sale for a dollar. So far it's an incredible read. Which, is saying volumes considering it's a federal document. I'm trying to get through it before the 11th.

So I went to dinner, and wanted to try this place called 5 guys. Supposedly the "In 'N Out of the East Coast". I thought I had the address right. I didn't bring the GPS unit with me, because I'm an idiot. I went in search of this:

And I came away with this....

Served to me by a 12-year old. Now, I do love me a Blizzard. I had the Reese's Peanut Butter Cup. This however is not the burger pictured above. I rationalized it in my head by thinking that the Blizzard probably had less calories than a burger, soda and fries, but this is a horrible argument. I was defeated tonight, but I have not lost the war. Before I leave this hell-hole of office parks and gated communities named after the things that were leveled to make room for them (Running Brook, Evergreen Run, Quarry Ridge), I will have one of those burgers. I will Goddamnit.


This really isn't Washington

So my flight landed safely in Dulles. Thanks United. They are the only airline that lets you listen to air traffic control, which I always find interesting. (I know. I'm a dork.) But that channel was silent, I'm thinking due to the latest terror threat. Ah well, I didn't think that perk would last long.

Dulles should not be allowed to have Washington D.C. in the title. It's like 30 miles away. And they use these crazy buses to get you from one terminal to another.

Apparently they are coming into the 1970's and building a train system between terminals. Good. Because as much as the Jetsons thing is cool, it's not when you're running late to a flight.

So I landed and decided to get a rental car. Mostly because I'm hoping to see friends and when I asked the hotel how to get to D.C. from there, they gave two options.
  1. Take a cab @ $60 each way.
  2. Take the hotel shuttle bus back to Dulles, and then transfer to the Washington Flyer, and then get on the Green Line of the Metro at Greenbush.
So basically, there's no way in hell I'd do either of these. So I found a decent rate on Avis and booked an intermediate. And this is the chariot that awaited me in spot D13.

This is the Saturn Ion. It is no Lincoln Towncar I tell you. It's not even fun. And it feels cheap, apparently plastic was the premium interior option. Unless you're 17, don't buy this car. If I wasn't paying for the rental, I wouldn't have this car.

So here I am at the Holiday Inn - Dulles Airport. They bill themselves as one of the finest hotels in Washington. I wonder if they could be sued for libel. If anyone is around and wants to hang out, call me. Oh and this place wasn't bad for lunch. Good turkey club.

Sitting at the airport

So this morning, I woke up and steeled myself for the horrors of the increased security lines and haggard travelers. So after parking at Central Parking at Logan Airport, and walking 19 football fields, arrived at the terminal. I finished my coffee and stowed all my loose items into my carry-on.

And then I got stuck behind these people.

Note: Not these actual people. These geezers came up when I did a Google Image Search for "old people." But the folks who looked a lot like this apparently last flew on the Spruce Goose. The guy thought he could keep his cell phone. The wife wanted to know if they had lysol wipes for her bare feet. I got some sympathetic glances from the TSA guy. I do think however that these people need to have their own security line, staffed only by TSA members over 65. That way they can yell at each other and talk about their grandchildren, while other people who want to make their flights are allowed to do so.

Rant over. Talk to you when I get to D.C.

Monday, August 14, 2006

Technical Difficulties

So my office phone went on the fritz in the middle of last week. I was hoping it would be fixed by today, but no such luck. This morning, Outook crapped the bed. It could be just my agency or state-wide. But I have no phone or e-mail. I sit here wondering what to do. I love technology, but man are we dependent on it.

Maybe I should send actual letters to people I'm meaning to e-mail. A throw back to ye olden days.

Sigh....if I were in some places I'd be sent home.

Sunday, August 13, 2006

Sweet Internet Connectivity

So I'm home now. It was a great weekend and it went really fast. I am a little excited about sitting on my bed and using the internet, but it was so beautiful up there. Here are some photos.

This is the 2006 Lincoln Towncar I rented from Hertz. Granted its a car that is mostly driven by men in Florida over 65. However it's super quiet and it drives like you're floating on air. I would never buy this car, but renting it for a long drive was fine. I wanted the Caddy, but they were out. Oh, and many thanks to Chuck and Sara for picking me up from Hertz at Logan today. Good people.

This is the perfect view. Granted, you can't see much except for my shoes. Note that my feet are covered at all times. This was so comfortable though. The rest of the photos are available on Flickr, which should be accessible through a sidebar down a little ways on the right side of the screen.

Hope everyone had a nice weekend.

Friday, August 11, 2006

Heaven is

Greetings from the Keene Valley, NY public library! I can't write long, and I don't much to report. I did however take a nap for about an hour today in a hammock strung up from columns on a porch. I defy anyone to tell me that they did something better this Friday.

Pictures, stories and mug shots available on Sunday when I return to civilization.

Thursday, August 10, 2006

I love this....

Thursday thoughts

So I finished The Kite Runner last night. I loved it. Many books make me chuckle, some make me laugh, but very few can make me shed a tear. This was one of them. I think that books that touch you like that are far more powerful than movies, because they have to work so much harder at it. So please read this's very good.

I'm leaving tonight for a trip to Keene, NY. A small town about 30 minutes from Lake Placid, home to the 1980 Winter Games and the Miracle on Ice. And for those of you who think that last thing is like the Ice Capades, I instruct you to go outside and wait for a bus and then walk right in front of it. Needless to say, I will probably be out of internet contact for the weekend. This is giving me some heebie jeebies, but the country usually does this to a city kid.

And yes I know about this terror plot, and no I'm not in high level discussion with senior government officials. But I was at a hospital drill this morning in Worcester, MA. I was thinking that while I'm not really in the front seat on some of this stuff, I do play a role. If a plane did crash, and patients were taken to that hospital, then maybe some of the suggestions I had at the drill will save some lives. So that is what I think about when I sometimes think my job doesn't matter all that much.

Talk to you soon. I'm afraid my lungs will choke on the fresh air.

Wednesday, August 09, 2006


I'd just like to put in my vote for therapy. I go every week. Hell, it seems like after my parents got divorced many moons ago, that therapy would help. It didn't. Not then. I think therapy is a great experience, but only if you're ready for it. I often joke that I should set up a side business for post-therapy counseling. So when you walk out of the shrink's office after those 50 minutes going, "Holy Shit! What the hell does all this mean now??!" You can then come into my office to vent about what you just discovered.

But seriously, if you 're thinking of seeing someone, do it. And if you don't like the person, find someone else. It's a nice thing to have for 50 minutes every week. Sort of like a mental massage.

Tuesday, August 08, 2006

The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly

So I think I might make this a weekly post. I think the title is catchy too.

The Good

I'm currently reading a book called The Kite Runner. It's very good, as most people already know. It came out two years ago. So that's is a plus. I'm not even halfway through, and seeing as how it's a library book, I should probably get a move on and finish it. So go read this, if you haven't already.

The Bad

I Netflixed Bubble a little while ago, and I finally watched it. It shouldn't have taken so much prodding, as the movie is only an hour long. The buzz about this movie concerned it's distribution. It was released in the theaters and on demand and DVD all within a week. This gave theater owners a heart attack, that is until they saw the steaming pile of dung this movie is. They should show this movie to people who have only days left to live, as it takes an hour of your time and makes it feel like years. Sweet God. It took 45 minutes to get to any major plot points. 45 minutes into a 70 minute movie! Steven Soderbergh should bend over in Times Square and let people take turns kicking him in the ass for this movie.

The Ugly

This is Natasha Lyonne. I saw her in Blade: Trinity. Worthless movie, though Jessica Biel is quite the looker. This girl above is a train wreck. I just wanted to share.

Sunday, August 06, 2006

This is why Japan is better than us

This was found by my old partner Will. I love the Japanese because they really get it. We don't want to watch people just screwing up on reality TV. We want to see them screw up and then get kicked in the balls.

I think losing the war made them better.

Wednesday, August 02, 2006

Okay...I'm sexist

So I'd like to poll the audience and see what their opinion is on a subject that seems appropriate for this incredibly hot day.


Those are sandals worn by men. Please see the above photo, if you need further clarification. I don't know the foot in the photo. My roommate, Jeff, sports the mandals. I don't know what it is about them, but it weirds me out. I think feet in general are more functional than fashionable. Especially men's feet.

Here's where the sexist part comes in. I don't have a problem with open-toed shoes on women. Mostly because they have cuter feet it seems, or at least they take better care of them than most guys. I wear sneakers or dress shoes....maybe boots in the winter. Ya know just because it feels good, doesn't mean that makes it okay. I'm sure walking around naked probably is pretty liberating, but due to a number of international and maritime laws, I don't do it.

So what gives...Ladies? Germs?