Shivering on the 49th Parallel
Monday, 25 July 2005

Notice I didn't say OLD, but oldER. I went out for the company soccer team yesterday. I used to play when I was a kid, and it sounded like fun, so away I went.

We had a team meeting/practice on Wednesday, but we couldnt actually do anything because the field was in use by the Banker's league and the National Team also uses that pitch to practice on as well. Sunday was our first league game, against Environmental Health. Their whole team is young fit garbagemen and stuff, and they have a reputation for playing dirty and apparently a year or two ago, in their match against the Royal Cayman Islands Fire Service, a brawl broke out around the 15 minute mark of the first half and the whole game had to be scrapped.

Nice team to play against first! Anyway, we all showed up on Sunday afternoon, got our jerseys and stuff and started warming up. 5:15 came and they only had five or six guys show up, so they had to forfeit the game. That makes us one-and-oh! :) We decided to stick around and play a scrimmage anyway, just to get some practice in, and get a chance to see how we played together and that sorta thing.

Running around in 87°F weather, in the sun really beat the crap out of me. The only saving grace was that I've been doing a lot of cardio at the gym the past few months, so it wasn't TOO bad. I ended up twisting both my ankles. I didn't twist them very bad.. nothing I couldn't walk off in a min or two. Only my left ankle was still a bit sore by the time I got home last night, so I iced it down and today I went to Sports Supply to pick up some tape so I can tape it up before the next practice and game.

While I was there, I looked at their soccer stuff. I was thinking of getting a pair of shorts and a shirt to practice in, because my gym shorts and t-shirt that I wore to scrimmage in on Sunday were horribly hot, sticky and uncomfortable. I noticed that 80% of their entire stock was England-branded jerseys, shirts, tanks and shorts. THey also had a couple Ireland jerseys and, bafflingly, a bunch of Sweden jerseys? No Brasil, no Argentina, no Italy, Germany, France, or last years Euro champions, Greece. Fair enough, the majority of football fans down here are probably English, but what's up with the Sweden jerseys?

Our next match is next Sunday against the Monetary Authority, who will probably show up and we'll get a test of our team for real this time.

Monday, 25 July 2005 11:32:53 (Pacific Standard Time, UTC-08:00) | Comments [0] | Cayman | Sports#
Saturday, 23 July 2005

I started using Firefox around 0.9.something. I had it installed “in addition” to IE, and as I got used to tabbed browsing, I slowly started using it more and more. Last time I did a re-install, I installed Firefox and set it as the default web browser. It crashed every now and then, usually on a PDF link, but no big deal.

Tonight, I left my laptop on with Firefox open. Two tabs: My Yahoo and Gmail inbox. Seb and I went down to Canton for dinner, gone for maybe an hour and a bit. I come home and come upstairs and can hear the fans going full-blast on my laptop. I checked th systray and i8kfangui reported my processor temperature at 62c. Not good. The processor was running at almost 100% for no good reason.

I popped open the Windows Task Manager, and there was the culprit: Firefox.exe was using up 80% of the CPU and chewing up more than 50mb of RAM. For what? it wasn't DOING anything...

I ran a spyware scan and came up clean, just a couple cookies. Then I Googled for an answer and found a few other people with the same issues, but no one had any idea why. Who knows...

For now, just make sure you don't leave firefox open when you're not actively using it, especially with a laptop. Running that fast chews up battery power and running that hot for a long period of time just isn't good for the cpu or other bits & pieces.

Saturday, 23 July 2005 18:33:26 (Pacific Standard Time, UTC-08:00) | Comments [0] | Links | Tech#
Thursday, 21 July 2005

I was reading Divester the other day, and they had a poll going for “when was the last time you went diving?”. Fortunately for me, I live somewhere where it's nice to go diving pretty much anytime. UNfortunately, the last few weekends have been scrubbed by Hurricanes Dennis & Emily. Maybe this weekend I'll get out and get wet.

Shortly after that was another post, which was asking for ideas for another poll. I left a comment and said “How about name your favorite dive destination?” which ALWAYS gets a “lively discussion” going, kinda like the “my dojo is better than your dojo!” arguments back int he 80s when Martial Arts was huge (not that it isn't now, but...) Anyway, they seemed to have listened! Their latest post actually quoted my comment and linked back to here. Gotta love the linky lurrrrve.

Guess I'll have to go and stir up the pot a little and tell em why my favorite is better than anybody else's favorite :)

On another, sadder note, Divester also reported on some missing divers last seen off of Misali Island, off the coast of Zanzibar (Zanzibar is really a place, not JUST a multiplayer map on Halo 2). More news (in english) here. I was at a work function last night and got a phone call from a friend of mine, who sounded a bit “out of it” and she asked me if I had heard about the missing divers, and when I said yes, she informed me that it was her ex-boyfriend who was the Canadian Scuba Instructor who was missing. His name was Neil and he used to work for Seasports divers right here in Cayman on Seven Mile Beach. Apparently there's a lot of current around there, but there's also a whole bunch of little tiny islets. I didn't know Neil that well, but I'm keeping my fingers (and fins?) crossed that they turn up safe and sound with a week's beard growth on some little island.

Thursday, 21 July 2005 16:07:04 (Pacific Standard Time, UTC-08:00) | Comments [0] | Cayman | Links | Underwater#
Wednesday, 20 July 2005

Be sure to visit all the options undfer "Configuration" in the Admin Menu Bar above. There are 16 themes to choose from, and you can also create your own.

 

Tuesday, 19 July 2005 23:00:00 (Pacific Standard Time, UTC-08:00) | Comments [0] | dasBlog#
Monday, 18 July 2005

Today was a normal work day, the only thing that was missing was normal traffic, but I'm the last person you'll hear complaining about that. The boards are still up on the windows, I guess we'll start taking them down after work tonight, if we can borrow those ladders again. If not, we'll take down the lower-floor boards and store them for next time and get the upper-floor ones when we can.

We put all our systems back up and online yesterday afternoon, and this morning have had to deal with sporadic network outages here and there, mostly due to end-users plugging their own computers back in and failing to remember to plug their network cable back in. No big whoop.

I got an email from my bud Ed who I used to work with at the dive shop in Texas, he was in Cozumel this weekend for a little diving. I was a bit concerned about him, but he emailed me last night from San Antonio and he got out of Cancun on one of the last flights yesterday before they shut down the airport.

Check out this 5-day history of wind, sea height and air pressure from one of the NDBC buoys located near 20N 85W.

Emily's back over water now in the Gulf of Mexico as a cat2 and may strengthen again to a cat3 before hitting Mexico or Texas later on tomorrow. It's amazing the amount of news that's coming out of Cancun and Cozumel, photos and articles. One thing I read on the Yahoo/Reuters report that totally gobsmacked me was a quote from a couple tourists from Quebec who refused to take shelter and wanted to stay out on the beach “because they've never seen a hurricane before”. What a couple of morons. First of all, there's nothing to see, as it went ashore after dark, and secondly, you can't keep your eyes open in 135mph wind, never mind the sand that's blowing at 135mph. People like that you hope get washed out to sea before they can reproduce and bring more stupid people into a world that's already full of them.

Monday, 18 July 2005 07:26:49 (Pacific Standard Time, UTC-08:00) | Comments [0] | Hurricane#
Sunday, 17 July 2005

2005-07-16 HurricaneEmily 019
Originally uploaded by DocJelly.
OK, so after I went back to sleep (again) I got up around 10am and checked the websites. Gov't issued an all-clear and lifted the curfew at 9am this morning, and the airport will be open as of noon, I think.
I posted pics to Flickr from across the street at "the beach" (even though it's rock and no sand) so you can see the difference between now and last evening.
I also took some video clips that I'll post up here in a little bit.
Sunday, 17 July 2005 08:04:34 (Pacific Standard Time, UTC-08:00) | Comments [1] | Hurricane#

been “sleeping” since midnight or so... rain is whistline around the plywood and can hear “sheets” of rain marching along the tin roof, but have heard harder rain before. Actually, TS Arlene (or what became TS Arlene a couple days later) sounded harder. Just woke up to take a whizz, heading back to sleep in a min. Power's still up, so looks like we're gonna make it through with minimal damage. Waves should be pounding us by now, but its still too dark to see and too windy to open the door. when I get up later on I'll go check across the street and take a few pics.


update 8:34AM: this latest squall JUST subsided. the only word to describe that much rain is 'Biblical'. Took some pics and video, later i'll venture across the street and see what the sea looks like
Sunday, 17 July 2005 01:59:18 (Pacific Standard Time, UTC-08:00) | Comments [1] | Hurricane#
Saturday, 16 July 2005

RCIP has institutued a 11pm to 11am curfew tonight. Wind is getting nasty out there, Emily took a little jog north and now her CPA is 83 miles. We'll be just brushing the edge of the hurricane force winds in a few hours.

I was outside a few minutes ago, and called my parents and told em we're all ok here.

Im gonna try and get some shuteye now, so this'll be the last post until I have to get up to shut down the network gear attached to the UPS.

I've been listening to Radio Cayman online at www.radiocayman.gov.ky and you can too if you want to. They just announced that they got some calls from West Bay that the wind has really picked up and all I can say is “uhh, yeah.” :)

No rain yet, either, but that'll change soon enough.

Until tomorrow (or sooner) :)

Saturday, 16 July 2005 20:03:13 (Pacific Standard Time, UTC-08:00) | Comments [1] | Hurricane#

2005-07-16 HurricaneEmily 009
Originally uploaded by DocJelly.
My neighbour Derek (who owns Coconut Joe's) doing his part last night while we were boarding up the windows.

Windows are all boarded up now, weathercam is down for now. I was gonna see if I could suspend the camera so as to peek out the slit at the top of the board, but it's fark out and you wouldn't see anything anyway. I may aim it down into the apartment, but that's pretty boring, too. Just me, Seb, Tweeter, Toby & Turtle.

She's still churning away at 155mph, on the same course, which takes her 90 miles south of us. We'll probably have a max sustained wind of about 75mph, maybe with a few higher gusts, but that's just my opinion and in no way is it any part of any official forecast. :)

We've got Secret Agent Radio on (www.somafm.com I think) and cookin some dinner. after that, chill, maybe watch a couple movies, fall asleep and probably wake up tomorrow to the same weather we have right now!

I'm going to stay online as long as I can. If the power goes out, the networking gear is plugged into the UPS and Im on my laptop so I should have close to an hour of backup power to make a final post and then shut everything down and switch to the windows smartphone.

I just got an IM from East End, it's starting to rain over there and the waves are starting to pick up. They just got back from watching the sunset and have broken out the wine and chocolate. :)
Saturday, 16 July 2005 17:00:40 (Pacific Standard Time, UTC-08:00) | Comments [0] | #

My webcam is on and pointing out the window, 2nd floor facing NE. If you click on it and see ladders or a face, that means the final boards are going up and that'll be the end of the weather cam :)

http://oceanside.homedns.org:81/

the more people on it, the less frequently it updates, so if it's slow to update, that just means there are a lot of people viewing it :)

Saturday, 16 July 2005 13:54:07 (Pacific Standard Time, UTC-08:00) | Comments [2] | Hurricane#

45 minutes ago, NOAA released the 2pm(EDT) update and they raised the official advisory to 155mph. One MPH higher and it's a Category 5 hurricane. Apparently this it the most powerful hurricane ever in July... We're going to start shutting things down here in about 15 mins. Should be done here by about 4 and home by 5ish to break down my computers and put em away, then sit tight and see what happens.

More info to come as needed.

Saturday, 16 July 2005 10:47:57 (Pacific Standard Time, UTC-08:00) | Comments [0] | Hurricane#

So I slept in this morning, figuring I'll be up late tonight and I don't want to be groggy or anything. Emily has strengthened to a Cat4 hurricane and is packing winds as high as 145mph (official forecast) but according to the flight engineer on the hurricane hunter this morning, it SHOULD be higher than that, but the dropsondes they dropped don't support his hypothesis, so NOAA is sticking with 145mph and higher gusts.

Im off to work in a few minutes, we have to shut down all the systems and cover up all the computers, then get the data backup tapes on one plane and the hard drives on another. Cayman airways is spreading out the planes, 2 to Miami, 1 to Tampa, 1 to Houston and 1 to Chicago, so our data should be safe SOMEWHERE.  Though this storm isn't forecast to head to Miami or the Gulf Coast, our policy has always been to get the two separated as much as we can, “just in case”

Our home preps are almost done, there's just a couple windows left to board up. Unfortunately one of them is right next to where I'm sitting typing this, so I'm a bit apprehensive that they haven't done this one yet.

Im going to hitchhike in to work and back, because I got the sweetest parking spot for my jeep and I don't want to chance giving it up. It's between the other apt building and the trash dumpster, which is a concrete block wall. She's facing south and protected east and west, so that should keep the brunt of the wind off of any parts that are soft top and instead the forecast ESE winds will hit it obliquely on the windshield. I also put a 2x6 across the roll bars above the front seats so that the five to ten inches of rain we're expecting won't collect up and stretch the top right there and maybe contribute to roof failure. I found a piece of plywood that fits across the roll bars at the back, too to support the back flap of the roof. Now that it's all done and “put to bed” I'll probably disconnect the battery tonight (just in case, before it gets dark out) and I dont want to move it from it's spot now. :)

We're expecting the conditions to get crappy around 4pm leading up to an eye passage (97 miles south) around 2am this morning. All bets are off though, the way this storm has been wobbling and can't make up her mind (typical...)

I'll post more later, and tonight after the weather starts to crap out.

NOAA National Hurricane Center
Cayman Islands Government
VirtualBuoy
Naval Atlantic Meteorology and Oceanography Center
Crown Weather Service
*Storm Carib (Closest Point of Approach Application)
Weather Underground (computer models)

*Note: take things you read on Storm Carib with a grain of salt. The “reports” they tend to get from “the islands” tend to be a bit sensationalistic and repeat a lot of rumor and hearsay. They did provide a valuable service, in the form of message boards and a missing persons list last year, but the people who contribute to the site I wouldn't put 100% faith in for an accurate picture.


Update: 12:24 apaprently I screwed up on the links. they're all fixed now except BuoyWeather, as I dont have that URL with me here at work.
Saturday, 16 July 2005 07:48:27 (Pacific Standard Time, UTC-08:00) | Comments [4] | Hurricane | Links#
Friday, 15 July 2005

Someone sent me a link this afternoon that's kinda cool. Buoy Weather has computer models of the seas around given points. This one is a virtual buoy bobbing around in the ocean where Grand Cayman actually is.

Check out 7am on the 17th! Wave peaks (swells) of 38 feet! that's HUGE! Coming out of the East and then East South East means we're gonna be mostly protected here in West Bay, but South Sound is gonna take another pummelling...

We're gonna head down to Canton and have a last good meal for the condemned :D

 

Friday, 15 July 2005 17:15:46 (Pacific Standard Time, UTC-08:00) | Comments [0] | Hurricane#

The upstairs window is the only one that's not boarded up now... the good news with that is that maybe tomorrow morning I'll actually get a good few hours of sleep because its not blindingly bright in the room.

Emily's having some “growing pains” and has lost some intensity. Well done.

More after we're done preparing the apt.

 

Friday, 15 July 2005 14:01:21 (Pacific Standard Time, UTC-08:00) | Comments [0] | Hurricane#
good news, we just heard Emily is moving due west again. traffic is a nightmare in town. we were just at AL Thompsons getting plywood and they had tons of it (literally) were just outside Fosters airport store. theyre packed and people are starting to dbl and triple park anxwhere theres room. Seb & Junior are on their way into town to meet up and get the plywood from me and fill up my propane tank. today is actually slack at work, but tomorrow well be busv shutting down systems and packing away data. more to come when i get back toa computer and dont have to type on a phone keypad
Friday, 15 July 2005 10:47:25 (Pacific Standard Time, UTC-08:00) | Comments [0] | Hurricane#
Thursday, 14 July 2005

I just flew in from Miami, and boy are my arms tired!

As of 11pm tonight, the gov't issued a watch, meaning we can expect hurricane conditions within 36 hours. I think al Alert is 72 hours, a watch is 36 and a warning is 24. Based on the most recent update, Emily is projected to strengthen possibly to a category 4, and also pass to the southwest of Grand Cayman by 42.4 miles early Sunday morning.

That's almost the same as Ivan last year, although Ivan was 20 miles closer on it's closest brush. Still, too close for comfort. Can't think, been travelling since 630am this morning and tomorrow sounds like it's going to be a busy day at work, so Im off to count sheep and I'll post my thoughts (and adventures in Dade County) tomorrow.

 

Thursday, 14 July 2005 20:34:53 (Pacific Standard Time, UTC-08:00) | Comments [0] | Hurricane#
Wednesday, 13 July 2005

Have you ever seen (or maybe had it happen to you at some point) what happens when someone's body is moving faster than their legs and feet can keep up with? It's happened to me a couple times when I was a kid, usually when I was running down a hill, or hopped off a bicycle that was moving faster than I thought it was. Kind of like how a wave crests and breaks, when the top half of your body is moving faster than your bottom, you tend to fall over onto yourself. It's pretty dang funny when it's not you. I think I've seen this in various “America's Funniest Home Videos” clips and various viral videos that have been emailed around in the past.

OK, I'm getting off topic, but now that I've stopped giggling about it, I'll get down to what I was alluding to in the previous paragraph: Tropical Storm Emily. She's been moving west at close to 20mph, which is pretty fast for a storm. The good part is that fast storms dont strengthen like slower ones do. I guess it's harder to scoop up warm air and water the faster you're going. Emily hasn't strengthened like the forecasters thought she would, and the effect of that is that the Hurricane Warnings for the windward islands have been downgraded to Tropical Storm warnings.

She's still forecast to become a hurricane, but not until after she gets into the warm Caribbean and away from any landmasses and/or mountains. May or may not be good for us, it's still too early to tell. The five-day forecast track is still set to pass to the south of us and make a beeline for Mexico, passing south of Cozumel as well. I guess we'll just have to wait and see what happens in the next day or two, and then Friday weigh the reports and forecasts and see what's gonna happen this weekend.

The Taste of Cayman has been postponed (again) this time indefinately due to Emily, but they're going to do the drawing for the prizes next Wednesday anyway.

Wednesday, 13 July 2005 12:14:35 (Pacific Standard Time, UTC-08:00) | Comments [0] | Hurricane#
Tuesday, 12 July 2005

Ok so as of the 11pm (EDT) update, TS Emily is moving just SOUTH of West? WTF?? the good news is that any and every deviation from the 5pm track is better for us, but a southern brush by a hurricane would be worse for us than a northern brush, as the northern quadrants of the storm are always worse than the southern, and that's where the nasty storm surge is, too.

Tomorrow and Wednesday should bring a clearer picture as to where it's heading to.

For now, here's a “new” site (new to me at least) that is basically a clearing house of all kinds of weather updates and links. www.crownweather.com and click on Tropical.

Tuesday, 12 July 2005 19:28:35 (Pacific Standard Time, UTC-08:00) | Comments [0] | Hurricane#
Tropical Storm Emily is following almost the same path as Hurricane Dennis just did.
Tuesday, 12 July 2005 07:57:16 (Pacific Standard Time, UTC-08:00) | Comments [0] | Hurricane#
Sunday, 10 July 2005

Rodale's Scuba Diving has announced the winners of the 2005 Photo Contest, and the photos over there are just absolutely stunning. Of course, they're the top 10-15 pictures out of (probably) tens of thousands of photos, but nonetheless, these are the absolute cream of the crop. I linked over to one of the Honorable Mentions, well, because Octopi are my faaaavorite underwater creatures (if you've ever been around me on a dive boat, you'll already know that) :)

Sunday, 10 July 2005 19:40:08 (Pacific Standard Time, UTC-08:00) | Comments [0] | Pictures | Underwater#
Friday, 08 July 2005
Kind of a misnomer, how can I make any observations when I'm asleep??
Friday, 08 July 2005 05:18:00 (Pacific Standard Time, UTC-08:00) | Comments [1] | Hurricane#
Thursday, 07 July 2005
barring any erratic course changes, CI Gov't will issue an all-clear at 7am.
Thursday, 07 July 2005 19:17:48 (Pacific Standard Time, UTC-08:00) | Comments [0] | Hurricane#

Seems that we've managed to dodge a bullet. Overnight Dennis was tracking mostly west, which was not good for us, but now is tracking a lot more northwest. It's just off the coast of Jamaica now and looks like it's going to skirt along the south coast of Cuba (with a 12 to 14 foot storm surge!) and Cayman is now just on the periphery of the three day potential track path and Grand Cayman is all the way out of it.

Still, we're probably going to have some storm-force winds and a lot of rain. Power may or may not go out, but in any case, we've been busy little ants and are all good to go. Only thing on the “to get” list is ice, and I'll do that later on today. Little Grasshoppers (like Little Bucket) who don't have cars and send me IM's saying “crap I have to go get supplies today” get no sympathy. :)

Thursday, 07 July 2005 08:36:52 (Pacific Standard Time, UTC-08:00) | Comments [0] | Hurricane#
Wednesday, 06 July 2005

From GIS Press Release as of 6pm July 07:

Slowing down slightly on its path towards the Cayman Islands, Hurricane Dennis will bring heavy rainfall to all three islands and residents are urged to prepare for flooding as approximately 8 inches or more are expected to fall in the 24 hour period starting around 7 am on Thursday.

Still projected to travel just north of the Cayman Islands, Hurricane Dennis is now about 544 miles SE of Cayman Brac. Tropical storm force winds will most likely start to affect Cayman Brac around 8:00 pm Thursday, 8 July, and Grand Cayman by 3:00 am Friday, 9 July. If current projections hold, Cayman Brac should feel the strongest winds of 68 mph on early Friday morning around 3:00 am as the storm passes a predicted 42 miles north east of the island. Grand Cayman can expect maximum winds of around 41 mph before daybreak on Friday. All three islands should be out of all dangerous winds associated with Dennis by 2:00 pm Friday.

The north and western coasts of all three islands will see significant wave action and residents living close to shore should take all necessary precautions.

 

Well that's great news, considering I live on Northwest Point Road and the ocean is right across the street from me.

Wednesday, 06 July 2005 16:41:20 (Pacific Standard Time, UTC-08:00) | Comments [4] | Hurricane#

Well, there's really not much else to do right now. Preparations are being made, data is being backed up (I put last night's good backups in a ziplock before putting them back in the tape safe). I have some work to be done at home, but I can't do that til tonight, and hopefully our A/C is fixed so we're not busy bunnies in the heat.

Here's a link directly to the Cayman Government's National Hurricane Committee advisory log. There's an update from the NHC in Miami at 4pm local, and the Cayman NHC is meeting at 4:30pm local to discuss it. They'll issue a new advisory sometime after that, and then our plan of action will be derived from their advisory.

Wednesday, 06 July 2005 12:42:21 (Pacific Standard Time, UTC-08:00) | Comments [0] | Hurricane | Links#
test via GPRS from cell phone -M
Wednesday, 06 July 2005 08:46:38 (Pacific Standard Time, UTC-08:00) | Comments [0] | #
Tuesday, 05 July 2005
The Cayman Islands' government has issued a Hurricane Watch as of 10pm Local tonight.
Tuesday, 05 July 2005 19:22:36 (Pacific Standard Time, UTC-08:00) | Comments [0] | Hurricane | Links | Gadgets#
...THE CYCLONE IS BEING NAMED. THIS IS THE EARLIEST DATE EVER TO HAVE FOUR NAMED TROPICAL CYCLONES IN THE ATLANTIC BASIN.
Tuesday, 05 July 2005 09:47:17 (Pacific Standard Time, UTC-08:00) | Comments [0] | Hurricane | Links#
Saturday, 02 July 2005
Arse! James checks in after a long break slogging a film crew through the mountains of northern Iraq. (with pics)
Saturday, 02 July 2005 16:23:54 (Pacific Standard Time, UTC-08:00) | Comments [0] | Travel#
I didn't set out to go to so many bars last night, but hey, how often have I said that?? :)
Saturday, 02 July 2005 14:39:40 (Pacific Standard Time, UTC-08:00) | Comments [0] | Cayman | Links#
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