Shivering on the 49th Parallel
Monday, October 31, 2005
Where is everybody tonight?
Monday, October 31, 2005 9:18:23 PM (Pacific Standard Time, UTC-08:00) | Comments [0] | Cayman | Rants#
Tuesday, October 25, 2005

What a nice surprise this morning to see that the deep blue sea has returned, instead of being all white and frothy. There are still some rollers coming in, but they're breaking offshore and you can actually see mooring balls now. Further down the beach closer to George Town there's some breakers still but she's really calmed down now in the last 12 or so hours. Another day or so and Seven Mile Beach will be back in shape and calm, warm and crystal clear for snorkelling. Without the waves, the beach boats will be able to come in and pick up divers and things will get back to normal after a few “snow days“ of no diving.

The big story now are the grocery stores. It's been too rough for any container ships to dock in George Town, so they're starting to run low on perishables and some of the shelves are looking rather empty. I wish I had time to stop this morning and take a picture of the produce section of Foster's at the Strand, it looks more like a produce display rack showroom! They have little signs on all the racks and shelves saying that some items are running low because they haven't been able to resupply because of the weather, but that starting Tuesday they'll be airlifting in some perishables (bread and milk most likely). That's gotta be hella expensive for the grocers to do that, but to their credit, everytime it's happened before where we can't get ships in because of weather, all the prices have stayed the same.

On another note, this is a good thing to keep in the back of your head. When trying to reach someone in a disaster area, or after a hurricane, earthquake, Backstreet Boys CD signing appearance or whatnot, use SMS. SMS hasn't really caught on as much in North America as it has in Europe or Asia so you may not even know what it is. SMS is like email, you can send Short Messages (the SM of SMS) from handset to handset. It's a lot less 'strain' on a cellular switch than a voice call is, so chances are it will go through quicker than if you tried to call and call and call and call. Most providers have a web interface to send SMS messages through as well, such as this one from Cable & Wireless (Cayman).

My friend Shannon lives in Ft Lauderdale and told me beforehand that they didn't have a generator this time. Rather than waste my time trying to get through to her yesterday and if I did, chewing up her battery and if not, chewing up her battery while she checks her voicemail, I sent her an SMS message. That message popped up next time she turned her phone on, and she replied and told me she was ok without having to sacrifice any precious talk-time on her cell's battery. Now that I know she's OK, I won't sit here and nervously hit “Send/Receive“ every two minutes looking for an email saying she's OK. The other thing you can do is make sure you have a solar cell phone charger handy for times when there's no power, especially if you live somewhere where it's usually pretty sunny (so that kinda rules out Canada, but hey, very few natural disasters in God's Country, right Gramma?)

Tuesday, October 25, 2005 5:55:29 AM (Pacific Standard Time, UTC-08:00) | Comments [3] | Cayman | Hurricane#
Sunday, October 23, 2005

Thanks to Davie Jone's Locker (yes I realize it's spelled wrong, that's how they spelled it and it bugs me to no end) and the Hard Rock Cafe, the local TV station, CITN, is broadcasting the CBC Hockey Night in Canada double-headers on Saturday nights. WICKED.

Last night I missed the first period (and Coach's Corner!) because ONCE AGAIN I forgot about Daylight Savings Time. Next week the first game will be on at 6:00 and the second at 9:00 and then they'll shift after Oct 30th to 7:00 and 10:00.

SO, if you need to get ahold of me on a Saturday night from now til about, oh, I dunno, June, just come and kick the couch to get my attention.

Sunday, October 23, 2005 1:16:35 PM (Pacific Standard Time, UTC-08:00) | Comments [0] | Cayman | Hockey#

Along with the website outage I had yesterday due to hardware at the server end in Vancouver, we've been having problems with internet connectivity period down here. Wednesday night (when Wilma was making her closest brush to Cayman) Nat called me and was having trouble with DNS resolution (that's what happens when you type in and the network says “oh yeah,, here it's 216.whatever.whatever.whatever” and connects you to it). Since then, the internet has been up and down and up and down. When it's up, it's slow. When it's down, it's down.

People have been calling me non-stop for the last few days asking if I could come “fix” their internet connection and I've had to try and explain that it wasn't anything that I could fix, that it was a problem with Cable & Wireless. “But I have a cable modem from WestTel!” Yeah well, then I have to explain that Cable & Wireless owns the fiber that goes off the island, so any other ISPs that pop up still have to lease circuits fro C&W, so in effect they still have a monopoly, even though it was “dissolved” very publicly over the last couple years.

I started to wonder if something happened to the submarine fiber optic cable, since it got washed ashore during Hurricane Ivan last year. I didn't know where the other end of it went until today. There are three links: one from here to Cayman Brac, one from Cayman Brac to Jamaica (and from there I don't know where it goes) and then the other side of the link goes from Grand Cayman to.... Cancun! Yeah, Cancun. So that link has been knocked offline and the entire IP infrastructure for the Cayman Islands is now travelling over the backup link from here to Jamaica. So while we DO have connectivity, the speed of it is waaaaaay down. No real sense of when it can be repaired, either. Im guessing they havent even got anyone on-site that can assess the damage, nevermind when it can get fixed and put back online.

Bunch of arse.

Sunday, October 23, 2005 9:16:44 AM (Pacific Standard Time, UTC-08:00) | Comments [0] | Cayman | Hurricane | Tech#
Saturday, October 22, 2005
been offline most of the day.
Saturday, October 22, 2005 7:26:46 PM (Pacific Standard Time, UTC-08:00) | Comments [0] | Misc | Tech | WWW#
Thursday, October 20, 2005
And some BIG-ASS WAVES! Keep in mind that the closest point of approach of Wilma was about 150 miles south-west of us.
Thursday, October 20, 2005 5:18:47 PM (Pacific Standard Time, UTC-08:00) | Comments [0] | Cayman | Hurricane | Pictures#
Pic(s) of flooding in Newlands. Newlands is on the other side of George Town from where I live, along the south coast of the island.
Thursday, October 20, 2005 9:58:51 AM (Pacific Standard Time, UTC-08:00) | Comments [0] | Cayman | Hurricane | Pictures#
90 minute commute through damaged streets.
Thursday, October 20, 2005 6:32:43 AM (Pacific Standard Time, UTC-08:00) | Comments [0] | Cayman | Hurricane#
Wednesday, October 19, 2005
I put my webcam up if you wanna see what it looks like out my window.
Wednesday, October 19, 2005 8:41:13 AM (Pacific Standard Time, UTC-08:00) | Comments [0] | Cayman | Hurricane | Pictures | Tech | WWW#
I just went across the street to the shoreline (or near it anyway) and took a few photos.
Wednesday, October 19, 2005 7:01:37 AM (Pacific Standard Time, UTC-08:00) | Comments [2] | Cayman | Hurricane | Pictures#

I slept through the night, and actually even slept in a little, too. I got up, looked out the window, there's no flooding here in West Bay so that's good, and I sat down here to check out the NHC website. OMG. Wilma's the biggest, baddest mofo on record. 175mph sustained winds and central pressure is down to 882mb.

I just heard on the radio that there was a little flooding in Bodden Town and East End, and there are a bunch of cancelled flights today, but gov't has advised that businesses may be able to re-open later today, but schools will remain closed today.

Im gonna put my canary yellow slicker on and go across the street and see what the waves are doing. and yes im taking my camera :)

Wednesday, October 19, 2005 6:03:27 AM (Pacific Standard Time, UTC-08:00) | Comments [0] | Cayman | Hurricane#
Tuesday, October 18, 2005

Of course I don't have my camera today. As I left Cafe Del Sol this morning on my way to work, I saw some cool looking clouds. Huge, tall puffy blackish clouds, and there was so much rain dumping out of them that the sunrise(well ok early morning light) looked brownish to the east and southeast. Looks like an outer band of Wilma is about to unload some rain on us this morning. She's forecast to pass well southwest of us now, but with this girl, anything is possible. Wind is coming from the East and Southeast just enough to make the palm fronds move a little and flags to flutter. Not more than 10-15mph at this point. For now it's business as usual, but at the same time I'm making mental preparations to put our plan into action should it arise, and I'm taking a few precautions, just little things like making sure my desk is in order in case I need to quickly put stuff up on top of it without crushing my sunglasses or spilling anything.

A few weeks back, someone sent me a bunch of pictures that purported to be hurricane katrina approaching Mississippi. They were bogus. Someone else sent me the same batch of pictures a few weeks before that saying they were pics of the Altona tornado. They DO look like tornado/wall clouds but I have no idea where they were taken or when. You can't “see” a hurricane coming at you like that. The eyewalls are way in the middle of the storm, and by the time you'd be close enough to “see” the eyewall, you'd have blinding rain and punishing wind. You may be able to see an outer rain-band, like I did this morning, but that's just clouds from horizon to horizon.

More info when I find stuff relevant to share.

Tuesday, October 18, 2005 5:35:53 AM (Pacific Standard Time, UTC-08:00) | Comments [0] | Cayman | Hurricane#
Monday, October 17, 2005

She's wandering around aimlessly, like an ex-girlfriend at the mall with the former boyfriend's credit card. SHe just doesnt know where she wants to go, just that she's taking her sweet-ass time with it. Nothing really happening here today, no shuttering or closures that I've seen. The storm is actually moving SOUTH which is really odd.

The Cayman National Hurricane Committee has their own website now, it's and can be reached directly via that address, or probably a link from as well.

Monday, October 17, 2005 9:41:47 AM (Pacific Standard Time, UTC-08:00) | Comments [0] | Cayman | Hurricane | Links#
Sunday, October 16, 2005

What a weekend. I got to the Vancouver airport just after 7:00am saturday morning, hoping to get on the 8:20 flight to Toronto. Full. 9:00. Full 10:00. Full and longer standby list. 11:00.. full. Noon? Full. 12:30? 2 spaces. I finally got to Toronto at 8:30, and Tina wasn't expecting me til 11ish. That was a bit of a a communications breakdown on my part, I said “see you in 8 hours” but really it was only 6 hours, plus the flight east is shorter. She also took the 8 hours from her time, 3:00 when I meant 8 hours Pacific time, or 8:00ish.

It was her birthday so I took her out for dinner (and also as a thank you for driving my ass around Toronto) and we went to Ruth's Chris Steak House. Wow. Holy wow. Quite expensive, but OMG was it ever good. From the BBQ Shrimp appy to the NY Strip (I forgot to ask how big it was but it was at least 14oz, if not more) with garlic smashed potatoes and sauteed mushrooms. Food coma quickly set in (and the bottle of wine helped with that) and before I knew it, it was 8am and I had to hurry-up and get to the airport for my Toronto-Cayman flight. Mercifully there were 22 seats available and only 6 on the standby list, so I got on. Otherwise I would have been Hosed with a capital H.

I get through, Jeep was a little rough starting up and one tire with a slow leak was a bit flat so I stopped and pumped it up, and made my way home. I pull into the parking lot and notice that our steps are blue.. it looked like kids had colored it with blue chalk and then the rain semi-washed it away. I also noticed a hot water tank sitting out front. Odd. Then I noticed the piece of cloth that I cover up Tweeter's cage with is sitting on it, so it's ours. Never mind unload the jeep, what the hell happened? I open the door and the first thing I notice is that all our grout is blue, too. Then I see the blue rug in the lounge isnt quite so blue anymore. Then I see my Xbox sitting on the coffee table, the surround speakers unlugged and on the stairs, and pretty much the whole apartment in shambles. I also noticed just then that there's a blue line all the way around the apartment. A high water mark of dyed water. The kitchen looked like a tornado went through it as well, but that was to be expected. I don't know if anything got ruined yet, I don't know if the landlords know about it yet, but what I do know is that there's a big empty space in the closet where the hot water tank is supposed to be so that means no hot water to do any laundry or washing up or showering.

Oh yeah, the other thing that made me realize I shouldn't have gotten on a plane this morning: “Welcome aboard flight 972 service from Toronto to Grand Cayman, Our flying time today will be about 3hrs 40mins at al altitude of 33,000 feet. Weather in Cayman is cloudy and 30c with the winds out of the south at 15knots” (Uhh, what? winds out of the south?) “There's a tropical depression about 200 miles southeast of Grand Cayman, but that shouldn't affect our flight today...” sure as Christ made little apples, I walk out of the airport and they've got Tropical Storm Warning and Hurricane Watch flags posted. I get home and pull up the National Hurricane Center website and check the graphics for Tropical Depression TWENTY-FOUR.

Not a happy camper.

Sunday, October 16, 2005 11:20:09 AM (Pacific Standard Time, UTC-08:00) | Comments [0] | Cayman | Hurricane | Travel#
Friday, October 14, 2005

It's not really the last day of fall, but it is for me. The clouds lifted a bit yesterday and there were a few “sunny breaks” in which to look at and enjoy the fall colors. Reds, yellows, browns & evergreens everywhere. I haven't taken many pictures out here, but I'll go through the ones I did take (maybe on the plane) and post up a couple when I get home.

I thought I would go easy on myself and take the 9:00am flight to Toronto on Saturday, so I wouldn't have to get up so early, but then I smacked my head and realized that I would be trying to get to the airport during morning rush hour. Hopefully it won't be too bad, as it's a Saturday.

I'm all packed up now, just waiting on my brothers, we're gonna go out for lunch this afternoon and then Mom's cooking dinner tonight and some of the fam is coming over to say goodbye, after that I'll probably head out for a bit to say hi & bye to some friends and then that's it for this year.

Im hoping nothing happens to the Sunday flight from Toronto to Cayman. I can't see if being overbooked at this time of year, but I hope it doesn't get cancelled, either. That would totally screw me, as I *HAVE* to be back at work Monday morning, my boss has already emailed me to remind of that since I'll be the only one in our dept in on Monday.

I've already had to book off the time (mentally) for next year's vacation, my bestest buddy asked me on the first night I was here if I could be back next September for his wedding. I said “Congrats, you finally proposed to her?” and he said “No, not yet, but she's already booked the hall.” HAHAHAHA Man I thought that was the funniest thing I've heard since... since... well since a while anyway!

Hasta luego from Vancouver, next time I check in I'll be back to shorts & t-shirts and my longs and warms will be in the closet.

Friday, October 14, 2005 12:52:39 PM (Pacific Standard Time, UTC-08:00) | Comments [2] | Travel#
Friday, October 7, 2005

I had dinner at home with the parental units last night, Mom picked up some steaks at Clancy's (ohhh sooo good) and had some Chilliwack sweet corn (I don't think it was Peaches & Cream strain, but it was still gooooood). After that Ork came and picked me up and took me to a poker game. What I didn't see at the time was that she also stopped by the Valley Bakery and picked up some jelly donuts! Valley Bakery jelly donuts are the hands-down best donuts in the world. Better than Tim Horton's, better than Krispy Kreme, better than Dunkin Donuts. If you're ever in Burnaby (one of the 'burbs of Vancouver) it's on East Hastings St near Gilmore.

A few years ago when I came home for my 30th birthday, I met a bunch of guys that Ork hangs out with, and we had a bbq out in Coquitlam (steaks from Clancy's again... a trend?) turned out that one of them I went to high school with. We sat around that night and played 4-player HALO on a huge tv screen and had such a blast that I went out the next day and bought an Xbox and took it back to Cayman with me. That group of guys never took a shine to HALO2, so we never got a chance to all play online together, me from Cayman, them from Vancouver. The new hotness is poker now, someone bought a set of chips and they all get together once a week or so and play a few hands, just for chump change.

I haven't played poker with real people for years, so it was fun and it lent an air of The Sopranos to the proceedings, as we were playing in the backroom of a shop in the industrial district of Port Coquitlam. First game we just had a $5 buy-in and the second one around when a few more people showed up we played one for $10.

I hadn't really seen these guys for a couple years, aside from running into Nick and Chris at a Starbucks when I was here last christmas, so they had no idea about any of the crap we went through  with the hurricane last year. When I said that we were patrolling the house with machetes, or describing having to crap in a plastic-bag-lined bucket, they were kinda shocked. Everyone knows what New Orleans was like after Katrina, but no one knew that, aside from the floodwaters staying around afterwards, it was just as bad last year in Cayman.

As usual, the talk degenerated as the night wore on and more Molson Canadian was cracked open, and at one point, near when we left, I was laughing so hard my face hurt and I had tears running down my cheeks. I think it had something to do with an open-face roast beef sandwich, or a badly-packed kebab.

Friday, October 7, 2005 9:35:11 AM (Pacific Standard Time, UTC-08:00) | Comments [1] | Food | Travel#
Thursday, October 6, 2005

Last night was the season opener of the NHL and all 30 teams were playing, SOMEWHERE. Fortunately for me, The Canucks were playing here in town against the Phoenix Coyotes. It was also Wayne Gretzky's first regular season game as a coach. I figured he would win, because just about every record he broke, every milestone he achieved was against the Canucks. Thankfully I was wrong.

We had seats up in the nosebleeds, Section 326, row 15. Row 16 would have been outside the arena: we had the last row of seats in the whole building. Still, the view was pretty good from up there, unlike back in the Pacific Coliseum where you needed binoculars to see the rink. Add to that that we had a row of semi-drunk cougars sitting in front of us and we definately had the biggest party of any section in the whole arena.

Naslund got two goals, and both of them were highlight-reel quality, along with a great chance in the first period that CuJo managed to make the save on. The game was fast, lots of back-and-forth, crisp passing, tic-tac-toes and some rough hockey playing, but no fights broke out or anything. As Don Cherry would put it, “Good old-fashioned Canadian hockey!”

We got these 2003-2004 Canucks penants on the way in to commemorate them being the Northwest Division Champs last season, and they handed out little replica Stanley Cups on the way out. We nearly had a t-shirt from the Boston Bazooka, The mascot, Fin, (A big Killer Whale in a Canucks jersey) had some sort of backplate on holding a scuba tank on his back and had this... thing... that used compressed air to launch t-shirts around the arena. I bet you could get knocked-the-fuck-out if you got hit in the head at close range with a t-shirt. Anyway, he launched one up by us, it bounced off my finger, off my brother's head, the wall and then the guy sitting next to me ended up with it. MBNA Canada was giving out free t-shirts if you signed up for a Canucks MasterCard, so I put down the name “Steve Podborski” and a bunch of real-but-fake information and got a free t-shirt. I get enough junk mail as it is. :)

Thursday, October 6, 2005 6:06:11 PM (Pacific Standard Time, UTC-08:00) | Comments [4] | Hockey | Travel#
Wednesday, October 5, 2005

2005-10-02 NiagaraFalls 015
Originally uploaded by DocJelly.
I posted up some pictures from Niagara Falls and the Leafs game I went to last weekend on Flickr. Click my shiny forehead to go there and see them :)
Wednesday, October 5, 2005 11:03:40 AM (Pacific Standard Time, UTC-08:00) | Comments [2] | #
Tuesday, October 4, 2005

I stopped into the Collector's Den this afternoon to get in on their pool before the season starts tomorrow night. They've got a pretty interesting twist on the pool draft. You buy three packs of hockey cards, and from those 18 cards, you choose the best ten players you think will get you the most points throughout the season. Goalies are factored in somehow, too. So it's somewhat of a draft and somewhat of a lottery.

Here's my lineup for this year:

  1. Rick DiPietro (G)
  2. Robert Esche (G)
  3. Steve Sullivan (RW)
  4. Fredrik Modin (LW)
  5. Richard Zednik (LW)
  6. Martin St Louis (RW)
  7. Henrik Zetterberg (LW)
  8. Peter Bondra (RW)
  9. Markus Naslund (LW)
  10. Michael Ryder (RW)

Should be an interesting run :)

Tuesday, October 4, 2005 10:37:05 PM (Pacific Standard Time, UTC-08:00) | Comments [0] | Hockey#
The weekend in Toronto was awesome, and it's 28c there unusually, but back here in Vancouver, it's definately October.
Tuesday, October 4, 2005 8:48:25 AM (Pacific Standard Time, UTC-08:00) | Comments [0] | Food | Travel#
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