A weblog about all the inconveniences we encounter in everyday life. Diapers, junk food, cruelty to animals, hostile people, rude cell phone behavior, cancer, terrible customer service (also known as "why the hell am I giving this company my money?"), ignorance, parking, bad spelling, family disturbances, office politics, death (the biggest inconvenience of all) and more. Thanks for saving me thousands of dollars in therapy by reading my blog. It might even make you laugh.

Saturday, July 15, 2006

We didn't need the National Weather Service to tell us this was a tornado!

On Wednesday afternoon I was having a little lie down. Suddenly I heard a howling and banging noise and some other strange sounds coming from the window that I could not identify. I instinctively moved away from the bedroom window, and then against good sense, but compelled by curiosity, I moved towards the front window of our apartment.

When I looked out to the street through the rattling window, I saw pieces of aluminum siding and tree branches flying through the air, level with our third-floor window and higher, in spiral patterns. I stared for a few seconds, fascinated, and then suddenly it was over. I remember at some point during it all I heard sirens, but not warning sirens as far as I know. I don't even think we have those here.

I got dressed and went downstairs and saw people in our courtyard picking up tree branches. What a wind storm, I thought. Then I walked to the front of the building, where I was able to take in the full picture. The man who works at the pharmacy downstairs was standing outside, along with just about the rest of the town's population, as far as I could tell, and I asked him, foolishly, "Was it a tornado?" "Yeah," he replied, as we all looked around us in disbelief.

The street was filled with people, trees and debris, but the silence was palatable at first. People conversed quietly and soon the sirens started in earnest. The National Weather Service took a day or two to offically decide what we already knew, that this was, indeed, a tornado, and a class F2 tornado with winds up to 125 MPH at that! Fortunately, no one was seriously hurt or killed. We sustained no damage at all to our apartment (thanks, Rockefellers, for ensuring our building was so well constructed with masonry and good workmanship). Here are a couple of the many photos I took.

Tornado in Sleepy Hollow!

another tornado pic

The sidewalk in front of our building.

another tornado pic

Sunday, July 09, 2006

Thoughts on Lucy and the Natural World

As promised, here are some pictures of Lucy. I think she is gone now, as I haven't seen her in a few weeks. I love the photo of her flapping her wings. She is sitting in one of her favorite places, an old tire that would be completely exposed during low tide.

It's so beautiful down by the river, and it makes me think about the natural world around us. I have been thinking a lot about the environment lately and reading about it. I am worried. The current presidential administration is quietly putting into place policies that are going to endanger our environment for generations to come. This is not a partisan issue, so please don't take it that way. And it shouldn't be a partisan issue. It affects everyone in the world.

To me the environment and nuclear proliferation at the two biggest issues affecting us right now. World health and nutrition and terrorism are certainly right up there, but they won't matter one whit if we blow ourselves up or destroy the planet through other means.

But it is not hopeless. There are so many things we can do, if only we would bring this issue more to the forefront of American politics. It would be better if we made this happen sooner rather than the later, because by the time it becomes the only issue it will be too late. I really encourage you to join organizations like the Sierra Club and others that are lobbying for environmental protections. I encourage you to look at your daily life and see what you can do differently to use less and create less waste. Educate yourself.

I do not claim to be anywhere NEAR perfect or even very good in this area, but I am not going to shut my ears to it either. Because for every negative effect we have on the environment, if we put the effort into it, we can make a positive effect to offset the damage we are doing. Better yet, don't make the negative impact to begin with.

For example, I did not know until recently that air travel is a major cause of air pollution, contributing to global warming by creating more greenhouse gases. So people are pledging to reduce less air travel. This feels very difficult to me, because my family is spread out all over. Apparently one round trip international flight can create as much greenhouse gas as a year of driving your car!

I will try to limit my trips if possible. But if I don't, it is not hopeless. I can pledge to offset the carbon emissions caused during my trip by making a donation to organizations that are helping to remove CO2 from the air in many ways, such as planting trees, getting rid of environmentally destructive power sources and more. For more information about this, visit here: