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Saturday, September 10th, 2005

Rain in San Diego

Do you want to know how much it really rains in San Diego? I mean, I was thinking about writing how if it was raining, I’d wait half an hour and then go do what I needed to do, but it didn’t sound credible. So how’s this – I was just at the local Walmart, and they don’t sell rain jackets. Not a one. Men’s wear suggested sporting goods, and sporting goods directed me to the single stand that displayed rainwear. A bunch of umbrellas and some 88 cent ponchos.

If I could advocate this place for any other motorcycle riders, this is how I’d do it. Unless you’re freaked out by lane-splitting. Don’t worry, you get used to it.

Posted by Greg as Posts About Me, Society at 21:44 PST

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Ophelia Watch

I woke up yesterday morning and watched a little CNN before going to work, and unexpectedly they showed a map of the predicted track of Hurricane Ophelia. The map had a complex loop and showed the track going directly through Savannah, Georgia, and the prediction was for landfall on Wednesday next week.

Since reading up on chaos theory I felt like I know a little about hurricane prediction; or rather, the immensely complex factors that have to be considered, the computing power that is required to process those variables, and an appreciation for the element of chance that it’s all trying to conquer. So I wasn’t immediately distressed about this 5-6 day out prediction, but I thought that that map, if I could get it, would make a good posting. I did find a reasonable facsimile that I passed around the office later that morning, but I was too busy to post it. So now that I have the time, I looked up a fresh map from the National Hurricane Center, and was a little disappointed to see the track has been resketched quite a bit further north:

Hurricane Ophelia predicted track, 9-10

I was watching CNN instead of the local news because I, like so many others, having been trying to catch imagery of the effects of Hurricane Katrina. Not from schadenfreude, but to address the dismay I feel at the blase attitude I had taken regarding the victims’ suffering on the first few days after Katrina passed through. Unlike our president, I was quite aware of the effects of the demolition of all infrastructure on a civilized society. I started reading Michael Barnett’s account last Thursday and wasn’t at all surprised, but I guess that since the more humane feelings about human life that I have felt since watching Boo grow up, I expected that I would have had more concern. It seems that I have not yet escaped the impact that The Lord of the Flies had on me when I read it at such a young age.

I do give a shit about those poor people; I feel a little relieved that the last reports indicate that casualties are lower than predicted by the now rediscovered doomsday scenarios, and I am impressed by the outpouring of support from not only the American people but the rest of the world, who have demonstrated once again that even if they resent the wealth and power of the United States, they have compassion for our pain.

What I am resisting being interested in, but know that I will be, is the political and strategic implications of this disaster. I can see that Michael Brown, the head of FEMA, is already being slated as the goat by this supposedly no-nonsense, “compassionate conservative” administration, but have little confidence that the transparency will become seen by the electorate. I could go on – there’s lots of opportunity here for me to pontificate – but I am not trying to become a political blogger, and I take little solace in being right when attempting to predict the future. I know my own predictions would be intensely shaped by my own libertarian (and thus, non-mainstream) politics, and am too resigned to disappointment.

OK, I doth protest too much. Let me squeeze in just a little prediction. Clinton in ’08. I don’t particularly like it (after all, I am a Republican), but that’s what it is. I said it five years ago without knowing about a lot of things that have since come to pass, but it seems more and more likely. Maybe I’ll yield to more predictions later, but since I don’t have the drive to attempt to become a shaper of politics, I’ll settle for the historian’s approach of being an observer, and hope to be a good analyst.

Besides, I have more immediate concerns. I need to feel empathy for the victims of Katrina, I need to pack for my trip to Savannah, and I need to invest in a good rain jacket, since the gortex I have relied on since leaving the army was purchased when I was 60 pounds lighter (thank the gods, not 80 pounds any more.) When moving to San Diego was influenced by the less than 10 inches of rain a year, it became hard to motivate myself to keep up on rain wear.

Posted by Greg as Current Events, Politics, Posts About Me at 17:16 PST

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