New Camera Experiments Continue Saturday, Nov 15 2008 

Trying the Night Setting on the New Camera

13 November 2008

Here’s another link to a Galveston Recovery/Hurricane Ike story:

The news is still bleak from that crazy little island.  It becomes increasingly evident that the island will never be the same—so many businesses that will never be back, others that need six to twelve months to even think about re-opening.  It does start to make one wonder just what flavour of insanity gripped those who in the nineteenth century decided that building a city on a small barrier island was a good idea.

On the subject of Galveston, recently I very much enjoyed reading the featured article in the Fort Worth Weekly, entitled A Tale of Two Storms by Tom Curtis.  It was the cover story and Kyle spotted it and brought it home for me, knowing I’d devour it, as I do nearly everything dealing with Galveston and her history.  This article actually reminded me of some of the points I’ve written about: questionable media coverage, evacuation weariness, and he clearly outlines Ike’s assault and explains why the damage was so great.  It’s well worth the read, so for sharing purposes, I found it online, here:

Today’s photo is pathetic, but it’s what I’ve got.  I am definitely at the bottom of a very big learning curve. 

We grabbed a quick dinner at Chili’s where a delightful young waitress by the name of Kayla saved us from our own crankiness over the unruly behaviour of all the children in the bar!  Yes—in the bar.  <shrug> She said all the right things and offered all the right sympathy/empathy.  If you visit the new Chili’s at Little Road and 287, ask for Kayla—she rocks.  I’m pretty sure she isn’t old enough to drink the margaritas she brings us, but she’s savvy beyond her years.  Anyway, our meal was tasty and the annoying people all left before we did! 


Artemis and a Galveston Update Tuesday, Oct 21 2008 

Cat Head

20 October 2008

It’s been a while since I posted any links to stories about the aftermath of Hurricane Ike.  I feel rather like I’ve fallen down on this job—self-appointed as it may be.  Much of the news from the island is still harsh.   The trash and debris piles are still growing.   The Strand is being described as a “ghost town.”  And saddest of all, the hunt for over 200 missing persons continues.  Funny how the major media have all rather left that story behind, isn’t it?

In fact, that’s a soapbox I’m dancing on right now.  They can send reporters to the island and to Houston to stand in the wind and rain, and tell how bad it might get.  They can cover the evacuation stories, and interview (and then broadcast those interviews!) islanders who are confused and distraught, or who are stubborn and represent their neighbours rather poorly, making Texans “look” stupid.  And then, they can fly helicopters over the horribly damaged areas and talk about how much the recovery efforts will cost.   But, a week later . . . almost nothing.   If it hadn’t been for Frank Billingsley who apparently lives on the island and works for a Houston news channel, there would have been almost no information.  And, now, even after the island is open . . . almost nothing.  I really have to dig around on the internet to find articles, mostly from Houston and Galveston-based sources, dealing with the recovery efforts. 

I talked to my little brother the other day (who, by the way, seems to have found the lucky lady he wants to spend the rest of his life with, and she’s sporting a ring!  Yay! Congratulations William and Melanie!), and he was surprised that we would be going to Galveston this December.  “Isn’t the island wiped out?” he said.  So, I gave him the history lesson of the Great Storm of 1900 and the raising of the island five feet, and the building of the seventeen-foot seawall.  I told him how the downtown area buildings survived that storm, and this one, as far as the wind was concerned, but that this time, it was the water that did so much damage.  I explained the geography of the island and the way the storm surge worked.  He knew it had been bad, but “not as bad as other recent hurricanes.”  So, we talked about how Ike had been classified a Cat 2, but one more mile an hour in the wind would have made it a Cat 3, and the storm surge had been more like a Cat 4.

We talked about the pictures he’d seen—Bolivar, Crystal Beach, etc.,  and the actual path of the storm.  And, although he’s seen the pictures of concrete slabs where once stood homes like that of Terrill’s family, he had no idea there were still so many “missing” people.  It really made me think, and realize just how little accurate news has been readily available to the general public.   Even online, I found forum after forum of folks asking if certain buildings and places were okay—-because there’s no news coverage telling them!

Do we as a society just not care about anything but the fact of a disaster happening?   Are we not as interested in the people as we are in the weather?  I refuse to believe that.  I believe instead, that this is yet another case of the major media being driven by sensationalism and horror, and not placing a high enough level of importance on actually reporting “news.”  As the people of the area are trying desperately to dig out of the muck and get their lives back, they’re a little too busy to write or tell their own stories.  This is the time when it would be really nice to have some good national coverage on these efforts.  And, perhaps, if the media would report loudly that there are still body searches in progress . . . maybe, just maybe, the concept of “evacuation weariness” wouldn’t be such a problem in the future.   My mind comes back to the phrase used by those ordering the evacuation to describe what awaited those who chose to stay . . . “certain death.”

So, after quite a bit of research, here’s a few bits of actual “news” about what’s going on in Galveston, a month after Ike.

I’ve just come across this article that speaks of the complete loss of our beloved Rudy and Paco’s Restaurant.  The article claims that the damage was so extensive that the building had to be demolished.  But, it also tells us they are rebuilding and hope to be back up and running in a matter of months.  We will just have to look forward to our next meal there in December of 2009!

Here’s another article indicating the Strand area was still without power last week, and likely will be for another two or three weeks.

But, there’s good news, too.  The Elissa and Bishop’s Palace will be reopening this coming Saturday, 25 October.  The Galvez Hotel has in fact, reopened to the public as of last Wednesday—just as promised.

This one is specifically regarding the Mitchell properties:

And this one, with a very upbeat, tourist-attracting tone:

Meanwhile, plans continue for our group, athough a bit smaller this year, to descend upon Galveston Island on the first weekend in December.  We’ll be staying at the Hotel Galvez, with a few of us peppered through other hotels on the island and just over the causeway.  Many of our group will attend the Galveston Historical Foundation’s Dickens Ball on Saturday night, since our own beloved Gingerbread Ball has been cancelled for this year.  We’re in the process of planning a game night, determining our dining options, and re-assessing how to pack for the much smaller guest rooms at the Galvez.  But, we will go to Dickens on the Strand, and we will support the recovery efforts of Galveston Island.  We will buy our tickets to get in the gate, we will purchase t-shirts, and ale, and glogg.   We will look beautiful and have our pictures taken, and do what we can to make the event successful. 

I personally, urge anyone with the slightest inclination to attend—-please do so.  Please support Galveston Island as it climbs out of the mud, and debris and loss, and works toward recovery from the awful storm that was Hurricane Ike.

Dickens on the Strand, Galveston, Texas is always held the first weekend in December.  Always.


Postscript:  The cute cat head, is of course, my Artemis, as she was deciding whether or not to jump onto the bed at bedtime.

Obsolete? Saturday, Sep 27 2008 


26 September 20008

National Punctuation Day!

A panda walks into a café. He orders a sandwich, eats it, then draws a gun and proceeds to fire it at the other patrons.

‘Why?’ asks the confused, surviving waiter amidst the carnage, as the panda makes towards the exit. The panda produces a badly punctuated wildlife manual and tosses it over his shoulder.

‘Well, I’m a panda’, he says, at the door. ‘Look it up.’

The waiter turns to the relevant entry in the manual and, sure enough, finds an explanation. ‘Panda. Large black-and-white bear-like mammal, native to China. Eats, shoots and leaves.’

Ba-dum-bum.   Also, a great book titled after the punchline of that joke, is Eats, Shoots and Leaves:  the Zero Tolerance Approach to Punctuation.  Kyle and I both loved it!  A fun, educational read.

Yay!  Finally, a second source of information stating that Galveston will host its annual Dickens on the Strand Festival in December 2008!

I was beginning to get worried that the decision had been made too quickly and confidently, and that reality would be harsher.  But, it seems, at least, that the optimistic outlook is being shared with the media.  So, although I haven’t yet received the verification I personally requested via email, I’m going with the optimism!

Although not directly mentioning Dickens, this article is really well-written and seems to communicate better than any I’ve read, what’s really going on right now (or last week, at the time it was written).

The Y.E.S. Yahoo Group is growing nicely, and I’m hoping for a lively discussion on there regarding our attendance at Dickens on the Strand.

Today’s photo is of a handsome, but no-longer-useful pair of eyeglasses—Kyle’s.  He had his LASIK surgery today, and he is resting.  Each time he’s been awake throughout the evening, he seems to be feeling a little bit better.  He described feeling a lot more pain than we’d been led to believe he’s experience and the whites of his eyes are not white right now . . . they’re very red.  He said it felt like there was sand in his eyes.  We do have a follow-up appointment in the morning, so I will look forward to that.  Having the doctor look at him, and tell us all is well, will be what I need to be relaxed about it.  I was pretty stressed about the surgery today—but once we got there today, it was over so quickly that I didn’t really have time to worry.

Oh, and by the way, now I’m feeling a bit of a chest cold coming on—–grrrrr.


Happy Anniversary, Brett and Jill! Tuesday, Sep 23 2008 

Happy Anniversary, Brett and Jill!

23 September 2008

After another long day of working at home, Kyle came home from work and swooped me up for dinner at No Frills Grill.  We met Brett and Jill there, and had a fun evening of trivia and silliness.  As we were preparing to leave, we were reminded that tomorrow is their one year anniversary!   So, of course, we decided they needed to be the subject of our Daily KRuMB photos!  One down . . . a lifetime to go!

On the Galveston front:  here’s a link to a story with a slightly different slant—doesn’t sound like we’ll be having Oysters Rockefeller this December! <pout>

And another one that corrects my misconception that the island reopened yesterday—apparently, that happens officially tomorrow.


The Waterfall Wednesday, Jul 16 2008 

15 July 2008
On my way home last night, I started hearing thunder rumbles in the distance. What a welcome sound. The North Texas area has, for the last few days, had a 20% chance of rain; but nary a drop has fallen anywhere near me. Since my yard was getting extraordinarily crunchy, I was hopeful. My hope turned to reality as the first few sprinkles hit my windshield while I was still 14 miles or so from my house. The closer I got to my house, the harder the rain came down until, by the time I was turning onto my street my visibility had been reduced to no more than 20 meters or so. I had been hoping for rain, and by golly I got it. I went in, let the dogs out into the torrents and then got my camera. I tried a number of things, but couldn’t really capture the sheer volume of rain dropping from the low-hanging clouds. Until I looked to my left and saw this veritable waterfall pouring from my roof.
So little rain actually falls in our area I’ve never bothered with gutters, and I’m not sure they would have helped in this case anyway. The rain was simply coming too hard and too fast to be contained.
~KR (Written on 1 July 2008 )

Listening to:
I Don’t Like Mondays by Boomtown Rats

Camera: Canon PowerShot SD850 IS
Exposure: 0.8 sec (4/5)
Aperture: f/4
Focal Length: 11.8 mm
ISO Speed: 80
Exposure Bias: 0 EV
Flash: Flash did not fire