Wednesday, August 31, 2005

Scuba Diving in New Orleans

There is enough information linked on the web that talks about the disaster in New Orleans, so my linking to it seems redundant. Still, as details come out, this is becoming a disaster of huge proportions. With the city wiped out, still underwater and even with water removed still below sea level and in the path of future hurricaines, does it make sense to return to New Orleans? Suppose you are a resident and your home has been flooded/wiped out. Chances are, you also lost your place of employment. Would now be a good time to relocate? Assuming they pump the water out of the French Quarter, is there any good reason to invest in property there again?

If you do, perhaps you should buy a boat.

But to get to the main point of this post, it got me to thinking. I suppose there will be scuba divers who, if not already, will soon be diving into the flooded areas of New Orleans for various purposes. These dives would be very unique and also potentially hazardous. I suppose diving would be a handy activity for the many looters who are currently redistributing wealth, and it will be an obvious activity for those trying to repair the water pumps. Search and Rescue might possibly utilize divers, although that would likely be the grisly duty of body retrieval at this point.

Plus, it's gotta be quite gross diving there. Raw sewage, decomposing bodies, bacteria and tons of silt would all make it smell bad and reduce underwater visibility to near zero. Any diver would be at a great risk of catching diseases, to say the least. There would also be a danger of puking into the regulator, which while that sounds a bit silly, can be a real concern if you are submerged inside a building with no rapid way to an alternate air source.

Ah yes, buildings. They say most aren't built to withstand water like this, so they will be very unstable. Probably moreso once the water has been pumped out though. Local authorities have been warning people about all sorts of animals as well, including snakes, crocodiles and one report of a 3-4 foot shark 'cruising the streets.' I had to link that one because nobody would believe me otherwise. Maybe soon we will know the answer to the question "If a shark and a crocodile got in a fight, who would win?"

But despite the dangers, grimness and grossness, it would be truly unique. There aren't many submerged urban areas in the world, and of those, this is probably the only one that isn't yet grown over with aqua life. If the visibility improves over the next few days, it could also make for some amazingly surreal photos (like a snapshot of said shark, swimming past a street sign.) I just hope the divers that do go down in New Orleans are busy helping out people and not busy looting.

Monday, August 29, 2005

Stinging Nettle or Cactus attack pod?

On the weekend, while walking my dog, we were beseiged by the pictured attacker. I'm not quite sure what it is called, but it looked like a small chunk of cactus and the spikes it had were all barbed so that once it was stuck in you, it didn't come out easily.

Honestly, I'm not sure how vindictive a plant has to be in order to develop such a defense mechanism.

This was first noticed when my dog started favoring one of her rear paws. Removal was anything but straightforward. In order to grab it, I had to impale my fingers on the spikes enough to get a good grip and then pull it off of the paw. After the first attempt, my dog was less thrilled with this plan. Instead of sitting patiently while I went to work, she decided to pull away, not wanting me to mess with her sore foot. Still, she did not growl or get too upset with me, so I can't complain.

Of course, once I had it off of the dog, I then had to figure out a way to get it off of me. Like I said, it stuck to anything it touched. I eventually managed to flick it off me somehow, only to notice that my dog had stumbled across another one. Obviously, this was not the best destination for our walk that day.

After removing the second cactus-thing, we took a moment to catch our breath and I snapped a few pictures of the area. I already had the camera out, as my goal was to get some more shots of the dog. You can see them on her blog. Needless to say, we won't be visiting that field any time in the near future.

Friday, August 26, 2005

Thirty Five

Thirty Five
Originally uploaded by iTripped.
Let me just say I'm one of those people who enjoy birthdays. I tell people, I'm not embarrassed about my age (even though I don't always act it) and I enjoy the extra attention.

I also enjoy the free stuff. Note the meal in the picture. Yup, free on your birthday.* Thank you, Kelly O'Bryan's. It sure was tasty.

Hey speaking of restaurants, last night's waiter looked like Topher Grace from That Seventies Show. No seriously, he was a dead ringer. So the whole night, I'm wanting to say something to him, but my wife insists I don't. Despite hoisting a couple Guinness during the meal, I somehow managed to not say anything. Then later we discover that our waiter Brynn is headed to North Carolina to study acting. My head nearly exploded. Acting? Surely Brynn is aware of the resemblance. Somehow, Holly was able to get me out of the restaurant before I had an opportunity to say anything.

So thank you honey for taking me out for the night. I had a really good time and was happy to spend it with you.

* - not actually 100% free. Kelly O's gives a free birthday meal, up to a value of $17.00. So more like heavily discounted.

Tuesday, August 23, 2005

Back home

Okay, so the trip to Vancouver was a success. Barely. Problem number one: as we are approaching Merritt (roughly halfway to Vancouver) I realize that I have forgotten the house key for the place we were staying. So the first thing I had to do on getting into town was to call someone who might have a key that we can borrow. Managed to do that (Thank you Tim and Cynowa) and got settled in for the night.

Problem number two was gift-wrapping the baby shower gifts. We scoured the lower mainland, but were not able to find a suitable gift box for the presents. We eventually settled on a gift-wrapping service, which turned out to be okay, if not the ideal solution. But it shot the better part of a day sorting it all out. The evening was spent with friends, and I got a couple early birthday gifts (which is always good).

Now for all of you who are wondering if baby showers are better with beer, first let me just say that I can be a complete moron at times. I really should have called Lloyd the day before the shower to confirm plans. Instead of the boys being out back drinking beer, the ladies made use of the back yard for their baby shower, and the boys fled to the water for a boat ride. So we show up, and I now have no way of contacting the guys, because their cell phones weren't working on the water. (damn older model Sony Ericcsons!) However, I had a few clues as to where they would be, so I set off to find them. Hey, it was better than staying at the baby shower.

Okay, so after a few hours, I have given up trying to find them. I did manage to have a nice Sunday drive, and a relaxing walk along the beach though, so I wasn't in a bad mood. In fact, I was feeling great. I figured I would head back to the baby shower in case Holly was getting bored. On arrival, I discovered that she was having a pretty good time, so we decided to hang around for a while. Of course, by that time the shower was over and it was just a few people hanging around in the backyard socializing. Adrienne (the person getting the baby shower) offered me a beer while I waited for Lloyd and the others to return. GOD BLESS HER SOUL. If she never does another good thing for me again, she has already gone above the call of duty. I can now say, from the perspective of a man, that a baby shower is endurable so long as there is beer. About half an hour later the guys show up and it was all good.

Oh yeah: Problem number three: We took Holly's glasses in to be adjusted and the technician at the eyeglasses store heated the frame so she could bend them into shape. Unfortunately, she heated them to the point of becoming brittle, and the arm snapped when Holly was taking them off at the end of the day. Yeah, we were real happy about that one.

One last goodie for the day - not a problem, but a handy tool: the Death by Caffeine web-tool. Want to know how many cups of coffee it will take to kill you? Here's how you find out. Haven't got much time and want to use espresso instead? No problemo. Oh yeah - it will take 104.76 cups of brewed coffee to kill me so hon, don't worry if I'm on cup 46 for the day. Just kidding. Mebbe.

Tuesday, August 16, 2005

Going to Vancouver

We are going to Vancouver for the weekend. In typical fashion, I have planned very little. Arrangements have been made for the dog to be looked after, we will be able to stay at the Smith Residence Hotel (I called to confirm availability) and there will be a baby shower to attend on Sunday.

It's not as bad as it sounds. There will be beer.

Before you all start freaking out on me, I am reasonably confident that the one with child will not be partaking in the beer. But her husband most likely will, and I may have to join him. If things get crazy, I'll be sure to post the details. But if they get really crazy, I may forget to take any pictures. Sadly, I seriously doubt a baby shower will get too far out of control.

But one can always hope...

Wednesday, August 10, 2005

When is over the hill, exactly?

As my thirty-fifth birthday approaches (or 'looms', as my wife likes to say, sounding all ominous and stuff) I have to ask: in today's day and age, when is it safe to say you are 'over the hill'? Life expectancy is now higher than seventy - probably closer to eighty. So does that mean the halfway point (ie. highest point on said 'hill') is now more like forty?

I know a lot of people who would object at me setting it so high.

I know a lot more people who would object at me setting it so low.

Like most people in my generation, I don't think I feel as old as I am. Maybe I'm immature, or maybe I got a late start at things because I wasted so much time early in my life. (Who am I kidding? I still waste lots of time! I have a blog, right?) Maybe I would feel older if I had kids by now. If that's the case, sterilize me now. Anyway, I don't have any answers to this one, so feel free to offer up any advice or opinions.