Friday, July 22, 2005

Emily's Last Day

number fifty

Part three of my experience with Emily: today Hurricane Emily disappeared completely from the map, leaving only aftermath, her toll taken in more flooding and buildings and jobs than in lives. 563 words.

© the Weather Channel[NL]—The last thing that I did before going to bed last night was to change the towels we’ve had catching the water that has been seeping in around the windows and mopping up the puddles on the floor beneath them. Throughout the night, I was aware of the wind moving around the house, but not so much that the trees were whipped violently around. Just a spooky yawning sound. It rained most of the night. By the time I woke today, Emily was gone, all that was left of her was a sky full of gray streaks and a ghostly purple puff on the satellite images.

Well, and water. Monterrey is flooded in places, and there’s a Catarina River where there is usually merely a Catarina river bed. During the last day or two, all of the sports fields and tents that usually populate the dry bed had been removed, and the river managed to flow, full of not much more than run-off, much the way nature originally intended. Apparently, there are still places in town without power, and several roads are still closed because they are either under water, or too strewn with debris to travel on.

Overall, I have been very impressed with the way México handled the storm. Thousands of people were evacuated along the Mayan Riviera in the Yucatán before the first, category 4, hit; and then thousands more along the fishing villages on the Gulf Coast for the category 3 version that came at Monterrey. Many of these folks were picked up by army trucks as they walked along dragging their luggage. Many were put up for free in inland hotels and makeshift shelters. While a sadly large number of people lost their houses and their means of employment, it seems as if there were no casualties. I can’t stress this enough: none. Nobody died.*

Outside, the thick cloud cover is low enough to completely enshroud the surrounding mountains. The hill that separates San Pedro from Monterrey is completely visible, but the larger la Silla and los Mitras mountains are chopped off at the knees. This would be a striking day to go mountain climbing, if I was certain that I would not need a boat to get across the valley itself. The clouds are a dark color, but thinner areas are allowing light to penetrate in places, giving the environment a bright gray quality occasionally lined with golden sun. It is raining now, but these are gentle showers which are coming and going, totally different from the all day, from lesser- to greater-degree storms of yesterday. By the end of the weekend, I hear, the showers will have subsided, even, and then the occasional pocket of hurricane wreckage will be the only things left of Emily. And construction sites on the coast, of course. And a river.

*A small, sad note. Apparently, after all my lowered evaluation of the danger to the people who live here in San Pedro, the one recorded fatality of this storm, in either incarnation, was reportedly washed away in flood waters right near my house. I have no idea how—I never saw any amount of flooding on our side of the little ridge that separates us from Monterrey. Possibly she was somehow caught on the side of a mountain and was lost in the flash flooding of its sudden watershed.

Quiet Reading Room

This is a quiet reading room. Often, I find it is uncomfortable to digest long tubes of columned text directly off a computer screen. This journal is dedicated to the collection, percolation, and ultimate integration of my personal experiences. Subjects that I want to examine and then talk about--sometimes talk a lot about--€”are presented here. This central content can tend to thousands of words, maybe millions. I was afraid that readers were leaving the presentation boggled, spinning, googly-eyed. Or perhaps when confronted with twenty-four inches, or yards, of monitor sprawl they were just giving up. I am not even certain that I have necessarily solved this inevitable content problem of modern information enjoyment, but here is what I have done.

After long and highly scientific routines manipulating double-blind control- and test-subjects, peer reviewed journal publications, and hours and hours of hands-on experimentation, I have crafted this quiet reading room. There is no scientific way to control the length of the articles I write, but careful handling can somewhat soothe the contextual presentation. In other words: I have dropped the traditional speculation about lexicon, and attacked the question of the matrix itself instead. Brilliant. After years of diligence what I eventually crafted is this reading room.

The walls are contoured to relax instead of constrain; the paper is made to soften instead of reflect. The light is dimmed--just so--€”to prevent strain, angled to prevent umbra, and color-coded to soften harsh red lights and deepen wimpy light reds. There is nothing I can do to control aural environment, but my recommendation is that it should be kept quiet. About ambient sound: these entries are probably best read as far as possible from emergency vehicles, preferably from beneath the muffler of a vintage fire fighter pilot's scarf, puffy old duvet, or snow that is still falling.

My theory is that the wide web world is filled with potent and material opportunities that are just too difficult to digest for many people to take part. Enjoyment of this stuff is regulated to the routines of crawlers and robots at the peril of humankind's peaceful future survival. In an attempt to delay this likely outcome: welcome to this quiet reading room. It is for people like you to relax, kick back, and hate my content for better reasons than the dizzying vertiginous specter of its lousy dpi presentation.

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