Thursday, June 29, 2006

Happy Birthday!

So yesterday was my (gasp) 30th birthday. Not nearly as traumatic as my 20th (when I stopped being a teenager). Life is so good right now that it's hard to complain.

Anyway, my birthday also happens to be Iraq's (new) birthday. June 28, 2004 was the day that the Coalition Provisional Authority officially ended the occupation of Iraq by giving control back to the Iraqi people in the form of the Interim Government.

So, happy 30th birthday to me and happy 2nd birthday to Iraq!

Also, on another note, congrats to the women of Kuwait who ran in elections and voted for the first time ever yesterday as well, I believe (possibly today).

Tuesday, June 27, 2006

Raindrops Keep Failling on my Head....

Those of you in the DC area know this already, but those outside of it may not be aware of the massive amounts of rain that have fallen in MD over the last few days. Let me tell you, it's been a lot. Major roadways (including portions of the Capitol Beltway) have been shut down due to standing water, debris, and even mud slides! Some places have measured over a _FOOT_ of rain since Thursday, although National Airport "only" reports ~10" (so far - we're getting more tonight!).

Federal buildings (like the National Archives, the IRS, and the EPA) are shut down due to flooding-related power outages and other electrical problems. One Metro (subway) station had four feet of water in it yesterday. They were pumping out the basements of most of the Smithsonian museums on the Mall, and at least two of those were closed again today.

After sitting in traffic for 45 mintes this morning, and only travelling 8 miles (with like 15 more to go in the same, or worse, traffic), I turned around and decided to work from home today. I actually _have_ gotten some work done, but it's been absolutely crazy these past couple of days.

We're in a ground-level condo, but we've got a huge ravine behind our building, so we didn't expect any floooding. Well, we were wrong. After a slightly soggy day sightseeing with VNB's folks (who picked a heck of a weekend to visit - and who almost got stuck here due to washed out train tracks!), VNB decided to get sick for the first time since I've known him. Around 9:30, on one of several trips to worship the porcelain god, he stepped in a huge puddle in our bedroom. Water apparently seeped in through a baseboard. Fortunately, we had exactly enough towels to clean it up, and we caught it before it did any damage. There weren't any puddles of water outside the building, and we haven't had any recurrences, but we called the condo association anyway, just so they recognize that it's _their_ problem to fix if the walls get moldy. :)

The most amazing thing to me though is that, a few days ago the local news radio station was talking about how low the local reservoir was. Well, today as I inched past the dam, I saw something I've never seen before. I think I've seen two or three gates open a smidge in the past. Last night, one gate was open, I guess about halfway (although I would have thought that was fully-open until today). When I passed it this morning, all six primary flood gates were open, four the half-way amount that I'd seen the night before, one, even more than those (so I'm assuming it was "fully-open), and one, open just a smidge. And even with that much relief, it seemed to me that a little water was leaking over the top of each of the gates, and they're still worried about people needing to evacuate homes that are adjacent to the reservoir. They definitely had to evacuate folks from the area below the dam. I haven't heard of any road closures in downtown Laurel itself, but the report was that the parking lot to the local train station (which is on Main Street) was under water.

It's just crazy. And they're expecting more heavy downpours tonight, and then thunderstorms for most of the rest of the week.

I "grok" that we're in the middle of a swamp.........but I've lived here for 24 years (off and on) and have never seen (or even heard of) anything like this.

Crazy, man....

Thursday, June 22, 2006

You've Got Mail

So two days ago I got a non-descript, brown tube in the mail.

That's right folks. It's now officially official. To quote my "father," "I was once the learner, now _I_ am the MASTER."

I now have in hand a diploma that states for the official record that I have a Masters of Science degree in Aerospace Engineering.

woohoo....something else to add to my "I love me" wall. ;p