Monday, September 1, 2008
More on Gustav
Gustav is 2 hours away from landfall and could still increase its strength. At present it is packing winds of 115 mph which is quite bad enough. To Marilyn who says she loves storms, I have experienced a number of hurricanes, from a distance and I assure you, to stay if you can run is totally foolish, although I have just seen an interview where people did try to run and got stuck in the traffic for hours so ended up going back home. They estimate there are about 10,000 people left in New Orleans, however around 2,000,000 have evacuated the coast. They sure learned their lessons after Katrina. These are killer storms, Katrina killed something like 1,600 people, they are not storms you just sit around and watch. Even if you have reason to suppose your home is strong enough to withstand the winds, there is still the storm surge which is a major factor on the coast of Louisiana. Luckily it was never a problem where we lived in North Carolina. Just to add to the problems, they are predicting 12 to 14 inches of rain which is enough to cause floods on its own without any storm surge. If you want to sit around and 'watch' all that Marilyn you will be all alone and maybe no longer with us afterwards to tell the story of how exciting it was. The picture is again from the Weather Channel and if you want to view their latest videos click here to see what they have to say. Bush will not be attending the convention for McCain today because he is keeping his eye on the hurricane and after so much criticism last time, he and the government are poised to bring relief to the area straight away. One thing I wonder, having had a lot of experience evacuating from hurricanes, is where all these evacuees will go. Its all very well to ship 2 million people away from the coast, but there won't be hotels which can cope with that many people. I don't know if they have shelters set up somewhere away from the coast or what? Its a lot of people to deal with. By the way, it is Labour Day in Canada and the States today, what a heck of a way to spend a holiday, running from Gustav. Animals are a big problem too. Hundreds of pets were abandoned and drowned last time, hopefully more people will have taken their pets with them. I know some of the Canadian animal shelters went down there to rescue as many animals as they could. We contributed a few dollars to help. I don't know what happens to cows and horses etc. although I remember seeing pictures of dead pigs floating by. I sure wonder what happens to wild animals. Some might be safe enough in burrows unless those flood of course. Picture from webranding.typepad.com - shows a sad little group of dogs on top of a house. There are dozens more even sadder pictures of what happened to some pets during Katrina. On a happier topic, I think I have mentioned Carbonite before, it is a wonderful programme. I first came across it from the Canadian Association of Retired People generally referred to as CARP (there is an AARP in the States) who recommended it. It is a backup programme and just sits in your toolbar and quietly does its job whilst you get on with whatever you are doing. The other day I realised I had lost a whole folder of pictures that I had been using for this blog. I checked back into Carbonite's restore feature and there it was. A couple of clicks and a short wait and now I have all my pictures back. Marvellous. Everything is stored on line and encrypted for safety. I can't recommend it highly enough. You can try it for free at this address so you can see for yourself how good it is. I am not certain, but I think it costs around $56 a year and it is, in my opinion, worth every penny. If you had lost as much stuff as I have over last 20 years or so through forgotten or inaccurate back ups you would be leaping at this. Another wonderful programme I use is Plaxo which stores all one's email addresses and keeps everyone up to date. If I change my email address, every one of my contacts on Plaxo will be notified automatically. Not only that, I lost the addresses once and Plaxo had them all stored safely for me. Plaxo's Page will tell you all about it. It even tells who, among your contacts, has posted blogs in any week. And no, I don't have a financial interest in either of these websites, I only wish I did. I mentioned, a week or so ago, a dish Matt does with baked tomatoes. Taking plum tomatoes, cutting them in half, adding fresh basil, salt and olive oil with a dusting of sugar or Splenda and then cooking them for a couple of hours in a slow oven. He did them over the weekend and they were delicious as usual. I took a photo to show you the tomatoes before they went in the oven. They got devoured too quickly once they came out so I forgot to take a picture of them then. He does add a little extra olive oil after about the first hour of cooking. You end up with some lovely flavoured oil which can be sopped up with a nice piece of crusty bread. MMMMMM. I have mentioned tomato toasts before, a thing we used to do in the States when we had a really nice back deck, was to lightly toast a Ciabatta bun, rub garlic on it, spread a little olive oil, some well seasoned tomato and a slice or two of Havarti cheese. We just popped them back under the grill long enough for the cheese to start melting and then ate them sitting on the back deck watching the birds sipping on a beer at the same time. That was the life. This picture isn't quite the same, but it shows you the type of bun we used to use. We did not close the bun but put filling on both halves. I've just had breakfast and I am making myself hungry. I have remembered another sandwich I make for myself, especially, butter two slices of decent bread (no not mayo, butter) then add, in layers, some lettuce, onions, tomatoes and cucumber with plenty of salt and pepper. Put the top piece of bread on and smoosh it down. The flavours meld and are wonderful. It doesn't need anything else I promise you. Have a great day.