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June 18, 2008

Happy Birthday Tyson

Tyson

Tyson

    Today we were told by the city not to drink the well water.  We had avoided doing this anyway and did a run the other night to pick up water.  The water from the sink smells a little like the river--and that's probably a bad sign.

June 17, 2008

13.24 and not finished yet

No Swinging Today

No Swinging Today

    If I'm reading the graphs correctly, the Rock River at our location, this time of year, is normally around an average of 5 feet deep and moving 2,000 cubic feet of water a second (2 kcfs).  Our current conditions as of noon: average depth of 13.24 and moving 13,700 cubic feet of water a second (13.7 kcfs).  That's 2.6 times the normal depth and 6.9 times the quantity of water.
    The highs for the river are 13.05 feet back in 1916, then 12.21 feet this January (2008) and 11.86 feet in 1979 and 11.81 feet in 1929.  It's only been above 11 feet 3 times in the past 30 years.

June 16, 2008

First day of summer class

Ski View Dr.

Ski View Dr.

    Early this morning, at 3:15am, the river matched the record set on Feb. 5th, 1916, rising to 13.05 feet.  By noon, the river was at 13.12 feet--0.84 inches above the record.  The forecast calls for the river to rise an other 10 inches to 14 feet before the show is over.
    Today was also the first day of my summer class, an introduction to literature.  I've read two the two books needed for the class and will begin reading all the short stories tomorrow.  It's too bad I can't find a recorded version of the short stories--I do a lot better remembering what happened if I hear it vs reading it.
    This is a picture of Ski View Drive on the west side of our subdivision.  All but a small patch of this road is completely submerged, some in more then six inches of water.

1 comment has been made.

From erica

July 21, 2008 at 1:37 AM

there i am again im such a little rascal appearing out of nowhere well bye everyone who visits the site

June 15, 2008

12.94 feet and rising

Operation: Sandbag

Operation: Sandbag

    The river keeps rising, but the forecast predictions are now 6" less then originally expected.  That increases my margin of safety, and I'm fine with that.
    Today most of the people on my street were out helping fill and place sandbags.  After I got up, I started to help too.  We went through two truckloads of sand and used all the bags there were.  This was enough to sandbagged three houses.  After we finished, I took a stroll around the neighborhood.  There was a little change since yesterday--we gained 3 3/4 inches.  Most of Ski View was now covered and the existing water was now deeper.
    Pictured is our sandbagging operation.  The riding lawnmower had a trailer on the back and was used to transport around full bags.  There were a lot of little kids trying to help out as well.  Despite hardly being able to hold a shovel half full of sand, they insisted on trying--it was cute.

June 14, 2008

12.8 feet and rising

South Ave., 8:00pm

South Ave., 8:00pm

    I took a second measurement of the water level today around 8:00pm.  The water had risen pretty close to what I had excepted, based on the hydrographs I saw online.  We're still out of harms way, but have a few more days before the water crests.
    A police person has been stationed at the top of our street.  There are three roads that enter the Burwood Park subdivision: Center, South and Yost.  Only South has an officer "guarding" it.  The reason given was that this was the street with the most activity.  (I wonder how much the Garage quietly fits into this decision.)  It might seem like a worthwhile activity, stopping and carding people before they enter--that is, until you remember the two other streets into Burwood are unwatched.  Simply entering Center and driving around the block easily thwarts this "check point". 
    More disturbing then the silly, easily avoidable anti-louting checkpoint is the misinformation being given out by law enforcement.  I had to send up people to vouch for roommates and friends so they could get in.  They were told by the officer the water was going to rise all the way to Hwy 51, at least 8 feet above the current water line.  Rather panicked by hearing this information, I again checked the National Weather Service site for updates, only to discover nothing had changed.  I printed off this information and approached the officer.  I showed her the information and she dismissed me saying "that's not the information I've been given".  That might be true--she might not have been given any information and just made that up.  But I hardly see spreading panic to every person who stops to chat is going to help our situation in this area.
    This picture was taken at 9:00pm at the end of South Ave.  Almost all of Ski View Drive is under water (the road intersecting South).

June 13, 2008

Friday the 13th... and here comes the high water

    I began the day by doing a lot of clean up work at the Garage.  We have a lot of people who stay here regularly and it has even taxed my abilities to keep things organized.  I moved a lot of things around and started to prepare for my box's expansion.  Sometime around 4:00pm, there was a knock at the door.  It was someone from the fire department warning us the river was going to hit a 500-year high (every source I've subsequently seen says 100-year high), our house (the Garage) was in danger and we should evacuate.
   That's quite a lot to have dump on one's self and needless to say, I postponed the cleaning operations for the day.  My first order of business was to get the facts: what was the water level now and how much is it expected to rise?  The little sheet given to me by the fireperson recommended a site hosted by national weather service.  However, the links to find what they were talking about don't exist.  A quick Google search for "Afton Hydrograph" produced this page, which contained the information I needed.  The facts (at the time): the water was expected to rise an other 2.5 feet.  So I needed to know how far above the current water level the Garage was currently sitting.
    During reconstruction of the Garage, I was introduced to the automatic level (sometimes called a transit) a tool used in surveying.  One of it's uses is measuring the change in height between two surfaces some distance away from one an other, which is precisely what I needed to know.  But I don't have said device.  The one I used for the Garage had been rented and probably dated back to World War II (but hey, the rules of trigonometry haven't changed since then).  It was too late by the time I went in search of this device to rent it from the place I had last time, so I tried two other location.  One didn't rent them (or have them at all) and the other was already closed for the day. 
    I considered trying to make one using my camera with it's 300mm lens, my tripod and a level.  It would have been a crude measurement, but it didn't work at all.  I was unable to get a decent indication of how level the lens was (my lens doesn't have much for flat surfaces) and I was unable to see the marks on the board from the distances we had.  I had little choice but to purchase the correct tool for the job.  This wasn't a problem since my favorite home improvement store had recent opened a location in Beloit.
    By the time I returned with my equipment, the neighborhood was a buzz of activity.  Everyone was out in the streets talking to one an other.  Rumors were spreading quick--some people talked about the river rising all the way to Hwy 51, others about how the Monterey Dam in Janesville had failed and many stories about more rain to come. 
    I went to work taking measurements as soon as I had returned.  I started with a measurement in the front yard.  Then had my roommate walk down the street until there was standing water at river level and took a second measurement.  There was a drop of some 3.5 feet.  I checked again the hydrograph, and predictions were for an other 2 feet of water rise before cresting over the next few days.  If this holds true, the Garage should be safe.
    After retaking and rechecking my measurement, I did some reading about sandbagging, then went for a bike ride around the neighborhood.  Ski View Drive (at the end of our block by the river) had water already 1/4 the way over it.  When I reached Burwood Park on the corner of Center and North, I found a crowd of people filling sandbags.  I spent the remainder of the evening filling sandbags and stacking them for someone living on Community Drive, who's yard was already being overtaken by water.  It was great to see the that much of the neighborhood was out helping one an other.  One person had bought their trailer, which we were putting the filled sandbags.  Once full, we went down to the house needing them and formed a chain of people from the trailer to the sandbag wall and passed down the sandbags until the wall was built.  We consumed all the sand there was, but encircled the house. 
    I returned home tired, but feeling somewhat accomplished.
    All day, since the announcement, law enforcement has been circling around like buzzards.  The picture is of a huge group who apparently tasered some women and hauled her off.  I don't know the details, but I'm fairly confident their actions were excessive.  It seems to be a real problem when you have law enforcement with no real crime to deal with--they will exaggerate threats and exacerbate issues so they can use force.  Meeting and working with many of my fellow subdivision neighbors today makes me believe we would do just fine if they just went away.
Face

Face

    I started and finished Lewis Carroll's Alice's Adventures in Wonderland today.  It was a short audio book (around two and a half hours).  Despite having this story read to me as a child, I didn't recall much about it.  The writing style is much different then that used in Lolita.  The puzzles and wordplays are interesting--although I wonder how many children reading the book picked up on  some of them. 
    I'm still in the mood for more reading and I have plenty of material. I think I'm going to finish my "History of the Universe" lecture series next.
    I did a 25 mile bike ride today, working my way against a strong head wind into South Beloit.  I didn't really have a destination, but figured I'd run a loop around South Beloit Park.  I found it closed due to flooding and the closed gates are pictured.  From there, I made a long loop back along the Eastern edge of Beloit.  It was a good ride, but not much to photograph.  The wind was really blowing hard, coming from the south.  This made for a great tail wind on the return trip.  Biking down a hill on Town Hall road, I hit a new speed record on my bike: 38 MPH.  That's not really too impressive, but I ride a mountain bike, not a road bike.  At about 30 MPH my highest gear doesn't have much torque and about all one can do to speed up is pedal faster.  By the time I hit 38, I felt like I was in a granny-gear.

1 comment has been made.

From ERica

July 21, 2008 at 1:36 AM

If you look closely you will see me in the background.
Amber

Amber

    Finished reading Lolita for my summer class.  I found the end of the book not nearly as interesting as the beginning and found myself getting bored.  I also found the last part of the book more uneasy (as pertaining to the subject matter).  There was a part when Humbert was describing more sex acts with Lolita, but in this description he really drove home the fact she didn't like it.  While in most of the book I was able to (more or less) disconnect Lolita from her age (you don't see pictures of her, so it's easy just to think of her as younger but not a child) and thus not feel to strange about their sex life.  However, this description of said event talked of a girl who, after the sex act was finished, was disconnected and when Humbert became lustful a second time replied "Not again."  That really drove home the fact it wasn't a strange relationship--it was a story about a rapist and his sex slave.  The last quarter of the book turned  Humbert from someone we might feel sorry for (due to his loss of his childhood romance) to a predatory monster and I was no longer able to empathize with him.
    I also felt the last part of the book wasn't as well constructed.  The readers meet a character by the name of Rita, who is almost so unimportant and has such little character that I found I wondered why she was added to the story at all.  This character is not mentioned again after Humbert leaves her and the story is no less because of it.
    Humbert meets up with Lolita again and begs her to come back to him and she says no, I felt almost happy for her--she was free and despite being in a bad situation, wasn't going to relinquish her freedom for security.  Although the author describes Humbert all in tears and unset as he left, I found I was pleased Lolita gave him nothing except the identity of the man he was about to kill.
    Although Quilty sounds like he was worse then Humbert, I didn't find that I disliked him more then I disliked Humbert.  So the fact he was about to be killed really didn't strike me as good or bad.  The book returned to being more interesting for Humbert's interactions with Quilty and the end of the book was pretty good.
    The next book for the class is Lewis Carroll's Alice's Adventures in Wonderland.  Lewis Carroll has long been rumored to have been much like Humbert Humbert in his desires for young girls.  Makes one wonder if the professor has a thing for pedophiles.
    An A-10 Thunderbolt II, also known as the Warthog.  This became one of my favorite aircraft after the game A-10 Tank Killer I use to play back in the early 1990s.  My good friend Pluvius has a Tandy 1000 with 3-channel sound and I can still hear the sound track for the game when I think back to it. 
    The picture is actually two pictures layered on top of one an other to try and blur the people all around the aircraft.  It only works for the people that were moving.  Many people seemed to find the plane more interesting as shade.