Desierto norte de Chile

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Normal, in every sense of the word

Yesterday was an altogether normal day. The high temperature at BWI was 87F, and the low was 66F - and the average high on 27 July is 87F, and the low 66F. Unfortunately after so much heat and humidity the past two months, yesterday felt below normal. Hopefully the longwave pattern that we're in now will hold for another week or so, giving us a nice break from the heat and a return to "normal", even if it feels below.

Monday, July 26, 2010

would you like squalls with that shelf cloud?

Yesterday a well-developed squall line moved through Annapolis and the greater Baltimore-Washington metro area. Our ASOS station here (KNAK) reported squalls and a gust to 62 mph, along with 0.36" of rainfall.
KNAK 252002Z AUTO 31028G54KT 1 1/4SM -RA SQ FEW046 SCT070 31/21 A2987 RMK AO2 PK WND 27054/1959 RAB01 PRESRR P0003 TSNO
I was driving back from Washington and saw all sorts of crap blowing around in the gust front. I had hoped that if I just made it east of the line I could beat it home, but the line itself was racing ese at 60 mph, all but cutting off my hasty return home. So instead I joined the other hundreds of motorists on Rte 50 crawling at 40-45 mph. The biggest impact on me personally is the loss of power to my townhome (going on 21.5 hours now w/out electricity), and the probable loss of perishables from the refrigerator (milk, juice, yogurt, cheese... anyone have any ideas on what can survive 24 hrs without power??)

Will see what happens when I get home. The BG&E website has shown slow progress toward re-establishing power in areas (ex: when I got to work, over 22,000 customers in my county were powerless... now it's only 16,500; that's 5,500 customers restored in 5 hours). I went jogging in the neighborhood behind me, Admiral Heights, and actually saw less damage than I thought: a few downed wires (3 total), one tree perched on a powerline, and a couple of bigger limbs down-- but no trees through anyone's home, no big damages. Again we'll see how long it takes them to restore power- given this track record, I think I'll be buying some flashlights/batteries soon (heaven forbid we get a mid-Atlantic landfalling hurricane this year- we'd be without for a week!)

Sunday, July 11, 2010

So it's Spain

After a month of epic battles, penalties, fouls, yellow cards, lots of drama, vuvuzelas, gooooooooooools, red cards, tiros de esquina, goal kicks, himnos nacionales, and more Univision than I've ever watched in my life, the 2010 FIFA World Cup is over. And fittingly, a team from Chile's group hoisted the cup- only it wasn't Chile. Spain, the team who'd never won before but who was many experts' dark-horse candidate after Brasil and Argentina, beat Holland 1-0 with a goal by Iniesta in the 115th minute (just 5 minutes before the match would go to penalties, the part of soccer I could live without).

More exciting than the Gran Final de la Cupa Mundial, though, was the fact that 18 of my friends, and 2 of their kids, came over to my pad to celebrate! These guys (and gals) are mostly friends from small group- with a few "friends of friends" mixed in- although I know all of them, and nearly all had been over to the place before. So 10 lbs of beef, over 50 cans of soda, 15 ears of corn, 3 lbs of charcoal, 3 different batches of smoothies (2 of peaches, 1 of blueberries), hand-made tortillas, oatmeal cookies, 20 cupcakes (I learned that to soften up icing, 5-8 seconds in the microwave is plenty of time... because after 30 seconds, it's melted and starting to burn), 10 bottles of water, a bag of ice, 6 avocadoes, 3 tomatoes, 1/2 an onion, and chunks of cilantro (these made excellent guacamole which was gone well before the game actually started)-- all of which cost over $100-- these combined for a delicious way to cap off a month of excellent soccer.

Here are a few pics!

An excellent Fourth of July weekend

So this year I spent my first real Fourth of July in Annapolis (last year we had small group, and I was out of town for part of the weekend). After relaxing all day Saturday, Inocente, Rene, and I walked downtown on Sunday to view the fireworks. I ran into Craig and Mary, who are expecting in a few months, and we also saw Marcos, Julio, and Joaquin (brother of Cecilio, who hosts small group in his house). We enjoyed a nice leisurely walk toward the center, leaving here about 8 and arriving there about 8:45. I chatted with Mary and Craig for a bit, and we grabbed a spot of pavement near Julio and Marcos to watch the fireworks that started at 9:15. They went on for about 20 mins, after which we waited a bit for the crowds to clear out then walked back home.

On Monday, Rene had this tip about a cheap dentist in DC who did work "on the side" during the weekends, so he asked me for a ride to Colonial Heights. We picked up Chun, who also wanted work done on one of his molars, and arrived there about 10 a.m. Remember that Monday 5 July 2010 set a record high over 100F in DC, so it wasn't exactly pleasant to walk around in the heat. The dentist turned out to be one of those 'too good to be true' stories (he was crazy- really- couldn't even talk straight), so we skipped out on him after about 5 mins and decided to go visit the White House (la Casa Blanca) instead. We walked 5 blocks from our parking spot to the Colonial Heights metro line (fortunately the Metro had some air conditioning), then made our way 8 more blocks east of Chinatown to the White House. By then the heat was getting to us all, so we took a few quick pics, rested a little, and headed back to the car- arriving back in Annapolis a little before 3 p.m.

Here are pics of both fireworks and our trip to the White House:

Saturday, July 10, 2010

We need the rain

Today we are getting a well-needed rainfall! The grass had turned brown, the thermometer skyrocketed (to 105F earlier this week!), and the trees were looking a little wilted. Today's rain is the first in the area since June 28, and only the second rainy day since June 16 nearly 4 weeks ago. The area of rain is wide and not too intense, which I think means it will likely soak into the parched ground and serve to replenish aquifers, plant reserves, and the like. Attached is this morning's 12Z radar from LWX as well as the Maryland UNL Drought Monitor image from this week, showing nearly all the state in some stage of drought, and over half the state pretty dry.

Friday, July 02, 2010

Weddings, World Cup, and War

Last weekend my cousin Laura got married in Greensboro, so I headed down to NC to celebrate with family. Mike and a very pregnant Kendra joined us in Cary both before and after the wedding, and it was good to visit with them some. Bill and Kathy also made it up from Georgia, and Bob and Marcia from S. Carolina-- so while not everyone could make it, we had a nice mini family reunion!

The 2010 World Cup keeps chugging along, with Ghana and Uruguay currently in extra time to determine who goes on to the semifinals. I had four teams that I wanted to do well going into the tournament, and while all 4 of them advanced from their respective groups (Chile, Mexico, USA, and Portugal), none made it to the quarterfinals. I think my new favorite is now Netherlands, although I guess if Spain wins, I won't be upset. For those who are curious, I'm NOT cheering for Argentina, Germany, or Uruguay- so that really only leaves Paraguay (and Ghana, depending on who wins). I've loved watching the games on Univision-- the announcers are 3x better than those drab englishmen on ESPN/ABC. I hope to host a barbque watch party here next Sunday for the final. Since Brasil is now "derrota", I'm predicting Argentina vs Holland in the championship game.

Finally, today another ironic news report hit the American press- evidently the Republican Party Chariman was caught on video saying that the war in Afghanistan is "war of Obama's choosing". I think that's a fairly ridiculous statement, and regardless of how you feel about the US military's actions over the past 8 years, I think it is an amazing stretch to say that Obama somehow chose the war in Afghanistan. Certainly he has not gotten the USA out, and has chosen to remain- and even augment troop levels- but remember the Afghanistan campaigns were inherited.

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