I just glanced up to see this fast-moving storm coming from the west. No doubt. We got the rain a few minutes later. No need for a weather warning or a weather report. We got the expected driving rain in sheets. Dramatic! Yes, it was. I’ve been trying to get a night star shot of the passing comet. Not on this night.
It’s (scary) calm on my beach. It’s flat, almost no waves to be seen. Elsewhere it is a disaster. The headline always seems to say “one of the most powerful.” It supplanted the RNC convention in the news. Real news trumps fake news. Eh? The satellite video showed the sunset and lights coming on in Florida. Right about now, I’m thinking Moses and the plagues.
But on Wednesday, Colbert admitted that he hadn’t watched the third night of the Republican National Convention.
“Because right now in America, we’re facing a global pandemic that has killed 180,000 Americans, heavily armed Rambo wannabes are murdering people in our streets, the strongest hurricane in the history of the Gulf Coast is making landfall as I speak,” Colbert said in his monologue. “And the R.N.C.’s message is, ‘Who’s up for four more years?’”
“Now, I know by not watching the R.N.C., I didn’t do my job tonight. I just want to say, I feel great about it. Why should we pay attention to what they’re saying if none of what they’re saying tonight is about what’s happening in America right now? Why should we watch their reality show if it doesn’t reflect our reality? Why subject ourselves to their lies that stick to your soul like hot tar? Lies like ‘Donald Trump cares whether you live or die.’” — STEPHEN COLBERT
It was just above freezing. The droplets of water were not ice? Colleen and I disagreed but no one got out of the car to prove the point. Elsewhere someone was having a very bad day in the fog on the mountain. The traffic on the other side was completely blocked. You just can’t drive that fast in the fog.
The folks in Scotland are a hardy lot. They walk around in the cool weather without proper dress. I would submit that you must be cold. You look cold. But as a kid I walked out of the house without an umbrella into the rain.
Just when you thought it couldn’t get worse… you republicans should realize you are being led around by an idiot. So little understanding… how is this guy any kind of leader. Climate change…here. Here’s your global warming? It’ no wonder why the rest of us are laughing at you. The logic of his twit makes idiots blush. And, the moon is made of cheese… People are freezing and some will die. Did you tweet any concern? Your agenda, and not another word for your fellow man or the citizens you were elected to serve. It’s all about you against the world. Not a word of sympathy; people suffer while you worry about yourself.
February 21, it was a record day all around (72F). Ice skating rinks closed for the day in NYC– melted. It was a record here too. A walk on the beach? Of course! Old people, young people. A good time was had by all. Warm sun, balmy, the smell of salt air, a gentle breeze, what more could you ask for in the middle of winter? There ain’t no climate change… there ain’t no climate change… there …
Traveling west by car I had an opportunity to see weather and clouds and sun all interact. I ended up with a greatest hits parade. The images were too numerous to count. I was struck by the variety that nature presented. Once again, my camera did a more than adequate job of capturing what I was seeing. It did fail me in capturing the red blinking lights of the windmills after dark. They blinked in unison but my camera lag was too slow to show off all the lights. You can’t always get what you want.
Read the book; it’s hilarious. My kids loved it. It rained recently. It seemed like it had been raining for days. We had been on an extended road trip. Don’t ask. (I’m not telling anyway.) I am sorry to say but not ashamed to admit that I shoot as I drive. Point and shoot. Really. I don’t do much more than point and press the shutter. I do have some experience at this. So I get what I want (mostly). You can’t stop too often. ….gotta get there.
Cool stuff. It’s hard to photograph. Harder, yet, if you are in a moving car. We had a “white knuckle” ride. At the last service check the tech told us the tires were due to be changed. The passenger in the “shotgun” seat had it in her head that we were riding on “slicks.” I was told to get off at each and every exit and get tires, “Right now!” The rain stopped. We got tires two days later. All is at peace with the world again. It was the wind blowing and causing us to “fishtail” down the road. That’s my story and I’m stickin’ with it!
Yeah, I coolly shot out the windshield between the drops whilst driving down the road. Don’t say nothin’!!
I’m on the move this week. Forgot to post in advance. There is some great and grand weather in the Midwest. It’s a few days after the election. I’m still shocked and surprised. I’ll begin to post again in the next few days as time permits. Meanwhile I’d prefer to keep my thoughts to myself. For change it might be better to follow the adage: “if you have nothing nice to say…” So, let’s just talk about the weather.
There’s weather again. Seasons! Rain! Yes! After four years of scorching sun and no rain, I’m back and with someone who obsesses over the weather forecast. It’s refreshing to factor in the weather into my plans. I nearly did not make the flight. The luggage story was the end. That was pretty much the prelude to closing the plane doors. In order to leave there is a list: plane ticket, exit visa, close your bank account, turn off your phone, hand in your work card – iqama. There is a dance. It’s choreographed so that the steps are defined. The exit visa and ticket are last. You get a ticket after you have a visa. You need to hand in your iqama to get your visa. But you need the iqama at the bank to take your money. Read slowly. You mess up and you are not leaving. Before that the hospital has its own list and each item requires a signature and a stamp. Yes! A stamp! Go figure: the mailroom, the library, security, etc., etc. Finally, there is a survey: did you enjoy your stay, and would you come back to work? I guess the wrong answer and you stay longer. Say nothing, do nothing to rock the boat. Of course, it was great. “Frosted flakes!!”
Can I make this story short? Yes, I got out. Stop reading here.
No one tells you the exact sequence. You sort of puzzle things out. There is an end of service pay mandated by the government. Calculations are made. Then the money is transferred to your bank account. The first week was haj – September 9 to 14. Banks and the government are closed. Don’t ask. Shutdown, closed, just stopped for five days plus the weekend on either end. I dove. Nice. I was on paid leave. Ok, but I’d rather have been home.
The new Saudi week starts on Sunday. I have till Friday to complete business and get on the plane. Monday – maybe the money will be in by Wednesday. It’s close but doable. Monday, the travel office tried to give me a ticket for Friday. Nope, no final exit visa. That comes after the bank is closed. Tuesday waiting. I went to stare at the finance lady who said Wednesday maybe Thursday. No! It has to be Wednesday! I received a helpless smile. She said she was trying. Wednesday morning, the ticket office called me in to take a ticket for Friday. They could not wait longer or it would be next week. Is it a joke? Finance says that they need a signature from housing. What! WTF! I already have all my stamps and signatures! Sorry, it won’t take long. Surreal? I need an entry exit visa. Get that and then transfer money from Saudi to NY by internet banking. Nope! I have to take a final exit visa. Rules! Shit. No bending the rules! I went up the line to the Deputy CEO. He mumbled that something would be done. So far, nada, nothing! It’s noon. I had just come from the bank. They were kind enough to volunteer that Thursday was Saudi National Day! That is the equivalent of Fourth of July here. No government or banking – it’s a national holiday! You’re kidding right!? At that moment, my money from the hospital hits the bank and I receive the text message. I cannot get to and from the bank in time for the government office to go and get an exit visa. There’s not enough time. Before a holiday everyone quits early. Does this country function? Not like anywhere normal, for sure! Solution? There’s a bank near the hospital. I rush over, break traffic laws, run red lights, cut off other cars and get there to the sound of the local mosques blaring out “prayer time.” Closed for 40 minutes, I was screwed! Sure enough the doors were locked and I was out of luck. Shit! An old Saudi man came and pounded the door. He was not waiting. I followed him in the back door. Cheated one more time. I had to check off a box for withdrawing so much money. “Which works?” I asked the teller.
“Medical,” he said. I figured, “mental” by way of insanity worked for me. Back to the hospital. Sami, government relations shook his head. Maybe, maybe not. What did he care? He was not staying an extra week. But… after a long pause on the phone several hours later… he reported… success! Visa, bank, ticket – done. Priceless! My phone is still not settled. The never did cut off my internet when they threatened. The bill is unpaid. I’m in the US and receive Arabic texts about my bill. Can’t read ‘em. Don’t need ‘em. Hey! I got weather again!
You want weather? I saw weather. Unfortunately, I cannot demonstrate here how absolutely breathtaking it was to drive through. It was dusk. The rain all day lifted enough so that there was no fog at all. The air was crisp and cool. Moist. The sun peeked in from the right and shone under and against the clouds. How special? People were stopping to get photos with their smartphones. We got a full rainbow. I can only show you half.
The clouds were changing rapidly. The light was fantastic but only for a few fleeting moments. Free show! And then it was gone. The clouds were so ephemeral. Storm clouds were still gray with rain to my left. It was nature at its most awesome. Enjoy the show. I wish you were there.
Well, summer slipped in and wow! I have never seen a temperature so high. “Ah! But, it’s a dry heat.” Isn’t that what they always say? I was pretty hot on the ride home. The bus was not blowing much A/C. I thought the driver was not running it. But maybe he was and we just couldn’t cool the vehicle in this heat. Anyway, it’s not bad. You follow the simple rule: Stay indoors out of the heat. The Hospital certainly has enough A/C going. So I’ve been in Maine in the dead of winter and tapped the Volvo’s instrument panel to see if it was stuck when it read -13 degrees (Digital? You know). And now it’s 117 degrees. Well, it wasn’t Antarctica then and it’s not Hell now.
For a while when I lived in Maine I would keep an eye out for any photo ops. This was January 1, 2008. They have an annual Lobster Day dip in the ocean. It’s the Atlantic. It’s cold. No, I mean really freezing. I’m there in my North Face jacket, hood pulled up, hands in my pockets, camera warm against my chest, and freezing parts of my anatomy we won’t discuss. Folks were out in bikinis and all sorts of outfits as though it were a hot July day at the beach. I filmed them. They ran into the ocean and then ran out again. Crazy. Just remember it ain’t over till the fat lady sings.