South Florida

Live blogging: Hurricane Matthew (Fri morning)

10:01am – Good morning, I survived the storm. I woke up several times last night due to loud gusty winds and heavy rain, but my condo doesn’t appear to have taken any damage. It’s sunny but with persistent gusty winds.

10:36am – Orange and Seminole Counties are still under curfew through tonight, but will reassess their decision around noon.

11:00am – NWS has downgraded the storm to a Cat 3, but it is still causing immense damage in coastal cities.

11:17am – Orlando Sentinel is reporting at least one death in Central Florida attributable to Matthew.

11:41am – Meanwhile, Matt Drudge has theorized that Hurricane Matthew is a government conspiracy to “make a point about climate change,” a sentiment echoed by fellow radio host Rush Limbaugh (who walked his statement back)

12:01pm -Chip and Company is reporting that all 4 Disney parks remain closed and will reopen tomorrow pending damage assessment. All resorts and their restaurants remain open.

12:30pm – Gov. Scott says “worst of Matthew is yet to come”

12:47pm – Damage assessments of Gables, Rosenthal and Medical campuses have been completed. So-called “Cardboard U” is open for business tomorrow. Game on.

 

Hopefully, this is my last post on the matter.

 

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Categories: disney world, florida, hurricanes, news, Orlando, South Florida, weather | Leave a comment

Live blogging: Hurricane Matthew (Thurs eve)

5:04pm – It’s been pouring rain on and off all afternoon here in Orlando with each band getting progressively stronger. THIS current one is the real deal.

5:16pm – Believe it or not, there are still people on the roads.

5:24pm – Various computer models still show it coming over parts of Florida, but the actual forecast hasn’t changed much 5-8” of rain with winds about 20-40 miles per hour gusts of 65mph (TWC is calling for 5-7” but with winds gusting to 70-80mph)

6:05pm – TWC has downgraded their forecast to 3-5” with winds in the 20-40mph bracket (with gusts of 65mph). Rain has stopped for the moment.

6:35pm – Making leftover chicken tenders and fries for dinner. I forgot to buy groceries while I was out earlier today. Yes, I know that was STUPID. Oh and the rain is back.

6:55pm – My FB feed is pretty much dead, sorry. I’m going to go play video games while I still have power, and hope something fun gets posted by the time I get back.

7:45pm – TWC is reporting 20 thousand people are apparently without power near West Palm Beach. I still have power… for the moment.

8:03pm – NWS shows Matthew not making a direct hit on Orlando, but still shows it looping around to effect Central Florida early next week. Great.

8:17pm – Reuters is reporting 180 people dead on the island nation of Haiti. Over a dozen in the same village.

8:32pm – Orlando Sentinel has a round-up of various county by county forecasts for the storm

9:06pm – NWS office in Melbourne is still showing Orange County under a Hurricane Warning through tonight.

9:21pm – Whatever undiagnosed stomach ailment I have has been bothering me all evening. I think it’s psychosomatic from the stress of the storm.

 

Categories: florida, Health, hurricanes, news, Orlando, South Florida, weather | Leave a comment

Live blogging Hurricane Matthew (Thurs morn)

10:01amOrlando Weekly is reporting that all state offices are closed, all tolls are lifted and that some hospitals in coastal areas were evacuated.

10:03am – The University of Miami is officially on “emergency lock down” – all classes are cancelled, and all retail and offices are closed for the day. Limited dining service is available in the two campus dining halls as long as weather permits, MREs will be available in the Residential Hall lobbies for times when the cafeterias close.

10:20am – Orlando International Airport announced it will be suspending all flights in\out of their airports at 8pm.

11:15am – Sunrail suspends all service through Monday (they don’t offer weekend service)

11:20am – Universal announces it is closing all parks including Wet N’ Wild and CityWalk at 3pm. Disney parks are apparently still open as well with guests going about enjoying their day despite the weather (at the moment is light rain with relatively calm winds).

11:30amTheme Park Tourist posted that all Disney Parks will close at 5pm, Legoland Florida will close at 5pm as scheduled and SeaWorld will close at 2pm.

12:14pm – TWC is predicting 5-7” of rain through Friday night with wind of 40-50mph with gusts of about 60-65mph. It is not expected to make landfall over Orlando, but we are still under a “Hurricane Warning.”

12:43pm – Not currently raining out, but the winds are strong. The proverbial calm before the storm.

 

Categories: disney world, florida, hurricanes, news, Orlando, SeaWorld Orlando, South Florida, transportation, Universal Studios, weather | Leave a comment

Live blogging: Hurricane Matthew (Wed night)

7:34pm – I was going to pack my bags around 2 o’clock this moring and take the first plane to…I had no idea. That’s why I’m still here. I may regret this decision later this week.

8:31pm – My alma mata, the University of Miami, has announced that all classes at Coral Gables\Rosenthal campuses will be cancelled on Thursday and Friday. The medical campus will remain open. The UM-FSU game slated for Saturday will go on as planned because – duh – priorities.

9:15pm – It’s been raining (much of it heavy) off and on for most of the evening with gusty winds and occasional flashes of lightning. These are just the periphery storms – the main action doesn’t start until tomorrow.

10:50pm – Watching the “Live Feed” of FOX 13’s “county by county” forecast for Florida. Orlando will either get nothing…or take a direct hit. How comforting.

11:17pm – Latest NWS forecast models now show a direct hit over Orlando. Other guides have it staying off shore. TWC is calling for heavy rain\thunder to begin around 3am so I better get to bed.

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Photo: Reasons to be confident about today’s game

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Photos: Beat FSU

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Adventures to, fro and at Busch Gardens Tampa Bay

The cab arrives shortly after 10am, and the cabbie immediately started haranguing me for “not being smart enough” to choose a hotel closer park:

 

“You check right? You check for transit? I ASK YOU QUESTION, DAMN IT. YOU ASK FOR TRANSIT OR NO?”

 

All I said was “yes” and he screeched to a halt turned around and shoved his finger in my face and shouted “YOU are NOT ALLOWED to raise voice to ME” (no HYPOCRISY there). Then clenched his fist, shook it at me and continued “IF YOU have ‘problem’ with ME I give YOU problem. Make myself CLEAR, stupid asshole? It is five miles to park and you WILL WALK there in heat on highway!”

 

I know, I know: why didn’t I take him up on that offer? Because, I have walked five miles along the highway in the middle of summer with no shoulder… and no arch support either. Granted, that last time (link, link2) I was wearing a full suit, tie and dress shoes, compared to a basic T-shirt, shorts and threadbare sandals (which are almost as uncomfortable to walk in) but still not something I was willing to repeat….even if it was just hot air.

 

Now, I should probably bring up that it’s come to my attention that posts like this “aren’t healthy.” That might be true, but it is healthier to express it as a message to a hypothetical reader willing to believe me (or at least not interrupt my story like most face-to-face audiences do) which brings up another problem I face a lot “how ‘credible’ is a ‘retard’s’ word anyway” (the fact that I have an IQ of between 20-30pts above ‘retardation’ level is entirely ancillary). Hell even my own mom doesn’t believe half the stories I tell her (and trust me, if, like her, you think I “whine” enough as it is, remember: less than 20% of said stories ever make it to this blog)!

One piece of idiocy I will admit to, I failed to buy tickets online beforehand so when I got to the gate I had to pay FULL PRICE which is considerably higher than the ONLINE “Weekday price.” The latter while still high is worth it, the former is highway robbery.

Maybe I’m just used to the hub-and-spoke layout of the Magic Kingdom, but the layout of this park seems somewhat disjointed. The paths are wide enough, but they are well hidden and the signage around the part didn’t really do a good job of telling you where things were. In fact, there were some attractions I found more through sheer determination than by following their maps and signage.

I didn’t buy the “All Day Dining Pass” (which they stole from Universal which was itself copying Disney) so I cannot judge its value. I did however have a relatively nice lunch at Bengal Bistro (where my biscuit was nearly stolen by my school mascot). I saw some people on Tripadvisor complaining about “rude” and “disaffected” staff (which to be fair, can be found at any theme park – even Disney), but I found most of their employees to be friendly and helpful.

By 3pm, I was more than ready to go, but I decided stay behind for the “Iceploration” show which the map listed as playing at “4pm,” but the sign outside the theater said “5pm.” Screw this; I wasn’t waiting around to find out. I left the park and found the cab stand…to be completely empty.

At Seaworld, there were 50 cabs in a line at the park exit; Busch Gardens had none. In fact, there wasn’t even anyone on duty at either the kiosk or the “Guest Services” building so I had to wait behind a group of seven people trying to buy passes and one man who didn’t speak English very well who was trying to buy an annual pass… but wasn’t sure if he wanted to pay for it.

I finally get up to the sales counter and the woman automatically asks me how I’m paying for my annual pass. I told her I wanted her to dial a cab for me and she looked at me oddly. I told that “yes I do have a smart phone, but the battery is dead. I also tried asking at Guest Services but there was no-one there.”

“Oh well, THAT building has been closed for YEARS.”

She turns off her microphone and starts typing something on her keyboard as a department supervisor hovers over her shoulders. She eventually turns the microphone back on:

“Which cab company do you want?”

I get it, not only am I supposed to do my due diligence and ONLY book hotels across the street from the park, but I’m ALSO supposed to carefully research and evaluate every single cab\limo\shuttle company in Hillsborough County for star rating, price and my overall experience with their service… or I could look at her exasperatedly (not to mention exhaustedly) and say: “JUST PICK ONE DAMNIT!”

It took about twenty minutes for the taxi to arrive. The driver – who was far friendlier than the guy from this morning (even if he tended to cut me off mid-sentence) – said it was because “all the other drivers are at home watching the World Cup and cannot be bothered to come out and do their jobs.”

Whatever, I got back to the hotel and paid $2 less for the return trip than the original trip. I would have given said difference as a tip, but he drove off immediately after I got out. I enter the hotel, and head back to my room and when I look out the open drapes I can see its pouring rain outside.

I was originally planning on staying for their so-called “Summer Party” over at Adventure Island…but thankfully didn’t have the money for it because I forgot to buy my park tickets online AND had to save money for round trip cab fare. See, idiocy does occasionally have its uses…

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Hurricane promotes proposed overpass

The Miami Hurricane is doing its best to promote a proposed pedestrian bridge over US 1 between the University Metrorail and Mariposa Court which has resulted in 8 deaths since 1989. It was my experience as a student the intersection that I had the most trouble crossing was US 1 and SW 57th Street (South Miami Metro on the west and Sunset Place on the east).

The paper ran a story last week (April 10th) about the online petition to get the owner of University Centre Plaza to allow the city to use five parking spaces to build said bridge. In a related story, the same author similar offers a somewhat incomplete guide on how to handle rude\impatient drivers in this car crazed city without ending up another fatality (dress like a jogger) – conveniently using Mariposa Court as her primary example.

This week, the paper reports that the project is apparently going through in a nearby area that doesn’t involve sacrificing the Plaza’s valuable parking spaces.  If you think losing five spaces is no big deal – here’s a story (from 2002) about a student outraged because the university paved over six parking places for an outdoor seating area.

Categories: Coral Gables, South Florida, UM news, University of Miami | Leave a comment

UM News: Getting Organized

A student group for doodling just started on the University of Miami campus after receiving a $500 grant from GOOD magazine.

Conversely, the university’s gay student group, SpectrUM, is celebrating 20 years of campus pride.

Back in 2002, I tried joining an upstart group known as “Canes for Cancer.” That group no longer exists, but a group of students recently took part in a Wendy Walk in Miami (others were held in LA and NYC) to support a cancer research lab in Oslo, Norway.

Of course, if you’re anti-social or just need a place to “study,” the paper just ruined two previously unknown sites on campus. On the other hand, there is a new graduate study area in the Richter Library…if it’s not too crowded.

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UM News: Truly an International College

A University of Miami professor has been chosen to lead a GEOTRACES mission to Arctic Ocean in order to help determine the effects of Global Warming. He and his team will begin taking samples from the Artic Ocean starting sometime in 2015.

Meanwhile, another professor won a $6,000 grant to study how objects impacted the French Revolution. She will use the money to research on location in Paris for two months.

Indian Student Association & Hindu Student Council hosted The Festival of Colors over the weekend, turning the campus green into a mess of other colors in honor of the Indian Holi day.

While Baltimore has elephants, Miami has gone to the bears as the Renaissance Faire moves into town.

Categories: South Florida, UM news | Leave a comment

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