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Afternoon updates

Normally, I “live blog” my way through these storms, but I haven’t decided if I am or not this time around. Yes, it keeps me focused on things outside my crudely furnished apartment. I know it hasn’t even made non-landfall yet, but I’m already sick of hearing about it. #burnout

I hate to “break tradition,” but they are as much fun to read as they are to write. Maybe, I’ll change my mind tomorrow… after the scheduled meme post drops.

 

Categories: announcements, florida, hurricanes, Kissimmee, news, Orlando, Sanford, South Florida, weather | Leave a comment

Hurricane Dorian approaches

The National Hurricane Center’s 5pm update shows the storm veering slightly further east than earlier reports indicated, but still shows Orlando within the “Cone of Uncertainty.” Thankfully, the chances of Dorian making landfall in Florida are getting smaller with each update.

However, a “Hurricane Watch” has been issued for Northern and Southern Brevard as well as Volusia Counties while a “Tropical Storm Watch” is in effect for Inland Volusia, Northern Lake, Okeechobee, Orange, Osceola, Seminole, and Southern Lake Counties. Mandatory evacuations orders are in place in Northern/Southern Brevard starting at 8am tomorrow.

Flights in/out of MCO have not been cancelled for tonight into Monday after all, but all Amtrak service south of Jacksonville remains closed until Tuesday (yes, I’m “still mad” about that – do you know how much cab fare is from Orlando to Jacksonville?). However, Disney World, Universal and SeaWorld will remain open as scheduled.

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Preparing for Hurricane Dorian

I wasn’t expecting to have to create a post like this this far out from landfall, but here we are:

Wednesday – Gov. DeSantis declares State of Emergency for all 67 counties in Florida. As of 8pm, NHC shows the storm making a direct path across the state, the eye crossing Kissimmee on Tuesday night as a Cat 1 storm.

Thursday – FSU’s home opener moved from Jacksonville to their home stadium in Tallahasse. Various weekend concerts are cancelled across Central/South Florida. Meanwhile, TWC’s Jim Cantore is seen having dinner in Vero Beach.

Friday – The NHC’s 8am update shows the storm making a “J” shape across Central Florida with the eye crossing directly over Orlando on Wednesday evening.

Many grocery stores run out of water/other food supplies, while many gas stations along the Space Coast report shortages. Schools across Florida are pre-emptively closed on Tuesday (as many will be used as emergency shelters).

Also, while most of Disney World is currently expected to remain open (except the water parks, Copper Creek Cabins at Wilderness Lodge, the cabins at Fort Wilderness, the overwater bungalows at Disney’s Polynesian Village, the Treehouse Villas at Saratoga Springs, and any events at ESPN’s Wide World of Sports), all flights in/out of MCO have been cancelled until further notice, ditto all Amtrak trains south of Jacksonville (I was thinking they would run MORE trains to ensure the maximum number of people can evacuate – especially since landfall isn’t expected until TUESDAY).

Which effectively means I’m stuck here until the storm passes whether I want to be or not (spoiler alert: I don’t. I was planning on taking Amtrak up north on Saturday) as all residential amenities (pool, gym, leasing office, etc.) here at Sea Isle Resort Apartments will close as of 5pm Saturday with mandatory “balcony safety inspections” on Sunday.

Thankfully, as of their 5pm update, the NHC shows the storm hugging the coast all the way from Vero Beach up to Savanna. Orlando is safe… or is it?

 

Categories: Amtrak, florida, flying, hurricanes, news, Orlando, transportation, weather, Williamsburg | Leave a comment

Silly hurricane memes

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Defending the indefensible

Donald Trump is a racist. Period.

He’s also an idiot who tweets petty, childish things on a daily basis.

This weekend, his tweets were aimed at Maryland Representative Elijah Cummings of Baltimore City (and parts of Howard/Ann Arundel Counties). They were vile, unconscionable… and, sadly, correct.

This isn’t to say I agree with his attacks on Cumming[s], but that my former home city (2008-2014) has a lot of problems that have nothing to do with the 11 year representative (whose office on the bottom floor of The Symphony Center Apartments was only 10 blocks from my shitty, overpriced apartment in Bolton Hill) as any money he manages to bring into the city is promptly wasted on kickbacks to shady developers or outright corruption (funneling money for the poor into luxury gift cards, vanity publishing children’s books, lavish trips to Vegas, etc.).

It IS vile, rat infested (there was even a documentary about it released in 2017) with high crime, poor transit, block upon block of vacant rowhomes, and literally crumbling infrastructure– and, yes, I hated living there… but I’m not the first person to notice this (and neither was Trump):

“Anyone who took the walk that we took around this neighborhood would not think you’re in a wealthy nation,” [Vermont Senator/Perennial presidential candidate Bernie] Sanders told The Baltimore Sun during a 2015 tour of the city. “You would think that you were in a Third World Country.”

However, I would be remiss if I didn’t mention the city’s vibrant arts and theatre scene (which, full disclosure, I used to write about for the now shuttered Baltimore Guardian), it’s lively waterfront jogging trail, stunning aquarium, world-class sports teams (though 10-time national champions Baltimore Blast now play out of Towson), and famously cheap housing (which was part of the reason I moved there in the first place).

Sure, Baltimore isn’t perfect (far from it actually), but that doesn’t mean it deserves to have it’s already sullied name dragged through the political swamp for cheap, racist, political points. No, it deserves politicians – both local and national – who give a damn about the city and it’s people… even when it’s not an election year.

Categories: Advocacy\volunteer, Baltimore, editorials, news, politics | Leave a comment

Photo: Fantastic Facebook news

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A difficult month…

This weekend (Saturday – tomorrow as you read this) marks one year since I was hit by a car trying to cross International Drive in Orlando. I got off the I-Ride trolley, made sure there was no traffic coming (which isn’t easy given the slight turn in the road) and then watched from the opposite side of the street as a black SUV comes out of nowhere knocking the human beach ball to the ground in slow motion before… you can read the rest here, here and here.

A lot has changed in that time, I still have moderate (but persistent) pain in my arm (and despite having no meaningful physical therapy, I can move my arm about almost normally – almost) and occasional tingling in my left leg. Plus, I have mysterious headaches and minor short-term memory issues (as the left side of my head hit the hood rather hard). On the plus side, at least the bills have stopped.

Did I mention that I get anxious crossing streets in Orlando? I do, and it makes getting around without a car a lot more nerve racking – if I never saw that car coming, how am I going to see the next one? It’s a question I don’t want to think about – especially since I lost my ID about 10 days ago, so they’d never identify me (note: I would want someone to continue editing my novel, and possibly collect some or all of these posts into a nonfiction book… which I haven’t come up with a proper title for yet). If you want to why I didn’t replace it, see above. Short-term memory loss is a bitch at times… but it’s weird because only some things like paying bills, collecting mail, taking out the trash, etc. are effected and not others.

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As if I didn’t have enough to occupy my enfeebled mind, this past Monday marked three months since my mom’s death and NEXT weekend marks the third (probably closer to 19 or 20th) Father’s Day without the supposed celebrant… which is an odd occasion to mark given how he usually “celebrated” things like this. Yes, I’m expecting angry comments on that last sentence, but sharing feelings is what blogs like this are for, right?

Two days later is Autistic Pride Day (June 18th), a day I’m honestly conflicted about given the content of this blog. Yes, I think people have a right to celebrate their differences and how far we’ve come in the last 70 years, but it feels almost hypocritical given how much hurt, stress and turmoil it has caused my life… or lack thereof as I type sitting alone in my bedroom on a Thursday night wondering how to celebrate Pride Month (especially without a proper ID).

The fact that I can even type that last shows how far we’ve come in 50 years – especially since we not only have Presidential candidates twisting themselves into knots trying to pander to us whereas their nonexistent platforms on Disability Rights is rather appalling, but, at least, NYPD has apologized for their 1969 raid on the Stonewall Inn.

So, yeah, there’s a lot on my mind this month, but, on the plus side, today (Thursday) is my nephew’s sixth birthday. Happy birthday, Greyson, and thanks for reading this. Servus.

 

Categories: Advocacy\volunteer, Autism, editorials, Gay rights, I-Ride Trolley, news, transportation | Leave a comment

News: Facebook achievement

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Live blog: Michael in Central Florida (3)

9:32am – Woken up by an automated call from my doctor’s office. At least, it isn’t “Rachel from Cardholder Services.”

10am – Tropical Storm/Surge Watches are now in effect for Coastal North Carolina… but have been lifted for the Alabama/Mississippi border region.

11:20am – A still graphic from TWC shows Tampa Bay is out of immediate danger, though strong outlying bands are still expected throughout the day into Thursday.

11:57am – However, NWC office in Tampa says that while most of Central Florida will be “uneffected” by Michael, Tampa Bay can still get “high storm surge, extensive coastal flooding and severe damage to docks, marinas and coastal dunes.”

12:04pm – Eyewall of Michael coming ashore along the coast of the Florida Panhandle…life threatening storm surge and catastrophic winds moving onshore.

12:37pm – Thank you to people calling/texting me, but as I said above, “Central Florida is under no immediate threat due to this storm” (I’m just bored, lol)

1pm – Hurricane Michael intensifies (cat 4) as it makes landfall near Mexico Beach Florida (nowhere near me) with life-threatening storm surge, hurricane force winds and heavy rainfall occurring over the Florida panhandle…

1:09pm – Duke Energy is predicting that at least 100k customers will lose power due to the storm.

1:13pm – Gov. Rick Scott activated the Florida Disaster Fund to help with the aftermath of the storm

1:37pm – Unfortunately, all the news stories I’m seeing now are “live coverage” (which do me exactly zero good, lol) so, I may have to end today’s live blog a bit early…

Categories: florida, hurricanes, news, North Florida, Orlando, Tampa, weather | Leave a comment

Live blog: Michael in Central Florida (2)

10am: While Central Florida is not expected to see a direct hit (aside from periphery rain/wind), the governor warned that the Panhandle, Big Bend and Gulf Coast cities as far south as Tampa could see dangerous storm surges of 8-12’ as the storm approaches.

Noon: Yahoo News is reporting that Michael is now a category 2 storm.

1:04pmThe Atlanta Journal-Constitution is reporting that Georgia has declared a “State of Emergency

1:45pm – Governor Rick Scott orders mandatory evacuations for 11 Floridian counties.

1:50pmThe Orlando Sentinel is reporting that, with winds of 110mph, Michael is “nearing a category 3 storm” with winds tomorrow topping 125mph.

2:14pm – United Airlines has canceled flights scheduled for Tuesday evening through Wednesday afternoon to three airports in Florida — Pensacola, Panama City and Destin.

2:21pm – Radar on TWC shows small bands of moderate rain are moving through southern Orlando. The sky over SeaWorld is dark, but the steady winds seem relatively calm… for now anyway.

2:39pmOrlando Weekly is reporting that Florida Democrats are suing to extend the voter registration deadlines due to the hurricane.

3:12pm – The Washington Examiner is reporting that Hurricane Michael could cause “13 billion in property damages

4pm – Tropical Storm Warnings are in effect for Eastern/Southern Georgia with Tropical Storm Watches in effect for both North and South Carolina (neither of which need this after the pounding they took from Florence).

4:08pmUSA Today is saying Michael could be one of the worst storms on record to hit the Florida Panhandle.

4:28pm – A larger swath of heavy rain has just descended upon Orange County, but Central Florida is still slated to get less than 3” of rain out of this storm (a change from their previous estimate of 1-2”)

5:19pm – The rain band from the previous line appears to have moved offshore as sunlight barely pokes its way through the clouds. Yet, landfall in Northern Florida is still a day away…

Categories: florida, hurricanes, news, North Florida, Orlando, Tampa, weather | Leave a comment

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