Its now 2013. 2012 was not a good year for many friends of mine. So welcome new year, and may it be a much better one than the previous one!
January 1, 2013
November 2, 2012
Here in Birmingham, you wouldn’t think that you would see any references to Dia de los Mertos, Day of the Dead. It is actually a fairly small but enthusiastically embraced festival here in town. A local gallery has been hosting/holding, as they call it “A one-day festival of public art installation, performance & remembrance celebrating the ancient Hispanic memorial of lost loved ones.”
DH and I both have plenty of family member to remember today, this feast day of the remembrance of all souls. As we go through day and into the new month and year, we carry those loved ones with us in our hearts and in our minds always.
November 9, 2011
I watched my twitter feed closely this afternoon. After being put off several months, the county commission finally made a decision on a course of action.
Its only been over three YEARS since they had the option. I blogged about this in August 2008. And millions of dollars have been spent in interest, millions of dollars have been spent in lawyers’ fees, and millions of dollars have been spent in receiver fees.
It sucks. Its not good for anyone. But the alternative is worse. The county has been functionally bankrupt for over 2 years. The loss of tax revenue, thank you very much you greedy, money grubbing pair of lawyers who were only in it for the fees you could get, has removed a third of the previous budget from the table. And JP Morgan, that sorry excuse for a financial institution, has given the county major contradictory signals when it came to trying to negotiate some sort of solution to refinancing the debt. It was willing to forgive Greece billions in its debt owed, but wants to make up any difference on the shoulders of Jefferson county residents. Then the court appointed receiver wants to do the bidding of his corporate overlord, JPMorgan, and hike the sewer rates that have already risen over 300% another 300%. He’s only being paid $500.00 per HOUR to come in and raise the sewer rates.
When the county commission met in September, they were trying in good faith to avoid bankruptcy, and Governor Bentley twisted the commissioner’s arms in executive session to keep them from declaring bankruptcy at that time. The governor said he would get the county’s legislative delegation to come to an agreement about how to help the county raise the money and meet the bond obligations. The local business leaders have been all pissed off cause its going to impact their ability to get a loan, but they’ve done nothing to actually work to create a solution.
Then the county’s legislative delegation refused to come to any compromise on an additional revenue stream for the county. The governor couldn’t get them to do it. They wouldn’t budge. As before, the county tried to work with the banks to come to some sort of equally agreeable decision for both parties. And, as before, the banks tried to get the county to agree to things they had no control over, and forgive less than they first offered. So the county finally pulled the trigger on bankruptcy.
Now the governor is hurt and mad that he was shown as the ineffectual leader that he is. And the sewer receiver is threatening bad things for the county and its residents because his master the bank has been told that it won’t get things that the commission can’t legally give it. This is going to affect municipal bonds all over the state, cause the banks are now going to go into reprisal mode.
And its all for the want of a nice suit and some cashola. There are currently 5 previous county commissioners that have been convicted of felonies, four of them directly related to this sewer mess. The county is now screwed for avarice of some people and institutions.
September 26, 2011
And after reading xkcd today, I just had to link to it. It is, unfortunately, spot on.
September 1, 2011
At the end of the work day on Sept 1, 2010, I got an email from NASA HQ. I had been seeing some tweets from folks about the NASA tweetup, but was not expecting anything. I had signed up for the NASA tweetup, but honestly I sign up for contests and mostly don’t win, so I figured it was a another contest to try but not win.
My mind was officially blown. I opened up the email and it said “Congratulations, you have been selected.” I came very, very close to sitting on the floor at that point. I read through the email, and re-read it. I was in shock.
Now its a year later. I have met some really incredible folks in the year between. Thank you NASA.
And now I have been given the opportunity to attend another NASAtweetup, this time for the GRAIL mission. I’ll be heading down early next week with several other people in town to speak to the mission specialists and watch the Delta II with the satellites launch. Woohoo! I have truly become a space geek.
August 3, 2011
WHY? I swear to god that you are running yourselves into the ground, and I will cheer when you have done so!
May 20, 2011
Its official. Space Shuttle Atlantis has a NET launch date of July 8, 2011 at 11:40 AM EDT. And NASA will be hosting one last space shuttle launch tweetup. Registration for the tweetup opens on June 1 at 12:00PM EDT and ends on June 2 at
12:00PM EDT, provided Endeavor’s landing doesn’t cause a delay. Double check with NASA’s website tweetup page to verify this when as it gets closer to the time.
Its the last shuttle launch. Ever. And until we get a new vehicle made, it’ll be the last launch of people for the USA.
May 4, 2011
That’s a question my mom asked this past weekend.
She knows that I’ve been on twitter for several years now. She’s seen my pictures from the NASA Tweetup, heard about the folks I’ve met and wondered all along about my imaginary internet friends. So she asked again.
This past week I’ve been crazy while on Twitter. With the tornadoes, I’ve been trying to help out however I could. I’ve seen the ability of twitter to make a difference in past disasters and other events. Its able to be a big help to spread the word. Its also can spread rumors and mis-information.
During bad weather, I’ve seen the weather information spread so folks had it. And when tornadoes hit on April 15th, Twitter was a big help in spreading the word about problem weather locations around the state. I’ve passed the word on in previous bad weather occurrences, so I was prepared to do the same on the 27th.
My tweet count prior to April 27th was less than 19,800. In the week since then I have tweeted close to 1,000 times. Most of these tweets have been storm and relief effort related.
So I found a new analogy for my mom. I told her that what I was doing on twitter was similar to what Ham radio operators do during emergencies relaying information on to others. And the Ham radio analogy works on a number of levels. It is identifiable and known.
So why Twitter? Because its a way to connect with people. And because I can help other people with it.
Clean up is going to take years. And the cost will run in the billions. So if you are looking to make a difference, here are some more places to help out.
The Alabama Food Bank Association is helping with efforts to feed those who have lost and those who are helping out. You can go to the web site to set up a donation to help in any region.
A local web site for my neighborhood, the 35212, is helping to coordinate volunteer efforts in Birmingham. They are updating regularly with specific needs for items and volunteers.
From Twitter, the Alabama State Bar has a disaster assistance hotline at 1-800-354-6154 to assist folks in storm-affected communities with legal needs.
The Christian Service Mission has a wish list on Amazon of relief supplies that are needed.
One of the local weathermen is continuing to help with storm recovery. James Spann is using his popularity and reach to help spread the word about needs and services available. He is using his facebook page as a clearinghouse for relief information.
Every little bit makes a difference. Thanks for helping out!
May 2, 2011
Those of you who follow me on twitter know that things have been crazy here in Alabama since last Wednesday. We had horrible tornados and destruction that have touched almost everyone here.
Given the expected severe weather, both DH and I were sent home from work before the weather line came through Birmingham. We prepared the basement for a long evening. We made sure that the weather radio was accessible, that we had working flashlights, that there were oil lamps and matches available, and that we had cat treats to keep the kitties downstairs with us.
DH was monitoring the tv, and I had gotten online and was keeping up with twitter. When the tornado in Tuscaloosa started and was caught on the live tower cams, all we could do was watch in horror. Then a bit later as we watched the projected storm track, we made plans for a possible hit to our house by a major tornado. Fortunately for us, the storm cell turned, but that means there are other neighborhoods that have been destroyed.
I tried to be helpful on twitter, passing along information about the weather. I was told that one of my followers was glad to have the information that I helped to share.
The current death toll is 250 for just the state of Alabama. With the efforts of all the meteorologists, it would have been so much worse. Two thirds of the state of Alabama had damage from storms on April 27th. The same system did damage across the entire southeast. Its going to take years to recover from these tornados. Now I can be helpful here.
First, if you have the where with all, please make a donation of some kind to one of the reputable relief agencies. The Red Cross is helping out. You can text “RED CROSS” to 90999 to make a donation of $10.00. Obviously money is the most flexible donation, and can be directed to the most urgent need. Hands on Birmingham is coordinating volunteer efforts in the Birmingham area. In addition to people’s needs, there are a very large number of pets that have been displaced. The Greater Birmingham Humane Society is helping to organize that effort.
There are lots of ways to help out. Keep an eye on my tweet stream. As I get word of them, I pass opportunities along. And please keep us all in your thoughts and prayers. Its incredible what has happened and what the various people have endured.
February 18, 2011
Well, with NASA’s Flight Readiness Review (FRR) completed today, the team has given the go ahead for Discovery to launch next Thursday, February 24, at 4:50PM EST.
So NASATweetup v2.0 is on! The original tweetup participants from the fall are invited back to view the launch from the press site. So thanks to the goodwill of my husband, parents, in-laws, and boss, I’m headed back down to watch! Woohoo! No I’m not excited about this in the least, whatever made you think I would be. NOT! I’ve been trying very hard to keep from getting crazy about it, but now that its really immanent I’m allowing myself to get excited.
The launch will be shared online at NasaTV, Spaceflightnow, and hatcam will be live on ustream. Just make sure that you adjust for your local time. The shuttle is launching on Eastern Standard Time. I live in the Central Time Zone, so folks here need to remember that it’s at 3:50 PM. But its on and I’m going back!
December 27, 2010
My 1999 Honda Civic is toast. It had over 170,000 miles on it. It protected me in several wrecks, and has been a very reliable car to own and drive. I will miss my Civic.
Now I need to find another car. I can’t get around just on the scooter, unfortunately. So its time to do the research and see what is out there that is reliable and fuel efficient. I’m looking at another Honda. Mine did a great job, so yeah, I’m going to be looking at them. Another Civic, maybe the Fit. I might get an Accord if it works out right.
I’m also dreaming about the Mini Coopers. They are a fun and sporty little car. I have some misgivings about the little part. And some misgivings about maintenance on them once you get past the 3 year maintenance contract that’s included in the purchase price. I’ve been told that they are basically little BMWs, and that concerns me with long term maintenance costs.
Decisions, decisions, decisions.
December 25, 2010
I want to wish everyone here a Merry Christmas! I hope your day is a good one.
Its been nuts in the last month. I’ve had several bumps along the way. If you’ve been watching the twitter sidebar in the last week, you’ve seen that I had a car wreck. I was rear-ended on my way home from work. Thankfully I’m here and not in the hospital. It broke my nose and totaled my car. But since it could have been much worse I’m counting my blessings for Christmas this year.
November 30, 2010
And Discovery’s launch has been pushed back to a possible mid December launch to allow the team to figure out why those external tank stringers have have been cracking. She will fly, but it will be when she is safe to go.
I still don’t know if I will be able to attend, but if I can I will. I won’t purchase a ticket until they actually set a launch date. Its too uncertain to get that ticket until the NASA folks and engineers are more confident of the cause.
November 25, 2010
Hi folks! I hope those reading this in the USA have had a very good Thanksgiving! And anyone from places elsewhere has had a good day too!
DH and I have so much to be thankful for. We have had the day to spend with family. We are healthy. Our fuzzy critter kittehs are healthy. He and I both have jobs we find fulfilling.
Little kitten that had been dumped appears to have a new home! I met a lady who has been thinking about getting a cat. She already has several smaller dogs. So she’s worried about how the kitten will get along with her dogs. She has the kitten at her house. I did tell her we would take the kitten back if she couldn’t get her dogs to accept it. So hopefully little one has a forever home.
I am thankful for all of you who read my ramblings here. Thanks for being here with me on this journey!