December 23rd, 2006

[ ukiyo wave ]

when it rains it pours (and gusts)

Last week, during finals, a strong windstorm swept through both the western and eastern halves of the state. There's nothing like sitting in a classroom on the second floor and trying to focus on answering questions correctly for an oral exam while the temperature outside drops below freezing and the wind is howling by at 120 km/h (75 mph). The power also flickered for a brief moment at our apartment, which makes me wonder how many students were late to their final exam on account of alarm clocks that were no longer set to the right time.

Still, the situation here was a lot better than how things went along Puget Sound. News reports claimed that approximately one third of the region's residents were without power after the first day - and this is a region that includes most of the state's larger population centers. It's been two weeks now and some people are still waiting for their electricity to return. My flatmate from Seattle has been staying with a friend because the power at her apartment has been out for the past sixteen days; fortunately she's flying down to see her sister in California tomorrow.

One week she has a car accident, the next is finals week, and after that she returns home to find her apartment freezing and without power. I hope she has a fantastic time down south to make up for everything that's been happening to her recently.

  • Current Music
    hilltop hoods ... "illusionary lines"
[ waldo ]

on the road again

In thirty minutes - assuming everything is sorted out by then - I will be on the road across most of Washington State and down into Oregon. There was a chance I would be able to make it across the mountains before too much snow began falling, but with a couple of inches already on the ground here the odds aren't looking very good for that one.

Wendy called me this morning to say that she had arrived safely in California, which was nice to hear. I hope my own trip goes as smoothly. In a similar vein, my other flatmate is going snowboarding this afternoon; I hope she has a good time, and that nothing out of the ordinary happens along the way.

And with that, I need to finish packing.

  • Current Music
    benny goodman ... "sing sing sing (with a swing)"
[ waldo ]

on the look-out for manatees ...

Ships come out of the fog like ghosts. First you catch a shadowy silhouette, then the form solidifies into something you can recognize. A few moments later and the smaller details start to come into focus. If you're not careful, a collision can spell the end for you both.

Halfway between Colfax and Othello the sky turned into a thick grey, with visibility reduced to about five car lengths. Passing slower traffic was an interesting experience, as I was constantly worried about oncoming cars jumping into existence from out of the murky void. However, the most unnerving obstacle so far was a semi truck that had drifted over the central lane divider to take up both lanes of traffic. Fortunately the shoulder was wide enough for me to avoid an accident, and here I am in Ellensburg to get gas before heading through the mountains. Now I have an idea how Captain Bering felt as he was exploring the coast of Alaska - minus the part about getting lost, running aground, and being forced to eat sea cows (manatees) to survive.

Talking with my aunt last night, she told me to drive safely and avoid any backroads along the way. Little does she know that Highway 26 is nothing more than a country backroad with a speed limit of 110 km/h. The view of snow-covered buttes over empty fields is quite remarkable though. And thus ends my one rest stop between the university and state capital.