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Loving the Blackberry the last few days – don’t know how I would have kept in touch or made it through Evac I* without it.  At the same time though, I’m flashing back to the old State Department days of telegrams.  You’ve seen them in old movies.  They’re like e-mail, but much more pretentious.  Instant communication anywhere in the world, back before Nobel Laureate Gore invented the internet, and its evil bastard child, spam e-mail. 

With telegrams we had a concept called ‘minimize.’  When your Embassy was under siege, a post could be put on the minimize list.  They’d still get the messages sent directly too them, but not the bulk nonsense.  In the e-mail equivalent, notes from friends, family and potential refugee hosts, but not the alumni updates, news summaries and URGENT MESSAGES for IMPORTANT LEGISLATIVE ACTION.  You non-profits know who you are.  Note I’m not even including spam.  I’m given up on ever eliminating that until we can reinstate the torture-before-death penality in this state.  But it would be nice if I could tell HowlingBerry to minimize *poof*, and some wizened gatekeeper would only send me the good stuff.  Everyone else needs to send a separate message to Ms. Berry justifying why Chuck needs to be bothered with this message now, and not by snail mail at a more convenient time. (more…)

Chuck posted this on Tuesday, October 23, 2007 at  11:28 am.   Comments Off on Communications 


Laugh at adversity or curl up and drool in the fetal position?

My dad sent me this this morning.  Even with knowing that I could have ended yesterday owning little but a 14-year-old truck and some personal mementos, I’d still rather be laughing than drooling.

Chuck posted this on Tuesday, October 23, 2007 at  8:48 am.   Comments Off on Choices 

Back home

Roughly one in every ten people in the San Diego metropolitan area were evacuated today.  The fires just kept appearing out of nowhere and jumping across even ten-lane highways.  A local newsreader just said our local fire, one of the eight in play, has destroyed 600 structures and damaged 300 more.

We bailed out in the early afternoon.  The fire just got too close, both to us and our escape route, so we went to an Evacuation Center at Mission Hills High in San Marcos.  Nice snacks, cool people and helpful information.  Loud shout outs to the Red Cross and the California Department of Forestry.

We eventually confirmed an open route and drive to some friends’ house where we were warmly welcomed.  More snacks, naps and then dinner out.  The dinner out concept seemed very, very popular tonight. 

While we were out we got a call from a neighbor telling us that our little community had been reopened.  We confirmed it with a phone call that verified that our answering machine had not yet melted.  With a little internet help we found an open route and set out for home.  Coincidentally, about this time our hosts started getting calls from others, and more refugees were arriving as we left.

The road was open, but there were still significant blazes pushing right up to the shoulders of the interstate.  Home is smoky, but not nearly as bad as it was eight hours ago.

For now my stuff is staying in Nissantruck, even though we’ll be here tonight.  No computer network for a while yet, but the Blackberry has been a lifesaver.  Hopefully the drama is over, but I know all about twisty endings and hopefully won’t be caught by surprise.

[Ed. – Back on the big internet Tuesday a.m., where I took the opportunity to unscramble HowlingBerry’s late night work and make some minor edits.]

Chuck posted this on Monday, October 22, 2007 at  9:07 pm.   3 comments have been made. Join them. 

Outta here

See you on the flipside kiddies.
[Via BlackBerry]

Chuck posted this on Monday, October 22, 2007 at  12:29 pm.   3 comments have been made. Join them. 


Just hanging out.  Client files and some important things, like clean undies and the iPod, are down in the truck.  Casa is a bit less than a mile from the northern edge of the evacuation zone, but 60 mile per hour winds seem to be moving that line around pretty quick.  Since we’re out of the zone and the official line is to stay off the highways unless being evacuated, we wait.  Watch the news, surf the net and wait. 

Can’t see the flames any more, but only because the smoke is too thick.  Pretty sure the fire’s still out there.  Waiting for us to get relaxed.  Lurking around the bend in the highway.  Waiting for me to do something that would take more than ten minutes to shut down.  Bad fire.

Chuck posted this on Monday, October 22, 2007 at  11:33 am.   Comments Off on Waiting 


Local TV news has an over-the-shoulder graphic AND a special tab on their website, so it must be official – welcome to Firestorm 2007, the official firestorm of the 2007 season.  Accept no substitutes.

Chuck posted this on Monday, October 22, 2007 at  5:52 am.   Comments Off on Disaster™ 

Too Early

The San Pasqual Fire, which didn’t exist when I went to bed, is now about six miles from here.  Got one semi-decent photo while we wait for official advice, but the eyes are burning and the winds keep knocking over the tripod.

Chuck posted this on Monday, October 22, 2007 at  4:23 am.   Make the second comment. 

On The Fires

Despite numerous challenges, mostly Angelenos forgetting how to behave when traffic signals stop working, we did make it to brunch.  Power outages, windblown debris on the highways and periodic tirades against local radio newsreaders all helped make the drive “interesting.”  Several newsreaders were clearly at a loss trying to do something beyond read segues between taped feeds and the depth of experience of those exiled to Sunday morning drivetime was unfortunately obvious.  Like, ohmygawd, there like a big fire in Malibu, like, and its like near Mel Gibson’s home…uhhh…uhhh…back to you Tiffanyamber.  Thought about pulling off to help with the evacuation of Pepperdine, but the need for caffeine and cholesterol defeated even my altruistic nature, and made it to brunch without even stopping for Red Cross snacks at the Zuma Beach evacuation center.

Home now.  Fires appear to still be spreading around Southern California, and there’s a lot of smoke to the east of Casa, probably from the Ramona blaze.  Right now it looks like Spinner‘s route to work is cut off by one of the smaller fires.  Hurricane-force Santa Ana winds are going to make this place miserable for a few days. 

Chuck posted this on Sunday, October 21, 2007 at  5:41 pm.   Comments Off on On The Fires 

My Brunch! My Brunch!

Local news vultures are converging on Malibu as I type, speculating on which celebrity homes will go first in the OMG BIG FIRE. The mayor has just announced that an evacuation center has been established at Zuma Beach – might have to pretend to be an evacuee. First things first though – must rescue my brunch plans.
[Via BlackBerry]

Chuck posted this on Sunday, October 21, 2007 at  8:46 am.   Comments Off on My Brunch! My Brunch! 

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