atomic_fungus (atomic_fungus) wrote,

#1126: Floods, MP3 player, lots of updatering

Pictures of the flooding in Cedar Rapids.

An aquaintence of mine posted that link in a thread on the Fiero forum.

I drove the street that runs diagonally across #35, from upper left to lower right, many times. 8th Avenue was the best way for me to get from my apartment to the house where the D&D game was held until summer of 2000, for one thing.

#39 is the railroad bridge across the Cedar River, and the things clustered against it are boathouses from the marina along Ellis Blvd, about a couple of miles upstream. (!) You can just see the bushes/trees on top of the levee. In the background is the Quaker Oats plant, one of the city's three largest employers.

#41 shows how high the river is: it's actually over the tops of the guard rails of the three main bridges in town, the 1st, 2nd, and 3rd avenue bridges. These bridges have wide pedestrian walkways on them and the rails are about 4 feet above the surface of the bridge, so that gives you some idea how deep that water is. (Normally it's 5-15 feet below the surface of the bridge.) That parking garage in the middle left of the shot? If I recall correctly it's a three-story structure.

In #49 it looks as if the other railroad bridge, that went to the Penford (corn sweetener) plant, has failed. It's a bit of tangled wreckage on the left side of the picture, about a third of the way down. Dang.

#55 shows I-380, which is apparently the only road that connects the north and south side of town right now. (Or when these pictures were taken, anyway.) Underneath I-380, where it goes over the Cedar River, there is a dam which has been there for a long time--not sure how long--and which is probably wide open right now, for all the good it does.

#66 shows the Duane Arnold Nuclear plant running full steam. (Heh.) I loved living near a nuclear power plant. I was never worried about it. The only drawback is that the "nuclear disaster" warning sirens that they test once per month sound like the freakin' Furies coming out of Pandora's Box. Individually, they're just a rising/falling whistle...but when you hear them coming from all over, it's freaking scary. I have the "Cold War" reaction to warning sirens anyway, but that one is just chilling.

The place I lived is, as I said, far above the floodwaters. Most of the city is, in fact, dry; the photos concentrate on the downtown area because that's what's flooded. That's not to say that this isn't a disaster, because it is, but I'm sure that for most of the people in the "city of five seasons" this is more of an inconvenience than anything else.

I expect that all the bridges will have to be inspected before they can be opened. I fail to see how there can not be serious scouring behind the pilings (or whatever that word is). Right now it looks like the only open bridges are the I380 bridge, the 12th avenue bridge, and the Edgewood Road bridge. And one of the two railroad bridges seems like it'll be usable.

Further downstream there's another dam, a "roller dam", which is basically a simple concrete structure designed to moderate the river level--that doesn't show in any of the pictures and it would be invisible with that much water over it, anyway. I wonder how that thing's faring in all this.

Anyway, as I said in the thread on the forum, I'm glad I'm not there.

* * *

The cheapass GPX MP3 player I bought the other day is still on its first AAA battery, and I've been using it quite a bit. Figure that I got about four, five hours in intermittent usage out of it, so far, which is pretty freaking good IMHO.

I discovered that if you hold down the M (mode) button, it flips through various "equalizer" settings; I selected "Rock" as sounding the best, and it improved the bass response enough to move the sound quality from "acceptable" to "good". (Naturally I missed seeing this when I read the manual. Err, "instruction sheet", actually, as a single piece of paper folded six times does not a "manual" make.)

It won't play from both internal memory and the memory card at the same time; you have to stop playback and press the M button to switch modes. The shuffle setting is really random, in that it may play the same track again a few songs later. Big whoop, it was $20.

* * *

I've now read through volume 7 of Futari Ecchi. I had privately predicted that Yura was going to get pregnant at some point, and an accidental foray to chapter 78 proved me right.

The guys who posted this stuff didn't establish naming conventions, so things are out of order in spots; that's why I jumped from somewhere in the 50s to 78 all of a sudden--they left out the leading 0 for a while. I only saw the title of the chapter, which mentioned Yura and pregnancy; I then found the chapter I wanted and proceeded from there.

Doubtless that, and subsequent chapters, will deal with sex issues when a "couple" is pregnant. Pregnancy being a logical consequence of all the sex they have.

...if this story is any indication at all of how Japanese practice birth control, I fail to see how they can have such a low freaking birth rate. They--at least, the people in this comic--don't use the Pill; they rely on the rhythm method for most of their contraception and condoms for the rest of it.

Of course--abortion. What was I thinking.

* * *

Alex Kingston showed up in a Doctor Who episode. I liked her when she was in ER. (Yes, they're showing "Silence in the Library".)

Seems like a lot of faces I recognize turn up on that show these days even if I can't recall the names that go with them. Some are actors who had roles in classic DW episodes; others are people who I've seen elsewhere more recently, as is the case with Alex Kingston. Last week's ep, "The Wasp and the Unicorn"--I could have sworn I recognized the guy in the wheelchair, but not from where; again, though, I think he had a part in an classic DW ep or two.

It's probably safe to say that a lot of older, less-known British actors did a bit on DW, though, since it was a long-running show that always needed new cast members.

While waiting for DW to begin last night I caught another chunk of Monty Python's Flying Circus on BBC. They had the "Blancmanges Want to Win Wimbledon" sequence, where they turn everyone in England into Scotsmen (missed that part, dang it).

After DW was over, I hit the hay. I'm not into Stargate and there's nothing else on a Friday night I feel like watching, and I was tired for unknown reasons anyway.

* * *

One of the funniest moments in the Cat Girl Nuku Nuku OVA comes in ep 5, where Nuku Nuku is working at a restaurant. These four guys (designed to resemble Lum's Stormtroopers) are so enamored of Nuku Nuku that they're hanging around the place and eating just so they can see her.

There's this scene where the guy with glasses (after the Urusei Yatsura character, I'll call him "Megane", "glasses") decides he's going to ask her what her family situation is.

Megane: Nuku Nuku-san?
Nuku Nuku: [extra cute] Hai?

...and there he suffers a total brain crash, as Nuku Nuku's cuteness has utterly fried every neuron in his skull. The animation coupled with the voice acting just nails it. Then he screams, "I LOVE YOU!" and jumps on her, leading his cohorts to beat the everliving piss out of him, off screen; we hear the sound effects.

Megane later gets to ask his question, and when the four guys learn that she lives in an apartment with "Papa-san" and "Ryuunosuke"--and they see that Ryuunosuke is a young kid--they somehow become convinced that Papa-san is her lover and Ryuunosuke their child (!).

Megane: He's an evil, perverted, middle-aged man with a Lolita complex. I have to kill him.


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