Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Hurricane Ike: My Timeline

Monday, September 08, 2008

01:05 pm: First warning message from UH about Hurricane Ike.

Thursday, September 11, 2008

10:25 am: Announcement - University of Houston Closes at 5 p.m. September 11, 2008

02:00 pm: Project Demo

05:00 pm: Decided not to evacuate.

05:30 pm: Bought hurricane supplies, stores ran out of supplies.

10:00 pm: Reached friend’s place at Holly Hall Apartments (Shelter 1) for pre-hurricane party.

Friday, September 12, 2008

12:00 am: Tequila starts flowing, all ten of us start playing Counter-strike.

06:00 am: Tequila and CS stops, whiskey and loud rock music start.

10:00 am: Everyone falls asleep/leaves.

04:00 pm: Woke up.

05:00 pm: Curfew announced in evacuated parts of Houston from 07:00 pm.

Decided to stay with friends during hurricane, rather than at home.

06:00 pm: Reached home, packed and went back to Shelter 1.

09:00 pm: Four of us cooked food, stored water in bathtub, and satisfied ourselves that we are prepared.

Winds picked up, sky clouded over. We start following news channels, storm trackers, etc.

09:30 pm: Five more friends came over. We cooked more food, assembled supplies. Had dinner.

Rain starts falling. Clearlake area flooded.

10:30 pm: Found duct tape, so taped up windows and covered them with blankets to avoid flying shrapnel in case windows break.

11:10 pm: Power goes out. We lit up one large candle that we had. Talked about ghosts, calling spirits, and other campfire-style conversations.

Winds howling and whistling loudly, house shaking. Rain falling horizontally.

Saturday, September 13, 2008

01:00 am: Started playing Dumb-Charades.

Kept opening the door a crack and peeking out. Trees flailing about wildly, Metal roof panels flying off. Ceiling and walls developed slow leaks. Galveston Island decimated. Cell phone reception extremely poor, but available.

04:00 am: Hurricane Ike passes exactly overhead. We don’t notice.

05:30 am: Bored of charades, we decide to play cards. Then we realize storm is passing.

06:45 am: Rain stops, winds slow down. Everyone falls asleep.

10:00 am: We wake up, examine the house. Everything is ok.

10:30 am: Quick breakfast, and we leave to check out the city.

Walls, fencing broken, roof panels lying around. Chimney tops, ventilator units fallen off.

10:45 am: Reached bridge over Highway TX-288. Stopped because of parked cars.

Entire Highway flooded under 6+ feet water. Feels like we’re on a bridge over a river.

Broken traffic signals, fallen trees everywhere.

11:15 am: Reached University.

Fallen trees and electric poles blocking most of the streets. A carpet of leaves on everything we could see, like a green blanket of snow. Found 12 feet of water under IH-45. Traffic lights barely above water.

12:00 pm: Reached Downtown

Entire central downtown blocked off by police cars and we were ordered to go back home. Saw many broken windows on a few sky-scrapers.

12:45 pm: Dropped off friends at Shelter 1, and went to check out my apartment.

Roommates alive, everyone else also safe. 3rd floor of almost all buildings blown off. This complex suffered the most damage I had seen until then. Few small leaks inside my room, and some water had gotten in from the front door.

05:00 pm: After a lot of discussions, plans and cancellations, decided to go with some friends to College Station until electricity is restored. (Initial estimates range between 1 day to 6 weeks).

05:30 pm: Reached Shelter 1. Decided to move with friends to nearby Harvest Hill Apartments (Shelter 2) which miraculously still had electricity.

Cell phone reception horrible, Networks congested, extremely low water pressure. Shelter 2 was like a Indian Students’ refugee camp with some 15 of us living there, and another 10 or so coming to cook and eat.

10:00 pm: Cleaned up, had dinner, got in touch with everyone, exchanged information. 15 of us start playing Counter-strike.

Sunday, September 14, 2008.

06:00 am: Stopped playing, fell asleep.

03:00 pm: Woke up, got ready. Found out grocery store was open, so went and bought food.

06:33 pm: University to reopen on Tuesday morning. Attendance optional for this week.

10:00 pm: Cooked, ate, and started playing CS again.

Monday, September 15, 2008.

06:00 am: Stopped playing, fell asleep.

03:30 pm: Woke up, ate, went home to see how things were, and then came back.

09:00 pm: Ate, found out electricity had been restored at Scotland Yard Apartments (Shelter 3), where one of us lived.

10:00 pm: Moved to Shelter 3, settled down, and started playing CS. Again.

Tuesday, September 16, 2008.

07:00 am: Stopped playing, fell asleep.

12:00 pm: Woke up, went to university to get some food. Came back, cleaned up, watched movies, listened to music, chatted. Usual time-pass. Created this blog and entered old posts. Decided to go to the university next day.

10:00 pm: Ate, and went for project meeting. (Life getting back to normal).

11:00 pm: Realized Holly Hall Apartments (Shelter 1) had lights. So packed up and went there.

11:10 pm: Found complete darkness at Shelter 1. Power was out again.

11:20 pm: Came back to Shelter 3, and then.. guess what? Right – started playing CS.

Wednesday, September 17, 2008.

05:00 am: Stopped playing, but stayed up talking.

07:00 am: Fell asleep.

02:17 pm: Woke up. (Too late, so no university today).

03:30 pm: Moved back to Shelter 1, cleaned up the place, and settled down to wait for power to get back at home. I hope its not going to be too long a wait. Oh and wrote this entry.

Saturday, September 20, 2008.

02:58 pm: Power comes back to Catalina Village(home).

Monday, September 22, 2008.

08:10 pm: Moved back home. Finally it ends.

Tuesday, October 9, 2007

The Nature of Life

It is 2:22 AM on a Tuesday, and I realized I’ve begun to understand the nature of Life. Those of you who have read my previous blog (2005) may realize that I'm referring to the entity, which controls everything around us, as not The Fates, but Life. I now think that Life is that entity, whose material form we see around us, which defines and completes our existence, and not the abstract concept of The Fate. I don’t mean to say that I don’t believe in Fate anymore, but Life seems to hold so much more power, that I am now inclined to explore it deeper.

What I have come to believe at this point of my... life... is that Life has something in store for all of us, an end which will finally help us make sense of this hopelessly confusing existence we call our lives. I have decided to trust Life, and peek out of my shell, to open the box, and see what life has in store for me. Unlike John Locke [LOST, Season 1], I do not believe it is our destiny to open the box, but that we shall ultimately reach our destiny, if we can accept the 'gifts' Life bestows upon us. I say 'gifts' because sometimes, or maybe usually, we do not like what Life hands out, but when I look back at an unpleasant 'gift' sometime down the line, I realize that it wasn’t so bad after all, because handling that unpleasantness taught me something new, and made me a better person. Like Calvin's Dad says "(if you don’t love it) It will build character"[Calvin and Hobbes, Jan 1986].

The reason I’m rambling on like this in the middle of the night, is that I was wondering why I don’t feel scared, or sad about being so, so far away from my family and friends. I think it’s because that I have put my trust in Life, and am eager to see what’s out there, past the horizon of time that I cannot see beyond.

Sunday, October 23, 2005

The Fates

Ever get the feeling the fates have a very dark sense of humor? Either that.. or we are too uncomprehending of the nature of the universe. I’m talking about the way life treats us.. (or is it just me? I don’t know..) running smooth and simple at times, just as we like it. Or full of problems and difficulties for us to conquer, the times we like to look back at later and say.. man those were tough times.

I’m not being ungrateful here.. I do realize how fortunate I am to be where I am today.. I know hundreds (thousands?) would give up their own lives to be in my place.. but I’m trying to decipher the way the fates work.

All my life I’v had comforts.. there had been no desire to excel.. to plan for the future.. but as I’v grown and matured I’v begun to have aspirations, dreams, desires. The fate has been somewhat kind, giving me the determination to see my aspirations fulfilled. But always.. and I mean always.. something has come up which completely dazes me.. disheartens me.

Now days I know what I want, and what I must do to get it. I even have the desire to do so… but still there are obstruction in the path. This is what I wonder. Why are these obstructions always there? And why does life enter endlessly long, completely dark tunnels ever so often? Why am I black more often than not? Like now for instance.. I have an exam in a few hours.. I know its important.. I know I have to study.. and I wanted to… but I wasn’t able to. Stuff came up which I could not ignore.. now its night.. I still have time.. but I don’t know where to begin… Its probably all foolishness on my part.. I should have planned and prepared better.. but my point is.. why should I need to plan at all? I want to do well in an exam.. for that I have to study. I want to study. Yet life doesn’t allow me to? Why?

I suppose your answer would be that the obstructions make the desires much stronger.. makes the final achievement that much sweeter.. the victory that much grander.. and I agree.. nothing pleases man more than a battle well fought.. and won. But yet I wonder.. is that how it has to be? Why face any difficulty at all? What would the world be like if we all had honest aspirations, unflinching faith, used just means to achieve those aspirations and faced no problems in doing so. Would we really be losing out on something? I don’t know.

Its easy to say.. c’est la vie .. this is life.. this is how it is.. and keep doing the same thing over and over again… but what if we don’t want to? Come to think of it.. what cause problems.. what is the very core of the phenomenon of problems? It may finally be people. In the end.. we are the architects of all our problems. Or are we… I don’t know… is it possible to eliminate all problems that we have by making sure we don’t create problems for anyone else?