Monthly Archives: May 2004

Yap Spared Second Storm

Tropical Storm Omais proved little more than a source of concern on Tuesday, as the storm passed southwest of Yap and brought only rainy weather. Meteorologists say the storm was weakened by the presence of Typhoon Nida just off the Philippines.

Donations are still being accepted for Yap

  • Monetary donations can be made at the Federated States of Micronesia Consulate General’s office. Call (671) 646-9154/5/6.
  • The Ayuda Foundation is accepting donations. Call (671) 473-3005.
  • Guam Community College has asked people attending its graduation on Friday to bring relief supplies to be sent to Yap.

Some Statistics

One nice thing about the new blogger: hidden away in my blogger profile are some interesting statistics.

On Blogger Since April 2002
Avg Posts Per Week 12
Posts Written 1,375
Words Written 139,771
Outbound Links 3,198
Avg Links Per Post 2.33
Avg Words Per Post 101.65

Okay, I cooked up the last couple myself, but they seemed interesting numbers.

Yap Gets Another Typhoon

Yap braces for storm that may become typhoon –

Less than six weeks after getting hit by the one of the most destructive typhoons in its history, Yap and its outer islands face the possibility of getting hit by another storm.

A tropical storm formed over the weekend and is expected to pass right between Yap and its southern outer island Ngulu — similar to the route taken by Typhoon Sudal on April 9, said National Weather Service meteorologist Mike Middlebrooke.

As of yesterday afternoon, the tropical storm’s sustained winds had reached 45 mph, and the storm, though still fairly weak, was forecast to possibly strengthen into a typhoon as it passes Yap today, Middlebrooke said. The typhoon poses no danger to Guam or other Mariana Islands.

As of this morning, the storm was packing winds of 60 knots (69 mph). The updated storm track has the center of the storm passing directly over the main islands of Yap this afternoon. This is not good for the island, especially since so many are still homeless and living in tents.

Sky & Telescope Interactive Sky Chart

Just time enough for one really excellent web site: Sky & Telescope Interactive Sky Chart This is a great Java application that puts up a sky chart tailor made for any latitude & longitude on earth. I really appreciate the addition of transient, newly discovered objects like comets and asteroids into the sky chart. It makes locating Comet NEAR really easy in the evening sky. Check it out!

Typhoon Season Starts Early This Year

Well that typhoon that popped up west of Palau late last week is currently tearing up the eastern coast of the Philippines. Supertyphoon Nida is packing sustained winds of 140 knots, with gusts to 170 knots. For the landlubbers, that is plenty nasty. That translates too sustained winds of about 161 mph with gusts to 195 mph.

Hot on the heels of Nida comes another tropical depression resolving itself into a tropical storm. Tropical Storm 6W is currently 542 miles south/southwest of Guam and tracking to the northwest. Current storm track has it passing just south of Yap in about a day, just as it strengthens into a typhoon. Winds are currently sustained at 40 knots, with gusts to 50 knots.

I hope the storm bypasses Yap, the islands are still reeling from Typhoon Sudal. So many storms so early in the year is not a good sign though. I got this feeling 2004 is going to be a bad one for typhoons.

Night Out

I guess it’s time to post a few photos from recent outings. A coworker is leaving island this month, which was the impetus for series of happy hour get togethers with the office buddies. Here’s a few photos from those evenings

Sam Choy’s
First off, here’s a few photos from a couple weeks ago at Sam Choy’s in Tumon. We ended up with a pretty big crowd, even though it was a Tuesday night.

Jesika & Rich
Here’s Jesika, the woman of the hour, with her husband Rich.

The crowd at Sam Choy's
A group photo, but most people are in darkness at the rear.

Darryl & Liz
Here’s Darryl, who took most of these photos, and Liz.

Chris makes a point
That’s Christine making some point or other, with Bob smiling behind her.

Cheers! That’s my Heineken just left of center.

Christine laughs
Christine’s laughing pretty hard because I just grabbed her tongue a moment before.

Well that’s all the photos I’ll post from Sam Choy’s. It was a fun night, but it broke up early. Probably best for a work night.

Quiz Nite
Last Thursday was Quiz Nite, a fundraiser for Habitat For Humanity. My company bought tickets for two teams and I got asked to join one team. Quiz Nite was held at the Marriott. I brought my camera and took some photos.

Pacificare Polymaths
Here’s some of my team, the Pacificare Polymaths. Mary Kleschen, G’nette Datu and Jesika Zellner.

Another shot of my team
Another photo of our team, but with me tossed into the mix.

Gus takes drink orders
Marketing manager Gus Sablan gets our drink orders.

Team 6
And here’s our other company team. Patrick, Joe, Maricon, Flom, Joan, & Clarence.

The Polymaths plus Al
My team again, with the late arriving Al Almira.

Our prize
We ended up in fourth place, and we each took home a bottle of wine. Not bad.

Well that’s enough navel-gazing for now. I got some more pictures, including a surprise dinner I ate tonight, but I’ll keep that for tomorrow. Till then, goodnight, sleep tight, don’t let the bedbugs bite.

For The Love Of Sweet Meat

KSHE bumper stickerI’ve been meaning to talk about this story I read over on Kuro5hin a couple weekends ago, the Birth of a label-sanctioned pirate radio station. I skimmed over the introductory paragraph at first, and then I realized the author was talking about KSHE 95!

I guess you had to grow up in St. Louis to understand the power of KSHE. It was the quintessential rock radio station, regularly playing rock that the other stations in St. Louis wouldn’t touch with a ten foot pool. Aphrodite’s Child, Brownsville Station, Foghat, Ozzy Osbourne, the list goes on and on. KSHE wasn’t afraid of playing the long songs either, like In-a-gadda-da-vida or Careful with that axe, Eugene. Every Sunday night KSHE played the Seventh Day, an entire album uncut and without commercials. It was heaven.

I feel a close connection to KSHE. I grew within spitting distance of KSHE’s studios, a crappy little house in Crestwood butted up next to the Route 66 Drive-In on Watson Road. This was about a mile from my house and I passed it almost everyday. To me the sitcom WKRP In Cincinnati was inspired by the story of KSHE, a small station turning from an easy listening format to progressive rock overnight, with a crazy collection of DJ’s and loonies running the place. That was KSHE.

The Sweet Meat I rememberThe new Sweet Meat at KSHEKSHE’s mascot was a pig wearing shades and dangling a smoke from his lips. Sweet Meat showed up on everything, bumperstickers, frisbees, hats, t-shirts. KSHE still sells Sweet Meat stuff, but somewhere along the line he lost the cigarette.

I don’t listen to KSHE anymore. For a while they streamed audio over the internet, but that stopped several years ago. They moved from Crestwood ages ago too. Now they are located in Union Station in downtown St. Louis, and the Route 66 Drive-In is a Best Buy store with a mammoth parking lot. I’m not sure what they play these days, but I hope to God it’s still Real Rock Radio.

Somewhere in the late 80’s, the brand of rock that KSHE played became “Classic Rock.” Perhaps it was a sign of the times, or maybe just the maturation of the format, I don’t know. At the time it seemed like KSHE was relegated to playing nothing but Doobie Brothers and Creedence. My musical tastes were broadening, and I branched out to KDHX and the wild wooly world of community radio.

We got a rock station out here in Guam, eponymously called The Rock. It’s not bad, but it plays a too much new stuff instead of the rock I grew up listening too (a classic sign I am getting too old). Instead I spend most of my time listening to KPRG, Guam’s only public radio outlet, which plays a steady stream of jazz, folk, classical and alternative indie rock, along with a couple jammin’ shows that remind me of KSHE in its heyday.

Still, I occasionally find myself pining for the radio of my youth, KSHE 95 Real Rock Radio and the memories it evokes. The music was good and even back then I realized how special that radio station was. The only comparable connection I have to the music of my youth is to Streetside Records, which was the epitome of a record store to me and my generation. But that great store over by Webster University, less than a mile from my house and chock full of great music, closed down over a decade ago and moved to a generic strip mall store out in Crestwood. But I’ll save that for another day I guess.

Local News Roundup

Let’s take a quick tour through headlines on Guam

XML Database Articles

I’ve been doing a lot of reading lately on XML databases. These links are for me really, so I have them at hand for future reference.

Typhoon Alley

This thing just appeared out of nowhere. Yesterday there was no storm, just a long line of disturbed weather in the Western Pacific. Today, a tropical storm coalesced out of the disturbance west of Palau. It poses no threat to Guam or even poor Yap, but I am amazed at how quickly this thing formed and developed into a tropical storm. People in the Philippines better watch out, it’s heading directly for Luzon.

The satellite loop shows lots of feeder band activity in Palau. Weather reports from the Palau airport indicated steady rain, increasing in intensity over the last day. I’m sure it will dwindle off at the storm heads off to the north.

Mainly I am worried that 2004 will be another year for typhoons, and that Guam will be struck again, just like in 2002. I really don’t want to go through that again, I shudder just to think of it.

Burt Rutan Pushes To The Edge Of Space

In-Flight Photo of SpaceShipOne &copy Scaled CompositesThursday marked another milestone for aerospace pioneer Burt Rutan and his company Scaled Composites. The company’s privately designed and funded spacecraft, SpaceShipOne, flew it’s third power flight on May 13th, reaching a height of 212,000 feet. This is within striking distance of 329,000 feet, the threshold of space required to claim the Ansari X-Prize.

To claim the prize SpaceShipOne needs to reach 329,000 feet with two paying passengers, return to Earth, and repeat the process within three weeks. Scaled Composites has issued no timetable, but they are widely expected to attempt to reach space and claim the X-Prize next month.

Sign me up, I’ve always wanted to visit space.

Two Quick Space Notes

Time for a couple quick links about space before I head to the office.

  1. BBC NEWS | Science/Nature | Hubble sees ‘planet’ around star – Hubble spotted a planet orbiting a white dwarf star, the first direct observation of an extra-solar planet.
  2. ESA – Proba – Great Wall of China seen from space – The same European satellite that took that picture of San Francisco I posted last week has photographed the Great Wall of China from space, finally putting to rest a myth that the Great Wall is the only man made structure visible from orbit. Sure it is, if the observer has a really powerful telephoto zoom on a camera. Otherwise tough cookies.

Raiders Of The Lost Ark

Well not exactly. More like despoilers of the exposed road project. More than a year after uncovering an ancient Chamoru burial site on the Route 4 highway project in Yona, it is apparent that the ancient remains at the Ylig site were destroyed by exposure to the elements. Wind, rain, landslides and feral dogs destroyed the bones that were unearthed last year, while the Department of Public Works frittered and wasted time looking for an archaeological firm that would do the work pro-bono.

There is a public meeting today at 5:00 pm in the Yona community center to discuss this mess, and the never ending road project that was stalled by the discovery of the remains. While the road is entirely paved up by my house (at last!) nothing has been done at the bottom end of the project since the backhoes dug up the burials in April 2003.

Blogger Revamps

Well, it looks like Blogger’s gone ahead and made a new interface overnight. It looked totally different when I posted that bit about the space plane than last night’s post about boat charter and photo album.

I’m not at all sure I like it, the old layout served me well and it had a simple, yet stylish design. This new one has a distinctly kindergarten feel to it, with the big, oversize buttons and rounded text. My first reaction is “Blah, who designed this crappy layout?” But it looks like there are some new features and whatnot, so I guess I can get used to this new infantile look.