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I climbed on the back of a giant albatross... and ended up somewhere in Scotland

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May 2001

Excerpts from my journal in May 2001....

May 9, 2001  - "... we got two hamsters this past weekend"... named Honey and Fudge.  "That brings the total pet count to 15.  Two cats, two rabbits, three guinea pigs, five fish, two hamsters and a horse."

May 10, 2001 - "I'm house-sitting for my B&B landlady and her husband while they're down in London for the next two weeks.  Home at weekends as usual of course."

May 15, 2001 - "I went for a walk along the Solway in Carsethorn on Sunday.  Yesterday, I walked around Milngavie a bit north of here in Glasgow... Also went to Bearsden and took a look at the Roman bath ruins... which was sort of interesting.  It was along the Antonine Wall.  Today I just walked up to Anniesland Cross and back.  I'm trying to exercise more..."

"We had an earthquake in Dumfries Sunday morning.  So that was interesting.  At 9:30am we felt a rumbling and heard something odd.  When Jenny said her boyfriend Andy felt the same thing on the other side of town (she was on the phone to him), I knew it had to have been something big... perhaps a plane crash or explosion.  It turned out to be a 2.9 magnitude earthquake.  This was the biggest tremor in the Dumfries area since the early '80's."

May 21. 2001 - "It was Linda's 47th birthday yesterday.  We celebrated by going out to dinner in Rockcliffe along with Jenny and Andy." ... "Today's Meggie the horse's birthday.  I think she's 8."

Doesn't look good


Japan nuclear plant: Just 48 hours to avoid 'another Chernobyl'

Gordon Rayner and Martin Evans
Last Updated: 11:10PM GMT 16/03/2011

Japan has 48 hours to bring its rapidly escalating nuclear crisis under control before it faces a catastrophe “worse than Chernobyl”, it was claimed last night.

Nuclear safety officials in France said they were “pessimistic” about whether engineers could prevent a meltdown at the Fukushima power plant after a pool containing spent fuel rods overheated and boiled dry.

Last night radiation levels were “extremely high” in the stricken building, which was breached by an earlier explosion, meaning that radiation could now escape into the atmosphere. Tokyo Electric, the owners of the plant, said five workers had been killed at the site, two were missing and 21 had been injured.

Last night a US nuclear safety chief said that the Japanese government had failed to acknowledge the full seriousness of the situation at the Fukushima plant and that warnings to citizens had been insufficient and understated.

Gregory Jaczko, the chairman of the United States Nuclear Regulatory Commission, warned that if “extremely high” radiation levels increased it would become impossible for workers to continue to take “corrective measures” at the plant as they would be forced to flee.

As Japan resorted to increasingly desperate measures — including dumping water on the site from helicopters — there were accusations that the situation was now “out of control”.

Read more...Collapse )

October 2005


Still catching up on this.... Here are some things going on in my journal about 5 years ago...

October 2005

- Irene is in the hospital still (since early July) and has taken a turn for the worse, despite an operation. She dies in late October.

- I go on a course in Manchester for work

- aftermath of Hurricane Katrina

- Earthquake in Pakistan

I didn't feel it


From the Beeb:

Minor earthquake strikes Dumfries

An earthquake measuring 2.3 on the Richter scale has hit parts of Dumfries and Galloway.

The tremor was recorded early on Monday evening, with the epicentre on farmland near Newbridge.

According to the British Geological Survey the earthquake had an intensity rating of three, which is described as a fairly weak vibration.

Dumfries was the centre of a quake measuring 3.5 on the Richter scale on Boxing Day 2006.

A number of people reported on social networking sites that they had felt Monday evening's quake.

Some Twitter users said their houses had been shaken by the tremor at about 1800 BST.

Earthquake monitor


I have this USGS Seismic thingamajig on my iPhone which is pretty cool. It tells you the locations and sizes of all the recent earthquakes in the world over the past day or so... sort of a continuous rolling list. You'd be surprised how many earthquakes there are every day. Usually 5.0 or below... but quite a few of them.

January and February 1995.... 15 years ago

Here is what was happening in my hardcopy journal 15 years ago...

 - I turn 30 years old...

 - The O.J. Simpson trial is going on at this time, which is of great interest to me...  Other things of interest include the Kobe Japan earthquake, Chechnya and Newt Gingrich...

- My wife, F, is accepted into Smith College... in the Master's degree in Social Work program. 

"Quite an accomplishment.  Smith is the best school in the country for an MSW.  F wants to be a social worker and maybe even continue on to someday get a doctorate in psychiatry or something.  Sounds like a good plan... 

Problem is...  Smith College is not only a very good and prestigious school but also an expensive school.  Education is not cheap.

And now F was just offered a pretty good paying job...  So we're both now trying to decide what the future will be."

Pat Robertson on Haiti


Pat Robertson says:

"You know ... something happened a long time ago in Haiti. … They got together and swore a pact to the Devil,"

"They said, 'We will serve you if you get us free from the French.' True story."

That's right: Robertson seems to suggest the Haitians brought the earthquake on themselves, in a deal with Satan.

"And so, the Devil said, 'OK, it's a deal.' And they kicked the French out," he went on. "You know, the Haitians revolted and got themselves free. But ever since, they have been cursed by one thing after another."

Chinese Disasters

China has had its share of big disasters alright. In fact, it's downright accident-prone. Here are some of the big ones throughout the years which hold world-records...

1556 Shaanxi Earthquake - This earthquake is thought to have killed 830,000 people. The biggest ever death toll... Other huge Chinese earthquakes, each killing over 100,000 people were in 1290, 1920, 1927 and 1976.

1642 Kaifeng Seawall Disaster - This biggest man-made flood was caused when Chinese rebels destroyed a seawall, drowning 300,000 people.

Huang He River (aka Hwang Ho aka Yellow River) Floods - Estimates of the deaths caused when this river flooded in 1887 and 1931 were 900,000 and 3,700,000 respectively... The deadliest floods ever.

1948 Shipwreck - 6,000 people went down with the ship in this deadliest ever shipwreck, that of a Chinese army evacuation ship. In comparison, the Titanic death count was about one quarter as much.

1845 Canton Fire - The deadliest single building fire of all-time occurred in a theatre in Canton, China. The death toll was 1,670.

Dumfries Earthquake

Jenny and Linda felt this.... I was still dozing, tho...

From the BBC:

Dumfries is shaken by earthquake

An earthquake measuring 3.5 on the Richter scale has shaken parts of Dumfries and Galloway.

People living in and around Dumfries said they felt two tremors at about 1040 GMT on Boxing Day.


The British Geological Survey said the earthquake was the largest in the UK this year.

Bennett Simpson, a seismologist with the BGS in Edinburgh, said: "This was a significant earthquake, but we would expect one or two of this magnitude every year.


"We have taken a number of calls from people in the Dumfries area reporting windows rattling, houses shaking and hearing a large bang."

A police spokesman in Dumfries said it had lasted for about 10 seconds.

"We weren't sure what it was, then the phones started ringing and they haven't stopped. It was actually scary," he said.

The spokesman added that no injuries or damage had been reported.


10 Things

I got tagged to do this by sassyshel
RULES: Each player of this game starts off with 10 weird things/habits/little known facts about yourself. People who get tagged need to write a blog of their own 10 weird habits/things/little known facts as well as state this rule clearly. At the end you need to choose 10 people to be tagged and list their names.

1. I once had a bean from the game "Don't Spill the Beans" stuck in my nose.

2. I was a boy scout.

3. I've shaken hands with Douglas Wilder.

4. I'm at my beardiest ever at the moment.

5. I used to be in the Boston University MBA program (for about a week)

6. A grandfather of mine died as a result of a tsunami caused by the Alaskan earthquake of 1964.

I'm Time's Man of the Year.  And so are You.

8. I used to date a Korean, a Burmese and a Hong Kong-ese girl (but not simultaneously)

9. I have never been on a horse.

10. I don't have an abnormal fondness for cheese, but hundreds (perhaps thousands) think I do.
I won't tag anyone, but feel free...

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