February 2nd, 2008

On Ice

My home region of the US is no stranger to odd weather patterns, but sometimes things go above and beyond the norm.

Binghamton, NY was basically shut down yesterday because the entire city was covered in ice. That's right, ice. Not snow. Not hail. Not sleet. But ice. I'm not entirely sure how it got there, but a particularly nasty case of freezing rain may have been the culprit. My mom's (kyle_webb's) place of employment -- 5 minutes across town -- was closed as a result.

She sent me some pictures, and although they are low-quality (one was a cell phone cam pic, and the others were taken while it was getting dark, which both makes it hard to see details and made the camera more blur-prone) and surely pale by comparison to witnessing the spectacle firsthand, you can get some sense of what the city looked like today.

(Click on thumbnails for full-size images.)

Although there may be some residual snow on the ground in these pictures, most of what you see is ice. We typically don't get a whole lot of snow anyway -- nothing like the snow belt a couple hours north that gets dumped on every winter by Lake Ontario. It just comes and goes all winter long. And every once in a while, like this past day, things get a little more interesting.

There certainly was no need to visit one of our favorite stores on this occasion.

Watch your step...

Coming to you, live, from PHL...

Coming to you, live, from PHL...

Something odd happened with the datestamp on this two-part post, so I'm just reposting it and deleting the original to fix the problem. Apologies for any repeating.

Original post from 2007-12-29

I feel so damned technological. I'm on a layover at Philadelphia International Airport and I'm using the free wireless Internet service. I know airport Internet service is nothing new, but I've never seen signs for free airport-wide wifi until this trip. So either the "free" aspect is relatively new, or I've usually been too busy sprinting through airports to make my connections like Rush Limbaugh with a radical feminist-environmentalist-communist lesbian hot on his heels. (I'm not sure whether Mr. Limbaugh is even capable of running, but if anything could get him moving, that would surely be it.)

I'm even sitting in a chair right next to a garbage can just so I can plug in my AC adapter. Desperation or resourcefulness -- you be the judge.

The following was added 2008-01-28

I had some other lovely observations from this trip that I just have to relate.

First of all, the subsequent flight from Philadelphia to San Francisco was ... interesting. I'm thoroughly convinced that Satan, in infant form, was on my flight. I'm not just talking about crying, yelling, or even screaming -- this "child" managed to sustain a series of loud, high-pitched, blood curdling, bone-chilling, hydrogen-nuclei-fusing shrieks for the majority of the almost-six-hour flight. Now, I'm quite familiar with the concept that babies need to cry in airplanes because it helps them equalize their inner ear pressure. But one would think this principle would apply only during initial ascent and final descent, and that once the aircraft reached cruising altitude and achieved a stable internal pressure, further infant inner ear equalization would be unnecessary. Yet the banshee continued to serenade us for the full six hours.

The question which goes through my head at times like that is something along the lines of "Hello? Parents? You, um, gonna do anything about that?" Sure, short of stuffing a sock in the kid's trap, there's not much you can do to physically prevent "crying," for lack of a more suitable description for this incident's aural escapades; but surely some efforts could have been undertaken to sooth the poor little devil (no pun intended), and I got the impression no such efforts were being made. "Well, I don't feel like shutting this kid up, so you should all enjoy this along with me!" Either that, or the "parents" were undercover Intelligence operatives engaging in some form of infant interrogation that would surely be in violation of some Geneva provision. Come to think of it, I did see someone that looked an awful lot like Alberto Gonzalez up in First Class...

And to make matters even more interesting on this particular flight, some of the Dark One's minions periodically joined him/her/it in an unholy chorus of baby shrieks in full 5.1 Surround. Talk about in-flight entertainment.

Ahh, but back to the Philadelphia airport layover...

At one point, an announcement came over the airport intercom asking for a certain "Charles Brown" to pick up Line 2. All I could think when I heard it was, "Wouldn't it be more fitting if the intercom announcement just sounded something like 'Wah wa wa waah wah waaah, wa wah wah waaah wahh?'"

And then there was the TV news segment I caught out of the corner of my eye featuring a commentary by some expert/analyst by the name of "Dick Pound." I truly believe, if I were him, that I'd be far more inclined to go by "Rick" or "Richard." But that's just me.

Anyway, somebody please remind me to bring a pocket guide to exorcism next time I fly, okay? Or, maybe just a spare sock...