Besides being a complete failure of blogging, 2011 can be describes as the year I could have done without.( An unblogged yearCollapse )
May the year to come be an improvement in all respects. May family and friends be healthy and happy, the weather be kind, and the earth steady. Best wishes to you all for 2012.
There are so many ways that this set of floods could be even worse:
- The rain stopped on Tuesday night. If it had kept raining in the catchment and down in the city, the water would have been higher and faster, and rescue crews would have had a much more difficult time. The sunshine has been very, very welcome.
- It's early January. This is the quietest time of year for many businesses and industries, and many people were already with their families rather than travelling for business.
- It's school holidays. There were no groups of children isolated in classrooms, or swept away by the tsunami in the western hills.
- It's warm. Hypothermia is always possible, of course, but nothing like for the people isolated and made homeless by the snowstorms in the US.
- We have well trained emergency personnel (who have had a lot of recent practice with flooding...) and disaster management plans at all levels from private businesses to the state and federal levels. Without them, there could have been chaos.
- We have the technology to detect and track rainstorms, and to model water flows in catchments and rivers. This meant that information was available far enough in advance of most of the flooding (through tragically, not for Toowoomba) that most people were able to self-evacuate in time.
- We have a culture that emphasises helping out in the community, which has resulted in there being so many people trying to volunteer to help out that there wasn't work for all of them to do. Volunteers were being turned away from the evacuation centres and sandbagging depots last night for lack of work, and the Volunteering Queensland website keeps going down under the weight of people trying to register to help with the cleanup.
There are places in the world right now that are experiencing catastrophic floods that don't have all of these mitigating factors: The Phillippines
, and Brazil, where 250 people have died
. Small mercies cannot comfort the people that have lost loved ones and homes right here, but we can be thankful for them nonetheless, and remember that not every country is as lucky.
This is a copy of Brisbane City Council's high-tide innundation map for today. I have added the labels, so my apologies if some of them are incorrect.
Toowoomba, Gratham and the worst-hit parts of the Upper Lockyer valley are off the map to the left (West), while I actually live just of the map to the right (East).
Expected flood peak levels are currently 20.5m in Ipswich around now, and 4.5m at Brisbane CBD at 1am tomorrow morning. The Brisbane River was 3m and rising in the CBD this morning.( click for giant pictureCollapse )
There's no flooding worse than a lot of puddles where I live, but parts of the city centre are very soggy this afternoon, and there are evacuations happening in a few places, especially up towards the Sunshine Coast. If you've seen the news at all, you'll know Toowoomba and the townships downstream were very badly hit yesterday afternoon, so please spare a thought (and a prayer if you're that way inclined) for the people up that way.
To get the idea, see video of the water rising in one of the Toowoomba creeks yesterday
. That is in real time!
At some point tonight, all that water will reach the wall of Wivenhoe dam, which is Brisbane's last-ditch flood barrier. The dam is currently at 150% or normal capacity (it's designed to take up to 200%), so they've been releasing water all day in order to create enough space for the incoming flood. That's not helping the flooding downstream, of course, but at this point they've gone for a slow and steady water level rise rather than a tsunami. I really wouldn't want to be one of the dam engineers today - talk about a stressful job!
Everyone was sent home from the office late this morning and asked to work from home until further notice, just to keep people off the roads and public transport. As far as flood-effects go, I'm not complaining about that one at all.
:blows dust off journal:
So, the reason I haven't posted in ages is not because I don't like ony of the few people who might be interested in anything I post, but mostly because I have a habit of planning posts in my head, but then once I have something suitably witty, I feel like I've already said it, and so saying it again isn't needed. And also because I could win Olympic gold in the procrastination event, assuming I ever got around to entering! Is that enough of an excuse, do you think?
As a token to prove my bona fides (I was
thinking about posting, I promise), I give you the contents of my 'To Rec on LJ' bookmarks category, for your time-wasting enjoyment:( Things I meant to Tell You AboutCollapse )
Today was a good day.
I've been incommunicado due to recurring workaholism and a bad attack of deadlines for a while now, but it's done and in (a year's worth of programming!), and looks to have been worth it, so hurrah! ( Cut for smugness...Collapse )
So,I now have my life, or at least my spare time, back within reach and will hopefully be actually responsive to the rest of the world again. My apologies to everyone who has emailed me - I loved hearing from you, but have been terrible at replying. Expect to hear back shortly.
Hugs to Everyone - may your weekends be awesome.
I should have been working this weekend, in advance of very scary deadlines in the very near future which I had planned to render less scary by getting more done...
There are always too many distractions around, though! I think the weekend needs to be an extra day longer, so I can get in a normal weekend *plus* at least a day's worth of uninterrupted work. (It's no good trying for that during the week - my teammates are showing a tendency to panic if they can't ask questions every five minutes. This may be a form of revenge for my own hissy fit early last week that ensured my own stress levels were evenly shared out around the team ... fair call if so. But still not helpful. )
In the meantime, I have distracted myself with the application of dark chocolate in tasty quantities, a night's dancing (*much* better than my last attempt at the same) and watching the goings-on in Vancouver on the seldom-used TV, while trying not to listen to the accompanying commentary. I rarely watch commercial TV (or any TV, really) and sport is rarer yet... are all sports presenters as inane as Eddie McGuire? He was so totally outclassed by Jonny Weir in that snippet of an interview! As far as actual sport goes, I caught some of the women's aerials (fairly predictable), super-G slalom (I'd love to ski that run - looks fun) the men's ski jump (fly!) and several replays of the bobsledders hurtling down their track on their heads, surviving only to be accosted by very rude and clueless interviewers at the bottom; I'm not sure which part of that would have been worst.
Oh well, it seems to be Monday again. Am I allowed to object?
I sat down at the keyboard tonight for the first time in years and years... amazingly it still worked despite being in storage in my parent's attic for the better part of the last decade. Working keyboard sadly does not equal recognisable tune, however; I appear to have completely forgotten how to read bass clef.
I suspect the clarinet music might be an easier read, but I *really* doubt my neighbours would be happy about ghastly noises at this time of night. The keyboard, at least, has a volume control.
I think I need to go looking for some beginner's music books. And then practice a lot. And then I may eventually get back to the 'pretty dreadful' level of skill that I was when I was learning piano the first time :). Wish me luck!