so, we really dodged a bullet with hurricane dennis, guys. my power never even went out. when i returned home from houston today, my alarm clock still had the right time. thank heaven for fast-moving storms. it could have been so much worse. mobile has basically no damage (and neither does dauphin island) and only a few power outages. i know that pensacola and navarre beaches have some pretty bad damage, as does flomaton (i'm never riding out another storm there b/c of ivan) and the rest of escambia county, alabama. my mom and little sis stayed at my granny's house in bratt, fl (~40 miles north of pensacola, for those who are unfamiliar with the area), and there are trees down all over the place there. they don't have power or phones, and there are two big trees blocking the road (and laying on the power and phone lines), so they can't get out with the cars. thank heaven for cell phones or i'd have no idea what was going on with them.
anyway, while many of you were in the area riding out hurricane dennis without the luxury of air conditioning, chad and i were having a lovely time in houston. this was our first visit to texas, and i must say, it's pretty nice. for a big city, houston isn't that hard to get around in. it's much better (in my humble opinion) than atlanta. i'm not a fan of atlanta. it scares me. but houston doesn't. it was nice. while hurricane dennis was making landfall yesterday, chad and i were at the johnson space center taking a tour of NASA. it was really cool. we got to sit in the viewing area of the historic mission control center (which was used up until 1996) and listen to the tapes of such historic phrases as, "houston, we have a problem" from apollo 13 and "one small step for man, one giant leap for mankind" from the first moon landing. apparently, "houston" was the first word spoken on the moon. we also got to see the astronaut training facility and mock-ups (which are life-sized, sometimes even working versions) of the international space station, its components, and the space shuttles. along with the tour, we saw all that the johnson space center has to offer tourists, including samples of moon rocks and soil, various presentations, and exhibits. and we did it all for the price of one admission ($17.95), thanks to the coupon books offered at the texas welcome center, with which i was very impressed. they had free (very detailed) texas maps with all of the major tourist attractions marked, which came in handy for finding our way around town, along with coupons and information for most of the tourist attractions in nearly every city in texas. the houston coupon book also included a coupon for buy one, get one free tickets (and not just the nosebleeds) for the houston aeros for any game in the 2005-2006 season (hint, hint). chad and i picked up 4 coupon books, in case anyone wants to catch some ahl hockey action (and possibly see some former ice pilots?) this season. chad and i have already thought this out. houston is about an hour and a half from beaumont, tx, where the echl's texas wildcatters play. we figure we could really make a trip of it, and catch an ice pilots game in beaumont and an aeros game in houston. to get to houston, we had to drive through beaumont, and let me tell you, it's pretty big. we scoped out the ford arena, the wildcatters' home building, and it looks really awesome from the outside. it is conveniently located right on I-10 on the outskirts of the city, so there's no confusing traffic getting in. we should check out the schedules and make plans for this. chad and i are excited about it.
something i'm less than excited about is tropical depression #5 out in the atlantic. chad thinks i'm a crazy weather channel addict (and perhaps i am) and that i shouldn't worry about this, but i like to be informed. anyway, t.d. #5 is expected to become a tropical storm soon, to be named emily. then, it is expected to continue on a westward track into the northern caribbean, where it is expected to affect hispanola and cuba as a hurricane sometime this weekend or early next week. from there, no one knows, but there could be the danger of another hurricane heading for the U.S., according to the weather channel. if that happens, it has to hit texas, right? they're due for a hurricane. another tropical system can't head for the northern gulf coast in july, right? i hope not. i've been told not to worry, but you can bet your sweet asses i'll be keeping an eye on t.d. #5.
in other latina-news, my port st. joe (PSJ) trip has been rescheduled for this thursday. whether i will be going alone with gretchen or with the marine ecology class remains to be seen. dr. v. and i have been having an email discussion about this. we have a floating TA for summer school who can handle my duties if gretchen and i go alone (dr. v. will also make charlie help nancy [the floating TA] out). the results will depend on what i can find out from the officials at the park in PSJ and at st. andrew's park in panama city. either way, i'm going to PSJ on thursday.
all righty, folks. i've updated you on my life (i know you were just dying to know how my weekend went), and now i must go and live it some more so that i may regale you with tales of my many adventures.
9 hours ago