Thursday, 09 August 2007

I don’t even have time to post short entries or phone blog, since we are always somewhere else and I’m the only one who can drive. I check over 60 webpages daily, most of them have multiple pages to navigate, so most of my computer time is keeping up with that. I have no time to work on thesis stuff that I could do on other trips (no family involved, they really get in the way of work). I was barely able to upload images to my Zooomr account, but I was eventually able to create a photo-set of Pittsburgh-only photos (SmartSets have problems, they are only sometimes viewable, so check back often), but I haven’t been able to process, edit, and upload more Youtube videos. The internet connection here is very spotty, so I don’t want to upload a bunch of photos at a time, for if the connection breaks, I have to start over, so it got done in small batches that took eight times longer than it would have in one group.

Again, this is backdated, so I will only give you a quick bullet point account of the day.

Went back to The Mall at Robinson to look around, possibly find gifts. Nothing there, went around to bookstores and the rest of the nearby shopping plazas. Hours later, when we left, it started to rain. Within minutes (and right when we got onto the freeway), it had turned into a full rainstorm (horizontal rain) that was strong enough to soak the ground and uproot trees, knock out power, flood streets and basements, and close the Carnegie Science Center (broken windows and ripped off wall sections). Later reports told of tornadoes and funnel clouds. I was just there yesterday.

On the way home, lots of lightning that struck very close by, with thunder very soon after. Using the approximation that five seconds of time between lightning and thunder means the lightning struck one mile away, I estimate the closest lightning strike at less than 1000 feet away (less than one second between lightning and thunder). I had my camera on the car dashboard taking video, and if there is some visible lightning in the video, I’ll upload to my Youtube.

We made it back to the hotel after a 10mph trip, as visibility was extremely poor. Despite the 2007 model rental car having several wiper speeds, the fastest one was not enough to keep a clear windshield. In the hotel, the satellite TV was out, but one local station was still broadcasting, telling everyone about lightning and flash flood warnings. The rain let up a bit after a few hours, so we took the chance to drive and find dinner, ending up at Applebee’s (not my choice). The Philly Cheesesteak sandwich wasn’t very tasty, and the fries were stiff.

Later that night, the rain came back. As the pool closes at 10pm, I took the chance to go swimming. The pool is interestingly split indoor and outdoors. They wouldn’t let me swim because of the lightning warnings. I figured they would have already had lightning rods on the roof, and they would certainly string some wire overhead to act as a shield without blocking sunlight. So that means tomorrow (Friday) is the last day I can go swimming. We leave on Sunday at 6am, so we have to be there by 4am, which means everything has to be dry when we leave, which means I can’t go swimming on Saturday. Six whole days and I end up only getting a chance at two hours of swimming.

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