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Sunday, August 31, 2008


Thanks in advance

I wish you could have seen the news conference the Louisiana Governor Bobby Jindal just delivered. That man is organized and the preparations that have been done in advance of this storm is incredible. Katrina was a comedy of many failures and I am not going to rehash that or point any blaming fingers.

We have had three years to plan and prepare for another Katrina. Gustav is the latest test. As Governor Jindal spoke, he mentioned state after state and agency after agency that is involved lending a hand to help the folks who are affected by the hurricane.

Texas brought 3, C-130's to transport evacuees. Tennessee, Mississippi, Alabama, Missouri, Oklahoma, and others are sending resources of busses, planes, helicopters, supplies of one kind or another, and teams of search and rescue personnel, police, EMT's and others.

So I want to say thank you in advance, even as I hear the first thunder from approaching feeder bands. America is great because we have people that give and sacrifice.

Thanks folks. Your states are already helping us. We will be there for you when you need us.

Until the next time
John Strain


Sunday Morning in Covington

Good morning from Covington, LA. Gustav is gaining strength and coming closer than I had planned on yesterday. The situation here is this: Evacuations have been called for for those living south of Interstate 12. I am 3 miles north of Interstate 12. News coverage has been around the clock since yesterday and there has been a steady stream of bad news getting worse.

Worse than Katrina. Gustav is looking like it may impact this area even more severely than Katrina did 3 years ago. The dooms day scenario is playing out for New Orleans and communities along the Gulf Coast, and the coast of Lake Pontchartrain.

Even if the levees hold, the over topping from tidal surge, storm surge, and waves will cause significant flooding. On the north shore of the lake, there could be a rise of 17 feet of water.

The wind will be a factor as well. Now that Gustav is stronger and closer, we will have hurricane force winds. Heavy rain and tornadoes will be added for good measure.

I rode Katrina out at the hospital where I worked. This time, I will be staying at my house. I am a bit concerned about rising water getting into part of my house. There are a few trees within range of the structure, and the wind can always damage the roof or worse.

Today, I will work to secure things around the yard and prepare inside the house. I need to get ready for being without electricity and basic services for a period of time.

Bear is fine and I bought a big bag of food for him yesterday. I need to get him walked just before the real action starts, because I think we may be in for a long storm.

John is back home now. He has one more class to complete before he graduates at LSU, so he will commute. On Friday, we did the U-Haul thing. The house is a bit of a mess with him moving back and with Gustav coming for a visit.

Barbara is here and has been cooking and organizing.

I will keep updating from here as long as I can. Now that I have an iPhone, I hope to have uninterrupted Internet.

For now, it is wait and see.

Until the next time
John Strain


Saturday, August 30, 2008



Here we go again. On the third anniversary of Katrina, preparations were being made for another hurricane. The familiar round the clock media coverage, the extra heavy traffic turning routine trips into odysseys, and a palpable general elevated state of tension is making the anniversary more of a reenactment.

Each hurricane is different. Katrina was a near direct hit here in Covington. Luckily for us, the eye passed just to our east. We experienced the greatest damage from northerly winds knocking down trees. Others near the lake were flooded from the rising waters.

Gustav is forecast to move to our west. That puts Covington on the strong side of the hurricane and we are expecting a lot more problems with rising water from the lake ultimately swelling the rivers beyond the limits of their banks. Trees are of concern again. The general thought is many trees were weakened in Katrina and are vulnerable, but I am not an arborist.

Personally, I am not concerned about rising water. Anywhere can flood if the conditions line up just right, rain is what would most likely flood my home. Gustav is expected to slow when he approaches the coast and being on the bad side of the storm could be a problem where heavy sustained rain is concerned.

There are a few trees within range of my house and southerly winds would tip them in that direction. I plan to stay because people are being told to evacuate from south of Interstate 12. I live about 3 miles north of I-12.

There is only so much one can do in preparation and then it is a matter of bracing yourself and riding things out. Once Gustav gets into the gulf, the forecasting gets much more accurate. Monday and Tuesday are expected to be ground zero days.

If you check my archives for this time of year in 2005 you can see all of my Katrina posts. I hope to update in a similar way this go round.

For now, it is time to make a pot of coffee and enjoy the air conditioning while we have electricity. It is time to be grateful for those daily things I have grown so used to.

Until the next time
John Strain


Tuesday, August 19, 2008



I was sitting in an inservice with about a dozen or so coworkers from offices around the area. It was a typical training to show us the latest greatest thing. Certainly it would entail more paperwork and the speculation of theory becoming practice was drawing comments from the gung ho to the paranoid.

The questions asked revealed some of the reasons "why" people were there. Forget the fact the training was a requirement. Even when forced to do something, an individual applies a "why am I here?" Perhaps this motivation is not a conscious thing, but it drives us. It is the difference between an open mind and a burned out grump.

I contemplated "why." Children use the "why" mantra to apprehend knowledge of their world. Sometimes with excitement on their face and other times by means of a detached almost bored inquisition. "Why daddy? Why do dogs drink out of the toilet? Why are tires round? Why do you shave?" Even the most patient soul runs out of patience and eventually gets around to the education thwarting, "I don't know - BECAUSE, THAT'S WHY"

"Why" is an important thing for me to know about patients showing up for help. Did they come because they wanted help, because their wife gave them an ultimatum to either get help or she was leaving, did the judge order an evaluation, or are they required to seek help by their employer or be fired.

An educatior may ask why students are in his/her class. Some work and seem interested in the subject while others cut class, do substandard work, and seem bored during lectures they do attend. Maybe the class is not in their major. Maybe it is. Maybe the student is fresh out of high school and does not appreciate what a gift education is. Maybe the student is fulfilling a dream by being in a college class. There are different motivations producing different behaviors.

The next time you are confused by someone's behavior. Look at the "why" question. Why are they doing what they are doing? Does their behavior match their stated purpose? Why are you doing what you are doing? Are you aware of the why?

Why did he say that? Why did she look at me that way? Why wouldn't she go with us? Why won't they listen? Why me? Why not? Why?

Why did I chose this topic? Maybe, I just needed something to write about.

Until the next time
John Strain


Thursday, August 14, 2008

Jott is the neatest...

Jott is the neatest thing, you should really check it out. listen

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