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Medium Dawn Felagund of the Fountain

Here Comes Sandy

The (Cyber) Bag of Weasels

bread and puppet

"About as much fun as a bag of weasels"...when I first saw this Irish adage, it made me think of the life of a writer: sometimes perilous, sometimes painful, certainly interesting. My paper journal has always been called "The Bag of Weasels." This is the Bag of Weasels' online home.

Here Comes Sandy

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mother nature bats last
Well, the storm is really getting underway here ("here" being Carroll County, which is the first county considered to be Western Maryland). I woke up this morning to heavy rain on the roof and the familiar plunk of water into containers from roof leaks. As soon as this one is over, we will be calling a roofer to have that ridge cap replaced.

The wind is starting to gear up. I was washing the dishes and looking out the window at the backyard, and a very scary gust came through and just tossed the trees around. The last map I saw showed the hurricane coming over us tonight. Tropical storm winds could stick around as long as Wednesday morning. This is insane. Tonight, we could get wind gusts up to 80 mph (129 kph) with sustained winds around 40-50 mph (64-80 kph).

But, as far as it goes for those hit by the hurricane, we are lucky. Even though it looks like we will have hurricane-force winds--a first for my lifetime, at least as far as I can remember--we will be on the outskirts. We are not near water, here in the foothills, so flooding is not a concern for us as it is for so many towns and cities along the east coast. We will not take a direct hit. My thoughts go out to those on the coast and in Jersey and New York, who are looking to bear the brunt of it.

Ocean City has been whalloped. The Sun posted this video of the storm surge coming over the barriers on the Boardwalk.

ETA: The video won't post, so you'll have to use your imaginations with the images below. ;)

The fishing pier is gone, at least up to the fishing shack at the top of it. Here is the pier at the start of the storm yesterday. As someone who has been out on this pier more times than I can count--it's fifty cents to sight-see, so Bobby and I usually walk out on it every time we go down to the inlet--and who knows how high the pier is, and has leaned on my elbows on those railings many times to look for skates in the water below, those waves are huge.


And ... gone. :(


It is being reported that, in places, the sea on one side and the bay on the other have met, so parts of the city are completely underwater at this point. Geographically speaking, Ocean City is a tiny strip of land between the Atlantic Ocean on one side and the Assawoman Bay (no, I am not making that name up) on the other. There is a small inlet at the south end that separates it from Assateague Island, which is 100% parkland and best known for its wild ponies. OC was apparently carved out by a hurricane, and local harbingers like to speculate that it will one day be wiped off the map by a hurricane. In places, the amount of land between ocean and bay is negligible; if you stay in a bay-side hotel, you walk to the beach on the "opposite side" of OC.


The storm surge coming over the barriers on the Boardwalk, ocean side.


The inlet parking lot. What you see as water, ordinarily, would be a huge parking lot with a wide beach behind it.


Bayside and 9th Street.


This appears to be Coastal Highway, the road that runs the length of OC, so shows the convergence of ocean and bay.


ETA2: The Boardwalk shop Ocean Gallery has a Boardwalk webcam but, just like during Irene, I can't get it to load anything but ancient images. I guess I should expect that of a webcam attached to a building that is literally covered in garbage!/ETA

Here, the wind gusts are getting stronger. From my window, I can see the white pines that border the back of our property. The winds aren't strong yet to bend the trunks, but they are giving the branches quite a thrashing. It's frightening to see. I remember Tropical Storm Floyd (on my 18th birthday!!) when I was still living with my parents, watching the winds play with the tuliptrees in the woods behind the house. (Tuliptrees are the tallest deciduous trees in our area, reaching 150 feet or 45 m.) I've no doubt it will reach that point here soon.

I don't know how much longer I will have Internet access, but I will keep trying to post updates. In the meantime, to all who are in the path of this monster, be safe. I am thinking of you.

This post was originally posted on Dreamwidth and, using my Felagundish Elf magic, crossposted to LiveJournal. You can comment here or there!

  • Oh dear, that looks bad. Stay safe.
    • Ocean City has it much worse than we do. All the same, I'll be moving this show into the basement shortly!
  • Ouch! Ocean City looks bad. I have seen pics like that around New Jersey and Long Island already today and one pretty scary one of the Battery sea wall in Manhattan and it is hours and hours before landfall.

    Edited at 2012-10-29 06:29 pm (UTC)
    • I know, the scary thing is how long we still have to put up with this, and the fact that we haven't even had the worst of it yet. :(
      • It's barely started and they closed the Brooklyn Battery and Holland Tunnels about an hour ago. OMG. We are more and more cut off. The Brooklyn Bridge leads into an evacuated area. All I want is to keep electricity. I'll go mad without it.

        Edited at 2012-10-29 06:39 pm (UTC)
        • Yikes! That sounds scary. :(

          I charged my laptop last night, expecting to lose power; I can read and write and will probably be super-productive without the Internet (proof: I've been in here for about three hours now to write a freelance article due today and just now started it). But having gone for more than a week without power, the crazies do set in fast ... This time, we have a generator to power the freezer and sump pump and so can recharge laptops, Kindles, etc.
  • Those pictures! :( I am keeping up with this on the BBC, and thinking of every-one over there.
    • Thank you. :) OC is far from us but probably more in line what folks in Jersey and NYC on the coast are experiencing.
  • The Jersey Shore is getting hammered, and the storm hasn't even made landfall yet.

    NJ and NYC photos here; refresh for updates

    The sustained wind is steadily increasing. We're getting some substantial gusts, too. The lasagna is almost done, and next will be the apple tarts. I'm planning on an early dinner as the worst is supposed to hit us around 5 or so.

    p.s. Love the previous post (the Halloween party). Shall comment at length on that later.
    • It is dark and dismal here and very windy and gusty. Love the link to the pictures. Everyone else here is getting bored. I'll be fine unless the lights go out. Then I am screwed.
      • Three more minutes and I'll be done with the oven! We have a dual-fuel piece-of-shit Extra Speshul Dacor (which I would dearly love to replace) with gas burners, an electric convection oven, and a fucked up door/hinges that the previous owners did not repair properly. Anyway, once the apple tarts come out, dinner will not be a catastrophe if the power goes out. Just need to finish up the salad.

        I have my e-Reader charged up so it will be good to go for hours if the power goes out.
    • Those are astounding photos; the one of the crane coming off the building in NYC was scary!

      Somehow, OC Maryland ended up in there. If you look closely, in the lower righthand corner, you'll see the source of my Beer-Wine-Beer icon. ;)


      Congrats on getting dinner done before losing power; we're done with ours too--just party leftovers for Bobby and a taco salad for me--and the lights started flickering while we ate. The winds are really picking up now. We've moved shop to the basement.

      Looking forward to the comment on the other post! :)
  • Crossing fingers that it won't be too bad.
    Take care and stay safe.
    • Thanks, Himring! It's supposed to have sped up, which means we'll be rid of it sooner--a good thing! :)
  • Those pictures do look scary! Seconding the "stay safe."
    • Thank you! We're entering the hurricane now, supposedly, but are hunkered down in the basement, still with power and Internet, for the moment anyway. :)
  • Eeeeeep! Be safe, you and everyone in the trajectory of the storm (reading this or not)! Those pictures are unsettling.

    (Also, since I'm late, this is just to say that I loved your Halloween costume - that mask, wow! Which is probably a really bad time to mention it, but all the same.)
    • We've moved into the basement, as things are supposed to really get rockin' and rollin' soon, with the hurricane moving over us. So nice and toasty and warm right now, enjoying the Internet and power while they both last. :)

      Thanks about the Halloween party post! :) I hope you know me that I don't mind the comment here. I could use all the levity I could get right now! *hugs*
      • Glad to hear that you found a safe spot. :) We get windstorms of hurricane-strength here as well, but the big difference here is the architecture, I guess - solid stone/brick houses, so I've weathered each of them tucked comfortably in my bed so far. (And we get storms here so often that all that can blow away has blown away long ago. :P)

        *hugs back!* I'm glad that didn't come across the wrong way. You really did look fabulous. :)

        (How about the idea that canatics seem to be coming out of the woodwork in greater numbers now that the Hobbit movie is approaching, and hiding other attitudes behind that as well? I'm just looking at an argument centered around Tauriel and how she shouldn't exist... though no objections have been voiced about a hypothetical Taurion. *eyeroll* Oh, wait, you said levity. *hides on the SWG*)
        • Hey, complaining about canatics is an equally welcome distraction! ;) I 1) write so rarely these days and 2) hide on the SWG ;) so I don't see too much of canatics. I sometimes get tempted to post more there just to pick arguments, but that wouldn't be a good use of my time, would it? :D So you think there's more canatics lately? Just wait till the Hobbit movies are out, and we get a wave of new fans discovering the texts for the first time, some riding high canatic horses as they do so. ;)

          Much of canaticism has a basis in sexism, imo. I just wrote a Heretic Loremaster post to this point, about the dismissal of my work as the product of a "fangirl." Not that I have a problem with fangirling but it's troubling, to say the least, to have a novel dismissed as nothing more than swooning over an imaginary man. I don't even swoon over real ones! Well ... maybe my "vampire servant," a little. ;)
          • (Anonymous)
            Hiding on the SWG seems to be a good way to avoid them, really... I'm active on tumblr a lot these days, and while there are a lot of wonderful younger-generation fans (most of them were too young to see LotR in the cinemas, as compared to us old farts ;)), it also allows the canatics to come out to play (and the site's system there makes for a far greater visibility of such posts than LJ ever did), so I have to admit I sometimes succumb to petty canatic-baiting and/or rebuttal. Good use of time - probably not, but it can on occasion be fun. Just today I've been accused of adoration of Peter Jackson and praying at his altar everyday [sic], and am sitting here torn between cackling and shaking my head.

            Just wait till the Hobbit movies are out, and we get a wave of new fans discovering the texts for the first time, some riding high canatic horses as they do so. ;)

            Bahahaha, probably. I'm looking forward to some people getting off them to come play, though. They have so much still to discover, I'm almost getting a little envious. ;)

            Sexism: That's an interesting point, actually. I said something similar lately (gmta?) about canaticism-coupled-with-sexism feeling "sanctioned" by the author to a lot of people, considering the antediluvian gender division and patriarchy Tolkien espoused in his stories, so of course they have an interest in shooting down adaptations and/or fanfic that doesn't comply. Tauriel, in that respect, seems to be suffering much of the same shtstorm that "Xenarwen" faced back then for daring to rescue Frodo, and the idea of her participating in the battle of Helm's Deep (which I still don't like either, but rather because it's an apparently needless departure from the book for drama's sake - like Aragorn's cliff tumble - rather than because *gasp!* a woman fighter! Kill the witch!).

            The "fangirl" argument - it's such a handy shorthand for dismissal, isn't it? I mean, the infantilizing that that term implies means we must all be screeching and/or swooning pre-pubescents, hence can't be taken for mentally sound, and that nicely avoids looking at a novel or an argument on its own merits. Let's not mention the idea of the agency that it takes to write something anyway. And oh no, swoooning over someone! Sex positivity? Quick, ridicule it further! (Heh, I'll stick with swooning over fictional people for the moment, lacking a "vampire servant" of my own! Nothing wrong with that either!)

            But basically - yes. It's all such a mess and muddle it took me a while to sort my thoughts enough to even write this comment. I'm looking forward to your HL post, at any rate. (A tumblr acquaintance recently asked if I was interested in helping with a feminist Tolkien blog over there, and if I knew any other places of that vein. She was very impressed with your stance on the LaCE, just thought I'd share that to end on a more positive note. )
    • (No idea why that went through as anon. That long blather above, yup, mine.)
    • Tumblr is unfamiliar to me, and I had no idea that there was an active Tolkien community there. That's going to be hard to resist; I barely have time for what I do fannishly as it is. :^S

      They have so much still to discover, I'm almost getting a little envious.

      I know what you mean. I still remember my sense of awe watching FotR in the theaters for the first time--that was my first real exposure to Tolkien. I still remember reading LotR for the first time, getting my first HoMe books in the mail, back when it seemed there was something to discover around every corner.

      I'm also looking forward to the fandom getting a little kick in the pants. We've been dwindling for so long now, it will be nice to see that new enthusiasm again.

      I said something similar lately (gmta?) about canaticism-coupled-with-sexism feeling "sanctioned" by the author to a lot of people, considering the antediluvian gender division and patriarchy Tolkien espoused in his stories

      I've observed the same as well. Although I keep to my corner fannishly, I do read meta from Fandom at Large, and it is always interesting to me how conservative the Tolkien fandom is compared to Fandom at Large. While they're working out, for example, issues related to gender identity, we're still saddled with people who think that slash is somehow an affront to Tolkien, and this belief is promoted by fandom institutions, SoA being probably the most egregious example. I think the sexism example makes sense. It'd be interesting to see how OFCs, for example, are regarded in the Tolkien fandom versus a fandom based on a more modern work, like Harry Potter.

      Fangirls ... yes, the inherent dismissal of that term is what bugged me. It seemed that woman author + handsome male protag automatically equaled fangirl. What bugged me wasn't even that I was perceived to be attracted to Nelyo--he's one of my favorite characters and I do imagine him as an attractive, sexy character--but that that attraction must necessarily overwhelm my skill and sense as an author otherwise to explain all decisions I make about him as a character. My decisions must be motivated by my attraction to him alone, not deliberate literary choices. As a woman writer, I am putty in the hands of imaginary men! *swoon* *eyeroll*

      I do have a problem, too, with the dismissiveness of "fangirlish" writing, Mary Sue, etc. It seems the guys get to have their share of fantasies with very little critique. Whereas anything perceived as being a female fantasy is placed off-limits. That's troubling, especially to see those attitudes coming from within the community.

      A tumblr acquaintance recently asked if I was interested in helping with a feminist Tolkien blog over there

      Oh! If it gets up and running, will you let me know, please? :)
      • Well, tumblr is... how to best put that nicely? A certain brand of special? It's microblogging, for the most part, so very, very quick-paced, and there are more pretty pictures than text posts (which are often very brief) or goodness forbid, reasonable discussions... which is probably due to the quick pace. I'd never make an LJ-style post there, it'd feel like wasted effort... and the whole premise of the site is that of popular posts getting reblogged and spread around a lot. It's possible to add commentary to such reblogs, but quite rare. I don't want to trash-talk tumblr, but it's definitely far from my ideal notion of a blogging platform.

        Although I keep to my corner fannishly, I do read meta from Fandom at Large, and it is always interesting to me how conservative the Tolkien fandom is compared to Fandom at Large.

        Yes! I mean, there obviously are less conservative sections of the Tolkien fandom with regards to issues like feminism and slash, and I do count your and my flist here into that. But a great deal of the younger Fandom at Large (once again, the case in point being tumblr) seem to gravitate to worshipping at the altar of the almighty cock and pushing the female characters aside even if they don't outright vilify them (which also happens, with all of the usual sexist discourse), and that's a trend I've noticed all over the board there. And if the treatment of female canon characters is so bad already, I don't hold much hope for OFCs in fic much anywhere outside the few hidey-holes more reasonable people have built. The dreaded Mary Sue argument is still alive and well, too... "any female character who can make it home without drowning", indeed.

        Semi-OCs seem to be frequent in HP, though. The books also contain a great variety of names-on-a-page characters, similar to Tolkien, and fleshing them out doesn't seem to be frowned upon so much - but I'm talking from an outside perspective here, so not sure how much that skews in direction of the female characters in question.

        My decisions must be motivated by my attraction to him alone, not deliberate literary choices. As a woman writer, I am putty in the hands of imaginary men! [...] It seems the guys get to have their share of fantasies with very little critique.

        Yes, of course, they're the guys. -__-

        This is why I like (the fanfic part of) fandom, because it's a largely female space, and it's possible to discuss attraction and fantasies in a like-minded environment where it is understood that that sort of thinking can be deliberate and does not turn a woman writer into a quivering pudding of lust, and that it's not the only way of engaging with your fannish interest of choice, either. In comparison, some guys on the Lord of the Rings Online gaming forums dismissed me not just as a gamer but also as knowing anything about Tolkien... on account of being female. I got angry at first, then decided sticking around was a waste of time and energy, considering how vicious it got, and my only argument was "but I read the damn books too!"

        SoA is another thing I don't understand. The respect for Tolkien's works that they request in their terms is all well and good, but I highly doubt that anyone would write fanfic without it - it's a prerequisite for involving oneself enough in the world to have a basis for writing anything, at least in my opinion, and identifying certain ideologies as harmful and/or outdated does not negate that respect. It extends it further toward the real world, rather. What is so hard about browsing past slash fic?

        But that is probably the crux of the matter. As long as misogyny and homophobia are so prevalent in the real world, they're not going to go away in fandom either. And I absolutely agree that it's doubly troubling to find such attitudes in a community of people we like. :/

        As for the blog - absolutely nothing on there yet, but it'll appear at http://tolkienwomen.tumblr.com/ and I will definitely poke you to have it included in the SWG newsletter once we get started. :)
  • I hope you and the bees and trees all stay safe.
    • The bees are tied down and in a windbreak of trees. Now if the trees go, the bees go. Let's hope that doesn't happen! ;)
  • Michiru

    Be safe Dawn!
    • Re: Michiru

      We've moved into the basement and are holding out for the worst! But all good so far. :)
  • Post updates for as long as you can, dear!

    How far are your nearest tall trees from the house?
    • Close. We're surrounded by trees on three sides. To the south, they're about 15 feet away. In the backyard, to the east, we have a small Japanese maple right against the house and the maple grove about 20 feet behind the house. Our biggest trees are in front of the house, to the west, also about 20 feet away. :(

      Bobby moved the cars last night into the backyard on the north side of our property because of the lack of trees.
      • Stay alert! Trees will generally go down in the same direction.
        • Normally, we love our trees right next to the house. Right now? Not so much ... :(
          • Well, you might find it encouraging to know that in Katrina, we lost 14 out of 20 mature trees and NONE of them came down directly on the house itself. Most all of them went sideways, and while the carport and the back porch took severe hits as well as all of our outbuildings, the house itself was intact and we only lost a few shingles off the roof at the back where the porch was attached.

  • Oh, wow. Sometimes I am very grateful to live inland! Though the wind is making me quite nervous--I'm surprised I still have power and internet with all those trees being stirred up. (Naturally, though, when I try to take advantage of my fortunate situation and help out at work or do something productive, the wind suddenly gets extra freaky and the lights start flickering. Sigh.)

    Stay safe!
    • Sometimes I am very grateful to live inland!

      Me too! The wind has been scary at points today, but knowing we don't have to deal with the flooding that the coastal areas are is a relief.

      Naturally, though, when I try to take advantage of my fortunate situation and help out at work or do something productive, the wind suddenly gets extra freaky and the lights start flickering.

      Of course! Mother Nature doesn't want you to be productive!

      Just to try to fool her, I've been deliberately unproductive today. (Now I'll probably lose power for saying so. ;)

      You stay safe too! *hugs*
  • It looks really scary! I hope all be ok, and you too. Good luck!
    • Thank you. :) The trees are tossing quite a bit outside, but at home, it looks nothing like the pictures I posted of the coast (although that is reality for a lot of people right now, all along the eastern seaboard. :()
  • *shudder* Stay safe, you and Oshun both, and everyone else who's affected :(
  • I hope you stay safe and that your trees make it through okay!

    (Those pictures are making the Floridian in me go, "Yup, that's a hurricane.")
  • Stay safe, good luck!
  • I've been watching this all day on and off. It's like watching a train wreck. Those poor people who are in the path of this. My heart just bleeds for them.

    - Erulisse (one L)
  • Stay safe!
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