Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Fall 2008

Another successful season of Big Easy livin'. This Fall was ushered in by my marriage proposal to Lauren in Audubon Park. The park was designed by John Olmsted during the City Beautiful era of the early 1900's. Olmsted also designed the park I played in as a child and the campus for my university, UW. So I guess I owe that guy. I spent a lot of time picking out the ring, but realized just as I was about to propose that I hadn't thought of what exactly I was going to say. Fortunately I had seen enough movies to have a rough idea. With the fateful words "Here goes nothing" I turned the corner from my bachelor days.

A few weeks after the proposal Hurricane Gustav hit New Orleans. This was our first major hurricane, and we tried to be prepared. Because the city is pancake flat, there was no place to put our second car in case of evacuation. Eventually I paid to park on the fourth floor of a parking garage downtown. Also, we were moving apartments at exactly the same time as we were preparing to evacuate. This means moving all the furniture over and then carrying it up to the second floor to protect from flooding. What a pain.

Lauren's father researched good information about hurricane-formation. It appears that the strength of hurricanes is largely determined by the length of its time over hot water. The temperature of the Gulf of Mexico can be measured and so it is possible to roughly predict how strong a hurricane will be as it comes to land. Because pollution from the Mississippi has caused a dead-zone in the Gulf, the average temperature has been increasing over the years.

Where a hurricane lands is also becoming more of a science than an art. Data from the National Hurricane Center shows that, more or less, meteorologists can determine where a hurricane will land by a ratio of 50 miles per day. In other words, if the hurricane is two days away they can determine its landing location with a margin of error of 100 miles; if the hurricane is three days away it can be predicted with a 150 mile margin of error. As for Gustav, I didn't want to leave. But since I live with one woman, two cats, and a lizard I was outnumbered and I took my place in the 13-hour traffic jam out of the city.

School began just before the hurricane and ended just a couple of days ago--that's how I finally have time to update this blog. It was a great semester. Coming from the North I didn't learn much about slavery in school. Now I feel that American history can't be understood with taking into account the role of slavery on the economy and culture. I also studied urban history and American history from 1890-1940. Forgive me if I don't go into too much detail on my subjects as I have just finished finals and the thought of writing about them makes me ill. So, upward on onward.

Tennis and racquetball have been my two biggest sports this fall. This is largely by default as the basketball gym at UNO is still under repairs from Katrina. I know, I know it has been three years, but this is New Orleans and things get done when things get done--if they ever get done. I love both of my new sports. The only thing is that they might be too similar. The swing for both sports is distinct and I find myself using a racquetball swing on the tennis court and getting into trouble. But I suppose if that is my biggest problem life is going pretty good. And it is.

Oh, I almost forgot. We took an incredible trip this Fall to Corsica, France. I have been to some beautiful places, and this island is something special. There seems to be the perfect balance between nature and civilization. The hotel we stayed at was made by stones in the 1700's and used to be a goat-herder's home. Along the skyline was visible remnants of fortifications built during the Napoleonic Wars. We had this opportunity because Lauren's sister, Lisa, was getting married on the island. It was an incredible wedding. For any wannabe romantics out there, put Corsica high on the list.

As we head into winter, Christmas is on the mind. Here is my Christmas wish-list for everyone who is just dying to get me that perfect gift:

A's in all my classes
Clay Bennett mistakenly walking into a bar where I've been drinking
The ability to fly