Tuesday, October 30, 2012

We Lucked Out

We lucked out in the aftermath of Hurricane Sandy. Our power went out last night but was restored after about two hours. This morning I went outside to check the house and yard for damage. Except for a torn snowblower cover, we came through unscathed.

One of my neighbors has some tree branches down.

We’re still getting 20 – 30 MPH gusts, it’s raining, and temperatures are in the mid-40s. About 1.3M people in PA are still without power, 2.3M in NJ, and who knows how many in MD, DE, NY, and New England.

Of course, many others weren’t so lucky. NJ and NY got slammed especially hard. The Jersey Shore got trashed and Manhattan looks post-apocalyptic, from some of the photos I’ve seen.

Sunday, October 28, 2012

Hurricane Sandy Updates

FYI, I will be posting Hurricane Sandy updates via Twitter.


Saturday, October 27, 2012

Some Final Preps for Hurricane Sandy

As of the time I'm writing this (9:20 PM on Saturday 10/27/12), here in the Philadelphia area we are awaiting the arrival of Hurricane Sandy. It's been awhile since we got really slammed by a hurricane, so we're overdue. Last year when Irene came through and devastated central PA, the southeastern part of the state escaped without too much damage.

I had taken yesterday off with the intention of going shooting, but with most weather reports indicating we have a good chance of getting clobbered, decided to do some additional prepping:

  • Went to BJ's Wholesale Club and picked up some more water, canned goods, plus more AA and D batteries. We have plenty of food in the house but more doesn't hurt.
  • Topped off the gas tank in my Xterra. I put some miles on it today so I'll probably hit the gas station again tomorrow to top it off and also fill a jerrycan of gas.
  • Tidied up things in my shop, in case I need it to fix anything.
  • While I was working on stuff, I got some fresh gas and ran my snowblower for about 10 minutes, and added air to its tires. I'm not expecting any snow from Sandy (though folks further west may get some), but yesterday was as good a time as any to prep the snow blower for this winter.
  • Stopped by the state store for a bottle of 1792 Ridgemont Reserve bourbon. ;)
Today, after getting home from a practical rifle match that I shot in this morning:
  • I secured all the patio furniture and also reconnected the Comet GP-3 2M/70cm antenna on my roof to my Yaesu FT-7800R ham radio. I haven't done anything with the ham stuff in a couple years so connecting it and checking function was important to do ahead of time.
  • Charged my Motorola FRS/GMRS radios.
  • Charged my Yaesu VX-5RS 2M/70cm HT ham radio and its spare battery.
  • Filled the free space in our freezer with water bottles. I also added a bunch to the refrigerator. The more thermal mass both have, the longer they will stay cold if we lose power.
Thankfully, I don't need to worry about my gutters clogging since we got a tree removed last year.

On Monday we'll make sure the girls charge their iPods, Nintendo DSes, etc. If we're all stuck at home on Tuesday electronic diversions may prove to be handy. Likewise, I'll make sure my iPad is charged. I activated the Verizon 3G on it, so if our cable modem connection drops we may still be able to get online.

One PITA that happened today was that my wife got a flat tire on her Subaru Forester. Subaru's roadside assistance came out and changed the tire for her, but now she's running the donut spare on her left front wheel. Tomorrow we'll drop it off at the dealer for them to replace the tire, which is covered under warranty.

We're following Sandy closely at work, too. We have a 3100 square foot lab in our HQ in downtown Philly. If there's a good chance the building will lose power we may recommend to our users that they proactively shutdown their equipment. This is a hassle when scheduled in advance, but even more so when it comes on short notice. What makes it especially annoying this time is that once a year, the building's owners have a planned power outage for electrical maintenance, which requires a full lab shutdown. It turns out that was last weekend.

I'm responsible for three VMware vSphere server virtualization environments at work. Depending on what the forecasts say Monday, I may at least shutdown the VMs, even if I leave my primary VMware environment running. I have a secondary environment which uses an EMC VNX5300. I'm tempted to shutdown the few VMs currently running on it, but leave the VNX itself running, just to test out how it responds to a non-graceful shutdown.

The third VMware environment I'm responsible for is located in Newcastle, DE, which is also in Sandy's crosshairs. That one is in a production datacenter with backup power. So, we may just leave it running.

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Hurricane Sandy

Heads-up for residents of the mid-Atlantic states: We may be in for a bit of fun with Hurricane Sandy next week.  It's certainly no cause for panic but it would be prudent to pay attention to the forecasts, and prepare accordingly.

Ruger 22/45 Lite

Over on Blog O'Stuff, I have a few posts up here, here, and here about my latest acquisition, a Ruger 22/45 Lite. In my opinion, a .22 pistol is a very worthwhile addition to any prepper's toolbox, and Ruger's autoloaders are amongst the best available.

A .22 allows you to shoot a lot for little money, is good for new shooters due to the minimal recoil and noise, and where legal for hunting, is ideally suited for bagging small game.

Several years ago, I bought a Ruger 22/45 with a 4.5" barrel and fixed sights for my wife to learn how to shoot. It's proven to be very reliable, even with bulk pack ammo. The Lite's aluminum upper with a stainless steel barrel liner weighs only 22.8 ounces unloaded (without an optic), and most interestingly, is threaded 1/2x28 at the muzzle for a suppressor.