The month of August started off just fine. We celebrated my son's fourth birthday, followed by my daughter's first birthday six days later. We made a trip to the Missouri State Fair -- something we try to do every year. My wife grew up in Sedalia, MO (the town where the Missouri State Fair is held every year), so the fair is just a normal part of her life. She feels somewhat cheated if we don't make it to the fair, mostly for a day of "fair food." You know ... that special, bad for you, deep fried everything that you can only get at a state fair. Cheese on a stick (cheddar cheese cubed and served on a stick, deep fried in corn dog batter) is her personal favorite, while funnel cakes are something we both clamor after. Plus, it's a chance for the kids to visit their grandpa, who runs a concession stand every year at the state fair.
Ryan and dad riding the carousel at the Missouri State Fair.
Then, the much anticipated 2017 total solar eclipse occurred over North America, treating millions to the opportunity of a lifetime to see a total solar eclipse, live and in person. For many, it is once in a lifetime chance, since most aren't able to travel around the world to witness them. The path of totality went directly overhead where I live, and it was more majestic and awe inspiring to see than I could have imagined. It certainly left me feeling rather small in the grand scheme of everything.
But, I guess it was more than could be expected for the entire month to go by in similar grand fashion. The last week of August brought tragedy to southeastern Texas, namely Corpus Christi, Galveston and Houston -- where Texstar lives (in Spring, TX, a suburb of Houston). Tropical storm Harvey gained strength out over the Gulf of Mexico, and was a full-blown category 4 hurricane by the time it made landfall between Corpus Christi and Houston.
Satellite photo of Hurricane Harvey.
U.S. Coast Guard view from helicopter.
(U.S. Coast Guard photo)
But then, as if a near direct hit on the area wasn't enough, Harvey stalled out over the southeastern Texas coast, dumping more rain on the area than could be imagined ... and certainly more than the area could handle. Massive flooding ensued, with loss of life and property damage ranging into the billions of dollars (U.S.). As I write this on August 29, the deluge still isn't over, with torrential rains that still haven't stopped. The flooding is on a historical scale. Already, more than 9 trillion gallons of rain has fallen on the area (that's more than 34,200,000,000 Liters for our friends not in the U.S.).
Not too much has been heard from Texstar throughout the ordeal. A day or two ago (remember to use the date I'm authoring this column, August 29, as the reference point), he reported that his home was still high and dry, but high water was only a street or two away. As you might expect, communications in and out of the area have been impacted, both by the hurricane as it made landfall, and by the massive flooding. He did send out word via Facebook on the evening of August 29 that he was safe.
If you feel inclined to help the victims of Hurricane Harvey, you can make a donation to the American Red Cross. Or, if you'd rather keep it closer to "home" (with PCLinuxOS being your "home"), you can make a donation to PCLinuxOS. You can make your donation through the PCLinuxOS GoFundMe page, or via GumRoad (different amounts are available on the PCLinuxOS main page). If you're unable/unwilling to make a donation online, you can send a check or money order (drawn on a U.S. bank) to:
18618 Cedar Edge Dr.
Spring, TX 77379
Let's keep Texstar -- and all of the victims of Hurricane Harvey -- in our thoughts as they struggle through this tough and trying time.
Until next month, I bid you peace, happiness, serenity and prosperity.