Archive - Oct 2011

October 31st

October Storm Update

It's not that bad in Woodbridge, really.

I am sitting at the town library. I'm not normally here at this time of the day, so I can't say if it is more or less crowded than on a typical afternoon. I'm not hearing a lot of discussions about being without power, heat or water, however, the clientele does seem a little more unkempt than usual.

A walk around the library reveals many unattended cellphones plugged into outlets to recharge. Yeah, its the sort of community where people feel comfortable leaving their cellphones unattended. The library PCs all have signs on them saying the Internet is down, and are unoccupied. Yet the library WiFi seems to be working out.

Beyond the walls of the library, the town seems to be doing okay. The reports were that about half the town lost power. By yesterday evening, it was reportedly down to 35% and the expectation had been that everyone would have power back by this evening. As of mid afternoon, we were still without power, and there was no sign of anyone working near our house.

Sunday, after the snow, it was really quite beautiful outside; white snow on green, yellow, and red leaves, the sky bright blue with a little pinkish tint around the edges in the early morning. We went to church and then spent a lot of time in the yard. Some of it was simple logistics. We've been packing snow in ziplock bags and putting them in the fridge to keep our food cold. I spent a bit of time, removing the smaller branches from a large branch that came down in our driveway. The large branch is still there, and will need a chain saw and a bit of work to remove it, but we cleared things enough so that I could get my car out.

We cooked brisket on the grill last night, wanting to make sure it didn't spoil and go to waste. One of our neighbors came over with a salad and a bottle of wine and we had a nice candle lit dinner. Another neighbor stayed at home, but we brought her some of the warm brisket afterwards.

Then, as darkness settled in, we headed off to the town emergency shelter. This was mostly just to get out, but it was also nice to find some more people to chat with, this time in a warm, well lit room. Fiona even got a little time to watch a little television.

I loaded up a couple of jugs of water to take back to the house.

There was no school this morning. Kim works in Hartford, and I work in Middletown. Both cities were hit much worse than Woodbridge and there is no power where I work. It was a disappointment because the bathroom near my office has a nice shower and I would have enjoyed a shower at the office.

So, instead, Kim, Fiona, and I went to breakfast in town and then headed to the public library. I've been working here pretty much all day. Kim worked here with what she needed to do online. Fiona ran into a friend and the two of them headed off together. Kim later went over the the friend's house when she needed to make some phone calls.

I've slowly been hearing news from other parts of the state. There is a line from about Ridgefield to Woodstock, which most of the communities north of the line, have over 80% without power. Things haven't changed an awful lot on this map over the past 24 hours. I'm hearing stories of fights breaking out at supermarkets and gas stations. People are sounding depressed.

But like I said when I started this blog post, things aren't really that bad here in Woodbridge. It may be worse in other parts of Connecticut, but even in other parts of the state it isn't really all that bad. The people who are seeking places to stay warm tonight, or perhaps even get a shower maybe can get a glimpse of what life is like for those for whom a warm bed and a shower isn't something taken for granted.

October 30th

Power Out

After the October snow, power is out both at home and at work.

We lost power at home last night at about 11:30. I was in bed and heard two large booms. Then the time on the clock radio disappeared.

At a various points through out the night pets jumped on the bed or barked downstairs. Fiona crawled into need when she awoke and the power was out.

A large branch came down in our driveway, blocking one of our cars.

We did manage to male it to church and are now back home trying to clean up a little.

I've canceled Fiona's Radio Show for this evening since we are not expected to get power back until tomorrow evening.

I hot a call from work. Power is out there as well, we will see what tomorrow brings.

I've got a couple ideas for blog posts waiting to be worked on, but I guys they will have to wait.

Be safe everyone.

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October 29th

#Occupy a Credit Union

I grew up in a small town. There were two banks in town. One was the savings bank, and the other one was the national bank. The savings bank had one branch which was on Main Street. I think the national bank had two branches. We used the savings bank.

These banks were run by people in town, parents of my classmates in the local schools. It was pretty simple back then. I had a little deposit book and later got a checking account. There weren't ATMs back then.

My father also had an account at the credit union where he worked. If I recall properly, that is where he saved money for the kids college education.

If you had problems with any of these financial institutions, you sat down with the people running them and discussed the issues over coffee.

Things have changed a lot since then. Some of the changes have been good, others, not so much. Some people have suggested that in these current times, progressives are the ones being reactionary, trying to move things back to how things used to be, and I don't completely disagree. The local banks and credit unions were in my mind a good thing, and it's time to revisit them.

For a previous car loan, we used Charter Oak Federal Credit Union. I don't remember much about them other than we got a good car loan and paid it off. Pretty uneventful. Charter Oak grew out of the Shipbuilder's Federal Credit Union, initially run by an employee of Electric Boat.

When that car died, we bought another car, and this time got a loan from Connex Credit Union. Again, I don't have a lot to go on. They've been around since 1940 and grew out of a credit union chartered to serve SNET employees in the greater New Haven area.

On thing that I found interesting is that both Charter Oak and Connex, as well as probably half a dozen Connecticut Credit Unions are members of the the Credit Union Service Center (CUSC) Network, providing additional places to access the credit union.

The on Friday, I went to the Middlesex Chamber of Commerce Expo where two other credit unions had booths. One was American Eagle Federal Credit Union in Connecticut, not to be confused with American Eagle Credit Union. The later is a division of Annheuser-Busch Employees' Credit Union.

American Eagle Federal Credit Union, I am told, is the oldest and largest credit union in Connecticut, growing out of the East Hartford Aircraft Federal Credit Union which was formed to meet the needs of Pratt & Whitney employees. Their 'about' page says, "The Great Depression allowed credit unions like EHAFCU to prosper by providing secure alternatives to banks, since many banks failed under the economic hardship of the times". It is interesting to see how things have changed and how they've stayed the same.

The other credit union at the Expo was the Nutmeg State Federal Credit Union. They started a little bit after the American Eagle Federal Credit Union, originally by employees of Southern New England Telephone. I had a great discussion with representatives of each credit union and there were a few common themes.

When I asked how the different credit unions compared, and what differentiated one from another the all spoke about how they would never say anything negative about other credit unions in the state, all of which are great. When pushed, they spoke mostly about minor differences like branch locations and various types of services available.

Both of the credit unions all free ATM withdrawals via the SUM network.

There are a lot of other credit unions in Connecticut. Some are only for specific members. You can see a list at the Credit Union League of Connecticut.

Do you use a credit union? If so, which one? How do you like it? Have you heard anything particularly good or bad about any of them? Let me know.

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October 28th

#FF @JanetLSameh @CommanderCory @stefanoBossi @ncscadsurvivor @healthblawg @CSHHC @HealthJusticeCT

This week, for Follow Friday, I'm doing shout outs to people who have recently mentioned me. Starting off the list is @JanetLSameh, who describers herself as "Passionate about using all forms of communication technologies for better health outcomes". She tweeted, "TY 4 great convos'. My regular readers will not be surprised that I would get into great conversations with @JanetLSameh.

Next on my list is @CommanderCory. His profile says, his "passions include poker, music, movies and MMA". Well, that doesn't match all that closely to my passions, and most of his tweets have been about Foursquare and Empire Avenue. However, one of them was a recommendation that people invest in me on Empire Avenue, so I'll add him to the list.

Another friend from Empire Avenue is @stefanoBossi. He is an artist, graphic & web designer, and photographer who had a similar post about investing in me.

The fourth person on my list is @ncscadsurvivor. She has a follow friday tweet about people who were at #MayoRagan and #mccsm. She was on a panel about Spontaneous Coronary Artery Dissection, something I had never heard of until I went to #MayoRagan. One of the best phrases from the conference was from the panel she was on, "patient initiated research". It is a great idea I hope to see spread.

Another person on @nscadsurviror's tweet was @healthblawg. He retweeted it, thanking her. He was also at #MayoRagan and is well worth following.

Back in Connecticut, @CSHHC mentioned me in a Follow Friday tweet, particularly in terms of the upcoming #hcsmct breakfast tweet up. I work for a different community health center, and as far as I know, I've not met the person how tweets for @CSHHC, but I look forward to meeting them at the tweet up.

Next on the list is @HealthJusticeCT who is really pulling together this #hcsmct Tweetup. We've met to talk about health care social media in Connecticut. I look forward to working together with her on a lot more events as we go forward.

So, that's my Follow Friday list for this week.

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October 27th

#occupyoakland 'Breaking News'

sfbreakingnews SF Breaking News

Google: "We received a request from US law enforcement to remove YouTube videos of police brutality."  #OccupyOakland

This 'breaking news' points to a Google Website about requests to remove information between January and June of 2011. There is nothing to link it to Oakland, and it pre-dates #OccupyOakland. Sloppy.

Floridagordon Florida Gordon

BREAKING NEWS: Oakland Police Chief Batts  #occupyoakland #ows

This points to an article from about two weeks ago when Oakland Police Chief Batts resigned. Again, nothing breaking here. The Washington Post story from October 13th, goes into more details about the long history of problems with the Oakland Police Department

Jordan takes over amid a rising violent crime rate; after the City Council recently tabled three crime-fighting initiatives; and a judge threatened to put the department under federal control because it has not yet met the terms of the corruption settlement in 2003.

Maybe it's time for the Oakland Police Department to be put under federal control.

Remember, when reading tweets, dig a little deeper, things may not always be what is being tweeted, and the interesting stories may be beneath the surface.

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