aside from the devastation, nice. What does it look like where you are?: aside from the devastation, nice.

By droopy on Wednesday, March 29, 2000 - 10:41 pm:

    the calm after the storm. it's amazing how peaceful it's been all day after last night's tornado - warm with a cool breeze, blue sky, perfect.

    i live in downtown fort worth, 8 blocks from main st. to get to my apartments you drive east on 3rd st. to a sort of warehouse district: on your left is west texas produce and to the left is a stable with the police horses and looming large behind that is the tindall warehouse building. the road dips down under a train trellis that acts as a sort of gate into hillside apts. - a little village of pale, pastel houselike apartments built by the bass family to pretty up the area after they built a performance hall. it was once a poor neighborhood. not that it's rich now.

    and that's how i got home yesterday with a pheasant a hunter friend had given me. i cut off the wings, legs, and thighs, filleted the breasts, rubbed them with greek seasoning, braised them in butter, and let them simmer. i ate half of them with sauteed onions and peppers, french bread, and a local brew called shiner bock and put the rest in the fridge.

    it was a little after 6 six when i finished. i laid down in bed, put the radio on to some blues and started reading a magazine. the rain seemed to come in fast; all of a sudden there was a hard rain outside and the windows grew darker. air-raid type sirens started going off. it started pelting down and every so often you could hear hail banging on the roof. i got up to look out my back door, but the wind seemed to be in eddies that were whipping around and dive bombing, rushing in the door and knocking papers off the table.

    so i went back to bed and listened to the blues. as the rain was coming down the hardest, i could hear a roar coming from the west over the radio. my first thought was a train, but i knew no train around here sounded like this. my apartments are bordered on the east and the west by train tracks: a passenger line whose trellis has been mentioned, and a freight line practically at my backyard that goes to the purina mill a few blocks away to carry kibble away to the rest of the southwest. city freight trains are rumbling, clanking, howling, and elephantine - this ROARING i was hearing was like a 747 taking off.

    then the power went off.

    it was annoying, but i wasn't particularly worried. the last place i lived the transformer that powered my block was so crappy it would go out in any spring shower. anyway, it was still light out. i put the book down and listened to the rain die down quickly after the roaring stopped. i looked out my back door. in the totally gray sky there was a long, thick line of black clouds like smoke from a smokestack and black (against the clouds) debris swirling around vultures over a carcass. kind of looked like a volcano had erupted.

    then the phone started ringing "you alright? damn man, there was a tornado!" when the rain stopped completely we started coming out of our apartments. my neighbor got in her car and turned the radio on and we listened to the reports. we traded beer and cigarettes around. the lights of the skyline that overlooks our apartments were on, though patchy. one tall glass building had flashing lights dancing around like a christmas tree. sirens were going and helicopters were flying around shining searchlights to survey the damage.

    around 9 i went back into my dark apartment, lit a candle, and got back into bed. i was playing my guitar when the phone rang. it was mary, whom i've known for a long time but had had a falling out with a few years ago. she was calling to check up on me, asking if they were going to evacuate me (no) and did i need anything (no). we talked for an hour about various things.

    the lights came back on a 10. i cleaned up the house, got online for a while, then went to bed.

    this morning was as peaceful and springlike as you could hope for. i tried to turn on my tv to catch the news, but it doesn't seem to be working anymore. i got online to get more info.

    they've had downtown sealed off all day. i'm not exactly trapped here, but it's too much trouble to leave. helicopters were buzzing around all morning and into the afternoon. in the daylight i could see the broken windows of the tall buildings. the fort worth skyline is small and sparse like a few blocks set up by a child. and now somebody broke it.

    i did some more cleaning, some more communing with the neighbors. i got some email from people checking up on me, but - predictably - not from my father. dinner was the rest of the pheasant cold, raw vidalia onion rings, french bread, and more shiner. then i started reading an old copy of *henderson the rain king* that i had found while cleaning.

By Antigone on Thursday, March 30, 2000 - 12:13 am:

    Ya, I guess the majority of Dallas (me included) lucked out on this one. I was about a block from home on my way back from work when the tornado warning came in over the radio. Then I went over to my mom's empty rent house, buffed the floors, and promptly forgot about the whole thing...

By Rhiannon on Thursday, March 30, 2000 - 09:48 am:

    I'm glad you two are all right. Tornadoes are, well, really really bad.

By patrick on Thursday, March 30, 2000 - 12:24 pm:

    likewise.....droop, didn't you feel the need to take some cover when the sirens went off?

    mmmmmmmmmm vidalia onions...........i was watching the teley when this happend and the news cut in, i ws kinda high and well it all seemed so surreal. You never hear of tornados pounding larger cities.....the scene was so surreal. 20 sotry bldgs all blasted out....falling 200lb window panes.......i was at awe when i saw it.......glad you are ok......lets assess the natural disasters we all really face

    first and foremost

    secondary worries

    being on top of a hill i do not worry about flooding and seeing as how i am in a network of hills, mudslides are not so much of a concern.

    hurricanes for RC, blizzards for Swine and Mark, Quakes for Nate and Isolade

    you guys up in the Pacific north....whats your most threatening natural disaster....? Portland, Seattle, what goes on there?

By semillama on Thursday, March 30, 2000 - 12:59 pm:


    Where I grew up, it was only snowstorms.

By droopy on Thursday, March 30, 2000 - 01:48 pm:

    it didn't really occur to me that sirens meant tornado (even though i live in 'tornado alley'). i know that most people would've found sirens in the midst of a raging storm a tip off that their might be trouble - but i'm very phlegmatic. luckily, all the damage that happened was in the center and west, and i am east.

    it was all kind of cool really. looking out of my backdoor is like looking at a scene from one of those post-apocalyptic movies. in one of the stories on cnn, there's a picture of the bank one tower - that's the one that had the flashing lights.

By Rhiannon on Thursday, March 30, 2000 - 02:02 pm:

    My mom grew up in Nebraska. She says she still has nightmares about the tornadoes.

    We get them around these parts, too, usually in the summer. Once, one went threw the town right next to mine, but the only natural disasters I've had to experience are thunderstorms and flooded creeks.

By sarah on Thursday, March 30, 2000 - 08:43 pm:

    droopy, i am SO SO SO glad you are ok. could have been worse, but i'm happy it wasn't. however, the rest of ft. worth can get blown to hell for all i care.

    consider a move to austin. good music down there, man.

By R.C. on Thursday, March 30, 2000 - 08:46 pm:

    Damn, Droopy! The thought of you trying to make it thru a tornado in yr wheelchair makes me awfuflly sad.

    Don't you have some sort of buddy system? Y'know/someone you can count on to call you up or stop by if the phones are down & make sure you get out alive & in one piece when heavy weather hits?

    I know twisters srping up w/virtually no warning. And I know you're all abt self-reliance & whatnot.

    But still...

    At least the hurricanes down here give us plenty of advance notice. Praise God for doppler radar.

    What's pheasant taste like anyway? And don't go say 'chicken'! I'm in no mood for jokes/since I didn't get even a piece of that $80 million Florida lotto jackpot from yesterday. I had all six numbers/but spread out over 3 different tickets.

    Curses! Back to work tomorrow!

By droopy on Thursday, March 30, 2000 - 11:40 pm:

    had my first good drive around fort worth this afternoon - damn! i can't believe how far west of downtown the storm reached. if it had gone that far in the other direction yours truly would be writing this from a shelter or dead. driving down the road along the trinity river i passed a cash america that looks like it had its entire side ripped off. i still can't get into the downtown area, just circle around it like everybody else. this pushing of the traffic to the perimeters makes for a bottleneck that makes it slow going.

    even miles away from downtown there seems to be cop cars everywhere. you can't seem to hit a street that doesn't have one of somewhere. i started noticing people at intersections - if you were at least close enough to see the skyline, people would be looking wistfully at the ruined buildings.

    as far as getting through a tornado in a chair - it's not like i don't have any more friends and relations than anyone else. i generally make sure my ass is covered, though. it's usually better to find some way to solve a problem yourself than to ask for help.

    pheasant tastes like chicken, but gamier. game meat has a lot of character to it. it also has no fat and is tough unless you introduce a lot of fat into it while cooking - either by barding or sauting like i did. the worst thing about it is that every so often you bite into a piece of buckshot. nothing hurts like biting into a small metal pellet.

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