Very Strange…Very Strange Indeed

Before I get to that though…an update on our status here at the home front.

Power is back on…we were out for about 75 hours; and water was out for about 24 although we’re still under a boil water notice that should end early this week. No worries on water…we filled both tubs after bleaching them and had 6 gallons of bottled so we’re just fine there.

Funny story…Neil poured the last of our generator gas into the generator Saturday afternoon and then tried to use his siphon to get some from the full tank in the car…only to discover there’s an anti-siphon device installed so that meant we needed to go find some. Connie checked Gas Buddy and found several stations open down about 12 miles from the house so we headed down there to get some. Neil said that…like the umbrella theory…us going to get some would result in the power being back on. We got down to the station…and they were amazingly organized. All but one entrance was blocked off, one exit only, and there were 3 employees at the RaceTrack outside to direct people to pumps and tell them cash only…and there were 20 pumps. We got our 5 gallons and headed home, after parking in the drive Neil stayed behind to put the windshield shades up…Connie goes inside and comes back out saying “we got lights”…so he was right on the money.

A lot of the county still doesn’t have power and it’s transmission infrastructure in addition to substation to houses wiring…so it will probably be most of a month to get power restored to all the places that still exist. Many damaged manufactured homes we saw on our trips out so far, and the barrier islands like Captiva, Marco, Estero, and Sanibel are essentially a raze and rebuild situation. Pine Island and the Sanibel/Captiva pair aren’t even accessible since the bridge to Pine Island is out (but expected to have a temp one in place by the weekend or so) and the causeway to Sanibel and Captiva has about a half mile that is not only no longer a road but no longer the island the causeway was built on top of…there’s a new inlet about 200 or 300 yards across in that mid island that was causeway connecting to bridges on either end to the mainland and Sanibel.

Ok…on to the strangeness.

Back when Neil was driving submarines for Uncle Sam’s Canoe Club…he developed a couple of thumb rules for good submarining.

  • All ships are 100 feet tall…except for those that aren’t
  • All ships go 12 knots…except for those that don’t
  • Merchant ships never change course…except for when they do
  • Warships never go in a straight line…except for when they do
  • All ships have a turns per knot ratio (which allows you to determine the speed from shaft speed) of 10…except for those that don’t

That’s the short version of the rules…if you’re interested in the why’s and wherefore’s of them…let me know in the comments and I’ll get him to ‘splain ‘em to ya…cuz bears know bupkus about submarines ya know.

So what does this have to do with hurricanes? Glad ya asked.

Everybody knows several things about hurricanes.

  • Because of the counter clockwise rotation of the storm (in the northern hemisphere, it’s the other way south of the equator) the right front quadrant of the storm is always the strongest because the wind speed and forward motion speed add in that quadrant…so you want to be in any other hemisphere
  • Maximum winds of the storm…whatever they are…are found near the eye wall
  • Hurricanes have a metric butt load of rain involved…like somebody is standing over your head with a bucket

Well…not so much as it turns out each of those rules should have the exception that Neil had in his submarine rules appended to the end of the statement…and in Neil’s previous experience in 10 or so of them all of those were true…but it turns out that ol’ Ian was the exception in a lot of ways.

I know you probably saw on the news that it was a cat 4 bordering on cat 5 storm with winds of 155 miles an hour…but having been practically right in the center of it the winds weren’t nearly that bad overall…bad yes, but not 155. As the storm was coming in the central pressure was about 930 millibars and the max winds generally follow the pressure and 930 translates to about 135 miles an hour. And the wind speed sensing radar (SWMR or something like that) indicated about 135 as well. And post storm it was reported that in North Fort Myers where we are the maximum wind recorded at ground level was around 90.

So…what happened? Couple things probably involved…but Ima not a weather guesser so this is just what I think happened.

First…as the storm approached the west coast of FL it was going just slightly east of north…about 010 degrees…and the coastline here is about 330 or north northwest which means the storm track was fairly parallel to the coast…and that meant that the eastern half of the storm was over land well before the actual landfall (which is defined as the point where the center of the open mostly circular eye crosses the coast)…and since cyclones generate their energy from the hot water they’re transiting over the eastern half of the storm (normally the worst half as the storm goes north in the northern hemisphere) essentially was getting no power…and this cut the wind speeds down. The drawback to getting the winds down was that the counter clockwise motion of the storm pushed a bigger storm surge into the coast through a narrowing gap as it approached than one would normally be expected…and it is actually the storm surge that did the majority of the damage near the water.

Neil was outside several times during the peak of the storm and he thought it was never over about 60 or 70 at our house…he went out side to check things in relatively low rain and wind times so it was safe…because with the shutters installed we couldn’t see outside at all.

So…how close was the storm to us? Most folks…including Neil…thought that the eye wall area was pretty narrow as one went from the hurricane force max winds just outside the eye to the essentially calm interior of the eye…but actually the eye wall is perhaps 10 to 20 miles wide in total…I’m sure that a meteorologist could ‘splain the definition more technically but as I said Ima not so I just take their word for it.

Here’s a screenshot our friend Bill sent us of the storm as it came by…I’m not sure whether this is the wind measuring radar or the rain measuring radar but it’s not really material to the discussion. Our house is at the bottom of the red pin…and is located just north of the S in Fort Myers Shores at center. We were not actually inside the eye…Neil went out and looked and did not see the normal blue sky one can find if you’re actually in the eye but it was definitely much less gray and lighter looking west as compared to east. From our house directly west to the beach is about 9.5 miles and the local weather guessers reported that the eye wall was about 10 or 12 miles wide so we were in it as you can see. Landfall was on the island of Caya Costa which is 21 miles west southwest from our house…it’s not visible on this image but it’s about at the F in Fort Myers Shores. And we had winds of 60-70 by Neil’s guess and the report was a max of 90 or 95 in North Fort Myers which essentially starts at about the bottom of the Y in Fort Myers Shores and goes north from there to just south of the bottom of the second A in Punta Gorda. And over to the road on the map east of our house (that’s I-75).

So…there’s always a lot of wind…except for when there isn’t…and while it might have been cat 4 somewhere around the eye it certainly didn’t look like it from our perspective. 

IMG 2381


It certainly rained…but it never rained very hard and certainly not continuously…we have had many, many thunderstorms in the time we’ve been in the house and in the 8 winters in the RV before that where the rainfall was 3 or 4 times as heavy. Every time he went out…it seemed more like it was wind blowing some rain but in the absence of the wind he would have called it a sprinkle or drizzle based on how much was falling. So…there’s always a lot of wind involved…except for when there isn’t.

The good news is that we identified a couple of flaws in our hurricane preparation steps…and we’ll be attending to those by making ourselves a checklist of things to do before the storm comes and by adding some additional things to our list. Nothing seriously wrong with what we did or had…but we can make some slight improvements pretty easily.

We’ve been in text contact with our various friends from the Elks, Ladies of Elks, choir, and chorus and all are pretty much ok as well…some minor damage but only one person we know has been evicted from her home. She is the choir director at church and lives in a manufactured home about 5 miles south of us. She lost her roof but her sister in law lives there as well and they went into her concrete block hurricane shelter out back of her home during the storm…and SIL did not lose the roof so they are staying at SIL’s house for the time being. We offered both of them (ladies 12 or 15 years older than we are) a shower and meal if they needed but they’ve got water and apparently enough to eat for the time being.

As I noted last time…we have a tree down and most of our shrubbery is also down…we never really liked most of the shrubbery anyway so are going to think on what we want to do out front. We’ll keep the date palms because we like them but whether we get more shrubs or just some statuary or garden gnomes is still up in the air as we don’t know what we want to do. Connie really likes this one low green and yellow succulent thing for the way it looks…but apparently they have really shallow root systems as every one in the neighborhood has vanished down the street or into the next county. No roof damage at all…thank goodness for tile roofs I guess…and only screen damage to the lanai as I talked about last time. Our hurricane deductible probably will be more than the repair cost for the screen but once we know that for sure we’ll get on the list to have it replaced.

Pro Tip©…we discovered that when you have a 45+ year old radio/cd/cassette tape player (Connie got it when she went to college in 1972) that has both batteries and a cord…one must unplug the cord from the back before it will work on batteries. We pulled it out and put new batteries in it…and it didn’t work so we only used it when we were running the generator after the storm…but when he was bringing all the stuff we had out in the garage back in the cord got snagged and pulled out…and the radio came on. Neither of them had any idea that was the case. Getting and testing a new radio was part of our ‘add this to the hurricane kit’ list…but apparently we don’t really need to do that, just pull the cord out next time. 🤣

Neil still hasn’t processed the photos from our trip to Daytona…I’ll yell at him for ya and mebbe he’ll get his butt in gear and do them for next time.

One point of politically correct woke for ya…apparently Oregon and 4 other states have a constitutional amendment on the ballot next month to…believe it or not…outlaw slavery. Seems like they’re about 150 years too late in the first place and the 14th amendment to the Constitution…which by definition overrides anything in any state constitution…slavery is already illegal. No matter though…I figger the lefties just want to make a political statement. I think we all agree that slavery should be outlawed…but since it was already so passing a state constitutional amendment is just a political gesture with absolutely zero meaning other than to make liberals happy.

And out in the Peoples Republic of California…or PRC…they have several new laws. Human composting for your body after you die is now an official option. The word Squaw is now illegal as well…and must be removed from about 100 geographic features and place names across the republic. Jaywalking is now legal unless a “reasonable person would realize there is a likely probability of a collision”…and all traffic lights on state owned roads must have pedestrian crossing signals regardless if there are any pedestrians that cross there or not. And rap music cannot be used by prosecutors or defense attorneys as evidence in criminal cases. Immigration status in criminal trials may not be mentioned unless approved by the presiding judge. All new natural gas installations are illegal as of 2030…so I guess there won’t be any restaurants since electric stoves aren’t hot enough or adjustable enough to provide restaurant levels of food prep. Illegal aliens can now get official state ID cards. Gender based pricing is now illegal. There are three new state holidays…Juneteenth, Lunar New Year, and Genocide Remembrance Day. Solitary confinement in prison is essentially outlawed…no more than 15 days consecutive and 45 out of 180 and prohibited entirely for younger than 26 or older than 59, pregnant or recently pregnant, or with either physical or mental disabilities. The reparations task force has received an additional year to finish their demands. They also have a new Feather Alert system similar to the Amber and Silver alert systems that applies to native Americans.

Ah…what a great place to live…not. 

The FCC announced yesterday a new rule that requires that all low earth satellites be de-orbited 5 years after their useful life is over (the former requirement was 25 years). This is supposed to reduce the amount of space junk that is up there and is actually a pretty good idea…but there are a bunch of issues with their rule. First and foremost…it is really NASA’s responsibility and not the FCC to issue this rule. Second…apparently there’s no grandfathering of previously launched satellites and there is no way to de-orbit them except to wait for them to decay on their own. Thirdly…there is no program in place or plans to put in place a way to de-orbit these older birds…I can see that requiring newly launched birds to have maneuvering capability (which many do not currently) and to reserve sufficient fuel to de-orbit them on command later…but issuing this requirement after launch for existing satellites is just plain stupid…but then our government (both parties) have done many, many stupid things before so I guess this is really not anything new. The biggest problem is that in all actuality this should be a NASA rule and not an FCC rule…while the FCC can probably make a case that for communication satellites they have some jurisdiction since Communications is part of their name there are many launches that have nothing to do with communications and NASA seems like the right organization to figure these sorts of things out. And naturally this does nothing for the other half to a dozen countries that have launch capability.

Meanwhile…interesting things found on the net.

Strange things ya see when ya wear your hat in the bar.


This is hands down…the best autocorrect evah…found this on the Reddit Am I The Asshole subreddit.


This one is similar to one I did before but goes farther…it includes all the water on earth, liquid fresh water, and fresh water in lakes and rivers…kinda sobering how little of it there actually is.


Strangely enough…the shot below shows the amount of water in our oceans as compared to the amount of water in Europa’s oceans (Europa is the smallest of the 4 Jupiter moons discovered by Galileo)…Europa has 2 to 3 times more water in its oceans.


After seeing this…you’ll never think of Australia the same way again.


How fast was this little guy going when he hit?


First World problem.


Our closest neighbor galaxy is the Andromeda galaxy which is about 2.5 million light years away. A light year is about 10 trillion kilometers or 6.2 trillion miles…so it’s a far piece…about 15 million trillion miles away. You can’t see the galaxy with your naked eye because it’s pretty faint being so far away but it does show up on long exposure telescope pictures…the composite below shows how big it would be if you could see it…about 6 times bigger than the full moon.


And a couple for the math nerds.

From your calculus…you’ll probably remember that velocity is the derivative of the position vector with respect to time and that acceleration is the derivative of the velocity vector with respect to time. Going a bit further…continuing with the next 4 derivatives are named Jerk, Snap, Crackle, and Pop. There’s a similar concept in nuclear physics called a shake that I’ll talk about next time.

And the second math one…and I cannot for the life of me understand why anybody would actually care about these enough to figure them out…much less name them…and even less wonder what they might be useful for…but then Ima bear and not a math nerd so mebbe that’s the problem.

Anyways there’s this concept called a Perfect Digit To Digit Invariant (PDDI) which is also called a Munchausen number. A PDDI is a number such that when you take each digit and raise it to the power of itself and then add the results you get the number. There are (apparently) exactly 4 of these numbers…0, 1, 3435, and 438,579,088 (and the latter only works if you use the convention that 0 to the 0th power is 0 which not all mathematicians agree on.

PDDI Invariant

What else they’re good for…who knows, I couldn’t find anything other than nerdery.

And finally…sodium citrate is a chemical that is used to make edible things smooth and creamy…it’s primary use is to make the cheese sauce for your tortilla chips at the Mexican restaurant. And it so happens that the chemical formula for sodium citrate is…



About Gunther

The full time RV travels and experiences of Gunther the Bear and Kara the Dog…along with their human staff neil and Connie.
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