A Few More Highways And Byways

A few weeks ago, I had shared Freeway Jim's camera work covering some local area highways here in Tampa Bay. That was actually the second part of two covering my little neck of the woods, so here's the first.

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Rainy Days And A Monday

In some parts of the Bay Area, Monday was an absolute washout, as a historic amount of rainfall cannonaded the area over the past several days leading up to that day.

Here in Pinellas Park, we didn’t get the rain that badly. My biggest problem was a backed up sewer line Monday night that made flushing a slight bit more of a challenge, but that went away once the rain ended.

The rain hit hardest in the spots it usually does: parts of Tampa around USF and along Dale Mabry between Kennedy and Gandy get flooded quickly and this recent set of storms was no exception. Pasco County mainly along US 19 also got hit hard.

The unusual spot was northern Pinellas County from Palm Harbor to Tarpon Springs. That area got 6-9 inches of rain in 12 hours, enough to flood roads and to send normally parked cars floating around.

Was it the worst flooding I’ve ever seen? No. When I was a senior at Largo High School, we had four days of rain in September of 1988 that really messed things up. At the end of the fourth day, a Thursday, I headed home for school along West Bay Drive, a road that connects the more urban east side of Largo to the aristocratic west side of town and a smaller city, Bellair Bluffs.

Right around Largo Medical Center, one of the two hospitals in the city, the road was several inches underwater. Cars were parked at West Bay and 20th Avenue at a traffic light there, except these cars were stalled out. I was (lucky for me) in a school bus that day, and the driver had no trouble negotiating the road with a taller vehicle. Others had to push their cars to higher ground.

Just remember, if you can’t see the road, turn around, don’t drown.

Root, Root, Root For The Road Team

I heard Joe Maddon got all bent out of shape over the weekend about how fans attending the Saturday Rays-Yankees fans cheered raucously when Derek Jeter got a game-winning hit to secure a 3-2 New York win.

His frustrations are certainly understandable, but it’s not a new problem for the team, nor this sports market.

I remember going to a Tampa Bay Buccaneers game against the Chicago Bears as a birthday present (I had just turned 20 two days prior) back on September 8, 1991. Back then, the Bucs were terrible, a few years away from turning their franchise around, and this was also back when the Bears would play a game here in Tampa every year with both teams playing in the old NFC Central division. Made up of mostly midwestern teams, the Bucs were the bastard child of the group.

Sitting in the broiling sun, the Bucs fell 21-20 to the more capable Bears. But being in the crowd that day, you’d think it was a Chicago home game. True, the Bears had a national following at the time having been a few years removed from a Super Bowl championship back in 1986, but I left Tampa Stadium that afternoon wondering where all the Bucs fans were.

Our market loves winners. If our teams aren’t winning, this is an area will the fans will find other things to do. That’s the way it’s always been here, and probably will be, sorry to say.

The Unexpected Gift

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Still in shock that I was the recipient of an Xbox 360, December 24th, 2012.

I didn’t do too badly for someone who thought the world might be ending a few short days ago.  The Windows 8 computer was supposed to be it in terms of Christmas gifts for me, which was fine, since that’s all I wanted.

Over the weekend, my mother was peppering me with questions about Blu-Ray DVD players. as this was going to be a gift for her boyfriend for his Christmas.  So when I see her again on Sunday morning, she’s sporting not one DVD box, but two.  I asked her who else was getting a Blu-Ray, and she responds that I was getting one as well.  I wound up with a Sony, the boyfriend got a Panasonic.  My first thoughts were: why me?  I already had the gizmos a Blu-Ray player has on the Windows 8 computer, like Pandora and Netflix.  I guess she thought that I figured out how to set up the DVD system for myself, setting one up for her boyfriend would be a cinch.

Fast forward to Christmas Eve.  Just before I left the boyfriend’s house, I get this bag for Christmas from him.  Having been over to his house before to watch some Buccaneers games this fall, I noticed he had an Xbox 360 with a Kinect device, and he mentioned he was trying to get rid of it for a good price.  I open up the bag, and there it was.  My mom had bought it off of him!  Needless to say, I was dumbfounded.  Don’t get me wrong, I’ll enjoy the Christmas haul, but it far exceeded my expectations.

If I was 18, I guess I’d be saying “Wow!”

But at 41, I can’t help but ask “Why?”

So later on this morning, I’m off to Walmart, hopefully to quick up Madden 13, but I have several backup plans in place if the popular video game isn’t at the store for the big post-Christmas rush.  Might be there when the store re-opens at 6am, as the Tampa Bay area is supposed to get some stormy weather around midday as a cold front passes through the area.

I hope you all had a good Christmas holiday, as I know I’m already looking forward to 2013.