Storm Front

Jan. 4th, 2008 01:55 pm
wordweaverlynn: (lightning)
[personal profile] wordweaverlynn
There are sandbags in our courtyard at work.

Although this may be helping keep the conference room dry, the water's ankle-deep in most places, and going to the bathroom means wading through the lake.

It doesn't rain often out here, but it makes up in enthusiasm what it lacks in frequency. Some parts of the Bay Area have had eight inches of rain since the first storm hit yesterday -- and when the current storm blows itself out sometime tomorrow, a third will move in with more wind and rain. High winds knocked over a tractor-trailer on one bridge, after which the authorities wisely closed it until further notice. Streets are flooding, power is out, and the mountains are experiencing blizzard conditions -- winds over 100mph and blinding snow.

Winds in the coastal mountains either side of the Oregon-California border gusted over 150 mph during the morning. Winds gusted to just over 100 mph on the hill tops around Oakland and San Francisco, causing tree and power line damage. . . . Heavy rain totals in the coastal mountains north of San Francisco have reached 8 inches. Heavy rain is gradually shifting southward from northern California into central California and finally into Southern California. Rain totals will range from 2 to 5 inches in the valleys and along the coast to as much as 1 foot in the coastal mountains. Flash flooding is likely along the entire California coast and will not be confined to burn areas. . . . In the mountains of California, hourly snowfall rates could reach 6 to 8 inches. Snow accumulations between 2 feet (valley floors) and locally 12 feet (ridge tops) will bury the Sierra by the end of the weekend. White-out, blizzard conditions will make any travel through the Siskiyou and Sierra Mountains deadly. Damagingly strong wind gusts will continue over California especially in the vicinity of a strong cold front, ranging from between 50 and 70 mph at the lowest elevations to as high as between 150 and 200 mph at the ridge tops of the Sierra. Strong and damaging winds will also impact western Washington and most of Oregon, where winds could gust over 60 mph. Swells along the Washington, Oregon and northern California coasts will peak between 30 and 35 feet overnight and high surf warnings have been issued.


Note to non-Californians: this office building, like many out here, is designed as a series of suites, each opening onto an open central courtyard. The second floor has a walkway all the way around.

This floor plan is admirably adapted to the climate here, and it allows both privacy and shared public space. A company can rent one or many suites, so the space is flexible. Originally used for domestic architecture, this style is a descendant of the grand haciendas, which housed not just nuclear families but multiple generations of family and servants.

The adobe haciendas were and are beautiful buildings, cool, comfortable, elegant. This building, like many, borrowed the floor plan but skipped the Spanish Colonial architectural motifs: no red roof tiles, for example, or Moorish arches. And unfortunately, no drains in the paved courtyard, although we do have a redundant fountain.

Northeasterners visiting here often feel uneasy; these buildings strike them as too informal to be businesslike. Going outside to visit a colleague in a different suite (or the lunchroom, bathroom, conference room) seems undesirable and distracting. Part of the problem is probably climate-related. The open-courtyard design makes no sense whatsoever in any climate less benign than California's. My first thought on seeing those external corridors and staircases open to the sky is still "What happens when it snows?"

But I suspect that the issue is less practical than that. The hacienda- style floor plan is familiar to Easterners as the basic design of a Motel 6.

(no subject)

Date: 2008-01-04 10:03 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] abostick59.livejournal.com
The hacienda- style floor plan is familiar to Easterners as the basic design of a Motel 6.

Visiting your workplace always seems to me to be like visiting a low-rent apartment building

(no subject)

Date: 2008-01-05 02:37 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] wordweaverlynn.livejournal.com
Nah, people stay longer in low-rent apartment buildings. It's more like visiting an SRO hotel. (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Single_Room_Occupancy) Or even a rent-by-the-hour place.

Come to think of it, I live in a low-rent apartment building -- but they don't take Section 8 (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Section_8_%28housing%29), so it's low-rent but not necessarily low-income.

(no subject)

Date: 2008-01-04 10:41 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] jabber.livejournal.com
Now THAT is some Heavy Weather.

(no subject)

Date: 2008-01-04 11:04 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] marnanel.livejournal.com
I like the idea; it's a bit like the court/quad system at Oxbridge.

(no subject)

Date: 2008-01-05 12:12 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] cumaeansibyl.livejournal.com
The high school I went to in Ohio was a design that had originally been created for California. The halls were open around a central courtyard.

Of course, they walled it in after a couple of years of students freezing their tails off, but the walls were never terribly weather-proof, so the school was always cold.

(no subject)

Date: 2008-01-09 02:55 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] wordweaverlynn.livejournal.com
That sounds unwise for Ohio. OTOH, my absolute favorite funeral home is a mustard-yellow Spanish hacienda complete with red roof tiles. (http://www.hesslingfuneralhome.com/) In upstate PA. In a town otherwise characterized by graceful brick Colonials. It looks like a parrot among penguins.

(no subject)

Date: 2008-01-09 03:09 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] cumaeansibyl.livejournal.com
Hee. I grew up in a white stucco house designed by a loony civil engineer, so I have a strange fondness for anything vaguely Spanish. (It didn't originally have red roof tiles, but when the roof had to be replaced my parents found a company that made metal tiles resembling pretty much anything you could want, and got red scallopy ones. With the green trim? Awesome.)

(no subject)

Date: 2008-01-05 12:33 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] lkeele.livejournal.com
Just thought you might like to know, they're reporting on your storm here in Texas. (Television happens to be on in the room I'm sitting in right now).

(no subject)

Date: 2008-01-06 11:32 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] wordweaverlynn.livejournal.com
And if you're watching NBC, you know who is holding the camera and who is operating the sound mixers. (Or whatever they are.)

(no subject)

Date: 2008-01-06 01:08 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] lkeele.livejournal.com
Hey, cool! I didn't even notice what channel it was on, unfortunately.

(no subject)

Date: 2008-01-05 01:27 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] adamant-turtle.livejournal.com
I think it could grow on me...I'm not much for blah Corporate America.

(no subject)

Date: 2008-01-09 02:49 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] wordweaverlynn.livejournal.com
It's ideal for here, but I shudder to think of four feet of snow melting in a courtyard.

(no subject)

Date: 2008-01-05 01:59 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] corivax.livejournal.com
That floor plan was one of the first things I noticed when my family moved to California when I was a kid. My school was built like that - we used the central courtyard to let each kid plant a garden (this was a very small rural school - there weren't even enough of us to have one teacher per grade). Thank you so much for reminding me, I got a huge grin out of this post.

(no subject)

Date: 2008-01-06 11:32 am (UTC)

(no subject)

Date: 2008-01-05 02:24 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] stevenredux.livejournal.com
My first thought on seeing those external corridors and staircases open to the sky is still "What happens when it snows?"

The design of UNLV is more Modern but no less open. I had much the same vertigo in those glass-walled classrooms on outside corridors, like rooms in a hot sheets motel, when I took film classes there in early '90s.

(no subject)

Date: 2008-01-05 02:33 am (UTC)

(no subject)

Date: 2008-01-05 02:55 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] cjsherwood.livejournal.com
Oy re the weather!

But...

Tell me MORE about this "Missa O Magnum Mysterium"!!? Like composer?

Thanks!!

(no subject)

Date: 2008-01-06 11:36 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] wordweaverlynn.livejournal.com
A Spanish composer named Tomas Luis de Victoria, as sung by the Westmonster Cathedral Choir. (http://www.amazon.com/Victoria-Magnum-Mysterium-Ascendens-Christus/dp/B000002ZIR/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&s=music&qid=1199400870&sr=1-1) (I see the typo, but it's too good to correct.)

It's 16th century and gorgeous. I always loved Palestrina, too. The music shimmers and glows -- the aural equivalent of stained glass.

(no subject)

Date: 2008-01-06 04:03 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] cjsherwood.livejournal.com
OH! The Victoria Missa O Magnum Mysterium!!

That makes sense. It's gorgeous. :-)

Love the typo... though I think it may be more appropriate for the various choirs from Westmonster Choir College, myself. ;-)

If you like Palestrina and don't know Lassus, I'd urge you to seek him out (di Lasso, sometimes... depends on if it's the Italian or Latin spelling). I actually prefer him to Palestrina, for the most part.

And yes, re shimmers and glows!

(no subject)

Date: 2008-01-09 02:50 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] wordweaverlynn.livejournal.com
I know di Lasso, but I am always ready to hear a new recommendation. Good recordings?

(no subject)

Date: 2008-01-05 05:15 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] mount-oregano.livejournal.com
Here in Madrid, Spain, apartment houses were built in that style a century ago, and some of them still exist. The apartment building is called a corrala, and the central patio is a corral. They were discontinued because they were noisy (the corrals are small), and because of a lack of privacy. Everyone who lives there knows all about the coming and goings and doings of their neighbors. When I visit friends who live in corralas, I also get to greet the neighbors.

The corralas live on in popular culture because a number of comic operas, called zarzuelas, were written about them, or rather, about the events involving interactions and disputes among the residents.

The weather in Madrid is chilly and partly cloudly -- totally benign.

(no subject)

Date: 2008-01-06 11:38 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] wordweaverlynn.livejournal.com
How cool! And the zarzuelas sound like Rear Window, which was structured that way.

(no subject)

Date: 2008-01-21 06:23 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] guysterrules.livejournal.com
It's amazingly accurate that you wrote this about that style of architecture. I had the same thoughts when I first moved here. What do they do when is rains or snows?

It took me years to realize that weather has no bearing on anything here.

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