Score One for This Orange County

I’ve been going at it with my old friend Chari Daignault of Orlando Metroblog over who has it better living where. It’s the usual sort of California vs. Florida rivalry — one Orange County against another. She’s got a leak in her basement and I say she shouldn’t have built on a swamp. She tells me that at least her OC went for Kerry. And so forth.

The biggest tease, of course, concerns hurricanes vs. earthquakes. Most Californians I know prefer their earthquakes to the now four or more hurricanes that hit Florida each year. It’s been a long time since this Orange County felt a Big One (knock on wood — there’s a lot of it around as you’ll see in a moment), so we like to laugh and laugh at the weather problems of Floridians.

Early this morning, we got some weather. Lightning followed within seconds by thunder that blasted Portola Hills so hard that car alarms went off. Then rain. When that disappeared, wind began to fall off the sides of the Saddleback. Not a gentle breeze, but a fierce gale gusting up and over fifty miles an hour. The kind of invisible arm of nature that does this:


The walk to my truck to make a meeting this morning involved ducking flying twigs, leaves, and the weird nuts that the trees they planted here grow and then drop. I hadn’t seen so much rubble and debris since I left former Yugoslavia in 1992. As I write this, we’ve got storm warnings coming at us from all sides: wind, rain, cold air, and not more than 800 feet above where I live, snow. The real stuff that stops traffic in North Carolina and causes the CHP to require chains.

Up until Thanksgiving, we’re going to be picking up halves of eucalyptuses and righting the new plantings in Concourse Park:


It’s not like this in all of Orange County. Down at the Irvine Spectrum Center, temperatures were about ten degrees warmer and the winds barely shook the leaves. But I live near the mouth of Trabuco Canyon and that natural feature is belching up everything it ate in the last twenty four hours right all over my neighborhood. This is nature: there’s no amount of magnificent engineering that’s going to put a dam that’ll stop the flow of air from pushing over the acacias, throwing off a roof tile or two, and putting a chill on the outer ring of the ears of we who choose to live here.

Still, there’s no flooding in our basement because we don’t have one. Besides this is bedrock we got below us here — our state legislature meets often enough to pass laws that keep developers from building on squishy and shakey land. And there’s no way that Chari and all her Florida chamber of commerce people can beat this for beauty:



3 Comments so far

  1. No One of Consequence (unregistered) on November 22nd, 2004 @ 8:03 am

    Damn that George W. Bush! Damn him!

  2. Chari (unregistered) on November 23rd, 2004 @ 8:32 am

    Joel… we don’t have a basement; we built on a swamp, remember? ;)

    The walls leaked and water came in under the baseboards. That picture with the little squeaky tree that fell made me giggle… I don’t know why.

  3. Joel (unregistered) on November 23rd, 2004 @ 8:55 am

    Were you sniffing the whipped cream again, goddess chari? ;)

    As for the tree, I don’t know why they bother to plant ’em up here sometimes.

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