Sunday, September 30, 2007


Fall is a time of changes. Weatherwise, the changes in Atlanta are subtle this time of year. There is not a hint of color in the trees, nor will there be frost for a long time. But it is noticeably cooler at night, more comfortable (yet still warm) during the day, and best of all - it is far less humid most of the time. We can finally turn off our air conditioners and rely on fresh air from the windows. Still summery, but with that indefinable "something" in the air that hints of things to come.

Some things don't change, unfortunately. Georgia's extreme drought conditions are projected to worsen over the next few months. The long-term forecast calls for a warmer and drier winter than normal, extending our rain deficit into next year. Usually we can count on a wet fall and winter to help refill reservoirs, lakes and streams. Not this year. The persistence of sunny days has led to a change in outdoor water use restrictions. The tight restrictions have been replaced with a total outdoor watering ban for the entire northern third of the state. I'll miss the gardening I would have done - autumn is a great time to plant new perennials - but the region needs to conserve water for drinking and power generation. We are also obligated by law to release a certain amount of water downstream, and this far exceeds the reduced inflow to the lakes. Our water sources are at historically low levels. Lake Lanier is likely to reach a low not seen since it was first filled.

Yesterday was no exception to the fair fall weather pattern. Sunny skies and a warm, but not hot, afternoon made for excellent football weather. I had low expectations for this game. Change was in the air at sold-out Bobby Dodd Stadium, where Georgia Tech was able to engineer a reversal of fortune over their previous two games. The victory over formerly undefeated Clemson was a much-needed confidence builder for us. Our passing game still needs work, but special teams and the defense were spot on! Running back Choice was back to his normal performance, gaining 145 yards in spite of his injured hamstring. The team pulled together to overcome a bad start in our conference this year and to avenge last year's loss to Clemson. Close games are exciting, but difficult to watch when you care about the outcome. The fans of both teams were rocking the house during the entire game. We were finally able to relax with some cold fried chicken and beer at an impromptu post-game celebratory tailgate party. An added bonus was the hassle free exit from campus, long after most of the crowd had dispersed.

There is more change afoot in the sporting world: TBS will no longer broadcast Braves games nationwide. "America's Team" has been canceled due to declining ratings and a changing TV landscape. We will still be able to see them on TV here in Atlanta and in much of the southeast, but for the first time since 1977, the Braves will no longer be a big part of nationwide baseball programming. I can't help but feel sad about this. During my 12+ years living in New England, being able to turn on the TV and find a Braves game helped me feel less homesick. Even when I was too busy to watch, I would sometimes leave the game on just to hear the familiar voices from back home. The Braves on TBS made me feel more at home and less alone.

And speaking of television, the changeover from summer programming to fall programming is in full swing. Monk, Psych, and Rescue Me are on seasonal hiatus. Eureka and Doctor Who end this coming week. Heroes arrived again last week, along with newcomers Chuck and Journeyman. Looks like Monday is our new "couch potato night". This week brings the return of Dexter, and new show "Pushing Daisies" looks interesting.

And last but certainly not least, there are big changes in the works at my job. It has been handled rather strangely. We have a new physics schedule starting on Monday, and all of us know what it is from the grapevine, but I have yet to see any official notice/memo/email regarding the change. They usually have a short meeting to announce big changes, but not this time. I am going back to the schedule I like most (100% at the main location, so no more switching back and forth). Because this is what I wanted, I was afraid to get my hopes up about it until getting the official word. But official or not, apparently it is a go. I can't help but cynically feel that it will change again in the future, and I will once again get an assignment I don't care for. All I can do to fight that is to work my butt off at the main location and try to become indispensable. The rest of it is out of my control.

Edited to add: Speaking of changes, I have cleaned up my links list and added some people that I have been reading for some time now. They are in no particular order, so please don't anyone get your feelings hurt. Some day I will shuffle them into alphabetical order or whatnot. Don't hold your breath. I've been meaning to spiff up the graphics for nearly a year now, and the blog is still black and plain.


LL said...

Ahhhh fermi... I sense a deep reticence in your demeanor. The old familiar is going, the new and unknown approaches. It's easy to be uneasy...

But I do wish that my changes came that slowly... ;)

fermicat said...

Perceptive of you, LL. I do feel uneasy. There are other changes at my job that have left things feeling off-balance. Some people have left, others are leaving, and some just about have one foot out the door. We have a new hire PhD physicist coming 10/15. I am the most junior of the physicists (career-wise, not age-wise), so I am in the most danger of getting shuffled around to undesirable work assignments if anyone else leaves, like the split location thing I have done for the past eleven months.

Plus, fall is a wistful time in general. Beautiful and bright, but things are waning and dying back, and you know bleak winter is just around the corner. I also have some bittersweet memories from autumns many years past. I take some solace in knowing that winter is not so harsh or bleak in the southeast. And fortunately, it is the shortest of all the seasons here.

I usually enjoy fall. This year, I want to enjoy it, but feel troubled and uneasy in the back of my mind. My dreams are strange and I feel wary.

magnetbabe said...

Sorry to hear that you are so unsettled feeling, fermi. Get plenty of relaxing done (easy with all the shows starting!) and keep in touch with your feelings. Being able to articulate the anxiety you feel (even it's just to PDM) will help you get over the hump of the next few weeks and months.

Beth said...

OK, before I forgot, that picture below is PRICELESS! What? Do you have a camera permanently welded to your arm? How do you get these amazing shots? Two words again: Cat Calendar. You would make serious money!

Everything is changing, it seems. As for "Heroes," I must say, not for the better. The premiere sucked. I did watch Chuck (not bad) and Moonlight (stupid), but was more excited and Smallville and this week, Supernatural (best show on TV).

I saw the drought in your region on The Weather Channel and thought of you. I hope you do get lots of rain.

I also hope things stay where you want them on the job front.

trinamick said...

I'm excited for the upcoming TV season. It means that laziness is in my future - yay! Of course, I'm in mourning for some of my favorite cancelled shows, but it's time to move on.

fermicat said...

magnetbabe - thanks. It will settle down again at work and that will help. PDM has his own stuff he's dealing with, but he is a good sounding board (when he's not ranting about his job or about lazy students).

beth - I liked Heroes last week. The Weather Channel is headquartered in Atlanta and is no doubt very well aware of the drought conditions. But the best source of info on the drought is the web site. Lots of good stuff there, and you can get the local scoop.

trina - we're definitely going to be staying home on Monday nights. Tuesday's got Bones and House, so that is another good night to order pizza.

wa11z said...

Check out Reaper. Good stuff.

Also, fall is the best time of the year. I wish it could be 65 degrees all the time.

tiff said...

Fall rocks, it just take too daggone long to get here down South.

All good thoughts to you as you traverse the next couple of months of uneasy adjustments. Deeeeeep breaths!

fermicat said...

wa11z - I prefer 75.

tiff - trying to! We'll see how it goes.

dr sardonicus said...

I don't think we have fall here. It seems like Nashville weather goes straight from summer to what passes for winter.

I actually miss the cold and snow. Winter here is just a string of dreary, rainy days (except for last year, when it was dreary without the rain). When Jimmy Buffett lived here, he said Nashville was the place where the northern storms came to die. A couple of winters in Nashville convinced Buffett he wouldn't ever live anywhere that wasn't near an ocean again.

Taylor said...

I will do my rain dance for you. it doesnt work that often but when it does...whew...
not a baseball fan, but I understand what having something familiar taken away feels like, definite downer.
The one thing I hate is that heroes is just now at saving the cheerleader here in scotland I NEED NEW HEROES! damn it Itunes pick up the slack!

fermicat said...

dr s - I had enough cold and snow in my 13 winters in New England to last a lifetime. I don't miss that at all.

taylor - welcome back. Do that rain dance for us, please. And yes, you need some new Heroes. They are back and as good as ever!

Kathleen said...

Even though we're not in a drought, we've not had enough rain or snow over the past however many years that all of the Great Lakes are down significantly - Lakes Huron and Michigan are down a couple of feet, which is huge when you realise how bloody big the Great Lakes are. And the damn funeral home next to me waters every morning even after a day full of rain. And it's freaking the middle of October. I'm ready to slap them.