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«  Tue.08.15.2000  »
9:39 pm EDT        78°F (26°C) in Ann Arbor


I began the News page on March 1, 1999, primarily because I was bored during spring break. Here we are, 99 updates later, and it's grown in stature to the point where it's probably the most important section of my site. It's taken me 17½ months to reach 100 updates, but it's been well worth it. I might have reached this point two months ago, if I hadn't been such a hippie in the Fall 1999 term and made a total of eight updates between September 1 and December 31. Hell, I went the entire month of November 1999 without an update, period. (Interestingly enough, I framed November perfectly -- I made an October 31 update, and a December 1 update.)

It's amazing when I think about the things that this News section has survived. It has survived two total site redesigns unscathed. It has seen the Online Wing-O-Meter, the pages talking about running events I planned but never went through with, the old "My Friends" page, the Detroit Links page, North Campus Photography, Woodward Dream Cruise Photography, and "Why EECS 100 Sucks" pages come and go. It's been moved around with the entire site so many times that I can't even remember all the places it's been. I believe, although I cannot remember for sure, that this is now the oldest continuing page on my site. In many ways, it's a link to my past; I can see not only what has happened over the last year and a half of my life, but also the various site designs I've used over that time. It may seem like I'm just taking a trip down Memory Lane right now, which is actually a half-accurate assessment of my state as I write this. I feel like B.B. King at one of his shows, where he talks about all the years he's been on the road, all the people he's met, all the nights he's played -- it's really amazing sometimes to go back on your past and relive it. That's half the reason I've done this as long as I have.

Well, enough talking about the past. As always, loyal readers, I'm going to give you the same hard-hitting news about my life that you've come to expect through the first 99 updates.

I found out more about the weekend fire at Transportation Services. I originally reported that a small electrical fire found a puddle of flammable fluid and jumped out of control. As it turns out after further investigation, the fluid did not play a role in causing the fire. There had been some fluid on the floor of the garage, but it had been covered with quick-dry (a sand-like substance which absorbs things like motor oil, coolant, etc. that soap and/or water can't effectively get rid of). The original cause and primary source of the fire appears to have been entirely within bus 3001's electrical wiring.

As far as the damage goes, I have a bit more information on that as well. 3001 was a total loss; it was towed to a junkyard yesterday afternoon. 727 was very badly damaged; I actually stepped inside it yesterday, and was horrified at what I saw. The ceiling inside the bus, which is supposed to be an off-white color, had the sickening dark brown color of a piece of burnt toast. The plastic panels near the front of the bus were badly deformed; it was almost a ghastly sight. I honestly don't know if 727's electrical system can ever be fixed, since the fuse panel area suffered some of the worst damage and deformation. The "Stop Requested" light, which hangs from the ceiling front-and-center, was held on at a funny angle. The worst sights to behold lay on the floor, above each axle; the melted carcasses of what had been roof vents sat on the floor. I was amazed to learn that the bus was still even driveable. I think what's going to happen to 727 is that it will be disassembled as needed for parts, much like what happens to stolen mid-80s Japanese cars. The big-bus area of the garage suffered such serious structural damage that its remains will soon be destroyed, and a new garage will be built. In addition, the entire second floor of the bus-parts storage area was destroyed, and with it many irreplaceable spare bus parts. The remainder of the building will survive, after several rounds of cleaning, a complete electrical re-wiring, a complete re-roofing, and replacement of broken windows and doors. For two weeks starting tomorrow, the entire office operation of Transportation Services will be moved into various office rooms in surrounding buildings, while contractors attempt to return the building to complete usability. Bus operations will be unaffected for the most part, with the obvious exception being that if anything breaks down, it won't be fixed for awhile.

Total change of subject here. It looks like I will be reinstated for the fall, and will be able to continue my academic career. I just have to follow the correct path through the bureaucracy from here on out. It's taken all summer, but I think everything is finally on the right track.