Wednesday, August 31, 2005

Hurricane Katrina Refugee Report #2

Like so many things, the original post was lost! So, I'll be brief now, and try to reconstruct it later. In the mean time, here are my requests:

Someone please contact MSNBC and tell Rita Crosby, the idiot with the bleached blonde hair who sounds like Kathy Griffin, to please stop showing (in non-stop loops) the video clip of people, almost all of whom are black, looting Walmart and talking about how the "real tragedy" that "these people" are robbing the "respectable buisiness owners." Racist bitch. (Sorry, but I'm MAD!) Props to Senator Mary Landrieu (Dem) for calling into the show and telling the idiot that these people don't have food, water, plumbing, gas, electricity, transportation, any means of remote communication and maybe nothing but the clothes on their backs, for all we know.

Next, please ask Google or Microsoft Terra Server or NASA and whoever else has satellites, to get some fresh satellite inages of the area loaded into those services that show the image for an address. So many of us are desperate to know what the situation is in our part of town in terms of water height and general damage. It would sure be nice to be able to drop in an address and see it.

Love to you all! Signing off for now...

Tuesday, August 30, 2005

Hurricane Katrina Refugee Report #1


Greetings from The Most Expensive Refugee Camp on
Earth.

The kids are having fun and I'm so glad we're here because I know how worried they have been about what's going on at home, even with this wonderful distraction. Rachel spent a good bit of the night before we left crying as we packed and secured everything we could. Alex wouldn't dare shed a tear because, as he puts it, it would destroy his carefully crafted persona. But he's admitted that he's worried. My kids are far more sensitive to things like this than they let on, and usually I find out just how much so later on. I can't imagine how this would have affected them had we simply evacuated to my sister's house in Lafayette, LA and stayed glued to the TV all this time. (I've had a hard time tearing myself away from the TV here to get out to the parks and I think I probably need this distraction as much as they do.)

I imagine everyone has seen the news showing the aftermath of the storm and the devastation of the city. We have no idea what condition our house is in at this time, but because we are so close to the river, we believe the slight elevation of the flood plane and the four foot piers (a very appropriate name for the foundation) upon which the house stands may have helped keep whatever is left out of water. Last I heard, uptown New Orleans was not experiencing the kind of flooding that's inundated other parts of the city. I hope that report is accurate, but I also hear that water is still rising –and rising fast in the city, despite the fact that the storm has passed. Water is pouring in from the lake through broken levees faster than it can be pumped out. And if that continues, nothing will keep our house above the flood waters. And I just heard a report on CNN that a part of downtown New Orleans that was not flooded a few hours ago now has over 15 feet of water and it's rising at an alarming rate. That's bad news. Very bad news.

There are so many people in desperate situations right now and my heart so aches for them. But it's truly amazing that (so far) no fatalities have been reported in New Orleans. Unfortunately, that's not true for our neighbors on the coast. And with the water rising so fast, that may change for us before all this is over. The truly scary thing is that this was not the Absolute Worst Case, as the eye passed a few miles to the east of the downtown part of the city. It's hard to imagine it being worse, but believe it or not, it would have been if that little shift hadn't occurred. The brunt of the storm hit Bay St. Louis, Mississippi, where my sister has a summer house right on the Jordan River where it opens into the bay. There are reports of up to 25 feet of water in that area. Thank god it's not her home.

Thank you all for your well wishes, especially Brandy, who has been lurking anonymously in the shadows until now. Brandy was one of our beloved babysitters and she also interned at Renard's studio before she graduated from Tulane and split the scene. Bet you're glad about that decision right now, huh girl? We miss you though, and have been wondering about how things were going for you and if we'd ever hear from you again. Renard will be glad to know that you've communicated.

Please focus a great big beam of love to my beloved city. We're going to need it, and thanks for all the love you've already sent this way.

I'll check in again as soon as I can.

Saturday, August 27, 2005

There's a Potentially devastating Storm Heading Straight for N.O. and What are We Going to Do?


We're Going To Disney World!

That's right, folks. When life gives you lemons, you make lemonade. My kids have wanted to go to Disney World for so long and it's just so damned expensive and when we can go, it's usually painfully crowded, as well. But, given the fact that this bad-ass storm is heading straight for us and may potentially hit us in a way that brings about the Dreaded Worse Case Scenario, elaborated upon in this post from last year, I figured we should have some fun, because it ain't gonna be pretty when we get home. The pissy little tropical storm that hit us earlier this summer knocked power out at our house for 3 days. With temperatures in the mid-90s and high humidity, life without air conditioning is an ugly (and dangerous) thing. But it's the inundation that's the real danger. Conditions have to be just so for the Worst Case, but we're in a situation where this is actually possible. And they are telling us that if the Almost-Worst Case happens, we can expect Extreme Hardship for quite some time. If the Absolute Worst Case happens, Downtown New Orleans will become the Venice of the Gulf Coast and the roof of my house (about 30 or so feet from the ground) will be something that careless boats bump into as they cruise the former Uptown/University area. Well, after the water recedes, you'll be able to see a little more than that, but it's doubtful we'd be able to live in our lovely old house again.

So, in the wee hours of the morning, we'll make what's normally a 3 hour drive to the airport in Jackson, Mississippi (let's hope that holds true tonight) and catch an 11:30 AM Southwest Airlines flight to Orlando, where we'll spend 5 days and nights going broke feeding Mickey Mouse's tourist money habit. This trip will cost me 2/3 of what UNO is paying me to teach my class this semester. But, what the hell. We deserve to have some fun. We need it! We haven't had a vacation in years. Maybe I'll be able to find one of my old friends from here who has been employed by Disney World for a zillion years. And who knows, maybe Lasciate will prove that It's A Small World After All, and come visit us in The Twilight Zone. I don't know if Disney World's latest cheapo (budget) resort has WiFi (I doubt it) but I'm sure I'll find a way to check e-mail while I'm gone, just in case. Boy, I hope they at least have broadband.

Ciao for now.....

Because I'll Never Pass for Swiss: How I'd Prefer to Expire in a Nuclear Apocalypse


As Nuclear Apocalypse Exit Strategies go, I've always said I wanted to be at ground zero of the first strike, with Alex and Rachel tucked under each wing. I want to go so fast that we never know what hit us.

My alternate (and impractical) scenario, in the event I'm assured a slow death of disease, starvation and misery (and I authored this one before I had kids) goes like this:

I find a way to the warm, crystal clear water of the Caribbean with scuba gear and two tanks; one is filled with air, the other with carbon monoxide. In the pitch-dark of night I find a spot with very deep water and jump into it wearing a comfy wetsuit and sporting the standard gear with a set of extra-heavy weights. I turn on my dive light and enjoy the scenery as I descend past 150 feet, then I adjust my buoyancy compensator until I achieve absolute neutral buoyancy. At a depth of greater than 150 feet, my compressed air becomes nitrous oxide and I get a lovely dose of nitrogen narcosis. Then, it's lights out. Dive lights, that is.

I'm weightless and it's like I'm in outer space. As I swirl my hands in the dark water, a shimmering trail of stars follow in their wake. I've got lots of company in the millions of tiny phospholuminescent dynoflagellates that blink and glow when disturbed and leave a glowing trail behind me when I swim (or spacewalk). As the high of this experience is at it's peak, I switch to the tank of colorless, odorless carbon monoxide and drift into peaceful, eternal sleep.

I thought it was a pretty cool way to go. Much better death by starvation and radiation poisoning.

Coming soon, the story of the inspiration for strategy #2. But first, I have to start thinking about an hurricane exit strategy. Things aren't looking too good here....

Friday, August 26, 2005

Diversion: Which Survivor of the Impending Nuclear Apocalypse Are You?

I'm Swiss, yodelodelodelay-hee-foo'
Which Survivor of the Impending Nuclear Apocalypse Are You?
A Rum and Monkey joint.

Decked in neutrality for almost a billion years now, the Swiss are always the favourites to survive any nuclear conflict. Not only do they have the most amazing dress sense, but they've also got keen technical knowhow, a very logical cultural heritage and seventeen extra feet which they keep in their heads.

The Swiss are stereotypically associated with cuckoo clocks, chocolate, fondue and yodelling; it should be pointed out that they also enjoy running through the hills, goat farming and keeping the Earth safe from alien scum.

I'm glad I didn't turn out to be a cockroach. (New Orleans will be well-populated after the apocalypse.) And yes, it was time for a little levity.

Monday, August 22, 2005

WWYD?

If you're not a (straight) guy, pretend that you are for a moment or make whatever mental adjustments necessary to play along.

OK- you're a guy and you're a musician with a lot of gig experience. It's late at night and you just played a show and now you're getting ready to leave with your teenaged son and girlfriend. Your girlfriend's ex-husband (let's call him Willie), played drums on this gig as well, and she needs to briefly discuss something with him about their son before she leaves. Let's note that they've been separated/divorced for 12 years but are still friends. You know that they will never get back together, no question about that.

As you and your son stand a few feet away and wait, she steps into the doorway of the small dressing room behind the stage. There are only a couple of people around and they are roadies who are busy clearing the stage and moving equipment, not really paying attention to anything to anything but what they're doing. As they talk, Willie (who has just finished playing) takes off his sweaty shirt to put on a dry one. He's developed a nice little pot belly over the years, unlike you, who are the epitome of fitness and well-developed musculature. After they talk, they hug goodbye and Willie kisses your girl on the neck. As you leave, your girlfriend mentions this and laughs about it, because she (and everyone else) knows that Willie is a flirt and this is just how he is. (Maybe a kiss on the cheek would have been the norm?) Your girl has recounted on many occasions that Willie frequently hits on her in a less-than-serious way, as he knows it's futile but gets some kind of kick out of seeing her get mildly aggravated by it. (Maybe in the back of his mind he thinks that one day she'll surprise him and say OK, but she's already told him it ain't happening and for the most part, he accepts it. In any case, you know how she feels.) Anyway, she's laughing it off this time, as the three of you proceed to the car.

Now, tell me what is happening in your mind, playing the role of the guy. How do you feel? What are you thinking? I don't care if you want to be silly in this role playing game, as long as you follow it with, seriously... Once you respond, (please humor me, all of you!), I'll explain. Thanks bunches!

Sunday, August 21, 2005

My T-Shirt (They've Obviously Visited This Blog)


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There are reasons that I haven't been updating this blog as often as I should. Here's one: many of my posts that sit on the server in draft form remain there because I perceive them to be inane, rambling, or both. Likewise, there are some that should be sitting there as drafts but were posted anyway, and as a result, it looks like they made a t-shirt about this blog. If you click the image, you'll be transported to the site that sells this t-shirt and plenty others- you must click on the home link to see them all. And if you buy some stuff there and get a zillion of your friends to do the same through this link, I may be able to afford to buy health insurance for the three of us. I've been on COBRA since I went to part-time at UNO- and the COBRA benefits just ran out. The last time I paid for private health insurance it had gone up to $643/month. That was almost 4 years ago. The last rate increase was by $100 per month (they'd gotten bigger every year) and I can't imagine what the premiums would be today and I'm afraid to find out. Either way, I can't afford it- or at least not before we get several patients going in these drug studies. Pray for us all to stay safe and healthy until the financial climate improves.

There's more to the sparse updates; I've been in a real funk, folks. I'm back in the Crab Nebula, a place I loathe. It looks pretty from a distance, but it seems to hide a black hole that I keep forgetting about until I get sucked back into it. I promised a Part Two on this story (see link above) and I guess I was waiting to see how it was going to play out before I wrote about it again. In a way, I'm still waiting, but I'm pretty sure I know how it ends. In fact, I've known for a while but just threw on my rose-colored glasses and amnesia hat in a fit of bad judgment, and maybe also as the result of some love-laced lust on my part. (Now, try saying that three times, really fast.)

In my next post, I will have a question for you all to ponder and answer, to help me settle an argument, or at least come to some consensus on an nagging question. I'm sorry tp be so cryptic. I'd go ahead and ask it now, but it will take more than a sentence or two to set up and I need to go to sleep.

Stay tuned...

Saturday, August 13, 2005

Still Awake and In Front of the Computer? Here's Some Very Entertaining Stuff

LIVE WEBCAST-Midnight till ?? My 3-years-on /6-months on-again-off-again boyfriend (on again, at least for now, it seems), Renard Poche is playing at Tipitina's tonight with Ivan Neville on the B3, George Porter on bass (of the original Meters, who are truly the founding fathers of funk), drummer Johnny Vidacovich and violinist Theresa Anderson. They are billed as "The Trio" despite being a quintet tonight. I expect this combo to be quite funky, and you'll get to see Renard do his thing on guitar, trombone, and percussion -all in one great show.

I'll be watching the webcast on my laptop from the comfort of my bed, without the bother of secondhand smoke and sweaty spectators bumping into me. I'd be at Tip's, but I've got Little Rachel snuggled next to me, just like in this "artified" cell phone picture, except my eyes are open, the Powerbook is on my lap, and I'm trying to type with my arm around her like this. (Not easy!) I'm here and not there because I promised her I'd be with her at the exact moment 9 years ago when the first contraction came, which will be at approximately 3:00AM.
Rachel wants me to wake her up at the corresponding moment of her birth, which was at 4:50AM, after a whopping 1 hour & 50 minutes of labor. I'm a fast birth-giver (Alex was 4 hours from start to finish), but I had all the pain that's stretched out over 12-16 hours with nice, long, restful gaps for most women, condensed into what was akin to one massive, 1:50 long, excruciatingly painful contraction with occasional 5 to 10 second breaks. They couldn't get the epidural to work because the perpetual contraction constricted everything so much that the anesthesia couldn't get where it had to go. It kicked in after my hefty 9 lb, 9 oz Rachel was born. Hard to believe she was so big, given how skinny she is now. (But she is quite tall for her age.)

I won't be waking her up at 4:50 AM. After all that hard labor, I'll need some sleep! By the way, she and I sleep snuggled like this every night and will continue to do this as long as she wants. (It's much better than hugging a pillow!) She's my last baby and I intend to hold on to every shred of her babyhood I can. This closeness is the sweetest thing there is!

Friday, August 12, 2005

Having Way Too Much Fun in the Comments Section of the Last Post to Post Anything New

That's right. All the action is down there in the underworld of the last post right now, and I'm having way too much fun to post here... It's a party of three right now, but feel free to join us.

Thursday, August 11, 2005

Just Me, Jesus, and Richard

Once upon a time, I put a little survey in my sidebar, but the response rate was abysmal, so I replaced it with one that simply asked, "Who Cares?" Well, the votes are in- and so far it's only me and Jesus, but Richard deserves to be on the list, because he always makes it a point to let me know that I'm missed when I don't post. Thanks again, my friend!

The short answer to Richard's question in the previous post's comment section asking where I've been, is this:
a) Busy moving out of my old and into my new office in the new building on campus that is now the new home of UNO's College of Business Administration. New is nice.
b) In Atlanta for an Investigator's Meeting for the next clinical trial we'll be kicking off. (Just got home a few hours ago.)
c) To emotional hell and back.

At this point, I don't have the energy for any more than what I've just typed. But there will be more to come.