Sunday, September 25, 2005

Homecoming is Where You Hang Your Hat.

So a week ago Friday, I went to my high school's Homecoming Carnival. I managed to convince Francie to meet me there; she was the class after mine, and doesn't have a horror of the place as so many grads do. I parked in the lot up by the gymnasium (being a rich kid school, we have a gymnasium building all to itself--and it's bigger now than it was when I was there. 3 gyms and what we used to call the Wrestling Room, because the wrestling mats were always down even in the off-season.) The carnival started at 4, and school gets out at 3, so there were plenty of kids milling around of all shapes and sizes. Hanging out under a tree in front of the upper gym doors, I had the odd sensation of having just walked onto the shooting set of an early season "Buffy the Vampire Slayer" episode. The faces, the dialogue.... Except that I didn't have the vague suspicion that most of these high schoolers were being played by actors nearly my own age. (Did anyone else have this problem with early Buffy? Not so much a problem, just an occasional "whoa!" moment when they'd zoom in on Willow's face and you'd see tiny little lines around her eyes and go "hey! she is SO not 15 years old!" It's the miracle of television. Alyson Hannigan's only 4 years younger than me. I'm not sure why I find this comforting, but I do. How did I live before the IMDB?)

Anyway, so it was a rush of high school endorphins all of a sudden, all these swirls of passing conversations about boys and driver's ed and whose house are we going to and where's your mom's car she's late omigod, and gangly guys shoving each other around, and girls commenting on each other's hair/makeup, and I was really happy when Francie showed up and I had someone to talk to. The Homecoming Carnival, formerly known as the Fall Carnival, formerly formerly known as the Halloween Carnival back in the day, is basically a series of booths set up by each class (it's a K-12 school, so 13 classes) and various clubs; all dumb carnival games, like fish pond and beanbag toss. The 5th Graders always used to run away with the most $$ for the Cake Walk, and in the Upper School it was the juniors with the big bounce room--though the cost of renting that thing offsets the eventual loot take. For some reason, they stopped having the carnival when I was in high school for a few years, and I really missed it even though it's mostly meant for the little kids.... So somehow, this year, when I got a card in the mail about homecoming I had a sudden and powerful urge to go and see if it was what I remembered from 1979. Sure enough, though I'm old enough now to perceive the cheesyness of the games, and the cheapitude of the little plastic prizes and candy, it was exactly what I expected. How many returns to high school can you say that about? We walked around for about 20 minutes, looked at the new gym, said hello to some faculty who remembered us, and then headed for Lilly Orchard to buy some carmel apples and cider. We didn't stay for the football game, despite the urgings of the lady behind the Orchard counter; we'd gotten what we came for, or at least I had.

Then, later in the week, I heard Bowling for Soup's "1985" on the radio for the first time, and it totally made me laugh. For those who haven't heard it, I quote here the chorus:
Bruce Springsteen, Madonna
Way before Nirvana there was
U2, and Blondie
And music still on MTV
Her two kids, in high school
They tell her that she's uncool
Cause she's still preoccupied
With 19....19....1985.

At least I'm not that bad yet. :]

Sunday, September 18, 2005

But Of Course!

I have slightly mixed feelings here--while I always knew I was the D'Artagnan type, I'm a little disturbed at how high I scored on Richelieu... I better watch the movie again.

You scored as D'Artagnan. You are D'Artagnan, the brash Gascon who embodies the high ideals of the Musketeer. You are sometime your own worst enemy, but your motives are pure and your character is unimpeachable. You are destined for great things and passionate (though often ill-fated) love.















Edmund Dantes


Which Dumas character are you?
created with

Tuesday, September 13, 2005

Why I Love Karen

Karen is awesome. Last night, she and RatGirl and I went out for food; as she'd already had dinner, she waited til we were done and then ordered carrot cake with caramel sauce for dessert. She ended up with a leftover piece, about twice as high as it was wide, and requested a takeout box for it. She put the remaining cake on its side in the box, then scooped a big glob of the caramel sauce in next to it, in a sort of sticky puddle. Before closing the box, she said delightedly, "Look! It's like my cake fell over and threw up!" And it did, in fact, look just like that.

Karen is also the one who has made a small change purse out of an octopus beanie baby, and wore it on her belt at Gencon; when her husband asked her if she had her housekey with her, she took obvious pleasure in uttering the phrase, "Yes! It's in my squid!"

And to top off yesterday's lovely evening, on the walk back to the car we passed a cardboard sign, left by a homeless fellow who'd been sitting in that spot an hour before, which read "Why Lie? It's For Beer." If he'd still been there, we'd have so given him change.

Saturday, September 10, 2005

Ray of Sunshine

Unprecedented for me to post twice in 24 hours, I know. But, depressed though I am, I had a few rays of sunshine in my backlog of email this week! So for anyone who was wondering....

The ASPCA has been doing animal rescues in and around flooded areas all this week. Here's a quote from their Sept. 7 daily report:
Working on a grid system, the five teams of three rescuers each waded through waist-high, fetid water, pulling boats loaded with equipment and supplies, successfully avoiding injury on fallen tree limbs and downed power lines. This hot, sticky, frustrating day netted 25 cats, 14 dogs, one pet snake and a gentleman who been overlooked by earlier rescuers. (Land and water rescues totaled 140 animals on Tuesday, and they expect to retrieve 200 on Wednesday as more of the water recedes.) Rescue crews were pleasantly surprised to find the animals in relatively good condition, having been left adequate supplies by their fleeing owners.....The famous carriage mules of the French Quarter, along with 65 other horses, have been removed to safety. And the New Orleans mounted police unit safely got out all their equine partners. They are currently stabled at the Franklinton, LA, fairgrounds.
They've also established a massive online database where people displaced by the hurricaine can enter information about missing pets; there are then volunteers who go through the database comparing those reports with photos and descriptions put in by the receiving animal shelters in Texas and Alabama. It's incredible. I can't even imagine what it would be like to be evacuated and told I had to leave my pets behind. I'd go nuts. I'd even worry about the fish... So the fact that thousands of people--some of them refugees themselves--are giving their time to reunite people and pets moves me to tears. Happy tears, that is.

Friday, September 09, 2005

That's Absolutely Fucktastic.

So it wasn't enough that the head of FEMA wasn't fully qualified for this job, it turns out that he didn't even tell the truth on his published resume; he's got NO experience in crisis management whatsoever. I can't even grasp the implications of this--could one man's incompetance have brought us to thousands of deaths rather than hundreds? I think this was a group effort, mind you, and many many mistakes were made.... but if Brown can be prosecuted for lying on his resume--is that perjury?--then he sure as hell should be. My god.

Hmm, well, a few more interesting links on this topic, and we'll move on. Charles has a head-turner from none other than Barbara Bush, everyone's favorite cookie baker--what was she thinking? Via Upyernoz via Atrios, a timeline which makes painfully clear where the priorities were in our government last week. And Giblets declares a Global War on Weather!

Meanwhile, back at the batcave... I'm recovering from the annual Greek Festival at Holy Trinity Orthodox Church. I go every year, and stuff my face with as many greek delicacies as I can hold. As a result of the fresh feta, the lamb, the tsatziki sauce, and the souvlaki, I am nearing a state of sodium-induced coma. I drank a ton of water (for me--I don't hydrate as well as I should) and still I'm thirsty, I'm sweaty, and the veins on the backs of my hands are standing out in prominent relief form.... Ah well. I brought this doom upon myself. And I'm going again tomorrow! Beware of Greeks, bearing stiffs.

Monday, September 05, 2005

It Liiiiives......

Comments return, at least for the moment. I posted two that saved successfully a little bit ago. Charles, I've posted your Katrina comment.

I haven't been watching the news, or listening to NPR for the last few days. Knowing what's going on in the gulf coast states, and knowing there's not a bit of anything I can do, just makes the whole thing too painful. I read the paper and look at the still photos, then close my eyes and bite my lip and try to breathe deeply. That's about the sum of my parts here. I donated all the extra food in my pantry to a local food drive yesterday. (An airline donated a plane and a pilot to take food from here to a distribution center down south.) One of the items I keep as emergency backup food is a pre-seasoned rice and beans mix from Vigo; it's called "Red Beans and Rice, New Orleans Style." I had to think twice about putting that in--it was just odd, to think of someone whose New Orleans home had been wiped out picking up a package of food and seeing this little jazz guy logo and instructions for making the "Big Easy Special" on the back. Then one of my friends pointed out that this food might end up in Biloxi instead, and that made me feel better so I put the package in the box anyway.

Being who I am, my thoughts on the hurricaine turned almost immediately to animals and the environment, in addition to the devastating toll on people and things. The Audubon Zoo and Aquarium of the Americas survived the levee break with few casualties; but of course many pets and wild animals were affected by this disaster as well, and they're not exactly a number one priority for FEMA. That's as it should be, of course--but the effect on the non-human residents of the gulf isn't inconsiderable. My dad was doing some work with refugees from NO who've ended up at the Salvation Army and Red Cross stations here, and heard a firsthand story from a guy who saw his friend wading through waist high water in his neighborhood in New Orleans get attacked by a shark. A shark. There are sharks, fish, snakes, alligators--not to mention non-aquatic animals--all swimming around in, essentially, sewage, trying to stay alive long enough to get out of this mess. So if you're like me, and this thought upsets you nearly as much as all the other horrible things we've seen this week, you should be aware that there are places taking donations to assist in animal rescue and environmental cleanup. I donated to the ASPCA earlier this week; organizations like the World Wildlife Fund will be instrumental in restoring the native wetlands and marshes along the gulf coast when the emergency is over and the rebuilding begins. Just one more way to give a little of what you've got to help those who have nothing.

Sunday, September 04, 2005

Comments Down, We Have Comments Down!

Yep, I know comments aren't working. Sorry. I'm waiting a little to see if it self-corrects, then I'll email enetation and see what's going on. Charles had a nice post about Katrina which he emailed me instead, so you can all look forward to reading it when the comments return!

Saturday, September 03, 2005

Well This is an Interesting Development...

A conservative commentator on my friend's political blog seems to have followed me home from the comments fields; he's spent about 45 minutes reading my weblog today. So hi dave! Welcome! I hear you're from this neck of the woods, too--Drinking Liberally's on Thursdays at Union Jack's, if you'd like to come. :]

It's been interesting to me to watch Rubber Hose develop, actually; I was his second reader, I think, and since I lived with "Noz" in college I've engaged in lively debates with him on everything from capital punishment to religion to what we should make for dinner and whether we can watch "Hey Dude" and make tacos at the same time without a decline in quality of either activity. (actually, I don't think we debate that, we just did it. Watching "Hey Dude" with Noz was one of the peaks of hilarity my senior year--that show was just so totally awful it defied description. so of course we watched it every week.) So now I get to see people from all walks of life debating my former housemate, who's now a lawyer and even better at arguing than he was in college--and you really have to have known him to appreciate how good he was at it even then. His blog is always an interesting read, and he's attracted not only a number of regular readers who agree with him, but his own small cadre of people who don't! Right now a raging debate has emerged on the topics of "was it dumb for President Bush to say publically that no one had anticipated the levees at New Orleans might break, even though hurricaine experts have been saying it for years and the entire national media had been saying it since Friday afternoon last week?" and "what has the department of homeland security been doing all this time if not preparing for devastating metropolitan disasters like this one?" Horrifyingly enough, an article in today's paper makes it fairly clear that recent restrucuring at FEMA had a substantial impact on what's now being called a "not acceptable" response plan in New Orleans. They ran a seamless hurricaine simulation drill over a year ago that worked perfectly; now they couldn't even get the National Guard into the city in an efficient manner. This all seems pretty undeniable, whether you blame the Bush administration from the top down, or just the guys at the DHS, things could have been handled better, and people are dying because they weren't.

I still can't quite wrap my brain around the total destruction we've witnessed this week. It's like the tsunami--only I hadn't been to any of the places that were devastated then, so it was an abstract kind of horror. It's like 9/11--only so much worse. And unlike 9/11, there's no one to be angry at, nothing to curse, no one to say "we'll show those bastards!" to. Just water and mud, sewage and corpses. It's beyond imagining.

At any rate--it takes all kinds to make the world go round, so please don't come to my house and rip the Republicans for Kerry sticker off my car, dave. I'm treasuring it as a collector's item... And if you haven't already, everybody, please consider going and donating to the Red Cross relief effort online.