Blogs of War
It wasn't me. You can't prove anything.
Nat and I are off to fare this afternoon. I do not have any dark pants for under the armor. I have not had a tank top in over a decade. We bought a huge tent and a cooler. I've never owned a cooler before. The weather has cooled slightly just in time. The skys are overcast, but not too rainy. I packed some things like a crappy electric lantern and the walky-talkies. I just don't know what I'm doing. I have a bad feeling this weekend is going to be a mess. Oh, well. It will still be fun.
I got the first IM from Ken and Heath before 7:00 AM. They had the first tent up by 11:30. These are not the kind user friendly pup-tents you find at Academy. (like ours) These are Army tents. Think M. A. S. H. mess tent. These things are enormous and I'm sure a pain for a novas to set up. Hell, the tent we bought last night gives me the willies. It is a modern, user friendly, spring loaded tent that looks like it should be easy to set up. I'll prove them wrong, just watch. It should be fun. We are not going to get there until later, so I bet we will end up sleeping in a corner of one of the big tents.
There is no Internet access out there that I am aware of, so posting will be light until at least Sunday evening, or more likely Monday evening after work. I hope to get some pictures. I'm also going to have to get some cloths and perhaps some accessories for the wedding. It is going to be a busy couple of days.]
The Texas Renaissance Festival (TRF or Fare or Fest) has more to offer than boos and Flaming Idiots. When the average Joe walks through the front gate he might find a bunch of shops full of interesting cloths, wine goblets, swords, armor, art and heaven knows what all. Then again our weekend knight may hit the pubs or nab a turkey leg and take in one of the many shows that "rennies" put on for money. (Tip them for goodness sake.)
So, what am I after?
Well, Nat and I plan on camping at the Fare grounds this weekend and most likely every weekend the place is open. With the exception of the weekend we happen to be getting married at TRF. I've had people say "What is the draw once you walk around the place a couple of times?" It isn't the place, it is the people. It is an excuse to hang out with your friends, drink, eat bad food, drink, wonder around a cool fare in a costume, drink, camp, drink, mess with the yokels, oh, did I mention drink in public, make a fool of yourself and get away with it. It is fun. I've known most of these people for a decade or more. I've never hung out at fare, but I intend to this year. Ken and Jen are going out of their way to make sure I have cloths for a costume.
You know where to find me for the next eight weekends.
Click on the image for a larger version. On the left is a huge bus barn that flooded out in New Orleans. None of these buses were used to help in the evacuation before Katrina. On the right is a convoy of school buses leaving Galveston before Rita. Now, how much is Republican vs Democrat and how much is lesson learned?
This came to me in an email. I don't know it's origin. Comments?
What do all those beeps mean at boot? You know, when something is wrong with the computer hardware you get some creepy combination of beeps and then ... silence apart from a mocking fan noise. "Beep ... beep beep beep ... beep ... beep beep beep." Hmmm. 1:3,1:3 What the hell is an A20 gate failure? I love the last line in that post.
It cracks me up. For the sake of this error a motherboard must be replaced. That chip probably costs two cents. It is probably the solder anyway. I'm sure Wiatt went nuts trying to figure out what the hell was wrong with this box. I was trying a USB keyboard. It is a keyboard I use on other machines. This is one of those times where you have to throw up your hands and buy a whole new motherboard. I can't afford that, so I'm junking it. Besides, I busted a couple of the plastic latches that hold the case together. Why do they hide the frigging screws on computer cases? Sorry Wiatt. I'm using the power supply and hard drive.I may also grab a couple fans.
This machine is amazingly patched together. It was once a Gateway. Only the motherboard and the aluminum part of the case remain. I have one other computer to pick up. Hopefully, it is a bit more stable. I will start up another server on some slightly newer hardware. I want to try out Fedora Core 4 anyway.
Special thanks to Wiatt for giving me an old (dead) box that still had some life in it. The box itself is gone. The motherboard worked for about five minutes and then something happened between it and the video card. It never came up again. The drive looks good. The power supply works. I was upset for a moment that it was only a 140 watt power supply, but then I found out the power supply in the old server was a 90 watt.
If only I had just pulled the power supply and tried it first. No, I had to put the hard drives in the new machine and boot it up. Mandrake 9.2 found the new hardware and booted up. All was well, until I shut the machine down and tried to make a few adjustments. That is when I figured out the motherboard was no longer communicating with one of the on-board components. That is when you hit the power button and it just beeps at you. So, I go through many screws and a couple of busted plastic plates (to get to a couple of the screws) to yank the power supply out of Wiatt's machine. I plug the power supply into the old computer, or more like plug everything in. It is not as easy as it sounds. Then power up. The boot goes through the same configuration as before, only I miss one important distinction. The video card is still set to the Wiatt machine. Well, that screws me. X server (the graphical user interface) will not run. I get a text prompt. I log in. I copy my important files over to a backup folder on the second drive. Then I get mad. I rant for a moment. Then something tells me to try VNC. It is already set up. The service is running. I hop on and sure enough, the X-windows screens pop up without trouble. The VNC system does not rely on a video driver. I hit Config-Drake and reset the the old crappy Riva board that is in the old box, then reboot. ta-da. I have my web server back.
This means pictures will now work again. My "home page" links will start working again. And, least important of all, the "bald guy" jpg file will start working again so all those nuts using the keywords on Google's image search will actually get to view the file again. I get ten hits a week off that jpg.
I work for a company that still uses VMS for production work. VMS was a product of Digital Corporation. Digital was bought by Compaq several years ago. The U. S. Government required Compaq to continue the support for VMS because the U. S. Government used VMS at the time for a bunch of crap too. Then Compaq went broke and was scooped up by HP. Now, I don't think HP supports VMS. I cannot find any kind of link for VMS support online that isn't some 50 year old guy working out of his parent's basement, with one exception. There are ways to avoid upgrading. You can emulate VMS on a modern OS and hardware. You can replace the applications all together. As far as I can tell, SAP is the replacement for all things Database in the corporate universe. VMS is the Information Technology equivalent of a clay tablet. God forbid they upgrade to papyrus. I remember the late nineties when 3M wheeled a couple of VAX systems (huge boxes) out to the back dumpster and threw them out because no one would take them for free. They couldn't even donate them.
Fifteen years old. The VAX (hardware that runs VMS) systems at my company are fifteen years old. You can only find hardware to replace broken bits on eBay being sold from those guys in the basement.
So, yesterday, I walk in to work and some users have trouble getting into the database. I poke around. I call the support desk. I open a priority one ticket. I stay late. A guy in the DB group and a guy in the Philippines figure it out. I come in the next morning and things are back to normal. All I really did was hit the mute button so they would not hear me moan.
In a side rant: I send the ticket to the help desk. I am part of the support group. I try to tell the person I speak with NOT to send it back to the most obvious queue because that is MY queue and the ticket will just come back to me. Well the first person I speak with is good enough to avoid this trap. However, the next person takes one look at the ticket, sees the name of the database software and forwards the ticket to the most obvious queue. My scalp blows off the top of my head, does two flips in mid-air and slaps back on my scull slightly askew. I call and get it forwarded back to the main queue with a big note that says "don't send it to the most obvious queue." That kills an hour. And it does every goddamn time. I don't have rights to actually do anything on the VAX/VMS so I have to send in tickets to anonymous geeky basement dwellers across the planet.
Anyway. I'm catching up on a bunch of work and paperwork (two different things to people who actually do work for a living) and what blows by my inbox? An email that says not only did my VMS systems take a crap this weekend, but now several of the other more prominent VMS systems are having some strange problems. We just had a hurricane. Power did all kinds of creative things over the past couple of days. These systems are fifteen years old. (And the size of refrigerators by the way.) They are cranky on good days. They are the equivalent of wooden ships or mule trains. They are like pyramids of geekdom. They are still standing. No one really knows what they were used for. No one knows how to make them work. They are just kind of there.
Then, the email comes down that says "they all just went down." A shutter goes up my spine. What if they don't come back? What if it is time for all good little VMS systems to go to the happy programming grounds? What if it is the VAX rapture?
I wonder what is going to happen when the other shoe drops. It is not like we haven't tried to convince the powers that we need to DO SOMETHING about the problem. Oh, there are projects. There are tons of paperwork dragons floating around. There has been a string of up-aty-ups who all say "It costs too much ..." every three years as they step past this rung on the corporate ladder. These are key systems. They run some important software to make parts of the company function. They contain and process some important data. If they all broke today, there is not much of a way to replace them. There are fewer and fewer people every day who have not yet bricked up the basement door from the inside or who will admit they know VMS. Something is going to give. When I left today, the VAX systems other than the one I support, were still down.
Any other VAX stories out there?
Two different points of view (on the same blog) after previewing the Serenity movie. It comes out this Friday. I will not be able to make it. That is also the first weekend of TRF.
Let me know what you think.
Nat just sent me an email that basically says the following.
Find a guy who calls you beautiful instead of hot.
Who calls you back when you hang up on him.
Who will stay awake just to watch you sleep.
Wait for the guy who kisses your forehead.
Who wants to show you off to the world when you are in your sweats.
Who holds you hand in front of his friends.
Wait for the one who is constantly reminding you of how much he cares about you and how lucky he is to have you.
Wait for the one who turns to his friends and says,"...that's her."
The Clash and Sinatra back to back, only on Radio Paradise. I can't put a copy of the play list entries because RP got hit by a hack attack over the weekend. They are in temporary Internet digs for the moment. Send a buck their way if you like the music.
Hearsay about Rita
Some one said they saw a group of motorcycles headed for San Antonio last Friday with gas cans where the saddle bags should be. He also said they looked like the kind of people who were going to be alright through a disaster. I remember mentioning in a previous post that the whole thing had a sort of Road Warrior / Night of the Living Dead feeling to it.
Cynthia left a very intelligent question as a comment on the previous post.
not sure I understand why you *need* a web server. If it's solely for
pictures, there are tons of sites out there that will host a photo
album, are user friendly, and are more reliable than a home server.
Just saying'. :)
We just got back from HEB. The place was packed and only had one kind of bread left. All the cereal was picked over. We could not find Honeycombs. We got Honey-Crunch instead. Everything else was pretty well stocked. We got a rotisserie chicken and three bottles of wine. We stopped and got a Starbucks on the way home.Things are nearly back to normal.
I need a new computer for my web server. Does any one out there have an old PC that is around 800 Mhz. or so? Even if it will not boot Windows. I intend to put Linux on it anyway. I'm at the end of my tether.
I have some options, but they all suck.
* Our wedding rehearsal is ruined by an act of god. (Frigging hurricanes)
Web Server (The power supply appears to have given out. It is going to cost around $400 to $450 to replace.)
Three to four mandatory days off work without pay.
* Elle has enough energy to run four adults out of their minds in three days cooped up in a two story house.
* I feel useless far too often. I cannot drive a car. I cannot drive a nail worth a damn. I cannot find a better job. I cannot sing.
Things that make me happy right now
* No one got hurt during the hurricane.
And now, back to my life.
Well, It just heard some good news on channel 13 here in Houston. There is a convoy of fuel trucks on the way to town. They should make their stops some time before morning. Bill gave Nat and I five gallons of gas this afternoon. He got the fuel for his generator, but he did not need it. We made a stop at a small store on the way back to may parent's place and got some ice cream.
I made a bunch of calls today and it looks like every one I could get hold of was in good shape.
More to come.
Well, there just isn't that much to report from Missouri City. We are all safe so far. Every one is well. The neighbors down here are picking things up. We took a quick drive around and we could find no damage to speak of. Jen said there were reports of a few downed power lines at Cartwrite and Murphy.
There is not a single drop of gas to be had in Houston. People are speculating that the price of gas is going to spike. I'm glad I ride the bus. I may put in a request to work four tens to save money on gas. They don't need to know about the bus.
Cynthia, the big show off, has some pictures on her blog. I'll get my server back up as quickly as I can.
I’ve called around to most of my friends who have stayed. We are all very happy that the storm took a bit of a right tern. I feel bad for those folks, but this town just Isn’t ready. Adam and Laurie are finally ready. We just finished bringing everything inside, or at least putting it somewhere protected from too much wind. I’m looking at the radar and watching the news intently. I’m not sure how to interpret some of the information.
Traffic looks much better. We went back to the apartment for some powdered milk and supplies. The airport is just clearing out right now. Any planes left are just heading to El Paso. Nothing is open now. That seems like the news can only talk about one thing at a time. Yesterday it was the traffic. Today it is the fact that nothing is open. A bus blew up on the way to Dallas.
There are rumors of a curfew, but I’ve heard nothing official. We still have power for the moment, but who knows how long that will last. I’m not sure how long it will be before another post. I’m taking some videos.
Elle has been up all day. The rest of us have tried to get some rest. Elle will not hear of it. If it isn’t a fit because someone had to leave the room, it is a full diaper. Ah, to be young again.
My mom is behind me in the computer room typing away. I assume she is typing an email to a relative. It seems like every one we know is calling us saying “come up here.” It is pretty nice to have that kind of support.
My contacts have basically stopped working for the moment. I cannot ware them before my left eye gets all gummed up. I’m just warring my glasses. The prescription isn’t as good. Hopefully it is juust not a factor during the storm.
I’m tired. I will take notes and videos of the storm if I can. Every one please leave comments. I may not be back on for a while.
OK, I suppose it isn't day two for every one. It is day two for me. My father and I put up shutters on the front windows. That is the way their house faces North East. Ken, Heath and their families are hunkered down a bit north of us. Adam and Laurie are staying in their house. Ken is leaving town. Chris and Sarah are leaving.
Working with my dad
It was a lot of fun helping my dad build those shutters. I drove a nail for the first time in years. I flattened several in the attempt. I’ll put up some pictures. Right now my server is unplugged, sitting on a shelf in our apartment. While we were putting up the shutters my father said it reminded him of Night of the Living Dead. We left slits in the wood to see out of. They look like they are just about the right height to shoot the zombies in the head.
Next door neighbors
My dad is the local DIY guy. I think five different neighbors came over asking for one kinf of help or another. He is a good Christen so he helps every one.
I spoke with Adam last night and he seemed quite flustered. He was worried rightly about the strength and direction of Rita. He had some friends over and they were all going over options. He seemed much better today. He and Laurie had ventured out looking for ply-wood. Adam says the city is cleaned of the pulpy gold. They ended up with some kind of sheetrock backing board that is water proof, but brittle. That was all that was out there. He is worried about the fence behind his house. Those seeder fences are a bit like sales in the wind. We have promised to stay in touch as long as possible.
Some heads are going to roll. The freeways are jammed tight. It looks like some people will be stranded when the hurricane hits Saturday morning. President Bush is supposed to fly over
I’m dog tired. I’m going to write a bunch more later.
I've spoken with many friends. Some are staying and others are leaving. There is a news story on that says a JetBlue plane has a landing gear problem. The front landing gear is stuck and the plane will have to land soon. There is an expert on TV right now saying pilots train for this kind of thing and there will be a happy ending. I hope so.
Things are funky all over.
I was sitting at work all day today worrying about the juggernaut in mid pounce as I type. Rita is already a class four (at or above 135 mph winds) hurricane and shows every sign of gaining strength as it crosses the relatively warm waters of the gulf. As bad as it sounds, I almost wish it would hit Louisiana again. Come-on, the damage has been done there. Houston is not much better off than New Orleans when it comes to flooding. The water will reseed after a while here. It will take a couple of days. Our apartment complex floods. I was worried when I moved into a first floor apartment. Now, I'm going to find out if the gamble was worth it. Even if we leave, all our stuff will simple sit there.
1) Family. My parents will take us in if they do indeed stay. They are not much further from the ocean than we are. They do have a second story on the house though.
2) Friends. I've burned some bridges lately with friends. This limits our options.
3) Hotel. We will most likely not be able to find a hotel if we travel to Dallas, Austin or San Antonio. I bet most everything has been reserved already.
4) Stay put. I envision standing in waist deep water inside my home and cursing every member of government while shivering in the dark and secretly blaming myself.
I do not look forward to living in a shelter somewhere with a 2 year old. Nor do I expect anything to survive even minor flooding of my apartment. We will simply be out of nearly everything to our names. No insurance. No savings to speak of. Just broke, homeless, carless and destitute.
This movie SUCKS!!!!! I wouldn't ... Oh, forget it. Just "yuck".
Submitted by John Little on September 20, 2005 - 2:58am.
It makes me sick. I go hunting for Rita links and get two useful hits. I hit a blog and find like ten useful links that have been up for over a day. humph.
It is official, there are people out there with too much time on their hands. Check out the Official Ramen Homepage. Wikipedia on Ramen. It says it has been up since 1997 and this is the first I've heard of it. I'm ashamed of myself. Where is the SPAM page?
Thought provoking. And, no, I'm not talking Linux User Group. Lesbian Until Graduation. I did not hear this term until I was past college. I kind of new some of that was going on, but I had no name for it. Here is an interesting view of what has happened over the decades. It looks like there is some backlash from the acceptance in main stream entertainment. Noting kills cool like splattering it all over TV and the Internet. AKA shoving it in people's faces, trying to make money off the culture. I may choose to blame this for not getting laid in school. Yes, I like it.
That last post got some interesting response. I love a good debate. I say that I'm not very interesting. I do not find myself all that noteworthy. I blog because it satisfies some need that I cannot put my finger on, not because I think people like to read it. However, I do check my SiteMeter stats semi-hourly.
I got some private response too. I wish I were a better person. I'm never going to be all things to all people. That is not what the criticism is all about. It's all good. Life is just a series of events. One must learn from them all. One must then continue to the next event.
Friday afternoon Bill, Elle's grandfather, comes by to pick up Elle. We Get some things together and basically hang out until Saturday. We get up at 11:00. We briefly attempt to ride with the other car from Houston to Austin. We get separated. We get to Austin and get lost. We make nine phone calls and turn around a couple of times. We end up finding the hotel. The hotel lady said they were out of the size room we asked for so they had to give us a free upgrade. I have my suspicions that Adam cashed in some miles or something to get us the bigger room because we were not in the best of mood. We checked in and headed over to the party. Ethan, I hate to say this where you will get hold of it, but I felt like every one there, besides the people I've known all my life, were a bunch of snobs who couldn't stop bragging about themselves. So we just left and went the hotel to hang out. We didn't even say goodbye. The hotel was about the best part of the whole weekend. We just got back and Bill is here right now dropping off Elle. I hope the rest of the day turns out better.
Nat and Bill are making plans to put Elle in school.
Adam and Laurie had to get back early today to make a Texans' game. They took off at like 7:00. I had a hard time getting Nat up at 9:00 to make check out time. She doesn't like getting up regardless of time. On the road, my dad gives me a call. Someone gave them four tickets to the same Texans game. There was no way we could make it in time so they ended up giving the other tickets to the next door neighbor.
I can't wait to go back to work so I can relax.
Did I mention that I didn't take a single picture or even take the video camera out of the bag.
We are off to Austin Saturday. We will be back Sunday. I hope to get some photos and maybe a video or two. I'm sure you will hear about anything right here. Wish me luck.
My parents are having a garage sale this weekend. They made a bundle this morning. Tomorrow they are right back at it. We took over a bunch of stuff we just want to get out of the apartment. We sent over a coffee pot, a bunch of kid's shoes, cloths, a thing to hold a sliding glass door shut, a push scooter, and a bunch of phones. It is amazing hoe many phones we have built up over the years between us.
We will head out to Austin in a caravan of friends. I think they are all riding in one car. We are taking our car because they need to come back for the Texas vs Rice game Sunday. We want to sleep in. I intend to soak up some sleep and good vibes in Austin. Hopefully, that will follow me back to Houston.
Sunday we need to find a way to clean the carpet. We also need to get the baby bead over to my parents because our house guests will not fit with it in Elle's room. I can't wait for that. There are still some boxes laying about the place. They just need to go to storage. I fear we may have trouble coming back from Austin. It is a long drive.
Catch all of you back here Sunday, or most likely Monday.
Why bodies typically float face down in water.
Click here to test your PHYSICAL characteristics.
Click here to test your MENTAL characteristics.
Woman walks into a bar with a duck under her arm.
The bartender asks "What are you doing with that pig?"
The lady answers "Excuse me, this is a duck."
The bartender says "Excuse me, I was talking to the duck."
So, how are Nat and I doing? We are great. We have hit a couple of speed bumps that nearly broke us up. More than a couple of these speed bumps have to do with parenting. I don't know what I'm doing. I admit that. I need help and guidance from Nat and other parents. (not you mom) Beyond that, we are great. I can't explain the feelings I have for Natalie.
I've had some people tell me my tone has changed on the blog. Well, it has. Ever since a post I made a couple of months ago that mentioned some privet matters between Nat and I, the blog has been mostly business. It will probably stay that way. I'm not going through that situation again with Nat. Many things have changed. That is perfectly normal. I was not perfect before and I will still not be perfect after.
I think we are over the hump on wedding expenses. There are some things that still need to be covered. I just need to pay off the credit card and rebuild my savings now. I hope to start a collage fund next year for Elle and any other children Nat and I have. I need first to find proper insurance. I cannot imagine having a child without insurance.
I tell you, coming home to a family is nice after a day of work. There are more good things than bad. The bad things aren't that bad.
I've always meant to look this stuff up. I hear the terms all the time and only guessed what they meant. It turns out I wasn't that far off.
First World: Basically those countries first in NATO.
Second World: Those in the initial Warsaw Pact.
Third World: Countries that didn't fit in the other two.
Fourth World: The modern countries that still have no industrial infrastructure. I suppose these countries are in the agricultural age, only with AK-47s and RPGs.
On Saturday, September 24th in the year of our lord 2005, (that is for my mom) Nat, my parents and I will hold a rehearsal dinner at my parent's place. This is by invitation only. You should have already gotten your invite.
I am completely new to this whole party thing. I suppose you have to have some kind of get together of the wedding party people just to coordinate. We can't have a real rehearsal because Ren-Fest doesn't support that sort of thing. I hope we can pull all this stuff off without out many troubles.
I'm thinking the following schedule.
12:00 People show up.
1:00 People get settled in and we go over the wedding plans.
2:00 We eat.
4:00 We wind down.
I'm sure this will all be subject to change. Nat will have a monkey-wrench or two to throw in the works. Sensible monkey-wrenches I'm sure.
It's been a long day. We can have two.
Pundit: A Brahman scholar or learned man.
This is another one you find spattered all over the Blogsphere. It is used in a dozen blog names. I say, beware any one who is willing to admit they know something.
Popinjay: A vain talkative person.
This word pops up all over the place in the blogsphere. It is an obscure way of saying that someone is full of shit.
I'm leaving notes on people's blogs to turn on whatever means they have available to them to eliminate comment spam. I'm noticing several of my favorite blogs get spam for a while eventually turn on the stuff that is out there. My comments have a word verification do-hicky that is annoying as all get out. It is not half as annoying as comment spam advertising puppy farm dogs or herbal Viagra. Some bloggers have their act together. Hopefully it won't be long before it is more of a pain in the butt to generate spam than it is worth.
and I got up early and everyone that was on volunteer detail
rallied at my house at 8:30am Thursday, September 8th. Justin, Chris
and Sarah all met us and we got underway. We decided that we wanted to
try to get into the thick of things so we went to the Astrodome. After
sitting in traffic for 45minutes, we were turned away by security guards
saying that they were not taking volunteers. At this time we heard that
our second group of volunteers from work (Mike and Jennifer) got into
the George R. Brown Convention Center and were doing data entry for
FEMA. This sounded tres easy so we beelined it to downtown hoping to
get in and do our volunteer time in front of computer (as if I'd be that
The people guarding the parking lots downtown were mega-cool to
volunteers. If you said you were there to volunteer, they let you park
for free. The city of Houston really amazed me that day. Everyone was
so appreciative of volunteer efforts. So we went to the GRBCC and got
turned away at two separate points. There were volunteers there whose
job was just to turn away volunteers. It kinda pissed me off.
Fortunately one of the "you aren't allowed here" volunteers directed us
to the Star of Hope Mission which was just a stiff walk away from GRBCC
(about a mile away).
So we went past a couple hundred evacuees that were standing in line for
who knows what outside of the convention center. When we found the SoHM
we were ushered in and sent to the back. Good grief, the place was
packed with donations. There was a pile of donated clothes as big as a
McDonald s that sat on a couple of basketball courts (and later we found
out that that was just the tip of the iceberg, there were 5 more
off-site warehouses full). There were about 40 people inside an
open-air building sorting clothes into boxes. There were about 4
full-time forklifts mulling around moving stuff onto trucks. There were
three or four guys operating a bailer that was compacting clothes into
portable blocks. We show up at the mission and a volunteer greets us,
gives us a two minute run-down and then lets us go. There was no
supervision or anything -- make your own work. Basically SoHM is
responsible for handling donations; they do several thing with them.
First thing they do is hand out donations to evacuees that show up at
the mission. Second thing they do is box up sorted donations so they
can give items out in the future to evacuees that show up at the mission
-- these items are boxed and put on pallets and then carted off to
off-site warehouses. Third thing they do is throw a bunch of loosely
sorted stuff together to be bailed and shipped to Louisiana, Mississippi
and Alabama to be sorted and distributed there.
Laurie and Sarah went to work in the sorting department. Laurie says
that it needed someone to take charge and get everyone on the same
page. People were sorting stuff in random categories. Some people were
just sorting women's/men's/kid's. Others were sorting women's
shirts/women's pants/men's underwear/etc. So there was no consistency.
(As an aside, another group went to SoHM on Friday and some Chevron
big shot took charge of the sorting operation and standardized the whole
thing. That guy did a lot of good.)
Justin, Chris and I were put on manual labor detail and hauled clothes
from the McDonald's sized pile to one of two sorting groups or to the
clothes bailers. It was pretty back breaking, but there was always
something to do. Over the course of four hours, I would say that about
5 people working the pile moved about 3000 cubic feet of clothing
(30'x10'x10'). We may have moved 1/10th of the original pile.
There was a misunderstanding at the mission. There is a cafeteria there
and we were told by one of the greeter volunteers that the food was for
SoHM employees only. That wasn't the case, however. We found out after
coming back from a great Mexican food lunch (at Irma's) that the
cafeteria was feeding the volunteers. Still, I'm glad I went to Irma's,
it was very good (though pricey -- $15/plate).
Things I learned about donating in times of crisis.
o Wash your donations -- do not donate dirty clothes. In disaster
relief there is not enough time for the donations to be washed before
being distributed. There was some bag in the pile that smelled like
human urine. I don't know if someone peed on the pile of clothes or if
someone just didn't wash them before donating them. I figure the latter
is more likely than the former.
o Sort your donations beforehand
o Put your donations in strong, very strong, plastic bags (not boxes)
-- I can not stress this enough. If your bag of donated clothes bursts,
there is a good chance your donations will be thrown away (a lot a burst
bag ends up with all the clothes in the dirt). I had a bag burst on me
and a bunch of clean, but stained, men's briefs rolled into my face
while I was carrying them.
o Clearly label your bag
o If you donate shoes, connect the pairs together somehow. When
sorting clothes, a lot of times all bags are just emptied into a large
pile. If a sorter picks up a shoe with no mate, chances are they will
throw it away. Or if they keep it, it will be so far away from its mate
that no one will be able to use it.
When we finished at 3pm, I went home and slept for two or three hours.
It really sucked the energy out of me. If I do any more volunteer work,
I'll be sure to go back to SoHM. I felt appreciated there and they had
work to do. I actually walked in on two SoHM employees arguing. One of
them was grumpy because all the volunteers were making him work harder
and he was telling people to stop working. The other was telling him to
knock that off and not scare away the volunteers, that we were needed.
I liked hearing that argument.
I'd like to address the rumor that the evacuees are all mean-spirited,
greedy people. I talked to several that day, and walked around tons of
them. All of them were super-nice and appreciative. I never once met
any jerks (though I assume they are there somewhere). I think its a
case of a couple of bad apples spoiling the bunch.
I did a very minor part for the Katrina relief effort. I helped collect and deliver some items at my company. We basically lugged boxes back and forth for an hour or so. I had the opportunity to go to a homeless shelter and volunteer more of my time, but I did not.
Please feel free to comment and toot your own horn.
I'll be playing this Friday at a neat little place in LaGrange, called The Bugle Boy. It'd be a great getaway (most of us need it, right?). Go to www.thebugleboy.com for directions. I'll be playing from 8-10pm. There are some wonderful bed and breakfasts around the area too.
I've been spending my waking hours getting gigs and housing for New Orleans musicians displaced by the hurricane. Please go to www.noahleans.com to see the wonderful work that's being done.
Well, here is some good news. The guy who took over the Katrina relief effort has set some goals. Thad Allen sounds like he has his eye on the prize. I have to tell you, it looked for a long time like the U. S. was putting up a cluster-fuck effort.
Saturday was pretty good. First, Nat said I didn't have to go to a baby shower. <score!> I stayed home and burned some DVDs. Actually, I fell asleep and missed the phone call from Nat that every one was headed over to Ken and Jen's place after the party. I was in a crabby mood because I had to wake up. After we got there though, I was fine. Nat was awesome. I tried on some armor. I'll put up some pictures and hopefully a video soon. It is far too late right now.
Nat and I are off to watch a late night movie. I hope the DVD works. The last one I did somehow got the sound off. Bye the end of the movie it looked like one of those bad Japanese kung-fu theater.
I am obsessed with who is reading my blog. I was looking at the "referral" section of SiteMeter and found that someone had emailed my blog around. I don't think these are links that I sent out because one of them is in Missouri and the other two are in Malaysia. They are all using Yahoo mail.
I got another hit off a friend's blog.
I get a hit from SiteMeter itself. It turns out to be another blogger checking a hit from my page to theirs (via the next blog button I'm sure). His SiteMeter results are exposed for any one to view. I go poking around. This liberal so-and-so gets more hits in an hour complaining about the world than I get in a week.
One of the hits is from a comment I left on someone else's blog. I try to leave a link to my blog from every comment. Many people turn off comments because of all the spam. I recommended to a couple of people to turn on the word check feature in Blogger. That helps a little bit.
I still get hits daily from George Carlin Radio. I blogged about the page and the administrator commented that he mentioned my blog in one of the news articles on his site. How cool is that?
Fifteen percent of the hits on my blog use FireFox. That is too cool.
Several of the referral pages are listed as "unknown". This can mean many things. Either the mechanism used to gather information from the browser is disabled locally, or it was from a shortcut. These hits might come from people who have bookmarked my site. That is kind of cool.
Then come the search results. These break down into two categories. The hits from Google Image search kind of piss me off because it does not necessarily mean the people saw my page. I know that I don't go to the source page all the time when searching for an image. Many times I just steel it off Google's page without even looking at the author's information.
The other type of search is pretty cool. These are the web searches. I find hits all the time for things that have absolutely nothing to do with the content of my blog. I got a hit the other day for "Kelly eats worms". Where the hell did that come from? These folks at least got to my page at some point. Even if they were just clicking on every single result, they had a chance of viewing my content.
Some people's lives and careers hinge the hits to their content. It would drive me mad if my livelihood depended on the fickle hit meeter. I don't pretend to understand how any of this stuff works. I know that the best way so far to bring traffic to my blog is to comment on others in an intelligent manor. I will continue to obsess and bring you the details here.
Nat made the most amazing dish. She made every effort to make the meal special. It was delicious. I ate enough to feed the Mexican Air force. I've traded computer work for a home cooked meal before. I have had friends cook me meals for special occasions. My mother makes a mean Thanksgiving feast. I have to say, I have not had a home cooked meal that good in a long time.
Nat made a couple of changes to the recipe. She used lime juice instead of vinegar per one of the suggestions on a message board. There were a couple of other little things to soften the spices of the dish. It was not even close to bland. We now own a coffee grinder just for spices. I raved about how good it was and Nat finally said "Don't worry Kelly, I will cook again in the future." I can't wait.
People keep telling me that New Orleans should be rebuilt. I'm not so sure it ever will be, or ever should be the same place it was before. Will the exact same thing happen next hurricane season? People keep saying "look at Holland". You know, I'm trying to remember the last time Holland was hit with a category four hurricane. What works in northern Europe may not work the same on the U. S. Gulf Coast.
Does any one out there have a good idea or an opinion on the subject? Chime in.
Elle is in bed, though I doubt she is asleep. I'm watching Electra.
It is late. I should go to bed. Natalie is preparing the Puerco Pibil dish I described earlier. There is quite a bit of preparation the night before. We went to Fiesta for most of the ingredients. The guy we asked about the banana leaves gave us a funny look until we pointed to a print out of the recipe. He knew exactly what we needed then. We had to go ask the butcher for "pork rump" or "pork butt" as it said in the clip on the DVD. He chopped it up for us and drew a little picture on the package. We had to go to Wal-Mart for a coffee grinder to mash up the fresh spices. Judging by the sneezing fit Nat had, they are pretty strong. I can't wait to try it.
While we were in the store, I felt like I was part of a family. I didn't want to leave. This is how it should be.
note to all you guys who are doing drugs, rugs or plugs, to all the men
who are still letting their barbers talk them into that comb over or
who still believe their barbers when they say, “That’s NOT a bald spot,
it’s just naturally thin for your age.” If you ever wonder what us guys
who have accepted the inevitable think of you who are fighting it,
we’re laughing. Seriously, we find it funnier than hell. You may call
me Uncle Fester or Cue ball all ya want, but dude, when the wind
catches your comb over and it starts to fly…it just makes my whole day.
Gas was 2.99 for regular this morning when I passed by the local station on the bus. I pay $2.00 ever year to ride the bus, but every one else pays $1.00 per trip. There are ways to get a bit off that as too. I wait biting my nails for the municipality to raise the price of the bus. Right now, I just about break even on the cost of gas alone with the short commute I have.
So, it is the reality of the old guns and butte analogy. Now that the price of gas has gone to $3.00, I'm looking for cheaper razors. It still applies.
I watching "Once Upon a Time in Mexico" when I noticed the recipe for Puerco Pibil. It is the pork dish that Nat and I went to one of our favorite Mexican restaurant this evening only to find they did not have it on the menu. Not only that, but today was a holiday so the normal cook was apparently boozing it up with his family, because the food was far below their normal quality. Anyway. Nat said she would cook the dish for me if I took the time to write it down from the DVD. I hope this suffices. Google is far too efficient.
We worked on some invitation stuff this morning. Mostly Nat did all the work. Then we went to Mike and Ronni's son's Ben's birthday party. He turned four today. We made it home and I wonder if we still have some some things that need to be done. I really wish we could just call it an evening.
Tomorrow we have to get the oil changed in the car. It is the first oil change. Then we need to get some bins from Wal-Mart. We have a pact to fill one bin every night until we are unpacked. I can't wait to find out how much we end up throwing away.
It was kind of nice having a day off, but really, I wish I had worked today. I need the money. I'm going to try to work four ten hour days the rest of the week. I'm pretty sure the work is there.
Sunday. Another day off tomorrow.
I'm up before the world. I'm playing.
Little spots of sunlight sneak though the blinds to my skin. Will I leave my apartment today?
Tune back later for more details.
The speed limit in Texas is 70 MPH.
Unless you are an eighteen wheeler, then it is 65 MPH.
Unless it is at night in an eighteen wheeler, then it is 60 MPH.
Unless you are in a car towing a large trailer, then it is 55 MPH.
Because, having every one on the same road all drive the same speed at the same time just doesn't make any sense.
OK, OK Here is a link to a bunch of photos and videos of Katrina fallout. Get off my back.
I'm not linking to anything. You can track all that down yourself.
I'm watching tons of videos.
Roving gangs are running around and steeling everything that isn't nailed down. Some people are swiping bottles of bear and some diapers. Some people are swiping iPods. Which do you suppose I would say "guilty" to if I were on the jury?
They are violating the same law. Some people are sticking to their store and shooting people. More power to them.
I saw a video from one helicopter that was filming a military helicopter snatch someone off a rooftop. I'm thinking couldn't they do something constructive? Fly down and drop some bottled water.
I'm sick of being the world's cop. We take on Afghanistan. We take on Iraq and Husein. We help out first with the most when the Tsunami hit the Far East. We have something happen here, in our own home town, and it takes five days to pay any attention. I am sick of people telling me I should not have my own gun. I look at the mayhem that happened in Louisiana and, God willing, I will have access to the means to protect my family.
military vehicles and national guard troops started moving into New
Orleans Thursday morning amid continuing reports of violence and chaos,
including shots fired at
the Superdome that interfered with the Superdome evacuation after only
a few hundred people had been moved out to Houston.