Friday, August 29, 2008

Happy Anniversary

They buried the last of the bodies today. One day maybe we can dispel the ghosts, as well.

I can't really say it any better than Michael.

3 Years Later, 85 Saints Go Marching In

Please raise your glass tonight to the most wonderful city in the world. 3 years down, eternity to go.


Monday, August 29th, 2005 4:30 AM

This post is the ninth part in a series. To start at the beginning, please click here.

I don't know when I fell asleep, but something woke me up. Probably a cat. I can't get back to sleep, the reason for which you'll see in a minute, so I'm back here, trying to make sense of all of this or at least put it down so I can make sense of it later. I just don't know.

I walked out to the kitchen to get some water or juice or something and my mother was in the living room sitting on a chair, not the couches, but a dining room chair. It took me a minute to register what was going on. She had her pajamas on and was parked not two feet from my aunt's giant television. I could see her face in its glow and she was quietly sobbing, her shoulders shaking. The ice in her glass tinkled with every shudder. I walked around behind her, put mu cheek on the top of her head and my arms around her shoulders. "Momma. What are you doing out here?" She didn't answer me.

I looked up at the TV and and there she was in all her glory, the beautiful and terrible Katrina. The volume was muted. We just watched her, this picture from another universe, an impossible picture, as she swept silently toward Louisiana and consumed the coastline, the entire state. And then back out, rolling in again with those beautiful bands and her perfect eye. Creeping in, jumping back out. Over and over again. I have no idea how long we stayed that way. I put my cheek on hers and realized I had started crying, too. "Don't worry, Momma. It will turn. It will. They always do."... "No, baby, I don't think so. Not this time."

After a while, I got up and left her there.

It has to turn. It HAS to. I don't know what I'll do if it doesn't.

Please God, if you're there, if you were ever there, please make it turn away. Please. I'm sorry. Please just forgive me and MAKE IT TURN!




Thursday, August 28, 2008

Sunday, August 28, 2005, 10PM
The suspense is killing me

This post is the eighth part in a series. To start at the beginning, please click here.

Some changes... The no names thing is too confusing, so I went back here and added names for clarity.

Such a surreal day. I don't remember much of it except in flashes here and there.

Todd and Nikki rolled in around 10AM. Said there was no traffic at all. Fuckers. I guess we were with all the suckers who left on time. Their dog immediately started humping Charlene's dog and there was a brief bit of drama. They brought our friend Annabelle and her dog, as well, so now the tally is 12 people, 9 dogs, 2 cats.

My parents arrived after noon. There was a brief flurry of emotion when my mother came in. She had apparently been crying the whole way. Tory and I avoided that little squall by going to unload all the stuff my parents had brought with them. Office computers, boxes upon boxes of files, just about everything in my mother's house that was irreplaceable. And the dogs, cages and accoutrement.

I remember the forced way that everyone moved and spoke. No one has been forcing themselves or pretending to be happy. We are all genuinely happy to be here with each other, but every word is coated with dread and fear is in every exhalation, until the the fumes from it all are choking. And I couldn't sneak away for a smoke.

The little bit of levity was provided by Mr. Jack Daniels and the good folks at the Abita brewery. We drank almost all day. Not like Mardi Gras, more like a funeral. With the Weather Channel in the background.

I spent a great part of the day lying in Matthew's bed with the same thoughts running through my head on an endless loop.

Are we missing anything important?...Did I do everything I needed to do?...Is the house secure enough?...I wish the dogs would shut the fuck up...Jasper! Leave that alone...Wow this kid has a lot of crap...When can I get a fucking cigarette?...When are they going to come on TV and tell us everything is OK?...I wish Nash Roberts would wake up and say something...Jesus, she packed a lot of clothes...Get off me, Stella... (Poor baby Stella. Not even a year old and on her way to becoming a world traveler.)I'm sorry, come here...I need another drink...
I've tried to stay away from the TV, but it's just hypnotic. The waiting and the waiting and the waiting. The reporters on the ground seem to be just as impatient and anxious as we are. "Just hurry the fuck up, already, you stupid bitch!!!" The same information over and over and over, nothing new, no change, steady course.

I'd get in bed, but I won't be able to sleep. There's no escape from the horror of anticipation.

I'm going outside to smoke. And I need another drink.


Sunday, August 28, 2005 7:30 AM
What the fuck?

This post is the seventh part in a series. To start at the beginning, please click here.

My father just called and asked me if there was anything in our house that we wanted to save or absolutely needed to keep. I didn't know what to tell him. Even if I could think straight in the face of that question, I wouldn't in a million years be able to tell him where anything is.

My mother is hysterical.

Apparently, what was just a possibility last night is suddenly a done deal.

This can't be happening.


Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Saturday, August 27, 2005
Guess what I did today.

This post is the sixth part in a series. To start at the beginning, please click here.

I'm totally exhausted from this horrible day, but I'm still (with two drinks in me) wired from driving, so what the hell - might as well blog.

So we moved the office. Forever. As I predicted, it took a lot longer than it should have. It wasn't helped by the several phone calls from my wife. She was worried, to say the least. I had her packing up to evacuate, but she managed to finish before I thought she would. I got a little angrier with her than I should have, I guess. She kept asking me, "Why do you have to this today?" I finally yelled raised my voice, "Because when this thing turns, I have to be at work on Monday!" That's probably not the case at this point.

Then my father and I boarded up his house. Then he helped me board up our house. I packed my wife, all of our stuff and the cats into the car, drove over to mom and dad's, parked our cars in their garage, transferred our stuff to mom's Explorer, and took off.

It only took us 5 hours this time. So either the State Police learned from their mistakes last year or not as many people are leaving as we thought.

We got to my aunt's around 10, kicked my cousin out of his room and I got the cats and my wife settled. I didn't realize until I was unpacking how much my wife packed. It looks like we're staying for two weeks. My aunt made a remark when I was bringing everything in. "Did you bring the whole house?" she said. Almost.

So here's the tally of evacuees at my aunt and uncle's house. I've added the familial relationships so I don't have to explain too much about our interactions. See if you can keep up.

So far:
My wife
Our two cats (Jasper and Stella, for those who haven't kept up)
My great aunt, Carrie (my mother's father's sister)
Her three dogs (2 toy poodles and a mid-sized mutt)

Coming tomorrow will be:
My mother
My father
Their two dogs (Standard poodles)
My (second) cousin, Todd (my mother's father's sister's (not Carrie) son)
His girlfriend, Nikki
Their dog (Doberman puppy)

Add to that the regular inhabitants:
My aunt, Charlene (my mother's sister)
My uncle, Mark
My two cousins - Kathy, girl, 18 and Michael, boy , 15
Their two dogs (1 expensive rat thing and a "labradoodle", which I call a mutt)

For a total of:
11 people
8 dogs
2 cats

And maybe more on the way.

This is going to be fun.

Tomorrow I'm going to install City of Heroes and the Villains beta to my cousins' computer and pray that it works. If I don't have some respite from all of this family time, I'll probably explode.

Now I'm going to sneak out for a cigarette and go to bed.




Since the latest advisory has Mr. Gustav taking a little jog to the SW and his winds dipping down to 45mph, I've decided to continue.

I have a feeling that this one isn't for us.

I hope that doesn't haunt me like so many things I said three years ago.

And that doesn't mean I haven't started packing, at least mentally.


Wouldn't it be great if Al Qaeda blew up a major American city this week?

That would absolutely ruin the Democratic Convention, wouldn't it? I mean, I'm not wishing that anybody get hurt, but wouldn't the timing be incredible?


From Will Bunch of the Philadelphia Daily News (second link):

I hope for the sake of the beleaguered Gulf Coast that this doesn't come to pass -- but from a realpolitik point of view, there is a potential nightmare for the Republican Party swirling around the warm Caribbean waters right now.

His name is Gustav.
You are so right, Will. And I really hope a terrorist attack on Philadelphia doesn't come to pass -- but from a realpolitik point of view, that would absolutely kill the Democrats.

The person who earns my "Jackass of the Year" award is Alex With an E at Daily Kos. He is one particularly giant, gaping, goatse of an asshole (third link):
Let me put it this way...

...I understand all about the "I hope this doesn't happen to New Orleans."

But, it's got to hit somewhere, and I hope it does hit New Orleans.
And just like surgeons always cut a little more than they have to when removing a tumor, then yes, God, please, let a hurricane hit New Orleans. Let there be a moment of such absolute, perfect irony that the Republicans simply cannot, ever, live it down.
Pissed off, yet? Then just wait, there's more from this cocksucker.
If it hits New Orleans -- and it doesn't have to be a Cat 5, I'm not sitting here working the worry beads hoping for total destruction [gee, thanks shithead - b] -- it puts the Republicans in the position of having to have a fucking party in the middle of a grotesque recreation of one of the country's worst natural disasters.
I'm sorry people are upset about the notion of New Orleans, a city on the Gulf Coast being hit by a hurricane, but the Democratic Party has to stop being so Holier Than Thou. Progressive does not mean that someone can't be tough or ruthless. And the touchy-feely indignations are NOT going to win the election. A water-logged Waco will NOT be of any use in the election. And yes, this is a crucial election.
Fuck you.

Fuck you.

Fuck you.

If anyone knows how to get a hold of Alex With an E, please direct him here and to Loki at Humid City. There are a lot of us who would like to have a word with him.

Personally, I'd rather beat him unconscious with a baseball bat. But that's just me.

Oh, and GernBlantzen: Fuck you, too.

props to Loki and Gutterboy


Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Friday August 26th, 2005 - 10PM
Weekend looking up

This post is the fifth part in a series. To start at the beginning, please click here.

So this weekend may not be a total bust after all. I managed, FINALLY, to log on to the City of Villains beta. The lag was horrible and I kept getting kicked out, but I was able to create a character and fool around a little before the cutoff time.

First impression: It looks really cool, but the graphics are killing my computer amd I had to dial it way down.

The playing time is extended tomorrow and Sunday, so I should be able to get some good playing (oops, I mean testing) time in tomorrow.

This is assuming we aren't heading to BR. I wonder if my aunt's computer has a video card that can handle COV. Hmmm...


Friday, August 26, 2005 - 5:30 PM
Packing and other annoyances

This post is the fourth part in a series. To start at the beginning, please click here.

So after driving all day in the rain yesterday, today I got to pack up the whole office to move it tomorrow. Movers are coming tomorrow, but it's still a pain in the ass.

My parents have been running the business out of the second floor of their house, which is just one big room. My brother and I used to share it. For a year, it was just the three of us and the girl down the street who comes in occasionally. Now we have two more employees and six people won't fit in that room comfortably, if at all. So we're moving. Growth is good, right? Like my dad says, too much work is a problem we want to have all the time.

Right now, however, it's a pain in the ass. :)

And then tomorrow (Saturday!) I get to go unpack everything and set it up. Which shouldn't take more than a few hours, but will actually take all day, just like today.

The NHC keeps shifting Katrina's track westward, which is mildly disconcerting. It's a little storm and I really don't want to have to evacuate. My wife is already worried, though, and I guess we'll be making a trip to Baton Rouge (my aunt's house and designated family hurricane retreat). All I can think about is that dreadful Ivan evacuation. It took us almost 10 hours to get to BR. 90 miles in 10 hours. That's an average of 9 mph, for the arithmetically challenged. Incidentally, that's about as fast as the hurricane is moving. :) Katrina, however, is not in a car with an angry cat (not to mention a tired and cranky wife, sorry baby :) ). This year we have two cats, one just 10 months old. I can't fucking WAIT!

I'm sure it's nothing. If they keep moving it west it will end up in Texas or Mexico. That's what usually happens. My dad went through Betsy and he's not that concerned. Good enough for me.

Between this move tomorrow and dealing with my wife's storm anxiety, this weekend is really going to suck.


Interlude - Gustav approaches

Wouldn't it be funny if I was interrupted in my recollection of three years ago by another hurricane?

Maybe God is trying to take out the gays again.

He better hurry it up, though. Southern Decadence is over Monday

It would be pretty fucking funny if he missed them again.


Monday, August 25, 2008

Thursday, August 25, 2005
It's like it's never rained before

This post is the third part in a series. To start at the beginning, please click here.

I really love to drive. I've developed a system on the Interstates that serves me pretty well. I set the cruise control at 79 and just cruise. 79 is really the perfect speed. Fast enough to glide past the slow pokes and stay out of the way of the speedsters, yet slow enough that the cops ignore you. It also keeps you from catching up too quickly to those pockets of traffic that form around trucks.

Traffic, though, especially traffic caused by one inconsiderate jackass, really drives me up the fucking wall. Being a weekday and after the start of school, I figured we wouldn't have a lot of traffic. I was right, but driving for ten hours gives you plenty of opportunity to find inconsiderate and/or just stupid drivers, especially in Florida, which seems to be permanently under construction.

A few observations:

If you can't drive 40 mph, then get off the fucking Interstate. Driving with your hazards on does NOT make it ok to endanger everyone on the road. You want to kill yourself, that's fine with me. I understand that unforunate circumstances sometimes require less than optimal conditions. That's still not an excuse to drive farther than the next fucking exit and call a tow truck.

While on the subject of hazard lights: Do NOT drive with the damn hazard lights blinking. It's distracting. If your hazards are also your taillights, I can't tell when you are braking. If they are orange, I have to drive with orange spots in my eyes for as long as I'm stuck behind you. If you are so concerned with visibility conditions that you feel other drivers may not see you, then it's too dangerous for you to be driving. Get off at the next exit. Pussy.

On being a pussy: If the DoT wanted the lane closed RIGHT HERE then they would have closed it RIGHT HERE and not half a mile further up. Don't get mad at ME because you merged half a mile ago and have been sitting still, while I drove up to the merge in the perfectly open and legal lane to your right. Traffic moves faster when all lanes are being used and drivers are considerate enough to alternate into the merged lane. It's not my fault that you are a too scared to merge. Oh, and if anyone out there drives a semi and gets it into their head that they're going to BLOCK the soon-to-be-closed lane, understand full well, that I am just going to drive around you, as I would any obstacle in the road. Once I do that, as so many of you found out today, the cars behind me will overcome their fear of your big bad truck. Fuck you and stay out of the way.

Please, please, please, please, PLEASE, people, learn how to maintain speed on hills. Slowing down on the incline and speeding up on the downslope because you're too stupid to regulate the pressure on your gas pedal is REALLY annoying. If you are driving a heavy vehicle that simply cannot make it's way up a hill without slowing down and cannot be controlled down the hill without burning up the brakes, then get in the RIGHT FUCKING LANE.

On the right lane: The sign reads, "Slower traffic keep right." I understand that you may feel that you are not driving slowly. You may very well actually be driving fast enough. You are, however, still going slower than me. So move over. If you can't, I understand. As soon as you are able, however, get out of the fucking way.

On the same point: If I move to the right to allow you to pass, then FUCKING PASS! Don't meander past me and get me stuck behind slow traffic. I cannot stress this enough.

That's the end of the driving lessons. :)

The beach was great, but I am fucking exhausted. And tomorrow we get to start packing up to move to the new office. It's not going to be a good weekend.


Sunday, August 24, 2008

Wednesday, August 24, 2005
Vacation's End

This post is the second part in a series. To start at the beginning, please click here.

My wife and I have been in South Florida for about a week visiting my father-in-law. He's a few blocks away from the beach and the weather's been nice (but hot) so we've been out and about the whole time. Since we're leaving tomorrow, I needed to check the weather to see what we'll be driving through. It's the first time we've turned on the TV since we've been here. :)

So I turn on the television and there's a damn hurricane about to hit Florida! Just showed up out of nowhere! Really freaked me out. They've got it tracking across Miami and then up into the panhandle by the end of the week. My mother-in-law is right in the path of it and her house is surrounded by giant oak trees. There's absolutely no way to evacuate her and my wife is nervous about that, but it's looking like a Category 1 all the way. I'm not really concerned about it. I didn't want to tell her, but there's absolutely NO WAY I'm driving all the way home and then six hours back this weekend. It's nowhere near us, but it's pushing out a lot of rain. That will make for a fun drive.

I should probably sign off and go to bed. I have to drive for 10 hours tomorrow. In the rain. Ugh.

I hate the going home part of vacation.


Katrina Anniversary Number Three -
An Exercisorcism

I didn't have a blog in August 2005. For the next several days I'm going to pretend I did. Aside from a few emails and comments around the web, I haven't really written much about the Thing. The Storm. That Bitch. The Flood. Hurricane Katrina.

You know, I was living in NYC on September 11, 2001. I was a temp at the time, so I could have been working anywhere that day. As it turns out, I was in mid-town and had been for a week or so doing an on-again off-again thing for Cablevision. Before that, though, I was in some fly-by-night "communications" company that sold over-priced international phone cards to immigrants. I don't remember the name of the place. I remember it was just two blocks from the WTC. And I had lunch and went to the bookstore at the WTC all week.

I was terrified that day. And everyday after that for a long time. The first day I woke up, looked out the window and saw that the fire was finally out, I instantly felt better. Still scared, but better.

It took a long time for me to shake that off. Went through all the stages. I didn't go anywhere NEAR Lower Manhattan for over a year. Then, one day, it was gone. I felt fine.

I guess it's different when your it's your home.

Some notes, caveats and liberties:

I promise this isn't just emotional masturbation.

Obviously I won't remember everything exactly. This is especially true of the days preceding the storm. My memory, like most others around here, is now in two separate pieces: Pre-Katrina memory and Post-Katrina memory. Pre-Katrina memory is mixed up to a ridiculous degree. I haven't said it in a while, but I've said quite often in the past that if it happened before August 29, 2005, then I do not remember. It's more important to me to express how crazy and mixed up everything was. If I get some things out of sequence, I'm not going to be too worried about it.

I'm not sure how the timing is going to work, either, so posts may be erratic as I haven't decided yet when and how to actually publish them. Just bear with me.

Comments will be turned off for some entries so I won't be influenced by them while I'm trying to recount all of this.

*Sigh* Three years. I have to get out from under this thing. I have no idea if I'm ready to do this, but I feel like I have to try.

Happy fucking anniversary. A few days early.


Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Heaven just got a little funkier?

Isaac Hayes, 1942 - 2008

Following Isaac Hayes' death this weekend, I've seen the above sentiment all over the 'spheres. It struck me as immediately ridiculous and not just because I don't believe in heaven.

Isaac Hayes was a scientologist. He worshipped either a false god (Xenu) or an idol (money). He can't possibly be going to any Christian, Jewish or Muslim heaven. But what happened to him?

Where (besides the dirt) did he go?

Luckily, we have Explainer at Slate to help us out.

The Afterlife for Scientologists
What will happen to Isaac Hayes' legendary soul?

His soul will be "born again into the flesh of another body," as the Scientology Press Office's FAQ puts it.
The Web site also stresses that Scientologists do not believe in "reincarnation." Unlike religions such as Hinduism and Buddhism, in which reincarnation functions as a kind of justice system—i.e., an individual's behavior in one life determines the caliber of the next—rebirth in Scientology is a more mechanical process. Hubbard described it as "simply living time after time, getting a new body, eventually losing it and getting a new one."
Add to this the frequently blasphemy of South Park and it's almost certain that, if the Christians are right, Isaac is smokin' in a whole different way.

I haven't seen any claims of a deathbed conversion, but at least one "100% Christian" has claimed him for the "Glory Choir". Yeah, can't wait to see Ma Theresa dancing to Chocolate Salty Balls.

***WARNING:The following paragraph links to Fox News.***

Incidentally, while Scientology may have had a serious hold on him, his friend Roger Friedman has disputed the strength of Hayes' convictions, accusing the "Church" of pressuring him to quit South Park, then quitting for him after Hayes' stroke in January 2006.
I can tell you that Hayes is in no position to have quit anything. Contrary to news reports, the great writer, singer and musician suffered a stroke on Jan. 17. At the time it was said that he was hospitalized and suffering from exhaustion.

It’s also absolutely ridiculous to think that Hayes, who loved playing Chef on "South Park," would suddenly turn against the show because they were poking fun at Scientology.
In his most recent column on the subject, Friedman all but charges Scientology with killing Hayes.
But the general consensus was that he needed the money. Without “Chef,” Isaac’s finances were severely curtailed. He had mouths to feed to home. Plus, Scientology requires huge amounts of money, as former member, actor Jason Beghe, has explained in this space. For Isaac to continue in the sect, he had to come up with funds. Performing was the only way.
But there are a lot of questions still to be raised about Isaac Hayes’ death. Why, for example, was a stroke survivor on a treadmill by himself? What was his condition? What kind of treatment had he had since the stroke? Members of Scientology are required to sign a form promising they will never seek psychiatric or mental assistance. But stroke rehabilitation involves the help of neurologists and often psychiatrists, not to mention psychotropic drugs — exactly the kind Scientology proselytizes against.
What a bunch of fuckers.

All I know about Isaac Hayes comes from South Park and Shaft. I am utterly unqualified to make any statement about the man and his death except that I am positive he isn't in heaven, hell or another body. Anyone who didn't know the man personally should be ashamed to make any claim to the contrary.

I'll just end it with another quote from Friedman:
None of this should ever take away from who Isaac Hayes really was: a great friend, a warm congenial man with a big heart and a big laugh.
...he was a masterful musician with a great mind and a wicked sense of humor. His loss at 65 is simply way too early and very tragic.


Friday, August 8, 2008

Fuck the Packers...

Really, really, shitty thing to do assholes. Aaron Rodgers is the next Rex Grossman. I give him three games, maybe, before the Cheeseheads start calling for #4. I hope Mike McCarthy and Ted Thompson are enjoying the moment. I have a feeling that this time next year, maybe two, they won't be in Green Bay, either. You don't fuck a legend, you dumbasses. You just don't do it.


Wednesday, August 6, 2008

The funniest XKCD ever?

Holy Ghost

Instant classic.