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Wednesday, September 28, 2005

The water is gone...

but I'm still treading water. I've been in touch with the temporary clinic my doctors have set up in Baton Rouge but so far they haven't given me any instructions on where to go or what to do about my blood work. They claim that I will be able to choose from several different locations, including ones in Hammond where I am at the moment and one in the N.O. area where I may just go back to stay for a while. I hate being in limbo, not knowing what drastic changes tomorrow might bring, but it does help stave off the boredom!

I finally broke down and bought a nice little notebook PC, for years I always felt that I would never need or even want to use one. I've been telling myself for weeks now that if I just wait one more week I'll be back up to speed, that shit has gotten old! I'm tired of not having my own 'net connection with MY own PC so I took the plunge. It was way outside my budget but I felt I had no choice. It has built in hardware for both wired and wireless and also dial-up internet. The damn thing works great actually, much better than I expected but still a lot slower than my screaming fast homebuilt desktops.

Of course, when I finally get my old 'net connection back the laptop will likely gather tons of dust! LOL Ya just can't win...

I reopened Blogs Gone Wild! on Monday though, and now that I have a relatively stable place to work from maybe I can continue with my work and classes, Yay! Finally some good shit!! Woohoo! It was nice to see a blog order in my email the very next morning!

Here's a couple of pics from the past few weeks on the road. These were taken in Tombstone.
I signed a dollar and they hung it up in Vogans Alley for the next time I pass thru town, doing that assures that you'll have enough money to get a shot of whiskey, a hot bath and a shave if you're broke the next time. Some kind of cool old cowboy tradition.

That outlaw was having a bad day huh? I think he needs to see a doc or maybe a necromancer...

One of my blogger friends has sent me a cash donation in spite of me refusing such offers, dear lady, you rock and I thank you from the bottom of my heart!! I'll try to put it to good use!!! Hugs and kisses!! I would put your name here but I didn't think to ask if that was ok. I'm constantly amazed at the outpouring of well wishes and sympathy for my situation that you guys have shown me for the past few weeks with all your sweet comments and emails, it's definitely one of the biggest things that keeps me going!

I may be down but I ain't out!! Keepin' the faith!

Saturday, September 24, 2005

A Dirty Rotten Trick

I'm completely sick of living out of my car, I haven't slept in my own bed for 4 weeks now. Hell, I don't even have a freekin' bed, it got soaked in the flood and it's sitting in the gut pile along with the rest of the destroyed furnishings. Things were starting to look a lot better a couple of days ago though. The power was on at the house, and we had gotten a lot of the cleanup done. Mail was being delivered once again and there were cleanup crews showing up in the neighborhoods to pick up the debris that has mounted from people dragging the contents of their homes out to the curb. It's a shell of a house but almost livable, just like the hundreds and thousands of others in endless rows up and down every street in nearly every neighborhood in the metropolitan area.

Now we have the latest setback. We had hoped that Rita wouldn't hit our area too hard and that we would be able to stay put, but yesterday morning the power went off and we decided to throw in the towel and haul ass north once again. We stayed at my brothers home last night and listened to the wind howl, watched the trees sway and the water rise. We were safe though and at least the power remained on. Now all of the roads south are closed again, we can't return to the New Orleans area even if we wanted to. The parish wasn't under a mandatory evacuation order for Rita but we have this sinking feeling that the house may have gotten flooded again. No big deal I guess, there's not much left to destroy anyway! New Orleans certainly got a lot more water, the breeches in the levees has reflooded the city to such an extent it has probably pushed repopulating the city back a few more weeks and beyond.

Next, it will be a mighty earthquake that will swallow the entire city, gobbling up all of the swamp the city is built upon into some deep, dark black hole near the center of the earth. Or maybe a meteor will collide with the area, leveling everything for a couple hundred miles, and burning everything else for hundreds of miles beyond that into flaming cinders. We can only hope! LOL

Our lives are completly on hold, everything I had planned for myself has fallen by the wayside, my classes, the new company I wanted to start, my chemotherapy, a new job. My latest blood tests showed good news and bad news, my hepatitis c viral load is very high and I seriously need to start chemo because my liver condition is going downhill daily according to the doctors, I think I'm actually starting to feel some physical effects. Once I start the chemo though I can't stop, that means I need to be in a stable situation and location in which to receive the weekly medications. On the good news, I'm apparently geno type 3 which is more successfully treated, the exact statistics are unknown to me at the moment. Every new day seems to present new problems, new locations, new living arrangements and fresh uncertaintys.

I do have a lot to be thankful for though, I'm alive for one and so is my family and I'm not stranded in a refugee shelter with my family, with no money, (or even if you have money, no way to access it because your bank was underwater) no car, no food, no home and no forseeable end to it all, sitting on my ass, depending on handouts for my day to day existence because there is absolutely nothing else. Hell knows there are thousands in that boat, and more will be arriving in the coming weeks. It will get better though! That's what I keep telling myself anyway.
Tuesday, September 20, 2005

A Few Pics...

I was finally able to transfer some pictures!! Yay!! The TV and VCR, Digital Cable box and the DVD player are all moldy oldies now! LOL!! The shit smells so bad... now we have smellavision!! And thats just the living room stuff, there's an even larger TV in the den with all the goodies in the very same fucked up condition.

A pretty good shot of the tree resting on the back of the house, you can see my dad in the red shirt inside the patio door on the right. We're gonna have to hire people to come in and remove the tree, the squirrels are gonna be PISSED!! hehe
One of the first things I had to do was run upstairs and check on the grrrls!! They both fired right up!! Woohoo!! Still no 'net connection of any kind over there though, again I'm blogging from a friends house a few miles away.
A quick self-portrait while I was out in the yard surveying and taking photos of everything, I took over 160 pictures of damage inside and outside of the house.
I have tons more photos that I will upload later when I can. We've been working our slap happy asses off cleaning all the debris out of the lower floor. The stench is incredible after 3 weeks of moisture sitting closed up in a hot wet house. There is water trapped inside the kitchen cabinets, mold and mildew growing up the walls, the floors and carpets are all ruined and we moved every stick of furniture out into the backyard yesterday, all destroyed!! Virtually everything on the lower floor is unsalvageable. I'll have to post pics of the gut piles after we're finished hehe But we're getting it done! Hell yeah!!

We may have to haul ass again in the next day or two if Rita turns our way, wouldn't that be a kick in the ass to get another one right over us!!! The governor cracked me up last night, mentioning someshit about moving all the stuff that you've just dragged OUT of your house back INSIDE!!! BWAHAHAHAHAHA!!!!

Sunday, September 18, 2005

The power is on...

Made it into the house yesterday and it's quite a mess. The water level inside was only about 2 to 3 ft but the water has soaked into the walls several feet higher than that. The big oak in the backyard is indeed leaning against the back of the house, causing a considerable amount of damage to the roof in several places, and rain is able to leak down all the way to the lower floor. A branch was thru my bedroom window, it had broken thru from top to bottom and destroyed the window frame. It was kinda fun to stand on top of my bed with a chainsaw to cut the branches back that were sticking thru. Then I pulled a small sheet of plywood out of the attic and used my bed as a workbench to trim it with the chainsaw to fit the window frame and screwed it to the window frame, weeee!! Who knew it could be so much fun to use a chainsaw indoors!! The glass had shattered all over the room and debris and leaves have been blowing in for the past couple weeks, LOL

Amazingly both of my main PC's still work and booted up just fine, I haven't had a chance to check the other two though, maybe today. The cable is down so I have no 'net connection there, I'm blogging from a family friends house a few miles away. We will be staying here for a short time, how long is anybody's guess. The lower floor is disgustingly filthy, the smell was overwhelming and there is shitloads of mold and mildew covering everything. I was able to get the A/C running, one of the main fans was frozen. A little persuasion in the right place and I was able to get it going. It's been running all night, hopefully when we go there today it won't smell as bad and a lot of the moisture will be removed.

It is extremely hot and humid here, I'm seriously missing the dry air that I quickly became accustomed to in both Texas and Arizona the past few weeks. Just walking aound taking photos was enough to be sweat soaked to the bone, and miserable. I became sick from dehydration for a short while but a large Gatorade fixed that! I must have taken 50 - 60 pictures all around and inside the house but I still have no way to get the pics off my camera onto the 'net, hopefully soon!

I think it's taking a toll on my folks though, my mom was crying last night and this morning they were fighting like cats and dogs over trivial shit, silly shit like who said what and yada yada yada who cares. My own mood has been bitchy and sullen even though I always try to see the bright side of things, and can usually find a reason to laugh at even the worst of situations. The cleanup will be a daunting task for us and everyone else involved, living anywhere in the gulf south. The sound of helicopters passing over is a constant reminder that we are living under martial law and a strict curfew of dusk to dawn.

Went to pick up a few grocery items at a local Winn Dixie store and the lines just to get INTO the store wrapped around the side of the building and there was no place to park hehe. What a reality check! Hopefully that will abate soon enough, we ended up going to another store where it wasn't quite as bad.

Anyway, I have to go now, headed over to the house to help with cleanup. Weee!! hehe I'll try to post again as soon as I can!!
Wednesday, September 14, 2005

A Public Service Announcement

All drivers in the Dallas/Fort Worth area:
It is physically impossible for two vehicles to safely occupy the same space at the same time. Please stop attempting to defy the laws of physics. LOL

Back on the road again...

Looks like we'll be headed back to New Orleans first thing in the morning to survey the damage and retrieve anything left of value in the house. We'll likely spend the night at my brothers home on the way down in Hammond, La. Then continue from there the following day. I was able to get my hepatitis and tetanus vaccines earlier today at a county health services center. I must say that Texas has been great, friendly people, and very helpful and accomodating. The shots were free with a N.O. identification, very cool! The other night my folks were eating at a restaurant and when the manager learned they were from N.O. the entire dinner was on the house!! (insert ladder joke here...)

I'll be taking pics of course, in fact I've been taking photos since I left N.O. originally, I just haven't had the chance to get them off my camera and online. I'll have to put them up on Flickr when I can and post a few here. I will likely be without a 'net connection for at least a few days, maybe more!! That part sucks, I know I'll miss you guys if I'm away too long, gahhh! I hate when that happens!!!!

One more thing... I say we elect my buddie Old Horsetail Snake to head up FEMA, hehe. Sending dirt is one of the best ideas I've heard so far!

Luv you guys!!

Monday, September 12, 2005

Stomping the shit out of assholes...

I've noticed a few comments by people (asshats) around the blogging community where people have blatantly stated that the people of New Orleans in it's entirety deserved exactly what they got, just for being stupid enough to live in a city where a disaster such as Katrina was possible. I would like to point out to these MORONS that people continue to live in places like San Francisco, does anyone remember the terrible quake of 1989? And the quakes and horrific brushfires wiping out entire towns and neighborhoods in Southern California and Los Angeles. The tornados that yearly cause death and destruction all across states like Oklahoma and Kansas. The entire state of Florida? The coastlines of not only Louisiana but also Texas, Mississippi, Alabama, Georgia, North and South Carolina? Where the fuck do you want all these people to go? Look at the widespread destruction all across the ENTIRE state of Mississipi from Katrina, not just the coast line.

I lived in Atlanta , Georgia for many years and I can clearly remember a number of hurricanes that caused considerable destruction in the Atlanta area, and that city is well away from any coastline. What about blizzards and ice storms in the far northern states that occur almost yearly causing billions in damage, killing many. Maybe we should move all of the people out of those states as well.

To the people that have that attitude about the destruction and aftermath of this disaster, fuck you!! I hope a disaster hits your home next, Bastards! You're next!! With that I am reprinting an article here that says a lot about the reasons why New Orleans exists in the first place. Thanks to the person that forwarded it to me in an email. The link to the original article is here.

New Orleans: A Geopolitical Prize
By George Friedman

Thursday 01 September 2005

The American political system was founded in Philadelphia, but the American nation was built on the vast farmlands that stretch from the Alleghenies to the Rockies. That farmland produced the wealth that funded American industrialization: It permitted the formation of a class of small landholders who, amazingly, could produce more than they could consume. They could sell their excess crops in the east and in Europe and save that money, which eventually became the founding capital of American industry.

But it was not the extraordinary land nor the farmers and ranchers who alone set the process in motion. Rather, it was geography - the extraordinary system of rivers that flowed through the Midwest and allowed them to ship their surplus to the rest of the world. All of the rivers flowed into one - the Mississippi - and the Mississippi flowed to the ports in and around one city: New Orleans. It was in New Orleans that the barges from upstream were unloaded and their cargos stored, sold and reloaded on ocean-going vessels. Until last Sunday, New Orleans was, in many ways, the pivot of the American economy.

For that reason, the Battle of New Orleans in January 1815 was a key moment in American history. Even though the battle occurred after the War of 1812 was over, had the British taken New Orleans, we suspect they wouldn't have given it back. Without New Orleans, the entire Louisiana Purchase would have been valueless to the United States. Or, to state it more precisely, the British would control the region because, at the end of the day, the value of the Purchase was the land and the rivers - which all converged on the Mississippi and the ultimate port of New Orleans. The hero of the battle was Andrew Jackson, and when he became president, his obsession with Texas had much to do with keeping the Mexicans away from New Orleans.

During the Cold War, a macabre topic of discussion among bored graduate students who studied such things was this: If the Soviets could destroy one city with a large nuclear device, which would it be? The usual answers were Washington or New York. For me, the answer was simple: New Orleans. If the Mississippi River was shut to traffic, then the foundations of the economy would be shattered. The industrial minerals needed in the factories wouldn't come in, and the agricultural wealth wouldn't flow out. Alternative routes really weren't available. The Germans knew it too: A U-boat campaign occurred near the mouth of the Mississippi during World War II. Both the Germans and Stratfor have stood with Andy Jackson: New Orleans was the prize.

Last Sunday, nature took out New Orleans almost as surely as a nuclear strike. Hurricane Katrina's geopolitical effect was not, in many ways, distinguishable from a mushroom cloud. The key exit from North America was closed. The petrochemical industry, which has become an added value to the region since Jackson's days, was at risk. The navigability of the Mississippi south of New Orleans was a question mark. New Orleans as a city and as a port complex had ceased to exist, and it was not clear that it could recover.

The ports of South Louisiana and New Orleans, which run north and south of the city, are as important today as at any point during the history of the republic. On its own merit, the Port of South Louisiana is the largest port in the United States by tonnage and the fifth-largest in the world. It exports more than 52 million tons a year, of which more than half are agricultural products - corn, soybeans and so on. A larger proportion of US agriculture flows out of the port. Almost as much cargo, nearly 57 million tons, comes in through the port - including not only crude oil, but chemicals and fertilizers, coal, concrete and so on.

A simple way to think about the New Orleans port complex is that it is where the bulk commodities of agriculture go out to the world and the bulk commodities of industrialism come in. The commodity chain of the global food industry starts here, as does that of American industrialism. If these facilities are gone, more than the price of goods shifts: The very physical structure of the global economy would have to be reshaped. Consider the impact to the US auto industry if steel doesn't come up the river, or the effect on global food supplies if US corn and soybeans don't get to the markets.

The problem is that there are no good shipping alternatives. River transport is cheap, and most of the commodities we are discussing have low value-to-weight ratios. The US transport system was built on the assumption that these commodities would travel to and from New Orleans by barge, where they would be loaded on ships or offloaded. Apart from port capacity elsewhere in the United States, there aren't enough trucks or rail cars to handle the long-distance hauling of these enormous quantities - assuming for the moment that the economics could be managed, which they can't be.

The focus in the media has been on the oil industry in Louisiana and Mississippi. This is not a trivial question, but in a certain sense, it is dwarfed by the shipping issue. First, Louisiana is the source of about 15 percent of US-produced petroleum, much of it from the Gulf. The local refineries are critical to American infrastructure. Were all of these facilities to be lost, the effect on the price of oil worldwide would be extraordinarily painful. If the river itself became unnavigable or if the ports are no longer functioning, however, the impact to the wider economy would be significantly more severe. In a sense, there is more flexibility in oil than in the physical transport of these other commodities.

There is clearly good news as information comes in. By all accounts, the Louisiana Offshore Oil Port, which services supertankers in the Gulf, is intact. Port Fourchon, which is the center of extraction operations in the Gulf, has sustained damage but is recoverable. The status of the oil platforms is unclear and it is not known what the underwater systems look like, but on the surface, the damage - though not trivial - is manageable.

The news on the river is also far better than would have been expected on Sunday. The river has not changed its course. No major levees containing the river have burst. The Mississippi apparently has not silted up to such an extent that massive dredging would be required to render it navigable. Even the port facilities, although apparently damaged in many places and destroyed in few, are still there. The river, as transport corridor, has not been lost.

What has been lost is the city of New Orleans and many of the residential suburban areas around it. The population has fled, leaving behind a relatively small number of people in desperate straits. Some are dead, others are dying, and the magnitude of the situation dwarfs the resources required to ameliorate their condition. But it is not the population that is trapped in New Orleans that is of geopolitical significance: It is the population that has left and has nowhere to return to.

The oil fields, pipelines and ports required a skilled workforce in order to operate. That workforce requires homes. They require stores to buy food and other supplies. Hospitals and doctors. Schools for their children. In other words, in order to operate the facilities critical to the United States, you need a workforce to do it - and that workforce is gone. Unlike in other disasters, that workforce cannot return to the region because they have no place to live. New Orleans is gone, and the metropolitan area surrounding New Orleans is either gone or so badly damaged that it will not be inhabitable for a long time.

It is possible to jury-rig around this problem for a short time. But the fact is that those who have left the area have gone to live with relatives and friends. Those who had the ability to leave also had networks of relationships and resources to manage their exile. But those resources are not infinite - and as it becomes apparent that these people will not be returning to New Orleans any time soon, they will be enrolling their children in new schools, finding new jobs, finding new accommodations. If they have any insurance money coming, they will collect it. If they have none, then - whatever emotional connections they may have to their home - their economic connection to it has been severed. In a very short time, these people will be making decisions that will start to reshape population and workforce patterns in the region.

A city is a complex and ongoing process - one that requires physical infrastructure to support the people who live in it and people to operate that physical infrastructure. We don't simply mean power plants or sewage treatment facilities, although they are critical. Someone has to be able to sell a bottle of milk or a new shirt. Someone has to be able to repair a car or do surgery. And the people who do those things, along with the infrastructure that supports them, are gone - and they are not coming back anytime soon.

It is in this sense, then, that it seems almost as if a nuclear weapon went off in New Orleans. The people mostly have fled rather than died, but they are gone. Not all of the facilities are destroyed, but most are. It appears to us that New Orleans and its environs have passed the point of recoverability. The area can recover, to be sure, but only with the commitment of massive resources from outside - and those resources would always be at risk to another Katrina.

The displacement of population is the crisis that New Orleans faces. It is also a national crisis, because the largest port in the United States cannot function without a city around it. The physical and business processes of a port cannot occur in a ghost town, and right now, that is what New Orleans is. It is not about the facilities, and it is not about the oil. It is about the loss of a city's population and the paralysis of the largest port in the United States.

Let's go back to the beginning. The United States historically has depended on the Mississippi and its tributaries for transport. Barges navigate the river. Ships go on the ocean. The barges must offload to the ships and vice versa. There must be a facility to empower this exchange. It is also the facility where goods are stored in transit. Without this port, the river can't be used. Protecting that port has been, from the time of the Louisiana Purchase, a fundamental national security issue for the United States.

Katrina has taken out the port - not by destroying the facilities, but by rendering the area uninhabited and potentially uninhabitable. That means that even if the Mississippi remains navigable, the absence of a port near the mouth of the river makes the Mississippi enormously less useful than it was. For these reasons, the United States has lost not only its biggest port complex, but also the utility of its river transport system - the foundation of the entire American transport system. There are some substitutes, but none with sufficient capacity to solve the problem.

It follows from this that the port will have to be revived and, one would assume, the city as well. The ports around New Orleans are located as far north as they can be and still be accessed by ocean-going vessels. The need for ships to be able to pass each other in the waterways, which narrow to the north, adds to the problem. Besides, the Highway 190 bridge in Baton Rouge blocks the river going north. New Orleans is where it is for a reason: The United States needs a city right there.

New Orleans is not optional for the United States' commercial infrastructure. It is a terrible place for a city to be located, but exactly the place where a city must exist. With that as a given, a city will return there because the alternatives are too devastating. The harvest is coming, and that means that the port will have to be opened soon. As in Iraq, premiums will be paid to people prepared to endure the hardships of working in New Orleans. But in the end, the city will return because it has to.

Geopolitics is the stuff of permanent geographical realities and the way they interact with political life. Geopolitics created New Orleans. Geopolitics caused American presidents to obsess over its safety. And geopolitics will force the city's resurrection, even if it is in the worst imaginable place.

Thank you Mr. Friedman, I hope you don't mind the reprinting!
Saturday, September 10, 2005

What can I say???

It's all been said, the good stuff, the bad stuff, the sad stuff, the happy stuff. The blame game, the political backstabbing, the talking heads on the tube are incessant and annoying, stupefying, mindless and useless. Sometimes I wanna just reach thru the screen and hug the intelligent people and the next moment, strangle the idiots. I have my own opinion on a lot of what I've seen, some good, some bad. Praise and thanks go to the rescuers, whoever they may be and however they were able to do it, even if they saved one single person from the mire they are a hero, no doubt about that. Just being there and lending a helping hand in any way shape or form makes you a hero.

I consider myself to be one of the very lucky ones, all my kin are alive and well, I'm healthy and well fed, warm and am able to choose my destiny from here on. Too many don't have that option, they also have no where to go and have lost everything and loved ones, I feel very sorry for them, especially the ones that had no choice but to stay for whatever reason. If they had a way out of the city before the storm and didn't take advantage of it then all I can say is fuck 'em. Don't whine to me or anyone else about your fucked up situation, it's not my fault and no one else's but your own. You made the choice, now shut the fuck up and live with it.

To the peeps that had no way out, I'm sad for you and I know this country will help in every way possible, the outpouring of food, money, clothing and shelter from all directions has been nothing short of amazing. Offers for a place to stay have been pouring in from my blogging friends, everyday I get a new case of the warm fuzzies. (I like that) hehe.

I heard this morning that my brother's house in Hammond, La. now has power and they are packing up to head out of Baton Rouge and home. I may end up there later this week, but it promises to be a very crowded house from what I undertand. I may move on from there rather quickly, who knows where! LOL I would love to do a blogging tour to meet as many of you guys as possible but money is a bit tight and the cost of gas alone has put a damper on driving, that part sucks. I still may do it though....

We also heard that they've locked down the area I live in, Jefferson Parish for the next 3 weeks at least, going to the house to retrieve personal belongings is out of the question now! And it's also confirmed that the huge oak tree in the backyard has tipped over and is leaning against the house, damaging the roof and rear wall but hasn't actually crushed the house. Also that one of it's branches has busted thru my bedroom window, the idea of squirrels and birds moving into my bedroom while I'm gone pisses me off!! Just stay out of my computers and what remains of my clothes ya little shits!!

It took a lot of doing but I was finally able to register online with FEMA for aid, at first they tried to tell me that I don't exist (I always hate when that happens!) although I don't know what they can do for me or will. I had tried the highly publicized phone number they keep flashing on the TV but calling that sumbitch gets you a machine that says they're too busy to talk to you, tells you to try back later and then hangs up on you!! WTF is that about! Bastards... I was able to register with the Texas Human Resources office, they gave me a debit card for some grocery money (food stamps). I've also gotten in touch with the Methodist Hospital here in Dallas, they want me to come into the liver transplant unit over there and get my blood samples done to check on my health and liver condition, so I'm happy about that. They will also hook me up with a Doc if they see a problem with my blood samples...

I plan on meeting tCj and a couple of other bloggers (that I don't know) in the Dallas area tomorrow sometime. We've talked by phone a couple times, she sounds really sweet, hehe. I'm going to try to enjoy myself as much as possible and keep a smiling face up, a chip on my shoulder for the asshats and just live. I really don't see a point in fretting or crying about what's lost or what might be lost. I just want you guys to know that I'm doing ok and look forward to reading more from you all as I try to catch up on all your blogs!!! Big hugs and lotsa poinks!!!!! =)
Wednesday, September 07, 2005

On the road again...

I'm heading back towards the Dallas/Fort Worth area this morning and may be offline for a couple days. I might make a sleepover stop along the way depending on how sleepy I get. Kristin if you read this, make sure you send me some contact info to my biteseven at gmail.com address! I don't have a phone number for you or even your email address with me.

Have a happy humpday!! =)
Monday, September 05, 2005

Home Front Update

I don't have a lot of news really, but I wanted to update you guys anyway. My grandma and uncle are still in N.O. and are doing ok. I've heard that they may be letting people back into my area of the city starting tomorrow to gather remaining personal belongings but that's not confirmed. I can imagine that the moment they announce that any road is open going in it will immediately become inundated with travelers and sightseers and the traffic will be a bumper to bumper crawl for hours on end. That doesn't sound very inviting. I was talking to my mom yesterday and I think they've decided to forego heading back for now until there is power and water. My brother and family who are staying at friends in Baton Rouge still do not have power at their home in the Hammond, La. area so they are holding tight as well.

I may be heading back up to Dallas, Tx. in the next day or two to rejoin my family and then go from there, playing it by ear, subject to the living conditions at the house. For now I'm safe and healthy and Maggie has been a wonderful hostess along with the love and attentions of her two really cool dogs and of course the horses! Having your own parking spot is pretty damn nice too!

I had been working on this new template for weeks in my spare time before the storm, I'm glad I had it saved on the 'net where I could transfer it over to here. That's not the really cool, super creepy animated header that I was working on though, that one is on my PC at the house. I threw this one together rather quickly this morning just so that there would be something to match the template.

I've finally gotten to do some blog commenting in the past couple days but I haven't been able to hit everyone, I'm not ignoring you!! Thank you all for the way cool comments and I'll try to visit everyone as time (and internet connection, LOL) permits!! Hugs!!!
Sunday, September 04, 2005

Hangin's too good for me!

Went down to Tombstone the other day where I was promptly arrested for wearing flip-flops down Main St. After a quick and dirty shotgun trial they decided a hanging was in order. As they were tossing the rope around my neck Maggie pulled out her revolver and shot the rope just above my head and we ran, making our escape thru Big Nose Kate's saloon. Damn that was a close one!

We're currently holed up at Maggiez hideout waiting for the posse.
Saturday, September 03, 2005

News from N.O.

We've finally gotten word on my grandmother and uncle, they are both safe and sound and they didn't even get flooded at their home. The house is barely 3 blocks from the west bank of the Mississippi in Algiers, which as the crow flies is only a couple of miles from the downtown/french quarter area. Amazing that they have escaped virtually unscathed while directly across the river the destruction is widespread. I'm very thankful for this news as you can well imagine!

She is still being stubborn though, the fact that they are still trying to evacuate thousands from N.O. hasn't shaken her determination to stay at her home. They do have water and I believe gas for cooking, but no electricity. At 92 yrs old she is a very tough lady with a heart of gold and a very sweet disposition. She really is something special and is very well loved by the entire family. She always has some very fascinating stories about life in N.O. and she loves to talk!!

This is excellent news!!
Friday, September 02, 2005

More Shock with a bit of Dismay

Georgia Rep. John Lewis of the State of Georgia needs to shut the fuck up. Who the hell does he think he is? What the fuck does he really understand about what's going other than the sensationalized BS that is coming up on our TV screens by a media that has to cut to commercials every 10 minutes. It sounds to me like he is trying to incite even further lawlessness, looting and even riots with us utterly stupid speech on the news this morning. He thinks that racism is to blame for the large number of blacks seen on the streets, while totally ignoring the plain fact that New Orleans is a city with a majority black population. If it's anyone's "fault" it's his and people like him that instead of "doing" they stand around "blaming". His inflamatory rhetoric almost made me sick to my stomach while he complained about the plight of "his" people. The plain fact is that all the people in N.O. are "our" people.

If the motherfucker was truly concerned why don't he put his money where his mouth is and help organize some relief efforts from his state instead of mouthing off that people are being discriminated against in the wake of this immense national disaster. I have yet to see even a single moment of anything even remotely racist by the good and brave people that are risking their very health and lives to help the victims. Or, better yet tell us that he himself has put up the dough to pay for some sorely needed relief supplies and that he will be riding shotgun in the first truck to help unload the vehicles that could not only bring supplies in but help ferry people out. I can't even believe that the media has given this idiot a voice over our airwaves, and before you criticise me for what I have to say, just know that I lived in Atlanta for over 20 years and I know a thing or two about John Lewis. We do not need more talking heads spewing utterly useless information about this situation.

One thing that we do need more of is people with level heads helping out and organizing with ideas and true leadership instead of finger pointing and laying blame. John Lewis needs to get his head out of his ass, or maybe better yet, stick it further in to a point where we can no longer hear his voice.

$#*! you John Lewis!
Thursday, September 01, 2005

Shock and Awe

Yeah, I know you've heard that phrase before but I'm stealing it. I can't think of any other way to better describe what I'm feeling. And, you could say that Hurricane Katrina has executed a mother nature style of Operation Shock and Awe on the gulf coast mid-south. The situation that has unfolded after the storm is simply mind boggling, and it appears that it will likely have major long term effects on the entire country. I'm now officially a refugee, with no home and virtually all of my personal possesions are wiped out. The only things that I was able to grab were a couple pair of jeans, shoes, a few shirts, toiletries and my medications. When we woke up early Sunday morning and saw that the strength of the storm had increased overnight and was headed almost directly over New Orleans we quickly decided to bail. We also saw that they had called for mandatory evacuations for our area in Jefferson Parish.

That began one very long journey of bumper to bumper traffic headed north away from the city. Some highways were restricted by police because they were already too congested for more traffic and I was forced to go almost due north. It took me nearly 10 hours at the wheel to go a distance that would have ordinarily taken less than 2 on an ordinary day. At first I was going to go to my brothers place in Hammond, La. but they decided to leave as well because his home was very near to the path of the storm. After a few phone calls on my cell between me and my family we decided to meet up in Dallas, Tx. Maggie of Maggiez Farm had been planning to come visit me in N.O. next week and I called her and we talked about me coming to see her instead. I decided to spend one night in Dallas on the road and the next morning I left early and headed for Arizona which is where I am at the moment, writing this post from her PC.

Her generosity and kindness has been overwhelming and I feel very welcome here, she has opened up her home to me to stay as long as I need, although at this point in time I'm not sure how long I will stay. I will be playing that by ear depending on the situation in N.O. Hopefully they may allow people into the area soon to retrieve whatever personal belongings that we might have remaining, but moving back there will likely be a matter of weeks and possibly months before the area can actually support a population.

I just now got a call from my mother in Dallas and she has informed me that the house is still standing but the roof looks heavily damaged, and also it appears that the huge oak tree in the middle of the backyard may have fallen over onto the house. The details are a bit shaky, some of you may recall a picture that I posted before of the front of the house, and from the street out front it always looks like that tree is leaning against the house because it so large. So, we're still not sure. There is also no news whatsoever of the welfare of my grandmother and uncle that stayed behind. Right now that is my biggest worry, I really hope they are ok.

I got to read some of the comments that you guys left on my last post and the outpouring of love and sympathy from you all actually moved me to tears, and I'm not one to cry very easily! I'm going to keep you all informed of my situation as best as I can! I don't think I will be able to access my regular ISP's email address so if anyone wants or needs to contact me you can try sending to my biteseven at gmail.com address. Thanks everyone for caring, hugs and kisses!!!!