Thursday, September 29, 2005

Just a final reminder about Saturday's WALK NOW, and a huge THANK YOU to everyone's who's donated so far. We're just under $1800 right now, which is pretty damn incredible, but wouldn't it be great if we broke $2000?

Does this help?


Seriously, though, even $5 makes a difference, so if you can swing it, please do.

Tuesday, September 27, 2005

Glutton for Punishment

Quick update...

School is taking some time to fall into place as I get used to the pitfalls of independent study. I've never been particularly good at self-discipline but if I get through this, it'll only be because I got better at it.

Of course, because I like to make things as tough as possible, I went and added a little extra to my already overloaded plate. Effective October 1st, I'll be taking over as Senior Comics Editor for Buzzscope.


Monday, September 19, 2005

Good times.

In other news, for those paying attention: Salomé revealed. Read #21 for everything you might want to know about India's autism that I haven't been able to communicate.

Friday, September 16, 2005

The Stars are Aligning, Perhaps?

My horoscopes this week seem to be trying to tell me something. But what, exactly?!?!

Hello Guy,
Here's your Sept 14 horoscope.
If you have been thinking about making some big changes in your career, Guy, today you are likely to receive some real insight into what you should do. You may discover that you do not need to change careers after all. Maybe a new job would satisfy you. Or, better yet, perhaps you could remain in your current job and just change your responsibilities. Sometimes little changes can reap huge rewards.

Hello Guy,
Here's your Sept 16 horoscope.
Today you could be considering a new career path, Guy. You might be concerned with cash flow right now. You could be a little frustrated as you work on your budget. Try to focus on practical solutions. Maybe you could ask for a raise at work. Or maybe you'll want to consider doing some consulting on the side. There are many short-term solutions to this situation. So don't let your worries get the best of you!
Interestingly, I found out yesterday that I'm no longer in the running for what was a long-shot dream job that came out of left field a few weeks ago. Also found out that my long-delayed promotion (aka, something resembling a legitimate raise reflecting the extreme change in my job responsibilities since I started 2.5 years ago!) has nothing to do with which and how many magazines I'm working on, as I was initially led to believe, but on my being more proactive. Proactive apparently meaning going ahead with projects that won't be acted on, simply to spend the money in my budget. Catch-22, anyone?


Monday, September 12, 2005

What was I thinking?

One of my classes, the 2-credit one, was cancelled, so I have three classes "starting" today. In the introductory notes for each of them, it's suggested that students allocate approx. 12-15 hours/week to the readings, discussions and assignments. That's 36-45 hours/week?!?! Where does that time come from exactly?


Someone's about to get a crash course in Time Management for Overextended Dummies.

Thursday, September 8, 2005

First Day of School, Part II

All good. Details later, pictures now.



Let's go...


Wednesday, September 7, 2005

First Day of School, Part I

You expect there to be some tears on a day like this, your kid's first day of school. Today, it was India's, and while I didn't expect her to have too much of a problem with it - especially since we took her in, hung out for a bit, and picked her up - I figured Salomé might get a little emotional. I certainly wasn't expecting Isaac to be the one to lose it, though! India's been his partner in crime since she was born, from the initial weeks at home with Salomé in Virginia; to the first couple of months back in NY, home with me; to the previous and current daycare providers, they've always been together. This morning, it hit him that they were separating and it hit him hard.

"I'm going to miss my sister!"

He was genuinely torn up and it was both a sad and heartening moment. I've often wished I had a sibling I grew up with so closely.

India took to her new school like it was nothing, as much a testament to how far she's come in the few months since she was diagnosed as autistic* and, specifically, the effectiveness of the ABA therapy. Watching her bond immediately with her teacher, Maddy - or is it Mattie? - and exploring the classroom so fearlessly left a shit-eating grin on my face, the kind of reaction I often find myself supressing whenever her progress really stands out, for fear of getting my hopes up too far.

All in all, an extremely positive day. (It'll be interesting to see what Salomé says, as she's blogging at the same time I'm writing this.)

Tomorrow, Isaac vs. the Crucifix. Should be interesting.

*Does one "have" autism, or is one simply autistic? It's a question Salomé and I disagree on, and something I find particularly fascinating. To me, you "have" cancer, or diabetes, but autism is something that becomes definitive. Like schizophrenia, or senility, etc. Neurological disorders seem like a completely different animal from biological ones.

I love The Onion.

Tuesday, September 6, 2005

Barbara Bush is an idiot.

Barbara Bush: Relocation 'working very well' for poor

"What I'm hearing, which is sort of scary, is they all want to stay in Texas. Everyone is so overwhelmed by the hospitality," [Barbara Bush] said during a radio interview with the American Public Media program "Marketplace." "And so many of the people in the arena here, you know, were underprivileged anyway, so this is working very well for them."

Monday, September 5, 2005

Sorry, Mom.

Time Management for Dummies

Most normal people - those not in a position to dump their 9-to-5 job in favor of spending more time with their kids, or pursuing an artistic passion, etc. - faced with too much to do and not enough time to do it, simply make do, usually by sleeping less.

Insane people, however, add even more to their already crammed plate. Like, say, going back to school.



Inspired by Salomé's completing her last assignment on Friday and unofficially becoming a college graduate, as well as an email last week informing me that my original registration from a couple of years ago was still good, I finally decided today (Sunday) that I was ready to go back and finish my own degree after a nine-year hiatus. Online, via Empire State College. I enrolled for four classes starting September 12:

Introduction to Guided Independent Study (2 cr)
Artistic Expression in a Multicultural America (4 cr)
Schooling in America (4 cr)
United States Labor History (4 cr)

Haven't decided specifically what my Area of Study will be yet, but I'm leaning towards Cultural Studies, possibly with a concentration in Journalism, which would practically be coming full-circle as that was one of a couple of majors I was leaning towards way back in High School, before I decided that knocking on doors to talk about God was a better idea.

Who knew?

And now, sleep. Possibly one of the last times I go to bed this "early" for the next two-and-a-half years!

Saturday, September 3, 2005

"If we were lucky, we would have died."

Council president lashes out

An outraged New Orleans City Council President Oliver Thomas blasted the city of Baton Rouge and other Louisiana communities for what he called refusing to take in refugees from the devastated city.

"They don't want them," Thomas said, after bursting into the press room at the Emergency Operations Center in Baton Rouge."They have put out the word all over the state: 'Those bad New Orleans people. You don't want them.'"

Since the beginning of the aftermath of Katrina, Thomas has constantly said that the images on television of looters and reports of terrorizing by bands of young men have been misleading. "Not everyone from New Orleans is a thug," Thomas said.

While Texas, Arkansas and other states have been "neighborly," Thomas said, Louisiana parishes have been slow to welcome the New Orleans evacuees due to "myths" that they are dangerous.

Dressed in his work boots and jeans, Thomas said that a busload of New Orleans evacuees, about 200, were stopped by National Guardsmen in Baton Rouge on Saturday and told they could not get off.

"These were women and children," Thomas said, his voice shaking. "There were welders, teachers, one lady was a court administrator. ... One of the ladies said, 'If we were lucky, we would have died.'"

Thomas said "rumors" of violence in the New Orleans streets are scaring rescuers and slowing evacuations. "There are people in their attics right now," he said.

Mayor to feds: 'Get off your asses'

From the transcript of WWL correspondent Garland Robinette's interview with New Orleans Mayor Ray Nagin on Thursday night.

WWL: ...apparently there's a section of our citizenry out there that thinks because of a law that says the federal government can't come in unless requested by the proper people, that everything that's going on to this point has been done as good as it can possibly be.

NAGIN: Really?

WWL: I know you don't feel that way.

NAGIN: Well, did the tsunami victims request? Did it go through a formal process to request?

You know, did the Iraqi people request that we go in there? Did they ask us to go in there? What is more important?

And I'll tell you, man, I'm probably going get in a whole bunch of trouble. I'm probably going to get in so much trouble it ain't even funny. You probably won't even want to deal with me after this interview is over.

WWL: You and I will be in the funny place together.

NAGIN: But we authorized $8 billion to go to Iraq lickety-quick. After 9/11, we gave the president unprecedented powers lickety-quick to take care of New York and other places.

Now, you mean to tell me that a place where most of your oil is coming through, a place that is so unique when you mention New Orleans anywhere around the world, everybody's eyes light up -- you mean to tell me that a place where you probably have thousands of people that have died and thousands more that are dying every day, that we can't figure out a way to authorize the resources that we need? Come on, man.
Ray Nagin. Hero.

Friday, September 2, 2005

"They are spinning and people are dying."

New Orleans mayor lashes out at feds

...In the radio interview, [Mayor Ray] Nagin's frustration was palpable.

"I've been out there man. I flew in these helicopters, been in the crowds talking to people crying, don't know where their relatives are. I've done it all man, and I'll tell you man, I keep hearing that it's coming. This is coming, that is coming. And my answer to that today is BS, where is the beef? Because there is no beef in this city. "

Nagin said, "Get every Greyhound bus in the country and get them moving."

Nagin called for a moratorium on press conferences "until the resources are in this city."

"They're feeding the people a line of bull, and they are spinning and people are dying," he said.

"I don't know whether it's the governor's problem, or it's the president's problem, but somebody needs to get ... on a plane and sit down, the two of them, and figure this out right now," Nagin said.

"They thinking small, man, and this is a major, major deal," he said.

"Get off your asses and let's do something."

The mayor said except for a few "knuckleheads," the looting is the result of desperate people just trying to find food and water to survive.

Nagin blamed the outbreak of crime and violence on drug addicts who are cut off from their drug supplies and wandering the city "looking to take the edge off their jones."

Nagin is in his first term as mayor. He was sworn in May 2002. A Democrat, he was a popular reform candidate who promised to clean up the city's political corruption. He's a former cable company executive.

"Commandeer Greyhound."

Buses and gas

BATON ROUGE - State Rep. Karen Carter, D-New Orleans, made an urgent plea Friday morning for gasoline and buses to ferry victims to safety who have been stuck in New Orleans under deteriorating conditions since Hurricane Katrina struck the city four days ago.

"If you want to save a life get a bus down here,'' said Carter, whose district includes the French Quarter. "I'm asking the American people to help save a wonderful American city.''

Her voice cracking with emotion and her eyes bloodshot from fatigue and distress, Carter said pledges of money and other assistance are of secondary importance right now to the urgent need for transportation.

"Don't give me your money. Don't send me $10 million today. Give me buses and gas. Buses and gas. Buses and gas,'' she said. "If you have to commandeer Greyhound, commandeer Greyhound.

"If you don't get a bus, if we don't get them out of there, they will die.''

New Orleans? Or Baghdad?

via The Interdictor, a "journal [which] exists to share firsthand experience of the disaster and its aftermath with anyone interested."

"Bigfoot" is a bar manager and DJ on Bourbon Street, and is a local personality and icon in the city. He is a lifelong resident of the city, born and raised. He rode out the storm itself in the Iberville Projects because he knew he would be above any flood waters. Here is his story as told to me moments ago. I took notes while he talked and then I asked some questions:

Three days ago, police and national guard troops told citizens to head toward the Crescent City Connection Bridge to await transportation out of the area. The citizens trekked over to the Convention Center and waited for the buses which they were told would take them to Houston or Alabama or somewhere else, out of this area.

It's been 3 days, and the buses have yet to appear.

Although obviously he has no exact count, he estimates more than 10,000 people are packed into and around and outside the convention center still waiting for the buses. They had no food, no water, and no medicine for the last three days, until today, when the National Guard drove over the bridge above them, and tossed out supplies over the side crashing down to the ground below. Much of the supplies were destroyed from the drop. Many people tried to catch the supplies to protect them before they hit the ground. Some offered to walk all the way around up the bridge and bring the supplies down, but any attempt to approach the police or national guard resulted in weapons being aimed at them.

There are many infants and elderly people among them, as well as many people who were injured jumping out of windows to escape flood water and the like -- all of them in dire straights.

Any attempt to flag down police results in being told to get away at gunpoint. Hour after hour they watch buses pass by filled with people from other areas. Tensions are very high, and there has been at least one murder and several fights. 8 or 9 dead people have been stored in a freezer in the area, and 2 of these dead people are kids.

The people are so desperate that they're doing anything they can think of to impress the authorities enough to bring some buses. These things include standing in single file lines with the eldery in front, women and children next; sweeping up the area and cleaning the windows and anything else that would show the people are not barbarians.

The buses never stop.

Before the supplies were pitched off the bridge today, people had to break into buildings in the area to try to find food and water for their families. There was not enough. This spurred many families to break into cars to try to escape the city. There was no police response to the auto thefts until the mob reached the rich area -- Saulet Condos -- once they tried to get cars from there... well then the whole swat teams began showing up with rifles pointed. Snipers got on the roof and told people to get back.

He reports that the conditions are horrendous. Heat, mosquitoes and utter misery. The smell, he says, is "horrific."

He says it's the slowest mandatory evacuation ever, and he wants to know why they were told to go to the Convention Center area in the first place; furthermore, he reports that many of them with cell phones have contacts willing to come rescue them, but people are not being allowed through to pick them up.
I have "Bigfoot"'s phone number and will gladly give it to any city or state official who would like to tell him how everything is under control.

Addendum: Bigfoot just called to report that "they" (the authorities) are cleaning up the dead bodies at the Convention Center right now.
Also, don't forget The Times-Picayune's updates.

R.I.P.: Angela Boyce

I just saw on a couple of blogs that Angela Boyce passed away.


Hadn't seen or spoken with her in a few years, but when I first met her while doing a couple of gigs in San Diego - back in 1999 or 2000? - she was one of the sweetest, most sincere, not to mention flat-out talented, poets I'd ever met. Bumped into her a couple more times after that, and the one thing that always struck me about her was that she never dwelled on her disabilities. She was stronger than most able-bodied people.