Wednesday, September 28, 2005
(Written 1:30 a.m. September 28th)
This trip has lasted ten thousand years, but I'm certain when I get back
to work on Friday it will seem like I wasn't gone at all. I hate that.
We have just crossed over the Hoover Dam in a frighteningly fast series
of switchbacks overlooking the scarily dry Lake Mead. The giddy
lurching week in Vegas is behind us. Brian and I have decided slot
machines are evil money stealers, but Stan has won plenty. It's good
that one of us has.
I am so tired. My feet are fairly blistered from walking the strip, and
the cartilege in my knees has been ground to pulp. I won't be doing any
walking, drinking, or eating for at least a day. All this hedonism is
I will post the photos I took and links to the photos Stan and David
took as soon as everything is uploaded. For now I'm watching the
highway unfurl in front of us in the darkness and metidate on modern
Monday, September 26, 2005
Ahh Vegas. The only place where you can see fake New York, fake Paris,
and fake Deep Space Nine on the same day.
So far we have lost about twenty bucks to slot machines, not really with
the hope of winning anything but more like a sort of tribute to the city
for showing us such a weird time.
We have been twice awakened by the peircing fire alarm at the
craptacular Hotel San Remo, truly the worst hotel I've ever staid in.
We have had food both astoundingly bad (a gloopy shrimp scampi at some
hotel I have already forgotten the name of) and fantastically delicious
(orgasm-inducing steak at fake Paris).
I have done a good amount of drinking, but am still holding out for the
legendary fishbowl of rum and dry ice at the Star Trek bar at the
Two of the cooler things I've run across have been the circus acts at
the Circus Circus (which was otherwise kind of headache-inducing) and
the Seigfreid and Roy Secret Garden at the Mirage.
I have a new respect for Seigfreid and Roy. They are so cheesy it's
easy to write them off, but their animal habitats were quite nice, and
you could tell they do these things out of a genuine love for the
And as I was walking around desperately looking for something corny to
poke fun at, Brian goes on to tell me about how Roy's strength in
recovering from the tiger-related injuries has inspired Seigfried to recover
from his own concentration-camp related lingering anxieties. Sheesh.
I feel a little bit guilty having such a good, surreal, hedonistic
time. (Ahhh, so there's that liberal guilt I hear so much about...)
Someone should donate to the Red Cross to compensate for me becoming a
total capitalist while on vacation.
Thursday, September 22, 2005
There's something cathartically purging about driving all night and
arriving in another city in the morning. Like, you've beaten the
night's defensenses and have won new territory...
Okay, so that's a little efflusive.
Right now after an interesting night crossing desert into alpine into
desert again we are recuperating at the home of a lovely friend of
Stan's. Check in time at the hotel isn't for a few hours, and right now
I am just happy to be in another place.
Wednesday, September 21, 2005
I plan to drink and dance and gamble just a little bit. Debauchery will ensue.
It's been a long time coming, this vacation.
I will update from the road. Sidekicks are cool.
Monday, September 12, 2005
Last week, Bush told FEMA director Michael Brown that he was doing a "heck of a job."
Today, after Bush's approval ratings are in the thirties (and how are they even that high? Who on earth is still on his side at this point?) Michael Brown has resigned.
WASHINGTON - Federal Emergency Management Agency director Mike Brown said Monday he has resigned "in the best interest of the agency and best interest of the president," three days after losing his onsite command of the Hurricane Katrina relief effort.You have to give him a bit of credit. This is more than George Bush would ever do. But I'm sure now Bush will use Brownie's absence to heap all blame upon him. FEMA has now been set up to be a big fat scapegoat, deflecting any accountability from the president.
Brown, under fire for FEMA's performance in the Gulf Coast, said he feared he had become a distraction.
"The focus has got to be on FEMA, what the people are trying to do down there," Brown told The Associated Press.
Wednesday, September 07, 2005
However, nothing can prepare you for what happens when you're homeless, as I was for two brief stints in my late teens. It takes years to get out of that moment-to-moment mindset. When you eventually have to slow down and do things like save money or plan for the future it's weird, because you're so used to not having a future.
If you've never slept in a public bathroom in the dead of winter, or agreed to do some rich kid's term paper so he'd let you into the common room of his dorm to sleep, or flirted with the guy at the deli so he'd give you a sandwich, or had someone shout 'Get a job!' at you while you were on the way to work, or slept in the storeroom of the convenience store in which you work while your friend on the graveyard shift watched out for the manager, or carried all of your possessions in a backpack so huge you knock into people standing behind you without realizing it, or caught your reflection in a plate glass window and thought 'Gee, I'm a bum now I guess,' you really don't know what it's like to be homeless.
I think the moment I really hit rock bottom was at one point (before I landed the valuable Store 24 job) while sparing for change, (something you feel bad about at first but takes just a few days without eating to get over, trust me) I realized that people wouldn't give me money with a sign that said 'Hungry' but with a sign that said 'Need Booze,' people would laugh and with a hearty "Well, at least she's honest!" plunk down some cash.
Coming back from homelessness is nearly impossible, and when you do so you can't believe your luck. Awhile back I got asked for change from a young punky girl in a store doorway and was taken aback because I still thought of myself as the asker, not the askee.
I wonder what happened to the homeless population of New Orleans. Was there any sort of effort to evacuate them?
Found the link via Body and Soul.
Monday, September 05, 2005
About one hundred evacuees (I gotta agree, refugees is too creepy,) from New Orleans have been set up in the Convention Center.
ALBUQUERUQUE, N.M. -- More than 90 evacuees from Hurricane Katrina are being greeted with teddy bears, flowers and applause at the Albuquerque Convention Center Sunday night.To help them out, donate to the Roadrunner Food Bank, who by the way is in need of volunteers to help sort the donations.
Within hours after the announcement that Katrina victims would come, about 150 people had called a city information line to offer space in their homes.
Dozens of New Mexican volunteers clasped the stuffed bears to give to younger victims.
The volunteers cheered and clapped as the first exhausted-looking evacuees filed into the room.
I must admit that I feel a spark of pride at Albuquerque for stepping up to help. Although, I kind of want to warn those people they shouldn't go to UNM, then drop out and get a job at a call center, or else they'll find out why it's called the 'Land of Entrapment.'
Yes, the name is taken from the episode of Friends where Joey buys a boat.
Punk is dead, get over it.
On a layout-related note, I've decided to start using the Blogger title field. Is it too big and obnoxious?
Saturday, September 03, 2005
Even the Fox News guys are turning on each other.
The usually very staid Shepard Smith (who sailed smoothly over almost saying 'blow job' on tv) and Geraldo, of all fucking people, were practically telling Sean Hannity to shut the hell up on Hannity and Colmes yesterday.
Crooks and Liars has the video. I am literally speechless after seeing this.
Anderson Cooper is, besides being kind of a hottie (ugh, did I just say
'hottie?') seems to be having some sort of moral revelation after all of
the hurricane crap he's been hip-deep in the past few days.
This (according to my frantic TiVo rewinding) is Anderson on last
night's Real Time wih Bill Maher:
"All these politicians all this week are saying, 'This is not the time
to point fingers, this is not the time to, you know, quibble about
things.' Well you know what, when is the time? Because I'd be happy to
write it down in my engagement book."
Is this really someone from CNN talking about the Bush administration?
Yes, he did go on to make a weak excuse for the spineless press corps in
the wake of 9/11, but you could really see the glimmer of change in his
I don't watch his show on CNN. But I do remember a sprightly young
Anderson Cooper on the 3 a.m. crazy news on ABC. And I'm telling you,
soon the man will be angrily tearing the shirt from his well-toned torso
in anger, shaking his prematurely-gray-but-in-an-interesting-way locks
at some figurehead or another from FEMA, who will cower in fear.
And then it will be like a scene from Fight Club or something.
ADDED: More Cooper badassery: he lays one into LA senator (ed note: corrected...d'oh) Mary Landrieu when she tries to soundbite her way out of a tough question.
Thursday, September 01, 2005
Condi Rice spent the weekend shopping for fancy shoes in New York City.
Condoleeza Rice was seen spending several thousands of dollars on some nice, new shoes (we’ve confirmed this, so her new heels will surely get coverage from the WaPo’s Robin Givhan). A fellow shopper, unable to fathom the absurdity of Rice’s timing, went up to the Secretary and reportedly shouted, “How dare you shop for shoes while thousands are dying and homeless!”Meanwhile,
From a photo gallery at the Washington Post.
The caption reads "Jeremiah Ward wears makeshift shoes after his rescue."
How long until someone in the Bush administration literally says "Let them eat cake?"
Link via Cookie Jill at skippy.
Margaret Cho summed up her reaction to the hurricane and flood damage in New Orleans perfectly.
I see a lost and fearful looking Doberman on a rooftop, and I wish I had a giant ark, and I could sail down into the city and save him. Then I would pick up all the other animals and people that needed help, two by two. Two trannies here, two hookers there. A pair of wet and miserable Goths, with black Manic Panic hair dye running into their red, unbelieving eyes. I want to save them all.Exactly.
And while I'm on the subject of Margaret Cho (and I know this is way old news,) let me say it is utterly stupid for Michelle Malkin to try and extract some sort of evil meaning out of a dog's name.
After all, she never complained about Osama fin Laden.
Maybe it's because of a glum state of mind, or maybe it's because I live in a desert and the idea of death by water is absolutely and utterly bizarre to me, but I have become slightly obsessed with the flooding disaster in New Orleans.
The sight of people floating by on rafts made of doors or mattresses, dragging black garbage bags of 'looted' supplies behind them is shocking. The idea of the now-homeless living like animals in the Superdome, or spending the night on the ruined freeway, or rescuers pushing floating bodies aside to try and get to the living is downright apocalyptic.
I actually can't comprehend what this would be like. Life in New Mexico is so stultifying normal, when there's a snowstorm people freak out. This is not a big natural disaster area. The worst thing that happens are summer brushfires, and although a few years ago a brushfire did wipe an entire small town they usually amount to nothing more than a funny smell in the air.
When the tsunami hit Southeast Asia, it was horrifying, but like most Americans, places like Indonesia and Thailand exist only in images in movies and on TV.
It's shallow, I know. The loss of life in the tsunami was astronomically higher and more widespread. But New Orleans is a city I've been to. I've had the beignets at the Cafe du Monde. I've played pool at Molly's. I listened to the Tom Waits-esque piano player in Lafitte's. I took some cool, haunting photographs in the city's cemeteries.
Chalk it up to human nature, but a disaster that is close to you is infinitely more disturbing than one far away. And I am more than a little ashamed to say that.
Anger rises in my blood, too, to hear about the people who literally couldn't afford to leave the path of the hurricane, or the fact that the New Orleans flood control budget was cut in order to pay for our misadventures in Iraq.
But there's some to feel good about, as well. Skippy, (or, skippy as I should more properly say) the Bush Kangaroo has issued a challenge.
the people in louisiana, mississippi and alabama are americans. this is about america. and americans have historically always rolled up their sleeves and pitched in to help out their fellow countrymen in need.This is, of course, awesome.
skippy has donated $100.01 to the red cross for hurricane relief. and now, skippy challenges everyone who writes a political blog, no matter what side of the spectrum they inhabit, to do the same.
but that's not all of the challenge. skippy then dares everyone on his blogroll (who will be receiving an email with this double-dog dare), after they donate, to (a) blog about it, and (b) send an email to everyone on their blog roll.
There are a couple of blogs I've found keeping track of the developing situation. DeadlyKatrina.com, Making Light, and the folks at This Modern World have been doing some fine blogging on the topic.
This is some scary shit going down. Looting is out of control. Lack of any running water or electricity has reduced the already poverty-stricken Gulf Coast to a third world country. The sick and elderly are going without care.
Can you really blame people for looting, though? If you had to choose between breaking the law to help yourself and your family, or taking things from others, can you honestly say you're such an upright citizen you wouldn't choose looting? It's easy to criticize when you're not faced with that choice.
A lot of the looting seems to be for food, medicine, and other necessities. Even when it hasn't been, it's sad that people in this area are so poor that given the first chance they can they get new clothes and shoes. Even something like a TV might be tradeable. I suspect a black market in goods will develop in the area in the coming weeks and months.
I wish I could reach through my TV screen and help these people. It's downright agonizing.
(Updated some after publication as blogging with insomnia often leads to typos and a lack of clarification.)