30 November 2005

New Direction Sought

Have you noticed the lack of rambling lately? Well I've been stuck in my regular job for days. Its only proper. The job payed some of the way for the DR work. I'm waiting for some direction and support on the next trip. No inspiration have I at this exact instant, but it will come. It may or not be my fault for the lack, but I'm hopeful about the future. Something will develop.

20 November 2005

BIG SUMMARY FOR PHASE TWO


Two and two-thirds months have elapsed since Katrina slammed the Gulf. Gifts of time, tools, money, prayer, and support enabled me to work a solid month of time for those devastated. Also with the 4 weeks of work add on 12 travel days, because my house is 1OOO miles from the affected area. My biggest hope is that I was able to be a blessing to the people I helped, because this time has been the biggest blessing to me. I've been given much, and I tried to carry it forward. Others will have to judge the final outcome. All I can offer is that it felt great to me, seemed the right thing to do, and I'm immensely grateful to my boss for allowing me the time to go. I've tried to remember everyone who helped, and thank them. Also I thank the few faithful readers I have. All this has been a priviledge, and its hard to balance two things in this web journal. On the one hand I love to write/talk about myself, tell you all how cool I am and what great things I do, and best of all post pix of myself in cool action poses that delight the eyes and inspire the imagination. Also with that I acknowledge the temptation to sensationalize these days. I mean it works for the newspapers, why not my blog?
The other item to balance is letting the folks back home know how I'm doing. I mean, if I gave someone money to travel with, I'd like to know they went where they said, did what they promised, and didnt go to Epcot Center on my dime instead.

cartoon at right drawn by my brother-in-law WR, inked by me.


Mostly what you've got in my blog is gritty boredom and/or reality. Oh to be sure if I had performed some heroics and rescued families or what not I would have written it all up with vigor. And honestly, I would have asked those helped to pose it over again so I could photograph the action for the blog. But there I was cooking and helping in the mass feeding kitchens, which isnt the farthest thing from glamorous, but you can see what is farthest from there. I speak of the camp in Slidell, of the camp in Biloxi I say this:

"Well, if there's a bright center in the universe,
you're in the kitchen it's farthest from."

but even that's not a fair characterization. There were minor joys to be seen or heard in the midst of the chaos, sweat, and devastation. I met new Christian friends, got to know some old ones better, and it even sparked some new conversations with old buddies back home. The biggest plus will probably be having met Ms.Vikkie. She became a friend that first week, is slowly becoming a good friend, and if current trends continue she'll be a great friend.

So what has "the Rebuilder" rebuilt, specifically? I gave myself the fancy title and set myself up on a mission with direction back at the beginning of this journey, and its time to do some accounting. Well, so far, I've rebuilt precious little in a physical sense. Again I cannot judge what my comments, advice, singing, and testimony to people down there may be worth. Maybe a lot, maybe a little. If I had evangelized dozens, I would tell you in heart-warming detail; what I can say is that I did fix breakfast for those who did. If I had rebuilt several familes homes, I'd post the pictures for sure, what I can say is I did fix supper for those who did. If I had given a devastated family hope and direction, I'd write up a glowing report for you, but what I did see is some sleeping in the tents beside me who had.

I love to sing. I'm half-way decent at it, and its another part of my exhibitionist personality. A few times when singing down in the gulf area (either by myself or with a group) I'd catch a local just staring at me. Maybe it was because I was getting the words wrong, or maybe off key a little. But I'd like to imagine it giving out a sense of hope.

Don't tell my boss:
but I did some networking down there, and may be able to parlay these activities into a new career. No; not a singing career, unless I'm really off my twig. So the three main items to be rebuilt are me myself and I. Seeing other people lose their homes, their jobs, their cars, and maybe even a family member makes you really take stock of what you do have. So at least one thing that's been rebuilt would be my list of what's important.

19 November 2005

Time To Go


Well the new room-mate showed up today. The land-lord finally rented out the other half of the house. Even so its still not a home, its only a house. Of course I had to rein in all my mess. We'll call the new guy Doc Marten. See the handsome stud pictured at the right. He's young, professional, rich, drives a new car. He's Bona Fide, and he's Got Prospects. He's currently a computer guy, just like I used to be. I've known him for umpteen years, so thankfully he's not some pot-head stranger wandering in off the street, late on the rent, yet rummaging through my half of the fridge at 3:3O am. Doc is trustworthy, funny, well-educated, mild-mannered, and has a killer stereo and entertainment center.
How I hate him.
Just Kidding. Doc Marten used to be in the gaming group, and he still does all the cool stuff I used to, back when I was sleek, fast and durable. He runs a convention, has his own website, and has a current job in the techie world with high pay. I could tell you he's my protege. But the truth is far far funnier than that. He's heteronormative, just like me, and if any lady readers want his particulars I can give you some straight poop on him.

18 November 2005

You Never Know When Your Last Day Will Be


The picture at right I snapped in the parking lot of the shopping center where I work. Its difficult to think of a more depressing thing to find on your way to work. Unless of course a hurricane has deprived you of a place to work. I don't know the person that was murdered, or why, but I have my suspicions. In any case, it serves as a reminder to keep yourself ready, to keep your accounts settled with your self, your family, with the Lord, and with your fellow man. I'm not referring to financial matters. Because you never know which night you'll be required to go on to the next level of existence.


Makes you want to live each day to the fullest. There's someone out there and you havent told them you love them in a while.
Go call them.

17 November 2005

Rebuilder for Hire

Should I post my resume on the blog?

Probably not. The boss knows I'm looking for a job.

But having the resume here would imply someone is reading the blog.

16 November 2005

The Phone Bill Also Was a Disaster


Well I lost the battle, but won the war with Alltel. I went to their office to seek some lessening of the damage from a huge bill, that came after 2 months of roaming in Katrina-Land. Their Local clerk had no help. Local Manager had no idea. District Manager offered 25% only on roaming, but no adjustment or back date, as some other phone companies have been generous with.

ALLTEL DOINGS

But when I kicked this up to a Regional Manager I got some results, sort of. His position was that Alltel had done great and wondrous things, for survivors and displaced people and workers, AT THE TIME of the hurricane, first week of September. Therefore no further wondrous things could be done. Not even for wonderful people like me.

Now I didnt ask him for a cash refund, All I wanted was credit on future bills, and I intended to stay an alltel customer, which of course weakened my haggling position somewhat, because my threats with Boo-Boo Wireless of course represented a nuclear option.

Their policies on DR work was that one should have switched plans and made arrangements previous to traveling to any affected areas, and that one has to watch scrupulously whether one is roaming or not. I couldnt trick him into calling me stupid, but I almost had him.

Anyways I did get a small break, and I got the best plan now (Yorktown, Indiana, for example, is now a local call for me), from anywhere. But they didnt take (what I thought was a good faith gesture) paying the first huge bill (Sept), but almost no breaks on the Oct.bill.

So I'm still with Alltel, because the service has been good, but they apparently used up all their charity last month. The regional manager wasnt quite a corporate drone, you could see vestiges of a personality. He was quite diplomatic in telling me that other people had kept an eye on their phone usage AHEAD OF TIME as they did DR work. Plus other people (implication: the smart ones) used the free Red Cross phones when they were out and about. Call it a lesson learned.

15 November 2005

Daily Grind.

Getting the mail. paying the bills. fending off ex-girlfriends. deleting spam. debating with alltel. Updating the blog. Drinking the Mochacino, Doing the laundry Oh yeah, I have to go to work at bookstore as well. Forgot all about that pesky detail





picture shows other cell phone companies. do you think alltel will listen to my threats?

Better Late Than Never

Slidell La. Pix

Here's photos from the first part of the big journey.
from Mr. Carson...thank you sir.

14 November 2005

Mississippi Coast Still Seems Forgotten in Rush to Cover New Orleans


People Ask me Why Biloxi?
Well I used to live there 10 & 15 years ago in the USAF.

GULF COAST DAMAGE in MISS.

Just the Biloxi highlights...

Legacy Towers condos survive.
Lighthouse still standing.
Beau Rivage still stands.
Imperial Palace still operational.

Yankie Stadium {pictured} Heavily damaged, under
repair by Salvation Army.
Ryans, Red Lobster, Olive Garden washed away along U.S. 90.
Biloxi-Ocean Springs Bridge gone.

Bottom floor of the library and the home of Jefferson Davis home, Beauvoir, destroyed.
Sharkshead Souvenir City gone.
Edgewater Village strip shopping center gutted.

Also gone: the steeple of historic Hansboro Presbyterian Church; Waters Edge II apartments; Diamondhead Yacht Club, the old neon McDonald's sign on Pass Road.
Massive damage in east end of city.
Almost total devastation primarily south of the railroad tracks near Lee Street, Point Cadet and Casino Row.

Hard Rock Casino, originally scheduled to open this week, suffered 50 percent damages.
At least five casinos out of commission.
St. Thomas the Apostlic Catholic Church, which sits on U.S. 90, is gone.

of course this leaves out all the houses that are either gone
or completely non-functional.

Biloxi is a seaside town, and evening fog rolls in.
Post-hurricane this is quite spooky, since even though
the power is on, most people have nothing to run,
and so vast foggy & dark areas loom between the street lights at night.

But there are bright sides:
KIDS in COSTUME


and you've got to admire this one man's sense of humor in it all, his T-shirt said:
"I started out with Nothing, and I've still got most of it left."

12 November 2005

Wedding Pix

Mr & Mrs JMH
I had no idea my camera made such red-eye

















The Old Gang



Misc. Wedd. Guestage



Smoke Filled Room, not unlike the DNC




Better picture of Mr.H



Concrete and Clay
You to me Are sweet as roses in the morning
And you to me Are soft as summer rain at dawn, in love we share
That something rare

The sidewalks in the street
The concrete and the clay beneath my feet
Begins to crumble But love will never die
Because we'll see the mountains tumble
Before we say goodbye


My love and I will be
In love eternally That's the way
Mmm, that's the way it's meant to be

All around
I see the purple shades of evening
And on the ground
The shadows fall and once again you're in my arms
So tenderly

The sidewalks in the street
The concrete and the clay beneath my feet
Begins to crumble But love will never die
Because we'll see the mountains tumble
Before we say goodbye


My love and I will be
In love eternally That's the way
Mmm, that's the way it's meant to be

The sidewalks in the street
The concrete and the clay beneath my feet
Begins to crumble
But love will never die
Because we'll see the mountains tumble
Before we say goodbye


My love and I will be In love eternally
That's the way
Mmm, that's the way it's meant to be

And that's the way That's the way it's meant to be

That's the way (that's the way it's meant to be)
Whoa, that's the way That's the way it's meant to be...

Wedding Reception

Went to cousin J's wedding reception.
What do you get for couple with everything?
Gift certificate for dining out....make'em
spend time together, I say.

In honor of them, I have posted the lyrics to
my favorite love song above, from the Rushmore soundtrack.

photo of the open road:
this is me screaming down the road to Jack's wedding reception,
can't be late, very important date...


copy right: Hong-Kong Syndicat MusicLyrics : Parker - Brian - Moeller
Tommy
Notes : Also performed by "Unit Four Plus Three"(1965) in a
previous arrangement written by Eddie Rambeau. Rushmore Soundtrack:

Mark Mothersbaugh of DEVO

11 November 2005

Pix of Interstate Foliage

Made it home to HR. Atari went mute en route.

"I started out with nothing and I still have most of it left"

Thankful for much!




also picture of "Georgia Peach" in South Carolina




Helpers of All Faiths

Catholic Charities ?

The purpose of this post was to remind me
to look up CC on the net when I got back home.
Since I was with a baptist group, and we were
feeding in Biloxi and Slidell. Those are largely
Catholic areas. Three different times people
complained to us, that since they were Catholic,
why were they being fed by baptists. Not complaining about us or the food, just expressing confusion about where were Catholic Charities.

If everything I've read on the net is true, then CC are out there, but somehow the yellow hats are either more visible or more memorable. Here I was, the intrepid
reporter, somewhat hoping to find some laxity or shortfall in
CC to pass on to my readers, and pat myself on the back.
But apparently what we're talking about is perspective.

Probably the 3 families remarks came simply because the
yellow hats got there first. Or probably they're more numerous.
I think there's just one CC per dicoese, but the SBC
activates dozens of units, some from the same region.

In summation, its really none of my business, he who
is not against me is for me, and I have to continue to
do my duties in my own way.

PICTURE at Right:
doesnt do justice to the beautiful fall colors

Logo is a Mythological Creature, not unlike Me


For some reason I had to stop and buy fuel at the Spinx station.



"Its an Egyptoid thing, You wouldnt understand"

Small Kitchen


In Biloxi we were in t shirts.



Dag nabbit its freezing. {later on back up north}

Yellow Hat Photo Shoot

Picture taking session just before old crew hits the road






THEN CAME THE LONG
Journey from Yankie Kitchen to Das Waldcafe ===================================================================================================================================

10 November 2005

Pix of Yellow Hats


Last work day, very full. Teaching trainees, feeding 45OO people. Being around more than a week makes you a total veteran.

09 November 2005

Inside Bar Renamed Katrina Lounge


Dinner at the Palace.



photo of Chaplain, Crispy Critter, and Kid Forklift

Man in the Box


Had the stupid "Alice in Chains" song [Man in the Box] stuck in my head all day. Perhaps because the kitchen is a long metal box



most of the lyrics arent fit to repeat.
the days went so much better when I could get myself and the others to sing along, hymns and other old songs

Many DR Volunteers


So I mixed hot chocolate with some basic coffee, it was a far cry from the frappucino that the gals at PCJ can make.




picture of the SBC Yellow Hats working with TSA red-shirts.

Dreaming of Coffee, but Looking at Beef Stew


I woke up from a bad dream today. My car was plastic remote control and it broke down on the way to Port City Java.

07 November 2005

Lap Top Back on Top


Picture of the lunch line at Yankie Stadium in Biloxi post Katrina.

Well I set the old "atari" lap top out in the sun all day with a fan blowing on it, and she came back. Like an unfed cat, like a faithful dog, and a trick knee all in one, she reminds us of why she's here.

Need to learn more about the Salvation Army ?

Picture of the Lunch Line


Talked to a lovely Biloxian , her name's Eucharist.She told how she had helped her grand-kids through Katrina. She now works forFEMA

06 November 2005

Picture of the Lunch Line also


Hopefully the laptop will dry out soon. Cook now, blog later.

05 November 2005

Drive Up Relief Help


They call the wind Mariah. ... and all struggles are really battles of the will, no matter what else may appear to be going on.
you can quote me on that.

picture shows:
people in their cars getting water, MREs, gatorade, pedialyte, and other supplies they might need.




if you don't know what pedialyte is, log off, stop what you're doing, and count your blessings right now.

Big Outdoor Kitchen


My boy Kriegbaum always says
What could possibly go wrong?!?

Biloxi weather: partly soggy, winds from the east,
with a 60 % chance of trench-foot by the a.m.

TSA Divisions


My boy Chuckles always says ' It could be worse, it could be raining' ... today he's right. of course.



why I took pix of the trucks instead of the nice people who brought the equipment I'll never understand. but people do it all the time. people go to NYC and take pix of the Statue, instead of their relatives. okay bad example

04 November 2005

Greetings from Kamp Katrina _ _ _ _ _ _


Nope, the Rebuilder hasnt rebuilt a single thing yet. At least not physically. Obviously I found a net connection this afternoon. "Skytell Relief" apparently has an awesome signal down here, and for free, so I'm thankful.



This kitchen works for the Salvation Army making 1500-3000 meals per day, and has a lot less floor space. More pictures soon, especially since I can blog live FROM MY TENT. I suppose its a fair trade, Slidell has better accomodations, but no net. (PIC) Kamp Katrina runs out of "Yankie Stadium" in Biloxi. But it reminds me of Mogadishu. Almost I got lost on the way here because a net query for Yankee Stadium only points to New York City. Its named Yankie after a Biloxi citizen, not related to Wierd Al.

How Deep ?


Yet another hip deep day in the kitchen...

photo shows Miss Gayle and Miss Kathie discussing menu options for 5OOO people. large lines mean large cooking: one afternoon Miss Gayle had a paper towel in her front apron pocket, and it caught on fire from the giant skillet as she was taking a temperature. It was funny afterwards, not during.

03 November 2005

Kamp Katrina in Biloxi Barrio


This Biloxi setup is amazing. Sleeping in tents, tight security needed at site, many people in deep need.

Fore-warned is Fore-armed.


Roy, if you're reading this you need to know how wonderful the gift you shared with me has become in this neighborhood.



Picture shows three (or more) things:
My old Saturn.
Debris in tall fence betrays the water level.
Blue roofing tarps.
non-optimal neighborhood of the stadium.

One Group Wanted Papers, Kitchen Group Wanted More Hands _ _ _ _ _


Decided against clean out work due to allergies and "credentials" questions.
But they were quite glad for the new hands at TSA site.

pictured is the awesome damage at the stadium. in its current condition its a shame,
but TSA I'm sure will make something
proud of it

Yes we spell it this way: Yankie Stadium


Started right in on kitchen at the stadium in Biloxi

02 November 2005

Life Is A High Way, I'm Gonna Ride It


Fourth leg of journey: Chattanooga to Biloxi

Party Platform ?

What is your personal Platform ?
============================================
Homosexuality ? Atheism ? Socialism ? Abortion ? Feminism ? Pacifism ? Disarmament ? Racism ? Leniency ? Compromise ?
============================================

Do you agree with Disempowering basic Families via Promotion of Homosexuality ?

Do you agree with Decreasing Independent Living via Promotion of a Welfare State ?

Do you agree with Promoting Atheism as a Religion via Teaching Evolution or Humanism in Schools ?

Do you agree with Devaluating Human Life in General via Promotion of Abortion ?

Do you agree with Increasing Imbalance via the Promotion of Radical Feminism ?

Do you agree with Decreasing the strength of the nation via Pacifism and an Anti-War stance ?

Do you agree with promoting Racism by encouraging minorities to regards other groups as intolerant ?

Do you agree with disempowering law-abiding citizens by revising gun laws ?

Do you agree with encouraging lawlessness by courting with leniency the Illegal Immigrants as future voters ?

Do you agree with being soft on crime by discouraging the Death Penalty ?

01 November 2005

Charles of Darkness


Here's the official thank you note for DARK CHUCK.

He's supplied the lap-top computers that make much of this blogging possible. Even though Charles is an african-american, he got the nickname Dark Chuck for 2 reasons, one because there were 4 guys in the gang named chuck andthey had to receive nicknames to keep it straight. But the main thing was his outlook, dark it was, and quite bleak in fact. That seems to have gotten better, but the nickname still sticks on him like a bad post-it note.

But his skills have helped me on my computer journey, so "hats off gentleman!"

Book of the Month Club

Book of the Month Club: the first and second letters of Paul to Timothy