Thursday, June 29, 2006
So far things are going well. We are working in what will be a neighborhood of 80+ houses. It will be quite a special neighborhood I imagine. A lot of history here already, and a tremendous amount of hope. There seems to be levels of loss in the eyes of the families we are building with. Some have lost their homes and everything they own, some have lost that and people as well. Some have seen things that you see still haunts them a year later, as I'm sure it will for years to come. Hopefully this neighborhood will help them start to build some more positive memories, I think it already has.
Our team is great, I put together a mix of young and old. We have three 17 year olds, up to retired people. Of course the retired people are kicking the crap out of the 17 year olds. The teenagers were kinda over the whole working thing by about day 1.5, but they have parents here that are continuing to make them lift and hammer. I'm sure they will survive, although it is touch and go.
We are staying in volunteer housing on cots, 10 people to a house. It is very cozy, but somehow after hours of manual labor, anything seems comfortable, as long as it involves being horizontal and an A/C. Standards tend to shift a bit here.
We are having fun and have crossed over the midweek hump. We'll be done tomorrow and then we'll go our separate ways. I'll go into New Orleans and work at a food kitchen next week and try my best not to offend anyone with my meager cooking abilities.
Tonight we go on a nighttime gator boat tour thing. We will be on fast boats. There will be many a gator. I'm thinking the teenage boys may finally enjoy one of our activities. Although I may enjoy it even more. Frankly I enjoy any activity that doesn't involve sun.
Wednesday, June 28, 2006
I am a very good painter.
My main strategy is to put as much paint as possible on the roller then just move it around the wall.
No one else looked like me, so I'm thinking I'm the first one to think up this strategy.
It will catch on, I'm sure.
Painting is inside.
It is still pretty friggin' hot inside, but not as friggin' hot as outside.
Today we will go on a swamp tour after work.
Apparently that is the thing to do.
Sounds misquito-y to me.
Then we will probably eat something deep fried.
Why the people here aren't all 634 pounds I do not know.
They enjoy a deep fryer here.
Which really makes it my kind of place.
Tuesday, June 27, 2006
I'm in Louisiana.
It is very hot.
I haven't died of heat stroke.
But the week is still young.
Drank roughly 2 gallons of water yesterday.
Did not pee once.
It is hot.
It isn't even 8 a.m. and I've been up for 2 hours.
Why can't saving the world happen at night?
Saturday, June 24, 2006
I'll blog when I get the chance/internet connection. I'll be in the U.S., so I'm hoping my efforts to remain in contact via the internet won't be as futile as they were in Honduras.
Peace out, y'all.
Thursday, June 22, 2006
It took forever for the make-up girl to make me pretty. Pretty takes way too long, kinda like cooking and shopping. This is the reason I avoid all of them, I’ve got other things to do. Like watch TV and eat take out Chinese food.
The photoshoot went well, we got some decent pictures and I look adorable. I’m a little worried that looking that adorable is going to make my regular non-make-up-ed face look pretty bad by comparison. And we did the make-up in a real subtle, not over the top, so the adorable-ness even looks kinda natural. It is not. I was told by my make-up girl that I need to get some stuff for my eyes or I’m going look 85 in about two years. I’ve got a bit of dark circle issue with my eyes. Hmph. She told me to go to my favorite make-up place and ask them to give me some under-eye cream stuff. I wonder if Rite Aide will be able to assist me.
We took the pics out at the park where I used to run. My knee hurt just being there. But I felt very famous cause I was getting my picture taken and the runners kept looking at me, trying to figure out if I was famous or perhaps just getting my Senior photos taken for school. I think they went with the famous because at 85 I’m to old to be a Senior.
I even saw some of the people I used to run with while I was out there, so that was fun. They were all sweaty and running and healthy and I was covered in make-up and out of shape and getting ready to sell a book about running. Something seemed a little off.
Maybe I’ll post the pics tomorrow and ya’ll can vote on which one you think should go in the book. I warn you though, it’s going to be a tough choice, cause I was adorable in all of them.
Wednesday, June 21, 2006
My mother is on some sort of two week bus tour of the west and I’m very much hoping that the bus tour does not stop by any sort of news broadcast because I think that she is going to be a little bit worried that I’m going into an area where the violence is so bad that the National Guard is being called in. This is the kind of thing that might worry a mother. Yet, given some of my other choices in life, I’m thinking that it might take more than a little violence to worry her anymore.
So yeah. Let’s see. It’s hotter than the hinges of hell in Louisiana, BUT it is also hurricane season AND people are shooting each other on a pretty regular basis. Seriously this is like the worst travel brochure ever. I thought my mosquito nets and vaccinations were bad for my last trip to save the world. This time I might have to get a bullet-proof jacket. Cause you know, this time I’m traveling in America. If only mosquitoes were all we had to worry about.
God Bless America
Tuesday, June 20, 2006
Last week during Book Writing Bonanza 2006 I was attempting to stay awake and creative and not tired for quite a few hours out of the day. In order to do this I started drinking about 4-5 Cokes or Mountain Dews a day. Usually I have about half or 3/4 of a Mountain Dew every day in the morning, cause I don’t do coffee. The Dew does the trick as far as waking me up a little. But beyond that I don’t make it a habit to have any more caffeine in the day. It’s not like I avoid it, but I usually just end up drinking water. Or milkshakes. You know, cause I’m such a health nut.
Anywho, in the couple short weeks I spent glued to my red couch with a caffeine drip I have become a complete addict. It is not good. I’ve stopped taking in the 4-5 Cokes a day and my body is not happy at all. I’m exhausted. And I have a splitting headache. And I almost want to drink the Cokes just to stop feeling like poo. But no, I have to be stronger than the addiction. And most of all I have to spend all next week building houses out in the sun and I can’t be craving soda instead of water while I’m in the midst of acquiring heat stroke. I don’t think it will help the non-dehydration efforts.
So then, I’m trying to wein myself off of the caffeine this week. Please be patient if I stare at you for a few seconds before I’m able to formulate a thought, the brain cells are not caffeinated and quite frankly are probably taking a nap.
Monday, June 19, 2006
The house we rented was on the beach. Also on the beach? A steady stream of cars that were coming from one side of the beach and DRIVING across the beach to some dunes or something. I kid you friggin’ not, we are not talking about one or two occasional cars. We are talking about cars checking in, paying money, getting a little sticker, then driving across the beach to whatever was on the other side of the hill of sand. It was ridiculous and completely non-conducive to the zen state I was needing.
The wedding was pretty, it was overlooking the ocean, you can’t go wrong with that. But honestly, we have a very large group of friends from high school. And that means a lot of weddings. And I’m starting to feel like I’m in that montage at the beginning of Wedding Crashers where they go to wedding after wedding after wedding and they hit all the major wedding points, the cake, the dancing, the toasts, the intoxication. Except instead of it just being the two main characters in every shot of the montage at 424352 weddings, in our case it’s the same cast of characters in every shot, just a different chick in a white dress every time.
I know these people, I see then quite often. There is no catching up to do at these weddings, no, “Oh my god, it’s been so long, I’m so glad to see you at this wedding and get a chance to talk and catch up.” No, it’s, “Hey.” And that’s it. Oh and it’s, “You going to the next wedding in a few weeks?” Oy.
Maybe it’s just me. I don’t mean to be a buzzkill, but I’ve never been a big wedding person. Probably because I’m not a big marriage person. Since I was a kid I always knew I didn’t want to get married, it was never something that appealed to me because I never saw how a piece of paper was ever going to be worth more than my word. And so I guess besides the cake I don’t really see what the fuss is about. But that’s just me. And just because it will never be my wedding doesn’t mean I can’t be supportive of other people’s dancing, toasts and intoxication. I mean, there is the cake, and sometimes people trip and fall when they are going for the bouquet, so it ain’t all bad.
Thursday, June 15, 2006
To celebrate our accomplishments (he with the graduating, me with the handing in of the book) the two of us are going to sit on the beach for the entire weekend. Just me, Fido, and 25 drunk people in fancy clothes following a wedding. It will be nice and calm.
Have a good one y'all.
Wednesday, June 14, 2006
Tuesday, June 13, 2006
Can someone please explain to me why, in the year 2006, I need a friggin’ lady on the voicemail to explain to me how to leave a friggin’ message? I mean really. Really. If I don’t know to start talking after the damn tone, well then I really don’t even deserve to be talking in the first place. And ENOUGH with all of voicemail lady’s OPTIONS. No I don’t want to page the person, because if I wanted to do that I probably could have just text messaged them. No I don’t want to send a friggin’ FAX TO A CELLPHONE. Cause that is not even possible I don’t think. And no, I do not want to wait until after I leave my message to hear even MORE OPTIONS. How can there be any more options? I’ve already been given 236. And I’ve already used up 12 minutes of my airtime listening to computer lady tell me how to leave a message, so I really don’t have any time left to stick around and hear any more options. Quite frankly I might not even leave a message now, because I’ve damn near forgot 1) who I’m calling and 2) why I’m calling.
But I do know that I wasn’t calling to send a fax, that much I know for sure. But thanks for asking.
Monday, June 12, 2006
But you know what will happen after I hand the book in and before we start the clean up? I will be sitting on a beach. And it will be awesome.
Two of my friends are getting married this weekend. In high school Cris sat behind me in Geometry class and I played soccer with Sarah. The two didn’t know each other. Junior year I told Cris he should ask Sarah to Homecoming (or some other dance, who remembers details). Eleven years later they are finally getting married. Don’t you just hate to see people rush into things? Because the wedding has been ten years in the making they decided to go big and have it in Pismo Beach. I’m pretty much a fan of anything taking place with the word Beach in the name.
We rented a house on the beach for a long weekend and about 12 of us will be crashing there. And you just know that the other kids are gonna wanna come hang out at our party house too. Overall the weekend has the potential to be like an episode of the Real World, except we are all way too old to be on that show. But we will probably match the Real World’s alcohol intake, so at least we still have that. Basically we are going to have 12 people staying in the house and another 10 or so stopping by the house. All of us have known each other for way too long and I wonder what excitement lies in store for our impromptu ten year high school reunion. Considering we all saw each other last week I imagine all pleasentries will be skipped and we’ll move straight to the rehashing of old drama. Really, if we weren’t so old I’d have MTV make a show about it.
But drama or not, I’m going to be on a beach. And I can’t tell you how excited I am about this fact. Between the election and the kid and the book I have been going non-stop for way too long and I am greatly looking forward to stopping this weekend while laying on a beach. Unfortunately the book has put me behind on quite a bit of other work, so I fear I may have a laptop on the beach, but I can’t think of a better way to work. Did I mention I love the beach? I do. I should live near one, because I would be calmer I think. Something about the ocean soothes me. Maybe it’s the margaritas I’m usually drinking while near it. That could be it.
It’s 5:20 a.m. and I’m not even remotely tired. We have now officially moved into Deadline Mode here at Casa de Writing Frenzy. We thank you for your support during this dangerous time.
Saturday, June 10, 2006
Friday, June 09, 2006
Not that time matters any more. Because no matter what time it is I can always be found here:
I think there is a good possibility I will actually have bed sores from sitting so long on this couch. When you are sustaining actual injuries as a result of sitting you might be sitting too much.
I can’t imagine why I am sore, the position I’ve chosen to write in is really an ergonomic jackpot. I can’t really see anything wrong with it at all. I don’t know why everyone doesn’t do work like this.
I was forced to the red couch because I was physically and mentally unable to write at my desk in my room. It is where I do all my other work and writing, but for this it was only providing blank pages. I decided it is not in the best interest of my productivity to attempt said productivity near a bed. Said bed tends to provide a very easy way to nap instead of write. I don’t know why the red couch doesn’t provide that same napping, it certainly has been the home to many a nap in the past, but for some reason this week it is the home of all things productive.
Please notice the pillow under the computer. That is a new addition because the laptop used to be on my actual lap and I used to think that I was going through menopause in my late 20's because of the hot flashes I was having. You’d think that if you were going to build a machine and call it a LAP top you might make the machine actually able to go on a, I don’t know, LAP maybe. The bottom of my laptop gets so hot I was literally sweating yesterday while I had it on my lap. I fear my new set up may result in the pillow catching on fire and possibly igniting the whole house into flames. But I’m sure I have a “Burned to a Crisp” clause in my contract that would allow me to retain my advance and not actually finish the book.
You know what would be fun? If I had a “U” key. If I didn’t have to stop every time I type a U and deliberately and carefully hit the delicate little green thing. Good lord. I may be the most ghetto writer out there.
So there you have it, that is all I have to say about anything because that is the extent of my life for the next 7 days. Man is it an exciting time.
Question: Is it more difficult to finish a marathon or write a book about finishing a marathon?
Answer: At least I get to lay on the red couch while I’m writing. What I wouldn’t have given for the red couch while running the marathon.
Thursday, June 08, 2006
must not waste any typed words on anything that doesn't involve book.
have become one with my couch and am becoming a regular fixture at my neighborhood coffee shop.
all in an effort to find my Perfect Writing Spot.
hopefully i find it before next week.
Wednesday, June 07, 2006
But you know what I realized? My TV blew up. And that is pretty close to an apocalypse for me. Then I went outside today to find that the battery in my car had all but passed away. So basically the gods are messing with my television and my car. Uh, what happen to fire coming down from the heavens, like what is supposed to happen for the apocalypse? And isn’t Martin Sheen supposed to be here or something?
I don’t know. All I know is that the world didn’t end and so my contract is still valid and I have to keep on writing the book. Of course with no TV or car it’s not like I have a lot of other options on how to spend my time.
Another sign of the apocalypse? I have nothing more to say today. I know. Go stock up on canned goods, maybe Jesus’ Blackberry broke so he’s off a little on the actual day he’s planning on coming down to reek vengeance and havoc on the sinners, and most likely file a defamation of character lawsuit against the entire religious right.
Tuesday, June 06, 2006
One might argue that TV shows should be the least of my concerns while I am attempting to finish a book in a week’s time. But then one would be smacked and reminded that logic has no place here.
Thank god I have two other TV’s, so I’ll have to put one in my room, perhaps the one that this TV replaced. That one is a perfectly fine television, it simply doesn’t have functioning closed captioning and I don’t have functioning ears, so you see where the two of us ran into some issues. But without an actual picture on the TV I don’t know that it matters that I have closed captioning, now does it? No it does not.
Maybe this is the Gods trying to point out that I probably shouldn’t be turning on the TV at all this week. I would like the Gods to know that I was merely turning it on so that I could set the Tivo to tape the shows that I’m going to watch AFTER the book is done. And possibly DURING various strings of writer’s block. I’d appreciate it if the Gods would have a little more faith in my abilities to meet a deadline, thank you.
Monday, June 05, 2006
I will now share some pics. Unfortunately for you you read the blog of a very boring person. Example: My roommate and I both left for the weekend. She was going to a podunk town in the middle of nowhere that is known primarily for its farming. I was going to Las Vegas. I said, “Stay out of trouble.” She said, “Me? What about you? You’re going to Vegas, I think you’ll find more trouble than me.” To which I replied, “You in hicksville are guaranteed to have a crazier weekend than me in Vegas.” To which she replied, “That’s true.”
And it is. The only thing “Vegas” about me is my love for theater, and Vegas is nothing if not showy. There are people dressed like flamingos, people in 10 inch heels, half naked people. And then there are some women there as well. Ha! I funny. So basically the craziest thing I did in Vegas was see two big shows with extremely well-toned bald men and leotarded women. I know. I’m just that nuts.
So here are some pics. I’m sorry I’m so boring. Too bad I didn’t have a blog about 10 years ago, the pictures were much better back then.
This was in some video arcade in New York, New York, you have to walk through it to get to the Chin Chin in New York New York, and I thought it was funny so I stopped to take a picture. Remember when we used to win things like stuffed animals in video arcades? Now kids are going for GPS devices? This seems wrong somehow. Sorry about the blurriness, I heart digital cameras.
And speaking of Chin Chin, what the hell is it doing in the New York New York hotel? Chin Chin is my FAVORITE “Chinese” restaurant in LA. I put Chinese in quotes, cause let’s be honest, there is very little about Chin Chin that is Chinese, but I do enjoy it so. So I love that I can eat it in Vegas. Yet, I still don’t know what it’s doing in Vegas. The back of the menu shows the locations, Brentwood, West Hollywood, Marina Del Ray, Van Nuys and Las Vegas New York New York Hotel. Maybe the hotel planners dug that the restaurant had a repeating name too? The only thing I know for sure? They have kick ass Chinese Chicken Salad.
A fountain of chocolate. There are no other words needed.
A bunch of desserts. Near the fountain of chocolate. Making it one of the best couple of feet I’ve ever seen.
The dessert I picked. Cheesecake with white chocolate over it.
The dessert I picked after it sat in the car. The white chocolate didn’t fare so well.
Flowers in water.
Screw the jackpots! Give us gas! That’s like gold!
This is the classiest place I’ve ever been.
Evidence of class.
A big head coming out of water at the Wynn. I heart the randomness of Vegas the most.
Do you see the signs? Do you see that one is a handicapped parking sign? Do you see that the other one is a sign for expectant mothers and mothers with infants? Do you see how the mothers get to be closer to the store than the handicapped people? Does this seem right?
Technology. “Outlast technology helps keep the heat of your hand away from the beer, so it stays colder longer...the same high-tech insulator developed for space travel.” Wow. I don’t know if it’s more alarming that beer labels now have technology or that the poor astronauts are supposed to be protected by the same crap that is keeping my beer cold...
Remember when Vegas went through that phase when it wanted to be family friendly and not so skanky? Yeah, well, that phase, like any phase that is out of character, has passed. Remember the pirate show at Treasure Island, with like I don’t know, pirates and stuff? Yeah, they are all skanky women now. Ahhh, class.
Here are pics of one of the shows I saw. There was a lot of water. And muscular bald men. And then more water. And some music. It was pretty cool.
See the circle? All around that and in the middle of that is water, that is where the bald muscular men come and go from.
See the hole in the ceiling? It rains from there. And some of the bald men fly down. It’s all very artsy and cool and muscular.
This one is called La Reve, I think. I saw Ka too, but wasn’t too terribly impressed. I’ll go into greater detail at some other time, but if you are going to call something Cirque du Soleil you damn well better have some people flipping and landing on each other’s sholders. I’m all for music and expression and artistry. But I’m gonna need some unbelievable feats of human flexibility to go along with it. Thank you.
Thursday, June 01, 2006
Or perhaps I should go to Vegas for the weekend. Yes, that sounds like a brilliant plan, I’m so glad I thought of it. So yes, I’m taking off to Vegas tomorrow night to engage in some overpriced food, entertainment and alcohol. Actually it doesn’t really matter if the alcohol is overpriced, as it’s probably been 6 months since I drank, so I’m thinking I’m not going to spend too much money on intoxication efforts. Two drinks and I should be good to go.
So that leaves the food and the entertainment. Specifically the entertainment. What shows do I go see? They each cost over $100, so I have to be selective, because I have mortgage coming up, but how do you go to Vegas and not see a BIG SHOW, I mean come on. I’m not big on hookers or strip clubs, so what else is there to do in Vegas? My friend offered to go see the Celine show with me, cause he heard it wasn’t horrible and he knows that he needs a female to act like she is dragging him there, but I’m not really feeling Celine. Her performance-style makes me nervous, what with all of her flailing and chest pounding. And her accent drives me batty, so I don’t think I need to spend $200 to watch her and a bunch of acrobats go crazy for 2 hours.
Instead I’m thinking that I’ll just go see the acrobats by themselves. I’m hoping to check out a Cirque du Soleil show while I’m there, there are like 18 playing right now, so I should be able to get to one. I’ve never seen a Cirque show, but I’ve hear they are amazing and I’ve seen a little here and there on Bravo. Have you seen these crazy little acrobats flinging themselves through the air? It’s insane. They bounce and twirl and fly 100 feet in the air, do a flip then land on some other dude’s shoulders, while the other dude juggles fire or something. It’s ridiculous, but somehow hypnotic. And totally worth $150, right? Right.
But overall the weekend should be fun, a few of us from the Habitat trip last year will be meeting up and will be crashing with another guy from the trip. Best thing about volunteering your time with Habitat? You meet people who live in cool places who let you come crash at their houses. Hopefully this trip will prove a little less FROZEN than the last Habitat reunion we had in New York in friggin’ January. Good lord that was a good idea.
So anywho, I’m off for a few days, do try to stay out of trouble while I’m gone. And I’ll do my best to come back with fun photos of acrobats. Or at least some of hookers and strippers.