Thursday, September 22, 2005

We're almost out of hurricane names

Pardon me if I'm a little freaked out, but my mom is in Houston, a city which, if CNN is to be believed, is in a state of pre-Rita pandemonium. At the moment, she is placing sandbags around the perimeter of her house and putting furniture up on cinder blocks. If I had my way, she would have come here immediately, but I can't say that I blame her. All the same, I'm a bit worried. It's so incredible that right now as I type this, there's this massive entity blasting its way through the gulf, making its way slowly but surely like a growing pandemic towards our shores, and all we can do is brace ourselves.

In other hurricane related Holmes news, I found myself in HEB last night, and I have never ever seen it in such a state. I think all of South Austin was in there, and judging by the vacancies on the shelves, it appeared that they had shown no mercy to the inventory. Fortunately, I was able to get what I needed and get the hell out. You wonder in times like that just how little it would take to turn a civil crowd into a rioting mob.

Sunday, September 18, 2005

A hot poker in my eyes

The other night, the Ash and I enjoyed some Thai food at nearby Sawadee. I ordered the Pad Thai, and proceeded to sprinkle it with flakes of red pepper that came in a bowl on the side. When we got in the car to leave, I absentmindedly rubbed my eyes, accidentally transferring the burning hot pepper oils from my fingertips to my eyeballs. That was about twenty minutes of eye-watering burning hell in the eyes, which was only made worse by feeling really stupid at having done it to myself. I really should be made to eat with gloves and a bib.

Friday, September 16, 2005

The Holmes watches a scary movie and has no trouble sleeping afterwards

So last night, I went to see "The Exorcism of Emily Rose" with my friend Brandon, who just moved back to Austin from Los Angeles. A few thoughts:

  • Jennifer Carpenter, who played the part of Emily, was cast because she has a weird face. I do not know if this casting theory is the truth or not, but the bizarre way that her eyes turn upward at the corners made her look weird even before they put the black contact lenses in.
  • Holy crap, is it good to have somebody to go see horror movies with...which is to say, holy crap, is it good to have Brandon back in town.
  • The movie is not quite as atrocious as I expected it to be going in. I was expecting a complete train wreck of bad dialogue and pointless sequences where the only scary parts were already revealed in the previews. It actually succeeds in telling a decent story, and has some genuinely tense and creepy moments. Maybe people who don't like or who expect too much from horror films shouldn't review horror films. Except I myself can sometimes be one of those people who perhaps expects too much. But really, is it too much to ask of a horror film that it deliver a few real jolts and a story that isn't totally idiotic? Or if you're going down the idiotic route, is it too much to expect that you'll go totally hogwild with the stupidity? Come to think of it, maybe people who don't like horror movies are the ONLY ones who should review horror films so as to keep the big masses away, and thus allow me to get better service at the Alamo Drafthouse, which is truly the only place to see a movie if you live in Austin.
  • It feels weird being entertained when there are thousands of displaced, broke, and hungry people, and grandmothers are getting arrested over sausage. But then you stop and think that every time you're getting entertained somewhere, there are millions all over the world suffering. Kinda makes you feel like a fat rich American bastard.
  • Speaking of the Alamo, Brandon informed me that in all the time he lived in L.A., he did not find any similar establishment. For those who don't know, the Alamo is a theater (or chain of them now) where you can go and watch a movie and be served food and drink by waiters throughout. Actual food. Burgers, wings, pizza, salads, sammiches, various desserts, not to mention beer, wine, soda, whatever. An incredibly simple, wildly successful concept, and yet this friend of mine informs me that the city that is, for better or worse, the center of the American film industry, has nothing like it.
  • There is a very distinct moment near the end of the movie where all of a sudden, like a slap in the face, I got the distinct feeling that I was being preached at, or rather, that I had been getting preached at through much of the film, and now they were letting me in on it. Something of a celluloid horror parable. Thanks, but no thanks, can you just make her head go all twisty again please?
  • You gotta love the formula for horror movie previews. There were two or three before the film, and they all seemed to follow the same pattern. I swear, there's a factory with robots churning these things out.
  • When something in a horror movie scares people, they tend to laugh....which is to say, when something in a horror movie scares me, I tend to laugh, and judging by the number of people around me laughing at the same time, I have to assume that they are doing the same thing.

And I think that's it.

Tuesday, September 13, 2005

Baby has been showered most clean

Holy....oh my....I can't believe.....wowza.....would you....oh goodness.

That's about how I felt all during our baby shower this past Sunday, and still sorta feel. People's generosity towards us and our spawn was freakin' overwhelming. Later on that night when I was putting the changing table together and affixing the mobile to the crib and looking at the little plush toy dog and the rocking chair and the shoes and just all this great stuff, I got all choked up.

I love you guys.

Wednesday, September 07, 2005

Cans of creamed corn stacked floor to ceiling

Ever have a line of thought that is so different and out of character for you that it really kind of freaks you out?

I've never been what you would call a survivalist. Sure, I'm an Eagle Scout, I know some knots, and if pressed I could probably maybe make a crappy little shelter out of a tarp and some rope, and I could maybe even remember how to acquire a bit of water with a piece of plastic and a rock, and only then if the sun is out. But dude, I haven't the faintest idea how to trap an animal to eat, or what to do with the motherfucker once I've got it trapped. I don't know which wild berries you can eat and which will turn your stomach inside out. And looking around my house, there is a severe lack of emergency preparedness going on. That realization my friends, that line of thought, the very fact that I am even thinking about emergency preparedness is the thing that has me noticing that there is something different going on in my brain.

But I don't think it's just me. There's a realization going on in this country, or rather a re-realization, in the aftermath of the raging she-bitch known as Katrina, that the federal government cannot be counted on to provide adequate help in times of crisis. I've read story after story in source after source, and there seems to be this concensus that is rising to the surface. The government of the wealthiest nation in the world, when faced with a massive crisis that calls for swift and immediate action and for all the bullshit and red tape to be dropped for just a little while so we can get some shit done, an event that requires the intense focus of resources on the tasks of saving lives and taking care of people (and animals), that government simply cannot be relied on. And that's scary.

It's scary because this feels like a new level of distrust. Conservative, liberal, whatever, you're hard pressed to find anybody that trusts the government, and for good reason. We're kinda used to getting fucked in more competent ways. But now people are getting fucked by rather incompetent means. Goddammit, we have an entire city, no, an entire region that has been decimated, these people have NOTHING, can we get some help in there NOW please? No, no we can't, not today, maybe tomorrow. Maybe. And as far as I can tell, it's because Moe, Larry, and Curly are in charge. Yeah, the government's got its people in there FINALLY, but as far as I can tell, if it weren't for the generosity and hard work of local organizations, churches, and random good samaritans, there'd be a hell of a lot more starving people and dead bodies.

And it's got me wondering, if the shit ever hits the fan around here, what the hell are we gonna eat?

Now I've got these thoughts of keeping stockpiles of food on hand, canned everything, lotsa water, plenty of fuel for the camp stove, bunches o' batteries, etcetera, and I feel weird thinking like this because I feel like it's the eve of Y2K again, except this time I'm on the other side - instead of rolling my eyes at the hysteria, now I'm one of the stockpile nuts with his underground shelter and his camo and his big-ass guns. Well, none of that stuff, but a lot of food at least.

This kind of thinking makes me uncomfortable. I don't like the idea of living and acting under the assumption that the next big shitblast is about to land somewhere nearby, but I don't want me and mines to be totally screwed if it does. I want to live, not survive, but I have to survive if I'm going to do either.

Thursday, September 01, 2005

This thing that happened that might have meant something..

...or that might have meant nothing at all and was just kind of an interesting series of occurences.

See, my wife has this somewhat elderly aunt named Ginny who has lived in New Orleans her entire life. Many of those years were with a gentleman by the name of Ray who, from what I can gather, was something of a boyfriend or something along those lines. The two of them lived their lives, and got by pretty much on his veteran's benefits and her mad gambling skills. Apparently, the lady knows how to win.

Ray died a few months ago. I don't think it was a big surprise to anyone, but all the same, it left Ginny pretty much alone in New Orleans except for her ancient cat that she administered shots to every single day to keep it alive. She wasn't going to be able to make it on gambling alone, and since she and Ray never legalized their love, his benefits ceased their monthly voyage to their mailbox. Thus, the decision was made that she would come to Austin to live with my wife's folks. They'd pack up their truck and head east, just make a little vacation out of picking Ginny up and moving her back here.

The trip was planned for late last week, just prior to the weekend of August 26. You know, the weekend before New Orleans was destroyed? They had a nice week, at least. Now there are people shooting at relief workers.

The three of them ended up in the mass exodus out of the city, and drove for 24 hours straight in crazy Escape from Louisiana traffic all the way back to Austin. Ginny left behind the city that had been her home for her whole life. This not long after her life partner died. On top of that, her cat had to be put to sleep. I got nothing to compare to that.

But what I keep thinking about is the series of events that led up to Ginny's departure. Had Ray not died, had she not decided to go live with her sister, had the trip been planned for the next week, there's no doubt in my mind that Ginny would have ended up sleeping in the now defunct Superdome. And it's not like I'm the kind of person who sees la Virgen in the dirt on my unwashed car. And yeah I know, what about all the people who weren't so lucky to have an immediate way out. But it did happen, and it's one of those things where I just have to shrug my shoulders and say, "Yep. That happened and it's kinda weird. Yep."