This is Rick

Aug 20, 2005 at 9:47 PM
Here is a picture of Rick. I moved all the way across the country without him, and it'll be a while yet.

His daughter Katey is a sweetheart wild-child. I'm one of two people in the world she loves. That means something special to me. She's gonna come out and spend the winter with me.

My self portrait

at 9:33 PM

Here is a picture of me. I took it in the bathroom mirror. I have no idea why.

My Eleven Days of Hell - Chapter 2

Aug 19, 2005 at 5:16 PM
OK. So, we were finally out of Florida, and we made it to Mississippi, Alabama and then Louisiana. We picked up the usual crap along the way - little torpedo keychains with "USS Alabama" on them, an Aunt Jemima iron figurine, some corny little toys for the kids, fridge magnets that crack in a few weeks, postcards that say "typical southern family" with seventeen barefoot kids on them, etc.

We were now four days into our trip - having originally planned for a six day trip - and decided to start thinking like tourists, visiting the fun spots, enjoying ourself, etc... It was a little hard to feel like a tourist when we were jammed up into the cabin of the truck like sardines. I'm driving, the twins are sitting in the middle (thank goodness they're so skinny, or they'd never have fit into the one seat belt together), and Amber is jammed up against the passenger door. It felt like the girls were all elbows. Something was always rolling under the accelerator pedal. It was less than comfortable. Never the less, we were gonna try to make the trip something worthwhile.

We noticed that the truck's overdrive switch was not responsive - it was gonna drive in overdrive the entire trip, like it or not. But, I was not gonna wait at another U-Haul station for two days waiting for a different vehicle. I would rather have eaten rusty nails.

So, thinking the worst was behind us, and with our suntans hitting the height of excrutiating pain, we thought we'd stop in New Orleans (if you're local it's said "Niohluns" through a barely open mouth) and check out the french quarter. I figured the fact that I spoke french would grease the wheel a bit, make it easier to get around.

We drove into town as it was getting dark, and we drove around downtown for about 30 minutes looking for signs that pointed us toward the french quarter. We'd follow one, and then suddenly hit another sign saying the french quarter was the other way. So, we'd follow that sign, etc... eventually ending up right where we'd started.

By the way, Niohluns is the picture of quaint old town - if by old quaint town you mean thug-filled, hooker-laden, drifter-ridden, gun-toting criminal, rotting old corpses of houses all over the place, street-corner drug deals in full view of sideways-looking cops, quaint old town.

So, risking our lives, we stopped to ask a local (walking home from work alone - that daring soul) where the french quarter is. She pointed down a road and said to follow it and that it would take us straight there, just a few block away. Did we have to turn? No, she said, straight that way a few blocks. We said thanks. Amber took over driving at that point.

We followed the stranger's directions and ended up in the single worst neighbourhood I have ever been in (and I was born in the not-so-fancy part of LA). The roads were worse than any I've ever been on (two foot deep potholes, no where to turn around, no lights, no signals) and if we had stopped the car, we'd have been mugged. We were going slowly in the U-Haul because of the potholes, and so we'd developed an odd caravan of straggling thugs, waiting for us to stop. When they got too close, my dog barked up a storm. What they were waiting for, I did not want to know. Hopefully, my big dog Tuck's bark looked menacing. Secretly, I knew that if one of those people had actually gotten close, Tuck wouldn't have done much other than keep barking. I managed to get my own gun out from it's locked box in the glove box somewhat discreetly. I placed it carefully in my lap, safety off, hand on it.

We eventually did the tiny street U-turn (two right turns in a row), and promptly hit the only street light. While waiting for the light to turn green again, my window was quickly being approached by a very angry looking street thug with his gun out, the closest of the lot.

I though about my gun and was suddenly terrified to use it, despite all my training. I was locked in an internal agrument about having to grow that much backbone so fast. Amber didn't care what I was doing -- she just floored it through the red light. Thank God. I had never had to use the thing outside of a range, and I didn't want to hurt someone. The other guy wasn't in my shoes, he sure looked like he'd used his an awful lot.

Then we noticed there was a cop car behind us. Apparently, this one didn't care about street robbery being avoided as much as running red lights. He flashed his lights briefly, and then turned them off and went down a side road. Maybe to avoid being robbed by our mutual friend?

We never did find the french quarter - and that asshole who gave us the directions is probably still laughing. Unless walking home from work in Niohluns

Heading back to the highway, we took some pretty pictures of really creepy cemetaries while our nerves cooled. At least we'd have SOMETHING for our trip, we thought.

We took off down the highway, and discovered that Louisiana's DOT has probably never repaved the original highways. For hours, the only thing going through our minds was thuck-thuck-thuck-thuck-thuck-thuck-thuck-thuck-thuck-THUUUUNG
and swerving to avoid the ocassional roadkill or lane-wide pothole.

We promised ourselves we'd never go back to Niohluns again, and we'd talk to the Louisiana DOT asking why the highway was in such darn bad shape. I knew someone at the LADOT from my old job, and I was thinking it was time to give her a call ("Hey Ehllai, long time no hear. How's work going? Uh-huh, yep. Hey, by the way, your roads suck. What gives?").

Around this time, the stress and the sunburn was starting to get to me. Oh, and did I mention that I got bit by a brown recluse when I was in Florida? I probably forgot that part. I was not feeling good, to put it mildly. Eating had become an adventure in stomache-land, and I didn't have time to think about it, least of all try to keep food down. I was dropping weight like crazy - which is OK if you want to, and scary if you don't. I fall into the latter category. I had made everyone promise that if I started dying, they'd find a hospital for me. In the meantime, the only noticeable symptom was that my leg was swollen and a funny color - oh, and my hair was falling out. My long, brownish red mantle was falling out in pieces. When I looked in the rear-view mirror, I noticed that where the hair was falling out, I was also sunburned. How odd, I thought, to have a sunburn under my hair. How much sun HAD I gotten, anyway? Would it do any permanent damage?

Back on the road, we started heading for Texas. I was still shaking from the almost-carjacking, and my skin itched everywhere the sun had been. I guess I'll talk about Fort Sh-thole, Texas tomorrow.

Don't know why I'm still posting this story, but it feels great to be rending open this wound - spilling the whole horrible trip all out into the wide open void of the web . Truth is better than fiction, I guess.

My Eleven Days of Hell - Chapter 1

Aug 18, 2005 at 8:03 PM
Well, I promised to post about my trip. I moved from the Tampa Bay area to the Coos Bay Area. Never heard of Coos bay? Well, neither had I. It's just about as far west as it's possible to go in the US (that's LEFT to those of you only travle with maps), and it's very pretty.

Anyway, that was about 3500 miles of traveling. 3718 including detours and accidental wrong turns.

I rented a U-Haul trailer, which I was planning to tow behind my Ford Taurus. The guy at the U-Haul store told me it'd been inspected, and I asked if there was another one available, because that one looked awfully old. He said no, because it was a holiday weekend and everyone moves on holiday weekends.

[Note to self: Never, ever - even if the world starts falling apart around me - move on a holiday weekend again.]

I packed it full of my stuff, and took of on the road with my best-friend. She had flown out to come with me on the trip. We left on Saturday at 11:20 AM. Happy, bright eyed, singing. And with my two kids in the back seat, excited to be on their very first long trip. The dog was in the hatch-area in the back, all set up with a bed and food. He was excited too.

First, we wondered why the car was pulling right. Then about 300 miles out on by trip, in the middle of actual no where, we broke down completely. Smoke coming out of my hood, smoke pouring out the tailpipe. It looked bad...

We spent about 4 hours in the sun, near an orange grove of some kind.

The only towing company that was open on the holiday weekend within the three nearest counties came out. First they looked at my car and said it was my transmission (they were also mechanics, I guess), and then they hauled bother me and my trailer over to the nearest hotel in the nearest "big" town.

Whie they were loading and unloading my trailer, they made sure to point out to me that U-Haul had rented me a completely broken trailer -- the axle spring was broken in two and the axle had been loose, causing friction and wear, and it was too much for my tranny to take. I took a look, and I saw it - totally rusted out, and obviously had been for quite some time. This was not new damage.

Turns out "Perry" as it was called, is also pretty small, and there were no open U-Haul offices. I called U-Haul's phone system. After calling, getting put on endless hold, hanging up, calling, getting put on hold, hanging up, calling back, getting disconnected, etc (for four hours straight), I found out that U-Haul had no open offices in my part of Florida until Tuesday.

Again, this brings up: Why would they all close when so many people were in the middle of moving???

I stayed in my car, on the side of the road in that tiny little town in Florida for TWO DAYS.

Then, I was towed (at my own expense of $150.00) to another little town in Florida, where they had gotten someone with a shop to drag himself in to get me a replacement system for moving.

Let me just wander off track for a second and say that the part of Florida I was in bore no resemblance to the part I was from. No one was wearing a full set of clothing, no one brushed their hair, nearly everyone - male or female - was spitting out tobacco wads every few minutes into empty plastic pepsi bottles... or the floor. I busied myself trying not to notice and trying to get back on the road.

The town I was in was so small it couldn't decide what to call itself. The map had one name, but the locals used another. Orange-something.

I didn't care. I was just trying to track down a U-Haul dealer who was not closed and I would have gone to Ghaza to get one. You'd think, if everyone moves on holiday weekends that U-Haul would stay open... but, NO. Apparently, their busiest moving day does not warrant actually coming in to the office.

By Monday night, I was travelling in a 14 foot truck with a car trailer behind it. My dead useless car was not gonna come off the trailer until the trip was done and the dog was happy in it - windows rolled down. Me, my best friend and my two kids all cramped up into the front seat.

Did I mention that we were so sunburned that a total stranger actually asked me whether I needed to go to the hospital?

But, the trip had begun. Finally. Then I noticed that there was something wrong with the overdrive on U-Haul truck. Oh well.

Around this time, my best friend and I wrote a song about U-Haul that I dare not repeat.

Days 1-3 covered. Next time, I'll talk about Fort Sh-thole, Texas.

Today is a waste

Aug 17, 2005 at 4:05 PM
I am spending today gathering bits of search information for my many clients, checking standings, making graphs. I do it at least once a month, and it's quite boring in the details - but necessary.
I love what I do. I moved out of a better paying job in the city (with a glass ceiling I'd already hit) to come out to BFE to do what I really want (no ceiling), and I'm happy that I did. I get to be a part of the free market of the world, in my own tiny way.

No strings, no set schedule. No turning in quarterly reports. I'm not by own boss, but I'm far more productive now. What does that say for the rules and constriction that most businesses feel they must impose to ensure viability?

Note to self: I must remember to bare to the world tomorrow the eleven days of hell involved in moving to Oregon from Florida.

Advice Post taken down

at 3:07 PM
I was asked by the advicee to take the post down, and I did. She didn't want to air her laundry to the world, and I respect that. Thanks to Hampster Huey for his comments. I liked your comment, Huey, very real and I find your post interesting in that it cared more for the intent behind telling than the act itself.

My advice was to have been to let live in blissful ignorance. What time the woman has left should be as happy as possible. It's not as though there is a possibility of treatment being done to resolve the situation. Why possibly destroy the delicate balance that allows someone on death's door to go quietly and happily into their good night? It is often hard enough for those of us who are young and strong to be content in our existence. It is even possible that the woman knows her mind is slipping and simply wants to maintain dignity as long as possible.

At least that's what I think.


at 2:59 PM
My Two cents on motherhood:
Motherhood is a small chance to make a big change in the world.


Aug 16, 2005 at 9:37 PM
My Two cents on Power:
Power is something others grant to you. As such, those others are trusting you to act responsibly. Corruption is the act of abusing that trust. Once corruption occurs, real power is void. If you want real power, you must be willing to spread the wealth; delegate power where necessary to benefit the greater good so as not to violate the trust implicit in power. Real power includes the ability to know when to ceade power to others. Power is in the hands of each of us, in some small way. You have power and I have power, and to a greater degree than we each of us think. The internet spreads power amongst all of us far more equally than does life, and it is up to each of us to be responsible with our own piece of that power or lose it.

Desi's Two Cents

at 8:27 PM
THIS IS MY FIRST POST. I love starting new adventures! Well, here I am. I've been known by my friends for years as where to go for advice and stupid technical facts no one wants to know. Now maybe the rest of you will also find some of my diatribes and advice helpful. If you want advice, feel free to ask it of me. I will be happy to give you my TWO CENTS. - Best, Desi