Friday, September 30, 2005


I've been playing Sid Meier's Pirates! for more than twelve hours now. I need to grab a few hours of sleep before I catch the 3:30 PM showing of Serenity, the Firefly movie.

Life is good.

Thursday, September 29, 2005

Don't Have to Live Like a Refugee

Yesterday was furniture day.

Thanks to our fine friends at the US Government, we now have:

  • A couch
  • A coffee table
  • Two chairs
  • A folding cafeteria-style table / desk

Laying on a couch was better than I can put into words. In the last month, I've sat on couches, reclined on them, even lounged upon them. But not until I got a chance to lie on my own couch under my own roof and attempt to snooze did I realize just how damn awesome life is, and how lucky we are, and how the little things truly do matter. The apartment is starting to come together and not have that flat, echoy sound that belongs to empty places.

Also, in other news, I turned on captchas- er, word verification, for comments on the off chance that a real live human wants to respond.

Monday, September 26, 2005

That's the lot.

I posted my previously only-sent-to-friends emails here, maintaining the timestamps to give me the sense of chronicling that is inherent to any sort of journal, diary, travelogue or blog.

So is this a blog, or is this a glorified journal? I'm tempted to say it's a blog to remove some of the assumptions of the typical LiveJournaler. I don't yet know the direcction I will take this series of postings- At this point, I'm content to keep it constantly updated. Of course a blog implies more facts and news than a journal. As I hone my game design and movie critique skills, this blog will certainly come into play.

I just talked to my mother. Our old realtor, the amazing Rere Avegno, has found a place for my grandparents to live in Metaire while they take care of their house in Lakeview. This is good, as they're currently living out of a hotel in BFE, Mississippi. My mom asked me if we were coming back. I said I didn't know. Austin is very cool, and I do miss New Orleans. I don't think I'm going to be able to stay away forever, but I also don't think I'd be able to return any time soon. I've got my head (and of course, the rest of me) into a place where I have a bed, food, power and internet. The man has his cave and he's not going to leave it.

But Katrina is such a huge phenomenon- it's not like other hurricane parties, where you get a day or two off work. I'm part of a massive population uprooting the likes of which hasn't been seen for generations, if not more than a century. Cat's mom points out that our generation now has its own history-making event. Is Katrina the same as Vietnam?

In lighter news, Neil Gaiman is coming to Book People (the largest independent bookstore in the nation) today. I'm going to wear my "Still proud to call it home" shirt.

Sunday, September 25, 2005

Frist Post!

Well, not really.

This is the first chronological post via Blogger, though I will shortly add previously emailed updates regarding our flight from New Orleans before Katrina. The effective epoch of this blog is about a month ago.

It's been about a month since I left my home in New Orleans. About a month since I got a call from my mom at 7:30 AM saying, "It's gotten worse. Get up, get packed, get out now." It's been a long strange trip, but not as bad as it could be, and certainly not as bad as it has been for others. I know I'm fortunate, but sitting in my new cookie-cutter apartment complex, where most of the furniture I see is cardboard boxes, it's not always easy.

I've been keeping up with a lot of the smaller creature comforts in order to maintain sanity- so has Cat. I can't get the chorus of the Tom Petty song out of my head some days. Curtains from Wal-Mart and Vietnamese curry means that we don't have to live like refugees. (Dont have to live like a refugee!)

But all in all, life is good- and it sure as hell beats the alternative.

Thursday, September 08, 2005

Final near-term Katrina mass mailing

Hello from Austin, Texas!

Cat and I arrived safe last night in Austin after a long, long, drive. Final numbers are as follows: 1579 miles driven in total since Sunday August 28th; 1107 miles driven since Monday, September 5th.

Most of today we spent securing housing. We eventually followed my brother's advice and used an apartment locator. The second place we looked at was a keeper- the rent is cheaper, the neighborhood is good, and we can move in tomorrow. Shelli, the apartment complex lady, gave us a break on moving in. First, she waived the move-in fee and application fee (both of which are totally alien to my mind, having never before really lived in an apartment complex), and we don't need to pay the first month's rent. She asked us if there was anything else we needed, and I asked for a place to get cheap furniture. She spontaneously offered us a couch.

We're also getting the power turned on tomorrow, so that's a plus. Now that we had a place to sleep, we needed a place to sleep, so we went and got a futon.

The awesome Nikki at Beds, Beds, and More (as seen on MTV's The Real World, the marquee informed us) helped us out and gave us a discount once she heard we were from New Orleans. She also threw in two pillows and a beanbag, so once again the kindness a stranger showed us pressed the same emotional button. Me and Cat both got hugs from this total stranger and all three of us were holding back tears. She also told us that their current stocks were low because she had sent many mattresses to Houston for the relief effort.

We're not due to get phone/cable/internet turned on until next Thursday, so my email access will be intermittent. But don't fear, as this is Austin and many places have free wireless. (For all I know, one of our neighbors may be giving away wireless.) Until then, call my cell. Cat is using a pre-paid cellphone and has to switch her phone number to become a local one, so be advised.

If anyone wants to reach us via snail mail, our new address is [Ed. Note: DELETED FOR SECURITY REASONS]

Since we've arrived at our final destination for the indefinite future, I don't think I'm going to be sending out any more mass emails. I may [Ed. Note: May, I said. More like will.] take up blogging this experience, even though Cat's the official chronicler (she's already used up two pens). If so, I'll distribute that URL when it happens. I'll also catch up on my backlog of emails, so please excuse the lateness of my replies. :)

To better times,

Tuesday, September 06, 2005

The latest road show from Mischa and Cat

Hello! Once again, I'm broadcasting from the good ol' CST on the outskirts of Little Rock, AK.

Dragon*Con was bittersweet for me this year. I missed last year's convention, so I had been jonesing for exposure to thousands of members of my gaming/scifi/geekdom subculture. Katrina's effect on home was never far from my thoughts, though. Most notably, a Star Wars costuming organization collected thousands of dollars for the Red Cross- see photo. (More photos will be forthcoming.) These guys were awesome. I hung out with them with a sign reading "New
Orleans thanks you" to help. The support and well-wishes were much needed and very uplifting.

We spent Monday night with the amazing Rob and Monica in Murfreesboro, TN. (The Wikipedia tells me that the city gets its name from Hardy Murfree, a Revolutionary War colonel.) Between laundry, dinner, and Cranium, seeing Rob again was a great morale boost for me, fresh on the heels of Dragon*Con. They were very kind to donate a small cooler and a duffle bag to the cause, so we now have our perishable food out of Wal-Mart bags, plus room to hold the few extra clothes we purchased
at an outlet mall.

We drove alongside a convoy of Pennsylvania's Army National Guard for part of this leg of the journey. I'd guess we passed something like 30ish vehicles. It was hard to see what they had specifically, but many of the Humvees and deuce-and-a-halfs were towing generators. We saw one camouflaged tanker, warning us not to smoke withing fifty feet, so they were bringing fuel, too. Some of the vehicles had graffiti: "New Orleans or bust!" "Katrina, PA is coming!"

En route to Austin, we detoured around Memphis to drive to the casino-ridden town-slash-resort-destination of Tunica, Mississippi. We had lunch and some tears with my grandparents, who are alive and well, albeit shook up and holding together. Their home is in Lakeview, and their neighborhood got some 12-20 feet of water. The dogs are safely
boarded at a nearby (relatively speaking) kennel. I also used the power of the Interweb to help them get some phone numbers they needed.

Here in Little Rock, we were turned away by one hotel, full of evacuees. The hotel lobby was packed, and the counter was full of flyers from locals, advertising food, housing, supplies, and so forth. Many of the stories on NOLA.COM describe private businesses and individuals stepping up to donate what they can to help. The list of foreign countries offering aid is also a little stunning, but I don't want to talk about the politics surrounding the disaster or the relief efforts at this point in time. Maybe once I start a blog. [Ed. note: Will this prophecy come true?]

Tomorrow we have ten more hours to drive before we get to Austin.

Thursday, September 01, 2005

Today's post-Katrina update

Hello from the Eastern time zone.

Cat and I are safe at the downtown Days Inn in Atlanta, GA. After the con, we're checking out Monday, and going to relocate to Austin, Texas. Rent is cheap, I have a lead on a job, Cat can easily get one, and my brother is there to help coordinate and keep us sane and happy, with our noses wet and our coats shiny. I don't know our exact travel plans, so we may yet wind up on someone's couch.

Today was rough. I nearly lost it this morning over a bottle of Tabasco over breakfast in a Waffle House. According to the interim web site, Katrina did not affect the Tabasco Production. Cat tells me they've got crops somewhere in South America to keep our taste buds in fear. I can barely keep watching the news- it just keeps getting worse and worse.

I got this link to a current satellite photo of New Orleans. Our house is under a cloud. Be advised this is a 3.2 meg file, so you may not want to download it over dialup.

I'm sure the legions of Klingons, Stormtroopers, and fandom here are going to sympathize with our plight. I may cobble together a didjeridoo and play for tips.