Actually, I have to say, not really...even though it is.
Does that make any sense?
A week ago I purchased Justin Cronin's "The Passage" on a blind faith given whim. I absolutely knew nothing of the book aside from Housewife Savant's adamant appeal to buy the book and read it (eat popcorn, drink coke, spend money). Yes, she put "post apocalyptic" on the hook, and I bit.
And now, 700 some odd pages past, I find myself praying for dawn, jumping at shadows, and listening for swift movement in the trees.
Mr. Justin Cronin gives you a taste of it all. Pre-apocalyptic government testing, the man-God-complex, a big screw-up that causes the end of the world as we know it, and a pint sized savior. Toss in a vampire or 12 million, and you have "The Passage." Yes, he follows the recipe for a home cooked PA, and yes, he throws in a young savior of the world...destructively indestructible...and yes, they seem to be able to get out of pinches that others fall prey too...and the bad guys, don't forget the bad guys (which are blood devouring man gone wrong things that have become infected with a virus that makes them starved for blood and hang upside down when they sleep, but hey, it's all good)...but all books follow that recipe. It's the little things you add to it like salt, an extra heap of fresh garlic, or a couple of shrimp here and there that changes the flavor.
As I began the book, there were times that I wanted to put it down. Too many man things...you know...the army, scientific experiments, criminals, you know, man things, but Justin (we're on a first name basis now), threw in Amy. I'm not going to tell you about Amy. Just suffice it to say that Amy kept me coming back, and even though at times she's a bit annoying, okay, lots of annoying, she became the reason for that viral season. And while I enjoyed the meat of the book, it was the ending that had me applauding. I won't give you much into it but to say, the author gave himself an easy way to solve the big problem on the horizon, and then took the path less traveled by. If you don't understand what I mean by that, give the book a read.
To sum it up, Government eff's up the world,monsters on the loose, survivors struggle to survive, hope is hanging by a thread, a group lead by one courageous youth goes on mission to save their world.
A book that reads like a man, but smells like a woman (click the post title, buy the book, drink coke).
My home is in Louisiana. My home. Everything I grew up with, my family, my new family, my job, my friends, the roads I travel. Everything I know.
My father was a trawler. He caught shrimp for a living, and a hard living it was. And although we lived right on the poverty line, he did his best and raised us as right as he could. His line of work rarely allowed him to be home. He'd take his boat out for a week (longer in the winter because the ice in his hold didn't melt as quickly), come home for a day or two, ice up, grocer up, and go out into the wild once more. He did this for ever until the day he retired.
I remember when his boat burned down, when it sunk, when the engine broke, when the wench went kaput, when the hold had a leak, when crab traps were caught in the wheel, and a multitude of other things that threatened his livelihood occurred.
Those were scary times for our family, but there was always hope because the boat could be fixed.
I'm not so sure this can be fixed. The BP oil catastrophe had shut down Louisiana's shrimping industry. It has shut down it's offshore fishing. It has contaminated a way of life for many of its people. While I am fortunate enough to have a career in a different field, many of the students I teach cannot say the same. Everything they know is perilously hanging by an extremely then thread.
However, many of our local fishers are seasonal trawlers. They have a shrimp season in the fall, and one in the spring. This is the time of year where the wild life and fisheries allow them to trawl the "inside" fresh waters for shrimp. It lasts a few months, and when the shrimp become small, the season is closed. Unless you have a large trawl boat, you usually find something else to do for the winter season. Some people crab, some people fish oysters, some people find a temporary job at Wal Mart, but most people find a job working offshore, on an oil rig.
Louisiana has been hit hard. It's coastline is drenched in crude. The offshore fishing industry is all but shut down. And now they want to put a ban on deep water drilling.
I know the argument. It's better for the environment, it's better for our way of life, it's better for you, and it's better for me.
So tell me, what alternate energy source are they going to use in place? Where are they going to find the thousands of dollars for unemployed shrimpers that go on unemployment, where are they going to find the thousands of dollars for the thousands of soon to be unemployed oil field workers that go on unemployment...
Wait a few months for the trickle effect...when the big companies that came to our area pack up and leave. They will no longer be using our banks, our stores, our hotels, our real estate, our rental properties, our cars, our air ports, and this list goes on and on.
Wait a few years when our thriving city becomes a ghost town.
When families that have lived here all of our lives have to move in order to find work.
When our stressed economy loses all elasticity.
Guys, I'm all for a cleaner world. I'm seeing first hand the devastation this disaster has caused. But instead of working to fix it, people are pointing the blame finger, telling them it's your responsibility...clean it up. Shouting, now see what you've done? It's your fault, now I"m going to punish everyone.
Get. It. Done.
Stop fighting each other, and work together.
BP can't do it alone.
The coast cant do it alone.
Stop it. Stop it. Stop it.
Stop turning this into a "they f'ed up, now lets stick it to them" kind of thing. Fix it, then whack them with the ugly stick.
It was late. So late that the skies were at its darkest while waiting for the sun to snake it's spidering fingers over the horizon allowing the twilight of dawn to appear, and while some people would call twelve midnight the official hour, this hour of pure pitch black was in deed, dead time. Gripped tightly within the hands of fear, I could not even slide out of bed to go potty. Fear, yes, big fear...fear greater than being faced by an emerging hibernated bear (Okay, not really, but you get the picture.
While I've never been a fan of gore, grizzly slayings of innocents by some fiendish monster, I have been known to become enthralled between the pages of a book that keeps me glued between the covers of my bed. My clutching fingers, and ears, eyes, nose, and mouth were the only parts exposed to the evils that lurked inside the pages of my book.
Terrified. Completely and totally terrified, sitting there at 4am impatiently trying to finish a book that had me paralyzed from the neck down with a massive dose of fear. The one book that really kept me nailed to the bed was "Moonsong" by Charles De Lint. It wasn't your typical horror, it was dosed with a Fantasy element crossing over into modern day society. We called it Sci-Fantasy back then (still do =P). And it wasn't people being torn to pieces, ripped to shreds that had me frozen in terror. The macabre never much appealed to me. It was this spirit thing that was trying to force his way into a protected house that lay on the borders of "our" world and an alternate universe. "shudder" You KNOW what would have happened if that thing would have gotten inside.
Now, Ms. Kelly at "Housewife Savant" has my mind tossing and turning again. She's picked the post apocalyptic theme for her summer reading this year, and had asked for recommends. And of course, I recommended the one book I recommend to anyone that drops off from the romance reading genre (Okay, but Sookie Stackhouse has totally got to go....ENOUGH already). The book I recommend is called "Swan Song." It's amazing. It's pure art. It's really good. And it brings the question of, "Why?"
Why would I read something that gave me nightmares for a good many night after reading it. Why would I read something that is a prelude to the destruction of man kind?
The appeal is simply this. In this crazy, messed up world...running amok in all it's technology, expansion, and new restaurants (yeah, but no TGIF yet), our inner selves desire a return to simplicity. Where we can feel safe once again. Where the world is truly...truly yours.
I read "The Stand" when I was in my early teens, and can remember putting the book aside and daydreaming of what it would be like to walk into a supermarket and just pick anything off of the shelf. To drive off in a brand new car of my choosing. To just go and be (of course while dodging killer zombies and gross putrid bodies lying all over the road). As I grew older, the appeal changed to that of gaining solidarity with mankind (corny, I know), learning to depend on each other again, introducing yourself to the land, your new caregiver), because the super market doesn't exist anymore. Finally being clean, even though you haven't bathed in quite a while!
Of course the books both go off into the typical "good vs. evil" mode, has its scare points (like I said, "Swan Song" left me waking up in the middle of the night not screaming, that's too embarrassing for quite a while). Read it read it read it.
Now that my friend is single, people from all over (the Who Dat Nation, woot, woot) are trying to set her up. So, of course, I tried my hand at it as well. My husband knew a single (divorced) guy. Really good guy. Nice guy. Working guy. Has a job guy. Owns his home guy. Kids are grown guy.
Read: Old guy.
Okay, so he's not that old. Honestly, he's only ten years older than she is. Good looking. Drives a truck. Did I say he has a job? Well, he has a job.
She agrees, but only if we double.
I'm so excited! We get to out...I mean...she's going out with this guy! How cool is that?
She cancels. She's in a bad mood (understandable) and doesn't want to make a bad mood impression on the guy (totally understandable) or have her mood affect her impression of him (UNDERSTOOD!!!). I get that.
I, on the other hand, am crestfallen. What? No eating crawfish night for me?
Someone left my cake out in the rain fer sure.
But I forgot to tell you, my husband, he's so beast (that's middle school talk for he's really cool). He's savage (that's the word that will replace beast soon).
We went out anyway.
It was great. It was wonderful. The waitress can bite my ever living expanding ass, too.
Yes, I know I am blowing it out of proportion, but I MUST tell my tale. We went to the local popular seafood joint. I've been dying to pinch tails and suck heads for the longest time now, and tonight was the night! Beast ordered a catfish po-boy, and I...I ordered two pounds of delectable boiled crawfish. So yummy, so yummy. Since we are on a budget, and those little critters are expensive this time of the year, I kept it down to two (we ALL know that any decent Cajun woman can down at least 5 to 10 pounds of those suckers). My darling beast of a man told me to get another pound if I wanted, but I said, "Let me wait til I have these done, and we will see."
In the meantime, our lovely Rita, I mean the waitress has yet to stop by our table to check on our feasting status (I will add that she has visited several tables before to refresh drinks, check on happiness level, and the usual good Samaritan working for the tip behavior). Finally, by holding up an empty glass full of melting ice, my husband halted our waitress long enough to get a fresh coke. And then she was gone, in two seconds flat. Well, perhaps three, I don't do math. Did not pass our way for quite some time afterwards. And by the time she returned, and before I could open my mouth to ask for a third pound of the now elusive crawfish, she plopped our check on the table. I imagine our faces were showing a bit of puzzlement when she asked, "Oh, did you want some dessert?"
Did we look like bad tippers?
Did we look poor?
Were we so ugly that she couldn't stand the sight of us long enough to ask about our well being?
Did my husband leave her a tip?
Yes, he's beast like that.
Will we be back?
Yes. We will, the crawfish is good.
Am I as pissed as I was last night?
Nah. I'm over it. We went to a video poker place, drank beer, and smoked.
My youngest brother, who is older than I am by thirteen years, was sentenced to twenty years at Angola Pennitentary for his involvement in an armed robbery of a convenient store. He was sitting in the car in drug induced euphoria while his friends held up the store with a hand gun.
He was eighteen, and served nearly fifteen years before being paroled.
The things I remember most before, and during that period in his life was his romance with an "older" woman. He was quite young and she wasn't quite so young. Betty Anne was her name. He had a son with his childhood sweetheart. Since we were "poor white trash," her parents refused to acknowledge him, and he grew up not knowing my brother.
I remember his motor cycle. It was big, black, and loud. His best friend was killed while riding it. I remember that quite clearly, although I was really young at the time, because he was decapitated...and my brother threw the motor bike in the ship channel.
I remember his music, halloween parties, and everyone calling him "Chicano." He was half mexican. We had different dads.
He was wild. Liked to party. Liked to smoke, drink and fool around.
My brother came out of prison in the early ninties.
As it is with most boys becoming men while living in prison, living in the "world" was a trial. He found work as an offshore cook, and then moved his way up...way up to a very skilled crane operator, met a woman, had a son, left the woman, lost his son, and lived his life deep in alcohol and whatever else he could find to fill the emptiness.
He loved his son.
Truly loved his son, and grieved the forced seperation that his son's mother imposed. But at the same time, the disease of alcoholism and drug addiction had such a hold that not even for his son could he give it up. He tried. And at times succeeded. He fought for his son, and time and time again, lost. I think it broke his heart, and from that breaking, he could not become fixed. The alcohol and drugs became so deeply embedded. It was the only thing in his life that remained faithful to him. How could he not be the same in return.
He was a good person, aside from the addiction he battled daily. And would not hesitate to offer help when the need was there. I remember the endless days I spent in the hospital battling cancer, and the endless days he spent being there, sleeping on a couch that made his butt look big.
Demon's aside, his heart was good.
My brother is dying. He was diagnosed years ago with Hep. B. Fearing for the loss of his job, he decided to forego treatment. And now, years of abuse combined with this disease is taking his mind and his life.
I do not know how long he has. I do not know how many bouts of sanity vs. insanity we will see.
And my heart hurts for the man who lost the boy that he was.
(When this letter first gained noriety, many assumed it was done anonomously, however, it was written by Times Picayune writer, Mark Lorando. It describes the sentiment of many a Miami Bound Saints fan. Just thought you'd all enjoy on this momentous Super Bowl day! Who Dat!)
The Saints are coming. And so are we, their loyal, long-suffering and slightly discombobulated Super Bowl-bound fans. While there's still time to prepare -- although a few hard-core Who Dats will begin trickling in Monday, most of us won't arrive until Thursday or Friday -- we thought we'd give you a heads-up about what you should expect. First things first: You need more beer. Yeah, we know. You ordered extra. You think you have more than any group of humans could possibly consume in one week. Trust us. You don't. New Orleans was a drinking town long before the Saints drove us to drink. But it turns out beer tastes better when you're winning. (Who knew?) So let's just say we're thirsty for more than a championship; adjust your stockpiles accordingly.. And look. When we ask you for a go-cup, be nice to us. We don't even know what "open container law" means. Is that anything like "last call"? It's Carnival season in New Orleans (that's Mardi Gras to you), and we'll be taking the celebration on the road. So don't be startled if you walk past us and we throw stuff at you; that's just our way of saying hello. Oh, and sorry in advance about those beads we leave dangling from your palm trees. We just can't help ourselves. February is also crawfish season, and you can be sure that more than one enterprising tailgater will figure out a way to transport a couple sacks of live mudbugs and a boiling pot to Miami. When the dude in the 'Who Dat' T-shirt asks if you want to suck da head and pinch da tail, resist the urge to punch him. He's not propositioning you. He's inviting you to dinner. And if you see a big Cajun guy who looks exactly like an old Saints quarterback walking around town in a dress ... don't ask. It's a long story. We know that crowd control is a major concern for any Super Bowl host city. Our advice? Put away the riot gear. Reason No. 1: Indianapolis is going to lose, and their fans are way too dull to start a riot. Reason No. 2: New Orleans showed the world on Sunday that we know how to throw a victory party. We don't burn cars. We dance on them. Reason No. 3: Even if we did lose, which we won't, leaving the stadium would be like leaving a funeral, and our typical response to that is to have a parade. Speaking of which: If you happen to see a brass band roll by, followed by a line of folks waving their handkerchiefs, you're not supposed to just stand there and watch. As our own Irma Thomas would say, get your backfield in motion. And hey, Mister DJ! Yes, we know you've already played that stupid Ying Yang Twins song 10 times tonight, but indulge us just one more time. To us, "Halftime (Stand Up and Get Crunk)" isn't just a song; it's 576 points of good memories. It's the sound of a Drew Brees touchdown pass to Devery Henderson, a Pierre Thomas dive for first down on 4th-and-1, a Garrett Hartley field goal sailing through the uprights in overtime. It's what a championship sounds like. You may get sick of hearing it. We won't. Encore, dammit. Inside Sun Life Stadium, you may find your ears ringing more than usual. We're louder than other fans. Seven thousand of ours sound like 70,000 of theirs. Don't believe us? Ask the 12th man in the Vikings huddle. Some people think it's just the Dome that heightens our volume. But you're about to discover a little secret: We can scream loud enough to make your head explode, indoors or out. It's not the roof. It's the heart. Well, OK, and the beer. Don't be surprised if there are more Saints fans outside the stadium than inside. A lot of us are coming just to say we were part of history, even if we can't witness it up close. The Saints are family to us, and you know how it is with family: We want to be there for them, whether they really need us or not. Because we know our presence will mean something to them, whether they can see us or not. Come to think of it, seeing as how you're taking us in for the week, we pretty much regard you as family, too. So we're warning you now: If you're within hugging distance, you're fair game. Hugging strangers is a proud Who Dat tradition, right up there with crying when we win. Most sports fans cry when their teams lose. Not us. We've been losing gracefully and with good humor for 43 years. Tragedy and disappointment don't faze us. It's success that makes us go to pieces. Hurricane Katrina? We got that under control. The Saints in the Super Bowl? SOMEBODY CALL A PARAMEDIC!!! So anyway, don't let the tears of joy freak you out. We're just ... disoriented. OK. Let's review: Order more beer. Throw me something, mister. Suck da heads. Wear da dress. Stand up. Get crunk. Hug it out. Protect your eardrums. Pass the Kleenex. Hoist the trophy. See you at the victory party.
Starting with the addition of money to my wallet, music has been a central part of my house (is a very, very, very fine house) and home.
Actually, thinking back, it was way before that. I am the eldest of my mom's second marriage, and have 4 older half brothers and sister. Needless to say, much of their music seeped into my bones well before I even knew how to walk. Along with my parent's affinity for honky tonk greats like Merle Haggard and George Jones, my brothers and sisters added "The Beatles," "The Stones," "Pink Floyd," and a huge arrangement of both pop and (pot) head classics. I grew up with a virtual melting pot of music at the tip of my 8 track vinyl fingers.
Yes, I knew the lyrics to "Bridge of Sighs" (okay, so they're aren't that many of them). Yes, I listened to Jimmy Hendricks after he was cool, when he wasn't as cool, and when he became cool again. I knew who Bob Marley was when he first shot the sheriff.
I do listen to most everything listenable (however, I stop at rap...aside from the Beasty Boys, of course...No Sleep Til Brooklyn!).
But even more than the pride I have in my music diversity, I am happy to say that this listening trend has arced off of me, and has become deeply rooted into my beautiful teenage girls. They grew up listening to my passion of the week... be it "The Doors" or "Sarah Brightman." "Kate Rusby" or "Stained." When my iPod playlist tends to become stagnate, I know that it can be refreshed by uploading a few of theirs. Many a jewel I have found from their playlist including "This is My Suitcase" "Mika" hits from the musical "Spring Awakening" and my latest obsession, "Matt and Kim" (oh, I love their tune, Daylight).
2010...The first decade into the 21st Century, and no Buck Rogers. What the hell? No Captain Kirk, hovering skateboards, flying cars, and vacation trips to Mars, either. And seriously? That suits me just fine.
Although the 21st century doesn't have me booking my first flight to Mars (hellfire, I haven't even been off of the continent so Mars would be on the back burner anyway), it has seen me through a great many, many accomplishments.
This is one of "those" posts.
Feel free to join in.
1. I graduated from college in 1999 (does that count? Yes, I think it does) and got my first job teaching. My first real job that came with benefits and a salary that exceeded minimum wage. Woot!
2. I began, and ended, my thirties. I absolutely love being in my thirties. It was fabulous.
3. I battled, and beat into the ground, the beast called cancer. I was diagnosed in Spring 2000 with APL Leukemia, went into remission, and as of January 2010, been cancer free (aside from a brief bout of basal cell on the nose) for almost a decade! Boy, it feels good to say that; a decade free.
4. I had sex. I had LOTS of sex. . . loads even.
5. I met a seriously good looking and totally sexy guy, and then married him. No big feat, I know, but for me to even take that step into a direction I avoided like the plague for most of my life, it was HUGE.
6. I'm still married.
7. I'm STILL married. (worth repeating)
8. Starting June, 2005, I began having babies again. We said hello to three of them, actually. This was quite a surprising event in our lives considering a specialist, an oncologist, and my general practitioner all said I'd probably not have children again.
Ha. I guess I showed them.
9. I survived Hurricane Katrina only to be battered by Hurricane Rita, only to move back in time to Survive Hurricane Gustav and get beaten by Hurricane Ike. Yeah, the floor plans are still out on that one!
And just to keep the list down to ten...
10. I ate Sushi.
Here's to good friends, cheap wine, and a quick goodbye to 2009.