Sunday, August 31, 2008

Yesterday all the grocery stores were closed but bars were open THANK GOD

Update from New Orleans: they called the mandatory evacuation this morning so we got all the residents to the buses and shut down the shelter. I'm staying, haven't decided where yet. Either at a hotel where my friend works or at a coworkers house in my neighborhood. He's kind of crazy and is like "I have a generator and guns and dogs, you're welcome to come over" which weirded me out at first and now is looking like not such a bad idea. So either way my cats and I will be safe and with other people.

I'm staying bc I want to experience it and I truly think I'll be alright. Also I don't want to be away and not see everything or know what's going on.

It's just so weird bc everyone is freaking out and the city is deserted. I'm trying not to think about it too much bc there's nothing I can do about levees and barometric pressure, but what if this is the end of New Orleans for real? What if it is in fact worse than Katrina and the city is just devastated once and for all? And if it doesn't happen this time, when? Hurricanes are going to keep coming, is this panic just going to happen every August until the city is just uninhabited?

In all this though, I've been so glad I'm aware of the inevitable zombie invasion and researching that for so long, it's really helped in my survival packing. Actually, all I've packed is waterproof mascara and frozen food. It's an ok idea.

So Ima go bring my plants inside and have a perishable food feast and then head out this evening to whatever safe destination I choose. I'll be in touch by text and thanks everyone for sending so much love and concern. I'll be fine! Abrazos!

Friday, August 29, 2008

Cold typin

So here I set (sit?) pounding away drunkenly at my keyboard at 1311 Marion Street in lovely, crowdy, dirty liberal Denver, Colorado. Drunk on Whiskey and Hope and Change and Mostly Whiskey. Barry Hussein just made his speech about killing children and taking more grandmothers to Bingo and letting felons work the cotton candy and three-throws-at-a-whore's-vagina dunk tank at Disney World or some shit.

Or maybe it was about making the country a better place for children and improving relations abroad or something. Totally unclear.

Our drinking game for his speech included drinks for "change" "hope" "war" "Bush" "3rd term" "security" and "swollen member". The last one came with a five-beverage-consumption tag. We got plenty drunk without it. Though we kept the hope alive...

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Blueberry pie!

Not sure if this is proper blogging etiquette, but I am responding to Rob and KDHL's comments on my last post via this post. I'm new, I'm allowed to bat my eye-lashes at you all and get away with such things...right...alright great here goes.

Rob: The berries are blue through-and-through and the juice is very strong. By the end of the hike my hands were covered in large splotches of deep violet juice. There are swathes of these blueberries in the forest, along the way I saw groups of old ladies collecting enough blueberries for a solid months worth of pies. Oh man...I'm jones'in for a blueberry pie right now.

KDHL: It's true, I live in Candy-land. I have no complaints, but life will get a little grittier once I move up to Berlin. As for your situation with the job, I recommend cage fighting. Start slow with some underground fights and back-yard matches, soon enough you will be fighting in electrified cage matches and filling up stadiums.

I'm noticing that the host-son is a bit of a close-talker. Not too big of a deal, but you know, I don't really want to make like we're going to eskimo kiss every time he wants to discuss the strategy of the German Ping-Pong team.

Included is an ode' to my now defunct bike: 'The Krauter'.
The time we shared was rickety, 'unsicher' but pleasant. We made noises that a bicycle and human shouldn't make and turned heads in this sleepy little town, I'll miss 'er!

Tuesday, August 19, 2008


Being back in New Orleans has been really nice, rediscovering all the stuff I missed like daiquiris, my crazy ass cats and bicycling. But my job is killing me. I am just so burnt out and really would've only committed to stay till October if it wasn't for my friend Shawn who is working really hard on program development for the Abstract. I'm going to stick with it till December but I'm just so sick of always tiptoeing around and never feeling comfortable bc I'm young and a woman and really never got any training here ever. I am just not cut out for case management/direct social service like this. And that's fine, there are other things I'm good at and want to do. But right now I'm here and going as crazy as the guys I'm supposed to be assisting.

I don't know how I'm going to make it through the next four months. GIVE ME IDEAS HELP ME PLEASE

So far all I've come up with is kickboxing and drinking more. Possibly at the same time.

Sunday, August 17, 2008

I'm a newbie.


I'm really coming it at half-time on this friend blog. I've been reading through all the posts today. Pretty great stuff. Hopefully I can keep you guys up to date on my travels/experiences while over in the land of chocolate with a utilitarian sense of style.

Quick run-down of the experience thus far (apologies if my grammar and syntax are way off, I've been immersed in German for the past few weeks):

1. Started with a conference in DC. Met numerous officials from the State Department, their German equivalents, and senator Richard Lugar; one of the main supporters of this fellowship. Interesting conference and with some solid Q and A sessions. Unfortunately R. Lugar was the final speaker after a 5 hour session of talks and spoke for a solid 45 minutes. The speech was an archipelago of ideas. He somehow went from the an explanation on how he founded this fellowship with G. Bush senior to a discussion on his visits to a creek named in his family's honor in northern Indiana. Guy must be a terror during filibusters.

Other participants in the program are very interesting. There is a solid sampling of almost every industry and it's intriguing to see what other young people are doing out there. Example: my room-mate for the conference was a guy named Chris. He's a chef and has been working in G. Ramsay's restaurant in Manhattan for the past year. His placement is in Stuttgart with a German family inn and restaurant. One of his suitcases was filled with his cooking knives and needless to say he was worried it would raise some pulses at airport security.

I've been in my language school placement in the town of Radolfzell for the past two weeks. It's situated right next to the lake of Constance, or 'Bodensee' in German. Staying with a host family, the Wegglers. They treat me as if I am their adopted American son, it's great. During my first day with the family the father Wolfgang took me on a 40 km bike ride of the surrounding area. Before the ride he called himself 'the old rabbit' and proceeded to high-five his wife about five times while giggling uncontrollably. He is a true character. Family also took me on a hiking trip to the top of Feldberg, the highest peak in Baden-Württenburg. I ate lots of wild blue-berries, delicious.

Yesterday I went to a family gathering in the black-forest town of St. Märgen. It was in the house where my host mother Irmgard grew up. The house is a former cloister and right in the center of the town. Apparently her relatives bought the home when it was put up for sale in the early 1900's and has been in the family since. Ate plenty of good food and met some great people. My biggest fear was a discussion of US politics and fortunately the subject wasn't even raised.

Time to fix my bike. I bought an old junker from a man under a bridge (he was not a troll). The crank-shaft melted after about a week and I have since been riding the host-daughter's old bike. The host family call the bike "Pinky". I need to reverse this bad bike karma.

No time for pictures in this post, but do check out my web album:

- Paul

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

in response to the previous post: Is that even possible?

That is the only question I have. His endeavour is undoubtedly admirable, but, one time it took me three days to backpack 12 miles. Granted I could have been walking faster if I wanted to... but still. wow. Go logan!!!

Anyway, on to my own adventures. As many of you already know I will soon removing myself from this glorious city where I have spent countless fun filled hours (many of which I strain to remember, but, am sure were fun at the time), red paint in hand, in the company of you lovely people. I thank you for these memories.

I will be gone for a span of 8 months, 6 of which will be spent deep in the Atlantic rain forest of Brazil. I have a distinct impression that there will be nights in which I share my humble accommodations with uninvited creatures of the jungle (snakes and bugs are the first to come to mind). My sister has a particularly horrifying tale of almost having her innards melted in a matter of seconds by a demon snake brute. Luckily she managed to step over it undisturbed. I can only hope that I will share the same kind of luck. But, on a more positive note welcome creatures are also in abundance, such as kittens, baby chickens, horses and puppies.

Volunteers from all over the world come to this research and conservation center to work in different capacities for the one end goal of preserving the remaining 8% (!!!) of the forest. This is done through projects that include environmental education and outreach, sustainable harvesting practices, working with the local community, reforestation, clearing trails, GPS mapping.... etc.. My job will to be to manage the volunteer program by.. well pretty much making sure everything runs smoothly and acting as a liaison between the foreign volunteers and the locals. More details to follow

I will make it my goal through out this adventure to keep you updated. Oh, and before that happens I am driving across the country with cory, more on that later as well.

It's 4:58, I have to go.

GAWD! my brother is sooo much cooler than me.

So, as I blog, my brother is climbing mountains for charity.

The three peaks the group plans to climb are Granite, the highest peak in Montana at 12,799 feet with a 35-mile roundtrip; Mount Cowen, the highest peak in Montana’s Absaroka range at 11,206 feet with a 26-mile roundtrip; and Wyoming’s 13,700-foot Grand Teton, a 20-mile roundtrip. The dates set for the adventure are Aug. 13-15.

3 peaks in 3 days? Um. Really?

For this climb they are raising monies for the local homeless shelter. They are expecting to raise around $10,000. Again, this while I am blogging.

Full article HERE. And, the group's blog HERE.

Seriously, my brother never ceases to amaze me. I am wildly proud of him.

Sunday, August 10, 2008

oh and also (with almost no punctuation)

Things left out of that email but still true:

1. Myself humping drew in front of a cross and us getting pictures (kdhl also "made out with" maja from sweden in front of the cross; pictures to prove)
2. katie tried to climb over a temporary fence (traffic barrier) about 4' high instead of taking the two paces to either side to go around because we were trying to pick a fight by not giving way to any people on route down bourbon street. To exploit katie's ridiculous path over the fence, I shook it a bit (most likely pretty violently in retrospect) and she bellowed out in pain and i bellowed out in laughter. This morning katie emerged from her bedroom and said, "i just woke up wondering why my vagina hurts"
3. kdhl and i managed to smoke the same cigar that castro smokes by asking politely a group of very dapper men in front of a nice hotel about their cigars. Turns out that they were all from brazil and uraguay so we turned to spanish and managed to convince them to give us a try (in spanish post a 32 oz monster beer and whatever else we could get our hands on). One of the dudes just kept pointing at the cigar saying "castro!"
4. Drew was denied into a bar that was playing "drop it like its hot" because he wasnt wearing sleeves- katie, maja, and i were ahead in line and succeeded to enter. After "dropping it" for a few minutes we went in search of "the only guy not wearing sleeves" only to realize he was not admitted. Too bad- he missed out on some blatant scornful glances from a 40+ woman who did not appreciate this dropping of hot items

An email conversation with my dad describing new orleans

Jim Bottomley:
Got a 2a.m. call from a woman who found your cell phone near the Louisiana state legislature. Says she will mail it, but maybe you can meet her.
I'm sure it has occured to you to call the phone!
have a good flight back! Dad

**note, in looking at the call log, this woman called my parents house 5 times from the times of 1:53 to 2:02 am**

Hey thanks dad- I got it back pretty painlessly. That woman called quite a few random numbers from my phone book before having a solid hit... she certainly stirred a couple pots but the honesty is very welcome.

New Orleans has been lots of fun, extremely hot, but by and large bearable. The city is so cool- it has a grit that is very honest and welcoming. The food (particularly the grits and po' boys) is really good and there is a culture around snow cones. Katrina has created a brotherhood in the city of strong spirited and welcoming people who are so friendly but seemingly honest (unlike the southern hospitality of the carolinas which I always questioned the sincerity of- a true jaded new yorker...) The city is also unified by a collective diet of cheap drinks and hard liquor where all sizes, creeds, colors and ages converge in a collective belligerence. I bought a giant beer for just a couple dollars and then mooned a crowd of bead throwers with a triumphant reward of... beads! When in Rome, right? It felt oddly correct; i had been feeling under the weather and not drinking for much of the latter half of this week- my previous attempt at bourbon late at night was pretty horrifying. In fact, my previous attempt at Bourbon during the day was pretty terrifying also...

I will give you a call when I get back to Boston. Once I see what my work schedule is I will try and intercept Chris while home.