31 August 2005


Very distressed to hear about the distress in New Orleans. Adam is awaiting word on our friend, John Burris, the Lucky Dog vendor. I think Burris is currently our only remaining NO connection. Sheila has not been in touch lately, but I think she is still there, and Hobby the rose vendor disappeared some time ago.

It is breaking into mainstream news that flooding from Lake Pontchartrain and the status of the levees had been overlooked. I certainly hope the media picks up the decision Bush made to divert funding from maintenance of the levees, and the lack of additional Guardsmen available.

George W. Bush--fighting hurricanes over there so we don't have to fight them here.

30 August 2005

Roof Trouble

As big as Katrina was, apparently we were only on the very edge. At least the rain allowed us to test whether we had fixed our chimney. It tends to leak, nothing very damaging yet, but once I noticed a pool of water around the hearth. The fireplace is essentially useless anyway. When I moved in I piled some bad paperback novels and right-wing literature in there, topped off with a bio of W as a conversation piece.

I had been led to believe that Rob knew how to fix it, so we finally obtained a ladder a few weeks ago. Once I got up there, Rob denied that the landlord had ever given him specific directions on what to do. Apparently they had attempted to cover it by putting some bricks along the corners, and then placing a paving stone from the yard as a cover. Propping it up on the bricks, however, still allowed rain in on the sides, since rain rarely comes down straight. We had nothing available to cover the whole chimney.

Allen came over Friday and we decided to wrap some heavy trash bags around it. They are tied on with rope and weighted down with the paving stone. We thought we would have a hurricane to test it, but we got enough rain to know that it seems to be working. It looks pretty asinine if your eyes happen to stray up there, but I doubt anyone will notice. Neighbourhood Associations do not tend to form in the student ghetto.

19 August 2005

Granny Weatherwax

Random quotes from Terry Pratchett's Discworld series, featuring Granny Weatherwax--

Wyrd Sisters

"'Tis not right, a woman going into such places by herself," Granny nodded. She thoroughly approved of such sentiments so long as there was, of course, no suggestion that they applied to her.

Witches are not by nature gregarious, at least with other witches, and they certainly don't have leaders. Granny Weatherwax was the most highly regarded of the leaders they didn't have.

She had never mastered the talent for apologizing, but she appreciated it in other people.

...there was possibly something complimentary in the way Granny Weatherwax resolutely refused to consider other people's problems. It implied that, in her considerable opinion, they were quite capable of sorting them out by themselves.

Witches Abroad

....Granny Weatherwax, who had walked nightly without fear in the bandit-haunted forests of the mountains all her life in the certain knowledge that the darkness held nothing more terrible than she was.

Granny Weatherwax disapproved of magic for domestic purposes, but she was annoyed. She also wanted her tea. She threw a couple of logs into the fireplace and glared at them until they burst into flame out of sheer embarrassment

....Granny Weatherwax, who thought that female emancipation was a woman's complaint that shouldn't be discussed in front of men.

'Baths is unhygienic,' Granny declared. 'You know I've never agreed with baths. Sittin' around in your own dirt like that.'

'You can't go around building a better world for people. Only people can build a better world for people. Otherwise it is just a cage...'

Lords and Ladies

'Blessings be upon this house,' said Granny Weatherwax. In much the same tone of voice have people said, 'Eat hot lead, Kincaid.'

The first elf reached her, hauled her up by her shoulder, and got a doubled-handed, bony-knuckled punch in an area that Nanny Ogg would be surprised that Esme Weatherwax even knew about.

'.......you stupid man!'
'I do happen to be king, you know,' said Verence reproachfully.
'You stupid king, your majesty.'
'Thank you.'


Of course Granny Weatherwax made a great play of her independence and self-reliance. But the point about that kind of stuff was that you needed someone around to be proudly independent and self-reliant at. People who didn't need people needed people around to know that they were the kind of people who didn't need people.

Next thing it'd be cackling and gibbering and luring children into the oven. And it wasn't as if she even liked children.

'Shall I do madam's feet?' said the manicurist. She stared at Granny's boot and wondered if it might be necessary to use a hammer.

Carpe Jugulum

I've never caught her actually waiting for a dramatic moment, not in all the, well, things we've been involved in. I mean, if it was you or me, we'd been hanging around in the hall or something, but she just walks in and it's the right time.--Magrat

'Mistress Weatherwax, you are a natural disputant.'
'No I ain't.'

'Granny? But she is as moral as--'
'Oh, yes she is. But that's because she's got Granny Weatherwax glaring over her shoulder the whole time.'

08 August 2005

Anne Holt

Allen and I had lunch on Saturday with Anne Holt. Anne was the original cranky old lady during our campus organizing days. She was an agitator for Graduate Student rights and pestered Student Government persistently until the COGS (Congress of Graduate Students) was established (my first bill in the Student Senate). She then went on pestering until COGS got a $250,000 budget written into our constitution.

Ten years later and she has not slowed down a bit. She moved in with her boyfriend some time ago (scandalous lives these senior citizens lead!), and is now writing western novels full time. She took a part-time job recently to pay for the last few hours of school, as she will be receiving her PhD in September. We are hoping to see her around more often. We had lunch at the Center at Adrians' cafe and she got a tour of the whole works. Anne met the director of the Civil Rights museum and they had a long discussion on the convict leasing program, then had another long talk with a judicial reform activist. Allen is trying to get her involved in grant writing for the Center, and hopefully she will have time. Anne has a lot going on for someone who must be in her late 60's by now.