Monthly Archives: August 2005

make it stop

I’ve been watching and listening to the news updates from the Katrina zone for the last few hours, and it’s horrific. There’s no food or water. There’s no phones or power. People are dying because there’s no power at hospitals. Thousands are trying to get out of New Orleans and are unable to. They say refugees at the Astrodome may be there for months

And then there’s the human factor. Looters in New Orleans are getting very, very violent. Hospital staff are locked, with dying patients, inside the buildings. There’s destruction everywhere. And the Quarter, which has already survived two fires, may be destroyed by fires and looting rather than the hurricane itself. The city has turned on itself.

It’s incomprehensible to think of all the people who have nothing tonight. Not even food or clean water. There are thousands and thousands without power, shelter, anything, in America, in 2005. Hundreds of thousands of people. Thousands are trying to get out of New Orleans because it’s unlivable – but where do they go, and what happens to them now?

Two days ago, I thought the city had survived; now, I know that it hasn’t. The older parts of the city, built on higher ground, may be salvaged and repaired, but it will be years before New Orleans is in the condition it was when I last saw it, and most of the city will never get to go home.

Comprehending the amount of desperation, fear and misery out there tonight is too much. I want to scream to make it stop – but I can’t. Instead, I think we all have to ask, what can we learn from this?

Would things be better if the National Guard wasn’t diverted off to the senseless War In Iraq? Would help have come faster that way?

How can we learn to pay more attention to the vulnerabilities in our own regions? No hurricane will ever demolish Seattle…but what would happen if the earthquake left it in the condition New Orleans is in tonight? What would happen when the quake hits Los Angeles, and rioting and looting take over as they have in the Crescent City?

Finally, I’m also worried because gas prices are going up. I’m not worried for myself, not with my bike, but I’m worried for my city. I’m worried that this will break social order in Los Angeles, that L.A. will start to break down at $4/gallon. It is, after all, built around cars. And gas is going to hit $4 very soon.

This is like a movie, the news tonight. How do we avoid the sequel?

going home

I’m packing to go home. My flight to YVR leaves in eight and a half hours, after all.

Usually, I count down to a trip back to British Columbia. But this time, I have been too immersed in my life in Los Angeles lately to do so. I almost forgot I was going home until the last minute.

And then I was folding a skirt, and a Doves track came on the rotation in my Rhapsody, and I burst into tears. I suddenly realized that, in fifteen hours, I’ll be back on the Island. I’ll be home. I can sleep, in my old room, in my parents house, with my dog outside the door. I’ll be a hundred yards from the clean salt of the Northwest ocean, in the quiet corner of the world I still dream in.

I think it was the sense of relief – I just started weeping. I’m so tired. It takes so much out of me to withstand Los Angeles, to see the damage and the poverty and the despair everywhere in this city, everywhere in America, misery brought in to replace the life drained out of thousands by a senselessly selfish society. I fight the war, I fight the system, I fight the cars…it takes energy, after all, to struggle. To be able to see the world like I do, and I wish, a lot of the time, that I didn’t.

I’m going home, and I can have my mother and father take care of me for a few days, and I’ll be able to sleep, sleep, without waking up to gasp for breath or search for clean water or hear the freeways every waking minute.

I’m going home now, to Oak Bay, to my Shire, somewhere off the edge of the maps. I’ll be back next week, and I’ll miss Los Angeles enough while I’m gone, but I just realized…I do still miss home. More than I realized.

new orleans


There is a hurricane heading for New Orleans today. You’d think with all that voodoo, all those witches, all that magic, it would be averted. You’d think that whatever magic has protected the city so far would step in. New Orleans has survived in America, despite all odds, without being made corporate or bland. I would cry if it didn’t survive Katrina.

I can only hope, I suppose. I can’t bear to think of Cafe du Monde destroyed, of never being able to sit there, writing at three AM, pretending to be Tennessee Williams. I would be terribly sad if anything happened to the French Market, or to the Place d’Armes. It would be a tragedy if it is not the same when I get back, because I’ll go to New Orleans as often as I possibly can (including, possibly, Hallowe’en this year if I can get away with it)

I can only hope that whatever black magic has saved the city so far is still there, and that the hurricane passes by again. It would break my heart if the history in the city was broken.

divas night in venice


Last night was the CODE PINK Divas of Venice celebration!

It went well, despite worries that it wouldn’t. I was worried because we just hadn’t been able to really plan until forty-eight hours before the event. Crawford has drastically drained the ranks of CODEPINK L.A., as many of the women are with Cindy at Camp Casey.
me, in costume, at the fashion show

divas of venice tomorrow night!

Tomorrow evening is the final DIVAS OF VENICE event at SPARC in Venice. These celebrations of local divas have been part of the ongoing Venice Centennial celebration.

Tomorrow, Venice honors local political diva Jodie Evans, co-founder of CODEPINK. There will be a play on election reform, comedic stylings by Citizen Reno, a performance by Michelle Shocked, and a fashion show featuring political fashion and our signature pink slips.

(Our slogan, after all, is GIVE BUSH THE PINK SLIP)

It should be a really fun evening, and it’s a FREE event, so please – come out and support your local diva, as well as the women of CODEPINK who are working for peace.

(You can also give your reasons against the war at http://www.onemillionreasons.org, and we will HAND DELIVER them to the White House on September 26th)

the real life stampy


The Real Life Stampy is now available on craigslist (http://raleigh.craigslist.org/zip/93598043.html)

when gas hits $5/gallon, you will all learn to ride bikes too

There are few bike lanes between West Los Angeles and Beverly Hills. So, as is my right, I occupied the entire lane on the far right of the fast-moving eastbound Pico Ave. Yeah, that’s the law folks. I get a lane.

Of course, to make a point, drivers get threatening when then have to momentarily change lanes to avoid a cyclist. The worst was when I almost clipped on purpose by one asshole with a BUSH CHENEY STICKER, like he was making a point. Another came too close and HONKED. Like it’s MY fault that there’s no bike lane on the shortest route to MY office.

Tomorrow, I ride with a message. I’m going to make up some patches, just magic marker and scrap cloth, the size of my backpack, and pin one on each morning, so people know WHY I bike to work.

Slogans like:

I’M NOT PAYING $3 A GALLON TO GET TO WORK TODAY

THIS BIKE DOESN’T SUPPORT THE TERRORISTS
(LIKE YOUR SUV DOES)

IF YOU WANT THIS LANE BACK
LOBBY FOR BIKE RIGHTS

I DIDN’T TRADE BLOOD FOR OIL TODAY


And so on, and so forth.

My commute to my Venice office was just to get minimum exercise.
My commute now is becoming a political statement.

By the way, ANYONE bitching about high gas prices should shut the hell up about it. Sorry folks. If you don’t like paying $3/gallon, START WORKING TO CHANGE IT. Lobby for better public transit. Tell your government representatives to use that $286B transportation fund to build monorails, not freeways. Take the bus or train, ride your bike, walk. My bike commute is 10 minutes longer each way than my car commute was, I don’t have to deal with parking, I get to lose weight, I’m reducing oil demand AND saving the world…not to mention the few dollars my baby Saturn might eat in gas.

And yes, I know many people have reasons to use cars, and need cars, and absolutely cannot get around it. But gas prices for them would come down if everyone ELSE worked a little harder.

And now, a quote:

Rep. Joe L. Barton (R-Texas), chairman of the House Energy and Commerce Committee, said that with gas above $2.50 a gallon in Texas, his constituents were complaining plenty about prices. But when he lists for people the possible short-term fixes — “price controls, mandatory carpooling, lowering speed limits — they say, ‘No, we’re not for that.’

“People would love to be paying about half what they’re paying for gasoline, but they’re not willing to subject themselves to the loss of personal freedom and convenience that that would require,” Barton said.

High gas prices are a sign that America has patterned its society around the wrong resource. Take the sign – and work for change.