First Draft Krewe housegutting

Keep tuned to First Draft for Athenae’s posts on New Orleans, including this great one just up, about the house gutting work they got accomplished today.

Yesterday when I called Athenae from DFW and told her what was happening, they were just getting ready to go out to the crawfish boil being thrown for the First Draft Krewe. Before we hung up, she asked if there was anything she could do to help and I said, “Drink. Have a great time.” I thought about that later; I sounded just like anyone else missing the boat to a New Orleans weekend.

This is what that trip is all about, not my sad moping I missed it. My disappointment will fade but New Orleans will still be in trouble. We can’t forget that. We can’t afford to get disaster fatigue, or let the absence of news stories about NOLA lull us, or think that Iraq is bad enough, we can’t handle two ongoing disasters, or believe what the government tell us about “a new and better” New Orleans just on the horizon. If we do that, then we become complicit in the monstrous act of letting an American city, one of the great American cities, die.

UPDATED: Sinfonian is also liveblogging the First Draft Krewe weekend, as is spork.


I got up yesterday, drove through a hellacious thunderstorm to Austin and got on my slightly-delayed flight to DFW, where I had to switch planes. That’s where things got fucked up. Dozens and dozens of flights got cancelled due to the severe weather all over Texas. First my flight out was pushed back two hours, then three, then cancelled entirely. Went into frantic mode for a few hours, standing in lines at two different gates, then waiting to get rebooked onto another airline, which would have put me into New Orleans around midnight, but that flight sold out while I was on hold and there were 23 people on standby in front of me for it. It came to a point where my best bet was a standby spot on a flight that would have arrived in New Orleans this afternoon, after the house gutting was finished. But it was standby and there was every chance I would have waited 24 hours only to be denied. I couldn’t afford a rental car, so I gave up. I finally got on a much-delayed flight back to Austin late last night, stood in line one last time to fill out a lost bag report for my checked bag, which has a favorite pair of Doc Martens inside, then drove home – through a hellacious thundestorm.

I’m frustrated and heartbroken I didn’t get to go.

Well, I’m not sure it was a “friendly” hand exactly…

But it was awesome nonetheless to watch Pelosi tell the Chimp to cool his jets.

Runny mish mash

Okay, see I had already saved up a couple of draft “Friday Night Videos,” one of which was “Run.” And then I read Eli’s brilliant (and I think quite persuasive) Run, Al, Run post over at FDL.

See? Run … and Run, Al, Run? And, uh, being kind of fried from work, etc, and seemingly unable to come up with anything original to write about… and… well…

Hoocha, hoocha, hoocha … LOBSTER:


Getting ready to go to NOLA

I’ll be leaving for the New Orleans trip day after tomorrow. As I’ve mentioned before, I’ll be going with 14 people from the First Draft community. We’ll be volunteering for ACORN, gutting a house on Saturday. ACORN’s Home Clean Out program has cleaned and gutted more than 1,900 properties since December, helping low and moderate-income homeowners start to reclaim and rebuild their homes. By offering this service free of charge, ACORN saves these homeowners about $4000 each. Click here to see a map of homes gutted by the program. Note the volume of houses in the Lower 9th Ward area. If you’re looking for a way to help out New Orleans’ residents by volunteering or donating, ACORN’s doing some great work, and unfortunately, there is still much to be done.

While there, the First Draft Krewe will also be mixing it up with some New Orleans bloggers. Scout’s built a great New Orleans blogroll over at First Draft. These folks have been working hard since Katrina, building community and getting the word out about what’s happening on the ground in NOLA. Give ’em a visit.

Legendary New Orleans clarinetist George Lewis takes us out with Burgundy Street Blues:

Goodbye, Teddy


Scout Prime’s sweet little Teddy passed on today. Scout says she had been very sick for a while.

Her impish face was familiar to the readers at First Draft and the old Scout Prime blog. She will be greatly missed.

Sunday buzzard blogging

Coragyps atratus, aka Black Vulture. Black vultures, along with the red-headed Turkey Vultures, make up the ”buzzard” collective around these parts. To say they are plentiful is an understatement; they are in fact, legion, and it’s not uncommon to hear people complain about them. Not me: buzzard job #1 is eating dead things, primarily roadkill. My daily commute is up and down a torturous, hilly ranch road and I see these guys at work every day. They do an excellent job and thank goodness they’re here. One local cafe uses the buzzard as its logo- I really want one of those coffee cups.

The meal du jour on this occasion was a recently deceased armadillo.


Today in Austin: thirtieth annual Capitol 10,000


(not really)FanVid Saturday Slumber Party: There are many here among us

Not a fanvid. (Yet).

Just a li’l somethin’ somethin’ for those of you smoking that evil Spoiler Crack.

Well, boo f*ckin’ hoo


Over at AfterEllen, Malinda Lo brings two articles about The L Word to our attention. So what, you ask? Well, these pieces are by straight women. One loves the show, and the other one used to, but has decided it has nothing to offer to straight women anymore. It’s the second article, by Hillary Frey in the New York Observer, that’s got me pissed me off.

As The Observer noted two years ago, The L Word drew straight women in droves. A gorgeous, L.A.-based gyno-utopia where women loved each other, loved fucking and loved their jobs, the show offered a wholesale revision of female empowerment. Remove most of the men, and voila! There goes the political and social friction that exists between the two genders and makes our co-existence so fraught.

On The L Word, women were free to roam in a cozy, lush environment of pools and palms, coffee shops and clubs. They barely seemed to work. They lunched and drank and woke up enticingly clear-eyed and bed-headed.

Straight women loved The L Word not because they all wanted to sleep with their own kind (and get that perfect bed-head); they loved it because the show was about them.

Okay. No.

Now, admittedly, it’s not necessarily about many of the kinds of lesbians I hang with, but it is about lesbians, Hillary. It’s not about straight people. There are roughly 47 gabillion other shows out there about straight people, Hillary. And maybe, just for a nano-second, you might want to stop the cutesy sibilant whining about “How Showtime’s sultry Sapphic saga stopped talking to straight women” and think about how us queers feel about that. Heteronormative much? Those 47 gabillion shows haven’t stopped talking to us lesbos. Because they never started.

Oh, and by the by, Hil, not that many lesbians are looking for a “soft-core, girl-on-girl version of Melrose Place.”

To her credit, Frey also accurately notes that the show over-relies on stereotyping (including straight people) and has become, well, “lame.” As Malinda Lo notes:

“If there’s anything I can tell you about [L Word creator] Ilene Chaiken, it’s that she has said she never writes with any particular audience in mind. I’m pretty sure she wasn’t taking a cheap shot at women who like men, but welcome to the land of bitching about The L Word!

Bitching about The L Word is somewhat of a lesbian bonding ritual. We know some of it sucks. We know it stereotypes a lot of people. We know it’s got at best, a tenuous grasp on feminism. And we watch it anyway. At least a lot of us do.

Because it’s our show. As is often noted, our Sex and the City. For all its faults and even though, despite what Frey thinks, to no small degree it is still co-marketed for straight middle America, it’s our show. Also, because there’s plenty of highpoints to love among the spottiness and uneven-ness. (Though not so much, ironically, with the excruciatingly lame and surficial storyline about the FTM character Max, the one character of the show Frey believes still “gets it right.” Whatever. That’s a whole other post.)

Still though, because Jennifer Beals as alpha-dyke control freak Bette Porter can do no wrong. Even when Bette is at her worst, Beals always shines. Because Leisha Hailey as Alice is a seductively sweet comic genius, every episode. Because Pam Grier is Pam. Fucking. Grier. Because it’s sex-positive. Because, even though they live in a glamorized la-la land, there are still characters we can all recognize. Because of the stable of great female directors whose work we get to see. Because of all the guest-bians. And yes, even sometimes because of the fabulous clothes.

Because the show really does get it sometimes. In ways other shows don’t even think about.

And Hillary, even because characters say things like, “Ugh—straight people.” You know what? We say that. I’ve said that. Not because we don’t like you guys but because you are the dominant group. You are everywhere. You are the norm. You get the breaks. You take for granted a lot of what for us, remains deferred. You so take for granted that television shows are supposed to be for you, you are upset when one makes you feel “shut out.” The inverse is true for us. So many shows aren’t for us, that when one makes us feel included, we hold it close, no matter how flawed it might be. Sorry if our show stopped talking to you but I’m not gonna lose much sleep over it.