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Yo I’m outta here.

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Home Sweet Home

Back in New York. Exhausted and a little sunburned.

All in all the gulf trip was a good experience. I’m glad to see the majority of energy and resources being used on the slick while it’s still at sea. As the saying goes, “An ounce of prevention saves a pound of cure.”

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Activities thus far

So far I have spent the past two days going up and down beaches picking up trash and calling various groups about the dead animals I was coming across.

The training that some of the municipalities posted here along the MS coast didn’t really happen, nor is there a well defined HQ or information center.

There were a lot of these on the beach

As I was giving people coordinates of dead animals today I bumped into a couple from Kansas City who were in the same boat as me. George, the guy, expressed his astonishment at how things were being run, and how they had originally gone into Shell Beach, LA to help out there, but the authorities there weren’t prepared to work with volunteers. The couple told me how you could instead get a quick HAZMAT certification and get paid to work out at hot-spot sights.

There isn’t too much to do on land besides watch for dead wildlife and pick up trash. From the volunteers that I’ve met by chance here and there around Gulfport, Pass Christian, and Biloxi; everyone seems surprised at how few people there are here. While the news coverage keeps bringing up┬átechnological┬ásolutions and trying to find who is liable for damage caused to the local environment and economy, the reality is that there aren’t as many boots on the ground as it sounds.

No signs of oil

On to Louisiana tomorrow, that’s where oil has been making steady landfall.

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Latest, most rested

So the most recent forecast from NOAA has the slick staying clear of the Mississippi coastline, at least for a few days. The hardest hit areas are in the bayous of Louisiana, which is where I’ll be heading tomorrow.

Today is more beach combing, if and when the slick hits, which could happen in the next week or within the next month.

Back to beach combing! Still trash here and that needs to be collected. This is the method I’m familiar with for cleaning sand more or less on site.

Glad to have slept in a bed last night, didn’t really want to relive the car fun like I did the previous night. Affordable hotel super close to the airport might throw some people off, but it’s pretty good. Flights stop after 10 or 11 and it’s a pretty low volume airport to start.

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Post-Katrina

So where I’m staying in Gulfport there is little besides pawn shops, dollar stores, and fast food joints.

A lot of what I’ve been seeing in the way of work and labor isn’t even oriented towards the oil spill, it’s mostly Katrina reconstruction. The effects of the hurricane aren’t going away anytime soon, there are a lot of relo’s in Flatbush who you bump into once a while.

It’s a pretty surreal place to be, a lot of foundations and footprints with overgrowth reclaiming the land where casinos and hotels used to be.

Speaking of hotels I’m in a Days Inn, I think there might be a straight up mold colony in my air conditioning. The stuff looks like dirt but it’s soft.

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Wheels

So I booked a car from Louis Armstrong International to drive out to Gulfport/Biloxi. When I got to the rental desk all they had was 15-pass vans. Not exactly the ideal ride for a two hours drive, but I’ve done the PA thing enough times in Manhattan to not sweat it. Drove the big dog out, was told that I could go to the Gulfport/Biloxi International Airport and get a sedan there.

After scanning for public radio (nobody at the rental desk knew what I was talking about) and eventually settling on a station that played Akon every third song I finally made it to the airport.

Closed.

I don’t think I’ve ever encountered an airport that closes, especially an international one. I don’t even think Albany International closes. The smart nerves kicked in and I checked the other side of the paper that the rental in New Orleans gave me, “Open 6am – 10pm”

After screwing around with the 15-pass and chasing news trucks to see if there was any oil to be seen (there wasn’t) I made my way back to the airport and got hooked up with a supersweet Chevy somthing-or-other. It has A/C and they cleaned up the interior. Needless to say it’s much easier to negotiate the roads of Mississippi (which seem to always feature people getting arrested by the police) in a sporty dad-mobile.

Best part is I get to drive it back to New Orleans on Saturday morning!

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Coffee, wifi, electricity, coffee. Gulfport, MS

So here I am on the sunny coast of Mississippi. I was able to find a place where I can get power for my lappy, phone, camera, and me; but I’m not naming names unless I get paid. I’m not running a billboard here.

So here is the latest: NOBODY CARES! That’s a huge overstatement but what are blogs for? Really it’s more of “Well, what is it this time?” feeling. Since the majority of buildings and some infrastructure hasn’t been rebuilt since Katrina (5 years ago), the attitude here seems pretty ambivalent.

In fact from the conversations I’ve had with gas station employees, some people at restaurants, and pedestrians, the over all attitude is one of amusement at the news trucks bombing up and down Route 90.

Really though I can’t help but feel a little discomforted by the presence of these news crews. It’s important that the world stays informed, but when I scan the headlines on various news sites there doesn’t seem to be as much coverage as the amount of press here would leave you to believe. Even Al-Jazirah is here.

So I suspect that the reason why sat-link ready trucks are shooting around the coast line at the witching hour leads me to suspect that these networks are hoping to get the money shot. Regressive Party aside, people want to see this Deep Horizon issue fixed, and as soon as the EPA, BP, or any other group or individual fixes it, being kept up to date on the latest developments is going to be vital.

With luck the biggest breaking headline to come out of all this will be “Leak Capped, Recovery Efforts Taking Hold”

Another “?” above my head is why aren’t the casinos taking a more active role in the volunteer effort? Memorial day is around the corner and one thing people are concerned about is the disappearance of tourists, who along with the fishing industry make up 50% of Mississippi’s revenue. Guest packages for volunteers anybody? This one’s on the house Biloxi, if it really hits the fan, why not get in cahoots with the casinos and offer a room for one night and say… $50 in chips for anybody who volunteers X number of hours?

I’m not saying turn all of your attractions into a freebie, but think about how some capital could be gained from people having to travel, eat, spend money in Biloxi/Gulfport, etc. Considering how much the fishing business has been hit it; let’s keep all the options on the table.

More Wikipedia  movie-article reviews when I get back to NY. Probably will do a horror movie.

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Live from JFK Terminal 5!!

So I got in around 6pm, made my way through the security screening and have been playing Penumbra: Overture on my laptop. For those of you into media experiences this is definitely a game to check out, the level of fear one experiences is Lovecraftian. This is obviously the intent of the developers as you play Philip, looking for his father, Howard, and the uses Frictional’s HPL engine.

Got some coffee and now I’m just thinking about what to expect when I get into New Orleans and my way along the Mississipi coast. One of the tactics I’ve seen used to clean up slicked birds is using a soft-hands dish detergent on them. Please note the irony of using a product manufactured from crude petroleum to remove crude petroleum from wildlife.

If I’m lucky I’ll be able to assist with the deployment of “Breaded Juggalos via Trained Dolphins“. Realistically though I will most likely be picking up trash along the beaches. Things are expected to get so bad, especially around Biloxi, that they are trying to clear the beaches of anything they can right now before the oil lands.

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GULF COAST

So jetBlue has this awesome deal going where you get to buy a ticket for $10 on 5/11 & 5/12.

How did I spend that $10 dollars? Austin, TX!! Then I thought, well if I’m going to be that close to the Gulf of Mexico I should probably lend a hand in the clean up or wildlife recovery going on there. New Orleans, LA!!

The plan is to get there, then show up and help out. I’ve already registered with a bunch of organizations and services, so we’ll see how it goes. I don’t own a boat or possess a diving license, but I do have three years experience of chemical safety (albeit in a lab environment).

Stay tuned as the adventure proceeds down to the Gulf Coast!

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Costner Time

I was talking to a friend about cover songs, and she pointed out a she plays a cover of Whitney Houston’s “I Wanna Dance with Somebody”

Bodyguard: All around informative article that stays to the point. Not too much spoiled in the plot synopsis, although a lot of the movie is based on dialogue and interactions between the two leads, not “jive talkin’ robots“.

Even in the foreword of the article the reader is treated to a little gem; the script was written in the 70s for James Caan and Tina Turner. It wasn’t for another 20 years until the movie went into production, this time with an entirely different cast.

Would like to have seen more about production issues, such as locations and interactions between the cast & crew. No comments from the stars on how they viewed the project either.

The real juicy bits come from the soundtrack’s page. I don’t review soundtrack pages.

I’d give this one a Neither Agree nor Disagree on the old Likert scale.

It’s a lot better than some other movies out there, because there actual characters.

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