Saturday, March 31, 2007

My Fancy New Shoes and Frank Iero

I bought these shoes the other day:

I heart them. They are not the most comfortable things in the world, as you can imagine just by looking at them. They were not cheap (I can be quite a brand whore - these are Michael Kors, thankyouverymuch) - in fact they are probably the most expensive shoes I own - so I feel like I paid lots of money to have my feet feel like someone is squishing and poking them all day.

Am I the only one who will wear shoes that hurt like a mutha but they look really hot so I just put up with the pain?
Frank Iero is the guitarist for My Chemical Romance and I heart him even more than I heart my new shoes. I saw an interview with him on YouTube where they asked all the band members, which do you prefer, New York or LA? And Frank answered "New Jersey." That's right, Jersey rules.

Thursday, March 29, 2007

As Promised, A Quite-Long Rant About the Government. I Do Go On and On Once I Get Started But You Know Me, I Have Alot To Say.

(Toward the end of my long yet very interesting and thought-provoking rant are some pics)

Anyone who has been reading me for even a minute or two knows that I am not a fan of George Bush. There are alot of reasons for my feelings, none of which I am going to go into now. But what I am going to talk about today, kids, is how our President has screwed up royally. No, silly, not Iraq. Not the Alberto Gonzales thing, or the Harriet Myers thing, or Abu Graib or Gitmo, or...well you get the idea. No, today we are going to learn about hurricanes in New Orleans and their impact, and I am not talking about the ones you drink at Pat O'Brien's with the after-effect being a hangover.

Hurricane Katrina occured in August of 2005. That, for those of you without a calendar handy, was 19 months ago. It was a terrible storm. We all watched in horror as the people of New Orleans struggled for their lives and the lives of their children, their sick, their elderly. While watching all this on tv, I remember thinking that this could not be happening in America. We could not possibly be leaving our own people there to die, to stand on rooftops and beg for help, to stand on overpasses and plead for assistance. Didn't we all come together when the tsunami struck? Didn't we have Americans there, halfway around the world, within hours to help out? Didn't our government pledge (whether we delivered or not is another story) millions if not billions in aid?

So let's skip ahead a bit, so that you know this isn't all just my opinion on our poor excuse for a President. Skip past the part where we learned that FEMA couldn't find the convention center where all those people were stranded, even though it takes up about 5 city blocks and every news organization had been there for days. Skip past the part where we learned that the FEMA director's experience was in organizing horse shows, not managing emergencies. Skip past the part where our President claims he didn't know that there were people living in the Superdome without food or water. Skip past the part where we heard our elected officials questioning whether it was even worth saving a jewel such as New Orleans. Ok, you know I can't exactly skip all of it.

But now let's skip to the part where I travel to New Orleans, nineteen months after the hurricane hit. Nineteen months. The French Quarter, which wasn't hit badly compared to the rest of the city, is looking really spiffy. Sure, that's where the tourists go, that's how they can get those tourist dollars (like mine) pouring back in. But let's travel outward, shall we? Let's see how much progress our government has helped to make in nineteen months.

One parish (which is the equivalent of a county) has lost 77% of its population since Katrina. Can you imagine losing over three-quarters of the people in your county? And its not that the people don't want to come back. Here's the thing: they can't come back. They have nowhere to live. Yep, they can get a FEMA trailer and park it in front of their homes (or what now somewhat resembles what used to be their homes) and live there. Except for this - there isn't even electricity yet in some areas. In many neighborhoods, there are no supermarkets, no convenience stores, no gas stations, NOTHING. Every single store or shop or strip mall is completely deserted. Meaning, yes, you can go and live in your driveway in a trailer with no lights, and not have any food, not have running water, and not be able to gas up your car, but you won't have a single neighbor within miles of you because you would be the only fool to do it.

This is typical of what the houses still look like. Nineteen months later.

In addition to that, the red tape is just insane. You have to "qualify" for one of these treasured FEMA trailers, and not everyone who needs one qualifies. Insurance companies are not always paying out - was it flood damage? wind damage? an act of God? Let's nitpick so we can pay out as little as possible. You can't rebuild without getting your insurance money, unless you have a few hundred grand just laying around. A perfect example of ridiculous red tape causing people not to be able to move back: the government is requiring that all houses that are rebuilt (meaning, knocked down and started from scratch) must be a certain height off the ground to protect from future flooding. That makes sense, right? Yeah it does. Except that the insurance companies will not insure your house if its like that because its unsafe in non-flood situations. So even if you want to rebuild, how can you?

Most of the homes still have the markings on them from the searches they did after Katrina hit to see if there were any bodies, living or dead. Many of the homes have grafitti all over them - not from hooligans making trouble, but from residents trying to communicate with each other since they had no phones.

The graffiti on this house says "Lisa and Donnie are ok" - this was the only way to communicate.

Nineteen months later there are still holes in the roofs where the people had to climb to the attic and hack their way out with an ax in order to survive.

This neatly-cut hole in the roof (upper left) shows that these people were rescused from their attic.

This ragged hole shows that these people had to ax their way out of their attic themselves.

So here is my issue. These people are Americans. New Orleans is part of the fabric of this nation and so are the people, rich or poor, black or white. And we have left them to hang. Should the Mayor have done more? Yes. Should the Governor have done more? Hell yes. But where, my friends, does the buck stop? If the leader of out nation sees this absolute disaster happening in his country, to his people, isn't it his obligation to say - "I see that the governor has said she does not need additional assistance, but she is wrong. I am the President and my people need help." Is that too much to ask from our leader? I mean, it goes way deeper than that; it goes to him appointing his buddies to important positions rather than quaified people. It goes to him being seemingly unable to react in a crisis (9/11 anyone? The country is under attack and he thinks it is still suitable to read to a bunch of kids. 'Nuff said.).

Yes it goes deeper, but at the core to me is that as President, this nation is his responsibility. He overrides everything else. He makes decisions every day that take away our fundamental rights in the name of catching terrorists, but he can't make decisions to send money to save a city in his own country?

And now, nineteen months later, he has had the time to think about it. Time to come up with plans to fix the levees, to get money to those in need, to help the poor and middle class and even the rich come back to their homes, to prepare for the next disaster. Somehow, I am fairly sure that if this were to happen tomorrow in another US city, we would not be any more prepared nor would we get any more guidance from our leader.

I don't only blame Bush; please don't misunderstand me. I am fully aware that there's lots of blame to go around. But again, where does the buck stop? He is ultimately responsible, and he screwed up when the hurricane happened and is continuing to screw up now by letting a beautiful, important city rot away with neglect.

2008 can not get here soon enough.

Tuesday, March 27, 2007

More About My Trip, Part One

The main reason that New Orleans rules are signs like this. Cheap beer and you can drink it on the go:

We had a great time down in the Big Easy, eating at our favorite restaurants (Crescent City Brewery, Coop's, Maspero's, Bubba Gump's) and drinking at our favorite bars (Lafitte's and Tropical Isle). We did lots of shopping and spent lots of money (that was our contribution to post-Katrina N'Awlins - you were not going to see my ass out there cleaning up or building houses, but I can pump money into the economy like nobody's business!). We really spent most of our time walking around, enjoying the atmosphere down there (so relaxed and casual, jazz music everywhere you turn, good smells on Decatur Street from good restaurants - bad smells that still smell good on Bourbon Street).

Me and Patsy on Bourbon Street, standing with another sign that you only see in New Orleans.

My favorite part, other than the obvious (which would be Voodoo Daquiris, with My Chemical Romance playing on the jukebox) was eating at Nola, Emeril's "casual funky" restaurant. It was not casual in terms of price, that's for sure (my meal itself was $27 - whereas I am used to paying $8.99. Yep, I am a classy broad.). But it was so fantastic - the meal was so scrumpdilliumptious (you heard me) that it melted in your mouth and the service was amazing. Amazing meaning that I asked the waiter where the ladies room was and he took my arm and walked me there. It was worth every penny, and me and Hub decided that we need to start dining in better establishments more often. Of course the next day we went to the place we call "The Drag Queen Diner" - I think the real name is the Cloverleaf Diner. Its in the gay section and is fabulous, in every way. The waiters are flamboyant (example: Mommie Dearest was on the tv) and the food is greasy but delish. Their sign advertising the food says, Check Out Our Weenies! It does not get better than that.

Here's me and Patsy under the sign that bears our name.

Oh yeah, and I forgot to mention I picked up some broad from Nebraska. She was visiting with her mom and was out drinking alone, so I let her join us for a few hours and I do think she had the time of her life. She even got me out on the dance floor which just does not happen. Hallelujah there are no pictures of that. Well, none that I will admit to.

And finally here's me and Hub in the Best Bar Ever, Lafitte's, with the best drink ever, the Voodoo Daquiri (for those of you who have asked - its made with ice, grape juice, bourbon, and everclear. Yep, everclear.)

So again, I will say that if you have not been to this fabulous city, you should go. There really is more to do there than drink and its a beautiful part of America that is truly like nowhere else you have ever been. If you are looking for a great place to travel, consider it. You'll have a helluva time and the locals will appreciate your support.

Coming next time: The Wrath of Katrina: Why George Bush Sucks So Hard and Has Deserted An Entire Region for the Past 18 Months, as observed in a semi-non-partison manner by your pal True. There are pictures you just have to see to believe.

Monday, March 26, 2007

If There Was A Prize For Worst Transportation To And From New Orleans, I Would So Win It.

I finally made it to the Greatest City on Earth. But it wasn't easy. As you know, our flight on 3/17 was canceled due to ice. We were rescheduled for Monday night - but of course, because nothing is simple we were delayed for 3 hours, getting us into New Orleans at the delightful hour of 1:00 am. Luckily Patsy and Diddy met us at our hotel with our fave drinks (Voodoo Daquiri for me; Hand Grenade for Hub). Then, getting home, our flight was delayed another 3 hours. AND THEN, our cab from Newark Airport broke down. It was insanity I tell you.

Luckily, New Orleans is worth it. Another time, I am going to do a whole post on the state of New Orleans' post-Katrina state, but let me just say this - the French Quarter, which is all most tourists see, is still perfect. No damage (other than lots of help wanted signs since so many people have left and have no homes to come back to), and still lots and lots of fun. I know the media is telling you there is so much crime down there - its just not true. We had zero problems, zero. This may sound...bad, I dunno...but the crime is all outside the French Quarter and doesn't effect tourists. Its just like in most cities - it is drug and gang violence, which doesn't happen where the visitors are. It happens where the locals are.

The drinks were flowing, the restaurants were fantastic (the service was way better than usual, actually), the tours were crowded, the people were friendly and wonderful as always - it was the same amazing city its always been. If you have never been, now is the time to go. Support a city that desperately needs to get back on its feet and is totally worth saving.

Monday, March 19, 2007

I Have Still Not Made It To New Orleans And I Am Not Happy About It At All.

So. My flight to New Orleans on Saturday was canceled due to the snow. It took me 3 hours to even get a call through to Continental, and once I did get through I sat on hold for over an hour and a half. Finally they got me on the next available flight out - which is tonight (Monday). So as long as I can get out of Newark tonight, I will be in New Orleans by about 10pm. Patsy and Diddy are already on their way down there - they got a 6am flight. I am at work. I was supposed to be in New Orleans from Saturday through Tuesday, and now I am going Monday through Friday. We missed St. Patty's Day down there which sucks, but we had a few people over and had an impromptu "St. Patty's in Jersey Really Sucks" party, which didn't really suck at all. We wore all our crazy greenwear that we were going to wear to the parades and looked like morons. Patsy thinks, after seeing how ridiculously green we were, that the Gods of Alcohol realized we were going to look like idiots on Bourbon Street with our green shamrock hats and tiaras, green sparkly sunglasses, light up green beads, etc etc etc, that they decided to spare us the embarrassment and keep us at my house rather than in public looking like that. There are many many pictures but I don't have them at work, and even if I did, I am not sure I should subject you to them.

So please, think happy thoughts for me that I get out of Jersey today and down to the best place in the world. And that Patsy really meant it that she would meet me as I get out of the cab at my hotel with a Voodoo Daquiri.

Friday, March 16, 2007

I'm in New Orleans. Please Send Bail Money.

So this is what I was going to post tonight so you would know I was basking in the drunken debauchery that is my favorite city, New Orleans. However. It is snowing here and they are saying we're going to get 4-8 inches by tomorrow morning when I am due to leave. Flights are already delayed 3 hours out of Newark Airport. Flights are getting canceled left and right. I am telling you right now, if my flight does not take off tomorrow, I am going to seriously hurt someone. Instead of sending me bail money to New Orleans for doing something crazy, you are going to have to send bail money to the Newark Airport pokey because I, I don't know, punched a pilot or something.

Monday, March 12, 2007

I'll Be The Giver and You Be The Taker

That's a quote from my favorite song right now, All Hail the Heartbreaker. And its how I feel. I feel like everyone wants something from me and its seldom that I get anything in return. So this is a rant about that.

I have this one group of friends who I love, really I do. But they are so needy. I am not going to go into too much detail because I forget who has this blog address and who doesn't, but let's just say that these friends seemed to be trapped in relationships they can't seem to get out of. I have been trying for years to convince them to get out, and finally, two of them are doing it. Which is great, really.

Except that every effing day, these two call me for advice. And believe me, I like telling people what to do so its not that I mind that. Its more that even now that they are feeling strong enough to get out, they are still so weak that they need to call me every day and say, "I don't know if I am doing the right thing, XYZ was sooo nice to me today, maybe I should stay." Its annoying.

And on top of that, another reason its annoying me (other than the fact that I can't tolerate weak people who don't value themselves) is that they are always looking for something from me without ever considering if *I* need anything. They call and call and email and email and its always about them. It reminds me of this line I always remember from the show Judging Amy - the guy says to the girl, I love you because of your strength. The girl says, everyone loves strong people because we never ask for anything. So that's me, the strong one who everyone loves because I don't need anything from them, I can just give and give without requiring anything from you.

Not that I need anything, I don't. I really am strong enough to take care of myself and make easy decisions, like leaving horrendous situations, all on my own without having to be convinced. It would just be nice to be asked.

Thursday, March 08, 2007

Oh. My. God.

If you don't fall in lust with Gerard Way after seeing this video, there is something wrong with you. See how pretty he is when he's about to cry? ~swoon~

This is the yet-to-be-released video for the song "I Don't Love You" - its phenomenal and beautiful. I so heart My Chem.

Monday, March 05, 2007

Talkin' Bout Good Times

Another crazy weekend for your friend True. On Saturday night, we went to see Papa Roach in concert. There were 3 opening bands, two of which sucked (It Dies Today and Trim) and the other was good (Kill Hannah). After the show I met the lead singer of Kill Hannah which was cool. So last weekend I touched Evan Dando of the Lemonheads, and this week I touched some guy whose name I do not know from Kill Hannah. Touching famous people rules. Papa Roach was great in concert. I am not a huge fan or anything, but this is still the third time I have seen them in the last 5 months and they put on an awesome show. (That's Papa Roach in the pic.)

Then, we came back to my house for the "after party." My cousin babysat for Princess while we were at the show, so when we got home she stayed and hung out with us. It was good times. She is such a cool kid (she might be just a little under 21 years old so I am not going to give too many details. I don't want you calling Child Services on me). We all stayed up till about 6:30am talking and arguing and laughing hysterically. I was telling her, I so wish she was a little older so she could hang out with the cousins when we go out, and so she could come to New Orleans with us. I love that kid, she rocks. And here's the thing. Everyone says that our little group of friends is really hard to infiltrate. We are like a group of mean girls (even though there are boys in the group) and we don't really like new people. So sometimes when new people try to hang with us, they just can't. We are all sarcastic and we say what we think and don't care much if you get hurt by it. Its kinda like getting jumped into a gang. So here comes my cousin, a young girl of slightly less than 21, and she fit in like she had been hanging with us forever. Of course I have known her for her whole life, but she has never hung out with my friends before. She rocks, seriously.

Friday, March 02, 2007

America Hates Gays and Ugly Chicks!

So in watching American Idol last night, I have come to the following conclusions about Americans:

1. We hate gays more than we hate Indians (please forgive me if Sanjaya is not Indian but some other nationality - I really don't know). Now, I LOVE Sanjaya. I think he is just about the cutest, sweetest thang I have ever seen. He is like a little puppy dog. But to send the other guy home, the swishy fella who can both sing and dance, instead of Sanjaya who is a cutie but can't seem to get enough confidence to sing well - its a travesty. My heart broke when they sent the merry lad home. Its just not right. He wasn't going to win, but didn't deserve to go home yet. That kid can sing, dawg.

2. We don't care if girls can sing, we just want them to be hot and take nekkid pics of themselves doing nasty things. Antonella has such a sub-par voice its not even funny. I would like nothing more than for a girl repping Jersey to be great, but instead she is pretty but can't sing and seems to have a serious attitude (alright, that part is pretty much Jersey, I admit that). She is just getting votes because she is pretty and she has all those semi-scandalous pics out there. And here's a question - why is it ok that she has these pics floating around (including her on a toilet and her drinking underage) and that's ok, but those pics of Frenchie in lingerie were enough to get her kicked off? I'll let you figure that one out.

3. The judges are pretty much morons. My favorite example of this is how one week they tell them they are playing it safe by singing xyz kind of music and they need to take more chances. So the next week they do, and then the judges tell them they are best at singing xyz music and they should stick to what they are good at. Whaaaa???? And, on top of that, if Paula Abdul ever constructs a single coherent thought, I think I will just about die.

4. Why don't Simon and Ryan just do it already???

Thursday, March 01, 2007

What's Today's Earworm?

I think I am the worst ever for these things - where you hear a song and then for hours and hours you can't get it out of your head. The absolute worst one for me is that commercial for the tv channel Fuse that features "Dance Dance" by Fall Out Boy but they put all the wrong words as subtitles. So for days I will sing - "Dance, Dance, we're fondling a bug till halftime." It makes me nuts.

Anyhoo- what's your current earworm? For me, right now, Its "All Hail the Heartbreaker" by The Spill Canvas (ha ha, its not a My Chem song, I fooled ya!). I just love the lyrics so much (listed below for those of you who are interested). What song can't you get out of your head?

I had the notion that you'd make me change my ways
My bad habits would be gone in a matter of days
I had the feeling that you'd open up my eyes
To a whole new world that had since been in disguise
But that day will most likely never come for me
And it's just my luck to end up getting stuck
To everything you are
So tonight I'll sit and pick apart your pictures
And overanalyze your words
But the truth is that I've never fallen so hard
It's taking everything in me
Just to forget your sweater so far
I had the notion that you'd make me forget the world
But your undecisive mind shows me that
You are "just another girl"
I had the feeling that those looks you gave me were real
What if I ripped your heart apart at the seams
Maybe then you'd know how I feel
I can honestly say that I never, ever, ever felt this way
Your lips, your eyelashes, your skin
These are the parts of your body
That cause my comatose to begin
I will sleep another day
I don't really need to anyway
What's the point when my dreams are infected
With words you used to say
I will breathe in a moment
As long as I keep my distance
I wouldn't want to go messing anything up
So don't go worrying about me
It's not like I think about you constantly
So maybe I do, but that shouldn't affect your life anymore
I knew it the moment you walked into the door
I'll let you get the best of me
Because there's nothing else that I do well
I'll be the giver and you'll be the taker
I guess that's how this one's gonna go
You've got me down on my knees and I proclaim
All hail the heartbreaker