Monday, August 29

Just How Long Can Three People and Three Cats Survive in a Hallway?

This is the question I'm currently asking about TC who is hunkering down as we speak. She's there with her moother, Scott, and three cats. I've talked to another friend in Hattiesburg who is also in the hallway with her husband and their animals. I've been doing a little digging to try and give you something about New Orleans. Truth be told, there's not a whole lot. There are some folks still blogging or trying to blog. Like I said, I'm not as internet savvy as TC, so just use the links in previous posts for blogs that may be coming out of New Orleans. There is basically NO electricity and the water is on the rise.

As for the weather where I am, its blustery and raining. We may see more wind than we earlier expected, but I think on the whole this is the best place we can be. I'm trying to stay in contact with TC about every hour so I can know what is happening. If there is anyone out there in the Ocean Springs area that can give me some information it would be greatly appreicated.

Hattiesburgers Nervous As Storm Rolls In

I've just spoken with TC who is now in her second hour with no power. It appears that most of Hattiesburg is now without electricity. She's also reported that her mother's house on the coast in Long Beach is beginning to flood and a tree has fallen on cars in the driveway. Local weather stations are saying now that Hattiesburg will get the ever-spooky eye wall with up to 100 mph winds.

I would like to say "wow, wasn't I smart to haul ass outta there", but most of that credit goes to my mother for being incredibly weather savvy and well, motherly-aka "get in the car and leaveNOW." When asked by one person how old I was in reference to my mother's mothering I replied that I was old enough to know that when momma yells, it's time to listen. I must admit to being somewhat jealous at first. I mean, I was going to miss all of the "excitement". But, after realizing that most of my friends back home were sweating to death in their hallways, I got over it quickly.

For those of you who want to know what's going on in New Orleans, I don't know a whole lot, but do know that most of the electricty gone and with no electricty to run the pumps, the bathtub, so to speak is filling up. There are reports of water coming into the first floor windows of two of the major hospitals. North of New Orleans in places like Hammond, this is where my brother and his family reside, there was some severe damage. Here in Natchez, the wind is starting to pick up as we get a few of the outer bands.

More news from TC and the gang as it comes in.

Proxy Bloggin'

Okay, so this is Jennifer and I'm in Natchez, Mississippi. We are getting some wind and minor rain here, but other than that not too much activity. Well, if you don't count the numerous times we've eaten. Anyway, back to the hurricane and TC, who is on the phone with me now. In true TC fashion, she's even managed to turn even my blogging experience into a cat blog. Turns out the Keltie kitten dashed out of the door and spent a few action packed minutes under the car. TC reports that she's lost power due to her favorite neighbor's large oak tree giving up the ghost and landing on some power lines.

According to the news station here, which is out of Jackson, Hattiesburg is going to be getting some tough winds pretty soon. I'll try to do the best I can to keep you informed, though I'm not as witty nor as internet savvy as TC.

Hattie's Blog

I'm out, guys. Something big just fell on the house. Next up, Jennifer will be taking over.

Hattie's Blog

For "real" news, head on over to The Irish Trojan. I am covering my little corner of the world, but he has up-to-date info on New Orleans and parts afield.

We are about to have to head to the hallway, I think. Pretty serious gusts and we should be under tornado warning and not just a watch here in a few.

As you can see above, something funky is happening with my logo up there. Sorry, but it can't be helped.

Out my front door

Lots of crazy wind here in Hattiesburg. Small branches down. Very light rain. Though New Orleans may not be getting the smackdown that was expected, it is worse here this morning than I expected. I sort of thoughtwe would be at this level of bluster more towards noon.

Most of the weather-related sites I have been using all night are inaccessable to me at the moment, so send me what you're hearing.

Thanks to Dr. Max for the shout out over at That One Blog, the only parody blog I frequent.

Power issues

The power is flickering and I may have to sign off here in a bit. I will, however, be dictating entries to Reporter Girl Jennifer via cell as long as the cells are working and she has power. She's in Natchez, so she may not ever lose power.

I am on as long as I am able. Let me know what things are like where you are and stay safe.

Could New Orleans be so lucky?

It is a dismal windy and wet morning in Hattiesburg with winds sustained in the 20 mph range, but I am a (so far) happy person this morning. Katrina made original landfall East of New Orleans about 30 minutes ago and as of right now, there is appears they even still have power on in parts of New Orleans, though I read at The Irish Trojan that the Superdome has reportedly lost power.

The conspiracy theorists are already weighing in on what happened to Katrina. I am unable to access the Weather Underground at the moment, but last night a guy said that he thinks that the government did something to take the starch our of her. I shot back at him that they sure took their sweet time about it and just because we don't understand what happened doesn't make it a government plot and then I invoked Occam's Razor, which I thought was pretty damn smart of me in the state I was in, and I even spelled it correctly. Whew!

Pardon my slight hysteria--a little sleep with a dollop of THANK GOD.

Hearing some good news

At about 3:30 am, it seems that Katrina may be collapsing. Still a dangerous storm, but perhaps not the city-destroyer we had been dreading. I am feeling an incredible sense of relief, especially for old New Orleans. Here's hoping that what I am hearing is accurate.

Another Bourbon Street Cam

Visit this one quick before we lose it. It's the one labled "Quarter Cam." (Duh) Many of the other links are working on that page, as well. Bead cam is an overhead looking down on Bourbon, presumably. Never seen it looking so clean.

Thanks to poster Remek @ Weather Underground

Also, the ever-impressive Irish Trojan has posted this fantastic picture he got from the New York Times of New Orleans last night. I hope he forgives the blatant stealing, this is a wonderful pic.

Small sacrifices

The S.O., Scott, is already eating through our no-refrigeration/no-cook supplies. How about a nice frozen pizza? I suggest. Eat a damn frozen burrito, I say. Nope--he's munching on the granola bars. But I can't get too mad. He wanted to go as far away as possible yesterday and I told him it would be without me, so he stayed despite a healthy fear for his life. And he's putting up with my mother, who in addition to mowing our lawn this afternoon, has been cleaning non-stop.

Looking at the latest radar, Hattiesburg is about to start catching the Katrina's first edge. And did I take a nap like I said I would? Hell, no. I can't make my eyes even blink, much less nap. My night-owl habits plus a dose of panic has made sleep seem a distant possibility. I expect to start slurring my typing any minute.

In the words of my mother, the fish force-feeder, "If get weird, tell."

Kind Referrers to Hattie's Blog

These guys are kind enough to link to me for Katrina Blogging and they all have links to other K bloggers.

Newsome.org

Arts Journal

Sledgeblog

Kokonut Pundits

Subterranean Homepage News

Cadenhead's Workbench

I also wanted to repost a really good, up-to-the-minute K blog, The Irish Trojan

Accident on I-10?

Word is that there has been a multi-car pile-up on I-10, with 15,000 car stacked behind it. Not surprising, but still horrifying. I'll post more as I hear it.

UPDATE: I'm now hearing that this may have been a false report. I hope so.

Sunday, August 28

Happy Birthday, Jennifer C.!!

With all of this craziness, I totally forgot that today was my dear friend Jennifer C.'s birthday! I am so sorry, and I love you.

I feel like shit. Blogosphere, got any ideas how I can make it up to her?

Here's to you, Jennifer!
(Yeah, I know. All my friends are named Jennifer.)

No longer a blow-by-blow of Katrina,

But more of a diary of the delirious. . . .

Everyone but me is now in bed. I am such a night person.

We have an aquarium that has just been broken in, and it is fairly certain we are going to lose our fish in the heat to come. My mother lost her broken down old goldfish, Hannibal, the last time she evacuated--she went to visit family and got stuck there for longer than expected. She thought Hannibal, who already had only one fin, would be dead by the time she made it back, but he hung in there long enough for her to try to nurse him back. He wouldn't eat, so she tried to force-feed him. If you knew my mother, this would not surprise you in the least, but her telling me this made me laugh until coke snorted out of my nose. The drinkable kind, despite what this rambling post may indicate.

Man, I gotta go lie down. Back in a few.

Hi to new visitors.

I am beginning to think I am posting too often. I am sleep deprived and still sort of jazzed from the little adrenaline shot I got from the "oofing" I told you about in the last post. Let me know if I am beginning to wear on you.

I did want to thank the many folks who are linking to Hattie's Blog and welcome any new visitors. I encourage you to dig a little deeper into the blog, it's not all about Katrina and I think I occasionally produce the funny in my posts.

Well, about DAMN TIME. I just read that the last bar still open in New Orleans has closed. (Scan down the page a bit for the story.) Aside from seeming to indicate the End Times, perhaps this means those fools will pack it in and give themselves a fighting chance on some higher ground.

Here's the latest missive from Jennifer, Girl Reporter, live from Natchez:
I've got to be the most boring roving reporter ever. As of now, I've
had nothing to report except tasty stew, traveling laundry and in a
recent development Bluebell ice cream and sugar cookies. Apparently
I've evacuated not to higher ground but to a more tasty climate. I
hope all is well in Hattiesburg. It looks pretty green on the radar.
Hope you are not sitting in the hallway just yet.

this just in--the rumble on the street is that we're having bacon and
biscuits for breakfast!

Things calm in the 'Burg

Except for dumbass me, who went out on the back porch and proceeded to slip and fall on the steps, which were surprisingly slick. After the "Oof," and checking to make sure my butt, right wrist and jaw were ok, I had a terrible image of spending the rest of the night in the ER for a broken arm. I'm ok, and I am happy to report that the weather, at least as viewed from the bottom of my back steps, is currently calm.

We're under a tornado watch until 2. I assume that this will be extended.

The Wolf River at the Coast is already at the highest flood stage ever recorded and it is not even really raining. I am no expert but I believe this is due to the water that Katrina is pushing before her.

I just thought of hearing sometime last week about sexual offenders not being allowed in shelters in Florida. Pretty rough. Comments?

Various ramblings

Here are some graphs of the level of Lake Pontchartrain. I can't claim to be able to read them with any expertise, so my professional opinion is Oh Shit.

Camille was the old boogy-monster they used to threaten bad little Southern Mississippi boys and girls when I was a bad little Southern Mississippi girl. Camille trashed the Coast then went on to kill folks along the Mason-Dixon line, then went back out into the Atlantic to reform as a tropical storm. Pretty damn impressive.

I've been terrorizing myself with the Weather Underground's blogs on Katrina. There's a recent update wherein weather guru Jeff Masters tells us that Katrina is worse than Camille.

Please, if you are already freaked out, don't bother with these links. In fact, stop reading this blog if it's wigging you. Just keep watching local coverage and get as prepared as you can. There is no need to make yourself crazy over this.

If you're alone and you need to speak to someone, email me and I'll give you a call or try to get you some help if you need it.

News from Natchez

Verbatim from Jen:

as for the roving reporting--im doing the best i can--but no wind no
rain as of yet, but it looks as if my brother and his family who are
on their way to Alexandria are going to be sitting in traffic for a
while . IN other news cousin Paula is fixing a very tasty smelling
stew and cornbread for supper and I'm going to wash my laundry in a
few. Put natchez down as yet another stop on my laundry's list of
places its gotten washed!

And if you are out there in the weather, too, feel free to comment about your experiences.

Here's a link to several other Katrina bloggers, several in New Orleans, brave, foolhardy souls. Thanks to Mike McConnell for the linkage.

The Webcam in New Orleans still functioning. Will you just look at those idiots.

Jennifer, our Natchez connection

Jennifer reports this:

okay, news from natchez--rain and wind has stopped and we've been moved outta the cone/
still saying 50-60 mph winds here--traffic is super bad.

Well, that's boring! No, I'm glad. Jennifer is one of my friends with some sense. Many of my guys seem to have been caught completely off guard, and I can only hope they are getting prepared, finally.

Currently in Hattiesburg, lots of very ominous thunder that seems to go on forever. Creepy.

We're filling the bath tub (which always seems like boiling water at a birth to me. It seems more like something to do, rather than a truly useful action), and my S.O., Scott, is coming up with some Byzantine method of rigging some doors closed. I dunno, I'm just reporting it.

I'm also smoking like a flapper and I'm high on lack of sleep, so as the weather degenerates so may my blogging. I hope I live to be embarrassed my writing skilz.

Notes to friends, again

Rhett: Alex has entered the building, Alex has entered the building!

Greggy, you didn't say if you are in an ok situation. Any doggies?

What a difference a minute and a half makes

Well, it is spitting rain at times, pouring at others, and pretty windy. Dark as about 7:30 usually is this time of year. I'm glad we are ready to sit it out without heading outdoors for last-minute items.

I simply can't imagine how it would have been, before all the technology we have, to be unaware that such a storm was on its way. It was a beautiful day most of Sunday with no obvious clues of the extreme weather to come.

I have my bandanna and a flashlight on my belt-loop, so I feel fashionably ready.

Hattie's Hallway Hunkering

My house is a clapboard number dating from 1935 near downtown Hattiesburg. It is built off the ground on little brick stilts. You will not hear me say as I've heard from so many others, "I'll be fine, this house has stood right here near-abouts 100 years," because a storm like this does not hit Hattiesburg once in a century. This house has never experienced what I expect we're going to get.

Having said that, I do think that we will be ok, though the house may take a hit. There's a little square hallway that has no windows and is central to the house. It shares each wall with an inner wall to another room. The plan is to get myself, my boyfriend and my mother into the hall and line it with mattresses and pillows. The hall is about 8x8. (I'm glad I'll be with folks I like.) I also have a fall-back plan which I cannot reveal at this time as it may be frowned upon by some powers-that-be.

It is very blustery now, though no rain yet. We're under a tornado watch until 2 am. I am trying to see if Kelty-kitten is acting strangely, but shit, how can you tell? The damn animal is a walking (running, leaping, cavorting) ball of strange.

I have a roving reporter in Natchez who will be updating me on the situation there. Should be interesting--she and her extended family, including her cat, just showed up at a relative's house unannounced. An allergic-to-cats relative. (Hey, I'll turn this into a cat blog yet.)

Jennifer, my intrepid girl-reporter, says that Natchez is nuts. The Walmart is wall-to-wall hysterics from out of town. She says it is raining a bit there. More as she reports in.

Later, Taters.

Some notes to friends

Hey, Rhett--wanna let you know that Alex is roaming the neigborhood, but we're gonna trap him as soon as he comes for food. I wish I had been thinking, I'd have scored some kitty valium for him as I know he's likely to holler all night. We have Kelty and Daisy here, as well. It's going to be a 3 cat night. . . .

Greggypoo, you set up ok? I've thought about you a lot today. Remember that hurricane you, I, Rhett and Red rode out together? She had those two huge dogs and we had all finally settled down to sleep when we hear your tiny, panicked voice. "He's tasting me!" you said, referring to one of the puppies. We laughed about that for, oh, hell, years now.

MS Gulf Coast Web Cam and some other Katrina Bloggers

I'm not sure which city, but this webcam is somewhere on the Mississippi Coast.

Kaye Trammell is in Baton Rouge and is blogging Katrina from there. Interesting stuff.

Rodgers Cadenhead has a list of other Katrina blogs and was kind enough to list the old Hattie's Blog on his Workbench Blog.

Know of any others? Please drop a comment, especially if you have a webcam link.

So, what ARE people thinking?

Just got back from the workplace--they have come to their senses and are trying to batten down the building. All to no avail, I suspect. We just picked up the CPUs and covered everything with thin plastic. This on the 3rd floor. Well, at least they did something, pointless as it was.

Meanwhile, there is a Part-tay going on in the Big Easy. Here's a story about folk's attitudes down there. My favorite quote? "Down the street [Bourbon Street!!], psychic Jackie Wilson waited for customers at a card table, advertising "Free sample readings." What's the opposite of psychic? You know--can't see the things that the average guy can. I feel badly for folks who simply cannot leave and tourists who are stuck there, but my God, people. I have heard newscasters stating there may be more than 10,000 people dead in New Orleans by the end of this.

Here in Hattiesburg, it is becoming cloudy and blustery. I have seen no birds or squirrels all day, and typically we are overrun with the critters.

I'm going to try to nap for a time and hope to wake up to a new, better reality.

So, my over-60 mother is mowing my yard. Hey, she needed something to do! I didn't want to tell her that if she waited a bit, Katrina would mow it for her.

Here's a good blog for non-stop Katrina reporting.

Just called my boss to volunteer to help if he knows of some folks needing it, now or after, if I am able. He says that he's going in to work as usual tomorrow. We do not work in critical area. Ok, Dude. Whatever. Don't expect to see me there.

What are people thinking?

Bourbon Street webcam

Here's a webcam from Bourbon Street. I feel bad for those little fellows that are scurrying around.

Back from the foraging

Decided to forego the WalMart in favor of the local little Sunflower, thanks to the S.O., which was a good idea. There was still water there, though probably all gone now. Walgreens still has some, though, if you hurry.

The mood is fairly calm in town. Light traffic and only a little more action at the Sunflower than usual. These folks who were there, were pretty relaxed, but getting more appropriate items than last time.

I am hearing from people that Hattiesburgers are completely unprepared, expecting to be at work on Monday as usual. This is simply not going to happen, and if you have not gotten ready and you are still reading this (Hi, Darren! I'm not talking about you!), get off the damn computer and get out of town or prepare to hunker down. I cannot stress this enough.

On the Coast, if you are not following the mandatory evacuations, they are coming around and making you sign a waiver stating your vital stats and that the city can dispose of your body. There's already some flooding. Katrina ain't playing.

Good luck and I'll update, hopefully without ever-increasing hysteria, as time goes on.

Serious Situation

Woke up this morning to the worst possible news. Not only is Katrina a Cat 5 hurricane, but it is barrelling towards New Orleans and is then due to slam thru mid-Mississippi. This is going to be the storm that eclipses Camille, a long-time dirty word in parts hereabout.

The local channel, WDAM, is showing an infomercial currently and I am very afraid that folks are simply not taking this thing seriously here. I think the Coast folks may have woken up this a.m. when Jim Cantore recommended this course of action: Go outside, take a look at the Mississippi Coast and remember what you see, because Tuesday it will be gone. Then get the hell out. He's leaving before too long.

About to go to the store to see if I can buy anything that might help in the coming days. Hopefully the one upside of Hattiesburg being clueless is that there are still some things on the shelves.

I know this blog is not reaching thousands (or even hundreds. . . .tens?) but if you do read this today and you are in my area, please start your preparations and stay safe.

Saturday, August 27

Katrina is shaping up to be a "worst case" kinda storm--massive, on its way to become a Cat 4 and maybe 5, and targeting New Orleans and parts east. Hattiesburg is known as the Hub City-it's within 100 miles of the state capitol, Jackson; the Mississippi Gulf Coast; Mobile, AL; and New Orleans. Unless there is a major change in Katrina predictions, Hattiesburg is going to get some serious weather out of her.

As suits the gravity of this, folks in Hattiesburg are reacting much as I expected from our honorable citizenry. They are renting movies and get blank looks when you mention the storm. Those who at least know about the storm aren't preparing, here or on the Coast. (Of course, I have yet to make it to Wal-Mart, myself.) My friend Jennifer believes that people would be evacuating if gas prices weren't ridiculous, and of course, she's probably right. But you ain't seen nothing yet--Katrina promises to bring $3/gal gas in the next few weeks.

My mother did just arrive from Ocean Springs, a cute little town on the Coast fairly close to the Alabama border. She lives near the beach and seems to be taking this one pretty seriously. (That's saying a lot. When I was a child, she was somehow convinced that a tornado couldn't occur if it was raining. Not a real weather-hound, my mother.)

Heading to bed and I'll let you know tomorrow am if folks are finally getting the picture that Katrina may be more than just a little wind.

Mr. Hurricane Magnet Himself

is on the Mississippi Gulf Coast this morning, which does not bode well for the Coast. . . .

If you want to listen to a bunch of weather know-it-alls, skip on over to the Weather Underground's Katrina blog. Interesting, if a little fear-mongering.

I am posting the Gas Buddy link again for those of you who need to gas up your vehicles in preparation. Looks like the cheapest gas in town in Hwy 49 North at the Raceway and Pure--1.46/gal.

Oh, and here's a fun fact for New Orleaners (what is the word for a person from New Orleans? And no, "a drunk" is not the answer): The coroner's office keeps 10,000 body bags on hand in the event a major hurricanes hits them straight on. Most of the weather gurus I'm hearing are advising that folks in N.O. leave now, rather than waiting for an evacuation order.

Here's a site where you can view the traffic streaming out of New Orleans in real-time. Looks like folks are heading out. Good decision, because here's a map of the damage flooding from a hurricane like Katrina could cause to the New Orleans area. Warning: HUGE graphic.

Finally, here's the Biloxi webcam. Pretty boring now, but it may be a little more interesting later.

Hurricane blogging

I was going to call this post, originally enough, "Katrina and the Waves," but a quick straw poll indicates that most of you would have no idea what the hell I was talking about. (The rest of you would think that it was just lame.)

Several days ago, the S.O. said, "Hey, ya know, we ought to get prepared in case there's another hurricane," so we went out and bought plywood, massive amounts of water, batteries, and spam. Ha! No, actually, we sat here and said, "Yeah, that's a good idea!" and "What's on tv?" So, having depleted all of our supplies except three cans of tuna from the last go 'round, I suppose it's about time to head back to the Sunflower.

By popular demand (hey, one girl asked if I was going to!), I will again be blogging my hurricane exploits for your enjoyment. Currently, they are looking at a Mississippi/Louisiana landfall on Monday and there's already a state of emergency in Lousiana, so I'm thinking that the hotels in Hattiesburg are already booked.

I am concerned that this will be a major event; if it's not, the worry always is that hurricane newbies will get jaded and underestimate "the big one" when it occurs. Meanwhile, of course, there is that sick pleasure one gets when something like this happens. Few people will admit it, but we get off on it. One year on the coast, one of the channels got a new news guy during hurricane season, and he had a pretty eventful first new weeks. After that, it was the typical "hot and wet" for several months, and you could see it wearing on him. He'd make forecasts that were like, "It's hot and wet today, but tomorrow, ANYTHING COULD HAPPEN!" He didn't last long.

At any rate, stay tuned here to get the latest on how Katrina is affecting me, because after all, me is what it's all about.

Housekeeping

Just a couple of quick comments about minor Hattie's Blog changes:

If you want, you can sign up for email when I put up a new post. Just go over there to the lower right and put in your email address. I won't sell it, send you spam, blah, blah, blah.

Also, when you comment, you now have to enter the word you see in squiggly little letters on the comments form. This is to stop comment spam, which appears to be becoming a problem for Hattie's Blog. I hope this doesn't frustrate you too badly, ya big baby.

Thursday, August 25

One Million Moms can't be wrong

My S.O. thinks this site's a joke, or it's a viral ad thing.

Of course not. These folks are just sillily angry enough to believe they are fighting the good fight. . . . Against the word "sucks."

***Here's the great suckfreetv.com link, in case you did not follow the above link. I may not have ever seen these "sucky" ads had it not been for One Million Moms. Thanks, O.M.M!***

Are you a daddy? Or are you a kid? You can help.

Thursday, August 18

Spotlighting spiders

I have noticed an interesting thing: many "chick bloggers" seem to be big fans of spiders. Huh. I don't know what that means, but count me among them.

I am one of the "used to hate 'em, now I am fascinated by 'em" school. I have had many experiences with spiders; they seem particularly attracted to me. I once was almost asleep when I felt a gentle thump on my head. I thought to myself, "Self, you can go ape-shit crazy and jump up screaming and perhaps get bitten by what ever that was, or you can calmly turn on the light and check it out." I managed to remain calm, and sure enough, a spider had fallen from the ceiling and into my hair. I wonder if he thought to himself, "Self, you can go spider-shit crazy and perhaps get smushed by whatever tangly thing you have landed in, or you can remain calm and try to sneak off ignominiously."

Did you know that the common garden spider doesn't like being poked with a stick and will jump up and down, shaking the web madly, when this is done? (Bad blogger!) Or that that cute little jumping spider can see pretty well and seems interested in humans? I had a jumping spider fall in love with me on my back porch one summer day--he wouldn't leave me alone, and each time I brushed him off my leg and down the steps, he made the arduous trip all the way back up to crawl on me again. Finally, I let him go to see what he would do. When I could no longer see him, I went and looked in the mirror, and he was perched on top of my head.

Jumping Spider courtesy of Salticidae.org

There are spiders who can catch fish, spiders who can change color, and spiders who can spit poisonous silk the huge distance of 10 millimeters. Spider silk is stronger than steel, spider web filaments were used in gun sights as the 'cross hairs' until the early 1960's, and the theory is that no one on earth is ever more than 3 feet away from some spider. Yep, spiders are pretty neat, and the ones you run across in you day-to-day lives are generally not poisonous to you. And if you are certain every fast little guy running over your carpet is a brown recluse, I suggest that you look up the word recluse, as it doesn't mean what you think it does.

So, with all of this in mind, let me suggest an interesting nighttime activity--wolf spider spotlighting. All you need is a flashlight, a mowed back yard, and girded loins. Wolf spiders are nighttime hunters and have reflective eyes, much like a cat's. Go to the edge of the yard and hold the flashlight next to your head right above your ear. You will then see the reflection of the spider's eyes as they prowl around for food. When I and several of my friends did this some years ago, it was amazing. We were in a fairly-sized back yard and there were literally dozens of wolf spiders. They ignored us, and you could walk right up on them and check out what they had caught. I had no idea what a jungle the suburban backyard really is.
Wolf Spider courtesy of Learners Online

Insomniac Links

I am very much a night-owl and I have been since I was a very small girl. Perhaps it is because I have always been afraid of missing something. On one of my birthdays, my sixth or seventh, I think, I told my father that I wanted to stay up all night for my birthday present. He obliged and we spent part of that night in a nearby wilderness area checking out all of the night-time critters. I made it all night and was awake to see the sun rise, while poor Dad was snoring on the couch by 4 am. That birthday remains one of my fondest memories.

Here are a few links for you other night-owls who enjoy roaming the internet late at night:

Levitated. Lots of play-pretties here. Just sort of bumble around for a while and enjoy the interactive elegance.

I first saw this David and Goliath sticker on the mirror in the lady's at local venue The Thirsty Hippo. Like that sticker, the Throw Rocks at Boys game from the D&G guys is sweetly simple and sinister.

Speaking of sweet and sinister, I again have proved what an evil ditz I am by laughing far too hard at this little game.

Battleship by DuctTape Fashion. For all of those who remember fondly the "You sank my battleship!" kid.

Here are a few word games for you late night linguaphiles:

Word Association This is mildly entertaining for a time. Anyone want to explain why my response to the word "roads" was "grunge"? Oh, because it's 4 am.

WordSpy. Has a nice interface and music, but after a couple of dozen plays, some limitations (both of the game and myself) became obvious.

It's Boggle! On the web! It's Weboggle! These guys were tough. Even with 2 friends helping/cheating, we never even broke the top 8.

And my new favorite, Define Time. How many words can you define correctly in two minutes? My personal best was a score of 570, but I am getting a little delirious.

Whew. Well, now I'm worn out and it is finally time for bed. Tomorrow (later today) I will put up a few links to some sites that are not just time wasters and post an idea for a fun night out for you and your less-than-squeamish pals.

Wednesday, August 17

Phone Update

I almost got a picture of a huge honking spider for you guys on the Razr last night, but between looking for the phone and dodging the spider as well as my kitten, who was coincidentally chasing a "palmetto bug," (which is polite Southern-ese for huge honking wood roach) right under my feet, I managed to miss the shot. But as it is Wild Kingdom here at the house, I am sure I'll get another chance.

Meanwhile, here is a picture from the web of what my spider, most likely a cellar spider, looked like:





Courtesy of the University of Kentucky Department of Entomology website


Well, the Razr is just a phone, you know. It is a conversation piece, but it hasn't made the people on the other end that much more interesting to talk to. It was a mini-saga to get it up and running. When the first phone got here (ordered it off the internet), they had left the batteryplate out of the box. A phone call later and we had a new phone on its way. That's right, instead of shipping a .02 oz batteryplate, they shipped me a whole new phone and we had to ship the first one back. This boggles my mind, but so did the light-up keypad feature, so perhaps I am easily boggled. Apparently, the cool blue backlighting of the keypad is controlled by the ambient light through a tiny sensor. For two days, I was convinced it was broken. Of course, it always worked when the significant other used it, but it was iffy when I did--sometimes it would light up, sometimes not. Turns out, I was often opening it outdoors or under bright flourescents, while he only got the chance to play with it at night or in dim places. It was suggested to me that perhaps it was light sensitive. Well, I blew that suggestion off until I had the same thought myself. I called Jennifer and I said, "Hey, you know what? I think the phone is light-sensitive!" She said, "Uh, yeah, I told you that yesterday," which I swear I don't remember her saying.

I was this close to sending the phone back again when I saw the light. Hah!! And no, nowhere in the paperwork does Motorola mention this added feature. Surely I am not the only dim bulb (Hah!! again) who was confused by this, Motorola guys. One other cute thing about the phone is a little Motorola-branded spongy pad that you can attach to it that can be used to clean the screens so you don't have to use your shirt-tail. Silly, but actually useful. Overall, I like the phone. I like the feel of of it, the reception is good, and it handled me dropping it first thing out of the box with nary a hiccup.

Oh, and one last thing I learned: For some reason, calling the folks at Cingulair to activate the new phone's sim card on your old phone (with the same phone number) and then handing the phone over to your boyfriend to complete the transaction is a good way to have your boyfriend get mad enough at you to stop talking to you for not less than half an hour.

Friday, August 12

TechnoLust

Although I am a first adopter for many things--one of the first in my neighborhood with the internet, a long-standing webpage, I've been reading "Wired" for ages--I, Dear Reader, am getting old. I was talking about the groping charge against Christian Slater at work and the kiddies there were all like, "Who?" which was followed by the sound of this old lady gasping and falling out. Christian Slater, people! Heathers! And don't you dare leave a comment about how you don't know who he is, either.

The kids of today don't know how great they have it. I remember consoling myself in high school when my boyfriend had to be out of town by dreaming of the far future when we would have picture phones. Sure enough, they're here (kinda). We had no computers in my day except for in the computer lab, where there was a green screen, no graphical interface, and all I could do on the damn thing was have it print out (on a dot matrix printer!) my name 150 thousand times.

As for phones, back when I was a young 'un, one did not start a phone conversation by asking "Where are you?" I knew where you were--you were five feet away from your avacado-colored refrigerator. You whippersnappers with your text messaging blow this old lady's mind. I texted a young friend a couple of days ago. "C. . ou. . . .ld. .. . . .yo. . .u. . . giv. . .e. . . . . .me. . .Pa. . u. .. .l'. . .s. . . ph. . .o . . .n . . .e. . .nu. . .mb.. . er. . . .?" Before I could even set the phone down to rest my arthritic fingers from the half hour it took me to type this, the answer came back.

Anyhoo, this is all a set up to introduce the newest member of my family, my Motorola Razr. It's so hip, it doesn't even need all the old-timey vowels! It is sharp, I'm telling you. I got it with you in mind, too. I wanted a phone with a camera so I could add show to my tell on the old Hattie's Blog. Unfortunately, I still have to buy some stuff so I can upload images, and with what the phone set the household buget back, that may be a while.

Wednesday, August 10

I had to steal it to save it

My mother is a retired librarian, so I grew up with a peculiar mix of reverence and casual disregard for the written word. I read addictively--around 5 books a week--but I also neglect to get my books returned on time. (Mom always forgave my fines. Well, I'm paying for that now. But I pay gladly--libraries are one of the best deals around. )

Several years ago I went to a library in a very small town (Congrats on your brand new Walmart, small, unnamed Mississippi town! You have hit the big-time.), where I worked occasionally and had one of my three library cards. One of my mini-manias at the time was photography, and I checked out a book of photographs called Photographs, oddly enough, by Emmet Gowin, whom I had never heard of. Shortly after bringing it home, I realized that it would have to stay with me longer than the prescribed two weeks. It was eerie, it was beautiful, and to the wrong eyes, it would have been seen as nasty. It had dead people, creepy Santas, the seemingly inbred, mocking of the elderly and witchy-looking women. If I turned it back in, sooner or later, some yahoo would call attention to the seductive picture of a young girl and boy entertwined, the boobies, the naked pregnant woman, or the lady peeing, and that would be the end of old Emmet in that library. So I "lost" it. And I paid for it--$15, if I remember correctly. But it felt like stealing.

Nancy and Dwayne

Photography is a tool for dealing with things everybody knows about
but isn't attending to.
--Emmet Gowin

Wagers I have won thanks to the World Wide Web

That Jayne Mansfield died on the Mississippi Gulf Coast. ( I found out today that Mariska Hargitay is Mansfield's daughter. Hargitay is the wonderful Olivia Benson on Law and Order, SVU.)

That there was indeed a chicken named Mike that lived 18 months without a head.

Turd Blossom is President Bush's nickname for Carl Rove.

That though James Dobson is a colossal ass, he did not start a petition to bring back "Touched by an Angel" after it was cancelled due to an FCC ruling to keep "The Gospel" off television. (I got this in my email at work. Ladies, if you are reading this, please, please stop sending me this kind of crap. It hurts my soul. And I have work to do.)

There are several more that I cannot remember. I love the internet!

Tuesday, August 9

More like Crāpple!

I have a pact with myself to allow one impulse purchase on each grocery shopping trip, with no regrets. This essentially makes me a sucker for endcaps and other store tricks, or the odd and unusual. But that's ok, because of the "no regrets" clause.

You know how certain things are better in theory than in practice, such as cigars, hot tea, and any sexual practice involving a horse? Anyway, the Grāpple is one of those things. I was lured by the sexy smell. Ah, fake grape! Second only to artificial banana flavor in my book. And the Grāpple looks like an apple! Tastes like a grape! They say that the Grāpple's grape flavor is real Concord grape, but it has that decadent Laffy Taffy kind of scent to it. Irresistible. So, without reading carefully, I bought the four dollar, plastic-wrapped pack as I was heading out of the store. Somehow, I thought that though they looked like apples on the outside, inside would be textured like a grape, and I could hardly wait.

Well, Dear Reader, I must report that the Grāpple is merely an apple dipped in grape stuff and let dry for a while. (Does anyone remember the Alar scare a while back?)

No regrets, mind you, but I wasn't as excited by the Grāpple as this guy:

Hang eight, Yo!


Here are a few more silly food-related links, because I love you.
Kandy Clay
Old Time Candy
Steve, don't eat it!
You gonna eat that?
Preparedness Center
The Single Man's Guide to TV dinners

Monday, August 8

Dead Cat Night

You know, one of those nights when you can't swing a dead cat without hitting an old lover. Well, I have been having that kinda month, a "High Fidelity" month, if you prefer, when old friends are showing up unexpectedly and en masse. Jung would have some sort of explanation for why these things happen all at once, I suppose.

But it has left me thinking about some old relationships. One guy, whom I'll call K., and I dated in college. He was bright, and funny, and despite being fairly conservative, liked liberal old me quite a bit. He was perhaps one of the most principled people I have ever met. If Americans ever elected folks with real character, I could definately see K. as a senator. After graduating, he went through the interview process with the CIA, which he described as proctological in its rigourousness. The offered him a job (I'd tell you the job description, but then I'd have to kill ya), but he was on the fence, so they kept upping the ante. Finally, they told him that they knew about his girlfriend, and that they would be glad to hire me, as well, to sweeten the pot.

Do you remember that odd, hysterical screeching sound you heard one day in August 17 years ago? That was me, laughing at the idea of this. "K.", I said, once I revived, "K., Honey, I can't spend my days in a white, windowless room shredding blank sheets of paper. 'Cause you know that's all they'd let me do." I also couldn't see marrying this great person if there was even a chance he would run for public office. All the press family photos would feature Senator K. with his hand over Mrs. Senator K.'s mouth. Nope, neither a spook's or a senator's wife could I be.

Wednesday, August 3

The Four Horses of the Apocalypso

( and other cool links)

This site made me laugh for an inordinately long time.

A couple of days ago J.P., a friend of mine, called and said that he was trying to remember a rule in backgammon, and a mutual friend suggested he call me and my significant other as we were sure to know it. Which we did. Which makes us SuperGeeks. Every Rule is a site that will help you to become a SuperGeek, too.

Once in a while someone forwards me a classy picture like the ones found at "Art for God." Dig the Jesus with the tattoo.
(Via J Walk)

I am a big fan of Robyn Hitchcock/The Soft Boys. Underwater Moonlight is one of my favorite albums despite
(because of?) the fact it makes me feel crazy about 10 minutes into listening to it.

I used to subscribe to Harper's, mainly for the Index. The Index is great, because by juxtaposing two "facts," with no other context, Harper's can make big liberal points about things. I kinda like that feeling of manipulation.

Small Town Papers is just what it sounds like: Newspapers in small communities online. Interesting look at places you don't live.

That's all for this linky post. You can add your favorite sites in the comments. . . .

Stop the Presses!

Here's an important update on the illegality of sex toys in Mississippi. Like a skilled dominatrix, my friend Greg is determined to get to the bottom of this. He has contacted David Kenney at WLBT, who tells him that the law went into effect this summer, but it is as yet undetermined if the toys are illegal to have in your possession. David and Greg are on the case, though, and I will let you know if it is time to start disguising your "love beads" as a rosary. Ugh. Did I just say that?

When I visited the WLBT site, I noticed another scary story. The mayor of Jackson wants to start testing every student in grades 6-12 for drugs. Let's start with the mayor, because I think the man's on crack.


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