September 1, 2005

Andy moves out the day after tomorrow. Weird.

I was pretty tired when I pulled myself out of bed at 11:30 this morning. Driving twelve hours can take a lot out of you. But I managed to get up without an alarm this morning even with Dominica having gotten up just two hours before I did and Oreo being very snuggly.

I showered and headed out to go down to Castile where I had an appointment with Pastor Joel this afternoon. We are working on coming up with a plan for the new computer lab at the school. The school has grown so much this year that we really need to do something to be able to accommodate all of the students that they have there now. So we are working on getting together a main lab that can handle a dozen students at a time which is significantly more than the seven that we were able to take at a time last year. And we are also looking to add an additional three computers in another area for non-computer class work where students can go just to work on papers or whatever they need to do. It is going to be quite the project and will take quite a bit of time. We have a building project which will take a little while so that we have places to put all of the computers and then there will be a lot of wiring to be done. Then we have to get the computers put into place. That is always a pretty decent challenge on its own. We still need some more computers if anyone out there has one that they would be interested in donating. Anything in the PIII 600 or faster category would be greatly appreciated. We are hoping to phase out most computers that are slower than that mark which most of what we have currently is. Definitely nothing slower than a PII 350. But the 133MHz memory interface of the PIII 600+ machines makes a really big difference. Machines faster than 866Mhz are even better. We only have one that is that fast currently. We do have one fast machine, hopefully, going into the school this year but one is not much. About eight new machines would be really great. Even better than more computers is more monitors. Currently we are pretty short on monitors. We really need a minimum of 17″ with a resolution of 1024×768 which isn’t too hard to come by and lots of people have gotten rid of monitors like these but we can still use them. We have a computer of monitors that do us no good because they are either way too tiny or their resolution is way too low. So almost anything that anyone has would be most appreciated. What we are really hoping to get is 15″ LCDs but we will probably be a year or two away from getting more than one or two of those.

I got back home around 3:00 and Oreo was very happy to see me. Min had just gone to work about half an hour before I got home so he was alone for a very short period of time today.

Supposedly the builders working on the complex here were going to come over and look at the house this morning to see how much that they would think that it would cost to install one or two new windows into the house. We could really use some extra natural light and we are really for want of more air flow. We want to add one window to each bedroom if possible. That would make a huge difference. And since we are hoping to paint the rooms shortly, now is the perfect time to do some light construction. But it will probably cost way too much to have it done. We will see.

The news coming out of the south today is exceedingly grim. New Orleans is still under several feet of water and there are thousands expected dead. The remains of the city has descended into total chaos and there is little aid that can be brought into the city as large numbers of militants are taking up arms and seizing control of the city. The convention center has fifteen to twenty thousand people trapped inside with, apparently, a number of teenage boys with guns killing and raping with little anyone can do. Forty thousand National Guardsmen have been called up and are on their way down to suppliment the large number of troops that are already in place there. There were even snipers going after the people attempting to evacuate the hospitals. There is no food or water and people are doing anything to get it. This is truly an unbelievable American tragedy. This event will surely be remembered in our history as one of the low points. How embarrassing that the world must watch our second poorest city become so uncivilized. FEMA has stated, quite rightly IMHO, that with all of those people still in the city so long after a mandatory evacuation was ordered it really is difficult to feel that they didn’t bring this upon themselves. Sure there is a small percentage that simply were unable to leave the city. Many sick, elderly and some extremely poor (as well as some tourists) who were unable to get transportation were trapped. But the tens of thousands who were left in New Orleans were surely not mostly of this type. They were people who thought that they would take their chances, were dumb, arrogant or as it now appears, were planning on taking advantage of the situation now that we see widespread looting in the city.

One of the most upsetting stories of all though is that of a group of tourists who were lied to by their New Orleans hotels telling them that they would be able to come down without a problem just to arrive and realize that they were in a war zone and that they had nowhere to go. A group of tourists banded together and spent tens of thousands of dollars getting hired bus transportation arranged to get them out of the city before things go too bad. Many of the people trying to escape were elderly with some with walkers and some with wheelchairs. People who had nowhere to go. No legal means of doing anything as all business was closed. And then the military, while the tourists were standing outside their hotel waiting for the buses, stole the buses from them and used them to evacuate Louisianna residents instead of the toursits who had paid for and owned them. This is an act of total prejudice, lawlessness and slaughter. The tourists who were mislead into going to New Orleans or who simply became trapped there had less means of escaping than anyone and have many disadvantages like not knowing the layout of the city, not owning anything or having anyone at all to turn to and now they have no money as that was stolen by the National Guard. The locals that the military chose over the tourists chose to live in New Orleans and chose not to leave when they had the chance. But many tourists found out too late and were unable to get out of the city. I hope that New Orleans never recovers its tourist industry. It has long been a blemish for America. Now is our chance to start over. Unfortunately, it is probably not in the interest of the state of Louisiana to do so. They have long capitalized on their loose Napoleonic code laws and vice industries to make them money while keeping the vast majority of their population in abject poverty. When I visited there I was appalled by the third world status of so much of the city.

Anyway, it is incredibly sad. And we have maybe a month or more of this before we will see anything really get any better. There are so many people displaced now, at the very least. So much business disrupted. This is a major national set back. The entire city of New Orleans will have to be rebuilt. It is hard to imagine that there is a single building left that will be worth saving. It is a substancial loss as New Orleans is one of our oldest, most historical and most unique cities. So much incredible history is lost forever. Not something that we think about happening very often in America. To us, almost everything we have is permanent and safe. Our museums, our historical buildings, our monuments all stand for all time. But we are a young country and we forget that we can lose our past as easily as anyone else can. I am so glad that I travelled to New Orleans and saw the French Quarter a few years ago. I know what the city looked like and I know its famous sections. I drove along the Mississippi there and over Lake Pont

Anyway, gas is super expensive. It has been shooting up like crazy. Just two days it was $1.61 a gallon. Today, Andy filled up at $3.09 and we have heard reports of it being higher in different areas. Rumor has it that Atlanta hit $6 today.

Min went to work at 3:00, she is working the “B” shift today after having been at FLCC for college this afternoon. I went down to my grandma’s today to visit for about an hour with her and dad. Then Jeremy came back with me so that he could play on the MUD for a little while. He came over around 7:45 and is planning on heading home around when Min gets home.

Remember to keep Min in prayer (in addition to everyone in Louisiana, Mississippi, etc.) because she has her second round interview in the city tomorrow (we might have to move up there if she gets it so that we can afford to have her commute 😉

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