Katrina in E-Minor

My cousin Jim Walker is a trucker. He made a delivery to New Orleans just before Katrina hit. Due to trucking regulations, if you drive for _______ hours, you have to rest for _______ hours. (Don’t know the numbers…hence the blanks.) So, when he got to New Orleans, he had to check into a hotel and rest for a while. The hotel told him that they had a lot of truckers there, and they were keeping an eye on the storm. If it got bad, they were going to call everyone and wake them up to get them out. Jimmy went to sleep and woke up a long while later. He went downstiars and asked what was going on…the person behind the desk went a little pale, and with wide-eyes said, “You were supposed to be out of here HOURS ago!” Katrina had arrived.

There were no trucks left, save for one broken one, and no one would come down to get him or fix the truck. Jimmy called home and told them what was going on. There was no chance of his family arriving to get him home, so he was going to have to ride out the storm. His wife (Donna) told him to get as much food, water, and ice out of the vending machines as he could. He tells her he loves her, just incase he doesn’t make it home, hangs up the phone, and starts to walk to the vending machines…then the lights went out. He now had no food…no ice…nothing, just a bathtub he could put water into.

For about three days, he lived on water that was basically poisoned, breathed in poisoned air, and was listening to the sounds of people in other rooms screaming, crying, and dying. When the water level rose, he went up to a higher floor. The whole time, he was horribly sick from all of the crap in the air and water–and he stayed sick for a while thereafter. Sooner or later, things cleared up a little, and a repairman arrived to try to fix the one remaining broken truck. No success. Jimmy caught a ride with him to Baton Rouge, then hitch-hiked home (which is near the Jonesburo, Arkansas area). When you ask him about it now, he just says, “No one was sending help.”

Wrote a song about it last night.

I really hope Hilary runs in ’08.

Current listening:

  • “Decoration Day” and “The Dirty South” by the Drive By Truckers
  • “Octavarium” by Dream Theater
  • That’s a weird combination, isn’t it?

Still reading “How to be Good” by Hornby. So far, it’s excellent. Hornby has a way of writing characters that I don’t like, but in such a way that I sympathize with them. He’s truly mastered his art. If nothing else, it’s just nice to read about people who’re more screwed up than I am now and again. πŸ™‚

See you around.

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Pulled Over

I was driving to work, and a policeman followed me for probably about a mile. He eventually pulled me over, of course. I didn’t think I was speeding…and I was right. Turns out that my license-plates had expired in January. Coulda sworn I bought two-year plates…but no. Whoops! The state usually sends a reminder notice about a month before it’s due, but they didn’t this year…so I forgot, and I was ticketed for it.

I also got a ticket for having an expired auto inspection…which was wrong. My car is a 95. In Missouri, cars built on odd-numbered years are inspected on odd numbered years (and even on even). This is 2006. That’s EVEN. Didn’t realize the error until after I had already gotten my license plates renewed (as soon as possible after getting the ticket). They looked up my records on their computer and issued the new stickers for the plates…and that’s when it sunk in that I didn’t need an inspection to renew my plates. So, I probably am going to have to go into court to try to prove that the second ticket was issued in error…which probably won’t work…and then I’ll probably say something that will get me held in contempt of court.

Maybe it’s worth the extra $65 to avoid that? Thoughts?

Anyway…check your plates…

Current Listening:

  • Soundtrack to “Hard Core Logo” — Some of the best punk you can find.
  • Headstones – “Oracle of Hi/Fi” –Some MORE.
  • Descendents – “Everything Sucks” — Even MORE!!! πŸ™‚

Current Reading:

  • I’ve put “The Dante Club” on hold a bit… Everyone tells me that it picks up after about page 80, and I’m at roughly page 50 right now. Just been a bit hard to muddle through (which is saying something, because I’m a fast reader), so I’m taking a couple of days away from it, and I’m reading the following…
  • “How to Be Good” by Nick Hornby. Hornby’s one of the best writers working today, and I’ve got big hopes for this one. It’s a couple of years old, but I’ve never gotten to it. His new one, “A Long Way Down” is also excellent.

The Big Game

My friend (and the Preacher at my church) Stacy had an experience that must’ve been pretty cool today. It was during rehearsal-time for the choir. He was on stage with the choir singing the old hymn “Great is Thy Faithfulness.” (I was in the back, adjusting the soundboard.) During verse two, Stacy’s son Benton (who’s not quite a year old) was being bounced on the knee of Angie (Stacy’s wife). Benton let out a sort-of half-giggle/half-squeal that made everybody look over at him. Stacy, naturally, looked over too, grinning from ear to ear. I know Stacy well enough to know that the application of enjoying his son’s happiness while singing “Great is Thy faithfulness, Oh God my Father….Great is Thy faithfulness, Lord unto me” did not escape him. I couldn’t see her from where I was, but I’d bet real, paper-money that Angie had roughly the same smile on her face, too.

(The Steelers just won the Superbowl, by the way…but I’ll let you choose which of those two stories actually MEANS something in the “big game” of life.)

Super-what?

Hi. Just a small post to mention that the “I’m about 24 hours away from having the blog linked into my website” post was probably misleading. I had that post up with quite different information, then I updated it. The time on that post would indicate that the website would be ready sometime early this morning (I think). That’s not quite right, because I posted it quite late in the day. It’ll be ready tonight (Sunday), or possibly in the wee hours of Monday morning, depending on how late I get in from the Superbowl party I’m going to tonight.

Speaking of which…I really don’t care AT ALL about this year’s Superbowl. (I’m not a big American football fan anyway–though I love English football, which they mistakingly call “soccer” over here) but usually when the Superbowl comes around, I at least want one team to win over the other. This year, I couldn’t even tell you who’s in it. Only reason I’m going to the party is because it’s the same party I’ve been going to for 20 years…and they have peel-and-eat shrimp there with really really good sauce.

Yum.

Going to church now. Hope you are too.

Pardon My Dust

Things may look a bit sketchy around here today. I’m in the process of getting this blog integrated into derekbrink.com in a way that fits in with the website, but also makes sense if you just come to the blog, and didn’t get here from the website.

I’m within 24 hours of being up and running. Stay tuned! πŸ™‚

-db

Current Listening:

  • Elvis Costello’s Greatest Hits
  • All sorts of stuff by the Pixies
  • Tomorrow, I think it’ll be the Drive By Truckers for the morning drive to work.

I’m posting too much, aren’t I?

Current Listening: The Who – Live at Royal Albert Hall; The Pixies (Various Stuff)
Current Reading: “The Dante Club” by Matthew Pearl

In seven hours, I’ll be getting ready to play a worship service for my friend Nathan Pabarcus. He’s graduating from college this semester, and this is his “Senior Chapel.” (For those that don’t know…in Bible colleges, it’s commonplace for the school to allow or even require a graduating student to conduct a Chapel service for the school. Most people use it to say goodbye and tell stories of how cool they used to be as a Freshman. Some people actually try to COMMUNICATE something as well…Nathan, I think, falls into a little bit of all those categories. Which is why I particularly like him, actually.) I’m looking forward to playing today. I’m feeling just the right mix of energy and depression that should guarantee a good performance out of me. (Although, it’s very wrong of me to call this a “performance,” since it’s a WORSHIP service, not a gig.)

In roughly the same amount of time, a new guitar will be arriving on my doorstep. It’s a Schecter that’s painted up to look like a WWII British Spitfire plane. When I’m better at posting, I’ll put up a picture. πŸ™‚ I’m excited about that too.

I’m praying for Ruth and Harvey. They’re two of the grandparents of my friends Becky and Katy Outlaw. Ruth’s got something that might be bone cancer (but last I heard it wasn’t for sure). Harvey (her husband) has Alzheimer’s, and is going to be going into a nursing home, as Ruth’s not really able to care for him at the moment (at least that’s what I’ve gleaned from Katy’s blog). I’ve never met either of these people, but I’m terribly concerned. Part of it, honestly, is misplaced feelings of how I should call/visit my own grandparents more frequently…but it’s also that I can see that it’s taking its emotional toll on my friends. When my friends (any of them, really) are going through something difficult, there’s always a part of me that hurts too. That’s what friendship is. If you don’t understand that, I feel sorry for you.

I’ve started writing music again. I’ve been in a dry-spell that lasted all through 2005. On New Year’s Eve, I spent the night alone (mostly intentionally), and ended up writing most of what will be my third CD, assuming I ever get the second one done. πŸ™‚ I’ve also been working on about three tunes this week. One is an untitled lullaby that feels like it’s going to be important to me. Another is a ballad-ish song called “Angel,” which is sort of a love song, but it’s more about LONGING than about being in love. The last is a country-rock thing called “Whiskey Like Water,” which is a regretful song about drinking. (Sample lyric to the last one: “Whiskey like water only makes things harder than they should’ve been.” –Keep in mind, I’ve got a “work-in-progress” copyright…so you can’t steal any of that.) I’m really liking the stuff I’m writing right now. It seems pretty significant for some reason. Hopefully, I’ll keep that feeling.

Just killing time until morning…this is the “reflective and moody” part of the night. πŸ™‚

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Additional (2/4/06, nearly 2 a.m.):

The Chapel service went really well. The band sounded good (in the monitors, anyway). Nathan did a great job preaching (the topic was that it’s important to have integrity). It was a very, very good time.

My guitar’s here, and it’s wonderful. The best way to describe the sound is “thick.” It’s got a nice deep sound to it, but the highs don’t get lost in the lows. It’d sound really good in a metal band, actually. I’m probably going to have to turn down some of my distortion-effects in order to make it fit in with my usual style of playing, but all in all, it’s got a very clean, very full sound, and I’m really happy with it. Plus, the paintjob more than lives up to my expectations. Here’s a picture of it:

Pretty cool, huh?

I’m going to go get some sleep. I have much to do tomorrow, and I should probably have slept before doing it. πŸ™‚

I’ll post again soon…and hopefully, I’ll be able to link this blog up to my website in a smooth fashion within the next day or so. That’d be awesome.

See you around.

Progressing…

During a slightly slow period at work, I’ve taken a look at the blog-template I’m using…it’s simple…I should have this place looking more like “me” in no time.

I think I’m going to use this blog to publish things like short story ideas and random religious writings. I’ve got a “diary” page on my website for the more personal stuff. Using the blog for the other things will keep my bandwidth down a little at www.derekbrink.com, I think…so maybe this is a good thing and not the loser-wanna-be-celebrity thing that I’ve always assumed blogs to be.

I can’t believe that I LIKE this! πŸ™‚

In what barely qualifies as “news,” I recently read “Kafka on the Shore” by a Japanese guy whose name I can’t remember right now. Avoid it. It sucks you in early, and you get to REALLY care about the story. Then it gets all pantheistic and weird, and has the crappiest, most rushed ending in the world. I’ll save you a LOT of time with the following summary/spoilers.

If you don’t want to read the spoilers because you want to read this steaming pile of…umm…a book, then please check out the links to the right. The blog belonging to Nikomas Perez is particularly good.

————–
You’ve been warned…spoilers below…
————–

Kafka–the main character–doesn’t know who his mom is. He falls in love with an older woman and sleeps with her, all the while having a feeling that she’s his mom–which is never confirmed nor denied. He also sleeps with a 20-ish girl he meets, who he suspects and hopes to be his sister–which is also never confirmed nor denied, but she’s probably not. The retarded guy–who’s the only one in the story that you end up liking–dies. Then some sort of weird thing that was possessing his body escapes through his mouth. His friend kills the thing, and flips over a stone that supposedly closes the door to another dimension or some b.s. like that. Then the lady Kafka was in love with dies. Also, there’s a woman who’s pretending to be a man that turns out to be completely useless. A guy kills a bunch of cats and is then murdered, and it turns out he was Kafka’s dad.

There…I saved you 400 pages of utter crap.

Read “The History of Love” instead. It also has a non-ending, but at least the stuff leading up to it is good…or read anything by Nick Hornby. He’s great.

Until we meet again.