Sunday, August 28, 2005


When melancholy isn't reality anymore, there's still catharsis. Jeff Buckley, Damien Rice. CBS Sunday Morning does good new things for me, Ray Lamotagne. If you are in love, you can remember when you weren't. If you aren't in love, call in sick from work and good luck with that... and so.

Are You Affected by Katrina?

We are happy to not be in Louisiana today.

Our power returned this morning, and we still have to deal with the backyard. Jake is having his way with the yard despite the 100 heat index, the scorpions that haven't retreted to thier hidey-holes, and the ooginess of wet tropical foilage.

I am sitting at the computer waiting for the scented candle to do it's magic in the kitchen because my job - cleaning out the refrigerator and freezer after a 48 hour power outage.

A few tips for those of you who lose power in 90+ temperatures; when the power is restored, don't jump immediately to the task. Let the freezer refreeze and the fridge chill out a while. This takes the stinky factor down, and one is less likely to cart the entire appliance to the curb for FEMA to take away. Have several double bags prepped in advance, as well as VERY HOT dish water with lots of soap. The double bags are a must, as trash once out of the house can quadruple the stinky in the garbage trolley and make the neighbors revolt. The hot soapy water is for cooking or storage containers you cannot part with. So you empty the container into the double bag, throw container into soapy water and run to the porch and sit while your eyes stop watering and gag reflex abates. I have been considering finding a resource for the stuff that forensic investigators and morgue workers wipe under thier noses when dealing with putrified bodies. All said I will just brave it, put in the laundry soap sized boxes of baking soda and pray for those worse off than I.

Fear and Loathing in Key West

The Keynoter reported this yesterday: Ed Swift doesn't want The Real World to film next door to his house on Key Haven. My favorite part of this article states "The Swift family "can no longer enjoy entire sections of their home for fear of ending up on national television," reads the suit. In addition, it charges that the noise and lights, once filming begins, would keep the family "from enjoying normal daily activities including sleeping, relaxing, reading, working, and quiet conversation."
To condense a history of controversy, Mr. Swift has been work spaces on issues such as development and transportation (some of which can be read about
here and in The Key West Citizen ). Ed Swift is a partner in Historic Tours of America, offering tours of different varieties in several cities and towns in the United States. In Key West, HTA operates the Conch Tour Train.
The Key West political landscape is always lively. Astonishingly bold hypocrisy, high profile corruption, and now this very ironic court case.
The irony is in that the privacy of Mr. Swift's family life has been interrupted, and the beauty of the irony is The Conch Tour Train. I quote from the website "See the Best on the tour that's been entertaining visitors to the Island City since 1958. The Conch Tour Train is one of Florida's most popular attractions, and for a good reason. Our expert 'engineers' and friendly staff have delighted over 10 million guests with the legends and lores of this charming tropical paradise."
We live on the conch tour train route through Bahama Village. Every day the train comes down Thomas Street going about 10mph with the driver/tour guide blathering on about the old Bahamian/Haitian neighborhood, which features an old house that looks like a church 3 houses down from ours. To bring this house to the attention of the passengers, the tour operator says "and on your left..." directly in front of our house, at which point 50 - 80 camera pointing tourons rubberneck at us raking the yard, sitting on the porch, rolling out our garbage trolleys, carrying our groceries, playing cards, having conversations, eating dinner - all the things living in Florida allows one to do out of doors on most days.
A good portion of the tourists who ride the Conch Train come from the cruise ships. These folks are generally on the island for several hours, and are immediately exposed to the venue because HTA has contracted with the City of Key West and the Navy to transport the cruise passengers from the port into the city, depositing them directly in front of the HTA ticket counters.
This survey from the Key West Chamber of Commerce gives statistics on cruise ship passengers in Key West. If only half (and anyone living in Key West knows that that is a very modest guess) of these people elect to take the Conch Train, then we have had well over a million people gaping at us in the last few years. Let's do math, shall we? In 2005, January - April figures alone show 471,547 cruise ship passengers have visited Key West. If you take the averages from 2003 and 2004, May - August would put approximately 284,000 more for about 3/4 of a million passengers in 2005. Take a generously modest estimate of half, put them on the conch train at $22.50 and Mr. Swift has dragged about 8.5 million dollars worth of people past my house this year alone while I am relaxing, reading, working, and having quiet conversation.
Mr. Swift is upset that a commercial endeavor is taking place and interrupting his quality of life at home for the next 4 months - but over 10 million people have been crawling past our homes for the past 47 years, taking photographs and videotaping us while we carry on with the business of our every day lives.
Welcome to the real world in Key West, Mr. Swift.

Saturday, August 27, 2005


We are ok, but without power at home and my office. Jake's office downtown has a wet wall and floor, but no glass loss this time. My office is intact, but there is considerable landscaping cleanup to do. Some streets are still flooded and others are block with trees, utility poles and downed wires. People keep saying we got lucky again, but I am unsure how lucky I am feeling. If power isn't restored by te afternoon we are going to check into a hotel. Gah

Friday, August 26, 2005

Outside the Cone

Katrina is about 45nw of Key West right now, and it is pretty ugly. The wind gusts blowing rain in through the closed doors and windows - big bangs and tree limbs coming down all over, and the water is coming up over the sidewalks. We didn't secure anything as we were outside the cone. I guess listening to Max Mayfield is the right answer.


We're fairly lucky this morning, and while we are about 50 miles from the eye right now we still have power. We've lost power several times, and I recieved a call that we are cut off from the mainland as both exit routes (Card Sound Road and the 18 mile stretch of US1) are flooded over. It's expectedly windy/rainy/freaky sounding out, but we can sit on the front porch and enjoy the breeze.
Jake and I were talking this morning about the difference between this year and last year - Charley, Francis, Jeanne and Ivan all reached hurricane strength quite a way from shore with a lot of time to make decisions and make preparations. We didn't leave and wouldn't have, but with both Dennis and Katrina this year it's been a smaller window of opportunity to make preparations.
I'll post more as I'm awake and whatnot.

Thursday, August 25, 2005

Other things I learned today.

1. Children with fevers will wait to throw up until they are in thier parents beds the day after the housekeeper came and changed the sheets.

2. Ant and roach killing spray does not kill scorpions quickly, and seems to make them somewhat irritable. Irritable scorpions are fast! Ant and roach killer will, applied LIBERALLY, drown fast and irritable scorpions.

3. I really like the DTMS channel (Discovery Times Channel), but thier daily repeats would prevent me from becoming an addict. Also, we will be blaming "Inside Hitler's Bunker" being on 3 times for my watching an hour of E! "The Girls Next Door".

Things that Florida has done to me, specifically.

1. Rearranged my seasonal affective disorder. Thirteen years in Wisconsin and I had become accustom to being indoors mid-November, with cabin fever rearing it's ugly head in late April. Now the AC goes on, first in the bedrooms only around mid-May, but June the house is hermetically sealed, shades down and curtains drawn to keep out the blinding heat. Cabin fever sets in around mid- August.

2. Created a possible second career as meteorologist. June through November everyone in South Florida is an expert. The rest of the time, who cares? It's 75 degrees. But throughout summer and fall there is all manner of discussion about millibars and moderate convection, inverted v's and signature curvature, upper flow and weak ridges. In addition to the mad forcasting skillz, I am confident that I could be a contender if there were olympics for bringing plants, windchimes and furniture indoors. I've got a method.

3. Revealed all of my childhood injuries. Who knew redheads can actually tan? It's true, with the exception of scar tissue. My legs from the knees down are a mosiac of freckles, tan patches and scar tissue. There is where I tried to shave my legs for the first time. There is the place where I put my calf on the motorcycle exaust. There is where I tried skateboarding. There is the car accident of '91. Pretty.

There are other changes, like the inconvenience of having to shave my legs more and never ever ever being able to leave the house without sunglasses, but for now I have to monitor the weather for the Katrina.

Monday, August 08, 2005

August 5, 2005 - Mr. and Mrs. Stanton

Wednesday, August 03, 2005


Since Missy Elliot says it's a good idea and because I'm getting married day after tomorrow, I went and got my hair and nails done at Headlines off Duval. After the magnanimous Sissy finished my nails I went out to smoke with Jonathon before getting the do done, and discussed having red hair, why my son is so tall, and Duran Duran.

Above the hair washing sinks are a row of wigs on mannequin heads, with little notes attached. Happiness is watching the 801 girls picking up thier hair-do's in street clothes before the show.

Monday, August 01, 2005

still hot.

That will likely be a recurring post title, for several reasons. Firstly, because nearly all the time it's true. On a day in the winter when it's a mere 75 degrees I will not say that it is hot, because I probably have on a long sleeve shirt, which is embarrassing but true. Secondly, an ambiguous title is better than some of the other specific things I am thinking about. Onward.

Key West was weird this week, which is realtive but still. I'm blaming everything from now on Mercury being in retrograde. This happened a block from my house. I love Bahama Village, but change the roles here and it wouldn't be a story buried in page 2 of the local news. And so, I guess that's all I have to say about that. I certainly realize "cracker" hardly holds the profound social and historical implications that the "n word" does, but seriously, asking for directions?

New York Times ran an article in Sunday's Style section. I use this section as my own weekly personal "shit not to do" barometer. Anyhoo, the article is about - wait guess - pompass asses from New York City? Was that last week's article, no wait... oh nevermind. There's really no end to that blackhole of judementalism. So people are looking for new ways to tell people without being overt where they vacation - bumper stickers with airport codes like ACK and the little European things that people in Wisconsin have been putting on thier Volvo Wagons for like 8 years now, even tote bags with zip codes. Well I have 4 regular and one hyphenated words for you losers: Key West hurricane re-entry sticker. I don't care if you summer on Nantucket. One of these summers I'll have the sticker that matters, bitches - the one that lets me back on the island first.

New feature, not guaranteed regularly, but whenever necessary: This week's winner of Jocelyn's Current Favorite Monroe County Arrest Record Mugshot. Steve has no worries about the violation of his probation this week! Keep smiling, Steve! (I should have started this during Spring Break, if ONLY for the mugshots. "Like, does my hair look alright or is it like totally bad - omigod! Cheese!")

Okay after all that a thing I am thankful for: Rick Bayless and his bespectacled self, but more specifically for his recipe for tomatillo braised pork loin, with white beans. I am also thankful for Fausto's carrying fresh bay leaves. And my water bill is only $22 this month! But my electric bill is $255 BOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO.