Wednesday, July 26, 2006

Ode to Ye Worthy Martyred Soccer Goals

For thirty hours were you carefully nurtured in the womb.

For two hours you shined bright.

In fifteen minutes you were destroyed.

Chris... grant the small materials fee ($50 - $100) to build upon the prototypes, to build Aramando-spoken-of, Aramando-overseen 5-piece disassemblable goals made from notched wood and cargo nets like those more common in other countries; do so in the name of the glory of Soccer Goal #1 Alpha and Futbol Goal #1.5 beta.

Two unnamed, philosophically confused people were opposed to spending any money on soccer goals. However, as one who hasn't made a single unnecessary purchase in three months, I believe I have the expertise appropriate to be the unchallenged authority on this matter-- I have not spent any money in three months-- and I say it's a great investment. Kinda unlike leasing a car but not driving it becasue of a broken tail light.

I know, "Atlanta" will never approve it.

Well... if they took me 30 hours to make... and 20 people used them for two hours... I gain man-hours! Try that with a Capital exchange! How long did it take to build your house? Your car? How long did it take you to pay for it? Where's nationalization?

I just discovered that I can substitute 7 mayonnaise packets for an unkosher handful of expired candy bars at the Salvation Army.

Marco X (Utica, NY;; )

Join the "Hands On Gulf Coast Biloxi" group on Facebook!

Tuesday, July 25, 2006

life lessons at hurricane camp

today is the end of my 8 weeks at hurricane camp
alot has happend and a lot will continue to happen even after i'm gone
i think there is an amazing opportunity to grow and learn down here
there are amazing people
people that don't judge, work tirelessly, and give unconditionally to the community around them
i am blessed to have many of these people
it amazes me the amount of good caring people here
when you wathc the news and you see descrution in the middle east and fighting in africa
and all the other horriable things going on the world
you really wonder is there any good
well its here in biloxi mississippi
its people from all over the country
who want nothing more than to help people get back to thier "normal" daily routines
we call life
these volunteers are really amazing and continue to fight the good fight
without reward or even expecting a thank you
they do this becasue they want to and they care
thank you for allowing me to be a part of this amazing group
and teaching so much about people, life and myself
i have learned things here that no other place could teach me
thank you

love you
love your work

jessica b

Thursday, July 20, 2006

From the girl who stood on a chair at dinner

I didn't mean to be the camp paparazza, but if you're curious to see photos taken during my stay from July 5 to July 18, check out my album here. Some photos were taken by BGC kids at the waterpark, Laura of VT, and Ash of MA.

Gradually all 600 images will be up, but I could use some Hands On help adding captions/descriptions/memories/witty anecdotes to the ones up so far. Keep checking as the days go on.

Karen of Staten Island, NY
AIM: k a r e n u h 0 h

Goodbye, Camp Crazy!

in one week i've seen the hurling swollen refuse of katrina's beaches,
facing hotels and motels new and old advertising new rooms and old slogans,
gutted lobbies stripped beneath multilevel buildings, leaving structures that balance precariously on stilted girders
when i arrived here one of the old-timers greeted my friend and me, bald and leathery
'welcome to camp crazy!'

out in back, the tent communities are pitched
crazy in the heat, sweat, and bacterium--
us volunteers walk around with a constant sweaty and mite-y effluvium
and holler hellos and YEAHS and whoops across cafeterias/common areas/sleeping quarters
all bunched into one.
vagrants and poor approach the facilities near daily looking
for food and toilet paper or someone to install the new wood they've finally got
we turn all away.
long-termers are defined by thick lines
across copper skins, overburned.
the burn-outs eventually leave,
replenished by the bright faces of summering college students
and city teachers,
and the privileged urban activists like your humble writer here...

my first day i worked on restoring the summer home of jefferson davis, the first and only president of the confederate states!
the last type of home restoration i had in mind.
i've done some better work since.
the poor colored folk ride on
bikes through the sweltering air
and hang on park benches down the way
across from fema trailers that are packed and identical and barren beyond the locked doors
they tell you it's a cold white shame for their long temporary residents.

change and rebirth are a long way
but as the dinner crew will tell you
'don't stop believing.'
well i'm leaving--
and i do believe
the people here are of those greatest things humankind
will prize on its canon of acheivements,
and goodness is contagious.
through our giving courses the natural blood of the universe!
so keep your battling, for Change, for Good,
against fatigue, against madness and devils--
this is one hell of a place!

keep it good, camp katrina.

-Ash, a short termer (

Monday, July 17, 2006

Volunteering while Bicycle Touring the USA/Canada

In 1997, I went on my first cross country bicycle tour from Keyport, NJ to Los Angeles, CA. It was a life changing time for me. A person can try to describe what they see when they are travelling a long distance ride, entering towns they never saw before, meeting people they never knew and in a matter of hours or days becoming the best of friends. Or the beautiful scenery: of pinion pine forests in New Mexico, rolling hills in middle america, blonde beaches with crystal blue ocean, red rocks lining mountain runoffs in Arizona Canyons, sunsets in Key West, sunrises along Atlantic Ocean beaches, redwood trees wide enough to drive a car many beautiful things that leave an impact for life.
I am currently on a 2-year 15,000 mile bicycle tour of the USA & Canada. I started in the same town I did in 1997, rode the Atlantic Coast to Key West, came back out and crossed the Everglades on the Tamiami Trail, then made way up the Eastern Gulf of Mexico coastline, along the West Floridian Coast, until I arrived here in Biloxi, MS. I was planning on going through New Orleans during this ride, but decided not to, because of safety reasons. Instead, I came across HandsOn Gulf Coast along Pass Rd, at the Beauvoir United Methodist Church. So much has happened since arriving here. Once again I could try to describe what I have experienced here. I plan to write about it all in a book I am writing about my experiences during this ride. By trade I am a Professional 3D Animator and Special FX Artist for movies and Video Gaming. What I have seen in this area, the damage done by Hurricane Katrina, is surreal. To have studied movies in my career involving scenes of destruction is one thing. Being in the middle of the real thing is humbling. I have found myself reflecting on "life" things. Like times when I have complained about my coffee being cold...or my food not being prepared the way I like it...or not having a nicer car, or a nicer house, or the latest upscale cell phone, etc. etc. etc. Since being here, I have met families who lost everything they owned, in the course of one disastrous day. I have also met some of the most dedicated people from across the USA volunteering their time, giving up their vacations, etc. to be here. Yes, my life recently has experienced some humbling things...I am blessed...more than I can ever imagine...

Sunday, July 16, 2006

The Hour of Original Sin

The industry in Biloxi is the Casino industry. Where I'm from, middle-aged Native American Tribal Counsel women were driven from their homes at gunpoint due to the shady dealings of some illegitimate, multimillionaire figurehead who had no actual authority within the Native population. This illegitimate figurehead took all the land for his grand casino, to which the social elite keep all the profits. Anyway, in Biloxi, it seems some rich folk discovered an old loophole in the Mississippi gambling law, which allowed gambling in a floating vessel. Come Hurricane Camile, the floating casinos were allowed to dock. Now, in the aftermath of Katrina, the Casinos are allowed to be hundreds of feet off the shore.

Some lovely, healthy young Hands On ladies recently decided to spend the evening of "the Lord's Day" at one of these Casino resorts. They planned on "pulling an all-nighter" and "consuming [some quantity of] alcohol." In addition, they would be "crashing in [some young gentlemens'] room," where they would engage in wild and illicit "quietly reading book[s]" and "watching cable television." Hmmm....... Sounds fun.....

Marco X (Utica, NY;; )

Join the "Hands On Gulf Coast Biloxi" group on Facebook!

Thursday, July 13, 2006

Early Morning Barking Batallion

Despite the policy of no dogs in the camp, we managed to collect a number of puppies from the shelter in Jackson County just before the President's visit in April. A scraggly group of soon-to-be parvo infected pups who ranged in age from 4 to 8 weeks captured the hearts and souls of a number of volunteers and visitors, including the President's advance team (Sun Herald Article from 10 Jul 06).

Two nights ago, the dogs apparently captured the "enemy". A drunken local wandered onto the property in the wee hours of the morning. Boss, Scraps, and Helicopter came to the rescue. As described by one of the volunteers who heard the ruckus, Scraps and Helicopter had the man cornered, while Boss gave every sign that he was ready to have a late night snack.

I can only stop to wonder how drunk the man must have been to be intimidated by 3 barking puppies. By my calendar, our oldest dog is maybe 5 or 6 months old. They're not all that big, either. In any event, the drunk left the property and the dogs were able to go back to sleep.

The volunteer who witnessed the spectacle, being a former Marine, thought the dogs had gone above and beyond the call of duty. He made Doggie Medals of Honor in the shape of a bone, with Mardi Gras beads to hang the bone around their necks. He read a fabulous award letter from COMBARKMARDET (Commander Barking Marine Detachment, the military humor was lost on most volunteers) that had a photo of Gen. MacArthur giving a salute to a dog.

Ah the creativity of volunteers and the tenacity of our pups. How can anyone not love this place?

:: Chris ::

Saturday, July 08, 2006

Goodbye for now

From Randomtopics2

What really meant to say was...
A better thought out "good bye for now."

Bourgeois Tents

It's never surprising that single people live in tents designed to accomodate twenty, that people leave a big tent mess to clean up when they leave, or that the filthiest tents have brooms inside of them.

Marco X (Utica, NY;; )

Thursday, July 06, 2006

Molding to the Oldies!

These are from the Randomtopics2blog which has been almost completely hurricane related since September.

Molding to the Oldies

Ch-Ch-Cha Changes

Saturday, July 01, 2006

3 "R"s, 3 "S"s

Relief, Recovery, Rebuilding (Gulf Coast rebuilding slogan). Safe, Sanitary, and Secure (FEMA trailers).

It's been a while since I blogged and I narcissisticly miss my own awesomeness.

This morning I attempted to make a black-pepper barrier against an invading colony of micro-Ushers (fire ants).

Yesterday, I sorted through "artifacts"-- actually gift-store items that commemorate the "#$@& the Yankees" mentality -- at Jefferson Davis's last residence. Supposedly, the Hands On base is on property that was once part of the president of the confederacy's estate. Allegedly, many valuable civil war artifacts-- including Jefferson Davis's fine china-- were left in his house and washed out to sea during Katrina. This to me seems like a scam. All the stuff was obviously sold on the black market and insurance collected on the "destroyed materials."

We've made a raft. I want to make a miniature cabin / fort. I also want to make a swimming pool. And some more picnic tables. Also, I'm going to suggest an outdoor laptop internet cafe initiative.

Currently, I'm reading-- you know, before bed and during lulls in the day-- about the historical and continued genocide of the tens of millions of Native Americans-- the land of Jefferson Davis or the land of Native Americans? The univeristy I attended is one of the few elite institutions where the land was donated by Native Americans specifically for the institution-- Cheif Skennandoa is buried there.

I just read about this awesome tribe, the Chickasaws, that got muskets from the English and totally stood up to French agression here in the Mississippi Gulf Coast.

I have to write a number-one-quality hit song. I was thinking about a hip-hop tribute to the Chickasaws, but I don't want to offend anyone.

When I finish my light reading, it's on to Freud. Good ol' Freud. Once I have extensively studied Freud, I'll psychoanalyze all the blog postings. Yay psychoanalysis!

Marco X (Utica, NY;; )