Monday, August 25, 2008

A Different Kind of Black List

Ooooh, I just found out about this today: THE BLACK LIST: VOLUME ONE.

In a new kind of living portraiture, a remarkable group of African-American notables share candid stories and revealing insights into the struggles, triumphs and joys of black life in the U.S. when THE BLACK LIST: VOLUME ONE debuts MONDAY, AUG. 25 (9p.m. ET/PT), exclusively on HBO.

I'm totally setting my DVR since Lord knows, I may be passed out on the couch by 9 p.m. But I'm hoping it's better than that recent series on CNN which, or so I've heard, pretty much focused on everything that's wrong in Black America. I realize the media feeds on and thus propagates fear, but was it too much to ask for a nuanced picture? Now, I am not sure why THE BLACK LIST chose to interview only "notables" in this, its first volume -- seems to me they could intersperse celebrity segments with other folks -- but hopefully they will remedy that with subsequent volumes. I'm interested to hear what they have to say.

And no, it hasn't escaped me that they're airing this on the first night of the Democratic National Convention, when for the first time ever a person of African descent is being nominated by his party to represent said party as their candidate for President of these United States. By the way, Michelle Obama will be speaking at probably about the same time that THE BLACK LIST is airing. Hmmm. I wonder if she'll set her DVR?

Updated to add: Oh, yeah, and a few new posts up over here.

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Incoherent as I Want to Be

Have you ever read any tips on how to increase blog traffic? Perhaps the most oft-cited rule is to update your blog frequently to build your audience and to increase the number of chances for your blog's content to be noticed by search engines. Following close behind that is to respond to comments promptly.

Yeah, I'm kind of a sucky blogger these days. Sorry about that. And now, despite saying that, I have to log off because it appears that even though I was already late for work today, I left my child's homework in the car, and if she doesn't hand it in every day she won't get a sticker and because it is my fault (I jammed it under my tote bag and lunch box and jacket and all the other crap in the front seat because she had too many other things to carry), I will never hear the end of it. So I must leave work (for which - did I mention? - I was already late) and drive back to school so my child does not lose faith in me forever and evermore, Amen.

How's your day going?

P.S. Haven't been able to do anything about the house offer because my work friend's daughter went into labor off and on for 5 days and finally, finally had the baby Monday, a week past her due date. Hence and therefore, my work friend hasn't been at work.

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Getting Housed

So a work friend of mine has had her family home on the market since sometime last year. It’s a gorgeous, huge house in an upper middle class, predominantly African-American neighborhood. The friend in question, B, owns her own home and is not interested in moving into the family home. She and her siblings have remodeled it and are trying to sell it for over a million clams. Nobody’s biting. They’re taking it off the market.

She called me Friday to ask if we’d be interested in renting it. It’s vacant, and she and her siblings would like someone living there who would take good care of it. It is much farther from work for me and Dub, but near a really good public school (thus we would save money on school tuition, but pay more in gas*). Her brother is handling the finances so she has no idea how much he would want in rent. Did I mention that while we live in an 864-sqaure-foot bungalow, this is about 3,500 square feet?

Sweet Dub is skeptical. I admit I am a bit too. Some issues:

+ How much will it cost to heat and cool a house that big?
+ Will my mother-in-law assume she can just move in?
+ How much are they going to want in rent?
+ If we live in a million-dollar house, won’t we be spoiled for living in a regular house when we eventually buy?

I don’t know. I guess it can’t hurt to talk to the guy. What do you think?

*Although we did manage to get the “Let’s Refuel America” deal with the $2.99/gallon gas for three years when we bought the new car last month, so it’s not as expensive as it could be.

Friday, August 08, 2008

Who's the Bomb?

My darling Sweet Dub, that's who.

In anticipation of my birthday, which is this coming Monday, he arranged to have his sister, Diva, take Viva along on a camping trip for the whole weekend. Merely having a Viva-free weekend would be a huge gift, as anyone who has children knows. You love them, but every now and then you need a break -- especially when you are pregnant and all wore out and broke down.

But lo, Sweet Dub not only arranged a child-free weekend. No, my friends, he also booked us a Club-level, ocean-view room at the Ritz-Carlton. The Club level features dedicated concierge staff and a private lounge with four "food presentations" daily. So all we have to do is walk out of our room, mosey into the lounge, pick up our free food, and go back to the room. It sounds like heaven. I wonder if the concierge will peel and feed me grapes?

I'll report back.

Friday, August 01, 2008


In the aftermath of the moderate earthquake that jolted us Angelenos earlier this week, I’ve received a lot of earthquake preparedness emails and the like. One in particular grabbed my attention because it stated that the standard advice to stand in a doorway or get under a desk or table might actually kill you in an earthquake. Being in a major earthquake would be bad enough – without a doubt I would need clean underwear afterward. But I would like to know enough to actually survive the earthquake rather than being crushed to a paste under the desk I crawled under.

A group called the American Rescue Team advocates what they call the “triangle of life” to survive a disaster:

It is not the earthquake which kills you. Getting crushed under a squashed desk or table kills you.

Misinformation from bureaucrats or phony experts who have never crawled into a collapsed building kills you.

All rescuers agree: You can survive by fleeing the building if you can get out the ground floor or getting into a survivable void, next to a large, bulky object.

And Ten Tips:

1) Everyone who simply "ducks and covers" WHEN BUILDINGS COLLAPSE is crushed to death -- Every time, without exception. People who get under objects, like desks or cars, are always crushed.

2) Cats, dogs and babies all naturally often curl up in the fetal position. You should too in an earthquake. It is a natural safety/survival instinct. You can survive in a smaller void. Get next to an object, next to a sofa, next to a large bulky object that will compress slightly but leave a void next to it.

3) Wooden buildings are the safest type of construction to be in during an earthquake. The reason is simple: the wood is flexible and moves with the force of the earthquake. If the wooden building does collapse, large survival voids are created. Also, the wooden building has less concentrated, crushing weight. Brick buildings will break into individual bricks. Bricks will cause many injuries but less squashed bodies than concrete slabs.

4) If you are in bed during the night and an earthquake occurs, simply roll off the bed. A safe void will exist around the bed.

5) If an earthquake happens while you are watching television and you cannot easily escape by getting out the door or window, then lie down and curl up in the fetal position next to a sofa, or large chair.

6) Everybody who gets under a doorway when buildings collapse is killed. How? If you stand under a doorway and the door jam falls forward or backward you will be crushed by the ceiling above. If the door jam falls sideways you will be cut in half by the doorway. In either case, you will be killed!

7) Never go to the stairs. The stairs have a different "moment of frequency" (they swing separately from the main part of the building). The stairs and remainder of the building continuously bump into each other until structural failure of the stairs takes place. The people who get on stairs before they fail are chopped up by the stair treads - horribly mutilated. Even if the building doesn't collapse, stay away from the stairs. The stairs are a likely part of the building to be damaged. Even if the stairs are not collapsed by the earthquake, they may collapse later when overloaded by fleeing people. They should always be checked for safety, even when the rest of the building is not damaged.

8) Get Near the Outer Walls Of Buildings Or Outside Of Them If Possible. It is much better to be near the outside of the building rather than the interior. The farther inside you are from the outside perimeter of the building the greater the probability that your escape route will be blocked.

9) People inside of their vehicles are crushed when the road above falls in an earthquake and crushes their vehicles; which is exactly what happened with the slabs between the decks of the Nimitz Freeway. The victims of the San Francisco earthquake all stayed inside of their vehicles. They were all killed. They could have easily survived by getting out and sitting or lying next to their vehicles, says the author. Everyone killed would have survived if they had been able to get out of their cars and sit or lie next to them. All the crushed cars had voids 3 feet high next to them, except for the cars that had columns fall directly across them.

10) Rescuers have discovered, while crawling inside of collapsed newspaper offices and other offices with a lot of paper, that paper does not compact. Large voids are found surrounding stacks of paper.
I am not an expert, nor do I play one on TV. But this makes sense to me so I thought I would pass it along.

P.S. Still posting over here.