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September 30, 2005

New Orleans

Oh man, this city. Too much:

Posted by jay at 4:13 AM

September 29, 2005


Scotland is very very very beautiful.

Here are my most recent thoughts on my life:
Me: Blah, blah, blah, I'm Jennifer Leslie, blah, blah, blah, I'm such a victim, blah, blah, I'm so self important, blah, I love New Orleans.

One would think that eventually word would get around about what I was doing with myself. My parents suggested I video tape my story and send it to family and friends, just so I don't have to talk about it to someone I don't want to.

I like strangers.

Posted by jay at 9:48 AM

September 25, 2005

Pat and Kyle

Last night I was in Brooklyn/Manhattan spending time with Patrick. From Patrick's we went to Manhattan and ended up on St. Marks Place (surprise! surprise!) but had "dinner" at Pomme Frite, which is a place that only serves french fries with about 20 different types of dipping sauce (my choice: curry ketchup; his: roasted garlic mayo) and chopped onions (if you're interested), which was a really fabulous way to have dinner, instead of eating a salad or something at a crummy overpriced joint.
Afterwards we hung out with Kyle Louie in Brooklyn Heights and it was just a really lovely time. We sat out on the roof of the place that he is staying and moved about the house, to a little corner store for snacks and to the Promenade until about four in the morning. I finally got home at five-thirty, a little scared on the highway, as I didn't know if I was going to fall asleep at the wheel or not.

I also "quit" (as best as one can) Bloodroot yesterday. But that's a story that gets me worked up and I don't feel like retelling it for the eighty-billionth time. The last straw was an argument about blanched hazelnuts. :P

Posted by jay at 6:01 PM

September 22, 2005

Car accident (another reason to get out of CT/tri-state area)

I would just like to say, to start this off, that I never appreciated New Jersey being part of the tri-state area. It truly is a blemish on the way to the D.C. and the South.

Today I got into a car accident. I went to have lunch with my uncle in the city and talk about "stuff," "stuff" implying the whole "gay issue" with my family. It took me three fucking hours to get back from Manhattan to Fairfield. It should've been one hour, an hour and fifteen tops.

As I'm about to get on the Hutch (Rt. 15/Merritt Parkway) this navy blue van slowly careens into me. We both pull over and these two big latino men (this might degrade into a rant of being a white girl abused by minorities who do not play fair, creating a hostile environment and making it hard and while I understand as a human being, I don't appreciate it considering my high standard social morals) get out of the van and basically surround my car in a pretty menacing manner. They come over to my window (I didn't have my shoes on, so while they're getting out I'm struggling to find/put on my shoes) and start saying, "Look what you've done! Look what you've done!" Ok. I'm feeling kinda guilty. So I get out to see what's happened and it's a vanity mark /maybe/ an actual dent. I'm feeling a bit shitty, but they immediately exclaim, "Give us 200 dollars and we'll can get this fixed. Our boss will be so angry with us, it is all your fault, give us 200 dollars."

This makes me a bit wary, as I'm not about to just fork over 200 bucks to two big guys in an unmarked van that is already beat up with no sign that exclaims their business, nor any official looking outfits (crappy jeans and wifebeaters). Especially because if this is a commercial business (it was a commercial plate, but god knows where they got it from), I'm not going to hand over 200 dollars to the employees, but I am going to talk to the employer and go through insurance (this is the whole point of insurance). Then they start blaming me for this huge gash on the bottom of the van. I could see where the mark was from on their van and on my car, as it had been my sideview mirror running along their van. But for me to create a gash like that in the bottom was impossible, as I would've had to have had a similar mark as well as the fact that my sideview mirror would've had to snap off first before I could've gotten close enough to even make that mark. As well as the fact that it would've made a /huge/ noise, I would've felt something much more dramatic /and/ the van was already beat up as is (making me assume that that was there well before I ever showed up). Seeing where the mark that my car had made on their van makes me think that they slowly careened into me because I was in their blind spot and assumed that there was no one there, instead of looking (it's right along the right-hand side of the vehicle, about 3 feet away from the side window on a chevy-like van without windows on the sides or back).

They keep exclaiming, "Give us 200 dollars! Give us 200 dollars!" to which I continually respond, "I don't have 200 dollars. I only have fifteen bucks. We can call the police and have insurance work this out." They reply, "No! No! It will take forever and they will blame us (plus something about the NYPD police being busy with some weird non-existant dramatic situations) and we will be late for work! Plus your insurance will go way up! It will go way way up! We have to go connect the electricity for a women to save her life!" I just cannot imagine that anyone would hire these two guys, as they look totally unprofessional to save their life. While what they said made no sense, what I got from it was there was some sort of life-support system, for which they would be riding in an ambulance or some sort of professional vehicle, not a beat up, unmarked blue van. This goes on several times, and then they stand around being pouty (best word to describe it), while I stand there staring at them. Finally one of them relents and says, "Ok. Give me what you got." and so I give him fifteen bucks. While I regret ever mentioning the fact that I even had fifteen bucks, I figure considering the worst case scenario was getting knocked unconcious and thrown in the van, this seemed like a pretty good deal. So I recorded down their license plate number and drove off.

The fact that didn't want to call the police, even though their employer would supposedly would kill them and they were willing to compromise with me also added to the fact that I didn't believe their story. Seeing that I offered to involve the police and have insurance take care of it (something that wasn't fiscally their problem as employees of the company), I think it might have actually been their fault and I don't feel guilty for what happened.

I nearly went insane on the ride home, it was pretty bad; I came into the house hysterical and started screaming in a voice that wasn't my own. But that was due to the three hours, plus the accident, the being an hour late for work and trying to burn Lagusta's cds (which I just realized I still have--it seemed important at the time), getting lost and that every place I went I hit a wall of traffic (I jumped on and off about five different highways in an attempt to avoid traffic). The talk with my uncle had been primarily about healing and coming to terms with my mother/how to come to terms with my life and so I was feeling very vulnerable and exposed and this was just too much.

Here is a brief explanation of the "pulling the race card" rant:
This happens in New Orleans a lot (because of the fact that there aren't many poor people, nor many colored people in Fairfield), I find myself several times a year in a position where a rather affluent looking black person comes up to me and gives me some sob story about their kids needing food or the fact that their boyfriend beats them up and prostitutes them out. I do give them money, but it's pretty fucking awful and apparent that it's a lie when they're asking you for 11 dollars to get a taxi and you're taking the $1.25 streetcar, or they're in designer clothes and carrying bottles of beer in their hands. Juxtaposed to an actual homeless person who is sleeping/living on the sidewalk, the manner, presentation and storyline of these people appears very fabricated. It feels pretty fucking awful to know more likely than not that these people are thinking, "Oh, there's a rich little white girl, I'll scam that bitch, that fucking whitey." and you're thinking, "God, I know this person is lying, but what if they aren't? I don't need this money as much as they might actually need it, and I'd rather do the right thing and be fucked over than do the wrong thing and really not help someone who needs it." Today, it was very obvious that I looked like some rich white girl who just carries around 200 dollars, because when I said, "Look, I don't have 200 dollars on me," they just gave me this look like, "What, white girl? Why don't you have 200 dollars?" And maybe I'm assuming wrong, but it's just too much of a trend and it's not helping anything. I do realize that 99% of people aren't this way, but it makes me sick to know that I participate in this cyclic, hostile con-artistry. And what can I say to it? "I know you think I'm some rich white girl who enjoys abusing you and other minorities. You think wouldn't it be great to scam me for some money, but it isn't really helping you or me; the petty cash you'll get today isn't going to make your life better in the end, it only increases hostility from both sides and how can we expect to end racism when we can't even be honest with each other on a personal level?" Yeah, that'll fly.

You can obviously suggest how to handle these situations, as it happens enough to me to need a good way to approach it.

Posted by jay at 10:00 PM

September 21, 2005


I secretly hope I can be back in New Orleans for Halloween.

Posted by jay at 1:47 AM

September 20, 2005

What I really like.

Here is what I really like:
Talking to people. Sometimes it is hard, sometimes it is easy, all of the time I think it is very insightful. I think if everyone just talked to more people (and more importantly, listened to the people they talked to), we would all be not just better people, but we would be wiser as well.

I have been a bad person most of my life and I am trying to actively be better. One example of such badness is that I am very mean to people who attend community college. What is good though is that I've met a lot of people who are community college students and I've finally realized that some of the most interesting and insightful people I've met are community college students.

Fairfield ruined my idea of what community college is (a.k.a. hell), but talking to people who attend community college has lend me to understand that people who attend CCs are really lovely human beings who are very smart, and if not very smart, very worldly. Going to CC is, I think, a sign that people are interested in learning, but have more important things to attend to, like life. Whether they are being held back, financially, by family, location or something else, or if they are trying to fit a higher education into their current life, I think that is a good signifier that they are really good people.

I've begun to realize that in many cases going to a fancy-schmancy school is a bad idea--people aren't there for all the personal right reasons as CC students are. For example, I am at a F-S school because I didn't see any other options and felt like it was the right thing to do. Now, in limbo-retrospect, I don't think it was the right thing to do and I am probably wasting my time. I think it is expected of me to some degree, and I wouldn't be truly accepted by the middle-class and white contingency if I didn't go to a F-S school. This, I think, is lame and mediocre. I think it is even more lame and mediocre that I participate in this event, if for acceptance or otherwise, although I do feel that school in general is a good idea. F-S schools aren't a total waste, they are just a lot of waste. The end.

Posted by jay at 6:42 PM

The Saints

I saw the Saints play the Giants today at Giants Stadium. They lost, at the time that we left (about six minutes left of the game) they were 10-24 I believe.

There was something about that game, in the way that I was projecting my feelings about New Orleans onto the Saints. If only those little gold bobbing heads could win, then New Orleans could win, too. In my heart of hearts I thought maybe this could make New Orleans better, you know? It could save the city.

Looking at the images from the link I posted earlier, especially the one of the statue of Jesus totally untouched while five 100+ year old live oaks lay fallen around it, I was hoping for some divine symbolism in my wish that the Saints would win. I told Kieran last night (which was a totally incredible experience to hang out with him for various reasons which I will potentially write about/potentially forget about) that I secretly think that New Orleans has some sort of divine Voodoo protecting it from harm. Like all of the spirituality of New Orleans sinks down into its bowl and just keeps people who really love New Orleans safe from harm. Obviously this was not the case this time around, but I feel as though in New Orleans I have the ability to just live in a bubble of happiness, whereas I feel that in other places I have the common everyday experience of taking the good with the bad.

The Giants fans were essentially very good people with few exceptions, especially the ones sitting a row in front of me and to my left. One of the first times I yelled out 'Go Saints!' one of the Giants fans looked at me weirdly and I just yelled out, 'I'm a refugee!' He told his brother at some point and so later his brother turns around to me and shakes my hand and says that he hopes the best for us and his prayers are with us and that it will all be ok and that it is awesome that I am returning back to New Orleans. He was obviously drunk, but it was just really nice and made up for a lot of the stupidity I deal with from people in the Northeasters on a regular basis. I laughed because I didn't know what else to do.

They passed around a huge bucket for the Red Cross and even though I hate the Red Cross and have continued to hear bad things about them I gave the four bucks I had left in my wallet, two of which were singles, the other my lucky two dollar bill. I don't think it's really that lucky, but I've always kept it around for the last couple of years. You know, I want to believe in something; if my lucky two dollar bill is even remotely lucky I want to give it away.

I think I was close to tears at various points, especially after Harry Connick Jr. sang and Curtis Mayfield both performed and I was crushed. I want New Orleans back now.

Posted by jay at 1:27 AM

Katrina Photo-journal

I got this from another link, but it's one of the most intensive story lines I've read about New Orleans thus far. It's 196 odd pictures with a bit of text for each one documenting the author's experience of Katrina and his escape from New Orleans. Pretty damn wild.
Five Days with Katrina

Posted by jay at 12:28 AM

September 17, 2005

Partying, another thing I like about Tulane

Well, haven't I just killed this whole entry by summarizing it in the title? Ah well.

Last night I went to see Jared (couchsurfer who stayed with us for two days in New Orleans) in New Haven and have dinner with him and some of his friends. They were going to see 'The Exorcism of Emily Rose' afterwards and I just couldn't legitimize spending nine+ dollars on a movie that I knew would be pretty awful. So instead I dropped in on Jeff at Yale.

Walking around, I was totally dismayed by the lack of cool on campus--sure, they have so many a cappella groups you could spit and hit at least two members, but does that really constitute an active social scene? There weren't even any respectable hipsters walking around, which I feel somehow constitute a good signifier that there is some sort of social scene going on. Instead they all looked like they were all dressed to go to work on Casual Friday, with a couple looking like those 20-somethings you see going to expensively lame restaurant/bars on Wednesday nights in their stilettos and sleazy black dresses. Jeff was in his dorm watching a movie with his suitemates and his girlfriend on a Saturday night. While I am not necessarily knocking this, what is going on here?! I miss going out with people to do things, experiencing "nightlife" in a Parisian sense. Sitting with friends in bars and cafes, walking around the city, going to see live music, going to friends' houses, eating dinners out or cooking for guests, driving or biking around to interesting vistas or events.

Last night was damp and misty and it reminded me of New Orleans in a way, but cool and aloof instead of humid and cradling (not the word I'm looking for, but eh). The streets and sidewalks are too perfect, people cross without looking and it is just too well lit.

I feel as though people would be much happier if the lived in places with ambiance and class.

Posted by jay at 7:09 PM

September 15, 2005


Updated photos of New Orleans
I actually was able to find a current photo of my house. Jeff's dad was there today (yesterday?) and said that the waterline was below the door. This is /very/ good.

Posted by jay at 12:05 AM

September 14, 2005

Left hand

I am primarily typing this with my left hand, as I cannot with my right. I burned it cooking lentils, and the pain I am suffering is unusually excruciating. I burn myself cooking all the time (when will I learn that I just can't use a dishtowel and require the all-around security of an oven mitt?), but this is at a level that I cannot remember experiencing.

Anyways, I went to the Red Cross meeting today and I was disappointed. I would be stuck here for at least another month (!!) when, by that time I might be back in NOLA. Which seems totally pointless when I could be affecting much more useful and personal change out of my house in Uptown. As important as distribution of water is to people in shelters, I don't know if I can just stand that bureaucracy coupled with the all the underhanded shit of the Red Cross' expenditures during 9/11 and the Iraqi War and attractively topped with the pointlessly long wait.

What I wouldn't do for the normalcy of Tulane right now. I've been working full-time at Bloodroot and shit is about to hit the fan and I think a mini-Magna Carta needs to be written up. I am ok with being paid eight dollars an hour (great for my skill level, but hypocritical for feminists to pay beneath a living wage), but I, and everyone else is sick of being treated as less than human beings by Selma.

Stina is thinking of coming to NOLA next semester, which would be awesome, and getting involved politically and socially in the town and doing litsoc stuff at Tulane. I will probably call here later tonight and ask for some advice/mention she could take journalism classes out of the UC part-time. Surprisingly, I find Stina very rational in many respects, especially considering how little she believes in her mental stability. Despite her distance she seems thus far to be the person who has the best advice. Not to imply that it is necessarily the advice that makes me most happy, but that it seems the best idea, in that she knows so much about me and knows very often what is best for me.

Posted by jay at 9:03 PM