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Sunday, September 18, 2005
make a left at the cannon, then a right at the tank, and if men got pregnant you could get abortions at Supercuts
Listening to:Golden Slumbers, in my head
Reading:Dalai Lama stuff
Weather:78, breezy, spectacular
As planned, I went to Camp Dawson yesterday to help out displaced Louisianans. Uh, it sucked a lot. So before you write a check to the Red Cross, please read this and don't do it.

Let's start with last weekend. I drove out to Camp Dawson to ask about volunteering, they said "you have to register with the Red Cross to get on post, here's the phone number." K, first of all, why is Red Cross the only org they permit on? Spring (also hoping to volunteer) calls the #. Person says you need to call YOUR LOCAL red cross, doesn't have the number. K. At work on Monday Jolene gives me 3 numbers all listed for Morgantown area Red Cross, then ID's one number as the one in the paper where they are asking for more volunteers. I call it, no answer. I call it, no answer. This goes on for 3 days. Finally someone answers, says she has no idea what to do, so she'll take my name and number and have someone call me. Great. Meanwhile I connect with 2 Louisiana lawyers who are on standby for me to consult on Louisiana law, and I also identify some good web-based legal resources for disaster victims (about benefits, etc.) Thursday somebody at Red Cross calls me, she says I must sign up for an 8 hour shift, either midnight to 8a, or 4p to midnight. Well, that rather sucks. I can't do it 8a to 4p on Saturday (how many people are likely to have legal q's at 3am, I'm wondering)? OK, that'll work. Your name will be on the list at the gate. I explain that I am an elderlaw attorney and would be happen to meet with people with legal q's, and also I represent a group of musicians who have money and instruments to donate to needy musicians, so I'd like to try to identify folks we can help. Great. Any paperwork you need from me? Well, not really. K. Any time keeping requirements? Uh, they'll do something on the site.

Saturday am arrives, I haul my ass out the bed, blowing nasty green stuff out my head (TMI, sorry)(wait, that rhymes, I'm cool like the sugarhill gang, dawg). Drive to Camp Dawson, a Nat'l Guard post along the cheat next to the Preston Country Club, some funky irony, yo? Get stopped at the gate, ya name not on the list. Funny, she said it would be. Also funny is that what would it matter, it's not like they screened me in any fashion at the Red Cross. I wait. Finally someone comes out and says I can come in. K, where do I go? Uh, try the clinic building, left at the cannon, right at the tank.

The clinic building is chaos and mayhem, people bitching at each other about other orgs and their volunteers, freshees asking questions being answered by people who just walked in 5 seconds ahead of us and pulling answers straight out of their asses. Just ridiculous. I fill out a paper and sit. And sit. And sit. A woman asks me if I've completed the registration, I don't know, is this one page form all their is? She picks it up and looks at it, like she's never seen one before. When you're done, come with me for a quick orientation. I'm done with this form (obviously, as you just saw when you examined it), am I done with registration? Blank stares. Some other woman says "sign in on this form." K. "Oh, not that form, this form." K. Am I done now? More blank stares. Finally I get up and go meet the woman in the hall, with 3 or 4 WVU nursing students.

Our orientation consists of "wash your hands frequently, and report anything suspicious." Suspiciously unwashed? Suspiciously what? OK, to get assignments. I take the opportunity, since no one has made any effort to inquire about any volunteer's skills or capacities, I am an attorney and happy to bla bla bla and also have stuff for musicians who need it. Great. The nurses chime in with their skills, and are told they have paid nurses working and won't need any more. We had a bunch of volunteers not show up today, so we need all of you at the barracks. OK. Where is that? Off we go.

I am instructed that every floor of every barrack must have 2 volunteers at all times sitting at a table. They are to check the bathrooms every 1/2 hour and replenish with toilet paper and paper towels. And report anything suspicious. Again, WTF?

So that's precisely what I did. For 8 hours. Sat at a table with 2 other women, and periodically checked the bathrooms (which needed to be replenished only the first time). And we checked and rechecked lists of people staying there, and said hi to every person going in and out of the bunks (which I'm sure got a bit annoying to them).

What a colossal waste of time and gas. I have no intention of going back. Nor will I be sending any money to the Red Cross anytime soon.

I'm still feeling pretty crappy from this cold, so I just chilled when I got home. Flipped on the tube to see what's on the DVR list. Bill Maher's Real Time. I used to love Bill Maher's Politically Incorrect, which got taken off network TV a couple of years ago. His similar new show Real Time is on HBO, which until recently I didn't get (and won't after December when my cable freebie runs out). I Devo'd it [This is a word I invented, it's like the verb "to Tivo," except it's for those of us who have the more generic cable-provided DVR box.] for the first time this week. Hilarious!!!! Opened with a great parody of a commercial for an abortion clinic, we're practically giving them away, get'em here in our plush facilities before we have to move to our new location (looks like a butcher shop) after two new Bush appointees on the Court. Interviews, panel discussion, and New Rules. My fave was the one about fortune cookies. I've been saying this for years. This crap that says "you surround yourself with good friends" or "you are attractive to the opposite sex" are so annoying because they are NOT FORTUNES. A fortune predicts the future. Maher said "stop kissing my ass, cookie." Very funny show, I recommend it.


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make a left at the cannon, then a right at the tank, and if men got pregnant you could get abortions at Supercuts
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