News From the Gulf

Today I was talking to someone I work with and she told me a neat story about her daughter. She said she was going to visit her on the Gulf Coast, so I asked if she had been affected by Katrina or did she move down later? She said that her daughter had been a reporter for a major newspaper (she gave me specifics, but I thought I would leave everything vague) and was sent to cover the aftermath of Katrina. She really loved the place and now she lives there. But the neat part is how it all came about.

While she was covering the story she was talking to a lot of different people, people who needed services, stores that were open, people who needed money and had services to offer, and so forth. So she wrote up a list of local contacts and was giving them out to people. She gave out hundreds of copies. So the next week she added to the list and handed the longer two-page list out. There wasn’t a local newspaper so it was a good way of getting information out. Again, she wound up making hundreds of copies and giving them all out in no time. And it led to more people giving her names, so she started adding some stories and pretty soon people wanted to pay to advertise. It became more of a newsletter, then a long newsletter, and now it is printed on newsprint, and it has become the local newspaper. She found a photographer so she could add pictures and someone with some newspaper experience to help out. It’s about 20 pages long. So she doesn’t work at the big paper anymore.

This lady was so proud of her daughter. She said that the last time she went to visit they went to a “restaurant.” She said it wasn’t really a restaurant, it was the slab of the restaurant that used to be there and the owners had brought in a trailer to cook out of and set up tables and lights on the slab. While they were sitting there her daughter pointed out that people at every table were reading her newspaper.

Palm Timeline

Since it looks like new iPods won’t be available until January 2007, I started thinking about getting a Palm that would act as a PDA (currently I have a Palm m515), but could also store some songs and have wifi access to the internet. The Palm TX fits the bill pretty nicely with 128 MB of RAM and a SD card slot. I could get a 1 GB SD card for $29 which would hold 250 songs or about 20 CD’s. I still think the ideal device would be a wifi PDA with a big hard drive that could play movies on a screen larger than an iPod’s. I started putting together a timeline like I did with the iPod to get a picture of the upgrade schedule. The TX was introduced last October, so it is already kind of old. I started thinking that maybe Palm would introduce an upgraded model this October. So I still may end up waiting (not a big deal since both my iPod and Palm work fine right now). I thought briefly about a Blackberry which combines a phone and PDA, but I don’t mind carrying a phone and PDA (though the TX is larger than the m515).

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Jeb’s 45’s

Here is a mix that I made for Jeb for his birthday extravaganza at the new house in Athens. I put Aimee Mann’s two songs from the movie Magnolia because they are so pretty but largely overlooked and Rusted Root’s two songs because Jeb likes some of their other songs, and those two stand alone well (most Rusted Root tracks are long jams). But neither of those two artists mixed well with the mostly country and acoustic music on the rest of the CD, so they are by themselves at the beginning. The country part centers around Gillian Welch and Alison Krauss who both appeared on the O Brother Where Art Thou soundtrack. Gillian Welch also sings on the song by the Chieftains (I admit that I got “Katie, Dear” from iTunes largely based on the title which seemed to be an ode to my dog, but is in fact a really depressing song about suicide). M. Ward’s “You Still Believe in Me” is an acoustic instrumental version of a Beach Boys song that was on Pet Sounds, but on the two songs where he sings, his raspy voice sounds kind of like Tom Waits.

  1. Rusted Root – Magenta Radio (4:27)

  2. Rusted Root – Heaven (4:02)

  3. Aimee Mann – One (2:51)

  4. Aimee Mann – Save Me (4:36)

  5. Johnny and Ruth Carter Cash – Jackson (2:47)

  6. Lucinda Williams – Can’t Let Go (3:29)

  7. M. Ward – Vincent O’Brien (2:39)

  8. Alison Krauss & Union Station – When You Say Nothing at All (4:22)

  9. Gillian Welch – One More Dollar (4:35)

  10. M. Ward – Color of Water (3:24)

  11. Alison Krauss & Union Station – Restless (2:52)

  12. Gillian Welch – Red Clay Halo (3:15)

  13. The Chieftains – Katie Dear (4:28)

  14. M. Ward – You Still Believe In Me (2:25)

  15. Gillian Welch – Revelator (6:22)

Clio’s illness

Yesterday Katie got a clean bill of health and a green light to resume full activies, 16 weeks after her knee surgery. Ironically, I was at the same specialist today taking Clio in for an “abdominal mass” that had been detected by her regular vet last week. ClioThey did an ultrasound and found she has a large growth of some kind on her intestine and several lymph nodes have swelled to a couple of inches in size. They took tissue samples of the lymph nodes to run tests, but it will be Friday or Monday before I hear anything conclusive.

It is possible that they could operate on her intestine and the lymph nodes will just be non-cancerous swelling, but they said if she has cancer in her lymphatic system that they couldn’t operate, but might try chemotherapy. I’ve been reading about dogs with lymphoma (or lymphosarcoma), which is what they think she may have, and usually, even with chemotherapy, a dog’s lifetime after diagnosis is measured in months, not years.

Despite intestinal problems, she has been feeling pretty good lately. I’ve got her on a combination of salmon and rice dry food (for “sensitive systems”) with canned food mixed in. I think she thinks she’s getting cat food, so at least she is eating and not losing weight like she was in the last few weeks. Also she isn’t itching nearly as much, so she has to be more comfortable. She was awfully glad to see me when I picked her up yesterday afternoon and stayed even closer to me than usual when we got home. She drank a ton of water and promptly went to sleep. We went on a walk later on, so for the most part, she is doing pretty well physically.

Amazon Q2 Results

Despite the lower commission structure this quarter, I still did surprisingly well, making a commission of $192.21 on 133 items worth $4,238 (the average commission was 4.54% vs. 5.98% last quarter). There were 73 iPod battery packs sold, mostly the Belkin with 45. The inexpensive Griffin Tunejuice sold 13 units and the EZ Gear Powerstick sold 7. I think I could have sold a lot more Belkins (and other stuff incidentally) if it hadn’t been for Amazon having higher prices than Best Buy on that model. I have a link on the web page to Best Buy for $20 and Amazon for $24 and some people still choose Amazon, but I see a lot of out clicks to Best Buy. It would be very helpful if Best Buy would raise their price or Amazon would lower theirs.

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