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LiveJournal for Ryan.

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Tuesday, June 17th, 2008

Time:12:59 am.
Check-in, Tuesday, June 17th, 2008. Sitting in my apartment in New Orleans.

I'm here in NOLA helping the rebuild effort. This weekend will mark the second month of my stay. I've been learning, working, teaching, leading crews, making friends, building homes. I've been growing up at an exponential rate. It's funny what living and working in a disaster zone will do to ya.

I work with an organization called Lowernine.org - a small NPO that provides free labor to disaster-struck residents. Provided that the homeowner can buy the materials, we will go in and do everything necessary for them to acquire an occupancy permit. I came down here with 10 months of carpentry experience and began doing small skilled jobs at any house that needed me. What was supposed to be a trip of 3 weeks was quickly extended to just over a month.

Then it's late April and I get this crazy idea - why not come back down for the summer? Free housing and food, the work is incredible, the people are amazing, and for once I actually feel like I have a calling. But wait, it gets better. I could pack up all my shit and MOVE OUT, and actually move to the beautiful city of New Orleans. And so I loaded up Bertha (that's my van) and made the 1550 mile trip down.

Fast forward to the present. My current position is a Crew Leader at a particular house. This essentially means that I am in charge of seeing this job through to completion. I work mostly with short-term volunteers who more often than not come here unskilled. I teach them what to do, and make sure they don't fuck it up, basically. Some of them are great workers, and others are the kind who you remember for weeks as you're fixing the stupid things they did wrong or forgot. Fortunately, we do get good work done.

The question I hear most often these days is "How long you gonna be here, Ryan?" And it's a great one. Who knows? I certainly don't. But I will put it this way - I have plenty to see and more to do before I ever return to Newton, MA. So i'ma be here a while anyway.
2 Survived Cookie Monster's Wrath| Hand over the cookies!

Saturday, April 19th, 2008

Subject:new orleans
Time:11:44 pm.
It was only days before I fell in love with this city. Even with so few people, and so much wreckage, there's still a whole mess of beauty in this place. I find myself questioning whether or not I like this city more than home. I've always been deeply rooted to Boston, but there's something so powerfully unique about New Orleans that I can't shake this feeling.

It really is a mess here. All steps forward and back. Saw a house go up in smoke this afternoon on my walk home, so we called it in. Supposedly it was a recently finished house and the homeowner was just about to move back in. Thinking about all the work that goes into making just one house, only to backpedal so damn fast really gets me. It wasn't even a house we'd worked on, but it doesn't matter. It's been long enough since so many of these people have been able to live in their homes.

Life here is like being part of a big 'ol family. Both the volunteers and the homeowners alike form a tight-knit community and I'm so proud to be a part of it. I've met incredible people with unfathomable amounts of patience. I've learned and continue to learn from everyone I meet.

I'm so fucking ALIVE. I practically get high off the work I do here. Whether I'm working at a site, talking shop with my coworkers, or just being around the house, I'm overcome with joy at almost every juncture. Always having something to do, being on a routine, getting up early, It's done more for me than I ever could have fucking imagined.

Hand over the cookies!

Thursday, March 27th, 2008

Time:8:25 pm.
Put something down. Something, anything.

My thoughts are scattered all over the place. Isn't his drug supposed to help me focus? Ok, granted, it does help. When used "properly". I don't mean as perscribed.

Coast coast coast. I keep wondering why I have so little to say, oh yeah it's because i've NOTHING to do. riight.

I've got 2 friends who are consistently around. One is taking a year off, and we've come together over that fact. But he has an incredible knack for being antagonistic and annoying.

The other just took the semester off from school. And he is a shell of the person he used to be. He used to be one of the smartest and funniest people I'd ever known. Today he can't even hold a conversation. He says things that make absolutely no sense on a regular basis. Every time I've brought it up, he's either completely changed his opinion or used circular logic to try to deny the fact that he's wrong. He's an absolute slave to weed. We had a four person agreement to take a break and he could only last 17 days. His actions lead me to question whether he possesses an ounce of common sense. As a result, I really don't want to hang out with him at all anymore. The more I see him the closer I come to just exploding on him. He's turned into a moron. But as his friend, and a close friend at that, I can't decide whether that would be tough love, or just running away from the issue.

I signed on for a job, and was told they could guarantee me something like 60 hours a week. Boy am I scared. I mean yeah the money will be great, and Darsigny is on the same crew, but the last job I had was 15-16 hours a week. Just two days. Quite the change.

Hmm, let's see. "The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford" is absolutely mint. Just don't go in expecting shootouts and cattle rustlers. It's strictly a drama, and an exceptionally executed and well-acted one at that.

Hand over the cookies!

Subject:cheesecake flavored brain dumping
Time:3:32 pm.
ok ok. 11 days to New Orleans, i.e. warm weather, something to do, and some much needed structure. Until then it's all time to kill. Would be nice if that wasn't what I had basically already been doing for months...but the light peeking in on me from down the way is very welcome.

I haven't touched LJ in years...does anyone still use it? Doubtful...

- )Flat tires
- )surplus of free time
- )no income for 2 months

+ )construction
+ )new orleans
+ )job waiting for me
+ )galaxy quest
Hand over the cookies!

LiveJournal for Ryan.

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You're looking at the latest 4 entries.