Friday, September 30, 2005

Am wearing the T-shirt

Taking Ewans lead and built on this last week of absolute nuthingness I think I´m going to set myself some goals to be achieved for Christmas..

  1. Be able to read simple Japanese, and pass at least the third level in the Japanese proficiency exam in December (they work backwards so first is the tops, and fourth is the lowest)
  2. The traditional loose ten kiloes... would say twenty five but that might be an exaggeration
  3. Read at least 5 articles (of the scolarly type) per week and write reviews of them. Might keep me in practice (fingers crossed)
  4. Settle the scholarship thingie for Kokugakuin University!! As soon as next week.
  5. Finish reading the Narnia chronicles to the kids before the movie comes out
  6. Actually write and send off Christmas cards this year!!! Note to self.. find out where I can get that cartoon program to make comics.
  7. Keep in touch with friends ;-)

Anyways, we´re off to to engorge ourselves on bile inducing BurgerKing thingies (so much for number 2) The kids love it and there´s a Waterstones next door ;-P now there´s a yummy.

If you have any suggestions to add to my list by all means share ... any ideas accepted, except from actually getting myself a proper job and start acting like a respectable adult, that one has already been scratched ;-)


Borrowed this MEME off Kristíns blog, supposedly a list of the top 100 banned books. Couldn´t find the list online but found the list of the most frequently challenged books in the States. Anyways, works like this....Bold the ones you've read. Italicize the ones you've read part of. Read more.

#1 The Bible
#2 Huckleberry Finn by Mark Twain
#3 Don Quixote by Miguel de Cervantes
#4 The Koran
#5 Arabian Nights
#6 Tom Sawyer by Mark Twain
#7 Gulliver's Travels by Jonathan Swift
#8 Canterbury Tales by Geoffrey Chaucer
#9 Scarlet Letter by Nathaniel Hawthorne

#10 Leaves of Grass by Walt Whitman
#11 Prince by Niccolò Machiavelli
#12 Uncle Tom's Cabin by Harriet Beecher Stowe
#13 Diary of a Young Girl by Anne Frank
#14 Madame Bovary by Gustave Flaubert
#15 Oliver Twist by Charles Dickens

#16 Les Misérables by Victor Hugo
#17 Dracula by Bram Stoker
#18 Autobiography by Benjamin Franklin
#19 Tom Jones by Henry Fielding
#20 Essays by Michel de Montaigne
#21 Grapes of Wrath by John Steinbeck
#22 History of the Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire by Edward Gibbon
#23 Tess of the D'Urbervilles by Thomas Hardy
#24 Origin of Species by Charles Darwin

#25 Ulysses by James Joyce
#26 Decameron by Giovanni Boccaccio
#27 Animal Farm by George Orwell
#28 Nineteen Eighty-Four by George Orwell

#29 Candide by Voltaire
#30 To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee
#31 Analects by Confucius
#32 Dubliners by James Joyce
#33 Of Mice and Men by John Steinbeck
#34 Farewell to Arms by Ernest Hemingway
#35 Red and the Black by Stendhal
#36 Capital by Karl Marx (admittedly in Icelandic
#37 Flowers of Evil by Charles Baudelaire
#38 Adventures of Sherlock Holmes by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle
#39 Lady Chatterley's Lover by D. H. Lawrence
#40 Brave New World by Aldous Huxley

#41 Sister Carrie by Theodore Dreiser
#42 Gone with the Wind by Margaret Mitchell
#43 Jungle by Upton Sinclair
#44 All Quiet on the Western Front by Erich Maria Remarque
#45 Communist Manifesto by Karl Marx
#46 Lord of the Flies by William Golding

#47 Diary by Samuel Pepys
#48 Sun Also Rises by Ernest Hemingway
#49 Jude the Obscure by Thomas Hardy - saw the movie
#50 Fahrenheit 451 by Ray Bradbury
#51 Doctor Zhivago by Boris Pasternak
#52 Critique of Pure Reason by Immanuel Kant
#53 One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest by Ken Kesey
#54 Praise of Folly by Desiderius Erasmus
#55 Catch-22 by Joseph Heller
#56 Autobiography of Malcolm X by Malcolm X
#57 Color Purple by Alice Walker
#58 Catcher in the Rye by J. D. Salinger
#59 Essay Concerning Human Understanding by John Locke
#60 Bluest Eyes by Toni Morrison
#61 Moll Flanders by Daniel Defoe
#62 One Day in the Life of Ivan Denisovich by Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn
#63 East of Eden by John Steinbeck
#64 Invisible Man by Ralph Ellison
#65 I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings by Maya Angelou
#66 Confessions by Jean Jacques Rousseau
#67 Gargantua and Pantagruel by François Rabelais
#68 Leviathan by Thomas Hobbes
#69 The Talmud
#70 Social Contract by Jean Jacques Rousseau
#71 Bridge to Terabithia by Katherine Paterson
#72 Women in Love by D. H. Lawrence
#73 American Tragedy by Theodore Dreiser
#74 Mein Kampf by Adolf Hitler - gave up fairly quickly ;-)
#75 A Separate Peace by John Knowles
#76 Bell Jar by Sylvia Plath
#77 Red Pony by John Steinbeck
#78 Popol Vuh
#79 Affluent Society by John Kenneth Galbraith
#80 Satyricon by Petronius
#81 James and the Giant Peach by Roald Dahl
#82 Lolita by Vladimir Nabokov
#83 Black Boy by Richard Wright
#84 Spirit of the Laws by Charles de Secondat Baron de Montesquieu
#85 Slaughterhouse Five by Kurt Vonnegut
#86 Julie of the Wolves by Jean Craighead George
#87 Metaphysics by Aristotle
#88 Little House on the Prairie by Laura Ingalls Wilder - that was banned?
#89 Institutes of the Christian Religion by Jean Calvin
#90 Steppenwolf by Hermann Hesse
#91 Power and the Glory by Graham Greene
#92 Sanctuary by William Faulkner
#93 As I Lay Dying by William Faulkner
#94 Black Like Me by John Howard Griffin
#95 Sylvester and the Magic Pebble by William Steig
#96 Sorrows of Young Werther by Johann Wolfgang von Goethe
#97 General Introduction to Psychoanalysis by Sigmund Freud
#98 Handmaid's Tale by Margaret Atwood
#99 Bury My Heart at Wounded Knee by Dee Alexander Brown
#100 Clockwork Orange by Anthony Burgess

Guess I need to catch up on my reading ;-)

Wednesday, September 28, 2005

Where a degree in Folkloristics gets you ;-)

I don´t need this" says the comic bookstore guy in the Simpsons "I have a masters degree in Folklore and Mythology". In my place I have been put, so you know where to find me guys ;-P

Cilck here for sound ;-)

Tuesday, September 27, 2005

It´s done, been there, done that and got the t-shirt, literally ;-) !

Am feeling strangely sorrowful, a period has finished in my life. Although I wouldn’t quite say a door has closed seeing as friends have been made for life, no longer am I a student at Sheffield University. Today my student card expired and presumably soon my library online access and Athens logon will also disappear. What am I to do without JSTOR ?? Panicky darting of eyes..
My inner smallness might also in part be due to me not having slept since...well not properly it feel like for ages. The essay was officially handed in today. Am not happy with it but it is done… Think I´ll go to sleep now ….

After centuries of just hanging on the wall ;-) doing nothing

Via FunnyPictures

Monday, September 26, 2005


Words can not describe how happy I´ll be once I´ve handed in this blundering mess of a theses tomorrow!! Not feeling too hopeful right now at this minute but, there is no other option other than finishing this damned thing ... Not liking myself very much at this precise moment, but boy if this works out and I get a pass...(see self esteem not very high either right now) will I be one happy sod...

I soo don´t deserve passing .. :-(

Sunday, September 25, 2005

My hot water bottle

I love my new, second hand, red rubber hot water bottle... I guess that means I´m getting old for real and all that, but it is astounding how much better and faster the brain manages to assimilate and mangle ideas when ones feet aren’t cold. Had I mentioned that I live in Edinburgh, a lovely old apartment near the centre, with high lofty ceilings... precisely, high lofty ceilings along with Scottish non existent double glazing, brick walls and high cost gas heating that could never be called “central” for like in Japan it only functions when one is sitting precisely on top of said radiators.. that don’t work half the time anyway .. :-D

O.k. rant over, back to Turville-Petre an the shambles that is my essay ;-) I am soooo going to take Anastasias lead when this is over, and keep in practice reading and writing. An article and a review a day !!! If I am to become the scholar that I intend to I´d better start working on it... loads of side stories just popped into my mind, but see :-D a new and effective Gunnella at the rains and the stories will simply have to wait, I´m off to write my essay ;-)cue tune .... off to see the wizard

Hugs from the ranty nutty one, o.k. rasiny perhaps ;-P

Lazy ;-)

Lazy time
Originally uploaded by Gunnella73.

Friday, September 23, 2005

I´ve been Tagged,

Today alone I´ve been tagged by three separate people, Jón Kjartan, Soffía and Sigga :-D Only since it was in Icelandic officially the term is "klukkuð" very similar to the term "klikkuð" often applied but nearly always negated, with a grin ;-) ***

So five things...I went in search if what kind of things they should be exactly and found the definition on Alans site,

1. A structural or behavioral characteristic peculiar to an individual or group.
2. A physiological or temperamental peculiarity.
3. An unusual individual reaction to food or a drug.

List five of your own idiosyncrasies and then tag five friends to do the same.

O.k. so here goes... hummm ... this is more difficult than it seems..

1. well I found out when I was seven that I get a severe allergic reaction to shrimp cheese spread, although only after eating two large containers of the stuff. Needless to say I have not suffered said reaction again ;-)

2. As those of you who know me personally I have rather a messy personality and my apartment will often reflect that, however it seems to irritate the hell out of my friend Svava that at the same time as one can´t for the life of one see the floor, my books and dvd´s are alphabetically ordered, I have a filing system for computer scribed cd´s and folders for all my photocopied articles.

3. I feel guilty over spending 20 quid on a pair of jeans that I desperately need but have no problem with spending a 100 quid on books at the same time. Oh and I hate shopping for clothes.

4. I consider myself a very religious person, yet don´t adhere to any specific religion, I kinda find good things in them all apart from having an extreme aversion to satanism. No reason why, just dark, yet.....

5. I wear black and red, solely, always have and guess I always will. No specific reason for it and no statement per se, just is. And my favorite colour is yellow, go figure ;-)

O.k. that wasn´t so hard ... even have more ready to burts out ;-P

Anyways to keep this crazy game of tag going I tag, Anastasia, Chris, Lola, Wordnerd and Eva. Don´t hold it against me, just looking forward to reading your idiosyncrasies ;-P

*The latter incidentally means crazy with a twist.
**The ´uð ending denotes past tense feminine well present tense as well, aww bugger it! I don´t know my grammar!!

Thursday, September 22, 2005

Good rules to live by ;-)

Via the Joy of Tech

Wednesday, September 21, 2005

What I do when I should be writing...


You are 14% Rational, 71% Extroverted, 42% Brutal, and 28% Arrogant.
You are the Hippie! Characterized by a strong sense of extroversion, irrationality, gentleness, and humility, you no doubt frolic through fields preaching peace and love to all! You are probably either very spiritual or needlessly paranoid about "the man", like most hippies, as a result of your focus on intuition and feelings over cold, brutal logic. You are also very, very social. And like any hippie, who would have no qualms about hitchiking across the country just to meet some interesting people, you too love to interact with others, even complete strangers. Because we know most any hippie is peace-loving and humble, it stands to reason that you, as well, are terribly gentle and humble, almost to the point of revulsion. Your carefree attitude of peace and harmony is probably very, very sickening to realists or cynics or anyone who isn't a hippie, to tell the truth. In short, your personality is defective because you are overly emotional, extroverted, gentle, and humble--thus making you an annoying hippie. And you listen to psychadelic rock and smoke a whole lot of pot. Okay, maybe not, but I wouldn't be surprised if you did.

To put it less negatively:

1. You are more INTUITIVE than rational.

2. You are more EXTROVERTED than introverted.

3. You are more GENTLE than brutal.

4. You are more HUMBLE than arrogant.


Your exact opposite is the Sociopath.

Other personalities you would probably get along with are the Hand-Raiser, the Televangelist, and the Robot.

The Personality Defect Test written by saint_gasoline on Ok Cupid

hummmmm? Care to Comment...? I generally see myself as the fairly shy loner type... although when I do go out I like socializing...

Saturday, September 17, 2005

Sure don´t feel brainy right now, Head about to go "plop", gooey stuff leaking out my ears

You are a Brainy Girl!

Whether you're an official student or a casual learner, you enjoy hitting the books.
You know a little bit about everything, and you're always dying to know more.
For a guy to win your heart, he's got to share some of your intellectual interests.
A awesome book collection of his own doesn't hurt either!

What Kind of Girl Are You? Take This Quiz :-)

Find the Love of Your Life (and More Love Quizzes) at Your New Romance.

Friday, September 16, 2005

Dragonfly :-D

Dragonfly :-D
Originally uploaded by Gunnella.

Amazing creatures aren´t they. The shot was not my idea but Ragnars who´s going through his "bugs are amazing" phaze ;-) hence "mum will you take a picture of that for me" is fairly frequent. Got a lovely comment from his assistant headmaster when I was inquiring as to ho he was doing :-D She said he was functioning perfectly, very much a part of the class as well as all class activities and in no way behind the others in understanding :-D Beaming mum :-D Then she told me that last spring as she was conducting general assembly and had asked the kids (the whole school) a question he´d raised his hand, so she picked him to answer upon which his teacher had nervously hidden her face behind her hands nervous about how he´danswer, sure he hadn´t understood the question. But alas no :-) my wee one stood up in front of the whole school and answered the question perfectly right :-D
Such a change from before, seeing as it means he´s both capable and intrested in following what´s going on around him and doesn´t shy away from expressing himself in public :-D

Dad reading in Hallgrímskirkja

Dad reading in Hallgrímskirkja
Originally uploaded by Gunnella.

Couldn´t resist taking a photo of him as he read the scriptures in church, just thought he looked so distinguished ;-)

Gunnella & Hawk

Gunella & Hawk
Originally uploaded by

Went to Jon Pauls housewarming party the other day and Marjolijn just posted all the pics ;-) For once I´m actually in the pics not just the photographer ;-)

Marijolin and Colin
Originally uploaded by Gunnella73.

Here is then also another set of pictures, taken by me hence not including me from the Icelandic dinnerparty we held the night before ;-) All these parties are due to the fact that their (Halldórs and his friends) course has finished and they´re now all dispersing over the world to their respective homes..... Sad thoughts and serious lack of babysitters ;-)
Anyways, they liked the gravlax and the hangikjöt (smoked lamb) but the dried fish didn´t go down so well ;-P and we forgot to serve the seaweed

Thursday, September 15, 2005

The Pond in Downtown Reykjavík and thoughts

The Pond in Downtown Reykjavík
Originally uploaded by Gunnella.

Sincerely sorry about the inherent lack of postings lately have been as Carveath Read so succinctly put it, led “into a quagmire of ambiguous words” and am desperately trying to wade through them so as to hopefully produce an essay wherein I to some degree manage to express my ideas, my research and elucidate why exactly this should matter…

We went to the Mela international Festival here in Edinburgh last weekend which was great, I loved the oriental booths and they had the most amazing area for the kids, where they had all these different booths representing the different countries or continents where the kids got to do crafts, dancing or listen to stories :-D

Mela festival - She loved all the crafts opportunities ;-)
Originally uploaded by Gunnella.

Mela festival - With his South American air balloon
Originally uploaded by Gunnella.

Mela festival - I love it "Buffy Summers" !!!
Originally uploaded by Gunnella.

Amidst all the religious and social mores represented on those things then all over a sudden there she was, Buffy Summers ;-D

In other news my wandering brother has reappeared, both well and hairy ;-) and will be staying here for a while, his stories of roaming the backways of Europe attending great big gathering of spiritualists and the pros of decorative bushes (they´re good for sleeping under) not to mention the horse, the art show and this boom town in Amsterdam are very colourful. He now intends to draw and write of his travels before heading off again and I´ll post a few images here if I get the permission ;-)

Well if I´m going to finish this by Monday I´d better get back to my quagmire and get some actual writing done ;-) Wish me luck! or rather perseverance and abstination from least my vocabulary seems to be dribbling back ;-P

Sunday, September 11, 2005

I wonder

I wonder
Originally uploaded by Gunnella.

Yet another pic from Japan, sorry about the lack of pics lately, it´s all to do with that dreaded word, the,.. the ... Dissertation

Friday, September 09, 2005

A Request for assistance ;-) Yet again...

As many of you already know I wrote my Ba thesis on the jokes and cartoons that circulated online in the aftermath of September 11th. Now in the wake of Katrina I’m asking all and any of you to keep an eye open for me. Any jokes you might hear, puns you might be witness to, cartoons you might see or home made screenshots, altered or not, that in any way use humour to deal with the catastrophe. Anything remotely related will be appreciated and if date of observance as well as where or from whom the image or joke was obtained could be included I’d be in seventh heaven ;-)

The image in the post below is an example of what I’m looking for, hopefully exemplifying that it doesn’t have to be a long full story joke or an artfully drawn cartoon.

Anything you come across, humorously (be it gallows humour or not) addressing the situation Please Please forward it to me :-D

Many thanks,

Gunnella Thorgeirsdottir

GWB has given a whole new meaning to the term

Guess who's headlining at the next Hurricane Katrina concert? Katrina and the Waves

New Orleans, the Venice of the Americas

Truer words never spoken! He´s a Disaster

Originally uploaded by honeyfitz.

Wednesday, September 07, 2005

Wow, we´re everywhere

Apparently according to the foreign ministry, in 2000 Icelanders were counted as amounting to 274.537 however of these 25.011 of those were registered as living abroad. Icelanders abroad then accounting for 8.3 % of the nation and that´s "not" including people like us who don´t change our registration and continue paying tax at home!!

Then again, I have come accross Icelanders in the Tokyo subway system, countless times in Rome and there´s quite a community here in edinburgh so....These Icelanders really do get around don´t they ;-) strangely enough though they always seem to return home one day.

on a different note...

I love these old ads !

I love how these old ads show clearly the fluctuations in what is termed desirable at each given time and what isn´t ;-) Let us make you fat, how can you loose with a catch phrase like that :-D
"For women who never appear stylish in in anything because of thinness"

New pics and explanation of the Eureka below ;-)

I realised just now that I haven’t been keeping you up to date with pictures, somewhat unusual for me. The reason for this is twofold, first of all my computer has been misbehaving and as well as being extremely slow decided to dump all photo processing software I had accumulated and secondly I am non figuratively speaking upside down in a pile of books on the most interesting and obscure of subjects trying to get this dissertation thing done in time. In time being next week, panicky glazing over the eyes...

So, anyway, I decided to upload some more pictures from this summers Japan trip which can be found in whole here, completely untouched or cut *blush* but at least there to be perused.

A wet yet jolly group ;-) What a contrast:-D Namahage :-) A definite research projet sometime later!!

Secondly to clarify the previous post, After the interview and language assessment up in Iceland last week I received official confirmation yesterday that I am indeed ( James Earl Jones voiceover) The one, i.e. out of the applicants for the MEXT grant I go unto the next level. The next level being that now I start getting in touch with my chosen Universities and try to get them to accept me as a research student there come either April next year or October. If do I succeed in gaining a placement I will then be guaranteed full tuition fees paid as well as a small sustenance fee for either 18 or 24 months.

I requested leaving in October so as to disrupt the kids school year here as little as possible but in the end it will be the decision of the University as well as dependent on when they start the Japanese language courses.

So, should all go well, we, the family, will all be heading off to Japan some time next year, to live in either Tokyo or Yokohama (unfortunately there are no folklore departments in rural areas :-( ) I would try to enrol Ragnar into an English language or a bilingual school, at age nine I don’t want to ruffle up his education any more than necessary. His accomplishment in learning English this past year has been astounding in view of his learning disabilities and I’m not going to subject him to another main language yet. Elena on the other hand, being already a year ahead in school by Icelandic standards is quick, socially very able and if possible I’d let her attend a Japanese school.

Anyways, enough future contemplating, better get back to the thesis writing or else none of this will come to pass ;-)


Asuka munching on the delicasies ;-)

Asuka munching on the delicasies ;-)
Originally uploaded by Gunnella73.

Monday, September 05, 2005


Yay!! :-D Stifled screaming accompanied by screeches as well as flailing of arms and manic dancing around the room.
Immediately followed by a return to the computer just to make sure I actually read the letter correctly, yes it does say I am now the official candidate from the Japanese Embassy in Iceland for the MEXT Scholarship.
I can´t believe it :-D I got through to the next stage !!!!!

What a day, bought a ticket for Steini to come over here and house/kid sit whilst we potter off to Rome on our 17 pound airfares to visit his mum in her artist apartment there ;-) And Halldór is right now in an interview which if all goes well would grant them the finances by which to start their own multimedia and design company :-D

As I say what a day :-D

Hurricane Katrina [Overwhelmed]

A broken, emotive, nonlinear post, based on images of New Orelans following the advent of Katrina as depicted by people experiencing in first hand on Flickr.

Hurricane Katrina [Overwhelmed]
Originally uploaded by slight clutter.

Browsing through the photos tagged Katrina on Flickr one learns in a way much more than one can gleam from the newspapers and news. The photographer above promiced to forward the names of the ladies sisters in case anyone browsing might happen upon the information. Clicking on the photo will give you the full story.

Ginger and Av of DeepfriedKudzu fame have already made their second journey bringing supplies and water....My admiration goes out to these people who actually get up and do something to help. Her Photoset of the catastrophy is scary, mostly due to their bleakness...

Originally uploaded by ratterrell.

Amazing the work being done by volunteers in the areas worst hit by the hurricane! These smiling faces are a prime example of the power for one person to do good and the importance thereof. One feels powerless, not to mention enraged over the apparent ill management of assistance!!

Yet at the same time, as heartwrenching as the images of the situation are, and as horrendous as the (what seems to us non USA) the bias and prejudice seems to be it is also heartwarming to observe the response the Red-cross has recieved as well as witnessing all those individuals who are donating their time and effort to help.

Do You Know What It Means to Lose New Orleans? By Anne Rice

The New York Times
September 4, 2005

WHAT do people really know about New Orleans?

Do they take away with them an awareness that it has always been not only a great white metropolis but also a great black city, a city where African-Americans have come together again and again to form the strongest African-American culture in the land?

The first literary magazine ever published in Louisiana was the work of black men, French-speaking poets and writers who brought together their work in three issues of a little book called L'Album Littéraire. That was in the 1840's, and by that time the city had a prosperous class of free black artisans, sculptors, businessmen, property owners, skilled laborers in all fields. Thousands of slaves lived on their own in the city, too, making a living at various jobs, and sending home a few dollars to their owners in the country at the end of the month.

This is not to diminish the horror of the slave market in the middle of the famous St. Louis Hotel, or the injustice of the slave labor on plantations from one end of the state to the other. It is merely to say that it was never all "have or have not" in this strange and beautiful city.

Later in the 19th century, as the Irish immigrants poured in by the thousands, filling the holds of ships that had emptied their cargoes of cotton in Liverpool, and as the German and Italian immigrants soon followed, a vital and complex culture emerged. Huge churches went up to serve the great faith of the city's European-born Catholics; convents and schools and orphanages were built for the newly arrived and the struggling; the city expanded in all directions with new neighborhoods of large, graceful houses, or areas of more humble cottages, even the smallest of which, with their floor-length shutters and deep-pitched roofs, possessed an undeniable Caribbean charm.

Through this all, black culture never declined in Louisiana. In fact, New Orleans became home to blacks in a way, perhaps, that few other American cities have ever been. Dillard University and Xavier University became two of the most outstanding black colleges in America; and once the battles of desegregation had been won, black New Orleanians entered all levels of life, building a visible middle class that is absent in far too many Western and Northern American cities to this day.

The influence of blacks on the music of the city and the nation is too immense and too well known to be described. It was black musicians coming down to New Orleans for work who nicknamed the city "the Big Easy" because it was a place where they could always find a job. But it's not fair to the nature of New Orleans to think of jazz and the blues as the poor man's music, or the music of the oppressed.

Something else was going on in New Orleans. The living was good there. The clock ticked more slowly; people laughed more easily; people kissed; people loved; there was joy.

Which is why so many New Orleanians, black and white, never went north. They didn't want to leave a place where they felt at home in neighborhoods that dated back centuries; they didn't want to leave families whose rounds of weddings, births and funerals had become the fabric of their lives. They didn't want to leave a city where tolerance had always been able to outweigh prejudice, where patience had always been able to outweigh rage. They didn't want to leave a place that was theirs.

And so New Orleans prospered, slowly, unevenly, but surely - home to Protestants and Catholics, including the Irish parading through the old neighborhood on St. Patrick's Day as they hand out cabbages and potatoes and onions to the eager crowds; including the Italians, with their lavish St. Joseph's altars spread out with cakes and cookies in homes and restaurants and churches every March; including the uptown traditionalists who seek to preserve the peace and beauty of the Garden District; including the Germans with their clubs and traditions; including the black population playing an ever increasing role in the city's civic affairs.

Now nature has done what the Civil War couldn't do. Nature has done what the labor riots of the 1920's couldn't do. Nature had done what "modern life" with its relentless pursuit of efficiency couldn't do. It has done what racism couldn't do, and what segregation couldn't do either. Nature has laid the city waste - with a scope that brings to mind the end of Pompeii.

I share this history for a reason - and to answer questions that have arisen these last few days. Almost as soon as the cameras began panning over the rooftops, and the helicopters began chopping free those trapped in their attics, a chorus of voices rose. "Why didn't they leave?" people asked both on and off camera. "Why did they stay there when they knew a storm was coming?" One reporter even asked me, "Why do people live in such a place?"

Then as conditions became unbearable, the looters took to the streets. Windows were smashed, jewelry snatched, stores broken open, water and food and televisions carried out by fierce and uninhibited crowds.

Now the voices grew even louder. How could these thieves loot and pillage in a time of such crisis? How could people shoot one another? Because the faces of those drowning and the faces of those looting were largely black faces, race came into the picture. What kind of people are these, the people of New Orleans, who stay in a city about to be flooded, and then turn on one another?

Well, here's an answer. Thousands didn't leave New Orleans because they couldn't leave. They didn't have the money. They didn't have the vehicles. They didn't have any place to go. They are the poor, black and white, who dwell in any city in great numbers; and they did what they felt they could do - they huddled together in the strongest houses they could find. There was no way to up and leave and check into the nearest Ramada Inn.

What's more, thousands more who could have left stayed behind to help others. They went out in the helicopters and pulled the survivors off rooftops; they went through the flooded streets in their boats trying to gather those they could find. Meanwhile, city officials tried desperately to alleviate the worsening conditions in the Superdome, while makeshift shelters and hotels and hospitals struggled.

And where was everyone else during all this? Oh, help is coming, New Orleans was told. We are a rich country. Congress is acting. Someone will come to stop the looting and care for the refugees.

And it's true: eventually, help did come. But how many times did Gov. Kathleen Blanco have to say that the situation was desperate? How many times did Mayor Ray Nagin have to call for aid? Why did America ask a city cherished by millions and excoriated by some, but ignored by no one, to fight for its own life for so long? That's my question.

I know that New Orleans will win its fight in the end. I was born in the city and lived there for many years. It shaped who and what I am. Never have I experienced a place where people knew more about love, about family, about loyalty and about getting along than the people of New Orleans. It is perhaps their very gentleness that gives them their endurance.

They will rebuild as they have after storms of the past; and they will stay in New Orleans because it is where they have always lived, where their mothers and their fathers lived, where their churches were built by their ancestors, where their family graves carry names that go back 200 years. They will stay in New Orleans where they can enjoy a sweetness of family life that other communities lost long ago.

But to my country I want to say this: During this crisis you failed us. You looked down on us; you dismissed our victims; you dismissed us. You want our Jazz Fest, you want our Mardi Gras, you want our cooking and our music. Then when you saw us in real trouble, when you saw a tiny minority preying on the weak among us, you called us "Sin City," and turned your backs.

Well, we are a lot more than all that. And though we may seem the most exotic, the most atmospheric and, at times, the most downtrodden part of this land, we are still part of it. We are Americans. We are you.

Anne Rice is the author of the forthcoming novel "Christ the Lord: Out of Egypt."

* Copyright 2005 The New York Times Company

Saturday, September 03, 2005

See I´m not the only one ;-P

The attack of the cystitis (looked it up you see ;-)

Yay, note heavy sarcasm!! Elena has just been privy to her first bout of bladder infection. Have no idea of what the official term is in English but am guessing at least a third of the female readership will have experienced the excruciating agony at one time or another. Was soo hoping she´d not be susceptible to this but given she possesses a third of my genes (discovery channel rides again) it was to be expected. I guess I can just be thankful she had her first bout at the age of six as well as me knowing the symptoms and the home cures and hence being able to have her drinking a pint of heavily lemonated dark tea within minutes. Would have fed her vitamin c if there had been any in the house. Apparently I got this a lot as a child, partially due to the extra kidney thing but got a shock, when at 16 I got the fullblown version and didn´t recognize the symptoms. Not having a mum around and being famously known for not seeking medical assistance until the very last it escalated to the point of me having to be hospitalized when I was loosing too much blood, admittedly only for one night but still.... Painful as hell, literally, a fiery scorching hell.

Poor Halldór, as I realised what was happening and was cuddling her in the bathroom I was ordering him to search for vitamin c, make tea, luke warm mind you and putting it into a straw cup, preferrably with loads of lemon in it, absolutely no sugar! ... He typically for him said nothing, did as requested and it was only when Elena had relaxed a bit that I noticed the puzzled look on his face and realised that he had absolutely no idea as to what was going on ;-) He just takes us in a stride :-D

Already by bedtime Elena was feeling better and now should know the symptoms well enough herself to be able to get to them in time ... What a life, ehi?

My Brain Hurts!!

Originally uploaded by Gunnella.