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21 January 2010 @ 08:19 pm
oooo Thunder! I love thunder! Ya know it really stormy in southern California when there's thunder.
20 January 2010 @ 06:32 pm
When I mentioned giving money to the [American] Red Cross for the disaster in Haiti some friends and co-workers said that the RC isn't the most efficient when it comes to handling donations. I got to thinking about this more later in the day.

My parents are RC volunteers and have been since the 1993 floods in the midwest. Between them they're certified to drive the emergency trucks and teach first aid. They have stories that are so frustrating and political that I can't repeat them here in writing. I'll tell any of you the stories I remember in person when we see each other. The RC is primarily about disaster relief, not things like home insurance; they're not about giving money to victims necessarily, just enough to get them on their feet. Disaster relief is all about overhead; cots, blankets, fully operational mobil kitchens, and medical treatment facilities.

One Christmas vacation a few years ago (2002?) I helped my parents on a 'fire' run. My mother was in rotation for the emergency pager and it went off one evening. A home was burning, well, a smoldering pile when we got there, and the volunteer fire department had been there a number of hours. Likely most of them had missed dinner. My mother made sure the home inhabitants received comfort-kits—consisting of mostly toiletries for adults, and adds things like stuffed animals for children—and made sure they had places to stay that night, whether with friends, family, or at a shelter. My father and I handed out this awful, lukewarm, hot chocolate to the volunteer FD crew. There's no facility at that RC chapter for instant hot water so we had had to stop by a convenience store on the way to the scene. This required us to pour hot water—one cup at a time, so the clerk could notate the charge for reimbursement—into the "cambro" as they referred to it, or a 5 gallon hot drink dispenser. (I just found out that Cambro is a brand name and they sell food service equipment.) That convenience store didn't have enough hot water either and what they had wasn't very warm. We also grabbed some of their coffee for another cambro. We started pushing coffee to the fire fighters because it was warmer and not quite so awful. They took the drink politely, but you could tell by the hesitation when they sipped it that it wasn't any good.

So when you start factoring in freezers for storing blood (the common wisdom is for a community to have a 3 day supply on hand) into needing things like instant hot water dispensers, how much overhead cost is correct for the Red Cross? Officially that evening your donation would have been counted only for hot water, chocolate powder, and gasoline to drive the truck. Oh yeah, the 3 comfort kits too.

I looked for more info on what happened around 9/11 that the RC got this reputation. This 2004 article uses the RC as an example of misunderstood overhead:

I also found articles panning the Red Cross. I'm sure I could find articles 'for' and 'against' any charitable organization. What is and isn't proper overhead isn't clear cut. And it's too easy to apply political spin to the little information on the subject.
18 January 2010 @ 02:10 pm
wow, boss says he'll match employee donations for aid to Haiti. This is cool. *looks up Red Cross and digs out checkbook*
01 January 2010 @ 01:32 am
Earlier the full moon had an ice ring.
01 January 2010 @ 12:58 am
What could be more cool on New Years Eve... Hanging out at a goth club in LA when the theme is 1920's flappers and gangsters. Every one is -dressed-
21 December 2009 @ 07:29 pm
Just got a scam SMS message to my phone from '9099': "customer issue, california credit union service frozen.  please call at 206 529 4843." A web search confirmed a number of people are getting this.
05 December 2009 @ 07:35 pm
OMG! kitten farts *gasp*
04 December 2009 @ 07:22 pm
my brain is full
13 November 2009 @ 01:53 am
First Hermes update: this morning he (the 8 week old kitten) attacked a shoelace, killed it, started to drag it off... and got chased by a shoe! He was so startled he jumped a foot in the air and ran to another room.