Tuesday, September 23, 2008

No Internet Again.

We hope this is only a brief interlude. We got internet back on the 18th, then on the 19th a debris removal truck pulled some lines down and I am without internet at home again for a few days.

Many thanks to everyone who is so genrously ordering from Ray Whiting to help him get back on his feet in Houston. See my previous post and, remember, everyone who orders between now and the 15th of October has a chance to win a prize!

Hopefully a post with photos is coming soon ...

Thursday, September 18, 2008

The Asylum Has Internet!

And also, a mess to clean up.

But that's all we have to worry about.

Mambocat will be busy cleaning up the Knitting Asylum, mopping the floors, and calming the inmates for a day or two -- not to mention sorting out newsworthy hurricane photos -- but really, everything is quite all right here at the Asylum, and all we have had to deal with, so far, has been mere inconvenience. Thoughts on that subject are forthcoming.


For now, I ask you to turn your attention to an urgent task.

Many of you, I am sure, are fans and customers of Knitivity Yarns, owned and operated solely and entirely by Ray Whiting. Knitivity is Ray's bread and butter. He doesn't have another job. Dyeing yarn is both his joy and his sustenance. He does it exceptionally well. He also does an ace job of customer service, and is a dauntless supporter of many charitable yarn-related causes.

But Ray has a rather large problem.

Ray was in New Orleans for Hurricane Katrina in 2005 (you can read about his ordeal on his blog, Knitterman, which you can link through the Knitivity website.). At that time, Knitivity was in its infancy. Because of Hurricane Katrina, Ray moved to Houston, Texas to start his life over, to build his business and to be closer to his family.

Then Hurricane Ike came along last week, wiped out Galveston, and trashed Houston. Ray works out of his home, but he was in harm's way, so he evacuated inland for the duration. When he returned, he found his home, business and supplies reasonably intact, but in the midst of a neighborhood heavily damaged by wind, fallen trees, and a mad tangle of downed power lines, power poles, and related hurricane debris. Streets are impassable, and it will be weeks before Ray has electricity and Internet at his own home again. He is now camping out in his house.

No electricity means he can't dye yarn. No Internet means he can't fill orders promptly.

However, thanks to the magic of the Internet, Ray's website is floating around out there in cyberspace, so you can make orders, and put money in Ray's Paypal account so he has funds to function with until he can actually fill orders.

Ray also has a donation button on his Knitterman blog, and if you are on a yarn diet or you're not feeling quite flush enough to order some yarn right now, please consider clicking on that "donate" button and place just a dollar or five in Ray's account. It will come back to you in your Karma account.

Ray didn't ask me to do this, and he doesn't yet know I have undertaken this campaign. He is far too proud to go begging for business himself, but I am his friend, and I am a professional beggar -- fundraising is part of what I do for my real job.

I beg for money for good causes. Knitivity is in dire straits at the moment, so that qualifies as a good cause.

So here's how it works:

1. Visit www.knitivity.com

2. Drool over Ray's beautiful yarn, make an order, read the adventures of Knitterman, and/or click the "donate" button on his blog.

3. Do this as many times as you want until midnight, October 15th, US Central Standard Time.

4. After you have done so, email me and tell me that you've ordered yarn and/or made a donation. Be sure to include your physical mailing address (and customs details if you are not in the US) as well as a contact phone number. My email is:

dezcrawford AT hotmail DOT com

Please substitute the appropriate symbols, I typed it that way to avoid getting spam.

5. Be patient. Ray may not be able to fill your order for 4-6 weeks, depending on when he gets his utilities and Internet service again. Be aware that Ray will not be able to fill orders until he has utilities and Internet service at his home. At the moment he must visit friends who have power to briefly use their Internet services to check on his website, blog, and answer messages, but he of course he can't conduct normal business without reliable Internet access at home in his own office, where his merchandise is.

So you must be patient for your yarn order to actually arrive in the mail --- perhaps around Halloween. But you have other things to knit until then, don't you? UFOs hiding in the back of the closet? A half-done sweater stuffed in a basket near the couch? Socks in your purse? Of course you do. Also, the fall issue of Knitter's magazine is out, as well as Spin-Off. In the unlikely event that you actually run out of yarn, go read about yarn until your order arrives.

6. On October 16th, I will randomly draw a name from the entries and you will receive a generous-sized skein of my handspun yarn, along with some other surprise goodies. By this weekend, other prizes will be added, and more opportunities to win will be available. So stay posted.

I believe in the power of knitters. When Malabrigo had a fire, knitters came to the rescue. When Blue Moon Fiber Arts got screwed and libeled by their bank, knitters came to the rescue.

Ray's business has been derailed by not one, but two major hurricanes. In the grand scheme of things, that's stunning bad luck, and just not fair at all. But I have faith that knitters will come to the rescue for him as well.

What? You're still reading this blog? Get over to Knitivity, spend some money, and come back here in a few days, when I will entertain you with photos and stories of life in the world's biggest beaver dam, formerly known as Baton Rouge.

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Wednesday, September 10, 2008


We finally have power at our house, and, because we are down the street from a school, the main internet line has been reinstalled in our area, although we are still on a waiting list to get the damaged cable connection reattached to our house.  There is still no internet access at home and once again I am enjoying the hospitality of Ashley. 

Thanks so much, Ashley.

About half the city is still without power, but if you camp well and don't have anyone in your household with serious medical needs requiring electricity, and you are fit and healthy, this is only a big, sweaty inconvenience for many people.  

On the other hand, there are thousands of people whose jobs have been interrupted due to either structural damage and/or lack of power to their workplace, which means reduced income in already tight financial times.  For those people it is not just an inconvenience, it's a very serious matter.  Likewise for the people with homes destroyed or badly damaged by trees.

What we have in Baton Rouge is a disaster, but not a catastrophe: it's big, it's ugly, and it ain't no fun for nobody, but 95% of us will come out of this will body and soul still together and with an intact or repairable home.  We fared much, much better than people in the central coastal parishes (counties), many of whom lost their homes.   The human need in the coastal areas is great.  

Gustav was stronger than expected when it arrived in Baton Rouge, but not exactly a surprise.  Baton Rouge has suffered hurricanes before, but they are usually much diminished by the time they get this far inland.  What made this storm such a mess was the force of the sustained winds after the storm had cut a long path across the lower part of the state to get to us.   Previously, Hurricane Betsy in 1965 and Hurricane Andrew in 1992 had hit Baton Rouge pretty hard, but once again, those were unusual events.  We are not on the coast, so we don't get storm surge, and by the time a hurricane gets to us it's usually a relatively minor wind event.

Not this time.  And we have a huge mess to clean up, and services to get working again, and schools to reopen.

And now we turn our thoughts to those people who will face the wrath of Ike.  This will be a much more powerful storm when it makes landfall, likely in Texas.  Let's hope that it somehow can dissipate; if not, let's hope that all in its path can safely evacuate inland to higher ground, away from both the storm surge and tall trees.
Once again, thanks to all for your concern, good wishes and support.  It means a great deal to have so much goodwill coming in from friends and correspondents all over the place.  Thanks.

I should be able to blog normally, with photos and everything, by nearly next week - perhaps sooner if I am lucky.   I have a lot of topics to cover: thoughts on how people respond to disaster, hurricane photos, and the use of Corriedale fleece in hurricane preparedness.

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Saturday, September 06, 2008

10:00 p.m. Baton Rouge time, 5 p.m. Maui time

" We have power!!! I'm soooooo happy!!" Dez Crawford.

Yeah. Hopefully everyone else affected has power soon, too. Pictures and more blog updates will follow when the internet service comes up.

In the meantime, offer hopes/prayers/good thoughts that Ike dissipates before causing any more pain.



In Brief.

First, I want to thank Lisa Louie in Maui for stunt-blogging and keeping you all updated on what's going on down here.  Lisa, thank you from the bottom of my heart.  You are a dear and good friend and I cherish you.

Deep thanks and gratitude also to my friend and loyal yarn customer Ashley, whose electricity is back on.  She invited me over to use the computer to get in touch with people and update my blog.  

Lisa had been updating you on the basic news and some of this may be a repeat, but here goes:
The damage in Baton Rouge is worse than the damage from Hurricane Andrew in 1992.  baton Rouge is a heavily-treed city, with lots of trees in the 85-100 foot range ... white oaks, red oaks, and  pines are down all over the place.  Thousands of homes are seriously damaged by fallen trees, and at present count about 500 homes are completely destroyed.

Our home is safe.  We have some very minor roof damage from fallen branches.  We are very lucky that the water oak (90+ feet tall) immediately behind out house stayed up ... thanks to all of you, and to the deity of your choice, for all the thoughts and prayers for vertical trees.  

There are enormous branches and huge trees down in our back yard, and trees fall across the street on either side of our house.  I had moved our cars to the parking lots at friends' businesses, so after the storm I was able to get out and get to our vehicles.

My mom is okay and so is her house.  I brought Mom and her cats back to New Orleans yesterday.  New Orleans is in much better shape than Baton Rouge.

We do not have power or a land line phone and cell service is still spotty, but is improving daily. the only person who has been able to get through to us with regularity has been Lisa Louie, and again, my deepest thanks. 

More soon, and photos will be forthcoming as soon as my home computer is back on.  I am optimistic that we will have power soon at our home -- perhaps in a few days -- because this morning I saw a bunch of guys with hardhats toolbelts on our street,  so  either the Village People were having a 30-year reunion or the power is under repair.  Our street carries the main Internet cable for the southeast part of town, and we are close to both a hospital and major retail.  So we may have power sooner than I think.  the rest of the city will not be so lucky.

More later.  Thanks again to you all for your good thoughts.  I'll be in touch soon.

Knit on, through all crises. 

I am still dumbstruck at the power of this storm this far inland,

Saturday, September 6

Things are moving in the right direction. I talked to Dez last night for quite a while, and she has encouraging news to report. First of all, her mom is home and has electricity, running water, and a freshly scrubbed and filled fridge courtesy of Dez. Dez's mom lives in New Orleans, up "on the rim" as Dez described it, and is very happy to be home. She is within walking distance of a major grocery store that is up and running, and should be all set.

Dez was also very happy to report that there are power crews in their neighborhood, and they are hopeful they might have power early next week- as in Monday or Tuesday. Their land line is still down, and the cell service isn't 100%. Of course, the internet at their home isn't functioning with no electricity, so she's not accessing messages right now.

Ice is still available, and the water is fine, and they are well stocked on canned goods, some perishables, and batteries.

Ash has graciously invited Dez and Dave over for electricity, air conditioning and knitting, so they may well get a respite from the situation soon. Mahalo nui loa, Ashley!

The biggest difficulty at this point is of course the power. Another major concern is Hurricane Ike, which at this point is heading for the Florida Keys as a very nasty storm, and it could possibly end up in the Gulf of Mexico, which is not good for anyone. I wish the thing would just evaporate and not cause anyone any trouble.

Thanks for all your good wishes and encouragement. They mean A LOT to Dez.


Lisa Louie
Kahului, Maui, Hawaii

Thursday, September 04, 2008


Good news today. Dez's mom's house in New Orleans has the power back on, and Dez will take her mom and her mom's cats home tomorrow. This is quite good news, and New Orleans was fortunate to "only" get hit by Gustav masquerading as a tropical storm instead of the major hurricane Baton Rouge got. Baton Rouge, frankly, is a mess, and will take some time to clean up.

Electricity and the land line are still off and may be for some time. As in several weeks. Dez said they can "camp" in their house as long as need be provided they can get two bags of ice every day. She also said the large grocery store near their house restocked yesterday and is open today. The mail service also started back today. It would be ironic if the electric bill gets delivered soon.

Dez went shopping and told me about a college age couple that was in front of her in line. The girlfriend said something like "We've only got two coolers, so we can pretend we're European and drink the beer warm so we can keep the food cold." The boyfriend said "Get rid of the food, we need to keep the beer cold!" Priorities, I guess.

Dez sounded better today, I think some of the shock of the first two days was wearing off. However, this is going to be a long haul back to relatively normal, so please keep sending good wishes and thoughts.

Thanks for all the encouragement and support on this end. I hope I can keep bringing you better and better news each day.



Wednesday, September 03, 2008

Hi again.

It's Wednesday morning here, mid afternoon for Dez. Cell phone reception was better, but still not perfect, but we did have a brief chat.

Baton Rouge is a mess. Dez says the area is in worse shape than after Hurricane Andrew in 1992, and will be some time before it is back to "normal." The information she has is that 400-450 homes took major, as in devastating, damage from trees and are in all likelihood destroyed. There are 1.4 MILLION homes in Southern Louisiana without power. There is only 1 major grocery store open in the area and there were probably 500 people lined up to go inside.

The good news is that she, Dave and her mom (and the four legged "people") are all fine. They have running water, gas water heater and stove so they can shower and cook. They are well stocked with food, and batteries. The electricity will in all probability be off for quite some time, but they are "camping" and while they are not as comfortable as they would be with electric lights and air conditioning, they are safe and functioning, and have what they need.

Dez says thank you to all who have and are supporting them in whatever way you have and thinking of them.

While I wish I had better news on the aftermath, I am extremely relieved and grateful that they are alive, unhurt and able to function right now.

I'll post more when I know more. In the meantime, thanks for your support, best wishes, and postive thoughts/ prayers to the Deity of your choice.


Lisa Louie
Kahului, Maui, Hawaii

Tuesday, September 02, 2008

Aloha, again.

This is Lisa, and I spoke very briefly on the phone with Dez today. We were having horrible reception problems, but they are doing ok.

Last night, we spoke for a while after I posted. She had talked to her mom's neighbor, and mom's house in New Orleans was fine!! Very, very good news.

Their house had a lot of tree branches and debris on the roof. She couldn't tell if there was any damage under the branches, but at least the house and roof are intact. She also said there was extensive damage to the power poles, etc. in their area and it may be some time before the power is restored.

The land line (aka house phone) wasn't working, and there is no electricity to run a computer so no blog or email for the time being. She said when she was able to get to a working computer (parts of Baton Rouge have power) she would post.

Thank you from both of us for your concern and good wishes. As I know more, I'll update the blog and Dez will post when possible.

This storm turned out to be much, much worse for Baton Rouge than anyone anticipated, so I for one, am very glad they came through in one piece. Now the clean up and hard work begins.

If you need to reach me, my email is mauikono@aol.com. Comments posted to Dez's blog are currently being forwarded to me also, so I can be reached that way also.

Again, thanks for caring.


Lisa Louie
Kahului, Maui, Hawaii

Monday, September 01, 2008

More good news.

It is about 7p.m. in Louisiana, and I just talked to Dez. The winds have mostly died down, and she and her family are still doing reasonably well. The power is off, house phone is not working, and it looks "like a war zone" outside, but everyone survived the storm uninjured and the house is intact.

Tomorrow I'm sure will reveal the extent of the damage this damn storm has done, but we all can be grateful they came through ok.

Take care,


So far, so good.

It's about 11:00 Hawaii time, 4 p.m. for Dez, we just got off the phone. And while this storm is doing damage and continues to be dangerous, Dez, Dave and 'ohana are ok so far. There are a lot of very, very, very large trees down (many of the trees at her house are 80-100+ tall) they are ok and safe. The worst of the storm is past, but it is still very strong and the rains can do much damage. Please do not misunderstand me and think the area is out of danger. However, so far they are doing all right.

The power is off and will be off for the foreseeable future. I'll keep blogging as I know more,


Lisa Louie
Kahului, Maui, Hawaii

Aloha, all!

This is Lisa, testing Dez's blog.

As I write this, it is about 1 p.m. in Louisiana. Dez called a couple of hours ago, and said they were doing ok so far. The power was off, and the winds were getting gusty. She anticipated the storm was going to be bad, and would go on til tonight.

Her request was that we all hope or pray to whatever Deity you choose that the trees around their house all stay upright, along with prayers and wishes and hope for the entire region.

As I know more, I will keep you posted.

Wishing the best to all,

Lisa Louie
Kahului, Maui, Hawaii


Inmates in the Asylum since July 27, 2006: