Sunday, June 29, 2008

Off-Topic Flood Evacuation Anecdote #2

Found in a bathroom stall in Madison, Wisconsin.

While a number of potential explanations abound, I'm thinking one sticks out.

Saturday, June 28, 2008

Clapp Your Hands Say Yeah

I got to go to Voxman for the first time since we were evactuated as part of a take-all-comers cleanup crew and furthermore was assigned to Clapp Recital Hall. This was my first time getting to see the space, as I had missed it during my interview tour, and seeing it in this light was akin to walking in to Santa's Cottage only to come across an elf choking him. I can say that it is destroyed it a sense somewhere between potential riot damage to "at least it wasn't a fire".

The first seven rows were clearly submerged with the next four rows showing a mark on the upholstery or wooden endcaps. All of the carpeting was being removed and the entire day was spent scraping off fetid blue foam. The stage floor was already removed when we got there, and the shell (easily seen in this picture) had a clear water mark up about a foot and a half.

This is the only picture that turned out, as I was only armed with cellphone and the only lighting available was a single halogen bulb (which frequently went down). My fragile hands were unable to do the work two days in a row but despite the devastation the work is progressing very quickly.

Thursday, June 26, 2008

Off-Topic Flood Evacuation Anecdote #1

During our wanderings we visited some of our friends and in a stunning display of adulthood we decided to take in "a show" at the local reservation casino. The closest I've ever come to a casino before this was a connection in the Las Vegas airport which is packed to the gills with slot machine. That time I left up to the tune of forty dollars, on the nickel slots no less. The nickel slots were not as kind to me this time, taking my whole dollar. Angela on the other hand, turned a 165% profit on her dollar.

The casino experts in our party lamented that the slots were a sucker play, but in honesty everything in a casino is a sucker play. Betting limits and tweaks to prevent 50-50 chances keep any Martingale shenanigans and unlike the Vegas casinos in the movies there is no steady supply of liquid courage. (There is however, and I am serious, an open soda fountain.) If one takes this somewhat pessimistic view of the entire casino being a system, then this is a system that can be gamed.

The eventual show was bad, real bad. The house began sparse but not deserted and none of the acts seemed to know how to deal with it. Even the headliner, who had already done one show, seemed entirely bereft of prepared material and depended solely on banter with a drunk retired trucker after striking out by mocking a blind man's glasses. The thinned out crowd worked greatly in our benefit come time for the door prizes.

All trades considered, we left up by almost sixty dollars. You just have to know when to not walk away.

Monday, June 23, 2008

Sit on the Levee and Moan

About two weeks ago I realized I had only come up long enough to say I was in Iowa City. As you've heard, there has been a lot happening to Iowa City in the last two weeks. I'm fine personally, being lucky enough to live near University Heights, which is called that for a reason.

The music program however is in a much different spot. The north campus, which houses all the music and arts buildings, was entirely flooded. (A picture at its worst.) The river crested about a week ago and sometime today the reservoir should go back under the spillway. However cleanup estimates are mounting with the worst saying the building won't be accessible until January.

The flood found its own way to mess with us. We were employed in Voxman's music library for three days before it was evacuated. At this point we were shunted over to the main library's own frantic preparations. The decision to put the special collections in the lowest part of the basement no longer seemed like the wisest idea. This again lasted three days until that building was evacuated.

A river flood is entirely unlike any other sort of severe weather. It is not a single act of natural violence but more akin to being pressed to death. While the hill made us safe from the flood waters themselves, as bridges were closed and the city's resources became taxed life in Iowa City became increasingly difficult. So much for buckling down and weathering it out, we split. A thanks to our parents and everyone else who helped or housed us during our quasi-nomadry. After leaving a furiously busy but insular scene for an ivory tower where we could be more participatory, it will be interesting to see how the community responds to said tower being washed over.

Any inquiries about helping said music program clean up should be directed here.