Spencer Francis is an American friend that I got to know through work. It was four years ago when I helped to raise some funding for his start up company based in Silicon Valley. Spencer is also a regular reader of IZ Reloaded. He was on holiday in New Orleans when Hurricane Katrina hit. He talked to me a few hours ago via phone.
IZ: Howdy Spence. It is so good to hear from you mate. Thanks for taking the time to talk to me.
Spencer: Always nice to hear a friendly voice.
IZ: Can you tell me and share with my readers what you've been through?
Spencer: Oh man, it was hell.
IZ: What were you doing in New Orleans?
Spencer: I was taking a break from work. I flew to New Orleans 10 days ago with a a couple of friends. I've always loved New Orleans and the previous time I was there was three years ago. I'm not sure if I'll be returning to New Orleans ever again.
IZ: Are you aware that New Orleans is going to be hit by Katrina?
Spencer: Well, it was all over the news. I've encountered hurricanes before and I thought it would be okay to just try to stay through the storm but the city of New Orleans ordered an evacuation when it realised that it will be hit bad.
IZ: Where did you go to?
Spencer: We were asked to take shelter at the Superdome. Initially we thought it would be just for the night or two until the hurricane flies past us. It was relatively okay in the Superdome until we start getting more and more people flocking in. By the second day, it was like hell.
IZ: Reports said that the conditions were very bad there.
Spencer: We had, I think more than 20,000 people in the Superdome. Maybe even much more. We had no air con, no water and no food! We keep hearing that the govt is coming to help us. It is the same thing everyday but no one came. Oh man, you would freak out if you were there. At night, there were no lights and everyone was afraid. Most of the people there are blacks. I would say 99%. Whites like me were stared at and abused everytime we walk to the toilet for example. There were also rapes going on in the Superdome, some people were stabbed, molested. I couldn't believe that I'm in America. It was like Somalia. And the toilets were disgusting. Smell of urine and faeces everywhere. We come to the Superdome to seek refuge but all we get is hell.
IZ: What about the police? Is there anyone to provide some sort of protection for the people?
Spencer: From what I heard, the New Orleans police officers were busy in the streets, having their own gun battle with thugs. Then, I came across a group of Australians and Britons. We decided to group together and watch each other's back. Man, everyone was crying. It was horrible.
IZ: So when did you leave the Superdome?
Spencer: Only on Saturday morning. All of the sudden the army finally showed up. We got into one of the first few buses. It was chaotic. I even saw a few dead bodies lying around the Superdome. We were so happy to get out of the place man. We were sent to Houston and we managed to get a flight.
IZ: Are you satisfied with what the govt did?
Spencer: Hell no man! Five fucking days. No help. Nothing. It is like they deserted the people of New Orleans. Even now, the govt isn't doing much. There are still people on the freeways and on the streets that no one is helping. I'm outraged with the people we put our faith to lead and protect us. We are Americans! Our own govt can't even help us as fast as possible. Five days! That's crap man!
IZ: Spence, I'm glad that you and your friends are fine. Thanks again for talking to me.
Spencer: I hope you in Singapore are having a more comfortable time than me.
IZ: Well, except for the rain. No hurricanes here. Talk to you again. Cheers mate.
My first hate mail! (Originally posted on October 5 2005)
I receive plenty of emails from readers giving me links to interesting stories, etc but never before I get an email of this sort. It is a hate mail! My very first one. Damn I'm so excited. After close to one year of this blog's existence, finally someone decided that he hates me and this blog enough to write me an email about it. I reckon bloggers like Xiaxue and others receive hate mails all the time but that's because they are more outspoken and they talk about more controversial issues that may hurt others. But me? I didn't hurt a fly. Oh well, maybe cockroaches. Anyway, here's the hate mail.
From: rmaz_09@.....That's basically it! Cool huh. Oh ya and he is also nice enough to send me a photo which I think he took from my Flickr.
To: (my email)
Subject: You suck!
What a load of crap! Firstly, what kind of name is IZ Reloaded? You think you're some sort of Matrix hero shit is it? Your blog sucks. Asia Blog Awards runner up? Makes me wanna puke? Your blog is so boring that I wonder why people vote it in the first place. Anyone can blog like you. Just copy some lines from the link and done. It is a pathetic attempt to copy Boing Boing. Tsk Tsk. You can't even write well. Amateurish and pathetic!!! And don't try to blog personal stuff. You failed horribly!
And photobloggies finalist for Asia? Even my mother can take better photos than you. And there are other better photographers in Singapore. You suck man.
And stop boasting about your fans. What you call them?? IZ Rabid Fangirls? I duno why these girls will go goo-goo gaa-gaa for you. Reading their comments about you makes me wanna puke more. These girls must be blind. I think my butt looks cuter than you. Handsem my ass! You ugly fool!
Man, you suck! Your blog sucks! Just stop blogging!
Impressive photoshop skills he got yeah? I've always wanted to see how I look like as the devil. Anyway, so to rmaz_09 aka Mr IZ Reloaded Hater, thanks for sending me the hate mail. I very much appreciated it. Since you're the first one to do so, I would like to reward you mate.
Just write back to me with your address and I'll send you an almost one year printed copy of all my blog entries, each page autographed by yours truly. I will also send you a poster size photo of me so that you can have a much bigger photo to vandalise on.
Ah, I just love being a blogger.
The snail that travels the world (Originally posted on October 20 2005)
I posted the amazing photos of a snail attempting to cross a gap earlier. I found out recently that the snail page has been linked by sites, blogs and forums in countries such as Korea, Japan, Italy, Hungary, Germany and Norway. And yesterday, it was linked on Metafilter and today on MSNBC's Clicked. It is currently on Blogdex and was on Blogsnow yesterday, two sites that tracked the hottest linked sites. Thanks little snail. Maybe I should give you a name. Hmmm, how about Little Zee, the snail that not only crossed the gap but also travels the world!
Update: Lord Kimbo informs me that Little Zee is on CNET's Esoteric blog.
Best of IZ Reloaded in 2005 Part 3
Best of IZ Reloaded in 2005 Part 2
Best of IZ Reloaded in 2005 Part 1