All right! The paperwork is finally done and I have an official job with the Gulf Coast Community Design Studio starting February 16th.

MLK Day 2009

Martin Luther King Jr. Day is always a big celebration in Biloxi, and this year’s festivities were endowed with extra significance, the day before the inauguration of Barack Obama as President of the United States. See some of my photos from the parade on Flickr.


My writing productivity has been slow lately, and for that I apologize. I’ve been doing quite a bit of thinking about this blog and how to make it better, and that has paradoxically made me worse at posting because my attention has been elsewhere. In the meantime, you may want to take a look at Flickr, where I’ve been uploading lots of photos. And expect some news and changes over the next few weeks as I figure out where I want to take this blog. As for real life, I’m back in Mississippi after a great holiday in Virginia. After …

Dec. 2-6 Building at The Trace

Edit [12/26/08]: See these photos and more at my Flickr page. The main (only?) advantage of unemployment being the ability to do whatever you like, I spent last week building at The Trace. I worked on a 3-bedroom house called the Cypress. Thanks to the leadership of construction supervisors Bryce and Austin, an enthusiastic college group from Ohio, and a mix of other volunteers, we started from a slab and raised the walls, built the porch, and set about half of the roof trusses within the week. Here’s the Ohio group: The project is moving quickly. In the past 4-6 …

Status Update: Last Day of AmeriCorps

Big life news: My AmeriCorps contract with Hands On Gulf Coast is finished on November 23, which makes today my last (official) day of work. (Last I checked, I had 286 extra hours on top of the 1700 I’m required to complete.) Despite the turbulence of its organizational transition, being with Hands On has been a great experience and I’ll miss being a part of that. I plan to stay in Biloxi for Thanksgiving, and probably through the first week of December. I’ll be wrapping up projects and organizing things before I head home for a nice three- or four-week …

Hands On: The End of an Era

This December will likely be the last month that Hands On Gulf Coast inhabits the large, cluttered building behind Beauvoir United Methodist Church on Pass Road in Biloxi. Lillian Jenkins, the new Executive Director, and Caitlin Brooking, now Director of Programs, have been heading up the search for new, more compact office space. The implication has been slowly sinking in: the task of moving three years of possessions, supplies, and memories out of a space that thousands of people have shared. Having never lived at Hands On, I don’t have the personal connection with base that others do, but moving …

The Trace Work Day

Edit [12/26/08]: See these photos and more at my Flickr page. An office job means that I get to work on construction sites less often than I like. But Friday, I spent the day building out at The Trace along with the other Design Studio folks on the project, Kristen, Sam, and Nadene. We worked with Bryce, a construction supervisor with Habitat, on one of the eight houses currently being framed. Another eight or so foundations are going in, and the remaining houses are being permitted while the lots are being graded and readied. Alongside volunteers from Thrivent Financial, the …

Barack Obama

This election means something different to everyone, so I won’t go into much depth right now about what it means to me. But man, is it good to have a president-elect who can speak to America like an intelligent adult. It’s good to see so many people enthused by politics for once. And now, the work begins.

Election Day

The “Obamamobile” came by the office today, driven by our friend Laura. I’m excited, no doubt. I’ve been following the election more closely than is probably healthy; I voted several weeks ago, and now we get to see how it turns out. A quick plug: my favorite source for election-related statistical geekery is They’re fairly new to the political scene, but I’ve been impressed by their thoughtful, analytical approach to polling results, their compelling ways of presenting information, and the willingness to go the thousands of extra miles to bring things like road trip updates and state-by-state analysis. Check …

Happy Halloween, Part 2

It is Halloween, and I have gone with what came most naturally: the snobby Frenchman. Note among other things the conspicuous placement of Sartre. Perhaps inevitably, I ran into an actual French couple. They seemed to enjoy it.