Anyone have a spare aeroplane?

Clare‘s off on another adventure in a couple of weeks. And she needs help. A lot of it, by the looks of it. Here’s her request:

On the weekend 13th/14th November, along with 3 university friends, I am going to take part in Warwick Jailbreak 2004. This is a challenge, where we have 36 hours to get as far away from Warwick University campus as possible, without spending any money on transport. We have to see what we can blag, it’s a bit like the RAG hitch challenges, except this can be to ANY destination. A similar event at Cambridge had great results – one group got as far as Tokyo, with others reaching Italy/Spain/Germany etc. We want to go one better – we think we can beat Tokyo!!

We will be doing this to raise money for the organiser’s chosen charity – MDA – to whom we will give the first £100 of our sponsorship money. We have decided as a group that we would like any further money after the £100 raised to go to “Cancer Research”.

MDA provides ambulances and medical care for people caught up in Israeli-Palestinian fighting. The following was sent to all participants and explains a little more about the organiser’s chosen charity:

MDA: The Sponsorship’s Beneficiary

Magen David Adom (MDA) is a charity which uses all of its funds to buy ambulances to treat Israelis and Palestinians. It provides its services to all, regardless of race, creed or ethnic affiliation. 90 per cent of MDA’s workforce are volunteers working side by side for a common purpose – to save lives. We therefore believe that, irrespective of your position on the Israel-Palestine conflict, this charity, which saves the lives of those who are caught up in the wave of conflict in the Middle East, is a very worthy cause. From its single ambulance in 1930, MDA now has a fleet of over 700 modern lifesaving vehicles serving those who need medical treatment. Most of the ambulances are attached to MDA First Aid Stations with other stationed in villages, kibbutzim, major public places and isolated border settlements. MDA claims to provide an ambulance for every type of medical emergency. In addition to the standard ambulances, there is a fleet of Mobile Intensive Care (MICU) vehicles. These are for the treatment of heart attacks and serious road traffic accidents with one specialised neonatal intensive care unit for the transfer of premature high-risk new-borns. In addition, there are also 25 mobile field dressing stations which are deployed in major disasters and 20 bloodmobiles for the collection of blood donations in the field.The money we raise will go towards saving lives. If you would like more information, please visit MDA’s website.

I would be really grateful if you would consider sponsoring me, and also if you could think of any contacts you might have that could help us in our bid. If you know the managing director of BA or are Richard Branson’s best mate and think we could blag a free flight that would be great! Do you know someone with a lot of influence at Heathrow? Any people we could badger to help get us out of the country?!

Or if the company you work for would like to sponsor us, that would be fantastic – we will do anything (within reason!) to advertise/promote sponsors.

If you would like to be a sponsor, your company would like to be a sponsor or you have any other information which might help, please email/phone me as soon as possible, as we only have 2 weeks to organise everything. You can sponsor me per mile (which could be dangerous!!) or just a set amount. Any amount, no matter how big or small will really help us and will be much appreciated.

October Habershons of the Month

I gave up prodding you Habershons to come up with nominations for Habershon of the Month. After all, I can’t force you to do good things. So imagine my surprise on Sunday morning when, after a seven-month drought, I received two e-mails nominating different Habershons. “Which one shall I pick?” I wondered. “Which one is more deserving?” It was just too difficult to decide, and we therefore have two October Habershons of the Month. This way, Habershons, Lurkers, and faithful readers.

Who is Ken Jennings?

Until recently, John and I had watched Jeopardy maybe three times. Now we are setting it up to tape every day and watching it in the evening. Why? It’s Ken Jennings! As of yesterday (and don’t tell us what happened as we haven’t seen it yet), Ken had won 56 times in a row. He’s been demolishing his poor opponents since June 2nd and has already won over $2 million. On top of that, he’s a really likeable guy. John and I both agree that when Alex Trebek retires as the host, Ken should take over. He’d be perfect for the job.

This has been nearly as exciting as Paul’s Countdown appearances.

An evening at the Mucky Duck

We went to the Mucky Duck last night to listen to Randy Rogers (sans band), and discovered Kent Finlay. I think it’s Kevin‘s fault influence, but I really am starting to like country music. I’d never heard of Mr. Finlay (dare I say he’s older than I?), and haven’t been able to find a website with some of his music. He sings, plays the guitar, writes songs, and owns a place called the Cheatham Street Warehouse in San Marcos where he promotes up-and-coming stars such as Randy Rogers. I wish I could find some of the lyrics to his songs. Our table was right next to the stage and it felt like story night as I watched and listened to him sing, so close that I could have polished his shoes. Some of his songs were humourous, such as the one about the plastic doll (and I’d always thought that was Randy’s). Some were sad, and some were mixed, such as the one about Lou the Tattoo Man. He and Randy, with an obvious father/son affection for each other, alternated songs on identical guitars and created a wonderful contrast of maturity versus youth. I’ll bet Randy would never have come up with “hawk” to rhyme with “Luckenbach.”

An excellent show.

Kevin was trying to persuade us to return tonight to hear Joe Ely. I’m begging off. It could be the final game of the World Series and there’s also a lunar eclipse to watch from our back deck.

Rain and rubbish

Today was our third HMMS Adopt-a-Highway rubbish pick-up in Conroe. And once again, in spite of the rain and that there were only eleven of us, it was a great improvement on the first time. Why? Well, it was only a balmy 80 degrees. There was not as much rubbish and it wasn’t as embedded as last time. We’ve learned that cigarette ends should be ignored and not picked up. But the best thing that happened was Scott’s brilliant idea that we divide into eight groups instead of four, some starting at each end and some starting in the middle and working in opposite directions. That way we only had to walk half a mile each. Also, James brought his pickup truck (that’s a major sacrifice, bringing a truck to a Mini meet) and dropped us all off and picked us up at our starting points. It made quite a difference and we were much more efficient. And I was home and showered by noon.

Best part of the day? Pancakes at IHOP with Sarah and Sam. Worst part of the day? Finding a dead cat.

And to encourage all HMMS members to come out on our next pick-up day in January, you missed a prize! Here’s our very fine Treasurer, Jeff, proudly displaying the Mini pens and Mini Mints he won in the draw afterwards.

Great organization, Scott!

It's over

Houston’s a little numb today. The Astros went back to St. Louis on Tuesday with a 3-2 lead in the best of seven series. They lost Games 6 and 7. The bottom line? The Cardinals were the better team. Not a whole lot better, but just better enough. Also, all games were won by the home team, and only three were played in Houston. Okay okay, the Cardinals were a better team.

Just trying not to be a fair-weather poster here.

Thank you, Astros, for an incredible two months. And congratulations to the Cardinals and the Red Sox on making it to the World Series. Hopefully I’ll have recovered by this time tomorrow and will be ready to watch seven more games of great Baseball. Who am I rooting for? That’s a tough one. Well, not really. I should be loyal to the National League and always have liked the Cardinals, but this is the Red Sox! Having sat through the 1986 World Series and many games at Fenway Park from 1985 to 1991, it’s difficult not to want them to win. And readers in England may not be aware of this, but the Red Sox have not won the World Series since 1918.

Well, writing all that didn’t help. I’m still numb and miserable. Back tomorrow. Maybe.

Scary Yankee fans

This was the scene at Yankee Stadium last night, where the Red Sox and the Yankees are battling for a place in the World Series (GO SOX!). The crowd was not happy with a couple of the umpires’ rulings and started throwing Baseballs on the field (why do people take Baseballs to Baseball games?). The umpires halted the game and installed police in riot gear along the edges of the field.

Contrast that scene with us nice adorable sweet Astros fans in our fuzzy yellow and black striped killer bee hats. We have fun. We do. And we sometimes get mad. Really. Those Yankee fans look plain scary with their grim faces. It must be the cold weather.

They’d better not throw anything at my Lance.

So close!

So what’s been happening with the Baseball?, I can hear all Habershons asking anxiously.

Well . . . you may think that picture looks just like the one below. Certainly, there are similarities, in that it’s the top of the ninth with two outs and “Lights Out” Lidge is pitching. However, this picture is from Game 5 last night. We were sitting in the right field section (front row) this time, so were able to straighten out our necks from Saturday.

I’ll also add that this was the most exciting Baseball game I’ve ever attended. There was no score until the bottom of the ninth when Jeff Kent hit the Astros’ first walkoff home run of the season.

Once again, add noise to the picture.

The Astros now lead the series 3-2. They have already returned to St. Louis. If they win tomorrow they will be going to the WORLD SERIES!