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The Coalition For Disturbing Metaphors
05 January 2020 @ 10:49 am


Prison Break Fanfiction
I write primarily non-shipper general fiction, and some Lincoln/Michael slash pieces as well. Yes, I know they’re brothers… and no, I normally wouldn’t be writing brothercest. That said, if it’s not your thing then please stick to the General Fiction section.

                  Prison Break Gen Fiction                      Prison Break Slash Fiction

Supernatural Fanfiction
Supernatural also deals with two brothers, who in this case are bound together in the pursuit of demons and vengeance. An excellent overview of this show and its characters can be found here.
                  Supernatural Gen Fiction                      Supernatural Slash Fiction

Other Fanfiction: Iron Man, Die Hard 4, Chuck, White Collar, Burn Notice, Reaper, and more

Original Fiction and Non-Fiction Stories: Miscellaneous Original Fiction // Real LJ Idol Season 8 // LJ Idol Exhibit A // LJ Idol Exhibit B // LJ Idol Season 9

The Coalition For Disturbing Metaphors
21 February 2017 @ 12:36 pm
Streetcar Scoundrels
idol season ten | week nine | 708 words
The Trolley Problem


The problem wasn't just the trolleys parked on the sidetracks after dark. Those mouthy ones, who clanged their bells at skirts and smoked the newspapers riders left behind? That bunch was trouble, and everyone knew it.

But it was bigger than that, much more widespread. Cities everywhere had trolleys, and anyone who thought their little downtown darlings were better behaved than the tourist-trade riff-raff was kidding themselves.

The breed itself was flawed.

Maybe it was the electricity, scrambling the brain and eventually taking its toll. After too many years on the rails, there was nothing left but a hum between the wheels and a never-ending thirst for the juice. Or it might just be the restlessness trolleys were prey to, with every line and circuit lit up and buzzing with the burning need to go somewhere new.

Either way, the results were inexcusable.

There were reports of trolleys marauding the streets in packs, spoiling for a fight. They would cluster at intersections waiting for delivery trucks to approach, and then lunge at them. The trucks might be crushed, or just shaken enough to spill their loads across the roadway. Afterward, the trolleys would slink back to their byways and depots, their destructive urges sated until the next time.

They were too smart to pull those pranks in broad daylight, of course. Anyone who claimed to have witnessed the nocturnal hunting expeditions was dismissed as drunk or crazy.

The trolleys didn't take well to strangers, either. Every year or so, a new streetcar would be added to the line. After dark, the other trolleys would gather around it, jeering:
     "Well, now, would you look at this?"

         "Just who does he think he is, with his fancy paint and polished brass?"

              "We're gonna knock some of that shine right offa him!"

City officials always blamed the damage on vandals. Everyone knew the downtown area was rife with crime.

A few of the trolleys were more dangerous and unbalanced than most. They would run their routes for months—years, even—acting solid and reliable, and then one day pedestrians would step into their paths and the cars would mow them down. The trolley conductors claimed they had done everything possible to stop the cars, and accident investigators always decided that the trolley's brakes had failed.

The other streetcars knew better. They called it going rogue.

Once trolleys developed a taste for attacking humans, they rarely got past it. They all hated humans to begin with—the way people stomped and scuffed with their dirty shoes, or spilled their food and sticky beverages on the floor, or banged the poles with their briefcases and luggage. Once in a while, someone (usually a child) would offer that rare praise of, "Oh, what a pretty trolley!" But usually, trolleys were the means to an end—reaching a destination, or an experience to be felt and then checked off the list.

A rogue streetcar would start racking up incidents like a two-bit robber on a Mom & Pop corner-store spree, and eventually it would be deemed too hazardous to keep on the line.

Rogue streetcars were decommissioned. It was their fate.

The trolley would be loaded onto a flatbed and driven away, never to be seen again. But that didn't stop rumors.

Some said the cars were stripped down to bare metal and rendered scrap to be melted into something new—stepstools, shovel heads, toilet handles, toy airplanes for tourists, or any number of unimaginable things. Others said that was ridiculous, and that the cars were probably dumped in scrapyards and left to rust.

But all trolleys hoped that the wheels were treated differently.

The soul of a streetcar was in its wheels, those wheels that only ever wanted to travel whatever parts of the world they could.

Inside their forged and welded metal hearts, the trolleys dreamed that the wheels of decommissioned cars were saved and used again, perhaps on those shiny metro rail systems or elevated trains. None of those modern creations were as beautiful as trolleys, or as beloved by tourists.

But they were fast, lightning fast at times, and all wheels were the same.

No matter the track or the chassis they sat in, wheels always wanted to run.


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The Coalition For Disturbing Metaphors
20 February 2017 @ 02:08 pm
Remember a post from around the summer, where I found a bird's nest in my gardening hat and was thinking that The Boy might have put it in there as a prank?

I pulled that same hat off the peg in the garage last weekend, and it was again occupied by a bird's nest. Except this time I knew for sure I had put it away the weekend before—no chance of leaving it out unguarded. There's also the matter of an artificial flower display I have outside, where fricasseed bits of it wind up on the ground or a table top in the breezeway. For a while, I thought the cat was getting up on the fence next to it at night and going nuts. Or maybe the raccoon that gets into the yard. But last fall, I kept catching glimpses of movement over there, and a tiny bird would fly out of the flowers. I checked to see if it was trying a nest in there, and it wasn't. However... one of the flowers wound up as nesting material in the hat inside the garage.

I cannot fathom why a bird would want to build a vertical nest inside something it has to sneak into—and can only get to when the side door to the garage is open (which, okay, is most of the time, but still). Nevertheless, it appears that is not an accident but a plot. I put the nest in the crotch of a tree by the patio, hoping someone might reuse it.

The rain here has worn me down to the point of, "Could you STAHP? I mean it!" We will be at 8 consecutive days of it by the time this round ends, after the previous stint of 5 days, and then 6 before that. My legs are tired and cramped from biking in the garage, and running is still out due to the plantar fasciitis. Boy, do I wish I could do some running right now!

Some random recs: Movie-wise, The Skiptrace is streaming now on Netflix. It's a basic Jackie Chan flick, silly but entertaining, and with a lot of extended "found object" fight scenes (this is Chan's genius, for us). Parts are a little strained and ridiculous, but there is a also lot of gorgeous Mongolian and Chinese scenery, which balances that out.

Book-wise, I'm finishing up Neal Shusterman's Challenger Deep. This an "unreliable narrator" extravaganza, told in short sections which alternate parts of a strange sea voyage (with a pirate captain and his crew) with a teenager's life in suburban America. At some point, it becomes apparent that many events in both stories are the same, but wildly abstracted. The reason becomes clear as you continue to read, but that bleed and resolution are just fascinating throughout. Almost finished, and then I'll start a Pascoe and Dalziel mystery. :)

In fan fiction, I've been reading Band of Brothers slash (just finished a gorgeous pre-series arc called Lancaster County yesterday). This is in between writing my Idol entry, of course, and then soon I'll be reading Idol entries and back at work, wondering why these 3-day weekends don't come up more often.

For music, it's more Rag 'N Bone Man: Lay My Body Down, and Hard Came The Rain. Yowza.

So, is everyone else ready for winter to be over? Or summer for those in Australia, which is probably just past its worst point now?

The Coalition For Disturbing Metaphors
15 February 2017 @ 01:35 pm
We had some 5 1/2 days without rain, but now another week of storms lies ahead. We aren't in the danger range below the Oroville Dam, which got very hairy for a lot of people a couple of days ago. Never have I thought about a dam in the same way as a would-be jumper on a ledge: "Don't give up now! Keep fighting, you can do it!" People have been allowed to return to their homes, and the hope is that enough water was let out of the dam to at least get through the upcoming storm without risk of the dam breaching. *fingers crossed*

In my area, the twist was hitting a sunny stretch and looking forward to getting out on the bike path again, only to discover that the majority of it is underwater because more water was released from Folsom Dam in preparatory panic. People who live above the dam say the water level is still so low that they can see extended dirt patches revealed over the five-year drought. And that it's ugly and they would like more lake again. ;) Downriver, I worry the bike path will be damaged by being under water for so long (possibly washing out in areas), plus that river (the American) will back up already when it rains because it's a tributary to the Sacramento River, and that will rise quite a bit. In the meantime... it is hard to get miles in on surface streets near my house, with so many lights and stop signs. Who would have thought it would be my office-route cycling that would save me?

Also, I have entered Season 5 of Chuck in garage-biking viewing. I started S1 sometime in November of this year. \o?

Surprises: About 2-3 weeks ago, I spotted three teenage boys on the soccer field at our neighborhood park. One of them was a dwarf with a wave board, and he and another kid were in swimsuits. It was probably 52o at best. Were they maybe taking pictures? In the dead of winter? It was one of those, "Wait, am I really seeing this?" moments, with such an unexpected combination of unusual people and things.

Not a surprise: While warming down in my neighborhood after a bike ride, I came across two people in banana suits driving around in a white SUV. They waved and I waved, but if they hoped to give me a jolt, well, Hah! I live with the original banana boy! I did briefly think our son should organize a banana-suit flash-mob event, but I have no idea how he would go about that...

Listening to: Still kind of ensnared by Bob Moses' Tearing Me Up, even though it's more pop than I usually like, But the longing! The inability to walk away! I don't recommend the official video—the actors are way too young for the mood of the song—and I haven't found anything else by that group that I like, but that song? Yes. Then I was hooked all last week on Rag 'n' Bone Man because of Human, which has one of the single most annoying openings ever, and after 60 seconds settles down into, "This man should sing the blues forEVER. Damn." He doesn't look what you'd expect, and he's British, but he has the voice for that genre and he knows how to use it. Wow.

Work awaits, though I'm sure I had more weirdness I meant to share. Maybe it'll come to me later? \o?

ETA: My crack-inspired Idol entry, in case you missed it...

The Coalition For Disturbing Metaphors
10 February 2017 @ 11:55 am
The Notorious B.U.N.
idol season ten | week eight | 1300 words
No comment


It was difficult to deny his involvement when the farmer's rake scratches still adorned his posterior, but Peter Rabbit refused to admit to anything. McGregor's vegetable patch was unnaturally alluring, and Peter was an ordinary rabbit. He just didn't have the willpower to ignore it.

The word around the fields and garden was, "Resist!" No matter how juicy and tempting the vegetables, all of the birds and animals knew they were meant to pretend indifference and just keep moving. Woe to those who did not.

While Peter's mother and sisters had no difficulty holding themselves in check, Peter was less fortunate. He was his father's son, through and through—his dead father, to be precise. Father Rabbit had met his end several years prior, at the hands of the same farmer who had so recently chased Peter round the garden.

There were stories far and wide of other animals who were not always on their best behaviour. A certain reckless toad had acquired quite a reputation, as had a group of mice who commandeered a pumpkin and went joyriding. A few townships over, there was even talk of a mole who had taken a human bride!

What were a few missing beans and radishes compared to that? Why, Peter wondered, was everyone making such a fuss?

Mother Rabbit's friend, Jemima Puddle Duck, thought the problem was that Peter's naughtiness embarrassed the other animals, while Peter thought the problem was that Mrs. Puddle Duck was a complete ninny. He didn't put much stock in her opinion.

"So, that business with the garden," Peter's cousin Benjamin began.

Peter bristled. "Who's asking?" he said.

"Me," Benjamin said. "Who do you think? So, what was it like, anyway?"

Peter squinted at him, one ear going lopsided with the effort to look as confused as possible so as to perpetuate his denial of the entire affair. "What was what like?" Peter asked. "And anyway, how should I know?"

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If you enjoyed this story, you can vote for it along with many other fine entries here.

The Coalition For Disturbing Metaphors
08 February 2017 @ 12:39 pm
WAY too much Idol reading recently—I've barely come up for air, and was so far behind on my f-list that I had to go back to Jan 22 to resume catching up. My apologies for all of the late comments!

We had a brief reprieve from rain, so I was able to bicycle outside FOUR DAYS in each of the last two weeks! \o/ Unfortunately, we're now in another wet spell. Four days of rain last week, a one-day reprieve, and then 5 more rain days. Ughhhhh. I finished pruning the 10 rose trees and about 7 other rose bushes in our yard, and did a little weeding, but that'll be it for awhile. Most of the remaining unraked leaves (they don't finish dropping until late December) became one with the mud several weeks ago...

We finally saw the latest (and probably last?) BBC Sherlock. Huh. Neither of us much liked the Mary subplot in the prior season (mainly, all the wedding stuff and then the improbable twist at the end), and that ate up quite a bit of this season as well. Then there was the torture porn. And the trashing of John's character. There was terrific style and some truly interesting visual work, but there has been less case-oriented plot in the last two seasons than I would have liked. I also renew my objection to the characterization of Sherlock's parents, who are far too normal and affectionate to have produced those particular children. We did actually enjoyed watching it overall—it was gripping! But like the prior season, we had really hoped for better.

We watched Anomalisa, and definitely regretted that. I understand what the creators were aiming for, but mostly it was just strange and slow at first, and Uncanny-Valley-weird throughout. Also? Puppet sex. I fast-forwarded through it, but you just can't unsee that. o_O

I read
  • The Girls In The Garden (modern drama with some mystery, hard to put down),
  • The Invisible Library (fantasy with librarians who strategically steal books from various multiverses),
  • The Fake Fruit Factory (tried too hard to be zany, but not weird enough), and
  • The Scythe (Neal Shusterman future-fic with a post-mortality world in which overpopulation is solved by "gleaning")

  • Up next will be the most recent No. 1 Ladies' Detective Agency novel. I probably forgot to mention that I finished the most recent Harry Bosch novel several weeks ago. That series was dissed in the Luke Cage finale, for no apparent reason. People are welcome to pile on the Lincoln Lawyer series, but the modern noire that is Harry Bosch? Sacrilege!

    Our son has now started his final year of Moot Court competition, so we'll be spending some time at the county courthouse over the next month. Hey, at least it isn't jury duty! \o?

    The Coalition For Disturbing Metaphors
    31 January 2017 @ 01:17 pm
    On The Other Side
    idol season ten | week 7 | 1380 words
    Where I'm from


    There is no road that leads to my past, but there might be a door. I haven't seen it in a long time.

    I have been in this place for years now, near as I can tell. I've lost all sense of how the local time relates to where I came from, but I believe it is slower. Perhaps it just seems that way, after waiting so long to get back home. The magic that got me here has never returned. Part of me knows that maybe it never will.

    Curiosity brought me here, in one rash, fateful moment. I was looking at the stars one night, and noticed a strange light at the top of a hill. Of course, I had to find out what it was. Once I got to it, I stood there for the longest time, trying to reconcile what I saw with how reality was supposed to work.

    There was a rectangular space there like a doorway, with starlight spilling out of it. The night sky inside of it was bluer than ours, the stars strange and plentiful. There was a grassy meadow below the doorway's edge, level with the hilltop, as if I could just step right into that other space. It would be so easy.

    I will tell you how it was, and then you will know. I had friends and family, and things were okay, but it was nothing special. I didn't have kids, I wasn't married and wasn't about to be, and some days my job was boring enough to just about kill me. That doorway, though? I desperately wanted to see what was on the other side of it, even just for a minute, so why not? Honestly, what did I have to lose?

    The answer, it turned out, was everything.

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    If you enjoyed this story, you can vote for it along with many other fine entries here

    The Coalition For Disturbing Metaphors
    24 January 2017 @ 12:26 am
    Last week, I mentioned Z Nation, and how I was confused about some of the plot points of Season 3. I read some episode summaries, and it turns out that I did see the "pre-season" episode that was supposed to have taken place in the middle of Season 2... but it was one of the reasons parts of S3 weren't making sense. This is kind of like Season 4 of Fringe, where they ran a flash-forward episode showing the setting and characters of Season 5 (maybe to prepare viewers for the upcoming time jump?). It just left you feeling like, "Wait, what? Who are these people? Did I miss an episode?"

    Saturday night, we watched Reservoir Dogs with our son, who has been seeing other Tarentino films (not that I fully approve). It was more violent than I remembered (or am comfortable with), and I had completely forgotten about the random racism that rears up several times during the movie. I remembered it being in Pulp Fiction (and it was one of the reasons I hated it), but argh... Does Tarentino somehow think it makes his characters more "authentic" if the white men just veer off into throwing the N-word around and spouting off stereotypes every now and then? Like the sexism and the trash-talking with each other wasn't enough (and yes, those did seem realistic for that bunch)?

    I still liked the movie overall, though I found myself waiting for the "Keyser Soze" thing to come up, which means I ran it together in my head with The Usual Suspects. *Ahem* It reminded me of why I once had a thing for Tim Roth, who was adorable back in those days. There was also the seemingly epic love story of Mr. Orange and Mr. White. The decision to make Mr. White so compassionate was one of the things that made the story more interesting-- you don't expect it. That portrayal got me hooked on Harvey Keitel, and with Bad Lieutenant and The Piano coming out within about 18 months of that movie, I became a solid fan of his work. I just looked at his imdb.com page. Holy crap! He really gets very steady work. That list is longer than most character actors.

    HalfshellHusband and I saw the S4 premiere of Sleepy Hollow, too. I'm really caught between hating that the stupidity of the show's producers caused the actress who played Abbie to leave (the Ichabod & Abbie chemistry was the heart of the show) while also having to admit that I adore Tom Mison as Ichabod. I want to punish the show, and probably will, but I am weak where Ichabod's charms are concerned and HSH is no better. *groan* We'll see.

    So, it's past midnight on a Monday night, which means I need to get to bed before another work day starts. Here's hoping you're all doing well.

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    The Coalition For Disturbing Metaphors
    23 January 2017 @ 11:23 am
    No Thanks!
    idol season ten | week 6| 813 words
    Heel Turn


    Back when I lived in the city, I had these friends with bizarre ideas of what constituted good food and entertainment. Some of them were aiming for so-phis-ti-ca-tion, and others thought of themselves as being refined. Either way, they were all buying into aesthetics that made no sense.

    I have never heard the word bourgeois used so many times to refer to so many things as by this crowd. You could seriously believe it was nearly the only word they knew.

    I know they had their opinions about me, too—"spoilsport" probably figured heavily. It didn't start out that way. I worked hard to be patient and try new things, but I guess they eventually wore me down.

    Now, if I say caviar is nasty, that's not news to anyone, right? That is some salty, oily, fishy, weird-ass stuff, I don't care how much it costs. If somebody came to you and said, hey, let's slice open a pregnant fish and eat what falls out, you'd say, "Are you nuts? That's disgusting!" And you'd be right.

    But other stuff isn't gross so much as not worth eating. I'm talking tiny food, where you could eat an entire meal and not be sure it really happened. Except for the dent in your wallet. Or sandwiches that are 90% sprouts, and mostly taste like crunchy dirt. Don't even get me started on things like tofurkey.

    I finally got wise to my friends and their food issues, and I usually just met up with them after they'd eaten. Every once in a while, we'd go out for beer and burgers, and have a great time. But sometimes they'd convince me some new place was totally mainstream, and we'd get there and I'd catch a glimpse of the menu... Boom. I was outta there.

    Even with the food thing out of the way, a lot of what they liked to do seemed to involve weirdness for weirdness' sake. Once, Ted wanted us all to go to this new play at some out-of-the-way theater in the warehouse district. The "play" turned out to be performance art—with kitchenware and screaming. I didn't even wait for intermission, I just bolted and took a taxi home.

    All of us liked movies, so we went to see Star Wars together, which was fun. Occasionally, though, the movie would be some subtitled arty thing with people wearing masks and talking to the camera. I learned to make sure the movie was American and in color before I agreed to go. Not that I had anything against Casablanca or classic Hitchcock, which I totally would have seen. But the nexus of European and black-and-white in cinema is pretty much unwatchable.

    We went to art galleries, and saw Rembrandt and Monet. We went to other art galleries, featuring exhibits of grouped geometric shapes or paintings that look like a toddler barfed up a hot dog. If I was lucky, I'd recognize where things were headed before I'd paid for admission. If not, I'd try to suck it up and learn something, but usually I'd reach a point where I just bailed and went to get a sandwich.

    After a few years of that, I didn't see most of those friends quite as often. I was happy to meet them for lunch or coffee pretty much anytime, and for any restaurants or other outings where I knew what to expect. Every once in a while we'd try something new. Sometimes it was okay, but mostly my friends would lure me into something with the promise that it wouldn't be weird this time, which was a lie because it generally was.

    I have a normal life in the suburbs now, with a wife and 1.9 kids (because I swear, at least 5% of both kids is dirt). We eat at family restaurants and do all the usual things. But sometimes, I'm afraid that kneejerk need to escape is going to rear up again, and I'll wind up doing something unforgiveable.

    I've been to baby-swim classes at the YMCA, and survived that. I've done kids' parties where the kids end up wearing half the cake, and I've listened to other dads drone on about baseball until I've got pitching stats coming out my ears. Fine, whatever—I can handle that.

    But one of these days my wife will be out of town, and then what? I'll be stuck chaperoning the kids to some social event that just might be the one that pushes me over the edge. Maybe it'll be a Disney movie, or a school carnival, or the rumored Hell that is a birthday party at Chuck E. Cheese. Whatever it is, I'm afraid I'll just step inside with the kids, take a look at the screaming and chaos, and it'll hit me, my kids' tears and heartbreak be damned:


    Yeah. I'll be outta there.


    If you enjoyed this story, you can vote for it along with many other fine entries here.

    The Coalition For Disturbing Metaphors
    17 January 2017 @ 01:04 pm
    I drove to the hairdresser's last Thursday night, at the tail end of six consecutive days of rain. I took an old back road (it was 5:00 pm and the route to the Interstate is slowwww then), and it got darker and darker as I went. Everyone else knew the road better and wanted to go faster, so I felt pressured and it was two lanes with a ditch on either side and oncoming cars stuck in a traffic jam and occasionally nosing over the center line. There were several spots where, Eeeee... I hope those are rice paddies. I mean, there was a sawhorse at one point with a "flooded" warning, where the road had since dried up, but a lot of it looked as if I was venturing out toward the middle of a lake with reduced after-dark visibility and nowhere to turn around. I was SO glad to finally meet up with Highway 99.

    The next day's bike ride—so anticipated, the first outdoor trip in FOREVER, thanks to the rain and cold—was a little eerie as well. The river was within 30 feet of the bike path in places where I have never seen water, not in 25+ years of biking along there. I didn't know the river could be that close—if there are sloughs nearby, they're down below the grass and treeline. One part that has always been dry was flooded with mud, so I had to take an unplanned detour and got a little lost for awhile. Fortunately, the river and a major street bound two sides of a triangle there, so you have a general sense of where you are. The flooding is because the state is letting water out of the dams, to reduce the future load in the spring. BUT... snow-melt is months from now, and I remember they did this as a safety measure one winter and then it stopped raining altogether. So, overall there was a continued water deficit instead. Shasta Lake is around 65% capacity right now, but it has gotten so low over the last 5-6 years that they should probably let it fill up a little more.

    It was too cold to bike outside the next two days, but I got out yesterday. Today was supposed to work out too, but the fog is keeping the temps way down, so apparently not. Then days and days of rain ahead. I've lost a LOT of speed, because I've been getting outside about once a week since the beginning of December, and garage-biking helps but isn't quite the same.

    Speaking of which, I'm in the middle of season 4 of Chuck out there. None of this really looks familiar anymore. Maybe I didn't see anything beyond early S4 in the original run? I'm also belatedly watching season 3 of Z Nation. With the first episode, it felt as if there was an interim one I might have missed, but apparently not. I'm mid-season now, and I still have no idea who The Man is, or what his vengeance arc is all about. (Oh, crap! Apparently, there was a pre-S3 TV movie that didn't get picked up by the Tivo, which is where all those missing pieces came from. Argh.) 10K seems to have grown up a bit, though. I'm getting a distinct Murphy/10K hate-sex vibe that is both intriguing and disturbing. If those two had a song, it might be this Incubus one I discovered last week. I just finished watching "They Grow Up So Fast," with the cracktastic and highly fictional re-enactment of the story of Murphy And The Baby-Mama. In summary, I still love Doc. He's my favorite.

    Weekend-wise, I did not get enough done. There is too much reading for Idol right now—some 80-90 entries to get through in just a few days—and I have projects I need to be working on! The outdoor Xmas lights are put away, though, and most of the inside stuff is packed up.

    Now, yardwork? Ugh. Many of the leaves have become one with the mud now, and nothing dries out! Pruning isn't going to go well, either. :(

    At least we're living in a relatively high part of town, up above the levee-line...