I was in New Orleans a few weeks ago on business. I flew in on Sunday (July 20) and left the following Saturday. Sunday night, I walked the 2 blocks from my hotel to the start of Bourbon Street. I walked from Canal Street all the way down Bourbon StreetRue Bourbon until I got into the gay part of town. It was still light out, but even so, you could tell that not too much was going to happen. It was, after all Sunday.
I got a Po’ Boy at some random establishment that actually had jazz. Then, it was back to the hotel to get ready for the next day—I had to be at the Ernest N. Morial Convention Center to set up our exhibit. After the exhibit was set up, we had the rest of the day to goof off. So, I pulled out my camera, and my buddy and I walked all over New Orleans and, of course, the French Quarter.
I was surprised to see that every corner didn’t have some dude on a trumpet…that is how I have always envisioned the Crescent City. I was saddened to see (hear, actually) nothing but loud (and I mean fucking loud) rock & roll and dance music spewing into the street as forcefully as the air conditioning. We did pass a few joints where you could hear jazz, but they were few and far between, and they were competing with the melodic chords of Van Halen and some rave remix. What little jazz I did hear was great. I love jazz.
We went to a bunch of restaurants including Red Fish Grill, Cochon Restaurant, Ralph & Kacoo’s, Crescent City Brew house, Mulate’s, and Café Beignet. Of course, we had Hurricanes at the famous Pat O’Brien’s (although we were there early, so there were no dueling pianos. That was kind of sad). Even though I ate well, and paid dearly for it (both figuratively and literally), I have to be honest…I was rather disappointed in the food. I mean it was tasty and all, but I felt that I have had better “Cajun” cuisine up here in the District.
The rest of the time was dedicated to actual work, but in the evenings, we ended up back on Bourbon Street in the French Quarter. Overall, it was a fun experience. I got to see New Orleans, which I’ve always wanted to do. I had my first taste of moonshine. I had a shot of Catdaddy first, but it tasted like Tequila, so the waiter brought me a shot of Virginia White Lightening. Man, did that taste fantastic. I also rode on a mechanical bull at the Bourbon Cowboy. So, now I have scratched 2 more things off my Things To Do Before I Die list.
As calm as it was (given that I was there during the week and it’s not Mardi Gras), it was clear that debauchery is still a constant, and that people still party all day and all night. New Orleans definitely missed out when it came to taglines. I think that “What happens in Nahlins stays in Nahlins” is much more apropos than Vegas (granted, I’ve never been to Las Vegas, but still).
All in all, I had a good time. I was disappointed that there wasn’t as much jazz as the city is known for. I was also sad that I didn’t get decent, proper Creole and Cajun food. I understand that after Hurricane Katrina the Crescent City ain’t what she used to be, but at the same time, things are happening again down there. I can only hope that the next time I go, even more folks will have returned.
I don't normally repost things here, but RC sent me this article, and I thought it worthy of posting. From NPR's website:
Absinthe: A Potent Potable Makes a Comeback
by Curt Nickisch
Weekend Edition Sunday, November 25, 2007 · Picasso sipped absinthe. Hemingway mused on it. It may have helped persuade Van Gogh to lop off his ear. Now a drink banned in the U.S. for nearly a century (it was wrongly considered a hallucinogen) is back on the scene at trendy clubs.
Click here for the source of this article.
Wow. It occurs to me that a lot of shit has happened to me, and I have been remiss to post it here. I was going to go back and post it in the proper place, but LtL told me that that would be stupid, and I should just post it here as a new post and be done with it.
Ok, so here goes:
It all started back in August *screen ripples*
From August 23 – September 4, I was in the city of Denver, the Mile High City, in the state of Colorado, The Centennial State. From August 22 – 24, NASA had an exhibit, the Vision for Space Exploration Experience at the Rocky Mountain Balloon Festival in Chatfield State Park. I was invited to staff the exhibit, and as my boss was in a particularly good mood when I asked if I could go (oh, and as another office paid for my travel), I got to go out to Denver. What I wasn’t told, however, was that I had to be at the exhibit ass-early everyday. I had to be there at 6:30 in the morning. This wouldn’t be too bad, but some brainiac decided that it would be best if we stayed on the other side of town.
We stayed at the Embassy Suites, which was a great hotel. They had just finished renovating it, and everything was fancy and clean and working. Each morning, they provide guests with complimentary issues of USA Today and breakfast. At least that is what I was told…I left the hotel each morning long before I had a chance to partake in such frivolous luxuries. I was, fortunately, able to participate in the Manager’s Happy Hour in the evening where the liquor flowed free (as did the mixer to water it down). Ne’ertheless, I still had to get up at the ridiculous time of 4:30, and what with being so far above sea level, it was bone-chillingly cold at the crack of dawn. This would have been OK had I thought to ask about the temps—instead, I only packed summer attire. Likewise, I failed to recognize that a mile above the ocean the mosquitoes would be even fiercer. They have vampire skeeters there, and I was bitten up like a mofo!
The Rocky Mountain Balloon Festival was pretty cool. The closest I’d ever been to a hot air balloon before that was the “hot air balloon” my mom made for me to “ride” in when I played the Wizard in The Wizard of Oz in first grade. That was a laundry basket that she had cut the bottom out of and attached suspenders (à la the cartoons where the dude is naked and wearing a barrel). She also attached balloons on strings to simulate the sandbags, and somehow (my memory is foggy this many years removed) she hitched an oversized umbrella to make the balloon. (My mother is much more creative and resourceful than she has ever given herself credit for.) So, imagine my surprise when I learned a) they don’t use sandbags, b) balloons are really fucking big, and c) the baskets don’t have holes in the bottom!
Of course I wanted to go in one. I had just come off the rush of hang gliding (read all about it here: What I did on Saturday), and I wanted to tick off another thing on my Things to Do Before I Die list. I had no idea how to do this. Did one just walk up and ask? Did I have to pay? Was there any chance at all? I mean, what’s the insurance liability on that, and besides I was there to work. Well, the Hombre (our truck driver) has a special way with people, and he had befriended the organizer’s husband. Said husband had offered Hombre a ride, and his response was, “No Fucking Way!” He suggested that I go in his place, and the husband said that shouldn’t be a problem. I was a little concerned to ask my supervisor (and I use that term VERY loosely) if I could go, but it turned out that she had also scammed her way into a ride. Suddenly, the trip was worth the 4:30 wake-up calls and the killer skeeters…I was going to go for a ride in a balloon.
So, I get to the pilots’ tent around 6:00 the next morning, just like the dude told me to, and he looked around and randomly selected a pilot for me to go with. I have to be honest, I was a little apprehensive, not that he didn’t look like he was competent, but he didn’t look all that interested. Just as I finished shaking hands with the Captain who I would be trusting with my life, the morning announcements began, and as I didn’t want to lose site of the Captain, I stayed by his side. As the announcements were being made, they said something I didn’t understand. I must have made a face, for the Captain leaned in and explained. He seemed to have an air about him now that he was excited about having a ballooning virgin to take under his wing. After the announcements, we headed out to where his balloon was, and I ventured a few more questions. I had been mistaken. What I took for nonchalance now seemed more like lack of coffee or that he still needed to wake up a bit, for as we walked across the field, he became more animated and excited to fill me in on the goings-on of the ballooning world.
We finally arrived at his trailer, and I learned the name of the balloon that would be taking my virginity from me (it’s always nice to know her name as you never forget your first). I also met the rest of his crew. It never occurred to me that there would be so many people involved. Our balloon (yes, I said “Our”—I already was beginning to feel a sense of kinship) was a relatively small one, and the basket only held 3 people. But, there were still 6 crew. It took several people just to get the basket out of the trailer. Then you needed someone to drive the chase van, for you never really knew where you were going to land. In an ideal world, I learned, you land as close as possible to where you took off, but the winds don’t always cooperate, so you need to be prepared. Also, the envelope (balloon-speak for the balloon itself) weighs a freaking ton, so it, too, takes several people to haul it out of the truck or to stow it back in its place. The crew was busy pulling out the balloon and laying it out, situating the fan (another thing I learned…they “cold inflate” the “envelope” first with a large, high-powered fan before using hot air), and generally getting everything ready to go. We all had to sign a waver, of course, and I dutifully complied. I also took a ton of pictures of the balloon being inflated and getting ready to go.
Once the balloon was cold inflated, the person who assigns lift-offs walked around and did whatever needed to be done. Once we were ready, we could take off at our leisure. The Captain had just tipped the basket upright, and in so doing got the envelope to stand up, when the crew told me to jump in. Seconds before taking off, someone stuck a baseball cap on my head…it was a good thing. It gets freaking hot when the burner blows.
So, the question that is on everyone’s mind who has yet to go in a hot air balloon is, “how was it?” I’m not really sure how to answer it. Anticlimactic is the best I can do. Sure it was fun and I had a great time, but honestly, there was something missing. I think it didn’t have that adrenaline rush feel that you would think would come with being suspended in the air by nothing but a few ropes attached to a large balloon. By the time you get into the basket, the balloon is already filled with hot air and ready to go. As such, all that was needed once we were cleared for take-off was another blast. I was so busy looking around, I didn’t notice that the ground was receding. That, I think, was the problem: you don’t feel anything. It’s so incredibly gentle. Because balloons glide with the wind, you don’t feel the air. In fact, they say that you can light a match, and it won’t go out because there is no wind in the basket. The Captain’s wife (who was the third person in the basket with us) said that she loves to go flying because it is so calm, gentle, and serene. She is absolutely right. We were just sort of floating there in the air 1,000 feet above the ground, and at 7:30 in the morning, the world was calm, peaceful, and beautiful. Then, in an effort to keep that moment, the Captain switched the burners on.
Now, you need to understand that the Captain is firing the burners regularly. I didn’t realize that you have more control over the balloon than one might think. You use the wind and shifts in the wind to help you go up and stay aloft, but you also use the burners to get you up and down to find the wind currents. But you also use that to keep the air hot. Don’t forget that at 1,000 feet above the ground (and don’t forget the ground was already over 2,000 feet above sea level), the air gets cold, so it takes a lot of heat to keep the air inside the envelope hot enough to keep you in the air. So, as I said, the burner is going regularly. The upside is that you get to stay in the air. The downside is that it’s really f’ing loud, and you can’t really anything when they’re firing. Also, it’s crazy hot…and when you have a really bad sunburn on your face and arms…yea, not so pleasant.
We flew about a ½ hour to 45 minutes, and we climbed to about 1,200 feet but averaged about 1,000 feet.
We settled gently down in a field about 3ish miles from where we took off. We hung out in the basket waiting for the chase crew to come pick us up. Once they arrived, we laid the basket on its side, dropped the balloon, and started to pack it up. At this point, they put me to work to earn my ride. I was eager to help, and after they snapped a few pics of me “working,” they pushed me out of the way and got to work in earnest. We folded the balloon and put it back in its bag. In an effort to pack it in, we all grabbed a piece of the bag and lifted the outer edges, then we did it again, then we started to do it a 3rd time, and as we began to lift, everyone let go…everyone but the uninitiated, and that would be me. S’all good, though.
After getting back to the show site, I was informed by the crew that I needed to head back for initiation and breakfast (yes, don’t forget that the clock hadn’t even struck 9 am at this point). I was a little concerned because I still hadn’t reported for work, but neither had my friend (excuse me, my Supervisor). She reported to her balloon, and was told that it didn’t look like she was going to make it, but at the last minute, she was able to climb aboard and got to go as well.
I hung out at the exhibit for a few minutes, and then the Captain came to get me. We headed back over to where the balloonists’ trailers were now situated for tailgating, and I hung out while everyone got things ready for breakfast. Breakfast consisted of omelettes made in Ziploc® bags. They were pretty awesome. But before we could eat the omelettes, there was the matter of initiation. As I mentioned, I was a ballooning virgin, and as with most specialized communities, there are initiations for the neophyte.
I think that tradition and ritual are extremely important, and if you are going to do them, you really ought to do them right. As I said, the actual flight in the balloon was great, but was less thrilling than I had expected. I am so incredibly grateful that I had the captain and crew that I did because while I can talk about the actual flight as an independent experience, I really feel that the whole time I spent with the group is all part and parcel. As such, because they welcomed me to fly with them, because they took me in and invited me to their tailgating, and because they took the traditions so seriously, the overall experience was an incredible one, and I won’t soon forget it. After comparing notes with the Supervisor, I definitely had a better overall experience.
So, as most initiations are supposed to be a surprise to the initiate, I will not go into details. All I will say is that it included the history of ballooning, an explanation of why champagne is important to the hobby, and, of course, a champagne toast. If you want to know more, go in a hot air balloon, and you will get initiated. The initiation, like this post, ended with the Balloonists prayer:
May the sun bless you with its warm hands.
May you fly so high and so well that God
joins you in laughter and sets you gently
back into the loving arms of Mother Earth.
So the weekend went pretty well.
I took Friday off, and lounged around, cleaned a little, packed a little, and finally made my way to West Falls Church-VT/UVA Metro station. I hung out there doing a crossword for about ½ hour to 45 minutes before the Sabra arrived (she couldn’t get time off work). We boarded the Washington Flyer and headed to Dulles International Airport. All went smoothly until we got to security. Now, I have flown a lot in my life, and I’ve very rarely been searched; in fact, I am pretty sure that I do not fit any of the current profiles. On the other hand, there is the Sabra. True, her accent is Hebrew and not Arabic, but do you really think the Haitian, Dominican, or Ecuadorian TSA agent really knows the difference betwixt Hebrew and Arabic accents? I don’t think so. So, as you have guessed, the foreigner with the Middle Eastern accent was able to walk right on through without any problems.
So, yes, I—who is, I might add, 100% pure-blooded American—get stopped at security, and they require a baggage check of me. I expect that they are going to pull out my backpack, which was loaded with all kinds of electronic equipment, any of which could have been pieces of some unconventional weapon. But no, my computer, camera, lenses, cables, iPod, headphones, cell phone, blackberry, electric razor, adapters are all OK. What are these brainiacs who are protecting American skyways looking for in my bags? What weapon of mass destruction did they want to confiscate? Would you believe it wasn’t anything electronic, nor sharp, not even anything ticking. No, it was in fact my nearly empty tube of Crest. Admittedly, it WAS the new Pro-Health kind. They also took my nearly empty tube of shaving gel.
So, as I’m retying my shoes, and putting my tighty-whities and socks back into the suitcase, I was free to go and ponder this recent event. The first thing I thought was that if I actually knew how to take a plane down with nothing but an almost empty tube of toothpaste and an equally almost empty tube of shaving gel, I’d probably be a very wealthy man. Instead, I was in reality nothing more than an embarrassed average joe. Oh well.
We finally made it through security, found our gate, and just had time to get an Auntie Anne’s pretzel. Our plane was a little delayed and moved to a different gate (one down) because of some problem with a flight completely unrelated to ours. Once we get onboard, we sit down, and meet a very nice guy who was on the last leg of his journey. He had been flying for 20something hours from Singapore. One row ahead and on the starboard side (we were on the port side) was a screaming baby. I was ready to kill, but the Sabra kept calming me down. We finally roll out to the tarmac and get in line to take off when we learn that there are major delay due to electrical storms somewhere over New York. We ended up sitting on the tarmac for over 2 hours. The pilot came on and said that they were considering returning to the gate, but then we would lose our place in line. Before he could make up his mind, we got the all clear, and off we went into the wild blue yonder. It really wasn’t so bad, we ended up getting in around 7 instead of 5.
The Little Sabra’s brother and sister-in-law met us at the airport, and off we went to dinner. As we drove from the airport to the restaurant, I got the rather entertaining tour of the town. Beside the fact that it was dark and I couldn’t see anything, I’m not so sure they really had their bearings, the Bro would say look to your left, and the sis-in-law would say no, that’s further down, and the Sabra would say “are you sure we didn’t just pass it?” Like I said, very entertaining. If they weren’t pointing out landmarks, we were all chatting and getting to know each other. They seem like fun people, and we spent most of the ride laughing.
Dinner was at a frou-frou Indian restaurant. I had, of course, a biryani. It was quite delish. Believe it or not, I couldn’t finish it. The Sabra also had biryani, but her’s was vegetarian (of course). We got doggie bags. After dinner, we walked over to an ice cream shop, but only the sis-in-law got anything. So, back into the car. I was offered a quick driving tour of town, and as I’ve never been to Beantown, I took them up on their offer. We drove past Cheers, and Boston Common, and over the Charles River, and other places until we finally got to the hotel. It was way late, and we went to bed.
Saturday morning, we got up, ate breakfast, and walked. We walked all over town. From Beacon Hill to Little Italy, and then over to some water and into a produce market (a la Machnay Yehuda in Jerusalem), and back to the hotel. I honestly have no idea where all we went, but there are pics on the Photoblog. We were out and about all day. It was so nice to be a tourist. We met some interesting people, some not so friendly people, and some just odd people.
We eventually made it back to the hotel, where we refreshed and met her kinfolk again for dinner. We went again to a frou-frou place, this time for sushi. I think we all really liked the restaurant: it had great atmosphere, the service was good, and the food came out in a timely fashion. Unfortunately, as is the case in the more expensive restaurants, it was rather over priced, and the portions were very small. Nevertheless, as I said, it was quite tasty, and I think we all enjoyed what we ordered. From the restaurant, we drove back to her sibling's apartment, left the car, and headed into their neighborhood, and proceed to drink. We were all pretty toasted, and the Sabra and I got a cab and headed back to the hotel to go to sleep.
Sunday arrived, and we set out for the retirement party that originally brought us to Boston in the first place. We took the T from the hotel to her brother’s apartment, and that was cool because I love subways. There was construction on the track, so we had to get off and get on a bus and get back on the trolley. We got back on the trolley at the wrong station and the guy tried to make us pay again. We didn’t. We finally got to her brother’s and we all set out to find the place where the event was. That, too, was a drama as he and his wife had no idea where we were headed, and we got sort of lost (sort of because they still basically knew where we were going).
So, once we got to the event, it was quite nice. Even though I didn’t know anyone, it was still pretty emotional. It wasn’t hard to see that at least 200 people showed up to wish this woman good-bye. She apparently built the organization and ran it for 15 years. The program was pretty good. Most of the people who spoke were entertaining. Her replacement spoke, and it truly boggled my mind that someone so bad at public speaking could be the one selected to take the reins. I don’t mean to imply that he was inarticulate; quite the contrary in fact, he seemed sharp as a tack, but he was clearly not comfortable speaking in front of that many people. They showed a video that someone had put together. I think if I knew even 1 person in the video it would have been good, but since I didn’t, I watched with a more technical eye, and could see that it was entirely too long. I understand that these projects are made with emotions running high, but even the folks who know everyone in the video were getting bored because it was running a tad too long.
We walked around a bit talking to some fascinating people. There was one professor who was married to another woman and their daughter seems to have some personal problems (imagine, with 2 professor, hippy, wacky moms, I’d be shocked if she DIDN’T have problems). There was another woman who was excited to tell us that she had taken her wife’s name. Then there was the woman who lives down the street from the Sabra, tried for the Sabra’s job, and runs a business not unlike one of my ideas. These were truly interesting characters, and I think someone like LtL could have found a mother lode of material for his writing.
We finally said our last good-byes and headed to the airport. We were running late, and time was of the essence. So, naturally, we hit mad, mad traffic. The long and short of it is that we missed our flight home, and after much debate, we decided that it was worth paying an extra $100 each and getting home Sunday night instead of getting a hotel and being back at that airport by 5 am on Monday.
We flew into Ronald Reagan Washington National Airport around 7 that night and were back at my apartment before 9. Even with the strip search and delay and screaming kid and traffic, I had a great time meeting her brother and sister-in-law and seeing Boston and riding on the T and taking pictures. All in all, it was a fun weekend, and I do hope that we do more of these weekend excursions.
My Brother-in-Law, sister, and I went to the Rhino Bar in Gerogetown last weekend to see the Eagles kick the crap out of the Saints. Sadly, the Saints trounced the Eagles. There were many a dejected Eagles fans angrily and drunkenly making their way back to their beds after the game ended and the bar closed.
Who won or lost that game, however, is not really what this post is about (although it should be noted that my kinfolk and I were rooting for the Eagles). As most of my loyal readers know, Jo Cose doesn’t really know the Stanley Cup from the Ryder Cup or "The Ashes" from Arthur Ashe. Nevertheless, I love my sister and Brother-in-Law, and I savor the opportunities to spend time with them (that, and they usually end up paying the bill). Also, football is one of those sports that I actually enjoy watching, but I just don’t get all the rules. The Bro-in-Law does (he used to play), so it’s enjoyable to watch with someone who can call the penalties before the refs, AND explain them to me at the same time. Finally, it was an opportunity for me to observe my fellow humans in their environs—one, I might add, that I would not normally go to on my own.
That is where this post is going. I have heard tell of how people behave in sports bars, but I was still fascinated. I am sure that I was completely wide-eyed and stuck out like the proverbial sore thumb. First of all, everyone was wearing Eagles jerseys except the brave few wearing Saints shirts. By the time we got there, most of the Eagles fans were 3, if not 5, sheets to the wind…so the energy was pumping. We sat in the back, close to the big screen projection TV. Fortunately, my sister and I were against the wall. This was good for 2 reasons: 1) I’m small and terrified of being trampled, and 2) my sister is preggers. The Bro-in-Law sat on the outside, and it’s a good thing he is a big guy—there was a lot of hitting and body slamming…but more of that anon.
The folks next to us were hammered and loud. They did a rollcall, and each person in the bar that was wearing said jersey number would stand up, and everyone would cheer. When this ritual was complete, they (the Eagles fans) turned on the Saints fans (who were towards the front of the bar [that is, by the doors] for some reason). Middle fingers abounded and someone began to chant. Before long, the rafters were ringing with the sportsman-like incantation, “Fuck the Saints!” Once everyone settled, another chant began, mostly as a gurgle from deep within the belly of the bar and rose through so many throats and mouths: “DEFENSE! DEFENSE! DEFENSE! GOOOO EAGLES!” Even I got wrapped up in the moment and found myself banging on the table and clapping my hands.
The waitress came by time and time again: first with pitchers for the table next to us, than Irish Car Bombs for the table on the other side of us. She rushed back with our food and beer (diet coke for my preggers sister), then more pitchers, then more Irish Car Bombs. It was a constant flow of alcohol. I didn’t think people really consumed that much liquor in one sitting.
Finally, the game began and a new chant was heard, “DOWN IN FRONT!” Once the fratboys in the front settled down, the ball was snapped, and the Eagles–Saints game was underway. Before, I could even determine who had the ball, one of the fratboys in front of me jumped up and blocked my view of the TV. He looked around, as if looking for his compatriots, and settled down. Within seconds, he was up again, this time a personal foul was called on the opposing team. Apparently, this is good for us. He proceeded to give high-fives to his fellow drunken buddies. Everyone was happy. Each play ended this way: something would happen, but before I could determine what, my view of the television was blocked by the aforementioned fratboy.
Eventually, the Eagles scored their first touchdown of the game. To say the place went wild would be an understatement. The bar was packed; we were lucky that we had gotten there between games and were able to get a table. There was actually a line to get in because they had reached their fire-code limit. So, imagine being in a room the size of a small 1-screen theatre with probably 800 people (including the upstairs), all drunk, all screaming their lungs out. A small mosh pit started right in front of us, and my Brother-in-law was either dragged or willing jumped—I couldn’t tell which—into the melee of sweat, arms, fists, and hugs.
Eventually everything settled down, and all were glued to the set…would the kicker get the extra point? Of course he did, and the crowd let up a great cheer. Apparently the kick after a touchdown isn’t as worthy of mayhem as a touchdown is. That didn’t stop our fratboy cum jack-in-the-box from jumping up. He went around his table and high-fived everyone. Even the ones that weren’t paying attention: He would hold one hand in the air and tap his potential high-fiver with the other until he got their attention and then would commence the obligatory high-five.
I missed the next several plays because Mr. Jock-in-the-Box would jump up immediately. It was pretty aggravating. Is this a part of the ritual of watching sports? Is one supposed to continuously stand and sit throughout the game? What does it accomplish? If the play was good (for his team anyway), he would jump up out of his seat, high-five everyone, again heckle those who weren’t ready to be high-fived until they complied, and point to no one in particular (à la the apocryphal Babe Ruth stance) and nod his head in an affirmative. If a play was bad (again for his team), he would jump up out of his seat, alternately either throw his hands in the air in disgust, put them on his hips and pace sulking, or thrust his hand as if he were throwing something, run his hands through his hair, and sit back down. Touchdowns required special animation: he would (as you may have guessed) jump up out of his seat, bear hug his buddies, high-five others, and rub the girls (who were hot, I might add) on the head or face either before or after high-fiving them as well.
What interested me the most was the passion with which he would hug his fellow sports fanatics. I am not speaking of a sexual passion, but rather of a passion that one would expect from the players themselves who scored the touchdown, or the coach who would enter the game with trepidation that he might be looking for a new job come Monday morning. It was a passion that said, “That was me. I made this touchdown, and it has deeply affected me.” If he is the stereotypical sports fan, then I was indeed lucky to have sat next to him. I honestly felt like Jane Goodall as she observes her primates.
I think that that is the most alien part to me of watching sports. I am dispassionate about it. I can admire a good play (when I understand what happened), I can appreciate quality teamwork and good sportsmanship. But I just can’t seem to become so engrossed, so obsessed that I actually become so viscerally affected, that I believe that my world hinges upon the outcome of a particular sporting match. Sometimes, like last Sunday, I actually feel like I’m missing something. I feel left out. I wish I could care about sports like so many others do. I try, but I lose interest too fast. For instance, there is another big game this coming weekend; yet, if I miss it, it won’t be the end of the world. In fact, I will most likely miss it as I have a packed weekend, and none of my plans include watching the game. I’ve been told by a co-worked that I’m actually better off for not being so involved with sports, but I don’t know…I sometimes feel like the only one in the world who doesn’t care who plays in, or wins, the Super Bowl.
I just noticed that it's been ages since I've posted anything. This is really even more inexcusable when you realize that I've been doing fuckall at work for months now.
Anyway, things that have happened since last I posted:
- I took my buddy out for his bachelor party. I actually started to write this up, but when I got to the part where we went to the tittie bar, I decided that maybe I shouldn't actually post it. Needless to say, we had a great time looking at naked women! We headed over to the Block (Baltimore's Red Light District) for old time's sake. We went to some dive and this 40something-year old skanky crack-whore slides up to me and asks me to buy her a drink. I play along and say, "sure." Fucking twenty fucking five fucking dollars for a fucking drink! I was pissed! That pretty much ended the evening. We headed back to my buddy's house and smoked cigars.
- The aforementioned buddy's wedding. RC came in on Friday, and we headed over to the rehearsal and the rehearsal dinner...that was good times. We had chinese food, and I haven't had chinese food (except for the fast food joint near Chez Jo Cose). Saturday we got up and headed to the Smithsonian Institution's National Museum of the American Indian, and walked around that, then we did some other stuff I can't remember just now, and in the evening, we met the 'rents, headed into Old Town, VA, met my sister, and had dinner at Landini Brothers (an awesome northern Italian restaurant). After dinner my sister split and the four of us went to a paino bar where we met up with another friend of mine and his partner. Fun was had by all.
- Sunday was the wedding. It was a very nice affair. It was the 3rd wedding I've been a part of in the past 15 months, and it was the first that was fully Jewish, so that was nice. My speech went off without a hitch for the most part. I offended one person, but I suppose that that is life, you can't win them all. The Bride and Groom were happy and entertained, and that really is all that matters. I drank way too much gin. After the wedding, the Bride, Groom, RC, and I went back to the hotel, cracked open some brew, and continued to celebrate.
- Monday morning we headed over to the brunch and had bagels, eggs, and blintzes. I got beat up by the kids...all seemed normal.
That's pretty much it. Now you know the rest of the story.
Hmm, I just noticed that every time I have one of these long, crazy weekends, it seems that Shining Starr9 is involved somehow.
Anyway, today started out OK; I got a late start but who cares. I went over to the Clarice Smith Performing Arts Center at the University of Maryland to use the Michelle Smith Performing Arts Library. I was looking for an article that Bobzilla suggested I look at. Wouldn’t you know, there was a football game going on. Now, as all of you know, in an ironic twist, I am not a sports fan, least of all college sports since they always come before academics, and I think that this country just doesn’t have its priorities right when it comes to education. So, I had to park a freaking mile away and walk and walk. Fortunately, it was a beautiful day, so it wasn’t all that bad in the end.
I finally made it to the Library, got the journal I was looking for with no hassle, and read the whole article without falling asleep, which was no easy feat. This last bit is actually unfortunate; it was really an interesting article demonstrating how British music halls moved from sometime performers running the theatres and circuits to professional businessmen running the corporate business. He, the author, argued that this shift was simultaneously occurring in British big business and that the parallels are indicative of trends in late nineteenth and early twentieth century business practices. Sadly, he writes like an academic and it was just very boring to read.
As I was leaving the Library, SugarDaddy called me and said that he was interested in going out later in the evening. I told him my plans and he said that he would definitely be interested.
I met him at the Freer Gallery of Art, a Smithsonian Institution museum, to see an independent film called The Magical Life of Long Tack Sam. He was a Chinese magician, juggler, acrobat, who played in vaudeville houses around the world. It was really good and quite interesting. I think that a lot could be done on him if he really is as important as the filmmaker (his great grand-daughter) says. I think I need to look more into him!
The film was preceded by two shorts, the first of which made absolutely no sense whatsoever. There is some guy preparing a dead woman for her viewing (I’m assuming) and a young boy is watching (I presume that he is the son). The mortician finishes clipping the corpse’s nails and washing the body. Then the boy asks to be alone, and when the mortician leaves, the boy picks up all the nail clippings. The scene cuts: it’s dark, so I assume it’s later, perhaps that night and the funeral is completed. We see in the darkness that we are in a kitchen and the boy comes in and opens the refrigerator. He is clad in sweats and tee shirt; I guess I’m meant to believe that he is ready for bed. He digs through the fridge, finds something wrapped in foil. He fixates for a moment on the aluminum-covered package, and just as he begins to open it, he scratches his head. (I wonder if this was planned or if he really had to scratch his head and the filmmaker just liked it.) He finally gets the foil off and it turns out to be a huge turkey leg. He begins to eat it slowly, then a little quicker. After another scratch on his noggin, he starts attacking the turkey leg, biting off pieces quicker and quicker. He never swallows or chews any of it. When his mouth is completely full he stops, leans his head back on the open refrigerator door, breathing heavily and wheezing. The credits roll.
The second short is actually by the same woman who wrote The Magical Life of Long Tack Sam (she is in the audience this evening incidentally). Before the films began, the filmmaker gave us a little background on this particular piece. She said that it was written and filmed shortly after the events of September 11, 2001. Because she was still working on The Magical Life of Long Tack Sam, this piece is heavily informed by that research, and it is a sister piece, so she is grateful that they are being shown together. The short is called Blue Skies, after the Irving Berlin song of the same title (from the play Betsy in 1926). This piece begins with a close of up of someone’s eye as tears pour out. The sound track is nothing more than this person sniffling, whimpering, and, making all those other irritating noises. Then the view cuts to a close-up on the person’s mouth. Then, to break the monotony, there is a knock at the door, and a white woman enters, goes to the crying person who we discover is Asian. The white woman pours water into a basin, and soaks some cloth. She wraps the crying person’s hair up, and begins to pull out clothing from drawers. She then helps dress the crying person, who is no longer crying, and finally pours a drink, the Asian person doesn’t drink until the white woman first sips it. There are scenes of the Asian person donning make-up: eyeliner, lip-gloss, and paint for eyebrows. The screen goes black, and with the sound of an old-time spotlight turning on, we see bright blue skies. Our Asian person, who turns out to be what I can only assume is an onnagata, appears and begins singing (well, lip-synching actually) Blue Skies as the credits roll.
After the movie, SugarDaddy and I decided to head out to Cleveland Park and have dinner at Ireland’s Four Provinces, or the 4-P’s as us yokels call it. I’m really not a big fan of the 4-P’s, but I haven’t been there in ages, so that’s where we go. Well, as is usually the case with Irish bars, there was a live band playing (The Sean Fleming Band to be exact). They were mediocre, but we stayed very late, and I consumed lots of beer. All in all it was a fun time.
Anyway, it’s almost 4 am and I need to go to sleep…peace out y’all.
I went out again last night with SugarDaddy. We started the rain-soaked evening at Chipotle in Dupont Circle, and retired to the DIK Bar, which seems to be quickly becoming the “usual spot.” Anyhow, we had a very nice time, even if the soft tacos were a little too spicy for SugarDaddy. We pretty much chatted about nothing, so that was nice. All in all it was a enjoyable, relaxing evening.
So, why is Jo Cose boring you with such a trivial evening, and how exactly does this entry apply to the subject heading? Good question, and I shall not keep you in suspense any further:
We left the bar pretty late (time just sort of slipped away from us as we sat and talked). We got the Dupont Circle Metro Station after 1 in the morning. SugarDaddy transferred two stations later, and I was resigned to my long journey home as the Red Line is single tracking between Judiciary Square and Rhode Island Ave. Now, when I say long, I mean that in the truest sense. I didn’t get home until after 2, close to 3 in the morning. I understand that some of the folk on the train were on their way home from the bars, pubs, and restaurants in the city. Likewise, I understand that no one expects the delays to be as long as they are. Nevertheless, I think that no matter how drunk you are, there are certain things that everyone should do to prepare themselves for the journey. For instance, if you were driving, and you knew that there would be delays on the highway, you would make sure your gas tank was full. It seems to me that when you are traveling on a train that you know will be delayed, instead of ensuring that you tank is full, you should ensure that your bladder is empty. If for some reason you forgot to check this before you left the bar, and you find that you need to expel the excess liquid in you system, you should get off the train and ask the station manager if you can use the station’s facilities.
But this beefy Asian guy (who didn’t really look all that drunk), just leaned forward in his seat, unzipped his fly, and let loose with a torrential downpour of urine that seemed to last a good 2 minutes.
Gotta love city living!!
We had a big event at the National Air and Space Museum that was sponsored by the Jet Propulsion Laboratory. I worked the tables that held people’s nametags. Although I didn’t get to meet him, I saw James Cameron walk past my table, and had the guy working the table with me not said, “oh, look, there goes James Cameron,” I doubt seriously that I would have known who the heck he was. But it was still cool. There were some other Senators and Congressmen, but no one I recognized.
As is always true with these events, the food was de-lish, the wine wasn’t bad, and the beer was drinkable. They had pierogies, steak, corn, rice, salad, salmon, crab cakes, marinated chicken on a stick, veggies and fruit, and an open bar. They had really cool glasses, and I really wanted service for four, but it didn’t work out that way. I do live in a 1-bedroom apartment, and it’s usually only me drinking wine, so it’s all good.
The evening’s presentation began at 8 pm, so I left shortly after 8, as my job working the table was over. I was told to put in 3.5 hours of overtime. Now I know that I’m going to get reprimanded for this from the office I officially work for, but what can I do when my immediate supervisor tells me to do it? The last event I worked I got yelled at for doing overtime, but in the end I still got my money. So, if they want to yell at me, I figure it’s fine as long as they pay me my OT.
I got about halfway to the L’Enfant Plaza station when I decided that I really just didn’t want to go home. So, I called the SugarDaddy, as I haven’t seen him in ages, and because of the holidays, I won’t see him until next week. He was out at the DIK Bar supposedly reading the paper and having a drink. So, I decided to join him for a drink before I headed home.
I got down to the L’Enfant Plaza station, and I knew that something was wrong with me…I just chalked it up to the 2 glasses of wine, 1 glass of beer, and 1 glass of sprite. By the time I got to Metro Center, I was sweating profusely, and my stomach started churning. Somehow, I have no idea how, I made it to 17th Street. About a block before the bar, my stomach lurched and the situation went all pear shaped. I knew that there was no time to get back to the Metro and head home, so I needed to face my fears, and hope for the best (for a better understanding of what was going through my mind at this moment, see Desecration). Fortunately, the Dupont Italian Kitchen has a private bathroom downstairs, right when you walk in. I bolted straight for it. Even in my pain and fear of the repercussions if I was too slow, I was able to appreciate the relative cleanliness of this public facility. The biggest problem was the puddle around the base of the commode.
I will not venture into too gory of details, so let’s just say that I did make it in time. There were some lingering effects, however. My ass felt dirty from sitting on a public toilet, and thanks to the aforementioned puddle, I decided to put my pants right into the dry clean pile. I have no idea if they touched the puddle or not, but I’m not taking any chances. So, even though I had just clipped the tag off them that morning, right back into the dry cleaning pile they went.
Once I had washed my hands, tucked in my shirt, and straightened my tie, I headed upstairs to find the SugarDaddy. I found him at the bar, drunk and flirting (good for him—I would have been right there with him, but alas, I was still having some residual effects from the trauma). I drank copious amounts of water that evening, and in the end had a great time. It turned out to be Karaoke night, and we had a great time singing: Jo Cose off-key, SugarDaddy hoarse, and the one being flirted to off beat. It was great.
On the way back to the Metro, SugarDaddy and I argued whether or not it was acceptable to Google someone to find out more info about them. He is adamantly opposed to this practice. He believes in face-to-face communication and feels that if you want to know something about a person, you should just ask them. I told him that I had done it, and used a blind date that I went on as an example. His rebuttal was to ask the point of the date if I was going to learn things from the internet instead of asking the girl. Then I asked him what he thought about my Googling the two profs I’m looking at in the UK? He said that was different since I was looking for their ranking in academia: publications, conferences, etc. I think he made a strong and valid argument. And, I figure if his reaction to be freaked out, offended, and angry over it is normal, then I don’t think I will ever do it again. Fortunately, I really only do it for one reason: to try to find an email address or phone number of friends I have lost track of…not to pry into other people’s lives or to try to “get to know them” without having to do the work of being their friend.
Unfortunately, due to single tracking on the Red Line (and the fact that we didn’t leave until 11:15), I didn’t get home until after midnight, and I am completely knackered!
I have the next two days off of work so that is good, but I don’t think I will be getting any sleep.
Errrgggg. I wasn’t out late Saturday night, and I must have been in bed around midnight, but 7 am arrived too darn early. But, isn’t it truly amazing how you can drag your ass out of bed and be raring to go on relatively little sleep when it’s something you want to be doing? Why don’t I have that kind of energy to get up and go to the best damn space agency in the world?
Anyway, before I digress too much.
Yes, I had places to be. The True Renaissance Woman got me some tickets to the Maryland Renaissance Festival (ahh, I can see the little light bulbs going off—the nickname actually makes sense now), and I was supposed to meet Shining Starr9 at 10 am by the Will Call booth. We met up with Uncle Skeleton, the Burnt Wrestler, Lady Godiva, and the Lady’s brother. I was at the Renaissance Festival from the beginning to almost the end. I’ve never actually stayed that long before, and I actually had a great time. I love watching the freaks who attend and dress up and take it way more seriously than the people who work there.
There was this one chick with short hair and elf’s ears (you know, the pointy kind like Mr. Spock). She was wearing some rustic brown outfit that had that torn look at the bottom. And when I say bottom, I mean well above the knee. The top was equally as rustic and was as low cut in the front as the skirt was high. Needless to say, she was way, way hot, and I shamelessly stared at her. Alas, as I stared, I saw her rubbing her boyfriend’s arm and holding his hand. Too bad for me :(
We went to see a play on the fate of Catherine, a show called Fight Club, and the Chess match. The True Renaissance Woman was mad that we didn’t see anything that she was in, and rightfully so. I’m sorry for that. I wanted to see her perform, but for some reason (it could have been Mead induced) we never made it. We spent a goodly amount of time at the pubs, and ended the day at the White Hart Tavern for Pub Sing.
I left shortly before the Pub Sing was over, but Lady Godiva and her brother were leaving so I walked out with them.