Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Every New Beginning...

I am not going to finish that line because I really hate that song, but I think you get my drift. Jazzfest has come and gone, and what a wild and debaucherous time it was. Lots of friends, some old, some new, lots of music, lots of good food and a whole hell of a lot of booze.

Doug Buckmaster (yes, the original Buckmaster - whom you may know from some other debacherous times such as "CJ's goodbye party" or "The entirety of middle school") arrived in town with a fellow flight attendant in tow, whom I was able to scoop up at the airport and take a leisurely top-down ride into town. We parked the car in a spot oozing with destiny. I was getting a little worried that I couldn't get in touch with the landlord of the apartment I secured, when he showed up taking a stroll down the street next us as we unpacked the car. He let us in the apartment and we were off like Paris Hilton's nighties.

A rather quirky coincidence, Doug's fellow traveler - Stephen - has the same birthday as I - April 24th - and that also happened to be the day these shenanigans all began. We even ended the night by picking up some birthday cake from a street vendor, the memory of which had to be extracted from my brain two days later.

The next day led me to a little morning work, then some afternoon stoop-time in the French Quarter in front of the apartment. Some of you may be familiar with the phrase "The stoop is not a place, but a state of mind" - like how we used to burn 'em down with Whitney, Phil, Ralph and the rest. We just leisurely enjoyed the normal ebb and flow that is the French Quarter during the Jazz Fest - the occasional lost tourist, 5 inch pink eyelashes, Crocodile Dundee, 3 for $10 wine deals across the street, and boobs hanging out of every nook and cranny. Relaxation to the max.

All of the nights kind of run together, there was the gratuitous Bourbon St. outings, bounced around a bit on Frenchman St., some dancing on the ceilings, my lovely lady shakin her thang, hurricanes and kamikazes, my mom jumping in the air and screaming out "DON'T STOP! BELIEVIN!..." just burning, burning, burning that midnight oil, capturing the flames and the fires and running a general muck in the streets.

We also had an appearance by the great TimDini, I call Tim that because he was pulling some crazy shit out of his ass all weekend. He belly-flopped into a mudpit and starting doing the worm during the Billy Joel show, he dropped that he was dating someone, and he pulled this monster lump of crap out of his ass that he calls the "Serbian Man Kiss" story (thats just what I call it - he may reference it otherwise). Doug might even have that last one on film - which should immediately go to Sundance and become an instant classic. We will try to extract it out of Doug in due time, but in the meantime you should check out some of the pics and see the Great TimDini in rare form.

So this weekend was real amazing, one I will not soon forget. We blew it up and blew it out, and rocked on and rocked hard. My mom came in and had a total blast and some friends and I got to catch up and create some brand new memories .

Let this be a lesson to all of you who procrastinate and create excuses to delay your New Orleans visit - you will always have responsibilities and a plethora of excuses if you let them get in your way - the decision to make a difference can be made at any time and you just need to do it once. I say this to my friends who have yet to visit and to anyone who hasn't come through or hasn't come back. It is time, and we are coming back better than ever.

Do it.
Jazz Fest Pics

Thursday, April 24, 2008

The Last Minute!

If you have spent any significant time with me, you know that I can't help but procrastinate like crazy before anything gets done. Its like a gun needs to go off every time something is due before I even get started. It's a plight of the absent-minded and the slightly overwhelmed, but only slightly.

So this whole China thing is approaching like a freight train (I know the freight train image is not the most comforting, but bear with me). I am running around still trying to secure my days off work, although I told them about this two months ago, I am trying to get all setup for the Jazz Fest (where Tim, Joel, Doug, my mom and maybe a few other special guests will make some appearances on the blog), I need to make some hotel reservations, I need to find a wedding gift for Phil, and I need to get a Visa just to get into the country. Apparently if I was going to Hong Kong I could get it all taken care of in that International City, but since I am going to Beijing my odds of creating an international incident just tripled.

So we finally get our shit together and send out all the Visa forms, apps, requisite passport photos (which I hope never appear as an identifying picture of me and my girlfriend on the news, because you will all be looking for two of most saddest stressed out people and will never actually find me), and I sent it all overnight to Houston for processing....then the train hits, I forgot to put the passports in the envelope! They need to see your current passports to issue the visa, so basically here goes another overnight delivery first thing tomorrow...As the chinese say...if you don't fuck with luck, then luck will fuck you.

or maybe I just made that up.

Tuesday, April 15, 2008


Does anyone really enjoy paying taxes? You should be shot.

Everyone is a Republican on April 15th.

Really though, its my first year as an independent contractor, so it will be only that much more painful come April 15th 2009. Maybe I feel a bit of relief that I only had to pay 3 zero's this year. So we went out to celebrate and had some sushi at Kona Grill. The Gator Roll was awesome, roasted peppers, cilantro, jalapeno and some fried gator - real tasty and original flavor.

Birthday is coming soon - still trying to figure out how to shake it down right. Jazz Fest weekend will bring it around pretty nicely.

Saturday, April 12, 2008

Help yourself! at the Abita Brewery

I just found my new after-work activity, too bad its over an hour away. If I lived in the town of Abita, I know exactly what I would be doing every Tuesday and Thursday night after work and Saturday afternoons - I would tour the Abita factory. I guess the tour is not really all that important, and they might figure me out at some point when I just stopped going on the tours at all and just hung out by the taps. Have you ever heard of this? A "Help-Yourself" bar at a brewery? You just walk right behind the bar and start pouring your own beer for as long as you want. There is no limit. You can try a little bit of the Amber, you can pour a full glass of the Turbodog, decide you don't want something so strong, pour it out and fill up with the Select. You can pour yourself three cups of three different beers and do your own taste testing. I did all of this and more, good thing the lunch cafe's were only around the corner or it would have been a roller coaster of a ride back to Baton Rouge. The tour was cool, but it lasted a whole 12 minutes, meanwhile we spent over an hour just drinking behind the bar for free. Very awesome, highly recommended, 4 Stars!

Check out a few pictures here

Friday, April 4, 2008

Bear Sterns, The Fed, and Viagra

We all know that market correction mechanisms are necessary for a well-functioning economic system. (well maybe I just think that) So I am reasonably sure that the actions that the Federal Reserve took to keep Bear Sterns from filing bankruptcy last week were relevant and necessary. Not only did they make a sound decision in keeping the world's 5th largest investment bank from collapsing in on itself, but I think both the Federal government and Chase will make out like bandits when all the dust has settled. Bear had a net income of over $2 billion in 2006, which is more than what Chase is going to pay for half the company. The Fed is basically acting in their traditional role of "lender of last resort", although this situation is unique because they opened the coffers to work with an investment bank for the first time instead of a traditional bank. Times are changing, and the financial markets evolve. Its hard to keep up with the new derivatives and complex securities that these banks are coming up with to mitigate risk and swap debt products. All of the financial creativity that goes on behind the scenes has allowed companies like Bear and Goldman and Merril to become these behemoth players in the financial system, and the complexity of these products has even more closely tied everyone's success to each other. I am not defending the banks here, if anyone despises the movement away from real economic activity into this imaginary world of fabricated value its me, I am defending the Fed's injunction into the matter. Once the dominoes start to fall, it only gets more difficult to stop the train.

Someone should hand out an extra dose of Viagra and a hooker at the next Fed meeting for doing such a good job.

Thursday, April 3, 2008

House in the Bywater

I have been looking at buying a house for the last couple of months, and I think I have one that I am serious about. Its in the Bywater area of New Orleans, which is an old historic district. This area only got about 18 inches of water, which is not bad considering all the houses are about 2.5 - 3 feet off the ground. The house I found is around 100 years old and definitely needs some work, not 100 years worth, but one side is pretty dumpy. Its a double-shotgun, which is a style of house real common in New Orleans. A shotgun house is designed straight through from front to back, no twists or turns. Usually, the streetside property is at a premium, so they designed the houses to go back and use the lot long-ways. Each side has 5 rooms, any of which could be a bedroom or a living room, with one bathroom on each side in the back. I still haven't entered negotiations, so things are far from sealed up. I will let you know how things progress. As for now I will post a slideshow that you can view online to see some pictures, keep in mind I took a lot of pics of things that I thought looked wrong rather than all of the things I thought looked right as I want to make sure I have ammo when I go to the table. Check it out.....