Wednesday, January 30, 2008
-Hornets v. Warriors (we'll be at the Arena for that!)- the Hornets are on an amazing 9-game winning streak.
-K-State vs. KU (it's a home game at Bramlage for the Wildcats!) - could this be the year that KSU breaks the Rock Chalk Curse?
To mark these events, and to possibly overcompensate for the fact that I won't be posting all that much this weekend due to Mardi Gras overtaking my life, I offer up this:
Tuesday, January 29, 2008
As my ridiculously tall D. points out:
ESPN's Marc Stein ranks 'em No. 1, and he correctly points out that the Hornets have won six straight contests by at least 14 points. According to Stein, that's only happened four other times in NBA history.
That deserves a "wow" right there.
I could't agree more - so who's in for tomorrow night's game against the Warriors? D. and I will be there.
New Orleans Police were on the scene of a murder in Central City Sunday evening.
The incident happened in the 1900 block of Foucher Street around 5:30 p.m.
According to police, officers responded to a call of a shooting in the area and found the unidentified victim in the rear alley of an abandoned home with several gunshot wounds. The victim was pronounced dead at the scene.
Well, at least there's always Mardi Gras to look forward to this week - does anyone know the name of the group that was doing the second line on the neutral ground up St. Charles last night? They were decked out in costumes, and I saw a LOT of tutus - they gave us fabric roses and seemed to be doing a bar crawl.
Whoever they are, they seemed to be having a lot of fun, and they definitely made our trek with the collie a lot more interesting.
Monday, January 28, 2008
Police said Officer Nicola Cotton was the officer they allege was shot to death by Bernell Johnson, 44, with her own sidearm Monday morning.
Around 4 p.m., police walked the suspect at Central Lockup, and Riley said Johnson is charged with murder and multiple sex offenses in Jefferson Parish. Riley said Johnson had been arrested previously in connection with a variety of sex offenses.
Witnesses said the woman was shot several times around 10 a.m. in a parking lot at a busy intersection in the city's crime-plagued Central City neighborhood.
Riley said the officer was attempting to arrest a man wanted in connection with a rape. When she approached the man, Riley said the man pushed her and the two struggled for seven minutes -- during which the officer called for back-up.
"It appears as though he overpowered her and took her gun from her," Riley said.
According to Riley, she was shot to death with her own gun by the suspect who was "twice her size." According to police, the man appeared to be a vagrant, and gave himself up to police when they arrived.
Riley said Cotton followed procedures while attempting the arrest, but noted she was a "smaller female" dealing with a "very large male."
Police said Cotton graduated from the police academy shortly before Hurricane Katrina.
Several police swarmed the area after the shooting and blocked nearby streets and called in a special operations unit.
While giving up a home game of course bothers me, and yes, curtails tourist spending for a weekend, I think in the long term this could prove lucrative to the franchise and to the city - I think it's a tremendous branding opportunity. There's even a built-in fanbase there to root for the Black and Gold:
In September, I contemplated the notion that while the New Orleans market is loyal as hell to our Saints, we lack the corporate subsidies to help the franchise thrive in the longterm.
Maybe this could spur some assistance?
We'll just see, I guess.
President Bush tonight will announce that an annual hemispheric meeting involving the leaders of the United States, Canada and Mexico will be held in New Orleans.
Bush will make the announcement in his final State of the Union Address.
Bush counselor Ed Gillespie says the move will "demonstrate how this great American city of New Orleans is rebounding."
Friday, January 25, 2008
Warning: Catlab's sense of humor can require an adjustment period. That's okay, concentrate on the Bob Huggins portions of the video. They're priceless.
(And honey? Have a great time!)
Thursday, January 24, 2008
Today the lineup was officially released, and it is pretty solid (but really, when is it not?).
I've highlighted some of the acts I'm really excited to see:
Friday, April 25
Buckwheat Zydeco, Sheryl Crow, Robert Plant and Alison Krauss, Burning Spear, Ozomatli with Chali 2na, Lizz Wright, Tab Benoit, Anders Osborne, Big Sam's Funky Nation, Terence Simien & Zydeco Experience, Leo Nocentelli's "Rare Gathering" feat. Bernie Worrell, Doug Wimbish & Will Calhoun, Doyle Bramhall with C.C. Adcock & the Louisiana Marquis, Ellis Marsalis, Paul Porter of the Legendary Christianaires, Dwayne Dopsie & the Zydeco Hellraisers, Barbara Lynn, Theresa Andersson Group, Banu Gibson & New Orleans Hot Jazz, The Iguanas, The New Orleans Nightcrawlers, Twangorama, Bruce Daigrepont Cajun Band, Zydepunks, Vivaz!, Shamarr Allen, Zion Trinity, Otra, Kim Carson, Moov of Martinique, Kustbandet of Sweden, Original Dixieland Jazz Band, Leah Chase, Kumbuka African Drum and Dance Collective, Rosalie "Lady Tambourine" Washington, Jesse McBride, Bonsoir Catin, J. Monque'D Blues Band, Bamboula 2000, Paky Saavedra's Bandido, Jamil Sharif's New Orleans Jazz Professors, Voices of Distinction, Pastor Sean T. Elder & the Mt. Hermon BC Mass Choir, Creole Wild West and Semolian Warriors Mardi Gras Indians, Joe Hall, Rufus "Rip" Wimberly & the Dreamers, Brice Kapel of the Togo, Amina Figarova Group of The Netherlands, Jonno & Bayou Deville, Andrew Hall's Society Brass Band, Real Untouchables Brass Band, June Gardner, Val & Love Alive Fellowship Choir with the Dimensions of Faith, Teatro Alpargata of Argentina, Family Ties and Big Nine SAPCs, Hazel & the Delta Ramblers, Smitty Dee's Brass Band, McDonogh #35 Gospel Choir, Gregg Martinez, Keep N it Real and Single Ladies SAPCs...
Saturday, April 26
Dr. John, Billy Joel, Keyshia Cole, O.A.R., The Count Basie Orchestra feat. Patti Austin, Cowboy Mouth, Cupid, James Cotton, Jon Cleary & the Absolute Monster Gentlemen, Trinitee 5:7, Wayne Toups & Zydecajun, Walter "Wolfman" Washington & the Roadmasters, Harlem Blues and Jazz Band, The Imagination Movers, Ponderossa Stomp Revue feat. Tammy Lynn, Archie Bell, Roy Head, and Dennis Binder, Big Jay McNeely, Warren Storm w/ Willie Tee & the Cypress Band, NewBirth Brass Band, Astral Project, Davell Crawford Singers, Rosie Ledet & the Zydeco Playboys, DJ Bomshell, Eddie Bo, Benjy Davis Project, Paul Sanchez & the Rolling Road Show, Tricia "Teedy" Boutte & Ytre Suløens Jass-Ensemble of Norway, Mahogany Brass Band, Germaine Bazzle, Bobby Lounge, Tribute to George Lewis feat. Dr. Michael White and Tommy Sancton, Tribute to Wilson "Willie Tee" and Earl Turbinton, Big Chief Peppy & the Golden Arrows, Sonny Bourg, Big Blue Marble, PJ Morton Band, Hadley Castille, Jeremy & the Zydeco Hot Boyz, Po' Henry & Tookie, Rockie Charles & the Stax of Love, Carol Fran, 101 Runners, The Original Last Straws, Tyronne Foster & the Arc Singers, Young Tuxedo Brass Band, Berklee College of Music Jazz Ensemble, Nine Times and Single Men SAPCs, The Electrifying Crown Seekers, Golden Comanche and Chief Iron Horse & the Black Seminole Mardi Gras Indians, Xavier Jazz Ensemble, Connie Jones' Crescent City Jazz Band, Kayla Woodson with Louisiana Lightning, NORD Crescent City Lights Youth Theater, First Emmanuel BC Choir, The Worship Squad, Unstoppable Gospel Creators, NOCCA Jazz Ensemble, The RRAAMS Drum and Dance, Lady Jetsetters, Dumaine Gang and Divine Ladies SAPCs, Red White & Blue Mardi Gras Indians...
Sunday, April 27
Irma Thomas, Tim McGraw, Al Green, Elvis Costello and Allen Toussaint, Cassandra Wilson, Delbert McClinton, Del McCoury, Pete Fountain, Byron Cage with Kim Burrell, Voices of the Wetlands Allstars, Jeremy Davenport, Gal Holiday & the Honky Tonk Revue, Hot 8 Brass Band, Big Chief Monk Boudreaux & the Golden Eagles, Roy Young, BeauSoleil avec Michael Doucet, Nicholas Payton, Davell Crawford's New Orleans R & B Orchestra, Jumpin' Johnny Sansone's Harmonica Revue, The Throw Back Jamm feat. Joe Blakk, UNLV, MC T. Tucker, Dolemite, BustDown, and Cheeky Blakk, Rob Wagner and Hamid Drake, New Orleans Klezmer Allstars, Tim Laughlin, Jo "Cool" Davis, Mamadou Diabate of Mali, Little Freddie King, Jambalaya, Leroy Jones, Willis Prudhomme & Zydeco Express, Wilberforce University Choir, Kenny Bill Stinson, Paulette Wright, Golden Star Hunters Mardi Gras Indians, Egg Yolk Jubilee, Midnite Disturbers, David Egan, Lars Edegran's New Orleans Ragtime Orchestra, Furious Five, Untouchables and Big Steppers SAPCs, UNO Jazz Ensemble, Shades of Praise, Michael Ward, Paulin Brothers Brass Band, Lionel Ferbos & the Palm Court Jazz Band, Carrollton Hunters and Flaming Arrows Mardi Gras Indians, Gregg Stafford's Jazz Hounds, Nineveh BC Choir, Jeffery Broussard & the Creole Cowboys, AsheSon, VisionQuest Chorale feat. Maurette Brown Clark, N'Fungola Sibo West African Dance Company, Percussion Inc., Patrice Fisher & Arpa feat. Angel Rios of Honduras, Craig Adams & Higher Dimensions of Praise, Olympia Aid, New Look and The First Division SAPCs, Kilts of Many Colours, Percussion Inc., Ninth Ward Navajo and Cherokee Hunters Mardi Gras Indians, Colleen Salley...
Thursday, May 1
Randy Newman, Widespread Panic, Tower of Power, Kermit Ruffins & the Barbecue Swingers, Bettye LaVette, Gene "Duke of Earl" Chandler, Deacon John, Donald Harrison, Carolina Chocolate Drops, Ruby Wilson, Luther Kent & Trickbag, Porter, Batiste, & Stoltz, Steve Riley & the Mamou Playboys, C.J. Chenier & the Red Hot Louisiana Band, Johnny Sketch & the Dirty Notes, The Lee Boys, Fredy Omar con su Banda, Maurice Brown, Lafayette Rhythm Devils, Kirk Joseph's Backyard Groove, Creole Zydeco Farmers, Walter Payton & File Gumbo, Music Makers' Relief Foundation's Blues Review featuring Boo Hanks, Macavine Hayes and Eddie Kirkland, Hot Club of New Orleans, Topsy Chapman's Tribute to Dinah Washington, John Ellis feat. Jason Marsalis, New Orleans Rhythm Conspiracy, Philip Manuel's tribute to Nat King Cole, Dukes of Dixieland, Dillard University Jazz Ensemble, Ernie Vincent & the Top Notes, Panorama Jazz Band, Mighty Chariots of Fire, Kerry Grombacher, Codac, Dizzy, Betsy McGovern & the Poor Clares, John Lee & the Heralds of Christ, Mark Braud, Joe Torregano, God's House Westbank Cathedral Choir, Billy Iuso & the Restless Natives, The Melody Clouds, TBC Brass Band, Tony Bazley, Heritage School of Music, Small Souljas Brass Band, The Golden Wings, Red Hawk and Geronimo Hunters Mardi Gras Indians, Culu Children's Traditional African Dance Company, Charles Jackson & the Jackson Travelers, Bon Temp Roulez and VIP Ladies SAPCs, Olayella Daste, David & Roselyn, Second Mt. Carmel Gospel Choir, Basin Street Sheiks...
Friday, May 2
Art Neville, Stevie Wonder, John Prine, Michael Franti & Spearhead, Richard Thompson, The John Butler Trio, John Hammond, Trombone Shorty & Orleans Ave., Marva Wright & the BMWs, Terence Blanchard & the Louisiana Philharmonic Orchestra, Papa Grows Funk, Sunpie's Tribute to Clifton Chenier, Zigaboo Modeliste, The Jackson Southernaires, The Lee Boys, Bonerama, The Bad Plus, John Boutte, Soul Rebels, Ingrid Lucia, Coco Robicheaux & Spiritland, Theryl "Houseman" DeClouet, Chubby Carrier, Bluerunners, Wanda Rouzan, Driskill Mountain Boys, Ann Savoy's Sleepless Knights, New Orleans Jazz Vipers feat. Sophie Lee, Stoney B & Grampa Elliot, Gina Forsyth & the Malvinas, Clive Wilson & the New Orleans Serenaders feat. Butch Thompson, New Wave Brass Band, Tuba Woodshed feat. Matt Perrine and Kirk Joseph, Belton Richard & the Musical Aces, Eve's Lucky Planet, Larry Garner with Henry Gray, Ritmo Caribeno, New Orleans Jazz Ramblers, Louisiana Repertory Jazz Ensemble, Betty Winn & One A-Chord, Lyle Henderson & Emmanuel, Kid Simmons' Local International Allstars, Pinettes Brass Band, D.L. Menard & the Louisiana Aces, Legacy - the students of Alvin Batiste, Greater Antioch Gospel Choir, New Orleans Mardi Gras Rhythm Indian Section, Ebenezer BC Radio Choir, Loyola University Jazz Ensemble, Casa Samba, The Smooth Family, Eulenspeigel Puppets of Iowa, Original Big Seven and Original Four SAPCs, McMain High School Gospel Choir, Fi Yi Yi & the Mandingo Warriors, New Orleans School of Circus Arts and ISL, Gospel Inspirations of Boutte, Rosedean Choir of South Africa, Scene Boosters and Old N Nu Fellas SAPCs...
Saturday, May 3
Marcia Ball, Jimmy Buffett, Diana Krall, Steel Pulse, The Roots, Bobby McFerrin and Chick Corea, Kenny Wayne Shepherd, Bishop Paul S. Morton Sr. & the Greater St. Stephens Mass Choir, Dirty Dozen Brass Band, Henry Butler, Aaron Neville's Gospel Soul, John Mooney & Bluesiana, the subdudes, Rockin' Dopsie & the Zydeco Twisters, New Leviathan Oriental Foxtrot Orchestra, Ruthie Foster, Irvin Mayfield & the New Orleans Jazz Orchestra, Savoy Center of Eunice Saturday Cajun Jam, Charmaine Neville, The Dixie Cups, Nathan & the Zydeco Cha-Chas, James Andrews, Dr. Michael White & the Original Liberty Jazz Band feat. Thais Clark, Lillian Boutte, Geno Delafose & French Rockin' Boogie, Stephanie Jordan, War Chief Juan & Young Fire, Pine Leaf Boys, Bionik Brown, Treme Brass Band, New Orleans Blues Serenaders, Spencer Bohren, Don Vappie & the Creole Jazz Serenaders, Roddie Romero & the Hub City Allstars, Lil' Buck Sinegal feat. Rudy Richard, Feufollet, Pinstripe Brass Band, Storyville Stompers Brass Band, Tribute to Max Roach feat. Herlin Riley, Jason Marsalis, and Shannon Powell, Tondrae, Chappy, Danza feat. Evan Christopher and Tom McDermott, Beyond Measure, Lil Nathan & the Zydeco Big Timers, Rumba Buena, Rocks of Harmony, Guitar Lightnin' Lee, St. Joseph the Worker Mass Choir, Big Chief Ke Ke & Comanche Hunters and White Cloud Hunters Mardi Gras Indians, Leviticus Gospel Singers, Tulane University Jazz Ensemble, Secondline Jammers, New Generation and Undefeated Divas SAPCs, Trouble Nation and Mohawk Hunters Mardi Gras Hunters, Archdiocese of New Orleans Community Choir, Bester Singers, Donald Lewis, Young Guardians of the Flame, Stephen Foster's Mid City Workshop Alumni Ensemble, Westbank Steppers, Valley of the Silent Men and Pigeon Town Steppers SAPCs, Golden Blade and Wild Tchoupitoulas Mardi Gras Indians...
Sunday, May 4
The Neville Brothers, Santana, Maze feat. Frankie Beverly, The Raconteurs, Dianne Reeves, Galactic, The Radiators, Bela Fleck & Abigail Washburn, The Derek Trucks Band, Keb' Mo', Rebirth Brass Band, Sonny Landreth, Snooks Eaglin, John P. Kee & the New Life Community Choir, Preservation Hall Jazz Band, Tribute to Mahalia Jackson feat. Irma Thomas, Marva Wright and Rachelle Richard, Vernel Bagneris: Jelly Roll & Me, Amanda Shaw & the Cute Guys, Ivan Neville & Dumpstaphunk, DJ Captain Charles, Kenny Neal, Sherman Washington & the Zion Harmonizers, Bob French & the Original Tuxedo Jazz Band, Elysian Fieldz, The New Orleans Bingo Show!, Benny Grunch & the Bunch, Goldman Thibodeaux & the Lawtell Playboys, Jonathan Batiste, Rotary Downs, George French, Chris Ardoin & Nu Step, Guitar Slim Jr., Grupo Fantasma, Lost Bayou Ramblers, Ovi-G & the Froggies, The Revealers, Pfister Sisters, Salvador Santana Band, William Smith's Tribute to Kid Sheik, Eddie Boh Paris aka Chops, SUBR Jazz Ensemble, Chris Clifton, Thelonious Monk Institute of Jazz Ensemble, New Orleans Spiritualettes, Zulu Male Ensemble, The Jazz Jam, Tribute to Tuba Fats, Highsteppers Brass Band, Black Eagles, Hardhead Hunters and Apache Hunters Mardi Gras Indians, Lady Rollers and CTC Steppers SAPCs, Guyland Leday with Family & Friends Zydeco Band, Young Traditional New Orleans Brass Band, Watson Memorial Teaching Ministries, Wild Apaches, Young Magnolias and Black Feathers Mardi Gras Indians, Original Prince of Wales and the Original New Orleans Lady Buckjumpers SAPCs, Tornado Brass Band, Judy Stock, Minister Jai Reed...
Wednesday, January 23, 2008
It's long been rumored that Meyer has been a shady recruiter - but now he's being investigated for it...because he apparently recruited a gymnast so that her boyfriend would sign with UF football.
Ouch. I'm pretty sure that's against the rules, Urbie.
Mayhew's an interesting candidate, and I love the idea of a shake-up at FSU. The good Lord knows we need one - and it seems to be happening, with the announcement that John Lilly and Jody Allen are leaving.
What I love about Mayhew is that despite being a standout cornerback, he has never rested on his laurels. While a starter at the Redskins, Mayhew would finish practice and then race over to Georgetown for his law classes. He graduated from law school in 2000, and has been on the fast-track as a talented front office guy in the NFL.
We'd be very lucky to have him, of course, but there are some other quality candidates prepping to interview as well - like Hogan and Smiley. Either way, I have a good feeling about the future of athletics at FSU.
Hogan has worked for FSU Athletics in the past, but over the past decade has notably been scapegoated at the University of Montana over a $1m budget shortfall, where he figuratively fell on his sword as athletic director. He currently is an associate AD at Georgia Tech.
And then there's the polarizing figure of Don Smiley. Any MLB fan remembers the 1997 firesale of the Marlins. So he's definitely a longshot...
Hogan and Mayhew are the ones I'll be watching most closely...
No matter. La Goldfrapp can do no wrong in my book. Here's the video for "A&E."
At the time locations were announced, New Orleans was told it didn't have the capability to handle such an event. Obviously, that's nonsense. In the past 5 weeks alone, we've successfully managed the New Orleans Bowl, the Sugar Bowl, and the BCS National Championship Game.
Evidently, though, tiny Oxford, MS, home of Ole Miss, is more than prepared to handle the deluge of candidates, campaign staff, security, media and interested bystanders.
So...I call shenanigans. So does Chris Rose.
The whole thing strikes me as pretty creepy. And it just goes to show that Oxford is going to be flat out dysfunctional for the debate weekend, whereas New Orleans could easily host a couple of large conventions, a Hornets game and a monster truck show at the Superdome that same weekend with no trouble at all.
360 that, Mr. Anderson Cooper!
I mean, if you watch a football game on TV (or the VISA ads during time-outs) it's plain as day that New Orleans is on the mend, up and running, open for business and able to handle events of enormous magnitude. Still, somehow, nearly one-third of respondents to a national poll admitted that they thought most of New Orleans was still underwater.
Now, where could they have gotten that impression? Could it be from, let's see ... the Commission on Presidential Debates?
I don't have an answer for that. I cannot access that information. I'm just gonna watch the whole thing on TV. From a distance.
For the first time since October, I'm feeling a lot more settled.
Tuesday, January 22, 2008
I am looking for a flight to Vegas for 6 of my girlfriends and myself. We are planning a trip to Vegas for Spring Break because it is our last Spring Break together. BUT, we really can not afford to fly commercially, so are just wondering if any one has a plane and would be planning to fly to Vegas from Louisiana during the week of March 16th?
We are a great group of girls and are ready to have fun!!!! Also, we are willig to compensate the owner of the plane! We are just hoping the price is less than the commercial airlines right now! We need to save our money for once we are there, and how cool would it be to go to Vegas on a private plane?
Please respond to the e-mail address provided by Craigslist if you have any information for me! Thanks
Something about this whole absurb post just makes me giggle.
Monday, January 21, 2008
At his peak, Roy was the best pound-for-pound fighter in the world. He's had some serious missteps in the past few years, but defeated Felix Trinidad, Jr. in an unanimous decision on Saturday night.
Friday, January 18, 2008
First of all - support your Hornets, Orleanians. Despite a lack of depth at the bench, these guys are goooooooooooooooood. They're the real deal this year - their only loss in January so far is to the Lakers. Let's keep them here in NOLA - tickets are only $10, and there isn't a bad seat in the Arena. (Yes, I'm a Spurs fan, but the Hornets are wearing me down gradually.)
And just for our great neighbors, Alita and Suni - here's a little "Yeeeeeeeeeeeaaaaaaaaaaah!" for you:
Thursday, January 17, 2008
Tuesday, January 15, 2008
D. and I met her boyfriend, now fiance, last February when we visited them in St. Pete, and we knew he was it for her. I'm so excited! My best friend has finally found her At Last (yes, yes, I'm shamelessly borrowing from Etta James).
Now I must go find a great engagement gift.
Note: this means I'll be buying two bridesmaids' dresses this year.
Monday, January 14, 2008
My dad and I used to have a running joke that would start about 6 months before each birthday.
I'd call Dad up and this is what would transpire:
"Hey, Daddy. Guess what?"
"My birthday is in __ months/days!"
"Bah humbug! That's only if you live that long!"
Obviously, I don't get to have that conversation with him now, but I still play it back in my head as a reminder of why I used to like my birthday. Thanks to Dad and Mom, I'm healthy, intact and another year older and wiser.
(Or so I'd have you believe...)
If you've ever wondered how a military brat from Colorado ends up in New Orleans with a southern accent, well, here you are:
We're bypassing my middle-school years. They were unpleasant and puberty was terribly unkind to me. ;)
And there you have it. :)
On Thursday morning, we left New Orleans before 6:00 AM - we made it as far as Baton Rouge before D.'s car died. 5 hours later, we learned he needed a new radiator and we rented a car. However, this meant that D.'s poor sister had to wait at the DFW airport for 5 solid hours.
(I still feel incredibly bad about that.)
We did note a tremendous number of Godoplexes on our drive - huuuuuuuuuuge Baptist churches that resembled giant strip malls more than traditional houses of worship. Between Shreveport and Dallas, I lost count of the number of ginormous Godoplexes dotting the landscape of I-20.
By the time we made it into Hobbs, New Mexico (around 2:30 the next morning), we were all terribly exhausted. Needless to say, D.'s sister wasn't much for stopping at Angelo's Barbeque (and I definitely don't blame her for that!), so made a quick fast-food stop and hauled tail across west Texas.
I slept for a few hours and then was roused bright and early to deal with a minor...well, we'll call it an issue...at work.
And that's how I greeted D.'s family in the hotel lobby -- with wet hair, flip-flops, a wild-eyed look on my tired face, and very probably, utter resignation in my posture.
A few hours later we attended funeral services for D.'s beloved grandfather, Harry M. McAdams. I felt so helpless to genuinely comfort anyone there, which is ludicrous when you consider that I had lost all of my grandparents by the time I was 19. And yet, I couldn't come up with anything to say that wasn't trite or overthought. If his family reads this, I hope they know how sad I am that they lost such a remarkable part of their family. That said, at least they knew someone so incredibly special - and the grief they feel is a testament to how much the world will miss him (even those of us who never had the opportunity to meet him).
On Saturday, we drove to nearby Carlsbad, and traipsed through the Caverns, roughly 800 feet down. They were gorgeous and otherworldly and well worth the trip.
D., his brother, his brother's wife and I spent a few hours touring the Caverns and hiking around the King's Palace and Big Room. I take for granted, like most, that the U.S. has so much natural beauty, and walking through the caves was a humbling reminder of just that.
We left New Mexico at 3:45 AM yesterday morning, and drove D.'s sister back to the airport in Dallas-Fort Worth. After a quick stop in Shreveport for lunch, we drove back to New Orleans and greeted our depressed, forlorn collie. This morning, D. drove me to work in the rental car, kissed me and wished me a happy birthday, and drove back to Baton Rouge to recover his battered car.
So, in retrospect -
- I'm so glad I could be there for D. this weekend. He's my favorite person in the world, and there's no way I'd let him trek across the country alone like that, grieving or otherwise.
- I so wish I had had the opportunity to meet his granddad - listening to all of the stories of how he touched the lives of people around him made me sad at such a loss.
- Sleeping in my own bed last night was almost luxurious after catnaps in the car over the past 4 days.
- D.'s family is amazing. Seriously. They're just the nicest people I've ever had the fortune to meet, and that includes D. himself. ;)
- Pizza and "American Gladiator" as a means of celebrating one's birthday? Sure, why not? What else am I going to do...work? Wait, don't answer that. ::grin::
Wednesday, January 9, 2008
He pointed out wryly that people always look great when they leave a salon, and can never recreate the look at home. Moreover, half the time their hair is overstyled and the customer can't maintain the look for more than hour (like me - stylists always take a flat-iron to my hair, and half an hour later, that obnoxiously Irish wave around my face rears its tricky head).
He suggested that from now on, I pin my hair back on the sides in the morning first thing, and spray down my hair with Aveda's Light Elements Reviving Mist. He told me to scrunch it up and leave it be while I got ready for work. That sounds easy enough, but more importantly, the fact that he took the time to walk me through easy ways to style my hair was a huge bonus.
So was he worth the eighty bajillion dollars I paid to get my mane tamed for the first time in three months? If I can have more than 2 good hair days a month because of his advice, I'll say yes. ;)
It'll be a long drive through Louisiana and Texas, mostly, and we'll be stopping in Dallas to pick up his sister. No trip through Texas would make sense without barbeque, though, so we'll be making a quick stop at Angelo's in Fort Worth before continuing on to Hobbs.
Since I won't be posting for a few days, here's Dallas' own Old 97's, one of the best bands to never make it big (apart from the prevalence of their gorgeous song "Question" in tons of movies, TV shows and jewelry commercials).
We'll be back in the wee hours of the 14th - at which point I'll officially be 29, exhausted, and ready to pass out (despite the marauding collie).
Tuesday, January 8, 2008
I never thought I'd be a sports widow - heck, I love sports, and do not generally complain about watching football, baseball, basketball, hockey, etc.
But as D. tiredly fell into bed at 2:30 this morning after coming home from the national championship game, all I could think, as I snuggled into him and went back to sleep, was - "Whew. It's over...at least for a few moments."
I did learn a few things last night:
-Kevin's a gracious host (and such a diehard Buckeye that his living room decor is inextricably linked to the fortunes of Ohio State sports).
-Dennis Dodd is most definitely a jackass. (True story.)
-Urban Meyer needs to stop visiting Mystic Tan.
-LSU's confidence is something, isn't it?
-D.'s totally right - Ohio State has become the Buffalo Bills...almost there, but never quite managing to make it work.
-6 murders in NOLA already this year? Yeesh.
-It's going to be a long, long trip to Hobbs, New Mexico - 16 hours, to be semi-precise. I hope D.'s sister won't mind our incessantly offkey singing and bizarre conversational stylings. I wonder if I have time to hit up a bookstore and make some mix CD's...?
-Our dog is apparently sensitive to aspirin. Hmmm. Must remember to buy enteric-coated aspirin next time. Then again, Jake's stomach is sensitive to everything except pricey dog food, Greenies, organic dog treats and trash. Yes. TRASH.
Anyhow, tonight is the long-awaited Date Night. Tonight, after what may be the. Most. Expensive. Haircut. Ever.* we will make our champagne risotto, seared scallops and roasted asparagus, and exhale deeply. Tonight at least, we can shut out the world and relax.
*So yeah, that haircut? I love Paris Parker, and desperately want to get my hair cut before we leave for New Mexico - it's been 3 months since my last trim, and I resemble an awkward 12 year-old. Given that I work in St. Rose, there aren't so many options for my hair out here. Paris Parker only had one stylist working late this week, and he just happens to be their "best." When I was told how much it would cost, I asked the the receptionist wryly if my haircut would be a life-changing event. She replied, without a trace of irony and more than a dollop of fervent zealousness, "Oh yes. Yes, yes. He's amazing."
So I'm expecting to roll out of there looking like Heidi Klum. Heh.
Monday, January 7, 2008
The service is friendly - if sporadic (thanks to Dave for that point), and the setting is laidback but surprisingly upscale (tablecloths! flat screen TV's!) given that Storyville is essentially a burger joint. The food is great, if you're not in a rush.
And for you tourists? The Gambit has a week's worth of inexpensive activities for Orleanians on a budget - if you'd rather feel like a local, check these out.
If the line at Mother's or Cafe du Monde is egregiously long, why not head down to Verdi Mart on Royal St. for an All that Jazz (per them, it contains "grilled shrimp, ham, turkey, tomatoes, mushrooms, Swiss and American cheese and WOW sauce on French bread")? The lines will be shorter, and the portions are huge for the price.
Enjoy your stay, and please stop peeing/vomiting on our streets, k? Thanks!
It's been a rough few days at Chez Cait-and-Dave. Dave lost his beloved grandfather on Saturday, and our landlord put his foot through our living room ceiling (and insulation was blown throughout the house). Not to be outdone, our collie sprained his foot yesterday.
We'll be leaving on Thursday morning to drive to New Mexico for Dave's granddad's funeral. I hate this for him - not just because he lost his personal hero, but because he's also incredibly stressed over covering the BCS championship game. (The city, as it is, has gone nuts - with Buckeye and Tiger fans pouring into New Orleans for tonight's game.)
Towards that end, tomorrow night is date night - while we should be feverishly cleaning the house before we depart for our road trip, I want us to take a couple of hours to just enjoy dinner and (try to) relax a bit.
It's always hard to know what to say when someone is going through grief, but I want to do anything and everything I can to support Dave. He's my best friend, love of my life, and the one person who matters more than anything to me. He was wonderful when my father passed away, and I just want to be there for him now, when he needs me. If that means splitting driving time and gas money and singing off-key to 80's one-hit wonders on our Sirius system, so be it. But in the meantime...
Here are a couple of dinner-for-two-ish recipes I can strongly recommend for cuddly winter nights.
Curried Pumpkin Soup
2 T. butter
1 small onion, minced
1 clove garlic, minced
1 tsp. curry powder or paste (you can also substitute garam masala)
1/2 tsp. kosher salt
1/4 tsp. black pepper
1/4 tsp. cayenne
2 T. sugar
1 T. very fine grated fresh ginger (you can substitute 1/2 T. of powdered ginger)
1 14 1/2 oz can of chicken broth (plus one filled can of water)
3 cups canned pumpkin
1 can coconut milk
1/4 c. dry white wine
Melt butter in a large saucepan over medium heat. Cook onion until translucent (about 6 minutes). Add garlic, curry powder, ginger, salt and pepper and cook 1 minute more. Add broth, sugar, water and puree; mix well. Reduce heat to low. Cook, stirring occasionally, for 20 minutes. Stir in coconut milk and wine. Puree soup in blender until smooth. Heat through before serving. Note: you can easily adjust this soup to your taste by changing the seasonings you add into it - we added a little more ginger and some green onions for garnish, and served it with flaky rolls and white wine.
Dave has been wanting to learn how to cook - and I've told him that really, the best things have the simplest spices and flavorings. There are really two rules to cook:
1. Be patient.
2. Pay attention.
On Saturday night, we made lemon risotto together, and served it with lemon drop martinis and whole-wheat french bread. Risotto is such a simple dish - but there are a few rules to make sure that it comes out as restaurant-good as you'd like.
1. Never add cold liquids to the rice - it will cause the arborio rice to branch and splinter, which kills the creamy effect of risotto. Heat up any stock or wine you add to the dish in a measuring cup in the microwave (or in a separate saucepan).
2. Take your time with the dish - it's worth it.
Lemon Risotto for Two
3 cups chicken broth
2 tablespoons butter
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 large green onion, chopped
1 cup arborio rice
1/8 cup dry white wine
3/4 cup shredded Parmesan cheese
1 tablespoon fresh parsley, chopped
1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
2 teaspoons grated lemon peel
Bring broth to simmer in a saucepan over medium heat. Reduce heat to low. Melt half of the butter with oil in heavy large saucepan over medium heat. Add shallots and sauté until tender, about 6 minutes. Add rice; stir 1 minute. Add (heated!) wine and stir until evaporated, about 30 seconds. Add broth 1/2 cup at a time; simmer until absorbed, stirring frequently. Stir frequently until rice is creamy and tender, about 15 minutes. Stir in cheese and remaining butter. Stir in parsley, lemon juice, and lemon peel. Season risotto with salt and pepper, if desired. Transfer to bowl and serve.
Friday, January 4, 2008
(It doesn't hurt that Aishwarya Rai is so intensely gorgeous.)
What's not to love about epic films in which people break out into extravagant song-and-dance sequences every 10 minutes? For the guys who scoff at such a notion, may I present you with Exhibit A?
Beyond just flashes of color and dance, films like "Devdas" are thought-provoking and beautiful. This is actually my favorite Bollywood movie - it's so passionate and tragic.
Thursday, January 3, 2008
Standing 7 1/2 feet tall, with packages nestled underneath...
D. and Chris at the House of Blues, just prior to the Soul Rebels Brass Band's performance.
Chris took this shot of us just before the invasion of the Ole Miss sorority girls began. ACTUALLY overheard (from an obnoxious, blonde 21 year-old from Ole Miss): "Omigawd, I'm totally going to eff Fred LeBlanc."
She then started shoving her way through the crowd along with her crew of fellow Plastics. This may have been the least enjoyable Cowboy Mouth show I've ever been to - and I've been too many - because of the vibe of the crowd. Fred and Co. gave a GREAT performance, but the combination of drunk sorority girls and their belligerent and trashed boytoys really affected the crowd, most of whom were just longtime fans like me. One such boytoy actually took a swing at a guy standing near us - a guy who had already been robbed that evening - because the boytoy shoved the guy's tiny girlfriend, and the guy told him to back off. Yeah. Weeeeird show.
It won't, however, keep me from seeing them on Bacchus Sunday if they play.
Attack! (Dude, she had treats.)
D., Jesus and Jessica at Jackson Square on New Year's Eve - well, actually, it was just after midnight, and we were surrounded by throngs of inebriated Georgia and Hawai'i fans. We didn't actually see the ball drop on the roof of the Jax Brewery, but we heard the screaming hordes acknowledge it, so we're assuming it happened. When this picture was taken, we had just finished watching the fireworks over the river. Very cool.
I hate crowds. They turn me into a bitter misanthrope. It's why I do my holiday shopping mostly online - so I don't have to deal with mall bullies...and drunk UGA fans who repeatedly belch out, "Who let the Dawgs out? Woof, woof, woof, woof!"
This was maybe...4 hours after we lit the coffee table on fire?
Either way, happy new year! We had a great time with Zeus and Jess despite D.'s insane work schedule and my Dayquil-fueled haze. We had a great time, too, with Ross and Jessica and their infant son, Liam, when they visited us for the New Orleans Bowl (go Owls!), and we're glad that despite the dysfunctional family Christmas, we were able to open our home to my family, our neighbors, and some of our new friends at NOLA.com for the holiday. After a lot of laughter, tears, and post-holiday binge heartburn, it's time to put 2007 squarely in the past.
Man. I can't believe it's already 2008.
Just to recap:
-The Saints lost.
-Reggie Bush may or may not be engaged to a chick who is famous because a) her late father defended OJ, and b) she let Brandy's little brother pee on her in a sex tape.
-The Noles lost their bowl game (but beat the spread), but played with more heart than I have seen since the 2005 ACC Championship Game...and that's without a third of the roster.
-D. gave me a gorgeous gold fleur-di-lis necklace with inset garnets - it's garnet and gold (as any good Seminole fan would know), and garnet is my birthstone...which means...
-That's right, I turn 29 in 11 days.
-We lit our coffee table on fire on New Year's Eve, thanks to a tiny little fondue spill. Yeesh.
-We saw Cowboy Mouth at the House of Blues on the 27th, and I don't think I've recovered yet.
-I had to scrape ice off the INSIDE of my windshield this morning. Seriously. SERIOUSLY? It. Is. THAT. Cold.
-D. was surprised on Christmas Day with two tickets to see K-State battle Iowa State in Bramlage Coliseum later this month. He seemed pretty happy, so yay.
-I have developed cool recipes for a Dr. Pepper ham glaze (by bastardizing a recipe from Food & Wine), a pecan pie cheesecake, a chocolate chunk and banana bread pudding with Southern Comfort sauce, etc. The upside to constantly cooking is that while it tires you out, it forces you to be creative.
-We have a new slow-cooker and a new santoku knife, thanks to Mom. This means that we will no longer fight over custody of the one santoku knife we already had.
-My brother gave us a stemware rack (which is now mounted to the ceiling), our neighbors gave us an electric wine opener, and D.'s brother and sister-in-law gave us a wine saver kit. Oh, and Brooke gave us crystal champagne flutes to match our wineglasses.
-After next week's BCS game, D. and I are officially joining a gym. That's just a fact.