Tuesday, January 15, 2008

Wayback Machine. Destination: New Orleans (Pt. 1)

New Orleans: March 15 - 19

Took a trip with the Driz down to New Orleans for to watch the first and second rounds of the NCAA tournament, men's b-ball variety, of course. Had this trip planned months in advance and was looking forward to it. Naturally, I didn't expect to recreate the joyous experience that was the 2005 Basketball tournament in Nashville. Instead, considering it was a) New Orleans b) St. Patrick's Day weekend and c) spring break, I was expecting a perfect storm of debauchery that would test the very limits of decency and dignity. Mission accomplished?

Well, no. But it was still one helluva good time.

The Driz and I touched down in NO within an hour of each other, so we were able to cab to our hotel together. Actually...I need to backtrack just a bit.

About ten days prior to my flight, I got teh sickness. An insanely sore throat, congestion, and best of all, an increasingly painful earache. I managed to get a doc appointment for to get a prescription what will make me feel better. It was nothing too serious, obviously, but the earache concerned me, because I didn't want anything to rupture while flying. Also, while alcohol and the antibiotic I was given weren't dangerous to mix, I knew alcohol would dull the effect. By the time I was to fly down, I would have had four days worth of pills to take. We were landing on Thursday, so I decided that I'd make it through half the remaining pills alcohol-free, then introduce alcohol into my system on Saturday, because what decent person celebrates St. Patrick's Day--in New Orleans, no less--without booze, right?

You know where this is going. Of course it didn't last! Within two hours of the plane landing, I had a bigass Hurricane in my hand. Oh well.

We made our way around Bourbon Street, just getting our bearings, before deciding on a bar that had a nice setup, with a dancefloor and a couple of bars up front and a large open-air drinking area with two bars in the back. It's early, so happy hour specials are just beginning. This particular one was a 3-for-the-price-of-one setup on bottles of the cheap stuff. The Driz is going up to fetch beer, and because it's Bud Light he's bringing back, I let him have 2 of the 3. Well, many hours later, he crosses that threshhold where, as I put it to him then, the booze goes from being a bargain to being a poison.

Drizzle: I need to get out of here.
Me: Where to?
Drizzle: I'm following your lead.
Me: Okay.

So we step out onto Bourbon and we start the search for a cab. As we're walking, my hazy head hears "C'mon in guys, no cover."

Me: Let's check this out. No cover.
Drizzle: *incoherent*

That's right. I dragged my buddy into a dead-on-a-Thursday-night titty bar, where there's no cover, but a minimum beer purchase, which I quickly fulfilled. The Driz may have taken a sip or two (what, you think I'm going to drink both beers myself?) between moments of clarity where he realizes where he is and then curses my name. Me, I'm just nursing mine, watching the unenthusiastic performances. Finally, I do the right thing and use "my buddy needs to get back to the hotel room, stat" excuse to turn down a lap dance, and we leave. We get to the hotel, I call Erica, and the Driz uses the bathroom in that special way someone who has been drinking cheap beer for way too long only can.

And that's Thursday.

Friday, we got up early enough to get eat the surprisingly edible complimentary breakfast the hotel offered before walking down to the arena to catch day one of the basketball games. It was weird. Not that we saw much of the city, but all the parts we did catch, save the French Quarter, were very quiet. There wasn't really anybody on the streets. Very few cars on the road, even. And this was at all times of the day, not just the morning hours. Yet, it's not like it looked abandoned. Sure, there are still signs of the disaster, but for the most part, the areas through which we walked looked lived in.

Anyway, the walk to the arena was a nice one, made notable by the fact that we came up with a brand new nickname for Carl, one that cracked us up way more than it probably should have. Got to the arena, where we had to pick up the tickets. Moment of truth time, as we were nervous about the mere existence of the tickets. See, The Drizzle tried unsuccessfully three times (?) to have those things mailed to him well before we got there, and with no success. Eventually, he made the arrangements to have them picked up onsite. Naturally, because of the runaround given with the mailing of tickets, we were understandably nervous that they would not be available. Thankfully, the tickets were there and basketball was to be had.

The first round of the NCAA tournament is always the most fun, especially from a live perspective. A lot of that, of course, has to do with there just being more games. Beyond that, though, there is the enormous amounts of energy brough by the fans in the arena, which are mostly students and alumni and fans of the participating schools, that makes for a great live experience. This year, we didn't have a Luke Schenscher to mock, so we spread the ire around, though the eventual champion Florida Gators received more than the rest. As a matter of fact, the best moment of that day was when Florida foward Al "The Traveller" Horford, a big guy by any measure, tried to back down Jackson State's much, much bigger Stanley Turner. Most guys would have been knocked back by Horford's post move, but Horford just bounced off him. It was fantastic, especially because he attempted to back him down twice, and couldn't budge him either time. (At the time this text was composed--months ago--Al Horford was not yet an Atlanta Hawk; now that he is, I will not clown him. Kings of the pre-season, baby!)

We hightailed it before the game ended, as Florida built up a rather large lead. We walked back to the hotel for a quick change of clothes, and then it was back to Bourbon Street. Fortunately, there wasn't a repeat of the previous night's drunkenness or poor decision-making, though it was close. When we started walking back to the hotel (some time after 4am), I got the munchies, and ducked into this place that seemed like a White Castle/Checkers hybrid. We're in there, and I look at the menu, and turn to the Driz and say "This is a mistake, isn't it?" After a quick nod of the affirmative, we were outta there, finally finding a diner that served the most amazing breakfast sammiches ever. (So good, in fact, that we actually went there for dinner the next night).

(Part 2 to follow...)

Monday, January 7, 2008

Happy New Year. It's Great To Be Back.

So, I basically quit blogging in 2007. It was a combination of things, and I don't need to get into it here, at least not in boring detail. But, I'm going to actually try to resume posting on a semi-regular basis in 2008. Not a resolution or anything, I just feel like doing it again.

The highlights of 2007--things I would have blogged about had I not given into the lazy--in chronological order:

  • Went to New Orleans with the Drizzle in March for the opening round of the NCAA tournament. It was a blast, and will actually get its own separate post, since I actually have it mostly written out.
  • Saw Acid Mothers Temple and Mammatus with Carl back in April at the Rock and Roll Hotel. Turned out to be a really good show. Carl, unfortunately, missed the second half of the AMT set, which was the superior part; completely mind melting.
  • Erica moved in with me in June, and then a string of very unfortunate events happened in short order within the first couple of weeks her moving in: her aunt passed away, she got a nice gash in her head at work that required a few stitches (thanks to the Driz for helping out that day), and then her mother injured herself. It really felt like a sign that maybe this wasn't supposed to happen. Fortunately, I leave that kind of stuff to those more superstitious than I...
  • In July, I asked Erica to marry me. She said yes. Guess she doesn't heed those warnings, either, much to my infinite delight.
  • Between the moving in together and the engagement, I had a very nice visit from my mother, my aunt, and my sister. E and I took them around town and had a great time. My family, incidentally, love E, so that's a nice bonus.
  • September marked the second annual road trip to Wilmington with the Drizzle. It was just as fun as last year, better even. Thank the maker for Digby O'Hollywood.
  • A week after Wilmington was the 10th Anniversary of Los O's, which was a fun gathering. The chocolate soda was a bad idea, but the rest was fantastic. Seriously, it was a great time, and I hope in 10 years, E and I can have something similar. Lots of love there.
  • October saw more family come to town to be tourists, as E's mother, cousin and his wife and sister-in-law came down for a weekend. That one was even more walky and touristy, but also good fun. I think E's family is fond of me, too, which is another nice bonus.
  • November and December brought trips to North Carolina to see my for Thanksgiving and Christmas, respectively/obviously. Unfortunately, because E had to work the day after both, she could not make the trip with me. Thankfully, her mother came down and spent both with her. Next year, the families will have to come to us, as I don't plan on spending the family holidays apart from E again.
  • In December, E and I (and Maggie and January and Los O's) went to see the One Man Star Wars at the Woolly Mammoth theater, which we enjoyed, even though I was slightly disappointed by the lack of Greedo. But, hey, minor quibble.
  • Oh, I also got promoted in December. That's...something.
And now we're in 2008, which is just a week old and has already seen a couple of blogworthy items, as I helped the Drizzle move into his beautiful new spot on Saturday, while I spent half of the next day in the ER, where Erica had been taken from work (again). Fortunately, no stitches or anything else of that nature were necessary. She's going to be fine, and I'm staying home with her today to make sure she's taken care of.

So...there it is. I hope everybody else had a happy and eventful 2007 and will have an even better 2008. With a little luck, I'll keep yins abreast of anything noteworthy via the wonder of Blogger.