Wednesday, October 11, 2006

Commentary on Pac and Biggie

I've been reading after this guy for awhile, here is a good reason why:

How Long Will They Mourn Me?

Tuesday, October 10, 2006

What's New

I need to get back on this blogger thing, got so much to do and talk about, just not enough time to get it all in. So:

Work is good, grad school is busy, but fun.
Watching LSU screw up all over the field and give a game away on Saturday was not fun.
What’s happening to my Jags, I leave BR and they lose to Prairie View and others. At least from what I hear the Human Jukebox has more members now and is better than ever.
Family gatherings are a lot of fun, even with a crazy family. Too bad as you get older they seem to occur less and less.
New Orleans is still a tale of two cities, where I live really cool, other places not so cool. Speaking of the city, I’ve attended a decent number of planning meetings since I’ve been here. My conclusion, a lot of people are investing a lot of time and effort into rebuilding, but it has to start at the top. And that is where the problem is, a lot of the neighborhoods have their stuff together. Speaking of those at the top………
Nagin (don’t get mad, I would still vote for the man today and I’m willing to give him a chance) I know you gotta play the political game, “you help me, I help you”, that sorta thing, but endorsing Dollar Bill, I just don’t know.
In Jefferson’s defense, he has done a lot of great things for New Orleans, he hasn’t been charged yet, and there was a lot of craziness surrounding the search of his office. But the fridge, the fridge, I just can’t get over all that cash in the fridge. But what do I know, not as much as I think, and I find this out daily.

Monday, September 25, 2006

Let's Go Saints


I've been a Saints fan forever but I said I wouldn't let the game get to me, I mean its just football, and I'm not really even from New Orleans, and I got class so I'm not even going to the dome tonight, I mean I got thru August 29th ok. But if people feel like I do right now the tears will be flowing tonight.

This is a great read:
Michael Smith ESPN Article

I couldn't find any pictures from the last Saints game in the dome (sometime in 2004) I went to, but this is still one of my favorite all time pics, only in the dome do brass bands roam the halls.

Wednesday, September 13, 2006

I Know Some Incredible People

While running this afternoon I saw a three-legged dog. No lie, but that is all I got for today. A few of you (that’s all who reads this) have let me know I should update my blog more often. But this brother’s been hella busy the past few weeks. I’m gonna get back on it soon, I promise.

Until then if you want something awesome to read check out the blog of my friends, Tamara and Laura; we were in the same LSU Ambassador class and did all kinds of stuff in the good ole days (campus leadership and service, Slinky's, The Chimes way too much, etc, etc). Now they are both medical doctors who just left for Africa to work with AIDS patients. You gotta read their story, I’m not sure if I’ve ever been more proud of any of my friends. I also added the blog to links sections.

http://blogs.chron.com/intoafrica/

Tuesday, August 29, 2006

Katrina, I tried to forget about you.......

So it’s been a year, huh. At least for me I don’t quite know how to feel, I could barely get anything done at work today and I’m not sure how I’ll pay attention in class. Just to compare and contrast, on August 29, 2005 I was living in Baton Rouge, working for a large telecommunications company, undecided about going back to school, getting ready for football season, and sleeping most of that day because you really can’t do much without electricity. Oh, also believing the news reports I saw early that morning that New Orleans would be ok.

On August 29th of this year I’m now an Uptown New Orleans resident, working for one of the coolest non-profits in the city, matriculating in a remarkable graduate program that will give me the chance to work hands-on in the rebuilding effort, waiting to see Reggie Bush play in the Superdome, and generally thankful for the opportunities I’m blessed to have.

I would like to think I’m in a better position now than one year ago. I understand most residents of New Orleans cannot say that today. Hopefully I can help to change things so that next year more people can look back and say things are better than they were a year ago.

Katrina, I tried to forget you, but it hasn’t quite worked out yet.

Things I wrote about Katrina last year

If only I knew what was coming. Or maybe better said if only I knew how crappy those FEDERAL GOVERNMENT LEEVES were.

http://chillbutreal.blogspot.com/2005/08/hurricane-katrina.html

http://chillbutreal.blogspot.com/2005/08/louisiana-hurricane-season-notes.html

http://chillbutreal.blogspot.com/2005/08/we-survived-katrina.html

http://chillbutreal.blogspot.com/2005/09/keeping-things-in-perspective.html

http://chillbutreal.blogspot.com/2005/09/letting-it-out.html

http://chillbutreal.blogspot.com/2005/09/report-from-new-orleans.html

Monday, August 21, 2006

I Get Around

It’s been awhile but I’m back at it. In the past three weeks I’ve left one job after 4 and half years, started a new job, moved to a new city, an in about one hour I’m starting grad school. Now I’ve done all of the above at one time or another in my life, but never in a time frame of three weeks. Needless to say life is busy.

I still consider myself very blessed. For one thing my new job is awesome. It is almost the total opposite of my previous hustle, before I was working for a big company with hundreds of other employees. Now I’m working for a small non-profit with only 6 other employees. I used to have a 50 mile roundtrip to work, now it's about 7 miles. At my old job the emphasis though not directly stated was “don’t do anything to lose us money or customers, or get use sued.” Now it’s more like let's try and do things to help people and do good things. I don’t have any truly bad memories from my old job, I just like this better.

As for moving there is a lot to say and at the same time not a lot to say. I just moved to a city that was nearly completely mowed down by Hurricane Katrina almost one year ago. I got a decent spot to live at a great price in a good area, but even where I live the evidence of the storm (now that I’ve moved people here don’t say the name much anymore, just the storm or other more derogatory terms) is everywhere and still overwhelming.

And school, and school, and school. Mainly I’m excited to be in a cool grad program. It’s really crazy to think 10 or so years ago I was just starting college out of high school, trying to walk around campus all cool and chill, you know impress some ladies. Man now I get out of my car and I all I care about is getting out of the freaking sun and South Louisiana heat. My how things change.

Tuesday, July 25, 2006

Rising Tide NOLA Conference - New Orleans

http://thinknola.com/wiki/Rising_Tide_Conference

From the website:

August 25-27, 2006, there will be a convention for all people who care about New Orleans.

The Rising Tide Conference will be a gathering for all who wish to learn more and do more to assist New Orleans' recovery from the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina (and Rita). We will come together to dispel myths, promote facts, share personal testimonies, highlight progress and regress, discuss recovery ideas, and promote sound policies at all levels. We aim to be a "real life" demonstration of internet activism as the nation prepares to mark the one year anniversary of a massive natural disaster followed by governmental failures on a similar scale

I’m really digging this conference and since I’ll be a New Orleans resident in a few weeks I definitely want to check this out. Another plus, these guys and gals even had the great foresight to schedule the event before LSU football season starts. Ok that might not have been a consideration but still the timing works out great. I look forward to meeting a few of these people and hopefully hearing progressive ideas for the city of New Orleans. More on my move later.

Monday, July 24, 2006

Tiger You Had Me Tearing


Yeah Tiger you had me tearing too.

I walked in the house a little after 12, just getting home from a good Sunday morning church service and turned on the TV just in time to catch Tiger Woods teeing off from the 18th hole of the British Open with a 2 shot lead. Now any non-Tiger related golf tournament I’ll rarely watch, mainly cause I’m just not a TV golf fan. In fact I’m barely a playing golf fan although maybe that will change the first time I ever break 100 over 18 holes. But anyhow the inevitable happens, Tiger wins, and all is good in the world. But then my man started to cry, actually it was past crying, he was sobbing. And I understood why, I can’t say I knew how he felt, but I could understand why. I’m still blessed to have a living father, sometimes I don’t realize how much of a blessing this really is.

I can’t imagine how Tiger felt after winning yesterday, but I would imagine he would give back all of the $60 million he has earned in his career to share it with pops.

Wednesday, July 19, 2006

When Educated Folks Go Off On Hip-Hop

I’ve seen this article floating around the web for about two weeks now. I feel the need to comment because I can, and also because he referenced Paul Lawrence Dunbar who was an amazing brother. Check him out, I've enjoyed almost every work of his I’ve read over the years.

I will qualify my remarks by noting that I’m an old-school hip-hop head that has been retired for a while now. I haven’t watched a music video on MTV or BET in years, rarely listen to Urban radio, and I probably can’t identify more than 2 or 3 songs on the Billboard Top 10 Rap Chart. Also I used the word “Nigga” in conversation like 3 times a year. So maybe my comments on current hip-hop artist might not be the most relevant unless we’re talking about the likes of The Roots or Outkast. Anyway my thoughts…

While a powerful read I don’t believe we can blame rappers for all of the nihilism in black communities today. Not to underestimate the influence of music (this would be an injustice to songs like Billy Holiday’s “Strange Fruit”) but most music is made to titillate and entertain which I really got no problem with. I’m all for musicians who take on a mantle of social responsibility in our neglected communities, but if Luda or Ice Cube is the best black American got to speak for us we have some inherently deeper issues to confront. I hope we ain’t waiting for a rapper to lead the revolution. That being said………..

I must admit Dr. Cobb brings it hard and heavy with his assessment of many of the so-called gangsta rappers of today and their attitudes. I love this part:

Of all their claims, the charge that Oprah sold out to win points with
her white audience is the most tragically laughable. The truth is that
her audience's white middle-class kids exert waaay more influence over
50 and Cube than their parents do over Oprah. I long ago tired of
Cube, a thirty-something successful director, entrepreneur and married
father of three children making records about his aged recollections
of a thug's life. The gangsta theme went cliché eons ago, but Cube, 50
and a whole array of their musical peers lack either the freedom or
the vision to talk about any broader element of our lives. The reality
is that the major labels and their majority white fan base will not
accept anything else from them.

Just read the whole thing. Should make you think a little.

ARTICLE

Tuesday, July 11, 2006

Voices

Yesterday I ran the 4 mile loop around the lake near LSU, starting and finishing at the Baton Rouge Beach. Now this is a beach in name only which is a shame considering the lake boarders campus. However, if I was in charge of LSU I would turn all of sorority row into general student housing, tear up the road running in front of the sorority houses, and turn that entire area into a sandy beach for general student use. Of course if anyone tried this they would be probably be assassinated by a sniper team composed of angry Tri-Delts, DZ’s, Chi-O’s, and Kappa Kappa Gammas. If I learned anything from my student government days at LSU it was not to F… with the sororities. Anyway, I had an average run though way slower than I planned for 2 reasons. First, a little more than 2 miles into the run I ran into an old friend from college I had not seen in years walking the other way. She was actually an old girlfriend of one of my good friends. We chatted for about 5 minutes then headed our separate ways. Second, about a mile later I spent almost 3 minutes stretching and trying to pound out a massive cramp in my left quadriceps.

Anyhow I finished, stretched a little more, then headed back to my car when I heard this voice from a distance, an unmistakable voice I hadn’t heard in years but I recognized it right away.

Digressing for a second, it’s amazing to me how a human being can identify another individual human being just by the sound of their voice. Of course family and close friends are easy to identify most of the time, as well as those with distinctive voices. I imagine if I was walking down the street and heard Barry White singing behind me I would recognize his voice almost immediately. Of course if it was actually Barry White I would then take off running the other way (or maybe join in if he was singing My First, My Last, My Everything, that’s an all-time jam). And I have a few professors whose voices I could probably identify too.

Anyway this voice I heard belonged to one of my old high school track coaches. He works at another school now and had some of his runners out at the beach for practice. I went and spoke for a few minutes, exchanged normal pleasantries, etc. I’ll always remember his voice as well as the voices of my other two other coaches from high school, the most palpable explanation being when someone yells at you for an hour each day its hard to forgot their voices. Coach had aged and looked different, but even if he underwent a Michael Jackson level physical transformation I would always be able to recognize that voice.

Tuesday, July 04, 2006

More Links

added some links, gonna play around more later....

My You Tube Videos:
http://youtube.com/profile_videos?user=fnealjr

African American Blogs, Black Blogs, African Blogs:
http://sisterstalk.com/blackblogs/links.php

How Cool Is This Video


Enough about Jazzfest I know, but during Lionel Richie’s set he broke out with this song; I knew the Commodores sang it but I hadn’t heard it in a long time. For some reason it was one of my favorite songs as a little kid. Well I had never seen the video until now but thanks to youtube my destiny has been fulfilled. Watching the video reminds me of looking at college pictures of my mom and dad. Also I love soccer, but where did that come from? Wow again. Youtube is awesome; I’m actually hoping they block it at my job so I can get work done.

The Commodores - Lady (You Bring Me Up) - 1981

Tuesday, June 13, 2006

Why Me?

Intro: Last Thursday I planned on going to a Jazz concert at my alma mater with this really cool girl I’ve been seeing, however she found out early that afternoon she would have to work late and wouldn’t get off in time to make the concert. I almost decided to stay home and watch game 1 of the NBA Finals, however since I already had tickets I decided to go to the show. After trying for a quick minute to contact a few friends to see if anyone wanted the other ticket finally I just decided to leave it at the box office for some lucky random jazz-loving soul.

I arrive about 20 minutes prior to the concert, pick up my ticket and leave the extra one at the box office. Now the fun begins…..seating is general admission and the place is already packed with old, mostly very wealthy, white folks. Now I did expect the crowd to be older and whiter than let’s say a Showtime at the Apollo crowd so I’m not too surprised. But there is something slightly disconcerting about being in a room with 300 old, rich, white dudes (OWD) and ladies (OWL) and like 5 (counting the drummer) black folks, plus another brother who was probably just a student worker taking tickets at the door. After checking out the room I find two seats on the end of last row of the middle section. I ask an OWD if the two seats are available, they are so I sit down leaving one empty isle seat beside me. A few minutes later some other old couple walks up and starts talking to the old couple sitting beside me. I guess the two couples want to sit together cause OWD beside me decides to ask if I would mind moving to an empty seat (which did have a much better view) two rows in front. I’m naturally a pretty nice and laid back brother by nature, but I’m also in no mood to get up and change seats. However I think my mind is clouded from being around all those old, rich, white folks because after a few seconds I made sure the seat was unused, then against my better judgement decide to move. So here’s where it gets all (the more) gully. I’m maneuvering to the middle of row to the empty seat, of course saying excuse me as I walk past people. As I past one OWD I hear him say out loud I guess to his wife or whoever wes sitting beside him, “Oh that is the guy that was working at the door, I guess he is coming to watch the show to.”

Now I’ve learned from experience at times you gotta let some inappropriate s..t people say slide, but I’m not feeling that at the moment. My most immediate realization is that OWD is sitting at the perfect height for me to put a Nintendo Double Dragon “Knee Drop” right on his head. In case you don’t know......
To jump and give a powerful knee kick at the same time, wait until the precise moment you've landed from a jump or just as you're getting up from a fall. Then immediately push the CONTROL PAD ARROW in the same direction as the enemy, and press both ATTACK BUTTONS simultaneously.

Well I make a split second decision the knee drop is probably not the most effective way to deal with the situation considering my surroundings. So without stopping or even looking at ole boy I said to him, “No, I brought a ticket and I’m here for the concert.” Then I took my seat, by then in a pretty foul mood and trying my best not to shoot murderous looks at everyone else there. Now you would think all the other white folks would see this brother looking really mad (I guess I don’t pull that look off really well) and leave me alone. But no, during the rest of the short wait before the concert and during intermission people are asking me questions, I assume trying to be nice but I’m not in the mood (note: real question but not my real answers, just what I felt like saying):

ORWL #1: Have you seen any of these performers before?
ME: Yeah and they are pretty good, but you know in the past month I’ve seen Tone Loc and Big Daddy Kane in concert, heard of them before?

ORWL #2: Where did you get that shirt, it’s best looking shirt here?
ME: You cause all these OWD’s can’t dress worth a damn.

ORWL #1: Are you a musician too?
ME: Yes, but I stopping playing the viola in 9th grade to concentrate on my budding gangsta rap career (one part of the statement is actually true).

ORWL #2: The lady can really sing, don’t you think?
ME: Yes, but if I was up there I could sing and dance for you too, got any blackface?

So yeah I was not really cool with my surroundings but thankfully the music was good enough where I could focus on that; the cat on the tenor sax was blowing hard, the pianist looked kinda goofy but he could play, string bass was laying some tight grooves, and the drummer was off the chain. After the first song the vocalist, a rather physically and vocally stunning woman, came out and they performed well together. Even after the comment and all the questions I didn’t feel like answering I ended up enjoying a good show. If I’m listening to jazz I like it upbeat and slightly funky which encompassed many of their musical selections. They also played some Duke Ellington and Count Bassie and they ended the concert with an amazing second line style version of Sweet Georgia Brown.

Overall impressions, yeah I was pissed but the music was ok. I would love to go back to one of the Philip Manuel concert in July. Just gotta get all my boys to ride out there with me, I’m bringing a posse next time.

Monday, May 22, 2006

The Great Chocolate Hope

It’s not what I want to write about but earlier today I saw CNN Headline News running a story about New Orleans with the following byline, “Levee System Full of Holes?” Again, tell me something I don’t f..... know.

Now on to business; I’ve officially given up trying to figure out elections in Louisiana. Over the past 2 months I had the chance to solicit thoughts from various people about the New Orleans mayoral election. Almost to a person (male, female, liberal, conservative, criminal, musician, professional athlete, etc.) everyone told me Ray-Ray was doomed. The Chocolate City speech would do him in. Just to recap....

"I don't care what people are saying Uptown or wherever they are. This city will be chocolate at the end of the day. This city will be a majority African-American city. It's the way God wants it to be."

Well I thought he pissed off too many people like my friend Scott who happens to be a white Uptown homeowner to win. But lo and freakin behold on Saturday Ray Nagin defeated Mitch Landrieu to win a second term as mayor. I’m still not sure how exactly he won; maybe God liked the Chocolate City speech better than most? The most common explanation I’ve heard was the great support Nagin drew from the black community and a high number of “crossover” voters, crossover in this race apparently meaning white folks who have a strong dislike for any member of the Landrieu family running for public office.

But all and all it fits in perfectly with many of the crazy and altogether unpredictable Louisiana elections I’ve witnessed. KKK man David Duke hung around for way too long, getting over 40% of the vote in a 1990 U.S. senate race and almost 40% in his 1991 attempt to become governor. There were the two Mary Landrieu senate races in which the Democrats worked their New Orleans “vote farm” to perfection. And how can I forget the 2003 governor’s race where Kathleen Blanco defeated my fellow Baton Rouge High School alum “Bobby” Jindal. It’s amazing how many conservative white folks I heard complain about other conservative white folks who wouldn’t vote for Jindal because he has some “dark skin” or because they thought be looking like a Middle Eastern friend of that Osama guy. I found this long, but very good commentary on that election.....

So briefly back to Nagin, congrats on the great win. Dude I wish you all the best, you’re gonna need it.

Friday, May 19, 2006

I'm Mad

You probably couldn’t tell by looking at me cause I’m generally smiling but I’m mad; mad at the government (aka GW), mad at the world, but mainly mad at myself. The primary basis for my state of being is the city of New Orleans and the post-Katrina landscape of devastation. I mean I’ve been in the city at least 10 times, probably closer to 15 or 20 times since the storm and it’s still crazy. While riding with my college buddy KP heading to Jazzfest from the airport around noon Saturday a few weeks ago I observed how normal everything looked from the interstate. Of course when you leave the relative sanctity of the freeway and move into the neighborhoods the world changes quickly. It’s still ugly in a lot of places, I could be more descriptive, but ugly is an adjective that will have to suffice for today.

Maybe I’m just upset it doesn’t burn me up inside anymore. Like I’ve come to expect that it’s normal to see a city block with only 3 houses occupied. Like it’s normal to drive and not be able to see the sidewalks due to trash and debris. Like it’s normal to avoid side streets full of roofing nails and super-size potholes. Like it’s normal to drive down major thoroughfares and not see street signs or working stoplights. Like it’s normal to drive in large city after dark and not see any open restaurants, gas stations, or liquor stores on major streets. Like it’s becoming normal, that’s what pisses me off. Like uptown is referred to as an area of town that’s back to normal but you know what it was before and you see what it is now and you still can’t quite believe how everything went down. I’m also mad Slick Rick didn’t show up for his Jazzfest set but I can live with that. However it’s getting harder and harder to live with what I’ve seen in New Orleans. Like its ok that mostly white and affluent Lakeview is being put back together again while mostly black and working class 9th Ward still looks like a nuclear test zone.

Maybe Mitch (Landrieu) will make it better, not saying I would vote for him but enough people with enough money who didn’t have to go halfway across the country after Katrina will vote for him that he should have no problem winning. I actually like Mitch, but if we gave Bush as second term after he screwed up Iraq why can’t Nagin get a 2nd chance after his chocolate city remarks. Of course it won’t really matter who the mayor is till they fix the levees. Maybe I’m also just mad I got back to my car on the last Sunday of Jazzfest and found a parking ticket on my windshield. Maybe I’m just mad cause for most current residents of New Orleans getting a parking ticket in the city would be least of their worries.

I needed to write this. I feel like I didn’t write it well, but it’s done.

Monday, May 08, 2006

A Glorious Weekend




This morning I was listening to NPR while driving to work when they aired a short piece on Jazzfest. I got chills just hearing them talk about it, in fact if I was one of those emotional-type dudes I woulda probably shed a tear or two. Needless to say it was an amazing weekend in the Big Easy.

It felt good enjoying 30+ hours of music in two days on 4 hours of sleep. Of course work today doesn’t feel so nice, but I’ll recover. Like I said before having Jazzfest doesn’t mean the city is back but it does mean the spirit and music of New Orleans will never leave.

Now I get to spend all day reminiscing about the fest and checking MSN’s Jazzfest video for some of the great acts I missed. Thanks to all my friends who helped to make the past weekend a lot of fun. Can’t say yet what was the best act I witnessed the past weekend, I mean Robert Randolph got his steel slide guitar boogie on, the Ohio Players dooled out some serious old school funk, Jimmy Buffett was Jimmy Buffett, saw some good gospel, Big Daddy Kane was hot, Nicole Ritchie’s pops blew the place up, plus I can’t forget all the great Jazz, Blues, Brass and Zydeco I heard. Gonna have to get back to that question later.

More Pictures:
Saturday, May 6th
Sunday, May 7th

Tuesday, May 02, 2006

Jazzfest In This Post-Katrina World





I had an amazing time at Jazzfest on Saturday. Saw some great Jazz, Gospel, Latin, Blues, Funk, Zydeco, and Brass music. Hugh Masekela played an amazing set. Etta James rocked the house. Got pictures of Juvenile’s tour bus. Just a good day all around.

Jazzfest Album 1
Jazzfest Album 2


I do have one concern; Jazzfest seems to be getting a lot of well deserved national attention this year. I’m glad this is happening and I’m glad the lineup has some great “non-New Orleans” acts like Dave Matthews, Paul Simon, Springsteen, Buffet, etc., along with many great local artists. However I’m just slightly afraid some people will witness the headlines and assume New Orleans is back to normal. All one has to do is walk in the neighborhoods surrounding the fairgrounds to see this is not the case at all. For me Jazzfest did supply a period of Big Easy enjoyment and normalcy, but it’s still not quite the same. Now I don’t agree with those who argue Jazzfest shouldn’t happen until the city gets back together, those people are stupid (for lack of a better term). New Orleans as a city has always supported itself by providing entertainment for locals and visitors alike. Many locals need Jazzfest to provide a financial boost and nearly all the profit from the festival stay in New Orleans. I’m even paying $10 extra to buy tickets at the gate for each of the 3 days I’ll attend because I want the fest to do well and I would rather not give Ticketmaster any extra money. Despite being only 80 miles away I find myself sometimes thinking things are almost back to normal. However each time I venture down I-10 I realize how much remaining devastation there is in and around New Orleans. Done preaching, I had a great time Saturday, can’t wait to go back down this Saturday and Sunday.

Thursday, April 27, 2006

Jazzfest Plans for Saturday

I will be making an appearance at Jazzfest this Saturday (April 29th), next Saturday (May 6th), and Sunday (May 7th). I always try and put together a good plan about all the acts I definitely want to see each day. These things are never set in stone and always change, but for this weekend:

April 29th, 2006 -- see MY CUBES for list of acts

8:00am (maybe)
Leave Baton Rouge between 8 and 9 in the morning, depending on the time stop and eat a big breakfast consisting of grits, scrambled eggs, bacon, toast and coffee at Kelly’s Bakery in Gonzales. Hopefully arrive in New Orleans between 10 and 11, find a parking spot, head towards the fairgrounds.

11:00 – 11:30
Enter the fairgrounds, find a spot in the Congo Square area not too close to the stage but near the marketplace booths, throw down a blanket, chill.

11:30 - 1:30ish
Relax, maybe take a nap, enjoy the music on the Congo Square stage, attempt to locate various friends, maybe grab a bite to eat and walk around for a while.

1:45
Head to Acura stage to check out Galactic for about 25 minutes.

2:30
Arrive at gospel tent, enjoy the Lighthouse Gospel Singers.

3:20
Stop by Jazz tent for about 20 minutes, hear end of Jhelisa’s Tribute to Nina Simone.

3:40 – 4:15
Chill for a bit, reconnect with friends if possible, grab some eats and a cup of Strawberry Lemonade, depending on how I feel check out The Subdudes at the Acura stage, head back to Congo Square.

4:15
Hugh Masekala on Congo Square stage

5:30
Head to the SoCo Blues stage and see Etta James…notice no Dave Matthews Band (seen DMB before at Jazzfest, too crowded and too much of a frat boy crowd for me) or Juvenile (5 years and 400 Degreez ago I would have been there with my “Solja Rag”, now I would rather hear Etta).

7:00 – until late
Leave fairgrounds, find some good eats somewhere in the city, at some point head to my friends crib, change and shower, go out in the quarter for awhile.

Tuesday, April 25, 2006

Rock and roll to the beat of the funk fuzz

Don’t know why I chose that A Tribe Called Quest lyric for the title of this post, I guess it just sounds cool, at least to me. It’s been awhile since I’ve hit up this blog thing. Since I posted last:

Gas has gone wild....I almost spent $30 filling up my Honda Civic the other day. That just ain’t right.

Despite more than half of the citizens being displaced New Orleans had some elections....the mayoral run-off should be quit an interesting event.

Got some more clarity on the Grad School issue, I think….

I’m playing softball again, this time on two teams, one Men’s league, the other Co-ed. Our men’s team is really good this year (Praise the Lord), and while the co-ed team hasn’t been as successful on the field we have an enjoyable time when we play and that’s the most important thing....right. Another good thing about the co-ed team, (guy moment coming up here) we have by far the hottest women in the entire league on our team, absolutely by far.

Live After Five
finally re-commenced in downtown Baton Rouge. They had a very impressive Cajun band last Friday. I tried to Cajun dance, it’s not really hard but it ain’t really easy. I would still much rather try Cajun dancing than do that retarded “Laffy Taffy” dance.

On Easter Saturday I joined about 17,000 other people for the Crescent City Classic 10K. It was a pleasant day, kinda humid, a little hot, but still relatively good running weather. The course route was awesome…start at Jackson Square, then to Poydras, back to Rampart around the edge of the French Quarter, then all the way to City Park on Esplanade and a great post-race party in Tad Gormley Stadium. Didn’t run really fast but didn’t really care, I had a great time. Next year I’m thinking I may actually train and try to finish in the top 500 which generally means running about 45 or 46 minutes. That’s not exactly blazing (especially compared to the Kenyans who normally win these things) but still a very decent pace. Physically I’m capable and I’ve run that fast before, whether I’m willing to put in the extra work to get in that type of shape remains unknown.

Extremely overpriced race picture, trust me I may look it but I’m not going that fast…..

Jazzfest starts up this weekend…I’m ready to party.

Thursday, March 30, 2006

The Final Four, Time to Second Line!


I’m not sure how I made it all the way to Thursday without writing about the LSU Tigers men’s and women’s basketball teams making it to their respective Final Fours. Back in undergrad I was a basketball nut. I even skipped multiple days of class to take road trips for basketball games and the SEC tournament. Even during the late 90’s-Lester Earl induced NCAA probation years I went to most of the games. Some of those teams had so little talent the best intramural teams on campus could have hung with them. But John Brady’s teams eventually improved, made NCAA tourneys, and blew up this year. However this was the first season since probably middle school I didn’t attend at least one men’s (or women’s) basketball game. I was too busy, too tired, too worn out from football season, too much dealing with post-Katrina stuff traffic jams, too much other stuff going on, and all those good excuses. Boy did I miss out. Since a lot of the men’s and women’s games were televised and I still followed both teams closely thru the media and internet, but I never saw them in person. In my defense I did pick both teams to win the national title.

This season has been so extraordinary especially for the men’s team (everyone expected great things from Semoine and the women). See I feel like I know these dudes. Sure I’ve balled with a few of them in the rec before, but I don’t really know them except for Garrett Temple (an NCAA version of Bruce Bowen on D). I would see Garrett Temple 10 years ago as a little homie in the rec shooting but I actually know his dad (who figured into this championship run way before John Brady came in the picture - story), and his older brother, former LSU player Collis Temple III (btw with his defense and ball handling if Garrett could get close to his brothers career averages of 10+ ppg and 37% from 3 pt range he would have an NBA shot) much better than I do him. For one thing growing up in the same city makes it much easier to identify with these players. Also I enjoy the way they play. Unlike some of Brady’s earlier teams this team seems to enjoy playing the game. An even with only 1 senior on the team, for lack of a better word, the play “cool”.

Watching the women beat Stanford Monday evening was awesome. Watching the men beat Texas Saturday afternoon was amazing. As soon as the game was over I left to go to a Mary Mary/Kirk Franklin concert at Southern so I missed the post game party. From what I read and saw later I missed one of the best second line performances I’ll ever see, well at least until Jazzfest next month. Wait, I’m gonna take back that statement, I hope to see an encore performance Monday night and Tuesday night. Good luck Tigers, I wish I could be in Indy and Boston, make it a great weekend for me. As the song says....Do What Ya Wanna (fyi, I love the LSU Band but they can’t blow it like Rebirth). And Big Baby, do ya thing, I’ll be second lining with you (minus the yellow boa though, don’t know if I can rock that).

Wednesday, March 22, 2006

My First Adventure Race

My best investment for this race was a pair of $15 socks. And that’s all you really need to know.

Picture Album

But if you want more (sorry this is so long, I got kinda carried away):
Saturday morning I woke up at 6:20 which was about 20 minutes later than I planned. No biggie, I showered, got dressed, picked up Lauren (just going as a spectator, she was supposed to be our navigator but she had a hairline fracture in her foot), stopped to buy a tarp, grabbed some grits from McDonalds, arrived at Hooper Road Park about 7:45, and met up with my teammates, Erryca and Megan (who replaced Lauren on 2 days notice).

We had 3 main goals for the race: 1) finish, 2) try to avoid catastrophic injury, and 3) just on general principle beat Team Brokeback (motto: We keep our butts busy).

At 9 am the race started; for the first 150 meters or so we had to carry one person. This wasn’t too bad, Erryca got the free ride. First were 2 running checkpoints (CPs) which we found pretty easily (mainly because we could follow other teams and not get lost). The total run was close to 2 miles before we made it back to the TA where we grabbed our gear and bikes and hit the trails. We rode a few minutes till we hit a trail split; we stopped, pulled out the map, and tried to figure out which trail to take (this became a recurring theme of our race…ride a few minutes, stop, realize we are lost, then proceed to go the wrong way and get even more lost). Thankfully 20 seconds later two teams who looked like they knew which way to go (we quickly learned teams with fancy outfits and gear generally take the right trails) came riding by us and we just followed them. We hit CP3 and CP4 with no trouble, at this point the trail was still pretty fast, just a little mud and not too technical, not sure if we even had to get off the bikes up to this point. We soon crossed the canal and rode the connection trail to Comite trails. At this point we felt great, spirits were pretty high, and we were making good time. Megan was probably the best biker so she led the way. After 15 or 20 minutes we realized we missed CP5 which was the easiest checkpoint to find on the ENTIRE course, it was right along the trail but we apparently rode right by it. We did eventually hit CP5, and then spent probably 45 minutes looking for CP6. By this time we were extremely frustrated, some of the track was very technical (at least for us) so we had to get off the bikes a few times and the map didn’t seem to help. Finally after hitting the same cross-trail again we had the extremely amazing idea to use the compass. It’s absolutely incredible how helpful the magnetic poles of the earth can be when trying to navigate. With brief use of the compass we decided to ride north and found CP6 in two minutes. There was more biking and more disorientation before we finally hit CP7, CP8, and CP9. I think there was a good chance we rode close to twice the distance needed to actually hit all of these points. This time is a good point to make the following observation; all the teams we ran into on the trails were really cool and everyone would earnestly try to help each other along and give advice. Also a big shout out to “Luscious Las Chicas”, we ran into these ladies a few times, they were troopers.

We finally made it to TA2 and a mystery challenge; we had to navigate a short obstacle course. Seems easy right, they also gave us two balloons which we had to hold with just our heads. If either of the balloons fell or touched anyone’s shoulder we had to start over. Kinda cute actually, less cute when there is a 12 inch difference in height between the tallest and shortest team members. We made it about the 4th try I think. This is also good time to mention the winning team, Team Backpacker, was probably finishing the race this point.

On to the canoeing section; good news, there was no way possible we could get lost here. And that was pretty much all the good news. First we had to port the canoe I would guess almost ¼ mile before we could put it in water, and I use the term water charitably because in most places the river depth was only 1 to 2 feet. We took off our shoes, threw them in the canoe, and proceeded to start walking down the river. Most of the teams we saw just walked it while one person pulled the canoe thru the water. Megan and Erryca were able to canoe/float probably 2/3 of the distance downstream (a little more than a mile total). I walked alongside, pulling the canoe out when it got stuck. At some point I managed to step in hole on the river bottom and fall face first into the water. It didn’t but hurt but it was outrageously funny. Coming back the 1 ½ miles upstream Megan and I pulled the canoe. That was not very fun at all. The only good thing about the canoe-walk was being able to devour some energy bars and drink some water. One other positive for me, my $15 socks still felt great even after wearing them during the canoe-walk.

We carried the canoe back to the drop spot, next were 4 running CPs (12-15). We actually didn’t do too badly here (relatively speaking). I would guess it was probably close to 3 miles to hit all the CPs, but we may have added close to an extra mile to this distance. On the plus side I don’t think we ever ran in the completely wrong direction. At one point Erryca hit a root and twisted her ankle, but she walked it off and kept going. My knee I dislocated a few years ago also started talking to me but I ignored it and kept going. We also kept running into this one team. They were generally looking for the same CPs as we were, we would take off running and 2 to 3 minutes later we would run back into them. It was really quite amusing at first although it got old rather quickly.

We finally got back on the bikes, only 3 CPs left. By this point my goals were to stay on the tracks, not run into my teammates, and to avoid hitting trees or going otb. We missed the correct trail again but only took a few minutes to right our way and hit the connection trail back to Hooper. Erryca took a pretty nasty spill here, but again she was a trooper and kept going. We hit CP16 and crossed the canal back over to the Hooper trails. On the way to CP17 and back to the TA we hit a little technical section of track but it wasn’t too bad and a few minutes later we were back at the TA.

There was one more CP to hit, this last one on foot. We jogged back up the trail and reached the canal. At that point there was a trail on the other side but no bridge. Another team in front of us waded across the canal which was probably close to 12ft across at that point. Thinking out loud I said, “Back in the day I coulda jumped that.” Megan and Erryca basically agreed there was no way. I figured what the hell if I miss I’ll just get wet again. It was about a 3ft drop-off before the canal so I could only take one long step before jumping (fyi, there was a bridge about 150 meters or so away, but who needs bridges). Well I nailed the freakin jump, landed in mud but still nailed it (I even had the triple jump leg kick working, my old coaches would have been proud). If one of the mystery challenges is creek jumping next time we’re set. At that point I thought, “cool, hit this trail, find CP18, 2 minutes back over the creek and we’re done.” 15 minutes later and still looking we find another trail (and another bridge) a little further down the canal. At this point I’m walking (brother needed a break) behind another co-ed team. I did hear the best line of the day; one team member asked their point person why she lost track of the guy from another team ahead of them. Her response, “It’s not my fault the little bastard started running.” Another 5 minutes and CP18 was conquered; crossed back over canal, jogged back to the TA and turned in our passport -- finishing time: 5 hours, 38 minutes, and a little change in seconds. I think we finished 38 or 39th out of 50 something teams; I think there were a few teams that didn’t finish and a few more that didn’t hit all the checkpoints. Other than our navigation issues I thought we did well for first timers. By my best guess we probably biked 17-20 miles (supposed to be 12) and trekked 6-7 miles (supposed to be 5), and canoe-walked 3 miles.

My only itty, bitty, tiny, complaint with the race; at the finish line they served pizza, salad, water, cold drinks. Well the pizza was cold. Don’t get me wrong I was very thankful but I just wished the pizza was warm. Now if someone reads this and thinks something akin to, “If you want hot food finish faster”; to you I say with love, kiss my #@#. However the race director redeemed himself for this slight oversight; during the race Lauren locked my keys in the car. Apparently race director Dave got a coat-hanger and broke into my car to get the keys out. Pretty impressive, I wonder if that was a mystery challenge during one of his adventure races. I also lost my sunglasses somewhere, but I didn’t bring my expensive ones so wasn’t upset.

Thanks to the following people: my teammates Erryca and Megan (especially thanks to Megan thanks for doing it on short notice, sorry if we bitched at each other some), Pat for letting me tear up his bike, Lauren for hanging out despite not being able to race, Joselyn for coming out to watch (even though she arrived AFTER we finished, she did have a good excuse…something about tax season and being a CPA), Kristi of Team Backpacker (who won the race with an insane time of 2 hours and 30 minutes) for all the great advice, Jay from Third Row for the invite to the crawfish boil, and Darrel Mitchell Jr. for making that monster shot against the Aggies to send LSU to the sweet sixteen. Also thanks to my friends who wished us luck and those who thought I was (and still am) crazy.

10 Things I learned from this race:
Maps are made for a reason, and they work well with a compass
Having one person handle the navigation could be a good idea
If given the chance it’s a good idea to ride and learn the trails before the race
It’s about time I invested in cycling shoes
Patience is a virtue
Braking doesn’t hurt, trees do hurt
Growing a beard may seem more rugged for guys in beer commercials, but it didn’t seem to help my adventuring racing skills
Boiled crawfish is great post race food
Buy good socks and it will be all good
I like adventure racing

Overall it was an awesome experience, the people were great and I’ll definitely do it again.

More race pictures -- Snapfish Album

Friday, March 17, 2006

It's ON

I’m tried of talking about the ADVENTURE RACE, I just want to get it over with. I do think it will be fun, and once we finish I’ll indulge myself with about 10 pounds of boiled crawfish and spend the rest of the afternoon watching college basketball. I also have a secret weapon, I’m growing a beard so I can feel more rugged and ready. Hope it works.

Thursday, March 16, 2006

Favorite Days of the Year

This is one of my favorite days of the year, you get 12 hours of college baksetball in one day, win or go home. I've actually taken off this Thursday the past 3 years, but today I gotta suck it up and work, poor me. Since I'm not busy at the moment and I need to waste some time till 11 when the games start (one perk of my job, I can watch TV while sitting at my desk) I decided to make a list of other days I really enjoy each year.

Fourth of July -- Always a good family bbq day.
The Day of LSU's First Home Football Game
Dr. Martin Luther King Federal Holiday -- May not really mean much to a lot people anymore but it does to me
Jazzfest Weekends -- best music day(s) of the year for me
Beginning of the NCAA Basketball Tourney -- Today
New Year's Day -- Eating and college football galore, although not quite as cool since the BCS started
Christmas -- since its not really Jesus's birthday I'll go with good food and family

I know there are a few more but that's a pretty good list for now.

Saturday, March 11, 2006

Running Tales

Most of the time I like running, sprints and middle distance preferred. Today I ran a 5K Breast Cancer fundraiser with probably two thousand people running/walking. I was determined to run well, as a freshman in college I could do these things in less than 20 minutes. Today I ran nowhere near 20 minutes, my first mile was decent but when you add 2 minutes on the next mile and 2 additional minutes on the third mile, something just ain’t right. Thursday evening I biked for about 2 hours, at least a third of it into a 10-15 mph headwind. My legs didn’t really like that, and they let me know it about a half mile into the race today. I thought I would be ok since I wasn’t too sore Friday. Well I was wrong, the last half of the race was run (well actually jogged) in significant pain which I expect will last for the next few days. I only recall feeling worse twice during a race.

My junior year in high school I ran a 500 (on 200 meter track, 2 turn stagger) indoors at a McNeese State University meet. 400 meters into the race I was in 3rd place in my heat behind some guy and one of my teammates. At that point my teammate started to stumble and he fell right in front of me. Being only 2 steps behind him and sprinting (in theory) there was not enough time to run around him. So I took one more step, hurdled my fallen teammate, walked down the other guy, won the heat and basked in my glory. Anyway since coach didn’t have me on the mile relay after my race I walked across campus to McDonalds with a few teammates to grab some food. After I came back to the arena 45 minutes later snacking on my burger my coach walked up to me and casually told me I was running on the mile relay in 15 minutes, replacing my teammate who fell earlier. I actually ran a pretty good split, but my stomach was killing me the last 150 meters of my leg. I barely found a bathroom in time, it was rough.

In college one year I ran a 5K, the Corporate Cup. I was actually running with my dad for his company’s team. At the time I was taking a sabbatical from running and focusing on partying. I ran the race completely dehydrated with only 3 hours of sleep after going out the previous night. I ran about 24 minutes, actually pretty decent considering, but about halfway through the race I began to crash. Not sure how I even finished, the rest of that morning and afternoon was spent alternately between my bed and bathroom.

Thankfully today didn’t quite approach those levels of torture. And despite my pain it was a good time, thank you Lauren (who completely smoked me), Lisa, and Jesse for coming out and running. Now just gotta get ready for next weekend and the big Adventure Race.

Thursday, March 09, 2006

Don't Know Why Anyone Would Read This Unless You're Bored

I tried to organize some thoughts, but it just came out completely random, so here I go:


I spent my Friday evening partaking in wedding festivities (not mine). It was a great night and the band was pretty good. However if you’re the above band what makes you say, “I think we should break out some Outkast in the middle of this reception.” Now it wasn’t too bad, the sound was good but the lyrical delivery didn’t work at all, I wonder why. Anyhow people continued to dance and get drunk so I guess it was ok. Personally if I’m at a wedding and the band sticks to cuts from the Animal House soundtrack and the Motown catalog it should be a good reception.

Maybe I just switched to VH1 Soul at a good time but Saturday over a span of 20 minutes I saw videos by Heavy D, Al B Sure, CeCe Peniston, MC Lyte, and Dana Dane. I assume they don’t play that rotation everyday, in fact I checked wikipedia and my suspicions were confirmed.

Unrelated but kinda related, Lionel Richie will be performing at Jazzfest the same day as Slick Rick, Doug E. Fresh, Big Daddy Kane, and Special Ed. The time schedule isn’t out yet but it’s gonna be hard to make that work, also have Fats Domino, Paul Simon, and Irma Thomas on that day. Should be a good day of music.

Saturday in the a.m. I turned on the TV while attempting to roll out of bed. It just so happened Boat Trip with Cuba Gooding Jr. was showing on TBS. I had never seen the movie and it took a few minutes to figure out what I was watching. Even gratuitous shots of the lovely Roselyn Sanchez weren’t enough to make me watch more than 20 minutes. I’m sure I’m not the first to make this observation.

Working a half day today, planning on taking the bike out on the trails then getting in a long run, of course we have almost perfect weather for 2 weeks, then when I’m ready to spend the afternoon outside it storms. Just my luck.

It hurt to read this, not as much for the Hornets and Saints, I mean of all people I understand the mitigating economic factors professional sports franchises deal with. I just feel for the people.

To end on a brighter note I had my first boiled crawfish of the year Saturday at my cousin’s birthday party. Boiled three sacks, the crawfish were kinda small, but still good.

Next time I write maybe I’ll try to write something with a purpose, or it could just be more of this.

Monday, March 06, 2006

Monday Thoughts Including Oscars

I didn’t watch the Oscars last night. I caught the new episode of The Boondocks, then a syndicated episode of ER from Season 4, quite possibly the best season of 39 or so it seems like they’ve aired now. Anyway, while driving to work this morning listening to NPR I heard Crash (check out this brief but not very good Review I wrote this past summer) won best picture at the Oscars. I was completely floored, what a great honor. I also heard Three Six Mafia in Hustle and Flow (brief Review) won an Oscar leading to horribly annoying headlines like this one “Hip-Hoppers ‘Pimp’ the Oscars”. Sometimes you wonder why Chuck D couldn’t grab an Oscar instead of a group like Three Six Mafia, Joey I hear what ya saying. Anyway I’m still happy for the brothers.

One more thing, congratulations to MC for getting into a Phd program at Harvard, it’s a well deserved honor.

Tuesday, February 28, 2006

Rolling With Urban Assault

Yep, it’s been awhile since I’ve written. I have a number of excuses that I won’t get into, but I really like writing on my blog. In some ways it’s very refreshing. Anyway....

Due to an event I will undertake in less than three weeks, I’ve been trying to spend at least 2 days a week doing some type of biking activity (which explains this ). While attempting to find people to ride with I came across a local biking group who meet either downtown or at LSU one night a week. I knew nothing about the group other than their name, Urban Assault (keep that name in mind). This description of the ride was given on the local mountain biking association forum:
Boost your riding skills under the lights with some of the best progressive riders tonight in down town, B.R. We meet up in front of the state capitol at 7:30PM and leave the parking lot by 8:00PM. All riders and abilities welcome. We usually ride till 9:30 or 10:00, some times later. Helmets are required. Learn in a relaxed environment!
Progressive riders, right; but I’m always up for trying new things and I figured best case scenario the group does a good 12 to 20 mile ride around downtown, just what I’m looking for.
Well last Wednesday night I met the group (ended up about 14 riders that night) in front of the State Capital about 10 minutes before they start to ride. A few things told me right away this wasn’t gonna be what I quite expected...
1) A few guys were wearing any combination of jeans, cut-off t-shirts, and do-rags (no helmets); from my experience with serious road riders everyone generally wears combinations of brightly colored and horribly mismatched spandex outfits and shirts,
2) Most of the other guys who did wear helmets were also wearing elbow, arm, and leg pads; made me wonder a bit, and
3) Some of these guys looked slightly crazy (just my observation).
I could ramble on but this statement probably sums it up best; what the “And 1 Streetball Tour” is to the National Basketball Association (NBA), these guys (Urban Assault) are to Mountain Biking. Now 4 or 5 of the guys were very accomplished mountain bikers, but apparently when they get together on these nights all they do is practice insane bike maneuvers like attempting to ride up the rails of interstate on-ramps, jumping concrete barriers, riding down flights of steps, and bunny hopping concrete benches. Now I can hop a curve ok, and I’m learning to bunny hop (basically jumping obstacles with the bike) better, but I have no interest in doing crazy stunts on concrete at the moment. Also, if you mess up and fall that can cause extreme physical discomfort.

My highlight of the night, after an hour or so we ended up on the levee where a small ramp was pulled out which some of the guys used to jump these concrete flower beds while landing on the down side of the levee. There is also a nice sidewalk with a number of benches on the top of the levee where people go to walk, make out, smoke pot, etc. I’m standing off to the side with a few of the other riders not willing to risk their nuts doing a jump with a 10 ft drop on the other side when this random guy holding a beer and a smoke and his girl walk slowly towards us. The guy, who I’ll refer to as “Random Brotha Man” walked up to me and we had this brief conversation:
Random Brotha Man: “I know you’re not gonna do that”

Me (laughing): “Nah, cool, I’m just trying to get in some riding practice, besides I’m not trying to go home with a broken arm or nuthing like that”

Random Brotha Man: “Yes, cause you know we wasn’t made to do that type of sh..”
It’s weird but I kinda understood where he was coming from. Anyway I didn’t have a bad time with those guys and they seemed like generally good people. That being said I probably won’t ride with them again, but if anyone hears something like this, “Fred is in the hospital, I heard he broke his leg on his bike trying to use a homemade bike ramp to jump over the statue of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. downtown”, look for those guys, they can probably tell you how it went down.

Monday, February 13, 2006

I Wish I Were Less Busy

I will be back blogging soon, but work and school stuff (yes I said school, I'll explain later stuff) is gonna keep me away from wasting time on the internet till sometime next week. I hope all my East Coast friends are doing ok, that looked like a pretty crazy storm, well at least it did on TV, don't get much snow here so it can be hard to tell.

Of course if I wanted to yell and scream I could write about this .... Report: Katrina response a 'failure of leadership' .... but I knew this s... back in September. I wonder how the folks on the hill gonna play this one.

Just to leave on a bit of good news about New Orleans:

It's Carnival Time

Jazzfest 2006 is on, can't wait.

Wednesday, February 01, 2006

Birthdays and Bush

It’s my birthday today, still in the 20’s age group but 30 is creeping up closer and closer. My friends have been asking me what I’m doing for my birthday, the answer is nothing really. I’ve never been a big fan of the birthday bash crazy celebration. I tend to keep it low key, dinner with the family, things like that. So my plans, attempt to be productive at work (including a huge fried catfish dinner for lunch), after work gonna go for a run and short workout, then just relax the rest of the evening.

I didn’t waste too much of my time watching the State of the Union address. Only got one real comment, dude only spent 43 seconds talking about Hurricane Katrina. Of course that wasn’t one of his administration’s finest moments, but act like ya care.

Monday, January 23, 2006

Kobe, Kobe, Kobe

(every sports/NBA head is blogging about it, so why shouldn't I?)

I’m tired this morning, was planning on getting a little more rest last night, but I stayed up kinda late watching TV. I watched the beginning of Ghostbusters 2 on Spike (can’t really explain this so I won’t try) but I was really waiting for the 12:40 showing of NBA Fastbreak on ESPN. I generally don’t wait up for it but I had to see the highlight of the year, Kobe scoring 81 points in one game. His performance ranks right up there with the most ridiculous sports performances I have ever seen. Like Kobe or not, call him a rapist or not, blame him or blame Shaq, the man can ball with the best of all time.

I had Kobe on one of my two NBA fantasy basketball teams this season. But I traded him for Dwayne Wade and an un-named generic big man who gives me about 12 and 10 each game with a block or 2. At the time it was not a bad trade and Wade has been fantasy money this year too. I even thought the only way I would regret this trade is if Kobe goes on to average about 40 points a game the rest of the year. Well Kobe in January is scoring about 45 plus points a game. Good news for him, and the guy I traded him to who is in first place now, while I linger around the middle of the pack. Thank God for Gilbert Arenas or my fantasy team would be dead.

Thursday, January 19, 2006

They Spinning N...., They Spinning

Ok I’m not talking about the type of Spinning Chris Rock was referring to in his comedy special Never Scared, I just like that line.

Last Thursday I decided to try a “Spinning” class at the gym. While appreciating the physical benefits of Spinning, I always thought it was kinda cheesy, sitting in a dark room on a bike with some bitchy instructor yelling at you over bad techno music. Why not just go ride a real bike outside or go for a freakin run. Digressing for a sec, I miss my post-track college days when going to ball at the Rec Center 3 or 4 times a week and intramural flag football kept me in more than good enough physical condition (just to clarify ball defined by me as: playing 5 on 5 full court basketball games, first team to 12 wins and stays on the court, no deuce, call your own fouls, all shots are 1’s, no 2’s or 3’s). So I got my friend Evelyn (she had done it a few times before) to come along and I spun. It was actually fun, a good workout, and once I got adjusted to the bike not really that bad. Yeah the music could have been a little better although she did throw some “Golddigger” in the mix. Maybe I can get Straight Bangin to put together a spinning mix, also wondering if I can just burn a CD for the instructor. I’m thinking I could turn the class out, throw in some New Orleans Bounce, a few soul cuts, add some early 90’s rap (thinking Eric B and Rakim, Too Short, Tribe Called Quest, etc) and R&B (Jodeci, Mint Condition). For the near future I’m gonna try and do it each Thursday, so after work today I’ll be spinning, just gotta grab some padded biking shorts…those seats are no joke.

Monday, January 16, 2006

Happy Dr. King Day

This is my favorite Dr. King speech. Every time I hear this speech it gives me chill bumps and almost moves me to tears. What a great man, lived a great life, not rich in worldly goods (many people don’t realized he basically died broke and left his family nothing but his writings) but rich in life and love for all people.

I've Been to the Mountaintop

Wednesday, January 11, 2006

Having a Good Time in New Orleans

On Saturday I had the chance to go to New Orleans to have fun for the first time since Hurricane Katrina. I had made 2 previous trips to see the damage which was/is still unbelievable. I don’t want to dwell on that, but the city has a long way to go.

I had an awesome time and much of the credit goes to Kat, Lauren, and Thumper (real name Lauren). Initially I planned to go with this girl I was kinda dating, but since that wasn’t happening anymore hanging out with 3 attractive and fun women is never a bad choice. We went to a block party in the arts district area of the warehouse district. Three highlights of the evening:

I had some of the best gumbo ever, it was just amazing.

While hanging out at Lucy’s on St. Peters we met Mark, a contractor from Virginia, a Harley man, and a huge Washington Redskins fan. We got him to try out some Abita beer and he bought some rounds of Patron for us. Needless to say everyone was in a good mood.

Rebirth Brass Band, if you never, ever, ever get to hear any other band from New Orleans, you have to experience some Rebirth. Jazzy, soulful, funky, swingy, its all that and more. If you don’t wanna dance when you hear Rebirth, you just ain’t got it (yes that is me in the brown jacket).



Also I need mention this. Our little group moved towards the front of the crowd at the CAC to get a better view for Rebirth. I asked this woman standing behind us to take a picture of me and the ladies with my camera. For some unknown reason she snapped a picture of her and her friend first, testing it out I guess. Anyway she finally got a crappy picture of us. Before I reached to the get the camera back another girl with them told me “you need to go talk to my friend (the girl who took the picture, dark hair in the picture below), she likes EXOTIC guys.”

I’ve been called a lot things by women in my life, but I don’t recall exotic. I didn’t ask her why; I just took it as a compliment from a clueless white chick. Besides at least she didn’t do this; at my friends wedding reception 2 weeks ago some girl supposedly said to me, “You’re the whitest black guy I’ve ever seen.” I didn’t actually hear the girl say it, or even really remember this girl. I guess that is probably good thing since I would have said something to her and she would have got all mad (not that I’ve ever done that to a white person who attempts to make not funny racial commentary at my expense). Anyhow I had a good time at the reception and did other white boy stuff like the line dance to Footloose and sing “Call Me By My Name” by David Allen Coe with my buddies.

Anyway I did talk to exotic-men-liking-girl for a few minutes, then I left to go dance and enjoy some Rebirth. It was a great night, Exotic Brother Man here, I’m out.

Monday, January 09, 2006

More "One-Pete"


I'll let it go soon, but I gotta have some fun after 2 years plus of the USC - media lovefest.

http://www.onepete.com/

Hope For Tomorrow



Writing about football again.....My 2006 Louisiana Saints (gotta start clarifying the year now, just in case they move) have the 2nd pick in the 2006 NFL draft. Despite my most positive proclamations for next season there is not one player available in the draft that the currently head coachless Saints could select that would help them end their season at the Super Bowl in 2007 (well short of a hybrid Lawrence Taylor/Barry Sanders/Ronnie Lott/John Elway combo guy with the ability to play QB, RB, LB, and SS at the same time). Maybe the smart move would be to trade down in the drafts for additional picks, with good front office personnel this is never a bad strategy. But with the Saints front office.....all I can hope for is not to screw up. So if Reggie Bush goes No. 1 as expected, right now it looks like No. 2 will be former USC QB Matt Leinart or former Texas QB Vince Young.

Me, I would take Young, no offense to Leinart. I just like what Young brings to table, good arm, amazingly mobile, a big play guy waiting to happen. Can he do it in the NFL; I’m not sure but I’m willing to give him a shot. My favorite Young characteristic, he is a great leader, you can tell his teammates would kill themselves for this guy. I always supported current Saints QB Aaron Brooks, himself a QB with very prodigious football talents. But Brooks was never a team leader, never that guy who could take charge and lead the team through the good and bad. I believe and hope Vince Young can be that guy. Believe and hope, just like the city of New Orleans itself, you gotta start somewhere.

Thursday, January 05, 2006

Why USC Never Could "Three-Pete"

Great game Texas; Vince Young, go pro, my Saints need you with the number two pick in the draft. This is for you, Pete Carrol.