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Monday, December 08, 2003
 
The Comedown
I have a confession: I’ve never really liked New Orleans. I mean, I’ve been there a handful of times, and I feel like I’ve seen enough to have an informed opinion. My friend lived there for a while and I visited a few times, getting to see the real New Orleans . . . which I didn’t like. So, when Michelle mentioned she’d rather go there for her birthday than to the beach (which I also don’t care for) . . . well, it was six of one, half dozen the other.

This past weekend didn’t really change my view of New Orleans. I expanded my horizons a little . . . y’know, stepping outside the French Quarter more. We visited Harrah’s casino (more than once), had brunch at Elizabeth’s, and ate dinner at a non-chain (I think) hotel fern bar in the Garden District. Of course, we also did the standard stuff (i.e., shopping in the French Quarter, drinking on Bourbon Street, having beignets at Café du Monde, riding on the St. Charles streetcar). We also took in a Placebo show. All in all, it was pretty eventful. Of course, “eventful” comes at a price. Observe (yeah, you knew this was going to devolve into some sort of list):

-- Driving over with our best friend-couple was pretty standard . . . lots of squabbling about music and gossiping about our common friends, enemies . . . and frenemies.

-- My mom’s van started acting up once we got to their hotel, prompting the oh-God-I’m-going-to-spend-half-the-trip-at-a-mechanic-getting-fucked-in-the-ass quandary. Luckily, we decided it wasn’t such a big problem. (Incidentally, driving without the air conditioner will hide the fact that your mom’s van really needs a tune-up.)

-- It’s pretty common for French Quarter restaurants to be overpriced compared to the quantity / quality of food you’d receive at similar restaurants outside the Quarter. However, this isn’t true across the board. For instance, we had reasonably priced meals at GumbOlaya and Coop’s that were quite excellent and filling.

-- I’m not sure exactly what the correct response to this situation is but, when your friend taps you on the shoulder and directs your attention to the barmaid right in front of you with two test-tube shots in her mouth, the correct response is not to panic, look at your wife wide-eyed, panic some more, stutter confused mutterings, ask the how much the shots are, or finally take the open ends of the shots with your mouth, then drop down so that you are drinking the shots while the barmaid still has them in her mouth. No, that’s just not right.

-- If you give the aforementioned barmaid a $20 bill and hope to get change, she’s just gonna smile at you and tuck the $20 bill into her cleavage. And if it’s the only cash you have on you, and you ask for it back and give her $5 in ones that your friend hands you, well . . . you look like a big fuckin’ pansy.

-- After walking into a real-life casino for the first time in your life, it might take you a little while to get the courage to actually gamble.

-- Starting out by playing $20 at the $5-minimum roulette table might give you a false sense of security, especially if you play for 20 or 30 minutes and cash out only down $2. Because when you come back the next day and there is no $5-minimum table, you might add $20 to the $18 you have left from the previous adventure and lose it all in 15 minutes or less. And then y’know what? Yeah, you’re gonna be too chicken shit to gamble any more. Pussy-ass.

-- Having a “hand-grenade” your first night on Bourbon Street will probably prevent you from doing the same on subsequent nights. My first night was a pint of Abita Amber followed by a hand-grenade, and then the test-tube shots (see above). The next night (The Big Drinking Night™) went something like Sweettart “daiquiri,” draft beer in a plastic cup, kamikaze shooter, and another beer; I feel like I left out a drink or three, but that’s how I remember it.

-- The drive home, we chose to not use the stereo in addition to the air conditioner, so we had lots of debates. The subject of gay marriage turned to polygamy turned to abortion turned to moving to Canada turned to displaying the Ten Commandments in Alabama court houses turned to Kansas State beating Oklahoma turned back to gay marriage . . . ad infinitum, rinse and repeat.

All in all, it was a good trip . . . y’know, New Orleans apathy aside.

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You know how some attorneys can bill their secretaries' time for their work? Well, I billed the copier’s time this morning while I was writing this post and reading other sites. I’d send nine copies of a 99-page appendix to print and then ‘blog for a bit while it was printing. Then I’d collate, print the next appendix, and ‘blog some more. I’m gonna be sad when this project is done.

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Tomorrow . . . noon o’clock: Choppa quiz. You know what this means.