Sunday, October 31, 2004
We walked over to the Blues Festival in time to catch Clarence "Gatemouth" Brown and then Tab Benoit with one of the Neville brothers and some Mardi Gras indians. It was blues-a-licious and we're going back out there today.
"Laurie" awards go to:
- Best performance by someone who wasn't there: The woman who worked at one of the local school districts who was sitting beside me. We had never met before but became instant friends. She didn't want anyone from her school district to know she was, shall we say "having so much fun." Yet, whenever a television news camera appeared to be shooting anywhere in our direction, she would wave frantically.
- Best performance by a Clarence "Gatemouth" Brown fan: The elderly black lady in the baby blue shirt who never sat down and never stopped clapping during the whole performance. Shake what God gave you, girl.
- Best performance by someone who was drunk but was trying their best to make people think they weren't drunk: The 50-ish year old woman with the fire engine red hair who dislocated one of the rails separating the VIP area from the rabble, then fell into the VIP area and then valiantly tried to reconnect the rail.
I love the tribute bands though. We've seen excellent performances by Hell's Bells (AC/DC) and No Quarter (Led Zeppelin). We've also seen tributes to Pink Floyd, KISS, Rush and Dave Matthews.
This past Friday, there was another Led Zeppelin tribute band playing but I didn't go because I was getting sick. The name of their group is Led Zepland. Last night, after leaving the Blues Festival we walked over to Crockett Street for the big annual Halloween party. Me and my sister, Terry, and her husband, Dan, ran into Dan's brother Steve who mentioned that Led Zepland was going to be playing at the Holidome at a private Halloween party that night.
Yes, we crashed the party. It was around 11:00 p.m. by the time we got there and since everyone was in costume, no one seemed to notice or care that we didn't belong there. The band was amazing. If you ever hear that Hell's Bells or Led Zepland are playing in your area, you must go. Even bad tribute bands are unintentionally great entertainment but when the band consists of amazing musicians, it's a real treat.
Gotcha! If you bought that, you don't know me very well. I'm going back to bed.
Saturday, October 30, 2004
Right now, I'm trying to ignore the fact that I have a nasty cold and this stupid song I heard on a cartoon when I was a kid keeps running through my head:
I've got a cold in my nose.
I've got a cold in my nose.
It isn't so bad, though 'cause I feel swell.
The only thing wrong though is I can't smell.
The story on the cartoon was about this little girl walking through the woods and she meets up with a skunk and they become friends because she can't smell. Now, forty years later, the stupid song is still running through my head.
What really pisses me off is that I never get sick. I haven't taken a sick day off of work in at least five years and probably longer than that. Why did it hit me now?
After the Blues Festival tonight, we're supposed to walk over to Crockett Street for the Halloween party. It was great last year and I really want to do it again. However, I just took my temperature and it's hovering around 99.9. That's not so bad, is it?
I think the fresh air will do me good. Screw it. I'm going.
Thursday, October 28, 2004
I want to share with you my method of really letting off steam at the worst assholes of the road: the "tailgater", the "no turn signal" and the "cutter offer." I shoot them "the finger" but not in the ordinary way which could cause you to become permanently dead at the hands of a "cutter offer." My method for "giving the bird" is to make the usual middle-finger-upward gesture but I do it just below window level. The offending jackass never sees it but it still feels great. Go ahead. Try it. Just remember the important part...below window level...very important.
My point is not that we were a close family. My point is that our heads are all filled with useless pop culture trivia. If I could clean out just half of the sitcom theme songs that are rambling around in the cluttered attic of my brain, I could probably remember my cell phone number or the security code on the door at work.
To give you an example of the kinds of intellectual debates we have when my brother and sisters and I are together, I present you with the "Great Muppet Show/Sesame Street Debate." One evening we were casually discussing the different Muppet Show and Sesame Street characters when a dispute arose. My brother insisted that the two shows were interchangeable and that all the characters appeared on both shows. I argued that the two shows were completely separate entities and that the only thing they had in common was Jim Henson. Somewhere in the middle were Bonnie and Terry who really didn't give a damn one way or the other. They were flip-floppers.
Stuart and I argued, we debated, we "remembered" this and we "saw" that and we absolutely with all certainty knew we were right. Finally, Bonnie went to the computer and actually found a website that listed all the characters who appeared in each Muppet Show and each Sesame Street episode. There are people out there with way too much time on their hands.
The outcome of the debate you ask? Kermit the Frog and Miss Piggy have appeared on Sesame Street and Big Bird has appeared on the Muppet Show but that was the limit of the crossover. It wasn't your Petticoat Junction/Green Acres/Beverly Hillbillies type of relationship that Stuart imagined.
So, in the end, we were both right. But, I was more right. Nana nana boo boo.
Wednesday, October 27, 2004
After I got divorced in 1984, Cory and I lived with my parents for a while while I attended Lamar. In May, 1987, we moved to an apartment in Nederland on Spurlock Road. The apartments looked like they had been a small motel at one time. It had only eight units in a horseshoe formation with the parking lot and carports in the front.
From the time we moved in, strange things would happen but not strange enough to be concerned. I attributed everything to the fact that they were old apartments. As in any typical ghost story, however, events escalated as time went on.
One of the first things I noticed was that there were tiny baby roaches around the table clock I kept in the dining room. I never saw adult roaches nor did I see the baby roaches anywhere else in the apartment. I had the place exterminated and that took care of the bug problem but occasionally I would still see one or two by the clock.
On occasion, the smoke alarm would go off. This would happen every couple of weeks or so and only at 2:00 a.m. or 3:00 a.m. After the first couple of times, I changed the battery but the alarm would still sound occasionally. I attributed this to an old smoke alarm.
After we had lived there several months, the sewage backed up into the bathtub. This only happened once, thank God. Old pipes, I thought.
One of the strangest things that occurred was when Cory and I got locked inside the apartment. We had bought a new stereo and when we got home with it, there were some creepy looking people in the parking lot and I didn't want them to see that I had bought a new stereo so we left it in the car until they left. Several hours later, when we tried to get out of the apartment to get the stereo, we couldn't get out. I called the landlord and my parents. My parents beat the landlord there and they couldn't open the door from the outside either. We put the stereo in the house through the front window and waited for the landlord. When the landlord showed up he changed the doorknob and installed a deadbolt. He said he had no idea what was wrong with the old knob.
Between the smoke alarm going off every couple of weeks (just a beep or two) and getting locked inside the apartment, I was beginning to have an uneasy feeling about the place. At this point, we had lived there about ten months so things weren't happening frequently enough to actually blame these things on anything other than the fact that it was a cheap ass apartment.
Then things began to get weird. Cory would tell me many years later, that he would see someone walk into his room at night or down the hall but he convinced himself it was just me. One night, I was in my room taking off my makeup while Cory was in the living room watching television. He came into my room with a strange look on his face (he was 7 years old at the time) and said, "Mom, were you just looking at me?" I said, "What?" He said, "You were just standing behind the rocker wearing that blue thing that you have." I said, "No I didn't. I've been sitting here. I'm wearing white. I haven't changed my clothes." He just said, "Hmmm," and went back into the living room.
Coming from a cajun background, my whole family is interested in the supernatural and takes strange things for granted. We grew up listening to the ghost stories of my mom and her sisters telling of all the strange occurrences that happened in Catahoula, the small Louisiana town they grew up in. So, you would think I wouldn't freak out when something actually happened to me. You would be wrong.
As I was sleeping one night, I heard my mother's voice calling my name. My first thought was, "How did mom get in my room?" and my second thought was, "Oh my God! Something must have happened." I rolled over and looked at the clock to see what time it was before asking mom why she was there. It was 4:11 a.m. I then turned my gaze to my bedside which is where I thought my mom would be. No one was there. I looked toward my bedroom door still trying to understand what happened thinking it must be a bad premonition or something when I see it. Standing, (actually, I couldn't see any legs so it was more like floating) at my door was a young woman with dark hair in a blue flowing dress. I say dress but it was more like a nightgown or something. It was the same color blue as the outfit that Cory thought he saw me in standing behind the rocker. She had one arm across her stomach and the other arm extended toward me.
I said, "What? What?" I assumed she was there for a reason. That was the last rational thought I had. The apparition faded away, I turned on the light in the bedroom and went and got Cory and put him in bed with me. I never turned out the light in that bedroom again and Cory slept in my room with me until we moved out two weeks later.
I decided I wasn't going to tell anyone at work about this but when I got to the office that morning the receptionist took one look at me and knew something had happened. I slowly began telling people what I thought I saw and, to this day, every time I tell the story, every single person (except one) has told me their own story of a brush with the supernatural.
Now I've freaked myself out again. I'll be sleeping with the lights on tonight.
Tuesday, October 26, 2004
This experience gave me an obsessive aversion to cigarette butts. They are everywhere. People don't notice them unless there are an excessive amount, but look around. They're there. I want everyone to be as freaked out over this as me so I don't feel like such a lunatic.
I was walking into work this morning and there was a girl walking in front of me smoking a cigarette. As she finished her cigarette, she just flicked it on the ground! It took all of my willpower to keep myself from picking it up and shoving it in her ear.
Smokers, listen to me. Cigarette filters are trash. Throw them away. Because, if you don't dispose of them properly, you might one day find yourself attacked by an insane woman with fire in her eyes trying to shove your butt in your ear.
- Do you want cheese on that? (after ordering a cheeseburger)
- Are you moving? (all of my stuff was on the lawn, 1/2 of the boxes in the truck, movers going in and out of my house)
- Is that "to go"? (after ordering in the drive-thru lane)
I feel the same way about voting. When we were kids, we would go with our mom when she went to vote. There were long lines and we saw everyone in the neighborhood. I don't know anyone in my neighborhood now but I still like the feeling of being in the middle of lots of people all in the same place for the same purpose.
Monday, October 25, 2004
To humor myself, I decided to see how long I could stick with the program. So, today, I called for my first oil change. The cost is $21.95 which isn't bad. I was told it takes about 45 minutes. There goes the lunch hour. My usual drive-thru oil change takes 15 minutes at the most.
The girl who answered the phone at the dealership (we'll call her Hagatha for obvious reasons) seemed nice enough in the beginning. It may have been my fault that she got snippy. I asked her if I could make an appointment and bring my car during my lunch hour. She said I could make an appointment but they don't take appointments between 12:00 p.m. and 1:00 p.m. because that's when they go to lunch and they close at 5:00 p.m.
I told her I would like to make an appointment but didn't see how I would be able to do that since they're only available when I'm working. Hagatha's reply was non-verbal. I could hear her eyes rolling through the phone line.
I said, "Okay. If I make an appointment, will they take me at the appointment time so that I can take an early lunch and be back in an hour?"
Hagatha's surly reply: "That's why we make appointments."
Hagatha obviously doesn't go to the same gynocologist I use if she's that confident in having "an appointment."
-- A Bit of Fry and Laurie
A Freudian slip is when you say one thing but mean your mother.
What is a committee? A group of the unwilling, picked from the unfit, to do the unnecessary.
-- Richard Harkness in the New York Times, 1960
When cryptography is outlawed, bayl bhgynjf jvyy unir cevinpl.
Lazlo's Chinese Relativity Axiom: No matter how great your triumphs or how tragic your defeats--approximately one billion Chinese couldn't care less.
668: The Neighbor of the Beast
Some mornings, it's just not worth chewing through the leather straps.
-- Emo Phillips
Sunday, October 24, 2004
Being from Southeast Texas, a lot of my friends are hunters. Several years ago, a friend told me a story about being stuck in the middle of the woods on a hunting trip in freezing weather when, for lack of a better term, intestinal distress hit him. It was a lengthy story and I must have quit listening at some point because, it seems, the point of the story was that he had to walk from the middle of the woods in freezing weather without a shirt. Huh? How did we go from taking a dump in the woods to being without a shirt? I tried to connect the dots of his story before having to admit I didn't know how he became shirtless in freezing weather in the middle of the woods. However, I couldn't put the pieces together and finally had to ask. His reply, "I was in the middle of the woods. I didn't have any toilet paper." Okay. Sorry I asked.
On our most recent trip to New Orleans, we were enjoying Hurricanes at Pat O'Brien's and discussing what everyone was going to do the next morning. The same guy from the "shirtless in the woods" story looks at his wife and says, "Well, for one thing I have to buy some underwear." We all looked at him and he proceeded to explain why he needed more underwear.
Part of the group had gone to one of our favorite restaurants for lunch. During lunch he was once again struck with the urge to purge. That's one thing about New Orleans. You eat so much and you drink so much that you are either constantly in the bathroom or you are hopelessly plugged up. Either way, when the urge hits you, you pay attention. He excused himself and hurried to the bathroom. He realized, too late, that there was no toilet paper in his stall.
He contemplated his options. There was a guy in the stall next to him but that would involve asking the guy for paper. Evidently, men don't do this. The next option was to crawl naked to the stall on the other side. He, wisely, decided against that as well. There was one option left. From his deep woods survival training a brilliant idea came to him. "I shall use my underwear," he thought.
That was fine and dandy but guess what our hero did with his underwear after performing his makeshift personal hygiene task. He flushed them. That's right. He sent his tighty-whities down the 200 year old sewage system of one of the lowest lying cities in the entire country.
Allow me to explain the drainage situation in New Orleans. I cannot tell you how many times we have plugged up and overflowed toilets in some of the finest hotels in the French Quarter. I was actually once given a toilet paper disposal lesson by a hotel maintenance man after overflowing a toilet. To my credit, I tried to unstop it myself with a coat hanger before calling maintenance but he was unimpressed. "Now, dahlin', didn't your mama ever tell you how to fold toilet paper? You're in the Quarter. You can't just go crumplin' the paper up. You got to fold it like this." This was told to me in a very matter-of-fact fashion with no embarrassment at all on his part. I, however, was wondering if I could flush myself down the toilet.
I am not providing the name of the restaurant in question because I have a feeling that they had a huge plumbing bill not long after we left town. Either that, or the offending Jockey's are somewhere between Toulouse Street and the Mississippi River on their way to some soon to be very surprised alligators.
Saturday, October 23, 2004
Ode (Greek 'song') A lyric poem, usually of some length. The main features are an elaborate stanza structure, a marked formality and stateliness in tone and style and lofty sentiments and thoughts. It's rather a grand poem. It is inclined to be meditative, reflective.
A girl I work with is currently sporting a rather disturbing fever blister. My dear co-worker in question whom we shall call Carly (her real name, no reason to change it, everyone has seen her unfortunate upper lip) is one of the funniest, most outgoing people I have ever met. This particular fever blister, however, has really got her down, so I promised her I would write an Ode to her affliction.
However, after researching, I have discovered that a proper Ode has a complicated rhyme scheme, iambic pentameter and other frou frou english type stuff like that. Ergo, in keeping with my more casual (lazy) writing style, I have instead opted to compose a limerick.
I must add that Carly names her fever blisters much as the NOAA names hurricanes. Her current little friend has earned the name "Angelina Jolie" for it's utter voluptuousness. If it weren't for the cracking and oozing, it would be downright sexy.
Now for my limerick. Ahem...
There once was a girl down the back hall
We decided that a couple (few?) martinis at TEN and dinner at Spindletop (grilled catfish, delicious) would have to do for the night. Lela protested that she wanted to be in the blog and nothing had happened, yet. Davie replied that, "Laurie will write something." Chris said, "Oh, no. Tonight was not blogworthy."
I was touched that our evenings out shall now be rated as either "blogworthy" or "not blogworthy." Party on, Garth.
Friday, October 22, 2004
When I was in sixth grade and Debbie and Terry were in fifth grade, mom let us bring Debbie with us to the South Texas State Fair in Beaumont. I didn't like riding the rides then and I still don't. I don't see anything appealing about being banged from side to side, thrown into the air, spun around and throwing up. There are some things in this world you can count on and me getting sick from carnival rides is one of them. Whether it's from being slung around on the Tilt-a-Whirl or from the all-consuming terror that I will, without a doubt, be thrown from my crappy seat on some dreaded rollercoaster with a shoddy seatbelt and so-called safety bar, you can be assured that my funnel cake and sausage on a stick will make an encore appearance and it ain't gonna be pretty, folks.
In spite of my fear of rides, I decided to join Terry and Debbie on one of the horrid death machines of the day. I don't remember the name of the piece of crap but I'm sure it was "Hurl-O-Rama" or "Cage of Terror" or something equally enticing. On this particular torture device, six or seven people sat on metal benches inside a cage in a circle facing one another. Keep in mind that this was 1967 when smoking wasn't dangerous, cars didn't have seatbelts and neither did carnival rides. You were, supposedly, held in place on your seat by gravity and because you were holding on to the stupid rail right in front of you. Well, guess what. That didn't work. When the "Spinning Coffin of Fun" started spinning, I fell on the floor of the ride and hit my head on the pole in the center of the ride.
Debbie and Terry started screaming for the carnival guy to stop the ride which didn't happen right away because everyone on the "Tumbling Trip to Hell" was screaming because they were having fun. I, however, was not having fun. When the ride finally stopped, we got off, I threw up and we went home.
The next day was a school day and I still had a headache so I got to stay home from school. I don't remember why, but Terry, my brother Stuart and my sister Bonnie also stayed home from school. I have a feeling that when they saw I was staying home from school they caught mom in a moment of weakness and she just said "to hell with it" and we all went back to bed.
Around 9:00 a.m. my mom got a call from the school. It was my sixth grade teacher and she was frantic. It seems that Debbie went to school and told everyone about our wonderful trip to the fair and how I fell on the ride. We don't know if Debbie got carried away with her story or if the rumor caught fire but by 9:00 a.m. the story all over the school was that I was in the hospital in a coma because I fell off a ride at the fair. The fact that none of my siblings were at school only added credence to the whole scenario. When I went back to school the next day, I was a minor celebrity. I can thank Debbie for my ten minutes of fame.
Debbie Lawhorn, wherever you are, we salute you.
Thursday, October 21, 2004
The four of us sat around for a while and Britney (not her real name) mentioned that she was almost out of gas and hoped she could make it all the way home. By this time, it's around midnight but Fabio (also not his real name) decides we should all accompany Britney to buy gas and "hell yes, we'll still have plenty of time to go to the Black Cat." So, we all pile into Britney's car to search for a safe gas station at midnight in Beaumont. As you can guess, that took a while.
When we got back to Crockett Street, Fabio decides he's hungry again and pops into Tootsie's Diner for some shrimp on a stick. Naturally, we all got something to eat. So, here we are at 1:30 p.m. finally walking over to the Black Cat which closes at 2:00 a.m. That's okay. We still have thirty minutes to get some moves in.
The Black Cat is in view, just like the land of Oz. We are Dorothy, Tin Man, Lion and Scarecrow within reach of our evening's goal when we're stopped by the doorman. The doorman takes one look at Stallone's feet and says, "Y'all can't come in here. He's wearing sandals."
So, unlike Oz, where everyone got in because of Dorothy's shoes, we're denied because of Stallone's freakin' sandals. A horse of a different color indeed.
As for my choice between Bush and Kerry, I like Bush as a person but his world view frightens me. I guess that's as it should be but where will this war on terror take us? I don't like Kerry's personality and his wife is more than a little creepy. I realize that I should be concerned about the issues but I refer you to my previous statement. I don't believe anything they say so what does it matter? See? Agnostic.
The only thing I miss about working in a doctor's office is my lab coat. If a designer would come up with a fashionable alternative to the lab coat for the non-medical environment, they would make a fortune. Why did I love the lab coat? Let me count the ways.
- We could get rid of those disgusting, ratty sweaters we have in our offices for when we get cold (you know you have one)
- Pockets for pens
- On “fat days”, we can hide our "Michelin Man" belly rolls
- On “bad wardrobe decision days” when we realize we don’t look as great as we thought we did when we left the house, we could throw on our trusty lab coat and hide our fashion faux pas
- Pockets to hide the candy we pilfer from our co-workers
- Pockets for Kleenex
- Pockets for tampons (no more skulking to the bathroom with our not-so-discretely hidden tampon in a file folder)
- On especially bad days, we could pull it over our heads and curl into the fetal position under our desks
Wednesday, October 20, 2004
"Have you come here to play Jesus to the lepers in your head?"
"You gave me nothing, now that's all I've got."
Both from "One"
From a different song but probably lamenting the same woman:
"You're an accident waiting to happen. You're a piece of glass left on the beach."
From "Who's Gonna Ride Your Wild Horses"
When we first met the girls about 5 years ago, they hadn't been in the United States very long and their English could be difficult to understand at times. One evening we were at my sister Terry's house for a party. I think it was someone's birthday. It's always someone's birthday so we have a lot of parties. On this particular evening, several of us were sitting in the backyard asking Anna and Radi to teach us some Bulgarian words. Of course, we wanted to know all the dirty words.
Anna and Radi obligingly taught us every colorful term they knew. At one point, our friend Melissa was trying to repeat some Bulgarian phrase that Anna was trying to teach her. My sister, Terry, was giving Melissa a hard time and calling her a dumbass (in English) and various other derogatory terms insinuating that Melissa was mentally challenged (stupid).
Melissa turned to Anna and asked, "How do you say 'kiss my ass' in Bulgarian?"
Anna thought about it for a while and said, "Eestohod."
Melissa turned to Terry and said, in her best fake Texas/Bulgarian accent, "Eestohod!"
Anna started laughing hysterically and said, "No! Eestohod. Eestohod."
Melissa turns to Terry again and says, "Eeztohod!"
By this time, Anna is beside herself and spoke to Radi in Bulgarian hoping she could help her with poor Melissa's dirty Bulgarian/English lesson.
Radi, of course, immediately begins to laugh also and tells Melissa, "Anna is telling you it's too hard. She doesn't know how to say 'kiss my ass' in Bulgarian. It's too hard."
Tuesday, October 19, 2004
Monday, October 18, 2004
When we were leaving Alibi's at about midnight Thursday a cold front had come through so we were rushing back to our hotel which was about three blocks east down Bourbon. My brother's hotel was on Conti which is about halfway to our hotel. At Conti, my brother split off from the group to go to his hotel.
We kept walking toward our hotel when I hear Stuart shouting at us. I turned around and my brother is running toward us. He's shouting, "Hey guys! You have to check out the scene at the Famous Door. Juliette Lewis is on stage and the place is going wild." I have never heard my brother say anything remotely like "check out the scene." I guess he was inspired by "the scene" as it were.
So, Stuart takes off running back to the Famous Door. I take off running after Stuart. Ordinarily, I don't run. When I run, bad things happen. I've broken bones while walking across the reception area at my office so I don't push my luck. But, dammit, if Stuart can throw around lingo like "the scene", the least I can do is run.
When we get to the Famous Door, it was more like pandemonium than "a scene." The Famous Door is a small club and the stage is right by the door as you walk in and it's only about waist high off the floor. And, by God, there she was. Little Audrey from "National Lampoon's Christmas Vacation" was up there on the stage right in front of me singing her ass off. The girl rocked.
I have no idea what she was doing there, how she got on the stage or how she got off the stage. It was all over as quickly as it began but it was one of the coolest things I've ever "scene", I mean seen.
Sunday, October 17, 2004
On the way home, we listened to the Astros game. Announcers for football games get on my nerves generally and John Madden gets on my nerves in particular. Granted, I know the basics of most sports and enjoy watching, but the play-by-play (which I can see), recap (which I just saw) and color announcing (which I don't care about) are lost on me. It may be important to people who know more about the game but I just tune those guys out.
I do, however, depend on the instant replay and miss it terribly when I'm watching a game in person. I tend to get distracted easily at live sporting events and find myself watching everything except the actual game. I'm usually watching some kid stick gum in his brother's hair when the stadium erupts in cheers and I don't have the slightest idea what happened. I think that's why I like basketball and hockey so much. The ball and puck are always moving so I don't have time to look away.
While I don't care for the endless babble of television football game announcers, I do like the baseball guys. It's not just their smooth voices. Perhaps it's because baseball is such a statistic intensive game but their statistics just seem more interesting. During the Astros game one of the announcers said that one of the players was the second baseman with the highest number of homeruns in the league this season. Good for him. I bet there's even a statistic for the shortstop with the most hits in the bottom of the third inning while wearing red underwear during a full moon.
The other interesting fact I heard during the game today was that there are three brothers who are catchers in the major leagues this season. Now that's info a girl can use. I don't know how I'm going to use it, but...hey, wait a minute, I just did.
Wednesday, October 13, 2004
Very late in the evening we decided we were hungry and wanted to eat somewhere where we could sit down rather than just have a Lucky Dog from a street vendor. By the way, if you've never had a Lucky Dog, I highly recommend it. What I do not recommend is taking a picture of the poor soul who sells you your feast on a bun. Of course, we always take a picture. Then, when we get home and look at the pictures, we're horrified to see the digitally enlarged, shall we say, poorly manicured hands of our dear vendor. I'm sure that a vendor dude would be teased mercilessly by the other vendor dudes if he dared wear plastic gloves.
The place we decided to eat was at the other end of Bourbon Street from where we were. So, off we go. As we're threading our way through the drunken and not-so-drunken masses, I passed near a really scrungy guy standing in a doorway. I didn't really notice him until he looked at me and said, "Ugly."
Now, I'm no raving beauty but I've never had anyone call me "ugly" to my face. I tried to ignore it and thought I misunderstood him until my friend Clay asked me, "What did he say?" I said, "He called me 'ugly.'" We had a good laugh but it was still bothering me when we sat down to eat. Alcohol can do that. It can cause you to obsess over what someone with no teeth and a week's worth of grunge on his face thinks about you.
While we were waiting for our food, Clay's wife Kelly says, "Coyote Ugly." Kelly hadn't heard the whole Laurie/bum encounter because she and Kim were walking in front of Clay and I. Clay and I looked at each other and I said, "What?" Kelly said, "Your shirt. 'Coyote Ugly'" I totally forgot I was wearing the black t-shirt I bought at Coyote Ugly in Las Vegas. The one with the word "UGLY" prominently written across the front in bright white letters.
A literate bum. Who'd a thunk it?
What a bitch.
Tuesday, October 12, 2004
When we make our big New Orleans trip from Beaumont, we always start out with a broad plan. However, the devil is, literally, in the details.
- We all meet at Jack In The Box in Orange around 7:30 a.m. or 8:00 a.m. and have breakfast
- We then caravan to New Orleans making several stops along the way to buy gas and take a break and some people switch cars. We haven't left anyone behind, yet
- We get to the Inn on Bourbon (Toulouse and Bourbon Streets) around 12:30 p.m. or 1:00 p.m. and check in
- We all go eat lunch. Sometimes we split up and some people go to Ralph & Kacoo's and some go to Masperro's (Toulouse and Decatur)
- After we eat, people kind of go their own way but usually do some of the following:
Jax Brewery Mall
Buy a frozen daquiri from a daquiri bar (about 10 different kinds to choose from)
The guys usually buy cigars at one of the liquor stores
Walk through Jackson Square
Head back to the hotel to change clothes for the evening
- Around 3:00 p.m. we meet at Pat O'Brien's to take a group picture and have a Hurricane (or two)
- As people get tired of Pat O's they head back out to Bourbon Street
- IMPORTANT: EAT NOW!!!! (Eat a Lucky Dog, Pizza, Gyro, People's sandwich...all of the above...something!)
- We all eventually meet at the Cat's Meow (3 for 1 drinks until 8:00 p.m....plenty of time!) Some people hang out downstairs and watch karaoke and some hang out in the bar upstairs and yell at people on the street from the balcony
- When we leave the Cat's Meow around 9:00 p.m. we usually go to the Gold Mine for Flaming Dr. Peppers and hang around there for a while
- When we get tired of that place, we usually end up at the other end of Bourbon Street at either Utopia or the Famous Door
- Every year we say we're going to go into the Dungeon but we keep forgetting. It doesn't open until midnight and by that point we can't find our face with both hands
- At some point, we hang out in the streets, drink Hand Grenades, bother people, throw beads from the balcony, bother some more people, harass the door man, talk to strangers...run with scissors...
- Either go to bed or go eat again
AND THAT'S JUST THE FIRST NIGHT
- Everyone does whatever they want whenever they want (Cafe Du Monde, shopping, Aquarium, D-Day museum, Wax Museum, garden district, Margaritaville, French Market, SLEEP)
- Meet again around 4:00 p.m. at the Cat's Meow
- Repeat above
- Check out around 11:30
- Either go eat, buy souvenirs or go home...your preference
Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday:
I haven’t listened to this CD in years but today I brought it with me to work. I believe I avoided listening to it again because there’s a really creepy picture of Chris Gaines/Garth Brooks on the cover. Sounds crazy, I know. But, really, you should see this picture. Every time I would peruse my CD rack for something to bring to work or put in my car, I would quickly avert my eyes and grab something else.
Now, I’m not recommending that you actually go out and purchase this CD. However, if it’s in your collection, muster up your courage, grab the icky thing, and have a listen. I think you’ll be pleasantly surprised.
Monday, October 11, 2004
We've heard these stories so often that we have given the stories numbers. When dad begins to retell one of his adventures that we've heard more times than we can count, we roll our eyes and look at each other and say, "Oh, Story Number 12. You told us that one, dad." Of course, that doesn't deter him in the least. No, sir. We hear the whole story all over again.
One of dad's favorite stories involves Zombies. Not the living dead kind of zombie but the adult beverage kind of Zombie. It seems that one evening in Louisiana, the Zombie was his drink of choice. After "several" Zombies (we've never been given an exact number), dad disappeared from the dance hall. When his friends went to look for him, they found him in the back seat of their car in the clutches of a rather unattractive girl. I'm sure she was a very nice girl. My mother says otherwise.
Anyway, dad's friends decide they need to rescue him from this Jezebel. They beg. They plead. They finally drag him bodily from the back seat of his little love nest. This does not please my father. The next night, he's still mad at his so-called friends. This, however, does not stop him from going back with them "across the river." When they get to the same bar they had been at the night before, one of dad's friends asks him, "Hey, Red, you still mad at us?" Sulking, my dad responds, "Hell, yes." His friend says, "You see that girl over there?" "Yes," my dad responds. "That's the girl you were in the backseat with last night."
Now, I don't think they had the phrase "coyote ugly" or "beer goggles" in those days, but you get my drift. My dad bought his friends their drinks for the rest of the night.
Flash forward about thirty years. My little sister, Bonnie, after having heard dad's story 2,365 times decides to try a Zombie on one of her evenings out. She and two of her guy friends decide to see who can drink the most Zombies. I didn't say we were a smart family. According to Bonnie, a fine time was had by all. Bonnie says, when the bar shut down, she went home and slept until it was time to go out the next night.
When she met up with her two guy friends from the night before, she asked them how they fared after their Zombie-fest. Bert (not his real name), was actually drinking another Zombie. "Hair of the dog," he told Bonnie. So, of course, Bonnie had another Zombie and swears it made her feel better. About this time Bonnie's other co-conspirator, Ernie (not his real name), walked up. Ernie didn't look so good. "Hair of the dog?", asked Bonnie. "Screw you," said Ernie.
When asked why he was in such a pissy mood, Ernie said, "Well, I woke up this morning completely naked, face down on my sister's living room floor...and I don't live with my sister."
Bonnie has told us this story 382 times.
Sunday, October 10, 2004
I was just driving home listening to my favorite B. B. King CD (How Blue Can You Get? Classic Live Performances 1964 to 1994). Buy it. Buy it now. Two of the best lyrics on the CD:
- From "How Blue Can You Get" - "I gave you a brand new Ford, you said you wanted a Cadillac. I gave you seven children, and you want to give them back."
- From "Rock Me Baby" - "Rock me baby. Rock me all night long. Rock me baby, like my back ain't got no bone."
While I'm on the subject of lyrics, here's my vote for dumbest lyric of all time:
- From "Careless Whisper" (Wham) - "I'm never gonna dance again. Guilty feet have got no rhythm."
Huh? If that's your idea of a catchy lyric, dancin' is the least of your problems.
Mom graduated from Thomas Jefferson High School in 1954 as Ruby Courville and my dad graduated from Bishop Byrne in 1951 as Harold Ransonette, Jr.
There will be many stories about mom and dad as this blog progresses but, for today, I just want to say Happy Anniversary and I love you guys.
Saturday, October 09, 2004
I even have my clock radio alarm set to the spanish rock station just so I don't have to listen to that crap. Granted, the spanish rock station is undoubtedly presenting their own version of the morning yuck fest but at least I don't understand whatever idiotic tripe they're pretending to find so hilarious. I tried setting my radio alarm to NPR but their monotone voices and soothing music just lulled me back into the dead zone from which I was trying, unsuccessfully, to emerge.
It's not that I want all those loud, unfunny, uninteresting morning zoo dimbulbs to become unemployed and eventually end up working in the cubicle beside me. I just want them to shut up already. Who decided that the entire population of North America wants to wake up to annoying, braying men and women with their ridiculous games, sophomoric humor and who-gives-a-crap trivia?
Of course, since I don't want these goofballs to be out of work (or working in my office), I propose the following rules which will, hopefully, one day become an amendment to the United States Constitution. All disk jockeys not on "Talk Radio" would be allowed to speak for no more than twenty seconds between songs. Songs. Music. Remember? The reason we turned on the damn radio in the first place.
If I had my own radio station, the DJ's would be strictly monitored and appropriately demeaned for breaking the 20-second rule. I want to know two things and two things only. I want to know which artist performed the song and I want to know what album it's on. Okay, I'll let them tell us what year the album came out. But, that's it. I want this information before the song plays and I want this information after the song plays.
Oh, and they can tell me if it's going to rain.
Hey, it's my radio station.
Friday, October 08, 2004
One memorable experience was the Ransonette/Chapman cousins' appearance on the "Cowboy John Show." This was a children's show based in Port Arthur, Texas in the early 1960's. The stars of the show were "Cowboy John" and "Black Bart." Part of the program involved "Cowboy John" interviewing the kids in the audience. At the time of our television debut my cousin Dawn and I were about 8, my sister Terry 7, my cousin Susan 6, my brother Stuart 5 and my sister Bonnie and cousin Derek would have been about 2. Bonnie and Derek did not join us for our moment of fame as, alas, they were too young.
I was nervous as "Cowboy John" approached the bleachers to begin chatting with the kids. His usual opening question was "What do you want to be when you grow up?" Not very creative but guaranteed to get a response. I don't recall what Dawn and I said we wanted to be. I'm sure it was either a nurse or a teacher, the popular choices of the day. My sister, Terry, said she wanted to be a cowgirl. Even at that age, Terry was sucking up to the host. While I was still trying to recover from the humiliation of my sister's alleged lifelong ambition to poke dogies, "Cowboy John" approached Susan.
"And what is your name little girl?", he asked innocently.
"Susan, " she said.
"And what would you like to be when you grow up?"
Yes, that's right. Susan wanted to be a seahorse. To this day, she doesn't know why she said it.
The "Cowboy John Show" had a dubious claim to fame in Port Arthur. The story is told that on one program, when "Cowboy John" approached a group of snickering boys and asked them what was so funny (on live television of course) one of the boys responded, "Michael farted." That's foreshadowing.
Well, Susan is all grown up now with two amazing daughters, Christy and Dannielle. Dannielle is in the Army and is training to be a paratrooper. A couple of summers ago, Dannielle was stationed in El Paso, Texas. My sister Bonnie and I accompanied Susan to El Paso to visit Dannielle and tour New Mexico. We had a wonderful time. We visited the White Sands National Monument, saw "aliens" in Roswell and went to Carlsbad Caverns. Susan tumbled down a huge hill at the White Sands National Monument (not on purpose). It was all elbows and assholes and one of the funniest damn things I've ever seen in my life. (Did I mention that she once fell into the jello when we were in the food line at Luby's?) Susan also cavorted with "aliens" in Roswell and left her mark in Carlsbad Caverns.
When you tour Carlsbad Caverns, you have a choice of taking the elevator down into the caverns or walking down. Being the fine physical specimans we are, we decided to walk down. It's about 1.5 miles of narrow, winding, steep downhill walking. You walk down single file feeling much like an adventurous Hobbit. There are many people (strangers) walking in front of and behind you and your little spelunking party. We began our trek with Bonnie in front, followed by me, then Dannielle, then Susan.
Everything was going well and we were enjoying ourselves and the magical wonders of the caverns immensely. Suddenly, the church-like silence was broken by an unmistakably familiar sound. Bonnie stopped dead in her tracks and turned to me with wide eyes and said, "Did you hear that?" Me, not wanting to be rude and assuming the offending rumble came from someone not of our party whispered back, "Yeah. I wonder who..." As I turned to ask Dannielle if she heard it, she had already spun around and, I can only assume because of her shock and amazement, was loudly asking her mother, "MOM, was that YOU?!"
Now, Susan, from the shock of being confronted so boldly is bent over laughing hysterically. Farting in Carlsbad Caverns (can you say echo?) has become secondary to trying not to pee on herself. This, of course, starts a chain reaction of bent-over-trying-not-to-pee laughter from all four of us. Strangers in front of and behind us politely pretend they heard nothing and move on (rather quickly I might add) and we eventually regained our composure.
Yep, we're one classy family.
Thursday, October 07, 2004
What I don't understand is, WHY ARE THESE PEOPLE WORKING ON FRIDAY AFTERNOON? Shouldn't they be playing golf or drinking margaritas or cheating on their spouses? Where is their non-work ethic?
Here is my proposal. All law firms (and this may work for other businesses as well) should practice "Friday Isolationism." This would involve no bosses, no sending or receiving outside e-mails, no outside phone calls, no deliveries and, most importantly, no sending or receiving faxes on Friday afternoons. I realize that this will have a negative impact on Monday but Monday sucks anyway so, what the hell? Plus, you have the whole week to recover and regroup from a bad Monday.
I'm sure all the bosses out there are thinking that while they're away, these cats will play. That's not (entirely) true. Can you imagine how much work could get done with no outside interruptions that one afternoon of the week?
So, bosses, on Friday afternoon give yourself a break. Go home. Go to Hooters. Go anywhere. Just go. And, if your staff can't keep their fingers off the fax button, take them with you.
Wednesday, October 06, 2004
"Ah, hoping to get lucky?", I asked.
"No," she said, "Just optimistic."
So, ladies, we now have a much more appropriate name for our Wonderbras and Victoria's Secret and all the other gorgeous, uncomfortable, sexy and sometimes downright painful things we wear beneath our clothes -- "Optimistic Underwear."
The first story I'll share with you involves Jim and Tim and, peripherally, Jim's wife Christi. Okay, try to keep up now. Christi is my sister's husband's sister. Still with me? Jim is Christi's husband. Tim (a/k/a Stuart) is my brother. My brother's name is Stuart and his name has always been Stuart. He has been called Stu, Stu-bee, Stu-bob, Dingles (a story for another time), "water buffalo" and sundry other things. However, he has never been called Tim. He is married to Kim which might explain Jim's later confusion.
In 1995, When Jimmy and Christi made their first trip to New Orleans with the group, we hadn't known Jim very long. My sister, Terry, had been married to Christi's brother, Dan, for twelve years at that point so we knew Christi quite well. She was about twelve years old when Terry and Dan started dating.
On the first day of the trip, Jimmy was trying his best to be the wonderful, sweet, charming man he always is and putting forth his best efforts to get to know everyone. Try as he might, though, he just couldn't seem to make a connection with my brother. While walking through the French Quarter, Jim turned to Christi and whispered, "I don't think Terry's brother likes me." Christi said, "What?! Are you kidding? Stuart likes everybody. What are you talking about?" Jimmy said, "Well, I keep calling him and he won't turn around. I've been trying to talk to him all day. I'm going 'Tim, Tim...' and he just ignores me." Christi said, "Jimmy, his name is STUART."
Needless to say, by the end of the night, Jim and "Tim" were inseparable and Jim had so much fun that night that Christi made him apologize to everyone the next morning. We still don't know why.