Ok, so I have finally stopped being completely bummed out about the world long enough to document the night I went out with 35 people dressed as Santa:
Another one happens next year, check it out.
Senate Amendment 1562, adopted Thursday, will expand Federal wiretapping powers:
Calls to ban encryption:
Re-emergence of Carnivore:
Erosions of civil liberties are coming:
People who don't consider themselves "activists" in the stereotypical sense do feel strongly about the issues affecting them and their environment. However, modern culture has made more people feel powerless and resigned to events taking place, whether they like them or not. This is good news for the mega corporations, bad for communities.
A whirlwind of a weekend. Friday was dinner at Mike and Emily's house. We got to meet Mike's sister Anna as well. The paella was fabulous. On Saturday, we had Thai food with Kenny in Jennifer in of all places, Slidell. It was surprisingly good for Slidell! Then on Sunday night we went out with Rese and Kenneth to the Sake Cafe to celebrate Kenneth's birthday. Rock on old man!
There is a sad beauty to this city. I was struck by this thought this morning as I mused on friends who wanted to move or friends who were moving. I was reminded of those people who chose to stay in Cuba, especially Havana, which is a harsh life to say the least. At this point, anyone who really wants to leave Cuba can, yet there are many who still choose to stay. Whatever that motivation, I believe it is related to the reason so many people live here their entire lives, even though it is a struggle at times.
From Japan Times:
Freeter: a Japanese Anglo-Germanism coined in 1987 meaning, roughly, free work. You ditch the career track in favor of part-time jobs leading nowhere and demanding little -- so many hours a day, at so much (generally not very much) per hour, and the rest of your life is your own. Fed up? Quit; travel; drift back; get another job . . . Not a bad deal, thought many.
The article goes on to ream this lifestyle, saying that corporations do not look kindly upon "freeters."
Another weekend. Friday night, had cocktails and dinner with our friend Tim. Tim is an old friend and business associate from a previous life. He has a very cool pad in the CBD. On Saturday night, we saw Tim again, this time at his house for cocktails before White Linen Night, a local event where people drink booze and circle art galleries like mercury poisoned fish (or skateboarders). After wandering downtown aimlessly we joined a friend at a party in a loft nearby. Nice to escape the wandering masses below. We saw some friends and made some new ones. On Sunday we did home improvement chores (ugh) and then had a dinner for Cassie's mom's birthday at Bangkok Cuisine, the Thai restaurant next to the Rock n' Bowl. Gotta love that word. Bangkok.
So, the alarmist neighbor was not far off on the number. Yes, there have been about 30 robberies. This, unfortunately is also what defines a "real" neighborhood. The very mixed quality of our neighborhood means that all types of people, some good and some not so good, brush up against each other. High crime periods make me long for the physical security of the suburbs, but the accompanying lack of soul makes me throw that idea out the window.
Tropical storm in the Gulf today. It will be a hurricane in 72 hours and has a decent chance of hitting New Orleans. Gotta love it!
Crime in my neighborhood can be intense. Right now, there are a rash of armed robberies in the Faubourg Marigny area. If you live in the area and see anything suspicious, please contact the 5th District police at 504-941-4400. One of our neighbors (a man of much alarming news) says that there have been 36 armed robberies in the past month, including one across the street from our house. They are also supposed to be occuring during the day.
I live in a real neighborhood. I got up early today and walked from my house to the far end of the French Quarter, which takes about an hour round trip. The neighborhood is very mixed, with rich and poor literally right next door to each other, mansions beside crumbling shacks and punks and retirees, all mixed up together. Gay couples walk their dogs, tattooed and pierced people ride bikes, and old ladies sit on porches and size up everyone who walks by. Most people make eye contact with you, and no matter how strange you may appear, say hello. Many houses are being restored, no small feat in an older part of a city where the elements extract a wicked toll. Our house was built in 1840 by a free man of color and we spent far more than we could afford addressing structural and cosmetic issues. Our neighbors are mostly working class and the ones on the right side drink a little bit too much on weekends and turn up classic rock to deafening levels. Judas Priest whips them into a fr
Sunday evening was one of rest and reflection. And Japanese studies. Lots of Japanese studies. There will be more Japanese studies today (I have the day off from work), although probably not this evening. Generally on Mondays, I visit my favorite local watering hole.
Last night, our friends Ralph and Terri came to visit us from the faraway land known as the Lakefront area of New Orleans. I made what has become my signature dish, chicken fajitas. I also mixed mojitos and Moscow Mules. This morning, we got up early and worked out. Then Cassie left on a business trip and I stayed at home, taking my old race bike into my local bike shop, Bicycle Michael's. I know I am going to pay more (far more) than what I would pay if I bought everything online, but I really wanted to support a local business, especially one in my neighborhood. Then I came home and got my fix of daytime TV and fed the goldfish in the pond.
So, if you live in a historic city, should there be a Wal-Mart there? Absolutely not. Problems with Wal-Marts:
predatory business practices displacing small businesses, lack of a living wage paid to employees, visual pollution, questionable politics, traffic.
Last night, we went to Cooter Brown's, one of the best "college" bars in the city. It's always a very laid back atmosphere. Instead of jello shots, people are drinking premium beers. It also has one of the most rockin' grills of any bar. The Radiator's Special, a mix of fried shrimp and oysters served with melted cheese on french bread will rock your world.
OK, so here's an idea I had for a new business concept: microjobs. Instead of people working at one job, what if we employed people with a series of small jobs? Could this help small business more effectively control their labor costs and give workers more variety and challenge?
Ideally, microjobs would be:
portable, not capital or resource intensive, simple concepts, utilizing partners instead of employees (think lemonade stand as opposed to amazon.com), local first, scaling to where business can be done, able to start up fast and shut down fast if necessary and with little requirements for offices and other expensive trappings.
Flaws that I can think of so far with this idea:
1) There is still a need for a stable, seasoned, knowledgable worker (you don't want your brain surgeon moonlighting as a bartender) in some vocations.
2) Without some sort of national health care insurance, these people could be as screwed as they would be working at a single low wage job,
Last night was mojito night at The Audubon Club, a gentrified bar in the Lower Garden District. It was good to see some people I knew (and some I didn't) and have some drinks, but I was not all that impressed with the bar.
"The final jet-booster of this trend is the airlines' extraordinarily
successful frequent-flier programs, which have provided the burgeoning
hyperflier culture with its own currency, lexicon, and class structure. ...
The hyperfliers may think they're getting something for nothing, but they're
actually playing the airlines' game. By tightly restricting free flights,
airlines have rigged it so that a passenger flying for free almost never
displaces a paying customer, and typically costs the airline only about $20
per flight. But to earn that $20 flight, hyperfliers will go out of their
way to book all their tickets on one airline, and may waste hundreds or
thousands of dollars building their status."
--Warren Berger, "Life Sucks and Then You Fly," Wired, August, 1999
Friday night: a visit to Ninja Cafe, where the waitress was very skeptical of my knowledge of Japanese. Then, we went to dba and had a few cocktails with the owner of some New Orleans websites for those with prurient interests. On Saturday, I worked on the pond, getting proper filtration set up for it. This will give us the opportunity to add more fish to it. On Saturday evening, I roasted garlic and we made some drinks with Red Bull and then we visited Rese and Kenneth in Rese's tony Henderson condo .
Late night and a long day yesterday. I took a day trip to Dallas for work and worked very hard. Little groggy today. The theme for the day is "considerate autonomy." By that I mean following your own path while still respecting the rights and feelings of others.
Last night I studied my Japanese and played with a gnutella front end called Lime Wire. It's pretty slick, but the selection of music really bites.
The problem with monopolies is not that they corner a market. It's after they corner a market and investors are crying for more profits and more growth. Then the only choices are to raise prices (phone companies) or convince people they need the new and improved version (electronics manufacturers), or both (microsoft).
This is one of those days to dig in for the long haul. While I did miss the neighborhood association meeting last night, I had a couple of pleasant conversations in the R Bar with authentic neighborhood residents.
No thoughts right now worth sharing, I suppose. However, it does seem like a good exercise to put something down. I saw this bumper sticker the other day: "If you had agoraphobia, you'd be home by now."
On Saturday night, I went with Alex to see a baseball game. The New Orleans Zephyrs, versus somebody else. I don't even remember who. Mostly, the trip was an excuse for cheese fries, chicken tenders, oversized cocktails and daquiris and hanging out. They gave us those new gold dollars as change, which initially confused me greatly. After the game, we headed over to Ernie K-Doe's Mother In Law Lounge to check out the post funeral aftermath.
There are some days when you have to do things that you thought you wanted to do, but then you get a little scared when you really look them in the eye. There is pain associated with change and only from change comes growth.
Haircut night tonight at The Hair Asylum, formerly known as the artist called Salon Millenia. Come visit us for cocktails and hair inspired shenanigans at: 513 Dumaine St, New Orleans, LA 70116, from 6-9. Or call us there at 504-522-7426.
Strange, but good weekend. Our wacky friends Kenny and Jennifer came over for dinner Friday night. I made fajitas from this recipe and margaritas. The fajitas kicked ass. Saturday, work out at the club and a Spanish class with Ari. Sunday had another work out and a visit from Cassie's parents. We made Moscow Mules . You can read the history of the Moscow Mule here . Oh yeah, here's the recipe in Japanese . I studied Hiragana for a while. Then my old school mate and Baja Bug aficionado Charlie Ford called.
Last night we went out for drinks and dinner with Ralph and Terri. We started out at dba , which is actually a pretty good bar, even if the bartender actually can't mix drinks. After drinks, we went to have dinner at Feelings Cafe . It's great to be able to do so much within 5 minutes of your house. Tres urban. This morning I got up early and watched Pobre Diabla. Then we met Ari for Spanish class, then went to Singha Cafe for lunch. Then, we went to work out at the club . Then we went to Jeff's house for a housewarming/party thing.
I got a flat tire today when I bumped in to the curb in FRONT OF MY HOUSE! What a bummer. Anyway, today I am thinking about
airline safety (mostly because I was driving in the direction of the airport with my mini doughnut spare tire), right livelihoods , and how I want to sell my car and buy a scooter .
So the roof got fixed. I'm thinking about owning a really old house and all the work that entails. Most everyone who comes to work on the house really doesn't like working on it. It takes a lot to love my house. My house is even mentioned here . Scroll down or hit "control-f" to find 920 Spain. Time to go outside and get some sunshine!
It's going to rain today. I'm a little scared about the roof, but there's no stopping the rain, baby. I'm thinking about voodoo today. Then, I saw this article about a voodoo shrine. From a website I visited: 3. postmodernism: A rejection of the sovereign autonomous individual with an emphasis upon anarchic collective, anonymous experience. Collage, diversity, the mystically unrepresentable, Dionysian passion are the foci of attention. Most importantly we see the dissolution of distinctions, the merging of subject and object, self and other. This is a sarcastic playful parody of western modernity and the "John Wayne" individual and a radical, anarchist rejection of all attempts to define, reify or re-present the human subject.
Roy rolled out of the bed. It was the second time he had gotten up this morning. The first time was two hours ago to see Lori off to work. He had stayed up to finish a piece he was writing and when he finished, he took one of his 20 minute "recharge" naps. He put on some shorts, a t-shirt and his favorite boots and jumped on his bike, headed to the gym for a quick worlout. The afternoon at the office would be busy. He had the staff meeting and two conference calls. At least he could stayed dressed this way all day. Roy knows a lot of people in the city, and the success of the company has meant he's pretty well known in entrepreneurial circles. Most of the over-40 types are still pretty leery of him though. Is it the piercings and tattoos or is it just that his thinking is so alien to them? Screw it, who cares, he though. As long as we get paid by our clients.
Mojito Ingredients: 1.0 sprig fresh mint Mint 1.0 oz light rum Rum 1.0 tsp Sugar 4.0 oz Water Directions: Put a splash of water in a rocks glass with the sugar and mint. Use a spoon or a pesel to crush sugar and mint into water. Add remaining water and rum. Garnish with a piece of sugar cane. This is the national drink of Cuba, it is very light and quite refreshing.
Here's an example of an idiot, from today's news: Update: Teen burned imitating MTV stunt TORRINGTON, Conn. (AP) - The father of a 13-year-old boy, hospitalized with second- and third-degree burns after mimicking an MTV personality who set himself on fire during a stunt show, blames the network for his son's injuries. Jason Lind was severely burned Friday night when he and a friend poured gasoline on his feet and legs and lit him on fire while imitating a stunt on MTV's high-rated show "Jackass," police said. The fire grew out of control and burned the boy's legs and hands before it was extinguished, officials said. Jason remained hospitalized Monday in critical condition in the burn unit of Shriner's Hospital for Children in Boston. The MTV program also drew fire from Democratic Connecticut Sen. Joe Lieberman, an outspoken critic of media violence. Jason's 14-year-old friend was arrested Saturday and charged with reckless endangerment. Police wou
There is a new local magazine being distributed for free in New Orleans. It's supposed to be a fashion magazine for the men of the city. Painfully light on content, heavy on the advertising. Another pile of paper is clamoring for my attention. I support the idea of creating new things for people to read. I support the independent press and the circulation of new ideas. I have no use, however, for more propaganda for shopping culture. I would say that our mental space has enough advertising in it already. Our heads are full. I am very fortunate to make a good salary and be someplace where the cost of living is not too high. I really don't need very much that I don't have already. I am tired of everyone telling me I need more stuff. This system keeps us in jobs we don't like, doing things we don't agree with and living out of balance with our nature.
The neighborhood association meeting was held in the recreation room of a local Lutheran church. I had had a couple of cocktails before arriving, so I was less anxious than I might be otherwise, walking in to a room full of strangers. It was a cold and rainy evening so Cassie and I were wet and harried as we rushed in the door. Our contribution to the potluck was tabouli. We were greeted by a bald disinterested man who snacked on a styrofoam plate of small, indeterminate types of potluck-type casserole based foods. The beef, tomato sauce and macaroni mixture left a thin red film on the plate as he scooped up the last bits with a plastic fork. Maybe it was the alcohol and the exhaustion from the day, but both Cassie and I stood awkwardly at the entrance, waiting for some undetermined thing to happen. "Be sure to sign in," bald greasy plate guy finally said to us. I wondered if the macaroni and beef mixture came with cheese on it, absentmindedly signing my name and Cass
The airplane to Orlando rumbles to life and cheats gravity one more time. The man behind me is 42 years old and he is telling the woman seated next to him that he has never left the ground before today.
Last Night, I went to see " Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon. " I went to a free screening, which attracts so many deadbeats like myself that the crowds are almost Calcutta like. I didn't know there were that many dead end service jobs in New Orleans. The screening was at Canal Place, one of my favorite movie venues in the city. Canal Place has an excellent sound system, comfortable seats and good views of the screen almost anywhere you sit. And although the screen isn't the largest, especially when you compare it to the mega theatres in the suburbs, the overall effect is consistently as close to a classic movie experience as possible in today's corporate dominated theatre industry. There are other theatres in New Orleans that excel past Canal Place in one respect or another, but the overall experience at Canal Place is my favorite. I also love the urban setting and the slightly aging hipster population the theatre employs.