New Years Eve

It was rather warm outside today for a new years eve. I didn’t do much during the day, but I did go out for the evening. I got a ride to the quarter with mom and dad around six this evening. They were going out themselves and I was meeting a couple friends there. I didn’t see them for quite a while so I had a few hours to kill by myself. For the most part I just walked up and down Decatur, although I did stop by Snug Harbor and the Spotted Cat a couple times. I stopped at Angeli’s for dinner at about seven. As I walked in, Elisabeth Le spotted me. We went to Karr together. I wasn’t especially hungry so I just got a ham sandwich, which was pretty good, and large. I finally heard from Christy at nine thirty. I was sitting in Snug Harbor at the time, listening to Astral Project’s performance. I agreed to meet her and her friends at Dervish on Decatur, a short walk. When I arrived I was greeted by Christy. I can’t quite remember the last time I saw her. She introduced several people. The only one I recognized was Cathernie, who I went to Karr with. The only other name I remember is a friend of her’s named Neal. We soon parted company with the other people she introduced to me. I don’t really feel like detailing every place we went this evening. Suffice it to say we walked around a bit and then ended up at a particular club for a while. We walked to Jackson Square just before midnight. It was quite foggy outside as it was last New Years Eve so we couldn’t see the ball drop atop the Jax Brewery. We went back to the same club after midnight for a little while before going home around one. I got a ride with my parents, who were also headed home at the same time. I walked to N. Rampart and St. Ann to meet them where the car was parked. 2005 in Summary I’d have to say this was probably one of the most eventful years of my life, although not exactly the best. It certainly started nicely. I had a very enjoyable, but short-lived relationship with a nice girl. Of course it ended, which was a source of general displeasure for a few months. While I have yet to find a replacement in that regard, I managed to regain control of my own happiness. Hurricane Katrina overshadowed any other events, personal or otherwise this year. Our family was pretty lucky however, having our home and belongings intact. Dad’s business didn’t fare well at all however. Two of three offices were lost, along with most all of his business. That’s already coming back, however, and I expect it will flourish once again if my father keeps a positive attitude. I was expecting being away from home for the first time and attending Louisiana tech for a semester to be a… big deal. Luckily the whole thing was a very comfortable experience. Nice people, nice campus, nice dorm room. I got especially lucky with the dorm. With our home intact, the real tragedy of Katrina from my perspective was the loss of progress being made by the city and my dad’s business. While slow, the city of New Orleans was making real progress. The economy was improving with a positive outlook for the future. Some parts of the city, downtown in particular, were being cleaned up and redeveloped. I thought having streetcars back on Canal Street would eventually be considered a watershed event for the downtown area. It appeared that the movie-making business could actually become viable in the area. Even though that all got washed away on August 28, I remian optimistic about the future of New Orleans. While I don’t expect any miracles in the next 365 days, progress is inevitable. Rome wasn’t built in a day.

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Week of December 26 – Ice Skating

Another week and just one post to show for it. I only worked two or three days this week. The rest was basically wasted. I found out with certainly that my CPU is defective. I’m just going to get my computer upgraded as soon as I have the money rather than buy a new chip I won’t be using very long. Dad bought the family’s first high definition TV this week, a 30″ Samsung TXR3079. We’ll be getting HD satellite service next week and as yet I haven’t seen a HD signal run through it except at the store. It’s got a remarkably clear picture, and it’s incredibly heavy even though it’s not that big. This afternoon, I went with Andrey to Baton Rouge to go ice skating. I had not seen Andrey since the storm. He hasn’t been back in New Orleans terribly long. I returned one of his DVD’s, which I borrowed over four months ago. We rode out of the city around one, hoping to make the 2:30 public session, but we had so much luck. It’s no secret that Baton Rouge traffic is terrible, especially since the city’s population doubled after the storm. However that didn’t fully occur to either of us, even though we allocated 90 minutes for the trip. The interstate was a parking lot about five miles from downtown. We got off the interstate about five exits ahead of the one we wanted and meandered through what I guess could be called the outskirts of the city until we found our destination, the RiverCenter downtown. We arrived over thirty minutes late and decided to buy tickets for the 5:00 and get some dinner in the mean time. Finding food was a bit of an ordeal in itself as the entire downtown area seems to shut down at two. A bar we stopped in, which doesn’t serve food until five, directed us to a restaurant at the ground level of the Shaw Center. Before we made our way to the Capital City Grill, we had a drink at a Sushi bar on the 6th floor. I had the fried catfish, which was pretty good, and there was plenty of it. I think Andrey had a po-boy. After dinner we arrived for the skating session a little late, as it took us so long to find a place to eat. I brought some skates with me that my dad used to use. I tried them on and cleaned them up before I left the house. It was much more of an ordeal to get them on at the rink, and my feet started to hurt pretty bad when I got on the ice. They were just too small so I got a rental pair, which were ok. Ice skating is not quite like riding a bike. Even though I used to go ice skating pretty frequently, that was almost ten years ago. I was totally lost at first, wobbling all over the place. I found my stride pretty quickly though and I was able to enjoy myself. I’d always enjoyed ice skating. It’s good exercise and it’s fun to move fast with so little effort. Weaving around falling children isn’t so fun. Navigating during public skating sessions is much like driving in New Orleans. Between being a bit late and struggling with my skates for a spell, I was only on the ice for about 45 minutes. The session ended promptly and quickly at 7:30. The drive home was considerably quicker. It was an uneventful ride with one glaring exception. About twenty minutes outside of Baton Rouge, a passenger van crossed over the grassy interstate median from the other direction and pulled right in front of us on to our lane with no sort of acceleration. I’ve seen some crazy shit riding around in New Orleans, but pulling practically stopped vehicle onto an interstate highway with vehicles moving 80 miles an hour is the single most stupid act I’ve ever seen on the road. Luckily, Andrey was quick to react and swerved into (the luckily unoccupied) right lane. I got home before nine. I don’t remember what happened between then and when I went to bed.

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Christmas Day

In spite of the events surrounding Hurricane Katrina, this Christmas was just like the other’s our family has had in New Orleans, something we can be grateful for. Christmas fell on Sunday this year so we went to church at ten this morning. I think it’s been almost a decade since the last time the holiday fell on this day. I think I remember going to church on Christmas once back when we lived in Colorado. There was a pretty good crowd at church this morning, especially after all the late arrivals showed up. An un-shingled roof was in place over the part of the building that was damaged. Last week there were just frail looking rafters. A while after we got home from church we opened the presents under the tree. We certainly didn’t get up early enough to do it before church. Among other things, I got the Ken Burns Jazz box set. Sometime between one and two, we had a late lunch. Mom and Dad cooked a ham and sweet potato casserole, a personal favorite, along with several other expected side dishes. It was all very good, especially since I didn’t have to cook. A little later in the afternoon, we drove to Metairie to Aunt Dionne’s house to see my Dad’s family. There weren’t quite as many people there as I’ve seen in the past but there were plenty of people with just familiar faces there. Just like years past, we were there for quite some time and had some of the food, of which there’s always an abundance. I got some clothes from Dad’s family. We left sometime around nine. Later in the evening I dissected an audio tape that Aunt Dionne asked me to make a CD from. The take was severed inside so I had to fix that and put it in another casing. I made a raw recording from the fixed tape but I haven’t run the recording through any noise reduction software yet. Late this evening I watched Cinderella Man, the DVD of which I received from my parents today.

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Christmas Eve

This post, like the others of December cover over a week’s time because I continue to lack the motivation to write on a daily basis. Overall, things have been rather boring. I worked a couple days out of the week. ‘Highlights’ this week include the slow death of my desktop PC. Since I returned to New Orleans, it hasn’t been acting the same, even though it simply sat on a shelf for three months. At first it was crashing occasionally when I play Elite Force. It later would crash within minutes of running the program. Since I keep my computers pretty clean, I haven’t tried formatting and reinstalling Windows yet. I thought my video card or RAM had somehow been damaged after sitting in a hot, muggy and un-air-conditioned house for months. I changed out both of these components and it didn’t fix anything. I reseated the CPU and cooler to no effect. I’m confidant my heat sink and fan are adequate. I now suspect something may be wrong with the CPU but it’s hard to imagine such a component working most of the time, seems like an all-or-nothing deal. Lately the computer has been misbehaving in the general Windows environment. The computer ‘stutters’ occasionally, freezing for a second or two. The computer has restarted on it’s own a few times. CPU intensive operations like ripping CDs and DVDs will cause the computer to freeze entirely. I had already planned on upgrading my PC, but I was hoping to be able to wait for AMD socket AM2, due early next year. This round of upgrades will be far more costly since I’ll probably have to buy some things retail this time around and new technologies like PCI Express and SATA will prevent me from buying components individually. I’ve been at home most of this week with few exceptions. I do remember going to Wal-Mart on the 23rd with Dad and Jeff. I’ve never seen it so crowded. The large parking lot was nearly full. I saw a couple familiar faces while I was there, Mrs. Serette and Ashley Acker from Karr. Later that day I talked to Bianca on the phone, who said she was at the store at the same time as me. Today, Christmas Eve, I was home all day. We had barbeque shrimp for dinner, one of my favorite dishes. I stayed up rather late watching Boston Legal episodes from the first season or maybe that was another day this week.

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Too Quiet Friday

I don’t even remember Thursday anymore, although I recall being up rather late talking to Mylena online. Mom and Dad left for Atlanta early Friday morning, so I had the house to myself. I didn’t do much that could characterized as productive. I spent most of the day in front of my computer or watching TV. I hooked up a computer to the TV in the living room and rewatched a number of season one Battlestar Galactica episodes. I talked to Ami on the phone for a little while before bed.

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Monday Through Wednesday

I skipped posting a couple days again as very little has been happening in my little universe. I’ve been home the whole time, either working or wasting my time in some fashion, usually the latter. I watched Boston Legal on Tuesday night. I’ve watched a couple episodes of this show, mainly because William Shatner is in it, as well as another Trek alum, Rene Auberjonois. I intend to watch the show on a regular basis in the future. The show is absolutely hilarious. I had a headache after watching this weeks episode after laughing so hard.

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Church was pretty crowded this morning, especially compared to the turnout I saw when I was there a couple weeks ago. Later in the afternoon, I went with Mom and Dad to drive around and visit some family. We drove around town, saw Aunt Lauren’s house and went to Lakeshore and by the 17th street canal breach. It quickly became obvious that television does no justice to the harder hit areas of the city. It’s something you just have to see first hand. I’m told that St. Bernard parish, which I haven’t seen yet, is even worse. Before we made it to Aunt Dionne’s house, we stopped at Dorignac's for some groceries and went to have a look at what will be Dad’s new office in Metairie. The building is currently being renovated/repaired and is supposed to be ready within a couple weeks. Like the last time we came to visit Dad’s mother and sister, they were both at Aunt Doris’s house. We walked over there and visited for a good while. I sampled the spaghetti that Aunt Doris cooked earlier. Later, we walked back to Dionne’s house and visited with her, Larry and Brandon for a short while before we went home. Dad cooked some steaks for dinner. Later in the evening I watched The Boondocks before bed.

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Ellis Marsalis Trio

I neglected the log again this week as haven’t had the motivation or apparent necessity to post. I’ve been spending a disturbing majority of my time at home, not really doing anything of circumstance. I did work a little bit this week, but only about half as much as last week. I did manage to get out of the house on Tuesday. Dad and I went out to Lakeside mall around six this evening. The mall was pretty crowded, especially for a Wednesday. We decided to get something to eat first at the food court. While waiting in line I ran into a girl I went to high school with that happens to be a neighbor. By the time we finished eating around seven the mall was about to close. Obviously we weren’t aware of the closing time before hand. Our trip out to Metairie seemed like a waste of time but we went to a nearby Borders bookstore and browsed around there for a good while. I ended up walking out with three DVDs: Buena Vista Social Club, Star Trek: First Contact and Star Trek VI: The Undiscovered Country. They were all priced surprisingly reasonably for a bookstore. I watched all of these by Thursday. On Friday, a flip clock I won on eBay arrived, a Panasonic RC-6551. It tempered my disappointment of breaking the Sony flip clock I broke the day before while I was trying to repair it. This evening, Dad and I went to see Ellis Marsalis at Snug Harbor at 11. We arrived about 15 minutes before the show started. Mr. Marsalis was playing with a bass player and a drummer I was unfamiliar with. There were about 20 people in attendance for the late set, considerably fewer than I’ve seen in the past. The balcony was closed. They started out with a couple Christmas tunes including Silent Night and a selection from a Charlie Brown Christmas. The rest of the music was a lot of showish Jazz stuff. The music was good, but much more down tempo than I’m used to hearing at his performances. I would have preferred to hear that sort of music at an earlier hour of the evening. After the show, Dad and I had a drink at the bar before heading home. I went straight to bed after getting back as I was rather tired.

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I didn’t do any work today. I didn’t really do anything really. I used the computer on-and-off for a while this afternoon, played Elite Force at length for the first time in a few months. Today I won “the” flip clock to have on eBay, a Panasonic RC-6551. I’ve seen these things go for over $150, but I got one for ten.

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I got to work shortly after getting up this morning, generating bills and report templates. I worked intermittently until after five. A monitor I won on eBay came via UPS this afternoon. I ordered another Mitsubishi SB70 to match the one I already have and replace my aging Trinitron. Later this evening I watched Taxi and the Late Show with Dave Letterman, who had Oprah as his guest, which was a pretty big deal.

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Back to Work

I’ve been neglecting the log this week as I’ve either been busy or just wasting my time in some fashion. Dad put me back to work on Monday. We’re discharging every patient that we had before Katrina, somewhere in the neighborhood of 150 I think. Each one of those needs a bill and report. That being the case, I worked at home to generate reports, which I can do, just not very quickly, as well as make up discharge report templates for each patient using their prelims. I did these throughout the day on Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday. A flip clock I won on eBay came in the mail on Monday, a Sony Digimatic TFM-C650W. I’m quite pleased with this purchase. It’s in great shape and the radio sounds incredible in comparison to clock radios today. It was rather dirty however. I was up rather late on Monday night thoroughly cleaning it, inside and out. On Tuesday, I took down my ceiling fan to fix a problem that’s been bugging me for well over a year. It was a simple wiring problem as I suspected and was easily fixed. Holding the fan back up in place and screwing it in with just two hands was difficult, however.

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Home, Again

Mom, Dad and I drove back to New Orleans today. I had to get up early this morning as we were to leave before ten. The car was packed pretty tight with a lot of stuff mom had with her during the three months she was living with Larry, Anne, Chelsea and Grandma Laughlin. Goodbyes were rather emotional due to the difficult and unfortunate circumstances of the last few months. The drive home wasn’t out of the ordinary. Nine hours, five stops, two cokes and two bags of beef jerky. We stopped for lunch at the Cracker Barrel outside of Montgomery, Alabama. I had never been to one of these places before. The gift shop was cute and the food was good. I had fried catfish with fries, macaroni & cheese and cole slaw. As we approached the city, we had to merge into one of the two twin spans. Both were severely damaged by Katrina and only one of the two has been fixed. Driving through New Orleans East, it was hard to see anything as it was completely dark, both because it was night and there is still no electricity in the area not that it would matter as many of the homes were destroyed. The only light came from the windows of FEMA trailers. As we got closer to downtown, you could see more lights businesses that had reopened, street lights, and then homes. We had to stop at the train station downtown to retrieve my car, which we had to leave when we took the train to Atlanta. We got home around 7:15 and unloaded the car in the sporadic rain. It started pouring pretty heavily soon after. The power went out at ten minutes to eight. It stayed out for over an hour. I wanted to get things organized and cleaned up in my room but I couldn’t see. The power came back on just after nine. It went out again half an hour later and was out for about 20 minutes. When it came back on again, I used my computer for a while before going to bed.

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I got up at nine this morning. Mom, Dad and grandma had already left Uncle Larry’s house to take grandma to get a tuberculosis test, largely a formality for admittance of an assisted living facility. I didn’t do much of anything this morning. At about two, I went with Uncle Larry and Aunt Anne to the movies. We saw Jarhead, a movie billed as being about operation Desert Storm. The film is very reminiscent of Full Metal Jacket, in that it was divided into the ‘training’ and ‘combat’ halves. They even used some of the lines from the movie. Unlike the Kubrick film, however, Jarhead didn’t seem to so much be about anything in particular. That may be because no combat was depicted. Rather, the second half of the film was more-or-less about Desert Shield. In any case, the film was disappointing. After the movie we headed back to Uncle Larry’s house, making a few stops along the way. First we stopped at Best Buy at my request. I wanted to pick up a Saitek Eclipse keyboard. What’s special about this keyboard is the keys and lettering light up. On top of that it’s just a very well put together keyboard, nearly silent. After that we stopped for something to eat at a Mexican restaurant. I don’t remember the name but it wasn’t a familiar name. I had some sort of fajita dish which was pretty decent. After dinner we stopped at PetsMart for cat food, and then went home. We watched some TV this evening and went to bed not long after that.

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Thanksgiving – Thrashers vs. Rangers

I woke up around nine or ten this morning. Aunt Anne cooked some sort of eggs and sausage casserole for breakfast, which was pretty good. I didn’t do much this morning outside of getting clean and dressed. I was still rather tired as I didn’t sleep too well last night. We had Thanksgiving dinner around four this afternoon. Anne and Larry cooked ham, Cornish hen, spinach casserole along with several other side dishes and desserts. It was all very good, especially since I wasn’t involved in the cooking part. A little while after dinner, I went outside with Andrew and Larry. Gas-powered R.C. cars are a little hobby of Larry’s and Andrew seems to have learned a few things during his stay here in Lawenceville. Larry has a little track in the back yard and I watched them drive the cars around for a little while and eventually got a try myself. I didn’t do so well. At 5:30, Dad, Andrew and I drove downtown to Philips Arena to see the Atlanta Thrashers play the New York Rangers. We found parking pretty close to the Arena. Andrew and I loitered for a little while as Dad haggled with the scalpers. He eventually got some pretty good club level seats. With tickets in hand, we made our way inside. There were a lot of people around but it didn’t take long to get inside and find our seats. The Arena has a smallish look too it but is still has plenty of seats. The grade on the upper deck looks rather steep. One side of the arena has no upper deck, but a wall of suites. I don’t think I’ve ever seen to many in an NHL arena before. Then again, it’s been a while since I’ve been in one. I haven’t seen an NHL hockey game in at least eight years. When I lived in Colorado, I saw several Colorado Avalanche games, but I have not had a similar opportunity in New Orleans. I did see a minor league game when the Brass was in town. The pre-game spectacle was interesting, much like what I remember in Colorado. The dark Arena, colorful spotlights, the melodramatic announcer and the fire-breathing mascots hanging from the ceiling. The Thrashers looked pretty good during the first period, keeping the pressure on the Rangers’ defense. Atlanta scored first with a power play goal about six minutes into the match. New York answered a few minutes later with a goal form behind the net. Things looked good going in to the second period, but New York took the lead with a goal 59 seconds into the second period. They scored again about a minute later with a score between the goalies legs, bringing the count to 3-1 Rangers. The Thrashers shortened the gap about 45 seconds later and then tied the game with four minutes left in the period. However, New York answered again and the period ended 4-3 New York. Although Atlanta didn’t look too great in the third period, they played alright. They were able to kill three back-to-back penalties. However, the Rangers increased their lead with a goal mid-way through the third period and again in the last minute of play with an empty net goal. Even though the ‘home team’ lost, it was still a very enjoyable game. Hockey is easily the best spectator sport in my opinion. Television does no justice to the speed and action of hockey. The drive home was about a half hour. I watched some TV this evening and then went to bed.

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