May 2006

Four Day Weekend

Between just not working on Fridays and Memorial Day, I essentially had a four day weekend. I didn’t do much with it though. I played SimCity 3000 a lot over the weekend. I installed it on my laptop while I was thinking about putting some games on it. This is one of the few that will play on it as my old Vaio is a far cry from 3D capable. It’s a fun game I’ve enjoyed on and off in the past. I spent a good deal of time working on a new city that’s coming along quite nicely. I rebuilt a battery for my laptop this weekend. I bought new lithium ion cells and replaced the original ones, which weren't holding a charge anymore. The ones I purchased from Tenergy came with metal tabs already spot-welded on so I was able to get away without having to solder anything. I cut up the think plastic wrapper that the new batteries were packed in to press the tabs into the ones on safety circuit board… probably not the most wise solution but it works great. I did a casual test on the new pack. I ran the laptop at full brightness, radio on, while continuously playing 750kbps Divx. It went for 2.5 hours, which is alot more than I can say for the 'new' OEM battery I acquired recently. The cost of the project was just $33 for the batteries, a hell of alot cheaper than buying a new battery. On Sunday, Dad and I went out to Snug Harbor to see Astral Project. We saw the 10 o’clock show. It was a good show, although I was quite disappointed drummer Johnny Vicodovich was absent. After the show we went to d.b.a. for a while before making it home around one.

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At the West Bank

I worked at the west bank office this afternoon from about 11 to six. For the better part of the day I was wondering why I was working today, although I did have some dictation to work on later in the afternoon not enough to justify my presence though. Dad and I left the office at about 6:30 after his late patient was through. A RAM upgrade for my laptop arrived today, but I don’t think it’ll make much difference. Later this evening, I watched some 24 season three episodes and did some ‘research’ on the GP2X, a cool toy I don’t have yet.

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The Office and the Square

On the way to work this afternoon, we stopped at McDonalds for something to eat. We were at the office between one and 4:45 this afternoon. I had a few odd jobs to do during the day but generally speaking I wasn’t really busy. After work, Dad and I went to Lafayette Square where “Wednesday at the Square” was going on. The Storyville Stompers Brass Band was playing. We both got a drink and remained there for a while. We left at about 6:15 as he had to take care of dinner and be home in time for the Lot finale. We stopped at the grocery store on the way home for a few things. Although I don’t really watch Lost, I did see the finale and I watched a couple of 24 episodes from season three before bed.

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Just Dinner

Dad dropped me off at the west bank office this morning. I worked from about 11 to four this afternoon. Doc finally got (almost) caught up on the back log there. He dropped me off at the Algiers ferry landing as I’d agreed to meet Bianca there this afternoon so we could go have dinner. She arrived there sometime before five. A boat departed not long after she arrived. We spoke briefly with a guy who owned a tug boat that he pointed out to us which was in the dry dock adjacent to the ferry landing. He’s a local but he mostly talked about the many different places his work takes him to. Bianca and I first went to the gem and lapidary shop in the quarter that we’ve been to several times before. We both browsed the store for a good while. I have yet to buy anything from the place as I’m not a jewelry nor a knick-knack person. Bianca bought something though. After we left there we walked to Canal Street and went to the Palace Caf for dinner. I went there once for my 21st birthday and was impressed. I wasn’t entirely sure we could get in with casual attire but it didn’t appear to be a problem. I ordered the andouille crusted fish and Bianca got a rib-eye steak. Both were excellent. My dish didn’t look like much food at first glance but it the portion was perfectly sized. After dinner, Bianca wanted to visit some shops in the quarter. We walked down Royal Street but almost everything was closed as we walked around after six. We walked all the way across the quarter to Frenchman Street. I was curious if anything was going on there this early. There wasn’t. We stopped in d.b.a. for a drink. We weren’t there too long. Bianca was tired and wanted to be back at a decent hour. After we left the bar we started walking down Decatur until we found a cab and then went home.

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Thank You for Smoking

I went to work with dad for one this afternoon. I spend the work day just transcribing reports that were waiting for me over the weekend. Dad and I left the office at about six this evening. Dad dropped me off on Poydras Street. I asked Bianca to meet me in front of Mother’s restaurant. I found her walking past the court house. The crowd at the restaurant was very manageable this evening. It was nothing like what I’ve seen of their lunch crowds. I ordered the crawfish etouffee and Bianca got the red beans. The wait seemed a little long in relation to the number of customers in the place but it was no problem because the food was great. This was only my second time patronizing Mother’s but I’m reasonably confidant they don’t have a single bad dish. Bianca and I finished dinner shortly after seven. We walked to Canal Place where we went to see a movie tonight, Thank You for Smoking. The movie is a satire centered around a lobbyist for the tobacco industry and his son. Like the trailer, the movie was hilarious and I enjoyed it, as did Bianca, who’s ‘complained’ about me taking her to see depressing movies in the past. After the movie, Bianca and I walked around in the quarter a bit looking for some dessert. Although there’s really only one choice in my mind, Bianca felt like something cold. We stopped in a couple T-shirt shops as we were walking and we saw that guy who plays music on glassware in the quarter. This wasn’t the first time we’d seen him, although I did tip the guy this time. The Haggan-Daaz just behind the Cabildo was open so we got something from there. After we left there we walked around a bit and then caught a cab home. Late this evening, I watched the 24 season finale. The produces apparently have this thing against happy endings, although successful outcomes are fine.

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Four More Years

I was hope almost all day today. I did leave the house for a little while this afternoon to go vote. The runoff election for the mayor’s race and some city council and assessor seats was today. The mayor’s race between incumbent C. Ray Nagin and Lt. Governor Mitch Landrieu has been big news both locally and around the country. That being the case, I don’t need to detail it yet again. I spent the evening watching the election returns come in and browsing eBay. The mayor’s race, like the other elections, was very close. As more precincts came in, the lead changed hands a few times. When it was over, Ray Nagin won, as I’d predicted, but only by about 5,000 votes. I found his victory speech to be rather amusing. The only problem with it was he said it wouldn’t be a typical Ray Nagin speech, which was far from the truth. Sunday: Aside from church, I was home all day on Sunday. I spoke to Bianca this evening. She told me she was in town and we arranged to have dinner together tomorrow.

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Friday at Home

I thought I might be working today at least for a little while but we never did. I was home all day, covering the phones for a little while. I spent a good part of the afternoon getting everything reinstalled and working on my laptop. I watched some episodes of 24 from season three this evening. I talked to Khadijah for a while and updated the log.

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The log is skipping the first three days of the week. I worked 12:30 to six on Monday, 10:00 to five on Tuesday and 11 to five on Wednesday. I did a boatload of dictation for doc this week which rang up a large bill. Today is my twenty-second birthday. Big deal. Dad and I left the house and a shockingly early hour this morning, nine o’clock. There were some new patient’s early today to show up at ten. To start the day I finished up all the dictation I did for Doc and printed it all out. Dad ordered lunch for Me, Doc and himself from Milano’s Pizza, a nearby place we’ve been patronizing recently. I got the shrimp alfredo. In all, you get a huge amount of food including a salad as well as some garlic bread. Shamefully I actually ate all of it. Later in the day I did a number of miscellaneous tasks that kept me busy through the afternoon. Dad and I left the Metairie office around five to go to the west bank to see Dad’s one late patient out there. We finally left there at seven. The new hard drive I ordered for my Vaio SRX77 notebook came in the mail today. I installed it when I got home and started running my recovery CDs to get Windows on it. I had a bit of trouble getting the CDs to boot from the external drive. Sometime around nine, Dad and I went out to go to Snug Harbor to see Lawrence Sieberth & Tony Dagradi Quintet. I wasn’t the least bit familiar with Lawrence Sieberth but I do know Tony Dagradi of Astral Project is one of the best saxophone players around so I figured it couldn’t be a bad show. It was a decent show with a contemporary jazz band. I could have done without the funky piano though. Dad spoke with Mr. Dagradi and Steve Masakowski briefly after the set. Dad and I went to d.b.a. for a couple drinks after that. I think we got home around midnight.

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Tulane's Last Regular Season Home Game

I was home all day on Saturday I think. Having been up so late the night before, I didn’t feel up to going to the game. I’m told I missed a great game, I did hear it on the radio though. They won 10-9, another nail biter. Today however, I did go to the game. Dad and I left the house earlier than we usually do for a game because the game had a noon start. Southern Miss opened big with two home runs and two other hits to score five runs. Tulane managed to cut into the lead somewhat in the bottom half with two runs of their own. In the bottom of the third they closed the gap by another two runs when Nathan Southard hit a two run homer. USM scored one run on three hits in the top of the fourth. Tulane scored another two runs to tie the game, 6 to 6. The same thing basically happened in the fifth too. Tulane took the lead, 8-7. In the sixth inning, Southern Mississippi took the lead briefly when they scored two runs. Tulane scored on in the bottom half to tie the game. There was no scoring in the seventh. In the bottom of the eighth, Tulane got three hits and one run. It was enough to talk the lead, although they could have done better having loaded the bases. USM hit a double on the first pitch of the ninth inning, but they didn’t score and Tulane won yet another nail biter 10 to 9. After the game, we ran into this guy and his family that we met at last year’s regional baseball tournament. I still can’t remember the guy’s name. As we were talking, I saw Mr. Bryant and his wife. Alton Bryant was my world history teacher in high school, probably my all-time favorite instructor. I walked over to talk to them. I had not seen him in a few years, although I did see him a couple time after I graduated. We spoke for a few minutes, mostly about what we’ve been up to for the last couple years. He told me his house took damage and he would have moved had he not have already been retired and not be in need of work. He also told me he’s been coming to the weekend games with some frequency, which was surprising since I’ve never seen him there before of course I haven’t been looking for him. I don’t really remember what happened the rest of the day. I think Dad may have grilled steaks for dinner this evening.

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Uncle Joe’s Birthday Party… Among Other Things

Dad and I would have gone to work today, but there was a baseball game at noon. What’cha gonna do? Tulane played Southern Mississippi this weekend in the last home series of the regular season. They’re a very competent team that hits the ball very well. Southern Miss. opened big in the first with a home run. Tulane answered with a run of their own in the bottom half of the first inning. The score remained tied until the fourth inning when Tulane got one run in. Although there was drama to spare through to the end of the game, there was no more scoring after the fourth inning, for a final of 2-1. Pitching on both teams was very good. Sean Morgan put in another great show, allowing only four hits in 8 innings. The game was rather short, about two and a half hours. We went home afterward. Later in the afternoon, the whole family including myself went over to Aunt Doris and Uncle Joe’s house for his 82nd birthday party. All of the usual suspects were there as well as some friends of Dad’s family I don’t know. Like most get-togethers with my Dad’s family, there’s lots of food and conversation. Beyond that I don’t really feel like detailing anything. While I was there I got a call or two from Khadijah who was with Toni on their way to New Orleans. Kali was only going to be in town overnight before flying back to Florida. She suggested we get together later in the evening. We left the party around ten I think. I was home for a little while before I heard from Khadijah again. She and Toni picked me up around midnight. It’s been months since I’ve seen Khadijah and I can’t even remember the last time I saw Toni. They didn’t really have any plans on what to do in mind. He headed over the river and it occurred to me on the way that Frenchman Street might be a nice place to go at such a late hour. We got a parking spot near the intersection of Esplanade and Frenchman. Kali needed a bathroom not long after we were out the car. I suggested Snug Harbor, as I know the rest rooms there are easy to get to. I didn’t think we’d stay long as it was nearly one in the morning and I didn’t think there’d be any music there but a band was playing to my surprise, UNO’s Louis Armstrong Jazz Quintet and the performance hall was open to anyone. They were a pretty decent band. When we first got there they were accompanied by a female singer performing “What It Means to Miss New Orleans.” I got Khadijah and myself a drink and we took a table upstairs and listened to the rest of the set, which finished at about 1:30. After that, we decided to go hang out some place quiet where we could talk for a little while. We went to the Sheraton but the front door was locked at the late hour. I didn’t think to go to the side entrance so we just walked across the street and sat in the Marriot lobby for a while and talked. We remained there until 2:30 or about three. Toni was rather tired by then. I was surprised she wanted to leave the house this evening after driving five hours from Natchitoches. I finally got home sometime close to four. I went to bed not long after getting home.

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Work Week

I worked on Monday, Wednesday and Thursday this week. I didn’t have many reports. Most of my time was spend updating billing and such. I did that at the west bank one day this week. I finished watched season two of 24 this week. There were a lot of obvious similarities to the current season, but it was still quite enjoyable. I got a new hard drive for my desktop computer this week, a 400 GB SATA drive that I used to replace a couple other drives I was using to store music and videos. I tried to mirror my main drive to the 200 GB drive I had but it didn’t quite work. I went ahead and did a fresh Windows install on the 200 GB drive. It’s noticeably faster than the 80 GB drive I was using as my OS drive.

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Jazz Fest 2006 Comes to a Close

Dad and I attended the sixth and final day of the New Orleans Jazz and Heritage Festival today. I think dad and I arrived at the fairgrounds sometime around noon. I immediately went off to get something to eat and bring it back. The lines are best before noon because they are practically nonexistent. I got this lamb sausage sandwich and a lamb rice of some sort, as well as some white chocolate bread pudding which Dad has been recommending for a couple days. We set up our chairs in Economy Hall where Lars Edegran and the New Orleans Ragtime Orchestra was playing. The bread pudding was great although I didn’t much care for the sandwich I got. It wasn’t too bad After their performance finished and I finished eating, we walked over to see Geno Delafose & French Rockin’ Boogie. I stayed for a few minutes and left Dad to walk back to Economy Hall where the Treme Brass Band was getting started. They’re a local, traditional jazz brass band, the sort you see at jazz funerals. They put on a very lively and enjoyable show before a large crowd. The crowd grew rather large as a result of some heavy rain that lasted about 15 minutes starting at two o’clock. There were lots of people that got under cover before it started, noting the darkening clouds and many more when it actually started raining. Dad had returned to the tent shortly before the rain started. At the end of the show, the band did a second line themselves through the audience. After the rain stopped shortly after the Treme Brass Band was finished, Dad and I walked to the blues stage to see Rockin’ Dopsie Jr. & the Zydeco Twisters. They got a rather late start. Dad tells me this guys father was a zydeco musician himself and his son is supposed to be carrying on the tradition. That’s not happening. He’s certainly very energetic and entertaining, I liked the show. However, his music, whatever it is, sure as hell ain’t zydeco. I’m not really sure what it is. I just hope there weren’t any tourists in the audience who walked away thinking they just heard zydeco music. There’s a little more to it than wearing a washboard. We left the blues stage and headed to Economy Hall where Pete Fountain was playing at 4:10. I stopped in the grandstands on the way. I bumped into Kalisha Fields there, a former classmate from Karr. We spoke for a minute and I made my way to Economy Hall to try and get a spot. I left my chair and walked over to the jazz tent to catch a few minutes of Ellis Marsalis. I was hoping to see all of his set at Jazz Fest this year but I felt obliged to see Pete Fountain this year as there probably won’t be a next time due to his ailing health. I certainly didn’t regret seeing the renowned clarinet player though. Along with a capable band of musicians including Tim Laughlin, Pete put on a great, completely upbeat show. A lot of people came to see him. I’ve never seen so many people standing outside of the tent before. Near the end of his set the audience formed the largest second-line I ever remember seeing in Economy Hall. After Pete Fountain’s set, I started heading for the Acura stage where Fats Domino was to close the show. Dad headed to the blues stage I think because he wanted to see Lionel Richie. I stopped for something to eat on the way. I didn’t feel like waiting in a long line so I just got some crawfish monica. That was a very popular item this year, and there were six lines serving it exclusively so there wasn’t much waiting required. I walked along the track to a spot on the fringe where I’ve been sitting for all performances I’ve seen on the big stage. I talked to a lady as I was walking down the track that started the conversation with “Wanna race?” apparently noticing my hands were full. Shortly after I got situated I noticed the poster indicating the musician appearing read “Lionel Richie.” Fats Domino appeared on stage briefly to thank the audience and apologize for not being able to perform this evening. Apparently he wasn’t feeling well today. I called Dad who was planning on seeing him. He just learned of the change himself and eventually joined me at the Acura Stage. I’m no Lionel Richie fan, but I’m very familiar with his music as all the hits he has had makes his work rather ubiquitous. As such I didn’t have any expectations. I was pretty blown away by his performance. The man is great live. He looks and sounds fantastic appears exceptionally comfortable on stage. I would imagine every song he performed was a top 20 hit at some point. I recognized most of the songs. Among other things, he sand a lot of his Commodores stuff. It was quite apparent that the crowd thoroughly enjoyed the show, even I did. He performed until just after 7:30, about a half hour later than he was scheduled to. He closed with “Brick House” and finally, “All Night Long.” Dad and I walked to Liuzza’s for a drink or two afterwards. We remained there for a while and listened to the band that was playing there. I think we finally got home around ten. In Summary: I know it isn’t really conveyed by the clinical nature of this log, but I think I need to have it expressly stated here how much fun Jazz Fest was this year. It’s been a while since I enjoyed myself as much as the last two weekends. It was a real treat to be able to attend the fest every day this year. The crowds were wonderful and sizable. The weather was fantastic overall. It was largely overcast everyday. The wind the first Saturday was annoying and there was a brief downpour today, but otherwise it was ideal. I took 867 pictures at Jazz Fest over the two weekends. Almost all of them suck but I’ll be combing through them this week. I hope to find a gem or two. I was acutely aware that the festival needed to do well this year in particular, due to the dark cloud of sorts that’s been hanging over the city since the hurricane. I have no doubt the festival will be considered a rousing success. One need only look at the crowds to see how much money was changing hands. This was also a signal to the rest of the world that New Orleans is on the way back.

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Astral Project and Jimmy Buffet at Jazz Fest

Mom, Dad and I went out to Jazz Fest this afternoon. I think we got our usual parking spot today. The weather was nice again, largely overcast with the sun coming out now and again. We walked in sometime around 11:30. We stopped at the Jazz tent near the Sauvage Street entrance where the Mandeville High School Jazz Ensemble was playing. For a group of kids, they sounded remarkable. They were intermittently accompanied by guest soloists Jeremy Davenport, Tony Degradi of Astral Project and Ellis Marsalis. This certainly bolstered the appeal of watching the high school group, which had a rather large audience. They were also the first act to start, beginning at 11:15. I left Mom and Dad after they finished at noon. I went to the first food area to get something to eat. I got a crawfish puff and some crawfish rice and took it to Economy Hall to eat, where June Gardner was playing. After I finished eating or after the set, I’m not sure which, I wandered around for a little while. I stopped at the gospel tent and watched the Zulu Gospel Male Ensemble for a few minutes and then went over to the Native American Village. I got some fry bread, like a beignet but quite not as good and watched Amanda Shaw at the Fais Do-Do stage for a short while. After stopping at a water fountain to get the honey off my fingers, I walked to Congo Square to see the Dirty Dozen Brass Band. I thought I may have seen them before and ‘brass band’ was in the name, which largely influenced my decision to go see them. The group was entertaining. They do a nice job of working the crowd and getting them involved. I remember leaving Congo Square before they were finished but I don’t remember where I was until I made my way to the jazz tent to see Astral Project at 4:10. I got there early, as the preceding act was finished up, but I was still unable to get a good seat. I did find one though, which was more than a lot of other people were able to say. I saw way in the back, but at center stage. Mom and Dad were there as well but they say somewhere else. Just like every other time I’ve seen Astral Project, they put on a fantastic set. This was the only time I’ve seen them when they didn’t play Big Shot. Before they started, the stage manager said that they have performed at every Jazz Fest since 1978. Although the jazz tent is an acoustic nightmare, they still sounded excellent. I complemented the sound man after the performance. After stopping in the grandstands, I met Mom and Dad at the Acura Stage where they had their chairs set up for Jimmy Buffet. I’m not sure but I think he started on time at 5:25. I’m not a Buffet fan and he isn’t exactly one of the better musicians around but there’s no denying that he’s a gifted entertainer. Everyone, including myself, knew the words to his songs and thoroughly enjoyed the show. I don’t think I’ve ever seen a crowd at Jazz Fest so lively. After Buffet’s set, Fest Producer Quint Davis came on stage and talked about the weather. He said a large thunderstorm had been heading towards New Orleans from Baton Rouge but looking at the RADAR you could clearly see that it split in half and spared the fairgrounds and most of the city of a heavy rainfall. He left it up to the audience to decide the cause. Later that evening, I saw that the new hard drive I ordered for my desktop PC arrived. Due to a blue screen crash problem caused by nVidia IDE drivers, I didn’t get far in getting things setup before going to bed later than I should have.

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Second Weekend of Jazz Fest

Dad and I went out to Jazz Fest today. Although there weren’t any blockbuster acts playing this Friday, it was certainly better than work. The weather was quite nice again today, although it could have been cooler. It was intermittently sunny early in the afternoon and the crowd enjoyed cloud cover later on. I’m not quite sure when we got to the fairgrounds. I do remember that we got our usual parking spot to and we made it to congo square with time to spare before Otra started their set at 12:40. They’re a local afro-cuban jazz band that Dad and I have seen several times before. I think they only had a couple of the original members today. When Otra finished, Dad went to see Marcia Ball. I went to economy hall where Tony Green & Gypsy Jazz was playing. There was a good-sized crowd watching them. As they were finishing, I went to get some lunch. I got some pecan catfish and a crab cake, which was quite good. I also got a little sausage bread it was decent but not as good as the crawfish. By the time I finished eating, Dad met be back at the tent. Up next was the New Leviathan Oriental Foxtrot Orchestra. They’re a revival orchestra of about 18 members. I’m acquainted with one of the clarinet players, Larry Jones, who I used to work with at the Tulane bookstore. They put on a very entertaining and lively show. It’s nice that there’s a group of musicians dedicated to preserving this form of jazz. After their set, Dad and I wandered over to the Fais Do-Do stage to see Eric Lindell. I don’t remember anything about him or the performance, although I’m sure it was decent. It’s not like there’s any inherently bad music at Jazz Fest. Later on, Dad and I walked to the Acura Stage where Keith Urban was getting started. Apparently the guy is some popular country singer. I didn’t stay because I just don’t like country music. I walked back to economy hall because there’s almost always someone good there. Bob French & the Original Tuxedo Jazz Band were playing. They’re a reasonably traditional jazz band. When I arrived, they were accompanied by a talented vocalist, whose name I can’t remember and have been unable to find. She finished with a moving rendition of “Do You Know What It Means to Miss New Orleans.” They then brought on another guest vocalist, Germaine Bazzle. She’s a talented singer as well, although her most impressive performance was an entirely convincing vocal impression of a muted trumpet. Dad must have eventually met me back at the tent again before we left shortly after seven. We stopped at Liuzza’s for a drink before walking to the car. We went to Zephyr Field after Jazz Fest to catch the tail end of the Tulane baseball game versus Marshall. We walked in at about the fifth inning. Tulane was up two to nothing. I went to the bathroom as soon as we arrived. I heard some loud cheering when I was in there. I missed a triple play by Tulane. I know there were a lot of tense moments while we were on defense but I don’t really remember details. I do know our defense was superb tonight though. We scored one more run in the eighth. The final was 3-0.

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