Tag Archives: New Orleans

Miss me?

I’m still at the convention for my paycheck job. These things mean my time belongs to someone else. There has been a steady stream of networking receptions and things I have to attend.

I had some simple goals as far as returning to NOLA is concerned, and I didn’t get to accomplish them.

One of my bosses likes to ask the hotel staff where the best places to eat are. This is not a good plan, and I had some pretty lousy food as a result. My shrimp po-boy sandwich yesterday day was bland and tasteless. We spent last night at yet another reception, and I played by all the rules. When it ended, I tried to talk some people into taking a cab or an Uber to the ACME Oyster House. They were having none of it.

The night before, one of my bosses wanted to walk to Cafe Du Mond for beignets. He doesn’t drink coffee, but I had a cup of chicory with mine. This is one of the things you do in NOLA. It’s kind of a factory environment though, and there are better beignets around.

One of the attendees from Tennessee wanted to see Lafitte’s, so we walked up there. This put us quite a ways from our hotel. The bar itself is nothing special, but it’s also one of the things you do here.

Another one of my bosses saw us along Bourbon Street and dragged us into a piano bar. It was okay, but I was starting to fade. Standing room only isn’t my thing anymore either.

Tonight was another reception at the Presb├Ętere. This is a museum dedicated to the hurricane. It was really interesting… for about ten minutes. They served drinks, but their idea of bourbon is Jack Daniels. I had one to be polite before leaving.

On trips like this, you usually get one night, or maybe an afternoon to check things out. This was my night. Old What’s Her Face and I came here last year, just for fun. This means I know my way around.

I never got to ACME, but we were impressed by the Royal House, so I stopped in there. They also have chargrilled oysters, so I took my chance.

They really aren’t as good as ACME, but that doesn’t mean they were bad. I had a full order, so they came out on two plates. Apparently, they didn’t invest in plates like the other places. The waitress suggested a dark and stormy hurricane to wash them down with, so I had one of those too.

Once again, I wound up a long damned way from my hotel. I mention this, because I didn’t sleep the first two nights here. I had horrible Charlie horses all night. I expect to have them again tonight, but hey… chargrilled oysters.

Royal street heads back toward my hotel, so that was my route. Old What’s Her Face and I stopped into the Cafe Beignet last year, and their product is better than Cafe Du Monde. I stopped off for dessert and another cup of chicory. It was wonderful.

I love looking in the shops in this part of town. I spotted an antique writing desk that was beautiful. I’d kind of like to have it, but we’re pretty broke right now, and I don’t have anywhere to put it. It was pretty though.

I also spotted a place with a live band. One of the musicians was playing an upright bass. They stopped me at the door, because it was a private event. I’d like to have watched him play for a while, because of Lizzie and The Hat.

Can’t have everything, I suppose.

I am well fed, refreshed by alcohol, and back at the hotel. It’s fairly early, but I’m not as young as I used to be. I’ll finish this post, chug a bunch of water to scare off Charlie and his horses, and call it a night.

I missed some things online, and that’s how it’s going to stay. I’ll pick it back up Sunday, but if I missed something you’d like tweeted out or shared say so and I’ll see what I can do.

Half a day of seminars tomorrow then I head back to Boise.

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Airports, NOLA, Hacked

Yesterday was a flight day for me. I’m at a conference in New Orleans for my paycheck job. This is one of those weeks where I’m going to miss things. If you get a like from me, that might be as good as it gets. I’m here with all of my bosses, and my time is theirs.

I kind of like airports. They make for the best people watching. Everyone has a little bit of stress, and that helps reveal character. One example is the guy in Denver who decided to jump off the people mover. You know, those George Jetson things that are like a flat escalator. He vaulted over the rail, which also moves, fell down, and scattered electronic devices everywhere.

The best one was a lady. She had thick permed hair that hung to the points of her shoulders. Either from dye or the perm, it was burnt looking at the ends. She was notable in that her posture was to hold her head out in front of everything else. Her nose would arrive in a room before the rest of her. She was a dark brunette. The whole appearance gave her the image of a fluffy vulture. She would make a great character.

I met up with all the rest of the Idahoans before dinner. We went to a place that had a fried fish menu. Honestly, I could have gotten the same thing in Boise. My crowd needs to be a bit more adventurous. I can show them some places, but I’m at their mercy.

While in the Boise airport, I started reading Hacked, by Sue Coletta. I finished it in the air on my way to Denver.

This thing is an intense thrill ride, and it’s a good stepping stone into the kind of books Sue writes. It’s novella length, so it won’t take you long to finish it, and honestly, you won’t want to put it down.

I am starting to really love the novella length. I just think as we get more and more pressed for time, it has a place in our lives. Judging from the reaction to my own novella, some of you must feel the same way.

I’m pressed for time right now, so here is a link to Sue’s book. Hacked.

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A travel day

I'm writing this from aisle 28 on a Boeing 757. These are wonderful planes, but the difference between two identical twins is amazing.

This morning, we got onto a brand new plane. The seats were comfy and reasonably sized. The monitor in the seatback had a USB port to charge my cell phone. Even the seatbelt was too big, if you can imagine such a thing.

Our plan was simple enough. We are using our daughter's benefits to fly on standby. The idea was to fly from NOLA to Atlanta, then on to SLC and Boise. We chose this route because it put us home earlier.

When we got to Atlanta, others decided to fly on standby as well, and we were about a dozen people beyond those who would get a seat. Our daughter came to the rescue, routed us to Seattle, and said from there it's a breeze to get home. We will get home later, but that's the joy of standby.

This gave us a bit of airport time. Time to observe the old man in the funny hat, one that looks like a cross between a newsboy and a baseball cap. I've never seen anything like it before. There are the women with big hair. I've written about them before, but in Atlanta the black girls win the day. Huge heads of hair that actually look pretty darned good. If these things are weaves or extensions, don't tell me – I don't want to know. I'm basking in the illusion.

There was the lady with her little dog on a leash, and a mom with her child on a leash. All of this is minutia, but even small observations can help me create a character.

It wasn't until we met the second 757 that I realized I'd forgotten to look at the NOLA phone book. This may not seem like an attraction to most of you, but I struggle to name my characters. I am completely convinced that the NOLA phone book is the holy grail of names now, simply because I missed it.

Oh, this second 757 is the evil twin of the first plane. Our morning flight was all clean and comfy, with wifi that actually seemed to work. This plane has hard seats, archaic monitors without USB ports, and short seat belts. I had five inches of seat belt to spare this morning. Now I need a come-along to ratchet down my stomach just to buckle the damned thing. It's so tight my right leg died about five-hundred miles ago, and my wallet feels like a lump in my throat.

This 757 has an old three-pronged electrical plug for my devices. It's down by the seat of the guy in front of me. This requires me to fold in half like a jackknife to recharge my phone. Also what device in the history of devices ever had a three-pronged plug? I'll give credit though, my little lightning bolt lit right up to indicate my phone was actually charging… right before gravity took over and my cord fell to the floor. The female connection is so loose it won't hold my cable in place without holding it where it needs to be. I'll leave it at that before I get too metaphoric and say something too graphic for kids to read.

I wasn't supposed to start reading again so soon, but what do you do on a five hour flight? I had a children's book all downloaded, but can't get it off the cloud and onto my Kindle app. You see, this 757 has wifi, and it connects fast, you just can't do anything with it after you connect. It seems custom designed to make the spinny thing go around, but nothing else. This is a friend's book, and a short enough read to help me make my RRBC reading goals without more added stress.

Buuuut, the wifi won't let me read it, so I started a craft book that I've held onto for “Someday.” I managed about half of it so far, but my eyes are tired. (And my right leg, and my bladder, and my attitude, etc.) Right now, I'm watching the monitor while a graphic of a 757 moves across the country at the speed of a glacier. I'm typing this by only peripherally glancing at my fingers. Since I can't do anything with the wifi, I'll load this post to my blog later.

Our daughter warned us to take an extra day when flying standby. This sounded like good counsel to us, and we are both off tomorrow. In fact, with my flex day, and a federal holiday, I only had to take one day of vacation time for this mini-vacation. Even I get lucky sometimes.

One hour and five minutes before we get to Seattle. Oh how I miss that first 757.

***

Update: We're home. I wound up stashing my wallet in my suitcase so I didn't have to sit on it any longer. That helped, but what really helped was our first class accommodations for the last leg of our trip. It was a Delta flight, and since our daughter is a Delta employee we were ahead of everyone else on the list. Seats one A and B. It was only an hour flight, but I appreciated it. I even got to charge my phone back up along the way.

On our last day we wound up stopping at Lafitte's, and I had a drink there. There isn't much made of the place beyond the historical registry stuff. I kind of expected more of a pirate theme to everything, or even a blacksmith's theme. I suppose hammers on the walls isn't a good idea where alcohol is served.

We walked to Cafe Du Monde and had more beignets. These are the most famous ones, but weren't our favorites. We both preferred the Royal place where we started, and I even preferred the ones at the Hotel Monteleone, because of the praline sauce.

Old What's Her Face and I have been married for twenty four years, and lived together for two years prior to that. This trip is the first time we've flown out together anywhere. I hope we don't have to wait that long to do it again.

If you spot me a hundred miles or so, I was on three coasts today. NOLA to Atlanta to Seattle before we got home.

I'm going to catch my breath, then I need to get to work. I have a couple of critique group things to work up for our meeting on the 31st. I'm out of ink too, so I wonder if I can trick my printer into spitting out a couple of pages in navy blue.

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More vacation stuff, plus research

Vacation posts are kind of hit and miss in my experience. Since it's all I have right now, I'm going to go for it.

We went on the walking voodoo tour last night. Turns out this was a very PC kind of presentation. They drew the obvious connections to Catholicism, and discussed the ways it came from Africa and evolved after it arrived. Everyone worships the same god, and while the Catholics have saints, voodoo has other names for lesser deities that will sometimes intercede on our behalf.

All the shops seem to have two active altars, and shoppers are forbidden from photographing them. However; those on the tour are invited to photograph them. I have no idea about the difference, but I have a theory money is involved. I wanted to explain that, because of the sign in my photograph. I'm not one of those tourists who fails to follow the rules.

This altar is for a goddess who is also in charge of inspiration. Think of her like a Muse among her other responsibilities. She's also fond of very high quality things. Notice the champaign offerings.

Of course, everything is very benign even good. Questions from the crowd about voodoo dolls and zombies were casually poo pooed. Some dumb ass had to ask the difference between voodoo and hoodoo. (It was me.) They distanced themselves from hoodoo, explaining it isn't a religion but more of a practice. Then they explained all the things Hollywood comes up with make better fiction. (Kind of a please ask questions, but not you buddy response. I'm sure John Howell could make a ten things list about this.)

They noted that John Paul II held mass here, and met with a group of voodoo priests. Once he understood the similarities, he declared voodoo a companion religion to Catholicism. At least that's what our guide Daphne said. (My wife didn't like all my Scooby Doo jokes after learning the guide's name, so I'll keep them to myself.)

On the better fiction point we are in agreement. Voodoo, or hoodoo, are better when they're fantastic and dangerous. I will continue to step up my fictional game on this basis. In fact, Lorelei my Muse visited me and gave me an outstanding character. He is a supporting character in my mind, but I already have about six vignette ideas for him. I just need to find a hero and a plot to go with him. This is much more difficult than when the plot comes first. In fact, I'm already struggling with an old concept of how to keep magic from being the cure for everything. Any paranormal or fantasy authors will know what I mean.

We've eaten a ton, and that doesn't seem likely to stop. Last night we went to Acme Oyster Bar. (I expected Wile E. Coyote to make an appearance, but he didn't.) We did the old people thing and shared a couple of dishes. The charbroiled oysters were fantastic, and so were the red beans and rice, rounded out by fried stone crab claws and fried crawfish tails. (In Idaho we call them crawdads, but since we're here…)

Today we're being lazy. We had room service breakfast, with beignets (And praline sauce). Then Old What's Her Face booked a pedicure. I think I'll just hang here until she's ready to go out. I'm kind of tired, and we walked about a thousand miles in the last few days. New Orleans makes me glad I never rented a car.

Drivers here are aggressive and impatient. I've heard more car horns in a long weekend than in a year in Boise. Boise drivers are crazy too, but they don't ride on their horn like they do here.

This is a town for walkers, at least this part of town. The humidity and heat make this difficult, but we did it anyway. Since we were walking so much, I decided to play Pokemon Go while doing so. I missed the first one of these I saw, but the second one is mine.

This guy is regional, and does not appear in Idaho. I'm sure not everyone is into this game, but it's kind of fun to find something you just can't get everywhere.

It's a long ways, but I'd like to go to Jean Lafitte's Blacksmith Shop today. It's a bar, and Lafitte is a genuine part of NOLA history, as well as American History. Again, we have no agenda and we may, or may not get there. Old What's Her Face refuses to try the bicycle rickshaw taxi things, and it's a long way to walk.

Tomorrow we fly out early, and it looks like we have three legs to get home. (The joys of flying on standby, but you can't argue with the price.)

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Some vacation snaps

While we're here, I snapped some photos. This is a fun place, and we only have a few days. It's kind of fun to bounce around without much of an agenda. I did book a walking voodoo tour tonight, but that's about all we have scheduled. The rest involves strolling around and taking it all in.

There is music everywhere.

The occasional feathered person shows up. Makes me wish I'd snapped the girl in the body stocking. They're either over dressed or underdressed.

The view out my dirty window this morning. A steamship along the shore, and a giant barge passing behind it.

So much wrought iron.

Long time readers will remember I used to keep an alligator snapping turtle. He passed away at about twelve years old. This shell is about three feet long and decorates a shelf where we had lunch. I like oysters, but only certain ways. Turns out a fried oyster poboy is pretty darned good. Bonus points for the bourbon milkshake thingie I washed it down with.

On a smaller scale this two inch cockroach was already stomped when I found him in the men's room. File it under, “Things we don't have in Idaho.”

We're about done drying out under the air conditioner. (Humidity is also something foreign to westerners.) I've been to humid places before, but it's kind of a new experience for my wife.

Before we head back out, I want to remind you to go visit my Sally Cronin post. It's the first peek at the new cover for The Yak Guy Project, and I'm sharing an excerpt.

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An old reminder, enhanced by puppies

It's one of my favorite old sayings, and it came back to me in the comments of my last post. I've been whining about having too much to do. While blogland appreciates a good rant, they don't like it when it drifts into whiny territory.

I've been at this point before, and I will be there again no doubt. How do you eat an elephant?

Task lists are the elephant. I'll do what I can, when I can, and it will all get finished. It's a constant effort to remind myself there is no supervisor that's going to be upset with my progress. That's the paycheck world.

Even puppies know that a bunch of small efforts can add up. It took two weeks, but they slew the giant.

Note: Otto is fine. He is regressing to puppy mode and plays with the girls constantly now.

My wife and I are taking our mini vacation, and I'm not going to worry about this stuff. When I return, my tasks will still be waiting, and the elephant should be properly aged to make for fine dining.

I never mentioned it, because I thought I might play the “Where is Craig” game with you. It didn't work out so well when we went to Jackson, Wyoming, so I'll skip it. We are spending our holiday weekend in New Orleans. Neither of us have ever been there, and we're both pretty excited.

We don't have an agenda, but we are booked into the walking tour of New Orleans Voodoo one night. I hope to take some cool photos and maybe buy some fun stuff. We will no doubt find some beignets and some good seafood. I want to sneak a peek at their telephone book too. I constantly struggle to come up with decent character names, and this could be a great resource.

We're going to be staying relatively close to a site where a big shootout went down in The Playground. I'm tempted to take a cab and see how wrong I got it, but that might encroach onto my wife's plans. Some of the sites in Panama burned down years ago, but I might do a quick search for them too.

Come back tomorrow for Lisa Burton Radio. I'll get to play in the comments, and share it everywhere. After that, I'll update from the road, but it might be sporadic.

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