Wednesday, February 27, 2008

13.1 Miles: Half the pain, twice the fun

Last weekend I went home to New Orleans to run the Mardi Gras Half-Marathon on Sunday 2/24. I love going home...the older I get, the more I miss New Orleans. Sigh.

So on Friday, my brother and I went to the Hilton to pick up my race packet from the expo. Past experience with expos is that they are huge...there are vendors from many various health food companies and athletic outfitters. I always stock up on discounted energy gels and bars, as well as peruse the workout gear. Not at this expo....I was actually embarrassed that this was my hometown's representation of an expo. There wasn't even a protien bar to be found, I had to stop at GNC on the way home. Other runners were just as dissappointed. People were walking around saying, "Is this really it?" Unacceptable.

Saturday I was forced to turn down a family crawfish boil (if you know me, you know that this was an extremely difficult task....). Consuming a week's worth of sodium the day before running 13.1 miles might lead to a painful run down St. Charles Avenue....and possibly death. So instead my parents were gracious enough to treat me to the uptown Louisiana Pizza Kitchen (LPK to us regulars). It's nothing like Cali's much better! I got my carb load on, and stayed true to my healthy diet, with the Rosemary Chicken with pesto whole wheat pasta. It was delich!! Knowing that I was going to run most of it off the next day made it even more enjoyable. Mom got a yummy kitchen sink pizza and dad got this calzone with some bad ass sausage.

The next morning, I was up and at 'em for 4:45am for the race! The weather was absolutely perfect. About 55 degrees, overcast, a little humidity (but not too much)...optimal weather for the avid runner. This race was the first that I did not have a running partner, so I opted to bring the iPod along with a super sweet playlist. (Thank you Hey Willpower, Chemical Brothers, Postal Service, The Bravery, and Lupe Fiasco...just to name a few) I wished some friends good luck, stretched, the sun came up and we were off!

The first two miles consisted of running down Bourbon and Toulouse Streets. Bad idea. Sure, in theory you think, "How entertaining!" Not so much. When you're trying to pace yourself for either the full or half race, seeing vomit and smelling that wonderful Bourbon St. stench doesn't really help. Besides that, the street slopes down from the center and there are cars parked along the narrow street, which makes for shin splints and lots of obsticals. Me and some others decided to take to the sidewalks and dodge the drunkards. It felt like I was on American Gladiator!

The rest of the race was along St. Charles, around Audubon Park, and back to the dome. I was hoping that since uptown is highly populated, especially post-Katrina, that there would be a lot of spectators along the course. Not the case. There were a few people lined up, but most were only cheering for their loved ones. A bit of advice from a runner: if you're there to spectate, cheer for everyone! We need keeps us going....and most of us will return the gesture with a greatful, "Thank you!" Sorry...enough ranting, on to more uplifting topics!

As I ran past every timekeeper, I noticed that my pace kept picking up. At mile 8 I knew that I was going to beat my 2:10 goal I pushed myself harder. My parents were at the turn before the finish line where I was about to give out (thank goodness for Bloc Party at that point) and my dad took this beautiful candid (and why are those people standing in the middle of the street behind me?):

A few seconds later, I made the turn to the dome and saw the finish line and race clock. 2:02!! Oh my goodness...I would have never thought that I would be able to finish with a pace faster than 9:30 minute/mile. Unbelievable....I'm still in shock actually.

After downing lots of water and pigging out on bananas and king cake (mmmm!), I drank my celebratory beer at 9:30am...on a Sunday! Most people are just getting up and going to church...I was already drinking a beer. Fantastic.

Next race....Crescent City Classic 10K 3 weeks and counting...

Saturday, February 23, 2008

G. Love's Got Sauce

Thursday night some fellow lover's of live music joined me for the G. Love show at Warehouse Live in Houston.  This includes Charlie who had no idea who G. Love was, but took my advice that this was a yearly show that you simply do not miss.  Of all of the concerts I attended in 2007, G. Love definitely stands out as the one that I had the most fun at.  I think Charlie was happy with his decision...even if it meant paying the not so "convenient" charges from T-Master.  

Tristan Prettyman opened for the Philly freestyler.  I had heard some of her tunes on XM and remember liking them, but I definitely could not name or pick out any of her tunes if I heard 'em.  I distinctly remember thinking...hmmm...Tristan Prettyman?  Name sounds like a dudes and she's obviously a chick.  Cool name though.  Her voice was amazing and I'm always impressed with (and slightly jealous of) any cute chick with a guitar.  She has a voice similar to that of the poppy Colbie Callait (who I also am a fan of...can't get tired of that "Bubbly" song) and the looks of Jessica Beal.  Charlie did not have his glasses...but when I threw out J. Beal's name...he said, "Ooooh!  Tristan's hot!"  Lucky for him, he got to meet her after the show and actually see her up close.  She was a sweetheart and was dressed totally cute...I'll be checking out her music and wardrobe choices in the near future.

After singing along with some Modest Mouse and Beck between sets, G. Love and the Special Sauce was ready to jam.  I think I was the only one in our group who had seen him live and warned everyone that they had better get ready to shake their booties.  We all did...and had a blast.  G played all of his good stuff...Rodeo Clowns (sans Jack still good), Baby's Got Sauce (in true jam band fashion), and Cold Beverages (it just cracks me up).  He also did some sweet freestylin' and I love his harmonica and beatbox skills!  Great great show!!  

The only rant that I have was that it could've been a little louder.  One of the guys in our crew was talking (mind you, we were VERY close to the stage) and some rude chick said, "Hey can you keep it down, I can't here the music!"  Chill out sistah!!!  

Five hours after the show, I was prepping for my flight to New Orleans for the Mardi Gras Half-Marathon on Sunday.  Yes, I know it's not Mardi Gras anymore...but the race is already titled as such and the actual holiday was abnormally early this year.  I'm getting nervous about my 13.1 mile trek through the streets of the Crescent City....wish me luck!!!

Wednesday, February 20, 2008


This past Saturday, I happened to be fortunate enough to get a ticket to Barack Obama's rally at the Toyota Center. I knew it was going to be a big deal and that I was super excited about it...within 15 minutes I had purchased Radiohead tickets and obtained my free pass to hear 'the man' himself speak. I was completely beside myself and almost started doing laps around my living room. But really...I had no idea how huge this event was actually going to be.

Monday I started getting my Obama-mail about how people were going to get there super early to stand in line (of course it was general admission) which made me start to get slightly paranoid. So my work day was slow and I made a game-time decision to take a couple of vacation hours to hold my spot in line. Luckily, my friend Jordan managed to get a ticket from a very gracious not only did I have someone to go with, but Jordan LOVES Barack and is extremely fun. I knew that good times were ahead...

I pulled up to the Toyota Center about 4 and yelled to the cabbie, "Yo holmes, smell ya later!" Okay, so I'm not the Fresh Prince...but I did decide to cab it for sanity purposes and the place was ridiculous. It was like the Superbowl...every media truck was lined up outside, helicopters were circling, tents were set up for radio stations, food vendors, THOUSANDS of people....madness. The demographic was all over the board...every color and age...there were hippies sitting next to young professionals in suits. I was fortunate to be towards the front of the ticket holder line and had the pleasure of standing by the Praise 92.1 tent for 2 whole hours. When Jordan texted me to find out where I was, I replied "Just follow the soulful sounds of DJ Revelation"...his reply "I'll bring booze!"

So we entered and I'll spare the details, but two hugs from J to random event volunteers and a couple of little white lies later, we were sitting in the VIP section! We decided to forego the crazy food lines and go straight to the bar, where we obtained our libations of choice...doubles of course. I have to say, the pre-rally events were not at all what I expected. There was a band playing with the most fabulous costumes I've ever seen...they were covered in sequins and played the best KC & The Sunshine Band hits. So for over two hours, we danced, made some friends and found out that Obama had won Wisconsin! (Thanks Francis!!) was show-time!

Once Will.I.Am's "Yes We Can" video started playing and the lights dimmed, we definitely got FIRED UP! Then he took the stage. Barack's speech was as eloquent as ever and I'll spare the details and my opinions, because no one really cares what I think and you can watch for yourself on I will say that he was so passionate that I damn near yelled out an "Amen", but perhaps that was just the Praise 92.1 talking.

I now understand why all of those people are so excited for rallies. When everyone is sitting around basically "tailgating" for hours before the actual speech, you tend to be a little more excited than usual. works for sporting events!

Monday, February 18, 2008

Houston + Beautiful Weather = Patio Dining

The weather in Houston on Friday and Saturday was by all means, less than desirable. Rainy, disgusting, depressing...the kind of weather that makes you want to stay inside and watch movies. Mallory the Pup is not a fan of rain, so she was going stir crazy and I had the feeling that the two of us had probably spent too much quality time together. So on Sunday morning around 7am, when she was tapping her tail impatiently on the kennel floor, I was beyond irritated. I got up and reluctantly took her for a walk. I'm so glad I did...the weather was absolutely GORGEOUS! The view looked a little something like this (although this picture was taken from my apartment on a similar day a couple of months ago).

I already had plans to have lunch with a couple of girlfriends, so during my lengthy ten-mile training run I kept thinking about where we could go. Being that the weather was amazing, it would have been completely unacceptable to sit inside for lunch. Houston has so many wonderful patio cafes...Onion Creek, Brasil, Empire Cafe, LaFendee, Dry Creek, Teala's, Grappino Di Nino...I could go on. I've already been to all of those places, numerous times, and wanted to try something new. Then it hit me...during the Houston marathon, we ran past the King Biscuit Cafe. Cute, outdoor dining, Heights...and the fact that 'biscuit' is in the name just makes my mouth water. Mmmmm!

The King Biscuit is a very laidback establishment and make sure you're not in a hurry, because the wait staff definitely isn't. The menu had a wide-variety of selections, but the $3 Bloody Mary caught my eye. Although there were no olives, limes, beans, or celery (all things that are essential to a BM) it was very spicy and it WAS only $3. The ten-mile run had me in the mood to devour something of usual wimpy salad was not going to cut it. My girlfriend and I went for the California Eggs Benedict...fresh english muffin, turkey, avocado, w/ creamy hollandaise...served with hash browns and fruit. It hit the spot and was quite tasty! The prices there are very reasonable and there was no way I could finish all of the food....and I pigged out.

I'll definitely be back there...but I will have to bring Mallory, since the four-legged friends are allowed. I love this time of year in Houston...get out and enjoy a patio, the park, or a friend's backyard before the heat wave comes!

Wednesday, February 13, 2008

Music Report 2/14/2007

Another week and more music recommendations free of charge! Think of it as my Valentine's present to you. These are not necessarily new, just what I'm listening to and loving at the moment.
  • Stars - Everything...I mean EVERYTHING of their's is stellar (pun intended). The new album, In Our Bedroom After the War, is one of those that you can listen to all the way through. Pop Quiz - What Canadian group are these two folks also members of?

  • Ryan Adams, Follow the Lights EP - Ryan has covered Alice In Chains' Down In A Hole on this EP and it's a lot less hateful (but it's its still hateful in his own way). The last track is a cover of the song, Dear John, that he dueted with Norah Jones. Best track, in my opinion, is My Love For You Is Real.

  • Band of Horses - EVERYTHING

  • The Moldy Peaches, Anyone Else But You - It's from the Juno soundtrack and the lyrics are hilarious and romantic at the same time! And anyone who can throw the "up up down down left right left right B A select start" into their lyrics, gets mad props from me.

  • Broken Social Scene, Hotel - I love this came on twice the other day and I thought my head was going to explode. Note to soon

  • Lemon Jelly - Electronic, mellow...great stuff to run to

  • Herbie Hancock - The guy did win best album of the year and he is have to give him some cred! Second not to this also.

Happy listening!! Don't forget, this is a two-way street...leave me some comments if there's something you think that I should be listening to!

Tuesday, February 12, 2008


Saturday, May 17th @ The Cynthia Woods Mitchell Pavilion in The Woodlands!!!!!

On sale THIS Saturday 2/16 @ noon!! This girl is going to be on the computer at 11:30am SHARP!! Who cares how much the ticket prices are...

Concert Calendar

Here are some shows that are currently on my concert radar. The Rodeo acts aren't included in this list, but if you are a John Legend fan, I highly recommend that you are in attendance. I saw him at Verizon Wireless in May 2007, the man knows how to entertain.

I have to say that I am a little disappointed that there aren't many bands making stops in Houston to/from SXSW....but maybe I'm just jealous that I don't live in Austin.

2/14 - Bob Schneider @ Warehouse Live
2/21 - G. Love w/ Tristan Prettyman @ Warehouse Live
3/3 - Built to Spill @ Warehouse Live
3/7 - Wilco @ Verizon Wireless Theater
3/7 - Louis XIV @ Warehouse Live
3/9 - Bone Thugs N Harmony @ Warehouse Live (If I weren't in Paris, I would be at this show!)
3/12 - Sia @ Warehouse Live
3/15 - Hotel Cafe Tour @ Meridian
3/31 - Tokyo Police Club @ Meridian (It's a Monday, but I am SOOOO there!!)
4/29 - O.A.R. @ Warehouse Live (My dad is on their email list and sent it to me..thanks Pops!)
6/7 - Datarock & Ladytron @ Meridian

I can't complete this post without telling you that you NEED to go to the New Orleans Jazz and Heritage Festival this year. It's two weekends long, so there's no excuse.... check out the lineup and see for yourself.

Monday, February 11, 2008

It's Pronounced SKY-ler

If you haven't heard of Schuyler Fisk, here is your introduction. She is my favorite female singer-songwriter and you need to hear her stuff! She doesn't have a full length album out yet, but if you go check out her website you can give it a listen.

I first heard her on The Last Kiss soundtrack singing along with her boyfriend, Josh Radin, on the track "Paperweight". Her voice is amazing!! Then after seeing her and Josh in concert at Warehouse Live about a year ago, I was completely hooked! Hopefully she will come back soon. Bonus points go to anyone who can name a movie she was in and also name her famous mother....

Josh will be back with the Hotel Cafe Tour on Saturday, March 15th at Meridian...along with Cary Brothers and Sara Bareilles.

Sunday, February 10, 2008

Bringing Cajun Back...

My cousin Jesse, we share the same tres cajun last name, was in attendance for the Cajun crab boil on Saturday. His family moved to Atlanta when he was young, but that is still no excuse for the following ...
He told me that he had taken a look at this blog and, like any non-Louisianian who had never seen the word "lagniappe", he googled it and tried to find the pronunciation. I looked at him in disbelief...and quickly shifted my gaze of dissappointment to my aunt. How could she not share this term, which is crucial to our heritage, with him? He thought it was prononounced "Lan-yappie" so much. Everyone else has an excuse but him, but the proper pronunciation is "lanny-yap".

So after we had stuffed ourselves on crabs, potatoes, corn and sausage...we collectively decided that Jesse will need to do a 6 month internship in New Orleans (or come live with me in Houston) in order to represent his namesake appropriately...but for now he's been given the task of using it as necessary in 2008. Salut cher!

MMMMM...Hurricanes...more like slurricanes!

Friday, February 8, 2008

Time Won't Let Me Go

Last night my kickball team, Balls & Dolls, had just lost our first two games of the season and since I had to wake up early to drive back to New Orleans, I opted out of drinking away my sorrows with pitchers of beer. I had fully intended to go home, walk the dog and go to bed...when I received a text message saying "Bravery isn't going on until 10:30". I had already accepted the fact that any Thursday night concerts would not be possible during kickball season (it's a serious me) so I just sent back a "No thanks". Then the reply was "No drinks and straight only live once"...a couple more convincing texts later, I was in the shower getting ready to rock out.

Rock out I did...thanks again to my concert buddy for dragging me out of the house!! The Bravery did not disappoint and, as always, Warehouse Live was a terrific venue. I was a little surprised that the crowd was not so big, but then again I'm the same person who was in total shock over a showing of about 40 for Albert Hammond, Jr. (I am such a huge fan...surely I thought everyone else was too) So I’ll admit that I am not the biggest Bravery fan, since I totally thought they were from England. With the accents and all in their songs, it's easy to make that assumption...but when the lead singer started talking about the election (points are always docked for this sort of behavior...if you're not Barack, I don't wanna hear it), he was definitely American. Is this a new movement? The Killers have this same thing going on...not that I'm complaining, since everyone knows I'm a sucker for a British accent. Do we think the Brits are pissed about the North American Scum ripping off their style? I'm gonna say, probably not...I mean, I'm totally cool with Christian Bale and Hugh Laurie playing Batman and House. Sorry for going off on a tangent...I had six hours in the car with the puppy and plenty of time to ponder such ridiculous things.

I had not made the I-10 Houston to New Orleans journey alone in months...and I forgot how enjoyable it can actually be. I get to spend six hours in the car, listening to XM and jotting down new songs along the way...I don't think Mallory the pup enjoyed my singing, but she does seem to be a big Peter Bjorn & John fan. Maybe it's all the whistling... Here are some highlights of the trip:

  • I found my New Pornographers Challengers album!! It had been misplaced for a while...god I forgot how much I LOVE LOVE LOVE that CD!!
  • The City and Colour song Waiting kept coming on XMs The Verge....kind of a depressing ditty, but still so good.
  • I may have attempted to practice my "Superman" dance somewhere around Lake Charles...
  • Mallory appears to get car sick...I'll spare the details, but I did have to line the seat with garbage bags in Vidor, TX. Does anyone know if Doggie Dramamine exists??
  • Seeing all of the LSU fans still driving around like its football season...we don't get that in Houston. GEAUX TIGERS!!!

Well now I'm back home in my beautiful New Orleans and ready for an amazing crab boil tomorrow!!

Thursday, February 7, 2008

Brew Ha Ha

Last Friday me and some fellow beer drinkers (well except Ed...his libation of choice was whiskey on the rocks) attended the St. Arnold's pub crawl in the Heights. For those of you who are unfamiliar with St. Arnold's, they are the local brewery in Houston. The Abita of Houston, if you will. Yes...I did go there...they put out some pretty delicious brews and their tours are fun, although they will never even come close to a Purple Haze or Restoration Ale. Sorry guys, it's just not gonna happen.

Back to the pub crawl. It was madness. These pubs in the Heights just are not well-equipped for so many people at once. They're excellent places to chill, but one bathroom stall and two bar tenders are unacceptable for an influx of 400+ people. Maybe next time some port-o-potties, a few extra helping hands, perhaps a crossing guard to protect the intoxicated jaywalkers. Just a few suggestions...

It started at 5:30, so I was left with the dilemma of whether to eat before or enjoy the beers as a delicious liquid sustenance for the evening. I opted for the latter....bad move. Whoops! The Spring Bock, which was spectacular, is higher in alcohol content..natch. By the time we were to meet at Onion Creek for the 9pm collection of our free pint glass...I was way too drunk off of 3 beers. With my tolerance, that's unacceptable...

In serious need of food and a place to sober up before I drove home..I hobbled back to The Shack (Christy & Tommy's super sweet place) to play Rock Band and munch on Chex Mix for 4 straight hours. If you have not been introduced to the crack of the video gaming world...find a friend who has Rock Band. There should be personals: "SWF drummer seeks a Rock Band" If this doesn't work, Lucky's Pub in the Warehouse district has Rock Band nights (in lieu of Karaoke) on Wednesday nights. I haven't been yet, but if you have....let me know how it is!

Seriously...I think I am addicted. I may need to join a 12-step program...

Music Report 2/7/2008

Last week a fellow music connoisseur was kind enough to feed my music addiction with gigs upon gigs of music. The only way for me to get through the day in my little cubicle world is to listen to music. It drowns out the sounds of enginerding at its best... so this may be music overload, but that's exactly what I'm experiencing at the moment. I'll have more next week...and most likely every week thereafter.

If you don't know, now ya know (Some bands and recommended tracks):

That's all you get for now....

For my friends of the mainstream, Jack Johnson's new album was released on Tuesday. The first single, "If I Had Eyes" is sooooo good! He just signed on to the Bonnaroo line-up. Let's keep our fingers crossed that he will make a stop in Houston...hopefully with G. Love in tow!

What the heck is "Lagniappe"?

Lagniappe is a term that we native New Orleanians use quite often and it means "something extra given at no cost". Google it!

So in this blog I'll be providing you with all sorts of Lagniappe. I'm a huge fan of all of the local magazines and I've always wanted to write my own column...since that hasn't happened, I'll just use this as my means of communication.

I intend for it to be a journal of restaurants, good music, concert reviews, local events in New Orleans and Houston, randomness, things that I find funny, and much more....

Laissez Le Bon Temps Rouler!!