Archive for May, 2009

Levee Cycling Adventure

The Bike: 12 Miles to a 100 miles.

Yesterday, I took Josh to ride the levee on our bikes. Last time we went he was so scared he wouldn’t go up the hill from sea-level to levee-level around Leake Ave. As I may have mentioned before, he has anxiety issues. We made it a goal to get up that hill and to the first tower near Cooter Brown’s. If you ride levee, you know how debilitating this fear is because these landmarks are at the beginning of the trail.

It was an exercise in patience. First, Josh feels like that part of the levee is VERY high. There were a lot of cyclists/peds out there on Saturday morning and because of the high water, he felt like he had to ride in the middle of the lane. So there were a number of fear factors bombarding him; water, height, hill and actually biking with traffic. I should have brought him on Monday when there is far less traffic. My bad.

I told him traffic was better on weekdays and I explained cycling protocols and that you have to just stay in your lane and focus on controlling your bike. Wow. This simple goal was so hard for him. It was far more than riding, it was him addressing this anxiety.

Josh made it up the hill at Leake Avenue this time but once we got up there, he was scared he was going to fall off and go into the water which is currently right there at the bottom of the levee. I understood this fear as a true anxiety symptom. I explained that there were no gators in there, and why the river was so high this time and that if he did fall, I’d go get him for sure. We continued to the tower but he had to stop about every block. But we made it!

Due to the traffic, I decided to teach him the calls that cyclists use to manage their own traffic or cycle within a group. By the time we were heading back from the tower goal, a group of cyclists came by and shouted, “On your left!” as they came upon us. As they went around us Josh kept going, he didn’t stop. He got it.

When they cyclists went by us they said “good morning” and Josh said, “thank you!” and “good morning” and he kept pedalling. I explained how cyclists look out for each other and taught him the calls for, “bike up” and “bike back”, “car up” and what to do about dogs. This interaction protocol helped him focus on driving his bike and not his irrational fear of falling into the river. . . thanks to all the cyclists who were so pleasant to us out there. Josh responded very well to their pleasantries and it gave him additional confidence because in his hood, these aren’t the norm. I think he’ll embrace cycling the levee more from now on because of the anonymous niceties showered upon him.

This whole endeavor reenforced my support for the need in our area for the Lafitte Corridor bike path for kids like Josh to enjoy in Mid-City, a place to ride free of car traffic and at ground level.

I took Josh home and went back out to the levee for my usual exercise ride. I saw a barge precariously perched on the tree line near Labarre, which is currently half submerged due to the river levels, putting this barge dangerously close to the levee. I saw the JSPO levee patrol and asked him about this barge which was way too close to the levee for comfort, an adult version of levee riding panic. The officer said they had notified the Coast Guard. Whew.

3-Point Contest at VBS Kickoff Party (2)

Later on Saturday, Victory Fellowship had their Vacation Bible School kickoff party on N. Broad. I usually don’t go to the kid’s church activities but I went for a while to support Nick and Josh. I got to see Nick make a 3-pointer in the basketball contest!

I was also diggin’ the barbeque; hamburgers and hotdogs, and the free snowballs, it was worth going to for a while and getting a bit too much sun. They lost the supply of ketchup but that was ok, the only thing I found irritating was that they had rap music blaring so loud from a semi-truck sound system that you couldn’t hear the person next to you talking. Maybe there is a legit purpose for that which I simply do not understand.

And then there was Twitter

tweet, tweet

tweet, tweet


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So, remember what’s the new twitter feed to follow? The one that will keep you up-to-date on all the goings on here on the New Orleans Metblogs and more? @nolametblogs That’s right!

Hello, and welcome to summer (a few days early)

Oh, summer. Full of strawberries and handkerchiefs and ceiling fans and these:

I hate to say it, but there’s something comforting about that image. Not the storm, obviously, but the graphic itself. For folks along the Gulf Coast, those particular shades of blue and green–garish and jarring–they’re the look of summer. From now through October, they’re what we see first thing in the morning and what we look at all day long. They’re like the curtains at your grandmother’s house: dated and kind of ugly, but pleasantly familiar.

Dude. Am I getting nostalgic about hurricanes? Holy crap.

Bad Lieutenant = Rubin and Ed + Boogie Nights + Mint Juleps

Bad Lieutenant: Port of New Orleans

Bad Lieutenant: Port of Call New Orleans

Oh, green goddess in a bottle. Have you seen the trailer for Bad Lieutenant: Port of Call New Orleans? Go ahead, I’ll wait.

Among the many objections I have to the entire harmonicaporn genre, please tell me: WHAT HAVE THEY DONE TO JENNIFER COOLIDGE? AND WHY?

[via TheAwl]

Observations

I was in San Antonio last week helping a old friend from the past find his new home. He is being transferred by his company due to some downsizing and such. We basically did nothing but look at new houses, eat and sleep. I was able to see some of the city. While San Antonio is not really my kind of town, I do have to admit to some serious jealousy. Things in San Antonio work. Like traffic lights. And there seems to be a lack of murders in a city twice as big as New Orleans. I am happy for him but I am very jealous that he will be moving to a new city with a new home with all of the “quality of life” things, such as a abundance of grocery stores and such to choose from. While San Antonio seems to have a Applebee’s on every corner, I think after all this time I’d take the occasional Applebee’s for a little more stability around here.

I am a observer. I generally sit, listen, watch, wait and soak in everything around me. I found it very interesting that the flight(s) into Texas were very very packed. I also was a little discouraged that the flight coming back to NOLA was half empty. This after the airline had cancelled two other flights into NOLA that were scheduled for later. These were really business flights so what most of us already knew is true, there are no business peeps coming here.

I was at a local restaurant that I have some business dealings with for lunch. About 1:45 a young lady walked in to the establishment to apply for a job. Obviously lots of this going on around the country, nothing realy different except this being New Orleans, the young lady of course did things a little different. Like I said earlier, I observe. I saw her come in, ask the hostess for a application and she made her way to the bar area to fill out her application. This is a high end steak house deep in the heart of the French Quarter. She rolled in with flip flops, capri pants (I had to as a female friend lol) and a wife beater t-shirt. Doubtful she would have gotten a job anyway dressed like that, but the topper was what she brought with her. A big ole bag of Nacho Cheese Doritos and a Mountain Dew. She proceeded to snack on the Doritos, taking big guplps of the Dew along the way. When the manager came out to look over her application and to actually interview her, she continued to munch away on the Doritos and swig that Mountain Dew like someone was gonna take it away from her. I wanted to walk over and help myself to a chip, but watching her tear through that bag, I was afraid I would come away with nothing left after the wrist. She didn’t get the job.

High hopes

I’ve said so much about the Times-Picayune over the years that I doubt I can add anything more to the discussion. Let’s just say, what was once a moderately interesting newspaper that seemed to me a tad exotic–mostly because of my Aunt Doris, colloquially known as “Aunt Tiny”, who preferred the Picayune to that dull sack of twigs and ink known as the Clarion-Ledger–has now become shadow of its former self, in line for serious changes or brutal death.

The biggest problem: the company’s online strategy (i.e. outsourcing to the craptacular C-list template factory Advance Internet). That may have been convenient ten years ago, but it’s seriously dated now; the folks at 3800 Howard Avenue need to ditch AI and hire an 8th grader–any 8th grader will do–to install WordPress and give the Picayune a nifty, pretty web presence, ideally one with an archive of permalinks. Otherwise, the citizens of Greater New Orleans are going to be left with a museum piece of a daily whose only readable sections are its two society pages. (NB: I love the society pages. Awesomeness abounds.)

That said, the Picayune has cranked out some great stories in recent weeks. I was just catching up on my RSS feeds (which I’m always surprised to see up and running at NOLA.com), and stumbled across these sweet headlines:

  • Little-known legislator pulled ‘rookie-doo’ on state House
  • Man with knife threatens to eat girlfriend and her grandchildren, police say
  • House defeats equal pay for women bill
  • Such hilarity. Daily, even.

    Just for the record, I sincerely hope that the Picayune survives. Even though the stories from the inside sound awfully grim–it’s like Survivor in there, complete with mutiny, cannibalism, and poisoning the water cooler–I’d like to see the paper hang around in some form. Otherwise, we’re stuck with getting info from the alleged “evening news” and Norman freakin’ Robinson. May the great green goddess have mercy on our soulless souls.

    We’ve known him before he was born.

    That’s what they say at French Quarter Postal Emporium when my little guy walks behind the counter. I love that. Not just that they let him back there and help me keep him occupied while I am trying to fill in an address on an envelope but that they have actually known him that long. Well…wait…maybe it isn’t that either on second thought I love that they are friendly enough to say that, friendly enough to give him lollipops and Alligators (see our new friend below), friendly enough to talk to him in a non-condescending manor. Truth is we only see these people when we go in to pick up our mail or ship something out but we have been doing it for about three years now and unlike in most other places in the country (especially cities of this size) we act like it. I love it.
    Meet our little friend

    David Vitter found living under a rock with nothing to do

    vittersupergoofy

    I love getting emails from Senator David Vitter. Really. They’re the highlight of my morning. Because nothing says “I am not a whoremonger” better than a short list of “news items” wherein (a) Vitter takes credit for other people’s work or (b) Vitter takes credit for his own work, which is usually mostly 99% not a great a idea.

    Today’s pick of the litter (which I would happily link to, but Vitter’s technology director hasn’t unraveled the process of archiving, so you’ll just have to trust me):

    Earlier this month I introduced a joint resolution that would allow Congress to protect the flag of the United States by preventing its desecration. The bill would give Congress the power to overrule a 1989 Supreme Court decision that declared previous flag protection laws unconstitutional.

    This year marks the 20th anniversary of that 5-4 Supreme Court vote to declare the desecration of our flag to be constitutional, yet millions of Americans and all 50 state legislatures have endorsed prohibiting flag desecration. This resolution will illustrate Congress’s support for protecting this symbol of our freedom.

    Which is just great, because those kinds of things always pass. They’re not time-wasters like silly legislation about the economy, or healthcare, or crime, or education. That’s our man.

    The view from my car on 5-13-09

    Driving down Elysian Fields yesterday afternoon, I saw dozens of these signs staked into the neutral ground. As far as I could tell, each was different. If you enlarge that photo, you’ll see it’s a poem that reads:

    HOOVES CLANK ON GRATING
    THE ABRUPT CLAMOR RINGS OUT
    THE MULE DOESN’T SWERVE

    Aesthetically speaking, it’s abysmal, but the would-be poet gets props for enthusiasm. Me, I kinda like living in a neighborhood where artful litter pops up on the street.

    More important than tea parties

    Louisiana state representative Jonathan Perry, professional asshat

    Louisiana state representative Jonathan Perry, professional asshat

    State representative Jonathan Perry (R-Abbeville), is sponsoring a bill that insists children’s birth certificates can only include the names of married parents or single individuals. It is targeted directly at GLBT couples, who obviously can’t marry in the great state of Louisiana.

    Not only is the legislation mean-spirited and homophobic, but it’s also an endangerment to kids. For example: if a kid and one of his GLBT moms were in an accident, the other GLBT mom would have to go through a fair chunk of legal maneuvering to ensure visitation and other rights to care for the child. And that’s just one of many unpleasant scenarios.

    Asked about this, Perry said he really doesn’t care.

    If you’re in Louisiana, do us all a favor: visit the Forum for Equality website now, and contact your legislator before the bill (HB 60) comes up for debate tomorrow morning.

    I love being a New Orleanian, and I love Louisiana–mostly–but crap like this make me want to break out the flannel and head to Vermont. I just don’t understand where it comes from. I can only assume that Perry needs a distraction to take his mind off the fact that his party is dead.

    UPDATE: For more on the perils of gay parenting (in Louisiana and elsewhere), check out “The Gay Parent Trap” in this week’s Gambit Weekly, penned by the always-charming David Winkler-Schmit, who happens to be an adoptive parent himself. Good stuff. Not necessarily encouraging or uplifting or even optimistic, but good stuff.

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