Sunday, February 1, 2009

Month in review

Well, we made it to February. I mentioned this to a friend last night and she responded, "Yeah, but February is just another, barely shorter version of January."

That was not what I wanted to hear. But I rolled with it.

Now on the other side of a decent night's sleep, I'm prepared to celebrate the month passed. Sure, the weather fucking blew, but putting that aside (assuming such a thing is possible), my January was pretty wonderful. Indeed, if I have 11 more months as awesome as January, 2009 will go down as a good one. So, in that sense, I hope my friend is right about her description of the briefest month.

I rang in the month (and new year) in fine fashion - with my two best college pals in our old college town in central Illinois. We were all pretty worn down from some kind of food poising we had acquired a couple days previous, so we decided to take it easy. Even still, we ended up at this strange townie bar and had an evening straight out of a David Lynch film, complete with old women dancing on the bar and a bartender that was never quite able to take a cigarette break.

The evening ended with grown men (i.e., us) near-naked dancing to Self's Gizmodgery. I have pictures, but don't dare post them. Eyeballs will catch fire and my shame would never be overcome.

A couple days after that I headed back up to my folks' place south of Chicago, spent a day being a good son, gave my beloved dogder a bunch of hugs and kisses and left her to stay with my parents and their three dogs (including the world's cutest little chocolate lab puppy that my dad got my mom for Christmas).

Eventually I made my way back to Clevo, without my baby beagle, and spent a few lonely days doing stuff. I can't remember what. But then I got on a plane and flew down to Houston, where my two best grad school pals picked me up and we drove to New Orleans, making a pit stop on the way for some alligator and beers with an old roommate of mine during my stint in Baton Rouge. It was during this drive that I lost my voice singing along to the Purple Rain soundtrack (3x). I still don't fully have it back, more than 3 weeks later.

Once we made it to New Orleans, we did what every responsible professional would do the night before having to make a series of public presentations: got shit-faced on Bourbon Street. I cannot tell you more than that, because I made promises, but let me tell you that the story is AWESOME.

The next day, we get our business stuff out of the way, and then go play tourist. I take my friends down to the voodoo museum, where we met someone that I truly believes deserves all the credit for this month being as good as it has been: Father John, the voodoo lord of New Orleans.

This dude is so awesome. My friend and I have both long had an interest in voodoo, so checking out all the anthropological artifacts was great, but the best part was listening to him tell story after story about voodoo in Louisiana.

His tales featured characters like a voodoo practitioner that had filed her teeth to points and uses her powers to kill people, or turn them into zombie slaves. We asked what people call her, and he just looked at us with a gaze that chilled and said, "They Don't." He told us about his 900 pounds of snakes in his apartment, as he stroked his albino python. He told us about his different wizard staffs and how a man once attacked him and was found a week later, shot and run over by a car - twice. He showed us an artifact given him by an African mentor that represented a spirit which, if summoned, would haunt your dreams until you died.

He also sold us gris-gris and, as we walked out the door, blessed two of us. The third he didn't like at all. This became a source of tension between us all for the next two days. Seriously.

After our time in New Orleans, we headed back to Houston, stayed with the friend who the voodoo priest didn't like and made alligator pizza, then headed up to Austin for dinner and a friend's birthday party with the local indie rock aristocracy. That was cool, if hyper-hipsterized, and it was fun to hear which names were dropped the most. We wound up at this awful DJ after-party at the Austin Music Gym, and then a party at some 'zine writer's apartment where she realized she had way less booze than she thought, so we all shared tiny screwdrivers and looked mournfully at the large booze selection of her roommate, who apparently would go ape-shit if any booze of hers was touched. You could see where she measured the bottle lines and everything!

Eventually the night came to an end, after a marathon group performance of our band's new song, "Guy Stuff," and a round of stiff handshakes. The next day we hit up Waterloo Records for music and Guero's for tacos and high-tailed it back to where we were staying in College Station, where I changed into a suit and had a fancy dinner, complete with kir royale aperitifs and imported truffles, at my old professor's mansion (literally), before going back to my buddy's and falling immediately asleep to this dvd.

The next morning, the three of us pals hit up IHOP before I went back to the airport and made my triumphant return to Clevo. Since then, King John's beneficence has been in full effect. Work has been nothing short of great, I've some fantastic times with folks that I had the fortune of becoming friends with in 2008, become better friends with some folks I didn't know quite so well before, and met some interesting and fun new people.

So far, February is off to a great start, too, as I slept in this morning, the landlord's contractor showed up on time to deal with my leaky window-frame problem, I had a lovely brunch with lovely people at my favorite place in town, snagged a couple cheap used cds (Del the Funky Homosapien's Both Sides of the Brain and Menomena's Friend and Foe), picked up a pair of new jeans for HALF OFF at Brigade, and met a super cool person while killing time during my laundration festival who, like me, is a NEO transplant, though she hasn't been here for long and was searching for same kind of cultural stuff to get into that I feel so fortunate to have discovered. So I gave her some tips and my blog name - hopefully it'll help her find all the stuff to dig around here that I have had the good fortune to discover. And, of course, the weather was 20 degrees better than it has been in what seems like forever.

Now I'm scarfing some cold pizza with Monical's dressing and half-watching the Animal Planet Puppy Bowl (which I wouldn't have even known about had one of my fellow brunchees mentioned it this afternoon. I can only hope February continues to roll out like January ended up being. I just heard that Matilda the Beagle was declared MVP of the puppy bowl, so as far as omens go, that can only mean good things!


CC said...


CB said...

Which part? Or all of it?

keep eating... said...

excuse me sir, i am very interested in Ellie. Your beautiful beagle pup. Please post pics!