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MAX adventures in my kind of town
2004-11-09 - 5:00 p.m.

The last drums of the procession die away,
the final blow is struck,
the hush of the crowd changes into a roar of praise. 
Sir Robert de Rath has taken the field. 
All hail Atlantia's Heirs, Prince Robert and Princess Denise
May they long reign should Janos and Rachel fall.

On a completely different note, I'm being stalked by ladybugs.  Honestly, it could be worse.  :)  I found one on the wall of the bathroom at work, one on the bedroom curtains at home, I'm sure there's more I've neglected to notice.  Thankfully they are easier to park than a duck, right K?

To get back on track, two weekends ago saw Gen conquer the laundry beast and plant some 'fodil bulbs around the yard.  Oh, my aching hamstrings.  For Halloween we did turn off all the lights, but instead of hiding in the basement, we went out to dinner with Bob and Laura and saw Team America.  Very funny movie.  I think I forgot how to breathe I was laughing so hard through most of it.  For some reason the post-bar regurgitation scene made me laugh most of all.  Sick, I know, but damn funny.

Monday I got on a plane gulf coast bound.  Ah, Nawlins, how you infect my soul.  I wouldn't want to live there, but visiting is great.  I took my coworkers on a quick walk by the Mississippi River near the Riverwalk and we saw a few steamboats and stuff.  Showed them Jackson Square and the St. Louis Cathedral, and some other stuff.  We met up with my Aunt Mary and Uncle Pete for dinner on Monday night before they bounded off to Houston.  It was great to see them, and I got family news that my lil' sister is moving to NYC soon.  Excellent!  I know she's always been a city girl at heart.  Then I took two of my coworkers out wandering the Quarter a little bit before dragging them to O'Flaherty's to listen to Beth Patterson.  Oh, what an evil Siren she can be.  They weren't too thrilled by Bourbon Street, but then again they didn't finish their Hurricanes with dinner either, and I think the fried food was too much.  And it is difficult to face Bourbon St. sober, really.  I only indulged in an hour of Beth until the smoke started to bug them and we moseyed on back to the hotel.  We did have a fairly cool view of the River from the 12th floor tho.

MAX 2004 was very fun and informative.  I got to take sessions on ColdFusion, Flash, and CSS.  We also got sneak peeks at some of the new technology coming out of Macromedia, and some hands on experience with a few of the various apps.  Mind you we were in classes from 8:30am until 5pm, which was informative, but almost more work than a regular work day.  As Deb said, it was like trying to drink from a fire hose.  You can get some, but certainly not all.  I also have to say I was very disappointed in the food.  I mean, hello, we're in New Orleans, and you feed us bland hotel conf. food.  Puhleeze.  At least it was included in the cost of the conference.  This goes for the Wednesday night special event too.  The most local thing they had was fried catfish.  No red beans and rice, no seafood, sigh. At least we got local food for the Education and Non-Profit happy hour that included mini mufalettas, prawns, etc.  It was great meeting folks from all over in various different arenas.  I met a friend of Kirsten's from VAis4Lovers, met a nice gentleman who is the webguy at his small University in Georgia.  Also got to meet a whole crew of folks from the Christiansburg/Blacksburg area, as well as some nice guys from Ft. Dietrich, MD.  I also ran into Siegfried Sebastian Faust there, as well as some really nice guy from Charlotte (James Williamson?) who I can't remember for the life of me where I know him from.  It's so rare when my internal name database fails me, but fail me it did.  So, lots of networking, trying new stuff, and learning when possible.

Tuesday night we walked the Riverwalk Mall since it was indoors and it was raining.  We ate at the fancy seafood place there, Anthony's Seafood House, which was about the blandest creole food in the Quarter.  Sigh.  The Jambalaya had good flavor, but not saucy enough.  The red beans and rice was surprisingly lacking in flavor and sausage.  The shrimp creole tastes like sweet and sour stir-fry.  But at least the gumbo was passable.  Needless to say I didn't eat much.  Then we noticed that the rain had stopped so we went to Cafe du Monde for the requisite Beignets and Cafe Au Lait and people watching.  Finally I confessed to knowing that Beth was playing again at O'Flaherty's and I'd like to go see her more.  They tagged along, but left me there (at my request) since they were tired and wanted to head back to the hotel.  I sat and listened to Beth play until midnight.  I got to listen to several new songs, some of her great a capella stuff, and I found out that the bar had Framboise, raspberry Lambic on tap.  I think I had 3 of them.  Yum!  Beth also mentioned that she's putting out a new Live CD by the end of this year.  So Excited!  It was a great time and I grooved back to the hotel high on music.  Kimmie, I even got her to sing Goodnight Kiss as her closing song.  :)

Upon my return I found out that the hotel's wireless internet was finally back up and working so I dial in to quickly check email.  Low and behold, I have pressing work to take care of so I was up until ~2:30am with the election coverage on in the background.  Color me one of the tired disappointed few on Wednesday morning.  Yes, I voted via absentee ballot.  We were actually asked in the restaurant who we wanted to win.  We had to confess that we wanted Kerry to win, but knew somehow we would be disappointed.  Add me to the 55 Million strong pile of folks who wanted a change.  sigh.

Wednesday night was the MAX "special event" where they rented out Mardi Gras World and hosted a huge party there with (bland) food, drinks, band, DJ and lots of dancing.  It was actually really cool.  We got to see a bunch of the floats up close and personal.  They had king and queen statues and jester ones with missing faces so you could climb up and have your picture taken as a jester.  The band was truly rocking, and we got out on the dance floor and boogied.  Then I decided I needed more wine to dance with a bunch of computer geeks, so downed a couple of glasses fairly quickly and then got back out to boogie like there was no tomorrow.  Man that was fun, even the congo line.  The poor band must have just sighed to see the silly desk jockeys shaking their things.  On the bus back to the hotel, my feet hurt like crazy, but I met up with my Hokie buds again, and we got all nostalgic.  They were going back out dancing on Bourbon St. after the party and asked if I wanted to join them.  Hell Yeah!  My coworkers looked at me askance, but they aren't really late night party types anyway.  So I went upstairs to change my shoes, slip into some jeans, and met them downstairs and off we were to Bourbon St.  Larry, Barry, Joel, Jil, Rex and Rob (the engineer).  No, I didn't get a chance to ask Larry and Barry if they liked the movie Dogma...  We went and danced and danced and went to a sad karaoke place and danced some more.  We also went to see the Dungeon, an after hours goth club which was super cool.  There I finally set down since getting off the bus.  On the way back to the hotel we cut through Harrah's so I at least got to see the inside of the Casino. I got back to my room around 3am, took a shower, and then crashed out in bed. 

Y'know, it's very important to not only set the alarm but turn it on after such a night.  I woke up at 6am, realized I had another hour, and went back to sleep.  At 8am Deb woke me by knocking on my door.  Holy Sh*t!  We had a class at 9am to get to.  I told them I'd meet them there, and thanked whatever inspired me to shower when I got home.  I tossed on some clothes, packed my suitcase and scurried to the bus to get to the Convention Center just in the nick of time.  I actually met the Fort Dietrich boys in line and they said that they saw my coworkers and assumed I'd not be making it.  I ended up just behind them and even had a chance to sit down for breakfast before the class.  I honestly don't know how I managed it, but I did.  :)  And I had a little bit of the Lauren Bacall voice too.

Super Nawlins' powers activate!  Form of Tireless Party Girl!  For all my friends who have held my hair back in the past, there was thankfully no repeat performance.

After our 9am class, we headed back to the hotel and figured that we had just enough time to run down to the Quarter and get candy to take home.  I left them at the Southern Candymakers and scooted down to Johnny's Po'Boys for some good and proper Red Beans and Rice to go before meeting them back at the candy place.  While I was placing my order of Pralines (Prah-lins from Naw-lins, thankyouverymuch) they said they were going to head back early so they had time to pack.  I dunno how I did it but I actually beat them back to the hotel through sheer speed walking and taking a quicker route.  We were packed up and I even had time to scarf down those yummy red beans and rice with sausage and ham chunks while we waited on the shuttle to take us to the airport, and homeward bound. 

Mmmm...  how I love that place. 
You can rock out or chill out, feast or fast, walk about or ride, shop or just window gaze, there is Catholicism and voodoo all wrapped up in one screwy town.  Apparently several straight computer geek guys unknowingly wandered into the gay frenzy at St. Ann's and Bourbon on Halloween night.  We came across a macabre parade of the dead to improvised Stomp like music up on the riverwalk.  This town symbolizes all of the Deadly Sins, except perhaps Wrath, that's the one thing the cops will respond to.  So many fascinating people to envy on the streets, so many reflective surfaces to satisfy your own vanity. Gluttony can be thoroughly investigated in the many wonderful restaurants. Lust by the very nature of the alcohol that flows with gluttony.  Greed at the many things around you and the desire to buy for yourself and not others.  And Sloth afterwards when you need to recover. 

My kind of town!

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