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Last week, I wanted beignets. More than that, I wanted to sit at the Cafe Du Monde with friends at 1 a.m., drinking coffee and chicory and listening to street musicians. I wanted to try to convince my husband that I really did need a tattoo, and have him remind me that I only say that after I’ve had too many hurricanes. (For better or worse, BTW, too much alcohol for me involves not that much alcohol at all.)

I spent approximately 25 years of my life within a couple of hours of New Orleans. Now the Crescent City is an entire day’s drive away, so spur-of-the-moment trips just aren’t happening anymore.

But I did find beignets. A Huntsville friend was kind enough to introduce me to the Coffee Tree Books & Brew, located at 7900 Bailey Cove Road. Every Saturday morning, they serve beignets until they run out – and they DO run out. And I’m talking authentic beignets, perfect in size and shape and coated in about three times as much powdered sugar as necessary.

Honestly, I had worried that I was dragging my husband out of the house before noon on a Saturday for a big plate of disappointment. Right after we moved up here almost three years ago, a seafood chain claimed to be serving real New Orleans-style beignets. And they may have been delicious if they hadn’t been coated with caramel-flavored syrup.

Powdered sugar AND syrup? That’s IHOP, not dessert.

The Coffee Tree did not disappoint, however. As a bonus, my friend knew the proprietors and had told them we were coming in just for the beignets, so they were extra eager to see how we liked them. That said, they seemed eager to be sure that ALL their customers were happy.

The used bookstore attached to the cafe area is lagniappe.

No chicory, no street musicians, but I persevered.

Good coffee, good conversation, and good beignets – really, other than that elusive tattoo, what more could a girl want?

UPDATE: I’m told that there IS chicory available if you ask. This just gets better and better

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I’ve been invited to an ’80s party. While I’m looking forward to the music and pop culture references, I find myself dreading the costume.

I now know how people who grew up in the ’60s felt in the ’80s. You live through a decade’s fashion atrocities, then you have to put up with the whippersnappers making fun of them or, perish the thought, reviving them.

I saw girls in legwarmers last year, and they were nowhere near an ’80s party. Legwarmers are as hideous now as they were before.

Folks who came of age in the ’60s have seen bellbottoms make a rebound or two. Tube tops, last seen in the ’70s and ’80s, have experienced an unfortunate resurgence the past few years. Ladies, please. Mind your squishy parts.

Do I miss anything about ’80s fashion? I still love Swatches. Although they’re not as widely available as they were when I was a teenager, they’re still colorful, fun and quirky. I tend to gravitate toward Swatch stores when I’m vacationing, and thus have several watches that are inappropriate for many office settings and social affairs. One features a monkey. I may be picky, but I also might be kind of immature.

I miss wearing dozens of rubber or silver bracelets at once. I’m kind of sorry sometimes that I don’t have much occasion to wear two earrings in one ear.

In short, I guess miss the jewelry of the ’80s. You can have the leggings, parachute pants and slouchy boots.

Maybe I’ll go as a Ghostbuster. All the better to keep those damn kids off my lawn.

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I’ve been reading about the imminent demise of voicemail, which is quickly being replaced by email and messaging technology. Good riddance, really. There’s little I dislike more than strolling back to my desk to discover a little red light indicating a message.

Luckily, the jobs I’ve had for the last couple of years have required little phone time, so I haven’t seen the little red light very much.

The one thing I will miss about voicemail is a game that I’ve dubbed “Voicemail DJ.” The rules are simple: Identify several songs that annoy your co-workers, or songs that are just outrageously funny. When you hear one of those songs on the radio in the car, gym or mall, you call a co-worker’s voicemail (this game is only played when you’re certain no one will pick up the phone) and let the song leave a message.

Sure, it sounds stupid, but you really haven’t proven your worth until you’ve managed to explain to your company’s CEO why you’re playing “Baby Got Back” on your speakerphone at 8 a.m.

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Each of the past three mornings, I’ve awakened with a different song running through my head. They are, in order:

  • The theme from Spongebob Squarepants
  • Celebrate Good Times by Kool and the Gang
  • Pocket Full of Sunshine by Natasha Bedinfield

Explanations? Do I even want to know?

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Fine. I gave in. Here are 25 Things About Me. If Facebook can suffer through it, so can you.

  1. I love coffee. I drink more coffee than anyone knows.
  2. I drive my dream car, a Mini Cooper S. It’s cute, fast and fun, and more affordable than most people seem to realize.
  3. I work out with free weights three times a week. A former co-worker who calls his muscle-bound arms the “pythons of death” used to call my arms the “blue runners of death.”
  4. I can’t wait for warmer weather so I can go caving again. I have never felt stronger and more dexterous than I do when scrambling over giant piles of rock.
  5. I always thought I’d have dogs, but I have two cats instead. They’re hilarious.
  6. I judge people based on how they treat animals.
  7. I’ve always had more male friends than female friends. I may be from Mars instead of Venus.
  8. My husband is the kind of guy I would be friends with. I’m pretty sure this is why we’re still married.
  9. I’ve been to England, France, Honduras, Nicaragua and Mexico.
  10. I have no children. This is neither an accident nor a tragedy. I’m cool with other people having kids though, and love my nieces and nephew.
  11. Hurricane Katrina flooded a third of my house. It’s barely worth mentioning compared to the damage other people had. That said, rising water and high winds still give me a little punch in the gut.
  12. I’m still pissed off about what happened to the people of New Orleans.
  13. Since childhood, I’ve had a recurring dream in which I had to walk across a yard while avoiding snakes of every type and size every few feet. That dream has been replaced by one in which water is rising in my back yard and I’m trying to move things higher in the house.
  14. I’ve never told anyone about No. 13.
  15. I had a casual smoking habit for about six years in high school and college. Nasty habit? Sure, but I miss it and wish cigarettes weren’t so bad for me.
  16. I miss clove cigarettes the most. A friend tells me it’s because I’ve always aspired to be Eurotrash.
  17. I’m really proud of my little brother for being such an awesome husband and father.
  18. I’m not sarcastic ALL the time.
  19. I decorate with objects that I love, which range from an old Royal typewriter to tea tins.
  20. The first concert I ever attended was Bon Jovi.
  21. I’ve seen Metallica in concert six times.
  22. I exhibited multiple signs of OCD when I was a kid. I remember wishing somebody would notice so that they could figure out what was wrong with me AND hoping that nobody would notice that there was something wrong with me.
  23. I think that my remaining obsessive-compulsive tendencies make me a better copy editor, writer and coder.
  24. I took Spanish in high school and French in college. When I try to speak either language I end up with a mishmash of both. Sacre gato!
  25. I’m pursuing my master’s degree in English mostly because I really enjoy the classes.

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Countdown to rock

This weekend’s forecast calls for an AC/DC concert and a trip to Trader Joe’s in Nashville, among other awesome activities. I’ve put up with a good deal of bad weather over the past few years, Mother Nature, so be a doll and keep your ice storms to yourself. KTHNX

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horny-holidays

This is the most offensive and irreverent Christmas album you’re likely to ever come across. If you can put up with some cursing in your carols and a couple of sloppy takes on Christmas classics, however, you’ll discover a few gems featuring distinctive bass lines, great sax-playing, and inspired piano riffs by one Pete “Wet Dawg” Gordon.

You’re reading the cover right: It’s “Horny Holidays,” by Mojo Nixon and the Toadliquors.

Admittedly, I’ve got a soft spot for this collection, since my dad bought a copy during the last trip we took to New Orleans together. He played it in the car all the way back to my grandmother’s house. Two hours after leaving Tower Records, I knew this would be my go-to Christmas album.

Some of the songs are filthy (“Trim Yo’ Tree”), while others are haphazard versions of classics (“Good King Wenceslas”).

I won’t lie. Some of these songs will embarrass you in front of your friends and family.

Others will make it totally worth the humiliation, however. “It’s Christmas Time” has some of the best sax and piano parts on the album, though the album’s version of “Boogie Woogie Santa Claus” runs a close second. And Mojo’s rendition of “Run Rudolph Run” may be the most inspired version I’ve ever heard.

If you’re willing to have fun with some offbeat Christmas music and aren’t easily offended, then buy this album. Just don’t play it in front of kids or your mom. Unless she’s just like my mom, and is totally cool with that kind of thing.

Note: Mojo Nixon is best classified as “psychobilly,” apparently, and I hesitate to admit that this is the only album of his that I own. I was shocked that this was also the only Mojo album I found among in my dad’s music collection – maybe that tells you a little more about its awesomeness.

Wikipedia has a pretty thorough page on Mojo Nixon, and Mojo’s site features an enlightening and hilarious timeline of his life.

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