Andrew Healan

New Orleans comedian and host of the podcast That Sounds Reasonable

A Rough Guides Kind Of Guy Living In A Lonely Planet World

December 7th, 2007

Vientiane, Laos PDR — This may very well be the most peaceful, laid back national capital in the world. It’s like the Mekong just picks up all the stress and hurry and takes it down the river. I’m nor sure where it ends up, but that’s not a city I want to visit.
This trip has given me more entrepreneurial ideas than I can keep up with. I want to open a dating service at a mall. This business will have large glass windows. Then, I go to modeling agencies and hire attractive people to come in and “sign up.” Other people will be walking by and see all of these beautiful people and think they have a chance to get hooked up with them and will thus come in and sign up. Can’t miss.
I have back-up plans though. Like my t-shirt company. Our shirts will use a special ink. In normal light, the shirt will say something along the lines of If Your Not Wasted The Day Is (sic). But, once you step under blacklight the shirt will read something like I Am Gay.
I’ve gotten pretty good at telling where white people are from on sight.
The t-shirts here kill me. Some are just random English words thrown together. Just Yankee Chevrolet. It’s like how they name the tacky overpriced souvenir shops in New Orleans. Where they just pick two Cajun and or Creole words and throw them together. I saw one man wearing a shirt that said Fired Chicken, Collard Greens, Black-eyed Peas, etc. Yes, apparently the menu from a soul food restaurant will work as a shirt. I got a good chuckle out of seeing a young Thai girl walk out of the MBK Center wearing a black shirt that in neon letters read It’s All Good In The Hood. But my favorite was a kid I saw on a train sporting a Nirvana (the band not the afterlife) shirt, which on the back spelled out the he was a “Fudge Packing, Crack Smoking, Satan Worshiping, Mother Fucker.” His parents must be proud.
In my room at the guest house I found a Thai edition of Penthouse. Very disappointing. Apparently in Thailand, pornography can’t be pornographic. No nipples, no pubes no dice.
Some people suggested I hit up the Philippines. These people apparently don’t read the news. Coupes and cyclones aren’t on my agenda. As a rule, I try to avoid places that are being blown up or blown away.
I was walking through a Wat and saw a dog playing with a dead pigeon. I’m trying to search for a deeper meaning there.
Here’s a nice travel trip when on planes, trains or automobiles. Bring a light jacket or fleece with you in case the air conditioning is too strong. But, put the jacket on backwards. This is more visual, but think about when you put a jacket on in a seat. So much stretching and hitting the person next to you. With the backwards thing, jacket goes on easy, you don’t bother anyone else, your back is against the seat and doesn’t need cover, and if the temperature changes, quick and easy to get off. Like I said, this may not seem like much in print, but when you do it or see it done, your life will be instantly improved.
I was kind of blown away by televised jet ski racing. Then I saw televised chess. That’s right. I saw televised chess. Move over televised poker, you’re no longer the most boring thing in broadcasting.
I sometimes get confused when trying to speak Lao or Thai and speak Japanese instead. Once, I accidentally busted out some Spanish. It would have been funny if I hadn’t caught myself. Just an Anglo, speaking Spanish, with an Asian accent.
I have been told I speak good English for an American. I tell these people that I speak well English. Then I flip them off, kick them in the stomach and drop them with a Stone Cold Stunner. USA! USA! USA!
As a child, I remember always seeing pictures or stock footage of Asian cities and almost everyone was riding bicycles. Those days are over. It’s scooters all the way. There are a few pedicabs, but that’s it. I saw two bicyclists today, and wouldn’t you know it, both were Americas. Because fuel efficiency be damned, we stil know scooters are gay.

The BCS Makes More Sense To Me Than Thai Script

December 2nd, 2007

Ayutthaya, Thailand — While in Bangkok, I went through a series of events that landed me in the hospital. First off, the sidewalks there left much to be desired. Many were cracked and uneven. Often they were ridiculously thin and at times, just disappeared. During a rather harrowing stretch, I messed my ankle up. No big deal. Except for the fact that my new strut caused me to do some damage to a tendon in my foot. As a result of having an even newer strut, I now had some raging blisters on my feet (we will now pause and allow everyone to make their Andrew got raging blisters in Bangkok joke). After a couple of days, I basically couldn’t even walk when I got out of bed. I decided medical care was needed. After a bit of research, I picked what looked like the best hospital in the city. And wow! It may have been the best healthcare experience of my life. The hospital was large, clean and modern. Upon arriving, I had to wait a grand total of about 20 seconds before seeing a nurse who took my information and decided what clinic I should be sent to. Four minutes after arriving, I was sitting in the orthopedic clinic. A nurse came up and apologized to me about the wait. Seems there was only one doctor working that day and a whopping six patients ahead of me. LA County this is not. The nurses here wore traditional nurse uniforms. Like the ones all the girls wear for Halloween but without the plunging neckline and hoochie hem line. Even the little hats. Also, they didn’t wear nurse shoes. They were dressy shoes, most with a heel (there’s probably a much more accurate way to describe them, but I’m not much of a women’s shoe aficionado) . And, I’m sure Asian nurse is another of those wacky double fetishes. If you could find an Asian nursing student, look out pervs. The doctor spoke near perfect English. He looked at my foot, and the pulled out a safety pin. At this point I did get a little nervous. I mean everything about this hospital screamed “we practice modern western medicine.” He took the sharp end of the pin and ran it around me foot. He would ask me how it felt compared to different areas. Once done, he made an appointment for a follow-up visit and wrote me my prescription. I was then sent back to the lobby. Here I went to a desk and was given a piece of paper with a number on it. I then sat in one of several rows of chairs and waited for my number to pop up on a screen and be called out (it was sort of like waiting on your schedule to pop out using the old OPSTAR system at UGA). I then when to pay. So, a visit to a first class hospital, lightning quick service and my medicine all totaled out to about 1550 Bhat. That’s less than $50 US. At this point, I decided to return to Bangkok everytime I get so much as a sniffle.
I attended the Thai boxing at Lumpini Stadium. It kinda sucked. Apparently, I went on the wrong night and didn’t get the good matches. All of the fighters were young, so there was not a dazzling array of skills. If I’m not going to see a clinic, I’d rather have some unmitigated violence. However. all of the fighters were also small, so they didn’t have enough power to do any significant damage. The matches were hard to predetermine. All of the fighters were Thai. With no prior knowledge of the combatant, how am I supposed to pick a winner when everyone is from the same country and is of the same race? This violates every non Marcus of Queensbury rule I know about boxing. The crowd knew what was happening in the ring though, because they were actively and aggressively betting on every bout. I ask you, what sport isn’t improved by on-site wagering? Who would watch horses run around an oval without a few bucks on the line? I’ll go so far as to say not just sports, but all activities could be improved by on-site betting. Wedding receptions in particular. How long will the couple last? Who will cry first? Which uncle will get the drunkest? Which bride’s maid will sleep with which groomsman?
Lumpinin Park is probably my favorite place in Bangkok. It’s very accessible to exercise. The road encircling the park has markers to show how far you have run between points. They have bars to stretch out on. There are large groups of people doing aerobics. They even have outdoor gyms. Cardio equipment and free weights right in the middle of the park. There’s also paddleboats. I guess that’s better than sitting on your ass.
I saw a black guy. I hadn’t seen a black man since I left Hartsfield. It was pretty exciting. However, he seemed pretty unfazed by the event.
Waking up at 6:00 AM to check football scores blows. Yes, I found something worse than those 9:00 kickoffs when living on the west coast.
The exit signs on public transportation are depicted by a man running. Behind him is a man in a wheelchair. I’m sure this is supposed to convey that the exit is handicap accessible. But I interpret it as in the event of a fire, leave the cripples to burn.

You Want Thai Massage?

December 1st, 2007

Chiang Mai, Thailand — The title of this blog is a little phrase I hear a few dozen, or maybe even a few hundred, times a day. They’re not pushing, just throwing it out there, reminding you it’s an option. It’s nice to walk down the street and be offered a massage that is, you know, actually a massage.
Everyone should travel here at least once just to see the remaining balance after a trip to the ATM. I feel like a baller right now, but with the exchange rates, it’s going to be insane in Laos. I’ll feel like Thurston Howell IV married to one of the Walton girls after having Scott Boras negotiate my deal while riding a train through my living room.
I was itching for some news today, wanted to reconnect with the world. Humorously the only station I could find with English being spoken was Al-Jazeera.
Some softy drink dispensing machines have the following options: Pepsi, 7-Up, red, orange and purple. Looks like the cola makers are ripping off Dave Chappelle.
When translating things into English, occasionally amusing word combinations develop. Other times though, it can just cut through the BS. Like the make-up store I saw named Nice Face. Just bam! right on the nose. It would be like naming your restaurant Tasty Food. I’ve decided I’m going to open an Asian themed restaurant called Wok This Way.
I got to watch most of the USC – Arizona State game. Most because the last few minutes were cut off to show a three day old soccer match. During the game there was no ticker. Also, no local ads. I was really looking forward to the Thai version of the John Mellencamp truck ad. Would they have a Thai musician sing it? Would Mellencamp just slightly alter the lyrics to “this is your country?” Or, would he bust out a whole new verse? “From the East Coast, to the Gulf Coast, down the Death Railway, and home.”
Asian schoolgirl has to be some sort of super-duper deluxe double stuff mega fetish.
The best way to find your way around somewhere is to get lost. I know that sounds trite, but hear me out. It’s something I like to do when ever I get to a city I’m going to be in for a while. Just head off in a direction. Get off at a different train stop. Eventually, you’ll see familiar stuff and realize how you got there. You’ll now know your way around better and along the way, you may discover a neat place or person. But still carry a map just in case.

The Golden Triagle Kicks The Crap Out Of DelMarVa

November 30th, 2007

Chiang Mai, Thailand — Moved up a few hundred kilometers north. I still can’t tell you exactly how far that is, or even really have a perspective, without pen and paper. Oh metric conversions how you still haunt me.
Many Thais, especially in touristy areas, speak at least some English. Sometimes I don’t want to talk to people, especially if they are trying to tell me something. So, I have to pretend like I don’t speak English. I’ve come up with a certain type of gibberish that sounds like an eastern European language. It does the trick. I just smile, spout some gibberish and keep walking.
A lady working at the cab stand looked at my bethonged feet with envy. They were so white. The fairer the skin the better here. The drug stores are full of different products to whiten the skin. I was quite ashamed of my alabaster pedals. We then began to discuss how people always want to be what they’re not. If you have curly hair, you want straight hair, etc. This went on for a couple of minutes until I finally made my way to the cab. Body image and its societal effects was some pretty heady conversation for a cab stand. I didn’t get to tell her how I enjoy giving my friends crap about being tan. Reminding them it does not send out an inviting message to the opposite sex like they think. If you’re female, it says “I am a kept woman. I have a man, he takes care of me, so I just lay out all day bronzing my epidermis. I do not need you sir.” If you are male it says “I’m a laborer. I work outside all day. I smell bad, earn little money and have no benefits. I can not provide for you or any other woman.” None the less, I’m still going to spend a couple of weeks at the beach next month.
Hearing Christmas carols in Thai is just bizarre. In case you were wondering, there is apparently no direct translation for Frosty The Snowman. I wonder if they just observe the commercial version of Christmas? Or, do they somehow meld Christianity and Buddhism into one mega holiday. If so, I bet Santa Buddha is one fat dude.
I want to make a movie about a black Superman. The tagline will be “The last brother of Krypton.” The soundtrack will be done my identical twin rapping duo the Dopllegangstas. Start printing the money folks.
I’ve gotten numerous messages from friends about being in Bangkok, most made some not so thinly veiled reference to prostitution. That’s a situation and a reputation the emerged when troops would come to Thailand from Vietnam on R&R. Only America could come into a country and say “you’ve got centuries of being a cultural mecca of southeast Asia. You’ve giving the world great food, amazing art, stunning fabrics and twins with incredible surgery stories. What’s say we scrap all that and turn you into one big brothel?” At least France didn’t go for it when we tried to turn them into Disneyland.

The World’s My Oyster

November 25th, 2007

Bangkok, Thailand — That’s right, has gone international, and in a big way. Thailand means freedom land and is known as the land of smiles. Well, right now I’ve got freedom coming out my wazoo and I’m all smiles. Guess there’s no place better for me to be.
First some thoughts and observations that happened between there and here.
In flight entertainment has made major strides in the past few months. I watched Knocked Up, and episodes of The Office and 30 Rock. I also got to build a playlist and best my fellow passengers in games of whit and skill. I am the King Of Trivia for Delta Flight 55. That thrown will not be abdicated. I tried three times to watch Ratatouille. Fell asleep every time. I also couldn’t make it through Transformers.
Got some reading done, including all of the in-flight magazines as well as the local and national dailies.
Woodstock Elementary School in Portland, OR has 200 students in a Mandarin immersion program. Please put the WES PTA on the DHS watchlist. 200+ prepubescent children running around speaking Chinese, that reeks of a sleeper cell. And if so, be afraid, very afraid. Because of the Mandarin program, this school received a $700,000 Defense grant. Yep. we’ve got soldiers fighting in Iraq without proper Kevlar protection, but there’s almost three quarters of a million dollars to throw at some ankle biters in the PNW. Great prioritizing federal government. Let’s really make those kids earn the money though. I want them doing push ups in the rain. Running the ropes. Disassembling an M-16. Being able to sing happy birthday in a Chinese dialect doesn’t justify that kind of dough. I mean as a defense grant. Please give money to schools that are actually teaching kids useful skills. Post graduation, speaking Mandarin will be about 84 kajillion times more valuable than geometry. Just confirming that Cathy Borders (my high school geometry teacher) has wasted her life. HAHA!
Good for Bobbi Brown and her cosmetics line. But we need a moratorium on Bobbi/ie/y Browns. From make-up, to New Edition, to Cherry Pie, to Frank Zappa, we have way exceeded our quotient for famous Bobb(insert vowels) Browns. This ties into the excess of Dee Browns. Perhaps it’s time to retire the Brown surname.
Andie McDowell is doing ads for Revitalift. Isn’t that coming full circle for a model?
I was fortunate enough during my layover at Narita to enjoy a couple of beers with some of America’s best and bravest who were fortunate enough to be heading home to spend Thanksgiving with their families. What I didn’t enjoy was the music playing at the bar in the Tokyo airport. White Lion, Boston, Bad English and the Eagles. That playlist will make me move from beer to shots in a rabbit’s hop. Its nice to see that crappy music knows no border.
Regardless of the language it is presented in, I get just as much out of the preflight safety lecture.
Upon arriving in Bangkok, I got into a taxi. It seemed the most logical way to reach my hotel after all forms of public transportation had closed for the day (it was 00:05 AM local time). The journey into the city was no different visually than the trip from airport to town in most major American municipalities. Standard controlled access , multi-lane road passing many business parks, apartment complexes and billboards.
When I reached my hotel, I had my first local trying to rip off the farrang (foreigner) experience. The guy had a good system. He at first tried to take me to the hotel without turning on the meter. He was none too happy when I told him he had to. Then, he drove me down a road where many ladies and/or gentlemen of the night greeted new visitors. After arriving at the hotel, he had one last chance to squeeze an extra few Bhat out of me. He made sure to hand my bag to the doorman before telling me what I owed (more than the meter said). This put him in a position of power because he said I owed money, and I was separated from my bag. I told him he could wait for me and his money. I went inside, retrieved my bag, and then paid him the amount owed. He had no leg to stand on at this point, because I was at my hotel, and had all of my possessions. Better luck next time jerkhole.
The all-in-one bathrooms take a bit of adjusting. What you get is a room with a tiled floor and a drain in the middle. There is a toilet, there is a sink, and there is a handheld shower nozzle. You just hose your self down while standing beside the toilet. Not as bad as it sounds. At least the water was warm.
Fortunately, the TV at the first place I stayed had ESPN. But not the ESPN that I know and love. Their SportsCenter was hosted by an Anglo woman and a Seik male. An odder combination I’m not sure I could have conceived.
I also got VH1. This further proved my point that crappy music can unite differing cultures. Quick, somebody get Don Henley and Glenn Frye on the UN Security Council.
An easy way to break through the language barrier is by going to a fast food restaurant. I don’t need to speak the native tongue to get a value meal at McDonald’s, just be able to hold up the corresponding number of fingers.
This does not include, and eliminates special orders. I guess that would suck if you had special diatery needs. I know my index and middle finger will get me a double cheeseburger. I’m not sure what combination of digits would signify that I am diabetic or lactose intolerant.
Seeing multi-story tall Christmas trees and hearing carols while it’s 90 degrees is just weird. I thought how unfortunate that the Thais have been sucked into the early celebration of Christmas, then I realized they don’t have Halloween and Thanksgiving as guide stones on the holiday season path. It’s still way to early though. And in case your wondering, apparently there is no direct translation for Frosty The Snowman.
English is widely spoken in Bangkok. In fact, most Thais begin speaking English to me on sight. Not just nobility and diplomats, I’m talking fast food workers, even homeless people. That’s right, homeless people speak a second language. I went to a high school where honor graduates couldn’t crack 700 on the SAT, and now I’ve got a guy that can’t afford a place to live in a city where US $9 is a decent day’s wage is speaking multiple languages.
Thais love the King. There are pictures of the Royal family everywhere. But I haven’t seen a single shrine to the greatest export and #1 National hero Tera Patrick. C’mon Thailand. Get your priorities straight.
Someone asked me in an e-mail if I felt weird being a minority. I had to let that person know I spent the past few years living in New Orleans and Los Angeles. Most folks around me having different colored skin than me is not uncharted territory.
That will be an unceremonious end to this entry. My prepaid internet time is almost up. Please keep checking back as I should be updating at least every couple of day, maybe even with pictures. And if you are reading this, and in SE Asia, please, drop me a line.

Grand Theft Me

August 21st, 2007

Meridian, MS – Tuscaloosa, AL — Why the odd dateline? Because I am writing my first ever blog from a train. Choo-choo and whoo-hoo! I was afforded this unique opportunity because some upstanding citizen decided to liberate me of the burden of vehicle ownership. That’s right, I’m just another crime statistic. When my car wasn’t where I left it, I did some backtracking to make sure I left my car where I was standing. I mean, it’s entirely possible I left it on another street and just forgot. After eliminating that possibility, I began making calling towing services. Finding myself in the odd position of hoping that my car had been towed. For some reason, it wasn’t until the 14th call that someone informed me that only the city could tow off of the streets. Calling the impound lot gave me no leads. Then, I called the police. The dispatcher assured an officer would be out to the location shortly. This was at 11:15 AM. Fast forward to 9:00 PM, and still no police presence. At that point I called a cab to take me to the impound lot so I could do an on site search for my car (in case the plates had been removed or changed). All hope was now extinguished. I’m trying to play the part of Mr. Brightside. When conducting a mental inventory of the items still in my car, I remembered that sitting in my back seat were a packet of resumes and a box of business cards. Maybe I’ll get a great job out of all of this. I’m sure the thieves would be impressed with my solid experience and leadership abilities. Or maybe they would look at all of the maps scattered about the car and notice I am a prolific traveler. Who knows? Any day now my phone could ring and I’m taking off overseas to start my exciting new career as a heroin mule.

Local Crime, National Tragedy

April 17th, 2007

My heart and thoughts go all to all of those in the Virginia Tech family. Yesterday’s events were nothing short of horrific. I cannot put it into scope or scale.
I have spent time in Blacksburg. The student population dwarfs the city’s population. It’s a small, sleepy little town. Definately not a place where you would be walking around with your head on a swivel looking for trouble. I look forward to the day when I talk about Virginia Tech, it will be me making fun of them for being hillbilly dorks and not about senseless death.
I followed this story all day through the national media. From the morning when the reported death toll was one, to the evening when it climbed over 30. As the story was still developing, the media was already throwing blame around. Why didn’t the campus public safety do more? Why didn’t they act sooner? While details will trickle out over the coming days and weeks, the media was already throwing these school officials under the bus. I don’t know if this was a desire to place blame. Or maybe they just needed something to talk about while waiting for more details to come in. The cable news networks insist on round the clock coverage with all breaking stories. When no news comes in, they still have to talk about something. Having no news to report, something must still be talked about to fill the air time. After the requisit gun control stories, the local law enforcement was villfied.
There’s no way to shut down or evacuate a major college campus in short order. I’ve heard crazy ideas thrown around. From having to pass through gates to enter campus, to metal detectors, to biometrics to gain access to buildings. None of these would’ve mattered. You can’t police crazy. A young man snapped and decided to kill a bunch of people. This could happen any day, any time, anywhere. This kid was a student. He had access to these buildings. None of these outrageous proposals would’ve stopped him. And, even if he hadn’t been able to enter a campus building, he would’ve went to a grocery store, a shopping mall, or another public place. A massive amount of people were going to die, and no level of security was going to stop that.
On the plus side, every college will evaluate it’s emergency notification and evacuation procedures. But I fear the backlash, the overcompensation. College is a great time (I should know, I spent nine years experiencing it). Having to go through airport like security clearance everyday will not enhance anyone’s college experience. And it won’t prevent a psycho from acting psychotic.

Well If You Put A Nickel, Well Now, I Put A Dime Now

February 24th, 2007

New Orelans, LA — Sunday brought Baccus. It was neat to see James Gandolphini. I caught nothing from Drew Brees, but his arm looked solid (yes I know the injury was to his nonthrowing arm, but several people asked). After the parade I made my way down to the French Quarter. While trolling down Toulouse, I came across Neal and Sean outside of One Eyed Jack’s. Sean had a messenger back stocked full of adult beverages (and no, it was not at all cliche to be pulling from a bottle of Jack Daniels out on the street). But even better, he had the Sewage & Water Board beads which are by far the coolest throw I’ve ever seen. Ever. Bar none. Hands down. By far. The coolest. They really were awesome. We stumbled around for a while and made many new friends, or annoyed many strangers, it’s a fine line we were walking. This was the first time I had walked more than half a block on Bourbon St. It was crowded, but managable. You couldn’t run sprints up and down the promenade, but you could move without much impediment on the banquettes and in the street. After hitting Johnny White’s Sports Bar (finally ran into Peter and Ally) and Lafitte’s Blacksmith Shop (where Chuck was working too hard to hang out), we headed down to the Marigny. Spent some time at R bar with other New Orleans comedic types before heading back into the French Quarter. A few stops and then an Alibi burger with Lindsey, then called it a night.
Lundi Gras and the buzz was building. I trolled down to Riverwalk and met up with Justin and his Westbank friends. After Zulu and Rex arrived and were handed the city, fireworks were shot off. I don’t get fireworks shows. They all look the same. I’ve seen dozens, if not hundreds of fireworks shows in my lifetime, and I can’t say I could really tell the difference between them. There’s a pop, they go out in a circular fashion and in varying colors. Repeat. After all of these decades, shouldn’t firework technolgy have advanced a bit? After the pyrotechnics, a band took the stage. They hit all the New Orleans classics: Carnival Time, Mardi Gras Mambo, Walking To New Orleans, Iko Iko, They All Ax’d For You, etc. We danced around like jacksasses anyway. We then left to catch the tail end of Orpheus. On the way, Justin busted out his phone and started playing Rebirth Brass Band’s cover of Casanova, then we really started dancing like jackasses. The Harrah’s parking garage became the site of my only public urination during Carnival. Not too bad I says. Since we were at Convention Center Blvd and Julia Street, some of the bands had stopped performing by the point. This was completely unsatisfactory to us. We would start chanting for the bands to play. After a few different phrases, we found the most effective effort was to chant the name of an insurment, and that tuba players seemed to respond to this type of chant most frequently. Therefor, much of the next few hours was spent repeatedly yelling “tuba, tuba, tuba” at confused high school kids. One of the girls in the group noticed some avaliable space and suggested we move to the “median.” We all made her the butt of many jookes for the remainder of the evening as we enjoyed the parade from the neutral ground (and everyone gave the own version of why it is called such). Orpheus was a damn good show, gotta give credit to Harry Connick, Jr for putting together a great krewe and a helluva parade. When the parade wrapped, well time to bounce around the French Quarter. I finally got to hang out with Peter. Shared a few beers at MRB and even talked to SteveO, who didn’t bother to let us know he was in town. And, I got to talk to Roger and hear some of his horror stories and remind me I was missing nothing from my former profession.
After getting in about 6:30 AM, I wasn’t too optimistic about making all of the Mardi Gras activties. When Erin and Lauren woke me up about 8:00 AM to ask if I was ready for Zulu, it took a few seconds to motivate myself awake. We then picked up Jodi and Kat and had our Mardi Gras crew together. The girls had written a cute little Mardi Gras song, but I cannot even come close to remembering it (other than it’s the only song not by Benny Grunch and the bunch that mentions Mardi Gras and peeing). Zulu was all it was supposed to be. Some quality floats, some good bands and some amazing dancers. We caught some pretty good throws, but I didn’t get anything I was looking for. Erin got a walnut and a coconut. My streak of catching nothing from Saints players continued as Joe Horn and Devry Henderson has nothing for me. As Rex kicked off, we began making our way up St Charles Ave. After taking in a bit of Rex (which honestly bores me to near tears), we decided it was food time. Erin and Lauren went to see about getting a table at Superior Grille (I didn’t like their chances). Sure enough, a few minutes later, they called and were already being seated. When we arrived, Lauren was quite proud of herself for thinking of going to the resturaunt and checking on seating. She said “I had an idea on Mardi Gras, and it was a good one.” After lunch and a few drinks it was time to head home. We saw what had the early ingredients of a violent race fueld gun battle, but were able to duck out to a side street and have no idea how it turned out. I listened to my body and went down for a nap. Later that night, I headed to the French Quarter, and even though it had held off for over a week, the rain began to fall. Not wanting to deal with the weather and the crowd, I just called it an early night.
Morning broke, Ash Wednesday had arrived. I enjoyed Carnival. I enjoyed seeing old friends and making new ones. With my first Mardi Gras as a civilian in the books, I look forward to adding many more.

…And Everybody’s Having Fun

February 22nd, 2007

New Orleans — Even though I spent a few years in The Crescent City I never got to really experience Mardi Gras, until this year. No 18 hour work days, no being annoyed by all of the revelers, I was one of them. And man, was I missing out. I had the advantage of having friends and knowing my way around. Traversing the city is still a bit difficult. Many traffic signals are still out of order and man do I miss the St Charles street car line. Definitely makes those uptown-downtown trips more difficult.
I arrived on Wednesday, which happened to be Valentine’s Day. Like every other holiday, I was pretty much oblivious to this. Took a little Uptown driving tour and checked out the damage from the previous evening’s toranadoes. Had I not known about the storms, the destruction and clean up wouldn’t have even been noticed. I performed at Lucy’s Retired Surfers Bar. It’s a great venue and my other shows there had always gone over gangbusters. Not the case on that particular evening. The crowd was mostly comics, and the few civilians in attendance were more of a hindrance than a help. Most of their responsiveness was ill timed (shouting out answers to rhetorical questions and the such). It was great seeing and performing with the old crew: Dane Faucheux, Jeremy Alexander, Sean Patton, Neil Stasny, Vydra, Bil Dykes, Scotland Green and the world’s best door girl Renee. After the show was the usual migration to Vic’s Kangaroo Bar. Laughs were shared and unsuspecting people were ridiculed. I had the always awkward situation of meeting “MySpace friends.” But it was nice to see Erin and Georgia in all three dimensions. I then went and hopped around the French Quarter for a while. Nice to run into old friends and hit the familiar haunts. I ended up hanging with Amber (one of my temporary roommates in the months after Katrina) at Alibi. With a few imbibements in her system, Amber has a tendency to want to wrestle with me. This particular evening, she was in more of a boxing mood. By the morning, I was covered in bruises. She packs a pretty mean punch. It was nice to get in from a night drinking at 9:00 AM. My first day back in New Orleans usually hits me a bit harder. Spending a few nights before I arrived drinking myself back into shape paid off.
Friday was lunch with Erin at Juan’s Flying Burrito. I know New Orleans is chock full of five star restaurants, but it’s my little neighborhood places I miss and always have to eat at on on return trips. She had just interviewed for a new job at Zoo. I wished her well, not just for her own personal success, but so one day when she is at work I can call and ax for her at the Audubon Zoo. That evening, we got ready to hit the parades. The local Rite Aid was running short on canned beer, so we loaded up on High Life tall boys and rounded out the selection with some Steel Reserve High Gravity (it’s like a dorm party in a box). As sparse as the beer selection was, the cooler and ice selection was nonexistent. We crapped out on things to keep beer cold in and with at Walgreens as well. But, sometimes, desperation leads to invention. While the drugstore didn’t have coolers, they did have buckets. These worked out nicely. They’d hold the beer, were lightweight and had a convenient handle. We then decided we had the making of a new Mardi Gras tradition. These buckets could be decorated and become the preferred way to carry beverages of parades. All full of ourselves with our bucket genuineness, we headed to St Charles and Constantinople and met Matt. He was really excited because he had just gotten approval for a new project at NASA. As interesting as space travel seems, the process of getting the shuttles into space is quite uninteresting. The spot on the route we chose was apparently where riders reloaded or grabbed a drink. We did however discover another advantage of the bucket. I reached down for a beer and found a light up throw sitting in the ice. Big score. Hermes was fun and Krewe d’Etat was all I had hoped for. The floats had the expected targets of Nagin and Blanco, but also hit up the local media with a float dedicated to Garland Robinette and one lampooning Vince Marinello. Later we ran into Kerri. It was nice to see her, even if this time she was wearing clothes and wasn’t wearing handcuffs. After hanging out at some friends houses we went to Magazine Street and hit up Balcony Bar where we ran into Sean Paton (a recurring theme). Then my friend Nikki picked us up to head down to the French Quarter. In an unexpected twist, Nikki and Erin actuallym knew each other, as Nikki’s roommate was Erin’s friend Jamie. Snack time at Angeli On Decatur was all I remembered (yes I got to eat at Angeli and Juan’s in the same day). The group then struck stopped by Johnny White’s Sports Bar and Rio before heading to Alibi. Billy met us there looking like a street urchin as usual. Then the night just took off. Swung by to see Ramzey. Hung out with various groups of random strangers. Then spent entirely too long hanging out with Kris at Jemini. Then I made my way around to a few of my favorite morning bars. When I finally turned in about 2:00 PM the next afternoon, my body needed much more sleep than I had scheduled… to be continued

I’ve Roamed And Rambled And I’ve Followed My Footsteps

December 11th, 2006

New York — I spent a few days puttering around New England. I would define this area of the country as quaint. Every little town I went through I thought “this place sure is quaint.” Pretty stuff, but not really my cup of tea. Just not that into antiques and hand made crafts.
But that leg of the journey was a milestone. In 2006, I have travled to all 48 of the continental states. Not gonna be a real stand out point on my resume, but it’s something I’m kind of proud of. Well that and not having a real job for a full year now.

Andrew Healan

New Orleans comedian and host of the podcast That Sounds Reasonable