May 20, 2003

Back yesterday from New Orleans, which was fabulous - Bourbon Street is everything they say it is. You can't go wrong with a couple of nights in a city where they dispense your daiquiri from a Slurpee machine.

But just walking around the French Quarter is pretty awesome; New Orleans is a city older than the US by quite a bit, and it wears its history well. It's fitting that gumbo is a signature dish of the city when NO itself is a kind of rich and spicy stew of many things: its pirate heritage, its Southern legacy, its Carnival spirit, its well-loved tourists; Cajun and Caribbean and Voudoun and many other things besides. You're reminded everywhere that plastic Mardi Gras beads and tacky souvenir shops are a gloss over something that is old and dark and wild, growing out of the bayou heat and fed by the sea.

Every bit as much fun as drinking outside in the Bourbon Street revelry was riding in a streetcar through the Garden District; having a crawfish omelet for breakfast in Jackson Square; visiting the modestly spooky shrine of the Voodoo Museum; and catching the burlesque revue at the Shim Sham Club, this last featuring a guest appearance by fetish mistress Dita von Teese ("Hey, I have naked pictures of her somewhere") and marking my initiation into the odd world of seeing women get undressed live - though a pretty damn classy example of that, and excellently done. We left wishing we'd had more time to do more things, which ain't a bad note to depart on.

Spent last night finishing up my column and sending it off; it should run, um, this week or next week, sometime. I wound up liking last month's more than I thought I did after seeing it online, and I'm sort of hoping I'll have a similar reaction to this one later, as I got that "not my most brilliant work" feeling again after it was wrapped. It's sort of a "well, duh" column; so it goes. It occurs to me that a lot of installments of Last Dark Art have been "well, duh" columns. I just have to reconcile myself to the idea that I'm probably not saying anything to the gaming community that it hasn't already said somewhere before.

And, dammit, I still haven't seen X2, or Matrix Reloaded. I am lame, lame, lame.

Day after tomorrow I'm meeting Martha A. for some pre-wedding girl-talk after work. Even after five years, I'm not certain what advice I have to give, if advice is being sought, except possibly "It's hard enough to be pleasant to the same human being every day of your life, so be as good as you can to each other, and do your best to figure out when she needs a hug and when you should leave her the hell alone." But just that fact that I've been singled out for this is pretty warm and fuzzy. Not to mention that I've been asked to provide incidental music at the wedding; lacking the heart to say "You overestimate my talents," I shall suck it up, practice like a fiend for the next two weeks, and consider it an extra honor.

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