Sunday, July 26, 2009

DC Bucket List

I officially have one week left in beautiful Washington, DC.  Of course anytime you live anywhere, you get so caught up in your busy schedule that you miss all the wonderful things around you.  This being said, I have decided that the best use of my time left in DC is by being a tourist and visiting everything that I've missed since I've been here.  My bucket list for the week is as follows...

DC Bucket List

-Capitol tour

-Afternoon in Georgetown

-Air and Space Museum

-Walk the Monuments

-Paddle boat/canoe potomac

-National archives 

-Spy Museum

-Eastern Market

-Botanic Gardens


-Kislak Collection at the Library of Congress

-Nat Geo Museum

-Vietnam Memorial 

-National Postal Museum

-National Cathedral

-Mount Vernon

Thursday, July 23, 2009

My New Plan...Thanks Stuff White People Like

#120 Taking a Year Off

travellingguyWhen someone goes through a stressful experience they usually require some time off to clear their head, regain focus, and recover from the pain and suffering.   Of course, in white culture these experiences are most often defined as finishing high school, making it through three years of college, or working for eleven months straight with only two weeks vacation and every statutory holiday (”they don’t count because I had to spend them with family.”)

Though you might consider finishing school or having a good job to be “accomplishments” many white people view them as burdens.  As such, they can only handle them for so long before they start talking about their need to “take a year off” to travel, volunteer, or work abroad.

It is most common for the person taking the year off to use this time to travel (see Post #19 for reasons why).   Generally, they will start off with a set amount of money that will use to travel for as long as possible.  This explains why a white person with an $800 backpack will haggle with a poverty-stricken  street vendor about a $2 dollar plate of food.

If you work with this person, be sure to give them a FAKE email address on their last day on the job or you will be inundated with emails about spiritual enlightenment and how great the food is compared to similar restaurants back home.  Also, within the first five days following departure, this person will come up with the idea to write a book about their travel experience.  Sadly, more books about mid-twenties white people traveling have been written than have been read.

Some of the more enterprising white people will extend their time off by working abroad as a bartender, ski lift operator, or english teacher.  Their stories, emails, and publishing plans will be identical to the previous white person but will include additional stories about working and complaints about “tourists.”

Finally, there is the white person who takes a year off to volunteer at home or abroad.  Though they are equally likely to write long emails about their experience, these people are often using the experience as an excellent resume pad for their application to law school.  This way they are able to put off real life without the crippling derailment of a career or education.

Regardless of how a white person chooses to spend their year off, they all share the same goal of becoming more interesting to other people.  Sadly, the people who find these stories interesting are other white people who are politely listening until they can tell their own, more interesting story about taking a year off.

Thankfully,  there is an enormous opportunity for personal gain.  You see, whenever a white person takes a year off  it opens up a valuable apartment, job opportunity or admissions slot. Consider it to be the most pretentious form of affirmative action.

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Chris Rose is a Brilliant Writer...The Voice of New Orleans

Chris Rose: Take a true dream vacation this summer, courtesy of C. Ray Nagin

by Chris Rose, Columnist, The Times-Picayune
Tuesday July 21, 2009, 5:00 AM

Trying to save cash this summer? Why not take Raycation? Spend a week visiting all the attractions that Ray Nagin promised us over the past eight years but which never really happened.

Times are tough; everybody knows that. That's why "stay-cations" have become all the rage across America: The practice of staying home and being a tourist in your own town.

You can save a lot of money that way.

But I've got a cheaper and much more exciting travel idea: This summer, me and my family are taking a "Ray-cation." It's a Dream Vacation - literally. We're going to spend a week visiting all the attractions that Ray Nagin promised us over the past eight years but which never really happened. 

It's been the hallmark of his two terms in office, really - the notion that you don't actually need to do anything as long as you think of an idea and then announce it with much fanfare. It follows on his recent advice to tell the Census Bureau that New Orleans is your home if here's where you'd live, if you could, rather than where you actually do.

You follow?

Anyway, that's how me and my family decided to Raycation this summer; taking the grand tour of Hizzoner's dream world. Without spending a dime!

Hell, you don't even have to get out of your seat.

The first advantage to a Raycation is that you don't have to deal with the insufferable indignities of Louis Armstrong International Airport - not since our Mayor sold that sucker. (And lucky thing he did that in his first term since selling airports has recently become strictly a buyer's market!)

The one thing we will miss by not going to the airport is a ride on the high speed rail that connects the airport to the Union Passenger Terminal downtown. That would have been a kick for the kids, I'm sure. But, hey, it's hard to pack everything into a Raycation.

So we'll start out by checking into the gleaming, towering Trump luxury hotel on Poydras Street. Man, it's like a hundred stories tall! Hollywood stars live in the adjacent condos!

I had first considered staying at one of the big national casino resorts that line Canal Street, but I didn't think that would be appropriate for my kids. All those crowds, all that traffic. Talk about Sin City!

There's probably even hookers.

And, I don't mean to sound cheap here - I want to spread as many Benjamins around the local economy as possible - but I think I'm going to ask for the "Houston rate" over at Trump, following on our mayor's generous offer to discount all hotel rooms for Texas hurricane evacuees.

Once we settle in - and eat that sweet, sweet chocolate they put on our pillows - I suppose we'll start out by walking around downtown. Even though the sky is filled with cranes - a bit of an eyesore, really - we can still take in the breathtaking splendor of our new City Hall, an architectural crown jewel of the South - and a structure that does this city proud.

"That ham is baked," the Mayor once told us of the new municipal complex. "It's ready to come out. You're going to like that one."

Like it? We LOVE it!

Now, maybe you're thinking: You're going to walk around downtown? Isn't that dangerous?

To which I offer a hearty Hell No! Not since we got all those crime cameras installed. Ray's crime prevention program has the knuckleheads on the run in this town.

"As promised last year, all 242 crime cameras were repaired," the Mayor announced in May. (And I don't mean to be picky but maybe he meant 241, because the camera that was pointed directly at that murder scene on Leonidas Street the other night was, well, broken.)

But enough of the downer news. Murder, schmerder! There is a big, bright, bold city to behold! The Jazz theme park, performance venue and museum on Loyola Avenue, for instance, right next to the newly developed Hyatt Regency complex. "The state's biggest capital project ever," Ray called it in 2007.

And let me tell you something: Chicago's Millennium Park has nothing on this place. The exhibits, the interactivity, the concerts. Parks. Green spaces.

Incredible. Only a visionary could have come up with this. I wouldn't doubt if Wynton Marsalis moves back to New Orleans now.

After all, there are performance spaces everywhere in this town, from the refurbished Municipal Auditorium to the new riverfront amphitheater which features Celine Dion a hundred nights a year.

Ray, he loves that Celine Dion.

So much to do and see! Especially since we're taking our Raycation this year during the anniversary of Hurricane Katrina. That means we'll be right in the thick of the festivities: The parade! The masquerade ball! Comedy night at Harrah's! Fireworks!

What a great idea, to take a day that otherwise might bum us all out and transform it into a lively celebration of New Orleans culture.

What will he think of next?

Whatever it is, you can count me and my family in! I'm telling you, there's no shortage of wonder on a Raycation. It is a dreamer's paradise. It's so beautiful that sometimes it's hard to believe it's real.

It's Ray's World, and we're just living in it.