Practical Theory - The Origin
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Monday, May 9, 2016

Hanging in Panhandle

I woke real early and just lay in bed waiting for the sun to rise. I went in and out of sleep. I rose at 615 and did my breaking of camp and breakfasting. I was on the road by 7. IU had a big trip to St Joseph and into EST, so I was going to be losing an hour to boot. I was on Rt 10 for four hours and then I snaked through the back roads and some four-lane highways and then I reached Rt 98 east of Panama City and east of Mexico City. The sea breeze was so refreshing and smelled so good. I stopped at the Shipwreck Raw Bar for a dozen of the very good Apalachicola oysters. So saline, it was a shock after the New Orleans less than saline oysters.  NOLA oysters are very fleshy and without saline. But these Apalachicola oysters are very, very good and have so much more saline than last time I was here. I was in heaven and a half hour fro camp. They are still working on 30A. It is like they are making a career out of repaving this road. When I checked in, I inquired about a site for tomorrow night. One was available and I had to go through Reserve America. I reserved site 63 for tomorrow night. That’s great as I will be able to relax until 1 PM Sat to drive to Marietta and find a camp south of Atlanta so I can arrive at Cait’s mid morning on Sunday. I set a quick camp, grabbed a beer, and went to the beach. I took a swim. The water is so warm while the air is so cold, lots of wind blowing sand across the beach. I can compare it to being in a thermal pool in Iceland and having the wind blow snow across the glacier. When I’m too hot, I stand up and let the snow cool me off. Same here. The water is so warm; I stand up and let the wind cool me off so when I go under it is warmer. I bob around for a while. After too much fun, I grab my towel and walk up to the showers. I walk home and let the wind dry me. I hang my towel on a clothesline and then my bathing suit. I’m going to stay in tonight; I’m tired and had a long drive. It is Cinco de Mayo, but I will celebrate here on the beach. Tomorrow I will spend time in Apalachicola. It is good to be back here; I love this beach and campground so much. Cooking a steak tonight with a grilled zuke and some potatoes. I will have a fire tonight, too. I get to bed early after falling asleep in front of the fire.
Friday is a warmer and less windy day. I have breakfast and take a twenty-mile ride on a favorite road of mine. I get back and break camp and move to my new site, 63. A quick setup and I head to the beach. I find a spot behind some grasses to shield me from the wind. I lie there a half hour on each side and then take a swim. I dry in the sun and then put on my shorts and long sleeve shirt and read. I move down by the water and read. I lie down and fall asleep for an undetermined time. I wake at 430 and head back to camp to make dinner of tuna, some mashed potatoes from the other night and the last of the zuke. I take a shower and prepare to go into town to listen to some music at the Bowery Station. I get there a seven after getting a beer, I retire to the outside patio to settle in and listen top the music. After the first set, I take a walk by the bay and look at the fishing boats. They are a good 60’s cover band, the beer is good (Oyster City Hooter Brown) and the fragrances from the honeysuckle are intoxicating me. They shut down at 930 and I head home. I make a fire when I get home and fall asleep again in front of the fire. I wake to readjust the wood so they all burn off and I go to bed. I wake, the fire has burned to ash and I take another twenty-mile ride in a softer breeze. I get back and break camp, shower, and settle by the bay in the parking lot and have some lunch. I leave and head for Indian Pass Raw Bar for a dozen oysters and a beer. After that lovely snack, I proceed to Apalachicola to visit Oyster City Brewery. The day is beautiful. After this stop I leave the coast for Marietta, GA to see my daughter for her first Mother’s Day and to see Hudson, that cutey. My daughter has been sending me pictures of Hudson very regularly. I drive up 65 out of Apalachicola and find a primitive campsite on the Apalachicola River. I am alone but lots of trucks with boat trailers. I set camp, collect wood for a fire, and make dinner. All the boaters are I and gone by nightfall and I set the bonfire. The flames lick six to eight feet in the air. The fire drives the mosquitoes away and light up the area. As the ashes develop, I put the small logs I’ve found and the fire burns well all night. I go to sleep about ten and see the glow of the fire as I fall asleep. I’m woken early as the boaters come to get an early start fishing. I have breakfast and set out for Marietta. I follow 65 up and take some back roads to get to 27 North which will connect me to 185, 85 and 75. I get to my daughter’s house and her mom is there as is her brother to meet Hudson. We have a good dinner and evening. I’m going to hang here until Wednesday or Thursday before going home to Berlin.

Thursday, May 5, 2016

After the JazzFest

The Jazz fest is over. Today, Monday, is a new day. Lots to do. I have to do a laundry and clean the camp up some. I can put away all Fest related things. After shower and laundry, I made an omelet for lunch. I read some and it started to rain, so I took a nap. I woke at 2 and prepared to go into town. I started at Crescent City Brewery for oysters and to get two growlers, Weise and the IPA, to go. I parked right in front of the Brewery. The oysters were great as was the beer. I next set out to Courtyard Brewing Company for a beer and to get two more growlers, the baby IPA, a saison and a brown ale. Enjoying the atmosphere and beer, I decide to have dinner at Lilette.  It was an easy drive, go a block and then turn left on Magazine and follow if a couple of miles. I found the pretty yellow building easily and a parking spot right in front. I entered a very elegant restaurant with red walls and lots of windows. It was beautifully appointed and the wait staff very professional in black slacks or pants with a white shirt. The sommelier was in a suit. I sat at the bar to have dinner. I was set up, got a Belgium beer, ordered a duck comfit, followed by the squab. I had a panna cotta and espresso for dessert. The meal was excellent and not bad on the bill, much less then I expected. It is getting to the music hour and I headed to Frenchmen Street. I headed to Maison to hear Aurora Nealand and the Royal Roses, who played from 8-10. They were brilliant and I had a chance to talk with Aurora for the first time and praised her from my many times here and do appreciate her music so much. She is in Panorama, the Royal Roses, and Monocle. Monocle was what deemed her a genius to me, like Herbie Hancock and David Byrne. I bought the new CD and told her I look forward to see her next time in town. I headed to the Spotted Cat for the 10 o’clock show with the Jazz Vipers. Craig Field is in this group as well as in Bonerama and Paul Sanchez Band. Both Aurora and Craig are two of my favorite performers and to see them on this evening. I headed home and got home by midnight and had a beer and went to bed for a good night’s sleep.
Tuesday was a real down day, no plans except dinner at Coquette. I stayed in bed reading, fell back asleep, woke again and decided to have breakfast, read some more. I fixed the awning and applied NOLA stickers. Lay down for awhile and read some more. I may have slept some, too. I headed to town and to Courtyard to have a beer before dinner. When I got there the brewer was just sampling the new tap: Prose and poetry, my favorite here. I had a glass and got a growler to take 64 ozs home. I then left and took a left up Magazine to Coquette which was 1.2 miles away.  A corner entrance with two doors. A long bar with a massive bar back and a blue tone on the opposite and adjoin wall. I walk the bar and find a seat at the end but one seat shy of end. “Dinner?” asks the bartender. “Yes, please.” I respond. “Wonderful” she responds as she provides a mat and a setup, then the water. I order a Farmhouse Saison that I believe is a redundancy, from Chappapeela Farms in Amite, LA. I peruse the menu and decide on gumbo to start followed by the quail with the grilled carrots and beets. Knowing the quail takes time I order all at once with specific instructions that the grilled roots come with the quail. The gumbo is superb, the kale the best. The quail was perfect as were the grilled roots. No espresso, so I had the cheese plate. It was a great choice. Four cheeses, three condiments, and a lovely buttered toasted bread. I played around with different configurations of cheese and condiment. It was such fun. After dinner I headed to Frenchmen Street to hear The Rhythm Stompers and assorted guests at the Spotted Cat. This was it, the last night in town. I drove home and read some before retiring.
I wake in the middle of the night freezing. I close the door. I close the ceiling vents. I put an extra blanket on the bed. I hunker down in my bedclothes. Warm, is achieved and I fall asleep until 740. I lounge, read, make and have tea, maybe fall asleep again. The day is cool and dry, 68. It is the best weather day since I’ve been here for two weeks. Either it is humid and I sweat or it is raining and I’m wet from the rain. The bottom line is I’m never dry. Today, I’m dry. It is unique. I put out the awning so it can dry out. After a late breakfast, I take my first bike ride in 7 or 8 days. I’m cruising along at 20 21 miles an hour. I know I’m going to suffer going back into the wind that is driving me at these ridiculous speeds. I like the wind out so I can get my legs loose and the ride back into the wind is prepared for and ultimately the reason for the ride. That ride back into the wind at a constant speed is the training exercise. I am jazzed by the ride, but of course, I’m in New Orleans, so I should be jazzed always. I come back relatively dry, compared to my sweaty wet rides before. I start to break camp. I start with the orange area rug, which I hung over the clothes line before my bike ride. It has been dried by the sun and the wind and I beat it with the broom to loosen the dried dirt. It is aerated as I bag it and stow it in the Thule. Then I wash the Scamp. I fill the dishpan with hot soapy carwash water and proceed to bathe the Scamp. After the Scamp has been cleaned, I put the bikes up on top of the car with their Skinz covers. I have a yogurt, read and take a long nap. I wake and deconstruct the clothesline, starting with my dried bike clothes and towel. The pinecones I had brought with me and got soaked are now opening up and ready to be fired. I’m planning a trout dinner and a fire, the first fire since I’ve been here. I slowly do different things to close up and prepare for my trip to St Joseph and Apalachicola. Listening to the Livewire at the odd hour on WWOZ and restraining from driving into town. Tonight it is all about St Bernard SP.
I’m off for the St Joseph near Apalachicola.
My home and transportation:

Monday, May 2, 2016

Day Seven of Jazz Fest, The Last Day

I woke early so I could get an early start and get in early. I planned on staying at Gentilly Stage all day with jaunts elsewhere between shows. Same routine, got to Burgundy and Elysian Fields without bridge or train event and rode casually to the Fair Grounds the usual route. I tied my steed to the usual pole and greeted my familiars for the last time. I headed to Lagniappe Stage to start the day with a dozen oysters. I like this tradition. There was a crowd this morning. After a leisurely slurping, I left and headed to Economy Hall Tent to wait out the rain, which was just beginning. I have some time before Aaron Neville, so I decide the Economy Tent best choice, as it is close. The rain is heavy and the lightening and thunder dominate the silences. The New Leviathan Oriental Fox-Trot Orchestra was playing and I found a good seat in which I could spread out a bit as I waited out the rain. I sat through the break since it was still raining outside. Was this going to be a repeat of yesterday? The MC kept coming out announcing rain in the forecast. The problem with him coming up to the mike might mean the cancelling of the day. During the break I followed the English Football League’s games. The Foxes tied, which is good for the Spurs and the Citizens lost big. Now the Spurs must win and Kane must score. Tommy Sancton’s New Orleans Legacy Band began to swing us all. Aaron was supposed to begin at 1240, so I hung here until 1230. I had my sandwich and yoo-hoo, since this was the best time. When lunch was done and it was 1230, I headed to Gentilly Stage. I went in on the right and wormed my way to the rail. There is a metal grate to stand on and keep my feet out of the muck. The show was starting late by about fifteen minutes. The rain let up and we just had a sprinkle as Aaron Neville came out and serenaded us. It was beautiful. At the end of the show, I walked to get an Alligator Po-boy and then to the Economy Tent to eat it and get out of the renewed rain. The Economy Tent always has old time Jazz with band members dressed in shirts and ties and captain’s caps. Always entertaining with Second Lines snaking the aisles of the Hall. The 220 Tribute to Allen Toussaint with his band playing and special guests is about to start at Gentilly Stage. Again I get to my spot by the rail. Everyone who came out played one of his songs. I stayed here between shows for the show I have been waiting for seven days, Bonny Raitt. She made a quick appearance at the AT tribute so I got a taste of what was to come. Her show was everything I expected. The show was fabulous as she started with new stuff followed by old and familiar and her penultimate song was my favorite, “Good Man and Good Woman.” She does it with the keyboard player. Her show rocked. Before the tribute to BB King, I had to go to the Economy Tent to add a t-shirt, eat the PBJ and yogurt so I’m fortified for the end. I need to generate more heat. I put on the t-shirt I wore on the bike ride and then put the green vest I had been wearing all day and was too wet to continue in alone. I put the vest over the t-shirt and then the slicker and buttoned up. I was going to generate heat with my body heat and the damp clothes to steam me warm. It was working as I had gained a comfortable level of heat and made my way again back to my spot on the rail for the all-star cast paying tribute to BB King. At center stage was a stool with white flowers and the players came out and played a King song as their tribute to the King, BB. So many old timers came out and sang or played a gem including Bonnie. And then they all came out and ended the 2016 Jazz Fest with a picture moment.
My first Jazz Fest and I’m hooked. Next year, I’ll be back. Bonnie was great. She was part of both Allen Toussaint and BB King tributes and she was gracious and vocal in both. She was the star of the day for me. Rain had stopped and I was glad to ride back to the car in dry. Once I got the chains in the backpack, the skies blessed us once again. And the wind thought it would be fun to blow up the streets making bike riders ride a bit challenging, we want them to remember us, said the elements. Oh I will remember them. When I got back to the car, I put the bike up, took off the backpack, raincoat, vest and t-shirt and put on the long sleeved shirt I brought. With front and back door open I remove al clothes below my waist and jump into my sweats. I forgot these clothes yesterday. Easy ride home to no rain so I could cook dinner. I have to attend to the awning at some point, maybe with George, as I need help and tools. I listened to the end of the Big Broadcast and then the end of the Yankee game. I haven’t been paying attention to the Yankees. I discovered they are in last place. WTF!! They were behind the Red Sox, who are tied for first with Baltimore. WTF!! The Yanks are behind 8-7 in the top of the ninth and lose the game by that score for a Sox sweep of three of Yanks at Fenway. I have to pay more attention.
I was amazed by my first Jazz Fest. Each day provides a different path to follow, a musical path. Sometimes this path is altered by a natural event like rain or sun. I had both sun and rain, and even a more rare cancelled show. The first weekend was delightful as it was sunny and I shared some of it with Erica and Klon. I found my way around the Fair Grounds in a rudimentary way to accomplish certain tasks, to get from venue to venue on the twelve stages. I was using the interior tracks and Tim taught me about the racetrack as the way to move from venue to venue. The advantage to the racetrack is how well it drains and provides firmness to make better time and it is wide. Toilets are along some of the lengths, which is always a good thing. Soon I learned about finding refuge during the storms.  I discovered the oysters and found a good tradition, start the day with a dozen oysters. The Economy Hall Tent is a great refuge tent with excellent music, atmosphere, and is centrally located. I was learning the culture of each stage or tent. Some days, I’d be at one stage or tent, on other days, I’d be back and forth in neighboring stages, on other days I’d be going back and forth from one side to the far side of the moon, the other side. Each day had spectacular shows and too many times I had to choose one over another or see half of each show. If I hadn’t seen the group, that was the first tiebreaker; after that it was a crapshoot.
The first weekend had new artists I hadn’t seen: Steely Dan, John Hammond, Boz Scaggs, John Mayall, and Amanda Shaw. There were those I had seen before, Michael McDonald, Herbie Hancock, and Wayne Shorter. And there were some of more local favorites: Panorama Jazz Band, the subdues, Gal Holiday, Osborne, Benoit, and the Iguanas. All of these acts and others were fabulous because this was the Jazz Fest. John Mayall stuck out because he was not scheduled. He is 84 and put on a great show, a show worthy of his 1972 era.
The second weekend had the same menu but for four days, one more than last weekend. After three days of sun from the first weekend, I had experienced a rain here by going to Chazfest. It was rain practice. I was prepared for the next four days, which would have three days of rain, the first and last two. Over these days I followed themes like Cajun or Brass bands or blues or stages. I was becoming more comfortable with the Fair Grounds. During these four days I would learn how to survive the Fest. On Thursday I started with some Cajun and was surprised by Brandi Carlile and pleased to see Tedeschi Truck Band. Friday was a brass day high lighted by Aurora Nealand and Elvin Bishop. Saturday was best remembered because the day ended at 5 and not 7 because of the rain and the damage to my awning. High lights were Jon Batiste and Dr. John. A surprise was Ingrid Lucia. Sunday was a day of tributes, Allen Toussaint and BB King with Bonnie Raitt sandwiched in between.
My overall summations for me have John Mayall, Jon Batiste, Bonnie Raitt, Boz Scaggs, Steely Dan my favorite memories as well as some locals like Aurora Nealand and Craig Field. I love the culture of this event and plan on doing it again. It is addicting.

Sunday, May 1, 2016

Jazz Fest Day Six

It was cool when woke but soon it heated up and brought in the humidity. The festival radio told us rain is 100%. I dressed and packed accordingly. I decided to wear my tevas, which was a great decision. I took my cap, a raincoat, and an umbrella. The telephone pole I had yesterday is available and I take it. I’m in before 11, which is when the music starts. I head over to Lagniappe Stage to get a dozen oysters to start the day. While slurping them down, I hear the opening act, Kerry Grombacher. After consuming my last oyster, I walked the track to Gentilly Stage to see Paul Sanchez and The Rolling Road Show. There were eleven musicians on stage and over the first hour seven more musicians appeared to sing a song or two. Craig Klein of Bonerama and Jazz Vipers was on stage. The man is like Aurora Nealand, in lots of bands and is creative. Knowing I’d be real active later, I decided to leave halfway so I could get a seat in the Economy Hall Tent to hear some good old New Orleans music from Louisiana Repertory Jazz Ensemble. Most of the members of the brass and old school jazz bands wore white shirts and ties. The clarinets, the saxophones, trombones, sousaphones, and other horns and woodwinds backed by the drums, bass, piano, and guitar decorate the stage and seeps ever so soothingly and enticingly into my ears when I suddenly jump to my feet, grab my umbrella and join the second line weaving about the hall and gently returned to my seat. During the short break, I had a snack, the yogurt. While eating and waiting for the next show, it will only take twenty minutes, I check in on the results of English Football. Arsenal won, as did the Hammers. Tomorrow The Foxes play at The Red Devils; while the Citizens visit the Saints. On Monday, My Spurs are at the Blues, a London Derby. A win is crucial for my Spurs. And I’d love to see Man U beat Leister City.
The new show begins on time, The Palm Court Jazz Band featuring Sammy Rimington. I don’t join this second line. I leave halfway through to hear Ingrid Lucia at Lagniappe Stage. I find a seat in one of the little alcoves that line the far side of the Hall. With a large group this is a great place to make a base camp especially with kids and on a day like this and oysters are here. Ingrid puts on a great show especially when she crotches down and talks to us. She puts on a great show. She’s a local so I can find a show in town. I leave with plenty of time to trek down the track to Acura Stage where I plan to be the rest of the day with possible trips to Blues Tent and Jazz Tent between shows at Acura. That’s the plan. I’m at Acura ten minutes early and find a good spot near the stage for Jon Batiste & Stay Human. I was hoping Stephen Colbert was going to be here to introduce the band. He wasn’t and should have been since they had a serious problem with the sound that lasted twelve minutes and he could have entertained us. When they began they played Humanism, the theme song for Colbert’s show. From there Jon directed the band and us through the show as he danced around the stage playing and directing. The solos and the wonderful rendition of the Star Spangled Banner were powerful. His question of politics, “Why’d you do that?” was played beautifully. And finally taking us back to our childhood when he asked, “If you’re happy and you know it, clap your hands.” After the show I headed over to the Blues Tent, but it is beginning to rain and I head into the picnic tent between the Blues tent and the Jazz tent to eat lunch, egg salad and yoohoo. I sit at the end of a table and sit on my handy dandy camp seat I take out of my backpack and assemble and then sit and eat. It is raining harder now and people are beginning to find cover and listen the Jeremy Davenport. I’m lucky I did this as I have a place. I sit there twenty minutes as I eat, listen to sweet music, and let the Acura stage get changed. I figure it will take me ten minutes to get to a spot before Dr. John steps out on stage. Drainage down here is not good since we are below river and sea level, which is why it is always so humid here. After a couple of songs I need to put on my hat and raincoat and soon thereafter I have to open the umbrella. As Dr. John and the Nite Trippers play, the rain gets harder and the wind bigger. Jon Batiste made an appearance for two or three songs. The show ends a bit earlier as the rain is coming in on the stage and there is lightening and thunder. Suddenly the skies open up and the rain comes down and the wind drives. Everyone is soaked; umbrellas are useless and get turned inside out with the wind. I head to the side of a building. I find one and hold my umbrella over me in raincoat and hat with a protected backpack. Since we had a forty-five minute break between Dr. John and the next show, Stevie Wonder, I plan to make my way to the food line and get an alligator pie. I make it to the Economy Tent, as the rain gets heavy again. When it lets up again I find a gator pie and eat it as I make my back to Acura through rivers of water. The track is clear, but not the field and paddock area. In some places the water is up to my calf. The rain has really slowed down and I’m hopeful for the show to go on. As I arrive I hear people yelling Stevie’s name and I see him being walked on stage. I don’t notice that there are no instruments on stage. As I make my way through the crowd for a spot, he is trying to talk to us, but there is no sound and even a bullhorn is useless. We get the message, no show. I turn around and decide to head to Buddy Guy at the Blues tent, which was where I was going to go to after an hour of Stevie to get the last hour of Buddy. As I make my way to the Blues Tent, I discover that the entire day has been called because of rain. Wow. How often does that happen? Some folks are outraged and yelling that in all their years here this has never happened. Resigned I head for the bike. It is 5 and it has stopped raining and I think at least I won’t have to ride in this rain. I’m wading across the Fair Grounds and find the track dry because of the superior drainage, and then when I get to the street where my bike is parked it is flooded. The water is halfway up the front gear and the back derailleur is under water. I take care of my bikes so I’m not worried. I unlock the bike and walk it to a place where I can see both pedals and mount and swim the streets of New Orleans to my car, which is high and dry. I am soaked as I rode with the raincoat draped over the backpack a la super hero mode to keep it dry. But I’m soaked. It is lightly raining as I take off the raincoat and my shirt and place them on the floor mat in the passenger side. In my soaked shorts, I put the bike on the car and get a jacket out of the back of the car and put that on but leave it open as it is hot and humid. Before I get in, I take off my shorts and then as I sit on my seat I move my boxers to my knees so I don’t soak the seat and dry off some. The drive home is uneventful and I arrive to discover my awning down. I pull up my drawers and jump out, assess the damage and take the disconnected support arm and raise the awning and then clean up the knocked over grill. After assessing the problem as the rain began again, I left it up and would do further assessment and perhaps some kind of repair, when it stops raining. I hang my wet clothes on the clothesline and retire inside to get into dry clothes. I grab a beer and relax as the rain begins again. When it stops, I go outside and discover the awning is full of water. Even though I have it tilted the water has gathered in large sacks. This must have been what happened earlier. There was so much rain so quickly it didn’t drain and boom down it came. I lowered the right side to the lowest point and all the water ran off. This is the rake I had when I went into town this morning, too. I was in that rain at the Festival, too. The awning still works since I can still use the leg, but now I must order the part and replace it. How often will this happen with the Scamp? Constant attention is required of these camping divas. Instead of going into town, I’d rather spend time at home this Saturday night and not in NOLA during Jazz Fest. It has to be crazy in town and it is still raining off and on. I have next week, after all the Fest goers will have gone home and NOLA is calmer then this weekend and last week. Post Fest NOLA is beautiful everyone says. It is sort of like Assateague after Labor Day. I need a good night’s sleep in preparation for tomorrow the last day. I have to pace myself.