Thursday, December 12, 2013

Sunday, December 01, 2013


I've been pretty experimental with leftovers from Thanksgiving this year. On Friday I spent the day making turkey first gumbo ever. My palate is not as refined as a true Cajun but I thought it turned out pretty darn good. I've distributed a couple of jars to some local friends to get the true taste test. So far one positive review has come back.

Today I am trying out an idea I had for the leftover stuffing. Cramming it into an artichoke and making a Thanksgiving stuffed artichoke. never know.

Wednesday, November 27, 2013

CES Cru - Juice Feat. Tech N9ne

One too many cups of coffee this evening...although that is is helping me with some writing that I am a little behind on but just pushing up to a deadline with. This is the tune that is on repeat. Like it or hate it, I think you will understand my caffeinated state when you listen to this one. PS - This one is NSFW.

I don't know, maybe it is just me. I'm a fan of bluegrass, country, jazz, Americana, classical music and any other genre you can name I think. I can listen to this beat and appreciate the pace, rhythm and flow of hip hop and am pretty much in awe at the speed and flow of this work.

Monday, November 25, 2013


It's been a few years…but I couldn't stay away from coaching forever. As a result, I am now helping out at a local HS this year. To top it all off, I have taken on the role of coaching our keepers, a position I have taken up in our coed league and on occasion have been known to succeed at. Seriously. I'm not kidding. Anyway, with a new season starting up, I'm glad to re-launch the Coach posts from BOB's past.

Keeper practice today was at 4 pm in 40 degree weather and full on rain. Felt like 34. I had a couple field players come to help out and execute some finishing drills so all told, there were 6 of us out there on the artificial turf in freezing weather. When it comes to keeper practice, it doesn't get more extreme than that I think.

Coach: Guys, let's make sure we stretch our our hamstrings a lot. It's freezing out here. In fact, if you are under the age of 35 and your back hurts, it probably has to do with your hamstrings being too tight.

5 freezing players: Yes sir.

Coach: Now, if you're like me, and your back hurts, you're just old.

Player: Coach, you're not that old.

Coach: Good answer.

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

Sometimes I thought I could live there forever...

I have my "go to" musicians for specific times or moods. NIN or Beethoven for when I am writing proposal responses - wide swing in tastes there but I find that either works wonders for my creative writing skills. Ludovico Einaudi is reserved for when I need to relax and escape. I've been enjoying his album In a Time Lapse recently. If you have never listened to his compositions before, you are in for a special treat if you pick up this or any other pieces from his catalogue.  Here he is talking about his work.

Here is the official video for Walk, off of the same album. Enjoy.

Monday, October 14, 2013

...and I'm never going back again

"For all the anarchy of the place, it was sometimes easy to miss the changes. A new checkpoint went up on Sadoon Street, Al-Qaeda crept into Adamiyah: those were easy. The deeper changes were more difficult to spot: the shifts in the culture, the turnings inside people's brains. The confusion lay in the violence. After witnessing a car bomb, or wading through a bloody emergency room, I sometimes forgot that violence in Iraq had a shape; that it had a direction, that the violence had a purpose. So much violence and so many purposes, all of them competing and crashing into one another, reshaping the country in their own distinctive ways. In the madness, it was sometimes hard to see." - Dexter Filkins, The Forever War
"What's the angle of deviation at 500 meters that gives you 2 inches to the right?...You don't even want to think about that." - Sebastian Junger, War

I've been meaning to share this recommendation for the past month and find myself with some idle time on my hands as we enter another week of the government shutdown which allows me to catch up. In addition, I was inspired to share this book because of a related recommendation from a dinner guest at our house last night (more on that in a moment).

The Forever War is written by Dexter Filkins, the prizewinning NYT correspondent who witnessed the rise of the Taliban in the 90s, experienced ground zero immediately following 9/11 and was embedded with armed forces in Afghanistan and Iraq. Following the two novels I have read this year about the impacts of the conflict(s) in the Middle East on soldiers, families and locals, Filken's dispatches from the front lines hit home with honest to God true stories of events that in all other circumstances beyond war, you would have a hard time believing.

This book invoked a series of emotions in me ranging from awe at people's courage in times of conflict, frustration with the blinders we see through that influence these global conflicts, to sorrow and horror at some of the visceral scenes that you experience through the author's eyes. It is intense and in my mind, a must read for anyone who wants to try to understand the complexity of the front line in the Middle East.

On to dinner: We had a few friends over last night and one of them recommended a podcast I had never heard of called The Moth. Per their website, The Moth...
" dedicated to the art and craft of storytelling. It is a celebration of both the raconteur, who breathes fire into true tales of ordinary life, and the storytelling novice, who has lived through something extraordinary and yearns to share it. At the center of each performance is, of course, the story..."
Specifically, he recommended one podcast from Sebastian Junger, an American journalist who worked on assignment in Afghanistan and co-directed the documentary film Restrepo (2010 Grand Jury Prize winner at the Sundance Film Festival; nominated for an Academy Award). It's a short yet powerful story told by Sebastian and if you have 10 minutes to spare, it will make a difference in your day and echo for quite some after. It is called War and you can listen to it by clicking here.

The preview for Restrepo is below.

The Gods of Gotham by Lindsay Faye

I can never quite fathom what she wanted of me. Not even in the dream. Only what she turned me into. - Timothy Wilde in The Gods of Gotham.

Historical fiction is one of my favorite genres. The Gods of Gotham is set in the middle of the nineteenth century and explores New York City at an inflection point in its history. In 1800, NYC clocked in at about 60,000 residents. By 1850, that number had reached half a million. Lindsay Faye's characters are set in the middle of this city bursting at its seams, struggling to cope with the influx of Irish immigrants arriving as a result of the disastrous potato famine hitting Ireland. Protestant vs. Catholic. Nativists vs. immigrants. The political machine of Tammany hall. The formation of the NYPD. This is the true setting for a mystery with a bartender turned "copper star," sparring with a brutal killer at its center. If you enjoy period pieces, this is one to throw on your to-do list.

Friday, September 20, 2013

So life take all your terror

"And I recall when I thought I had a plan 
The sun and moon and stars seemed to slip right through my hands 
But remember that failure is part of being alive 
I guess I let it take away my pride 
One too many times." 
- John Moreland, God's Medicine

I'm not quite sure how to introduce this music. But I do know he is coming to Lafayette, LA on November 3rd and I know I will be there. Here is one of many songs that pretty much made me stop what I was doing tonight, read lyrics, and watch him sing this song at least three times.

I’ve been living with a curse
Combing through the pages of my youth
There’s a million soggy miles
Soaking through the soles of my shoes
And I’ve been staying up all night
I don’t give a damn to sleep anymore
My eyelids are heavy
But my dreams don’t sing like before
And I apologize a thousand times for holding up the show
I always had the words, but they don’t quite know where to go
You said give me one good reason, now give me 20 more
Don’t give yourself away to settle someone else’s score
I got the guiltiest conscience
Listening for a savior on a Saturday night
I got my ear to the ground
You got Easter Sunday in your eyes
And I apologize if I seem a little overwhelmed
I’m thirsty, but the holy keep on pissing in my well
I had a purpose and a song that was true
But I ain’t ever had a lick of sense when it comes to you
So try to be patient, try to understand
I’m a child, trying to do the work of a man
My pockets are empty, I don’t own a thing
But I’d take a diamond from the sky and put it in your ring

And as a bonus, here is a song called God's Medicine. Really excited to see John swing through Lafayette. The quote at the top of this post is from the tune below.

Thursday, August 29, 2013

I got a plan

Ok. Trying something new with the Monthly Mix. Underneath the track listing you will find an embedded playlist from YouTube to hear the entire mix...kind of. The mix has mostly studio versions but YouTube provides a chance to grab some live performances of the same songs, so where available, and where the sound quality was good, I took that route. There was only one song that I couldn't find an acceptable cut of so track 19 won't be found below. Enjoy.

1. Get Me Golden    Ξ  Terraplane Sun
2. I Want You Back  Ξ  Lake Street Dive
3. Sunshine  Ξ  Court Yard Hounds
4. Live Oak  Ξ  Jason Isbell
5. Silver and Gold  Ξ  Trampled By Turtles
6. Highwayman  Ξ  The White Buffalo
7. Sinners  Ξ  The Rouge
8. She's Gone  Ξ  The Morrison Brothers Band
9. Dig Down Deep  Ξ  Vandaveer
10. Love Will Be Enough  Ξ  Seabird
11. Ya Never Know  Ξ  Terraplane Sun
12. Further On  Ξ  Bronze Radio Return
13. Love Like This  Ξ  Kodaline
14. Operated  Ξ  Rogue Wave
15. What It Is  Ξ  Kodaline
16. Grow  Ξ  Wake Owl
17. I Don't Want to Know  Ξ  The Swell Season
18. Rivers  Ξ  Bipolar Sunshine
19. Bastards of the Highway  Ξ  John Moreland & The Black Gold Band
20. I Need My Girl  Ξ  The National
21. Memories & Dust  Ξ  Josh Pyke
22. Des Fois (Sometimes)  Ξ  The Revelers  

Sunday, August 25, 2013

The Old Buck is Turning 80

About 130 years ago, James Louis LaBar Sr. was born and started off a chain of events that would lead me to the side of a pond yesterday in East Texas, listening to a pretty blonde woman in an aqua colored sun dress explain to me how a nest of water moccasins had made a home next to their house which led to a weekend chore of "sitting up on this hill and popping them with my 17." Shelby is my cousin, who I am meeting for the first time. She grew up on 40 acres of God's country with grass that crunches under your feet on a ranch built by her father Bruce off the sale of timber. 

It's times like these when you wonder where North Branch, NJ went but these thoughts are quickly overtaken by the discovery of a Tarzan lunch box rusted over, keeping a set of bull horns company in Bruce's shed out back where fish and deer are cleaned and old bottles of Wild Turkey are used to collect some sort of miscellaneous liquid that could either be moonshine or grease. 

My Aunt Jeanette passed away in July, Uncle Gary back in 2009. Their family home in Natchitoches, TX, our shelter from multiple storms not only provided us a safe haven but also provided an immediate stage for stories from my family's past. With this as a home base this past summer, we've seen the family grave of James Sr. as well as the old family house where my father grew up that is now a Vietnam War memorial and a monument for the work done by Lufkin locals to recover pieces of the space shuttle Columbia that scattered itself throughout town. We've found the abandoned drive-thru movie theater that my Uncle Gary used to manage and jokingly dreamed about re-opening its doors to the public to launch a new adventure.

Grave site of James Louis LaBar, Sr in Lufkin, TX

Me and Aunt Judy on the old LaBar family lot in Lufkin.

Natchitoches is where we first met Buddy Williams, a cousin of mine who turned 80 yesterday. A side of the family that I have never known and still cannot quite follow through the web of a rather confusing family tree that has roots in East Texas, winds its way up to Canada and spreads west to California. It's here that I meet Buddy's son Scott, who has traced our family back to 1654 when Abraham De LaBarre, a Royal Guard of the King of France disobeyed an order to save the King's daughter and gave rise to the family name. It is Scott who introduces me to "one of the last real cowboys," who in between large quantities of chew, accent and stories about the tires on his truck declares that all the new ones are really just "hats."

Williams Ranch in East Texas

It's not often you get to eat fried catfish and hush-puppies with a side of your family that you did not really know existed, celebrate the 80th birthday of a cousin you are meeting for the second time, meet a friend of his who worked in the Lufkin paper mill for your grandfather Jimmy, possibly side by side with your own dad, or even chat about popping water snakes with a pretty cousin of yours all in a single day. Happy Birthday Buddy!

Me, Carlee and our cousin Buddy Williams

Sunday, August 18, 2013

Mandolin Orange

Discovered this band this weekend courtesy of Hear Ya and am pretty sure that not only is it excellent, it makes me want to use the adjective "pure." Great for some lazy weekend reading out on the back porch here in Lafayette.

Train Song:

Runnin' Red

Wednesday, August 07, 2013

Best Friends

These two hang out in our back yard a lot. I'm not quite sure that the squirrel understands most of the things Jozy says to him...but she is pretty persistent in trying to get her message across.

Monday, August 05, 2013

The Book of Jonas - Stephen Dau

"Where do you go in your mind?" asks Paul, and Jonas tells him that sometimes he doesn't know, that sometimes he looks up to realize than an hour or more has passed as he sits in the library, or on the edge of his bed, or on a park bench, and that he has no recollection of it.

"Doesn't that worry you?" asks Paul. "How much time do you spend in this way, drifting and unaware, in your head?"

At first, Jonas doesn't understand the question. Or thinks that maybe he understands it differently from the way Paul intends it. But then he thinks that he does understand, and his face lights up with comprehension.

"Oh, lifetimes," he says at last. "I've spent lifetimes unconscious."

Inspired in part by my recent read of The Yellow Birds by Kevin Powers, I picked this book up recently and found it an interesting follow-up to Powers' book. While The Yellow Birds focused on the impact of the Iraq war on young soldiers, The Book of Jonas focuses on the impact of an unnamed Middle Eastern war on a refugee and his connections to the mother of an American soldier responsible for saving his life. This book was dark. You can feel the shadow of the painful secret that is revealed towards the end from the minute you finish the first paragraph and read this line "In the village they tried to make sense of it."

The Yellow Birds was dark too. Both seemed fitting given the nightmares that come from the inability to find peaceful resolution to our differences.

Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Monday, July 29, 2013

Sunday, July 28, 2013

Garage for Rent

Faint image found in some tin siding on a building in Truckee, CA.

Saturday, July 27, 2013

Motor Lodge Bocce Gondolas in Retro Reno

destined for the screen

1. Riptide  `  Vance Joy
2. Get Lucky (feat. Pharrell Williams)  `  Daft Punk
3. San Francisco  `  The Mowgli's
4. The Lightning Strike (What If This Storm Ends?)  `  Snow Patrol
5. Take Me to Tomorrow  `  Dave Matthews
6. Chain Gang  `  Freshlyground
7. Come Around  `  Transplants
8. Sun up Sun Down (feat. Christian Campbell)  `  Brooke White
9. Darcy Farrow  `  Josh Ritter & Barnstar!
10. The Moorings  `  Andrew Duhon
11. Leeward Side  `  Josh Pyke
12. Paradise  `  City and Colour
13. Young Fathers  `  Typhoon
14. Something Missing (feat. The Mowgli's)  `  Jensen Reed
15. You & I  `  Crystal Fighters
16. I Don’t Mind  `  Sebadoh
17. Fall At Your Feet  `  Boy & Bear
18. From Afar  `  Vance Joy
19. Jolene  `  Ewert and the Two Dragons
20. The Hurry and the Harm  `  City and Colour
21. St. Louis Gal  `  Cécile McLorin Salvant

Saturday, July 20, 2013

Setting Up, God is Cajun, Pig and Pickles


I spent a few hours out at the Lafayette Farmers and Artisans Market at the Horse Farm today, which had extended hours until 2 PM and also included what will become a monthly tradition of a food pavilion filled with local food trucks and other food vendors. The photo above is one of those food trucks setting up to start to serve the early lunch/late breakfast crowd. I made a point to bring out my camera today and relax and take in the scenes. What a great tradition for Saturday mornings.

Breakfast for me consisted of a homemade biscuit with egg, cheese sausage (rumored to be venison but fantastic either way) from MadLuAnn's. Lunch was a rib eye burger topped with local favorite Jack Miller's BBQ sauce. Tough to resist the burger after spending a couple hours smelling the magic off of a grill that had this hat perched on the back.

That's right, it says "God is Cajun." Classic.One of my new weekly favorites is stopping by Bread and Circus's table and seeing what type of salty pig parts and pickled goodness they have conjured up each week. Check out the spread below. That's some homemade tasso, pastrami, bacon and a few different pickled creations that are now all crowding out other things from my fridge.

In addition to the photos found in this post, I took a number of other ones that I am pretty excited about. The slide show is below (full screen it by clicking the expand icon in the lower right of the show) and you can also view the full set by clicking this link in order to get to my Flickr page. Enjoy!

Sunday, July 14, 2013

What Is It, Banjo?

2. Love Me Like the World Is Ending  ~  Ben Lee
4. Nobody Gives a Damn About Songs Anymore  ~  John Moreland
6. The Three Minute Mark  ~  Hallelujah the Hills
7. You & Me  ~  Luke Winslow-King
8. Sea of Love  ~  The National
9. Twin Size Mattress  ~  The Front Bottoms
10. Lifetime  ~  Jack Savoretti
11. The a Team  ~  Ed Sheeran
12. Sweet Tennessee  ~  Judah & the Lion
13. My Old Friend  ~  Sam Amidon
15. High School Lover  ~  Cayucas
16. Bright Sunny South  ~  Sam Amidon
17. Graceless ~  The National
18. Beg Steal or Borrow  ~  Ray LaMontagne & The Pariah Dogs
19. Ísjaki  ~  Sigur Rós
20. Lightning Bolt  ~  Jake Bugg
21. This Is the Last Time  ~  The National

Lafayette Scenes: Loading up at the Market

Another awesome weekend out at the market at the horse farm...picked up some fresh caught drum and threw it on the grill last night with a bit of mesquite and it was fantastic. Also picked up about 3 pounds of pork spareribs from Inglewood. Fig season is starting up. Bought some blackberry bush clippings to see if we could work on our green thumbs.

Here's a shot of the Inglewood Farm stand in action from yesterday.

Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil - John Berendt

"For me, Savannah's resistance to change was its saving grace. The city looked inward, sealed off from the noises and distractions of the world at large. It grew inward, too, like hothouse plants tended to by an indulgent gardener. The ordinary became extraordinary. Eccentrics thrived. Every nuance and quirk of personality achieved greater brilliance in that lush enclosure than would have been possible anywhere else in the world."

"The characters in this book are real." This is the first sentence in this book after you finish it. I found myself saying it over and over actually...the entire time I was reading this non-fiction story about Savannah, it's eccentric personalities and the famous murder trial that occurred there throughout the 80s. The title is derived from the voodoo theme that makes its way into the story as the trial progresses. I won't ruin it for you, but if you are ever in a cemetery near midnight, just know that the half hour before midnight is for doing good, and the half hour after is for evil. Well written, amazingly true and I'm headed to track down the movie based on this book for sure.

Sunday, July 07, 2013

Yeasts of the Southern Wild

When I was a junior in high school, in the Ninth Ward, everybody worked at the Reising Sunrise bakery there,” he says. “My first job, I was just picking up, putting away and cleaning out. But I’d look over at the boys in the bread department, and I’d think to myself, ‘Someday I’m going to be in bread.’”

I posted about Beasts of the Southern Wild back in November of 2012 when it was screened here in Lafayette as a part of the Southern Screen film festival, recommend this movie to my friends, and just recently purchased it so that mother-in-law could watch it while she Jozy-sat for us a few weeks back. It was a pleasant surprise to find this article in the March publication of the Smithsonian magazine, a profile on Dwight Henry, the baker from New Orleans who plays the father in the film. It's a fun little read about his business, his buttermilk drops and the possibilities of his future. Click here to read the article. Road trip anyone?

Here's the trailer for the movie if you have not seen it yet and are interested. Highly recommended.

Saturday, July 06, 2013

Lafayette Scenes: Lining up for some Ruston peaches

Ruston peaches have been a star at the farmer's market for the last few weeks, the line stretching about 10 deep or so at around 9:30 this morning and the peaches keep on coming. These white signs with the red Ruston Peaches lettering are instantly recognizable in this part of the world.

Lafayette Scenes: Music at the Market

Two Cajun musicians at the Market at the Horse Farm in Lafayette, LA.

Friday, July 05, 2013

Lafayette Scenes: Cajun Harley & Johnston

Olympia Coffee Roasting Company

It's been a gradual evolution but I think I have officially crossed the line over into coffee snobbery this past month or so. It's been gradual process that started when we started making a point of visiting micro-roasters when we travel to various cities throughout the year...although, I will confess I was not really expecting to get to a point where I could honestly say that I tasted the difference between different types of roasts, brewing techniques, etc. This past month or so, that has definitely all changed. One of the many triggers, in addition to micro-roaster touring, was how awesome Olympia Coffee Roasting Company's product is tasting in the morning...coming out of a basic french press morning routine that is currently competing against my wife and Jozy for coffee dates/drives in the morning to Starbucks.

I highly recommend this coffee if you enjoy a nice cup of joe. My current favorite is the El Soccoro Maracaturra.

Here's a nicely made video about the company, their coffee and their overall philosophy.

Thursday, July 04, 2013

July 4th

Wishing everyone out there a happy 4th. 

life is fine as it flutters

2. Twenty Miles to NH (Part 2)  ~  The National
3. Venice  ~  The Lighthouse and The Whaler
4. Miles and Mud Tires  ~  Granger Smith
6. Delicate Cycle  ~  The Uncluded
7. Timeless  ~  The Airborne Toxic Event
8. Time to Run  ~  Lord Huron
9. Joshua  ~  Bobby McFerrin
10. Purple Yellow Red and Blue  ~  Portugal. The Man
12. Lightning Bolt  ~  Jake Bugg
13. Invisible  ~  Steve Earle & The Dukes (& Duchesses)
14. There Will Come A Time  ~  Noah and the Whale
15. Dannyboy  ~  Youngblood Hawke
16. MoneyGrabber  ~  Fitz & The Tantrums
17. Little Lovin'  ~  Lissie
18. Most People  ~  Dawes
19. Madness  ~  Aaron Moses
20. Little Vessels  ~  The Lighthouse and The Whaler