Thursday, October 27, 2005

Been out but back

Alright alright, been back for a while fixing my house and fixing my life. Like the whole city. The porch is rather sad, all the old regulars are gone or going. Even Yayabo (the man who once shared Papa Rellenas with me). Times are tough in this old town, think I lost my job because it dwelled far to close to the levees and the dreaded 9th ward. However, like the Yi Jing told me, enjoy the time and drink. That I have been doing- incredibly. I have a friend over that is a monster connoisser and he has gotten me into drinking wine, specifically spanish wines.

Now a heavy rum drinker like me, it is tough to drink wine. I mean you by a bottle of rum do not expect to finish it, at all. You buy a bottle of wine, and you could thunder right through it. Yet slowly my palate seems to be adjusting. Plus what the man has provided with it. Yesterday he made a sazon of onions, garlic and olive oil then threw in two huge chorizos (Spanish blood sausage that makes everything around it the color of Safron) and had a sort of fondu in the cast iron with French bread (pictures pending). Drank two bottles had a wonderful time and calming walk about the neighborhood afterwards.

Sometimes the deluge brings new beginnings

Sunday, September 25, 2005

Countdown to Home

Looks like we are leaving back to the Crescent in a few days. All reports state that we are fine, our area is dry. The porch has continued in exile long enough, now it is time to return to the homeland. I want to go home purely for health reasons. Last couple of days been gulping the rum and ice, eating the fried out pork fat, congri, yucca at later and later hours in the day. Cramming odd Latin foods down my gullet at stranger and stranger times. That is fine if I was a Latin Jazz band leader with Machito or Tito Puente, but little old me, I am sorry. Never passed gas like this before.

So now the mad Hispanic family dash is on! The relative are leaving. For reasons that I cannot understand, no one comes to see me. Everyone wants us to come over there, a lechon here, a mojito there, pampero in Hialeah, dominoes in Kendall. Next time I either will visit Miami clandestinely, like a Communist, or wait for cloning technology to be perfected. It is impossible!

So I sit here on the virtual porch burping and farting, waiting for another invitation to calories that I have no way of burning, as my liver works like an old air conditioner in South Florida- as in barely functioning!

Monday, September 19, 2005


Alright comon, someone has a problem with me somewhere. Here in Miami, chilling all is well, with the family, porching and drinking and having a lovely time. The nights have been filled with immense amounts of Cuban food and rum. Bad news is that unlike my native town, you cannot buy liquor in any supermarket like you can in Louisiana (Catholics are such pleasant alcoholics)

(By the way Miami is odd in the way of porching, not only do houses not have porches exactly, but the people hardly use them. You see everyone in this town seemed to have been born in a very cold hospital. Air conditioning is in their blood, it permeates them. Every house in city, well the
new ones, are nothing but refridgerated boxes. Gone are the high ceilings, narrow windows, and courtyards of classical tropical architexture. No everything is made to maximize the air conditioning seal. They cannot live without it. Only problem is that it is contagious- you will note the examples I have provided. Try porching on that laboratory slide).

Then out of nowhere comes this other THING called Rita, I swear it seems like I am watching a hurricane parade during Mardi Gras. Well there is a good idea that will be put to no use, a Carnival parade of hurricanes. Just like to see the people that find humor in that!

Now Rita is battering Key West, and is probably going to turn to at least threaten New Orleans. The mayor even cancelled the repopulation. Besides, what am I going to do? Return to the city and wait for the thing to hit me right in the face? I think not. I will just simply wait here, stearing at my family's one billion movie channels on satellite and enjoy the back patio.

Oh wait those movies depend on electricity right?

Saturday, September 10, 2005

Virtual Porch, literally

So here it is, in exile, traveling from porch to porch, and kitchen to kitchen, living off the generosity of others. Waiting for Venice to again rise from the waters. The porch has become totally virtually now, where my drink and keyboard marks where I will sit and watch the world go by. Thank you to all those in New Iberia that helped us gather our energy and strength for the long drive to Miami. When the shit hits the fan it seems that everyone from the Caribbean eventually falls into this town.

To the left, is the porch that we harbored in New Iberia. Moored, we enjoyed a few days of contemplation, walking up and down Main Street. Hugs and bows of appreciation to the DuBois Family for being so kind with their own little Hurricane Relief, on a personal level. Screened in, overlooking a fantastic backyard with hammock and patio chairs. There I smoked a great San Luis Rey from City Newstand in Lafayette, lovely little cigar shop with a killer selection of magazine from all over.

Visited restaurants that serve amazing food. Little River Inn stands out among them. Great food, authentic, with a familiarity that made us question our place of residence.

Our host, an avid camping chef and hunter, cooked for us a bonanza of wild cuisine.
Case in point is to the right, this thing was an amazing duck breast wrapped in cream cheese, bacon, and jalapeno. Tasted like a small pinata of flavor had just erupted in my mouth. With that meals cooked and prepared with such care, something that the Red Cross could never even touch. Thank you oh so very much for those ten pounds I gained of Iberian hospitality.

Katrina is far behind us as I check for updates on the neighborhood. Checked the house, no problems, the storm spared us the worst of its furry. That we are thankful for in the extreme.

Miami there before us, simply waiting, the whole family wanting us to come down. We will use that place as a cocoon, gather our strength to return. I have been thinking of making a 139 court barbecue and collect money for relief. Not to worry, not my own.

Monday, September 05, 2005

Getting Better

The situation about town, so I hear, now that this porch has gone completely virtual, is that security is alot tighter. So saddened to hear about the rampant looters. I really thought that New Orleans was different, that people were much more liason fiare with their lives. Apparently I overestimated things quite a bit. Our police, bless them, are doing wonderfully. They are holding the savages back.

The casual drinking is continuuing, found an eleven dollar bottle of Bacardi Select, nice and think, sipping it with Lime club soda. Oh so very nice here in this Cajun back porch.

The odd thing is that now I know what my family went through when they went to exile. Exile sucks. Yet my family was much worse off, I mean they could never go back, ever. That must be the worst thing in the world.

Amazing how much our trivial and ritualistic lives cling to us. Just with a cup of coffee or the robe that I left behind. I am used to a life where I go until about 10 am without changing out of pajamas, just enjoying the porch for hours and hours. And now I have none of those sacred movements. Luckily we did not flood, its just a matter of waiting in that line to get into Jefferson Parish. We are waiting for the insanity of that line to die down, and making sure that security is not a problem. As much as I would love to blow a looter away, just do not want to be in that situation.

I think there are pictures in the future of this blog, I have one that I have to download from the camera. So stay tuned grab a drink and enjoy, comment as you wish, or guestbook us.

Virtually porching,


Thursday, September 01, 2005

The Soup Bowl

New Orleans is the new ground zero. 80% of New Orleans is Venice, Italy. There are looters in the streets taking from shops, why they are not shot I have no idea. Things are going really bad for us. The porch is lonely with sheets of water almost touching it. We have no idea where the porch ends and the water begins. I am not sure when New Orleans will be back to normal, if at all ever. All I know is that from these moments on time will be told by BK or AK, and when I am older, people will not be talking about Camille or Betsy anymore, just this one. And this was a big one at that. Schools are closed, no power, no electricity, martial law with people running around the streets watching for looters. It feels like Eastern Europe when the fall of the curtain happened.

The odd thing is that everyone saw it coming, but no one saw it hit. We did not know. New Orleans enjoyed a fairy tale, nearly god-like status. Much like cardiologists that smoke or psychiatrists that pop more pills than their patients. We watched storm after storm just clip us, and this one just clipped us too. But unfortunately it clipped the Lake too. Gee thanks to those original French brothers, Bienville and Iberville, for putting this city at the bottom of the bathtub.

But I have been on many forums, and the city is still alive. Aside from those accursed looters that I hear about, people are pulling together. There is a light at the end of this drain, though I cannot see it right now. The spirit of the posters is monstrous. You can see it at the forums of and That fills me with some sort of hope. Our Rome is drowning, but long live Rome.

Yes, Rome is drowning and burning, and the picture above is one of those few Neros, bless him, that can find the time and energy to fiddle as the flames kick at our heals.

Sunday, August 28, 2005

From Crescent to Venice

It is finally happening. The one great apocalypse that those insane sign wavers talked about inthe Frenxh Quarter. The 'Big Wind' is here. Sky becoming black as I pull out the lap top onto this ancient porch. May very well be the last transmission from this place. Yayabo is still drinking, and the granfather of this place, Don Ron, will not leave, insisting that I fry up more plantains- that the smoke from the cigar is perfect and he cannot abandon this place.

I feel like I am on a ship, and I cannot leave- dont want toleave. Yes, the waves comes and go, like spiraling thoughts in a drunken mind. But the Bayou don't look that bad. Bad. That is the only thing that the damn radio says, so the few remaining us shut it off. Knowing it is the vital reason why everyone takes batteries. I mean here I am looking at an entire barrel of Caribbean rum, from the island of my blood birth- and....

Damn Riggs calling from his Escalade- dammit!

Sunday, August 21, 2005

August Sweat

Getting bad on the porch, I look out of it this morning waiting for the shade to overcome the chairs and palms- eat up the Victorian trim as I sip some coffee. It is hot here in New Orleans and I find the shutters on all my windows closed. Come about two o clock the inside of the house begins to pressure cook. Humid, evaporating water, the kind you are wet even after drying yourself from a cold shower. Some people even just go to bed with a cold wet. Definitely not a tourist season now in this weather. You can hear the compressors bulging as the noon comes upon us. Almost like a quiet disaster movie flaming around us. Like old people flocking away to malls, we go off to bars and restaurants, not to eat or drink but just to pay rent on their air conditioning.

I just hate hearing people complain about the heat. We all know it is seathing, sweating, and purifying, that we feel like sweet fruits ripening and then rotting in the sun, but dammit do so many people have to actually think about it? As long as there is an ice maker in my house I am happy. There is the answer. But I confess the grand sport or game of porching is rather difficult, but delicious at night- when pagans rise to the blessing of a breeze that comes so sporadically

Looking up, all of us hoping the lantern on the porch will swing with a merciful breeze. But complain about it? Never!

Saturday, August 13, 2005

Dragon Altar

I know, I know, another neglected blog, another neglected porch that no longer handles a purpose. Well on an archetypal level, the summer may be almost over. So perish the thought I may actually feel the need to do something, gods I hope not. The porch witnessed the biggest barbecue this side of the river in a long time. Burned my hands and everything. I adore my barbecue pit, the massive fast iron altar to the lords of fire. When I grille or barbecue, I honestly feel like I am summoning the forces of evil into the earth. Fire be good. Perhaps it is the basic instincts that dominate us, that rule us, which create the staisfaction that comes with burning edible flesh. It is one of the few male dominated fetishes that I can actually plug into. How can you beat 3 million years of evolution?

Saturday, July 30, 2005

High Roller's Stag Bar

For T and F,

The Neighborhood Bar, the pub, the tavern, four elaborate and ancient walls caught in a time pocket. Call it a time capsule pickled and preserved in alcohol. Do not tread in these walls if ye subscribe to political correctness, hate card playing, mind smoking or need a sterile scent in the air to drink. This is where the times have been taken, thrown into a box made of time and forgotten. Here men speak like they did 50 years ago. It is a wondrous time when the gang of the porch, Yayabo, Ash, even Fu, come by here for a drink. Worthy of that trip across a river that is like crossing a nation. Sleepy and unchanged, just the way I like it.

We do drink here, the workers from the Zatarain's factory down the river road, the judges, the old retired men that remember when this neighborhood was filled with longshoreman spending their hard earned coin on a local, and illegal casino. Within this pub the men remember, and even agree, with segregation and racism. The ancient judges of the courthouse a few blocks away drink here, the onces that spy from cityhall with their drinks in their hand at lunch. Right next here to the common ground.

Drinks are 2 and 2.50 except if you order beer, then you can drink forever. Come by and ask for Mrs. D, she may even have some monstrous pork cracklin for you that ya can get just down the road on Paris.

Wednesday, July 27, 2005


I thought I would take this opportunity to say hello and thanks to everyone that is dropping by the porch. It is a rare lazy life we enjoy here on this porch overlooking Bayou St. John. At times it appears here at times there. Is this true or fiction, well are not the lines blurred when we drink from a special glass?

So if you drop by, do me the favor of signing that guest book over there. Just move the bottle of San Judas rum and I will get to it. In the meantime, relax and notice how nicely the sun shines through piles of icecubes in this tanned glass.

Papa Day

Surely no one expected a post from me yesterday. I, or we. were recovering from a day of stuffed potato cakes (link below). Yayabo and I spent the day lounging about making the papas. Well I cooked the picadillo (with raisins and olives no less, probably one of the best I have made. I have become such an expert at making it), and then set to cook the potatoes. All the while going back from the porch to the kitchen to the bridge (my name for my game room) where Yayabo sat humming Brazilian samba and blasting aliens, Nazis, and robots (something he calls 'Gun Porn').

I made a huge mistakes with the potatoes. Instead of fork mashing them, I whipped them, thinking I was being all slick. Well that was the word, slick. I cooled them and when Yayabo and I went to make them, we found it infinitely hard to turn mashed potatoes into balls.

The answer? FLOUR. Lots of it. Nothing better (except eggs) to make food stick together. We made the balls alright (the image of Yayabo's percussion hands covered with a thick layer of breading goop, will always live in my memory), but we had an ocean of bread crumbs and flour all over the counter and the floor. Not to worry my two dogs raced to the occasion, and had the floor cleaned in seconds. The desert of crumbs, flour, and a glowing yellow river of egg were a different story but all turned out well.

I love frying. Perhaps it is instinctual but I adored dumping those lovely cakes into a cast iron pot over a fire. Now some broke apart as the hot oil ate away at our meager coating. Also I wish I had put more meat into the center, but like I said, with mashed potatoes- who could have done it?

We got about 12 solid balls, and ate well here and there, always with a staff of rum beside us. Lovely and good Mount Gay, from Barbados. Just sweet enough. Now a good mixing rum is Flor de Cana Extra Dry. Surprised me beyond belief. Diet Coke and Coke pouring here and there.

I had so many leftovers,and since I am a kind of culinary missionary, I brought the papas to my neighbors and exchanged them for crabcakes and fried shrimp- wonderful. Then since a friend of ours closed on her house around the corner, I made a tray of everything I had, and a bottle of Marques de Caceres (I adore Spanish wines) and headed on over. The only article of furniture she had was a rug- thus a makeshift picnic started.

All the while Yayabo blasting away in the bridge.

Did I mention the next day? No? Good!

Sunday, July 24, 2005

Papas Rellenas

Not necessarily happy with the last post, I just did not want it to be the first thing people see. Going to think that I'm a full Taoist or something.Thus I am posting once again. Tomorrow should be event filled. Yayabo, musician and my oldest friend, called saying he needed the porch. He is shipping out on some concert tour, and needed Papas Rellenas- Stuffed Potatoes.

Its made with picadillo or ground beef hash stuffed into breaded potato balls which are then deep fried. It is quite labor intensive, but I may have my friends come in and do the labor intensive part. Rum bottles are also on their way. It is a staple of the Cuban diet, and one of my all time favourites.

The website linked above contains a multitude of recipes from around the world. Rather colorful and informative; especially if you like flags.

Saturday, July 23, 2005


In every single journal I have created, I have a copy of this to remind me of things; keep me on the path and all that:

A Warrior’s Creed

I have no parents: I make the heaven and earth my parents.
I have no home: I make awareness my home.
I have no life or death: I make the tides of breathing my life and death.
I have no divine power: I make honesty my divine power.
I have no means: I make understanding my means.
I have no magic secrets: I make character my magic secret.
I have no body: I make endurance my body.
I have no eyes: I make the flash of lightning my eyes.
I have no ears: I make sensibility my ears.I have no limbs:
I make promptness my limbs.I have no strategy:
I make “unshadowed by thought” my strategy.
I have no designs: I make “seizing opportunity by the forelock” my strategy.
I have no miracles: I make right action my miracle.
I have no principles: I make adaptability to all circumstances my principles.
I have no tactics: I make emptiness and fullness my tactics.
I have no talents: I make ready wit my talent.
I have no friends: I make my mind my friend.
I have no enemies: I make carelessness my enemy.
I have no armor: I make benevolence and righteousness my armor.
I have no castle: I make immovable-mind my castle.
I have no sword: I make absence of self my sword.

~ anonymous 14th century samurai

Rum's Translator and a Cohiba

A cloud passes as the church bells ring the hour of four. The sun is annoyingly bright, and I only wish for another shower to give me an excuse to plunge into the droll of the day.

The porch is lonely today, hungover and full of acid. Usually I enjoy hangovers, wonderful moments in life that allow you to take time and be yourself. But how can I feel so wonderful if I mixed rum, beer, and wine into my concoction. Tis was not an easy cup that I wielded last night and now I am paying for it.

Columbians really know how to drink. They make something called a consumme and you it just before you go out into the live streets. Yes it is true, I drink on the occasional drive but it never has gotten in my way. Got an interesting call from a friend in Mid-City, I had to interpret for him and his girlfriend over Flor de Cana Extra Dry (that reminds me I need to post my favorite cigars, rums and so on), Coronas, and Montecillo. Apparently my words, a simultaneous interpretation (which means that three people are talking at the same time) began. It is the first time that I got drunk in two languages. Most of the time I spent waving my hands and shaking my head.

In that night, in the tropical feel that only Mid-City New Orleans can have, I felt closer to my Caribbean roots. Closer to the islands that await me to the south (I say as I yawn and taste rum acid), we talked about spiritismo, religions, economy, culture clashes abound.

Yet there was the night, and as I drove home, I tried to picture the hanging wrought iron lamp here on the porch.

A lighthouse across river and rum.

On this evening I enjoyed a wonderful Cohiba Corona, from the Dominican Republic. While many would smirk at me smoking a Dominican rather than a Cuban- I enjoyed this one more.

It seems that the Dominicans have the patience to actually age the cigars. They taste like aged Cubans. The problem with the Cuban industry is that they have no patience. You don't smoke a cigar that was just rolled, that is too harsh. You let her sit, relax, and ferment.

Now I can do the Cigar Aficionado thing and tell you that it had lovely poppy and rasberry flavors, but I consider that all bullshit. It tasted like good tabaco and that is about it. The experience was smooth and long lasting. It went out upon occasion but that was only because in my bilingual rum stupor I talked too much crap.

Another, last word of advice. Especially after the cigar boom crash, there is no reason in the world to pay over 5 or 6 dollars per stick. There are too many good and cheaper brands out there.

The only exception is the Padron Aniversario, which I consider to be the best cigar ever made. But that is another post...

Friday, July 22, 2005

Banana Leaf Afternoon

Sipping a bit of the mix as I wait for this treachurous sun to fall. Here watching bananas grow. It fills everything we are with heat and humidity. The wraparound Victorian glimmers, a mirage of rotating fans that endlessly gives off the color green (shown to the side). The puppy plays about and barks when people move in and out of the scope of the porch.

Hoping for some rain on these planks. We so much prefer rainy days, with a cloud of grey (perhaps even black) chaos moving from the south. Always from the south it seems. Funny how every Lilith that comes through the Atlantic Alley starts off as a tropical depression.

Sip of cola and rum in tribute to that history, begging for a little bit more time as summer quickly dwindles. If only we can measure the months climacically rather than by the calendar. Summer vacation here in New Orleans would nearly last a blessed lifetime.

We sip again, with a drip to these pages, crinkly and grey in the background. The hours wasting by. Tonite I go to a friends house to translate for him. A Colombian arepa Carnival straight from Baranquilla.

But for now we must toil with the afternoon, and milk it for that sweet necatar called free time. For me, more valuable than money

Thursday, July 21, 2005

A Reading Autobiography I

"Know, O Prince, that between the years when the oceans drank Atlantis and
the gleaming cities, and the rise of the Sons of Aryas, there was
an Age undreamed of, when shining kingdoms lay spread across the world
like blue mantles beneath the stars.
-Robert E. Howard

Some people begin their essays with a profound and complete quote, summarizing an idea in one sentence, or simply saying 'look how much I know'. What I placed above is half a quote, words that begin the epic tale of a thick muscled and melancholy warrior, Conan of Cimmeria. I tacked the words up there not because I see myself as well built or even sullen. The tone, the words, open the reader to a world filled with imagery, color, fantasy, and adventure. They open the mind like an eye facing the dawn. That is how I always like to read- especially as an adolescent.

As a teenager, I suffered through being shy, introverted, and generally unhappy. To this day I cannot listen to 80's music in a good mood. I had no confidence, and lived under the thumb of over-protective, strict Cuban parents. I am not sure when it started, where my personality reached out to these heroes of old, but it did. What I do remember is reading in 8th grade (yes, middle school) the beast called The Once and Future King. Most kids in my class simply called it "The 624 page monster." With the same fear I started it, not sure what or who I would find.

Therein I found a world filled with honor-bound knights fulfilling quests and dwelling in the mists of forests waiting for the dragon, the grail, or the maiden. I admired them, and looked around my world for a round table. I found none. Perhaps that is where my rejection of reality first started. I despised the world for being so lifeless, so colorless, so technologically and mythologically bland. A barrage of fantasy books filled the void. Paramount among them The Dragonlance Chronicles (to this day volume two Dragons of Winter Night is the only book I read IN a movie theater) which was published by the sages who had created the Koran of rules by which our gang of social misfits lived by- Advanced Dungeon's and Dragons role playing game. Within that trilogy and those rule books dwelled a land which I considered to hold my true citizenship- regardless of being born in Newark, New Jersey.

The Spell

Bustling through the night with such heavy eyes, trying to figure all this blogging and doing. This site is quite simple and I would like to get the borders out of the way. Damn woman cut me off this morning and it enfuriated me. Woman from Alaska, living in a world that probably has only five or six cars, and that is during rush hour. Thinking about really changing this site if I could only stick to it.

All this happening in the middle of the night, as the summer drips from the
hourglass- too rapidly.

Wednesday, July 20, 2005

Pohl's Gateway

Found this book to be amazing, with a dreaded hangover, I sat on my couch perfectly intent to grow roots. A student lent me this book and I just let it go on the side for so very long. Other books kept grabbing my attention, not to mention the unbelievable amounts of summer reading I had to do (Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance, ugh, I call it quite simply the philiosophy machine).

I tore this book apart. Ripped it to shreds and went from the couch to the porch to the bed, to the floorboards with its wonderful pages. I had to find out more about the Heechee. Pohl just knows exactly how to create suspense. He is a sci-fi Alfred Hitchcock.

The book is about the human race finding an alien way station filled to the brim with alien spacecraft. We humans wholeheartedly start using the ships, even though we cannot control them. Some ships will fly into suns, planets, or belts. Others will go to long dead colonies where the crew can make a killing on retrieving profitable alien technology. But the risks far outwiegh the pay-off- maybe.

The very idea that the human race would simply grab an alien technology, start using it, disregarding the consequences- is not only shocking but damn plausible. If someone were to make money there would be no hesitation.

The minute I finished this one, I got online to my library and ordered the next one "Beyond the Blue Event Horizon". Must read inn a must read series

Tuesday, July 19, 2005

New Computer

With my friend at my side discovered the new and interesting internet. Could not believe something called "Google Earth"- remarkable. I cannot decide if it scares me or elates me quite frankly. But I will try to post more on this, until it is discovered by unwanted elements.

Sunday, February 13, 2005

The Minutes end slowly, time is truly like an hourglass that moves around these corridors. Tomorrow I go off to work again, return to the insanity of the forum where the prizes hopefully shall come. Sunday night, the clock ticking slowly and I am in no real mood to write at all, just throwing in this small bit of snuff so that I can tell myself that today yes I blogged. I am not sure what is going to happen tomorrow, an easy shortened schedule day here in the crescent city.

Saturday, February 12, 2005

There is a strange feeling here something odd in the air, considering this is the first thing I write within weeks. I am within days of returning to school dammit, not likeable at all but I am hoping the question of whether I am going to be teaching English for the remainder of my days. I sit here, my mouth of filled with swampy and ire. I dream of writing but writing what in this previous haze of accomplishment. I have written nothing, nothing and that fills me only with more of a sense of insanity before. The sanctum is here, that thing that I call Galactica and perhaps the reason why I feel so damn odd is that I have not placed any emphasis on this journal even though I have neglected it too far.

There is nothing left for me I am tired and have no reason to be at all. Perhaps a yawn will be owned in the future...

Sitting around

These is one of those days that seem anonymous to the mind, here it is safe and wonderful yet things just outside the space await with monstrous activity