My New Orleans Vacation (and some coverage of the UW/LSU game)

So, my ticket said, “Departure:  11:30pm”.  This was Tuesday night, September 4th.  Out of some N-gate at Seatac.  With my bags packed, my boarding passes printed out, I left my apartment at exactly 9:30pm.  I walked to the Westlake tunnel.  Within a couple of minutes, I was on the light-rail.  However long it takes to get from Westlake to the airport:  that’s how long it took.  I went right to the nearest open security gate; there was zero people in front of me.  I got right through, I put my shoes back on, I surveyed the area.  I was hungry, thought I’d get a bite to eat before a long overnight flight to Houston.  The only thing open was a Wendy’s.  I ordered a plain chicken sandwhich; there was two, maybe three orders ahead of me.

Knowing what I know now, I probably would have taken that sandwhich to go.  But, I figure I’m a pretty quick eater, and it really didn’t take me all that long.  As it turns out, though, it took exactly long enough.

I had never been to any of the N-gates.  I didn’t realize there was a monorail involved.  The sign said that the monorail comes every two minutes; in that case, I must have JUST missed it.  I waited impatiently for the next one; it finally came.  The very next stop was the N-gate section.  I got off, I ran.  I saw the only two people at my gate were two guys behind the desk, working for United.  I checked my phone, 11:22pm.  Plenty of time.  Departure is supposed to be 11:30.  Sure, I was late, but I had 8 fucking minutes!

The guy behind the desk asked for my name.  He said, “I’m sorry, but you just missed your flight.”  I squinted my eyes as I craned my neck around to the window that showed my plane sitting right there, still connected to the fucking gate.  “But, the plane is right there.  I have 8 minutes still.”

“We’re allowed to close the gates 10 minutes before departure.”

“You’re allowed?  Well, what the hell am I supposed to do?”

“Just a minute, I’ll see what we have.”  And then he took my boarding pass.  At this point, I was seething beyond comprehension.  I’m pretty sure I muttered a, “This is fucking bullshit,” followed by, “You know, if they’re going to close the gate 10 minutes before departure, they should put that on your boarding pass!”  Each bitter, useless comment from me was met with a return-volley of, “I’m sorry, sir, there’s nothing I can do.”

I have a feeling that more of a hot-head would have stood there, ranting and raving until he was red in the face.  But, at some point, you realize when you’ve been licked and you inwardly want everyone and everything to die.  Would it have been some miraculous divine intervention had that plane fallen to a fiery ball of disaster?  Would I have had one of the greatest survivor stories of all time?  Would I have – ever-so-slightly – given an evil smirk (just the quickest of upticks of the left side of my mouth) upon hearing the news that United Flight Whatever crashed into the Rocky Mountains.  That night, on my long ride home on the light rail, I actively hoped for that and more.  I hoped for twenty 9/11’s, all coming from United overnight flights.  I hoped for a failure of such massive proportions that the company would have had to shut its doors forever!

Would I miss my 6am flight the following morning?  Probably, but it would be worth it.

Anyway, I got back to my apartment, a little before 1am.  I decided in order to make a 6am flight (since the light rail doesn’t run all night, and the bus system would have taken me three transfers and a fucking Sherpa guide to get me where I needed to go), I would need a taxi to pick me up at 3:30am.  That gave me 2.5 hours of down time to kill.  Should I sleep?  WHO COULD SLEEP?  A – I was still pissed off beyond belief.  B – regardless of how it started, I was still on my way to New Orleans, the happiest place on Earth.  So, I did the only thing I could think to do in that situation:  the thing that would not only keep me awake, but hopefully calm me down enough so I could ride in an airplane without bitching every United worker out:  I got drunk.

I drank wine, I ranted on Twitter a little bit.  I drank whiskey, I ranted on my personal Facebook account.  I listened to music, I calmed down, and by 3:30 I was a pig in shit.  As it turned out, one of my other friends going on this trip was also pulling an all-nighter (for work), and he was getting a ride from two of our OTHER friends also going on this trip.  So, I rode with them, and at 3:45am we were on the road, with me providing helpful drunken directions from the back seat.

I flew through Houston both ways.  I landed in New Orleans a little before 2:30.  My friends and I caught a cab and went straight to our hotel.  A Courtyard Marriott.  Then, we unpacked and left for the Voodoo Museum.

For only $5, the guy talks to you about voodoo and what you’re about to see, you get to pet his pet snakes, and you get to walk through this little house-like thing with a bunch of pictures and crazy shit on the walls.  It’s not necessarily essential to your New Orleans trip, but it’s a nice little time-waste if you’re waiting for other friends to show up.

The day concluded with road drinks, bar drinks, po’ boys at Mother’s, and a night out at Bourbon Street.  Live music, bull riding, more live music, and one final beer on our 2nd floor hotel balcony.

Thursday started off with Cafe Du Monde, beignets, and a walk down by the waterfront.  We got back to the hotel after a little souvenir shopping, grabbed some beers, and headed off for a tour.  Part cemetery, part architecture, part history.  And it was hot as BALLS.

The night ended at Harrah’s.  A lot of drinking, a lot of cards, and a couple of big bets on black by yours truly.  I won more than I lost and I drank for practically free.  Just, whatever you do, don’t ask a casino bartender to make you any touchdown shots if he doesn’t know what they are; you will get burned with sub-par, tiny-ass shots and you will not enjoy overpaying for it.

Friday was all about going on an airboat gator tour.  I was a little hungover (or maybe still drunk at the time?), so I went with a friend to get some Krystal hamburgers.  If you’re not familiar with Krystal, they’re the south’s answer to a White Castle question no one asked, “What would happen if you made little White Castle hamburgers, only put mustard instead of ketchup on them?”  As such, you have to add your own ketchup, and you feel absolutely miserable after eating 8 of them.

In short, I missed out on the tour, but I rallied for a night out on the town.  Lots more Bourbon Street, lots more drinking.

Coming back on Saturday, I woke up with one of two options:  eat some food, chug some water, pound some aspirin, and hope to recover by the time we got to the LSU tailgate … or just start drinking right off the bat.  I went with Option B and was not disappointed.

It was maybe a 90 minute drive from New Orleans to Baton Rouge.  We got there, checked into our hotel, went for a swim, drank some more beers, and got ready for the tailgate.  Apparently, LSU has twice the number of tailgaters as they do fans in attendance at the game.  I can’t confirm nor deny this to be true, but they certainly had a lot of people there.  And, the drunker they got, the more we got to hear, “Tiger Bait” thrown in our faces.

Look, going into this thing, if you would’ve asked me in a moment of clarity whether I thought the Huskies were going to win, I would have told you absolutely not.  I would have told you we would be lucky just to cover the 24-point spread.  I would tell you that maybe if they played this game 1,000 times, the Huskies would win 3 of those contests.  I’m here to tell you now, after watching what I watched on Saturday night, we could have played this game a million times and lost by the same exact score every fucking time.

That having been said, I don’t care who you are, you’re not going to be walking around on some other team’s campus while wearing your team’s gear and let them walk all over you!  You shouldn’t outwardly try to act like a jackass, but you also shouldn’t take any shit and you should dish it out if they’re going to give it to you first.

I’ve certainly been more of a jackass in my day, but let’s just say I was fortunate to not get my drunken ass kicked by some rowdy LSU fans.

The game.

Coming out of the gate, I was as loud as I’ve ever been.  On my feet, yelling for each defensive snap, going crazy for anything tackled for less than five yards of gain.  The Huskies came out and recovered a fumble on the opening kickoff and I thought I’d lose my mind.  As it turns out, that would be the only good thing we’d do all game.  It was literally all downhill from there.

A couple of big drops on that drive led to a field goal.  And then:  nothing.  I tried to keep my hopes up as LSU went up 7-3, then 14-3.  But, after they went up 17-3 and we proceeded to give the ball right back on yet another punt, I lost the will to live.  I mean, Jesus Christ.

Drunken observations:  there aren’t many.

That was probably the worst game Keith Price has played in his life.  It was also one of the worst game plans I’ve ever seen out of Sark.  And considering neither one of them got any help from our receivers or our pass protection, that’s a quadruple-whammy you just can’t recover from.

I kept going on and on about how that game was worse than our game at Stanford last season (another road game my friends and I attended) and I still stand behind that statement.  If LSU had actually tried, they could have scored double.  Instead, they put out their most vanilla of vanilla offenses and wore us down.  Hell, they could have knelt down on the ball and still gained yardage!

What do we take away from this game besides, “LSU is better than Washington”?  How about this:  nothing has changed.  We’re still that middle-of-the-pack Pac-12 team who doesn’t stand a chance in hell of winning this conference.

If we can’t move the ball on LSU, what chance do we have against USC?  If our defense can’t hold LSU to some punts, what chance do we have against Stanford or Oregon?  OR, for that matter, did anyone see what Arizona did to Oklahoma State?  Or what Oregon State did to Wisconsin?  Or what UCLA did to Nebraska?

If you take this season as a whole, the Huskies are no better than 7th in this conference, except oh wait, did anyone see what Arizona State did to Illinois?

You want my prediction?  A 5-7 overall record with a very real chance of 4-8.  Either way, unless this team figures out a way to get much better in a hurry, we’re not going to a bowl this year.

And, can we once and for all shut down the Keith Price vs. Jake Locker argument?  Jake Locker managed to take the team on his back and beat a USC ranked in the top 5.  Keith Price couldn’t even get us a second score against an LSU team that stopped playing their starters in the second half.

I wasn’t up for much partying after the game and neither were most of my friends.  We called it an early night and thus called it a vacation yesterday in the early afternoon.  Everything that took place in New Orleans was amazing; everything that took place in every other city kind of sucked balls.

My recommendation:  just go visit New Orleans.  And if you have to go to an LSU game, try to make it a point to go to a game where you have nothing at stake.

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