Sunday, September 4, 2011


Those who know me know that I love music, and you may or may not know that I love to sing.  When we were in college, my brothers and I lived together in a condo owned by my parents.  And my parents aren't going to like reading this, but I am about to tell you what used to happen when my brothers and I were young, dumb, and ugly.   We used to host a few parties per year in that condo.  We would have a semester kick off party on the first Friday of every semester.  Those were guaranteed to have at least a hundred people.  We would also host one on the Friday of finals week that was fun as well.  And we would sometimes host parties for our birthdays.  My brothers and I were all born two years apart, and the three of us were at LSU together for the '02-'03 school year.  The parties were fun, because naturally, as brothers, we had different circles of friends, and it was always fun to have all three circles, along with friends of those friends, in one place interacting.

For my 21st birthday, my older brother, Ben, and I threw a party.  One our friends, Lauren, brought over a karaoke machine.  In the beginning, we thought, "What in the heck are we going to do with this?  Nobody's going to use this thing."  And we asked her, "Why did you bring this?"

I don't remember exactly what she said, but it was something that amounted to, "Trust me."  Once people had a few drinks in them, the Karaoke machine became the absolute smash hit of my 21st birthday party, and every party we hosted afterwards.  It may have seemed that way because it definitely became a smash hit with me.  I loved that thing.              

Korea has what is called noraebangs, which literally translates to "singing room," which is exactly what they are.  They're everywhere.  I've come to learn that since I've learned to read in Korean.  Upon walking into the lobby of a noraebang, the attendant standing at the counter will lead the patrons to a private singing room, and included in these small rooms are usually a large couch, a table, and a Karaoke machine with a giant high definition flat screen tv and a high tech sound system.  Each room will also have a couple of microphones, a thick book with a list of songs and a corresponding selection number, and a remote control to enter the selection.  Noraebangs also include a pager to page a waiter/waitress to order food and drinks.

I wish I could adequately describe the fun that we have in these singing rooms.  There is something about singing a great song that enables a person to let go of all inhibitions.  I don't drink, but when that microphone is in my hand, all of those inhibitions seem to immediately leave, and I am free to have the time of my life.  It's a lot like being drunk.  At this point in my life, I can only imagine what karaoke is like while being drunk.  Noraebangs are one of my favorite things here in Korea.  Every time I've gone, I've never wanted to leave when it was time to do so.  They're fun.

My friends and I went to a Noraebang last week for my friend, Greg's, going away party.  This particular one served the Korean liquor of choice, soju, and fried chicken.  We ate fried chicken, my friends drank, and we took turns singing on the mic for several hours that night.  We started dancing on the couches, and none of us were good dancers.  On the far end of this particular room above the couch was a large window overlooking a particular downtown street, along with the restaurants across that street.  Patrons of those restaurants are able to see fairly clearly into our room through this large window.  And it was funny seeing the looks we got from these Koreans staring at us.  It was the unmistakeable stare, then laugh, that only stiff white dancers could elicit.  And it was a stare, followed by a laugh, that could only be done by Koreans.  Good times.

A k-drama that has recently caught my eye is one entitled, Heartstrings.  The star of this show is an actress named, Park Shin Hye.  Some of your comments seem to indicate that I must have a different taste than most when it comes to ladies.   I honestly don't care.  I am who I am, and whenever I see this particular lady on TV, I put the remote control down.

These photos are not mine.  I downloaded them from various websites linked through Google Images.

Thursday, September 1, 2011

Football Season

Words can't explain how stoked I am about the upcoming football season.  Both LSU and the New Orleans Saints are looking to field strong teams this year.  With a 14 hour time difference, I will be staying up late, or waking up early to catch most of the games, but I don't care.  My friend, Sara, is from Chicago and is a Bears fan.  I've already informed her numerous times that the Saints will hand the Bears a loss when they meet in the SuperDome on September 18.  Moreover, there is no doubt in my mind that the Saints will hoist their second Lombardi on February of 2012.  The Saints are solid and deep at every position, and nobody outside of New Orleans is mentioning them as a contender for a Super Bowl title.  As long as Drew Brees is healthy, Greg Williams is our defensive coordinator, and Sean Payton is our head coach, the Saints should always be mentioned.  

It all starts on September 8 in Green Bay on Thursday night.  It's absurd how fired up I am about this game.  Drew Brees vs Aaron Rogers in a dream matchup pitting the last two Super Bowl champions on Thursday night in Lambeau Field on national network TV to kick off the NFL season.  Thinking about it makes me want to run through a wall.  As a fan, I have no fear going into this game.  Coach Payton is intelligently aggressive, and competitive is not a strong enough word to describe him.  I know for a fact that there is nobody who is more fired up about the game than him.  I am confident that he will have the Saints ready to play good football on Thursday night.  I am also confident in stating that the Saints will walk into Green Bay, and steal a win.  I believe in Brees.  I believe in Coach Payton.  I believe in Greg Williams.  I believe in our defense.  I believe.

I've said since college that the Saints are my mother, and LSU football is my wife.  I grew up on the Saints.  Some of my first memories were watching Saints games with my dad and my brothers.  And unlike most other generations of Saints fans, the Saints were winners when my generation was old enough to understand football.  My first memories were of Bobbie Hebert, Ricky Jackson, Pat Swilling, Sam Mills, Vaughn Johnson, Toi Cook, Stan Brock, Hobie Brenner, Eric Martin (former LSU Tiger), and Dalton Hilliard (former LSU Tiger).  They fielded some great teams.  The reason they never went far was because they were in the same division as Joe Montana, Jerry Rice, Ronnie Lott, and the San Francisco 49ers.

I went away to Baton Rouge for college at LSU.  And in Baton Rouge, I lived and breathed LSU football, maybe even to the point that it was a detriment to my GPA.  It was there that LSU football became my wife.  I was a freshmen during Little Nicky's first year as football coach of the Tigers in 2000.  Tiger stadium just added the east upper deck to make Death Valley 92,000 strong.  And what an awesome time I had watching LSU there!  I saw some great games against teams like Alabama, Tennessee, Florida, Auburn, Ole Miss, Georgia, and many others.  I was in my fourth year at LSU when they won their second national title in 2003.  I still say it was the funnest year of my life.  I witnessed players like Joseph Addai, Rohan Davey, Josh Reed, Labrandon Toefield, Bradie James, Trev Faulk, Corey Webster, Devery Henderson, Kyle Williams, Marcus Spears, Andrew Whitworth, Michael Clayton, Jamarcus Russell (Say what you want about him as a pro, but as an LSU Tiger, he was incredible), Glen Dorsey, Dwayne Bowe, Early Doucet, and Jacob Hester.  My mother, the Saints, sort of took a back seat at that time.

I returned to the New Orleans area in 2009, the year the Saints won their first Super Bowl.  I was back home living amongst the Who Dat Nation, and it was there that I reconnected with my precollegiate childhood passion that I had for the Saints.  Living in Baton Rouge, I had forgotten how passionate New Orleanians are about the Saints.  I had forgotten about the genuine love and strong loyalty that they have for their team.  One of the funnest conversations you can have is talking NFL football with a y'at.  I quickly caught the fever, and witnessing the Saints win their first Super Bowl title was one of the greatest moments of my life.  And I know witnessing their second will be equally as good.

I love football.  It's the greatest game in the world.  So without further due, here's to another intense, passion-filled, competitive, emotional, and exciting football season!  And good luck to all of your favorite teams, unless you are a Falcons fan.  In that case, I loathe your team, and hope they lose every single game they play.