Friday, October 28, 2016

JOYR!DE w/ MJ Darl!ng to New Orleans, Louisiana

by MJ Simmons

Click for Amtrak article.
Come enjoy the wondrous Crescent City with us, as we take yet another Joyr!de to New Orleans, Louisiana, spreading our own, and enjoying others' positive vibes as well.

We are happy to finally invite our beloved friends along for the ride, with Happy Hour beats by yours truly (as played on the "Sweet Science Radio" show, via BMR 107.3 FM, between 10-12am)!

We know, we know-'re on a tight budget and/or schedule, and have other things (of "higher priority") to pay for, and plus, you'd have to be back in time for work Monday, but if you have just a little time and energy to plan using our logistics and figures, I'm sure you could probably work out something feasible, by the time we next depart.

DATE/TIME OF DEPARTURE: Friday, TBA, 11:30am-8pm CST

DEPARTURE MEETUP PLACE: AMTRAK Train Station (#1-19th Street/Morris Ave South, D'town B'ham 35203)

DATE/TIME OF RETURN: Sunday, TBA, 6:15am-2-3pm CST (excluding holiday weekends)

RETURN MEETUP PLACE: AMTRAK Train Station (1001 Loyola Avenue, D'town NOLA 70113)

DESTINATION/COST: The "Crescent" Line, to NOLA, apx. $100/person (Round-trip)

ROADTRIP DURATION: Apx 7-8hrs (each way).

TRIP/VACATION DURATION: Apx 48Hrs. (Mid-morning Friday, until Early-Morning Sunday, excluding holiday weekends)

Amtrak crosses Lake Pontchartrain to NOLA.

YOU WILL NEED/BRING: 2 carry-on bags (usually one for weekend clothes, and the other, a small cooler for lunch, snacks, and/or libations, BYOB for Happy Hour at 4pm).


* Bring your own (cold) food and drink for your train ride.

The dining cart's offerings may not be consistent with your established diet/budget, and the train's motion may cause you to spill hot items.

* Along with your libations for the train ride, you may want to bring a $10 pocket bottle/flask (per night) for your trek through NOLA, later that night.

Drinking from bar to bar can get expensive, fast, and B-ing Y.O.B. can save you from quickly, and unintentionally going B-R-O-K-E.

* Bring a small "nap kit" (throw blanket, eye cover, and/or small travel pillow).

You won't need it on the way to NOLA.

However, the return trip will be mostly for rest, and recuperation; therefore, your nap kit will come in quite handy then.

Image result for cash only

* Bring cash for your adventure.

Many NOLA vendors take cash only, which could leave you in a crunch, when you just want to buy your souvenirs and go.

*For return trips, AMTRAK departs from NOLA station only once daily, exceptionally early, and dependably on-time. If you should miss your return trip, there is an in-house Greyhound bus station there, that you can exchange your remaining ticket value for (in order to return before Monday), otherwise, the next train will depart at the same time, the next day.


Beyonce' would want you safe, too.
Q: Will I Be Safe In NOLA?

A: Yes; New Orleans' locals are proud, welcoming, and helpful, for the most part.

But as in any urban situation, the same rules of safety apply:

* Stay aware of your surroundings.

* travel in pairs, and/or groups

* closely monitor your alcohol consumption

* avoid dark lonely alleyways, and people trying to lure you away.

* Use public restrooms, as relieving yourself in the street is illegal.

* Public nudity (flashing) is also illegal, and is only permitted on Bourbon Street (the rowdiest street within the French Quarters), not all over NOLA, and can get you arrested anywhere else.

Police presence is evident.
Officers acting as Peace Keepers of the district(s).

Pedestrians and cyclists first in NOLA!
Q: How do I function without a vehicle in NOLA? 

A: There is a myriad of alternate transportation available, from standard taxis and Uber, to streetcar (across from the train station @ $3/day unlimited pass, "24/7"), to pedicab/bike rickshaw services (plentifully available, to quickly traverse a single district @ the rate of $1/person per block), and even bicycle and scooter rentals with hourly and/or daily rates. Search online for local solutions, and their rates.
Take the NOLA streetcar line into town!

Image result for new orleans taxi
Take a NOLA Taxi from district to district!

Image result for new orleans rickshaw
Take a pedicab/rickshaw, to cross a district!
Rent a bike, to take on the district!

..or, rent something more interesting!

Ace any and/or all the districts, with a scooter rental!
..or, even with an electric car/buggy rental!
Click to visit site!
Click to visit site!

Q: What are some things to do in NOLA?

A: There is no shortage of fun, cultural, and outright amazing places and experiences to be had in NOLA.

Here are a few that we have experienced, thus far:

* Jackson Square (located at the French Quarter, for waterbank, arts and music bazaar, in a chill vibe) @ FREE (not including souvenirs and patronage tips).

New Orleans French Farmers Market

* New Orleans French Farmers Market (located at the French Quarter, for waterbank, food/bar, arts and music bazaar, in a chill-to-jammin' vibe) @ FREE (not including souvenirs and patronage tips).
EXAMPLE: Actual available food there.

WWOZ (90.7 FM/

 NOTE: Tune into WWOZ (90.7 FM/, also located at the French Quarter), New Orleans' premier Jazz and Heritage radio station, where you can find out who's playing at all of the reputable venues in town, so that you may better strategize, and streamline your NOLA experience (donate when able).

Cafe du Monde

* Cafe du Monde (located at the French Quarter, Riverfront, open 24/7, for BYOB caffeine and beignets, in a chill vibe) @ apx. $7/person (cash only).

EXAMPLE: Actual Cafe du Monde

Cafe Negril

* Cafe Negril (open late, located at the the Marigny on Frenchman Street, for Tacos, Pizza, bar, and band, in a jammin' vibe) @ apx. $10-30/person.

Vieux Carre' Pizza

* Vieux Carre' Pizza (open late, located at the French Quarter on 733 St. Louis/Bourbon Street, for Pizza and wings, in a chill vibe) @ apx. $10-15/person.

EXAMPLE: Actual Vieux Carre' slices.

Chartre House Restaurant

* Chartre House Restaurant (located at the French Quarter on Chartres/Toulouse, for NOLA cuisine/bar, in an intimate, chill vibe) @ apx. $15-35/person.

EXAMPLE: Actual Chartre House dish.

Mississippi River Steamboat Cruise

* Mississippi River Steamboat Cruise (located at the French Quarter, Riverfront, for a 3hr cruise, NOLA cuisine & Bar, band and dancing, in a chill, then jammin' vibe) @ apx. $50/person (not including bartab).

Slim Goodies Diner

* Slim Goodies Diner (located at 3322 Magazine Street, for BYOB breakfast, lunch, brunch, in a funky, retro vibe) @ apx. $10-30/person.

EXAMPLE: Actual Slim Goodies dish.
ACTIVITY: Mystical Magical Bike Tours, NOLA

Souvenir shops abound!

If nothing else, enjoy the music on every corner, and the Second Line parades!

Q: What are the rules in NOLA, about public drinking and smoking?                                                      

A: Allowed, pending that no glass (ie., bottles, glassware, stemware, etc.) is being used outside, for safety-sake.

NOTE: Indoor vaping has also been recently outlawed, but are totally permissible outside, in the streets as well.

The "Brangelina" family in NOLA

Q: I have kids. Can I bring them to NOLA, or nah?                                              

A: You may; New Orleans is a fantastic place for the whole family, pending you know that there is a LOT of walking involved, and smaller children may tire way before explorations are nearly over.

Kids love the NOLA cosplay!

And, that Bourbon Street (located in the French Quarter) is an R and NC-17 Rated zone (full or college kids, and young adults), where if you wander through, your tots, tweens, and teens may get somewhat more of an eyeful than you'd be comfortable with. Everywhere else is pretty-much all good til after 9pm.

BUDGETING MATH:                                                                                                 

Budget figured, per-capita, using the highest possible variables, not including lodging costs (which vary, depending on the season).

NOTE: Each cost itemization is optional, and may be reduced and/or customized to your specific desire, however, eliminating them totally may significantly affect your total vacation experience.              

* $100 (1x train ticket, round-trip)
* $30 (lunch, snacks, drinks, ice, BYOB libation, etc. for the train)
* $50 (2x $15 meals, and 2x $10 meals)
* $60 (2x $10 bottles of BYOB libation for town, incl. apx. 2x $15 bartabs)
* $50 (souvenirs and patronage tips)           
* $50 (transportation)
* $25 (budget padding, for incidentals)                                                                                   +_______________________________________________________________________
* $365/person, or $730/couple (including foreseeable taxes, and maximum contingencies)

"I hope you all can make it, and have a great time with us, on the way, and when on your own, in the Crescent City. I also hope you may see, and appreciate the unique love, and joy that New Orleans offers, which makes one tend to easily fall head over heels in love with her, over and over again, as I have.

'Liaise bon temp roulle
(Let the good times roll; pronounced, "lee-AEY-seh   bawn-TAWM   roo-LAY")'!"
-MJ Darl!ng

MJ Darl!ng, ANOM!LE/STARSH!P claims zero responsibility for any lost belongings, missed scheduling, legal repercussions, physical, mental, financial, and/or emotional damage incurred by any of the invited participants, nor of any of whom they have interacted with. 

We also hold zero responsibility for the quality of the products and/or services suggested and/or recommended, nor for the travel and lodging arrangements of any of the invited participant(s); all arrangements must be made by the participant(s).

Monday, June 27, 2016

HUMAN RELATIONSHIPS; PARENTING - Fatherly Advice To Single Moms With Sons

by M Jvlian Simmons

"Drop some not-so-common knowledge/advice for moms raising a son with no male figure in the home. Takes a village, right?  

What are some important things we (single mothers) may need to consider from a male (point of) view?"
-LeLe Burrell

Although several of these "pearls of Wisdom" are not gender-specific, they all are things that either I have been told by my own father, or things I have experienced myself, as a younger man.

Being a father of three now-adult offspring, this list is also full of things that I'd like my own kids, especially my son, to know within their being.


 *Refrain from arguing/fighting, bad-mouthing, belittling, berating your child(ren)'s father, period, not just in the child's presence. They may indeed be crazy, or lazy, or justifiably worthy of your criticism and disdain, but hearing your disparaging commentary about it can damage the child more than the situation itself.

*Be a bit slow to the rescue on certain things, but make sure he is however held accountable for what he does. Teach them over time about decision-making, self-reliance, and acknowledge his strength gained from solving his own problems.

*Unless he (the dad)'s a real nut-job, always allow your son access to his father. Maybe he's dead-broke, or going through especially hard times right now, but if possible and within reason, keep the path between them open. Sometimes, a little quality time between parent and child will do wonders for parental morale.

*Be ready when he discovers masturbation (, dirty pornographic media, or eventually gets caught with a girl in his room, like I did). It will probably come as a surprise to you, but don't embarrass him if you should catch him; that'll give him a complex, so either just knock and wait to come in, make noise on purpose as you're approaching his room/area.

My mom used to rattle her keys, or wonder something loudly, nearby, giving me a moment or two to get myself together before she got there. Afterward (within the hour or so), if it needs discussing, then do so, but in a loving and understanding but firm tone; or do as my mom did when she found all my dirty magazines under my bed-
..just threw them away when I wasn't looking, and said absolutely NOTHING about it.


*G-d first.

*Love, honor, and respect your mama (as she's the first woman in your life).

*Rise for women and for your elders when they come into your presence, open doors/give your seat (if its the last) to them too.

*One does not simply grow from a BOY to a MAN. At first, you're a BOY, then you grow into being a GUY. The trick is to evolve from being a GUY to being a MAN.

*Protect the lesser. There are three types of people, sheep, wolves, and the sheepdogs. Be a sheepdog.


*Look people in the eye when speaking to them.

*Give a firm but flexible handshake.

* The days of job security are over. Think in terms of what your business will be, and be about THAT.

*REFRAIN FROM PROMISING AND SWEARING - If you say you will do something, then just do it, and let your word alone be true.

*Learn to say "no", without feeling compelled to explain why.

*Determine the difference between giving a REQUEST and giving a COMMAND. At restaurants when I'd begin my order with "can/may I have...?", my dad would correct my speech and remind me that in that case (dealing with someone who must comply), it required a command not a request, so instead, say "I will have...". Likewise, there are certain cases where a REQUEST is more appropriate than a command (dealing with someone who does not have to comply if they don't wish). Learn when to do which.


*My dad used to say "kissing ass is out of order', which meant to give respect where respect is due, but avoid fawning-over or, or holding a person in too much reverence. JUST BE COOL.

*My father also used to say, as he passed graveyards, driving, "the cemetery is filled with unfulfilled dreams", which taught me to focus on my own dream fulfillment. 

*One of the sexiest things a man can do for a woman is to clean stuff, and wax domestication/handiness. Alongside basic car maintenance, know how to cook, clean a house, and to do laundry; you'll never regret it.


*When you want to meet a girl/woman, "hello, my name is ____" works like a charm.

*Women love compliments, but not about things that had no part in (physical features), so praise them on their talent(s) and CHOICES (skillful works of her mind) instead.

*Sometimes, when a girl/woman tells you her problems, she doesn't expect you to say something to fix it for her, she rather just wants you to listen.

*Keep your girlfriend's whereabouts a secret from your friends, or they will try to visit in your absence.

 *Keep your love life private. Telling your friends the juicy details can get your girl stolen by one of them.

*If she shares a secret with you, KEEP IT.


*DONT eat onions, beans nor broccoli before a date.

 *Smell good up-close, rather than from far away (keep your fragrance faint); no need to smell like a European nightclub from 20ft out. 

*There's a space between your balls and butthole; KEEP THAT CLEAN TOO.

*Treat any woman accompanying you like precious cargo, cos SHE IS. Always return them in just as good if not better condition as when you picked her up (no getting drunker than she, no hazardous vehicle trickery, rapiness, abusivity, etc).


*Always be ready to pay for an extra person's worth on a date.

*Never react to your bill on a date; just PAY it, and keep the amount to yourself.

*An expensive date bill is not a bargaining chip for sex; she is free from obligation to do ANYTHING for/with/to you.

 *Sex too early in life can turn you out, and even give you a kid you aren't ready to stop your life in order to raise. If you have dreams, keep it in your pants until your dreams come true.

*NO ROMANCE WITHOUT FINANCE - If you ain't got no money, then you can't afford a girlfriend. "Ain't nothin' goin' on, but the rent; you gotta have a J-O-B if you wanna be with me!"
-Gwen Guthrie

 * You can not have/keep both money and a woman; if you have either one for too long, prepare to lose the other. "I dunno which is better, getting laid or getting paid; I just know when I'm getting one, the other's getting away!"
-Kanye West

*"Its cheaper to keep her."
-Johnny Taylor

I don't know why, it just is.

*Allow your woman to blame you (for most things); you'll be happier knowing its coming. Besides, men are especially designed to be their scapegoat "assholes"; so just deal with it.

*If she keeps her phone face-down, its not a good sign.

*BE SOMEWHERE; stay off the streets if/when you don't have anywhere in particular to go. That's when/where random mayhem happens. And if you do have somewhere to go, then GO, and not meander/loiter, which is something that a potential victim does.

*Look like somebody (dress well).

*Have/Be a friend(s) that can actually HELP you in life sometimes (skilled, willing to invest, lend, refer, etc.).

*Never lend/bet more than you care to lose. And if you lend more than $20, then count it a gift.

*When youre a kid, everyone wants to help you achieve your dreams, but when you grow up, help is scarce-..VERY scarce. Use the help that people are currently begging to give you, while they still care.

*As you age, you have to pay for more and more, but keep away from pawning away your belongings, constant borrowing, and selling your biology (habitual plasma donating for money). You're just BETTER than that.

*Stand tall. Even if you're the tallest, stand even taller, still.


I hope that this shortlist helps to answer your question. If so, please feel free to like, comment, and even share this article!