Posts Tagged ‘Friends


Home in one piece

This weekend, as you may have heard, I darted off to Maine for the wedding of some friends. Erin and I had a wonderful time with old and new friends alike, and except for the gargantuan hassle that I went through trying to get home (by the way, US Airways is horrible), I couldn’t have been happier.

Erin has posted all of the pictures we took to her Facebook page, but for the sake of you who’d like to see them and aren’t among her Facebook friends, I’ve added them to my own Flickr album. Go ahead and take a look.

AJ and Jen’s Wedding


A wonderful week with a wonderful girl

Erin and I have been together for quite some time now… since before the days when Facebook and Twitter (and now, I suppose, Google+) were hard at work keeping everybody appraised of what everybody else was doing at any given moment of the day. As a result, I sometimes worry that my compositions telling the world how we enjoy our adventures together have become redundant. But I enjoy telling and sharing, and I know Erin enjoys it as well. So while you may well know an awful lot of what I’m about to say if you follow us on those aforementioned social networking sites, that’s okay. It was worth living all over again.

  • Erin arrived on Sunday, July 3. This wasn’t a trip that was planned months in advance — just a few weeks ago, Erin realized she could sneak in a visit with me and my family in time for our annual Fourth of July extravaganza. Being an extravaganza on the Fourth, though, that meant there was an awful lot of work to do on the Third. After I picked Erin up from the airport and got us lunch, she was sweet enough to help my mother watch my niece, Maggie, while I joined my father, brother, and brother-in-law in assembling the tents for the barbecue and taking care of other such preparations. After it was all done, we went out for dinner and then headed our to the St. Charles Parish Independence Day Fireworks, held (as always) on July 3. We got there a little later than expected, however, and Erin and I joined my sister Heather, her husband Will, and little Maggie on the side of the interstate watching the fireworks from a distance. And despite some mosquito invasions, it was still great.
  • Monday was the bash. My family has had these barbecues for as long as I can remember, and once again Ama was flooded with Petits, Faucheuxs, and numerous other families that have married into or befriended ours over the years. There was — as always — way too much food, but there was an unexpected surprise this year. My family has done this for over 30 years, and on all but a handful of occasions, the event has been soaked by rain. This year: not a drop. So we all got to swim, there was a marathon Pictionary session, we ate several herds of grilled animals and several vats of homemade ice cream, and everybody went home happy.
  • On Tuesday, the excitement calmed down, Erin and I got down to a more conventional visit for us — beginning with helping to babysit Maggie while my sister was at work. Maggie was little more than a month old the last time Erin saw her, and now she’s close to nine months, so she was looking forward to playing with her again. She also introduced Maggie to her friend Wash T. Dynosaur, the traveling Apatosaurus. After Maggie settled down we headed out — I got Erin (and Wash) a snowball that matched the pendant I gave her for her birthday, we did a little shopping, and went to see what has become my favorite movie of the year so far — Super 8. I’ve seen it before, but Erin hadn’t, and she was very satisfied in her choice of film. (She also got some Raising Cane’s chicken, something she can’t yet get in her home state of Pennsylvania.)
  • Wednesday was the day we began to get adventurous. Erin, being more of a traveler than I am, was looking to do things we’d never done before. We decided on a tour of Destrehan Plantation, one of the many gorgeous old plantation houses that line the Mississippi River here in Louisiana. I’ve been to the Plantation many times for various events, but I don’t think I’d ever taken the tour before, so we both got an education before heading out for some more shopping (it was Wednesday, new comics had come out), then meeting up with my family for dinner at the Quarter View restaurant in Metairie.
  • Our adventures continued on Thursday as we traveled to Baton Rouge, a place Erin has wanted to go for some time. We realized early that we would have to do this again, as there were just too many things to do in that lovely city than we could accomplish in one day. We did manage to get lunch at Cheeburger Cheeburger, found a used bookstore Erin located online, and hit the Mall of Louisiana. Later, we met up with my brother Chip and his wife Kayla, who live in nearby Gonzales, and they took us to a great Mexican place for dinner. It was a great little visit, especially since (living in Gonzales as they do) they don’t get to join us as often as the rest of my family.
  • On Friday we headed into the French Quarter in New Orleans, something we’ve done many times before, but always enjoy. But my friends, I’ve got to tell you something. Friday… was… hot. I’m talking about “gallons of sweat cascading down your face” hot. After a few hours walking around and talking pictures of Wash at local landmarks, we headed off to the New Orleans Area for our next “new thing.” Will — an athletic trainer whose job happens to include working the New Orleans Voodoo arena football games — got us tickets to the team’s final home game of the season. We met up with Heather there, bought some dry Voodoo shirts to change into (we’d sweat through our other ones) and enjoyed the festivities. The Voodoo didn’t have a great season, but we had fun.
  • Saturday was the day we got together with my friends, something we try to do at least once each time she’s in town. We met up at Izzo’s Illegal Burrito (it’s as good as it sounds) before heading back down into the French Quarter. After a few hours of wandering around, we decided to find some place a little cooler and went into Harrah’s Casino in New Orleans. With our semi-regular Vegas trips, Erin and I are old hands at casinos, and we find we really do enjoy doing them together, especially when we come out ahead. The rest of our group didn’t fare as well as we did (sorry about losing that parking garage ticket, Mike), but we put in $20 and came out up $139. Not too bad. Afterwards, we all had dinner at a new TGI Friday’s that opened in Metairie — good food, but you could tell it was a new restaurant. The servers were overwhelmed. I’ll go back to the restaurant, but not for a few months.
  • Sunday was the day Erin went home, which is always sad, but was made worse in that she had an early flight. We managed to have lunch before I had to take her off to the airport and fare her well, but it wasn’t as bad as it sometimes is. We’re going to see each other again in just a couple of weeks, when we travel to Maine together for a friend’s wedding.

It was a great time, and as always, I’m left more in love with her than ever. If you spent a few minutes with her like I have, I know you’d feel the same.

Here are some photographic highlights of the trip. If you want, you can see more in my Flickr album: Family Summer 2011.

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Conversation: On the Vegas Strip

For those of you who have never been to Las Vegas, you may still remember a few years ago when the city tried to clean up its image and become a family destination. Walking down the Vegas strip, at least one reason this initiative failed is obvious: six year olds don’t shop at Coach. Also, the large number of dedicated employees who do not allow their inability to speak English to stop them from from handing out cards with pictures of naked women on them to random people on the street.

As I walked down the strip with my friends this week, we found ourselves pounded by winds that would feel at home right there in New Orleans.

ME: I would love to see one of these guys trip and drop their cards. Just imagine a storm of porn whipping down the street at sixty miles an hour.

JASON: It would be like a… Pornicane!

ERIN: No! A pornado!

We laughed at our collective wit until the wind blasted sand into our mouths, necessitating that we step into the nearest place for a drink.


Heading out…

Tomorrow, friends, I leave for a week in Las Vegas. I’ll have Erin, we’re gonna meet up with our friends Jason and Andrea a couple of times, and a good time shall be had by all.

This does, however, mean a sparse week of posting. I’m taking a week off from Tales of the Curtain (which means this is the perfect time for you to catch up and read the story so far) and there’ll probably be no Everything But Imaginary this week. I’m still not even sure I’ll be able to put together a quickie podcast for tomorrow. However, you can count on regular updates too The Back Issue Bin, because I’m uploading all of those ahead of time and setting them to post three times a day, as usual.

Have a good week!


Conversations: The Whiteness Scale

Out to dinner with the crew, somehow the conversation turned to who, exactly, the whitest member of our group was. Don’t ask me how.

Daniel: I am the epitome of whiteness.
Mike: So am I.
Me: you can’t both be the epitome of whiteness. By definition, there can only be one epitome. We need to rate you guys on a Whiteness Scale. On one end will be Olympic Snowboarder Shaun White. On the other, ironically, is the ultimate in blackness, Barry White.
Daniel: I’m going to Utah for Mardi Gras.
Me: You just got a few points.

Conversations are not transcribed verbatim. They are altered for length, to provide appropriate context, and to make them funnier whenever necessary. Frankly, all you can count on in these posts is that at some point, I had a conversation with somebody about some subject.


Time Travel Tuesdays: How the Men Recharge

Back in the dark days before Erin, a frequent topic of conversation in my Think About It column was my utterly inadequate performance with women. It was therapy in the worst way. Another topic which has stayed with me over the years are the various ways I find to relax on those rare occasions I find an opportunity to relax. This classic column, from May 21, 2003, combines both of those topics in one dandy package.

How the Men Recharge

I don’t know how you women out there do it, but when the time comes for men to recharge their power cells, there’s one thing that works better than everything else — time with the guys.

Every so often we need a male bonding, testosterone-inducing, estrogen-free atmosphere in which we can kick back, relax, and spend a preposterous amount of time talking about women. I did such a thing last weekend when I joined two of my best friends, James and Jason, for a weekend in Biloxi, Miss.

Jason is a member of some long organization with lots of initials that was having its convention this week, so he conjured up the plan to go a couple of days early and have James and I hang out with him. I’ve been to Biloxi many times in my life, but this is the first time I’ve ever driven there myself, and consequently, the first time I’ve ever really been able to take in the scenery. I’m not talking here about the blue, cresting ocean or the white, sandy beaches or even the scantily-clad women prowling the two. No, I was amazed by the number of giant fiberglass animals that adorn storefronts there. You want to buy beachwear? Take a walk through the enormous shark’s mouth! Need a Biloxi snowglobe or painted pet rock? Right under the giant alligator, my friend. Want the best Italian food on the beach? It’s right under the sign with the gorilla on it!

After driving past this menagerie and approximately 17 billion Waffle Houses (the good people of Biloxi evidently really like their waffles), we arrived at the hotel. After recuperating from the drive, which wouldn’t have been so bad except that it was somewhere around 105 degrees outside (rough estimate), Jason suggested we hit the casinos, which I knew had secretly been his plan all along.

I’m not a gambler, my friends. I am cursed with a strange affliction, a combination of horrible luck and incredible timing. This means that bad things happen to me, but only at the funniest possible moment. I could walk underneath a ladder with a paint can 13 times holding a black cat and nothing would happen, but the instant a brown-eyed lass I’d been flirting with walks by, the paint will fall and I would match the side of the building. Games of chance are not for me.

But we went into the casino anyway and, not wanting to look like a dork while my friends played, I relented and slipped a ten into one of the slot machines. I pushed the button a few times, a little disappointed that the lever is apparently obsolete, then the machine started making weird noises. “What happened?” I asked Jason.

He leaned over and looked. “You just won $75,” he said.

I got worried immediately. There are things going on in my life right now that will require a certain degree of luck, and I’d hate to think I blew my allotment on a slot machine.

Fortunately, none of us felt like gambling for long and we retreated to the restaurant in the casino for dinner. I’m not a beer drinker, but Jason is constantly giving me advice as to which ones I would like. Thus far, he has always been incorrect. I tasted one such beverage that I hated, so he told me to try something called a “Biloxi Blonde.”

“That’s one of my favorites,” said our waitress, a redhead named Cassie. Trusting Cassie’s judgment more than Jason’s, I ordered one. I took a sip, looked at her and said, “Yeah, this is better.”

She smiled and left, at which point I turned to my friends and said, “This tastes terrible.”

“Then why did you say you liked it?” James asked.

“Well, I didn’t want to hurt her feelings…”

The bill arrived, and for all three of us, the size of the tip is directly proportionate to how cute the waitress is. I don’t know what we think is going to happen — no waitress has ever chased Jason down in a parking lot and screamed, “You gave me a $5 tip on an $11 tab — I must bear your children!” Still, we do it anyway.

James gave up trying to calculate an appropriate tip first and just announced he was giving her $7. Jason, who is afraid of math even when the credit card company has to do it, rounded the tip so he’d have an even number, which resulted in him giving her $7.02.

I would not be defeated by those two.

“Gimme that check,” I said, grabbing my own bill and, under gratuity, proudly scribbling, “$7.03.”

I won,” I said to the others.

I wish I could have been there when Cassie saw her tip. “Look at this, this guy left me $7.03. No, the chubby guy, the one who lied about liking the beer. You think I could still catch him in the parking lot?”

So in all, she made $21.05 off three guys who were out for a weekend to hang with the boys, which somehow seems like it bears a degree of cosmic justice. Overall, though, it was fun. We should do it again sometime.

But I’m only going to the slot machines again if my life, at the moment, happens to suck.

Blake M. Petit was fully recharged until he got into his car to drive home and realized it was hot enough to bake bread in there. So he got a wad of banana nut dough for the ride home. Contact him with comments, suggestions or the number of that gambling help-line just in case at


Quickie… And some shameless plugs.

I’m wiped out, friends. The last couple of weeks at school have been rough. I’ve got NaNoWriMo going on right now. I’m pretty sure this thing growing on my shoulder is alive and plotting the overthrow of Cambodia. I’m spent. So I’m giving today to hanging out with the gang and just trying to relax for a change. I’ve heard good things about relaxation. I thought I’d try it for once.

If you’re really desperate to read some stuff I’m writing, may I suggest you check out my other two blogs, which are quickly on their way to becoming world famous and would be highly appreciative if you started adding them to sites like StumbleUpon? Tales of the Curtain has begun its regular twice-a-week schedule, and this week the first two ongoing storylines have begin. And The Back Issue Bin continues to present older reviews daily, with the occasional newer one mixed in. Do, please, check them out.


Time Travel Tuesdays: Rage on the Red Carpet

Ah, 2002. Friends was still iffy for its next season. Lord of the Rings was conquering the box office. And awards shows sucked just as hard as they do today. Let’s travel back in time to see my thoughts on such a show a looooong time ago…

January 26, 2002

Rage on the Red Carpet

I have often found myself flabbergasted by the phenomenon of celebrity rage. When you’re getting $20 million to make out with Denise Richards, seriously, what on Earth are you complaining about?

But with award season now upon us (the Oscars are turning brown, the Grammys are falling from the trees), I think I’m seeing evidence of what could drive a person with more money than any rational human could possibly need to want to pull out a microphone stand and beat someone into submission.

In one word: idiot reporters.

As part of a massive conspiracy between E!, Disney, the Fox Network and that guy in the black van who parks outside the office three days a week, I was forced to watch the Golden Globes “pre-show” Sunday night, where the stars arrive, are herded through a security checkpoint that would confiscate a safety pin from Mother Theresa and then are forced to confront a throng of reporters with inane questions that quite reasonably would make any sane person want to choke them with their necktie and stuff them in Sir Anthony Hopkins’s freezer.

To illustrate my point, I have taken the liberty of transcribing some of the conversations heard on the Red Carpet at this year’s Golden Globe Awards.

Be afraid. Be very afraid.

“Entertainment Tonight”: Hi, I’m here with Matthew Perry of the hit show “Friends,” which is nominated tonight for favorite comedy series. Matthew, what are the chances for a ninth season of your show?

Matthew Perry: No comment.

“Extra”: Ladies and gentlemen we’re here tonight with the lovely Jennifer Connelly, nominated for best supporting actress for “A Beautiful Mind.” Jennifer, you’ve gotten a lot of attention since this movie came out — does this whole Hollywood scene still overwhelm you sometimes?

Jennifer Connelly: What kind of idiot question is that? What, do you think I’m some greenhorn out of the sticks who got plucked from a stage production of “Our Town”? I’ve been making movies since I was 15 years old! How about “Labyrinth,” huh? How about “The Rocketeer”? How about “Requiem For a Dream”? How about “Dark City”? I ought to take that microphone and–

“Extra”: Oh, we’ll have to get back to you Jennifer, because here’s Lisa Kudrow of the hit TV show “Friends.” Lisa, there’s been a lot of talk about whether your show will continue after this season–

Lisa Kudrow: No comment.

Wacky Reporter From “The Tonight Show”: Dude, look, it’s Ron Howard. He directed that movie with the Crowe guy… um… “A Mind is a Beautiful Thing to Waste,” or something like that. Hey, Opie! Nice job!

Ron Howard: Oh for cryin’ out loud… would you quit with the “Opie” cracks already? That was 40 years ago! I’m a grown man now! I’m an award-winner! I’m bald! I directed “Willow,” do you hear me? I directed “Willooooooow…”

“Today Show”: Would somebody keep Ron Howard quiet? I can’t hear Jennifer Aniston from “Friends” answer my question. Jennifer–

Jennifer Aniston: No comment.

“E! News Daily”: I’m here with Sir Ian McKellan, the star of the hit movie “The Lord of the Rings.”

Elijah Wood: Hey, what about me?

“E!”: Shut up. Ian, your movie is nominated for best picture. Do you think there’s going to be some “magic” for you guys tonight? Ha, ha!

Ian McKellan: Why do you people always think that joke is funny? It’s not. It wasn’t the first time, it wasn’t the 5,000th time. Do you all share a brain or do you just rip off each other’s material because your unicellular brains can’t come up with anything original?

“E!”: Well Sir Ian, it was just a joke…

Elijah Wood: I thought it was funny!

Ian McKellan: I’ll see you in Hell.

“CBS This Morning”: We’re here with Matt LeBlanc, one of the stars of the popular series “Friends.” Matt, about that ninth season…

Matt LeBlanc: Well, we’ve discussed it at great length with each other, with the crew, with the producers, and we think it’s important — (Silenced by a flying tackle from David Schwimmer.)

Joan Rivers: This is Joan Rivers reporting to you live from–

Everybody: (Pounds Joan Rivers to oblivion).

American Viewing Public: Thank you!

Blake M. Petit is still miffed that the brilliance of “Glitter” was overlooked. Okay, he’s lying. Contact him with comments, suggestions or a little statuette at


What a way to start a week

It’s been that kind of Monday. I came up to Thibodaux a few hours earlier for re memorial service of a friend of mine who passed away this weekend. Joel Champagne was a dear man, a tireless worker for the Thibodaux Playhouse, and one of the best producers I ever worked with. He’s going to be sorely missed.

Now I’m backstage, experimenting with costumes and makeup for the dress rehearsal for ANNIE. We open Thursday. It’s going to be a good show, but we miss Joel’s presence already.

Here, let’s say something less dour. Do what I do when you need some perking up — spend a couple of hours on TV Tropes. Fun site that both gives me ideas and helps quelch bad ones at the same time.


When the time comes…

A friend of mine passed away this week. It was pretty sudden, at least for me. I had no idea he’d been sick, although others did. I was never one of his closest friends, I hadn’t known him as long as others or worked with him as much as I wanted to (we both moved in local theatre circles and did a few plays together). But that’s not really the point, is it? Someone I cared about, someone I expected to be able to see any time, to do another show with, to hang out with and laugh at bad movies… was suddenly gone.

Charles Savoy was the sort of guy who made you laugh at all times, who inspired you to work harder because he was so damn good, and who brought out rather fierce devotion in a lot of people. He helped me out once, stepping in to talk to my class when I needed someone “from the community” to meet a new teacher portfolio requirement. He asked me to perform the Player King in his theatre’s production of Hamlet, even though I hadn’t auditioned, which is about as big a compliment as you can receive. Some hurricane-induced rescheduling forced me to drop out of the play, something I always regretted, but I figured I’d have another chance to be in one of his shows.

You can’t figure that sort of thing, folks.

Today several of his friends, mostly the “old guard” of our different theatre groups, got together at his favorite restaurant for lunch. We talked, we shot the breeze… mostly we told stories about Charles. Some of them I’d never heard before, some of them were familiar as the inside of my classroom. I realized that I’d been present for… well… not nearly enough of them. I talked to friends I haven’t seen in years. People I’d lost touch with, people I kept in touch with online. All people I missed terribly. The lunch was a great thing. It was therapeutic for all of us. When my time comes, I hope my friends do the same thing. (And tell every stupid story you can, no matter how goofy it makes me look. It is, in fact, the essence of me. Erin, start with how I banged my head on the trunk of your car the first time I met you in person. You can take it from there.)

When someone dies, there are certain things you say, and I don’t mean just the simple “I’m sorry for your loss.” I mean how you mill about with old friends and say, “We should get together more often, on happy occasions.” That isn’t always possible. The table I sat at today included people who are now residents of Seattle, California, Texas. And they’ll be gone again soon.

We also say that we shouldn’t wait too long to tell people we care about them. And then we do.

So this time, I’m not going to.

The people who were there today… Patrick, Katie — I haven’t seen you two in years. Kalon, Toni, Leah — I don’t see you often enough. Paul, Daniel, Mike — yeah, I see you guys fairly often, but that doesn’t make it less important to say it.

The people who weren’t there today, who maybe didn’t know Charles at all. Erin, of course. Kenny. Jason and Andrea, Chase and Jenny. Mark, Kim, James, Jarrod, Joey, Laura, Daphne, Earl, Ronee, Lana, Tom, Joan. My friends at school — Gary, Lyle, Jamie, the other Jamie (you two can fight over which is which), Shawn, Anne, Renee, George, Daniel, Joanie, Chad, Danielle. My brother Kerry and his wife Kayla. My sister Heather and her husband Will. My parents, the rest of my extended family (whom I shall not even ATTEMPT to name out of fear of leaving someone out — you all know who you are).

All of you, over the years, have meant something to me. Made me laugh, listened to me when I was in pain, helped me out of a jam, frustrated me by topping my Bejewled score… whatever. And I may not have said it often enough, or even at all. But I remember. And it meant something to me. And so do you.

I love you guys.

And thank you.

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