Gamma Radiation? No. It Was Gumbo

Sometimes, folks ask me, “Ken Wheaton, what is the Ken Wheaton origin story? How did you get from mild-mannered Louisiana boy to a fully-fledged Ragin Writer?”

Note: No one has ever asked me that.

Still, Octavia Books — WHERE I WILL BE APPEARING THURSDAY OCT. 2 at 6 p.m. — asked me to write a guest post for their blog. So I did. And, as one friend pointed out, it is an origin story. Perhaps one not as dramatic as Spiderman’s or The Hulk’s, but it’s an origin story all the same. So go read it.

The #RNRPHILLY Half Marathon

Gonna have to burn them shoes.

Race: Philly Rock n Roll Half
Official Time: 1:55:23
Course: Flat and pretty.
Weather: A little known weather system called a Humidity Vortex moved in STRAIGHT FROM HELL.

Top line: I thought I was going to PR in this one. I did not. Not even close. 10 minutes slower than that. It wasn’t my worst, either, so there is that. We also raised a good bit of money for charity.

Excuses: Going into weekend, I’d been showing signs of a slight cold, scratchy throat, tired, achy. I think it was going away by Saturday night, Sunday morning. But one of the pleasures of being me is that race nerves don’t just make me go to the toilet like crazy — my apologies to the maid at the Hilton Garden Inn — they also make me snotty. So did I still have a cold, or was the steady stream of snot threatening to drip onto my pre-run banana just nerves? The world may never know.

The race: Started out just over the pace I needed, figuring I could pick it up once I figured out how I was feeling. You’ll see below how well that didn’t go. By mile five, I was fairly certain I wouldn’t be able to keep it up. And I was sweating. Sweating like crazy.

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I’m Coming to See You, Louisiana!

Thanks, Dana, for the photo!The great Ken Wheaton book tour is coming to a state near you!

As long as you live in Louisiana. Because that’s the extent of the book tour. Sorry, everyone else, but that’s the reality of publishing. I do these things on my dime and on my vacation time from work. And if it comes to a choice between spending hundreds upon hundreds of dollars to read to 15 people at the local Books a Million or going on a two-week wedding and honeymoon trip to Bora Bora — well, let’s just say you’re going to really hate my Instagram pics come November.

But I AM coming to Louisiana and I’ll be doing two events.

So bring yourself, bring your friends, bring all your coworkers. If you’re a teacher, this sounds like perfect extra-credit work to me! And also bring your fellow teachers.

NEW ORLEANS — OCTAVIA BOOKS
THURSDAY, OCTOBER 2, 6 p.m.
513 Octavia St, New Orleans, LA 70115

Octavia_Books_10-09_106I’m super excited to be doing my first ever reading in New Orleans. Yes. My first. (This is the part where New Yorkers are all, “I thought you were from New Orleans. By the way, I love JazzFest.” GOD DAMN IT! FOR THE THOUSANDTH TIME, I’M NOT FROM NEW ORLEANS!)

But yes, I’m looking forward to a day in New Orleans of stuffing my face, getting an old fashioned (or seven), and then hanging out with the gang at Octavia, who have been kind enough to let me into their store — and to humor me on Instagram and Twitter and even may let me defile their blog with a guest post.

So if you’re in New Orleans or Metairie or Kenner or some of them places around there, come on out to Octavia and say hi.

BATON ROUGE — BARNES & NOBLE – CITIPLACE
Saturday, Oct. 4, 2 p.m.
2590 Citiplace Ct, Baton Rouge, La. 70808

I know for folks from the part of the state that I’m actually from, getting to New Orleans is a bit of a pain. So here’s your chance. And all yall from Baton Rouge and Lafayette and out in Cajun Country who know me personally? Yall besta be coming to this one. And everybody else too. No excuses.

Even if they make LSU play Auburn at noon or 2:30, yall can come to Baton Rouge, watch that game from one of the bars at Citiplace, then come over to Barnes & Noble and show your face, then go back to the game. I guarantee you, watching me read is going to be a hell of a lot less stressful than whatever Les Miles has in store for you that day. (Hopefully, it’s a night game and then we all win!)

I have a little list of all your names and I’m going to be taking attendance! I might even get a grade book. (Okay, I will not do this.)

AND ONE MORE THING
If you’re a New Yorker and reading this and feeling left out, I apologize. It’s not my fault Louisiana is the cultural capital of the world. But if you live in New York and have a book club — especially a boozy book club — and you read the book, I can probably come and discuss it with you.

 

I Dreamed of a Jeep

I had a Jeep. I was in a parking lot somewhere. Lucy, the white poodle, was with me. I got out of the Jeep. I wanted to lock the Jeep, but could not figure out the key fob. There were buttons for everything on there. Lift gate. Headlights. Horn. Even to switch the thing to 4WD. But nothing to lock the Jeep. I could not lock the Jeep.

Also, I was wearing no pants.

A Most Frustrating Brooklyn Barbecue: A Tale

The Command Center

The Command Center

 

It was time again for me to host the annual company barbecue. That meant 30 or more people coming over to the apartment in Brooklyn. That meant pounds and pound of meat. It meant bags and bags of charcoal. It meant hours and hours of work.

All of which is to say I was excited! And agitated. And nervous. A lot could go wrong, starting with the annual prediction of 60% chance of rain. I have a back yard just big enough for 30-some-odd people. I have an apartment that is smaller than the back yard. So, you do the math. But the chance of rain diminished throughout the week until the weather on the day of the actual event looked like it was supposed to be sunshine and lollipops. The day of cooking, on the other hand, looked to be a steady fall of rain.

Oh, yes. This is a two-day cooking affair. Three days if you include shopping. But it was all under control. I’ve done this before. Even if I haven’t mastered my brisket (shut up) just yet, I have the process down to a science.

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And the Best Place to Get Cajun Food in New York Is . . .

Hard to get reservations at this joint.

Hard to get reservations at this joint.

Recently I did an interview with Deep South Magazine. I liked it because we talked less about Sweet as Cane, Salty as Tears and more about my favorite subject: me.
 
 
Actually, we talked a bit about the experience of being Cajun in New York. The first thing Erin Z. Bass asked me to do was to sum up that experience in just a few words. This is typically the sort of question that stops me in my tracks. I have to sit there and think about it for days. Cara once asked me what my favorite movie was. That was four years ago and I’m still working on it.
 
 
But then it came to me. The easiest way to sum up being Cajun in New York is the phrase: “No, I’m not from New Orleans.” Most of you from Louisiana — especially all the parts that aren’t New Orleans — will know exactly what I mean. (I do note the irony of this as most people outside of New York automatically assume all New Yorkers are from New York City–and New York is a much bigger state than Louisiana.)
 
 
We also talked about food! And where to get it. So go read! (Is this click-bait? You’ll have to click to find out. You won’t believe what happens next.)
 
 
Elsewhere, a few sources have read the book and said nice things about it.
 

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Legal Trouble: Call 1-800-JESUS-DEFENSE

This morning so far:

Jesus Lawyer

"Judge, this guy is a Dallas Cowboys fan. Hasn't he suffered enough?"

“Judge, this guy is a Dallas Cowboys fan. Hasn’t he suffered enough?”

Upon boarding the 4 Train at Nevins Street, I find myself on a car with a subway preacher. But not just any subway preacher. Not the angry old lady shouting at the top of her lungs with righteous fury. I HATE that woman. I don’t go shouting at you first thing in the morning that you’re going to die and then never feel anything, not even regret, so you better make the most of your life while you have it. So don’t go shouting at me that I’m going to burn in hell.  When she’s on the train, I will switch cars or dig out my headphones and listen to music — something like Jessie J, because I have it on good authority that subway preachers HATE Jessie J.

No, this guy was dressed for work. In construction. Hard hat and everything.

He was Jamaican. And when I walked onto the train, he was in the middle of a story about a guy going up before the judge for some crime. And the judge wants to throw the book at the criminal, but the judge has a relationship with the defense attorney, who puts in a good word and — well, I wasn’t clear if the guy got off or just had his sentence reduced. But either way, when you die, it apparently really pays to have Jesus as your defense attorney, especially when his Old Man is the judge.

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