5 Tips for a Memorable Mardi Gras

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One item on many Bucket Lists is to experience Mardi Gras in New Orleans.  Thanks to the hospitality of my lifelong friend, this year I had the chance to do exactly that.  What I’ve compiled here are my top tips for a first-time Mardi Gras attender to help you have a fun, memorable, and sane experience.

This is a lengthy post, so if you’d like to jump ahead use these links:

  1. Research
  2. Prioritize
  3. Be Strategic
  4. Be Considerate
  5. Take It Easy

Before we jump in, here’s some crucial lingo:

  • Krewe: A purposeful misspelling of “crewe” coined in the mid-1800s as an archaic affectation (fake old-sounding word).  Krewes lead parades throughout the Mardi Gras season.  Some parades consist of multiple small Sub-Krewes (Krewe Delusion, The Intergalactic Krewe of Chewbacchus) but most run their own independant parades.
  • Reveler: A person who has paid to gain membership to a Krewe and is therefore required to participate in the parade.  Revelers are all required to wear masks — some resemble those worn by French clergy and some are classic masquerade masks).
  • Royalty: Krewe members who have made particularly large contributions and therefore ride on individual floats at the beginning of the parade.  Some parades have only a King/Queen and some have Dukes, Duchesses, Paiges, Maids, and more.
  • Throw: Items thrown by revelers to parade goers.  Typical throws include classic Mardi Gras beads, Krewe-themed beads, medallions, doubloons, plastic cups, and special hand-decorated throws.
  • Ball: Krewes throw exclusive parties after their parades where attendees are able to see the floats go by in a special location and are sometimes treated to a concert by the parade’s celebrity marshall.  Tickets to these parties are hard to come by and can climb upwards of $500.

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Getting Fit: Food + Weight

Above: Two of the meals that make up my average 1200 calorie day I describe below.  Ingredients and calorie counts are listed at the bottom of this article.  

I have hesitated to post anything on this topic for awhile now as it is, for many, a highly emotional and touchy subject.  But I don’t believe it needs to be emotionally fraught — it comes down to numbers, and numbers have no feelings.

In my mind, there are two things a person should strive to do for their health:

⤐ Understand and keep track of exactly what they eat.

⤐ Walk or run for more than a mile multiple times a week.

Let’s start with number one.  Many people incorrectly equate documenting your eating habits with compulsive eating disorders.  While food tracking may be part of how an eating disorder presents in some individuals, keeping a food diary does not an anorexic make.  In fact, keeping a food diary is a fantastic way to be sure that you are giving your body all of the protein, fat, and micronutrients it needs to keep going.  Journaling your food intake is just like keeping a monthly spreadsheet to budget your finances or tracking how many miles you can go between filling up your gas tank.  It’s an informative and healthy habit to have.

More than that, a food diary is the only way to hold yourself accountable for bad eating habits.  Like many people, I’ve wondered why it was I could never lose weight — I thought I ate a reasonable amount and that perhaps my body was just stuck like that.  Most of my immediate family was overweight, I thought perhaps it was genetic.  Then I started tracking every single thing I ate in a day, and I learned that I was eating exactly enough to maintain my weight, if not more sometimes.

Poor nutrition and obesity are an epidemic and there is simply no other way to describe it.  Obesity is a disease that is killing us, and yet at a time when information is at all of our fingertips, it’s difficult to find correct information on healthy eating and weight management.  Myths both new and old are hard to shake loose, particularly when social media provides a perfect ground for peddling to the uninformed.

So let’s go over some terms and knock out some myths.  Because one comfort in this is that while it’s not magic or easy, the formula for weight loss is very simple and it works for everyone.

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Weather Integrated into Wallpaper: A GeekTool Widget for Mac OS

geektoolweather

You will need:

GeekTool is an application available for Mac OS that allows the user to create widgets embedded in their desktop.  These widgets commonly display time, date, to do lists, weather information, and images.  I’ve played with GeekTool on and off over the years — sometimes using it for practical reasons, like an easily visible record of uptime on older machines, and sometimes for frivolous ones, like the GeekTool I’m going to share with you today.

While displaying weather widgets with images is a common GeekTool, I have yet to see one integrated into a desktop image, so I decided to give it a try.  To accomplish this, you’ll needed to use two GeekTools, one image and one shell.  I used two small scripts, one written in bash and the other a line in python, but you could easily write all of this in one script, splitting it up was just faster for me in the moment.

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Things Dysfunctional Parents Don’t Teach Us About: Living Spaces

Parks and Recreation: Season 3, Episode 15. “The Bubble”

While leaving and recovering from an abusive home requires a lot of psychological effort, there are also a lot of more tangible things that go into moving forward.  Sometimes when we are worn out from trying to psychologically understand and cope with our past or present abuse, concrete planning can be a helpful antidote.  I know for myself that I spent many hours planning my “getaway” as a younger person, and while only a few of those plans ever got enacted, it was the planning that gave me hope.

For many people raised by abusive parents, finding a home of their own to live safely and freely in is an important goal.  However, abusive parents frequently work against their children gaining independence, and are usually unhelpful and uninformative when it comes to moving out and living as an adult.

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Drug Store Baked Eyeshadows

bakedeyeshadow

What is baked eyeshadow?

Baked eyeshadow are traditionally mineral eyeshadows, though many contain plenty of non-mineral ingredients.  Baked eyeshadows are made in a wet mixture, shaped into domes, and as the name suggests, baked.  They can be applied dry for a sheer glittery shadow or wet for a more metallic sheen.

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Raspberry Pi Lighttpd Web Server Tutorial

Setting Up

Acquire a Raspberry Pi, configure your SD card with Raspbian, and connect to the internet via ethernet.  Get yourself a case similar to the one shown or make one from lego or cardboard.

Once you’ve booted your Pi, it’s crucial to change the default password.  If you’re comfortable at the command line, ditch the default user Pi and the desktop interface.  This will help preserve the life of your SD card.  If you think the server will get much traffic, it’s worth taking the time to boot Raspbian from a USB instead of the SD card.

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