Archive for November, 2008

file under: who are they kidding?

on thanksgiving i was headed over to my buddy’s place for thanksgiving. he lives in grove park, just past the intersection of bankhead highway and west lake drive. as i was driving up west lake to his place i noticed that the city of atlanta had renamed simpson road to something silly like joseph boone avenue.

is atlanta the only place that does this thing? i wonder if they really think that by renaming street with a reputation for crime and decay that anyone is going to get fooled.

how many of you are now willing to roll down bankhead just because it is now called donald lee hollowell parkway?

a short list just off the top of my head –

stewart ave becomes metropolitan parkway
lakewood freeway becomes langford parkway
bankhead highway becomes hollowell parkway
hightower road becomes james jackson parkway
simpson road apparently becomes boone ave

any i am missing?

oh and do you ever wonder who the poor saps are that are having these streets renamed after them?

the other thing this got me to thinking about is this: if they keeping renaming all of these streets over on the westside, how is poor t.i. going to be able to find his way around atlanta? if you have no idea what i am talking about check out this map of t.i.’s classic ‘ride wit’ me’ that i made in google maps whilst bored one night.

happy thanksgiving.

happy thanksgiving from all of us here at the atlanta metblog.

this writer has plenty to be grateful for, including the opportunity to have had the forum to work on my writing and journalism skills (limited though they may be.)

whether you are with friends, family or celebrating this day alone, take a moment to reflect on what is good in your life.

and while you are doing that, please remember to keep our friends in mumbai in your prayers. you might even head over to their metblog and drop a message of support.

The Palin Connection

I’ve been in Atlanta fourteen years and I can count on my hands the number of people I’ve met who didn’t say “hey! I’ve never met anyone from Alaska!”. Two years ago I met another defector – my SO’s physician, who is now my physician. It’s only been in the last few months have I even run into another ex-Alaskan. And that? That’s because someone in the room brought up Palin.

I wasn’t embarrassed of her enough, so she has to come here and compound it by supporting Saxby? I know her visit all about me and getting under my skin. Go away already. I don’t want you or need you here in Atlanta. I don’t want people associating me with you. It was bad enough when it was just Jewel people associated with Alaska, and she’s not exactly high on my list after lying publicly and repeatedly about going straight her grandfathers homestead to Big City, California when she went to high school with me in Anchorage. I just love it when people leave out key details.

I feel so strongly about Palins visit I had half a mind to rally together the aforementioned escapees to rally in shirts with snappy jabbing slogans, but I’m too busy with other bits. Like planning ATL Tweet-Ups. WHAT? You don’t know? Tsk tsk. Search for ATL Tweeters on facebook and join in the fun.

The only rule is you can’t mention Palin when you meet me.

your phone’s ringing, dude.

kudos to the plaza theater for staying relevant in the days of megaplexes, netflix and corporate run art-house theaters. the main thing the plaza has done to stay profitable is to create a whole host of “experience” events that combine a movie with other elements to create a night people will pay for. generally these include older movies that people love to see and may never have seen on a big screen.

last night i checked out the plaza’a flicks and giggles which takes place on the last tuesday of the month. the gig is they have a live comedy performance, usually a stand-up, show some trailers for classic comedy movies and then show a classic comedy flick.

thanks to tessa i found out they would be playing joel and ethan coen’s classic the big lebowski which is probably my favorite movie of all time.

what a blast. the comedian was decent, they showed trailers for fletch and raising arizona both of which would be great movies to have for flicks and giggles in the future, and then i got to see one of my favorite movies on the big screen. what is it about seeing a movie you love on the big screen after years that is just great? i dunno, but for $10 it was a bargain. i’ll totally check it out again.

chaos at the loaf.

wow things are not good these days at creative loafing.

most of you are probably already aware that the paper’s parent company is in bankruptcy after a poorly executed acquisition of alt-weeklies in dc and chicago, and if you follow the creative loafing blog you are aware that the paper fired editor ken edelstein yesterday in an apparent dispute over further cuts in the paper’s editorial staff.

now i am not a journalist, apart from being an amateur blogger and general commentator of atlanta’s social media scene, and i also haven’t seen creative loafing’s books so i know nothing about whether the paper needed more cuts in ed. staff or not. i am sure ken’s supporters will holler no way, as the ever bombastic john sugg is already doing. while the paper’s owners and advisers will scream it was necessary. again, i have no way of knowing who is right in this debate.

it seems also that the firing has apparently cost creative loafing the services of key journalist andisheh nouaree according to various twitter and facebook updates.

and this is a real shame. while i almost never agreed with him on anything poitical, andy has great wit, a good writing style and covered local issues better than anyone. his feature piece on carrying his gun around after the latest gun-bill passed was one of the best pieces of local journalism out there.

i’ll be honest, other than andy and thomas wheatley, who does an incredible job covering transportation, i quit reading cl and especially their blog more than a month ago. my politics are no secret to anyone who had read what i have written, and while i love to disagree with people, the daily, childish, name calling rants that were being served up on the fresh loaf got to be be too much for me.

which is sad. i really like the loaf, i think it serves an important purpose and has done some great work in the time i have been here (thomas wheatley’s piece on clayton county comes to mind as well as the previously linked andisheh piece and of course the reporting on the black mafia family.)

things seem really bad there now. i don’t know if this sort of chaos is the sort of thing the loaf can survive. if not i hope some enterprising kids start their own paper. some advice though, be left-wing if you want, but try to be respectful of those that disagree with you. we read too, and we click on ads.

Oh, Wise Atlanta Running Community, I Beseech You

I bit the bullet. I have wanted to do a half marathon for a year or more, but things (work, family, kids, LIFE) kept getting in the way. I finally realized that if I didn’t just do it now, I would never do it.

I am doing it. i am running over thirteen miles. On Thanksgiving morning.

When i voiced my trepidation over Friday night drinks, my dear friend, fanatical and fast runner Nat, at The Negative Split, informed me that I should concentrate on the fact that i will be able to eat a whole turkey by myself at Thanksgiving dinner. Which I have to say does not sound half bad. Natalie, ever clothing-obsessed, also informed me that I will receive a medal, and that I am to not take it off on Thanksgiving Day, which should prove to give me some interesting family pictures. My children will show their grandchildren pictures of me wearing a medal at Thanksgiving dinner and the grandchildren will wonder when great-grandma went crazy. Obviously, the tipping point between passably sane and crazy was when I clicked the button to sign up to run thirteen miles. On Thanksgiving.

Perhaps you can tell I am nervous. There are hills. There is a wind tunnel effect downtown. A friend ran one year and people had frost on their clothing from the cold. What if it rains? What if I can’t empty my bowels before I start. What if I just have one of those terrible running days where I’m just not feeling it. What if I can’t sleep the night before? What if I oversleep?

Most importantly, how will I get through the night before Thanksgiving with my parents and without downing at least a whole bottle of red wine? This is unchartered territory. The possibilities for pain and disaster are endless. . . .

So, I beseech you, Metroblogging Atlanta readers who are just crazy enough to have run thirteen miles on Thanksgiving: I need your sage advice. I need your deepest Thanksgiving Half-Marathon secrets. I need your “how I made it” and “here’s what you need to do.”

In return, I think you will be getting a pretty giddy race report on Thanksgiving* Friday night.

*I will be in overdose mode from post-race Tryptophan and red wine ingestion and cannot guarantee Thanksgiving post.

Upcoming Stuffs I’m Going to Try

Telephone Factory 13th Annual Art Show and Sale

I probably won’t be able to afford any of the art displayed, but that’s not going to stop me from going and soaking it all in. Saturday December 6th from 11-7 and Sunday December 7th from 1-6.

A complete list of artists and directions could be found on their site if they had one, or I could easily locate it. You’re welcome.

Inman Park Cooperative Preschool’s 24th Annual Auction: Growing Up Green

At the Historic Trolly Barn, it would be a shame if I didn’t hoof it up the street to catch this on Sunday November 24th from 3-7p. I will say that the postcard flyer didn’t tell me a lick about what items will be up for auction and finding it on the site (http://www.ipcp.org) was over 3 clicks which has me hesitant to go out of my way, but the co-op and I have mutual friends so I’m giving them the benefit of the doubt.

marta. one year later.

i started riding marta one year ago last week. it was a combination of frustration with sitting in my car, the rising price of gas and just a plain old desire to have some time back in my life that put me on the train for the first time. by the time those first few weeks were over, i was hooked. i haven’t driven my car to my office in alpharetta in more than one year, that is how much i love my ride to and from work on the bus and train every day.

this is what i wrote here on the atlanta metblog of that decision a year ago:

and then last friday hit. my commute from my workplace off of old milton parkway in alpharetta back home to north ormewood took more than two hours to complete. i was frustrated, upset and stressed. i seriously could feel my blood pressure increasing with each time i tapped the breaks.
as i watched each marta train cross over me on 400 zipping into town i asked myself, can it really be that bad?

i start every morning out on the #9 bus which i ride from in front of my house ever morning to the five points station. i get on the northbound train and ride it all the way to the end of the line at north springs. from there i get on another bus, the #140, which takes me all the way up to old milton parkway and my office. all told the trip takes me about 90 minutes each way. it’s a good 45 minutes longer in the morning and about a push in the evening, adding 45 minutes to my commute. and i wouldn’t give it up for the world.

i have learned a lot in the year i have been riding marta. first and foremost i have learned that for the most part all of the reasons people give for not riding marta – it doesn’t go anywhere, it isn’t safe, it’s not reliable are just myths. i have learned that if you are willing to ride a bus, you can get almost anywhere in fulton or dekalb on marta. marta is as reliable as driving; you can look back on my posts about marta over at my personal blog and it’s incredible how few of them have to do with problems or delays. sure they happen, but about as frequently as construction or an accident or a braves game would delay my commute.

so i have learned those things; that most of the issues people come up with for not riding marta are basically myths, but i have learned a lot more about myself too. i have for the last year on an almost daily basis been in the overwhelming minority on my commute. i can’t begin to stress how much this has changed my thinking and perspective on issues related to race and our society . i tried to capture it once in a post on my personal blog, but i don’t think i am a good enough writer to nail it:

it is with some level of dissatisfaction with myself that i must admit that i was very uncomfortable for a long period of time. some of it was basic fear. we have all heard the arguments for rational stereotyping – black men commit the majority of violent crime, ergo we are right to have our pulse quicken when we see them. yes i know it is a tad bit more complex but just stick with me, i am paraphrasing to try to get this out. some of it was just being uncomfortable being different. some of it was, i am convinced, fear that those on the trains and buses didn’t want me there – this was there space, and who was i to invade it.
i consider myself an enlightened guy, so it is with pain that i admit this. it is with pain that i admit that sometimes my heart can quicken a bit when i come out of the tunnel onto alabama street to catch my bus.

i have also been able to observe and participate in the human drama in a way that i just didn’t disconnected from the people around me in my car. the most enjoyable thing about marta for me is the overwhelming sense of community i feel, sharing a bus or a train with all these other people. it can’t be replicated. this sense of community and my feelings about race as they have been channeled through my experience on marta have even become the backdrop for a novel i am writing.

during the gas shortage, i learned how nice it is to not need gas. i can get anywhere in the city on marta with a little planning and during the gas shortage i got to laugh at my friends who were waiting in line for more than an hour trying to fill up their tanks. i fill my tank up once a month and during the gas shortage i stretched that even more.

oh and the time i find. i work on marta, i read, i meditate, i write. heck i am even writing this post as i sit in the front of the #140 riding up north point parkway.

i guess the most important thing i have learned though, is that it’s important to be open. for years i was closed to the idea of taking marta because i didn’t want to ride a bus. if the train had gone to my office i might have done it years ago. finally driven by the insanity of sitting in my car for hours on end, i took the plunge and i have never looked back.

if you have considered marta but dumped the idea because of one of those little myths or one bad experience, give us another chance. we’re out here riding every day. we’d love to see you. i have a feeling next november, i at least, will be writing my two year retrospective.

One of the Many Things Atlanta Needs

I’ve been craving it for a while. A small storefront in an otherwise unsuspecting area. Maybe an awning with scalloped edges, maybe pretty script on the plate glass windows facing the street. Maybe a bell on the door that jingles with a genuine call, not a “I’m going to instantly suspect you of shoplifting” noise.

But inside?

Inside would be a small market.

It would be small and quaint and bustling but not so much so that you can’t move. It wouldn’t be big enough for shopping carts or women who have undergone plastic surgery. It would have shelving as tall as I am (5’4”) so you could see aisle to aisle and *maybe* it would have a glass case.

All that would be for sale here would be goods produced within a 15 mile radius of the store.

That’s my dream. Now, would someone please build it?

In the meantime, I’m looking forward to Farmer D opening a storefront in Atlanta. Rumored to be establishing roots (see what I did there?) near Briarcliff and LaVista, the planned storefront is said to be a retail and educational space.

That’ll do pig, that’ll do.

c’mon hawks fans. seriously.

i love the hawks. my affair with atlanta’s once-hapless basketball franchise started last year. i decided to become a hawks fan because i a) wanted a local team to root for and i already had a baseball team, didn’t like football and thought the thrashers were boring and b) the hawks seemed like the kind of lovable losers that i could get behind (see aforementioned baseball team cubs, chicago.)

a funny thing happened on the way to the highlight factory though, i really fell in love with this team. first, live basketball is just great. it has an energy and intensity that comes from so much scoring and an intimacy that comes from their being no barriers between athletes and spectators that no other professional sport matches. second, the hawks are a good team. they have good, caliber players who play hard, don’t showboat and seem to get that they are there for the fans.

oh and we are good this year. 7-4 good with key injuries. have beaten top teams like the hornets and the magic good. played the world champs to a one point loss on their home court good.

so here is my plea to atlanta’s fans.

STAY TO THE END OF THE GAME!!!

seriously. is it that much to ask? last night the hawks played the wiz in a tight game. midway through the fourth quarter the hawks had battled back and the game was virtually deadlocked. marvin wiliams had come to play, the hawks needed a win bad after 4 straight losses and a god 1/3 of the crowd (many of whom had arrived late to being with) took off and left.

and then with 50 seconds left, game on the line, more people left.

and then we wonder why we don’t get taken seriously as a sports town…

p.s. – the hawks won. and i saw every moment including marvin wiliams burying a clutch three to seal the game with only seconds left on the clock.

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