Archive for January, 2009

White House Farmer?

Seems a family in Illinois took something journalist Michael Pollan said in a NYT magazine article to a whole new level. He called for the appointment of a White House farmer to compliment the White House chef, they built a website and they took nominations.

Voting is now open, and Atlanta’s own Daron Joffe (more widely known as Farmer D) is on the list. You screw around on the interwebs enough, take a three click trip and show our boy the city loves him. It’ll be more meaningful to someone than that video you’re searching for on youtube and who knows? It could happen. What?

Note that Pollan also suggested replacing five acres of the White House’s South Lawn with an organic fruit and vegetable garden, which I doubt has any better chance of happening than my giving birth to a houseplant.

National Coverage

EAV Coverage from the CSM

EAV Coverage from the CSM

Some of our local crime woes are getting national attention lately. Just a couple of quick links for you:

Do these stories get it right? You tell us.

g’day form down under.

howdy atl.

hope ya’ll are well. i am representing for georgia here in aussie. just thought i would drop a line to point you over to my post on the melbourne metblog called a famous tour guide. imagine showing up for a tour of the georgia dome and having dan reeves be your tour guide.

this was kinda like that.

Front-Page Games

Big gamer geek, here. And when I say I’m a gamer, I don’t just mean Xbox blockbusters and flashy MMORPGs like Lord of the Rings Online, but genuine geek games like D&D. I write for and about games for a living. But hobby games — the term we use to describe board games, card games, roleplaying games, miniature games, and pretty much any other non-video game — aren’t exactly front-page news. Except for today.

Imagine my surprise when I saw a blurb about board games on the front page of the AJC this morning. Imagine my surprise exploding in slow motion when I discovered the article contained things that were actually news to me. I hadn’t heard of some of the places they mention. How the hell did that happen?

I’m glad to see Thinking Man’s Tavern get a newsprint shout-out for their ready-to-play game selection, and in that spirit I want to mention a few other places in town to find and play games. The Independent in Midtown is owned (whole or in part, I lose track) by gamers, and is thus stocked with well-worn board games and a Super NES from back in the day. Oxford Comics & Games has a nice slew of geek products of all sorts, including board games and card games you won’t find at, say, Target. Dr. No’s, way up in Marietta, had a knock-out selection the last time I was up there, plus play space. I’ve seen locals playing Scrabble everywhere from Starbucks to The Midway Pub.

I don’t know if what the AJC calls “the board game craze” is really anything new or not, but I can tell you that board games are great entertainment investments. Of course, I’m biased.

Varasano’s: Underground

From all accounts I’ve heard/read, Jeff Varasano has been hosting underground pizza parties for years, and he’s the ranking on-line king of pizza.

Those are both teasers and I had no clue what either of them meant before I went to one of his aforementioned tastings at the invitation of Patricia Tinsley.

His home, where the parties are held, is a stones throw from Phipps Plaza is not entirely modest. It’s a beautiful home with a layout perfect for entertaining from the kitchen, though tall arched doorways and into wide spacious rooms. A dozen or so of us bellied up to the wrap around bar and spilled into the breakfast area and sitting room to watch Jeff and his assistant Heather Stokely work their doughy magic.

Fresh ingredients lined up on the counter, and a half a glass of wine down, I asked Jeff about the urban myth that what makes New York pizza so good is the water while the others made introductions and mingled over wine. Conveniently, they couldn’t hear my naïveté.

Jeff educated me as he worked the pale mound into something flat I recognized, and as he placed slivers of goodies on outstretched doughy goodness: that the myth has been around for generations and it started with this: well water v. public (contaminated) water. Huh. Who knew?

The secret, he says, is in the dough and the rest you give it and the fresh ingredients. The recipe? On line for anyone to make, which they do, and which is why he’s the online king of pizza. Hits, baby! Hits!

Varasano’s legit restaurant is slated to open late February near Piedmont Hospital, and when he does, I’ll be there. I’ll be easy to spot because I’ll be ogling, fondling and devouring the number he makes with rosemary, garlic and dates. Frack.

Has Your Car Been "Atlanta-fied?"

Driving in Atlanta is a harrowing ordeal, long commutes for some, bumper to bumper traffic and loads of accidents every day.  Yes all of that is bad but a more stealth danger has haunted me during my stay here.  That is the hit and run dent on your car while parked and flying rocks.

I’ve never been able to keep a car nice, new and dent free in this town.  That hasn’t been my fault. Once while parked at The Stacks visiting a friend, I walked to my car and noticed the hood of my Dodge Stratus was dented and scratched with white paint. It looked as if a white truck backed up and ran over the top of the hood. I asked around and no one saw anything.

The next incident happened right in front of my house. I sold the Stratus to Carmax and drive a Toyota now. I have a driveway at the house but one day I had to park in the street. I walked to my car to leave and couldn’t get the door to open. I looked down and saw that a car had backed into the door leaving a football sized dent. I yanked and got the door open. There was no note, nothing.

One day while driving the connector north, I was behind a cement truck. I was a safe distance from the truck. A small rock fell from out of the truck and cracked my windshield. I was unable to get the plates of the truck. The crack started small but eventually spread costing me $260 for a new windshield.

So I ask you readers, have you had similar experiences driving in Atlanta? Am I alone in meeting bad parkers and flying rocks? Is it possible to keep your car dent free in this city?

Signs your neighborhood has jumped the shark

I was eating breakfast at Carroll Street Cafe in Cabbagetown with a friend Sunday morning, when in quick succession I notice the following:

  • the table next to us had two nice middle aged couples
  • a 30-something woman in a lime green fuzzy running/sweat suit came into the restaurant
  • as we were leaving a couple comes in with two young children in tow
  • a woman was walking her Sheltie as we walked to the car
I looked at my friend and said, “I think Cabbagetown has jumped the shark.”  I mean, there is nothing inherintly wrong with any of the things I saw (except probably for the lime green track suit), it just wasn’t really the mental image I have in mind for Cabbagetown.  It also made me much more uncomfortable with how old I am.
I’ve got to admit that my own neighborhood, Virginia-Highland, jumped the shark years ago.  I have been surprised that Little Five has stayed relatively authentic, even if they replaced the Point with a clothing boutique.  EAV is still pretty raw, what with people getting shot in parking lots and all.  Cabbagetown still has its gritty side, but I guess it was just too cute for its own good.  (And FTR, I fully realize that I might be part of the problem, even if I do remember seeing the Vandals at the Point).

well i’m packing up my game and i’m a head down south.

yup, i know we think that atlanta is the dirty south, but believe it or not, there is a whole lot of stuff south of us. and not just miami, but an entire hemisphere if you can believe it.

i am going to be headed about as south as you can go – not quite, but close – on sunday morning. work is taking me to geelong, victoria, australia for two weeks. since geelong is right outside of melbourne, and melbourne happens to have a metblog, i figure, what the heck.

so i will be guest blogging on the melbourne metblog from the time i land on tuesday of next week until i get home.

be sure to drop by and see what i am up to :-)

Chins Up and Shirts On

Wear shirts? Like Atlanta? Then this is for you: We got word about a pick-me-up/benefit event happening tomorrow night (Saturday the 24th @ 225 Chester Avenue from 7pm-10pm) in the Cabbagetown/Reynoldstown borderlands, as part of the Southeast Bike! Bike! conference. Where exactly? Google Maps knows.

The party’s called Chin Up ATL. In their own words:

We’re looking for some positivity in Atlanta right now. So, teaming with SOPO, we’re getting together at the Bike! Bike! Conference to make some shirts that promote the good of our city. Jimmie Myers and Staci Janik have designed two different screens. There will be several colors to choose from. Lots of good people to be around. (I hear rumor there might be tall bike jousting?) There’s sure to be some going out afterwards . . . possibly in our new garb! So, let’s show Atlantans that there is still good here.

They’ll have about 50 American Apparel shirts on hand for you to buy and get screen-printed on the spot for $15. They may run out! So you can bring your own stuff, like shirts or skirts or socks, and get it screen-printed for $7 per screen.

All proceeds benefit the SOPO Bicycle Coop to aid in opening a new shop on the west side of town.

Check out the event’s Facebook page for details and comments.


If you’ve lived in Atlanta for a while then you’ve most likely crossed one our trails. You may have even seen us out running, riding, parading around doing a bar crawl, or singing songs in bars. Who are we? We are the Atlanta Hash. While hashing wasn’t started in Atlanta, our fair city has been hashing since 1982 and has become one of the most active hashing communities in the world.

But what is hashing?

Often described as “A drinking club with a running problem” hashing is an activity which combines exercising and drinking, sometimes at the same time. Each week a person (known as a “hare”) lays a trail in flour and/or toilet paper which is followed by the pack (known as “hounds”).

(image used with permission)

The catch is that the hounds don’t know where the trail will end, nor what they will encounter along the way. All terrain is fair game. In my ten years of hashing I have hashed in all parts of Atlanta including its roads, railroad tracks, woods, streams, swamps, and sewer tunnels (all of which, with the exception of pavement, are known as “shiggy”). It’s the pack’s duty to find and follow the trail to its end, where they are rewarded with beer and “orange food”. Along the way the pack communicates by chanting “RU?” (are you on trail?) and “On-On” (yes, I am on trail) in order to complete their mission. Atlanta’s hash trails range from three-to-six miles on average. One of the better things about hashing is that you actually don’t have to be able to run that far in order to participate. There is a motto in the hash that “Hashing is not a race” or as I like to say “There are no winners in the hash, we’re all a bunch of losers.

Hashing is an activity with an accompanying community.  Hash long enough with one group and you will be blessed with your very own hash name (mine is “Wee Little Bit” — don’t ask) by which you will be called for the remainder of your hashing days* In general hashers put aside color, race, religion, profession, looks, and politics; when it’s time to hash it’s all about finding trail and drinking beer.

Interested? Here is a breakdown of some; of Atlanta’s hashes

  • Black Sheep: Black Sheep hashes every other Sunday afternoon. Trails are challenging and usually full of shiggy. If you show up for Black Sheep remember the motto “You pays your money, you takes your chances.”
  • Slow Old B@stards: SOB hashes on the alternate Sunday afternoons. Trails are easy, short, and have beer stops. If you show up for SOB remember the motto “There’s no trail that cannot be improved by cutting it in half.”
  • Atlanta: Atlanta’s original hash — hashing since the Reagan Administration — hashes every Saturday afternoon. Trails vary in difficulty based on the hare. If you show up for Atlanta remember the motto “Life’s too short to search for a bottle opener.”
  • Pine Lake: Pine Lake, which broke free from the Atlanta in order to drink better beer, hashes every Saturday afternoon. Trails vary in difficulty based on the hare. If you show up for Pine Lake remember the motto “Life’s too short to drink cheap beer.”
  • Southern Comfort: Southern Comfort hashes on Friday nights. Trails are challenging and usually full of shiggy. If you show up for Southern Comfort remember the motto “I have nothing better to do on a Friday night?”
  • Moonlite: Moonlite hashes on Monday nights. Trails vary in difficulty based on the hare, but for the most part are not that difficult. Moonlite hashes usually end in a bar/restaurant so that you can get food after the hash if you so desire. If you show up for Moonlite remember the motto “I sure hope there are no small, impressionable children in this restaurant.”
  • Wheelhopper: Wheelhopper is Atlanta’s cycling hash. Wheelhopper hashes two Sunday afternoons a month, one trail is more off road “mountain” biking, one trail is called urban assault. Trails vary in difficulty and often provide options which can be chosen to make your ride harder/easier longer/shorter. If you show up for Wheelhopper remember the motto “Got Wheel? Got Beer?”

And if you do any of these trails then let them know that “Wee Little Bit” made you come.


* unless you do something that warrants a renaming.

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