Archive for June, 2009

How to entertain a family of five for < $10. And there’s ice cream!

The consequences of not following Jake’s Ice Cream on Twitter are much like the consequences of dissing Dr Dre:  quite simply, you diss yourself.

Thanks to a congested commute on the southbound downtown connector Friday night, I had plenty of time to catch the following tweet:  “Tonight is Family Fun Night @ Irwin Street Market! Come play games, enjoy ice cream and meet new friends!”

And then, “Secret Password! 10% off your ice cream purchase TODAY ONLY when you tell us ‘Jake’s Ice Cream is seriously cool!’”

Score!

connect fourSo, we loaded up the Odyssey and headed up Boulevard toward Irwin Street.  The Mrs, the tween, and the toddler gathered around a Connect Four game while I read the required catchphrase off my Blackberry before ordering two double scoops of Chocolate Slap Yo Mamma and Strawberry Fields.  The scooper even agreed to divide the two doubles into four cups, so we wouldn’t have to endure spoon sparring between strategic plastic disk dropping.

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free stuff from the folks at sketchworks.

the folks over at sketchworks, the sketch comedy troupe in decatur, are looking for your help. they are getting ready to make a pitch for a tv show and they need assistance rating some of their recorded skits.

they are hosting a free focus session tomorrow night at their theater in decatur, and if you are willing to spend about 90 minutes rating some pretty funny stuff from 1-5, they will give you a free ticket to a live show in the future.

i’ve reviewed sketchworks before, and i found it hillarious, so i think this will be fun if you are a fan of saturday night live style humor. plus, it’s free and you get a free ticket to a future show.

check it out if you can and bring friends….

june 26, 7:30 pm
sketchworks theater
3041 north decatur road
scottdale, ga 30079

Best Sandwich in Town

The best sandwich place in town

The best sandwich place in town

I lost 40 pounds last year on the South Beach diet, and I’ve kept it off by avoiding highly processed carbohydrates. This means I rarely eat sandwiches, and I can’t think of the last time I had a potato. I do, on occasion, break the rules.

Today, I ran out of the house and forgot to eat lunch. After my scheduled meeting downtown was over, I found myself on Broad Street with a little bit of time to kill and a gnawing hunger at my belly. Hello, Reuben’s.

These guys make the best sandwiches in town. Period. Now, I love the sandwiches at Elliott Street Pub, too, but Rueben’s is simply the best. Today I had pastrami, turkey, and swiss on some marbled rye. Simply awesome – as is every sandwich i’ve had here. They stack the meat high, I love the shredded lettuce, the tomatoes aren’t too thick, they use the spicy mustard… everything is just right.

And the employees are funny, too. I usually hate New Yorkers, but Reuben is a real nice guy who makes everyone feel at home without being obnoxious (which seems to be a default attitude for most New Yorkers).  The deli used to have a “soup nazi” feel to the line, but they’ve mellowed out.  If you haven’t been here, go!

if we had named that panda p-dizzle would they want him back?

hagin by me

hagin' by me

time’s up…..

for zoo atlanta’s pandas that is. the lease on the giant pandas is up next year and zoo atlanta announced today it needs to raise $500,000 to reach the $2.5 million they need in order to renew the lease with the chinese on lun lun, yang yang and xi lan (mei lan is going back to china no matter what.)

it sucks that zoo atlanta doesn’t have the cash on hand to do this, but you know the drill, economy bad, corporate sponsorships are down, etc. etc. so anyway, the zoo is coming to you and asking for a membership or a donation or whatever you can do. they have set up a web site, give so they can stay, and you can check it out for more info.

i realize there are so many worthy causes hurting for money right now, but pandas, pandas are one of the things that make us big-time, in select company. and they are awesome.

you guys know how much i love these pandas. during the winter when i was going through a rough patch one of the things that got me through the day was pausing for a mintue and watching p-dizzle on the panda cam. i even bought a membership to the zoo so i could walk over there any time and see them. those animals are to me citizens of this city and part of us.

i hate this panda lease game with the chinese, but it is what it is. maybe this is the same kind of blackmail professional sports teams play with cities to get new stadiums, but damn does it work.

i think they are worth trying to keep here.

so who would come to a “keep the pandas here” party if we at the atlanta metblog were to throw one. maybe we could raise a few bucks.

who’s with me?

Following Up…

This is not going to be your “typical” Atlanta Metblogs posting.

A couple of weekends ago I, along with two fortunate Atlanta Metblogs readers, were able to sit in on the day-and-a-half photography workshop offered by Digital Days Photography at Atlanta’s Downtown Sheraton Hotel. I mentioned this workshop in this forum a few weeks before it occurred and this is an evaluation of the workshop.

If you are one of those people who likes to “get to the point,” my assessment of the workshop is positive, I feel that you get what you pay for, and if you are new to photography and Digital Days Photography is holding this workshop somewhere near you (they will be visiting eighteen United States cities in total) then you should consider taking it.

The workshop ran for a day-and-a-half; from 1pm – 5pm on Saturday afternoon, and 9am – 5pm on Sunday.

Saturday was billed as the “Basics” day. The instructor, Phil Mistry, had a lot of photographic experience and enough humorous anecdotes to keep the class engaged as he presented technical details. This day, $69, was all about introducing you to your digital camera (mostly aimed toward DSLR owners, but much of the information applied to point-and-shoot owners as well).

  • What is photography?
  • What do we mean by the term “Exposure”, and how does one achieve “proper Exposure?
  • What is a JPEG file? and a RAW file?
  • What is “focal length?”
  • What is “aperture?”
  • What is this thing labelled “ISO” and why would I ever want to change it?
  • My whites aren’t white? What happened?
  • My photo is blurry… what went wrong?
  • Depth of field? What’s that?
  • What are all these modes on my camera? When would I use them?

By and large, the above list of questions were answered in this four-hour session. Saturday’s session was completed with a quick overview of digital photograph retouching using Adobe’s Photoshop Elements.

On Sunday, which cost $99 to attend, Mistry pushed the photographers in attendance further. Not only would this day contain a quick recap of the basics, it would explain why one might use Aperture Priority or Shutter Priority modes instead of the many other modes available, as well as talk briefly about the light and its qualities. At midday the photographers in attendance had an opportunity to move into another large room and practice shooting models (my only gripe — I’ll discuss later). After a break for lunch John Omvik took over the teaching responsibilities for the remainder of the day. Omvik started out by critiquing some of the shots taken by the photographers during the model shoot, and then presented a practical discussion of the digital photographer’s workflow through the use of Adobe’s Lightroom.

My Conclusion
As I stated at the beginning of this critique, I felt that the information presented was worth the money. (Full Disclosure: I attended each day’s session courtesy of Digital Days Photography.) I have been shooting for some years and have taken many workshops so much of the information is redundant to me, which of course meant that I understood it regardless of how it was presented.

The Pros

  • The price charged for each session was very fair, and if you registered for both days the cost was only $139.
  • Digital Days Photography runs an organized workshop.
  • The instructors were highly knowledgeable and able to convey their information well.
  • The scope of the information was presented as advertised.
  • At the end of each session at least one camera bag was given away at random.
  • I learned things.

The Cons

  • The seating was less than ideal, especially for the Sunday session. There seats were not very comfortable and there were no tables so it was very hard to take notes. This ultimately may be a fault of the venue, but it’s up to the organizer to guarantee that its participants have a functional workspace.
  • Like with almost every mass-attended model shoot, it was tough to get a decent photo. Here is a shot I took of the scene around one of the models at any given time.

I’d like to take this opportunity to thank all associated with this workshop for making the experience a positive one.

defending hartsfield.

photo by Tristan Ferne

Atlanta airport by Tristan Ferne

a few days ago i was sitting in a 757 taxiing to a gate at chicago o’hare airport, on my way home from seattle. thanks to the fact that i was traveling on a family member’s frequent flier miles, i was stuck on united and thus the change in chicago.

so as i am sitting there, waiting on the door to open, i started listening to the conversation behind me. it was the usual “see how much i travel” banter, but one thing struck me. the woman who was preening about how much she travels said she “refused to change planes in atlanta.” she said this of course, as she was changing planes in o’hare.

nice.

as background, and not to engage in my own travel preening, but solely so you know i speak with a little bit of experience, i have been in most of the world’s largest gateway airports on 4 different continents including (look this up, it’ll be interesting to you) lax, sfo, sea, den, dfw, stl, msp, dtw, ord, jfk, bos, iad, clt, atl, mia, lgw, lhr, cdg, ams, fco, fra, muc, hkg, pek, pvg, icn, nrt, syd and mel. and here is what i can tell you; of that list up there, hartsfield is possibly one of the nest and easiest international gateway airports in the world to change planes in.

i am not sure why we get our bad rap, but let me give you some rationale for this:

1. all those other airports were designed clearly by 3 year olds with tinker toys. nothing makes sense, there are multiple terminals with multiple levels, insane amounts of walking, confusing terminal and gate sequencing, etc.

2. atlanta, by contrast is very simple. there is one terminal, and all the other concourses are attached to it. the numbering scheme is very easy. also, every concourse is laid out exactly the same. to change planes, all you ever have to do, is walk to the center, go down an escalator, board the train, go up an escalator and then go left or right. try getting from one terminal to another in o’hare, paris, l.a., london or dallas this way.

3. so many of the major international gateways require absurd amounts of walking. i swear to change planes in sydney i logged at least three miles of walking. getting from the international terminal at o’hare to a domestic terminal is a trek that would make henry livingstone blanch. i won’t even get into the monstrosity that is charles de gaulle.

honestly, i have no idea why hartsfield gets the horrible rap it does. maybe it’s because it’s the only major gateway that many people use. honestly of that list i elaborated on earlier, the only one i would choose over atlanta is amsterdam.

am i wrong about this?

Missing Boot

Photo © Sara Hindmarch 2009

Photo © Sara Hindmarch 2009

As found near Twain’s in Decatur. This would’ve been the highlight of my night, if not for the vodka from a Crystal Head.

People Watcher

I was at Lenox Square yesterday and became transfixed by all the diverse folks walking around. I get this way at Hartsfield-Jackson too. I love to people watch. Sometimes I play a game where I create a story for someone.

The mall and the airport are great people watching locations, obviously. Back in the day when we had festivals and concerts at Piedmont Park, that was also a great place to people watch.

What are some other places in Atlanta to enjoy all the diverse folks that live here?

parakeets everywhere. zoo atlanta scores.

boundless budgies exhibit at zoo atlanta

boundless budgies exhibit at zoo atlanta

zoo atlanta is like so many other things in atlanta when compared to it’s bigger city bretheren; underfunded, undermanned, maligned, but ultimately a whole lot of fun when you drop the new york/l.a. envy and just appreciate it for what it is.

i love zoo atlanta. i think they do a great job with the space they have, showing a diverse set of animals in well maintained environments. the staff and volunteers are great and the keeper talks and other programming is top notch. my daughter loves it too, and since we are zoo members we go for an hour here or there whenever we want.

like this weekend, where we went specifically to check out the new parakeet adventure at zoo atlanta. it’s an open enclosure with hundreds of parakeets flying free. for $1 you can buy a seed stick and feed the ‘keets to your heart’s content.

it’s a blast. hundreds of beautiful birds all over the place. you are in close contact with them too, which is always a blast. it takes a few minutes to get oriented though, since the birds will come flying a high-speed right past your head.

they are also still being trained to be cool with the people so they are a bit shy, but patience is rewarded with the opportunity to feed several birds.

the thing i love about the exhibit, is that zoo atlanta has done something cool and fun, that both kids and adults will enjoy in very little space. which is critical when you have as little of that to go around as zoo atlanta does.

i put some more pix up in the atlanta metblog flickr group if you want to check them out.

enjoy.

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