Archive for February, 2010

Winter Beer Carnival

My motto in life usually goes something like: “Candy is dandy, liquor is quicker, but beer is near.” I feel like maybe I should establish myself as the designated drunk blogger. (I’m not an alcoholic; they go to meetings!)

Yesterday I attended the first annual Winter Beer Carnival. In my (not so) humble opinion, winter may in fact be one of the best times to drink beer, because it’s less easy to get dehydrated when you’re not actively sweating, which here in Atlanta we usually are doing at least 7 months of the year. Plus, the beer makes you feel warm!

So, if you weren’t there, it was held over at the Atlanta Contemporary Art Center, over in west midtown near Tech. i.e. ~In the ghettoooo~ I’m surprised so many clean-cut surburbanites even showed up. I guess it’s proof that people will take risks for beer. (Hey, coming ITP is a risk for a lot of people.) I thought having the event half-indoors and half-outdoors was a smart move; the weather was nice so I didn’t mind being outside, but Atlanta’s winter climate is a strange beast. There was a chance it could have been 30 degrees and raining. My only real complaint about the location dealt with acoustics; the building has high ceilings and concrete floors, so with hundreds of people inside making noise, the roar was quite deafening. Also, outside on the patio, the music WAS SO LOUD I HAD TO TALK LIKE THIS THE ENTIRE TIME. Seriously, there’s a difference between providing ambient noise and blowing out people’s eardrums.

My friend bought me a VIP ticket, which is an option I always like to exercise at beer festivals. All the good shit hides in the VIP area. The beer selection was not quite as amazing as Hotoberfest’s, but not as disappointing as East Atlanta Beer Fest. I say disappointing only because I go to beer festivals to hopefully sample new things. Granted, our fair state does have some WEIRD laws which prevent a lot of really good beer from being brought here. But I don’t go to beer festivals to drink Sweetwater, Abita, Terrapin, etc. Don’t get me wrong– I love all of these beers, but I can also buy them any day of the week (well, except for Sunday) at the Stab-n-Grab on Boulevard. Especially if I’m paying X amount for a ticket to some shindig, I want to feel like I’m getting my money’s worth. Thus, I found the Winter Beer Carnival’s selection to be adequate; a decent mix of new and familiar. If you go to beer festivals simply to get hammered, it probably won’t make a difference.

I ate beforehand, so I didn’t get to sample any of the food. And I didn’t get drunk enough to play any carnival games, although the life-size “Operation” board was freakin’ hilarious. I noticed the “prizes” seemed to manifest mainly in the form of Mardi Gras beads. See, I actually went to Mardi Gras in New Orleans three weeks ago, and I more or less have beads coming out my ass at this point. (Hey, some people pay good money for that.) Suffice to say the idea of bringing home more beads didn’t thrill me. I hope for better prizes next year; maybe something beer-related. At the very least, not beads.

OMG Heyward shirtless!!

I was reading the local fish wrapping this morning when I came across an odd article about the Braves’ Jason Heyward. Apparently Heyward has put on some weight from last year, which is cause for uncomfortable sentences like these:

Jason Heyward reported to spring training Monday, then jaws hit the floor. Millionaire athletes reached for words to describe the masher from McDonough, whose already epic physique has become more so…

Most of his added weight appears to have been distributed across his muscular shoulders. Simply put: dude is shredded.

And yet, Heyward has maintained the narrow waist and V-shaped back that he had last spring training.
Um.  Right.  So I get that the guy is big.  But am I the only one who found this an odd lede for a sports article?  Well, maybe for baseball – middle aged men slobbering over the physique of teenagers is pretty common in football, so much so that my alma mater’s leading blog has coined the term ‘shirtless’ for 5-star recruits.  So I guess we can wait for posts that scream “OMG Heyward shirtless!”

Also, La Madre reaction to the article was “he’s on steroids, right?”.  I think part of the oddity of this article is that I remember when guys like portly Terry Pendleton and lanky Fred McGriff were typical ball players – as a smaller youth I was drawn to the game precisely because you didn’t have to be omg shirtless to play it well.  Mark Lemke was entirely average at 5’10” and 167 lbs – as a 10 year old, I could aspire to this.  I’m not used to viewing ball players as physical specimens like this, even though I get entirely too excited when I read about all the weight some sophomore defensive lineman put on over the summer.

getting dirty.

dirty trail shoes

my new obsession is trail running. after reading christopher mcdougall’s book born to run, i just couldn’t help but become enthralled with the whole idea off trail running. so i signed up for a 50k race in chattanooge and promptly headed to the big peach running company for some trail running shoes.

for the last few weeks, my friend lisa and i have been getting our trail running shoes dirty. based on a suggestion from a friend we have been running on the sope creek trails over at the chattahoochee river. hard to believe that over there between paper mill road and i-285 there are miles and mile of wooded trails. so we have been getting dirty over there at the hooch.

way too much fun.

we’re thinking of also trying out the trails at the georgia international horse park in conyers and sweetwater state park out toward douglasville.

anyone know of any other good spots to run on trails and get running shoes deliciously muddy?

Enjoying the weather for once

Being an famous blogger and leading opinion-maker in this town, I scored some free tickets to the Georgia Aquarium’s Planet Shark blogger day.  I was all ready to get up early and drag La Novia to get see some fish before all the crowds got there, and of course we slept in and dragged ass around the house for a while.  It was a great day to get out on the town, however, since it was just about the first day this whole year that the weather has cooperated.

We actually got to the big fish tank around 1, which meant I spent a few hours trying not to run over children every time I changed directions.  I’ve had the opportunity to be at the Aquarium as a guest during less crowded events, which makes going during prime hours feel insane. I really love the Aquarium because it can be very magical and meditative – these things are impossible in the middle of a weekend day.

The shark exhibit itself was decidedly, “meh,” unfortunately.  I don’t particularly get off on sharks – I find the whole Shark Week thing on TV to be quite bizarre and borderline fetish-esque.  Unless you just lurve sharks, I don’t recommend it.

To be honest, the best part of the day was after the Aquarium, when we got a late, late lunch at Flip Burger Boutique.  I’d heard great things – all of them accurate, I can now attest.  I went ahead and splurged on the $14 Korean BBQ Burger, which has wagyu beef and braised short rib.  I felt a bit silly paying that much for a burger, but honestly it might have been worth it.  I didn’t have the guts to try the foie gras milkshake, but the coffee and donut shake was fantastic.  La Novia thoroughly enjoyed the mushroom burger and a Nutella and Burnt Marshmellow shake.

I’ll be back once my wallet recovers, and I’m going to take on the foie gras milkshake.

MARTA goes for “Gold”

Midtown Station

MARTA CEO Beverly Scott announced Thursday that the transit agency’s Yellow Line will be renamed the Gold Line. MARTA is making the switch in response to complaints from some Asian-American advocacy groups who said that the word “yellow” still carries the connotation of a racial epithet.

The route was known as the Doraville Line until October 2009, when MARTA changed its rail line names to colors to make them easier for riders to navigate. 2000 Census data put the percentage of residents of Doraville and neighboring Chamblee who identified themselves as “Asian” at 12.7 percent and 14 percent, respectively.

Scott told the AJC that the re-renaming will be phased in over an as-yet-unspecified time period. Electronic train arrival boards in stations already reflected the change Friday while the agency’s Web site still refers to the “Yellow Line.”

You can’t win ’em all

It may be the world’s busiest airport, but, in a recent study by J.D. Power and Associates (side rant: is there a study out there they don’t conduct?), Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport ranked 10th out of 19 large airports in airport satisfaction. The airport has slipped 2 places since the last study was conducted in 2008.

The study was based on passenger surveys in six areas: airport accessibility, baggage claim, check-in and baggage check process, terminal facilities, security checkpoints and concessions. It appears, however, that the study failed to take into account that some of these areas are not maintained or controlled by airport administration but by the TSA and other agencies. Hartsfield’s main problem was in the area of airport accessibility which includes passenger pick-up/drop-off, traffic flow, and parking to name a few. Ya think?

I’ll admit that I probably spend as much, if not more, time shuttling people to and from the airport as I do flying in/out myself. But, I am by no means an expert on Hartsfield. I do agree that the area of accessibility does need some work but I don’t have any clear suggestions on how to fix the problem.

For those of you that travel on a regular basis, what do you think about Hartsfield and the problem areas the study points out?

Da Vinci has left the building (well, almost)

Just a quick reminder…

Leonardo Da Vinci, Hand of the Genius is entering its final weekend at the High Museum of Art. The gallery has extended hours Friday-Sunday, including extended hours for Friday Jazz.

I’ll admit that, in all the time the exhibition has been in Atlanta, I haven’t had a chance to see it yet but I’m making time this weekend (along with half the city I’m sure). So, if you’re looking for something to do this weekend, head on over to the High.

In defense of Atlantic Station

I did a belated Valentine’s Day movie date with La Novia last night (classy, right?).  She got off work too late to go to Midtown, so we went over to Atlantic Station.

Now, La Novia and La Familia like going to see movies at Midtown because it is close by and relatively hassle-free.  Whenever I suggest going to Atlantic Station I get all sorts of flak about what a pain Atlantic Station is.  You’d think the parking deck was some sort of spiritual purgatory, and that even discussion of it was enough to flay mens’ souls.

I do think everyone ends up having a scene like this one the first time they go to Atlantic Station:

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OXJi7Vd0FPw[/youtube]

After that, though, the parking isn’t that bad.  You learn the system – is the learning curve that much different than learning where to park in the EAV for a show at the Earl?

Anyway, I LIKE going to Atlantic Station.  There, I said it.  I like the big movie theater experience, with the big seats, the gigantic theater, and lots of people.  That’s what I’m paying for – the experience.  At Midtown, I can’t lose myself in the experience as well.  Everything is too small.

And don’t get me started on folks who think that Atlantic Station is “ghetto”.  I go there probably once or twice a month, and I have NEVER felt uncomfortable or threatened in any way, shape, or form.  I have friends who have had uncomfortable situations there, but my experiences have been universally positive (or at least mundane).

And while I’m on a role, I think that as a development it does a lot of things right.  There are plenty of things it does wrong, I’m not going to argue against that, but as time goes by I think it comes into its own piece by piece.  La Madre just moved into new office space over there, and the views are fantastic.  Each new building fills things out a bit, makes it feel a little more ‘real’ – which was a problem when the retail component first opened.

Anyway, I’d really love to hear Y’ALLS take on Atlantic Station – am I the only person who thinks its alright?

When Atlanta owned the dunk contest

Perhaps you aren’t the only person who thinks the NBA All-Star dunk contest has lost its luster.  As the self-appointed purveyor of all things nostalgic, I feel obligated to post this clip of the 1986 contest, which was waged between two Atlanta Hawks.

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=W1pykLK_CUs[/youtube]

I still think that is awesome.  My favorite part is Jordan’s reaction to Spud’s last dunk.  I mean, Spud’s my height – 5’7″!!  And ‘Nique was a living legend at that point.

And while I’m thinking about the 80’s, can I just say that I miss TBS and Andy Griffith re-runs during Braces rain delays?  I wish Ted still owned the team.

Bah!  Get off my lawn!  Damn kids…..

Blueland in Vancouver

With NBC Universal owning practically a thousand cable channels, it’s hard to escape even the most obscure Winter Games event (curling, anyone?*). But, for the most diehard winter sports fan, it all comes down to hockey. For those of us here in Blueland, several names in Vancouver will ring a bell.

Maxim Afinogenov (Right Wing) and the Russian team (including the recently traded Ilya Kovalchuk) will take on Latvia in their first match Tuesday night.

Tobias Enstrom (Defenseman) and Johnny Oduya (Defenseman), and their fellow Swedes, will take on Germany in their first match Wednesday afternoon.

Pavel Kubina (Defenseman) and Ondrej Pavelec (Goaltender), along with the rest of the Czech Republic team, will take on Slovakia in their first match Wednesday night.

None of them are official Atlantans or even Americans by birth (who is in hockey these days? LOL) but they’re Blueland boys and that’s what counts. So unless they’re playing the good ol’ US of A, give a cheer (even if it’s a silent one) to our boys in Blue. Go Thrashers!!!

*Attention curling enthusiasts: Save your emails! I actually find the sport oddly fascinating. And, BTW, the USA takes on Germany tomorrow morning.

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