Archive for May, 2010

Memorial Day

The extended Memorial Day holiday weekend is upon us and with it comes a myriad of activities in and around the city (both memorial day-related and not). I, personally, will be parking my butt at our place on Lake Allatoona tomorrow night and not leaving until Monday. However, if you feel like seeing what the city has to offer, here are some options:

Atlanta Jazz Festival
Decatur Arts Festival
Salute to the Troops at Stone Mountain Park
Georgia Renaissance Festival

I know that many counties & cities will be having smaller Memorial Day celebrations as well. Have a good weekend, everyone!

ASA Route update

In case you missed it in the comments to the original post, the street closures for Atlanta Streets Alive have been changed.

The pedestrian route is now:

  • Edgewood between Peachtree Street and Boulevard
  • Peachtree Center Avenue, Park Place and Courtland between Auburn Ave. and Edgwood
  • Auburn Ave. between Peachtree and Piedmont

But, if you’re biking, Atlanta Bicycle Coalition volunteers are leading riders on a 4.4-mile bike loop every half hour, starting at 2 p.m.

To the right, no YOUR right…

Am I just imagining that getting on and off MARTA has lost all sign and semblance of order?

A few years ago, nearly everyone stayed to the right, whether going in the train doors or out of them, allowing people to enter and exit at the same time. Now, though, it’s become necessary to just about kickbox your way out of there. People waiting to board routinely plant themselves not just right in front of, but right in the MIDDLE of the train doors, sometimes two or three deep. You’re then treated to a bit of sighing and eye-rolling as you insist upon exiting the train through the doors rather than crawling through a hatch in the ceiling and then leaping down to the platform, as the door-crowders would apparently have you do.

These aren’t tourists, by the way. These are 8:30 a.m. and 5:30 p.m., lunchtime, weekend, and late-night riders. In other words, people who know better.

I always assumed that no one was paying attention to that recorded announcement about where and how to board the trains a few years ago. But, I remember almost never having people blocking the doors back then like they do now. Maybe it’s time time bring it back.

“A drinking club with a running problem”

So, I’d like to introduce y’all to a new hobby of mine. (Well, relatively new-ish… I’ve been at it for about a year.)

To begin: Despite my good looks and stunning personality (and clear penchant for sarcasm) I have a hard time making friends. I’ve been in Atlanta for four years and have pretty well established my social circle. Well, it’s more like a nebula, but it’s a fairly tight-knit one. Thus, I’d been looking for some kind of activity that would facilitate expanding said nebula. For a while I tried playing kickball, but it brought up too many bad memories from grade school. I’m just not a competitive person. Even though my teammates assured me it did not matter that I was too short to catch the ball in the outfield, not fast enough to catch the ball in the infield, and not coordinated enough to even kick the ball anywhere not out of bounds, that I was still a valued member of the team. Be that as it may; if I’m failing miserably, I’m not having fun.

So, after giving up on kickball, the gentleman I had begun dating asked me if I’d ever heard of hashing. I had, once, several years ago. It was described to me as “running and drinking” which I envisioned as competitive racing while chugging beer at the same time. Needless to say, it sounded like at best a terrible idea… at worst a one-way ticket to the hospital. I soon came to find out that it is nothing like this– but first, a test.

Please gauge your reaction to the following photo:

Is it closer to…
A. Say no more. Where do I sign up?
B. Ummm… might be fun, but I paid $100 for my running shoes…
C. Gross!

If you chose A, then you would probably make a good hasher.

The group to which I belong is officially known as the Hash House Harriers. Hashing basically consists of one or two people (“hares”) laying a trail through the woods (or, sometimes, urban jungle) and everyone else following the trail, with the intention of either catching the hares, or simply making it to the end with life and limb intact. At the end of the trail, to reward the pack’s efforts, there is the drinking of beer and the singing of lewd songs, along with a little good-natured hazing. Oh, and everybody eventually gets a nickname, which is bestowed after saying or doing something particularly memorable. Your hash name may or may not be something appropriate to tell children, the elderly, or your parents.

So really, hashing is pretty simple: It’s not a race. (Racist behavior is in fact frowned upon.) It’s not a drinking competition. It’s a chance to be outside, get some physical activity, meet people, and drink beer. Alcohol is also a great social lubricant, so it serves a dual purpose. And yes, for you teetotalers, there are non-alcoholic options too… but then it’s just running. ;) The only “catch” is you pay a very small fee (usually under $10) to cover the beverages. I’ve been unemployed since I started, so if I can afford it, so can you! The best part is I have met so many awesome folks, not only in Atlanta but in other cities as well. It seems that hashers are not so much strangers as they are friends you just haven’t met yet. Refreshingly, there is a very low if not non-existent douchebag factor, unlike what I encountered in kickball. (People who take themselves too seriously don’t become hashers, for obvious reasons.) I rarely meet a hasher I don’t like.

Hashing in Atlanta is interesting. It’s amazing how you don’t have to drive very far to end up in the sho’ nuff middle of nowhere. (Run faster, I hear banjos.) Sure, there are trails in varying degrees of difficulty, but my favorites are the ones where you end up tired and dirty by the end. Usually 4-6 miles, avoiding pavement as much as possible. I’ve waded through waist-deep swamp water, jumped through sticker bushes that make razor-wire look soft and cuddly, climbed fences, been attacked by hornets, and almost shot by hillbillies. Well, I made that last one up, but it could conceivably happen. The whole point is by the end you feel like you deserve a beer. I’ve also been able to explore a lot of the city that I had no idea existed. A trail I ran a few weeks ago followed that unused portion of railroad track behind Piedmont Park and Ansley Golf Course, and ended under Buford Highway / I-85. It was cool as hell!

Really, this whole post is just my blatant attempt at trying to recruit more hash buddies, especially people who will embark upon those particularly off-off-OFF the beaten path trails with me. You should send me an e-mail (atlartist at gmail.com) for more information. ;D

something I’m excited about…

Tech Square E House

WAFFLE HOUSE is opening up across the street from my office!

This is the one chain restaurant I ADORE.  It’s mostly nostalgia, I suppose, but I also like to think that I’m supporting a successful hometown operation. I begrudgingly grant the Atlantan suburbs one point for having more Waffle Houses than we do in town, though we did score a win with the Underground Waffle House (just restrained myself from typing WaHo, thanks Washington Mutual), and I heard a rumor of another one going up somewhere else around GSU (can anyone confirm this?). There’s something about the 70’s color scheme, familiar menu and 24 hours of cheap breakfast food that I just love.

Mmmmm, mediocre coffee and a deliciously greasy bacon egg and cheese.

Most miserable sports city? Sounds about right

I forgot to blog about this the other day, but Forbes recently ranked Atlanta as the second most miserable sports town in America.  Out of all the seasons of professional sports in this town, the Braves 1995 World Series win is the only championship.  The magazine takes note of all the finals losses, semi-finals losses, and even the Hawks run of 25 playoff teams without even making the finals.  Awesome.

This jives pretty well with my experience as a sports fan.  Not only the pro sports, but college sports as well.  The misery comes not from just plain sucking – you can kind of get used to that and just go do something else.  It is that every year they have a chance, or at least you think they do.  Your teams get close.  They make the playoffs, win a round.  Then, of course, like always, they tank.  Ugh.  It is brutal.  And spare me the “poor me’s,” Cubs fans.  That is one team.  Chicago has had many other championships over the years.  Apparently Forbes thinks Seattle is the only more miserable city to be a sports fan in.  Sigh.  Second place.  Again.

Bikes and Beers

Next week Atlanta will be celebrating two of my favorite things – biking around town and drinking craft beers. Often at or around the same time.

First, the safe and healthy topic: “Bike There” Week is next week.  I believe it’s officially Bike to Work Week, but I know that’s not practical for some people, and as plenty of short trips can be conducted on bikes, I’m rebranding the movement. The ABC website has a  laundry list of events, which includes a kids’ bike rodeo. This, of course, makes me picture small, bucking mechanical bikes à la Urban Cowboy. With training wheels. For safety.

I’m a fan of any events that open up the biking community and let everyone know that yes, it’s really quite fun, not terrifying, to ride a bike in Atlanta; that no, most bicyclers don’t have death wishes; that you don’t have to have special equipment or clothing; and that normal, mentally and physically healthy people ride bikes, like, a lot.

Brickstore in Decatur, arguably the epicenter of Atlanta's good beer movement

And onward, to another of my favorite things! Atlanta’s craft beer scene has absolutely BOOMED in the last five years. The few breweries that can navigate state regulations are thriving and turning out some exciting, solid, brews. The 2004 legislation that allowed high-gravity beers to be sold in Georgia has exposed us to some beautiful beers. Home brewing is a thriving culture in the city, and fledgling breweries are set to come online this year.

Atlanta’s first Beer Week is a celebration of all these things with beer pairings, special cask tastings, beer trivia, “Meet the Brewer” events, all in the name of good beer. Details on their website.

As always, if you see me on my orange bike, possibly weaving a teensy bit next week, please say hello!

The King

photo from facebook, delicious popsicle from the king

I hate people like this.  The kind of people who have an awesome idea, maybe sitting around on a porch drinking beer with their friends, listen to everyone say “that is frigging GENIUS! We should TOTALLY do this!” and then, well, actually do it, having fun and apparently succeeding in a business venture in the meantime.

So I may be extrapolating here, and I don’t really hate Steven Carse, owner of King of Pops in the least, because he makes delicious popsicles and sits in the sun and sells them out of a little cart on the corner of North and North Highland. This is something I can support.  Also available at Irwin Street Market and Souper Jenny’s, these things are, did I mention, delicious, and they come in flavors like blackberry lemongrass and mango mojito and chocolate sea salt.

People cannot get enough of these things, especially on hot weekends. I got the coveted window seat at Manuel’s for brunch Sunday afternoon and witnessed an endless steady stream of popsicle-seekers. Love that he’s encouraging  foot traffic in Atlanta, too! Does anyone know if he runs/will run into an issue with the food truck police? Or since his popsicles are pre-made and individually wrapped, is he okay?

Follow him on Twitter at @theKingofPops for daily flavors, selling-out and weather delay updates, and laments like “It hurts my heart to see disappointed popsicle seekers” and “Stayed up until 4 a.m. making pops. Should have done an all nighter. I’m really sorry to anyone I missed.”

Go Play in the Street

Unless you’re just itching to see the inside of an emergency room, strolling down the middle of Piedmont Avenue on a Sunday afternoon isn’t likely to appear on your “Things to Do This Weekend” list. But if the organizers of Atlanta Streets Alive  have their way about it, you’ll make it a habit.

May 23 Atlanta will join several other cities that occasionally pedestrianize parts of major streets for a few hours, converting them into a combination street festival and temporary bike route.

Atlanta Streets Alive, which is a project of the Atlanta Bicycle Coalition , is scheduled for 1 p.m. to 6 p.m. and aims to “provide a model of how cities can provide healthy, environmental friendly outdoor activities for their residents,” according to the event’s “About” page. It’s a first-of-its-kind event here, where even intown neighborhoods are notoriously car-centric.

According to ASA’s current map (click it to enlarge the microscopic print), the route will include Piedmont between Edgewood and North Avenue, North Avenue between Piedmont and Glen Iris/Randolph, Glen Iris/Randolph between North Avenue and Edgewood, one lane of Edgwood Avenue between Randolph and Peachtree and Auburn Avenue between Peachtree and Piedmont.

You might be about fest-ed out by now, and the Jazz Festival is still to come the following weekend, but for pure novelty, this sounds like one worth working into your schedule.

i *tried* to get to work this morning.

rainpocalypse on glenwood

well, i wasn’t raining when i fell asleep last night about 10 pm. my how things change in 7.5 hours. by the time i woke up at 5:20 this morning it looked like a scene from monsoon wedding outside.

anyway, i steeled myself against the rain and threw my jacket on and headed out onto glenwood to wait on the marta #9. i hadn’t been outside four minutes before my foot was drenched from trying to cross the street.

i headed to five points to catch the northbound train and found out that marta was completely shutdown north-south between five points and lindbergh. i thought this must be because a tunnel was flooded but apparently it was unrelated.

marta was telling people over the loudspeaker they had a bus bridge set up but another marta rep was trying to get people to get on the #110 bus which runs up peachtree to midtown and then lenox. either way the scene at five points was utter chaos. i have travelled via marta long enough now to know that the system does not handle crisis well.

so i just walked back to the #9 bus, boarded it and headed home to telecommute.

how are the rest of you surviving the rainpocalyspe?

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