Archive for June, 2010

i can dream….not that it does any good.

i’ve been in europe for two weeks and while i was there i rode around and in general observed public transportation for a bit. one day i did nothing but ride around helsinki for a bus. and never, ever did i wait more than 5 minutes for one. in copenhagen, i was standing on a road waiting on someone and while standing there i watched more than 15 buses go by in a thirty minute period.

and how does it work in atlanta. my dog wouldn’t go to the bathroom this morning. i had to walk her around and around and arounnd. because of that i missed the one bus that goes by my house every 30 minutes. because of that, i had to drive to the train station. that train got me to five points a few minutes after the north springs train left, which meant i waited there for 10 minutes on the next one. then that train waited at lindberg for 7 minutes and this ulitmatly caused me to get to north springs 2 minutes after the bus that only goes by my office every 30 minutes left.

sigh. so now i get to sit at north springs for a good 25 minutes.

it’s a stark contrast. i dream of a day when buses and trains run every five minutes. i suspect it will never happen.

Hey Sportsfans!

So this morning the USA beat Algeria, BARELY, to secure our progression in the World Cup in South Africa. This has sparked a good bit of discussion in my office, not to mention an overloaded network from people streaming the game and yet another short-term twitter fail whale.

I would be making an even more horrific face than the ones on the Algerian team here. Photo from AJC.

I thought this was a good reason to tell you three about the work going on to bring the World Cup to the US. Details are at, but the short version of it is that we MAY see a world cup game in Atlanta in 2018 or 2022 (I know, I know, it’s Beltline years away). That’s why we hosted a game of the World Football Challenge last summer, AC Milan versus Club America, to prove that we have the ability to host a large-scale soccer game (I think this was a test more of our ability to bring in fans than logistics like parking and facilities. Which we passed, apparently).

So the gousabid people have a petition that damn near 600,000 people have already signed to bring the games here.  (When the world cup goes to a country, the games are spread out all over the place, so it’s a big deal if your city is picked to be a host, but we’ve got to get them to the US first). You enter your zip code upon signing, and apparently Atlanta is up there in the top five for signees out of 18 cities, which is pretty major.

So let’s practice a little bit of long-term planning, dear metblogs reader(s), and support Atlanta’s bid for some World Cup action. Check details and sign here.

Beltline Progress … ever enough?

I admit, I have expressed extreme frustration with transit, transportation, and connectivity in Atlanta. Apparently the Beltline concept was conceived when I was finishing up high school, which was A PRETTY FRIGGING LONG TIME AGO, frankly. I remember seeing a Beltline advocacy booth at an outdoors event 5 years ago, and getting excited to talk to someone about it. I asked what, specifically, we could do to help, and at the time, all they had was “well, you can go to our website and register to get email updates.” A little disappointing.

But lately I’ve been getting excited about the Beltline. We’ve finally started seeing progress – there are actual trails you can walk (or mountainbike, but after my first experience with those stupid little rocks on a bike I’m going to wait for some pavement), there are gorgeous parks and a skatepark underway, there’s a mile paved in the Northwest bit, the art is making people talk, and this weekend Mayor Reed accepted some major checks from Kaiser Permanente and the PATH Foundation to create a bike trail from Dekalb Ave to Piedmont Park.


Food on the Streets

Not just talking about chicken bones. The push for food carts on Peachtree, launched earlier this year, is still on – Atlanta is home to a movement clamoring for clean, delicious, LEGAL street food in the city.

The conflict is a silly set of conflicting laws – basically, Atlanta thinks people need to be protected from the guys selling purses and sunglasses in Five Points, and thus has a vending ordinance that mandates “No vehicle shall stop or stand [on public property] and do business for more than 30 minutes.” On the other hand, the state is responsible for keeping dangerous or poorly prepared food out of our bellies, so Georgia law dictates that mobile food units can only have a permit for one or two locations (so that health inspectors can easily locate them). So Atlanta says “keep moving,” Georgia says “don’t go anywhere,” and we miss out on taco trucks and falafel vans. Bummer.

Events have special permits for food carts – that’s why we can get greek sammiches at the Sweet Auburn Festival and funnel cake at Dogwood and Cameli’s pizza at Soccerfest this past weekend in the Cabbagetown Park.  It’s also how they are holding monthly Urban Picnics at the Sweet Auburn Market – they took a hiatus due to a permitting issue, but will be back on the 25th and every last Friday of the month thereafter.

Westside Creamery's Maggie

I haven’t made it to a picnic yet, but I sure ate the hell out of some Korean BBQ from a truck at Atlanta Streets Alive and have overindulged on some of Westside Creamery’s ice cream.

I’m a fan of street food. I’m a fan of anything that gets people outside. I LOVE playing outside, and even I’ll find myself sitting at a desk for 9 or so hours without budging. Buying and eating food on the sidewalk is one more little hack at car culture and one more little lift-up to people culture that I love to see sprouting in Atlanta.


BP: Beyond Pissed

Cross-posted from my blog, because I haven’t written anything in a while.

This BP oil leak debacle has broken my heart more than a lot of events in the last decade. For example, as bad as it sounds, I was very detached from 9/11, because at the time I had never even been to New York; I may as well have been watching a movie. Same with Hurricane Katrina; back then, to me New Orleans only existed in theory. But watching this is like being kicked in the stomach. The Gulf coast is like a second home to me. I was born in Tallahassee, FL, and grew up close to it; from the time I was a baby I spent every summer on the Florida panhandle. They are not the prettiest nor the most glamorous beaches in the country (in fact, Panama City is referred to as “the redneck Riviera”) and most people treat the coastal South with the kind of disdain reserved for the most backwater, podunk, culturally and economically stunted parts of the US. On the other hand, in my eyes the Gulf coast is absolutely beautiful, and has a special place in my heart– which is why this whole event is so painful to watch.

The green is Google maps’ tracking of where oil in the water has been reported. The star is Mexico Beach, where my family would always spend a few weeks every summer. When I was growing up, we’d find tar balls on the beach all the time, but they were always small (maybe at most 2 inches in diameter) and hard like rocks. Meanwhile, I have seen some still and video footage of the tar balls pulled out of the water near Pensacola in the last couple of days.

It makes me think of:

But seriously, y’all. Pensacola is only about 130 miles from Mexico Beach. How much longer before the entire panhandle is affected? I always thought that maybe when I’m old I would find a bungalow on some deserted stretch of sand along the Gulf, where I could spend my twilight years sunbathing, listening to the waves, and avoiding cold winters. Now I have to wonder what these beaches will look like when I’m in my 70’s. In four decades’ time, perhaps through human effort and the earth’s natural method of recycling, the oceans, estuaries, and bayous will have returned to something resembling “normal”– Conversely, in 40 years this planet may be so polluted to the point where this mess looks about as serious as a grease spot in your garage.

A lot of my friends have been supporting the “boycott BP” campaigns floating around, and while their hearts are in the right place, I don’t think simply avoiding BP gas stations is going to make much of an impact, especially when every other oil company has an equally bad track record of human rights violations and environmental destruction. I would love to simply stop buying gas altogether, but even if I could feasibly get around without a car (which is very difficult to do in the South)… Everything nowadays is made with some kind of petroleum byproduct. Everything. Plastic? Good luck boycotting that. I think the real issue here isn’t the oil spilling, but the fact that our society is so heavily based around oil to begin with.

I don’t think most Americans are going to be as outraged about this for the same reasons I did not have an emotional reaction to 9/11 or Katrina… This clusterfuck is not taking place in their backyard. I can’t honestly be too surprised if most people just don’t care. But for those of us who grew up in the coastal South, it’s like someone is taking a shit on our front lawn.

Vacation or Staycation?

As I’ve been packing and preparing all week to leave for the Outer Banks on Sunday, I began to wonder if more people really are taking staycations this year. A week doesn’t go by when I don’t see something referring to “taking a staycation” (a word I hate by the way), promoting the advent of being a tourist in your own town. While I admit there are places and things I’ve never seen in Atlanta (and I’m a native), I never once thought about taking the week off and staying here. To me, a week off from work without going anywhere is a waste of time unless you have family in town or a special occasion to occupy your time. In my world, vacation = long drive or flight. I want to spend that day traveling. It’s part of the vacation.

So, what does everyone else think? Has anyone done the staycation thing? Do you have ideas you can share? Or do you all prefer real vacations? Just some things to discuss while I’m on the beach with an adult beverage in my hand.

Silver Comet

Silver Comet Ride

Snapped around Anderson Farm Rd

Two words: Silver Comet

I work within a mile of the Smyrna trailhead. I try to get out there every day. Nope, not the most challenging ride in the metro area. Far from it. But it’s darn near a natural resource for me now.

(fyi… camera is from my phone strapped to the handlebar… much safer than a real point-and-shoot!)

Metblogs back for the attack

Have no fear, loyal listeners – contrary to what we all thought, metblogs isn’t shutting down (some sort of technical difficulties probably involving serious mathematical equations put things on hold for a while yesterday).  See here for  details and donation opportunities, if that’s your sort of thing, for the greater metblogs site.

This means Atlanta metblogs is back for the attack.  We’ll continue updating y’all on sports teams on which I cannot name a single player, bitching about traffic and transit, debating the merits and potential of Underground, hyping scoutmob, and lamenting the loss of Tortillas.  Anything else you’d like to hear about, or think everyone else should hear about? Let us know, we may very well even get around to posting it!

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