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Showing posts from July, 2008


Sunday was our last full day in the city. After breakfast, we all met up at the Georgia Aquarium which is right next door to World of Coke… and also happens to be the world’s largest aquarium (or so the website says, and this may be a good tim e to mention that for every website I’ve checked out related to these posts, there always seems to be a claim that that particular attraction is the biggest of its kind. The biggest cast iron statue!! The spoutiest water spout!!! Let’s just say I’m having my doubts at this point.) That said, the Georgia Aquarium is very cool. For a lot of reasons. 1. They have a petting zoo of sorts. There are areas where you can pet (with two fingers only!) rays, small sharks, starfish, and (no way in hell am I touching that) shrimp. 2. There’s a huge sea lion tank, and the sea lions are t otally OCD. In one corner, there’s a ledge and a door where the trainers come out with food. The sea lions would basically swim around for twenty secon

Soylent Coke

For the Saturday morning, it was just the two of us. Red Steph and her posse went shopping first thing, and Jack had gone home the night before. We started out with breakfast at the hotel, and then we wandered briefly through Centennial Olympic Park . The park replaced a fairly depressed part of the city back when it was constructed in the mid-nineties. There are markers engraved with the names of all the medalists that year (yeah Donovan Bailey!) and there’s also a sort-of waterpark—an area where jets of water shoot out of the ground randomly. There were a ton of kids splashing around in there, and with good reason because it was crazy hot out. From here, we walked over to World of Coke . Coca-Cola, as you probably know, is headquartered in Atlanta, and World of Coke is exhibition is part museum, part entertainment complex, part gigantic suggestion to just drink Coke. You’re let into the main complex in batches, and you start in a holding room where one of the employees warms u


Day two brought us back to Atlanta, but not before a stop at Vulcan Park . Birmingham was (and I suppose, is) an iron and steel town, and to advertise this back in the day the city created a statue of Vulcan (Roman god of the forge) for the St. Louis world’s fair. It is the largest cast iron statue in the world, and allows me to finally tag my third Giant Things entry. We could have paid extra to climb the statue, visit the Vulcan museum, and possibly play in the Vulcan Playland (with a happy fun slide leading to a tank full of steel arrowheads?), but we went the cheap route, walking and gawking for free. Then we drove back, passing Talladega Speedway (which I forgot to mention on the way up). We didn’t visit it—because we have zero interest in all things stock car—but Jack regaled us with stories of going there in his twenties. It was a booze-soaked time and totally violent. He actually watched a fight escalate to the point where some guy shot another guy in the head (more of a gr

Would you like hard liquor with your chicken sandwich?

On Wednesday night of last week, we drove down to Burlington, VT so we could catch the 6:15am flight to Atlanta. Yes, flying direct would have been easier, but by driving to the US first we saved twelve hundred damn dollars , so put that in your pipe and smoke it, Air Canada. Everything was completely on time, and we hooked up with Jack in the Atlanta Airport a few hours later. Jack was one of the folks we met on our Australia/New Zealand cruise , and one of the reasons we’d come to Atlanta in the first place. Great guy; friendly like you’ve never seen, easy going, with a natural curiosity about pretty much everything. We picked up our rental car, and then drove off towards Birmingham. Before arriving though, we made a stop at the Waffle House for breakfast. The Waffle House —if you’ve never been—is a crazily ubiquitous chain in the south. I mean it’s at every single exit off every highway. Sarah’s a little obsessed with the place, FYI. We had a decent breakfast—I tried grits (not bad

Black Dresses and the Paparazzi

Kathleen Edwards is crazy pretty, let me just get that out there off the top. She also seems strangely approachable. Maybe it’s because she’s from Ottawa, or because she doesn’t take herself too seriously. I mean, if I found myself face to face with with James Taylor, I’d be so overcome by his New England charm and his shiny, bald dome that I wouldn’t be able to say a thing. But I feel like I could walk up to Kathleen Edwards on the street and just say, “Hey there, how’s it going! Can I buy you a shawarma or something?” For her set, she wore a long, black dress that the emcee called ‘Oscar worthy’. (Rightly so.) A few songs in, she addressing the crowd: “This is the last day of my twenties. I wore this dress to sort of commemorate the occasion. I don’t usually wear dresses for a show because I’m afraid that a gust of wind will blow it up over my head, and then…” she gestured to the dozen or so photographers at the foot of the stage, “… and then the Ottawa Citizen will get the

These Ribs That Show Through T-Shirts And These Shoes I Got For Free

This will be a quick one because I’ve zero free time lately, but I also don’t want five days of concerts to pile up. Sunday, we caught The Weakerthans play, which was officially the first complete set we’ve seen so far. They were out-friggin-standing. It’s always much harder to describe something you’ve enjoyed as opposed to something you didn’t. They played every single song we hoped they’d play… along with one we hoped they wouldn’t (which we’ll only refer to as “The song that makes Sarah cry and cry and cry .”) I think these guys have a universal appeal, which is remarkable when you dissect individual facts about the band. If I were to say to you “there’s this band from Manitoba, their lead singer used to be a member of the anarchist punk band ‘Propagandhi,’ and their lyrics are inspired by poetry, visual art, and philosophical works,” that sounds like a band that you don’t want to see. But I challenge you to listen to “ Our Retired Explorer ,” “ Watermark ,” or “ Tournament o

If you’re curious whether or not Steely Dan blows, let me assure you that they do

Sarah wasn’t crazy about either of the two bands I wanted to see on Saturday—Elliott Brood and Steely Dan—so she took the night off and Isha subbed in. We got to the grounds close to seven o’clock and heard a bit of Ladytron as we were walking through the grounds. I don’t know if they are in fact lady robots, but they sounded like they might be (in an entirely awesome way, let me assure you). We snuck over to the other side of the War Museum to get to the Black Sheep stage. The Black Sheep had five bands from the same label (Six Shooter Records), who were going to end the night with a five-band hootenanny. We caught about three songs by Luke Doucet—and he was fantastic. I wish we saw more, really. I’m not the master of music genres, but I’m gonna go ahead and label his stuff alt-country. He plays some muscular guitar (someone else’s words, not mine, but I think they’re apt). Check out some of his stuff here . (Henceforth and retroactively, I’ll be including links to each band’s New Mus

Oh, have you seen my goat? Seen my goat, seen my goat?

This was an all-for-Dave day. Sarah was fairly ambivalent about the two acts we were going to see— Wintersleep and Feist —but she knew I was keen on both, so she toughed it out on my behalf. There was a scheduling mix-up with Wintersleep, and their set started a bit later than advertised. Off the bat they had a decent crowd, but a mass migration started before they even took the stage. People just wanted to get a good seat for Feist, and when the band did start their set, other folks were just turned off by the reaaaalllly long slow-groove instrumental they played first. Without even trying, Sarah and I moved forward about thirty feet just by filling in the gaps that opened up in front of us. Overall, I was disappointed with the band. Given, I only know about three of their songs, but they’re not terribly compelling performers. It was a set that required patience and attention—which may have been on purpose. Maybe the band knew that all the casual gawkers would piss off to go see the

God love you, JONNYTSTICLE

I’d forgotten a lot since last year about what Bluesfest is like. I’d forgotten that ninety-five percent of the crowd always misses the first song because they’re too busy jockeying for a spot closer to the stage, or they’re texting “WHERE R U?” to friends they can’t find, or they’re making poor-quality cellphone videos of a band that’s at least half a mile away. (I find this all alternately annoying and endearing.) Another thing I forgot was that, at the bottom of the giant video screens on either side of the stage is a ticker tape displaying text messages sent in by the crowd. There, you’ll find DRUNKUNKLE’s insightful: “Tragically Hip RULES!” There, you’ll read the profound “I like beer” courtesy of JONNYTSTICLE. So very inane and yet so strangely compelling. Where last year it took us a week to reach Bluesfest exhaustion, this time we’re coming in tired. We haven’t had a lot of downtime lately, so the thought of eleven days of concert-going has sucked the life out of us in advance.

Thanks so much, Facebook.

Apparently Facebook knows that I'm thirty-two. And it suspects (perhaps rightly so) that I'm overweight. Evidence? you suggest. Sure: This is was on my sidebar when I logged on just now. The thing about this ad (other than the fact that ultra (or extreme, or über , or especially) green tea probably won't make me this freakishly ripped) is that someone, somewhere saw a similar ad and said, " Yessir , that there seems like a good investment!" Someone had to believe it... and then buy it -- the result being that UltraGreenTea's Marketing Department got all chubbed out and ad crazy. This is probably the same guy who answered the first Viagra spam. Yes, this is my theory: it's one guy. For every instance where we say, "And then some guy ruined it , " ninety-five percent of the time, it's the same guy . This is the guy who answered the first Nigerian money scam, the guy who fell for the first pyramid scheme, the guy who first invited Jehova