April 20, 2009

We left Atlanta midday Saturday. Around sundown, we rolled into Indianapolis, where Nikki lives now. Nikki and I excelled at the art of deceptive appearances in high school, and have disturbing amounts of dirt on each other. As soon as she opened the door, the first words out of her mouth were “my god, you look just like Kathy!” Kathy being my mother.

It feels odd being grown up now. It feels stranger seeing friends being grown up.


thanks, Advance Auto Parts

April 19, 2009

The new tank is leaking…I cleaned up the area so I could try and figure out where the problem really is and dumped a bunch of water on the tank. Started the car and there’s a continuous bubble on the side of the tank where the two colors of plastic are fused.


ATL & Decatur to Indiana

April 19, 2009

So finishing up in ATL/Decatur:
Walked to the Earl for breakfast, and then went to Atlanta Motorcycle & Repair to see Paul’s shop and take lot of pictures of scooters and Courtney had her first ever spin on a scooter around the parking lot.  Then we went to my old employer (2000-2001) and couldn’t get past the front desk, but ex-coworker Freddy came and talked to me for a while.   That evening we went to stopped at Thinking Man Tavern to see if there were any recognizable locals (there weren’t) and then to Coyotes for Margaritas with our good friend Jody (of Our Way Cafe) and Courtney’s ex-co-workers Abagail and Bernardo, and my ex-co-workers (and friends) Liliana and Murdock.  Liliana just got laid off that day, so there was much commiseration.

Played fetch with Reba Smackentire’s pathological, hefty dog Sydney (with Pumpkinhead in tow, unwilling to fetch but loving to steal the ball),  Sydney would eventually tire out and hide under a table, but the second the ball was in the Chuck-It stick, he was up and ready to chase the ball some more.  I worked him so hard he threw up twice.  Sorry Sydney, I thought you’d know when to stop.

It was strange to see so many bicycles in the Atlanta metro area.  When we left  there was a pedestrian fatality something like every week.  I can’t ever even recall seeing a bike on the street, thought I’m sure I did once or twice.  Now, even with 1 million more people in the metro area, there’s quite a lot of spandex warriors as well as some regular people on bikes.

Being in Atlanta again after so much time (for a short period of time) I begin to realize that the idea of Atlanta in my mind is a lot more oppressive than the actual place is.  The traffic lights with the holes burnt in the green lenses are still here, but I don’t feel the same about the place.  I wonder how many of the negative things that I felt about this place were more about this being the first real city I ever lived in and really had little to do with Atlanta or Georgia or The South.

Then again, within 50 miles of entering Texas, clear through Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama, and Georgia til we got past the border mountains in Tennessee, far too many people were driving like meth-addled armadillo tossers.  SUV’s and penis cars weaving in and out of traffic, not letting people merge, blocking trucks from being able to let other trucks merge, the usual bullethead maneuvers.

We Atlanta, drove up to Indianapolis and hung out with Nikki, Courtney’s BFF from highschool.  I played tug-of-war with her dog, Ginger, for something like 2 hours but just stopped short of making the dog puke.

Now we’re heading to Courtney’s parents’ place in Crown Point, IN.  And we’re still leaking some small amount of coolant….maybe I’ll need to replace the hoses that attach to that shiny new tank.

Soon up: visiting the brewpub we’re partners in:  Three Floyds Brewpub in Munster, IN.


returning to the scene of the crime.

April 17, 2009

Back in Atlanta, and man it feels weird. So many things have been torn down or moved or built in new locations. Decatur has gotten way more popular than it was when I lived there. Most of the locals from days of yore have found various other hangouts, partners, cities, occupations, lives, including us. It’s been 8 years…babies we knew back in the day are stomping around in school and giggle when we say the word “goobers”. When we moved away, I was capital D done with the city, the state, the region, but being back here now, everything feels charming. (did i just use that word?)

It feels like since moving to San Francisco, I’ve let myself fade into the background easier and observed things from afar. Coming back here, I’m remembering how hard I lived, how little shit I took, how hellbent I was on making my own way. These are good things to remember and bring back.

yes, we're beer tourists.

Looks like we’re hitting the road in the morning, going north. Wonder what lessons are further up the road…


ATL (& Decatur)

April 16, 2009

List of places visited so far:

  • Squash Blossom Boutique: Courtney used to moonlight there.
  • Raging Burrito: which inexplicably has a franchise outpost in Rochester, NY, but it’s in a volleyball court/bar so has a completely different vibe.
  • Twains, the local Decatur hang out of old: now it’s  a brewpub as well.
  • The Brickstore Pub: also has a great beer selection including a big cellared selection.
  • Out Way Cafe: dropped by to talk to Jody, great friend and owner.
  • Burger Win: Apparently there’s not enough room on the sign for any more characters.
  • The Independent: played a game of pool.

And we’re staying with our friend Reba Smackentire from the Atlanta Rollergirls.

Tonight, we’re going to Twains again, and then to Coyotes to meet with Courtney’s troop of “Lunch Ladies” from her stint at Agnes Scott College.  Maybe take a spin past what we think is Waffle House #1 which appears to be a Waffle House Museum, now.  And the Waffle House #1000 across the street and see if Burt (of Burt’s Chili) is working the grill.


be healed!

April 14, 2009

Eventually figured out where the coolant link was coming from.  After we survived a windy night parked in a Walmart in ATL (bad enough a tree fell down on a car on Peachtree Battle and killed the driver).  As we started heading to R. Thomas to eat the car temp started rising.  Popped the hood and I could see that there were two pin-sized streams of coolant shooting out of the bottom of the reserviour tank.  Once I got the tank off, I could see that the whole panel looks like it’s about to blow.  Age plus too much heat looks to be the problem, rather than road-rash and/or damage from a missing screw.

"I'm giving her ass we've got, but she's about to blow, Captain."

"She's about to blow, Captain."

It took a day for the tank to arrive, so we’ve been stirring up trouble at the in-laws.

Today I got the new tank in, including putting in a “U” clip and bolt at the end by the wiper fluid tank that was missing before, so now the tank is less likely to walk.

New coolant reservoir tank in place.

New coolant reservoir tank in place.

Took the car for a spin around the Mableton, GA area during evening rush-hour to check it out, temp sits just where it should be with jus a wave at a higher temp when stopping after running hard.

"Look Ma!  No Drips!"

"Look Ma! No Drips!"

Looks like we can close this chapter on the car maintenance saga.

Tomorrow, we’ll try to connect with some more peeps in the ATL area and hopefully hit Our Way Cafe.


car drama

April 14, 2009
Tags: ,

The coolant reservoir is sitting in the driver’s seat of the car. A screw apparently popped loose and rashed through the bottom. Roy is out hunting down a new one as I type. This may turn out to be the last of the car drama…at least I hope it is.

Woke up in the middle of the night to a thunderstorm with lightning, winds, driving rain, the works. Been a long time since I’ve been able to lay back and listen to all of that. What made it better was being able to roll over and go back to sleep! We’ve come smack into the middle of spring down here. Both of us have been sneezing more and more. Now I’m starting to realize just how dry the west really is (and that I like it dry).

Back to car: we’ve been having a running discussion on what would be an ideal vehicle. When we’re at home, we don’t do much driving in town, but when we do use the car, we abuse the daylights out of it with the towing, the hauling of lumber, lugging of furniture, wandering off the beaten path. Whatever it is, it would have to be tough.

Maybe a scooter for local transportation?


amateur car census

April 13, 2009

I’m not sure if this is contrary or not, but in our travels on the freeway/interstates and some side roads through TX, LA, MS, AL, GA, my anecdotal estimation of what the makeup of the cars on the road as compared to San Francisco and the greater Bay Area is that there’s almost no difference. Especially once in Atlanta, GA. The major difference is that you have to take off about 60% of the high end SUV’s that you would see in SF and replace those by pickups. But the Car vs. SUV/Truck balance looks to be about the same.

Certainly less motorcycles, scooters, mopeds, and bicycles on the freeways than in San Francisco. And there’s a shortage on the long-haul freeways of those other vehicles that belong in cities or suburbs where you have to drive everywhere you’d want to go; Prius’ and Neighborhood Electric Vehicles (NEV’s) belong on most of those roads like a tractor belongs on the Atlanta Connector.


Leaving New Orleans

April 13, 2009

Leaving New Orleans on 10 East, we start to see the rows and rows of the houses that haven’t been restored yet.  Some collapsed, many more with search and rescue spray paint still on them.  Office parks, freeway exits,  big-box stores with trees growing in the empty parking lots.  A man at the gas station asks about the trailer, whether it’s just for storage or if we sleep in there.  He’s surprised there’s a pop-up kitchen in the back.  When I tell him that it is “cozy” he responds “We know all about cozy, we’re living in a FEMA trailer.”

It took a while to realize the extent of the destruction when I didn’t know what I was looking for.  Ironton, and a lot of the way down there, was full of mobile homes–you have to know that this wasn’t a mobile-home park 4 years ago.  Lots of new McMansions between highway 23 and the Mississippi river levee, too.  And they generally look like the houses everywhere else.  I don’t understand why someone would build something anywhere in hurricane country that doesn’t have blast shutters, stilts, etc.  Whenever there’s a hurricane it seems you always hear the local on the news report saying his preparation is “going down to The Home Depot and getting some plywood to nail over the windows”.  Maybe I’m missing some clever features and the local architects and people who hire them are way ahead of me?


self advertising

April 13, 2009

Courtney asked about those rear-window family stickers where people will put little stick-figures to represent themselves, their kids, their pets, sometimes with names, sometimes with their religious affiliation, “Why do people do that?”

“Because they don’t have blogs.”