January 29 and one-half, 2008 :: Simon says, 'get married!'

My first instinct here was to post a nice photo of Blake and I walking somewhere together, you know, in the spirit of the blog. But, I just love this photo so much (and I'm wildly impatient), so I thought I'd do this instead.

In case anyone but Audrey and work folk (who already know things) read this, here's the deal.
We're getting married.

I spent a few minutes "lost in the ether" as Mr. Rainey up there would say, ranting to myself an this little blog box about all the stuff I find icky about engagements and weddings in the traditional sense. (All-caps screaming, exclamation-point wielding, expensive dress-wearing, squealy LUV!! and stuff.) Such pomp and circumstance are just not my thang. Then I deleted it. Because I think I've kicked about the anti-bride Chucks about as much as I care to. Instead, this -

Here's how it went:
Blake and I discussed getting married over tacos at a fish house across the street from a cemetery. Then we went home and got 10 minutes into a movie about two strangers who fall in love playing music together, dug deeply into our own well of recognition for that particular romantic fantasy/reality, and discussed more. We talked about commitment and spending time and taking care of one another. Blake told me he looks at the old couples at the hospital and looks forward to what it will be like when we’re them. He asked me if I’d push him in a wheelchair when we’re 90. And that sealed it, I think. There’s a sweetness and a sadness in that question that is 1000% Blake, and 1000% of why I love him and why when he asked if I was sure I wanted to spend my life with him, I said yes. Without a doubt. Then, we decided that 2009 was our year. It all went down exactly as I would have wanted.

Here's how the wedding will be: It'll be us. Not sure what that means exactly yet, but there will be casualness and good liquor and simple food and lots of live music. The rest - well, we've got a year to hash that out.

So it went. I'm "engaged." He's my "fiance." It's weird, and we both feel different somehow. Good different, but different. Amazing.



Jan 29, 2008 :: The Joy of Grocery Shopping

A lot of the time, when I'm pressed for time I'll make my daily walk a trek to the store. At work, I can walk to a couple Kroger's and Publix. At home, Little's in C-Town (stocked mostly with organics and local produce, which is thin mid-winter) is my only real option. Regardless, the bundling up, the slow-plodding journey, the leisurely but conscientious way I peruse the produce knowing that I'll have to carry everything I buy back, really makes me feel better as a buyer of things. Especially food things, which typically ride a cushion of diesel fuel into the country and into the supermarket, to ordinarily be hauled away on another cloud of unleaded.

Until we get our garden going this spring, I've vowed to do most of my food-shopping on foot. Unfortunately, this means I can't really visit the best places to buy - the farmers markets - because I don't live close enough to them. So maybe the pledge may be, "shop at Kroger if you can walk, shop at the market if you must drive."

The result of this thoughtful shopping has been wonderful. Blake and I have been cooking most of our meals since right after we met. I used to meet him in Marietta on random weeknights after he'd visited Trader Joe's for good, organic meat and fresh vegetables. (my guy, for some reason, doesn't like starch...which is probably good for me in an Atkins-like way, but I need some potatoes and rice now and again.) We'd scavenge spices and left-over stuff from the bachelor fridge, and always cobble together something tasty. Now we plan meals by text message in the middle of the day. Last night, it was brown-buttered corn with thyme, rosemary-grilled pork chops and spinach salad with avocado, feta, and lemon-garlic dressing.

I used to think cooking was an expensive hassle.It always seemed like I could get a perfectly great meal somewhere else, already made, for about the same price. Food seemed complicated, its pieces foreign. And I didn't have much help in the form of a willing epicurean partner then, either. Apparently, I just didn't know how to shop, or what to buy, how to budget my time, or (importantly) how to recognize a stressful situation and then extricate myself from it. Something a while back just clicked, and I think it was Blake's casual, spontaneously simple approach to dinner that did it. You can make so much great stuff with just a few things buried in the back of the cabinet and in the bottom drawer of the fridge. As long as everything's of good quality, there's no stopping a tasty meal. I guess I was just making it complicated way back when - kind of like everything else.



Jan 24, 2008 :: Image Coming Soon

I saw this on another blog, and because i like q&A and Audrey is bored with talking about the winter landscape, I thought we could do this.

Things you might not know:

I have been imagining and re-imagining my first dance as a newlywed - not my wedding dress, not my china pattern, not my potential kiddies' names, just the dance and the song - for 20 years.

I have a girl cat with a boy's name, a lizard named after a 60s motorcycle rebel, and a dog named for an unclaimed body.

I am nearly psychotically afraid of putting my eye out. Or, perhaps even more weirdly, of having it sucked out of my skull by the vacuum cleaner. Please don't tell any of my employers I'm this wacko.

My ears pop when I swallow. Always.

I love the taste of raw potatoes.

I heartily dislike jam band music and usually also people who do like it. I am sorry if that is you. I can't help it. 20-minute wank-fest solos only sound good if you're really, really high.

I was once arrested for possession of drug paraphernalia while a passenger in the car of a person who didn't even know what a "roach clip" was (this is what the officer was accusing us of having with us). It was not a "roach clip," it was a pen cap. Suck it, Harrison Ohio police force.

My first kiss was behind a small wastewater treatment plant with a boy whose grownup ambition was to be a commercial pilot. When I get on a plane, sometimes I wonder if he's flying it.

I find hands very sexy. Especially slender fingers and delicate wrists on a man. Blake's hands are absolutely perfect that way.

I once keyed a guy's brand-new black mustang. He had, in the previous 5 minutes tried to pin me to a bed and make out with me against my will. I considered breaking the windows and slashing the tires too, but didn't.

Referenced in yesterday's post, I have toys on my desk. A small Edgar Allen Poe with a raven on his shoulder, a "Scary Girl" doll, and a tiny, very detailed UPS delivery truck.

Your Turn.


Jan 23, 2008 :: Pestilence!

There will yet be walking today, actually (to meet Stephanie for dinner and then back through the neighborhood), but it will be dark and I will be cold and unmotivated to photograph, I suspect. So, you get this instead: the world's scariest coffee mug. I mean, really - who gave our office this apocalyptic, hypochondriac's night-terror of a beverage holder? Better yet, who wrote this thing up and thought "man, that's an effective little piece of schwag, Bob! Remind 'em of a slow, painful death as they attempt to enjoy their chamomile. That'll light up the phones like Christmas!"

Holy hell.

Where's the mug with the amorous bunnies 69-ing all over it? We've got one of those too. My head's too full of gooey sickness to deal with this kind of shite right now.

On a lighter note, please enjoy tiny, plastic Mr. Poe doing his best impression of either the Queen Mother or Don Corleone in the background. You're welcome.



Jan 22, 2008 :: Be careful what you wish for.

So, I went to bed last night with a splitting headache and a tickle in my throat, and woke up with a running spigot of snot attached to my face and the near-inability to swallow. Fantastic. I'm stopped up and feel like someone smacked me head-first into a wrestling mat. So, i got what I asked for yesterday, I guess. Yay.

Anyway, I've been home drinking tea and organizing files on my mac (which I had managed to fill up with 40 gigs of music over the past year), and trying to breathe. There will be no walking today - only between this couch and the kitchen. It's raining anyway. Maybe I'll take a picture out the window later, but I wouldn't hold your breath.

Till tomorrow...



Jan 21, 2008 :: Sky Blue Sky, The Temple, Peachtree Street

I have a dry tickle in my throat, some evil nastiness in my sinuses and my head feels heavy and angry. I was awake between 4 and 5 am this morning for no good reason. I feel like I'm getting sick, but I also know that my body seems to have this unnatural ability to fight off such things. I get the "Oops..almost sick" feeling every once in a while, but rarely the full-blown deal. Not that I'm complaining...but I'd like a good, benign excuse to stay home and drink tea every once in a while. Everyone else gets one periodically - it's not fair.

Today would have been perfect - because today I'm working and nearly no one else is.

Anyway - I hiked to Kroger at lunch today to get ingredients for tonight's brussely feast (that I mentioned yesterday). The inspiration: I found a fantastic website - Orangette. I've done little research on the writer, but I do know that she's got a taste for simple food that matches my own so perfectly. I've made a couple of her suggestions and they always turn out amazing. (And she used the word "boozyaide," which sounds fantastic to me.) Make sure to look at her winter pesto. For this, I will be growing mounds of parsley this spring.



Jan 20, 2008 :: Tye Street in the snow

One more day of winter. Not that I'm counting, or pulling off the paper rings toward the day it's over. It can snow every day here during winter for all I care--I've always found christmas and new year's in 65 degrees a bit odd.

Some random items. (I'm really surprised i haven't done a list before now, actually. I'm a habitual lister.)
- I played Wii today for two hours and my arms hurt. The most fun part was making little Mii Kendra and Mii Blake.
- I am utterly, madly obsessed with Iron & Wine's "The Shepherd's Dog." Especially the song called "Resurrection Fern." I hear it in my dreams.
- I'm crocking Jambalaya for dinner this week, and saute'ing brussells sprouts with pine nuts and garlic for a rough-chopped pesto on Monday night.
- This evening we had dinner with the always awesome Justin and Cathy and their adorable little girls. At the best suburban restaurant I've been to in forever. We had sushi, including something called "the big O" which was just as spectacular as it sounds, though with more wasabi than most would expect.
- Sweetwater Hummer with clementine slices is about all the summer I need right now.



Jan 19, 2008 :: "Why, my sweet little tot," the fake Santy-Claus lied, "There's a light on this tree that won't light on one side..."

Lazing around while watching heavy, fat snowflakes splash into the sidewalk, watching movies, roasting turkey and sweet potatoes, and snuggling on the couch for an entire day is my idea of heaven. Today then, we were there.

Jane and I braved the very blustery winter day this morning, and I have a whole bunch from this set that include various shots of "white stuff on a black dog," but I thought the one above was more interesting. (So did she. She shook snow everywhere every 2 minutes.) This bizarre little display is on Kirkwood Avenue, around the corner from my house. It's always there, its flocking fading to a smog-brown in the acrid Atlanta air. But today, one day out of 2 possible during the year, it was appropriate.


Jan 18, 2008 :: What mirror, where? EARL bathroom, East Atlanta

Last night, a night on the town. Blake and I do a lot of cooking and watching Blockbuster mail-order movies and generally trying very hard not to spend money, but last night we had a wonderful excuse to make it a night out: free booze.

Ok, I'm kidding. That was only one reason. The real reason (and the reason for the free booze, coincidentally) was that my very talented friend Stephanie Richardson's work was on display at the grand re-opening of an already rather new pub in East Atlanta - the Graveyard Tavern. I'd ordinarily find it a bit strange that a bar that's only been open for 2 years needs a grand re-opening, but not all bars are this one. The slice of the East ATL strip the place occupies was, if I remember correctly, a former motorcycle parts shop filled to the ceiling with all manner of fascinating gears and epic dust. As a bar, it is as cavernous as its former life would have demanded - which is unfortunate, because nobody enjoys sitting at a bar feeling like they have their back to a dark, endless void. Besides that, the place felt cold and empty and the food wasn't very good. So, some re-vamping was certainly in order. Apparently, they did a bang-up job.

Last night, the place was packed in a manner I'd never imagined possible. I hope Stephanie sold some of her work (beautifully printed on canvas and reasonably priced). Blake and I left after about 40 minutes, claustrophobic and unable to get more than 10 feet from the bar in a crush of youngsters (I felt 1000 years old in the sea of kind of suburban-looking 20-somethings) begging for blueberry martinis and red bull and stoli. We walked around East Atlanta for a bit after that. To the awesome little mexican place Blake had visited eons ago (I love that he's been in town so long he's been to every restaurant, knows the name of nearly every bartender), and then over to one of our favorites, the EARL for a booth and Velvet Underground on the jukebox. I took the picture in the bathroom.

I love nights out on the town.



Jan 17, 2008 :: Power to the People, Fulton Cotton Mill Lofts

For the last 10 months, I've thought about energy every single day. The magazine I'm writing at work (loosely it's a magazine; it's 200+ pages long) focuses on energy and place this year, so every day I'm deluged with statistics about how solar power has been possible since DaVinci's time and how there are people who vehemently oppose any thought that we're responsible for climate change. I've gotten an earful about peak oil and read three rather amazing books (Biomimicry, The World Without Us, and Electric Universe) that look at energy consumption and the other issues that surround it from some really diverse viewpoints. But the things that intrigue me probably the most about the discussion are all the things surrounding the American car culture.

If there's one thing living in Atlanta should do to a person it is make you ready to junk your car/truck/SUV for scrap metal. Driving here is both necessary in many respects and a form of torture so acute I'm having a minor panic attack right now imagining the drive home. Several things make it so: The Atlanta DOT's insistence that seemingly 80% of all major (i.e. unavoidable) byways be under construction at all times; the fact that everyone here drives everywhere, so even the most clever alternate route is quickly slammed full of drivers trying to do exactly what you're doing; and let's not forget the laughably poor public transportation infrastructure.

For me, the first two I can chalk up to living in a city of millions of people. I love living in the city. Therefore, I also chalk having to lock my doors at night and conversing with street people and being wary when I walk home from the neighborhood bar up to living in the city too. I also consider waiting in lines, being forced to deal with large crushes of humanity, never finding a pair of shoes I like in stock at DSW, and being 1000% ok with being able to afford only the tiniest of pieces of property, just part of the city experience. I revel in it. But the third - that woeful lack of train stops and reliable bus service one - I just don't get. You can't have one without the other and be a respectable place to live. Get with it, Atlanta. There's lots of other cities that get it right.

Anyway, this is partially why I love this walking project. I didn't need an excuse to walk where I need to go...well, I didn't think I did. Now, Blake and I make that choice 100% more than we used to. We're becoming regulars at the local eateries and coffee shops. We're seeing the city the way it was meant to be seen--slowly, from five-feet-something off the ground. And we're saving energy - and I feel like, building ours.



Jan 16, 2008 :: Like grits from the sky

Yes, those are snowflakes in my hair. Yes, I'm still in Atlanta.

Snow in Atlanta is an interesting thing. It's going to sound cliched, but the white stuff does strange things to Southerners. It's not unreasonable that it does, really. If the aurora borealis had suddenly shown up on the Ohio River Valley horizon when I was growing up, I'd have thought that pretty extraordinary too.

Anyway, under threat of the "white death" people around here get giddy; stand faces flushed and pointed skyward for long stretches; build fruitless, wet snowmush-people; drive more granny cautiously than any Atlantan ever would otherwise; throw sand out of pickup trucks over everything; and, my favorite, immediately empty the grocery stores of bread and milk.

I stood on the roof at work and looked at the familiar Buckhead skyline through a screen of pure winter glee.

It gets me that way too.



Jan 15, 2008 :: Catching up.

Alright, I'm behind 3 days now. I did walk on at least 2 of those days, but neglected to post, and now, I'm inclined to move forward, rather than backtrack. We'll say those days didn't exist. Or that we've jumped through a worm-hole and arrived on a most wonderful day: january 15, 2008.

Weirdly, even though I'm a couple days behind, I feel like I'm a day ahead in some respects. It's Tuesday, but it feels like Wednesday. It's 4:30, but it feels like I just got here. I'm sure this has everything to do with the riduculous amount of work I've accomplished in the last week--proofing a 200+ page magazine for print, writing two new articles for said magazine, attending a marathon 4-hour interview and photo-shoot, writing most of a website and all of a commercial brochure for a prostate cancer treatment system, naming 3 rather cool "innovations" for a certain red-branded-softdrink-company-that-shall-remain-nameless- lest-they-sue-me, and shooting two nights of concerts. Whew. Damn.

What's great is, busyness always breeds motivation for me. I've got books queued up to read , seed catalogs to order from, plans for painting and organizing in my head now. I've got fiction on the brain and wild dreams every night and new recipes to try. I'm all "squirrly" as one of my friends from high school would say: nutty and nerdy and ready to run screaming into 10 projects at once.

But man. Right now, I'm tired just thinking about that.



Jan 11, 2008 :: Falling Down

It sucks to admit this, but I didn't walk a lick today. Not in the sense of the walking project, anyway. From the second I woke up to the second I passed out last night, I was rushed. Crazy work, crazy driving, crazy finding of CDs and guitar cables and missing bandmembers. I got up at 6:30, and went to bed at 4am. Any walking was done in pursuit of the picture above (and others like it.)

What you see there is the talented Justin Sonfield (foreground) and the also talented Blake Rainey (background) playing something passionate and beautiful and wonderfully fun to photograph in-progress. This is what my Friday and Saturday nights often look like.

And for that, all the rushing is worth it.



Jan 10, 2008 :: Brookwood Overpass

Some of the vantages I get on my walk away from work toward lunch-time locations scare me a bit. The one above makes me dizzy - pleasantly so. I love standing on the overpass, watching the cars whoosh by below. The geometry of the lines and oil slicks are perfect. The curve of everything away from me always makes me think of a rushing river.

Which is just exactly what this sounds like from up above on the hill just to the right of the picture. That's where my office is. A building on a craggy, man-made precipice, overlooking a rushing, man-made river.


Jan 9, 2008 :: Cabbagetown Park

I've been waffling. Usually, when a rather life-changing decision comes my way, my typical response is to momentarily quiet my inner dialogue (running 24/7, 365 for 31 years now!), take the first feeling of direction and run with it. So far, that tactic has brought me, among other things: the chance to play trumpet in an indie-rock band, a great job writing words for other people, the ability to edit video and sound, a BMW 2002, a 120-year old house (rather than a 1950s one that I almost said yes to), Jane, Steve the lizard, and a very lovely musician boyfriend (my friend said "let's go play in this impromptu music experiment thing," I said yes, and when we paired up for the day, Blake drew my name out of a hat.)

But maybe I'm getting older and more cautious. Because we've been talking about adding another four-legged friend to the family, and I'm considering and re-considering, swinging wildly back and forth. Bulldog? (too expensive for one from a reputable breeder). Beagle? (cute but rowdy). Rescue? (Atlanta's known for having little available but combinations of pitts and chows) Pet store? (Not sure I like that idea at all, though Arrow is likely one of the best dogs ever (boy, do I miss him), and he came from a pet store...) I know we want a puppy. I know we want one, period. So, why can't I just make up my mind, get in the car, and go searching?

Could have something to do with the fact that lovely, tiny Louie (who I've been babysitting for the past week) managed to do a poop dance all over the floor yesterday, something Jane's only ever done ONCE in her whole life with me. I'm spoiled. I remember what it's like to train a puppy (OH the chewing! OH the pee! OH the rampage!...but OH the CUTENESS!!), and it's not dulled enough since the last time. Jane's easy. Quiet. Cuddly. On a schedule that requires I touch no feces inside my own house. (That is, I am only required to scoop outside.) I look forward to walking with two of them. To the rough-housing and snuggling they'll hopefully do together. To jane having something to mother a bit (more than the cat, who is having none of that, thank you.) ...???

I think I need to do some more considering.



Jan 8, 2008 :: Edgewood Avenue to Wylie St.

It was a graffiti afternoon for some reason. Damp, dusky, cool, and luminescent with that golden-hour light. These are some of the things we pass on the way home from the train every day. I love how the continual painting and re-painting has made it look as if the wall on Krog street is bleeding. I like the fact that someone painted over some well-drawn and well-thought art with a crappy smiley-face parallels the graffiti argument--is some of it art? Is all of it art? Is some of it crap? And the tunnel is always a good subject. The south-facing entrance has somehow been ordained the political face. A plug for Ron Paul sits over the entrance, and anti-war sentiment covers the pillars.

A side note: we walked a LOT yesterday. Quickly. So quickly my shins hurt and I can feel my body rebuilding muscle. It's an interesting feeling. I'm tired, worn a little, but I feel great. Can't wait to do it again tomorrow.



Jan 7, 2008 :: Heigh ho, Heigh ho. Krog Tunnel, Cabbagetown

It's a good thing I like my walk to work. A great thing, actually. Most days, Blake accompanies me to the train--we ride from Inman Park to Five Points Station and catch the North Springs Line, where I ride a few stops and get off at Arts Center. He continues on to St. Joseph's Hospital, outside the perimeter. Then I walk down Peachtree toward work. We rendezvous on the 5:27 train that comes through my station, him in the last car, waiting on me. I always feel a little like a spy meeting my contact as I wait. Sometimes I'm early, and a train or two fly by me and I lean against the station support pole, trying to look important. "No, not that train. I don't ride that one."

ut the walk. Besides the company, there are two (ok, maybe three) best parts. One, the tunnel. My dad would have honked driving through one like this when my brother and I were kids. We loved it, then, as we got older and more self-conscious, we hated it. Two, the houses in Inman Park. As we go past the 3,000 square foot Queen Annes, all of them painted 8 colors, I like to dream that Blake and I own one and are filling it with pets and friends. That we're renovating, peeling back decades of wallpaper, finding treasures in the attic. Three, the whole walk, morning plus evening, is a full hour (or more, depending on lights and street traffic). I burn 400-some calories every day doing it.

Now that's a benefit.


Jan 6, 2008 :: Out the door

I'm late. No, not that kind of late. Just the posting kind, thankfully. I walked, Jane and I played ball in the park (the wonderfully named "Esther Peachy-Lefevre" Park), and then came home to a clean house (well, that I had cleaned. It wasn't magic.) and crock-pot Madras curry for dinner. Then Blake came home from his show in Chapel Hill, and since, he and I have been butting heads up against the broken American medical system, and the very expensive and seemingly insurmountable task of getting medical care for a person with no health insurance. In a small town, I suppose we could go visit the local hospital, call on the family physician, ask Old Doc'-somebody, but in the big town, your options are crappy care in crappy clinics, terrible advice from free sources, or, being mired in a very expensive and time-consuming witch-hunt to find someone who will see the afflicted before April. (Yes, you heard me correctly. April was the earliest date the worst hospital in Atlanta (read: the one for those without insurance) would give us as an appointment date.)

Anyway, that's why I'm late. The photo above is the view out my front door: some things I like about the city--my house, my porch, the facing wall of graffiti. Another post from this morning's walk will be coming tonight. And boy, can I not WAIT to vote for President later this year. Want to discuss universal healthcare?



Jan 5, 2008 :: Kirkwood Avenue, Renoldystown

Dear Jane,

I know when I get out the big, bug-eyed machine and point it at you, that you believe, truly believe, that I am stealing your soul and that I might make a tasty meal of your ears next. That's ok. You are the sweetest dog I know. You are also the most suspicious, deadpan, pensive, loyal, complex dog I know. I love how you always walk to my left, never pulling on the leash. I wonder who taught you that? I love how when I say your name your ears perk up and you turn around with so much adventure and optimism in your eyes. That is, unless when you turn around, i'm holding a camera. Then, you freeze and sulk. I love that you love Blake so much. That you cuddle up to him on the couch, sigh deeply, and lay your head on his lap every time he sits down. I love that you have never once chewed up a pair of my shoes. I love that even if I have no idea what you've done (yet), you still look and act guilty. I love that as certain you are that I have it in for you--that everyone, every dog in the dog park, every door you encounter, every person who walks past the house, has it in for you--that you still look at me with that particular type of idol-worship some dogs have for the people they love.




Jan 4, 2008 :: Inwood Circle. Chamomile after a cold walk.

I learned late last year about a wonderous thing. It's called fika - a Swedish word that means, basically, "snacks and a warm beverage in the afternoon." Truly, I have been taking all kinds of wild, hot fika my entire working life. But who knew it has a proper term? And a cultural history? And a following of people who have rather beautiful blogs and design sensibilities? (There are four links there, by the way - four of my favorite inspiration blogs.)

Indeed, I am a bit inspired today myself. I had kind of a crappy, weepy morning (hormones, bad dreams, and general XX-ness) but now, after spending most of the day proofing and writing text for the new Here magazine (due to come out next month - see the last two years'-worth here), I will now be spending the rest of the afternoon reading, listing for the weekend's home projects, fika-ing, and listening to new music. I am thrilled.

New music of the moment: Jenny Lewis and The Watson Twins (Blake worked some of the words to "Just as I am" into a new song a while back. They do a similar thing with "There but for the Grace of God Go I," a tactic I love. Heartfelt, it seems, on both counts.); Iron and Wine's The Shepherd's Dog (folky goodness); and The Weepies (don't let the fact that they did the song for the Old Navy holiday commercials turn you off. The album is amazing.)'s the weekend in an hour-fifteen! Happiness.



Jan 3, 2008 :: Berean Avenue

Meet Louie. Actually, in the photo above, see Louie lift a leg and christen someone's leafy front yard in the 7PM blackness. Louie belongs to my friend Stephanie, who is currently in Hawaii, not freezing. She's left this tiny bundle of dogginess in my care this week, and because he is an enormous snuggle-bug, he has been my constant companion ever since she stepped off my front porch the other night. When we watch TV, he sits on my lap (sometimes in this alert, Napoleonic pose, ears erect, scanning the room dourly for signs of invasion). When we sleep, he snuggles up against my back or my stomach, under the covers. When we eat, he (and Jane) beg like Dickensonian street urchins. Actually, the two of them are a pretty adorable pair. The big and the small. Jane is a giant compared to Louie - and I have such a hard time reconciling that they're cousins. Relatives. Closer in genetic material than Louie and Dave (the cat), who is much more his size.

Speaking of the cat, she is in no way pleased that I have brought another one of those things into the house. She shoots the little dog an eat-sh*t glance periodically, and then sighs dramatically and wanders off. This happens 10 times a night.



Jan 2, 2008 :: Peachtree Street. Taking it up a level.

I feel your frostbitten pain, Audrey. It was 20-some degrees outside at noon when I hiked to the sandwich shop for lunch--apocalyptic, global-warming gone-very-very-wrong cold by Atlanta standards. By the time I arrived, 20 minutes and a zillion blocks later (I wanted a particular type of sandwich that was kind of far away), my glasses had frosted over in a really amazing, crystalline way. I really regret not photographing that, actually. But the people behind the counter (who hate it when you don't pay attention to them) were demanding my complete focus and I don't piss people off who will be soon touching all over my food.

Of the things I considered on the street today, beyond the ice-pick pain in my ears from the wind, was how much suspicion a lone person with a camera attracts these days. Time was (near about ott-two, ott-three) when I was continually thrown out of random locations for wielding a dangerous Canon. The reason was always some kind of vague national security. I was told "You can't photograph that," and asked "Do you have permission to be here?" more times than I can count, and since I was often part of a group photographing for a company that never asked permission for anything, I spent more time than I'd like to admit being interrogated by homeland security, rent-a-cops and city police. In the Port of San Francisco. In the train station in Winnipeg, Canada. In an abandoned lot in Los Angeles. We were usually in the public domain, and never caused any disturbance, but since apparently snapping a picture of graffiti or sidewalks or public transportation can be construed as anti-patriotic, suspicious behavior, our arguments usually fell on deaf ears. We learned to set up and shoot fast, talk a good game (I was fond of claiming to be a student and smiling winningly, or talking marketing-speak until the cop got bored and told us to just hurry up), and never be afraid to sneak back after the shift change to get the shot.

Today I took the picture above. It's a manhole cover for some kind of communications pipeline, I guess. I just enjoyed the fact that a road crew worker had taken the time to paint just the center day-glo orange. But you watch. Somewhere on a terrorist watch site, my pictures is there. A lone, freezing girl in a blue flowered coat, bending over in the middle of the busiest street in the south.

If I don't post again, someone please grab my "papers" and come find me, please?



Jan 1, 2008 :: Cabbagetown. Tennelle to Wylie, through the neighborhood to Carroll St.

I assume my neighborhood will be the topic of nearly 1/2 of these posts, as I make my way down the streets here every day in some capacity--to the store, to the bar, to the pizza joint, to the train, to Stephanie's. What a great place to start the year.

Cabbagetown is an interesting neighborhood. It's a factory village--the former homes of workers come to town for a steady job and a better life, beginning about 120 years ago. Ancient, in the scheme of most American architecture. Tiny houses. (mine is all of 650 square feet.) Skinny, one-way streets never intended for auto traffic. Little one-off restaurants. Art-houses. Galleries. And lots and lots of urban artwork. There's a huge debate circulating the neighborhood about the value of the wild colors that cover the signs, sidewalks, and the CSX train wall that runs along the southern boundary, but I'm not totally sure where I fall on the issue. I understand the value of personal property. (And wouldn't want anyone to tag my car, my dog, my house). I understand that most people's beefs are with the less talented of the spraypainters--those who like their names on the urban marquee. But I also understand the value of the more planned, more practiced explosions of paint. They make this place unique. And impromptu-feeling (pictures of homes in the neighborhood are soon to follow. You'll see what I mean.). And, well, always in the midst of re-creation. And that, more than anything else defines this place: white farmers to the black poor, squatters to derelicts to art students to the families that own these homes today.

Which is why, when Blake and I went around this morning on the monthly flyer run for his band, (see him claiming the gaskill/carroll st sign for the Young Antiques, above), removing the detritus of weeks-old paper and tape, finding bits of space to plaster a bit of gummy promotion, I felt a little guilty, a little lawless, but maybe a little like an artist.