Last year's and this year's Peachtree Road Race numbers:
[ updated 24 Jul 2013 ]
Found the pics from online:
Had a personal best with 55:18 this year and so have gotten cocky enough to sign up for a half marathon in Asheville, NC Sept 15th. It will be my last run with the 2+ year-old Vibrams. They've held up very well, but it's time for a new pair!
Lisa & I somewhere doing something stupid:
Fish at One Eared Stag for my b-day and some wine after more seafood at Lure Midtown for my sis-in-law's b-day a few days later:
Second annual trip to St. George Island with my bro and his wife's relatives all last week. We brought the last bottle of wine, Clos Pegase, that remained from a Napa trip we all went on 13 (?) years ago. Just really, really, good. Crazy crab shell from the beach:
Ah, the cruelty of Nature! etc. etc.
Busy weekend with guests in town and yet I still didn't (1) see any DragonCon shenanigans or (2) go to the Decatur Book Festival. Friday was the aquarium. It's been four years since we've been there so we were long overdue to return. The little sea worms (aka garden eels) were still as crazy lookin' for their sheer lol-ness:
Saturday was an LSU party at the house. Drink of choice is the youth tonic stolen from The Publik House down the street, found the recipe online with the name berri ricky (?!):
In the words of Kramer: it's very refreshing. Me and my brother and Matt hung out then parted ways to go see Machete (aka Mah-cheh-tay) at Atlantic Station. Not the immersive retro weirdness that was Planet Terror, but still very quotable and violently and babe-tastic.
Sunday was long lunch at North of NOLA. Our first official meal there and it was outstanding. Sadly OTP and so too distant for frequent visits. Mary and Lisa enjoyed themselves more that it appears:
Monday was brunch at Flying Biscuit in Candler, a farewell to all, then the first two Red Riding movies on Netflix streaming. Oh, and I went for a jog and probably got a stress fracture in my right foot. After next Monday's podiatrist appt, I'll probably be spending the next two months in a walking cast. :-(
Oddly, two new restaurants in Midtown were closed all weekend and so we had to cancel plans for both of them. The Publik House next to The Fox and Noon on Crescent Ave. gave up some of the busiest foot traffic days of the year and made us redirect people elsewhere. Come on, guys.
Visited several restaurants of note for the first time over the past couple of months:
Two Tuesday's back had an excellent test dinner at Bill and Tedra's to prepare for their upcoming restaurant North of NOLA. Rick Watson will be the chef.
Lisa & I spent Xmas in Vegas from December 23rd to 27th. I should have documented the fun sooner.
Late flight Wednesday and check in at The Venetian with a late dinner at the Grand Lux Cafe where we got to scope out the gambling crowd. Great deal on the hotel made the four night stay cost about the same as the flight.
Thursday we rented a car and headed to Red Rock Canyon for hiking. All cars were taken except for a 15-person van, a Corvette, and a Nissan 350Z. Rental for the day cost about the same as the flight (slight exaggeration) so we decided on the 350Z. Sweet ride. RRC was around 18 miles outside of Las Vegas. Driving out of town was odd because there's no transition from city-to-non-city, but rather just an abrupt end to all buildings and you're immediately in the dessert. Once at the park, we took the scenic drive that looped through the region and stopped at several trails. There were many other visitors, but It wasn't too crowded. What I noticed most about the rock cliffs was that the viewer lost any sense of scale because of the vast patterns on the sandstone. What looked only 10s of meters away dropped much further in the distance as soon as we saw the dots of rock climbers. Brave, brave, rock climbers. Or, as soon as we saw the tiny dots of our shadow on the rocks below:
Here we are frolicking:
After the hike, we drove back into town and down to a casino in south Vegas to watch Avatar in 3D IMAX [ 3/5 | IMDB | Rotten Tomatoes ]. If you're planning on seeing this, definitely go the 3D route. It really is a beautiful film even if most of the characters, with the exception of the male lead, are lazily written, and the themes are a bit obvious. Flaws aside, it was definitely a cinema experience. I remember, however, that after the expansive beauty of Red Rock Canyon, I wasn't as wowed as many reviewers or at all "let down" by the bleakness of the real world in comparison. Although I can imagine how someone living in Detroit might feel otherwise.
Evening was dinner at Alize at the Top of the Palms. Beautiful view and a perfect meal.
Friday started with brunch at Payard Bistro at Caesar's Palace. Lisa had plans to go to the buffet at the Bellagio, but the line in was at least 100-people long (I don't think I'm exaggerating) and it looked rather kid-infested. Blech. Plan B a nice restaurant at Bellagio, but that would have been a 2 hour wait so I searched via Google Maps on my phone and found Payard's. Highly recommended! Small, very French, and the perfect quiet choice for Xmas brunch.
The bulk of the day was various shenanigans walking up and down the strip with what seemed like the entirety of the population of China, visiting the art gallery at the Bellagio, and taking the monorail to the new Las Vegas CityCenter. Along with Asians, the strip was filled with cast-off trading-card-sized leaflets of naked women on them. They stayed in Vegas. Dinner was at Enoteca San Marco back home at The Venetian. The restaurant was in the winding, two-story, indoor mall that had a faux-sky ceiling (see below) so I was expecting only average food but it was very good. They had an octopus, celery, and potato salad (weird, I know) that was outstanding.
Saturday we started with brunch at Bouchon in The Venetian. It was another French locale and an excellent meal. After, we were again in need of a rental car to get to Hoover Dam (having missed out on a group tour). The hotel Hertz Lady had, again, those same three cars and nothing else so we went online and rented one from a place at the airport. Taxi + rental fee (for a more humble Nissan Versa) was still less than what the 350Z would have cost.
It was a gray day going to see a megalithic, gray structure but still impressive. We wandered a little in the museum. Most interesting construction fact: they had to dig four tunnels through the canyon in order to divert the river while the dam was being constructed. Work on the tunnels took as much effort as constructing the dam itself!
Return and dress up for an evening show of Zumanity at New York New York. It was a burlesque version of a Cirque du Soleil show with a 50s-style couple hosting and, along with twin corpulent stippers, playfully pestering members of the audience. There wasn't a bad seat in the theater, but we were sooo happy we weren't up front! Dinner after at Serrano in ARIA at CityCenter for Spanish tapas. We also met our waiter from Payard and Lisa discovered her New Favorite Drink: a Spanish dessert wine called Don PX Pedro Ximenez.
Short day Sunday wandering around one last time looking for gifts for the nieces but we couldn't agree on items that were both Las Vegassy and non-cheesey so ended up with nothing. Rats. Lazy flight home and another week of relaxing!Continue reading "Xmas in Vegas"
Long weekend in NYC with Liz and Matt last week (followed by a long Memorial Day weekend, nice)! Lisa & I headed out Wednesday after work and arrived around 9 or 10. Ride to The Bryant Park Hotel and discover that all the cabs now have video/GPS/weather screens in the back. Meh. Reminds me of years ago when they had famous actors telling you to buckle up in the voice of whatever character they were currently playing (or had played) on Broadway. I just need a cab. The hotel was pretty swank--affordable only through some special deal Lisa found--but there was no place in the room to store your clothes. We unpacked what little we could then hit their basement bar: The Cellar Door. Drinks taste better when served by chicks in corsets. On to food at a hip little wine bar called Terroir.
Thursday, Lisa and Liz had their spa time so I got to wander the streets and people watch whilst listening to Yoko Kanno. Perfect morning. I hit the Times Square Sketchers store and got two new pairs to replace the ones I bought... back in October 2006! Way overdue. Then I rambled along to Midtown Comics and basked in the geeky fun. Acquired: the most recent Ex Machina GN + The Umbrella Academy. The latter was an impulse buy and pretty good. After, I met Lisa at Butterfield 8 for drinks.
Afternoon was The Dailiy Show! Best moment was Samantha Bee's bit on the Monsanto lobbyist who--and I am not making this up--is vilifying Michelle Obama's push for private gardens. Classic. Afterwards we parted ways to rest and clean up for dinner at 81 (great food but you must go and eat the bread sticks at the bar!!) and late nite drinks at The Greeley.
Big events Friday were Guggenheim with Matt in the morning and Billy Elliot with all four of us that night. We're in the middle of a Frank Lloyd Wright anniversary (he died 50 years ago) so they had a big exhibit of his work. I was more interested in the Kandinsky exhibit, but it was only two small rooms in preparation for a fall show. Great pieces by Kokoshka, Franz Marc, and Kirchner IIRC. Another show had some Picasso and others who I just can't remember right now. It made me want to start going to The High once a month just to wander around. The weather and walk back was perfect. Weather was up and down all weekend but mostly up.
Billy Elliot was that night. First chance I got to see Greg perform live (Lisa was up with her mom in 2005 when he was in Dirty Rotten Scoundrels, but I was slack for some reason). BE is up for 13 (?) Tonys, tying The Producers for most nominations, but no talk yet of a Midtown Tony part on June 7th (!). It was a great show, but I got reprimanded for taking a photo of the stage during intermission. Same thing happened at the Guggenheim, but I seem to be able to get away without being labeled a terrorist. Neat.
Saturday, Matt and Lisa and I went for a jog in Central Park! Cool but comfortable, but we missed the chance to sign up for some 10k that was already in progress. No free shirts for us. We split up early but all pretty much did the loop around the entire park. I took a detour to do the Marathon Man thing around the reservoir. Odd coincidence: I made a Marathon Man reference at work the week before (yes, it was the "is it safe" quote...). Afterwards, Lisa and I saw a STREET FIGHT at Columbus Circle outside the subway entrance. Two on one. Faces in the pavement. Very uncomfortable. Two large guys large enough to break up a fight with three large guys eventually intervened. We subwayed 1/2 way back, getting off early on a whim and walked right into a street fair. I ended up with a polish sausage sandwich and Lisa with a gyro. Rule #1 of street fairs: you must purchase delicious food. We all met up later at Murray's to tour the cheese caves. They're underground and more like big cheese closets with an entrance was marked by the Batman symbol.
Split up and Lisa and I headed to Williamsburg (in Brooklyn) for Sonic Youth at the No Fun Fest. I had known of and listened to SY's noise rock experiments and knew they were big proponents, but it wasn't until we walked up into the balcony and were knocked back by a wave of white noice, glitch, at screaming that I realized what we were in for. I'd listened to some in college (Throbbing Gristle and The Swans) but never went to a show. This ended up being the most uncomfortable, surprising, and ultimately one of the top five concerts I've ever been to. Every artist seemed to write not only in their own style, but in an entirely unique genre. Ear plugs were mandatory (we were prepared) yet while Lisa and I were constantly checking our for fear that they'd fall out during some of the more brutal numbers, some people went earplugless. I can't imagine. While the majority of the music leaned towards loud and abrasive, there were a couple of outright beautiful pieces. Some of what I remember:
Check out the various videos on YouTube. Here's a clip from SY's set:
Throughout the evening, I was constantly ending up next to one or more of the members of Sonic Youth: out front, at the bar, in the balcony, standing at a urinal. Alas, when I finally had something to say, Kim Gordon and Thurston Moore sat next to us at the bar, they were getting their ears talked off by some chatty drunk. Whatever. It was still pretty neat, and the Music Hall of Williamsburg was an awesome venue!
Sunday was low-key brunch at Friend of a Farmer. Very good. We met up with Julie and Greg afterwards and I chatted with him about the show until they had to head home to get ready for the Sunday matinee. Then Lisa and I head over to Giant Robot where I got a cool new sticker for my car:
Another successful trip!
Ninth anniversary at Aquaknox in Buckhead. Awesome food and nice view. It was our first meal there and we scored. I had the mussels for an appetizer (a little meaty but fresh and great flavor in the white wine sauce and with enough crusty bread to appreciate the sauce) and filet mignon for the main course (with mashed potatoes and broccoli and a single teenytiny sliced carrot). Despite the meat-and-potatoes quotidian sound of the meal, the flavors were rich and telling. Afterwards was another experiment, this one not so successful, at Beluga. Lisa's comment, now iconic, was simply: "one drink and we get out of here before someone asks us to drop our keys in a bowl." And no, I'm not put off that no one did.
Cathy's wedding at the Episcopal church in the Highlands (Episcopal priests got my money for stand up comedy) and a fun and swankified reception at The Peachtree Club a couple of blocks up (and walk-homeable).
Watching Cowboy Bebop. I got the full 26 episode on 3 CDs for thirty-bucks. When I first watched one episode I was not impressed. Then, I gave it another chance and got sucked in to the nonsense/sincerity. It has the standard mawkishness of all Asian cinema, but with a clowning nature and some well-placed and vague plot points to hook you in.
Listening to Yoko Kanno (although I've been over-listening and am ready to move on). She creates such an unbelievable variety of style that her skill scares me. Simply put: I'm jealous that I'm not her. I'll share the wacky photo that everyone else has:
A thrilling tale that includes grand coincidences, delicious meals, odd music with dancing that was abruptly cut short, and a great deal of luck which slipped away near the end but ultimately carried through to our return home.
Continue reading "NYC trip"