Wednesday, March 29, 2006

Atlanta was blanketed by fog this morning. This is not unusual for many cities, but for us, it's something of a treat. People get all wiggy and put on their fog lights...when else do you get to use them, after all? At any rate, one of the local TV stations posted a nice picture of downtown at the height of the coverage, and I thought it was worth including here. Enjoy!

Thursday, March 16, 2006

I just read that the official Metro Atlanta population (as of 2004) is 4,708,297. Until yesterday afternoon, I did not know where all these people lived.

Although the city of Atlanta recorded an official 2004 population of only 429,500, the metropolitan area of Atlanta is comprised of 28 counties, 110 municipalities and 8,376 square miles. (See for more metro factoids.)

Yesterday, I had to pick up a coffee table at a furniture distribution center which was to my (and I'm sure other people's) sensibilities, a long way out of town. But when I got there, I found a road full of traffic backed up at numerous lights that all seemed to be red at the same time. Where does it stop? Well, it's hard to say. Atlanta has no natural geographical barriers -- there is no (gigantic) lake, ocean, or unscalable mountain range within a day's drive, so it may go on forever.

A recent article I read claimed that Metro Atlanta has gone down in history as the fastest-growing settlement anywhere on the planet. As I limped back home with my table, I surely believed that. But it was somehow comforting to know that I could have stopped anywhere along the way for a Moon Pie, single or double-decker.

Sunday, March 5, 2006

I think we can safely call it Tour de Pizza.

I am one of those people who loves to drive around, exploring things and places. This has been a habit of mine for as long as I can remember, but last night, I believe I took the term "cruising" to a whole new level. My wife and some of her girlfriends were out for the evening, so my younger daughter, 14 years old and a true adventurer, embarked with me on what was to become a true Tour de France of pizza. We didn't know it when we started, but it turned into an odyssey.

Since our lunch had filled us for quite a while, Hannah and I waited until about 7:30 to head out for dinner. Finally, we were ready to depart. The destination: in town. (In Atlanta, I-285, the Perimeter Expressway, divides the city into what is affectionately(?) known as "ITP" (inside the Perimeter) and "OTP" (outside the Perimeter). We live OTP, but we spend a lot of time ITP, because, in Hannah's words, "there's so much cool stuff there".

We left home with the best of intentions. We were headed for a place call Maharaja, an Indian restaurant on La Vista Road, just slightly ITP on the east side. We arrived at the intended location, but alas, the place had changed hands and now looked way too sleepy for our tastes. I then remembered a place called Zyka, also Indian, which I thought was almost next door, but as we drove along La Vista, it was nowhere to be found, and we continued our journey until we reached North Druid Hills Road, passing along the way a Fellini's Pizza place that looked, OK, pretty cool.

We took a left on North Druid Hills, passed the Toco Hills shopping center (pretty hard to miss), then emerged into a kind of undeveloped area until we reached Lawrenceville Highway, where we took a right turn, then headed down Lawrenceville Highway until we ran into Church Street, where we took a left. I had decided by this time that we would just head down to Decatur, a part of town which is known for trendy eateries and as the home of the Indigo Girls. But lo, just as we turned onto Church Street, we stumbled upon what else but ZYKA, in a totally different part of town from where I thought it had been. So we decided to check it out.

Oh, my! Zyka is a large no-frills fast-food/dining hall of what appeared to be some of the best Indian food in town. The place smelled like heaven! But it was a bit chaotic, so we decided that we'd move on. So we got back in the car and headed on down Church Street to Decatur. At the intersection of Church and Commerce Drive, we made a left, and there on our right was another Fellini's Pizza, right across the street from the new Ice House Lofts. So, OK, by this time it was almost 8:30 -- time to eat. And eat we did...the pizza was fantastic, the wait staff pleasant and humorous, just an all around good place.

All along in this odyssey, Hannah had wanted to head downtown. Well, at this point, we were almost there. Heading out of Fellini's, we got back on (stay with me here) East Ponce de Leon, which turns into West Ponce de Leon, which then turns into Ponce de Leon. We took PDL to Peachtree Road (yes, THE Peachtree), passing another Fellini's Pizza on the way, then headed north on Peachtree, cruising through the heart of downtown. We took Peachtree up through the Arts Center area, then took a left on quiet Deering Road to Northside Drive, where we turned left and headed back down to 17th Street and the Atlantic Station development, a sort of mini-city within the city.

We cruised through Atlantic Station and cam back out to 17th, where we headed over to Peachtree, then north (passing yet another Fellini's) through the Lenox Square area to Peachtree-Dunwoody Road. We then took Peachtree-Dunwoody north to Windsor Parkway, making a right on Windsor Parkway (in the Oglethorpe University area), and took it to Ashford-Dunwoody Road. At one time, there had been a bunch of hoboes who hung out on Windsor Parkway, and I wanted to see if they were still there. They weren't.

We made a left on Ashford-Dunwoody, then took it north (once again becoming OTP) until Mount Vernon Road, where we made a left and headed for GA 400, the expressway which took us home. We pulled into the driveway at 11:10, having passed four Fellini's locations in the process (I had passed a fifth one earlier in the day). We were tired, but happy in the knowledge that we now know where to go for some of the best pizza in town. And oh, by the way, we now know where Zyka is as well. Maybe we'll go there next time!

Thursday, March 2, 2006

I've been behaving since 1975, and I'm over it. Bring on the Simon Stinger, Rocky Horror, the all night music, the masks, and the Celtic rituals. Build a bonfire. Knock down a brick wall. It's all out there.

I want to spend time in a coffee shop in Budapest, a place where I can write in the early morning or late at night. I want to see the color of life.

The new green is anything but serene!