Archive for November, 2009

Okay, I’m a tourist

November 29, 2009

Atlanta has two major tourist attractions: the Georgia Aquarium and the World of Coca Cola.

The aquarium is supposedly the largest in the world. Also, they have FOUR whale sharks. Apparently, they used UPS to ship the whale sharks from South East Asia.  Take that, FedEx.  Here’s some footage from my visit:

The World of Coke is a essentially a massive advertisement that costs you $15 and leaves you sick to your stomach because the tour ends with unlimited free samples of 64 different Coca Cola products from all over the world.  At the end they give you a free glass bottle of Coca Cola Classic.  Of course, at this point you are shaking from soda-overload and drinking that bottle would surely result in death.  A few photos:



Let’s Talk Turkey: Thanksgiving in an Atlanta Hostel

November 28, 2009

Apologies for the pun.

This Thanksgiving was my first homeless and family-less Thanksgiving.  It was also my most multicultural.  A mini-family has formed here at the hostel, and around 3:00 PM Thanksgiving day, we began preparing a feast.  The effort was spearheaded by Michael, a middle-aged black man from Florida, and Ben, who works here at the hostel.  I backed them up, along with Sofie, a fellow from Tunisia who will join me when I head down to Savannah (my next stop!), and T, a Japanese guy spending a semester in South Carolina.  At dinner, we were joined by a Canadian and a Dutchmen.   Many first Thanksgivings in the group.  Very memorable.

Thanksgiving lesson: when the meal begins we say our thanks for family and friends.  By the time it ends, we remember our priorities: stuffing, and turkey, and pie. Oy.  Thanks.

Health Care

November 28, 2009

I spent the week working for Georgia PIRG.  They’re running a campaign to strengthen and pass the health care legislation before the Senate.   Working on such a zeitgeist-y issue was new to me.  I got rejected by plenty of people who didn’t want me “messing with their health care” and plenty of others who find the health care bill “socialist” and “un-American.”  Once again, I’m reminded that I’ve left New York.  On the other side, the most supportive people couldn’t help out the cause because they themselves were struggling to pay unaffordable health care bills.  But the majority of people  seemed too confused or too uninformed about the legislation to be willing to make any kind of serious contribution toward its passage.  No wonder the Dems are struggling so.  Fascinating issue to work on, though my fundraising successes were middling, at best.

CHAPTER 6: Atlanta

November 28, 2009

I’m falling behind in this whole blogging thing.  I’m not in South Carolina anymore, and I haven’t been for a week.  So, once again fair readers, I’m sorry.  Judging by the stats on my page views, you’ve sufficiently punished me for my silence.

Anyhow, I’m in Atlanta.  My time here began typically enough: I befriended a couple of Danes and chased Rockettes at the bar next to the Fox Theater.  “Chased” is probably too strong a word.  “Discussed the differences between American and Danish culture while Rockettes danced next door” might be more accurate.

CHAPTER 5: Columbia, SC

November 22, 2009
Definitely not in New York anymore…

Columbia State House. Low Library?



Strom Thurmond

CHAPTER 4: Nashville

November 20, 2009

In many ways one way Nashville is like New York because everyone is trying to be somebody, but who they are trying to be is a country musician.

If you have suicidal tendencies and you are in Nashville, go to Monell’s.  There, dinner is served family style, but it’s more like a Jonestown-Kool-Aid family than any family I have ever been a part of.  The singular warning we had was “go easy on the salads.”  I did my best, but even after going easy on the salads, and on everything else they put in front of me, I still packed down a pound of food within 5 minutes of my arrival.  I continued at this rate for another 15 minutes, forming deep bonds with everyone at the table because, after all, this was The Last Supper.  Finally, I came to my senses: my death was imminent and I had to stop.  Then I realized I hadn’t tried the banana pudding…

No wonder people are fat.

New York friends: if I told you the cost of this meal, you’d be the ones having the heart attack.

After dinner we were actually high on food.  Unless there was drugs in the food which is extremely likely.  Then we were high on the drugs in the food.  The point is: we were high.

So naturally we went to the “Carnegie Hall of Country Music,” as some travel guide I read described the Bluebird Cafe.  We saw Robbie Fulks, who made sitting in silence (silence is Bluebird Cafe audience policy) entirely bearable because he was hilarious.  Some Fulks-ian wisdom: “The world is full of pretty girls, and pretty girls are full of themselves, too.”

The next day I went to the Parthenon.  There’s a Parthenon in Nashville which is more Parthenon than the Parthenon because it houses a giant statue of Athena which is a recreation of a statue supposed to have once existed in the actual Parthenon.  Photos below.

PS Good to eat and die with you Kris, and good to meet your coworkers.  Say hi to NYC for me.

Maybe I haven’t left New York…

November 17, 2009

I’m in a hostel in Nashville.  A block away is Broadway.  A block further is West End Ave.   Tomorrow, I leave for Columbia.  South Carolina, that is.  I’ll stay with a friend who lives, I kid you not, at 1020 Butler st.  Is Morningside everywhere?

CHAPTER 3: Driving to Nashville

November 16, 2009

10 hour drive from DC to Nashville through a change of time zones and Virginia.  Longest solo drive of my life.  Stopped at a gas station where a Roanoke lady pointed out my thick hair and then told me that her grandad on the Connor side kept his hair all his life, but not the one on the Smith side.  I have left New York.


November 16, 2009

Just an observation: you can describe each of the major Northeast Metropolises in terms of brooms. Look:

Washington DC is a sweeping city that is also very well swept.

New York is a sweeping city that is not very well swept.

Boston is not such a sweeping city, though it is quite well swept.

And Philadelphia is neither sweeping nor well swept.

CHAPTER 2: Washington DC

November 16, 2009

So I spent a week in Washington.  There, I bounced from a hostel bed, to a couch at the place where MaryAlice was herself crashing, to Melissa’s floor.  I know, in real life, when you introduce or mention people you are supposed to contextualize them, but I’m not quite sure how it works on the internet (maybe I should hyperlink their Facebook pages?) so I’ll do nothing.

There, I worked for the Human Rights Campaign, the nations largest GLBT civil rights group.  Have you ever raised a grand by standing on the street for 5 hours?  Until Friday the 13th of November 2009, I hadn’t either.

Which reminds me, I’m the most homeless person that I know: I don’t have a home and I stand on the street and ask people for money.

DC was very DC in that I went out with MaryAlice’s DoJ coworkers and felt like I was participating in the American project.