The All-New Ford Focus (148th new thing).

August 29, 2011 § Leave a comment

After hitting the hunk of tire driving on I-85 north a day earlier, it was time to take my red Honda Civic into the Progressive concierge service center to exchange it for a rental. I ended up with a 2011 Ford Focus, a car I had never driven before.

Getting a rental is always kind of fun. You get to drive a new car without actually paying the monthly bill on it. When I was car shopping back in January I never even thought about a Ford. I had specifically narrowed down my choice to a Toyota Corolla, Honda Civic, or maybe a Hyundai. I hadn’t heard good things about the American made Focus, especially compared to the Japanese cars. The Hyundai was a wild card.

What I liked most about driving the Focus was certainly the extras. I had never driven a car with a sunroof for any real length of time. The dashboard display also let you know the temperatures outside (hot) and you could set the a/c by degrees instead of a dial that wavers somewhere between red and blue.

I didn’t care for the tiny cup holders or the  lack of cups and divots into which I could throw loose change, receipts, or pens. The aux cable for our mp3 player was plugged into the center console, so in order to see your music playing device you had to squash the cord with the lid of the armrest. And then there was no cup or divot in which to rest the machine. I also thought the car wasn’t as powerful as expected, but overall the Focus was a sweet ride. It was nice not having to add hundreds of miles to my own vehicle when we went to the beach. Plus, sunroofs go well with saltwater air. Patrick really enjoyed the car and was surprised when I told him I preferred my own Honda Civic. We spend a lot of time together, me and my Civic.


Road Gator Attack (147th new thing).

August 22, 2011 § 1 Comment

As I was calmly driving to work up I-85 on the 147th day of my 29th year I found myself once again having car troubles. This trouble stemmed from the remnants of a big ol’ tire rolling in front of my lurvely new (to me) car and smashing my front bumper. I was fine, just annoyed and a bit worried about the accrued expense this rubber may cause me. I’ve always thought I was a decent driver, but from the snow/ice incident in January and this lack of avoiding a road gator I now have my doubts.

Really, it wasn’t my fault. Had the driver in front of me been paying attention and not tipped the edge of the tread sending it hurtling backwards in a random fashion, I would surely have been able to avoid the collision all together. But he didn’t, and I didn’t, and the next day I had to take my car into the Progressive concierge service in exchange for something more drivable. If only public transportation were more feasible in the ATL!

Chicken Sausage Meatball Sandwich (146th new thing).

August 21, 2011 § Leave a comment

Driving down Moreland Ave, I often pass the relatively new eatery, Delia’s Chicken Sausage Stand. It looked like some crazy colorful hipster joint, but I had no idea what kind of food the stand served. Well, I assumed chicken. Duh. But was it biscuits, links, patties? I had no idea. I was thinking it would be an assortment of chicken biscuits, considering it was opened by Delia Champion, the founder of the Flying Biscuit. Well, I found out on Day One Hundred Forty-Six, when Patrick and I headed there for lunch, and for the first time I had both a chicken meatball and a meatball sub.

We headed into the small shop and checked out the menu printed large on the wall. It was overwhelming, and I was hungry. I settled on the Grinder, a more popular menu item according to the nice lady behind the counter. And I got a frozen raspberry lemonade, just cause.

I sipped my frozen delight while we waited for our food. I definitely got a brain freeze, but the drink was so deliciously sweet that I didn’t mind too much. Within a couple minutes the paper bag of lunch was handed to us, and we headed back to the house to consume our slingers.

My meatball sandwich was a huge mess of marinara, giant spicy chicken meatballs, basil, and mozzarella. I stared at it for a moment, trying to decide how to attack such a monster. The meatballs were over three inches in diameter. Would my mouth even open wide enough? I was about to find out.

I took a giant bite and wiped some marinara from my chin. The chicken meatball was pretty good. It had a kick to it (according to my bland palate), and went well with the sauce and cheese. I’d only ever had meatballs on pasta before, but consider me a convert now. I was only able to get through about half of the sandwich before I felt my gut bulging with chicken sausage and frozen raspberry lemonade, so I boxed up the rest for Patrick to snack on later (I’m weird about leftovers, especially sandwiches). I enjoyed my lunch, and I think Patrick did as well. Maybe next time I will try a link sausage. My stomach is growling just thinking about it.

Losing for the 10,000th time (145th new thing).

August 19, 2011 § Leave a comment

On Day One Hundred Forty-Five, Patrick and I went to the Braves game with Damon. It was a hot Sunday afternoon, but we had awesome seats three rows behind the home team dugout. The Bravos started off strong, scoring the first run, but failed to keep the lead throughout the game and the Florida Marlins walked away with a 3-1 victory. And I was witness to it- the Braves franchise’s 10,000 loss.

Damon had actually also seen their 10,000th win. Patrick and I had attended the following evening and seen the “10,000th fan” win a slew of prizes on the middle of the field, most with the number 10 somewhere in its title. The winners were a oh-so normal family of four, so I’m thinking it was rigged. I seriously doubt that I would have won had I walked through that same gate at the same time. Or maybe I am just jealous. Wouldn’t that have been an awesome blog post?

Either way, with the good comes the bad: while the franchise is over .500 all-time, having the 10,000th loss come only a few weeks after the 10,000th win shows how close it all is. I wondered if they would strip down the 10,000 fan the next day and whip them 10 times, take $10 from their wallet, and pluck 10,000 hairs from their scalp. I bet that one wouldn’t be awarded to a family!

Milkshake Georgia Style (144th new thing).

August 19, 2011 § Leave a comment

I found myself heading to Chick-fil-a for lunch on Day One Hundred Forty-Four. After remembering the tasty delight that was their banana pudding milkshake, I was intrigued by the idea of a peach milkshake from their drive-thru menu,  I was curious enough to order the drink and try it as my new activity for the day.

I figured the shake would be a completion to the trilogy of trying the banana pudding milkshake and peach margarita from past daily activities. Because it didn’t compare at all to the banana pudding milkshake featured on Chick-fil-a’s menu during the early summer. The drink was sweet and vanilla flavored, but the only peachiness I tasted was in the chunnks of the fruit that made their way up through the straw. Really, it just made for strange texture.

I didn’t finish my shake, maybe didn’t even drink half. Give me a peach margarita over this any day. And to Chick-fil-a: Bring back the bananas!

Yuckity Yuck Yuck Yuck (143rd new thing).

August 18, 2011 § Leave a comment

I hate buffalo sauce. With a passion. Even just the smell of it makes my nostrils burn and my throat itch. I also detest blue cheese. Any kind. Give me a sharp cheddar or mild gouda pr even tangy goat cheese any day, but stink gorgonzola or aged cheese with blue veins of mold? No, thank you. So when I met my mom and Aunt Cindy for dinner on Day One Hundred Forty-Three and decided to try a buffalo chicken wing with blue cheese dressing for the first time, I surprised even myself.

We met at Taco Mac after I got off work. My mom was in the state to visit a couple friends and I was able to meet her right before she headed back to Charlotte. Ray, my aunt’s husband, had chosen Taco Mac, which was somewhere about halfway between where they live and where I work. I ordered the fajita quesadillas as my meal, and my mom got the three-mile spicy wings. So not only did I try a wing with buffalo sauce, but it was also extra hot (and me not being a fan of spicy foods).

My quesadillas had jalapeños on them (apparently when you ask for “no peppers” they only remove the bell peppers; jalapeños aren’t peppers?) so I got a taste of hot before my hot wing excursion, which was probably a good thing. I chose a wing (as opposed to a drumstick) and dipped it generously into Taco Mac’s blue cheese dressing.

And then I tentatively tasted a little bit. It seemed ok, so I tried a little more, a whole bite this time. I could taste the spice more so than the vinegary aroma of the buffalo sauce. And Taco Mac’s blue cheese isn’t as others I have sniffed. One whiff of a more traditional blue cheese sends me into gagging fits. It was creamier, smoother. Maybe even tasty.

It took until I had pretty much consumed the wing before the heat washed through my mouth. One of those late-coming, slow burns. And oh, how my mouth ached! I guzzled my beer and then my water, but every drink only intensified the fire after I swallowed. My mouth had a dragon hatching inside of it. My quesadillas were positively mild in comparison.

Eventually, the wave of spice slowed and my taste buds returned to their non-numbed state. I was proud of myself for eating a super spicy buffalo sauce wing laced in blue cheese dressing, even if the dressing was modified from the norm.

Bon Iver in Cobb County (142nd new thing).

August 18, 2011 § Leave a comment

Day One Hundred Forty-One found me headed to the Cobb Energy Center at the junction of I-85 and I-285 to see Bon Iver for the first time, with the Rosebuds opening up for them. It was my second show in a row, and second 2000+ person amphitheater at that. These circumstances really don’t happen very often.

Patrick and I met at the box office and headed into the opera house-meets-theater venue. There really are no bad seats at the Cobb Energy Center, but ours were especially appealing. Seated right behind the rail dividing the lower level orchestra seating from the next height, we had no tall people or standers in front of us to block our view. The acoustics were pretty great- a big warm sound, especially as the headliner played.

The Rosebuds

We had seen the Rosebuds at The EARL a month or so earlier, and I have to say that I prefer the band on a smaller, more intimate stage. Patrick and I had the fortune of being in Barcelona several years ago at the same time as a Rosebuds tour. We went to their show followed by a disco filled dance club experience. That was my favorite time seeing them, but I’ve never had a bad experience. Their energy is contagious.

Bon Iver

Bon Iver filled the room with sweet voices and instruments. I had only really listened to the For Emma, Forever album and enjoyed it immensely. I was able to hear a lot more than just those few songs during the show. The array of instruments and sound really gelled well with the acoustics of the venue.

Patrick and I left shortly before the encore as both of us had long days and early starts the following morning. Even if I didn’t get to see the entire performance, I surely enjoyed myself. Although I woudn’t want to drive out to Cobb often, the venue is great to see bands as a random treat.

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