Alabama Shakes (311th new thing).

April 19, 2012 § 1 Comment

Patrick had seen the Alabama Shakes at the EARL months earlier, but my first time seeing the band was on Day Three Hundred Eleven, when they opened up a benefit show at Athens’s 40 Watt club. I had streamed songs from their website (since updated) and really enjoyed their bluesy rock and unique vocals. Patrick was super excited about seeing them live again, telling me they were going to blow up. And he was pretty spot on.

We headed to Athens straight after I got off work on a Friday night. It was only a day (or evening) trip for us, and we planned to head back to Atlanta after the opening act played, maybe catching a couple of songs from the headlining Drive By Truckers.

The show was amazing, one of the best live performances I had ever seen. The band had soul, the lead singer a riveting voice, and I was enchanted with her facial expressions as she sang, mouth opened wide at an angle as she belted out lines, her glasses slipping down her nose a little. Mostly, I was impressed with how fresh and unique their sound was. The rock and blues influences were obvious, but the sound itself was certainly their own.

We stood next to a couple of out-of-town Englishmen who made it a vacation to travel to Athens, GA and see the Drive By Truckers every year for the benefit performance for Nuci’s Space. After the Shakes, I overheard them gushing that the opening act was one of their new favorite performers, decided spur of the moment, from listening to that one show.

We weren’t alone in our delight with the Alabama Shakes. As Patrick predicted, the band has indeed exploded on the music scene with a full length album, a stint on Letterman, and a sold out European tour. Pretty good for a few young things from Alabama.


Resentin at Empire State South (133rd new thing).

August 12, 2011 § Leave a comment

Because Patrick is so connected and generally awesome and hooked up chef Hugh Acheson with Archers of Loaf tickets at the EARL, he received a gift card to the chef’s Atlanta restaurant Empire State South. So on Day Thirty-Three Patrick took me out on a date night to the restaurant, where we had never before dined.


"In Jars": The Cheese and Bacon Marmalade was our favorite

We started off with some fancy cocktails. I had the Dolores, and not since the Soundtable have I had such a lovely liquor drink. The food was also delicious, from the various “In Jars” dips (pork rillette, trout mousse, pickles, pimento cheese & bacon marmalade, boiled peanut hummus) to the heirloom tomato salad and the pork belly.

A new way to drink espresso

Can you smell the fumes from the picture?

At the end of the meal we checked out the dessert menu and a small framed text at the bottom caught my eye. Resentin. An espresso coupled with a small pour of a white grappa. I had never tried this Frulian delight, so my choice was decided. I sipped the small strong coffee and followed the directions and poured the strong grappa into my cup. It smelled like nail polish remover and tasted like it smelled. The drink reminded me of this nasty liquor Patrick had us try in San Francisco called Fernet Branca. It tasted like Jagermeister without any sweetness. Dry licorice-flavored gross. It nearly made me vomit, and the resentin had a not disimilar effect. But I finished my swirl and managed to keep my scrumptious meal in my belly. I tried to suppress any small hiccups or belches after the meal in fear that the flavor might return to my throat. I wondered if I licked paint if the color would peel away. But I didn’t try or anything. I’ll file it under a new activity I’m glad I tried but may not repeat.

Seventy-Nine. Yelp!

June 11, 2011 § Leave a comment

On Day Seventy-Nine, I wrote my first Yelp reviews. I was partly inspired by joining Four Square, but mostly just didn’t plan ahead enough to do something more exciting.

I like using Yelp to see what people think of a specific restaurant, service, etc. If a majority of the reviewers thing the place is terrible, it most likely is. So I felt like I should do my part and add to the site I use often enough. I ended up reviewing Helmet, where I had gotten my locks sheared, the EARL (gotta give Patrick props), and WAX (cause Yelp helped me find it in the first place).

None of the reviews were long or detailed. I think I liked the EARL one the best.

Sixty-Nine. Biking Folly.

June 4, 2011 § Leave a comment

On Day Sixty-Nine, Patrick, Zach, and I rented bikes on Folly. Mike and his girlfriend Beth brought their cycles along with them and we set out to ride to the Morris Island lighthouse at the end of the beach, something neither Patrick nor I had ever done before. You can see the lighthouse from the beach around where we were staying, but previous attempts to make it as far as the beacon of light had failed. The furthest I had been on Folly was to the Washout, where the surfers crest on the waves.

Damon came along on an extra bike that Shane or John had brought, but unfortunately, despite the Schwinn written along the side, the bike was a piece. It made an unusual rattling and Damon seemed to be having quite a bit of difficulty on the clunker. It wasn’t too long before he dropped off and headed back to the house.

We continued along, pedaling and enjoying the breeze as the wind was at our backs. Zach blasted some tunes from his basket.

Mike had some serious skill as he poured himself a cold beverage while riding a bike. I did not attempt this feat. At all.

We arrived at the path that leads to the beach in front of the lighthouse. Cars aren’t allowed down the walkway, so the entire area felt incredibly restful and serene.

Mike and Beth insisted on a lover’s stroll picture. I obliged.

Zach quickly settled in to the sand.

Patrick and I walked along the sand, finding huge pieces of driftwood cemented deep into the sand through many tides.

On the way back, Beth used her mountain bike to jump over the speed bumps leading back to the road. Mike, older but not wiser, attempted to show his stuff in a similar move. Unfortunately, his thirty-three year old body wasn’t quite as nimble and he ended up busting it. Fortunately, I was the only one to see and managed to capture the moment. He walked away with only a bruised ego.

Patrick and Zach enjoyed the moment as well.

The ride back to the house wasn’t nearly as easy as the trip to the lighthouse. The wind was blowing fiercely against us. As we passed the washout with no protection on either side of the road I felt the burn in my legs as I struggled to keep up. And then I realized it wasn’t a race, and I could be as poky as I wanted. Zach and I listed to the Van Morrison coming from his basket and took our time, laughing as we passed the speeders who had made a wrong turn.The trip was an exhaustingly fun experience. The beach was gorgeous and the company easy-going and fun. A great sunny day at Folly Beach.

Sixty-Eight. Cup of Coconut.

June 3, 2011 § 1 Comment

Day Sixty-Eight found us heading to Folly Beach, just outside of Charleston for EARL‘s Christmas trip. In lieu of a holiday party at the close of the year, John rents a house on Folly for a week and allows half the staff to go the first part of the rental, and the other half the second. Pretty sweet, huh?

So Patrick and I arrived at the house (we were second halfers) to find Shane making a batch of pina coladas and serving them in half coconuts. The drink looked like tropical heaven. We were offered the sweet nectar and Shane went to make a “cup” for me. I planned on my new activity for the day to be eating a Low Country Boil in the Low Country, but with the opportunity to make my own cup coming up, I offered to whack the nut and make a custom beverage holder. So on Day Sixty-Eight I opened a coconut. With the blunt side of a kitchen knife. And the rim of my coconut cup turned out gorgeously even.

Day Forty. EARL Door.

May 8, 2011 § Leave a comment

Patrick had Day Forty planned for me. He’s such a good planner. He needed someone to work the door at the EARL, and I needed something to do. But it’s kind of funny, because when I’ve volunteered in the past he has firmly turned me down. Something about working with your girlfriend…but he needed a door person on Day Forty, so I worked the door for the British Sea Power show.

Patrick has a very specific way of doing things, a routine for everything, and working the door was no exception. He set up a cup for the ticket stubs, one for the waxy backing trash from the wristbands, and put the change bag in a particular place. I rearranged somewhat to my liking, and protested when he took away my chair. He explained that I do not get to sit down until the crowd has slowed and he was no longer wristbanding people.

The show was relatively slow, with no big rush of people charging at me to get in. I stood erect with my clipboard, striking what I considered a pose of authority.

After we closed the door, he let me negotiate pricing with anyone who wanted to get into the show, where the headliner was well into their set. I managed to get $19 more from a couple of drunk people. Impressive, I was told. My authoritative pose apparently worked.

Patrick relieved me for awhile to get my shift meal and drink. I love a job that feeds and liquors you. Plus I got a little bit of money. I would totally do it again, especially if I had the opportunity to turn someone away. I had a lot of practice running advanced screenings for movies, and I can certainly hold my own. So if you ever see me at the back door of the EARL again, you’d better watch yourself.

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