Remembering Franky (167th new thing).

September 27, 2011 § Leave a comment

Franky J Cassidy was one of the most positive people I have ever known. He played softball with us and no matter what mistakes anyone made, he would respond with a dimpled grin and say that we’ll get them next time.


After our games, most of the team would go around the corner to the U-Joint for a beer or two and maybe some food. Every time we went, Franky would order a Corona, but the bar only served Corona Light (weird, I know). So Franky would say, “Yeah, that’s fine,” and once the beer came we would tease him about drinking the low calorie version of such a typically light beer in the first place. It became a happy, friendly routine with Andre leading the mocking.

Unfortunately, Franky’s life was cut short in a car accident a few days before our final softball game of the season. After that game (which we lost), the team met up at our usual spot and remembered Franky, his happy attitude, encouraging disposition, and the way he was never, ever negative, about anyone or anything.

And we drank Corona Light, but only after ordering a regular Corona and being told that the U Joint only has the lower calorie version. Appropriately enough, there was only one bottle left, a bottle which we placed in the center of our pushed-together tables and each took a sip from. It sounds overly dramatic, but the symbolism was comforting for all of us.

Franky J was an amazing guy whose life ended far too soon.

We will miss you.


Eight Wheels of Terror (158th new thing).

September 20, 2011 § 1 Comment

On Day One Hundred Fifty-Eight Steven and I saw the Atlanta Rollergirls. He had seen the derby before, many times, but I was a roller derby virgin. I have however seen that Drew Barrymore directed movie with Ellen Page (Whip It), so I felt comfortable in my expertise.

We met up at the Yaarab Shrine Temple, a crazy mosque-looking building off Ponce de Leon. I had driven by the place countless times in the past, with maybe a passing glance of curiosity, but had never been inside. I parked my car and grabbed my soft-sided cooler of leftover High Lifes from Dre’s house sitting (it’s BYOB) and headed into the auditorium, which looked like a crazy 1960’s era high school gym.

Our friend from college (Tina Tourniquet) is a rollergirl, so I was able to get tickets through her, since by the time I remembered that the bout was coming up they were all sold out. We were staying for both matches, first between the Toxic Shocks and Apocalypstix, and the second being Sake Tuyas vs. Denim Demons. Our friend was on the Sake Tuyas.

Bad Zoom Effect

We settled down in the pulled out bleachers at one end of the gym and got our cameras out. Any sort of action like this is a big excuse to play with motion still photography, namely my zoom lens. And even more exciting, Steven’s super zoom lens and better camera.

The rules

The action started after a brief explanation of the rules (which upon first hearing, seem highly complex). The groups of green and pink bodies started slowly around the rink after the first whistle blow. Next come the Jammers, who score points by passing the members of the opposite team. It’s an offensive/defensive combo of colors. After the first few jams (or rounds) I seemed to be grasping the whole idea much better.

Toxic Shocks Jammer makes the pass

The Toxic Shocks won the first game (a major come back) and we had a break before the second match began. Steven and I moved to the floor by the ring to get a different angle. I think he secretly wanted a great shot of a skate coming off the course straight for us, but fortunately that never happened. We also took the time to brainstorm our own roller derby names. Steven has selected Alpha Impale as a dude derby skater, but we came up with a couple of literary punny ones too. Henry David Throw Ya is the one I can remember. As for me, I came up with Nicole Killman, which Steven seemed to like, and then we played with the Laura Bush name. Laura Smush, Gora Smush…take your pick.

Denim Demons look to block Sake Tuyas' Jammer

The Sake Tuyas won the second match and advanced to the championship game against the Toxic Shocks. I was pleased with this since I had actually been rooting for them, Tina being on the team and all.

Overall, I had a ton of fun at the Rollergirls. I’m pretty sure I texted Patrick after it was done and informed him that I wanted to become one myself. Unfortunately, I am much to injury-prone for such an experience.

Check out more pictures on my flickr here, and on Steven’s here.

Book Challenge (156th new thing).

September 19, 2011 § 2 Comments

I love books. I like collecting them, reading them, the covers, the words, the images they bring to mind. Since beginning this blog I have had a few book-related posts. I joined the local library and celebrated finishing the fourth novel in the Song of Ice and Fire series. On Day One Hundred Fifty-Six, inspired by my friend Steven’s attempt at a book-reading challenge, I decided to try to compose a list of all the books I had read since my last birthday. Steven is taking the 50-Books-in -a-Year challenge, which is pretty self-explanatory. Between work and new activities and blogging, I doubt I will get to that number, but I am curious to see how many books I could or would actually consume.

I walked around the house looking at books I had purchased and read, tried to remember ones I had checked out from the library (I forgot a few), and also to remember in what month I finished the stories. I left off any titles that I wasn’t 100% sure I had begun after my twenty-ninth birthday. So I’m probably missing a few titles there as well. I came up with seventeen titles, five of them being the George R.R. Martin penned books.Hopefully I will be able to add many more titles. If only there were more hours in the day…

Here’s the list.

Waffle House Museum (123rd new thing).

August 2, 2011 § Leave a comment

While browsing my friend Steven’s photo blog, I came across images from his trip to the Waffle House Museum. I didn’t even know the Waffle House had a museum! He mentioned that he wanted to return to the place and take more pictures, so on Day One Hundred Twenty-Three I joined Steven to explore the Waffle House Museum.

By Steven Ricard

Basically the “museum” is converted from the first Waffle House. Joe Rogers, Sr. and Tom Forkner founded the chain diner in the mid 1950’s after Joe was inspired working for the Toddle House. You can read a full history here. I just think its funny that this guy worked for the Toddle House and then took everything he learned with him when he opened up a very similar restaurant. And good for him, because when was the last time you saw a Toddle House? I didn’t think so.

Fake Food

The museum itself is very tiny. Just the front room of an old diner complete with plastic sausage, egg, and bacon on the plates. On the right is a blown up image of the two founders. I pressed the button adjacent to the display and the restaurant filled with the story of the Waffle House. It was a wholesome tale. Beyond the fake settings and displays and the audio history, the only other attraction in that part of the museum was the large cardboard display with the faces cutout so patrons could be Flo or Jim (I’m making up those names). I chose Jimbo.

After we had seen pretty much everything there was to see in the first part of the museum, we headed next door where Waffle House memorabilia was displayed behind glass cases.

By Steven Ricard

It all had a flourescent lighting kitschy feel to it. There wasn’t a specific timeline to the organization of the space, more just a jumble of vintage looking items. Two cases were chock full of metal buttons, all having some sort of Waffle House slogan or logo on them.


The tour around the room only took a few minutes, and the experience felt similar to browsing a jumble sale. We played one of the songs from the jukebox in the corner. Mary Welch Rogers (wife of founder Joe Rogers Sr.) sings most of the Waffle House themed songs found in every jukebox in each restaurant.

By Steven Ricard

And then it was time to go. There really isn’t that much to see at the Waffle House museum. But for me, growing up in Georgia and eating at the diner on nearly all road trips with my family, the place has a completely nostalgic feel to it. So I was glad I went, but I think one visit is enough for anyone.

You can check out more of Steven’s photos on his photo blog.

Ninety-One. Chattanooga Incline.

June 22, 2011 § Leave a comment

I had Day Ninety-One off from work, so Patrick and I decided to take a day trip to Chattanooga and see what the city a couple hours away had to offer. The last time I had been there was on a whim New Year’s Day several years past, when Steven, Kristin, and I fancied a road trip. Everything was closed for the holiday, so we ended up driving up there, eating at a brewpub, and heading back home. Hopefully this trip would prove more adventurous.

I had been to Rock City and Ruby Falls as a kid, so those were out. But I’d never rode the Incline Railway up to Lookout Mountain. And despite his fear of heights, Patrick agreed to the trip. We had ridden an incline railway once before, in Pittsburgh, but this one was far more touristy. And longer.

Although we didn’t have time to See Rock City again, the visit was a great day trip, and the company exceptional.

Looking down the incline

I even enlisted Patrick to find a new geocache!

Eighty-Nine. Homemade Apple Dumplings.

June 20, 2011 § Leave a comment

I Day Eighty-Nine, I decided to bake. Inspired by my friend Steven’s blog post about making apple fritters, I browsed the interwebs for various pie recipes and such. I chose to make apple dumplings, cutting out any attempt at frying.

I went to All Recipes to find a good how-to. I’ve never really made any kind of dessert from scratch (vegan coconut delight excluded) in my adult life, and the website really is full of down home country type good cooking. Lots of butter and shortening. I figured it would at least be a good start, and it wasn’t long before I found a recipe to suit my needs (it needed to be simple).

I peeled and cored the apples and put them in ice water to prevent browning. It took forever. I had a difficult time cutting out the core, and a couple of apples split.

Then I mixed the dough, which came together really well. I didn’t have a flour sifter, so I kind of sprinkled it into the shortening/milk/salt mixture and hoped for the best. It turned out very well, although the feeling of shortening on your hands is pretty gnarly.

Yeah, it says "Kiss the cook"

I rolled out my dough and cut squares for my pastry. I was only able to get four pieces out of the material (instead of six); it turned out that I had rolled my pastry too thick. I only put a half apple in each dumpling (a whole apple is pretty big), sprinkled it with the magic of sugar and cinnamon, and pinched the pastries at the top. I topped them off with the sugary cooked mixture I had made earlier and popped the suckers into the oven. Thirty-five minutes later they were done.

The dessert was tasty, especially with the salted caramel ice cream from Morelli’s and a touch of honey (Patrick’s idea). Even if the dough was a bit thick and the apple a bit small; they really do shrink.

The only downfall to the dessert was the aftermath. I added all of the apple peels and cores to our kitchen waste container on the back porch which is eventually added to the compost bin. Well, with the screen door left open during the night, a curious raccoon managed to come onto the porch and knock over a chair, fan, and the container. Coffee grounds and egg shells and apple peels poured onto the table and floor. The monster only took the apple peels. I bet he would have loved a taste of the dumplings I had made!

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