King of Pops and the Yumbii food truck

25 09 2010


King of Pops, Yumbii food truck

Originally uploaded by N-Sai

The King of Pops couldn’t be hotter with his iced creations in the steamy heat of a “Hotlanta” summer. So much so that there are two Kings of Pops out in force today at the Midtown Festival of the Arts, the first one that I think we’ve ever had. (I skipped the more exotic flavors like orange basil and pineapple habanero in favor of a raspberry lime.)

Anyway, the event may not be super-huge, but it’s still a big deal for my neighborhood and surroundings. Peachtree Street’s main drag is closed to art and food booths. While smaller than the other festivals out, this one is decent and manageable, and of course a big milestone for our area. There’s even a mile run-walk, which I did not partake in but could have.

Besides the aforementioned Popsicle royalty, lots of food stands and trucks from local restaurants and food providers. Food trucks are a thing right now, you know, a Thing, and I spotted a Yumbii-mobile out serving Korean/Mexican/Southern fare. Ultimately we decided to try the YEAH! Burger stand just to say that we did. I had the beef, turkey and veggie sliders. The turkey and veggie were far better than the beef, but it was a bit odd to think that (arguably) Atlanta’s best burger joint was just a few yards away. I’m talking about the Vortex, yo. You know it. Word.





Colors

14 02 2009
 


Colors

Originally uploaded by N-Sai

This is a picture I took at our Sidebar outing to celebrate iReport.com’s first birthday. I think it might be one of my best architectural photos ever.





Fourth of July

17 07 2008

I went to see the Lenox Square Mall fireworks display since it’s the oldest, closest and possibly the best display. Here’s what the finale looked like:

As always, see the remainder here in the Flickr set.

I worked that day and it was momentous as Joey Chestnut barely beat that Kobayashi dude in the hot dog wolfing contest on Coney Island in Brooklyn in New York. Baby. Hot dog ralphing, perhaps. Gross, man. We had our own weenie roast at work right in the break room. It’s an annual tradition, done on a George Foreman grill. If possible, we try to time it so it corresponds perfectly with the event. Things get pretty heated as we watch with bated, hot-dog-scented breath.

Centennial Olympic Park was crowded with people and many were wearing umbrella hats, which I think is a great way to take the shade with you in a flashy fashion. I opted to spend less time there and cooled off at home to escape the heat. When it got dark I boarded MARTA for the Buckhead region, where things were very crowded. The display was great. It was all good. Mom and dad went to Tempe Marketplace and I think their adventure was more fun, but then again I was working that day. So who knows.





Thanksgiving bullets

23 11 2007
  • Happy Thanksgiving! It’s been pointed out that I don’t update this blog nearly enough and I’m making an attempt. That's a big bird for Thansgiving on Sesame Street
  • I don’t know if you’ve noticed, but one of the most posted items you will see on the Internets is an image of … well, Thanksgiving on Sesame Street.
  • That image is going around faster than a case of [insert disease here] at Manzy Hall. (Bad ASU joke)
  • Come on ASU, that wasn’t a good loss to the Trojans. Oh well, this team still has a lot of growing up to do and you have to admit, winning the games you’re supposed to win is still quite an achievement in a season like this with so many upsets and weird games.
  • Dear reader, you will note that I am, as per is to be expected, on a Thanksgiving trip to Phoenix
  • Visited a historical reenactment on Sunday that had been going on last weekend.
  • Throughout the week we’ve just been kind of taking it easy and driving, eating, etc., and I”m trying to mentally remap the neighborhood that I grew up in.
  • Watched the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade for the umpteenth time. I don’t feel right if I don’t see at least one teenage pop star I’ve never heard of lip syncing to ’80s pop songs on a giant pirate ship while cheerleaders and evil muppets gyrate around them.
  • Bob Saget’s helicopter flyover segment was refreshingly jarring in such a sugary sweet event, given his penchant for blue humor.
  • It’s a great way to learn about hot new shows on Broadway, like Young Frankenstein. I might go see that. The dancing Igor is what did it for me. Not to mention Frankenstein’s monster.
  • It’s a common confusion, by the way, that Frankenstein is the one with the arms sticking out and the bolts in the neck and stitches and whatnot. In reality (or my interpretation of it given some crappy Internet research), Frankenstein is just a dude. It was his monster who was “aliiiive,” and the popular image we have is actually a product of a 1930s movie adaptation. I think.
  • Dinner at Avanti’s at 27th Street/Thomas and it was good.
  • I mean we’re talking about Thanksgiving at an Italian restaurant. There were some other folks there who were intrigued by this idea.
  • This is one of those places where you see mirrors on the ceiling and guys with a mildly mafioso style… where it’s not odd to see a vintage Bentley parked outside.
  • You look inside and there are signed pictures from all manner of local celebrities.
  • A little pricey but nice for a special occasion.
  • The lamps hanging from the ceiling are actually blown-glass sculptures with a little notch carved into them for a candle.
  • I learned what a “Waldorf Salad” is. I hadn’t really known before. I mean I knew there were apples involved… yikes.
  • The catch is this Waldorf salad has either bleu or gorganzola cheese in it and I’m not sure if that was the norm. It was a bit of a twist I must say. I think it was gorganzola, and it had a pleasant stink to it.
  • My attitude toward stinky cheeses is that they look and smell rotten because they basically are. But, the food connoisseur points out, they are not rotten, they are merely aged. Just like all the other fungus-covered stuff in my fridge?
  • I suppose stinky foods are not dangerous, unlike the festering mess that always seems to surprise me upon returns from long trips, despite my best efforts to clean out any potential offenders beforehand.
  • I had pumpkin soup, spinach-stuffed turkey rollatini, mashed potatoes, sweet potatoes, green beans and garlic bread as well. Plus a slice of yummy pumpkin pie.
  • A heated debate started about the commonness of grit in your pumpkin pie. Such grit is, I asserted, fairly common in less-processed pies. I don’t know where it comes from, but it seems like it’s probably just a little sand or other material that gets stuck in the pumpkin when it is cut.
  • Anybody shopping like a freak at 5 a.m. tomorrow? Count me out! Any savings will be badly offset by my typical habit of going waaaay too far and spending less to spend more.




Pumpkin spice and everything nice

18 10 2007

I like to go to Starbuck’s every now and then, and I’m not even talking about the one roughly 50 feet from my Place of Employment. I would rather go to a locally owned coffee house (that serves quality coffee), but it’s tough to find indie businesses in my corner of the OTP without a bit of travel. Anyways so the last two times I went to the particular ‘Bucks that I always go to, I have been the “every 50th customer.” This means I am eligible for TWO entries in the October drawing to win $1,000. I’m gonna give it a shot, you know? I figure this isn’t going to happen every day.

And by the way, I’m kicking myself for repeatedly ordering the Pumpkin Spice Latte, which cost me more than purchasing an actual pumpkin. It’s not unpleasant, but it bears resemblance to neither pumpkins nor spice. It is a fine and enjoyable latte, however. It’s a different story when tasting pumpkin beer, however. That stuff doesn’t sit well with me. The last time I tried some I thought it tasted vaguely like, um, “upchuck,” and I didn’t make it beyond a few sips. I’m tempted to give it another shot, but of course, that’s what I always say about the Pumpkin Spice Latte. My picks at Starbucks are straight-up cappuccino, the cinnamon dolce latte and the chai latte. Even then I have to be careful to just drink a little at a time and spread it out over a few hours to avoid getting an uncomfortable stomach-irritating caffeine rush, and you know, to make it last. I’ve tried non-dairy and that helps a lot, but the soy milk doesn’t touch real milk. If I want something a little lighter I’ll go for a green tea lemonade, lightly sweetened. Delish.

[/whining]

So… beyond that, I endorse Stephen Colbert for president. To be quite honest, he’s the only candidate I have any sort of affection or affinity for.

I should also recap my recent journey to Stone Mountain Park for the pumpkin festival (featuring pumpkins that are probably NOT picked directly from a local patch, but I can pretend, right?). It was good times, and it was a lot easier to get there than I expected. Admission to the park itself is free (although attractions are not) so it’s a nice place to go and chill. I’m definitely going to go back and try out ALL the rides if I possibly can. I love the little touristy village inside the park. It reminds me of a Cracker Barrel on a massive scale. (And Stone Mountain Village itself has a charming little Main Street). What kind of weirds me out is the carving on the side, which is of course the main attraction of the whole thing. It’s a monument to the Old South, and you see a lot of, I dunno, characters going to see it. Then there was the kid who asked me if I was “from around here” and the lack of transit in the direct vicinity of the park. For these and other reasons, what I’m getting at here is that I sense that the crowd at this park is more representative of the population outside the city than the people inside it. If you catch my drift. And then there was a bunch of guys who drove by me and yelled “Hey!” to scare me. They laughed when I jumped. I don’t know, it was kind of a strange atmosphere over there peoplewise. Still, an enjoyable time, and I’ll definitely go back.

What I really miss is Young’s Farm in Dewey, Arizona, which used to have the most awesome pumpkin festivals featuring pumpkins grown right on the farm (if I understand correctly). I know I went at least once with my roommate at the time, and I’m glad. That place was totally awesome, but sadly, the owners had to sell it out for some reason or another, and now they can build a subdivision there for heat-weary Phoenician escapees. And by the way…

A CHALLENGE TO THOSE LOOKING AT THIS
Finally, I’m calling on all my readerses (I assume there’s at least a handful of you out there) to search for the term “adult balloon animals.” I’m currently the No. 5 result when you search for those words in Google, and the goal should be to become the No. 1 source of complete non-information on adult balloon animals. Together we can work together to make this happen.





About that Phx trip

20 08 2007

OK, so essentially what I did on the most recent trip, from which I returned Saturday evening, basically consisted of sleeping and eating. Which is cool. There was quite a bit of good food to be had; Thai cuisine at the Pink Pepper, British fish (well, shrimp) and chips at The Codfather, sushi at Hiro shortly after a full shish kabob dinner at Shish Kabob House, excellent Indian food at Tandoori Village, salads/soups at Wildflower Bread Company… I could go on and on, but there you have it. Not to mention those cupcakes. [Angel halo] Oh and Jamba Juice, which is not available in Georgia at all. And El Pollo Loco, which is opening some Georgia locations in the next few weeks

There were a few small get-togethers of sorts and I spent as much “quality time” with the family as I could, despite the fact that my parents didn’t have any days off during this time. Dad and I spent a couple hours talking about life and his many travels and various civil engineering stuffs, which takes on added weight in light of recent events. I found it fascinating, and he managed to reinvigorate my dormant and vague interest in engineering. However, for the most part, I was on my own. On a relatively cool day I headed out into downtown Phoenix to check out the ASU downtown campus and the construction on the light rail line, as well as all those new buildings that were finished in the last year or so. It didn’t really start to feel uncomfortable until the late afternoon. I did notice, however, that the sun was very bright. It’s pretty bright on a sunny day in Atlanta, which is at roughly the same latitude, but there is a certain intensity to the desert sun that is hard to describe unless you’ve been away from it and you come to it. I never noticed this when I lived there; I didn’t really know anything different. I think it’s because of a c4ombination of the atmosphere and the reflection of light off the pale desert floor, versus a blanket of trees. And then you catch even more light from the sunlight reflecting off the glass-walled buildings downtown. I also stopped briefly at the Biltmore Fashion Park outdoor mall, which I quickly began to regret because it was an outdoor mall and I was starting to sweat.

All in all, there’s a different attitude in Arizona that can’t be described unless you actually go there and stay for a while. I just don’t get the same feeling about Atlanta, for example. But that’s not to say that I don’t appreciate Atlanta; it’s been a good adoptive town, and I sometimes get the feeling that it’s actually Phoenix with trees. The urban issues are the same, although the setting is different. (I was a geography major, albeit a mediocre one; I’ve got to analyze these things.)

I tried to stay away from the Internet except for a few photo dumps and a few Internet searches… OK, more than a few… dang. And a little facebooking, which revealed that a former classmate (I didn’t know him very well, but I had traveled with him) had passed away a couple days after I got to Phoenix. That was quite sad to see, especially given that he was so young and still in college — may he rest in peace.

I’ve noted that the flight back was tricky; I almost got bumped off of it, but then I got put back on at the last minute. They were trying to keep the weight down on the plane due to “weather” concerns, which I believe were mostly unfounded at that time. At the last minute, some people volunteered to wait until the next day to fly out (and get free air tickets) so I got to get on the plane. I was afraid they would start saying, “You’re too heavy to fly” or something to people. Ha, that would be controversial, eh? If I had gotten bumped, I would have had to fly out on Sunday night and I probably would be just getting into town on Monday morning. Blech. Not to mention the weather was worse on Sunday, so there’s no guarantee I would have gotten to fly out then either. And then there’s the whole part about having to get someone to cover my shift at work. No, it was sheer luck that allowed me to get on that plane.

And that’s all folks. A decent break from the daily grind, which has now officially ended. Back we go!





Come on people

4 08 2007

Easy on the inappropriate Harry Potter searches, will ya?  Look, I don’t want to sound creepy, but I like to look at the stats for this blog and find out what’s bringing people here. A lot of it is to find out the dirt on Harry Potter. You ain’t gonna find it here, folks.

Anyway. I updated my family blog. I forgot to add in there a tiny highlight of today, for family members reading:  After visiting the post office again (read below) I snuck out for dinner at the Fanous (or Fanoos) Persian restaurant. Man, that place is awesome. I didn’t take an photos since I didn’t want them to think I was a restaurant reviewer or something. My plate of food was beautifully arranged and tasty too. I can’t recommend this place enough.

It’s a Persian “tea house,” which translates roughly to “Hookah! Hookah!” in English. Still, the food is the main reason people go there. It’s a lot like the Darvish tea house, but with (I dare say) lower prices and better food. I ordered a chicken kabob with iced tea and hot tea for a total of $18, including tip. It sounds like a lot but consider this: The price also included a nice appetizer selection including crisp pita pieces, Shirazi salad (cucumber, tomato and onion in a salted lemon sauce), mustokhiar (sp — yoghurt sauce with pieces of cucumber and mint), and a dip that I believe is called borani-e bademjan (zesty seasoned eggplant drizzled with yoghurt). The kabob came with basmati rice and a grilled tomato. In short, I loved it. I couldn’t finish it and I didn’t want to take leftovers with me. Which means it probably won’t last. Heck, I like this place way better than Darvish, and it’s got a pretty nice location in a strip mall on Roswell Road. But it seemed like it didn’t have the same kind of popularity that Darvish has, and it didn’t have as thick of a crowd as the other restaurants in the strip mall. Still there were definitely people there and I know from the research that was done that it has some loyal fans. All in all, the Persian Tea House model is quite different than the quieter, more intimate and more low-key kinds of Persian food you will find in the Phoenix area. It’s more aimed at the younger crowd, which I think is something that would be good to have in Tempe, AZ. If you come to visit me, family, I will take you there.

Yeah, so I had to go to the post office again to see if they would give me my mail. I guess the postman got sick of stuffing my mail in there; I let it go for too long and it was the finally last straw. Now, he isn’t delivering to my box anymore. He left a note saying it was at the USPS postal store, but I went there this evening (after the Gosh-awful heat/humidity combo settled down) and they told me I should just call at 8:30 a.m. to find out what happened to my mail. They think he might have taken it to the warehouse down the street. I’m thinking they probably threw it away or lost it. The best I can hope for is to convince him to deliver my mail again, if I promise pretty please with a cherry on top that I’ll check it more regularly. This is so stupid!

No answers yet, for now. This better get fixed soon so I don’t miss getting my birth certificate from Iowa. Anyway the USPS visit seemed like a good excuse to get the Persian food while I was out, and to get a little minor grocery shopping done at Whole Foods. (There’s a Kroger too.)

I’m also tired of dodging crappy traffic and seeing people give each other the finger for stupid reasons. On the plus side, there are fewer of those road-rage shootings in the ATL than the PHX. I suppose I’ll take middle fingers versus guns. I’m also tired of lousy intersections and broken “walk signal” buttons. I swear people break them on purpose. Also, I’m tired of the lack of sidewalks on some streets. Con(des)truction on the sidewalk leading to one of my favorite OTP shopping centers has made a trip there far more hazardous than it should be. I’ve actually stopped going there altogether since there are other plazas with the same stores that are less dangerous. And closer, too.

ALSO: Bus routes here are sometimes complicated, which is why I rarely ride the bus. I’ve only done it a few times and it’s sucky. It’s often easy to get somewhere, but hard to get back because you don’t have the option of taking multiple buses at some destinations. The stops are spaced apart from each other and the drivers won’t stop at the stops for the other route to pick you up. Frankly I think it’s pretty lame that two bus drivers drove right past me at stops because I wasn’t at the exact stop they were looking for.

And by the way, just a thought about dealing with people in general (and not to single out bus drivers, if that’s what you’re thinking — this is a generic comment): I’m tired of lousy customer service. There are way too many people out there who are making it obvious they hate their jobs. Look, I know you hate your job. Frankly, I would hate to have your job too. (Is that cruel to say?) I might even hate my life altogether. But for Pete’s sake, and we love Pete, let’s not show the world how miserable we are. Instead, let’s try to find some pleasure in life. I’m not saying sing the “happy happy joy joy” song all the time. But I firmly believe that if you can sap some tiny bit of joy from your miserable, slug-like existence, you may find your existence isn’t so miserable anymore. If that makes sense.

OH and ATTENTION ALL BURGLARS AND TEENAGE MUTANT NINJA MENU INSERTION FREAKS AND POSTAL POSTFOLKS: I be goin’ to Phoenix next week. Flight is next Friday.

Oh, and I just killed a flying cockroach in my living room! Just now. Go me. They love the crappy humid weather we have right now. I think since it has (had) been a drier, cooler summer than last, roaches haven’t been much of an issue. Now that it’s hotter and humider again, I think I’m going to see more of these fellas. Still, probably not as many as last summer.

That is all folks… time to go back to living. And sleeping. Over and out.