I’m gonna jump into this blog post like it hasn’t been eight months since my last one.

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This morning, I woke up at 6:31 a.m., and by 6:52, I was pulling up to the Botanical Gardens, feeling virtuous and excited about my plans for a morning run on the trails. But sleepy ole me discovered instead a closed gate and noticed, for the first time, a sign dictating the Gardens’ summer hours: 8 a.m. to 8 p.m.

Determined to run but averse to the hard pavement and ugly power lines closer to my apartment, I headed instead to the UGA Intramural Fields. There are some nice little trails there, and I ran on them.

It’s really just one loop with several small trails that lead back to the main one, but in my usual navigationally challenged way, I managed to get lost (Instagram hashtag: #trappedinthedogpark).

And it was great! Knowing these trails were smaller than the vast expanse of the Gardens, where I sometimes expect to find an R.O.U.S. or friendly centaur awaiting me behind a fallen tree or heap of moss, I was able to enjoy the morning’s sights and smells without fretting over the possibility of being forced into a hermetic berry-foraging existence by the river. There also weren’t any hills from which I might tumble to my death.

I spent a little too much time trying to find my way out of the off-leash dog area, and I ran slowly, and my shoe came untied twice, but it was a good start to the day. Although I definitely find the Gardens more enchanting, the IM trails have a little magic of their own. And I would definitely bring my [boyfriend’s] dog.

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Adventure No. 14: My first Wild Rumpus

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One day I am gonna get the hang of this iPhone photography thing. Or just photography in general…

OK, so I’m a week and a day late in posting this. Here’s to extending the Halloween season! (Because really, we all know those jack o’ lanterns are gonna rot on your porch past Thanksgiving.)

Have you ever heard of the Wild Rumpus? It’s this parade that happens in Athens every year before Halloween. Townspeople, students and anybody else, I suppose, don costumes and circle a block (literally — I’m pretty sure it’s just one block) downtown, led by Timi Conley in the guise of Max from Where The Wild Things Are. Then there is music and general merriment.

This year’s Rumpus was Athens’ fifth — the Facebook event dubs it the WILD RUMPUS Parade & Spectacle V — but it was the first one I’ve attended. I’m usually out of town for the Rumpus (NOT for Georgia-Florida, I assure you), and I honestly hadn’t heard of it before college. Actually, a lot of students still haven’t heard of it. I guess you have to be a Flagpole reader to learn these things.

But I went this year! And it was swell. If I were a mom, I’da brought my kid(s) out to the Monster Mash that afternoon for crafts and face painting and whatnot, but since I’m not, I just ate a burrito and watched the evening parade at College Square, and it went on and on and on and on. And on and on. Apparently this year’s parade was the biggest yet. The costumes were great! There were fire twirlers and stilts wearers and Miley Cyrus imitators and a father and child dressed like a giraffe (which is hard to explain but was really adorable and I wish my iPhone photos had turned out better) and a zombie wedding and Doctor Who references and dogs wearing clothes and a lot of costumes I frankly didn’t understand (but might have if I’d just buy some new glasses and not lose them this time), but it didn’t matter because the Halloween spirit was high, and Athenian quirkiness was running free.

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You can’t really tell, but there’s a girl hanging from that apparatus on the right. She’s pretty neat.

After the parade, I met up with some friends from my Always Baked days (way back a month ago) and listened in the costume-clad masses to the free music (with aerial silks artists and more fire!) outside of the 40 Watt before heading into The World Famous for warmth and catch-up conversation. I missed the after party featuring Space Trucks, Timi & Kite to the Moon, and Ghost Owl inside the 40 Watt because I had a costume party to attend (apparently I bear a striking resemblance not to Peter Pan, but to Hermione Granger. The 12 year old or the 18 year old? That’s what really matters), and I didn’t have $15 anyway, but I’m sure the bands were great.

I spent my actual Halloween watching Mad Men on Netflix and gorging myself on cookies and hummus (not together, usually), and it was a surprisingly good night, but the Wild Rumpus pretty much was Halloween for me this year. Maybe I will actually participate next year!

Eating vegan in Athens (but never eating vegans)

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I mostly used this photo because I felt like the post needed one, and I thought I ought to not post that one half-eaten cookie online for the third time.

You know how I am always like, “Oh em geez I promise I’ve been having Athenian adventures the last few weeks, I just have been SOOO busy and had no time to write about them!!!!” ?

Well, I actually haven’t had any Athenian adventures over the last however many weeks, and I haven’t been that busy. I’ve had a few adventures in other towns (climbing rocks in Chattanoogah and LaFayette and wherever Mount Yonah is located), and I ate at Echo with my mom last week, but the truth is that I’ve been in a funk. I just didn’t feel like doing anything!

But I’ve decided to change that. I have a new job, new clothes, and a newly clean room. I’m more broke than ever, but I refuse to let school, work, and everything else weigh me down. I only have so much time left in this wonderful town, and I need to not waste it! That’s why I started this blog in the first place.

And I refuse to go a full month without updating it. So even though I haven’t done anything new and Athenian lately, and in honor of my new vegan friends (holla atcha, S.O.S.), I have decided to list a few of my favorite vegan-friendly places in town. They’re not ranked or anything (I’m terrible at favorites), but they are all delicious. Here you go:

Echo

I mean duh, of course Echo. Everything here is vegan. You don’t have to ask about ANY of the ingredients on the menu (unless you have allergies, I suppose). And in the spirit of catering to moderately obscure diets, they’ve marked gluten-free menu items with a little “g” (or something — it might be a different letter, but “g” would make sense, wouldn’t it?). The mac ‘n’ no cheese is pretty delish, as are the chickpea and sweet potato burger, which I’ve had three times now, and the sweet potato ginger soup. I mean, everything I’ve had here is good. I’ve decided I’m not a fan of jackfruit, however; the “tuna melt” is delicious, but a little too close to true tuna texture for my comfort. That’s a plus for some people, though! Echo also has delicious desserts for when you have extra cash and extra appetite at the same time (but how often does that happen?), and I recommend the “whoopie pie.” It is two chocolate chip cookies with icing in the middle. I’m sure it’s terrible for you and contains zero nutritional value, but hey, you just finished a meal of steamed kale and lightly sautéed tofu. Eat yo sweets.

The Grit

My mom took me to The Grit when I was 9 years old as a way of demonstrating her support for my vegetarianism. She revealed she’d secretly hoped all this time it was only a phase when I told her I’d gone vegan earlier this year, but the memory of my first Golden Bowl is a warm and brothy one. Nostalgia aside, The Grit is a great restaurant for all types of vegheads, and really anyone who enjoys good food. Not everything is vegan, but lots of stuff is, and the stuff that isn’t is easily veganized. My favorites are the seitan gyro (does anyone know how “seitan” is actually pronounced? I say it differently every time because there is freedom in my ignorance. I’ve googled it several times, and the Internet hasn’t come to a consensus, and neither has the Grit staff.) and the Chocolate Death Cake. Hashtag yum.

Big City Bread

I adore Big City Bread. They mark which breads on the menu are vegan with a little “V” (I think), and they have a chocolate oatmeal cookie I’ve previously gushed about, but it gets even better. In addition to Ole Oaty,  the last time I went in, they had a REAL chocolate chip cookie — AT THE SAME TIME. Did you get that? TWO VEGAN COOKIES AT ONCE. There might’ve been other vegan dessert options, but I was all up in that chocolate and didn’t even notice. No raisins to be found! Also, the tofu scramble with focaccia is delicious, and I think I got a sandwich last time which was probably tasty but evidently not as memorable as my cookie.

The Taco Stand

I think this place gets a bad wrap (ha. get it?) as downtown drunk person food or maybe poor college kid food, but it’s SO GOOD. I have had dreams about the deluxe tofu burrito, no cheese, no sour cream, plus guac, extra hot sauce — one guy told me this is called a “sancho,” but I haven’t read it on the menu, so I always list the ingredients — and it never disappoints. Actually, I recall that either the downtown or the Prince Avenue location has tastier tortillas, but I don’t remember which. I guess the difference isn’t very significant. Anyway, that is a meal for like, almost $3 or something like that, and it is SO GOOD like REALLY GOOD. Barberitos is also a good option, but a veggie burrito with guac runs closer to $6 or $7 (you do get more food, what with the chips and all), and it’s a block farther of a walk than the Taco Stand, so I don’t head that way as often.

Daily Groceries Co-Op

Daily, besides being great for local organic produce and all things eco-friendly, is a good place to stop if you want vegan “specialty” items such as agave nectar, nutritional yeast (in bulk!), soy ice cream, orrr delicious prepackaged cookies by the Alternative Baking Company and this other company I feel bad for not remembering the name of. There are these ginger cookies that are very gingery and actually made my throat feel better once when I was sickish. These cookies are $4 for a pack of two, but they are large and dense and chewy and delicious. I eat them for breakfast sometimes. Or I did before I was supa-broke.

Earth Fare

Okay, I knowww Earth Fare is not a local business. But I have to include them because they have so many awesome vegan foods! The Vegan Everything Cookie in that case by the bakery is pretty tasty, although it has nothing on the aforementioned oats n’ chips. And there are TWO (three? numbers are hard) vegan ravioli options in that case near the hot bar (I’ve never bought them, but I like that they’re there). There are oh so many vegan milks, and vegan chocolate-covered bulk items, and various soy products and fake cheeses if that’s what you’re into. Earth Fare sells fancy (I mean “artisanal”) bread, so it’s vegan, mostly, I think, unless you’re getting challah.

Of course, there are loads of places to be a happy vegan in Athens, but these are closest to my leafy green heart. And I’m getting pretty sleepy, so it’s time for blogging time to end… Hopefully I will have an adventure to share soon!

In the meantime, I start my new Juice Up job on Tuesday. Pretty much everything there is vegan, unless you want stupid whey powder in your juice or smoothie, so that’s cool.

Good night!

Adventure No. 13: Bread.

I had this adventure on Friday, September 13. Let’s just not talk about my procrastinatory blogging habits.

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I don’t know these people. But they probably like bread. Look, wheat pin baguette!

Sista Fran and I bought bread from the Independent Baking Co. two Fridays ago. She joined me at Hotel Indigo as my trusty photog for an article about Athens’ newish electric car sharing service, JuiceCar (mine hasn’t come out yet, but here‘s a write-up the Athens Banner-Herald guys did). Afterwards, we decided to have Wombmate Bonding Time at Earth Fare.

After indulging in free wifi, organic apples, and disappointingly gross flavored coconut water, we headed across the street to Two Story Coffeehouse so Sista Fran could get a ghiaccio. And then we decided it was time to visit the new bakery at Five Points!

The Independent is tiny, though I don’t know what’s normal by artisanal bakery standards, so maybe it is just regular sized. It’s in the old Strand Hair Studio building, with a new exterior and pretty blue letters courtesy of Lou Kregel of chrysanthemum fame. The outside is pretty cute:

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And so is the inside.

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Lookadem breads.

In addition to a plethora of carbs, there are six coffee options. Guy says it’s significant that all of the beverages are espresso-y (in more of a coffee connoisseur type way, of course), but I’m not enough of an aficionado to appreciate this (but maybe I will be soon, because I just accidentally acquired a French press from Two Story!). Anyway, the menu’s presentation is in keeping with its minimalism:

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Sharpie and parchment paper. Ta-da!

Thom Leonard is the brainparent of this bread endeavor, and I don’t know much about him except that he has a pretty cool name. Well, I didn’t until I read this Red & Black article, anyway.

Oh, yeah! We bought a $6 loaf of kalamata olive bread, which sounds really weird but is actually awesome. We tore into it in the car, so it looked like this when we got back to my apartment:

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#yum. The nice thing about fancy breads is that they are usually vegan! Except for challah, which is apparently an egg bread. #disappointment.

I have to say though, it’s what I’d consider a “destination bread.” Not really midnight grazing or breakfast fare. The next time I buy it, it will be for a potluck or something. But it should be noted that my olive loaf has had a much longer shelf life than I expected! And the olives are still nice and soft. In a non-gross way.

I just read in that R&B article that the Independent sometimes sells cookies…fingers crossed for something vegan.

Adventure No. 12: A vegan feast on game day

I guess I should mention the fact that a football game took place Saturday, but I’m not going to rant about it because my last post was pretty whiney and I already tweeted this:

Anyway. My dad is normally a football fanboy like the rest of Athens, but he took an hour out of game day (I will NOT capitalize it) for dinner with his youngest daughter. (It’s funny ’cause I’m a twin.)

We walked/sidestepped/shouldershoved our way from the parking spot we created behind Magnolia’s all the way to West Washington Street and to the newly relocated (and renamed) vegan restaurant Echo. It was Broad Street Coffee back in the day (like two weeks ago), but after Farm 255 destroyed my dreams of one day eating fancy food on the regular with my grown-up paycheck, the restaurant-not-coffee-shop moved from Broad Street (duh) to Farm’s old digs.

Everyone was sad to see Farm close, but I’m happy with its replacement because hello, vegan food. I was especially delighted to find the place clear of both sports and daydrunk Georgia fans. Not having TVs may not be a good business move in football-season Athens, but it meant at least one restaurant downtown wasn’t full of beer-stink and roaring man-voices.

Anyway, we ate delicious bean burgers with delicious mac ‘n’ no cheese and better-than-edible cole slaw (I’m just not really a “slaw” person). And I didn’t have to ask about ingredients at all because THE WHOLE MENU IS VEGAN. Also, we had some fantastic falafel with veggies and pita and dill sauce as an appetizer. YUM. It was quiet, and I don’t remember what music was playing, but it must have been pretty chill and better than whatever contemporary country the tailgaters on Milledge woke me up with. This place provided the perfect respite from gameday traffic and the sidewalk smell of booze.

Oh, and apparently Echo is still using Farm’s talent buyer, so I can’t wait to partake of the late-night shows Farm was also known for. Vegan food and live music? Yeahyeahyeah.

Okay, here are photos:

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See? Nice and quiet.

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Did you know alcohol is vegan? Generally speaking.

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Little cactus centerpiece.

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Falafel plate.

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Chickpea and sweet potato burger with mac ‘n’ no cheese and non-disgusting cole slaw.

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The hostess looked super cute. I bet she is vegan too. Maybe she will be my friend and loan me clothes and egg replacer.

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Door-wall of puppy portraits. #GoDawgs

Guys. My weekend was terrible.

I mean, not really. Lots of worse things could have happened. 

But during 29 hours of driving (to Fort Lauderdale and back, with some journalism in between), everything that could have gone wrong with my car did, with the exception of flames.

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I don’t really wanna talk about it…

Other stuff went wrong too (an overdraft, a speeding ticket, caffeine cravings), and basically, a trip that should have cost nothing has ended up costing several hundred dollars. 

I don’t have several hundred dollars! I was already pretty broke, but now I’m even MORE broke (those late-night Kroger dates are gonna have to stop). But fortunately for me, the Athens economy depends largely on broke kids like myself.

So here is a list of (Basically) Free Stuff to Do in Athens!

Georgia Museum of Art — The Guhmoah is conveniently located on East Campus. I like to think of it as a tiny High. I haven’t been to the High that many times though, so maybe I am romanticizing. Anyway, you’re supposed to donate a few bucks (or cents…?) on your way in, but you don’t have to buy tickets or anything. And there’s art! And speakers! And receptions! I should totes spend more time here.

State Botanical Garden of Georgia — I thought “the Botans” was something people outside of my immediate friend group said, but as I talk to more people about it (them?), I’m realizing we are a lazy minority. Regardless of name, though, the Botanical Gardens (so many syllables!) are lovely. You can go to the actual garden part and take pretend prom pictures or walk through the greenhouse and learn about plants or get hopelessly lost run on the trails or swim in the river or do lots of other things, I’m sure.

Lyndon House Arts Center — I played a concert here in high school when I was in the Athens Flute Choir! I haven’t been inside since, but I took a photo of the Athens Area Pagans herb garden for an article over the summer. You can buy art classes there (especially if you’re a kid), but the exhibitions are free any time, except on Sundays and game days (I refuse to capitalize that).

ATHICA — I guess there’s a lot of art in Athens. ATHICA is cool because it’s in this old warehouse and is a nonprofit and is the only place in Athens that focuses on contemporary art. And it’s not run by UGA or ACC, so take that, Bureaucracy. I don’t always understand the art here, but sometimes I review it.

Parks — Duh. There’s Ben Burton Park, Bishop Park, Memorial Park, and the North Oconee Greenway, though I don’t know if that’s really a park because I’ve only been there late at night to sit on the train trestle (there’s NOT a “No Trespassing” sign!). There might be more, I dunno. But parks are totes free and also fun! Whenever I go to Memorial, I end up playing with other people’s kids on the swings. I felt a little weird the first few times children approached me demanding a push, but now I realize the parents don’t care because they are all tuckered out from feeding ducks by then.

Running — No, for real. Running in Athens is great. Obviously you’ve got the Botans and the IM Fields, but even road running can be really fun. The Five Points neighborhoods are full of fairytale gardens and actually have hills (WHY are you running on Milledge?), and there are a lot of interesting places to run and immerse yourself in local history. If you’re looking for a challenge, Broad and Baxter have sizable hills. Of course, you can also bike in all of these places, which I will probably have to start doing now that I have ruined my car. Once, you know, I can afford a bike.

Music — Free shows happen all the time. Good thing I’ve got the handy dandy Flagpole calendar to check for them.

Aaaand I’ve gotta go to work, but I’ll be sure to add to this list. If you have any ideas, stick ’em in the comments. Peace!

Adventures No. 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, and 11: Really.

Hey!

I’m back. It has been a month since my last post, but I promise I’ve been doing things. I just haven’t had much time to write about them! Between moving into my first apartment (!!), finishing my internship, starting classes, and baking cookies, I’ve used every spare moment during which I could have blogged to…nap. Because as much as I love adventuring, writing, and the Internet, napping is my favorite hobby!

Anyway. I’mma share the last twoish weeks with you. Get ready!

Saturday, Aug. 10

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I don’t know this little boy.

Three Saturdays ago, I went to the Athens Farmers Market with Guy (previously known as Climber Guy). I adore farmers markets for their intimate quirkiness, relaxed old-timeyness, and well-priced organic produce. But they usually open on Saturday mornings, five hours after I get off work. So I say pretty much every Friday night that I will wake up early the next day and hit up Bishop Park, downtown Watkinsville, or Monroe for homegrown whatnots, but then I sleep until noon instead.

Not this time! Guy said he’d go with me, so I had some accountability. And I’m glad we went! We got there about half an hour before the market closed, so a lot of the booths  had scant selections left, but that’s alright because I was (am) broke anyway. I tried some of Mama Bird‘s granola and fawned over various jewelry and bags I couldn’t buy, promising myself I’d return once UGA finished taking all my money. Guy bought some goat cheese from a man whose name I no longer remember, as well as a pepper medley from 3 Porch Farm. The 3 Porch lady was really nice, throwing in some extra peppers just because. Some were delicious in a spicy rice dinner, and the rest lasted quite a while — Guy just cooked the last of them two nights ago.

We sampled Miche‘s meager leftovers, perused the booths for the third time, and left. Moving on!

Sunday, Aug. 11

I spend most of my time in compression leggings and cut-up T-shirts. Guy spends most of his time in hipster pants and bread-stained T-shirts. But sometimes, we dress like real people! On the eleventh of August, we donned our Sunday finest and had dinner at Last Resort Grill, which is apparently the real name of the restaurant colloquially known as the Last Resort. Our waitress was a spunky little woman with candy pink nail polish (to match her kindergartener’s) and colorful sleeve tattoos. She was really nice about my veganism, even checking with the cooks to see if my noodles had eggs in them, which I didn’t think to inquire about. So the dish I ordered — “El Campesino” — was quite different from the dish I received, but what I ate was delicious and didn’t evoke any images of Inquisition-era Spanish peasantry. Guy’s pecan-crusted trout with fancy peas n’ grits was, he says, pretty fantastic too.

The Last Resort, like most places downtown, has a pretty cool history. The first Last Resort opened in 1966 as a music club and hosted Towns Van Zandt, Steve Goodman, Jimmy Buffett, and lots of other well-known folks. It closed down in the ’80s (I think), then reopened in 1992 as a pretty-posh-but-still-quite-townie restaurant. I’m not really sure what the unifying theme of the menu is, except maybe toothsomeness. Okay, I just wanted to use the word “toothsome.”

My favorite part of the Last Resort is actually the mural outside. Maybe that’s because I’m usually too broke to go inside, so I just enjoy gazing at the giant parking lot vegetables. Sista Fran and I have taken many photos in front of those veggies. Like this one:

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Oh hey there, high school. This was before the mural got a paint job.

But as fun as it is to hug wall lettuce, it is even more fun to eat spicy pasta while wearing black lace and shiny heels. So that is what I did.

Friday, Aug. 16

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Midway through demolition.

I’ve really got to stop spending money on food. I complain all the time about how my clothes are wearing thin and my shoes are stained and holey, but almost all of my dates end in the bulk section of Kroger, and I eat out pretty frequently. For instance, right now I am eating a bagel at Jittery Joe’s after spending as much time waiting in line for it as I would have spent walking to my apartment for “free” lunch. And it isn’t even toasted.

But a coupla Fridays ago, I met up with the Variety Girls — some awesome ladies I met during my time at The Red & Black — at Big City Bread Cafe for a tasty dinner.

Big City Bread doesn’t get enough attention because it sits behind the Bottleworks, partially obscured by a tiny hill and all the cars parked on Finley Street by Grit customers afraid of being towed. The B-works restaurants have great food too, but BCB is the short sibling in the back row of the family reunion picture.

One thing I loved about BCB, once I finally noticed it and went in, is that it has a vegan cookie. Not a vegan fruit bar, not some creepy vegan vegetable bread, a vegan COOKIE. With chocolate. There is oatmeal in it, but it’s not a gross chewy oatmeal cookie containing two choco-chips. It’s a chocolate cookie with oatmeal in it. Basically.

Anyway. Obviously I love this cookie because I dedicated a whole paragraph to it. And honestly, The Cookie is the reason I suggested this particular restaurant for the Variety Girl meet-up. Which was a success, by the way! We chatted about internships and classes and other stuff I don’t remember because it was two weeks ago and joyfully consumed sandwiches, desserts, and coffee we had gladly spent our money on. Hashtag no regrets.

Monday, Aug. 19

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This photo is misleading because I took it like a while ago. It was actually dark and somewhat crowded during the show. I am just awkward about taking photos during performances. But I was totally sitting on that person’s barstool.

I first listened to Kenosha Kid freshman year, when I was Facebook stalking people with good music tastes. High School Drum Major Friend had “liked” a band with an alliterative name, and his knowledge of both bands and literary devices led me to believe that I too would enjoy the music of Kenosha Kid.

So I found Projector on Spotify and loved it! I was vaguely aware that Dan Nettles, the Kenosha Kid brainparent, was an Athenian involved in Nuçi’s Space (that’s how HSDMF knew him), but I had no idea until I wrote an article about Kenosha Kid’s Hendershot’s residency in March that the project was way more prolific than its Spotify presence indicates. See Bandcamp page here.

Anyway, I missed the March residency because of school and writing and sleep and whatnot, but I was at Hendershot’s for the umpteenth time this month when I saw a poster announcing a Kenosha Kid performance for the VERY NEXT DAY. I was very excited. I said to Guy, “Guy. I’m going to see Kenosha Kid tomorrow. Do you want to come? You don’t have to, but I am going either way. I think you will like them. I mean, maybe you won’t like them, but you probably will.” And then I started babbling about Dan Nettles and how I’d interviewed him and then gotten the scoop on Hendershot’s moving and how he’s such a great musician and blahblahblah, and Guy was just happy I wanted to do something that was free and wasn’t a trip to the grocery store.

So we saw Kenosha Kid (on Hendershot’s’s third birthday, by the way), and it was great! The band consisted on this night of Mr. Nettles, Robby Handley, and Marlon Patton. They were great. Just jammin’. I hadn’t seen a show at the new Hendershot’s yet, but my suspicions that the larger space would be great for live music were confirmed.

After spending so much time reviewing shows for The Red & Black last year, it was nice to listen to music without taking notes. I was tempted to write this segment like a music review, but I just don’t feel like it. Suffice it to say, Guy and I had a great time listening to great music. And then we went to Kroger.

Wednesday, Aug. 21

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The Red & Black still uses this photo. #legacy

Thrice a week, I have 80 minutes of down time between my two English classes. Ordinarily, I spend most of those asleep on the Park Hall Nap Couch, but on this particular Wednesday, I decided to go for a walk. To the Daily Groceries Co-Op! I trekked from campus to Prince Ave with Modest Mouse for company. I bought the vegan “V’egg Salad” sandwich, which was pretty tasty but not fantastic like the avocado-y goodness that is the “T.H.A.T.,” as well as some Bug Bites chocolates (I’ve decided to start collecting the tiny “look what species you are saving!” trading cards because they are pretty and make me feel like a superhero).

The Co-Op is neat because, well, it’s a co-op! (Read my article about it here.) It’s supported and run by owner-members, and it gets as much produce and whatnot from local farmers as possible. It’s full of whole and obscure health foods (mostly organic, though I don’t think that is a tenet) and is quite vegan-friendly (so many sandwiches!). I should probably become an owner-member one of these days because support local business and whatnot. In the meantime, I’ll keep buying chocolate, sandwiches, granola, and pears (I don’t even like pears that much, but Daily has the best pears!).

On a side note, Daily guilt-tripped me when I washed my hands in the bathroom because there is this note posted in there about how using more than one paper towel kills this many more trees each year, and you should be able to absorb all the water on your hands with one paper towel and not kill as many trees, and apparently there is a TED Talk about how to fold a paper towel in such a way as to use it as efficiently as possible, but I haven’t seen it yet, but apparently my man hands are no excuse for using two to three paper towels every time I wash my hands in a public restroom. Since that experience, I’ve freaked out a little every time I’ve used a paper towel. Actually, I’ve used my shirt several times…

Friday, Aug. 23 

the room

I obviously put forth a lot of effort in acquiring this image.

Have you seen the Tommy Wiseau film The Room? It’s kind of like my generation’s Rocky Horror Picture Show, except that it really is awful. And when you watch it in a tiny theater with 20 or so snarky college kids inserting dialogue, providing sound effects, making Full House references, and tossing a football between rows, it’s eye-wateringly hilarious.

The Variety Girls and I saw a late-night showing of this filmic wonderwork — the bearer of 1.5 Rotten Tomatoes stars — at Ciné last Friday. Only one of our number, we’ll call her Curls, knew what we were in for, but fortunately she brought enough plastic spoons for all of us to throw some. I’m incapable of doing the film justice in attempting to describe the experience I had watching it, but you should totally hit up Ciné (which, by the way, exceeded its Kickstarter goal!) the next time this movie comes to town.

Well, I guess that’s it, for now…

I actually turned down a few potential adventures last weekend because I was so behind on blogging and didn’t want to be responsible for even more writing. I know, I know, lame. But I really must hit up the Habitat ReStore soon, somewhat out of sartorial necessity, and Sista Fran and I haven’t given up on our busking plans. Now that I am all moved in and developing a routine (well, a nap routine, at the very least), I intend to post more regularly. Let’s hope I don’t end up sacrificing siesta time…

Adventures No. 4 and 5: Swimming in mud and sipping on grass

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I was complaining to a friend a few weeks ago about how I hadn’t gotten to swim in a river all summer, and she was like, “Why don’t you just swim in a pool?”

Uh. Well. I dunno. Maybe it’s the pleasant squishiness of mud underfoot, or the thrill of murky water. Is there a fish nearby? A snake? A confused shark?

For whatever reason, swimming in a dirty body of water is much more exciting than splashing around in four feet of chlorine to the sound of Bruno Mars on someone’s iPhone. But I hadn’t gone all summer because I didn’t want to go by myself (for safety reasons), and nobody was able and willing to go with me when I could go.

Until yesterday! Climber Guy and I headed to the Botans (pretentious college kid speak for the State Botanical Garden of Georgia) and swam in the Middle Oconee River. After trekking through slimy, ankle-deep mud (staining the new white shorts I foolishly wore), we jumped off a big rock and into water that was much deeper than last year.

You know how when you get into the pool, it’s this agonizing process during which you try to acclimate first your ankles, then your knees, then your hipsthenyourstomachthenyourchestthenfinallyyourhead to the frigid torture of standing in a giant basin of cold water? Well, you can’t do that at the Botans! You have to jump right in, unless you want to try to navigate your way off the bank through icky mud, jagged rocks, and decaying foliage, potentially disturbing snakes and other wildlife. I was so excited to be in the river again that I didn’t even think about temperature until I swam toward the other bank, stood up, and realized I was shivering. It was totally worth it though!

Climber Guy tried the flimsy red rope someone had tied to a tree on one bank, but it wasn’t very well placed considering all the vegetation you’d have to trample to put much momentum into your swing. I decided just entering the water, which was essentially diluted mud, was enough excitement for me.

I’m glad the drought is over, but not drifting away with the current was a greater challenge in this deeper water than I remembered. At least we could hold onto the rope swing for support.

I’m not the best swimmer, and I’m terribly uncoordinated. On the way back to the bank, I ended up drifting to the wrong side of the big rock with no way to climb up. Climber Guy graciously pulled me up (I had to put my feet in the icky mud — yeek), and I decided I had been wise not to try going alone.

I have been missing out! I can’t wait to drag more people out to the water once their summer classes end — there aren’t many better ways for broke college kids to spend a sunny day in Athens.

ImageI’m not the best surreptitious iPhone-photo-taker, so these aren’t the best shots.

OK, so that was yesterday. Right now, I am sitting in Hendershot’s Coffee Bar, which reopened in its new Bottleworks location a few weeks ago. Seth Hendershot had to move away from Oglethorpe Avenue after a disagreement with the Transmetropolitan owners about the leasing agreement a few months back (I broke the story!), but the new place looks awesome. It’s really different from the former space, but not in a bad way at all. It still has quirky furniture, cool art, and those nifty white hanging lanterns. There is a lot more space here, which is great for seating reasons and because it means shows won’t feel as crowded (or maybe they will just have more attendance). The stage looks pretty much the same as the last one, with the Hendershot’s sign in the same place, which is a nice touch of familiarity.

ImageThe view from my armchair. Notice the awesome lanterns and the brick oven.

Anyway, I met Most Interesting Friend here for coffee (which means tea) this morning. We sat outside because it was really quiet and studious inside, but now there seem to be more people chatting. I had lemongrass ginger tea because they were out of the lavender rooibos, but that’s okay because the beverages on coffee dates are really just an excuse to hang out. Still, I want to try the lavender stuff the next time I come.

After Friend left to chicken-sit and study for the GRE, I decided to stay inside and work on an article I’m writing for Flagpole. Then I decided to write this blog post first, but it took a little longer than I expected. And now I have to get on with my day! Oops — guess I’ll be writing at work tonight.

Up Next: Sista Fran is back from Peru! I am working until 2:30 tonight and tomorrow, but maybe we can make music happen downtown Monday, when I get off at midnightish.

Adventure No. 3: Perusing a not-sketchy-after-all ceramics studio

IMG_2459I’ve probably passed this sign 5,469,02,395 times on the way to the Loop.

I mean not really, but a lot of times. And I’ve thought, “I must go there!” just about every one of them. At first, I thought it was either the remains of a long-defunct studio — how could such a place thrive off Oconee Street and not be loudly loved by all? — or the work of some semi-sane person attempting to lure visitors into his living room with a pottery wheel and some lumpy coffee mugs. I kept making a mental note to google it when I got home, but I always forgot the name on the sign by the time my laptop screen was up.

But Tuesday, I remembered! I looked it up and found out that R. Wood Studio Ceramics is indeed a legit operation. In fact, Athens is just its home base — since Rebecca Wood set up shop in an empty produce warehouse in 1991, her operation has expanded into a national business. She and her team of eight artists make beautiful dishes (and other things) out of North Carolina red clay and distribute them to stores in 23 states. Thus, Georgia Drive is home to one of the largest pottery studios in the U.S.! Who woulda thought?

IMG_2455Rebecca wasn’t in when I showed up today, but a friendly glaze artist (I don’t know if that is the proper term) gave me the low-down on the warehouse. About 2/3 of it is workshop space, but the rest contains lovely terracotta pottery that you can buy. I was thrilled with the colorful nature-inspired pieces, which ranged from flower-shaped too-small-to-hold-anything-but-maybe-three-beans bowls to leaf-shaped sushi plates. There were at least five kinds of coffee mugs and tea cups, and the  pretty ceramic magnets were actually in my price range. Bakeware, flatware, vases, wall art…it all made me excited to one day be a real adult and fill my grown-up kitchen with local, handmade, one-of-a-kind character.

I’m glad I finally found this hidden treasure. I will definitely go back soon, this time with a little money in hand.

Up Next: Sista Fran gets back from Peru on Wednesday, I think. Once she’s recovered from the journey, it’s BUSKIN’ TIME!

Adventure No. 2: In which I ramble on about hookah and cupcakes

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I promise this isn’t one of those one-post blogs that inhabit the Internet as monuments to their authors’ failure at time management and creativity.

I’ve just been busy and out of town a lot. Sista Fran and I haven’t been able to coordinate schedules for our busking adventure, and I always forget about the potentially-sketch ceramics studio (because that’s what it actually is) until I pass it at 1 a.m. on the way home from work.

I did, however, have a series of mini-adventures yesterday. I met Most Interesting Friend, who just returned from a year in Switzerland, for coffee (OK, cupcake) at Jittery Joe’s downtown. (I cannot express to you the intensity of my love for Jittery Joe’s, but I’ll post about that at another time.)

After chatting inside, then chatting outside at one of those little black tables, we decided to walk  around because why stay seated once you’ve finished your dessert.

First we went to Junkman’s Daughter’s Brother and looked at all the bizarre stuff in there. Marie Antoinette action figures, squirrel underpants (that is, underpants for giant squirrels, I think), bacon-flavored everything…there is something for every quirk. I made a mental note to return for coffee cups before Christmas. As always, I got instinctively nervous walking past the beaded curtains because I got kicked out in the sixth grade for running through them with Sista Fran and Bad Influence Friend and taking a photo with the Napoleon Dynamite cutout.

I always feel nervous exploring Junkman’s (which is what most people call it, probably because no one ever remembers whether Junkman is a father or an uncle) because I never know when I’ll suddenly be confronted with items my mother would deem inappropriate. One moment, I’m holding a kitty cat mug that turns into a pile-of-kitty-cats mug when filled with hot liquid — aww. The next, I’m looking at something unexpectedly phallic.

Still, Junkman’s is more than sexy lederhosen costumes and Godzilla statuary. It’s got a ton of great jewelry, clothes, even some beautiful hand-carved boxes from India that I totally would have bought had I not just spent 25% of my cash for the week on a vegan chocolate cupcake with peppermint chocolate icing MMMM. There are nifty posters, snarky bumper stickers, and a whole section of gay rights paraphernalia. And toward the back, there’s a section of hookah stuff.

I’ve never smoked anything, and I probably never will, but Most Interesting Friend has spent time in Turkey (because he is so interesting), where hookah use is pretty commonplace because history. (Turkey actually banned public hookah use earlier this year, but Friend got to experience a five-foot water pipe at some cafe before then.)

Anyway, Friend was perusing some of the hubbly bubbly whatnots, and the counter lady directed us to The Hookah Hook Up at the other end of Clayton Street.

So we went to The Hookah Hook Up! I’ve passed it many times and always been intrigued but too intimidated to go in. But this time, I did! (Similarly, it took me a few years to enter the Lay-Z Shopper, and I first did that when Most Interesting Friend wanted to buy a cigar. It was a good but somewhat anticlimactic experience.)

I’d never been ID’ed upon entering a store before. But the chill guy at the counter had to verify that we were over 18, since that’s when you start being responsible for your own lungs.

And my lungs were pleased! Well, my nose was. The whole place smelled like fruity air freshener, but in a good way, not in a nursing home way. Maybe that’s because of the shisha (which I just learned is the proper term for flavored tobacco), or maybe it was the gazillion candles for sale that are, I think, meant to make your space stop smelling like you just smoked something. But you might as well just smoke something good-smelling…

Anyway. The hookahs were beautiful. A few were kind of out there — who wants a dragon in their living room (or wherever you keep a hookah)? — but to each his own. They were also expensive, which I suppose makes sense because they are fancy blown glass that you can do stuff with. Actually, now that I think about the construction of water pipes, they could probably cost a lot more just because of all the work that goes into them. If people pay $200 for fancy vases (come on, I’m sure some people do), I’d expect them to pay a lot more for one of these colorful contraptions.

I wonder how many people smoke hookah in Athens, and how many of them require high-quality pipes for their diversion. There must be a lot for such specialized businesses as Hookah Hook Up and the Smoker’s Den (which I think actually has a hookah bar, though I haven’t checked that place out yet) to stay in business.

Anyway, we looked around at all the hookah stuff, and then we left. We perused Masada, Friend looking forward to the day he can afford a fancy leather bag with his degrees (international relations and human resources or something lucrative like that), me lamenting my lack of Chacos and bleak financial future. Then he had to go to his brother’s lacrosse game, and I had to climb some rocks. And thus, our adventure came to an end.

Up Next: I just googled this ceramics place, and it doesn’t look sketch at all. I’ve got to go! Sista Fran is in Peru for a week or so, but we mustmustmust hit a street corner with mando and uke once she is back.

Photo cred to Project Gutenberg via Wikimedia Commons