Underground Nostalgia

A post card from the past…

I remember visiting Underground Atlanta as a child, when my Dad and I would drive down to see my Mom while she was there on business. It was the early 1970s, right after the whole area had been “rediscovered”, and it was still rather a dark, adult-themed restaurant and entertainment center…

It was great in a sort of late 1960s nostalgia-obsessed sort of way which allowed it still to seem just a little seedy on some level despite being brand new on another. I remember there being a lot of that when I was a kid; it’s as if the whole country suddenly became enthralled with the turn of the century. This was the era of Farrell’s Ice Cream Parlors and Victoria Station Restaurants. Supermarkets sprouted faux gas lamps, red flocked wallpaper was suddenly hot again, and every restaurant looked a little like a Victorian San Francisco whorehouse…

Anyway, the old incarnation of Underground Atlanta was too cool to last. By 1980, the area was apparently pretty scary, and MARTA construction didn’t help, but a “new” Underground Atlanta rose (sank?) in 1989. Unfortunately, it wasn’t the same. I was horrified when I visited shortly after the renaissance; it was nothing but a big, bright, cheerful mall with a giant Coke bottle at its entrance…

Alas, it had fallen victim to that too common American tendency to take anything cool and interesting and turn it into a “family friendly” theme park version of its former self, eliminating pretty much any of the characteristics — and characters — which made it appealing in the first place. The “new and improved” Times Square is a prime example, although San Francisco is an even better one, since the transformation has happened almost citywide there…

I hope the rebirth of New Orleans doesn’t follow a similar pattern. I’m about 95% certain, though, that it will. It’s amazing the damage that an army of planners and developers armed with millions of tax dollars can do…

12 October 2005

This has a certain appeal:

Smurfette is left for dead. Baby Smurf is left crying and orphaned as the Smurf’s village is carpet bombed by warplanes — a horrific scene and imagery not normally associated with the lovable blue-skinned cartoon characters.

Puts me in mind of the first art exhibit I ever attended in college. It was entitled “101 Uses for a Dead Smurf” or something to that effect. All in all, I think it still rates as the BEST art exhibit I’ve ever attended…

It’s only been 36 hours and I already miss my hubby. But I AM happy that a reader has provided me with the information I sought yesterday. Thanks Jon (a much nicer Jon, I might add, than the one who emailed this bit of this bit of bilge to M. Sturtle…

The font is Advertisers Gothic, by the way…

10 October 2005 Later

Wow. My hometown just lost its primary industry. That’s a blow it wasn’t really prepared to take right now, I fear…

Unrelated: do any of you typography nerds (and I know there are a couple of you out there) have any idea what the font pictured above might be?

Randomly Wednesday

Random thoughts for a Wednesday afternoon:

  • I brought my mom into the 21st century this past weekend by upgrading her original Bondi Blue iMac to from OS 8.5 to OS X. While the whole transition was a little hard on me, since I couldn’t swear too much while doing the install, it seems to have made things much more pleasant for her. She’s not really what you’d call an intensive user — she pretty much checks email, gets stock quotes online, and does the occasional bit of word processing — so the interface change isn’t causing her much grief. She just thinks it’s prettier…
  • A little identity theft is an annoying thing. We’ve just determined that someone has been charging her Sprint phone to our checking account. Actually, it’s not such a big deal, as we’ve already closed the account and will be filing a police report shortly just for the record. In fact, Bank of America’s lack of any discernible customer service has made it an even easier call for us to move our money to a local credit union, so maybe there’s even a good side to it all…
  • Why is EVERYTHING so much more convenient here than in The City of Doom™? It’s even easier to get a doctor’s appointment here; there’s none of that “six to eight weeks for a new patient appointment” bullshit you seen in SF.
  • Is it just a coincidence that during the very year Mark and I moved here from California (where such things are commonplace), Charlotte experienced one of its hottest, driest summers ever AND suddenly began having some of the highest gas prices in the country? Just curious…

Trains

It’s not really unusual for me to hear the occasional train whistle here, although it’s also not really a daily occurence. But this morning, I’ve been hearing them almost contsantly for the past hour or so. Either it’s the world’s longest train or there’s a major railroad traffic jam in downtown Matthews…

Pizza Night

I’m happy to report that I’ve found my new favorite pizza place in Charlotte. The hands down winner is Mellow Mushroom, which is a small regional chain based in Atlanta. The pizza is quite good, but I’d still go there even if it tasted like baked cereal boxes topped with shredded newspapers. Whycome? Because of the salads. They’re absolutely amazing. As the hubby said last night, “They must top them with opium or something”…

Me like. Thanks to Joseph for pointing this one out…

And on the subjesct of food, remind me never again to make the near-fatal mistake of visiting a Shoney’s breakfast buffet on a Sunday morning. Blecch. Nothing like clawing your way through a long line of ill-mannered rugrats only to wind up with a half-empty plate of severely nasty food. God, what was I thinking?

A Few Overdue Photos

One month ago: Visit from Dan, which ended in dinner at Gus’ Sir Beef

Two weeks ago: Visit from Duncan, which ended in dinner at the K&W

Ten days ago: Visit from Rick, which also ended in dinner at the K&W, but it was cooler ‘cuz it was the one in Wilmington. As an aside, Rick also received the honor of being the first overnight guest in our new abode…

And yes, I now rate all my friends based on where they agree to eat with me…