Category Georgia

This didn’t deserve its own post: Atlanta, oh nah nah

When I take a trip somewhere, if I don’t do a day-by-day recounting, there’s usually a bunch of tidbits left over that I either couldn’t write more than a few sentences about or don’t have any photos for or would drag out the series far beyond what any human could be expected to tolerate.  All combined, however, they make for something a little more substantial, so here’s yet another one, this time about Atlanta.

We walked Walter in his stroller to Venkman’s to grab a light brunch and make an art deal

R. Land

This feels like a trap. Is it just me?

Hodgepodge Coffee

Other than the joy of slapping my peepers on a real life whale shark, I did not really enjoy my time at the Georgia aquarium. The bloodcurdling screams to lookin’ at stuff ratio was suboptimal, and surprisingly, my dolphin show experience wasn’t enhanced by being kicked in the back constantly. 

Dooley, Spirit of Emory, Lady of Misrule, and officially my favorite college mascot.

Before going to the Atlanta Botanical Garden, we fueled up at Sublime Doughnuts. Clockwise from upper left: Sweet potato cake, salt & vinegar, fresh strawberry & cream, I do not remember this donut at all, chocolate banana fritter. I’m not usually a fan of the cake donut, but the sweet potato cake was the standout of the bunch, moist and spiced with a swirl of cream cheese frosting. It’s full on cake for breakfast but I’m not complaining. 

I have no photos of the most fabulous meal I had in Atlanta, at Atlas in the upscale Buckhead neighborhood. Atlas is located in the St. Regis Hotel, with Christopher Grossman as their Executive Chef. It’s a swanky place, beautifully decorated, with art by masters on the walls, and it’s precisely the sort of place that I feel intimidated pulling out my camera to photograph the interior or my meal, because I guess I feel like I can either maintain the shabby illusion that I am the sort of person who eats in nice restaurants all the time OR I can photograph my meal from three angles but not both. I did the mental math and since I’ve really leaned into Seattle Casual™ the last few years in terms of my ill-fitting regular wardrobe, I landed on “I’m just lucky they let me inside” and left my phone in my purse.

But the food there. THE FOOD. I ate two entrees that evening. Every bite of both. I’m not ashamed. I would be ashamed to leave even a scrap of something that life-alteringly delicious behind. It’s like all of the picky, halfhearted eating I’d done over the few days prior all served to prepare me for this one beautiful meal. I’d never eaten softshell crab before I ate it at Atlas and now if I was to order it somewhere else, Atlas would be the sole point of comparison which isn’t fair to anyone involved, including the crab. My other entree, Atlas’ famous wagyu burger, was breathtaking. It’s a classic American cheeseburger with every component done to its zenith: fresh ground wagyu, cooked medium rare on a brioche bun with house ketchup, American cheese, sliced pickles, and pickled ramp thousand island dressing, with a side of perfectly crispy fries.  It is “treat yo self” expensive (for a burger) but for a meal at a AAA four diamond restaurant, it’s damn reasonable. 

Afterward, we went to a bar in east Atlanta (na na na) at the peak of Havana oversaturation and played it on the jukebox and laughed and laughed.



And that’s it for Atlanta! All the stuff I didn’t talk about really didn’t deserve its own post. 

Spotted on the Roadside: AutoEater

Autoeater is 16 tons of Italian marble encasing a Fiat Panda and resembles nothing so much as a car being devoured by a giant condom. Or a really emaciated sandworm eating the only Fiat on Arrakis. The minor controversy over what it resembles reminds me of another piece of public art I blogged about in 2014.

Spotted on 10th st NE in Atlanta, GA

Photo post: Cabbagetown in Atlanta, GA




All the amazing art in Cabbagetown is made possible through an annual summer event, Forward, Warrior!, which brings Atlanta’s community of artists together for a mural painting exhibition. The paint is donated by the community, and the artists donate their time and talent. Everyone’s murals are completed within a 48 hour period. Super cool, right?

Photo post: Krog Tunnel in Atlanta, GA

The Krog tunnel is ever-evolving. Check out The Daily Krog for all their awesome documentation. If you want the full experience, you should turn your speakers on and blast the sound of a bunch of car horns, especially if you can set it up so they reverberate through the room. 

Atlanta: In and Around The King Center

We started our morning off at FolkArt Restaurant, where I had a truly beautiful sweet potato waffle topped with fried chicken and a whiskey peach compote. Between the heat, the time change, and the drinks the night before, I didn’t feel much like eating and I’m afraid they thought I didn’t like my meal because I ate so few bites. I loved it, and I was angry with my body for not wanting it. The waffle was so tender and flavorful, the chicken was perfectly crisp and greasy in the good way, and the peaches were everything you’d hope for from a Georgia peach, wrapped in a blanket of boozy spice. They were stunning together. And my stomach was jumping around in a way that told me that it was a foolish game to try and eat more than three bites. But those three bites…*kisses fingertips*

After breakfast, we went to The Martin Luther King, Jr. Center for Nonviolent Social Change and got tickets for the afternoon guided tour of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s birth home. It was a powerful experience that I’ve been finding extraordinarily difficult to write about, having realized that my education with regards to Dr. King has been subpar to say the least and I’m not going to turn around and pretend I’m qualified to educate others. The King Center was established by Mrs. Coretta Scott King after her husband’s assassination in 1968 to be “no dead monument, but a living memorial filled with all the vitality that was his, a center of human endeavor, committed to the causes for which he lived and died.” The King Center in its present structure (completed in 1982) remains alive and vital. Roses clamber upward, showcasing children’s poems about race and peace. The water around the tombs of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. and Mrs. Coretta Scott King flows. A flame burns eternal, dancing and alive. Inside The King Center, displays invite you in close to interact, to think, to reflect, to take action when you see injustice.

MLK Jr World Peace Rose Garden

The birth home of Dr. King

The Victorian childhood home of Dr. King was recently sold to and is now run by the National Parks Service, and they offer free guided tours every thirty minutes, with groups limited to fifteen people in size. If you want to visit,  get there early to get your tickets or prepare to be disappointed. I cannot emphasize enough how relatively few people get to go inside this home every day. If there’s a tour every thirty minutes, eight hours a day, that’s 240 people maximum. By contrast, The King Center receives 650,000 visitors annually. They’re open 361 days a year, which means that on average there are some 1,800 visitors per day and only some thirteen percent of them will get to tour the home. And visiting the home has real gravitas–to stand where this civil rights leader spent his formative years, to see where his family shared their meals and lived the moments that made up their lives together, all with a knowledgeable guide.  

After the tour of Dr. King’s childhood home concluded, we walked south toward Decatur Street and took in some murals. 

Patch Whisky

I was so excited to finally see a Nychos in person!


It’s like his eyes follow me around no matter where I move and also I’m going blind.

Caroline Caldwell

Paper Frank

This was all in a few blocks! After walking around, we grabbed lunch at Harold’s Chicken & Ice Bar so I could have my second fried chicken meal of the day and to discuss our plans for the rest of the trip. I was hot and sweaty enough at the time that I half hoped that this would be one of those situations where the bar, your glass, and your chair are all made of ice. Sadly, this was not the case, and it was on the hard, unforgiving plastic chairs of Harold’s that I learned that my sweatiness was not something I was experiencing just for me, but was, in fact, a gift I was sharing with others, as when I stood up, a horrible, steamy ass print remained behind for all to see. Later, I would take to slowly sliding my butt off of whatever seat I had been resting upon so as to sort of…smear the evidence away, but I was so horrified by this first occurrence that I just kind of tossed a napkin on it and fled lest someone see the basket of partially-eaten food and that distinctive shape in the chair and deduce that they were in the presence of a hungry ghost with a hot crotch.  (It’s probably this kind of top quality content that got me flagged by some workplace filters a while back, but am I going to stop talking about butts? No. No I am not.) 

After lunch, we headed over to the Little Five Points neighborhood to get some coffee at Aurora Coffee, do some shopping at Junkman’s Daughter, and check out more art.  Junkman’s Daughter doesn’t allow photos inside so I’ll do my best to describe it in words. Imagine a thrift store vibe but with new stuff–tightly packed racks of clothes, wide selection of merchandise all looming and touching and intermingling with a 50s raver steampunk stoner costumes-are-for-everyday-wear pop culture local art aesthetic. And then add in a second floor just for loud shoes and a smoke shop in the back. Junkman’s Daughter is so much. I love it. I bought way too much stuff there, including a framed art print of an alien with a ridiculously juicy booty playing with cats. I’ve hung it next to my desk. But there I go again, talking about butts.

There’s a mural by Ren & Stimpy creator John Kricfalusi between these two on the back of the building, but his work is as dead to me as he is

Atlanta Botanical Garden: Imaginary Worlds

Pachystachys lutea, the golden shrimp plant

Wasabi coleus

Northern Brown Snake, a non-danger noodle

I’m just going to go ahead and assume that there’s a Chihuly present at every major attraction, and it’s my job to find it. Not because I want to document them, merely so I can say “found it!” in a flippant way. 


Sarracenia Leucophylla ‘Tarnok’, a variety of pitcher plant. This plant was named after its discoverer and propagator, Coleman Tarnok, in Baldwin county, Alabama. He gave a specimen to the Atlanta Botanical Garden, where they have cultivated it ever since. 

Dendrobates tinctorius, a poison dart frog

I don’t know what this plant is called but so help me god if it is not named cobra something or another I am going to give SUCH a head shaking.

Venus Flytrap, stealth murderer

Maneus Magnificus, the most glam rock of all known Pegasii

The Atlanta Botanical Garden is the most delightful garden I’ve ever had the pleasure of visiting. I was fortunate enough to go during their “Imaginary Worlds” 2018 exhibit, where creatures real and fantastical were rendered in living plants on a giant scale. The scent, the colors, the textures juxtaposed…it was impossibly lush and thrumming with life. I spent hours bugstalking and marveling at the minute details of the plants, so much so that one of the employees in the Fuqua Orchid Center exclaimed she was surprised I was still in there. Lady, I’d set up a camp and spend the night if I didn’t think there was a possibility that I’d trip over a snapping turtle in the dark.

Atlanta: Popsicles, pupsicles, and Sir Walter of Old 4th Ward

In July, I went to Atlanta to visit Carrie. Of course I was most excited to have hang time with her, but I was second most excited to meet and have hang time with Walter, her french bulldog puppy (@sirwalterofold4thward on insta). This little wrinkled sweet potato stole my heart immediately, along with the hearts of everyone we met, everywhere we went. Walter’s first thought is about whether or not he can eat whatever happens to be in front of him, his second thought is about whipping off into the forbidden bushes where dogs rule and humans’ stubby arms lack the power to stop playtime, but his third thought is pure loveback to food, probably. But among his other interests, he’s willing to accept love from anyone. Although he would probably prefer if you give your love in the form of an edible gift. 

We immediately popped Walter in his skulls & roses shirt (because he was due to outgrow it in about five minutes) and walked to Barcelona to get drinks and tapas. I didn’t take any photos at lunch, but the plate of chorizo with sweet & sour figs and balsamic vinegar was outstanding. Each fig was a bomb of rich, sweet, spicy, salty, tangy flavor. This is the sort of small plate that I really love with a crisp cocktail, and Barcelona didn’t disappoint there, either. 

On our walk back, we stopped at King of Pops to make an agonizing choice between their extensive flavor selection, and to buy a ‘lil King of Pups for Walter, made with bananas, yogurt, peanut butter, and honey. From the way he scarfed it, it was clear that he was in no way ambivalent about the flavor: Walter was all in. I got the raspberry rosewater flavor and it was super refreshing in the hot dishwasher air that is Atlanta in July. 

Northern White, by David Landis 2012

Carrie’s place was just a short walk back up the beltline, and I took the opportunity to check out what had been sprayed on and around the pillars nearby. 

One of many tiny doors sprinkled throughout Atlanta.

BBQ Becky strikes again!

Later we met a few of Carrie’s friends at Bantam Pub. The night was still sweltering somehow and the air conditioning in the pub was broken, so most people chose to sprawl out into the extensive cement and grass patio area, drinking beer from cans dripping with condensation, making the vibe very “chill lawn party”.  From there we hired a ride to The Euclid Avenue Yacht Club, which is exactly the level of permadim it takes to order the fried-to-order bbq seasoned pork rork rinds without having to make eye contact with anyone. They are served still crackling from the fryer and they are leagues beyond any grocery store pork rind experience I’d ever had. Plus, they have built-in portion control: after two, your teeth are so full of them that they automatically lock together. 


Even though I’ve been talking about it for months, when my plane finally landed in Atlanta, I had a hard time believing I was actually there. The absolute newness of it all was exhilarating, and when the booze wasn’t present, meeting my friends in person for the first time was intoxicating. It became all too real, however, when I called BOTH Hilton hotels in Atlanta, and neither one of them claimed to have a reservation in demonlet‘s name. If some undue stress and worry doesn’t occur, obviously it’s a trip happening to some person other than me. A subway ride and a few phone calls later, I found myself at the check-in counter of the correct Hilton, at which the smiling employee claimed to be perfectly happy to check me in, for the sum of (raises pinky)…one MILLION DOLLARS. I could almost FEEL Paris hovering over a rack of diamond-studded panties as said smiling employee eagerly reached out for my card. Not having a limit of anywhere NEAR what they wanted from me, I decided to wait until demonlet arrived until I checked in. Paris was mildly disappointed until she remembered that she doesn’t wear underwear, anyway.

While I waited for demonlet to arrive, I hung out with stationary_jew, and helped him, benma and a bunch of other Memphibians to set up their Dark Con table, a larp game that they played for pretty much the entire length of the con. Shortly thereafter, mastergode arrived, with his friends keebler138 and cagexxx. I’ve been talking to mastergode for some three-odd years now, starting with a few chance games of Gunbound. He’s actually the person who convinced me to start a livejournal, so for anyone who’s ever gotten any entertainment whatsoever from my blogging here, he’s the one you should thank. After we’d made our introductions, demonlet called to say she was there, more introductions were made, and thus began the saga of the best_roommates_ever. I couldn’t have asked for more fun people to share a room with.

On Friday morning, the con began in earnest, and we began wandering around, attending various panels, taking pictures of horrendous costumes, and weathering the muggy Atlanta air as best we could. First note: Out of the approximately 23487 people who insisted “COME TO DRAGON*CON, MELLZAH!!!!1one~”, not one of them bothered to elaborate with “You should bring a costume to the convention, because, frankly, you will be the one who looks out of place for dressing NORMALLY.”

Austin surprised me by having a freak magnet that nearly paralleled my own, as I soon discovered when he attracted this girl who believes herself to be a cat, and therefore pierced her face so the world could see her ‘whiskers’.


That day, Austin and Jordan filled me in on some of their in-jokes, one of which is after the end of a bad joke, or a drama-filled situation, or pretty much any time, really, they insert a bit from the “Duel of Fates” — the “Dun dun dununun!” bit. This was something that I latched onto immediately, and soon most things we said were punctuated with ‘DUN dun dununun!’ It continued throughout the weekend, and at the end, Annie went to Ray Park’s signing table and had him autograph a photo for Jordan with…well…just take a look.


When we showed it to Austin, he nearly died laughing. Austin naturally has a boisterous laugh, and this autographed photo took it to the next level. We were all shouting and crying with laughter…right outside some poor nerd’s door with a ‘do not disturb’ sign on it. That’s what he gets for playing D&D all night long. At five on Friday, we went to see Voltaire’s first show. He played for about half an hour, and it was apparently during this time that dslartoo spotted me, though he didn’t introduce himself because I was surrounded by other people, and he didn’t want to be rude. Note to Phil: Next time, introduce yourself. I don’t consider it to be rude at all. 🙂 After Voltaire, I took a picture of what I consider to be one of the best costumes at the con–namely because I found out afterwards that this kid INSISTED on being Ash.


The mini chainsaw worked. If I could have an awesome child like miniature Ash, here, I’d actually consider having one. Friday night, we were invited to a party with an open bar sponsored by Van Gogh vodka. Hello free premium booze! And lo, we drank. And lo, we became drunk. And lo, I did my first shot out of a woman’s cleavage. Shortly thereafter, Austin followed suit.



We ended up leaving the party to go to Voltaire’s midnight show, and who did we run smack into in the hallway but Kevin Sorbo? Trashed, I demanded (and received) a photograph with him.


I ended up bumping into him so many times at the con, I lost count, and I’m sure he must have thought I was stalking him. Only once did I have the presence of mind to clap and jump, ala the Nutty Professor, and proclaim loudly “HERCULES!HERCULES!HERCULES!”. I think, at that moment, Kevin Sorbo died a little inside. I was surprised, but I wasn’t passing up the chance. All that matters is that I was satisfied.

Voltaire put on a great show, and afterwards, when he came out to chat with Austin, he calmly walked over to me and licked my eyebrows. Yes. Licked my eyebrows. I think Laris said it best when she wrote (I’m paraphrasing, here) that I seem to be a lightning rod for insanity. Oh, but the craziness was just beginning, friends.

On Saturday night, we went to a Klingon party. Now, there is really only one reason to go to a Klingon party, and that is to make fun of Klingons. Well, that, and Free Booze. So…two reasons. The first thing we noticed when we walked in was that it was, once again, a party with an open bar. The second thing was that no one besides us was under the age of 40, and that was being kind. Being the refined sort of smartass that I am, I walked in, got a drink, and immediately asked loudly if anyone there spoke Klingon. A guy shuffled over, and began talking to me, stuttering so badly, I thought perhaps he was having a stroke. My first thought: Why would anyone who has so much trouble with their native language decide “Hey, I think I’d like to learn a second language, perhaps one that people will find even more socially debilitating?” My second thought: “Holy shit, he doesn’t stutter when he speaks Klingon!”. Well, apparently, one of the great warrior Klingons perceived that I was not overall as interested in learning about Klingon as I claimed to be, and pronounced me to be what I can only presume to be a ‘dirty bitch’ in Klingon. They turned the tables on me! How could this have happened? Meanwhile, the stuttery Klingon was still going on and on about how he learned the language, and the various trek figures he’d spoken it with and I just kept smiling and nodding and making various interested noises. Jordan later said that I have my “I’m interested in what it is you’re saying” face mask so well composed that he had a difficult time telling whether I was enjoying myself, or hoping for someone to step in and make an excuse to get us out of there. I should really take the advice of my Animal Crossing bretheren more seriously: “Next time you find you’re stuck talking to someone, yell “Leave me alone!” and take out your net.” Luckily, Jordan guessed right, and we disappeared off into the night… Only to run into my ‘friend’ Satyr. I’d gone through the art room earlier that day, and paused at his table for a few seconds. He looked up and greeted me, and then I felt like I had to look a while longer or risk being considered rude. He mentioned that he had recently done artwork for Blizzard, and I mentioned that I had a serious bone to pick with Blizzard. He then said that if I bought some of his art, he’d be my boyfriend. HAR HAR. I am not yet so desperate I need to purchase human affection, mmkay? I backed away from the table slowly and had forgotten all about it until he ran down the hallway of the Marriott towards me shouting “MELISSA!!!” OK. I will admit I was a little flattered that he remembered me. Then he started laying on the compliments so thickly that I knew something was wrong. Annnnnnnnd there it was. “Yeah, so I’m married with a kid, but it’s an open relationship, and you’re so cute…” OH THRILLING. I WOULD LOVE TO HAVE SOME RANDY ART DUDE’S LEFTOVERS, YES PLEASE, BECAUSE CTHULHU OBVIOUSLY THINKS I DIDN’T LEARN MY LESSON THE FIRST TIME, you know, the time I dated the guy who penciled for Marvel and neglected to mention that he had another girlfriend the entire time and then tried to blackmail me. This is not happening for a number of reasons, dude. But he WAS supposed to be having a good party, and Jordan, Annie, and I were having a hard time finding a decent party to go to, so I decided to withstand his attentions in the hopes of future Absinthe. Do not count your sugar before it is burned, friends. We didn’t end up going to this party, and now some dude who calls himself Satyr has my phone number. Why, oh why? It is sort of like if one of the Hilton sisters was to almost choke on some thousand-dollar-an-ounce caviar–it’s potentially tragic…but not really.

One morning I woke up, and the Batmobile was outside my window. I called for Batman to carry me away, but I suppose shouts don’t carry well from the 19th floor. 000ekhc1

That same day, I met the man I am destined to marry.


Who dares to say that it isn’t meant to be? In the dealer’s hall, I paid fifty cents to see…..THE STRANGE THING. I have an awesome camera that easily allows me to take photographs from waist level, so without further ado, I present to you…THE STRANGE THING.

000ezy5c Right next to the booth with THE STRANGE THING, there was a booth with the world’s sweetest drag queen, who happened to be dressed as Ed Wood from ‘Glen or Glenda’. He said I was the only person who recognized what he was supposed to be, we ‘squeed’ a bit about the inspired genius of Ed Wood, Annie took my picture with him, and that was that. One of the big highlights of my weekend was meeting Peter S. Beagle, author of The Last Unicorn. Although I don’t write as often or as well as I should, and I even more rarely write fiction, he has been a huge inspiration for me, and one of my lifelong heroes. To say I almost proposed to him on the spot would be only the barest of exaggerations.


Thoroughout the course of the con, I hung out with a lot of people I know from Livejournal, everyone I’ve noted above, in addition to storm_dancer, dayoff, and drspooky–plus quite a few people who said they had livejournals and I should add them but I was in too much of a drunken haze to remember their names. Perhaps they will find me. Everyone was beyond awesome, much more than I ever could’ve hoped for. I’m sorry I didn’t get to spend as much time with some of you as I would have liked, and hopefully that can be remedied at some future time. As of Sunday morning, I was having so much fun that I thought about and actually attempted to change my flight to Monday, but the exponential rise in costs killed it; not to mention that another night of drinking heavily would’ve probably killed me, as my drunk stomach loudly proclaimed. Drunk stomach or no, Annie and I managed to charm Kavan Smith of Stargate/Battlestar Galactica fame so much that he forgot to press an elevator button and subsequently missed his floor. Would I have minded bringing him home? Absolutely not. So, in preparation for leaving, and in anger that once again, Homeland Security had been rooting through my bag and had broken something (this time, a gift for a friend), I wrote the TSA a note. Dear TSA: You have physically inspected my bag on my last 7/7 flights. I have had items broken, filed a claim, and received no response. I have had items stolen, filed a claim, and received no response. Frankly, my faith in the system is not high, nor do I feel any safer on airplanes as a result of your presence. Please stop breaking and/or stealing my shit. STOP BREAKING AND STEALING MY SHIT. I MEAN IT. Have a little courtesy, for fuck’s sake. Well, I opened my bag when I got home, and I saw that I’d riled some Homeland Security monkey up so much that he/she couldn’t help but leave a response (indicating that once again, they’d found purpose to root through my bag and fondle my undergarments. I should really stop buying Hanes for Terrorists.) But I digress. This is the response I received: Response: Have a little respect. For our sakes! Not everyone is a thief nor an idiot! I’ll give you some respect when you start acting like you deserve it. I do love that they couldn’t resist writing me a note back. I feel like an internet troll only 300 times more awesome. Also, the incorrect grammar used when claiming to NOT be an idiot absolutely slays me. It is so delicious I could eat it with a spoon. Dun dun dununun!