Monday, April 24, 2017

A Quick Restaurant Review - Little Trouble

I don't hang out much anymore for various reasons, the vast majority of which seem to always be in flux and so a return to that swinging nightlife could be just around the corner. But right this second, I'm bingeing on a bit of law in an effort to get this "ranching" career off the ground and video games I may have purchased as long a four years ago. For the uninformed I have a habit of purchasing games when I have a few spare coins and then playing then much later. It's not like they go bad. This time the game is only two years old, but I waited like a year after release to purchase it, so I've really only had it for like a year, but I digress.

When I do go out now it's in short bursts, meaning a few hours after work or to a single event. Atlanta's night life has changed so much in the few years I've been out of rotation that I'm no longer certain of anything, and the spots I used to frequent are either gone or just not hot anymore. And with the city bisected by the highway collapse, I'm either locked into to staying near home or have to pack an overnight bag just go get drinks. Yeesh. Which is how I ended up at Little Trouble on a Friday night.

I'm not quite sure how the spot operates, as it seems a little like a out of the way bar that shows in NY movies where the protagonist is in the basement of a building that looks condemned from the outside and then suddenly bam! - trendy nightclub. Little Trouble is kinda like that only the building is like a high end shopping destination by day that has one of the busiest Uber drop offs I've ever seen. After taking a risk that Serve, the taller of the hangout duo Spanky and Serve who I sometimes hang out when I do go out, was actually going to show up this time, we met around the corner at one my fav little spots, Ormsby's which is in what I guess is Westside Plaza(?). We had a drink, had some hummus and she learned to play Bocce on the bar's indoor court downstairs. But that stop was just a social amuse-bouche before we sauntered over to Little Trouble.

The spot is at the other end of the plaza from Ormsby's, which itself is a bit of beast to find, and then down a long dark tunnel where we were greeted with a neon logo that made me think of Blade Runner for some reason. This opened into cozy little bar with low seats and lots of mood lighting on one side of the room and more formal dining tables on the other. There is a quieter smaller space in the back but I only glimpsed it. The spot has a very hip vibe to it, which may be why the people with backpacks looking like they just got off the bus from Mississippi left a just a few moments. Full Disclosure: The second we walked in I thought that Sporty would have loved it.

The wall is like from a shipping container
Serve and I posted up at the bar, which in retrospect is set much lower than I realized, and perused the menu, a take on street food from Southeastern Asia - buns, bowls and meat on sticks. I should mention for those who like to imbibe that Little Trouble is really more a craft bar - in that they really seem to excel at crafted drinks. While I pursued the food stuffs offered, I got a Crane Kick (Japanese whiskey, rum, spice and lemon - the spice apparently ginger) and Serve ordered something I forget. But it looked really fruity. The bartenders take their time too, pouring a touch of this and a little of that to get it just right. More than once I saw him assemble something that made me want to order it too. That's a sign of a good, or at least entertaining, bartender.

Crane Kick and whatever it was Serve had....
Now, my original intention was to mix and match a few of the buns to see what it was all about and started with the Pork Belly, hoping to try some of the other items like the meat on a stick, Pork Rinds or Panda Cotta later. Serve got the Salmon Bowl and split it with me, since the sauce was too spicy for her (note - it's not spicy, she just sensitive). The bun is a soft white crust-less bread shell, think really cool Slider, topped with stuff I usually don't eat and a pretty fair size piece of grilled pork. It was a very good combination. And if they didn't melt the Gruyere on the French Dip bun I would have stuck to my 'try a little of everything' plan. Instead, having found something I really liked, I got a second Pork Belly Bun which was just as good as the first, so no drop off here.  The food is good, and the portions are just the right size for someone out trying to have a good time, not too small but not too big.   

We got there relatively early, around eight or so, but the place doesn't really pick up until nine or so. This is a change from back when I used to run the circuit, when there were days I'd leave the job on Friday at 5pm and be pulling up to the spot 20 minutes later...and still not be the first one out. Maybe we were just more desperate to have a good time back then. Be aware, the crowd is a mixed bag, but mostly younger folks and people who have jobs that let them afford the ridiculous ass rent in the surrounding apartment buildings.

If you're trying to get into a little trouble, I can suggest Little Trouble. Maybe it's easier to find at night, as it might be the only thing that has foot traffic that time of the evening over there. I do intend to go back though and find out.


Side Note : While it was still early we walked across the railroad bridge and ran into a line outside Jeni's Ice Cream. We had to get some because there was a long  line, at least according to Serve. I'm not sure about the logic, but who can turn down ice cream?  The selection was a little...esoteric, with flavors along to lines of Riesling Poached Pear and Intelligentsia Black Cat Espresso, but it's good ice cream. And the place smelled like they were making the waffle cones fresh. I can say with authority, it was worth the wait.

Saturday, April 22, 2017

Life comes at you fast

Ramblings Post #333
I'm not sure when I stopped really watching TV. In the past few years my time in front of the tube has dwindled, and I'm not talking about it merely being replaced with another digital access port. I read more now, and study the news more. Okay, some gaming, but nothing to obsess over. But as time passes, and I get more into the news, I'm starting to understand the appeal of the information bubble. Because it's scary out here ya'll. And it's coming at us wide open.  

I used to have time to craft something. After figuring out what I wanted to comment on and determining if I even had a point, I'd sketch out an outline with a few points I'd hope to hit early during the day. Then do a little research throughout the day between other things like working or going to the bathroom. At the end of the day when I got home I would write it up, but then let it marinate a day before I'd go back over it, teasing out threads of ideas and smoothing over rough prose. Some of those posts were almost little works of art if you broaden the definition of art far enough and squint real, real hard.

But things seem to be happening so much faster as of late, and my artful style doesn't seem to be up the challenge. From Facebook shooters to the latest airline mugging to Cheeto itching to start World War III to there being a fire under every bridge in Atlanta  and the imminent return to some kind of lawless wasteland due to a lack of roads, my snark has been muted for lack of time to develop anything good. The seemingly constant barrage of notable happenings is threatening to turn this into a continuous "Things I meant to comment on" series, which is a kind of less animated less funny not  on television "Last Week Tonight." This I would not be satisfied with.

I may have to move to a smaller blurb format, a kind of micro blogging to amounts to little more than possibly unfunny meme's and one liners that fail to capture the nuance of why I think XYZ topic might so absurd. I may have to switch to a kind of monthly, or bi-weekly, which leaves a lot to be desired in that so much of it will be past tense in a world just trying to hold it in the road. Maybe templates, where I just plug in each outrage? I'm not sure but I know that I have a lot to say about a lot of shit and not getting a chance to say it. Ugh.

So, in the interest of fair play, good cooking, sportsmanship and properly aged cheese, I will simply have to try my best. How this is gonna work out I have no idea because I've got several other things I'm trying to get done, but trying i better than standing still.

Barkeep, let me get a...no, that try thing starts tomorrow. And sleep better after a drink or five.

Thursday, April 13, 2017

Charlie Murphy RIP

Death comes too quick.


We almost shouldn't know who Charlie Murphy is. In the game of Hollywood unlike the music industry, it's rare that family catches on, excluding of course the Wayans conglomerate. But there was something authentic about Charlie, a real person in an unreal situation. Although he'd been around for a while because his brother was mega-star Eddie Murphy, he didn't really catch on until he started sharing his stories of what went on when nobody was looking. True stories of stars being themselves. The kind of stories that us non-famous people would tell each other about each other when we sit down with a few drinks and reminisce.

Lately, he'd started to carve out his own little space. Better acting roles, some standup comedy, and becoming famous in his own right. I think he'd figured out a way to be more than just himself, and was actually acting. And he wasn't bad. 

I bet he's in heaven right now, challenging Prince to a rematch. And afterwards, they'll have pancakes.

Friday, March 31, 2017

Hey Atlanta, how about mass transit now, eh?

Ramblings Post #332
Atlanta is a car city. We have a mass transit system that people have fought tooth and nail against since its inception and now, well, here we are. It's gonna be a long hot summer. And the city is for the most part gonna be divided in half. The days of the floating party, the caravan of fun and the city wide club hopping might just be on hold for a minute. I'm not even going to talk about how the Metro Area Rail and Transportation Authority is going to have to bring it, and bring it hard. Since after all, ....nobody saw this coming.  *snicker*

Thursday evening, a bridge section of I-85, a major artery for the city of Atlanta, collapsed after the structure gave way during what could only be properly described as a conflagration. A big, roaring flame. Apparently just plain old fire can melt steel beams, who knew? Even worse it feel over a section right by another major artery, Piedmont Road. This will only compound the problem, as I'll explain later. This whole process will take months, at minimum four or five, to repair and should shut down not one but two major thoroughfares that connect the Northern suburbs and the rest of Atlanta. We might not be a car city much longer. 

This is the year Marta finally gets properly funded folks! Marta card sales are already up 80% and it's only the first day! Mark your calendar because if a catastrophe that will split the metro region in half won't do it, nothing will. Nothing.

The city of Atlanta is funny. On a map it looks roughly like the Vitruvian Man, with two major highways meeting, running together through the bulk of the city and then splitting again just above the airport. But in reality, only the northern part of the city (above I-20) means anything, as it is the focus of pretty much all development. Coincidentally, most of the black people live below I-20. Not that the two are connected, I'm just saying. A close look at the map however reveals that the city is not exactly a grid, but more a collection of paved cattle trails and footpaths that seemed like a good idea in 1820. As such, the metro area is really more a collection of roads that only incidentally connect to one another in some places, and not at all in others. This quirk of design is why the single collapsing highway section is such a problem.

Photo by Redditor - nico6426
I-85 where it runs through Atlanta is regularly used by roughly...um, EVERYBODY IN THE METRO AREA. It connects Midtown (with over 35 construction projects underway or announced) with Buckhead - the center of all things trendy in the New South. When it gets the middle of the city and meets 75 we call it the Downtown Connector.  So, kinda important. The other two main roads in the city are Peachtree Road...no, not that Peachtree, the other one, no the other other one, the one in the middle, sheesh, and Piedmont Road on the East side of town. Strangely, all three of these intersect in Buckhead. There is no counterpart on the west side of Atlanta, because there really isn't. Because that's why. And now that I-85 has fallen onto Piedmont, there is only Peachtree Road a four lane red-light riddled strip that remains.

Although some will claim it will not be that bad, because although the section of I-85 that fell is actually just north of Piedmont Road, the truth is the fire damage is extensive. Although only the one section fell, the flames touched everything around it, and even money says several other sections of the road surface above and below the area will have to be collapsed and rebuilt just to be on the safe side. More than likely one of the sections directly over Piedmont Road. And even if they don't have to bring that section down on purpose as a safety concern, the fastest way rebuild the section that did fall would involve...blocking Piedmont Road. 


Where I work, going forward referred to as the Ranch, the parking deck was half empty the day after and I had my pick of just off prime spots. The spot where I grab lunch was sparse as well. Because we had no off highway traffic a whole section of my home commute normally a pain was light and easy. But, I live INTOWN, and the highway that goes all the way around the perimeter of the city was bumper to bumper for nearly half its circumference, backing up the designated alternate routes for hours. And that's with the county in a State of Emergency and half the city told to work from home or just take the day off. I shudder to think of what's going to happen on Monday when the flood gates open. I may go to work way early. Or I mean, leave for work. When I make it is anyone's guess. 

It's gonna be a strange summer in Atlanta.

Barkeep, let me get a cold beer, some of that hot fish and some white bread.

What? You thought I was gonna make a bar-b-que joke? For shame....

Tuesday, February 28, 2017

If you guys could like, hurry up...

This a political post.

This presidency is just too much. From the start to now it's just keeps getting more bizarre, more fraught with questionable ideas being forth, more clearly the beginnings of a dystopian future being put together by people who don't know what dystopian means.

From the sitting President indicating he didn't think healthcare would be this hard, to the save a penny spend hundred dollars budget logic, to the weird and slightly perverted obsession with women's reproductive health, there is just so much going on that you almost can't concentrate on one thing. Which brings us to this administration's attempt to curry favor with African-American voters going forward. With some planned executive order on Historically Black Colleges and Universities swiftly approaching. a photo op was born. Invite them all up, show them the splendor that is Washington and the White House. See! See what I'm doing! With all the subtlety and charm a seventy year old New Yorker who got sued by the government for not renting to African Americans can muster.

Then this.

I remember Regan saying that he didn't feel right in the Oval Office without a jacket on. And I realize that every President has a moment of casualness in the Oval Office. From Kennedy to Johnson to Carter to Reagan to Clinton to Obama. A moment where feet are up, people are relaxed, after all, they're only human. But this is an official event. For the HBCUs. So why does Kellyanne Conway look like the the girlfriend waiting for everyone else to leave?

(Extra: Someone explain Jim Crow to DeVos. Like drag her into a classroom and teach her this by the scruff of her neck. No, HBCUs are not a great example of choice, they are an example of excellence against all odds.) 

This irritates me a base level. All of it.

I'm just gonna be over here.

Thursday, February 16, 2017

Wouldn't it have been easier to...

Geek Arguments #1
I am in no small part, a bit of a geek. I've argued about Star Wars and Star Trek minutiae as though knowing how a light saber worked or untangling time paradoxes earned me money. I can argue over comics, sci-fi movies, football strategy, and even dabble a bit in video game smugness (for no reason I can think of). This time, prompted by what should be an obvious answer about a movie nobody cares about, I just have to set the record straight for nobody in particular. That and I just can't talk politics anymore for a while.    

Ben Affleck likes to relate the story that during the production of Armageddon (a terrible film that I will watch over and over) that when he asked the question "Wouldn't it have been easier to train the astronauts to drill?" that director Micheal Bay told him to "shut the f**k up." This of course was the proper answer. Because Ben's question was stupid and he should have just shut the f**k up. 

Let me state definitively that NO, it wouldn't have been easier to train astronauts to drill. Everyone would have died. Are we clear? Oh, you want an explanation?

While it is true that astronauts are smart, most holding several degrees as well as being engineers, the idea that they would be able to immediately be able to grasp all the fine points of drilling in the week or so of training they would have received is the height of elitist thinking. Proficiency or even mastery of Discipline A does not automatically translate into easy of learning semi-related Discipline B. The intellectual arrogance here is staggering, starting with the assumption that "drilling" must be easy. But rather than get into a long line of theory of the nuances of mining and instead I'm going to use the film itself show why this is terrible assumption.
Wouldn't trust them with a potato gun.
First, when the hero, Harry Stamper, arrives at NASA it's originally because government stole his drill design to use on Mars but now want to use it on the asteroid, but can't make the damned thing work. Let me say that again : a group of NASA scientists, engineers and the man the NASA director called the 'smartest man on the planet' can't figure out how to make a particular drill work after presumably weeks of going at it. Presumably one or two of the engineers present even had some mining expertise, but it still didn't help them. On the other hand, Harry the not NASA engineer arrives and after looking at the equipment for less than a minute not only tells them the issues they're probably experiencing (and he's correct) but also diagnoses the problem. But mining must be simple, right? The equipment a breeze to operate?  

Secondly, when the spaceship actually arrives on the asteroid, Harry's team faces a number of unexpected challenges. First, they overshoot the landing and instead of the intended drilling site land on an 'iron plate.' Would the less experienced trained for a week Astronaut miners have even tried to drill there? Assuming they did, the first drill bit breaks after ten feet, something Max recognizes by feel. Would a less experienced trained for a week Astronaut miner have recognized it as quickly as Max? Then, the other experienced miner Chick defers to Harry who decides they need to break out a special bit, referred to in the film as 'the judge.' Would a less experienced trained for a week Astronaut miner been able to make the determination that they weren't just unlucky? Would they have been able to handle the gas pockets, the ones the experienced miners couldn't? 

And finally, would a less experienced trained for a week Astronaut miners have taken the Time to Drill Card as gospel, dropped off the nuke and evacuated? Especially when you consider that the Astronaut who was there was prepared and willing to shoot someone did just that! The weird part is that based upon the data at hand, the Astronaut made the right call - they should have dumped the nuke because by all rights they shouldn't reached the depth needed. 

Honestly, when Chick's son called him "that salesman"...
It was only the drillers expertise that saved the entire operation. Yes, because NASA chose the drillers over the astronauts (in this movie universe) the world was saved. I'm not even going to mention the other asteroid movie of the time went exactly the other way. Okay, I'll mention it. How did that work out for them then? Right, everyone on the spaceship had to make the ultimate sacrifice so the planet only got a little blowed up. Got it? And since I've brought Deep Impact up now, anyone know why there were carrying the extra nukes? 

So, this is why to question of wouldn't sending astronauts have been simpler in Armageddon, the answer is a resounding NO. Teaching roughnecks how not to die in space clearly was. I realize that astronauts are smart. Very smart. But smart doesn't translate to a universal expertise.  

Can we let this go now? And someone tell Affleck to shut the fuck up.