Archive for April, 2006

growneds up

Mike: What the fuck are you carrying a gun for? What, in case somebody steps to you, Snoop Dogg?
Sue: Hey man, you’re not from here, alright. You don’t know how it is. I grew up in L.A.
Trent: Anaheim.
Sue: Whatever, man. It’s different out here. It’s not like New York, Mikey.

Nashville is a growing city. Do you know how I know? It’s not all Christian Tatoo Parlours stagnating in a languishing cesspool. There are new, foreign elements you wouldn’t expect to find in a city like Nashville.

Things like bloodstains. Maybe I am biased because I’ve walked past it every day for the last week. But there’s a giant blood pool/smear on 2nd avenue under the Shelby Street Bridge. It’s a large-ish smear of blood, that staggers off in the direction of my home, in a steady but decreasing stream of droplets, which diminish as, presumably, coagulation took effect. I don’t know what happened that night, but I can guarantee you that triage was not involved. The only thing more disturbing than the giant bloodstain itself is the fact that no one has cleaned it up yet.

Then there are the prostitutes. Last Sunday I actually ran across three prostitutes on Second Avenue. No shit — Second avenue, people. The same place to which Opryland regularly ships busloads of wide-eyed starseekers from the heart of the bible-belt Now, I daresay that Nashville hasn’t seen actual prostitution in this area since it was still called Market Street (and let me assure you, it was a post-war den of hedonism, during those times). But there they were, plain as day, asking me if I was looking for a good time. They lost interest in me when I assured them I had no interest in them, at least strictly business-wise. I was curious about how successful they were, but they had no patience for such inquiries. A shame, though — I was going to talk to them about unionizing.

So, yeah, Nashville is growing, in its own way. Look out, before long we might actually get real mass transportation and a police force that has to tackle real crime instead of traffic violation quotas.

Climb on!

climb.JPG Looking for something to do? We went to Climb Nashville a couple of weeks ago. I had never been, but it turned out to be lots of fun. You don’t need any special equiment or prior knowledge about climbing. You can rent what you need there, and, the excellent staff guides you through what you need to know. If you are an experienced climber, I’m pretty sure you don’t need me to tell you about this place.

There are climbing walls for all abilities, each of my kids (including the 3 year old) was able to climb. Only people over 14 years old can belay (hold the climber’s rope) So, if you are taking kids, it’s handy to have an adult for each kid so that they don’t have to wait to climb. Also, every climber has to have a signed release form, so, if kids are taking friends with them, be sure to have their parents sign the form (you can print it from the website) before you go.

Have you seen this drink?

rfh-rasplemonade-sm.jpg It’s that time of year, my favorite-est drink is back, and, I’m having trouble finding it. This stuff is tasty. If you are into such things, I recommend it frozen into a slush like state, and, well, if you have some favorite adult beverage additives, those are good too. If you choose to drink it straight, it’s a little on the sweet side, so, it needs to be diluted with some water.

So please, dear readers (both of you), won’t you help me find some? Let me know if you spot any in the stores, preferably on the west side of town, but, I’m not averse to driving a bit if it means I get my sugary drink fix for the summer.

Costco Dreaming

Looks like I’ll have to get an additional job to be able to afford the fact that Costco and Best Buy are moving into West Nashville.

I love Best Buy for obvious reasons, so many fun things, so little money to buy them. But, the ability to buy large packages of things I may or may not need, holds a special place in my heart. I have answered the siren song of warehouse stores for years. Oh sure, in my early days on my own, I made some mis-steps in the world of bulk shopping (1,000 Sweet and Low packets, anyone?), but, once I got my groove and figured out exactly what I needed to maintain my world, there was no thrill like having a package of 48 rolls of toilet paper for each bathroom, each available at one low price thanks to Sam’s located right down the street.

But, as of late, the thrill of Sam’s has dwindled for me. The not-so recent remodel of the Bellevue store messed with my Sam’s mojo. Where I once found comfort in my regular trips there to get my regular things, I found myself vaguely dissatisfied that the things there were just that, “regular”, I wanted something more.

So, I began to cheat on Sam’s with Costco. It was clean, fresh, and, 30 miles away. At first, I limited myself to only the occasional visit there so I could use a “guest” pass, but, then they started taking driver’s license numbers and my days as the perpetual guest were done. I took the leap and got my own card after that, and, have never looked back.

Things in the world of oversized groceries just seemed “better” at Costco, but, I think part of that is due to the fact. that it was in an exotic, far away neighbrhood, rather than just being down the street. Now that they’re moving closer to my neighborhood, I hope that the new store lives up to my fantasies about the one far, far away.

The one where I inadvertently get really cheesy when recalling the 1998 tornadoes

downtown.JPGI was all set to write something reminiscent about the April, 1998 tornadoes, when Mother Nature struck again recently, causing untold damage in some areas of our state. We were among the lucky ones this time, and, for that I am grateful, because many people were not so fortunate.

However, I find that April 16, 1998 still sticks in my mind. If you lived here then, that day is a, “Where were you when…?” event.

I worked at a hospital, and, I remember driving in that day thinking to myself, “I’ve never seen the sky like this before, but, whatever.” That afternoon, the buzz was about tornadoes in the area, so, we went through the usual motions that are done in safety drills. I didn’t really think anything unusual was going on until the overhead announcements started saying things like, “Alert for tornado, take cover immediately.”

So, I did what any normal person would do and went outside. I saw the tornado over my children’s daycare center.

Let me repeat that. I saw the tornado at the buidling where my young children were. Knowing that I would be fired (not cool to leave during things like this at a hospital), I went to go get the car, and, it wouldn’t start. Panic ensued, and, I couldn’t reach Busy Dad who was locked down at his work, but, he was eventually able to go get them. I was very relieved, but, confused when he showed up at my work with them, and, then wasn’t able to leave, because the hospital wasn’t letting people out. He spent the next 5 hours in my office with 2 small kids, stressful, but, I was secretly glad they were there because the bad weather just kept coming.

Over those few hours, the teamwork I witnessed was extraordinary. My job was such that I was involved with the logistics of what do do with staff, patients and visitors, as well as prepare for patient admissions as a result of the storms. The daycare kids were fine (Busy Girl can still remember the teachers lying in the halls on top of them and the doors were flying open and shut), but, we had to transport all of them from the center to the hospital and arrange care for them so their parents (hospital employees) could continue to work. Administrators and cafeteria employees alike prepared over 1,000 sandwiches to serve visitors and staff during the time people weren’t allowed to leave. Though it sounds trite, people just chipped in and did what needed to be done.

A few days later, a group from work went to East Nashville to help clean up. I have never seen anything like what I saw there. The damage was just mind-boggling. Now that I’ve ever been in a war, but, I know now why people say it “looks like a war zone”.

Again, the teamwork and the volunteer spirit was nearly overwhelming. Strangers comforting grieving homeowners, church groups there with mobile kitchens to feed the hundreds of volunteers, neighbors helping neighbors (my cheese progresses faster from here on out, but, I can’t help it, it was that moving) put their homes and their lives back together. It was nearly impossible to choose where to begin, but, I hope we did some good that day.

April 16, 1998 was a day like no other, at least for me, and, I have never been more proud to be from from the Volunteer State. I hope the things that Nashville learned that day kept our most recent events from being even more tragic than they were. I’d like to think I had a tiny part in that, too.

on giving up

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Billy Joe's Tattoo
301 Broadway
Nashville, TN 37201  
6152564278

Question: What’s wrong with the address above? Anyone? There is something terribly wrong with that address and the name of the corresponding tenant. Anyone have a guess? Okay, I’ll tell you.

What’s wrong is that 301 Broadway is the former American National Bank building — one of the many branches the company owned throughout Nashville long before it was consumed by AmSouth. It’s one of the coolest buildings in Nashville, in the heart of downtown on 3rd and Broadway, with a storied past steeped in the history of the city. What’s wrong is that it’s home to a place called friggin Billie Joe’s Tattoo.

Talk all you want about revitalizing downtown Nashville — the fact that there’s a tattoo parlor occupying this prime, historic real estate downtown is a tragedy, and it broadcasts one thing to both residents and visitors: we’ve given up. We can’t make it happen for downtown Nashville, sorry. I mean, it would be one thing if it were vacant. That would be okay. That says “rent is currently too high for just any tenant, because, come on, this is downtown here, not just anyone can move in.” But the existence of Billie Joe’s Tattoo says “well, I guess a tattoo parlor is about as good as it gets, and I need the money.”

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But, on the other hand, rent is high everywhere else in the city. I got a haircut at Smitty’s — a great barber I found downtown, finally. Randy Smith owns the business, which was his father’s, dating back to 1965. He’s currently crammed in a tiny suite in the Financial Center on Church, with his original Belmont barber chairs, his father’s beautifully-restored mirror, and even a traditional striped barber pole, all sitting anachronistically in a suite that looks like something out of Office Space. He’s booked up with appointments all day, and even he can’t afford a place downtown that would be a little more suited to the character of a barber. So what’s the deal? Is the tattoo business really that good?

It’s a real shame. I don’t have anything against tattoo parlors, don’t get me wrong. I just think it’s a terrible sign for the state of downtown Nashville that this is even possible. I also think it’s an aesthetic abomination to have what is, in my opinion, one of the prettiest buildings in that area desecrated with that blaring neon sign. This place belongs in Printer’s Alley.

I hope, for the sake of downtown Nashville, that Billie Joe’s tenancy at 301 Broadway is temporary.

Side-note: What’s up with the little fish on the neon sign? Is this, uh, like a Christian tattoo parlor? Does such a thing even exist?

Eggstravaganzoo Tomorrow

The Nashville Zoo is holding their Eggstravaganzoo tomorrow. I will be heading down there with the wife and kids (and a camera). there are going to be over 30,000 eggs hidden and they are expecting upwards of 11,000 participants.

Luckily for my little ones they are having several age specific egg hunts. It should be a good time. The Nashville Zoo is a great resource for area parents of younger kids. My kids love the zoo and at ages 3 & 4, they should be just the right age for egg hunting.

Here are some details, but you can also check out the Eggstravaganzoo website:

“On Saturday, April 15th, from 9:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m. we will hold our eighth annual egg hunt, Eggstravaganzoo, presented by Burt’s Bees! Nearly 8,000 guests are expected to attend this festive, annual tradition. The event features age-appropriate egg hunts: 2-3 years at 11:30 a.m., 4-5 years at 12:30 p.m., 6-7 years at 1:30 p.m. and 8-10 years at 2:30 p.m. The event is included in regular admission. Nashville Zoo will be distributing 30,000 plastic eggs for the children to find and redeem for prizes and all egg hunt participants will receive an egg-citing prize pack.”

Remember to get there early.

Late night sandwich blogging

tempsteak_10.jpg I realize that I am not telling you about a hip, trendy eatery here, but, remember me? I’m the one for whom the absence of a drive-thru makes for a night of fine dining. Anybody ever been to Penn Station? They profess to serve “East Coast Subs”. Now, I’m all about food that is cooked to order, but, what they fail to tell you is that they must actually go to the East Coast to procure them, while you’re sitting there. Holy Long Time Until You Actually Get to Eat, Batman.

The food, once it gets to your table from back East, is mighty tasty, I had a delicious reuben. They have hand-cut fries and fresh lemonade, too. I recommend it, but, you can’t be in a big hurry to get anywhere else if you go. It’s a refreshing change from Subway (which I have been eating so often lately, that I am channeling Jared), and, it has a wider selection that someplace like Jersey Mike’s.

OK, so, there’s a reason I don’t write advertising, but, there’s one in Bellevue, Madison and Murfreesboro, go check one out!

Up From Indiana Down To Tennessee –The Beginning (Fall 1990)

I never thought I’d leave Indiana for good, but thanks to the Best Man at my wedding we ended up here. I come from a Northern Indiana factory town where everyone knows everyone else in a wierd way. My hometown, although fairly good-sized is still one of those places where if you tell a new acquaintence where you went to High School they will invariably rattle of the names of six to eight people who also went there and were most likely in your study hall. To me it’s as comfortable as an old shoe, but to my husband–a Pennsylvania native–it was stifling. So he sought some advice from his old college roommate. David had already decamped to live with his brother who came here to make it big with his band, proving true my theory that EVERYONE who has moved to Nashville in the last 30 years is somehow connected with someone who wants to be in the Mewzick Bizniss.
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Guilty? Who, me?

Mary’s last post has made me feel quite the heel. I am supposed to be writing something here daily. Have I? No. Why not?

I don’t know. Maybe it’s because, unlike say London (where I did live) and San Francisco (which I’ve never seen), Nashville is a wierd sticky mess of big city, small town and clique factory.

Nashville the city is actually much smaller than the Nashville The Larger Metropolis. I’ve lived here for 15 years and watched the city change as much as my life. In an effort to boost my postings from ZERO to ONE per day, I’m going to spend the next two weeks chronicling the Nashville I Have Known year by year. It may not be the most accurate picture of the city, but it’ll let you in on how one transplanted Hoosier has changed alongside this odd little town.

I realise I should be writing about nightclubs or parks or something. But I’ll leave that to Chris and Mike.

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