Mapping Happenings

A Sort-of Music Oriented Blog


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Athens, GA and beyond


My time in Athens, GA last week hit right between summer school and the fall sessions for U of GA, so it was not really active with swarms of students and live music while I was there. However, they were gearing up. The 40 Watt Theatre had some live bands on Thursday night but since they didn't start until 10 pm and I had to teach a class at 8 am, I decided not to check it out. I did catch a live jazz trio at the Porterhouse Grill on Wednesday evening. The ad for that evening said "pianist Steve Key" along with Nicholas Wiles on drums and Drew Hart on string bass. But when I arrived it was a guitarist along with drums and string bass. The guitarist was probably early 20s and excellent. They played in a style similar to the Wes Montgomery combos of the 60s. Some standards like "My Favorite Things" and "Sunny" but then they played some very progressive cool stuff I did not recognize. I was with some people from my class and we all enjoyed the ambiance created by the band. One big drawback was that the tables in the restaurant were behind the band, so their backs were facing us as they faced the bar. That was the only live music I heard while there. I am sure there were other things going on elsewhere, but I couldn't find them . However the food was fabulous. Besides the Porterhouse, I also had dinners at Square One Fish Company, Clocked, and Etienne. They all had background music that was different. At Square One they were playing various blues artists. At Etienne it was a mix of French pop of the 40s & 50s mixed with big band music from the USA, including some Sinatra. Clocked had the most interesting variety, playing things like Tammy Wynette's "Stand By Your Man" and then immediately going into Beach Boys' "Wouldn't It Be Nice"; very unusual mix. The ambience at Clocked was "psychedelic" in an eclectic sense. None of these establishments were doing much business and I was there at the middle of the dining hours. Everyone assured me that this would change once the students returned next week for the fall sessions.

Journey Home

I hated to leave such a friendly town. I don't often feel this way when I finish a job. I proctored an exam and everyone finished early Friday afternoon giving me ample time to get to Atlanta for my 7:25 pm flight to San Diego. At 3 pm I headed out on the Atlanta Highway, and things were going fine. Then the sky began to get darker and darker. Then the rain and the wind came. Visibility was nil. I nearly had to stop, but kept moving ever so cautiously. As the sky cleared and the wind calmed a little it looked like we were ready to resume normal speed. However, the combination of Atlanta's Friday afternoon traffic coupled with several accidents meant that a 1.5 hour trip turned out to be 3 hours. Then the rental car attendant ran out of receipt paper and I had to wait. I thought sure I missed my flight, but it was delayed due to weather also. In fact we did not leave Atlanta until 11 pm. I could not get a seat online so I got one at the gate - 36F; window, back of the plane. I did get priority boarding as one consolation. On the video screen I decided to watch some old Parks & Recreation and Arrested Development episodes, then flipped to some Ellington, Basie and Goodman recordings. Arrived in San Diego at 12:04 am, got my bags by 12:40, home by 1:15 am and to bed by 2. I had been awake since 6 am Eastern Time; a total of 23 hours. Today I hung out with my son until he had to go to work. Tried his mango/pineapple salsa using his home grown yellow devil's tongue peppers (hotter than habaneros). Glad to be home for a week. Tonight we will be taking our neighbors to dinner at a Thai restaurant in Lemon Grove and then to see Blue Velvet perform at the Caliph. Life is good.

The Best Suitcase, and how I Lost Mine

On Tynan

I used to have a bit of an obsession with Zero Halliburton luggage. Look familiar? That's because bad guys in all the movies use the briefcases to hold their money and bombs. Over the years I kept buying these things, and usually traveled with a huge 26" suitcase as well as a matching computer case.

I still really like my Zero Halliburton suitcases, but they're somewhat unweildy. Two day trips don't require a hectare of packing real estate.

Plus, there was the allure of the carry-on only passenger. I never really understood how it worked before. How do people carry everything in such small suitcases? Is it really that much more convenient? What's so bad about checking bags? I was curious.

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