Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Hello from this freezing cold cafe (my frozen drink isn't helping)

We had a really nice thunderstorm a couple of nights ago that briefly knocked out the TV and rendered my computer useless for anything but spider solitaire ever since(real solitaire is way too effing hard.)

Encouragingly, we did see three Comcast trucks on our way out of the apartment complex, ostensibly doing their best to be comcastic. That remains to be seen. Fingers crossed, we'll be once again tripping through the altered state of Internetachusetts (Mr. Show, anyone?) by the time we get back.

But right now prepare to be blessed with the post I was too lazy to write on Monday, taking for granted the fact that I would be able to do it Tuesday. Never take the world wide magical rainbow fairy tale web for granted, folks.

Of course now it's Wednesday, so you only get the abridged version of our weekend because in hindsight it seems much less cool than it did at the time.

We went to Chattanooga on Saturday. 'Nooga from here on out. For those not well-versed in the history of urban planning and revitalization, 'Nooga is sort of a national template (along with Baltimore) for taking a run down, industrialized urban core and turning it into a hip, happening attraction for the whole family, an endeavor most other cities have since undertaken. The process started in the '80s and they still haven't stopped, and it really is quite the sight. I still think the Tennessee Aquarium is better than Atlanta's flashy new job, and I'm really interested to see the inside of 'Nooga's crazy looking art museum hanging over the river.

We only had time to walk down to the riverfront and across the Walnut Street Bridge (now a pedestrian-only bridge spanning the river but once the sight of two separate lynchings) and back again before meeting my friend Jess and his new bride for some dinner. Jess had invited us down to see a band he really likes and this was the whole purpose of the trip. He's friends with the lead singer (a guy named Jon, whom Jess called Casino), and we met up with Jon/Casino and some other people for some drinks after dinner.

After soaking up some reflected rock'n'roll glory and shelling out the GDP of El Salvador for a few beers at Taco Mac (seriously, they had stadium-like prices), we headed over to the small venue for the show. It was nice not having to worry about the time since there was no way the band would start without the singer, and he was with us.

JJ's Bohemia has a small stage, room for no more than a hundred standing patrons, and a bar selling a nice selection of beer for half what Taco Mac was asking. The band, How I Became the Bomb, put on a fantastic show and has some really strong songs if you're into earnest '80s revival synth-rock that doesn't take itself too seriously. Think Devo meets The Killers. I dug it.

They didn't go on until after midnight so the lady and I didn't get back to K-town until after 3:30. Damn that made me feel cool and oh-so-young and hip.

And we have accomplished next to nothing since then. But here I am at Panera writing this lengthy post when I should be spending my precious battery power looking for a job. Such is my dedication. Courtney just bought me a delicious-looking frozen coffee drink, so I better get down to inhaling that whipped cream topped calorie bomb.

The second bridge is the pedestrian-only span.

My lady in front of the aquarium.

The ultra-modern Hunter Museum of American Art.

Looking towards downtown with Lookout Mountain in the background.

A Saturday night crowd inside JJ's Bohemia. That's basically the whole place.

Casino/Jon employing the human mic stand for the opening number. Within minutes, the tie would be history and the sweat would begin to flow inside the air condition-impaired building. There's nothing quite like rocking hard inside a crowded air condition-less room in July in the south.

Apologies to the keyboard player, who is off to the left of the cramped stage and didn't make it into any of my photos.

Casino/Jon working the keytar for one song, as promised. If you ever get a chance to see How I Became the Bomb, I recommend it. I hear they do well in Europe.


Noelle said...

Who knew there was such a wealth of culture over there? Not me, that's who.

The Modern Gal said...

Any band with a keytar is a band friend of mine.

What is not a friend of mine is TacoMac. I hate that place. Next time you go the Nooga, I have a place for you. It has velvet wallpaper, year-round Christmas and birthday decorations and a sweet, sweet jukebox and one mixed drink there will knock you on your head.

nancypearlwannabe said...

That keyboard guitar is the bomb. I totally want one, and I don't play either instrument.

I had no idea that Chattanooga was such a wealth of hipness, but I do like saying "Nooga".

Julie said...

I'm sorry you lost your internets. That sucks.

I share your enthusiasm for young, hip bands. Not in general. I'm not that cool. But Matt took me to a Vampire Weekend concert last month and even though I felt incredibly old while at the concert, afterward, I felt much cooler for having gone to a concert on a work night and keeping up with the kids.

Julie said...

Oh. And you're completely wrong. I've been to both aquariums and have even had a behind the scenes tour of the Chattanooga Aquarium and it is inferior to the Georgia Aquarium.

Amelia said...

I miss that aquarium. I used to go there about once a year when I was growing up in Monroe County, but haven't been there since probably high school. It's way more unique than Ripley's. I have yet to check out Atlanta's.

Chris said...

Just don't call it Chatt'nooga around Meaghan. She hates when people drop out that middle "a" sound, and lots and lots of the locals do it.

Is Jon/Casino wearing snake skin loafers? Looks like it in that keytar picture.

And we'll definitely hang out with you guys in the 'Nooga if you want to sometime, although we don't know the lead singers of any bands in the area.

Jacob said...

I prefer The Noog to 'Nooga. The Noog is how all the coolest locals are saying it.

And perhaps the Panera isn't cold, but you're suffering from what I had yesterday. I was shoveling grain in a steamy 100 degree room and when I stepped outside (in July in Atlanta) I thought to myself that the weather was a little brisk. Screw the earth and the future of children you may never have and turn up the damnedest AC.

Dianne said...

Wow Chattanooga doesn't look like it has changed much since the last time I was there! I went to the aquarium with a friend from UT back in '94 or '95...

Allie said...

Wow. Not a place I'd ever thought of visiting, but now I want to. I'm a sucker for aquariums.

Mickey said...

noelle- Yup, I think Chattanooga is sort of off the map for the rest of the country. It's a surprisingly cool place, even if you don't See Rock City.

mg- Don't worry, I won't be going back to Taco Mac anytime soon. Any recommendations are welcome.

npw- Casino said he got his keytar off ebay. Go for it.

julie- It's the organization of the Tennessee Aquarium that I like, how you walk through it from the mountains to the sea. Atlanta's is like a schizophrenic shotgun blast.

amelia- I haven't been to Ripley's, but Atlanta's is worth a visit.

chris- I would not mind an excuse to get back to the Noog.

jacob- It's true, I've become acclimated to the 81-degree temps of our apartment.

dianne- See I thought it had changed a lot since the last time I was there about five years ago!

allie- You'd like 'Nooga. Lots of scenery and people on bikes.

ck said...

a friend of mine got married last fall in the hunter addition- it was way cool. though drinking scotch with all those curvy walls was a little difficult.

i have to second mickey on liking the noog's aquarium better. it at least has something to with the ecosystem it's in. the other ones (atl and ripley's) are like, "wow! looks at all these weird looking fish! and pirates!!!" kids come out of there thinking great whites co-inhabit with rainbow trout.

Courtney said...

To answer your question, Chris, yes, those are snakeskin loafers. Light blue snakeskin loafers. They were rad.

I think that picture may make my legs look fat.

Jacob said...

I agree with Mickey on the aquariums in part. The Tennessee Aquarium has a better oganizational flow where you never pass through the same section to see something new and it's much more educationally focused. The Georgia Aquarium has a decided dearth of information on the animals on display. They've improved that a little as they've gone along, but it still pales in comparison in that aspect to the Tennessee one. The Disney World/Movie Megaplex feel they have in the Atlanta Aquarium also turns me off a bit. It's like they were going for spectacle over education.

That being said, the variety of fish and extremely rare species they have make up for it in part. That and the Deep Sea Voyager's huge glass wall room is awesome. I could sit in there for hours.