I can't write about why I spent the week in Atlanta because it's too confidential and work-related, but I can say that I had a good time around the margins of that event.

The first day was the only loss. I got so little sleep the night before (seemingly a part of every trip I take) that I spent it groggy and exhausted. I must have been Jonas Salk in a previous life because good karma is the only way I can explain catching my flight: Given 22 minutes to make it from my apartment to the terminal before the mandatory FAA cutoff, I checked into my flight with literally only seconds to spare. But after a long trip and getting checked in and finally eating something, it was already 4:30, so I took a nap and ordered room service and prepared notes for the event the next day. Hilton was good to me overall, but if I'm trying to sleep, no hotel is going to win my favor by repeatedly knocking on my door with "the creamer [I] ordered" and calling my room to ask me if I received it.

I did get out into the city on the other three nights, driving around and winding up at the Atlantic Station complex, a shopping plaza designed to resemble a small-town plaza, which inexplicably hosted a Gators party while I was there. Lots of UofF fans this far north? Rosa Mexicano tries really hard to impress you with a beautiful dining room and fresh guacamole made tableside, but at these prices, they to serve need larger portions of much better food if they want to stick around.

Taking a trip soon? Do yourself a favor and don't see a John Cusack movie about a haunted hotel room when you have nowhere to go but the Hilton afterwards. 1408 started out with an amazing setup, one of the most unnerving haunted-space descriptions I've seen in the movies (and I've seen a lot of ghost movies), but once Cusack got into the room it was all downhill from there. Harry Potter and Talk to Me were much better.

Driving around town, I fiddled with the radio a lot. Each of the four days, when I turned to the alternative station, the first song playing was an early Pearl Jam song from their first three albums. Apparently the catalog of "alternative music" was sealed forever around 1995. Is my entire generation really prepared to listen to "Better Man" and "Evenflow" until we have gray hair and liver spots? It seems we're headed that way.

Am I the only person whose primary memory of the Atlanta airport is sitting on the runway, either having just landed or waiting to take off? It's one of those busy airports where you glance out the airplane window and you're still sitting there, then you read your magazine for fifteen minutes, then you glance out the window and you're still sitting there, then you read your magazine for another fifteen minutes, then you glance out the window and you're still sitting there. No, please, don't open a second runway on our behalf! Waiting to take off at Atlanta is like that eternal wait to get through the single open checkout lane at Best Buy.

Though inundated with Michael Vick news, Atlanta struck me as a happy place: It somehow seemed as if every single person I met was in a good mood, greeting me in the street with a friendly smile. I'm sure there must be dirty, miserable parts of the city with economic depression and abandoned rundown buildings, but I didn't run into a single one in all my exploring. Even the traffic gridlock didn't seem to bother anyone. I didn't think much of the city before I arrived, but now I can't wait to return.

Logical Operator

The creator of Funeratic, Scott Hardie, blogs about running this site, losing weight, and other passions including his wife Kelly, his friends, movies, gaming, and Florida. Read more »

Everybody Loves George

As long as everyone already knows I'm years behind the rest of the culture, can I recommend That's My Bush! before Dubya actually concludes his presidency? We just finished watching the short series; it starts weak but gets pretty strong by the end. Go »


For all you Lost Skeleton of Cadavra fans... (If you haven't seen it, rent it, or at least watch the trailer there.) Go »

Milwaukee's Best

Today I learned a valuable lesson: Don't quote that line from Wayne's World about "mill-you-wock-AY" to a native of that city. It's like asking them to bring you a cheese wheel when they visit: You deserve a kick in the balls for it. I learned this while planning my visit to the city this weekend for beer, brats, Packers, and oh yeah, Matthew Preston. Go »

Survivor Guilty

As a longtime Survivor viewer, I've been bothered by its slow decline. Some of the show's problems are apparent on its surface, like Jeff Probst's appalling gender bias and the show's overemphasis on tacky "themes" for the season. But I got to thinking about what's wrong under the surface, on a conceptual level. Go »

Happy Holidays

In case you wonder why it takes me so long to answer your message: I'm signing off for a week and a half while Kelly visits. Parties, shopping, museums, bowling, movies, lots of restaurants, and a few days at Disney World lie ahead. Have a wonderful holiday week. Go »

House of Pain

Happy new year! The first month of 2015 has been so terrible that I'm declaring a re-do as if it never happened. 2015 really starts now as far as I'm concerned. Go »