Thursday, April 29, 2010

Birmingham, Birmingham... the Greatest City in Alabam

To get to Atlanta for the wedding, we flew to Birmingham. The costs to get to fly into the Pittsburgh of the South was about $500 cheaper for the family, and the rental car was another $150 less as well!
Birmingham is "only" 140 miles from Atlanta and since I have never been to Alabama, I thought it was worth the cost savings.
The Alabama Theater is in downtown and makes a strong statement for where you are. The size of the sign is like the street widths in downtown, pretty big. The size of the City population is about 250,000 and the entire metro area is only 1.2 Million. The population inside Birmingham's city limits has fallen over the past few decades, due in large part to "white flight" from the city of Birmingham proper to surrounding suburbs. From 340,887 in 1960, the population was down to 242,820 in 2000, a loss of about 29 percent.

Outside the Alabama Theater, is the Alabama Walk of Fame, which has some of the famous Alabamans (not sure this is what they're called, but hey we were only there for a couple of hours!). The City was founded after the Civil War, which I wouldn't have guessed before reading up on the City.

Birmingham is home to several notable historic moments including early incarceration for Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. In 1963, he attended a conference to help end segregation. Together with local leaders, he helped launch "Project C" (for "Confrontation"), a massive assault on the Jim Crow system. During April and May daily sit-ins and mass marches organized were met with police repression and arrests. These protests were ultimately successful, leading not only to desegregation of public accommodations in Birmingham but also the Civil Rights Act of 1964
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More photos from the MLK National Historic Site

The neighborhood Dr. King grew up in is preserved by the NPS. They have the house he grew up in saved for future generations, which is great. We didn't have the time to get out and visit as it was the wedding day and we had to drive out.
I would have enjoyed spending more time here as opposed to the Georgia Aquarium, but try convincing a six- and a four year old that history is cooler than huge animals. I did enjoy the GA Aquarium, but this was very meaningful to me.
I really enjoyed the mural outside of the main display area. I was impressed how they had combined a community center as a part of the overall facility. They had some really nice amenties that nearby residents could use. It seemed like a great way to acknowledge the impact of such an important leader everyday but using the facilities in his neighborhood.
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Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Martin Luther King Jr. Final Resting Place

As a part of our visit to Atlanta, we got a chance to go see Dr. King's final resting place. The area is designated as a national park and the tribute to his life is nice. I thought there would be a little more to the facilities then what we saw, although we didn't have as much time as we would have liked to really take in the area. I am glad the kids got exposure to the area he grew up and the lessons of yesterday's society.
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Monday, April 19, 2010

David & Ann's Wedding

We were fortunate to be invited to our friends' wedding in Atlanta, and tickled to learn that the flower girls would be Amelia and Abby. The girls are pretty cute and I think that we could start a little business renting them out for weddings, but that's just a natural entreprenuer kidding and I am just a little biased.
We were a little late getting to the photo opportunity before the wedding, so the girls didn't get to explore the facilities in advance of the ceremony. After the ceremony, which was nice and brief, they went to play out near the lake while Susan and I enjoyed the company of friends (old and new). Susan was watching the kids and then came in for a little refreshment and I remember her saying, okay your turn to watch the girls. Of course, I thought.... oh they'll be fine. Well, sure enough Amelia ends up falling in the lake with her white flower girl's dress on and the worst part of course is the shock from hitting the slimy lake and having swallowed a bit of Georgia swampwater!
Luckily, she's a trooper and we got back in her other sparkly dress and she finished the night off without tights because those were a mess from the lake that smelled like a swamp.

Abby was brave enough to ask Alek to dance and he obliged, which made for some fun jokes at Alek and state of Georgia's expense.
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Filmed by Bike 2010

Neighbor Mike was on the Filmed By Bike Jury, so we had another reason to go to the show.
It's a great excuse to get out with our friend, biking over to the Clinton Street Theater.
This year was a little more difficult then last year, as Susan was still recouping from the broken elbow. I was fighting a sinus infection... Friday was a good day in my rollercoaster of sinus headaches, so I ended up biking Susan there with her sitting on the back of the Xtracycle. Sadly, this is probably as close as she would get me to her motorcyclin' roots.
So, FBB had a slightly expanded street party this year, complete with a number of bike dance troupes and what not. The evening was beautiful and the crowds were packed in there pretty good enjoying the offerings of Fat Tire Amber Ale. Surprised that there isn't someone locally that's as committed, but I guess that's business.
The Clinton is a good venue and the closure of the street makes the night complete. The films were enjoyable, I wouldn't say they were as good as last year, because last year was really funny and I really left impressed, but perhaps the memories haven't sank in like good comedy tends to. There were a couple of really good spots on the FBB site including the viral hit Performance, but also some thought provoking ones from StreetFilms on Copenhagen and this little one by Carl from the BTA. New Belgium's offering of I'm on a Bike
was good and there was a parody of Hitler that made fun of the local bike culture. A little celebration of Portland's wierdness was included in Everyman's Bagpipe Unicycle Trip.

When we came out of the event after the films, the DJ was playing Bollywood music pretty hard. I ended up catching up with a few friends while the tunes were blaring, so it was nice to connect all the people and the scene.

Just found Neighbor Mike's video from last year of FBB here. It was definitely a much rowdier scene this year, complete with lots more dancing, drinking, and debauchery.
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Saturday, April 3, 2010

Garden Starts 2010

I visited Naomi's Organic Supply and picked up some seeds for garden starts. By starting in March, I tried to get a jump on the garden. Of course, I did this when there was 70 degrees outside and the motivation was high. Now, the rains have settled in and the weather has dropped back into the 40 degree range, which is always a favorite of mine. Oregon DOT even extended the use of studded tires for 10 days, they normally end the season April 1st.

With the threat of damage for the new family members, I turned to the kitchen to house our various assortments of new and old seeds that will contribute to our summer harvest. I planted beans, peas, pumpkin, tomato, lettuce, cucumber, and maybe something else. Hopefully, the weather turns warm soon.
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