Leash-bears

There is nothing that Atlantans love quite so much as walking their dogs in public (except, perhaps, drinking beer at festivals or patios, as a concept). And so it was not surprising that on the near-enough-to-room-temperature-so-we’ll-take-it Saint Patrick’s Day that we had this year, everyone and their mother’s great Dane was out walking the Chattahoochee trails with my friend and me.

The dogs came in all shapes in sizes. There were little terriers which were trotting along, and a few robust rottweilers, and 800 labby labs (“Are you a person? I love you!”) walking along with us.

But my favorite dogs were probably the paired set that I saw rounding the back of a muddy trail. As my friend and I were walking this side trail, we saw a couple with two dogs–one, a Great Pyrenees, and the other, a Bernese Mountain Dog.

For those of you who do not creep on dog breeds as a stress-reducing hobby, that’s basically 200 pounds of giant, fluffy dog. That’s a sofa’s worth of dog. They were completely great to see out and about.

Some weird part of me is, I think, fond of big dogs because I enjoy the fact that we as a species of ape have trained another species to walk on strings that we hold and be totally into it. I mean, really now: if those dogs had decided to peace out, they could have with ease. They are basically black bears, on leashes. Continue reading

Spring Breakdown

So, remember that time when I went to Barcelona for spring break, but then it wasn’t spring break at all and I just bailed on a week of classes? Well, fun fact, it’s actually spring break now! I have elected to stick it out in Dakar because a) I hate sept places and b) I’m saving up my broke-being for my trip to Paris in May. So, I’ve been kicking around with a group of girls in Dakar, instead.

We started the week off on Tuesday (Monday, being the day after Easter, is a national holiday, and so was dedicated to writing papers) with a trip to the West African Research Center. While there, I took advantage of the sweet, sweet wifi and copy edited a friend’s cover letter to Linden Labs. I also managed to obtain the first of the approximately 87 blisters I from this week on the walk over to WARC.

After we finished researching/creeping on Paris housing rentals, we walked to a nearby pizza place. They were having their fabulous Tuesday promotion, in which you could get two large pizzas for $12. We ordered that, and so were surprised when they brought us four pizzas. We waited for a few minutes to see if they were going to come back for them, but they didn’t. Being unethical and also hungry, we chowed down, and each managed to eat pretty much an entire three dollar pizza. Fulfilling American stereotypes is delicious.

During lunch, a man selling pirated DVDs came by. Several were purchased, including American Terrorist Film and Time Cop. We attempted to watch these in the evening, but eventually gave up for the wiles of French-language Titanic (which I have still never seen in English). Weeping and Celine Dion were had.

Continue reading

Notes from Barcelona

This is an actual thing that I saw!

So, Barcelona? Was kind of excellent. Both for reasons I expected (it’s Europe), and reasons I didn’t (I really liked not being the translator anymore). Because I’m terrible at keeping track of things in a linear fashion (particularly when on enough Senegalese sudafed to take down a small horse, because—of course—I’m sick again), here is a set of things that I remember from the trip, in no order except for the one my brain tosses them out in.

The last night we got dinner, we went to a tapas sports bar, which combined two of my favorite things—tiny food and cute waiters—into one. The tapas were served in what is apparently a standard fashion there. Partially to make things easier for the bartender and partially to make it so that the drunk people/me eat lots of tiny things, all of the tapas are the same price. You grab as many as you want and when you pay, the waiter counts the number of toothpicks on your plate. Clever! Delicious! One of the tapas available at this particular bar was basically two inches of cream cheese with jam and toast, which is in no way authentic but is in all ways delicious. So that was awesome.

On the cute waiter front, the guy who took our drink orders was a) maybe 19 and b) learning job-specific English in an excellent fashion. He, like everyone in the Barcelonan service industry, as far as I can tell, spoke perfectly good English. However, he had apparently not heard many people order “cider” in English (I’m better at consuming fermented juice than I am at learning Spanish), and so as he wandered away he was muttering “cider” to himself in order to memorize the English pronunciation, as far as I can tell. Adorable? Adorable.

Continue reading

Lying to Bouncers, Dancing with Nerds: SB ’11

So much plaid, everywhere.

SXSW 2011 / Shashi Bellamkonda / CC BY 2.0

After my weird little half-week and a weekend back from Spring Break, I am fully readjusted to not living out of a suitcase (yay!). I am not the sort of person who does well with traveling–somehow my clothes always wind up smelling weird and I wear the same outfit six time even though I overpacked. It’s not attractive.

I spent the break, along with two additional being-a-truant days, in Austin with Kelly, Shep, and Laura from HackCollege exploring the unconference aspects (ie, networking and parties) of South by Southwest Interactive. I was glad the trip wound up happening in part because it gave me an excuse to see some relatives I have not seen in several years, and because it involved tacos*, which are one of those foods that are delicious and that Georgians just don’t do.**

Continue reading