Atlanta: What a weekend

I went up to Atlanta for the weekend.? Went to see A & T & their daughter, MacAttack.? T and I went to college, and being as it’s only 120+ miles to their house, it seemed to close to not do.? Awesome, awesome weekend.

Let’s see. There was:

1.? The new iPhone.

2.? The trip to the mall.

3.? Dinner at Ted’s.

4.? A morning of unlocking the iPhone and T’s iTouch.

5.? A lazy afternoon of looking at the new iPhone like it’s a naked lady who moved in across the street.

So, bear with me — this will take a bit to recap.

The drive up there was nice.? I did not head to Atlanta, but to Athens, GA.? My friends live just north of Atlanta, and it seemed like a nicer drive to get off of A20 / Interstate 20 and head through the back country.? So, I headed to Athens, to see the tree.? The tree was cool.? I like the tree.? I could have headed to Georgia Tech or something else, but I wanted to see the Love Shack (which is gone) or the bar where REM started (gone), so I ended up with a tree.? Yes, I stood less than 8 feet from it; I was not attacked.

We had planned to go to the Aquarium in Atlanta on Saturday.? All that changed, though, when Geoff, who I shall now always refer to as WGBET, emailed to say that he had indeed bought a new iPhone, and that he would indeed be sending to me his “old” one.? He put it in the mail overnight to A & T’s house, due to arrive by 1500 on Saturday.? So, after I arrived, A and MacAttack and I headed out to Moe’s for some food to go, while T held down the fort and waited for the mailman.? Who arrived at right around 1500.

I know what you’re thinking.? The phone arrived, I took out my laptop, and I disappeared into their basement for 14 hours, to get acquainted with the iPhone.

I did no such thing.? In fact, I put it aside and we headed out to the mall.

The mall.? Ah, yes.? We first went to the local Toys-R-Us, which is closing in order to move down the street to the new location.? So, instead of moving inventory, they’re slashing prices.? The place was pretty much picked over, and it was very, very scary to see people stocking up on things I would never buy.? Ever.? Needed a toy harp?? They had ’em — in bulk. No Nintendo DS games of any merit left; no Bionicles.

We then headed over to the big mall itself.? I’ll be honest — I was excited to go to a mall.? Malls, for me, really represent a big chunk of the American culture, something I feel eerily detached from after all of these years in Europe.? And boy, did I get a taste of Americana at the mall!

We hit the Lego superstore.? I love the new Bionicles.? I think I need to buy this one for someone I know.? And this one.? After we looked around some, T suggested we make a loop around the mall.? Which I thought was great.

There’s a Stone Cold Steve Creamery here.? Or whatever it’s called.? We didn’t bee-line right to it, but looped past it and came back.? I almost missed it — I figured that once I saw the Jenny Craig store, I’d see the ice cream within a store or two — that’s how it is here in Augusta, and no, I am not making that up.

Cold Stone Creamery.? I ordered something called G?rm?nch?c?l?dk?k?, yes, with umlauts over every damn vowel (!).? And no, I did not make that up, either.? In German, it’s not “German” it’s deutsch.? And Chocolate cake?? Yeah, it’s not that, even with all of the heavy metal dots added.? It should be closer to die deutsche Schokoladen-Kuchen.? When I ordered it, I, of course, asked for the German Chocolate Ka Ka, in my best Southern accent, and that is what I was served.? Except it was ambrosia — 14.5 million calories of sweet dairy goodness.

Walking around the mall, I was amazed at the sights to see. Medieval Times — you can catch some jousting at the mall and eat a meal with your bare hands.? Two — one, two — indoor miniature golf courses, one of which had a glow in the dark theme.? An insurance business, because wandering the mall is when I get the spontaneous urge to increase my insurance coverage.

There was an Africa themed store, with mannequins in the window that were more Caucasian that Jackie O.? There was the East Asian themed store, with little marble Greek god statues, as well as scantily-clothed-in-leather nymph statues.? There was a safe store — you know, safes, like in the old banks in the old Western movies.? A safe store that also sold giant swords, because when you buy a safe, you usually are also in the market for a good samurai sword.

I saw a mall security guy and wanted to laugh.? Partly because, well, he was a mall security guy, but mainly because he was 1) telling teen agers to move along while 2) standing on a Segway.? You fat lazy fuck.? I had to work to avoid eye contact, so as not to burst out in laughter and be taken down by the mall ninjas (you will lose a hour to laughing if you click on and read that link).? We saw him later — he was blocked in by the line at the hot dog place in the food court — total ambush situation.? Tactical failure on his part.

There was a store whose business model is to change $3 to $5 for five minutes of slot car racing, on a giant track.? Giant track, like the kind you’d see in the basement of that creepy older guy who lives up the street and who keeps asking for help in finding his lost puppy.? Slot car racing, where the slowest (meaning $3) race cars were NASCAR cars that would get smoked by classic muscle cars, and obliterated by what looked like a Porsche 917-30.? T advised me to lower my voice if I insisted on mocking NASCAR while in a mall in Georgia.? Something about an abundance of gun racks out in the parking lot.

There was a t-shirt kiosk in the mall.? It sold very Christian, very Jesus themed stuff.? Blatant copyright infringement, too — WWJD about that, ya think?? Though shall not steal, right?

And Reader’s Digest had a store there.? I looked inside, expecting to see only toilet stalls since really, people only read Reader’s Digest in the bathroom.? There was no Humor in Uniform section, either.? Bummer.

There were probably 30 other laughable things there, from the kid mannequins that freaked me out because their heads had been chopped off, to the kiosk where you could get your teeth whitened — right before you go stock up on cigars and Starbucks.? Really, we needed George Carlin to be our guide through that journey, because the raw comedic material was just toooooo much.

Afterwards, we unwound some before heading out to Ted’s.? Yes, I ate buffalo / bison meat.? A & T did also.? It was pretty good.? And I got a decent beer, too, which was a real treat.? Little MacAttack did really well, given the hour and the length of dinner.? She was a trooper.? I picked up the tab for dinner – the least I could do for my hosts – but left my credit card at the restaurant by accident.? Whoops.? Noticed when I got back to the hotel this afternoon and went to go fuel the car back up.

This AM, I woke up around 6 or 6:30 and started in on the iPhone.? Took a few tries to unlock it — I was forgetting to hold down the option key when I selected the restore option during the process.? Whoops.? But I got it.? And I did T’s iTouch, too — her students have all unlocked theirs, and so she thought it’d be cool to have hers unlocked, too.? It was pretty funny watching her play Macman — Pacman where the game is controlled by tilting the iTouch / iPhone itself.

I left around 1100 and came back to Augusta, heading to Best Buy on the way.? I picked up a T Mobile sim chip card thingy, and a $25 pay as you go thingy, too.? I feel like such a loser when it comes to cell phones — I can unlock an iPhone, but I can’t get it to make a call.? Looooooser.? Anyway, with a couple of calls to T Mobile (who told me that yes, there was a hitch), I got it working.? 1st call?? Geoff, to thank him for the phone.

Geoff, thank you.? It is awesome.? Very generous of you.? I will push that phone as hard as possible, and see if I can’t get it to do things that would otherwise seem impossible.? And I am sure I will blog about it, too.? I’ll get a new sim card when I get to Iraq, and when I get to Hawaii, I’ll re-tool my iTouch for Kristin, who I know will be as pleasantly surprised as I was by it.? Thank you.

And then I did homework.? Boring.? I kept looking at the desk, at the iPhone.? It wasn’t doing anything, but I kept looking.? Like it was going to get up and start dancing or something.? Or burst into flames.? It was a total siren, destroying my ability to concentrate on my homework.

I’ll try not to roll over onto it and call China tonight.? Might happen, though.? I looooooooove my new iPhone.? Looooooove.

It was a very good weekend, indeed.? I’ll be back up that way next weekend, too, to see Eric from high school.

iTouch on the left, iPhone in the stand. ?

Emily

Emily.? She drives everywhere with me.? Moooooooo, she says.?

Got my iPhone!? The new-to-me iPhone

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