Friday, October 31, 2008

The Charlotte 500, Lap 59-62: Daytrip to Hickory

Lap 59: Downtown Hickory. Neslted in the foothills of the Appalachian Mountains, Hickory is a large town, or small city, although "city" is a bit too big of a word for Hickory. But, at about an hour from Charlotte, there's just enough to do in Hickory to make it worth a trip for a day. Downtown Hickory looks like an old downtown should look, with just enough shopping and food/drink/sweets to keep everyone happy. And if you get there early enough on Saturdays, there's a large farmer's market right next to the train station.

Lap 60: Olde Hickory Brewery. If you're in downtown, you might as well walk down to the Olde Hickory Brewery. If someone is there, they'll probably be willing to give you a quick tour. The brewery is tied to the Olde Hickory Taproom, on the downtown square, so, if you're into that type of thing, you can sample their brews while enjoying some really good pub grub on the square.

Lap 61: Amos Howard's. This place on the edge of town, also tied to Olde Hickory Brewery, gets a separate post, not because you can sit inside the giant barrels while you eat, but because of the Aviemore Burger. Supposedly Scottish in origin, the burger is topped with egg, beet, and cheese - sounds a bit odd, but it is a beautiful thing.

Lap 62: Hickory Crawdads. Beginning in 2009, the Class A Crawdads will be an affiliate of the Texas Rangers, ending a ten year association with the Pittsburgh Pirates (previously, they were in the Chicago White Sox organization). Major league alumni of the Crawdads include Carlos Lee and Maglio Ordonez. Members of the South Atlantic League, the Crawdads play their home games at LP Frans stadium.

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Saturday, October 11, 2008

The Charlotte 500, Lap 58: Furniture in Hickory

No pictures here, because you've all seen furniture and it really isn't that interesting. However, the Hickory area, one of the major furniture-making regions in the country, is the place to go for good furniture at really good prices. If you're patient, you can really save a ton of money on furniture in Hickory. Of course, there are also a lot of places that don't have very good deals, so you need to keep looking to find the right price.


Friday, October 10, 2008

Walking Soundtrack #3

1) And She Was - The Talking Heads: Not much to say about this one. I've always like it, though.

2) Bandera - Willie Nelson: Instrumental interlude from Red Headed Stranger, not very interesting apart from the rest of the album.

3) A Pirate Looks at Forty - Jimmy Buffett: My sometime favorite song. Great lyrics, very funny, about being made for a different time and place. Like a great western, it makes you (almost) long to be an outlaw.

4) Black Widow's Eyes - The Who: From 2006, it's one of their newer songs and also one of their best. As usual, I have no idea what Pete Townshend is writing about, but it sounds important.

5) Hand in My Pocket - Alanis Morisette: She comes across as a whiny brat, but Alanis sometimes made a nice racket.

6) Down to the River to Pray - Alison Krauss: I don't want to sound too sensitive or girly, but I could listen to her sing all day.

7) Dusty Miller - Alison Krauss: From one of her first albums, closer to true bluegrass than her latest work, Dusty Miller is a good one to walk to.

8) She Walked Away - Barlow Girl: I saw Barlow Girl at a mini-concert, and, even if they are girls, they make a nice big, noisy sound. I think this one is supposed to be kinda motivational, but I'm not really sure. And it doesn't really matter.

9) I Am a Man of Constant Sorrow - Alison Krauss and Union Station: From their Live album, this song from O Brother Where Art Thou is the one everyone knows.

10) All My Loving - The Beatles: Fun, shallow, 60s pop. A good song for walking.

11) Hold On Beauty - Cameron McGill & the Quarter Offensive: I got this song from, a website that highlights Chicago music but which I'm not sure exists any longer. Reminds me of "Come on Eileen" from the early 80s. One of my newer favorite songs.

12) Turn the Page - Bob Seger and the Silver Bullet Band: Standard Bob Seger - good, not great, but doesn't disappoint.


Tuesday, October 07, 2008

The Charlotte 500, Lap 57: Vidalia Onions

You can probably get Vidalia onions just about anywhere, but somehow these sweet onions seem more tasty when bought from one of those cute little road-side stands pictured here. Don't remember exactly where this was, but I do remember the guy liked to talk politics, and since he agreed with me, I thought he was pretty smart. Anyway...just drive south into South Carolina or Georgia and these farm stands are all over the place. We've discovered that Vidalias are best sliced into large pieces, covered with olive oil, and cooked up on the charcoal (I've learned not to call it barbecue) grill.

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Wednesday, October 01, 2008

Walking Soundtrack # 2

1) Baba O'Riley - The Who: One of the best rock songs ever written, with the funky jig-like crescendo at the finish, Baba O'Riley is probably more popular now than at any time since it was released in 1971. No one really knows what it's about, but, really, isn't that true of most rock music? Great for exercise.
2) I'll Fall In Love Again - Sammy Hagar: Sammy was huge back in the early-to-mid '80s. This song is one of those hard-rock sorta/kinda love songs (not quite a power ballad) that were so big back then.
3) Fireball Mail - The Lonesome River Band: From my favorite bluegrass album, this isn't the best song from LRB, but it's still a good one to move to.
4) Poor, Poor, Pitiful Me - Warren Zevon: My favorite Zevon song, it's all about, I think, falling in love with the wrong type of woman.
5) Get Up - Van Halen: From 5150, the first Sammy Hagar Van Halen album. Not a great song, but it's got a fast, hard pace that's good for walking.
6) Who Are You - Pete Townshend live in 1991, at a Roger Daltrey concert: This is an unusual version of Who Are You - mostly acoustic, kind of a bebop vibe. One of my favorite versions.
7) Behind Blue Eyes - Sheryl Crow: Cover of The Who's classic is well suited to Crow's style, but the bubbling sound in the background is kinda distracting.
8) Cowgirl in the Sand - Neil Young: A quiet, rambling song that, due to the clangily-loud guitars, feels like it's about to explode at any second. It never does, but that feel makes it move along nonetheless.
9) Empty Glass - Pete Townshend: Title song from Townshend's best solo album. A little bit of rock and, surprisingly at the time, a little bit of pop - quite a change from his Who records.
10) Lovin', Touchin', Squeezin' - Journey: Typical 80s rock, but just a bit more catchy. Journey was never deep, but they always seemed to put songs together that everyone likes to hear.


The Charlotte 500, Lap 56: Soiree

Soiree, in downtown Mooresville, is one of the few French restaurants in the Charlotte area. It's a neat little place in an old building in Mooresville, perfect for a special occasion, such as a 13th anniversary. I like the external look of the building, and, for the most part, the decor inside measures up. The food was very good, especially the spinach salad and the salmon, and was presented in such a way that it was a shame to ruin it by digging in. Soiree is not a place you'd dine regularly if you live on a budget, but it's a great place to go for those days that call for a celebration.

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