Free-For-All Friday 12/23/11

Feel free to use this post to ask questions and make comments about local issues not discussed here over the past week.

Comments close on Monday.

Just hear those sleigh bells jinglin’….

87 thoughts on “Free-For-All Friday 12/23/11”

    1. We call it The Night Before the Night Before Christmas at Little Shop. Santa will be here tonight at 7 p.m. to read The Night Before Christmas. Ooooooooh!

  1. Thank you to whoever recommended Nostalgic Media as a place to get videos converted to DVD! I’ve had all my kids’ home movies converted, and they were super nice, very fast, and even gave me tips on how to convert those to digital so I could edit them into a watchable format. And when I found 2 videos that had hidden in my closet, they even did those in a rush order to have them done for Christmas!

  2. Does anyone use Clear for internet? I’m about to move to Winnona Park and am looking for a service provider. The Clear coverage map shows my house being right on the border between great coverage and no coverage at all. Thanks.

    1. I’ve had Clear 4G internet service the past 2 years, and have been very pleased with it. I got fed up with all my issues with Comcast, so I decided to give Clear a try. The download speeds are good, not so much on the upload, compared to other services. I just ran a 3 tests at, here’s my average results: Ping 74ms, Download Speed 11.25 Mbps, Upload Speed 0.46 Mbps.

      I hear it’s not the greatest service if you play online video games, due to some lag, but otherwise I stream Netflix to my Xbox 360 with no buffering issues; I work from home over VPN with no issues, and surf the web fine. In the two years I’ve had it, it’s been down maybe 2 – 3 times, and back up within an hour. Also, I recently moved within the coverage area, so I was able to just take my 4G modem to my new place, plug it in, and go online to change my address. No need to have a technician come out, no need to disconnect from my old place and connect at my new. It was nice.

      I live in Kirkwood, near the Arizona lofts, and have had 5 bar coverage the whole time I’ve had the service. I can’t speak to how well it works where you are living, or how well things work if you don’t have 5 bars.

    1. I always use the small, dusty, but reliable shoe repair shop in Downtown. I believe, but am not sure, that it is called Clairemont Shoe Repair Co and is listed as 135 Clairemont. But you can’t see it from Clairemont. It’s a tiny shop tucked way into the bottom of parking deck behind Parker’s, across the parking alley from Andryannis Bistro Café. I haven’t had anything dyed there but have had great luck with repairs like regluing soles, heel repair, adding holes to belts, etc. The shop and the couple who work there remind me of the kinds of shoe repair places that you’d find in Grand Central Station or other nooks in New York City years and years ago. Given the low prices and the out-of-sight location, I wonder how this shop makes it financially. I’m hope they are there forever.

        1. Agreed – this shope is great. I took some designer flats to my old shoe guy in Buckhead. He wanted $85 to repair them. This little shop did my flats, another pair of flats AND a pair of boots for $44 and in 24 hours. Highly recommend them and will be taking more shoes to them soon.

    2. I recently tried two shoe repair shops I found on Yelp — Bob’s Shoe Repair and Clairemont Shoe Repair.
      Bob’s Shoe Repair on L’ville Hwy is in a strip mall just past N Druid Hills intersection and before the Home Depot. Shoe shine, $5 was more reasonably priced than Clairemont Shoe Repair. Really quick turn around. Pleasant. Will return.

      Had an unfortunate experience with Clairemont Shoe Repair. Brought in a pair of clogs for freshening up, $13. They used shoe polish instead of conditioning the leather, after only a few minutes of wear my shoes showed creases across the toe box… I returned for a refund or a fix, and after an uncomfortable exchange with owner(s), they agreed to attempt to remove the polish and … we will see what happens. I will pick up next week.

  3. So, what in Decatur will be open on Christmas this year?

    A comprehensive list would be great if it could be found somewhere.

    1. Related request: What coffee shops will be open and how late? I know that Caribou Coffee at Briarcliff and N. Druid Hills will be closed so I am worried that I will actually have to drag out my rusty coffee makers…….

        1. Please remember to thank all employees profusely. A tip would be very gracious as well.

          While it’s nice the stores are open for the patrons, it’s not fun for the employees to be away from their families.

          Just remember to say thank you and Merry Christmas!

          1. I think it is wise to thank employees and tip graciously every day, not just Christmas Day.

            I would suspect, however, than many of the employees who volunteer to work on Christmas Day at Starbucks (or wherever) are Jews, atheists, or non-believers, who do not celebrate Christmas anyway, just like many of the patrons who are there looking for a cup of coffee or a meal. There are many of us for which December 25th is just like any other day other than that most things are closed – except or Chinese restaurants and movie theaters.

            1. As an employee at several places that were open on the holidays the employees usually are not there because they don’t practice Christmas. More of who has the seniority to get off on the holiday.

              1. Just how much family can you possibly stand? If you have to work an 8 hour shift on Christmas, you still have 16 hours to devote to family time. That is PLENTY for me.

    2. According to Patch:

      Garlic Thai Cuisine and Sushi Bar at 340 W. Ponce de Leon Ave., Decatur. 404-270-9165
      Siam Thai at 123 Sycamore St., Decatur. 404-371-4333
      Sushi Avenue on the Square at 131 Sycamore St., Decatur. 404-378-8448

      All Asian. Some things haven’t changed since the time of “A Christmas Story”. So, if your dog grabs your turkey…….

    3. I was coming here to either get an answer or ask this very question, so thank you for asking!

      My contribution: Last year, Twain’s was open for dinner on Christmas. I am hoping they’ll be open again this year.

  4. Anyone know what’s going on with the zoning review task force? Haven’t heard much for a while. Is my house about to be rezoned industrial? Can I build the water tank I’ve always wanted on my front lawn? Can we rezone Westchester as an “adult” theme park? I need answers people!

  5. According to Patch

    1. Java Monkey broken into: Sigh. Sorry. I still say that the data showing declining crime are flawed somehow.

    2. Deck Your House and Win $100,000 for Decatur or DeKalb Public Schools: Great. I pride myself on almost always responding when asked for baked goods, chaperone support, tutoring, volunteering, joining a committee, etc. to support CSD. But this one I cannot do. Our house would not win. Especially since I just heard about this today, the due date is 3 days from now, and I’m sick, working, and entertaining relatives. Someone else in Decatur is going to have to step up to the plate on this one! Go Nancy Wilkinson! Go Decorate Decatur winners!

    1. It should be noted that according to the Patch ariticle, Java Monkey was broken into on December 11th nearly 12 days ago.

      1. On the 12th day of Christmas, my true love gave to me …

  6. I wanted to make a public expression of gratitude to the Decatur PD, which swiftly rounded up the burglars who hit my home Monday afternoon. Officer Horton and Investigator Vandiver were consummate pros, and they even recovered some of the stolen items.. Makes me proud to pay my property taxes!

    1. Our house was broken into this evening. Thanks to the alarm system and the quick response of the Decatur Police, nothing was taken.
      But it is disturbing Decatur is seeing so many of these incidents.

      Broken window needs replacement… Any recommendations for a window repair service?

      1. My house was broken into in December a few years back, and it seems there is an increase in home break-ins this time every year. I guess this is how some people do their Christmas “shopping”.

        1. Yeah, and they also take five-finger-discounts at stores also. Article yesterday talking about the increase in shoplifting around the holidays.

    1. I’m guessing it will begin late next week and end on January 7 or 8. City’s website says nothing about it. There’s a link on the city’s solid waste collections page about Christmas trees but it just goes to the general recycling page, which says nothing about Christmas trees.

    1. No problem with being green, but I don’t think they look anywhere near good on this house (even with them shooting them in the best possible light), and saying they would look “great” in Decatur or anywhere else doesn’t pass the straight face test in my opinion.

      It’s also kind of funny that they took the “before” photo with full sun on the roof and the “after” with them in the shade. That not only makes them look better, but makes me wonder how long the payback will be for a house with solar panels spending time in the shade even on the sunny days.

      1. I don’t know, I think I like them a lot more than tearing down the house and putting up something that purports to be green. Oakhurst is full of teardowns replaced by “gizmo green” homes that don’t pass the straight face test as sustainable.

  7. Oh gosh – went to Dekalb Farmer’s market at 1pm today (meant to go earlier but time got away from me), and I waited 20 mins just to try and get the opportunity to turn left into the parking lot! It was crazy! Then, right as I was getting ready to turn, 4 firetrucks and 5 police cars rushed up – I decided to get out of there fast (if the place hasn’t burned down I’ll try again at 9am tomorrow). Interestingly, lots of folks were still turning in there – determined to get their groceries I suppose 🙂

    1. Thanks for the warning, LM. I was about to head there! Anyone know somewhere else I can get pumpernickel flour…?

    2. Damn. Glad I played hooky to do both my Christmas shopping and pierogi provision procuring yesterday! It was surprisingly mellow at around 9:30 am.

      Of course, given its history, the 4 firetrucks and 5 police cars could simply have been responding to a call about a riot over either the bag checking or no returns policy. I had a good laugh yesterday witnessing a stand-off between a YDFM employee who appeared to know about three words of English and a New Yawker who apparently knew only two more (“What. The. F$^%? Jesus. F%&$ing. Christ!)

      1. There’s an app for that. Although I am not sure if Google Translate has “New Yawker” listed yet. If they did, it might go something like this,
        New Yawker: “What. The. F$^%?” Jesus. F%&$ing. Christ!”
        Google Translate: “Excuse me kind sir. I was wondering if you could direct me to the chocolate filled croissants. I really love those things. Thanks a bunch!”

        1. Mmmm, hmm. When I took my southern-born husband to NYC for the first time, I had to explain to him that a storekeeper’s “Whaddya’ want?” was the equivalent of “How’s it going, sir? Nice weather we’re having out there. That child sure is rambunctious, bless her heart. Will you be needing anything today? I might can help you.”

      2. Let us know how your pierogi turn out. And I contacted the church in Gwinco that has the Pierogi Festival.. the next one is in the works for August.

        1. I think they came out pretty darned good. Of course, the real test won’t come until Tuesday when we get to my parents’ house but I think even my mom will be impressed. They’re as close to my Polish grandmother’s as I’ve come yet. The yellow cheese and potato are always the easiest. I lost a bunch of the sweet white farmer’s cheese batch in the boiling process but the ones that came out intact are my favorite. I also made some sauerkraut ones which are decent but I’ll never make the mistake of using the Sabrett bagged kraut again when I can’t find Ba-Tampte. It’s just not sour enough, especially after rinsing and sauteeing. Should have just used the canned stuff. After the new year, I’ll make a few more batches of potato with bacon and maybe some sweet dessert pierogi with blueberry or cherry.

          We are taking a bunch to Mrs J_T’s family’s Christmas Eve dinner tonight to add some Polack charm to their Italian spread. The funny thing is that her parents live maybe two damn miles from St. Marguerite d’Youville, which hosts the Pierogi Festival. We basically lived with them for the year before we bought our house this past August yet we hardly ever drove that way and I had no idea about it until I googled pierogi recipes a few weeks ago. You will certainly see me there next year if they do indeed have it again!

    3. It’s been that way the past two days. Yesterday I went there around 11:30, and there was so much traffic going into the market that police were directing all the cars. I turned around and left. This morning I show up at 9:15, knowing they open a 9:00, and the parking lot was full, and a line of cars at least 20 – 30 long was waiting to turn in. Again, police directing traffic. Needless to say I never made it, didn’t need anything that badly.

    4. I was there around noon – it took a few minutes to get into the lot (I was turning right), and it was unbelievably crowded inside. However, the customers were fairly mellow, the employees in the wine and beer dept very helpful with my question, and I was amazed and delighted yet again that there is such a place close to my house.

    5. At approximately 3:45pm traffic was backed up all the way to Kudzu Antiques, waiting to turn into YDFM, and you could see the auxiliary parking area in the grassy field was packed. This shopper made a u-turn and skedaddled and is working on Plan B.

    6. Here’s the inside secret: during the holidays or other peak dates at the farmers market, go at 8 pm or so, before closing time. It’s empty.

    7. WSB reported an officer directing traffic was dragged by a driver on their cellphone. (GRRRR don’t get me started.) Fortunately, the officer was not seriously injured per WSB tv.

    8. I was there at 9:20 this morning and the parking lot was packed and cops were directing traffic at the red light. The busiest I have ever seen it.

  8. Bad wreck yesterday morning, in front of Blue Elephant–totally smashed front of station wagon full of presents. Moderately smashed back side of huge pick-em-up truck. Vehicles moved by the time I got there so couldn’t tell if the station wagon drove into the back of the pick-up truck or if the pick-up truck backed into the station wagon. Either way, the smash up must have had some impressive force. Anyone see or hear that?

    1. If there was that much damage, I would guess it was a classic rear-ender. A truck backing up wouldn’t have had that much speed or force.

  9. Thanks to whoever recommended Sport Motoring. Stacy is really nice and the car has not run this well or looked this good in quite a while. We will be going back.

  10. SCENE: uncrowded dept store at the mall, early afternoon
    3 teenaged boys walking down main aisle, one accidentally drops his beverage cup and the lid comes off, spilling a handful of ice cubes in the middle of the floor. Smalltowngal watches from the corner of her eye as the young man picks up his cup and puts the lid back on, hesitates, then halfheartedly nudges one or two ice cubes with his shoe before turning to catch up with his friends. Smalltowngal calls the boys back, and asks the one who spilled the ice to pick it up so someone doesn’t slip and fall. (She didn’t say please, and in retrospect, thinks she should have.) He’s clearly embarrassed but comes back and starts picking up ice. His friends start making fun of him and he becomes resistant and complains that the ice is too hard to pick up. Smalltowngal agrees it is slippery and difficult but repeats that it needs to be picked up because someone could slip. One of the friends says, “Who are you, his mom?” Smalltowngal replies, “No, but if you don’t want strange women to act like a mom and embarrass you in public, then don’t behave like someone who needs watching over.” Ice Boy says, “I didn’t spill it on purpose,” and acts as if to leave. STG says, “I know you didn’t spill it on purpose, and I’m sorry that I embarrassed you, but that’s not the point. You need to clean it up so someone won’t get hurt.” By this time, everyone within earshot is paying attention (half a dozen people, maybe), a couple cheering on STG but most staring blankly (probably thinking this woman should mind her own business). Ice Boy is beyond mortified. He picks up about half the ice, kicks the rest around pointlessly, and the three hurry away. Smalltowngal picks up the rest of the ice and throws it in a wastebasket. She wonders if she would have gotten a better result if she’d tried to speak with the boys more quietly to start with. On the other hand, nobody else was paying any attention until the friends started making smart remarks and Ice Boy started complaining.
    STG feels satisfied that ice wasn’t left on the floor that could cause some old (or not so old) person to slip and fall. And maybe the incident made an impression on the kid — he couldn’t give any indication of that in front of his friends, of course, but maybe…. In any case, STG considers it an example of applying the Broken Window Theory to common courtesy and decency. That is, maybe one reason we have collectively become less considerate and less polite is that we tolerate it from each other. Spilling ice on a tile floor where people are walking, and abandoning it, is gateway behavior to knocking over old ladies and stealing their purses, or staging banzai raids on tip jars.
    STG has no idea why she is referring to herself in the third person. Maybe it’s time for a cocktail.

    1. I applaud your action. I would want my children asked to do the right thing. There’s two kinds of preteen/teen group effects s. In the one type, the other teens would embarrass the offender into doing the right thing. In the other, the other teens see compliance as weakness. Both use embarrassment. Unfortunately, you encountered the bad group effect. I suspect that the net effect was still positive–the offender will probably try to never get in this situation again! He’ll quickly pick up next time before anyone notices!

      Just be careful that you don’t mess with any violent young men.

      1. Thank you! Guess I need to know I’m not the last mom standing (even though technically, I’m not a mom).
        BTW, these kids weren’t scarey at all (except to the extent all adolescents are scarey, the way they constantly morph back and forth between Brats and People). They obviously knew better than to leave ice in the middle of the floor and their initial reflex was to cooperate, before they got a hold of themselves and realized that wouldn’t be Cool.

    2. J_T wishes he had been there and would have bought STG that cocktail afterward!

      Then J_T would have thought, “Doh! Damn STG just cost J_T a potential slip-and-fall client!” Oh well, Merry Christmas!

    3. Rock on STG!
      G Buck will refer to himself in the third person all day in homage of your upholding of standards of common decency. (This, coming from a guy who’s, on more than one occasion, gotten out of his car at a stoplight to hand back a smoldering cigarette butt to a stunned and disbelieving litterbug.)

      If more of us held your higher expectations, perhaps we could make a dent in failing manners and eroding courtesy.

      1. you have done what i have only dreamed of doing to the butt throwers…congrats on your elevation to hero status 🙂
        and +1 gazillion to making a dent in failing manners and eroding courtesy…

    4. Good for you, STG. Now I kinda wish we had pulled over last Sunday morning to admonish the pack of tween girls who were daring each other to run back and forth across Commerce between CVS and Ted’s against traffic.

  11. Anybody still suffering from an over-abundance of leaves? We will pick them up and leave at your curb in the recyclable bags. Cost is $1.50 per bag if you provide the bags or $2.00 per bag if we provide the bags. 10 bag minimum. Email [email protected] to set up.

  12. Just had a great experience ice-skating in Conyers (in the center of the historic downtown) – I would love to see Decatur doing such a rink – perhaps in that Calloway building lot, or better still on all that muddy landscaping on the square! 🙂

    1. Wow! That IS a great idea! Decatur should totally do an ice skating rink. It can’t be that expensive. We have so many kids I’m sure it could make money. I personally vote for the Big H parking lot in Oakhurst.

  13. Today’s tech question: need software (preferably free) that will enable slicing and dicing digital music files.
    I bought a device that connects tape deck to laptop, so can now digitize the hundreds of audio cassettes that make up the soundtrack of my adolescence and young adulthood. The problem is that recording songs as individual files requires starting and stopping the recording process between every song. I can’t face it. Does anybody know of audio editing software that would let me take the file created from Side A of a cassette and cut it up into individual songs?

    thanks and hope Santa finds everybody!

  14. I was commiserating with someone at church about my parents visiting. (Yes, that was my mother with the ridiculous hat. Only she would decide to hide a bad hairdo with a more ridiculous hat.) The church mate was getting himself psyched up to go to his family’s holiday event. On my way home, I decided to get some coffee at Starbucks and procrastinate a little. When I walked in, there was the same church mate, also getting caffeine courage and delaying the inevitable. The community of Decatur sustains me again!

    1. Like some Christmas presents I squirreled away and then could never find again, this post misplaced itself. It was supposed to be up under Marty’s comment about how many hours you can stand with relatives. BTW, in addition to caffeine courage, a little wine can take off the edge too.

    1. That’s probably as good an answer as you’re going to get. GDOT is not very communicative and their bureaucracy takes longer than forever. There are projects (like W Trinity streetscape) that have been in the GDOT black hole longer than Oakhurst.

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