A Weekend Of Roadblocks And Breakthroughs

I had an interesting weekend in Nashville, Tennessee.

I Paid More For Parking This Weekend Then I Care To Admit
I spent a grand total of $30 dollars to park my car this weekend.

Friday : free parking (street parking for dinner near Vanderbilt)
Saturday : first lot – $5
Saturday : second lot – $13
Sunday : $12

I am not a fan of paying for parking, but given the situations I found myself in this weekend I needed to do so. There was a chance that I could have parked on the streets of downtown Nashville for free on Sunday, but I figured the $12 would be far less than and parking ticket or towing charge that I would have to pay if I was wrong.

Getting Into My Places Of Choice Was Nearly Impossible
I’ve been to Nashville a handful of times now. By doing so I’ve gathered a number of establishments that I like to frequent when I’m there. In addition to my haunts I thought about trying some new places this time around.

On Friday night I returned to McDougal’s Chicken for some chicken fingers. I’d been directed there before and liked food and laid back attitude, and I wanted to spend time near Vanderbilt University since I figured to be hanging out in downtown on Saturday night. After dinner I located a package store and headed back to my hotel since I knew that Saturday was going to be an early, and long day.

My difficulties began on Saturday. While sitting in the workshop a huge hunger set in and used my iPhone to reference Yelp to find a nearby restaurant. I settled on Varallos Chili Parlor And Restaurant, which had great ratings. I marched up to Varallos, only to find it closed on the weekend. Dangen! My next choice The Chile Burrito Co. was also closed on the weekend. At that point I figured that I’d go to one of my old standards, Jack’s BBQ only to find a huge line winding out the door. Dangen! So, I wound up across the street at a place called Rippy’s BBQ. The food at Rippy’s was good, but not quite what my palate desired. After the workshop on Saturday I decided to grab a beer before heading anywhere to eat dinner. One of my favorite, tucked-away Nashville bars is called the Beer Sellar, which is located under Nashville’s Hooters. As I passed Hooters I noticed it was closed for renovations . Wouldn’t you know that the Beer Sellar, which is located under Hooters, would also be closed for renovations? Dangen! I then headed over to the Blue Grass in where, I was informed the beer cooler was not functioning properly — so I wound up paying $4.50 for a Yuengling.

Folks, Yuengling is not a import. Yuengling is not a craft beer. Yuengling should be priced accordingly, along with PBRs and Miller High Lifes of the world.

On Sunday my attempt to find parking started the day off incorrectly. Around and around I drove looking for a garage that was open to the public early Sunday morning. As the morning continued it was clear that my early-morning breakfast was not going to hold me over until the schedule 12:30pm lunch break (which, due to technical difficulties didn’t happen until 1:00pm). I figured that my best chance at a quick lunch would be at the San Antonio Taco Co. which was a block away from the Marriott Courtyard at which the workshop was held; of course as I strolled down the block I found that it was closed on Sundays. Dangen!

ITP Flickr Pic
This was a happy accident.
Feeling Groovy
I took this photo (accidentally) as I was attempting to take a self-portrait while walking up Broadway in Nashville, TN. That’s my arm in the lower right-hand corner. 🙂

The Workshop Was Great
I’ve heard Craig Tanner speak before. Tanner’s path to becoming a photographer is quite interesting so I knew that taking a workshop led by him would be beneficial to me. I was not disappointed. Throughout the weekend Tanner, his workshop co-instructor Marti Jeffers, and guest presented Bryan Allen provided us with good, inspirational information and stories about photography.

I’ve come to the conclusion that I need to do (at least) two things:

  1. Shoot a lot more
  2. Find workshops that are not for novices

That last point is huge for me. I came to the realization that I sort of “understand” photography and need to be pushed beyond the “Here is how you obtain proper exposure,” “Here is the gear I use” workshops. This is not to say that I’ll never be open to learning more about the technical aspects and techniques of photography, but I don’t feel the need to have any introductory information as a part of a workshop I pay to attend.

As an added bonus for the weekend we got to submit a photo to be critiqued by Tanner. He really liked the photo I submitted,
Where In The World Is Carmen San Diego?
even saying “Normally I don’t like photos of statues, but I really like this photo.”

Goodbye Ruby Tuesday
I decided to give myself a break last night. I knew that the workshop would end some time around 5:30pm CDT (so really 6:30pm in my targeted time zone), and that driving back to my house would take somewhere around five hours. So, I made an executive decision to take a hotel room in Ringgold, Georgia which is about halfway between Nashville and Atlanta.

Rolling into Ringgold around 9:00pm EDT I figured that all of the non-chain restaurants would be closed, so I figured that I’d break down and get some thing “fast.” I noticed that there was a Ruby Tuesday next to my hotel and thought that a beer with a burger would be delicious. As I entered I notice a bar with beer taps, though when I ordered a Sam Adams the waitress said “I’m sorry, I can’t sell you a beer tonight — this is a dry county.”


It’s bad enough we can’t buy alcohol in stores on Sunday, but there are still places in this crappy-ass state that are not completely dry and that can’t sell beer on Sundays in restaurants?


Living in the Bible Belt wears me out sometimes.

Wanna Guess What Photo I Submitted For Tonight’s RPS Critique?
I had an interesting opportunity this weekend — submit the same photo to two different critiques. Tonight I’ll get to hear what the critic at Roswell Photographic Society says about my statue photo. Let it be known that I submitted that shot for RPS critique before hearing what Tanner said about it.

Stats & Goals
Current Mood – not bad, though I’m working through some issues
Current Music – listening to this week’s “Car Talk” podcast
Website Of The Day – Huh, I’ve never picked Yelp as a Website Of The Day. Now I have.
Mode Of Transportation To Work – my car
Exercise (b)Log – nothing
Morning Weigh-In – couldn’t check
Pages Of 1001 Paintings You Must See Before You Die Read – 52

Foot Mileage – 0 miles, Wheel Mileage – 0 miles
Pushups – 0, Situps – 0
Consecutive Days Of Bed-Making (Longest Streak) – 11* (11*)
Vegetarian Days – 0, Carnivorous Days – 18
Marta Rides – 0
* – held in place because I’ve stayed at hotels

April Goals
– Not to get sick for the entire month
– Not get fired from my job
– Ride my bicycle no fewer than 100 miles
– Get the Sharpened Stone, LLC moving…

2010 Goals
– Reduce my weight to 185 pounds (starting weight was 198 pounds)
– Completely read the book 1001 Paintings You Must See Before You Die
РEarn at least $150 through photography sales in order to cover the cost for the renewal of the Jalape̱o Beach SmugMug account.
– Save $500 for the sole purpose of donating to charitable organizations of my choice
– Attend at least one professional photography workshop
– Enter no fewer than three photographic competitions / gallery showings
– Get the Black Sheep stats out of Excel and online
– Ride in no fewer than two 50 mile or 50K bike rides
– Complete my Taco Mac Passport requirement of 125 beers

The Unmeasurable
– Continue backing up all data, including the off-site storage
– Become a proficient programmer in PHP and CSS
– Do not create a solution for something which is not a problem

Paulie [eatl/ga]

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7 Responses to A Weekend Of Roadblocks And Breakthroughs

  1. Steve says:

    Wow… Nashville was really rolling out the welcome mat for you this weekend!!

    Your experience in Dalton reminds me of one we had on one of our first farm shopping trips to Newnan.. fortunately, Coweta County has finally moved into the 20th century.

    Glad the workshop was worthwhile.


  2. Even more amazing Steve, I was disappointed that I had so many restaurant/bar/parking garage failures, but I still had a decent time. 🙂

  3. Barb says:

    okay – now at least price Yuengling with the Budwieser/Miller Lite group, would ya? It is better than PBR, though Allan might argue with you about being better than High life.

    It is crazy that you found that many places that are closed on the weekend, were you in a business district that is a ghost town on the weekend?

  4. Vic says:

    When you go back…
    You can always park at the meters on the streets on the weekends for free(after 5 on Friday). Also the garage behind the library is $5 a day. 24 hours. The food at Broadway Brewhouse is pretty good. Merchant’s is THE restaurant on Broad. I’ve never been disappointed there, although a little pricey. Robert’s Western World has a great Burger and fries. Ichiban on 2nd Avenue for sushi. Also if you want to venture up 5th Ave. North about 1/2 mile, Germantown Cafe is really good.

  5. Great information Vic. Thanks.

    Barb, I was in downtown, but I was really only two or three blocks from the heart of Broadway where everyone goes.

    Dammit, I just remembered and entire story I wanted to relate today. 🙁 Maybe tomorrow, event though it’s related to Nashville.

  6. Vic says:

    Yes Varallo’s and the Chile Burrito Co.(didn’t miss much there) are both just open on M-F for downtown workers. I forgot, San Antonio Taco Company is at 3rd and Commerce. Good stuff…

  7. Paulie [eatl/ga] says:

    San Antonio Taco Co was where I tried to eat lunch on Sunday but it was closed.

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