The joys of running on the Silver Comet Trail not

The above image encapsulates exactly what it’s like to run on the Silver Comet trail, which is a super awesome run/bike trail here in the Metro Atlanta area that basically stretches from the outskirts of the city and supposedly connects all the way west, to almost the Alabama state line.  It’s a great trail for people of all skill and experience levels, because it has so many points of access, people can use it for leisurely walks, lengthy excursions or just to train or casually exercise on.

I’ve always used it as a place to train up for long runs, as well as my preferred location to do any of the longer, numerous virtual runs that I always sign up for in order to add to my running medal collection, and it really is a wonderful trail because it’s fairly flat, completely shaded by trees which helps in even the hottest of summers, and there are multiple break points for people to rest, get water and take bathroom breaks if needed.

However, my only real criticism of the Silver Comet trail, isn’t something that can really be controlled, and is actually something that I’ve gripe-brogged about in the past, which is all the fucking bicyclists on the trail who think they own the entire thing, and go around flying down the path at 30+ mph, screaming ON YOUR LEFT all the time as if they were getting paid a quarter every time they had to wail it out.

Seriously, thanks to the Silver Comet, I fucking hate bicyclists, more than the times when I used to have to traverse around the city and had to share the roads with all the hipsters on their fixed gears clogging up lanes.  And to be more specific it’s not all bicyclists, and it’s not even the mega-tryhards that act like they’re participating in the Tour de France with their matching uniforms and barely existent thin-ass aluminum bicycles.

It’s the weekender bicyclists who think they’re on Lance Armstrong’s level when he was roided up to the gills, who are usually by themselves or with 1-2 other douchebag weekenders, who get on the trail and act like the whole thing belongs to them.  They’re the ones who are incessantly screaming ON YOUR LEFT to everyone as if they’re taxicabs in F-Zero, strategically placed just to ruin their day when they’re the ones in fact ruining everyone else’s day by being entitled assholes, hogging the entire trail for themselves and screaming at everyone.

Like, real pro-tryhard bicyclists for one, travel in large packs, but also have been doing what they do long enough to understand that all other travelers on the trail are not stupid, blind or deaf, all at the same time, and don’t hardly ever spam ON YOUR LEFT, unless they have a reason, like some dumbass who’s swerving along the trail.  The weekenders scream at everyone as if it’s their problem that they haven’t noticed that the people in front of them 100 yards away have maintained their lines and paces, and need to be reminded to watch out for them, while they travel at speeds, which in a car would definitely kill a pedestrian, but on a bicycle could be pretty lethal too.

For real though, weekender bicyclists are the god damn worst.  Nothing pockmarks a good run session than any time some bicycle douche screams ON YOUR LEFT and whizzes past me way too close to comfort when I’m already running on the edge of the trail, because it’s slightly flatter than the slight slope which is meant to control water on the surface from pooling aboard.  It’s like these cocksuckers all think I actually can pull over to the right any more than I already am at to convenience them, and they’re really lucky I just don’t stick my arm out and start clotheslining from hell every shithead who thinks they’re going to win the Tour de Douchebag.

I’d say as much as I loved being able to get back out onto the Silver Comet for the first time in nearly three years over the Labor Day weekend, that the weekend bicycle douchefucks were the worst thing about my run, it actually turns out that my 10K time crept over the 60-minute mark that I so fervently try to stay underneath.  At 61:14, I’m glad I was able to complete a 10K without any difficult laboring, but I’m pretty dissatisfied that it took me over an hour to accomplish.  I can’t use a lack of training as an excuse this time, considering I’ve been fairly consistent with my maintenance running over the last year, so I guess this is just a sign of age starting to catch up with me, and that I have to make some actual changes if I want to get my speed back up.

A win is a win for Union City?

Source: Union City is #1… ranked worst place to live in Georgia.  Ouch

Normally whenever some rando websites called stuff like 24/7 Wall St. make lists about places the people writing them have obviously never been before in their lives, I’m usually full of objections and piss and vinegar and snark ready to rebut with.  Because like good old fashioned your mom jokes, as much as I criticize and dog on Georgia, it’s okay when I do it, but I sure as hell don’t always like it when those outside of here take a stab at some cheap shots.

But in the case of this rating system, that has Union City, Georgia as the #1 worst place to live in all of Georgia, I’m inclined to agree.   As a former resident of the south side of the Metro Atlanta area, I can say that I lived way too close to comfort to Union City than I’d care to admit.  Close enough to where I patroned the businesses, even if I didn’t really want to be there, just because it was close and convenient to where I lived. 

Needless to say, I’m not just agreeing with the shaming of Union City just because I buy what some website’s criteria is, I’m agreeing, because I have familiarity and a lot of personal experience of just how big of a shithole Union City really is.

Honestly, I didn’t really feel like I needed to have to read it to figure out what the main factor of the poor ranking was, because Union City and crime go hand in hand like peas and carrots.  The cited statistic that Union City’s crime rate is triple the state average, seems low in my opinion, seeing as how my old neighborhood’s NextDoor feed has at least two posts a day detailing people reporting gunshots, thefts or police incidents on a regular basis.

Just driving through town feels unsafe, no matter what time of the day it is, and it’s truly tangible how your own body can feel unsafe in an environment, just by being in the proximity of the town.

And I was always just passing through, or at the very worst, going to the one Kroger that was probably the closest to my actual house.  The roads are unkept, every parking lot is full of oil slicks, glass diamonds and copious amounts of litter, all evidence of poor maintenance and riff raff behavior.

I couldn’t imagine living in Union City, because if I was beginning to feel unsafe and uneasy on the regular where I used to live, I couldn’t imagine how much worse it probably was in actual Union City.  Having firearms and guard dogs wouldn’t bring me any more easiness, especially knowing that with the crime statistics in the city being what they are, the likelihood is that criminals would be living among me at any given time.

Either way, the point is, despite the fact that often times a lot of these rando sites that come up with lists about real estate and towns and cities across America are full of WASPy and NIMBY bullshit, but in the case of this particular list, I don’t think they could’ve hit the nail on the head any better.

I’m amazed Cam Newton lets Union City tout that they’re where he’s from, because he seems like a pretty regular cat.  But I guess it’s easy to live the good life when you’ve successfully gotten out of Union City.

Oh, MARTA #699

TIL: apparently retired train cars can be cleaned and dumped into the ocean to create an artificial environment that can eventually grow into reefs

When I first came across this story, it was actually brilliant; the headline was something along the lines of MARTA trains to be dumped into the ocean, and I could already feel the gears grinding at just how such a story can write itself, with less thought to how Metro Atlanta Rail Transit Authority trains go from Atlanta to like, Savannah.

How it surely sounded like some sort of catastrophic fuck-up that only a company like MARTA would be capable of doing, to where trains from the city end up in the ocean, and just the thought of MARTA trains being unceremoniously dumped into the ocean would have to be quite the visual.

But then I come to learn that MARTA is just jumping aboard a program that’s apparently been around for a while, the practice of dumping retired train cars into the ocean, so that they can ultimately be grounds for reef life to grow and become artificial reefs for marine life to inhabit.

Honestly, once I started looking into the whole thing, it really does sound kind of cool, and I can understand the logic of how an old and busted dead train car could still serve a purpose, 20,000 leagues under the sea.  And as much as I love to clown on MARTA, I do have to give them a tip of the cap to participating in a program that’s progressive, creative and resourceful.

However, upon further reading something did catch my eye and pique my critical ire:

The cost to dismantle, clean, and transport the eight cars is just over $2.1 million.

I’m no expert, but those numbers seem pretty high.  I’m going to imagine that the vast bulk of expenses have to be in logistics and the costs to get these train cars on a tanker to boat them over to their eventual final resting spots, but I’m still hard pressed to believe that $2M bones is still what it actually costs to clean and dismantle and transport eight trains.

This, is where it all seems to make sense why MARTA is doing this, so they can create a smokescreen to (falsely) justify blowing $2M on an activity that looks like they’re trying to do good, but really just pad some peoples’ pockets as is the customary norm for an agency like them.

Let’s see if Philadelphia gets the same shit Atlanta did

TL;DR: a portion of I-95 in Philadelphia collapses from a tanker fire

Back in 2017, a portion of I-85 in Atlanta collapsed when a homeless guy set a couch on fire, the fire spread and ignited a bunch of flammable shit underneath a bridge, and then the bridge collapsed.  I-85 had a gaping interruption that caused a tremendous amount of logistical issues for everyone who needed the major vein, and was only fixed as quickly as it was because of more or less, a reward bounty being put on the completion of time of the repair. 

It was still months slower than the Japanese repairing a sinkhole the size of a lake, but in the time in which it occurred, Atlanta became the butt of bad jokes, memes and all sorts of opportunity for people to dunk on us, because for some reason, Atlanta is an easy punching bag for all the unfunny comedians on the internet.

Welp, the shoe is on the other foot now, and what we have here is an extremely similar situation, happened in another major city.  I-95 is obviously one of the most essential veins not just in Philadelphia, but across the entire eastern seaboard, so the impact of it being collapsed in Philly is about similar if not worse than Atlanta’s highway collapse.

I can’t say that I care enough to check, but I would be curious to see if Philly gets the same types of criticism, ridicule and memes poking fun at their situation as Atlanta did, or if, by virtue of not being Atlanta, Philly gets off easier than things were here.

Frankly, all government doesn’t do shit jokes aside, at this point, I’m curious how this could have even happened after the debacle in Atlanta.  I don’t work in a DOT or anything, but I would’ve thought that routine checking of structural integrity and examination of bridge construction probably should’ve leveled up at least a hair after Atlanta.  Sure, highways are meant to be resilient structures meant to support millions of cars and pounds of weight crossing over them endlessly, but come on now, fire shouldn’t be disintegrating bridges.

Someone somewhere in the PA DOT wasn’t doing their job, and for their troubles, they alleviate Atlanta from their own embarrassing bridge collapse, and I hope they pay the internet price of criticism and ridicule the same way we did here.

I’m surprised it survived this long, honestly

TIL: The Greenbriar Mall Chick fil-A was the first-ever Chick fil-A opened, in 1967.  But it’s closing for good now

I did know that a large part of the original expansion for Chick fil-A’s strategy was to get themselves into mall food courts, like they did at Greenbriar Mall.  I remember the first time I ever encountered a Chick fil-A, it was at Landmark Mall in Alexandria, Virginia and like most kids embarking on a journey towards childhood obesity, the main standout was the fact that they had waffle fries.

But it’s interesting to learn that the very first Chick fil-A that was opened was in Greenbriar Mall, and it’s even more fascinating to know how it has managed to survived throughout the passage of time, because the passage of time hasn’t been particularly kind to Greenbriar Mall.

Since I’ve lived in Georgia, Greenbriar Mall hasn’t exactly been known for the best of things, and off the top of my head the greatest (read: not greatest) hits are:

  • Former home to the only Magic Johnson theater on the east coast which ultimately succumbed to the increase of crime and shenanigans and closed down
  • One of the hottest areas on crime heat maps in the entire Metro Atlanta area
  • Where a massive flock of sneakerheads gathered in the middle of the pandemic for the release of the latest Air Jordans, garnering global ridicule

Needless to say, I didn’t even know that a Chick Fil-A was in the mall and yes I have been there before, because it was pretty much where the last Circuit City in the area was, and I have gone a few times in the past to get computer shit.  But it’s safe to say that Greenbriar Mall was basically the inspiration for Chris Rock’s entire routine about black malls, and even Donald Glover’s Atlanta show acknowledged it as much.

But considering the company as a whole is extremely guarded and calculated with their locations, I’m amazed to have learned that they stuck it out for over 50 years in that location.  I’m assuming that history had something to do with their staunch tenacity at staying put, plus the fact that since the company is based in nearby Hapeville/College Park, there’s something about keeping the OGs intact as long as possible. 

However, there’s no denying the unsatisfactory area that Greenbriar Mall and surrounding area have become throughout time, and I can’t say I’m the least bit surprised to hear that they’re shuttering the location.  I’m more surprised that they managed to last 50 years there, so at this point, it’s not really so much a sad departure, as much as it’s kind of like a sort of honorable death from the Night’s Watch.

And now their watch is over.

A billion-dollar arena in Forsyth County LOL

The skinny: Forsyth County, Tennessee Georgia plans to build a mixed-use commercial zone anchored by an arena with low-key hopes of potentially luring an NHL squad back to Georgia in the event of a future expansion

It’s bad enough that Atlanta went through this crazy, stadium-happy building spree throughout the last decade that saw the Braves and Falcons both get new homes, Atlanta United getting a new training facility, and the Hawks’ developmental team getting a new arena, it looks like the bug managed to bite someone with influence way the fuck up north of the city up in Forsyth County, who now wants to build their version of The Battery, up in probably Cumming.

In all fairness, as much as I loathed the way the Braves swindled the state into getting The Battery, I do admit that The Battery is really a fine place.  It’s the polar opposite of what Turner Field and surrounding area was, with a bustling mini-town right outside the ballpark, full of bars, restaurants, shopping, hotels, social venues and a movie theater.  I’ve still never paid a dime of my own money to park there or go to a Braves game yet, but the Braves do make up a notable chunk of the taxes I pay on the regular.

The Battery works, because beyond all of its positive attributes, the location is primo, being easily accessible from all cardinal directions on the highways via I-75 or I-285.  Obviously pending traffic conditions, but the point is, The Battery is accessible.

Such cannot be said about a potential Battery clone up in Forsyth County, because Forsyth County is practically Tennessee, and is about as relatable to the Metro Atlanta area as people in Fredericksburg claiming to be in Northern Virginia, or people who live in New Jersey claiming to live in New York.  Even if this Battery clone were actually the Battery, plucked up out of the ground and plopped into Cumming like it were Sim City, it would still fail colossally, because Forsyth County just isn’t accessible.

Forsyth County is almost literally solely accessible from one direction – from the south.  Drivers, because fuck if there’s going to be any sort of rail access, literally have to drive on GA-400 until it officially ends, and is just US-19, and ride up some country-ass roads until they get to Cumming.  Which is kind of smack dab in between I-575 and I-985, and not really easily accessible from either from lateral directions.

The idea that a Battery in Forsyth would actually succeed on its own, much less actually attract a professional sports franchise is absolutely hilarious.  The county is as red as the planet Mars, and the Klan still operates all throughout the hills and mountains shortly in north of the county.  Yeah, I’m sure hockey fans, much less more sane people from Alpharetta, Gainesville, Flowery Branch or Canton are going to trek into Forsyth County to spend their money when there are way more logical and closer options available to them.

But hey, if Forsyth County wants to bilk a billion dollars from their taxpayers, more power to them.  For once, it would be nice to know that some other county will be seen as the schmucks to get taken advantage for a really, really bad idea for a change.  I’d say I’d feel bad if and when there’s an NHL expansion in the future, and Forsyth County is turned down, because Georgia’s already had their shot at the NHL, and those of us who lived here when the Thrashers were here, saw just how well that debacle turned out.