Monday, March 30, 2009

A Burnt-Out Case

Went for a nice long walk yesterday, down North Avenue into a part of the city I drive by a lot but visit rarely. The weather was just right for going all to hell and gone (i.e. I didn't have to worry about a sunburn) and I felt a little bacon guilt, so it was good all around.

It also gave me the chance to stop by and take some pics of an old building that won't be there too much longer. I've taken pictures of the old Dixie Seal building (755 North Avenue) before; sometime late last year, I believe, it burned down (I can't find any notes on it in the AJC archives). It's right next to the proposed Beltline route and between that and it being a shell of what it once was, goodbye Dixie Seal.

It was pretty haunting, moreso since it was such a gray day. Once upon a time, someone poured their heart into this building and business -- now there's nothing left. (at least at this location -- Dixie Seal does still exist with a Tucker address, at

If any Atlanta types know anything about the burning of 755 North, clue me in. This is only a few blocks away from me but I'm absolutely oblivious as to any details.

Burned buildings are depressing. You know what isn't depressing? Penguins. Penguins kick ass.

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#29 -- "The Lathe of Heaven" by Ursula K. LeGuin

When I was a kid, "The Wizard of Earthsea" always showed up in, uh, Reader's Cup competitions and the like. I never got into that book and I think my lack of acceptance always overshadowed LeGuin's achievements. This one was given to me as a gift sometime in my teenage years, and I'm just now getting around to reading it.

Basic premise: dystopian future U.S., and a guy finds out that his dreams are reshaping reality. He goes to a psychiatrist to try to get "fixed," but the psychiatrist decides to use our guy steer the direction the world takes.

I was finding it a good quick read, kinda predictable, figured I knew how it would end, and then a couple plot developments came up that I completely didn't foresee, but made perfect sense, and that took it up a notch. The ending kinda lost me and that might take it down, oh, half a notch, but I think this was pretty good. It reminded me (in tone and setting) of "The Man in the High Castle," though I liked this more than P.K. Dick. The characters are a bit flat -- and that becomes a problem when a plot point hinges on one character's feelings for another -- and it's starting to sound like I didn't like this, but really, I did! Give me a year or two and I might try "Wizard of Earthsea" again.

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